Turigar looked out the window wrapped in his own arms against a chill that did not exist. His eyes were red-rimmed and darted back and forth searching although, if the subject of his search had appeared, his eyes would not have been able to see through the blurry haze of pain from his gut and head. The Orc Hammerer looked wretched shivering at the window looking out for his friends who were long gone and not likely to save him now.
Selran Silverbough hadn’t gone anywhere, of course, but then the illusionist was enjoying himself immensely and hadn’t been with the Followers of the Purifying Flames very long to be considered a true friend. Since arriving where they were now he had entertained and been entertained. Illusions had delighted and amazed and with the applause drink, food, women and accolades had showered down on the young man. Even now Turigar was sure he was crafting new shows in tandem with the red headed bard. Selran fit right in with their host’s chosen guests. When the first patrol had come looking for them and left unaware that they were there the illusionist had known that they were safe and told the rest of the party so relentlessly. Their host made sure that there was always someone to feed his ego and that was enough to get Selran to comply. He wasn’t sure how long he had been in the inn but Turigar was sure that the tincture didn’t need its full grasp on Silverbough to keep him staying there. It wouldn’t matter at this point; not taking the tincture at this point would result in some ugly experiences. Turigar hadn’t ever seen pesh but given what he had heard in Taldor he was sure that the tincture was far worse to stop using. He himself had been trying to avoid it for a week now and he was in no shape to fight, much less run.
Logane had resisted early but then the Sarenraer was resistant to any obsessions except his own or be swayed by any voices other than his Lady’s. The inquisitor had tried to engage all the vices and sins that had assailed his senses in the bar but had not been prepared for the duplicities of their host and in days had fled from the pitfalls of remaining here into the patrolled lands beyond. They had all listened to the honeyed words of their host and a few, like Selran, had fallen to the tincture early and soon began to quarrel amongst themselves, separating them, weakening them but Logane’s voices had drowned out everyone else’s and he had likely run for the Worldwound as fast as his feet and obsessions could take him. Evithyan had succumbed but he too had fled but chose instead to go into the forest. Turigar noticed that there weren’t any elves or gnomes in the village except for their host so likely the tincture didn’t work on them as well if at all.
That left Turigar alone with only the finger bones of his wife and child in their resting place. He looked at that box often. It had been the tether back to his senses and he was trying to avoid his host and the tincture. He had told every tale of the things he had seen and the horrors he had witnessed with that Hell’s cursed illusionist displaying his interpretation of Turigar’s pain in visions for everyone to see with the fiddler’s music revealing more of his personal pain than even Selran was capable of.
Turigar was sure that not everyone was in the thrall of the tincture, his host’s words alone were very convincing but Logane’s flight had brought a free beer to wash away “the pain of a friend’s betrayal” and that had been enough to ensnare the rest of the Followers.
Maybe Selran hadn’t needed the tincture to convince him to stay, Turigar thought feverishly. Maybe all the whelp had needed was the praise and attention. If that were true than how much had the boy betrayed the Followers. The very thought filled Turigars eyes with a deeper red than withdrawal could produce. Rage washed through his blood and Turigar’s grip indented the windowsill. Sharper focus and a clearer head were the result and he realized that he needed to sip more of his hidden waterskin’s precious contents. He had paid a local woman a great deal of money to fill it with clean well water. He had sipped it sparingly and had only just stopped vomiting every drop up into the chamber pot. Turigar was sure that it would only be a day or two before he would be strong enough to escape this hell and return to his own.
Turigar lifted the fuzzy goatskin to his lips and as he was realizing that the goat’s skin felt too smooth the liquid filled his mouth and washed down his throat as he tried desperately to cough and spit the terrifyingly familiar tingling fluid out but it was too late. The clay mug of beer fell to the floor leaving the last vapors of illusion to dissipate in midair. Turigar stumbled back from the local brew until he hit the wall and slid to the floor hitting the floor pretty solidly but if it had hurt he seemed unaware.
“No. No. Please, no….no” The words fell from Turigar the Orc Hammerer’s lips as the wet blanket of soporifics and magic that made up the tincture burrowed out of his throat and stomach into his body and the feeling of being home and safe with his host left Turigar daydreaming sitting against the wall.
Selran smiled at the scene and finally left the corner where he had been focusing on his illusion. The last shreds were dissipating revealing an unnoticed goatskin waterskin appearing from under a fading image of a tossed shirt near where he had placed the beer. When he left the room and the unfocused teary-eyed Turigar he dropped his invisibility and hummed a song to himself; one of Red’s tunes. The redhead and his verbose partner had to go and making sure that neither was dosed with the tincture was paramount. They were too good and Selran didn’t want some lackey of his host to get too eager to keep them around. Selran also wanted to keep the last member of the party here in the village; he didn’t like friends running out on him. If he did it, well then that was just because there wasn’t any other option but that was Selran’s choice to make not someone else’s. Plus it hadn’t been he who had started this mess with that half-orc wench that had started all this in the first place.
Selran entered the common room and found one of the merchants telling again about his only foray into the Five Kingdoms to trade with the dwarves there and Cannablytock was listening with happy interest. Selran would leave when the heat had faded and he had accrued all the glory he could.
Yorthath Cannablytock listened to the merchant’s story for yet another time, and the last. He would let the boring man finish his stay at the inn and leave in a day or two when the tincture had been washed from his body and some memories muddied in his mind. He had heard this tale far too often and these two new acquisitions were far more entertaining, especially the fetching illusionist. Watching him saunter around like he owned the Glorious Tale brought a chuckle to the gnome’s throat. He knew what the boy and his fellow adventurers had done and even though two of them had resisted the tincture and gotten away Yorthath was positive that presenting the two to the Baron would bring a good deal of noble favor. He would drain them of every interesting experience and entertaining performance before then of course. It would be a waste to do otherwise. The year was would bring him (and by extension of course, Rickety Bridge) the rewards, opportunities and entertainments that he had envisioned when he had settled this hamlet and turned it into something great.