There are a great many fascinating things about the lands of the Frost Barbarians. It’s very cold up here even though it’s now spring back home. This isn’t entirely a surprise, of course, but even here you can see the first signs of life beating back the winter snows. The people are hardy and, as Villius described his mother, formidable. They welcomed us eagerly and treated us well.
Baldrun Ralffson, Villius’s mother, is a woman of high standing and took charge of our visit. She declared that after we returned from the caverns, Villius and his fiancee, Hanna, would be married. It seems an odd time for a wedding in the midst of all this uncertainty over the future, but I must confess I am curious about what a barbarian marriage ceremony is like. I’m sure Thereca will want to know all the details. It’s also readily apparent that Hanna and Villius are very much in love. Perhaps this will lend a positive air to the rest of our journey as well.
The Caverns of Suel Memory turned out to be just as disturbing as we were warned. The suel members of our band were struck with many visions about their history. We learned about the formation of the Imperium, surprisingly founded on the principles of equality and camaraderie, and the depths to which they eventually sank as well as their inevitable end in the Rain of Colorless Fire. It seems tragic that such a noble people would degenerate into such hateful and bitter folk. But there seems to be a change in the winds as well, with new gods coming to aid the barbarian people. Perhaps our journey will allow us to influence the future of the suel towards a more positive light.
We also learned about Celasur and her death knight companion. Living during the time of the suel Imperium, Celasur was the child of followers of Asmodeus. She knew no other way, and was given the task of seducing one of the sultan’s dervish guards, Badr al din. Their plan to assassinate the ruler failed miserably, and the sultan offered Badr the opportunity for absolution by killing her. The dervish executed the woman who loved him only to find out that the selfish sultan was lying to him, and was killed himself. What a tragic tale! A woman given no direction but to follow Asmodeus fell in love with the man she was expected to manipulate, and his cowardice led not only to her death but to the complete loss of his humanity. While I realize they are incredibly dangerous, it is hard not to feel sorrow and sympathy for this poor woman.
Tulla also had a vision of her sister and Bartholomew heading to some place in the frozen north. Combined with other visions of “Bartholo-two” with a strange, black eyed child on the shores of Geoff, others in the group believe Taren and Bartholomew are going to free the avatar of the Mad God from it’s prison.
Perhaps worse than the visions were the dreadful guardians in the caverns. We were assaulted by trolls, a half green dragon, half direwolf, horrific hybrids of drow and dwarves that defied reason, a monstrous combination of a white dragon and an undead devourer, the mashed together result of owlbears and black puddings, and worst of all, a red dragon who’s brain had been somehow transplanted into the body of a white dragon! The last was the most fearsome creature we faced and caused us no small amount of trouble. We managed to triumph, though, and earned our prizes.
We indeed found the piece of the Song of Ages, as well as a significant hoard of gold and items claimed by the dragon. There was also a strange box that contained a suel style staff that my sword revealed radiated good. Ardes, one of our new members, explained it was the staff used as the centerpiece of the founding of the suel Imperium that they had seen in their visions. Evidently the Scarlet Brotherhood used it as the model of the staff of office of their Father of Obedience. I’m not sure what use this item might have for us, but it must be significant.
With this task done, we have been bid to stay for a few more days. Baldrun has promised to give some of us prophecies about our features. Hopefully these will aid us in deciding our course. We also have a wedding to attend! I’m quite excited. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been to a wedding, and they’re always so wonderful. The celebration of love and commitment of two people surrounded by their families and loved ones… Ah, sorry. I’m being terribly soppy. Anyway.
We had intended to head to Zeif next for the Temple of Shame, but we may need to pursue Taren and Bartholomew first. Maybe Baldrun can offer us some advice. I’ll be sure to ask her if she can give us a clue as to where young Jack might be. Everyone is concerned for his safety, so please don’t worry. We’ll find him.
How are things for you? Did you reunite with your crew? Are they content with the idea of being privateers for Geoff? I hope everything is going well for you. I took some scales from the white dragon. Perhaps you’d like me to send them to you as a souvenir? They’re very interesting; cold and smooth to the touch. Maybe you could make something out of them.