So it turns out the knights were in fact bandits; they demanded a toll of three gold each to cross their ford. Honestly, I never knew trolls could be knighted, nor fit into a suit of heavy armor. They complained about barbarian attacks in the area, and questioned u-Heury closely, but I vouched for the boy and he was not of the same tribe causing the problems. They let us pass without issue once the toll was paid.

Once past the ford, they mentioned we would come to a fork in the road; to the right lies Threshold, the capital city of the region and our destination. To the left, a godforsaken little town named Helix, which lies near the better-known castle of Ironguard Motte. Apparently one of the guards is from Helix and thinks of the road that way. I sympathized with him, as Feverborne has occasionally mentioned Helix himself and his descriptions, while pithy and full of foul words, make it clear that the small town was scourged by the undead in recent memory. Perhaps someday we will visit there and see if there is treasure to be found in the ruins still.

Their description, and our subsequent travel, did confirm that u-Heury’s frog map matched the nearby terrain. If the map is accurate a hill-barrow lies north and west of the ford. We resolved to investigate the hill-barrow on the way back to Eastdale, as I was aleady a season late reporting in to my superiors in Threshold.

We camped overnight about an hour past the ford. Shortly after midnight we were attacked by giant ferrets, at least 11 of them. Landon distracted a few, and almost lost his life to the rest. Like with the hyenas, our weapons did nothing. Was this some sort of divine punishment? We fled with the wagon and the surviving horses. When we returned to the camp, most of our rations had been eaten, along with my beautiful and ostentatious tent!

The discussion after the battle did spark an idea that I think is quite the stroke of genius. u-Heury suggested he could pay in advance of a battle for healing performed during the battle! It would, of course, be at a discounted rate as the healing might not actually be used and I may be unable to reach him in the heat of battle. Still, if I could get the whole party to sign up… and then later, whole towns, or even whole nations! A steady, reliable income stream for generations! Perhaps something similar for diseases, and even death! Could resurrection be made affordable even for peasants by the application of a small monthly payment over a lifetime? I see endless possibilities. I drafted a contract,we’ll see if he accepts. In order to allow my thoughts to flow freely without the support of traditional acolytes, I engaged Stria to take dictation of the draft. If this venture succeeds I will have them mass produced… I can imagine some kind of plate, dipped in ink and then pressed to a piece of paper firmly…

Still, we traveled onwards, and eventually reached Threshold, where they insisted we peace-tie our weapons and confiscated Landon’s halberd. Perhaps if we are attacked he can run to the gates to reclaim it, or use the chit they gave him to defend himself. They also insisted we stable the mules and wagon. We made sure our true valuables stayed with us, and hopefully the rest will still be there when we return.

The Contract

Credit to Stria

This insurance agreement (“Agreement") is made and entered into as of this _____ day of _______________, by and among ________________________, hereinafter known as the party providing healing services (“Cleric”), and ________________________, hereinafter known as the party providing fighting services (“Fighter”). The representations and warranties of the Cleric to provide healing services at a discount herein are a material inducement to Fighter to enter into this Agreement. The representations and warranties of the Fighter to effectively deal damage during combat, or otherwise absorb damage on Fighter’s person, herein are material inducement to Cleric to enter into this Agreement. Fighter may not transfer or assign any rights under this Agreement to another person.

The parties intend that, subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, the Cleric will provide a discount for healing services to the Fighter in the amount of 1 gold piece for every 10 points of damage the Fighter dealt to adversaries during combat. The combat must have been within a reasonable amount of time before the request for healing services, but not to exceed one half hour after the conclusion of combat with that set of adversaries. Fighter must be alive and conscious at the time of healing in order to receive the discount.

Fighter hereby represents and warranties that Fighter will effectively deal damage to adversaries during combat, and that Fighter will absorb damage dealt by adversaries upon Fighter’s person, to the benefit of other, less durable, party members.

However, any discount for healing services will be offset and reduced by an amount proportionate to damage dealt by Cleric during combat with said adversaries in excess of the damage dealt by Fighter during that same combat with the same adversaries. The discount will further be offset and reduced by an amount proportionate to any damage absorbed by the person of the Cleric in excess of the damage absorbed by Fighter during said combat. Further, regardless of whether Cleric dealt or absorbed damage in excess of that dealt or absorbed by Fighter, any damage dealt or absorbed by Cleric will result in the price required by the Deity to perform healing services to increase by 1 gold piece per hit point, to adequately compensate Cleric for the exertion of performing healing services after the exertion of combat.

Cleric hereby represents and warranties that Cleric will, upon request by Fighter, provide healing services at a discount, at the rate indicated herein. There is a non-negotiable delivery fee of 1 gold piece per healing spell, as required by use of the “HealDash” intermediary processor. Cleric is not in breach or default of this agreement, is indemnified, and is not liable or otherwise responsible for the Deity declining to provide healing power to Cleric, or if the healing provided is not as much as Fighter expected.