Made it to our destination without incident, by mid-afternoon.
This town isn’t large, or particularly distinguished. Don’t even know its name. Farming community, minor trade by land, wider streets than Callia but the people have that same look about them. Resignation. Indeterminate hardship. Need of a bath.
Found the house of Gavin’s aunt. Nominated myself as the spokesman for the group. I have the most skill at Diplomacy, and the most elegance and sense of manners. This is not meant as a slight to the better of my fellows. Simply that, when one is trained at the finest medical academy on the continent, one develops an immediate rapport with people and almost a gift for applying Charisma in conversation.
The group hung back as I knocked at the door, and beheld the elder half-Elf when she finally answered. She was unafraid of our appearance or our numbers. Supported by the door frame and a wooden cane, she stood tall, her long grey hair braided, wisdom evident in her eyes.
My speech was not rehearsed. I let compassion and empathy speak for me. Without assigning fault or providing difficult detail, I explained the situation and offered my apologies.
The gentle woman took it well. Better than expected. I got the sense that this news was not unexpected. Well-possessed of her emotions, she invited us in, asked us to stay for dinner. As if it were some custom. Wary, we accepted. Our escorts did not join us.
Best meal I have had in a week. Old woman saw to it that we were stuffed full. Part of me feels bad that we were not completely honest about her son. Gavin wished us to impress that her son had pledged Gavin’s Guild and failed. That, I have done. I suppose we may be forgiven for withholding the rest, though the omission pains me.
As the night progressed, the old woman became more talkative; perhaps sorting out her loss through disconnected stories and anecdotes of some of her late son’s more minor shortcomings.
Hour grew late. Her monologue turned inwards. She made mention of suspicions, feelings, premonitions. Not to us; said more aloud to the room, to those of us awake and drowsy, and at those already asleep where they sat. Talk of a change in the air, a shift in the earth. Eerie ramblings to hear from a half-Elf who is perhaps five times my age, someone whose lineage ties them to something deeper, darker, more elemental about the world than we Humans could ever understand. I remember suddenly wishing for more candles, for more light, for Pelor himself to arise before his due course and push away the darkness invited to the table with the old woman’s low, rough diatribe. Alex, I noticed, was wide awake and energized.
At long last our host ceased her ramblings; shook as if startled from sleep, looked about, nodded. Invitation to stay was implied with the meal. She took her leave, left us at the table or upon the floor as we were, retired to her chamber and closed us out.
I took a candle to a corner and wrote this. If I sleep tonight, I will not sleep easy.
Journal of Dr. Marcus Grant
Healing Cleric of Pelor, Order of St-Jude Academy (Silabrek)
6th Day, small town, territory of Ælim.