The party had just recovered <<cipher>> and rescued the king from his very own dungeon! As we were climbing the wall to head back to <<cipher>>, Rowan’s birdcage (she has a thing for birds, I guess) exploded in a whirl of feathers. One of the birds was actually the orc we’d previously seen in the library — the one scolding the others for looting — he hid from us when he heard us coming. It was just odd luck that Rowan snatched him up in this form!
The force of his transformation knocked almost everyone back, and he was fighting Rowan for the <<cipher>> we’d worked so hard to get. But I was still on my feet and helped knock the orc back. Still, he managed to rip out a handful of pages before he turned back into a bird and flew away. I really hope it wasn’t anything too important.
Maximus hid our tracks as we dashed to the forest and started to head back home. After a bit, we decided to give everyone a chance to catch their breaths, and set up a small camp. While on watch, Thargus told me that he heard something in the trees. Naturally, I disappeared into the bushes to find out what was going on.
It wasn’t long before I spied a lone hooded person, walking directly towards our camp. I circled around, watching them sneak up to the camp’s edge and begin to prepare some kind of magical spell. My trusty blade was soon poking between his third and fourth rib as I kindly asked what his business was. His hood fell, and I was able to see that he had a weird aura, making his skin seem brighter than it should have been. He was not forthcoming with much besides that we were wanted (by sources he wouldn’t name) for questioning (in a place he wouldn’t tell us about). I got really tired of his repeated non-answers, so I tied him up while I tried to figure out more about this stranger. He had some sort of official scroll in a bizarre language that Lucca was deciphering. I gave Rowan a satchel to peruse while I was going to go through the stranger’s backpack. All of a sudden, some type of armored guardian erupted from Rowan’s bag ready for a fight!
We all rallied together and were able to reduce this steely construct to its component parts, but not before the stranger slipped out of his ropes and hurt Rowan pretty bad. I ran over and told him that protecting this party was my responsibility and slid my blade into his flesh to prove my point. I must have scared him pretty bad because he took off running — fast even for me with my boots of speed! I caught up with him and told him that he drew first blood, and what happened next was on him. Hopefully those words will reach his masters. The acid wounds from his cursed magic still sting a little bit, but I know that I’ll be feeling much better once I can see <<cipher>> again. In the meantime, it looks like we found the crown that controls that magical guardian. Maybe we can help figure out how to get it working again or learn about who made it in the first place.