22nd of Justinian, 9:42 Dragon
Finally had a chance to chat with my son a bit on the way back to Lothering. It seems the lad’s name is Morgan, and he wants to become a fighting man like his da. We caught up with Elly in Lothering, and made ourselves a plan — she and the boy will come with me back to Aneth Ara, where I’ll teach him how to handle himself in combat, and hopefully stop him from getting into too much mischief (ha, right!). We stopped just long enough to grab some fresh horses and supplies, and then started heading back to Denerim, with a few extra souls in tow: Tracii (who we’d managed to track down again); Alenka and Sir Corben, formerly of the Arl’s household, now just as eager to get the fuck out of here as the rest of us; and a sister of the Chantry, who was apparently down here on some sort of pilgrimage and now needs an escort back to Denerim.
Well, our luck being what it is, we hadn’t made it far out of Lothering before we ran into trouble. Our path took us close to a farming village a little ways off the Imperial road, and apparently the sister knows the place and wanted to pay them a visit. When we arrived, however, we saw that the town’s river had run dry for no discernible reason. Naturally the sister wanted to know what was behind this, so we rode into town and started asking around. Apparently the local villagers did something to piss off a mage at some point, and suspect that he’s gone and cursed the river. Obviously this isn’t doing anyone any good, so while the sister stayed and prayed at the local chantry, the rest of us went upstream to try and find the source of the problem. We soon came to a fork where the town’s river should have been getting its water from, except that the big river had been turned into a stinking, boggy mess with dead fish everywhere and hardly any water flowing. A nearby cave was the only feature of note, and so — since we collectively possess enough brain cells to put two and two together, but not enough to think better of all this — we decided to head down into the cave for a look-see.
As you might imagine, what we found in the cave wasn’t exactly a surprise. There was an apostate mage down there, deep into his Harrowing, chanting some kind of blasphemous incantation in a deep, demonic voice. Problem was, whatever demon was possessing the mage apparently didn’t want to be interrupted, and a magic bubble about ten feet in diameter stopped us from getting close to the mage or attacking him in any way. We tried talking to him instead, but the demon was particularly unhelpful — just kept saying that the townsfolk had wronged this mage somehow (he was non-specific as to the details) and that he was going to help the spell-slinger get his vengeance. Needless to say we weren’t having any of that, so we started muddling over a way to stop this mage from doing whatever-it-was he was doing. I noticed that the fellow still seemed to be breathing, so we hit upon the idea of filling the cave with kindling and setting it alight; even if the mage’s demon-aura stopped the fire from hurting him, maybe the smoke would choke him out.
Well, as far as I can tell, that seemed to do the trick; after the fire had been burning for a while, we suddenly saw this rush of clean water sweep down the riverbed and bring the river back to its proper level. (Veto would tell me later that the sister had been deep in meditation and prayer, and had passed out at roughly the same time; okay, so maybe it was a miracle, but I’m still claiming some of the credit, dammit!) Once the fire had gone down enough for us to go back inside the cave, we went back and found the mage — still breathing, somehow, but apparently not harrowed anymore. We trussed him up and brought him back to town (and may have woken him up and knocked him out a few times along the way, for one reason or another…), where we promptly dumped him in the chantry to stop the villagers from lynching him. Still, we couldn’t leave him there; the town didn’t exactly have much in the way of permanent staff for its chantry, and we suspected it was only a matter of time before they decided to enact some justice of their own on the mage that had been troubling them. So, we tied him back up again, gave him a few more whacks on the head for good measure, and are now carting him off to Denerim. Hopefully he’ll get something resembling a proper trial there? Maybe? Whatever, the finer points of mage justice are beyond my field of expertise.