(From the notes of Philip Panama)
So, I have arrived in the big city. Well, bigger city, anyway, my exile at an end I have come to the one place famed for having a large enough store of knowledge to get me out of this mess. Macrocosm to Microcosm, where G. is the place where everything happens, everything seems to _begin_ in one place in particular, the Wessex Arms. If even half the tales told about are true – hells, if a tenth are – there must be someone there who can help me there.
My timing, as ever, has hit prime. The entire tavern – I exaggerate – was in mourning for a well liked pyromaniac named Sarah who had by all accounts been murdered brutally a little while ago. Nevertheless, a white mage of some high level mentioned a problem similar to mine – though the tribe of different pants… I mean priests (It’s a long story, I’ll explain at some point. It deserves being written down properly) couldn’t detect the curse at all. They cannot on me, but mostly because my description of it as a curse isn’t true to the strict definition they are using it for, given as it was apparently a malefit placed upon me by some high level entity, rather than a specifically religious spell/miracle of some kind. Anyway, he has promised that if he figures a way around his own undetectable curse, he will be able to help me with mine.
He also mentioned, and this caught my accursed curiosity, that the school of White magic has some high level spells (Not officially on the training schema, or I’d have noticed them) to detect this kind of thing. Unfortunately events in the bar (Invasion by Nightmares, or Undead, or possibly Zombies. There were three invasions, and my memory – did I mention that the beer in the Wessex is awful? – fails to put things in order properly. In that as in everything else, really) interrupted our conversation. Possibly it was the cat-woman with the string. My restudying of magery getting to the stage it is, I should consider picking some kind of colour to study, and if White looks like it deals with the things I’m looking for – order, for example – that is all for the better.
On the other hand, if White magic is close to what is affecting me, it would be reasonable to theorise that it might have something to do with whatever brought this upon myself. If I could remember anything at all about my life Before I’d not only know who I’d been, but what I’d been doing. I’ve got a few people convinced now that my inability to remember the curse – or cursor, or situation – is merely a secondary aspect of the curse, but only because I don’t seem to be able to admit to the amnesia. Who I was, what I did, everything I am is a complete mystery to me, which is really quite unnerving. I wish I could remember the name of the white mage, but my ability with names has never been good.
I overheard part of a conversation a few of the regulars were happening about following trails of the undead, something to do with a Brother Gilbert (who appears to be whatever the opposite of a celebrity is, possibly still a celebrity, but one that everyone hates. Especially those over-rightous Brothers Of The Light. They ask me if I’m an evil necromancer, and I can tell them No, because I am not. Was I? Did I once have the powers to raise the dead? It’s possible I’m as guilty as they assume everyone to be. My curiosity – and self destruction, I suppose – convinced me to ask one of them if _he_ was a necromancer, since he’d been asking everyone else. That almost got me killed (a merciful exit at least) or fined 20 shillings (Which I didn’t have).
And there was an elemental elf of water, green and shimmering in the flickering lights of the Arms, holding court and hiding from speculation (Her parents were, apparently, Hydrokin and Pyrokin, which must have been… steamy) she fascinates me – I’m not as familiar with elves as I would like to be – and seems to be able to defend herself against the mercenary who attempted to steal her sword (Which was worth, by my inexpert analysis, about as much as the entire bar), whilst claiming to “teach her a lesson in trust” or some such. There were Kender wandering around being distracted and distracting, there was singing and dancing and chaos and death.
And there was Fox.
Fox was a landlord looking for an escort out of town to a ship parked up the river, willing to pay a not insignificant amount up front to do so, and more if we got him to the ship. I and others – including a high elf, the aforementioned death-wished mercenary and another mage (of Air) decided to take him up on this offer. Extra money is always useful, and with the mercenary and the elf along it wasn’t going to be much fighting for me.
The day start well, meeting the others outside the city limits (Where my staff – not technically licensed, so I tend not to wave it around in town – isn’t quite so illegal) and discussing the possible reasons this man has for suspecting he will be attacked on this usually quiet section of the river. Eventually Fox turns up, pays us up-front as promised (Always a good start) and we set off along the river. We started off by meeting Emily, Warrior Priest Child of the Light, and a few Lightettes. We discussed our plans with them and they let us though (Although we were stuck for a bit when I stupidly opened my mouth, meaning I had to attempt to explain the curse thing (made more complicated by the curse thing) and that I wasn’t actually evil. I really, really should learn to shut up and that occasionally the downside of finding out what will happen is the thing that happens. We continued.
We encountered some mercenaries, who appeared to know Fox of old, which seemed odd. Then we met some bandits, who also already knew Fox and wanted to claim some kind of bounty on him. The elf and the mercenary waved their swords a bit, and we soon ran out of bandits. I whirled my staff a bit, because it looks more interesting than standing leaning on it and attracts less questions of my earning my fee. Then we met some of the peasants Fox had allegedly defrauded, claiming he had bribed a judge (Which isn’t possible, apparently they’d have been smote where they stood) to get out of a charge. Fox paid them, they went away. Fox was awfully free with his money. Then the child of Jonea (or something), Healer and all round righteous force of good, who stood and _ranted_ on the subject of Fox, his morals, his deeds, his character, our characters for helping him, our future location in hell, etc. The elf, true to his trusted word, defended Fox though the rest of us by this time were more or less willing to trade him in. Even the elf said that if one more person accused Fox of evil, we were going to collect the bounty ourselves. Johnite wandered off to bring fourth the light brigade, we wandered up the river.
Do you know why I live in cities? I live in cities because there are _cobblestones_. _roads_. And if a muddy road gets too swampy to traipse though someone will dump rocks in it until you can cross it without swimming. Why I took a job that specifically involves wading my nice, clean boots though pools of mud I’ll never be sure. Probably the money, though. Fox met a couple of “traders” from the ship he had hired, and our party and them wandered up the river a bit. I’ve missed the Kender, haven’t I? We picked up a Kender while were battling some undead she was playing with. I don’t actually mind Kender – though my experience is obviously limited to today and yesterday – though they appear to have a major gift for making a tense situation a nervous one. Usually by attempting to “borrow” the clothing, accessories or weapons of the other side. Anyway, the Kender was slowly working her way though the “Trader’s” ‘Grog’ supply. The Grog was… yes, well. I can effectively say that scraping the back of my throat off makes little difference to my curse.
Anyway, so us, traders, increasingly drunken Kender and Fox are wandering close to the ship when we hear a bugle call behind us. The Johnite has managed to summon Lightites and they are coming up behind us. Fox immediately makes a break for, but is quickly tripped and disabled by a couple of mages and and Zach (the elf). There is no possible way on this green earth that we as a party could have beaten the well-lit ones, so we gave Fox up to them, and after convincing their captain of our good intentions he gave us a reward for helping them (In effect, about what Fox would have paid us anyway) and let us on our way. This took a while, during which one of them attempted to convert me to the light (I agreed to think about it, since it made her go away) whilst Emily kindly gave me a blessing because my curse obviously makes me a victim of evil black magic.
After talking to me, the lightite of conversion attempted to do so with the sozzeled Kender, which was amusing to watch. Our party, our job completed, then wandered off into the darkening skies. I eventually made it back here to my lodgings near the Mill road, where I can not only pay my rent for the week but even get one of those Weapon Licences so I can actually carry my staff back home without avoiding the Lightite patrols.
More interestingly, when they were trying to stop Fox running away both the other Mages used this “Trip”, er, can-trip. I think I was watching carefully enough to mimic it, but we shall have to see. If I have this magical power, it might be good to actually use it…