I have been with the girls for a couple of weeks now and I have to admit, they are more competent than I had originally thought. But there is still…dificultăți. It was notable that Shen and Wiknowna actually agreed on something last week, that we should not yet report on what we suspect the Dragon Cult is transporting until we know more about it.
The caravan paused for quite a while, which gave us time a freca menta…to pray and exercise and paint our nails. I do not know if it is working or not, but Shen seems to be trying to patch things up with Wiknowna. Perhaps so, but they still are not, as you say, thick as thieves.
After a week’s travels, we screeched to a halt; the caravan’s scouts, who should have been watching for danger, spotted a majestic stag in a bucolic field near the trail. And all the fools took off into the woods to try to bring it back as a trophy. The girls send Ebony to scout, and while Gruntina and I were suspicious, Shen and Waknowna dashed ahead to track the trackers. We followed through a particularly treacherous patch of forest (and if the grass stains don’t come out of this skirt from where I fell, I will be furious.)
Then there were shouts and screams. Of course, the hunting fools had been captured in web traps by giant spiders and ettercaps. We dispatched the spiders, saved the men we could, retrieved the bodies of the unlucky, and found some nice gemstones from a former victim in the cocoons as reward. (I secreted away the Moonstone; they’re my favorite, for obvious reasons. I want this one made into a necklace.)
Ebony returned to us from scouting with a golden feather. We asked Lasfelro, the gargoyle keeper, what it meant, and he said it was probably “just a blessing.” We asked the elven brothers Noohar and Selvek if they knew, and they smirked and said it was probably just a blessing. (Perhaps from Correlon Larethian, which would make sense in several ways.)
After this you would think the guards would be more careful; but when we discovered two busty young girls (Arietta and Zalene) camping out here with a slightly fishy story about traveling for a funeral…suddenly their balls were bigger than their brains again. Granted, even though we were suspicious, everything about them seemed ordinary, so perhaps I can’t fault them too much for that. But when the guard Kent was discovered in the morning, ritually slaughtered in his tent and butchered for his meat…perhaps they will think twice. We burnt what was left of him and pray his soul is at peace.
(I thank Selûne for the strength to put him to rest, my medical trainers for the experience to keep it together despite the gore, and to the palace staff for letting me watch when they had to butcher the horses that winter. And I am also glad that I did not have to…well, you know.)
The mood of the caravan was somber and anxious, and may remain so for a time. So when we found a man buried up to his neck at a crossroads, we made certain to stop the caravan, keep the guard alert and went to explore without them. Written across his face “OATHBREAKER”…even if he were that kind of punishment is inhumane. He was still alive, so we did our best to dig him out and keep the caravan from approaching. He claimed his fianceé’s brothers buried him here, but it was clear, at least to me, that was not the reason. And when we discovered a tattoo of the Harp on his arm, it became even more suspicious.
Carlon Omiphel, is the man’s name. When we send a message back to Miss Victoria, we will ask about his credentials. We discovered that he was spying on the Dragon Cult as well, and that the caravan he was on was carrying treasure as well. Perhaps our suspicions about a hoard is right. He said they were traveling to Naerytar, but we don’t yet know where that is, I don’t believe.
Today we will pull into Daggerford. We pieced together what we knew about the area into some block text:
“The town takes its name from a 400-year-old legend about a boy named Tyndal who fended off a tribe of lizardfolk with only a dagger. The first community was built along the shores of the river at that spot. All the Dukes of Daggerford claim to be descended from Tyndal. Construction of Castle Daggerford atop the ruined remnants of Morlin Castle begins immediately after the fall of previous Duke of Callador and the ducal site is relocated here from Delimbiyran.”
And after all that, diary, I am Varză and am going to rest for a bit. Fie ca zeița să ne binecuvânteze. (Fee-ay Cah Zee-itse sa ne bee-nay-coo-van-tay-zay.)