A Noble Cause for Mellem

A Simple Task - part 1
The sage's dungeon

Shortly after Dale and Lucien had left with their associates, I found the halfling Dale had told me about. What an interesting creature he turned out to be. He is very quiet, almost hesitant to speak. He has kind gray eyes and red hair. While I have only met a few halflings, he seems far too serious for his kind.

Since I would like very much to see Lucien again, I have offered to accompany D.W. to Thelamar. He agreed, so we left immediately. It was a rather quiet journey. I talked about some of the things going on around Bellshank of late and tried to draw him into conversation. His answers are rather brief, though he is not rude about it.

Not long after reaching Thelamar, we ran into Dale, Lucien, and Valda. It was then I learned they had lost one of their party members, a wizard named Josias. Everyone was upset, but it was the elf who held my interest. I suggested he walk with me so we could talk in private.

Dale updated D.W. on what had transpired. They both took a look at the tome, but neither could understand the strange writings inside. It looked like gibberish to them. They then went seeking the owner of the book. D.W. kept getting a strange feeling he was being watched as they made their way to the sage’s home.

Once again, the sage was shouting to them as if deaf. He was delighted at the recovery of his tome. Before answering any of their questions, he insisted the pair drink some of his special tea. Dale was unable to keep the vile fluid down, which the old man found amusing. He told them he would only tell them what he knew if they could pass his test. Only if they were worthy would they be able to handle what he knew. His instructioned them on his rules for the test and told them to see him when they were ready to leave. They agreed they would come back when they were ready to go.

On the way back to meet the others, D.W. again had the feeling someone was watching him. He spotted a figure skulking along behind him and devised a plan with Dale to see who the figure was after. In short order, they managed to catch the person. It was a young man claiming to only want to adventure with them as he was alone. << Really horrible intro of new character to game >>

In the meantime, Valda had gone to the public bath, an oddity for a druid, as she preferred the heated water to natural surroundings. While there, a scruffy looking man with horrid breath and missing teeth offered to scrub Valda’s back for her. He continued to harrass her as she quickly dried off, tossed on her blouse, and left with the rest of her clothes shoved under her arm. She headed straight for the tavern, hoping to find her associates there.

The three males were sitting in the tavern when a partially dressed Valda rushed in. On her heels was a naked, lecherous looking man who aimed straight for the druid, his hands outstretched to grope her. Dale took one glance at the wretch and cold konked him. Zephyr, the newest member of the party, helped him drag the unconscious man out of the tavern to toss upon the ground unceremoniously.

After supping, the four went their seperate ways to sleep for the night, agreeing to meet at the tavern in the morning. When the sun rose, they headed back to see the sage as he had instructed. He gave them each a potion to drink immediately and watched them carefully to see that they did so. He shook his head at their not even questioning him as to what the potion was.

The quest he gave them was simple. Find his missing chess piece, a white rook, and return it to him. Enter the hidden passage of the ruins but do not return the same way. Survive and come back to see him. Only then will he believe they were capable of figuring out the Salvus Expedition. If they could not manage this simple task, they had no business seeking out something as complicated as an expedition.

The foursome headed directly to the ruins as directed. They found what looked to be a well upon the flat surface. When they looked into it, they found it was a covering to a room 60 feet below the ground they stood upon. With some rope and a few unexpected falls, they managed to descend to the room below.

The entrance room held four large, marble statues – a rogue, a wizard, a fighter, and a bard. When everyone was finally in the room, several of the party had healed themselves with potions and such (the druid apparently forgot once again that she could heal).

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Foolish choices
Common sense fails

The afternoon, after having seperated from Anya, Dale and Lucien went seeking their other fellow adventurers. After walking up and down the streets of Bellshank, they finally found two of them – Josias and Valda.

Josias was a wizard who had taken an immediate dislike to Lucien which was quite mutual. Something about the mage was an irritant to the rogue.

Valda was a druid who seemed confused about her role as both an adventurer and as a druid. Just days before, the rest of the party had been obliged to stop her from killing a wounded bear rather than healing it. More still, she seemed uncertain of her role in combat.

The four headed out immediately after stocking up on supplies. They reached Thelamar without issues. After quenching their thirst at the local tavern, they seperated to see if anyone had seen Rory pass through. Josias lucked out by finding a merchant who had seen Rory and remembered him. The merchant was able to give details confirming it was indeed Rory. He even recalled that Rory had spoken of pursuing the Salvus Expedition. When Josias asked for further information on the legend of the Salvus Expedition, the merchant suggested Josias speak with the town’s sage, Foxcuss.

Not wasting any time, Josias went secretly to meet the sage. The old man he met up with shouted a greeting to him, then insisted the mage drink the tea he offered. Josias drank it despite the horrid taste as he listened to the crazed old man, shouting every word, tell of an old historical tome that had been left at the town’s former tavern just outside of town. He claimed it had a detailed history of Mellem and there were important details in the book.

Josias headed directly to the old tavern to see if he couldn’t grab hold of the tome alone. What he found was an old building with boarded up windows and an aura of transmutation about it. Common sense finally settled in and the wizard headed back to town to find his companions to help him with the task.

With the rest of the group in tow, Josias returned to the former tavern, telling his companions that he needed a tome from inside and there was an aura of magic about the place. He gave no further information, so the group opted to trust him and headed in. It didn’t take long to realize the task was not so simple as numerous objects came to life and attacked them. A large rug tried to swallow Dale whole as several chairs attempted to slam into him.

I never met the wizard, but found what little I knew of him to be disappointing. A wizard who didn’t simply use magic to obtain the book? One would think he could have used mage hand to simply reach out and grab the book without endangering the entire party. It is no wonder he met his end that day.

The fighter took on the objects while the rogue tried to locate the book. The confused druid watched for a bit before going after one of the chairs. Then the wizard chose to fight up close with his dagger. He repeatedly poked the rug that was slapping Dale until the rug noticed him and slapped Josias instead. He collapsed on the floor, bleeding profusely from his wounds. The druid saw him drop to the floor, but decided to continue fighting instead.

When the group finally managed to defeat the objects, it was the rogue who was first to the fallen wizard’s side. Unfortunately for the wizard, it was too late.

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Sprite
Sprite with bad taste

Days later, I ran into the fighter at the local ale tent. He introduced his new companion, a fine looking elf, as Lucien. I felt butterflies in my stomache the moment I set her eyes on him. I studied him from beneath my eyelashes, not wanting him to see how interested I was in him. He wore earth toned clothing as if to blend in with his surroundings. He constantly keeps an eye on everyone, looking nonchalant at the same time, and he has a rugged timbre to his voice.

After inviting me to join them, Lucien told me to order whatever I wanted for a drink. With a smirk, I asked for Elven Moondrop. The tavern keeper was elated to find a buyer for the bottle of Elven wine he had kept carefully tucked behind the bar. I let out a giggle, knowing how expensive it was for such a fancy drink. When the tavern keeper asked for the two hundred twenty gold, the elf hesitated for the briefest of moments before handing over two pearls in payment. It astonished me that he didn’t cancel the order, for clearly he had not known the cost of such a thing. Instead, he shared a cup with each of us before discreetly pouring the rest into a wineskin and tucking it away.

We talked for a while about various topics. Dale excused himself early to run an errand and then seek a bed for the night. Lucien and I sought a resting place and retired together.

The next morning, the three of us decided to head to the town of Thelamar, which wasn’t but a few days of travel. From what little information we had, it seemed that Rory may have headed there last. It has been difficult trying to pick up his trail as his mother is of the impression he went just outside of town. The family friend Bing had sent him to a simple cave southward where he couldn’t get into trouble. Now we are finding Rory may have gone in an entirely different direction.

We stopped at the well to refill our waterskins. As Dale dropped the bucket into the water, we heard someone cry out from deep within the well. A soft, feminine voice begged for help. Dale told her to hold onto the bucket and he would pull her out. He was amazed how little effort it took to winch the bucket up. When it reached the top, he was astounded to find a tiny being in the bucket.

Turned out to be a sprite of some sort. She cried as she told us how she came to be in that well. A thief had stolen her amulet and trapped her in the well. In a tearful voice, she pleaded an escort back to her home so she would feel safe. Dale plopped her in one of the saddlebags of his mule for her “comfort” on the trip.

The home she led us to was a cozy little cottage. The hairs on the back of Lucien’s neck stood on end as he eyed the building. He immediately began interogating the sprite and his suspicions rose with each evasive answer she gave. She tried to convince him that this was her home. He angered as he realized she had duped them.

While we stood arguing with the creature, the occupant in the cabin snuck up on our group. The stranger fired off a spell which instantly killed the sprite. We tried to calm him down, but he would have none of it. When he continued to try to kill everyone, we had no choice but to defend ourselves.

Lucien searched the cottage afterward, to find the amulet the sprite had spoken so fondly of. The only amulet he found was nothing to be admired as it was both ugly and crudely made. He pocketed the Butt ugly amulet with disgust, hoping to find an answer later as to why she had wanted it so badly.

We returned to Bellshank feeling ashamed for having been so easily mislead. Adventuring is not as easy as I had thought it would be. Find abhorrent monsters and kill them. Seek out evil and destroy it. Everything should be black and white, should it not?

Dale told me about his friend D.W., a halfling with red hair. He said they had not seen him around for the last couple days and asked if I would tell him where they had gone as they were heading to Thelamar. Since I needed to stay in town due to previous comittments, I parted ways with the two of them shortly afterwards.

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A beginning
A story has to start somewhere

Anya glares down at the blank parchment in front of her. She was uncertain how to start her story. To tell of the moment she had left her home was boring at best. Or to talk of the various things she had done until meeting up with the adventurers she was now with seemed inconsequential. One has to capture their audience immediately and hold their interest. Not an easy task, especially for a beginner.

She reaches down into her leather satchel and pulls out a weatherbeaten, leatherbound book and lovingly caresses the cover. It is clear the book is old, yet well taken care of. The young woman opens the pages carefully and looks over her entries. As she scans the pages, a soft frown touches her lips.

I met with Talista again today. She is still distraught over her missing son Rory. She continues to draw those horrible portraits of him on the fliers and post them everywhere. I doubt they will do her any good since she has not the slightest talent in art. The portraits are much like a toddler scribbling coal upon a parchment, but I have not the heart to tell her so. I met Rory some time back, before he began his first adventure. He looks nothing like her sketches.

As much as she doted upon her only son, I often wonder if he has stayed away a bit longer than intended only for a breath of relief from her smothering him with affection. Although it is not my place to judge another family, I cannot help but wonder.

The excerpt made her feel agitated, yet it intertwined with her current story. It was necessary to start here. She gently flips the page to continue reading. The next entry told of her meeting some of her companions there in Bellshank. They had come across one of Talista’s fliers after one of them had found an item of Rory’s.

After meeting them, Talista had her hopes up that they would soon bring her boy home. The adventurers had then gone back to where they had previously found a clue to his where abouts to search for him. When they returned, they brought the body of a boy matching his general description, only it wasn’t Rory. The group had made sure this time they obtained enough details about Rory that they would able to clearly identify him when they found him.

Since Bellshank did not yet have a temple, the group decided a simple burial was required. The young human male named Dale brought the body into the woods. He gave the unidentified boy a proper burial. Though Dale was clearly not a cleric, he apparently was a dedicated follower of Pelor and gave the body a descent funeral. Afterwards, he knelt over the fresh grave and gave a silent prayer to his deity to tend to the young soul. As he stood, he spotted Anya leaning against a tree, watching him with keen interest.

He was quick to explain that he had not been stealing, nor had he been the cause of death for the lad. Dale explained his actions in a rush, as if his reputation meant a great deal and he did not relish the idea of anyone thinking ill of him. He openly discussed what his party was doing in town, what they had previously been up to, and what future plans they had. The boy was eager to tell of his good deeds.

After some conversation, Anya set the fighter to a task in town. She had learned of a local farmer dealing with some manner of creature attacking his livestock. The two set out to dispatch the creatures that night. Dale praised Pelor with a shout, then quickly rid the farmer of his problems. He then asked Anya where he could find the farmers so he could assure them the creatures were gone and to assure them that Pelor had blessed them that night.

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