Muthuselan 3 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

You might have thought since I had a magic ring for many months that took away my need to sleep that I would be used to a chaotic sleep schedule but you’d be wrong about that.  Even though that ring was very helpful I never really got used to not needing to sleep.  Even with magic involved I’m not sure that the human mind is supposed to operate all the time.  Last night I slept a bit here and there but mostly I wandered around the inn turning things over and over in my mind.  One good thing about being a cat, they’re pretty good at nighttime wandering.  Shortly before dawn I decided to do something that I hardly ever do.  Pray. 

I remember one of the few times I got in trouble as a kid at the Duke’s court.  It was my turn to say the dinner prayer and I started with “Please, everyone brow your heads and pretend to be serious.”  I did learn a valuable lesson that day about not rocking the boat.  For some strange reason people don’t like it when you mock their beliefs – it’s weird.  Being a cat and all I couldn’t achieve the traditional praying stance on account of I don’t have hands and I can’t really kneel but I doubt that matters.  How could it?  Pray this way and you get saved from the gorgon, pray with one knee out of place though and you die.  That can’t be the way it works.

“Dear guardian angel, I don’t know your name because you never introduced yourself – which is pretty rude now that I think about it.  Anyway, dear bear-angel, you know who you are, I’m given to understand that you watch over me all the time and help me in some vague unspecified way.  It would really be swell if you appeared before me now and turned me back into person.  Things aren’t really going great and this thing where I have to rely on other people is seriously for the birds.  I know you were worried about me going down a bad path when last we talked, I can assure you that this is not helping.

I’m pretty sure that I just got turned into a cat by a magic person and it didn’t have anything to do with you, but on the other hand this seems like the kind of thing that might happen in a religious story.  The strong, independent, charismatic, beautiful woman with a winning attitude and a smile that could melt an iceberg gets turned into a beast so she can learn a lesson about needing help from others.  If that’s what’s going on please knock it off.  I don’t want to tell you how to do your job but this isn’t the way to go because you see bear-angel I have no problem letting people help me, that’s fine, I love for people to do my work for me – my problem is trust. 

I don’t trust many people, or rather I trust them to do whatever is in their best interest but you know what I mean.  Forcing me to count other people doesn’t make me trust them, it does the opposite – it makes me resent them.  Which isn’t fair, but if things were fair you wouldn’t have turned me into a cat by witch-proxy in the first place, which I am not saying that you did but if you did then I am saying that.  Trust is about making informed decisions.  Despite what people like to think trust can’t be given or earned, it exists or it doesn’t and nothing can change that.

You see bear-angel I don’t know how things work in . . . wherever you are, but down here you need to protect yourself because no one else is looking out for you, they have their own problems – and if they can solve those problems by stomping on you why wouldn’t they?  Actually now that I think about it, if this is some kind of lesson learning transmogification I throw a challenge out to you – turn yourself into a human and see how you do down here.  Put yourself in an alley in a dirt-town like I found myself on Montalan 29th last year with nothing but the clothes on your back and see how that goes.  If you can sail through that without doing any of the things that I did that worried you then I really will have something to think about.  That would really be a reason for me to rethink my entire approach to life.  But I think what’s going to happen is that you’re going to see . . .”

“Who are you talking to?”

I was startled to see Josta the gravedigger coming down the stairs – somehow it looked like she still had dirt in her hair.  I’d hate to see what the sheets in that bed look like.

“You know there’s a bathtub downstairs don’t you?”

“I don’t like being overly clean, its unhealthsome.  Who were you talking to?”

“I was using my cat powers to communicate with my fellow witches.”

She went behind the counter to draw herself a beer “You are a witch?  I thought that witches had cats as familiars to bargain with the wicked spirits of the Thirteen Hells on their behalf for magic powers.”

“No, that’s a common mistake though so I won’t hold it against you.  Witches do have cats that teach them magic, but those cats are actually more experienced witches who have turned themselves into cats so they can pass on their knowledge to the next generation of witches.  It’s a mentorship thing.  There’s no school for witches you know.”

“How does someone bargain with the demons of Hell for power then?”

“Visit a bank.  How’s the innkeeping going?”

She took a long drink of her beer “I’m taking it slowly, I’m going to ease into this, there’s nothing more dangerous than rushing into a new business venture before you’re ready.  I’m thinking maybe a soft opening sometime next month.”

“You’re going to run out of booze eventually.”

“Maybe, at some point a guy should show up to deliver more booze right?  Then I’ll learn how that works.”

“Can I trust you?”

“To do what?”

“Hold some money for me and not steal it all.  I can’t trust Scarlet and her lot of obvious reasons.”

“For obvious reasons.  Yeah, you can trust me not to steal all your money, I always keep my theft within reason – there’s nothing I hate more than a greedy thief.  I’m a simple woman really, I don’t need anything fancy, what would I do with a pile of gold anyway?”

“Pay someone to clean the dirt out from under your fingernails?”

“Nah, you need that there to protect against papercuts.  Where’s this money going to come from and what do you need it for.”

“If and when I find out where Cladarielle is I’m going to need to hire some muscle I figure, or someone to act on my behalf.  As for where it’s going to come from I just have a talent for turning up funds for these kind of things.”

Eventually Scarlet, Bru, and Fiestia wandered down as well and tried to make themselves some breakfast.  Turns out that none of them can cook with a damn.  Josta was content to watch them with amusement – I don’t think I’ve seen her eat anything, she must live on beer alone.  After they were done burning and wasting a bunch of food they didn’t seem to know what to do with themselves, which is understandable, career changes can be hard.  I asked them if they wanted to help me out with a few errands they were only too happy to have someone throw them a lifeline. 

First we went to Gorum’s house and cleared the place out – books may take some time to sell but we can store them at the inn while we work on that and there’s no reason to let a good shack go to waste.  Next I taught them the subtle art of renting a place you don’t own to someone and pocketing the cash.  Afterwards we repeated the process at Gorum’s bookstore/depository.  It took much longer to clear out but as we were digging through the piles to get it ready for its new “owner” we came across an ornamental silver sword.  I’m no expert on these things but it didn’t look dwarfen made to me.  I wonder what the story behind that is.  After that it was a quick trip to see Egg the fence to liquidate the sword and discuss the best way to move the books.

After that it was back to the inn where Josta was still standing behind the bar looking like maybe she hadn’t moved much at all.

“Scarlet would you please give my portion of the day’s proceeds to Josta?”

“Why don’t I just hold onto them for you?”

“Because if you do that Josta will take you by the hair and punch you in the armpit until your tit explodes.”

Scarlet looked to the thin woman behind the bar “Will you?”

She shrugged “I guess, I told the cat I would hold the money for her.”

Scarlet looked her over “You don’t seem so dangerous.”

Josta set her mug down “Looks can be deceiving.  Have you ever dug a grave?  It takes a lot of work.  It may not look like it but I’m strong.  I’m pretty sure I could snatch the life out of you if I had a mind to do so.  I don’t think your line of work is one that results in a high degree of physical fitness.”

When Scarlet handed over the money Josta couldn’t help but be impressed.

“This is more money than I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“I told you I have a knack for these things.”

“There’s probably enough here that I could buy another tavern.”

“This is an inn not a tavern and that’s not even close, that’s maybe a tenth of what you’d need – unless you wanted to buy a real shithole.  You could maybe get a crummy tavern for five times that amount if the buyer really wanted to sell and you’re good at negotiation, which you are not.”

She whistled “That’s a load of money.  If that’s how expensive things are why is everyone so poor?”

“I don’t even know how to start to answer that.”

I was really hoping that Captain Maple would show up this morning with some information but as usual my hopes were dashed.  I guess he has to work his shift and then go out looking for details about Cladarielle?  In which case it won’t be until late when he comes by.  With nothing else to do I taught Scarlet and her friends how to play Red Queen.  I couldn’t play myself of course because I can’t hold the cards but it was actually somewhat interesting just to observe and teach/watch.  After a few practice hands Josta joined in as well which surprised me – she didn’t seem like they type.  They picked it up pretty quickly and we were such a good time several hours went by without us really noticing. 

Bru when out to buy and bring back some aurochs pie with garden greens and we sat around the table eating and swapping tales.  If we’re being honest most stories told by ladies of that sort are basically the same but they each had a few laughers.  After that we got back to the cards and inevitably they started wagering but no one really lost much and they were all good natured about it.  It was dark when the door started to open but it was not our friend the watch captain, it was a broad-faced woman with straw-hair wearing ornate riding boots and what looked to be a diamond pendant. Flanking here were two large hairy-knuckle types each holding a crate on their shoulder like it was no big thing.

She looked at us at our table playing cards for a moment before speaking “Who the Hells are you?  Where’s Kichwa?”

“Kichwa had to leave town unexpectedly, we’re watching the place for her.  We’re happy to keep whatever kind of agreement you had with Kichwa.”

She quickly accepted that a cat was talking to her “The agreement is that she keeps her mouth shut and does what I say.”

“Easy enough, we can do that.  I feel I would be remiss though if I didn’t mention that there was a murder here a few days ago and the course of investigating that murder two members of the city watch found a secret storage area downstairs and the name Imma Shadowrun was mentioned as being involved with it.”

Without another word the woman and her two goons turned and left. 

“I forgot to mention this place was part of some smuggling ring.  Whose turn is it to deal?”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hair regrowth progress :  NA 

Funds: 300 gold (held in trust)

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 

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