This is the autobiographical journal of Arvil Bren, a somewhat reluctant hero who has been placed on an unknown quest by powers that he barely knows exist. Follow his journey as it is updated daily, Monday through Friday, and enjoy! These are the most recent entries in Arvil Bren's third journal; Politics of the Redoran. His first journal can be found in its entirety here. His second journal, Trail of the Archmage can be found here.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Day Ninety-one: Quest for the Bone-biter Bow

I rose before dawn and took the guild guide transport to Ald-ruhn, where I slipped out of town under cover of darkness and my amulet's strong chameleon spell. The long hike into the Ashlands is wearing. I wish I could take the silt strider to Maar Gan, but I don't want to leave any trail for the Dark Brotherhood. In fact I avoided Maar Gan completely, and all other outposts of civilization.

How to describe the wide grey expanses of the Ashlands? Hard black rock rises like the exposed bones of some great dead beast; sometimes a ridge, like a spine; sometimes a series of sharp pinnacles, like grasping claws. Trama vines eke their living from the wastes, writhing to the surface as fast as the mighty dust storms can bury them. Lichen grows on the surface of rocks on the side away from Red Mountain. Anchored against the wind it could cover the stones, but the storms scour the faces, leaving them pitted and scarred.

It is a harsh land, and home to harsh creatures. Cliff racers soar from their high aeries to scavenge vast territories; or kill. Northern Kagouti may be even dumber than their cousins in the lush southern regions, though that is a cold judgment. The two that charged me as I passed today showed the effects of their environment, but can hardly be blamed for suffering the difficulties they were born into. They are thinner, with heavier hides protecting them from the scourging sands, and if possible even worse dispositions.

I think the best fit creature for the Ashlands is the shalk beetle. They are about the size of a man, but scurrying low on their six legs they are better able to weather the winds. Their thick black carapace affords protection from the grating sands, and the ravages of cliff racers. The shell is thinner underneath, and a hungry enterprising racer may strike to flip them over, but they are well equipped for offense as well. As they charge they spew a cloud of burning stinging mist. It is best to kill them before they get close, but can be difficult as their shell is some proof against arrows. Fortunately, a shot that damages a foreleg, or severs a somewhat vulnerable antenna can completely disrupt their charge, leaving them skidding across the sands.

Tonight I am camped among these creatures, and I suspect sleep will be fitful at best. In the morning I will reenter the burial caverns. I will emerge a clanfriend, or not at all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

shalk beetles are indeed a force to be reckoned with - I was quite scared the first time one "exploded" at me !!

Red mountain is quite a scary place altogether!

- Angela

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Fejijar said...

The first experience with Red Mountain, even with a Level 70+ character, is quite likely to put a shock into anyone's bones. :D They really did a great job on the creepiness of it all. The swirling blight ash storms that never cease, the red glow of the volcano and the magics contained therein, the constant niggling fear that just around the corner, there's anything from a Clannfear to a Hunger to an Ascended Sleeper... Especcially because there probably is! Quite a few of my friends were literally scared their first trip up.

7:02 PM  

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