These first few days have been difficult, without doubt.
Three others arrived at Oleg’s trading post on the last day of Calistril: a huntsman named Dmitri who carries an Aldori dueling sword, a wily tengu called Anjari, and a mounted soldier named Septos. We made our introductions with Oleg and his woman Svetlana, but conversation quickly turned to their recent problems with bandits; a small band of outlaws had recently taken to extorting Oleg and Svetlana under threat of violence, periodically taking their choice of provisions. We discussed the bandits briefly and decided that, technicalities aside, this issue did fall under the purview of Lord Surtova’s charter.
Svetlana offered to serve us a midday meal in the yard where we could discuss our plans further. It was during this meal that two more men arrived to enforce the charter: a robed elven priest called Revin and a strange gnome called Ginnelthob. As we continued to discuss the bandit issue and how we would resolve it, the first hints of potential disaster began to surface.
It was obvious that none of these men were prepared to execute this charter as necessary. The charter clearly stated that unrepentant banditry should be punished by sword or rope, but the phrase “unrepentant banditry” almost destroyed this venture before it began; while it clearly implicated those that have, until that point, engaged in banditry without attempt to repent or reform, the others have taken this to mean that any bandit found in the Stolen Lands should be given the chance to repent at swordpoint to avoid execution. This is obviously madness, but I maintained hope that a face-to-face encounter with these animals would set everyone on the right path.
We were awakened before dawn the next morning to take our positions, which for most meant staying out of sight. I was to veil myself as Svetlana to get close to the bandits and then surprise them with a Color Spray, but this had to change once the bandits arrived and Oleg ran inside the house… with Oleg inside, “Svetlana” had no reason to go near the bandits. In the guise of Oleg, I exited the house to find them already suspicious and preparing to attack, so I was forced to cast my spell over bandits and Ginnelthob alike. The battle ended with the final bandit surrendering to Dmitri, demoralized by seeing his leader slain and his companions unconscious.
It was at this point that potential disaster turned to reality. Beyond the typical promise of violence, these bandits had run Ginnelthob through while unconscious and tried in vain to kill Dmitri, so I set to cutting the throats of those still incapacitated knowing that the surrendered man would likely tell us all we needed to know. This was considered barbaric by everyone but myself and, I assume, Oleg; Revin even went so far as to tell me I had disgraced myelf, though I cannot overstate how little his concept of grace meant to me… as a matter of fact, I feel like I was doing his Goddess’s good work by sending those dogs to their ultimate reward. In any case, the others set to bickering over how exactly they could show the maximum amount of mercy to attempted murderers, regardless of whoever else this put in jeopardy.
They eventually settled on mutilating the bandits’ flesh with a hot iron and releasing them after they had told us all they knew. This turned out to be information on the bandit camp run by Kressle, as well as a larger camp run by The Stag Lord himself. After a nearly successful escape attempt by one of our prisoners which resulted in his death, we took the other three with us and headed out towards Kressle’s camp.
More to come…