After my late night I was not early to rise today, but hey, nobody’s perfect. After a brunch of dried pork loin and leeks, I called on my merchant friend, whose name I learned was Wirc. I told him that the men who beat him wouldn’t be a problem anymore but that Piltis would probably shake him down again at some point. He thanked me and said that he wanted me to meet a friend of his, a nobleman no less! I agreed to meet them for dinner at Varnson’s Restaurant and Brewery.
As I went about my business I noticed there were significantly more people in the streets than usual and there was a festive atmosphere, must be some kind of local holiday. In the crush of bodies I decided to indulge in a little pick pocketing. After that I sold the box of tobacco, I noticed as I walked away that the man who bought it dumped out the tobacco and was more interested in the box. It must be worth more than I thought. I was so upset at myself for missing it that I spent an hour considering how to get it back before realizing it was best to let it go. I can’t stand when I make a mistake.
I checked in with the watch but they still had no reward for me and seemed annoyed that I was asking. I’m becoming more convinced there will be no money forthcoming. Finally I was able to track down Augrim at a coffee shop at the very edge of town. Being so close to the woods made me a little uneasy, and worse he seemed completely immune to my charms – he wouldn’t speak with me unless I bought him a brandy!
He said the tribespeople were called the Kostelos and he knew quite a bit about them, on account of his mother was one of them. I had to sit through a boring story about how his parents met and the prejudices they faced as a couple before he started telling me about them. I told him that I wanted to be able to travel the woods freely without worrying about them and he said it was possible to become friends with the Kostelos if you showed respect to their traditions, something very few people in Graltontown cared to do. I asked him if he would help me and he had the nerve to ask for payment! I thought about spinning a yarn about my hardships but it was clear he wasn’t going to buy it. After some negotiation we agreed on 10 gold up front and another 100 if he was able to get me in with the painted savages.
The first step was to start learning their crude tongue, and the lesson began right there. I felt quite the fool barking like a tribesman at a coffee shop but Augrim clearly was not the kind of waste time. After a few hours of linguistics I took a fine lunch and then did some further rumormongering before meeting up with Wirc and his mysterious noble friend.
He announced himself as Lord Sonst. He had impeccable manners but his dress was severely out of date, even by Graltontown standards, and was looking a bit threadbare. Over a dinner of Roasted Pheasant with Ginger and Buckwheat Bread with superb dark rum he explained that he was indeed a titled man but that his family had fallen into ruin and he was quite destitute. Since I had helped Wirc out of the kindness of my heart he wondered if I could help him as well.
He reluctantly and very fearfully explained that his family mausoleum had fallen into such disrepair on account of his financial troubles that some sort of creature had taken up residence in it – preventing him from visiting his beloved mother. The cemetery was in a part of town that was once well-to-do but was now in decline and both the guard and the church weren’t interested in his plight. I said I’d see what I could do, Ela champion of the downtrodden! He promised that if I could help him he had a business opportunity he would share with me. This from a man in a tattered cravat!
After dinner heading back to the Cardshire I saw a throng of people gathered in the market square. Investigating, I was so distracted that I was caught with my hand in someone’s coinpurse. As they wheeled on me I shouted that a street urchin had just tried to rob them. I don’t think they believed me but they didn’t press the issue. People will forgive a lot more than you’d think.
Making my way to a spot where I could see, I was presented with a pure Graltontown spectacle. They had cleared off a large area and wet the earth to make a muddy field surrounded by a crude fence. Inside two dozen or so women were engaging in some kind of wild contest that seemed to involve mostly brawling in the slime like rooting hogs. Some lout tried to explain the rules to me – there was a ball in the mix somewhere – but I didn’t listen. They called it “maidens and wenches” – one team was dressed in awful costume ballgowns, I suppose these were the maidens. This was the culmination of their festival and a more unsightly exhibition I have never seen – and that includes the minotaur show at Lord Rixby’s 50th birthday party.
In the end one mud-spattered gaggle of teuchteresses was declared the winners, they were showered with praise and cheap beer while the losers were shunned. Breathing through my mouth I approached the dejected also-rans and praise them for a hard-fought attempt. They seemed shocked, apparently by Graltontown standards losing this contest made you a social pariah. I flattered them outrageously and treated them to a hot bath and a decent meal of their own – with a keg of whiskey to boot. It never hurts to have some brawny gals who aren’t above a little scrapping on your side.
Funds: 229 gold , 1 silver
Inventory: Peasant outfit (with hidden pockets) , Signet Ring , Stiletto , Map case, quill pen, red riding cloak, candlerod (5) , dreamer’s star tea (3 servings) , poison ring, awful pendant, disguise kit (7 uses) , Fashionable Accessories, hollow heeled boot, poison locket , courtier’s outfit, different fashionable accessories , Ring of Many Garments, money belt, broken crossbow, walking stick, playing cards
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley,
White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler , Alice Kinsey , “Patch”
Rumors : Murderous servants (70%) , exiled noblewoman (55%)
Behind the curtain: I got the Crime Spree event today which will last for 4 days.