One of the damning bits of evidence used against Thadar was the acquisition of his journal from the K'Tharkian Homewarren where the ex-slaver was being kept. It was used in conjunction with Krendal's journal (the 1st one they found) to fill in some of the missing information as well as round out some of the Lycos Suns and the group's purpose for being captured.
It follows here:
Plant 1st, 174
Received another “gather request”, once more Djohrgahd acting as intermediary for his boss. 14 finals. No papers. Beaten but unbroken. Drifters or loners. Pull them from Dilabria Barony. I hate working up here, but I can’t work near home. After the run, I’ll stop back home and see Gregor and Hani. I miss them so much.
This is the 4th one in the last year and a half. First time in the double digits. Gonna need to muster a number of freelance guildies to do this right. And I have to allow for spoilage on the way. Delivery is due on the 20th. Payment is one sixth now, remainder on completion.
I ordered the roustabouts to gather 25 if possible and gave them one week.
Plant 3rd, 174
Mustered some local guildies who don’t mind working “gray”. Lycos Suns are registered and chartered, but some requests, such as these, can’t be listed. Better off splitting this into three plus one – just to make sure there is no issue. Some of the toughs like to beat more than goad – and I can’t have a team master with a heavy hand. I’ll cart any women off to Principia for brothel training and then sell them to the pirates. Going to have Iohanas and Gorst run two of the teams, they should have a pile of people they like to pick from.
For myself, I’ll take the most difficult of the bunch of the product. Going to have Krendal, Ostal, and Gumrid ride with me. Ostal’s patient and a good teamster, Krendal’s a bit of a hot head but a mage is always welcome, and Gumrid’s been my right hand since before Hani was born.
Told them about it today and tried to downplay the difficulties. Again someone brought up hiring a ranger but since Delarrin’s demise, no king’s man can be trusted anymore to run wilderness stock with us.
Plant 5th, 174
Parsed out coins and the boys scattered. Gambling debts, women, booze. I don’t think any of them have any family they care about except for Gumrid and I. I went to the bank and had a letter of credit drawn up. Sending it to Gregor and Hani’s mom via postal carrier. The money will keep them off the fields for another season and keep them in school. Gregor’s lettering is painful to read, but I am proud as any peacock when I get a post from him.
Plant 7th, 174
Roustabouts have come back to me and there is 28. None papered, none broken. As usual there was cries and denials and threats. Had one of them taken out and whipped to death as an example. Stripped the goods off all the others. Anything that had an identifier on it I’m going to wait for the fences, everything else I’m having sold off straight away.
Could really use some wagons.
Asked two of my men to scout the roads. Northedge to Dragonhole to Dilabria to Broken Hill. From there we’ll go overland to Fulgore Keep and the stock will be transferred at that time.
Castellan is going to charge extra for this, I just know it. Djohr is battier than Loki’s left nut if he thinks I’m going to absorb those sort of costs. He’ll square up for sure.
Plant 8th, 174
This is why I tell my roustabouts to use fingerlocks on any stock that bears question on arcanic skill. One of them cast some dweomer on my team, forcing Gumrid and I to arrow the fool. Damn it. I know arcanists are usually sought after. This is going to suck.
I told the team that there would be an early delivery bonus if we could get the stock there before the 20th, which I know is going to keep the gratuitous beating and screwing down to as much of a minimum as possible.
I hate this. I hate doing this. Eleven years and I can’t grow a taste for it. I tell my wife I’m in caravanning so she doesn’t get embarrassed of her husband. My son and daughter think I drive cattle. My father has no idea what it is I do, just that I make a good living doing it.
Their pride shames me.
I enslave and sell people…and I hate myself for it.
If only I wasn’t so good at my job.
Plant 9th, 174
Scouts have returned and informed us that the new count has his bailiffs and dragoons working the area around Dilabria. I am sure they have no knowledge of me, most likely there to check on the Baron’s accounts and review the peace – but I cannot take the chance to travel that way.
That means I have to plot overland, and that means that as I expected would happen, we’ll have to chance going through Kuluk the Terrible’s demesne. The Lycos Suns have been failing to make passage payments to the K’Tharkian warlord, mainly because we haven’t felt the need to. His group is small and I am sure that if we can get past Hooded Mountain, we can avoid the bulk of his patrols.
I don’t like the reptilian bastard. He’s too chummy with Fulgore Keep and the last thing the Guild can afford is the Keep having connections with uncontrolled bodies of interest outside the guild.
Plant 10th, 174
Making ok time now. Have to drive the stock overland for a bit. We have a wagon camp outside of Dragonhole, almost 4 miles south and west. A few grass runner elves have come close to it, but we’ve got it disguised as a gypsy encampment so they’ve left us alone.
I have my eye on the Half-Ogre so far as being under my direct observation. He’s patient, cunning, and even in rags, has some sort of air about him. As if he’s above all this. Fencers couldn’t sell his shield, to identifiable. Might be able to pawn it in Fulgore. We’ll see.
Plant 11th, 174
Lost Florin this morning. Sweet Thor, that could have been me. One of the stock got a hold of a camp knife and as we we’re walking by, leapt up and stabbed him in the gut, up under the ribs. I swear he choked on his own burst heart.
The wolfkins were commanded to attack and the stock was dispatched. I let the dogs eat the body slowly in front of the other slaves, reminding them that they mattered nothing to me. Got a seriously bad vibe from another one, unshaven bastard that glared knives at me at the way the animals were being treated as well as used. My 2 commons pegs him for a druid. Going to make sure he stays with me when we get wagons. I had him yoked and bound at the line head, and lined up the other stock behind him.
It’s going to slow us down, but a day of forced march while chained and clad will remind them that slaves don’t do anything outside of what we let them do again.
Plant 12th, 174
One of the mage’s died – the one we shot. Another one, and older man about 50 passed on as well, I think he was a holy man or some such. One more was feigning it – made me think he was a monastic. I had Iohanas spear the faker repeatedly to set the tone for the rest of today’s march.
I know it’s not good form, but the stock needs to be educated faster than they are learning.
Plant 13th, 174
There’s at least another mage in the batch. Scrawny looking one, always fidgeting with his fingers. I had his manacles changed to fingerlocks and the roustabouts were quizzed, but none remember a grimoire on this one, just a knife. I took no chances and I’ve moved him around the gang until he was near the front where I could keep and eye on him.
Deep in the wild now, must be over the border to Umbaria by now or at least by tomorrow.
Plant 14th, 174
Morale is low and as I expected the beaters are making more of an effort to beat the stock. Had to assign a few of the team to picket duty even though I know there is no one out here to be wary against.
I hope my children are ok. I miss them.
We should be at the wagon camp by tomorrow.
Plant 15th, 174
Finally made it. We split the groups up into 3 sets of 6. I took the half-ogre, the grizzled looking animal lover, and the scrag who I’ve kept in fingerlocks that might be an arcanist. In addition Gumrid asked to take some fob with a big nose who was rattling his chains to get out and spent a good 3 minutes going at with a prod stick. Rounded it out with one of the three stunties and some swarthy looking foreigner who in my opinion probably knifed his mother for a loaf of bread.
We loaded all the wagons with enough food, clothing, trade goods, and what treasures and raw coin I could safely move without raising eyebrows and what personal effects my fencers couldn’t move in Dragonhole.
And then it was load the stock, lock the bars, and off we go. 5 days left to get the stock to Fulgore Keep. Even though I’m sure Kuluk is pissed at us, I’m going to take the ancient Dwarven Traderoads and chance going through their territory. It’ll save us at least a day.
Plant 16th, 174
Making good time. Stock is holding up. They’re talking to each other a bit, as if we can’t listen. That’s fine, let them talk and plot. Won’t matter much in 4 days or less. After that it’s out of my hands and their fate moves on.
Plant 17th, 174
We are into the foothills of the Dusty Mountains now – 3 days to get there – should be there in two. Only thing that ever makes me nervous is how close the traderoad comes to Orihalcus. Guild has no friendlies there but neither does the new Count bother with posting representatives there. I wouldn’t mind stopping off at the Blue and Dancing Minepick for a plate of pickled beets and a cool jack of Kvass, but it’ll have to wait for the return trip for now.
Plant 18th, 174
I write this now as if it might be the last thing I ever write. The rains came, spring floods in the mountains. Oxen team slipped off the roadbed and we fell down the side of the mountain into a ravine. A MOUNTAIN! Sweet Thor! Ostal is dead. He was thrown from the driver’s seat, head bashed on the rocks. The three of us were wounded badly, stock seemed dead. Krendal was coughing blood. We took what we could and left the wagon behind. I don’t think the other two teams even know we were lost behind them.
Took refuge in a cave, K’Tharkian fetish marking along the outside. Orihalcan and Fulgore garbage was within. We rested at a cistern, Krendal didn’t wake up. 3 K’Tharkian’s found us, summoned more. We were taken to a subchief named G’Shnak. Don’t know this one, but I have heard Kraygel’s name mentioned – one of Kuluk’s cronies. Decided to play stupid and be friendly with the K’Tharkian’s. Dice and coins and jokes have kept them friendly so far.
G’Shnak is going to talk to Kraygel tomorrow.
Have a bad feeling about this.
Plant 19th, 174
Gumrid and I have been moved on now to someone named Flatarn – ugly axe wielding brute. Prick took my hat. We waited here while Kraygel had us cooling our heels. At day’s end we were brought to Kraygel where he immediately let us know that we have been late on our payments. Now I know the reptilian prick went back to Kuluk and found out the truth.
I offered him our bounty so far, trying to buy some time. This Kraygel seems like a moron – I know he’s going to skim a pile off the top. Hope he decides to let us go. Merciful Odin, I just want to see my children one last time.
Plant 20th, 174
Kraygel was killed a short while ago. Gumrid and I are prisoners of almost twenty-five K’Tharkian’s being taken back to Kuluk’s main camp as per the subchief’s last order. Wouldn’t you believe it, but the damned stock wasn’t dead! In fact they were outfitted in the most ridiculous pile of scavenged weaponry and were fighting the K’Tharkian’s! Killed Kraygel dead, and from the way they fought – I am happy we were spirited out of there.
Amazing. They weren’t dead. I would have never believed it. Had a wounded bugbear with them, ugly blighter. Thought the K’Tharkian’s had finished wiping the local ones out? Guess not.
Hope that I can get Kuluk to understand this was a mistake and let us go. Should be there tomorrow.
Plant 21st, 174
Did not go well. Kuluk wants more than I have to make up for “back payment”. It seems that Kuluk has had at least one if not more audiences with the Castellan – which I know is going to be troublesome for the guild to know.
Plant 24th, 174
Gumrid is being sent back to Fulgore Keep to talk to the Guildmasters about garnering more payment. I am to stay here to make sure they pay. I gave Gumrid a fierce hug and strong words, but in my heart I know the Lycos Suns will not pay.
I will never see my family again.
Plant 29th, 174
One of the guards has seen me write in my journal and is going to talk to the shaman to see if he should take it from me. The reek of boars and bugs is almost sickening.
I accept what I have done for years as being evil and now the skein of the Norns is laid out for me to pay for my crimes. There will be no valkyries for me. I will not sit in Heorot. I will not see Asgard.
Just don’t let my shame be passed on to my children. Do you hear me gods!? Do not blame the children for the crimes of the father.
I beg of you.
The shaman comes now and he appears angry.