Myam 16 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 1

I had another lazy morning but since I’m stuck here until Baron Juost shows up there’s not much I can do to advance my schemes anyway.  And I know what you’re thinking “Ela, you’re a resourceful and intelligent woman you can get out of town if you want” which is entirely accurate, but I don’t need another enemy and I do need to reconnect with the Juosts and see about getting rid of this monitoring necklace they’ve hung around my neck like an albatross.  With that in mind I slept late and then puttered around my suite for a while, so sue me.  If it makes you feel better I was up and out the door in time for lunch – roasted chicken with ginger and cashew, cranberry torts, strips of braised duck served on waybread, and sautéed eel skewers – now that’s something worth waking up for.  The wine was pedestrian but what can you do?

After stuffing myself (elegantly, like a lady) and enduring the small talk of my fellow suite-renters I made my way over to the Rest Inn Peace, which was miraculous still standing and looking very fine as I walked up.  Stinty and his crew have made a real effort to give this place some curb appeal.  Even though it was late afternoon the common room was packed with people drinking and talking and generally carrying on, I guess with the city being on lockdown there are a lot of people without much work to do – why not drink?  Behind the bar dealing out mugs of ale was not Josta or Stinty, but a heavyset plain-faced fellow with a receding hairline and ruddy cheeks.   

“Who the Hells are you?”

He folded his arms truculently “Who the Hells wants to know?”

I drew myself to full height “I’ll have you know that I’m the owner of this establishment sir!  Unless Josta sold it anyway, then I’m just some person.”

“You must be Ela, Josta and Stinty are downstairs.  Oh, and your cousin’s here.”

“Oh shit, she must want her soul back – which one?”

“The pretty one.”

“They’re all pretty . . . now.”

He moved his mouth in a weird way like he was trying to chew up the memory “She said her name was Emmalina, something like that.”

I rolled my eyes “Hilarious.”

I made my way into the store-room off the kitchen and shouted down the ladder-hole before climbing on.

“Put your clothes on, I’m coming down!”

I’ve never much cared for ladders but I negotiated my way down well enough and then made my way to the basement store-room where the “secret” door was hanging up and Stinty was trying to level up a table that had some manner of gaming wheel on it while Josta stood by impassively, as always, with a mug of beer in her hand, as always.  She glanced at me as I walked in, but I beat her to the punch, mimicking her unharmonious voice perfectly.

“I was wondering if we were going to see you again.”

She nodded “Yes, that.”

I returned to my normal speaking voice “What have you got going here?”

Stinty continued squinting at the table and shifting it up and down imperceptibly “Since people know about this ‘secret’ room I’m going to turn into an illegal betting parlor.  That way they won’t be suspicious about the second secret room that I built for my real business.”

“Hmm, I’m not sure if that’s genius or moronic.  I came to collect Kalisha.”

Josta shook her head “She’s gone.  When the riots started she thought you were dead and got spooked, left town the next day.”

“I have no fucking luck, I tell you.  Did she leave behind a detailed plan for destroying my mortal enemies?  Or at least tell you where she was going?”

“No.”

“It’s annoying how people don’t just wait indefinitely for me to come and use them for my own personal goals.  It almost makes me wish that I hadn’t gotten her off the drugs.”

“I think I was the one who did that.”

“Maybe you did the heavy lifting but I got the ball rolling.  Wherever she is she’s probably turning copper tricks to get money for shiver now anyway, what else is she going to do?  Besides try to blackmail the Duke and maybe get killed.”

Stinty was finally satisfied and stepped away from the table dusting his hands off “What do you think?”

“I think it’s way too busy, you got numbers and colors and balls and wheels spinning around – it’s too much.  People are stupid, and gamblers are especially stupid, you need a game they can easily grasp.  Dice and cards, shit like that.”

“Aren’t you a gambler?”

“It’s not gambling when you cheat.”

Josta finished her beer and looked at the mug sadly “Did Paideyn tell you your cousin has been waiting for you to show up?”

I snorted “Emmalina?  Yeah, a lame joke even for you lot.  I mean what’s the punchline?”

Josta and Stinty looked at each other “Why is that a joke?’

“Because she doesn’t exist.  I must have mentioned that persona when we were playing cards one night.  What baffles me is that somehow you thought that I wouldn’t remember something that I made up.  Or what was the gag?”

Stinty glanced up at the ceiling as if looking through it to the common room above “There’s a woman waiting for you up there who says her name is Emmalina, she’s been here for a couple of days.”

“You’re serious aren’t you?”

Josta nodded “You want me to have Jernah and Bobble run her off?”

I sighed “No, I better go see what the scam is, just be prepared for the place to burst into flames or for an earthquake or something.”

Stinty was dismayed “No, you wrecked my last place and I just got this one looking decent!”

As I headed back up the ladder I made a mental inventory of everyone who knew about “cousin Emmalina” – Alice Kinsey, Percy Ringle, the Ladyheads, Vendriana Leisaro, Crookjaw, and an assorted few other courthouse types.  But out of all of them the only one who knew that there was no Emmalina was Crookjaw and he wouldn’t have been up to any kind of plot even if he wanted to, which he wouldn’t be because he loves me.  Although he certainly could have spilled the beans, I suppose I should have killed him before I left Graltontown, but then again I expected that I would be back in just a few days and that was months ago.  Who could have guessed that I would so thoroughly distracted from that pigsty of a community?

Josta and Stinty clambered back up with me and directed me to the private area on the second floor balcony where I was told Emmalina would be waiting.  Even though I was only here for a short time walking up the stairs gave me a very odd feeling of familiarity.  I suppose with my itinerate lifestyle now anyplace I stay for more than a couple of days starts to feel “homey”.  On the second floor overlook was the table where I had whiled away a few nights with Stinty and Josta now occupied by a single individual.  Whoever they are I have to give them credit – they put together a mirror image of myself when I was disguised as cousin Emmalina.  I tell you this much, if you like blondes, cousin Emmalina is a stone cold fox – having only ever seen the appearance in a mirror before I never got the fully glory of her countenance before.  Is it possible to be jealous of yourself?  That’s a weird thing to think about.

If it’s an illusion it’s a good one, and by good I mean fantastic – I’ve gotten pretty damn good at seeing through magic trickery.  This doesn’t make it impossible of course.  I’m not one of those people who thinks they can never be fooled just because they’re good at not being fooled most of the time, but it does make it less likely.  The more likely explanation is that I’m dealing with a shapechanger – I can’t see through that because it’s not a trick, it’s an actual physical metamorphosis.  And what shapechanger have I dealt with recently?  Ergo the most likely explanation is that the succubus had a little succubus friend who’s out for revenge and taking this form.  But that doesn’t seem all that likely either considering that the aforementioned demon-whore would have no clue about Emmalina.  Although she did try to read my mind several times, so who knows?

When “she” saw me a beautiful smile lit up her comely face.

“Ela!  I was starting to think you weren’t going to come!”

I sat down across from it “How could I miss this?”

“I don’t want to be rude cousin but there’s no time to catch up right now, I need your help with a case.”

“Rrrright, because you’re a lawyer.”

A small frown came and went across its face “Yes.  I’m representing a man whose been accused of murdering his wife.  I know that he didn’t do it but there’s no real evidence of anything, I’m concerned that without knowing who did . . .”

“I admit, I don’t get what the play is here.  Is the idea to make me trust you so that you can get close to me for some reason?  If that’s the goal why not shapechange into someone that I already trust?  Granted that’s really only one person.  And even that is a little shaky.  I guess if you wanted to take me out what you should do is impersonate Cladarielle.  That would be a better way to lure me into whatever trap you have set up.”

A real deep frown now “Cousin, what are you talking about?”

I laughed “Don’t cousin me whoever you are.  How about this, if I guess who you are will you drop the act?  Are you Vendriana?  She didn’t seem to be a magic user but she seemed to know how to use magic items and had a source for getting them.  I don’t have a great theory, but maybe that’s it, you’re her and you have a magic nose ring or something that doesn’t disguise you, it actually allows you to change shapes.”

Now a world-weary sigh “Ela, you’re talking nonsense, are you drunk?”

“Not drunk enough to fall for this horseshit.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 27,817 platinum, 44,859 gold

XP: 635,101

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Stone of Good Luck, Tankard of the Drunken Hero,  Censer of Dreams,  potions of cure moderate wounds (5), potion of invisibility, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Campfire Bead, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Deck of Curses (two cards used), Ring of Urban Grace,  Bewitching Gown, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Nymph’s Favor, Token of Summoning, Tidy Trunk

Courtier’s Outfit, noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), severed hag head, gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, glass vials of something awful (8), disguise kit, covenant ring , tiny diamonds (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, bottle of elfen absinthe, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55)    

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee,  Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa 

Myam 15 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Taking a day off to do absolutely nothing is wonderful – yesterday was a treasure of idleness – but there’s always a price to be paid.  Always.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that there isn’t.  My enemies are many and varied, every second that I’m not working to thwart them their advantage over me grows stronger.  They never stop trying to destroy me and every moment that I don’t fight against them gives them that much more chance of success.  I have to be working as hard as possible all the time just to stay above water.  The pressure is intense and relentless, thank the Gods that I’m strong enough to handle it where other women would crack and fall to pieces.  I really am something. 

Since the damage was already done by yesterday’s day of rest I slept late today as well, might as well enjoy it if you’re going to do something stupid.  Once I was up and ready to go my plan was to hit the market and do a little trading, but as per usual my plans were foiled before they began.  Once I got downstairs there were a pair of Baron Redmynd’s retainers waiting for me.  They explained that he needed to speak with me in a way that also made it clear that this was not a request.

“How did you find me?  How does everyone always find me?!”

“We were told to check all the finest inns in town.”

“Oh . . . well . . . that would do it.”

They escorted me outside where the Baron’s carriage was waiting along with two more armed men on horseback as outriders.  When I climbed inside I saw there were already three women sitting and waiting – three almost identical looking women.  You know the ones I mean.

“You’re a little late to score high marks on bodyguarding.”

“We were ordered away from your tent that day, we don’t work for you remember?”

“You could have, I had the money.”

“Things aren’t that simple.”

“Tell me about it.”

We clattered our way to the mayor’s former civic complex which is now the headquarters for Redmynd and whatever it is he’s doing here – attempted coup turned into . . . something else.   He didn’t keep me waiting at all.  His armed goons ushered me into the former mayor’s office where he was looking at maps and charts without delay – so he’s an improvement over the former occupant in that way at least.  He thanked me for uncovering the conspiracy of demoniacs in his midst and apologized for the “unpleasantness” at the camp, stating these two simple concepts took him a solid half hour as it was mixed in with the usual self-aggrandizement and empty fluff.  In the end he told me that he owed me a great boon for making sure that his conspiracy, sorry I mean peace-keeping mission, wasn’t suborned by the powers of the Hells.  

“I don’t mean this as an insult to your honor, and I’m not saying this is the case with you by any means, but four times before a powerful man has told me that they owed me a great debt, and yet somehow I never ended up getting much of anything from them.  One of them was the man who was sitting in that very chair a few days ago.”

“Some men are reckless with their word of honor. I am not such a man.  You need but speak your wishes and if they are in my power they will be yours.”

“I’d like free passage through the city.”

“That’s easily done, but you should be forewarned that the streets aren’t entirely safe yet.”

“I have the ligature marks on my neck to testify to that. I was working with a man named Rindol, a sage in the employee of Lord Wesel.  He was right in the epicenter of the fighting when it started, I’d like to know if he survived and where he is.  And for that matter I need to speak with Lord Wesel as well.”

“I’ll see to it, so far your price is very reasonably met My Lady, you have prevented a great catastrophe in my ambitions you need not restrain yourself.”

“What can I say, I’m a simple woman really.  I had a family ring that was taken from me, it’s one of the few possessions in the world that I cared about.  There’s no getting it back now of course but if there’s a jeweler in town of great skill I would like to have a new one made.  It’s been in my family for a long time, from back in the days when our fortunes were much different.  It was very dear to me.”

“If there isn’t a craftsman of suitable skill I shall have one brought to you My Lady.”

“That would take a while and I’m not sure how much longer . . .”

He butted in with a throat clearing “Actually My Lady you’re going to need to do me another favor.  I have to ask you not to leave the city until Baron Juost shows up.  And I need to know where you’re going to be so you should stay at the Crux Ansata.”

“Oh yes, in all the excitement I forgot that I’m still your hostage.”

He affected a pained expression “My Lady . . .”

I held up a restraining hand “Don’t fret Baron, I harbor no resentment over the fact, just tell me that the Juost contingent will be here soon.”

“Alleene is no great distance my lady, he should be here within the week.”

“Fair enough, one other thing, if his head hasn’t been put in a pike yet I’d like to talk to Baras Haldmeer.”

A short carriage ride later and I was at the small prison where criminals are kept until the judicial system can decide what to do with them.  Even in his small cell the former mayor looked unchanged – very much like a man who’s not just had his entire world snatched away from him and is most likely going to be killed soon.  You have to admire someone who can handle total collapse with some dignity.

“I have good news.”

He seemed unsurprised by my presence “I could use some just now.”

“I found a lead on your brother.”

He nodded “That is good news but I would be lying if I said that was my main priority right now.”

“I have  problem though, I swore vengeance on you but it’s hard to see a way that your situation could get any worse.  I thought about bringing you some poison and encouraging you to kill yourself but if anything that seems like a kindness at this point.  I don’t like the fact that you’ve been brought down without my having much of a hand in it.  It’s unsatisfying when circumstances beyond your control bring about something you want.  I like to earn it.”

“You still need me to get your things back.”

“No, I have them, your friends in blue told me that you had lied to me and where they could be found. “

“I’ve been siphoning money from the city coffers for years.”

“Let me guess if I get you out of here you’ll lead me to it?  I don’t doubt in the least that you have quite a stash hidden away, but you’ve already betrayed me three times Lord Mayor, what kind of fool would I be if I trusted you again?  You know the old saying, fool me three or less times shame on you, fool me four or more times shame on me.”

“You could help me out of here so that I could rebuild my fortunes so you would have a chance to rip them away yourself at a later date.”

“That would be quite the epic journey of revenge, but I’m already on one of those – you were just an incidental revenge side trek – and I don’t have the time for two epic revenges.  I think I’m going to have to be satisfied with being unsatisfied in this case.”

“It’s a shame to let all that money I stole go to waste.”

“Yes it is, but I’m already very wealthy and when they torture you I’m sure you’ll tell them where it is.  Eventually. So it won’t go to waste entirely, someone will get it.  About the only thing you could do that might change my mind is tell me that you have some way to bring down Duke Eaglevane.”

“I do, just get me out of here and I’ll tell you.”

I smiled slightly “Goodbye Mr. Mayor.”

He sighed quietly “What’s the difference between you and me?  Why I am here and you’re going to walk away?”

“That’s a good question.  Off the top of my head I think the difference is that you thought you had the upper hand.  You had status and prestige and power and money and an entire network of thugs and civil servants at your disposal.  I have none of those things, I’m always fighting uphill against superior forces.”

He frowned “How is that to your advantage?”

“I don’t know, but here we are.  Maybe it’s that no one sees me as a threat, the more power you accumulate the more other people know they have to watch out for you.”

“I knew I had to watch out for you.”

“And yet you’re in there and I’m walking away.”

He nodded “It bears something thinking about.”

“If you’re going to think about it my advice would be to hurry, I don’t think you have a lot of time.”

After my meeting with the former mayor I had a late lunch with the Baron and his sycophants, which was pleasant enough for what it was, before I was deposited back at the Crux Ansata.  I could have spent the rest of the day doing something useful but the day had left a poor taste in my mouth and I decided more indolence was the order of the day.  I have one less enemy now so it should be alright.  I spent the afternoon with Eramus Stutr and the other luminaries staying in the luxury suites playing cards and gossiping before having a lovely dinner on Mr. Stut’s balcony.  A wandering musician on the street below saw us and started playing his fiddle.  It was almost romantic until two footpads ran up to beat the snot out of him and steal his instrument.     

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 27,817 platinum, 44,859 gold

XP: 635,101

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Stone of Good Luck, Tankard of the Drunken Hero,  Censer of Dreams,  potions of cure moderate wounds (5), potion of invisibility, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Campfire Bead, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Deck of Curses (two cards used), Ring of Urban Grace,  Bewitching Gown, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Nymph’s Favor, Token of Summoning, Tidy Trunk

Courtier’s Outfit, noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), severed hag head, gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, glass vials of something awful (8), disguise kit, covenant ring , tiny diamonds (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, bottle of elfen absinthe, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55)    

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee,  Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa 

Myam 14 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

The good thing about staying in a classy establishment like Crux Ansata is they have people to take care of tasteless day to day tasks like commerce for you.  After breakfast I sent one of their attendants out with a couple mundane items to dispose of and with orders to procure me an appropriate method of transporting my Phidaner gown.  While lackeys were scurrying about taking care of errands on my behalf I availed myself of the bath in my suite for the first time in what seems like ages.  Laying there in that warm water I had a hard time remember why I ever leave the city, other than to go to a better city of course.  I stayed in there for more than an hour and had servants brings up hot water at least six times – but when you’re paying for the best why not enjoy it?  After that I went out onto the balcony in my dressing gown (scandal!) and resolved to do a lot of nothing, sitting on the cushioned darkwood lounge chair and enjoying some sparkling wine while I smoked a little flayleaf.

My reverie was interrupted by someone coming out onto the next balcony over but I was in a state of mind where I didn’t even mind.  He was a lanky fellow, had to be over six and a half feet tall, with a pale complexion and a missing eye; but he was impeccably dressed and seemed to be surveying the street below with a practiced eye.

“Good morning My Lady, I wasn’t aware that anyone had reserved the suite next to mine.”

“Good morning Sir, I just came in last night from the countryside, there’s a bit of trouble out there you know.”

A mild harrumph “There’s a bit of trouble here in town as well.  You seem to have forgotten to get dressed madam.”

I dropped him a sassy wink “Oh, I didn’t forget anything, the breeze is good for the skin you know.  You have the bearing of a man just back from the front unless I miss my mark, and I don’t often miss my mark, if I do say so myself.”

This elicited a surprised/interested look “Very astute.  I was on the southern coast attending to some matters.”

“Navy man?”

“No, special operations.”

“Oh, how mysterious, are you a spy mister . . .”

“Stutr, Eramus Stutr.”

“Lady Elsa von Stroheim”

I held my hand out and with a wry smile he mimed kissing it from across the empty air between the two balconies.

“Charmed.  I wouldn’t be very much of a spy if I went around telling people that I was a spy now would I be?  Let’s just say that I’m a Royal Observer.”

“And what would you say you observed down south?  Have we won the war yet?”

“Not yet, but we will of course, just ask the Queen’s Messengers – they’ll tell you we win all the wars, even the ones we lose,  I believe it was written into law some years ago.  The Kingdom doesn’t lose wars so it goes without saying.”

“Well that’s a relief, one wonders why other nations insist on fighting against us when the outcome is predetermined.  Seems like it would save everyone a lot of trouble if they just capitulated.”

Another amused smile “Troublemakers that’s what they are, unwilling to see reason.”

“That has to be quite a disappointment, you come back from bravely doing spy things on the front lines – sabotaging supply lines and stealing documents and seducing foreign ladies and what not – for a little rest and relaxation and you end up in the middle of a riot.  Or a rebellion.  Or a coup, did they ever decide which it is?”

“I don’t think they have yet, but they seem to be closing in on it.  I think in the end it will be labeled a misunderstanding.  But yet, I am rather put out, I came here seeking a cure to an ailment I picked up on the coast and instead I’ve been stuck here.”

“You look hale and hearty to me.”

“Would that it were so, some foul foreign air has settled in my lungs, I can’t get my wind like I used to.”

“It’s a shame to see such a stalwart fellow cut down in the flower of his manhood by ill humors.”

He chuckled “The flower of my manhood is long gone, but you’re kind to flatter an old warhorse.  You said that you came in from the countryside, what manner of troubles are you experiencing out there?”

I waved a hand airily “Oh you know how it is, when there’s rioting in the streets the countryfolk get all riled up as well – bandits and highwaymen and such.  One of my maids was carried off by brigands just the other day.  I sent some men at arms out to rescue her of course, but it turns out that these particular mountebanks were all of a certain way if you know what I mean – the rescuers had more to worry about with their virtue than the maid did if you catch my drift.”

I waggled my eyebrows outrageously and he let out a big belly laugh – a woman being ravished, there’s nothing funny about that, but who doesn’t enjoy some good man-on-man sexual assault black humor?  There are not a lot of things to take advantage of with the double standard, but it’s nice when they occasionally come around.

“You’re not like any Lady I’ve ever spoken to Miss von Stroheim.”

“To my parent’s eternal shame, may they rest in peace, that’s probably why I’m still unmarried at my advanced age.  Destined to me a spinster I am.”

He spared a frank look at my bare legs propped up on the railing of the balcony, I’ll say one thing for my new lifestyle, all this walking around really has the old gams in good shape “Oh certainly, I’m getting a very spinster feeling from you My Lady.”

“Stop, you’ll make me blush.”

A droll look came over his long face “I have a feeling it takes quite a bit to make you blush.”

I flicked the remains of my flayleaf cigarillo over the side of the balcony “I can blush like a champion when the situation requires, it’s one of my many gifts.” I poured myself some more sparkling wine “So if you’ve been trapped here what do you do all day?”

“Enforced idleness isn’t something I do well with, mostly I’ve been reading, with occasional forays into conversation with the other guests.”

“Any of them tolerable?”

He shook his head “Not really.”

“How about this Mr. Stutr, being the enterprising fellow that you are,  why don’t you see if you can wrangle us up a couple of horses and we’ll go for a nice afternoon ride in the countryside.”

“Isn’t that where the highwaymen and mountebanks are?”

“Yes, but I’ll have you to protect me.”

He shook his head in mock somberness “That’s a tall order My Lady, what with the city being on lockdown.” A slight frown replaced his playful expression “How did you get into the city last night?”

I raised my glass to him “Simplicity itself my good fellow, I merely sang a song that summoned my giant moth friend Nilufar from the land of dreams and ghosts and she flew me right over the cordon and set me down in the city as gentle as a mother sloth.  Nilufar and I became friends when I stole a boat with two of my friends and the vigilante called Blue Orchid, whose true name I will not reveal.  Things were going pretty well until we ran afoul of a dragon turtle by the name of Beriah and the ship was badly damaged, forcing us to make for the shore of a nearby island.  As luck would have it the island was home to an organization of anti-Royal alchemist traitors who called themselves the Circle of Reeds.  They were manufacturing potions and poisons to sell to the enemies of the Kingdom and also some manner of blue powder that allowed them to somewhat control Beriah. 

The Circle of Reeds had enslaved the local native peoples, being peaceful and technologically primitive they were easy prey for the foul alchemists.  I befriend them and they told me that in a nearby cave was the cocoon of mighty Nilufar who they prayed would emerge and rescue them.  I went to the cave and coaxed Nilufar out of her slumber with the beauty of my singing and she drove Beriah away from the island – for despite her great magnificence and generally peaceable nature she is a protector and a mighty warrior when called upon to defend the innocent.  The alchemists mounted the backs of mind-controlled giant eagles to attack her, but they were no match for Nilufar for she is the Mistress of the Skies.  The alchemists and their treacherous factory were destroyed and the natives were freed.  They wanted me to stay and rule as their goddess but I had to decline for my duty is first and foremost to the Queen and the Kingdom.  Nilufar and I remain fast friends and she comes to my aid whenever I call upon her with my siren song.”

“That’s quite a tale, what did this all happen?”

“Yesterday morning, it was quite a day, so you can see why I need a little respite.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 27,817 platinum, 44,859 gold

XP: 635,101

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Stone of Good Luck, Tankard of the Drunken Hero,  Censer of Dreams,  potions of cure moderate wounds (5), potion of invisibility, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Campfire Bead, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Deck of Curses (two cards used), Ring of Urban Grace,  Bewitching Gown, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Nymph’s Favor, Token of Summoning, Tidy Trunk

Courtier’s Outfit, noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), severed hag head, gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, glass vials of something awful (8), disguise kit, covenant ring , tiny diamonds (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, bottle of elfen absinthe, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55)    

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee,  Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa 

Myam 13 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Waking up in a bed, in a building, a building that’s not smashed to bits or on fire no less, in a city (well Beresford but close enough) I felt better than I have in a long time.  The mind is a funny thing, you just need a little sense of the familiar and suddenly all the beatings and terror and stabbings and harsh language and bad food and deprivations and ugly people doesn’t seem so awful anymore.  I had the powerful urge to loiter in bed but I was still famished and I didn’t want to miss breakfast so I hurled my grubby sweaty commoner clothes out the window and cleaned myself up as best I could without a bath.  Breakfast was simple fare, eggs and onions wheat porridge but it came with a tea that was tasty as you like, I think it was infused with huckleberry.  However what really made me feel like this was a good day and that everything was going to turn out alright was that in the common room as I ate I saw two youngsters going around pulling the old scam where they were collecting money for the widows and orphans.  It must makes you feel good to see some young go-getters out there fleecing people and trying to make something of themselves.

They were presenting themselves as a brother and sister but the little signs and body language they were putting out there made me lean more towards believing them lovers.  The girl was clearly in charge of the operation which might seem odd to you, but it’s actually the norm when you have a male-female team.   A man who makes his living on the grift usually works alone or with another male pal, they don’t tend to recruit a woman for their two-person cons because obviously they can’t be trusted.  When they do use a lady in their scams she’s usually a prop and often ends up being scammed as well – and usually is  left to take the fall.  A lady scammer is more likely to get her man to go along with her schemes somewhat as a partner but more often just as some muscle, or a handy distraction in case things go wrong.  He was doing his best to keep up but she was the one bringing in the money for “charity”.

There’s an expression that you can’t fool a fooler, which is incorrect, and neither is it exactly true that you can’t work someone who’s paranoid about being taken advantage of because that very paranoia is something you can advantage of, but it is interesting how obvious these scams are once you’ve been around the block a time or two.  Even if you think most people are morons, which I do, it’s strange to be reminded just how susceptible people are even to the simplest of cons.  A pretty girl asks for you’re a couple coins to help out the less fortune?  Most people can’t reach for their money fast enough.  And yet, for all her smiles and dimples if you looked her in the eye, I mean really looked, you’d see a coldness there that would be all the more disturbing for the innocent and sweet package carrying it around.  Unfortunately she misinterpreted my amusement at her antics as interest in being taken in by them and she approached me, smiling sweetly, giving her pitch and holding out her bonnet for the donation.

I smiled back “Well aren’t you just a doll?  I would to love to help out the poor little orphans, but all I have is a gold piece and I need some silver to buy thread at the market.  I don’t want to reach into your funds there, would you be a dear and count me out nine silver and then I’ll put in the gold?”

You can see where this is going, the old short count.  I was mostly just curious if she would fall for it, but there is always something of a charge you get when you swindle a swindler.  I suppose that’s the feeling duelists get when they slice someone’s belly open on the “field of honor”, killing someone normal is whatever, but killing someone who’s a professional killer – now that’s something.  Besting someone at what they’re supposed to be good at is more fun than just getting over on some normal person.  Once all that hoopla was concluded I left the Randy Weasel or whatever that place is called to head to the temple of Odobenine but in short order the pair of con artists accosted me in the street – the girl’s once demure yet alluring face twisted into a mask of rage.

“Gimmie back muh money!”

I smiled as sweetly as she had been before “Why whatever are you talking about?”

She tried to body up on me and I gave her a little shove – and I mean little, I barely touched her, but she was off balance and I just happened to push her at just the right time to send her falling on her ass.  The look of surprise and outrage on her face was almost comical.  You’d thinking that getting knocked on her butt was the worst thing that had ever happened to her.  Her “brother” just stood there with his mouth open like he was seeing a volcano erupt for the first time or something.

“Watch your step dear.”   

I turned to continue on my way, which was probably not the smartest thing to do, but I didn’t expect that she was going to try something out here in the street.  It was early enough that there weren’t a lot of people about, but it’s not like I was in a deserted alley.  The point is before I had taken two steps there was a garrote around my throat and I could feel her on my back like an especially murderous gibbon.  Not that long ago in the grand scheme of things if someone was throttling me like this I would have had no idea what to do.  I would have died most likely.  Violence is an odd thing, when you’re not used to it, when you’re not a violent person, it seems like there’s nothing you can do when someone attacks you.  It’s just a frightening and unusual occurrence that you don’t fight back even if you could, it doesn’t even cross your mind.  A lot of people, well men mostly, think they if someone “tries them” they’ll bow up and get all manly and throw fists, but usually it’s the opposite – instead of raising up on the back legs like a bear they bolt like the cowardly rabbit. 

But once you’ve been around violence and it’s been demystified it’s a different story.  I guess it’s good that I’m no longer in the first camp, but it’s depressing that that’s where my life as lead me.  I would prefer to be the kind of ivory tower type that never has to learn those lessons, but if the alternative is being dead I’m glad I turned out this way instead.  As much as I’ve been banged around and almost killed by this and that and every other damn thing I’m certainly not going to let a teenage girl strangle me to death.  The “brother” had a pained look on his face as if to say “here we go again!” but that didn’t stop him from coming forward to grab my arms.  Fun fact, strangling someone is much better accomplished with two, although he would have been much better served to go for the legs.  But he didn’t so it was a swift and blinding knee to the crotch for him.  Once he was down on the ground, since his “sister” was conveniently providing me with a post I favored him with a double stomp to the chest as well – which is never a bad idea.

Next I stepped back to put my foot back behind her foot, calf to calf, and then with a quick snap forward she was on the ground again and I was unwrapping her knotted cord from around my neck.  If someone is trying to choke you you may be tempted to arch your back but don’t – if you lean back, you lose your balance, which is bad.   Fighting is a lot more about balance than you might think.  Once I had the cord in hand I whacked her in the noggin with it as she was flounder to get up.

“You walk around with this thing?  Do you want people to think you’re a murderer?  If you want to strangle people at least do it with a scarf.  I knew a gal once who had a string of beads that was specially modified . . .”

She came to her feet with a small blade in her hand, but by this point the few people that were out on the street were gathering around and/or paying rapt attention – there’s nothing that gathers a crowd like a catfight. 

I chuckled “You are a vicious little polecat aren’t you?  You want to stab it out in front of all these people buttercup?  We should at least charge admission if that’s what’s going to happen.  You know how rare a lady knife-fight is?  I saw one once in Bürstner but that was . . .”

Seeing that she had an audience she and her boyfriend beat feet, at which point one of the brave looky-loos came forward to ask me what was going on.

“Oh nothing really just a little family dispute, you know how kids get in their teenage years, rebellious and all.  My daughter’s a good girl, really she is, but she’s still in that phase where she tries to solve all her problems by stabbing.  You have kids, you know what I’m talking about right?  She’s pretty as a picture though, and I’m looking for a good match for her.  Do you have a son perhaps?  A son that doesn’t freak out about a little cut here and there?”

He must not have because her hurried away as if the boogedyman was on his heels.  After that little dust-up I made my way to the nice part of town and to the fortress-bank-temple of the Odobeninians where in short order after providing the number and passphrase Corune gave me I was back in possession of my possessions.  I was surprised to see that absolutely nothing was missing since it was in the hands of the Church of Greed and all, but I suppose their ability to sell their services as a storing place for valuable goods wouldn’t really be viable if they were skimming off the top.  Smart greed knows that you make more money in the long run playing it straight.  Sort of.  I was also somewhat shocked to remember the sheer volume of magic crap I’ve accumulated, not to mention the friggin’ fortune I’m sitting on.  I could retire right now and live out the rest of my days in luxury, but I cannot – not until the Duke and all the rest get what’s coming to them.  The black and white and gold robed attendant asked me if there was anything else that the servants of the Lord of Coin would help me with.

“Actually yes, a couple things, first off since the town is in a bit of disarray the markets are probably not up and running at their usual clip I was wondering if you’d be interested in purchasing a few items.”

“We’re not a mercantile madam, we occasionally buy and sell premium goods but we’re not a clearinghouse for . . . shall we say, items discovered.”

“Of course, I wouldn’t waste your time with mundane items I’m talking purely about arcane objects.”

“I can direct you to our procurement office, what else did you have for us today ma’am?”

I fished the receipt from the Bowcrag Odobeninians out of my Bag and presented it to her. “I’d like to cash in on this credit.”

“I’ll have to verify this in our records, but that should be no problem, what services were you thinking about requesting?”

“I’m not sure, I just kind of want to use this thing and stop worrying about it.  What’s on the menu?  So to speak.”

“Aside from religious observations of course we offer our banking and investment services as well as spellcasting for hire.”

“Tell me about this spellcasting.”

“Well we have a large number of acolytes on hand at all times for minor healing spells and blessings and the senior staff are available on appointment for more advanced magical rituals.”

“But what can you do?”

“That’s an extremely broad question ma’am, many things are possible with magic, there’s thousands of different manifestations we can call upon from our Lord.”

“Are any of them actually useful?”

“I don’t follow you ma’am.”

“Can you make me immune to physical blows?”

“No ma’am.”

“Can you curse my enemies?”

“We only offer legal services ma’am, placing curses is prohibited by law.”

 “Which means you don’t do it or it costs more?”

“We only offer legal services ma’am.”

“Okay, what about this – people seem to jump out of brushes and alleyways and off bridges and such to ambush me all the time – I can’t really rely on normal bodyguards because of the inherent trust problems there.  Can you summon a genie to protect me?”

“Genies aren’t real ma’am.”

I snorted “Are you fucking kidding me?  Vampires and wolf-whales and malicious tree stumps and varcolacs and wendigos and every other damn thing is real but genies are made-up?  Where do all these wishes people make that backfire on them come from then?” 

“I couldn’t say ma’am, but for the amount of credit you have we can certain bind an outsider in a token that will allow you to summon it when needed.”

“Outsider?  What do you mean?”

“A creature from another plane of existence.”

“Like a demon or an angel?”

“We don’t deal with those fanatics in our church ma’am, but yes, creatures of a similar planar nature.”

I have no clue what that means but I agreed anyway and she led me to another part of the temple where I met with the procurement priest.  Normally I’m used to the process of buying and selling being a lively affair – the chatter and excitement of the marketplace, the give and take of bargaining, the random insults and pickpockets – but this was a dull affair indeed.  The procurement priests examined everything in depth, often casting spells upon the items, and then consulted with various ledgers and books and receipts that were stored in a massive catalog behind him.  And even when he did want something the price was the price, there was no bartering.  Those hours were undoubtedly the most boring of my life.  So far anyway. 

After surviving that brush with almost being bored to death (the obscene amount of money I walked away with helped) there were a few hours left before dark so I had the good folks at the Temple of Consecrated Covetousness refer me to a local craftmage, for a fee of course.  When I went to visit him his assistant kindly told me he was available by appointment only, which I was granted immediately by way of a hefty handful of gold.  I’ve only met a couple craftmages but this one seemed to be different in the sense that he wasn’t stark raving mad – he just seemed like a guy who made magic stuff for money.  Go figure right? I told him what I wanted and he said that definitely possible and would take about a week but that he had other projects in the line in front of mine.  Although mine jumped to the head of the line quickly when I started dumping gold out on his table.  I do so appreciate a man who knows how the world works. 

With a hard day’s work under my belt I found the most extravagant lodgings in the good part of town – Crux Ansata – and rented out a suite for the next week.   The amount of money I handed over would have been eye-opening on any other day, but today was quite the day. 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 27,817 platinum, 44,659 gold

XP: 635,101

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Stone of Good Luck, Tankard of the Drunken Hero,   Censer of Dreams,  potions of cure moderate wounds (5), potion of invisibility, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Campfire Bead, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Deck of Curses (two cards used), Ring of Urban Grace,  Bewitching Gown, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Nymph’s Favor, Token of Summoning

Courtier’s Outfit, Noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed Scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), 700 garnets, severed hag head, gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, glass vials of something awful (8), disguise kit, covenant ring , tiny diamonds (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, darkwood lute, masterwork buckler, bottle of elfen absinthe, assorted jewelry, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55)    

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee,  Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa 

Behind the curtain – Ela hit level 15, taking another level of Rogue.  She took Extra Rogue Talent yet again and Another Day for that talent.  I must love Rogue talents more than everyone else because almost every stat block I see they’re using the talents that basically trade for feats which I find lame.  I guess it’s probably just to make the stat block easy, like how it seems they give half the NPCs and monsters in the world Alertness which is also lame but it’s one less thing you have to think about as the GM.

Myam 12 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 4

The scouts led us back to a small military encampment a few miles outside of town from which several other military style camps could be seen.  I could see also the former camp of the Alliance of Barons (Baron’s Alliance?  I forget which) which was one third burned up tents, one third churned up ground, and one third ruined farmhouse.  Once the honored holy woman was safely installed under the care of the unit’s healer, medics I guess they call them in the army because they need a different name for everything lest you forget you’re in the army, I asked what exactly was going on but no one seemed inclined to tell me. 

It’s interesting how differently you get treated based purely on your clothing – dress extravagantly and people answer your questions, dress plainly and you get ignored most of the time.  Eventually I pestered them enough to be directed to a brusque sergeant who told me, in barely politer terms, that I could either wait with my friend or get the Hells out of his camp.  When I mentioned that I was famished I was pointed to the supply area where I found a bald fellow as round as a boulder with a massive droopy white mustachio that went past his collarbone.  He was stirring a massive rusty iron pot with the handle of a spear.  He eyeballed me suspiciously as I approached.

“I didn’t know we had camp followers now.”

I forced a phony laugh “Ah, fake laugh hiding real pain.  The dude said I could have something to eat.  Do you have anything?”

He grinned like a maniac and held out the butt of his spear, dripping with some kind of pinkish slurry “Here, have a lick.”

I laughed again “Oh man, I am going to get such a migraine tonight from not stabbing you in your fat guts.”

He joined me in fake laughing “I’ve broken farts bigger than you girl.”

As we laughed and laughed I reached into my Haversack and tossed a handful of coins at his feet.  His eyes instantly turned from menacing to avarice.  Avariciousness?  Avaricity?  Whatever, he wanted the money.

“I want something good.”

As if by magic, before all the coins had even stopped rattling around on the hard ground, a fellow basically somersaulted out of nearby tent as he pulled on his military jacket and slapped on his hat.  He came to his feet breathlessly, not a bad looking fellow aside from his hedge-like eyebrows and unshaven stubble.  The Walrus snorted and went back to his unhygienic stirring as the newcomer swept up all the coins with one arm – which was pretty impressive.  His attempt to turn the sweep into a bow was less impressive, but it’s the thought that counts.  He had the oily voice of a market huckster. 

“Sergeant Major Rideout ma’am, at your service – folks call me Quarters.”

I raised an eyebrow slightly “Because you’re the Quartermaster?”

His laugh was even more fake than mine had been “You’re a smart one isn’t you?  I tell that right off the jump.” He made a move to put a guiding hand on the small of my back the way men do sometimes and I batted it away, which didn’t bother him in the least “Come, let’s get you something decent to eat, not the hogslop this old goat brews up.”

He took me around to a tent that was set up against the back of the tent he had rolled out of – the two being mated together in a way that I am certain is not military standard.  I figured a man like this would have a decent stash, but I was surprised when he brought out a steamed partridge, salted crayfish and even a halfway decent fig pie along with some high quality gin.  I don’t care much for gin, but quality is quality.

“If you had some brandy, rum, freshly-squeezed orange juice, lemon juice, and some almond syrup to add to this gin it would be almost drinkable.”

He laughed and yakked on for a while about the trouble with getting good supplies during wartime and then proceeded to flounder for several minutes while he tried to come up with a way to say “where did you get that money?” without making it sound like he wanted to know or give offense.

“Good Gods man you’re going to sprain your tongue if you beat around the bush anymore.  You tell me what’s going on in the city and I’ll tell you where I got the money.”

Quarters talked at length about what was going on in Beresford, fifty percent of which was total bullshit, but the things that appeared to be true were that Baron Redmynd had restored some order the city with the help of the Royal army and some kind of new minions of the Queen herself.  The Bride’s Rebellion was still smoldering and Mayor Haldmeer has been deposed, bringing back into power – and by power I mean being Redmynd’s puppet – a former mayor who had themselves been deposed by Haldmeer.  This was all just until Baron Juost showed up though, for it seems whatever kind of coup the Baron Alliance of Barons was up to was abandoned for the time being and they were trying to make nice with Juost.

“What’s did the mayor do to get himself deposed?”

Quarters laughed, legitimately “Oh, I suppose they’ll figure out what to charge him with later.  Or maybe they won’t even bother, maybe he’s going to just disappear.”

“I don’t know how to feel about that.”

“You were acquainted with his mayorship?”

“Our paths crossed a time or two.  So is it safe to enter the city now?” He held up his hand and fluttered it in the universal gesture for ‘kinda’.  “I bet a crafty young buck like you probably knows how I could get into the city safely.”

He grinned like a goblin in a nursery “I might could, but I believe first you were going to tell me where you found that coin.”

“You know I was going to make up a story about finding it in a jelly jar hidden in a farm a few miles away, it was going to be a whole thing – it would have been a pretty good story too, sent you out on a wild adventure for nothing.  But the fact is that I’m just fabulously wealthy.  I’m just traveling incognito.”

He started to say something, clearly thinking that I was joking, but I took one of the petite diamonds out of my Haversack and flicked it his way.  He snatched it out of the air and his eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw what it was. His ears turned beet-red the way some men’s do when they’re supremely aroused.

His voice was a whisper “Is this real?”

“It’s as real the nose on your face.  Now, how are you going to get a fabulously wealthy and charming lass like myself into the city safe and sound?”

That would have to wait until nightfall as is tradition, it’s poor form to sneak into a town during the daylight, so I spent the few hours until sundown watching Quartermaster Rideout do very little work and a lot of insulting his underlings and gambling.  In particular he had an assistant with short spikey hair that looked like she was merely a teenager that seemed to perpetually be the object of his contempt and ire despite the fact that she seemed to be doing all his actual work.  Or maybe because of that fact, Quarters clearly wasn’t a man who appreciates hard work.  He mentioned at least three times that she had been conscripted into the army because of her thievery and how low this made her.

I smiled, looking around at this tent full of misappropriated goods “I know what you mean, there’s nothing more despicable than someone who doesn’t know how to steal the right way.”

I joined in a few of his card games, but he quickly banned me once it because obvious I was much better at cheating than he was so I spent the bulk of the late afternoon relaxing and occasionally petting a stray bi-colored forest cat that wandered around the camp.  Once it started getting dark I found the tent where they had installed her holiness and ducked in.  Even though we had only been here a few hours she looked much better – still wan and pathetic but no longer like each breath might be her last.

“You’re looking . . . well.”

She sighed wearily “What do you want Ela?

“Yes, you are welcome for me saving your life, oh sorry, I thought you said thank you.  I’m going into town, are you going to tell me what I need to know to get my stuff back from the Church of Greed like you said you would?”

She nodded slightly “I will, unlike you I keep my word.”

“That’s good to know since you swore you were going to murder me this morning.”

She gazed at me coolly “Yes, I did.”

She told me a string of numbers to remember and a passphrase and that was it – I left and probably won’t see her again until she tries to kill me.  You know, the usual farewell for me.  A few hours after dark Rideout and I rode out of the camp and were met in copse of trees by none other than Imma Shadowrun, I’d recognize those ornate riding boots and incongruous diamond pendant anywhere – not to mention her haystack of a hairstyle.  She clearly didn’t remember me, but then she only saw me once for about ten seconds so I guess I can excuse that.  She was accompanied by some shady types and they traded various goods and sacks with Quarters before he informed them they were to sneak me into the city.  Although maybe sneak isn’t the right word since that conjures images of secret tunnels and codewords and hidden staircases and the like – all this trip needed to be successful was a guardsman that had been bribed and we were in.

Once we hit the city streets Shadowrun and her people left to do whatever it is smugglers do without saying a word and I was on my own.  It felt good to just have a cobblestone street under my heels again. Just walking around Beresford in the night made we feel at home. We were in the northern part of the southwest part of town which seemed to be mostly unscathed from the rioting and fighting. I found the first inn I could that had any open rooms,  I didn’t catch the name but the sign seemed to be a weasel wearing lady’s undergarments, and paid the clearly inflated prices they were charging for a simple room.  It was worth being gouged though to finally be in an urban area sleeping in a bed again.    

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 53,762 gold

XP: 631,901

Inventory:  Courtier’s Outfit, Noble’s outfit (5), Artisan’s outfit, collegium ring, Deadly Kiss (dagger) Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2, Endless Efficient Quiver, Handy Haversack, +4 Armored Coat, Sergeyevna Kostornaia’s Light Crossbow, Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, masterwork disguise kit, covenant ring,  Ring of Disguise, Ring of Jumping, Walking Stick (Rod of the Viper), map, Badge of Last Resort, Healer’s Satchel, tiny diamonds (27)  Headband of Alluring Charisma +2, Ring of Protection +2, Saryah Phidaner gown, Crown of Conquest, signet ring, Stone of Good Luck, Onyx (55), Tankard of the Drunken Hero,  Altar of Adariel,  Cauldron of Brewing, Censer of Dreams, Bowl of Conjuring Water Elementals, Companion Mirror,  darkwood lute, +3 buckler, celestial shirt, +1 Frost Demonbane Shortsword, potions of cure moderate wounds (5), potion of invisibility, +2 mithral chain shirt, masterwork buckler, +2 falcata, ring of protection +2, 120 gp, ring of sustenance , bottle of elfen absinthe, assorted jewelry, noble’s outfit, signet ring, dust of tracelessness, scroll of knock; +1 hand crossbow, cloak of resistance +1, ring of protection +1, masterwork thieves’ tools

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee,  Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa 

Myam 12 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 3

I wonder what the next person who comes down this road is going to think when they find the poison -bloated corpse of Mr. Curly Hair stark naked in the middle of the road.  Probably they’ll assume he ran afoul of highwaymen and count themselves lucky that it’s not them dead there.  I wonder how long before someone will bother to bury him, if ever.  And of course he may not even be dead, he may survive.  And what then?  What will he do?  Where will he go?  Will his life be irrevocably changed forever by this random encounter with a charming yet cunning stranger?  Or will it just be a bump on the road of a life full of misadventure and wild escapades that will disappear in the haze of tavern-booze?  These are the kinds of things you think about when you’re pushing a nearly-dead woman down a rutted path in a wheelbarrow that would need several upgrades to be considered a piece of garbage. 

As I predicted the cold of last night vanished like a tiny cake at tea party and before you knew what hit you it was stifling hot.  And the worse part was there was nary a breeze to be spoken of – the heat just sat on your chest like a massively obese furry cat.  After less than an hour of pushing that damn barrow I was soaked through as thoroughly as if I was underwater.  Corune is heavier than she looks.  After a while I started singing to myself as a way to keep my spirits up a little.  I’ve heard that’s something that laborers do when they labor.  I suppose it’s just a way to relieve boredom.  I tried to think back to some of the harvest and sewing songs that I had heard when I was a child but they remained tauntingly out of reach – just a few fragments of melody.  So instead I sang what I knew.  I don’t suppose singing arias while you’re pushing a wheelbarrow is exactly the tradition but it got the job done – the job of making something unbearable merely intolerable. 

After another couple of hours Corune’s eyes fluttered open, probably buoyed by the healing power of my fantastic voice.  Or possibly she was just wakened by the sweat dripping off my chin onto her face as I leaned into my work.  But most likely the first thing.  She asked for a drink in a trembling voice and I made to pass her what was left in the flask I took off the geezers, but her hand was shaking so badly that in the end I held it to her lips to drink.  It was a repulsively intimate act.  She immediately started coughing.

“What was that?”

“Corn liquor, I figured it’s time you graduated from rice wine.  Besides, the hard stuff is good for you when you’re sick.  I helps relieve sore throat, muscle pain, congestion and thickens the blood.”

“Is thick blood good?”

“Thin blood is bad so it stands to reason doesn’t it?  I’m glad you’re awake because I wanted to run something by you.  I have a confession to make.  Just moments ago I shot a man and had my magic stick turn into a snake and bite him.  He came upon me when I was in a state of undress and I felt that my actions were justified under the circumstances but I’m sure this probably is murder under the law.  I wanted to confess that to you since that’s your thing.  Inquisiting and getting confessions and so forth.  I was thinking though, murder – that’s a serious crime for sure – how serious depends on how rich you are and how rich your victim is but it’s nothing to sneeze at regardless.  Metaphorically speaking of course on account of there’s that sneezing judge in Aldreban.  But when you think about it from a moral perspective as bad as murder is slavery is worse right?   If you kill a person there may be ramifications there, a family without a bread-winner, loss of consortium, emotion stuff, they may have had a valuable skill that helped society, but maybe they didn’t have any of those things.  Maybe they were a born in the cradle, dyed in the wool, first rate asshole and them being dead makes the world objectively a better place .  So there’s some nuance there.  I mean clearly people kill all the time and its fine in wars and executions and gladiatoring and so on.

But slavery?  That has to be the worst crime imaginable wouldn’t you say?  Taking a life away, that’s serious for sure, but taking away someone’s freedom?  Whoo buddy is that some evil shit.  Right?  If you kill someone their suffering is over, they’re gone, on to the next life, go with the Gods – if all this Heaven stuff is true getting killed may be the best thing that ever happened to them.  But taking another human, or Halfling, or orc or whatever and taking away their ability to decide for themselves?  That has to be the number one worst thing anyone can ever do wouldn’t you agree?  I mean just consider this – if you go to war and you murder a lot of people you’re a hero.  You get money and prestige and people kiss your ass and it’s great – because you were the best at killing.  But slavers?  No one likes slavers.  No one.  Not even the people that want slaves.  They still look at the slave sellers like they’re scum on the tip of their boot because they know, even they know even though they’re part of it , that slavery is the worst thing that can happen to someone. 

I know what you’re probably thinking – well at least the slave still has a chance to get away and not be a slave, when someone’s dead you’ve taken away all they have and all they’re ever going to have.  Which may be a good point.  Obviously most slaves don’t kill themselves so being a live slave must be better than being dead, but you’re talking about the aftermath there not the act – the act of taking a life against the act of making someone’s life as horrible as possible.  Have you ever heard anyone refer to slavery as the fourteenth Hell?  That’s clever don’t you think?  It kind of says it all right?  A murder, they might go to the Hells, but slavery IS one of the Hells.   Colloquially speaking of course.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Just something I was thinking about.  Because you see I may have killed that man back there, but you know what I’ve never done?  I’ve never had any part of anyone being enslaved.  Not in any way.  But you know what occurred me?  Slavery is legal in Ulpine, you should know you were a slave there, but later on when the church took you in you were going around enforcing the law right?  And slavery was the law right?  I’m just curious, before you came here, in Ulpine, what kind of criminals were you chasing.  I mean here I know that you’re hot on the ass of dangerous people like myself, but in Ulpine I’m just afire with curiosity about what you and your Vultur friends were up to.  If I remember your story correctly you said that church took you from the family that owned you because they didn’t treat you the way a slave was supposed to be treated – not because slavery is wrong and they we setting you free.   What does Lawful Vultur, Vultur the Lawgiver think about slavery?  It’s perfectly legal in Ulpine right, as long as you follow the rules.”

“What are you insinuating?”

“Oh I’m just wondering about what you did in Ulpine lo those many years ago.  As much as you scream at me when I say it you’re a bounty hunter, a bounty hunter with divine inspiration and backing if that makes you feel better, but a bounty hunter nevertheless.  And I know that the main thing bounty hunters do in a place where slavery is legal is hunt down escaped slaves – they’re criminal after all right?  I’m just wondering if you and your Vultur pals were riding around on horses looking all dashing in your blue greatcoats and grabbing up slaves running for the border with nets and lassos and shit.  Some of you Vultur people put me on a wagon once that had shackles built into it and I thought it seemed familiar – I saw a picture of a thing like that in a book about slavery I read.  Makes sense, there’s no slavery here in the Kingdom, not legally anyway so why not repurpose some of the old slave-catching gear huh?  No reason to let equipment go to waste.  Isn’t there even a god of slavery?  Kerendis maybe is his name?  Are he and Vultur pals or is it just a working relationship?”

“You shut your mouth!”

“I don’t hear a denial coming out of you.”

“Slavery is an abomination, the laws of Ulpine have been twisted by the corruption of selfishness.  The selfishness of people like YOU!  If . . .”

“No, you can’t talk your way out of this by trying to turn it around on me.  You are a believer in the law right, and in Ulpine slavery is the law.  So tell me, what did you do in obedience to your Lord Vultur and the Law?  If you tell me you just did nothing, you hated it but you could do nothing about it, that’s fine – one person can’t fight an entire nation.  But if you tell me that you were out there, riding around, chasing down slaves making a run for their lives, for their freedom – and you caught them and you dragged them back in chains.  Well, if you tell me that that pretty much says it all doesn’t it?”

“I have nothing to say to you.”

“And yet you’ve just said so very much haven’t you?  I can understand now why you get so upset about me telling a fib or two because you’re way up there on the high road aren’t you?  It’s an interesting theological question isn’t it?  When you die, which could be soon as sick as you are, will you go to heaven because of Vultur love or will you suffer the eternal torments of the Hells for placing innocent people in bondage?”

Later in the day as Beresford was growing larger before us we encountered a patrol of Royal soldiers.  They seemed intent on passing us by, but I was able to flag them down.  Despite my charms they seemed resolved to leave us to our devices, but once I told them that Corune was a priestess and that she was in serious need of medical attention they changed their minds in a hurry.  The leader was certainly interested in helping us but he was still somewhat skeptical.

“She doesn’t look like a priestess of Adariel exactly.”

“I had to change her clothing to something less conspicuous, her vestments were drawing too much attention.  Things are pretty bad out here in the countryside sir, there are those godless heathen types who not only would take advantage of a holy woman but specially would take pleasure in the act.  I assure you, she’s a woman of the cloth and dedicated to her divine calling above all else.  You’re going to find no more devoted and faithful priestess than her, I guarantee you that.”

My impassioned plea had the desired effect and moments later we were mounted up with the soldiers, leaving the decrepit wheelbarrow behind.  Obviously it would be inappropriate for us to ride double with them so two of the soldiers doubled up while I took the reins of one of their fine military steeds.  After enduring their instructions on how to ride, military scouts are good riders of course but I bet I could out ride most of them, they carefully levered Corune up behind me – making sure now to put their hands anywhere unsuitable as they manhandled the holy priestess and tied her to the saddle since she was too weak to hang on.  She had enough strength to whisper in my ear though.

“I’m going to kill you some day Ela.”

“That sounds illegal to me, but I guess you’re the expert.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 53,775 gold

XP: 631,901

Inventory:  Courtier’s Outfit, Noble’s outfit (5), Artisan’s outfit, collegium ring, Deadly Kiss (dagger) Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2, Endless Efficient Quiver, Handy Haversack, +4 Armored Coat, Sergeyevna Kostornaia’s Light Crossbow, Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, masterwork disguise kit, covenant ring,  Ring of Disguise, Ring of Jumping, Walking Stick (Rod of the Viper), map, Badge of Last Resort, Healer’s Satchel, 28 tiny diamonds,  Headband of Alluring Charisma +2, Ring of Protection +2, Saryah Phidaner gown, Crown of Conquest, signet ring, Stone of Good Luck, Onyx (55), Tankard of the Drunken Hero,  Altar of Adariel,  Cauldron of Brewing, Censer of Dreams, Bowl of Conjuring Water Elementals, Companion Mirror,  darkwood lute, +3 buckler, celestial shirt, +1 Frost Demonbane Shortsword, potions of cure moderate wounds (5), potion of invisibility, +2 mithral chain shirt, masterwork buckler, +2 falcata, ring of protection +2, 120 gp, ring of sustenance , bottle of elfen absinthe, assorted jewelry, noble’s outfit, signet ring, dust of tracelessness, scroll of knock; +1 hand crossbow, cloak of resistance +1, ring of protection +1, masterwork thieves’ tools

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee,  Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa 

Myam 12 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 2

I dragged Corune back into the wheelbarrow – even through her clothing her skin felt ice cold.  If I didn’t see her breathing I would have sworn she was dead already.  Before setting off I poked around in the pockets of the three dead geezers to see if they had anything edible but all I found was a flask of grain alcohol.  Normally I would turn my nose up at that but I’m starting to get pretty sick of rice wine, besides its grain right, so drinking it is as good as eating bread.   Right?  I threw back a goodly amount of the flask and started dragging Corune’s worthless hide over the difficult terrain back to the road without the ancient barrow falling apart in the process.  By the time I managed to get to the road the sun was up and it had all the earmarks of being a scorching hot day – because why wouldn’t it be unseasonably warm right after a night that was the coldest in fifteen years? 

Not wanting to sweat through my good clothes (which weren’t in that great of shape at this point anyway but you know) I decided to change into my commoner clothing.  So of course halfway through the process I heard a voice.

“Now that’s a right pretty picture.”

I turned towards the voice and saw a smirking fellow with a mop of curly black hair that worked with some bushy sideburns to frame his eminently punchable face.  He was a good head shorter than me at least and was wearing respectable clothing aside from the fact that he had a row of knives on each leg and more in his belt and on top of that several pieces of jewelry and adornment that were also shaped like knives.  Add to this a blue sash and a red cape and you know what kind of fellow we’re dealing with.

“I’ll be with you in a moment.”

He smarmed smarmily “Don’t hurry on my account.”

“Hasn’t anyone else told you it’s not polite to sneak up on a lady?”

“Certainly, but it’s ever so much fun.”

“Fair enough, most of what we’re told in our lives is designed to keep us from having fun.  What’s the old saying?”

He chuckled “There is no pleasure in having nothing to do, the fun is having lots to do and not doing it.”

“No, I was actually thinking of another saying ‘ow, there’s a crossbow bolt in my chest’.”

He frowned “What?”

Having finished dressing I pulled out my crossbow and fired at him.  I give him this – he’s got some good reflexes, he dove out of the way and to the dirt as the bolt flew past.  That takes some real speed so duck out of the way after the shot, especially at that range.  The key to dodging is normally anticipating and moving before but this fellow was able to get out of the way even taken unawares.  He flipped the cape away from his face, which had flown over his head during the dive, and looked up at me incredulously.

“Are you insane?!”

“I don’t think so, but I was told specifically just a few hours ago that I am, so the jury’s still out I guess.”

I was reloading as I talked and fired again at his prone form, he tried to roll out of the way but I still managed to hit him in the leg – causing him to yelp like a frightened nanny goat.  The pain was nothing compared to the outrage in his voice though as she grabbed at his pant leg.

“How could you, this is Satander Silk!”

“No it isn’t, it’s fake.”

“But it’s a good fake!”

He yelped as I fired again, managing to knock the bolt mostly aside with his cape in what I have to admit was a pretty fancy maneuver.  He scrambled for the wheelbarrowing, putting it between us and hunkering down out of sight – well sort of out of sight, I simply went to one knee and shot under the barrow.  The bolt deflected off the wheel and instead of hitting him in the side came in at a weird angle right through the top of his foot.  He moaned like a woman at her husband’s hanging.

“That was esparga leather!”

“That’s made up.”

“It is not!”

“Trust me, I know all about fashion and I’ve never heard of it.”

He started to retort but I had reached into my secret pocket and produced a silk rope with a grappling hook and swung it around the barrow, hooking him on the leg and giving it a yank – sending him stumbling to the ground. I put my crossbow away and came around the barrow as he was struggling to disengage himself from the rope and get up at the same time and not doing the a great job of either.  I turned my Walking Stick head into a snake and let it strike him on the arm.  He hopped backwards, turned a fall into a roll and came up with a short blade in hand – not a knife amusingly.

“What is wrong with you?!  I was just having a bit of fun.”

“Oh, you know how us women folk are illogical and flighty and unpredictable and emotional – who knows why we do anything?  You know what I’ve noticed, men have a special power where they can act like a total dick, and then when the woman gets upset they’re able to turn it around and make it seem like she’s the one behaving badly for reacting to what he did.  It’s pretty impressive I have to say.  I know a few tricks myself but that is one that is really something.  Is that something that you’re born with or do your fathers teach you when you’re old enough to shave?”

He warily made a move to half-way put his blade away “Are you going to shoot at me more?”

I tapped my Walking Stick to de-snakify it “No, I already hit you a couple times, and the snake got you so you’re already plenty poisoned, I don’t see the point in shooting you anymore.”

“Poison!”

“Yeah.  What are you doing out here anyway?  Just wandering around looking for women getting dressed?  You’ve got about a minute to live if you want to tell me your story.”

“Do you have the antidote?!

“Sure.” He came forward desperately and I whipped out my dagger “Back off chief.”

He licked his lips like he was trying to decide his chances of overpowering me “How much for the antidote?”

“Hmm, let’s see, how about everything you have.”

His eyes bugged out “Everything?!”

I nodded “Yeah, that seems fair.  I mean you’re going to be dead in a few seconds otherwise right?  So then I get all your stuff anyway.  You seem to be balking through, which I find confusing.  Is your life worth less than the stuff you have on you right now?  That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me because if you die you won’t have it anymore anyway.  Although I guess some Odobenine worshipers believe . . .”

“Fine!”

“Fine what?”

“Fine I’ll give you all my stuff for the antidote.”

“Will you?  I don’t see you doing it.”

As he started dumping out all this possessions on the road before me I saw that he was starting to struggle.  The arm where he had been bitten was clearly in a lot of pain and he was sweating buckets in very short order.  His face, especially the lips, took on a very slack loose look.  As he tossed out more and more things he got that look like someone who’s trying not to vomit.  I’ve been poisoned a few times but I never felt like I was going to throw up.  Then again I’ve only been bitten by snakes three times so what to do know?

“You doing okay over there?”

His voice was shaky “I’m having trouble seeing . . .”

“Yeah, that will happen.”

He started swaying like he might keel over “The p-pain . . .”

“You better hurry up if you want that antivenom.”

“Th-th-that’s all . . .”

“I don’t see how, you’ve still got your clothing.  I believe we agreed on everything.”

“B-b-but . . .”

“Everything.  That’s another strange thing I’ve noticed, people have a very different definitions when it comes to absolutes.  When I say everything I mean everything, I don’t know what you mean.  Get those clothes off.”

I gathered up his possessions, making them my possessions, as he struggled and fumbled to take his clothing off with one hand, the other arm hanging uselessly at his side.  Eventually he collapsed face first into the dirt half nude in a most undignified position.  I crouched down next to him as he labored to breath.

“Well my friend you didn’t quite make it, but I have good news – I fibbed a little bit just then, there is no antidote – so you didn’t fail.  You can take some comfort in that, this was going to be the end either way so you don’t need to be sad, you never had a chance.  That probably means something in the afterlife, let me know if you get a chance.”

His eyes rolled back in his head and he started spasming sharply “Wh-wh-why?”

I stood up and dusted off my hands “Oh, just having a bit of fun you know.”

I’m not sure if he was dead or just unconscious when I stripped his clothes off.  With that done I grabbed the wheelbarrow and started heading down the road to Beresford.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 53,775 gold

XP: 631,901

Inventory:  Courtier’s Outfit, Noble’s outfit (5), Artisan’s outfit, collegium ring, Deadly Kiss (dagger) Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2, Endless Efficient Quiver, Handy Haversack, +4 Armored Coat, Sergeyevna Kostornaia’s Light Crossbow, Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, masterwork disguise kit, covenant ring,  Ring of Disguise, Ring of Jumping, Walking Stick (Rod of the Viper), map, Badge of Last Resort, Healer’s Satchel, 28 tiny diamonds,  Headband of Alluring Charisma +2, Ring of Protection +2, Saryah Phidaner gown, Crown of Conquest, signet ring, Stone of Good Luck, Onyx (55), Tankard of the Drunken Hero,  Altar of Adariel,  Cauldron of Brewing, Censer of Dreams, Bowl of Conjuring Water Elementals, Companion Mirror,  darkwood lute, +3 buckler, celestial shirt, +1 Frost Demonbane Shortsword, potions of cure moderate wounds (5), potion of invisibility, +2 mithral chain shirt, masterwork buckler, +2 falcata, ring of protection +2, 120 gp, ring of sustenance , bottle of elfen absinthe, assorted jewelry, male noble’s outfit, signet ring, dust of tracelessness, scroll of knock; +1 hand crossbow, cloak of resistance +1, ring of protection +1, masterwork thieves’ tools

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee,  Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa