Mathanaya 8 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 2

It was late in the afternoon by the time Martialla and I were able to head out into the woods for the lady werewolf showdown.  Martialla suggested that was the sort of thing that should wait for the light of  day, but I didn’t want to spend any more time in this no horse town so off we went. Yet again marching into the wilderness to face an unknown and possibly deadly threat.  Is there such a thing as time magic?  If there is I feel like I’ve been influenced by some spell to do the same things over and over again.  I tell you this now, when I settle up with Duke Eaglevane and I’m living a life of luxury I am never going to set foot outside of a city again.  Not ever.  If the city is on fire I’ll burn with it.   

“Can I renew my objection to heading out to meet a werewolf as night is coming on?”

“You may not.  Besides, there’s no such thing as werewolves.”

“What do you think we’re going to find out there then?”

“A hairy broad that likes slaughtering livestock.”

“And what if she is a werewolf?  What’s the plan in that event, unlikely though it may be?”

“Uh-no, I’ll come up with something.”

“How comforting.”

“You’re the magic expert, shouldn’t you know how to curse werewolfism?”

“I’ve heard that removal of the spleen can cure an afflicted wolfperson, the side effect is that they die but the good news is they aren’t damned to the Hells for being a sinful monster.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

Surprisingly perhaps we were able to follow Drake’s directions to the letter and as the sun was going down we came across the luxury accommodations that he had secured for this sister – something akin to a trapper’s supply shack that may have been a whole six feet wide.  Martialla and I had come under the cloak of invisibility – metaphorically speaking, I mean we were invisible but you know what I’m saying, there was no literal cloak.  If you know where I can get a cloak of invisibility let me know because that would be really handy.  There was a fellow back at court that had one of those but all he used it for was wandering about the palace naked and molesting himself near the kitchen staff. The point is we came across the twin sister unawares chopping down a tree.  I would have never pegged them as twins because this one looked a good ten years younger – although Drake’s premature greying around the edges probably had a lot to with that.  She was wearing a simple red peasant shift that clashed horribly with her scarlet locks and a leather apron type thing over that.  She was wielding the axe with an expert hand and attacking the tree like it had stolen her virtue.

I became visible as we came up on her “Have you ever considered selling your hair to a wigmaker?  I think I’d look fine as a redhead.”

Startled, she spun around with her axe held menacingly “Who are you?!”

“Your brother sent us.  I’m surprised you weren’t able to sniff us out, or can you only do that when you’re in wolf form?”

She shook her head “He wouldn’t do that, he’d never send anyone out here!”

“Well he’s in a bit of a pickle.  The townfolk are about to burn him alive because you’ve been killing their aquatic monster rats.”

She growled, and I mean really growled – not like a human growls – and snapped the shaft of the axe like a stout twig. 

“Whoa, whoa, whoa there, hold on – don’t go wolfing out on us right this second, we need to talk.”

She turned her head up to the skies and screamed, a guttural primordial scream that made the tiny hairs on my shivering scalp stand up on end.  She slammed into the tree she had been hacking at like she was trying to tackle it and started hammering it with punches – splitting her knuckles open to the bone and sending blood flying with each hit.  After more than a minute she fell into a sitting position, exhausted and bloody handed.

“That was . . . something.”

“It’s not the moon, in the stories they say it’s the moon.  It’s not the moon.  It’s anger, or sadness sometimes.  It can happen even if you get really happy – not that that’s happened in a long while.  It’s a beast inside of you, waiting until you’re weak or just tired, and then it grabs you and it takes over.  You have to hold it back all the time – it’s like you’re trying to hold shut a trap door above you, but the weight pressing down never gets tired, it never lets up – but you do.  Eventually you can’t hold the weight anymore and it pushes you down, and it gets on top of you, and it gets inside you.  You’re never safe because it’s always with you. Always.”

“Well we’re here to help you.”

She looked utterly forlorn as she met my gaze “How?”

“We’ll figure something out.  But right now we need to help your brother.  Let’s get back to town, tell them that you’ve been killing the rats not because you’re a werewolf – that would be crazy – but because you’re selling the pelts or meat or whatever to poachers.  I’ll buy them off, you and your brother will get kicked out of town and then we can find a cure.”

“Why are you doing this?”

“Honestly I have no idea.  There’s something inside me too, it’s different though.  I feel like I’m a dog chasing its tail sometimes – I just do things.”

“Maybe you’re just a good person.”

Martialla snickered at that and I shot her a dirty look.  The three of us started walking back to Long Avon. 

“So, when you do your wolf thing are you a red furred wolf?”

“I don’t think so.”

“So what happens to your human hair?  Where does it go?  And how does it come back?”

“I have no idea.”

“That’s disappointing, I thought we might be onto something there.  Some kind of magical dimension of hair.  What happens to your tits when you turn?  Do they disappear or do you get more of them or what?”

“I’d really rather not talk about it.”

“Sure, sure, I mean it’s probably the only interesting thing you have to talk about but I get it.  So, you were really going to town on that tree back there.  Looks like you’ve cut down a lot of trees around here.”

“Physical activity helps me stay under control.  Plus before I got bitten I worked for the lumber consortium.”

“Of Three Rivers?”

“Is there any other?”

“I stand corrected, I’m very interested in that.  Tell me everything, in particular focus on any potential embarrassing or ruinous secrets you might know about them – anything that you would consider blackmail fodder.”

“I was just a woodcutter, I don’t know about anything like that.”

“We’ll see, just tell me everything you know, leave nothing out.”   

_______________________________________________________________

Hair regrowth progress :  .012%

Curses – Marksman’s Malady

Funds: 900 platinum, 4251 gold

XP: 243,161

Inventory:  Pathfinder’s Gear (white) Pocketed Scarf, Wrist Sheath, Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Dagger of Venom, Bracers of Armor +2, Ring of Protection +2, Light Crossbow, Assortment of Fake Signet Rings,  Bag of Concealment,  Belt of Giant Strength +4, Vest of Resistance +1, Ring of Sustenance, 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, bolt of silk, Pirate’s Eyepatch, dress (fancy, revealing) 2, dress (fancy) 6

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, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin

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