Despite my wish to avoid Preen Sir Krajeo decided that we should veer that direction, probably so that he and his fellow sirs can tell everyone what a great thing it is they’re doing. After all, what’s the point of being heroic if no one knows about it? If I ever had control of this situation I’ve lost it now. I should be working Sir Krajeo, getting him to dance to my tune but right now I’m weary of constantly having to manipulate everyone. You work and you work and you work at manipulation and what do you have to show for it? Just vast wealth and one third of your enemies brought to ruin. It’s almost enough to make you question why you even bother manipulating people in the first place. It’s like swimming against a river current, it’s not that you don’t make progress, it’s simply that every little bit of progress you makes comes at such a high degree of effort that it seems like you’re never going to reach your goal.
Not to mention the fact that even when I manage to get my way things still seem to go sideways seventy to ninety percent of the time anyway because of factors outside of my control. I’m not one of those wheel of fortune sad sacks who thinks they can’t effect their own lives, but more and more it seems like planning is by and large a waste of time – just go to the place and see what happens and react. Which is dangerous thinking, and a good way to end up dead in a ditch dressed unstylishly, but it’s nice for a little while just to go with the flow. Sir Krajeo wants to go to Preen where potentially the richest man in town (well not anymore) wants to kill me dead? Okay. We’ll do that. Let’s just see what happens shall we? If nothing else they sell a fine lemon liquor there. Taking a break from controlling everything is not a good idea, but it’s what I’m going to do rightnow. I need a break from being in charge all the time. Plus none of these people seem to be much better at navigation than I am so who knows if we’ll even reach Preen. We’ll probably end up in Peerana.
As we rode I ended up in the proximity of the knight who’s heraldry is so poorly done it looks like a blue colored blob. I can’t make out if it’s supposed to be a bird or a flower or something else. A bat maybe? Are bats blue? Maybe it is actually supposed to be a blob. As crummy as his standard was his armor was elaborate – I’m always suspicious about filigreed armor with lots of flaring embellishments and tintings, it makes me wonder how well it would really stand up to actual attack in battle – but there’s no disputing that it looks very impressive. The knight inside the armor was fairly plain looking and both his hair and his beard were in that annoying zone where they’re both too long and too short to be pleasing to the eye at the same time. Pick a length and go with it, none of this halfway shit. He was saddled with the moniker of Sir Jerzankurn and he was the one who is composing verses for the dearly departed Duel.
“How’s the poem coming along?”
He looked startled by the question “I’m having some trouble with the third stanza but I’ll get it. I assure you it will be a fitting tribute to your friend.”
“Friend? I thought . . . oh yes, right Duel. We were . . . close. Since you’re a sensitive type I have an idea for a play that I’ve been thinking about for a while. It starts off and there’s a great battle, it’s good to kick off your play with a big set piece right? Get the people excited. Anyway, a solider on the losing side survives and tries to make his way home. There’s a quick bit about his hardships but the point is that it takes him years to finally get back and all along he’s removed from society so he doesn’t get a chance to cut his hair. By the time he does finally get back to his own city his hair is as long as a maiden’s. I think you see where this is going. The soldier performs as a dancer at a masque for the wedding of a local lord – people love seeing masques in plays, I don’t know why but they do. Maybe because of the costumes? Like I said I don’t know. A baron attending the wedding becomes entranced by the dancer – who because of the hair thinks that he’s ogling a woman. Right there he snaps off a letter to be delivered to the dancer stating his love and proposing marriage. People like that kind of thing in their entertainment – people fall in love hard instantly and they don’t fuck around about it, they make their move.
The soldier receives the letter, and on account of being a man somehow decides that it’s actually from a Baroness that was at the wedding – because clearly it couldn’t be from who the person that delivered the message said right? So he writes “back” to the Baroness that he thinks wrote him saying “yeah we should get married but let’s get to know each other first” and the Baroness who’s getting this letter out of nowhere is like “With the what now?” So there’s letters flying back and forth and due to comedic elements getting sometimes delivered to the wrong person so in the end the Baron thinks he’s wooing a dancer who’s actually the soldier and the soldier thinks he’s wooing the Baroness who’s clueless and the Baroness is just trying to figure out what’s going on. Enter the courtesan. A wily courtesan has figured out what’s going on and she gets in the mix – convincing the Baron that the dancer he’s wooing, whose face he’s never seen mind you, is actually the Baroness. And then she lets slip that the soldier is making the move on the Baroness as well. Now you may be thinking, that doesn’t make sense, the Baroness was at the wedding, but that’s the kind of thing people never think of – they’re swept along by the story. But if need be we can add in a bit of dialog about how she was gone during the dance or something.
So of course it’s time for a duel, which is another thing people love in their plays – a good mock duel really has people on the edge of their asses. Meanwhile the courtesan goes to the Baroness and tells her what she – the Baroness – should marry the Baron on account of a common soldier is beneath her station and that she – the courtesan – will marry the soldier. The courtesan will “admit” that it was her that wrote the original letter to the soldier rather than the Baroness. The baron and the soldier duel and the soldier figures out that he could easily win but that he’s sick of killing and doesn’t want to do it. The Baron figures out that he’s outclassed and concedes. But just as they’re whining about the situation the courtesan shows up and explains that everything is fine – she’s the soldier’s actual love and the Baron and Baroness – no relation – are free to get hitched. This is kind of a puss out on the duel but people won’t mind.
So there’s a double wedding, the courtesan and the soldier siphoning off some of the glamor and wealth of the Baron and Baroness so they can feel special before they two nobles come in and really get the party started. This will be a whole big scene with great costumes and dancing and singing and everything – a real showstopper. But aha, the courtesan has other plans in mine. She uses this double wedding situation to stage a double bed trick. I don’t have to tell you that people fucking LOVE a bed trick and to double it up? That’s taking things to a higher plane. Unlike masques it’s clear why people love the old bed trick – it gives them hope that some day they’re be able to have sex with someone who’s not their wife and it will be fine because they didn’t know. They didn’t know, wink-wink. So then the courtesan reveals the whole thing and both men are executed for committing adultery on their very wedding night. Then she steals the Baroness’s jewels and gets away with it. Maybe the Baroness ends up whoring, not sure about that bit.”
“That’s . . . . quite a tale. Are you going to write it?”
I shook my head “No, I’m not much of a writer, I don’t have the patience for it. I just thought I’d put the idea out there since you’re a writer.”
“Hmm, well I’ve never written a play. That does sound like an interesting challenge.”
“So what do you think?’
“The first part is pretty good, it kind of falls apart when the courtesan comes into the story though. She’s absent for the first two thirds of the play but she ends up as the primary character at the end. Plus she’s a villain, it doesn’t seem right for her to come out on top like that. Also what’s her motivation? Why does she get involved at all? And why does she condemn two men to death?”
“It’s fun, she doesn’t need another reason.”
“That’s an awful message. People aren’t going to like that. If the courtesan was somehow wronged by the soldier and the Baron in the first act maybe then it would add up, but I think it would be even better to make the courtesan end up paying for trying to outwit her betters. Maybe instead the other three all figure out what she’s doing and she’s the one who ends up losing her head. That’s something that people can understand, that’s a true life situation not some abstract craziness.”
“Okay maybe the courtesan needs to be established earlier but she needs to be the protagonist of the story. I don’t think the motivation needs to be any different though she’s taking down two lustful men, what could be more motivating than that?”
“But she’s a courtesan, she exists to give pleasure to men.”
“And you think that makes her happy? Her very existence is her motivation”
“Why would anyone care about her happiness? She’s a courtesan.”
“Fair point, I don’t know what I was thinking. What about a musical where everyone is a cat?”
“Now that’s the first good idea you’ve had all day!”
Funds: 23,045 platinum, 19,788 gold
Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Censer of Dreams, 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, Ring of Urban Grace, 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
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), 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, 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