Campaign Logs

The Jade Letters

By Beth Griese

Date:   November 25, 1995


Bearded fellow

Supreme Being

Jim Leitzel


Blonde human

Tempus Cleric

Brian Smith

B'rinth L'rea

Gold Elf


Vaughan Herron


Gypsy woman


Beth Griese

Nory Gnome Illusionist/Thief Stu Collins


1/2 Elf, Scruffy Beard


Jim Gaynor

Verence Gallow Thin human Mystra Cleric Kent Jenkins

Quote of the Day:
"I have a headache this big, and it has conifer written all over it." -- Kent Jenkins

To Garen Thundersson, cleric of Mielikki. From your faithful servant, Jade.

After a night of fitful rest trying to soothe our injuries, our group was ready to track the giant bear we had defeated the night before. Everyone was a tracker that day, for the bear left a trail of broken trees and trampled grass as if a whole herd of animals had gone through. We came up to a cliffside, where a tree had been knocked over to lead up to a cave halfway up the hill. Telaran, B'rinth, and I climbed up to the cave first, and found the cold body of the bear blocking the cave floor.

I'm still not sure how that creature came back to life. It didn't breathe, it was cold, and its skin made no movement as I started to climb over it. But it reared suddenly and smashed me against the ceiling while it swiped at Telaran. Truth to tell, getting trapped between the bear's fur and the rocky ceiling didn't hurt nearly as bad as the way my heart stopped and my lungs quit taking air when the dead came to life beneath me. The monster was not so difficult to put back down, but it did manage to nearly throw Telaran from the cave completely with a swipe of its claws. My own shredded armor felt sympathy for the half-elf's raked sides as he managed to grab the tree at the entrance to keep from falling to his death. That Beshaba-blasted bear was more determined to end our lives than anything I've seen yet.

This time, though, death rang final, and the whole party made it up to the cave so we could explore. The monster, as it turned out, was also a mother, of two young. Thank Mielikki I was the first into the back of the cave, because those two young, while healthy-sized, are not nearly the monstrosity their mother was, and I was able to lead the two out to the woods and send them on their way. They'll pose no more harm to the village than any bear does. Still more proof that the mother did not reach her size by any natural means. She had help.

That help lived in the back of the cave, guarded very well by his pet bear. The others explored the quarters and the remains of quite a few of the other adventurers who must have also tried to hunt the bear and ended up being food instead. Verence found a charter for a company called The Batallion of the Axe, and a medallion with a rampant dragon insignia inside it. The magician responsible for the whole mess never showed.

We returned to town and enjoyed a celebration party that night in our honor. It seemed like a very simple affair after having so recently seen the pomp and luxury of King Azoun, but that had been from a distance, and this was simple hospitality face-to-face. I don't know about the others, but I enjoyed the night thoroughly. The next day, we returned to Eveningstar, and from there back to the Murdered Manticore in Arabel - for once, without having to actually murder a manticore.

It was back in Arabel that the problems began. One of the things Verence had found in the cave was what seemed a treasure map, and we planned to follow its trail like adventurers of old, but first we had to divvy up the items and gold we had gathered in the past couple of weeks. Verence was quick to point out that B'rinth had picked up some items he wasn't telling the party about. Within five minutes, it turned out that Verence had done the same, or at least not told everyone of the things he had found. We had quite a shouting match that night, mostly with me threatening dire consequences on the next person who stole from the party. Hopefully, though, we did manage to shake everything loose that belonged to the group. Besides getting coin, I also got to keep the collar that the bear had been wearing which, it turns out, grants intelligence - and speech! - to the animal you put it on. I plan to give it to Trellant. What an interesting experience to have your horse talk to you! Other magical weapons and shields were passed around, and everyone in the party seemed satisfied with what they had received. But the difficulty we had getting that satisfaction left a sour taste in my mouth.

And as it turned out, the sour taste was nothing but an inkling of what was to come. Our third night in Arabel, a company of Purple Dragons made a very noisy show of arriving at the Manticore and called loudly for the Wayfarers. We went outside and found a woman who, apparently, is the Lord Regent of Arabel. She called Verence forward, gave him a gold medallion on a ribbon, and granted him and "his party" the Order of the Dragon, an honorable award, to be sure. That was all that was going to be said, the Dragons were prepared to leave, until I finally spoke up.

You'd think I'd suggested that the Regent was a kobold child from Thay, the looks I got when I asked what Verence was being granted such a rank for. And at first, she declined to clarify, until I explained that unless he had snuck out last night and done something remarkable, he acted as part of a party, not as the leader of a company. She had her mage retainers grant us some privacy in the middle of the courtyard.

It seems that Verence had, earlier that day, gone to track down the origin of the dragon medallion we had found in the cave. He had ended up whisked to the Regent's offices, where the medallion and the party charter he found was taken and he was told he'd be contacted later. Verence offered the same "I was going to tell you about that later" explanation that he had given when he was holding out on treasure for the party, and that sour taste came back again in force.

Officially, we have all been granted the Order of the Dragon, and both the evening and the gathering broke up rather uncomfortably. Borreau and I are now sharing a room at the Inn, and he listened rather kindly to me rant until the wee hours. Now I have this journal to finish before morning's light, when I need to face this group again.

All night, I've thought of the times your old adventuring companions and friends would visit us. How close you were to each of them, and your constant explanations that adventuring companies must fight and live as one and trust each other with their lives. You said you needn't even like them, but trust was essential. I do not trust this party, or at least, I have no trust in the elf and the mage of Mystra. But then again, trust is not something gained overnight, is it? How long does it take to decide to trust, and what can be forgiven in its name? For the hundredth time, I wish you were travelling with us. I suppose I'll heed Borreau's advice and let some rest come between me and a decision. I remain,

Your faithful servant,


The Jade Letters are the property and copyright of Beth Griese, not to be published or redistributed without permission.

Read the Previous Jade Letter

Read the Next Jade Letter

Return to The Jade Letters main page

Return to Campaign Logs