Montalan 23 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

I tell you this much, this Holloway character is turning out to be a pretty uninteresting companion.  All he did last night was sit there like a lump on a frog.  Is that the expression?  Sit there like a toad on a log?  Like a bump on a log?  Something about a frog log?  I admit that I’m meeting him under extreme circumstances, but even so I’m starting to get the impression that he’s nothing to get excited about even at his best.  This is all that I’m saying, I don’t know where I fit in the overall rankings (pretty high though) but I’m undoubtedly the most lovely and charming woman this fellow has ever met and he can’t summon up anything to try and win my favor?  No songs?  No poems?  No funny anecdotes?  Nothing?  You’re probably thinking that he’s a little afraid of me after seeing me single handedly (mostly) defeat an entire inbred clan of ogre mutants and that’s what’s putting a damper on his ardor.  Which is certainly possible.  I’ll take it under advisement at the very least.

Since there was nothing much going last night on I was abed (although there is no bed, so aground?) quite early and subsequently awake early in the morn as well.  So early that I saw, before the sun was even raised, the sea elfs come gliding out of the water like pale and grotesque apparitions.  It’s hard to judge if their menfolk are even more wretched looking than the women.  They don’t have all that greasy hair clinging to them but as a matter of fact they don’t have any hair at all which reveals their bulging odd-shaped eyes and flat little noses.  Neither of them wear much of anything, as I suppose you wouldn’t underwater, but all that exposed soft pallid flesh doesn’t do them any favors.  They came out in ones and twos and threes and there were far more of them then I would have expected – probably more than forty walked silently out of the waters.  It would have seemed like quite the magic trick had I not know about the “caves” they inhabit, which I have to assume is a ruin of some manner.

They filed out of the water and walked a short distance onto land and then just stood there in a clump unmoving, seemingly staring straight ahead, although it’s hard to tell with their mostly colorless eyes.  I wonder how long they would have stood there had I not approached.  Hours?  Days?  Forever?

“I take this to mean that you’re amenable to my trade offer?”

I heard a voice coming from somewhere in the mob but I couldn’t tell from whom “Take us.”

“Sure thing folks, but I don’t work on credit.  Show me what you got for me.”

“Take us.  Then you get remnants.”

“Sounds great, but I need to see them first.  There’s only one thing I’m looking for as I said yesterday and if you don’t have it then there’s no deal.  You follow me?”

After a moment there was some stirring in the horde and one by one eight of them came forward to drop items reclaimed from the forest deeps at my feet.  A bronze mace (does bronze rust or is it magic?), what looked like a piece of a larger suit of armor, an amulet with a massive moonstone, a delicate looking light blade of an odd shape that was probably elf made (the normal land kind of elf), a thick staff of some kind of white wood carven with images of bears, a small pyramid made out of jade (why?), a perfume vial of all things, and mercifully, the Turnbill blade that I was looking for.  I wonder what would happened if it wasn’t there and I had told them to go hang.  They don’t seem violent at all despite their eeriness but you never know how people will react.  I wonder if they would have set off on their own to look for fresher waters.  Probably Holloway would have made some kind of deal with them on his own, or at least tried to.

“Well it looks like we’re in business folks.  You need some time to gather your things or is this it?” No answer was forthcoming for a long moment “What I mean is, are you ready to go.  You know to go to the river, to travel?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, you travel light huh?  I can respect that.  Give me a moment to gather up my companions and we’ll be on our way.”

Holloway was pretty startled to see them all out there standing like that – he said that even seeing the three yesterday was more than he had encountered before.  Can’t blame him really.  Martialla took the sight in stride, I guess we’ve both seen weirder in our day.  It wouldn’t be quite right to say that the elfs were clumsy on land, they weren’t stumbling or lagging behind or anything of that nature, it was more like when you see an elderly person going up stairs – every move was very measured and careful.  I suppose wandering about like this on land has to be pretty foreign to them.  Apparently it can’t be very good for them either because after a couple hours they had transformed from slimly into being very cracked and dried.  By the afternoon skin was flaking off them so badly that we were leaving a cloud of sorts in out wake.  It was like traveling down a dirt road kicking up dust, only instead of dust it was thin strips of papery skin.  I’m glad I was at the head of that procession.  I asked them if they were okay and how long they could be out of water but they didn’t answer.  They got here so they must not be all that fragile right?  I did ask them something else which prompted a response.

“These woods aren’t all that safe.  There’s dangerous beasts and such about.  If we get attacked can you do anything?  Do you have warriors?  I don’t see any weapons.  I don’t see much of anything really.  Can you protect yourselves?”

“Out of water we are weak.”

“Can you run at least?” There was no answer so I changed topics “What happened to all the stuff Holloway was trading you?  I don’t see you carrying hardly anything at all.”

“Too heavy.  We can get more later.”

“There may not be anything valuable to trade with where you’re going.  Although I suppose you can fish or something right?  But you may be far away from Holloway, you may have to make other contacts.”

This elicited no response, I guess it’s not my problem.  I had a horrifying vision of a bear charging out of the woods and attacking them and the flaky bastards just standing there and getting ripped to shreds before my eyes.  I just have to hope that they’re so many of them and they’re so bizarre that nothing will bother us.  And you know what they say about hoping.  They seemed indefatigable and willing to march on endless until we reached the stream, but I wasn’t and in any case I saw that their shoeless feet were getting raw and bloody so I called a halt shortly before sundown. 

“Do you guys have any provisions or food or anything?  It might take us a couple days to get where we’re going.  Do you need water to drink?  How do you feel about wine?  I can make an unlimited amount of wine but we actually don’t have much food ourselves?  Would it be better to travel at night?  The sun doesn’t seem to be very good for you.  Hello?  Is anyone listening to me?”

I don’t know if they were or not, either way they didn’t respond.  Several of them broke from the group and stood shoulder to shoulder in a little circle with their arms around each other.  They started mumbling something in a sibilant language that sounded nothing like elfen and kind of juking back and forth in their little huddle.  After several minutes of this a small spray of water issued out of from the ground like it was a fountain in the town square.  They broke apart and stood patiently as the water flowed out, turning the ground into a soft slurry.  I watched as one by one they filed forwards and disappeared into the muck.   

“Neat trick.  I thought you said you didn’t have any magic anymore.  Is that good for you?  It’s basically just mud it looks like.  Can you breathe in that?”

None of them bothered to answer but once again I have to assume they know what they’re doing.  Maybe it’s some kind of hibernation like those weird walking fish do when the water dries up.  They’re about as grotesque and lovable as mudskippers or whatever you call those fish-things.  Martialla’s scrounging turned up nothing edible but the water elf’s mudhole dislodged a family of gophers from their tunnels and Holloway was quick enough to grab a couple of them and bash their little heads in to give us, not a decent meal, but at least a meal.  I guess he’s not totally worthless.

“Not that long ago if you told me that I’d be eating a charred gopher on a stick I’d have thought you were insane.”

Martialla nodded “Life is an endless adventure.  I’ve been thinking, if we run into some stray orcs down south with this lot there’s going to be trouble.”

“I’m sure it will be fine.”

“Orcs hate elfs.  Granted this lot look more like they are orcs than anything but even so I don’t see that going well.”

I shrugged “Eh, if we run into some orcs and they kill them all I get the sword I want anyway so no big deal.”

“That is stone cold Ela.”

“Hey, I’m trying to help them out, but I haven’t adopted them.” I tossed my now empty gopher-stick into the fire “If it doesn’t work out it doesn’t work out.  Nothing to shed any tears about you know?”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 23,045 platinum, 52,143 gold

XP: 789,511

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Censer of Dreams, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Ring of Urban Grace, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Better Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, unknown gauntlets, mysterious staff, Cape of the Mountebank, Sandals of Sprinting, +1 Agile Rapier  

Noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, disguise kit, covenant ring , tiny diamonds (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, lots of luxury goods 

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, Essa  

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