Some of the group still seems baffled by the sudden change in location. Teb has removed them from the current threat, but that does not mean that there is no current danger. After all is clear the group asked to split up for Reconnaissance. M’Lady goes off in one direction with Guy and leaves Teb to handle Harkonan. As Harkonan and I travel we discuss possible tactics.It is a strange thing, to talk to Harkonan in private. He makes no effort in self puffery, and he seems quite compliant towards wise and subtle points of strategy. He did not make crude or rude comments, and sought approval for his actions. I am curious whether the transportation spell used on us went horribly wrong and Harkonan mind was altered, or He simply likes to show off and act up when others are around much like M’Lady did as a child. We travel to a small village. But we know to be cautious. It’s hard to tell what it is about the village that we are picking up on that is causing us to be so cautious. Could it be the large heavy doors on all the buildings? Or is it the fact that none of the buildings have windows? Or is it the palpable air of fear that permeates this place? Harkonan suggests that he infiltrate the village and scout for hidden dangers. This seems uncharacteristically wise of him. It is incredibly useful to have someone who can become invisible, whereas I can only convincingly pretend to be invisible. Upon Harkonan’s return, at least I believe it was his return; he remained unseen for a good portion of our conversation. He commented on the air of danger but also said that the villagers did not seem to pose any danger. That we should be able to walk throughout the town with relatively little trouble
Harkonan suggested that regroup with the other members of our party. At is at this point I knew I needed to probe his mind. Harkonan might be under the control of some mysterious unknown entity, A mysterious rational and wise entity, but an unknown entity none the less. My probe revealed that it was actually Harkonan. He is even wise enough to recognize that any plan that he might put together would likely be immediately rejected by the group, so he asks that I present the idea of Harkonan taking the forefront. Just when I start to think that there might be a permanent change in Harkonan, we arrive back at the group. Lo and behold the old Harkonan that we all know and hate returns, rude and crude as ever. Teb then notices that M’Lady is on a horse. Where’d she get a horse? It seems old habits are harder to break than Teb had previously thought. Well this is far from the worst that M’Lady is capable of. When we make it into the village, Harkonan marches ahead and then summons us to the inn. The Innkeeper is very friendly, and explains a bit of an unknown danger in the town. We divide up rooms and each have a good meal, Harkonan is once again pressured to partake in alcohol. I try to assist him in swaying the others away from this line of questioning, but Harkonan insists on answering Rygel. Making up some crude story about being raped by his drunken father, which is an obvious lie. Harkonan and I are assigned to bunk together. It seems that even our other companions have noticed that Teb has at least a moderate amount of tolerance for the Whelp. I take the moment alone to have words in private with Harkonan. He is still quite shaken about the recent ordeal. We discuss in great detail why he was behaving so oddly. And he did not want to talk about it. Teb looks into his friends mind and seems a glimmer of truth in what he had stated. Teb feels that these thoughts are making Harkonan uneasy. I attempt to settle his mind, but to no avail.
We do get awoken in the middle of the night by our companions that also seem to find Harkonan’s behavior suspicious. They do not seem to trust him. M’Lady isn’t even sure what is going on. Teb returns to sleep and awakes in the morning and goes down for a meal. The Innkeeper presents us with another meal, but informs of a strange consumption competition. M’Lady for whatever reason wants to attempt the challenge. Perhaps it’s simply her pride wanting to be victorious, or she may see this as a self redemption for losing the previous wager. Teb doesn’t think she would be pleased with loosing again. Teb waits to see if she can accomplish the goal on her own, and when it seems that her loss is inevitable Teb stepped in. He makes all men see the meal being devoured completely until it is gone. Only one man sees that the food is on the plate still, but nobody is listening to him. Teb has done well. The one man with clear vision of the truth is being a bit stubborn, oh well. Teb simply grabs the plate and holds it above his head in victory at the same time teleporting the food elsewhere. I must remember to explain to Rygel why he has a mound of ground meat in his pack. But no matter we have earned free lodging for a week and M’Lady has earned at least some degree of honor and glory, however unusual it is.
At the Innkeepers suggestion we will visit the Mayor who will be able to shed some light on the terror that is wreaking havoc on this place. When we visit the mayor’s manor, a servant answers the door. Ahh, my people, Teb should be able to handle this fairly easily… that is… if Harkonan would shut his fat mouth. He nearly ruins everything. Moriel elects to bite the bullet and remove him from the situation; we all will owe her for this kindness. As Teb waits in meditative silence outside the mayor’s manor, a group of guards show up. This does worry Teb slightly but no ill fate befalls Teb. The appointment arrives and Teb finally has a chance to get some much needed information
In the end we learn a few things. Not much about the creature, but this terror seems to come from the forest if not the mysterious temple that is said to be within the forest. It may be in fact the very guardian that is said to dwell within the temple. We also learn that there is another village that also is haunted by this mysterious torment. Rygel uses his vast aptitude of learning to try to discern some information about the creature. But little is known. The only sign that can be visibly seen is that there are claw marks. It may be the signs that aren’t there that may truly give the information we need. The creature never shows prints on the ground after an attack, and does not make any loud noises during an attack. The creature is fast and swift and likely does not walk upon the ground.
We make preparations to visit this other town. Time is of the essence.
To Be continued
Image from Design Chicks.