The travel through the marsh was miserable, cold, and wet. I was barefoot except for a few bandages improvised as footwraps, hardly clothed, and worn out from the escape and hardly slept. I wouldn’t trade it for the routine of the mines, but I couldn’t help but wonder where I’ll end up after we get to this town Sorin’s from. I was able to distract myself a bit by examining a strange dagger Steph liberated from the mines. I don’t know quite how it’s enchanted, but it seems very powerful and has something to do with summoning or binding, which I know little about. It seems dangerous to have, but might be even more dangerous to leave behind. Still, to help keep it from being noticed, I did what I could to dampen its magic. Maybe it’ll keep anyone from locating it, I don’t know. Anyways, even when we did get a spot of food and rest, it didn’t last. The pursuit I’d hoped we had avoided apparently caught up with us, because we all got a harsh awaking from one of our escorts urging us to hide, and quickly.
I quickly gathered the energy to take to the water completely and dove under to wait, but not everyone had that advantage, and Vilma was seen before she could hide completely. As the others engaged the half dozen guards who had followed us, I had to take time to dredge myself back out of the water and clear my lungs, but at least I was able to avoid the front line. Once I was up, I was able to help the fight by freezing the guards in place one at a time. It was even more effective than I thought, with the help of Vilma, Ariana, and Belluar. It seems it wasn’t just luck we were able to escape; this group is pretty good at fighting, and we were able to make it out of the fight without taking any losses, although I had to draw on my reserves in order to help Vilma. I hope I don’t have to do that too much; I don’t have that much to draw on.
In the fight, I noticed Steph casting a spell, followed by the sound of stomping boots. I knew she was capable of illusions, but I hadn’t seen her in action before, though it sure seemed to fool the guards! I had to cover for her, since no one else would know what was going on, but I didn’t want to tip our hand to the guards. A strange thing happened in the fight as well; other guards were freezing on their own, and it wasn’t any overflow from my magic, nor magic at all. It seems someone else is keeping secrets in our group, but I can respect that. I know better than most how… misunderstandings can happen between my kind and people who don’t know better than to be afraid.
At least the fighting brought us one thing: boots! And real clothes, and a few small supplies. Unfortunately, the boots didn’t stop Ariana from stepping on her own dagger she had dropped. I wish now I’d dealt with that right away, but I didn’t see how bad it was until almost a day later when we stopped again. We didn’t get much rest in between that time either, since another group of guards caught up with us, and they had dogs with them. Unfortunately, Costin’s friend fell behind, and was either killed or captured. A few lucky shots by jets of water on my part, along with Costin’s grudging acceptance of some conjured arrows made sure we didn’t have another full-fledged fight on our hands, though, scaring our pursuers into retreat. We didn’t see them again after that, and it seems like we made a clean break for once… except for the one we left behind.
We finally reached dry ground and got out of that awful marsh and were able to stop to rest. I had to make sure Ariana’s foot didn’t become badly infected, but she was VERY insistent about not being touched. This, and she keeps herself wrapped up constantly; I wonder what ails her, but she’s been evasive, and my reserves are too low to do much about it for now anyways. She seemed comfortable being treated with magic, though. Not like the people who would come by my old teacher’s home for help, fearful and mistrusting, afraid to even be seen nearby some ‘witch’. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but in the end it seemed like I was able to get the infected fluids drained out, and Vilma was allowed to dress the wound. Strange that Vilma is the only one allowed contact with her… I wonder if there is something more going on there? Not my business, I suppose. I had to help Teo pop his shoulder back into his socket after he fell out of a tree (what blind man tries climbing a tree?), though that didn’t go as well… Still, it seems like I’m becoming more of a medic out here than I was back in the mines. I hope the availability of magic doesn’t prompt any of the others to take unnecessary risks, I don’t think they realize how it drains me to do true healing.
The next day we approached the city, Costin took his leave, and Sorin guided us to his gang’s hideout. I thought maybe we’d have hot food and beds, but the hideout had been raided and everyone killed by some large animals. In the captain’s room, we found a strange man by the name of Robin Goodfellow, who claimed to be tracking the beasts that slaughtered the men. Something seems off about him, and I don’t trust him, though I doubt he was behind the killing. He also carried a bow that had similar markings to the dagger Steph found, something I’m not sure I want to have anything to do with. I’m not sure if anyone else noticed the similarity, but then I was the only one who got a close look at the dagger, and I only noticed the similarity when I could see that his bow had a suppressed magical aura on it and looked closer.
Well, Robin took his leave, and we went back inside to see what we could salvage. I thought Sorin would have something more to say about us taking supplies, but he seemed to be in shock. Still, we managed to get a collection of food, weapons, and clothing, which is more than any of us have had for years. Things are looking up, for once. We just have to make sure to stay ahead of any hunters from the mines.