I spent the night in the hovel of the Everard family, reunited and safe due to my heroic heroism. Heroninism? Since the hill giant had clubbed half of their herd to death anyway they cooked up enough food to feed an army – Quinna was grumbling that we were spoiling his dogs but they helped me take on a giant while he cowered behind a rock so no one paid him any mind. Samuwirth and the girl Charlotte were already on their way to becoming fast friends when we returned – you know the kind of friends I mean. The only roach in the pudding was that the old woman who trigged all of this – Jasmi – had no idea what a giant would be stuffing her in a sack. The next morning I approached Samuwrith were he stood moodily throwing rocks at the edge of the pasture.
“I was thinking Samwise . . .”
“I was thinking Samwirth, what if you stayed here?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean what if you stayed here instead of going back to Juost manor? Training to be a warrior is fun and all that, but there’s no future in it. I know in all the stories the farmboy wants to run off to be a solider but I guarantee you most soldiers would much rather be bailing hay and hailing bay or whatever it is farmers do exactly. It’s an ugly nasty business. Stay here, live a life where all you have to kill is chickens.”
He shoved his hands in his pockets “The Baron would never allow it. My father sent me here to become a warrior.”
“The Baron doesn’t need to know. I’ll tell him you died. Besides, and I don’t mean this to hurt your feelings but I doubt he would even notice if you didn’t come back.”
He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and lip quivering “You would do that for me? Lie? A noble lady, telling falsehoods?”
“I think just this once maybe I can handle it.”
With that squared away Quinna, the pack of dogs, Jasmi and I headed back towards Newberry Hill. She slowed us down a little but she’s a tough old bird – peasant women don’t really come any other way. Not the ones that live to actually be old rather than just looking old anyway. Of course a few hours after we started out I spotted an emaciated looking bat-eared little monstrous humanoid with a mouth full of needle-like teeth and large glowing orange eyes. I was startled enough to point and exclaim.
“What the Hells is that!?”
The tiny creature shrieked and disappeared into the grass but Jasmi caught glimpse of it and declared it to be a gremlin.
“Gremlins are real too?! Honest to Gods is there any damn thing that isn’t real? What’s next? A wolf that’s also half a killer whale?”
Quinna piped up “That’s called an Akhlut and they’re all over the place on the other side of the mountains.”
“How is anyone still alive! Every monster exists! What kind of sick joke is this world?!”
Jasmi had a concerned look “Why would a gremlin be following us?”
“I’m sure we’re going to fucking find out!!!”
Not long afterwards we saw a man approaching us with a pack of wolves at his beck and call. Because of course he did. After all I have dogs so why wouldn’t the guy coming after us have wolves? And of course the ugly little bat-creature was hanging off his shoulder and grinning like a maniac. The fellow himself was dressed in crude hunting leathers and although he didn’t seem to be much past twenty his stubbly beard was riddled with grey. Before he got too close I called out to him.
“That’s close enough there friend, what’s your business?”
“I want to talk to the old woman.”
“Go ahead and talk then.”
“Can I come closer?”
“I think you’re good right there.”
“I’d rather not air my personal business in front of you.”
“Get used to being disappointed.”
He considered this for a moment and then sighed and shouted to Jasmi “I want to know who my mother is!”
Jasmi glared at the fellow, “Is that why you hired a giant to kidnap me?”
I shook my head in disbelief “First of all you can hire giants to do things? Second of all, are you INSANE?! Why would you do that instead of just going and talking to her?”
“I am insane.”
“Yes. I get confused sometimes. Under certain circumstances I have hallucinations. I have some form of post-traumatic stress I think. I display satyromaniac behavior. I get obsessively attached to things sometimes and I’m a narcissist. That’s why I got run out of the village, which is why when I was having one of my episodes I thought kidnapping the old lady would be a good idea.”
“Okay, I’m not used to crazy people having so much self-awareness about it. “ I turned to Jasmi “Do you know who his mother is?” She nodded “Is there any reason not to tell him?”
After a moment she pursed her lips “I suppose not. After his wife died your father was taken in by some traveling hussie. Nine months later you were left on his doorstep. I knew there was something off about her so I followed her tracks back into the woods. She’s one of the fey folk she is, a shapeshifter of some kind – which accounts for your, ahem, issues. You’re not exactly human.”
“Whoa, that’s not the kind of thing you were probably expecting to hear. Can I ask, why did you decide you needed to know who your mother is now all of a sudden?”
“A man dressed all in black came and said that he could take me to meet my mother. When I said I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that he tried to suck me into a magic mirror.”
“Hold on now, that’s something of interest – we happen to be looking for an ebony clad mirror sucker. Do you know how to find this guy?”
“Do you mean that or is that the insanity talking?”
He just shrugged.
I turned back top Quinna and Jasmi “Well, that was quite a turn of events. I feel like dogs and wolves aren’t going to get along well together so Quinna why don’t you escort Jasmi here back to the village and I’ll go off alone with this dangerous lunatic.”
He couldn’t say yes fast enough. I walked over to my new friend and asked which way to the mysterious man in black and his magical mirror – he silently pointed to the northwest and we started walking. I activated my Beastspeech and addressed the wolf I thought was the alpha.
“Hey there champ, are you going to eat me?”
“No. Not unless Erza tells us to.”
“Why does he tell you what to do?”
“He’s the boss.”
“Fair enough I suppose. Can he talk to you like I can?”
This should go great.
Inventory: Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Dagger of Venom, Bracers of Armor +2, Ring of Protection +2, Rope of Entanglement, Enchanted Feycloth Dress (Green), Light Crossbow
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 Sheepskin