The lizardfolk settlement (I have decided that ‘village’ is not the right word) didn’t notice when we arrived yesterday and didn’t care when we left this morning. Cannot imagine how we were not the most exotic thing they have seen all year.
It was overcast today and for the first time in a long time I thought it might rain. Endure Elements kept me comfortable, even though it would not have kept me dry if rain were to fall.
It warmed up before sunset, if that makes any sense, so I don’t believe we will be breaking down camp tomorrow under soggy conditions.
Took great care to observe Alex today. More succinct to say I took great care and caution to not be noticed by Alex or that bird of his, today. After lunch I thought it best to mind my own business, until my pale party member sent his bird off on an errand of reconnaissance. Then I observed him on the sly. Even then, I got the curious feeling that Alex knew I was watching him.
If that were the case he has done nothing out of the ordinary. Again, more succinctly, he has done nothing out of what is ordinary for him to do. Today and yesterday I saw him take particular interest in some finds.
Yesterday it was the remains of a deer or stag. Our attention was attracted by a flock of carrion birds; investigating, we came upon the remains of a ruminant animal that had been partially eaten by a normal predatory animal – a wolf or coyotes perhaps. We lost interest, except Alex. He seemed very interested in the rotten remains, sifting it with a stick for several minutes. At the time we were waiting for our scout to return.
Today, our trek across the unmarked grassland took us past another dead animal, this one a muskrat. A little after that our group halted, because we noticed that Alex was not with us. He was, in fact, a half-mile behind us. He had stopped to obsess over the dead rodent and not noticed that we had gone on without him.
It was when we came back for him that I had a sudden insight. It may have come from his expression when he noticed our return and realized his fault. Or it may be that his attention to detail with the remains was familiar to me.
Since meeting him I have grown to suspect that Alex has a more-than-comfortable interest in death and the undead. No; perhaps not in the undead, now that I think better of it. Death, yes; he does state his trade as an embalmer.
I had thought his interest to be in causing or promoting death. These last few days I have seriously considered that he may have cast a death-magic spell to kill that hobgoblin. But seeing him examine the carrion we have come across, I now see it differently. His is a scientific interest. I’m almost sure that Alex has the same interest in the nature of death as I, as a doctor, have in the nature of life. What I had thought to be secrecy or concealment of an evil bend might just be his unabashed interest in the natural workings of the death aspect of the life cycle.
I won’t say it isn’t a little weird and off-putting. But this insight goes a long way to understanding what Alex is about. If he has no sadistic tendency to him and is driven only by pursuit of knowledge, I would be relieved. If I am correct, of course, and not victim to an elaborate deception.
I have any way to address this with him directly; we have no rapport on a friendly level and ours are professions not generally aligned to the point of comparing notes on our ventures.
Still don’t know what happened to the hobgoblin, but tonight I might safely conclude that Alex is not the torturing kind. Which then suggests the other one involved with the event was and is.
Going to keep this topic out of the journal for a while, unless something new comes up.
Journal of Dr. Marcus Grant
Healing Cleric of Pelor, Order of St-Jude Academy (Silabrek)
35th Day, grasslands, territory of Ælim.