The next step has been taken. We have found the Runeforge, opened its gate, and stepped through to the other side. Before us is a mystery left untouched for countless generations. We persevere.
The journey here was not an easy one. On my advice, we sailed north from Magnimar, landing at Brinewall before moving inland. Aramil’s deciphering of the Scribbler’s rhyme led him to believe that the Runeforge’s gate would be located on the shores of Lake Stormunder at a place called Rimeskull. After some days on horseback, we found our way up into the mountains to a clearing with seven statues, each representing one of the seven runelords of old.
We were joined in this task by a fellow from far to the South, a man named Masud. Masud is Osiriani, and worships an insect god that I had no previous knowledge of. On our journey to Brineall, I got some time to speak and pray with him, and he seems a valorous sort. He follows us into combat simply because it is the right thing to do. I remember a time when it was so easy for me. I admire him for it.
Our party had just begun to decipher the riddle of the statues when we heard a titanic roar from the cliff face above. Swooping down on us was a great white beast—a dragon named Arkhryst the villagers had told us was long passed. He descended upon us in a cloud of biting arctic mist and immediately began battle. Our party was not prepared for his onslaught, nor for the aura of his evil presence. Like rats, we scattered before him in a desperate attempt to escape. Razan was trapped beneath the beast as she ran, and suffered grievous wounds as I rushed to save her. In the confusion, I was able to summon a winged servant of Torag to distract the dragon from its attacks. The angel’s brief struggle with the dragon occupied him for just long enough for us to escape.
We regathered that evening, feeling battered, but not yet defeated. Knowing what we did of dragons, we knew that if the battlefield were properly laid that we would have a chance. Aramil and Coram decided on a strategy to shield our spellcasters, while Razan and I focused on the tactics needed to weather the flurry of his attacks. The next day we returned to the circle of stones and summoned Arkhryst from his cave. He swept down on us, and the battle began.
I can not fully recount what came next—the field of battle was frantic and most confused. I called upon Torag’s power to shield our hearts from the beast’s aura, and summoned his power to heal my allies as they took punishment. While I did this, Razan, Coram, and Masud threw themselves into melee with the monster, and Aramil and Syphacia battered it with spells and keenly-aimed arrows. As the battle went on, Arkhryst realized that he was outmatched. In a final act of spite, he grabbed Masud in one claw and took again to the sky. As he rose hundreds of feet in the air, Syphacia loosed a final arrow to follow him. It caught the dragon beneath the jaw, killing him before he could escape.
The dragon fell in a thundering crash—Masud still in its grasp. I ran forward, hoping desperately that I could apply some healing to the boy before it was too late. Razan thought quickly, and pulled him from its grasp to me. I know his heart was stopped when I spoke Torag’s prayer to him. But even so injured, Masud was returned to us, and I was grateful.
With the dragon defeated, we spoke words of magic to the statues, and were granted seven keys to use in the runeforge’s gate. We then journeyed up the mountain, where we found combat with two enormous Earth Elementals. Through wit and skill, we were able to defeat the monsters. From there, we ventured into a cavern that descended deep into the mountain. The others were able to descend a hidden stair, but my clumsiness found another route down by way of a sharp, icy incline. I was barely able to save myself with an airwalk spell before I tumbled into unfathomable depths.
At the bottom of the ramp, we found an enormous room with seven pillars and the bulk of the dragon’s hoard. We took all we dare before turning the keys in seven keyholes discovered by Syphacia. On doing this, the mountain shook, and a shimmering portal appeared in the air. We stepped through into the entry hall of the runeforge, a plane separate and distinct from our universe. The portal closed behind us when we were through. What happens next will be ours alone to witness.
Honestly, I long for the challenges to come. This place is dangerous I am sure, but at least I know the right path here—the right way forward. Here, there are no cowardly hostage takers or armies of brainwashed minions to obstruct us. There are no politics, no craven opportunists, no confusion. There are no innocents that will suffer if we choose the wrong path or take too long. The burden is squarely where it belongs—on us. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so free.
I must go now, there is much more to do. I will write more later, if I have the chance.