A bit of a mystery has been solved, but another created. Jhod was able to speak with Sloth via magic, and so learned that the child’s family had been killed by trolls. Such a fact does lead me to grant the creature some sympathy, as well as my interest. Apparently the trolls are led by one called “Hargulka.” If such a dangerous creature is leading an organized band of killer trolls somewhere to the south, then that is enough to mark him and his followers for death in my sight. It may even be that the entire affair is a plus for “Sloth.” If he had been raised by his natural family, it is hard to believe that he would have become anything other than a monstrous killer like the rest of his kind. Perhaps being raised by Jhod will allow him a different destiny. That said, I have still let the priest know that if he has any problems with the young giant he should contact me directly and immediately for assistance. Mercy may make us feel ennobled, but we then bear responsibility for the future deeds of those granted mercy. I will see no innocents murdered by giants in the lands I am charged with bringing order to, and I will go to great lengths in Falayna’s service to keep that promise.
In the meantime we have headed back to Oleg’s, arriving in time to share evening meal with the others. The number of people at Oleg’s continues to increase. There is now even a family with a child. It seems he is quite the handful, and the color of his hair and the spots on his face are not something I’ve previously encountered among the Shoanti. But I am relatively certain that the rumors of such children having no souls or being related to half-vampires are nonsense. He carries a lizard with him besides. If his hell-raising reputation is to be believed, perhaps it is the first of many minions?
Even were I not restricted by my vows, I have little talent for small talk. My fellows have managed to uncover some interesting bits of news however. One rumor concerns a brooding hill giant roaming the southern grasslands. Apparently the creature is dangerous, but also a drunkard. Either way, it sounds like a problem in need of my preferred brand of solution. Hill giants are cruel and cunning despite their stupidity, and combined with their size and strength it makes them very dangerous. It will not do to have such a creature roaming the land if we mean for locals to set up farms and homesteads.
Another rumor involves a green dragon prowling the Narlmarches and eating all he encounters. One would hope this is overstated. For one thing, if he eats all he encounters, where would the story come from? In any case, we should scout out the area in the future – if it truly is a hungry dragon sowing carnage, we shall need to devise a way to either defeat it, drive it off, or “persuade” it to leave.
A third rumor involves a tribe of violent lizard folk living deep in the swamps to the south. They are said to be led by a king who claims to speak with the dead. Grim tidings, and perhaps linked to the necromantic death of the unicorn? Worth investigating in the future.
Finally, there is said to be an old tower on an island in a place called Candlemere. While the location is not familiar to us, the tower itself is said to be a site where the boundary between our world and another grows thin. The place is also said to be guarded by a deadly monster. Perhaps a conversation with the friendly fey will yield some insight into this. They may know the location of this “Candlemere,” or they may know the nature of the terror. Or both.
In the realm of less rumor-fueled quests, word has come down that there is a ferocious worg in the Kamelands. The locals call him Howl-of-the-North-Wind. The rulers of Brevoy have authorized a reward of some 1,200 gold crowns if we can kill him and put his remains on display. After our last encounter with worgs, the edict to dispatch an especially dangerous one is not an unwelcome one.
In the meantime, we have sent word up the chain of our triumph over the bandits, and have sold the remainder of the spoils to Oleg, yielding each of us close to 5,000 gold crowns. We also returned the body of Sneeg to Kesten. He would have preferred him alive, but is doubtless content to know that the bandit who robbed him has had his career permanently ended. It may take him some time to get us the pair of masterwork weapons he promised as a bounty, but we can afford to be patient. On the morrow we shall travel back to the temple of Erastil. None of the locals have any inkling of why the platoon of dead soldiers to the north have risen from their graves. Perhaps Jhod will be able to help us determine how to put them to rest. Afterwards, we shall see about seeking out the gigantic serpent.