I charge up the steps and into town. I nearly throw up after thinking about what I just saw. I mean who just leaves empty chests lying around!
I decide to quit this job. There’s no amount of money that could persuade me to stay here, no sir.
I walk over to Pepin to deliver the news. He stops me and says: “I’m glad I caught up to you in time! Our wells have become brackish and stagnant and some of the townspeople have become ill from drinking from them. Our reserves of fresh water are quickly running dry. I believe that there is a passage that leads to the springs that serve our town. Please find what caused this calamity, or we will all surely perish.”
Well why didn’t you say so before man!
Well no I’m conflicted. These people need my expertise as an underground waterway mason specialist. Only I can fix this mess. But how do I get to the problem past those monsters? I’m not fighter- just a lover. A lover for clear waterways and piping.
I decide before I leave I’ll talk to everyone in town and hear what they have to say. Maybe they can convince me. So let’s see, let’s start with my number one suspicion in this mess: the town elder next to the “tainted” well.
Interrogate mode go!
I walk up to Cain, my eyes burning for answers. He seems to read my mind: “Hello my friend, stay awhile and listen.”
I um, how does he do that?! I casually ask him about the well. “So Cain, why is this water so suspiciously yellow?”
He doesn’t even flinch. “Hmm, I don’t know what I can really tell you about this that will be of any help. The water that fills our wells comes from an underground spring. I have heard of a tunnel that leads to a great lake – perhaps they are one and the same. Unfortunately, I do not know what would cause our water supply to be tainted.”
I stare at him a moment thinking. He seems to be telling the truth. I want to ask him about that abomination I fought earlier but I can’t find the words. Literally, there’s no option to. So I move on. Let’s see what the bald blacksmith, Griswold, has to say.
WO WHAT CAN I-
“Who peed in the well?!” I demand.
He replies, “Pepin has told you the truth. We will need fresh water badly, and soon. I have tried to clear one of the smaller wells, but it reeks of stagnant filth. It must be getting clogged at the source.”
I flinch at that. Sounds like they really need their water wells fixed and I’m the only one that can do it.
All this talk of water is making me thirsty so I decide to walk over to the only inn in town run by a man named Ogden. He introduces himself and welcomes me to the Tavern of the Rising Sun. He also tells me about dark riders and destroyed some of the village and how the church is being used for dark rituals.
Well yes I saw first hand, now tell me about this water problem.
“I have always tried to keep a large supply of foodstuffs and drink in our storage cellar, but with the entire town having no source of fresh water, even our stores will soon run dry. Please, do what you can or I don’t know what we will do.”
This guy seems a little selfish to me. He just wants to keep his business going. I’m on to you Ogden.
I’m about to go when he mentions a drunk in town named Farnham. Apparently he went down with other villagers to slay ‘the butcher’ and rescue the Kings son some time ago. Only he returned.
Hmmm, the butcher. Ah yes, the dying fellow from this morning. I guess I should talk to this Farnham person.
But first! The woman to the west, she looks beautiful and lonely. I should of course speak to her!
I check my breath and strut over wishing I did some pushups before hand. I try to flirt with her a bit but she gives me the same stone cold look as everyone else in town. Man, maybe there really is something in the water.
We exchange pleasantries, her name is Gillian and she immediately tells me of a witch in town named Adria. She says, “The woman at the edge of town is a witch! She seems nice enough, and her name, Adria, is very pleasing to the ear, but I am very afraid of her. It would take someone quite brave, like you, to see what she is doing out there.”
I give her my best macho man look. Of course I am very brave. A witch wouldn’t scare me, heck once I punched a monster in the face and he fell apart, I can do anything! Finally Gillian smiles at me. Yesssssssss.
I make a mental note to talk to the witch but ask Gillian about the water situation.
“My grandmother is very weak, and Garda says that we cannot drink the water from the wells. Please, can you do something to help us?”
Of course! That’s why I’m here. Suddenly I find myself agreeing to do something I’m not entirely sure I want to do anymore. Gillian is quite appealing, perhaps I should do it for her.
My mind not quite made up yet I walk back over to the center of town to find the crazy drunk man Farnham.
It doesn’t take me long to find him. He’s yelling out crazy talk, clearly hammered.
He see’s me approach. “Can’t a fella drink in peace?”
He sits cross legged on the ground, empty tankards lying all around. He’s currently nursing a rather tall bottle and trying to shy away from me. But I’m curious.
I ask him how he’s doing.
“I wanna tell ya sumthin’, ’cause I know all about this stuff. It’s my specialty. This here is the best… theeeee best! That other ale ain’t no good since those stupid dogs… No one ever lis… listens to me. Somewhere – I ain’t too sure – but somewhere under the church is a whole pile o’ gold. Gleamin’ and shinin’ and just waitin’ for someone to get it. I know you gots your own ideas, and I know you’re not gonna believe this, but that weapon you got there – it just ain’t no good against those big brutes! Oh, I don’t care what Griswold says, they can’t make anything like they used to in the old days… If I was you… and I ain’t… but if I was, I’d sell all that stuff you got and get out of here. That boy out there… He’s always got somethin good, but you gotta give him some gold or he won’t even show you what he’s got.”
I see. Do you know anything about the water supply?
He looks at me deadpan. “You drink water?”
Ha. I like this guy. I’ll catch up with him later. Time to talk to this witch on the edge of town everyone is talking about. It’s a long walk but eventually I see a crappy shack appear and a woman in black standing outside. This seems to be the place. I walk up to her and she hails out a greeting. “I sense a soul in search of answers…”
Why yes. Yes I am. I want to desperately ask about the empty chest in the hallway, she seems to be the person to ask.
She introduces herself as Adria, a witch from- I tune her out at this point and look behind her shoulder at her hut. She has lots of nifty objects. Shiny flasks, potions and elixers and weird artifacts. Maybe she got them from treasure chests. Not my treasure chest I hope.
I turn back to her and she’s giving me a strange look. I guess I’ve been ignoring her for too long. Why am I here again? Oh right, the water situation. I mention it. She thinks deeply and gives me the worst opinion yet.
“The people of Tristram will die if you cannot restore fresh water to their wells. Know this – demons are at the heart of this matter, but they remain ignorant of what they have spawned.”
Well shit. I don’t want to hear that! If I bugger out of town then all these people will die for sure. This witch seems to know the future and I don’t doubt her.
Now I’m deeply troubled. I want to leave. I should leave. I’m not a warrior!
It’s funny, because that’s my class.
I’m Joe… the Plumber!
I need to take a few moments here and think things through. I walk past Adria’s shack and reach a low stone wall I somehow just can’t climb over. Walking west brings me to open fields. I take it in because quite possibly the fate of this town lays solely on me. I look to the heavens and shout to the Gods: “I need a sign!”
Yes, I hear mooing. And sure enough I open my eyes and look over to see three cows milling about. This must be the sign! But what does it mean?
Probably something important.
Okay, I decide this town is worth saving now. Crazy bald arm folding men and empty chests in monster filled cathedrals and mooing cows and all- I have to do it.