Our heroes leave the forest heeding Dertaal’s advice and seek training, but not before Ander and Apotropaia get
Merlot, Ander, and Apotropaia go to Stute’s. Jubeln greets them with a smile at the door. Merlot asks to be a member of the town guard and is directed to Stute’s office. There in he asks again and is told very bluntly that there is no need for another guard. Without another word he heads for Albern’s shop.
Apotropaia and Ander inquire about any townsfolk they can train in combat with. Jubeln recommends Paar, as he comes from a long line of champion fighters. Edel, the smithy is also an option as he always seems to be training his body to keep in in peak physical condition. The final option would be to train with Dresler as she’s known to have minor Clerical abilities. Deciding that Paar is most likely the best option they head for his farm and through the trading post.
Meanwhile Merlot visits Albern. Albern asks where he’s been and how he’s doing.
Apotropaia and Ander make their way to the trading post and find a vendor selling a shining orb that he calls an essence crystal. He offers it for 10 gold, but when he sees how desperate the duo are for the item, he raises the price to 15 gold. Not to be outdone in radical price adjustments, Apotropaia and Ander offer him their cookies in exchange. He acts like it’s the deal of a lifetime, grabs their baskets, and makes a mad dash into the vendor’s tents. They give chase and find him amongst the crowd, Apotropaia throws a dart and strikes him in an artery in his leg and he falls to the ground, quickly passing out from blood loss. Shocked by this dangerous event, a few crowd members run off to find the town guard and return quickly. By the time the guard has arrived the man has already had most of his items taken and his wounds tended to. Ander scares the guards away with his ferocious looks and Apotropaia agrees to see Stute for further questioning on the matter.
Meanwhile Faen has made it to Dresler’s Church. Dresler is a bit shaky on showing how her cleric spells work, but gives a solid demonstration as Faen takes notes. Satisfied, Faen prepares to leave when Merlot comes through the door. Dresler, having never seen him and rarely getting guests, wells up with excitement and seeks to prepare a sermon for him. Wanting not to frighten him away, as she is known to do with her sermons, she asks Faen for the guidance she offered before. Faen tells her to simply preach on the benefits of living a wholesome life under Goda; as opposed to the detriments of not following and being tortured by Drof in the afterlife. Being rather new to this concept, Dresler fails miserably and Faen attempts to apply her own aid to the sermon. She is thrown off by Dresler’s complete lack of understanding of positive reinforcement and fails at following up any better. The two stumble over one anothers’ words, interrupt both each other and themselves, and lose track of what they were saying mid sentence. Merlot stands, staring at the two. He is completely baffled by both how terrible and incomprehensible the sermon is and how flustered the two are getting as they progress. Dresler wraps up and asks if she did well. Merlot telepathically asks Faen what the heck was going on and Faen simply responds by prompting him to nod. He does so and Dresler is instantly relived. Faen and Merlot quickly leave, wanting to put that display behind them, and head towards Berlis’ wagon and Albern’s General Store respectively.
Ander heads to The Mill. He orders juice and heads to the back where a man asks him to pick a door, tell him how long he’s staying, and pay. He picks the door with a short haired slender woman and says he’s staying overnight. Ander shows a gold piece to the man and is quickly ushered inside. There the woman greets him, gets under the covers, undresses, and asks him to join her. Ander is confused by this and simply lays over the covers. This in turn confuses the woman who begins to rub his hair; Ander responds by rubbing her hair and giving her a flower. She asks if silence is what he prefers and asks if she should be silent. Ander shows her his tongue and she responds “I guess we won’t be kissing then.” Ander begins to cry and she comforts him, so he offers her a flower. She dresses and comes back with the flower in a cup full of water. Ander is pleased and she asks if he would just like a room for the night and if it would be alright if she left him. He requests that she stay and she questions why he didn’t just go to the inn, remembering it was recently burned down, explaining all the weird visitors the past few days.
Apotropaia, Essence Crystal in possession, is taken to Stute’s office. He asks her to return what she found on the man, but she denies having anything and that the man took her cookies. Stute asks if that justified her nearly killing him. She says yes. He responds with “I too respect cookies” and takes a bit of a cookie and puts it in her bag.
With that Apotropaia begins to make her way to Paar’s farm again. She’s given nasty looks from the vendors that she passes along the way. Finally reaching the farm she challenges Paar to a fight and he allows her to set the rules. She simply states that as long as nobody dies, anything goes. Paar comes running at her, greatsword in hand, and swings down. Apotropaia, swift and on guard, dodges the blow and counters with a bite. Paar jumps to the side proclaiming “Jeez that hurts! What you eat, hot peppers today?” Apotropaia runs at him and swings, but just as the swing is about follow through, he counters with a quick upward sweep of his sword, knocking her unconscious. As he rouses her awake, he asks if she’d like to stay there for the night, and she says that she would and not to tell anyone of her defeat.