Reign of the Axe

Elaine - Session Eight
Unappreciative Paladins and a Shriveled Cleric

Risher is getting increasingly inpatient with my ineptitude. My language lessons aren’t going so great. There are so many different inflections and tones to master, but I think it’s finally sinking in, kind of like when your mathematics lesson clicks about six months after you need it. I was able to speak a sentence to him that didn’t involve me insulting his mother. There are six-hundred and seventy-eight ways to call someone’s mother earthworm droppings, which is apparently the worst thing you can call someone’s mother in the animal world. I’ve somehow happened upon all of them by complete accident. Granted, each one is more creative than the last, but I think it’s overdoing it a little. For a while, he was mad at me because he thought I was doing it on purpose.

Aside from calling someone’s relatives the absolute worst of insults, there are also a lot of sounds for direction. Talking to animals isn’t difficult in theory. Their nouns are simple. Their directions border high-level malkonvokry in complexity. They are precise, unarguable things, and there are so many words because there are so many ways to describe a direction. For example: A’aw means fly fair north broken tree, three rocks, stinger nest, large drink; fair describes the weather conditions. A’awww means fly bad north broken tree, three rocks, stinger nest, large drink. The nouns are the landmarks they instruct others to go by. Very subtle changes in sound change the meaning.

On the lighter side of things, I believe I have finally figured out the magic to make the feathers on my arms grow in the proper pattern for flight. Most of my attempts to fly involved a rude noise and a cloud of black feathers. I will have to get Risher in a good mood by speaking more than three sentences without insulting his mother, and then I will ask for flying lessons. These should be interesting.

I am most pleased to find that the wizard we have been hunting has more up his sleeve than the rudimentary defensive measures that we came across initially. Stupid magic is dangerous magic. I can’t remember all the stories Master Gerard told me about irresponsible magic use going awry. Summoning extra-planar beings without the proper defensive measures? Suddenly there is a pit fiend wrecking havoc through the countryside. Misplaced fireball? Whole villages go up in flames. And don’t even get me started on the affects of enchanting magic in the wrong hands. There are some truly despicable people out there. A lich bent on world domination is less dangerous than an incompetent amateur in this regard, as shocking as that statement might be. Untamed magic is never an asset, always a liability.

I suspected there was a secret door that we missed; the prisoners mentioned that they saw a lot of coming and going in the direction of the dwarf Nado, not from the door at the end of the hallway. It is a shame that so much research and equipment made a break for Boccob only knows where, but I was able to gather a good amount of slightly damaged things. The wizard’s apprentice, Hevil, I believe, was making a last stand in that room. Otherwise, why would a wizard’s apprentice burn his spell book? He expected to die, and he expected to take us with him. At least we could grant part of his wish. I believe Korwindel said it best. We do not lose. Tactical retreat, maybe, but not lose.

My attempt at counter spelling Hevil was unsuccessful. I am simply not good enough at it yet. More controlled practice is required, although I am slightly proud of myself for nailing the archer mercenary Hemming in the back with my entangling diddy. I suppose I should also be proud of nailing Hevil in the shoulder with a crossbow bolt. It is not magic, but it put a damper in his protection from arrows shield.

Once the lair was cleaned out and what salvageable things were obtained, we returned to the paladins with three unconscious, infected goblins and Hemming. I am not sure what the paladins will do with Hemming, but I will check up on him. I do not believe he should be mistreated. After all, he was hired to do a job, and he did that job until the end. After that end, he gave us valuable information. I know he was afraid of us, but he still offered the information easily.

I do not understand the people of this village, or maybe it is just the paladins that I do not understand. I was summoned to them to find one of their own had fallen victim to Nado’s ailment. Transferred via bite, noted. They thought it was important enough to make me walk all the way down there to tell me, but not important enough to assist me in finding out more about this malady. I am an alchemist, I am offering my knowledge and expertise to help them figure out what is going on for as close to free as reasonable, and my gesture of good faith is met with hostility (at least from that dried, dusty prune of a cleric) and apathy (because cleaning up the mess is more important than preventing more of them). Treat the symptoms, not the disease. Boccob, give me patience.

Fine. Don’t help me. My new friends will help me with these important tests, and then when we find a cure for this horrid illness, your names will be conveniently unmentioned in the great annuls of history and when you come begging for what I’ve discovered, you will pay me handsomely for my time and research. That will teach you to treat me like a mere child wanting a busy adult’s attention. Magic may not be my forte just yet, but I am an amazing alchemist. I suppose it is as Master Gerard said: it is nearly impossible to give something away, but selling it for cheap will surely rid you of the thing and net a pretty copper on top. They believe that because I am offering my services for free, they are unworthy. This is their mistake.

My love potion will have to wait for now. If this cure is within grasp, if the cure of what took my parents, what has taken so many, is obtainable, that is far more important than my personal affairs. I will put out messages to contact Denor the Wise, for if we can combine our skills and knowledge, maybe with the assistance of a trustworthy cleric, we can make a cure for this plague. Korwindel has mentioned that his people are skilled in the arts of healing. Perhaps we should forego a cleric altogether and bring one of the natural healers to the fold. Then again, having both can’t hurt unless they stand in the way.

Care must be taken when contacting this wizard. My attempts to contact Denor the Wise will be discovered by the very same factions that are hunting him, and they will add me to their list for elimination.

I did not survive so much to fall so easily to dark-minded individuals. I do not know these Bloodpeak people, but I will need to learn more about them in order to combat them effectively. I do have doubts, however, about my ability to protect my new friends from what I may bring upon them. I cannot do it alone, so it will be important to consult with them before extending the call to Denor. If my actions put them in potential danger, my friends must be notified before I do them.

Experimenting on Nado’s blood and the potions is now possible with the equipment and funds to buy what I was missing. I can find a secluded area, get a few random blood samples to act as a control group, some holy water, and Thunk’s shield makes a perfect blast wall for someone my size. It is imperative that I know as much about these components as possible in order to cure them. I need to formulate my experiment process tonight and get started early in the morning.

I should probably get Thunk to remove his gnomish invention from the stables before Larry and his father become upset by its continued presence. Those crazy gnomes come up with some amazing devices. I had a crush on a gnome named Elgard Lightfoot back in Ignavus, but that was a lot time ago and it wouldn’t have become anything… Most gnomes aren’t attracted to giant birds… Most anythings aren’t attracted to giant birds…

I can talk to Larry about a cart when I go visit him with Thunk. Larry mentioned they were going to build one as thanks, and it would still be a good idea. I’m not sure if the presence of the gnomish device meant that they were stopping construction or what, but I should make sure.

I was a bit stunned to see how Thunk reacted to the monk’s journal. I have never seen Thunk angry before, irritated, confused, yes, but angry? He says there is a bad man he wants to beat up. All I can say is that if someone was so bad that the unconditional-loving Thunk wants to smash his face in, I’m bringing the lye and a shovel.

Would you look at that? I already have the shovel.

Notes to Self:
Shopping List: high-quality lock picks, eggs (check the baker), extra mortar and pestle, first aid kit, extra bandages, blank journal, lard, sturdy bowl, belt, magic ink, silvered dagger, lye (buy small quantities as you go to not arouse suspicion)

Forage List: pine needles, lavender, lemongrass, hay, broken pieces of glass, baking pan, bone dust, caterpillars, fireflies, grasshoppers (Do not eat the experiments no matter how delightfully crunchy they are.)

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Wellat's done.

So we found the wizard responsible for all the experimenting shenanigans. I croshed his head. I’m done, right? Oh fine, I’ll start a little arlier. After the kids and I helped the village of the underdark humans, we were told aboot a bounty on the head of a wizard responsible for som kidnappins. We got information from a greedy little focker named Angus. Found the house and cleared out a lot of hired moscle. It weren’t so hard. The bigun Thunk is a spong for takin punishment in a fight. I showed the kids how to deal the damage though. Hit em hard in a vital spot, and they don’t tend to get up agin.

We found the victims and took em away from the house. Went back to the village to prepare agin, and set out to the house a second time. We found the wizard’s apprentice, who was responsible for the kidnappins. In a sudden betrayal that didn’t surprise anyone, except maybe Thunk, Angus had sold us oot to him. He forgot to tell them the most important part: we don’t lose. These kids aren’t as brain dead as I originally thought. Maybe they can help out. Anyway, that’s when the fight started and I ended up croshing the head of that mage focker. Got a nice bow from the prisoner too. He was very willing to accomodate us in return for not stringing him up by his own intestines. Saw me cousin do that once to a bloke. Shouldn’t have stolen his sheep.

Turns out the mage in charge was trying to cure some sickness. As if there’s a sickness my kin can’t cure. People just need to learn to ask. And be prepared to work off the debt. Me cousin’s good at that too. Got a lot of nifty skills for a werewolf, lemme tell you. He told me he knew how to cure lycanthropy, but decided not to cure his own because it’s been part of him since he was born. Surely he can cure any of this nonsense goin on.

So I’ll leave ye with this:
An orc walks into a bar and orders 10 pints of ale. After he’s finished those, he orders 9. Some time later he order 8. Later 7 more, then 6, then 5, then 4.
By the time he has just ordered 3 pints, one of the other patrons steps up to him and asks: “why do you order your drinks like this?”
The orc answers: “Haven’t you noticed: the less I drink, the more drunk I get!”

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Elaine - Session Seven
Fell a few rungs on the food chain

Call me crazy, but these idiots are terrible at security. Four locked iron gates, all opened by the same key whose key ring is hanging conveniently on a peg six feet from said doors? I guess this is how non-wizards do security.

Master Gerard would have had one key for one door, the next door being opened by a switch in the wall, but it would have a keyhole so that any attempt to use the key would set off a trap. The third would open via a magical password but any attempt to use a key or disarm it would actually arm the next door trap, which would require knocking in a specific pattern to open with the alternative being fiery death. Going to the bathroom in the middle of the night when I was a kid was…interesting…to say the least.

Bathroom.png
You don’t know fear until this is the most comforting sight you’ve ever seen in your life.

We found Francis and that young chap, and they weren’t in good condition. Of course there were no magical traps on the doors, and of course they were opened by one key on said convenient key ring. I’m not complaining that it was like that for us. I’m just saying that if this was my kidnapping/experimentation ring, I’d do things a little different.

The dwarf Nado didn’t look so good, spikes and angry red skin. Part of it was alchemical, but it seemed like the other part of it will need some serious healing. Picked up some decent potions, but I want to do some heavy testing on them before I let anyone use them. They could be spiked with whatever variable requires the heavy healing.

Boccob only knows what’s in that box. Half of me wants to eat it, but the other half isn’t so sure it’ll be as good as it sounds. Both halves do not want to open that box.

Ah, how I dislike being underground. Basements are one thing, but basements that lead into open caverns with hungry tentacle monsters? No, thank you. What little I know about the Underdark pretty much sums up the entire location. If it moves, it probably wants to eat you. If it doesn’t want to eat you, it wants to hurt you. If it doesn’t want to do either of those, it’ll probably lie its little face off. Master Gerard had very good ways of explaining things to me.

Of course, the stupid wizard we’re after is this way. Of course, it wasn’t just enough to get the kidnapped men, which to be fair, it isn’t. Wizards have a way to keep coming back if you don’t take care of them. I know that more than most. So down into the dark we go.

I don’t like fighting things that are bigger than me, at least, things that have mouths bigger than me. I’d already run out of spells at this point, and the crossbow Korwindel found was too big for me to use. I tried it. I could barely lift the thing, let alone aim it. Small bird woman needs small weapons.

I was horrified when Almond dropped. When that second creature dropped down on him and went at him, oh Boccob, I was scared. There was so much blood. I only had my poor man’s fireball, and if I had used it and missed, it could have killed him.

I hate feeling useless. It seems like all I’ve been lately is just useless. How did Master get as strong as he did? How could he if he started out like me? I can’t get past stupid can traps, can’t shoot off spells right, can’t even save one of my teammates from being attacked from a beast. How the hell long will it be before they realize that I’m completely useless and leave me to be chewed on by something? How long will it be before they realize I’m more trouble than I’m worth? It makes me feel sick to my stomach.

I really like these guys. I know I haven’t known them for very long, but they don’t look at me like I’m a freak. They don’t act like I’m some kind of possessed thing that will snap at any moment, and Thunk looks at me with something akin to fondness? It’s been a long time since anyone was fond of me at all. I’m worried that any day now, they’ll see me as a fraud and I’ll be on my own again.

I mean, I can’t even go to the market by myself. Haven’t been able to do that for years. It doesn’t matter what city, doesn’t matter how big the marketplace. Korwindel hasn’t questioned it yet, thank Boccob, but when he does? I mean, how do I, a woman of thirty, explain that I can’t mentally muster the courage to go to the marketplace. It’s absurd, I know, but it just…there is a lot of bad that happens in my head when I go into a crowded place like that by myself. I keep having flashbacks, keep seeing things that aren’t there, and when I go with someone, it helps ground me in the now, not in the then. I can go other places like the academy or the library by myself without issue, but if it’s any kind of store or bazaar, this flashback fit happens. I think it’s some kind of side-effect from that amount of magic getting shoved into you all at once. It burns those feelings and memories of the instant in you, like painting a picture or a drawing of that exact moment in time only with all the sensations, all of the fear, all of the pain, and whenever the ambiance of the market, even just a store, enters my head, it all explodes out again.

I might need to talk to Oi about another good, stiff drink.

Korwindel said to the shopkeep that he’d give him some sword-fighting lessons. It might be worth it for me to watch, maybe even train with them if Korwindel will let me. I might be able to learn something. I have weapons, but they’re mostly for show. People are more polite to you when you have a blade at your hip, whether or not you actually know how to use it.

I liked Earl. I have no idea why, but I liked Earl. I bet Volund and his buddies wouldn’t be mean to Earl. Maybe I should learn to channel my inner Earl.

After we ran off one tentacle beast and killed the one that almost did Almond in, we left. It was good that we left. I needed something I could shoot, and Almond needed some serious recovering. On top of all that was the hedgehogged Dwarf and the two starving kidnapped men. I hope Larry is glad to have his dad back.

I tried to make peace with Volund and his friends. They were skulking outside the inn. From what I’ve heard around town, they do serve some kind of valid purpose for the people. They’re just colossal dickheads. Maybe they’re friends with Angus. I don’t think it worked. They’re simply too high on themselves for it to work. Still, I said my piece and it’s time to move on.

Thunk said that the paladins were looking for me, and with Nado in the state he’s in, I can only guess he’s the reason. This isn’t just alchemy, so it makes sense for alchemy and divine magic to band together to knock whatever this is off this poor man. It might be the key to breaking the disease ailing Wanda Lynn and Horkul’s mother. If a cure is found, it could save a lot of people.

It’ll be back into the fray soon, though, and I have to get my counterspell game up and ready. If we’re going to be going against a wizard, I have to at least try and protect my new friends in the only way I can. Counterspelling at my level is purely a luck game, but like Gerard said, I can only prepare for what I can and make accommodations for what I can’t. Need to get more fireballs ready. Try and counterspell these, you sick son of a bitch.

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Elaine - Session Six
Into the Dark Places

WHY? WHY!? I have been traveling with a half-OGRE, so why in all that is holy would I get spooked by a DWARF IN SHINY ARMOR. Good bye, Color Spray, I hardly knew thee. Call me butt hurt all you want, but I take pride in what minuscule magical abilities I have currently. When one of them doesn’t go as planned, yes, I get butt hurt. Say it to my face and I’ll light you on fire. I don’t even need to waste a spell on that, either. Poor man’s fireball.

Okay, rant out of the way. Today’s entry involves a lot of different things. We met with the dwarven lord of the house, as well as his wife and child. He’d been consumed by his rage and paranoia, and his wife was the only one that was aware enough to speak to us. She and their daughter had been killed by him. It’s the kind of thing that makes your stomach turn. He’d murdered them, and his wife had condemned herself to sit in that room with him fuming for what could have been an eternity. She told us their story, and how her lost wedding ring had been the straw to break the donkey’s back. Bingo, that’s what I was looking for. Something locked them to this world, and if it was something like that, even if it was down a dumbwaiter, that’s certainly better than it could have been. She really could have dropped it in the market or something, but down a dumbwaiter? Especially a dumbwaiter I could fit down? We could definitely work with this.

I really didn’t want to go down a dusty, dirty dumbwaiter, but with the horrified expression on the halfling boy’s face, there was no way he’d work. Thank Boccob I’m the weakest out of the group. It was great knowing if I needed to get out of there, I just needed to hold onto the rope and give the signal and, although I’d be in danger of hitting my head on the top of the dumbwaiter, it would be an instantaneous exit. The ring had fallen into a small side area of the chute. I was hoping to find some cockroaches or skinks in there, but there weren’t any. There were some bats, but I missed all of them. I don’t even know how, but I did. I mean, there are giant centipedes that hunt bats. How could I have really missed all of them? Mmm, giant centipedes.

Seeing Thunk wrapped up in rope was amusing. Thank god for my party having better reflexes than I did or we might have lost the ring again. I’m starting to think that the men of our group are secretly all acrobats. Korwindel’s pretty slick, Wob Zi’s some kind of dancing fighter, super light on his feet, and Thunk is…well maybe not Thunk. I was going to put it in an envelope for delivery, and Korwindel brought out his sealing wax and we made that sucker up like a BOSS.

It had been the lynchpin for his rage, and once the ring was presented to him, it at least unlatched the death rage from him. He was still angry, but he had his reason again. That is good. Once a spirit has its thinking consciousness back, it can be reasoned with, much like his wife. It’s going to be hard for them for a while, I think, and there’s not really a way he can make it up to them for what he did, but I think that she understands that he wasn’t in his right mind when it happened. Still, I pity their daughter. I dislike death when it claims the young. There’s so much beauty, creativity, sheer potential lost in cases like that, but it is a hard truth of the world.

He told us how to get into the basement, by holding down the last key on the piano, and we decided to rest until morning. We all were really tired, and I was magically drained. I stayed up for a bit and looked at the old violin that I took from the music room. I know it’s technically stealing, but the Master cannot use it anymore, and to see such a fine instrument die a death of silence seems counteractive to what its creator intended. I need to keep an ear out for a violin player who might know how to bring its life back to it. Sentimental, yes, but necessary. It’ll make someone very happy one day, and hopefully, its music enriches the lives of many. I wonder if Almond knows how to repair it. I need to ask him. He would know about how to replace the strings of it, maybe. His guitar has strings. Oh, and maybe a good polish for it. He can show me how to do that maybe. I would feel better about taking it if I asked the Master first. They might still be up there at the end of this whole ordeal. He might not mind so much, or he might trade it for the flask of Yaller Whiskey. Yeah, I’ll ask.

Korwindel was on watch next, and I was so very tired. I may have cawed a few times in my sleep. I do that sometimes. The older halfling whose name escapes me at the moment came down to watch us, but it’s not usually a good idea to trust anyone who has been working with a kidnapping ring, even if they did it because they had no choice.

Welcome to the day of failure. It starts with the cans. Oh dear, the cans. “Hey, let me help with that. I can help with that.” CLANG, CLANK, CLANK. I think I shriveled a little at the look everyone was giving me. Blood freezing, yes, I know what that feels like now, and it’s not good. I think Korwindel was ready to wring my neck.

I was frazzled for most of the next fight. I couldn’t get my Color Spray off, and the rest of it was just…confusion. There were a lot of dwarves in the next room, and Korwindel couldn’t bluff his way through them, so of course, we fought. We were getting the kidnapping victims out of there no matter how many will fall. I don’t comprehend how anyone could kidnap someone, but I certainly don’t understand how a dwarf could kidnap another dwarf. Two humans and a dwarf were taken. How could they do that? Weren’t all dwarves family in some regard? I don’t know. I really don’t know much about dwarves except that they make alcohol that can work as a Fireball spell. I’m serious. Seen it done. There was one survivor: a tiefling. Horrible business.

I need to put nails and beans in this pillow. I’ve used it twice now. Also need to get some throwing knives. Stock up on those.

I really, REALLY need to remember that I’m small and very helpless when it comes to facing larger men in armor with weapons. I can’t even begin to think what would have happened if Thunk hadn’t beaned that guy in the head.

Do not run off on your own. Do not run off on your own. Do not run off on your own. Do not run off on your own. Do not run off on your own. Do not run off on your own. Do not run off on your own. Do not run off on your own.

In my defense, I was trying to see if there was another nasty surprise waiting for us. I was going to warn everyone. Then again, if there had been, and it ate me, well, I guess it wasn’t the wisest decision.

I am so freaking hungry. Envisioning freshly-made bread with a side of lizard jerky is no longer working. Some of Oi’s stew would really hit the spot. And some bread. Crispy, glorious bread.

I’ll probably be giving the rest of mine to the victims when we find them. I hope it’s soon.

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Elaine - Session Five
Into the Manor

I can’t say I like Angus very much, but now, I’m not so sure his insults are intentional. He might just be a colossal moron. You know what they say. The gods pity children and the fools, and I’m starting to think he falls into the latter category.

What would he know about magic anyway? What a tool.

It started with the rain. Of course it had to rain. I suppose it’s a good thing it rained, because it’s harder to see a group of people plus a Thunk sneak up to a house. Going through the cellar was a good plan that crashed hopelessly into a brick wall, so we turned our attention on the house. Korwindel was shot trying to fiddle with the window, and I wasted a completely good Color Spray spell on a wall. Oh well, at least it looked fabulously horrible for a minute or so. Talk about wasted potential, especially considering what all we went up against. I really need to buy a small crossbow.

Almond was rocking it out, though. He’s really good on his guitar, and I think Wob Zi is some kind of dancing monk. I don’t know any kind of dancing monk sect, but there’s a lot I don’t know.

Deneve and I had a star moment tonight. Hell hath no fury, I guess? I never thought I’d help kill someone with a moldy pillow, and she literally cut a dude to ribbons.

dirty-pillow-at-zackry.jpg
(Exhibit A: One of Two Murder Weapons)

I might need a few nights to get that out of my head. That’s going to be a good bar story for a while, although I am sorry he died before Wob Zi got to talk to him. I didn’t realize that he knew the guy until I saw him standing over his body looking contemplative like that. I felt like a jerk for that part.

We had one survivor, a dwarf, who was plenty informative about where the hostages were being held and a ghost on the second floor, but he didn’t know how to work the piano to open it. After watching them run around forever trying various ways to remove the piano obstacle, I suggested we just beat down the brick wall behind the cellar doors. Which we were going to, but then one of the halflings upstairs called us out.

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(Exhibit B: There’s a special place in HELL for this thing)

Snarky one, that girl. I was about to set the upper floor on fire with my poor man’s fireball when she invited us up to talk. I saw the barricade where the ghost was being held. Ironic, really, considering they are ghosts, but it is how the physical being reacts to a non-physical problem.

The halfling, never caught her name or her brother’s name, told us about her mother Marrath, a woman from my home town who was sick with the same illness that killed my parents a long time ago. I think it’s mutated by now, if the wizards couldn’t identify it. It’s a serious issue, and I felt for her. It’s really hard to watch your parents die like that. I know a hardcore healer is expensive and very hard to find, and I was going to give her as much money as I could to find one. Thunk gave her more coin, and then Korwindel said he’d give her a letter of recommendation for one of the druids in his home town. Korwindel’s all right, a bit stubborn, but men are usually like that, and Thunk’s a big muscley ball of love and…muscle. Anyway, at least Thunk, Korwindel and I are pitching in to help them get out of this dire situation.

So the key to the secret door under the piano is only known by the true master of the house, which happens to be the dwarf ghost and his family “locked” behind the barricade. The halfling said he wasn’t feral, which is good, although I’ve never actually spoken to a ghost before. Korwindel was going to go in there alone, which I wasn’t against the idea since I’m not exactly the strongest person in the world, or even in the room, but Deneve suggested that I go in since I knew more about them.

I have no plan except to show proper respect to the master of the house. It is what he expected in life, and that might be the same thing he expects in death. If he and his family are being kept here and are sentient enough to speak about it, maybe we can help put them at ease and give the property back to Lindellin. Although, if his entire family died and isn’t able to rest, perhaps they were murdered and the murderer wasn’t brought to justice? Then again, perhaps they died of disease with a significant purpose left unfulfilled. With the afterlife, you can never be sure.

I’m not ruling out a bribe of Yaller Whiskey, either. If they can’t actually drink it, maybe it’s enough to trigger a memory of drinking it. For a ghost, it would essentially be the same thing, and I’ve heard of that kind of thing happening before.

Either way, we are getting into that basement, and we’re getting Larry back his dad and the other hostages back to wherever they came from.

Maybe if I’m lucky, there will be some eyeballs in it for me. It’s all fun until someone loses an eye, and then it’s delicious. Eyeballs are an undiscovered delicacy, I’ve found, although proper humans tend to look down on that kind of thing. Will have to be discreet with that one.

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Session Four
The People of Lindellin

After a much-needed full night’s rest, the party awoke and reconvened downstairs in the inn. Two strange new characters presented themselves to the group; the first was a particularly good looking man carrying a whip and a guitar. He introduced himself as Almond, and exchanged small talk with the company. After a few niceties were exchanged, the group noticed a commotion coming from outside. They headed out the door, and saw a large caravan of the cave people headed their way, flanked by town guards and headed by Belorin and a paladin. The paladin introduced himself as Doster Hawklight, and he thanked the party for saving the cave people. The caravan set off for the south side of the town, and the party headed back into the inn. There, they noticed a small gnome coming downstairs The gnome appraised the party for a few minutes, seemingly gauging their worth, and approached them.

His name was Angus Hander, and he was in need of people with capable sword arms. He had been contracted by the paladins of Heironeous to bring a rogue wizard to justice, but he was going to need some backup if he was going to take down this wizard. He seemed intent on claiming the majority of the pot for the wizard’s head, but Korwindel was not alright with this situation. After much haggling between the two, Yenven Chandler burst in the front door, and much to everyone’s annoyance, made the crew agree on sharing an equal sum. Angus told the party to meet him at the west gate at nightfall, and that they should make ready.

With their mission ahead of them, the group set about their preparations.

Almond set off with a bit of money, to procure some goods for the journey ahead. Upon entering the general goods store, he was struck across the chest with a sword. In front of him stood a terrified Alton Talmerson, who quickly shrieked and began apologizing. Alton had apparently been “practicing” his swordfighting, and Almond had walked in unexpected. Alton professed profusely and tended to Almond’s wounds, even going so far as to supply Almond with some spare healing potions. However, the town guard arrived, and was wary of Almond’s shirtless whip-bearing antics. He was ejected from the shop.

Korwindel and Elaine set off to manage the party’s funds and acquire mounts. After a very typical customer service experience at the bank, they headed for the stables. There they encountered Larry Nysh, a young boy running the stables. After selling the duo some horses, Larry also begrudgingly sold Elaine his beloved riding dog, also named Larry. Though he was loathe to part with his friend, he was also excited that Larry The Dog was going to get to see the world. Larry also revealed that his father had gone missing, and Korwindel and Elaine quickly surmised that this was connected to their mission with Angus.

Thunk, Deneva, and Wob Zi set off to find Ylanna, and see how they could help. After locating the camp, Belorin shared that the group could help with clearing trees. Ylanna noticed the group, and cut Deneva a cruel glance, supposedly for slaying one of the krenshar. Eventually, the rest of the group joined Thunk, Deneva, and Wob Zi at the camp, and they all set about helping how they could. Doster pulled Korwindel aside, and revealed that he knew about Korwindel’s quarry. He also revealed that there was some sort of enchantment about the creature, and that it was incredibly powerful. In return for Korwindel helping Angus, Doster promised to look into the issue more. Doster also took a few minutes to award Thunk with a medal for his bravery for helping the cave people.

After a short stop by the blacksmith, the party headed for the west gate, met Angus, and headed to the mansion outside of town…

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