There’s nothing like spending a night outside under the stars to remind you how awful nature is. I barely slept , spending the bulk of the night slapping at biting mites and other awful crawly things. I don’t understand why anyone would choose this life over a feather bed and morning pastries. I suppose as my grandmother always said “Most people are stupid, so it’s okay to take their money”. A wise woman.
Hours before dawn Ox-Head’s selected guide came to me – a young and I assume expendable fellow. He made some gestures at me crudely and was shocked when he found I could speak his tongue. This seemed to unnerve rather than placate him.
As we traveled through the woods he said again and again that I needed to be as silent as possible, which I told him made no sense – I want to meet a worg, not sneak up on one. He didn’t seem to understand, I think he might be a little slow in the head. Which is saying something for these primitive hoople-heads.
We entered a dense part of the forest were very little light reached us on the floor. My guide was so startled when I lit my candlerod that I thought he was going to bolt. He may have if not at that very moment a wiry dark furred worg hadn’t leapt out in front of us with a white pheasant clutched in its jaws. My guide froze in terror and I would be lying if I said my heart didn’t skip a beat.
I figure that when dealing with forest beasts it’s best to be audacious so I presented myself boldly and introduced myself as Ela, the Killer of White-Muzzle and said that I had a business proposition for the creature. Talking around the bird in her mouth she said that she was called Hidden Moon. She seemed more intelligent than White-Muzzle but also more skittish. I offered her whatever she wanted from town in return for her help, which intrigued her, but she was clearly afraid of going into Graltontown. I assured her that a courageous wolf like herself would have no problem facing any challenge. She didn’t seem as susceptible to flattery but I was prevailed in the end. She balked at wearing the collar I had purchased but I was eventually able to persuade her into that as well.
My guide didn’t move an inch during this entire exchange. Hidden Moon asked if I had brought him for her to feast on, I almost said yes just to see what he would do. Returning to the Kostelos camp with a worg by my side caused quite a stir. I’m not sure who was more jumpy, Hidden Moon or the tribesmen. I was able to smooth that all over though and broached the subject of the caravan moving through their territory.
The Kostelos claimed that they were not violent folk and never attacked people from the city. Augrim later said that this wasn’t quite true, but that generally they did not bother people from the city – their fear was baseless. Figures, Graltontown folk being superstitious morons.
I returned to town with Augrim and Hidden Moon, I’m not sure what happened to my cart-pusher. Before we entered the city limits I placed the collar on a growling Hidden Moon and used it to give her the appearance of a noble Narese guard hound. She was clearly uneasy even in the outskirts of Graltontown but I purchased her a roasted chicken from a vendor which she devoured with gusto and declared to be the best meal she had ever had. The vendor’s eyes nearly popped out of his head when he heard a talking dog.
On the way back to my room several people commented on my fine looking watchdog and one fellow asked if he could pet her. The look on his face when Hidden Moon snapped off a couple of his fingers was priceless. Apparently those weren’t as good as roasted chicken because she spit them out on the cobblestones.
Tolman Goodwill, the proprietor of the Hound’s Tooth and dog-breeder, was very impressed with my new “pet”. I made Hidden Moon a bed of blankets in the corner which she seemed to very much enjoy, and I took a nap myself, I needed it after a sleepless night, and in any event dogfighting is something that generally isn’t done in the revealing light of day. When I awoke I spent several hours with my disguise kit making myself look like the kind of callous young rake that might attend these sorts of events. I didn’t want to bother with a false beard so I presented myself as a very young fellow, seemed like the kind of thing that might tweak Piltis nose even more.
I woke Hidden Moon up and fed her a honey-glazed duck from the kitchens, much to her delight. I also gave her a bowl of mead which she lapped up at an alarming rate. After that we headed out into the dark underbelly of a town that is mostly underbelly – sweaty and gross. I searched out the back-alleys and grimy taverns where these kind of “events” are held , finally finding Piltis and his goons laughing like hyenas and passing gas on each other in a partially burned down warehouse that had some crude benches set up for the comfort of these vile people.
The organizer of this event was on me instantly for not having my dog on a leash or in a cage. I thought about having Hidden Moon eat his balls but settled on just telling him to sod off. I checked the crude sootboard and saw that no one so far wanted to put their dog up against Piltis’ Crackbone. According to a nosy stander-by it was rare that anyone challenged him. A small murmur went through the crowd when I wrote in the name of my “fighter”- Shadow. A flurry of betting followed and I saw Piltis eyeballing me from across the crowd – at least with one eye, he was so drunk the other eye didn’t seem to be following his commands.
Since I was in the “main event” I had to wait through several fights. In Duke Eaglevane’s court I attended a few bloodsports as they waxed and waned in popularity but I was never really subjected to the grit and grime of it like this. Men are truly revolting creatures. If they had any balls at all they would have been gouging each other with rusty hooks to prove their manhood rather than mutilating animals. But such is the world we live in.
When the time came Piltis spent about 10 minutes preening and shouting nonsensical braggadocio before getting his precious Crackbone into position. The fight itself, if you can call it that, lasted about 17 seconds. The biggest most vicious dog in the world has about as much chance against a worg as a mouse does against a cat. The crowd was stunned into silence – so much so that I could clearly hear Piltis weeping helplessly over his fallen dog like a small child. For this manly victory I was awarded 18 gold coins, about the price of a good wine.
When I left with “Shadow” one of Piltis’ men trailed me, so I lead him to the Gridley household and then ducked around the corner when I was sure he wasn’t watching anymore. We’ll see what comes of that. Returning to my room I found a letter waiting for me. I opened it as Hidden Moon enjoyed a sucking pig and a large bowl of ginger beer. It was someone who claimed to have been wronged by Piltis and wanted to strike back at him. There was no signature but a request to meet at an address not far from my favorite cemetery.
I was concerned of course, but the fact that this person had managed to find me in the first place and knew my business meant avoiding them would be worse than handling it.
Funds: 45 platinum, 45 gold
Inventory: Peasant outfit (with hidden pockets) , Signet Ring , Stiletto , Map case, quill pen, red riding cloak, candlerod (2) , poison ring, awful pendant, disguise kit (5 uses) , Fashionable Accessories, hollow heeled boot, poison locket , courtier’s outfit, different fashionable accessories , Ring of Many Garments, money belt, broken crossbow, playing cards, hooded lantern, amethyst ring, Collar of Grooming
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum,
White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler , Alice
Kinsey , “ Patch”, Meddlesome adventurers, Cardshire Arms manager, priest
of Strider, owner of the Sage Mirror
Anti-Revenge List: Dorehe the maid
Rumors : Murderous servants (Reoccurring) , exiled noblewoman (Reoccurring)