Today did not start well, which is another way of saying last night ended a little too well. What laughs were had! Those Soddenweald boggarts are a hoot – but I must caution you, Thaliar: When you find yourself drinking with swamp-dwellers, do not touch the bubbly green stuff. It will give you mean burps in the morning
Volcanic burps were the least of my worries, however. When I awoke, most of the swamp-barges docked at Gator Joe’s had already departed, which would have left me stranded if not for a rather smelly boat and its colorful crew, lead by Captain Goldbed – a strict dwarven lady with a killer triangle-hat – who has her sons helping around the deck, with a dapper boggart navigating. Last night’s revelries had left me strapped for cash; I am ashamed to admit that I had to employ my well-polished pouting face to haggle five gold off the fee. A clown has to eat.
As for my fellow passengers…Well! Let’s just say that they are quite the characters. Let me start with the human girl. She appears to be the shy and bookish type, always reading and clutching a tome to her chest like it was some stuffed animal… Can’t really get a good read on her yet. Heh.
Now, the other lady passenger on board forms quite the contrast to her companion – one is a demure student, the other a humongous pirate with an impressive décolleté and a hook for a hand. I’m pretty sure she could suffocate an ogre between those battering rams. I wonder how she lost her hand? That must be one heck of a story – I can’t imagine what kind of monster could rip the limbs off of such a fierce woman!
And finally – and trust me, Thaliar, when I say that I left the best for last – guess who showed up trailing behind me, like always? Our good friend Deesan, the impish tiefling. O, how happy I was to see him! And in good shape, too – quite the relief, considering last night – not that I remember much of it. I sense in him a kindred spirit. O, how we’ll laugh! He plays the flute, if I recall correctly. Maybe we can collaborate on some songs?
One thing’s for sure – I won’t be bored on the way to Dryfoot.
My blood must be very tasty, because the mosquitoes can’t seem to get enough of it. No wonder that vampire lady in the crypt-courts of Necroxia was so into me. To think she only wanted me as a midnight snack! Us mortals are more than just living juice-boxes, you know.
Luckily, my new boggart friend was willing to share some of his secret ‘perfume’ with me. Let’s just say that I’ve shoveled dung that smelled more appealing, but if it keeps those blasted gnats at bay I’d gladly smear it all over my face – heck, I’d even drink it, if that’s what it takes. Can’t be any worse than the burp juice.
I wonder if this stuff would work on vampires? I must remember to ask the boggart for his recipe.
Sorry for not writing to you in a while, but your dear old Jangles has been busy getting into trouble. Yes, he’s in quite the pickle – good thing it’s an adventurous pickle, ripe with the promise of thrills to come. I hope you’ve got worked up an appetite.
Have you ever heard of the Eye of Lethander, Thaliar? I know you must have heard of Lethander. The local humans appear to have somehow gotten a hand on one of his eyes and hauled it all the way up to the tallest hill in the Soddenweald. It sits atop a tower, like the lantern of a lighthouse, winking newcomers welcome, keeping a benevolent eye on them. Well, I’m assuming it’s benevolent, anyway – Old Lethander being an all-right sort – but truth be told it gives this jesters the jitters. I don’t like the feeling of being watched.
Our little barge of fun had gotten stuck in traffic. There was a long line of boats pending an allotted place to dock, and it would have taken us hours – hours, Thaliar – to reach Dryfoot. Bureaucracy – it’s everywhere, even here, in the damp armpits of the world; it follows humans like a lingering waft.
The barge directly in front of us was manned by a merry dispatch of halflings. As a connoisseur of cheer and an ambassador of humor, I have a deep appreciation for halfling; and, being bored of waiting. I was all to eager to perform my neighborly duties, so of course I was going to say hello. But as I reached our bow, some monstrous creature lurking below rocked the neighbor’s vessel, sending one sorry chap to his watery doom. I immediately jumped in after him, of course – but I am ashamed to admit that the rescuer became the rescuee – my foot got stuck. Guess which brave soul came to my rescue? If you guessed Babbin, the green, pointy-toothed buccaneer, you get full points! She only needed one hand to kindly escort me back to our barge. Was I able to breathe while she was dragging me? Well, no – but you can’t expect an orc to handle rescue work with finesse. It’s the thought that counts! Heroism is all about intention, not about results.
This little taste of adventure seemed to awaken an appetite in our swashbuckling heroine, as she was no longer content standing in line like some hapless opera patron waiting to buy a ticket. No, this fat lady – and by fat, I mean buff – was ready to sing. Here’s a natural leading lady, thirsting to take center stage. She leapt to the Halfling’s barge, flipping it like a seesaw, launching several sailors into the water. Onwards she pressed, boarding a shipment of stone manned by two particularly brawny dragonborn. A scuffle ensued, in which our heroine flawlessly avoided being sandwiched by slipping off the edge, hanging on with her hook. What a nifty prop! I should get myself one of those, though I’d have to lose my hand first. We’ll have to work on that.
O, nobody got hurt, by the way: The halflings are fine.
Babbin escaped her scaly assailants and boarded the next vessel, an exquisite elven yacht. It was roughly at this point that the three other actors – Lynnea (the girl), Deesan and I – decided we were no longer content playing spectator; I hauled my little impish friend on my shoulders and somersaulted from barge to barge in pursuit of the rogue swashbuckler. Did I realize that I was breaking the law? Of course – entering – but I couldn’t let the pirate out of my sights. I had to know where it was all going to end.
Babbin had meanwhile commandeered a gnome vessel. Its crew ejected in these cute little escape pods – you should have seen it, Thaliar, it was adorable. By the time the rest of us caught up, so had the coppers. Now, most guards will forgive some innocent roughhousing, but my companions decided to take their thuggery to the next level and launched full-fledged assault on the watchmen. Deesan and I tried to cover things up by making it appear like a performance – the thrilling nautical adventures of a green-skinned Pirate Queen – but once our bookish companion shot one of the guardsmen with her crossbow, I think we were well beyond the realms of revelry. Full of surprises, that one.
Baggin truly is a force of nature, though – even with a dozen guardsmen trying to slow her down, she just kept barge-hopping, escaping her captors and leaving us three to deal with the aftermath. Lynnea got seriously hurt, as the guards understandably retaliated to her attack in kind, knocking her out – thankfully, Deesan was with her, and he patched her up with his healing magic, good as new. He likes to pretend that he’s a selfish swindler who pretends to be a simple entertainer, but I think that, deep inside, he’s really a nice guy. It’s a classic con, Thaliar, the triple bottom: You install two false bottoms in a container, so that when the curious snooper uncovers one, they’ll be too smug with their discovery to find the other, so the true treasure remains hid.
Arrested before even setting one foot on a city’s streets. That has to be a new record.