The night came and went and come morning Cladarielle still hadn’t returned home. As someone who regularly goes out on a basic errand and ends up “missing” for several days that maybe shouldn’t alarm me but I have a bad feeling about this. You may be thinking to yourself “Ela, you have a bad feeling about everything”. Yeah, I do, and when’s the last time I was wrong? I spent the night wandering around the house looking for a way that I could get out. I should have told Cladarielle to leave a window cracked just in case. From now on the first thing I’ve going to do when I end up in a new place is find how I can get out of there on my own and if theirs is no way something needs to be done about it.
I know that I’m starting to repeat myself, but this feeling of helplessness is really starting to wear on me. I can endure a lot mentally, Gods know that I have, but this pervasive sense of being powerless could grind me down over a long enough timeline. I had found no way out of the house when the sun came up and I contemplated blasting a way out with my Storm tattoo, but then I would be defenseless for the rest of the day. And of course there’s the possibility that everything is fine and I would be wrecking the house of the one person helping me for no reason. In the end I decided to do what cats do best – sit in the window sill and watch the world outside. I even managed to doze off for a while.
When I woke up there was a little girl on the other side of the glass looking in at me in that way little girls do when they see something fluffy and adorable. Well, some little girls anyway. Doing my best to be as cute as possible I threw my voice to her.
“Well hello there.”
I’ve seen some truly astonished looks in my day but adults can’t hold a candle to children when it comes to facial expressions of surprise and joy. Or any other ones really. I guess they haven’t learned to hide their emotions yet. She held up her rag doll and looked at it in wonder. I suppose that’s maybe more plausible than a talking cat or equally as plausible at the very least. I’ve always hated those things, the button eyes really creep me out. Can you prove those buttons didn’t come from the trousers of a psychotic killer? No, you cannot.
“Yes, it’s me, your doll, I’ve come to life because I need your help.”
I could barely hear her through the window glass “If you came to life why aren’t you moving?”
“I can’t move, I can only speak to you – and only you can hear me because you’re so special. You are the greatest, most interesting, most important person of all times.”
“Yes, and I need you to do something for me. That door to your right, see it? I need you to open that door.”
She scowled “That doesn’t sound very important.”
“I assure you that it is. You see that door is a magic door and you’re the only one who can open it because you’re the prettiest and the smartest and horses that don’t like anyone else will let you pet them.”
“Why is it magic?”
“A witch cast a spell on it.”
“To trap a beautiful princess who is actually your big sister and will show you how to put on make-up and seem more gown up.”
“Wow. Why did the witch do that?”
“Jealously. She didn’t like that the princess was prettier and better liked than her. And also she’s really good at jacks. The witch hated how good she was.”
“She never forgets to go queens before kings.”
“Whoa. Can she teach me too?”
“Absolutely, she’d love nothing more than to do that, and also to do your chores for you.”
“Yes really, can we move this along a little, the princess has places to be.”
The girl eagerly ran over to the door of the Staelish house but she stopped herself from reaching for the knob. I saw she saying something to the doll but now that she was away from the window even with cat ears I couldn’t make it out. I threw my voice in her direction again.
“You have to speak up, these doll ears don’t hear so good.”
She shouted her little lungs out “Isn’t it wrong to go into someone’s house without asking?”
“You’re not going in, you’re just opening the door, besides that rule doesn’t apply when witches and spells are involved.”
I had a moment of true panic when she struggled with the knob, thinking that maybe the door was locked, but she was able to get it open. Who doesn’t lock their doors? I guess it’s a good thing this is a nice neighborhood. She tried to grab me as I ran out but she’d have better luck jumping to the moon.
“Hey kitty you’re supposed to be out here!”
“It’s fine, don’t worry about the cat. Now the last thing you need to do is shut the door very gently, not all the way, just enough so that it looks closed but that a very small creature could push it open still.”
“Like a rabbit?”
With exaggerated care she closed the door – the kind of exaggeration that you can only find in children. Or drunk morons.
“Thanks kid, the magic is over now so I won’t be talking to you anymore but you’re the best, remember that.”
“Wait, where’s my sister princess?”
“She had some errands to run, she’ll swing by tonight to see you. Bye now.”
I hate walking through the streets like this. I absolutely hate it. It’s hard to see where you’re going when you’re this low to the ground – everything and everyone blocks your line of sight. I’m not super tall but tall enough that I’m used to having a good eyeline. Plus one person steps on you and your dead. And don’t even get me started on dogs. I wouldn’t have thought that any experience could sour me on pooches, but this has opened a tiny crack. Why must dogs bark their heads off at me one hundred percent of the time? Do you know how fucking loud a dog bark is to cat ears?
It took me hours to get back to the tavern, the scene of the crime if you will. There was no longer a dead merchant hanging out the top window, which I saw as a welcome development. The door was closed but I was able to make my way on the roof of the building nearby and window jump into the room where Lieutenant Ferros had met his maker. Or maybe not his maker but some God or other probably. His body was gone as well and I could see my friend the gravedigger sleeping in the large bed. I would have woken her up but I heard voices coming from downstairs and decided to investigate that first. Cat peeking down the stairs I saw Scarlet two other women of a similar mien sitting around a table in their underclothes. I padded down to the common room.
“What are you doing?”
The two other women were as startled as you’d expect by a talking cat but Scarlet was nonplussed “Well if it isn’t the cat detective. Did you crack the case?”
“Of course, the butler did it. Why are you sitting around in your smallclothes?”
“We’re doing laundry.”
“Looks like you’re just sitting around.”
“There’s a magic tub downstairs that does all the work, you just have to toss the clothes in.”
“I don’t know how I feel about that, without menial tasks to keep them busy what’s going to become of the lower classes?”
“I shudder to think. Did you come here for a reason or just to visit the scene of your detectiving triumph.”
“I came looking for help actually. I thought that the gravedigger might lend me a hand because I gave her this inn, but maybe you lot can help me.”
“Why would we do that?”
“When you bailed the law dogs wanted to go after you, I told them not to bother.”
“Because of you I got my sweetdream confiscated.”
“Not because of me, that was the law dogs. But there’s plenty of money to be had here – the dwarf had some weapons and armor in her room and the merchant had all kinds of good stuff. I doubt the digger knows how to liquidate that stuff but I’m sure that you ladies do, or know someone that can. Er, does. Whatever, you know what I mean.”
“What do you need help with?”
“I need to find a friend of mine. She was out last night and she never came back. I’m concerned that something may have befallen her.”
“How sweet, I wish someone cared that much about me – something befalls me regularly.”
“I know the feeling. Are you going to help me?”
Scarlet thought about it for a moment “That’s pretty thin. I’m sure Josta was going to have us help her sell that stuff anyway. What else do you have to offer?”
“Let me ask you a question, what do you girls plan to do?”
One of other women, in a hideous black and red corset spoke up “Do? Do about what?”
“About this place. Josta is going to need help running it, this is your chance to earn a living on your feet.”
Scarlet shook her head “Roche would never allow it.”
“Your pimp?” She nodded “What if he wasn’t in the picture anymore?”
Scarlet laughed “You get rid of Roche and we’ll find you the crown price Himself!”
“Done. Take me to wherever he is.”
The third one, who looked more like a washerwoman than a pleasure girl snorted “What are you going to do? Cat magic?”
They clearly thought I was joking but they carried me (humiliating) a few blocks over to the kind of waterbug infested taproom where you’d expect to find a low quality panderer. They didn’t think it was a joke anymore when I annihilated him with a stroke of lightening. Interestingly enough I would say the smell of burning pimp actually improved the ambiance there.
Hair regrowth progress : NA
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