June 9, 2011

From the memoirs of Hildigrim Thorngage:

After we felled the goblins and their Hobgoblin leader, Grymm, Mindro, and I discussed what to do with their gear and the bodies. I wanted to do what I could to respect their cultural and possibly religious beliefs. I had no quarrel with them until they demanded our purses. I understand the brutish bravado and odd sense of honor, but once they crossed the line to banditry I wasn’t so apt to force the issue of a peaceful separation. Grymm was way out of line pushing them as hard as he had, but the Hobgoblin was free to pursue a peaceful outcome as well.

I really don’t understand why Grymm was so offended by my wishing to honor the recently deceased, especially since we were the cause for their demise. I suspect that his hatred for goblinoids goes well beyond the tales that I had heard growing up. The matter seemed personal. I believed, and still do, that every individual has the freedom of choice and just because a particular group is one way as a whole it doesn’t mean that every individual from that group is the same. Odds are the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree however, so there is nothing wrong with a modicum of caution….just don’t get too wrapped up in it.

In the end we decided to give the goblins and their leader a warriors’ funeral, immolating their bodies in the simple trade boat they came in. I said a few prayers I knew to Taktan, translating them into their language. When that was done we fashioned a simple litter to carry the gear we took from the goblins.

On the way back to the hamlet two great things happened. First, we ran into my very first Dwarf. A nice fellow named Flynn. He seemed to be looking for a Halfling that has stolen his boots. I felt it odd that anyone would chase a boot thief halfway across a nation, but does anyone really need an excuse to travel? Flynn asked if he could walk with us to the Hamlet and nobody seemed to mind. I for one was glad to be able to spend some time with a Dwarf. The second thing that happened is that we came across some shepherds with their flock of sheep. Grymm seemed fascinated with the sheepdogs and I later learned that he had been a goat-herder in his youth. I found that pretty cool since mom is a goat-herder. I tried to get him to open up a bit about this one connection we had, but he didn’t seem to want to talk about it. With all of the recent activity, I can’t blame him for not wanting to open up with a relative stranger. Grymm spoke with the shepherds for a while, offering to pay them for information,, and I got to play with a pretty sheepdog puppy. Grymm really seemed to like the puppy and I think a dog would make a good travelling companion.

We made it safely to town and received lodging at the inn for our group and storage for our gear in exchange for a short sword and suit of armor from our stash. A good meal and a night of sleep and we were ready to meet with another local cleric. In order to protect others, I’ll try to be as non-specific as possible. The cleric we met with was a Liberator and they told us of an effort that was being undertaken to help free slaves. Grymm is a member of the Face of the Free and benefitted from some healing from his cleric. I did what I could to assist with his wounds also. During our meeting I had to chuckle when the cleric chastised Grymm for his rash behavior. If we wanted to help the cleric told us we could help free some slaves coming in on a caravan while he tried to gather some information regarding Grymm’s personal quest and our group quest to discover the fate of some missing local children. Flynn decided he wanted to help us in this task and I got to talk to the Halfling that helped us the day before. He was very useful the day before and wanted to help look for the children, so I took him up on his submission for employment.

We went out of the Hamlet to intercept the slavers. They came across us as we were looking for a good ambush spot. I ran off into the woods and tried to hide while the rest of the group moved to engage them in melee combat. It didn’t take me long to realize that the slavers weren’t going to approach my hiding spot, so I began moving through the woods in an attempt to reach the rear of their group. I could hear Grymm trying to bargain with the slavers and there was a lot of shouting about our group being armed. The battle was soon engaged and while the group fought three slavers I was able to reach the slaves.

To the best of my knowledge, I have never met a slave before. I’m sure there are some benefits to slaves and slavery….and I saw some that day, but it is hard for me to think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. This group of slaves consisted of an Elven female, two human males, and two male Hobgoblins. In the case of the Hobgoblins, they were captured in war. This is the only possible benefit to slavery…as a method to keep from executing prisoners of war. I doubt though, that these prisoners would ever be repatriated, but I for one think I that I’d prefer a life of servitude instead of no life at all. To the honor-obsessed Hobgoblins, I bet they would prefer death. All of these slaves seemed incapable of even registering that they might be freed. They didn’t even have any hope left. As far as I could tell they just assumed we were another slaving group taking them as property…despite my best efforts to communicate otherwise.

That was the saddest thing I’ve ever experienced. I don’t think I would be able to survive if I wasn’t free….free to travel. I see the reason why the Temple of Stars ally with the Face of the Free. In helping Zaldi I am sure I am doing Taktan’s work.

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