Return of Hadrach
Journal of Halinard Greenhand
This bloodstained journal is simply put together, though magic has been placed on it to keep it from decaying. Unadorned soft leather covers a sheaf of papers that have been sewn into a simple binding with waxed thread. The rough paper is scribbled, sketched on and stained by a variety of pens, inks, and watercolors. The leather outside has suffered a number of scrapes, cuts and burns, but is dominated by a large dark bloodstain.
The inscription states it is the property of Halinard Greenhand, “…and details his stories and adventures herein.”
Reading through the book, the first half is a series of descriptions of creatures and people Greenhand encountered as he traveled through the newly formed Draiman Combine, roughly 800 years prior. He seems to take particular delight in exterminating minor devils, and claims the Legion of Denuriel dogs his steps.
At the halfway point, there are the ashen remnants of several burned pages and he describes a book he found, “that fades from memory as soon as one looks away. The details are impossible to remember and efforts at transcription combust upon completion. I can remember but few things, and even they fade as I write them:
Find the Heart of Hadrach.
Find Warmaster Chorth.
I have misplaced the book, and I can only believe I placed it somewhere safe and since forgotten. I pray I find it again soon.
The journal continues for a month’s worth of entries with no mention of the Heart or Warmaster Chorth, until this one:
“Going back through my journal, I have found this mysterious entry, clearly by my own hand, but with no memory of writing it or what it refers to. What have I forgotten? What is this book I described? Why does the Legend of Hadrach the Everking come up now? Warmaster Chorth was the Everking’s commander, but he’s been dead for thousands of years. Why would I tell myself to find him?” A long argument with himself later, he decides to trust his handwriting and begins a quest to find the Warmaster.
Months of journal entries pass, reporting travel to various libraries and historians searching out the legends of Warmaster Chorth and the Heart of Hadrach. As he searches, news trickles in that his allies, friends and family are being exterminated one by one. The news drives him ever onward, and the more you read the more you can see his mind disintegrating under the strain of constantly hiding from and fighting off infernals, searching for an artifact hidden entirely from history, and the ultimate fate of Warmaster Chorth. He is turned on to the trail of something he calls the Great Secret, desperate to learn what it is. More and more pages are torn out of the journal, the nearby pages stained with smears of blood.
The final entry is written in blood, messily, as if quickly or in great pain.
“I am spent. I am doomed. I have seen infinity and I welcome it. I know the past and I weep for it. I know His Secret and I damn Him for it.
Perhaps He is right that the world is better for not knowing. I will take the Secret with me and leave no record of the path that led me to it.
Kalithraks can burn for all I care, I will name him here against his wishes and demands. He can find a new fool to toy with, to do his bidding while hiding behind his Sanctioned Laws. I will rest. I will die the fool cursing his name.
Reader, should you meet him, be cautious. He will not lie to you, but much truth can be hidden in his words. Should you find Kalithraks, tell him this:
The path of the Dwarf was ended by treachery without guilt.
The path of the Giantslayers was ended by theft without repercussion.
The path of the Phoenix was ended by love without limit.
The path of the Drakkenhoard was ended by knowledge without wisdom.
The path of the Warmaster was ended in the crucible and forge of family.
The Heart lives, and it is out of your reach.