I wasn’t raised within a religious family, occasionally when I was still living on the farm my parents would give thanks to the gods for a good harvest or make small donations to any clerics that passed through the village. Other than that my life was simple then when it came to religion, acknowledge the gods existence and that was more or less it. When it came to my life on the road hardly anything changed. When you made a good score you would make sure to tip a wine glass back for good ol’ Olidammara, or perhaps spend a wonderful night in debauchery in his honor. The complex within the village was unsettling to me in its “extravagance”. It was confusing to me how one god would need a full complex devoted to him, was Pelor that greedy? It’s also a wonder to me how someone may choose to devote their life to said god, perhaps this is one of the reasons the cleric interests me so.
It still remains though that my background did not prepare me to spend my time traipsing through a religious complex and with my second visit of the day I was hardly any more comfortable then I was with the first. The complex just felt like to much for me, too much devotion for one god, too much devotion for anything in my opinion. Caelus was interested in meeting with “Lady Grace” though and I would have been lying if I had said I wasn’t interested in seeing her myself. What I saw though wasn’t much of what I was expecting.
Perhaps I had been expecting more extravagance, or someone perhaps different from the woman that stood before me. She seemed plain in comparison to the rest of the complex, a simple middle aged woman. Had it not been for her robes she could have most likely been picked as your average everyday villager on the streets, someone I likely would have picked as a mark. It made me almost feel silly for expecting something more, perhaps it was all the build up from hulling myself through the complex with the intention to meet her twice in one day.
I had also found myself growing tired of the conversations by this point in time, being surrounded by religion and listening to conversations about it was beginning to become even more dull than usual. I did become more intrigued when the conversation moved away from the siblings and instead began focusing on the beast of a girl who was locked up for attacking the temple as well as to the disappearances that had been occurring. The information we had gained earlier had been only on how perhaps some livestock were disappearing, people were a different story. I would have to say it was rather strange that Billeybob and I had failed to run into anyone leaving the village. Thinking back on this it did seem rather strange.
The disappearances also felt a bit strange for me for other reasons as well. As a “retired” gypsy I have known what it was like being someone no one would miss, even as a simple traveler my life is still rather the same in those regards. My nights, in consideration to my coin purse losing weight, have been spent out sleeping in the very outskirts of the town, perhaps the same as the individuals who had disappeared. It brought some rather disturbing thoughts to my mind, perhaps I could be the next target, or perhaps one of my temporary companions.
I let my mind mull over the talk of the girl and her southern markings as well as the disappearances as they once again shifted into conversation on religion. I would much rather spend my time thinking on that over talk of something I have little care about. It wasn’t hard to snap me out of these thoughts though as talk of gold began. If there is one thing that I can appreciate it is a way to line my pockets with more gold, it helped that this issue she was looking for assistance with was located in a wine cellar. It was the thoughts of wine that brought me to this small village.
While rats have never been a pleasure to deal with the prospect of being paid was enough to get me to agree to the job. If the thirty gold is divided up evenly then my share would likely have been higher then what I would have otherwise made in this tiny town. As a result if would seem I have gained the new job title of “exterminator”. A title that would hopefully not stick.
It wasn’t actually until we had been shut into the dark hall and began our task of eliminating the vermin that had taken to nesting in the wine cellar that I came to realize how much I hated rats. Of course the rats that had taken refuge in the cellar would have to have been the largest rats that I’ve seen. One such rat was large enough that I had a hard time considering it to be a rat at all. Luckily enough a few sticky situations had gotten me to learn how to be decent enough with a rapier that I was able to hold my own against the snarling beasts and get a good stab in on a few of them.
I wasn’t too much worse for wear after the last rat was killed either. Only one had managed to get to me and even then it wasn’t horrid despite my displeasure in the fact that I was bleeding. I could not quite say the same when it came down to my comrades on the other hand. While both Caelus and Billeybob had fought well both were bleeding far worse then I and Billeybob looked on the verge of collapse. It was lucky enough for them that Caelus was able to heal himself and a few of Billeybob’s injuries.
I must admit fighting alongside the two of them wasn’t quite what I expected. There wasn’t the urge to simply save my own skin or the desire to talk them into doing all of the dirty work as is my usual way. Caelus fights well and while his swings may not be the best in terms of hitting or missing, when he hits his target it is solid and true, killing the rats easily. Billeybob’s magic became rather useful as well, a well-cast spell killed one of the overgrown rats while he was able to take another out with his staff alone. I will say he could use brushing up on his aim, one spell came uncomfortably close to my head as it whipped by and hit the shelving. Judging by the damage done to the shelves, it would not be a spell I would want to get hit by. I may have to pay him back for this close call later, perhaps by extorting him for some coin, the rats may have done enough to him though.
Once we were more certain that the rats were dead I was able to spot a hole along the back wall that the beasts had likely come from. I wasn’t too interested in trying to see too far into the hole though. I would say I’m rather found of my face the way it is. As a result I wasn’t too interested in peering into the darkness and risking another creature deciding my face would make a lovely chew toy. I decided it was best to allow someone else take that risk.
When Billeybob decided to peer into the hole I didn’t at first quite believe him when he told us what he saw. While I had slowly been growing more found of the gnome he seemed to be prone to flights of fancy, to me this clearly indicated he was seeing things. It wasn’t until Caelus used one of his spells that it began to settle more in my mind that Billeybob had not been “seeing things”.
Necormancy. It’s a type of magic that I had hoped to never need worry about in my life. Finishing off my childhood living on the streets and then learning how to be a thief taught me not to be afraid of many things, the dead, those are something to fear. I did my best to hide the fear I felt building inside of me at the thought of the undead, the results of dark magic, lurking on the other side of the wall. Rats, even giant dog sized rats, are something that pale in comparison to something such as this.
I looked on as Caelus used a barrel to block off the hole leading to whatever plane of hell was on the other side of the wall and used the time to collect my thoughts. Often this is the only thing that can be done in some situations, analyze your options, chose the best option for survival. It was quite clear this was something we would need to mention to Lady Grace.
When we met up with her again I offered up Billeybob to explain the situation. I concluded that at least allowing the most animated of our group recant what we discovered would provide some means of entertainment in this truly shitty situation. When she was thusly informed I became impatient. There we stood before her “victorious” in the task she had set out before us and it still took her a few moments to produce the coin that she had promised us. When she finally produced the coin a part of me was disappointed that the full amount had been given to Caelus. I was at least relieved that with his cleric status, theft I feel is not something I should worry about when it comes to him.
Sure enough he divided up the coin and gave us our shares. I tried not to laugh as Billeybob requested that Lady Grace heal him. With how Lady Grace dealt with him it may be able to easily fool him out of a coin or to. Previously I had been too interested in trying to get him off my back then to focus on how to view him as a mark. It might also be imperative to be sure this exuberant personality of his is not merely an act. Considering his injuries it might be he was simply willing to pay the high price for the minor healing he received from her.
I was at first unsure of what to make of Lady Grace’s request that we assist with the skeletons that were residing in the cellar. I wasn’t terribly thrilled with the discovery of them in the first place, let alone considering to help eradicate their existence. Looking at the new gold in my pocket made me more willing to agree, after all there aren’t too many more options in this town for me to make money.
My mind was set when we were offered rooms for the night. At last I would not have to worry about sleeping outside of town (where people were disappearing) and in a bed for free. Then of course there was the wine. The surprising face for me was that the request for wine hadn’t come from my own mouth but Billeybob’s instead. Couldn’t say being “pampered” with wine, dinner and having my wounds tended to decreased my desire to assist with the skeletons. We’ll just have to see what the next day brings.