1-Today was a day of surprises. This morning, while I groomed in preparation for the day’s work at the temple, The Lady impressed upon my spirit the memory of my time with the guild in Falcon’s Hollow, seemingly out of nowhere. I was somewhat parched and grumpy after the drinking I’d done the night before, so I pushed aside the idea, but Hollin entered with some mail and I was surprised by the coincidental nature of the events; it seemed that the moment contained a warning. I was unable to place the significance though, and I think that, in a moment of weakness, I determined that it was a simple coincidence, so I finished my prep, thanked the lad, and went out to the street for the day’s work.
Falcon’s Hollow. I hadn’t thought about those events since they happened, despite constantly being reminded of them because of my living circumstances, but they’d truly changed the course of my life. After all, why would I live in Oregent if not for the guild and that adventure? Regardless, I found myself thinking of the asset I’d tapped to solve the Drazmorg Question… I wondered if I should perhaps return to the town. After all, she had mentioned the removal of the Lumber Consortium (and were they ever ruffled in Oregent about that outcome!) and reported a complete success… I considered taking Hollin and going to see the place, as I’m sure he would like to see his sister again, but ultimately decided that it may still be too soon.
Upon gaining the street while ruminating such ideas, I ran into the aforementioned asset. She had left the Yamabushi monastery outside of Falcon’s Hollow following the work she’d helped me with and had since joined the guild officially, so I actually would have to consider her a peer instead of just hired help; after all, she was one of the founding members. Regardless, I was taken aback at the change: she waddled hastily up the street, immensely fat – almost spherical in shape! – and desperately out of breath, wheezing and puffing as though that very moment would be her last, calling out to me to stop (likely because she was desperate for me to not start off and require her to run more). I was stunned for a moment while she leaned against me to catch her breath, begging I wait for just a moment, gasping and puffing like a grounded fish. Noticing a slightly crumpled note in her hand, I thankfully remembered my manners and bid her come into my apartment for a drink and to recover her strength.
At this, the hedge witch I’d asked to conduct the arcane investigation into the asset’s deteriorating condition emerged from the crowd and strode toward her charge, looking quite cross. She scolded the spherical halfling woman for running out from their shared accommodations without warning and making her worry.
“I take it this is your doing?” I gestured at the obese girl and shook my head, “I had something else in mind when you offered to take care of her; I hope you are at least doing something beyond feeding her.”
The monk frowned, her round face still flushed from her hustle, and the witch smiled coyly, pinching the small woman’s chubby cheek and purring,
“Don’t worry, dear bird, I’ve made sure her every need is being met.”
I gestured to the stairs to my apartment, and the halfling began to ascend. I stopped the witch quickly though, as she made to follow her puffing and groaning charge.
“How goes the study of her condition?” I asked, referring to the monk expressing to me a theory that her former master had cursed her (though upon finding no magical auras upon her, I had turned over the study of that possibility to the witch at her volunteering some weeks ago).
“Mmmm, it’s in the… experimentation phase?” she mused, following the pitiful thing with her eyes and smiling wider.
I sighed. The morning’s work would be delayed; I hoped my clients would understand. We followed the monk.
As she ate some cakes Savram brought out, the monk gave me the very letter she had clutched and I was informed that Gretchen (the witch) had heard that several members of the guild had received similar letters last night. I recalled pursuing our mysterious delivery man to no avail as I looked over the crumpled envelope, but was annoyed to find it already opened. I glanced at Gretchen as I drew the paper out, and she fluttered her eyelashes at me and smiled, attempting to look innocent. Does she make a habit of taking and opening mail not addressed to her? I must get sensitive mail sent to my residence or the church in the future, I think. The asset continued, stating that she wanted to come with me to investigate, because of her membership in the monastic order up on the mountain and her concern for their safety, and that of the townsfolk. At this, Gretchen broke in, saying that she would not allow Tomoe (the asset) to go, stating that, in her current shape, she would be lucky if someone would roll her there, let alone attempt to walk. Tomoe then spoke up with some agitation, intoning that her condition was largely the witch’s fault, but I was too busy reading the letter to pay any further attention.
It was written in alchemically-treated blood. It was also from a young male human who I’d adventured with several months ago, the paladin Leon. I recalled that his reserved chair at The Round Table was constantly empty since I had joined; I hadn’t seen him for quite some time, possibly since before the guild was established with the registrar.
Regardless, he was inviting me to return to Falcon’s Hollow, to face him in some sort of… contest? He then insulted the lady and kind of… ended the letter, and in my mind’s eye, I suddenly saw him laughing maniacally; what I was reading was an absolutely ridiculous idea. I have no quarrel with him. I was prepared to disregard the boasts, thinking the lad had gone mad when he’d gone missing, but The Lady’s subtle warning just earlier that morning came to mind, so I looked at it again in greater detail. While I am not prone to being so easily provoked, his threats against the town did concern me, for the obvious reasons of his stated “new power” and the blood he’d written in… I considered why he would ask me, besides the fact that we’d known each other. I would ask at the guild, though I had my suspicions.
At this the arguing reached such heat that the name “Amarro” was said and some scuffling broke out, and I looked up to see Tomoe attempting to strangle Gretchen, clutching at the witch while held at arm’s length by the taller tiefling, her flabby arms barely able to extend beyond her body, let alone reach the tiefling. I sighed. While I fully supported the idea of the obese halfling not coming along for this mission; the mission itself presented problems on a larger scale. I would need to return to the guild and speak with Amarro myself. I stated such and rose, moving to collect my gear and weapons, and the women stopped grappling each other, apparently surprised at the sudden action. Tomoe hesitantly spoke in as I strapped my weapons, mentioning that Gretchen had just told her that Amarro was also going, and that she would feel better if she knew someone as reliable as me would be along… she followed with a twofold request to return the favor she’d done me; I turned at her tone and saw her severe expression, her fat arm up and displaying two extended fingers: I must look into the state of the Yamabushi monastery, and look after Amarro. I guess she looks up to his obvious leadership qualities or something. Gretchen, meanwhile, seemed to be stifling a giggle, her face contorted with amusement at the serious aspect worn by the halfling. As I strapped on my weapons I stated that I fully intended to do so… the guild needed him, after all.
As I searched for my katana (it had been a week since last I had used it!), I requested any more recent information from her about her previous visit, but she proved… less helpful there. She stated that the paladin had gone missing when they returned to the town, and she’d not been able to find him when she put some individuals named Mikhail and Wilhelm to rest upon returning to the village some months ago. She wasn’t very clear on how much effort she put into finding him on the more recent visit, but it was clear from where she used to find him upon patrol (the pancake house “Jak’a’napes”, mostly) that he wasn’t in his usual haunt. I made note of it, donned my poncho, helped Gretchen ease Tomoe down the stairs (by The Lady, she was heavy; it was like lifting a barrel full of ale!), bid the women farewell, and made my way toward the guild. The day’s work would have to wait after all… the warning of The Lady meant that the situation would interest me (and interested Her) more than the lad knew. The picture was beginning to take shape, but more information would be needed before I could have a complete idea of what was happening. I figured I could make some inquiries at the guild headquarters about the similar letters, and possibly attempt an actual Harrowing. Possibly several.
The Lady states that, given the proper state of receptiveness and an appropriate level of awareness, all answers will take their shape in time. I pray I may receive one to this question quickly today at the guild: vigilance and The Lady of Graves are my deities, and they have guarded me closely upon my path toward the truth.