Carouse, plan ahead, and pursue adventure hooks related to Rogwallow Castle and what was found there, or other things.
Cut leans heavily against his quintain, breathing deeply between exercises. He feels a sudden chill. The morning air is cool, but it is a shiver responding more to memory than a breeze. Cut walks outside the stable and kneels for a moment, his hand flat against the earth. "It is warm to me, but cold to you, mon ami." The halfling draws in a lungful of air. "Eet is getting a beet colder every day." With a grunt and a nod, Cut walks towards Sligo's tannery.
Hours pass. Impatient in his rest, Pritchard Hood begins surveying his charges in preparation for the next sally on Rogwallow. "Where in blazes in Cut Coutelain?" He is answered by a whinny from outside the inn. "Preetchard! Zhe snows are coming!" Wincing at his bruises, Pritchard looks without to find Cut atop his mighty pony, Foudre. He is dressed warmly, and has several rolls of furs besides. "Zhe dead will stay zhe winter, mah friend! I must see to zhe living! If I find heem before zhe winter comes, I will meet you here. Otherwise, you will find me in Glantri. Hyah, Foudre! HYAH!"
Cut Coutelain spends his carousing funds canvassing Hommlet and Happy Valley, looking for travellers and the merchant caravans that will be returning to Glantri in advance of the snows. He is asking for leads on the whereabouts of a Dwarf named Ambrose Berbatov, and his money will go to the requisite cold-weather clothes, pony blankets, guards' fees and bribes his endeavor requires.
Coutelain spends an exorbitant amount on ermine-lined boots, cloaks of fox fur, and even a kit for Foudre that includes the open jaws of a mountain cat draped over the pony's flicking ears. The merchant master who has unloaded these luxuriant items on the flush halfling had barely hoped to find disparate buyers in Les Hiboux or Glantri City. Instead he stands astonished, the mountains of the Caurenze pass rising snow-caked around him, wondering whether to turn back or go ahead for more wares.
Charged up by his purchases and very, very warm, Cut joins caravans for the next couple days, stabbing between provinces and gathering what information he can. In the meantime, he picks up juicy bits of gossip about how this flame-haired girl at the Scabbard and Grail in Elysien has breasts as lucious as pillows, or how the Baron's man Somberwell will turn a blind eye for a good horse or keg of Redtweed ale. He learns valuable things, too, truly valuable — about how to cinch a load better on back of a donkey, and a little of the code of how approaching caravans will signal peaceful intentions to each other. This could be the life, trekking back and forth, if only it had more punching!
And, as for Clarence Berbatov's older brother… yes, there is some word. Dwarves make good caravan guards, short against missile file, strong against anything else, and stout. Not that he was ever a guard, mind you: but wasn't there an adventuring group tucking into the long, sinuous trails-to-nowhere in the west in the mountain passes, cut into those shapes by ancient glaciers and infested with humanoid tribes, an area locally called the Snakes and Serpents? A group of adventurers gone into there, called the Blue Robin Cohort? Are they still around?
Cut makes his save, rolling a 12 on a d20, and spends 500gp on clothes, blankets, gear, and a banquet for an inn full of caravaners stopping by in Sligo who had no idea who he was.
This Most Holy Missive of the Mother was Sent the 26th day of November, of the Year 209.
I regret to inform the Matriarchy, but I must delay my orders to investigate the confluence at Hommelette.
By the grace of Triannoma, I have once again crossed paths with the wizard Pritchard Hood and his menagerie of demihuman servants. I believe Hood to be a good and Lawful man, and I believe Her Grace has placed him in my path. Hood has discovered a great evil in the Hiboux Valley, where some vile source of chaos seeks to take root.
I will accompany Hoods' men, and become the mighty Fist of the Sixth Arm. I swear I will crush this evil, that the wretched people of this most unhappy valleyvalley may once more be protected by Church and Crown .
Your most dedicated Hexalyte, Percival of the Merciful Hand.
Percival will carouse in to seek out the faithful of Sligo and the surrouning regions, commiting small miracles as necessary (replacing a lost goat, paying dowries for pious maidens, etc.). His ideal goal is to learn of any centers of faith in the region, and the piety of the local nobility.
As the Hexalyte stirs a ratty piece of bread through a stew heavy on onion and light on lamb - exactly the opposite of advertised - he wonders if his brutish, headlong approach has been appropriate. Happy Valley peasants strongly favor worship of the buxom agricultural god Wenta and artisans, carpenters and blacksmiths tend to add a mix of trade gods. Some farmers and the rangers to the west pay worship to individual forest gods. Everyone is on edge about the cultists who have been passing through, planting scarecrow effigies along the major roads, so Apromor will know where to destroy life and law. It seems these cultists interpret the invasion from Darokin to the south as the end of the world and the invading soldiers actually demons.
Order and law in the Valley is provided by Denis-Alfonse de Ransour, a Baron sitting in a manor overlooking Bodkin and spiritual guardian to Madelaine de Sylaire, the niece of the princess of Touraine (where the Valley resides) and who is yet in her minority. The Baron welcomes Percival to a luncheon once he hears of his activities in the area, where the older man confirms an uneasy relationship between the closely held dieties mentioned above and the goddess of 'aristocracy, law and magic' - Trianoma, an importation, albeit many, many years ago. "The insane experimentations of the Rocqhouileaus never helped," the old man says. "Sadly enough. And if only we had the force to clear out the Steps and see the beauty of what is now covered in swamps, perhaps the faith in law and order, not to mention wider Glantri, would be better served. You have my dispensation to continue you works in the valley."
The cleric spends his own money to replace a cartwright's barn, which had burned, even using his great strength to help lift support beams into place, and saves a family from having to send their daughters to find domestic work in Glantri City or Les Hiboux, among other good deeds, but is irritated when these gifts are taken without much thanks. The upshot is that he is now recognized along the Bodkin-Sligo road, and now and again is questioned on points of theology or nodded to in a fashion of dour friendliness.
But he feels a different accompaniment, as well, glimpsing - or feeling he can glimpse - a figure or two, cloaked in shadow, or practically invisible, stealing around after him, watching.
Percival rolls a 3 on a d6, meaning 300 gp are spent in his tear of good works. But he rolls an 8 as a saving throw — failure, of a kind.