Moreavan 13 Year 887 (New Imperial Calendar)

Early to bed and early to rise – that’s me.  There’s something unnatural about being up before sunrise.  It seems like a mistake has been made.  It’s like showing up early to a party.  You’re there before everything is ready and then you feel off the entire rest of the night.  Or so I’ve been told, I have never shown up early for a party.  Sometimes I’m so fashionably late I forget to go at all.  Even though I woke up early I stayed in bed for a good hour feeling sorry for myself.  It’s rarely something I allow myself to indulge in – there’s nothing worse than someone who wallows in their own misery, aside from someone who shows up early to a party – but I’m in an indulgent mood just now.

But the sad fact of life is that nothing is accomplished lying (laying?) in bed so eventually I roused myself and got dressed.  I went across the hall to find Tario but at some point last night he and Martialla’s scheming had turned to something else entirely.  Seeing them laying (lying?) there asleep in each other’s arms  in a tangle of sheets and askew pillows made me want to toss a bucket of cold water on them.  But I didn’t.  Because I am a good person, one of the best really.  I merely closed the door and went across the street to get some breakfast in a crowded restaurant.  Just to make myself feel better I left without paying.  I walked around the neighborhood a bit watching the working folk scurry about to start their day at the mills and mud farms and whatnot until I saw the new couple come out the front of the boarding house yawning and stretching. You know the kind or yawning and stretching I mean. 

“Come on lovebirds, we have a fortune to steal.”

Moments later we were sitting on a rooftop café looking over the clean part of the river drinking what was actually some very tasty spiked tea – for a podunk lumber town I mean.  The view and the sunny weather was almost enough to make you feel good to be alive.

“Alright, let’s keep this simple.  Tario you take us to Razmiran and tell him you’re heading out of town, and you want to discuss wants he needs to smuggle into and or out of the city.  I’ll seduce him and once we’re alone I’ll poison him, open the vault and get the jewels.  No fuss no muss.”

“I told you Ela, Razmiran is . . .”

“Yeah, I know what he is, you told me about that – I’m not going to look like this obviously.”

Martialla pursed her lips “Hmm, do you think you can seduce a man?”

“Of course I can, that was my whole job, you know, before.”

“I know, but I mean a man like that.”

“Bah, men are men, they’re all the same.”

Tario shook his head slowly “I don’t know about this.”

“Are you going to seduce him?”

Tario’s eyebrows shot up “Me?  I mean . . . I-I . . . maybe . . . y-you know . . . I . . .”

“Yeah, so shut up.  Look, we go there and if he takes the bait he takes the bait and if he doesn’t we regroup and come up with a new plan and no harm done.  All we need is some poison and a magic something or other to hold all the loot and we’ll be fine.  Can you manage that?”

Tario cleared his throat “Well . . . I’m kind of . . . tapped out right now.”

I rolled my eyes “Yeah, I know that too, you just find the stuff and I’ll pay.  Speaking of, I’m getting deeper in the hole on this plan of yours by the second.  What kind of split were you thinking of?”

“Even?”

I shook my head “Try again.”

“Not even?”

“Correct.  Now get going.  Stick together so you don’t get jumped, this is a rough town.”

“I can’t believe some toughs knifed Joscar in broad daylight.”

“I know, what’s the world coming to huh?”

 While Martialla and Tario went out to comb the low class dives for poison and low class enchanters (which is still high class by most standards) for magic bags I saw to getting the other three unfortunates that Tario had dragged into this mess out of town.  I won’t lie, I thought about killing them. In talking to them I don’t think they even knew why Tario brought them here.  Clearly they knew it was for a scheme of some kind and if they really thought about it they could probably put it together if they later hear about Razmiran’s fortune going missing, but I’m willing to risk that.  They’ve had enough trouble. 

That’s the problem with a smooth-talker like Tario, he’s able to convince saps like these into coming out here but then he has nothing to follow through with.  There’s nothing worse than a charmer who gets in over their head.  Well actually there are lots of things that are worse, like someone who shows up early for a party, but you know what I mean.  I got them on a coach out of town with some reliable fellows.  They looked reliable enough anyway. 

Martialla and Tario found a weapons and armor merchant that happened to do some side business with other items and after handing over a small fortune I had an extra potent dose of liquid sweetdream and a new magic bag of hidden compartments.  The only hold-up there was that she was involved with an actual smuggling ring and Tario’s groundwork as a pretend smuggler had worked too well – she told him either he had to stop with that action or get with the program.  I assured her she would never see him again. 

After that I spent a good hour crafting my disguise – and a handsome devil he (I?) was.  Young but not too young.  Innocent looking but not too innocent.  Dashing, but not so handsome as to not retain an aura of mystery and danger.  The kind of scoundrel that makes women, and some men, weak in the knees.  Martialla disguised herself as well, taking on the appearance of the long gone Gareth since he usually had appeared at Tario’s side during these types of meetings.   I don’t often spend time walking around town disguised as a man, it’s an interesting experience.  No one pays any attention to you but they ignore you in a way that makes it feel like you’re getting respect.  It’s an odd feeling.

We three “lads” made our way to Razmiran’s compound.  Even though Tario had explained the layout to me I was startled by its appearance – it was more like a private park with a few small buildings in it than a mansion or the like.  I’ve seen some impressive gardens among rich folk for sure, but those are usually in addition to a massive house not instead of.  This Razmiran character must really love plants.  Makes you wonder why he chose to make himself the defacto ruler of a logging town.  Maybe I’ll find out. But probably not. 

There was a wall, of course, to keep out the common folk, and a few guards – they didn’t look like assassins so maybe he keeps them somewhere else.  Of course that’s the tricky thing with assassins, you never know who they could be masquerading as.  Razmiran met with us in an open air-gazebo type scenario.  He wasn’t an ugly man exactly but no one to get excited about – sharp features and something of a gloomy look overall.  His head wasn’t shaved but his hair was so short and dark that it looked like paint on his scalp.  Not a great look.  There was some chit-chat, some flattery about his “fine” city, some small talk, a lot of business talk, and then we got down to the serious business of shameless flirting. 

Razmiran ate it up like it was sweet candy.  In a way I’m disappointed whenever someone falls for this shtick.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m great at it, so you can’t blame him, but you’d think a few people would be smart enough to realize that the attractive stranger coming on to them probably wants something.  My grandmother rarely ever gave advice to anyone other than me, well not advice she really believed anyway, but I remember her telling an ugly fellow once that he should be very wary of any beautiful woman who was acting like she was interested in him.  I suppose people believe what they want to believe.

Razmiran enjoyed the sound of his own voice and it was a good little reminder for me to on how to be patient.  Even after we separated from Tario and Martialla (disguised as Gareth of course) he spent several hours taking me to different small open air buildings and talking all about how they were built and how the gardens were planted and maintain and so forth.  By the time we got back to his bedchamber I had almost forgotten the plan out of sheer boredom.  As he was lighting a candle by the bed I was about to say something funny/ribald when another man came in – a rough looking type with hands like anvils and a face to match. 

I chuckled “Oh, I didn’t know this was going to be one of those.”

Razmiran looked at the man with distaste “Don’t mind him, he won’t be joining us, he’s just here for my safety.  You wouldn’t believe the number of people trying to take advantage of me.”

“What is the world coming to?”

Here’s the thing about illusionary disguises, they look great – but they don’t really work when you start getting up close and personal you know?  If something isn’t there it isn’t there, even if it looks like it is.  You know what I mean?  Thankfully this is the kind of thing I was trained for, and I was able to fool around with Razmiran without really letting him get his hands on me too much and ruining the surprise.  I got a dram of sweetdream on my hand and kept it by his face until he started getting drowsy.  It was powerful stuff, I tell you that – I was getting a little light-headed myself.  I was hoping the guard would retire behind a curtain or at least look away respectfully but he was looking directly at us like a perv so I had to shield Razmiran from his gaze with my body and do some puppeteering as I poured the rest of the sweetdream down his throat. He didn’t choke on the slightest.  You can come up with your own joke about that.  He fell into a hard sleep pretty quickly.  I got off the bed and looked frowning at the guard.

“Does he always do this?  Usually they don’t fall asleep until after.”

The guard came forward to peer at his master and I sent my coat flying over his head with a whistle – covering his mouth to keep him from calling for more guards.  I drained him with my Glove and in response, even though his eyes were covered he responded by punching me three times in the chest and stomach in the blink of an eye.  I’ve been kicked by a horse.  I’ve been hit with a club.  I’ve fallen off a roof.  This was worse than all three.  The man hit like a meteor.  I fell back on the bed, unable to breathe, while the man cocked his head and listened for me like a damn owl. I rolled off the bed, avoiding another diving punch, and took cover underneath it – stabbing him in the foot with my dagger and hoping that the poison would work its magic.  Between being blinded, poisoned, and suffocated I was able to take him down – in a fair fight he would have killed me in about three seconds. That’s fun to think about.

Once they were both down and out I found the secret vault where Tario said it would be and used the Chime of Opening to, well , open it.  It’s a good thing it only have five locks and not one more because the chime was all used up.  I wasn’t sure exactly what I was expecting, words like “fortune” and “king’s ransom” can mean a lot of different things, but this was really something.  Dozens upon dozens upon dozens of high quality garnets.  It was quite a sight.  There was also a crystal necklace that was so ugly it has to be magic.  I grabbed it all and then slithered out the window like a sneaky snake – no reason to let the guard out front know the party’s over.

I found Tario and Martialla/Gareth still at the original gazebo-thing looking mildly bored and playing with their glasses more than drinking.

“I don’t know about you two, but I would like to get the fuck out of town right about now.”

____________________________________________________________

Funds: 1020 platinum

XP: 162,028

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, Holy Symbol of Kozilek, Ruby (2), Black Marketers’ Bag, 1004 Garnets, crystal necklace

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

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