Excerpts from the Journal of Kosmaras, Hunter of Drow
This is backstory for the PC Kosmaras, from the beginning of the second chapter of the Ktecedios campaign.
Excerpts from the Journal of Kosmaras, Hunter of Drow
I heard something interesting today from an old woman who was passing through. She said, “Poetry is the only dam that slows the flowing waters of a troubled soul.” She talked about the careful attention to each word, each syllable. She said that it balances a person. Then she read some of her poetry to us. It made no sense to me. It was all about nature and devastation. At least, I think that’s what it was about. Then again, I’m no poet; I’ve never even tried it. Maybe that’s because I’ve never really had a troubled soul…
Anyway, she was strange, but I kind of hope she comes back.
Good gods above, the expedition today was bracing! It was supposed to be as basic as a weekly hunt can be, but something had spooked the animals out there. And really, “spooked” is an understatement. The term “enraged” might be more accurate. It’s such a shame, too, because I had a chance to get my first solo capture.
We had been out for about two hours, and the weather was absolutely beautiful: a little cool, breezy, and sunny. The order came to fan out and take up our usual positions, so that’s what we all did. Just then, about 150 meters ahead, I saw a stag that had to have been the size of a cottage. I crept closer to try and get in position, and it didn’t seem to hear me. It was white with just a subtle streak of brown on its face—unlike anything I’d ever seen. When I got to about 50 meters, something must have tipped it off. It looked right up at me and stood completely motionless for three or four seconds. I knew that it had seen me, so I expected it to run away, as they usually do. Instead, I saw its eyes flash with a madness that is burned into my mind. It reared up onto its hind legs and stomped the ground furiously. Even from that distance, I could feel the soil beneath me tremble. It let out a terrible, piercing shriek and charged directly for me. I took flight, firing from my bow when I got the chance, but my arrows did not even slow the beast. I was in an outright sprint, but I could feel that it was gaining ground. I broke into a clearing, and the stag stopped at the tree line, snorting and snarling. It let out another cry, deeper this time, and I heard the surrounding trees begin to rustle with activity. Fowl of every sort came bursting through the canopy and diving towards me with reckless abandon. As I dodged and twirled, they hit the ground around me with such force that they died immediately, bones shattered and innards strewn about. The sight was truly gruesome. I leapt and bound all the way back to where I had last seen Redi. As I started to tell him what had happened, he told me that he already knew and that everyone else was headed back home in a hurry. The sky took on a foreboding color, the sun setting with an unusually red tone, but everyone made it back.
I still can’t quite believe the things that I saw today. Even more than that, I can’t believe that I haven’t gotten a capture yet! I guess it’ll have to wait until next week, and I certainly hope that the fauna have calmed down by then.
The old woman came back today. She read some more verses, and I even stayed to chat with her after everyone else had gone. She said that there was something interesting in my eyes – something that she couldn’t quite determine yet. She promised that she would be back, and I will make sure to go see her.
Her name is Pasleptas.
Redi told us that someone found something out in the woods today that might explain the way the animals were acting a few weeks ago: a mind-flayer corpse! I mean, I guess it wasn’t always a corpse, but that’s what was found. No one knows how it got out here or why, but it has some people worried. They say that if there’s an illithid (a fancy word for “mind-flayer”) up on the surface, then there must be a breach to the Underdark nearby.
It doesn’t really have me worried though. I’ve been getting better with the bow, and I can run pretty darn fast if I need to. Anyhow, people around here are always getting up in arms about some new scare. Last winter, Caddris found a Slithering Vine with three leaves instead of four, and he swore that no crops would grow for the next hundred years.
It’s my sixteenth birthday today, and I got a letter.
Pasleptas had sworn to visit again when I saw her four months ago, but I had heard nothing from her until today. Her letter congratulated me on my coming of age, and she apologized for not having visited. Apparently, there was some family trouble that she had to take care of, so she wasn’t free to travel. It makes sense; she told me once that her sisters were quite a handful. She said that she would come back around here in a week but that she was getting old and couldn’t come all the way into town. I’m supposed to go meet her by the Andulis tree by the lake at night, and she said that I can try my hand at some poetry. I’m looking forward to it!
So I went and met with Pasleptas last night like she asked, and it was a lot of fun! She didn’t look very well, so I could see how she couldn’t make it into town. Her skin was quite a bit paler, and she had deep lines in her face that weren’t so prominent before. She assured me that she was on the mend, and then we got down to writing. Apparently, I have a gift! This is what I wrote:
In the quiet moonlight,
A martyr makes his stand.
The trees rustle, but still he remains.
The sky booms, but still he remains.
The ground yawns wide, but still he remains.
He is just.
It was like the words just appeared in my head, totally unprovoked. I didn’t think that writing would be this way, but Pasleptas assures me that it happens like this for her all the time. She has so much more to teach me, and I’m excited to learn!
There was another illithid spotted today near town, and it killed three of our hunters. I didn’t even get the chance to see it before it was slain, but the havoc that it wreaked was still written in the snow when I arrived. It was a grisly sight. I’m glad that the families of Tenny, Ander, and Micah were not there to see their bodies.
More illithids today. The town is going absolutely awry, and for good reason. The monsters are getting closer to town, and in greater numbers. We even saw one of the dark elves in the distance. This does not look good.
It looks like the last of the Underdark dwellers was killed today. We found a system of caves under the woods, and they were pretty much cleared out of everything. It was pretty small, and it’s a good thing because I don’t know if we could have handled many more of them. I still haven’t gotten to participate like I want to, but I’m told that it’s because I’m not focused enough on my training. That’s ridiculous, though! My bow skills are at least as good as Turin, and she gets to go on every hunt. I don’t know for sure what the real reason is. The only thing that Redi has really told me is that I spend too much time writing poetry. I think he just doesn’t appreciate art.
Pasleptas tells me that my training is almost finished, and I can really see it in my poetry recently. We have our last meeting (ever?) in a few days, and she says that she has a special gift for me! I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure that it will be something extraordinary. She is herself a pretty extraordinary woman.
Oh, by the way, things with the militia are going even worse than before. Redi hardly asks me to do anything, and I haven’t even gone on the last couple of hunts. It’s okay though. Before too long, I think it might be time for me to strike out from this place. Maybe I should ask Pasleptas if she knows of any good places to start a journey…
Going to see Pasleptas tonight, and I can’t wait! I suspect that it will be quite a ceremony. I think she likes that sort of thing.
Redi warns me to stay in, but I’m going anyway. I just won’t tell him. It seems that the illithids are back, and this time with a good number of dark elves, but I’m sure I’ll be fine. Pasleptas and I aren’t bothering anyone.
I’ve only got a second to write. This place is so fucking dark. I can’t see, and the noises… are terrible. I never sleep. I never eat. It’s hell here.
Pasleptas was not what I thought. I don’t think that’s even her name. If anyone finds this, kill her.Kill Pasleptas.
Swimming in an ocean of needles
The only warmth is blood
Running down my flesh
It moves in waves
And I am adrift.
Horrifying pictures behind my eyelids
Most ravenous appetites
Attacks beyond imagining
Will I survive?