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Sprocket’s Journal

Uktar 18, 1373 DR, Thornhold

Turns out we were a bit further from Thornhold than we thought, but by arguing about taking the boat to Thornhold as we walked, we managed to get there by midday. We saw several farms on the way, and stopped to ask about Thornhold at one. The farmers said that Lord Taricz was well-liked by the townsfolk, had been there for three seasons (I had to ask— in case the demon had already been vanquished on our way there!), and had, in fact, deposed the not-as-nice tyrant Lord Larus that had occupied the keep prior to Taricz’s arrival. Thornhold itself is pretty small— one tavern (owned and run by a gnome called Northrup), one forge, etc.

When we later arrived at Thornhold itself, Roscoe thought it would be good for him to sneak in and scope out the place, count demons wandering through the streets, and listen for rumors. We let him go, then found ourselves waiting for several hours, as he apparently went to every building in the little hamlet, tasted all that was to be offered at the Gilded Gelding (Northrup’s tavern— I would have warned him about gnomish cuisine if he’d asked!), and even rented a room for the night. He eventually did come back for us though, at which point we joined him in wandering around gathering information. After Roscoe returned to get us, I saw Bryrgar hand Widget a gold coin— apparently they were betting on the halfling’s success or survival.

It turns out there is a 60’ wide keep on the hill, Taricz is betrothed to a human woman from Waterdeep that goes by the name Deidre, that they are often off on various quests, and he’s a follower of Torm. That last bit bothered me a bit, because I don’t think many evil demons are followers of Torm, the god of paladins, duty and loyalty. Hmmm. We then had to wonder if maybe Deirdre is the evil demon? We also found out that there is a limit on how many ankhegs may be hunted. Seems to me that even one digging around is one too many!

We looked around for other signs of demon occupancy. Or at least, we looked around and didn’t see any demons. We did visit a small shrine to Torm, Chauntea, Illmater and Tymora (nothing evil there!) and Marius the Leatherworker. We also visited Helden the half-elf healer, who had some nice scrolls for sale. I bought one to help me identify magic stuff, and another called Colorspray. My comrades seemed to be undecided as to how to proceed, so Bryrgar decided to go talk to Lord Taricz alone, since he was not cursed with the desire to kill Taricz on sight. I chose to go off to our rented room in the tavern and study the Colorspray spell. Widget took turns visiting the tavern and my friends, and coming back to our room to see how I was doing with the spell. I’m told that Roscoe got very drunk and started spouting theories about ankhegs and chickens taking over the world. I guess Widget walked over to him and swatted him on the side of the face, then stomped back up to our room before he had to discipline anyone else. That must have ended Roscoe’s drinking, as soon he and Nosila both came to the room to rest. Bryrgar chose to stay in the common room.

I found out in the morning that Bryrgar had talked to Taricz, and thought him to be an honorable man. Bryrgar even signed on to help Taricz fight evil in the Border Kingdoms! As much as I’d like to do that too, I’m stuck with this curse, and unless someone comes along and removes it, I have to keep attempting to eliminate the demon in charge here. Seeing Nosila carrying Roscoe around by his ankle like a small child (as much as he hates it) gave me an idea though.

I told my friends that Widget and I were going to go and confront Lord Taricz directly. Sensing trouble to be had, Roscoe immediately offered to go along. I tried to take the silver rod along too to see if I could use it against whatever demon was there, but Bryrgar wouldn’t let me.

As silly as it looked, I made an effort to hop and skip like a halfling as we went up to the keep. Talking as sweetly as I could to the guard on duty, I asked to see Taricz and we were admitted to meet with him. I figured if I accused him directly of being a demon and he isn’t, I would besmirch his honor and things would go badly. If I didn’t act though, I feared the curse would kick in and kill me. So, though I may have laid it on a bit thick, I talked to him the same way I’ve seen Roscoe do with “big people.” I let him think I have the mental capacity of a flumph while I studied his answers to my bizarre queries.

Taricz, three times my height, is an impressive figure. I asked him where his wings and horns were hidden. That put him off guard right away! I managed to squeeze as much truth into the nearly one-sided conversation as I could— that the silver rod would have helped me find the real demon in charge, would he marry a demon if he himself wasn’t one, and that the lich in the next town over would be very cross with us if we couldn’t fulfill our Quest to destroy the evil that controls this hamlet. I half-expected the curse the lich put on us to somehow zap us into unconsciousness just for attempting to work around the geas, but we managed to get through the interview with nothing worse than a bruised ego. He agreed to go in search of Nosila and Bryrgar right away, while we sat in his “waiting room.” (Which, Roscoe tells me, looks just like a jail cell.)

It wasn’t long before a guard came and brought us back to the reception area, and this time Bryrgar and Nosila (who kept her eyes averted from Lord Taricz at all times— I suspect she feared the geas would compel her to kill him if she met his gaze!). Bryrgar was gathering all the people in the keep together to cast a spell to detect evil. Nothing. Everyone in the keep was loyal to their Lord, and good-hearted. He has to keep looking for evil throughout the town, so they are going to gather the townsfolk together to do so. Roscoe and I had the option of going back to the “waiting room” or the tavern. I have a feeling he’s not ever spent much time with the smaller races.

We still have a dilemma though— we didn’t outright slay an innocent and good man, but we are still under the curse to eliminate the demon in charge of Thornhold.

Posted by Kristin on January 31, 2005, 15:49 | Sprocket’s Journal