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  #16  
Old May 28th, 2014, 10:17 PM
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On my way out I stop to pick up my backpack and staff, and tell Hrr what a good job she did guarding them. It doesn't matter if Pearl gets a little ahead while doing this; my stride is longer than hers and I'm in more robust health. Once I'm caught up I try to walk slowly and let her set the pace.

Pearl doesn't acknowledge being tired, so I don't acknowledge it either. I wait for her to catch her breath and listen to her explain about the Mussy. "When we're done here I might want to inspect some of those wells. For now, do you mean the water comes from this part of the river? Or do some people draw from farther downstream? Also, can you tell me if there has been anything new or unusual upstream?"
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  #17  
Old May 28th, 2014, 10:25 PM
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"We draw from just about every part of the stream that passes through our lands. As for upstream... I don't know." Pearl glances towards the woods. "We don't go into the woods all that much, it's more trouble than it's worth. There's goblins and... things." She does her best to stand a little straighter. "Nothing the militia can't handle if we need to, of course, but right now there's so much to be done here."
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  #18  
Old May 28th, 2014, 10:43 PM
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Hm, goblins and things? It's possible they're being careless with waste and spreading this disease. They might suffer from it as well. If they live marginal lives and envy the halfling town, they could even be doing something on purpose... Well, I should check the simple solutions first.

I don't need my companion animal for this. "Pearl, would you mind watching my dog Hrr" (I like Pearl, but I am not telling her that Hrr is half wolf.) "while I look at things? Perhaps hold her a bit so she doesn't get lonely or restless?" If she accepts, she'll have an excuse to lean on Hrr if she needs to, without looking weak.
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Old May 28th, 2014, 10:47 PM
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"Um, sure. I can do that." She walks over to Hrr, hands out. Hrr watches her approach with some interest, but since you seem at ease, the wolf-dog also relaxes a bit. She still gives Pearl's outstretched hand a thorough examination before giving the palm a gentle lick. "Good dog," Pearl says. "Just sit with me for a minute okay?"
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  #20  
Old May 28th, 2014, 11:02 PM
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"Yes, sit," I tell Hrr, reinforcing what Pearl said. Then I get to work.

I stroll up and down the banks, looking at everything that seems important to my trained eye. Is the river low in the water table so that contamination could creep in through the bed? There are fish; are they healthy? What about frogs and such; they tend to be sensitive to fouled water. Different plants grow better in different conditions: what does the variety of plants growing here say about the soil and water conditions? I use my knowledge of nature to look for signs of health or unhealth, and for possible causes.

I also perform a test directly on the water. I empty my waterskin and draw a new one from the river. I cast Purify Food and Drink on the waterskin. That should produce at least minor changes, like removing fish waste and sediment. Then I carefully examine the purified water side-by-side the remaining river water. The look, smell, taste, what is different? And do any of the differences seem dangerous?
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  #21  
Old May 28th, 2014, 11:21 PM
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You don't see any evidence that the river is unhealthy. The fish are relatively few, but they seem to be doing well. Here and there you detect crayfish crawling along the riverbed, and once you see one snapped up by a hidden catfish. You manage to find one frog in the grass near the bank, which on closer inspection is perfectly healthy. Your examination of the two water samples shows that your spell has purged a fair amount of murk from the water, but it is all to be expected--sediment, bits of algae, fish leavings. The appearance, smell, and taste are all what you would expect from a slow, shallow river in this terrain.
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  #22  
Old May 28th, 2014, 11:28 PM
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Well, so much for the easy answer. I can't find anything wrong here. But there's still downstream, some wells, and granaries and foodstores to check. As well as Bofgrim's idea to hear. "Miss Pearl, I would like to head downstream. Would you rather come or wait here with Hrr? My companion's name is a throat-sound that resembles a gentler growl. Humanoids often simplify it to "Her" or some form of onamatapeia.
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  #23  
Old May 29th, 2014, 12:26 AM
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"Don't be ridiculous. Of course I'm coming."

Pearl's obstiance slows you down significantly; catering to her pace, it is at least an hour and a half before you reach the point of the river she designates as the edge of their lands. This is as far downstream as anyone draws water. You conduct your observations again, with essentially the same results. A few less crayfish, a few more frogs, and seemingly nothing out of the ordinary.

Pearl seems frustrated after several hours of walking and investigating. "Well? Anything?" she asks.
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  #24  
Old May 29th, 2014, 12:33 AM
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I'm frustrated too, but so used to not showing it due to my druidic training in serenity that I probably seem calm. "If there is a problem here, it's not of a sort I can find or fix. I'm sorry. I would still like to check the wells you mentioned, and if I can't find a problem there, granaries or large foodstores. If you are weary today, we can resume tomorrow." I've been concentrating on what I was doing, but now I check the position of the sun and the time of day. How much daylight do I have left to work in?
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Old May 29th, 2014, 12:48 AM
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The sun is quite high in the sky, although your finely crafted dragonskin is more comfortable than most armors would be in this heat. You judge that is a little past midday, and the hunger beginning to gnaw at your stomach seems to agree. This late in the fall, you estimate that you have perhaps four or five hours of daylight remaining.

Pearl still seems determined; she has caught her breath fairly well in the time it has taken you to search the riverbed. "I'm fine. I'll be fine till sunset and past midnight if I have to be. I could just... do with a little lunch."
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  #26  
Old May 29th, 2014, 11:02 AM
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"If the wells you mentioned are in the village, we could eat there before checking them. If they're between the Mussy and the village, it might be faster to check them on our way back--did you bring any food?" What we do next will depend on whether we have food with us and where the wells are.

I also have my magically-filling goodberries, but they might be too filling for a halfling and they're bitter besides. If we stop by a well on our way back to town, Pearl could eat packed food (if she has any) and I could eat a berry.
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  #27  
Old May 29th, 2014, 06:08 PM
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"Yeah, I brought food. Enough for myself, anyway, I don't have enough to share with someone so... big..." Pearl turns to look towards the village. "We've got one big old well near the center of town. I guess we sort of built the town around it. There are a few others scattered about, mostly on individual farms a bit farther out... as far off from the river as we could get them, since the entire point of the well is that you don't have to go all the way back to the river for water."
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  #28  
Old May 29th, 2014, 06:30 PM
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Oh, does Pearl think I was asking her for food? I only wanted to know whether we needed to head back to eat. "I can feed myself as well."

"The smaller wells are unlikely to be the problem, if few people draw from each. We should go to the large one next. Would you rather eat now, or on the way to the large well, or while I inspect it?"

While waiting for her answer, I try to convince Hrr to eat one of my goodberries. Many dogs like sweet berries, but bitter ones are a harder sell.
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  #29  
Old Jun 3rd, 2014, 08:44 PM
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Hrr sniffs at the offered berry with some suspicion, then whines and looks up at you pleadingly. The berry is apparently too bitter for her liking. Pearl watches the exchange, then shrugs. "I don't know what to do about your dog there, but I'm perfectly fine eating as I walk. We should hurry, anyway." Despite her apparent rush, Pearl remains slower than you, and you have to settle for reaching the well at her pace.
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  #30  
Old Jun 8th, 2014, 03:59 PM
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With my guide in a rush Hrr will have to wait for food. I urge Hrr to walk between me and Pearl, so Pearl can lean on her if she feels weak and so Hrr can grab a few crumbs Pearl drops. I eat the refused goodberry myself.

When we reach the well I again have Hrr sit waiting near Pearl as I inspect it. It isn't as natural as the Mussy River, but its water still comes from nature and affects the nature around it.
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