Aetah: Dreams of the Deep

Seren's Journal II

- 5 -

Ordinarily, a night’s rest would assist me in composing my thoughts so that I can better reason clearly in the face of any problems that have arisen. My current circumstances are far from ordinary.

I began my day by meeting some dragonborn who was evidently traveling with my other newly-acquainted…cohorts. She is as uncouth as the rest of them (well, as much as the dwarf at any rate—the warlock is set upon revealing new levels of vulgarity hitherto undiscovered). She also believes that she is related to the dragonling the dwarf is toting around.

I was so taken aback by the absurdity of it all that I failed to record this earlier; the dwarf had been carrying a dragon egg in her bosom, which then hatched, which she now is attempting to tame. This is a phenomenally terrible idea on every measure. If the dragon that laid that egg is still alive, it will likely be very upset when it finds us. If the dragon was slain and the dragonling is orphaned, then we will still have to contend with individuals who believe they have a better purpose for it when they see it—particularly if those responsible for slaying it are alive themselves. After all, a personal dragon is very desirable, even if it takes a mortal lifespan to reach adulthood. Dragon parts also have their uses as components for potions, rituals, and magical trinkets—or simply as rare jewelry. The dwarf has already proven a complete ineptitude for subtlety and deception, so it is only a matter of time before she attracts the wrong sort of attention.

So of course the dragonborn is convinced that she’s related to it. Never mind that her people were created by dragons as servants and that similarities in appearance are due to the aesthetic senses of dragons more than any sort of blood relation. I suppose it’s not impossible, given how dragon heritage is often responsible for sorcerous blood, but in the same way that it’s not impossible that the Ice Queen is my sister. She’d find good company among dragon cultists.

More reasonably, Lady Lucila has decided to relocate the queen (and by extension, those of us who are working for her) to some place that isn’t a ruined keep. It came down to a vote between sailing across the sea to a safer kingdom that wasn’t in political turmoil over the queen, or to a riskier location on the coast where we would have a better opportunity to find sympathizers to help reestablish her rule. I appreciate safety, but it was going to get us further from our goals, and cast my vote to stay in the country. Oddly, it came down to a tie, which was only broken because the barbarian prefers to put himself in situations where he risks death and bodily harm—and because this mindset appeals to my traveling companions, all of whom changed their votes afterwards.

She did not want to remain on the island for long, so we essentially just had time to gather supplies at the unexceptional village nearby before thrusting far too many people into far too small a boat. Some others, such as the cleric and the herbalist decided to accompany us off the island. It was a long, nauseating journey that needed to end far earlier than it did. The herbalist told me that there are no remedies for seasickness, but she may have said so out of spite. I will need to do further research in the event that I need to be on a boat again. It is not only disgusting to have half of the crew dispersing the contents of their stomachs into the sea, but also impractical. Thankfully, I was able to maintain enough composure not to embarrass myself and was only miserable on the voyage.

As with our last voyage, we came to land to find a commotion. This one was much less spectacular than the lightning at the island, but still plenty dangerous. There was a large group of soldiers attacking a halfling and a tiefling. My mercenary companions leapt out of the boat and into combat, abandoning the very queen we were supposed to be protecting.

I don’t know the exact details of that altercation, because I chose to rush the queen (making the fascinating discovery that humans are much heavier than they appear to be) and Lucila to a location that wasn’t filled with armed men intent on their destruction. The boy was still sick from the journey or I would have brought him along too. We fled without incident, but had there been another group of guards, at least they would have had some protection. I found an appropriate dwelling and left Elbereth with them while I returned to the scene of the conflict.

It was largely unnecessary. My bloodthirsty associates had finished the guards and were in the process of rummaging through their corpses. Looking for coinage and notes, I could see the purpose of (I myself have investigated the contents of more than one fallen wizard’s pockets after mishaps at the Tower)—but undressing them and dismantling their armor in the hopes of wearing it? I would be wholly unsurprised to learn that my cohorts engaged in cannibalism.

What my cohorts don’t engage in, is subtlety. The fight apparently started because of the soldiers asking about the queen and her sympathizers. I don’t quite understand how the halfling, who appropriately proclaimed that she was known as Blurt the Loquacious (and that she did not know the meaning of the word) got involved or why she escalated it over a wooden bowl, but the tiefling got involved when she stepped in to protect her. The tiefling, sensibly and inconveniently, was asking questions about our affiliation with the queen, particularly towards the dwarf. You know, the one who has demonstrated a complete inability to deceive or misdirect. I rushed in on her behalf (and the queen’s) to cover up her mistake and keep our affiliation secret, but the tiefling was acting as the center of a truth-determining spell and thus immediately saw through my deception. It was unusual that I did not notice stepping into its field, as the effects of those types of spells are supposed to be immediately obvious. I will need to study this when I get the opportunity.

Of course, my new tiefling friend took offense at being lied to. Keeping a secret in order to protect a life takes lower presidence than principle, apparently. Shame that somebody keen enough to ask the right questions is too dense to understand why she gets the right answers. Strangely, the dwarf had managed to earn her trust in the short time since they’d met and managed to convince her that I too am trustworthy.

Interesting.

Those of us who know him have collectively decided that the warlock, however, is not to be trusted. I fail to recall the question the tiefling asked him, but he refused to answer. She found this satisfactory, curiously. Perhaps his response makes him more of a known quantity to her? I am unsure. Trust is something to use sparingly. So are abilities like her truth-detection circle. No amount of divination will protect you from your own conclusions.

There was also some wretched-looking human looting the corpses with the others. He claimed that he was looking for food. I understand that he stabbed some of the soldiers to death…when they were fleeing. He is clearly not who he says he is. The warlock seems to be fond of him, which is an excellent sign of character. The timing of his appearance is concerning, and I wonder what his affiliations truly are.

Something is bothering me about this event, and I can’t quite place it. There’s an energy that fills me with restless unease and I don’t know why.

Lady Lucila, having left Ilana in a safe location, showed up at this point—and hired these new people we just met. I understand that times are desperate and that there is little room to be particular, but I strongly question the wisdom of hiring the wretch and the halfling. We already have few people who exercise discretion in our collective, do we need more impulsive troublemakers to restore the queen to her throne? What are they going to do when we finally get back into a court environment?

Humans are impossible.

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Sina

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