Diary of Rolen Duskwalker
5 Days into the Blasted Lands, Tower of the 7th Watch
This damned desert. It is confounding me in so many ways. I fear we may be lost, in more ways than one. We ran from New Zia when the Gunyin came, though I wanted to stay and help my order against the iron fist of the Gunyin and fled to this hell that is the Blasted Lands. Why I returned to this place is beyond me. I’d have rather stayed and fought the Gunyin, at least they don’t explode when you hit them with fire like so much of the landscape around here. I took solace in the fact that I was doing work for the order, the resistance, and my party, but it appears that I never truly knew what I was doing. We stumbled from dune to dune, attracting the apex predators of this desert as we bumbled along. We have fought Wyverns and giant worms several times now, on their own turf, and somehow we all still live. While some may see this as a reason to celebrate, I see it as dumb luck and luck has a bad habit of running out.
Our quest to aid Feline was brought to a premature end when Horo, that damned fool of a monk, somehow managed to forcibly expel the Demon that had taken residence in Feline into the small cave we had taken shelter in. When that occurred I conducted myself with as much bravery and valor as I could, but I could not help but find myself exasperated at my colleagues’ lack of sound judgement. A demon is not something to play around with, possessing devious wit and lethal powers, and none but the most highly trained priests, paladins, and exorcists would EVER try to physically expel a demon. When mortals tussle with the infernal, nobody ever gets out in one piece, but that did not stop myself and the party from attacking the fiend. Much to my shock, my group managed to beat the demon into submission. I felt an odd sensation of pride, like Cloudbreaker was grinning that we had dominated a demon and bent it to our will, but it was a reckless and immature move.
After our impromptu exorcism, we had to deal with lizard -folk attracted by the wyvern blood we had been using as worm repellent. Thankfully, we were able to talk them down without bloodshed. The desert then sent a sandstorm at us, the likes of which I had never seen. I saw it strip flesh from bone, the wind and sand blowing so fiercely. This place is well and truly a cesspool of terrible things. After the storm had passed, we continued along and spotted the tower in which we now are staying. Before arriving though, we encountered a great worm, a horror the likes of which I had never seen before. Knowing the worm’s strategies and that we were close to solid earth which would give us the edge, Corran and I had fortuitously come to the same conclusion: Get off the sand. Corran, that zealous idiot, decided he was going to fight the worm by himself as we ran. I know Corran is a capable fighter, but I have never seen a worm this size before and it appeared to be beyond us. This was a fight we could not win. I followed Corran’s lead, and tried to get our party off the sand and onto solid earth so we could mount a more effective defense, but none of us seemed to listen to me or Corran. As I ran for the security of the rocks, my party slew the worm. I ran from the fight. Those are the second hardest words I have ever had to commit to paper.
Afterwards, we received correspondence from our dear friend James. He claims that the Gunyin have conquered New Zia, but have not set a torch to the city or its temples, an oddly merciful move on their part. Killian, Mirakuma, Sherridan, the Kordites, and Eliza all are apparently alive, but we don’t know for sure how accurate the information is. Thankfully the tower of the Seventh Watch is staffed by an as of now friendly dwarf, who seemed surprised that a half-elf like I could speak his language. I know he was surprised, because I have been experiencing that a lot lately.
I am surprised at how reckless our party has become. It seems that some of them, Corran, Cordelia, Horo, and Savol in particular, believe themselves to be invincible. I have seen first hand what happens when one walks into a fight believing they are invincible, they lose. We, of the 5th Legion of the Stormvale Storm Legion, walked onto the battlefield with the combined might of the armies of the Goblin Kings of the mountains and the orc horde led by the Scourge awaiting us, believing we were invincible. We had routed foes like these several times before, we had nothing to worry about. How wrong we were. Arrogance, betrayal, and hubris were all things I became very familiar with that day. I watched everyone I knew, my brothers and sisters in arms, die because they thought they were mightier than the storm. Truth be told, we were the trees that are broken by the storm, because we did not bow, we did not have the respect for the storm and bend with it. We stood proudly, arrogantly, daring it to bring us down. I cannot write more about this. I am already starting to smell the battlefield again. I can hear the sounds of Benric, my shield brother, breathing his last labored breaths, a goblin spear in his ribs...I must stop. I survived because I was trapped under a dead body. I watched as our allies, led by the newly appointed commander Nathaniel Grayfield rode in and broke the horde as we lay dead in the mud. We were broken. If the last few days are any indicator, our group is broken. I may be well and truly broken. It seems that all I do is run from fights now.
New Zia, the rebellion, and now I am running from savage beasts? Some war priest I am. I am expecting to be struck down by Kord at any moment for my cowardice. I feel I am not worthy to wield Cloudbreaker. I may sully it with my craven hands. The truth is, I am very afraid. I am afraid I may lose these people I have come to see as my new family, people who I would gladly die for if the need arises, due to inflated egos and the illusion of invincibility. I cannot deal with another Scourge situation, never again. One other thing I do know, I am never running from a fight again. I will fight the next foe I face to the death regardless of the situation. I will fight them and all their comrades until either I am the last one standing or I lay on my back, bristling with blades and spears, ready to rejoin Hawthorne and my family in arms on the other side. I am going to rest, clear my head, and appeal to Kord, Hawthorne, by the hells maybe even Pelor since the sun is in such abundance here, and see what wisdom I can come up with. Maybe then I will put myself back together.