"Grandfather" Kolom Laik, I Salute You
From the distant City of Baldur's Gate, I greet You. From half a Moon of Time I send Word to You.
The People here are much given to writing and to shipping their Despatches to distant Companions and business Associates.
This is my humble test of such Endeavor. I recall that You expressed appreciation for such recorded News from afar, and offer This with hope that You may find any Merit in It.
As You warned, this Place is both disappointing and yet strangely compelling.
In my relatively short Time here I have seen Wonders and Crimes, and am gaining Comrades.
My Time at your Academy was not the Scat my Father warned of. Already your Instruction has saved my Life from Peril, and Peril has stalked Me as a Questing Beast. In the City no more than half a Sun, I was felled by dread Forces I cannot yet explain, or even describe. On that Night I saw the deadalive Remains of a skeletal Wyrm (Death to Their vomitous Kind ever, and ever) climb resolutely from a molten Pit hidden beneath the City, and under a Moon as red as Blood this Fiend (Death to It ever, and ever again) launched Itself into an attack. Immediately thereafter I and four previously unknown Persons have been targeted for Destruction by a vicious band that renders Aid to the pestilential Vermis (Death to It ever, and yet ever), were set upon by a dark-elf Murderer without a shred of Honor (yet we fought Him and Our smallest Comrade ended His Life, restoring to all our Honor), and we just this Day restored our good Names among the local Authority.
I regret, "Grandfather", to say I have earned Death twice since last You saw Me, most recently only Yesterday.
One of the Five, Uxia, a handsome Dark-Elf, maintains a modest Dwelling in the City and after a catastrophic Skirmish with three great Spiders in which three of Us kissed the Foot of Death without embracing It, we spent a full Evening there to recover. I made a warrior’s Morning, rising midway between first Sun and full Sun, as did Uxia. The Others — one Half-Man called “Nibbles” and the two Humans, Alundra and Eldarion — had risen early, Servant-fashion (as is common in the City, no Dishonor to Them) and gone about Their own Affairs.
Uxia and I set Ourselves to return the Remains of a City Guardsman murdered by the dark-elf Assassin but blamed on Us and clear our Names. Outside the Door was a Squad of hardy Sylvan, One of Whom possessed a magnificent hunter’s Bow, led by One named Shaddar Nur, of the “Company of Elves.” His Aspect, and those of His Hardies, was warrior-proper. I recognized that Such were hired to find Us and recover the remains of the fallen Guard. I asked that These direct Me to the nearest guard Station, but They know Duty and preferred to escort Us there. Such Correctness is to be found Here in some abundance, “Grandfather.” It is a place with bountiful Potential for Honor. Your Description was Just.
Yet, for all It’s Valor, the City has been all but sacked by Attacks from Wyrm-Kind (Death beyond measure to Them ever, and ever) and by the Honorless Who enslave Themselves voluntarily to Them (Death to Them ever, and ever). Shortly before Our return to the City, an entire Shift of the “Flaming Fists” was destroyed by What I call the Cult of the Red Moon. We discharged our Obligation to the Fists and purposed next to find Goblins in the City, seeking Intelligence about the Whereabouts of a scholar You might find Friendship in, “Grandfather,” named Rand.
When We departed the underground Station of the Fists, a local Fellow by the Name of Lou accosted Us and presented Us with a Summons (sealed with a waxen Sigil showing a Book, a Quill and a Sword) from a local Sell-Law of our acquaintance named Sir Irving Trink. When We arrived at the Offices of Sir Trink We found Nibbles there ahead of Us, similarly commanded but wisely waiting for better Numbers before entering.
Here We saw again the Clerk, Who gave His Name as Ralph. He instructed Us to sit. When Uxia did so, She vanished. I looked around to Ralph, starting to assemble the inner Components of Force to seek and free Our Mate, but Ralph explained that the Chair sent Things away. Rather than be separated, Nibbles climbed upon my Loins that We would arrive together at the Destination.
Such Destination was below Ground. A Goblin in ludicrous Wig and Attire aping a human Sell-Law took Us to a Chamber where We found Rand, Who introduced Us to an oddly aspected Human named Sir Irving Trink. Duty bound Me to warn this Trink that We had encountered Another We took to be Him, but We may have misunderstood. This Other demanded that We find Rand and report to Him again. We intend to report only if and when We are in a Position to confront Him and demand Truth. Recent Experience informs Me that We need not seek the Other, but that He will find Us.
Rand, Who has a professional, if loathsome, Fascination for the Vermin (Death upon Them ever, and ever), revealed more Intelligence about the ancient Chain of Causes We Five appear to be shackled to.
Trink is a Purveyor of Intelligence, and knows Facets about some or all of Us. When Alundra arrived from her own Errands, He revealed to Us that She bore three Fangs from Wyrms (Death ever, and ever again, to Them)! As You advised, honored “Grandfather,” I took no Offense from Alundra’s wretched Betrayal. Not a Betrayal, of course, for She knew not What She did. Like too Many of Her Kind, the unspeakable Crime of the Vermin (Death and Nothing else to Them now and ever) is unknown to Her. (Alundra also harbors a wild Thing … a winged Serpent with a Sting in its Tail … that resembles a Fiend in miniature, which She calls “Orin.”)
“Grandfather,” I fight the slowness of my Heart to absorb Your Words concerning the Filth. Your Counsel has the Tone of Truth. Certainly the Brutal (I will not call Death upon Them all, in Respect to Your Will) possess Intelligence as do all Persons, and Variety. How well I know that even my own Kin may harbor Cravenliness (Death upon Gherig and His Memory ever, and ever) and, so, some among the Wyrmian (Death to All Who work Dishonor) may possess Honor, tough as That is for Me to conjure.
Trink took us to a Goblin Shaman named Oomphlok, Who practiced His Craft with the use of Herbs, and my Companions (save Eldarion, who has yet to return from His own Excursions) and I departed This World to sojourn a Time in the Trail Above and Behind. There We saw a great Tree, heard the Song of Battle, and beheld Five Greats … one female Eladrin, one female Human, two male Humans and a female Dark-Elf. These were armed and armored in magnificent array and I knew Them to be Legends.
These Legends spoke: You have Questions.
Said I: Why were We spared from the Dragon’s Escape?
They: You did not release Him?
I: Not knowingly did We.
Alundra: Did the Teeth I possess release the Fiend?
They: No. The Teeth summon the Dragon Warriors.
(This puzzles me, “Grandfather.” In This I yearn for Time again at Your Feet.)
They spoke: The dragon-sage (meaning Rand, no Dishonor upon Him) can instruct You in how to use the Teeth. You must trap the Dragon again, as did We before, and send Him back to Shackles again. The Cult is only a minor Obstacle. Deal with It quickly.
Said I: Are You the Five Who imprisoned the Dragon?
They: Yes. We used His Pride. He thought He could defeat Us. And He could have.
I: May We know Your Names?
Again, They: You must find Karreck the White Bear. He is not fond of People, so You will need to convince Him to help.
They continued: You have an Advantage over Us. He (the Cursed) cannot harm You directly. Now it is time for You to go.
I rendered to Them Our highest sword Salute, Grandfather, with Your signature Flourish. May You carry more Honor with You to the Next World!
I became heavy of Head and after a Time I paid the Price of such vision Quests. We were given Time and Towels and clear Water to recover from the Journey, Honor to Trink and Rand for their Nobility.
After recalling to Trink Her Experience in the other World, He discerned a Method to conjure a Man-of-Armor from One of Alundra’s Artifacts. He spoke to Her a Word. She thrust the Fang into the Ground and repeated the Word, and sprouted up an impressive Construct made all of Armor. It knelt and announced Its Service to Us, awaiting our Command.
With this new Tool in our Satchel of Advantages, “Grandfather,” We will face again the Turmoil of this Place and demonstrate What Honor and Courage may lend. May the Swords of our honored Dead ring from our own Scabbards.
Fare You well, “Grandfather.” A Son of the Academy greets You with Respect, and with this Quill in the Place of a Sword, I render to You the Salute of our Profession. [Swirling knot of ink]
May All Who know Honor and Courage remember your Name ever, and ever always,