Beyond Fiddler's Vale: Part 1

This series and its universe is based on D&D Pathfinder sessions, a real group of people, of friends, regularly play at official BCTS chat. The town at the centre of our adventures is based on a Pathfinder campaign by Rasufelle. Many thanks for editing to Crazypagangurl and of course a big thank you all the nice people I can nag with my evil machinations.

“Once upon a time... Oh, scrap that! We’re not in fairyland.” I put my feather down and look across the green lawn and over the red rooftops and chimneys of Fiddler’s Vale.

“This is the story of an eclectic bunch of females from all parts of this world, who went onto an adventure to solve the mysteries long forgotten by our ancestors.

"I’m Alitranna Darkeyes, a paladin of of a shunned goddess. Just so you know, I came here into this wide valley to find peace and be among friends and of course for my lovely Sasayaku.

"Fiddler’s Vale is a small town with a busy port not far from the coast. Many adventurers come through here, often odd and quirky. This quirky group of women however seemed different.

"A very young high elf exuding an importance and arrogance I had only witnessed at their court. A tiefling woman, a powerful druid who had a dangerous looking dinosaur bound to her. A lightly blue skinned sylph, a rogue perhaps, but her war pony suggested she has been of another profession once.

"Then there was a half elf, a free spirit it seemed. Molly our ‘adopted’ niece took a liking to her immediately. But then, who could blame Molly? We didn’t often get interesting adventurers to stay here in Fiddler's Vale. Especially not as quirky and equally friendly as this group seemed to be.

"Things were getting more and more mysterious by the day. It started slowly at first, our fishers returning empty handed from their upstream grounds. Now the river carried ominous looking puddles and the water didn’t taste fresh either. Trade was slowing down at the port and some days one could even see elves mingling with orcs. This dear reader, was a sight unheard of.

"Sailors returning from El Borich, the large city upstream and from further away, often told about seeing strange lights at the Island of ruins, three days from here in the middle of the Thousand Lives Run. Even the fishermen from downstream at the Wapanoosa Inlet spoke of their fears of soon not catching enough to feed their families any more.

"So I promised myself to keep an eye on those young women, even if it was just to protect Molly.

"She was still too young for the big adventures and it would hurt to see her heart broken.

"Instead of boring you with me telling you about my daily chores of removing Sas’ fur from our furniture, dear reader, I will start to tell you about the adventures of those young women, as I observed them unfolding.

It's a dull gray morning, you just woke up and somehow got yourselves out of your beds in some of the tiny rooms on the upper floor of the Journeyman's Inn and headed downstairs in hope for a decent breakfast.

Alyssa, the free spirited half-elf half walks, half stumbles down the stairs from her scratchy bed, heading for the kitchen. Valeria, the stuck-up high-elf dresses in her gear and comes down for the meal shortly after Alyssa.

A moment or two later, April mumbles something and falls down the stairs, followed closely by Ghanna who had dressed and wandered down, pulled by the smells from the kitchen. Ghanna giggles as she sees April stumble halfway down the stairs.

Alyssa is just awake enough to have remembered to bring her gear with her from the room upstairs, and drops it by the hearth for a moment.

A cheery inn keeper is busy tending the people in the combined inn and tavern.

Alyssa noticed that April had stumbled, “Oh, dear, I hope you're okay, April.”

April gets up after her fall and follows the smell of coffee, she could use a good cup of it.

Valeria waves to the innkeeper to place an order for breakfast while Ghanna grins, talking to April, “Yeah, we might need you awake!”

Alyssa laughs, overhears someone in the room mentioning coffee and exclaims “Coffee! excellent idea, just what I need to get up to speed!”

You all find a nice clean table, in the middle of the room, the only table not being taken by any guests yet...

Valeria sits at the only unoccupied table and orders a mushroom and swiss omelette with juice. Alyssa joins Valeria in ordering a breakfast tray and waits for the coffee to be ready.

Valeria listens to the conversations intently while Alyssa looks around the room, not really hearing the conversations, but watching the people and April orders Coffee and some seaweed salad.

Valeria listens, keeping her ears perked for keywords like lost travellers, dungeons, crypts, bad people and the like while not looking at anyone at all.

The DM tells Valeria, “You overhear people talking about an isle.”

Alyssa states, “I'm watching the people around us because you just never know when the shit is gonna fly.”

The DM mentions a river isle, which seems to have become a strange place lately.

Ghanna orders her own breakfast and asks for a slice of meat that she can give to Barney.

Valeria asks the innkeeper, “Do I have any idea whereabouts this isle is?”

The innkeeper, Madame Benrime, a stocky dwarfen woman asks how you would like that meat, “Medium or well done, hon?”

Valeria mutters, “I didnt order meat with my breakfast, just a mushroom and swiss omelette.”

Ghanna replies “I ordered the meat... for Barney.”

Alyssa hears Ghanna ask for meat and asks for some for herself, medium rare and Ghanna smiles.

Ghanna adds, “I would like my piece raw, just right for a growing dino like Barney.”

April looks a bit stunned at Ghanna mentioning a dino, Alyssa hears dino and emits a small, startled gasp.

Valeria asks again, “Do I pick up any clue as to where this island might be?”

"No, not yet,” DM replies, “You just hear that something is off about that isle.”

Madame Benrime arrives with a large pot of coffee and Valeria's omelette.

Alyssa leans forward, taking a long, slow sniff of the hot coffee and notices a slight smell, not really identifiable to her senses at the moment.

Valeria asks, “Would I be able to find it on a map of this region?”

Alyssa shakes her head and mutters, "Hmmm... that's odd, I smell something, not sure what, though. The smell is coming from the coffee." (perception roll?)

Valeria hears Alyssa mention the smell from the coffee and casts detect poison on it.

Madame Benrime smiles as she approaches them: "Here you go, girls, coffee for everyone. Your meals will arrive shortly too.”

Valeria: !d

Valeria: 1d20: 12

Madame Benrime: “I apologise for the slight smell of the coffee. I assure you it's cooked well.”

Alyssa looks up, asking, “So just what am I smelling in it, Madame Innkeeper?”

"Just the water from the river seems to have picked up some kind of ... whatever it is upstream,” is the response from the slightly upset innkeeper, Madame Benrime.

Valeria asks the DM, “No poison detected?”

Madame Benrime: “It is no poison, I assure you, nobody has been falling ill here.”

DM: Roll for it, Valeria.

Valeria enquires, “Mineral leaching into the water from the ground? like sulphur? Copper?” Then in an aside to the DM, she says, “I did roll, a 12.”

DM: You don't detect any poison

Valeria shakes her head, muttering, “Okay, so probably a mineral.”

Alyssa chooses that moment to do a perception roll, hoping to find out what is wrong with the coffee that is sitting in front of her untouched.

Alyssa: !d

Alyssa: 1d20: 6

DM: “Alyssa, you find out that this coffee actually contains coffee beans.”

Alyssa replies, “Yeah, I'd expect that, like hello!” as she goes all Valley girl for a brief moment.

DM: You do however notice some mouldy taste

Alyssa calls for the innkeeper, muttering about mould in the coffee.

Valeria overhears Alyssa muttering about mould after calling for the innkeepers and asks, “Mouldy? Is it a damp storage area or just old stuff?”

DM: …Off - it's cooked after all.

Valeria can tell between fresh coffee beans and old by the lack of strength in it. Alyssa sips very briefly at the coffee and shudders at the faintly mouldy taste.

"Yes, my dear?” Madame Benrime replies as she arrives with the rest of the order and some raw meat for Barney too.

Valeria asks the inn woman “How fresh are the eggs here?”

Alyssa looks up just as Valeria finishes speaking and asks her own question, “Madame Innkeeper, when did you last check the barrels your coffee beans are stored in? This... coffee tastes icky!”

Madame Benrime states: “A few minutes ago, I did. All is well with those fine beans.”

Valeria holds a gold piece in her hand twirling it.

Madame Benrime adds: “The last barrel arrived just last week by boat from Andana.”

Alyssa looks up, a frown on her face, “Then why does this coffee taste like there's mould in it?” she asks as she looks around for somewhere to dump the suddenly undesired coffee.

Madame Benrime states: “It could be from the river, we do get our water from the river nearby, it always has been fresh and clean.”

Alyssa shakes her head and asks, “Do you boil your water before you use it to cook things?”

"It is our only source for water here.” Madame Benrime turns to the nearly platinum blonde pointy eared woman, huffing: “Of course we do!”

Alyssa frowns again and pushes the mug gently toward the innkeeper.

Madame Benrime sighs, replying: “... especially since the river started to smell strange.”

Alyssa pushes the coffee even closer to the innkeeper, “Here, taste this, tell me you would want to drink that?”

Benrime looks beaten and says, “Girls, I'm so sorry. We do our best to keep you fed and watered well, but something is off with the river. Something must have happened upstream.”

Alyssa enquires, “Has anyone made any effort to determine what's causing this?”

Madame Benrime replies, “Yes, we sent our best men up there.”

Alyssa nods and asks, “And where are they?”

"Still investigating I believe, but it's been some days now,” Madame Benrime replies.

Alyssa asks where the men are, “Have they returned at all since they were sent?” then hears the innkeeper mention they are still out there. “Ahhhh, so they haven't returned yet.”

Valeria enquires, “Hmmm, that odd taste wouldn't be corpses rotting in the river, could it?”

Alyssa looks at Valeria, Ghanna and April just as the innkeeper speaks again.

Madame Benrime sighs and adds, “The last time they sent notice, they've been at the old ruins at the isle three days up the river.”

Alyssa shudders at the thought the men likely won't be coming back, then says, “I think we need to find out what is causing this, girls.”\

Madame Benrime finally answers Valeria's question about corpses rotting in the river, “I have no idea, elven girl, I never had to misfortune having to drink rotten water.”

Valeria nods as she hears the innkeeper's reply, then says to Ghanna, April and Alyssa, “Hmmm. Okay. We do need to investigate. I need Spring water to drink to be healthy and this will not do at all.” She points at the coffees, all exuding a faint smell of mould or decay.

Madame Benrime stops for a moment, then continues speaking, “If I had, I would make sure our water supply would be restored to its former freshness, you can be sure of that!”

Ghanna squawks, “Investigate!”

Alyssa grins as she replies to Valeria, “I'm not quite that bad, but I do prefer that my water taste nice.”

Valeria nods and adds, “Some work group could be polluting it too. Like miners or processing or farm runoff.”

Alyssa agrees, “There are lots of possibilities, it definitely needs to be checked and soon.”

April has mostly sat and listened to the discussion up to this point and chooses this moment to ask, “Can you show us where you sent your men?”

An orc turns around and throws a mug across the room.

Alyssa remembers the odd map, “Hey, April, where's that map you were showing me last night?”

April replies, “You mean that nearly blank parchment?

Valeria slowly undoes the top of her backpack, leaving a coil of rope exposed.

Alyssa thinks for a moment, then answers her, “Naw, the one that troll dropped on the table.”

April grins as she responds “Yep, that one... I left it upstairs...”

Alyssa tells April, “Show it to the innkeeper.”

April then asks the innkeeper, "Can I have some coffeebeans not watered in that stinky stuff? Just whole beans is okay."

Alyssa agrees with getting fresh coffee beans, “Yeah, then we can make coffee using the water we've been carrying.”

Valeria eats her omelette in silence as the other meals arrive at the table. Alyssa shakes her head at the coffee/water issue, then begins to eat her breakfast, including the thick slice of cured ham just as April shuffles off to get the map that she left upstairs.

DM: You hear other people shouting about those men being away too long.

Alyssa hears the yelling start and looks around the room, “Uh oh, looks like some people here are upset.”

April returns to the table and shows you a dirty parchment, barely decipherable just as Valeria asks, “Is there a reward for their safe return?”

Alyssa takes a brief look around the room to see where the shouting is happening and Valeria casts detect magic on the map.

DM: As you look around Alyssa, you notice the wide range of creatures here. Orcs, dwarfs, halflings... But the elven girl beside you seems to be the only elf here.

Valeria: !d

Valeria: 1d20: 20

Alyssa blinks in surprise and starts counting off the races that she sees in the room.

DM: No magic, just an ordinary dirty map.

Valeria replies, “Okay. Cool. I study it and get my bearings to it from here.”

DM: It does however look old. You see some faint lines.

Alyssa spots a gnome hiding under a table in one corner of the large room, then asks the group, “Hey, girls, when was the last time you saw orcs, dwarfs, halfings, humans, a gnome, a tiefling, a troll and half-elves all in one tavern at the same time?”

Valeria, still looking at the map, mutters, “Wasn't that the Hobbit trilogy?”

April laughs quietly, adding her bit, “...And peacefully together even.”

Valeria, still more interested in the map, adds, “...Or a party of adventurers...”

Alyssa looks around again, saying, “...And not arguing or fighting, yeah, this is weird!”

April is beginning to be shocked by what she sees here, “I can't remember. It's unheard of.”

Ghanna giggles, saying, “Dont spoil it!”

April mutters, “Something is sooooo off.”

Alyssa agrees with April, “This place is getting stranger by the hour.”

Valeria says as she examines the map again, “Remember my detect magic I cast earlier would let me know if magic was present, it's 60' radius.”

DM: Alyssa, The gnome is winking to you.

Alyssa blinks as she sees the gnome winking at her, then shrugs and waves to the gnome.

Valeria asks, “Do I get the general idea of the way to the island upstream? By studying the map?”

Alyssa shakes her head, then mutters, “Huh, I just saw that gnome winking at me, I wonder what they're up to."

The gnome waves back and looks around, waving more desperately. He seems to say something.

Ghanna notices the gnome and calls over, “Hello gnome, won't you join us?” Alyssa sees Ghanna talking and raises her hand so the gnome can see it, beckoning for the gnome to join them.

DM: But you cannot read the gnome's lips and it is too loud to hear him.

Alyssa shakes her head, “With all the noise in here, I don't think he heard you, Ghanna. You see, he's shaking his head, pointing to his ears.”

There is a commotion at the far end of the room, a human woman seems to be unhappy with the coffee too. Her companion however sips happily at some fruit juice.

Alyssa decides to do a perception roll to get some idea of what's going on here.

Alyssa: !d

Alyssa: 1d20: 1

Ghanna wanders over to the gnome and leads him back to our table. When she returns, she says, “Let's hurry, I want to give this meat to my dino.”

DM: Alyssa, you see that his fruit juice has a lovely orange colour. Something scrambles past your legs and vanishes under the table.

Alyssa sighs as she says, “How nice, I was trying to gauge the mood of the room, it feels like trouble about to go bang in a nasty way, but all I was getting was the fact that people are upset.”

Valeria ties her backpack top tight and hefts it over her shoulders, saying, “Time to head upstream to the island.”

DM: "Hey beautifuls!" You hear a shout from under the table.

Valeria ignores the calls from under the table, not enjoying having short people looking up her legs and walks outdoors. Alyssa looks around the room, then under the table before spotting the gnome hiding there.

"Hey honey, finally you look at the right man,” the gnome speaks and smiles brightly.

Valeria adds as she leaves, “We need to speak outside away from the chatter and prying ears.”

Alyssa giggles at the "right man" comment as Valeria speaks again, “We don't need a second party of adventurers following us to ambush us either.”

"I saw you lovelies looking at that old paper map,” states the gnome.

Alyssa mutters, “Oh?”, then listens intently to what the gnome is saying.

"Where did you find that old thing? It's been out of date for centuries,” the gnome continues.

Alyssa chuckles and asks him, “Why would you want to know how we found it?”

The gnome replies, “You won't find a mountain on that old thing.”

Alyssa looks confused at the mention of a mountain, “A mountain? What are you talking about?”

The gnome continues: “Well, we don't have mountains here anyway. From it’s state, I’d guess it's probably from the time of the old days.”

Valeria stands outside pouting with mild annoyance, as her earlier question about the map and studying it was not answered at all.

"When evil creatures were hunting men and mice. No creature was safe. They came and went... and nobody ever saw where they'd go...”

Alyssa reaches down, makes sure her pack is fully secured, then picks it up, ready to leave even though her breakfast is only half eaten. Ghanna stands up, saying, “I had better go check on Barney.”

"It's probably a map of the old... well, I wouldn't call it temple,” the gnome continues.

Ghanna picks up the raw meat and heads towards the stables where Barney has been staying.

The gnome is still talking, “...Sacrifices had to be made in those days long forgotten...”

Alyssa hears some slightly frantic whinnying from the stables as the wind shifts directions.

Valeria tries to locate a town store that might have a local map for sale.

April grabs the parchment from the table and asks the gnome if he can read the map.

DM: The odd pair which has been arguing calms down again.

Alyssa states as she walks away, “April, I'm going to go check on our mounts, I hear them, they seem a bit nervous.”

April turns to listen to Alyssa, replying “Yes, do that Alyssa, I think I can handle the gnome.”

Alyssa nods, saying, “Meet me at the stable when you're done in here, then.”

April nods as Alyssa lifts her backpack up, setting it on her shoulders, then heads out to the stable.

DM: As you leave you notice the orc from earlier jumping up, but you're already at the door.

Ghanna wanders off to the stable to feed Barney. April grabs the map and runs upstairs, getting her stuff. Valeria has been outside for a bit, talking briefly to townsfolk about finding a store that has maps available.

Alyssa shakes her head, muttering, “I wonder what has the ponies acting like that, mine's war trained, most things shouldn't make it nervous.”

Ghanna, Alyssa and Valeria you are outside when you hear shouting and crashing of furniture and earthenware.

Valeria figures that the charm spell inside the tavern wore off. Alyssa turns around, roughly midway between the tavern and the stable, the noise seems to be coming from the tavern behind her.

April appears at a window and waves. Valeria sees April leaning out the window and shouts to April to leap out the window.

DM: You see April gnomehandling said creature through the open window.

Valeria yells, “You can use the gnome to land on when you hit the ground!”, then says under her breath, “I’m not sure what is going on but I don’t want to get involved with a bar fight.”

Alyssa steps into the stable, spots the two ponies snorting, pawing at the floor and generally acting quite nervous, then sees the lizardy creature in a stall at the other end and Ghanna in front of that stall.

As you hear what appears to be a full blown brawl now, April is holding a wiggling gnome out the window and signs to you to get back to her.

Valeria hollers up to April, "Can’t come in, bar fight going on. You have to come out the window. I’ll catch the gnome."

Alyssa tries to calm the two nervous ponies down.

April shouts for someone to catch the darn gnome, "He knows something!"

Alyssa asks the DM, “Do I need to roll to see if I manage to calm the ponies or not?”

DM: The ponies are not that riled up yet, but Barney seems to be a bit nervous.

Valeria mutters, “Probably just a basilisk.”

DM: AJ (April's war pony) is shuffling her hooves but otherwise appears to be calm and happy with the fresh hay.

Ghanna tries to keep Barney calm, all the animals seem a bit nervous, likely due to the commotion in the tavern. Alyssa notices Ghanna standing near a young dinosaur. Thistle has never been this close to any dino, so he's not sure what to do, hence her war pony's nervousness.

April casts featherfall on the gnome and lets go, in the hope that Valeria is true to her word and catches the little man at the same time as Valeria wonders how long April is going to hold the gnome outside the window, her arms should be dead tired by now.

Valeria: !d

Valeria: 1d20: 6

Valeria completely misses catching the falling gnome who lands quite gently thanks to the feather fall spell. Ghanna uses her animal handling skill to try to calm her dino inside the stable.

Ghanna: !d 1d20+9

Ghanna: 1d20+9: 3 +9 = 12

DM: Barney calms down at your soothing touch, Ghanna.

Valeria mutters, “I still have no clue if a store nearby sells a map of the locale and river.”

The gnome however gently glides to the ground and stands up... Shouting obscenities to Valeria

Valeria snorts, “Hey I tried! Blame the breeze not me!” as she breaks into a big smile.

Alyssa rubs and scratches under Thistle's jaw, then opens her pack long enough to pull out a fairly fresh carrot.

The little gnome glares up at the large elf and kicks her hard on the left shin!

Valeria flexes her dragon claws out after being kicked by the gnome (Valeria is from a draconic bloodline as well as of high-elven heritage).

"Elfs, snooty folks they are!"The gnome turns around and walks away.

Valeria growls at the gnome, “I 'tried' to catch you, a crossbreeze is not a suitable reason to blame me for your falling too rapidly away from me.”

Alyssa offers the carrot to Thistle, who happily munches on it.

Valeria continues talking to the gnome, “However, if what you have to say is valuable I might be willing to part with 4 gold for your 'information'.

DM: Ghanna, You only hear Valeria complaining, a man shouting insults and April as she lands.

The gnome is strolling leisurely away… calling you names.

Valeria is shocked, “He ignored my offer of 4 gold?”, then frowns at the name calling the gnome is doing as he walks off.

DM: He slowed down a bit.

Alyssa in an OOC comment: (wow, that's really unusual behaviour for a gnome, ignoring easily made cash)

Valeria shrugs, "Oh well, maybe someone inside would want an easy 4 gold,” and walks back towards the inn entrance.

DM: Valeria, You see the gnome eyeing you and stopping. “Wait!”, the gnome shouts

Valeria asks, “To whom is the gnome referring?”

The gnome continues talking, “Highfalutin' elven folk think they own the world....”

Valeria frowns at him, “If you are speaking to me, I am not ‘All elven.’ I am high elven. My other side is dragon.”

The gnome raises an eyebrow to the stuck up elven girl. "Worse, much worse, stuck up and not even a whole elf..." you hear him muttering.

Valeria turns back to the entrance, yelling, “Anyone inside know anything about the island upstream and its surroundings? An easy 4 gold if anyone can offer information that is helpful.”

The gnome shouts louder, "Milady, I may have certain knowledge, which might be helpful in your quest!"

Valeria turns to face him, saying, "Why didn't you say so before?"

The gnome mutters, "You didn't ask."

Valeria nods as she says, "Let's hear your information, and judge its worth."

The gnome shrieks, quite furious now, “You promised 4 gold! That or no word at all!”

Valeria holds out the 4 gold toward the gnome.

The gnome eyes the gold greedily. "You appear to be in possession of a certain... map."

Valeria nods, “And?”

Alyssa continues to stand next to Thistle, absentmindedly scratching under the pony's jaw.

The gnome starts talking, "… Not of any value anymore, if you'd ask me, however it would spare you the hassle of buying a new and totally overpriced one..."

Valeria raises an eyebrow in his direction, asking, “What is the difference between that one and a new one?”

April sneaks around and stands behind the gnome... just in case.

The gnome stops briefly as if thinking, then continues, "This difference is just one small detail..."

Valeria nods again, saying, “Which is?”

The gnome looks at the ground as he declares, "…It's worth at least 5 gold."

Valeria shakes her head, stating, “There are mountains on that map and you obviously said earlier there are no mountains there now. Were there mountains there at some point in the past?”

The gnome hisses, "This is the last known map of the old temple of Antaria.”

Valeria digs in her money pouch and produces 5 more gold which she hands to him.

The gnome continues, “It's been told that this temple as small as it had been has been located on an isle.”

Valeria listens, then asks, “Then what was the issue about the mountains?”

The gnome grabs the gold and hides it in his clothes. “The mountains... long gone.”

Ghanna leads Barney out of the stables and looks for the rest of the group, then feeds Barney the bit of meat from breakfast.

Valeria asks the gnome, “Eroded over thousands of millennia or magically shifted out of phase or dimension?”

The gnome replies “...Nothing of interest... the dwarfs made a huge fortune from digging them up...”

Valeria facepalms herself. Of course, the little ones dug the mountains to nothing in their unending quest for gold. She then asks the gnome, “What about the temple?”

The gnome mutters, "It's gone since thousands of years."

Valeria is getting a wee bit annoyed at the non-answers from the gnome. “So how does this map help us on the island upstream where the others vanished.”

The gnome adds, "But nobody has ever seen it and returned. It has been rumoured, the island and river are still in the same place, just as they have been before and will be, when the time ends."

Valeria shakes her head, saying, “Potentially covered by an illusion to hide what’s there most likely.”

The gnome grabs the rest of the offered money and huffs at her, shaking his head.

Valeria wonders out loud, “If no one who has seen it never returned, then how did you come by the knowledge?”

The gnome snarls, “Elfs!, they'll never understand us normal people! Gee, what a silly question!”

Valeria shrugs, replying to him, “Not silly. Logical.”

"You pointy eared bastards must be dumber as stone! People have eyes, of course!” the gnome hisses, still rather angry. “Have you ever heard about boats?”

Valeria nods, still listening to him, “Yes, I know of them.”

"You know, sailing, rowing... getting from one shore to the other?” the gnome adds in a very snarky tone of voice.

Valeria frowns, “I already said yes...”

Alyssa checks that Thistle and Aj have all the gear they should, then opens both stalls, grabs both ponies' lead reins and walks out of the stable toward the entrance of the tavern.

The gnome speaks again, “As you must know, some fine Gnomes have been seen last rowing to that place … That thin air up there must really affect the small brains of elfs!”

Valeria is not happy with the gnome's insults, replying, “It is wiser to think of me as a dragon in human form than as an elf. Elves would take high offence to your comments.”

Alyssa overhears the comment about small brains of elfs and shakes her head, laughing quietly.

Valeria continues talking to the gnome, “That is all that you know of this?”

The gnome snorts "Dragons... my ass, they haven't been seen since ... I have no idea when!"

Valeria unleashes both sets of claws next to his torso so as not to touch him but to scare him and snarls at him, “I am a silver dragon!”

"What else would there be for a mere sum of 9 gold?” the gnome hisses at her.

Alyssa walks over to within a few feet of the little gnome and stops, still holding the reins of the two ponies.

Valeria growls, “You would have me part with my entire measly hoard for which I must have as all dragonkind do?” And 9 gold is not measly! It's way overpriced for the goods in this area. You,” she points a claw at the gnome, “Are not out there risking your life for it.”

Alyssa agrees with Valeria's last statement, “Nope, he'd rather have us risk our lives and fleece us in any way he can while we're doing it.”

Valeria shakes her head, saying, “Fine, he has nothing valuable to offer then. Let's head on out.”

DM: The gnome vanishes before your eyes, Valeria.

Valeria is quite surprised at the gnome's sudden vanishing act and decided to cast detect magic.

Valeria: !d

Valeria: 1d20: 2

Alyssa is also rather surprised at the gnome disappearing, “Where did he go?” and looks around to see if he is somewhere nearby.

Valeria growls and makes sure her hand is on her money pouch, then spins her staff in her other hand around her to make sure he isn’t nearby without hitting the other party members.

DM: While you look around helplessly, Valeria, you see tumbleweed rolling across the path.

Valeria snarls, “Thats him!” as she casts animate rope and attempts to trap what she thinks is the gnome. Alyssa also sees the tumbleweed and draws her whip just in case. Alyssa attaches a piece on the end of her whip, the piece has three very nice hooked barbs on it.

Valeria directed her rope to entwine the tumbleweed, then...

While you stare at the tumbleweed the gnome reappears at the next corner... right beside a nice shop selling adventure gear.

Alyssa mutters, “These barbs are perfect for ripping open a greedy little gnome's belly!”

The gnome walks around the corner and out of sight.

Valeria shakes her head, deciding to drop the matter and says to the other girls, “Lets go to the island. We need to find a boat to take us there.”

Alyssa looks over toward the store that sells adventuring gear. “Perhaps we might want to get some extra gear for the trip?”

Valeria hisses to no one in particular, “He is ripping us off, I spent half my money!”

“He ripped you off indeed," April agrees.

Alyssa points out to them, “The store may not be owned by the gnome.”

Valeria shrugs, replying, “Okay, you check it out then.”

DM: You see the store is open.

Alyssa ties both ponies' lead reins to a post in front of the store and enters, then looks around the store for items that they could use on their quest. Ghanna secures Barney outside the store and comes in with Alyssa and April.

A young and dynamic looking halfling comes from the back and greets you, asking for your wishes and where your vacation will go.

Alyssa nods and returns the greeting, then sees a shelf with a large supply of standard healing potions and two larger ones that look similar.

"To the highlands of Nasassina or is it the warm jungle of Edoron?” he asks the three girls.

Alyssa realizes the guy is talking about vacations and looks at him, quite confused, "Vacation? We're not on a vacation, we're heading upriver to find out what's causing the water to be weird."

The owner looks stunned for a moment. “Ah, healing potions... if you go to the jungle, you might want to invest in some spells too. There are poisonous creatures after all."

Alyssa asks the storekeeper, “How much for the regular healing potions?"

"Not much of an adventure," he manages to get out after hearing her question.

Alyssa looks at him and replies, “We won't know whether that's true until we get there, will we?”

The owner nods at the potions Alyssa is looking for... “35GP, they are quite old and rare.”

Alyssa smiles, “That sounds reasonable. I also want whatever anti-poison potions you might have as well?”

The storekeeper asks, "How about Delay Poison? Only 95 GP and it's freshly made each day!”

Alyssa shakes her head, “I would, but that's far more expensive than I can afford, good storekeeper!”

Ghanna speaks up, “I do have cure moderate wounds as a spell, guys.”

Alyssa waits for Ghanna to finish speaking, then asks, “Do you have anything in the way of standard anti-poison potions?” She then turns to face Ghanna for a moment, “Quite true, Ghanna, but we might end up with more injuries than you could treat in a day.”

Ghanna nods, “That's true. I also have purify food and drink.”

Alyssa smiles, “I'm sure that will come in handy at some point, Ghanna.”

"Unfortunately we're currently out of anti poisons, darling, but...” the storekeeper says.

Alyssa frowns and asks, “But what?”

"There might be someone who could help you. A strange woman...”

Alyssa becomes quite interested, “Oh? where would I find this woman?”

The storekeeper continues, “...she lives with a catfolk female... partying almost every night ...”

Alyssa nods, saying, “Put those healing potions in a sack, please.”

"But she's one of the most impressive paladins I've ever met...” the storekeeper adds. “As you wish, my dear,” he smiles and continues, “What else can I get you? A nice short bow maybe? Fishing gear?”

Alyssa leaves the store for a moment, opens a saddlebag, then a chest, pulls out a platinum piece, enters the store again and tosses it to the storekeeper.

"Ah yes, Alitranna Darkeyes is this paladin's name,” the storekeeper states.

Alyssa smiles and says, “I hope that you can make change for that, storekeeper.”

Ghanna looks on wide-eyed as Alyssa throws the platinum coin to the storekeeper, “Wow you're rich!”, then giggles.

Ask Molly, the little girl down at the end of...

Alyssa chuckles as she replies, “Not at all, Ghanna, I rescued my pony three days ago, the previous owner left some coins in the saddlebags.” Alyssa shrugs, “Silly fool!”

"Thank you, Madame,” the storekeeper smiles at getting a good sale.

Alyssa thinks for a moment before saying, “Hmmm... fishing gear might be nice, but I wouldn't want to fish in the water here, so no, thanks.”

The shop keeper hands Alyssa a sack of small bottles.

Alyssa grabs the sack and waits to receive her change.

The shop keeper sighs and gets the change of 65 GP from the under the counter. Once the change had been handed over, he speaks again, “As I said... Molly, ask her, she knows where Miss Darkeyes can be found. Molly is usually running around the streets. Cute little thing and so well behaved. Her mother lives at the end of St. Nicholas Close.”

April purchases a nice but not too expensive short bow and a dozen arrows for it.

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