For the Glory of the Black Dragon

To the Duchess of Turrows,
Dear Mother

I hope time has softened our mutual frustrations with life. That the loss of husband and father has given us both the chance to reevaluate our surroundings, our relationships, and our place in them. I hope all has been well with you. I can not say all has been well for me. I also can not say I regret or resent my situation these past years. Chardun has seen fit to take my natural tendency towards brutality and playful maiming, and direct it, hone it, to his service. I seek to harness my faith, and share it with those around me, to be a priest of the faith, and one of its warriors. Much has happened, just in this last few months. Much more will I am sure in the coming year.

I have pledged myself into military service, seeking a way to put forth the word and ideas of Chardun. Already Chardun’s favor is with me. My unit, a dedicated and skilled lot, is the finest I could hope to serve with. A Hardcastle is our Dark Father, our Priest. I could not hope for a finer, more dedicated man than one of my blood. It is for this reason that I find myself writing you, when I thought I would never darken your doorstep again. A Countess seeks to betray the throne, and we are unsure how many are with her.

(Letter goes on to detail all Vash ‘Grevous’ Ourven knows of the Countess’s plot)

I hope that the information makes it into the Kings hands before it is too late.

I thank you for you patience, and faith mother. I do not believe I would have accomplished anything in my life were it not for you.

I have one other request, one I feel shamed in even bringing to you, as a common begger with his hand out. I have need of a servant, one well versed in the art or combat and war. A slave, one broken and ready to be molded back into whatever form we choose. I am able to pay for his extended services, or possibly buy him right out,

I await a response, humbled by the memories of you.

Your dearest, and darkest son,

Lord Vash Ourven

You're in the Army Now

While I’m more than happy to do well by my God and country, I have to admit I wasn’t really looking forward to military service. Somehow being surrounded by sweaty, lesser men with nary a marriage prospect amongst them did not appeal to a Lady, let alone a noble-born daughter of House Adler of the Royal Court. However, the Divine Tyrant chose to associate me with rather interesting company. First, our leader is a man of dark faith. Courtier whispers did not do justice to meeting a Hardcastle in person. Such words as “cruel but just” come to mind. Next, we have two ascetics: one high born, the other not. Now, a woman is as welcome in the cloister as she is lucky on a ship full of old salts; but I really appreciate their ability to reap righteous destruction with only what the Gods gave them. Next, we have the “beasts”: an Halfling and Half Orc, respectively. They really remind of my puppy, Brutus, always ready to tear at the throat of some infidel or another – such a good boy. It also seems they work together well as a team. The Halfling found a pleasant, mountain cave for a rest from our journeys and the Half Orc suggested I talk a bath in a clear underground pool. My faithful eagle and lookout didn’t detect anything, but I still swear that there was some funny business going on as I disrobed. Speaking of underground, I do seem to have the knack for finding my way around caves and such. Maybe it is all the time I used to play around dungeons of the capital as a little girl. Another reminder of those salad days came the other day when we saw a caravan preceded by a procession of slaves. Oh, how I remember how when my daddy got me my first slave after weeks of cajoling. I was so excited when he was bad. Nothing can replace the feeling of the first time my scourge bit into his willing flesh. In conclusion, I don’t want to salute forever, but it’ll certainly do for now.

Glory to Chardun
He who boasts

Blessed be to Chardun, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; he is my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. My God, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. Oh Chardun, bless us and come down! Touch the mountains so that they smoke! Flash forth the lightning and scatter them, the unwashed sons of man who chatter heresy; send out your arrows and rout them! Stretch out your hand and smite those whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood. We give you praise, praise for making us your instruments, for guiding us to victory, for bestowing us the might to crush your enemies and bring your wisdom and order to the world.

Death marks us all, but for some, Chardun is not yet ready for their souls. Those of us still standing are indeed blessed.

After much meditation, and penitence, I wonder, would we have been harsher or less concerned than the captain if it was one of our men stepping outside of protocol? I don’t have an answer for that.

The halfling broke military law and was punished for, regardless of his reasons. We broke military law, and were punished for it, regardless of our reasons.

I’d like to think we would have rewarded such an action if we pursued the reason behind it, but again, I’m not sure.

In the end, it is behind us, we came out far better than when we went in, and I believe a closer, more battle tested squad.

Praise to Chardun!

"Black" Hugh speaks/preaches after the latest battle
Charduns blessings

“Things look grim. We have powerful opponents we pursue. Our every advance has had obstacles. Some have been daunting obstacle indeed. We have lost some of Charduns faithful. We are all weakened as well as wounded. We have been betrayed from within, (a large unsettling smile, slowly slides across his face, as he speaks in a low and threating voice) "That betrayer of Chardun will serve long after his painful death. " We trudge on after the foes of God and country, ever aware that the traitorous Countess has has her men pursuing us. In our present state either resting or moving forward can seem rather ominous.

What shall we do? It appears as though either choice may very well result in failure."
“We take heart. The answers are all so very obvious. We have Charduns favor! Has not Chardun seen us through every obstacle we have faced? Are we not closer to dis-crediting the countess and her blind followers? Has not Chardun sent us another, yes ANOTHER of his faithful and holy warriors? Is this mere coincidence? Chardun has sent Lord Grievious as a sign. A sign that we indeed will justly serve those who have betrayed him. A sign of his approval. Yes! Chardun approves of what we are doing! Chardun has given me more understanding, more knowledge, more healing this very night. (war scepter/holy symbol handle strikes the floor loudly) And more power to smite Charduns foes! "

Rest easy this night knowing we are Charduns servants and Chardun approves of what we are doing……..

Journal entry 1

Tis through the skills and bravery of my fellow soldiers that I, as well as they, have survived to this point. The tomb continues to be oppressive and full of dangers. This very night we make camp in the lair of a now dead giant tomb spider. We have lost two soldiers since I entered the tomb, and several before I stepped foot into this chaos ruled place.

The leader of this squad is a holy man of Chardun. He, from what I can tell, is a distant cousin to my family. His family name alone makes him trustworthy, if rumors of the Hardcastles are true. I doubt there is reason to believe them false. He has held to his faith in dire situations, and pursued the advancement of Chardun.

The others are just as hardy and loyal. I have never met a halfling myself, and ours seems to be near feral, possibly rabid, but he fights like a man possessed, and has proven his worth to me several times in a matter of hours.

Our sorcerer seems less timid than I would expect from a woman. The mercenary we convinced to join us against her old party is holding to her word, but I do not trust her. She sought to abandon her group in a time of dire need, what would keep her from doing the same to us?

We are closing in on our quarry, signs of their dwindling numbers proceed us at every turn. Somewhere behind us the Countess has her hired lackeys coming for us. It is a dire situation, and one I’m sure will not be easy to overcome, unless we can trust in Chardun. I say my prayers tonight, dreaming of vengeance, of exposing a traitor to the crown, and of using these circumstances to advance the word of Chardun.

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