Kingmaker

Lem vs. Introspection - Round 12

Before Variel Fell

Written on the way to deal with the trolls…

So Journal,

Guess what, you were right. By toning myself down a little I’ve started to hear what other people have to say. Shutting up for a bit actually was a good idea. Who could have guessed…I mean, other than you, which is really me…apparently…

After my last journal entry we headed back south, looking for Lizardfolk. We decided to see if we could intercept one of their patrols rather than just barge into their fortress, and were lucky to come across a group of four warriors led by a brave named Sketmit. We knew from Nina that Sketmit wasn’t really into his king’s suicidal war plan, and through a combination of Dyimi’s honesty and Variel’s tact we were able to convince Sketmit that we could help him out. Sketmit told us that if we ousted his King Vesket, that he would be willing to make nice with Ursandova, and even open up trade routes along the river. All he wanted in return was a little whiskey. I guess it makes sense that coldbloods would prefer a gullet-warming drink.

While the negotiations were going on, I made myself scarce so that I didn’t screw them up. Dyimi floundered a bit at first, but he was forthright enough in his floundering to limit the offense it caused. Meanwhile, Variel was acting as master diplomat, both translating and smoothing relations. He was also the one who produced the bottle of whiskey, which I’m sure was key in Sketmit’s eventual decision to ally with us. Anton threw in his two coppers by challenging the lizards to a little friendly arm wrestling, which at first seemed a little crazy, but turned out to be crazy smart. Before we knew it we were all fast friends…or at least as close as lizards and pinkskins (us) can probably get to real friendship. All this done without me raising my voice. I’m quite proud of myself.

With Sketmit’s help we went on to the Lizardfolk’s village, and floated over the water with the aid of one of Katya’s spells. Once inside, Sketmit called out Vesket with us at his side. Vesket was just about the biggest guy (lizard or otherwise) that I’ve ever seen, but if this intimidated Dyimi he didn’t show it. No, the gnome started in with jokes. He tried this for a few minutes, then shrugged his shoulders and hit the big guy with a lance. That started a minute or so of chaos as lizards clashed and Sketmit and Dyimi slugged it out. I got in a few good licks, but it was Variel who stood out as the hero of the hour. Not only did he send one of Vesket’s loyalists into a fit of giggles, he quieted two more of the loyalists by putting them to sleep. In fact, thanks to Variel we managed to take out Vesket, both of his caiman pets, and two bitey little lizards without killing a single one of the lizardfolk on either side. We left the ones that had been loyal to Vesket in Sketmit’s care for judgment or justice or whatever lizardfolk do. I’m not sure what happened to them, I’m just happy that we were able to avoiding shedding blood that didn’t need to be shed.

So after all this, I think I may be taking a liking to Variel after all. I think my mistake was taking him at face value. Maybe it’s an elf thing, but Variel always came across to me as the kind of guy who knows it all and assumes that you don’t. This is compounded by the fact that Variel is a legitimately brilliant guy, and so in most cases he’s right. For a while I thought it was arrogance that drove him on, but really, Variel just wants to make sure things get done right. I think it’s been especially hard for him to be in our company, because unlike the most of us, Variel thinks before he acts. He considers the situation carefully, plans out the best course of action, and then makes it happen. When people like me get in the way of a perfectly reasonable plan, it ticks him off. But he doesn’t get angry about it because he’s a jerk, it’s because he cares. Come to think of it, Variel may just be the best thing Ursandova’s got going for it right now.

Take this thing with the Lizards for instance. Without Variel we would have bumbled into Sketmit, picked a fight, and probably ended up murdering a few dozen of the scaly buggers. Even if we had found a way to convince Sketmit that we were on his side, the fight at the Lizardfolk village would have been a bloodbath. I’m not sure I would have even gone into that situation without him at my back. Variel’s confidence was what made me sure we were going to win, because I was sure he had thought through the fight a hundred times already in his head. When the time for battle came, it was as simple as executing his plan.

Now Variel’s preparing us for a fight with Trolls. He’s let me know he’s got a spell that will make my bolts trail fire as they leap off the string, and is confident that his new wand will make it far more difficult for their regeneration to work. He’s already discussed a half-dozen possibilities as to how we might find the Trolls, and I’m sure he’s working on a dozen more. My plan, again, will be to follow his lead and do what he says. It’s worked out pretty well so far.

And when we get back to town, who knows, maybe I’ll buy the cranky old sod a drink. I’m not sure he’s ready to forgive me for being an idiot, but I’m ready to forgive him for noticing it. Maybe things will even work out amicably between us.

No Journal, I’m not hoping for miracles…just a little hard-won camaraderie. Is that too much?

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