What gentle dream?

Taz: Sailing on Shady Ships is Always a Grand Adventure

After Deth was saved from death’s door, we made the necessary preparations to set out for Rekkenmark. I mixed up some hair dye for Jaela, so that we can hopefully avoid repeating the disguise errors of the past. With nothing else to do, I wandered the streets and earned some money singing. It was like the old days again, almost. Earned: 23 silver.

Upon my return to the inn, I found a messenger from House Orrith inquiring after Cedric. He had a letter from his family. How nice. The messenger insisted that the person with the most commanding voice read it out loud, so the task necessarily fell to Garreth. It soon became clear that this was an Angry Letter from Cedric’s mother. Ferris apparently had sent a letter to Cedric’s family (since he was foolish enough to state his real name), providing his…extremely interesting version of events. One has to admire the asininity. One entertainment point for Ferris. Note: See if Tais can inquire after Ferris. Perhaps intelligence can be gained about the Fahrez individual through the bodies he chooses.

Travel was uneventful. We finally reached Rekkenmark. The only information I managed to get out of Deth re: his employers was that he was meant to keep tabs on the locations of the items. He was distressingly circumspect as to whom. Note: Most likely will be getting no further information from Deth. Further research required.

It was harder to find a ship in this gods-forsaken country than I thought. Pah. This wouldn’t be a problem in the Principalities, but alas, we are not there. All the ships were stupid expensive, and very few of them were headed anywhere near the right direction. I thought of commandeering one, but they were all irritatingly well-guarded. If I had a few weeks, I could manage something, but the others would most likely not have been willing to wait that long. Anna did come up with some creative ideas re: shipbuilding. One entertainment point to Anna. Note: Anna may be a good collaborator on some of my ideas regarding my arrows.

As we were discussing what to do, there came a knock at the door. Garreth answered to find a strange hooded man. He offered us a boat ride anywhere in exchange for fighting somebody. If that didn’t sound like a shady deal, I didn’t know what was. For some reason, the others all seemed inclined to go for it. Cedric said that he wasn’t evil—like that was a comfort. I’ve known plenty of shifty people in my day who I wouldn’t consider evil. They seemed to think that it was imperative that we make it to Arenal, beat Shale, find the diadem, blah blah blah. Hooded man called himself the Captain.

I DON’T REMEMBER SIGNING UP ON A QUEST TO SAVE THE DAMN WORLD, GUYS. NOT MY DEPARTMENT.

And then I remembered why the name of the ship was familiar. The Crimson Ship. Like that old story M always talked about. I’d dismissed it as a crazy legend, but…couldn’t remember the specifics. Deth made a comment about how the madstone opened the door to madness, and the diadem needed all the parts to function. Cedric identified the Captain as an outsider— daemon. Made it seem like even less of a good idea to go with him.

Cedric did something surprising. He talked me into it. ME. Said that I’d never get the chance to ride on a legendary ship again. Damn it all, he was right. I knew exactly what he was doing, but it didn’t make a difference. One entertainment point to Cedric.

Fine, we can go on the suspicious-ass ship. The fact that Ced was silver-talking doesn’t make it any less true. Before we set out, I went to the library to look up that old legend. The Crimson Ship: a mysterious—possibly demonic—captain offers a bargain: Fight one battle, and I’ll take you anywhere. Supposedly, his ship can travel anywhere, even other worlds, and travels unusually fast. No one knows when or where it will appear. M would love this. Get out of my head; what did I say about your turn?

Also in town, I picked up some supplies. Purchased: 100 crossbow bolts for 10 gold. Two weeks’ worth of rations for 7 gold.

Came back. Jaela didn’t have a weapon, so I gave her my first dagger. Have to keep the tradition going for the youngsters, after all. And I’m sick of those memories. Hope she puts it to as good of use as I did.

Set out. The Captain didn’t seem unfriendly, at least. Not that that means anything. There were other passengers on the boat: a couple, named Vandel and Trina. They were headed to Sharn on their honeymoon trip. (I miss Sharn. Nowhere else can ever compare. When I manage to shake these guys, that’s where I’m going. As long as I’m no one recognizable—it’s a big place. They wouldn’t find me.) I took the opportunity to inquire about this “fight” that the Captain has set up for us. Vandel, an extremely attractive blond man who seemed to be composed primarily of HAPPY, mentioned a “chessy thingy” that the Captain did after they’d won their battle. Unfortunately, he was not terribly specific as to what that was. The Captain called it “Conqueror.” It appears to be a board game.

Docked in Sharn for a bit. I hoped that the Captain wouldn’t take on any new passengers dumb as it was; I mean, what are the chances of that? They couldn’t possibly be still looking. Even if they were, there’d be no reason to look in the harbor at some random ship.

Our first three days were uneventful. I drew quite a few sketches of the ship for M. Just this once, Rynna. I played a game of Conquerors with the Captain. Lost, predictably, but I put up a decent fight. Sketched him too. Also Vandel and Trina, and gave the result to them for a wedding gift. It’s unlucky to let weddings go unrecognized.

Learned a bit about Cedric’s family. He’s from minor nobility, a tiefling house. The founder promised the goddess Dol Arrah that they’d fight for Aundair in exchange for a title. Cedric’s choice of profession is apparently a family tradition.

I took the opportunity of the few days on the boat to take care of the problem that had cropped up. Mixed up a potion…was fairly certain it would work. Called Garreth in, since he’d wanted to be notified. One usefulness point to Garreth for being helpful. UGH. It was disgusting. Made me feel like I was going to throw up. Sent Garreth out, rested a bit. Upon testing, the problem was gone. THANK GODS. At least the potion worked. Note: COME UP WITH PREVENTATIVE STRATEGY TO PREVENT FUTURE PROBLEMS.

Morning, day 2 on the ship. Manufactured: One (1) cure light wounds potion and one (1) comprehend languages extract, just to try it out. One entertainment point to Deth, Garreth, and Cedric for providing a show. One entertainment point to the Captain to also participating. Perhaps we won’t be brutally murdered in our sleep after all. Drew more of the ship. It’s been raining this whole time, except when docked in Sharn. Fog surrounds the ship. Key to its swift speed? Further research is needed.

Morning, day 3 on the ship. One usefulness point to Jaela for restoring my lost strength. Manufactured: One (1) cure light wounds potion. One (1) extract of bomber’s eye. The Captain said it was time for our battle, so we headed to a beach. The monster we had to fight was in a cave. One usefulness point to Pneu for impressive jumping.

AND THE MONSTER WAS A GIANT THING WITH A BUNCH OF HEADS. LOVELY. Used one (1) bomb, dealt some damage. Its wounds seemed to close up after I attacked it. OH IT’S A HEALING GIANT THING WITH A BUNCH OF HEADS. OF COURSE. Captain spoke in our minds, said to sever the heads. One usefulness point to Garreth for chopping one off. Drank one (1) extract of bomber’s eye. Used one (1) vial of acid. Missed. :-( The bottle sank. (Was later recovered.) One usefulness point to Deth for excellent shooting.

AND THEN IT GREW MORE HEADS. DX Used one (1) bomb to seal the next stump closed…fortunately, that seemed to do the trick. One usefulness point to Pneu for putting the monster to sleep. IT WAS TIME FOR STRATEGY. While it was sleeping, the others would all chop off the heads at once while Jaela, Anna and I sealed off the stumps. Used one (1) bomb to cauterize. (Jaela didn’t need to blow the Alchemist’s Fire, gave it back. One usefulness point to Jaela.) The cave looked like it had shinies, so I explored! Found: a crossbow that upon further inspection electrifies the arrows you shoot out of it. SCORE! Other things went to others.

Headed back to the boat. Captain moved a piece on the Conquerors board. Yup, we’re pawns in his game. Oh well. Interesting man, anyway. M will never believe this. Had to go dry off, since we’d had to wade in the ocean. One entertainment point to Pneu for running around naked. Also one entertainment point to Deth for bathing fun.

Spent the next three days climbing around in the rigging. Next best thing to the Lady Luck are these ships. The Crimson is a lovely dromon, very well-made. I’d like to have it for my own, but I don’t think the Captain would be very pleased about that. And I like him well enough. Damn it, Rynna. I can see this is going to be a problem. Took the time to manufacture One (1) cure light wounds potion. Developing quite the stockpile.

Day 6 on the ship. Storm. I was still in the rigging. BEST TIME EVER. Didn’t seem to be the Captain’s doing, though…he looked confused. And then it wasn’t fun anymore because Cedric went overboard and the ship started tilting sideways. I had to go after him. He’s one of my crew. Dove in. One of the ropes from the ship grabbed my ankle as I went down. How helpful. One usefulness point to the Crimson.

My swimming skills have sadly deteriorated since [illegible]. One usefulness point to Garreth for hauling me back up. He went in after Cedric as well.

BE A HERO, YOU SAID. IT’LL BE FUN, YOU SAID. I couldn’t just let him die. Of course I could; he’s fun, but it’s not like I couldn’t find another. People are not replaceable. Sure they are. And I am the most replaceable of all.

That’s the last thing I remember. Next thing I know, we were waking up on the beach. Shipwrecked. Fantastic. The Crimson was upside down on the sand. I hope she’ll be all right. AND THEN I REMEMBERED THAT ALL MY STUFF WAS IN THERE OH GODS. Luckily, it was all still in my room and dry, if rather tossed about. Gathered it all back up.

The Captain was just as confused as we were as regarding the shipwreck, no sign of artifice. Clearly this is not a common occurrence. He also didn’t know where we were, just that it wasn’t Arenal. Lovely. He had to perform some weird ritual with Garreth’s blood, and found that we were on the island of Serin, near Argonessa. The land of the dragons. The land of the fucking dragons. Apparently also dragon-worshiping barbarians, who aren’t very friendly to those without a dragon or a dragon mark.

Anna: “Assuming one of us had a dragon mark…” We all turned. OH RIGHT. How could I have forgotten? Anna has a mark. No doubt it’s how she’s managed to make it through her life so far. One usefulness point to Anna. Also one entertainment point to Anna for fashioning herself a seaweed crown. Just what I would have done in that situation. (When do we get to go to the island where everyone loves me?) I wasn’t sure if creating my dragon mark would have been a good idea or a bad idea in this situation—possible that people who worshiped dragons so fervently would have ways of spotting fake ones. Good thing we have Anna.

The Captain said that it would take about a week to fix the ship. I was all for hiding out on the beach and hoping dragon barbarians didn’t find us, but Anna chose that moment to ride off. WHY WOULD YOU EVEN. Deth tried to shoot her horse to stop her—great, like that wouldn’t attract everyone’s attention—but the horse kept going. Cedric took the other horse and went after her. At that point, Deth and Garreth decided to follow them into the damned jungle. Fucking great. NO ONE LISTENS TO ME WHEN I TELL THEM THAT THINGS ARE A BAD IDEA.

Found Anna and the others talking to barbarians. They only spoke Draconic, so Deth had to translate. I really hoped he wouldn’t screw it up. At least they weren’t killing us yet, thanks to Anna’s mark. Anna insisted that she wanted to ride a dragon. NOT THE TIME, SWEETHEART.

…we’re going to end up sacrificed again, aren’t we?

We were led towards the village. It was unremarkable, mostly straw huts and a GIANT PIT OF LEECHES IN THE MIDDLE. WITH A PERSON INSIDE. FUCKING DAMN, I DO NOT WANT TO END UP THERE. For some reason, Anna wanted to talk to him. Deth was trying to do damage control as a translator. One usefulness point to Deth. But then the chieftain came out. And he spoke Common. THERE GOES THAT PLAN. The chieftain said that Leech Guy was an outsider who’d trespassed on our land. OH HEY KIND OF LIKE US. One of the villagers, a witch lady with a hood, said that he’d put a curse on the chieftain, but the chieftain dismissed that as nonsense.

Anna requested that the guy get raised from the pit. Now he’s Anna’s servant. I wonder if that makes him our servant, too. He does owe us his life. The village prepared a feast. So far not dead. Good.

The hooded witch took us to our hut before the feast, said she needed to talk to us. Pretty lady. That’d be great, in other circumstances. I didn’t stick around; Anna wanted me to interrogate Leech Guy instead.

Quoth Leech Guy:
His name is Rebalte Mastofaro. He CHOSE to come here, because clearly he wants to die. From Karlacten in southern Breland. A countryman! He kept talking about his destiny. He’s a wizard, specializing in dead societies. Apparently a personal prophecy sent him here. His order, one of cataclysm mages, studies the cataclysms of the world and tries to harness the resulting energy. Some think that such a cataclysm is coming now. He was reluctant to talk about his personal prophecy…said that it was necessary to fulfill it before he could develop his power further. Finally confessed that according to his prophecy, his destiny is to marry a Serin witch. (Hey, I know one of those.) He studies crafting techniques. This is relevant to my interests. Witch lady’s name is Hartha.

Feast. At least the food was more palatable than our previous experience. One entertainment point to Anna for being surprisingly subtle in her interrogation techniques. (She’s clearly more intelligent than she appears. Deliberate ruse. It all makes sense now.) To no avail, alas…the chief was a smug bastard. He knows something. He’s also smarter than he’s letting on.

They consider the dragons gods. We tried to get Anna to ask about the special stone the chief apparently has…unfortunately, the chief understands Elven and/or Dwarven. SHIT. He was definitely laughing at us. He said he didn’t know of any special stones. Yeah, right. His son seems afraid of him, keeps shooting him glances. Garreth and I took him aside to talk to him.

He was seriously freaking out, asked us what we thought of spirits walking the earth. Kept saying that “he knows I know.” Finally got it out of him that he’d killed his father in order to become the next chief—or he thought he had. He put a spear through him, tossed him into the quicksand, and returned to the village…only to find his father there, alive. (An imposter? Cheated death in some way?) The chief has something he didn’t have before, a black stone with metal around it on a necklace. He’s making the men dig a hole, but no one knows why.

Back to everyone else. Hartha said that the chieftain is leading hunts oddly. We went to talk to her again. Note: Make Comprehend Languages extract EVERY GODDAMN DAY UNTIL WE LEAVE THIS ISLAND. I’m sick of not knowing what these people are saying. She said that Fiq—that’s the son of the chieftain—would make a bad chief. Hmm…dissension. I tried to encourage her to challenge the chief instead, implied that she’d make a better chief than him. (She’s certainly a lot smarter.) One usefulness point to Deth for assisting. According to her, the chief has been leading more hunts and bringing back a lot of game. There’s more than they can use, so they set the extra aside and it’s gone in the morning. So what’s the chief giving it to, eh…? The pit the chief is making them dig is behind his hut, fenced off. Everyone seems keen on investigating it.

I’m still confused as to why we care. As far as I’m concerned, as long as these people aren’t going to kill us, best to keep our heads down until we get off this rock. They’re all so boring.

This is growing tedious.

In summary.
End of Day 11: Traveling. Shipping out. Suspicious.
Days 12-13: Sailing. Fun. :D
Day 14: Fight. Not a scratch. Fun.
Day 15-16: Sailing. Fun. :D
Day 17: STORM. DISLIKE. Woke up on land. Barbarians. Unpleasant. Can we get off this rock already?

Loot obtained:
Money- 23 silver
Loot- +1 shock crossbow

Ranking of companions:
Anna: Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 3 points.
Garreth: Usefulness- 3 points. Entertainment value- 1 point.
Cedric: Entertainment value- 2 points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 2 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 3 points. Entertainment value- 2 points.
Pneu: Usefulness- 2 points. Entertainment value- 1 point.
Captain: Entertainment value- 1 point.
The Crimson: Usefulness- 1 point.
Ferris: Entertainment value- 1 point.

Ranking totals to date:
Anna: Usefulness- 11 points. Entertainment value- 11 points.
Garreth: Usefulness- 18 points. Entertainment value- 7 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 11 points. Entertainment value- 9 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 12 points. Entertainment value- 5 points.
Pneu: Usefulness- 10 points. Entertainment value- 11 points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 5 points. Entertainment value- 2 points.

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Cedric: A Second Letter Home

Dearest mother,

In the interest of a swift reply, I will keep formalities short. Ferris Silvermere is a liar and an imposter, and a poor one at that. While posing as a paladin, it was quite apparent to any person with enough sense to detect evil that he is, in fact, evil. (I worry for the integrity of the Church of the Silver Flame if such a man is so easily able to work with them.) Furthermore, I did not attack him: I merely asked that he speed along the bureaucratic process he insisted upon. (While it is true I found his character and impersonation of a paladin infuriating and made no attempt to conceal the disdain in my voice, I did not so much as curse at him.) The simple matter of it was that two of my companions were without papers due to their forgivable ignorance of such political necessities, and he insisted that we stay an entire night in the guards’ barracks while such matters were “sorted out”. As obtaining identification papers is a routine matter, I hardly thought an entire day need be wasted on such frivolities. I had hoped identifying myself as a member of a house in good standing would encourage things to proceed more quickly.

As for the letters from the aforementioned Church, I must implore you to think carefully not only of their questionably zealous history, but of recent events and current company. High Cardinal Krozen is no honorable man: he would just as soon label a mere child a heretic as wipe our family from existence for our bloodline alone. I have faith our esteemed monarch will be able to determine as such, and regard the information she receives accordingly. Likewise I hope your understanding of the matter has been made more thorough.

Should you feel the need to correspond further I will be in Arenal within a week, provided the weather holds.

Your devoted son,
Cedric

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A Letter Sent to the Town of Vedykar, Karrnath

To the mayor, leader, or individual otherwise in charge of the town of Vedykar:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I have received a troubling report from your frontiers. A team of my employees and freelance hired individuals were traveling through the countryside when they were set upon in a most upsetting manner. Your town guard, or whatever those creatures may be called, demanded identification, and the leader of aforesaid group produced my personal signet ring. Although that is enough to satisfy most law enforcement inquiries, these guards unceremoniously bundled my people off to your town to obtain papers for the two individuals that had regrettably mislaid theirs. Even this slight indignity might have been understandable—one can hardly expect the dead to have a sense of decorum—but they also insisted on searching the carriage in which my employees were riding.

That carriage contained numerous trade secrets of House Cannith, not the least of which was a new machine that our competitors are keenly eager to get their hands on. Although my employee did her best to explain the situation to your guards, they were highly unsympathetic. I don’t know what the standards of treatment for honest merchants are in your place of abode, but where I come from, emissaries of House Cannith going about their lawful business are to be respected.

Upon arrival, they were questioned by a person claiming to be a priest of the Silver Flame—although my employee’s report casts much doubt on that claim—and the man had the gall to imprison them for the night, while your guards did absolutely nothing to prevent him. Have I missed a recent development? Is Karrnath now a vassal state of Thrane? This man (who called himself Ferris Silvermire) claimed that he would release them in the morning, having made the necessary arrangements; however, there is absolutely no reason he or your village could not have put them up at an inn for the night, rather than locking them into a barracks.

I understand that this so-called priest is now deceased—something I find suspicious in and of itself; really, what sort of a barracks do you run?—but I would hope that in the future, Vedykar will be less overzealous in its border patrols. I cannot say that I’ve ever run across this problem before when doing business in Karrnath, and I am willing to accept this incident as an exception, provided it is not repeated. In the future, when a Cannith employee presents you with my personal signet ring, I would hope that you give them the proper respect and deference due to an emissary of my House.

Yours, etc,

Talithan Vasyl Felicianus Lucian d’Cannith
[followed by an elaborate seal)

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Pneumonia: A brand new day

Today was a brand new day. I feel refreshed and rested. I discovered the man for whom I must kill, was more than the man I thought he would be. It will make his death so much sweeter. My only sadness is that he does not bleed blood, for that would truly make it a resplendent experience. I feel all warm and fuzzy at the thought; warm blood upon my shimmering blade… There is one thing that is bothering me; his interest in these strays. I have yet to comprehend their importance. My tragic sister seems to have grown attached to them as well, which disturbs me even more. Perhaps another one of her silly games? Time will tell. For now, I will wait patiently for my prey to return. If nothing else a band of fools can serve as my entertainment. I always did like jesters.

I had a lovely afternoon,
I took a nice long nap.
I let the breeze wash over me,
I sipped a soothing tea.
I wandered through a land of dreams where funny I should see,
my psychopathic sister was looking just for me.
The white silk dress she always wears,
the sword she carries with her.
The silhouette of myself,
that makes my certainty unsure.
A situation I was in,
my companions seemed in trouble.
The plan that they had made today,
had all but turned to rubble.
Deth was ill and so was I,
it was quite sad but true.
Even Gareth got all drunk,
because he felt all blue.
I had such a lovely afternoon,
too bad it ended poorly.
but tomorrow is a brand new day,
so I’ll no longer feel sorely.

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Cedric: A Letter Home (Entry 7)

Dear Sophia,

I hope this letter finds you and the family well. I had thought to wait a month before writing you, but current circumstances have left me with little else to do for entertainment. (It has been nearly two weeks, besides, and I know you will only be at home for so long before returning to Wynarn.) A ally friend traveling companion of mine has fallen ill, and we have stopped to rest for a number of days. Myself and another companion are tending him, but there is only so much to be done while we wait for the disease to clear. I’m quickly finding I do not have a taste for healing, even if I’ve grown reasonably adept.

I am currently adventuring with six others. We have our moments of conflict and camaraderie in turn, but that’s to be expected. They are as follows:

Lady D: a young woman whom I have sworn my fealty to until our quest is finished. She is intuitive and caring, although her life has been sheltered. I worry about protecting her because of her age, but she seems largely capable of holding her own.
Gareth: someone I easily consider a friend and comrade in arms. He is more patient than I (ironic, given that he is a barbarian), and straightforward. He is easy to confide in. I thought perhaps given his chaotic nature he would be difficult to strategize with, but if anything he has helped me to improve my own ideas and combat. That said, I hope he never meets you: he is unabashedly a hound, and the fact that you are my sister would likely do little to change this.
Taz: although she is very focused on money, I think her heart—although fickle at times—is in the right place. She is high spirited and charismatic, treating most things like a game she intends to win. She is more experienced in the ways of all parts of the world than most others in the party, myself included. Like Gareth, she has a zest for life that includes the more carnal aspects.
Anna: a young woman from the peasantry, kindhearted and enthusiastic. She reminds me a bit of you when you were younger. She has… interesting ideas for inventions. I enjoy hearing her talk about them, as it’s always entertaining—and occasionally useful. As with Lady D I worry about her age, but she holds her own well.
Pneumonia (Pneu): I did not think Pneu was a combatant at first, which I am certain she intended. She is an incredibly stealthy combatant, and mercurial as the winds that seem to follow her. She is independent in combat but generally cooperative in other endeavors. She seems to be suffering a familial crisis at the moment, but I am unsure how to help. I’ve never seen anything quite like what’s happened to her.
deth’Ruki (Deth): the one who fell ill. I’m unsure what to think of him, for a number of reasons—the least being it seems as if he had been informing on us to an enemy source. He is haughty and standoffish, and yet made a genuine attempt to protect us at one point from the same source he seemed to be working informing for. I think even if I doubt his allegiance, he deserves the benefit of that same doubt. I am sure you would know what to think of him, and how to act in response; you have always been good at making peace between people, and winning them to your side.

I won’t go into more details than necessary, as our situation is precarious at the moment. I don’t mean to make things seem worse than they are, so please do not worry and trust me when I say I am safe and look forward to returning home when we have finished our journey. As for what that journey is, I can likewise say little. Only know that it is worthy, and will make our house proud.

I ask that you say an extra prayer on our behalf, and that you wish me patience. These past few days I’ve found it hard to direct my anger constructively, snapping at allies when I ought to work with them, and antagonizing foes when I ought to attempt diplomacy. It’s a foul mood and will pass soon enough, but that knowledge does little to quell my temper. The forced rest I’m enduring while caring for Deth helps somewhat, but I truly wish to find a temple of Dol Arrah where I might pray in earnest and return some sense of peace to my troubled mind. I only wish people would be more straightforward, and honest with one another.

To write of lighter things, I have decided to let my horns grow out once more. The helmet I left home with has proven to provide little protection in battle, and the time it takes to file down my horns is hardly worth the chance to wear it. If it is possible and you chose to respond, I ask that you send polish along with your letter. Armor grease makes due when there is nothing else, but I remember how it stained my pillows as a boy and I hardly wish to leave a trail of soiled linen across all the inns I visit.

It is nearly time for me to fetch another pitcher of water for Deth—dehydration is our greatest foe at the moment—and I believe Gareth will be returning for the evening shortly. Since Deth became sick Gareth has been spending his time drinking and brawling; he’s come back at least once covered in cuts and bruises. Between him, Pneu, and Deth this room in the inn has become a makeshift hospital ward.

There is one thing I must say before I finish. While we were detained in one of Karrnath’s cities, I made my name and our house clear. I thought nothing of it at the time, as it was for the sake of identification and in the hopes of speeding our process through the border. However, the man whom took down my name was nothing short of loathsome. He had the gall to impersonate a paladin, despite clearly being evil, and has ties to a group of people that want us dead. His name at the time was Ferrous Silvermere, but it’s likely he’ll have taken another name and face by now. Although I have my doubts that he will act against any of you, please be careful and inform mother and father.

Blessings and light go with you,
Cedric

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Taz: Dream a Little Dream of Giant Crabs and Flying Through the Sky Like an Angel of Justice

After escaping from Hick Town A, we had a long carriage ride back to Hick Town B. I took a nap, studiously ignoring the waves of rage emanating from Deth. We went back to talk to Anna’s relative and tell her that the other relative had been sacrificed to the mosquito gods, although we phrased it more tactfully than that. Cedric gave her some glassware as a blood payment and she offered us rooms for the…day, it ended up being. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to have a nocturnal sleep schedule.

Rested for awhile. Woke up. Manufactured four (4) bombs, one (1) extract of bomber’s eye, and one (1) cure light wounds potion. And then something amazing happened. I went downstairs, and Cedric gave me money for no reason at all. He said it was my share of our payment for the recon job, but I wasn’t even there when he split it up. And he still saved me some! :D I knew he had some sort of code of honor or something, but I never thought it would extend to things like that. I was touched beyond words. One usefulness point to Cedric. Obtained: 33 gold, 3 silver, 3 copper.

After that, it was time to deal with the Unfortunate Situation. Garreth and I took a walk, and I let him know what was going on. He was surprisingly cooperative…even sweet. He said to let him know before I dealt with it so that he could keep an eye on me. How nice of him~ I have to say, I wasn’t expecting that level of concern, but it seems that my companions are surprising me in all sorts of lovely ways lately. One usefulness point to Garreth for understanding.

One entertainment point to Anna for enacting a demonstration for Jaela about the facts of life. (Thankfully not dealing with my situation; I’m not in the mood for lectures.) She still seems a bit depressed about the loss of her relative, but I suppose it can’t be helped. She’ll perk up once we’re on the road again, I’m sure. At least Cedric has stopped staring gloomily out the window. He’s very sweet and all, but that sentimental streak of his has the potential to grow a bit tiresome.

We discussed our next move. The plan is to head to Arenal, the homeland of the elves, which is way the hell to the south. We’ll have to get there by boat. They don’t welcome outsiders, which will be something of a problem. I can blend in just fine, but the others sure as hell can’t. In order to get there, we’ll have to get a ship. I wish I had my airship right now… You don’t have an airship, Taesaria. Why does that keep happening? Troublesome. Anyway, the others said that we’d have to get a ship, which I interpreted as meaning we’d commandeer one of our own, but apparently they just meant “get passage on a ship.” Sounds much less fun if you ask me. The nearest port city is Rekkenmark, to the north of here, so that’s our current destination.

We had another long carriage ride, until we reached another city. This one can pass as a real place, unlike most of the towns we’ve been so far. Thank fucking gods. Unfortunately, we were stopped by some skeletons on patrol before we reached it. (Employing the undead as border patrol? Karrnath is a strange place.) It wouldn’t have been much of a problem…we all had our papers in order, except for Garreth, and the skeletons were inclined to just go along with us until we got him papers. So whatever, get Garreth some papers and be on our way. No big deal. Except they were also looking for Jaela. And they wanted to search our carriage.

It was time for some creative thinking. Clearly no one else was going to be of much use—Pneu was asleep; Garreth and Deth were in the carriage trying to disguise Jaela, and Cedric refuses to lie for some reason—so it was up to me. I took the leader of the patrol aside and explained that we were merchants employed by the Cannith family, carrying some sensitive trade secrets that our competitors were after. I showed him Talithan’s ring. He bought the story 100%…but alas, that still wasn’t going to prevent him from carrying out his orders and searching the carriage. :-( And I don’t know how you’d go about bribing the undead. I don’t think they really want much of anything.

But it was fun! I love the moment when you tell someone something, and you wait to see if they believe you, and you have to believe, otherwise they have no reason to believe you. There’s really no other feeling that can match it. I imagine it feels like being in love. :-) I haven’t been able to do it as often lately, so it was entirely a beautiful experience.

Anna managed to convince them that we’d seen Jaela heading for the Mournlands. One entertainment point to Anna.

So, although the skeletons were convinced (I beat you, I beat you, I beat you~), they still accompanied us to the office to get the paperwork sorted out. The others managed to disguise Jaela a bit by dressing her in Garreth’s clothes and covering her with gunpowder—it must be so unfortunate to have to be yourself at all times—but the effort was, frankly, a bit journeyman. Our story was that she was Garreth’s daughter.

At the office, we encountered a lovely individual by the name of Ferris Silvermire. Damn. Those eyes. I would do things to that man. He was a cleric of the Silver Flame, which would just have made it more fun~ He was determined to make the situation more complicated. He was looking for Jaela, and he wasn’t buying the disguise the others had thrown on. Could hardly blame him for that; I wouldn’t have bought it either. He was so much fun to talk to, though. It’s always interesting to lie to someone who knows you’re lying, and is lying in return, but neither one of you wishes to call the other on it…I haven’t had this much fun since Tirynna met that assassin tailor. One entertainment point to Ferris.

It soon became clear that Ferris and Deth knew one another…and they weren’t friends. Old rivals from the sound of it— I know how that goes. And they’ve been having conferences. This whole time. Deth is an informant.

WELL FUCKING PLAYED SIR.

One entertainment point to Deth for balls.

Ferris didn’t buy our story, but he acted like he did. He said we could spend the night here, then take care of the paperwork in the morning. It was mostly true…but he was leaving something out. Resolved not to sleep tonight. Taz is not going to be assassinated in her sleep, no siree.

It would have been easy to get out—go into room, become someone else, leave—but he put us all in one room. And he locked us in. Damn it. Ferris, you are no fool. A worthy adversary indeed.

I was so determined not to fall asleep, but my eyelids started getting heavy, and…well, before I knew it, we were back in the dream world from before. Everyone was there, even Pneu, who had escaped imprisonment by hiding on top of the carriage. In fact, there were two of her. Upon request for an explanation, she said that she wouldn’t bother us if we didn’t bother her. There was no time to press her on that matter, because a number of things suddenly became clear.

Summary: The body we have been calling “Deth” is in actuality named hal’Lueque, who agreed to share his body with Deth (he now does not seem quite so happy with this arrangement). The real Deth is a giant crab. Well, all right, he looks like a giant crab. He’s a creature called a Quori, from Dal Quor (the dream plane that we’ve been visiting). That explains the two personalities. Have to say, of the six guesses I had, that was not one of them. I’m impressed.

And then Ferris showed up. Rather, Ferris’s body and an individual with a tentacle cloak showed up, with the latter speaking with Ferris’s voice. Another Quori. It’s unfortunate that he seems so focused on our deaths; he was fun to play with. Alas. Research note: The Quori can shift bodies. And use more than one body. Interesting.

The Pneu that wasn’t Pneu recognized Ferris’s body. Said she had a score to settle with him. Promptly got on that. She called our Pneu her “sister.” It changed into a figure that she called Pneu’s “master.” Ferris can also shapechange. Without knowing the individual into which he changed, I cannot remark on the quality of the impersonation.

Deth and Ferris had been on the same side—probably rather reluctantly, given their personal animosity—but Ferris said that “plans have shifted.” He wanted to take Jaela and kill the rest of us. Deth said that we were “his,” and indicated strongly that Ferris would be taking the rest of us over his dead body. How…possessive of you, Deth. Ah well, if you want to keep me alive, I’m not going to quibble over why. Although I do wish he and Ferris would stop calling us “toys.” It is most irritating and a factual misrepresentation. They need to learn to be more exact in their language.

It was then that I had the thought that this was a dream. Meaning anything is possible? Further research was needed, so I resolved to experiment.

Deth said that if we killed Ferris’s body, he wouldn’t have anything to come back to. Ferris claimed that this would be inconvenient, but not fatal, as he had other bodies to utilize. And a fight, inevitably, broke out.

One usefulness point to Garreth for taking a nice chunk out of a dream centipede. (Really, if you can summon anything in this place, why would you not choose something more aesthetically pleasing? It showcases a stunning lack of imagination if you ask me. The centipedes didn’t even breathe fire.)

Anna, much to my delight, showed much more creativity. She summoned our carriage, with a few improvements—namely a battering ram. She ran four of the creatures right over, although one of them managed to partially get out of the way. One entertainment point and one usefulness point to Anna.

I “drank” my bomber’s eye extract—no need to subtract it from inventory, thanks to the nature of the dream world. :-) And I had a beautiful plan, a lovely, wonderful, phenomenal plan! I was going to fly above them all and aerially bombard them with my bombs. The bombs of course would be much more interesting than normal—I had a variety of ideas, including the molasses bomb, the rainbow bomb, and the transforming ultra bomb.

And then Jaela summoned a meteor. One usefulness point to Jaela for delightful use of her imagination.

Not-Pneu said that Deth had brought her to this place, which she didn’t seem too happy about. (She was later revealed to be called Sally, so she will be referred to as such from this point forward for the sake of clarity.) So…Pneu is more people too? Further research needed.

And I flew.

It was beautiful.

Better than the Lady Luck. There isn’t even any comparison. Flying under your own power, with no airship deck beneath you…

I want it back.

At some point I noticed that I was Rynna, but it was a dream, so it didn’t much matter. At some point the enemies also were dead, and Ferris had retreated to fight again another day. That didn’t much matter either. I was flying.

And then I woke up.

Disappointing does not describe it. It had been like I was home again— not your home, Taesaria — and then it was gone. The next time I see M, I’ll have to tell him about the flying. He would have loved it.

Garreth pulled Taesaria out of the room. He seemed a bit suspicious. That’s a problem for another day.

Ferris’s body was dead, to the surprise of no one. One entertainment point to Anna for carving him a pipe. According to Garreth, she can do mind control, which I find absolutely fascinating. Unfortunately, she was very vague about how exactly the process works. I’m not even sure that she knows. Apparently she’s just always been able to do it.

We had another discovery, this one much less pleasant. Deth has malaria. Brilliant. That discussion was interrupted by a commotion outside the carriage. I emerged to FIND SALLY STANDING BEHIND PNEU. THE HELL? She was transparent…ghost? Projection? At least none of the others can do that.

When asked about what she was up to, Sally said that “little girls who misbehave need to be punished.” Well, THAT’S ominous. Pneu was unconscious this whole time—Garreth was holding her. Sally assured us that Pneu would wake up soon, but she was definitely lying about something. And…then she vanished. Lovely. Another complication. And not the fun kind.

We decided to hole up in town while Deth recovered from his malaria. I was hoping that he wouldn’t die. He’s fun to be around. Garreth, Anna and I went on a quest through town to find a potion to cure his disease. AND WE DID. It was expensive as hell (750 gold subtracted from inventory) but I bought it. WHO’S A BIG DAMN HERO? ME, THAT’S WHO. (And guess what, Deth? You…owe…me~ :D )

Throughout Deth’s convalescence, I made him tea for every meal. He liked it! One entertainment point to Deth. Upon drinking the potion, he recovered. I sang him a lullaby to help him sleep. :-)

And Garreth ACTUALLY HAS A HANGOVER. HOLY SHIT. He must have drank an entire bar.

In summary:
Day/Night 10: I GOT TO FLY. :D
Day 11: Quiet. Can’t complain.

Money obtained: 33 gold, 3 silver, 3 copper.
Loot obtained: None. :-(

Ranking of companions:
Anna: Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 4 points.
Deth: Entertainment value- 2 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 1 point.
Garreth: Usefulness- 2 points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 1 point.
Ferris: Entertainment value- 1 point.

Ranking totals to date:
Anna: Usefulness- 10 points. Entertainment value- 8 points.
Garreth: Usefulness- 15 points. Entertainment value- 6 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 8 points. Entertainment value- 7 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 12 points. Entertainment value- 3 points.
Pneu: Usefulness- 8 points. Entertainment value- 10 points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 3 points. Entertainment value- 2 points.

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deth'Ruki: Restless

All gathered for a strange meal,
Varied colors, varied tastes,
(What was in that salad)

It all comes to an end rather early,
Festivities die down, talks of dreaming,
(Fuck it, I’m drinking)

A rush, a whirl,
Loud noises, finally free,
(Wait)

I have to get out of here,
Have to run, no time left,
(You can’t be serious)

He knows, he always knows,
I still must try,
(Little shit)

The favored one won’t let me go,
Should have seen that coming,
(Someone please)

Detained, no escape,
But so is the holy man,
(Knock me the fuck out)

The girls aren’t going to be of much use,
I need to talk to him, my only hope,
(Now)

Go along with it for now, just until he’s saved,
Cross the corn field, through the bugs,
(Someone stop him)

Monsters, always surround by monsters,
Inside and out,
(The worthless fool)

We find the fire, we find the holy man,
This place is disgusting, twisted,
(I am going to kill him)

Kill the cult, kill the man,
Kill the man, kill the monster,
(How long do you plan to play?)

I need to talk to him, need to,
I can never sleep again, never,
(Of for the love of-)

A struggle and a loss of breath,
Things go back to foggy, back to dim,
(Finally)

(Quoting Gareth on this one)
(Fucking. Fuck.)

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Gareth: No More Hick Towns For Me

The feast wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Had some stirge ass (it was delicious stirge ass don’t judge with a light flavor of bovine) and some fuckin weird salad, nasty ass tick legs, deep fried silkworms (those were a little too crunchy for my taste) and some mushrooms. And alcohol. Deth had lots of that. And he started actin funny after that salad. So did Ced. It was pretty funny to watch. Oh yeah, and Shel. Lookin back I fuckin hate that bitch but at the moment the idea of Ced gettin laid was too good to pass up so we all coerced him into going.

Stayed behind with Deth, Taz, and Anna. Nu didn’t really stick around. Had to carry Deth back to his room he was so far gone. It was pretty funny. Guy was out the second his head hit the pillow and Taz wanted to go sleep for some reason I don’t know and I was tired from the pig-demon wrasslin so I just went the fuck to sleep. Dunno what Anna did. Never know what Anna does. Got woken up in the godsdamned middle of the fuckin night by that kid’s Dad from earlier. The one whose bugs Ced almost killed. He said he saw Ced gettin taken by some weirdos in mosquito masks headin to the old area with the corn. Here is where the hatin Shel comes in. Bitch seduced him then called her fuckin friends in to kidnap and sacrifice him to their mosquito god. All because they wanted a good harvest. Then why the fuck didn’t they just sacrifice one of their own believers? Fuck them.

Made to go wake everyone up to bring them with. Worked pretty well then I got to Deth’s room. Taz woke him up for me. Just fuckin great. He was fuckin obnoxious all fuckin night. Fuckin left me to almost bleed out later too. Sonnuvabitch. Fuck him and fuck those godsdamned mosquitoes.

Anyway, went to go get Ced. Wanted to kill some people but Jaela ended up stabilizin them. One of em tried to poison me before hand. Just barely nicked my cheek but I guess there was poison on his weapon. Smelled it, but didn’t feel it. That freaked him the fuck out. Musta been somethin that usually took people out pretty easy. Cut him down while he was shakin like a damn leaf. Movin on. Anna fell in a hole. Came back out covered in jewelry. Taz looked a little jealous. Decided to go up the ladder to investigate. Blah fuckin blah. Split up. I stayed in the house with Jaela and Nu. Killed a fungus monster. Broke the pots to their fuckin drug plants. Then got webbed by an old spider bitch.

Hell to the fuckin nah. Nu cut me out and I cut her up. Took her pincers or whatever the fuck they’re called in exchange before turnin and helpin to take out these fuckin weirdos that came in through the back door. Oh yeah. Almost stabbed Taz because I thought she was a damn cultist because of their disguises. That was before the spider bitch. Went out back to go and find Ced in the maze of corn and fuckin bugs.

And guess who we ran into? Our friendly neighborhood asshole gardener. Who turned into some freak monster. Even fuckin better. Oh man, killin him felt good. The way his blood ran down my sword. Watched as he fell to the ground. Climbed on top of him. Almost wanted to make him beg, but that woulda been a bad idea with those people around so I just stabbed him. Just thinkin about it is givin me goosebumps again.

Moment of glory destroyed by mosquitoes. Fuck them. Almost bled out. See ‘sonnuvabitch’ comment from before. Followed the path. Found the cultists and Ced who was standin in a fire. Unharmed. He’s pretty impressive. Found the cultists, cut the cultists. I fuckin love this sword Taz filched for me. And Anna wanted me to give it to her to give to Ced to use. Fuck that. I don’t trust that girl with anythin pointy let alone somethin that could cleave her in two if she dropped it on herself. Her puny arms’d probably have to drag the thing anyway.

Wanted to carve Shel up. That woulda been nice seein her pretty blond hair turn red. She ran. She fuckin ran. Turned on the Mayor instead (surprise he was the head of a cult). Let Ced get the killin blow because fuck that guy and Ced deserved it. Then a fuckin mosquito giant weird man thing busted out of his chest and fuckin stabbed me with it’s stupid fuckin sucker. It fuckin hurt. Got really dizzy. Probably woulda blacked out if Jaela hadn’t been there to help. Fuckin love that little girl.

After it stabbed Nu (and almost fuckin killed her nasty bastard fucker). Same with Ced. We got it though. Took it down. I was so fuckin relieved to see Ced not fuckin dead that I kissed him. Again. He didn’t fight. Didn’t have much fight in him from what I could see. If I ever find that bitch again I am gonna carve her up. Let her feel what it feels to have your fuckin insides ripped out. He didn’t even really react to me n Taz teasin him about how sex doesn’t end that way usually. He politely declined when I mentioned I could show him a good time. Somethin is clearly wrong with that man. He said we should hit the nearest tavern when we could. We will and I’ll pay. He needs it.

Soon as I got the chance I knocked Deth the fuck out. He was nothin but obnoxious the whole fuckin night it was fuckin irritatin. He even tried to run. Ha. Cute. Caught him pretty quick. Almost forgot what it feels like to have someone strugglin for their life against you. Woulda been funny had I not been so fuckin pissed. Carried him until he woke up again because fuck that. He wanted to cap Taz because she woke him. Stopped him from doin it. Not gonna deal with party member death on top of everything else tonight.

Blew that popstand. Coulda stayed the night to rest but we didn’t. Ferryman wasn’t out that late so I had to shuttle everyone across. Ced pulled me back. We left. Gotta go and tell whatsherface that her brother in law is dead. Anna doesn’t seem to be very broken up about it but somethins been off about her since we were in Flamehold.

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Pneumonia: The birds and the mosquitoes

This was a lovely vacation, I should come back and visit again sometime. They have exotic cuisine and festivals and wildlife and friendly cultists. It was very exciting. Cedric was almost sacrificed, it was silly of him, he should know better than to trust strange women. It wasn’t all great though. There were bugs everywhere, usually they don’t bother me, but these ones were ossiinmu aaskous haaouus haassuu a pain in the rear. I think maybe I should find a substance that repels bugs and apply it liberally if I should return. Speaking of substance, I got me a very nice poison. Sadly the wouousssouou insisted we couldn’t stay in the mansion so I didn’t get the chance to make anymore. They are so noisy, maybe I should cut out their voice chords? Just a little incision in the throat, for an eternity of peace and quiet. I’ll just put them to sleep for little bit then they’ll wake up and we can all laugh about later. Silently. I’ve been frustrated lately. I keep making mistakes. I wish master was here to teach me, she would know how to handle these situations. On top of it all I can feel myself slipping. I can’t hold back much longer, the bloodlust grows stronger each day, that dream creature… I need to talk to it again. It wasn’t very friendly but maybe it can help me. If only I could talk to her. I don’t think I’ll find that man soon enough, don’t even know where to look and even if he’s dead it still may not be enough especially since these people are crazy, they’re going to get me killed before long. I should return home, take my chances with the clan, no matter what they decide it is better than dying out here.

Remember… there can be no witnesses… not a single one… dead… dead… all of them dead… bathe in their blood… slice them like bread… cut them… dice them… peel back their skin… see what’s inside… kill on a whim… pierce through the flesh… shatter the bone… demulcent the smell… of fresh organs within… try it it’s fun… you know it will be… because deep down inside… you’re just like me…

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Taz: No One Ever Listens to the Voice of Reason Wailing Alone in the Wilderness

I KNEW IT.

Remember when I said that I was afraid that this festival was just a prelude to sacrificing us to the mosquito god? I WAS RIGHT. I WAS FUCKING RIGHT.

Circle back. Begin at the beginning.

Feast. I finally got the chance to tally up my winnings from my gambling operation. Obtained: 73 silver. Also some weird-looking doll from this guy who said to burn it for good dreams. Noted.

The feast was…interesting. We got to sample some delicacies of the hinterlands, and by that I mean THESE PEOPLE CAN’T AFFORD ACTUAL GODS-DAMNED FOOD. There was a salad that was pretty decent (and didn’t turn out to be anything horrifying—bonus!)…a little bitter, but not bad. There were these fried things that looked suspect, but were pretty tasty. (Later informed that they were fried worms. ._. ) Some mushrooms—fairly normal. Crab legs—-well, I THOUGHT they were crab legs. They weren’t very good, which was later explained by the fact that they were GIANT TICK LEGS, not crab. Bleh. Also sausage, which I did not touch, because I had the feeling that it might be MADE OUT OF PEOPLE. They called it “sturge blood sausage.” On the whole, I think I made the right choice there. I checked everything for poisons before I ate it, of course. (Didn’t think to check and see if it was INSECTOID IN NATURE, more the fool me.) Not that I haven’t eaten worse, but I was really hoping that that stage in my life was past. Forever.

Next there was a pageant, or as close to a pageant as this hick town could manage. Three girls trotting out and talking about the history of the town. Cedric seemed pretty keen on one of them—Shel, her name was. (Of course, that came back to bite us in the ass, but I’m getting ahead of myself.)

According to the story the pageant told, Eolia Kriegler saved the land from blight back when the town was first founded. Same name as the mayor….I assume she was an ancestor. They couldn’t get the crops to grow, so Eolia followed guidance from the goddess Desna and performed a ritual to rid the land of corruption. The deity was then carried away on butterfly wings, which are now an important symbol of the faith. Butterfly wings, like the ones on that doll I got. Oh hey.

We all teased Cedric about his lady friend~ Much fun was had by all. One entertainment point to Jaela for volunteering to sleep in another room for the night. Shel showed up after the pageant, asked Cedric to come visit her later. Well, we all knew what THAT meant. Cedric was reluctant, given the stick up his ass and some moral code or whatever, but we all talked him into it. Deth and I were all “You can’t disappoint a lady!” and Garreth was all “JUST GO FUCK HER DAMMIT,” and our combined efforts convinced him to go. Which at the time I counted as a great development on his life path.

The festival wrapped up surprisingly early. The mayor explained that everyone wanted to hurry to bed and have good dreams, but I still didn’t trust him. (AND WITH GOOD REASON.) We all went back to the mayor’s house to sleep. Deth makes a damn cute drunk…passed out in Garreth’s arms. I gave him some braids. :D Unfortunately, they were both too tired to provide any enjoyment for me this night, so I burned that doll thing and went to bed. It was a risk, but I figured that anything connected to ‘dreams’ might get me more information on our current situation. Not that it helped much. My dreams were weird as hell, but nothing too useful. Mainly it was just him, following me around like he used to do when he was practicing It’s not relevant.

And then I got woken up by Garreth in the wee hours of the morning. Almost gave me a heart attack, banging on my door. He said that Cedric had been kidnapped! Apparently our friend Vioreck had showed up and warned him. (Good to know one person in this gods-forsaken town knows what’s what.) Unfortunately, Cedric’s honey had nefarious intentions. A HONEY TRAP. A classic trick. I should have warned him to keep a weapon within arms’ reach at all times. I assumed he’d KNOW to do that, but…well, he’s not exactly what you’d call great at the whole constant vigilance thing.

We woke up everyone else. Garreth went to wake up Deth, then hesitated. It fell to me to go and flop on him. He woke up flipping the hell out. At first I thought he was just surprised, but it didn’t fade. He was definitely not himself. He was acting like he had in that eerie-ass dream where we all got attacked by that THING, quiet and breathy and kind of panicky. At least he wasn’t as frozen as he’d been that time. Garreth seemed…to know something. He wasn’t surprised at all by the way Deth was acting. Further research needed. How the hell does Garreth—who, bless his heart, is sweet and sexy and kills things beautifully, but not the sharpest arrow in the crossbow—find out these things before I do? I feel as though I should be professionally offended.

We set out for the house Vioreck had indicated, Garreth hanging onto Deth’s hand the whole way to prevent him from running. Also highly unusual. We had no sooner made it to the creepy, broken-down house than a SCARECROW JUMPED OUT AT US. Fucking fantastic. Why do these things always happen to me? The scarecrow looked like that doll I burned…interesting. (And by interesting, I mean oh shit.) And then it sliced into me with its sickle. HOLY FUCK THAT HURT. One usefulness point to Garreth for killing it. Used one (1) bomb in the fight.

Inside the house, cultists. HAVE I MENTIONED ‘I KNEW IT’ YET? I AM GOING TO BRING THIS UP EVERY TIME PEOPLE REFUSE TO LISTEN TO ME FROM NOW ON. “Oh, Taz, you’re so suspicious.” “Oh, Taz, not everyone is out to get you.” YES THEY DAMN WELL ARE. We knocked out all the cultists without much of a fuss…Jaela set to work stabilizing them. (I’ll pretend to myself that she did it because we needed to interrogate them. The world is going to chew that kid up and spit her out if someone doesn’t teach her how it works real quick.) Anna found a ton of jewelry. Damn, missed out.

Found on bodies: 12 gold, 6 bottles of a mysterious blue liquid (later identified as the poison blue whinnis), 3 bottles of antitoxin. They also had some broken sickles, and they were each wearing robes and creepy mosquito masks. We interrogated one of them once Jaela got him conscious again. He said that Cedric was going to be “offered up to the Dreaming One” in the glade, and that there were a lot of cultists. He acted like he’d been forced into the cult…yeah right, buddy. Apparently not EVERYONE in town was a member of the cult…just quite a few of them. LIKE I GIVE A DAMN. They were still dumb enough not to notice all this going on under their noses. I mean, how do you miss the fact that cult activity is happening in your very own tiny-as-shit town?

It was at that point that Anna had an excellent idea. She took the clothes of the cultist—he called himself Charles—and put on the mask. One usefulness point to Anna for ingenuity. Deth and I followed suit by taking the garb of the remaining cultists. (As soon as Jaela healed them, they booked it. Bastards.) Anna decided she’d claim to be Charles. You’re cute, honey. I decided to change myself into one of the other ones—I had the mask on, so the others wouldn’t be able to tell.

And…I couldn’t. Most of me changed, but the lady-bits remained the same. I tried a couple times. No good.

…oh FUCK.

Garreth and I need to have a talk.

But there was no time to worry about that right at the second.

Garreth, Pneu, and Jaela continued investigating the house while Deth, Anna and I continued on to save our paladin friend. Aren’t we just the best heroes~? Met more cultists…these ones were ugly as hell. In spite of Anna’s…er, lacking disguise abilities, we fooled them. They headed to the house…and then Anna decided to attack them anyway. Oh well. We killed them. Nothing useful on their bodies. :(

After meeting back up with the others, we continued on into the creepy labyrinth, because there was no possible way THAT could go wrong. I wanted to burn it all, but the others pointed out that I might burn Cedric too. We got to the beginning of the maze, could see a fire in the distance with a bunch of cultists around it and a cross in the middle. Hey, I think we found Cedric. The mayor’s cranky brother emerged from the shadows—could tell that it made Garreth’s day to finally be able to smack that sucker in the face with his ax. We started fighting him…and he turned into a horrible monster. Fan-fucking-tastic. AND THEN THERE WERE MOSQUITOES AND EVERYTHING WAS AWFUL FOREVER. Have I mentioned that I hate bugs? Used two (2) bombs during fight.

I decided that everyone else had the fight under control—although I couldn’t really see too well because Pneu had thrown up a smoke cloud—so I decided to go find Cedric. I had the plan of disguising myself as the mayor’s brother (in his human form) and telling them all to close their eyes in prayer for a minute. Then I’d free Cedric and we’d vanish off into the night! Then Deth followed me, which kind of shot that, but I was glad for the backup anyway. Even if he was…not himself. FURTHER. RESEARCH. NEEDED.

We finally reached the bonfire, and found Cedric. He seemed to have been handling the situation quite capably in our absence. One entertainment point to Cedric for ending his hostage situation standing naked in a bonfire with a torch. Note: Clearly I don’t have to worry about bombing Cedric in the future. He doesn’t seem to mind fire one bit. Used one (1) bomb on the cultists to make our entrance.

The mayor was standing in the middle of the circle of cultists. Upon seeing us, he cast a spell that I identified as Sanctuary—asshole—and babbled some nonsense about how this was necessary to do this for the sake of the town and keeping the land healthy or some shit. MOVE YOUR DAMNED TOWN IF IT’S THAT MUCH OF A PROBLEM, DUMBASS. DON’T EXPECT ANYONE ELSE TO GIVE A SHIT. LIKE I WANT TO DIE FOR YOUR CRAPPY TOWN ANYWAY.

And then he summoned spiders. Bastard. One usefulness point to Pneu for shaking off the effects of Sanctuary and stabbing him in the face. One usefulness point to Garreth for fighting excellence. Used one (1) screaming bolt to scare the hell out of everyone…didn’t manage to hit the mayor, though. We managed to kill that bastard, but then a GIANT FUCKING MOSQUITO CAME OUT OF HIS BODY. I KNEW IT. SACRIFICED TO THE MOSQUITO GOD. I think we know what happened to that tax collector…

Used one (1) screaming bolt on that mosquito thing. Gave one (1) cure light wounds to Cedric. That damned mosquito messed the others up pretty bad, but we finally managed to drop it, upon which the cultists that hadn’t already booked it ran away. We went back to the creepy house and searched the basement, where we found a bunch of bodies. Including one Anna recognized. Well, guess that’s the end of that.

We decided to go back to the mayor’s house to get Cedric’s stuff—and do some requisitioning—and then GET THE HELL OUT OF THIS DAMNED TOWN.

Found in mayor’s house:
2 vials antitoxin-kept.
2 potions of neutralize poison- kept.
Wand of lesser restoration- gave to Pneu.
Nice glassware- Cedric. He really wanted it for some reason.
6 bottles of fine wine- Anna drank one. Kept the rest. Hell yeah~
Found in a locked chest:
720 gold- split among the party. 102 gold and 9 silver each. Jaela didn’t want hers, so I held onto it.
Leatherbound book about the real history of the town- Cedric. (He’s welcome to it; I don’t ever want to think about this creepy-ass town ever again.)
3 potions of cure light wounds- kept.
Silver ring that Anna identified as having belonged to her cousin- Anna.

And then Garreth grabbed Deth and put him in a headlock until he passed out. Hm. Annoyance, or…?

Upon awakening, Deth was greeted with “Missed you,” and “Welcome back,” by Garreth and Jaela respectively. How intriguing.

Deth was not acting like himself.
Garreth knows why.

In fact, although he seemed to know what was going on, he didn’t act like he had anything to do with it, like when Tais hides along in the back of Talithan’s mind and—-

Hmm. Now there’s an interesting hypothesis. Further research needed.

He was REALLY PISSED when he woke back up. All “WHO WOKE ME UP?” and “I TOLD YOU NEVER TO WAKE ME UP.” Holy shit, calm yourself, Deth. I’m pretty sure you hallucinated telling me never to wake you up, because I remember no dire pronouncements of this nature.

I really got to him, though. Noted. Oh, Deth, don’t you know never to lose your temper~? You’ve revealed a weak point~

And then I heard him in my head, just growling “YOU WILL BURN.” I told him I love fire. I’ll leave him alone for now…this is a long game, and I’m willing to be patient. At least I can be reasonably sure that the bleeding hearts of the party won’t let him shoot me in the head. I appreciate their existence.

And if worst comes to worst…well. He’s mad at Taesaria.

In summary:
Night 9/Morning 10: Still alive. Proved right. Leaving this gods-forsaken place forever. Success. HOWEVER. A situation has arisen that will need to be dealt with promptly. :(

Money obtained: 216 gold, 91 silver.
Loot obtained: One odd doll (since consigned to the flames), 6 bottles blue whinnis, 5 bottles antitoxin, 2 potions of neutralize poison, 5 bottles of fine wine, 3 potions of cure light wounds.

Ranking of companions:
Jaela: Entertainment- 1 point.
Pneu: Usefulness- 1 point.
Anna: Usefulness- 1 point.
Cedric: Entertainment- 1 point.
Garreth: Usefulness- 2 points.

Ranking totals to date:
Jaela: Usefulness- 2 points. Entertainment value- 2 points.
Pneu: Usefulness- 8 points. Entertainment value- 10 points.
Anna: Usefulness- 9 points. Entertainment value- 4 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 11 points. Entertainment value- 3 points.
Garreth: Usefulness- 13 points. Entertainment value- 6 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 8 points. Entertainment value- 5 points.

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