We arrived back in Thelamar once again, Kael having lost the hobgoblin tracks on the main street. He had frightened one poor woman by forgetting he was in clouded leopard form at the time. The poor woman ran off screaming before Kael could show her he meant no harm.
Lucien was getting tired of the weight of his gear and the coins he held. He went searching for a merchant who might have a Heward’s Handy Haversack. I went off to run a quick errand of my own. D.W. and Kael headed to the tavern to wait for us.
In the tavern, D.W. ordered a simple ale and sat down with it. Not caring much for alcohol, Kael tried to order water, but the tavern keeper would have none of that. He told the druid there was water outside in the trough if he didn’t wish to purchase ale. Kael cursed him in druidic, then asked for the cheapest ale. Even though the tavern keeper didn’t speak druidic, he knew he had been insulted. He bent down behind the bar to get an “ale” for the druid and handed it to Kael.
Suspicious of the ale’s color, Kael handed the man coin, then sat without drinking the fluid. D.W. chuckled as he drank from his own cup. I joined them minutes later, then Lucien came in, a frown on his face. He was unable to locate the bag he was seeking.
Over our noon meal, we discussed our failure to find the hobgoblins and our next course of action. Lucien asked where he might find the bag he wanted. We all agreed we would need to go to a larger town than Thelamar. I told him I was fairly certain they had them in Hodgeton, three day’s travel from here if we walked.
Seated at a table near us was a human dressed in black from head to toe. Even his hair was black, though it had silvery white strands along his temples. His eyes appeared black as well, with little silver flecks in them. He was unusual for a human. And he was talking to himself, speaking softly.
Lucien and Kael looked over at him with curiosity. They were unsure as to his state of mind, but decided to talk with him anyway, asking if he was alright. The dark eyed man looked back at them with a tolerant expression on his face. He shifted slightly and they saw a flash of fur disappear into his clothing.
The druid and rogue exchanged looks, then stepped up to the stranger to introduce themselves. They stared at him pointedly until he gave his name as Samhein. D.W. and I looked at one another, then joined them in the introductions. Realizing we would not go away, the man reluctantly asked if we wished to join him. We all sat down at once.
I do not know what came over us, to descend upon a total stranger like that and began interogating him about who he was and what he was up to. It may have been due to his odd appearance and we were intrigued. Whatever the reason for it, we acted out of character that day.
Samhein was clearly not appreciative of our questions, though he was polite about it. He in turn asked a few of his own, such as where we were heading and who we were. Someone asked him if he would like to join us. He pondered it a moment, then agreed.
Lucien, Kael, and Samhein went to purchase mules and some animal packs for the group. I later heard that Lucien tried to purchase an exotic pack to strap to Kael when in animal form. Whoever said that elves do not have a sense of humor would be astounded to meet Lucien. He has many wonderful qualities and humor most definitely is one of them.
Once we had purchased everything we would need for the next few days of travel, we set out on the road. Not much happened our first day. Both D.W. and Kael chose to hunt for fresh meat for our dinner. That was fine with me. I much prefer roasted rabbit to dried up trail rations. The life of the adventurer seems to be limited often to stale foods on the road. I struggle not to let the others know how much I detest those horrid, dry rations.
Kael, I have found, likes to travel in his clouded leopard form most of the time. Our first night in camp, I watched him to see whether he would sleep in the trees or not. While I knew him prior to joining this group, it was only in passing. I was disappointed to find he reverts back to his natural half-elf form when sleeping.
Lucien, on the other hand, has no need to revert to any other form. His body is quite delicious as it is. I take great pleasure in learning all I can about him. Especially his mind. He is not a simple man at all. While he may not be very charismatic, he has other ways of expressing himself and communicating. There is so much more to him than anyone realizes.
D.W. is quiet and very hard to read. When we camp at night, I notice he tends to lay down his bedroll a little ways away from the rest of us. He does not sit about the campfire and share of his past. I have never met set a reserved halfling before. It makes me wonder what tragedy he holds in his past, for that must be why he is so subdued all the time.
As to the new person, I will hold off judgement of the human for now. He is aloof most of the time. While most humans chatter incessantly about themselves or things of no consequence, he chooses to sit silently and watch us. When he does speak, it is usually to the critter he keeps hidden away in his cloak. I finally realized it is a ferret. There seems to be much love between the two.
During our second day of travel, we were trekking down the main road when a vine snapped at Kael. A plant, if you can believe it, reached out and grabbed ahold of the druid. Lucien tried to get around behind it to backstab it. Unfortunately, the ground proved to difficult to pass over. Samhein snapped off a few spells and D.W. outshone us all with his ranged attacks. I was pretty much useless. I really should pick up a bow in town.
The rest of our trip was uneventful. We reached Hodgeton in the early evening of the third day. Lucien headed straight to the mercantile where he tied up one of the mules. He tried to convince the merchant that his opal was very special and that the sovereign himself had owned it previously. The merchant laughed in his face. The rogue paid full price for the magical backpack.
Kael joined Lucien in the same mercantile, first having tied up his mule at the inn. He too purchased a Heward’s Handy Haversack. They headed back to the tavern for a good meal, forgetting all about the pack animals.