My first theory was that the shapechanger was part of the Królewna & Bonifacja crew. I talked to Ollie extensively and was convinced that wasn’t the case. My next theory was that he was a plant among the slaves associated with Haya and friends but I sussed him out too and rejected that. I downed my last potion for a little extra charm and told everyone as we traveled today I was going to be taking a “census” of everyone and where they were from and who they knew and so on and so forth – assuming there isn’t a network of shapeshifers all working together (which with my luck there probably is) I should be able to figure out if we have any “extras” floating around. It was tedious work but by mid-day I was convinced that we had just the people that were supposed to be here. With the caveats that none of us are supposed to be here of course.
This brought me very little peace of mind. Where did it come from? And what was it up to? As we were setting up camp I held council with Haya and Marsh. I asked them if there were any kind of settlements around here – with the river there has to be fishermen or something right? Haya had no clue but Marsh claimed to have a good understanding of the area and he wasn’t aware of any inhabitation on the Needle. He checked with some of his scouts and they confirmed the same thing – more or less, there’s always random homesteaders and whatnot that have wandered into any territory like this.
I told them I was concerned that where that creature may have come from but wasn’t sure what to do about it. I asked for their advice. Of which they had precisely zero. I guess that’s why they’re a sergeant and a low level flunky for slavers. I decided to engage Ollie. He’s clearly an evil backstabbing bastard but he seems pretty sharp. I had him brought into my wagon, which was once his wagon.
“Pretend you’re me for a moment.”
“Gross. What would you do about this creature that attacked me, er you in this case.”
“I’d let Ollie and his friends go.”
“For one we’re in this together. I can guarantee you that if I don’t make it neither will you. Besides which we have a long road ahead of us, metaphorically, taking down your beloved employers. We might as well start building a rapport now.”
“Seriously I don’t know as there’s much you can do. Keep an eye out, what else is there?”
“That’s not very satisfying.”
“Life seldom is.”
“You can say that again.”
“Life seldom is.”
I sent him away and sought out Marsh again, telling him that he should inform his men of what’s going on so that they could better protect us. Not long afterwards he came back and said that one of his men who’s a “pretty good tracker” said that he had found some strange tracks where it seemed like someone had walked into the camp the day before my tussle with the shapechanger. But that he hadn’t thought anything of it at the time. I had to take a few deep breaths before I spoke.
“Alright sarge, how about from now on we operate under the assumption that there’s nothing odd that I don’t want to know about? Let’s start doing reports and stuff, you military people are all about reports right?”
“You got it boss.”
“And bring me this tracker and your two best fighters.”
He scuttled off and I grabbed Haya’s formula book and found him where he was under light guard. I tossed it to him.
“Okay buddy, you’re up.”
He was delighted to get his book back “What’s going on?”
“We’re going on a little sidetrek.”
His eyes lit up like a Halfling at a feast “An adventure?”
“Gods I hope not.”
Funds: 10,258 gold
Inventory: Ring of Many Garments, Bag of Tricks (rust), Cap of Disguise, Secure Pocket, Resplendent Diplomat’s Palette, Secure Paypack, Skeleton Key, Brooch of Shielding, Pouch of Magic Stones, Masterful Grey Gloves, Black Marketers’ Bag, Biting Bracelet (Endless Ammunition), Boots of Escape, Bracers of the Glib Entertainer, Ring of Animal Friendship, +2 Commanding Light Crossbow, Headband of Alluring Charisma +2, Manual of Quickness of Action, Bracer of Fire Resistance (10), Spear of Piercing Thunder, Handy Haversack, Amulet of Natural Armor +1, Cloak of Resistance +2 (2), Headband of vast intelligence +2 (2), Ring of Feather Falling, Spectacles of Keen Sight
Signet ring, noble’s outfit, candlerod (9), masterwork dagger, succubi carving, Domiel family ring, walking stick, masterwork playing cards, spinel and peridot holy symbol of Kralten, diamonds (14), silver crown, waterskins (6), trail rations (7), antitoxin (9), formula book, smelling salts (3), sunrods (3), thieves’ tools, tindertwigs (6), various and sundry inebriants and intoxicants
Silver ring, gold bracelet, gold and pearl pendant, gold ring, platinum necklace (2), mithril hair clasps (3), 4 small diamonds
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, Helgan
van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot