Before Us Now
(Crossing, Zoluren: 164 Uthmor 351)
Though many have called me a stupid, ignorant barbarian only capable of one thing, killing because of the inability to motivate myself to do anything more, I am possessed of a trait called curiosity which many people may be familiar with, that, combined with a keen mind and strong arm, happen to counter nicely what I refer to as my suicidal urges. Why do I point this out? I bring this to your attention so that my theory may not be taken as the ravings of one gone paranoid with battle-lust. I am calm in most any situation, able to look about me with a clearer gaze than my companions are want to allow me, and in the end, have seen more than I should have, done things I should not and perhaps will not do again. However, my barbaric side urges me to cease this explanation of why, and get on to the what, and so I shall.
Aside from hunting primarily in the region outside the western gate of the Crossing, I travel more than most would assume is wise for one whose living is made from time spent in battle. Over the past months, therefore, I have chanced to see the wretched and foul creatures of our realm alter their behaviors, slowly, yes, and with quite deliberate effort I am sure. At first it began simply enough, goblins in particular carried a few odd items never before seen on them while others, gwethdesuan, leather gloves, weapons, and even shields of a certain type slowly passed into memory. Then the hunting grounds and their denizens shifted, no longer was the thornbrake a haven for hog and gob alike, while the Orchard below the abandoned farmhouse began teeming with unarmed enemies, all muttering in rage as they charged a weapon-wielding foe and seemingly oblivious to their certain demise.
As I said, change came slowly, as did news and dark rumors within guilds and taverns that a new enemy had risen to shadow the land, his coming known and yet hidden in mystery and grown terrible with speculation. The first episode of the heads of our enemies exploding excited more talk . . . until such occurrences encited a groan of "Not again!" and were left otherwise unremarked upon. It was during this time that I gained a new purpose in my hunting expeditions, to discover what I could of strange events on a personal level. What I found was not at first obvious, but after time, even now, it is all too clear, or will be when chaos falls on our realm, what is happening. For now, I can only speculate.
Travel rations, my friend, of a type that bespeaks long journeys and considerable hardship, rotten food, withered food, food unpalatable even to my hardened stomach. Runestones of obvious power, once rare on the goblin folk and now becom as common as the gwethdesuans of yesterday. Cigars of all types, tokens for use in time of wait, to be smoked around a watchfire when the night grows long and tedious. Lockpicks, carried not only in trunks, coffers and chests suddenly trapped tightly to prevent entry but on the holder, ready for use. Other vile creatures too have changed, none so drastically as the ever foolish field goblin, but in smaller ways that do not warrant comment here. As a final blow, the Jadewater Mansion, the site of the fabulous ball, has a back entrance on the Northern Trade road, an unguarded back entrance. In a time of great darkness, this residence is a beacon, perhaps a false one, I ate not a bite of the refreshments served that glittering night, nor shall I ever. Poisoning, my friends, is done by more than needles. Heed my observations well, my friends, add to them your own and pray to Everild that the result is not destruction for us all.