Mantelderith 16, Year 887 (New Imperial Calendar)

I set out today astride the newest member of our seemingly ever expanding band, after all there’s no reason ALL of us should walk. We agreed it made the most sense for me to ride since Quinine needed to stay ready for action should trouble befall us and no one else was much of a horsewoman.  Not quite the fox hunts at Lord Erlenmeyer’s fall estate but a fine enough day for a ride.  We intended to stop and pick up the remaining wine at the site of Sparrow’s (as I decided to call her) former owner’s demise but we heard the barking high-pitched speech of goblins so we stayed away.  The little buggers were probably drunk off their green behinds.

Towards mid-day we were confronted with a group of drovers.  Seems that up ahead some of the king’s men, or at least someone claiming to be the king’s men, had set up a toll – which the drovers didn’t know about when they set out and now had no way to get back home.  They begged us for some money to pay the toll, I’m not sure why they thought we had any money.  I waited to see if Elth would chime in on account of her sack full of gold, which she did not, before turning down their generous offer of us giving them our money. 

We accompanied them up the road where a half dozen men under arms had set up a small barricade across the road – more for show than anything since it could be easily avoided.  They didn’t look like soldiers in the King’s Own to me but they weren’t scruffy enough to be bandits or ruffians quite either. I suppose in the end it doesn’t matter who they are other than men that want money. I used my ring to give myself the appearance of a low level courtier and approached them.

I explained that I was carrying a message from the Mayor of Gevudan herself and this would exempt us from any tolls which put them back on their heels a bit. I went on to suggest that furthermore if they wanted to collect a goodly number of tolls they needed to set up at a crossroads.  Their leader prickled slightly at this, saying he knew where to set up a tollway but I was able to paper over that easily enough. I sealed the deal by telling them although we had no funds, we could tell them about a cache of wine they could pick up. 

They were in such haste that they left their crude wall behind as they scurried off, blocking the road.  Feeling magnanimous in victory I marshaled the drovers to move it aside so that the way was clear.  After barely a word of thanks they hustled off as if they were late for an appointment.  That’s gratitude for you. 

Later in the day we came upon a stout bald man wearing the clothes of a well-off peasant or a very poor merchant hauling a heavy pack and leading an overburdened donkey. This overly friendly fellow explained, without prompting, that he was traveling to live with his brother – having been kicked out of his home by his wife who had found a younger, more dynamic lover.  He joked several times about his “luck” in finding six women on the road which was only slightly more off-putting than his forced good nature.

Even though he was heading in the opposite direction he insisted on accompanying us for the rest of the day, explaining that it wasn’t safe for women to travel alone.  I quickly found it almost impossible to shut him up. Oblivious to social niceties, his false face soon gave way as anger poured out in a stream of bile and hate directed at his wife and her lover.  On the one hand I sympathize with his desire for revenge, on the other hand any woman saddled to this sad sack should look for entertainment elsewhere.

As we made camp he produced a flask from his jackets and got increasingly drunk and mean, although thankfully all his vindictiveness was directed at his wife and her lover.  After everyone else was asleep I asked him what he could give someone who got revenge for him.  Not much it sounds like, but nevertheless I convinced him to return to Graltontown with us instead of running to live with his brother like a whipped cur.  An ally is an ally after all.  You never know what people might have to offer.

____________________________________________________________

Funds: None 

XP: 7666

Inventory: Signet ring, Ring of Many Garments, noble’s traveling outfit, thieves’ tools, silver dagger

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler , Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Cardshire Arms manager, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family

Anti-Revenge List: Dorehe the maid

Graltontown Rumors : Murderous servants (Reoccurring), exiled noblewoman (Reoccurring), vigilante “Litheria”(30%)

Progress to Graltontown – 71 miles

Behind the curtain: I used the Social Combat deck for the toll encounter.  I’m not sure what I was expecting but it’s somewhat unimpressive.  The promise is that it turns a social encounter into more than a skill check, which is true, it turns them into a couple of skill checks.  I’ve been too lazy to get into the Verbal Duel rules from Ultimate Intrigue though so it’s something.  Even though the Chase decks are also essentially just a random table of skill checks they seem more interesting.

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