Homar and the caravan headed west and it was time for me to head east. I debated with myself asking Belking to accompany me but he seemed determined to stay and do whatever it is a lone solider does in a fort. I assume he’s probably going to hang himself. But you never know, people surprise you sometimes. Not usually in a good way, but still.
The only thing worse than traveling with a group is traveling alone. But the road to Preen should be safe right? Right? At least I won’t get lost this time. Probably. There was a decent amount of traffic on the road and as I do from time to time when I’m on the move alone I took on different appearances and personas with everyone I met.
I was a short woman with a shaved head wearing a distinctively ratty black coat named Eckroia – I was born to a wealthy family on the border but fled once the war started and now am trying to find work. Then I was Joan, another short woman with chestnut hair in an odd sleeveless shirt. I was very clingy and talked about my love of painting too much. Then I was a scrawny bald man in a yellow shirt and ill-fitting pants named Gegir – I fancied myself a fortune-teller who hated rats and brought it up for no reason. And so on.
Preen was off in the distance when I heard someone call out behind me.
“Why Artia you’ve changed. I had no idea that you could kick a drug habit in two hours. And dye your hair. And switch genders.”
I turned back to see a weather beaten half-elf with a fancy walking stick and an eye-patch. I had no memory of such a person but before my eyes their form changed to that of a plain faced middle-aged woman with a prominent chin wearing a blue cap – who I did remember talking to earlier that days as Artia the slouching drug addict and failed big game hunter.
“Thanks, it’s all in the cap. You are really Ela right, this isn’t another disguise?”
“You have me at a disadvantage madam. Or sir.”
He held out her hand and shook in a forthright masculine manner “Martialla Dieme. I’ve been looking for you a long time.”
“Ominous, how did you find me? Magic?”
“I wasn’t easy, I assure you, but there was no magic involved – just lots of talking to folk and traveling. LOTS of talking and traveling. And I assure you there’s nothing to be worried about. I bring you thanks.”
“It makes me very worried when people say there’s nothing to worry about.”
“I can’t claim to know you Ela, but I’ve learned enough about you to know that no amount of dissembling is going to put you at ease so I’ll just speak plainly. Piltis Swine and two of his goons killed my niece. Since you killed him I owe you my thanks.”
“I don’t know anything about that, I heard he died in some kind of duel.”
She smiled in an unsettling way “Yes, from what I’ve gathered you have a knack for getting other people to do your dirty work. I killed one of the other men, Sockeye, in Narhold. So I wanted to thank you, but also see if you would help me in killing the third man – Dirt-Tooth.”
“Well some folk call him Fat Dick, but I prefer Dirt-Tooth.”
“You seem like a very capable individual, what do you need my help for?”
“He’s what I believe is called in the trade ‘a hard target’ I don’t think I can get him alone – not without dying anyway and I’m not prepared to go for that far. Not yet anyway.”
“Well I’m sorry to tell you Martialla, but you’ve wasted your time. As much as I’d love to help you kill a small time crime asshole I’m stuck her at the moment – something in the way of indentured servitude. Of a kind.”
She looked at me for twenty straight seconds and when I asked what she was doing she shushed me very rudely – then reaching out and grabbing the silver chain around my neck and saying a few magic words, causing it to glow with a blue light for a second.
“Yes, I see the issue.”
“I thought you said you didn’t have magic.”
“I never said that, I just said I didn’t use magic to find you.”
“Well anyway, you see my predicament.”
“Maybe I can help you out from under it.”
“Is revenge worth that much to you? That’s not a good thing Martialla. You should try forgiveness. Revenge reduces you to your worst self, it makes you just as bad as the person you hate. When you pursue revenge you act in a destructive way antithetical to ever finding peace – what you should do instead is seek emotional freedom. Let go of your anger, transform it into compassion. You know the old saying – if you set out on a journey for revenge you should dig two graves.”
She looked at me for a moment and then burst out laughing – laughing so hard she doubled over and had one of those gross snot-bubbles forming on her face. I guess it was pretty funny. Once she had recovered we continued on the road to Preen together. She handed me a small bag that continued two flawless rubies.
“My thanks, for ridding the world of Piltis Swine.”
“Oh, no reward is necessary.” I said as I tucked the bag away.
“Where are we going?”
“First we go down there to Preen, to maybe pull off a heist, then back to Juost Manor – I’m sure my cousin the Baroness is worried about me.”
“So you’re the Baroness’s cousin now? Good for you.”
“Yes, I’m really moving up in the world.”
Funds: 1020 platinum, 11,154 gold, 6 silver
Inventory: Noble’s Traveling Outfit, Animated Riding Coat, Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Dagger of Venom, Bracers of Armor +2, Ring of Protection +2, Light Crossbow, Fake Signet Ring, False Papers, Bag of Concealment, Belt of Giant Strength +4, Vest of Resistance +1, Ring of Sustenance, Gem of Brightness, Potion of Invisibility, Silver Chain set with Moonstones, Gold and Emerald Ring (2), Glove of Vampiric Touch, Platinum and Silver Holy Symbol of Kralten, Chime of Opening (5 charges), Holy Symbol of Kozilek, Ruby (2)
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, Lumber Consortium
of Three Rivers