Temple of Iomedae, Absalom, Isle of Kortos
"It's not what it seems" – Acemi used to say that a lot, especially when she thought I was being particularly dunderheaded. Well, she'd have dropped her jaw at what happened to us today.
It took ages to sort everything out in the Fallen Fortress – I've never met a group of old women who talked more than my companions. After debating for what seemed like hours about the fate of the one remaining Troglodyte (who, finally, has sanctuary with Sarenrae), we finally came to an accord. Or rather (as usual) Muktar held out until Etienne and Whitehare had argued themselves blue in the face and given in. We were heading back from the Fallen Fortress – all that mess finally taken care of, and the temple purged of Evil undead, thank Iomedae – when a Halfling fell out of the sky!
He landed from a glowing blue ring, luggage plopping everywhere. I went to help him, but he seemed fine enough. Introduced himself as "Resu Jorros Kelfiz". It's a funny name if you ask me, but no one did. He didn't give us any clear indication of where he'd come from, but he was heading to Absalom, so we journeyed together. The roads aren't usually too bad in summer, but a larger party is safer, and he seemed harmless enough.
It was good to get walking (though traveling with a wizard is always slow footwork) and I was almost sorry to arrive at the city. We parted ways then – Ballanar went back to the Pathfinder society, Muktar and Whitehare plodded off to the Temple of Sarenrae with their smelly charge in tow, and Etienne and Thalon made a beeline for the Red Rook, with our new "friend" Resu. I was happy to get off on my own for a bit, and go at my own pace. I jogged down to the Temple of Nethys and said my piece, though the clerics there are shifty as anything, and it's like trying to wrestle a mirror. I handed over the map, the key and the description of the shrine we'd found there, mentioned briefly that it hadn't been touched in decades and – yes, alright – may have somewhat glossed over the fact that we decimated the two guardians. But they were undead – I know we're supposed to be tolerant of other religions, but exploiting the dead is highest blasphemy and I don't care who reads it. We put them to rest. Permanently.
I jogged back to the Red Rook, exhilarated from the exercise, only to meet with some kind of scene from the demonic planes. There was uproar in the tavern. Igor was weeping at a table and Muktar, who arrived as I did, then tried to comfort him (it was awkward watching her try not to accidentally crush him). Etienne was gibbering about some kind of theft, and Thalon came jogging in a moment later, red-faced and angry. Turned out that Resu had watched the deal with Igor – haggling and all – and then run off with the Banner of the Phoenix! Igor was ruined. Muktar instantly gave his share of the gold back, as did Etienne – much to my surprise. He's quite the miser and always too eager in the rather unsavory task of looting bodies. They seemed to be missing the real point, though – Resu had stolen, committed a crime. He was a criminal. Acemi always told me to trust my gut around people – that faith in people brought out the good in them. I was disappointed in Resu – we had helped him, and he had betrayed us, as well as the law.
There was a more important problem though, as Whitehare pointed out – the luggage which Resu left was booby trapped – explosively. I mentioned this to Georg, who promptly threw the bags out of the window. Iomedae be merciful, they didn't explode, though they did almost hit Muktar as she headed back to the Temple to rest. Finally it was decided that the luggage, and a parrot who may be Resu's familiar, would be stored at Etienne's house.
I jogged back to the Temple, working up a bit of a sweat. It was good to bathe after a long day, and scrub out my armour a little. Time for some sleep now, I think.
Temple of Iomedae, Absalom, Isle of Kortos
I did sleep, finally, though those undead guardians kept playing on my mind. Well, old memories are just like the undead – better laid to rest, I think. I read the Acts of Iomedae until I felt calmer, and gradually did sleep. This morning I've performed the rites and tenants, and trained for a little, and I feel better. I'm heading out to the Red Rook. Hopefully there's been some breakthrough on the Resu front and, in any case, the crime needs reporting to the proper authorities.
Somewhere in the River Kingdoms
I'm in the River Kingdoms. I can hardly believe it. And yet, here I am, thousands of miles away in a matter of seconds. Acemi used to love this old joke:
"How do wizards like to be buried?"
Well, if I meet Resu again, he's going to have to be very persuasive for me not to test that theory. But I'm getting ahead of myself. When I arrived at the Red Rook this morning, Thalon greeted me with a lopsided grin as I stepped over the bag pile and walked inside. There'd been no change in the situation – and of course, the Red Rook is Georg's baby, so he wouldn't let the luggage into the place. No one else seemed particularly moved by the flagrant disregard for the law, so I took it upon myself to jog up to the watchmen and file a report and description.
And then I got back to see Muktar half-sunken through one of the damnable portals again. Even as I pelted closer, I watched Whitehare attempt to do some kind of fancy jumping maneuvre – as he reached the zenith, he dropped like platemail through the void. Muktar disappeared half a second later, muttering something about "he's over there", but I couldn't see anyone else. There was nothing for it – I couldn't abandon them. I took a running jump, prayed to Iomedae, and leapt down the rabbit hole.
We all landed in a pile, but softly, as if there was yet more magic at play. After taking a minute to get our bearings, I realized that the sun was in the wrong place – higher than it should have been. Etienne said that meant we were somewhere to the East. He might be weasle-y, but he's definitely smart – turns out we'd got thrown into the River Kingdoms somehow. Now if that isn't a place which needs the civilizing influence of Iomedae, I don't know what is.
The closest sign of habitation was a tower and mill, so we walked up and I knocked on the front door. A little, old Halfling lady called Lyra opened the door. At first I was worried we might scare her, but then we discovered that she could more than hold her own. Apparently the place is crawling with petty-Kings and war-bands, but she keeps her mill without problem – that is to say, any problems quickly turn into frogs and soon hop off down the river. She claimed she didn't know anything about Resu, which seemed rather suspicious. We can't guess at his motives – halflings are a cleverer bunch that I can guess at, anyway – but it's too convenient that the first person we meet is also a Halfling. Perhaps he brought us here for a reason?
Lyra, in any case, was all smiles and hospitality, and offered us lodging in her old servant's house. That's where we're sitting now, taking a rest, playing along, and trying to get our head around the fact that we were flung half way across the Inner Sea.
Well, Lyra didn't have any work for me, so I thought I'd go clean the horse. Muktar had a better idea – to head into the village and offer her services as healer – so I finished up and went with her. Whitehare came trotting along to keep us company, though Etienne stayed in the house, muttering about books. The villagers were a bit cagey at first, but Muktar is surprisingly good at putting them at their ease, and I flatter myself that I did my bit too. I sometimes find it ironic that people are less afraid of me, though I could crush their skull with one hand. Maybe it's my pleasing demeanor. Acemi always taught me that a smile wins more trust than a scowl, even when you don't feel like it. Like when you've been magicked across the world.
In any case, the beer has helped my mood, and I think I'm ready to go assist someone again. I'd better put this journal away…