Undertakings of a Hazardous Nature

The Very Secret Diary of Violette Scarpetta
Prologue

August 5 Kelson babbling about raiding House Azaer trade caravan. Worst idea ever? I think so. Told him this; got a black eye for my troubles. Well fine, but I’m not helping. Mr. Criminal Mastermind can pull off this stunt by his own damn self.

August 7 Have been informed I am going to help, or will regret it forever. Wonderful. Glorious. Have sinking feeling we are all going to die.

August 12 Well that went about as well as expected. Good news: I did not die. Bad news: neither did stupid, sadistic brother. Better news: escaped from caravan guards and stupid, sadistic brother. Worse news: supplies/money/endurance have given out, and I am exhausted and starved and terrified and stuck in Thorton’s Mill.

Slightly better news: there’s a Moonsong Temple with a really cute priest and a tavern where they need help, and nobody knows me here. Sehanine willing, I’ll stay long enough to make a little money and then be on my way again.

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August 26 - Vi

Here I was thinking think Thorton’s Mill is the most boring place in the world (the cute priest, Enzo, has expressed no interest, boo) when who should come strolling into the tavern than a Tiefling. Not just any Tiefling, though; THE Tiefling, the one who was in charge of the guard of THAT trade caravan. I initially thought to just turn around and run, but instead I gathered my courage about me and, since the tavern owner was staring at me pointedly and since there was really nowhere to go, went to see that he was taken care of. He was disarmingly polite, even though he kept dropping hints that we knew each other. But he never suggested how (though honestly, how else would he know me?) and he was friendly enough.

His name is Lucius Leucius? Leucis? Lucy, and he’s been going on and on about forming an adventuring party, and since I really don’t have anything else to do, I guess I’m an adventurer now. Not sure what that entails, exactly, but Lucy says there’s money to be made, so I’m game. There’s also a bard, Aratir, that I sort of remember knowing in Fallcrest maybe five or six years ago, and Adren the ranger, who’s been helping me keep up my Elvish in exchange for explaining the peculiarities of social interactions to him. I also managed to talk a huge guy into joining us. I’ve never been an adventurer, but I’ve been in a gang, and if there’s one thing a gang needs, it’s a huge guy. V. proud of myself for that, as Halgrim is way past huge.

Lucy has decided to call us the Dawnstriders. Worst name ever? I think so. Pointed this out, and also that I worship Sehanine, the moon goddess, but he was busy talking about the banner and the theme song and didn’t seem to hear me. He really does talk a lot. Oh well; so long as he doesn’t try to kill me or turn me in, we’re square.

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August 26th
Dawnstriders Formed

What an excellent day! My first day after arriving in Thorton’s Mill to pursue my goal of becoming an adventurer and I’ve already assembled a crack team of recruits and signed two clients! I’ve decided we shall be known as the Dawnstriders; that would make a great image on a banner. I wonder if anyone in this town is good with needle and thread…

Anyways, on to the recruits! Halgrim is a huge guy, even by Goliath standards from what I understand. He used to be an executioner in a town to the east but he’s now on some sort of vengeance quest. He was recruited with the help of Violette, a rogue I remember from a River Rats raid on one of my sister’s caravans. She’s made the wise decision to leave that runt Kelso behind and join up with me. She was probably impressed with how soundly my men and I trounced their gang. She’s a quick talker and handy in a fight. Adren is an elven archer who likes to patrol the nearby woods. Didn’t take much to convince him that adventuring would be a great way to protect his precious forest. Aratir is a half-elven performer that seems to have a similar taste for adventure as myself; nothing wrong with that!

Tomorrow we will depart for the Thornhill Forest to complete our first two assignments, collecting a mineral known as “Kobold Bones” for the local shopkeep and getting some giant scorpion tails for a local named Mrs. Canterford. I think she wants them for some S&M stuff, but money is money and work is work!

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August 27 - Vi

On our way back to town from collecting Kobold bones for Maria and giant scorpion tales for Mrs. Canterford (some people have the weirdest hobbies), we stumbled upon Thuran and his bunch of bandits, and Enzo. Except, as we discovered later, he wasn’t Enzo, he was Thuran! AND, as we discovered even later, he killed Enzo! Am most displeased! No one kills a cleric of my god and gets away with it!

Despite his obvious guilt, Thuran keeps insisting that he never meant to kill Enzo; he was only hired to steal a sword from him. Enzo’s best friend is in a right state. Thuran apparently tried to bribe him to keep Enzo away from the temple while he was stealing said sword (keeping up with all this?), but instead he got pissing drunk at the tavern, as everyone with half a brain would have guessed he would do. I hope, mostly, that he doesn’t do anything…irreversible, though a small part of me is just angry enough to wish he would.

Maria thinks that her ex adventuring partner, William Dorland, hired Thuran to take the sword so he could use it to bring back Felicia, his girlfriend the paladin, from the dead. Must admit, that’s sort of sweet. Anyway, Maria promised us scads of money if we bring William to justice, so that’s our new goal. We have the world’s best plan, all hinging on me, and tomorrow we’ll put it into action. In the meantime, Halgrim is waiting around to dispatch Thuran with his very large axe. I’m not sure exactly why this has to be done at dawn, but I’m not going to argue with the huge guy.

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August 28th
Success!

The Dawnstriders are off to an excellent start, thanks to my superb leadership. We’ve collected 6 scorpion tails and 6 lbs of Kobold Bones. As we were making our way out of the forest, we happened upon an apparent highway robbery. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to show how grand our company is (plus the fact that I have a distinct dislike for brigands) we jumped to rescue of the victim, who was already unconscious on the ground. Halgrim did some kind of crazy mountain jumping maneuver and literally cleared a section of the woods with his axe! Can I pick an excellent company member or what?! One of the brigands claimed to be Thuran, the leader of a bandit outfit that’s been plaguing the area. With our assistance, he left on Raven’s wings.

The man said his name was Enzo – he’s the leader of the church of Sehanine back at the Mill and gave us a reward for rescuing him. This was all well and good, but we find out once we get to town that he is not Enzo, but Thuran! The real Enzo had been killed, and the entire town was in a commotion about it. We quickly gave Thuran Raven’s wings, and told Maria the shopkeep what had occurred.

Turns out Maria used to be an adventurer herself and Enzo had been a fellow company member. Their other companions were a paladin named Felicia Gilcrest, who had passed away during their last adventure, and a sorcerer named William Dorland who had been Felicia’s lover. It was rumored that he’s been skulking about in the Fastormel Ruins lately. Thuran/Enzo had Felicia’s sword in his possession, and now Maria worries that William has turned to dark magic in his heartache.

We found some extra polymorph potions on Thuran/Enzo. We will use one tomorrow to create an ambush for William when he comes for the sword.

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August 29th
On the Topic of Keep Storming

So the whole potion-ambush plan didn’t quite go as anticipated, and we’ve now had philosophical talks about urination that I wish had never been uttered in the history of the universe… Anyways, we decided to got to plan B, which was to storm the Keep. We didn’t get very far however, as a large colony of voracious rats occupied the first set of rooms we encountered. It’s very hard to hit rats with edged weapons, and so we had quite a go of it. I think the bard’s been scared for life.

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August 29 - Vi

WTF I HAVE TURNED INTO ARATIR. THIS WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN.

Besides that, there are about a frillion rats in this stupid keep. I hate everything.

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August 30th
Undead Don't Smell Very Good

After camping out after clearing out the rat infestation, we explored deeper into the halls of the Keep. And to our pleasant surprise, we found varieties of undead instead of more rats. I fear this means that William has gone off the deep end and is attempting to use necromancy to bring Felicia back from the dead. In the course of our undead murder spree, we came upon a dragonborn ghost who still had full use of all his senses. Apparently this keep was formerly a dragonborn outpost during the great war between Arkhosia and Bael Turath. This greatly excites me, as I’ve had ample opportunity over the years to read about Turathian tactics and strategies during the war, but this keep’s library might afford me the opportunity to learn more about the Arkhosian side of the conflict.

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August 30 - Vi

Being a boy is so strange. My center of gravity is all wrong, I don’t like the way clothes fit, and I know too many things about Aratir that really ought to be learned only after being treated to dinner and a play. I can’t look at him without blushing anymore. It’s so awkward.

Lucy and the others are really excited about turning this keep into Dawnstrider Headquarters once we’ve ousted William…I just hope they have some plan to get rid of the rats, ghosts, mold, rotting foodstuffs, and other ancient, unpleasant debris. Seriously, who’s been living here? I grew up in a street gang, surrounded by illiterate, high-functioning alcoholic sadists who could barely tie their own shoes, and they were STILL tidier than this.

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August 31st
Halgrim's Vengeance has been Meted

Near the end of the day, we discovered a group of brigands who were camping out near the back entrance to the keep. Upon sighting them, Halgrim went into a fury and we summarily decimated them. Apparently these outlaws were the people he was seeking. I’ll need to remember to make sure Halgrim stays happy in my employ; I don’t want to be on the business end of his axe.

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