excerpts from a young maiden's diary while on vacation in Roland's castle
Fourth month; 3rd day
"Once upon a time..."
Ha! "Once upon a time" indeed! If I have to hear that beginning one more time I will scream! Even though he is twelve, the young prince insists that he be told a story every night before bedtime beginning with the traditional "Once upon a time". That in itself could be borne but he insists that the entire castle (especially we few maidens) stay and listen with him. I have got to get out of this castle! There is a growing evil in the lands and having to deal with this added worry is ridiculous. Ever since the King left on his mission, the young prince has been unbearable. At first everyone felt sorry for him, left behind by his parents. Hmmf, my opinion is they should never have left him or their people, alone with only that weak-kneed Humphrey and a few unprepared lords and ladies scattered throughout the land! Why, Humphrey appears to trust everyone and his horse and is constantly being surprised by their treachery. His warm relationship with that vile Slicker person is a perfect example of his poor judgement. Slicker Silvertongue is allowed free reign in the kingdom and this castle. He comes and goes as he pleases! Many times I have seen him leaving maiden's rooms with a leer on his face and the maiden's (no longer) wail echoing throughout the servant's quarters. The Prince's poor behavior is due much to the overbearing influence of this overly amorous parasite and anyone with eyes can see it. Why it was I, a lowly cartographer, that found the cloak of Baa in Slicker's things! After giving it to Humphrey I was sure I would see Slicker in chains, as he deserves, but the Regent apparently didn't realize that having the cloak meant much more than a slight association! Only persons of high esteem in the Baa society have access to such tokens. There are rumors that he is involved with even more evil beings. Gods save us all, Humphrey is an idiot!
Fourth month; 29th day
Our salvation has arrived! A group of adventurers have come to this land and I have heard they are searching the populace for aides on their trip. I can cast the Wizard's Eye with the best of them and I know that if I can reach them they will take me along. It is my only way out of here and I must do my part in saving our lands from this growing evil. Besides, I am afraid I have caught Slicker's eye. God help me!
Fifth month; 1st day
Success! I am now a paid member of the party. There are six of us: myself, a burglar (he professes to be able to help with disarming traps), two sorcerers named Alanis and Anelk, an archer named Aeron, and a mighty Paladin named Begdar. Begdar is fabulous!. We six start for the lands to the south on a quest for information concerning our Lord and the evil that is encroaching upon our lands. I am so excited and I think Begdar has noticed me!!!!!
Sixth month; 8th day
Begdar has noticed me! He asked me to walk with him down to the water last night. There was a full moon and it was so romantic. He held my hand!
Sixth month; 30th dayLast night my life became a horror. It started with a terrifying dream such as I have never had before. In the darkness there was a winged demon with a crown upon her head. I was being pursued in a maze of dark womb-like tunnels by winged and clawed creatures worse than any nightmare image. I awoke with a start to the God-awful sight of Slicker Silvertongue going through the company's bags.
I crept up to him and put my dagger to his side. He stiffened then snickered at me and turned around even though my blade must have been cutting into his flesh. With a cruel twist of my wrist he took my weapon and with a nasty leer on his mouth, he bent down to me and told me how my life was going to end. I can still smell his oily breath.
"Well, little one, it seems we meet again, and how fortuitous for me! I have a little project for you and before you spit out some ignorant pathetic plea for mercy, let me say that you have nothing to fear, I hope, I simply want you help me with a little project."
I wrenched away from him and looked him right in the eyes, "You go to hell where you belong, I will die before I would help you to draw a breath of air, let alone betray my friends. They will find evidence to end your villainy and I will help them every step of the way."
The bastard reached out a hand and dared to draw my hair through his fingertips, "Ah, how lovely! I came here specifically to see you and you talk to me so! I have always intended to bed you and if you are of no use to me I will do so now and then hand you over to my, ummm, shall we say 'less human' associates. My instructions to you are not a request; you will do as I wish or this group be butchered before your lovely eyes. If I do not receive your full obeisance I will order my 'friends' to attack these imbeciles while they sleep and finish them - except you - you, I will give to my friends as a toy to play with. Believe me when I say that you will not enjoy it! The only reason I don't do this now is that I intend to use your partners to create enough confusion in this kingdom to allow me to work my will."
I opened my mouth to scream but before I could utter a sound I was wrenched to the floor by something dark and shadowy and powerful beyond words. All I could see were glowing yellow eyes, the outline of wings, and I could hear the rustling of scales.
Silvertongue leaned down to me and tilted my head to him with a finger. "Tomorrow or perhaps the next day, these idiots will attack and overwhelm a group of my associates - I have made sure of that! They will find a flute, which will have no apparent value, but will be just interesting enough to keep; make sure they keep it! This flute will be our means of discovering their plans and whereabouts! Don't try to warn them. My minions will be watching you, and your friends are as yet too weak to survive their onslaught. I will leave you now, my pet, do as I say and you and your worthless group will live yet a while longer; disobey me and one night you will wake up with demons roasting your friends and me inside you!"
He and the creature left me sobbing on the floor.
Now I am lost. I saw and felt that creature's power; I have to do what Silvertongue says or it will be the end of me and my friends. My only hope is that we will not come upon the flute and can find some way to defeat the bastard and survive that shadowy demon from hell. What else can I do?
This will be my last entry for some time as we go into battle tomorrow where I hope to die, for I cannot live with this choice.