Today I fought the greatest battle of my life thus far! As difficult as the Licktoad goblin leader was, he paled in comparison to the skeletal samurai guardian we encountered. Let me explain. Based on both the fisherman’s tale and the crudely drawn map, we had reason to suspect that undead had moved into the caves formerly occupied by the faceless stalkers. We learned from Walthus that this was the very same cave system in which he and my father had taken shelter over two decades ago. Apparently Templeton was there as well – as a baby carried by his mother in a basket on her back.
On the way to the caves, we fought a disgusting leech which bit Xikandar but praise be to Desna, it couldn’t manage to keep hold of him. Templeton became rather cross with me when I failed to fight the way he wanted me to – perhaps I will need to learn how better to team with him in the future to avoid upsetting him. I really do want all of my companions to be happy with me; I can’t stand the thought of any of my companions being upset with me.
Once through the swamp, we reached the cave and Sozen had us burn the nettles covering the entrance. Inside we found a harmless pig (which had been used as a goblin mount) and a far less harmless spider! Templeton had gone scouting ahead and I wasn’t ready when he pulled it back. It’s my fault and the spider managed to bite my unarmored neck but praise to be the Goddess, its poison had no effect on my body whatsoever and the arachnid was quickly killed.
Then came the glorious battle against the horde of undead! Xikandar burned half of them away into nothing but ash with his holy light and I channeled Iomedae’s strength to shatter the very last one into countless pieces. Then came the leader – a skeleton which had been guarding a fine rosewood chest for 25 years. He was capable of speech and challenged me to a duel. His remains being animated by evil, there was little which remained of the man he once was but I felt that it still possessed honor. I met his challenged by calling upon the Goddess. We traded blow after brutal blow. My strikes were strong. His were stronger. I would certainly have been killed without my friend Xikandar’s protection and in the end we defeated the leader and in his final rest, the remaining skeletons all fell apart as well. I said a prayer to help usher his undying soul fully into the afterlife.
Inside the hilt of his sword was a hidden note from my grandfather and addressed to my father! It warned of enemies which were after our family and of a warding box hidden in Brinewall which we absolutely must recover. Normally I am loathe to partake in any sort of dishonesty, but this could be the very danger which the Goddess warned me about and why I came to protect my sister so in light of this I asked my companions to agree to keep this information secret for now.
Back in town, we informed my sister of our discovery and made plans to form a caravan to travel to Brinewall. Xikandar is always so sweet – he gave Ameiko a beautiful hairpin and I could tell that she was very pleased with the gift. He also arranged to purchase a finely crafted steel shield for me to replace my worn wooden one. Truly I have no better friend outside the convent.
Setting out, the caravan was stopped on the road by a poor stonecutter who pleaded with us to recover his stolen property and we agreed. I’m embarrassed to say that I first mistook this man for a criminal but my companions set me straight. I still have much to learn of the outside world. Later, the caravan was attacked by some barbarians and while everyone helped drive them off, Sozen’s skill with a katana was more than evident in the battle and he even cut one of the brutes clean in half. I’m writing as we approach the great city of Magnimar …