The Runelords will Rise

Not my Kind of town

Our leads have led us to Magnimar. It has been a year since I have been here with Benny. I felt out of place when I was brought here to find my calling, but now I REALLY feel out of place. Sandpoint, though town, still has green grass, and animals running around; while Magnimar is all stone, muck and vermin. I mentioned in passing that I missed my animals, and someone mentioned that there was the Lord-May’s Menagerie I could visit. Yeah sure…I want to visit a public park where there is bizarre taxidermy, and poor animals are on display for people’s amusement. In other words a place where poor animals were killed just because they were ‘interesting’ and others that are kept in small cages for rich and ‘noble’ people can come by and gawk at them. Might as well go look at prisoners in the Hells jail, and go look at the dead prisoners hanging from the gallows.

I was already in a bit of sour mood given the state of the city, and that I had leave Bagheera outside the city’s walls in the forest. He will be fine, and I would know if anything happened to him. I still felt bad leaving him there. The others don’t get it but it is like leaving one of them behind because of something they didn’t do, just because of who they are. It uncomfortable all around. At home Bagheera sleeps next to my bed, or in front of the fire place laid out as a living hearth rug. (Sadly some of his kin have been turned into real hearth rugs.) Here the only animal company I have is Starshadow, and he has to sleep out in the stable.. He is use to cities thanks to his old life, and has been good company when I need to talk, but still isn’t the same.

It was nightfall when we arrived, and we were in need of information. The best chance to get information from the seedy underbelly of the town was to ask questions when the lanterns were lit. We would get nowhere in the daylight hours. This meant we needed to split up and find information. Whoever would stay up all night smoozing in pubs would be of no use the next day. Morph was the best choice to ask the questions but we didn’t want him going out alone. Joesk needed to be with the group the next day to do the business dealings, and Lexis needed to go with him to help with the deal. (Actually I think it was her cleavage that would aid the deal, but that is beside the point.) Telchar is a great guy to have in a fight but to smooze in a pub for information not the wisest choice. That left it between Tyrell and me. Sadly it came down to something that I had that Tyrell didn’t have, and that was cleavage. It also didn’t hurt that though I may no spot a trap like Morph can, spotting other kinds of trouble and details could keep us alive.

Before we left I did offer to go as his pet. The look on his face when I said it was priceless. I had to explain that I can now turn into smaller animals, should I choose to. While seeing a wolf or an eagle in bar is out of place, seeing a pet falcon, a cat, an owl, or pet ferret wouldn’t seem that out of place for Morph to have with him. It was decided it would be a great idea but given that we were dealing with already shady types, the more open we were the more likely they would to talk to us. Worst case I transform into a large animal and we bull rush our way out of there. Thankfully that didn’t happen.

The night was eventful as we got the information we needed without bloodshed. I wanted to slap my companions when they said hello to us in such well rested cheery moods when we returned to the inn. Just because I can turn into an owl does NOT mean I like staying up all night. After eating some breakfast I went back to my room. I was sorely tempted to turn into something and find a hole to hide in by I was too tired. Instead I just buried my head under my pillow and covers, and told them to wake mewhen they got back from their day of shopping and snooping. When the inn keeper asked at what time I wanted awoken I told him unless they wanted a REAL pissed off bear tearing their inn apart they would make sure I wasn’t disturbed. I am not sure if they quite believed me, but then again with all the magic out there they wouldn’t want to take a chance. Regardless I must sleep. I will need to have my wits about me. I fear trouble lies between us and our goal.

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A Quite Camp
Joseck

Joseck jerks awake from a nightmare and looks around the small camp. He can just see telkars back as the dwarf stands on guard his faced turned away from the fire so he does not lose his night vision. The Dwarf has dark vision, that alows him to see in the darkest cavern, but as Telkar himself has often said,
" You want to see your enemy a lot further away than thirty paces and some things, like undead, are very hard to spot because they do not give off any heat."

The thought of the walking dead brings back the last few days of horror and his eyes move on around the camp to Lexia. Poor young woman. To see a person she cared so much about become such a beast. Joseck sends a prayer her way that her dreams maybe free from horror. He thanks Abadar that she is surronded by a “community” of friends so she does not have to face that sadness alone.

Joseck lets his eyes wonder over to the other young woman of the party. The tree worshiper and her pet outsider. He still felt uncomfortable around her. Her view of the world was so different than his own. Trees and grass are very nice things in a garden, but he very much preferred the “jungle” of the city. The striving against the “natural” forces of civilized greed and envy. He prefered to watch the “elements” behind warm walls. Her passions and understanding was too raw, to primal, it rubed him the wrong way. He always felt so exposed in her presence.

Joseck found the platinum coin on its chain around his neck and rubed it between his fingers and almost immediately felt better. The first platinum coin he had ever earned. The smooth metal, warmed from being close to his skin, reminded him of the day he had met his wife for the fist time. He shifted a bit on the hard ground as that thought led to other less favorite thoughts but as he continued to rub the coin he settled down agian. Abidar was with him even out here and one day every spot on this world would feel the hand of man on it. One vast gleaming community. Its blood made with coins just like this one. The thought brought a warm smile to his lips.

Scrunching down deeper into the blanket Joseck looked over at another one of his companions, Morfindien. Even asleep the Elf seemed to be aware of his surroundings his delicate,large ears that could just be seen sticking out from his coal black hair, seemed to quiver with every sound in the night. Joseck thought he would see them flick like a horses if an insect landed on one of them. Joseck had know Morfin for several year before he, Joseck had left for Magnimar. In all that time the elf’s appearance had not changed and Joseck remembered Morfin’s mother and how young she had looked. Joseck would be long buried in hs grave before the least change came to those elven features of his friend.

Joseck looked around for the last membrer of their party but did not see him. He saw Tirell’s empty blankets but did not see the Varisian fighter anywhere. “Probably checking on the horses or answering a call to nature.” The empty blankets are very remenissant of Tirell himeself. You see where he has been but you rarely know when he is there. He is a very private person. His whole family is like that. You may hear laughter and singing in the distance but when you get close they wall up and go silent. They always let you know you are a stranger and do not belong even when they are smiling and waving you in.

Shifting around a boulder that had suddenly appeared in the middle of his back, Joseck shifted onto his side to face out into the darkness until he fell back into a happy dream of endless coins flowing through his fingers and the sounds of commerce all about.

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Second Encounter

William Fieldson looking disheveled and covered in dirt came stumbling into The Rusty Dragon Inn. He looks like he has been through hell and back. He shambles in looking scared out of his wits. Ameiko sees this and immediately runs over to him.

“Are you ok?” ,she asks him calmly.

William looks at her with a blank stare and mumbles out a name, “M-M-Morf-in…” ,he stammers out to her.

Ameiko nods at him and waves her hand to a barmaid to run and get Morfin, who had just returned with his friends only a few hours before to the Inn after their “adventure”.

After a few moments Morfin quickly walks down the stairs to see who has summoned him and his eyes locked on William, his gut sinking, knowing something was wrong, and he had a very strong feeling what it was.

Even though he barely had a chance to breathe when fighting off the ghoul epidemic in the Farmlands he did try to look out to see if he could spot William as one of the survivors fleeing, but he did not, and he truly did not hope he would have to find him suffering from being turned into one.

With a few quick strides, Morfin was by his side when William clung onto him and began to openly wail. “They’re dead… they’re all dead…” Tears streaming down his dusty face cutting lines through it.

Morfin unsure of what to do looked at Ameiko and she made a facial expression and motioned to hug him back to comfort the lad. Morf had only met this man once and he had a sense of heightened emotion for him a fascination, a feeling of desire, and want. He gave William a tight embrace there in the middle of the Inn and let him cry on his shoulder, not caring who saw it. Rubbing his back gently issuing comforting words to William, reassuring him that everything will be alright.

Bar patrons looked on and even some of his friends had come down to see what all of the commotion was.

After what had seemed an eternity, the sobs and tears had subsided and William looked at Morfindien deep into his eyes, “My family… I… saw them…” ,he said with a tremble in his voice as he paused, “…I ran and hid.”

“You did the right thing.” Morf said trying to sound reassuring again. “If you didn’t, you’d have been turned, or worse horribly tortured and left dying, or dead.”

William shook his head knowing Morfin was right, but still that didn’t make him feel any better, pulling away from him, “But, still… If I could…” ,he trails off his eyes once again filling with tears.

Morfin goes in to comfort him again, “Let’s go to my room, we can talk more there.” ,placing his arm around William’s shoulders guiding him up the stairs.

Once they reach his room they both sit on the bed and William begins to sob again, “We were all there having morning breakfast. Me mum heard a noise outside and looked out the door when a devilish looking man grabbed her throwing her against the wall. Pa told me to grab my sister and run, after another man came in after the one who attacked me Maw.” ,he managed to say throughout his sobs. “I grabbed my sister’s hand and was going to run with her out the back door, but I lost grip on her when another one had grabbed at her. I really didn’t notice until I was outside and I saw more of them, I saw my best mate’s farm also being attacked. I looked back into the house to see my sister Emily being dragged in calling out to me. I was so scared I ran and hid. I hid underneath the crawlspace of the house. I laid there hearing the screams of my sister and mother and the yelling of my father until all I head was the moans of the attacking creatures, and eventually nothing. “

“William, I am so sorry… I am so very sorry that happened.”,Morfin frowns, “I was there in the Farmlands trying to fight off the terrible creatures. I saw people feeling, and saw many more dead, or turned into these things. I looked for you.” Morfin places his hand on William’s shoulder, “When I was a child, my home was overrun by goblins and giants. I can barely remember being as young as I was, but I remember having to flee. I lost my grandfather that day as he stayed behind so that we could run and live another day,” he pauses, “Do not let your actions make you think you did anything wrong, you are here, and alive because of them. If you stayed and fought, or went back in you’d be dead too. You’d maybe have been turned into one of them creatures and attacked more people, killing, or turning them too.”

William lowers his head and swallows hard, trying to digest that information once again. He shivers and looks up at Morfin his dirty face streaked with tears and dusty hair matted down and he sighs.

Morfin looks back at him and tenderly puts his hand up to William’s face. “It had been a few days since that incident. How long were you hiding?”

William turns his head into Morf’s hand and sniffs, “I reckon about three or so days now, and walkin’ to Sandpoint.”

Morfin nods at him, “You must be starved…” ,he says getting up from the bed and walking to the door opening it seeing Telchar there obviously trying to be quiet and eavesdropping, but can a Dwarf ever be stealthy? Morfin asks his dwarven friend to fetch some food before he closes the door again, heading over to a pitcher of water, and pours some into a washbasin taking a cloth out and ringing it dry. “I sent Telchar to fetch some food for you,” he says sitting back on the bed, begins to wipe off the dirt from William’s face, and gives him a slight smile to assure him things will be alright.

William looks at Morfin, takes one last sniffle, and allows him to clean his face. Feeling no longer alone as the damp cloth washes away the grime, it also gives him some strength back.

The two look at each other and their quiet reprieve is broken as the door flies open with Telchar bringing in a tray full of bread, cheese, and jerky and two mugs full of ale. “This be commin’ outta yer share elf!” Telchar laughs at Morfindien, and then looks at William and he looks back at Morfindien, opening his eyes wide, and gives a nod to them both, “Aye be takin’ my leave now from ye both lads. Ah am very sorry fer your loss. Ye be in good hands ‘ere wit thee elf,” he says backing out of the room and closing the door.

The two exchange glances again and a moment of awkward silence passes. Morfin stands up and goes to the tray of food and hands it to William, “Eat up; you need to regain your strength.”

William takes the tray sitting it next to him on the bed and begins to pulls off bits of the bread and bite off hunks of the cheese, but looks up at Morfin, who is standing there, and offers him some, “Come sit with me… please,” he asks quietly not wanting to be alone and to be close with somebody.

Morfin sits beside him watching him eat and wishes he could do more for him. He just lost his family after all. Looking at William the feelings he has for him bubble in him like a witch’s brew inside a caldron. Never has he felt this strongly towards someone. Never did he think it would be for another man, but can one truly deny your feelings for someone, whether it is a man or woman? He has never felt this way for any woman before. His thoughts run wild in his head.

William finishes off the food, leaving some jerky behind and washes it down with one of the ales. “Many thanks to you and your friends, Morf,” he says placing his hand onto Morfin’s knee. “I don’t know what I am going to do now.”

Morfin’s heart stirs as William says his name and the touch, “I want to give you something,” as he rises up from the bed going to his belongings that are resting on a nearby chair. Pulling off a small pouch of gold totaling about fifteen pieces in total tossing it to him, “For you to begin to rebuild and assist with any other expenses. I will see if I can get Joscek to give your family a proper sending and have a burial here in the Sandpoint graveyard. It’s the very least I can do.”

William nods solemnly, taking a deep breath, and shivers again. “Thank you… Morfin.” He looks tired, now that his belly is full after days of starving himself too scared to move.

Morf takes another seat next to him again, “It will be alright, William. You will move on and past this. This is a great tragedy, and my friends and I are trying to figure out everything that is going on here. We are going to make things right, I promise you,” placing his hands onto William’s hands. You had such a great ordeal and should rest now. I will be with my friends trying to hash out a pla…” getting cut off by William.

“Please, stay here with me and rest. I-I don’t want to be alone right now,” Willam says softly to Morfindien, “Just for a little while, please.”

Not sure what to do, but going with his gut feeling he nods to William, who lays down onto the bed, holding William’s hand as he falls fast asleep. He feels the urge to hold him, but resisting, not wanting to disturb him, so he just sits there watching him rest and keeping a silent vigil over him, protecting him from whatever daemons may be running through his head with after everything he has been through.

The night came in and the moonlight begins to shine in from the window as a slight knock breaks the silence. Morfin has since then nimbly broken free of William’s grasp on his hand and rises up from the chair to answer the door seeing Ameiko there. “You are a good elf, Morf. You have been keeping a watchful eye over him. I’d even say you fancy him too,” she laughs quietly, “He kin stay here long as he needs to recover… I know how he feels.”

Morfin pokes Ameiko in the ribs, at the accusatory statement, but she is right he does care, and even fancy him. “You are a good woman, Ameiko. Thank you. I am also sorry for your losses as well.”

Ameiko nods and she slips on out letting them two be alone.

Morfin return to his chair sitting there in the dark watching William sleep seeing him shake and shiver as he dreams. He knows in a few days he will be headed out again, and hopefully figure out what is going on.

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Life before Sand point- part 1

Life with Benney was not too bad. I mostly minded the house when they were out, but I did get to accompany them shopping a few time. After a week or so they invited me out to their local pub the Broken Drum. To be honest it was little more than a dive. The place gave me the creeps, not nessarily the patrons that were there it was the fact I knew what the fungus that was growing on the privy walls wasn’t your normal fungus. Yeesh!
I had been with Benny’s group for about a month when they got a message saying they had a prospective job at an alehouse called the Red headed parrot. It actually was one of the more well to-do pubs in the area. I knew it was a trap soon as we got to the door. I kept looking for escape routes the whole time, and actively looking around. Benny told me to cut it out, as it would make our client very nervous. One of his friends, Harold, was ready to smack me when I saw it. Grabbing the front of Lilly’s shirt, she is the resident elven cleric, and dove under the table.
I saw come around a group of archers who were drunk off their asses a group of human men advance toward where we were sitting. On their tunics were embroidered the symbol of a rival gang of thieves. I am not a fool to think Benny is completely legitimate but considering where and how many of blades where hidden on the leader’s person it did not look good.
Lilly resisted until she too saw the people coming towards us. Lilly tried to shout a warning, but Harold, who was already annoyed at me for being ‘antsy,’ thought she was me, and tried to smack her. Thankfully I had already pulled her undercover by then, unfortunately a rather mangy scared up dwarf happened to be passing by where Lilly had just been sitting. The dwarf got a solid slap to the kisser.
What happened next could either be laughable or down right sad. The group that was trying to ambush us arrived just as the dwarf landed a solid right cross to Harold’s right jaw knocking him into them. Benny got up to help Harold, but as he did so, he got a good look of the ambush group. Now being spotted the ambushers dropped all pretense of being stealthy and tried to jump the rest of our party. In doing so, that offended the dwarf whose own group decided to join into the fray. There was blood shed but nothing Lilly could not handle. She and I managed to climb out a back window before the authorities could show up.
Benny and Harold were let go the next morning by the authorities. They were right hacked at the two of us. Why didn’t we help them? Truth be told I really didn’t have any training for a fight like that, and Lily agreed that Benny and his friend had done it to themselves. They were better than that to be nearly ambushed, not to mention get in the fight with the dwarves. Benny had always bragged about how good he was at finding traps, and spotting trouble. Now it just bit him in the backside, and he had to pay the consequences, namely 20 gold pieces in dwarven stout as an apology to the dwarves, and the 10 silver pieces fine for getting caught brawling. Not to mention the amount of ribbing myself and Lilly gave him about it.
Later on that morning, after a good breakfast has been eaten, and their wounds were treated questions began to be tossed my way. Benny understood why I did not fight, I didn’t know how, but what he wanted to know was HOW in the world did I know it was a trap. I told him it was simple. Three of the men playing cards in the corner were each wearing a signet ring belonging to the raven clan, a minor thug group. However, I noticed that most of the people in the bar had pins on the cloaks showing they worked for the Sun shipping group, a very small group of traders who specialize in magical and non-magical light sources. Benny had talked about how we were to meet with Jarren Eng, he was our contact with the Sun group. From what I had gathered from the conversation Benny had been having with Jarren, he was in need of ‘retrieval’ services for some of his property. I guessed that whatever he needed retrieved was a quite valuable. To the right person, that item could be worth a fortune for ransom, and simply selling it on the black market. Three shady characters that were more interested in our conversation than the fact they were losing badly at cards to an obvious cheater. I may be fresh from the sticks but even I know not a good idea to cheat at cards with the wrong people. When they got up, it made me nervous, hence why was antsy. It could mean one of two things, A) They were about to knock the crap out of the cheating card player and mostly remove his fancy fingers, or B) they had seen enough of our conversation to make their move. Soon as I saw them come around the archers at the corner of the bar, I knew we were in trouble. There we 3 possible exits, two of which were blocked; the best way was blocked by the ambushers, and second by the loud and drunk dwarves, and the last was only accessible if one could get under our table and to the kitchen safely.
Benny had to admit he was impressed. I actually had spotted trouble better than he could. I not so kindly reminded him the reason I had gotten so good at spotting possible ambushes, and other signs of trouble was due to people picking on me so much when I was younger. If wanted to make it safely from one place or another or even do my chores I had to spot stupid people’s pranks. Lilly cuffed him up the back of the head for good measure. Yet again Benny apologized for being a prick when he was younger. He did say on the bright side it might help me find an apprentice position. He wanted me to meet with an old friend of his, and depending on what that friend said, I might get specialized training.
I really did not care too much. I was doing ok, not great, but ok here in the city. I was not happy, that was obvious to everyone, but I lived my days. Lily compared me to the plodding pony in the market. I did my job, and I got my grain. I didn’t like doing my job, but it served its purpose. He and I both just went with the flow. The thought I might find myself something better finally did give me some hope. It took a couple of days but finally Benny escorted me to a somewhat ramshackle of an estate. Benny told me he could not go in with me, but I would find Byron Marfair in the last room, whatever that meant.
I found the front unlocked, but I noticed some odd things about it. Yes, it was unlocked but that is not to say it was not defended. I saw a small footpath that led to the side of the building. I followed it until I came to small door. It too seemed unlocked, but I still rang the bell pull. A man opened the door, and let me in. He said that Mayfair was expecting me, and I would find him in the upstairs lounge. I no more blinked than the man was gone. Finding that odd, I began to look around the hall. There was an obvious flight of stairs, but a small hallway to my right, or a sitting room with the door open to my left. Choosing the most obvious route, I made my way into the room. It was tidy, but there were signs of dust about. The fireplace needed to be swept. The chairs were old, but only slightly worn. I pursed the corners of the room, and noticed a small white cat curled up on a cushion by a bookcase. Several books were open in front of the cat. Each seemed to be a different magical tome of some sort.
Smiling, I bent and petted the cat, and went on my way looking around. I noticed that all the bookcases seemed slightly dusty except one spot on the third from the right. Feeling around I found an odd latch, and tripped it. Soon as I did so, one of the bookcases swung open showing a passage. I asked the cat, what he thought I should do. It only mewed, and looked up at me. Shrugging, I looked inside, careful to wedge the door, so I wouldn’t get stuck inside. Feeling around I didn’t find anything of interest to me. There were a few chests, and boxes, but it was none of my business what they were. Seeing nothing of use, I shut the door, and left the room.
Looking down the hall, I saw it went to a small kitchen. As I was told Marfair was in a parlor I made my way upstairs. There was a small hitch in the stair, and then it continued up to a small landing, that turned left down a corridor. I went down to the corridor and looked down it. There were a series of doors on one side, and a couple windows looking out into the street one the other. As I turned around I noticed something on the landing where the hitch in the stairs was. Returning there, I found a small finger hold, and with a click the hidden door opened. Unfortunatly it also caused a small pin to strike my fingers. I jumped back in pain. It hurt a bit but not bad. I immediately reached in my bag and put healing oil on it. It should ward off anything serious for now.
I continued in and found a narrow passage that ran the length of the house. At each of the rooms along the way I found hidden peep holes and other spying spots. One room was a small library, another a small lab, and another a bed room, finally went I got to the end of the wall I saw the back of another hidden door. Checking the small peep hole, silently as I could I opened it. It made a little creak but I really wasn’t trying to hide from anyone especially since I was expected.
The room appeared empty but it did seem to be the lounge. I touched nothing in the room, and I will say it was richly furnished. As I looked around, I found the snow white cat sitting and purring on the large chair.
Smilling I again, reached down and scratched the cat’s ears. He purred in return. “Beat me up here did you? Don’t suppose you can tell me where your master would be?”
“Oh he could, but I don’t think you could understand him.” A male voice said from behind me. I spun around and pulled my small dagger.
The well dressed, well groomed bearded man behind me took a step back and held his hands up. “I beg your pardon. I am Byron Marfair.”
“Oh, sorry, you startled me. “ I put away my dagger and offered him my hand.
“Quite alright.” He smiled, “Please sit. “ He indicated a set of chairs by the fire, with a tea service near by. “Tea?” He asked after I had sat down.
“No thank you. After growing my own, I have come to be rather picky about the teas I drink, but if you have whisky for my nerves I would appreciate it. ”
Byron smiled. “Smart girl.” He showed me the crystal glass, and poured himself a small amount and myself one as well. I found it odd that he poured them in such a way so that I could clearly see what he was doing, as if I would expect him to do something different. “Do you know why you were brought here today?”
“Benny told me you might help me find my trade.” I took the drink from him, and he sat down next to me.
“I may be able to help you with that, but I don’t think in the way Benny intended.” He took a sip of his drink as if to show me it was all right to drink.
“How so?” I reached over and petted the cat as I spoke. The stroking of the cats fur seemed to calm me more than the drink did.
“Benny intended to have you join him in his, let’s just say family business, but it wouldn’t suit you.” Byron seemed to watch me with the cat. “Snowball here…”The cat turned and glared at Byron, and let out an unhappy growl. “ Sorry , Mr. Snow, happy now?” The cat gave a dismissive tail swish. “Has been watching you. He told me that you found many things in my home, but you weren’t tempted to take anything or explore in things were locked.”
“It would have been rude, unlawful, and to be honest it wouldn’t have helped me any. As long as I have the things I need I am happy.” I shrugged.
“Interesting notion. As I was saying, Mr. Snow was impressed that you knew how to treat your wound when you were pricked by needle.”
“My mother is the village herbal healer. If I didn’t know how to treat a variety of wounds I wouldn’t be he daughter.”
“I see.” He contemplated for a moment and sighed. “Honestly Meadow, I can’t help you the way Benny wants me to. “ Seeing my eyes tear up he continued, “I might be able to help in other ways. There is a job that I know about up north of the city. One of my contacts there might be able to use someone with your skills. “
“I would appreciate it.”
“It also doesn’t hurt that Benny could use the money from the job up there either.” He sat his drink down, and picked up an envelope , and handed it to me. “That is a letter of introduction for you, and your companions. It also contains the details of the job I need performed.”
“Thank you sir.” I took it smiling, and made to leave.
Before I got to the door, Byron turned and asked me one last thing. “Meadow, out of curiosity, why did it not seem odd to you that I talk to my cat?”
I smiled, “Oh that is easy sir.” I wiggled my fingers at the cat. “Mr. Snow is no ordinary cat. If I didn’t know any better I would say that he is magical, and far smarter than the average ratter from the stables.”
“How do you know that?” He crossed his arms in a joking challenge.
“It is not often one finds a house cat reading a book of spells.” With a smile I turned, and left, listening to his laughter the whole way to the door.

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Lorey!

Lorey!

Lorey!

Lorey!

Hnnngh! I hear myself calling out this name. I try and yell out to my friends, but I am unable to. I feel another presence using me, controlling me.

Lorey!

I see me grab Telchar and start to drag him. I try to say his name, but the words Lorey only escape my lips. I yell at him that we need to get out of here and escape. A sense of panic comes over me and I need to get him… her out of here. I realize that I am this Lorey’s mother and I must get her out of this house and outside to the servants quarters.

I yell out in my head TELCHAR! TELCHAR! but only Lorey! Lorey! I say feeling defeated unable to act on my own. This goes against everything I believe in to protect my friends.

I feel unseen forces against me trying to tie me up and stop me, but my natural and trained skills take over to escape my bonds and I continue to grab at Telchar and drag him out of the house… all the while shouting LOREY!

I need to break free of this hold on my psyche, but I cannot it is too strong… I have nothing I can do, but try and fight to regain control of my own actions.

LOREY!!!!!!!!!!

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Quite the Sense of Humor

Father,
Please let me begin by saying that I truly do appreciate that so many wanted to come work in the shop, I am honored that they would want to help the people of Sand Point and help build our families reputation of quality work. I am overjoyed that there were so many dwarves who wanted to apply for this position that an interview system had to be set up. And I am eternally grateful to both you and mother for your hard work in wading through all those applicants.
BUT why in the name of He Who Dwells in the Dark, did you send HER?
Of all the dwarves in the mountain, you send Agna! Do you not remember how she tormented me as a child? How she would dip my beard in wax and threaten to turn me into a candle? I know you would not have sent her if she was not immensely qualified. I know that happened years again and we have both aged, I refuse to say grown up until she proves she has, and I know I should be more forgiving, but if she starts any of that childishness up here, I am shipping her back quicker than you quaff beer. The forge help me if she and the elf get to talking, who knows what kinds of fresh hell they will dream up for me.
Now that I have that out of my system, I have great plans for the forge, I am near a break through in enchanting my armor works, and I have been requested to, am giving strong consideration to, making weapons. In this way not only will I be able to assist those I travel with, but I will also be able to better help Sand Point by giving another shopping option for the town and providing better arms to the city guards thus making the city safer.
I have taken to Sand Point as a true home. While I will always love the tunnels and caves I grew up in, the people of this town have opened their arms to me, and not once have I felt like an outsider and never unwelcome. Please use discretion in in passing that information on to Mother, I am not sure how she would react to the thought that I might not return to the mountain. Not to mention the guilt she would begin laying if she thought I might not give her grand children. I am certain that one day I will find a nice woman to settle down with, but for right now I could not imagine the kind of stress it would put on a marriage and a family to face the constant risk of death that an adventurer must face daily. I would not in good conscience do that to a woman and child.
I must go now, today I am introducing Agna around town and will get her acquainted with Kameiko and my raw goods suppliers.
Your loving son,
Telchar

PS – Please tell mother the jam was fantastic, her best batch yet. I’m going to give some to Kameiko to see if there might be a demand for it here in Sand Point.

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Restless Night

It was the darkest night that Lexia could remember. She gazed out the window and wondered, was it a new moon or was the smoke from the burning barn filled with the corpses of undead farmers obscuring the moonlight. The day dad been exhausting and disturbing, but every time she closed her eyes to sleep, her mind began to race. There were so many unanswered questions. Who is this evil bastard that is killing people and spreading this unholy disease? Why is he carving the Thassilonian star onto the bodies of his victims? Why is he obsessed with her? The clues suggest that he is somehow connected to Aldern Foxglove, but he returned to Magnimar a few weeks ago. Did he know that this was coming? Is that why he left without any warning?

Just when her thoughts began to settle, she heard something from outside her window. It sounded like a child whispering. She sat up, her glaring eyes frozen at the window, wondering if she was imagining it or if someone was really out there. Then she heard it again, but this time it whispered more clearly, “Mommy, help me,” but it was still too soft to locate.

Lexia carefully slid out of the bed, and crept to the window. She looked as hard as she could to find the source of the voice. The barn embers provided some light, but not enough so she summoned her dancing lights and sent them out into the yard. She was so focused on her examination that she didn’t notice the quiet click of the door behind her as it gently opened. She didn’t hear the slow silent steps as a hand stretched out and grabbed her shoulder, but her blood curdling scream could be heard for miles as she spun around to see Father Joseck Winters.

She sighed in relief to see her friend, until he doubled over and began to vomit. He retched and heaved, eventually collapsing onto the floor, but the sickness didn’t end. He began to twitch and thrash, sloshing in his own mess, and when the contents of his stomach ran out, he began to regurgitate bile and blood. Lexia called out to Meadow for help, but no one came.

Finally his struggling ended and he was lying still on the floor. She leaned down to try and help Joseck, when he pulled on her hand and tried to bite into her arm, but his seizures had been so brutal that he had dislocated his own jaw and had torn his face into a permanently yawning maw hanging slack against his chest. She tried to run to the door, but slipped in Joseck’s ichor, her momentum slamming her into the previously unseen shambling desiccated bodies of her friends Meadow, and Telchar. Instinctively, she turned to her arcane training and struck them with a multi-chromatic spray of magic to distract them, but it didn’t seem to affect them.

She struggled to get to her feet, as they grabbed at her and began to tear the flesh from her body. She felt her skin tear and her bones snap as she woke from her nightmare crying out in pain and fear. Dawn had not yet arrived, but she didn’t dare close her eyes again.

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Mold, Mildew, Ghouls, and other nasty things

The ghouls were coming for us, considering the sounds outside. We dared not go outside. This was far more easily defended. Thankfully we were able to bar one end of the barn’s doors, and we had Telchar, Morphin, Joesek, and Tyrell holding the line at the other. It was obvious; if we were not careful the ghouls would come through the far door and surround us. My entangle spell was still going in that corner, but it wouldn’t slow them down completely. Those things were strong and it wouldn’t take much for them to beat down that door. What we needed were extra pairs of fighting hands. Thinking it had saved us once before, I might as well tray again, I summoned not one air elemental as I had done before, but three. They stood as a wall holding the other door, just as my friends were doing at the other. Soon as the door fell the elementals began swirling into whirlwinds above my entangling grass. The ghouls became entangled, then ripped up into the cyclone of the three elementals. They were bashed around taking damage until they fell out, and were again picked back up, and bashed some more. I could only keep them here for 30 seconds but it was enough to make those behind them flee to where Telchar was thrashing them soundly. Bits of Ghoul rained down on us in the barn as they were torn asunder. I think my powers may be coming into their own after this. The “Where the hell did that come from?” and they “Dam glad they are on our side!” comments from my companion sounded like a good thing. At least no one can say I hide behind my cat and do nothing during our battles anymore.

While I left the elementals to deal with them, I took on the small girl ghoul that threatened Lexia. Sadly I couldn’t manage to hit the little girl, but she could hit me. I was badly injured, and infected by her bite. All in all we got out of there lucky. Poor Josek, and Tyrell were paralyzed but were able to come out of it. Unfortunately, like myself, Joesek was also infected by a bite. I was able to care for myself as I knew what I was in for if I didn’t. Sadly Father Joesek could get no treatment until morning when he woke up very ill indeed. Thankfully, he was able to pray for healing, and receive it.

After our battle with the ghouls in the barn we took refuge in the farm house, as it was already dark. We dare not attempt to go back to town at this time of night, especially with the change more of those ghouls out there. Inside we found another gruesome sight. The farmer/ caretaker was strung up like the other victims we had seen. His jaw too had been removed, and the symbols carved into his chest. Also, pinned to his tunic, was another letter for Lexia. Around the man’s neck was a finely made key, that fit a well-made box that Morphin found hidden behind a loose stone in the fireplace. Inside was years’ worth of payment from who we can only expect to be the Foxglove family for taking care of their lands. Once we had found what we could, we took the body of the farmer out to the barn, and after removing the horses, burnt it to the ground. Sadly the place contained too much death to be cleaned any other way.

The next day we made our way to the Foxglove Manor, also called the Misgivings. The pathway was little more than a foot path but our horses and Bagheera made it safely. As local stories told, the servants’ quarters were nothing more than a burn husk, but what it odd was that it looked freshly burned, as if it was done a couple days before, not years ago. When Starshadow was getting uneasy about the place, I knew we were in for an interesting time. It takes quite a lot to shake a horse as stalwart as him.

We made our way to the large manor house. The exterior looked worn, but none of the windows were broken. This was odd because hoodlums often will find unused manor house and shatter their windows for fun. This showed no sign of anyone coming here save the caretaker.
We entered through the main door using the key we had found. Oddly enough it fit the made door. This good well be an omen of luck, or misfortune. The main hall was impressive to say the least. Inside was a stuffed manticore as well as other animal trophies. I don’t agree with the taking of animals merely as a trophy. They should only be hunted for food, then again if you had managed to kill a manticore single handed, you MIGHT want proof you did it. The manticore I can begrudge them, the others, no so much.

As we explored we came to a magnificent stain glass window. The view out into the sea should have been breathtaking, but instead they have blocked the view with the odd stain glass window. In the glass were the shapes of various magical creatures. I believe it was Lexia, who commented that the boxes at the bottom of the glasses were actually inscribe with words, not to keep that time of creature out, but to bring them in, and ensnare them. I am not the type to get my hackles raise but even I started to get a little jumpy.

Next we found a library with all kinds of musty, mold old books, now all worthless. Also we found a chair knocked over, and a bloody bookend tossed into the long cold fire place. It was odd to see a simple scarf laying there. Who would have thought the most dangerous thing in the room was that bloody scarf. Before I could blink, it wrapped it’s self around my neck, knocked, and began to choke me. As I pulled at the scarf to get air back in my lungs, I saw someone. It was Alderen, Alderen Foxglove as if a ghost, tightening the scarf around my neck trying to choke me. Lexia did something that removed the scarf from ‘ Alederen’s’ grasp, and I was set free. I was never so grateful for my friends arcane magic’s. It was unsettling to say the least.

We continued to look around. Things were tight quarters so I attempted to stay out of the way, and watch everyone’s back. We had no more explored the washroom, when Morphin went nuts. Not exactly berserk per say, but certainly not right in the head. For one he thought Telchar was his beloved ‘daughter’, and he had to get her out of the house. I have heard tales of people getting so drunk they mistake a barmaid who scores a -3 for a 9, but really, mistake our grumpy bushy faced dwarf for a blonde hair little girl. If it wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable. When Morphin attempted to bodily drag Telchar down the hall and out of the house, we knew this was more than him sniffing the wrong fungus. Using her arcane magic’s, Lexia examined the spell affecting Morphin and found that he was under some sort of enchantment that could take hours to wear off. Tyrell and Telchar himself tried to tie Morphin up but he is too good at his job. Morphin is trained to get out of ropes, and bindings. Lexi even tried color spraying him because that worked so well last time, it only slowed him down for a moment. My spells would slow him down, but they would also cause great harm to him. What more can we do other than crack him over the back of the head, and put him to sleep? I once said I was Morphin’s back up set of eyes, yeah with him about to be knocked into unconsciousness, I might have to step up. I’m a druid not some dungeon diving rogue. I can take you through the thickest of forests, and keep you from falling into the traps and ambushes set there, but in the city or dungeon…. It is not my place. I can only pray that Morphin comes out of it somehow.

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First Encounter

The afternoon was nice, sun shining, breeze blowing, town was busy, but not too busy, and people nodded and some tipped their hat at him. Him being none other than Morfindien Rolovathar one of the heroes of Sandpoint. Nodding back at those who have acknowledged him, he showed a slight smile. Morfin has been no stranger to Sandpoint, but never really been acknowledged like this before after he and his friends helped save Sandpoint from the goblins and with other numerous tasks. Children cheered him, women adored him, some men respected him, and while other loathed him for the attention, he was getting from the women. Morfin was never one for companionship, or love this day that changed.

Morfin walked through the city center past a few fruit stands stabbing an apple with his dagger and tossing a few silver to the stand owner as he entered the city that afternoon. He was on his way to meet his companions at The Rusty Dragon, a local and very popular inn and bar here at Sandpoint, when he came across a group of thugs beating up a young man just outside of the inn down an alleyway nearby.

Dropping his apple, he started down the alleyway as he saw a flash of a knife being brandished and he pulled out his trusty rapier and tumbled towards them. One of the thugs punched the young man in the gut dropping him to his knees as Morfin tumbled through and with an excellent combat maneuver stopped the knife with his own weapon. Startled the two men look at Morfin and recognize him and back away not wanting anything to do with Morfin and quickly run off.

Watching the two thugs run off he turns around to see the young man on the ground trying to regain his breath. An unremarkable about five foot and three inches, give an inch or two young man was before him. Well-muscled without being bulky, skin tanned and freckled, shaggy shear-cut sandy blond hair the color that of a wheat field, with vivid blue eyes looked up at him.

Their eyes met for what seemed an eternity and Morfin felt something even though they had not exchanged any words as of yet as he looked into this man’s blue eyes, eventually extending his hand to help the man to his feet. “Are you alright?”, Morfin asked feeling slight flutter of attraction inside to this person.

“Ye-Yeh…”, the man replied rubbing his gut. “Was a slight bet that had gone wrong.”

Morfindien nodded, “It happens…” he paused, “…games of chance can be dangerous at times.”

“You’re tellin’ me. I was just here to try to make some additional coin to help my father out on the farm. We’ve fallen on some rough times,” picking up his scattered pouch of silver a few feet away.

Morfin bending down to help the stranger as he introduces himself, “I’m Morfindien Rolovathar.”

The man looks up tying off his pouch and smiles at the elf, “William Fieldson, friends call me Will, or Willy.”

A slight smile crosses Morphin’s face, “A pleasure to meet you Will, you may call me Morf, or Morfin as that is what my friends also call me.”

Will smiles back and he extends his hand again, “Thank you, Morfin. You are a kind man, but I should get back. If you ever find yourself in the Farmlands look me up.”

Shaking Will’s hand nodding feeling his chest become light hearted once again by his touch, “I shall do that Will. I hope we meet again soon, be safe.”

Exchanging longing glances one last time the two had parted ways, but the memory of the brief encounter had made Morfin smile as he walked into The Rusty Dragon looking over his shoulder in hopes to catch another glimpse at William as he walked away, which made him smile even wider.

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What if...

As I look up I see sunlight filtering through the leaves, all gold and green and shadow as I lay on the ground behind my family’s cabin. Quickly sleep was upon me with the cool breeze passing me by. My head began spinning with perverted twisted dreams of the events that had happened recently within Sandpoint.

The screams of villagers and the war cries of the marauding goblins blended together with the clamor of armor and the sounds of blades going through human flesh to create a hellish symphony that reverberated throughout coastline where Sandpoint is. At the start of the battle, many attempted to flee from the doomed village only to be cut down by the flanking force some injured, some dead and or dying. Those who stayed to fight were quickly annihilated by the goblin raiding party.

Twitching in my sleep I knew that this is not how the battle took place seeing my friends cut down one by one. The first was Meadow and her cat, next Joscek, then Tirell. Lexia was putting up a good fight with the aid of her magic, but soon she fell too after her spells were spent for the day. The Dwarf lasted the longest swinging his hammer right and left wading through the onslaught of the wave of goblins, but eventually he was taken down as well.

Where was I during all of this. I was able to see all of this happening, but why wasn’t I there by their side? Then I saw it a reflection of myself in the pool of my own blood as my neck was slit open a goblin had managed to get me at the very start of the fight.

This snapped me awake as I grabbed at my throat and let out a yell. Looking around my heart pounding and finally calming down after a few moments. I need to be on my guard all the time for my friends to make sure that something like this never happens.

Moments later my Father came out to see what the yell was and asked me if I was all right. I responded with a nod. He asked me if I wanted to go on a hunt with him that afternoon, but I wanted to get back into town to check on my friends and even though it was, only a dream I had to see if they were ok.

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