As of this writing, I am the happiest I have been since becoming stranded on this harsh island, this place of danger.
We had made the decision that, although we would love to try to use the small boat we wrested from the incompetent and unworthy hands of an oaf named Kreed and his band of cutthroats, to leave the island, we would be foolish to try it. For one thing, it needs repairing before it is seaworthy. Also, it is too small for all of us, and I would never want to leave one of my companions behind here. That would be the cruelest of actions and so deplorable that just the thought of it makes me shudder.
But, over and above these reasons, we have begun to think of this island as a place that we need to liberate from the darkness and oppression of the evil races that seem to want to hold it hostage. I have discovered that not only can individuals be slaves, but entire places can be dragged into the horrors of captivity. This must not stand.
So, we have determined to try to clean this island up and wrest it away from the forces of darkness and tyranny. Since we have cleared out the despicable kobolds from their filthy lair and have liberated Kreed’s camp from the stranglehold this gang of ne’er-do-wells had on it, we must venture north into Haarkaar’s Pocket and clear it out.
As we marched through the dense jungle, toward our conquest, we were: Mahisti, our quiet, mysterious rogue, Kardeen, the dwarven fighter, Haldor, the cleric of Caregiver, all of whom we had rescued from the kobolds, Wazzoul, the clever mage, Monarto, the skillful thief, Race, the bold ranger and myself, Krindar, the cleric of The Guardian and a dwarf of good character.
Soon we had come upon a clearing, from which we heard snarling and grunting. We saw that someone was surrounded by dogs, goblins and vile orcs. As we advanced, dogs set upon us and a mighty battle was joined.
Several of us were bitten, but we acquitted ourselves well, working together to overcome the menace. Meanwhile, the poor stranded soul was on his own, still surrounded. At least we were able to draw some of his attackers away from him, as a few orcs and goblins scurried toward us to attack.
The stranded man, whom I could finally see was another dwarf, was able to scramble down from the perch where he had been surrounded, to fight toe-to-toe with the bastards who had him outnumbered. Sustaining injuries, he was still a formidable opponent. Eventually, we were able to defeat our enemies, as Wazzoul charmed one of the smelly orcs to give us aid and we slew the other and his pets and make our way to help the beleaguered dwarf.
Eventually, we defeated every foe and this is when my world changed. I was able to finally look into the face of the dwarf and discover something shocking and wonderful. Here, on this barren, hostile island, I was looking into the face of my own dear brother Haltaf! How he had been stranded there, I have yet to hear. In my joy at his appearing, a feeling tainted by the knowledge that now we are BOTH prisoners of this dreadful isle, all I could think of was that we were together again.
After recovering from the shock and giddiness of a family reunion, as well as getting our wounds patched up some, we decided to continue our journey to Haarkaar’s Pocket. This almost proved to be an ending to the story of Krindar and Haltaf.
For, as we ventured forward, we saw that the orcs have a well-defended fortress there, manned to the teeth, accessible only by a wood and rope bridge over a deep chasm. Guards were stationed all around, and we feared that we might have to end our days here charging into the face of butt-ugly death.
Instead, Haltaf, the wise brother that he is, and Wazzoul, ever clever, thought we might explore around the far end of the fortress, under the cover of foliage. Monarto scouted ahead first, being stealthy and smart. Then, we followed along. Discovering a place where the wall ascended just 10 feet, onto level ground, we determined to scale the wall here. We all managed to make it up, even though my dear brother fell flat on his back at one point and we feared he would alert the guards.
We had found one of the most disgusting places known to exist, I imagine, an orc crapper. We witnessed a group of about four orcs. One was relieving himself, a sight that will haunt my dreams for many moons. The others were having some sort of vile conversation, although it sounded like nothing more than crass grunting to me.
Several of us were able to ambush the wretches and soon we all were joined in battle against the fiends. The fighting was intense, but our weapons were superior, as were our skills and characters. Several of us were hit, and I found myself humiliated by a particularly nasty blow that sent me reeling into a pile of orc feces. Yes, I said it and I only wish I were not so honest as to admit this.
Thankfully, Haldor pulled me away as I writhed in pain and humiliation. Wazzoul, having recovered some sort of ointment from our last victory, rubbed some on my wound and I was pleased to discover immediate relief. I charged back into the fray, refreshed.
I might note that Monarto and Race both dealt out massive blows that knocked some of our foes back from the impact. They didn’t know what had hit them. A couple other orcs seemed to join the fray, but we were pleased that our presence wasn’t noticed by the rest of the troupe manning the fortress, until after we had defeated the six orcs who we had been fighting previously.
Our dear healer friend Haldor, in his religious fervor and confusion, healed one of the brutes we had felled before anyone had a chance to end the threat he posed and released him. He will be a thorn in our sides I fear.
But, alas, as we gained the victory in this small pocket of resistance, a clanging alarm sounded and we heard an army being assembled to attack us. Wisely, we decided to retreat, as some of use has sustained hefty injuries. Upon fleeing, Mahisti was struck by a crossbow bolt, but managed to still run into the foliage with the rest of us. The Guardian continues to watch over us, it seems.
We were able to make it back to Kreed’s Camp, which is now our camp for healing and rest. Setting up watches, we were confronted with a dire warning when we arose from slumber. Some of the denizens of Haarkaar’s Pocket left a calling card hanging from an arrow into a tree telling us to stay away. And, to our dismay, we noticed plumes of smoke rising up from where Fin’s Camp had been. I fear that the kind souls who took us in have paid for our attacks against the orcs to our north.
We now must gear up and pray to our gods to help us overcome this huge threat. It will take all of our cunning and skill to be able to defeat the well-armed force that threatens us.
Still, in spite of the looming danger, I have never been happier since being stranded. I have my brother back. Now, I will fight with everything I have not to lose him again.