Ishiro – The First Journal

This is the first journal that I began for Ishiro. I had intended that I would write in it each day after adventuring. But some days, nothing worth writing about happened, not even with alot of imagination. And other days, I just forgot. However, here it is.

It’s raining again in Qeynos. I met the guildmasters of the Silent Fist today and gave them my letter of admittance. They accepted me warmly, but I think they look down upon my lack of skill in any case. Quickly they explained some beginner’s exercise and sent me out on a simple task: collect 4 scalps from gnoll pups that taunt the citizens of Qeynos outside the gates.

I gladly took the task to heart and wearing my Silent Fist tunic proudly, I ventured out the city gates.

I admit that I have always though myself a fighter as a child, but no village bully could match the creatures of the wild. While they mostly left me along I occationally strayed too close to a snake or large rat that would think me a tasty meal. I often defeated these beasts, but sometimes the fight alone took its toll.

I collected what I could from these things in hopes I might sell them for food, water, and perhaps better clothing and training.

These victories only made me feel that I could take a gnoll pup. But they turned out to be much stronger than I expected, and I had to run to the Qeynos gate guards to save my hide.

As I write this, I sit at the gate and mend my wounds. Today I lost a battle, but my spirit will not allow me to give up.

My training at the Silent Fist has not allowed much time for writing, but today I have found a few moments. I leave for Rivervale today.

I have earned my White, and then my Yellow headbands, and my teachers have told me that I have reached the 7th circle in my skills. I met a wood elf a few days ago named Aliweyr, and she has promised to guide me to Rivervale, the halfling city, where she feels my skills will grow.

I have grown tired of the rats, the snakes, the beetles, the bats, and all the denizens of the Qeynos Hills, but my few ventures into the Darkpaw gnolls’ home of Blackburrow have proven painful lessons that I am not yet ready to enter their deeper passages.

I bid my masters of the Silent Fist farewell, and they have told me that if I make my way to Freeport that I should speak with the masters of the Ashen Order, the monk guild there.

I look forward to seeing more of this world, and sit eagerly awaiting my escort.

The trip to Rivervale was harrowing indeed, and Rivervale a lovely place, even the place called Misty Thicket. But I found the residents to be quite rude to me, and I think it was because I am human. I could not find how to prove to them that I was worth their time, so I decided to leave.

I truly wished to go to Freeport and visit the Ashen Order, but the trip through the Kithcor Wood seems quite dangerous from the tales that I have heard. In the end I have decided to return to Qeynos. With my now greater skill, I may be able to help rid the area of the gnolls of Blackburrow.

I am glad that I got to see the world on this journey to Rivervale, and I will return someday.

I have spent a good many weeks in the tunnels of Blackburrow trying to assist in ridding the place of the gnolls that infest it. But no matter how many of us fight, and how many gnolls we kill, this evil hole seems to produce more.

As my circles of training increase and my fighting improves, I have taken to helping those of other guilds and lower circles when they have bitten off more than they can chew.

This Blackburrow is a strange place. Sometimes you can walk right past a gnoll and he will snarl but not attack, and other times, you can run far from an attacker and they seem to know these tunnels so well, and track your scent so easily that there is no place to hide. In extreme cases one must even leave the burrow entirely to evade them.

There is a druid here, another wood elf, named Conec that I have befriended. We often fight the elite gnoll guards in hopes of further dwindling their numbers. He is a good match with my fighting skills, because while he too can fight well, he has mastered some mystic arts that I cannot begin to understand. He has many times healed my wounds, and while I am grateful, it does fill me with dread at times that these magics are infecting me… I hope that I do not come to rely on this kind of assistance, as I may lose my fighting edge.

Today I bid farewell again to Qeynos, I am off to see Freeport, and to visit the brother monks of the Ashen Order. I have been told that with their training I may be able to futher myself in ways that I seem unable in Qeynos and Blackburrow.

Aliweyr had sent correspodence some days ago that she would escort me as before, but I grow tired of waiting.

At dawn I will leave for Freeport.

I have seen many things, but nothing like the city of Freeport. It is twice the size of Qeynos, and there are so many people! The brothers of the Ashen Order have taken me in, and I have set out on some tasks for them, and for my own betterment. I hope to get my yellow sash to match my yellow headband from the Silent Fist.

I see a whole new world opening.

My deeds in helping others has attracted the notice of a guild of another sort. A band of adventurures who take it upon themselves to help those in need, when city guards are far from sight. These ‘Truthseekers’, as they are called, seem a good bunch of people.. a group I may join, if they extend the offer.

The cries seem to come often in the night. “SPECTRE!” is what they yell. It brings fear to my bones when I hear it. It means that one of the spectres have left their island home and wandered into the oasis of Marr to sate their blood thirst. This oasis is a dangerous place, the spectres and sand giants, they keep me on my toes.

The experience fighting the skilled orcs of this desert has improved me greatly. I am learning both from my masters at the Order and from my enemies on the fields of battle.

I have joined the Truthseekers. They are a good bunch, I think that I will enjoy their council.

In my tasks for the guild, I have achieved not only my white and yellow sashes, but also received my orange sash. The bothers of the Silent Fist would be proud. I have also attained the 17th circle of the monk order. My skills have greatly increased in my time around Freeport, and they monk of the Ashen Order have taught me well. Today I have learned to feign death, a skill that I am told must be practiced to truely make an enemy believe I am dead.

But now, my skills are such that I need to move on, and I feel my home of Qeynos calling once again. So it is there that I will travel, back to the Silent Fist clan, and to again try to help rid the land of the cursed Darkpaw gnolls.

The Silent Fist clan has asked a task of me, to find a missing brother, and the one who was originally sent to locate him. Both of them were last seen in the vacinity of the Splitpaw gnolls dwelling. But recently I have heard that the Splitpaws were run out of their home, and a stronger gnoll clan has taken their burrow.

These new gnolls are of a breed unlike any have seen in the great land. They are faster, stronger, more powerful. I fear that I am not up to the task of finding my lost brothers. But I will not give up, I will become good enough to do what needs to be done.

The cold bites through my silk armor. This snow is almost unbearable. But I have been told that here in Everfrost I will find opponents on which to increase my skills so that I might survive encounters with the gnolls now residing in Splitpaw.

The orcs of this land are different from those of Marr. They are accustomed to this climate and have developed hard skins. When fighting, I sometimes think that my blows barely penetrate their hides. These are rough days.

I have taken shelter in an abandoned temple that seems to have been crushed.. by what, is something that I do not wish to even think about. That there are monsters that can level stone buildings makes me shudder. I don’t know how much longer I can stay in this inhospitable place. I have a mind to go to the plains of Karana and see what use the citizens might have for a monk of my skill.

I have taken up residence in the barn of a farmer in return for keeping animals out of his field, and to ensure that the scarecrows bother no one. I have had to battle a few of them, and the magics there undead things wield causes much fear in me.. fear of the magic, or fear caused by the magic, I am not sure.

The farmers are having less trouble now, and others have come to assist in these tasks, that I think I might again move on. I think that my skills are waning, and that the longer I am kept from my guild duties is doing me no good.

I am in need of a new task, but the brothers only need the missing members found. I am failing the clan.. I am failing my missing brothers. I fear that my complaicence is killing them. They are haunting my dreams. I am being slowly driven mad.

Tonight, I joined friends Aliweyr and Braxsis, a wood elf and an ogre, both whom use the mystic arts with ease, and we in turn joined many other members of the Truthseekers guild and entered the lair of Najena.

My skills still not being at their peak, I feel safe surrounded by some of these masters. Some wield weapons with such grace, and others seem to have fire and light that leaps from their very bodies on command.

I do not pretent to be among equals when I am with them, for that would surely be the death of me. It is best that I am humble in my ability… for now.

I joined my guild again a few days ago, for a storm on the gates of Permafrost. But after one severely humiliating defeat at the hands of the ice goblins there, I realized that it was too dangerous a place for me, even with the aid of my guildmates.

On my return route to the Oasis of Marr, I passed through Highpass Hold. There I joined a few others in an attempt to rid the pass of orcs… at least for one night.

Eventually we all grew weary of the struggle, and others came to replace us at our posts, more volunteers from Highkeep. We wished each other well, and I continued on my way toward Freeport.

I do not usually like to travel through Kithicor at night, but sometimes it must be done.

I entered the Woods to see a group of brave souls taking on many of the undead who roam the forest at night. I wanted to help them, but my death would be of no help to them.

Confident that the worst of Kithicor’s denizens were enjoined in that battle, I made my way through without fear. The rest of the journey was slow, yet enjoyable. One often doesn’t take the time to admire the beauty of a sunrise, and how the light streams over a mountain as the sun ventures into the sky.

I’ll be happy again to speak to the brothers of the Ashen Order, and to return to the Oasis for more training. I must say that my spirits are considerably higher these days, and that my quest for the Silent Fist seems closer to attainable each day.

Stories had began to reach me of a group of gnolls in the Karana plains. Reavers, they called themselves. Even stories that at night, they raised their own dead to continue fighting.

I travelled from Freeport to East Karana to see how I might lend a hand defeating this scourge.

There are many concerned adventurers here that all seem to want to help destroy these vile gnolls. Sometimes I will join some of them in a hunt, but often I fight alone.

I return to the bridge over the river that divides the East and North Karanas to heal after fighting, and for the protection that the numbers gathered there offers. It also affords me the opportunity to practice my wound binding skills on others who are wound, and to lend a hand when nearly defeated adventurers come to the bridge with a mob of beasts on their heels.

I have learned of a set of gloves that I am told will help improve my skill and assist me in my work. To get them I must retrieve several items, the first of which is a mace made of bone. Tales have come to me of a goblin alchemist who wanders the gorge outside of the home of clan RunnyEye said to carry this mace. So now I search and wait, the alchemist shall die by my hand.

My vigils waiting and searching for the goblin alchemist are long, and often lonely. Oft times I send word with passing adventurers to pass to my guildmates of the Truthseekes. Several times Truthseekers have come out of their way to assist me, bringing supplies, and joining the effort to rid the gorge of the goblins and minotaurs that infest them.

Yesterday I travelled briefly to Misty Thicket to fulfill another portion of the quest, and also momentarily entered into Runny Eye for a third. This quest goes quickly, but for these last two items I must find, and then it will be complete.

Sleep is overcoming me now, and I must bed for the night. The small ledge I have found appears safe, but in this world, no one is ever truly safe.

When I first considered leaving my vigil in the gorge for the alchemist it pained me to even think of abandoning my quest. But a brother monk and fellow Truthseeker Salinor came on the very quest which I sought. I left the area in very capable hands, more capable than my own, I must say.

I had longed to return home to the Silent Fist, for I am away more and more these days, but as I took shelter from the rain as what many refer to as the “Stone Bridge” in North Karana, I remembered the Silent Fist quest I had undertaken so long ago and that had slipped my mind.

I damned myself for forgetting the perils that my lost monk brethren Shen and Dareb might be facing, and I crossed the bridge into South Karana.

Once there I talked to many of those who have spent time on these plains for information about my brothers. One, by the name of Cabe, told me that he had indeed seen them on the plains trying to round up the gnolls that had escaped from the slaughter at Splitpaw. He also spoke of seeing Ghanex Drah and his vile shaman doing evil work in this land. No doubt planning to retake their home.

It is here that I joined with another Truthseeker, Arroyo, and with the skills he has learned in his training as a ranger, we tracked the gnolls all over the plains, ridding the land of a few of them. Yet we found no sign of Shen or Dareb.

Arroyo left me today to continue his own path, and I wished him well.

I shall not return home to Qeynos until I have found my brothers.

Today my stomach turned to the earth and I became sick with what I saw.

I have found both of my brothers, Shen and Dareb. Shen’s head I found on a gnoll shaman who had been carrying it like a trophy. And Dareb’s skull had been crafted by another onto a totem staff.

The sickness gone away, and I feel a deadness inside. An empty hole that can only be filled with the blood of Ghanex Drah.

My silk gi is soaked with the blood of Ghanex Drah. I have slain him and I have taken his head as his shaman took the heads of my brothers Shen and Dareb.

I returned to Qeynos today and am to meet with my guildmaster shortly. Others of the Silent Fist have heard of the horrific end of our brothers and surely the news has beaten me to the clan house. I fear that the sight of me, my armor blood encrusted, and carrying a dripping bloody sack does not sit well with the people of this town. Though they fear the gnolls of this land and wish them dead, they often do not understand the deeds which must be done.

I have brought my lost brothers home to rest, their souls may now be free, but I am heavy hearted with what I have done, or rather with the zeal that I did it. As I cracked Ghanex Drah’s neck and torn his head from his shoulders, I know that I smiled in the violence of it.

It wasn’t justice, it was revenge. As a monk I am supposed to be the sheppard, guiding the flock, protecting it, but in some dark corners, I fear that I am the evil that I fight, and that one day my head may need to be ripped from me as I took Ghanex’s.

The red headband the clan will surely award me for bringing home our lost brothers is almost an empty victory, except that I shall wear it always as a reminder of that which I must not become.

-2 Jun 2003

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