A lullaby. Soft and sweet, sung half in forgetful lilting, the only words remembered are a soothing: “don’t you cry . . . don’t you cry.” Her voice is surprisingly lovely, genuine. The night has fallen on Harrowstone, and amid their dreams the adventurers are dimly aware of the soft singing, a gentle hand and a warm compress across their brows.
Careful never to disturb their sleep, Kendra moves from one slumbering form to the next, cooing over each with tenderness and serenity. Her little song lending steadiness to her hands and mettle to her will.
Hours pass, spent treating the deadliest wounds, applying poultice to the stings inflicted by the disease-ridden monstrosities under the Piper’s thrall, and always singing softly the half forgotten tune. Kendra at last settles into a small nest of dead grass beneath the gnarled and ossified old sycamore tree and produces her small leather-bound travel journal. She turns to the very first page.
Father gave me this book on my sixteenth name day with all intentions I should use it to practice my spell craft. I immediately set my mind to the notion that it should be my personal adventure log, just like the logs Nick and Pete Wesson kept in mother’s fiction. Father was furious.
And perhaps he was right to be. O, journal, I never imagined things could go so terribly wrong! The ghosts that stalk this prison are more powerful than I could have ever imagined. And I was of little use. I spent the deadliest portions of our encounters unconscious on the floor, like some foolish little girl: no use at all.
I don’t know how my friends have survived. Elkrunner was very badly battered, but it’s the mark on her chest that concerns me. It’s still cold to the touch. Reiner bears the same mark. His wounds are altogether more awful, including a lancing bite from a gigantic stirge. Most disturbing is the wound on his belly. It’s as if he were disemboweled by a blade, yet the wound does not bleed. And Walter has the same terrible wound. Whatever they faced in that far cell block was a peril beyond my ken. Sweet Mordren took the worst of it, yet seems the most hale of them all. I can’t envy what a hard life she must have endured to have such a threshold for bodily harm. Half of those wounds would have sent me into vital shock!
It is my belief that we have vanquished, for the time being, the spirits of The Piper of Illmarsh and The Father Charlatan. The later very nearly took dear Walter from us. That poor man. He has seen such sights in this world, just like Father. But it has left him strange, distant, and I fear vulnerable to the dark things within Harrowstone. So viciously the Charlatan gripped him, I thought poor Walter would burst! I’ll have to pay special care to keep him safe. It’s what Father would do.
O, Father, I know you must have had a reason for selecting this motley band to save our little village! Gods grant me the wisdom to see the purpose behind each of them, even as I trust that each is a true Champion of Good! And Lisa, bless you for Reiner, as he might just be the one to save us all.
Here and now I affirm my oath: I shall not lay my head to rest ’til Ravengro is saved and you are avenged, Father.
Do all adventuring logs start on such a grim note? —K.L."
Kendra tucks away her little book, laying her head back against the gaunt old tree. Fingers worrying the locket she wears around her neck, she sets to her spellbook: the grand and ancient tome that was her father’s and his father’s back for generations. Soon, the dead man’s daughter finds sleep.