Last night was another restless endeavor. I repeatedly had a dream where I was being pierced with nails. Nothing was driving them in that I could see, they were just burrowing into my flesh on their own accord. Even when you’re having the most horrifying nightmare possible it’s just images and sounds – you can’t feel anything because it’s not real. But every time this happened I would start awake because I felt like someone was pinching my legs. When morning rolled around I not only felt like I hadn’t slept, which I hadn’t much, but I was even more exhausted – like I had spent the entire night running for my life instead of laying quietly in bed. All in all not a good time.
Therefore I was already in something of a foul mood and it didn’t help that the common room was mostly full with patrons seeking breakfast. I liked it better when this was just a place for Josta to get drunk and for me to come downstairs in my nightclothes if I wanted to – I really should look into getting some different accommodations. There’s just something unwholesome about getting dressed before you have your morning meal. It’s not right it isn’t. I had a breakfast bottle of wine in Kalisha’s room and told her about my experience with the Dreamers last night, hoping that she might be able to offer some insight on the best way to manipulate drugged out whackos but all she did was say that talking about that kind of thing wouldn’t help her recovery and sthen he all but asked me to leave. The fucking nerve of this woman. She’d be dead in the Shiver den now if not for me and this is how she repays me? I’ve said it a thousand times – people have no sense of gratitude.
Normally I’m pretty good a regulating, Hells I’m not pretty good, I’m great! But today when I went to market to ditch the lumbermen’s goods I could tell that my bad mood was impairing my ability sweet talk people effectively. And even though I realized it was happening I couldn’t seem to get a grip on it. After the third time I blew a good deal with a sharp word I decided that I needed to take a break and clear my head. I found a patio café where I could drink dark tea and watch the world go by. Well not the world, but Beresford, you know what I mean.
I started thinking about the “art” of seduction. People often think that it’s some sensual amorous thing with silk veils and fluttering eyelashes and heaving bosoms, but like always the truth is far less interesting. At the core all it really consists of is having the patience to put up with someone’s bullshit. Old Scatch is a good example. As much as he wants the pleasures of the flesh what he wants even more is someone who will listen to his endless boring stories about the different stupid plays he’s been in and how HE should have been lead and how everyone else is a kiss ass but he’s got true talent and blah, blah, blah. He wants someone to agree with everything he says and flatter him. He wants someone to make him feel younger, more powerful, like he’s not a sad pathetic loser in a third rate acting troupe. It’s not hard, but it is exhausting.
People like to imagine exotic foreign concubines training for years in the talent of pleasure but it’s nothing like that. Don’t get me wrong, there is an art to it, but it’s mostly just lying, and lying is mostly just telling people what they want to hear. The hard part is not letting your resentment for them biting on your lies show. There’s a part of you that wants to scream at them “Why are you buying this?! You can’t possibly believe that I think you’re this interesting and cool! You simply can’t! You know what you are!” But as you might imagine screaming at someone about how stupid they are for believing you is not terrible helpful. What you’re really preying on is people’s capacity for self-deception. They want to be the kind of person who gets the attention you’re giving them so they make themselves believe. That’s for men anyway, I assume seducing a woman is a whole different kettle of fish. Some day when this is all over I want to spend some time in the illusion of a man and work it all out. It would be a good thing to know. Or at least an interesting one.
Before I knew it mid-day was upon me and I went back into the market to peddle my stolen wares. Much calmer, I was able to get my customary good deals. I have to wonder though about the economics of making a magic ax to clear trees. It costs you seven thousand gold to make the dang thing how long does it take you to make that back just by cutting down trees? Decades? I guess magic items can last forever so over time it makes sense but who looks at things from that long of a point of view? Elfs I guess and they don’t seem to love the idea of deforestation.
After my transacting that I swung by the construction site where Rindol and Murdane were practically frothing at the mouth to tell me about their harrowing almost assassinations and the brave men that just “happened” to be nearby to save them. The two of them talked for more than an hour about a fight that probably lasted somewhere around thirty seconds. Which is impressive in its own way. But the point is that the scam worked, they were now residing in undisclosed locations and were sticking to their bodyguards like maggots on meat. It must take a lot of temperance to be a bodyguard – it’s probably bad for business if you throttle the person you’re supposed to be protecting yourself. Now all I have to worry about is the two of them being killed from afar by invisible archers at the worksite. But who ever heard of such a thing happening in Beresford eh?
Even though there were plenty of things that I could be doing there was nothing specifically I needed to do, so I took a turn around town, just to see what all Beresford has to offer. It reminded me very much of the first day I woke up in Graltontown, walking the city that day. Beresford is more settled, more polished, more refined than Graltontown but that’s akin to saying that it’s better to fall headfirst into a mudhole than a shithole. It’s true, but it almost doesn’t matter. It’s definitely the kind of place that I wouldn’t have wanted to be caught dead in a year ago. In an extreme emergency the Duke may have stopped here while traveling but you can be sure someone would have heard about it. And by heard about it I mean probably been executed. Rich people can afford their whims, that’s why they have so many of them.
Walking around Beresford, seeing the Beresfordians going about their simple lives I did something that I hadn’t done in a while. I took stock of those who’ve wronged me, took some time mentally to remember what they did and what’s going to happen to them because of it. It was a pleasant reminder of all the good work that’s going to come in the future. It’s easy to get so caught up in the day to day hustle and bustle of life that you forget what’s important. It’s good to take a day here and there and remember the importance of the vengeance that you’re going to visit on those who’ve wronged you. How the many indignities and humiliations you’ve endured will come back to roost on those responsible. I don’t know exactly how it’s going to happen but I know that it will. I am inevitable.
After getting my mind right I headed back to the Rest Inn Peace around sundown and the joint was really hopping with boozehounds. I have to hand it to Stinty, the man knows how to run a business. I’m curious what would have become of this place if I had left it entirely in Josta’s hands. The two of them plus Kalisha were sitting at a table with the remnants of a good looking meal on the overlook watching over the happy throng below. I made my way up the stairs to join them.
“I thought the idea was to have a few customers to avoid suspicion but not so many that they got in the way of other business.”
Stinty waved his little hand “We can worry about that later, a few months down the road, right now we’re just playing it straight.”
“Oh, ‘we’ are are we?”
He chuckled “As straight as it gets anyway.” He flipped a deck of cards into his hand and did some fancy shuffling “I was just trying to get the ladies interested in some cards here.”
Kalisha bit her lip “I was never much of one for games.”
I smiled “I’ve been known to play a hand or two. Seems like a delightful way to spend the evening. What’s your game?”
Josta leaned forward “Have any of you ever played kosakeln?”
I raised an eyebrow “A woman with fine taste in card games. You surprise me again Josta.”
“I’ll try not to be insulted by that.”
“That’s very big of you. I’ll deal.”
Funds: 50,874 gold
Inventory: Noble’s outfit, 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, Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Walking Stick (Rod of the Viper), Masterwork disguise kit, covenant ring
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