The Search For Passel
Captain Passel vanished right before my eyes on the eve of our journeys end. Anastasia and Stargrove tried to follow the kidnappers through the teleportation circle. It did not work. I wanted to throw something. I wanted to scream. I wanted to punch the person nearest me. As the only ones around were the most likely to help me find the wayward captain I swallowed my anger till I was alone.
There is a frothing rage below the surface of my good humor that threatens every day to boil over. Being the witness of an unfairness done to others or, I am ashamed to admit, to myself is often the catalyst. It is in these moments that objects around me tend to shatter, explode, or move without warning. While I settled my rage issues the other two searched for any tracks left from the assailants. Of course nothing came from it.
So the three of us backtracked to where Passel was first taken to look for clues. If there was anything left in the crowded open-air tavern it was long gone. But, being a tavern meant they had ale. Which was fortunate. I needed a drink.
I hate not finishing a contract. I worried about Passel. He could be obnoxious at times but after traveling with a man for many months it is hard to not grow attached. It was this kind of sentimentality that Orestes used to chastise me for.
An offhand comment from the barkeep sent us to a Wizard’s tower at the center of Orthos. He said if anyone could help us find Passel it would be this mage.
The walk was actually pretty spectacular. The city was unlike anything I had seen, especially during this lunar festival. Banners and decorations stretched from balconies to banisters and archways. Drift globes lit up the sky as night approached, it was gorgeous.
The tower was intimidating. I closed my eyes and could almost see the ley-lines of magic coursing through the structure. The tower had no discernible entrances. I thought for sure one of us would end up having to scale the side of this building. Instead, a kindly Minotaur appeared once we yelled for attention. His name was Mr. Melies. He took down some notes on our person and let us inside.
I liked Sallos, the wizard who commanded the tower well enough. He seemed cordial as far as wizards go. The most surprising thing in the conversation was Stargrove. He started going on about his grand mission. Something to do with the stopping creation of magical abominations. It was very startling. I turned to get Anastasia’s take on the thing, expecting shock, but instead, she was nodding her head. She’s looking for something similar that is disturbing the oceans.
I had a sinking feeling. If I spent too much more time with these two I'm going to find myself entwined in some grand scheme. I should run away right now while I still can. I don't have the time to fight a grand evil or whatever they're about.
But first, I needed their help finding Passel. I needed that money to survive. If we get on this mage's good side there was a chance he could help me find Alexi. Perhaps even tell me what is going on with my extrasensory anger experiences.
Of course, we didn’t leave the Wizard’s tower without agreeing to some foolish quest. Does one ever? We are now bound to find an item that the wizard’s frenemy is hiding in a nearby forest.
Into The Twisted Forest
Into the forest on Sallos’s errand we went. By the second day we had already found ourselves at a river that needed to crossing. It's width and white rapids didn't seem to faze Anastasia and Stargrove, who were both intent on moving through it.
As I was telling the Dragonborn that we should continue upstream until we found a bridge, the Genasi strode into the turning rapids. Before we can even yell out she dunked her head under the water and disappeared.
I thought one of us might need to jump in to save her when she hopped out on the opposite shore. She anchored a rope around a thick tree not far from water then grabbed the loose end and swam back to us calm as day. My journey to the other side was not as graceful. I made my way hand-over-hand on the rope, across the rapids. I was dangling above the water, halfway between both ends of the rope when I heard Stargrove. The boars we had seen rooting around the night before were rushing out of the forest in a panic.
I breathed a sigh of relief until I saw what they were running from. A massive wild cat the size of a horse, leaped from the woodland. It's dark matted fur now spotted in blood as it landed on one if it's squealing prey. A thousand things rushed through my head at that moment, but none of them where to hold my breath.
And just like that I felt my fingers slip through the soggy rope as I plunged into the rapids and rushed down stream.