The Ashen Kingdom
A righteous fire priest with a powerful command of his magic
Amaranth was a teenager when the 43rd war ended. He was just entering the church and ended up serving in the newly formed state, Northern Wall.
Now twenty-six years old, Amaranth has ventured into the forest several times and is well respected for his powerful prayers.
Day 0, Assignment, and preparation
Yesterday morning a short but strong earthquake shook the entire Northern Wall region. I spent the day and much of the following night working to bring the flame of Ziztheth to the trapped and injured. There is much concern that the earthquake could be a sign of some new evil in the forest and I was sent by the church to assist one of the scouting parties for the purpose of assessing if and what that new evil may be. My assignment is with a wild man by the name of Edlan who seems to know much of the woods and very worn man by the name of Gilard who seems all too eager to be on the mission for some reason. Gilard has requested a special blessing from the steward for his eyes; we are stocked and prepared to leave as soon as the ceremony is complete.
Day 1, Night 1
Shortly after entering the forest Gilard was convinced we were being followed. He spotted the creature again shortly after saving me from a grabbing tree and I was able to singe it making its skin slightly more visible. It tried to flee when Edlan shot it, but the man does not ever seem to miss so it did not go far. We burned the body and Gilard shattered its obsidian blades; it had nothing of value to us. During the rest of the days travels Edlan found many recently fallen trees, it seems unlikely that if the earthquake were created by the forest these would be here.
We made camp later in the evening up in a dead tree thinking it may be safer and were awoken during the third watch by a pack of ghouls. They were not so put off by the ash circle as to go on by and offered us something of value if we were to give them one of us. Out of curiosity we humored them and they brought us a chunk of what Gilard says is iron ore. When we paused to consider this one of them charged through the circle and was shot by Edlan. I took the opportunity to slay their leader with a fire spell and finish off the aggressive one with a flare I had. The rest fled. Gilard is very excited about the iron ore and hopes to find a vein that may have been revealed by the earthquake.
Day 2, Night 2
The ghoul that had the iron had been sent, and returned in a northerly direction, so in the early morning we decided to head north. Shortly thereafter we heard roaring off to the northeast and thought it would be wise to head northwest for a little while to maintain northern progress while avoiding whatever may have been roaring. We badly lost track of time and Edlan thinks we may have encountered one or two clusters of the fey mushrooms that induce a fugue state and marched on blindly for the entire afternoon. It was too late in the day to correct anything so we have made camp.
Gilard attempted to leave camp during his watch. He made it outside of the ashen barrier before responding to my shout. He seems not to know what happened. We pressed iron, silver, and applewood to his skin and made him wash his hands in smoke, but I am still anxious. I am having the watchman tied to a sleeper with string from now on as protection against further glamours.
Day 3, Night 3
We started out today by heading northeast, but sometime not long after we set out someone had the idea to climb a tree and look around. I think it is not unreasonable that an iron vein uncovered by an earthquake may be a readily visible feature on the landscape. Gilard spotted a number of low mountains to the East. Gilard and Edlan say that they were already there, but seem to think we will have better luck in that direction anyway so we are heading east.
There were no particularly disturbing events this night, thankfully. Although I did discover Gilard in the middle of a rite to Ragar. He is a strange man. I think he would be happier if he spent more of his energies for the actual patron of our people, but he is dismissive of me.
Day 4, Night 4
We head east again today and found the emblem of the general drawn in blood on top of an escarpment. After consulting an archon of Ziztheth and concluding that this may have been the epicenter of the earthquake, we went in search of water, iron, and a suitable campsite. We found all three, thank Ziztheth, and I’ve purified the water.
We will be lucky if any of us survive the night. Shortly after dark we were beset by the rotting corpse of the general herself. Edlan saw her some way away and we were able to prepare. He caught her by surprise with arrows to each of her eyes, but she is capable of amazing regeneration. With a group effort we were able to dismember her and bring her parts into an unbroken ashen circle. We’ve separated each bit of her into a separate fire, and Edlan is collecting more firewood. I can’t imagine it will be enough though. Surely the forest will feel her pain and she will have aid soon. An archon of Ziztheth has informed us that she cannot be destroyed until dawn.