Journal of an Inquisitor
Part the First
I know not what I have done to anger my superiors, but I have been transferred. Effective immediately, my duty station is as the Sergeant to the Brothers already in Foothold. Researching my new post, I learned that the Black March is a boil on the ass of the Empire, and Foothold is the place from which this boil must be lanced if the Empire is to be preserved and the End of the Age delayed.
What the Head Inquisitor thought of as punishment for some imagined slight appears to have placed me in the time and place best-suited to my needs. Once again, the Inquisition and I use one another effectively. I cannot believe it to be a coincidence.
The journey to this particular boil was uneventful. The merchants with whom I travelled filled the time with tedious tales of negligible worth. I did, however, glean some information of potential value, should it prove accurate – and I have no doubt that some of it will. These folk are too simple to attempt deceit. And my first day here has borne out much of the tales.
Upon arrival, I was assigned a home and was called to meet with a band of free companions. A clerist, a ranger, and a sorcerer. Scarcely had we set down to eat when we were accosted by a beggar attempting to sell us a map of some sort. Before he could get through his pitch, he was struck by a tankard of ale thrown by a nearby table of rabble-rousers and troublemakers.
After dealing with the troublemakers, I reported to Brother Lucas, who provided a focus for my investigations over the near term – it seems a local mine-owner by the name of Gold Finder or Gatherer or some equally Dwarfish name is suspected of Diabolical connections. We were given several incidents as containing evidence of his guilt, and were told to follow up on these incidents.
1) A local landowner refused to sell his land to the suspect. Shortly thereafter, his lands were cursed – his chickens hatched only vipers, and the eggs which were not hatched were rotten and foul.
2) Livestock around the mine has been afflicted, with a three-headed beast being born and then singing and prophesying until it was destroyed.
3) Another local mine owner (dead, now, for several years) was seen in Gold Seeker’s home, shrunk down to a height of two apples and kept within a jar very much alive.
4) A local lumber camp has had dramatically more injuries, accidents, and damaged equipment than is to be expected from a camp of this size. Not only that, but the workers apparently claimed that some trees and portions of the forest felt wrong, somehow. The owner, a local Dwarf known as Tree Feller, is apparently a distant cousin of Gold Sniffer.
The lumber camp stuck out most in my mind, as it has no direct tie that I could see to Gold Hunter’s thwarted desires or his presence, and so I gathered my band and travelled there to examine it first-hand. When we arrived, we were initially greeted with fear, which is appropriate given my inquisitorial robes and other regalia. Once it was explained that we were there about their troubles, however, they relaxed.
I questioned them at length and examined their shattered tools. There was no sign that they had been taught what to say. They pointed out on a map (provided by Tree Feller) where these locations were. When we went to investigate, the Ranger took it upon himself to scout ahead. He was quickly ensnared by a demon-possessed tree.
I find myself less-than-impressed by the quality of the assistance I have been provided.
Nonetheless, I sprang to his aid and swiftly dispatched the tree, at which point it vomited forth a surprise – a body wearing the regalia of an Imperial Inquisitor.
Upon returning to town, I was informed by Brother Lucas that it was likely the body of Brother James, who was the Sergeant before me. I asked for his records and information on his latest investigations, and was told that he had been operating independently and his book had been burned. No useful clues were extracted from its ashes.
So here is what I have:
1) A map, acquired by the flighty member of my team.
2) A team, consisting of a magic-using elf, a half-orc clerist, and a human ranger. The elf has the attention span of a gnat. The ranger has demonstrated the ability to fight in bars, but was then bested by a tree. A TREE! And I have yet to see the full measure of the half-orc.
3) A helm, previously worn by my predecessor. It is infused with the spirit of “Brother Theobald,” who wishes only to help. He seems knowledgeable with regards to the Empire, Druids, and matters diabolical.
4) More leads to follow than I have team or time in which to invest. None of them convenient.
5) A small stipend and a home from which to operate.
I pray this boil is lanced sooner rather than later. The elf in particular may drive me mad.