I dumped Imma’s father at the camp and shortly thereafter Martialla was up and it was time to turn right back around and head into Bowcrag again. It’s a good thing I don’t need to sleep otherwise I’d be very annoyed right now. Or wait, I am. We made the rounds, asked the right questions, flirted, gossiped, schmoozed, boozed, all the usual maneuvers and we weren’t getting anywhere. When you want to get information quickly and you’re in a place that has enough people in it there’s a surefire way – but it comes with the potential of getting your legs broken. Around noon Martialla and I were getting tired of pounding the payment so we headed to the main market square and started making some lifts.
It’s tricky to do it well enough so that the marks don’t notice but not so well that that any other sharp eyes in the area do, but it was made much easier by working as a team. I’ve never picked pockets with a partner before – it makes it so easy it’s almost criminal. Half an hour later we were sitting at the patio of out of the way café when a young fellow with short spikey white hair wearing a fancy black shirt with ruffles sidled up to us – he was a heck of a sidler I tell you that.
“You ladies aren’t nearly as slick as you think you are.”
“Actually we’re exactly that slick in this case. The purses are yours if you want the, we just wanted to get your attention.”
“Not exactly the smartest way to go about it. If you were men you’d be getting stomped right now.”
“Good thing we’re aren’t then eh? My sincerest apologies young master but we’re too lazy to learn all the right signs and who to contact so forth. We need some information and I’m sure that an enterprising fellow like yourself or your friends can direct us to that information.”
“I don’t like wasting my time.”
“Nor do I, I wouldn’t dream of it assure you. We know that good info comes with a price, we’re not here to jerk you around.”
“What is it you’re looking for?”
“Okay , this is an odd request, I’m just going to say that up front . . .”
Ruffles heard us out and then took us to see a craggly-looking barkeep with scarred forearms who then directed us to a portly street-hustler with long sloppy hair. He took a break from hawking shoddy goods (and drugs to those in the know) to tell us that he could get unicorn horn and dryad hair but we explained we were looking for the live articles. After an exchange of money (one way) he folded up his satchel of goods and took us to see a stocky middle-aged lass with terrible bangs. The two of them got into a confusing argument that started with a stolen mule deer pelt and ended with accusations of who gave who what venereal disease. Once that was all sorted out Bangs told us that she had some dealings with a smuggler who had a friend of a friend that might could help us out.
Introductions were made, drinks were shared, bread was broken, etc. etc. The smuggler took us to a poacher who took us out into the woods where we ended up taking to a woman in a cave. It was a pretty cozy looking set-up for a cave. I have no idea why you would drag a bedframe out of the city into a cave – I would think if you wanted to live in a cave it’s because you weren’t into the comforts of city life. She was wearing a very unflattering loose-fitting cream and tan number, perhaps that’s why she lives in a cave – bats don’t have much in the way of fashion sense. As long as we’re being honest she had more than a few chin whiskers as well.
She told us the tale of a dryad that had been the protector of the river before it was dammed. When the dam project began she summoned her fey allies and the animals of the woods to try and stop it but as usual tiny butterfly winged people and a horde of squirrels wasn’t much of a match for armed men. The dam was built and the dryad got sick and weak and was on the verge of death but luckily for her salvation was at hand – a couple of grotesque bog hags had taken pity on the poor thing and invited her into their coven, chaining her lifeforce into a wicked cauldron instead of a happy little tree. Wasn’t that nice of them?
“Well that’s convenient, we have dryads and hags all in one place, if the kissing doesn’t work we can always fall back on decapitation. There wouldn’t happen to be a unicorn in the mix as well would there happen?”
Sadly there was not. Since this sounded like a dangerous situation that would surely get someone killed we decided to recruit some muscle before heading out into the former river valley. We ended up with a pair of half-orc sisters who aside from their grey (gray?) skin were some of the least orcy looking half-orcs I’ve ever seen. They could pass for human if they wanted to, but since they were carrying orc-axes and had truly shocking boar tattoos they clearly were into the whole orc thing. Their names were Anflite and Filtan or something like that. We made plans to meet them in the morning and returned to the camp.
Imma was dead set on all of us going into the wild together, but her father and her inattentive husband were able to convince her that was a terrible idea – which was nice because then I didn’t have to engage with the little nitwit. Before retiring to my fabulous new pavilion Martialla and I ended up sitting by the fire sharing a drink as we do from time to time.
“Have you ever read any of the books about Annabelle Spaulding?”
“Can’t say as I have.”
“She’s no shrinking violent, or wilting daisy, or flaccid pansy, but whenever it came down to the really rough stuff she had her boon companions Fransicus and Iyyov to do the dirty work. Basically she’d solve the case and when it came time for grab the murder that’s when they’d come in to do the dangerous stuff. How do I get something like that going?”
“Haven’t your hired goons before?”
“Yeah. It hasn’t really worked out. I did get a couple of good bodyguards right before I was kidnapped and enslaved.”
“They sound good.”
“My point is though, I don’t want greedy goons, I want bosom companions.”
“Didn’t you used to be a bosom companion?”
“Oh stop, the laughter is killing me. I’m serious. How do I get some loyal rough and ready types willing to lay down their lives for me?”
“Isn’t loyalty a two way street? In order to have someone who’s willing to do anything for you don’t you have to be willing to do the same for them?”
“No, that’s a common misconception. Look at dogs, they’ll die for you no matter how much of a jerk you are to them. In fact it seems like the worse you treat them the harder they love you.”
“Perhaps, but people aren’t dogs.”
“That doesn’t sound right.”
Hair regrowth progress : .018%
Curses – Marksman’s Malady, Unnerve Beasts
Funds: 8,676 gold
Inventory: Wig of Alluring Charisma +4, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Pocketed Scarf, Wrist Sheath, Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Ring of Protection +2, Assortment of Fake Signet Rings, Bag of Concealment, Belt of Giant Strength +4, Versatile Vest, Ring of Sustenance, Silver Chain set with Moonstones, Gold and Emerald Ring (2), Platinum and Silver Holy Symbol of Kralten, Black Marketers’ Bag, 852 Garnets, Campfire Bead, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition 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, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo