(translated from Draconic)
Most honored master,
I pray all is as it should be at the temple. My travels with Roth have been met with some progress. Enclosed is my accounting of the happenings of my pilgrimage thus far.
Tea with strangers: I must say, i had no idea that there were so many of my kind outside of the monastery. It is a bit of a shock to go from being surrounded by the kin of dragons and only speaking our native tongue to using the common language; I pray that I do not offend someone with my use of words. Roth, Son of the First, and I have made our way to a port town by the name of Shore Blossom where we have come into contact with some other newly arrived strangers who invited us to tea and a meal. We accepted the invitation feeling blessed that our arrival was welcomed with hospitality. Son of the First, as you know, can be an intimidating sight to non dragonkin, yet these folk seemed very accepting and did not mention his size. As we sat at a fairly large table with intricate carving in a small spot we were approached by an musician who regaled us with the tale of a table that was once in that same spot that a group of adventures would sit at after their adventures. The group would carve the map of the surrounding area into the table until the entire table had become a representation of the world beyond the walls of the city. That table was lost in a fire and she had this one created to replace it and she hopes that one day she will have an exact replica as new adventurers carve the map into the replacement. Her story hung in the air as if she were baiting my new companions into being exactly that. I have neither the desire for adventure nor the woodworking skills to accomplish the task, so i was disinclined to such a thing. Roth, Son of the First, was of a like mindset. The others, on the other hand, fell for the ruse as a mouse does a trap with cheese. This was a bad idea. They were likely never to return; as I hear that the wilds beyond the wall are quite perilous. Son of the First and I chose to escort them so that they could come back to the safety of the city alive. Off we went.
Before I continue, I feel the need describe these folk:
The first is an elf of some renown by the name of Oranssi. I have no trouble with that name as my elven is far better than my common speak. He is a healer of Artemisia and, as such, must be protected. He suffers from a certain ailment that I do not understand. He stated that it was from a time that he was a wolf, but he is an elf. Are there wolves that turn into elves? I can't recall anything about that from my studies. He keeps saying that he's "seen some shit" which is odd because we all have seen our own droppings and all, save him, seem to be unaffected by the sight of fecal matter. Perhaps wolf scat is more intimidating than normal scat? But I assure you he's an elf and not a wolf.
The second is a halfling called Odiri who seems to be able to drink her weight in alcohol. It is an impressive feat for a creature so small to imbibe so much. She must have a stomach of iron. I must mention her skill with the bow. Her arrows fly true and I have seen her fell a beast over twice her size. She seems to embrace chaos as a way of life. I do not understand this, yet it seems to work for her.
Next comes a most peculiar being. His name is Frivolity and he is a being that I can only assume to be otherworldly. He is hard to describe in a believable manner; suffice it to say that I understood quickly why Roth, Descendant of the Eternal one, did not turn as many heads as I thought he would. Frivolity is extraordinarily loud and his skills appear to be rooted in negotiation. He says many words and I can only assume that his volume is intentional to ensure that as many as possible hear those words. I take pleasure in knowing that we have one who sees peaceful, diplomatic resolutions are the wiser course of action.
Next we have Naligor. Another elf! This one seems to be able to tame cats at will. Before this excursion, I would have considered this to be a worthless skill and I would have been wrong. His prowess with weapons, however, is a different story. His strikes are wild and lack focus. I'll offer to train him since he does not travel with a cat to protect him.
Then there is Roth, dragonkin, of whom you know. His presence has been a blessing for he is a reminder of home as much as a reminder that I'm not here to become part of human society, but to learn of it.
The wall: we made our way through the farmlands to the north of the city proper for the gate to the outside world lies beyond these farms. It says much when a city puts their food production within the city wall; the wilds must, indeed, be dangerous. Soon we came to the magnificent sight of the massive white wall. It's construction is old, but it looks as though it were finished yesterday.
The guardsmen at the gate looked shocked more than resistant as we asked to pass through. I am pretty sure I heard them betting money on our odds of survival as the gate closed behind us. We didn't get more than a few yards from the gate before the strangest of things happened. We all received some type of key. Mine was stenciled within my flesh as a tattoo, others received actual keys. This is the magic of Shore Blossom. I know not of things arcane and seek no such knowledge, but I assume study of this gate should be considered by the order. Send Jonna! She would be a most welcome sight and she would find this wall most fascinating. I jest. I did not presume to tell the council what to do and I'm sure the order needs her talents elsewhere.
Into the wild: onward we traveled into a large forest of bamboo. It is called the bamboo sea; I assure you that it is not liquid bamboo and any ship that were to attempt sailing it would be as pointless as trying to walk on water . The little one proved herself as quite adept at navigating the trees and helping us move along quickly. Roth, Son of the First, cleared a path through the trees with his axe. If ever warriors become unneeded, he has a splendid future in farming. It wasn't more than a few miles before we realized that we were being stalked. A creature was hunting us. In the common tongue the word stalk can mean the shafts of the trees we walked among as well as being silently hunted; this language confuses me often.
A large cat with fur the color of rich ebony was about to pounce on the little one when we noticed it. As we readied ourselves for protection. Naligor Cat Friend chanted an incantation and the beast seemed to relax. I don't understand these magics, but I'm thankful for them. This was a magnificent creature and it would have been a shame to kill it just because it chose the wrong meal. The cat whisperer then informed us that the obsidian colored beast gave us a crude lay of the land. It also warned us of the other cats called ghost tigers; creatures of legend really.
The shrine and the heretics: we left the cat to continue its hunt as neither ally nor enemy and continued on our path; Roth Bamboobane still hacking his way through until we came to it. What a magnificent and ancient place! An ancient shrine to the earth mother. This place was once holy ground. I reminded all to be respectful of this place's meaning and significance. Despite the tenets of the earth mother's worship Oranssi and I cleared away the overgrowth and created a shrine with candle and incense to pay respects. I read the parable of the union between the Aion the eternal and Gaea's union from my prayer book. Although once hallowed ground, this was no longer a place of worship and reverence, but we treated it as such. We camped there that eve.
As the night sky chased away the light of day we set a guard duty and laid our weary heads to rest. Then the heretics came. Winged kobolds nearly killed the little one and the loud one by dropping boulders on them. Which was enough to wake the rest of us. We all sprung to action. I jumped to snatch one from the sky, but he wriggled free from my grasp. The healer tended to the wounded. Three more land bound kobolds then appeared charging us. Roth, Koboldbane, swung his mighty maul turning one of them into little more than bloody mist and chunks. Then the loud one did what I thought was impossible; he got louder.
"Parlay his voice boomed into the night. We all paused at the ready. Oranssi began tending the wounds of hurt little one and the ground kobolds attacked. I intervened and gave them swift, honorable deaths. The little one felled a flyer with an arrow. The other two surrendered. They gave us more detailed information in exchange for two gold coins and their lives.
The kobolds are part of the Iron Rat Clan. They also warned us of the same mythical ghost tigers, gave us rough directions to a haunted temple and then, though most probably didn't infer it, alluded to worshipping something within Shan-Dao, a kobold city beyond the haunted temple. I know little of kobolds, but what i do know is if they revere something it's a dragon and those dragons are the type to be feared more than worshipped. Not only that, but most of those dragons are the children of the dark one. It is my duty to find out. Ill report to you with more information once I have it. We honored the terms of the parlay and let them live; though I don't expect for much longer of we choose to go to Shan-Dao. We cleaned the shrine of the desecration that the kobolds forced us into and burned their corpses. As I said the last rites of Aion over the dead creatures his cleansing light flashed in their flames; proof that the eternal dragon is not beyond mercy for the lost. And the shrine to the eternal one's consort became hallowed once again. I am no cleric, but I am honored to have found favor with the lover of my patron.
The white tigers: as we woke the next morning we discussed where to head over breakfast. The little archer determined the haunted temple was our destination; we had little choice since she is the only person that seemed to know where she was going. I'm not sure if that was where we were heading the whole time or if it was her whimsical nature changing our destination; neither would surprise me. We continued on; bamboo stalks no longer meeting an untimely end to Son of the First's axe as we tried to be as quiet as possible; this is relative since the loud one's ability to be quiet is merely stomping about and singing about being quiet at the top of his lungs. Just before midday a white streak blew past Frivolity. It didn't do much other than let its presence be known and if it was an attack; then the cat's martial prowess rivaled the elf who was about to be its friend. Naligor Catlover worked his magic and the cat responded in similar manner to our onyx hued adversary from the day before.
This cat warned us that the other ghost tigers were enthralled to some ancient force and that their will is not their own. We should not expect them to pause as other felines do. The beast let us pass due to the respect we had shown it. I am certain that this is what the earth mother desires and why we have been given her favor. Liberating these beasts must be done. It is an abomination to be made to serve against one's nature. I gave Gaea my promise to accomplish this. It is honorable and just that her children be returned to her.
Near dusk we came upon stone buildings in the overgrowth. In a place untouched for decades, such as these wilds, stone can mean only one thing; advanced for its time. The little one set about scouting the perimeter while some of us investigated the ruins. These were definitely Dwarven. Those of us who know history theorize that this is a remnant of the old empire of stone, an ancient civilization of seafaring dwarves that used to subjugate and enslave more than make peace. As you know, a few of our combat techniques come from the knowledge of this empire. I was able to identify a few letters of the carved text in the stone, unfortunately it was too dilapidated to make out much more than that. Then the little scout came running. She never got a full sentence out before we had all realized there were three of the ghost tigers charging at us. A quick glance to the cat whisperer confirmed that there would be no parlay this time; it was time to fight.
All the warnings we had were still not enough to prepare us for the sheer ferocity of these creatures. They were fast, silent, tough, coordinated and intelligent. This was not instinct that we fought; this was deliberate and malicious. One singled out our healer immediately and nearly killed him. One moved to Roth, Scratching post, and one to me. The battle was a blur, but by the end of it the little one had killed the one I faced with an arrow, I snapped ones neck and Roth, the cleaver, chopped one in half after nearly being killed. This is where I mention that I pity those who train in armor, it slows one's defense and doesn't protect from much. Naligor without his ability to tame these beasts couldn't do much other than practice swinging his club in the air; again I'll work with him on his martial prowess. The real hero of the fight was Frivolity the Booming Voice, none of us had any idea that he could channel his otherworldly god into healing power and without him; there would have been drastically different and unfavorable result to the conflict.
Now here is the important part; progress has been made on Roth's and my quest to find the holy artifacts of the order. As the fight with the the tigers waged on a voice emanated from one of them invoking our sovereign as if it were an insult. Had I not spent the better part of twenty winters mentally conditioning myself I would have lost focus. Gods be thanked for the training I've received. Naturally after the tigers were finished I whispered my oath of liberation for them to the air. In response a figure appeared before us and threatened us. She appeared to be half and tiger half human. More importantly Golden Sunset hung at her waist! I know not of her connection to the Fangs of Skotos or even if she is in league with them, but I do know she carries the property of the Ceaseless Dragon and she WILL hand it over; of not willingly, it is my duty to remove it from her. My humble request is for you to send me any information we might have access to regarding the Fangs so that I may know what Roth and I are fighting against.
Your servant past, present and future,
Kodu, Fist of the Infinite