It appears that Paddi is not the only adventurer in the Realm to write of their experiences. While I was looking for more of Paddi's journals, I found these scrolls hidden away in a closet. As near as I can tell, these journals were written about the same time that Paddi wrote hers. So these people are apparently contemporaries of Paddi and her friends, although that group does not appear in this tale.

-Glen Sprigg

 

FROM THE JOURNALS OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, PRINCE ARDANO SILVERBOW OF CALIDIIRA, IN WHICH IS CONTAINED THE TALE OF THE SOUTHLANDS OF THE REALMS

 

June 20, 912 AC

 It has been a restless week. I cannot and will not forgive Doldano for his harsh words towards the maiden I love. He may be the crown prince of Calidiira, but that does not give him the right to say such things to Tiffin. She may not be of royal blood, but her father is the finest blade-dancer in the kingdom, and my teacher. Tiffin herself is the most talented young singer ever to appear at the Elven Court, and no one can doubt her beauty. Commoner or not, she is without question the most lovely of Corellonís daughters. And I will be damned to the clutches of the Spider-Queen before I allow my brother to stand between us.

But since that day, Tiffin and I have been unwelcome in our homeland, and thus we have journeyed to the distant south of the Realm, hoping to find some peace. Patience is a virtue, and one that comes easily to an elf. I just hope that we will not have to wait too long to return home.

 



 

June 21, 912 AC

 We have a new traveling companion with us. A human, and the biggest I have ever seen. He stands nearly seven feet tall, and has muscles so powerful that even his thick clothing cannot hide them. His name is Garic, and while he is a simple sort of man, he is certainly no stranger to fighting. He appears to be more of a brawler than anything else, but his size would no doubt deter many from attacking him.

We met him a few hours before we reached the village of Daufin. Garic was wandering alone, with no apparent destination. We first saw him when half a dozen bandits decided to accost two Ďunwary travelers,í not recognizing my elven heritage. My sword was hidden beneath my robes, and I was unable to draw it quickly. But one of them made the mistake of going after Tiffin. She kicked him in a most tender location, and as he doubled over I grabbed his own sword and laid out four of his companions before they could recognize their mistake.

The rage was upon me, as it always is when my beloved is in danger. But this time it nearly cost me, as I slipped on the muddy roadside and fell. Two of them were upon me, and they nearly had me.

Then a huge hand clamped over each of their necks, and they were thrown back. The silent hulk standing before me carried no weapon, nor does he wear any armor. He simply punched the nearest bandit, and the unfortunate man spun to the ground, unconscious or dead.

Within moments, the few remaining bandits were gone, and Tiffin and I stood alone with our unknown assistant. He introduced himself as Garic, and we thanked him and introduced ourselves. When he heard that I was a prince of the elves, he offered to accompany us, and I got the distinct impression he was interested in work as a bodyguard. I donít really see the need for a bodyguard, as I am more than capable of taking care of myself. But it was to get away from the arrogance of my people, and especially my family, that I left Calidiira to begin with. Tiffin accepted Garicís offer, and the three of us continued to Daufin.

We arrived only an hour ago, and Garic has taken up a position outside our door. Apparently he is taking this whole bodyguard concept seriously. At least it is one more safeguard for Tiffin. I have no doubt that my betrothed can take care of herself, but Iíd rather not chance it.

 



 

 

June 22, 912 AC

 We heard some disturbing news this morning. Apparently even this remote village is not safe from the sort of dangers that lurk about the Realm these days. However, instead of the rumours of humanoids, the topic in the common room was grave-robbers. There was even a reward notice posted in the inn, offering a reward for the capture of these defilers of the dead. I have no intention of turning into a mercenary, but of what use are the skills I have learned if not to help those in need? Grave-robbing is certainly a most foul crime, and something must be done. There donít appear to be many in this village who could take care of such a problem.

So the three of us went to the local armory, where we found some suitable armor and weapons for Garic. Iíll give him some instruction in the use of the sword, although I canít imagine that his techniques will bear any resemblance to my own.

After our shopping expedition, we went to the Temple of the Blessed Light, where the templeís curate met us. There were three others present; two humans and a halfling wearing a sword. The humans were introduced to us as Naldion, an acolyte of the temple, and Reynard, a mage from the north. The halfling was Donlan, a warrior (and most likely a thief, as are many of his kind). Reynard and Donlan were travelling companions, having arrived in Daufin only this morning.

The curate told us of the many desecrations that have occurred in the local graveyards. To stop them, the curate was willing to pay a total of five hundred pieces of gold. Garicís eyes lit up at the mention of gold. For myself, money is not the issue; while I can no longer draw on my familyís nigh-bottomless purse, Tiffin and I are satisfied with what we do have. Still, grave-robbers should be discouraged. After a brief consultation, Reynard and Donlan agreed to work with Garic, Tiffin and myself. Naldion would accompany us, as a representative of the village and the temple. He carries only a club and a shield, and I fear for his safety. But a cleric would certainly be useful to us. Particularly in a graveyard.

Tonight we will be in the graveyard, awaiting the robbers. Perhaps they will not even show; that would be fine. Garic is looking forward to a fight, but I doubt it will be a serious problem. The six of us should be able to discourage any would-be robbers.

 



 

 

June 22, 912 AC (late night)

 We arrived in the cemetary shortly before nightfall. We could see the village lanterns being lit through the trees, but we paid them little mind. Shortly after darkness fell, I spotted a robed figure. Alerting the others, we crept through the silent darkness toward the figure, but it vanished before we could catch any further glimpse of him.

Looking around, Donlan spotted the figure again, closer and only slightly less blurred by the darkness. It seemed to me at the time that the figure may have been a woman. We heard a feminine voice carried on the wind. This time we rushed through the gravestones, but the figure vanished again into the inky blackness.

Donlan cursed rather vehemently at this second disappearance. I was surprised, myself; whoever this was, my night-vision was useless in spotting her. But then she reappeared, and I shouted a warning to Naldion, who was closest to her. Now we did see her more clearly; an unarmed crone, calling out to the dead. Garic charged toward her, but she leapt away from him, and suddenly the huge man fell to the ground for no apparent reason.

Then the rest of us were pulled down to the ground, tripped up by skeletal hands that grabbed at our legs and dragged us to the damp earth. Scrambling to my feet, I drew my sword, only to watch in chilled revulsion as a skeleton burst forth from the ground, moving under its own power! Garic shouted out in alarm, obviously unnerved by the unnatural sight. Tiffin screamed, and I turned to see her paralyzed with fear as another skeleton drew itself out of the ground before her.

Ignoring the cackling crone, I leapt forward to protect my betrothed. Garic and Donlan were by my side, and we hacked away at one of the vile creations. Its bony structure turned away our blows, but we soon battered it to destruction. Turning, we watched as Naldion held up a glowing symbol, and the second skeleton sank back into the ground, unable to withstand the power of his prayer.

As the crone fled from us, more skeletons burst forth from the ground, heeding her unnatural call. Some of them turned to attack us, but Naldion kept them at bay with the light of his holy symbol. I watched in the distance as more skeletons disappeared from sight, near the outbuildings to the west. Where the crone had run to.

The others were still unnerved by this horrible encounter, but I rallied them together, and we ran off after the creatures. We arrived at the outbuildings, where two skeletons were guarding the doors. This time they resisted the power of Naldionís prayer, and we were forced to batter them into the ground, shattering their bones. So much for protecting the sanctity of these graves. But there was clearly more going on than mere grave-robbing.

The question was, what?

Naldion told us that these buildings belonged to the church. We had to find the crone and stop her from desecrating the place any further. Entering through the south door, we entered a room with three of Naldionís fellow acolytes. Before we could explain to them why we had burst into their bedroom, the door opposite broke open, and several skeletons streamed in. Two of them wore rotting blue clothing that looked very similar to that worn by Naldion. The other acolytes screamed in terror and cowered behind us, leaving us to fight the beasts. Perhaps their faith is not as strong as Naldionís, for he stood by us, his holy symbol ready.

And his faith was rewarded, for the skeletons fled from him, unable to withstand the purity of his light. It was beginning to look like the rest of us werenít really needed, for Naldion was more than holding his own in this situation.

The other three acolytes put on their own robes, and told us that the grave-robbers, whoever they were, were still in the mausoleum. We left the building, and entered the mausoleum, with Naldion in the lead. Inside, the place was a mess. Placards identifying the dead were strewn about, and even more skeletons were coming toward us, clawing their way through the very stones!

Despite the fear which gripped my companions, they forced themselves to face the terror before us. Even Tiffin had her small sword out, and fought like a tigress against the one that approached her. Shame to anyone who does not think her worthy of a prince of the elves!

The battle did not last long, but there was no sign of the one who had brought these creatures to an undead state. We heard the crone sobbing somewhere, but there was no sign of her. But in the darkness, an elf sees better than most. Tiffin was the first to spot her, and shouted a warning to me. With a hiss of fury, the crone leapt at Tiffin, trying to claw out her eyes. But as quick as she was, nothing could have prevented me from getting between her and Tiffin. She flinched back from the cold steel in my hands, but there was a madness in her eyes, and I knew that this could end only one way.

She had the strength of insanity in her arms, and knocked my sword aside. She lunged at me, knocking me over. In the chaos, I did not see everything, although Garic later admitted that I was not mistaken in thinking that the crone had knocked even his weight backward. But Donlan was quick enough to avoid her claws, and cut her sharply. I scrambled to my feet, but Tiffin was standing before me, keeping the crone off of me. Reynard cracked her in the ribs with his long staff, but she merely snarled and batted him aside like a rag doll. That left Naldion, who blocked her claws with his shield, then sidestepped a lunge and brought his club down on her head with a sharp crack. Stunned, the crone staggered away from him, and impaled herself on the point of my own blade. With a cry of pain and grief, she collapsed, her blood spreading over the cobbled floor.

We left the mausoleum quietly; there was little to say. My own thoughts were on the crone. Who was she, and why had she done such a thing? Questions we may never know the answers to.

There were several villagers awake, waiting anxiously to see what had happened. I asked Naldion to tell his superior what had happened, and that we would speak to him after we had gotten some sleep. It was late, and we all returned to bed. In the morning, we will speak to the curate. Perhaps he will have some answers for us.

 



 

 

June 23, 912 AC

 We arrived at the Temple of the Blessed Light, refreshed and with full bellies. The curate was pleased to see us in good health, and tended our various cuts and scrapes. He then presented us with the reward money he had promised. Donlan, Reynard and Garic were quite pleased. Naldion joined us, and I made a special point of praising the young clericís bravery and fortitude in the face of such horrors. Naldion was obviously pleased, though he kept quiet.

With the crone dead, it appears unlikely that there will be any further incidents involving the undead in Daufin. Perhaps we will remain here for the time being; there may be an opportunity for peace and quiet, something that is all too rare in this day and age.

 



 

 

June 25, 912 AC

 Iíve changed my mind; Iím not interested in the adulation of these peasants. They mean well, but one can only take so much groveling thanks before it becomes a burden. Also, Iíve come to realize that these skills I possess must be used for the right purposes. I did not become a blade-dancer to live in a tiny, peaceful village. Nor is this a suitable place for us. Humans are good-hearted, but these people simply donít understand the elven ways. This place can not be our home.

The others, surprisingly enough, have agreed with me, and have asked to come with Tiffin and I. Even Naldion has asked permission from the curate to accompany us as a wandering missionary for the Temple of the Blessed Light. Certainly he has earned the right, and we are all leaving tomorrow. There are rumors of a haunted house near the village of Saltmarsh to the west; perhaps we shall journey there.

Regardless of where our travels take us, however, I know that we shall find adventure. The Realm is stirring, and not for the better. There is an evil in this land, one that may spread to all parts of it. We must all do our part to stop it from overcoming all that is good. And with companions such as these, I have no doubt we will succeed.

 

 

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All of the preceding modules and game worlds are trademarked property of TSR Inc, which is now the property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. I take no credit for the stories or ideas presented here, save for the six characters created as a vehicle through the adventures, I merely converted them to a playable format for SSI's Unlimited Adventures game.