Mantelderith 26 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 4

My first order of business after my glorious battle victory was slurping down a healing potion (thanks to my fabulous new coat!) on account of I had been slashed to ribbons with (by?) that stupid looking sword.  Like all healing potions ever brewed (concocted?) it made me feel better but its actual healing effect was maybe twenty percent of my actual physical wounds.  Kind of like a narcotic drug now that I think about it.  Whoever makes these things is a real sadistic bastard because they never work even halfway.  The current state of healing potion economics is probably some global conspiracy that has to do with a shadow dimension of pain-worshipping demons that have infiltrated all religions from the beginning of human history.  What a yawn right?  The second order to business was a little light looting, but there wasn’t much to be looted.  The fox monsterman had some kind of magicky looking bracelets on its wrists but they looked unwholesome so I didn’t touch them.  That’s the problem with cult smashing as a line of work – all their stuff is horrible tainted with the screaming souls of their victims or some shit like that. 

You ever have one of those days that feels like it’s going to go on forever?  I feel like this day is never going to end.  It’s barely even noon and already I’ve already had to deal with a murderous wizard cult.  And I’m sure when I get back to the caravan it’s going to have been taken hostage by dark elfs or hill giants or some other damn thing and it’s going to be up to me to do something about it.  I have to do everything myself.  It never ends!  When do I get one solitary moment of peace and quiet?  Never that’s when, because the whole world and everyone in it is plotting against me.  And yet, despite overwhelming odds I bravely carry on like the big damn hero that I am.  It’s quite inspiring it is – feel free to be inspired in your own life by my renowned determination and grit, I don’t mind.

Timora was insistent that we chase after the masked people that ran away.  I told her that since the jackal demon (sorry, not demon, evil spirit) was dead it didn’t matter anymore, and also that I didn’t care anyway.   She had a real bug up her ass about murderers being loose in her village though.  You just can’t reason with some people.  I think it’s something in their upbringing, they were never taught how to debate the right way and think about problems logically.  It would be sad if it wasn’t so annoying.  I guess it’s still a little funny.  Since she was so adamant about finding them I explained to her that we didn’t need to run after them with our feet like morons – since she’s the mayor she can just have everyone turn out in the town square and the three people that are wounded?  Those are the ones you’re looking for.

“They aren’t going to show up if I do that, they know I’m looking for them” she said stupidly.

“Then the people who are missing are the one’s you’re looking for.  This isn’t that big of a village, it won’t be hard to root them out.” I explained intelligently.

And it wasn’t.  We didn’t even have to look for them because we saw them trying to flee with Tarloon as hostage. They weren’t even trying to be subtle about it, trusting that the knife to the throat of the boy would see them through.  One of the ones I killed the melee (actually I think she died of her wounds later) had been a woman, as were two of these ones trying to flee.  That’s surprisingly egalitarian for a cult in my experience.  From what I’ve seen there’s usually a clear division of labor by gender in murder cults – men do the sacrificing and women are the ones being sacrificed.  That makes for a real tough pitch when it comes to recruiting women into your organization.  I suppose that’s the benefit of having a spirit monster as your cult leader – they don’t discriminate because to them all humans are verminous pawns.  There’s a lesson there for sure. 

Timora seemed to think that this hostage situation was quiet a thorny issues to resolve but the answer was simple – I walked up to them with sword in hand.  When they threatened to kill the hostage I ignored them.  Once it became apparent to them that I wasn’t interested in the fate of their hostage they turned him loose and prepared for a dramatic last stand.  I explained to them that everyone understood that the hyena creature had enchanted them and if they gave up their weapons and their wicked ways they wouldn’t face any undue punishment or retribution but rather they would receive the love and support they needed to overcome this ordeal.  It might even be true.  Timora seems like a soft touch, I’m sure she’ll try to redeem them and make them productive members of the community once more instead of hanging and burning them like she should.  Not my problem either way. The cultists were desperate for an out so they threw down their weapons/farm tools and then themselves on the mercy of the mayor-witch.  Once that was all wrapped up I found Timora in her garden gathering up the pieces of her still-animated scarecrow butler.

She looked up as I approached “I have a confession to make.”

“You aren’t going to make me a magic flask are you?”

“If you knew that why did you help?”

“Oh, I was already here so why not?  Plus I assumed would were going to give me some kind of reward for saving your entire village and everyone in it even if it wasn’t what I wanted.”

“I wouldn’t say that’s what you did exactly but you’re right, you deserve something for your efforts.  I don’t really have much that would be useful to someone who doesn’t use magic though.”

“You clearly have some kind of dream spells.  There’s this old queen – and by that I mean a female ruler not a gay dude – that’s like a dream ghost or a living dream that’s been harassing me.  Can you do something about that?  She wants me to help her reestablish her kingdom.  Or maybe she wants me to find her a body to inhabit?  Or something.  I’m not sure exactly what she wants but she keeps coming around and annoying me.”

She nodded “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Another thing I want, that hostage kid – I would ask that you take him and raise him as your own.  He needs some parental guidance, he’s heading down the wrong path and he needs the love and attention of a good woman to put him back on the right.”

She was reluctant at first to take on this monumental life-changing task, but after that initial resistance she caved in remarkable quickly in my opinion.  She didn’t break down in tears and confess that this what she always secretly wanted, but I could tell that there was something there – maybe she can’t have kids herself or just never did for some reason, but I underneath I think this was something of a godsend in her mind.  And hey, maybe she will straighten out that little asshole.  Unless he runs away at the first chance he gets, which seems likely – he wasn’t happy about being left behind.

By the time I got back to the caravan the day was pretty much spent – not the day day but the caravan day you know?  With all the animals to corral and things to buckle and strap down and firepits and latrines to dig they usually grind to a halt several hours before sundown.  Everyone was very concerned about Tarloon but I told them that he was traumatized by his kidnapping experience and that I had found a nice young couple to take him in and give him the family he always wanted.  This brought out the joyful weeping from several people – that kid must really be good at worming his way into people’s hearts.  In honor of this wonderful turn of events for their beloved Tarloon someone brought out the good booze.  Relatively speaking.  Martialla found us a couple folding camp chairs and we sat back to watch the carvaneers celebrate with a jug of their finest corn squeeze.

“What no one ever tells you is how hard cult-busting is on the old feet.  How about a foot rub?”

“It’s hard to imagine a scenario where I would rub your feet.  I’m not saying that there isn’t one, I just can’t think of it.”

“Why would you say that?  My feet are delightful.”

“They’re still feet.  I don’t love touching my own feet, why would I ever touch yours?”

“You’re the worst friend I’ve ever had.”

“Well yeah, I’m the only friend you’ve ever had, so.  So what really happened to the kid?  Did you push him down a well or did you cut his throat?  Or did you cut his throat and then push him down a well?”

“No, actually what happened is pretty close to what I said.  Plus you shouldn’t push people in wells – when they die that contaminates the entire water supply with their rotting flesh.  Think Martialla.  You need to consider the big picture.”

“My mistake.  I’ll be sure to be more careful in the future.”

“See that you do!”

That night I slept with my Necklace to see if I would be visited by the dream-empress and if so what the witch-mayor would do about it.  I was not, instead it was just the “typical” nightmare assault from beyond the mortal realm.  So I got a shitty night of sleep and accomplished nothing.  Thanks for nothing witch-mayor!  “I’ll see what I can do” my sweet ass.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 47,040 platinum, 25,750 gold

XP: 1,161,951  14400

Inventory: Hat of Effortless Style, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Ela’s Dazzling Garment, Belt of Physical Might +4, Ring of Urban Grace, Black Marketers’ Bag (5), Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Elegant Boots, Ela’s Extravagant Necklace, Brooch of Shielding, Headband of Subtle Misdirection, Antiquarian’s Monocle, +1 Glorious Undead Bane Short Sword, Ela’s Stately Greatcoat

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 (26), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three), darkwood and platinum music box, silver bracelet set with bloodstones, platinum ring set with fire opal, silver and moonstone bracelet, holy symbol of Kozilek, dwarf journal

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, eyeless hag, Baron Saltwheel, Baron Harmenkar, Colonel Tarl Ciarán’s wizard soldier, Victor, Beharri, Cebuano, Mayor Eryn, Chimera Trading Company

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