Montagem 1 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

All things considered I’ve had worse nights.  Many worse nights.  Even though she was the one ripped to shreds Martialla got me back to the Song and Dance and handed me a couple bottles of Golden Fleet Vodka to keep me company while she saw to her wounds.  The arm doesn’t hurt, which is unsettling in and of itself when you think about it, so as long as I don’t look at it I’m fine – and you’re not looking at your arm after you drink until you pass out.  I woke up on the floor in the broad daylight and tried to push myself up, at which point my physical situation came flooding back instantly, all the good work the vodka did to blot it out being erased in a flash.  I almost started crying again.  But I got a hold of myself.  Bad shit happens and sitting around crying about it doesn’t help a damn thing.  I took a moment to compose myself and then rolled to a position where I could stand up with one arm.  That one little movement was a way of telling myself “see, its fine”.  I had the good graces to believe myself.  I can be very convincing you know.      

Once I was on my feet I took another couple of moments for myself.  So my arm is screwed up?  So what do we do?  We fix it and we move on.  I drank the last little bit of Golden Fleet Vodka out of one of the bottles and then got myself washed up and dressed.  It was tricky with one arm, thankfully I won’t have to get used to it though.  I summoned the staff to clean the place up, because having other people doing your bidding always makes you feel better.  After watching them sternly for a moment I went to talk to the manager about finding me some magical restorative therapy.  Now that I think about it I don’t recall seeing any temples in town, but there has to be an Odobenine presence in a place where there’s so much commerce right?  And they’re always good for some mercenary healing.  After communicating my request to the chief lackey I returned to my room and had them bring me breakfast on the balcony – double berry crepes with lemon crud and vanilla cream, grilled honey peaches, and sour cream waffles with praline apples.  It was a bit awkward eating with one hand but I won’t have to deal with that for long right?  While I was eating I Martialla returned and she took a seat across from me, helping herself to some breakfast wine.

“What have you been up to this fine morning?”

“I went back.”

“Back to the hag-hole?  That seems like a terrible idea.”

“You don’t know the half of it, a big section of the place collapsed – probably from that freeze magic the hag used.”

“Well, here you are so I guess it worked out.”

“I was being careful.  I wanted to check out if our new friend was there by coincidence or if she’s allied with Dulphistos.”

“What did you find out?”

“Nothing conclusive, although I’m not sure what that would be conclusive evidence other than a letter from Dulphistos left behind and that only happens in books.  I think it was just a coincidence.  I saw traps in other buildings and some magical sensors but they didn’t have any fucking monsters in them.  I think it was just our god damn dumb luck that we went into the one with a whistling hag in it.  If she’s not working for him I’m sure he knows she’s there but as long as it keeps people away why would he care?”

“It’s hard to say, but it probably doesn’t matter.  In a way it just helps our story that some people were lurking around his house.  Even if they are in cahoots I mean it’s not like that eyeless thing can describe us to him right?”

“Are we already to the joking about it stage on your arm?”

“No, but I’m using humor as a defense mechanism.  I asked the concierge or owner or whatever he is where the best magical healing money can buy can be found.”

“I’ve already been asking around.  Razmiran didn’t encourage of religious institutions to come here so for a town of this size there’s not much in the way of divine spellcasting.  From what I was told there are two options.  The lumber people have a healer that’s supposed to be a bigshot in town right now in case their troubleshooter gets himself a boo-boo, but I don’t know how we’d make that approach.”

“Let me guess, the other option is a crazy alchemist?”

“We don’t know that he’s crazy.” I gave her a sour look “We’ll see what Mr. Song and Dance comes back with, but I assume those two options are going to be it – Preen isn’t really a hotbed of fantastical magic commerce.”

“Is there a place that is?”

She shrugged “Probably.”

I sighed “In retrospect we undoubtedly should have anticipated that the buildings around a secretive mage’s lair would be guarded somehow.”

“True.  You know what they say about hindsight.”

“That people think it’s better but that’s only because they have information on what did happen and they’re not thinking about whatever other bad things could have happened for the things they didn’t do?”

“Uh, that’s not the expression I’m familiar with, but sure.”

“I’m going to pick up my boots today, I can ask what’s her name about healers in and around town as well.  In the meantime what’s the plan?  No reason to let all our work got to waste just because my arm is shriveled like a cock on cold winter’s night.”

“Adelis has a couple of her girls watching.”

“Isn’t that a terrible idea?”

“Not watching Dulphistos, watching Velké.  If Big D and his people make a move on Velké we’ll know about it.  There will be a delay, but we’ll know.  It makes things trickier but it’s the best I could come up with.”

“I suppose worst case scenario the mage kills the gangsters and we miss out on our chance and we have try something else.”

“This really is a lot of trouble just to help out an old acquaintance.”

“You know me Martialla, I give and I give and I give.”

After breakfast Mertialla skulked off to do more skulking and I headed to Vetovia’s shop to pick up my new boots.  They weren’t great looking aesthetically, I’ll spare you my usual complain about mages and their inability to make quality items, but they’re good enough.  And the magic actually works so that’s good, I’m always worried about magic people ripping me off because how would I know?  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s the perfect scam.  Sure this ring is magic, ten thousand gold please.  Once the pleasantries were out of the way I explained the predicament with my arm and she suggested that I seek out someone by the name of Banderess Vichada, who based on our conversation must be the alchemist that Martialla mentioned.  How many arm-regrowing alchemist can there be in Preen?

But surprisingly that wasn’t all.  Vetovia knew all about the crazy gnomes and their eyeless mistress (she’s the one who explained to me those various facts I mentioned before).  I’ve often wondered where hags come from, well she told me where this one came from.  Turns out that if you’re a woman saturated with arcane power and you become consumed with bitterness, what you can do is complete a ritual that culminates in ripping out your own eyes and tongue and burning the light from your soul. This turns you into a hateful abomination dedicated to spreading misery and strangling joy wherever you go. Which seems like a bit of an overreaction if you ask me.  I mean if you’re going to gouge out someone’s eyes shouldn’t it be the person that made you so bitter?  Vetovia knew about this because the hag was (is?) her friend Vasya.  In fact the only reason she’s still in a place like Preen is because she’s trying to find a way to un-hagify her friend. 

“Wow, that’s very devoted of you.  I hope if I ever get turned into a hag I have a friend like you.  How’s the cure coming along?”

“It’s hard to say, it’s not like I can test it out.  I think I have it figured out.  I have a unicorn hair, water from a healing spring, what I don’t have is a flawless diamond into which to draw the ‘infection’ and somehow that diamond has to involve a promise faithfully kept.  But the real hard part is that I need to kill another hag and use some . . . parts from her body for the concoction.”

“That shouldn’t be so hard, there’s a whole village of hags just south of here.”

She snickered slightly “You don’t mean Cauldron do you?”

“Hey, I didn’t think it was real either, but then I fucking went there – some big blue hag with steel claws kicked the shit out of me.  It’s a real place, believe me.”

“Are you serious?”

“I’m as serious as a severed hag’s head.  Plus check this shit out, I’m about to make your day.  I have a diamond I can give you that should work and I promise that I’ll help you out with this whole scenario.”

She blinked “You will?”

“A hundred percent.”

“Uh . . . why?”

“A couple reasons, one that hag is on my list so she has to go.  Two, you seem like good people.  Three I need favors, lots of favors, for some other things I got going on.  And four, I’m whimsical.”

“O. . . kay.”

“No fooling, I swear.” I took out one of my diamonds “Check this baby out.”

She squinted at my palm “It’s awfully small.”

“It’s a diamond, they aren’t that big.  The point is that it’s flawless, and I promise to give it you to help bring Vasya back from her bitter fate.  A promise that I shall faithfully keep.”

“That’s . . . insane.  We’re basically strangers.”

“Well now we’re pals.  Once I get my arm back in fighting shape and I take care of this other thing we’ll pop on down to hagtown and massacre one of those warty broads and then we’ll fix up your friend right quick.”

Once I got back to the Song and Dance there were two notes waiting for me – one from the manager telling me that I should speak to Banderess Vichada about my arm.  And the other, on very expensive stationary and wand written with impeccable penmanship (penwomanship?) was from Banderess Vichada saying that she was available to see me for high tea tomorrow at her manor.  She must be one of those supernatural figures that hears their name if you say it too many times.  Martialla turned back up later that night saying that the word on the street was that our frame job appeared to be working.  Over dinner I told her about Vetovia and Vasya.

Martialla shook her head “At this point I think you’re doing this on purpose.  For someone with a supposedly singular purpose you get sidetracked remarkable easily.” 

“My new theory is that the Gods are going to throw something at me anyway, this way I get to choose what it is.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Neither does your face!”

“I can’t argue with that.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 28,040 platinum, 53,580 gold

XP: 803,511

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Amulet of Dreams, Ela’s Traveling Outfit, 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), Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, Ela’s Boots

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 (26), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three) 

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, eyeless hag  

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