Tag Archive: Sunshine Stonecask


72nd of Spring, Year 256

It seems that strange occurrences land together anymore. After a full week of travel and no notable troubles we came across tremendous amounts of recently churned dirt that seemed connected to something that I could only describe as a massive fin a couple of hills away from us. I can only compare it to the creatures that dogged our ship once when mom took me with her on a guild job, sharks she called them. This fin reminded me of theirs only many many times larger.

Somehow Azurei and I were the only ones to notice it at first. Though once we directed the rest of the party’s attention to it no one could quite decide how to continue. None of us quite knew what it was or what it might do if it somehow noticed us.

Eventually Chonck simply picked the wagon up with one hand and Bearrender with the other and proceeded to, as best I could tell, tip toe past the thing and onto undisturbed ground. I do not know what being, divine, infernal, or otherwise, wanted us past the beast so much that that worked, but it did work. Chonck set both the wagon and the dire boar down as lightly as if neither weighed anything.

Shortly after we found a sign advertising some kind of weekly temple meeting, likely demonic given our location and that the sign was written in infernal. With Chonck pulling the wagon it seemed likely that we could make it to the temple, to the old strong hold, in time to arrive during the meeting.

We managed to fit the wagon above the temple entrance and tuck Bearrender away where he should be safe.

After a good deal of discussion it was agreed that Eclair had the best chances of getting in unnoticed and back out again. She was just meant to listen in and come back to report what was happening. Unfortunately, Chonck got it in his head that she needed protecting and decided that he would accompany her.

Instead of sneaking in they will go in as travelers who happened upon the sign and decided to investigate. If anything happens Chonck will use the bell he bought when we were stocking up to signal the rest of us to come in and save them.

I will write more later in the day. For now I need to ready my gear just in case they need rescuing.

65th of Spring, Year 256

After spending the night at Aunt Frense’s home in the library we spent a fair amount of the morning finishing our preparations to leave. I found a smith willing to sell me some blessed bolts for my crossbow and Azurei arrows for her bow.

It turns out that the elf can produce holy water. Apparently she’s a cleric of some stripe and simply never let any of us know. Useful, but it could have been more so if we had known earlier. Worth taking into account if there are any cultists left or minor demons.

We have food. We have water and tools for a trek through what might be the strong hold’s ruins. We have no back up.

I tried to find mercenaries to help us. No sense in going in unprepared after all, and I do not trust that the remains of the cult or worse might not have moved back in. The ones that I would have trusted to survive a fight wanted far more than I could provide immediately and would not accept partial payment up front.

The ones I could afford were chased off by Chonck. While we were discussing the trip and the risks they faced he began talking about how any of them who did not survive would live on in him. He would not stop repeating variations on that in response to their confusion. They left while I tried to quiet Chonck before he and Eclair could draw the guards’ attention again.

(The next line is scratched through viciously.) If the demons do not kill those two, I might.

We set out shortly after. I doubt that I will write much until we reach the strong hold. There are many miles and unknown dangers between here and there. I will attempt to note anything of interest we encounter.

64th of Spring, Year 256

In any other city I would have worried about attracting pick pockets as often as I checked on the request for aid. But it has been turned in and I made certain they understood how important this was. How urgent the need could be with the attention of a balor on Caskfire and us as under staffed as we have been.

There is nothing further I can do on that front.

Something that I could and did affect, though perhaps should not have, is convincing one of the guardsdwarves not to arrest Eclair just now. I will have to return her to the city to serve her sentence once this is over, but the fellow was convinced readily enough that we needed her as part of the attempt to keep Caskfire from being overrun. It would seem that while I was away some conversation convinced her that it would be a brilliant idea to brandish a knife and shout to the entirety of the market district that they were edible. Further, once the guard showed up to try quieting her down, she apparently offered him one of her Goblin cookies fully acknowledging that it was made with the flesh of an intelligent being.

It should be noted that Chonck was also very nearly arrested for helping Eclair in her argument and offering the guard another Goblin cookie. I am certain that the only reason I did not have to argue for a stay on his arrest is because the guard recognized him. Easy enough to do given he grew up here and is one of two half orc Stonecasks.

We got Chonck back to Aunt Frense at the library so he could return the books he had taken. She was overwhelmed with joy when she found out that he finally had learned how to read. Even let him keep the books he had not read yet and take a few more yet. Azurei helped get the books cleaned from all the Goblin bits and other detritus from Choncks bag using her magic.

The guard had tracked down cousin Dundee for me while we worked. Turns out he had been part of mom’s party back then and was visiting between tracking ever larger crocodiles to wrestle. Good news is, he still remembered where the cult’s strong hold was well enough to give us directions. Strange news is that he and the elf hit it off sooner than introductions could happen. I assume it was the helmet he had crafted from a crocodile’s skull, it could be a match for the elf’s scale armor I suppose.

In any case, Aunt Frense asked us back to the library for dinner. We will spend the night there and then do any stocking up that needs doing and head out tomorrow.

I do worry a little about Chonck though. It seems that having become the Eater of the Dead might have rattled away some of his memories, when I addressed Aunt Frense as family he seemed shocked. Distraught even. Did not remember in the least that we were cousins. Makes me wonder what else he has forgotten.

Time for those worries later I suspect.

60th of Spring, Year 256

I am not sure why Chonck had that compendium, it hardly seems like the kind of thing his mom would have kept in the main library back in the Mountain Home. Disturbingly in-depth in some places.

Given that I, assuming that he is not lying to gain a pawn and his journal suggests he is not, am half of whatever Eebaku is I should be able to use some of the research from the compendium to figure out what Eebaku is and how to defeat him.

Given that there appear to be less than a handful of demons or devils that can shape shift like he did, that gave me a valuable starting point. That he was powerful enough to defeat the elve’s Arch Druid in single combat would make him incredibly powerful. Something like a pit fiend or a balor. If I can find away to narrow it down to if he is a devil or a demon, that would allow me to figure out which he is likely to be.

I need to talk to Azurei and Eclair.

[The writing resumes in a shakier hand.]

Having been both stabbed with and consumed silver, I can confirm that being stabbed by a halfling pastry chief hurts and that silver does not seem to have any harmful effects on me. That would suggest that I, and thus Eebaku, am likely to be demonic in nature rather than diabolic. A demon rather than a devil.

Being demonic would then further suggest that Eebaku is a balor. According to the compendium, a balor’s greatest weakness is their true name. That means we should have a way to avoid the tremendously bad idea of fighting a balor provided we can find out what his true name is. Which means we need to find out where it is so that we can banish him? Force him away? Bind him from harming Caskfire or the Mountain Home?

Worries for later.

There has to be a tablet somewhere with his true name on it from back when he was first summoned to this world. Has to be. That just means we have to find where it is and collect it. Which means we have to find out where mom found me. Which means we are going to the Mountain Home to see if any of mom’s old adventuring party is still there and still remembers where that was.

Churt has given me a writ with a request for additional troops to turn in while we are there. I loath the idea of leaving Caskfire just now, with the possibility that we might return and find it over run with Eebaku’s Goblin horde and all the dwarves here run out or gone back to the stone. But what else can be done? This is our best chance at stopping him.

I cannot help but worry that any of my research could be wrong. My seeming immunity to silver might be a result of the human half or he might be something else. We could get to where mom found me and discover that he had been summoned elsewhere. I need this to be the right path. It has to be. If it turns out wrong, if I am wrong here, then Caskfire might be gone when I come back. Not sure how to handle that. So it has to be right.

59th of Spring, Year 256

I have been at this translation job for the better part of the week.

Eebaku’s journal is largely megalomaniac babbling about his powers and the grand empire he will build to cover the worlds. It is oddly fixated on me as some sort of key to infiltrating dwarven society. Not certain if he realizes how little sway a Stonecask or a teifling has in greater society, but he also talks about having an agent in the fortress. Someone he seems to have been hoping could arrange for my use as a key. Need to find out who this agent is and how much of a threat they could pose to the fortress.

The references to an agent go back as far as when we were planning for construction and selecting a suitable location for Caskfire. That someone who has been here all this time is supposed to be one of his agents concerns me a good deal.

I reported to Churt on it and she is collecting a list of everyone it could be so we can start figuring out how to best approach them. She had the idea that I might act interested in joining Eebaku to draw the agent out and get them to confess, but I would rather wait and have a better idea of who our potential suspects. No sense in going around drawing extra attention to being the only demon blooded creature here or that the Goblin lord who burned down the elves’ city claimed to have sired me. That just seems like a good way to wind up studded with arrows from elves who cannot fight the one who actually hurt them.

There was another book Chonck had, some kind of compendium of anatomy and summoning rituals for various infernal creatures. If I turn my attention to that then I might be able to figure out a way to deal with Eebaku before he sends an “envoy” to invite Caskfire into his empire. It has to be worth trying.

51st of Spring, Year 256

After the Goblin horde left, we did comb the elven city for survivors or usable items. There were a handful of books that survived from being in a closed cabinet, they are a little toasted but otherwise in good shape. An enchanted long bow that Azurei has laid claim to, of our party she seems the most able to use it.

There was also the Arch Druid’s staff.

It would seem that he died when the Goblin’s lord first offered to take the elves into his empire. I am told that the Arch Druid dueled Eebaku one on one and held him off long enough for a warning to get out. The staff did not seem magic at first, though the elves have assured us that it is. It looks like a walking stick, nothing more. They were glad that no one in the party wanted to keep it for themselves though, it would seem that this staff has been passed down by many Arch Druids and will continue to be passed down as soon as they appoint a new one.

And, predictably, Eclair has been treating the corpses like her own personal butcher shop. The elves told her that eating the bodies of the fallen was acceptable so long as she did not waste anything, so at least this habit of hers is not offering offense. Chonck helped.

52nd of Spring, Year 256

When we returned to Caskfire Churt was outside. Outside in the sun. It was concerning to say the least. She said she needed to see us as soon as we arrived.

The Obcobra has been cursing dwarves within the fortress with little provocation. Made one fellow’s entire beard fall out when he took a bit of food from her. Turned another handful into a mix of dwarf and boar when they complained about not being strong enough. Then a fair number of other more temporary curses. Churt wanted us to talk the Obcobra away from all the cursing, unfortunately she is unwilling to stop.

Given that and that we want to keep her close enough to be helpful once the fight against the Goblin horde starts in earnest, we convinced her to move into one of the nearby empty Goblin warrens. We even had a crew of dwarves help clean it out for her. She seemed to like that idea well enough.

Problem solved for the time being I suppose.

50th of Spring, Year 256

That was bad.

Most everything was burned. There was no one to save.

The only thing that still lived was a tree, tall and unmarred by all the horror around it except for the piles of dead Goblins surrounding it. Some kind of advisor tree according to the elf.

Chonck, of course, of course, licked the advisor tree in an attempt to communicate with it. It would seem that it had killed the Goblins surrounding it itself somehow. More importantly, it informed him that the Goblins’ leader was to the south with the bulk of the force he attacked the city with.

Silly as it may seem now, I think it wanted to keep fighting the Goblins that harmed its people, its home. When Chonck asked it for a twig so that he could keep talking to it, it lowered an absolutely massive branch into his hands. That branch was at least as big as his maul and I would swear thrummed with enough power that even I could feel it. Chonck seemed excited at the prospect of fighting Goblins with his new friend, so I can hardly complain.

[The next several pages contain a great deal of scribbled out text. A small number of pages are missing.]

The Goblins’ leader, their Lord Eebaku, claimed to be my father.

I would not have believed it from a creature that looked like his disguised self, a Goblin twice the size of any others wearing a finer version of the same black armor as the rest of his army. Having seen him take on a demonic form though. Having seen myself in the mirror. I cannot help but believe that he could be my father.

Why did I never ask mom more about when she found me? It never seemed important. It never seemed like it could be important. But to have something like this just show up, I want him to be lying. I want it to be a matter of some demon who looks close enough to right, or can shape shift to close enough, just trying to get me to turn on my family. That would make sense. That would be reasonable.

The things he said about my youth though, about trying to find me when I was growing up, and his claims to know more still. I can’t help but wonder.

It makes me feel a little ill honestly. He claimed that he had burned down the elves’ city and slaughtered so many of them was simply that they refused to join his empire. It seems certain that he would do the same to Caskfire.

I cannot let that happen.

We have something that might be useful. Chonck asked him if any books had survived the fires. The answer should be obvious, but Eebaku’s response to Chonck’s follow up request for a book interests me. He threw one to Chonck. Between all the talk of blood making the grass grow tall in the ruins of his enemies’ homes and the claims of tremendous power it looks like it might be his personal journal. It could be another resource for finding out more about our enemy, but as easily as he turned it over I doubt that it can be trusted.

I will work on a full translation once we have returned to Caskfire.

49th Spring, Year 256

Elven emissaries arrived today.

Churt called us to the tavern to talk to them. That might have been to save herself from dealing with them further.

I should avoid being so cruel.

They were seeking help from “the small folk” in saving their home from an army of Goblins lead by yet more Goblins in black armor.If they came to a Dwarven fortress, they have to be desperate. I would have thought that their pride would keep them from it. Their leader promised that their generosity would be near endless if we succeeded. So there is that.

Chonk seems very much back to himself and immediately asked after the library. So did Azurei, for tales and music, and Eclair, for recipes. There is no telling what the elf wants. Never is. Though I admit, I am also unsure as to what I would want from our visitors. I should figure that out after we return.

We left as soon as we could gather our arms and half of the Regulars. They and the elves last five warriors will be joining us on the journey. I think the elves might be regretting the choice to join us though. Between Eclair’s poisoned cookies and wondering about ways to cook elf meat and if that would be cannibalism for her and Chonck’s asides about the Eater of the Dead and the screaming Goblins in his head, they seem quite disturbed.

We had barely convinced Chonck to eat some salted pork and a handful of herbs Eclair had pilfered from the apothecary before running into a group of these black armored Goblins. They put up much more of a fight than we have seen in the past. If we run into a large group of them we might be in trouble.

We might be in trouble any way. Based on the Goblin Chonck ate out of this group the elves’ city is already burned. We may be to late to save anyone. I can only hope not.

42nd Spring, Year 256

We had been back just long enough for Chonck to disappear into the library, presumably to pull himself back together, when Churt ordered the party back topside to deal with an invasion of wild boar that had been eating their way through the fields and destroying any fences in their way.

The vast majority of the militia dwarves were already out dealing with their own assigned fields. There were waves upon waves of boar rushing in. Most of them just seemed lost or desperate to find food. The last few seemed driven forward.

Were driven forward. I do not know how we wound up dealing with the only dire boar in the lot of them. Thing is bigger than Chonck and so battle scared that I had a hard time telling the difference between the arrows that he’d been hit with and the ruff of fur down his back. Smart too. After Azurei used one of her brain melting spells on him and failed to kill him, he avoided her. But then when Eclair used one of her last eldritch blasts on him, he saw she was tired out and charged.

The elf managed to calm him down enough to catch him. There were remains of a Goblin harness on him with his name inscribed on it, it translates to something like “Bear-render.”  So not only is this dire boar strong and smart enough to run off a celestial warlock, though an admittedly exhausted one, but he also earned a name before we ran the Goblins out of the area. It seems that Bear-render is going to be a good addition to the fortress.

That said, this is going to put us irreparably behind on growing crops for winter, I fear. At least we should have enough salted pork and mushrooms to keep the fortress fed. I am also a touch worried that the other animals that the Goblins were eating will have similar population explosions that we will have to deal with.

For now though, I have to clean the hog droppings off the crossbow I borrowed before the quartermaster will approve repairs to mine.

38th of Spring, Year 256

It has been a most strange few days.

Chonck has remained upset about the name situation and continued to insist that he would slay the Eater of the Dead himself and claim his name. He kept circling back to Eater of the Eater.

I feel like that has likely changed.

The door to the Eater of the Dead’s lair felt like it was miles away from the rest of the Eebakuzi Goblin pit, behind a set of distinctly not Goblin made doors. Huge doors with Goblin skeletons piled up around the sides of it.

Chonck raged as soon as we got to them and slammed belly first into the room beyond.

The Eater of the Dead was an enormous spider, intelligent enough to communicate and big enough to make Chonck look small. The room was lit by strange blue lights that, as soon as Chonck hit the Eater of the Dead, rushed in to surround it. Like a protective spell of some sort. Azurei and Eclair’s spells seemed to have no effect until they began to use more advanced magics. Even with the elf having cast a spell to enhance everyone’s weapons, it seemed like physical attacks did little to it either.

But we beat it, some how, we beat it without losing anyone.

I am worried about what happened after though.

Chonck made good on his threat to make his name by eating the Eater of the Dead. As soon as it was dead, he ripped off one of its legs and tore into it. Then the lights that had surrounded it for the entire battle surrounded and flowed into him. The lights were spirits, the spirits of every being that the Eater of the Dead had consumed. It granted him what seems to be the knowledge of all those spirits and the Eater of the Dead itself.

He can count much better now and read and put ideas together better. He has an idea of what makes something contextually appropriate. But it left him badly shaken, sitting in a corner trying to process what was happening to him. I don’t know how this will effect him or how he interacts with the party going forward. It seems like the kind of thing that could break some one quite easily. Here’s hoping he comes out of it well.

The good news in all of this, we did find what I think was the weapon the Obcobra was talking about. When the spirits attached themselves to Chonck, the only thing left glowing was the Eater of the Dead’s fangs, which suggests they hold some power. We harvested those and its venom sacs. Once we get back to Caskfire I want to have one of the craftsdwarves put hilts on them. They should make fine daggers.

 

39th of Spring, Year 256

Even with Chonck in a bad way, we are making good time back to Caskfire.

I find myself thinking more and more about what the skeletons outside of the Eater of the Dead’s lair meant. They were worryingly clean, like something meant for display. While the Goblin corpses within its lair were still covered with bits of meat or even hair and armor in some cases.

It seems possible that this is where our friends in White Hall were getting the Goblin corpses they were sending after Rikke’s bandits. I don’t want to borrow trouble, certainly. But if we have cut their access to bodies it could result in any number of reactions. It might be worth keeping an eye on them for the next while.