The Payment

We made our way into a nearby alley way, where we stopped to catch our breath. I tried to give old Gus the slip, but he demanded that I pay him immediately. Bad news for me; the guards had taken my money when I was captured. I tried to explain, but Gus wouldn’t listen, and Baztok was preventing my escape. I had to give them some sort of lie to keep them from killing me, so I told them that all my money was stashed outside the city, in a small cave. Thank Sehanine, Gus believed it. He said that we shouldn’t waste any time, and told me to lead the way. I told him “first we need to stop off at an adventuring store. I need some rope and trail rations.” He gave me a dirty look, but agreed. As we were walking, Gus kept a blade poised to strike at my torso. I guess he thought I’d try something funny. I guess he was right.

Using my magic gloves, I was able to write a note on a page of my notebook without showing any movement. He never caught on, and when he left my side to go do his shopping, I ran. With his heavy armor encumbrance, Gus wasn’t able to catch up, but Baztok could run a lot faster. Luckily a couple seconds was all I needed. Two thieves that I worked with, George and Henry, were sitting around in market square as they usually do. They saw me running through the crowd, and I tossed them the note just a second before Baz tackled me to the ground. They hurried away with the rest of the crowd, and I knew that I’d finally have a chance. Now all I needed was a small cave to lead them to. I could probably find one along the bank of a nearby river.

The note simply told them to follow us out of the city, stay out of sight, and wait for us to enter a cave. When I did, seal us inside it with some dirt and rubble stored in a bag of holding. George and Henry were lazy, but competent, I knew I could count on them, and if the plan went accordingly, I could even pay them later that day. I never skip out on a debt.

After apologizing to Gustaf, and swearing to never do it again, he took up his position next to me, this time resting his falchion on my shoulder. It wasn’t comfortable, but I wasn’t in a position to complain. We made our way out of the city, and I lead them along a nearby river, scouring the banks to see if there was a cave.

As we walked on, I got more and more frightened; there wasn’t a single cave along the banks. After half an hour, my story was seeming less and less credible to Gustaf. Finally, thank Sehanine, we found a small dug-out cave on the riverbank.

Inside it were some goblins, but Gustaf knew as well as anyone that goblins were like cockroaches or rats; they were nearly impossible to be completely rid of. We killed a couple of them, and the remaining ones surrendered. Just after the fight, I heard a loud thud, and saw that a boulder was now blocking the entrance of the cave; George and Henry had come through for me once again. Gus looked like he was going to kill me, but I told him to wait until he had his money first. Sehanine was smiling on me that day; the cave had a small passage, just large enough to squeeze through, at the back.

I went first of course, and when I was blocking the way, I cast presdigitation to conjure up an illusion of wealth in a small chest in the back room. I went on inside, and handed the chest to Gus, who opened it and finally calmed down and stopped threatening to kill me. I made my way into the main room once again, where Baztok was standing by the cave entrance, inspecting the boulder. Both Baz and Gus had their attention diverted away from me, so I climbed to the tallest point in the cave, and shot a bolt of Eldrich magic at the more severely wounded of the surrendered goblins. It tore his head clean off his shoulders, and having taken away the life of one cursed under the sign of misfortune, my pact boon was triggered, and I was able to turn into mist and travel through the ceiling of the cave, out into the daylight. But like I said before, I don’t let a debt go unpaid. I would need to come up with payment for Gustaf, Baztok, George, and Henry before the end of the day. Luckily, I knew just the place to do it.

I got back to the city in good time, and entered the house of one of my employers; a wealthy merchant. He greeted me as I entered, and asked what news I brought him. I told him to give me two thousand gold pieces, and allow me to leave his employment. When he declined my offer, I knocked him out with a powerful Eldrich blast, and made my leave with the money. I knew that after doing such a deed, I would not be offered any more work in the city, but I cared not. I had a plan to leave once and for all, if my former captors would join me.

Late that afternoon, I went into the Pub where I assumed that they would be staying. I was correct in my assumption. They entered in shortly after me. Upon seeing my face, Gustaf’s expression turned harsh and menacing. He sat down at my table, and stared at me silently for a moment before exploding in a crimson rage and shouting at me so loud that the windows rattled. When he was finished, I put the bag of gold on the table, and explained my situation to him. After inspecting to see if the gold was real, he listened to me. I told him of the spirit that I had formed a pact with, and its prophecy to meet two adventurers who would lead me to my ultimate purpose. He undoubtedly thought I was crazy, but said that he would love to take up the life of an adventurer, and couldn’t think of finer companions than me and Baztok.

We all checked into the Inn. The next morning, I would show them how we would be leaving the city for good.

—Claudio Jones

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