Something has been nagging at me about last night’s festivities. I haven’t seen him in a few years but I could swear that among the revelers was the son of Duke Lodvocka. The son of the Duke being here amongst these river mongrels makes about as much sense as a flower garden being on the moon, but as you know I have a memory for faces and the fellow hanging all over the captain of one of the barges was the spitting image of Bixton Lodvocka. I woke up Martialla early and quietly.
“Do me a favor will you old chum, see that kid over there? Do that thing where you mess with someone’s head and make them think their your friend.”
“Why might I be doing that?”
“I want to find something out and I’m too lazy to trick him into revealing it with my magnetic personality.”
Martialla worked her magic and after a moment the kid looked over at her with that expression people get on their faces when they’re trying to remember who someone is. Martialla smiled and waved him over. The moonshine boys were eager to get underway so I told them to continue on without us, which seemed to puzzle them slightly but they took it in stride and continued on their way down river. The kid came over and we started chatting, he was clearly lying about everything but the day I can’t cozen a teenager that thinks they’re clever is the day I start getting information but cutting off toes with a hot pruning shear. He revealed eventually that he was indeed Bixton Lodvocka traveling incognito. He had been sent to be a squire under some lord in Cathars but had run away and fallen in with this river captain – you know the way I mean. I ensured him that his secret was safe with us and he returned to fawning over his lover.
“Okay, what do we do here, we need to nab this kid and take him with us back to the Baroness.”
“Can’t you just convince him to come?”
“Are you kidding me? He’s a teenager in love. You’d have more luck convincing a rock to turn into a strawberry tart. Which now that I say it is probably something that you can do with magic. Why don’t you make me more tarts? Okay here’s the plan, I’ll lure the kid away and then you take his place with your illusions. Once the barge is underway and downstream a ways then you fly back to shore and we’ll keep making our way south.”
“Have you ever seen me fly? What makes you think that I can fly?”
“Gods damn it, is there anything your magic can do?”
“Hey, I just ensorcelled the kid, what do you want from me?”
“I want you to be able to fly!”
“Well you better come up with something fast because it looks like they’re about to get underway.”
I hustled over to the captain in question and quickly flashed my badge at him and asked him to join me away from the others for a private chat.
“I’m just going to cut the quick here. I’m an agent of the Waycombe and Axmar Detective Agency, I’m sure you’re heard of us. I’ve been retained by Duke Lodvocka’s seneschal to find the Duke’s son, and now I have. I’m sure you had a whole plan set up here to hold the kid for ransom but I found you and now I know who you are and the scam is up. I’ve got a couple other agents here with me also in disguise and maybe we could take the kid away from you and maybe we couldn’t, but I don’t want to risk that. So I’m going to offer you a chance to get away from this with something instead of walking away with no money and a death sentence. I give you two hundred gold and you leave the kid and walk away with your freedom and your life – slightly better off than when you started this plot. Or you can try your luck in extorting a ransom and getting away with it.”
He seemed to be balking at the idea so I continued.
“You have no chance here captain. Do you think my being here is a coincidence? Do you think that tree just happen to fall in the river yesterday? I’ve been on your trail for a while now and I have your number. If you want me to send you up a flume I can do that, but I’d much rather just settle this now and be done with it. Do you want two hundred gold or do you want trouble to be raining down on you the rest of your life – which is likely to be very short.”
He didn’t like it be he saw that I was right. That didn’t stop him from trying to negotiate though and I let him talk me up to two twenty five just to make him feel better. The next step was for him to dump the kid. I’ve occasionally been involved with letting someone down not easy for one reason or another, but this was brutal – the captain told Bixton in no uncertain terms that he never loved him and the whole thing was a lark. Tears streaming down his face, Bixton tried to get on board the boat anyway and the captain had some of his men hurl the kid to the shore like a sack of grain. Given how emotional teenagers are normally I’m surprised he didn’t collapse into some kind of dimensional rift of super-angst right on the spot. I helped him up out of the mud and gave him a comforting pat on the shoulder.
“Don’t worry kid, you were too good for him anyway. Better to have loved and lost, etcetera.”
Sniffling he looked up at me “Who are you?”
“You can’t just run away from your obligations son. A squire who abandons his master normally would get into a lot of trouble but we’re going to keep this quiet. We’re going to get you back to Cathars and pretend like this never happened and your father never needs to know anything about it.”
“You don’t look like a sheriff.”
“That’s kind of the point yeah? Some big dude strapped with a bastard sword on a war-horse comes pounding into town and all the rats scurry into their holes. Someone who looks like me has a much better chance of catching the bad people with their pants down. So to speak. Or literally. Regardless boy it’s time to go home. You had your little adventure but now it’s back to reality.”
In the meantime the other two barges had left as well, leaving us by the side of the river. I didn’t want wait for another boat to come by so I decided that we should head overland the rest of the way. Having this kid with me could turn out very well but it could also blow up in my face, I hope to avoid any interactions that I can. The chances of any else recognizing him are slim, people never look for things out of context usually, but you know my luck. We start making our way around the woods looking around for a trail or any sign of human passage and come up empty.
“Where the Hells are we anyway?
“By the river.”
“You’re the one who told our ride to leave without us, don’t get cross with me.”
“Okay let’s just head south then.”
“Which way is south?”
Hair regrowth progress : .0825%
Funds: 1817 platinum, 70,604 gold
Inventory: Wig of Alluring Charisma +4, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Ring of Sustenance, Campfire Bead, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow, Deck of Curses (two cards used), Ring of Urban Grace, +1 Human Bane Dagger, Bewitching Gown, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Ela’s Walking Stick (Rod of Ruin/Agile Alpenstock) Bag of Concealment, Bag of Holding, Black Marketers’ Bag, Handy Haversack, white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Knave’s Robes +4, Nymph’s Favor
Pocketed Scarf, wrist sheath, assortment of Fake Signet Rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), 842 garnets, severed hag head, gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, receipt, tax collector’s badge, Gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, 5 gold trade bars, 3 diamond in amber coins, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, glass vials of something awful (8)
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, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán