I’m writing this journal in the dark, in a natural cavern behind the human Fortress of Rannick. My spells are nearly spent, there’s all manner of blood and filth in my beard, and there’s at least twenty ogres between our position and any path to freedom. Ah, nothing like a good fight to put things in perspective.
We left Turtleback Ferry nearly a week ago, and since then have sent more than a dozen fiends to just demises. Our first encounter was in the ogre’s woods, where we discovered a family of Ogre-kin engaged in all manner of beastly and unnatural pursuits. We took the battle to them, and through a combination of teamwork and good luck ended their worthless lives and the lives of their bestial companions.
We found in the Ogre’s lair three men who had been captured by the ogre-kin—fighters out of Turtleback Ferry who had been offered as a meal to a great black spider they were keeping as a pet. After mending their wounds, they explained that a tribe of Ogres from Hook Mountain had descended upon Fort Rannick and had slaughtered their way through the garrison there. We sent them back to town for supplies, and ventured up to the base of the mountain to inspect the fort for ourselves. After conducting a reconnoiter of the area and reuniting with the rangers, we launched our assault.
Things could have gone better. We had hoped to stealthfully slip into the caverns behind the fort and launch clandestine attacks against the brutes, but we were discovered on our approach and intercepted at the entrance to the caves. After a rousing (and successful) battle, we escaped into the caves and journeyed inward to find a secret entrance at the base of the keep. Things got worse from there.
We discovered a woman there, and when she told us her name was Lucrecia, Syphacia flew into a rage that nearly cost us all our lives. As expected, Lucrecia turned out to be a powerful spellcaster, and used the confusion engendered by Syphacia’s sudden attack to cast disorienting spells on Razan and myself. Aramil and Coram followed Lucrecia as she tried to escape (quite courageously), but were then set on by an enormous Ogre that nearly did them in. All of this because Syphacia refuses to control her temper. Stupid girl.
We found another way in to the keep, and dispatched two very large ogres before we were forced to retreat again. The fight against these two was hard, but well-won, with teamwork as the key to our victory. We did not encounter Lucrecia again, but I have no doubt we will. This fight is barely begun.
We have retreated back to a chasm at a narrow point of the cave, where I hope we can hold up for the night and replenish our strength. None of the others seem to keen on this idea, but I am quite happy with the situation. I have tried to explain that we are in the best possible position to continue our fight. The ogres can not attack us here, but our avenues of attack are multitudinous. This is the kind of fight that dwarves pray for.
I feel our motley band thrives on situations such as these, where life and death hang in the balance. The stress and urgency of the situation has forestalled for a moment our constant need to berate one another, and given us something like camaraderie in the void. Of my companions, my opinions remain mixed. Razan has shown herself to be one of the fiercest fighters I have ever known, though her vocal devotion to the distant sun grows more wearisome with each passing day. Coram continues to be a lecher and a glutton, but his fighting skills are improving, and his valiance in combat is perhaps greater than it has ever been before. Aramil continues to be the voice of reason in our party, though I fear his reckless courage may someday be the end of him. And our two rangers from Turtleback, Jakardros and Vale, have shown themselves to be brave and steadfast warriors, even in the face of insurmountable odds. (I should probably mention that the third of their number, a liar called Kaven, met an untimely death after it was revealed that he was in league with Lucrecia. I only hope that is treachery has not done harm to our position.)
As for Syphacia, she has yet to say one word of apology to me, and I have come to the conclusion she never will. Syphacia has known neither contrition nor regret in the course of her life. In the heat of battle, she is a fury. In her heart, she is a child.
For now at least, my purpose is thankfully clear. There is a martial campaign to pursue here and an evil to destroy. I asked Torag to show me the path, and he has answered. I have no doubt that it is his desire that I bring his vengeance against these foul brutes. I have no doubt he will show us the way to victory.