Dr. Adaline Maxwell Darknoll, writing to her sister, Isabel Constance Darknoll, on the first day of the Month of Rain, in the year of Peace, ten days into the expedition.
We have finally reached the end of the Silver Line Railway and venture now into lands largely undocumented. While I do not miss having my bones shaken about by a railcar, I do wish we could have convinced one of the dragons to come along, if only for the extra-dimensional pouches they carry. The gear we brought from the Institute seems to have multiplied in transit — a fact not helped by the supplies we have acquired along the way.
The mages, at least, have been a great help now that they have had time to recover from the stress of traveling in such close proximity to the powerful runes of the steam-engine. Nell, the berserker, has already shown an adeptness in handling the more temperamental instruments, and the shadowdancer Emil has assured me that he will be able to find this station again, even once we have pushed far into the wilderness. That alone is a great comfort, as it means we shall be able to maintain some lines of communication and the possibility of resupply. As you know my temperamental nature, I shall send all mission updates to the Institute through you, in the hopes that you will be able to smooth the sharp edges of my communication. I may not like the Institute, but we do need their money if this mission is to be a success.
Enough about that, though. Our lodgings in Endtown are… I believe the term you might use is quaint? At any rate, they are little more than dirt hovels. The town itself is a way-station for silver-miners who come down from the hills when they need a resupply. I have already had to lay down strict guidelines for how much money might be spent on drink and gambling.
The only interesting thing about Endtown is the peculiar type of toad that seems to be native to this area. I discovered it by the loud croaking — although I believe “warbling scream” might be a more accurate description of the sound. There is a pond not far from the town which has been completely taken over by these creatures. I am not sure if it is more accurate to call them mammals or amphibians, as their back is covered with blue and purple fur, while their morphology closely resembles that of a toad. They also sport two pairs of protruding tusks which they seem to use for digging up the roots of cattails or display purposes. That, combined with the double row of spikes down the creature’s back, makes me thing we may need a new classification to account for their oddities. I shall endeavor to include a photograph of the creature, as I believe you would find it amusing.
But now Isolde, the cook, is calling me for dinner. I shall write more later.