Saturday, December 12, 2009

28 Kythorn 1479

Wow. Just wow.

I just spent half the night getting drunk with a lonely old dragon. (Well, ok he was getting drunk, I don't feel safe getting drunk, since Aprilane seems to maybe be the um...friendly kind of drunk)

Keep was HUGE (well, ok, duh) and a genuine keep, not a tarted up cave or something. K'lenth had it made special - he said it was designed by Fenster Wockle - I mean wow, that's what 600 years ago? And it had all sorts of fancy tapestries and carpets - and invisible servants and the finest in food and wine and orc ale (well, at least it's better than Lannen's...).

K'lenth wanted to talk and talk and talk - and being some 650 years old, he's got plenty of interesting stories. More to the point, though, he wanted a favor - it seems that as he's getting older, he's finding it difficult to see the writing in his ledgers. So, we did our best to try angd fit reading glasses for a dragon. I have NO idea if this will work, but then, that is the problem of the Waterdeep artisans.

That's the other thing - K'lenth wants us to take a message to Eldreth, seems K'lenth wants to talk to him.

Weird. Everything keeps tying back to him.

27 Kythorn 1479

Early this morning we spotted a smoke plume at a distance - Aprilane scouted it out and found a small walled town, half encircled by campfires? Anyway, the town had a big banner of a stylized blue dragon and the usual toll set-up. The usual bribe set-up it appeared at first - until the tolltaker noted down the bribe on her sheet - in a column marked "bribe" and filed away that payment. Organized corruption, amazing.

Anyway, we asked around Dragonwatch (which this is and yes the rumors are obvious nonsense) and to start with they said that they had been on good terms with Lord K'lenth up until a few days ago when the kobold army showed up outta nowhere, said K'lenth was upset that they were stealing from him and fork over 10,000 gold pieces in 3 days.

Yeah, right.

Gnf and I hit the tavern for better information on who was in on this - some soldiers had tried to take on the kobolds but they'd been either the dragon breathing lighting or the dragon breathing acid or some sort of strange machine that threw lightning - depending on who you asked.... They seemed the usual sort of scared and confused so we headed off toward the mayor's - the obvious inside man - and he said this was totally unlike Lord K'lenth, everything was carefully regimented, they go up to his castle once a month with the taxes and stay out of his hunting grounds the rest of the time - or else they're fair game. He seemed straight with us and wished someone could see what was going on in those camps, but he couldn't have it, it was too risky and he absolutely forbade us from scouting.

Lyra came from the barracks to report that those burns were ACID and that's a green dragon. Hm. But some of them were lightning - which is blue. Hm, hm. She said she thought she'd seen a big machine in one camp from the rooftop. While we were sharing our information we heard the oh-so-charming noise of a mob banging on the mayor's doors and insisting he fix everything and call in adventurer's to kill Lord K'lenth. Yeah, right. We figured that made it a good time to scout the camps.

Gnf sent his serpent in towards the machine and tried to describe it back to me. Max and Aprilane snuck around the main camps to find the, where the guy running the show is. They found it. A green dragon, pretending to be blue - and not even full-grown.

A long tiring fight - we found the machine and our plan to take it fast without getting hurt failed utterly - they managed to get a shot off with that sucker nailed us all - nearly taking poor Gnf down. But we took it and took the time to rest up while I tinkered with it a bit so they couldn't EVER put that sucker to work again - since the town had sent it's soldiers out again and it was clear that they could handle mere kobolds.

Then the dragon in the woods decided he'd had enough and challenged us to come in and fight him or he'd overfly the town with his breath. So we trudge in and see a sinuous figure wavery back in the trees....only it's just canvas, I yelled that out, even though I couldn't see where the bastard really was and he threw some kind of minor paralysis or something, meant I could barely move. He tried to talk his way out of it, but ha! they don't fall for me (um, usually) they're not gonna fall for HIM. We got him and then the trees starting shaking and bending in the wind - the intermittent, patterned wind - the kind of wind made by great big huge wings beating right over your head.

Lord K'linth sorta flicked the green away with a finger (right, 10? 20? foot long and he flicks it away? with ONE finger) and muttered "a green" in that same sorta disgusted voice the villagers always used about goblins. Anyway, he said he was pleased, well done, he'd expect us at his keep for a feast tomorrow. (Oh good, the giant dragon wants us to come for dinner)

At least we get to sleep first.

26 Kythorn 1479

Oddly quiet traveling - there is no one and I do mean no one, coming up the road from the other direction. It's prime caravan season, on the main caravan route, with portals malfunctioning and everything going by cart - and no one?

Possible answer though unlikely - the other day Ugrun pointed out over the Starpeaks, where there was a thunderstorm rolling up, typical for the time of year. It was miles and miles away, but there was a big - and I mean really big and really big even at that distance - blue winged shape swirling about the lightning bolts.

I wonder if that means that we're anywhere near Dragonwatch - and if those ridiculous rumors about them paying off the dragon with spare travelers are quite so ridiculous.

On the bright side, I am managing to fend off Aprilane nicely and Ugrun hasn't even hit me yet. This may work out yet.

23 Kythorn 1479

Dead. I am so dead. Beyond dead.

I cannot believe this. Barmaids know better. Merchant's daughters know better. Innocent village maidens in a small village hell and gone from ANYTHING besides a nice big orc and goblin filled forest know better. NO ONE takes my flirting seriously. It's ridiculous, it's impossible. Who could imagine for a second that anyone could mean anything as outlandish as what I come up with? Who in their right mind would believe me on anything anyway?

Oh, but NO. First thing this morning Aprilane comes over with a poultice for my neck - which was sore as all hell, so good - but she'd made it SPECIAL. With special herbs and stuff, that she was telling me about while she was blushing and patting my shoulder and standing close and all.

Aprilane. Who doesn't want anyone to stand within 5 feet of her. And blushing. And special treatment. So bad. And then I catch Ugrun's eye - and it's on fire. Bad enough Aprilane, is buying my bullshit (how can ANYONE believe...) but Ugrun wants her for himself - which I am all in favor of, I just don't want him to kill me to achieve it. All I have to do now is push the two together - with him too proud to say anything and her...well, she's buying my flirting, so enough said.

Well, if she's THAT innocent, at least I shouldn't have to worry about, pressing. Shame to skip the kissing, but it's just not worth the risk. At least the rest of the day was quiet.

22 Kythorn 1479

Ugh. So much for easy. Woke up a little early for watch, feeling something off...I put it down to the stew until I looked around. The camp was crawling with giant ants. I couldn't spot Allyson at first - she and Lyra were lying a bit off, where they'd been patrolling and both asleep. We figured out later they'd been drugged. The ants were busily picking up the gold and trundling it down into the hill. JUST the gold, very odd. They had a few warrior types, but they seemed content to let us be so long as we let them have the gold....or until Max got tired of not seeing what was going on and used a lovely bolt of divine light. Lit up the area nicely and maybe Aprilane appreciated it, since she couldn't really see either, but it certainly pissed the ants off but good. We fought off the warrior types while the drones scurried off underground. Then we checked out the damage - 2/3 of the gold down the hill and some sweet-smelling stuff all over the gold - just the gold, not the iron, not the wagons. Which likely explains the drugging - give whoever time to coat the stuff. There were footprints too, so we know it's some person, not some monster at least.

While we stood there scratching our...heads trying to decide what to do, the ants launched flying warriors. THOSE were nasty, had some kind of acidic spit or something. Still, in the end, they're only bugs. That decided us to head on down into the anthill. A steep slope, but people made it down mostly ok - mind you, the ants showed up to fight before everyone DID get down, but no worries. (Those came later) We quietly snuck through the twisty passages, things going smoothly - which, thinking back, should've warned us - we walked, more or less, into an ambush,

Nice big room at the end of the corridor, with a branching right there to worry about - a bunch of bandits - though their leader seemed to have some extra skills beyond your usual roadside bandit - and Daval. Well, we know who did the drugging and figured we knew who killed the other guard. Naturally Allyson and Ugrun charged right on in, as did Gnf - I always thought wizard types fought from the back - and I moved forward so I was close enough to help and SOMETHING dropped right on top of me, wrapped long, hellishly-strong fingers around my neck and started squeezing. Gnf thought he had a nice handle on the guy and launched one of his explosion specials, but DAMN the fellow could move fast. Spun around so fast I'dve gotten dizzy if I hadn't been already from the damned choking and let ME take the thunder. Oh joy.

Good idea on Gnf's part - there was no way of knowing the guy could do that - but he has GOT to learn to stop randomly firing things off figuring we can take it. Ugrun is getting kinda sore about it and figuring it's all "he's a big nasty orc, he can take it".

Anyway, we dealt with them and peeked around the corner and there was the queen indead. I snuck over close and didn't see any gold tucked around her and the gold so Aprilane figured that the gold, smelling all sweet and food-like was probably in the ant version of the pantry and if we covered ourselves in ant scent - which Daval and his bandits must have done - we could pretty much waltz around the anthill as we chose. Which we did - found the gold, I helped Gnf cast up a Tenser's Disk and we chugged it all out of there.

We did pick up some nice things off the bandits too - namely Daval's ritual book - and a scroll of "control insect" or somesuch - won't last very long, so likely only used to get the ant scent? Anyway, Gnf and I are sharing out the book - he copies a ritual, I copy one and so on. It's gonna take forever anyway. Now at last we can get some proper sleep.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

21 Kythorn 1479

Ugh. Too bloody damned early. Dunstan was in FINE form, I thought he'd shake himself apart from worrying. Not that I blame him, the vault where the gold is (this shipment anyway) is at the very end of a narrow lane with only the one way in or out. A fine place to hold up under a siege, a lousy place to try and move something through. We loaded up the gold, well covered by the iron and Max made several good suggestions about hiding things and fixing the wagons - apparently the boy's a merchant's son. Gnf had several good ideas too - but while he was worrying about the possibility of visible gold dust, he'd never thought of just wiping everything down with a damp cloth. It's like he'd never tried to cover his tracks or ...ahem. ANYWAY.

There are 4 wagons - drivers Glimber, Sinvlarin, Lethoval and Ernst. Fine guys and they at least know how to use a crossbow, but as far as guards and martial strength, it's just us. Good cover that. No one could possibly believe that anyone would ship a big load of gold with just so few guards. We headed from the vault to the gate, feeling the back of the neck prickling the whole way. I don't know if there was anything to worry, or if Dunstan was just contagious. Gnf did say he'd seen a dark cloaked figure on a roof top that darted back when it noticed him looking. Dunno, I think we're all just edgy - but then, there's reason to be.

We picked up our non-city goers out of town and headed out. Turned out to be a good thing I did get that residuum since we are doing more than 8 speeded up - one song for the oxen, one song for us. We could see the big bridge when we noticed a pushcart half overturned on the muddy bank and a small figure worriedly working at it. It was one of the bird-like creatures I'd seen in the shanty town yesterday - the ones that didn't much like being looked at. He was VERY alarmed when Ugrun and Allyson swung down to help him, but he calmed down reasonably when I reassured him that we weren't gonna to hurt him, just help. He said his name was Flutter and that he was a kenku. Allyson and Ugrun heaved the cart upright in no time and Flutter, having overheard them talking to one another mentioned - seemingly out of nowhere - that kenkus make good assassins. He'd heard that one had been paid to kill Ugrun. Flutter didn't want that to happen since we're good people. We reassured him that we wouldn't let it happen and continued on.

We've reached one of the caravan camp sites and set up watches to keep Ugrun well guarded. I can't believe I could get so tired just WALKING. It's not like I haven't walked this far before...maybe it's just the boredom.

HEY, when we helped Flutter, we put the cart before the bird. That old guy is really helpful...except that you don't figure out his help until it's too late. Still wonder what we're supposed to do to take care of Queenie.

20 Kythorn 1479

Ok, a little hurting never hurt anyone who realized it's just FLIRTING. I was as outrageous as I could be - the bigger, the better, right? Just like tales. Only I kinda think maybe Aprilane doesn't realize it's a game. How could you NOT, though? Would anyone say things so overblown and actually seriously mean them?

Ah well, we reached Silverymoon today and WOW. All I'd imagined - and a bit more. You could see the spires from a ways off and the pegasuses swooping in to land and even catch glimpses of the royal knights in their shiny armor. Then you got closer and there was a shanty town out front a bit. All the poor and unwashed that apparently aren't good enough to go inside. Lovely. Even as fabled a city as Silverymoon - built by elves and dwarves and humans together - runs the same bullshit as every other bloody kingdom. Ugrun was naturally a bit...ah, hesitant to enter the city, as was Aprilane, cities just don't agree with her much, so we sent the two of them and Lyra to wait outside the walls and meet up later. Then we headed in to make a quick stop. Max and Gnf headed to the mage's guild to let them know about the world overlap thing - why Max went, I don't know. Allyson and I headed over to Turlough's to make contact. Not, of course, before having a wee stare-down with the gate guard over my SISTER - make something out of the half-orc, I dare you, honestly.

Dunstan, the agent at Turlough's obviously wasn't in on the smuggling orcs to Waterdeep part of the plan and was a bit iffy on us having an orc in the group. I told him Ugrun had saved my life twice and he seemed satisfied...mostly. He's a worrier is Dunstan and this huge gold shipment has him ready to piss himself. Plus one of his guards was murdered the other day - strangled I guess by somebody (something?) with long narrow fingers. We arranged to meet up at the vault at 4 tomorrow morning to load up and head out early. Then we left Dunstan biting his nails and took a short trip to Mielikki's temple to share some news about Queenie.

The priestess there is well aware of her, but things are a bit overstretched. Everyone is worried about the kingdom of Many Arrows and is arming for war. After all, the orcs are arming, so we have to - and what do you want to bet over in Many Arrows they're all saying, well they're arming over in Silverymoon, we have to? Anyway, turned out she was an old friend of Mom's - they trained here together. I never knew Mom trained this far north. She wondered why Mom would have gone all the way to the Southwood when she could have stayed right here. Makes me wonder - Mom never said when or where she met Besk, what if he was from Many Arrows? Well, or what is NOW Many Arrows. Heh, funny old world.

We walked back to Turlough's to find Max and Gnf. Glorious city to walk through. As pretty with delicate spires and green spaces (one thing Waterdeep sadly lacks) as any elf city, but with solid streets like a human one. And an inn on every corner I swear, everyone laughing and singing. A FUN place, I'll have to come back. Dunstan is sufficiently paranoid, he'd refused to acknowledge to Gnf and Max that we'd even been by and we had to crowbar out of him the information that they were in a tavern across the street. What with half the day gone already and getting up at way-too-damned-early in the morning (hell, at 4 am even the roosters have the sense to lie in a bit), the others headed straight to rooms to catch a nap. I stayed up a bit myself, the music was so very good and I had to join in a bit.

But they're right, I'll need sleep. I hate it when Allyson's right, but at least I don't have to tell her.

19 Kythorn 1479

Oh my head. Honestly even after a day's travel it still hurts. That clear whatever-it-was the orcs had - I think someone said it was made from corn? - has a kick like a mule - but not until morning. It's worse than Lannen's shit - what IS it about clear-colored spirits? Make a note - if it looks like water, but smells like alcohol - RUN.

Max, the wretch, apparently doesn't drink and spent the morning being all cheerful and perky and generally cruel. Good instincts, I just wish I was too sick to fully appreciate it. Of course, oddest thing happened to him - a little bit creepy - as we were breaking camp, this old orc showed up - long greying hair, wild-eyed prophet-y look... He told Max to take care of the queen and the gold will be easy. Max asked which queen and how and since the old man had no invisible dog, he told Max to ask the invisible monkey. He did say that you can't put the cart before the horse, but you can put it before the bird. We'll have to wait and see what that's gonna turn out to mean. I wonder how many times this fellow's gonna show - and how many different faces he's gonna wear.

We left with the orcs warning about the "evil elves" ringing in our ears - savages, they said, backstab you if they get the chance, yadda yadda - all the usual things to say about the other guy. Hard to tell what to believe of it - I mean, they ARE elves, after all. Not exactly the fiercest race ever, right?

Wrong. In this world, they do fierce and savage pretty damn well. Nice little ambush that I'm ashamed to admit caught me totally flat-footed. They went straight for the orcs - ooh, big surprise - and Aprilane - apparently with that "how dare someone non-elvish pretend to be good with a bow" crap. First with some trained birds, then the archers popped up on the hill - very nice set-up. I TRIED to talk things down, I mean, if I can convince a couple hundred orcs not to kill ME, I should be able to kill half a dozen elves not to kill the rest of us, right? Wrong again. They did pause a bit, but then decided I was a traitor and the carnage continued as planned. Unfortunately for them, the tall grass that had covered them well enough crouched was well high enough to cover a gnome simply striding forward and they never saw Gnf until his spells hit them. Mind you, that meant they could see ME and as a traitor I was a prime target. Bad, very bad. Fortunately, human blood is good for just that extra bit of toughness - well, compared to elves anyway and he fell down and I didn't. I remember now why I stay out of fights where they can reach me. But Max covers ground like nothing I've seen and once the hawks left off on Aprilane, she could just start tagging them. A few of 'em ran, but we captured a few. Lyra decided to retrain one of the birds - best of luck to her, but I doubt it'll work. We stripped the prisoners down to loincloths, took their weapons and the bone charms that marked their kills and I leaned in and told them their kills belonged to US now and they owed us life debt. I made a big impression, no doubt, and they rabitted right off. I'm not sure I'm ok with being...scary. Aprilane picked up the leader's bow and has been all but drooling over it ever since. It IS a very nice bow, I grant, but she's worse than Allyson with a new sword.

We continued trudging down along the road and suddenly noticed that the animals and everything had gone really quiet. That's always bad news. Ahead in the road we saw what looked like a heat shimmer - but it wasn't really that hot and heat shimmers don't move towards you. Lurtma had mentioned that their legends about the twin worlds did mention folks just popping back, so we advanced cautiously, hoping this was our ticket back home. Lyra did say that the spirits said this was a transition zone, so that seemed promising... as we got closer we could hear a crackling sound, sorta like when you've rubbed the wool blankets together too much bringing 'em in off the line and then they give that ZING. We could start to make out shapes in the shimmer - sorta purply swirlies and what looked like...well, like canned storms? Once we got closer enough I could see they were chaos shards. Wow, who'dve thought I'd ever see one? Or several? Or fight several? They're nasty, blow up when you kill 'em too. Makes it important to stay at range. Good thing Allyson's sergeant convinced her to learn to use a crossbow. Since they were out of range of my spells, Aprilane lent me her old bow - still chortling over her new one, the more so after she saw how powerful it is. Anyway, we downed 'em, no one hurt, all good. AND Gnf and I picked up a bunch of residuum where they'd fallen. He uses it alot and I can always stand to have a bit more - if I need to speed up more than 8 folks, I guess.

We look to arrive at Silverymoon tomorrow. Frodi is going to get up a group to go after the Queen. It's definitely personal with him now - if it wasn't before. He and Gnf set up a way for him to contact us if he needs.

Odd, when we set up watches for tonight, Allyson let me and Aprilane stand watch without supervision. She's been awfully trusting and it's starting to really worry me. Still, Aprilane's a pretty girl under the dirt and a little flirting never hurt anyone.

Monday, September 28, 2009

18 Kythorn 1479

It's over, we win.

So, we're up nice and early since part of the victory is that it has to occur by sundown. The orcs showed up not too late dragging sledges with cages - our stags, provided for, as promised. Oogrik took some time fiddling with cages and such, dragging out time to try and rattle us until I called out if he need more time or some help? Evil and I figured it would cost me, but so much FUN. He released the stags pretty much immediately. Aprilane can, at a guess, track a ghost over running water, so she took off along their trail. Of course the stags split up - well and it'd be too easy else - but we went with the larger group and managed them fairly easily. They ARE nasty, but the real trick is not letting them run away. Since Gnf's Tenser's was still running we decided to make nice use of it and took the heads instead of stopping to check antlers and Aprilane dressed each deer lightning quick and took the best meats, so as not to waste the entire creature (again, look at us, Bak Nur and Bak Fa in one, HA). We then ran after the other 2 - but knowing that Oogrik's bully-boys would have had plenty of time we kept an eye open for traps. They'd time for the obvious pit and the snare... and that stupid spiked log thing that I really should have seen coming. Ah well, Allyson's hurt me worse than that and I managed to nail myself with it the first time I tried that trap myself, so... We caught up to the other 2 stags and just as we were cautiously approaching, trying not to scare them off, there was a loud noise from off to one side - but it drove the stags TO us. I love it when THEIR plans work for US. Short work of those stags and a "thanks" to our assistants and we settled to decorate. Aprilane has some very VERY strange ideas on antler headdresses, but hey, it's her head. Lyra went more traditional and Allyson and Ugrun naturally went minimalist. I figured I needed to put that elf thing to rest so I went for the full flashy, gaudy, "I AM the big guy chief" get-up. Looked damned impressive, but kinda heavy and with a tendency to slide down into my eyes. We added to the effect with some nice face - and other obvious accessible body parts - painting in blood. That with that meats and the absolute filth we were covered in was more than enough proof and we got back to the starting point just at highsun or so - much to Oogrik's chagrin, he was genuinely not ready. And very much distressed at having to stump up 100gp as weirgild - that might buy us some mercy if we drop - well, everyone but me. I'm guessing he's still willing to gut me for a 100gp. We had a reasonable lunch - not a lingering one, given the time limit on the test, Oogrik can't delay too long or it'll be obvious he's cheating (though as Lurtma pointed out, rules are...fluid in this. She seemed amused at my approval of that, but hey, that means I'm not actually cheating and Allyson can't tell Mom, so there)

Anyway, we were pointed at a hill some 5 miles off with a standard on it. We had to run there, pick up a banner - each - and come on back. Easier said than done. Aprilane covered our tracks to make it harder for them to follow us and I managed to spot a couple of traps and one ambush - but 5 miles is a long damn run, especially at full speed and wearing the damned headdress falling into my eyes and... ok, I fell into a pit and it was some work to get me out. I slowed us down, no question - more even than the gnome with his little short legs I think. But we still managed to get close enough quietly enough to get the drop on Oogrik and his war party.

Oogrik stood up on the wooden platform with the 7 banners arrayed behind him. In front, on the ground, were 5 bodyguards or honor guards or whatever - burlier than average. And then scattered through the obstacle course of angled spike-walls, a few smaller, lesser orcs. But we opened up on them with a shot out of the heavens. Aprilane just let loose an arrow straight into Oogrik - and in deep, too. They hadn't stopped goggling over that when Gnf sent that fireball of his into a bunch of those lesser orcs and BAM. That's when the rest of us charged in.

It was a massacre - I mean, not REALLY, no one died, but.... Oogrik had clearly made a careful strategy that just didn't hold up. Not necessarily a BAD plan, but druid magic or no, not good enough. Holding his bodyguard to stay at the platform and not advance meant we could just pick 'em off at our choosing - and concentrate on HIM from a distance. He seems to have spent much of his druidical training in touching the beast within - and that's not much use against folks who won't get close. He decided to focus on Allyson and called her "an affront to orcs" and managed to land a couple of good shots at her. I stopped to heal her, but Gnf was able to bring his ass down anyway. Heh, and then disappear. Poor orcs had never fought gnomes before. Then Ugrun changed into that half-ram thing and just charged the nearest bodyguard - they pretty much came out the other side of the platform. Gnf thought that was so cool he threw a thunderball (still invisible, of course) at the 2 guards near him, knocking THEM under the platform and then jumped high overhead and onto the platform - coming visible mid-leap. They pretty much all surrendered at that point. (Gotta admit, that gnome is a bit reckless sometimes, but he sure has a good sense of the dramatic)

We grabbed our banners with flash and all and I checked over Oogrik to make sure he was all right - but mostly for a chance to give him a good hard pinch where no one could see it. So, we won and came back to a party. YEY. For which we were daubed with proper warpaint and no washing. Boo. But the food is good and the ale (or whatever) is strong and what the hell. Lungrik has made us honorary members of the Blackspear Tribe - with full travel rights, thank the gods who I hope are here in Abeir too - and gave each of us a black spear - magical and of great significance to the tribe, clearly. Trying to work one out for Gnf must've been a helluva challenge.

Several of the warriors were apparently impressed that a runty elf could pass Bak Nur (never mind that I couldn't have done it solo, like I would have had to normally - if they can't figure it out, I aint saying) and declared I was a "real orc" - naturally this came with the traditional slap your spine through your nose trick. What IS it with orcs anyway? But after all, years with Allyson have taught me how to brace for that so I don't fall over - mind you, my back still goes numb and I'm gonna be in serious pain tomorrow....

I did manage to capture Oogrik in a quiet corner and tell him that if he EVER insulted my sister like that again, I'd cut 'em off and feed 'em to him and then walk off smiling. Nearly as satisfying as Gaston. Tired as I am, I may stay up all night, gloating.

17 Kythorn 1479

From weird to worse - in other words, here in the frying pan it's damned hot. We reached the ford in the river mid-morning, nice and plenty of time to get across. However, there were these watchers on horseback sitting up on a bluff about a mile off from the ford - and they'd sent off a runner when we approached - but they did nothing else, so we continued on. I went over with the first wagon, so if need be someone who could keep things diplomatic was the first to approach. All in all the fording went well, a few wagons had to be tugged, but nothing disastrous - until wagon number 7. Too heavily weighted it got stuck beyond even the oxen's ability. Gnf spun out a Tenser's disk (maybe I was too hasty in blowing of rituals as a waste of time...) and we loaded some stuff onto the disk - along, naturally, with a few kids who couldn't resist - and lightened things enough to get it across. We were just prepping to do the same again when a dust cloud began down the road - a BIG cloud, with accompanying hoofbeats.

Orcs. Hundreds of them. Very primitive and tribal looking, although...somewhat more... organized for all that? Anyway, I opened the discussion by introducing myself to "Lungrik, chief of the Blackspear Tribe" as "Alfred, chief of the Sweetvine Tribe" and by virtue of a foot atop Allyson's no one queered my pitch. Naturally they were upset with someone crossing their lands and where were we going? I boggled a bit and muttered something about the city ahead, they wanted to know the name, was I going to the elf city? Sometimes there just isn't enough bluff in the world so I finally mentioned that we thought that the legends of twin worlds had landed us in this one - Abeir - which IS the name they consider this world and we hoped someone in the city could put us back. After the usual dismissal of elves Lungrik and his shaman were willing at least to concede that elves being bookish - clearly a ridiculous way to be - might know something. We were going to move on to negotiations for passage through or whatever when an orc strode forward from the back - a nice burly one with muscles for brains and demanded that the elf be shot on sight. Allyson of course came back with the usual "leave my brother alone" - although to give her credit, she did at least leave out the "baby" part of that. There followed then the usual explanation of how can a half-orc and a half-elf be related. Nine hells, why always such confusion? It's not that difficult. HALF, people, HALF. Anyway, this idiot - Oogrik - said that just because some orc had spilt his seed in some human woman didn't make her get an orc and Allyson pulled that whole "you only THOUGHT I was standing to full height" thing and snarled that she had passed Bak Fa - which sent a nice appreciative rumor - and Ugrun chimed in that he had passed Bak Nur and HE was full blood and stood with us, so there. (Ok, so he didn't say so there, but it's the same thing, really). Oogrik was unimpressed, saying the elf hadn't, couldn't and we should all be killed right now. Lungrik said the Oogrik wasn't chief yet - oh joy, it's the crown prince doesn't like us - and we would be given the chance to prove ourselves in Bak Nur. Oogrik was not pleased - Bak Nur, after all, gets you so much more prestige than Bak Fa - but the shaman soothed him by pointing out that he would be in charge of running the trials. Yippee.

By agreement, we would finish getting the wagons across and camp right here and the trials will be tomorrow. Ugrun says that the rite varies from tribe to tribe but is almost certain to involve fighting (duh, it is orcs) - in his case it was arena matches, but here.... ? 7 of us have to make it and if Allyson and Ugrun go to help us - though they do not need to, being "real" orcs already - they will have to go through as though they had never passed. We were still trying to figure out what MIGHT happen when the shaman showed up. Lurtma is apparently something of an intellectual - she reads books - and had some interest in the entire Abeir-Toril thing. She also wanted to know if it was true that Besk had wooed and won Mom and was impressed in him that he'd done so. Allyson pointed out that Mom had done Bak Fa and we kinda digressed for a bit to sort out when that might have been, completely boggling poor Lurtma so we pulled ourselves back together to explain what our legends said of the twin worlds. Once we'd done what we could to satisfy her on that, she gave us some information on the rites for tomorrow. Two parts - the first is the trial of the hunter - we go out kill some stags and bring back their antlers in obvious headdress-type fashion. The stags will be provided and they are apparently not your usual stag, but seriously nasty. On the other hand, I'm thinking, Gnf isn't going to need a whole lot of antlers to cover and Allyson and Ugrun can likely go minimalist... BUT - Second part is where things could really get dicey. Trial of the hunted - yeah, liking the sound of that already. We have to get somewhere/do something while they chase us. It's bad form to kill a man when he's down, but then, accidents do happen.... Therefore weirgild is put up ahead of time - she suggests 100gp as our contribution. She did warn - not that I needed the warning - that Oogrik would really go for me, the icky elf. Y'know, all the fables and such and half the folk in cities and such think of elves as exotic and even sexy so why the hell am I always taking grief over having elf blood???

Ahem, I did ask her if it was a loss of honor for the orc who'd fallen to be healed where he could be killed and she just stared at me. Even rephrasing the question didn't help - I gotta figure this means that as need be I can heal THEM without costing them any. Heh, Bak Nur and Bak Fa at once. 'Cause let's face it, I may be of service to the tribe, but a warrior? To sleep then, tomorrow will be.... Well, it will be, enough said.

16 Kythorn 1479

Well, things have taken a definite turn for the weird. This morning I thought I'd check in with May and her bone-headed swain and see if he could shed any light on what Queenie might do. (I do note with glee that May has passed beyond worry and moved into fury.) Anyway, bone-headed doesn't do him credit - there must be something thicker and duller than bone... He said he'd only really just started in with this nonsense, only been hearing about it for the past couple weeks maybe? She laid claim to all the forest on behalf on the "old ways", but he thought maybe she had something personal against Frodi. He mentioned that all he really knew is she had these... meetings, with a big bonfire and what he thought were herbs tossed on the fire after she was done speaking. He'd taken May - good thing, since what when on after those "herbs" started burning... well, she'd kill him if it'd been another girl. He did also mention that Queenie was very charismatic - not that he'd know THAT word or that his understanding of her charms doesn't seem to have risen to eye level. What little he did describe - the parts without hand gestures anyway - suggests she does know how to work a crowd... and certainly play off those particular charms. We were still trying to decide if all this meant she was going to send more after us or not when the question seemed to be settled by the arrival of a few dire wolves - except that these were odd - well, extra odd. No blue flickers or the sideways mouth-open trick or that, but green flickers (which caused some unfounded worry over disease) and they were more aggressive.

The weirdness continued through the day, but it took us a while to realize it. First Aprilane began to notice that the birdsong was...different. And then Lyra thought the spirits were different and Gnf that the magic was different and others who traveled this road before began to notice differences in the terrain. Nothing major, Even my pipes sounded different - the notes were the same, but the echoes weren't. We couldn't find a pattern to the changes and tossed about a bunch of theories. On watch that night Aprilane and I noticed (Allyson couldn't notice, she was too busy moving around to keep between us, as if she could keep up with me, silly girl) that the stars were in the right places, but the moon wasn't. It was shifted just slightly - like a shirt slipping off one shoulder. We talked to Max and Frodi and while Frodi was a bit upset, Max just yawned and said it was nothing, so we let it rest. Discussing it in the morning, Gnf gave it as his opinion that we had perhaps shifted into Abeir. Talk about weird. Ok, granted you can slip into the Feywild and (ew) the Shadowfell and this wasn't either case, but Abeir? That entire Abeir-Toril twin worlds thing is REAL? I'm not sure, but how can we tell? Anyway, we've decided the only way out really is forward, we'll push on and hope some..what do you call it anyway? reflection? twin? well, whatever of Silverymoon is there and someone there can shift us back.

I really hope we can get back.

Friday, September 4, 2009

15 Kythorn 1479

What a day. I'm so tired I can barely hold the pen. We arrived early, outside of Redspring and dismounted and all when I realized that the ah...nobility I was pretending too would almost certainly tip Estelle and I had NO idea how much or if I even had enough gold - and I seriously doubted it and I stood there dithering, feeling my beautiful bluff dissolving into goo. Finally Estelle took pity on me (great, I'm reduced to the fool boy being pitied) and suggested I write a song for her. I know it must've shown in my face before I recovered my composure and thanked her gravely. I've already got some ideas though - words are still tricky, but I bet I can do some nice stuff with wind sounds and maybe the 'griffs.

Anyway, Redspring isn't so much a town as a logging camp with delusions of grandeur. Got a stockade around it and a huge smithy bellowing smoke and running seemingly non-stop. I slipped the ring on, but spun it inside so no one would notice the seal and we headed in. The inn is the second biggest place in town - beaten only by the smithy. Named the Double Crescent and run by a dwarf named Frodi Nibbleheim - I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised to find a dwarf that follows Selune and yet it seems oddly un-dwarfish. Made Max feel more comfortable I'd guess. Frodi is a rat-faced man with BIG mustaches and an amazingly easy hand with a knife. Big inn, as I say, handling more custom by putting up a big pavilion tent over the innyard and setting out tables. Nice day, nice place to sit. More visible too. Especially there did seem to be a large orc-like looking fellow off to one side. We took a table near him and his lady friends. Pretty lady friends, my luck may be turning. Frodi asked what we'd eat and after 5 days Gnf just swore that it NOT be rat-bars. Made the serving girl - mouse-like maid called Lita - flinch. I wonder if she doesn't like coarse (although that was awful mild) language or if we should wonder what we ARE eating. We decided on stew and she and Urd - the serving MAN, who I'd swear to be her brother - brought it out. I started spinning the signet about so it was visible while watching the orc - once we got close, full-blood, no question - and his friends. The one was a shifter - never seen one face to face, but once you do, you know it. Pretty in a sort of graceful...I almost wanna say...slinky? kinda way. Cat-like? Though that impression might be from the periodic appearance of the bobcat - the ghostly see-through bobcat - at her feet. The other was human, dressed in the usual leathers of a forester - given the bow, I'd guess hunter - but she kept getting up and wandering the edges of the innyard and town. Nervous, running from something maybe - sure hadn't cleaned up recently, so on the run in a real hurry? Shied away from me pretty hard, but only to a certain distance, something going on there.

He was indeed our cargo, called himself Ugrun and introduced his companions - in a way that said they were going with him - as Lyra (the shifter) and Aprilane (the human). They mentioned that there's some trouble in these parts with a woman styles herself "Queen of the Beasts" who is proclaiming Redspring anathema and that they need to return to the "old ways". Right. I'm guessing this "queen" wouldn't know an old way if it bit her on the ass. "How dare they mine or cut down the trees?!" Hells, looks like they're keeping it within acceptable limits, not great, but not horrific and it's not like you don't cut down any, ever - how else would you clear out for new growth? Anyway, she's been stirring up the town, folks are kinda torn - they are sailing awfully close to the edge of overrunning the wild here, so.... Lyra mentioned that Queenie was a lycanthrope and definitely one of the bad ones, because she (Lyra) had seen her spell-plague some wolves - she gave 'em something, a bowl of blood maybe? and they changed some and there were these flickers of blue light about 'em, arcane seeming and they got more aggressive. More? It'd have to be more, wolves aren't much for aggression, but these were. Ugrun's friend who'd accompanied him from...wherever was set running and they chased him down and killed him. According to Lyra, this sort of thing isn't really an uncommon punishment, she was just appalled that he'd gotten no kind of trial or defense and with the spell-plague and all, the rules were broken. Who knows?

We'd gotten this far in the story when Aprilane sorta whisper-swore and ducked down behind Lyra and Ugrun's chairs, just as a largish fellow, blond and handsome in a kinda...well, useless way - the kind what trades on his looks, but can't count past 10 with his boots on - walked in. Aprilane murmured that this was Lenz, a consort of sorts for Queenie and she'd (Aprilane) shot him a few days back and well, there was grudge holding involved. Apparently her hiding wasn't good enough because Lenz glowered and took on that "I'm about to start wrecking the bar" look when Frodi shouted out that EVERYONE was welcome here, so long as they behaved - and after a pause (lovely dramatic timing too, Mom'd be impressed) - and EVERYONE could behave. Lenz took a seat and glowered into his ale - after ale, after ale.

Our discussion taking a while, I ended up going through ale after ale after...well, ok 2 is enough to send me privy-ward anyhow so I legged it through the dark taproom and noticed...well, my dream. Same taproom, same corner, same couple - I sorta staggered into the doorframe and leaned heavily against it while I eavesdropped. He wanted her to go away, something about the Queen, I guess and the old ways maybe? And she protested that she didn't want to sleep in the dirt and get leaves in her hair and so forth. He muttered something back and I skittered out to do what I came for and rush back, not to miss anything - damn near injured myself trying to run and button at the same time. I got back in time for him to give some "well, fine, if you don't love me I'll go eat worms" kinda nonsense and shove off - like my dream and there she was, as before.

Had to help her, didn't I? I figured amiable and mildly drunk was most like to get past her defenses and staggered over and plopped down by her with an open smile - and outstretched arms, which she neatly evaded, saying she was done with men. She was all but crying so I suggested she come on out and sit in the sunshine, let me buy her a drink. She pointed out that as a serving maid she couldn't do that (oops, shoulda noticed that) and that she meant it, she wanted nothing more to do with men. Ok, flirting wasn't the right way to go, so more amiable, less...uh, lusty. I suggested she could still enjoy the sunshine, linger at our table - when she frowned I promised her it was safe - my sister'd keep me in line. That drew the faint confused and amused look I expected and she relaxed, so I let it go and staggered off with a friendly smile and wave. I could only hope.

She did come out with the next round and managed a faint smile and allowed as her name was May, when I pressed her - Allyson glowering all the while, naturally. She'd barely gone back inside when Lenz tipped over his table in that ridiculous way that the big dumb ones have that they think no one notices is staged and declared that Redspring was an abomination and by tomorrow the Queen would have dealt with it - and moreover that this ale was pisswater - he upended his tankard and started to unbutton to prove his point when Frodi appeared outta nowhere - and he had a different point, one that Lenz was in no position to ignore. I think I rather like that dwarf - he did tell Lenz he'd cut it off and Lenz just shrugged - trying to be nonchalant, but well, let's face it, it's hard in that situation - and said it didn't matter, only a matter of time and he stomped off. Frodi - who turns out is (well, was) the mayor of Redspring caught the edge on that and rang the big bell outside the inn and doubled up guards and all.

We were just trying to figure out where we'd be useful when part of the stockade started creaking. We were rushing out and May slipped up to me asking me not to hurt him - he "was a good boy, he just fell in with a bad lot", why do girls actually FALL for that? I said I'd do my best, and she brightened, but I couldn't promise, which brought her down. I guess I shoulda just lied to her and said yeah, no worries, but....well, that just didn't seem the time to lie at all, y'know? Outside there were 8 badgers...but this musta been what Lyra meant by spell-plagued 'cause they just looked WRONG and let's face it, I know from badgers. They were digging away at the posts, so naturally Allyson sailed right in - 'cause she knows from badgers and she's got a LOT of grudge built up - but they were tougher than normal and then they did this...well, their mouths opened like almost sideways and just way too damned big and there was all this blue flickering and some kinda roar or growl and it just rocked Allyson back a second. Dunno that I've ever seen her scared before - EVER and that's more than scary enough for me. I tried to pry them away from the posts - I do know how to taunt badgers too - but they were determined and it took more than I'dve thought but we got 'em before they got the posts down and some guards came and helped us fill in and re-plant 'em. So we headed in to town to see what next and we got to the inn and Frodi was fighting off Lita and Urd, saying he'd taken them in, given them a place and they paid by betraying him? That was when they changed - wererats apparently - and we sailed in to help Frodi. None of us know much about were-anything except they're hard to kill, you either gotta use silver or hit 'em real hard, real fast. Well, real hard, real fast worked on Urd, but not so much on Lita, she started chasing Frodi to the end of the tent and naturally Allyson and Ugrun and Max started off to help - which meant I had to follow. Aprilane murmured something about a good vantage for firing and Gnf was worried about the gates, so they headed off. Well, we get most of the way into (under) the tent when the bystanders turned out to be not so much in the innocent line and yanked the poles, bringing the tent down on us. Managed to dive under a bench so I wasn't totally caught up, but Lyra didn't QUITE make it, I had to sorta yank her in - good thing she's none too heavy. Not so good, she's no stronger than I am, so shoving the bench forward with us under it, so we could get out of the tent without being easy targets was...challenging. We managed it, but there were an awful lot of weres waiting - and sorta berserk - no talking my way outta THAT and crowded up so close that drawing on magic just sorta leaves me open - and then THEY left my side open and... I was starting to panic - I was hurting bad, didn't look like I could heal myself, nor Lyra do so before they could skewer me good and I didn't know where the hell Allyson was and if she was ok, did she need healing and... well, not my finest hour, when Max zings in and takes them down easy. Found Allyson and Ugrun, both more or less fine - rather less than more, but ok - and heard a cry of fire and way more smoke than oughta be coming outta the smithy. They had a bucket brigade going, but it didn't seem to be helping and what with the bystanders being on the wrong side.... I thought maybe all the buckets weren't going where they ought? Then I thought to look behind me and sure enough, smoke coming outta the inn - so I darted in to make sure no one was getting stuck in there. I was just leaning over the bartop to check behind, make sure no one had panicked enough to try and hide out the fire when May's young man rushed in calling for her. I said I hadn't seen her, try upstairs and he rushed right up. Seems the girl might not have chosen as bad as it looked. Found her in the kitchen with the cooks, trying to put out the fire Lita set when she escaped, but it was clear enough it wasn't gonna work and Frodi was calling for evacuation. Stubborn girl was determined not to let it go, I reckon this town's all she's got and I had to tell her that he was upstairs, the roof was about to give way and if she didn't leave now, he wouldn't and he'd DIE. Complete with melodramatic emphasis - sweet enough girl, but a bit...well, yeah. It worked anyway and they went to help evacuate.

We were set to one flank to protect the wagons going and good thing, Queenie was throwing the lot at us. First more of those berserker types, coupled with some nasty spell-plagued bears. Enough of them that it was a bit tricky to keep 'em away from the road. Then, when we were still breathing hard from THAT, Lenz showed up with 2 spell-plagued cougars and himself in full "I'm a big scary were, fear me" mode (ok, ok, it IS scary). The hit 'em real hard, real fast was...ineffective. We were down to the just keep hitting him hard and pray for a miracle. Well, we don't need miracles, we just need time. Aprilane got off some NICE shots, Gnf through all his ka-BOOMs all over the place - there's some of 'em I don't think he CAN miss with - and Allyson and Ugrun waded right in - and DAMN but Ugrun can take it. That is one tough orc - by ORC standards. Anyway, with all of us on him - mostly, Max and Lyra were dealing with the remaining cougar - he was going down and unbelievable, one good push on the taunt and he went over. HAH. So much for that whole sticks and stones bullshit. *I* can make words hurt just fine, thank you. Y'know I don't even feel too bad about killing him - of course I'm not really sure he'll stay dead....

And we trudge on. I sure hope we get to Silverymoon without more excitement.

11 Kythorn 1479

Ok, so far beyond being in trouble. We start off in the morning and Estelle (the flight master) just sort of looks at Gnf and shakes her head. Gnomes don't really fit on um, grif-back too well. In the end we just sort of tied him in place on "Old Amos" - Old Amos looks kinda like the collier's mule - half asleep and totally bored. Of course, she made sure to mention that she was sure "milord" wouldn't be needing any safety straps... Allyson glowered but didn't blow it and Max, bless his instincts, just played right along.

Of course that meant I was going to be flying, gods know how far above the ground on a beast I've never ridden before without safety straps. Oh joy. THEN she leads me over to my mount - my fine high-spirited stallion mount. I figured it couldn't be that different from horses, right? You just elbow 'em hard when they crowd you and show 'em who's boss - and never EVER let 'em think you doubt it's you, even when - ESPECIALLY when - you do. Well, he tried it, I smacked him hard, it worked, but I neglected to take into consideration certain size issues - like if I shove a hippogriff back as far as I would a horse...the hippogriff's foot is still...nearby. Heavier than horses, these 'griffs are. I may not feel my toes for the rest of the trip, but I did manage not to scream.

AND the bloody beast tried to pull some tricks airborne too. Yanking back hard on the reins and threatening with use as fertilizer works as well as with horses, Tymora be thanked - I sure needed her help today.

Only 4 more days of this...assuming I keep ahead of the beast and don't crash to a seriously messy death - and if I do that, Mom is gonna KILL me.

10 Kythorn 1479

Weirdest dream last night. Saw a taproom and a couple in a dark corner, having a really...intense discussion. Fellow looked odd, almost animal-like, maybe that's what those shifters look like? and she...well, she seemed human or close to, but... Anyway, he was arguing something and she was protesting or such and he shook his head, shoved back from the table and stormed off. She sat there looking so sad and I felt like I just HAD to help her. Doesn't seem weird to tell it, I mean, why wouldn't I help a pretty girl? But...feels weird just the same.

We headed on to Turlough's in the morning and sure enough there was a job for caravan guards for us - well, sorta. The...client? whoever was doing the hiring anyway - wanted someone more experienced, but we were what was left. For some reason, no one seems to know why, the Plumbers and Cellarers Guild hired up some 10 mercenaries and a few other guilds picked up some - which is common, just odd to have such a rush. Anyway, we were supposed to go talk to Alden Goldsmith at his shop for the details. His shop is in the seriously posh end of town - the "we are so out of place with our dirty boots and cheap clothes" end of town. Not really all that surprising for a jeweler. What WAS surprising that the actual...hirer was Eldreth Deepwater. We have been chosen - yes, us chosen, as in he arranged for the other mercenaries to be hired out so that they had to "settle" for us - for a special secret mission. Sounds ridiculous, don't it? He figured we were the right..type. We're to escort a caravan of gold bars from Silverymoon to Waterdeep - but wait, you say, aren't we on the wrong end of this? Seems we're to pick up our REAL cargo in Redspring - a smallish town? midway between the Glimmerwood and the Evermoors. We're bringing HIM back, cleverly disguised as a caravan guard, to Waterdeep.

To identify him we have a signet ring - a hooded figure with a patched eye in front of what COULD be the Waterdeep tower (saw that coming up to the shop and that is something else indeed, never knew you could HAVE a building that tall) with bunches of arrows on the sides. Looked kinda orcy and Eldreth said we'd have no trouble spotting the guy, full orc, full civilized. After the other night, I can kinda see why you'd wanna bring him in quiet-like. Eldreth gave us some papers authorizing us as caravan guards from Turlough's - and gave us a couple extra...just in case. We contact some fellow named Dunstan Oredigger in Silverymoon - I'm thinking dwarf, myself. Eldreth then said the job paid 1000gp EACH when our cargo arrives in Waterdeep. 1000gp EACH. EACH. 1000gp of my own. What in nine hells do I spend 1000gp on??? Anyway, Eldreth said he'd front some expenses for equipment, so we got Gnf brewing up some healing potions - let's face it, I'm not that good a healer. And he said that to solve the problem of Redspring being some months foot travel from here, he'd arranged chits for tickets to fly on hippogriffs. Wow. Get ready, we'd leave tomorrow.

While the others checked armor and weapons, I went to chat up the flight master, arrange the chits, leaving time, see if we needed anything...see what the hell a hippogriff REALLY looked like, that sort of thing. Flight master turned out to be a she - pretty genasi she, that's what those swirling marks and such mean, yes? - so I chatted her up some. She mentioned it was odd us getting these pricey tickets - I guess I musta looked too much a rustic and I was worried I'd done something to blow Eldreth's secret and I guess I panicked. I just leaned in close and dropped to a whisper - always brings 'em in, figuring it's a good secret they're hearing - and whispered that I was in disguise. Anyway, she said she was going along too - it being a 5 day trip and someone had to see to the animals and the leather and surely "milord" wouldn't be handling that. I've REALLY stepped in it, but nothing to do but face it out like I meant it. So I flirted a bit, saying I was glad to have a pretty companion and she flashed the wedding ring that I SHOULD have noticed, so I recovered by pointing out that I could still enjoy the scenery.

I am in so much trouble.

9 Kythornn 1479

Yesterday's ...excitement has died down and the streets were quiet - well, as quiet as they get around here anyway. The guard is looking into the warehouse and all that, but I have a sneaking suspicion that won't go anywhere. I kinda hope not, in a weird way - if it goes that easy, then these guys were...well, evil but not um, super evil? And if that's the case, well, they didn't need to die...

But anyway, we spent most of the day shopping - and gawking. Helluva city, that's for damned sure. Anyway, I managed to offload that lantern we picked up as loot from the warehouse. "See things clearly", hells, I CAN see and what am I supposed to do? Wander about the fight with a lantern in one hand? Especially since talking our way OUT of fights doesn't look to be happening. Kinda think I got rooked on the deal, though, useless as it seems, had to have been worth more than THAT - but...well, I don't know what I'm doing and that's the truth. Nine hells, I can bargain well enough for the caravanserai, but well, here I'm just some back-country fool. At least it was enough money to stump up for a nice sword for Max.

Armed now with his shiny new scimitar, we headed for what is becoming his regular tavern - and there ran into his regular...friend. I may start calling the fellow Mad Dog for lack of a name, he's sure mad and there seems to be a dog... Anyway, he told Max that the dog said not to worry, it wouldn't change him, it just might make him stink. Kinda gives food for thought doesn't it? Then after a brief consultation with the invisible dog, he handed over 2 vials and said "oh, he says you'll need this" and then headed off. We looked at the vials - alchemical silver.

We were just pondering the ...potentials hanging on all that when a runner showed up from Turlough's - there's a job for us, show up first thing in the morning.

Not to worry, we won't change (or at least MAX won't), we need alchemical silver and suddenly we have a job? I got a bad feeling.

Monday, July 20, 2009

8 Kythorn 1479

Today I killed a man.

The day started with us going and registering with Turlough's Steel and they put us on the rota, but there weren't any jobs immediately. So we spent some time shopping and hit a bardic hangout called The Coal Mine - where there was some impressive displays, especially a gnomish torch singer who played the audience in ways I can only dream of. It was all I ever wanted - and it seems almost to belong to another life.

When we headed back, though, towards evening, there was quite a rumpus outside Oleg's. Those jackasses in the robes were back and they'd moved beyond intimidation and into violence - even prepared with bottles to burn the place down. We got those fellows dealt with and led Oleg's wife, Festa - a human, not that that seemed to matter to the robed idiots touting racial purity and human supremacy - and their 2 small children out of the house. Nor did the danger to innocents bother them. So much for Waterdeep's fabled (yeah, as in made-up) tolerance and racial equality.

Oleg asked us to help him get Festa and the kids safely to the watchhouse where Ches worked, where they'd be safe. We managed, darting through the streets - but fighting small groups along the way. I nearly managed to send one group off on a snipe hunt with no fighting, but Allyson once again forgot that she needs to duck BACK into the shadows, not just stand there. But we left most of them out cold, but survivable. Unfortunately, we couldn't manage that with every group. I finally ended up frying the brains on one of them hard enough that he was dead. Totally dead. Beyond healing dead.

Allyson says it was the right thing to do and she's right, I know it, I just don't feel it. Yes, we had to stop them and yes, we didn't have time to go slow and pretty and yes, he was trying to kill Allyson, but... Well, I just wish it hadn't been me that finished it. Sure, some of the others we'd run into died, but never at MY hand. Easy enough for Allyson to brush it off as a necessity, but she's trained to do just that. I've spent my life training to talk to people. I suppose if I'm going to be a mercenary I'm going to have to get used to it, but I don't think I'm ever going to like this. Maybe I can find better ways to avoid fights entirely.

Anyway, we got to the watchhouse and Ches said that their captain had been drugged, which slowed their response and they were dealing with the damage, but what was needed was to find the headquarters for these Black Hoods (apparently they've been spewing their disgusting ideas for some time). So we headed out to see what we could manage - Oleg deciding to come along, since Festa and the kids were safe. It took some time, but we managed it. First, by capturing one for questioning - watching 2 half-orcs and a overgrown human intimidate a weaselly (my apologies to weasels) racist was a joy. Not to mention it gave me time to make sure none of the others were going to die - except for the ones that the others had killed straight out - and tie 'em up.

We eventually found the warehouse housing the "Four Square Company". Gnf sent in a spirit snake to scout for us, but one of the door guards was actually sharp and both noticed and decided to report - bad, very bad. Oleg charged them both, which gave us time to get in. We pulled on black robes and tucked Gnf away at the back of us since he's a dead (haha) giveaway. I marched in to give my report, but I think the violence had shaken me some, because the big bad - or at least the guy in a fancier black robe sitting up on the dais and lording it over the others, so I assume he was the boss, he sure proved tougher than the others - declared he didn't know my voice, who was I? I made up a name on the spot and it was a good name, I'm sure of it, but maybe I should have worked in some way to refer to redemption, it being the password, whatever I bolluxed it up totally. He threw a massive sonic or psychic blast, some seriously nasty magic, which pretty much rocked all of us back on our heels, while his minions charged. Seriously outnumbered and with such a powerful magic-tapper against us, I was a fair bit worried - ok, ok, I was scared shitless - but he took off straight out the back door. Still, it was plenty dicey. Oleg all but died himself, since he charged well ahead and it took me a bit to reach him to heal him. We used up everything we had, but we won in the end.

Under the "throne" the big bad was sitting on we found some nice things - now, see, I don't feel the least underhanded or guilty about taking THOSE, we earned 'em - good stuff for everyone...except me, but I can sell the lens. Silly thing. Ought to give us enough funds to get Maxie a magicked weapon. Maybe I can find better pipes too.

Well, it's late - or early, depending - and I should try to sleep, but I don't think I can.

I wonder if he had a family who mourns him.

7 Kythorn 1479

We have arrived in Waterdeep and by all the gods I have never seen the like. I can only hope I'm not looking too much the rustic bumpkin, but I strongly suspect I need only the field hat and a straw stuck between my teeth to confirm the impression. Ah well, can't blame a fellow for trying anyway.

We got here this morning and Gwyneth led us straight to her brother-in-law's jewelry shop. Hannes Silverman and his wife, Glyn (Gwyneth's sister), run a pretty successful business, looks like. They put us up in nice rooms and said they had a party for us planned for tonight. Allyson look a bit alarmed (naturally) but I pointed out that I, at least, had packed her a dress. Being the nice guy I am I declined to mention that since I was the who picked it out it would actually look good. heh.

We had the rest of the day free to explore the city. We started by following our noses just next door to the bakery. The fellow behind the counter was a burly half-orc - and by that I mean burly FOR a half-orc - who was pleased to offer us such things as gnome legs, orc claws, deva ears and elf noses (they always point up) - though I pointed out that true of eladrin more than elves. He liked my suggestion for halfling toes, but wasn't sure how to handle the hair, but I trust he'll figure something out. He scared poor Gnf nearly into invisibility by leaning over the counter and demanding - in full orc bellow - if he didn't like the pastries? Then he started laughing and chatting with the rest of us. Sigh, orc humor, you gotta love it - largely because they'll hurt you if you don't. Allyson liked him. I have to admit, intimidation as customer service is different. But then his wife came out and scolded him and things moved into a more normal experience. They did have honey cakes, good ones even, but not a patch on Mom's.

Following the stuffing of faces with baked goods, we all headed off to see the sights. Gnf headed for the library and Max decided to hit a tavern and Allyson headed off with him - letting ME off the leash!!! Yey, it's a miracle. Mindful of that, I went straightaway to find a temple to Mielikki and it proved to be something of a chore. Not much in the way of greenery in this city. Amazing buildings - I even saw one that I swear was larger than the Moorbridge caravanserai entire, outbuildings included - and paved streets and folks in all manner of strange and fancy clothing, but...well, I like it and I like watching all this, but I damn sure wouldn't want to live here with next to no trees or grass or even crops. Anyway, I finally found it, a small building tucked in a back street with nothing more than a few small trees in front. Better than nothing, at least. I went in, donated a gold - they sure looked like they needed it far more than me - and said my prayers. Made me feel a little better, less out of place, but I'm sure I still looked a fair idiot wandering the streets with my jaw scraping the ground.

That done, I followed up on my next task. Seeing as I have - finally! - reached Waterdeep, and thereby a city big enough to have a temple to Sune, I went to pay my respects. Hey, it's only taken me 3 years and change.... Found the temple fairly easily, Sune is a lot more popular here than Mielikki and boasts a fine, large marble temple - as impressive within as without. I think the word I want is sumptuous. I found the offering box and donated a silver for a prayer in memory of my father. Maybe I should have paid more, I don't know, but silver matched the chain, so it seemed...I dunno, fitting? Anyhow, then I gawked a bit - the more so as the priestesses (and the priests as best as I can judge) seem chosen for their pretty faces. After a bit, one approached me (lovely girl, well, woman, with big brown eyes) and asked if I was there to try the "love leap". Sure sounded interesting so I asked what it was and she explained and I guess it's a test, sort of, if who you're with is your true love - seemed awful shaky to me, I mean, if you aren't sure, isn't that kinda proof that it isn't? I declined as I'm not with anyone and she brightened up (I'd like to think that was for my being available, but I'm not so good a liar as THAT) and said then what I wanted was the "draw" for guidance. Guidance, naturally, being only as good as the devotion (ie, donation) behind it. But, I figure, what the hell, it is Sune's area, after all and it can't hurt - 1 gold isn't that much and I can always make more. So I chipped in and she led me to a big...well, cauldron of sorts for me to dip my hand into and pull something out and then she just stood there expectantly - and closely watching. Damned thing was deep AND up on a pedestal so I was pretty much on tip-toe trying to get my hand in to reach anything - y'know, a city like this has plenty of dwarves, gnomes, halflings and full-blood elves, you'd think they'd make allowances for height, or lack of it - but I managed and as soon as my fingers touched something I snagged it and pulled it out. She favored me with an approving (and dazzling) smile, apparently trusting to faith instead of rooting about in there is the right move. What I pulled out looked at first like your ordinary pebble, that drab grey-brown shade, but I took a closer look, since there had to be beauty in there somewhere and found pretty vein of crystal that not only gave that stripe of color through it, but the purplish streak made the rest of the grey-brown sorta glow warm, making it actually a nice color. A pretty stone, but subtle, you gotta look for it, I like that. I thanked the priestess and tucked the stone away and headed out to find that tavern and enjoy the sights along the way.

I stopped just outside the tavern long enough to rumple my clothes a bit and muss my hair - a visit to Sune's temple offers so much in the way of twitting Allyson, you can't expect me to pass it up. Max had wedged himself into a corner and Allyson sat next to him, enjoying herself and every so often elbowing him and sniggering. Poor guy must be solid bruises. Gnf was seated nearby looking lost in thought - apparently the library was a joy to him and his guide imparted some secrets to him, which he promptly started to tell me, until I shut him up. Smart man, Gnf, but not too savvy.

The source of Allyson's amusement was Max's "destiny". Apparently some old fellow had swept in, looking like those crazy hermits who're always spouting off like they're diviners or what-not, and gone straight up to Max and declared that he'd must've been fighting undead. Interesting conversational opener, but then Max is near as bad as Allyson on the whole "you need to bathe" thing. Then he announced that Max had a destiny - and he knew this because his invisible dog told him. Ok, he didn't call it that, he just gestured at a space the right height and refused an ale for it because dogs don't drink ale - I've a few hounds back home he needs to meet to relearn that fact. He also asked if Max and Allyson were lovers - Allyson slipped that one in sly enough, makes me wonder if she meant to be putting me on, and it worked, dammit. I think - I hope - I kept my face straight and my voice level, but I couldn't stop myself from asking if they were. (I mean, she'd left me to do whatever I wanted and hied off to the tavern with him right off. A disturbing thought.) Allyson shook her head, while Max murmured that he hadn't even bought him a drink. Heh, quiet fellow, sneaky humor, I think I'm really gonna like that boy. At length we headed back to the shop for the party. I reminded Allyson that she did need to bathe before dressing, but I managed to duck the blow - she must've had too much ale, she's not usually so slow. Just as we arrived back we noticed a little set-to at Oleg's bakery. A bunch of fellows in black robes - horn and hoof, how melodramatic can you get? - were trying to intimidate him. Melodramatic and stupid, lovely. Needless to say they got no change out of Oleg, but it was disturbing.

The party was...well, gosh, straight out of a tale. Glittering table settings, goblets of jewel-colored wine, table linens so bleached they're blinding, dazzling candles...amazing. The head of the jeweler's guild, an eladrin named Eldreth Deepwater gave a sort of set-speech to open things, explaining why he'd taken on the name of Deepwater. He essentially named himself after the town in honor of it's reputation as a place where all races were equally welcomed and he has a strong belief in that ideal, so he took the name as symbolic and all. He also, far more to the point, brought his daughter with him. Melia. Pretty girl, an especially graceful arch to her ears, and grown...mostly. Also there were Alden Goldsmith and Ches Silverman, Hannes's brother. Ches is a sergeant in the city guard and said we were welcome to join anytime, just come talk to him. Then they handed over a number of lovely - and way too valuable - gifts and in just such a way as you can't refuse without insulting them. It's good stuff and I like it and we need it, but I still feel like... I dunno, like I'm ... Oh, like a battle of wits with Bardon, it's beyond cheating, it's totally unfair, he's unarmed, see? Anyway, there was something nicely tailored for each of us - I picked up a nice amulet with some protective magic about it. After that, we turned to actual partying. I produced my pipes and started on a set of songs of all types before letting someone else entertain so I could catch my breath and have a drink. Whilst I sat in my corner resting, Melia approached me wanting more tunes. I suggested that I would trade her a tune for a kiss. She's a bit over-serious - well and aren't eladrin usually - and seemed a bit displeased, but she screwed up her face and finally leaned forward to give me a peck on the cheek. I traded her a tune, fair's fair and managed to control a snigger at Allyson's glower, though thankfully Eldreth wasn't paying attention. Max got cornered by Alden and didn't seem to enjoy it much, but I don't think he ever enjoys talking much. Amidst all the gossip a few rumors floating about. A rumor about a great kobold leader uniting the tribes and amassing legions of kobold warriors - yeah, as if. A rumor - or perhaps a set fact - that a new lode was found in the Nether Mountains, which was going to put even more pressure on the caravans, especially since the accident to the portals. We asked and apparently portals are malfunctioning - shipments being lost, folks going through and coming back....eventually and apparently somewhat changed or such. They said this started maybe a week ago or so - so long after the big magic blow-out that killed the mythal-portals, so who knows?

A long day, but a lot of fun.

Allyson and Max can't actually be lovers, can they?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

30 Mirtul 1479

Ok, we've hit Daggerford and without further excitement. Kargil paid us off and since Gwyneth had grown insistent that we accompany her to Waterdeep so she and her sister could properly repay us told us to go on ahead, Turlough's had an office there and we could pick up work.

Mind you, it's another week or nearly to Waterdeep, but we're welcome to travel with the caravan, just not paid. Kind of nice to just enjoy the scenery and not worry about fighting - or more to the point healing. At least I think so.

23 Mirtul 1479

Well, I was right about Merrill.

We got up this morning to find Merrill gone - as well was Jacob. Nathan - bless his obnoxiously curious and sneaky heart - had managed to get a gander at that scroll and reported that it was about Ocrus and his vigrin sacrifices. We managed - with great effort - not to laugh. And I'm pretty sure I managed not to look... guilty or whatever. Anyway, safe to say an 8 year old boy counts as a vigrin (heh). And bless Jacob for listening to fairy tales, he left a trail of pooka shells for us to follow. We managed to track him, but it was a hard trek and we were rushing, leaving us - or at least me - puffing a bit.

We found the temple and found the skeletons outside guarding it. Skeletons should be scary, but these just didn't frighten me. We came up to the crypt and noted a fancy sigil over the archway to get in. Max spoke up, said it was a trap, divine magic - which I guessed by the ghostly bloody hands that reached out. He was able to call on Selune (and glad I am that he serves a goddess I'm comfortable with) and diddle the trap neatly. We came into a huge room with 2 rows of columns - one along each side - and a whole lotta zombies. Still not terrifying, but definitely creepy. Then down the stairs at the back of the big room and into the main arena.

We could hear the chanting and it sounded like Merrill was wrapping things up. We had to fight a bunch more zombies - including some that were starting to get scary - and we were getting some chewed, but still winning. I let Allyson distract Merrill while I dashed over and lurched over the altar to grab Jacob and pull him away. Took me longer than I wanted - I hate it when Allyson is right about my needing to exercise more - but I got him and took off. I'd've kept running, but apparently Allyson pissed Merrill off good and all - well, it IS what she's best at - and decided killing us was more important than Jacob so I stuck around and good thing too, my healing was definitely needed - I was getting a bit worried about Allyson. Although I did manage to trick one of the ghouls to peel off her and come towards Gnf - who he couldn't possibly reach - and then head back towards the fighters. A nice trick, I liked it.

We got back to camp without further issue and Gwyneth was both overjoyed and furious at the boys, all mom-like, and very grateful to us and wishing she could repay us. A little embarrassing, that - I mean, what else were we gonna do? Let the kid die? Seems wrong to let her think she owes us for doing the right thing, but I can't think of a way to say that without hurting her feelings, so...

As boring as trudging down the road is, I'm kinda hoping the rest of the trip to Daggerford is more boring. Adventure is a lot scarier than it sounds.

22 Mirtul 1479

Today was much more interesting. Straightaway we woke up Kargil was really ill. Gwyneth has some skill in healing and took a look at him and said he'd need some special herbal potion and could we go gather some? I noted that she looked a bit askance at the party, though she hid it well. Makes a fellow wonder, doesn't it? Though Kargil didn't eat anything different than anyone else, such as I can tell...

Anyway we headed off to gather the herbs - just us paid types, Cedric bowed out - it was a hell of a trek, too - up and down hills. We saw some signs of flying creatures with claws and such - not stirges and too big to be eagles. We did eventually find what made those marks - drakes. They swarm you over and that's pretty nasty, but we made it through. Makes me wish I could tap into the healing magicks better. Got the herbs and brought 'em back to Gwyneth and she started making up the potion. I managed to get her aside and ask her what had happened and after a long moment and a good sharp look-over she admitted it looked like poison, but she couldn't tell how he got it. We kept Gnf watching over Kargil, just in case. The potion worked a treat, though and we were back on the road (oh joy) by midday - with Kargil riding, but upright and alert.

Got to an ambush, trees down across the road that clearly WEREN'T deadfall. Oddly, where it stopped us put us in between a row of cages - which reminded me a bit of those chutes for our try-out and for good reason. Some fire beetles started coming out of them and about the same time a few smudge pots went off, filling the areas with smoke. Under cover of all this a few bandits started sneaking up to lift the bags out of the wagons. We took 'em all down - Kargil was able to manage his crossbow - and deal with the smudge pots without any of the trees or grass catching fire.

At camp tonight I noted that Merrill was studying some scroll or such that he was trying to tuck away - not to mention not look like he was even studying something. I call that very suspicious - especially given Kargil's poisoning. Then again, maybe I just don't like Merrill.

Friday, July 17, 2009

21 Mirtul 1479

I learned several things today.

First, little boys are trouble on 2 feet - and they're faster and slipperier than you might think.

Second, it's damned hard to pry off a stirge once it's on you and they stink like nobody's business.

Third, when the description of a spell - such as Sleep - says it affects an entire area, it means the entire area and everyone in it - INCLUDING YOUR ALLIES. Something the wizard might wish to consider in future.

And lastly, being a caravan guard is dead boring.

We trudged along all day and sure, the scenery is nice, but it's nice at home, too. And sure Gwyneth is pretty and friendly enough and her boys are cute..mostly, but there are pretty girls lotsa other places. None of which involve hiking along under the sun with road dirt kicked up into your face and a need to watch where you step, unless you're out in front of all the horses. The only excitement came at the end of the day when we stopped to make camp. Being at the bottom of the pecking order - not to mention pretty much the only employees - we were sent off to fill the water buckets at the nearby stream. For no apparent reasons one of the merchants, a youngish fellow named Cedric, decided to accompany us. Also, at the insistent pleading of her boys - Nathan and Jacob - Gwyneth brought them along, too. The stream was easy to find. Sadly the stirges nesting nearby found us as easily. Wouldn't have been much of a problem to defeat them, except one of the boys darted forward to see - managing to elude a number of outreached hands - and promptly got attached. In prying it off HIM, I managed to get it on to me. Not, perhaps, the best of plans, but Allyson was there, so no worries. On the other hand, that left Max dealing with the others on his own, not good. We loped over to help him and Gnf throws up his nifty Sleep spell, next thing I know, I'm face down in the stream, having had an ill-timed nap. All's well that ends well, though. We got the boys away, got the water back and no one was more hurt than I can deal with.

We had some good stories around the campfire too. What is it about campfires anyway? I know plenty of folks as won't talk around a fire in the fireplace or the pit, but put it outside surrounded by bedrolls and they're off and running. Anyway, Kargil tells some good stories, plenty funny and I naturally do quite well. Merrill - our dark and mysterious, or alright our solitary male who's not actually dark and is only terse and not necessarily mysterious - told a rather creepy story about demons and making bad choices. Cedric told - surprisingly well, he didn't seem that smooth a talker - a story about a supposedly nearby temple of Orcus and it's destruction - or near destruction. Merrill kind of went all still at that - clearly worried about it somehow - but whether he's just nerved out by the mention of Orcus or his story of bad choices with demons is more...personal than it sounded I can't tell. Doesn't much matter, really. It's not like we're heading there. Although Gnf did apparently remember something about there being some black skull embedded in an obsidian altar or some such. Tomorrow's gonna be another boring day just walking on the road. I may want to discuss with Allyson her ideas on grand adventure, they're a little lacking in either grand or adventure.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

20 Mirtul 1479

Busy but productive day today. Came in this morning (Allyson naturally insisting on camping, despite a late rainstorm and chill wind. I almost wish she'd give over this "keep Alfred away from the girls" campaign, except that it's so much FUN to tease her this way.) and were directed to a big open area where the caravans stop and so on. We headed for the tent with a flag out front that Sgt. Rogeth had described - red background, 2 crossed silver swords. (The fact that it also had Turlough written across it was another clue.) We announced ourselves as interested enlistees to the grizzled fellow behind a big worktable, all heaped with ledgers, paperwork and so forth. He looked a right veteran - old, scarred and ... I don't know how exactly to describe it, but I'm guessing that that's maybe what jaded looks like? - and I might almost have been intimidated but for the fact that a) after Allyson, what could be worse? and b) he was jawing with a younger fellow sitting nearby and they sounded near as bad as we do. He took our names, asked what we did and despite giving me the once-over when I airily suggested I did all sorts of things (in retrospect, I could have handled that better) said we could "try-out". He gestured us over to wait by a large oak until there were enough, trier-outers? Enough others anyway.

First fellow in after us was a tall skinny Calishite - or at least he had the skin for a Calishite, but I don't think I've ever seen one with bright red hair before, made mine look positively lackluster - with a scimitar and a definite lack of words. I figured him for another like Allyson, all serious and no humor, but it seems he just doesn't talk much. He appeared another fighter, but just in leather and with a scimitar, so not the brute force approach at least. Moves well.

Next fellow - and the last one for the "first team" - was a little gnome (ok redundant, yes) who looked distinctly arcane - turned out to be wizard, but you can't always tell by looking.

Kargil (the vet) directed us to a ...well, a course they'd laid out. Looked like a big pigpen, but there were a bunch of chutes opening into the center. Deal with whatever happens and Kresh (the other fellow) is standing by as a healer - "just in case", yeah right - though obviously if we need rescuing, we're not good enough. No worries.

The first three chutes opened on a linked mechanism and spewed out 2 giant rats each - easy enough to deal with, but they opened the next chute before we'd completely mopped up to keep us hopping and that one had 2 dire rats, which are a bit tougher and then a huge swarm off the last chute before we'd finished the earlier. Before we'd finished the swarm, the first chutes had sent forth another lot of the giant rats and things began to look dicey. I got up on one of the chutes to keep it from opening, but it seemed that the main 3 chutes were the only ones that were going to open a second time - but at least it got me out of bite range. Used up all the healing I had and both Allyson and Calishite - who goes by Max - got pretty chewed up. No rescue, though, so we're in. We'll leave tomorrow on a caravan to Waterdeep - though we only go as far as Daggerford, they can pick up plenty more and better on that road. That all settled, there was only one thing left to do - head for the tavern!

Seemed bigger than I remembered from the one time I snuck up, but I'm bigger now, after all. We met the others for the caravan - a few merchants with 5 wagonsfull of cornmeal, a dark and mysterious (ok, just solitary, but it makes a better story this way) man of maybe Mom's age and a young(ish) woman traveling with her 2 small boys - I'd guess she was maybe 5 or 10 years younger than Mom, hard to say - who was traveling to go and live with her sister in Waterdeep. Gnf (the gnome) started up a chat with a pretty (at least I assume so, I'm no judge of gnomish standards) young girl who was heading into the Southwood for a walkabout, whatever that is - some kind of special wandering, I guess - and she shared some nice gossip before they wandered off. Rumors of a robbery at an arcane library in the south of the forest, run by eladrin (not sure what she meant, I mean, there's the weird tower with the old arcanist type - but he's no eladrin, they never look old) and that what was stolen was some highly guarded forbidden necromantic lore kind of stuff. She also passed on the usual rumors of kobolds ambushing caravans and bandits, stirges and fire beetles (ok, I admit, the fire beetles are unusual, but by that point alone almost certainly made up - the interesting stuff is never true, more's the pity) and we gave her some tips on dealing with the gobbies and orcs in the wood. She looked a proper druid, so I expect she'll be fine, but Mom always like the company, so....

I did manage to find myself a pretty and willing tavern wench - sweet girl and a good kisser, if I may be so ungentlemanly in my own journal, named Mairi. Allyson was a bit slower off the mark than I expected, which could have been awkward, Mairi being VERY willing, but she found us before things went too far astray. And she looked delightfully furious. I know Mom says I shouldn't rag her this way, but dammit, it's her own fault for being so overbearing.

Hm, I wonder now if our...ways are going to be a problem for the others - Kargil is going along, but given how he and Kresh act, he's not going to mind, but the others? Gnf looked a a loss when we were ah..chatting earlier in the evening, and my getting caught with Mairi didn't help and it's impossible to say with Max, he plays things close to his chest - wouldn't want to gamble against him that's for damned sure.

Anyway, it's late and we're up and off at daybreak, so that's it for tonight.

18 Mirtul 1479

FINALLY! Today is the day. We are on the road, kicking the dirt of South Mill off our boots and moving up in the world. Hells, only took us what? 2 years of planning and researching companies and wheedling, cajoling, persuading and even outright begging for Mom to let us go. LET us go, like we were children. Honestly, is she still going to be trying that when we're old and grey?

Allyson's old sergeant suggested that we head up to Loudwater, it being a caravan town and a good place to hire on as caravan guards or join a company (a point which I had already made to Allyson and she dismissed....) - both obviously the best starting points for a career as adventurers. He recommended Turlough's Steel as a good company - solid and dependable and better than just glorified bandits. I wonder how hard I'm gonna have to talk to get a place for me. Allyson is a gimme, let's face it. Me? Well, how hard can talking 'em up be?

We'll cut through the forest as usual and camp at the second waypost - the one by Thyrienug's guardpost. I came up with another good story I think he's gonna fall, enjoy. That'll put us into Loudwater late tomorrow or early the next, depending on if Allyson wants to wait and camp another night to go in fresh in the morning - and thereby deprive me of a night in a warm, cheerful tavern with warm, cheerful tavern girls.... Ah, well, that means it'll be morning, won't it?

Explanations and Disclaimers

These are the voyages of the star... Oh, sorry, wrong cue cards.

What follows are the "diary entries" (or whatever fantasy term is preferred) for a character in a 4th edition Forgotten Realms campaign.

Any source material is a) used without permission, but almost certainly within copyright allowances and b) altered to suit the needs of the campaign. If there are complaints with the changes, take it up with the DM, it's not my fault.

Incidentally, for a (theoretically) less biased view of the campaign and these events, the DM has a campaign site up at Obsidian Portal, under Kala'Ushum.