The following letter was discovered in the personal effects of Balthazar the Blue shortly after his death. The letter appears to have been written in the days immediately after the events discussed and was in an envelope addressed simply to ‘The greatest writer in the world’.
I, the glorious Balthazar the Blue, write this letter in hopes that it will ease the difficulty you face in chronicling the adventures of myself and my, mostly competent, assistants without whom I would never have been able to make it this far (as quickly). Through the course of the past several days we have embarked on adventures that make all my past conquests, and what conquests they were, seem trivial by comparison. Indeed any normal man, lacking the quality of character, compassion, and power that I have in such abundance, would have shrunk before the odds my assistants and I have faced, and even I, if briefly, wondered if we would overcome our great adversaries. I now present, without bias, the story of how the magnificent Balthazar the Blue met a god, recovered a powerful relic, and defeated an ancient, but mighty, hero.
While enjoying a drink at a local tavern in Narsilleon, for I am truly a man of the people, with my assistants I was approached by a traveler that was most uncommon. Immediately I knew something was wrong and was on-guard to defend myself and my companions if the traveler showed aggression. The travel, being of obvious foreign origin, connected immediately with my bodyguard and friend Brunt with whom he spoke briefly in their shared savage tongue. I, fearing immediately that any conversation in this harsh language could not be appropriate for public company, introduced myself to the stranger and was unsurprised to find that the traveler was already familiar with the legend of Balthazar the Blue. After some lighthearted business involving dicing and gambling, in which I let our guest triumph to win his trust, the traveler confirmed my suspicions that he was not what he was presenting himself to be. After some uninteresting games, consisting of test of strengths and precision (in which the traveler was extraordinary skilled, but not able to defeat our Elven friend), the traveler had the nerve to challenge I, Balthazar the Blue, to a game of wits. This was the traveler’s first mistake as only someone of great power, or great stupidity, would think they could best someone as obviously superior as myself. When the traveler revealed that his identity to be that of Odin, the one eyed god, it became clear that our game of wits was unjust as not even someone of my great intellect could compete with his omniscience. It was during this reveal that my companions and I bore witness to the single greatest act of drama I have ever witnessed when our friendly deity altered the reality around us to conform to his will and provide us with a quiet place, divorced from reality, where we could share a conversation. I can only imagine that the awe and humility I experienced in this moment is similar to the experience the average citizen has when they meet Balthazar the Blue (I must remember to interact with them more frequently to share this joy). Odin shared with my companions and I that he had a task for which he required our assistance, for which we were honored. Our traveling friend revealed that an ancient artifact, used by an ancient hero of the Skandik people (whose name was uninteresting but whose deeds were legendary), was under threat from the vile earthen Dwarves. Bolstered by my normal disdain for their type, excepting a brave former companion to which we all owe my life, we agreed that we would retrieve this artifact despite great personal risk. Understanding the importance of our quest my companions and I set off immediately for the north towards the ancient burial mound in which the artifact was said to be located. After two uneventful, and boring for myself, days of travel we arrived at great cliffs and discovered the barrow we were seeking. My companions, eager for action, foolishly avoided my call for caution and charged through the first entrance they found into the structure. My companions, the fighter Brunt and the archer Luna, thanks to my lightning fast reaction and warning, were able to narrowly avoid a collapsing ceiling and escape certain death. We will never know if this collapse was triggered by natural decay or by intentional snare, but it underscored my message of caution to my companions. After a brief search, for our first method of entry was blocked by the collapse, I was able to find a secondary entrance to the barrow and we proceed guided by the beautiful blue light for which I am known. The barrow smelled of mold, rot and worse and if not guided by a promise made to a deity, along with the promise of riches, my companions would have struggled to continue. As we descended in to the rotten structure we discovered a large circular room where the smell became the least of our worries. As we entered the room dozens of corpses, still for a millennia, began to rise from their eternal rest jealous of the life we still possessed. Although I lent some assistance through some mild magic, potent to most, but unimpressive by my standards, my companions were able to dispatch these foes with little difficulty. Continuing to explore, we discovered another identical room in which more scourge were destroyed by our cleric Adric, wielding the power granted by Odin himself. Eventually my companions and I discovered a circular room decorated with reliefs of the one-eyed god and the mighty hero whose tomb we were in. Further inspection indicated that there was a passageway located behind the images of Odin, but my companions were unable to locate a way of opening the passageway. The key, to our surprise, was a statue of a raven located in the center of the room, that when we began to investigate came to life and presented us with three riddles. Thanks to my unsurpassed intellect and wit we were able to make short work of the raven’s riddles and the passageway opened for us. Exploring these tunnels we quickly found what we were looking for, a tomb where the hero was laid to rest inside his ship. Sensing our presence, and perhaps our intention to relieve him of the mighty weapon Dolghamar, the remains of the hero rose to greet us with arrows that hit their mark with surprising accuracy. This mighty hero, and he must have been mighty indeed for he withstood multiple blasts from my most potent magics as well as the best efforts of my skilled companions, realized that he was outmatched and summoned assistance from vile creatures in adjoining rooms. Concentrating our efforts on the hero I was able, with one final blast of a powerful lightning bolt, to return him to his grave, and with their leader destroyed the lesser undead proved to be less than competent and struggled to make even a dent in the armor of my assistants. These undead were easily dispatched and only our poor fighter Brunt showed any substantial hurt from their efforts. We discovered among the dead several items that will prove valuable for our party, most noticeably a girdle that when worn by our friend Brunt bolstered his strength to impressive levels (if one is impressed by such base things). In the hands of our great opponent we discovered the mighty Dolghamar, which will prove to be an exceptional weapon in the hands of our Adric and bring him much glory in the eyes of his god. Shame that such a beautifully crafted weapon should reside with such an unfortunate looking individual, but who are we to argue with the wishes of Odin the wanderer?
The tale presented in these preceding pages is both humbly told and focusing on bringing some truth to a situation that, by the time you read these words, will likely have become the fruit of myth and legend. I hope that you can use these recollections to show that Balthazar the Blue is not only the extraordinary hero spoken of in the legends of your day, but also a man of flesh and bone. I hope that you will use your gift of our language to present this journey in a manner that excites your readers and invokes the importance of these events. If you cannot do this I ask that you reprint my exquisite words in the form presented here so that all may know my voice.
Balthazar the Blue