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.)