Happy New Year. For some reason there was no turning of the year celebration of the in Renwick. Many of the parties back in my old life were tedious affairs, but the New Year Celebration was almost always a good time. It’s something of an unspoken tradition that on the last day of the year you let bygones be bygones – if just for that day – and leave all your schemes and hatreds for the next year. Even the vilest villains tend to lay low on the last day of the year. If only dragons knew about this convention.
Given the state of the city, and of the populace, it took quite a bit of legwork, but Martialla and I were able to track down the fates of Viscount Tane Vanhesselen and Baron Sep Varnashstill – our reason for heading to Renwick in the first place before all this “unpleasantness”. Vanhesselen, who was reputed to be an armchair tactician that often involved himself in affairs of city defense, had ironically fled the city pretty much immediately to hide out in his holdings across the river in Eronigh. Varnashstill, who had the poor taste to be a merchant as well as a noble, had also fled – headed upriver with as many ships as he could buy – stuffed to the rafters (do boats have rafters?) with precious merchandise that needed to be protected. I assume while his guards kept refugees were with pikes.
What we were unable to track down was a wigmaker’s shop. All the worthwhile wig artisans had been in Ford Village, which of course is now less of a village and more of a slagheap of ash and bone dust. I tell you I have no luck at all.
Martialla and I discussed the relative merits of heading back to Gibson to retrieve the rest of our party or heading north to track down the two aforementioned nobles, in the end decided the comfort and speed of the carriage was too much to pass up. It will be especially nice to travel without Otacvio’s various smells and fluids. The Double Entendre was already gone by the time we made up our minds so we hit the road south on our own two feet like common slobs – for some reason horses were hard to come by as well. I have a feeling the price of everything in Renwick is going to be pretty high for the foreseeable future.
We traveled on the road alone for most of the day – no reason for anyone to be heading to Renwick after all, I would have expected for there to be a stream of people heading south from Renwick but there was not. I’m sure that means something but what that something is I don’t know. We stopped being alone when Martialla spotted a mixed band of what looked like Renwick guards and soldiers along with some other random men under arms heading north up the road. Based on their sooty and singed clothes and their overall look of defeat they had clearly been in the city but decided to vacate before the climatic showdown.
It’s generally best to avoid large parties of armed men in any circumstances but that goes double for deserters. Once you’ve abandoned your post you’ve committed a capital crime generally speaking so you’ve got little to nothing left to lose. Although I have to say that responding to this kind of reversal with violent lawlessness rather than just starting over somewhere else with a new name shows very poor forecasting if you ask me. Lying is easy, not sure why so many men choose a nasty brutish life of the woodland bandits until they inevitably get hanged instead.
Martialla and I skipped off the road (not literally) and into the woods to avoid them, but they must have spotted us shortly after we spotted them because they sent some fellows in after us. We disguised ourselves as dirt poor old dirt farmers with nothing worth taking and waited for them to find us. Switching to male is a no brainer, but you want to make sure that you go old as well. A younger fellow could be pressed into the gang, or just killed for machismo reasons – and an even younger kid can have issues as well that don’t warrant dwelling on. But an old fellow is simultaneously harmless and worthless to these types.
Once they did find us we told them we were running away from Renwick with nothing but the clothes on our backs. They questioned us closely but the day I can’t lie my way around some roughnecks like these is the day I end up murdered and buried in a shallow grave. I was getting a bit antsy because while Martialla’s disguises last indefinitely mine have a limited duration – and these guys were in no hurry. The leader of this detachment, a mean-looking fellow with a short beard and big ears, in particular seemed intent on loitering even when the rest of the band seemed like they wanted to get on their way.
“You sure you don’t have any gold on you oldtop?”
“I ain’t never had a gold coin in my hand my whole life sir. Well, one time when I was apprenticed to an undertaker he had me reach into a big old pitcher of water to get a coin that had fallen in there because my arm was skinny enough to fit. You see what had happened was . . .”
“Doesn’t have to be gold, we’ll take silver as well. If I search you will I find any silver?”
“Son you ain’t gonna find nothing in these trousers but a long neglected cock and balls. Maybe if I did had a few coins they wouldn’t have been neglected so.”
He shook his head “I believe you old timer but there’s just something that I don’t trust about you. I don’t know, something about the eyes maybe. You wouldn’t lie to me would you?”
I shrugged “Probably I would in some situation but I ain’t got no reason to lie just now. I’m trying to get clear of this mess, don’t want no trouble with nobody.”
“Do I look like trouble?”
“You look like someone not to be trifled with.”
He pointed “You see, that’s what I’m talking about, you’re just a little too quick, a little too pat, that makes me nervy. Your friend here doesn’t say much.”
“He’s a bit deaf. You gotta shout a bit if you want him to hear you. Murnáin, Murnáin! Say something to the nice fellow here!”
Martialla smiled at the deserter with her old man face – with just the right mixture of mild confusion verging on fear. She’s not a bad actress. Not as good as me of course but that goes without saying. Except I said it so I guess it doesn’t.
“That’s fine, I don’t need to hear anything from your friend. What do you think, would you want to come with us? Have some lively times, find some wine and some women?”
“When I was young and full of beans maybe I would, but not no more – all my various ailments I would just slow you down. I doubt I could even survive a night of wine and women like in the old days.”
“You raise the Hells when you were younger did you?”
I smiled slightly “Just a bit, just a bit.”
He continued toying with us for a while as a cat does with a rat but eventually they moved on. And not a moment too soon, only a few minutes later my disguise ran out of magic and I returned to my normal appearance. Martialla, still looking like a graybeard gave me a concerned look as we hustled south.
“I’m going to admit, that was the most frightened I’ve been since I started being your sidekick.”
“Is that what you are? I’ve always thought of you more as a deputy to my sheriff. Whatever you are though we should probably stay off the road – looks like it’s going to be an afternoon of stumbling through brambles for us. Hopefully you can keep us on the right path because I have a pretty poor track record when it comes to that.”
Going cross-country without a guide or a woodsman of some sort is one of my least favorite things, but we were highly motivated to put some distance between ourselves and the traitors – it was well after dark when we finally stopped and after failing to get a fire going sat across nothing leaning up against our individual trees starting art each other in the darkness. With my Ring I was fine, but I could tell that Martialla was both hungry and tried.
“You know for once I actually thought about gathering supplies before heading out on a journey, but I doubt there was much to be had in Renwick.”
“Maybe we should have attacked those renegades, they probably had some dried dates on them or something. A jug of whiskey at least.”
“There were quite a lot of them. Maybe we can find someone to rob tomorrow.”
“As they say, the Gods will provide.”
“Of course, but they never say what they’re going to provide – a lot of people get a nasty surprise when they see what the Gods have in store for them.”
Hair regrowth progress: .0015%
Funds: 995 platinum, 159 gold
Inventory: Pathfinder’s Gear (white) Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Dagger of Venom, Bracers of Armor +2, Ring of Protection +2, Light Crossbow, Fake Signet Ring, Bag of Concealment, Belt of Giant Strength +4, Vest of Resistance +1, Ring of Sustenance, Gem of Brightness, Silver Chain set with Moonstones, Gold and Emerald Ring (2), Glove of Vampiric Touch, Platinum and Silver Holy Symbol of Kralten, Holy Symbol of Kozilek, Ruby (2), Black Marketers’ Bag, 879 Garnets
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 Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium
of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard
Behind the Curtain: Ela reached level 12, taking the advanced rogue talent Slippery Mind. Not much else changed.