Mede 5 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

After yesterday’s delve into orc-den Lady Foxglove and the two Wayettes (no relation) decided to return to town, escorting those freed from orc-bondage with them.  I assured Korvosa that I would make sure that the Heroes held up their part of the bargain.  I thought that her taste for blood might have been slaked but she remained adamant that those responsible for the deaths of her family pay.  Belle would be going with them as well, much to the annoyance of Stannum, the most obnoxious of the Heroes of the Lost Sword.  He looked every bit the dashing swordsman that would make ladies swoon but his personality was not what you would expect at all.  He was a real tight-ass and definitely liked to be in control of everything and everyone.  In the melee through the orc-caves he was constantly shouting out “tactical advice” that seemed to irritate even his own teammates.   

He reminds me of Dario in many ways – there must be something about being a talented cavalryman that makes you lean towards being a dyed in the wool jackass.  The point is that whatever was going on with Belle had stopped this morning and she didn’t seem to really remember much of what had happened after leaving the Good Man.  She was understandably confused but I was able talk her through it and advise her just to return to town and put this entire incident behind her.  Since she wouldn’t need them anymore I relieved her of the short blades she wielded so competently before and now seemed to frighten her.  In a way I can’t blame her, they were in need of a good cleaning. 

Before they headed out I made sure to take Raqmia and Alaric, the two priests, or priest and priestess rather, aside to have a little conversation with them.  I made it clear to them that Foxglove and I had saved them and not the Heroes of the Lost Sword – who were just hired mercs paid to kill orcs.  Turns out they hadn’t missed the fact that the Heroes had allocated all the items stolen from the temple amongst themselves instead of giving them back but had planned on not making a big deal about it.  I urged them to do the exact opposite – saying that I hoped when they get back to town they would go immediately to the guard and file a complaint against them for theft of religious artifacts.  They didn’t seem enthusiastic about the idea but at least the seed was planted. 

Once they were off there was little to do but wait for Rokia to come back with news.  Most of the Heroes kept to themselves, but Rikcard – the bespectacled one – and the renegade Kostelos Kiayan joined Martialla and I in tackling a bottle of wine.  Once he was a few drinks in Rikcard started giving me the eye again.

“It’s not polite to stare good sir.”

“Are you sure I don’t know you?”

“Like I said you probably saw me in Guernica, I know I saw you there a few times.”

“But we never talked?  Your voice sounds very familiar to me.”

“Maybe we exchanged a few words, but I don’t recall.  Kiayan you must have an interesting tale.  I haven’t seen too many Kostelos who strike out on their own into the world of us settled folk.”

It wasn’t an interesting tale at all, and was quite poorly told – turns out that Kiayan is rather the despicable character himself.  He decided at a young age that Kostelos life wasn’t for him and ran away to the city, where it sounds like for the most part he’s made his money helping to exterminate his fellow savages.  What a peach.  Thankfully not long after he finished his boring tale of betrayal and genocide assistance Rokia turned up with some tracks that she thought we worth checking out.  The brave Heroes mobilized and we were off.  The tracks lead to a fairly large complex by the river the purpose of which I couldn’t quite puzzle out.  It didn’t appear to be a mill of any kind, but it was set out on both banks – maybe it was some kind of river toll station in the past?  Doesn’t matter I suppose because it was long abandoned but also had signs of more recent activity – such as new doors with very secure locks. 

Not secure enough of course, the Heroes resident lock expert Kara was able to tease it open in quick order.  There was a short hallway on the other side of the door that had a few boxes stacked on the far end – which were stolen from the caravan that lead Lady Foxglove to search this area in the first place.  Through a set of doors on the right was a storage room that contained more stolen odds and ends, I got the sense that it was a staging area where they stored their loot before finding a buyer.  Clearly in order to fund their cultic activities they were resorting to the time honored funding method of highway robbery.  The door on the other side of the hallway was locked even more impressively and while Kara was working on it the door flew open and a fellow in a leather mask blasted her in the chest with a flail.  Have you ever seen someone get a blindside smash with a flail?  It’s not a pretty sight.  But as you know these adventures are nothing if not tough and she hopped up with her blade ready to rumble. 

A very strange doorway/hallway fight broke out as several more leatherfaced killers came into view – neither side wanted to try and dash through the door and face the combined might of the other so it was a lot of swinging and dashing back and a confusing muddle.  I couldn’t see who was doing it, but I could definitely hear someone back behind the leather brigade shouting exhalations and singing what I assume to freaky cultists were inspirational hymns.  Having no desire to get in that mess I went back outside and found another entrance door to the west.  It was locked tight as well but my Walking Stick made short work of it. The interior was quite something – the boathouse or whatever it had been before was extensively reworked to look something like an Adarial temple but you know, evil and culty.  It must have taken a ton of work to remodel this – maybe this cult is particularly popular with carpenters? 

On the far side I could see the back and forth attacking through the door but I couldn’t see who was doing the inspirational chanting and shouting.  Their leader must be a coward who turned himself invisible.  What kind of a spineless poltroon would do something like that?  I took cover behind a set of wooden benches and started firing on the cultists absorbed in their door-fighting. The crossfire broke the stalemate and allowed the fighting to spill into the insanely spacious worship space.  I was trying to keep an eye out for any sign of the invisible cantor but what I managed to spot instead is a badly injured Kara retreating back into the hallway.  I went back out the door I had come through and around and back in the original door to where she was kneeling, pulling a potion out of her backpack. She looked up as me as I came in.

“You can’t cast any healing spells can you?”

“This I do in the name of Pakkita the Faceless One.”

“What?”

When I shot her through the neck the potion tumbled out of her hand and shattered on the floor, spilling blue liquid.  I grabbed my bolt out of her throat as I made my way to the door and watched the mopping up of the cult-fighters, taking the occasional shot.  When it was all over Martialla found cowering behind the altar a woman in a black cloak and elegant red dress with a comically oversized chest.  She started to thank us for saving her from the clutches of the cult but she was cut short when I shot her in the stomach.  Everyone, save Martialla looked at me in horror.

“Nice try pal.  Drop the disguise or I’ll shoot you again.”

The woman was gasping in pain and begging for mercy which prompted the Heroes to come to her aid and dissuade me from doing any further damage.  I shook my head as they carefully removed the crossbow bolt and used a healing potion to bring her to her feet. I leveled my crossbow at the whole group.

“Nobody move.”

Stannum gave me a death glare “Are you threatening me?  You have to know that won’t work well.”

“Are you people stupid?  You know magic exists right?” I changed my appearance to match that of the ‘woman’ in red.  “There now are you going to help me?”

Rikcard stepped between us holding his hands up “Now wait a minute everyone, let’s not do anything hasty.”

Just that moment there was an anguished shout from out in the hallway – Thomasina, the Heroes steely eyed crossbow woman had found the body of Kara and was quite distraught.  Quite distraught indeed.  I didn’t pick up on it at all but apparently they had been very special friends.  She came back into the room sobbing.

“What happened?  What happened to Kara! She’s dead!”

Rikcard frowned “What?  She was hurt but she was right behind me, I thought everything was fine.”

Stannum gave me an accusatory look “I saw you coming from that hallway, were you helping her?”

“I’m not a healer, look we can worry about that later right now we need to deal with the lady in red – I guarantee you that’s whoever was hanging around invisibly during the fight.  It’s the oldest fucking trick in the book, when things don’t go your way pretend to be a captive.”

The “woman” sniffled and grabbed onto Stannum desperately “Why is she saying these awful things?’

Thomasina seized me by the arm “What did you do to Kara?”

I pulled away “Get off of me!  Don’t put your hands on me you bitch, you don’t ever put your hands on me!”

While Martialla and Rikcard were both trying to keep everything calm the “woman” disappeared revealing a skinny man in an ugly pinkish tabard with a widow’s peak like you wouldn’t believe and a patchy beard that looked like something you might find on a fourteen year old boy.  Stannum recoiled in disgust and then made to strike the cringing man with his blade.

“No wait, let’s take him back to town and turn him over to the sheriff.  I think Lady Foxglove deserves to see the man who killed her family hang.”

Thomasina shook her head grimly “We’re not going anywhere until we figure out what happened to Kara.”

“I don’t fucking know, she was dead when I came through.”

Rikcard once again tried to appeal to reason “Now everyone just hold on, I’ll go take a look and see what happened back there.”

He headed into the hallway while Martialla and I dragged the cult leader away from Stannum to prevent him from being kicked to death.  Martialla bound him while I kept an eye on Thomasina who was staring daggers at me.  Stannum started blustering around the room ostensibly searching but mostly just causing a ruckus.  After a short time Rikcard came back into the room.

“She had a potion bottle in her hand so she didn’t succumb to her wounds, it looks like someone took her by surprise and stabbed her through the throat.”

Thomasina whipped up her crossbow, pointing at me “I knew it!  I knew you killed her!”

I held my hands up “Why would I do that?”

Thomasina was weeping openly “You wanted a bigger share of the treasure.”

“What share?  What treasure?  I’m just helping out Lady Foxglove, I’m not getting any money for this.  Why don’t you ask Kiayan what happened to her?”

Stannum looked around “Where is Kiayan?”

“He’s fucking gone!  While you were all arguing he grabbed a sack of gold from behind the altar and he split.”

Stannum was enraged “What?!”

He stormed towards the door, brushing aside Rikcard when he tried to stop him.  I could hear him outside mounting his horse and riding off furiously.  Thomasina dropped her crossbow to the floor and staggered back into the hallway.  Rikcard looked around helplessly and our eyes locked.

He shook his head “What a mess.”

Martialla and I escorted the cult leader out to where Rokia was waiting for us.  She arched an eyebrow.

“How did it go in there?”

“About as well as usual.”

_______________________________________________________________

Hair regrowth progress :  .0555% 

Funds: 817 platinum, 55,776 gold

XP: 275,051

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, +2 Keen Short Sword (2)  

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) 4 bottles, Gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays 

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

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