The Skull & the Eye Sessions 4, 4.5, & 5 Journals

Thane Baern Thunderknuckle has need of the adventurers for his meeting with the Hrímþurs, the tribe of Frost Giants to the north of the dwarven capital Horkenmanner. There he will check on the status of the peace brokered with their Yngvild, the Frost Giant Shaper, a holy person. Relaying needs of each others people, they will work together to quell threats that loom to their collectives.

By Jurek Tchotchke (Jeremy), half-orc Komes islander, amateur barber, and dentist:

44th Day Varpulis:
I ask Keep Keeper Ballderick if he have books about dentist or barber. He say he not have book on dentist, but he have pamphlet about dwarf beard. He just give to me. So happy! I flip page but we leave early so I have to put away. I look at pamphlet tonight. Have ten page of dwarf beard. Dwarf have so many beard and Keep Keeper say is for beginner. I look at Lord Thane Thunderknuckle. His beard not in pamphlet. Travok beard look like some in pamphlet but is confusing. I wonder if Da have trouble when he start.

Last night, I overhear one of miner say strange thing about Lord Malek. I don’t know what to do. Lord Malek seem like nice guy, but maybe he wicked. I have to think.

Anyway, Lord Thane Thunderknucle and Aleksander talk on road. They talk about how orc are problem here. Sometimes orc come and attack traveler. Aleksander say orc not people, orc monsters. Sister get very angry. She yell at Aleksander and start speak in Dock Talk. I tell her she need calming tea and she yell at me too. Then she stomp off. Lord Thane say he not like most orc or half orc. He say he not trust me, but I help in underground, so he trust me now. He say he know rotten half orc, who betray him. I remember Aleksander say orc come and burn his farm. He not forget. Is not first time I hear this. Back on Leviathan’s Secret, Overseer Glaive say many orc live in raid clan, like pirate. Not all orc are raid clan! Mother not from raid clan.
Tonight we camp in clearing with bird people. Lord Thane call them Kenku. I never hear of Kenku before. They not talk like us. They make sound and strange call, but they seem like friend. We cook and share food and Kenku are happy. Sister even do some trading. They like tchochtke!

45th Day Varpulis:
I ask Lord Malek today where he get his magic. He say he not learn it from school but his power come from bloodline. Is big surprise. I not think human get magic from bloodline like orc or elf. I ask sister later and she say is normal. Malek ask question about sister. He want to know about Svellhenir. I tell him is magic school that Olya go to. I should no say anything. He go ask her question and she yell at me because I tell him. I not tell anyone again!

1st Day Kuu:
On road today we run into orc clan. Lord Thane Thunderknuckle notice something off. He call to them and orc leader come out to talk. Aleksander throw axe at him and they attack! Why he do that! It make me angry! Just because some orc burn down his farm, not mean all orc burn his farm down. I want to kick him and shake sense into him. He got hurt bad in fight though, so I not do that. Lord Thane say everyone stop fight. No one listen! I remember what Mother say when talk to orc. Pound hand on chest and challenge. I do that and fight leader. He have big axe, but he already hurt. I was scared but, I bring him down. Orc clan stop fight then. They Ice Tusk. Come from up mountain. Four tens strong. Then Many Cold Wings come. Now they are ten and four. They fled, but have no food. We give them food. They talk about Many Cold Wings. Is monster. They never see. Hunter not come back.

Too scared to sleep. I take watch tonight. On watch, hear Haiko making noise with wagon. I grab him but is not Haiko! Is monster with owl head and bear body! I yell for help and try to get away. I hide under cart but monster pull me out and bite me. Olya burn it with fire and it die. Aleksander and Sarril go to look for more. They not back yet.

2nd Day Kuu:
We arrive at meet spot. Is late afternoon. Three giant here already. They laugh and throw rock at us. They say that Lord Thane suspicious because we are not dwarf. They say they not get shaper tell we get pet back. Stupid mean giant! We should have say no! We should have not go. We don’t do that. Haiko find part of half eat orc. Should have turn back. We don’t do that either. Find cave where pet hide. Cave have frozen people. Should have turn back. I think we are stupid. I am scared. Olya scared. She hold onto my cloak. Stupid. See frozen owl monster. Ice trap us. No turn back. I try to break it, but is too thick. Is dragon! Stupid Jurek. Should have turn back.

Sarril must be hero. Dragon breath ice wind on him and he stay standing, when Haiko and Aleksander fall. He yell and they get back to feet and fight. Everyone is like hero. They rush around and try to fight Dragon. I so scared. I just want to run, but nowhere to go. Travok, Sarril and Miyuki charge forward. Aleksander climb on Dragon back. I go forward too. Have to kill Dragon or it eat us. Fog rise. Can see nothing. Run away! I feel Black Delirium. Is too much. Everyone gone. Sarril fall! Is just me and Dragon! Can’t get away. Try to chase off and it dig into ice. I hear it roar. I feel it moving around beneath me. Everyone go back to where we last see Malek. Sister is next to me. She take my hand. Dragon climb out of ground and open mouth! Cold rip through me. It hurt more than anything I remember. I want to sleep but Olya scream. Dragon have claw raised. Delirium take me.

Is very strange feeling. I feel pain from claws, pain from cold, pain from where owl monster bite me. I feel all of it, but is invigorate. I feel alive, more awake and ready. Pain does not go away, is strong but when I move I am strong too. I feel edge of climbing spike as I hold in hand, feel smooth and cold scale of Dragon on my arm. Feel slick and sticky of hot dragon blood. I move fast. I don’t stop. I can’t. Sister call. Jurek. Then I see her and I see Dragon is dead. So tired. I see why Mother warn me about Black Delirium. I feel better than I have ever felt. It is wonderful. I love it, that feeling. I am afraid.

Facing the dragon, Many Cold Wings.

3rd Day Kuu:
We spend long time in cave. Very long time. Everyone pry money from ceiling. I feel better after rest, but I don’t sleep. Is morning when we leave. We bring Dragon with us. Giant Shaper ask who kill it. Malek point at me! Then Sarril just not his head and giant stare at me! I am not hero! I tell her Sarril and Travok and Aleksander fight Dragon. They just nod head and keep look at me. I tell them Dragon try to eat Olya. I only stab with climbing spike two time and it finally die. I was scarred but I don’t tell giant that. Lord Thane Thunderknuckle say not to react to giant or they laugh and say mean things. Malek nearly die! Zenvarra nearly die! Travok hit Dragon with hammer, Alexsander chop with axe and Sarril cut with sword. They are real hero but everyone keep look at me.

Giant start talk about other giant name Angrboda who have fight with giant jarl. She take some kind of giant tchochtke, but important valuable tchochtke, and make entire clan angry at her. Now Shaper want us go hunt Angrboda and kill her. Olya say no, is mad, we are merchant! Everyone look at us like we grow second head.
Miyuki start saying crazy thing, world end soon, and heroes stand to fight monsters! I am not hero! Miyuki yell at me. She say I am hero and I need to stand. I cannot stand up and fight Angrboda! She is frost giant. I follow sister and load up cart and look after Pudge.

4th Day Kuu:
I think about what Miyuki and Lord Thane say about frost giant outcast. I am no hero. Chase after giant is hero work. It is too big for me. Everyone look at us strange. They just shake head and look away. They don’t even talk to us. I wish they stop look at Olya like that. I don’t want to talk to them anyway.

I speak to sister earlier. I think maybe she right. Maybe we no travel with Lord Thane’s men. I ask her about Cathedral of Light. It is great opportunity! We are already here on mainland and capital is not far. Maybe mother is still at Cathedral. That is why she not go home. I am excite! Olya say yes, is good idea. She say that blueblood help us get in. She talk to Lord Malek in the morning. I am too excite to sleep.

8th Day Kuu:
We arrive back at Thunderknuckle Keep. Lord Thane Thunderknuckle pay Olya and me. Olya charge him two dwarf schild each day for her and one schild a day for me. She ask him thirty schild for ten day, but he have to pay hazard pay too, so he have to double price. Lord Thane Thunderknuckle nod his head. Is standard business and he give us sixty dwarf schild just like he owe. He not argue about it or anything. I like him. I love dwarf schild! Is favorite coin! They break apart in your hand into ten piece and come back together easy. Olya like to stack them ten high, but I like to stick them to metal. Is like magic, but Olya say is not magic

By Olya Tchotchke (Rebekah), half-elf merchant:

Olya Tchotchke (art by Anipii)

Varpulis the 45th, 739
Frozen. No, freezing. It is so cold on way up mountain. All is ice and snow. It gives body shivers. We march slowly, day by day, up side of mountain. Part way there, we run into orcs, people of our blood. Jurek and I were going to try and speak with them, but instead Alek just run up and throw axe right into orc man! Of course, then they fight. Jurek did smart thing though. He challenge leader to brawl and win. This calm the situation. In the turmoil, Alek got knocked out. We left him knocked out.

Orc chieftain say that his clan, Ice Tusks, have been set upon by great, winged death. It swoop down and carry away clansmen. Sounds awful and scary! We trade food to orcs for information and we move on. Later, Alek wake up and now he hates everyone that is not Haiko. Calls us ‘orc lovers’ and say that we are bad people. Alek can go to hell. He think everyone bad because some are bad. That make him bad, not us!

The next entry…

Kuu the 2nd, 739
Last night, Jurek was attacked by monstrous thing. It was owl and bear and nearly kill him. I burned it until it stop moving. Then we gather meat. Now, we reached top of mountain, where asshole winter giants await. They throw boulders at us bigger than we! They land beside us and giants laugh. Bunch of assholes! This is who we come to speak to? Bah! We approach and they tell Baern he is late. They say Baern must have new allies (us) prove themselves. They say they lose pet and we must go into cave and get pet back. I did not want to go. Alek, stupid, and Haiko, ignorant, charge off to please giant.

Explain to me how orcs are all bad because of actions of few, but these giants who try to crush us with rocks and send us to our deaths are fine fellows? Oh, back to the death. So, we go to cave and it is… horrifying. We step in to sounds of ice crackling and then roars and rumbles! I hide behind Jurek. Hide face in his cloak. I can tell, Jurek does not want to go forward anymore, but we go, following trail of frozen money in ceiling. We reach opening of cave and there is owlbear half frozen to ground. Suddenly, tunnel freezes shut behind us! Can’t leave! Can’t get out!

Jurek take my hand and pull me towards other opening. It freeze too! Suddenly, great, white dragon come out of ground! Somehow, in fog, Jurek and I became separated. I was terrified, on fire, desperate to leave. Fog hide everything and I can’t find brother! So, I run into fog and half trip over body. I grab and pull out of fog and it is Alek. I leave him, still looking for brother. Finally, I see Jurek and run to him when dragon spring up behind us! It breathe out great, frozen breath and I can see it’s teeth. I think, “Ah, here is where I die…” when Jurek pull dragon down and stab it again and again with piton from climbing kit. The dragon died. Jurek killed it to keep me safe!

We gather selves. I just want to get the hell out, but there is treasure. We gather treasure up and head back out with body of dragon. Giants think it funny that they send us to death. Haha! So funny! I hate them. I simmer and broil and Jurek keep me from igniting. The giantess we were supposed to meet is there now. She and Baern speak. She say that giant called Angrboda has left them with Godflesh and that she must be killed. Then they turn to US to do it.

I nearly die laughing. Us? Kill giant? That is stupidest thing I ever hear. Then, everyone looks at us like we are crazy! Miyuki say, “I will pay you to take this journey with us. Look at how your brother fought. He killed a dragon. You are both heros.” Da, he kill dragon, when it was already half dead! When the dark anger took him! We are not giant killers. Jurek agree. We not go to our deaths.
Way down mountain was somber. Jurek come to sit with me by fire one night. He ask if we can go to capital, to the Cathedral of Light. I ask him why and he say that is where Mama was taken. Of course I will go to Cathedral! I think deeply though. It difficult to get into Cathedral without official reason and Jurek is clearly half-orc. They may not let him in. I not tell him that. I strike deal. I tell Sarril and Malek that if they take us to Cathedral after, we will journey with them to Angrboda. We cannot help to kill her. We are not giant killers, but we can be outfitters and retainers. Noblemen agree.

I guess we are going to kill giant now. What have I gotten us into…?

Jurek and Olya, along with a cart full of goods, make camp and stew.

Reading further…

Kuu the 12th, 739
We reach town called Crossroads today. I bought little gift for Haiko. I wonder if he will like? Jurek, myself, and Haiko did some gambling. We all lose. It make Haiko mad and that was funny. We journey East towards Shingnak Forest. This is place of forest elf. They are good people. I sometimes think maybe father was forest elf? There is no way of telling. We had trouble on way through forest though. Big, scary shadow ghosts attacked us! They try to eat us! They… they nearly kill Jurek. I fought with all that I had in me. I threw out own blood and curse them. We push them back and we win. I carry Jurek and Zenvara to cart. They look real bad. We make quick time to Kralo, elf capital.

They certainly not like Miyuki. This is because of long past war. They pushed the forest elves from far lands. Is sad that divide continues to be strong between two kinds of elf. Bah, this is why I say I am half-orc. Zenvara was seen as something special though. I KNEW she was fairy! I tell them so and they treat her with awe. Is amazing! Who knew? They give her and Jurek room and help. He will be fine they say. Such relief.

I go out and sell dwarven ore. Take that money and buy elf herbs. Pretty good deal! Little boy was playing with Pudge. So cute! I pick him up and let him have ride on Pudge. He had fun. It was nice for life to be normal and not full of dragons, giants, and vicious little monsters. I like normal much better.