From the Journal of Sharak Langenbart, Weaponsmith:
23 Straasa 1508: We camped today after traveling a long way toward Throal. It was mostly quiet after we found Isir Faang’s body, at least until we reached the crossroads with those strange birds. I am getting ahead of myself. We had not traveled long before we discovered a human corpse a short ways outside of town. It had been dead for long enough to be eaten at by wild animals, but intact enough as to be recognizable as Isir Faang. We decided not to bury the nethermancer since his body had already been desecrated and we had a long way to ride to possibly save a man still living. It did not sit well with me, but perhaps we can rectify the situation after we return to Ardanyan.
We rode through the day until we reached a crossroads with a campground off to one side. There were adventurers camping there so we stopped and exchanged news. We did not go into the details of our trip but simply asked about the conditions on the road to Throal. Some large birds with long legs and necks landed as we approached the camp and one spoke to me in my mind. It seemed to want food and to know what we were doing. I chatted with it for a moment and gave one of the birds some rations. It seemed pleased but continued to pester my companions, who were less friendly and ignored them, really they were fairly rude I suppose. As I said, we were in a hurry or perhaps we would have been more wary. We rode on for some distance but the birds followed and eventually one of them swooped down and knocked me out of the saddle. I was completely paralyzed. It was rather frightening. The birds were angry and continued to ask for food and complain about my companion’s rudeness. We negotiated and the birds seem mollified when we gave them more rations and told them we were traveling to Throal and needed to go quickly. Parth traveled with me on his saddle for some time after that until the paralysis wore off. I was grateful they did not decide to strap me to the pony instead….
Later, as we were beginning to look to make camp, we heard a cry for help from a stand of trees next to the road. We investigated and found a dwarf lying severely wounded and near death. I tended to his wounds and he recovered enough to tell us that he was a miner named Tungar who had been part of a mining expedition near Ardanyan of all places. He claimed that the mine had no apparent owners of record still alive and was considered fair game. I am a poor dwarf in that I am not familiar with the traditions of such claims, so I had to take his word for it. He claimed that his expedition was attacked by elves, who killed everyone else even as they fled the mine across country toward Throal. He offered to give us shares of the mine if we would return with him, which Parth argued we should accept, but I was insistent we continue on toward Throal. Unkind words were exchanged yet again. I worry our group has little enough in common to stick together under such stress. We convinced Tungar that he was in no shape to return to the mine himself and to ride with us to Throal, but as we were returning to the road, six elven raiders struck from a distance and killed Tungar before we had a chance to do anything but take cover. They apparently didn’t consider us much threat as they rode off without engaging us, which surprised me to some extent. They outnumbered us and were clearly skilled warriors, why wouldn’t they have tried to further cover their actions by killing us as well.
Very little of the situation surrounding Ardanyan makes sense. Perhaps Parth is right and this mine has something to do with it, but we must do our best to inform Throal of the situation. We made a sledge for Tungar’s body to take as evidence of elven treachery.
24 Strassa 1508: I am deeply disappointed in my kinsmen in Throal as well as my companions. We arrived this night at the gates with our morbid cargo in tow, but got little reaction from the guards at the gate. They offered to take the poor fellow off for a public burial, but besides not allowing us to enter the city with the corpse they seemed to care little about our tale. We obtained directions to the Eisengiesser residence but by the time we arrived it was past the hour for polite visits. We decided our cause was urgent enough to be rude, so we knocked and after some initial poor impressions with the elder Mr Eisengiesser we went inside. As I might have expected the family was not in a position to pay the debt of Khalos Morgond, but offered to do what they could to pay us to free their son. I don’t know that I will feel right collecting on that debt but in any event we tried to find some way of convincing the government interested in something besides internal bickering, but they were not scheduled to meet for some weeks and the Eisengiessers were pessimistic we would make much headway in any event. After taking some time for niceties we took our leave. Parth and Nels had been arguing again, of course, and it all blew up as we walked back toward Bartertown. Parth punched Nels and knocked him off his feet at one point after they had exchanged insults yet again. The troll, Laran, broke the two apart though fortunately not into pieces I suppose. Nels went off by himself somewhere after I told him we would be leaving for Ardanyan in the morning, early. I don’t even know if he is going to come with us.