Muthuselan 5 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 2

Once the Five Torches had dramatically slouched away I was left with nothing much to do.  I could rail about how much I hate inaction but I’ve done that several times lately so I’ll spare you the repetition.  I decided to pass the time seeing what conversation I could pull out of Josta.  As per usual she was behind the bar, but sadly there was no beer left.  She was reduced to drinking mead.

“I don’t enjoy not having a task to work on myself.  Which is odd because my old job was ninety percent idle time.  Who knew that you could change so quickly?”

“What was your old job?”

“If you had to guess what would you say?”

She looked at me for a moment, which is funny because how could looking at me now tell her anything?

“If I had to guess I’d say you were a rich man’s kept woman.”

“That is shockingly accurate.  If you can guess how I arrived at my current predicament I think you might be a clairvoyant.”

“Hmm.  Well let’s see.  I would guess that the man you were carrying on with got pledged to marry the daughter of some other rich guy.  So he had to ditch you but he had feelings for you still and that made him want to let you down easy.  So he thought a good way to do that would be to bring some other guy around and he told you to start having sex with him instead.  Men are stupid like that, I know from experience.  You didn’t like that plan so you told the new dude, who really wanted to have sex with you on account of your beauty, that you’d only let him if he killed the first guy and brought you his fiancée’s ring as proof.  So he brings you the ring and you blab on him for murder because you want them both to go down, but it was a set up – the first guy gave him the ring and then they both blabbed on you.  And for your crimes you were stripped naked and horsewhipped in the town square.  Humiliated, you sought out the hag-witch of the woods for revenge magic but she turned you into a cat because you didn’t ask with the appropriate humility.  Probably you couldn’t help but sass her a little.”

“Nailed it, you have a gift my friend.  But to get back to my original point, you probably had a lot of downtime in your job – how many people can die each year in a town of this size?  What did you do when nobody died?”

“You’d be surprised, somebody dies about every week and digging a grave is almost an all day job.  And then the next day you have to fill it in.  And it’s not just digging graves, I also have to put the coffins together and maintain the grounds.  On top of that you act as a night watchman of sorts – looking out for graverobbers.  There wasn’t a lot of time for lollygagging.”

“I’ve never liked that expression, sounds like you’re choking on candy.  Did you ever see anything else out there besides graverobbers?”

“Sure, stray dogs from time to time digging around, sometimes if the hunting is real lean a wolf or two.  But there’s nothing much to do about them, no matter how hungry they are they aren’t going to dig down seven feet.  Ignore them and they wander off after a while.”

“I thought it was six feet for a grave.”

“I always go seven, just to make sure.”

“You ever see anything more exotic than wild dogs?  I think you know what I mean.  I watched a grave be dug up one time because her person in it wasn’t dead – or they were rather, but they kept moving anyway.  It was pretty awful.  You ever seen anything like that?”

“You need something stronger than mead for a conversation like that.”

“Come on, I’m bored, give me something.”

“They caught a murderer here in Beresfrod once.  He wasn’t from around here, he was a country boy – wandered the roads out amongst the fields – but he was in town for some reason and someone recognized him.  A family member of one of his victims.  They told the watch that when he was out a-wandering if some family was nice enough to invite him to do a few chores for some food and to stay in their barn for the night or such he’d repay them by sneaking into their house and slashing them apart with a slingblade.  He never asked anyone if he could stay with them or tried to get anyone to talk to him as the story goes, he’d just be out there and if anyone showed him some kindness all on their own that was the last thing they’d do.  The watch grabbed him and made him tell, like they do, about all the families he’d murdered. So then they strung him up by the neck until he was dead, execution you see.  For this many crimes. Some official from the city came to watch it happen and everything, I guess to make sure he was good and dead.  This murderin’ fella showed no regrets about what he done, offered no explanation, just said that it was good they got him because he’d do it more if they turned him loose, had no intention of stopping.”

“And?  After they killed him he came back?”

“If anyone had asked me I’d have told them to burn up the body.  And I don’t just say that because it’s less work for me.  The Gods can’t care too much about the shell, they only care about the soul – so why not burn the body?  Even if only one in a million comes back we know that it happens sometimes so why allow it at all?  No body, no undead menace.  But nobody asked me, why would they?  I’m just a woman with a shovel.”

“So he did come back?”

“Three days later the grave was all dug up and empty.  Folks said that some relatives of the victim came to get the body to destroy it, seems a paltry revenge to me if they did, but I don’t think they did.  I think he came back.  I know what a grave looks like when it’s been dug up proper from above and it didn’t look like that.  No it did not.”

“That was a decent story but it would have been better if the murderer turned out to be your brother or your husband or something.”

“If I had a husband I wouldn’t be digging graves, I’d be pregnant and shaking a wooden ladle at bunch of spoiled little kids.”

“Well you don’t dig graves anymore, you own your own inn.  And you didn’t even have to get married to get it.”

“Do I really own this inn?”

“If you want to.  I don’t see anyone coming around to say otherwise.  I believe the owner is long gone and never coming back.  If anyone asks just tell them that Kichwa sold you the place.  I don’t think those smugglers are coming back, and the watch guy who was harassing her is dead so there’s nothing to worry about there.  Although I read some of her papers and she may have been in debt.  That might be a problem but you can deal with that when it happens.  And if not, hey, at least you got to have fun until then.  Either way you should put aside whatever money you can.  Assuming you ever actually open the place up to the public.”

“I wouldn’t mind running a bar, but having people stay here don’t sound very appealing.”

“It’s your place, do whatever you want.  You can just live upstairs and sell booze down here.  It’s a small for a bar but you can make it an intimate place.”

“Stranger things have happened in the world besides a cat giving me a bar, but this is plenty strange.”

“It’s a funny old world Josta.  All you can do is laugh sometimes.” 

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Hair regrowth progress :  NA 

Funds: 800 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