We have returned once more from the macabre ruined manor in the salt marsh, and once more the experience has left me with deep doubts about my chosen path. This time, at least, these doubts were born not from gut wrenching horrors and the threat of grisly death but rather coming face to face with my own naivete about being an adventurer.
It began with Ned. We found Ned, a scraggly man in chains, held in a locked bedroom. After some discussion we freed him and he betrayed us, severely wounding Matthew. He leaped from a second story window to make his escape but injured himself badly in the fall leaving him unconscious on ground outside. Marcus simply said as it was Matthew he hurt Ned’s fate was his to decide. I suggested if he had been in league with the pirates he may be able to tell us something useful but the idea was curtly dismissed. Without a hint of hesitation Matthew simply walked up to the unconscious man and ran him through.
I don’t like to kill people, which is usually convenient because I’m also not very good at it. However adventuring is a violent profession. I’ve always known that I would have to fight and sometimes kill in pursuit of my goals and in defense of my life or the lives of others. I thought I could handle that so long as it remained a last resort. I had not considered how that violence might affect me over time, and how it would have affected those I traveled with. From the very beginning Marcus, Matthew, and Ayaliya have been honorable and forthright companions towards Katrina and myself. Several times now they have put themselves at risk to aid us and have dealt with us honestly in all things. As such I was taken aback by how casually they were willing, and in some cases eager, to kill. Even men who had been subdued or surrendered. I will admit that in the moment such things did not seem so black and white even to me. The men we faced were undoubtedly killers and pirates. Our only other options would have been to set them free, which would make us complicit in any future crimes, or to take them prisoner which was a risk we were not well equipped to deal with and would result in their execution anyway. Still, knowing all that doesn’t make it feel any more right; watching an unconscious man be run through.
All this weighed heavy on my mind when we returned to the Crimson Pony and were quickly met by the mayor and town council. They wanted to hire our group to chase down and eradicate the rest of the pirates. I flatly refused to have any part of it. I became an adventurer because I wanted bring people together by uncovering shared history and culture, not to hunt down and kill criminals. It may be that I am simply clinging to romantic notions, but then again what good is a bard without romantic notions.