Our GM's Journal is here. This is my in-character journal of the same game.
The following journal is bound in peach-colored leather. Scratched into the front are the initials ‘V + A’ with a big heart surrounding them.
On the page inside the front cover are several dozen hearts in different colored ink, the word ‘Ameiko’ written seven times in precise, flowing handwriting, and parallel to the spine the equation ‘Viri + Ami = [heart] 4evAr!!!!! !!!! !!!’
The first eight to ten pages have been ripped out of the journal, their ragged edges remaining.
TOP SECRET plan to make the Perfect One fall in LOVE with ME
Secret! DO NOT READ!! There are Explosive Runes – You will DIE!! Really!
I finally figured out how to get A to notice me. This will work waaay better than flashing jewelry I’ve made or doing my sexy scarf dance while she plays her samisen. There were these posters in the RD that said some Goblins had Fireworks and were attacking all the Caravans. I asked A about it and she was all – This is terrible, but there’s nothing I can do, I just run this bar now, I hope some hero can come along and stop them. So I’m thinking like, that gives me a great idea.
I can be that heroine! I can kill a goblin – how hard can that be? Then A will be all – Viri, you’re so amazing, and I can’t believe I never noticed how CUTE you are – and I’ll be all – Ami you’re the cute one, what with that sweet white streak in your hair, and especially when you wear your dark red armor! I’ve looked all over for some but my leather armor is all boring and brown.
But it sounds like there are lots of goblins so I’d better find some people to go with me. Even in Sand Point there might be some interesting people who can help.
I found some friends who will come with me!!! Thakk was all over it – he’s that big tough half-orc Koya’s raised – it’s so sad about her mother dying. I know he’s not that smart, but he’s trustworthy, and he has a big axe. And he wants to go kill goblins. This will be GREAT!
He was sitting with another friend of Koya’s who was in town for the funeral. He’s like a local hunter who needed money so he could get a new bow – it must be totally hard to hunt when you don’t have a bow. But he looked like he could handle himself in a fight even without a bow. I think his name was Asueppe, but I’m not sure — I should ask him how to spell it.
Anyway, then there was ANOTHER hunter at the bar – what were the odds?— and this one was an elf with a really cute name – Daedra. She can twirl arrows with her fingers – both hands at the same time, so she must be REALLY good with a bow. With TWO hunters in my group we should have plenty of food, and they should be able to track down the goblins easy.
Daedra pointed out a gnome I hadn’t seen, sitting right at the bar. He used to be a guard on Sandru’s caravan (SSSSSSS!!!!) so he must be pretty tough. It was kind of weird that he doesn’t wear any armor or carry many weapons, but maybe he’s one of those monks or something. His name was Borom and he has this freaky purple gnome hair. But freaky in a good way. I think.
That might have been enough helpers, but Borom had heard about another of Sandru’s friends (SSSSSSS!!!!) who was in the area, and I think it’s always better to be safe than sorry. He was sleeping down on the beach where mother lived after Madame Kaye kicked her out of the Pixie. So I did wonder a bit about him, because I don’t think my group really needs a hobo, but once I met him, I changed my mind. He’s named Stormcrow (Awesome!) and he wears this weird wooden armor, and he was all – I club loggers with this big stick – so he’s really like this Super Forest Hobo. And my group DEFINITELY needs a Super Forest Hobo.
So we decided to get together first thing in the morning and take the Lost Coast Road down to where the goblins were and go kill them.
Now I just have to think of a good name for my group. Maybe Viriel’s Vagabonds? Naa, not hero-ey enough.
I could barely sleep last night, I was so excited! I got all my traveling stuff together, and it’s so cool that I finally get to wear that sweet leather armor I bought last month – even if it is boring and brown. I don’t even care that it doesn’t match the bladed scarf I’m using – I decided to bring my blue one, along with my peach rope-scarf. I’m totally an adventurer now.
We spent most of the day walking back and forth on the road through the mountains. It was SO BORING. And tiring. Why couldn’t the goblins live closer to Sand Point? But in the afternoon we were able to leave the road and cut through the swamp. The SFH took point, since he’s so good at noticing things. He’ll find the goblins for us right away.
We found a grody dead goblin on a bridge. He’d been dead too long for us to get a bounty on his ears, but it did mean we were getting close. Then when we started to cross the bridge, two GIANT SNAKES popped up out of the water and ATTACKED us!
Thakk, Stormcrow, and Asueppe all rushed the snakes. Thakk is really good with that axe of his, and Asueppe fights with two weapons! He has skills. Borom didn’t even use a weapon – he has some sort of strange gnome magic. Anyway, I killed the first snake myself – I really hope the blood doesn’t stain my best scarf – and I think Asueppe killed the other one, but everyone got their licks in.
Unfortunately, Thakk and Stormcrow both got bitten! And the snakes had Poison! Oh Noes!! Fortunately, Daedra is a real good healer, but even so, Thakk swallowed his tongue and we were afraid he might Die! Which would be terrible – my first failure as leader! But Stormcrow has this awesome Super Forest Hobo Healing Magic, and that fixed him right up. I wish I had Super Forest Hobo Healing Magic!
The sun was going down so we decided to camp for the night. Which is good, because I’m tired. Being a hero is HARD!
Maybe Viriel’s Vanquishers? We did vanquish those snakes…and we’ll totally vanquish those goblins!
I was totally sure we’d have killed the goblins by now and be back in Sandpoint telling Ameiko about our awesome victory, but we ended up having to camp out last night. Next time I’ll bring a bedroll, though Aswípe was really nice and let me borrow his. And food. Anyway, while I was on watch I saw this humanoid shape out in the swamp, and I was all ‘Shaelyn’s rainbow tailfeathers! What if that’s a goblin scout who goes and warns his friends so we can’t vanquish them?’ so I chased after it. It got away, but it had these weird backward-bending legs so I knew it wasn’t a goblin.
And then this morning the cards were like all about going up against something tricky and NOT doing the obvious thing. And I had the strongest feeling that we needed to head south – the same direction that weird thing ran off in! So I had Daedra and the SFH try to pick up its trail. They saw some of its tracks – and after seeing its strange 2-toed footprints I’m totally convinced it’s the Soggy Bottom River Monster! – but it was like totally tricky (see!) and we lost it.
I wanted to go after it, and some of the party agreed with me, but most of the party was all ‘We’re here to kill goblins’ so it was up to ME to make the decision. I wanted to go south like the cards said, but I decided the responsible thing to do was to go after the goblins, so I put Borom & Daedra & Stormcrow in charge of finding the way to the goblins with their gnome/hunter/super-forest senses. Being a leader is HARD.
And that was totally the wrong decision. B, D, and the SFH got lost and Thakk got eaten by a crocodile. Or an alligator. I mean, he’s okay now – Aswípe and Daedra made short work of the crocogator – because of the Awesome Super-Forest Hobo Healing Magic – I REALLY want some of that – but he could have DIED and would have been all my fault. The burden of leadership is so heavy that not even my spiffy new masterwork backpack with comfy padded shoulder straps makes it any easier to bear.
Eventually we found an old house in the swamp. A halfling snake-breeder lived there and he was like ‘My name is Walthus something-or-other and y’all are scary big people,’ and I was all ‘We’re Viriel’s Vanquishers, where are the goblins?’ and then he was like ‘I’ll get you a map.’
Then while he was finding us a map of the swamp, the SFH snuck upstairs and found out he had a PRISONER there!!!! I didn’t know whether to be mad at him for being a Super Forest Sneak Thief, or to be happy that he found the prisoner. And when we started questioning Walthus, he got all snake-army and attacked us!!!! Borom used his freaky gnome magic – he shoots these weird rays and stuff – and Aswípe knocked him unconscious and he turned out to be this faceless shapechangey thing so I tied him up with my blue chain scarf.
Then we found the REAL Walthus. There really was a weirdo halfling snake-breeder living by himself in the swamp, it was just a different one than we thought at first. So we talked to him and he gave us directions to the goblins and then we decided to have a sleepover at his house before going after them in the morning.
So maybe the shapechangey thing was the tricky enemy the cards were warning me about, and we were SUPPOSED to get lost so we could help Walthus and the cards knew that was going to happen the WHOLE TIME. That’s the kind of stuff that makes my head hurt and is why I never wanted to be a fortune-teller like Grammy, but now that I’m leading Viriel’s Vanquishers I may not have a choice – I have to do whatever I can to keep my people safe.
Speaking of which, I’ve been thinking about branding while taking these long boring walks through the swamp. And I was thinking – we totally need uniforms! Or at least matching cloaks. I think we’d all look really snappy in mauve cloaks, maybe with forest green trim? Of course, that might not be flashy enough for Borom, and it might make it hard for the hunters to sneak through the forest, so maybe not. But when we get back to town I can at least make matching brooches for us, so that we can have something official to identify us.
And business cards. I’ve got the perfect design. Nothing says professionalism like purple glitter-ink.
Well, it took us a while, but we *finally* found the goblins. Being an adventurer is like 10 percent fighting and 90 percent wandering around lost in a swamp until you find a place that's strangely quiet. And once we found the eerie "so quiet there aren't even bugs" spot, their village was just a little ways down the path -- complete with a big hole blown through the gate.
The village itself was like a bunch of little huts connected by walkways, all of them about five feet off the icky soggy muddy ground. Storm Crow and I went to check out the ruins of this one building that looked like it had exploded, or burned up, or exploded and then burned up, while the rest of the group started at the other end of the village and did a sweep through.
Lots of the goblins were dead and stinky, but there were still plenty of survivors. They did the hit and run thing and so we obliged by getting hit and running after them-- one of them threw a bomb in my face! -- but it all worked out in the end as we kind of herded them together in the middle. Asswípe was like staking all the doors shut behind him as he went to keep them from circling back around -- that was an awesome idea.
After we took care of the main group we swept through the buildings and found that everyone else had locked themselves in the Throne Room. Thakk was all 'I can't open the door' so he leapt down to the ground and tried to chop down one of the supports. The SFH jumped down and started looking for another way in. I just raised the bar, opened the door and went in.
There were a lot of goblin fighters in there, including the king sitting on his highchair. Unfortunately, half of the Vanquishers had gone off looking for other ways in, so I was like, all by myself! So I dodged and weaved and tumbled until Borom peeked in and went all 'Taste the Rainbow!" on those goblins. Bright multi-colored lights flashed everywhere and all of the goblins fell asleep. Or were stunned or blinded or something -- I'm a bit fuzzy on exactly what Rainbow Brite does. But we were able to plant some Coo Day Grass on them without any trouble. (I've always wondered when Coo Day was -- maybe like Thursday?)
While Daedra and Asswípe went back through and harvested ears and the kings head, I took a look through the treasure room. It looked like it had already been emptied out, except for one red chest. The chest was lacquered and had lots of pictures on it, and something about it reminded me of Ameiko's samisen. Inside was money and a fan and a hairpin and some weird sharp metal stars. So we not only Vanquished the goblins, but now we were rich, too!
Carrying all our loot, it took us three days to get back home. The first night on the road I had this really weird dream. There was this frog named Cederin, and he was all 'Viri, I'm here to make all your wishes true!' and I was like 'I just want me and my Vanquishers to become famous monster hunters so Ameiko will fall in love with me,' so he was like 'Totally!' and I was like 'Awesome!' Then he showed me some visions of when I was a girl, and some of when my parents met. And, and, and my mom? She like, knew my dad! And Grammy did too! And now I've seen him, and he might even still be alive. There was some big black shadowy monster, too, that was hunting my dad and killed my mom, and one of these days the Vanquishers and I will track it down and kill it.
Anyway, when I woke up, Cederin was there in real life, too, and he explained to me how to cast spells! Spells!!! Like, magic spells!!!! So I'm like a witch or something! I even have Super Forest Hobo Healing Magic! How cool is that!
I never even knew I wanted a pet frog, but I guess I did, because Cederin is super sweet with awesome poison sauce.
When we got back to town, we collected our reward and everyone in town was super impressed with Viriel's Vanquishers. We're already like the best adventurers in town, I'm sure. I showed the stuff in the red chest to Ameiko -- it had been so long since I'd seen her that I'd forgotten how *cute* she was. I mean, I hadn't really, except that I *totally* had -- and it turned out that the hairpin used to be her Mom's! I tried to give it to her as a present, but she insisted on paying for it -- she's so sweet! There was a map on the back of the fan that looked like it showed where the goblins had found the chest, so we're going to totally go back there and see if we can find some more of Ameiko's family's stuff.
And then that afternoon, we all found out that Storm Crow has a secret past as a Super Forest Mobster. He used to be Sczarni, of all things. Who knew he was so interesting? Or so stupid -- he left without permission. That's like a great way to have your entrails converted to fashion-forward neckware. So Jubirayl has put together a job for him -- and by extension, us -- to go get some special staff from a tomb on a local estate. I'm a little fuzzy on the details. I just know that I want to be *very* careful how we deal with Jubrayl. I'm not averse to doing a little Sczarni business, but I want it to be on *my* terms -- it's easy in, hard out with those guys. Just oggle the SFH's sitch, if you have any doubt of that.
Besides, Jubrayl's almost as bad as his brother. (Ssssssssssssssss!!!!) We'll see how this job goes tonight, but I have a super bad feeling about it.
The good thing about the Sczarni is that they're very loyal. The bad thing about the Sczarni is that this loyalty is to gold. Or sometimes platinum.
So we went and got the staff from the tomb. The hardest part about getting it was convincing the rest of the Vanquishers that we should. I'm always willing to take risks for my team -- they'd do the same for me, after all -- but not everyone else feels that way yet. I'm sure the camaraderie will grow as we spend more time together.
And also, Thakk is a really nice big dumb half-orc, but he's also like really young and doesn't understand how the world works. He didn't want to save Storm Crow's life because stealing is wrong -- it's like he thinks laws are more important than people! His heart is in the right place, though, and when he's as mature as I am he'll figure it out. But for now I just kept him away from the stealing part of things and had him and Daedra watch our backs while the rest of us went into the tomb.
We didn't have any problem getting the staff -- it was underneath some weird stone chair -- but once we'd retrieved it, we were attacked by three bandits who had followed us in and taken Daedra prisoner. So much for our rearguard.
They demanded we trade the staff for Daedra. Before I could act on any of the thirteen spectacular plans I thought of -- several of which were awesome! -- the SFH covered everything in some kind of thick fog, which made it impossible to interact with our opponents.
So I jumped back across the chasm -- did I mention that there was a chasm in the middle of this tomb? With a really strange rune-covered bridgelike thing that was almost certainly an icky magical trap spanning it? -- but while I did that, the bandits' leader tried to throw Daedra down into the chasm. This upset one of the other bandits -- also an elf -- who turned on his fellows in a display of solidarity which killed one of them instantly. Apparently pointy ears trump pointy knives. While our new ally rescued Daedra from the chasm -- she'd managed to grab the side instead of falling to her death -- the leader of the group tried to get away. Fortunately, Thakk had wandered into the fog with us while looking for Daedra, and he was able to chase her down. He would have killed her, but I wanted answers so I healed her.
The leader was a priestess of Calistria who had *also* been hired by the Sczarni to get the staff. Typical Sczarni loyalty. I was never able to figure out if this was from rival Sczarni factions each trying to score points or if this was an elaborate way of making an example out of Storm Crow -- but whatever. The family loves its stupid political games -- that's why I'm an associate and not a relative. I offered the priestess to Jubrayl as a gesture of goodwill, but he wasn't interested. So I'd have let her go, but Thakk was all 'she's a criminal and must face justice' so I let him decide what to do with her, especially since she seemed to have a thing for orc breeds. It takes all kinds -- and Calistria sure seems to end up with most of them.
Thakk took her to the Sheriff and tried to have her put in jail, but it turned out she hadn't actually broken any laws -- at least, not any that any of the Vanquishers had seen or wanted to testify about. So the matter was dropped and they let her go. I wish I'd caught her name -- I have this feeling we'll see her again some time.
So it was another successful outing for the Vanquishers, if not as glorious as the last one. I wonder what we'll do next? There are shipwrecks to explore, but there are also all kinds of other wrongs to be righted. But that's something to figure out in the morning.
My Vanquishers are so awesome! For our next mission, we decided to rescue three children who had gone missing. Who doesn't love children? The Soggy Bottom River Monster, that's who, because he'd captured them. Except, I guess that means that he *does* like children, at least to eat.
Anyway, we decided those children were the ones that needed our help the most. When I told Ameiko what we were doing, I could tell she was like totally impressed that we had become this amazing force for good in Sandpoint, but even more than that, she was worried for me. She was all, 'Take it slow and be careful, I know you're awesome and super-cute, but I'd hate for you to get in over your head. Things can get dangerous out there and I need you to come back to me." She's so sweet!
Daedra and Storm Crow are really figuring out this whole tracking thing, because they were able to lead us right to the monster's lair, a few hours inside the swamp. It was a cave leading to a big network of tunnels with all this knee-deep water in it -- well, waist-deep for Borom. After trudging through the icky-tepid water, we found the pit where he was keeping the children.
The SFH must really like kids, cause he immediately stripped and jumped into the pit with them. But while he was trying to pick them up, the monster attacked!
The monster tried to sneak up on us, but Aswipe had prepared for that and was able to intercept him. While they fought, Daedra shot arrows, and Borom, Thakk, and I cast spells. Yes, I said Thakk! All this time, he's had this bizarre big dumb half-orc magic he never mentioned. He used something that looked like a regular old Magic Missle, but must have this weird Orcish name that can only be pronounced by gargling your enemies' blood. With all of us helping -- Borom made the monster weaker, and I shrunk Daedra because I knew that it would increase her nimble-osity if I did -- we made short work of the monster. Thakk killed it with a mighty axe-blow, then chopped off its head and presented it to the children in a way that would probably have made orc babies happy, but scared these kids a lot. Oh Thakk!
While Borom, Daedra, and Storm Crow made friends with the kids -- Borom cleaned them up, Gnome-style -- Aswipe, Thakk, and I made sure there weren't any other Soggy Bottom River Monsters. There weren't, but we did have a nasty run in with a poisonous Violet Fungus. I hate poison. Well, flesh-eating poison, anyway -- frog poison is cool.
Then we took the kids back to their parents. They were so happy they threw a party and gave us jerky and vodka. I gave the kids presents and told them they had done an awesome job of staying alive in the face of monsters and that someday there would be a place for them in the Vanquishers, but that they were already impressive Junior Vanquishers. Hooray for heartwarming kid-rescuing!
And tomorrow we loot shipwrecks. Not as warm and fuzzy, but way more lucrative.
The life of a Vanquisher isn't all accolades, silk scarves, and kegs of vodka -- there are also the occasional days of like, crushing disappointment mixed in. We spent all these days walking through the swamp in a thunderstorm until we found the wreck of the Kajitsu Star, and there was nothing there but the ship's nameplate and some living skeletons. We made quick work of them, but Thakk got beat up pretty bad.
Of course, that's cause he went into the shipwreck by himself. The rest of us were too busy arguing about who should go first to notice that Thakk had already gone in first by himself. Which is like irony or karma or some other fancy word that means you're sitting back and being all 'Whoa, that's cosmic!'
See, we'd agreed to go get that staff from the tomb to save Storm Crow's life from the Sczarni even though we weren't getting paid for it. In return, we'd asked him to forfeit his share from the first shipwreck we looted. So when we approached the first shipwreck, the SFH was all 'I'm not going first, cause I'm not getting paid for this' even though he'd been on point, like, all the way there. And even though it's not that he *wasn't* getting paid for it, it's that he'd *already* been paid for it by not being killed by the Sczarni.
But at the same time, no one had ever explicitly said 'Storm Crow, you're so awesome at being point, that's like your job from now on.' And since I'm the leader, that makes it my fault, too. I mean, I don't want to be the kind of leader who's like a hardass and all 'My way's the only way, drop and give me twenty, Maam, yes Maam!' That's just not me. Cause like, we're all professionals, so each Vanquisher deserves respect and the leeway to get the job done in their own way.
But the job still has to get done. So I guess I'm going to have to be the one to provide a little more structure. After all, it's my name on the business cards I haven't gotten around to making yet. So henceforward, this is the -- sigh -- command hierarchy of Viriel's Vanquishers:
Name - Rank
Viriel - Vanquisher-in-Chief
Daedra - Watch Commander and Artillery Officer
Aswipe - Special Forces Skirmish Captain
Storm Crow - Super Forest Lieutenant
Thakk - Axe Master / Stomp Leader
Borom - Industrious Lights & Magic, Effects Specialist
In emergency situations, I expect this hierarchy to be followed. In non-emergency situations -- I still expect this hierarchy to be followed, but with a lot more talking.
So then we traveled to the other shipwreck -- the Kajitsu Blossom -- and there was nothing there either except a whole lot of rotted supplies, the ships plaque, and 12 sheets of rice paper. And more living skeletons. So the trip was a total bust. We're going to stop by the dead scary witch's house on the way back in case there's any loot there, but all in all I can't help feeling like this trip was a lot of skeletons, snakes, and squishy walking for no good reason.
I don't know exactly what I expected the Vanquishers to find at old Megus' shack, but it sure wasn't a decorated skull containing the spirit of my pet frog. I mean, the enslaved spirit stuffed inside my pet frog like ghost sausage in a frog casing. See, Cederin turns out to be some kind of fey spirit attached to a skull. And Megus had Cederin's skull, and made him get inside a frog so that he'd be less useful, so when she was attacked by skeletons he wasn't able to help her.
That doesn't really make any sense. I just try to remember the keywords fey, skull, spirit, and frog, and repeat them when I get confused.
After Megus died she turned into a scary ghost thing which haunted her house, so when we got there we had to fight her. At least, the Vanquishers had to fight her. I had to run and hide in a bush. Did I mention she was scary? Axemaster Thakk and Storm Crow were able to take her out while the rest of us were different flavors of useless.
Oh, and while I was watching the fight from my nice safe bush, I learned something about Super Forest Healing Magic -- if you heal something undead, it hurts them! How weird is that! I'll have to try that if I ever fight something undead again -- which I hope is never.
Anyway, during the fight, Aswipe started searching the house. When I tried going in after him, I fainted and had this vision of the fight where Megus died, which I already wrote down. When I woke up, Thakk was trying to give me mouth to mouth or something -- Ick! -- and Cederin was hopping towards the house.
About that same time, Aswipe found a freaky painted skull hidden in a secret compartment, and Cederin was all -- That's me, that's me! I got up just in time to see Cederin touch the skull and explode. I mean the frog exploded, Cederin was fine. I mean -- argh! This is so hard to explain.
Fey, skull, spirit, frog. That's better.
So now Cederin's a ghost and everybody can see and hear him now, which is great! Except sometimes he's mean to people and I miss my frog.
We found a little bit of other stuff there, but not much, and we were like, this was totally a waste except for finding our ghost-friend, but then Cederin was all, 'Go to the other place marked on your map,' and I was like 'We've been everywhere' and he was like 'Nuh-uh!' and I was like 'Yuh-huh' and he was all 'Look again' so I did and there *was* one other place we hadn't been yet. And it looked like it was where the people went after destroying the goblin village, so there ought to have more stuff the goblins took from the shipwrecks, which was what we were looking for in the first place.
So we spent a day going to the new place on our map, which turned out to be a big set of caves. We fought spiders, and then we fought skeletons on slippery moss -- and the SFHHM trick totally works on skeletons with my Healing Touch. And then I stopped to write all this down before I forgot any of it.
Frog, spirit, skull, fey. It works backwards, too!
This has totally been the best week of my entire life!!!! I'm starting to feel like starting the Vanquishers was my destiny -- or at least it's my *other* destiny, since my main destiny is to be with Ameiko forever. I wonder how many destinies someone can have? I should ask Cederin, I bet he would know.
Anyway, we got to the last cave, and believe it or not there were more skeletons! And one of them was really tough and mean. He was all, "Thakk, I am for you!" and then he went and chopped him up with this weird sword. Then he was like "Storm Crow, I am for you!" and did the same thing. Thakk and Aswipe did most of the fighting, with Storm Crow and I getting in there a bit, too. Borom was able to use that freaky ray of his, and Daedra did her best, but her arrows didn't do much against the skeletons. I spent a lot of time missing, and a lot of time healing people.
It was a really tough fight -- Storm Crow was knocked out, and Thakk was knocked out *twice* -- but in the end we vanquished the strange talking skeleton. Cause that's who we are.
There was lots of treasure in another one of those weird laquered chests -- this one was green -- and the mean skeleton had a cool sword with a broken hilt. We took everything back to town, which took a long time cause it was really heavy. As soon as we got back, I went straight to see Ameiko, cause I'd missed her terribly, and I was like:
"You're so talented you're a Kajitsu Star, and you're so pretty you're a Kajitsu Blossom, and you pierce my heart like you were a Kajitsu Sword."
And I presented her the ships' plaques and the sword on the right cues.
It was so cool. I think she blushed.
She was all "I can't accept this sword, but the plaques are awesome!" and she put them up on the walls of the Rusty Dragon. Then she said that everyone had been super-impressed with the way we rescued the kids and that the Mayor had been looking for us!
It turns out that the Mayor was so happy with everything we'd done that the town threw us a party!!! Everyone was there -- Ameiko in the most beautiful dress I'd ever seen, and even the kids we'd rescued -- and they said such nice things about us. They paid for our uniforms -- I just love the way the cloaks turned out -- and they made Vanquisher pins for us, just like the ones I had designed!!!! I was so happy I wanted to cry but I didn't because now I'm the Vanquisher-in-Chief.
While at the party I talked to someone who was concerned about her daughter (or was it niece?) Aryssa Inati, who she believes was seduced and kidnapped by a rascal, Flint De'Kar. I told her we'd look into it -- the poster had been up in the RD and I think we were going to do this next anyway. The reward is 500sp, but only if Flint is brought to justice as well. If she's been kidnapped I'm super-motivated to rescue her, but I have to say that if she's in Riddleport because of her free will (no magic or anything) and doesn't want to come back, I'm certainly not going to force her.
And then when I got back home, Cederin suggested that I look more closely at the sword, and there was a letter in the hilt -- no wonder it was broken. It was to Ameiko's father from his grandfather -- so was the mean skeleton her grandfather? Or the messenger? -- and was all about like ancient curses or evil or fate or something scary like that. So I took it to Ameiko right away.
And after she read it, and went back and studied some of her family's papers, she said that there was a Very Important Quest she had to go on, to Brinewall Castle. And she wanted to know if the Vanquishers would come with her.
Well, I had to think about it for like -- no time at all! Oh my goddess!!!! Ameiko wants me to go on an adventure with her!!!! That's like, that's like my dream come true, and it's all because the Vanquishers are so awesome. I could just hug all of them -- but not in public where it would embarrass them.
So I said yes, and the only downside is that we'll be travelling on Sandru's caravan. (SSSSSSSSSS!!!!) But I don't even care about that. We'll go Vanquish whatever strange spirit-thingy is at Brinewall Castle, and then Ameiko will be safe and we'll go back to Sandpoint and live happily ever after. What could be cooler than that?
Being in a caravan is the same as it was when I was a teen -- dusty and smelly and really boring. But one thing that does make it way cooler is how the caravan is all painted in Vanquisher colors. So we're all super spiffy with our banners and uniforms -- I should ask Ameiko to write us a theme song we can play it as we arrive in a town. Everyone will be so impressed!
The trip to Galduria was uneventful, but once we got there Aswipe had to deal with a family problem. One of his cousins was a tax collector and he'd gone to this town Ravenmoor to collect fifteen years of back taxes because his boss -- who was also his pregnant fiance (talk about sleeping your way to the top) -- had figured out that the town had been accidentally removed from the tax rolls. But he'd never come back, and his boss/fiance/baby mama-to-be was afraid he'd run off with the money. So unless Aswipe's family could locate him and the money, their ranch would sold to make up for it. And given how many of Aswipe's relatives lived on the ranch, it would be really bad if they had to move.
So the Vanquishers volunteered to go to with Aswipe to Ravenmoor to help him find his cousin. It means a delay in getting to Brinewall Castle, but Ameiko said that was okay because then she could spend more time in the library at the Twilight Academy. She's so cute when she's studious!
Ravenmoor is this village nestled away on the other side of the Lampblack River. The official word for it seems to be 'quaint' because that's what everyone calls it -- I think it's just small and weird and boring. When we first got there we met a boy looking for his lost pet, Applesauce. We helped him find it -- it was this cute little pink bird-thing that Storm Crow called a 'stirge'. Thakk seemed to be really afraid of it -- I tried telling him that it wasn't a snake, but he didn't seem to believe me. But Storm Crow was afraid of it too, so maybe it really is some kind of flying snake. But it seemed harmless enough.
The boy said he'd take us to his father, but before he could I made the mistake of letting Cederin come out and see what was going on, and the boy decided that he was a ghost, especially after the SFH told me to put him back in his skull. Then he ran away from us cause we were scary 'callers' just like his father had always warned him about.
We talked to the townsfolk, and they told us that there had been a stranger in town about a month earlier, but that he'd talked to Mayor Scarnetti and left. And when we found Mayor Scarnetti, he told us the same thing, including that he'd already paid him his money. But then he told us that if could just wait till morning he could get together enough money to pay us again, which was kind of strange because a town as small as Ravenmoor shouldn't really be able to pay 500 gp twice in one month. But maybe the Scarnetti's are just rich or something. Anyway, in the meantime the village is having a festival, and we're all invited! That might actually be pretty neat -- maybe Ravenmoor isn't as boring a town as I first thought.
After having visited, I have to say that I would prefer Ravenless to Ravenmoor. I certainly can't see ever going back again voluntarily. And I think Thakk and Stormcrow would agree.
We went to the Festival and it was actually pretty fun. They had Fire-jumping (Wheee!!!) and Starknife-throwing and a Three-legged Race (Aswipe and I came in first, and Thakk and Borom came in last) and Raven-fighting and they even chose a Festival Queen who wasn't me. But that was OK, I'd only known about the Festival Queen for a few hours; I can't imagine how sad you'd be if you'd gone your whole life wanting to be Festival Queen and never got the chance. Super-frowny face, for sure. At least I got a cool new white dress out of it.
As the evening wore on, the Festival Queen took a shine to Thakk and took him off for some alone time, and a drunk woman who wasn't the Festival Queen did the same with Aswipe. But the whole situation was odd, so Stormcrow went after Thakk to keep an eye on him, while Daedra and I went to watch over Aswipe. And Aswipe definitely needed watching over. When it comes to lovemaking, Aswipe makes up in enthusiasm what he lacks in skill, but there are some pretty basic skills he was lacking. Fortunately I was there to take notes, and I was able to give him some pointers later.
But right about the time Aswipe was finishing, Stormcrow came rushing over. He was all yelling about stirges and cultists and Thakk being kidnapped, and how he'd lost a lot of blood and was like, almost dead. Then he led us to a road where we could see some blood and the marks from something Thakk-sized being dragged. Stormcrow hadn't been able to fight off all of the cultists, so it was a good thing he was able to run away and get help.
We followed the Thakk-drag trail and had to fight some of the weird shapechangey creatures like Walthus and this fascinating Scarecrow with sickles for hands, until the trail led into a corn maze. There were more monsters in the corn maze, and a swarm of mosquitos, but we Vanquished all of them, though soon we were all beat up and the SFH was out of Super Forest Magic. So we decided to cut through to the middle and saw quite an a-mazing sight.
There was a big clearing in the corn with an altar in the center, and Thakk was lying on it. In front of him was Mayor Scarnetti chanting and waving a spear, and along the edge were nine cultists all chanting like they were in a trance. When we broke into the clearing all hell broke loose.
The Mayor missed Daedra with a lightning bolt. Aswipe and Storm Crow charged the Mayor, while I tried to move through the corn for a better shot. Daedra shot her trusty bow, and then the Mayor let loose with a wave of icky energy that hurt all of us, but totally knocked out Borom and all of the cultists. But Aswipe killed the Mayor, and we were all feeling pretty happy until this giant man-sized mosquito -- I call it a Mansquito, because I'm clever that way -- crawled out from inside the Mayor and started attacking us.
First it latched onto Aswipe and started sucking all of his blood. Then I tried this awesome twirling attack which ended up being so totally lame that I twisted my ankle and fell. So the SFH leaped out of the fray and ran over to bind Borom's wounds. It looked like we were all totally done for!
But then Thakk went all RAWR!!! with the Mayor's spear from up on top of the altar. I guess when the Mayor had sent that icky energy wave out it had woken him up. I managed to stay standing long enough to get a good blow in, and Daedra totally finished the Mansquito off with an arrow to one of its buggy eyes. Another hideous monster Vanquished!
So then we looked around the town and found Aswipe's cousin's stuff and his body and the tax money (and a bunch of other stuff too, including a book about the creepy mosquito-cult), so it was time to go and give the bad news to Aswipe's cousin's baby-mama.
But when we got back to the farm we found out that Ameiko was gone! She went to Roderic's Cove to find the author of some book that Thakk had found. And Sandru (SSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!) had taken her there in the caravan. Her letter said that she hoped she would still be there when he got there, but she might not be! I can't believe it! We bought the fastest horses we could so we could catch up with her. I hope we make it in time.