I’ll say this for the Baroness, the coach she gave us for this maybe suicide mission is really something. It’s nice to look at sure, but that’s just the least of it. It’s got some kind of magical suspension for sure because you can’t even feel the thing rattling around and it barely makes a sound. I’ve been on my fair share of coaches, even the best of them tends to be a little bone-rattling and plenty loud. Alchemically strengthened glass windows, extra-dimensional under bench storage, darkwood reinforced body – this bugger has the works. It made me think of those Lodestone Security assholes and how they thwarted me. I haven’t been making much progress on the List lately, it’s starting to get my ire a little bit. Is that what you do with ire? Get it? Stoke my ire? Anyway, you know what I mean.
As we rolled north along the road to Renwick I perused the list (not The List the one the Baroness gave me) Viscount such and such and Archbaroness this and that and so on and so on, but there was one name on the list that was familiar, Lord Esau Wesel.
“This Lord Wesel character, is he related to the Wesels that used to rule over this place?”
Otacvio was passed out (seemingly, I think he was halfway pretending) and Martialla of course had no idea, but Hardra confirmed that he was indeed a distant relative of the family that had imploded over that deal with Ather the wizard.
“I thought the issue was that the old Marshall died without any heirs, which is why the Juosts took over managing these lands.”
“I don’t know the whole story my lady, but it’s something along the lines of this Wesel showed up too late and had too little prestige to do anything about it after the Juost family had already been installed. He was a distant relation.”
“Huh. Well I guess if anyone was going to be disloyal it would be him.”
Hardra turned away as if the topic offended her “I wouldn’t know about that My Lady.”
We made good time, very good time, and arrived at the homestead of Archbaroness Melody Relonge – sandwiched between the road and the Lower Scale River. Hardra had apprised me that the Archbaroness had an avid interest in horse breeding and loved fox hunting but that she had an unhealthy interest in mercantile activities for a member of the elite, who of course should be rich but not sully themselves with the dirty business of making money. She said also that the Lady Relonge was not happy here in Cymrile County and wished instead of be in the inner provinces. If she also happens to be devastatingly attractive I’m going to suspect that we’re twins separated at birth.
I’m not sure how, but she was expecting us and knew the reason for our visit. Martialla, Hardra and I were treated to a lovely meal at the Archbaroness’s table with her various lackeys and attendants after which she stood before the Gods and everyone and pledged her undying loyalty to the Juost family. If I wasn’t so good at spotting liars I would have almost believed it. Although honestly I’m going to have a hard time swallowing any oath of loyalty no matter how sincere. I mean loyalty? Where’s the advantage in that? Who would do such a thing? I caught up with Martialla as we transition from desert to after dinner drinks in the sitting room.
“Alright M, here’s the plan, you take my image and finish this evening off – I want to snoop around.”
“Just thought I’d try it out, now get moving.”
“How about a please? I’m not your servant.”
“Are you not?”
She adjusted her cap and suddenly I was starting at myself – which is something you never really get used to. Mirrors don’t really do it justice. It’s strange, you think that you’re in the world doing whatever you doing and you don’t really even know what you look like. If you ever have the chance to see yourself from a third party perspective you should take it – you really learn something. I adjusted my appearance as well – random servant – and we were both off.
I’m sad to say that right out in the open on the Archbaroness’ desk in her bedroom was a half-written letter to the Queen’s Advisory Council stating that in order to ensure a smooth transition of power the Juost’s should be sent packing and she should be put in their place as liege of this land. You know how I feel about people writing down their schemes. This is a little bit different I suppose, but if you write a letter like this it should be kept under lock and key at the very least. Have some pride in your work. I slipped the letter into my pocketses and turned to go, seeing that one of the footmen was leaning in the doorframe – a tall fellow who might have been handsome if not for his dopey haircut and slovenly clothing.
“You shouldn’t be in here.”
“Just tidying up a bit, I’ll be on my way now.”
He put his leg up to block the doorway “I don’t think you will.”
I retrieved my dagger and gave it a good toss – hitting him right in the side of the knee. Honestly I was expecting to scare him more than anything, I didn’t think I’d hit him cleanly like that. Do you know how hard it is to hit someone in the leg with a thrown dagger? It was a thousand to one shot. He slid down to the ground, utterly shocked.
“You stabbed me . . . . I was just fooling around . . . . and you stabbed me.”
“Oh shit, I’m sorry man, you’re just like one of those guys who forces himself on maids aren’t you? I thought you knew what I was doing in here and it was going to be a whole thing.”
“Why . . . w-why do I feel so . . . gross?”
“Ooh, that’s probably the poison.”
“A p-poison dagger? Why would you . . .”
At that point he passed out, either from blood loss or from the poison coursing through his veins. Probably both. Cursing, I retrieved my dagger and dragged him out of the doorway into the Archbaroness’ bedroom, doing my best to mop up the blood trail with his shirt. In search of reinforcements I hurried to Hardra’s room and throwing open the door was presented with an eyeful of hairy man-ass as she was presently being hammered by a burly fellow I think I had seen working in the smithy on the way in.
“What the Hells? What kind of chaperone are you?!”
She hurled something at me, a shoe maybe, and shouted for me to get out. I slammed the door shut and went in search of Otacvio but he was nowhere to be seen – the only one I could find was Altos, sitting outside the servant’s quarters happily munching on an eel sandwich.
“Kid come on, you got to help me now!”
“What? Who are you?”
At this point I remembered I was still disguised as a random maid and dropped my illusion.
“It’s me Gods damn it, come on!”
He jumped to his feet and seemed for a moment like he was going to salute me.
“My Lady?! What’s . . . . what?”
“Just come on damn it!”
We rushed back to the Archbaroness’s bedchamber where there were already several servants gathered by the door. At the last moment I remembered to disguise myself again, this time as Hardra. I watched as the butler and one of the footmen hauled out the bloody and unconscious form of the letch.
“What’s going on here?”
A older fellow drinking out of a flask answered first “Looks like old Rori got fresh with one of the maids one time too many. Must have stuck him with a hairpin or something. Handle of a brush maybe.”
“My heavens, is it safe for the Baron’s cousin here?”
Another better dressed fellow glared at the flask-drinker “I assure you madam, that sort of thing doesn’t happen around here, I mean what you must think of us! I’m sure it was just an accident of some sort, nothing malicious in the slightest. This must be quite a fright for you, come let me get you some cider to calm your nerves.”
Altos leaned in close “What’s going on?”
“Don’t worry about it. Just keep your mouth shut kid.”
If you thought that was enough excitement for one day you’re sorely mistaken. That night as I tossed and turned on the lumpy mattress in the tacky room the Archbaroness gave me to sleep in the holy symbol of Kozilek I picked up started buzzing or vibrating or something. I fished it out of my baggage and as soon as my hand touched it once again I could hear a voice by my side clear as day.
“We need final confirmation that all is ready.”
“Ready on my end” I said to no one.
“Excellent. See you tomorrow morning then.”
Funds: 995 platinum
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, 879 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