Adept Solta Reave
October 10th, 697
I would be lying if I said it wasn’t strange, being home, regardless of the circumstances we are under. Never was fond of being here for long ever since I left to join The Brotherhood. Thyr just seemed more of an importance back then than family.
I’ll admit I was wrong. Ciderton burned and an overwhelming feeling came over me that I only recently came to terms with. But I digress, my injured arm has been waking me from my sleep regardless of how many times I’ve changed the bandages or applied the salves. I guess this is punishment for using Thyr wastefully.
I did hear Vohn and Jak leave before first light but I decided to sleep a little more before I started my day. The smell of breakfast a few hours later raised me from my bed and I decided to throw on my uniform and see just what Ol’ Etier was cooking. As I passed Kal’s room I couldn’t help but laugh as his servant primed him for his day ahead. Look, I know Vosir are highly respected and feared but I remember the Kal from when we were children. Etier use to struggle to make him take a bath and now he can’t dress himself without that Dower fella putting on his high court finery and makeup, I guess I’m the only one that remembers the old Kal. It’s a big change to see my older brother like this, I’m proud for sure but it’s almost like another person.
I was the first one at the table so of course that means being pestered by L1ngo when all I could think of was filling my stomach. Shortly after being served, Kal and his Nain joined me and lastly by Vohn and Jak bring with some freshly killed pheasant. I have to say I’m surprised by Vohn, he’s always been the most soft spoken of my siblings and I always imagined him going off and being some kind of bureaucrat in the High Court. Seeing him like this though, a Woodsman of Ciderton, he seems to be in his element. Also he bears a striking resemblance to Father.
We talked for a bit before a horn jarred us from our breakfast; we broke for the town square thinking another attack has befallen the city. Fortunately for us and the townsfolk it was just a decree from the Empire. Unfortunately for us and the townsfolk it was allowing the Grig into the Empire.
Now I like Jak, he takes up little room, smells like dirt and has a good heart but other Grig, those little menaces are an entirely different story. As we tried to make our way back to the house we bore witness to the inception of these little terrors. Grig were overrunning the town and sowing chaos but as an Officer and sole representative for The Brotherhood I knew I had to act quickly. I told the first little terror I saw to stop his reckless behavior of riding a goat. I learned two things in the seconds after doing this, Grig are excellent riders of goats and goats can be stopped by a little force. Now I am not proud to say this but I did dispatch that Grig’s steed with a hearty punch to its skull, the goat survived. I grabbed this little Grig and shook him and yelled at him until I was certain he learned his lesson.
I did this over and over again trying to bring order to the town but I was overwhelmed by the Grig, they used a dirty tactic of overwhelming me with sheer numbers as I was trying to approach the situation in a case by case individual basis. Their little razor teeth were not something I was prepared for and as I ran flinging them off of me I realized the situation was lost. I made it back to the house and noticed immediately that my brother’s fared much better than I had.
Shame on them for not helping try and bring order and civility to these Grig.
October 10th 679
Apparently I wasn’t the only one that wanted to bring order to this Grig infestation; Meister Tisk was organizing a town meeting in the Burning Crow. I like Tisk he’s a good leader and has a way with words I do doubt his abilities in getting things done though.
On our way to the bar I noted how calm things had become seems like the Grig calmed themselves. Once we got to the bar we were treated to ciders by random townsfolk, it seems they have not forgotten the Solta borthers part in defending Ciderton.
I was surprised that even with this tense situation with the Grig Jak was still accepted. I had been a little worried with bringing him with us to the meeting. Tisk proved my thoughts correct, he did a great job calming the townies but little was certain other than make it known that the harvest was important but so was building up the defenses of the wall.
Then he left and we were left to discuss our course of action to take. This was when we finally met Kugg, and he was an impressive man. No wonder he was being called the champion of Ciderton, from the stories the townsfolk were spinning about him he was a walking legend. He seemed pleased to know we were going to help but wasn’t sure exactly what to do about dealing with both this big tasks at hand. After he said what he needed he left, a man of few words, we’ll get along just fine.
We chatted for a bit about these issues and I believe it was Vohn’s idea to have the Grig help out with the harvest. I have to agree they would be perfect for the job since the little vermin, asides from Jak, are good at stealing those apples. I suppose if we can get them to differentiate between stealing and harvesting this would be the best course of action. Many hands make light work as the old saying goes.
With a plan in place we decided to meet up with Tisk at his home to discuss it. Unfortunately the guard wouldn’t let us talk to him because he was sleeping. How could this man sleep when so many problems persisted in Ciderton? I’ll have to speak to him about priorities at a later time. Well if this so called Meister is slacking on his duties we, The Solta Brothers, will have to parley with the Grig ourselves. Certainly we are more than capable of this.
Heading out the North gate the guard on duty warned us that we should hurry our business unless we want to sleep in the forest. Heading to the new Grig encampment was a short walk from the gate and they situated themselves into a pretty nice thicket of woods. Getting closer I happen to notice that they seem to be celebrating, perhaps at finding a new home? Laughing or at least what I believe is laughing for them can be heard but died off as we got closer. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea I remember think when I notice in the tall grass many Grig crouching low wielding shivs.
We kept on walking closer and eventually we were met by what I would venture to guess was a leader of sorts. Now I don’t remember much of the talk with the leader because I know a good time when I see it. These little green nuisances were dancing and drinking and as I saw one of them jump over the bonfire to a round of applause I knew I had to get in on that. With a running start I easily cleared it and as they celebrated my display of recklessness one of them pushed a cup into my hand. Taking it down in one swig I was surprised it was good, a little pungent but burned like good alcohol should. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Reave you should be leading these talks with the Grig leader since you’re an officer and would be most effective at getting them to help you. Isn’t that why you came, isn’t that most important?” But what’s more important than getting these future laborers to like us Cidertonians, to strengthen the bond before a deal is struck, to let them know we aren’t all the different?
So I drank and danced. After what felt like no time at all my brother’s joined in the merriment. After that it all gets a little hazy.
October 11th 679
Grig Encampment Outside of Ciderton
Apparently we went a little overboard with the merriment.
I awoke with my head feeling my burn like the searing light of Lady Thyr herself. It takes me a bit of heavy deliberate breathing to keep whatever I drank down before I try and rise myself from the ground.
The scene around me is utter chaos, sleeping Grig everywhere making my unconscious brothers’ pale skin stick out from all the green around them. Well at least L1ng0 fared well enough to immediately walk up to me and begin pestering. As I rouse my brothers and play the game find the Jak in a Grig pile I notice walk off. Apparently to Dower whom I see dart off to what I assume would be home so I follow suit.
My hung over body is sluggish as we make our way back to our home but it seemed Vohn was unfazed by the libations our new friends gave us because he talked about hunting. Kal agreed earlier and said he needed to prepare before heading out so I took this as a sign to nap.
A few hours later and feeling a little better off than in the morning we head off into the forest. All seemed to be going well as followed a trail with Jak and Vohn leading even though we had the out of place Vosir and his Nain.
We even got on the topic of disobeying Father and taking our little party to pay a visit to those bastards in the Torch Clan. That was until the Light died out. Acting quickly I lifted my glove and light up our surroundings, I’ll admit the light was a bit dim but we were so far from the engine I was grateful to get as much as I did. I tried to calm my brothers by telling them that I’m sure our Thyr masters will have The Light back on in no time but that didn’t make me feel any better. We were all in agreement to head back so I took point and slowly lead us back the way we came. The longer the darkness enveloped the forest the more it changed and it was unnerving. The creatures grew louder and louder until it stopped. Out of the blackness a giant silhouette approached and I suggested we run. Vohn having a small idea what was closing in on us told us to prepare to fight. When I’m told to fight I believe the faster you act the better off you are. I guess Kal saw it differently and began to drink tea which Dower provided for him. As the creature closed in I suggested hurrying up, Dower replied for my brother by putting up a screen between my brother and I.
The small circle of light emanating from my glove was breached by the most hideous and enormous stag I’ve ever seen. But this was no ordinary stag it seemed that shadowy ichor flowed off it body and its breath. It was truly frightening before it even began charging head long at us but I steeled my resolved.
The fight happened so fast, a Thyr beam was shot; arrows found their mark, a Vosir danced with his blade, a Dower coward and a little Grig stabbed mightily at whatever he could reach. And with that a great beast was slain.
Everything was going perfectly until the once living stag with its final act impaled me with its huge heap of antlers. For how being stabbed with antlers this was probably as good as it could be, a nice clean impale no vital organs hit. As Kal helped free me from my prison with a swipe of his blade we wasted no time making our way back to Ciderton. In the dark even with the assistance of my Thyr glove it took us hours.
My wound ached almost as bad as my feet by the time we reached home. Any thoughts I had were quickly replaced by an all-consuming need to sleep. Without much more than a peep we each parted ways and without even taking off my bloody uniform, I passed out.
October 18th 679
The last few days have been fairly uneventful which is a good thing since my brothers and I were still recovering from the excitement of the Stag we killed last week. The Grig have been doing a great job helping with the apple harvest increasing the yield quite nicely. With Kugg and us Solta Brothers helping with the defenses they’ve been looking better than ever if I do say so myself. The work is long and some of the men we have helping are not the most discipline but it’s nothing I can’t deal with. I was wary though a storm was moving in and that always spells trouble even if it was just a normal one.
Sneaking off early from helping build up the defenses I grab L1NGO and head off to Talos. If my theory is correct I can create a link between the two automatons and use L1NGO as a Thyr hub. This will be very beneficial for me if I get caught into another fight deep in the forest. Approaching Talos I tell him that I’ll need to access his control panel and he just stares down at me for a moment before turning his gaze back skyward and adjusting his arms, I’ll take that as permission. I won’t lie and say I knew exactly what I was doing but I was sure I could figure it out. Connecting a cable between the two I begin tinkering, watching L1NGO’s power levels as guides. After 15 minutes I saw no improvements and became frustrated, my hands now shaking, brow slick with concentration sweat.
And then suddenly I heard a crack of lightning in the sky just before the control panel erupted with spark. Electricity must have jumped from Talos to my body and I was throw back several meters.
Now I don’t remember a whole lot over the next couple of days but these are the things I do know:
• I was successful in creating a link between L1NGO and Talos, I think it had more to do with an electrical overload than my mechanical prowess but a win is a win. But this brings the theory up about electricity and Thyr but I won’t bore you with this.
• Talos may have been damaged and Calibr8 is angery with me, I’ll make sure to make it up to them as soon as possible.
• I have damaged myself with burns and probably an electric current running through my body doing Lady Thyr knows what with my mind but definitely damaging my short term memory temporarily.
• A Grig from the harvesting group has come back to town telling us about and attack and asking for help. Which my brothers obliged him.
Several days seemed to pass without any knowledge to me, one minute I was with Talos and L1NGO getting the shock of my life and the next I was in the forest being attacked by what seemed like hundreds of these awful birds. My brothers were holding their own, especially Kal who seemed to be doing a move that I’m not certain he learned in the academy but was effective in mulching these winged beast.
There were two types of birds, the first and more numerous were the flying variety, with a six foot wing span they seemed to concentrate most of their efforts in stealing apples from the harvest carts. The second were grotesque birdmen, almost as large as a human with giant sword like beaks they were far more aggressive then they’re counterpart and strangely wore old yet fancy clothes. What was more disheartening about these birdmen was the fact they transformed from the flying ravens. We fought on, killing them as they came, my Thyr glove working better than before against the Tainted Stag. The battle was looking hopeless until the ravens retreated taking the storm with them is seemed.
Before we could lick our wounds Vohn took off with purpose through the thick forest. Without thinking I took off after him, gaining ground on him with surprised ease even with my body twitching randomly from what I assume was residual electricity. As I got closer I could make out a humanoid figure through the glimpses I could get until Vohn finally tackled him to the ground. I approached with blade drawn and that’s when I could see it was one of those bastards from The Torch Clan.
We yelled at him demanding to know where our sister was, what he was doing out in the forest spying on us but the only thing he ask was if we were Solta. We asked him more, the rage building inside of me but then Kal stepped in blade drawn. Sinking it into his throat and ending this wretched man’s life. I wanted to be mad at him for killing our prisoner but I couldn’t knowing we weren’t going to get much else from him. Riffling through his pockets we find a note that mentions an attack on a village, my guess Ciderton, and to destroy the engine, probably Talos. I chuckled to myself thinking to myself how I almost did them a favor by accident, I found it best not to inform my brothers in on my humor in this. It also makes mention of hurting or killing Solta, our house, and about a secret route into the village. This is troubling; could we be oblivious to a hidden access to Ciderton? L1NGO does tell us that the note was written in Seshnian.
We grabbed the corpse and headed off back to the carts to assess our situation. I was surprised to see we had a traveling companion with us, his name was Ran, even more surprising was that he was in the fight with us and didn’t get killed. I think I like him. We gathered one of each corpse of the birds and the Grig and took off towards Ciderton. They had no idea the danger this posed to our town, we needed to tell the Meister and Kugg.
It took us two days travel to get back but at least it was a quiet ride back. I felt bad for the Grig, there was only twenty left their chiefton was taken away by one of the birds. Now they were the only ones left and they seemed broken. This posed a question, why did these birds take the apples and Grig? Were they just going to eat them, or were the captured Grig going to be used for something more sinister? I felt uneasy with these questions racking my electrocuted brain.
Upon arrival we immediately made our way to the Meister’s house and asked for him to speak with us. He came out to greet us with Kugg warmly yet a little cautious then we showed him the three corpses we had. My brothers filled him in on all the details since I wasn’t mentally there the entire time. The information we gave him weighed heavy on him, you could see it in his eyes. His town was in danger and I don’t think he was certain if he could defend it from a threat this menacing. After a few more words we parted ways, taking the corpses with us and putting them in the barn till we could investigate them further.
Finally we went to the house for some well-deserved rest and to think about everything that had happened on this last excursion.
October 23rd 679
After taking a day’s rest we begin to investigate the corpses we have in the barn. It smells of death best not waste any time. There is nothing much of interest on the raven or birdmen, we did find odd coins in all the pockets of the birdmen which isn’t empire coin. So we focus more on the Torch Clansman, taking off his breathing apparatus it’s evident his skin hasn’t felt the touch of light in some time. His pale skin and sunken eyes contrast sharply even with the coagulating blood coming from his wound on his neck. L1NGO tells us that the man is of Seshnian decent and so are his clothes. He informs us that Seshnia was a neighboring country which used to be at war with our nation but had been lost to the Darkness long ago.
This brings us so many questions but before I could ponder too much on it Vohn makes an inquiry about the breathing apparatus. We check it out and it seemed to be in working order and without much thought other than how it works I put the mark on and turn the valve to the tank. My little brother tries to take the contraption from me but I manage to dodge his hands. It was time to figure out what this did, to find out why a normal man would rely on this black gas. Inhaling deeply I noticed that the darkness was welcoming, the dark tint of the mask which before annoyed me a bit now was appreciated.
Then the weirdest thing happened, where my brothers and Jakk stood were replaced by, well how do I put this simplest? Enemies, aggressors and definitely not my brothers or friend. I needed to get out of the confinement of the barn but as I tried to exit this man tried to stop me forcefully so of course I tried to remove him from my way. That’s when the little one came up and bit me and before I knew it I was on the ground, mask being ripped from my face.
The light was excruciating and I cried out in pain, all I wanted was for the Darkness to return. After several minutes I was told that I was acting aggressively, my eyes turned black and I was breathing out that black smoke. Interesting. I sit for a while trying to wrap my mind around all this but I can feel their eyes on me, I guess they didn’t trust me just yet. The noise outside catching our attention so we exit the barn and out to some fresh air. There seemed to be a lot of activity coming from the town square and of course we wanted to see what was going on.
As we stepped out from our yard I immediately was hit with a nagging feeling. I should really get on fixing up Talos. So I bid my brothers a farewell and went off to grab L1NGO before heading off the find Calibr8. I knew he was going to be angry with me but without him I don’t think my mechanical prowess will be enough to fix the Thyr engine. After finding him and explaining to Calibr8 that I was here to make amends he seemed actually happy to help.
Once we got to Talos I was shocked to see how much damage was actually done to the automaton. With the help of my new friend we immediate got to work with L1NGO translating between us. It’s funny how after a while L1NGO stopped translating and we began to communicate effectively. I like this little machine, he likes a crude joke and seems to know what he’s doing. So I started to tell him about myself, which he seemed interested in, and told him my plans for the game, which he had from what I could tell through all the numbers some advice for me.
Hours later my brother and Jakk come and check on me. They bring news that the Ciderton Games are tomorrow, with all the happenings going on it completely slipped my mind. Also there was another Vosier in town. Vohn then tells me that I better hurry up so I can clean up before we hit the bar for a night of merriment. Looking over at Calibr8 he gave me a look that almost said, “Get going, I can finish it from here just remember to have one for me.” No need to stare at me any longer little buddy, so off I went.
Quickly I bathed and put on my fresh uniform, polishing my badge, I needed to impress tonight. Not just impress everyone like I always do but I had to schmooze a copper rose or dozen from the dozen maidens tonight. It seemed Vohn was looking to impress too, he was dressed in father’s old finery and even little Jakk was wearing one of our youth cloaks and brandishing a new knife. I’ll pretend I didn’t see that.
Walking to the bar I was relieved to not have Kal come with, just one less person to compete against. The bar was buzzing and the maidens were intermixed in and outside the bar. I knew I was going to need some liquid courage in order to set my plans in motion to obtaining the roses. Three pot pies and several ciders later it was time to act. I waltzed outside and ribbed the bard loudly that the music needed some energy. As he began a jaunty tune I started to dance, and dance I did. I twist, turned and shimmied my way into the hearts of everyone. Playing to the crowd I danced with those young and old, made the maidens chase me a bit before dancing with them. And as the last note was played I send a bolt of Thyr rocketing into the sky, nailed it.
Immediately one of the maidens came to me, her name was Tamara and she was a solid seven out of ten. So I charmed her as best as I could which of course was reciprocated with a copper rose. I smiled; I knew I had it in me to get the other eleven. Just before finishing off my cider and heading off to wow the other women I noticed my copper rose was missing, so I just ordered another cider and resolved myself into enjoying my night with this woman who was all over me. Well that was until the whistle began to blow, I bid Tamara a good night and ran off in the whistles general direction.
Of course Kal did it, of course he was over the wall and of course Dower was on the safe side of that wall. Apparently there was a big rat and then one of the other watchmen was getting lucky with a woman. All I know is that Kal ruined a perfectly good night because upon arriving to the bar Tamara was nowhere to be found, Vohn was also looking for someone. I was proud of my little brother since he apparently wooed a woman but was disappointed when he went off to sulk at home. I guess I’ll try and salvage this night with a few good drinks.
It seems I’ve drank a little too much again and just like every other time this has happened to me I lift myself off the ground and head home. Unfortunately I’m greeted by my brothers and Jakk who look like they had a full nights rest. As I try and devour my hangover away with breakfast I try and mentally prepare myself for what’s a head. Yes I need to win my event but more importantly I’m going to cheer for everyone. I’m going for best sportsman and for that I need to be in the zone.
We head off to the square and wait for our respective events to start, our lady friends seeking us out making the wait not seem so long. Kal tries to steal our women away, unsuccessfully. Vohn drops that we have some competition in kill the crow, the previous years winner Domm. I blow it off almost immediate because I know in my heart I’ve already won this event.
The announcer calls for the participants in Kill the Crow to come up, our event was soon. I give Tamara a wink and tell her I’ll win the even for her. That’s when I see this man Domm for the first time, he has an air of over confidence, I’ll win for sure.
My name is called and I walk up and aim for the furthest crow. I line up my shot and just as I release a Thyr bolt my glove erupts in flame, a mix of screams, laughter and applause comes from the audience. As I run and dunk my arm in water I yell for L1NGO to grab Calibr8. My arm screams in agony as me and my little robot friend get to work trying to salvage my gloves. They call my name again and I take my time walking, holding L1NGO’s hand as Calibr8 tries to add just a few more fixes. Most people would have called it quits, told themselves today wasn’t there day but most people are not me. I line up my second shot and blast a crow. Take that fate. Working on my glove a little more I shoot another crow solidifying my win in this event. Domm tries to complain but I thank him for being a gracious opponent. I hope people heard that.
Tamara runs up to me and tells me she will get some salve for my arm. I cheer on Dower as he cooks like the woman he is and gets third. Then cheer on my brother as he competes against Kugg and the Vosier in the log chop. Surprisingly the other Vosier uses his dueling blade and makes chopping logs look like childs play as Kugg and Kal struggle to get through half the log he did. Kal took third but he did have a tougher event than I did.
At the games ceremony I make sure to walk up with Calibr8 and tell the audience I wouldn’t have won without his help. Not only am I awarded a golden apple for first place in Kill the Crow but also an amazing leather long coat for being best sportsman.
That night Kal then tells us that the Vosier, Khoor, is looking for Tovan Archus. Uncle Tovan the man dad sent to come to Ciderton with a group of Lawblades. The same man that was late, I could only think the worst. We agree that we need to confront the Vosier but wait til morning to do that which Kal wasn’t too keen on.
As we make our way to where Khoor was staying Kal announces he had already left. I ask him how he knows this without checking his room. Then I’m informed he rode in on a steam shavel and said machine was now gone. With this dangerous man now gone we quickly think up a plan. We leave quickly through the forest towards Tamarville since that was most likely his destination because that’s where Uncle Tovan will be coming from.
Marching as quickly as we can through the thick forest with Uncle Tovan on our mind spurring us on going longer than usual without breaks and sleeping less. After a few days we hear someone coming towards us, Vohn tells us to get down and hide. Out through the forest we first see a Grigg with a helmet and crossbow walk cautiously closer to us before yelling out something to someone further back. That’s when Uncle Tovan surprisingly appears looking worse for wear. After greeting him we tell him we were relieved to find him then tell him about Vosier Khoor. He then tells us how he and the Lawblades were ambushed and he barely escaped. Lastly he tells us something that shakes me to the core, that father was mortally wounded by The Lion of Greypool. With that we just talk off toward Ciderton together, barely a word exchanged.