May 13, 2000
First of all, let me say that I am not a thief. I am a rogue. I do not skulk through streets like a common cutpurse, nor do I break into dwellings like a simple cat burglar. While I do share my skills with those of thieves, I am not one. That said, allow me to continue. My name is Thenlar Castir. I am half of human blood, and half of elvish blood. I was ostracized from both human and elf societies because I am different, so I chose to become an adventurer. Ever since I left the New Adventurers' Guild, I have been keeping this journal. And now I share it with you.
Journal Entry, 1st Day of the Month of Futility, Year 536
I've been doing some work for a minor elvish noble as of late, and he hired me yesterday to infiltrate the Fortress Shadowclaw and wreak havoc. Before then, I never heard of such a place, so I asked some people what they knew of the place. What I was told chilled my blood to icy temperatures. Keeping my fears in check, I rechecked my gear one more time, and called for a dragon. A small fire lizard appeared and took payment, and not too long after a massive bronze dragon landed beside me. It stared at me silently as I watched it in no small amount of awe. I shall continue this entry when I land.
I watched the dragon fly away, leaving me in a small marsh. Now I'm standing close by the steel gates that guard the entrance to Fortress Shadowclaw. I will write more when I leave...
Thenlar stealthily slides his short sword into its sheath and stares up the blank wall. Glancing about, he slowly begins to climb up the sheer rock surface. When arrives at the top, he checks for guards, then drops inside the outer walls. Keeping to the shadows, the rogue slips by various drilling soldiers and enters the keep.
A flickering shadow slips into a slightly ajar door in the middle levels of the fortress. A single sleeping soldier lies within. The figure raises his flaming short sword and stabs down. The soldier suddenly jerks, then lashes out, knocking Thenlar away. He grabs his sword and takes a hard swing. Thenlar ducks and draws an engraved long sword. The two battle for a few moments, neither gaining the advantage, when Thenlar suddenly snaps his left hand forward and a throwing axe embeds itself in the soldier's chest. He cries out and slumps. Seizing the initiative, Thenlar drives forward. The soldier, weak from his wounds, quickly falls to multiple slashes.
Thenlar slides up against the wall, exhausted. The battle had been harder than he expected. Obviously, these soldiers are well trained and in excellent physical condition. Thenlar takes up his short sword again and walks over by the fallen soldier. He empties the dead man's pockets, taking a bag of gold coins. Refreshed, he slips out into the hallway.
And runs straight into a decrepit, old manservant. Thenlar immediately whips his sword up and presses it against the man's throat. The old man blinks once, and drops his tray that clatters to the floor. Startled, Thenlar backs away. The old man yells loudly and kicks at the surprised rogue. Caught by surprise, Thenlar winces as the kick lands squarely in his chest. He quickly returns the attack, severely wounding the man, but the damage has already been done. Two more soldiers push open a door and step into the hallway, swords drawn. Thenlar throws an axe at the pair, forcing them to duck, then turns and stabs the man, who collapses, bleeding freely. The rogue turns and sprints down the hallway with the soldiers in hot pursuit.
Thenlar peers out from a crack in the door. Groups of three soldiers patrol the hallways, looking for him. Scowling darkly, Thenlar examines his options. His hiding place is a small windowless storage room, so climbing is not an option. Fighting his way out is also not going to work, as three soldiers would easily overpower him. Thenlar looks about the room. His eyes light upon something and a smile forms on his face as he decides on a course of action.
A lone soldier of Shadowclaw marches down the hallway and down the stairwell. The search parties pay him no heed as he proceeds down the stairs and out the doorway. He marches smartly across the courtyard, a pair of swords banging against his hips. He stops by the gate guards and pauses. They look him over casually and stand aside. The soldier nods slightly and walks out...
Imagine my surprise when I turned the corner of the outer wall and ran straight into a familiar face. Aylana stood there, whip drawn and ready. I quickly reached up and pulled off the concealing helmet. She looked at me blankly for a moment, then rushed forward and hugged me. An unexpected meeting if there ever was one. I quickly pulled her out of earshot into the swamps. She told me that she'd been looking for me. She had another message from my employer. Apparently, I am to search for evidence that Shadowclaw has been holding raids into elvish territory. My pay will be doubled if I succeed. Aylana has agreed to accompany me when I enter again tonight.
An unlikely pair approach the gates in the dim light of night. Two wary guards approach, swords at ready. The two stop before the approaching figures, which resolve in the torchlight to be another soldier marching a woman forward at sword-point.
"What's going on here?" a guard asks.
"A spy. I caught her in the marshes," the soldier replies.
"Ah ha," says the guard, nodding. "Bring her to the dungeons then."
The soldier nods mutely and pushes his captive in.
The two advance through the hallways down to the dungeon. The jail keeper impassively watches as the pair approach. The jailer studies the woman for a moment, then pulls the heavy dungeon door open and pushes the woman through. Suddenly, he feels a burning pain in his back as the soldier buries a short sword in his back. Enraged, the jailer turns to confront the treacherous soldier when the woman's whip snaps out and slashes his back. Dizzy from blood loss, the jailer is easily slain by another sword thrust.
Two people stand in a darkened hallway. One watches down the hallway, while the other peers into an open door. Thenlar waves Aylana forward, and the two enter the lushly appointed quarters. Thenlar quietly enters the room. It appears empty. Aylana enters behind him and shuts the door. Thenlar sits in front of a desk and studies it. The rogue begins opening and closing various drawers when something catches his eye. He reaches in and pulls out a letter written on crisp white paper. "I have it," he whispers. "Quickly, let's go before we are caught." Suddenly, another voice replies, "Too late." Thenlar stands up and spins around, knocking the chair away. A beautiful woman in mage's robes stands only three feet from him. "Calime!" Thenlar exclaims. The mage's reply is a lightning bolt.
Thenlar stumbles down the stairs, bleeding from multiple wounds and burns. Aylana follows behind him, similarly injured. The pair bursts out into the courtyard, where various soldiers mill about in confusion. Calime's voice rings out, "STOP THEM!" The adventurers make a last sprint and rush by most of the soldiers. Most of them. The last two take hurried swings at the running pair. Thenlar takes the hit and manages to keep running through the haze of pain, but Aylana is not quite as fortunate. The blade cuts through her field plate-mail. She cries out in pain and collapses. Thenlar stops and spins around. "Aylana!" He throws his last axe at the soldiers. The throwing weapon slashes through a soldier's throat. The last one stops short and stares at Thenlar. The rogue's crazed look convinces the guard to turn tail and flee. Thenlar hefts Aylana's limp form over his shoulder and sprints away...
I find myself still giving thanks to the gods for our narrow escape. After we were out of sight of the fortress, I checked on Aylana's condition. She was critically wounded, but still alive. Just barely alive. I surveyed the area and saw a small temple rising above the marshes. I brought Aylana to that temple, in the hopes that the priests there could help us. They aided us as best as possible, casting healing spells and a myriad of others I cannot even describe. We then summoned dragons and returned to Medievia City. I still have that damning letter in my pocket, which I shall bring to my employer tomorrow morning. But that is tomorrow. The campfire is growing dim, and the moon remains high in the nighttime sky.