== Fireday, Neth 1, 4707; Magnimar, Shriikirri-Quah Encampment; Evening ==
The long journey west is finally over, and we have set up camp in the fields just outside Magnimar’s Grand Arch. The wagons and carts are laden with goods from eastern cities, and we expect to make a tidy profit during our stay.
Menkat and I advertised our services with the local guilds, and with luck we’ll have spending money of our own before our clan leaves.
== Oathday, Neth 14, 4707; Magnimar, Shriikirri-Quah Encampment; Evening ==
Magnimar has been good to us. We sold all we brought at a fair price, and have purchased local merchandise that should sell well to the east and north. Clan elder Listrad thinks the caravan will be ready to depart in two days.
As luck would have it Menkat and I were hired today for several weeks work. The pay is quite good (and the first week given up front) or we would have had to turn it down. Once the job is done we will make our way east and meet up with our family in one of the eastern cities.
We are to provide support for a small group of mercenaries who were hired to solve and avenge the murder of a local merchant. Even living outside the walls of Magnimar we could not help but hear stories about the serial killings that have plagued the city. Apparently the victims are mutilated in some ritual before or after they were killed.
Our three employers look capable enough. Ziraktor, or Zirt as his companions call him, is the spokesman (or perhaps I should say spokes-gnome) for the group, and is skilled in the study of arcane magic. Cyrith is a taciturn slender man who wraps himself tight in a charcoal gray cloak — we were given to understand that he would handle any locks or traps we encountered. And then there is Ogmoth, or Og as he is called. I think Og is human, but Menkat believes he has no small amount of ogre blood coursing through his veins.
The group is staying at one of the city’s inns, and a room for Menkat and I is included in our terms.
== Moonday, Neth 18, 4707; Magnimar, The Stinging Nettle; Morning ==
We have learned a little more about our new friends in the few days we have spent waiting and watching and questioning locals. Our odd little trio used to be a quintet, but two of their members vanished while following up on a lead about the killers.
They were a bit tight lipped about this, but I gather that there had been a disagreement among the group as to what to pursue next, and these two went off without waiting for the others, and simply vanished. A headless body washed up on the shore a day or two later, naked and bloated, but it was the same size as one of their missing friends, and boasted a familiar looking scar.
== Starday, Neth 23, 4707; Magnimar, The Stinging Nettle; Morning ==
Cyrith returned early in the morning with news of our quarry. A cult has been responsible for the murders in the city, and he has found one of the places where a some of the cult members work.
== Starday, Neth 23, 4707; Magnimar, The Stinging Nettle; Noon ==
We quietly entered the back of the warehouse, thanks to Cyrith’s nimble fingers, and suddenly attacked the three masked men gathered in the next room. Two were killed (Og is very enthusiastic about what he does), but the third was only minimally injured before we subdued him.
Cyrith then gave Zirt a dark look, and he quickly ushered us from the room.
Some time later Cyrith came out looking satisfied and announced that we would find more information if we visited a saw mill in the south of the city.
I asked about the surviving cultist whom he had questioned, but was told to not worry about him.
== Starday, Neth 23, 4707; Magnimar, Lost Coast Road; Evening ==
I pen this entry from the feeble glow of candle light from my sparse camp some miles up the Lost Coast Road from Magnimar.
Our visit to the saw mill did not go as planned. We arrived at dusk and climbed in through a window. Our timing could not have been worse. As the last of us clambered into the room there were footsteps on the stairs and a couple of masked men stepped out and stood dumb founded before us.
Og purposefully strode forward, guisarme at the ready, but a young woman behind the masked men spoke to him, and before we knew it Og turned and attacked Zirt, practically chopping him in half!
Cyrith vanished into the shadows leaving Menkat and I to fend for ourselves.
With a combination of magic and might we made it to the door and out into the night, but the possessed Og was right behind us, and with a mighty blow pierced Menkat’s armor, mortally wounding him.
I managed to drag his body to the bridge and dumped him into the water before diving in after as Og and the masked men clambered out from the mill in pursuit.
I am usually quite good in water, but filled with grief and anguish I was nearly overwhelmed by the surprisingly strong current of the river. It was all I could do to drag myself up onto the bank and skulk away into the darkness.
I quickly gathered our possessions from the inn and made my way out from the city. I have enough provisions for several days.
Watch and wait.
== Wealday, Kuthona 4, 4707; Magnimar, The Feisty Fox; Evening ==
I have returned to the city and taken a room at an inn in the Dockway.
My first task was to find Menkat’s body, but no bodies had been reported as having washed ashore for the past few days. I can only assume the river carried him out to sea.
Should I return to my clan, or should I remain here and take vengeance on his killers, however unlikely that may seem?
Meanwhile the murders continue.
I know where these fiends are, but I dare not show myself.
Watch and wait.
== Sunday, Kuthona 8, 4707; Magnimar, The Feisty Fox; Evening ==
The city is filled with a seemingly unending circus of street urchins. Some are orphans, some are there by choice, and some are there by orders of a parent or guardian. But all of them are poor and hungry and desperately trying to find some way to eke out a living in the cold and heartless streets of the great city.
They are as ubiquitous as dirt and just as inconspicuous.
And for just a handful of copper pieces a day they are my eyes and ears about the south end of the city.
Watch and wait.
== Oathday, Kuthona 12, 4707; Magnimar, The Feisty Fox; Evening ==
My Splitriver Irregulars, as I have come to affectionately call my collection of little snoops, have reported that a city official, a judge, pays regular visits to the mill. A silver piece to the little lad, or lady — it is hard to tell beneath the filth — who made this discovery.
This confirms that my decision not to inform the town guard about what we discovered at the mill was the right one. The city is involved in the murder of their own citizens.
Watch and wait.
== Oathday, Kuthona 19, 4707; Magnimar, The Feisty Fox; Evening ==
The Irregulars report odd goings on at the mill. Something big happened the day before, and a wagon full of men showed up last night, hauled large bundles wrapped in canvas out, and drove away.
They also reported that the judge who visited the mill walked to the south gate early this morning accompanied by a half orc and a human, and then left the city by himself.
Watch and wait.
== Wealday, Abadius 1, 4708; Magnimar, The Feisty Fox; Evening ==
It has been two weeks since the last murder. Could it be that with the departure of the judge the killing spree has ended?
The Irregulars report that the saw mill is operating as a regular saw mill, and a quick trip confirmed this.
Tomorrow I will post my availability as a guard for a caravan heading east. It is time I returned to my clan with the sad tidings about Menkat.
== Sunday, Abadius 5, 4708; Magnimar, The Feisty Fox; Evening ==
There have been no east bound caravans, but last night there was another ritualized murder.
Watch and wait.
== Moonday, Abadius 6, 4708; Magnimar, The Copper Griffin; Noon ==
I was awakened by a loud clanging this morning. The innkeeper thought it came from the northwest, near the Irespan.
As I approached that part of the city I began to see more and more people moving in the same direction. Some were talking about a group of mercenaries climbing up and about a derelict tower built beneath the ancient bridge.
I arrived at the foot of a decrepit spire capped by a clock, and of all things an angel. There were ropes hanging down from the roof and people, not using the ropes, scrabbling about up there.
On the street before tower’s double doors stood the town guard, and the broken remains of a statue.
I heard talk of a giant flying snake and the corpse of a fearsome monster when a scream followed a gasp from the crowd pulled my attention back down to the street, where the broken statue was now the sad gory remains of a human.
Eventually half a dozen well equipped people climbed down and picked up the remains of what was obviously a fallen comrade.
While subdued, the crowd was still talkative, and one old geezer was telling how the woman fighter from the group had attacked a young woman in the crowd just before the party ascended the tower.
That caught my ear, and I pressed him for more details. He claimed the young woman had talked to another party member, and he pointed at a young man from their group, after which the man wanted to leave with the girl rather than scale the tower.
This could not be a coincidence. This group had to be pursuing the cultists responsible for the murders… and the death of Menkat.
Already two of the party were urgently talking to the town guard, who as usual had passively stood by doing nothing but protecting their own worthless skins while others did their work for them. The party members were talking quietly and trying to be discrete, but the town guard oafs were loud and brash, stating they couldn’t possibly take them directly to see the Lord Mayor.
Eventually the group split up, with the two heading of with the guard, presumably to chat with the mayor, while others took away the remains of their friend. I chose to follow them.
Not surprisingly they left the remains at a local temple and then slowly made their way back to an inn, The Copper Griffin.
I need to talk with them. I need information. Perhaps I could offer them my services free of charge. Perhaps I should chat with their dead friend — his head was still in one piece, and I know where he rests. Nobody would question my presence in a temple.
I’ll start first with the living members of the group. I am in their inn’s common room with a drink by my side.
Watch and wait.