Thoughts and actions following Thistletop.
The long walk back from Thistletop to Sandpoint turned out to be an excellent opportunity for Tientrich to digest recent events- his companions all seemed quietly lost in thoughts of their own, besides which he doubted he could carry on a conversation while straining to drag the upturned giant golden helmet along with Belor.
After aiding in saving Sandpoint from the initial goblin attack, and the subsequent ordeals in the glassworks, pursuit of Tsuto, and challenges of the catacombs, he had been eager for more such excitement. And he certainly hadn’t been disappointed. While there had been some near-disastrous moments (he still wasn’t quite sure how their luck had allowed them to escape from Malfeshnekor’s grasp), they had all pulled through in the end. And despite this diverse group of individuals being thrown randomly together, they seemed more and more to be working well as a team.
Perhaps this just came of getting to know each others’ strengths better, or perhaps from a mutual respect developing between them. For his own part he had to admit he had developed a rapid respect for Belor (perhaps he made some poor lifestyle choices, but they were his to make), which probably was grounded in the respect for warriors that came of being Shoanti. And he had also warmed quickly to Krolmnite, their mutual love of the wilds overcoming Twitch’s view of the gnome’s somewhat frivolous and irresponsible behaviour. And those two had put their lives on the line several times, with almost fatal conclusions for both. The other two, however, he had been far more cautious about.
Marius’ rather dubious skillset pointed to a questionable past, and his obvious preferences for city life saw him at odds with the druid’s way of thinking. Not that Tientric hated cities- he often reflected that really the only problem with them was that the gates were barred from the wrong side. However, it was those same questionable skills that had saved them from disaster on several occasions, notably when the druid himself had been about to walk into the deadly trap in Nualia’s lair.
Jon was another matter. Twitch’s initial fears that he would be one of those scholarly-type wizards who ultimately did little and added little to the world has proved unfounded, the sorcerer proving himself quick and decisive in his actions. However, his powers had revealed a degree of unnaturalness that made the druid uncomfortable. And the taint he had spoken of to Nualia seemed to refer to something more potent than the foully polluting fumes he surrounded himself in from whatever herb he was constantly smoking. Still, he had seen no evidence of anything to force a harsher judgement against the man. He would give him the benefit of the doubt, but remain wary. Time would tell whether the mage would prove himself a friend and ally, or something else.
Thinking of the conversation with Nualia does, unfortunately, reinforce some of Twitch’s beliefs about society. How much pain and death could have been avoided had the people of Sandpoint simply accepted the woman and her pregnancy, rather than indulging in gossip and judgement. He would never understand the need to judge people based on things such as whether they conformed to society’s expectations in choosing a mate, or how they conducted themselves during whatever form of courtship they chose. Could they not see that attraction and mating were natural, instinctive acts, and it was in fact society’s conditions that were false and wrong? Stupidity. Not that he felt this in any way made Nualia’s subsequent actions forgivable- her need for vengeance extended far beyond targeting those who had wronged her, and her desire to become a child of Lamashtu and unleash such insanity on Sandpoint and the surrounds was diabolical. There was no choice in the end but to ensure her death, and he was pleased that their success in that had been definitive. As long as there were such threats to the natural order of things to be ended, he would be happy to place himself in their path.
Back on the land, Tientrich watched as the wagon arrived from town with grain for planting, and herbs for his garden. The grain had been easily acquired, particularly with his share of the gold from Thistletop swelling his purse. The herbs had been a little harder- his acquaintance Hannah Velerin had been reluctant to part with any of her plants, using them as she did to relieve the suffering of the townsfolk, particularly the women during labour. However what favour Tientrich had gained by bringing her rarer plants from the deeper forests in the past, combined with his guarantee that this short-term loss would be offset by a more plentiful and reliable source once his garden was established, had won the beautiful elf over.
With his resources now at hand, Tientrich was ready to continue work on the land. However, he had determined to try a few new things to speed up the process of planting and growth. In reading the scroll he had found in Thistletop to call forth the earth elemental during the combat with Nualia, he had surprisingly not felt he had extended himself at all. Curious, as prior to this he would never have attempted such a summoning.
Deciding to build on this, the druid sat in the centre of the farmland and closed his eyes, focusing on the earth below him, and sifting it though his fingers. Extending his senses outward, he tried to encourage the particles to unbind from each other. Feeling himself sink a little, he opened his eyes and was pleased to see the surrounding area appear softer. Planting some of the seed and using his well-practiced powers to bring a sprinkling of water down on the area, he next felt for the spark of life within each seed, and nudged it awake. Soon, small shoots had broken through the pliable soil, as the growth of the plants was accelerated. This, he reflects, may come in useful later; surely the surrounding farmers would be able to aid him with assistance in return for improved crop growth, and if he could increase the yield of their existing crops, perhaps he could discourage further encroachment on the surrounding wilderness.
Tientrich spent the next several days working on the farm and garden, and in doing so exploring the new limits of his powers. He discovered he was able to further manipulate earth and plant matter, and that his command over animals had improved. He also found that he could imbue the traits of some plants and animals on himself, such as making his skin tough and fibrous, or giving greater strength or agility, and was confident he could do so to others. Metal, too, he was able to affect, heating o cooling it to extremes of temperature. All skills that he was sure would come in useful were his adventures and trials of late to continue.
Tientrich looked up from his planting as he sensed movement on the road, then smiled as he recognised the elf making her way toward town. Brushing the dirt from his hands he picked up the small sack, tightly bound at the top, that had been accompanying him since his return from Thistletop, and made his way down to the road.
"Shalelu," he said, as the woman neared "I have been hoping to see you. How have you found the goblin activity in your more recent travels?"
The ranger looked at the druid quizzically, firstly perhaps to remember who he was before realisation dawned.
"Fortunately quieter than the last time I spoke to you and your companions. I take it there have been no further attacks on the town?"
"No," Tientrich replied, shaking his head."However there was an attack on a merchant caravan our friend Belor had been guarding, and he barely escaped with his life. We decided as a group to take the fight to Thistletop."
"And you're still here?" she replied with raised eyebrows. "I take it you had some success?"
"Ripnugget will no longer be a problem, and hopefully without him the goblins will be far less bold." Tientrich stated.
"Perhaps," Shalelu said dubiously "There were greater players coordinating things than just he."
"True," Twitch nodded "But Nualia, who we believe was running things, is also dead."
"Nualia?" the elf queried "As in Nualia from Sandpoint? Who died in the cathedral fire?"
"Nualia from Sandpoint who obviously didn't die in the fire. She had dedicated herself to Lamashtu, and was planning on unleashing her foulness on Sandpoint, and on from there."
"Can you be sure she is dead this time then?" Shalelu asked as she digested this information.
"I put my spear through her head. So, as sure as I can be."
"It appears Sandpoint owes you and your companions quite a debt."
"As far as I’m concerned saving Sandpoint was less the goal than stopping Nualia’s plans, which if she had been successful would have affected us all. But I am glad further deaths were avoided.”
The two pause for a moment in silence, the conversation seemingly having run its course.
“Anyway,” Tientrich breaks the silence “I had wanted to see you, as I have for you a gift which I feel you may appreciate."
The druid opened the sack he was carrying, tipping its contents onto the ground. Shalelu jumped back as the bugbear’s head rolled toward her feet.
“Bruthazmus.” Twitch confirmed.
The ranger seemed a little taken aback as she processes the bugbear’s death.
“You said previously you have had several encounters where you fought to a stalemate. Clearly your skills are exceptional.” Tientrich said, trying to be encouraging as they regarded her former foe’s head.
“Do you mock me?” The ranger asked with a frown.
Tientrich frowned in return, unsure why she had reacted that way. After all, it had taken five of them to do little more than she had managed alone. He was about to confirm this when he realised there may be another issue. While among the Shoanti women were regarded just as highly as men for their martial abilities, this was not the same in much of other society. Perhaps she felt his complement was mocking for this reason?
“Not at all, despite you being a woman.” He smiles.
With a scowl and a final glare at the head on the ground (Twtich isn’t sure which of he and Bruthazmus have been the victim of the more scathing look), the elf turned and stalked angrily away.
Tientrich sighed. This was not the first time his attempts at conversation had gone awry, and in fact such reactions were one of the reasons he had withdrawn from society. Perhaps he wasn’t quite using the common language correctly, he thought with a shake of the head, it not being the Shoanti he had grown up with. Shaking his head sadly, as he had been feeling a respect and kinship toward the ranger, he returned to his work.
Acquisition and CreationEdit
Finally happy that his farmland and garden were in a fit state to become productive, Tientrich made his way into town, and to the shop of his acquaintance Larz Rovanky, the tanner. In light of the near-death experiences he and several of his companions had had of late he was hoping the tanner, who had made his existing armour, may be able to make something more robust.
“I can make some thicker hide for you,” the tanner replies to his questioning “It’ll be a bit more bulky though, and won’t afford you a great deal more protection that you have at present.”
After trying on some of the hide armour Larz has in store, Twitch shakes his head.
“Too restrictive for the little extra protection it gives. Any other ideas?”
Larz shakes his head sadly. “Not that I can do. You’ll have to see an armourer, look at something steel.”
Twitch scowls. “No metal for me. I guess I’ll stick with what I have.”
As he is about to leave Larz calls him back.
“Wait,” he says “I’ve just remembered there’s a man in Magnimar who does heavier armour using animal shells and the like rather than hides or steel. It’ll cost you though, he ain’t cheap. And it’ll still slow you down more than what you have, but you might find the trade-off a bit more agreeable.”
“Thank you.” Twitch replies, with genuine appreciation. Larz has, after all, likely just given up his own profit to help the druid out. But that is the kind of man he has always found him to be- gruff, abrupt, and sometimes a little offputting, but honest. Having said that, the druid tended to gift hides to him, so there was a degree of reciprocity to be had. And, Twitch reflected, though neither were particularly outgoing, he fl eta greater friendship toward the man that he had to any other in this town.
Before leaving, a pair of beautifully wrought boots caught Twitch’s eye, and he had a thought as to how he might offset some of the mobility cost of heavier armour.
“How much for those?” he asks, then flinches at the price. But having not tried what he is going to before, and having some knowledge that the quality of components can have a great effect on the result, he is happy to pay.
Two days later Twitch puts the final touches on the boots, and for the final time across the days of his crafting cast one of his spells that was oft-used in his travels, but far less so now that he was preparing more often for combat.
Pulling on the boots he smiles as he begins walking and instantly realises his success. Just like when he cast his spell of longstriding, his steps feel less effortful and each step seems to cover more ground. Yes, he thinks, this should do the trick.
Encouraged by his success he has another thought, and headed back into town, after some kind of headband or circlet he can enchant- having had success with enchantment to bolster his physical prowess, he decided he would try something more cognitive. Passing the shop of the weaponsmith Sevah on his way, he briefly dropped in, and after parting with more of his recently-acquired gold he left his spear there to have a new, sharper blade fitted. Continuing on to a jeweller, Twitch selects a narrow band decorated with beautifully sculpted leaves, and again returns to the land.
Another day of hard work and intense concentration, and Tientrich placed the finished product on his brow. While not noticing the instant effect he had with the boots, he did feel thoughts were coming to him a little more easily.
Satisfied that he had done all he wished with his available time (and having now spent all the gold he had acquired at Thistletop), Tientrich walks back toward town, deciding to return to his companions at the Rusty Dragon and see if there are any further developments from their recent adventures.