The silly paladin has apparently decided that his time is better spent aggressively wooing disinterested young maidens, and has asked that I keep the record in his place. I pray to the Drunken Hero that someday he will learn some form of modesty, but alas, I have never in my life met a paladin with that particular brand of mercy.
The sneaky cat man and the stern cleric who doesn’t have a name (although he also has several, as far as I can tell) investigated a mostly-intact castle in the city where many residents now take shelter against the cool night air. From the sound of it, they would like to take up residence there and establish some kind of new order, with ourselves as the leaders. Part of me is loathe to put such a rule in place, especially with my unpredictable allies as the regents. In my heart, I would rather build up the city and let the people do as they wish. No government is free from corruption and nepotism, and I’m certain that ours would eventually develop these sicknesses as well. Still, as much as I value personal freedom, the desperation and crime that now plague the city is almost certainly the greater of the two evils. For this reason, I find myself in agreement, along with the paladin (although it pains me to agree with him on anything). The lizard’s take on it is still uncertain. I find him very hard to read, even in his more personable form.
Last night, Sarenith 16, the great mage Aur’uhm’ahn finally came to meet with us at our exorbitantly priced inn. Curiously, the innkeeper was suddenly very accommodating and lay platters of food before us, free of charge. It was a welcome change, although I wish she would extend the same courtesy to her less prestigious guests as well. Regardless, the mage was very interested in why we wanted to speak with him and how we could help each other. He seems to agree that the city’s morale needs lifting, more than a song or a story or even some exciting masked justice can provide. We offered him our assistance in matters of the city, and he came forward with a quest for us. He has many items in his tower that he worries for the safety of, and he would like us to take them north to the trade city, where an assistant of his can take possession of them. He is worried that there are others who would happily steal these objects from him, and so he fears taking a boat, though it would initially seem to be the safer route. He would like us to transport the items on foot, which his enemies would not anticipate, as we are new in town and the roads are slow and dangerous. It would not directly aid the city, but he is admittedly Tear’s greatest benefactor, and he has offered to pay us most generously for our efforts. By traveling north, we would also be able to bring food back to distribute to the good people of Tear. In the end, it is surely the correct choice. We would also finally be able to rid ourselves of the irritating cargo we were forced to bring from Whitebeach.
In exchange for our agreement, the mage told us the location of his magic shop and allowed us our reward upfront– and what a reward it was! Never have I dreamed of having so much gold to spend on wondrous magical items. My companions bought ioun stones and strange magic spoons that taste like warm, wet newspaper, but which they assure me will solve our food predicaments. Myself, I bought a mystical harp that will aid us immeasurably in our restoration of the castle. I also acquired a collapsable boat of sorts that will surely make our travels much easier. I have no doubt that these items and the others we bought will be essential to our conquest of the people here. Perhaps if the people think highly enough of us, it will not feel like we are oppressing them with our eventual rule. I suppose, though, that if the mayor returns, we may have difficulty sorting through the bureaucracy. The mage assures us that he is not a bad man after all. We just need to prove that we are better for the city.
After spending all day at the shop, salivating over the mystical items, I, along with the nameless one and the cat, returned to an ale brewer’s shop. He had been harassed by one of the restless gangs in town and had pleaded for our assistance. We plotted a trap for them. The brewer offered them a barrel of fine ale as a bribe (although the barrel was really full of water). The regal cat, after almost destroying our cover with his unexpected and loud appearance, marked one of the men with his scent so that we could follow them back to their lair. It worked like a charm, and we soon found ourselves at their hideout, an old wine cellar of a destroyed tavern not too far past our soon-to-be new castle. After taking down many of the thugs, I assumed the appearance of their leader and, after a few hiccups, managed to convince them I was one of them and that my allies were harmless. We trapped them inside and the cat tore them apart one by one as the cleric and I watched. When there was only one left, the nameless one and I terrified him and locked him in his own cage. Apparently, the gang had been holding two young women as prisoners! We released them, and the nameless one managed to calm them down with a spell. We allowed them to take whatever they wanted from the thieves and return to their homes and families. We questioned the one in the cage and learned that the real leader of the gang was gone with his cronies and would not return for hours.
We were all disgusted by what they had done, none more so than the marble one, who took his vengeance on the fallen gang members in a needlessly final and brutal way. As we left the place, he smeared their blood on the walls to make the leader fear us. The regal one left a note for the boss, and I left word with the imprisoned one. I think I gave us a new name. The New Order. I don’t know how I feel about that.
We have just now returned to the tavern. Laura is singing again, and Cassieo is mooning over her like a particularly obstinate Callistrian. I would like to sing with her again, but the encounter from before has left a foul taste in my mouth. I told more tales last night of my parents’ noblest of exploits, and even called on the people in the tavern to help us in our reconstruction plans. Some were enthusiastic, but others have been terribly demoralized by the hard times and are wary of us. In the end, I don’t know if we will be able to gain the true trust of the city. I suppose to earn their love, we will first need to show them how we can make things better for them. Tomorrow, I will gather a crowd and we will lead a parade to the castle, where I will play my lyre and repair what damage the terrible storm did to it. Hopefully, the people will see our power and our goodness and will support us as we try to make things better for all. In the meantime, we will all sit and drink and listen to Laura sing about Home.
Zoro, the Mask