The three remaining Heroes of the Lost Sword did not return to our camp last night. The cult leader, who said his name was Laidin proved to be so annoying I’m having second thoughts on taking him back to town alive. He begged, the pleaded, he promised us a fortune in cash and prizes, he tried to play on our sympathy for his rough upbringing – he never shut up is the point. Even when Martialla threated to conjure molten metal in his mouth he kept whining. I suppose he has nothing to lose and everything to gain – I’d do the same if I was in his position only I’d do it well. I stayed up watching him outside the pavilion so Martialla could get some sleep and eventually he ran out of steam and fell asleep in a ball beside the fire.
At the crack of dawn Rokia, her assignment complete, was out of there, I can’t say as that I blame her. I gave her a very generous bonus since her work ended up being a little more complicated than we had originally discussed. She didn’t even glance back at us as she rode away with her faithful hound running alongside the hooves of her steed. Martialla and I were still puttering around the camp trying to decide what to do with Laidin when the Heroes returned. Thomasina did not look happy, Stannum was indifferent, while Rikcard seemed upset by what was happening.
“Good morning friends, what’s the news?”
Thomasina dismounted and stomped up to me “I don’t know if you killed Kara or not, but if you didn’t kill her you let her die like a coward while you did nothing.”
I locked eyes with her “I’m telling you that I did no such thing.”
“And I say that you’re a liar and a no-good cowardly bitch.”
I stood up, looking down at her from a good six inch height difference “I’ll give you a chance to take that back now. But just one.”
“Fuck you whore.”
I nodded “Madam, I challenge you to a duel. I am mortified by your litany of slurs. You mistake for me a fool and a bumpkin who will swallow your insults? I am neither. You are an unfit rival but this is a bell that can’t be unrung. How do you respond?”
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s pretty simple, do you want to duel me or not? If not shut your Gods damn mouth and walk away.”
Rikcard once again tried to be the voice of reason “Thomasina we don’t know what happened there’s no reason to . . .”
Stannum scoffed “Oh let her fill this mouthy bitch with bolts if that’s what she wants to do. Maybe it will make her feel better about Kara being dead.” He gave me a wicked look “Besides I’d to see that.”
“You’re an unpleasant man you know that?”
Rikcard tried to talk us out of it but soon enough we were at twenty paces with our crossbows. This may be one the dumbest things I’ve ever done. I can’t even tell you now why I did it – taking someone on head to head? That’s not my style. I guess the only good thing about it that I can say is that I won. That’s not terribly comforting though when you’ve been shot seven times. After taking my final shot I collapsed to the ground and it halfway seemed like Stannum was going to come finish me off but Martialla faced him down and he rode off, abandoning Rikcard. Martialla did what she could to help me, which wasn’t much.
“One of us should learn how to heal if we’re going to keep getting into scrapes like this.”
“I wouldn’t recommend getting into a scrape like that ever again – why did you just stand there?”
“She was going hit me anyway, I figured I should concentrate on offense.”
“That was one of the damnedest things I’ve ever seen. You make some strange decisions.”
Rikcard watched Martialla’s fumbling for a while and then came over to help, not only with practical first aid but also with a magical elixir that he concocted on the spot. One thing I’m probably never going to get used to – being on death’s door one moment and then basically fine the next. This is a strange world fighting types inhabit.
“Thank you, but why did you help me?”
“I like helping people. When Kara and I started out together that’s what it was about. I’m not sure when things went sideways.” He looked me full in the face “Did you kill her?”
“I didn’t, I swear that to you before all the Gods.”
He nodded slightly “I believe you.”
“If we hurry back to town maybe you can get the payment before Stannum. You could help a lot of people with the money if that’s what you’re into.”
Rikcard didn’t seem terribly enamored with the idea but he came with us anyway. He turned his horse loose and we traded off doubling up on our magically boosted steeds, making it back to town in record time. We went with Rikcard to meet up with the merchant and collect the money, but he insisted on leaving a share for Stannum for when he showed up. After some awkward small talk we went our separate ways – Martialla and I turned Laidin over to Lady Foxglove and then headed for the stables.
“Does your honor require you to challenge anyone else or what’s the next move?”
“I guess we go back to Alleene and see if it worked?”
“Hardra? You did it?”
“I did something, we’ll see if it was all bullshit or what. Plus it’s been a while, I should probably check in with my dear cousin.”
Whatever Martialla was going to say was lost in the familiar shout “Stop in the name of the law!” and we were quickly surrounded by a gaggle of mail-shirted lads with blue tabards as well as a captainy looking fellow in civilian clothing.
“What can we do for you fine gentlemen?”
“You are bound by law under accusation of horse thievery!”
“You don’t have to shout, I’m right here.”
Martialla interjected “Both of us of just her?”
“Both of you! Colonel Tarl Ciarán was quite clear on that matter! ”
Several hours later I was cooling my heels in a holding cell when I saw Stannum dragged in shouting and fighting with the guards. They gave him a good whack to the head and then tossed him in the cell across from me. It took him several minutes to get up and then several more minutes before he was done shouting curses at the unseen guards.
“What did they get you for?”
He was shocked at seeing me across from him “Those two priests we rescued said that we stole all the stuff from their temple!
“No good deed huh?”
“Why are you here?”
“Violation of the treaty signed in 633 to protect the facial hair of men of quality – insulting a rich man’s mustache. But you should have heard what he said about my hair first, I was just retaliating, there’s no justice I tell you.”
Hair regrowth progress : .057%
Inventory: Totem Tattoo (Lion)
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