Getting back to the city was thankfully uneventful as we had a lot to plan before we got there. We had to tie up the loose ends with Lady Jade and Lady Talltree before it landed us in deeper trouble than we were already in.
Back at the city we organised a rendezvous with Talltree to prove our end of the bargain had been upheld. The meeting took place outside the city walls in the temporary village set up by the displaced halflings. At first Talltree was suspicious – we knew she would be – and she had with her a pet physician. That was the largest worry. It took a lot of tricky moves. DTIS showed us his worth with tampering with the physician’s gear so that Jade appeared to be truly dead. Zephyr helped out by… uh… enraging Talltree with his impudence. I of course smoothed the whole thing over with my silver tongue (not like that, and even if it was like that, a gentleman never tells). Apparently Brad set some hay on fire outside and caught a rat. I’m not really sure that he’s the sharpest tool in the shed, but even so he was of more overall help than Zephyr, who insisted on antagonising the lady patron that we were trying to cosy up to in order to sell our story. You’d think coming from a carny background he’d be better at lying and kissing up to people, but his overwhelming arrogance can occasionally blot out what little good sense he possesses.
In any case, by telling grotesque stories about how Lady Jade was murdered in a chamber pot full of the leavings of a sordid drunken eladrin party we convinced Talltree to run with our version of events. I could tell we hadn’t quite won over the physician, but in the end all that matters is Talltree’s trust. She gave to us a pass to avoid the tax getting from low to high town (something that caused a lot of anger and resentment amongst the guards when we showed it off) and a villa to sleep in. We figure that it’s unlikely anything would be stolen from it, as high town is not a place where thieves would thrive, per se. That is, casual thievery would not be something we need worry about. Assassination for one of the horses taking a dump on someone’s front lawn – well that’d be a more serious risk. These people are clean freaks – I think that’s where a lot of their tension comes from, because cleanliness is next to anal retentiveness.
Since then we’ve cleared up a few items of interest, endured a couple of days apart by and large, where we’ve all had personal matters to attend to (I spent most of my time working on my manuscripts just for you, my loyal readers) and in general had a wind down & a clean up. I must stop now as Zephyr has a trick he wants to play in Low town, and everyone here is in on it. We’ve decided to go to the Shadow Fell. It’ll be good for my armour I think – make it more potent. Zephyr wants to find out more about his dad as well, or something.
Please let this fall into someone’s hands so they know what has happened to us. We’ve slipped from the normal realm and ended up in the darkness. I can’t even begin to describe the darkness, but it’s like a nightmare that just won’t end. I can’t believe Zephyr has forced us to this place – he must be more insane than I ever previously considered. He tried to tell the others that it would be okay but it was a lie – I could see it in his eyes. Then again, maybe it was the weirdo mage he was talking to before we came here – the one who sold us passage. He was acting screwed up in the head, I don’t know. At the time I thought it had something to do with a mirror he was looking into but now it feels like he must have been a madman, infected by the same sickness as Zephyr. Only a madman would ever try to come here, and only a sadist would enable others to do the same. Perhaps something evil has called to Zephyr from this place. I know there is something in here with us. I don’t know what’s in here with us but I know it is watching. I can feel its gaze upon me as it waits to strike. I can feel its tendrils stretching out and tasting our fear. It’s not something we can escape, I don’t feel like we can fight. All that’s left now is waiting to be devoured.
Zephyr proposed we make a show of our departure. He opened a portal, and it nearly went awry when a child stepped through just after us. Luckily we were able to catapult them back into the city. From Daggerburg Keep we were able to exploit the weakened wall where Stormy had attempted to open the tear into the Shadow Fell by using a scroll provided to us by an insane wizard. We shouldn’t have. We should not have come here and now we’ll never get home again. Even the thought of home is impossible to conceive here. The foetid breeze, the sucking mud that mutes our struggles, and the claustrophobic darkness, where everything is both pressing close, and unreachably far, where nothing moves forwards or makes significant progress, where creatures lurk – all of them blot out memories of home and happiness. I would run, but there’s nowhere to go, and no way to get there. I don’t know what to do.