With our tracker and her trusty hound out looking for the Heroes there was little for Martialla and I to do but sit around the campsite drinking wine and lamenting the lack of magically portable lounge-chairs. We probably should have burned the orc-bodies or something like that but you wants to drag a bunch of orcs into a burning pile? We’ll just move the camp when they start to smell. Smell more I mean. We were a bottle and a half through the day and thinking about going for a ride (kids don’t drink and ride) when we heard hooves coming our way. Martialla looked at me.
“Do orcs ride horses?”
“I think they eat horses.”
To our surprise the hoofbeats came from the horses of a trio of ladies in dressed in high quality hunting attire. Although it’s debatable as to who was more surprised, as they were quite taken aback to find the two of us sitting out in the middle of the wilderness with a fine pavilion drinking wine as well. We invited them to join us and they accepted. This would present an even more befuddling scene for anyone that stumbled across it – five women in the middle of nowhere having a leisurely drink. They introduced themselves as Korvosa Foxglove and her two friends Annett and Annan Wayette (no relation). Why were they out here? I’m glad you asked for it’s quite the tale. Korvosa’s husband and two sons had been killed by cultists that bore some manner of eternal grudge against his family and instead of sitting at home crying or remarrying and forgetting about it she was trying to hunt them down. I’m sure she’s in over her head but so I was when I woke up in Graltontown. You have to admire her moxie. Well I suppose you don’t have to, but I do.
Generations ago one of the Foxglove ancestors was an anointed knight that thwarted the plots of some minor evil god or demon lord or what have you and ever since then his few mortal followers have had it out for the Foxgloves. That’s the problem with bearding an immortal entity – they have plenty of time to come back at your entire family line. I wonder how long it takes a devil to get tired of tormenting one lineage and move on to some other scheme. Maybe never. After all they have eternity to fill and after enough time passes you’re probably looking for any form of entertainment to break up the tedium of immortality.
“Are you searching the area just in case or do you have reason to believe around here?”
“A few folks came into town that survived an attack from the cultists so they could still be in the area or maybe this is where they have a hideout.”
“How would you feel about teaming up? We have a tracker helping us find some people and there’s strength in numbers.”
When Rokia and Nomen returned to camp later that afternoon she didn’t remark on their being three new people with us. Not sure if I should chalk that up to professionalism or indifference – perhaps they’re one in the same in a way. She had found signs of the Heroes in many places but hadn’t been able to track them down yet – she speculated that they’re also combing the valley looking for wherever the orcs have made their home. I gestured at the dead orcs strewn about.
“This lot has left some pretty fresh tracks, how about we follow them and see what’s what?”
It was a capital idea, even if I do say so myself, and in its execution we came upon the camp of the Heroes near sundown who were on the same trail. In addition to Belle they had added to their ranks a renegade Kostelos. Smilarly to the surveyor we encountered in the marshes he was dressed in a hodgepodge of proper city clothes and barbarian finery. Introductions were made all around and I gave them the same speech about joining forces and strength in numbers. They were suspicious of course, adventurers always are – when you make a living killing people and stealing their possessions it’s an occupational habit – but we were able to strike a deal. We help them with the orcs and they help us with the cultists. Everyone wins.
As we were sitting around the fire that night one of the Heroes kept giving me a look. He was a slight man with close cropped hair, elaborate spectacles, and a small neatly trimmed goatee, wearing a luxuriant blue outfit that looked vaguely like a uniform of some sort with a highly fancified/sissified silver rapier on his hip. I smiled at him.
“See something you like?”
“Have we met before? You seem very familiar to me. What did you say your name was?”
“Elsa. Elsa Redstone. I don’t know if we met before but I saw you a few times at Guernica in Graltontown.”
He didn’t seem convinced “That must be it.”
Later in the evening after everyone else had turned in it was just me and Belle across the fire. She was clearly the kind of beauty you’d expect from a top girl at a high class dance joint (as much as the term applies) but she just as clearly needed to run a comb through her hair and bath six to twelve times before she would be even considered presentable. Not to mention her clothing, which was mismatched to begin with and had clearly been torn and badly patched many times. She had two short blades in sheaths not on her hips but on the front of her belt in a way that seemed awkward. She seemed to touch the hilts every few seconds as if checking to make sure they were still there.
“Who are you?”
“Belle Thurnin. Did you not catch my name before?”
“Are you though? Or are you Clancy? Or someone else altogether? How many of you are there in there?”
“I’m certain I haven’t any idea what you’re talking about.”
“I have to admit to you that I fibbed a little bit earlier, the real reason I’m out here is to find you. Whoever you are, I suppose it doesn’t matter really who.”
“I need someone brought back. Can you do that?”
“No, I can’t.” Long pause. “But We can.”
“How do I make that happen?”
“Tomorrow night. We’ll talk.”
“Assuming we survive the assault on the orc stronghold.”
She said nothing in reply, just stared at me, her eyes reflecting the flickering flames in a way that seemed to amplify them. I had a feeling if I were to look into those eyes for long enough that I would start to see things. Bad things. After all the eyes are the windows to the soul right? And I have a feeling some ruthless things are going on in that particular soul right now. I excused myself to seek solace in my pavilion and she continued to sit there, staring at nothing.
Hair regrowth progress : .0525%
Funds: 817 platinum, 55,776 gold
Inventory: Wig of Alluring Charisma +4, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Belt of Giant Strength +4, Versatile Vest, Ring of Sustenance, Campfire Bead, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow, Deck of Curses (two cards used), Ring of Urban Grace, Feather Token (tree), +1 Human Bane Dagger, Bewitching Gown, Grappling Scarf, Wyvern Skin Robe (Robe of Arcane Heritage), Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Ela’s Walking Stick (Rod of Ruin/Agile Alpenstock) Bag of Concealment, Bag of Holding, Black Marketers’ Bag
Pocketed Scarf, Wrist Sheath, Assortment of Fake Signet Rings, , Silver Chain set with Moonstones, Gold and Emerald Ring (2), 852 Garnets, severed hag head, gold necklace with jade pendant, white squirrel fur slippers, ivory combs, receipt, tax collector’s badge, Calastar (Superior Riding horse, Horseshoes of Speed, Endless Feedbag), Wine (expensive) 6 bottles
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, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo