Wagstaff had been bit by a giant rat and fallen ill - he’d noticed this in previous sessions, but only during this session was it becoming an obvious problem. They asked around and were directed to a church where the abbot could heal him. The entire party went in.
The odd thing about the church was that there were a great number of acolytes and a few priestesses, but they seemed to be milling about with not much to do. There were a few villagers coming and going after paying their respects, but it seemed a little strange.
The party approached someone who examined Wagstaff’s infected leg and immediately recognized that nobody would have the ability to heal him but the abbot himself. Thus began an uncomfortable conversation with a priestess about the “donation” that was expected in such circumstances.
Now Wagstaff had only about 13 gold on him, and was shocked that the cost would be 60. He agreed to pay it, and someone went to fetch the abbot. While waiting, he was led to an area where he would have to “fill out some paperwork”. This included signing his name, and then standing by while his money was carefully counted out, with a second priestess serving as witness. These two would then both sign their names after writing down what particular service was being rendered (Cure Disease). The notion of all of this appalled Wagstaff after the procedure was described to him, especially since he didn’t have the money available to pay.
When the abbot appeared, expecting to have this business completed (or nearly so) by now, Wagstaff quickly approached him and asked if he could arrange some kind of payment plan. The abbot was unfazed and had apparently had to deal with this type of development many times - he explained that though the fees may seem high, that everyone pays the same amount, rich, poor, villager, and travelers alike. However, the abbot understood that the disease was contracted whilst Wagstaff was attempting to help the Miller, which was a benefit to everyone in town. Consequently, he would be willing to take half now and half later. He also offered to hire the party to explore an unused temple on the opposite side of the river and rid it of any beasts. He was hoping to clean it up and consecrate it to his own deity. Wagstaff and the party agreed, but still didn’t have enough money to pay, and wondered wasn’t there any other agreement they could come to amicably?
The abbot then explained that that there were many services that the church does for the community, and that not all of them could be accomplished simply through magic. Therefore, the present system had been put in place and exceptions could not be made. He suggested that he might be able to find a loan or other means of payment elsewhere in town and quickly turned and headed off back into another private chamber, not waiting for Wagstaff’s reply though he was in mid-sentence.
There was some grousing generally about this and requests for another conversation with the abbot, but the various church staff insisted that he leave for now. The acolyte that’d first looked at his leg at one point said something like “Don’t worry, by the look of it, you’ve got at least a week before it has to be amputated.”
Now Wagstaff apparently had a plan, which was this - as they all filed out, he lingered near and off to the side of the open church door. There he fell down into a sort of crouching, kneeling, leaning on the side of the building position. He tried to make himself look utterly pathetic, hoping for pity and charity.
Again, it would seem that this type of behavior was not unexpected or without precedent. Two of the largest acolytes rushed over asking him to please leave the church’s grounds immediately and to not cause trouble. They were just about to lift him up to carry him a distance away when Olav and Frayse (the large human fighter) stepped between Wagstaff and these two acolytes. It looked like there might even be a fight, as five other acolytes now appeared with hands on maces at their belts. It was suddenly clear to the party why there were so many idle clergy members here! A priestess who’d been watching and expecting this turn of events even attempted to cast Hold Person on Olav who nicely Saved with a 17. The party kept its cool and decided to avoid a fight, and Wagstaff picked himself up, looking suddenly somewhat healthier. Then just as he was begun to be accompanied further away from the building, he yelled into the church doorway, “Hey abbot, you can take your donation and shove it up your ass!”
A grim silence came over the party - except for the Chaotic Agnal, who laughed his ass off. The abbot was probably the only one for quite a distance who had the capability of saving Wagstaff’s life. Then the half-wit Aleger piped up “Why don’t we just loan ‘em the money he needs Olav? Don’t you remember the inheritance we just got?” Olav grumbled something about not loaning money out any time soon again (the last time he did, he lent it to two party members who ended up dying and their money being taken by goblins - all while carrying out a plan hatched by Wagstaff). Then Aleger decided to sell his pony for Wagstaff.
So after some time and other interactions with townsfolk, Aleger managed to raise enough money by selling his pony, even though he was totally ripped off, but he didn’t really care as he doesn’t like riding anyhow. The party went back to the Church, where this time only Wagstaff was allowed to enter. It seems nobody had taken his shout seriously, or once again perhaps they'd encountered similar behavior from others before. Not only this, but the abbot either wasn’t told or doesn’t seem to care about Wagstaff’s outburst either. In short order, he was as good as new.
The whole thing seemed oddly familiar somehow. :)