It might rain on us tonight, and while I am not keen to get wet, I am at least curious to see if there is a difference between being rained on and being dripped on all night.
We are in a lizardfolk settlement tonight. This is Dax’s home, and as far as he will accompany us on our trek back to Yissic’s village. He offered us lodging as a gesture of hospitality, for all we have been through with him. I would like to think that by saving his life in combat, I might modestly take credit for the invitation.
The day was overcast, and warm only when the wind died down. Discussion of rain came up a few times in our hike. The summer has been exceptional but we know that autumn is sneaking up. The friendly skies will eventually turn on us, and if they do so tonight, the dubious weaving of our grass hut rooftops will have us soaked by direct rainfall or by indirectly by leaking.
Arriving at dinnertime, we stopped in the settlement with the intent to eat and then carry on. But with sunset lost behind clouds and a chill come up from the earth, the group decided to accept a hospitable offer and overnight in the camp. When dinner was over, each of us gathered as much warmth from the communal fires as we could, and retired to our huts for the night. There was little interest in staying up to talk.
I have a hut to myself. So do Adiana, and Gord. Others share accommodations. Ayreskin prefers to sleep outside.
I burn a candle to write this, a candle from a supply like the rest of my equipment – in need of restocking. Our provisions will get us to Yissic’s village, and to the river beyond, but I have no doubt we will limp back into Callia with a bare minimum of goods and food. My Guild apartment in that city beckons me in my dreams. A bed, walls, security, new clothes and the promise of my own clinic in my sitting-room. Such grand motivations !
Motivations indeed. If I were to name the theme of my last journal entries, ‘motivation’ would fit. That is the heart of the matter – to ask what is driving my associates, deep down. Two months ago I might have said “adventure”, as if this were a catch-all classification that biased in favour of high-minded and noble purposes and ignored selfishness and base human nature. Now…now I have cut away the armor and skin and shallow tissues at the surface and face the symbiotic organs that lie beneath so superficial a motivation as “adventuring” or “exploration”. Greed, freedom, power, wealth, fame, accomplishment, bravado, curiosity, cruelty – these and so many other vessels inflamed within some men, benign in others.
I note that Spiritz is still preoccupied, distracted. I watched to see if he would seek counsel from any others, but he has not. I wondered if any of my associates have picked up on the sorcerer’s silent, internal debate. If they have, they have made nothing of it. Talking to that Dwarf Cleric had an unsettling effect on Spiritz. There was one point when the Cleric told him something in Abyssal, something that seemed meaningful to the Cleric and to Spiritz. Our sorcerer said the message was insignificant.
Perhaps only insignificant to us ? It seemed to carry profound meaning or implication to him, as he has not been the same since. I would first jump to conclude that Spiritz is obsessed with having threatened the Cleric with that axe. Closer observation tells me our sorcerer is pondering information, not dwelling on mistakes. Again, as with the hobgoblin prisoner at Yissic’s camp, I am in a place of needing information about a situation, information I cannot obtain. I can only hope Spiritz volunteers it to the group.
Journal of Dr. Marcus Grant
Healing Cleric of Pelor, Order of St-Jude Academy (Silabrek)
46th Day, lizardfolk settlement, territory of Ælim.