The Ballad of the Lion and the Dragon
Dear Mother and Father, I’m sorry for not writing home sooner, but my assignment brought on far more troubles than I could have ever imagined. I had little time to write, and Tartsworth has been a considerable aid to me during the past week. There were undead creatures roaming the streets, butchers selling the meat of orphans, a kidnapping, a halfling standoff, and a party for a local baron (far far worse than it sounds, I assure you.) The group I am with has done many terrible things; I even came to stab a man to death. I am told that this city is among the worst the outside world has to offer. The cruelty and madness of Sturmgood shall forever be seared into my mind.
…that said, we have accomplished our task of protecting the orphans and gotten them out of the city. In addition we have put a stop to an orphan meat production ring, as well as a sick and twisted vampire Baron. I am certainly much wealthier than I was working at the castle, back in Archdell. And I have learned much about cooking, out here. Especially of Kilenshi. I’m enclosing a few recipes I’ve learned with this letter. I’m really glad to hear Grandma is feeling better, I am doing my best to make her proud.
The group I am with is strange and varied, but for the most part they have proved themselves to be relatively civilized. At least compared to the city of Sturmgood. I doubt I would have survived long without them. I wonder if Nailo will spare a few of them in the coming purge? The following is a compilation of what I know about each of them:
Captain Vincent Creed
As his title implies, he is a soldier. He is one of the few humans traveling with me, but he has a third eye that he keeps hidden under a headband. He is very capable in armed combat, both with a sword and a crossbow. In addition he dabbles in magic, without being hindered in the slightest. He is cold and tactless, but he is also quick to take charge. He is likely the most practical in the group.I find him a bit difficult to approach sometimes, but I think I can learn a bit from his magic and reproduce the effects in my recipes. I’m not sure what his favorite food is yet though.
…I don’t think he has a last name. But he is a paladin of a false god. I was absolutely terrified when we first met. I thought he was going to strike us all down one by one and feed our souls to his god. But no, for some reason paladins out here just walk amongst the commoners like it was nothing. Even stranger is just last night, I witnessed his head being struck from his body. He simply reached down and picked it up. I believe he is some manner of undead creature. I suppose I should have picked up on it sooner though. I have never seen him eat before. One might assume he was secretly eating the orphans, but I counted and they are all there. He even adopted two of them. And even further, seems to care for them a great deal. I dare say he might be the most kindly in the group. However, when something abhors him, he charges straight into the situation and takes action. It is as if he adheres to a strict moral code, but like the paladins back home.
One of the orphans Kendric adopted. She is a lovely human girl, almost like any other young lady you’d find in Lancaster. but she seems to get angry quickly if something happens to her sister. She also doesn’t remember anything about her family before she was left at the orphanage. All she has of them is a medallion. But I remembered seeing the symbol on it in Grandma’s travel book. It has to do with Molly McTynker. I’ll enclose a sketch of the medallion, so could you ask grandma what she knows about it?
Kendric’s other adoptive daughter, and Mina’s adoptive sister. She isn’t really human. Kind of part squirrel. Like a squirrel, she’s very curious and likes acorns. I’ve found myself making plenty of acorn bread, just because she eats it so readily. She gets along well with everyone, especially Mina. She seems a bit danger prone though. Kendric originally found her lying on the ground with bites taken out of her. And recently she had been kidnapped and tied up in a cellar for days. I worry about this one.
A mermaid, I found in a brothel during a halfling standoff. I felt really helpless and scared at the time, but she looked even more so than me, because she couldn’t run. I ended up carrying her out of the building and taking her with us. (Mermaids are really heavy by the way.) For a while I thought she might end up being a fish fry, but no one ever brought it up. (well, except Katy) She’s actually really nice and knows a lot about where to get certain things. For the past week or so we’ve been handling most of the cooking and shopping. She’s very good with seafood, especially shellfish. I think thats her favorite. She is also likes to sing when she cooks, she’s really good at it. So far, I think I get along with her the best out of anyone.
Amelia Von Hail(?)
I don’t know if thats her real name, she gives a different one every time someone asks. She says she’s a cleric. Some kind of Goat worshiper. She wields terrifying unholy magic.Just last night she knocked out a giant spider on her own. She strikes me as a troubled and foul natured individual, as she bares aggression at pretty much everyone. She also quite vocally expresses a passionate hatred of Lancaster and all things of it. I am glad I chose not to reveal my homeland, for I fear she would kill me. She looks human but I do not think she is one. I suspect she has the blood of demons running through her veins. Oddly enough, though, she tends to soften up around children. Around them she adopts a gentle, motherly disposition. Despite my better judgement, I don’t think its a ruse to drain them of their souls. I believe she honestly cares about children. She seems to have bonded with a young elvish-looking boy. She also lit up a bit when I served soup and breadsticks one night.
Yes, that Moorgaine. Apparently he is a young lord. I was a bit unnerved when I realized who he was, but, he doesn’t seem to be a paladin like his father. Then again, I’m slowly finding that paladins are a bit less terrifying out here. I don’t know much about him because he didn’t really talk to me, but he seemed to like it when I cooked up steak for him. He seemed to vanish not long after we got to Sturmgood. I’m not sure where he went but he probably found less trouble.
Not so much a part of my traveling party as a paladin that we allied with for a bit. She needed our help getting something back that was stolen from her parents. In turn she helped us get out of Sturmgood. Via a massive flying machine, no less. I haven’t spoken to her much but she seems to have a short fuse. Despite not being with us, she has eaten with us a couple of times. Both times, she simply walked in on me cooking and began preparing gnomish dishes. (She is too tall to be a gnome…) I just moved out of her way and did whatever she said to. She is scary. (She has fangs!) I’ve included the recipes she used with the others.
He’s a human, I think. It’s just he’s really tall. He’s kind of a mystery at times. I’ve seen him crush a man’s head with his bare hands. I’ve seen him use strange mechanical projectile weapons. I’ve seen him rush headlong into danger without a thought. I’ve seen him look at an impossible situation and come up with the perfect plan to survive and save countless lives. I’ve seen him be kind and caring. I’ve seen him be cruel and vicious. Pretty much whatever he is doing, though, he is always passionate about it. He opted to stay behind when we left Sturmgood. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him actually enjoy a single meal I made. For some reason, I find that even more unsettling than the undead paladin that doesn’t eat at all.
She’s a dark elf that follows Claudio around a lot. Last night, they even kissed. Needless to say, she stayed behind with him. I don’t really understand her. And I don’t mean that in the way I don’t understand Claudio, I mean she rarely spoke common. She was just starting to learn it. She spoke a couple languages. One of them was elven, I think, another, I didn’t know. But she also spoke the holy tongue from time to time. (So did Vincent, but not as well) Being around her for a while, I got more used to speaking it, myself. She seemed kind of angry and demanding most of the time. At least as much as I could tell from when I understood her. And I don’t think she liked me, but she did like when I cooked beef with mushroom sauce. At .least I think thats what her glare meant.
I’ve known her the shortest of anyone here, but she’s easily one of the most friendly people I know. Mostly because she’s a cat. She just sort of wandered into the orphanage one day. Then Phaelyn sold her soul to a faerie. Now she is a humanoid. And a witch. Being a cat, she really likes fish. So I made sure to cook lots of that. Especially since I had Tartsworth and Nerina to worry about.
I have since moved on from Sturmgod to Chelinqua. I haven’t seen much of the city, but it looks a lot safer and more relaxing. It’s by the sea so, I might get to spend some time at the beach. I will do my best to learn more about cooking, and stay out of trouble. I will return home when I can, so please don’t worry about me.
-With love, Lina