From the Journal of Jay, Shadow in the Grove January, 3rd week, 2nd year Entry 9, 3rd Winter Council It is the anniversary of the founding of the Grove this past Winter Council. Two years ago four of us came together after a senseless war and have been tirelessly working for the people of Osterra and using our strengths and energies to rebuild a safer place for those who have been victimized by the Everwar here in these lands. And honestly... they have been the happiest two years of my life. I went from being raised into a cold blooded assassin with a disdain for gods and magic and everything due to being shackled by my birthright into an herbalist with a drive for discovery and small adventures and less disdain for the Gods and Magics of this land. It was a joyful council. Guilds were established and we the rogues very clearly wanted no such responsibility of having someone in charge of our ‘totally legitimate business’ as my new comrades called it. Wolfe is an agreeable man though and he will be ‘totally checking in’ every now and then our as Guild Master; especially since the number of initiates for the Grove is growing. Valos and Trez are my fellow ‘Shadows’, or rogues, in the Grove now and they are everything I delight in seeing with people in our fields of expertise. Trez has a mind constantly churning for coin and I believe Lady Gwion had mentioned appointing him as a treasurer of sorts, I can't be sure. It was him or Ayla, but whomever it will be it will be very much needed. The two towns within our territory are bursting at the seams with refugees and we can barely find the housing or room for the more that are arriving almost weekly. And Valos...well she is certainly a character whose backstory I would love to sit down and chat about. I think we may have a lot in common with that. Bryxal was at our table and I had a lovely chat with him reminiscing about our adventure with the Gray Mercenaries. It was something along the lines of Bryxal: I remember signing up for a scouting mission and then there was a fire. Me: Fires happen all the time, they’re quite natural He has a good sense of humor, and I hope one day I’ll get to amend his opinion of me and my scouting abilities. Probably not with my track record, but it would be fun to adventure with him again. Sir Talos asked to speak to Oonagh and I at one point in the day, I think after the light sparring that was had outside. He was questioning us about Fonti’s Fancy, the Definitely Permanent Dam we had built and used to combat the Demons back in August. He hadn’t been there but had heard about it. I was skeptical of his questions, honestly because I thought he was trying to spin the dam as a terrible idea and to blame her. Oonagh spoke with me afterwards and explained that he was questioning faction members about potential Knight Candidates. I felt bad for how I spoke to him after that. I guess I wasn’t as over my issues with Nobility as I thought I was, but maybe I could speak with him after I’m done writing about my behavior. I seem to forget that most of the ‘Nobles’ here within the factions are either appointed over time, such as the knights, or were noble in their previous world and still simple adventurers like myself now. None have the history and years to be as malevolent as the ones I’m used too. The day carried on with mostly drinking and meeting new people and discussing different ventures; Cedar Creek made a venture with some wererats involving cheese and I have to say that anyone who makes deals with Cheese is good people- both on the giving and receiving end. Trez was interested in the Blue Pheonix- my hopefully one day open apothecary- and we talked about pricing and logistics of the sorts for a bit. A new member had similar interests in the shop, or new to me as I have been unable to attend most of the previous adventures. Caefa asked me about my book that I kept referencing whenever the apothecary was mentioned. I had brought with me for some light studying and work my collection of herbs I have been writing about for the past two years ever since I realized that many of the plants here are similar if not the same from the Reverse. Most of my herbalism was only learned because the Princess I would double for hated her classes and it wasn’t unheard of to have the ‘Birds’ as they called us learn in their stead. It was helpful for my night duties when she called me to run her terrible errands. I’m spiraling now though, so back to Kaaphah. She is a magic student of sorts and was very intrigued by my notes below the herbs about the magical properties the plants were known for back in the reverse. I told her I would welcome any and all help with researching and developing products to sell in the shop id she wanted to add her coin and time to it. She seemed to take this into serious consideration. I’m seriously hopeful with more hands the Blue Phoenix can finally stand tall this year. As for the council meeting tonight it was an interesting mix of A raven flew into the window Jay was writing near, startling her into a battle ready position. It’s almost midnight, birds don’t fly this late. Knife at the ready she approached the window cautiously and saw the most disturbing bird she had ever seen. It looked like a raven. It was squawking and cawing at her like a raven. It was glowing bright purple and had a tiny scroll wrapped on it’s leg with glowing thread. Pixies . They had absconded her poor bird and sent it to find her to call her to finish her duties. Flying donkey's my hair is still growing out the blue I had woken up too from the last party! With a long sigh she opened her window to allow the bird reprieve from the cold night. As soon as it landed on her fprearm it stopped glowing and the scroll unraveled itself to float in front of her face with all its sparkly and bright nonsense. You have been cordially reminded Of your promise to dance and dine with our Lovely people three times before the summer of Next year. You have completed one such event And we are hosting another for the Winter Solstice That your presence is officially requested for. Mischief Maker, Annabelle P.S. Can you bring some of that peach wine again? There was a date on the scroll that made her curse and kick at the furniture as she began to hastily grab her things. No talking with Tanos, no time to pick her book up from Caipha’s examining eyes, she had four days to trek across half of Osterra to attend this blasted party these pixies sprung on her. It wasn’t that she didn’t enjoy the revelry and madness a little bit; it was the fact that they had known she would be at the council and wanted to cause some trouble to her Raven and her schedule. But she would make it in time She always did. And she was probably going to have different hair color again too if the look of her bird was any indicator. A brief word with Trez and a farewell from Oonagh, Jay saddled up and rode out east towards Goldfield and the marshlands north of them, where the Pixie Mill was and the Exiled Court of Lord Delegoth awaited her arrival to begin the maddening Dance and Party she had promised to attend for their aid in fighting the demons. Sometimes you sell herbs to people. Sometimes you sell your time and energies to pixies to terrorize demons. Just another day in Osterra
From the Journal of Jay, Shadow in the Grove October, 3rd week, 2nd year Entry 8 I haven’t spent much time at Aspen’s Rest these past few months. Between the building of a secondary refugee town, Goldenfield, and Fonti’s Fancy, aka the Definitely Permanent Dam, I have been home for a total of 2 weeks. That was not altogether either. Luckily the house is still standing. It’s actually thriving pretty well without me. Who would have thought the two older ones would be so keen on organizing everything and keeping track of all the plants and herbs. Tristan documented and wrote up our ledgers and burned through almost my entire allowance for paperwork before our adventure with the mercenaries last year. He’s gotten alot better after he started working with the local bookshop owner. He is also trying to save up for a pilgrimage to the Order’s Library to see about learning more about these lands and his home world here in Osterra. I’ll be sad to see him go, but he’s got a hunger for knowledge and I am not one to stop growth. Rena and Vithi have been the real help with maintaining the gardens and plants as well as organizing the drying racks and placing them in bottles and packages. Verona and the younger boys have been keeping the water flowing, also thanks to Merrick. When the Dryads had left the local woods for an ambassadorial quest he had wandered into my street of Aspen’s Rest and offered a drunken helping hand to the little ones. He actually sobered up and keeps a good eye on them nowadays, I’ve been told by some of the local guardsmen. It keeps him out of trouble. It also makes the Dryads more attracted to him when they fetch water by their stream I’ve been told but I’ll take what I can get for now. Almost 2 years I've been here in Osterra and the echoes of the Reverse have all but faded from my mind and dreams. I’ve almost turned my once hopeless dream into a reality. An herbal shop for potions, poisons and first aid kits. Maybe this upcoming year will be the actualization of it all. I would be lying if I said I would be happy to retire from adventuring- it’s been grand going out with Oonagh to train the Hyenas, spar with Ayla, and sing and be merry with our vastly expanding faction members. Gwion has been an exceptional leader to follow throughout these adventures, no doubt, and I hardly hesitate when the Green Goddess works through any of us these days. A lot has changed since surfacing through the waters into these lands. Maybe I’ll have more adventures after opening the shop, maybe it will become something else. All I know at this moment though is that the whistle has been blown- time to release Fonti’s Fancy. ~ Jay Jay puts aside her journal and quill, gears up and takes her place along one of the lines of massive ropes attached to the damned up walls. Ja’Nuk was heading one of the other lines on the opposite riverbed, and her old friend Kar was behind her with a separate group of young fishermen and makeshift boats. The refugees of these lands had banded together like a pack of lions against the demons- building the dam and it’s release mechanism as well as building safe passage across the river when it flowed freely again. They were hardened and wary of being out in the open for these weeks but no scout had let anything in or out to discover there surprise for the demons. “You all heard it! To your stations, now! The demons are waiting to face your wrath and justice!” Jay called out. Fifteen men picked up the ropes behind her and on a second whistle blow everyone heaved. A massive grating sound echoed out across the empty river bed. “Heave!” “Put your backs into it!” “Ja’Nuk is buying us all that good peach wine if we get it open in 30 seconds!” “WHAT?!” “YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARHHHHHHH!” The roar of the water was deafening at the flood gates finally gave in. Jay released her grip on the rope and braced herself in case anyone got caught in it as the waters snatched it into the torrential currents. There were no cheers that could be heard of the floods, not for a while until a keening whistle sound was heard for the third and final time. They had succeeded. Demons had fallen prey to their trap. The cheers and triumphant hollering did not cease for many long moments after that. Jay let the men and women who had participated in the building and creation of this plan embrace and rejoice before noticing smoke and other eerie sounds penetrate the chorus. Glancing downstream towards the trap other flashes and sounds came to her ears. A flash brought her back to the Reverse, on her knees and angrily cursing towards the sky as a fireball hurtled towards her. Smoke filled her lungs, heat scorched her face and dried the cursed spit she hurled in defiance up towards the mages who worshipped those foolish and loathsome gods. A scream ripped itself from her throat as she was hurled over the cliff and into the gorge. She blinked and was standing stone still on a hill as black smoke rose up in the distance from where the demons were still fighting the adventurers for grounds in Osterra. “Combat magic? In Osterra?” Disbelief and dread began to fill her soul. “Everything al’ight Miss Jay?” Kar limped up behind her. He looked towards where she was gaping awith a confused expression. “Get everyone across the river Kar, and have those horses and carts ready for us to depart back to Goldenfield. I don’t know exactly what’s going on at the Fields of Sorrow, but I can feel it like I’m back in my birth world. There’s combat magic happening over there. We need to get to a fortified place and wait to hear from any Ravens about what’s transpiring in this battle,” Jay felt the man hastily turn away and start barking orders. His limp was less prominent with the new urgency but would return with a vengeance in the morning. No one else seemed to have noticed or heard her, but they knew that Demons schemed and were on board with leaving Fonti’s Fancy as soon as possible. Jay watched the skies and smoke until she was called over for the last ferry across. She hid her trembling hands from the refugees and soldiers and congratulated them on their accomplishment. The fireball loomed in her mind again, reminding her that retirement may have to wait for another lifetime. And for the first time in a long time, Jay turned to the woods and prayed. Goddess please, I may not worship you like others, but the Grove has listened to you much this past year and been fortuitous for doing so. Don’t leave them unprotected, please. I beg of you, guide my found family home.
Part of the Vidarian army is on a campaign to rescue one of the Khan's wives, who has been kidnapped by Bodam Noyan of a rival nomadic tribe. Uses this kidnapping as way of insulting the Great Khan. This has become a rallying cry to other rival clans to align themselves with or against the Khan. Vidar with a retinue of nomad cavalrymen has set out to answer the enemies challenge. Their battle cry, "The call has been cried, by the sound of the horn. On horses we ride, the Vidarian horde." Respect all, Fear none.