Myam 14 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

The good thing about staying in a classy establishment like Crux Ansata is they have people to take care of tasteless day to day tasks like commerce for you.  After breakfast I sent one of their attendants out with a couple mundane items to dispose of and with orders to procure me an appropriate method of transporting my Phidaner gown.  While lackeys were scurrying about taking care of errands on my behalf I availed myself of the bath in my suite for the first time in what seems like ages.  Laying there in that warm water I had a hard time remember why I ever leave the city, other than to go to a better city of course.  I stayed in there for more than an hour and had servants brings up hot water at least six times – but when you’re paying for the best why not enjoy it?  After that I went out onto the balcony in my dressing gown (scandal!) and resolved to do a lot of nothing, sitting on the cushioned darkwood lounge chair and enjoying some sparkling wine while I smoked a little flayleaf.

My reverie was interrupted by someone coming out onto the next balcony over but I was in a state of mind where I didn’t even mind.  He was a lanky fellow, had to be over six and a half feet tall, with a pale complexion and a missing eye; but he was impeccably dressed and seemed to be surveying the street below with a practiced eye.

“Good morning My Lady, I wasn’t aware that anyone had reserved the suite next to mine.”

“Good morning Sir, I just came in last night from the countryside, there’s a bit of trouble out there you know.”

A mild harrumph “There’s a bit of trouble here in town as well.  You seem to have forgotten to get dressed madam.”

I dropped him a sassy wink “Oh, I didn’t forget anything, the breeze is good for the skin you know.  You have the bearing of a man just back from the front unless I miss my mark, and I don’t often miss my mark, if I do say so myself.”

This elicited a surprised/interested look “Very astute.  I was on the southern coast attending to some matters.”

“Navy man?”

“No, special operations.”

“Oh, how mysterious, are you a spy mister . . .”

“Stutr, Eramus Stutr.”

“Lady Elsa von Stroheim”

I held my hand out and with a wry smile he mimed kissing it from across the empty air between the two balconies.

“Charmed.  I wouldn’t be very much of a spy if I went around telling people that I was a spy now would I be?  Let’s just say that I’m a Royal Observer.”

“And what would you say you observed down south?  Have we won the war yet?”

“Not yet, but we will of course, just ask the Queen’s Messengers – they’ll tell you we win all the wars, even the ones we lose,  I believe it was written into law some years ago.  The Kingdom doesn’t lose wars so it goes without saying.”

“Well that’s a relief, one wonders why other nations insist on fighting against us when the outcome is predetermined.  Seems like it would save everyone a lot of trouble if they just capitulated.”

Another amused smile “Troublemakers that’s what they are, unwilling to see reason.”

“That has to be quite a disappointment, you come back from bravely doing spy things on the front lines – sabotaging supply lines and stealing documents and seducing foreign ladies and what not – for a little rest and relaxation and you end up in the middle of a riot.  Or a rebellion.  Or a coup, did they ever decide which it is?”

“I don’t think they have yet, but they seem to be closing in on it.  I think in the end it will be labeled a misunderstanding.  But yet, I am rather put out, I came here seeking a cure to an ailment I picked up on the coast and instead I’ve been stuck here.”

“You look hale and hearty to me.”

“Would that it were so, some foul foreign air has settled in my lungs, I can’t get my wind like I used to.”

“It’s a shame to see such a stalwart fellow cut down in the flower of his manhood by ill humors.”

He chuckled “The flower of my manhood is long gone, but you’re kind to flatter an old warhorse.  You said that you came in from the countryside, what manner of troubles are you experiencing out there?”

I waved a hand airily “Oh you know how it is, when there’s rioting in the streets the countryfolk get all riled up as well – bandits and highwaymen and such.  One of my maids was carried off by brigands just the other day.  I sent some men at arms out to rescue her of course, but it turns out that these particular mountebanks were all of a certain way if you know what I mean – the rescuers had more to worry about with their virtue than the maid did if you catch my drift.”

I waggled my eyebrows outrageously and he let out a big belly laugh – a woman being ravished, there’s nothing funny about that, but who doesn’t enjoy some good man-on-man sexual assault black humor?  There are not a lot of things to take advantage of with the double standard, but it’s nice when they occasionally come around.

“You’re not like any Lady I’ve ever spoken to Miss von Stroheim.”

“To my parent’s eternal shame, may they rest in peace, that’s probably why I’m still unmarried at my advanced age.  Destined to me a spinster I am.”

He spared a frank look at my bare legs propped up on the railing of the balcony, I’ll say one thing for my new lifestyle, all this walking around really has the old gams in good shape “Oh certainly, I’m getting a very spinster feeling from you My Lady.”

“Stop, you’ll make me blush.”

A droll look came over his long face “I have a feeling it takes quite a bit to make you blush.”

I flicked the remains of my flayleaf cigarillo over the side of the balcony “I can blush like a champion when the situation requires, it’s one of my many gifts.” I poured myself some more sparkling wine “So if you’ve been trapped here what do you do all day?”

“Enforced idleness isn’t something I do well with, mostly I’ve been reading, with occasional forays into conversation with the other guests.”

“Any of them tolerable?”

He shook his head “Not really.”

“How about this Mr. Stutr, being the enterprising fellow that you are,  why don’t you see if you can wrangle us up a couple of horses and we’ll go for a nice afternoon ride in the countryside.”

“Isn’t that where the highwaymen and mountebanks are?”

“Yes, but I’ll have you to protect me.”

He shook his head in mock somberness “That’s a tall order My Lady, what with the city being on lockdown.” A slight frown replaced his playful expression “How did you get into the city last night?”

I raised my glass to him “Simplicity itself my good fellow, I merely sang a song that summoned my giant moth friend Nilufar from the land of dreams and ghosts and she flew me right over the cordon and set me down in the city as gentle as a mother sloth.  Nilufar and I became friends when I stole a boat with two of my friends and the vigilante called Blue Orchid, whose true name I will not reveal.  Things were going pretty well until we ran afoul of a dragon turtle by the name of Beriah and the ship was badly damaged, forcing us to make for the shore of a nearby island.  As luck would have it the island was home to an organization of anti-Royal alchemist traitors who called themselves the Circle of Reeds.  They were manufacturing potions and poisons to sell to the enemies of the Kingdom and also some manner of blue powder that allowed them to somewhat control Beriah. 

The Circle of Reeds had enslaved the local native peoples, being peaceful and technologically primitive they were easy prey for the foul alchemists.  I befriend them and they told me that in a nearby cave was the cocoon of mighty Nilufar who they prayed would emerge and rescue them.  I went to the cave and coaxed Nilufar out of her slumber with the beauty of my singing and she drove Beriah away from the island – for despite her great magnificence and generally peaceable nature she is a protector and a mighty warrior when called upon to defend the innocent.  The alchemists mounted the backs of mind-controlled giant eagles to attack her, but they were no match for Nilufar for she is the Mistress of the Skies.  The alchemists and their treacherous factory were destroyed and the natives were freed.  They wanted me to stay and rule as their goddess but I had to decline for my duty is first and foremost to the Queen and the Kingdom.  Nilufar and I remain fast friends and she comes to my aid whenever I call upon her with my siren song.”

“That’s quite a tale, what did this all happen?”

“Yesterday morning, it was quite a day, so you can see why I need a little respite.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 27,817 platinum, 44,859 gold

XP: 635,101

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Stone of Good Luck, Tankard of the Drunken Hero,  Censer of Dreams,  potions of cure moderate wounds (5), potion of invisibility, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Campfire Bead, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Deck of Curses (two cards used), Ring of Urban Grace,  Bewitching Gown, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Nymph’s Favor, Token of Summoning, Tidy Trunk

Courtier’s Outfit, noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), severed hag head, gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, glass vials of something awful (8), disguise kit, covenant ring , tiny diamonds (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, bottle of elfen absinthe, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55)    

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, Essa 

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