Muthuselan 22 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Last night was fun, but as my grandma always said fun is for babies and dullards, today it’s time to get back to work.  Or get too work rather I suppose.  I spent the morning doing a little more reading about the Macourek Theater and the “Dreamers” and came across a potential reason why the mayor was interested in them in first place and why they might be willing to kill to preserve their secrets.  The mayor’s missing (and probably dead) brother suspected that the Dreamers, aside from being moony drug-users were also importing and selling large quantities of bloodbrush extract.  Which is the kind of thing that the civic authorities tend to frown on – a populace that is tripping the light fantastic isn’t working and if you’re not working you’re not paying taxes.  It’s simple exploitation.  I mean economics.

Infiltrating a strange and possibly murderous cult on my own doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time so I decided to recruit some help.  I went to the west gate and talked to the guards on duty there as a beginning step to tracing down the whereabouts of Miss Vablis.  I worked my way up the chain of command until I talked to a corpulent watch-captain who told me that Iconia Vablis was exonerated of all charges regarding the theft of the lumber payroll and by a wild coincidence was staying at the home of that very watch-captain at his guest.  What a twist of fate!  I told him that I would ever so much like to pay a visit to my good friend Iconia and found myself that very day having lunch with Misses watch-captain and the lost little lamb herself in his large but very pedestrian home. After the second course Misses watch-captain went to scold one of the servants for dropping a plate and we were left alone on the veranda.

“So, have you had to sleep with that bloated elephant seal yet?”

She blushed like a champion “Whatever can you mean?”

“You can drop the act, it’s just us girls here, I’m not trying to wreck your swindle here, I’m just curious.”

Her voice suddenly became 98% less sweet “What are you trying to do then?”

“I need some help with something I’m working on and I think you’re the person to give it.”

“Why would I want to do that?”

“Money of course.  Plus this situation isn’t going to last.  Eventually you’re going to have to fuck the elephant seal which is bad enough on his, but there’s no way he’s going to keep his trap shut about it so his wife is going to find out and then you’ll be out on your firm little bottom.  You’ll have risked being crushed under that leviathan for nothing.  You probably got a decent score off the lumerjacks but then you must have spent most of that hiring all those guards just to get you here so I don’t imagine that you have much cash on hand to work with.”

“I’ll get by.”

“Probably you would, but why scrape by when you can get a leg up?  Why did you spend all that money to get here anyway?  Why Beresford?”

“There was someone here I thought I could count on.  It didn’t work out.”

“That’s always a kick in the tits.  Seems like counting on other people never works out well.”

“You’re asking me to count on you.”

I smiled “Sure, but I’m one of the truthworthy ones.  I’m not asking you to count on me though, I’m asking for your help, which is a whole different thing.”

“How much?”

“Ten.”

She scoffed “Ten gold?  Are you out of your mind?”

“Not ten gold, ten thousand gold little miss.” Her eyes nearly jumped out of her head. “Yeah, that’s some real walking around money eh?”

“What are we going to do, steal the crown jewels?”

“Nothing so dramatic, just a simple missing person case.”

She studied me for a moment “You’re serious aren’t you?”

“Always.  Can you sing?”

“Well enough, I’m better at playing the pipes.”

“That will work.  Are you in or out?”

She pursed her lips “Let’s say for the sake of argument that I was interested, how do I get out of here?”

“Nothing could be simpler, you just walk out with me after lunch.  I’m your old friend that came to visit and check up on you, and you, not wanting to impose on the good captain and his lovely wife any longer are going to come and stay with me.  The elephant seal will be disappointed of course, but he couldn’t really have expected anything else given what a pure and chaste young lady you are.”

“I don’t want to burn any bridges here.”

“You won’t.  Thank the good ladywife profusely for ‘putting up’ with you and thank and thank her again and then we go.  Trust me, it will be better if you’re just gone when the captain comes home – a goodbye gives the chance for closure.  This way you leave on good terms but he’s still thinking about you.”

“You said trust me, I never trust anyone who says that.”

“I knew I was going to like you.”

A few hours later we were upstairs in my room at the gravedigger’s inn talking strategy as the few workmen not too hung over to work were banging away downstairs.  Despite what she said Vablis was more than an average singer but her piping was very pedestrian, I can see why she might think otherwise though since the pipe was magic and was helping her out with some enhancements.  I wonder why she didn’t know that, or bothered to lie about it, a normal pipe can’t harmonize with itself. I suppose it’s possible that she actually doesn’t know that much about music – it’s an odd skill in that you can be good at it without understanding it at all.  And conversely many people who would consider themselves experts in the field can’t carry a tune nor play a single note.  Is there a lesson there?  Maybe.  It was late in the evening when we decided to call it a night.

“Well, I suppose it’s simple enough, tomorrow we go to the theater and audition.”

“And then what?”

“And then we see what happens.”

“You haven’t asked me why I came here.”

“I’m not the type to pry.  But it seems like you want to let it out so you can tell me if you like.”

Her claim was that she had been the King’s mistress and was married to a Lord at court in order to keep the affair a secret.  Said Lord wasn’t super excited about having a wife that he couldn’t have sex with, but what was he going to do about it?  The King dying had really thrown a monkey in the works though and her husband told her he was planning on divorcing her by way of accusing her of infidelity.  Which was bad enough, but then she got wind that the Queen was planning on having her killed on suspicion that she had birthed a royal bastard that was being hidden in the wings as part of some nefarious plot to displace her son from the throne.  She said that she had slipped out of the capital and had been making her way across the countryside by doing things like scamming the payroll of a lumber camp and telling a caravan master that she was the wife of a cruel baron fleeing his wickedness.  It was a tale convincingly told but what con artist can’t spin a good tale? 

“That’s quite a story.”

“You don’t believe me?”

“I don’t know, I haven’t decided yet, but the good news is that it doesn’t matter.  I don’t really care who you are.  But, if you were the King’s personal cock-warmer my question would be; do you think the Queen or your husband has sent anyone after you?”

“I wouldn’t think so, they just needed me out of the way and they got it, but I can’t stop looking over my shoulders anyway.

“That’s not a bad habit regardless.  Bad things often come from behind.  And from in front of you.  And from the sides.  And from above and below.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 61,244 gold

XP: 516,701

Inventory:  Artisan’s outfit, collegium ring, Field Scrivener’s Desk, Deadly Kiss (dagger) Surcoat of the Night Wind,  Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2, Endless Efficient Quiver, Ring of Invisibility, sunrod (4) Handy Haversack, +4 Armored Coat, Sergeyevna Kostornaia’s Light Crossbow, dreamtime tea (2) Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style

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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