Campaign Logs

The Jade Letters

By Beth Griese

Date:   July 20, 1996


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:
"Deep sea tonsil diving!" -- Kent Jenkins

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

After a couple of months' rest and training in Arabel, most of the party seemed to be itching to get back to the adventuring business. Even I was starting to feel useless in the peace of the forests around the big city. Telaran apparently decided to make a change; he came back from his training with the mercenaries with his chin clean-shaven, and his head nearly as closely sheared. What a strange look - the half-elven ears he usually hid now stuck out prominently. I tried not to laugh the night he returned with it, or at the harassing Nory gave to the poor man for the next week, but we've all gotten pretty used to it now.

Verence, B'rinth, and I had gone to the official houses of Arabel to submit our claim to Weston's castle, now deeded to us. The bureaucracy seemed to go normally, but it put the idea in Verence to investigate the official records of the castle, see what what was recorded of its history. That would take us down towards Suzail, the region's capital, but of course would also require cash, which we were all low on.

So, one morning, without even discussing it very much, The Wayfarers wandered back to the job board, where people who have need of adventurers advertise. Nothing was catching our eye, but one man came up who recognized us. He worked for the House of Thond, and the name instantly tripped my memory. That lad Myrkil, the younger brother of the Thond trading house, had been looking for adventurers to accompany him to Zhentil Keep for some under-the-table trading. We had refused the employ then, and were about to dismiss this servant, but he pushed his notice in our noses and swore that there was nothing underhanded about Myrkil's present expedition, and so we agreed to meet the young man again.

This time, he seemed to be right. Thond was sending a large shipment of lumber, to be used in ship building, down to Marsember's shipyards. Marsember, we learned with a quick consultation of Telaran's maps, was only a day or two's ride from Suzail. It seemed perfect. Myrkil offered us 2gp per week of the journey, plus 50gp to each of us at the trip's end. We agreed to consider his request, and Myrkil asked us to meet him that night at the festhouse called The Baths to give him our final answer.

Master, I should have taken the name of that festhouse more seriously. Much more seriously. I agreed, and it took the party no time at all to decide that accompanying the caravan would be a good way to travel south. So we visited this festhouse, all except B'rinth, who we learned later had snuck to the House of Thond yards to investigate this lumber.

The doorman took our entrance fees and gave us towels. Somehow, I had been expecting public baths to include some manner of covering; I've never been to one of these places before. As soon as I entered the women's changing rooms, though, the state of the women who were leaving for the hot baths quickly educated me. They wore not a thing except a mask; the walls of the changing rooms were lined with masks of every fantastic monster imaginable. It was to be our only concealment or nod toward modesty, it seemed.

For a moment, I panicked, and thought about how to escape back into the streets of Arabel with my dignity intact. But I came to the cool-headed conclusion that Myrkil must be contacted, and much as I dreaded the idea of the rest of the party actually identifying me, I couldn't leave them behind. So, I looked for a mask that would cover the tattoo at my throat; it would be my dead giveaway. I found a manticore mask, and decided it was perfect for our previous encounters with such beasts. With the mask, a towel, and all the courage I could summon, I entered the pools and hoped that I could quickly and discretely find Borreau.

Thank Mielikki for small favors, I made it to the baths and had mingled with the crowds before the men of the group emerged from their changing room. Just the group of them would have been distinguishable enough, but our gnome friend had managed to make himself even more noticeable. He explained later that he had been trying to use an illusion to cover himself, and had therefore not relied on a mask. Unfortunately for him, the room was protected from illusions, so instead everyone inside was treated to the sight of a boldly naked gnome's entrance. Of course, none of the rest of our friends saw fit to tell Nory; they abandoned him quickly, and I was glad for the mask to hide my face as I tried to keep from laughing so hard I wouldn't have been able to float.

It's strange how much unimportant things prove the important: I had no problem immediately picking out Borreau from our group. He, too, had chosen a manticore mask, as if our thoughts had travelled down the same path. The party's abandonment of Nory also split them up into separate pools, so I was able to make my way over to Borreau easily, and after that could stay modestly under water. The only Wayfarer who even acknowledged us was Verence. He came by our pool with a large rat mask on and reported that he had given Myrkil our acceptance, before he quickly retreated back to the changing rooms. The rest of the group we didn't even see the remainder of the night, and most of them looked pretty bleary-eyed the next day. I confess, I didn't look for them much, either - I wasn't hoping for any visitors.

In the morning, we reported to the House of Thond, and helped load the lumber we'd be carrying. That turned out to be an all day job, and the caravan wasn't going to be able to leave until the next day. It took seven days of travel to reach Jester's Green, a large waystation for caravans on trips just like ours. We used it as a night stop, then continued on the road to Marsember. I was in charge of two young scouts who had also been hired for the caravan. I had one of the boys trailing behind the caravan, the other front guard and I travelling ahead, one to the right of our road, one to the left. On our third day from Jester's Green, we were attacked with a rain of arrows. Poor Trellant was hit badly, and I also took some missiles. I shot a warning arrow into the air for the caravan and rode hard back to the wagons; I didn't want to risk my steed with another arrow attack.

As I reigned in at the wagons, Telaran was already commanding the other caravan guards into groups who would investigate and groups who would stay behind. I left Trellant with the wagons, took one of the guards' horses, and charged straight ahead for the side where the other scout was supposed to be; he still hadn't emerged from the woods.

I found the boy's body - and his horse's - full of arrows, including one through the poor fellow's throat that must have killed him before he hit the ground. He never even had a chance to fight. The cowards had stripped his body and, by their tracks, were fleeing. I rode full speed after their foot trails, which wasn't the smartest thing to do on a strange horse, but as always, there didn't seem time to think about that when it happened. My head paid the price against more than one tree branch, but I made ground. Verence, impressively enough, managed to catch up with me, and we rode down on the first of the brigands.

Verence used his magical staff to clout two of the stragglers, and I dropped off my horse right onto another one, knocking him cold. I ran after the rest and came over a hilltop to find them all stopped, looking at me, trying to decide whether to attack or not. By my good fortune, the rest of the party and the caravan guards crested the hill then, and the bandits quickly decided to offer their surrender. And so, our caravan now transported chained brigands as well as wood.

Every night of the trip, I asked our watches to keep an eye open for the mist that had been seen over me, and as the magicians I spoke to in Arabel suggested, gave them an empty bottle to try to catch some of the mist in. So far, no mist had appeared, but that night, B'rinth and Verence saw the mist again, and saw it rise from my wounds. They tried to capture it, but it actually moved to avoid them, and returned to my body again. I was disappointed, but at the same time, hopeful; I finally know why the mist appears. And now that I know that, when we reach Suzail, wise magicians may be able to explain this.

We made it to Marsember without any further adventures. We helped unload the wood, received our pay, and even got an extra bonus as a share of the rewards that were offered for the brigands. And now, Suzail was in our reach.

I write this under the roof of Suzail's Hitching Post Inn, a sturdy, no- nonsense home . Borreau and I share a room that overlooks the very nice stables where Trellant now rests and recovers. We arrived in the evening, so I haven't seen much of the capital yet, but I'm a bit excited to be here. The city looks huge, and we have a castle and mists to investigate. I look forward to morning, and close my letter, as always,

Your faithful servant,


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

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