Sunday, 16th day of the Readying, Hommlet.
Have met up with my fellow travellers to attend the town meeting in the keep. The enchanted flail which was previously wielded by the Orc chieftain Blaag Blackhand - before he met his end at my hands and the Song Spear - I left in the good care and safety of the Trader's Post. Learned the flail is called Seer Foe by the Dwarven people. Interested to find out more about this masterfully crafted weapon in a few days time. For now: the meeting. A giant eagle approaches from the south, trouble?
Meeting proved to be a mixed affair. Some questions answered, but many more remain. Noted that some prominent members of the town had not been made privy to the council. Ostler was there and shed some light on the mystery of the evil presence Chryseis detected in the inn, but the lodger has since left and his motives are left unclear. Canon Terjon seemed preoccupied with preparing the defense of the church of St Cuthbert, understandably. Was pleased to find sir Rufus and lord Burne's attitude toward our company had shifted considerably since we brought them the letter, proof that some nefarious force is threatening the town's safety. Rufus claims that he personally slew this person Lareth ten years ago at Emridy Fields, and I do not question his honesty. Is this Lareth, priest of Lolth, one and the same person or some unlikely coincidence? We were introduced to an Elven woman, named Ellaria, who was the one to have arrived on the giant eagle we spotted outside the keep. She seems friendly, but reserved, and I have yet to ascertain how she fits into this puzzle exactly. Took my companion Weebrian, the prestidigitator, aside for a small chat. Seems he has been discussing private affairs with lord Burne, related to the magical arts. We might have need of such things if we go through with the proposed plan: to venture into the fens and scout the vicinity of the abandoned Moathouse. It seems likely that this is the base of operations of the black riders that have been cooperating with the Vile Rune Orcs in raiding the town militia. We have agreed to set out immediately, and ask for the aid of the ranger Elmo.
Met up at High Watch with Elmo. Left our horses and most of the equipment, since it will most likely prove a liability as we navigate the fens. The ranger is intimately acquainted with the surroundings, though I still have my reservations about him. Sometimes I wonder if his apparent dimwittedness isn't a clever ploy, as I still consider him the most likely suspect of killing our Orcish prisoner yesterday.
We walked into an ambush on our way navigating the low road leading to the Moathouse. Elmo spotted a small column of smoke, and the two rangers went to investigate. They found an abandoned campsite with various possessions strewn about. Then the following occurred in rapid succession: one of Kazireh’s dogs picked up a scent and shot off into the thicket, a plaintive howl to follow immediately. To my surprise, there then suddenly came launched from the nearby edge of the wood a number of large rocks, hitting some of our company. Before I could get my bearings again I lost sight of Wilstan, our man of the cloth, and heard - among other things- squawking chickens from his direction. In the frenzy that ensued many things happened - I noticed some of our number started firing bows - as I rushed up the side of the hillock, to find Wilstan being savaged by a great wolf. At the same time, much to my dismay, a giant stepped out of the wood and made for my companion, brandishing an enormous club. I rushed over and speared the wolf, but Wilstan had by then already been ravaged to within an inch of his life. I wounded the wolf gravely and in turn it bit me, but his strength was clearly mostly gone already. As I turned to try and fend of the giant, all I saw was the club bearing down on me, and then all went black.
I woke up only several minutes later, feeling as if I’d been run over by a horse and cart, a loud ringing in my ears and my helmet dented beyond recognition. My companion had administered restorative draughts and some other magical panacea to both Wilstan and I, and the former’s standing in the eyes of Rao once again became clear as he cured us of further wounds. We discovered a letter on the body of the giant - my companions informed me he was defeated by Elmo - which revealed the giant was in league with this same Lareth, and that the giant was being regularly supplied by his underlings. This seemed to me and Weebrian like a perfect opportunity to turn the tables on our foes and create an ambush in turn, but the rangers seemed adamant to keep pressing on toward the Moathouse. I reluctantly agreed, fatigued after the battle and my condition further exacerbated by my close brush with death.
Lights, lights in the Moathouse! That fool Elmo. As we went deeper into the fens, moving up a ridge from where we would be able to overview the ruins and the surrounding terrain, the two rangers got jumped by a pair of enormous, vicious frogs. Elmo must have lost his balance or got dragged down, for he fell off the ridge and landed into another group of the creatures. In his desperation he blew his hunting horn, which I can understand, but then he blew it again! Surely a ranger must know that two blasts would give away our location to anyway within earshot! As the rest of the group struggled to reach the pair and dispatch the frogs, our companion Tuffnell the druid let out a panicked croaking sound, which seemed to alarm the frogs to no end and made them hastily depart. I speared one for good measure. But now they know we are here...