Records have been consulted, and the resulting power granted at the end of the previous hunt has been used to refine my craftsmanship of a Rune of Holding. This rune will allow for the instantaneous storage and withdrawal of any item within limitations from an arcane subspace, allowing me access to throwing weaponry instantaneously, as well as allowing me to pass through secure checkpoints without issue. Further development possibilities should focus on increasing the number of stored items, as larger weaponry is not necessary at present. In the event that larger weaponry becomes necessary, research into expanding size limitations should still be relegated to a secondary priority, in favour of offensively focused runes. Additional research has shown that advanced storage runes are capable of suspending living creatures in time, including the occupants of entire carriages (note: look into vehicle licenses, advanced storage rune would make transporting an all terrain vehicle easy and convenient, and prevent being stranded in the event of mishaps with other runes, such as Teleportation).
Results of Training following the hunt demonstrated remarkable increase in results, indicative of supernatural tampering. Later downturn suggests further hunts will be necessary to continue improving. Confirm theories next time? Possible hostilities from the intruder are concerning, given their demonstrated ability to walk past all mundane and arcane defences in the training grounds, given the result of the last conflict I witnessed, it would probably be wise to avoid overt displays of aggression. By my Sword, May their blood flow Freely and Endlessly.
The Rune of Holding proved its utility. Clever use of the rune to bypass certain forms of lock allowed access to rooms previously inaccessible, therefore the next problem to address is the dragonkins ability to ignore the blows from my sword. It proved possible for me to harness the power gained during the previous mission to further hone my skills with the blade, wielding my sword now feels smoother and more natural despite reaching what should theoretically be the upper limits of human technique. Tests of my newly enhanced prowess have allowed me to determine that I now possess the ability to instinctively cut through gaps and weak points in defenses. Further refinement should allow for the permanent reduction of an opponents armour through properly timed twists of the blade, flaying scales and causing armour to snap. Other possible improvements are to the precision with which I can target weak points, as a sufficient level of reduction may allow me to wound the dragonkin during my next encounter with it.
Theories proven are that it is necessary for me to go on these missions in order for me to further improve my skills, as well as that the rate at which I improve has been drastically increased to compensate. It is worth considering investment in a method of restraining foes, as well as defensive measures for future encounters. The inevitable drain on my mana reserves cause me to believe that internal mana wells placed within the runes would be a wise investment, in order to maintain combat effectiveness for an extended period of time.
My latest advancement is in the use of glyphs. A small, rounded stone bearing a magical marking that can be thrown to produce a specific mystical phenomenon. The latest surge of power was used for acquiring the ability to carve glyphs of binding, capable of holding even True Dragons in place once enough skill is acquired. As of yet, the resulting magical binding can be torn apart with sufficient brute strength, and those bound are still capable of attacking, even if immobile. Further advancement should focus on adding magical adaptability to the bindings, as well as fine tuning the placement of the bindings to reduce or prevent movement, reducing potential damage from the target.
My own estimates, based off of the improvements experienced over the last three months, are that I will be ready to truly hunt a dragon, one of the magical, highly intelligent beasts that took them, within as short a period as a little over a year, possibly two, depending on the challenge presented by my tasks. While my armour still holds up in its functionality, I have begun to suspect I shall need a more potent form of protection, and have begun looking into the acquisition of a ward stone for future enchantment. I shall have to expand my magical reserves to properly use my equipment, but for the present moment my other concerns are my mobility and my ability to deal with crowds. Both are problems that are possible to overcome with modern technology, so I have spent my available time familiarising myself with what is available.
The latest surge of power from my task has been used to study and carve a blink rune. The newest rune will allow me to travel a distance of 50 feet in an instant, allowing both easier escape and rapid repositioning, though use does cause some mild disorientation. In addition, the rune has been modified to draw upon the excess mana within my body and store it within an internal pool, allowing me to use the rune successively with no cost to my own reserves, though I can no longer channel mana from my well through it. Further improvements to be made include reducing or removing the disorientation which occurs on use of the rune, to allow for repositioning and striking at the same time, as well as increasing the responsiveness of the rune, to allow for use in avoiding blows.
Additionally, there was excess power present in the latest surge, enough to allow me to expand my rune of holdings storage space. With this, it should prove possible to carry an entire arsenal of weaponry as well as magical and mundane tools for use in hunts. I have been training in the use of firearms to combat my lack of effective ranged weaponry, the death of Raphael proved how effective they can be in the hands of a sufficiently skilled marksman, and I hope to be able to reduce or remove my vulnerability to being swarmed in this manner. Additionally, I shall contact Guy soon in order to arrange for the acquisition of some explosives. Storage with the Rune of holding will make their use much simpler, and remove the risk of discovery upon being searched.
My lack of resolve to follow through nearly cost us dearly during my previous task. As such, I have studied an old technique from the family records, one for hardening the mind and steeling resolve. Early practice requires a blade in hand, to act as a focus for the will and calm the nerves, but with further training it will no longer be necessary, only my experience being required to hold myself steady. Yet further research speaks of methods to focus the pain into power, allowing a skilled user of the technique to become stronger the more injured they are, instead of weaker. Reccommended with the technique is a Rune of Regeneration, to repair the damage neccessary for such a technique to work.
Soon, I shall join my first official hunt with Guy and his monster hunters organisation, which so far seems to only encompass himself and Clay. No matter, like with my family and our duty, this organisation too shall grow, and work together to slay the creatures that haunt humanity. Our target is a Skin Walker, a type of Witch, prominently featured in Native American mythos, one which can take the form of animals, and can only be slain through damaging the head with silver weaponry, or weaponry coated in ash. Clay and Guy seem to favour firearms as their primary tool of hunting, in addition to whatever supernatural abilities they have acquired from the tasks they have been sent on, and I shall train in their use as well. That means that we shall be reliant on silver ammunition, a scarce resource. I intend to coat my weaponry in ash before we depart, my rune preventing the ashh from being flaked off while they are stored.
I have managed to make adaptations to a Rune of Dragon Finding in order to broaden its range of senses. It is now a Rune of Monster Finding, and should alert me to the presence of any monstrous creature within a fifty foot radius, growing more accurate and precise in its readings with greater access to mana. Further improvements to its range will be useful, as well as access to an internal supply of mana, my own reservoirs remain too small to fuel my runes for long. Further detail on the precise location and nature of the monster detected is possible, with potential applications including the use of the rune as a range finder as well as a targeting assistance system, in addition to simple tracking. The most prominent use of the Rune is that it will help immensely in the upcoming hunt with Paul and Clay, the Skin Walker capable of disguising its physical appearance, but not its magical nature. In combination with properly prepared weaponry, tracking, pinning down, and eliminating the Skin Walker should be simple, especially if it can be identified long enough for Paul to continuously track it, in the event that it escapes. Possible challenges to that idea are that by changing its skin, it is possible that the Skin Walker can change its scent, and the fact that none of us possess the superhuman physiques neccessary to keep up with a sprinting or flying animal on foot, which will force us to rely on ambush tactics and wearing down the Skin Walkers endurance if we fail to kill it in our initial strike.
The latest task has demonstrated the importance of proper communication. The forest we traversed blocked all mundane means of communication, cutting us off from one another once we were out of sight. The solution to this I have devised is a set of runes, each interlinked by the bound magic and capable of communicating with the others for two hours per charge of mana used. They currently can retain up to three charges, regenerated at a rate of one per day, and have a maximum range of 10 miles between one another. The Stones are capable of recharging on their own, without input or maintenance, allowing for long term use by my associates.
In other news, my new sword has been completed. Its base material, being horn, means it is not magnetic, and the divine nature present provides a wealth of potential for future enchantments, such as a massive increase to durability, as well as runes for tracking the blade if it is lost. Replacing the blade with the additional horn may be possible, though it would be preferrable to craft it into a two handed blade, when I am able to carry one within my Rune of Holding. My training in firearms progresses well, and I was able to bring down a man in a single shot, so it is important for me to upgrade my arsenal to a fully automatic weapon, in order to maximise my damage output against multiple targets. Future upgrades to my other weapons may be delayed by a lack of quality materials, but my expanding knowledge of material weaknesses of the creatures that dwell hidden within the dark provides me with options to study.
I am close to figuring out a method for removing the need for the targeting runes for my communicator, by studying the runes left behind by my family and comparing what I know from my experience. Much of what I have managed to find is theoretical, but if I were to study specific records, I am certain that I can replicate the telepathic projection. All I need is to find the right combination of runes... Perhaps a fusion of runic families? There are certain risks involved, and the incompatibilities could be dangerous, but there will always be such risks if I seek to innovate. Better to take them now, than to risk my life in another of the tasks and be caught unprepared.
In other news, I have successfully crafted a wardstone. Its magical properties will shield me from harm, both magical and mundane, even more effectively than my chainmail. I have struggled with maintaing the protective aura for more than an hour, and magical leakage has caused a persistent light to spill from it, but by scouring my notes I am certain that I have determined the source of the problem, and will have it rectified before the month is up. I have also been honing my dynamic vision, training my eyesight in order to mimic Guy's impressive displays of visual acuity, though I doubt I will ever be his match without magical aid. Progress has been pleasing, though I am quite certain I will not improve too much further for quite some time.
Guy's real name was Paul. I am unsure if I should be shocked that, in all the months we knew each other, he never told me his real name, but he was always rather withdrawn with me, our interaction limited, something I can only regret now, and names have power. It should only be expected for one as cautious as him to be careful with simply giving it out. I shall plan for such in the future. Clay was disbelieving when I informed him of Paul's death, but quickly turned to ensuring I was unharmed and uninfected after hearing of my encounter.
I am honestly unsure as to what I should do from now on, Clay retains the contacts necessary to learn about targets, but without Paul our means of tracking the creatures are limited at best, and a full third of our number being lost drastically reduces our effectiveness in combat. The only choice we have is to search for more hunters to join us, as well as increasing our own eficacy in combat. Clay is more of the face of our organisation, so it falls to me to improve my skills... and to try and make up for Paul's loss.
I have added to my collection of runes a Rune of Regeneration, the magic coursing through it will significantly enhance my own recovery abilities, and will seal any open wounds or internal damge before it can worsen. In future, it should be possible to increase the runes power to accelerate the healing and allow it to heal greater amounts of damage.
It is done. My level of skill has become sufficient that I feel confident in referring to myself as a true Dragon Slayer, I feel it within my bones. With a sword carved from the horn of a god, training in advanced forms of combat, and tactical knowledge from some of the most skilled Monster Hunters I have yet met, and the death of a Dragon by my hands, I can truly claim to be one of those who causes the scaled brutes to weep in terror at night, trembling in their pitiful caves at the mere thought of encountering us, recoiling at every flash of light, in fear of it being the unsheathing of oir blades. Or mine, now, I suppose. None of the others yet live, it seems, and I must come to terms with that fact. I am alone in my quest. I have my associates, or rather, associate now, and he too understands the pain of loss to a creature beyond the power of normal humans, but his grudge lies with a different set of beasts, ones that I have no doubt haunt his mind as much as those winged frogs, those scaled thugs, haunt mine. No, in my personal quest, I am alone, and it is up to me to revive the order. In order to do that, my continued survival is imperative, i shall not suffer the same fate as Paul, and so I have invested my time into researching a rune capable of binding my soul to my flesh, and working with the Rune of Regeneration to restore it, should something unfortunate happen. In time, I will grow powerful enough to not have to worry about such trivialities as my own demise, but that moment is not now, as my tasks have frequently seen fit to remind me.
It has been ten months since I was sent on that first task, ten months since I slew that mindless beast and became more than I was before. I have turned 18 years old, and shall have to invest in learning to drive if I wish to put Paul's former vehicle to proper use. The Dragons shall not know what hit them.