Montalan 20 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

I would have thought that with all her banditry Martialla would have become a competent woodsperson but she doesn’t seem to be any better at it than before.  If I didn’t have my Pavilion we’d be sleeping on the bare ground like dogs.  And her ability to find food leaves a lot to be desired.  Thankfully I have my Flask, although I have to say it’s been a while now where I haven’t been eating much and have been drinking rice wine all day – I’m starting to forget what it feels like to be fully sober.  Maybe I should look into some kind of non-alcoholic endless magic drinking device.  And as per usual I’m not entirely sure she knows where we’re going, it seems more like we’re just taking the easiest path she can find through the trees.  As we walked she showed me something brown and spongy looking that she had pulled out from under a fallen log.  Is there any other kind of log?  No, so I guess it was just a log.

“Does this look edible to you?”

“I have no idea, I wouldn’t eat it regardless.”

“That’s because you are a priss.”

“I don’t have a strong desire to eat muddy garbage so I guess I am at that.” Despite her words she tossed the russet lump away and wiped off her hands. “Do you ever wonder if you’re merely a figment of my imagination?”

“Do I ever wonder if I’m a figment of your imagination?  Wouldn’t it make more sense for me to wonder if you’re real?”

“No, of course I’m real.  Think about it, what are the chances that someone with a similar experience to my own would just show up out of nowhere? I’m out for revenge against the Duke, you want revenge on the guy who killed your niece – who by the way is someone I always want revenge on.  That’s a little too coincidental wouldn’t you say?  Plus I don’t like anyone, and then you show up and suddenly we’re best friends?  It stretches credulity it does.  Isn’t it more likely that you don’t exist at all and what’s happening here is that because of the trauma I’ve experienced my mind created a loyal sidekick for me?  Part of my brain feels like I need guidance, support, love, and companionship and no one who actually exists is going to give it so created an imaginary companion for me.  Someone to keep me company, someone to act as confidante, emotional support, and sometimes protector.  Doesn’t that seem more likely when you think about it logically?”

“Uh, no.  I didn’t show up out of nowhere.  I tracked you down because I thought you could help me.  Do you realize how hard that was?  You move around all the time and you use disguises regularly, sometimes for no real reason.  And most of the people who meet end up dead so it’s hard for them to tell people where you went.  Or that you were even there.  Also I don’t think that revenge is that unique a motivation that it should raise suspicion, most people want revenge on someone.  Our stories aren’t even that similar.  You were the kept woman of a rich man who got tired of you – my niece was fucking murdered by a piece of shit asshole.  And we weren’t suddenly best friends, you barely even acknowledged I existed for a long time.  It still wouldn’t surprise me if you betrayed me, you’d feel bad about it probably but I could see it happening.”

“That’s just what you would say if you were a figment.”

“Speaking of figments did your fake cousin ever find you?”

 “The Baroness?  We’re going there now.  Did you forget the whole thing we’re doing here?”

“No, the other one . . . . Emma I think.”

I stopped dead in my tracks “Emmalina?!  You know about that?!”

“Our paths crossed.”

“What is it?!”

She frowned slightly “That wasn’t your doing?  I assumed you set the whole thing up for some reason.  Seems like the kind of thing you’d do.”

“Tell me everything you know about it!”

We stopped while Martialla told me the sad tale of Farfel Grossbard.  What had happened was that back in Graltontown when I was dressed up like my own made-up cousin some fellow saw me/her and became obsessed with the woman he saw fleetingly for just a moment.  So he did what any obsessed insane person would do, he set about crafting a wax golem that looked exactly like the object of his desire.  Did you think that only magic people could create golems?  Me too.  But it turns out that if you’re insane enough and lavish enough attention on the monstrosity you’re creating the spark of golemisity can spontaneously generate – although some people feel that that spontaneity is more likely the result of some God or demon having a laugh.  Farfel was a tradesman and started stealing anything not nailed down to buy building materials for his waxy bride.  Turns out that two hundred pounds of wax is somewhat hard to come by.  Plus he botched the first one and had to start over again.  All told it sounds like he spent four months fashioning his waxwork version of Emmalina, who may I remind who never really existed. 

Once he had his oily unblinking dream woman ready to go came the hard part.  With the magical power of obsession and insanity his lookalike Emmalina was brought to life (sort of) by the power of . . . . something for him to dress up and be weird with and presumably to make sweet waxy love on.  But here’s a fun fact about wax golems that Martialla explained to me, when they’re made to look like people they have a chance of eventually coming to genuine believing that they are who they look like and gaining sentience.  They forget about being a hunk of wax and think they’re whoever they’re supposed to look like. 

The question on everyone’s mind is did old Farfel know that when he set out on this lunatic quest or did that catch him by surprise as well?  Either way that’s what happened.  The waxy monster forgot that it was a waxy monster and started to think that it was Emmalina.  Farfel said she was a lady lawyer so that’s what she became.  Now, this is where things get weird.  Did you know that golem can be turned into real live things?  I didn’t.  A powerful wizard can turn their stone juggernaut into a big flabby flesh thing if they want to and know how.  Why would anyone waste their time doing that?  Hard to say, wizards are freaks.  You can do it with a flesh golem if you want a friend who’s a horrifying mish-mash of body parts and probably hates you for bringing it to life, but clearly the best case scenario is with one of these waxy ones.  They look like people already. 

But I already said that old Farfel wasn’t a magic man so how does that factor in?  Love it seems, even twisted love (especially twisted love?) will not be denied.  Much like creating the golem in the first place it’s not absolutely necessary that you be magic to pull this off.  And Farfel decided that nothing less than real full life was good enough for his lady love.  Turns out if you want to make this happen without being versed in magic the final ingredient is a human heart, and a fresh one at that – the heart has to be ripped from the body and then implanted in the golem within hours.  Farfel was insane, but not murderously insane yet so it still took him several more weeks to build up the courage to commit cold blooded murder.  He did it though, because he was a man who was not to be denied his dream.  And just like that a sentient wax golem was turned into a real human lady who thought that she was my cousin named Emmalina.  It’s just that simple.

“Who do you know all this?”

“It all came out at the trial.  It was big news back in Graltontown for a while.  I have to assume that Farfel was become some manner of folk hero to creepy perverts everywhere.  Wax sales have to be through the roof.  Murders too probably.  And heart removals.  Is there a name for that?”

“So what happened?”

“They hung him, guy was a murderer.  And he wasn’t great at covering his tracks.  I mean good enough to make the damn thing, but not good enough that they didn’t find him eventually.”

“No, what happened to the golem?”

“I guess it slipped away at some point.  Or Farfel turned it loose.  If you love something set it free.  Did you did run into this thing?”  I nodded slowly “What did you think it was when you saw it?”

“I had no fucking idea what it was, it drove me mad!  I knew she wasn’t lying but she couldn’t be telling the truth either.  And I knew that she wouldn’t look like what she looked like but I couldn’t see through any illusions either.”

“Yeah, that’s a puzzler.  She wasn’t lying because she thinks she is Emmalina, and that is what she looks like.  Makes you think doesn’t it?”

“It makes me think all you magic people are pretty fucked up.”

“Hey, I told you he wasn’t magic!  He was just some guy infatuated with a pretty girl he saw.  Infatuated to an unhealthy degree.  .  Infatuated to an unhealthy ungodly degree.  I feel like usually in this situations what happens is the stalker ends up killing the woman he’s stalking rather than killing someone else to make the doll her made of her come to life.  So that’s progress maybe.”

“But it was magic!”

She shrugged “But he’s not a mage.”

“If he did magic how is he not a mage?”

“He just isn’t okay?”

“Well, that clears things up.  What a stupid thing to have happened.”

“Love knows no boundaries.  Look on the bright side, next time you get in legal hot water your cousin Emmalina can help you out.”

“I don’t have a cousin Emmalina!”

“You do now.  Although she’s not technically your cousin.  Since she was never technically born.  But don’t hold that against her.  I’m sure she’s a fine lawyer.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 23,045 platinum, 52,143 gold

XP: 759,111

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, 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, Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Better Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, unknown gauntlets, mysterious staff, tooth-sword, Cape of the Mountebank, Sandals of Sprinting, +1 Agile Rapier   

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, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, lots of luxury goods  

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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