Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dorben, Entry 2 ---23rd Mirtul--- Evening Addendum

Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster

- Evening of 23rd Mirtul, 1377

---I thought I’d add an addendum to my earlier entry and I also wanted to make some notes. Notewise, I must remember to ask the proprietor where I might find a temple or shrine to Selune in this city. Considering what I’ve heard and the size of the Illmater temple, I wouldn’t be surprised to find few other faiths in residence. Ah well, my Lady needs no shrine to hear her faithful servant. Secondly, I’ve a letter home to the family that I’ll have to find some means of posting to Waterdeep. If there is a temple to my Lady here, then so much the easier. If not, I’ll simply ask after a trustworthy caravan master headed for the coast. Also, I must remember to thank Kaliki for recommending we find an inn with bathing facilities. A good hot soak in a nice big tub with some lightly scented soap and oils was just what was needed. Got rid of knots I didn’t even know I had. The only way it could have been more enjoyable would have been some pleasant company.

As I believe I implied earlier, the faith of Illmater seems fairly prevalent here, seeing as how their temple appeared to be the largest building in the city and I noticed several people wearing his symbol. The section of the temple housing the hospital and morgue facilities turned out to be only a smallish wing. The edifice is almost the size of a small castle. From what little I could see, the walls ringing the city appear more new than their temple. I remember hearing of the end of the war against the Witch King when I was younger. I wonder if those walls were built during that war or after?

Guard Commander Alphus accompanied us out into the town proper. Showed us around as it were. He was steering us toward the marketplace but after some consideration we decided we wanted to arrange for lodgings first. Alphus recommended an inn by the name of The Hanging Shield and showed us to it. Very nice. The “sign” as it were, is nothing more than a large kite shield hung by one corner above the door out front. Inventive and quaint at the same time while coming to the point. The place is built quite solid, right down to the furniture, and seems to cater to caravan masters and guards. They gave Aedron some wary glances at first but that seemed to be smoothed over once he became a paying customer. I’ll be sharing my room with the big fellow in fact. The single and double rooms didn’t seem nearly large enough for him to be comfortable so I asked if they had anything larger. They did in fact have three “luxury” rooms on the top floor. More than large enough but there isn’t a bed in the place that could accommodate his bulk. Doesn’t seem to faze him in the least. He says he’s never slept on a bed anyway. It seemed a terrible waste to leave such a lovely bed unoccupied and Aedron was amenable when I enquired about sharing the room.

Next, Commander Alphus led us to the marketplace. Actually, he led us to the center of the market area and told us that it went about two blocks in any direction. He said we could find the horse traders at the southern end of the market. He also advised us to steer clear of the eastern side of the market, saying that the people there had no scruples. Good enough for me.

Several of my companions are actually from this section of the world and therefore more in the know as to goods and services. The general consensus was to look for folks from Narfell since they are known to be great horsemen and horse breeders. Meg got a leg up from Aedron, got her bearings and led us on our way. Before we actually got within sight of the horsemen, Meg asked how much money we had to work with. We all put in as much as we could afford. I got lost in the conversation about ten breaths after Meg and the horsetraders began talking. They had launched into some sort of shorthand or slang that may as well have been Ancient Muck Troll for all I understood of it. The Nar gentleman seemed to respect her knowledge though and the horses Meg kept pointing toward certainly looked strong and sturdy enough to get the job done. Since Meg seemed to have things well in hand, and seemingly not likely to be finished anytime soon, young Brambletongue and I volunteered to shop for camping gear and provisions and therefore were not in attendance when the final deal was struck. I have seen the beasts since our return to the inn and I must say that Meg seems to have gotten quite a deal for us. She picked out six good animals. There are two big ones, called Nars, three medium ones, called Sossers, and one slightly smaller beast known as a Steppe. None of them are the most handsome pieces of horse flesh I’ve ever seen, although the Nars do seem to have a rather kindly look to their faces, but we’re looking to cross harsh wilderness, not enter a Fleet’s Day parade after all. Meg got full tack and harness for all of us, including a pack saddle for the shorter beast, and enough feed to last us a tenday. All in all, a good day of horse trading. We have riding animals and some horse trader is nearly 600gp richer than he was this morning.

The nice Nar gentleman pointed Brambletongue and I in the direction of the camp fitters. Evidently, we caught the merchant on a good day and I was able to get a very nice price on two four-person tents and the gear to go with them. The group decided on two larger tents rather than multiple smaller tents so we might share body heat and be able to have a fire inside. Those little two-man contraptions are enough to keep the rain off but not much more, I can tell you. We were not able to find quite so good a deal when it came to provisions, however. The city seems to be a hub for caravans so the trade in ready made trail rations and victuals is thriving so there is no incentive to make a deal. We laid in a tenday’s worth of rations for each of us and I was able to pick up some seasonings and dried vegetables that should make things palatable. Most likely we’ll be able to do some hunting along the way to supplement our supplies so I believe we have enough.

Brambletongue said he had more shopping to do and declined my offer to accompany him. I returned to the Hanging Shield, arriving about the same time as the boys from the provisionist and the camp fitters delivered our purchases. They got things squared away in our storage locker and I made sure to tip them an extra copper. I believe the merchants had already paid them a little extra “incentive” but I felt such prompt service deserved something a little extra.

After I got my own purchases settled in my room, I thought to prevail myself of the bath. But the singing that greeted me at the door told me that Kaliki had got there first. No bother. I simply asked, through the door, that she have the staff refill the bath after she was done so that I might have the next. Had I known the lady a bit better I might have inquired about sharing but we have only just met. Not to mention that I think her little brother, Brambletongue, might very well relieve me of my kneecaps if I were so bold as to even mention the possibility. Now Miss Nia, on the other hand, has no little brother and she does seem an adventurous sort. I believe sharing a bath with her would be much more of an interesting endeavor. Yes, I do believe I will hazard some polite advances toward getting to know her better. Now that I think about it, I wonder where she got off to during today’s shopping expedition. I do believe I still owe her a return kiss after the “reward” she gave me for Turning the skeletons earlier. Thank you, Lady Selune for not requiring vows of chastity or abstinence from your devoted. Ah, I am being a naughty boy but such are the joys of life.

So, while waiting for Kaliki to finish her bath, I descended to the dining area and joined Aedron for dinner. The porridge he was eating didn’t look terribly appetizing but the ale, which he had ordered in a tankard that bore a striking resemblance to a serving pitcher, certainly looked and smelled good enough. I asked to see the bill of fare and came to find out that the cook seems to specialize in seafood to a certain extent. Being that the town sits near the confluence of two rivers, it’s no surprise that the fish was fresh. It was a pleasant surprise that the dish was excellent. I ordered my favorite, broiled river trout with lemongrass butter, and I was not disappointed in the least. In fact, this cook could give lessons to some of the uppity chefs in the Sea Ward, to tell the truth. A side benefit of this being a caravan city seems to be the many and varied drink options. The entire back of the bill of fare was drink offerings from most of the continent. A pleasant surprise I must say. Big Aedron was able to get a meal befitting his great size, to the tune of two whole river sturgeon, and he let me have a taste. I have to say the dish was done so well as to beggar the question of whether or not it was really sturgeon. The serving girl needed help carrying the platters to the table.

Kaliki joined us about the time I was finishing my meal. I was so pleasantly sated that I didn’t think to ask where the others had got off to. I simply excused myself while Kaliki was ordering her dinner and I headed upstairs to avail myself of the bath and the new musk scented bath oil I’d bought. As I mentioned before, the bath was quite nice and I shall most likely look back on it fondly after we’ve been on the road for some days. My letter home is sealed and ready and I’ll be going downstairs to ask the doorman if there is a temple to my Lady in this city. I do hope so. If not, I’ll simply have to pray at the open window later this evening as I have done in the past and will do in the future. I took the time after my bath to luxuriate on the bed for a short time and I must say it is a veritable cloud and, again, as with the bath, I’m sure I shall be looking back upon it with fond memories in the days to come.

This is all for now. By the Silver Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

No comments: