The Diary of Teresa Keynes

This was the diary kept by Teresa Keynes. Until her death, Moira Magee was the only one who had snooped it.

May 17, 1249 (Just after Fawkes’ tomb.)

Now then dear diary, I had bought you in Riverbend hoping that I could clear my head by having someone to share my thoughts with. First, allow me to introduce myself; I am Teresa Keynes, and for almost six months I have been working for a pub in a town called Artorshade. The place was run by some hardy but likable men who seemed to have an uncanny lust for danger. Of course whenever a drunken customer was ready to spill some trouble he was having that could be solved with violent smashing, they would gallop into the distance and leave me and Nancy to get harassed by our usual gang of rowdy customers. This began as one such situation, but let me tell you dear diary, it certainly will not end with the usual nondescript shift back into regular pub life. Shortly after my employers left to recover a chest or something from one of our older customers, we were attacked by a horde of undead creatures. I fought as valiantly as I could, but eventually fell . I awoke to find Marcellius, a member of The Tiki Company, gallantly attempting to provide me with first aid. Now here’s where it gets interesting, Dear Diary; as soon as Marcellius finished what he thought was stabilizing my condition; he began trying to undress me, and saying things that I would rather not repeat.

An instant later, I saw Marcellius get shoved away by Duran, the group’s dwarven fighter and ale expert. He drew his halberd and swung it madly, sheathing it into the flesh of our perverted Cleric, who crawled off to nurse his own wounds. Duran proceeded to flare a stupid, heroic grin at me. It was then that I started to fear for the group’s integrity, as well as its sanity, dear diary. Nevertheless, I wanted revenge on whatever had done this to my town, so it appeared that I’d be a part of The Tiki Company until this was resolved. From there we headed to Riverbend, where we saw the man that had given my employers their job, and interrogated him. The Tiki Company seems to love doing everything in a violent way. Ogden would not give us any information if we tortured him, but by offering him peace and safety, we learned that a necromancer was behind this.

We spent the night at Riverbend and headed to Artorshade in the morning, where we met an earnest man named Artemis. I use the term ‘man’ liberally here, as I can never really get used to the appearance of Tieflings. His pupils are one solid shade of black, which makes him difficult to talk to. Anyways, he was investigating the happenings in Artorshade, and when we told him what we learned from Ogden, he sent us on a hunt for an artifact. Halfway through tomb-robbing, we met an individual named Peregrine who seemed like a complete gentleman once you got past his height. He sang with me, and offered me a small sapphire. I have no idea why I accepted it. I really ought to give it back to him. Either way, we’ve all made it to Artorshade and we’re going to spend the night before figuring out our next move. I hope we can end this soon; Duran is constantly making faces at me and engaging in awkward conversations. The only one who seems to be able to hold a sensible conversation is Tibles, and he’s far too… scientifically minded for me to talk to.

May 18, 1249

I awoke today to find everyone shouting and yelling and preparing a trip to the center of the earth. They had spotted the Necromancer entering an old necropolis under the town. I followed them into the depths, dear diary. I would have loved to enter the crypt alone, but that would surely draw attention to my secret. A secret, dear diary, which I don’t trust even your sturdy pages with. Sorry to disappoint you. We fought through several groups of undead, but before we entered the final chamber, we encountered an old enemy of ours by the name of Vladmir. He told us that we would have to kill him to proceed. Duran kindly obliged, but Peregrine didn’t want Vladmir dead until he had a chance to interrogate him. Thinking he could stop the swing, Peregrine jumped in front of Duran’s halberd, and was cleaved in half. Mersh was so angry at Duran that he convinced him to kill himself to avenge the death of Peregrine. I gathered them up as best I could, Dear Diary, and in the end we won. The details aren’t important, and they are something I would rather not relive. I am now sitting in our caravan, writing this passage with a cup of tea an arm’s length away. Artemis really is a handy friend to have.

May 19, 1249

Oh how good it feels to be free again! This morning, I gave my share of the loot to Tibles in order to help cover the cost of destroying the Necromancer’s phylactery and hopefully resurrecting Peregrine. And then, I left. Duran, who had been making awkward conversation and smiling at me sheepishly since the incident now simply glared at me and called me a ‘Pacifist Wench.’ Nevertheless, I left the camp with a smile on my face and a song on my lips. I headed north to Yaanov, serenading caravaners and strumming songs of the open road on my lute. I reached Yaanov by evening, and I am now sitting in a comfortable but dusty inn bedroll. I wonder if I could try busking at the ragged flagon tomorrow.

May 20, 1249

Today was an interesting one, Dear Diary. I spent the first half of today busking at the street corner opposite the inn, and made around two gold pieces by noon. From there I decided that my next stop would be Hephan, the elf city that Vladmir came from. It’s common decency to pass the news on to one’s next of kin, I think. It only took me about 10 minutes to get my things together and head on southwards. I had only made it halfway to Artorshade when disaster struck. A group of elves had set an ambush point alongside the road, and tried to rob me. Feelings of Déjà vu aside, I knew I had to fight them, even though they outnumbered me eight to one. I wasn’t about to give up my gold, and I would certainly never dream of giving up the Sapphire that Peregrine gave me, dear diary. Before I knew it, I had drawn my blade and switched to the Tiki Company method of problem solving. The fight went poorly, as one may expect, and I came close to revealing my secret. In fact, I may not have even been able to write this if a jet-black panther didn’t jump out of the trees and begin savaging the elves. Together, we made short work of the highwaymen. I of course refused to kill them, being the ‘pacifist wench’ that I am. A pommel to the back of the head usually does them in long enough for me to take my leave.

After the fight had concluded, the Panther just stared at me, like it was appraising me or something. There was a long pause, and then I got the brilliant idea to sheath my sword and introduce myself. After I had finished speaking, and outstretched my hand to shake its paw, the panther sort of changed. It became insubstantial for a second, and then its color and shape seemed to melt into the form of a young woman with wavy red hair and an equally red cloak. She grabbed my hand and shook it firmly, introducing herself as Kiana. We were headed to the same place, so she offered to travel with me. It turns out that she’s a druid, dear diary. She can take the shape of an animal. Must be handy for traveling. As I write this, I am lying next to her on the floor of the burned out church in Artorshade. She's sleeping in animal form, possibly because she doesn't carry a bedroll. I can only imagine what it's like to be that close to nature.

May 21, 1249

We started early and made it to Hephan, dear diary. Normally elves don’t take too kindly to humans intruding on their homes, but Kiana was readily accepted. Perhaps it’s her bond with nature that she shares with the elves. Regardless, we delivered the bad news to Vladmir’s family, and consoled her mother as her sobbing shook her withered frame. Will I have to do this for every man I have killed in order to be at peace? Perhaps I may. I have taken an oath of tranquility, and never again shall I end the life of another. If I meet Duran again, I shall wear the term 'pacifist wench' like a badge.

Kiana decided that we should go to Almernae, since she’s determined to see her family there. I told her I’d go with her since I’ve grown to enjoy her company. Besides, I’d love to meet her parents. She seems like a person with a good upbringing.

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