I never knew before that the Baku Woods were so named because of some old god that no one worships anymore. What happens to a god when people stop caring about them? Do they just sit around being depressed because no one loves them anymore like an old spinster in a rocking chair? Do they cease to exist? Could we get rid of the Lords of the Thirteen if we just stopped believing in them? Why do only good deities fade away? What kind of screwjob is that? There’s so much about the divine workings of the universe that I don’t know. Baku was a one-time god of music, magic, and trickery – people are still pretty into those things so why did they stop believing in him? If you took out the magic part he sounds like the kind of god that I could get behind. So what went wrong? What has he been relegated to the rubbish pile of history?
As Rubast tells it Baku was the nemesis of another old pensioner god called Perion who was all about war and storms and other manly things like virility and fertility – you know the kind of fertility I mean. Perion was supposed to have looked like a serpent of some sort with the head of a bear and eagle wings and antlers and other shit like that. I guess that sort of thing seems cool to primitive people. As the story goes Perion would be getting a sweet war all ready to go and then Baku would come along and use magic and trickery and whatnot to make him look like a fool – sounds like one of his standard bits was turning into a sexy lady and seducing Perion with a beautiful song and then right in the middle of sex Baku would turn back into his normal form. Which is a good gag I guess but you’re still getting pounded in the ass by serpent-bear-eagle monsters so who’s the joke on really? Perion would understandably be enraged by this turn of events and chase Baku around the world and forget all about the world ending war he was going to do.
Who the Lords of Dust were and why they thought Baku was cool and what this had to do with the Storm King’s Mirror I don’t know. Rubast would be happy to tell me all about it but also I don’t care. I just want to get back to being myself. I’m too smart to get my hopes up that that’s going to happen, but this seems like a more promising lead than most. So here I am once again, about to head out into the deep, dark, dangerous woods. I’m more apprehensive about this than I have been in a long time for obvious reasons – getting lost in the woods as a person is bad, but as a tiny kitty cat? Anything could come along and eat me. I was hoping that there would a wagon or something I could ride in, but apparently there’s no trail or road so the ground is going to be too rough – this is a journey of walking. Stella is staying behind to work on my legal issues so it was Cladarielle and the Five Torches that set out as the sun was coming up.
Cladarielle offered to carry me in her pack, but I chose to stick with Neddly – he seems like he’s a pretty good hider. After a few hours we entered the woods. Pesh and Rubast had been talking and joking the whole way, but the other three of the Five Torches were relatively uncommunicative. That’s on brand for Kemgrad, being a dwarf and all, but Keif the elf is more of a question mark. It’s not uncommon for shirelings and gnomes to seek their fortune in the wide world, and as we all know any dwarves away from their clan are insane exiles, but what possesses and elf to stray away from their homeland of pure goodness and light and fairy cakes and happy trees and other elf shit? Aside from the opportunity to make half-elfs I suppose. Keif was bringing up the rear so I turned about in Neddly’s back to rest my paws on the edge of the bag and regard the grumpy elf.
“So Kief, before one of us is killed by bandits or a vengeful dryad or one of the other standard woodland menaces what’s your tale? How did you come to be one of the Five Torches?”
It took a moment for him to answer, as if he had to build up the energy to speak “What does it matter to you?”
“Just curious is all. We’re going to be traveling, why not get to know one another?”
He grunted sourly “I can think of a few reasons.” Despite this assertion after a moment he continued. “Rubast is my half-brother, I told my mother that I’d watch over him until he dies. He can’t live with elfs because he’s part human.”
“Half-elfs aren’t welcome in elf society?”
“There’s no laws against it or anything but it generally doesn’t work out. Their human side makes them stupid and clumsy and violent, not to mention ugly and annoying, they just don’t fit in well with elfs. They’re happier if they don’t try to live in elf lands.”
“And you’re going to watch over him his entire life?”
“Yes. Even if he doesn’t get killed that will only be another eighty years or so.”
“Sure, eighty years is no big deal.”
“Would it be indelicate of me to ask how you ended up with a half-human brother?”
“Yes. My father is not a good person. I don’t know why, but he’s not a proper elf. He left my mother long ago to travel around and along the way he got some human woman pregnant. How he could stand to be with a human I don’t know, that would be like rutting with a nanny goat. He travels all around conning people out of their money. One of his favorite scams is selling people a magic counterfeiting machine that doesn’t really work. I don’t understand why he does this, wanting to travel I can understand a little, but money is a human obsession.”
“You just use acorns or unicorn hairs for economic exchanges in elf lands I suppose?”
“Don’t be disrespectful if you want me to talk to you.”
“Why not, you’re ladling out the disrespect for humans pretty thick here.”
He grunted again “Fair enough. My father isn’t right in the head, I don’t know what happened to him. Rubast is okay though, he doesn’t want to steal from anyone, he just likes to talk and sing silly human songs. His life is stupid and pointless but it’s not evil. For being part human it’s probably the best that he could hope for.”
“What about your father? Are you on some quest to kill him?”
“Elfs don’t kill each other, we’re not like you.”
“Is that true? Elf will not kill elf?”
He didn’t answer for a long while “Mostly it’s true.”
After that he moved away from me towards the front of the party, I guess he didn’t want to talk anymore. As you all know traveling has never been my favorite, but at least as a cat there are all kind of interesting smells in the forest. One of which was a massive boar that appeared in our path to stare at us. I didn’t get a good look at it but it seemed as big as a horse and its hide was matted with heavy scars. You often hear about how ill-tempered and aggressive boars are, which you can’t really blame them for on account of people are always trying to stick spears in them, but this one was smart enough not to attack a party of six heavily armed and armored adventurers. After glaring at us for a while it snuffled off into the woods.
Which begs the question – how smart is a boar anyway? Or any animal for that matter. Dogs are certainly able to be trained to do all kinds of things, but if a dog comes to a gap that it can’t jump what does it do? It doesn’t get to go to the other side. On the other hand if an ant wants to get across a gap it calls up a bunch of its ant buddies and they form a bridge to get across. That seems like problem solving to me. Does that mean that ants are smarter than dogs? Doesn’t seem like it, but what does it mean then? Not long after the encounter with the boar it was time to bed down for the day. We found the perfect place to camp. Elevated but not exposed, with a fresh source of running water and clear sight lines against ambush; it was the single best campsite that I have ever seen. I jumped out of Neddly’s pack and sniffed around while everyone else started setting things up.
“This has to be some kind of trap right? Nothing can be this good can it? Any moment now a troll is going to jump down on us out of a tree or this is going to be revealed to be a fairy ring and when we wake up in the morning we’re going to find that a hundred years have passed or something.”
Cladarielle looked up from unrolling her bed “Have you ever heard the expression don’t look a gift horse in the mouth?”
“Yes, and it’s asinine. Of course you should look a gift horse in the mouth, unless you like being a sucker that people dump their crummy sick horses that you have to take care of on. Why would someone just give you a horse if there was nothing wrong with it? What’s their angle?”
Hair regrowth progress : NA
Inventory: Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Enchanted Tattoo (Storm)
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, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage