Why should anyone travel the cracked cobblestones of the Old Road? The fortress that once cast its shadow across the road does so no longer--some whisper that the earth swallowed the fortress whole in an age long past. Four brave adventurers resolved to discover the truth and set off down the Old Road, but they never returned.

Oakhurst lies far to the north of Caledon, where current events have become rather shakey. You grew up in this small village and lived there most of your lives...until you decided to see the world. That was five years ago. Now you are returning, and just in time it seems. It is nearing the summer solstice and you've heard news of some circumstance or other that draws you home. You have to wonder what became of your old friends, lovers, or siblings that you left so long ago...

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The Quest for the Golden Apple
--- WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: THE QUEST FOR THE GOLDEN APPLE ---

Dear Dem,

I write this to you as the official chronicler of the Legend that is me, Elgeon Silentread (and sure, my companions, too). So here's the first ALL TRUE, completely 100% factual, so-honest-that-you-don't-have-to-ask-anyone-else-for-verification, accurate historical version of Elgeon's Quest for the Golden Apple:

You were there at the beginning, so you know that the story starts with my triumphant return to our beloved home after a long holiday among my other family, the Wood Elves. The girls shrieked and fainted to see me return after so long; the men wept openly in reverence and jealousy, knowing that all wedding vows, chastity vows, and other vows that normally prevent women from indulging in the dance-with-no-pants, would be broken for our handsome hero. I met them all with open arms and a welcoming heart, my family and friends. Sure, the adoration embarrassed me somewhat, but I have grown accustomed to such accolades, and it warms my heart to know that I have brought some color and life into their drab little world. I am, if nothing else, a giver.

Sadly, all merriment and festivities in my honor had to be postponed when I was told of the horrific curse that had fallen upon my house (no, not me, Dem!). My father was struck ill by a magical malady of mysterious methods. Quickly, I gathered up my gear and set off to find a cure I happened to have learned of from a wise old woman, the Golden Apple of Life!!! My childhood chums, Maelwys and Geilded, were quick to offer their services. I shooed them away, these poor novices, who would only slow me down or get themselves killed. But they were insistent, begging and pleading with me to allow them the honor of accompanying me and seeing me battle the evil hordes! Out of kindness and nostalgia, I allowed them to join me on my epic journey.

We set out together for the caverns in which the greedy goblins hoarded the magical apple. Along the way, Maelwys began trying to impress me with his book learning, prattling on about the history of the caverns. I cautioned him, "Maelwys, you must be silent, for we are in dangerous territory and could be beset upon by wolves at any moment."

He carried on, taking my words as an acknowledgement of his skill rather than the warning it was. Sure enough, from the brush sprang three wolves.

"Aaah," screamed Maelwys, "we are beset upon by wolves!"

This irritated me. I don't like people stealing my lines, even to prove I am right. He should have said "wolves are attacking", or "look out, here come the gnashy teeth things". But, as I am his hero, I knew he was simply quoting me. I spared him a look of patience and kindness before I set to the task of dispatching the wolves. Geilded pulled his sword and dropped to a combat stance, but by the time he had compensated for the unwieldy heavy blade he carried, I had already skinned the wolves and offered up my companions brand new cloaks!! (They lost them later, that's why you never saw them)

After calming my companions, we entered the cave. We found corpses of goblins and kobolds. A battle had been here, but we could see no where that they could have come from! While Gelded and Maelwys lost their lunches over the carnage, your hero detected a hidden switch, and revealed a secret passage into the kobold kingdom. We soon entered a chamber filled with kobolds! They spoke no common, and for some reason did not recognize me, and so we--- that is, I was forced to slay them. It saddened me, for they seemed otherwise a friendly sort. When I had my blade to the final kobold's throat, he begged for his life.

"Please don't kill me," he squeaked, "I speak Common but was not allowed to speak while my companions were alive. I only want to find our lost baby dragon, for I am its keeper and I am heartbroken without him."

As you know, Dem, I am an animal lover, so I felt sad for this small kobold. "You may live," I said magnanimously, "and I shall help you find your baby dragon, and then perhaps you will guide me to your king, that I may announce my peaceful intentions and noble cause and prevent further unnecessary bloodshed."

"I shall," the kobold agreed, "and thank you for helping me find my dragon, which I believe was kidnapped by the foul goblins below."

"You should not label all goblins foul, my little friend," I said, placing a hand upon his shoulder, "It is not right to label an entire race based on your experience with a few."

Kobolds, so small and stupid, but teachable, Dem. If shown patience and kindness, they can learn to be better. Not as good as me, naturally, but reasonably close to you, I'm sure. Definitely as good as Geilded.

Anyhow, he showed us to his queen. Geilded tried to impress upon her that we were here looking for lost children, and Maelwys mentioned the apple, but I assured her we were here to find their dragon and establish a relationship between her kingdom and our village that would be mutually advantageous. Still, she said she knew of the apple and the children, but gave me a seductive look that chilled me to the core, Dem. Kobolds are NOT seductive!

The kobold dragon keeper then took us to a small hole through which the goblins had forced themselves, and we entered. After searching a few rooms and discovering that fountain from which the fire potion sprang, then immediately departed after I drew a vial, we found the baby dragon, dispatched its kidnappers, and returned the dragon lest it receive further injuries when we penetrated deeper into the goblin lair!

The kobold queen declared us friends of the kobolds forever, and offered us a party. Naturally, we had to refuse, given the urgency of our quest, and the continued lustful gaze she cast upon me. And we continued our search for the Golden Apple.

We fought our way further into the lair, deeper and deeper. I don't know how many goblins we were forced to kill, I just know I killed the most. Finally, weary and bedraggled, we entered a room filled with goblin women and children, as well as a few warriors.

"Hold," I said, "Elgen Silentread does not slay women and children, even goblins. Surrender now, and all will be well."

"I demand to fight," Geilded insisted, stomping his foot petulantly. "You've killed so many, I've only killed maybe one, and that was one you had injured previously."

"Very well," I smiled indulgently, "you shall be allowed to fight. Goblins, is there one of you to be a 'champion' in this matter and 'fight' my 'champion' here for the right of passage?"

I winked at a wise looking goblin, who winked back. "Of course, and if you lose, we get to eat you."

Geilded blanched at the sudden ramifications should he lose. He has to learn, Dem, that there are consequences and he should not be so quick to fight when diplomacy will work. But the wise old goblin and I know how to raise children. He declared a feeble old warrior on his last legs who wanted to go out in combat their champion, and the poor old derelict hobbled his way to the center. He waved a crooked cane at Geilded and bleated a weak battle cry. Geilded swung mightily (several times), took a few hits from the old goblin's cane that sent him reeling, but finally swung true and gave the honorable goblin the death it desired. I wept for that goblin, Dem. I only hope that I ... no, I don't want to die like that, or be that old... umm... I hope that I get the chance to do the same for you some day. HA! Just a joke, my old bean.

Anyhow, having won the right of passage, we moved on and found some more dungeons. From one of the cages, we heard a soft feminine plea, "Oh, help, brave adventurers! I am a poor Dark Elf princess, captured by these foul creatures and I am afraid they will do unspeakable things to my innocence!"

And that's how we met Adayahi. We killed the ambushing goblins who tried to use her as bait for us, and then freed her. Naturally, she was so overwhelmed with gratitude and in awe of my magnificence, that she wanted to "thank" me properly, but I explained we had no time for such dalliances and she would need to remain with us for her safety as we completed our mission. She clung to my arm and wept with joy. Sometimes, I forget my power over the fairer sex...

Back on topic, though, with our new friend, we traveled further until we met the evil druid who controlled the magical tree and the goblins. We destroyed his wooden minions and then he struck a lucky blow that had me dazed for a moment. My companions, panicked at my momentary weakness, shrieked in grief and horror and set about themselves with so much magic and bladecraft that they accidentally set fire to the tree. This upset the druid and he spent so much time trying to recover his tree that my companions were able to kill him and end his foul tyrrany. Adayahi had the presence of mind to remember my quest and rescued an apple from the tree with which to save my father.

I congratulated my comrades and we returned home in triumph. The rest you know. As I said in the beginning, no need to bring this up with Maelwys, Geilded or Adayahi. In public, I will give them equal credit for our adventure, but you and I, dear Dem, will always know the true story.

Until we meet again!
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A duel... grand.
Elgeon offered me up as a 'Champion' to fight a hulking Hobgoblin. I emerged victorious, of course. Seems a little fitting that he would not go himself, however.

We found the missing wyrmling. He was subdued and brought back to Meepo. Furthermore, we learned the location of the Druid. Or finalized the location. Aiding the Kobolds is proving to be quite beneficial as we were rewarded with not only the key, but a few restoring potions as well. They will prove useful in the coming days I suspect.


--

We met the Chieftain. Durnn. He did not last. He rejected my offer to just let us pass, even tried to attack. Minorly succeeding, very violent creatures, these hobgoblins.

We found a new type of enemy... some sort of twisted tree-monster. They don't seem terribly ferocious, but they seem to... poison... or something. Their touch causes pain. Worth looking into...
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New findings
One of the missing party members of the Hucreles was found. He appears to be the huntsman, if his identifying ring could be believed. Strange that he died in such an odd place. Behind two pitfalls, happened upon by... one assumes Goblins. The rats had already moved in when we found him. Not much remained.

I took his hand, much to the confusion of my companions. A personal vendetta of mine, never much was a fan of him.

Elgeon recovers slowly, the spring-loaded blade to his chest put him more out of commission than we'd expected, he's been spending his time resting. We moved on without him for the time being.

Maelwys learned a secret about me... He was promptly downed after seeing it... one assumes he doesn't remember. I will not press the issue. The less people that know the better.
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The New Dream... or Nightmare
There was a saying that was passed around a lot in the Company.

"Home, where nobody knows your name. Living there for twenty years, but it always feels the same."

My vacancy from Oakhurst lasted five long years. Filled with bloodshed, battles, and loss. None of the town has changed. Life moves slow in a small town, I was always told, but I didn't realize it would be this slow. Met with the barkeep, he didn't remember me. For the best, I destroyed his inn a few times in drunken brawls.

Outside of the city I saw someone I didn't think to see again, Elgeon Silentread. He's still alive, to my shock. I expected someone to take him down either for his 'whimsical' behavior or his constant need to try and scam those around him. It pesters me to no end.

Maelwys did what he always had... appeared from no where with mysterious undertones. Typical of him really. Although in the stead, he and I have more in common than ever before. I draw closer with my learnings...

Even more strange, I found the little dragonling again, or so I call her. Kneeling over a moose. If only I could remember her name... feels rude to ask, we all more-or-less grew up together...
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Epic!
The Road Home
Oakhurst, what a strange little town it was. There was always a bustle of activity from those who lived there, like busy little bees rushing about...trying to complete their life's work before some greater being squashed out their lives.

My view of the world has changed these last few years. What a strange view it has become. I went from being the smallest in the yard, the one who was always being pushed around, to potentially the one holding the most power.

I think I made a mistake. She comes to me...when I'm sleeping. The promises of power, strength, wealth...her lust-filled voice...but I know what she really wants, what she really needs is for me to give myself over to her completely.

I resist. Its hard, but...oh, where was I? There's someone coming. I think it might an old "friend" of mine, Elgeon. If that's him, I'm doomed to spend time in the stocks again.
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