After our late night yesterday neither Martialla nor I wanted to get up and start preparing for the next phase of our trip, but as I well know putting off an unpleasant chore doesn’t make it any easier. When faced with something it’s better to just do it than to let it hang over you. As my grandmother said time doesn’t make rotten food taste better.
Did you know that they make magic horseshoes? I didn’t. Before heading out of town we stopped back at the temple to see if Melania could magic us to Heller’s Hills, which of course she shouldn’t because magic is useless, but she did procure for us some horseshoes that would speed our progress, as well as some mystically re-filling feedbags so we could travel light, and an enchanted saddle for Martialla since she isn’t a skilled rider and traveling at enhanced speeds could be pretty dangerous. The worst part was waiting for her to cut us a new receipt with our new credit total – it had to be witnessed and stamped and I’m pretty sure there was some anointing with holy (greedy?) water at some point. It was all very solemn and the kind of thing I would normally mock but I didn’t want to offend this one time. The Church of Deals is alright by me, when they’re not secretly Kralten people trying to kill me.
Armed with our new magical super-horses we were able to make it halfway to Renwick that very day – if we had gotten an early start and pushed hard we could have made it from Bowcrag to Renwick in a single day! Think about that for a moment. We stopped in the town of Tegel where miraculously nothing insane was going on. No kidnappings, no invasions, no giant tentacle monsters, no rips in the fabric of reality appearing in the sky – we just came into town and got some rooms and that was it.
The next day we arrived in Renwick, which was still looking very much the worse for wear – there was a massive undertaking down the docks trying to clear the river of all the shipwrecks (boatwrecks?). Teams of men and horses hauling on ropes and barges floating around and all sorts of yelling and bawling – it was quite a thing to see. In a boring sort of way. Just to make sure we made the rounds about town to see if either of the folks on our list were in town and much to our surprise Baron Sep Varnashstill had returned. I suppose it makes sense, there’s plenty of money to be made in rebuilding a city.
Baron Varnashstill met with us in the manor house of one Lady Hopyl whose husband had been killed in the recent “unpleasantness” and whose lands had been burned by the dragon – forcing her to rent out her home for fancy events such as this. Her staff were very efficient but they were clearly also humiliated but this turn of events. Loyal servants are always remarkable to me, I understand that their fate is largely tied to that of their masters but many of them seem to feel genuine pride about the service and care deeply about the public appearance of their employers. Getting people to not only participate in but to be enthusiastic about their own abuse is one of the greatest tricks of the rich and powerful.
Varnashstill was an unpleasant man who didn’t believe in washing regularly based on the smell, but he had bought the loyalty of several attendants and hangers on who were capable of holding up their end of an elegant affair. After dinner and some mildly silted after dinner conversation Varnashstill pledged his loyalty to the Juost banner while making it clear not in so many words that his only real loyalty was to money. After he and his hangers on cleared out Martialla and I had desert and chatted with Lady Hopyl who gave us the fantastic news that Viscount Tane Vanhesselen was dead. The good viscount had never made it to Eronigh, having been ambushed on the road by some of the bandits-army that was ranging across the land under the dragon’s wing. One more noble off the list and without any effort. That’s the kind of task I like to take on – one that’s already done.
Since he had died without an heir and Lady Hopyl had recently lost her holdings I declared that she should we awarded the lands and titles of Vanhesselen for her steadfast service in the face of adversity. She was so overjoyed that she had to excuse herself from the drawing room for a moment to regain her composure. Once she was gone Martialla looked at me.
“Can you do that?”
“Sure, why not?”
“Lady Hopyl isn’t even pledged to the Juost house, didn’t you just give away a bunch of their stuff?”
“Oh yeah, I suppose I should have her pledge her loyalty to the Baron and Baroness to keep everything in the family so to speak.”
“But isn’t that going to piss off her current liege? I mean isn’t this the exact kind of thing that starts wars all the time?”
“We’re already at war.”
“That’s kind of my point.”
“Why do you care so much about it? When did you become the champion of the aristocracy?”
“People that try to kill you seem to end up trying to kill me a lot of the time, just because I’m standing next to you. I’m just trying to head off trouble.”
“Trouble arrives all the same my friend, no matter what you do.”
“Since when did you become such a fatalist?”
“Thank you asking. You didn’t have to. Or did you? I mean, before you asked, one of two things was true; either it was true that you were going to ask, or it was true that you were not going to ask. If at that time, it was true that you were going to ask, you can’t change that truth, can you? And conversely, if it was true a few minutes ago that you weren’t going to ask, then you weren’t going to ask. Since one of those two things must have been true, before you asked, doesn’t that mean that whichever you did was inevitable? I guess I shouldn’t have thanked you; you had no choice. You were fated to ask me that.”
“Nah. There’s no such thing as fate, there’s no such thing as luck, there’s no such thing as karma everything does not happen for a reason. Why do we live? Why do we die? No reason.”
“So you’re a nihilist?”
“No way, those guys are a real downer. Have you ever been to a party thrown by a nihilist? Total snooze.”
“Is there an ethos based on who throws the best party?”
“Probably, and I assume it was codified by someone who’s never been invited to a party.”
Hair regrowth progress : .0405%
Funds: 747 platinum, 58,296 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) Black Marketers’ Bag, 852 Garnets, Campfire Bead, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow, Deck of Curses (two cards used), Blue Dragoncloth Dress, severed hag head, Ring of Urban Grace, gold necklace with jade pendant, Feather Token (tree) 2, white squirrel fur slippers, +1 Human Bane Dagger, ivory combs, Bewitching Gown, masterwork lute, Grappling Scarf, Wyvern Skin Robe (Robe of Arcane Heritage), receipt, Calastar (Superior Riding horse, Horseshoes of Speed, Endless Feedbag)
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