Ruminations on the death of Bortruk, a journal entry by Rilya, Windling Weaponsmith
We lost our first Adept on this last outing. Many have gone into the wilds and not returned, but this is the first I have witnessed, and heard about amongst the Adepts I associate with. I feel as though I should be able to do more. My physical capabilities are not as impressive as many of my companions, and it is becoming increasingly clear that in the wilds, I need something to contribute more reliably than those. The thought haunts me that had I been more capable, perhaps we would have been able to save him. But I get ahead of myself. From the beginning...
We were recruited by one Plume Cloudytwirls to map out a suitable location for some Windlings to set up a village outside of Throal (A goal near and dear to my heart, I must say. Throal is nice, but there are times when I wish to have somewhere to go away from the place). A place had already been picked out as a possible location, we were to go and map it and return. Accompanying me on this endeavor were Aegharan and Osahar, the Elven Illusionist and Archer I had journeyed with previously, as well as a more seasoned adventurer, Bortruk, a Dwarven Air-Sailor. We set out and hit Borgan's Rest on our way (Lareth is doing well), and then continued on out into the wilds. A nasty storm did make an appearance, and Bortruk, seasoned adventurer that he is, pointed out why tents are important (I now have one of my own, a palace for me, though not so much for anyone larger).
While scouting out the area, we stumbled upon a strange circle in the wilds. When I went to examine it, we were attacked by some monkeys and apes. I need to find a way to help out when things like this happen. Inside the city, there are very few times when combat skills would serve me, but outside, they seem to be much more useful. The beasts were dispersed, and we set about examining the circle more in-depth. There is a presence on the Astral Plane, but beyond that, I couldn't tell much. We did get some rubbings and carvings of the runes that comprise the circle (not the entire set, just a sample) to examine more later. Without knowing more about the circle, we decided camp farther away would be a wise decision, and found a place not too far close to a river nearby.
The morning after, as we took stock of things, Blood Ravens made their appearance, apparently intent upon a meal. As we fought those, crocodiles came from the river and assaulted those too close to the banks, Osahar and Bortruk (almost as if the Ravens were driving us closer, to entice them out). The battle with the crocodiles was savage, and I kept my distance from them (they would make a meal of me in a single snap). Bortruk, sadly, was grabbed by one croc, and it eventually led to his demise. We struggled and did all we could to save him. He fought the beast valiantly, but in the end, it was not enough, and even the use of his Death Cheat Charm and a Last Chance Salve were unable to hold off the reaper. His body was reclaimed, and given a funeral pyre to commemorate his bravery. Aegharan nearly fell as well, and the loss of two would have been unbearable, I think.
We spent the next couple days recovering from the crocodile attack, well away from the water, and with no further wild beasts seeking out demise. We did make the maps that Plume was seeking, and upon returning to her and recounting our tale, she has said perhaps they shall honor the fallen with the name of the village. I returned Bortruk's items to his family, with the exception of a silver piece he owned, which is even now, shaping up into a nice miniature version of the dwarf, an item I will carry with me always, so as not to forget his sacrifice and our loss. I also kept the carvings he made of the runes from the circle. I recall some training I had during my initiation as a Weaponsmith that grants a facility with languages. I think I will spend some time meditating upon that, and see what answers I can uncover from those.
I think, had I been able to inflict damage, things would have been different. My weapons are potent, but my capabilities with them are not. And my small size is something I'll not be able to overcome. Perhaps learning how to manipulate the forces of magic would help my companions more. I shall need to see if I can find out more, and perhaps find a teacher. I do not want any other's to suffer Bortruk's fate, not when I can prevent it. There must be something I can do.