Meriel and I successfully met up with my trading contact Jocelyn and her associates in Triel, but I nearly botched things up on our way out of town by “being too pretty” and attracting the persistent attention of one of the local guards. Must remember to cover myself in more dirt and grime when attention isn’t actually a thing that I want.
We traveled for several days to another town, which was exceptionally full of soldiers – we even had to surrender our personal arms due to the elevated security. Fortunately, none of my new companions seem to travel heavily armed (though one in particular is much encumbered with goods of a more peaceful sort), so we only attracted minimal attention. After a slight diversion due to Jocelyn disappearing for a time to gather information, we traveled on towards our destination – now at a quicker pace, for she had discovered that we have more competition in this business than expected.
To expedite our travel, we left Meriel with the wagon and proceeded on horseback. Jocelyn led us to an ancient tunnel which she claimed might serve as a shortcut to our destination – but it proved to be more than just old – it was haunted by some sort of fell spirit, and when it approached us, I felt myself gripped with fear and could do naught but flee. One of my more muscle-bound colleagues suffered the same fate, but fortunately Jocelyn and the others were able to drive off the fiend in our absence.
Proceeding down the tunnel, we encountered a steep drop, which we negotiated with some difficulty. The lower passage led us to a room containing a strange crystal which shattered into five pieces – one by one, each of my companions picked up a shard of the crystal and experienced what I can only describe as some sort of fit – but when they emerged, they described themselves as being awash in strange memories. Finally, I gave in to my curiosity and touched my own crystal shard, and found their accounts to be both true and totally insufficient to describe the experience. I have much to think about – but first we must deal with the business at hand.