With his cold symptoms well and truly abated after several days of the rigorous ogre health regime, Blueblood is now feeling ready to hit the road with Kage, and begin his adventuring career. However, there’s a problem – Kage is currently on the other side of the mountains, wondering with his new sage friend Drey how they are possibly going to climb the cliffs of the sandy desert plateau. At the same time, Kage remembers he is meant to be meeting Blueblood back at the forbidding palace in two days, and Blueblood sends his familiar, Hu the owl, to fly north to Pa Direh, looking for Kage, with a note that asks where he is.
When Kage and Drey travel back to Pa Direh and awake the next morning, they are greeted with the distinctive hoos of Hu, who has a note from Blueblood, which Kage quickly answers and sends Hu on his way. An uneventful trip (uneventful means an ankheg burst from the ground and ate their donkey) leads Kage and Drey to meet Blueblood at the forbidding palace. In the meantime, Blueblood has had a little adventure on his own – one of his friends from the Junsa, an ogre mage called Watashe, has asked Blueblood to make a trip to Coratka in search of some specialised lead based ink for one of his spells. He even gives Blueblood a magical brooch (which protects the wearer from normal fires) which he is to sell, and use the monies to purchase the magical ink. The payment for the trip is any extra that Blueblood can sell the item for.
With Drey and Kage unable to work out how they are going to get onto the plateau at any rate, they figure the answers (and possibly some climbing equipment) at Coratka, so agree that heading to the city is the best way to go. Their first stop would be Midcin, the original town settlement of the ogre race, and the only town with a majority population of ogres (the only other place being Pa Dimeh and the forbidding palace). Along the road, at about lunch time, there are a few other denizens of the flood plains that are hungry too – a pack of half a dozen wild dogs spies Geordie, and figures they can intimidate the adventurers into leaving the goat behind. But the dogs were mistaken – after a well placed slash from Kage, and a mighty magic missile from Blueblood, the dogs ran off with tails between legs, another falling to Kage’s sword as it ran. But this was not before one dog snuck a fearful snap at Kage’s heel, tearing into the tendon and causing great pain. Blueblood was quick to treat the tear with some rice vinegar, causing more pain, but hopefully cleaning the wound a little.
Hobbling now to Midcin, the party reached the now closed gates of Midcin after nightfall. A discussion in ogre with the gate guard, telling the story of the defeat of the wild dogs, was enough to get them into the town, and to be pointed to Gorag’s Inn, a place for ogre magi and higher class ogre citizenry to stop and rest. Here, Blueblood meets a ogre mage of the green, who seems to know his fair share about illusion, and upon hearing that Blueblood is after some lead based ink, informs him that he would happily purchase any extra vials he comes across for 400 gold pieces a vial, if he is able to bring them back to Gorag’s Inn in seven days.
Since this was the biggest populated area that either of the boys had come across, they decided to try and sell their brooch there, thinking one of the mages at the Inn might buy it. And they did find someone who would at least discuss the brooch, but only offered then a thousand gold for it. Although this seemed a mighty sum, considering Blueblood knew he needed to buy six vials, and that he’d been offered 400 gold for each vial by another mage, he did not accept the price, hoping to get better in Coratka itself.
So after that, the small group left west, following the caravan road (the first real road they had ever travelled on) and came to Pa Kel in the middle of the day, a small goblin village. They are a little familiar with goblins, but one particularly fat and rich-looking one introduces himself as the priest of the local Ra’a shrine, and informs the travellers of their need to ‘donate’ some coin to Ra’a’s shrine. A theological discussion ensued, revolving around how the god of selfishness can expect people to make donations to his cause. Of course, the donations are said to produce a blessing to the donor, hence being in their best interests. There was an added incentive to donate provided when two drunken thugs from the shrine were waved over by the cleric, and told to encourage the travellers to part with some coins. Kage made his opinion clear – he wasn’t even sure that this was a real cleric: for all he knew, it could just be a fat, stupid thief. Outraged at the intimation, the cleric loudly informed the sword saint that it was the law that required the donations, and that for such an insult, he must now give two gold pieces for each of the travellers – and failing that, he must surrender his sword.
Kage looked unimpressed, and simply refused. When the thugs drew daggers and attempted to take his sword from him, one received it – bodily. Blueblood quickly put the other thug and the cleric into magical sleep, and the two took their weapons and threw them into the rice paddies, and took the sleeping bodies (and the dead one) and put them back in the shrine, and continued on their way, no longer molested.