Typical. Bloody Typical.

One job, that’s all it was; one simple job. Get in, get the money, get out. No questions asked, no complications, and certain no bloody vermin getting in the way of our profit! Now where are we? In the middle of butt-fuck nowhere, that’s where. Some desert in southern Ashen, last I checked, in some hick town no one’s ever heard of.

Why am I writing in this diary? Well, one of my past lives tells me it’s therapeutic, and I think I’m in good need of some therapy sans the shrink.

Almernae, that’s the name of the “town” we’re in. After we literally stumbled into down, dehydrated and even more bicker-y than usual, we were approached by the sheriff of this town, one Sheriff Averly. Apparently there’ve been some kidnappings around town over the last couple weeks. Four or five or whatever the number was, I don’t really care to be honest. Sounds to me like half the town’s population. Regardless, the sheriff offered us some money to investigate, knowing full well that we were thieves. The number one suspect? A tiefling that had moved into town a few weeks ago named Artermis.

Excellent, a hick, racist prick of a sheriff dumb enough to trust a bunch of thieves. Though it doesn’t seem as if this Artemis is any smarter. What tiefling in their right mind moves into a racist, inbred slum like this? Oh, apparently he’s not the only dolt tiefling to do so. A seamstress named Basil has taken up shop here. Apparently the number two suspect. The other suspect the “genius” sheriff has identified is the village idiot, a man named Pablo if memory serves.

A few parting words and a bag full of gold later, we split up to investigate. Samura went off to question Basil while Anya went to frolic in the river with her mangey weasel/otter-thing. Come to think of it, I don’t really know what that thing is. Either way, I went to medicate my parched throat at the local pub, The Dusty Drink. A man by name of Thannis Allan served me, and I must say, he’s one of the less idiotic villagers I’ve had the pleasure to meet. He told me Artemis was the village’s favourite suspect, but he didn’t seem too certain. Anya wandered in after, and I left her talking to some bimbo, probably Pablo. Eh, Anya’s a strong girl, she could handle it.

Samura was off doing whatever it is that she does (she tells me it’s seduction for information, I call it whoring) at the Church of Erastil. She had gone to question the gravedigger, a half-orc they call Roland, though I’m not entirely sure what the point of it was, other than to give the man a boner. I swear, if I had a copper for every time Samura gave someone a boner by just talking to them, I’d be a rich man.

Luckily for me, I’m immune to her wiles.

While Samura and Arya dicked around for however long, I actually put my mind to our objective: finding the kidnapper. I started by questioning the neighbours of the first victim, a man they called Serket who worked up at the big manor as a cook. I even took the time to pay the good Dr. Helo a visit to find that Serket, before his disappearance, had been growing increasingly unsteady. He also seems to have left his daughter an orphan. Some tart named Jade Serket.

The neighbours knew nothing, big shocker, so I went to investigate the empty shack, former residence of the Serket family. Arya joined me eventually, and together we found in the basement an alchemist’s set. It looked to be used in the production of drugs and narcotics, as are most sets used by a half-baked alchemist.

So far we had a grand load of diddly with a side of squat. The only thing left to do was to find the prime suspect himself. Luckily for us, he was home. And within two seconds I realized that there was no way in Hell that this was our kidnapper. After eluding the suspicions of the sheriff, courtesy of Samura, we peered in through a window to find Artemis sprawled out on the floor, stoned out of his mind.

This man couldn’t spell “kidnapper” let alone be one.

We forced our way in, and upon rousing the fool of a tiefling, questioned him. Samura meanwhile distracted “Al the Killer.” Surprisingly, not the man we were looking for either. He had apparently been using the Serket house as a stache for his heroine, which he had been obtaining from the General Store. You’d think in a small town like this, that kind of info would be the topic of gossip, but it would appear as if there’s a lot going on in this small town that no one seems to know. Or, they at least choose not to talk about it.

He did have in his possession a page from a diary, the same one found in the house of the Serket family. The diary revealed that Serket was indeed a disturbed man, and seemed to imply that he was probably behind the kidnappings. This case of ours was getting more and more convoluted, and even thinking about it makes me long for a cigarette or a good cup of tea.

Still, I have a soft spot for tieflings and those prejudiced. I offered my services as Mr. Artemis’ lawyer, at an exuberantly high price of course.

We filled Avery in on our current standings, and let him know about our next moves. We could go to the Store, talk to the owner and put down this drug business, but there was little point in it. I’m sure the good sheriff was in on this drug cartel. Who knows, maybe there’s hope for these troglodytes. We could also have gone to the Badlands to see if the “Great Bandit” Tokigero was behind the kidnappings. Likely story.

No, instead we went to the late Mr. Serket’s former place of occupation: Barnibus Manor. The owner, Barnibus, was also a racist pig. Though, he was a rich racist pig, that’s one step up. We questioned the man, again leading nowhere, and then robbed him blind. I suspect that butler will be out of a job by the morning. On my way out, a curious thing happened. I was stopped by Barnibus' daughter, and, under the guise of the butler, was reminded of an important meeting tonight at three in the morning. Something more was happening in this shanty of a town besides the kidnappings. We went to the banks of the Gootham River to bury our spoils, only to be spotted by what to me looked like a scraggly muskrat or maybe a tumbleweed with legs.

Arya tells me it was a little scamp from the orphanage and looked at me expectantly. What did she expect me to do? Run her down? I was on my smoke break. Besides, that’s what we have Arya for. That, or Samura could have just shot her.

I swear, these people don’t appreciate my genius. Nor do they seem to like my cooking. They have no taste.

Why do I bother with them? Oh, yes, that’s why…

Ahem. We followed the brat to the Little Sister Orphanage, and after a few words with the owner, Ambalina, she was convinced we were “guards” for the little angels. Ugh, I hate orphanages. The bright, beaming, and disgustingly hopeful faces of the little termites scampering around like rats.

Come nightfall, it seems as if Jade had run away. Not for the first time either. All the better for us, I suppose. In her bunk we found the last page missing from her father’s diary. The results, needless to say, are disturbing.

This man had gone insane, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say he was our kidnapper and, judging from this diary, a murderer as well. Scratch that, a disgusting murderer. Scratch that, a disgusting hick murderer. Scratch that, a disgusting incompetent hick murderer. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's an incompetent sociopath. The fool left a witness. And now it's my job to clean up his damned mess. It also seems as if the sheriff may be in on this to some degree. Are we being set up? If so, I'll hang Avery's head from the town watchtower before the week is out.

And I'm out of sugar for my tea.

Bloody. Typical.

Dr. Leonard Crowley

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