Northern Reaches

Ranger's Log 4

Stirling, Ranger’s log 4

Well, we finally met the Cavalier Cecil, who more or less set this entire change in my life in motion with his quest to eliminate the banditry in the area. Like I’d always thought about nobelmen, he seems to think the solution to everything is to talk about himself. That said, he does seem well-equipped and his horse, at least, appears to be a competent warrior.

I’m sure the man sees the rest of us as nothing more than his servants. The first time he asks me to polish his boots I will tan his hide. Luth seems to have much more patience for the degradation. Perhaps carrying the man’s bags reminds him of his days scrubbing the monastery floor at the behest of his brother monks…or whatever they do in those cloisters.

After interminably lecturing me on the history and virtues of his family, Cecil decided it was time to send his servants away so he could spend more time exercising his jaw with his noble brethren. He was gracious enough to let us sleep in his servant’s quarters, far nicer than any home I’ve been inside of. Some serving wench came by and offered me drink, and I remember nothing else until waking up reeking of vomit. Cecil paid the same girl to clean up the mess, and said no more about the incident, probably to save face in front of his parents. I should really try not to enrage the man, since noble clans can be quite dangerous and petty.

We agreed that it would be worthwhile to try to exterminate the mite threat once and for all, given that they were marauding travelers and had even killed a holy man. There was also the promise of a reward from Oleg. I personally wanted revenge for Phillipe’s gruesome death. I had not spoken with the man to any great extent, but he seemed a decent sort and certainly deserved a better end than he suffered. I never thought such a small knife could bring forth so much blood and whatever else was flowing from….

I digress. We decided to spend the night in an abandoned farmstead on the road towards the home of the mites. It being completely impossible to get a decent night’s sleep in this accursed land, the cabin filled with horrible rats in the middle of the night. A wave of hundreds of them. Thinking they might carry her off entirely, I woke the halfling. With the gleam in her eyes I’ve begun to fear, she called forth her magical fire, roasting many of the rats and causing some of them to burst in a foul manner. I am accustomed to the various liquids and smells of the inside of nature’s creatures, but the former bar wench looked quite sick at the sight and ran screaming from the room. Perhaps she’s finding adventuring isn’t as romantic as it seems when listening to some besotted old fighter spinning tales across the bar at her. Although I’d think she’d have been used to rats, given the condition of the bar she served in.

When the rats had been dispersed, I endeavored to return to sleep as quickly as possible, but Cecil, perhaps missing his fancy feather beds and silk sheets, insisted that we remove the stinking corpses from the shack. Naturally this work was left to Luth, our Dwarf, and myself, as Cecil insisted that he must look after our horses and treat any rat bites.

With two nights in a row of ill sleep, I approached the mite home in a sour mood (more sour than usual, even). As the entire expeidition was fairly ill-planned, we had not really thought about the fact that the entrance would be mite-sized and that we humans would have to crawl to get inside, hardly a posture for hostile invasion. After some futile efforts to get them to come out and fight us, we sent our smaller party members into the hole, where they exterminated various vermin, and came back to fetch Luth down into the hole with them. Cecil and I kept watch, but I quickly insisted on climbing the tree to better “observe the territory” in order to get away from his prating on about the intricacies of last year’s jousting tournament (which he, of course, claims to have won) and the various noble lords he unhorsed and the fair virtues of whatever inbred noble wench threw her lace hankie at his tilting-stick after his victory.

Soon enough we heard wild screaming coming from the hole our companions had crawled down. Rushing to the scene, we saw Luth covered in the ichor of some giant insect thing he had mashed beyond recognition, and furiously trying to prevent a tick the size of a boar from locking its jaws on him. This tick was being ridden by the fanciest mite I had ever seen, dressed in colorful rags and screaming the typical mite obscenities. Luth actually reached up and pulled this mite’s arm clean off his body, drawing shrieks of despair from what I noticed to be a gallery of mites throwing their tiny darts at us. Before I could draw my bow against this group, they fell in a pitiful screaming pile as they were engulfed in our halfling’s fire. I saw the gleam in her eyes and yes, this is definitely one to keep an eye on. She delights in burning living creatures.

Cecil may be a braggart and a blowhard, but at least he’s not a coward. He immediately ran towards the giant tick, and the creature was quickly slain. Luth was covered in grievous wounds, but soon recovered under the cleric’s ministrations. We eradicated the rest of the mites. I’m glad the land has fewer of these foul creatures. Just seeing the foulness of their home justifies their slaughter, even if they were not marauding the land.

We found a fancy statue a Kobold prisoner of the mites had said was precious to his people, and traded it for Oleg’s ring on the way back to town. From their slithery dealings, and emboldened by the destruction of their enemies, I have a feeling that the Kobolds will be the next vermin to trouble the people of this land.

Upon returning to town, Cecil learned that his father had disappeared, and left to investigate, taking Luth with him to carry his bags. It seems we are destined to get tied up in some sort of nobleman’s game. Not wanting to spend much time in town and give in to its temptations, I encouraged my remaining companions to seek the sunken monastery that Phillipe had been questing for prior to his death. The halfling clearly craved adventure, and the dwarf seems entranced by all thinks holy, so they readily agreed.

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