Following our tussle with Melira, her accomplice, the cook, Gashnakh, was sentenced to death. I did my utmost to supply the poor soul with forgiveness and hope before the end, but I still found the execution to be a most brutal affair. I’m only thankful he didn’t make good on his request to have me push him over for the keelhauling, as he thought he might require. I sincerely hope the man finds some measure of peace.
Shortly thereafter, we we came upon a damaged outpost along the river, the members of our team rowing ashore to investigate. Sneaking up to the nearby house, I heard sounds of distress from within, bursting through the door to find a surviving guardswoman of the outpost bound and beaten by a team of brutish orcs. Though Leetsa and I made a good account of ourselves, it was only with the timely arrival of Torsten and Elynnar, who’d already slain a pair of direwolves, that the gnome and I survived. It was here we found a small, skull-like bomb, much like one that had been used against me in the fight, only to discover that Leetsa, the person who had last touched it, was doomed to burst into flame should the bomb shell be compromised. Whether through stupidity or bravery, I quickly snatched up the item, transferring the curse to myself. Though I saw gratitude in Leetsa’s eyes, there was also a marked annoyance. I didn’t mind. What good is telling your companions that you would die for them if you fail to make good on such claims?
Resuming our voyage, it wasn’t long before we came upon a hastily constructed dam along the river, finding it to be a trap as a team of horrific water giants scaled our vessel, attempting to clobber us and the ship to pieces. Through luck and quick action, I was able to down one quickly, and, with Urul’s help, drop another with the ship ballista. Another was felled by the crew, with the final one retreating from Leetsa’s deadly arrows from the crow’s nest. Finding the one with the ballista bolt in his chest was still alive, we wrapped the evil bomb in its hands, at Leetsa’s suggestion, tossing it overboard to burst into flames on contact with the water, ending the threat of the curse. I was quick to convey my gratitude to the quick-thinking Leetsa, who had likely, in turn, just saved my life.
Tired from our encounters, we arrived later at the site of a druidic stone that marked the entrance to the Ghostlight Marsh, our first real destination along the river. Having sent the pigeon to fetch Fijit and her promised help from Trunau, we set about making ourselves busy for the days it would take for her to receive our message and arrive. The second night, we had a dark encounter with another band of orcs, who attacked the ship while much of the crew was out foraging along the shore. While we were able to slay most of them quickly, their leader, a large, imposing fellow fell in on me, rage pulsing in his eyes as he called out for the dead Melira and slashed me to pieces. Just as I was about to fall, Leetsa dropped the brute, saving my life once again. Though I respect and cherish all of my teammates equally, I am finding that I often owe my life to that small woman’s arrows. So long as I need rescuing, may the bleaching or death never claim her brave, noble heart.