Myam 20 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Have you ever woken up and there was someone in the room standing over you, looking down at you?  It’s not a great way to wake up, but as I’ve documented there are many worse ways to wake up.  Some people, people who like to think they know what goes on in your head, will tell you that if you dream about someone standing over you that you’re feeling like your privacy is being invaded.  They’ll tell you that the bedroom is the most private part of your life and that you’re at your most vulnerable when you’re asleep.  Or they might tell you that dreams are your mind trying to send you a message, that this dark figure looming over you is telling you that there’s something that’s making you feel intimidated in your real life or that it’s the darker more malevolent side of your own personality that is emerging and you need to face up to it.  These people are doing what phony fortune tellers do, throwing enough generalistic crap out that something is going to stick.

I won’t lie (about this) back at court one of the “fun” activities that the Duke and his cronies would trot out every now and then when they had grown tired of more cruel amusements was a prognosticator or astrologer or the like and I very much enjoyed fucking with them, some of them are pretty committed even when you say “no, doesn’t ring a bell” to whatever they’re sensing but some of them loose their shit pretty easily.  But that’s neither here nor there, the point is that I asked one of these people who fancy themselves dream experts what it means what someone actually IS standing over you in your bed and they didn’t have an answer.  Typical “expert” they’re all theory and no practice.

But actually that’s neither here nor there either, and the real point is that when the thing pretending to be cousin Emmalina pretended to wake up and saw me sitting at the foot of its bed in the shadowy light of the pre-dawn it acted just like a real person would when – confused and more than a little afraid.

“The good news is counselor that your client is innocent, the bad news is that he’s dead.  I hope you got paid in advance.”

It sat up slightly, looking somewhat on guard “Ela what . . .”

“If I was constable Dekros what I would do is write it up that the prisoner escaped and then was killed by an owlbear or a masticar or something like that, but what I would tell people is that I killed him – everyone thinks he killed his wife so that would garner respect from those countrified hick types.  They like a lawman, or woman in this case, who takes matters in their own hands and just murders a bad person in custody rather than waiting for all that tedious law.  They’re a simple folk and they like simple solutions.  I’d milk that if I were constable Dekros, gains some loyalty from the peple,  but I have no idea what she’ll actually do because I don’t know what kind of person she is.  She’s not going to deliver him to the magistrate like the plan was, unless she drags his dead mutilated body into town, which she might do.”

It acted like it was a little less scared “What happened out there Ela?”

“I watched you sleep for a couple hours.  Seems legit.  Your breathing, the little body movements, it was all very convincing.  But what’s really good is the way you say my name, you say it like you know me and we’re old friends even more than kin.  The way that “Ela” rolls off your fake tongue really sounds genuine and true.  I don’t know if you’re the greatest actor in the world or what your deal is but its’ very persuasive however you’re doing it.  I’m good at imitating voices, Hells why be modest, I’m great at it – but I don’t think I could mimic that kind of familiarity the way that you do.  It’s really quite something.”

“Ela, I . . .”

“So there really was a case, and there really was a guy who was really accused of murdering his wife.  What does that mean?  You’re not real, but the case was real.  Or no, the situation was real and maybe you just heard about it and injected yourself into the story.  Maybe there is case, but that would be easy enough to check with the lawdogs right?  So if I go and ask them and they say ‘why yes ma’am Emmalina is scheduled to appear before the judge next week, it’s right here in the book’ what would that mean?  What does any of it mean?  Probably I should just kill you, based on that stab I gave you you seem killable, but I’m tired of not knowing.  All this strangeness happens time and I never get to understand what happened most of the time.  Most of the time I don’t care, but just once I want to know.”

I could see it simulating shaking slightly under its night-dress “There’s something wrong with you Ela, you keep talking about hurting me.  What happened to you?”

“Yes.  Yes, why don’t you tell me cousin?  Why don’t you tell me what you remember about me, the way I used to be in your made up mind?  Start at the beginning.”

It pretended to look incredulous for a moment before speaking “We played together as kids, we . . .”

“Where?  When?  How many years ago?  What did we play?  Give me a specific memory you have of us playing together when we were kids.  How old were you?  How old was I?  Where were we?  What did we do?  Who else was there?”

“Ela, it was so long enough, who . . .”

“You can’t. You can’t remember because there are no memories there.  You don’t exist.  Which side of the family are you from?  What’s my mother’s name?  What’s your father’s name?  Where did you live?  What are the names of our other cousins?  You don’t know because you aren’t real.  You think you’re a lawyer, did you go to school for that?  How did you family afford it?  What was your first case?  Who was the defendant, what were they accused of doing?  Did you win or did you lose?  Who was the judge?”

“On my last case I was working for a man called Scramble, an alias of course, he had been accused of trying to bribe a city guardsman.  I think he wouldn’t say his real name because he was in truth part of a prestigious family that he had a falling out with, he knew they wouldn’t help him and he didn’t want to sully the family name.  I can’t prove that, but that’s the sense that I got from him.”

“I didn’t ask you about your last case, I asked you about your first case.  But that’s interesting.  Where did that come from?  Who made that up?”

It made a show of feigning anger “It’s not made up, it’s something that I did.  I represented him, it is part of my past.  I don’t know what’s happened to you, if you’re crazy or what, but don’t say that my life isn’t real.”

I laughed softly “Maybe it is me.  Maybe you’re real and I’m the illusion.  Maybe I was replaced by a cunning fey trickster.  Maybe I’ve been envenomed by a dream naga and they took my place.  Maybe I’ve been deceived all my life into believing the events that I think are my memories by a mad enchanter.  I’d like to hear all about the case of Scramble the briber, all about it, and then I want to hear about the case before that one, and the one before that one, I want to hear it all.  Every detail, I want to know.  Let’s talk like we’re both real people, catch up like close cousins who haven’t talked in years.  Yes, let’s play that out.”

“I don’t see . . .”

I lifted my crossbow and tapped the butt on the foot of the bed “Or there’s another way to solve this much quicker.”

“Ela, you’re scaring me.”

“Yeah.”

It looked around at the room “Can I get dressed at least?”

“Sure.”

It got out of bed and then looked at me “Are you going to watch me?”

“Why not?  Let’s see how real you are.”

Its face acted like it hardened “Don’t be perverted Ela.”

“Perversion?  You are a perversion.  Of nature, of the universe.  You aren’t a thing.  You’re impossible.  I am an entity that spans time, I am something to which things happen.  What are you?  An unfeasibility, a wrinkle in the fabric of reality, a trick, a con, an imposter.  We, we real people, we fetishize money and trappings of wealth, we talk endless about false happiness, we encourage false understanding – we diminish ourselves and dehumanize ourselves willingly, we act like automatons.  Magic statues playing out an endless loop.  But you.  You are inhuman.  You can’t be diminished because there is nothing to diminish.  You are an automaton”

It pretended to gawk at me “You really are insane aren’t you?”

“Just get some clothes on will you?”

As you can imagine it was a tense day, but she told me all about Scramble and his attempt to bribe a guard in Cathars.  She told me how she got the case with Nacario after that and all the work she had done.  She told me about a case before that back in Cathars where a man was accused of illegal dueling.  She told me about traveling from Tybhurst where she had represented an arsonist.  Before that she was in Three Rivers where she defended a woman accused of selling illegal religious paraphernalia and a man who was manufacturing dangerous alchemical items.  She cursed the Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo and told me how they had run her out of town and that she was attacked there by a man she believed that they had hired to intimidate her.  She talked about how she lost all her money when she left it in her room and it was robbed.  She talked about traveling there from Graltontown, heading north to the river and how much fun she had on the boat that took her upriver.  She talked about how handsome the riverboat captain was and how much she wanted to say something to him but was too afraid.  In Graltontown she told me about few cases, grave robbing, sales of poisonous substances, robbery, assault, vagrancy, impersonating a city official for the purposes of fraud.

It was all eminently believable, nothing about those tales made me think that she was lying.  She had answers for all my questions, details that made complete sense.  Even when she was wrong or contradicted herself it was in a way that made it seem right.  But that’s where it ended.  After those cases in Graltontown her “memories” were all just vague statements about “the farm” or “home” or massive generalizations about things that had happened.  She couldn’t remember how she had gotten there or what cases she had before.  Suddenly she had no answers to any of my questions, she said “I don’t really remember” or “who can remember?” so many times it started to become comical.  As I dug further and further she seemed to realize what was happening.  She started to get agitated as it became clear that prior to six months ago she didn’t really truly honestly remember a damn thing.

Her face turned ashen “What does it mean?  Did someone erase my memory with magic?  Is that a thing that can happen?”

“Yes, but you’re forgetting something, there are no memories to erase becayse there is no Emmalina.”

“But I’m right here in front of you.”

“Yes, yes you are.  But what is ‘you’?”

She started weeping softly “I wish that I had never come here to ask for your help.”

“Me too.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 27,817 platinum, 44,828 gold

XP: 641,701

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 (four cards used), Ring of Urban Grace,  Bewitching Gown, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Token of Summoning, Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding)

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, 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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