GEAKS

7 is Indeed Auspicious

I rode with Terath’s Chargers for a while. Orcish cavalry laughed at first when they saw a human shaman girl would ride with them, but they didn’t expect that little girl to know how to execute flying changes at full gallop with the best of them. More than anything, it felt good being in the dirt, riding and living off the land. It gave me a fresh perspective of the shaman’s path (along with saddle sores and a few hangovers).

By the time I returned to the rest of the group, I’d come to understand that, hell, highwater, whatever else came our way, I was a GEAK, so I might as well make it all official. They chided, they hazed, then they helped me recite the story of the seven spokes of Carafahd and bind myself to their circle. There must have been a celebratory feast afterwards, because the next thing I remember was waking up with a bigger hangover than the last four put together.

I barely had time to get something greasy in my stomach before we got another job: Morri, head of the Merchant’s Guild, is suffering a string of thefts recently and wants us to supplement her guard detail and stop the thefts. It takes a few nights to catch one in the act, and as is often the case, our arrival escalates things. One of the guards died. We chased the thieves into the deep tunnels of the market, then deeper. Then WAY deeper, into a town built over an underground riverbed that wasn’t on any map.

The residents are all pale t’skrangs, most starving and scared. In a fit of sanity we tried diplomacy and it got us to meet the elder, the LaHala. She told us that weeks ago, there was a vibrant, flowing river that supported all the town’s possible needs, but one day it just dried up. None of the parties they’d sent upriver to investigate returned, so in desperation, they sent a team of their sneakiest, led by one named T’Skrillah, to steal only the most essential foodstuffs needed for the town’s survival. We strike a deal that’ll allow us to complete Morri’s task and let us to sleep some night in the future: we’ll make the trip upriver and restart the river, and then T’Skrillah will return with us and stand trial for the thefts and the dead guard.

The trickle of water running down the river would’ve reminded me of a creek I enjoyed one season, except for the cavernous echoes made by the cave walls. The whole setting was unsettling. Should’ve known abominable creatures of the creepy variety would’ve ganged up on us. They didn’t kill any of us, but they made sure when we got to the source of the river we’d be hurting.

Up there, we found something miraculous: a wall of water at least a dozen feet high. An elemental of incredible age and power was diverting the entire thing into a whirlpool well off the natural stream. We also found the team of troll warriors guarding it as well as their elementalist. I’m told we won, though I went unconscious from testing out my new armor against a troll’s mace. I’m alive to write this, so I must commend the armorer’s skill.

I woke up back at the t’skrang village amid celebration that their life blood flowed again. They healed our wounds, cleaned our clothed, gave us every hospitality, and then gave us the bill: they wanted us to go back up the river and reclaim their missing parties from the troll camp, even if it was only their bodies. Though for some of us that meant finishing up our convalescence on the way up, we agreed.

On the way we were set upon by a troll counterattack, which failed to stop us but taught us that the troll camp had to be running out of capable fighters, and was limited to the one mage. Gunth manages to scout the camp’s entrance and Lathryus and I team up for an air ambush. Sadly, it failed to include the other team of guards, and so a pitched battle ensued. Scipio was captured for all of fifteen minutes (which I’m sure will increase every time he tells this story). The troll elder tells us they are initiating the taken t’skrang into their tribe, and so they are no longer the concern of the village. We give them a sleeping cycle to consider how many piles of ash we leave their camp in if they don’t return them to us. Before the next morning, they’ve sealed the cave entrance with their prisoners on our side – this negotiation stuff works wonders!

T’Skrillah agrees to go back with us and stand trial. She brings a few other villagers with gifts of True Water as a peace offering so as to establish official relations with the city above. For once, we need to find legal council for someone else.

That overwhelming surplus of funds we had took a dent between meetings with counsel, 5-star dinner meetings, other meetings, and new formal attire to meeting with the king, but what we got for it seems impressive to me: T’Skrillah’s sentence is service to the king in establishing formal and upstanding relations with the t’skrang village underwater, good standing with the king of Throll and some of it’s more reputable legal members. This keeps up, we’re going to be respectable ourselves.

Faced with downtime, I’m searching for a shaman that can take me out into the wilds and complete my training into the seventh circle of the path. It’s been a turbulent path, to be sure, with no sign of the end before me, but this is exciting!

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