Far, the 6th of Aryth
Long days of paddling has brought us to this riverbank and this ambush. I am a man of the sea and paddling a canoe, especially upstream, does little to quench my appetite. The smell of the water is all wrong; there’s no salt smell. I’ve never been on a galley ship before but I feel that paddling and rowing probably grow arm muscle about as well. At least there is the jungles and grasslands of Xen’Drik and not the insides of a ship to watch. Dadak’s huge bulk, sitting behind me, is quite a bit of weight and I know that I am straining to keep our speed up with the rest of the others. We take turns singing songs; me, singing sea shanties and him, brutal orcish war songs.
The hot day finally came to a close and we watched the darkened river banks with unease. What king of foul creatures could be lurking in the shadows of the sparse trees and tall grasses? Maybe another chemosit like the ones at the Zenj village perhaps? As a native of Xen’Drik, I’m sure that Joffa had an idea but as we tied our canoes together a bit off shore, he remained silent.
First watch, my watch, went by without any problems. But during the second watch, an alert Pol spied four shapes creeping closer. He tried to quietly rouse Nketchi and the boat next to him, but before he could do much, arrows flew from out of the tall grass, one grazing him and at least two thwacking into Nketchi. His cries of pain was what woke me and I instantly saw the threat hidden on the shore. I dove into the water towards shore as Pol began to throw his mind blades at our attackers.
Their arrows continued to rain down on us but tiny Chydak was able to lob his grenades at them from the safety of his canoe and their concussion seemed to spoil our attackers’ aim. Joffa entered the fray, wildly throwing his eldritch blasts. Dadak scrambled to get to Nketchi and find one how badly he had been injured. I briefly foundered between the canoes and only made it to shore as a third attacker fell and the fourth ran off. I moved to their bodies and lit my watchlamp. The bodies were tribal catfolk with bows. A moment later, Joffa was at my side and I asked him to check their gear for magic. He bent down to give them a look, but a moment later he shook his head. As I turned away, I noticed him stuff a piece of the parchment I gave him the day before into the pouch of one of the dead catfolk. I turned back to him and rose an eyebrow but he remained silent. It was his secret to keep, so although I was curious, I let it lie. I don’t think that we are near his tribal lands or that was a note for them; I don’t suspect an ambush, at least not yet. We have the same mission, find Tazion.
We boarded the canoes once again, a wounded but aware Nketchi in Pol’s canoe and moved out into the middle of the river. A mile or two upriver we made for the opposite bank and drug the canoes onto shore to use them as a makeshift barrier against any more creatures with hostile intent. There we spent the day there recovering. Nketchi was in bad shape, but alive. It is amazing how often he seems to be in the wrong place at the right time. Lady Luck is not with him.
—from the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra