This morning I found myself at a sumptuous breakfast at Wardsmeadow Manor, with the vapid hosts, the “happy” couple, and Sonst and his dandified brothers-in-arms. I did my best to downplay my involvement in the dramatic rescue and defer all the honors to Sonst and friends but Elth and Sonst were singing my praises to the high heavens. The best I could do was to portray myself as humble servant of my mistress Lady Otoutesv. Still I was forced to come up with a wild tale about Elth’s abduction and my knowledge of it, a gripping account of that would have been at home in an absurd romance novel.
As the only unmarried lady present, Sonst’s two friends subjected me to the most annoying advances. Conversation turned to the situation in town when Andsome mentioned “a little scuffle” on the way into town. I did my best to undermine Mayor Deveris without being too obvious while Sonst did his best to try and paint the mayor in the best light – while admitting that clearly there were issues. Elth, bless her little heart, chimed in by saying that her kidnap was evidence enough that Mayor Deveris should be removed from his post. However the men adjourned to the study for brandy and cigars before I could really make any inroads.
After sending Mrs. Wardsmeadow off on an errand Elth hissed at me that the whole reason she ran away from home was to avoid this marriage. I told her just to play along for now and that she had nothing to worry about. It was several more hours before I could extricate myself from the manor – although I did manage to put a bug in Andsome’s ear about Mayor Kinley and the way she handled the Gavuden situation.
Hoping for better results with a pooling of efforts I brought to together the detectives Waycombe and Axmar with Edrena and Edlund to discuss how to track down Kruin. Sadly two wizards seem just as useless as one and they couldn’t conjure up his location. Leaving the mages to fondle their crystal balls, Waycombe, Edlund and I hit the streets to shake down every crippled beggar we could find. While we were rattling the cages of the local bums we were approached by an aged priest of Adariel who told us that Kruin was hiding out at his run-down mission. The cad had terrorized the poor old man into letting him use this holy place as bolt-hole and he wanted him gone.
Of course it was a set-up. As soon as we entered the rickety mission hall the door shut behind us and was barred from the outside. Confronting us was Kruin’s ragtag band of criminals – a weak-jawed man with the hands of a quarry worker, the most low-down elf I have ever observed, a fellow with a broken nose wielding a fireplace poker of all things, and a pair of half-orcs one of them hulking and one of them runty.
This crew looked like they were going to begin with the traditional threats before getting down to business but I didn’t have time for that so I got things started by producing a wolf from my Bag of Tricks. After that I did my best to stay out of the action. Waycombe was a reluctant but experienced fighter, Edlund seemed happy to finally have something to smash. After a quick melee both half-orcs were dead and the humans fled – leaving the injured elf in our hands. I sensed that Waycombe wasn’t going to be “okay” with what came next so I told him to run and get the guard. The elf spilled his guts in short order – he had no idea what Kruin was doing with the women but they were supposed to meet at The Crate – a lowdown dive bar for low down types.
I gave Edlund my cap of disguise – I have to admit I giggled at the site of him in a lady’s cap before he activated it – and helped him fashion a disguise of the hulking half-orc. The two thieves that fled may have already warned Kruin but there was no harm in trying. Eldund knocked the elf cold by banging his head against the wall (or maybe he killed him) and we were off to the Crate. Unfortunately Kruin was sharp eyed enough to know what something was off and bolted the minute Edlund came in the place. Even more unfortunately I was waiting out the back with a wolf from my Bag of Tricks waiting for the intercept but this bastard leapt over the jaws of the wolf like a gazelle and shimmied up a drainpipe and was off roof-running to freedom again. I’m really starting to dislike this guy.
Waycombe was overjoyed to collect a small bounty on the elf (who was alive) and Edlund went to drink his problems away. I was sick of this so I went to see the King in Snake’s End. Before I could even get to his door though I was accosted by Teresa Maria Kinsey. Sounds like Alice had come down there and made quite a scene over her new career, kicking her out of the house to boot. Teresa Maria was not pleased. I told her to get bent. The madam of this very high class outfit came out to chat and I told her to get bent also. What I didn’t know is that his madam and the King of Spiders are an “item” and therefore it’s a bad idea to give her grief.
Moments later I was in the King’s stronghold fielding vague spider-related threats. I managed to smooth that over and then with that great start I told the King that I wanted Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper. He told me that would cost a cool thousand gold. I countered with five hundred. He asked me if I liked having ears attached to my head. A thousand it was. Plus I had to apologize to Wera (the madam) and Teresa Maria, which galled me as much as anything.
An hour later Kruin was brought in. And I thought I was galled before. I told the Pauper that I was tired and wanted to go home and I didn’t want any nonsense – what was he doing with the girls. He said nothing and I looked to the King, who grinned and said that I paid for him to be brought there, not for anything else. Kruin asked if he could leave. I gritted my teeth painfully – this was not a good day. I asked the King how much more to help me out here. He said five thousand gold and laughed. Then he suggested we should play “knivsies” for the information which amused his lickspittles and lackeys to no end.
I refused of course and suggested a battle of wits, to a chorus of groans. In the end it was agreed that we would compete in a favorite tavern “duel” that’s part drinking game, part drinking song, and part “Simon says”. We were seated at a table with great fanfare and a series of foamy mugs brought to us. That’s when I took my dagger and stabbed Kruin in the eye. For a moment it was silent, except for Kruin’s screaming, until the King laughed and all his toadies followed suit.
I put a boot on Kruin’s face where he lay on the floor and pulled out my dagger. I told him I had a real lousy day and he was going to tell me what I wanted to know or I was going to take his other eye. He said that he was delivering the girls to Lady Domiel. Which for once was a name I recognized, decades ago Auraluna Domiel had been the toast of court – beautiful and desirable. No one was sure why she never married but as an only child it resulted in the decline of her house – I think everyone assumed she was dead rather than moved to Graltontown, although there’s little enough difference.
This was such a curveball I wasn’t sure if I could believe it, but Kruin provided detail about how he’d bring the girls to the servant’s entrance in the dead of night, which was left open for him, and then load them into a dumbwaiter which would quickly whisk them away and return with his money.
What the Hells is that moldy spinster mixed up with?
Funds: 230 gold, 5 silver
Inventory: Signet ring, Ring of Many Garments, noble’s traveling outfit, thieves’ tools, land deed, Bag of Tricks (rust), gold ring, Cap of Disguise, Secure Pocket, candlerod (9), masterwork dagger, succubi carving, Potion of Mage Armor, Potion of Hide from Animals, Talisman of Spying Master Ring, Disguise kit (8 uses)
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum,
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
Anti-Revenge List: Dorehe the maid
Rumors : Exiled noblewoman (Reoccurring), vigilante “Litheria”(Reoccurring), murderous Halfling (Reoccurring)
Graltontown Unrest – 15