Zuri's Journal, Entry 2

Bones, bores, boars, and "rats"

It’s a day after the goblin attack; the guard have asked me to help deal with their captives, since the only one who speaks Common apparently only knows ‘longshanks’ and curses. No surprise there, goblins are stupid freaks. The others – we’re all being lauded as The Heroes of Sandpoint now – came along; I asked Ezra to bring his knocking hammer to help terrify the captives, and we brought the dog we acquired from Aldern. Between those two and my ability to speak goblintongue, plus a suggestion that I /might/ talk to the townfolk about letting the goblin go if it cooperated (I didn’t mention it to anyone else – Ezra would think it was a promise, and everyone else would just want to et it go for archery practice. Better it die a quick death.) it proved to have a little useful information.

The goblins were directed to attack by a longshanks – their word for any humanoid of a size larger than them. He described this leader as shorter and stockier than me, but not as stocky as Ezra, and then let it slip that the leader had gone for the graveyard during the attack. I got one of the guardsmen to go round up Hemlock and Zanthus to meet us at the graveyard, and we all went to see what had happened.

It wasn’t hard. Even from the edge of the graveyard we could see one of the crypts was busted open; Father Zanthus gave us permission to enter while Hemlock was dressing down the guardsmen who’d fetched him for not mentioning that the goblin had said a longshanks was involved. We slipped in past the ruined slab of stone that had sealed the crypt, only to have a pair of skeletons come at us. While we got some hits in on it – thanks to Azaya and her bird I was able to get in a good shot that broke something important – Ezra just smashed them into so much bone powder.

Azaya found an opened sarcophagus, emptied of whatever was in it, and a ragged old robe that I recognized as a completely spent robe of bones that had likely been used to create the skeletons we fought and destroyed. The sarcophagus, according to Zanthus, belonged to the last high priest, who died in the Sandpoint Fire half a decade ago. It turned out, after a bit of asking, that they never recovered his adopted daughter’s bones – Azaya and I both think there’s something deeply suspicious in it being his remains that were specifically stolen and her remains never being found; Zanthus said he wasn’t sure why her spirit hadn’t haunted Sandpoint, given the tragic circumstances. I’m betting she’s alive, but I don’t know if she’s involved or if it’s just coincidence.

The question was raised after the questions about Nualia’s missing remains as to how sure we were that the robber had been after the remains of the old priest Ezra gave me one of his “I hate when you’re right” glares when I pointed out that the robber had clearly meant to take his, considering there were plenty of other sarcophagi in the crypt and lenty of graves in soft earth outside.

We poked around outside, finding footprints that matched what might be a human or some similar creature amid a bunch of goblin tracks, and a decent-looking ladder left alongside the wall – there’s no question that it wasn’t from a goblin lair. Even if they’d found it, it would’ve been in much worse shape. Either the graverobber stole it from a house or someone inside the town helped out. The latter is a much less pleasant idea than the former.

On our way back from that delight, Aldern managed to find us; Azaya promptly maneuvered to keep me between him and her, and so he latched onto Ezra and started fussing over him, after promising James more liquor and inviting us all to go on a ride with him in the Tickwood. Lunatic that he is, he bought each of us a horse and riding gear, ensuring that we had no excuse to avoid it.

Ezra kept him busy regaling him with When I Was Young and In My Day and other such morality plays that make him so unpopular – surprisingly, Aldern ate it up and kept asking him to go on. It might have kept on all day if it hadn’t been for the boar that decided to show up and interrupt the two bores. With no illusions about my riding skill, I dismounted before my horse could think about panicking ad let it run off after Aldern; James managed to dismount safely, slipping his brass knuckles on as he did so, but Azaya and Ezra both got thrown when their horses bolted. Ezra’s horse nearly trampled me in the process of freaking out – I hope Aldern manages to round them up.

The boar charged in, getting harassed by the roc right up to the point that James punched it in the snout, breaking a tusk with the jab. Ezra stepped in and knocked it out, trying to avoid killing it, until Azaya yelled to put it down and James hit it in the head until something gave way and it expired.

I’m glad for the horses, at least, now – we rigged up a rough litter and hauled the boar back to Sandpoint, Ezra and James happily telling everyone the tale of the fight (exaggerated a bit for effect) until we could turn it over to Ameiko; she’s not sure what she’ll do with that much boar meat, but at least she knows not to ask Ezra’s version of the story – I told her the quick version in Minkaian. She’s apparently planning to ask James about punching a boar in the face, now.

Aldern gave us the horses. Fucking lunatic, I swear.

It was a couple days later when a woman burst in with a pair of children in tow; I didn’t pay much attention until she came over to ask us for help, saying that her son had been having nightmares since the goblin attack, then she’d heard him screaming, their dog had been killed, and she’d come running for help while her husband had stayed behind to deal with it.

She said she doesn’t think her husband’s fought anything before, and the bite marks on the boy’s arms look like goblin teeth. Azaya and I took off running, James and Ezra puffing along behind us, because there was a chance we might make it in time to save the idiot. We got there well ahead of them, and Azaya agreed to wait for them outside while I slipped in and scouted.

I found the man, all right – dead before we got there, since I didn’t hear so much as a gurgle from where he was laying, face-down in a hole in the closet floor. I slipped back out and helped guide the others back in – Azaya tripped over a toy and made a huge racket, but the freak in the whole was too busy to care. Ezra and James arranged themselves around the hole, reacy to attack if the goblin popped up, and I pulled the body back.

The sick monster ate his fucking face. The fight went quickly enough, even if the roc got in the way and kept anything useful from being done by Azaya or I until it moved out of the way again. The freak popped up and right into an overhand blow from my mace; it apparently landed just right, since I heard the freak’s neck shatter and it collapsed in the process of biting at Ezra.

I rolled the body of the victims – the dog and the man – in the blankets from the bed. No one else needs to see a half-eaten face. The woman understandably broke down into wailing at the news, but Hemlock says he’s pretty sure he can get in touch with her family and get them away from the place. Aldern cropped up again, and got shoved straight at Ezra to keep him from getting cut open by Azaya’s scimitar.

Then Shayliss Vinder turned up and talked Ezra into going with her back to the general store to ‘take care of some nasty rats, it only needs the one person’. Azaya and I agree that she’s up to something, so while she agreed to look after James I shadowed Ezra and Shayliss back to the store; I could tell from the sound of her voice that she had something in mind to do to the old man – he’s got to have a good fifteen years of age on her – and slipped the door shut just as the store owner came in. The shock of Ezra having a teenage girl throwing herself at him shook me badly enough I couldn’t manage to tell Vin even a half-assed lie, and the floorboards are too sturdy to make much noise without it being obvious.

I slipped out when Vin went thundering down the stairs. There’s not exactly a lot I can do to someone without it being really dangerous if it comes down to a fight. Fortunately, Ezra apparently managed to talk him down, since he wasn’t carting a comatose body or covered in burises when he emerged. He was a bit shocked to learn that I’d followed him, but recovered when I told him it was just to watch out for him.

It seems that whatever Ezra did, Shayliss is a lot less happy than she could be. He got a crude drawing of himself on fire, with a feminine hand having written “I’ll get even with you” under it. Here’s hoping she doesn’t get too outrageous in whatever she has planned – I doubt things are going to settle back down in sleepy little Sandpoint anytime soon, and she really doesn’t need caught up in it.

I really wish I knew who took the old priest’s bones and why.



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