[This is the journal of Birdsong, a 22-year-old tabaxi who currently finds himself in Guildtown, in the Brock University Westmarches setting. The journal is a leather-bound book with Old Draconic runes along the spine that say “Relgr di vi Xathi de Japachi Verthichai”. The pages of the journal are made of rough paper, and are written on in a mix of Common and Old Draconic.]
I have finally reached Guildtown. I am currently resting in my new room, inside the Guildhall — it feels strange to lie on a real bed after such a long time. The new people I have encountered here are stranger still: Mithemia, who seems to function as the Guild Elder; Megas, a being called Warforged that can produce pork buns; Carloz Diego Jose Julio Francisco Paul y Ricardo Glassye Junior, one of my fellow guildmembers; and finally Asonder, a sort of Elder-adjacent figure? My encounter with Asonder was by far the most confusing, and he seemed to take joy in that fact. At first, I confused him for an Elder (which I embarrassingly thought was called a Mithemia, turns out that Mithemia is just the Guild-Leader’s mother-name and not a given name), and even though he seems not to be an Elder he does wield the arts of one. There is still much to unravel about this town’s culture, and it may take me some time to fit in. For now, though, I think I’ll rest my eyes and mind; this town’s brown water is very bitter and will take some getting used to.
[Excerpt from Brock Westmarches Discord roleplay channels: Birdsong (myself) and Teddie (rexorbis).
Included for the reader’s benefit; is not actually a part of the journal.]
The Copper Crucible.
A circular building with a central forge, the perpetual fire is fed by a copper dragon statue incorporated into the roof. The wings are fanned out to create the ceiling, his neck snaking down as the grinning ancient wyrm exhales a jetstream of flame to feed the mighty forge.
A snow leopard tabaxi in a white monk’s robe with a fur cloak wanders in. At first, they seem startled by the dragon, but once they overcome their fear they approach it with curiosity shining in their eyes.
Teddie waves, an orange-tinged eladrin with green hair in a bun.
“Greetings. This is an impressive rendering of a Draushum. Who created it?”
“The very thing, as I am told.”
Birdsong looks confused, but after his embarrassing display the day he arrived he decides to drop the question.
“I see. So, would you be the forge master here?”
“If we have forgemasters, then it’s only for a day or so. I’m just the one here now, though in the frankest sense, I am here often.
My name is Whispers, Teddie Whispers. Scholar of the Capital Arcanatory, in novo. Have you met…” Teddie gestures over to Arix.
“Pleasure to meet you, Whispers Teddie Whispers. And no, I haven’t had the chance to meet many of the guildmembers, I’m brand new myself.
Oh, I’ve lost my place. My name is Call of a Bird from Quiet Peaks. You may call me Birdsong.”
“That’s a lovely name, Call of a Bird from Quiet Peaks. Ah, but I can use Birdsong if you do prefer.”
Still unsure of guild practice, he hesitates, then half-bows.
Teddie half bows back, then smiles.
“Now, I was just showing our friend here – also new to everything, mind you – a tour of our smithy.
I’m here specifically organizing a fund, where new and old members can contact their familiars and donate to a good cause. Are you familiar with familiars?”
Teddie sets a kiln going in the corner.
“I… don’t believe so?
I don’t know of anyone in particular I’d like to contact.”
“Have you spoken to yourself recently?”
I used to practice meditation, I suppose.
Does that count?”
“Of course. That sense of self is familiar to me – I trance, and those feelings are very alike.
But a Familiar is a physical manifestation of one’s own shadow – cast not on objects, but the greater invisible world.”
Birdsong has no idea what you’re talking about, but is listening intently.
“Did you ever have to cast away a loathsome self-talk while meditating?”
“In my experience, that’s most of the process.
I’ve since stopped… I found it unhelpful to dwell inside myself.”
“I understand. Thoughts can swell up in time.”
“So this… familiar, it’s like my mind’s shadow?”
“Very much so. Like the shadow of your presence in the world, with its own mind, intent, and actions.
One which, as soon as you see it, you Find Familiar.”
“Ah.” Birdsong does not see what you did there.
“We can try to summon it, if you like.”
“Hmm. Sure, what could go wrong?”
Teddie laughs an airy chuckle. “Ah, I’m the least of your worries in this town.”
Teddie turns over the kiln, and Birdsong can see churning hot, dark coals, and hear the roaring of spirited fire beneath them, spewing from the red light beneath.
“Think to yourself of what you felt, those moments you kept your thoughts to yourself. What did you smell? What did you feel?
Keep those thoughts to yourself, but feel them strongly.”
Birdsong closes his eyes, and curiously his body naturally falls into an open combat stance. He seems at peace.
If Teddie has ever seen a monk prepare for battle, this looks familiar.
Birdsong starts to smell numerous herbs and scents wafting by his nose. Peppermint. Honey. Basil. Lavender.
More and more come by.
“How familiar are these? Tell me when to stop.”
Of any scent to choose, from a wider selection than those just stated, which might Birdsong connect to most?
These scents are too rich for Birdsong’s taste, the scents he connects to most are those of pinewood, sweat, and blood.
Teddie’s really scraping the bottom of the barrel when she comes to pinewood, and the sweat is most definitely hers from the exhaustion.
“…Alright.” She skips the pinewood into the ashen mixture.
Yeah, half of the things you offer him he has literally never smelled before. He is delighted by each one.
Teddie lets Birdsong keep the honeycomb, and hands him a black iron poker.
“Now, crouch here by the kiln, and start to turn the ashes.
It may be hard, but stick with it. You will start to know what form you wish it to take as you try.”
He does so.
He also accepts the honeycomb with a raised eyebrow and wide smile.
The ashes burst and crackle with light as he does so, streaking light across the now-dark smithy. Like a torrent of bestial mouths, cracks form in the charcoal mass as Birdsong turns it.
POP! A burnt fray of coal bursts out onto Birdsong’s hand. Reflexively he might reach back, but he finds no feeling of harm, and by sight, no burn either…
“Listen to it closer. What form are you starting to hear?”
Birdsong leans in, focusing hard. Slowly, the excited curiosity in his eyes fade, and is slowly replaced with… something more serious.
“I… I think I know what this is.”
You now recognise the emotion as dread.
Bursting from the flames, a tiny golden dragon emerges, flying directly towards Birdsong’s face. Birdsong stumbles backwards, fear catching his outcry in his throat. The golden dragon flies around the forge, dipping and diving around the statue before finally settling on the edge of the forge nearest Birdsong.
Birdsong’s eyes have gone completely flat. He launches an accusatory gaze at Teddie, but then softens and mumbles something to himself. Standing up, he faces the dragon.
“I don’t want it.”
Teddie’s expression drops.
She looks back at the dragon with curious eyes.
The dragon returns the gaze, tilting its head.
It seems friendly enough.
Teddie takes back up the pinewood, and runs it near the dragon’s mouth.
The dragon shies back. It seems to dislike the scent.
“…was this an unhappy memory, Birdsong?”
What am I supposed to do with it?”
“Whatever you like.”
“It will follow you, and you can dismiss it from yourself with just a thought.”
Birdsong stares at the dragon. After a moment, he turns away. He can’t seem to bring himself to dismiss it.
I have work to do.”
Birdsong walks out. The dragon takes off, does a lil loop-de-loop, and follows him.
Teddie steps back to the stand’s counter, and watches him leave.
[End of excerpt]
Quest for old gnome mushroom gentleman
– joined by Vek, Annam, Zarrow, Arix
– if a mushroom punches you, punch back
– get the golden mushroom
– a jiffy is 45 minutes
– gave us mushroom soup
– Carlos Carlos Glassy
I should probably write down everything that’s happened. It’s been… a lot.
After receiving my room, I took a few days to recover from the journey here. It still doesn’t quite feel like home, but perhaps that’s a good thing; I don’t need any more reminders of home right now. The evening of the 15th, I decided to spend the night in the forest surrounding Guildtown. It felt good to sleep under the stars again, and drink clear-water.
The 16th was the day of the quest I signed up for. I headed back to the Guildhall, but before making it there a forge caught my eye. The Copper Crucible was its name. A statue depicting an Ipiye Draushum stretched down from the ceiling, its grinning jaw fueling the fires of the forge. I find it fascinating that the artist chose an Ipiye Draushum rather than an Aurix Draushum, given that it was breathing fire, not acid. Still, the statue was reminiscent of the artistry of home. More reminders.
I spoke to the temporary forgemaster, Whispers Teddie Whispers. They spoke to me of meditation, and of creatures called Familiars. They instructed me how to call forth a Familiar of my own. I thought the process harmless. Whispers Teddie Whispers seemed like an honest soul, and in truth, I do not think they intended for the Familiar to turn out how it did. They even gave me a curious sweet-smelling yellow object, which they called a “honeycomb”. No, they did not mean any harm towards me. I was simply unsuited for the ritual.
The Ferrod emerged as my Familiar.
He is not as he was, but it is the Ferrod just the same.
It followed me on my quest. It has been four days, and it still hovers just outside my door. I can feel its presence. I do not know what to do. I was told I can be rid of it, but if I cast it aside then I am no better than he.
It seems to be able to take care of itself, so for now I have taken to simply ignoring it. Perhaps it will get bored and move on, to go live its own life instead of terrorizing mine.
My quest went well. I met several guildmembers: Vek, a goblin blessed by the earth with Elder-magic; Annam, one of the Draushril, but not of a kind that I’ve ever seen; Zarrow, a dwarf and an impressive fighter; and Arix, a human who kept to themselves for much of the quest. I remember little of the quest itself, and the night afterwards — I remember consuming a soup of mushrooms, and I suspect that has something to do with it.
I’ve kept to my room the past few days, attempting to reflect on what’s happened. I haven’t made much progress. I’ve been going through the last of my rations from the trip. Perhaps fresh food will help.
– DO NOT DRINK BROWN-WATER. RATS BATHE IN IT
– “ale” may be related to brown-water but with less rats
– they keep clear-water behind the bar in a keg
– a flyer is a piece of paper that is handed out
– they play “drinking games” in which you drink strange-water until you fall unconscious or resign
– the unsavoury effects of the drink may be the point? yes, the water is intentionally poisoned and drank as for trial or for sport
– confront the unknown tabaxi about stealing one of Arix’s cloaks
[There are several pages detailing common fruits that go into weirdly specific depth on their taste, texture, and appearance. The section on grapes is the most enthusiastic.]
quest for granny gee
tiefling – briphion, reborn – grisp, rhubarb twinkletooth – fairy?, zarrow – dwarf, arix – human — collecting 3 curled grasslike herbs outside town, valia root
we have been captured by the fey, they have challenged us to a an extremely tactical game called little dragon big dragon in which i played the pivot move that allowed us to win — blue dragon, thief, white dragon, black raider, blue dragon
The Krasian Boar Hunt
With Rhubarb, Zarrow, Arix
saw the sights, killed a boar. easy.
With Gorsot, Skylark, Briphion
Tadao found Earth Elementals were kidnapping people, including Jack and rats. Jack has been rescued — the rats are our job.
Also: Bring back an Earth Elemental, alive or dead.
“Keep your eyes here and you may escape”
“Life leads us down dark roads, but sometimes it is necessary to see the light”
Directions from gala hall to entrance: RLRRLLLLRLUDR
i was kidnapped, and rescued