Mantelderith 16 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Today is the day of the big celebration.  And what is the Baron celebrating?  It’s unclear exactly, but somehow the Baron has done something very noteworthy by being entranced by an old barbarian woman and then being set free of that entrancement through no actions of his own.  I suppose taking credit for what other people have done is kind of his job so it’s probably fine.  In this case I don’t begrudge them a little festival because really what it is comes down to is that it’s a celebration of surviving.  It doesn’t matter much that the Baron didn’t do anything, the fact remains that the crisis is over.  Why not have a drink and kick back and relax?  It’s a cruel world out there, no reason not to take your victories when you can. 

For a jubilee thrown together in three days in a backwoods shithole the festivities today weren’t half bad.  They were all bad!  Classic.  While hilarious that’s not entirely true, the preparations at the Manor itself are pathetic but things are actually pretty festive in Alleene – in a low down countrified kind of way.  A day off work is all most people really need to get excited.  I got up early to head into town and there were plenty of people who were already having themselves a good old time.  The place was festooned with strings of flower garlands (where did all the flowers come from?) and ribbons and the various other accoutrements of gaiety.  Amidst these joyful decorations everyone was chatting and drinking and eating in the spirit of good cheer.  Someone had constructed a castle out of hay bales for the kids to play on and get all scratched up and itchy and there were tents and booths set up for games and shows and whatnot.  Given the quick turnaround it was actually kind of impressive. 

Aleene has no temple of Odobenine, their sole religious installation is dedicated to Adariel.  I was little worried about this because the Odobeninists will do anything as long as you’re willing to pay for it.  Well almost anything.  No, anything.  Adarielianians are a little trickier to deal with.  All religious groups have convictions and codes of conduct and such, but the difference is they actually follow theirs (mostly).  I often wonder how that works with “adventuring” priestesses like those two that were with Bonder (before I killed him).  How are you able to reconcile being a kindly healer and caretaker of the weak and needed with the murderous selfishness of adventuring?  Maybe they weren’t really Adarielists, that’s probably just what they tell people.  That would be typical of adventurers, liars and killers they are, all of them.  I know what you’re thinking, it’s different when I do it – I have a good cause.

The temple had set up an outdoor kitchen or sorts along with a dozen or so long tables and was serving a free breakfast to whoever turned up.  The head priestess is some Juost relative (or course) but the underpriest or whatever you call the second in command of a church, looked to be half Kostelos.  With all the troubles recently on account of Kartak and the Sky Thunders I figured she would be keeping out of sight, but on one seemed to care, in fact she seemed to be rather beloved based on the people that kept coming up to talk to her excitedly.  I suppose the common folk in Alleene probably didn’t even really realize what was going on at the Manor.  When you’re at the bottom of the pyramid it doesn’t matter much who’s at the top.  Those two were watching on approvingly as their smiling charges dished up a hearty slop to the good people of Alleene.  They were also chatting with a tall powerfully built woman and a Shireling who, although they were both decked out in Adariel vestments, had the hint of fighting types about that.  Maybe a knight and her squire come to visit?  Knights are technically supposed to be religious folk, it’s just unusual when you see one that actually is.

I approached the head priestess, she was an homely woman with a narrow face and an overly tight curls in her hair.  A good loose curl can look quite fetching but then they’re all scrunched up like that it looks austere.  I apologized for interrupting her on this day of celebration but explained that it was a matter of urgency.  The maybe knight gave me a somewhat suspicious look but the priestess invited me to speak to her in private without a second thought.  She led me into the temple and through to her offices where she listened intently as I explained my predicament with the undead Wesel and how in less than three weeks my life would be forfeit if I wasn’t able to bring this off.  Once I was done she considered this for a moment and then nodded.

“It can be done.”

I was mildly shocked “It can?”

“Through the power Adariel grants us many things are possible.”

“Many?  Not all?”

She smiled slightly “No, not all.  Resurrection magic is very difficult, and it can be dangerous to the one performing the ritual, but it’s certainly something that can be done.  I lack the power to do it but I know of others in the church that can.”

“That’s great, last time I brought someone back from the dead it was a real pain in the ass.  Uh, sorry, I mean it was a real pain.”

She raised an eyebrow slightly “You’ve done this before?”

“Yes, once.  Someone died when they were in my service, it wasn’t really my fault, but at the time I felt like I owed that to her.  If we’re being honest I’m not sure it really worked out.  She’s alive, but she hates me now.  I have to imagine dying and coming back to life is a pretty traumatic experience, she’s having trouble adjusting..”

“If it makes you feel better you can’t bring someone back against their will, the spirit has to be willing, otherwise the spell fails.  She is in pain now, but she chose to return, and she may find peace again through Adariel’s good grace.  I pray that it will be so.”

“I guess being alive to hate my guts is better than the alternative.”

“Just so.  The question that we must ask is this – it can be done, but should it?  Raising the dead is nothing to be taken lightly.  Many die that deserve to live, is there a reason that our old Lord Wesel should be given a second chance?”

“It would save my life.”

“And?”

“Excuse me?  I thought all life was precious to you people.”

“And so it is.  I don’t mean to sound indifferent but you entered into this bargain freely, if you’re just trying to save your own life I don’t know if the church is going to be all that interested in helping you avid the consequences.  There are many that need aid, and we do our best to help them, but there’s only so much that can be done.  This sort of undertaking is a substantial use of resources.  It needs to be considered carefully.”

“That’s fair.  If you’re looking for justification, you’re right, my motivating is staying alive.  But I think that there’s a compelling case for Lord Wesel.  He didn’t ask to come back as an undead guardian – it happened when people came to disturb his mortal remains and those of his family.  All he wants is to return to the communion of souls, to rest with his ancestors once more.  He’s innocent in all of this, he deserves a chance to rest peacefully doesn’t he?  Not to mention you’d be ridding the world of a dangerous undead thing.”

“Is he so innocent if he’s going to kill you?”

“I don’t hold it against him, being an undead monster probably makes you a little crabby.”

“And what about you?  Is your life worth saving?”

“Isn’t all life worth saving?  I could list off all the great deeds I’ve done and the people I’ve helped, I could list off some real shitty stuff I’ve done as well – sorry – some things that might curl your nips.  But none of that matters in Adariel’s eyes does it?  We’re all her children, none of us favored above the others – from the cruelest blackguard to the kindest saint she had love for us all.”

She smiled “Well said.  Do you believe those words?”

“If you’re asking me if I’m one of the faithful, no I am not, but I believe in the spirit of those words.  Baron, Duke, high priestess, cobbler, cooper, candlestick maker, liar, killer, heretic – we’re all just people.  Some are better, some are worse, but we all stand shoulder to shoulder you know?”

She regarded me for a moment “I get the sense that you’ve lived an interesting life.  And I mean no offense, but you don’t look like the kind we sometimes get making these kind of requests that come from leading an interesting life.”

“You mean like your friend with the sword outside?” She nodded “I just dress better is all.”

“If what you’re saying is true we might be able to help.  I’ll look into your story and decide on the best course of action.”

“When might that be, kind of a tight schedule here you know, what with the impending death and all.”

“Of course, I’ll see what I can find out tonight, meet with me tomorrow after services and I’ll make sure that I keep you in the loop.”

“Sounds good, and when are services?”

She gave me a judgey look, but seriously did she think I was the kind of person who would regularly attend services?  I’ve been wracking my brain but I don’t really have any other ideas to bring Wesel back other than begging the church for help.  That doesn’t sit well with me for a variety of reasons, foremost among them – what if they can’t or won’t do anything?  I need other options.  As I was leaving the priestess’s office I saw the Shireling was leaning against the wall waiting for me.  Even in holy vestments he looked like a mean little piece of work.  I think it was his eyebrows, they made him look like he had a perpetual scowl.  The two blades he had at his sides didn’t help.  He fell in beside me as I walked out.

“There’s another option, Miss Fancypants and I could just destroy this undead menace.”

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you that eavesdropping is impolite?”

“All the time.”

“He can’t be destroyed, he’ll just come back.”

“Then there’s no harm in us heading in there and doing a little smiting is there?”

I stopped to turn and face him “I would rather you didn’t do that.  I don’t want anyone messing around with this particular unquiet spirit – not unless I have no other options.  I don’t want anyone making things worse accidentally.  Or on purpose.”

“A lot of people would rather a lot of things didn’t happen, what does that got to do with me?”

“Okay, let me put it a different way – mess around in there and I’ll ruin your fucking life.”

He chuckled and held his hands up “Okay, okay, I won’t tell her ladyship about the undead creature laying curses on people – there’s no way you’d be able to stop her.  She’s like a dog with a bone once she gets on the trail of the undead.  She hates ‘em she does.”

“Who doesn’t?”

“Necromancers.”

“Fair.”

“When the full moon is closer if you haven’t gotten this thing figured look me up and Long Tall Sally and I will go in there and do things the hard way with this undead bastard.”

“Why do you care?”

“Tombs of rich people usually have some expensive stuff in them.”

“What kind of Adarielian are you?”

“Hey sweetheart, holy crusades ain’t cheap.   And these are tough times, the faithful don’t donate like they used to, I’m just doing my part to help fill the coffers of the holy mother during these trying days.”

“Adariel helps those who help themselves right?”

He tapped his nose “Now you’re getting it.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 53,040 platinum, 21,660 gold

XP: 1,147,551

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, 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, Ring of Counterspells, Brooch of Shielding, Cloak of the Hedge Wizard (Abjuration), Headband of Subtle Misdirection, Antiquarian’s Monocle, Unbalanced Scales, +1 Glorious Undead Bane Short Sword

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

Montalan 16 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

I clearly wasted my summoning token because the Uthdanians were already well aware that the orcs were on their way (maybe) – exactly as some smart and attractive woman who no one ever listened to no matter how often she’s proven correct said that they would be.  There’s no border to the Uthden Homesteads, on account of it’s a collection of homesteads and not a discreet thing, but someone had decided where they would make their stand against the orcs and they were working feverishly to dig a long trench at that spot anchored on the ends by piles of whatever you call the trees lumber people cut down but then decide they don’t want.  Garbage?  Discards?  Refuse?  I’m not a military anything really but it looked like a pretty poor fortification to me.  For one the orcs could just avoid the entire thing by going through the woods, but even if they didn’t it wasn’t much of a trench – just a hop skip and a jump and you’re over it.  As we were approaching one of the leaders of the digging crew, you know he’s a leader because he was yelling at other people to dig faster while doing no digging himself, shouted out asking how far behind us the orcs were.

“No idea, we just arrived here last night by magical transportation.”

“What?”

“Don’t worry about it, who’s in charge here?”

“In charge of what?”

I sighed “Just point me to someone damn it!”

I got the distinct impression that no one was in charge really but after talking to a couple of different people who clearly thought they were in charge I ended up at a little cluster of tents where a passel of Adariel people were preparing bandages and whatever else healers do on the eve of battle.  Praying I guess since they’re full of religion.  They were dressed in a distinctive style that means they’re part of some particular Adarielite order or other but I was never very good at keeping track of those.  It was one I haven’t seen before I’m pretty sure.  It must be one with a different slant than most Adarielist sects because it was mostly men and the church of Adariel is one of the few places that tends to slant the other way – healing and niceness and happiness being fragile feminine qualities of course.  The master of this bunch was an unimpressive fellow with a robe that looked like it was borrowed second hand, or maybe third hand.  He had badly thinning hair and that weird loose skin around the neck that happens when someone is tremendously obese and then loses much of that weight.

“Greetings your holiness, we come from the seat of the Baron.”

He bobbed his head in a strange bird-like manner that I guess was supposed to be nodding “Excellent, how many soldiers did you bring?”

“None, this is more of an information gathering expedition.”

His face fell “Information?  Information?!  We’re about to be overrun by orcs!  What more is there to learn?”

“That remains to be seen.  Let me ask you your eminence what exactly is the plan here?  Hold the line against the frenzied orc attack?  Fight to the last?  All that?  Blood and glory and honor?”

“Of course, we must protect our homes!”

“Eh, you know what they say, home is where the heart is.  I’m going to level with your father, I think making a valiant stand here against the orc tide is a poor idea.  Discretion is the better part of valor you know?  You want to protect your homes?  You can’t.  A couple hundred orcs coming down this way, assuming they don’t bypass your defenses as they easily could, four score of farmers with spears behind a dirt hole aren’t going to stop them.  You’ll be overrun and slaughtered and then your homes will be wrecked anyway, which won’t matter too much because you’ll all be dead.  Instead of wasting your time and energy digging a pit you should be getting the Hells out of here, pardon my language, head into the woods and ride this out.”

“We have to stop them here!”

“Why?  They’re going to burn all your houses down anyway, nothing can stop that.  Make the choice were you get to live and rebuild.”

“If we don’t stand in their way they’re head straight south to Preen.”

“So what?  Preen is a shithole and the people that live there are mostly shitty people.  That place being wiped off the map by orcs would be fine.  But that notwithstanding they’re fifty-seven times more capable of repelling an orc attack that you lot are.  On account of it’s a city.  They have tons of people there, some of them who fight for a living.  Not to mention which I doubt the orcs will even make it that far.  I have a feel orcs aren’t really strong on logistics, they’ll probably run out of food and get bored and go home before they even make it.  Unless you give them something that makes them not bored – like fighting them.  I heard they love that shit.  What they want is people to kill, get out of their way and what are they going to do?  Stomp around looking for people to kill and then giving up.  It’s like when a boar spots you in the woods.  What do you do?  Stand your ground?  Hells no, you climb a tree.  Because once the boar figures out that it can’t rip your nuts off with its tusks it wanders off.  You see what I’m saying father?  Don’t dangle your nuts into the ripping zone.”

“We have to protect our farms, our crops.”

“You’re not listening, that stuff is already gone.  I’ll burn the fields right now if that helps you make the right decision.  You can’t hold the orcs here.  The only choice here is life or death.  Seems like an easy one to me but I suppose you get to go to some kind of wholesome boring paradise after you die where you and Adariel milk divine cows or something so maybe your perspective is different.”

“But . . .”

“Look father, every second we are talking here is time that could be spent running away from certain death.  I know what I’m talking about, just get on board.  Let the orcs through, live to farm another day.  Rebuilding will be a tough row to hoe, if you’ll pardon the pun, but at least you’ll be alive to do it right?  Last stands are just an excuse to avoid hard work and you don’t look like that kind of lazybones to me good sir.”

He did eventually get on board but it took an intolerable amount of further convincing, I realized that the only reason he was listening to me at all was because of the symbol of Adariel I was wearing – which I often forget about.  And once he was convinced it took even more convincing to get everyone else to put down their stupid shovels and get ready to run away like cowardly rabbits.  I understand why society brainwashes men to be irresponsible and violent because they need them to go fight in their wars, but in situations like this it’s really annoying.  I thought about killing some of the more outspoken fightmongers just to move things along, but I decided it would sense the wrong message.  There’s no one who’s spoiling for a bloody battle more than someone who’s never been in one.  You see these types out in the hinterlands sometimes, some jackass who has a helmet and a leather jack and wants to play at being a warrior.  I despise those sorts, you want to abandon your family and farm to be a soldier of fortune then just do it – don’t mess around with this bullshit.  There’s a shallow grave just waiting for you buddy.

Of course instead of following my advice entirely they decided that rather than  taking to the woods they would head south to Preen, which was annoying but as long as they move out of the way of the rolling boulder coming to crush them I suppose it doesn’t really matter.  The next irritant was that after the decision had been made to flee people were still spending a lot of time gathering their shit, piling it on wagons and so forth, before they were ready to run for their lives.  I’m starting to think that the old man’s advice I mentioned yesterday is spot on – because people can’t be counted on to make smart choices about what they’re going to need so you may was well leave it all behind. It was about to the point where I was seriously thinking about starting a few house-fires to motivate people when someone spotted some orc scouts on the horizon – that really got people enthused about moving their asses instead piling farming implements into an ox-cart. I decided to travel with them for a while before peeling off to skirt the southern edge of the forest and head east.  Out of curiosity I sought out one of the few female Adarielites in the bunch.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but is there a reason there are so many men in you order?  I’ve never seen this before in the Adariel ranks.”

“We’re a very new order, founded just recently based on the miracle at Juost Manor.  I’m sure over time it will even out.”

“A miracle at the manor you say, I’ve not heard of it, I’ve been traveling for a while.”

“One of the Baroness’s ladies in waiting was resurrected, her body had been returned to the castle by one of the Baroness’s loyal retainers to be buried but as she was being prepared for the grave suddenly – like a bolt of lightning – she was returned to us, alive and well.  A true miracle, a display of Adariel’s bountiful mercy here on the mortal plane.  In honor of this glorious event the Order of Saint Hardra the Returned was founded.”

“Hardra?  Wow, so it actually worked?”

“Excuse me?”

“Don’t worry about it.  So Hardra is alive and kicking?  You’ve seen her?”

“Oh no, I’ve not seen her myself, I am not worthy of such an honor, but I know that Prelate Redmau works with her closely.”

Prelate Redmau was the fellow I was talking to earlier who is the closest thing to a leader this rabble has (unless I decide to take the reins).  I approached to him to talk to him about Hardra but I soon realized that he was being strangely evasive in a way I didn’t care for.  He was all too happy to proclaim Hardra’s rebirth to be a miracle and to extol of virtues or his order, but as to where she actually was right that moment and what she was doing he proved to be ambiguous.  I pushed him a little and I could sense that he was starting to lose patience with the endeavor so I dropped it for the time being.  I intended to take the matter up with him again that night after we stopped for the day but his cronies said that he was in prayer and could not be interrupted.  And that he would probably be so for the foreseeable future. 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 23,045 platinum, 19,788 gold

XP: 739,911

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

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, locked chest (2)

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  

Mathanaya 4 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Having your hair burned off is a remarkable experience that I could have done without.  Now I know why they shave the heads of women with loose morals to humiliated and degrade them– it’s pretty effective.  Rightly or wrongly a person is judged in large part by their appearance – at least initially, and usually forever – and hair is a very important part of that look, especially for a woman.  I would never admit this out loud but it actually feels kind of nice – it’s very freeing.  Even so, every time I catch a look at myself I’m horrified all over again.  I need to find some tress tincture as soon as possible because regrowing my locks the old fashioned way isn’t going to cut it and I can’t be walking around like this for much longer.

Leaving Faireholme with farmer whatshisname and his older kids after their successful trip of selling livestock and buying supplies I felt like the eyes of all the half-breeds in town where upon me, glaring at me with judgement, but it was just my imagination.  Or my own conscience, whatever you want to call it.  I can put up with almost anything with the proper motivation, but enforced servitude is one I have a hard time swallowing.  If an angelappeared before me and said that it would grant me either revenge against Duke Eaglevane or the end of slavery forever I would be hard pressed to make a decision. 

The trip to Gibson was short and uneventful, the farmer and his spawn headed off to their homestead as we came within sight to the small forest community.  As we came into town I could tell that something was wrong.  I can’t say why because nothing appeared to be out of place, but I could feel that something had happened.  The people of Gibson were going about their business as per usual but when they saw Martialla and myself there was a definitely shift in mood – some kind of mixture of pity and fear.  It wasn’t quite the old cliché of everyone dashing into their homes and shuttering the windows but it wasn’t far off either. 

Of the pompous gasbag Gibson himself there was no sign, but Tudos hobbled out to speak with us and broke the news plainly – Hardra was dead.  Several days ago the village had been attacked, it didn’t amount to much because most of the villagers had fled into the forest but somehow in the confusion Hardra had been killed.  The attackers milled around the empty village for a while and then left – they didn’t even take much, although there wasn’t really anything to take.

“What about Altos?”

“He ran off.  He was scared that you were going to blame us for not protecting Hardra.  I tried to tell him you weren’t like that but he was too frightened and one night he snuck away.”

“Am I not like that?” His face blanched “Just a joke, I don’t blame you for what happened here.  Where’s Gibson?  I wouldn’t mind blaming him a little.”

“He was killed as well My Lady.”

“I suppose that’s a silver lining.”

Based on talking to some of the other Gibsonites I’m guessing that this was another band of outlaws under the orders of the dragon.  Why they would bother attacking a nothing town like this isn’t clear.  The new leader of Gibson, an entirely forgettable fellow, put us in contact with the best tracker in the area – Hawkeye or Falconheart or something silly like that – and after a far more lengthy conversation than was necessary he agreed reluctantly to help us find the attackers.  A tearful Tudos told us that he wanted to come with us to take our revenge, but I instructed him to stay and keep care of the horses and the carriage.   His fighting days were long behind him if he ever had any, which he didn’t.

The tracker lead us east into the woods and caught us some kind of varmint to eat when we made camp – well for Martialla to eat anyway, there was no way that I was touching that thing.  After cooking, and by cooking I mean burning, this fanciful repast he fell instantly into the deep and untroubled sleep of a simple person with simple problems.  Martilla, who actually did have a bedroll now but without the fluffy pillow, was trying to do the same on the other side of the fire I was poking at.

“What do you know about resurrection?”

“You know most of us actually do need sleep.”

“Resurrection, what about it?”

“You can’t even find magic to regrow your hair and you’re thinking about bringing someone back to life?”

“Just answer the question.”

“That’s priest magic, I don’t know anything about it.”

“But it is possible.”

“Yeah, it’s possible.  Why are you so concerned about it?  Are you thinking about trying to bring Hardra back?  You didn’t even like her.”

“She didn’t deserve that.”

“A lot of people don’t deserve a lot of things, generally you seem not to care too much.”

“This is different.  I feel responsible for what happened to her.”

“What about all the people you are responsible for actually killing?  You going to bring them back too?”

“Here’s what I don’t understand, if resurrection magic exists why doesn’t it happen more?  Even if it costs an arm and a leg there’s plenty of rich nobles out there.”

“Maybe none of them care enough about anyone.”

“You’re more right than you know, but even so, it seems like there would be some who’d shell out the money to get their heir back at the very least.  Why haven’t I heard about that?”

“It’s not that simple to bring someone back.”

“I thought you didn’t know anything about it.”

She turned over in her bedroll to face away from me “I don’t.” 

_______________________________________________________________

Hair regrowth progress :  .006%

Funds: 900 platinum, 4251 gold

XP: 234,561

Inventory:  Pathfinder’s Gear (white) Pocketed Scarf, Wrist Sheath, Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Dagger of Venom, Bracers of Armor +2, Ring of Protection +2, Light Crossbow, Assortment of Fake Signet Rings,  Bag of Concealment,  Belt of Giant Strength +4, Vest of Resistance +1, Ring of Sustenance, Gem of Brightness, Silver Chain set with Moonstones, Gold and Emerald Ring (2), Glove of Vampiric Touch, Platinum and Silver Holy Symbol of Kralten, Holy Symbol of Kozilek, Ruby (2), Black Marketers’ Bag, 879 Garnets

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, Gibson attackers