September 30th, the 611th year
Flush from their victories against the spiders and their fey wild kin at the first pillar of Melora, my companions arrive back at Iron wall; they find me conversing with Messenger 13 from the Sentinels. I have been filling him in on the details of our trials and tribulations in the retaking of Iron Wall from the Synier invaders. The messenger pulled R’shtaku and me off to the side and we discuss in more detail the nature of the syniers we encountered, from the flesh worm to the illusionist, as well as the fate of the three other Sentinels that broke their oaths and turned into Syniers themselves. He passed us our payment from the Order and took his leave.
Once the others had a chance to settle back in, I sat down and told them what I had discovered in my study of the texts we found in the Vault of Stories. Most of the books were bloodline recordings of the dwarves of Iron Wall, but deep in the aisles I found a mess of tomes ripped from the shelves. Ancient lore was stored within those pages, and while I was unsuccessful in finding more than a passing reference to the “knights in white” as servants of the dragon god of order and law, Bahamet; I did find a reference to the Pillars of Melora that Thai seeks. The text was somewhat damaged, but I could decipher that the text spoke of the second and third pillars and hinted at locations. The third, where they found it in the forest nearby and the second in a desert far to the west by northwest across the mountain range that makes up the ridge that secludes this section of land from the further north. It mentions that the mountains are near impossible to pass on foot, but there have been a few paths built many, many ages ago. Hopefully they are still there, if not, I have heard that the city of mages by Fort Jun’ark may have airships that trade with the northern lands and we could perhaps book passage on a flight to a location nearby to save ourselves that trek.
From what I could tell of the damage to the books and the location it appears as though the Syniers that invaded Iron Wall were looking for a history lesson. It seems as odd actions for nearly mindless creature to take.
We gathered together supplies and food stuffs from the meagre stores left in Iron Wall, sent Obarth to the south to see if he could find more Iron Wall dwarves to bring it back to its former glory, and set off to the west to visit the Sentinel fort of Jun’ark before heading to the city of mages.
October 2nd, the 611th year
Our first few days of travel were rather uneventful, just smooth paths and pleasant breezes greeted us on every morn. On the third night, just as we were setting into bed, Thai heard the sound of beasts on the run, not horses with their distinctive clip clop, but a more thudding, scratching noise. He woke us and we quickly donned our armours and weapon, but found ourselves surrounded by kobold war priests in full regalia on the back of many horned drakes. Luckily, a misstep by a drake alerted us to the one that had come around in an attempt to flank, but we were able to stave off their attempted ambush after seizing the initiative. I caught a shout from one rider to another wanting to take the dwarf alive and to kill the rest. To the east of our camp site I stalked into the drake’s path, blocking him and slashed at the priest sitting high in its saddle, my blade bit deep as the moonlight flashed along its length, like quicksilver. Eberk charged into the northern most drake and rider, almost bowling them down. R’shtaku and Thai both attacked the one to the west, Thai in melee while R’shtaku kept him covered with a hail of arrows, his voice matching the twanging rhythms of his bow. Eberk was manoeuvred out of position and allowed his drake and rider to charge from him into the back of Thai, who was trying to fend off the spear attacks of his engaged war priest. An excellent shot from R’shtaku took the rider from the western drake and caused the uncontrolled mount to flee in fear. While I was keeping the eastern combo busy, the now free Eberk again smashed into another side, killing both my mount and rider in one devastating blow. My next though was of why we were attacked and why they wanted the dwarf alive. I stepped in behind the last priest and grabbed him by his tiny chest, tearing him out of his saddle and letting the beast run to freedom. We found out that they were sent by the red dragon that we encountered as we headed into Iron Wall; I let him know that while we made it in to the dwarven hold, we were unable to access the vault that contained the gem and we had to head to the west to gather the items we needed to unlock the vault and get his prize. We believed at the time that we had scared him into belief and let him go into the forest to tell his master.
October 5th, the 611th Year
A few days passed and we finally reached the High Maul Bridge, a true marvel of engineering, it spans nearly 30 miles across one of the widest parts of the Maul River. After nearing the three quarter point of the bridge, a shadow swept across us and Ooshtok landed upon the bridge rail taking an intimidating stance. He had the kobold in his hands, he questioned our intentions in regards to the ruby and the promise we had made to him. I tried to continue our web of deceit, but broke down half way with a laugh. We took turns trying to patch up our story as quickly as possible, but fail in every conceivable way, tripping over each other and breaking into small fits of laughter. Finally I just laughed loudly in a derisive way and told Ooshtok that I was sorry but he was neither getting the gem nor was he ending our lives. I drew my quickened blade and charged into his side and shoved the dragon off the bridge into the water. We quickly moved along the bridge while the dragon struggled out of the water, taking defensive positions as we went. He landed again, furiously snorting out steam, smoke and a lick of flame. Eberk then rushed into his side as well before he was firmly planted and shoved him back into the water. We continued falling back defensively, but he never resurfaced. After a few more hours of travel we allowed ourselves some much needed rest.
We arrived in Jun’ark in the early evening on the 5th, noting a sense of foreboding when we saw the mighty fortress with its front gate slightly ajar and no guards on the towers. We enter cautiously into the main courtyard and saw nothing but the training dummies and a pile or two of hay for the mounts usually kept nearby. We scoured the area for any signs of combat or struggle and found nothing, not even an upturned flagstone. We entered the towers that stood either side of the main wall, and while we found some signs of struggle or at least someone’s fondness for clutter, what was more disturbing were the notes from a journal describing what, I assume, was the birthing process of the Sentinel known to us as R’shtaku. Normally the process is carried out by transfusing the blood of a creature with the taint of Synier, causing them to gain a small fraction of their power. But R’shtaku does not have any blood to transfuse or alter. The room we found contained three sets of crystals, one red with an alchemic devise inside to the left, one blue with the same devise, and they had grown how we aren’t sure, into a center set of purple crystals. In the midst of the purple crystals there seemed to be a, crater is the wrong word, but a hole in which we found small chunks of crystal that matched in colour to R’shtaku, he took one and there was a flash of light as it absorbed into him, unlocking some of the faded memories of his training and re-birthing here.
We moved from there into the second tower on the other side and found a similar lab set up, but a different second floor, it was a table with straps and clasps, as if something needed to be forced down and held. After a thorough search we found a few more notes referencing bringing a person back from the dead as a sentinel and more astoundingly a set white and gold armour that was sized for a creature of my build. The armour fit, leading us to believe that this tower was dedicated to my transformation, apparently Jun’ark was a testing ground for unusual transformation procedures for the Sentinels. However, still no signs of bodies, blood, or struggle, just a sense of disuse.
We entered into the main fortress after barring both of the tower doors in case something with missed tries to get out. It was dark, so we broke open a few sun-rods and lit the place a little more thoroughly. We found a torch and lit the wall sconces. There were two spiral staircases, one to the left and one to the right, and a large hallway opposite the main doors. R’shtaku and I could feel the syniers heavily throughout this area; we decided to leave the middle hallway and trapped the left stairwell in case we had unwelcome visitors coming to cut off our retreat. The stairs and the hallway we found were empty, but the room at the end was large with a ceiling so high that we could barely see the rafters, even with our enhanced sight. I noticed a sticky, gel splashed on the ground and touched it with a torch, and it rapidly burnt and was gone, leaving only a fine ash as a remnant. It was upon that discovery the synier dropped from the ceiling, a being made of that gel, but in the shape of halfmen. They moved as one, supporting each other in their combats. We found switches which activated shallow pools to rise from the ground, they contained a fluid that frosted our weapons, which seemed to slow the gel creatures down when we hit. A combination of frost and fire ended the fight quickly after that. We sealed the room, took a few samples of the frost oil and took our first rest in nearly twenty four hours.