Mede 30 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 6

I assumed that I would ride in the coach but instead I was sitting up in the driver’s seat with Leffy while he picked up some other folks.  I’m not sure if they were going to somewhere on Paddock Street themselves or if Leffy was taking them for a ride.  He kept glancing down at me looking nervous.  I suppose having a talking black cat at your side is the kind of thing that could make you nervous.  Dogs are almost universally loved, cats people look at with a measure of reserve and it’s easy to see why.  Dogs are like your big dumb cousin Laerl – they may get their head stuck in a pickle jar but if anyone messes with you he’s there to freak out about it.  Even the little ones are like your big dumb cousin.  They want you to love them so desperately that you can’t help but feel for them.

Cats on the other hand are opportunists.  Have you ever seen a dog that was ashamed?  I have.  You’ll never see a cat look like that.  Partially because they don’t reveal much but also because shame is not their way.  The morals of humans, our code, it doesn’t mean anything to them.  They’re the ultimate visitor, even then they’re with you they’re not really with you.  When you look in the eyes of a dog you know what’s up, when you look into the eyes of a cat all you see is your own reflection.  They’re not giving up anything without it being earned.  My point is that I can understand why people are more ambivalent about cats – they’re too much like people. 

When we rolled to a stop in front of Cladarielle Staelish’s  house it was well dark, but thankfully there were lights coming from inside. Leffy put up the reins and clambered off the coach to the street somewhat awkwardly.

“Is there anything else I can do for you . . . uh . . . ma’am?”

I hopped down next to him “Yes, if you could please knock on the door for me.”

Cladarielle opened the door after a moment and upon spying me smiled slightly.  She passed some coins to Leffy and invited me in.  It was nice to be inside where it was warm, there’s a chill in the air tonight and all this fur doesn’t keep you as warm as you’d think. 

“I was hoping that I would hear from you, I went to Gorum’s bookstore and it was closed, I wasn’t sure how to get in touch with you.”

“Things went a little sideways for me today, as per usual.”

“Well you know what they say about black cats.”

“Don’t remind me.  Could I impose on you for something to eat?  I’m quite hungry.”

She brought me a tray of deliciously spiced ham.  Even as a cat shoving my face into something and just having at it is something I don’t enjoy in the slightest.  Hopefully it’s not something I’ll have to get used to.  In the front room where she put down the ham she had a bewildering array of metal objects of various sizes and shapes spread out over a low table.  There must have been hundreds of them, if not thousands.  She had a glass of wine on the table as well, whatever she was doing it looked like she had been at it for a while.

“What’s all this?”

“I’m trying to teach myself how to construct clockworks.”

“All of this is what’s inside a clock?”

“No, the mechanism that makes the arms of a clock move can be used for other things – although you still have to use magic as well.  But it’s much less expensive than using pure magic.  I think this is going to be a revolutionary technology – once you can make an engine with a bit of magic and a lot of mundane materials everything is going to change.  Right now only rich people can have magic conveniences, once we get this figured out they’ll be fore everyone.”

“I’ll take your word for it.  How’s it going?”

“Slowly.  I never had a formal education so engineering isn’t really something I know a lot about.”

“You didn’t go to wizard school?  My friend Martialla is like that.  So some people have to learn magic and some can just do it?  That doesn’t seem fair.”

“It’s not.  But it evens out a little because wizards can do a lot more than sorcerers – it’s like the difference between someone who sculpts statues and someone who builds a massive stone bridge.  They’re similar in their way but quite different results.”

“I seem to keep running to magic people doing horrible things – often to women – experiments I think they call them.  Which one are they?”

“Wizards for sure.  I talked to Rangan, one of the seekers from the church of Vultur, they do have your possessions.”

“I guess it’s good to know where they are.  What’s their position on me?”

“Technically you’re a fugitive in their eyes, but tracking down a house cat isn’t really in their wheelhouse.  They’re still in town and honestly I think they’re just hoping you turn up again on your own.  Their relationship with the local authorities has turned pretty frosty.”

“Yeah, what’s that about?”

“I don’t know.  They said that you killed one of their brethren.”

“I did.  He attacked me a couple times, trying to kidnap me, and the last time I fought him off I guess he died.  I don’t understand how I did anything wrong though, it was self-defense.  They don’t actually have the authority to arrest anyone do they?”

“It’s complicated.”

“I am really tired of that answer.”

“Sorry, but it’s true, I don’t know the half of it.  I did the best I could to ask then about it, but aside from confirming that is has something to do with Królewna & Bonifacja I couldn’t get anything out of them about it.  I thought that the seekers of Vultur were a straight-forward organization but they clearly have secrets of their own.”

“If I turn myself into them can they break this magic?”

“Would you if they could?”

“Maybe, it depends on what other options I have.”

“I’ll ask and make sure but I doubt it, their magic is focused more on finding people and placing curses on people rather than abating the curses of others.”

“Yeah, they cursed me pretty good once.  For a while there I seemed to be weighed down with curses like a nobleman is weighed down by bastard children.  Do I have any other options at this point?”

“As I mentioned before you could wait for a friend of mine, but it would be a while.  Right now in town the only lead I have is an unsavory one.  There’s a gang called the Lucky Bones, one of their members calls himself a shaper, he’s not exactly a mage but he has . . . abilities.  And this isn’t just street rumors, I know of a few cases where he’s changed people physically.  He might be able to undo what’s been done to you.”

“I don’t really have a lot to bargain with at this point and street scum aren’t known for their altruism.”

“True.  It’s only been a day though, I’ll continue doing some research on what might be able to help your situation.”

“Thank you, I truely appreciate it.  While I’m already imposing on you can I do it some more and ask if you can give me a place to stay?  Since Gorum has run off I’m left without much of anything right now.”

“Of course, you’re welcome in my home any time.”

“I wouldn’t go that far.”

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Hair regrowth progress :  NA 

Funds: None

XP: 348,051

Inventory:  Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion), Enchanted Tattoo (Storm)

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, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage