Originally, I had no intentions on remaining in this town. There is a pious air here. More than usually, I feel hated and feared here. Unfortunately luck was not on my side, and the drunk fishermen here in Stonesthrow were better at dice than I had expected and I found myself low on funds.
I awoke this morning to a rowdy crowd gathering downstairs. A farmer stood in the middle, speaking to a drunken dark elf, and a brutish Goliath. The farmer claimed to have an issue with some wolves attack his flocks. He claimed strange issues with the dead, and needed the situation taken care of. The drunkard struck a deal with him, and began to gather a few followers to head out into the wilderness kill these wolves. He seemed a keen hunter, despite his drunkness. I was pulled along by the Goliath. He seemed strong of will and stature; but weak of mind. He seemed a man easy to dupe; with my purse light, I took the chance to tag along.
We met with more. Among them a scaled sorcerer who appears to have both affinity and allergy to nature. More disturbingly we met with a pointy-eared Paladin, and a gruff but kind cleric. Both men seem to tolerate me for now. But I can feel their lack of motivation to have me around for any extended period of time. I can’t say I was surprised to find men of their station in a town so openly religious; but I can’t say I am excited about it, either.
We spoke briefly to the farmer, and after investigating the dead of his flock, we moved on into the woods. Our hunter found a pair of wolves in a small clearly, attempted to drag the body of a fallen man deeper into the woods. The cleric inspected the body, and performed his rites. I respect him for taking time to look after a stranger; whether or not I believe the rites were useful is another thing.
We worked out way into a den beneath some rocks in the woods. After a short trek underground, we came across the wolves. They had doubled in numbers, and prepared to strike out at our hunter. I did not care to let the cleric and paladin I had placed myself next to know of my dark bond, but I was unsure of our ability to get back in one piece without our dark elven guide.
For the first time in days, I lashed out with the powers granted to me by the fiend who saved my life. I struck true in the dark, and felt, for the first time, the boon granted to me by this connection. I could feel the fiend leeching life from the dead beast, and granting me his dark benefits. It was a dark feeling. But not unwelcome.
We defeated the beasts, and noticed the bodies wearing collars with an 8-pointed star. It appeared that these dangerous beasts were actually pets. I grabbed a collar from the felled beast and began to look around. I looked deeper into the cave, and noticed a pair of glowing eyes.
Fueled by mystery and adventure, my companions quested deeper into the cave, despite our Goliath having taken notable injuries in our encounter with the wolves. Quickly, bats dropped from the ceiling of the cavern, and attacked us. I personally took incredible damage twice, but it was nothing compared to the hunter. In an attempt to protect my while I recovered, he too was struck down by the bats.
Perhaps these men are not what I thought originally.
Exhausted, and with a now-unconscious hunter draped over the shoulder of the Goliath, we begrudgingly headed back to the town to rest. Our cleric companion took the hunter to the Church to have his wounds cared for. The remainder of our small party headed back to the fish-stinking inn in town. I do not know what most of the men did that night; I ate a small meal and quickly thereafter went to sleep.
For the second time in as many days, I felt the boon of the devilish deal I’d struck with my life. Dark whispers wracked my brain while I slept. The fiend told me I would be of no use to him dead. He told me he needed me. He did not say for what.
I awoke in the morning and I felt a new level of power coursing through my veins. I could still hear whispers echoing through my head as I came down the stairs this morning. As I sit here now, I eat a small morning meal. The pious are beginning to filter in for a busy, communal breakfast. They refuse to sit near me. I can’t help but laugh at that.