Nothing in this run-down village is sanitary. Not a single thing.
This town, I am told, is called Callia. It is a dirty, clapboard, wood-walled settlement of a few thousand dirty and clapboard people, in about as middle of the territory of Ælim as I suspect one can travel before they are (wisely) travelling back OUT of Ælim. If I thought I took issue with the run-down standards of cleanliness and civilization in the capital city -also, cleverly, named Ælim- then I suppose Radiant Pelor himself had a laugh upon my arrival in this dressed-up shantytown. But this is as far into the wild as I dare to travel, without armed comrades, so I will stop here for now.
I am in a foul mood at present. The heat of summer in these more southern latitudes, and all the walking to get here, have worn on me. It is night now, as I write this. A gold piece bought a lot of room at the cleanest inn I could find, and I am at least in comfort now. I have lodgings for the coming week. Though my gold coins slip away at more rapid a pace than I like, it is clear they will go far in a place like this backwater lean-to. Assuming, of course, I am not killed in the street. Or done in by a river-creature, or felled by a bite of bad meat. I dropped a Purify Food & Drink orison on the dinner service that came to my room, though it was not (obviously) spoiled. Would that I had memorized a Detect Poison for the room itself. It is clean enough by most standards, and it is neither a bedroll on the grassy plain nor a hammock in the hold that hideous cargo ship I took from Moravis. If the flimsy lock on the door holds the night, I might not be assassinated before I can make another journal entry.
Some brief notes on Callia. It is on these featureless pasture-plains which keep all the towns and villages of Ælim at a maddening several days’ walk from each other. A wide, muddy, slow, and probably sewage-sour river forms the eastern boundary of Callia. Docks and warehouses move goods down-river on rafts and scows. Wooden palisade-walls either keep out the untamed elements, or keep them in. I do not get the sense of dangerous folk in this town; more that the people are uneasy. No – ‘resigned’ is the better word. Market-sellers, peasants going about their business, even those who look to be of some station carry an unseen weight upon them. I wonder what it is. They notice me only to see if I am armed, or if I pose a threat. Whether they mark my bearing or the suggestion of my Order, they give no sign.
My window is open. On a night breeze, with the rank air of fish cooked over dry garbage, comes the random sound of an animal in the wild. Where and what it is, I don’t know. Well outside the walls, that much is sure. That it is heard over the din of people in the street and the murmur from adjoining rooms, is what draws my eyes to the frail door and to my four grimy walls. I am thankful to be in-doors this evening. And to be a full week off that blasted ship. I am tired and should rest. Tomorrow I hope to gain fresh perspective on Callia.
Here, I believe my search for adventure will begin.
Journal of Dr. Marcus Grant
Healing Cleric of Pelor, Order of St-Jude Academy (Silabrek)
1st Day in Callia, territory of Ælim.