Journal Entry by Wallace Williams

For use by the Lorekeeper Collective, Madison Chapter

Although our group contained what I assumed were locals, we were outside of the main city area so our navigational prowess is hazy. We encountered an odd fellow named Benjicot who offered to make us a map to Curtin Tower if we help him collect some supplies from the derelict Aldi's some miles away. We could not reasonably have get there by foot, but all we had to do the job was Benjicot's cart. That is, a cart and no means to power it. Nearby we spotted another group of people who in a stroke of serendipity had a horse! Nobody knew anyone from that group or if any of them were armed, but we speculated that they were the group who had control of the Aldi's before they bolted it shut. As we waited for sunrise, our resident rogue and Amelie inexplicably obtained a horse. I will not question it, I will just marvel at the people who are so masterful at speechcraft(practical speechcraft, mind). I recall an old saying about not nitpicking a free horse. I do not think this saying has ever been more apt!

Peck and Amelie now had the daunting task of steering away the other clan while the two of us with lesser social graces had the equally daunting task of scavenging the former Aldi's site for munitions and supplies. The seriously fortified structure more or less made impenetrable from all sides, making it obvious that it once stood as a makeshift stronghold. Although, this also makes me think that everything of any worth had probably already taken as well. Honestly, I entertained the idea to call it quits after circling the building a few times and finding to opening large enough to accommodate our entry. Kal's a medicine man, but he's gutsier than I, and decided to check if we could enter from above. Although he made it to the top, getting me up there proved to be another story (and that is all I will say about that--the collective already holds several records of my physical ineptitude). Surprisingly, we noticed an opening left unbolted, ostensibly for ventilation. Once again, Kal safely landed below but even assisted I fell on my rear end on my entry. To this day, it is one of the darkest blacks I've ever seen. Closing my eyes made no difference on the level of darkness and I could not afraid to move. When one sense is robbed, your other ones heighten, but I did my damnedest to rob my other sense as well because I did not want to find the cause of the store's abandonment. Kal and I started to remove the barricades from the windows and doors until the light poured in to the room like precise laser beams. Although it remained still irresponsibly dark, I could discern shapes now and we were able to move around with slightly more freedom. Suddenly Kal and I encountered a large fuzzy mass. The following occurrence is one hundred percent real. Despite the extraordinarily small probability of the subsequent events, please do not assume this account is farcical.

Every single step we took drew the attention of something in the room. Whenever Kal or I made even the slightest noise the creature would react by loosing a faint grunt that echoed in the empty, dark room. Afraid to agitate the entity even more, I planted my feet in place to avoid making any sounds, now only sighing in unison to the creatures noises. When I turned my torso towards the Doctor, I caught the attention of two glowing orbs in the shadows, immediately dropping to floor and letting out a cowardly yelp. Knowing that the creature now would attack, Kal provoked it into the area of the store where the light beams zigzagged enough to cast light at the creature. It was a bear. To my surprise, the animal was of a lighter frame than I had imagined, and it moved more quickly as well. I could not even recover fully before it tried attacking, and I had to crawl on my fours to dodge its attack. Kal did not even have a proper weapon, but because he is more brave than I am he quickly struck the animal so I had time to regroup. When I got up, my body stood heavy and stiff, and I could not even raise my sword to attack. Everything went silent for a second. It roared. The bear's howl knocked me out of my trance, and I lifted my sword while my body shook from the adrenaline. Before I knew what happened, I attempted to pacify the bear by stabbing it with the tip of my saber. I did not pacify it. I enraged it. When I stopped to look at the fur and flesh on my blade, the bear stood on its hind legs as if it evolved into a humanoid reaper that would take my life. Again, I froze for what seemed like forever, which I have heard is common right before you die. This time, Kal's panicked voice rescued me, and once again I struck before I fully came to my senses. This time, I struck the bear's vital area and felled it with that strike. Afterwards we decided that we could use the bear as trading means, so I had to bloody my blade once more, this time cutting the rough sinewy tendons from the bone. Better this than killing a man.