Friday, 17th June 1498
Lydia and I awoke to the most horrendous of retching sounds, the noise of roiling guts and the emptying of bellies.
At first I though that Guillaume and Shanae had over indulged in the wine last night, it was quite a celebration that we paid for, and I returned to my slumber to let my own fogged head clear. A few hours later when their symptoms had not passed it had become clear that this was not the result of mere excess. Lydia went to find Hergon, the priest, whilst I cooked up some kindness to help relieve our nausea.
From examining the two of them it became clear that they were infected with a disease called 'Daemon Fever'! I have no doubt in my mind that it is an affliction bought on by the cursed blade that Guillaume carried and that it is a moral disease as much as a physical one. No doubt Shanae became infected due to her unwillingness to oppose the sword's release into the world.
I advocated for myself and Lydia leaving and returning to Vannes whilst they recuperate, perhaps it would give me the chance to hide away the crocodile skin book before Guillaume tries to claim that too. Guillaume urged me to stay however and he was right, we'd been through too much together for me to give up on them so easily and I have no doubt that he has saved my life on more than one occasion. I'll stay and ensure the sickness passes. Hopefully his desire to keep the blade will pass with it.
Tuesday, 21st June 1498
After a few of days had past and our two daemon-infested companions had recovered sufficiently to be able to ride we, set out on the road back to Vannes. We Stayed at an inn named The Beekeper overnight and very pleasant it was too. They made an excellent 'steamed phoenix' stew – hot and spicy!
Wednesday 22nd June 1498
Day was uneventful until we approached at the next inn – The Bronze Shield, set at the edge of a small village – where we could hear the ominous sound of tearing flesh emanating from the stables.
Went to investigate and there was what I could only describe as an ogre, something that I've only heard about from childhood tales, feasting on broken and crushed horses whilst others further within the stables whinnied in distress. Wild pigs shuffled around its bulk, rooting through the bloody carcasses. A lady from within the inn, which itself seemed to have been battered by the ogre's assault, cried out for us to help protect them. Only Lydia was callous enough to request payment before acting!
I lured the ogre, which called itself 'Pig Gut', away from its feast and we struck it with fire from all sides. It couldn't stand against such a ferocious barrage and it expired rapidly – the smell of cooked hair and flesh spreading in all directions. The pigs scattered. I wonder if they were connected to the tales of strange animals around Sandpoint that Shanae was telling us about?
Inside the inn were three survivors, a noblewoman and her son who had been traveling from Wren to Nancy, and the cook named Gustan who busily set about butchering the dead horses. None seemed overly concerned about the fate of the others in the village so we took it upon ourselves to see if we could find any survivors.
The village itself had been decimated. Corpses lay everywhere and we were able to find but a single living soul – a man named Cezig – who was stuck under a fallen beam in his house. We administered some magical healing and took him back to the safety of the inn.
All the survivors were evasive when questioned about what happened and seemed to be hiding something. It took reminding them of their loss for them to show any emotion at all, although this could be attributable to shock. They all seemed fixated on the horsemeat roast that the cook was preparing as they claim to have been trapped within the building all day for fear of the ogre's assault and their stores were bare of food.
The rooms of the inn were full of belongings but not a sign of their owners.
We retired to the largest room to rest whilst the survivors feasted on the half-cooked meat. We set up watches over our horses, wary that they may be seen as a possible meal also.
Thursday 23rd June 1498 – Night
Early in the morning it was myself and Guillaume that took the final shift, relieving Shanae and Corbin. As we left the inn we came across the noblewoman and cook, tearing flesh from the bones of the dead horses with hands, teeth and knives. Their features looked feral in the half-light. Shanae told us that she had noticed the woman ravenously eating from a chunk of raw flesh when she started her shift hours earlier, but decided it wasn't worth mentioning to us before. The druid is delusional!
This had gone too far. I took a ladle from the kitchens and struck the woman across the head, killer her instantly. Poetic that she would be unmade by a symbol of her affliction. The man's belly exploded in a shower of gore as he was struck by a flaming missile launched by Shanae.
We found the boy was in his room with his throat slit and of Cezig there was no sign. We slept uneasily until the morning.
Thursday 23rd June 1498 – Morning
We buried the boy and spent the day gathering and burning the bodies of the villagers, dead horses and the ogre. All the houses were bereft of anything edible so Shanae secured enough food to see us through the day, although she had to range much farther than usual as even nearby fruit trees and berry bushes had been scoured clean.
We rested up in the inn overnight. Fortunately there were no travelers on the road today.
Friday 24th June 1498
We leave this accursed with a growing sense of discomfort at all the questions that have been raised over the last few days. The mad goblins in their caves, the wild animals ravaging the land around Sandpoint and now this ogre and the villagers. Could it all be connected?
We plan to take the three surviving horses with us and we'll leave a note at the inn explaining what had happened here, but I'm not exactly sure what to write… Hopefully Guillaume will know what best to do.