Brash Young Fools
If I have learned anything from today’s events it is this – the people of Stromdorf are mindless sheep who make even Boris look like a paragon of gratitude. Well, maybe not Boris, but certainly Victor. Perhaps Karl? In truth I fear the people of the Empire are all rather too much alike in this regard.
In fairness, I have also learned that for a professional coachman Boris has no idea how to treat a horse (no, take your mind from the gutter now!), I have learned that not wind nor rain nor magic can prevent Victor’s arrows from flying true, and I have learned that while Karl is clearly not a gentleman, however much he might profess otherwise, he does at least display a gentleman’s skill at the oars, which is to say none at all. But perhaps I should relate all of these things in their proper place.
We set off after the knave Schulman, stopping only to mount our horses the better to chase the mystical blue blur that Schulman had become and take directions from the guard at the gate (a man content to sit down on the job if ever there was one, and his uniform was in a shocking state of repair!). Boris led the others at a reckless pace which no thoroughbred could hope to maintain for long, let alone the nags which Stromdorf ha provided. I took a more sensible and measured pace befitting my station.
I caught up with the others beside the river, their haste having gained them no real distance, as Victor and Karl set out in a small boat in pursuit of Schulman, himself on the river. I directed Karl to take the spare horses and pace them on the river bank while I maintained my vantage point the better to perceive events as they unfolded. It is well know that a true general must stand above his men, the better to direct them in battle.
My vantage afforded me a fine view of what could only be considered a tornado of arcane power span above Schulman’s small boat. While Karl struggled to maintain his position, let alone advance against the current, Victor lost no time in launching a volley of arrows at the miscreant wizard. Through the beating rain and even a conjured shield of some sort Victor’s arrows landed true in spite of the twisting of the little tub in which he stood. Boris seemed equally impressed as he floundered along the muddy bank.
Within moments Schulman collapsed, gasping out the anticipated death threat as he did so and summoning a great comet from the sky to strike his conquerors. Here my foresight showed its value as I pulled back from the area of impact at a leisurely place while others struggled through mud and churning water to reach a point of safety. The comet itself, while impressive, was thus no real threat, and no sooner had it landed than the damnable storm ended at last. Such, I suppose, is the nature of magic.
The people of Stromdorf seems uncertain on our return and gave us no credit for our action in bringing the rain to an end. Indeed, they scarce believed that Schulman was the threat we described. Even more, no sooner had we returned to our lodgings in search of a well earned rest than the lout Gottschalk appeared, accusing us of desecrating his temple and humiliating his acolyte.
Insofar as nothing of value to the temple was taken, and I saw to it that Boris, Victor and Karl restored everything to it’s proper place before we left, I cannot see that he has any cause for complaint. While it might be true that someone assaulted that Fromm creature, I am certain that Fromm himself cannot bear witness to their identities. And I can personally testify, hand on heart, that I had no part in any such assault. When the word of a nobleman is not taken at face value then truly the end of civilisation as we know it is nigh (naturally I make an exception for such lying knaves as have seen fit to do my out of my dues from time to time, but still the general point holds!).
Discretion being the better part of valour, and Stromdorf being no place for a gentleman in any event, I elected to leave and instructed the others to collect our baggage and the complete lightning stone (for which we had not been paid and which would doubtless be of interest to a legitimate wizard, if such exists). Kessler questioned our removal of the stone, but I left him in no doubt as to the legitimacy of our claim and the matter was settled.
I are now leaving Stromdorf, I can only hope for the last time, and I feel that a bright new future awaits me. Karl, Victor and Boris are welcome to stick around for the ride, as is whichever craftsman managed to repair the bridge so swiftly once the storm had abated. A man of his talents can surely find work anywhere!