Macendamandel 13, Year 887 (New Imperial Calendar)

What I wouldn’t give for a good night’s sleep.  After maybe four hours of sleep I was up and at it.  My new labor force needed funds to get the mill up and running, which I gave them and told them to get working on. After that I met with Edlund and Edrena and the various other parties interested in the fate of Piltis Swine and told them that a brave young man had challenged Piltis to a duel and were should be there to finally off the fat man.  I got some resistance to the idea of “interfering with a duel” – people are so weird, this man had killed their loved ones and they were concerned with the proper etiquette of human cockfighting?   I wonder how many hundreds of years I would have to live to understand what people are thinking.

Once that was all squared away Poor Annie showed up at my side.

“Where are you going?”

“Saint Basia’s Orphanage”

“What for?”

“I need to get moving on this soul buying operation, the candle is burning.”

“That doesn’t seem like a very good strategy, going after religious types.”

“I’m not going after the staff, I’m going after the orphans.  They’re young, they don’t even know what’s going on, they’ll probably sell their souls just for parents.  I can find them parents no problem.”

Poor Annie stopped dead in her tracks, and not just because a passerby was marveling at a talking dog.

“That is EVIL.”

“Don’t judge me dog, you’re literally some kind of hellspawn!”

“Going after children Ela, that is low.”

“What else am I supposed to do, you’re not giving me a lot of options.”

Poor Annie sat on her haunches and after a moment spoke “Well maybe I could let you offer something if you agree to restrict yourself to adults.”

“I’m listening.”

“I mean maybe we could work something out.”

“Something like what, I don’t need vagaries, my glorious ass is on the line here dog – give me something I can work with!” 

Have you ever heard a dog sigh?  I have now. 

“Fine, I can arrange for people to gain some personal power.”

As she said this a man wandered up to us “Excuse me madam but is that a talking dog?”

“Get the Hells out of my way!”

With that not very convincing promise I diverted instead to a small building adjacent to the library – yes Graltontown has a library, one wonders what’s in it – where I knew an old woman named Veirka had a magic sword for sale.  Allegedly she was a half-elf wizard of some sort but she just looked like a human to me.  The sword in question had a jet-black blade and an ornate hilt, it certainly looked magic.  She wanted four thousand gold for it, I offered her eight hundred.  She conferred with a black snake on the counter and my offer was rejected. 

Well I tried.  I knocked her down and took the sword, getting snakebitten in the process.  She must have really been a wizard because I heard her chanting a spell as I walked outside.  A wolverine from my Bag of Tricks broke her concentration however.  Venom coursing through my veins, I sought out Kell’s goon from the other day.  He said that I looked like I was dying, I assured him that I was fine.

“You said you wanted a magic sword for your soul, well here’s a magic sword.”

He examined it closely as if he could see the magic or something and seemed to be reluctant but I was able to browbeat him into holding up the deal.  Poor Annie oversaw the transaction and I swear the hellhound was giving me reproachful looks!  It’s almost like they don’t want souls.

I was pretty woozy from the venom by that point, and the spot on my arm where the snake had bitten me was turning as purple as a whore’s dress but it was time for the duel.  The agreed upon location was the cemetery where we were supposed to have the dog-fight before.  I disguised myself as a random townsperson and filtered in with the crowd.  Piltis was there with his lackeys, waiting for his opponent – he looked quite ridiculous with a cheap rapier in his hands, he was clearly more of a back-alley brawler and throat slitter than a fencer. 

Just when I was wondering what Edlund was waiting for he stepped out of the crowd and stabbed Piltis in the kidney.  Which ironically is what he wanted in the first place – I thought I could come up with something cleverer, I suppose sometimes swift and blinding violence is as clever as it gets.  All Hells broke loose at that point, the scene turning into a wild brawl between Piltis and his men and Edlund, Edrena, Crookjaw and various others along with people just getting into the action for no apparent reason.  I took cover in my home away from home – the Sonsts family mausoleum – and watched until I was sure Piltis was dead.  Which I am on account of Crookjaw staved in his head with a chunk of a tombstone.

As the melee continued I slipped out of the area and made my way to Piltis’ candle-headquarters.  After dealing with another of his guard-dogs with a wolf from my Bag of Tricks I informed the two dozen odd orphans that Piltis was dead and their days of making candles were over.  I told them they could scurry off into the slums like roaches and continue being street urchins or they could come with me and have a chance at a better life.  Leaving them to mull it over, I took one of the long-handled pitchfork like tools they use to make the candles and jabbed Piltis’ orcish wolf-dog to death in its pit.  The vicious little monster almost jumped out of the pit and got a hold of me. 

After that I found where Piltis had stashed his cave giant – in an underground chamber restrained with thick chains.  It glared at me balefully as I ducked into the room. 

“You want to get out of here?”

Giant souls still count right?  Leaving the beast for the time being I returned to the orphans who had mostly decided to take a chance on the mysterious beautiful stranger who had freed them – I did see a few missing faces from the group though, those who had decided to take their chances on their own. I led the grubby child-horde straight to the Wardsmeadow’s fine estate, which as you might expect caused quite a commotion. Once I explained the situation Andsome said all the right things but was clearly disinterested, as befits his station, but as I anticipated Elth was overcome with emotion.  She swore she would do everything she could to find these buggers good homes and make sure they were brought up right. 

Her enthusiasm was making her fiancée quite uncomfortable indeed – it was highly entertaining.  Not even married and they already have twenty-six kids?  I can’t blame him I suppose.

Slipping away in the confusion I made my way back to the candleworks and Poor Annie appeared to make the deal with the cave giant – who’s name, of course, was Crusher.  Soul in return for freedom, sounds familiar.  Assuming he would rip me limb from limb the moment he was free I tossed him the keys and got away from there as fast as I could. I was hoping with his clumsy hands it would take a while to get himself free.  I suppose I’ll know when I hear about a cave giant rampaging through the streets.

Even though it wasn’t even mid-day I turned in to sleep off the snake venom and my general exhaustion.

____________________________________________________________

Funds: 862 gold

XP: 15,944

Inventory: Peasant outfit, wooden box, Signet ring, Ring of Many Garments, thieves’ tools, land deed, Bag of Tricks (rust), gold ring, Cap of Disguise, Secure Pocket, candlerod (9), masterwork dagger, succubi carving, Disguise kit (8 uses), Domiel family ring

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

Rumors : Exiled noblewoman (Reoccurring), vigilante “Litheria”(Reoccurring), murderous Halfling (Reoccurring)

Souls Damned to the Thirteen Hells – 3/10 (27 days remain)

Teams – Labors, Brute Squad (Robbers and two teams of Soldiers)

Buildings – Mill (repair time 9 days)

Behind the curtain : Eal failed two saves against the snake venom and took 2 Constitution damage

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