Following the epic quest we have now been tasked with, our newly formed group, comprised of myself, Beiro, Melech and a local guard who went by the name of Baldwin agreed to reconvene in The Fallow Sow the following morning. The idea was that we would spend some time shopping for any new equipment, maybe gather some other information and then set out mid-afternoon. However, I’d forgotten the deal I’d made with the innkeeper, that I was to play the following day as well in order to earn my keep for the night. Having seen I had forgotten this, the innkeeper became concerned that I would skip out on him, so I left my flute as collateral for the night.
In the morning, we met in the bar for breakfast and made our plans. Melech and I were to head to the Coombesgate library, while Beiro and Baldwin were to shop for some new supplies. In the library, it took little time between Melech and myself to locate a couple of books about the Fey Woods. Through combinations of pieces of folk tales, we were able to find reference to an alliance brokered between the fey and the humans, seemingly with reference to the Forest Queen on both sides. I also had a quick look into Baron Ramsgate III‘s family history and past dealings. There didn’t seem to be much in terms of notable dealings, but his family history goes right back to the early barons in the time of Ustia, which would go towards explaining why he’s after this painting.
Melech and I returned to the tavern in the early afternoon and met up with Baldwin and Berio. They’d acquired a couple of tents, an extra waterskin and some new clothes for Beiro (It’s about time!). I had a drink for some Dutch courage, retrieved my flute from behind the bar and started up my evening performance. I played things a little safer, sticking to the stuff I knew, but never has it gone down quite so well! People were enraptured and the tavern kept filling and filling throughout the evening. I switched things up as time went on, telling another fey story I had read while in Kennyrlatin, then shifting back to my ukulele for the rest of the evening. The evening’s performance netted me a fair amount in tips and had me and my teammates well supplied with drink. The barkeep extended his utmost gratitude at the end of the night and said I was more than welcome to come back anytime.
The following morning, we set out bright and early on our way to Westpine. The road was well built and it was an easy walk. Melech and I chatted about magic, with him explaining that he’s specifically studying the “evocation” field of magic. He then asked for the tale of how Beiro and I came to be travelling together, which I delivered with my usual flair. As we proceeded through a copse of trees however, a hooded figure approached us, demanding our coin in exchange for allowing us through. To further persuade us, four of his compatriots appeared from the undergrowth, with arrows trained on our group. I inquired what the toll was, but he said it was however much we had on us, determined to leave our pockets empty.
I mentioned my performance of the previous night, which had the whole town talking and whether instead he would like to hear me play, but he was clearly unwilling to take any chances about the magic of music unwilling to let me play anything. I put down my uke and rapier, took my coin purse and proceeded to the front of the group, out of ideas that would put us at any sort of advantage in this situation. As I stepped forwards though, I noticed a look in his eye, not directed at the coin that he had said he wanted so much, but towards me. In a moment of desperation, I tried something that is not normally in my nature and attempted to seduce him, aware that many humans found elves, or at least someone with elven features, beautiful. All the time I have spent performing has clearly paid off and, despite lacking confidence in what I was doing, he was entranced by the suggestion and I was able to approach him. I made the few steps towards him, uttering other sweet nothings and placed my hand on his should. I then proceeded to seductively run my hand down the side of my leg, until it hit the cool metal in my boot, at which point I pulled out my dagger and stabbed him in the chest.
Having not made my intentions clear to the group, chaos then broke loose. I heard arrows let loose behind me (although with a slight delay as they figured out what was happening) and the leader was able to shove me back, keeping me further at bay with a slice of his longsword, cutting across my chest. As I recoiled, I saw a bolt of energy hit him in the side of the head, presumably a spell from Melech and I took the opportunity from this further loss of concentration to lunge in again, stabbing him in the heart. Clear that he wasn’t getting back up again, I turned, whipping the flute out of my belt and started to support Baldwin, clearly a capable fighter in these conditions. In the brief moments I’d been dealing with the leader though, two of the other archers were down and the others fleeing.
We were not without casualties ourselves, however, Melech was down, with an arrow embedded in his side. Knowing that he had probably just saved my life, I was determined to not let him die and, even with my limited knowledge in this area, was able to stabilise him quickly. After quickly checking over the bodies, we quickly brought him out of the copse into the open fields again, determined to not be surprised again. With a short rest, we were all fit enough to continue and fortunately did not encounter any more trouble through the rest of the day
An uneventful night passed and we set out once again, hoping to arrive at Westpine by nightfall. At around midday, another figure, albeit a much shorted one this time, appeared in the distance. A dwarf was hurrying about at the side of the road, unloading his wagon which had gotten stuck in the ditch. He requested our help, first asserting that we weren’t bandits, to continue to offload the wagon so we would be able to pull it out of its predicament. Delegating the heavier stuff to the stronger members of the party, I helped out where I could until we had cleared the wagon. A combined effort to pull the wagon out was met with failure, even though it was now empty. The dwarf examined the underside and noted the axle was broken and that we’d need to fix it before it was going anywhere. If only we could find some way to keep the wagon lifted up, he might be able to use his blacksmithing skills to fix it…