Blood and Steam
Balthier Entry 1
I don’t trust my attention span all that much, and seeing how we’re supposed to be solving a mystery, it seems best to write things down. Where to start? The caravan, I guess.
It is a well-established fact that the gods of this forsaken realm are cruel, selfish assholes, and my current company serves as a constant reminder of that indisputable Truth. The Leatherskin Irregulars decided they could spare me and my idiot companions – the Technophile Aleksander LaCroix, who stinks as all filthy humans do, but still seems a budding rose beside the abominable stench of the green-skinned trigga1 known as “Der Dublihner”. Of course, my son-of-a-bitch master was always fond of saying that the measure of a man was the company he keeps. Sometimes, I think he shared these tidbits of “wisdom” with me strictly to continue tormenting me long after we had parted ways. May he rot in the hottest, fiercest hell that exists – assuming he ever encounters something meaner than himself to make a messy end of the arrogant, self-serving… but I digress.
We rode to Corvis with a caravan carrying crates of gods-know-what, and we’d made good time considering the wagons were forced to go through a bloody swamp. We had almost made it to the city, too, when an unnatural fog overtook us and thieving savages emerged to rob us. Aleks and I rode in the front wagon and warded off the gobbers that came for the crates in our care. After that slaughter, we heard Der Dublinher crashing around in the fog somewhere in the rear of the caravan, having smashed more gobber face and stopped the wretches from that bit of looting. Sadly, the middle wagons were not so well protected.
Our boss was not overly concerned about the loss, but it seemed a simple task to track the beasts and try to get it back. We were on the job, after all. Maybe my master was right, and I am a thrice-damned fool. We tracked the gobbers to a river that flowed into a narrow cavern a short ways downstream. From the signs of a beached canoe on the banks, we assumed they had loaded up their plunder and rowed inside. We shouldn’t have followed them, but we did, and almost died for it when we found their pet…something. It had tentacles and it was pissed off at our intrusion. We decided to flee while we still had our lives.
Once in town, the boss introduced us to a priest who had a hot niece – for a human. He mentioned some grave-robbery going on and he wanted to deputize us to investigate. We accepted the job, took our pay from the caravan boss, and set out into town to find out what we could.
A crazy man in the town cemetery claimed to have seen two of the “stolen” bodies get up and walk away with a woman in white. Aleks checked into the town’s history some and heard a story about a witch trial a decade back that resulted in five women being convicted and decapitated at the end. There didn’t seem to be any connection at first, so we went to the next burial plot on the list. The family’s grandfather had vanished, too, and the little boy – according to what Der Dublinher, Deviant Diplomat determined (heh) – had seen grampa walk away, too. So, the madman and the child were telling the same story. It’s good to have reliable witnesses.
The third plot we encountered a racist old woman who gave us the first real clue that made the story begin to make sense. She said that the deceased stolen from their grave had been a member of the jury for the witch trial. After talking to the last witness – an unhelpful ass of a noble – we brought our suspicions to the priest who confirmed that the stolen bodies had all belonged to the members of the jury that had convicted the witches. One of those witches had been the priest’s sister in law, and the mother of his hot daughter – who suddenly became our favorite suspect for this necromantic crime.
We made our way to an outpost, the location of the witches’ execution and burial. We entered an underground system crawling with gobbers and undead, slaying and killing until we found one gobber smart enough to talk rather than serve as target practice. He took us to the chief, who told us about a woman who had taken up with gray women in a locked portion of the complex. We bartered with him for the key, then made our way to the tomb. Four bodies lay within, with thread on the floor suggesting their heads had been sewn back on. Gruesome.
We found a cavern filled with water that served as the back entrance to the complex and finished off the tentacle horror, looting his pool afterward. An ancient enchanted Orgoth blade that was worth a medium-sized fortune. Investigation is a lucrative business. Might have to quit the mercenary gig and do this sort of thing full time. First, though, we had to find evidence supporting our theories about the broad.
1 A racial slur.