The past few days have been difficult, to say the least. This town has fallen on hard times compared to what they once had, but I think they are failing to appreciate what they do have. They complain of the fish going away and that all they can find to eat is bog octopus. I recall in my younger days when bog octopus would have been considered a treat, as there would be meat on the table. While I am now the top of my school of bright magic and don’t talk about it much, I never forget those humble beginnings.
I find it difficult to speak to most of the villagers here. I have such disdain for them. Even those that start with good intentions disappoint me with their eventual stupidity. Take the new priest of Manaan, for example. He’s a drunken fool, allowing the town to continue to waste away. If the leader of the flock can’t keep himself in decent condition, how can he possibly tend to the village? Why should Manaan grant blessings upon this area, with a spiritual leader who leads himself into a bottle? I am fortunate to travel with Vaelentyr who boldly speaks the words that come to my mind, as the drunken fool priest is not wise enough to read my facial expressions that he is a failure.
Thomas’ wife and a neighbor woman were arguing over a small parcel of land between their properties. At least, that’s what I understood later as I heard Biyombo retelling the story. I tuned out when it originally occurred, as the whole thing seemed too petty to be bothered with their quarrel.
To the part of the day I dread most – fraternizing with the locals. I understand why this was important, as we did gain some valuable information. However, the imbecile that I was speaking with was too dumb to know how dumb I thought he was. Maybe that worked in my favor, this time. I know I can be off-putting at times when dealing with those of little intellect. He did manage to grunt out some useful detail about Piat who is some sort of fence or smuggler, in some connection with items that may be coming down the river. That, along with detail of an underground river close by may lead to something later.
And then, it was on to dinner with the Baron. There were family portraits, but one in particular was covered by a veil. Beneath the veil was a young woman. Why was she covered? We would find out shortly after dinner. Our group has formed a connection that we can sometimes anticipate the other’s actions. It isn’t hard to tell that Vaelentyr is ready to stir things up. So we each silently watched different members of the dinner gathering as Vaelentyr toasted to the beauty of Heidrun. While there were a few reactions, none was so strong as the Baron’s. Heidrun, as it turns out, was the Baron’s first wife. Married in secret, they were very much in love; but his mother disapproved and had her sent away in exile (or possibly worse). Mother Theodora also sent away the original priest of Manaan who the drunk man replaced. She does not appear to approve of much, other than our own Gottfried, Initiate of Sigmar.
We also found out some interesting information about the elven woman, and her reason for being in the town. I couldn’t help but notice the Baron fawning over her. He really seems to have a thing for blondes. And who can blame him; we are beautiful people. So the elven woman is looking for a shipwreck to recover an old amulet. She spoke of additional treasure as well, but her interest lies solely with the amulet. We offered our assistance with her search. Perhaps this too will lead to the underground river?
Upon arriving back at the tavern, we found that Thomas had gone hunting in the swamps with his son. Fools. We now had to go out to find them, because he was not smart enough for his own good. He and his boy alone should not be out hunting in the swamps. And I should not have to go out after him to save him from his stupidity. But my fellow travelers took up the noble cause, and I stand with them, for they have always stood with me. We walked through the swamp and ended up in a battle with several trolls. They were tough, and even as skilled warriors and wizards as we are, they were a difficult match. Suddenly one was grabbed and dragged away by a giant tentacle. We were not about to stick around to see what the creature was that man-handled the troll so easily. We found Thomas and his son and pulled them away to apparent safety. I tried to chastise Thomas for being here in the first place, but he insisted that coming out to hunt for bog octopus was a smart idea. He contends that he needed to bring back the food, yet does not understand that he almost became the food.
Now lost in the swamp, we walked for a while before being discovered by an old man with a lantern. He led us through a maze of swamp, and brought us into a cave for shelter for the night. Biyombo and I suspect that he may have been around for a long time – 20 years or so. Is it possible that he is the former priest of Manaan, forced to wander alone in exile from the town? Hopefully, we shall find out soon….