A Fallen Light, A New Hope

Trappers Tales VI
1st 1st day, Flamerule - Bandits, buildings and burnings

1st 1st day, Flamerule

I don’t know where I expected the bandits to lead, but I didn’t ever anticipate it being Baemore, let alone the origin of the mooka flooding it’s streets.

Arriving back in town we were told that there were accusations flying around, and Bran Helder had been imprisoned for selling the mooka. As it was out of character, we asked permission to speak to him, to try and see where the issue would lead. He didn’t know much, but did give us a few places to start, with Anzo Marsk and Orel Haldon.

Starting with Anzo, things went rapidly downhill. As is usual for him, he was of course relaxing with Hrodgeirr. I let my emotions get the better of me, bickering with him, and wound up going outside to wait while the others found out what they could from Anzo. Seemingly he was helpful, as we had a location to head to and a ledger to find. It supposedly contained lists of people they’d blackmailed, with information both true and false.
With Selise unable to find out any information from Orel it appeared we had but one thing for it.

A little scouting from a spider on the wall, and we’d discovered that the warehouse was indeed what we’d been looking for, so we headed in. We found little of worth on the ground floor, but heading upstairs there was more than we’d bargained for.

Firstly, in a secret room, there was a letter. Apparently Giddeon is no longer going to trouble us, but it appeared we’d have bigger problems waiting for us. He had been replaced, and his replacement was in the building. If we waited til he’d gone, they were planning to drastically increase the guards, though, so our time was running short.

Less troubling, we were able to free a woman they’d captured, by the name of Thia. She said she’d been assisting with logistics for them, but had no idea what they’d been doing. When she came close to discovering it they’d locked her away. Unable to send her off through the building alone, she came with us. Hopefully she’ll be able to tell Captain Tresden something useful before too long.

Having done all this, it left us with but one final task to complete. There was one logical place left for the ledger to be, and unfortunately it was in a room full of enemies. Fortunately for us, the battle went well for the most part, until one of them men we were fighting decided to explode, setting the building alight.

Our headlong flight brought us out of the building, unfortunately leaving the ledger behind. I assume it’s now just ash, but hopefully Captain Tresden, fortuitously arriving with a force outside the building, will take our word for what we’ve found, else Mr. Helder may be in for some strife.

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The Healer's Diary V
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. 5

1st Day of Flamerule

It was foolish of me to think that coming back to Baemore would provide a moment’s reprieve from all of the insanity that has been going on. Oh, how wrong I was — and how scared I am to realize that trouble has followed us here, too.

It appears that the bandits have an operation in the city. This sort of danger is just what I had feared and what I had hoped that we were taking care of by flushing out their camp. Knowing that they have been operating on the very doorsteps of our families this whole time is the worst possible outcome for this situation. Not only that, but it appears that they’ve gotten townspeople involved in their illegal plots, whether it be by doing their bidding or by taking the fall for crimes not their own. It’s so difficult to tell what is the truth and what is a lie. Who can be trusted and who is covering up for these vile people?

I am deeply concerned by the fact that Anzo is so clearly involved in this, although comforted in a small way that I sense that he is not complicit. If he were truly one of them, he would not have given me the combination to that safe.

…or would he? The papers inside; they are evidence that he would not want to end up in the wrong hands. Evidence that would condemn not only himself, but Arseni’s brother and sister, for crimes of theft. Petty though they may seem, they point to their larger crime of being involved with the bandits, which will certainly cost them a much higher price. Convinced that I was going to the warehouse whether he liked it or not, could he have given me the combination knowing that this was his best chance to put the information into the hands of someone who may not report it to the authorities immediately?

No, I feel so sick imagining being used in such a way that I can’t bear to consider it any further. Surely he would not do such a thing. Troubled though he is, I have to believe that this is not Anzo’s way.

At the same time, I also admit that I cannot tell if Anzo’s motivations for confiding what little he did are true regret for his involvement or a concern for myself. I was too preoccupied with worry for him in the heat of the moment to realize it, but with a step back, I now recall the way he held my hands, the way he looked into my eyes… It was different from usual.

Intense, I think is the word. In the midst of everything else that is so confusing about this situation, the one thing that I am completely certain of is that he cares more for me than I ever realized or imagined. Perhaps it took the danger of the situation for these feelings to bubble to the surface, but the rawness of them makes it all the more convincing.

Despite myself, I flush as I write these words. I know that I have so much else to worry about besides romance, especially with the situation that we find ourselves in now. And even were I not suspicious of the depth of his involvement in this plot and the meaning of this evidence I’ve found, I have my family to worry about. I feel as if I’ve terribly neglected Sebastian and Father (as usual, Marcella neither requires nor wishes for my mothering) already since I began running around with Aaron and the others. Even in a perfect world where Anzo were not wrapped up in all of this mess, I could never justify to myself allowing myself further distraction.

This is how it always has been.

But is this how it always must be? When will I feel that I’ve done enough and be able to get past the guilt of moving on?

It doesn’t make sense to worry about it now. First, I must decide how I am going to confront him about these papers… and what I do if he admits to the crimes. I have to share this with Arseni too, but not until I’ve spoken to Anzo. I do not know Arseni well enough yet to know what he would do with the information. My heart wants so badly to believe that the information is fabricated and that we can simply burn it, but there will be no chance if it’s reported immediately.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get some sleep tonight. I feel I’m going to need all the rest I can get come tomorrow.

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The Tactician's Memoir IV
The bandit town

Picking up the pen is more of a chore than a relief this time. The trip to the bandit camp didn’t go over as well as we had hoped. Tresden allowed us to bring Ander for returning Tilly’s taxes, which was a great help, but we still failed to get through the day unscathed. I managed to cook up a nice meerkat stew before we got there at least, the journey was uneventful besides that.

Things took a downward turn after we reached the town the bandits had taken over. We snuck in and tried to skulk around unnoticed. It didn’t work out. Several of the towers spotted us and we had to fight off about a dozen lackeys in the end. It was a near fatal failure it turns out.

The man responsible for the fires had an accomplice, and she decided to attempt to butcher us. I knocked the putrid scag into the dirt where she belonged. Unfortunately she got up and knocked me down with some sort of ice attack. Magic perhaps?

I was out for the rest of the battle, but when I woke up everyone was alright. Aaron and I have sustained injuries, but Mireya has done her best to get us back into shape. I think we may need to rest up in town before venturing out again. However, first we may need to make sure we can get back to town. I think hunting the vermin for Kosef is out for now…

For now, everything is sore, and I’m ready to leave this wretched place.

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An Alchemist's Tale X

28th Day of Kythorn

We did it, although i somehow feel like we triggered something worse.. we cleared out the bandits, but something was amiss, the bandit leader he was the one that attacked Baemore before, I am sure of it. He got away, and i am sure will show his face again at some point. we did find a map to a legendary weapon we can only chose one. but it seems as though these bandits planned to raid all of them to take everything for themselves.. I hope we can stop them before it gets to that point.

On a different note, Bagoda wanted to see me. she made the fist fighting female we fought speak to me after we had killed her… I.. I don’t know how i feel about it, Grandmother said to avoid her at all costs.. but, i don’t think angering her is a good idea.. especially if her magic can reach that far. I feel like i have no choice but to go.. I wonder what she wants from me..

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The Healer's Diary IV
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. 4

28th Day of Kythorn

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more difficult, they do. Against my better judgement, the group chose to return to the bandit camp, even after Arseni got that strange marking on his hand which worries me very much — I really have no idea what it is, but I know it can’t be anything good. I think it must be a sort of tracking spell, or a brand of some kind that allows him to be targeted easily… but even if it is not, it strikes me as the definition of stupidity to risk it when we know that the mission we are trying to complete is nearly impossible already.

Then again, I suppose the fact that I would back down and accompany them despite my misgivings makes me just as stupid as the rest. Sometimes I wish I were better at debating, more assertive, and less of a pushover, as I’m certain that my inability to convince anyone of seeing sense will be the death of me.

Now it is Selise and my dear cousin who have had a brush with the very edges of death.

As I watched them laying there on the ground unconscious, I knew that something must be done quickly. Meanwhile, myself spent of my energy to cast spells, Arseni taking the brunt of her hits, and Ander distracted with other pressing issues, it was no small miracle that Aaron’s owl was able to finish off our opponent just in time for me to reach them before they had passed beyond the point of no return.

The victory feels empty. No one may have died this time and we may have defeated this foe, but she and that wizard are clearly under the control of this “Gideon” person. If we had such a difficult time with them, how can we ever hope to take down their boss? Certainly I want to make sure that the town is safe, but what good will it do if we fall in the process?

All I can say is just that I hope that we are headed back to Baemore soon. After such a harrowing experience, all I want is to go home, hug my family, and forget all about this for a few sweet hours.

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Trappers Tales V
3rd 8th Day, Kythorn - This one time, at the Bandits Camp...

3rd 8th day, Kythorn

It’s been some time since I’ve written. Almost a month, by the dates I’ve entered, but I know it’s been longer than that. The days, months I spent with Duke Bastion seems to have been nothing. It has kept me busy, and thinking on those lessons has kept my thoughts from most of those of Iona, though.

Following Iona’s funeral, and our daliance with a mage calling himself “Peeksies,” we regrouped, gathered Ander, and headed back out. We followed the path, in a manner of speaking, to a small town that seemed over run with the bandits, and attempted to quietly tale out the towers. I use the term attempted, but we did a poor job of it, but the towers eventually fell regardless, with Ander throwing two people off the top of a single tower, at one stage.

However, that was only the start of our troubles. In an attempt to get a better look at a statue I aroused the suspicion of a few people, and was interrogated. My upbringing was helpful, as it lead to my skills as a liar being better than people suspect, and was able to bluff my way through, but I did get separated from the rest of the group, and by the time I’d found them they were basically already embroiled in a fight.

It was a close run thing, and I fear if not for a few lucky breaks Silese would have gone the way of her beloved, with Aaron not far behind. Ander once again proved himself capable in a fight, while I was able to use some stick we’d found in our adventures to incinerate a number of the thieves.

Their leader, though, was made of more stern stuff. A bit of a brawler, she was good with her fists and feet, and had some kind of affinity for ice.
She kept making statements that made me think she was keen on me, then she’d hit me. It was rather confusing. Laying low Silese and Aaron as I said, she’d had me on the ropes and seemed to be doing a good job of taking care of Mireya, Aarons cousin, when his owl came out of nowhere, and somehow hit her hard enough to knock her out.

It was good news, but not all is coming up rosy. It appears she’s been in cahoots with someone interested in us, and we have a feeling he’s the arsonist from town.

I gather we may have to meet up with him soon, which is rather worrying.

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An Alchemist's Tale IX

25th day of Kythorn

It is done, well mostly and there was a few hick ups along the way.. but we managed to take out part of the bandit camp, we might have to return with Kaleb or Ander, the extra back up would be appreciated. I need to deal with this.. we need to deal with this, the man we saw there.. he was the one that set the warehouse on fire. something is going on here, and i intend to find out what..

also we found this chest for Kestral’s corner.. i hope they didn’t take anything out of it.. I intend to bring it to captain tresdan to see what she knows about it.. either way they will be happy to get this money back i am sure.

~Aaron Lyne,
Alchemist in training.

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Tactician's Memoir's III
Selise

25th day of Kythorn

I feel so drained after yesterday. I couldn’t even bring myself to write after it. Poor Esvelle and Grigor. I just don’t want to think about this honestly. I’m quite sick of living in pain ever since the return from Fort Baemore.

We went to go take down a bandit camp, one of three threats. This one seemed closer to home and more likely to yield supplies so we opted for it. It was a startling endeavor. Certainly more complicated than battling spider monsters. Most of them were decently clever and skilled. The bugbear’s in the front of the camp managed to knock the wind out of me. Thankfully Aaron and Mireya were able to get me back up.

Honestly I think I may have gone a bit mad in the middle of the fighting. Mireya and I had a rather…heated argument about a carnivorous creature that disguises itself as a chest. It was alarming to say the least. She convinced Aaron to deal with it and I…

All I could think about was her. I understood where they came from, but I couldn’t get over it. Iona died over a deal with a monster. Every bit of pain I was trying to hold back just flooded out, all my efforts to stay strong flew out the window. I was so angry. I just kept thinking of the demon deal, and then relating it to that creature and our arrangement with it. I know it’s ridiculous, but I couldn’t take holding it in anymore. I needed someone to shout at and vent my anger and unfortunately I decided it should be Mireya. I regret my actions deeply, but I still can’t bring myself to admit my real reason for snapping to the group.

She’s gone, and I’m never going to see her again over a stupid deal! (this sentence is noticeably written darker and the page is pressed through on some of the lettering)

I just wanted to let it out one something. I was able to focus my attention away from her and instead went off on the bandits. I was quite brutal looking back on it. I killed several of them, two with my bare hands. It was barbaric of me, but it did make me feel a little better in all honestly.

Although I was quite reckless in our last fight. I tried to spear the Mage as his men walked up and rushed us into a difficult battle. Mireya was nearly killed and I was fighting to near exhaustion by the end. Arseni’s magic did wonders to turn the tides in our favor, and Aaron managed to behead the mage. Mireya’s healing is the reason I made it out I’m certain, and yet I was so unfair to her. I did everything I could to protect and help her, although I feel I didn’t do the best job.

We head back to town now to get help in clearing out the main camp. It seems the man responsible for the fire in the city awhile back is involved with this somehow.

Hopefully the assistance will have us better prepared, and perhaps we can find more potions. A lot more potions. My bruises are started to grow bruises of their own I’m pretty sure.

Iona, if any part of you is still with me, please tell me how in the gods cursed names you were able to go out and do this so often?

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The Healer's Diary III
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. 3

25th Day of Kythorn

I’m not sure what I was expecting of our second foray into danger, but I certainly think that we overestimated our own capabilities.

After a day’s break for the funeral and to spend some much-needed time with Father, Sebastian and Marcella, it was again time to pack up our things and set off. Another of Aaron’s friends — a young mage named Arseni — returned to Baemore a couple of days ago with a few possible quests that we could take up. Something about elves, one with some sort of aquatic creatures, and a request to flush out some bandits… My natural curiosity inclines me towards the former two, but hearing that the bandits we were being asked to take care of were currently camped so close to Baemore made the choice a simple one.

After all, what am I doing if not trying to keep the people I love safe?

… is what I thought.

Oh, how pretentious I was to think I was ready to face trained fighters. Creatures are one thing, but this was far beyond the scope of my powers. Even more so than with the ettercap fight, I found myself thrown around like some sort of useless ragdoll, and I’m quite certain that near the end I was more of a liability than an aid. Even using my powers to transform into my animal shape — which, from what I’ve read, should have bolstered my ability to withstand some of the blows I took — was all but futile in the end. I found myself on the ground, awoken by Selise even though she had so much more else to worry about than me and even though I knew she was unhappy with me after our argument…

I feel so guilty.

Making it out alive is a blessing, but I’m left questioning what I am truly doing here. I am certainly not the equal to my comrades, and if I cannot learn to be stronger, the only thing I will be good for is leading them to their deaths.

Aaron and the others want to go back to finish off the main camp of bandits if we can get help from one of their friends in the guard. I don’t think that we should go — no, I don’t think that I should go. If I do and someone ends up dead, that responsibility will fall on my shoulders.

But if I don’t, the result will be the same.

If this experience has done one thing, it has certainly erased my wide-eyed excitement at the promise of adventure. I will not be so blinded by such childishness again.

I cannot.

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The Healer's Diary II
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. II

23rd Day of Kythorn

My hands are shaking so much I can hardly write, but I fear if I don’t get this down on ink and parchment that I’ll forget all that has happened over the course of this unbelievable day.

I say unbelievable, but I mean it not in a bad sense - well, certainly partially in a bad sense, but also in a sense of wonder at all the things my eyes have been opened up to about my powers, about Baemore, about my cousin’s life, and about the danger that lurks out in the world around us. It’s not only terrifying, but exhilarating, and I feel like I’m floating on some sort of perverse high after the experience of it all. But before I ramble for too long, I should try to record things in a more cohesive manner—

It was not long after Aaron and Kaleb had left the house that they returned, a friend in tow — Selise, her name was, and she seems to have been in a close relationship with the girl that died a few days back. Part of me wondered if someone in grief should really be going out on adventures, but the ability to do something seemed to have a sort of calming effect on her. Regardless of any of that, I found her quite pleasant, and my goodness is she strong! Trained by someone in the guard, I think; perhaps Father knows. But I digress…

Anyway, she saved my life, really, more than once. I wasn’t entirely aware of what I was getting into when I agreed that we should head into a cave outside of town infested by something called “ettercaps”, but I certainly found out quickly enough. And I know that had such accomplished fighters not been protecting me while I stood back and cast my spells, I would have been dead before I’d even realized it. At one point, one of the creatures snared me in its webs so tightly I could barely move, and at another, one ambushed me from above before I had any idea I was even being watched.

I can’t help but feel a bit pathetic, a bit useless… Aaron had to run in to save me so many times and he and the others were constantly warning me to get behind them, let them take the brunt of the attack. With the amount of damage they all were taking, my healing seemed so futile, and it took most of my energy to keep on top of everything while still managing to throw around a couple of the offensive spells I’ve learned. I don’t know what I was expecting my first time out, but I feel so sore and tapped out… by the time we found the mother ettercap, I was certain that I could never stand long enough to survive the encounter.

But we did it! — They did it, I mean — as I mentioned, I had little to do with it at all — Oh my goodness, regardless of all the pain and fear, it was such an intoxicating feeling to be a part of. It’s catching up to me now, of course, back here safe in bed, and I know I should rest my weary muscles and regain my energy in this small break we have before taking off again. The girl’s funeral is tomorrow, so we won’t head out again until after that.

Perhaps by then I’ll have calmed down and realized just how idiotic it is that I’m so excited to go through all of this again. Any sane person would think me unwell.

Obviously I am not the sane person I once thought I was.

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