Yissic was not there to kill us. That stroke of luck is why I’m here writing this.
The lizardman druid was friendly. Not warm or personable, but also not an enemy – this perhaps the most important attribute. He told us his name was Yissic. He dispensed Healing spells while I bandaged wounds, explaining himself to our battered group in an unsettling, hissing accent of the Common language.
Yissic is a member of a Guild generally aligned with our own (his guild-sash is a deep blue with a red diamond-pattern). Gavin had shared information with affiliate guilds about our investigation into the smuggling operation. The other Guilds had a vested interest. Among others, Yissic was tasked to scout a section of the river, monitor our progress and assist if needed. This he certainly did.
The lizardfolk who attacked us, he said, were the warriors of a particular tribe of the area. Why they should attack us remains open to speculation. It could be that the smugglers were attacking lizardfolk to pre-emptively defend their illicit operations. Or it could be that the lizardfolk are involved with the smuggling operations; either directly as participants or indirectly as hired mercenaries to provide security along the transport route. Yissic did not state an opinion beyond these possibilities.
Before he and his fearsome crocodile companion left us, Yissic stated that our attackers are not likely to return. Between last night and the night before, we have depleted the fighter caste of this offshoot lizardfolk clan that was after us. The druid bowed his scaly head slightly, and left us there to wait for dawn.
With BOB’s help, I carried Calum’s body away from the river, and buried him in an open patch of earth, as deep as we could dig with the tools borrowed from the barge. BOB and I did not speak as we worked, nor as we laid the Dwarf in his earthen tomb, nor still after when the soil and stones were laid upon him in final repose.
Xel’Xaran came upon us after we were done, having been travelling overland. He had found Dusty but returned without him, as our fighter ally planned to meet us at the destination. Dusty is said to be well. The barge was waiting for us; we made ready and pushed away from the waypoint.
Hours later, we arrived at our destination. Around a river-bend, a town similar to Callia crept into view. Mid-Plain, it is called. Busy docks along the river’s edge; that familiar smell of waste and smoke and grime. Our captain brought the barge in against the wharf, tied off, set his rivermen to unloading the barrels and crates. Came the onset of evening.
We disembarked and, with no better ideas, set a watch on the cargo as it was wrestled from the flat bed of the barge and clustered for pick-up. We scrutinized those men who came to collect their goods, but none stood out any different from the rest. They were all rough, grouchy sorts, witless laborers with sense enough to push, drag, and lift.
Will grew restless, and protested the futile effort. Pulp also thought it was pointless. Finally, we agreed as a group that this method would not expose a lead, so we sought out a town guard. The watchman was most helpful after he saw our sashes. Nothing unusual, was his report. Increased activity in the area, due to a series of shipments both arriving and departing. No hints of criminal intent. With a bored shrug, he directed us to the local Guild office.
Our reputation preceded us – in a letter from Gavin which preceded us. The local Guild-master received us with a fine welcome; he is a large fellow, hale and hearty in every way that Gavin is not. I believe he enjoys entertaining guests, or at least, does not receive many very often and so makes up for the lack of visitors when the occasion comes. He falls over himself to make our welcome and see to our needs and comforts.
This is not the same Guild as our own, nor the same as Yissic’s, but yet another affiliated Guild. And a generous one at that. Besides offering food and a room –a much nicer room that back in Callia- we were given 500 gold pieces each to help finance our efforts.
Now comes the end to a long day. We went out one last time tonight, mapped out the warehouse district, returned and went to bed. The Guild-master has some warehouses for us to check out, as the possible base of the smuggling operation here. Tomorrow we will see to those. Tonight, consensus is that a night in a safe haven will work wonders for us. I am barely awake.
Journal of Dr. Marcus Grant
Healing Cleric of Pelor, Order of St-Jude Academy (Silabrek)
13th Day, arrived in Mid-Plain, territory of Ælim.