I woke up today hacking like an old man and feeling weary to my bones. I must be falling ill. I think when I stabbed that guy through the ear yesterday something flew out of his head and hit me in the eye. I don’t know exactly what juices are inside someone’s head but I don’t think you’re supposed to get them in your eye. With my luck I’ve probably got dyscrasia or Bodine’s malady or bloodfire or some other damn thing now. But on the other hand one time back at court a poet was bitten by a magical cobra and suffered from night terrors, fever, chills, loss of appetite, mild headache, and herpes boils in the mouth and genitals, followed by a short period of hyper-aggression and ultimately death by autocannibalism so it could be worse. It can always be worse. I had the staff bring me some flayleaf and a glass of warmed brandy – nothing like a smoke and a drink to clear the old lungs and throat. I was sitting out on the balcony in my dressing gown enjoying my booze and leaf, watching the morning hustle and bustle when a messenger came to tell me that I was to see Baron Redmynd as soon as possible.
As soon as possible was going to be a long while but the messenger stood there waiting so after a moment I sighed, flicked the remains of my leaf off the balcony and went inside to gather up my things to leave, assuming that I was going to be dispatched back “home” at long last. I waved irritably at the hovering messenger.
“Alright, let’s go.”
He seemed shocked “Don’t you want to . . . make yourself . . . er. . . . presentable?”
“I’m plenty presentable there chief so let’s go, I’m coming down with something so don’t hassle me about it.”
He seemed very concerned about my appearance, like it was going to reflect badly on him somehow, I found it very annoying. On the plus side through he had the Baron’s carriage waiting downstairs so I didn’t have to walk. It’s not a very long ride but I found myself nodding off anyway, until I felt the messenger sitting across from me jabbing my shin with his boot tip.
I scowled “You trying to play footsie with me boy? What’s your problem?”
He looked embarrassed “You were . . . . snoring.”
“I told you I’m feeling well, I got like a sinus thing going on here.”
He whispered like it was some great secret “It’s not very . . . ladylike.”
I laid back and closed my eyes “What are you a pimp? Why do you care so much about my appearance and comportment? Are you trying to turn me out?”
He gasped like a schoolmarm “Heavens no!”
“You’re about twenty years too late for that anyway.”
I couldn’t see him but I would bet my bottom coin that he had his hand over his mouth “Whatever can you mean by that madam?”
“Shut up is what I mean.”
If I wasn’t so tired I would have slapped him right in his dumb face for being so dumb but I am so I didn’t. More’s the pity, I tell you that. The world would be a much better place if I could slap people with impunity. There are a lot of people that would be decent members of society if they got slapped hard five or six times a day by the right person. I was feeling a little better by the time we got to the Baron’s stolen compound but even so I was basically sleepwalking through breakfast with the Baron and his toadies. He didn’t notice however because he was still walking on sunshine over the titanic windfall that come his way compliments of Baron Juost’s envoys. The only such envoy present at breakfast was the half-Kostelos woman who added very little to the proceedings other than her irritating lip smacking and overall poor table manners.
After breakfast, of which I ate little, and post-breakfast cocktails, of which I drank quite a lot, we retired to some fancy room or other just the Baron, myself and some pinch-faced fellow with a quill pen and a book. The Baron rambled on for a while as men of his type always do, I couldn’t even tell you what about, and then he told me that as far as his experts could tell Ela Juost was no relation to the Whiterock family – although he did confirm that their lands and wealth were up for grabs as there were no known living members.
“Well that’s probably because I’m not a Juost, I’m the Baroness’s cousin you know, not the Baron’s she’s only a Juost by marriage.”
He flushed slightly, discomfited by this simple mistake “Yes, of course, and the Baroness’s family is . . . the Chehalis if I remember rightly.”
“You do My Lord, but her mother’s maiden name was Numancia, and it’s through her that we’re related. Her mother being my aunt of course.”
He nodded “So you’re Ela Numancia then?”
“Not exactly your lordship, you see . . .”
His scribe or genealogist or whoever he was scribbled furiously as I wove (weaved?) a complicated tale of marriages and divorces and secret lovers and bastardy and long lost quadruplets. I saw the eyes of the Baron himself glaze over after only a few minutes because as much as nobles love to crow about this lineage and that they hate to actually have to hear about it. It should take the pinch-faced fellow the rest of his life to untangle it. I wish him well, maybe I’m actually related to the Queen and I’m in line for the throne if enough people die. That would certainly make my revenge getting much easier. It took the Baron a while to realize that I had stopped talking.
“Yes well, that’s all quite interesting. Do you have anything that could prove that you’re the heir to Whiterock?”
I showed him the Ring of Binding “I have this My Lord, it’s been in my family for generations, I was told that it was given to my great-grandmother by a distant relation of some kind, I believe that it’s a Whiterock ring.”
He peered at it curiously “Yes, it is at that.” He sat back, suddenly done with the whole topic “Well I’ll have my people look into it and send word to you at Alleene when they have it nailed down.”
“Thank you My Lord.”
“The circumstances under which we met were . . . unusual to say the least, and I hope that you don’t feel I’ve treated you churlishly.” He made a weird pouty face that looked insane on his regal features “I do hope that don’t think poorly of me.”
I forced a smile “Of course not My Lord, you’ve been nothing but gracious to me, and any debts you feel that you’ve incurred to be have been more than repaid, I wish you nothing but the best.”
This seemed to please him an inordinate amount given the circumstances but then his face turned somewhat dark “Now, what’s this I hear about you brawling with ruffians in the streets yesterday?”
“Must be a case of mistaken identity, certainly you can see that I’m not capable of brawling with anyone – anymore than you would be capable of dancing the part of the Dusk Swan in the Royal Ballet.”
He stared at me for a moment and then started guffawing like it was the funniest thing he ever heard – meanwhile his attendant was frowning deeply and looking through the many sheets of paper that they filled up while I was detailing my fake ancestry. I was packed away in another room for a few hours before I was herded out to join up with Chaplain Stenton, Tamad, the nameless halfbreed and their dozen or so servants and men at arms.
The chaplain answered “No, are you not a rider My Lady?”
“I can ride I was just hoping for something more comfortable, I’m feeling a bit under the weather. You’re full of magic aren’t you? Can’t you use a spell to send away my disease? I haven’t had good luck with that before but there’s no harm in trying right? Maybe you god loves you more than some others.”
“I’m afraid that’s not within my powers.”
“Typical. Are we taking the long way around or going through the woods? You don’t have many men here, I’ve heard that the Baku woods aren’t terrible safe.”
Tamad rode up beside me, altogether closer than is entirely appropriate “Don’t worry My Lady, I’ll see you home safely, no harm shall come to you under my care.”
“Yes, I’m certain that’s the case.”
Funds: 23,045 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), 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) personal signet 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, Essa