One: Ordered by Gods
Out of Riot's Gate
Cuthberta Eodakarday, Eomoraday & Eofreeday
An extract from Domaldi's
written very carefully on board the Lusty Wench…
I was barely able to stay awake during my evening prayer after returning from our Battle. Even the pain of my wounds was not enough to keep me awake long after putting my head down. Unfortunately, my dreams were plagued by images of the foul Dinosaur and even though I slept most of the morning, I did not feel refreshed. I awoke to the sound of Nimbus' voice and saw that our Band had collected for a discussion. Staring intently at all of us with an obvious sense of impatience was Tallum's owl Tyconderoga. Nimbus had spoken to Woden during the night and talked of the In-Between Men. They are able to hold some power over others. Woden said "that before he was Woden he was taken" by them. However, he was not very interested in talking about them as he was about the Unspoken. Because Arek was one of the few remaining Claimers and held Unity, they would be diligent in their search for him and by default, us too (Note: Given the speed with which the Unspoken got on the Party's trail, Woden worried that someone had betrayed his meeting with the Party to the secret agency - DM).
We resolved to pack up quickly and leave Riot's Gate to avoid their anger. Frankie was firmly fixed on going to Peppershot right away while I was certain that the next step was at the Salt Water Barrows. To rush after Tallum into the vastness of Jamhyria Theona'la would be imprudent when the Barrows and the lure of Anupkhaz is only a week away. I proposed that I would see to the Barrows and meet Frankie at Claxxon before penetrating the Wall. Arek saw it as I did that the evidence leading us to the Barrows was too great to ignore. Tiberio made an offer of his services in exchange for my later assistance in finding his family in the Order. I would have happily offered my assistance without bartering so I pledge my Assistance to his Cause as soon as practical.
We decide to tidy up our Affairs separately and quickly as Plake and Grist arrive. Grist has dispatched the Dripping Blade and they will not be bothering Plake anymore. Whitey has met his untimely demise as a result of his conclusive death. Frankie gave Grist an amazing trinket that she made resembling a tiny dragon. I agree to take a book to Plake's brother Tokket in Bellhold. His brother owns a tavern there called the Bell & Clapper.
A Journey of this kind cannot be rushed since only a little preparation is necessary to improve Success immeasurably. I go to the Temple to survey the damage, offer my assistance and collect Pelu and my equipment for the Road Ahead. I was shocked to see the damage actually wrought. "Total" is the only word I could think of. The Towers of Axes Bithat had fallen on the Temple and what was not crushed was destroyed in the fires that followed. While Pelu survived with a few burns, most of my equipment was completely destroyed. I sifted the ashes of the barracks for my Mother's Mirror and my Father's Sword and was fortunate.
I go to see Kullak to see if there is anything I can obtain to support our Journey's ahead. He tells me the losses and destruction are so bad that he is the Acting Lord Commander of the Order. I explain to him that I believe that I am bound up in a Knot of Evil that can only be untied by seeking Tallum and Anupkhaz starting in Göesse. He offers a small measure of goods to outfit Pelu from the paucity of resources he has remaining. I collect from him Dispatches for Forward Advance that I will carry as far towards my birthplaces as I can on my way to the Barrows.
I search for Bishop Jones in Morgue and the Hospital. I find him among the hundreds of casualties of the Night Before. He was cruelly burnt and near death. In his pain, he expressed his Guilt for making errors in his Investigations. He determined that the writings that he would not decipher were actually older than the parchment itself, implying that they were transcribed from something else. He said I needed to find Dwarven Master Linguist in Kronos to learn more. He said the language was like Elvish but older, more complex and more frightening. He tells me that the Map was destroyed last night. I tell him that his efforts and knowledge are worth more than the Map - the copy will have to do because that is the Will of Heironeous. On my knees by his cot, I pray for Bishop for a man of his dedication and knowledge is worth ten soldiers.
The burdens of this Morning make me late so much so that my Companions wisely leave for the docks without me. At the Bell & Dragon I bid Plake farewell. He thanks me for taking the Book to his brother. However, he gives me five silver pieces to return to Thalazzar and expresses anger at how certain business transactions resulted in so much pain and so little profit. He also gives me two packages of Dream that he found in Frankie's room. We both know that it is an unsubtle and foolish act to imply that Frankie would use drugs. However, I believe that Plake was trying to implicate Thalazzar in this by following it after discussing the Silver. Given the value on the Street some would place on these vile packages, the onerous criminal punishments if caught by the Watch and, most importantly, the pledge that Thalazzar made to me just yesterday, I doubt his involvement. It could not be the Dripping Blade because they are not in a position to be clever and subtle especially with gold. It has to be someone motivated for Power over Money: the Unspoken or the In-Between Men (if not both!).
I think Plake is a good-hearted soul who wants no trouble, and, sadly has seen more than his fair share given his chosen profession. He did not seem to want a cut in Thalazzar's take for the connections he helped him make, even though it is only fair that one might have been offered. It seemed like his declaration was one of exasperation, for he felt he was not involved at all and lost an ear for it. Plake admitted that it was Thalazzar's lack of apology that wounded him the most. He thought the human had been his friend and was hugely disappointed in him. Plake said that he was beginning to feel himself a member of our Group and felt a little brushed off. He said that he felt bad about feeling that, and that was why he admitted that to me, since " you are a man of the cloth and the Valiant," as he put it.
I decided that Plake might know something about those following us and I asked him about the Unspoken. His eyes widen at the mention the secret service and he became visibly shaken. He began to whisper, "What have you guys been getting into?" Then to himself, "What have I gotten into? Maybe it is best if you leave." He then said that he would be more comfortable delivering his brother's book himself. I swear to him that as a Man of Honour, I will deliver the book to his Brother as promised. I assure him that we are on business to assist the Federation. All of us, including Frankie, have been thrown into a strange situation involving manipulation and magic and we want to sort it out. Given that we are heading south after the next leg of our journey, Frankie is looking forward to meeting Plake's brother and we will be visiting him regardless now. Frankie is clearly an unwilling and innocent participant in the events of the last days. I value her involvement in getting to the bottom of these events as she is clever and competent but she needs to be clear of these Adventures so that she can safely finish her Studies. So, I will deliver the book as Sworn and Promised. However, if Plake knew anything about the Unspoken or the In-Between it would certainly speed all our clearance from these untidy events so that we can all walk in the soft grass at the end of this path.
At the mention of the In-Between Men, he was (already) totally distracted and worried (by talk of the Unspoken - DM), but he eventually assured me he has no idea what I was talking about. I reassured him and he seemed to take me at my word, he suddenly looks very tired and shakes his head and apologizes, he says he meant no offence. "Please don't get my brother in trouble, that's all I ask. He and I have a hard time with one another as it is, and I just want things to be right." He apologized again and assured me he knew nothing of the In-Between men and asked if they were another gang he should worry about. As for the packets of Dream, he was pretty clear he thought it was "planted" it in Frankie's room, though he stopped short of saying it. He cringed and looked around every time I mentioned the Unspoken. He assured me he knew nothing of "Them" and looked at me searchingly afraid of who could come and visit him next and what they might take.
the Lusty Wench
I resolved to talk to our Company of Adventures about the Dream because a Shadow like this cannot lie between us before such a Journey as we now face.
I met up with them at the tram and we were in a private carriage for two hours. I gave Thalazzar his silver back and revealed to the Group what I discussed with Plake. Thalazzar stated he knew nothing of it. While I discussed with Frankie how to destroy this Villainy without harm, Tiberio grabbed the packages and threw them over side where they fell out of sight down the mountainside. While it was not an effective destruction, it will have to do: I pray to Heironeous that the Harm and Evil they represent is now finished.
We reached Guania and look for a ship. Thalazzar found a cog named the Lusty Wench captained by Allbras and his first mate, Siprian. The remainder of the crew is: Waclaw, Gustav and Urban. These dwarves were travelling to Göesse and agreed to take us at a reasonable price. While Captain Allbras was clearly a drunkard, he did know how to pilot this cog and that was we needed. We negotiated for better terms to include working for our fare.
I look forward to good, honest work that is part of simply getting us to Göesse.
My first day on board this cog is spent cleaning the decks, coiling rope and securing cargo in the hold. I am enjoying this ship travel in spite of the bad weather because your whole world is within arms reach and there is always another responsibility. It is like farming. After I handle my ship duties, I clean and feed Pelu. His wounds are healing well and he is so stubborn that the ship's motion does not bother him. Finally, I spent my evening listening to Tiberio entertain the crew while I cleaned my gear. My armour and sword were in need of careful maintenance as was my clothes. My Mirror and Father's Sword were damaged by the Fire but after a few hours, were back to normal.
This day started out as yesterday and I happily went about my Duties, my Ass and my remaining gunna. It was another busy and tiring day and sleep was welcome. Just after the Dog Watch, I jumped awake to the sound of the Bell and fighting. In our quarters, was a Sahaugin warrior. I grabbed my sword and as I stood up in my bunk, the beast struck me. I clove its head in two as I jumped down to face another two. As Tiberio, Thalazzar, Frankie and I squared off I realized that I was completely naked. I recalled stories my Mother told me about ancient Trudorean warriors and how they would fight without armour or clothes. They felt that it created magical protection against any attack. My Father always laughed at these and scoffed. I always believed him until I saw Nimbus fight and now I think there must be some truth in it. As my side continued to bleed from my most recent wound, I shook off these distractions and prepared to receive my Foe. Perhaps another day I would learn to be invulnerable with only the Marks of Faith on my flesh to protect me, but not this day.
These two Sahaugin continued to shoot and throw tridents at us so I grabbed my bow and began firing at them. I could hear a battle raging on the upper deck above us. After an exchange of arrows, our foes fled to the upper deck. We followed them up and dispatched all but their leader. While wounded, he managed to escape to the watery depths.
We discovered the crew had been slain by these foul creatures except Urban. I bound his wounds with Arek's help and he will live. Unfortunately this night we need Urban to wake soon for none of us can sail this cog and the weather is turning. It will be a long night for us all and a prayer is needed before I return to deck.