Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 33

Lynch’s Journal #148

Even from high above on the mountain pass we could all tell the prison was abandoned. As we approached no guards shout out warnings to halt. The large, iron gates are the only clue that someone is here. Opened just enough to easily move through, multiple heavy tracks can be seen. Though days old and filled with fresher snow, they are deep enough to indicate they were running away from, not into, the prison.

A clear warning that we should not be here.

Whoever was here fled. Maybe there was a riot and breakout? Preparing for the worst, a draw Thoughts and Prayers to let the others know what i discovered.

Entering the gates, the bootprints spread out to three sets coming from the prison. Further searching discovers at least a dozen more had spread out to the guard towers and outer buildings but not in the rush the others were. I suggest they might belong to patrolmen for the walls but at this point I am unsure.

Taking precaution to not walk into an trap, we search the outer buildings first. The largest of them is a barracks for the guards. No warmth from a fire greets us as I open the door. Dust covers everything within from the kitchen to the bunks. Nothing alive has not been here for quite sometime.

Another clue that we should not be here.

Not wanting to waste time, Lithia suggest we go directly to the prison to find where the tracks had came from. None of us disagree after the seeing the inside of here.

The bootprints lead to a massive mound of snow dusted rubble from a collapse wall. It is easy to see how a riot would break out by the width of the opening. Amon brings up the obvious question, why would only one sections of the prison collapse? Fueling the curiosity, Vax brings something very significant to our attention.

Whatever cause the collapse pushed from the outside inward.

My first thought is a frost giant. Not that I have ever seen one but the tales told in the taverns of Waterdeep would suggest so. This is the perfect terrain for such a creature and the natural strength the race possesses is legendary enough to do this. There is no doubt in my mind they could easily plow through these walls.

Taking no chances, we find one of the entrances to come through. On the main floor the destruction continues. Whatever barreled through the wall continued, taking out plenty of the cells, creating a tunnel of darkness. Seeing the impressive feat of strength, my mind continues to dwells on the giant.

What dominates the area is the scene of a slaughter. Bodies lay motionless, frozen stiff and buried in the snow. Large tears and scorch marks line the concrete walls. A barrier of icy shards, shattered in sections, divides the area.

Prince and Princess Frost go about investigating the cells as the paladin, the champion and myself search the bodies. Summoning the magic within her, the sorceress discovers that the holding cells on the main level glow with energies. She has no doubts the wards are traps to prevent prisoners escape from escaping.

Among the dead are nine bodies. Four of them are trapped within the wall of ice. Unfortunately, one of the poor victims manage to not be froze from the chest plate up. Squatting down before him, I dust off the snow on his face to find his skin a light shade of purple. The poor bastard was stuck and froze to death, a most terrible way to die.

Balasar calls out that he has something we should see. Turning to face him, Balasar finishes dusting off the entire body of one of the dead. There on the chest plate is a insignia we know all to well. One that was branded into the flesh of the butcher of Diamond Lagoon.

Orcus.

The enemy had beat us here. What were the looking for? Are they, too, hunting Lothric? More importantly, what killed them and who or what would let three of their number flee?

In frustration I kick the body and begin to curse. This entire time is seems the cult is one step ahead of us. I begin taking deep breaths, trying to stop from screaming in rage.

Before I can do so a low growl rumbles the walls and floor of the abandoned prison. The sound reminds of me of Nataku in his bear shape but much angier, much louder.

The short and sharp sound of concrete and ice ripping echoes as the rumble continues. Whatever is here is big.

No. Massive.

From the darkness of the tunnel, piercing eyes of bright blue gaze upon us. The earth shaking growl intensifies as a large head covered in scales as white as the snow emerges. A look of anger and disgust shows on its primal features.

A godsdamned dragon.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 32

Lynch’s Journal #147

Our return to Mirabar was agonizingly slow for myself. As the others make plans to search a prison a few days from Diamond Lagoon, my thoughts were full of Amara. A full year and more we spent together before all this began. All of those moments cannot even bring a smile to my face.

Despite those memory I could only think of the new one I had made, one that strikes me with guilt. Lithia had given me the chance to make another great moment in my life and I chose not to out of cowardice, out of fear that I would not return from this hunt for Tuskgutter and Lothric.

The sorceress watched me as the days passed. When the two of us were away from our friends, Princess Frost encouraged me that I would have my chance to give my love the ring. She reminds me that the Siege of Icewall was bigger than this and we had survived. Our determination to save her husband’s kingdom gave Amon and herself the chance to be together and that this will be no different for Amara and myself.

Again, I could not help but feel she is wrong.

Lamaron proved to once again be a charitable ally once we reached Mirabar. The leader of the Shadow Guard had procured a scroll of teleportation for Lithia. With the location of Diamond Lagoon fixated in her mind, she would have no issues harnessing the magic within the parchment to get us there.

The days away from the sight of the slaughter had covered up any evidence. No traces of the battle with the murderer were visible. Even the body had became covered by the piling snow, hiding any sign of fire. Not trusting the undead, I took the time during my watch to reassure myself the remains were still there.

Deep inside I was praying to whatever gods would listen that it would rise to fight.

There has only been one sign of life on our journey to the prison. Our final days before arriving a large, white wolf had been stalking us at a distance. I have no clue if the beast knows that my eyes have been watching it as well. The animal is smart, keeping to the heavy banks so it blends in perfectly with the blinding snow during the daytime hours.

Maybe too smart.

Hours before we arrived the wolf broke off its pursuit. Though the others think nothing of it, I am not convinced that is a good thing. Being the only living creature for miles and willing to give up the hunt of the only prey is a clear sign that we should not be here.

But when you are searching for a friend what choice do you have?

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 31

Lynch’s Journal #146

I feel as empty as Randle Dundragon and Braun’s caskets. Even the calm, rhythmic pattern of Amara’s chest as she slept did not ease my mind. After everything myself and the others have discovered, my love is the one thing that should bring me peace but does not.

Why?

As we eat breakfast she is all smiles. I am forced to lie and offer one in return. It is no different than the lies I have told upon my return. It is proof that the harsh lesson is true. It is one that is quickly becoming natural to myself like pulling a blade from my sheath.

Sometimes lies are needed to keep the peace and protect those we care about.

I am relieved at the knock on the door. Not sensing any danger due to the musical beat of it, I call out for the unexpected guest to enter.

Princess Frost waltz in, inhaling the aroma of sausage and eggs before greeting Amara with a hug. They rapidly chatter like chipmunks over the garments the dress designer had given her for the celebration last night. As they do, my love motions for her to sit, offering some of our breakfast which she delightfully does before the sentence is finish.

It is obvious that something is amiss. Lithia would never come to my home for any reason. The sorceress would relay any information once you came to her despite its importance.

Leaning forward on the table, I stare into my hot coffee and ask what is wrong. Having gain no manners since her marriage into royalty, she speaks with a mouth full of breakfast to tell me it is too important for anyone else to hear.

Now that strikes me odd.

Amara looks at me with concern as my eyes dart to her. Just like yesterday upon my return, the face furrows knowing I must leave. I can only be grateful that she understands and accepts why. With that I motion for Lithia to speak, informing my friends that whatever informations she has that my love can be trusted.

The eyes of the princess narrow, a look that is all too common when she is fed up with Amon when he does not listen. She repeats herself, this time a bit more forcefully. With a deep sigh, I push myself from the table to get my armor and gear.

The sorceress makes no move to finish breakfast as silence fills my home.

Moments later Lithia is back to her chipper self much like she was when knocking on the door. Nothing seems amiss, she offers no dire news. Realizing my friend is waiting for me to speak first, a game she enjoys playing, I question why she needed me.

A huge smile spreads across her face. Without missing a beat, she pulls a small, wooden box from the folds of her robe. The grin tells me all I need to know. As I take it she continues on the to the Last Tavern on the Left, motioning for me to make haste so we can return to Mirabar.

Fear, worse than I have ever known, keeps me frozen in place. My eyes dare not look away from the small box. With all my strength and courage I cannot bring myself to open it.

Running to catch up to Lithia, I furiously ask her why she is doing this. Why is she giving me this wedding ring? Tripping over my words as they vomit out of my mouth, I repeat myself not once, not twice, but three times. I have never asked Amara for her hand in marriage.

Princess Frost does not even look at me as we continue to walk to the tavern to meet up with her husband, Balasar and Vax. She maintains the smile on her face during my ranting. After repeating the questions of why, Lithia finally answer.

When Amara gave her the dress with no charge due to their friendship, she asked my love what she wanted.

The answer was for me to ask for her hand in marriage.

My eyes grow wide at the revelation. There is no doubt about the love between us. I would willing die for Amara. After this divine war ends, my plans were to give up my life of the blade and justice to settle in Red Larch with her. I had even dare to believe I would buy a ring myself. Now I am faced with the fact that she, too, wants this.

Then why am I so scared of Lithia’s gift?

At the Last Tavern I pay no attention to the planning between my four allies as I ponder the possibility of what Prince Frost has laid before me. I find myself sliding my hand into my pouch to remove the ring and roll it across my fingers. Its delicate touch terrifies me to my core but yet the reason as to why does not come to me.

With whatever plan being agreed upon, we head for our horses to ride North. Before doing so I stop by the Growing Blossom to give my goodbyes to Amara. In her eyes I see the worry and it hurts me. Answering it with a sigh of regret, my love kisses me one last time to reassure me she knows I will return.

But I cannot help but feel that is not the case. This war between The Raven Queen, Orcus and Vecna is far beyond battling Novak and The Restless Hand. These entities could do more than lay siege to Icewall, with ease they could destroy such a fortified castle. I fear worse will befall us if we are to do battle with them.

This is why I cannot give her the ring. I cannot uphold vows to my love at this time, maybe not ever. My guts tells me that my end will come during this war. It is something I willingly except. What I cannot except is a promise of marriage knowing that I feel my death approaching.

That is why I hide the ring where Amara will never find it and brand myself a coward.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 30

Lynch’s Journal #145

The good folk of Red Larch never fail to impress me. With the announcement of royalty returning to their town they spare expense for the celebration. Despite what awaits us on our return North, it does my heart good to see the adoration for Prince Frost. Without Amon’s bravery, the people would never see myself the way they do today. It is a debt I will always owe him.

But this night Lithia outshines her husband, for she was a local before the threat of The Restless Hand. The rabbit trapper had now became a princess, a true reason for a celebration this magnificent. For every little girl it is a dream come true to go from having little to nothing to royalty. Though she receives grand pleasantries, the sorceress remains humble, showing the common folk that a castle has not changed her.

Luckily for me the two make just the distraction I need to sneak inside the church of Pelor. Though I hate the idea of picking the lock like some thief, it is better than breaking a window. Feeling the guilt of having to do this, I leave more in the offering plate that I normally would before heading to the graveyard.

Grabbing a shovel, I head toward Randle Dundragon and Braun’s tombstones. The grass is undisturbed, a good sign to any who tends the headstones but deep within I know better. Burying the shovel into the frozen ground above the cleric’s resting placing, a mixture of regret and hate swell in within me. No one should ever have to look at the remains of a fallen friend, let alone dig the corpse up themselves. But I continue on, facing the hardship so the others do not have to.

Being lost in my thoughts I do not hear her approach. With confusion and shock in Jaline’s voice, she ask what I am doing.

Damnit.

Of all the people in Red Larch she was the one I did not want to know about this.

When the church was built by Dundragon’s own hands as a show of good faith to the town, Jalina was quick to take the opportunity to seeing the day to day activities. Knowing what we and Remy had been through as children back in Waterdeep, my friend shaped it into a safe haven for orphans.

And now she has caught me defiling it without her knowledge.

Shame washes over me as I see the emotion in the caretaker’s eyes turn to anger. After all we have been through, after all she has been through without me, I should never had to do this behind Jalina’s back. Even after I failed to rescued her from Novak, after I left her for dead back in Waterdeep, there is no reason not to trust her with what I am doing. Taking a deep breath I tell her everything.

The site inside the cave at Lance Rock.

The attack on Icewall.

The calling and destruction of the lich, Nathanos.

The hunt for Lothric and Tuskgutter.

Jalina rewards me with a slap followed by a strong hug, a hard way of saying she understands my actions. After a few seconds, the embrace is over and we both begin to shovel the cold dirt.

With my best friend at my side an hour flies as we uncover the casket. The echoing thud of the shovel against the wood is answered by my heavy sigh. Jalina looks at me curiously as my shoulders slump in defeat. The sound is all I need to know not to dig for Braun.

Forcing the lid open with my crowbar, the caretaker of the church of Pelor gasp as we find Randle’s body missing.

Rise of the Obsidian Legion: Entry 29

Lynch’s Journal #144

Red Larch.

Home.

Balasar and myself take in the welcomes from the folk as we ride in from the north. Their friendly waves and grateful smiles will always drive me forward. It was them who put faith in me when the Restless Hand came to run their extortion as I did all I could to keep coin in these people’s pockets.

And it was all lead by Amara.

I cannot hide my grin as she runs down the snow dusted road to greet me. Without her speaking up for my deeds at the trial I have no doubts that I would be dead now. Red Larch might be what drives me, but this woman is my strength. It is the thought of her that keeps me fighting when my back is against the wall.

Dismounting the horse I scoop her up and and spin as she laughs, feet kicking in joy. Despite the snow and the cold breeze of winter Amara is as warm as spring and smells just as good. Before I can tell my love that I miss her she smoothers me in kisses.

They meet no resistance.

With the rest of Red Larch crowding around, Balasar sets our plan into motion. I hide my distaste in Amara’s hair from what the paladin is about to say. Every part of me hates to lie and keep secrets from these good folk. But I have unfortunately learned a valuable lesson and a harsh truth from Lothric in the last year.

Sometimes lies are needed to keep the peace and protect those we care about.

The copperborn makes the announcement that Prince and Princess Frost will be arriving in a few hours and that we need to prepare a celebration in their name.

Cheers erupt from those around us. Some run to spread the news, other go to their shops and parlors to prepare the goods for the coming of royalty. It is not lost on these people how much the couple means to them, especially Amon. Without him spearheading the fight against Varix, Maddox and myself, who knows what state Red Larch might find itself in these days. The prince, above the rest of us heroes, will always be the most beloved.

As much as I wish to lose myself in Amara there are matters to attend to in town. The party is just a cover up for our true intentions. Pulling back from a kiss she stares me in the eyes, there no doubt that my love knows I have not returned for good. Lowering my eyes from her own I offer an apology.

With a furrowed face and deep sigh she assures me that it is alright, that she understands. Amara knows that my first priority is to protect the people of this town which includes her. My love knows that nothing will stand in my way of that, not even my feelings. Much like the lie Balasar told, it is a harsh truth we both have to face.

But I promise her tonight we will be merry. Toasts will be raise in the name if Frost. Music will be played and the folk will dance and drink their fill.

And none will be wiser for our true intentions for returning.