Mede 15 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

At the end of our travels today we came upon the village of Crosseneller, an isolated community that can be reached only by virtue of a single bridge.  Both scenic and idyllic Crosseneller is blessed with an abundance of fresh water and wildlife, making it prosperous off hunting and the working of hides.  There’s probably a name for that.  Hidening?  All this non-threatening niceness made me highly suspicious.  When something seems this safe at any moment someone is going to turn into a monster, or a ghost is going to push someone off a roof, or they entire village is going to be revealed as existing on some other dimension, or some other damn thing.  I said as much to Martialla.

“I think you’re being a little paranoid.”

“Of course I am!  When’s the last time we went anywhere without something insane happening?”

“We do seem to have more than our fair share of calamities.”

“No good will come of this, you mark my words.”

“Like in a diary or something?”

“Shut up.”

That night the villagers had a celebration in our honor – it was the kind of place where having any visitors is a reason to have a party.  I sat sourly watching the merriment and entertainment while everyone else joined in like morons.  Even Bixton shook off his young person melancholy and got into the spirit, dancing with some of the village maidens.  Boy were they barking up the wrong tree.  At first I refused to touch any of the great feast spread out before us, but eventually I caved – it did look good and no one was keeling over and clutching at their stomachs from deadly poison.  Yet.  The food was fairly pedestrian but the brandy and coffee was excellent. The headwoman of this village, called Meagan, came over to sit by me while I scowled at the dancing and merry-making.  She was a small woman with a mass of brown curls that looked they weighed half as much as she did.  I think she might have been a half-elf but I couldn’t see he ears with all that hair.

“You don’t look like a woman who’s having a good time.”

“I’m just waiting for the other boot to drop.”

“Been having a rough time of it lately?”

“Only since I was born.”

“No offense, but you’re wearing jewels worth ten villages of this size, you can’t complain that much can you?”

“I can and I will.  So what’s the story?  Was this place the site of a massacre back in the old days?  When the moon comes up are the dead going to rise and slaughter us all?”

“The moon’s already up.  They did have some trouble with bandits about fifteen years ago.”

“Ah-ha!  I knew it!  And they swore that they’d come back on this very night and cut everyone’s noses off and shove them up their various holes?”

“Not that I’m aware of.  No one’s seen them for more than ten years now.  That’s why I’m here actually, I came with some friends of mine to run off the bandits and I decided to stay.”

“So you and your friends killed the bandits and their unquiet spirits will be back for revenge from beyond the grave?  They’ll attack us where we can’t defend ourselves, in our dreams.”

“A couple of them did get killed but most of them just ran away.  Probably to just bandit somewhere else.  That’s a hard career to shake I imagine.  If they were going to get revenge I think they would have done it by now but if it makes you feel better don’t go to sleep tonight.”

“I never got to sleep!”

“O . . . kay.  Congratulations?  I have to say you’re a much stranger conversationalist that thought.”

“You didn’t have to say it.  You haven’t caught me at my best.  I’m starting to feel a little run ragged.  There’s no days off you know?”

“I used to know, my days are pretty serene though now.  Whatever you’re after maybe you should think about if it’s really worth it.  My friends and I used to gallivant around and get into all sorts of mischiefs, it was all terribly exciting at the time but when I think back on it I don’t miss it.  I wish I had learned earlier that it’s better to live a simple life and help people out, like I have here.”

“It’s worth it.  How did you deal with these bandits?  I should know better than anyone that looks can send you off the wrong trail but you don’t seem like a fighting type.”

“Some of my friends were warriors, my part was summoning beasts to do fighting for me.  And some other spells as well.”

“Magic eh?  Over the past few days in these woods I’ve run into a wise woman, a wizard, a witch, and now you.  Is this some kind of magic forest?”

“Yes, actually.  There are places saturated with magical energy, the result of which is that arcane magics more potent and easier to manipulate.”

“Why isn’t there some grand magic academy here then?”

“There was in the days of the Old Empire but the intensity of this magic energy ebbs over time, and this process is accelerated by human habitation and environmental damage, which I guess are kind of the same thing.  On top of which, the energy is effected by tragedies and other forms of human misery that come along with lots of people being around. If you believe the history texts the magic around here ran dry in times past which caused its abandonment.  It’s recovered enough to attract some folks attuned to such things but it will never be what it once was.”

“I can relate to that.”

“I wonder if some day there will be so many people and places that all the magic will be gone from the world.”

“We can only hope.”

“Why do you say that?”

“From what I’ve seen magic is mostly a tool of destruction and enslavement.  And don’t give me that old malarkey about magic just being a tool and its people that decide what to do with it – from what I’ve seen magic corrupts and dements those that wield it.  No offense.”

Meagan nodded towards Martialla where she was sitting with a couple handsome fellows laughing and sharing a drink “Your friend seems neither corrupt nor demented.”

“She’s one of the good ones.”

“Well if it does happen I don’t think it will happen for hundreds of years so I suppose there’s nothing to us to worry about, but I think it’s a shame that future generations might live without it – magic can do wonderful things.”

“If you had seen what I had seen just the other day I don’t think you’d be so sanguine.”

“I saw some pretty perverse things in the old days, but I still hold out hope.  Now, if you’ll excuse me.”

I thought she was going to join the party but instead she stood up and made like she was going to jump into the table, turning into an owl in mid-air and then flying off into the night.  I suppose that was supposed to impress me or help me see the wonder in magic.  It didn’t work. 

_______________________________________________________________

Hair regrowth progress :  .087% 

Funds: 1817 platinum, 70,604 gold

XP: 328,851

Inventory:  Wig of Alluring Charisma +4, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Enchanted Tattoo (Storm) Belt of Physical Might +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, +1 Human Bane Dagger, Bewitching Gown, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Ela’s Walking Stick (Rod of Ruin/Agile Alpenstock) Bag of Concealment, Bag of Holding, Black Marketers’ Bag, Handy Haversack, white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Knave’s Robes +4, Nymph’s Favor

Pocketed Scarf, wrist sheath, assortment of Fake Signet Rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), 842 garnets, severed hag head, gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, receipt, tax collector’s badge, Gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, 5 gold trade bars, 3 diamond in amber coins, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, glass vials of something awful (8) 

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, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán

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