I’m putting the term “patience is a virtue” on trial, Dear Journal. It is certainly a different tactic than what I am used to these days.
As expected, the target I painted upon my allies yesterday has drawn fire. The reminders of that mistake now surround me constantly. Because of my carelessness we have been brought low, now in the service of yet another stranger. No longer do I have the luxury of waving my hands and getting results, not if I ever wish to see my friend again. Patience is the only tactic I have left, and I do say it does not agree with me. Not in the slightest.
Tonight we are comfortable, high up in The Kretian Mountains to the south. It’s been a long while since our company has slept contentedly (though I cannot speak for the halfling… or the perpetually content Dimmil, for that matter). It’s strange we find such a comfort in the most inhospitable terrain we’ve ventured yet. Well, second most. My life-long friend may even now be steeped in danger, but I too find myself at ease, restful for once. Restful at last.
Kretia is a long way from home, Dear Journal: I suppose you would like to know why we’re here? It may not be an elegant story, but its loose ends gnaw at my conscious, so it bears telling. Following the only lead we had to Aelith, we have stumbled into the dept of the slave-trader, Bridrin. The snake uses what he can to leverage his advantage against us, purposely keeping vague as to any information on Aelith. Treachery is to be expected at this point. Nonetheless, here we are, acquiring another of his slaves to add to his collection. He seeks an important frost giant in these mountains by the name of Gungir. Apparently, the beast is something to be desired, enough so to lead a group of adventurers to his doorstep. I’ve been battling my urge to obliterate this “prize” and his gang of thugs since we arrived, but I bite my tongue until it bleeds. I will not suffer endangerment of this company again, not to undermine this extortionist at my whim alone. I cannot risk Aelith’s safety like that. Not again.
We parlayed with the brutes, disguised as heralds of the gods. Vimik presented the Jarl with the collar given to us by Bridrin, hoping to “test” his will, but our bluff was called and we were dismissed from his halls. He was arrogant and confident in his own abilities, so it seems subtlety will not get the slave-trader his puppet. As we lay down to sleep, we discuss a new angle of attack. The halfling believes we sowed the seeds of discord with our last visit, so tomorrow we attempt to reap that bounty. Tomorrow, we will go to war with their minds. Results, at the very least.
As to these loose ends? Dear Journal, I can’t help but wonder about Bridrin’s plans with these savages. Gungir is suppose to be of great influence, but in a region as isolated as this, so far from Ora Novum, what use could he be to the slave-trader? Why send us, people who certainly cannot be trusted (for very good reason) in the stead of one of his puppets, who are certainly capable of accomplishing this goal themselves? We were lured into a place that left us vulnerable, so why did he not attempt to collar us? He mentioned preserving resources, but he acquires these resources for just such a task: why does he work so hard to protect his puppets? What could he be doing with them? This task seems too risky to trust to strangers, and too… odd to be justified in those risks. He is up to something, though I cannot say what, Dear Journal. I think, for perhaps the first time, the Aequora Three has an enemy on our hands the likes of which we have not encountered before. Even the Illurian’s powers were not as mysterious, or as far-reaching as Bridrin’s.
How quaint. His name seems to bleed its ink on your page, Dear Journal. I cannot help but give a satisfied smile to the thought. He may be an enemy of great strength, but he is still just that: an enemy. He will fall just like every enemy before him. We may work towards his unknown goal tonight, but soon he too will bleed as your ink does, dead under my foot. And as I do now, I will smile.
Patience, Dear Journal… patience… I never did care for the word.