The Forest of Spirits (Alpha Group)

Roux: A Defeat of Barbarians

[continuation of previous letter]

Our castle explorations proceed. When last I wrote, we were planning with the harpy Ziaobe to defeat the oni Kikonu. At first, the plan went exactly as expected. She brought the oni Kikonu to us, and we attacked him while he was still monologuing about our inevitable defeat. Such a tiresome individual.

It was going quite well; Sophie-tzu pinned him to the ground so that he could no longer summon giant wasps to attack us—she may be uncouth, but Nate-rao likes her and she is good at what she does. I only wish that she would confine herself more to kicking the things that we need kicked, and less to adopting peculiar beasts. She brought a GIANT LIZARD back to the caravan; really, this is untenable. In an effort to understand her, I have been carefully attending to the odd language she speaks to her duck; I believe I now understand the basics of conversation. It is a most peculiar tongue. I have never heard anything like it; it is, I have concluded, her own invention.

Regardless, I have meandered around my point long enough. The harpy Ziaobe proved herself to be an enemy, not an ally, and attacked myself in the middle of the fight. I was thus distracted from Kikonu by her, and was forced to devote my energies to defeating her. Fortunately, the others were more than capable. The oni Kikonu was defeated.

The harpy Ziaobe became very badly injured, and attempted to surrender, and thus presented me with a quandary. On the one hand, accepting a surrender in good faith is typically done; however, she broke her sworn word that she was on our side, and therefore nothing she said from that point could possibly be trustworthy. Moreover, the others do not have dispositions of the sort that would allow her to live. I cast a final spell upon her, and she collapsed. Nate-rao aided and finished her off.

I gifted her bow and arrows to Tallus-tzu. He will make more honorable use of them than she.

We descended into the basement, only to find many corridors, a very nasty phycomid, and the most peculiar jailer I have ever encountered. He was an ogre called Slugwort, and he was oddly jovial, if somewhat…vacuous. He demanded that we enter his cages, and the others, for some incomprehensible reason, all decided to play along. We attempted to convince him that Kikonu sent us, hoping to get him to release the captives he was holding, but he was too obtuse for such stratagems. I melted the lock of the cell containing myself, Teak-tzu, and Kalleth without his noticing, but I did not attempt to leave, as the others were speaking with the captives in the other cell.

I decided that this was as good a time as any to get some rest, and so I did. When I awoke, the ogre Slugwort was asleep. We attempted to sneak out, but Teak-tzu tripped over something and made a dreadful noise. We were thus obligated to fight him, and defeated him soundly. It was almost a shame to kill him, as he had been as genial a host as could be expected under the circumstances, but it could not be helped. We could hardly have stayed in those cells forever.

The other captives, once we were all freed, proved to be most intriguing. One of them was a woman by the name of Kelda, from the north. She was somewhat reticent at first, but has agreed to accompany us for the time being. She seems to think she owes us a debt for freeing her from the cell. Kelda-tzu is quite skilled with her ax and will likely prove to be a valuable companion.

The other captive was a young woman, most striking, who said her name was Jaela, and that she had come from very far away. I inquired, but she named her homeland as Thrane. I have never heard of such a place; have you? I shall have to look into this further. Perhaps it is another place like our fair city, which does not like to make itself too known to outsiders. Her words were most curious. She said that she had come to Brinewall solely for the purpose of meeting us, and cryptically spoke of ‘history being made.’ She seemed to believe that we are on a path to become part of the books. Her faith in myself is appreciated, but that is no reason to become complacent. If it is indeed true that we are casting more ripples into the pond than we believed, so to speak, then I must redouble my efforts. It would not do to shame your honored self, my family, or the Most Serene City with anything lackluster.

Jaela-rhes is a most interesting personage herself. She knew all of our names, saying that they came to her in a dream. When I attempted to detect magic, her aura nearly blinded me. She gifted us with a peculiar substance in a vial, which she referred to as “holy fire.” Try as I might, I could not recognize its composition. She then spoke of “business to attend to, countries to run,” and vanished.

We have not yet discovered any new information on Ameiko-ren’s condition; however, Jaela-rhes assured us that we will be sure to find something if we are thorough in our search of the castle. I do not know how she could know this, but it is good to receive a message that we are on the right path. I certainly hope we come across her again. Arcane interest aside, it is reassuring to meet a foreigner who understands proper courtesy.

I remain, your devoted student,

Azelise

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Satchan

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