It would have been quiet poetic had this happened a couple days ago. Getting drugged and kidnapped on the anniversary of the day I was drugged and kidnapped from the Duke’s court? That really would have been something. That’s the kind of shit that you roll your eyes at when it happens in a book. But it would have been real. If it happened. Which it didn’t. I could easily say that it did though, who’s keeping track? Nobody, that’s who.
This is the first time in a while that I’m waking up having been made a captive. Seems like it used to happen every other week back in the early days. Looking back on it now the sheer volume of times that a cult wanted to sacrifice me was staggering. I can tell you this now, I don’t miss it. Call me crazy but I don’t enjoy being abducted and bound and left to the mercy of violent strangers. I suppose on the plus side this time I’m not in some weird dungeon or the top of a tower or anything, it looked like I was just in a normal house. I’m not sure but I think the street where I was shot with that dart was literally just outside. On the negative end of things I was tried pretty securely to a chair, which is very uncomfortable. Even worse my captor was in the process of sticking me with a thin needle-like instrument that was dripping with a thick yellow liquid. She was young, skinny as a rail, and her dirty blonde hair was chopped up hideously – I’ve seen better hairstyles on scarecrows.
“What the Hells are you poisoning me with now?”
She turned her head over her should “She’s wake.”
“Did you happen pick up my Walking Stick or did leave it lying in the street? It’s very expensive.”
“You must be the blow girl.”
Her head whipped back around “What did you say?!”
“You’re the one that shot me with the blowpipe right? Hey, I know you. You’re one of the Gallow Girls? You and your friend were hassling me when I came to talk to your leaders a while back.”
She grabbed me by the hair and made as if she was going to jam the needle up my nose “My friend is dead because of you!”
“Ow! Ease off the roots lady! Clearly you’re rejecting societal norms surrounding a woman’s hairstyle but my hair is very important to me. It all got burned off once and . . .”
She let go and stepped back with a sneer “I tell you my friend is dead because of you and all you can talk about is your hair?”
I shrugged as best you can while tied to a chair “It’s a pretty good story. I didn’t kill your friend, I only met you two that one time and I didn’t kill anyone that day. I don’t think. No one in your gang anyway.”
Choppy-hair was working up an angry retort when another woman walked in the room. I recognized her as well. Very pale, long dark hair, practical commoner clothing made expensively, an enviable degree of cool confidence. Her pale face was now marred with several ugly bruises. She set a chair in front of me but didn’t sit in it, hovering at my side.
“Tario? What . . .”
She punched me hard in the side of the head. Along with being abducted it’s been quite a while since I’ve been punched. Stabbed? Sure. Bitten? Absolutely. Clawed, burned, strangled, battered, poked and prodded? You bet. But I haven’t been punched in a while. It hasn’t improved with time. I’m going to be controversial here but I’m going to say that getting punched sucks. I started to say something else but was silenced when I was hit from behind by something hard. For a moment before my vision started to swim I could see Choppy-hair grinning at me mercilessly. Paleface was talking but with the ringing in my ears I couldn’t understand her – it sounded like she was talking underwater. I could see her getting angrier when I didn’t respond.
“I’m no expert but when you’re interrogating someone hitting them in the head is maybe not the best idea. Makes everything get all dizzy.”
Paleface nodded “That’s fine, we’ll work on your toes.” She took something out of a pouch on her belt.
My vision started to clear “Is that a fucking hammer? Who carries around a fucking hammer?”
“My father was a carpenter.” She ducked her head at Choppy-hair “Cren, get her boots off.”
“The way you have me tied up I think that’s going to be hard. You should have discussed your torture plan before you tied me up so thoroughly. But in any event it’s unnecessary. I’ll tell you whatever you want. I’m not one of those people who get salty in the face of torture, whatever you want to know I’ll tell you. You want to know my deepest darkest secrets? I’ll blab happily.”
She put the hammer away “The only thing I want to know is where Tario is.”
She moved behind me and pushed my chair over so that my face smashed into the empty chair in front of me – she held on and careful positioned me so I was levered onto the chair at an awkward and painful angle.
“I don’t want questions from you, I want answers, and the only thing I want to know is where Tario is.
At this point a very odd thing happened. The ropes, which had been excruciatingly tight suddenly loosened of their own accord, spilling me out onto the floor. I would find out later that this is something that my Tankard does. It has some enchantment on it to loosen bindings, not even right away, after a while, which is ingenious. I should really learn what all my magic shit does one of these days. I think all three us were equally caught off guard by this turn of events but I recovered the quickest – spinning to my back and kicking the chairs up into my interrogators face. I scrambled to my feet with the unfortunately revelation that without my Walking Stick I don’t really have a good weapon for close quarters fighting. I’d skip the standard complaint about how I shouldn’t be leading a life where I even need to know about close quarter fighting (but I shouldn’t). Remember back when I had dwarf runes that allowed me to turn my hands into lion-paws with big gnashy claws? That was pretty sweet.
Choppy-hair had a dagger out which she was smearing with poison (I assume, some kind of white paste) so I used the ropes that were still hanging off me to toss around her neck. She dropped the dagger to grab the rope and I did my level best to use her as a human shield as Paleface came at me with a club. Club sounds too crude, it was a very fancy club, I’ll call it a fighting baton, that sounds better. Or wait, baton sounds like it’s leading a parade. Let’s just call it a cudgel. After getting cudgeled upside the head I decided that my rope strangling plan wasn’t working out so well. I let go and activated my Amulet instead, covering myself with metal skin. This took my kidnappers aback but they rallied quickly. Choppy-hair hurled her dagger at me, which bounced off harmlessly. Paleface leapt into the air and spun about with some elaborate whirling attack move, her strike made an ugly sound like a bell poorly struck but it didn’t do anything. Paleface danced back but I bashed Choppy-hair in the nose with a metal fist and sent her crumbling to the ground with a fountain of blood.
“I think we can agree here that I have the upper hand now, so let’s talk. I have no idea where Tario is, I haven’t seen him since the last time I was here. Why do you want to kill him?”
Paleface glared at me as she helped Choppy up “You’re just protecting your boss.”
I made a sour face “My boss? Tario? That moron? I wouldn’t sign on with that scapegrace if I woke up nude in an alley in Malgereth. He’s probably already dead. With all that money he got from the heist he probably drank himself to death, or someone killed him to take it because we was talking about all the money he had. Is that what this is all about? The heist? You had your chance to get in on that action, what’s the problem? Non-buyer’s remorse?”
Her expression remained implacable “Maybe you’re the boss then. Maybe you’re the one we need to kill.”
“Why would you want to kill me or Tario? You’re the ones that got over on us last time. You ripped me off. I offered to cut you in on the jewel job, you were too afraid of Razmiran’s assassins to take it – that’s your own fucking fault.”
She shook her head “And that’s why you and Tario are back in town, to finish us off. You thought you could extinguish us because we’ve been weakened but we captured you easily enough. You and Tario are both going to die.”
“I don’t care about you, I’m not here . . .”
She pointed “Ever since you came into town there’s been trouble for us. I think you’re the cause of it all. You’re not as clever as you think, we figured out what you’re up to.”
I sighed “People love saying that to me, do I seem like I think I’m overly clever? Look, I . . .” At this point my metallic skin faded away “. . . oh shit.”
I really should learn how my magic items work. Choppy drew another dagger and poured an ugly black syrup on it as Paleface charged with her club. We had moved far enough away though that I was able to get my crossbow and shot her at essentially point blank range – the bolt punching all the way through her stomach to almost hit Choppy as well. Paleface sagged to her knees, as people tend to do when shot completely though, and I stabbed her (you know, in the head) with my Crossbow Blade. Choppy came at me with her poisoned knife but I smashed her down with the stock of my crossbow. Thankfully I did see my Walking Stick in the next room as I walked out of the house, I would have been pissed if they left it in the street and someone snatched it up. Once I was out in the street and walking towards the Song and Dance again Martialla fell in beside me.
I looked down at my dress “If those idiots tore my dress I am going to be very upset.”
“I told you should have it magically treated to avoid being damaged.”
“You tell me a lot of things.”
“And all of them wise counsel.”
“Where the Hells were you?”
“I was looking for you.”
“How did they get me in the first place? You were literally holding onto me.”
“There were more of them, it was a whole scenario, I knew you’d be able to get free on your own.”
“I’m sure. I tell you this much, I’m glad we framed them now.”
Funds: 28,040 platinum, 47,560 gold
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