Busy, busy day in town – very glad that Finn and I bought coffee, otherwise I have no idea how I would have gotten through the day. We arrived back in Treff about sunrise and immediately handed over our prisoner to Thessalus Watersmeet. He did something absolutely incredible with spellcraft, weaving together a spell of atonement and a spell of quest, making the effect of the first conditional of the completion of the second. Letours was offered a chance at redemption, which I suppose is as good as he could have hoped for. The pay was as good as promised too.
We got back to the Rose shortly after. Cyrus was already back from his wild goose chase with the Order, so I floated the strategy I’ve been thinking about since I talked to Alain, undermining the Runners’ soft power by doing work for their likely allies. He agrees that it’s a good plan, and also that Isabella really needs to work on more problem-solving strategies than “hit it with a halberd”. Aside from the whole long-term strategy for dealing with the Runners, the Guilds also pay well, and my hoard is looking a little small.
Galen and I went to speak with Herman Knacker. Clearly someone it wouldn’t hurt to have on our good side – incredibly wealthy but still invested in his craft, which I can respect. We identified his problem pretty much immediately – cattle getting infected by a yellow musk creeper – but further research reveals it to be more worrying than expected. Typically, musk creeper spores lure prey to them, then they eat the brains and control the body. These cattle were infected while going down the river, yards from shore. I was joking when I said we should write a paper about it but Galen seemed to take it seriously. I think the druids might be able to help – we should probably give them a hand and then talk with with Cade Greenturtle about his sense of what could be different about this plant.
I also did some errands around Figaro. Bianca from the Sole Exception was incredibly helpful, discussing the elemental foci with me. Apparently the water focus we retrieved was incomplete, not corrupted – this makes her think that the Mosquito Kingdom might have had another water focus to copy from. We also discussed the possibility of the foci not being “elemental” at all – the known foci are tied to the elemental planes, but there’s no reason they couldn’t be planar foci instead. In theory, there could be planar foci connected to any plane, perhaps even at the next set of sites – a Negative Plane focus at Death, a Far Realms focus at Madness? And perhaps there are foci for the other planes that are scattered around the swamp but aren’t connected to the prophecy gems – a true Water or Earth focus, a Shadow focus, an Astral focus? I don’t know what those would look like, but the possibility is intriguing. Of course, I was so caught up thinking about that, I forgot that she might have some good references on how the musk creeper might have changed. I’ll stop back again later, I suppose.
I might discuss also discuss those topics further with Elise Somerall when we escort her on her expedition. She’s ready to travel, research wise, but considering she didn’t think about bringing waterproof boots, she might need a little time to physically prepare. I’m thinking that initiating our plan to undermine the Runners and get paid at the same time might be more pressing, though.
Galen and I went to the Pelican Market – or really, the Pelican Market came to us. I met a rather pleasant halfling tailor who was able to bind more protection spells into my mother’s vest. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough, I feel naked without it. Galen also picked up some more items to improve his healing abilities. We also ran into Xante, Kaleena, and her younger brother Khad. He obviously did something terribly wrong – he was quite literally walking around with his tail between his legs. Apparently Kaleena is intending to do more ranging. I wonder what her particular set of skills is, aside from keeping the Quiver in line. Maybe I’ll ask her in more detail later.
Also, there’s something rather unnerving happening today – a man and a woman, apparently siblings, have been following us around all day. According to Leslie they’d been hanging around the Rose while we were out, too. They’re not doing an excellent job at keeping hidden, so I think they’re intending to be noticed, but they scoot away pretty quickly if they notice us noticing them… we’ve overheard them commenting on us, mentioning a grandfather, saying that the time isn’t right yet. Disturbing.