Our encampment on the border of Belkzen has served it’s purpose well so far – no orcs have gotten past us into Lastwall. But we need reinforcements. We’ve got plenty of humans here, but not near enough dwarves. Field Commander Bergen has tasked me with traveling to Highhelm to drum up recruits, and he’s hired Miss Brillga Ulmsdotir to get me there. I must say, the girl’s impressed me so far. She’s barely past 60 years old, and already quite skilled in the ways of the world. Her ability to haggle is really something!
Our first day we crossed the hills down to Vigil, which is where I got to witness her haggling skill. She got us passage down the Path River on a merchant ship, The Swift Gryphon, and got them to knock 5 gold off their asking price and add free meals by agreeing to help fight off pirate attacks, should there be any.
Which leads me to the strangest event in our trip so far. Early this morning, Brillga spotted a ship following us up the river at quite a speed. Sure enough, it gained on us all day before pulling alongside us. They looked as motley as you’d expect, but they didn’t attack the way I expected them to. One little gnome lady hopped aboard, and I tell you, I took a fair chunk out of her, and Brillga gave her something fierce with her sling, but she took it. It hurt, no doubt, but she really wasn’t doing too badly until Captain Amber got involved. And this is where it become strange. Even though I’d sliced her pretty deep, I could tell she was trying to use the flat of her blade when she swung at me. She said she wanted to talk to us. I was wary of a trick, so I disarmed her, but I wanted to hear what she had to say – especially since her crewmates, despite being clearly concerned for her, were staying put. Captain Amber on the other hand, didn’t seem to want to hear anything she had to say – or to let us hear it. Before the Captain reached us, the gnome told us they were trying to rescue us, and said something like “They’re not trading what you think.” And then the Captain showed up, and nearly killed the gnome. And the gnome – a hearty and impressive woman, pirate or not – used her last bit of strength to roll herself off the edge of the boat and away from the Captain! The other ship slowed to get her back aboard, and they haven’t seemed to follow us since then.
The Captain had warned us this morning that the pirates might try to confuse or distract us, if they felt we (clearly being well armed warriors) were a threat they couldn’t face directly, but I’m not convinced that that’s what happened here. We were the only two at that side of the ship, and even if we were better armed and armored, they could have easily overwhelmed us by sheer numbers – and they didn’t. And Captain Amber seemed a little too eager to attack an unarmed and unaided person, who was already looking pretty beat up. I’m convinced she’s hiding something, and Brillga isn’t exactly thrilled with her either, though she’s not quite ready to say the Captain’s out to get us. We have agreed, though, that once the ship stops at the next trade stop, we’re done with the Swift Gryphon. We can find another ship to take us across the lake.
I don’t know if the gnome intended to imply we were – or would be – taken captive, but I don’t intend to ever be a prisoner again if I can help it.