Well, my day started off the way you would expect the day of an adventurer to start; by being woken up from a warm sleep by the sound of an angry dwarf leaving the camp with all haste. I opened my eyes to barely see Quoorin and Thoben heading off at a brisk pace towards the wood line. Who knows what they're up to, but if Q has his head set on something or someone, I feel sorry for them once he gets there! At least he has Thoben along with him, maybe he can keep him from making enemies of all he runs across. HA!
After I get up I notice Ollen off in the distance a ways, it looks like he's picking up something from the ground here and there, most likely either reagents for his spells or maybe a breakfast for his pet. Looks like a different pet than when last we met, I wonder if he has one for each day of the week? Wouldn't surprise me, it's not uncommon of eccentric old wizards to act strange like that. You wonder if the constant interaction with magic is what causes them to become that way, or do they become that way to maybe make themselves seem less threatening to those they meet who fear that which they don't understand? Something to ponder for sure…
Markain, Foxy and I were standing around for a few moments and decided to see if we could talk to Ollen a bit. He seems receptive and pretty easy to talk to, once you can get anything coherent from him! We asked him what he was gathering, and it was pretty much as I expected. Being a mage myself I know how it is to have to hunt for your reagents, and much better if you can find them in the forest instead of paying some overpriced vendor for them! Seems his pet is the same pet (or so he tells us) but it looks different. I'm not sure what kind of creature it is, I wish I could get more out of him about it but it's no accident he's being mis-directive with his comments. Again, something to keep an eye on…who's to know what we're dealing with there. Within the realm of magic it's never in your best interest to judge a book by its cover. Ollen does mention his brother's ship again, but seems to not know much else about it as far as when it'll be here.
A bit later we see a half-elf, maybe a ranger or druid, riding her horse along the edge of camp, seeming to be on her own and not taking much note of us, but we do notice her turn quickly in the direction of where Q and Thoben went. Hmm. We figured it can't hurt to send someone down to check it out so Foxy heads down there, but before she gets there we see Q and Thoben coming back out of the woods, with none other than Eric in tow! He looks like he's had better days, he's naked and bound, and looks like he may have been on the losing side of a battle axe. I can see his shoulder wound clearly from here! Turns out he was indeed the thief that took Q's gold, and you know how dwarves are about somebody stealing their gold or drink…the short little dirt diggers are always bristling for a fight, looking for any excuse it seems! We got Eric patched up a bit so he's in better shape, but aren't quite sure what to do with him…he says he can lead us to a bigger cache of loot, and that he has access to a Thieves Guild in Dragondown, but how much can you really trust someone like that? I'd be tempted to just let him lead us to his loot, then be rid of him. There'll be two more like him to take his place anyway. I'm all for helping out someone who needs a hand, but for those rats around our feet…it seems as soon as you do the nice thing by not stepping on them, they turn around and bite you as repayment. We left Ollen to deal with our current issue. Seems we at least got some loot from this little ordeal, and Q got his gold back! Upon inspecting Eric (it was quite easy with him being naked in the morning light) we do notice a mark on the back of his neck and head…3 small lines. We're not sure if it signifies a guild of some sort or if this is some other mark of honor or even ownership.
We ended up giving him his clothes back, Thoben healed him a bit and we're heading off to see this "stash" of his…I have my doubts though… but one thing I know for sure, his dog sure is devoted! He's happily following us as if he had nothing else better to do…and in fact I suppose he doesn't! Oh the life of a 3-legged dog…
Well, we've been on the road for a couple days, that's where I've had the opportunity to write these journal entries, but looks like we're coming to where Eric says his stash is…time to put this book away and get my real book out in case of a problem!
Ok, a bit more to catch back up on in the Journal…my hand is cramping as I've spent nearly the last 24 hours copying spells – but I digress, I'm getting ahead of myself… Back where I left off.
We came across Eric's stash just where he said we would, although we found naught but a few paltry coins, hardly worth our troubles and no surprise the rat ended up being a rat after all in my opinion! We question him and of course he answers with a promise for even better rewards…if we go back the way we have come. Seems to me a lousy diversion tactic, and I say we cut our losses here and now! Just for good measure Thoben casts a Detect Evil spell to see if we can find anything in our presence, and what do you know but that Eric glows from it. Not sure what's going on there…if he himself is evil or if maybe he is being controlled by an evil spirit or demon. That could help explain the markings on his neck as well…possibly a mark of possession or control from a more powerful entity, one that is using Eric as a conduit of sorts. He doesn't seemed to be put out too much by his stash being gone, but maybe I'm just being cynical, it's hard to think good of people like this when you see them squander away what short lives they have.
While hanging around the area trying to decide what to do, we hear a "clang" sound, as if something metal hit the big rock near where we are. We investigate and find a sextant. Where a sextant could have fallen from was a mystery (but we know now!) but we look around and see nothing. However we do hear hoofbeats off in the distance, sounds like a handful of people coming our way…not at a charge but definitely in a hurry. Better to be cautious and get our backs to a wall and be prepared for them. They come upon us, actually somewhat passing us by as we're behind the big rock when one spots us. They all reign their horses in and turn to face us, fanning out in a battle position. Definitely not their first time doing this, you can tell by how they move and coordinate with one another…and they look quite rough. The type of people who might charge a road tax "for your benefit". More scum…
Their leader attempts to bully his way into us, asking what our intentions are but as expected Q responds just as aggressively. Sometimes I feel adventuring with a dwarf is more trouble than its worth, but in times like this I feel they hit it right on the spot. A battle ensues as expected and we quickly dispatch a couple of their riders, counting the leader which helps to break up their merry little band. I have been itching to try out my new wand but have been hesitant because of it's chaotic nature. Who knows if it'll shoot a fireball at the enemy or turn them into hill giants!? So I just gave it a shot and what do you know…it summoned a whole group of dwarves to mine the rock we were around. What?? After the battle, Q talked with them but they seemed a bit irritated, even more than a dwarf normally is, they seemed to only want to focus on mining for the good jewels within the rock.
One thing we did notice while searching the bodies of the horseman was that the one near the rear had been shot with an arrow…and not from us. Foxy noticed it as likely being a ranger arrow, since they are pretty particular about their bowcraft. We were distracted all of the sudden by a voice overhead, hollering my name…turns out it was Ollen! He was on an airship above us, we must have missed him when we looked up earlier because of all the cloud cover. He was happy to get his sextant back I might add! We spoke with him about hitching a ride as he said they were heading to Dragondown and could use a couple extra hands on deck as they were running a skeleton crew. Luckily Q and I both know our way around a ship so it worked for everyone. Before we climb up the ladder we get to meet our mystery bowman(woman). Her name was Amallae and apparently she's been trailing us for awhile…one can understand why she held back and didn't approach us, we must have looked quite the site with what went down back at the camp where we picked Eric up! Based on the fact she helped us when she didn't need to, even if it was for her own benefit of getting to Dragondown more quickly, we figure we can't hurt to party up with her. Doesn't mean we trust her yet, but she doesn't seem so bad so far, for a half-elf.
Once on the ship (after nearly losing our chest of loot!) we notice an albino minotaur at the helm. We're assuming this is the first mate who Ollen named "Bilge". We are told we can lock Eric up in a cell and do so quickly. We are then introduced to Marcus finally (apparently Ollen isn't totally crazy after all) and he has an interesting proposition for us. He tells us his story of being imprisoned in the Abyss and how he has lost touch with his God. He apparently used to be a Paladin but has since lost his connection because of the demon who held him prisoner. He hasn't named his deity but I believe him to be a disciple of Lathander. If not for Ollen's help he would not have gotten out of his predicament, and now he's on a quest to re-find his faith and his communion with his God. We agree to help him out, it sounds as if this may be a mighty adventure that could be very rewarding, especially since a big part is being able to spend time in the great Sage Library in Dragondown. Oh the things I could learn if I could spend a few years there! But first, we must get a rare tome as our entry fee…
After we leave Marcus' room, Ollen and I spend the rest of the time going over spells. I'm ready for the next part of our adventure to begin….I have new spells and a new direction, who knows what tomorrow might bring, but here's to hoping it's full of magic, adventure and fine elven wine!