Wanting to stay on the good side of the Baroness I was up early for morning prayers and the whole business but I had to give up after lunch. I don’t understand how she, and those of her ilk, can do the same thing day after day without going mad – it probably doesn’t help that that same thing is in no way interesting. Abandoning the Baroness to teach alone I wandered the gardens seeking some time for self-reflection. I could easily see myself getting stuck here for a long time, I’ll need to guard against that. If something doesn’t start going my way in fairly short order I might need to do something drastic. I was so lost in thought that I didn’t notice for quite a while that I had wandered out of the gardens and into the neighboring woods – although in the back of my mind I did think at one point that these must be very extensive gardens.
I was mildly curious how far I could wander into the woods before my necklace sent out alarm bells, or however it works, but mostly I just kept going because I wanted to. Some dark thoughts tried to worm their way in about how once again I seemed to be back at square one and the fact that every time I seem to get some traction I lose everything, but I was able to stamp them out. It was too fine a day, and I just have the feeling that my justice may be delayed but it will not be deterred. Deferred? Whichever. These past few months have been largely awful but there have been some good days as well – and I took some time to reflect upon them. Experiences that I never would have had had I not been betrayed and left for dead. Silver lining.
Which isn’t to say by any means that I’m happy that it happened, but some good has come out of it – and there’s value in remembering that.
As I wandered through the trees I came to a tranquil forest pond where their happened to be a maiden bathing. She was staggeringly beautiful – and I know from beautiful. My first thought was that this was a real shame – the sight was kind of lost on me you know, the songs are always about some knight coming across the bathing maiden unawares and being transfixed by her beauty, but you know, not in a creepy way like in real life. My second thought was that that water looked cold as all get out. There’s probably a reason she was only waist deep – freezing your tits off is no fun. My third thought was that her blonde hair, though floating on the water, must be almost down her feet – which has to get annoying. Besides just being in the way how, long must that take to dry? Not to mention comb! On the other hand she had no split ends, which is an impressive feat for hair of that length.
The effect was ruined however as she moved towards the shore to retrieve a green dress and she was revealed to have grotesque hairy goat-legs. And I don’t mean that as one of my classic cutting remarks about her lack of grooming – we’re talking literal goat-legs. The weird bend, the course oily hair that the water didn’t seem to want to be on, the whole deal. Thankfully there was no goat tail, that would have been too much. Upper half? Total knock-out. Lower half? Nasty monster.
I didn’t know there were female satyrs. I wonder which men find more disappointing, mermaids or these things. Probably the mermaids because how would you even? A slight involuntary noise of disgust came from my lips and her head whipped around quick as a striking snake – sending that net of yellow hair flying all akimbo, I knew it would be a pain in the ass. I was about to say something but she bared wicked looking fangs (speaking of striking snakes) and hissed at me with the anger of a thousand spurned lovers. A vampire satyr?!?! Is that even a thing?
I ran like a scared rabbit as she surged out of the water, naked as a jaybird, and ran after me cursing in some bizarre language. This is not how I saw this day going. I’m sure the chase would have been comedic to anyone watching, tripping and stumbling as I did over roots and underbrush while my pursuer was entangled by her own hair getting stuck on branches and the like – it was like a horrible scene from some incomprehensible bawdy show. She gained on me steadily however and pounced like a puma – knocking me to the ground. The two of us wrestling on the dirty forest floor? We’re definitely in bawdy show territory now. I would have laughed if I wasn’t terrified for my life.
It was probably the saddest wrestling match in the history of mankind, neither one of us knew what we were doing, but she managed to get on top of me (calm down) and trapped one of my arms – sinking her fangs not into my neck but into my chest. There’s a subsection of books that lovingly describe the “kiss of the vampire” as seductive drug-like blissful experience. I know now that those books are full of shit. It was more like someone biting into my Gods damned chest. Although honestly the pain was not nearly as bad as the horrid, torrid sound of my blood being drained from my body. I started feeling light-headed immediately.
I instinctually tried to use my Boots to escape before realizing that I no longer had them, but you can’t take away tattoos (not without really working at it anyway) so I figured one good bite deserves another – I activated the magic and gave myself lion jaws. A lion’s bite can crack the skill of an aurochs without any trouble at all – I was prepared for something awful when I bit down on the crown of her head but instead my lion-teeth barely found purchase. For such a delicate little thing her head was like biting into a cast-iron pot. Nevertheless she was clearly disturbed by the turn of events and let up enough that I was able to turn the tables on her and get superior position – and then I went for the throat.
By a wide margin this was the worst physical experience of my life to date. Biting into someone’s flesh? Awful. Simply awful. I am confident that most people couldn’t do it, not even to save their own life. There’s no describing the sensation of tucking into a living being like a pork shank. Even worse though was the spurting of blood into my mouth – I was prepared for it to be hot and disgusting, but it was cold and disgusting, like some kind of slime mold. And somehow bubbly. Or fizzy maybe. I started gagging instantly. But I didn’t let go. Between the vile blood and the vomit and every other damn thing I thought that I might suffocate – but there was no way I was letting go. Have you ever felt like you were drowning on dry land? I have now.
It was so disorientating and appalling that I didn’t even realize at first that I had been stabbed – where the Hells did she get a dagger from?! The pain in my side was like a hot wire laid across my ribs. Did I say across, I meant inside. But there was no way I was going to let go. I might die with my lion-jaws around her but I wasn’t letting go. And that was only the half of it, I started feeling the crawling burning sensation of poison around the wound as well – what a dirty bitch, a poison dagger, really?
Eventually the pressure on the dagger fell away and she stopped moving. I held on for a good while longer before finally releasing my jaws – and instantly releasing the contents of my stomach as well. I was gasping and retching for several minutes, still convinced that I might die just because I couldn’t get my wind. Eventually I was able to calm down enough to breath normally and prevent myself from keeling over – enough to finally take stock of the knife sticking out of my side. I go for a walk in the woods and end up bitten, blood-drained, stabbed, and poisoned? Of course that’s what happens. Of course.
Covered with blood and bile I started to stagger back to the manor on unsteady feet before cursing myself and staggering back to my dead nemesis. I grabbed the dagger, used it to cut off the creature’s hair and then wrapped that up in the dress along with a few other items and stashed it under a log – I’ll come back for that later. Assuming I live. With that done I re-staggered towards the manor, where finally two men at arms came looking for me.
“Sure when I try to escape you assholes are all over me but when I need you were the Hells are you!”
I was rushed into the household and into Chaplain Stentin’s care. Based on my past experiences I was dubious, and rightly so, but his magics not only neutralized the poison coursing through my veins and healed my wounds but also replenished whatever vital energy the creature had drained from me. An hour earlier and I was at death’s door, now, just a little tired. Clearly I haven’t been hanging out with the right class of priests. I took my evening meal in bed, which is something that I rarely do – who wants to sleep on crumbs after all – but desperate times. Afterwards the Baroness came to visit , pulling up a chair besides my bed with some plum wine.
“Those wood aren’t entirely safe ‘cousin’, you’d do well to stay closer to the manor.”
“You don’t say?”
Inventory: Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion)
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 Parmalee, Helgan
van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot
Behind the curtain – The encounter was not with a satyr vampire of course, that would be silly, but with a glaistig – although a 3.5 version of a glaistig. I didn’t know they had them in Pathfinder also, where they’re some Mythic CR 20 type deal. I find it somewhat interesting to check out the stats for the same legendary creature in different rule sets. I’ve never been sure of the pronunciation of satyr – in my mind it rhymes with vampire like satire but I think that instead it might be sa-ter. The trope of the fey creature that mostly looks like a sexy lady but has one weird feature and freaks out and tries to kill you if you see it is a somewhat common one. And I wonder what narrative purpose that is supposed to fulfill. I mean if you’re a whole race of people with goat-legs or whatever why would you think that was bad? The concept must exist for some reason right, what point is trying to be made? If any of you are experts in mythohistorical creatures let me know.