Montresor 8, Year 887 (New Imperial Calendar)

Travel to Malgareth Day Two – Erist was a good deal more talkative today.  I suppose after saving my life twice in the matter of a few hours last night made him feel better about having been bested by me before.  Ego can be a fragile thing like that.  It was mildly annoying but at least it made the time pass more quickly – yesterday had been quite a slog with no real conversation. I’m more convinced than ever that the only way to travel is by luxury coach.  And also that travel is silly anyway – just live somewhere good and stay there.

Late in the day we came upon the village of Hillside.  I actually knew this place because there was a knight in court that used to talk endlessly about how he had killed a bulette here even after it had eaten his horse and taken most of his lower leg.  I wonder if that story is true.  I tell you, it was quite scene – there were four dead people laying the town square, as pale and skinny and dirty as you like.  There were several other residents that looked little better lying about in various states if undress.

“You take me to the nicest places Erist.”

He immediately started asking about what plague afflicted them but I know addicts when I see them – and I’ve seen a couple.   I was right of course, one of the few residents who wasn’t too addled to speak said that a few months ago some outsiders had come into their community and flooded the place with a drug they were calling Black Widow – which isn’t very good marketing if you ask me.  Naming your pleasure drug after a deadly spider?  How does that make sense?  Seems like a bit of an odd strategy – you generally don’t get dealers out here in the sticks, but I suppose if you can get a whole town hooked there’s some money to be made there? 

Erist was all up in arms over what he was seeing and hearing – making a lot of noise about bringing these “miscreants” to judgement. 

“I didn’t know Strider had such a hard stance on recreational drug use.”

“Look at this place Ela!  Almost everyone here is drugged out of their mind – no one is taken care of themselves let alone the crops!  We have to do something!”

Looking around I’m not sure what could be done.  This place was ruined.  I’m no expert in agriculture but I don’t think you can take a few months off and then just pick and have everything be okay.  Not to mention the challenges that come along with weaning yourself off an addictive substance – I don’t see any fate for this place other than becoming a ghost-town. As Erist continued to rail against the dealers I noticed some rough-looking fellows with crummy black spider tattoos coming out of the woodwork. I elbowed Erist –

“How about you give it a rest with that?  Let’s get out of here and . . .”

At least point he noticed the tattooed thugs and started berating them – as more and more of them came out to face us.  More than a dozen in all.  And on top of that two more that were clearly the brains of the operation – they were definitely chemists or arcane types of some sort.  They just stood and stared as Erist harangued them until he went red in the face from effort.

“Okay buddy how about you shut up now before you get yourself killed?  You said your piece now let’s get out of here and leave these people to their business.”

He brandished his spear at the assembled mob “Leave these people be scoundrels!”

Oi.  I knew I should have just sidled away when I saw them coming to confront him.  Let that be a lesson to you – always follow your instincts.  He was calling me stupid and now here he is provoking a gang of violent criminals?  Since my exile from court I’m sad to say that I’ve been in a couple fights despite my best efforts – but nothing like this desperate melee.  In all honesty it was terrifying.  We would have been overwhelmed immediately if Erist had not summoned (ironically) a gaggle of giant spiders as he did when he was ambushed outside of Graltontown.  I produced a Firecat from my Bag of Tricks and we were off to the races. 

I used my Oil of Animate Dead as well, nothing helps confuse a battlefield like a free roaming zombie after all, and when my Firecat was killed I produced a boar from the Bag of Trick as well.  Other than that I mostly tried to stay out of the action – slitting the occasional throat when the opportunity presented itself.  Erist was fighting like a man possessed (which maybe he was, who knows what goes on with these religious sorts) laying about with his spear taking out dealers with powerful thrusts (if you know what I mean).  Even so we would never have survived had not a trio of the Hillsiders who were clear-minded enough to take up their pitchforks and join the fray to run their tormentors out of town. Which they did, leaving eight of their number dead along with a massive stash of their drugs.  Sadly Erist burned them all together in the middle of town while making a rousing speech to the townfolk about how they could get their lives back.

Such a waste.  I don’t know what the street value would have been but it had to have been a pretty penny.  The villagers claimed all their gear as well.  I consoled myself by saying they probably didn’t have anything good anyway.  The one time I actually fight straight up and I end up with no loot?  There’s a lesson for sure. 

____________________________________________________________

Funds: 15,267 gold

XP: 31,454

Inventory: Peasant outfit, wooden box, Signet ring, Ring of Many Garments, thieves’ tools, land deed, Bag of Tricks (rust), gold ring, Cap of Disguise, Secure Pocket, candlerod (9), masterwork dagger (2), succubi carving, Disguise kit (6 uses), Domiel family ring, walking stick, aquamarine, masterwork playing cards , +2 Studded Leather Armor, +2 Light Steel Shield, +1 Keen Shortspear, hematite armbands (2), mithril hair clasps (3), Sir Humperdinck memoir, Mazzmus’ Wand (unidentified), Brooch of Shielding, Potion of Invisibility (3), Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (2), spinel and peridot holy symbol of Kralten, platinum necklace, Pouch of Magic Stones, flask of acid (2), alchemist’s fire (2), giant wasp venom (10), oil of taggit (2), alchemist’s kit, formula book, Potion of Cure Light Wounds (3), Potion of Spider Climb, powdered bloodroot (2), masterwork short sword, Handy Haversack, silver ring,  gold bracelet, gold and pearl pendant

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, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee

Rumors : Exiled noblewoman (Reoccurring), vigilante “Litheria”(Reoccurring), murderous Halfling (Reoccurring)

Teams – Labors, Brute Squad (Robbers and two teams of Soldiers)

Graltontown Buildings – Mill 

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