Keeping the peace

Gangrim's Journal Vol 2

Bad Luck Leads to Bad Decisions

Nothing like a good bar fight to get the blood pumping and set thine enemies flowing.
As I write this I am currently recovering from a serious beating from some thugs that bastard trader hired. In retrospect maybe he should have spent more on the caravan than his private security, not that it helped him in the long run.
Before I get into that I should probably start off with how I got into that particular situation. I was escorting the survivors of the caravan attack to the city of Ashridge with the recon team of the would be lord of the area. When we got within sight of the city two Goblins charged the paladin and… embraced him. Needless to say I thought these mad little creatures should have been put out of their misery but the goodie-two-shoes actually shielded them from me. I could hardly believe my eyes; he said something about redeeming them, personally I think they’ll probably slit his throat when he goes to sleep. Trying to redeem a Goblin would be like putting a paedophile in charge of a school for Halflings.
Anyway, after an unsuccessful episode of pest control we continued towards Ashridge to be greeted by the cheers of the entire city, it didn’t seem to make sense that these people would be so excited to know that a few people survived the caravan attack. It turned out that they welcomed back their army from butchering my kinsmen of ulol rovol, so when I saw their commander I slowly loaded my crossbow. With my blood boiling at the news of so many dwarves being killed I didn’t seem to notice several guards motioning towards me. Luckily Mc Cloud (the paladin) managed to pull me away from the scene while the butcher made a speech to his sheep.
Needless to say I wasn’t in a good mood while we made our way with the wounded towards the temple. While the paladin went to see if he could return a priest’s robes to a nearby cleric, while I tried to bargain with those, whose very lives I saved, to see if they could reward me in some way. Unfortunately as I was about open my mouth my belt buckle decided to introduce my bottom half to the public. This did not seem to aid me in convincing them so in a moment of divine inspiration I thought I could pull down my remaining undergarments and shock them into silence. At that exact moment the gods chose to cast a cool gale between my legs reducing my dwarven hammer to something only a gnome could be proud of.
Fleeing from the roomful of people now collapsing in laughter I went in search of my contractor, my hope was that I could get something good out of the trip. When I found the arranged meeting place to be a seedy bar on the edge of town I was glad to see that the Orc from the recon team was heading in as well. I went straight for the booth where the merchant waited only noting two things about the bar, it was full of lowlifes and the owner was another Dwarf. I stood by the entrance to the booth and requested my payment plus hazard pay for rescuing his people. I was promised two hundred and fifty pieces of gold for the initial escort job and the average cost for hazard pay is the same again. But instead of the five hundred gold pieces I expected he offered fifty, just fifty. Realising he was going to stiff me, I drew my crossbow to help persuade him to see what a valuable employ I had been. As soon as I did this several men nearby stood up and drew long-swords and the owner began to bar the exit, when the bolt slammed into the wall every eye in the bar turned to our booth. I shouted to the owner hoping he would lend me a hand but he simply shook his head and went back behind the bar. Seeing that I was trapped and in serious risk of getting the beard beaten off me I loused two bolts into the merchant’s chest, drew my great-axe to face the crowd of thugs. I didn’t realise how many of them stood at first but within a few moments I was surrounded and taking a serious beating. I struck at one of them wildly but was rapidly being overwhelmed and forced into the booth. At the moment when my confidence was leaving me the Orc came to my aid and in a terrifying rage he killed two thugs that rushed him. With that I managed to regain my stance and with the help of the barbarian dispatched two of the three remaining thugs. The bar slowly began to murmur again and several more thugs moved towards the booth where I, Fred and the one remaining guard waited. I turned to face the guard who had dropped his sword and was backing into a corner and said “No witnesses…” while decapitating him. I turned grabbed the trader’s substantial purse and jumped through a nearby window hoping to make a dramatic exit.
Now at this point I was feeling like quiet the badass after all I had taken out more than half a dozen armed men and escaped without losing a considerable amount of blood. But as I looked around and saw that I was in fact falling into a river I remembered that I was having a string of bad luck today. It didn’t change when I reached the water as I was wearing a mail shirt that promptly decided to try and drown me. As my head sank beneath the water I began to wonder if my life was some sort of comic relief for the gods.
Thankfully the Orc pulled me back into the bar and to my astonishment the patrons had completely cleaned the scene, bodies and blood included. I promptly made my way over to the owner and made a sizable investment to his fine establishment and thanked him for the service. When I got outside it dawned on me that I had just embarrassed myself in front of the temple district and the riverside and it might be a good idea to hightail it outta town. I quickly made my way to the trade district and sold the wares I had found in the goblin cave but after a short while the extent of my injuries became frighteningly apparent to me. I decided the best place to stay was the riverside inn I had invested in. When I got there the paladin and his team were leaving to go report to the mayor about the forces massing against his town. The paladin told me to stay at the inn as he had questions for me; little did he know I couldn’t leave even if I wanted to. I also stopped the Orc and gave him a large bag of gold and begrudging thanks.
I went in and asked for a room noting two particular people in the bar; a battlemage who was one of the caravan guards and a woman with white hair sitting quietly by herself in a booth. Both of which would not be usual patrons in such an area, there is something more going on here and when I find out I’ll show everyone that I totally called it. I went straight into my room, barricaded the door with the bed and wardrobe and rolled out my healer’s kit; bound the cuts and placed salves on my many bruises, then went to sleep. I awoke to find the paladin banging on my door; he had a bag of money and a stern warning about unnecessary violence and killing. He had a strange golden glow in his eyes while I recounted what had happened, which I found very surprising as in my opinion I had been given the shaft by a greedy merchant, taken what was rightfully mine and the rest was self defense… sort of. Maybe you could see it as mass murder but it was a picnic to what I’ve seen in the rest of the neutral zone.
We came downstairs to find the rest of my new group sitting around a table with a map, it looked like a small war meeting and I’m beginning to wonder what I’m getting into. Clearing out a cave of goblins is one thing but being part of a strike force for a major power wasn’t really what I signed up for. Pointless to complain as I owe these people now, the Orc saved my life and the paladin didn’t throw me into the stockades. So it looks like we had a choice between a necromancer filled graveyard, an army of Orcs or a mountain full of Kobolds. I also waved over the elfin battlemage since he probably would be looking for new employment. Looks like we are going to have to wait though, our cat person has to prowl around town for a few days and help with some sort of rodent problem.

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Gangrim

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