AR 1216-09-15 thru 1217-05-03 Krunch and Wolf in Melinir

NOTE 1: There are other journal entries detailing size of the guard, various pieces of information about their supply routes and where they store and redistribute gold, etc. Those boring pieces have been ignored because this entry is already way, way too long.

NOTE 2: A couple of minor modifications were made to the posting for Journal Entry 3/20/1217 and Journal Entry 5/3/1217

In the first entry, I had forgotten to mention the judge, the second is a correction on my part – Wolf had no reason to accompany Krunch on his last mission in Melinir.

Journal Entry 9/15/1216

There are times when you just have to do what’s right. When you have to risk everything to go charging off into the night. This is one of those times.

I want to stay at our new keep, help with the rebuilding, get the forge working again. Spend my days working the forge preparing tools for our people, preparing weapons and armor for war.

But as always we do not have enough information. We don’t know enough about the master’s plans, what the depth of his forces really are.

So Wolf and I are striking out into the darkness, in what may be a futile attempt. If we are incredibly lucky we’ll get close enough to the master to kill him. He’s just a puppet, but as Wolf has pointed out he’s puppet the needs to die. Preferably in great pain.

If we do not return, we’ve left the Silver Thorn in good hands and I’m sure that come spring they will continue to carry on the good fight with or without us. I did have to borrow a hat of disguise from Sardi, so if we don’t come back I will regret not being able to return it.

Journal Entry 9/28/1216

We left the keep behind without looking back. Well, not literally. We took a route through the snow and high enough to get into the clouds with Wolf jumping from rock outcrop to rock outcrop while I flew overhead and occasionally assisted. Hoo kept an eye out, both checking to ensure no one was following and to try to ensure we left as little of a trail as possible. The last thing I would want is to leave a trail right back to our doorstep. I don’t plan on getting caught but it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.

We both have hats of disguise, but I don’t trust myself to be able to always pull off the bluffing needed. So Wolf and I have decided that we’ll be brothers Durek and Dogyr Thunderspear. Wolf’s cover name is Durek, but he goes by the nickname Wrecker. I’m Dog, and have a bad head wound that left me deaf and mute . A deaf mute that mumbles to himself to cover the fact that I’m secretly using message to communicate with Wolf. We’ll also use the theive’s cant that grandfather taught us as our sign language.

Our cover story is that we’re from Kirduhn far to the south and west in the Bone Hills. It’s just east of the human kingdom of Cosatoria. Tizzy and Sparky were there not too long ago on their diplomacy tour so they were able to give us details that few, if anyone, would know. In any case, if anyone asks Wolf … I mean Wrecker … doesn’t want to talk about it and I can’t.

Journal Entry 10/3/1216

Wrecker left Inuki behind yesterday, dismissing him back to Alfheim until we are done in the city. I don’t know what was worse, the shaggy beast whining and howling at the thought of parting or Inuki’s reaction.

With our disguises, getting into the city was not difficult. Safely connecting with our contacts took a little more effort.

We met up with Spider fairly quickly, Wrecker knew where she would be hanging out. I do mean hanging out. Literally. She has a habit of talking while pacing on the ceiling. It’s weird, but she claims that the blood rushing to her head helps her think.

In any case she was able to give us a rundown on what has been going on in the city, and it isn’t pretty. The master is squeezing as much money out of the city as he can, his hired thugs ruthlessly enforce his will.

Annabelle and her church are closely watched but fortunately the master is not omnipotent. It will take a while to get to her safely though.

Scarface is still part of the city guard. Apparently his commander, Ander Erickson, is a real piece of work. Cruel, vindictive and vain. I don’t think Wrecker and I even had to discuss it before we decided that he has to go if we get a chance. He can also introduce us into the organization.

However, no one has been able to get close to the master and he has become even more guarded, possibly because of our activities in Kleine.

Journal Entry 10/8/1216

We met up with Scarface and have gotten jobs as enforcers. A lot of the work is surprisingly boring. Keeping the peace, being the “muscle” in the background to ensure that the money is collected without incident, etc. We haven’t been trusted with any serious duties yet. Oh, and I’m only getting half salary because I’m deaf and mute. Cheap bastards.

Journal Entry 11/2/1216

We’ve established a communication pattern with Annabelle. She goes to the market on a regular basis both to visit people who can’t get away and do normal shopping for her and some orphans that she is caring for. I think the master is making a show of her being allowed to continue for political reasons but she has little choice.

In any case, I can message her when I need to and she can drop off or pick up items as we need as long as we don’t get carried away. She and Spider have set up a relay system with trusted shopkeepers, getting items, dropping off items, exchanging information in ways they can help the people. I can help make that a little more efficient but they will still be doing the bulk of the work.

She’s concerned that if we push too far too fast that the peole will suffer but I promised we will be careful.

Journal Entry 11/13/1216

Not much to report on the Syndicate side of things, but great news from Tizzy. I was having a … pleasant … dream about being with her that in many ways felt more real, more consistent than most dreams. Turns out it she was trying out a new ritual that she had mastered that let her enter my dreamworld.

At first I was a little skeptical, not knowing if it was really her. She told me some little thing, like which particular hammer at the keep’s forge was my favorite and why. A discussion about the nature of how rocks break when we were gathering mushrooms. Little moments that would have been important to no one but us.

Then I was skeptical that it was not really her and it is just all in my own head and I was going crazy. Fortunately she was able to pass a message the next day for Annabelle to relay, so either Annabelle is also crazy or it really is Tizzy.

Journal Entry 1/4/1217

They’re finally starting to trust us a little more. We’ve been “good soldiers” and all that B.S. so now we’re being sent out on patrol alone. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re still being followed.

Journal Entry 1/7/1217

Sergeant Erickson is a sick, twisted bastard. While many of the other members of the guard have a cruel side, many are just there for the money. Doesn’t excuse them, but compared to Sergeant Erickson they’re icons of morality. Erickson likes to torture people. Even after he gets an answer he wants, he’ll continue the torture because he enjoys it. Rumor has it from various prostitutes that he can only fulfill his end of the bargain immediately after one of his sessions.

Wrecker and I were tasked with cleanup earlier today. We didn’t have to communicate with sign or message to know that Erickson has to go.

Journal Entry 1/10/1217

We’ve started our plan on how to take out Sergeant Erickson by framing him. We can probably get Scarface a promotion at the same time since he’ll be the one to “catch” him. We have to be careful though, Scarface can’t know too much of what we’re up to in case he’s tested with a zone of truth.

With Spider’s help we’re going to appropriate some of the syndicate’s money and make it look like Sergeant Erickson has stolen it. With our hats of disguise and some minor illusions not only will we get some well needed funds for Spider and Annabelle, we can set it up to make it look like Erickson wasn’t happy with his take home pay.

It’s going to take a while though, the evidence needs to be solid. I also need to find a Suggestion scroll. Or two … I’m not sure I’ll be able to understand it since it’s not a spell Dumathoin has revealed to me yet.

Journal Entry 2/8/1217

The frame job for Erickson is going as planned. Small amounts of gold have been dissapearing with subtle clues pointing to Erickson. We’ll be ready to give Scarface an “anonymous” tip soon.

The con job is going both ways as well. We’re planting small pieces of evidence, overheard whispers, rumors, etc that the master is not happy with Erickson. I hope the son of a bitch is getting paranoid.

As an added bonus I’ve been able to use the funds we’re requisitioning to kind of balance out accounts a little bit. I have to be careful, but some of the truly deserving people have been having remarkably good luck lately.

Selling the most expensive item in the store to a collector, rush jobs that pay double, incredible luck at the gambling table. Truly luck (and a little disguise or sleight of hand) has smiled in their favor.

Journal Entry 2/11/1217

We’ve had to do some things I’m not always comfortable with. Things that Wrecker doesn’t seem to have a problem with. I worry about him sometimes, his drive to get to the master …

But today we were given an assignment that even he is not willing to follow through on. We’re supposed to kill a young girl as “an example” to keep her parents (and others) in line.

Fortunately I had planned for this. We took the child to an old pit that I had prepared with Spider’s help that had a trap door at the bottom. We explained that it was a pit we had found recently, and that it was a good way of disposing of bodies with no fuss. While Wrecker struggled with the girl I cast a minor illusion covering the bottom of the pit. Wrecker then threw the bound and gagged girl into the pit, I cast feather fall and modified the illusion to hide her going through the trap door.

That combined with some timing by Spider to throw a rag-covered side of beef and open the cages for the rats we had planted and all the others saw was us throwing the girl into a pit followed by our decoy being shredded by rats.

I’m glad I was playing a mute though, because I could not have pulled off the lie. I wish I really had been deaf upon hearing the cries of the poor girls parents. Hopefully we’ll be able to reunite them soon. In the meantime Spider will make sure the girl gets out of the city safely.

Journal Entry 3/20/1217

We finally managed to talk the the judge who’s family we had rescued back in Kleine. He’s decided to stay here and be an informant. The master is still holding his family over his head (even though they’re safe) so he has insider information that we cannot get.

Here’s a guy with everything to lose, but knowing that he can help us with information and funneling innocents to us for “punishment” he’s doing what he can to fight the good fight. It is thing’s like this example of bravery that makes me think some day we may actuallly defeat the master.

With the judge’s help we’ve used the “illusion/pit/rats” trick a few times now. As the work of the rest of the group is starting to squeeze the master’s finances, he’s squeezing the city’s inhabitants even more. But with Wrecker able to cast zone of truth (in a different guise of course) we’ve been able to vet people that we can send off to live with the resistance.

But we have even better news, if we can figure out how to use it. It turns out that before Yari and Rissa’s parents came to Hidden Valley, they were given a magical mirror that they could use to record information. It had to be retrieved after recording so I don’t know if they ever used it but they gave it to Tizzy a while back in case she ever found a use for it.

Well, Tizzy figured out that she could link to the mirror and use scrying to view anything it had recorded. It’s somewhat limited, she can’t be monitoring the mirror all of the time but I guess the mirror is undetectable once put into place. Now we just have to figure out how to get it to where it will do the most good. The master’s office would be ideal, but no one but his closest allies and a few prisoners he wants to interrogate “personally” ever get in. Since we’re probably never going to make the elite guard and the prisoners he interrogates never return I don’t know how we’ll ever pull it off.

Oh, and speaking of the master we now know one of his escape contingencies is that he has some dust of dissapearance. Another piece of information that’s good to know if we can ever take advantage of it.

Journal Entry 3/25/1217

We’ve been practicing with Scarface how to respond under a Zone of Truth. So if someone asks him about whether or not he knew Wolf and I were agents of the Silver Thorn he can honestly answer “I should have.” Asked about future plans to take out the master “I don’t know of any.”

If the questioner is good enough, they may still be able to trap him but he understands the risk. It always bothers me that we ask people like Scarface, Spider and Anabelle to take risks like this. I’m proud of their courage and happy to join them in the fight.

Journal Entry 4/8/1217

Our plan to get rid of Seargant Erickson has finally paid off. There’s a trail of planted evidence, eyewitness acounts, sums of money in personal lock boxes, etc. Finally I suggested that the master was angry with him about torturing the wrong victim and he should steal what money he could and leave the city.

We, along with Scarface and a couple of veteran guardsmen, caught Ericon in the act of course. All thanks to Scarface’s dedication and commitment to the master. Wrecker made sure to “wreck” his face and jaw when we took him out so there’s no chance of anyone speaking to the corpse.

Not only did we take out a nasty piece of work, Scarface is now Seargant Scarface. Aunt Kat would be proud.

Journal Entry 4/20/1217

We’ve been here for months and we’re still no closer to the master. His primary offices are closely guarded, and he’s under too much guard for any of us to get close. With the activity of the Silver Thorn he has become even more paranoid.

I discussed burning the building. We have an idea where the hidden exits are so we could probably block those off. But Wrecker pointed out that there would be too much collateral damage in the neighborhood and too many innocents worked as common laborers.

He’s right of course, but it did give me an idea for a plan. It will take a couple of weeks and it’s risky but if it works it will be worth it.

Journal Entry 5/3/1217

I’m sending this off as we go try to complete this mission. If you’re reading this, it’s because we didn’t make it. Hopefully something in here will be useful.

Oh, and Wolf decided to try to find out what’s going on with the master’s pet vampire. There’s no reason for him to blow his cover and he’s not needed, or so he says. I tried to talk him out of it, but when I pointed that out to him that he was being stubborn and taking a foolish risk he simply held up a mirror. Guess he has a point.

I hope I don’t have to come back and drive a stake through his heart. It could ruin a perfectly good suit of armor.

If I did make it and you’re reading my journal anyway, WHAT IN THE NAME OF CLANGEDDIN’S SILVERY BEARD ARE YOU DOING READING MY PERSONAL JOURNAL! STOP IT! NOW! You should be ashamed of yourself.

AR 1216-09-15 thru 1217-05-03 Krunch and Wolf in Melinir

Thraes Aljergensen