Bad Influence

Dear Father Philip

What do you do when you turn up at home with friends, and then have your neighbours tell you that your friends might be involved in “something unsavoury, and likely something to do with goblins and kobolds”.
We landed on the coast with the thought of heading to Fort Ac , so we headed first to Aracho, the trip was pleasant, and it was good to be back in Aracho, some grifters managed to pretend to be pretend priests at some shrines that I donated to, but unfortunately for them i’m pretty quick with a pencil, I drew the scammer that got my money and put a 10000gp price on his head to have him brought to me, so obviously the next day he was, and I was going to take him to the church and let him explain to Isis about him stealing from her, when I put it like that the wind went out of his sails and he gave the money back, which I donated to the guards widow fund. We managed to find who his friend was so all the monies that were supposed to go to the church did. Then knowing we were going up against a dragon I thought it might be a good idea to visit the local alchemist. We got a few things from there and the alchemist dangled a spell in front of Xerx’ses that he didn’t already have, so Xerx’ses agreed and they disappeared off to, well im not sure, but they were talking magic talk and it sounded like gibberish. We went outside to a café as the Alchemist wasn’t keen on hobgoblins so Burlap got into a, well I’d call it a fight with the alchemists assistant except it was all one sided, and it wasn’t Burlap’s side. As Xerx’ses was going to be away for a while learning a new spell I decided to stop by my parents farm and everyone decided to come with me, so we got the wagon together, which was exciting, being a teamster isn’t anywhere near as easy as Xerx’ses makes it look, and headed off, as I wanted to drop some high quality farming implements to the parents. The road home was same as always, and no one interfered with us so it was a nice restful ride. Pulling into the farm reminded me why I had left, I saw some younger cousins running around playing, and my father, uncle and a cousin in one of the fields working with the plough, the old plough horse still plodding along. Then the kids saw me and the squealed and came running, but stopped when they saw Asher and Burlap, they hung back a little until Burlap started playing with his bells and then Asher stuck his head up, rubbing his eyes sleepily and smiled, and the kids started running around excitedly singing.

Pumuckl will tease, Pumuckl will hide something from anyone.
oh, what rhymes yes and what rhymes with good
hurray, hurray the Kobold with thered hair
hurray, hurray of Pumuckl is here
hurray, hurray the Kobold with red hair
hurray, hurray of course Pumuckl is here

He loves to make mischief with the none too bright
and likes to find trouble that’s not too tight
If he wants he can’t be found, even though he’s very round
hurray, hurray the Kobold with red hair
hurray, hurray of course Pumuckl is here

Apparently a travelling show had passed through here, and the main kids show was about a Kobold named Pumuckl that constantly outwitted his evil oafish master and the kids had taken it to heart, and were sneaking around surprising people, much to the consternation of the adults.

The adults then took notice of the visitors and all came over, with mother coming running up to me, I hugged her, and shook dad’s hand as mother said “we weren’t sure if you were ever coming back alive” and started crying. Then my father called out that today was going to be a feast day and everyone cheered. Burlap immediately took up the job of thespian, and bright coloured balls and streamers flew from his hands in a blur after he did a cartwheel and ended on his hands, but still somehow juggling, this even attracted the attention of some of the adults and had everybody laughing. Xerx’ses joined in a bit of the fun and everyone went their separate ways to help with the feast. The hours leading up to the feast went quick, with everyone pitching in to help. I dropped into the kitchen just to see and smell the cooking, one of the things I have really missed since leaving. Mother and my Aunt moved around the kitchen with practiced ease, helping out some of my younger cousins in the different things they were doing, giving practical tips on things as simple as cutting up carrots so the carrot doesn’t stick to the blade, Mother looked up once and smiled while cooking and then shooed me away. I then went down to the smithy and talked to Uncle Ben, he seemed a bit strained but still his normal quiet self, but oddly enough in the piles of repaired farm tools I found a sword and a mace, recently repaired and sharpened, I raised an eye brow and he just shrugged and said two words, “Troubles coming.” I asked him what he meant and he just shrugged and said look around, so I did. I wandered around, and to the borders of the farm, and at the Millers there were a group of them with spears walking around together in very loose formation. I got back to Dad just before the feast started but he just said, fun tonight, work tomorrow as normal so I shrugged and went and got cleaned up for the feast. I had Oathbringer at my side, but was otherwise dressed in my normal clothes.

and we feasted

Burlap and Ja’Deir were marvelous, with Burlap telling jokes, doing backflips and general feats of agility with Ja’Deir and Asher was amazing people with his powers of mentalism (to whom my father took a shine to) got people relaxed enough so that everyone ended up mingling, and the only issue occurred when one of the Millers sons came over to see what was happening, he was smiling and laughing, but suddenly took off and I didn’t realise what for until the next day. The evening went well, the weather was clear and the stars were bright, the songs loud and the dancing energetic, and for most, the hangovers the next day were terrible, until Asher whipped up a foul smelling concoction that cleared the head. Thankfully those on morning kitchen duty were less effected and breakfast was a combo of leftovers from last night.

We were all just gathering in the central compound (Things have been tight and my family had several cousins move in with mum and dad) when old man Miller turned up, with a heap of his family, all wielding pitchforks and other sharp farm implements. They went storming up to dad and demanded that we turn over the miscreants, everyone went quiet when this occurred, our heads are hurting but we didn’t set fire to any farmland did we . . . did we ???

But Dad, with his calm demeaner, and Uncle Ben standing behind him asked what in the muddy dam had Miller been drinking, Miller got even angrier and then pointed at Burlap and Asher, and even pointed at Ja’Deir for a few seconds after his confusion to what he was waned. His finger stabbing angrily at Burlap and said, those pet monsters of yours damaged the mechanism of the Mill, our livelihood and he spat towards Asher and hefted his weapons, as did his companions.

I had had enough of this crap, even at home my friends were being blamed for things they didn’t do. I moved forward and said “Mr Miller, this is your only chance, go home and report what happened to the constable in town”.

Old men MIller’s face reddened and said, I will not allow my country to become monster f***ers, and before any more vitriol could spew forth from him I said “you were warned, if you want to spew venom then spew for real”

I admit it was petty but suddenly Old Man Miller actually started spewing uncontrollably, and you could tell that he was still a keen tabac chewer. He tried to get in a few words edgewise but couldn’t. I told his son that he would continue throwing up until he left our land, and if he ever came back with violence in mind, the same thing would occur. This took the wind out of the sails of the others, and helping Old Man Miller off our property. Dad squeezed my shoulder, but the mood was broken and everyone except Crisis then went about their normal chores. Just after we had lunch I asked if the group wanted to help solve a puzzle, I was feeling a little guilty about what I did to Old Man Miller, so I wanted to have a look at what happened to the mill, so later that night we snuck on over, I put the dogs to sleep with a simple spell and we investigated the mill, and it had been sabotaged expertly it seemed. Someone who knew how these things worked wrecked the gearing system in a way that most of the gears would need replacement, and that would take a fair bit of Knowledge, and while we were sneaking away we started hearing faint screams of pain. Following the noise we went up to the back paddock and into the light forest there, and we found something that disgusted me.
Old Man Miller and one of his sons seemed to be questioning his Kobold and Goblin slaves with torture and whippings, and it seemed to be more about the torture than the questioning. Yet again I used my sleep spell and Old Man Miller and his son collapsed. I went over to the Goblins and Kobolds and they thrashed around in fear, but Burlap and Asher managed to calm them. I healed them, gave them each an amount of money and a writ from the church and sent them to my church in Aracho, and the writ said that they were to help the church there. I then frowned and put 300gp in the pocket of Old Man Miller, the price of the slaves we had just freed, and Asher mentioned to me that the Kobolds had told him that they weren’t the ones that did over the mill either, but it was the anti-slave movement, because Old Man Miller had a very bad reputation when it came to slave i.e. he treated his pigs better, and apparently the anti-slave movement around here had gained some powerful, but unknown allies. The slaves took off, and we went back to the farm.

The next morning we were awoken very early by Dad. He said that apparently someone had broken into Old Man Miller’s slave pens last night, and had released his slaves, and apparently he had proof it was us, and he was heading to the fort to get military help. Dad then winked at me and said he knew we were out last night, and that we might want to think about leaving today instead of tomorrow, as the soldiers would be here by tomorrow afternoon. Dad said he had enough witnesses that no one on the farm could be harmed by this and that things would calm down eventually. When we got outside the wagon was already to go, with some of mothers fine cooking to keep us company. Father said goodbye and shook all the hands of my companions and said they were always welcome back here, but it shouldn’t probably be to soon. My mother cried again and my brothers and sister all said goodbye to me, and my sister kissed Ja’Deir fully on the nose and gave him a small Amaryllis flower, which signifies worth beyond beauty. My brother tried to pick up a few more tips form Burlap and Uncle Ben gave Asher a small normal dagger.

We left, family is so stressful at times, but at least no one tried to kill anyone. The road back to Aracho was quiet, and the times we saw soldiers I half thought they would stop us, but they just kept on going by, barely even noticing us. When we made it back we caught up with Xerx’ses again, who seemed happy as well. We got our things together and left for Fort Ac and the Dragon.

Our path to the fort was filled with clear skies, chirping birdies, cute little chipmunks, reset, furry little rabbits, and the odd pig farm for Asher, and now, off in the distance there is a Dragon coming for us, so I had better put down this quill and get ready.

Excerpt from the diary of Indaris Excellar

Farm Feast from the Wiki for parties.

 

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