Cedric

Tales of Cedric

Journal of Cedric, often called Cedric the lazy

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8th day of Winter Finding

Priestess calling for Wolf’s Winter. Snow falling and staying on ground already. Lake already frozen on shade side. Word is harvest was modest – not bad, but not good. Should be good market for hunting if new king doesn’t tax to death.

Tonight prepare for ritual with that moonstruck Dyffyd. Is he touched by gods or just touched?

9th day of Winter Finding

Ritual went okay. Dyffyd Kinewatcher may be a shepherd, but he is a real chosen one of Demeter.

After ritual we met strange outlanders. Part of Sir Trousdale’s retinue. Something happened last night, but they are very quiet about it.

They look pretty rich. Their leader, Finch, is a real charmer. They hired me as a guide for 1 gold per day. Should be easy work. Hope he tips well.

9 day – noon

Finch is bastard son of Caradoc. Heard speculate he involved in death of king Daha. Doesn’t seem quite capable of it, but he should pay well to keep things quiet.

9 day – night

I write by firelight of the burning gates of Skull Hill Keep. The fools wanted to come here in winter at night. The IDIOTS. Been attacked by foul bird-men creatures. Nearly devoured by slug creature they call Carrion-Crawler. Madness.

10 day of Winter Finding

ALMOST READY JUST LEAVE THEM HERE. They decide enter keep. More bird-men and loathe magic bird-womeneerie call Harpies. Horrid songs, they nearly killed me but for grace of Demeter. Remember to make offering

Look into history of keep. Found hall with skeletons seated round a table. Poisoned banquet?

Spoke too soon about Dyffyd. He both touched by Demeter and touched in the head for joining this group so enthusiastically. I must be touched as well.

Camping in the keep. Several birdmen have run downstairs, but have set guards. At least out of the cold.

11 day Winter Finding (I think)

We have made camp in the hall of some vile sorcerer we chased from the keep. And we need to recover. The group is near death from creatures. It seems that we will stay here for several days. At least the beast had some food.

Finch is also a sorcerer. And he’s a cheapskate. He has yet to pay me the gold for guiding them here, and he talks of denying me a share of the booty we have found. A pile of gold, a chest of silver, a gem, I have never seen such wealth. Perhaps I will stay around for a while. If I can gather a thousand gold, I can retire.

12 day Winter Finding

There is no time, yet I must write it down before I forget. We have marched halfway cross the valley through this early snow. The idiots don’t know to stay warm during the winter.

I am wrong about Finch – he may be our next prince, though we shall see how Caradoc, his father, fairs. Together, we fought a Dragon!. Crom piss on us, we faced a sickly, tiny, terrifying, flame breathing, sharp taloned Dragon. Daladon preserve us, but we killed that dragon with a strange sword the likes of which I have never seen before.

13 day Winter Finding

We have marched almost to the edge of the vale, heading to the scarp under Balean Nakt. We faced an ogre named Berg, whom Finch enchanted – what power. I like Stephan – so brave, so powerful. But he frightens me a bit – just slit the beast’s throat.

Tonight we rest with Volder and his wife Lema, and we ate dinner with a dragon, Xan. Two dragons in one week! Bel either smiles on us or snickers at us, but somehow I am still alive.

Volder has warned us of his cousin, the gnome Finn. Must be warry. And Sandra The Fox, overthrown by Brandoch may be active again. Remember to tell the village.

15 day Winter Finding

It is morning. More snow, so early. I wonder if all of the orchards were harvested.

We have defeated Bargle, that sorcerer of Skull Keep. Who knew he was there? But only with the unwitting help of the Beastmen of Balean Nakt. They may yet seek revenge.

Mother will be pleased that I rescued Jeb. I haven’t seen him since New Years. Bargle was selling Jeb to the Beastmen, but he is safe. Perhaps Mother will stop nagging me.

We have found the king, Prince Caradoc. But he is cursed. There is talk that the Lady of the Lake can help him, but he makes me nervous. I should leave now. This is too dangerous.

I have never seen such money – jeweled rings and gold. More money then most see in a lifetime I have won in a day. Oh my head, how is it still attached to my shoulders.

17 day Winter Finding

By the gods, she is the incarnation of Rhianon herself.

Pure beauty, heart of forest
Lady divine, see my longing.
Cleanse my heart, show my path.
Teach me the mysterious wisdom.

But we have been cast from her grace. Why would Iorweth attack her, a fellow being of the primal nature force? What shameful folly. Finch plans to speak with her tomorrow. I will guide him, for they have been blinded by her grace.

20 day Winter Finding

More snow, but finally I am warm again. We camp with Lamdamon, and he has brought us much needed supplies.

The Lady needs her cauldron, which was stolen. So we will kill Grisnac the Corrupter and return the sacred relic to her.

25 day Winter Finding

Yet more snow. So cold, it feels like Winterdark already. Oh Wild one, hear my prayers. May I find grace as my lord did on his quest .

27 day Winter Finding

Tomorrow, we assault the keep of the Corrupter. Iorweth is a strange one – but he found us an ally, Blackpelt, chief of the mountain wolves. Today we have common cause, but in the spring I may need to hunt them down. The flocks can not withstand the culling, not after this winter.

29 day Winter Finding

We took the garrison on the surface. Blackpelt’s aid was greatly appreciated, but he left us as soon as that task was done. The beastmen woodsmen are very strong. What god do they worship? Surely Daladon does not smile on them.

I think one of them killed me. I don’t remember much. They were so strong. My friends were falling under the beast woodsmen arrows, and some spirit possessed me. I snuck up the tower to hunt them, but . There was a light and warmth all around. But I heard the screams and yells of my friends. Then I awoke. Iorweth actually looked a little concerned.

Despite the pain, I continued down into the monastery. I will have nightmares – the demon alter and the floating brain. And that poor man corrupted into a beastman. I feel sick.

6 day of Jól

We have arrived at the lake. Stephan is gone, taken by Stygoth, the sickly dragon. And we have met his brother, a strange man with an odd blood lust to kill his own. Though if what Marquis says is true, and brother Kinewatcher vouches for it, maybe Stephan was not our friend.

All this hard march, the dreams have haunted me. The laughing Grisnac, the strange handless arms on the alter.

Marquis demands that we find his brother, so that they can fight. Finch thinks we can rescue Stephan. So everyone wants to go off into the swamp They are all mad.

9 day of Jól

We are in the swamp. We are in the wormspawn swamp. Finch and Marquis keep arguing about Stephan. By Daladon, shut up already.

10 day of Jól

So many days of nothing, then today. We found Stygoth slaughtering a band of gnolls. When he was done with them, we somehow managed to chase him off. According to some of the survivors, the gnolls are serving the witchqueen, so Stygoth is not working for her. Strange.

More strange – a fey deathmage. In all the stories, the Fey fight the Beast, but this one has joined it. Even more strange, we fought, but we didn’t fight. Finch left back for the lake immediately after that battle. I hope he arrives safely.

Got to go. Twill is calling us to the fire for a discussion. I wish he would shut up – something will hear us and come after us.

14 day of Jól

I must have said it a dozen times – sheep and chickens have more sense than we do. Like uncle Obi-diah says, “Who’s the bigger fool, ...” We’re heading back to the lake, finally. But with our tail between our legs. The witchqueen’s army sent us packing.

I hate magic. Some spell got us on the bridge – we all went running silly. I pissed my breeches, so I have to smell myself along with Iorweth. Can’t really tell with him.

18 day of Jól

So nice to swim. In midwinter, swimming! Thank all the gods of kindness and decency. And the idiots don’t even need me to hunt – there are apples and turnips and beans and onions and grapes and squash all still growing by the lake. Thank Demeter she sent Dyffyd – if I had to listen to Twill whine any more about finding something to eat, I’d roast him up. And Marquis, says he grew up on a ranch, but he acts like cityfolk.

23 day of Jól

The scar in my belly is fading. wow. I started making a bow. It’s turning out pretty nice. I’ve been looking at the bows I got from the dogface woodsmen. I polished them up nice. I can’t really pull those bows, but I think I can make one. I wonder who would buy such a mighty bow? Ceardic Fletcher sells to the king’s archers. Stoneplitter’s mercs might want some bows.

29 day of Jól

That was brisk. I left the lake to find a deer for Jóltide. This white lined reversable cloak from Lamdamon works great. Prayers offered, ritual of thanks given, Daladon and Rhiannon bless us on this darkest time. Bad omen – new moon on Jóltide.

Twill agreed to roast the beast. He’ll probably try to use his myrric harmonica to magically turn the spit.

30 day of Jól

King Undermountain, have mercy on us and resmith the sun.
Warm our hearts, sweet Mother, and keep the hearths burning bright
Oh great Bull, rout our enemies, drive them from our lands.
Lonely Wanderer, scout the borderlands for their return.
The Beast has come and brought the Darkness.
Oh Lords, hear our cries and save your servants.

1 day of Winterdark

An ill omen – new moon on Jóltide. Great evil is afoot. This morning the others also complained of the cold that touched our sactuary last night. Not even our blessed lady can protect us.

6 day of Winterdark

Went out again. I thought about walking home to see Mam. I couldn’t find the trail. The farther I went, the stranger the land became. I’m just glad I could find my way back.

12 day of Winterdark

Ah, this is the life. My bow is almost done. I’ve even made some arrows. The Full Moon comes, and Caradoc will be relieved of his curse. Then we will march to the city, and he will claim the thrown. Maybe I should ask Dyffyd what the Mother thinks of this happenstance, as the tales of Stephan’s cruelty have shocked me.

15 day of Winterdark

Tomorrow we go home.

 

19 day of Winterdark

Home at last. Word had already spread, so the house was full when I got home. Jeb was there – his house, by the pass under Skull Keep, was burned down last year. Jeb don’t look too good – haunted face. Uncle Heylyn broke out a barrel of beer.

I hope the prince doesn’t mind that I snuck out. Another day in that palace, and I would go mad.

21 day of Winterdark

Maybe I should have stayed in the palace. We started walking to Ferryside, stopping along the way. Jeb keeps coming along. Mam says he needs a new wife, and there are enough widows these days.

We heard word that Little Lakeside had a raid. 2 wounded, 3 children taken. They can’t survive the cold – why take them?

Tonight we are staying with Uncle Cedric and Aunt Eduwel.

24 day of Winterdark

Home at last. I am sleeping in the sheep shed, because the house is full. At least Mam has stopped telling me about cousin Ener and his farm.

26 day of Winterdark

I snuck out and went to the city. Twill gave a good performance. Finch is acting all hoity, and I swear I smell rotten egg when I go near him. Iorweth and dog left about a day after I did. That explains the rumors of the strange, lone beast man.

27 day of Winterdark

Iorweth came to my village and frightened the children. He pissed on all four corners and screamed some kind of prayer, I guess. He said he is leaving the valley and wished us many babies.

30 day of Winterdark

I checked the old Watchers. The broken one due west of home was repaired. The brothers have been thru.

By the gods, it is cold. We are bringing the sheep in the house tonight.

Mam said that while I was out, 2 horsemen came to summon to the palace.

1 day of Danzi

Horseface Bors. They don’t own me. We’re Freemen, not cityfolk. The arrogance of that man.

I don’t think he liked it when I left the chamber. At least I bit my tongue. Brother Meyler always says, a woodsman always watches his words.

4 day of Danzi

I commisioned a gold statue. Mam would laugh at me talking like this, all city-like. Well, Prince asked Jory Cobblestone to make a goddess statue, because I asked how to get one. I don’t think Cobblestone will make it himselft, but it should be ready by New Year. His smithy is very busy, because of the coronation.

If Prince is done with me, I’m going to find the Goodmans. See how they are doing.

I have been whittling a stag. Almost done.

6 day of Danzi

Staying in Lakeside with cousin Ener and Nest. Little Hunith has gotten so big.

4 more raids. No bodies, but 10 people taken. Axes and blood left in the snow. Taken in broad daylight. I’m not sure where the Brothers are.

8 day of Danzi

Two days, and nothing. I can not find the Goodmans’ tree. I even camped out in the Darkwald – Mam would think I’m crazy. I’m back at Lakeside tonight with Ener and Nest.

2 more raids. Poor Neffyd and Kedivor.

12 day of Danzi

A village got hit. We heard the horn and came running. By the time I arrived, the beastmen were gone. I still can’t believe how bold they have become.

We spent the rest of the day fixing the picket. Luckily, only 1 wounded, no one taken.

13 day of Danzi.

The Prince took our petition. Tegwaret of Ferryside spoke for us, and the Prince agreed to send a regular patrol. Finch told me of some problems in the pass to Angleheath.

14 day of Danzi

Brother Gryffyd is here. Tomorrow we hike to the Lady. Uncle Heylyn helped me finish my stag. The antlers are real nice.

I will say a prayer for Jeb.

24 day of Danzi

Every day or night, more raids. Every village has been attacked, has lost sheep. 5 more people missing. The city has lost 8 herders. The folk repair their gates and walls. Sheep die in the cold.

The Prince has sent patrols. We Brothers are patroling. Nothing helps. Has The Lady forsaken us? Freemen are talking of going back to cities.

Winter has come to the Lake. It is not frozen, but snow does fall there. We left my stag and some kingsflower root as an offering.

Gryffyd and I gave chase to 3 beastmen, but they outpaced us. We recovered the carcass and roasted it.

1 day of Hunger Month

Hunger Month. Never more true than this year. Half the sheep are dead, from cold or from raids. At least 20 people gone, 12 of them children.

Tomorrow, I go to find the Goodmans again. Perhaps Voldor and Lema know something.

8 day Hunger Month

The day is warmer. You can see the river flowing under the ice. The fishermen have pulled their huts from the lake – it is no longer safe.

For two days I searched, but I could not find the tree. Only animal spoor. Then I returned for patrol duty. The raiders now act like thieves and rustlers, breaking holes in the walls and taking sheep or baskets of grain. No one has seen more than one at a time for the last few days.

14 day of Hunger Month

Major raid. 3 men taken. A 4th escaped and said that 6 beastmen ambushed them, but they managed to kill one. The villagers are angry – the hung the body behind the Watchers and shot it full of arrows.

22 day of Hunger Month

One last time, I went to find the Goodmans. I found Xan. Or perhaps Xan found me. Lema chided me for going alone during these times. She threatened to tell me mam. Voldor gave me a wonderous present – a suit of fey leather armor. So supple yet strong. It makes no noise when you move. Amazing.

28 day of Hunger Month

There have been no raids for 4 days. Since Winterdark, this is the longest nothing has happened.

The lambing was good, although many ewes were taken. The lambs seem smaller, but every one survived.

Happy New Year

No raids. No tracks. Villagers are relaxing, but the Brothers are worried. They sent me to the Prince. Everyone is worried that some major attack is coming.

Most of the snow is gone, but the mud is impossible.

A strange warrior is in court. Baldrick, slave of Iorweth.

The Prince is hosting a feast tonight.

2 day Moradi

I will never trust Lush, or Twill, again. My head has hurt all day, and I can’t eat anything. A drink like water but burns like fire. They called it Water Of Life.

6 day of Moradi

Something has happened in the swamp. Like rats running from a burning granary, the beastmen seem to be everywhere. They come alone or in pairs. The run along the river or even try to swim accross it. We’ve found 3 bodies in the ice cold water, and we’ve killed at least 15 more, maybe 20. The villages are angry, killing any they see. The women and children throw stones, and the men brain them.

None of the Brothers have gotten any information, but the rush seems to be over.

8 day of Moradi

Mam was angry that I came here to the palace for my birthday. But if another “cousin” asked me for money …

Twill wrote a nice poem about me.

The people he keep giving me strange looks. The maidservents just giggle and run off when the see me. Twill won’t tell me why. He just smiles.

9 day of Moradi

We head out to the Lady of the Lake, in hopes that she can heal what ails their Lorchester.

14 day Moradi

Stephan has returned. Before, he seemed evil, delighting in killing. Now he is just a tool of the Dark One, like a force of nature, killing with dispassion, immune to cries of his victims. He proceeds us on the path to the black dragon.

A dark blight poisons the land and its people. The villagers and peasants afflicted moan with pain, even when asleep.

The hard winter has given way to deep mud. The trail is difficult to walk

16 day Moradi

We have just reached the swamp. We are camping in remains of some stone building, where we fought the beastmen on our winter trek to the swamp. I am nervous – no trees to shelter in.

18 day of Moradi (I think)

I am not sure what day it is. The light never changes in this place, Sondra calls The Prison Of the Gods. And our dreams are all troubled by the same dream of war. None of us want to discuss it.

The trek through the swamp passed very quickly, without ice on the wooden road to slow us down. I worry that our quest to free Eamonvale from the blight will only create a worse enemy. At least our new king will be stronger and prepared to give battle to the black worm.

This place is filled with horrors – one room after another filled with death. Bizarre avatars of evil. But I can say I have met Sondra the Fox, well at least part of her.

At least her, next to this statue of her, we can rest. Its eyes seem to follow you no matter where you go.

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Cedric

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