The last two days on the Carin Road were fraught with danger. Not only did the strange unpredictable weather continue, but sporadic tremors of the earth began happening and of course there was the very real threat of being ambushed along the road. We faced two such ambushes- one from a band of orcs, a race I am familiar with as their kind are known to plague my city on occasions, and the other incident involved large fur-covered humanoids who my companions referred to as Bugbears. I did not understand the association of insects to their biological make-up but the bear part certainly seemed appropriate. Our prisoner, the pirate (a term that I am not fully understanding of yet, but was explained to me by my comrades as a profession similar to a bandit but who raids vast waterways instead of on the land but I am confused as this “pirate” was raiding us on a road in some grasslands so I do not think that matches their criteria of a pirate and think that bandit is more appropriate- the logic of these surface-dwellers will take some time to get used to) we took prisoner from the bandits lead by the water priest we vanquished the day prior was killed in the Orc ambush. He will now have to answer to Gorm for the misdeeds he did in life.
Luckily the tremors subsided and battered and bloodied, with little magical power remaining within Lester and I, we reached the small town of Bargewright Inn. The Inn was but one structure in the wall-enclosed town, but it was by far the most prominent and more closely resembled a small elegant fort with its two towers reaching into the sky than an inn. At this late hour there were few people in the streets- beggers, a few fellow travelers and street urchins and several unsavory get folk who took notice of Dovak and I with our gold masks of Gorm. We will have to watch ourselves, as I suspect that many will be lured by the monetary value of the masks and not the spiritual enlightenment and symbol of faith that it represents.
After stabling the horses, we made our way to the Bargewright Inn to seek the best lodging accommodations and the finest food and drink available. Lester conducted the negotiations with the innkeeper, a fellow half-elf named Nalaskur Thaelond who seemed charming enough and a price was negotiated for the best room and board the establishment had to offer. The hot bath was a welcome repose after the long days on the road and sleep was found quickly in the silk sheets and comfortable blankets.
There was a sudden unexplained tension in the air when Lester joined his companions in the massive taproom of the Bargewright Inn where they were taking breakfast before heading out to the town of Womford. Everyone looked up as the warlock approached and sat down, a haunted look on his face.
“About time you showed up. We’s were about to leave ya here to move in with your half-elf friend” Dovak said motioning toward the Bargewright Inn’s proprietor, Nalaskur. "You’s both been hanging out like buddies since we got here" Dovak continued in a light-hearted jest to crack his friend’s face into a smile.
It didn’t work. Lester’s face continued to look preoccupied and conflicted. "Nalaskur…he had a job offer for us. Caravan guards for one he’s got leaving in the morning for Triboar. I told him we weren’t interested."
“Ya got that right” Takashi said. "I don’t think we have time to babysit a bunch of merchants. Not to mention the last time we signed up for caravan duty. We ended up getting lost in the desert and found our way back out one short" he said this as his gaze drifted subconsciously to Severius who’s pale face and unnaturally large eyes regarded him with a unreadable expression. Takashi felt a pang of sorrow well up at the memory of his dwarven friend Gorin.
“There was more” Lester went on. He placed his hand on the table, his hand displaying the ring his father had given him, the same type of ring that Takashi also possessed from his father- their father. "Nalaskur recognized this ring. Said that he’s seen it before."
“Where?” Takashi asked “When?”
“He told me that a man wearing one just like it passed through here two ten day ago. He doesn’t know the man’s name or where he went, but there was a man with him named Regiden whose a merchant that lives in Amphail- it’s a few days walk south from Red Larch” Lester replied.
“We need to go there…see if we can find this Regiden” Takashi started.
“Yes, but not all of us” Lester said. "The Delegation still needs to be located. This is a matter of a personal nature and it would not be right to drag all of us to Amphail and lose the time we’ve already invested on the road to Summit Hall, we’d be going the opposite direction."
“Well you can’t go there alone,” Takashi replied. "At least let me accompany you. The roads are treacherous and rife with creatures- we’ve seen that obviously enough."
“No,” Lester countered. "You must continue with our friends, at least to Summit Hall. They’ll need your bow and I’ve worked out a deal with Nalaskur to accompany a group of some of his associates that are traveling to Amphail and beyond. Brother…" He said to Takashi “Let me go check this out while you get our friends to Summit Hall. Maybe there will be word there on the delegation’s status. Perhaps they have been found, then all of us can rendezvous back here and we can do this together. Regardless of what I find in Amphail, I’ll return straight here and wait two ten day for your return so I can share what I found and we can plan what to do next.”
“You’ll return here?” Takashi asked for reassurance.
“I will. You have my word” Lester replied.
“You better” Takashi responded “Because I’ll come looking.”
“Like I said brother, you have my word” Lester said again.
Takashi sat back seemingly content.