From the Journal of Verden
That is what I have been telling myself for the past week. Today is the day that I will prepare to leave the city. While those other days I managed to talk myself out of it, today is not one of those days. It’s only now that I feel like I can finally move on from Master Ryze’s death. The discovery of his note about my mother was a shock to say the least but now that I have had the chance to consider the information I believe it’s time for me to continue both Ryze’s work into these Scions but also my own research to investigate these magical ruins that I have found information about In both my mother’s spellbook and from the notes I took from that latest Tarsis ruin I investigated on the night that Ryze died.
I headed to the nearby Tavern where my only friend Baylin works as I cameto tell him I was leaving. He asks me where I am going and I explain that I was going to head to Solace but I am sure how to get there. I tell him I have consulted maps but unfortunately most of them were before the Cataclysm and still showed Tarsis as a port city. Crossing the plains to the north and heading to Thorbardin would have been the standard route to take but I know from my Dwarven Language teacher here in Tarsis that the Dwarves have all but sealed their mountain city and that route is no longer possible.
I’m hoping to get to the coastal city of Rigett (South West of the Tarsis) and then hope to book passage to New Ports (South of Solace) but pass the mountains. From there I can get to Solace. Baylin seems impressed and only taking a moment to ponder to say ‘so when do we leave?’ Shocked at his response I ask to confirm and he states – yes he wants to come with me. ‘I want to become a mercenary’. I have heard this story from Baylin before and I must admit I have seen him during incidents when a rowdy bar fight happens and I understand why the owner keeps him employed. He does state the obvious though – ‘I would need a sword and armour though, and we should look and see if we can join a caravan as guards’. Now that certainly sounds like an idea.
I tell him that we’ll head to the market after he has finished his shift. After a couple of hours he’s done for the day and so we head to the nearest armour/weapon vendor. He tries to offer Studded Leather armour and a Longsword for 75 steel and I can tell Baylin is too excited by the prospect of having these that he is showing his eagerness and would agree to the price. Luckily I understand that my savings of 160 steel (He only has 5 steel) is going to have to keep us going for this whole trip and hopefully we’ll be able to earn some money on the way.
I manage to figure out that the merchant hasn’t had the best business day and is actually a bit desperate for a sale. I manage to talk him down to 40 steel and 10minutes later a now equipped Baylin is over the moon. As we walk away he does mention possibly buying him a shield but I mention that we should at least see if we can get a berth on a Caravan before we do anything else.
He agrees and luckily it seems he has considered this possible profession before. He takes me to a tavern that also acts as an adventurer’s hall for the caravan merchants.
As we go in and sit down he explains that at sundown caravan merchants will come in and sit at these tables (he motions to some empty ones) and they will each stand up in turn and state what route they are doing.
We sit and wait and I get a little concerned as there seems to be about twenty men in here who look like they are waiting for the same thing. At sundown the barkeep heads out the main saloon doors and goes and rings a loud bell on one of the posts five times. After that we see merchants start to come in (four) and they proceed to sit down at the allocated tables. About ten minutes pass and the barkeep heads out again and rings the bell one finally time – implying that no more merchants will be accepted.
With that each of the four merchants stands up and lists their route.
The 1st wants guards for a caravan to Zeriak (South)
The 2nd wants guards for a caravan to Lantern (East)
The 3rd wants guards for a caravan to Southgate via Hopeful (North).
This caused quite a stir between the mercenaries and Baylin looks at me. I explain that Southgate is near Thorbardin to the North and would probably be the riskiest route to go. I explain we should still try to get to Rigett but if there is nothing else we might have to investigate that route further.
The 4th and last merchant stands and states that he is wants guards for a caravan to Rigett (South West) – Bingo!
With that he sits down and there is a rush from the mercenaries to get to the merchants. I can already tell that the Southgate duty will be one of ‘high risk, high reward’ as Master Ryze use to say. I can hear over all the mercenaries the merchant explaining that he wants 5-6 guards per wagon (an excessive amount for a standard run that Baylin tells me usually only has about 1-2 guards per wagon). That would require about 60 guards (10 wagons), I think we have a good chance if most of the guards try to go on the Southgate one.
After waiting for the initial rush to die down I motion Baylin and we head towards the 4th merchant. I inquiry about the job and he explains that he’s looking for 8-10 guards for 4 wagons. Offering all meals and sleeping under the wagon. Task – protect the wagons. Pay 1 bronze per day (perhaps a little cheap) a bonus if we are attacked. The job will take approximately 3 days.
I decide to not haggle on the pay as we are definitely novices at this and this might be a good job to get some experience under our belts. I look over at Baylin and he’s nodding (over eager as always), I state that we would both be interested and he gives us a look over. He motions to Baylin that he seems able but what exactly can you (me) offer. You seem to be some kind of book worm.
In retrospect this probably wasn’t the brightest move but I really did want this job and I was hoping I could be subtle enough that it wouldn’t spook the merchant. On his table was a lit candle. I reached down and blew it out and then passed my hand over the candle lighting it with my light cantrip. I tried to make it look unthreatening but unfortunately it didn’t seem to go over like that.
The merchant took on a look of horror and he says (loudly) ‘You’re a witch!!’ Unfortunately that also caused a stir and suddenly everyone is looking over at us. Realising this has gone over wrong I reach forward and look him in the eye ‘I’m not a witch; I’m just someone who can defend myself’. (Persuasion #20). With that he shushes up and he accepts our offer of employment. I offer him my hand to shake in agreement and he reluctantly does also and with that we are officially employed. We are to report to the wagon area before dawn.
As Baylin and I walk out of the tavern Baylin can’t keep it in anymore. He says ‘Verden, you never told me you could do that?!?!’ I look at him perplexed. He knows I have a basic knowledge of magic, that light trick was nothing. He clarifies when I told him I wasn’t a witch. Supposedly the way I said it was with quite forceful and that I seemed to tower over everyone. I don’t remember it being like that but perhaps my magic somehow unconsciously aided me when I needed it most. (For the next several days I have advantage on any charisma base checks – Persuasion/Intimidate against any of the guards, merchant or Baylin on our caravan).
I explain I don’t remember it being like that but hopefully it’s for the best. It seems that regular folks are very much anti-magic whereas several of the librarians at the Great Library made use of cantrips in their work. It also seems I am lucky to have found a friend in Baylin. He has never looked at me like that merchant has whenever I would show him any new magic skills I had picked up.
Baylin explains that we should probably try and get to the place before dawn as there will probably be loading to do and if we help we might get to join for the morning meal. Wanting to make a good impression on the merchant I think it would be a good idea and so I agree to meet him outside his tavern (soon to be previous employment) and we’ll head to the wagon area together. He confirms and says he’s going to tell the boss he’ll be leaving. I offer to let him stay the night at the library but he says that his boss should be ok with him sleeping one final night in his loft. With that I wish him well and we head off in different directions. As we’re about 20 feet away from each other I hear Baylin call out to me and I turn and he asks ‘So is this it for you? Will you be coming back?’ Sometimes Baylin really does surprise me with how perceptive he can be. I say ‘Yes, I want to continue my master’s work and I will not find the answers here’. He seems to accept that and I’m pretty sure he just considers this a new adventure to go on.
With that I decide to make one final stop before returning to the library to pack. I decide to head to the graveyard and to the pay my last respects to Master Ryze. It’s already approaching night and so upon entering the ‘noble area’ of the cemetery I pick up one of the provided unlit torches and use the main torch to light it so I proceed through to the grave. I finally reach the grave and the first thing I notice is that it seems someone has been by and they have left some flowers. A bunch of sunflowers have been left propped up against the headstone. Putting that aside I spend a few moments considering what I’m about to do. I find myself unconsciously talking to Ryze explaining that ‘This is my last day here – I’m leaving tomorrow and hopefully I’ll be able to continue my research and yours. I don’t think I’ll be back for a while. I hope you are at peace.’ After that I somehow feel better, I’m not sure if it’s subconscious or a perhaps some sort of closure. I do know however I will not be fully satisfied till I know for sure if there was foul play relating to his death.
I head back out of the ‘noble section’ just as I’m about to put out the torch I turn and take one more look at the grave. I’m not sure how I saw it but near the grave was a large noble mausoleum. Somehow I could tell there was an individual in the darkness of the shadow that the entrance area was providing. It looks like a humanoid person – short perhaps 5’6, completely covered in robes. I believe I managed to hide my surprise so he doesn’t notice I spotted him.
I decide not to dawdle as it is getting late and I want to get a good night’s sleep to prepare for tomorrow I proceed back to the library. As I’m opening the door I do one final check and I do notice the figure from the cemetery has followed me, but not wanting to draw attention or anything I proceed inside and lock the main door behind me.
As I’m packing all my items away I wonder to myself if perhaps I should tell someone that I am leaving. Normally it would be Ryze but since his death a temporary master librarian has been appointed. In the end I decide to wait and see if I can find passage on a ship from Rigett before I’ll let them know that I have actually left for good. Lying down with all my items packed I hope tomorrow will bring a new adventure.