The Firseid Sandbox

Letter to Tallismo
In which Fleetfeet keeps our friendly mage up to date with the party's goings-on

Hello Mr. Tallismo,

I have so, so much to tell you that it wouldn’t even fit in a hundred messages so I thought I would write you this letter instead so that you can hear every detail of our latest adventures while we are attempting to track down the phoenix that you suggested we try to track down to speak to regarding averting certain disaster for the whole continent via swarms of deadly deathless elemental thingies.

Did you hear how Nester got totally kidnapped? Orcnapped? Halforcnapped? Halforc-but-fully-napped? He did, and then the rest of us bravely stole a boat and rescued him! But it’s okay, because we left a deposit that really could’ve bought a few boats, so it should be economically feasible for Mr. Boatrenter to expand his business, as long as the rest of his boats don’t also get eaten by fearsome lakemonsters.

And then we finally made it to the desert. Wow, the desert is really hot and dry and sandy! Like, people told me it was hot and dry and sandy, but it’s really hot and dry and sandy! Like, there’s just sand and stuff! Lots of it! Sooooo much sand! And hopefully a phoenix!

The first town we went to was pretty small and crappy. There was a weird monastery thing that the people inside of were very unfriendly and wouldn’t let me take even a little tour. So we didn’t hang around the town all that long but instead just found a guide and went to the real desert. Or the fake desert? The other desert. A portal connected it from the real desert. Or from the fake desert? The other desert. The desert we were in went through a portal to another desert, that wasn’t the same desert but a different one. Though it, too, was very dry and hot and sandy. I am beginning to surmise that this may very well be a characteristic of deserts.

Anyway we went through the portal and the guide was all like “You’re here!” and we went “Where?” and then the guide went “In the other desert” and we went “Another desert? But we were just in a desert” and then the guide got eaten by a dragon.

So we kinda wandered through Desert 2.0 and found a citybuildingthingie that was all black and stuff and didn’t even have the decency to have a doorbell. Or a door. But we didn’t let that stop us and bravely exsanguinated, which worked for some reason! Because the citybuilding is all about deadness and dead stuff and dying. But we managed to not die!

So now we’re going to ask them about if they’ve seen Mr. Phoenix and then maybe talk to him and I hear he likes riddles so I’m thinking really hard about riddles to ask him and I’ve thought up a bunch of them but the one I like best is about cupcakes. It goes:

Delicious for one and silky sweet
but fill you from the top to feet
and you will barf.

I need to work on the scansion for the second line, I think. Do riddles have to rhyme? Do they have to rhyme in Common? I wrote a few that we really funny in Gnome but I’m not sure if phoenixes speak Gnome. I will have to ask him.

I think it will take a while for this letter to get all the way from the other desert to the Scarlet Order house in Ketani, so we’ve probably already saved the world when you get this. If you read this and everything is not dead, then we did! But if you die before reading this, we didn’t. Sorry.

xoxoxoxo,
Fleetfeet

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Letter to the Editor
In which Fleetfeet describes how to split the party

Dear Mr. Newspaper Editor Man,

Please be ever so kind as to post this ad in your local newspaper. I am distraught at our missing friend. Kthanx.

LOST

Name: Nestor
Race: Half-Orc
Age: Somewhere between 10 and 86-and-a-half, I think. He never really mentioned. And now to think about it, I might have forgotten to get him a birthday gift at some point! I hope he is not mad at me. I should get a birthday gift for all the rest of my friends right now. Do you think they like rock collections?
Last seen: Road near Freiburg
Last seen with: A dodgy-looking goblinny sort of creature thing, and some other guys, who shot arrows at us and hit us and stuff and it wasn’t pleasant at all, and they were even mean to Lia’s woofy dog, and who can be mean to something so fluffy and cute??
Wearing: Armor.

Dear readers: Please help us find our poor lost Nestor, our dear friend who was so villianously stolen away from us while we were doing nothing but minding our own business and walking down a road on the way to a desert to talk to a phoenix who might be able to tell us what’s going on with all the giant monsters that are somehow related to old deathy places and are now rampaging across the countryside. It was just, like, POP and some guys appeared and one of them had a net and netted me but I got out and they threw big stinky cloudy things and they hit our friend Nestor a lot and then they all disappeared! With him!!! And now we are so upset because I think he might have been carrying a part of my rock collection because I put this kinda smooth stone that was this really nice grey color in his pocket the other day. So if you see a half-orc with a gnome-half-fist-sized grey rock in his pocket he is OUR FRIEND NESTOR and you should tell him to come back to us because it is not polite at all to be abducted while carrying other people’s things.

Thank you.

-Fleetfeet

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That was a long nap

What should have been a short trip to the forge to buy some cold iron weapons to protect themselves from any more faerie assassins introduced our heroes to the old smith, Warwick, once the forge-master for kings in the Middle Kingdom. But it turns out that his talents were not natural — instead, he had accepted eternal servitude in faerie in exchange. And worse, he was forbidden to forge weapons that could harm faerie.

The party decided to investigate their assassins at the source, and a method was devised to enter the faerie realm through a ritual in the forest south of Stoneswatch. With gifts left for the fae, the heroes slept and awoke in the Faerie Realm, a shadowy mirror of the prime material, where it is always dawn or dusk and strange creatures roam. They made their way north through a dangerous forest to King Oberon’s castle, but not before discovering that the waters of Faerie were very dangerous: Niowin fell face first and, when the water touched his lips, he fell fast asleep in the water. He was rescued and seemed fine, but something about him had changed slightly …

They found the kingdom in shambles. Faerie guards and citizens sat around moping, and no wonder: King Oberon was in a low mood, since his queen had abandoned him thanks to his indiscretions with a human woman.

But Oberon’s sorrow had disastrous consequences for the Faerie Realm, which responds to his moods in peculiar ways. An ancient evil entity known as The Speading Oak had arisen in the forest, and its corrupting influence had spread through the streams and fields of Faerie. And soon it would grow powerful enough to spread its influence into the heroes’ world, too.

With no champions willing to come to Oberon’s aid, and with no tools to fight the Spreading Oak, the party agreed to destroy the Spreading Oak’s manifestation for Oberon. In return, they were offered the use of several items from the faerie king’s treasury: weapons that would allow them to prevail in the fight. But the party may have planned to simply leave Faerie.

Scrounging up materials, and hungry for breakfast, Lia decided to eat some blackberries. Nester tried to warn her against eating anything in Faerie, but she didn’t listen, and soon she was gorging herself on what seemed like an endless supply of the berries. Nester cautioned the party against accepting or consuming anything else from Faerie lest they all be caught by the realm’s magic. So the party cleverly found a way to summon food in the extradimensional space of Niowin’s Handy Haversack.

The party returned to the forest, but the woods were treacherous and the path led them in circles. eventually the party took a birds’ eye view and found that they were being prevented from reaching their adversary by the trees themselves moving. And with a forest full of malevolent creatures to harrass them and prevent rest, the party had no choice but to fight in a weakened and exhausted state.

The battle with the spreading oak was long, but the party eventually prevailed — not without discovering that Oberon’s weapons exacted a price for their use! Niowin accidentally shot himself and his allies, and Niowin blasted the tree with the firewand (with some interesting results).

Inside the tree’s maw, they found a half-starved, nearly dead human woman, Oberon’s lover, who they brought back with them to Oberon’s palace to be healed. Oberon granted the party a boon, which they decided to save for when they trule needed it. But they still needed a way to return home, and Oberon was reluctant or perhaps unable to use his power to send them; and they learned that they were unable to return the way they had entered. So instead they sought out Titania to convince her to return to Oberon’s side and, they hoped, her magic would return them to their home plane.

So they set off to her most likely location, the lake west of the castle, which had become a swamp in the intervening time since Titania had left. After talking to some of the grig locals (Fleetfeet had tea, which is VERY IMPORTANT!), the party set off toward the center of the lake, which involved treacherous paths through the swamp that spread well beyond the lake’s original borders. Circling inward, the party came to a well-appointed cabin, where they decided to rest for a time. The cabin had a good store of dried meats, and seemed to be the home of a hunter.

That night, wolves were heard outside the cabin, and a woman could be clearly heard coming closer to the cabin. Nester went outside to investigate and brought her into the cabin.

She was not Titania — instead, she was another Faerie queen, Aeval, the Huntress. Aeval’s “retinue” (or is it harem?) of shapeshifters had been corrupted into werewolves, who tried to devour Aeval during the twilight phase of Faerie’s day cycle. Our heroes helped secure the cabin and kept the wolves out throughout the night; and in the morning, Aeval thanked them for saving her life and agreed to help them in their quest to find Titania, offering to use her ritual magic to force the Queen to grant the party wishes for anything in Titania’s power.

She led them to a stone bed in the center of the swamp, and there she performed an hours-long ritual. When she was finished, she awoke Titania and compelled her to do the party’s bidding to be released from the holding spell. Titania grudgingly granted the party’s wishes, including giving a vial of her own blood to aid in their fight against the swarm creatures, and sending them home. The party retained one boon of Titania for later, putting both the queen and the king of Faerie at their beck and call should the need arise.

After returning to their bodies on the Prime Material, the party was dismayed to learn that many weeks had passed; the Solstice had come and gone, and snow, weeks old, lay on the ground. The pilgrims had dispersed when they were unable to approach the stone circle. And Clarise Baker had summoned them to Ketan for a conference of the wisest and most powerful mystics in Firseid.

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A Conversation in an Inn
Nov 10th

From the notes of the bard Septimus the Lesser.

Someday I’ll write a song about this…

“So, in the course of trudging up North here, I believe I’ve discovered a whole new category? Classification? Whatever. A whole new thing of humanoids that I totally dislike,” said the slurring, swaying elf. Leaning in closer, he told me, “Faeries.”

“Pish posh,” I thought and reading my expression, the elf continued, “Isa, isa true thing. I know nobody wants to talk about them, but they’re real. Real as can be. I’ll tell you about them if you’ll just…”

Pay me money? Buy me a drink? Be my partner in some spurious land deal?

“…listen and quit acting like a smug jackass.”

What?

So that’s how I first met Niowin the Seer. That’s right, the Seer. Back then I wasn’t a bard. My bardic training would come later. At that time I was just a guy who played a bit of mandolin, sang a bit. I traveled because it was easier than sticking around to explain every little thing I’d done. I started out learning how to blow into a mouth harp, but you could never accompany yourself singing so I stole myself a mandolin and learned to play some. Decided to swing up north and west of Freiberg. See the sights. Get some fresh dust on my boots as it were. And along the road, in a dingy little inn, I met Niowin. This was not him as a fresh-faced young lad, but neither was he yet the adventurer that we are familiar with. More like this was the point in his career where he was coming to grips with who he was, who he was with and what they wanted to do. The act of “coming to grips” at this point seemed to involve pouring shots of whiskey into mugs of ale and then drinking them down (as the blended flavors of the two alcohols was, I learned, an “acquired taste”). I had struck up a conversation with Niowin and downed four of those foul concoctions before the subject turned to the Fae. No telling how many Niowin had in him but once we became drinking partners he matched me drink for drink.

“So anyway, we’s walking along and we see…” And his eyes closed and his forehead came to rest on the top of his mug. I took the opportunity to relieve myself and buy us another round of whiskey-n-beers? Beer-n-whiskies? I had to come up with a better name but what? Liquid insanity? Anyway, I poked Niowin to wake him up, and his narrative continued, “…n these little fellers. They’d disappear in shadows. Annoying little jerks…”

I was concentrating on the livid ring on Niowin’s forehead, left from resting it on his mug. It was red and perfectly round and suddenly what he said registered with me. “Wait, wait, wait. You mean they’d hide in shadows?” I asked.

“No, they’d disappeared. Just vanish,” leaning in on me again, he said, “Isa magic thing.”

At this point I’d not started any training in the mystic arts and immediately scanned the room to see if Niowin had been overheard. All clear…

“Anyway, we’s paying attention to the little fellas when other, bigger little fellas jumped us. They wore red caps and they’s called…”

Red caps?

“…Redcaps, sure enough. Knock one of them caps offa their head and their game is ruined. So we fought them. Killed em all. And found on one of ‘em a contract. And it was magic. It had the names of me and my fellas on it and if you write it just right, that map will tell you where to go and who to kill.”

Later I learned that what Niowin said was exactly true, though at the time and with no knowledge of magic, it all seemed like a random jumble of syllables being bound together by crazy and alcohol smell. But the gist of it is that the Redcaps Niowin fought had been contracted to kill him and his group, Redcaps acting as the assassins and enforcers of the Fae world. The contract was a magical item and was imbued with some of the essence of the target. Part of its magic was to allow the holder of the contract to track and find the subject of the contract. Why the Fae contract on Niowin and the rest of the group? Who can say. But it is how they met the smith Warwick and learned about the power of Fae contracts. And how to break them…

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Trouble right here in everywhere.
in which it is recommended that you run, but to where is the question.

Mother,

Luckily I was able to procure a fresh copy of our preferred book for securing messages, My last one, was , unfortunately, lost
along with my horse.

I know you always told me to keep close eye on my horse, unfortunately supersized ogres and earth elementals make that a rather untenable position and I was forced to leave the horse and much of my personal belongings behind. I now keep out code book sewn into a pocket near my heart.

or stomach.

One of those organs.

anyway, Letani is on the verge of being overrun by goblins and cyclopses while a giant monster of unknown origin is rampaging outside Freiburg. Goblins seem to be taking advantage of the situation and attacking survivors of the attacks.

While I’m not inclined to trust the scarlet order, they are surely a whineybunch. You accidentally bring one back to life as the wrong gender and they can’t help but whine about it for weeks. I swear one of these days they’re going to have to get over themselves and live in the real world.

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In which Fleetfeet recounts the latest exploits

Dear Auntie Forsythia,

Desna bless your travels! With my feet on the road once again I started thinking of you. I have been having such a fun time lately.

First we met this really really really old goblin lady and she was some sort of special magic thing because she had this tree that was here both in here-here and in the ethereal plane if you drank the right tea. But then she got mad at me for casting a simple spell and they ran away and said they would meet us in Ketan because we’re going there next maybe.

So we went home to Letani and reincarnated our friend Irrealis, who was very happy to no longer be dead! She also came back as a man, which seems like so much fun! She must be very happy to have such a different perspective on her second life. Lia seems very upset about it though. Maybe she had a crush on girl-Irrealis? Elves confuse me.

And then my good friend Clarise came all the way from Freiburg. She was very happy to see us and spoke loudly and waved her arms a lot! Desna has recently granted me access to the Sending spell and I have been using it to keep my friends aware of the news and how good I am at counting to 25.

Pauley, Irrealis’ husband, also seemed very happy to see her again. He must have been very upset to hear the she died. I am glad I can help make so many people so happy.

We decided to finally go on another journey and this time we went around Freiburg and we saw our good friends the magic rats but then we found a very sad village that had been all destroyed by both a big boney monster thing and a goblin horde. What are the chances!! We are following the road towards Ketan and looking for more signs of big-boney-monster-destruction (it’s a very specific type of destruction that you have to be an amazing adventurer like myself to notice the exact signs of). We think Ketan might have another big boney death monster because of it being another site of old old old stuff which is apparently causing big destructive monsters these days. That seems like a bad thing, so we are looking into it. In the mean time, you should probably avoid antiques shops, just for safety.

Love and kisses,
-Fleetfeet

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In which Fleetfeet enlarges her rock collection once again

Dear dearest cousin Hummingbird,

Due to your interest in cryptominerology, I thought you may want to hear about my latest adventures with my new best friends. I had previously reported to your cousins on my wonderful rock collection. I would now like to include an addendum on its permanent housing situation.

We were going to these scary barrows in the Dead Woods, or Dead Pines, or something like that, a few days outside Letani because somebody asked us to. As we got closer to the barrows, Desna blessed one of my summoning spells with an extra-large version of the earth elemental I had asked for.

We finally made it into the barrows themselves and found not only earthy-like mephits, but really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, REALLY big earth elementals themselves just grubbling through the place (that is the correct onomatopoeia, yes?). So I added it to my rock collection, but it would be difficult to take it around with me due to its really big sizeness, so I decided to leave it in the barrows, because that seems like a pretty safe place that people would be unlikely to break into and steal it. But it more than duoquintuples the size of my rock collection!

Inside the barrow there were also all these drawings on the stones, something about chasing some sort of fluffy monster with big spears. Over and over and over again, the same scene. I don’t think these people had a whole lot of different stories. On the very bottom level of the barrows we found a weird room with a big swirly sandwind and it was whispering “bring out your dead” or something like that. It was all spooooooky. We tried giving it a dead mephit we found and the sand whirled around all swirlylike but nothing much seemed to happen. I think this might be connected to the big bone pile we found in the castle but I’m not really certain how.

The barrows do seem to intersect with the Plane of Earth though, which is pretty cool. I’ve never seen that happen before. If we find somewhere that intersects with the Plane of Cookies I will send home some samples. Extraplanar is my favorite flavor.

Oh and we found the bard we were looking for and she was dead, which was sad. Tomorrow when I get a chance I’m going to ask her why.

We finally left the barrow and ran away a bit because of sightings of ogres and other bad stuff that we would prefer not to meet because I don’t think they would be very hospitable, but in the morning we saw a bugbear sniffing our tracks! So we ran away a little bit, and we could still see them, so we ran away more, and we ran into this really nice old lady who was sitting under a tree on the riverbank. Just kinda sitting there. She offered us some lunch, which was very nice of her, but Niowin kept saying that running away from bugbears seemed more important than lunch, which is kind of silly because what is more important than LUNCH on a nice riverbank on a nice day? And then he STABBED the old lady, but she didn’t really seem to mind much, which was kind of weird, because I certainly disenjoy being stabbed in the guts, because that’s where I keep my spleen and everything, but then we remembered how important running away from bugbears was so we decided to keep doing that a while.

So we were running down the riverbank again and we saw the old lady AGAIN, or at least I assume it’s the old lady, because somehow there being teleporting old ladies is more believeable than coincidentally there being multiple old ladies all sitting under exactly the same tree on the same riverbank in the same bugbear-and-goblin-infested woods. We decided to skirt around her, but then so did a patrol of bugbears and ogres, so we climbed into a tree to hide all sneaky-like.

Writing letters while hanging from trees is difficult and Nestor keeps jostling my elbow but I will try to [a large, irregular line of ink fills most of the rest of the space on the page]

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In which Fleetfeet greatly enlarges her rock collection

Dear Ms. Blossomfingers, Chief Secretary, Head Cook, and Sorter of the Roses of the Temple of Desna, Gnomeland

I write to you not in your capacity as my mother’s former neighbor’s cousin, but in your capacity as letter-receiver-and-describer-to-the-priests of Desna to share my wonderful discovery of her power!

So this story all started when a dock exploded, but to skip to the part that really matters, recently we (my new best friends and I) were starting this really exciting rock collection when we were asked to travel to an area called the Dead Pines or something all forboding like that to go look for somebody’s friend who has been missing for a while whom I am ever so excited to eventually meet because I’m sure she’s quite a swell and friendly person and we’ll just be the bestest friends.

So we went there and I quickly doubled my exciting rock collection by finding a rock that was a tree! After this great find we had to cross a small river and it was full of POKEY BITEY FISHES which I DO NOT approve of but they didn’t ask me and bit us anyway so we ran away from them but into a gang of goblins and wargs and things and I summoned one of my wolveriney friends but he wasn’t doing ANYTHING AT ALL to the goblins which is the OPPOSITE of what wolverines usually do so I asked Desna to send something really good next time and she listened!!! My next spell resulted in a really super-huge-and-exciting earth elemental that really whomped the goblins good and the wargs too and it was the biggest, excitinginest elemental Desna has ever sent me so she obviously really wanted me to beat up those goblins because they’re so stinky. And my friend Lia asked for some elementals too and they were all of sizes ranging from normal to really huge too so I think Desna listened to me sooooo hard that she heard Lia too and sent even more presents!!!

I have attached an accurate drawing to show the result of the surprising embiggification of the elemental.

Now we are resting for a bit at the entrance of the barrow we found that hopefully our new best friend is in and hopefully she’s all okay and stuff because it might be very scary inside like the crypts where there was the evil king ghost that I didn’t like at all but these seem smaller so there’s not nearly as much room for giant bone monsters, so it should be okay.

Please give Peaches, Mint, and Vondarian Teingold Hasshoffton The Third my best.

xoxoxo,
Fleetfeet

elementals.png

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Niowin's Log - The Exploration of Human Drink
And the pitfalls of critical thinking while under the influence of it.

From the Campaign Journal of Niowin the Seer:

Per the instructions of my mentors, I am keeping this journal and am obligated to myself and my posterity to record things as accurately as possible. As such I will continue to edit this document as time goes on for surely things will be made more apparent as time passes.

My first recollections of the events I’ll try to record were those of the following morning. In Elven communities, one can imbibe alcoholic beverages and knowing that they are pure and of uniform alcoholic content one may consume freely and without repercussions. It seems that those standards are not adhered to in Human communities. The wildly varying quality and potency of Human drink, plus what I can only imaging to be the undocumented addition of various psychoactive elements to the beverages makes a relaxing evening of ‘having it out’ really quite impossible. So, enough commentary. The journal:

Blarg!

Oh, by the gods of Heaven and Earth, I’m blind! No, wait… That just the Sun, streaming in on me. Wow! My head hurts! My eyes hurt! Well, everything hurts, no sense listing each body part. Plus I’m parched! Thankfully the inn staff left a pitcher of drinking water for me. Ah, that is good. Clear and clean, perhaps I’ll have more. Even better. I’ll just finish the pitcher. Ah. Lovel-uuurgh! Mwoof! Ghuh, ghuh, ghuh… Mwerf! By the gods-erfgh! Mwooooof! Ghuh, ghuh, ghuh! Can I stop barfing now? There’s nothing lef-ergh! Mwoof! (Oh, how wrong I was. There was plenty left. After a bit, though, there was really really nothing left. Then I spent a rewarding 30 minutes attempting to throw up really nothing interspersed with (what I later found out was) the Goblin phrase for “I’ve been poisoned,” which is, “Ghuh, ghuh, ghuh!” (Goblin is a remarkably compact and tidy language once you begin to learn it.)

After evacuating my digestive tract from the bowels upward, I lay back in bed, thinking to perhaps catch a bit more sleep (even though I was sure I’d already slept for my straight 8). The Sun, though, had moved in the sky and its glorious golden light lay directly across my head. Sitting up and attempting to jerk the curtains shut, I ended up pulling them off the wall entirely, flooding the room with light and signaling the end of my rest period. Washing up would have been tricky (having emptied the pitcher of clean water and having filled the basin with other fluids) so I prestidigitated myself into a presentable state and headed downstairs for a meal I will dub, henceforth, brunch, it being neither breakfast nor lunch but something between and a combination of the two.

The innkeeper, having tracked my activity last night via my bar tab, and seeing me clutching shakily at the banister as I descended the stairs, waived me to a table and was soon at my side with a tray. From the tray, he set in front of me, two drinks. “This, good sir, is my family’s cure for that which ails you. My father was an innkeeper as am I and as was his father before and his father before stretching back five whole generations. (He made it sound like some kind of epic of innkeepership, but a bit of quick math put the founding of this innkeeping dynasty somewhere around the time that my uncle Riordan was adventuring. I’ll have to ask him about this place and see what it was like when new. As I was woolgathering, my host had continued talking.) “…and so, my ancestor learnt the recipe for this this curative from a traveling Elf who was steeped in the arcane arts. An alchemist of no small repute. And the secret of it has been passed down through the generations.” And saying that, he gestured at the shot glass full of bright green, clear, even sparkling liquid.

“And the other?” I asked, pointing at the mug.

“Ah hah. That, sir, is for those who mistrust and fear anything with a hint of magic to it. It is a local concoction that uses weak ale as its base, adding in beef broth and a thickened tomato juice and…” followed by a list of peppers, some mild, some so potent that one should not handle them (though ingesting is possible?) “…salt, horseradish, garlic, fish sauce, one raw chicken egg, and, luckily for you, celery when in season.” And, both proudly and defiantly, a disreputable stalk of celery was sticking out the top of the mug.

“A raw egg?” I asked. “Aye, it’s in there,” he responded. Thinking for a second or two, I decided to fully embrace this experience. “I will defer to you, sir. Which do you recommend?” I asked. “For you, I would suggest both. Start with the green one. All in one gulp, just like last night.”

I swept up the shot and knocked it back. It gave the not unpleasant taste of wintergreen with a hint of herbs, maybe basil and certainly anise. My head was immediately pain-free and clear but whatever was in that drink restarted my stomach’s rebellion with a vengeance. I bolted from the table and felt a cold sweat rise on my skin as I rushed to the door. Arriving at the portal, though, my stomach had calmed itself again. Not totally back to normal but anything short of actual heaving was a blessing and a relief. Returning to the table, the innkeeper pointed at the mug and suggested drinking that quickly but not all at once like the other curative. Following his advice, I drank it in several gulps and, with exception of the sensation of the egg running into my mouth (yes, it was really in there), things went smoothly. I was savoring the satisfying burn from the peppers when my host suggested that I enjoy my celery while he got my meal together. I almost told him that there was no way I could eat when I realized that I was, in fact, quite hungry.

He returned a few minutes later with leftovers from last night and today’s breakfast plus fresh bread and a pitcher of ale. I enjoyed cold fried chicken, deviled eggs, pickled eggs, some herring (both fresh and pickled), fried ham, pancakes, potato salad, leftover collard greens, the rest of last night’s cheese bread, braised mutton, a tomato and herb omelet, pimento cheese spread on toast, creamed chipped beef (again on toast), some roasted beef, fruit salad, sausages, sausage gravy (on more toast), a large slice of apple pie with cheddar cheese, a bit more of the fried chicken, a half pint of honey that I spread with butter on the loaf of fresh bread, and finally some oat porridge with the other half pint of honey, nuts and berries to tamp it all down.

As I ate, I engaged my host in conversation, complimenting him on his “hangover” (his term, but an apt one) cures and asking him about last night. The inn was kind of idling along and he seemed willing to drink the ale I offered him and sit. I think he was impressed with my gustatory endurance, saying that we Elves may be out-drank handily but could hold our own with anyone once the eating started.

“Oh yes, sir. Who did you speak to last night? Why nearly everyone. You talked sheep with shepherds and brewing with brewers (Though the conversation with the shepherds tended to concern stealing sheep and how one combats it. The conversation with brewers tended to wander into the subject of ‘potions’ but I told them that is the Elven word for ‘whiskey’ and they thought nothing more of it.) and whatever else anyone wanted to discuss,” my host informed me. “Then you spent some time talking to this one fellow. Odd, in that he’s a known elf-hater. Well, maybe not ‘hater’ but certainly he’s got some bee in his bonnet concerning elves and how elves and humans get along. Odd fellow. Never offers his name and for some reason I don’t bother to ask. I guess I just don’t care for bigots.”

“But I left the inn, right..?” I asked, drawing forth some vague recollection of the evening’s events.

“Oh aye, you did,” answered the innkeeper, “Your friends discovered that poor merchant, Leo, dead in his room. The wee one come to get you and hustled you upstairs. We found out later that you all were investigating his death (as responsible adventurers are known to do) and kept things quiet until the evening’s business was mostly done.”

At this point, memory came back to me. The material (poison, I suspect) in Leo’s mouth. Searching and finding nothing in his room. We found tracks leading to his window, but not away, so we backtracked, hoping to learn where the intruder (if not killer) came from. Not having much luck with that. Having the guard confront us and being all angry. Being sent to talk to an alchemist in town. Showing her the material from Leo’s mouth. We got a lot of mixed signals from her.

“Wasn’t there something about a goblin? That can’t be right, can it..?” I asked.

“Oh, aye. It’s a funny story. You lady elf friend, Lia(?), doesn’t care for the indoors so much, so she was outside in the woods and happened along a Goblin.”

His mention of Lia helped the memory of the story she told me to return. She found a goblin, skulking along outside town. She decided to follow in bird form but something tipped the goblin off, so she returned to Elf for and confronted him. The fought until he surrendered. We then, during our backtracking process happened upon them. As it turned out, the goblin was scouting for an army. Nestor tried to scare the goblin by telling him that elves ate goblin (disgusting and easily provably false) to what end I’m unsure. I finally told the gob I wasn’t interested in having him for dinner but that if he comes back he’ll likely get killed (then used a fertilizer, probably, instead of as food) and we let him go because nobody had the heart to kill him (I really wish at this point, everyone had been drinking like me and we could blame that whole exchange/decision making process on the drink but that’s not the case. I have no idea why we let that goblin go.)

So we let the goblin go, talked to the authorities, talked to the alchemist, came back to the inn for more drinks and then off to bed.

“Oh aye, I had left by then but the staff say you were in high spirits. You taught everyone in the bar a game called ‘The Floor Is Lava’ and then offered to mend the smashed furniture. It’s waiting out back but I don’t have high hopes. Thankfully you promised to pay for everything you couldn’t fix. Then we ran out of ale so you all continued drinking whiskey and brandy. You complained about the cups we server strong drink in, saying that you ‘have been drinking from frothy mugs all night’ and that ‘you expected to continue’ to do so. After 4 or 5 mugs of whiskey you seemed ready for bed, so we made sure you got safely there. You slept and now here we are,” finished the innkeeper.

Notes to self:
1. Human drink is actually a slow poison. Avoid it in massive quantities.
2. If a human recommends a smaller drinking vessel, go ahead and go with that.
3. Brunch is brilliant.
4. Beg, steal or borrow the recipes for both hangover cures.
5. Follow up on the stuff in Leo’s mouth.
6. Don’t leave town without a tent. It’s getting cold.
7. Track down the odd, elf-disliker I talked to. He may be connected to Leo’s death.

-Fin.

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Adventures in dealing elven stink weed
in which people go missing and we look for them

We have finally arrived in Latani, after what felt like way too much time squabbling on the road and not enough time exploring the surroundings and enjoying the scenery. I personally couldn’t wait to complete this side mission with the elven stink weed and get on to something less shady and stinking of corruption. I was tired of hearing the caravan driver/drug dealer make excuses for himself, although that wasn’t really a problem anymore due to circumstances which rendered him unable to speak. The silence was truly a relief. I’m getting off track though, because we also got rid of our shady employer that we probably didn’t need anyway and that was the biggest relief.

There was ambivalence about how to best transport this caravan into town without drawing too much attention – a result of multiple entrances and different opinions on what mattered most. Niowyn and I somehow came to be in charge of getting the drugs to…well, we weren’t quite sure. We snuck around through the side of the city and were unsuccessful in identifying the buyers at such a late hour. We were, however, approached by shadowy figures in the night with further directions.

No sooner did we get rid of the goods than we were approached by the Welcome Wagon of Latani – a kid who was under the impression that we were awesome and under the misimpression that he could perform magic. I was not certain that we should be going with a stranger on what seemed like a set-up for another random adventure, but what else did we have to do, right? He convinced us to come with him and that there was a place waiting in town for us. This was a bit of an overstatement in that we approached a shady looking house, filled with items that someone had clearly been hoarding – for what purpose is anyone’s guess. Niowyn was helpful in verifying to myself and the other party members that while these items were indeed magical, no one in this house actually practiced magic, but rather illusions and demonstrated reliance on magical items to appear as if a magical practitioner. After sitting through stories of grand experiences and lofty ideas, it finally came out that we would indeed serve a purpose for this kid and his substitute magic mentor. The one who taught this kid everything he knows (what is questionable) went missing on what was a routine wandering without keeping anyone informed and it was crucial that we a.) help find him and b.) figure out what had caused a lag in his usual turnaround time for wandering missions.

Oh yeah and we wandered around in panic looking for Nester even though he wasn’t lost but also because he couldn’t be bothered to communicate his plans with the team!

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