There's no two ways about it, I am not a wilderness person. I absolutely hate this backwater place. I'm not made for roads, forests and ghosts. Not just any ghosts, oh no. Bandit ghosts, who by the way are about as rapey as one would guess. Which is "very." Very, very rapey. I don't know how one would translate the act of shuddering on paper, but here goes.
A good portion of the page is just a hectic scribble.
It's bad enough that now there's two weirdos accompanying us."Oh hey, open a chest for us, will you?" Burned hands, a quaffed potion, and some coaxing later, my companion blows up a wall, and part of the temple we stayed at. Not subtle. Not at all. I was hoping to take on a job or two, maybe investigate the missing servant but that's probably out the window.
It's at this point I should probably stop and actually recount the events. Seems like I just started in the middle. Which I did, sorta. So here it goes.
Raneth and I get up. I get up earlier, not by much. But by enough to move so as my companion not discover that I'm prone to cuddling anything or anyone nearby when I sleep. This is really why I prefer to travel alone. When I collect myself, it becomes apparent that the two adventurers we met on the previous day are gone. Along with the little item I slipped in their pocket. That might take some attention off of us, and I'm sure that they can handle themselves. It's a shame, it really would have been useful to have them along. Heck, if they came with then Raneth and I wouldn't have even gave the elf and the dwarf the time of day.
When we see the scholar that Raneth wanted to speak to, I felt sort of at home. The reason for this bit of nostalgia was that the lady of the house, can't remember her name, is in possession of a missing servant (see what I did there?) Upon discovering a bloody knife in her kitchen while volunteering to get tea-I felt a mystery afoot. Unfortunately, the potential client, and quite possible-suspect was uncooperative, Raneth and that scholar were no help either. Not for lack of trying from my companion's end. I'd let her speak for me more often, but I think that would set a bad precedent.
But in exchange for a mystery that will remain unsolved, I learned that my companion is more than she let on. She's a witch. Not like those stuffy mages, but an honest-to-Lathander witch, sold her soul to some undead monster-thing. But get this, it wasn't even intentional. I prodded the scholar about how one would make such a pact, I made a show of looking too enthusiastic about such a thing. But it seems as though I now have more information on my former client and that is good. It doesn't paint a picture, but for the purpose of the analogy it gives me some colors and a brush, maybe. Souls were bartered, power was gained in exchange, and "he" is a Warlock.
I'll follow my Witch friend. She could be useful, and I always did want to see the Anauroch desert-which is where she will likely go. Point of fact, I should probably make sure she does, as there is someone of great power there, according to the Willowby. If I could enlist aid, or at least get more information from them then maybe there's something I could do.
It's at this point that the day was in swing, and it was time to set out. But that's when we were rudely interrupted by "those two." An Elf and a Dwarf, which I'm sure there's a making of a joke somewhere in there. They, out of nowhere ask me if I could pick the lock of a chest. Now, why would they just assume that I, an unassuming hin would be the nefarious type? What is it about me that makes people think I'm up to no good?
Anyway, there's a chest in the alleyway between the dock wall and the temple of Lathander. I really didn't want to open it for them. I mean, what's in it for me? What, they were going to share the contents? What if it was just one thing? Did they plan on splitting THAT in fourths? Anyway, who knows with those two.
Dumb curiosity got the best of me, so I get to work on the lock, and I manage to pick it. Then a small explosion goes off, and my hands are burnt. Pretty badly. Okay, really badly. It's a good thing there was a potion handy, and that Raneth was accommodating enough to aid me in drinking it. Took care of the burns and the injury itself, and though I was good as new, my hands still had burning pins and needles for a bit. Then the dwarf tried to open it. As luck would have it, the chest exploded on him as well, and even knocked him into the wall. Tymora be praised. Although I think if anyone, the Elf would have had it coming.
So then I convince Raneth to use some of her witch powers to get it open, by blasting it. This time, we all had the sense to get well out of the way. This, I think was one of my smarter decisions. The wall, and a whole section of the temple just explode as soon as the chest gets hit. My ears rang something fierce.
Deciding that there was really nothing better to do in that part of town anymore, we went off to grab the apothecary's wife, managed to convince the man himself to come along, but he fell behind and was never seen again. I could only assume he went back to the shop.
I told our new "friends" to go fetch the ponies while we went to the potion shop. I'm pretty sure they screwed up. When we met outside of town, there were no ponies. Then I'm told that someone came by and picked them up, and also mentioned me when they did. Someone's onto me. If it's these Zhentarim, then it's a simple matter. Not necessarily "easy," but there's a simplicity in dealing with these types. Chances are good though, that I've made fast friends with them-and they'll be bringing presents. I'll have to make sure they don't throw any surprise parties. This will be hard. If it's my ex-client, then it means one of two things. Either I take care of this goon real quick, and it will be a while before I encounter another. Or I'm dealing with some unknown unknowns. This would be my least favorite option.
We leave Loudwater, and I don't plan on coming back. Which leads me to the worst, or best part of the story depending on who's reading. Which is me. So I'd say it's a little bit of both. I'll start with the best parts.
Best part: I got to see ghosts.
Worst part: Everything else, including the ghosts. They were ghost bandits, like the ones Ms. Willoughby talked about. They were also, as previously mentioned, very very rapey. The hillbilly accents only made it worse. I'd think it was hilarious if it weren't directed at me. One of them even played a banjo while their leader made pig-squealing noises at me. While everyone else was trying to negotiate with those bastards, I snuck away and that's oddly enough not where things get better.
One of our number decided to be a hero. The apothecary's wife decided she was going to be too brave for her own good. They ran her through. I suppose the only thing that spared us the same fate was "Ice" as he calls himself when he promised to bring back the treasure the ghost bandits were after. Dumb decision, but whatever it's his problem. I was way out of sight and halfway gone, and thankfully Raneth managed to get out of harm's way.
I desperately wanted to get her back to a priest and have her revived, the stuff about bringing her back as a zombie were. . .I joke around when I'm frightened. But no, they cut off her head and set her corpse to the torch. It was at this point, I felt peckish and figured I'd roast a ration over the resulting pyre. You know, lighten the mood. Didn't work.
The silver lining, if you could call it that, is I get some of the fancy dresses that this woman brought along with her. So I could give them as a gift to someone. Should I ever-Oh who am I kidding. I'm going to rock that white dress she has, and the silk gloves are such a nice texture. I even know what I'm going to do with my hair.
Jury's still out on that Elf and his friend though. But right now, I have half a mind to put a bolt in their heads for turning this jaunt through the woods into a farce. Maybe we can ditch them as soon as we have a chance. It's not like Raneth and I owe those ghosts anything, and it's just taking us away from where we were going. It's his damn fault for getting that halfling woman all excited, showing off like some sort of pompous fop. Elves. Now she's dead, and I was REALLY looking forward to seeing her expression when seeing a Tiefling for the first time. I wanted to take that girl on a little adventure, give her something to see and remember fondly. Now she's dead. She's dead and I don't even remember her name.
I think I'll sell the dresses. But I might ask a tailor to design something similar, as I really think I'd look good in the one I stuffed in my pack. Gorwynn, that's her name. I remember it now. It was killing me trying to remember.
Think I'll pray to Tymora tonight, just like I used to back in Athkatla. Today was not a win, that's for sure.