What a welcome sight their little guild was. After having spent so much time on an island hellbent on killing them, it was welcome to be back somewhere safe. Since the Paladins of the Stars had pledged to help the party reclaim their home city of Ald Sotha from the necromancer and his undead army, they would be lodging at the Falling Hammer until they had enough people to march. It seemed like such a lofty goal, but it had to be done. Walking through the door, they were greeted with the familiar hustle and bustle that made the warehouse that was converted into an inn lively. There had been some progress since their last time here. There was a hearth that was nearly finished, the bar was built and there was a meeting room in the back for the inner circle of the guild. Crysx wandered into that room and saw Galgurt’s hammer hung on a plaque. Something within started pulling his mental strings at that sight.

Lisbeth spoke with Yaelandra about what information she had been able to turn up in their absence. So far, nothing useful. Just a little bit of information about important businesses that help keep the city running and the name of the guard captain, Luken Velarius.

Corbin was lost in his own mind, the voice speaking to him again. He was in a deep conversation with himself, wondering how the two wishes could be used to their utmost effectiveness. More importantly, what he should do with the reconstructed wish gem…

Everything was interrupted when the door burst open, standing there was Jonas Commodore III with a peasant girl, presumably in her early twenties. She was crying and Jonas held a burlap sack with something in it.

“The farm folk have suffered in your absence,” he said gravely, walking in as if he owned the place. His arm outstretched to give the bag to Lisbeth. Corbin was roused from his mind at the sudden change in atmosphere, Crysx came creeping out from the back room, curious as to what was going on.

Lisbeth opened the sack to find a severed head within. The face of the older man was twisted into a grotesque expression of agony, the cut cleaner than any she had ever seen. The farm girl sobbed quietly, her hands covering her mouth as tears streamed down her cheeks and between her fingers. The appalling specimen in the bag had clearly been outside for some time before it was delivered to their doorstep, the expression on the face was clearly remained because the flesh was blue and frozen.

“I had told you that the farmlands were to be helped in exchange for a lowered price on this property. You have failed to protect this family before something could happen, you are now hereby ordered to see to this matter on terms of imprisonment if it is not seen to. Their blood is on your hands,” Jonas was calm and cold, an amazing contrast from the kindness they were shown their first week here.

Lisbeth shot a look to Crysx behind her before responding, “We’ll see to it immediately. The girl, does she have a place to call home?”

Jonas shook his head no, “She’ll show you to her farmstead, that way you can start investigating immediately. Anything left behind by the perpetrators will be  still fresh most likely. Her name is Mia, she’ll be staying with you until accommodations can be made.”

The girl managed to stop crying but her bottom lip still trembled. She stood there like a caged animal, slouching and clearly frightened. Her right arm was across her stomach, hand clutching her left elbow, not knowing what else to do with them.

Jonas left with a solemn goodbye. Corbin spoke up at that point, “We only just got back. Can we at least take the night to rest in an actual bed?”

“I think he’s right,” Crysx chimed in, “It’s been a tough run on the road recently. We need it otherwise we won’t last long out there. The wind out in those plains alone would chill us something fierce.”

Lisbeth agreed, she could feel the tiredness in her bones. Tiberius came over, asking after what had just happened. They caught him up and he offered his services once more to aid them in the pursuit of justice. Who could refuse free help?

Everyone fetched a hot meal, Mia accompanying them being given no other direction. The girl ate, albeit slowly and without vigor. She was fundamentally broken by what she had seen, it was clear to them all. Over supper, Lisbeth took note that Corbin was quiet, not talking with the rest. He was up to something and she knew it. Having trust in him, however, prevented her from blatantly asking.

Immediately after Corbin cleared his plate, he retreated to the confines of his room with hardly a word. With that, Crysx also became hyperaware of his behavior. Shooting Lisbeth a concerned look, she simply gave him a nod of reassurance.

Without prying words interrupting his thoughts, Corbin was able to start working. He hollowed out the top of his staff and placed the orange wish gem. With a simple spell, he was able to make the wood almost completely encase it, a small amount of light peeking through. With some chalk, he began to draw a magical circle on the floor to start his ritual. Casting haste on himself helped him complete his work by dawn, his new staff slightly glowing with its new power. Even Corbin wasn’t entirely sure what it was capable of, but he was proud of his work and excited to see it be used. He was the one who reconstructed the gem, could the party rightfully be angry with him for repurposing it? He didn’t think so. With only an hour or so to catch some sleep, he did just that. Weary as he was, when the time came, he was ready to hit the road.

They all were, with a looming sense of dread as to what they might find…

 

 

Stay Metal \m/