Earthdawn: The Exiled Lords
Journal of Janos Taered
A simple journal filled with some useful information and insight
A brown leather book, worn at the edges. The cover has been folded back many times. The parchment is yellow with some wearing at the edges. There is evidence of water damage on the edges but the pages are intact. The ink is black and the hand writting is normally very precice.
This book has seen a lot of use and a lot of miles.
Early Journal Entries concern training and seemingly unimportant happenings around the city of Jerris…
Strassa 6, 1509TH
Finally, after too many months of training and putting our affairs in order, Adris and I have left the ash-covered streets of Jerris and are heading west to forge our Legend. With my skills as a Beastmaster and his powerful knowledge of Wizardry, we are sure to leave a mark on the world that will not be forgotten!
Our distant cousin (ha-ha) Fedril, says that he knows of a few novice adepts in the area who would benefit from our abilities. We are setting off for the Kingdom of Throal. If we were to walk, it would take 6 weeks to get there. Adris has tried to convince me to “charm some local fauna” as he puts it. I keep trying to tell him that the bonds with animals are to be respected, not abused for convenience. He still doesn’t get it though. Wizards.
Our hope is to skirt the northern edges of the Liaj Jungle and head towards Glenwood Deep. We could walk all the way to our cousin’s estate in Bartertown, but Adris is insistent on making the journey as comfortable as possible. He wants to catch a riverboat and sail along the Serpent River to the edge of the Throal Mountains, and then walk or caravan in from there. It’s a fair plan, plus I’ll have the opportunity to study and interact with the various river creatures! Maybe my brother is good for something after all, aside from book lore and blowing up opponents with the power of his magic.
Strassa 12, 1509TH
Camping just north of the Liaj Jungle. I can hear the creatures around me, singing to me, calling to me. To be in such a place. Adris complains a lot, wishing for all their “incessant chirping and howling to cease”. He doesn’t understand, but I don’t blame him. I feel sorry for him. He’s missing out on quite a glorious chorus of sound. Even Pordril and Felgee are joining in, their howls calling back to the creatures of the jungle.
Adris just announced that if Podril and Felgee don’t cease their howling he’ll turn them into sacks of jelly. I really don’t think he could, I trained them too well, but I’d better calm them down or Adris will be a wreck tomorrow. We have a long way to go before we get to the Serpent River.
Strassa 16, 1509TH
We have arrived at the village of Do’na’sel, a small river T’skrang community. Adris has gone off to find us a boatman who’ll take us down the Serpent River to the Throal Mountains. I don’t know the T’skrang very well, but I had a sense of apprehension when it came to the prospect of sailing so far down the river. Perhaps it’s simply that it’s a long journey, or that there are river pirates to worry about.
Adris and I are aboard the Current Runner, a privately owned boat. I have never been aboard a t’skrang riverboat, but I expected much more than what I’m seeing. The boat has three decks, one below and a half-deck above. Most of the cargo is left on the main deck, forcing passengers to maneuver around the giant casks and boxes to get anywhere. Adris and I will be sleeping on hammocks strung in what the captain claims is a cabin, but is more like a storage room. Adris seems to have taken a practical outlook towards this, saying “at least we’re not walking”. I would have preferred the walk, as I’m sure the dogs would have too. They don’t like the boat. Podril already threw up his dinner tonight.
Strassa 18, 1509TH
The Current Runner is making good time. As we get closer to Lake Vors, the crew is getting more and more nervous. I can sense their anxiety. Someone on deck is shouting something in T’skrang. I’m going to see what the commotion is.
Strassa 24, 1509TH
I have not had time to write about all that happened. I’m trying to figure it all out, myself.
The commotion on deck was an Ishkarat Warship, if I heard correctly. The t’skrang warship came up alongside our ship and demanded some kind of tribute or something. The captain of the Current Runner entered negotiations, but they didn’t appear to come to any sort of agreement. Not one the Captain would accept. The Ishkarat warship pulled away, and the captain ordered the engine room to go to full speed. It wouldn’t be enough.
The first fireballs exploded above the deck within a minute. Their height made Adris think that the Ishkarats were just trying to scare the crew. One of the Current Runner’s crewmen readied a crossbow and fired it at the Ishkarat warship. It was dark, so I couldn’t tell what happened, but it sounded like something hit the water soon after, and that the Ishkarats were not happy. Suddenly the fireballs started hitting the Current Runner, and all manner of chaos ensued. Cargo crates exploded, t’skrang were engulfed in fire, and after one particularly nasty impact Adris was thrown overboard. I was about to dive in after him when I saw that the Current Runner was doomed. She was taking on water, fast. I called to my dogs, grabbed Adris’s and my packs and dove into the river.
(Adris had the forethought to purchase some mystic packs in Do’na’sel that repel water. Good thinking Adris…)
We swam away from the Current Runner as the Ishkarat Warship caught it. I could hear the cries of the Current Runner’s crew as they were killed by the Ishkarat boatmen. Sometimes on the deck of the sinking ship, some shot with bows as they tried to swim for safety. Either the Ishkarat didn’t see us, or didn’t care about non-t’skrang fleeing a dead boat.
It took what felt like hours, but we made it to shore. We caught our breaths, travelled away from the river for an hour, and made camp to try and dry off. We didn’t know where we were along the Serpent River, only that we hadn’t quite made it to Lake Vors. Consulting a map, Adris thought we were only a couple days walk from the Lake, which meant the Tylon Mountains should be visible in the morning. After some discussion, we determined that river travel was not to our liking, and elected to trek overland to Throal from here.
The next morning, our sleep was disturbed by the sound of combat. Investigating, we snuck through the trees to see a most peculiar sight. A human; dirty, haggard, and wounded, was fighting off several tall, thin armored soldiers. The soldiers fought very strangely, with odd, jarring attacks and no real finesse. The human fought valiantly with his sword, clutching something to his chest. It was apparent that the human would be overrun by the soldiers, but we didn’t know who was in the right; the soldiers or the human swordsman.
When the human cut at one of the soldiers who stabbed him with his (it’s?) spear, the swordblow took off the soldier’s arm. Beneath the armor were nothing more than straw and twigs! After this discovery, Adris and I determined that the soldiers were some constructs of some sort, perhaps by a wizard or nethermancer, and their artificial lives were nothing compared to the human swordsmans’. We entered the fray, figuring that if the human was the wrong party to back we could apprehend him and apologize to the Magician who’s constructs we broke.
My claws tore through the soldiers easy enough, like their armor was parchment. Podril and Felgee barreled into a pair of the strawmen and tore them to pieces. Adris cast spell after spell, felling the soldiers harrying the swordsman. As we defeated the last one, Adris went to introduce himself to the swordsman when he was attacked by the man we had just saved! Losing most of his shirt and some of his beard to the swipe, Adris back-pedaled out of the swordsman’s reach, but he came after him. I couldn’t let him kill my favorite brother, so I leapt at the man. His wounds from the fight before were grievous, and I certainly didn’t mean to kill the man, but that’s what occurred. Oddly, he seemed at peace when he died.
Adris and I examined the battle, and the man’s belongings. I was searching his pack that he was wearing when I found the most peculiar of treasures; a pair of large scales the size of a dinner plate. They were green, as green as the jungle forest, and carved into them were strange gold sigils. The sigils appeared to be a written language, as opposed to protection runes or anything like that, as they almost completely covered the scale. I asked Adris to examine them, and handed him one. He was off poking at one of the strawmen, but his fascination with them disappeared when he saw the scale. He immediately sat down and started to study the scale.
While he did that, I heard Podril and Felgee barking. I investigated their commotion and saw another of the armored soldiers through the trees watching us. When it saw that I had noticed him, it turned and ran off. I had thought to give chase, or send the dogs to run him down, but I was overcome with a sudden sense of urgency to leave the area. I have always trusted my instincts; the animal’s natural flight response at danger is a side effect of my connection to the animals. Usually I can overcome it, but this time it settled in and urged me to leave. I told Adris to run and we fled (to the south I believe).
I didn’t know what the danger was, only that we had to leave. And leave we did, much to Adris’s dismay. He kept saying that he needed a moment to study the scales some more. I wouldn’t hear of it, the danger I sensed was still urging me to move. So we kept moving. We barely paused to eat, or to sleep. I just knew that whatever it was I needed to trust my instincts and keep moving.
We traveled like that for several days, never pausing, never resting. Adris eventually came to agree with my assessment that we had to keep moving. We came within sight of the Tylon Mountains and decided to go over them, instead of going around them. (I’d heard that griffins live in the Tylon Mountains, maybe I could befriend one and give Podril and Felgee something to play with.)
Finally, tonight, Adris’s endurance gave out and convinced me to stay. Adris is weak, and is going to hold back our progress. It’s sad that my dogs have better constitution than my brother. I can’t help but feel sorry for him. He’s out of his element, here on the side of the mountain. I look at him over there, studying his scale like he’s in a library or a workshop and not camping on the side of a mountain.
He keeps asking to see the scale I still have, but I’m not giving it to him until he figures out what his one is. Seems fair, why should he have both scales? There are two of us, there are two scales. Fair is fair, split profits is the standard of all adventuring groups.
Now he’s asking me to identify the creature the scale came from. I begrudgingly examine my scale, just to get him to shut up for the night. It could be a wyvern scale, but it’s a bit large for that. I guess it might be a dragon scale (think of how much it could be worth!).
Adris seems satisfied. I’m going to bed after I advise Adris to do the same. We need to get over this mountain tomorrow.
Strassa 27, 1509TH
That stupid, moronic, no good brother! May the Passions show him no favor!
The morning after my last entry, Adris started asking me for my scale. It was incessant! I kept telling him “no” and to keep working on the scale he had. We started our ascent up the Tylon Mountains, which was very tiring and sometimes difficult for the dogs. But each and every time we paused he’d ask me for the scale again. And again. And again! He kept babbling on that the scales may be cursed. Cursed indeed, the only thing cursed about the scale is that I have to listen to my “nobler than thou” brother drone on about “patterns” and “legends”. He wouldn’t stop harping about it. I would just press on until he was too exhausted to argue or speak. It was then that I would have moments of peace.
We finally crested the mountain ridge and made camp. As soon as we did, Adris started up about the scale, and how it was a “compulsion” for me to want to hold onto it like I am. Chorrlis would love that, an accusation of greed for something as sensible as a proper division of treasure. I tried to ignore my brother, but he kept droning on and on. I couldn’t make much sense of it, I was too busy trying to plan the next day’s travel. I no longer had the feeling we were being chased, but I know there’s someplace I have to be. Someplace nearby…
The next morning I woke to hear Podril barking. Felgee was also joining in, and Adris was telling them to hush. I sat up to surprise my brother as he was taking my scale from my pack. Such betrayal I thought was only capable by Therans and Trolls! My brother, my own brother! A common thief! I ordered Podril and Felgee to attack and my brother stumbled back from their snapping. He was shouting about the curse again, but I would have none of it. He was a thief and a betrayer, and such people should be put to the sword. I leapt at my brother, my hand changed into a claw, and sliced into him. He howled and recoiled back, stumbling over a log.
We had slept on a mesa as it was the only clearing we could find for a fire, so when he tripped he fell over the ledge. I heard his scream echo for what seemed like hours, bouncing off the valley. I watched as he bounced down the sides of the mountain. He came to rest at the bottom of the ravine, a broken mass of blood, meat, cloth, and bones.
My only regret was that he was holding his scale at the time. I thought about going after it, but I need to press on. I need to find…
I’ve been staring at the page for the past few minutes trying to explain my thoughts, but I can’t. I know I have to find something. I just can’t describe what it is.
At least I don’t have to hear Adris’s nagging anymore.
No Date Listed
Found a town. Rested for the night.
Dogs look sick, feral. Should do something about that.
Got to find it.
Hungry. Go looking after I eat.
Got to find it.
I miss Adr-
*violently scratched out*