We’re going on a Boar Hunt
Toilday, 25 Rova, 4707 A.R.
Rising early, the heroes prepared for their morning hunt with Lord Foxglove. They met him in the mounting yard outside the Rusty Dragon—along with Steel’s mighty warhorse, Foxglove had procured horses for the other members of the party, along with a pony for Valjun, but the gnome was absent. They waited for him to arrive, but his brother Huvic came running up in his place, saying that Valjun had been taken ill and would not be coming. Aldern was disappointed, but set out nonetheless.
The party—including a dozen or so retainers and hunters that Lord Foxglove brought along—took the northern route to the Tickwood; with reported sightings of the Sandpoint Devil above Devil’s Platter nobody wanted to take any chances. The journey was only a couple of miles, but at their leisurely pace it gave the heroes and Lord Foxglove time to get to know each other. He asked about their background, and they about his; he explained that while he was indeed born into the nobility, he considered it little more than an accident of birth, and that he was no different to the common man—not entitled to anything purely by the fact of his social position, and able to provide employment for many who were less well off. He said he took his obligations to the people seriously.
Galfin went so far as to ask Lord Foxglove whether he thought there was merit in their theory that Titus Scarnetti might be behind the goblin raid. While he was taken aback at first, Aldern chose his words very carefully when he said he had no compelling reason why that could not be the case. Galfin, satisfied, allowed the matter to drop.
Upon reaching the Tickwood, Lord Foxglove signalled the hunters to begin searching for spoor or tracks so that the hunt could begin, but Galfin held up a hand and offered to do the job himself. Lord Foxglove nodded, and it was only about fifteen minutes before Galfin picked up a trail. The party followed behind Galfin, who eventually found a pair of juvenile boars rooting around in a small clearing. The heroes and Lord Foxglove attacked, but were then surprised by the charging mother boar who burst from the undergrowth. Lord Foxglove stepped in and took the worst of the beast’s attacks before a concerted effort saw all three of the boars killed.
Triumphant, the group returned to Sandpoint, and delivered the carcasses to the Rusty Dragon in preparation for a feast that night.
When Galfin returned to his home, he found a note from his foster-brother. It seemed that Sandru had elected to take his caravan north to Riddleport a few days earlier than expected, and had left that morning. He said he would be back before the Night of the Pale, and although his note advised Galfin to stay well away from the Sczarni, Galfin had no such intentions.
Feeling that no time was better than the present, Galfin made his way to the Fatman’s Feedbag, a rumoured Scarzni haunt, and began making circumspect enquiries. However, either his enquiries were too circumspect or there was nothing to be found, because there was little forthcoming. While Galfin was chatting away to a grizzled moustachioed man, the door burst open and Shayliss Vinder—apparently in a state of some panic, entered the tavern.
She made a beeline for Galfin.
“Please,” she said. “Come with me. There are rats the size of goblins in my father’s basement. I’m afraid they will get at the supplies. I need someone to help—and after seeing your handiwork with the goblins, I think you’re just the man. Will you come with me?”
Galfin sensed a ruse, but went along anyway. He was therefore not entirely surprised when Shayliss got him down to the basement, and then threw herself at him with her bodice already halfway off.
Not one to pass up an opportunity to explore new frontiers, Galfin went to his assigned task with gusto. His amorous attentions were diverted, however, by the sound of heavy footfalls on the flooring above, that made their way slowly toward the door to the basement. Shayliss panicked, saying it must be her father come back to check on his rotgut. Galfin’s keen eye spied a home-made still poorly concealed in a corner, and he hustled Shayliss out of sight under the cot, then reached up to smooth the sheets down as best he could to make the bed look undisturbed.
Together, the pair waited anxiously while Ven Vinder came downstairs, muttered to himself, made a few adjustments to the still, and then went back upstairs.
When they were sure he was gone, Galfin and Shayliss finished what they’d started.
When they were done, Galfin could still hear Ven Vinder clumping around upstairs. There were no exits other than the door back up into the main store area, where Ven would be standing, certain to notice a young man exiting from his basement. Galfin racked his brain, and then hit upon an idea—he asked Shayliss if she had any of the big hoop skirts currently popular in Magnimar. She said yes, she had one. He asked her to put it on, and then come back downstairs.
She slipped away and came back fifteen minutes later, looking for all the world as if she were about to go to the opera—all she needed was a wig and makeup. Galfin spent a few moments admiring her assets, and then crawled underneath her skirt. As the pair made their ponderous way up the stairs and through the narrow door, Galfin contorted himself as best he could to remain under cover of the skirt, eventually sneaking right past Ven at the shop counter, and outside. They made their way around a corner and Galfin rolled smoothly out from under Shayliss’ skirts. He gave her his best smile, placed a kiss on her neck, and then sauntered back into the store, where he asked Ven about the best place to get some ‘real’ alcohol.
Ven, sensing a kindred spirit, took him downstairs and shared some of his illicit rotgut with the young man. He shared with Galfin his worries about his other daughter, Katrinne, who he said was trysting with the night foreman at the Scarnetti sawmill, a man named Banny Harker. It was terrible, the old man explained, to have a daughter so free with her gifts, and to get herself involved with the Scarnettis—who were said to have ties to the Sczarni—it was just scandalous. All the while, Ven was unknowingly sitting on the very spot where his younger daughter had been writhing in the throes of passion only minutes beforehand
Galfin nodded sagely and gulped his drink—which would have been suitable for an orc. His eyes watered, but he smiled, nodded, and listened as Ven continued to ramble.
Later that evening, the heroes assembled at the Rusty Dragon, where Ameiko and her halfling assistant Bethana had roasted the boars. Aldern declared that the night’s feast was to be his farewell gift to Ameiko, the heroes, and the people of Sandpoint, for showing him such wonderful hospitality—and for saving his life.
Aldern sat with Steel for most of the evening, asking the young mercenary about his past. Steel was relatively tight-lipped, feeling uncomfortable about revealing the truth of his upbringing and origin to someone who was effectively a stranger, but the two of them did down more than a few drinks together. Ameiko suggested Steel had better slow down with the drinks or she would best him easily in the morning, but Steel merely guffawed, drained the rest of his tankard, and demanded another.
Much later, after plenty of food and more than enough alcohol, everyone stumbled off to their beds. Galfin, having decided that the Rusty Dragon was much nicer than his house, decided to take Ameiko up on her offer of free food and board for the heroes of Sandpoint, and moved into the inn along with Steel and Reza.
Steel in particular slept well, dreams of besting Ameiko in the morning making him twitch in his sleep—although, truth be told, it wasn’t so much the fight he was looking forward to as it was what might come after.