I decided to do some research. Bloodstone is a dwarven clan that was one of the original founders of the Canton of Winterheim, one of the few “pure” bloodlines left. Magda Bloodstone in particular was an exile who worked for Salwar the Black, a necromancer bandit chieftain who wanted to make a move to bigger and better things, and was killed some three hundred years ago. His symbol was strikingly similar to the symbol we keep seeing popping up here and there, which is food for thought.
Speaking of the bandits, Ceor was extremely helpful in buying people’s friendship with alcohol while I pressed them for information. Cells have been active near Savoyne, led by none other than Those Assholes. Well, at least they’re not bothering us right now. Apparently, they decided to retreat further north after their encounter with us.
I also managed to dig up a very, very old map of the Mage Kingdoms. I think the one I keep dreaming about is Taltren. The leadership was largely devil-blooded, though over the last three generations before its destruction, they were trying to breed that blood back out. I can understand that. Apparently, it fell as a result of assassination; the ruler of the city and the leader of the army were killed during a battle with one of the Great Old Ones by, if I’m understanding this right, the very founder of the Order of the Pure, though there’s no record of why they started there. There were rumors that the king and the general had heirs that were spirited away, though no evidence. The survivors of the kingdom fled and founded the town of Brimstone, the last spot of civilization on the Bone Road.
Reeshka turned up some persistent rumors that the Order of the Pure consort with demons and devils, the ends justifying the means, of course. There was also rumors of one of their higher ups being seduced by a succubus, having a child, and being tortured to death by his own allies for doing so. Big surprise there.
I found a reference that stated the Order of the Pure was started by two sisters who vowed to wipe out the Mage Kingdoms to prevent the Mage Wars from ever happening again. They tried to wipe out the bloodlines of the Mage Kings, thinking them corrupted beyond help, but some survivors escaped. The road to hell, and all that.
Supposedly, the Order of the Pure is based out of the Wastes north Verrayne, where they allegedly have a citadel (possibly the Crystal Citadel I keep seeing stray mentions of). Despite being illegal pretty much everywhere, they have a recruiting force in all Seven Cities.
I returned to our little corner of the town to find Reeshka and Miaako going at it. I don’t use it often, but I can drop Darkness on occasion, and I did so.
It didn’t help.
They were fighting about money; I don’t know who was in the right, and I don’t care. If they’ll act like children, I’ll treat them like children- and I’ll back it up with violence if necessary. They seemed to get the message.
Apparently Miaako now has a staff of housekeepers. Kobolds, naturally. They’ve all painted their horns silver. Apparently, they went with the others to start a new tribe, then came back. Fabulous. Because we needed a kobold cult devoted to following the idiotic tengu.
I kept coming back from the library to find vase of red roses in my room. Ceor really needs to stop leaving these in my house for Sundrya. You’d think he’d have his hands full with that barmaid. I don’t even know her name.
I’m not sure he knows her name.
This hasn’t stopped her from moving in.
That reminds me. I need to have the apprentices look into soundproofing.
At any rate, I think the plan is to strike for the Flame of Mavros and see what happens… and if we happen to run into anything else that requires our attention, we’ll deal with it. Reeshka’s never seen a large body of water, apparently, so we’ll probably follow the road up to Goasta Cliffs on the Gold Coast for the first leg.
Not much happened for the first two days. On the third day, towards evening, we saw what appeared to be a family around a campfire. Either they’re totally harmless or they’ll try to eat us. Knowing our luck, the odds are on the latter.
There were a couple of kids who seemed pretty timid, and a guy who probably has elf ancestry, given how pretty he is. There was also a woman and an old man. Apparently, they’re making the pilgrimmage to the Throne of Mavros as a family, hoping to hook up with a caravan.
Craziness, if you ask me.
Also, I thought Ceor trained this damn horse, and I thought horses liked apples. I swear the damn thing is mocking me.
The boy wanted to touch Ceor’s sword because of course he did, but seemed to get a shock when he did, literally. He claimed it bit him. It’s a magic weapon that likes Ceor, so I can’t say I’m surprised. It might come in handy, later.
That was about the time I heard something moving around behind the treeline. We, of course, reacted predictably. Ceor demanded that whoever was there should show themselves, and he did. The bandit tried to swing a sword at Ceor and bounced off Ceor’s shield.
I do think he was reconsidering his life choices.
Though, of course, there was more than one. There’s always more than one.
Another one tried to flank us, found himself stymied by the mule, and then caught a Magic Missile. And decided to take it out on the mule, to absolutely no effect.
Ceor, meanwhile, was introducing the original bandit to his sword. Rather messily, really. Unfortunately, these people seem to have an idea of tactics. This will not do.
And apparently, we all took it rather personally. One of the bandits only lasted a few seconds, between Miaako’s sudden prowess and Ceor being Ceor.
Then the fool decided stabbing the mule was a good idea, I will never know why. We all decided to back away. Except that fool, who got kicked in the chest. I decided to put him out of his misery. I didn’t knock him out, but not for lack of trying.
Most of the raiders were dispatched, though one fell back in a manner that suggested he was running away. Smart. Reeskha decided to chase him down.
To reiterate, our blind kobold healer was chasing the fleeing bandit, with Miaako in tow.
They found a sniper with a crossbow.
Miaako’s squawks were not dignified, despite his insistence to the contrary, and he took a crossbow bolt for hamming it up.
There was another half dozen of those fools, of course. Miaako then took steps to remedy this and stabbed the ever loving shit out of one, as Ceor charged into the fray.
Honestly, it turned into a bit of a clusterfuck at this point. Mostly for them, they were dropping rather like flies. Though Ceor did try to ride through a tree and whanged himself on a branch. But he didn’t fall off the horse, so that was good.
I did end up leaning around Miaako to set one of the idiots on fire and singed his feathers a little. You’d think he’d have other things to worry about, what with being a pincushion. I don’t know why they were focusing so intent on him…
Well, mostly. A couple decided that I was a threat, but that only lasted until I set them on fire.
The last one decided to try to run, but Miaako and Ceor put a stop to that. Then we returned to the campsite to find the family cowering in fear. Not sure if they were afraid of the bandits or us. Not sure I really care, either.
We picked up 11 light crossbows and somewhere over 150 crossbow bolts, 11 guisarmes, fairly ruined chain mail, and about 150 gold coins. Reeshka said they all also had medallions signifying them as worshippers of the Great Old Ones, but… they were dust goblins. From the Goblin Wastes. Not unheard of.
We did manage to take one prisoner, though I have no idea why.
Oh, that’s why. So Reeshka and Miaako could beat him to death.