The more they stay the same. After three years of training and traveling with Hio and Nebin, I thought that they were making some progress towards becoming enlightened individuals who would choose good, lawful acts without being prompted and bullied. Or at least that they were getting closer to the point where I could leave them unattended in a town for an hour without Hio raping and pillaging the townsfolk while Nebin picks their pockets. In particular, I had great hopes for Hio’s conversion to Bahamut leading him on the right path, but sadly that experience with religion could best be measured in hours.
During our trip to the Keep, we acquired two new party members, Valthrun and Elyas, a wizard and a cleric. Why a cleric you ask? Well sadly, I have failed in my duties once more, and Thrak, our friend and cleric of many years chose to to leave the party to pursue his god on his own. The new cleric does not appear to be an improvement on the party, as after we had closed the rift, we encountered several small bands of hobgoblins, and upon two of them surrendering and voluntarily dropping their weapons, Elyas chose to continue attacking them, killing one and the other barely fleeing with his life, and that only because Valthrun was forced to attack Elyas. While I do not like goblins, it is still beyond wrong to attack any sentient being that surrenders, and I fear what influence he will have on the rest of the party. Hio is barely kept in check at the best of times, and Nebin is often lead by the good of his wallet rather than of his conscience.
In consequence of Elyas’s behavior, Valthrun and I elected to leave the others to their own devices and return to town, as, being weak, I needed a strong drink before Hio arrived and there was none left in the entire village. Strangely, as we continued to the surface, we saw no evidence of the goblin Splug, who had been our brave and loyal companion for a large part of our experience in the dungeon, and I am somewhat concerned at this absence, fearing equally that he has been hurt or killed and that he discovered the true way his master died.
Upon arriving in Winterhaven, we were greeted by the news that the town had been attacked by animated skeletons from the graveyard, and so resignedly, I turned back to find my party and tell them of the situation, and to make sure they had not perished in the dungeon. They had not, and I was disappointed to see the cleric alive and comparatively well. They had some fantastic story of fighting and defeating another jelly (although this one was invisible and used acid as a weapon, something I find hard to credit) and were certainly the worse for wear. They also seem to have enraged Sir Keegan in some way on their way out by offering him souvenirs of the family he destroyed. I can only suspect this was the cleric’s idea, as it lacks the directness of Hio and the profit motive of Nebin.
We are all safely back in Winterhaven, and while Douvan assures me that I have done my best with my group of friends (and to be sure they have thus far refrained from burning this village down, a definite sign of progress on Hio’s part) I cannot help feeling that our struggles will only intensify from this point. Hio is pleased that tomorrow we shall go kill some skellies as he calls them, and I believe the cleric is pleased as well, as he seems to feel some holy vengeance towards the undead tied to his particular god. I can only hope that this next adventure brings our party together…