How long since we left the mines? Four inversions, at least. Our bodies are starved and parched. The human especially seems to be on her last legs. But the town we had our eyes set on is finally within reach.
As we warily approach, it seems that the place is deserted. We walk by a decrepit graveyard, then past a crude barrier of spiked wooden poles. There are five buildings here, one of them larger than the rest, all wooden and nearly fallen to pieces. In the center of town is a stone fountain filled with still water. The human immediately hobbles over to take a drink. I begin to open my mouth, to warn her that it may be impure, but she is already cupping some in her hands. It may be worth it for her to have that little bit of hydration anyway.
As she scowls at the evidently unpleasant taste, the blue dragonborn heads toward the larger building and walks inside. I follow a few moments later, noticing that rather loud voices can be heard inside. I glance back at the human, who sits warily on the edge of the fountain, before heading inside.
Within, it becomes obvious that this town is not deserted at all, although by the look of the people it may be that way soon. On one side of the room is what appears to be a makeshift gathering hall, with chairs set up around a wooden crate. Upon the crate stands a middle-aged man who appears to be an authority figure of some sort. He is giving an impassioned speech, but the meager congregation seems largely uninterested.
The other half of the interior is occupied by a dusty, dilapidated bar, which regardless has a much larger audience than the speaker. The dragonborn is attempting to purchase a ten-silver mug of ale with a gold piece, which eventually results in the bartender pouring him ten glasses. The human walks in behind me, glancing at me quizzically as she passes by. “What is he doing?” I give her a shrug as I turn to leave. Nothing for me here, might as well entertain myself elsewhere.
This graveyard is fascinating. Something about it instantly caught my eye when we arrived. Not that it’s well-built or visually impressive, quite the opposite. Worn and crumbling tombstones dot the landscape in a crooked pattern. Most are illegible, or simply have no inscription to begin with. An imposing mausoleum stands in the center. Upon inspecting the thing, I realize that the entrance is not bound or locked in any way, and I could rather easily push open the stone door if I so desired. I make a mental note before departing. I would like to see the inside of this place before we leave, if possible.
When I return to the central part of town, I see my comrades standing with an armed citizen by a pile of rubble. He appears to be explaining something to them, and as I approach, rats begin to emerge and swarm around the trash heap. It seems we’ve been commissioned to clean up a mess. Very well, I’m sure Bahamut wouldn’t mind smiting a few rodents. (sigh…)
With some difficulty we fend off the small horde. At the end we are all nearly unscathed, besides the blue dragonborn- Trog, I believe he calls himself- who lies on the ground groaning and clutching at his bleeding toe, a vicious bite wound that occurred while he was being swarmed rather exclusively. This one appears to be quite prone to ill fortune. I wonder if this carries any preternatural significance.
The soldier directs us to the most decrepit house in town, proclaiming that we can use it if we ‘clean it out.’ Upon entry it becomes obvious what he was referring to, as unnervingly large insects scurry about on the floor. After some more pest-expunging, the place is relatively clean, although it still carries the stench of organic matter, and the wood is marred with holes- some of which were caused by rot, and some of which are charred and smoking from a recent magical attack.
Trog leaves to speak with the town merchant while I stay behind with the human, who has taken a seat on a broken table, clenching her stomach. She seems to be falling ill after drinking that fountain water. This is worrisome, but unfortunately I have no idea what could be done to remedy it.
After procuring some bedrolls and safe drinking water from the villagers, we venture out to seek out medical aid. The townsfolk direct us toward a local nurse, the only one, who after looking the girl over tells us to seek out a certain strain of lichen, which grows in dank and wet places. As she tends to the infirm human, I beckon Trog to follow me outside.
As we arrive at the entrance to the mausoleum, I explain to him my idea, and he agrees that this is our best chance at finding the stuff. Cautiously we push the door open and walk inside. The place is harrowingly dark, with the only source of light being the entrance behind us. Shortly we reach a staircase that spirals downward. I look back over my shoulder and my partner gives me a nod. Slowly we descend into the thick darkness…