(Bloodmoon 28th -
I write in this journal again today, the first day of Harvest.
The last two weeks have been a struggle, both physicaly and mentally. As we left the swamp, aided by the "Swamp King", we made our way back toward the giant that might hold the real peice of the Rod that we sought. We had been fooled and turned into the murky land, but Wisdom would teach us not to do so again.
We reached the mountains, but we were undecided on as which way to travel. Apparently one of the Wind Dukes appeared to Malachi and told him that a large group of Giren had been captured and were being taken to the west toward the Dark Queen's mountain. Malachi was torn on wether to sacrifice the prisinors to the prisons of the Queen so we could make sure to catch the Rod, which the giant was surely bringing to the Dark Queen soon. I was surprised, but I am not sure why. Although we must always listen to our concience first, which would tell us to rescue the Giren, we also knew that we had to have the Rod at all costs. But at what point do we stop paying before we ourselves become monsters willing to sacrifice anything for our cause, even innocent people? Surly it would be worse to allow the Rod the chance to fall into the Dark Queen's hands, however. Such a struggle in one's heart could tear a person apart. I'm glad the decision was not mine to make. Malachi decided to travel to search for the Giren. Prehaps it was the wrong decision, but it was one I knew Malachi would make. Perhaps it surprised me that it took so long for him to make it. Malachi has seemed to become more and more obsessed with the quest for the Rods of late... but then again, I suppose he should be.
We followed our leader (actually we followed his dog, Bane, who seemed to know where we were going) along the paths through the mountains. There was a large cliff we needed to pass, which was difficult (except for the wizard Zerek, who walked across the rope with less effort than a master tightrope walker).
We camped out during the nights and took long guards so that we would not be caught off-
Finally, we reached the hills and trails that held our enemies. Shadowriders and over 30 orcs led a party of 200 slaves, all Giren men, women, and children. We made our plans and attacked with great skill and Zerek's magic. Soon, all of the Dark Queen's forces were killed, Malachi killing a Shadowrider in one of the most exciting battles I have ever seen.
However, it pains me to write here that we lost another of our original number, Anthony, to the Shadowriders. He died to the Shadowriders foul magic. It seems either way that the Highfather had willed us to sacrifice for the Rod's sake again. I will not speak of it more in these journals.
After freeing the Giren, we sent them back to the north, except for a few of the best fighters, and decided it best that we resume our journey back to the north ourselves, in search of the giant, Hak'Ka"Sar, that held the piece of the Rod.
We soon found the minons of the Queen, sleeping during the day as was their habit. It was not easy, but we managed to use our intelligence and instinct to sneak into the compound (a cave) and find the sleeping giant. He was easily awakened, and we had to fight him, although malachi did most of the fighting.
The giant caused a cave in, nearly killing Larsania, but somehow she escaped (I suspect that there is more to this story, but Malachi seems a bit unwilling to let all of the detials be known. I am sure he has his reasons).
During the battle, the giant knew he was defeated. Malachi's blades were too strong for him. In a last effort of defiance, the giant touched his Rod to one of Malachi's, trying to combine them together. Of course, the Rods flung away from each other with a loud explosion (which seemed to be, again, harmless to the living creatures there) and disappeared into the sky, leaving us with two pecies of the Rod instead of the four we wished to end up with. Still, we were releived that the Dark Queen had lost that part of the Rod and that she had no apparent way to locate it again.
After this battle, we decided to head north again, to the Heart forest west of Heart City. The Rods pulled in that direction, and we wanted to see if the city still stood after the destruction we had seen in the former places we visited.
We were all incredibly tired and disappointed by the loss of the Rod and of our companion. But such are small sacrifices, no matter how large they seem to us, to what others have paid to attempt to stop the Queen. We will sacrifice everything if we have to.