This morning I was dragged out of bed in my very own home! Crack up work bodyguarding guys. The worst part was I hit my tailbone as I was thrown to the floor – that really smarts! My nameless friend with the gold chains was wearing a shirt that covered his chest for once, which was small comfort really as his thugs pinned me down. Why can’t anyone just ask me things nicely? I’m a very nice person to talk to, ask anyone. Well, not anyone.
“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t kill you right now.”
He frowned. “No? What do you mean no?” He punctuated his question with a kick right between the ribs. I think he hit my liver – it’s one of the hardest working livers in the county, it deserves better. Whatever it was it drove the breath from my body. I remember a time not that long ago when the idea of getting kicked in the liver was unthinkable – look at me now world!
I was able to choke out “Give me a me minute” and after some deep breathing “I mean no because I get what you’re doing here with the whole ‘give me a reason thing’ but the fact that you’re asking means you already decided not to kill me so can we just get to the punchline?”
“You’re a real buzzkill you know that Ela?”
“So I’ve been told.”
While his goons continued grinding my face into the dirty floorboards he sat back in a chair – did he bring his own chair? What a moron. He lit up a smoke and went on to say that Achila dying had worked out well for him since so many people had bet on her, but that he would not tolerate any more interference with his tournament. He then asked who would finish running things since Rilfus had fled – I suggested Achila’s manager Trixa, she seems like a sharp cookie and is newly unemployed. He liked that idea and took his gangsters and left. I poked my head out the window and saw my hired muscle standing around sheepishly.
“Keep up the great work guys. You couldn’t even have given me a warning?”
I went back to bed and slept until well past mid-day. After that it was time to get started on my “mission” for Gold Chains. After a few hours I found Sir Humperdinck’s ratty shack – he was not there, watching the games one assumes, but his Squire Skycloak was. She was about five feet high and had a very young look about her – although she was clearly an adult. She was sweeping the place, a losing battle if ever there was one, when I walked in.
She recited as if by rote “Only Sir Humperdinck can open the chest.”
I suppose in Heathgrove they’ve had any number of robbery attempts.
“I’m not here to rob you, I’m here to set you free.”
I explained to her that she was wasting her life being a squire to a drunken lout. She said that her family had served his for generations.
“So what? Either something is a good idea or it’s not, there’s no reason to hide behind tradition. Do you want to be stuck in this slimy mudhole waiting on a buffoonish has been?”
She started talking about obligation and duty and I reiterated my “So what” argument.
“Here’s the deal Reby. This man doesn’t deserve your loyalty – being loyal to something you believe in is one thing, but being loyal for no reason is just stupid. Just because your ancestors wasted their lives nursemaiding these Humperdinck people why does that mean you have to do the same? You should do whatever you want to do.”
“You just want to steal his gold!”
“Doesn’t mean I’m not right.”
Then she started telling me about what a hero Humperdinck was and all the great things he had done at the Battle of the Golden Rose. I suggested we go and see what our hero was doing right that moment, but she refused – the shame apparent on her face.
“Right because most likely right now your hero is face-down in some taproom pissing his britches. What someone was isn’t important – what matters is what they are. Actually, that’s not quite true – because what someone was is something they can be again. Let’s say for the sake of argument that he was a hero once – if that’s important to you you should try and make him that again. And what’s the best way to do that? Step aside and let nature take its course. I’ll scam him out of his money, he’ll need more money and that’s where you step in with a grand quest – I’m sure once he’s back on the old campaign trail and out of this den of wine and cheap floozies he’ll be his old self in no time. And if not then he’s not worth your time.”
She paused in her sweeping and after a long moment she said that if I came back in a few hours she was going to drag Humperdinck home from the pub and after that she might be gone for a couple hours.
I few hours later I set eyes on the man himself. Humperdinck was your typical middle aged fighter type gone to rot – the cheap booze probably didn’t help. Getting back on the old campaign trail might turn him back into a man instead of a flabby mound of flesh but it could just as easily kill him – I suppose that’s a win either way.
When I nudged him awake with my walking stick he thought I was Skycloak even though we look nothing alike – she should be so lucky! But he clearly had a thing for her so I let him keep thinking it. The old adage a fool and his money are soon parted isn’t always true – but in this case he couldn’t get that chest open soon enough. Inside were several paintings of himself, which were actually quite good but I tossed in the fire anyway – to help him on his journey back to his true nature. Besides some gold and jewels he also had his memoirs which I took, might make for some light reading on the road.
I took the loot to Gold Chain’s tower/house and got to cool my heels for several hours before he turned up. I tossed him the sack and he took out a silver goblet and handed the rest back.
“You move fast don’t you?”
“That’s what the boys back on the farm always said.”
Now that I had proven myself to him he started telling me about the real job I needed to do in order to square us. Something about a magic gem and some smugglers and merchant, I wasn’t really paying attention since I had no intention of doing it.
Funds: 1382 gold
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 (7 uses), Domiel family ring, walking stick, aquamarine, masterwork playing cards , +2 Studded Leather Armor, +2 Light Steel Shield, +1 Keen Shortspear, hematite armbands (2), mithril hair clasps (3), Sir Humperdinck memoir
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
Rumors : Exiled noblewoman (Reoccurring), vigilante “Litheria”(Reoccurring), murderous Halfling (Reoccurring)
Souls Damned to the Thirteen Hells – 9/10 (17 days remain)
Teams – Labors, Brute Squad (Robbers and two teams of Soldiers)
Graltontown Buildings – Mill
Heathgrove Buildings – House