We finally set out from Dunbar heading north across the border. Things still hadn’t heated up yet politically. Lines were being drawn but armies were not yet moving against each other so the most we could expect was patrols and scouts keeping an eye for enemy movement. We were back to being simple adventurers, a group of misfits seeking lost riches and risking our lives. Traveling across the border was uneventful, it took us looking at the map to even figure out we had crossed over, all these roads through the woods seem pretty much the same. We camped out the first night. Not one of those morons even after all this time carry a tent. I shared with Sylthana but I think they were starting to get annoyed with not having one and decided to restock.
A small village just a small detour off of the main road called Bokav was a common layover for travelers so we headed over there today. It was hilarious watching Braum manage to annoy the halfling merchant and getting his prices jacked up while enrico was snagging a discount. I grabbed some more rations and didn’t even try to negotiate I was laughing so hard, he gave me a fair price so I wasn’t upset. We secured some rooms and I’m taking a bath quick before dinner.
WHAT THE HELL!
We are eating and suddenly a note gets dropped off for us by the innkeeper, supposedly one of his serving girls was given it. Somebody wanted to speak to braum and his purple haired friend in private. This was unsettling so we decided to check it out but cautioned the others that if we needed to we were making a fast exit.
The room was the room of a knight we had seen in the common room eating earlier when we had arrived. He greeted us and told us his name was Arlen Vallet, a justicar of the church of Ayora, and he was investigating the incident in Belmora. I was ready to bolt at that moment. I knew the church was going to move against us but to find us out here was hard to believe. He kept trying to assure us he meant us no harm but he described that through various contacts and rumors he had put together a picture of a Luci Pendragon’s companions, a half elf scholar, a massive bald man and a purple haired purple skinned tiefling woman. He tried to win us over with a zone of truth spell but we had no way of knowing if he was resistant to its effects or not and kept our mouths shut.
This man kept telling us he could help us, that he was looking for answers to what had happened to his mentor, a Gustov Reinhardt who was there as a guard to the cardinal but we could honestly say we had never heard of him. We told him just the minimum, things that would be public, that a pair of monsters had fought in the city, that we had nothing to do with the deaths of the people or of his mentor. I could tell he knew we withholding more information. He tried to reassure us of his intentions and seemed to think he could offer us some protection from the Inquisition of the church. We tried to decline but he seems intent on trying to follow us. I don’t know what game he is playing, he seems desperate for answers but I know quite well how one can use such appearances to deceive others.
We left to find Sylthana outside ready to lend her aid and we returned to the common room. This Arlen followed us and seems to be trying to invite himself to join us. Reluctantly we tried to ignore him. I noticed this old man watching us with interest and using Ip’Nix I tried to speak with him but he just said “if you have something to say you can come over and say it”. I was a bit miffed, this day was not going well but decided to see what was up. Turns out he is a scholar and just thought it odd to see a group with both a tiefling and an Aasimar. Until that moment I did not realize Arlen was an Aasimar but glancing back you could see the slight glow. I rejoined the others and after Arlen retired we decided to try and slip out early before he awoke.
Well Braum is a clumsy ox. Managed to make a racket sneaking out and woke up Arlen. Changing plans we had breakfast. That scholar joined us to chat. Name of durai which seemed familiar. A historian as it turns out so I asked him about the valiants and eventually asked him about the nature of the Oracles like Beleneth. Not a whole lot of amazing stuff, the valiants were Arturus’ companions when he was trying to unite the kingdoms of the time. The prohpecy of the sleeping king came up and he was surprised that we knew of it. This led to the discussion of the ancient temple of Ayora that we had found north of Longsaddle. He was most interested in a mostly untouched temple from the second age and explained much of the iconography we had seen was used by Ayora at that time, even the demon heads which were a symbol of either looking through her or past her for some reason. We had revealed our old hometown as being longsaddle so he asked if we knew of a Mage who lived there named Algus. I now remembered who he was. Algus and Durai would exchange letters and books occasionally. I remember because Durai would always wrap the parcels together with this silky ribbon of different colors that I would swipe right away for my hair. I told him Algus was my adoptive father and that he had left for Belghast. We cautioned him that if he did explore the temple to bring some guards, we had killed the cultists and their undead but who knows if anything moved in there in the meantime. He eventually departed to pack his bags, heading eastward to get away from the civil war that was threatening.
We tried to get rid of Arlen. He already knew the name of Alan Pierce from his mentors letters. We revealed to him that it was a cult that had infiltrated the church that caused the death, that they had summoned the monster and that Alan pierce was the one behind it and was now dead.
The fool still keeps insisting that we need his aid. Sylthana obviously does not like him much and pointed out he had departed his post to become a wandering Justicar and had no authority to aid us. Seems he will not be dissuaded so I asked Sylthana if she could prepare a zone of truth herself.
A few miles out of Bokav we found a spot off to the side and Sylthana cast her spell. Arlen stepped in and we began grilling him. According to Sylthana he was telling the truth. He had no connection to any official investigation, this was a personal matter for him, he had garnered our descriptions through rumors, contacts and just plain luck of who Luci Pendragon’s companions were.
Guess I took pity on him and since the spell compelled him to be honest I decided to throw him a bone. We told him Alan pierce was a fake idenity, that it was Johan Roselion but Johan had been dead for more than 10 years and some kinda of demon was impersonating him. He wanted to know how we knew about that so it came out that we had word from Elibus. He mulled it over and asked if that was the same Elibus who was the hero of the hundred years war and how did we know the great hero? I decided to have some fun with the fool and told him “You know my adoptive father Algus? Well that’s an alias as well.” His jaw about hit the floor while we mounted back up.
During the ride Arlen asked about us, he certainly asks a lot of questions. He noticed all of us had the same cloak clasp and seemed to make the connection that we were a lot more than just travelers. He was told that we are an adventuring party and had something like that in common. He got suspicious about that and asked what our adventuring companies name was. I’m kinda proud of myself for pulling this one out at the last minute “The Valiants”.
Later on we were another half day out of Servilla as it got dark. We setup camp and Aderyn made use of one of her spells that concealed the campsite entirely from view with dark fog and blocked our noise. We had heard about bandits on the road and were taking no chances. A nearby hill we saw other campfires so I sent Ip’Nix ahead to take a look. Arlen keeps looking at me funny when I report back on what my familiar sees or I look through his senses. Looked to just be a family group of traveling performers. They didn’t seem to be a threat so we decided to leave them be.
A deer crashed through the barrier and right into Enrico’s new tent and was pretty confused before bolting out of the camp. Before it fled somebody noticed the arrow in the deer’s flank. Shortly after a pair of extremely nervous hunters slowly made their way through the barrier. Seeing us they raised their bows but we were already alerted and prepared, thankfully they meant no harm and had just been seeking out the deer they had shot. Turns out they are originally from Enrico’s home country of Slagos. I’ve heard of these groups of travelers but Longsaddle was a bit out of their way so we tended to not see them. They hurried on their way and we settled in for the night.