Monday, August 3, 2020

Beetle and the Beast

Heya Reya,

How are you doing, sis? We’re still in Winnowing Reach, but we’re about to head out very soon. I do have another story to tell though as the slime caves wasn’t enough adventure for us here.

When we returned from the slime caves, Kenna marched right passed the guards straight to the Magistrate. I wish I were so brave. We explained what had happened and was rewarded, but then he enticed us with another request.

After Kenna left, he locked us in. I’m not entirely sure what all happened after that, I sort of panicked and my memory is kind of fuzzy here, but he wanted us to hunt down a witch causing trouble with the city. She apparently is seen just before the slimes attack. Some wicked hedge witch of the swamp.

The Magistrate released us with the promise of a letter to get us in to see the council at Alderheart once we bring back the amulet that has the witch’s power. I hope I’m not worrying you because the story gets better.

We’ve asked around town about the slime attacks and what they know of this witch. They were able to share with us many rumors, but no one seems to have actually talked to this lady yet. So we decided to be the ones to get to the bottom of this problem and go confront this person ourselves… together of course. No need to confront the unknown alone. A lesson for you.

We gathered supplies and set out. Fortunately, we picked up the trail of the witch near an area that she was reportedly sighted before. Farah and I found her footsteps, well Farah found, I almost tripped into, but helped locate it nonetheless.

We came cautiously upon a hut out in the swamp, something humble and not looking like a place a witch would dwell. Rakuno braved the porch way to go knock and introduce himself. We were expecting some ugly hag of a hedge to answer and try to swallow our Jerbeen companion, instead it was a very nice well-dressed middle age lady.

Her name is Susan, and she’s been living out here alone because she’s a bit of an introvert and shy’s away from social situations. She lives with this flying beetle that she can talk to named Normal. They’re both absolutely adorable, and I think Spoke is rather smitten with her. They would make a good pair.

Susan served us some Nettle Tea and Cat Tail Scones. I’ll send some leaves for you to try the tea yourself, it’s minty.

After talking with her, we found out she was just gathering components for her spells, specifically one for summoning a fey spirit so she could ask it about a vision she had.

Don’t panic because this is just a vision, but Susan saw a large burning creature that set a great blaze consuming the woods. I’m not sure if I believe in visions, but it was worth helping Susan get the stuff she needs to finish her summon ritual.

We set out to gather frogs, leaves and herbs from a nearby pond. While Spoke and Rakuno found the easy stuff in my opinion, Farah and I decided to get the frogs. These frogs are a lot more cunning than the ones we went after as kids, because I had a heck of a time swimming after them. Farah got one, but I resorted to taunting another to death. Good thing Sycamore was on watch because the little frogs had a much larger frog friend. Being the one in the pond wasn’t the best place for this encounter because the thing almost ate me alive. Sycamore was able to skewer it before it got the chance.

We rested for the night while taking back the ingredients only to hear a call for help in the middle of the night. A Gallus apparently got stuck in quicksand trying to study the habits of slimes at night. I’m not sure what this town’s fascination with slimes are, but it gets them in trouble a lot. We helped the poor stranger out and she gave us an interest gift. Don’t tell mom or dad, but I enclosed it with this letter. It’s a switch-knife hidden in a wooden spoon. Please don’t hurt yourself with it.

Back to Susan, we delivered the giant frog and the leaves and herbs. Putting what she needed into her snail cauldron, she said her incantation, something like “oh great spirit, heed my call.” She was surprised when a red fuzzy beast of a creature came out, but tried to ask her questions.

Unfortunately, whatever the thing was, it wasn’t interested in talking, and instead attacked us, specifically your idiot brother for sitting too close to it. We were able to put an end to the demon before it harmed anyone. Strangely it just fell to ash when we did. Susan suspects it has to do with the burning grove corrupting the spell, that or the giant frog spleen used instead of the normal frogs.

So without answers to this vision, Susan decided the next best thing to do was to apologize to the town. Apparently when she was gathering other components, slimes would approach, and she would run away. This unfortunately lead the slimes close to the town instead. A big misunderstanding by the folks and Susan offered to try and fix anything she could.

On our journey back, Spoke tried to flirt with Susan. It was super adorable and a little awkward, but I could see Susan and Spoke connected a little. Maybe one day they will get together, but she has her work at her shake still, and he needs to help deliver our warning to Alderheart.

As we neared the town though, Susan was getting worried, so your brother decided to cheer everyone up and began playing my pan flute. That supposed amulet of Susan’s was actually an ocarina and she joined in, and Rakuno played too. Had a bit of a parade coming into town. I wish you could see it, many folks cheered us. Spoke was also ready in case some folks weren’t as welcoming to Susan.

We decided to ask Kenna one more favor in dealing with the Magistrate since she has no problem standing up to him. I hope to find someone like that someday.

The Magistrate wasn’t very happy with the results but was convinced it was best for both parties to understand each other and work with one another. He accepted the apology and wrote us the letter. I could see Spoke was ready to give the Magistrate a piece of his mind in case the conversation went south. Luckily, it never came to that.

We also have an ally now in Winnowing Reach, Susan and Normal. They offered to make potions for us at discount if we are in need and have the components. I’ll send you the list as well if you wanted to take interest in alchemy someday.

How’s dad’s business going? Hope you guys stay safe. And Susan was nice enough to give me the recipe to her scones if you would like to try them yourself. They are unbelievably delicious. I’m also sending a gift for mom and dad, some Prickleberry Wine. I hope they enjoy it.

With all my love,

Fell on Hard Slimes

Hi Sis,

I wanted to check in with how things are with Mom and Dad. I don’t remember you mentioning anything in the last couple of letters.

There’s been a bit of a delay in my trip to Alderheart, but well worth it. A young Corvum apparently was in need of help as she journeyed alone to study slimes in a nearby cave. The Magistrate (can you imagine a magistrate asking for my help?) asked us to find this Kenna Brightspark for him. So off to the caves we went.

Remember when we would joke about putting slimes on mom and dad’s beak brush instead of the cleaning paste? Well I’ll tell you what, slimes are no joke. These things either burn through leather and metal with some alchemical properties, and if that’s not enough, instantly glue themselves to anything it touches. My friends lost a weapon or two fighting them. But funny enough, they also have feelings as I made one cry with my abilities before it loss cohesion and died. I felt pretty bad, but it was either it or us walking away from that fight.

Here’s a particular interesting scene, my friend Sycamore, the Cervan if you recall, is pretty tall. When we were down in the caves, his antlers grabbed a sizable amount of the cave moss. It reminded me of images of Cairith. Now Sycamore may think he’s the spitting image of an Amaranthine Deity, but if you meet him, don’t feed his ego or he’ll think he is one.

Back to the slimes, if you ever see them, you can use this trick. We came across some in the cave and needed to get past them. They apparently sense movement, so we used some stones and tossed them to a part of the cave to move them away from where we were going. I’m attaching a book that came in handy about the slimes with this letter. You might get some use out of it. I’m also sending some of the glowing mushrooms I found in the cave. Please don’t eat them, the group told me I shouldn’t do that either.

Just remember, caves are dangerous. There was a section that fell on your poor old brother, knocking me out unconscious. I was told a cave slime came out and was about to feast on me, but Rakuno rushed in and pulled me away, while Spoke was able to heal me. I don’t know what we would have done without them. Please don’t tell mom and dad about this incident, I don’t want them to worry.

Farah was having some problems, I think she had allergies or something while in the swamp. She was a little slower and like she wasn’t all there, but she helped when it counted.

We did find that slime researcher though. She was stuck to a wall in the cave, guarded by this large slime. Not sure what it was, but it shifted colors as we fought it. It was very pretty for something so dangerous. Rakuno and Farah were tag teaming it until some other slimes showed up from the commotion. Spoke was having some trouble with his spells, but we were able to clear the room of the slimes with Rakuno getting the final blow on the large one and Sycamore finishing the others.

Getting Kenna unstuck was another challenge altogether. Sycamore got stuck (please don’t tell him I told you) but Spoke magically created water that was able to clean up the slime.

We just got back from this whole ordeal, so I will finish this letter and get it sent with the presents.

Your tired, but still kicking brother,