September 1st, 650 HR — Agerhall, Port Riker
Tonight: King Eamon feasts us extravagantly before sending us off into the woods to camp and subsist on trail rations. I’ve been in Port Riker for about three weeks, bidding peace and silence fond farewells as more and more people arrive. Restfulness made its complete departure when my father arrived two nights ago. Although, I suppose it’s best I get used to it now, knowing I’ll be sharing close quarters with seven other noble heirs, not to mention each of their entourages of Knights, servants, and various other useful persons. It’s not the sort of thing it would behoove me to complain about, anyway.
September 2 — The Blackwood, Day 1
The feast last night was nothing short of what I expected, everyone was posturing like peacocks in their own individual ways. The nobles and courtiers puffed out their chests and spoke loudly about matters they possibly did not know a whit about, judging from a few of the conversations I could not help but to overhear. The dozen or more Knights spoke just as loudly with both words and swords, comparing muscle sizes and implying the comparison of more, behaving just as raucously as if they were at tournament. Despite this, my father managed to be the loudest person in the room by greater margins the more intoxicated he became, ending the evening in a grand show of publicly insulting Byron McAlistair.
The next morning, King Eamon briefed us on the situation going into the Blackwood, mainly that as we make our primary excursion to Castorhall, we will not be permitted to bring any members of our escort. This wouldn’t bother me ordinarily, but as this means Connor is not coming and Faerun is, I’m more than a little… irked. With hope, I’ll manage to escape notice for the majority of the next few weeks.
Tonight, I take my watch alone, enjoying the silence, even if it is a bit eerier than I prefer.
September 4 — The Blackwood, Day 3
Continues without much incidence. Faerun remains at a comfortable distance from me, if a somewhat less comfortable distance from Genni. Genni herself is proving an expected handful, but she hasn’t encountered any problems, which is also expected. Damien’s presence has been far more appreciated than I would have predicted. Instead of being forceful and domineering as his reputation would dictate, he’s been polite, helpful, and obliging. Breac has not caused any problems for me personally, but Princess Gara would doubtless offer a different opinion. As for the Princess, I can’t say she’s made much of an impression. I suppose she will, soon enough.
September 7 — Blackwood, Day 6
Last night, our little party was privileged enough to witness firsthand why the Blackwood is so notorious for being haunted with the taint of evil things. I saw with my own eyes, perhaps the very spirit of evil things, though I normally don’t take much stock in superstition. Upon hearing screams and the baying of dogs in the middle of the night, Breac and I rode out further into the wood. About ten minutes brought us to the edge of what could almost pass for a clearing. A woman stumbled into the clearing and was about to say something, perhaps a cry for help, when she was struck down by a spear so large, I would take it for a lance. Following her, a giant man on a giant horse, both in black and wearing antlers like those of a stag, joined by his hounds, though they also were monstrous, large and deformed. He reclaimed his spear and I’m certain he laid eyes on me because my insides went as chill as if I’d been dropped in a winter’s lake. However, we were ignored as he left, giving leave to his hounds to claim their prize and devour the body of that woman. Later, I escorted most of our party to examine the area. There was nothing unusual about the remains of the woman, but Genni said the dogs’ prints were quite strange. Definitively, by her words, not those of a werecreature, but perhaps those of some other supernatural beasts, though where she obtained this knowledge, I’m not sure. There were no hoofprints. It’s two days to Haven and I hope they pass quickly and easily.
September 9 — Haven, The Blackwood, Day 8
Haven is not much of a village and the people who inhabit it are not very polite. The most we’ve gotten from them are alienating stares and awed horror when we tell them where we’re headed. We encountered some goblins along the road, who apparently make their home in Castorhall. However, most of the warnings we’ve gotten have been along the lines of ghosts and ghouls and “things worse,” whatever those may be. Regardless, we have gotten much needed supplies, and we hope to get some much wanted information about the task ahead of us from one “Gammy Akers” tomorrow. Tonight, I have something of a bed to sleep on and am grateful to be out of the woods.