Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting Started

Sommerzeit (6th?)
I find myself in Bastion, south of the Morceaux. I heard prospects of gold in the town. Obviously it won’t be by the usual panning or mining methods. I’m kind of nervous returning to town. It’s been a long time. Also, I look like a wreck.

There are a few inn and taverns in Bastion, but I headed to the Dead Laborer as it looked more my type. I’m afraid I’d have been kicked out of any other place, due to the filth all over my body. The place is packed…unnaturally so. I sat down at a table and asked a crusty old man why it was so busy.

He introduced himself as Leo the merchant and offered to buy me a drink. I’m too poor to refuse a free drink, so I took him up on it. Joe explained that a messenger from the king was on the way with big news. People have gathered from all over, even from outside of town, to hear the announcement. This means I won’t even be able to find a place to sleep in the cheapest inn.

When we heard murmurings that the messenger had arrived in the town square, Leo was passed out. I grabbed some of the potatoes off his meal in front of him and headed out. The field is near a place called the God’s Tear Park. All I have to do is follow the crowd.

I ended up standing between two large men. Of course, I’m only 5’4”, so lots of men are large to me. One looked like a shepherd. He even had two sheep standing in front of him. I tried to engage him in some side conversation, but he must be even more introverted than I am. He pretty much just mumbled and ignored me.

The guy, or should I say boy, on the other side wore a fancy robe. It was black with dark red highlights inside. It almost looked menacing. The boy was too young to be really frightening, though. When I mentioned having a hard time seeing the speaker, the two men tried to help out. Turns out they were pretty nice guys.

The announcement was that the king wanted to deal with some criminals who are apparently in our midst. They wouldn’t have been in my midst if I hadn’t come to the town to hear the announcement, but the messenger doesn’t bring that point up. Apparently these criminals have been murdering nobles and burning their houses down. All attempts of noble inquisitors to find out what is going on have been met with more kidnapped nobles. The king is forbidding any more nobles into looking into the mystery and is leaving the task into the hand of the common folk. Nobody wants to kidnap common folk, and if they do, nobody cares. The king will pay 100 GC to each person who helps capture the killers. If nothing else caught my interest, hearing the reward did. I tucked the information into the back of my mind.

As the crowd dispersed, Joe the merchant showed up, his drunken body held up by two strapping young men who look rather like him. He pointed his finger at me and accused me of killing nobles. The crowd’s not even gone and he’s trying to rake in the gold reward. A woman standing beside me told Joe to be quiet. Then he accused her of being an accomplice. I was scared. I ducked behind the large shepherd as Joe’s bulky clones came toward me.

The boy in the black robe seemed to get defensive as one of the brutes stepped forward and grabbed the other lady on the forearm. He grabbed the brute on the arm. The shepherd cried out in the most fearsome should I’ve ever heard. I couldn’t move and froze in place behind him. Everything started happening so fast.

The lady somehow broke the strong man’s grip and the boy in the robe bashed him on the head with his walking staff. The strong man dropped to the ground. The other strong man was tripped by the shepherd who somehow shoved the man over his wandering sheep. It would have been silly to watch, if it wasn’t such a scary situation. I brought out my axe just in case I had to defend myself, but the boy in the robe was doing a good job at defending all of us. A couple town watchmen showed up at that point and broke things up. Joe grabbed his brutes and ran off, with one brute dragging the other unconscious one.

It turns out the lady is Starlana and she’s a boat pilot who’s been working in town a couple weeks now. She knows all about Joe being a drunkard and tried to call him out on it. It almost backfired, though, and might have if the two large men weren’t there to save us.

The shepherd is named Lorr. He apparently came into town to sell off some of his sheep and make a profit. I guess one of his sheep took off when he shouted, because he left right after the fracas to go find it.

The boy in the black robe is called Gunthar. It turned out he’s an initiate of Solkan, a law deity. In truth, he’s actually a follower of Arianka, who he says is trapped in a crystal coffin. He’s trying to free her, and the best way for him to go about that is through being a follower of her brother, Solkan. After the fight, Gunthar’s captain found him and talked with him. When the captain left, Gunthar turned to me with a proposition.

Because he’s a follower of Arianka, he declares that he wishes to be my bodyguard. He says that Arianka’s strictures tell him to protect the common folk. We’ll, I think I may be a step or two below common, but I love the idea of a bodyguard. My self confidence immediately jumped up to heights never before seen.

Starlana offered to buy Gunthar dinner at the Illuminated Inn at 6PM. She invited me, too, and I said I’d love to have someone buy me dinner. Lorr wandered back after finding his lost sheep and was invited to join us at dinner, too.

We had a few hours before dinner, and Gunthar wanted to visit an old man by the name of Joseph Pruitt who lived in town. Since Gunthar said he was my bodyguard, I figured I had to go wherever he wanted to go, or he couldn’t guard me. The old man was also a follower of Arianka and brightened when Gunthar visited. The old man was rather poor, but he fed me some soup and bread. He was very kind. I think I really like these followers of Arianka.

The man suggested we visit the God’s Tear. The place brings him great solace. He also suggested that some of the more liberal followers of Solkan (or was it Arianka…) are doing some unsavory things in their fervor to free the crystal goddess. Finally, he gave us some tips on hunting down the murderers/arsonists, since he wasn’t going to do it himself. He suggested we try the house of the one noble who is missing, but hasn’t been found dead and his house hasn’t been burned down. The noble’s name is Lord Cedric Doyle. Joseph says Lord Doyle is very friendly, but a little touched, mentally. Apparently he says he can foretell the future. Maybe he could see nobles getting killed and burned in the future, so he took off into hiding…Anyway, that’s what I want to investigate, and Gunthar says he’s staying with me!

The God’s Tear Park has a 4 – 5’ high fence around it. The fence is built just outside this amazingly fertile area of this coastal town. There’s actually a rule that there can be no construction in the park. Everything is to be left pristine and untouched.

I found the atmosphere to be calm and relaxing. It actually makes me think about the Lady of the Lake. I guess legend says that there was a battle of the old gods here, and one was killed. Or was it one was buried? I don’t know, but I hope it’s not Gunthar’s Arianka. Or maybe I hope it is and that he finds her and frees her!