Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Nia - On the road Mirtul 25-27

(written in Zepf)

25th Mirtul, 1377 – Damara – Traveling

Nothing of portent to record. Aedron and Dorben slew an elk. It must be some form of male bonding. I have always preferred my food to arrive on a plate, without having to participate in its arrival there. We have camped some distance form the offal, the carcass hung well out of reach of predators. We did find some interesting tracks, of a cat-like beast of huge size. The tracks were deep enough that S’ad, the Halfling, disappeared into one completely. I hope we are not in its way.

26th Mirtul, 1377 – Damara – Still Traveling
Another uneventful day. The boys spent half the day rendering the elk into component parts. Me, I stayed out of the way – it’s messy work, and I have no skill for it. It’s nice to have fresh roast and jerky for travel, I must admit, but I hope the delay won’t be a problem. The wizard was not specific as to how quickly the goblin problem needed to be dealt with, but I don’t know that he expected us to dally for a day disassembling an elk. After a half-day’s travel we did find a lovely little stream to camp by, and it was a pleasure to have a bath. Dorben insisted upon keeping “watch” over me while I bathed. I hope he enjoyed the show. I certainly tried to make it worth his while.

27th Mirtul, 1377 – Damara – Early morning
Well, that was some excitement, though I believe I missed most of it. Late into our watch something spooked the horses. I alerted Meg and took off after the runaways on one of the two horses that had not fled. I returned, much later, with all of the horses, to find that in the interim the camp had been beset by some large predator that made off with the elk meat (which had been hung quite high). The others describe it as large and white, and that it collapsed part of the tent.

Today we should reach civilization again – I can hardly wait.

27th Mirtul, 1377 – Damara
Late in the afternoon, we arrived at a village so small it lacks a name, only to find that another troupe of adventurers had been employed to root out the goblins. We decided to stay and see how they fared, only to be drawn (me from the bath house) into the street by the screams of the villagers. I have never seen an animal so large, though I have heard songs and tales of such. She’s really quite magnificent – a cat as long as a building, with soft fur of snow white (and teeth as tall as myself!). She took quite a shine to Aedron, whose furs bear a resemblance to her own, licking him as if he were a kit. I reached up to scratch behind her ear (after all, smaller cats love such attention) and she managed to pin me to the ground with a swipe of her head and an ear. I took this as a sign of approval and continued scratching with all of my might until she was persuaded to let me up. She’s quite bright as well, and rapidly made it clear that she understands the common tongue and wished us to follow her.

We would have departed the village with no further trouble had Dorben not blurted out the location of the village’s livestock corral. With me on her back, the great cat leaped into the corral, snatched an older beast and bounded back out so quickly that the other animals realized she had taken one of them. Since I was not the subject of the attack, I can only admire its grace and efficiency. Cats, I must also observe, are much more difficult to rid than horses. I believe it has to do with the alignment of shoulders and spine.

I must mark this as the first time I have ever played the charade game with a cat the size of a schooner. She managed to convince us to follow her, mostly by expressing her displeasure when we guessed wrong, and favoring correct answers with a swipe of her gigantic tongue. We followed her out into the wilderness, where she brought back a piece of ice as payment for the cow she devoured. That might not seem like much payment, but it is the most curious thing – it does not melt! I imagine it will be of some use to the townspeople, as they are on a well-traveled route.

My thanks to Tymora and our beauteous bard, for my impulsive leap onto the cat’s back spawned imitation by a darling little village girl. I feared for her health and life, but Kaliki was able to enchant the tyke and get her down safely.

So, all’s well that ends well, and here we are, about to enter the goblin warren. It’s our belief that our gigantic feline friend wishes us to enter and “take care” of the adventuring party that preceded us. I suspect we will find that they have killed or injured her offspring. Naught but love can drive a creature to go to the extremes that she has to find champions.

27th Mirtul, 1377 – Damara – Late Afternoon
It was as I thought. The adventurers hired to clear away the goblins had enslaved the great cat’s offspring, and we were able to defeat them and free him. But… I get ahead of the story, as usual.

We advanced into the cavern to encounter two groups in a pitched battle – a group of well-organized goblins and a party of adventurers not unlike ourselves. They were so intent upon one another that we were able to ghost into their midst. One of the goblins was blue, and I know from my training that means he is most likely psionically active, as I am. In any event, the mage had a juvenile white cat by a chain (and, we determined later, ensorcelled), and our mission became clear. We did try to offer them quarter, but they would have none of it. The goblins escaped in darkness and through a sliding wall, and the adventurers forced us to fight them to the death. The enchanted cat struck at me viciously, but I could hardly blame the poor thing and did not wish to do it harm. I did the only thing I could think of to keep me from the reach of its jaws – I leaped onto its back and clung for dear life, trying to subdue it with a sap. Heh. Right. Well, tried is the operative word. Perhaps I should add “cat rider” to my name?

Dorben healed me as I struggled with the cat, whilst Aedron sundered the mage in two. Quite a blow that fellow strikes! Dorben remarked upon the cat’s charmed state, and Meg was able to work some sorcery to free it.

Ah! It appears our rest is done, so I shall end this here.

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