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Acies ab Vesania

The Chronicles of Stupple Hupple

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Stupple tenses up, whirls around and faces the Bard. A mixture of anger and sadness is wrought over his face, but he only shakes his head and lets his boat oar fall away, giving in to his weariness. There are heavy words hidden in his eyes, but he cannot make himself speak them in front of the children. Instead, he points to their young charges, and motions for the group to get moving. The bard can see the look in Stupple’s face, but he remains silent as well, drawing the frightened children close.

They walk back through the southern district in silence, passing not one word between them. The children are quiet as well, only occasionally passing glances between themselves, still caught up in the surreal state of shock, unsure of where in reality they actually stood. Part of them wished to believe with every fiber of their being that these people came to aid them, but given the ways of the southern district, they knew the odds were just as good that they came to take them to another slaver. They dared not get their hopes up, lest they find out that they were just setup for disappointment once again. Their fears are quickly abated, however, when Silena asks for directions to their home, and then takes them there.

With the children returned to their very surprised and very happy parents, the trio walks back towards the gates, headed for the center part of the city, where they can get back to their rooms at the inn. The guard at the gate is once again incredulous when he sees Stupple and the young woman with him, still unable to believe that they have the money to make passage, and still remembering their last encounter. The man makes a pass to stop them, but Stupple beats him to his comments, shoving the required currency into his chest, giving him a look that could stop a tiger in its tracks. The guard looks down at the young man and sees the intensity in his face, and decides that perhaps it would be best not to make trouble with the mentally ill young man. Instead, he opens the portcullis and allows them through.

They walk through the now empty city, everything still in the enveloping darkness of a city night. They get back to the inn, which fortunately had not yet been locked, as a few drinkers remain behind. They enter the inn and crash at a table, all clearly exhausted- none more so than the young cleric. While Silena and the bard feel themselves in a celebratory mood, glad of the progress they made and the lives they saved, Stupple remains silent, brooding in his chair while the other two chat happily, reminiscing of the night. Finally, when Stupple has had enough of the revelry and the voices nagging at him, he looks up at the bard.

“What you did was [i]wrong[/i].”

The bard stops straightaway, taken aback by the sudden criticism of his work.


“Wrong. A life not threatening your life cannot be taken first.”

It is perhaps the most sense Stupple has made in a long time, with his clarity from the battle continuing in the aftermath as well. The bard is surprised by the sudden harshness of the cleric, and immediately grows defensive.

“Like he was really going to stop there. He would have attacked you as soon as you healed him, or took off and warned the others, and then what would we have done?”

Stupple does not budge on his stance, repeating the same thing, letting his words sink in. After being met with feigned ignorance, Stupple continues.

“There were other ways. You could blast his memory, we could have had him jailed. I cannot go against my codes!”

The bard gets a defensive look.

“He was going to stab you as soon as he had the chance! If you think he would have balked just because you rendered him aid, think again. He was going to take your healing and then turn around it give it to you, right from your backside. Besides, you never broke your code, and I not bound by the same rules as you.”

Stupple does not let up, but neither does he give an immediate response. He sits quietly, measuring up the choice that he must make. He sees Silena staring at him, appearing confused by the whole encounter. Stupple did not want her believing that it was okay to take a life simply because it better suited you, she already had so much preoccupation with finding and dispatching the murderers of her parents, regardless if they attacked her in the end or not. Stupple was not sure what he could to prevent her from making a damning mistake, but he knew he could do this one thing.

“You must go. We appreciate the help you gave, but you must go. I cannot remain your goat cream.”

Up until the end, Stupple had done rather well. However, upon deciding it was time to let the bard go, Stupple began losing some control over his speech. The stress of it made it harder for him to focus on being normal.

“Please, go.”

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The bard gives one look over at Silena, who only shakes her head. She knew too well, how Stupple could stubbornly dig his heels in on some things, and when it came to the rules of his church, Stupple was unrelenting. Seeing that he had no support on the matter, he shakes his head in frustration, grabs his things and stomps out the door. He closes it firmly behind himself, cursing the foolishness of the crazy man who leads their group. Sure, his intentions were noble, but the way he saw it, Stupple was going to get both and the young woman killed.

Stupple waits until the man is quite gone, and then gets up abruptly. He only states that he intends to go lay down, and then trudges his way upstairs. The day took its toll on the cleric, and having a battles such as the pair he had today were more than he thought he could ever handle in one go. Silena watches him depart, sadness reflected in her startlingly intelligent eyes. She shakes her head, pitying the man who fought so hard to maintain his religious ideals in a world to corrupt to allow it, all the while battling severe mental illness.

Eventually, she turns up in the room herself, taking her bed inside the double room. Sharing rooms cut down costs and kept them near each other in the even that things went wrong, and with Stupple being a cleric, she never worried about anything unchaste happening- in fact, he was perhaps one of the few she trusted anymore, not just in secrets, but in presence as well. She could not stand being by herself anymore, afraid of what might come bursting out the shadows. Sure, the last men who attempted to rape her were now brutally beaten, killed by the same cleric who refused to end the life of man who yielded. Those men had not yielded, they planned to carry out their plans right up until the end, when Stupple saw to it that they would never rape again.

If only they could say the same about the men who brutally murdered her parents.

For her, sleep takes longer to come than it did for the exhausted cleric, and for about half the night, she lies awake, tossing and turning, recounting the events of earlier in the day. They really should not have sent the Bard away, especially given the talents he possessed and the connections he may have had. They truly needed help in this endeavor, because doing it alone was already growing far too difficult to maintain. One of them was bound to end up seriously hurt, or even killed. If they were to fall, who rise up to defend the children in the same way that this mentally ill cleric has?

Silena’s thoughts continue to wander, but eventually, she falls asleep. Her dreams are riddled with nightmares, her anguish surfacing through her subconscious. She tries to stuff it all away, but they always remain, even if buried.

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They woke the next day to sharps and unbearable stiffness, their muscles aching in protest to the work they did the night before. Neither Stupple nor Silena had full use of their limbs, and it took a great deal of effort on both their parts to get out of their beds and begin readying themselves for the day. Looking outside, they quickly realize that the morning passed hours ago, and they now looked at the beginning of the second half of the afternoon. Dismayed with how long they overslept, Stupple and Silena arrive downstairs feeling a little disheartened, knowing that a day of charitable acts went to waste. After their difficulty making it down the stairs, both quickly realize that aiding others was an unrealistic goal, as neither was in any shape to do so.

The pair takes a seat at an empty table, gingerly pulling out chairs and slowly sitting down, groaning in discomfort as they do. A waitress greets them before long, this one a tall and scrawny young girl, with straw like blond hair and an overbite that made her already elongated features take on the resemblance of a horse even more. Despite her looks, the girl was friendly enough.

“What can I get you two this afternoon?”

Stupple and Silena look at each other and then return their attention to their server. Silena speaks for both of them.

“Ale, definitely ale. Strongest you got in fact. What do you have to eat today?”

The girl appears a little taken aback by the odd request, especially coming from a young woman of slight stature, but she takes the order nonetheless. In answer to Silena’s question, she recites the day’s menu, covering an array of prepared meats and salads, a couple different soups, and a mix of grains and bread. After a very short deliberation, Stupple settles on a large slab of roast beef and two baked potatoes, the entirety of which drenched in gravy. Silena orders chicken breast, a large salad and two pieces of bread herself. Both order heavy, as both feel that they haven’t eaten for days. As much as their bodies protest the movements, their stomachs thank them for the efforts put behind eating.

After completing their meal, Stupple and Silena head to the bar and pay for another night, then trudging back to their room, barely managing to climb the stairs. They no sooner reach their room when they collapse on to their shared bed, both breathing heavily, feeling the aches of their battered bodies. Lying in their misery, they will the pain to pass itself on, but the soreness remains, haunting them as they slip in and out of consciousness. Stupple considers using a healing spell on themselves, but he knows that the damage they have is from the aches of hard battle and not from actual wounds, of which he already healed. Healing removed actual wounds, but did little for the soreness brought on by exercise and bruises.

Silena tries to muster up the energy to ask Stupple what they should do next, but before she knows it, Stupple is snoring, and her world fades to black. Once more, they drift into sleep, worn from their hard fought battle the night before.

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Having slept so much already, both wake early in the morning. They still feel the aches and sores of their previous engagement, even more so in fact, but at least they feel refreshed instead of exhausted. They climb from their bed and take turns getting dressed, using the room in privacy while the other waits outside the door. After finishing, they head downstairs and find an open table, their choices diverse, as few people have filled the room at this point. A waitress approaches their table quickly, given that she has little to nothing to do at this time.

“What’ll you have this morn?”

Stupple wipes his face, yawns and looks at Silena. She looks back at him, and he shrugs, not committed to anything.

“We’ll just take some eggs, sausage, toast, and orange juice please.”

The waitress nods, and then heads back for the kitchen to drop their order.

Silena looks at Stupple.

“Well, we’re up today, we can go out and do some healing, assuming you feel up to it.”

Stupple yawns, and nods.

“I can circumvent yogurt.”

Silena raises an eyebrow at that, but leaves it alone, figuring out the intended message without requiring clarification, of which Stupple may be unable to deliver. She picks up her bag, setting it on the table. Rummaging through it, she makes sure they have a good amount of supplies on hand, so they can effectively help the amount of people they were likely to meet on this day. Finding their stock still plentiful, she gives a satisfied nod and puts it back on the floor. In the meantime, Stupple fidgets, looking around the room suspiciously.

She just shakes her head.

Not long after, their server drops off their food and drink.

“Here you are guys, enjoy.”

Both are surprised by just how hungry they are.

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The day progressed like any others, and for that normalcy, both Stupple and Silena were thankful. It was easier to keep Stupple calm when things moved in a familiar way, their time occupied by tasks he had trained for and performed so many times he could do it by instinct alone. He tended to lose himself to the work, which provided the benefit of preventing any of his paranoia taking control. The voices were still there; they chittered, spoke of nonsense and conspiracies, but Stupple was able to ignore them for the most part, occasionally muttering a response.

By the end of the day, they had seen much and more, the majority of cases the usual sorts- assaulted women, injured children who hurt themselves by being just that- children, sick among the elderly and infants, and those who took injuries while working as laborers. A couple of tavern brawlers came through in the crowds, sporting injuries from a particularly nasty fight that broke out the night before. They had a docks worker limp in with a fractured foot- a rope hauling a crate had snapped and dropped several hundred pounds onto his foot. A few unusual cases among the mundane, but other than that, everything went as it always did.

As their supplies were exhausted and the last bit of magic Stupple could spare using up burnt out, they began packing their items and encouraging others to return in the next couple of days. There was grumbling, outcries and disagreements as always- a disheartening sight, considering the help that they offered freely- but they were able to divert the rest away from the area. It helped that some of the parents who came with sick children stuck around to assist in encouraging the more stubborn ones to leave, a gesture that both Stupple and Silena greatly appreciated.

Finished for the day, the returned to the inn and ordered food and ales, keeping their bill as light as possible as their supplies were gone and their gold barely sustaining itself. They intended to out again this night, their target this time a group of slavers intending to break into a home to snatch away a pair of three-year-old twins- a brother and a sister. The Slavers ledger stated they were come at the halfway point between midnight and dawn, bringing four people with them. The orders were to leave the parents alone, but there was no guarantee of that.

Finishing their meals, they return to the home for the infirm, taking advantage of the free housing for the night. A man swearing to be a wizard meets them at the door, asking if they would like for him to turn their sweat into gold- both declined, Stupple himself shaking his head at the nonsense- ironic, considering the sort of nonsense he stated throughout the day. Inside the room Stupple stayed in, they sit down on the bed and review the details of the ledger.

“This one should not be too difficult, assuming we manage to capture them by surprise.”

Silena speaks slowly, her voice anything but confident. Stupple remains silent.

“We should get some sleep. We can each get a couple of hours, as long as we take turns. We don’t want to oversleep.”

Stupple nods slowly, but turns his head away quickly, thinking that he heard something. His hand reaches for his boat oar but it proves unnecessary, as just as quickly as he detected the sound, it disappeared.

“Damned Gomps.”

Silena is unsure what a ‘Gomp’ is, especially considering that was not one of Stupple’s usual ‘threats’ to their wellbeing. Seeing as how he was not in absolute panic, she decides to write it off.

“Why don’t you sleep first Stupple, I’ll wake you up in a couple of hours.”

Stupple looks at his friend and prepares to protest, but she firmly shakes her head and points to the bed. Stupple, a little affronted but equally amused, crawls into his bed and begins falling asleep. Silena made him sleep first because she knew if she had first, he would not have woke her until it was time to leave- it was the way he did things.

Eventually, the time passes and she rouses Stupple, taking her turn at a nap. It seemed like only moments later when he woke her, the hour growing late and their time to leave coming quickly. She shakes her sleepiness away and gathers her things.


Stupple, who was busy gathering his things as well, turns to Silena and nods.


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The night turned cold while they hid away inside the home for the mentally ill. Condensation settled on the old stained windows, leaving streaks in the dirt caked to the outsides. Mist settled on the worn down streets, hanging floating just inches above the ground, hiding the sight of their carefully taken steps. Silena worried for Stupple, knowing he spooked easily enough even when things seemed calm and welcoming—the current state of things certainly offered no favors with his paranoia involved. Still, Stupple seemed to take it in stride, carrying on without making a fuss and managing to limit is darting glances to a minimum.


Silena jumps, surprised to hear a voice, but relieved to realize it was just Stupple, though his words were both unexpected and surprisingly normal.

“Yeah, a little bit.”

They walk without speaking for the remainder of their trip, making their way from the house of the infirm back to the docks district, cutting through the alleys in an effort to dodge thieves seeking their opportunities. The house the slavers planned to hit sat just outside the shipping areas, in a particularly bad part of town where people were just as likely to bite their tongue as admit to having something taken from them- even their own children, for that matter. People lived in fear of the street gangs that hung around the area, intimidating and taking, taking what little the people managed to keep for themselves. If they were not so preoccupied with their efforts to put an end to the slave trading, Stupple and Silena might have taken strides towards ending those gangs. There is something particularly foul about rogues targeting those who had so little left to them in the first place.

Bottom feeders.


They were within a block now, only a half dozen homes spread between them and their destination. They came more than an hour before the appointed time, making sure they were here before the gang showed up. It gave them time to assess the environment, deciding where to hide and how to use the space to their best advantage. Four on one is hard odds for anyone, even if one of the two of them were a cleric with powers that outmatched a man in a fight, these thugs were no strangers to difficult fights, and Silena was still a fledgling fighter and half the size of the smallest men they encountered. She made up for her size in her fire and ferocity, but that could only carry someone so far.


“There’s some shrubs over there, we ought to be able to get down behind them.”

Silena points out a growth of shrubberies to Stupple, the plants a scattered growth of uncontrolled plants, left wild and untended, much like the rest of the slums. They were hardly thick enough to provide optimal cover, but for a young woman of slight build and a cleric who never got very big, they would serve well enough on these dimly lit streets. Squatting down behind them, the intrepid duo sits quietly, watching through separation in the leaves and branches. The mist wraps around their legs, swallowing up the lower parts of their bodies, creating the eerie appearance of their limbs missing entirely. Fortunately, Stupple did not seem to notice, and for now, his voices left him relatively untouched. At least, he refrained from answering them.

They sit in those bushes, watching the streets for signs of the approaching kidnappers while surveying the rest of the street. They see that besides these shrubs, they had a couple of trees each of them could duck behind for single coverage, if they were quick enough during a moment of distraction. A trash receptacle sat nearby, this one unbolted to the ground and surprisingly still present- many left without binds disappeared, for whatever reason the rogues saw fit to take entire trashcans with them.

“Shh, here they come.”

Silena whispers to Stupple, ensuring he became aware of the other men’s approach, so he would not pick an inopportune time to go ahead and respond to one of his voices. Down the street, partially concealed footfalls echo, the coming men making only a minimal effort to approach quietly. Two of them whisper to each other, conversing quickly while the other two stands flared to the sides, watching for signs of trouble. The group seemed confident, but they took measures nonetheless, obviously aware of the recently sabotaged attempts at nabbing children. The two off to the side are particularly large men, barrel chested with arms as thick as logs, both equipped with morningstars, a weapon much more intimidating than a standard mace. The other two are average build but graceful, each carrying a light weight sword. Two thugs and two finesse men.

“Are you ready?”

She whispers as quietly as she can while still being heard, breathing the words with the utmost care. The men were less than fifty feet from them now, closing in quickly, the quartet appearing more confident now that they had come so close to their target. Prior to their arrival, Stupple and Silena had formed some semblance of a plan, a loosely pieced together approach they would take in trying to create confusion and do some significant damage before any of them men could determine where they were. The plan itself came nowhere near something of a brilliant stratagem, but it would have to make do.


“Yes. Skinny larks first.”

Stupple points to two the two in the middle, making it known which he intended to target first, and thus try to disable. The big men were certainly dangerous, with a single blow of their morningstars enough to put the two of them both out for good, but both of them were quick and able to get around big thugs for a time. The two faster ones were a bigger threat, armed with weapons that a few glancing blows could see them through, or one direct hit as well. They could dodge the big men and avoid their blows, but dodging people who very well might be exceptionally faster would prove too much. Silena sees the reasoning in his choice.


“Right then. On three.”

She licks her lips and takes a deep breath in, releasing it slowly, before drawing in one more.

“One. Two. Three!”

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They burst from the bushes, giving little time for the other men to react. As Silena ducks away from Stupple, taking to the darkness like a thief in the night, Stupple brings his hands up towards the heavens.

“Squall the halls!”


The group of men turnabout quickly, hands on their weapons as expressions of shock, dismay, and anger flash over their faces.

“What in the seven hells?”


They have little time to say more, much less reach the strange cleric who so boldly announced his presence. Clouds deeper than night spread across the sky, smothering the limited light of the moon like a blanket made of the abyss. As the light slips away, a brisk wind whips through, howling like a banshee after a former lover, her scorn reverberating in every note. They no more than take a single step when the first ball of hail comes down from the sky, smashing into one of the smaller men with enough force to send him stumbling. Bits of frost fly as the frozen ball of ice shatters into shards like glass, spraying outward in a radius of more than six feet. His cry of alarm comes just after the second has fallen, striking another one of the men who stands watching in confusion. By the time the others can react, a third has struck the other light man.


“What the fuck is that!”


The men start to regroup, although moving proves difficult as the icy influence from the fallen hail spreads like winter’s breath, layering the street in a thick sheen of ice. They slip and stumble, trying to regain footing and recover from the strike of hail that left them temporarily dazed. While the first man hit just starts to get back into steady footing, Stupple steps up and slams the man under his chin with the boat oar, hitting with such force that the trademark swish issues just before the sickening crack of bone, the man’s jaw fractured in two. He flies backwards and lands sprawled on the road, unconscious.


As Stupple dispatches the first, Silena comes back around and moves herself behind the second light-footed man, steadying herself on the slick ground before taking her shot. Dagger in hand with the pommel facing herself, she drives the blade between his shoulders and through his back, plunging it right up to the hilt. She pulls it away, blood weeping from the wound in steady bursts of bright red, painting her face in a sanguine mask. The man stands for just a few seconds longer, a third spray of blood exiting his back before he drops, unconscious from blood loss.


The two remaining men, shocked and dismayed to see that they are already brought to even numbers, bring their weapons up and square up with Stupple and the girl.

“You fuckers are gonna pay for this!”

The first swings after Stupple, bringing down the morningstar with monstrous force sure to split is skull should it strike—fortunately, the man is slower and Stupple is able to step aside, letting the man’s momentum force him to keep moving forward, carried further by the ice. As Stupple side steps the first, the other goes after Silena, also finding himself slower than the girl. His attack comes in at a sweep from the right to the left, but his blow is obvious, allowing her time to jump back, just beyond where the ice has taken and free of the attack. He too becomes subject to the ice, slipping about with the uneven footing.


Stupple swings his oar about, spinning it like a staff which he then uses to point at the man attacking Silena. From overhead, another peel of thunder tears through the sky, followed by another large sized ball of hail descending from the heavens and striking the man at his right shoulder, causing him to drop his weapon. Cursing loudly, he scrambles after it, leaving Silena alone for the moment, who continues backing away. In the meantime, Stupple’s attacker sees an opportunity to strike, coming from low the left and moving upward. Having let his guard down, Stupple does not see the attack in time, moving too late to avoid the blow fully; it glances off his right thigh, one of the spikes biting deeply and the blow sending shockwaves through bone. Stupple spins away and falls to the ground, the pain nearly causing his vision to go out completely.


“Gerbil shits!”


Stupple works to stand back up while favoring the leg, doubting it’s broken but knowing the bone is at least bruised and the wound bleeding, the flow fortunately slow.


Silena tries running at him, but before she can get far, the burly man facing her down takes another swing, this one coming at her face. She ducks down and then lunges after him, her dagger extended and striking the man through his belly. He shouts in pain and anger, and though the wound is serious, he does not fall. Instead, he brings up his free hand and grabs her by the collar of her shirt, picking her up from the ground.


“You bitch!”


As he screams at her, Silena spits in his face while trying to wriggle free, bringing up both her daggers in an attempt to stab him through the arm. Before she can, he brings her close as he bursts forward with his head, head butting her in the nose, the blow connecting with a loud crack and the free flow of blood pouring from her nostrils. Dazed, her arms drop down and her daggers dropping from her hands. As she goes limp, the man raises his morning star, the weapon poised high and ready to strike. Seeing this, Stupple cries out,




From the ground his right hand shoots out, bright white light forms around his hand and explodes outward, striking the man at the center of his back. The light glows like the sun as it rips through the man, causing the other thug to cry out as he prepared to drop his weapon on the cleric, his left arm flying up to his eyes in an effort to drown out the light. Despite the pain, Stupple rolls away as the spiked mace slams down, the weapon narrowly missing and bouncing off the ice instead. The man holding Silena drops her, unsteady on his feet and reeling. The back of his shirt is scorched, a sizable hole burnt through and exposing charred flesh. He attempts to turn around, but just as he does, another ball of hail falls from the sky and hits him in the head. He falls.


The other man, his vision clearing, turns back to face Stupple, but Stupple is prepared. Having expended more power into the first Cleansing Bolt, Stupple has a second at the ready, and this one he sends straight into the man’s face. His brief screams echo down the street, fading as he falls to his knees, hair aflame, eyes bursting and flesh melting. He claws at his face and then falls over, shock taking over, his breathing labored and slowing, until it stops.


Stupple stares for a moment, breathing hard and surprised by the damage of the attack. A second later, a voice in his head screams,




It captures his attention, reminding him of what caused him to act so quickly in the first place. He tries to stand but falls back down, the pain in his leg too much. Instead, he crawls over to Silena, finding her just starting to stir, her hands going up to her face. Stupple, dragging himself along, stops her from touching her nose.

“No, wait.”


He takes her nose and before she can ask what he intends to do, he snaps it back into place and uses a healing spell, the shock of the pain first causing her to cry out and swat at him, the relief of the healing calming down. With her bloody face, she looks back at Stupple and then around quickly, finding no one is left standing. At that, she starts to grin, her teeth stained by her own blood.


“Nicely done.”


It is then she notices a dark red stain on Stupple’s leg.


“Stupple, you’re hurt! Take care of yourself!”


She pulls up the robe to reveal a nasty puncture wound and a hideous red mark already bruising. Stupple looks down and sighs.


“Only smidgeon left.”


He refers to his magic, of which he can only use a minor healing spell that seals off the bleeding and partially heals it, but the area is still sore and damaged. It allows Stupple to rise to his feet and stand while favoring the other leg, but his movement will be slow.

“Take care of in the fort-wild evermore.”

Likely, tomorrow.


Silena pats Stupple on the back, surveying a grizzly scene. Roads covered in ice stained with blood, where three still bodies lie.

“Wait, weren’t there four?”


Stupple quickly looks around, realizing just as Silena, there were only three bodies. One of the two finesse men were missing, the one whose jaw Stupple broke.


This time, one got away. 

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They limped home that night, thoroughly exhausted, nearly beaten, both too weary to think much let alone plan. They trudged through the doors to the home for the infirm, ignoring the man on the porch demanding that they pay tribute to the lord of the dance, walking past the gentleman who today believed that he was the son of a prince and would soon inherit the man’s legacy, carrying themselves up to their bedroom. Stupple crashed on the floor before their normal argument over who slept on the bed could ensue, Stupple already passed out, Silena nearly ready to the same. She had to help him limp back, his magic and body too drained to use curative magic to mend his bones. It would have to wait until the morning.


Silena jumps into bed, and before she finishes closing her eyes, her mind and body have already delved into the comforting realm of sleep.


Late morning the next day, Stupple and Silena awaken to the sounds of a woman trying to imitate a rooster, crowing obnoxiously outside the window, apparently unaware that such fowl were known for that behavior at first light- though both were thankful for the fact that she was unaware of that. Had she started going off that early in the morning, there is no telling what either one of them might have done in response. All their efforts to save children and heal families would be wasted on a moment of rage due to a mentally incapacitated woman ruining their chances at meaningful sleep.

As expected, the morning breakfast was already eaten and gone, the people of the home more than happy to serve themselves and scarf down every last bite. Silena herself thought of food first thing after waking, but the swelling and pain in Stupple’s ankle made him decide to attend to his broken bones first, before worrying about much else. After some prayer and bone healing used, both of them got up and wandered out of the house, heading down to the inn where they could catch a cheap breakfast. It was unfortunate that they were going to have to spend some of their remaining funds on food; they were getting very tight in the budget.

When they walk inside, everything grows quiet for a moment. People look up, stare at Stupple for a moment and then go back to eating, speaking in hushed whispers. Silena and Stupple walk over to a table and take a seat, waiting for a server to come. Instead, the bartender himself comes over, his face one of great concern.


“Some gentleman of interesting company and repute were in here today. Said they were looking for an odd looking fellow missing an ear and using a boat oar to disable people. Claim that this individual broke one of their men’s jaw. Now, I told them I have never seen such a person, but I thought I should let others know just in case they had any input.”

He lingers a moment, winks, and then walks back to the bar.


Stupple and Silena stare at each other in stunned silence.

The man who escaped had seen Stupple, and now they were looking for him. 

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They ate quickly and then left, taking little chances in regards to their safety. Sure, over the months they worked with the sickly, they made many friends, but there were three times as many who never stepped forward for assistance, and thus had little reason to protect them. If the reward were anything of significant value, many of the poor would be hard pressed to find a reason why they should not cash in. For some few, it might be to protect their families, but for most, it is simply greed and desired coupled with their lack of wealth. Oddly, some of the most generous and selfless people in the southern district were those who had the least, sharing what meager scraps they had for themselves.


Low on supplies anyway, Stupple and Silena decide that the best course of action may be to spend the next day or two in the main part of the city. With little time to create an elaborate strategy to avoid paying the toll for passage between the poor district and the city proper, they end up paying their way through. The guard at the gates is the one they are well familiar with, a guard who had little care for the pair of them, though he did his duty and let them pass without a word of complaint, his eyes betraying his displeasure in seeing the cleric go through.


The first thing they do is head for the supply shop, replenishing their vastly depleted stores, making the purchases first so they would know just how much money they had left to work with after getting their essential needs met. Prices fluctuated, sometimes increasing and other times decreasing, dependent upon the demand for supplies and the rate in which those who made them put them out. Fortunately, stock was plentiful and prices lower, giving Stupple and Silena some breathing room on their budget. With enough coin to cover rent of a room and some meals for the next few days, they hope that three days outside the poor district might let the eagerness to turn them over cool enough that the effort would fade.


Admittedly, it is nice staying in a room that does not smell of alcohol or old urine, or instead staying at a place full of people in even worse shape than Stupple, some up all night making strange noises or having conversations with nonexistent entities. It allowed them to get restful sleep, finally wearing down some of their exhaustion and allowing Stupple to regain full access to his abilities. They were unaware of just how close to the limit each of them had pushed their selves until they finally moved away from that precarious line. After three days of rest, both were able to conclude that the rate they worked would soon have burnt them out, if their enemies had not found them first.


After three blissful days of rest, they decide that enough time had passed, and with any luck the offer of reward for their heads will have cooled enough to make the people forget. It was time to get back to offering services to the people, and then moonlight as crusaders against child slavery.

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During the next two days, Stupple and Silena gradually lowered their guard, feeling assured that allowing a little time took the heat off their backs. Both tended to the sick and poor throughout the south district, hearing no rumors and encountering no parties searching them out. Such was the nature of a crime-ridden part of the city, that attention was short in supply and people quickly moved on to the next opportunity for profit—or so they thought. While working with those who suffered ailments and injuries, Stupple and Silena kept their ears close to the ground, listening for both rumors regarding themselves as well as indications that would point to the trafficker’s next movements. It was at the end of the second day that something finally caught their attention, another planned snatch and transport to occur on the following evening.

Sitting in their seedy room at the tavern, Stupple and Silena considered their options.

“Are you sure you are back at full strength Stupple? We don’t want to go back out just to overdo it again.”

Stupple nods enthusiastically, adding an emphatic, “Sausages,” the word that came to mind when thinking in the affirmative. Silena, getting better and better at interpreting his intended messages, understood.

“Okay, then we need to be smart about this. I’m still not fully convinced that they have stopped looking for us.”

Silena pulled out their roughly drawn map of the docks district and together they decided on how they would approach and where they could hide. The rumors suggested that the child was already snatched, and this was going to be an attempt to get them on to a vessel leaving the midlands and going toward the Slaver’s Alcove. They needed to stop the child from boarding the vessel and get them out of there before the ship took off. After some debate, they settled on a plan of approach and decided they would cut off tomorrow’s tending earlier in the day, so that they could get a nap before setting out.

The next day, they wrapped up services during a lull in the early afternoon, using the opportunity to slip away and return to their room, where they slept and rested fitfully, still worrying about the planned rescue in the late evening. As the sun outside began to fade from sight, the pair roused from their less than helpful slumber and made their way downstairs, ordering some leftover, watery soup and stale bread. They ate in silence, and left in the same fashion, making their way closer to the docks before they ducked into side allies and completed their journey with the cover of darkness. Before long, they spotted the ship in question. With no one in sight, they made their way down to the docks proper and hid themselves behind some empty cargo boxes, waiting for their quarry.

Silena kept look out while Stupple gripped his boat oar with white knuckles, trying to refrain from speaking aloud. Neither saw the person down the pier, signaling to a party approaching the docks with heavy arms and rueful grins.

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