Excerpt from the Journal of Aragon “the Elder” from his adventures with a small group of misfit heroes, shady characters, and….well, a Tax Collector.
The day started with sweet memories of the night before. An elfish wench and her sweet, tender embrace (although afterwards I learned she parted me from more than her embrace) and a lot of mead (this also parted me from a substantial amount of coin).
We were heroes to a town that once thought us murderers. But I, for one, was not convinced that all was as it seemed. We still had a Mage to interrogate. A Mage who had set me running, fleeing even, from the dungeon. A fact that the dwarf, Brolorn (he deserves my respect so therefore his name will be remembered in my journals, unlike the cursed Mage), was kind enough to reveal to the wench.
I know I would be of little use in the interrogation so I simply listened. Although, we learned little from the tight-lipped maggot. He was a cocky bastard and his superior grasp of the situation, unnerved me. By now, we should have saved the damsel and returned to the capital. Victors. But we were no closer to that goal than when we started. All we learned was that the damsel may not be as innocent as once thought.
Ren stayed with the worm, “gathering information”, he claimed. I didn’t believe him but the man was as crafty as he was shady. He gave me no purchase for my suspicions so I left him to his work. After all, didn’t the evil the Mage had done, warrant some pain in return?
In the end, it was of little significance. The Mage died and just to make sure, we burned him. It may do us little real good but it certainly lifted some of the gloom off of my soul.
Two days later, a messenger from the capital waiting for us at a bar. The Ifrit (who Brolorn insisted I call Adir but Ifrit suits him just fine) followed him half-heartedly, and looking back his hesitation was warranted. The man found us and we ended up being overcautious. Sometimes paranoia pays off, sometimes it doesn’t.
We told the man what we had learned and the party was again split on our direction. Some argued for returning to the capital to report our progress. I said it was folly and stupidity to report failure to a Senator, a thought mirrored in the voice of the Tax Collector, Ren, whose name I was smart to remember. The man was frightening and crafty but well-connected. He was one to watch, a valuable ally and dangerous enemy. Finally, the Paladin, Via, as dumb as she is beautiful, swung the vote in favor of returning.
I sighed under my breath for I knew this could be the end of all us if we weren’t careful. The capital was the realm of Politicians where an axe, no matter how mighty, would do me little good.
We returned, our trip uneventful, thank Or’n. We soon found ourselves at the steps of the Senator’s mansion. Tension hung heavy over the group, except Via, who remained blissfully ignorant of the danger we faced. Or so I thought. We talked to the Senator and relayed the news. When she heard of the death of Usm, she was visibly shaken, a fact noticed by all (including the Paladin to her credit). She excused herself and then after returning, abruptly excused us without another word about her niece. Again, Via, proving herself more crafty than we thought, conceded and we withdrew from the mansion.
I was perplexed by the turn of events and asked Via why we left so easily. She told us that she believed that the Senator only cared about Usm and that her niece was not the main goal. She went on to say that the Ifrit…. (Sigh) Adir, should attempt to learn more. A request she left vague to keep her hands clean from the Ifrit’s activities. We agreed to meet later while the Ifrit did its work.
I returned to my barracks to inquire about some old friends. Hoping, praying that they still lived. To my amazement and relief, they did. Even as the rumors grew of war within, the outer borders remained relatively quiet. The hours passed and the appointed time drew near. I excused myself and made my way to the Inn where we agreed to meet.
The Ifrit informed us that a messenger was leaving immediately to relay a message to an unknown destination and person. We agreed that the messenger should be stopped. There was disagreement (a fact that is readily becoming a pattern) in the group about how the messenger should be dealt with. I offered the advice that we treat the messenger as a we would any enemy and that force was well within the bounds of morality. Via was unsure but Ren assured her that the messenger would be dealt with and the message retrieved. Via was still uncertain but she trusted Ren’s word (why? I honestly don’t know) and we proceeded out.
Via knew the city well and we quickly caught up to the wagon carrying the messenger in question. Via and I boldly rode ahead and stopped directly in front of the driver. Via demanded the man stop and I started towards the wagon, intent on ensuring that the driver did not proceed any further. The man ignored Via’s demands and shot an arrow at me. This action doomed the man in my eyes, innocent or not. I charged the driver but was unable to cleave the man’s head from his shoulders like I desired with the horses giving the man sufficient cover to save him. Damn horses.
The driver attempted, poorly, to flee. The horses reared in fright and the wagon rocked and rolled before upturned a ways down the road. I was relatively uninjured by the crash and was able to now successfully splatter the driver brains all over the road. Some in my company pointed out that the driver had valuable information, I spit in response and cleared my axe off on his shirt.
We could hear the sounds of the militia charging in our direction. We needed to flee and quickly. A honorable retreat in this case. Ren again proved his worth and lead us to a safe house where our adventure ended for the night. Out of breath, tired, and bloody, I threw my pack to the ground inside the house and let the other fools take care of the rest. While I lay there, sleep slowly overcoming me, I could hear them talking about the messenger, a simple servant sadly, and the message magically encoded (of course. Damn Mages). Just before I drifted off, they were able to open the message. A triumph that meant little to this campaigner. I was here to be the muscle, little more. I was a soldier to whom intrigue meant little. Let the rest of them deal with that. All I needed was an axe and room to swing.
And with that final pleasant thought, I drifted off.
Until tomorrow, may Law and Order reign supreme. Or’n judges all.