(Note: While whiskey has often married itself to creative successes, rarely can it be found a friend of the morrow’s deadlines. This merciless throbbing, loud as any strike upon Torag’s sacred anvil, makes my characteristic verbosity seem too candied a thing for this installment. Forgiveness, readers. Also, this week I’ll be giving a series of lectures in Absalom’s Central Lodge. Be sure to attend and hear all about Azlanti gender identities and their influence on human culture.)
“Greatness does not approach him whom is forever looking down.”
Fools grow so thick among us it can cause wonderment as to how greatness ever finds a fine stretch of history to sleep abed. It certainly does, though, and we can’t walk the earth without finding fields laid under some legend’s wake. What might this sprig of higher destiny be, then? What’s a legend have to it? From where do they hail? Well, it isn’t any one thing, I’d wager…but I doubt any greatness finds itself amid infants; legends find ‘emselves, willing or not, built and aged by Fate. After all, a mortal life does precede those gilt heroes.
When I first espied the three, did for a moment I believe ‘em beholden to greatness? Having been raised a right and honest dwarf, I’ll say nothing of the sort. Francis still had a boy’s beard; Voland looked more suited to tending libraries than sowing history; passivity showed me little more than a privileged dullard in Geabora. Fate found keeping my eyes dark prudent for the time.
Elder Surtova Noleski II’s abrupt departure drew the banquet to a close, all before either Elder Orlovsky Ulum or Herzog Oskar Eotvos von Braunschweig were given time with the regent. However, later that evening, both would be given private audience, allowing our three a more intimate opportunity for petitioning Elder Surtova’s blessing. Having been a-bathed in Brevoy’s high society, the Duchy of Braunschweig’s expedition was next thrust southwards, upon destiny’s own steps.
The events in the Stolen Lands would tax any historian’s credulity, but, whatever else might be said, magic can verify a few things. Matters began with rudimentary exploration—Just imagine our three traipsing about rugged wilds, ho-ho!—reaching into plains bordering southern Rostland and the northern Greenbelt. At some point (an uncommon feistiness was paid in Francis’ retrospection of the next few events; while his tenacity certainly provides an interesting story, rectitude is my singular debt) the group’s attendees were abducted by passing boggards. Not of a mind to let such pass uninhibited, they made chase right into the thick forests. Some ill-advised doings nearly brought an end to the story here were it not for a clever spell cast by the Freiherr von Schauinsland, imitating the boggard’s scintillating afterlife (or “blue dragonfly” hallucinogen depending on what school you subscribe to). Ensuing peaceable (relatively so, that is) relations saw one courier, albeit maddened by his captivity, returned. (Some overly enthusiastic sources tell of Voland and Geabora making fantastic journeys into realms beyond the Material, even conversing with otherworldly powers, and, on the slightly more conspiratorial side, being imbued with potent alien powers. While popular in telling, these claims remain wholly unsubstantiated.)
The courier’s mental invalidity made him a useless resource; solutions were pursued accordingly. It was in this vein that an improbable encounter with an Iobarian peace-weaver resulted. The next few days saw them all nearly dead. But they persevered (once again, myriad stories confuse the danger’s actual nature; some stories tell a heroic victory against the aforementioned boggards, while others become increasingly imaginative, describing things such as ferocious butterflies savaging our three), and even found a fast ally in this certain Iobarian witch…a fire-headed youth better known as Üradessa Dyrokensdottir.
— Master Historian of the Dwarven Quest for Sky and 48th Century East Avistan, Ptfdr. Erlom “Story Stone” Skyfinder