The following text is pulled from the little-known but lauded mini-hex-crawl Treasure of the Hideous One (psst: yar-har if you can't be bothered to shell out two bucks). The original image is way hard to read and parse, so I got a computer to read it for me and now you can copypasta the text to your players. As Grisbaldos seems to be an important ghost, I suggest reading the thing a couple times and making some notes on what he might say. Same goes for Rosentos. Also, encourage the PCs to research into this tale, so they at least realize all this happened like a century ago.
I changed just one part, where the bit about marching into the setting sun was a bit confusing, to say north. But maybe you can decide if the text stands.
The Veteran's Tale
Tharakimeios the Scribe wrote this story as he heard it from the lips of Fondalus the Soldier, and can attest that the words are true. Fondalus said:
The soldiers marched from Luin 7 days to the north. On the seventh day, they reached the banks of a great river and camped. That night, a score was lost. One Grisbaldos told the soldiers that spirits worked against the troop, and he told them to go no further.
These words were carried to Rosentos and repeated as they were heard. Rosentos held his anger, calling his captains and saying, "These are the words of Grisbaldos, who has spoken poorly before." Rosentos then repeated Grisbaldos' words and asked for his captains' counsel. The captains advised Rosentos that Grisbaldos was a danger, for he had spoken against him with evil mischief in his heart. They said, "Grisbaldos is an enemy, and he must be slain." Rosentos spoke against this punishment, but the captains said, "Do not leave this evil wraith at your bosom to destroy us all." So moved by the entreaties of his captains, Rostos agreed.
At dawn three of the captains who were loyal to Rosentos delivered Grisbaldos to him and the punishment was given out. Grisbaldos was buried under a cairn of rocks beneath a great oak.
All through the day, Grisbaldos' followers spoke softly as the troop marched up the river. The way along the river was blocked by swampy shares where the feet of the horses could not make progress. Rosentos called his captains and asked what they should do. Espsisies and Melhos said the troops should turn back, but Fondalus advised the making of rafts. Rosentos agreed, and the men built two score rafts to pole through the swamp. The rafts were well-loaded with fruit and water, for the way through the swamp was unknown.
For three days, the troop traveled through the swamp. It was here that Hedric the Lame disappeared. Five more were lost to fevers from the bad night air. On the third day, Turim Fellbeard sighted a village on stilts. The villagers greeted the soldiers in long slender boats and led them to their town. Rosentos summoned the village chief to his raft, telling the chief of the great duke. Then Rosentos gave the chief many gifts of glass and ivory. This pleased the chief, who bade a feast for that night. The men ate well, but the seer Kerid Bey said that all should leave. That night, Rosentos had the men sleep with their sandals bound. When a great fog came up, the troop left the village in secrecy. Turim Fellbeard and his raft were lost that night.
After much travel, the soldiers sighted a second village. Remembering the dark night before, Rosentos gave orders to pass the village by and not meet with its inhabitants. The troop made for a thick stand of reeds nearby. From this thicket there came a shower of arrows as the men drew close. Many warriors came out of the reeds in their slim boats called ca-noos. They fell upon the raft of Tuchmora and slew many, but Rosentos ordered the rafts together. A great fight was made on this platform, but the bowmen of the troop kept the warriors at bay. The fight began in the morning and continued all day. At last, the warrior chief approached and asked the forgiveness of such mighty soldiers. His tongue was strange, so Kerid Bey told his words. Those of the first village, he said, were demons and enemies of his village. The chief thought the soldiers' rafts were the craft and evil art of the demons.
The chief brought gifts of gold and feathers, and he ordered food to be set out for all the men. That night, the men slept dry for the first time in many days. Still Rosentos told his men to keep their sandals laced.
That day, the troop lost 7 men. Tuchmora had an arrow in his thigh, and Fondalus had many cuts on his body.
For several days, Rosentos stayed at the village. Each night, he spoke at length with the chief. Each day, the chief and his warriors brought more gifts of gold and jewelry. Finally, the captains spoke to Rosentos. "We marvel at the generosity of this chief. Surely you, in your talks with him, have learned the source of his treasure. Share this with us, and we will swear to give you the General's share, as well as make you the duke's treasurer so that you might collect his share." To this Rosentos agreed.
The next day, when the chief visited, Rosentos plied him with words and learned from him the source of his wealth. Beyond the edge of the swamp, he said, there lay a great stone house in which treasures might be found. Only the brave could go there, warned he, for the land around it was filled with evil spirits. If Rosentos would drive the spirits away, the chief would show him where to go. Resentos agreed and called the captains to him. Each man was to prepare himself. Those taken ill by fevers and the night air of the swamp were to wait for the return of the troop. The next day, a troop of two score men left.
On the first day, swamp beasts attacked the troop. One beast swallowed a raft, and all on it were lost. Kerid Bey was thrown over the side. The men fired arrows at the beasts, but they scorned these blows and dragged Kerid the seer beneath the waters with them. That day, six men, the captain Melkos, and the seer Kerid Bey were lost. That night, the villagers built a great fire and chanted songs. No man knew the words to these songs, and some claimed they were death songs calling evil spirits.
In the morning, Rosentos roused the men, promising them all an extra share. On the second day, the chief led the troop to dry land. The land was the place of the spirits where the treasure lay. Rosentos consulted his captains. Some wanted to go back and wait for the others, but Fondalus and others did not want to face the swamp beasts for no avail. Rosentos decided to leave a small force behind to protect the rafts. Rosentos would lead the rest of the troop inland to find the stone house.
For several weeks, the men remained, waiting for word from Rosentos. Perils took the men in the night, until only five remained. Fondalus deemed it wise to return to the village, for now the men there would be healed. Taking one raft, the men set out. On the journey, Fondalus was beset with a fever. Weakened and ill, he could not return, and the men could not find the village without him. Their searchings took them out of the swamp, and so they brought their captain Fondalus back to the lands of the duke. He so survived to tell this tale.
Share good posts with good goblins. Claytonian at the gmails.