I’ve never cared for the expression that postulates even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then because there was a blind squirrel in the garden at court that found nuts all the time – squirrels can smell you know. The real issue that a blind squirrel has is not being able to see when an owl is coming to snatch them up and eat them, which is what happened to that squirrel. The point is that while I don’t believe in luck up every now and then things line up just right to make your job easy. When I got up today I was anticipating a long day or gathering information, shifting disguises, talking to disreputable folks for cold hard coin, the kind of thing I was doing all the time in the early days. But instead as I was heading for the Rest Inn Peace I saw a blast from the past just walking down the street. She had cut the hair short on one side of her head and left her tangle of dreadlocks on the other which made her even more repulsive looking if you can even believe it. Her top lip was recently split right on that indentation thing (what’s that called?) but otherwise she looked basically the same as she did in Graltontown. The only thing she was missing was her cherished sledgehammer, you remember – the one she used to crush my foot.
I immediately started following her, which isn’t really my forte, but it helps when you can change yourt appearance at will (sort of). Some day I need to learn the key to shadowing people, there has to be an art to it since people do it to me all the time. Speaking of, as I was following her I noticed that again some grubby seedy character was following me and in the process of losing him I almost lost track of Dreadlocks. Luckily I had formulated the accurate assumption she was heading for a particular disreputable low class tavern and I caught up with her there just as she was entering. I don’t know much about rebelling against the Crown, or the class system or whatever, but it seems like these people are always meetings in bars. I feel that should make it easy for the guard to catch them, just stake out all the bars – but it must be more complicated than that because here we are.
Going in after her seemed like a bridge too far so I loitered outside for a few minutes before I got worried about her slipping out the back way – because these kind of places always have a back way out and she seems like a real backdoor slipper. I was trying to figure out what street ran behind the place (give me a break, I don’t live here) when I saw another familiar face coming out the front door – one of Dreadlock’s goons from the aforementioned ankle-breaking. He was one of those heavy looking jowly goons that sits right on the borderline between menacing and hapless – you don’t have to be smart to crack skulls. I quickly decided to follow him instead, heading over a few streets where he met with someone dressed all in black with a hood pulled up over their face – nothing suspicious about that. When someone puts on their all-black “covert” outfit and is just walking around like that what the Hells are they thinking? Sidenote, I don’t know if it’s true but an assassin told me once that dark blue is actually better for skulking around at night – pitch black doesn’t really exist unless you’re underground in which case it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing.
Jowls and Mysterious Obvious Stranger exchanged a coin purse and a knife and then he looked around in that way that completely makes everyone know that you’re doing something shady. In addition to dressing all in black that’s another thing people don’t seem to grasp – when you’re doing nefarious shit you need to not look nefarious. Act normal you freaks. Jowls and his bag of money headed over a few more streets and then went into a small shabby looking house. I watched the place for about half an hour before I got bored and decided to approach – taking in the appearance of your standard door to door junk-seller or ragman. I knocked and when there was no answer I tried the door and found that it wasn’t locked. The small house was just a common room with a fireplace and a bedroom and had little in it – just a dilapidated bed and a wobbly table, neither of which looked like they had been used in a while.
What there was though was a trapdoor in the floor that lead to a stinking tunnel. I would have thought based on the stench that it lead to the sewers but Beresdord doesn’t haven’t sewers. It managed to smell as bad as one though. I could tell that the tunnel ran eastwardly and not wanting to crawl through a stink-tube I went outside and took a look at what buildings were to the east. A couple more houses, and then an abandoned temple to a deity that I didn’t recognize. Seems Adarielish but it had a statue out front and Adarielites don’t make images of her, maybe it’s some old timey temple from back before they decided it wasn’t cool to depict their Blessed Lady with crude mortal instruments. Anyway this seemed like a likely candidate not only because rebels also seem to love old churches in addition to bars but also because digging a secret tunnel is hard Gods damned work, they rarely go more than a hundred yards or so.
I switched my appearance to that of Dreadlocks and headed through the decrepit double doors, the rightmost of which seemed like it was going to fall and crush me nearly as much as it was going to swing open. I had only taken a couple steps into the dim front chambers when I heard a hissing voice right beside me.
“What are you doing?!”
I turned towards what I assumed was an invisible watcher “I just need to grab something.”
“Why are you coming in this way?!” I shrugged and started to continue forward and I felt a hand on my shoulder “Are you stupid, watch out for the trap!”
You see, this is what I’m talking about. If you’re on guard duty, even if you see someone that looks familiar if they’re not acting right why aren’t you more, you know, on guard? Someone comes in the wrong way and doesn’t know about “the trap” I don’t care what they look like you should probably stab them in the belly.
I slapped the invisible hand off me, it’s harder than you think “Don’t speak to me that way you punk!”
“You’re the one that’s breaking protocol!”
“And what are you doing about it? Everything I did was wrong and you were going to let me in anyway. This was a test boy and you failed. I could be anyone taking on this appearance with magic, I mean why the Hells do you think we have the protocols in the first place? Show me your face now!”
The invisibility faded away to reveal a rough looking young fellow in studded leather armor with a red cloth over his face and a yellow hood pulled low with a small shield and a short blade held “backwards” in the fashion of an icepick. I yanked the cloth off his face to reveal the petulant look of someone who’s both angry and afraid at the same time, the look of someone who thinks they’re in the right but is going to get in trouble anyway and can’t do shit about it.
I gestured impatiently “Go inside, I want to talk to you!”
“But I’m on watch, I . . .”
With a sneer he headed further into the temple, taking exaggerated care where he walked in the area around the passageway to the next chamber – which I marked and mimicked to avoid whatever trap he was talking about. The main part of the temple had been converted into a barrack of sort. There was a large scaffold in the northwest corner elevating a meeting table off the grimy ground, another scaffold on the northeast where there was a nice bed and a desk, and then huddled together in the southeast corner were a bunch of blanks and bedrolls lain on the dirty ground. You can’t help but be amused when rebels seeking equality have their own caste system. The altar was gone and in its place a greatsword had been thrust into the stone, the guard was made to look like a screaming face, which probably makes it hard to hold onto the damn thing in battle.
But the most interesting thing was the little workshop set up in the southwest corner, which contained the chained up form of my old friend Rindol. I was worried if I was going to be able to track him down before I had to return to Allenne and here he is. Every once in a great while things just go your way. Its best not to dwell on it, no reason to tempt fate, just enjoy it for a moment and then get on with your business. I took Yellow Hood up on the table-scaffold and chewed him out for a while before sending him back to his post with instructions never to mention this failure to anyone. The only other person who seemed to be in the place was the guy I had been following who was sound asleep in the “minion pile” of crude bedding on the ground. I climbed down the scaffold and headed over to where Rindol was sullenly doing something with beakers and acrid smelling liquids.
He winced at my approach “I’m working as fast as I can, I swear, you beating me won’t . . .”
I retained the form of Deadlocks but used the speaking voice of Vablis “It’s me Rindol, keep your voice down.”
He frowned “What? Who?”
I hissed at him “I said keep your voice down. It’s me Vablis, I’m here to rescue you.”
The confusion on his face was quickly chased away by desperate hope “Thank Gods, please get me out of here!”
“I can’t right now, you just need to hang on for a little while longer Rindol. Now that I know where you are I can send the guard here in force to get you out. You just need to hang on for a couple more hours.”
He shook his head, terrified at the notion “I can’t, I . . .”
“Yes you can Rindol, you have to, this is nothing compared to what you experienced in the woods right? Or in the riots. Compared to that this is nothing. Just keep your head down and don’t do anything to make these savages mad for a little while longer and I’ll have you out of here by nightfall.”
He started to say something else but I planted a kiss on him that shut him up. Good thing no one was around to see that, I’m sure that would have raised some suspicions. The look of shock and joy on his face made me wonder if that was his first kiss.
“I love you Mr. Rindol, and I swear that I’m going to get you out of here and then we can be together.”
He stood there looking stunned as I headed back out the front of the temple, where presumably an invisible guard was making invisible obscene gestures in my direction and hoping that I would screw up and get killed by whatever trap was there. I headed directly to the appropriated mayoral compound where Baron Redmynd was now gleefully making preparations for ingesting Beresford and the surrounding area into his demesne. When he saw me he broke out into a huge toothy grin, but I waved it away dismissively.
“No time for pleasantries my liege, you need to summon the lord captain of the guard or the ranking military man or whomever, I found where the rebels are hiding.”
He looked more confused than a dog confronting it’s reflection for the first time “What?”
“The followers of Bride or the Widow or whatever you’re calling her now, the insurgents, the people who want to bash your noble head in, redistribution of wealth and anarchy or whatever their deal is. I found them and I think if we want to grab them and put an end to this thing time is of the essence so call in whoever you need to crush these people.”
“You’re serious aren’t you?”
“Always. You got any booze around here, I could use a drink? The mayor had a nice selection, what happened to that?”
After a brief delay Redmynd called in his legbreakers and chosen men and so forth and I told them about the church and the hideout within. I told them that it was mostly empty right now but if they put some watchers on it they should be able to find a good time to strike and get most of the revolutionaries. I told them about Rindol and how he was actually one of the ringleaders of the entire operation and that he was cooking up all kinds of deadly alchemistical weapons and toxins even though he was pretending to be a captive. I made sure they knew that those chains were just for show and that he was so dangerous that he should be killed on sight. I may have overdone it driving home the point that under no circumstances should they try to take Rindol alive, but in these situations it doesn’t help to be subtle.
After that my presence was no longer desired – after all I’m just a woman, what aid could I render to a military operation? I retired to Crux Ansata for an idle afternoon. Eramus Stutr invited me to have dinner with him as the city was no longer preventing people from coming and going as they liked and he was going to be leaving the next day. It was during this lovely evening meal with my gangly neighbor when a messenger from the Baron arrived. I excused myself from the patio where Eramus and I were dining to speak to the messenger who informed me that the operation had been a smashing success. Rindol had been killed as had the bulk of the rebels, aside from the dozen or so that had been captured so they could be executed in public. The woman with the dreadlocks wasn’t amongst them but you can’t have everything handed to you so easily right? Eramus was afire with curiosity as I rejoined him.
“What was that about?”
“My sister’s dog had puppies.”
“The Baron sent a messenger to tell you that?”
I picked up my glass of fine red wine “What can I say, the man isn’t all that smart.”
Funds: 23,067 platinum, 19,788 gold
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), Ela’s Better Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, Red’s Riding Hood
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