[Written by Belamir the Druid in Gnomish]
I have observed one of our own, Dorn, keeping a journal. I see benefit to this, but have taken the precaution of writing in a language not known to many – should it fall into the wrong hands. I am not used to writing much, so bear with me…
[aside: it’s interesting to see how animals find their way into our language. Bear, weasel, badger, mole, hawk, bat… Some make a lot of sense, others not at all, many not so complimentary to their animal namesake…]
I feel so much more alive! My recent sojourn (a full moon’s cycle) through different biomes has helped me to learn and to study the forms of a myriad of wondrous creatures, not least of which is the giant elk and the allosaurus—a fast, agile and tough diminution of the thunder lizard which I was able to study (requiring me to take precautions such as magically masking my scent and presence, lest I become a meal to this formidable beast). Silvanus has blessed me with greater power, now able to assume the forms of even more powerful creatures – to assist me in helping to restore the balance that the Cult of the Dragon has so markedly thrown off.
Oh, it does feel good to doff the trappings of this frail body and enter that of these other animals (for what is man, but an animal that has sacrificed strength of body for strength of mind – albeit one that sadly is too susceptible to the glint of gold rather than the wind caressing one’s fur during an uphill sprint, or feeling the water respectfully move aside to the effortless flickings of one’s tail)! It is not until one is able to step into the form of other animals that one is able to better realize how much more our bestial brothers are able to see, smell, hear, feel, taste, sense than we can in this humanoid frame. I find it increasingly challenging to remain in this limited form, knowing what else I can do – where else I can go! But perhaps that is part of the test. I know I cannot remain in these other forms forever (though I have heard Twig speak of an ancient elven druid who was able to change his form at will), and so I must find a way to be more…comfortable in, more accepting of, this human form.
Perhaps I should consider fighting in it, to better learn some of the benefits of it? I don’t know. I fail to see how even some of these magic weapons can compare to the razor-sharp teeth of the allosaurus, the punch of the saber-toothed tiger, the feeling of throwing a foe over one’s shoulder just from the flick of one’s neck and antlers, or sundering a shield into splinters with the swipe of a bearish claw. Just to protect the human’s soft flesh, I need to cocoon myself in a bulky shell of tough scales that restricts my freedom of movement. I just don’t see how it can compare, but I need to find a way to get more comfortable in this skin. The skin I was born in… Yes, the irony is not lost on me.
I have joined in with this somewhat motley crew, the Ring of Adventurous Men, comprised of men from all different walks of life – a wizardly bookworm who seems most comfortable in the shadows and away from danger; a clever but self-serving fighter who is masterful on the battlefield; a half-orcish pirate who seems to have a heart of gold, the attention span of a gnat, the manners of a barbarian, the stealth of a crashing rhinoceros, and the predictability of a confused wallaby; and a fellow follower of Silvanus, with elvish blood also coursing through his veins.
I must depart soon – it seems that ROAM is on the move once more. But I wish to study my fellow comrades more. While we are bonded by our mutual hatred of the Cult of the Dragon, I sense that their motives may not be as pure as mine and Varis’s.
To Varis, I thank you: I am at times led astray from my obedience to Silvanus. It is sometimes challenging to focus my worship/energy on a single being, when nature and all of its beauty and spawn are all around. I am still green: I don’t know the right customs and actions. I see that I at times do things counter to the will of Silvanus, and the way of nature (by sometimes mending things that should be left to crumble, to follow the eroding forces that nature has worked on them) – despite my good intentions and/or my ignorance. Varis is a beacon; he helps to cast a light on my doubt and ignorance, by showing me proper conduct and respect to Silvanus. I am indebted to him, for he will help to keep me straight on my path. I must protect him, above all others in this party of ours, for he is a true follower of the Way. He will help to restore the balance, for the sake of restoring the balance. Not for gold, or books, or to have others know of his name.