The city watch was helpful enough to clean up in the aftermath of the running battle through the streets that resulted in nine people being killed – your tax dollars at work. They didn’t even ask me any questions. I’m not sure if it’s because they mayor told them not to bother me or if that was still the results of the assassins’ bribery or sheer laziness or what their reason was. Miraculously Stinty was still alive. Unfortunately Stella Roseback was not. I’m not sure what that means in regard to Duke Lodvocka and myself, nothing good I’m sure. Once again a promising developments turns into another disaster for old Ela.
After the ministrations of some gold and silver robed adherents of Odobenine who turned up Stinty was as good as new. They handed me a receipt with my new “credit” total. I admit I was a little dazed by the events that had just transpired, which wasn’t made any better by my lack of sleep. I just stood there with the receipt in my hand was they walked away wondering if they somehow knew to show up because of their God or magic or whatever or if they just always turned up at the scene of a bloody battle looking to make some money off healing.
“How do they know?”
Stinty frowned “How does who know what?”
I pointed “The priests. How do they know how much they owe me? Even with magic it seems to be almost impossible to communicate over long distances efficiently. How do they do it?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I don’t know anymore.”
Stinty looked around at the blood and carnage in the streets “What a mess.”
“Yeah. Well, let’s go.”
“I owe you an inn.”
We walked for what seemed like an hour, even though it was only a few blocks, to the scene of the murder solved by the great cat detective. Josta was there behind the bar almost like she had been there the entire time I was gone, which she probably was – aside from breaks for sleeping. She nodded as we came in the door.
“You’re back, that must be what all the shouting and people running through the streets in terror was about.
“Ta-dah. Josta this is Stinty, Stinty this is Josta. Stinty’s place burned down so he’s going to help you run this one. There’s a secret room in the basement like you had in your old place, but a bunch of people know about it now so I don’t know if it’s worth much. I’m going to go sleep for a while.”
“That one whore came back and is in the room you were using.”
I headed up the stairs “That’s fine, I can use the room Stella was in. She won’t mind.”
Stinty called up to me “How did you get this place?”
“Last woman standing, isn’t that the way people normally get stuff?”
I went up and collapsed into the dead woman’s bed. It’s funny, you never think about it, but the bed you sleep on at an inn has definitely been slept in by at least one dead person – law of averages and all. Probably more. But unless the person just died you don’t think about it. My hands were shaking and my legs felt like they had no strength left in them. I was so tired that I thought I would fall asleep instantly but instead I laid there for a long time – it was one of those situations where you’re too exhausted to even sleep. Like the act of falling asleep itself takes a tiny little bit of energy and you’re so drained that you can’t even do that. Eventually I burrowed under the covers and drifted off to sleep with a noseful of Stella’s perfume. Jasmine I think.
Eventually I woke and wandered downstairs where I found Josta, Fiestia, Stinty, and another Halfling sitting at one of the tables in the common area having themselves a grand meal. Ale stew, rooster and dumplings, cherry pie squares, shepherd’s pie, three-berry tarts, honey cakes, and lots and lots of bacon. It looked so delicious that I actually felt a tear slip out of my eye and race down my jawline. They seemed to be quite jovial and waved for me to join them like everything was fine, which I guess it was. The other Halfling was introduced as Addalia Applebottom or some silly Halfling name like that and I noted that Fiestia was dressed normal, not like, you know, a sex worker. I learned that despite my expectations she had gotten herself a job as an apprentice lutemaker.
The four of them were getting along famously and I felt like something of a fifth wheel. But that was fine with me, I just wanted to eat and recede into the background. Despite what some people might tell you, I have no interest in being the center of attention – I only move to the forefront when I have something to say. I was perfectly happy to let these four new friends gab and joke the night away while I stuffed myself with hachis parmentier and black bottom pie and drank more than a little wine. Eventually in the wee hours of the night it was just Stinty and I left around the table and he was kind enough to share his pipeweed with me. He sat back looking satisfying and blowing the occasional smoke ring.
“I admit, I thought you were joking when you said that you owed me an inn. This place needs some work, but it’s got good bones. You’re full of surprises aren’t you?”
“Oh yes, you never know what’s going to come about with me.”
“So what’s next on your agenda?”
“Well, I’ve been giving a very special mission by the mayor himself. Once I finish that, and the seventeen other things that will sidetrack me along the way, I can get back to the reason I came here in the first place – finding Lord Wesel.”
“What is it that you do again?”
“I’m a courtesan, you know, I travel the land rescuing people and delving into tombs and fighting dire battles and feuding with powerful crimelords and freeing slaves and overthrowing corrupt regimes and parleying with dragons. Normal courtesan stuff.”
“You appear to be a man about town Master Stinty, with a network of comrades and informants and such – maybe you can help me out. There’s a cult of some kind that operates out of a local theater that probably killed the mayor’s brother. Do you know anything about them?”
“I can’t say as that I do, but then I’m not much of a theater goer. Nor much of a cult joiner.”
“I should probably read that information packet I was given.”
“What stopped you?”
“A guy shot me with a bunch of arrows, you’re familiar with the rest.”
He nodded “Indeed I am. But why didn’t you read about it when you were hiding out at my place? Or when we were out in the woods? Pretty much all you did the whole time is is complain about how bored you were. Why didn’t you read it then?”
“Because . . . . because . . . . shut up, that’s why.”
He started packing up his pipe “Well, at least you have a good reason.”
Funds: 5888 gold
Inventory: Artisan’s outfit, collegium ring, Field Scrivener’s Desk, Deadly Kiss (dagger) Surcoat of the Night Wind, +2 Studded Leather (2), +1 Shock Composite Longbow, masterwork rapier (3), Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2, Cloak of Resistance +1 (2), Endless Efficient Quiver, Ring of Invisibility, Ring of Protection +1 (3), disguise kit (3), sunrod (4) +1 Leather Armor (3) +1 Heavy Crossbow (2), +1 Chain Shirt, +1 Composite Longbow, Handy Haversack, +4 Armored Coat, Sergeyevna Kostornaia’s Light Crossbow, masterwork longsword, masterwork falchion, masterwork heavy crossbow, +2 chain shirt, masterwork short sword, dreamtime tea (2), wand of restoration, +1 Quarterstaff, sap, Assassin Mask (2)
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