Praise be to Shelyn, The Eternal Rose, daughter of The Prince That Howls.
Praise be to Shelyn, the Lady of Chrysanthemums.
Praise be to Shelyn, The Eternal Maiden.
Praise be to Shelyn, The Incorruptible, purifier of Whisperer of Souls.
The past several days have been eventful, indeed. The road my new companions and I travel is fraught with peril, but I suppose I cannot feign surprise. I knew when I was marked by the Red Rider that the road before me would not be an easy one; and still earlier, when I first stepped away from the temple grounds on my journey into the north, there was no mistaking the dangers that I would surely face. However, I have carried Shelyn with me since that time, and I know that so long as my faith is strong, I can trust in her guidance and protection.
It is by that very grace that I am alive to pen these words today. In my quest, I had come across a tower belonging to the foul winter witches, but unwisely ventured too close. Though I was overcome and captured, they did not slay me – perhaps fearing divine retribution, or perhaps hoping to extract information. Whatever the reason, this hesitation proved to be their undoing, as I was soon thereafter discovered by the group which I now regard as companions. I was surprised to learn that they underwent the same path that I did, having been granted their quest by the Black Rider. As they were hurt, I allayed their suspicions by closing their wounds with a touch of Shelyn’s mercy.
Tomor was the first of the odd trio which I encountered. A savage warrior with more scars than words, I’ve seen him launch into a jarringly violent fury in the midst of combat; though at Eirwyn’s insistence, I have begun to see that he has a more gentle side.
Eirwyn is herself a winter witch, who seems to be divinely touched as well. Though I at first regarded her with suspicion, it was she who initially elected to free me from my bonds. I have since seen that she has a kindly heart within her frozen exterior. Further, her disdain for the witches who face us seems to exceed my own and that of my companions.
Utrosk and Ogramma are my final companions. The half-orc and his baby mammoth are, in many ways, inseparable. Orgramma is not merely a pet, however; I have seen the duo act with deadly efficiency in the heat of combat, almost as though they can understand one another. Utrosk has a command of magic, as well, though his stems from the frozen land itself rather than a singular patron.
On our journey since then, though Tomor was curiously absent (Eirwyn suggests he was likely indisposed after consuming a cursed cookie, by accident), we’ve been accosted by a raven swarm, surely acting as spies for the foul witches. Further down our path we encountered a moss creature which had taken a woodsman captive, enslaving both mind and body. We freed him and destroyed the creature, but only at great peril, as even after it had been dislodged from the woodsman, it managed to wrest control of Utrosk’s mind for a time. This encounter serves as reminder that we must always be vigilant of danger, even when faced with seemingly insignificant creatures.
Of great note is a large span of land that had been completely cured of the winter. Long enough even for warmer weather plants to begin their growth! The work of druids, to be sure, though even my companions seemed to be puzzled by it. Whatever the circumstance of it’s creation, it’s beauty was undeniable. Beauty can mask danger, however, and we were forced to fend off some of the more aggressive wildlife before we found ourselves clear. We even had a scare when one of the sons of our guide, Nadya, was nearly attacked by wolves. Resolving to be more cautious in preventing the children from straying, we pressed on – choosing to take the road through a village that was rumored to be haunted.
Near the ruined temple here, we encountered two priests of Desna, though their speech and mannerisms told me that not all was right with this clergy. Sure enough, when they were pressed, their true nature emerged – twisted undead forms of their former mortal shape. My companions and I showed no hesitation in engaging these abominations; but even as we did, we hear the ghastly cries of children – surely the lost souls of the unfortunates who suffered a great tragedy in this unholy place. I resolved to stay in this temple for the night; and upon waking, I shall in my prayers entreat Shelyn to grant me the power to consecrate this place upon first light, banishing the darkness and ending this lingering evil.