Montagem 3 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 3

Once it was apparent that the goon squad was only interested in Martialla and myself Sunflower and Lidia were gone in three shakes of a beaver’s tail.  This is typical, when people need you they’re underfoot like weasels and as soon as things take a turn they’re running like crafty jackrabbits.  Not that they could have done anything to help anyway so it’s better that they left, but still, a little show of loyalty would have been nice since we literally just saved them.  At least some protest, for my benefit.  But they just bailed as fast as their little legs could carry them.  Martialla and I were escorted by our ragged mob of thugs to the local lumberjack guildhall, which is even less interesting than it sounds.  There in the main area (what exactly to lumberjacks discuss at a big meeting?) talking with two other fellows was the ugly Halfling from my “trial” in Newberry.  He favored me with a glance before turning back to finish up whatever important tree cutting business they were discussing and dismissing them.

“Well, if it isn’t Cirthana Juost, you do get around don’t you.”

“What makes you say that, we’re like ten miles from where we last saw each other.  I didn’t catch your name last time, I assume you’re Premum Anypoint.”

He nodded “The very same.” He gave me a good looking over “I have to say, you’re looking a good deal rougher around the edges than the list time we met.”

“You didn’t have to say it.”

He ran his eyes over Martialla lecherously “Don’t be rude, introduce me to your friend.”

Martialla took a step forward “Clementine Junoat.”

He took her hand and kissed it wetly “Charmed.” She grimaced and whipped the saliva off on her shirt “Well Miss Juost I hear that you’re causing quite a bit of trouble in the lovely town of PReen.  Lately the Juost family seems not to want to be friends with the Lumber Consortium anymore.  Why is that exactly?  It breaks my heart it does.”

“Well if you must know a barbarian shaman has used her pagan mystical nonsense to capture the good Baron’s mind and is controlling his every move with her dark magic.  We were actually on our way to rescue him but we were told by a wise woman that if we went alone we’d be killed so we stopped here to try and recruit help.”

He snorted “That’s quite a story.  You have a talent for dissembling don’t you?”

I looked over at Martialla “See, this is why I never tell people the truth – it’s not believable.  Lies have the advantage of being plausible, reality has no such restrictions.  My grandma always told me that if you want people to believe you sometimes you have to leave out things that are true and add things that never happened because people need ‘facts’ to fit certain assumptions otherwise they can’t grasp it.”

Premum snapped his fingers “Over here My Lady, no sidebars please.  Leaving aside all magical nonsense it’s clear that the Juost family has allied with the Kostelos tribes and has decided to make my life difficult.  I would be quite the hero with the consortium if I bring you to Three Rivers in chains.”

“This is going to sound like manly posturing, but a couple people have tried just that.  It didn’t turn out so good for them.  Besides, it wouldn’t afford you any benefit.  I’ve never even met the Baron, he doesn’t care about me.  The Kostelos he’s ‘allying’ with are my sworn enemies.  Not to mention he has bounty hunters out looking for my friend to drag her back to Alleene to be hung.”

His eyebrow raised slightly “Is there a reward for that?”

Martialla sighed “Did you have to mention that?”

I waved her quiet “Don’t get sidetracked Mayor Anypoint, if you’ve having problems with Baron Juost the best thing you can do is let me go.  As I said we’re on our way there and we’re going to resolve the whole situation.”

“Resolve, what do you mean by that?”

I shrugged “I’ll figure it out.”

“That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.”

“I you want to use me against the Baron I’m telling you that you can’t.  I think what you really want is for me to leave, that’s just what I intend to do.  The way I hear it you’re not too keen on being here yourself, you want to get this place running smooth and then get out of here.  So why get mixed up with me?  Chaos seems to follow me wherever I go.  If what you want is for the Juost family to get off your back then what you should do is lend me a pit fighter – you lumber people seemed to be able to lay your hands on one in very short notice the last time we met.”

“I’m afraid you’ve lost me.”

“It’s a long story, but before we head to Alleene to free the Baron from the clutches of the savages we need to pop down to Cauldron real quick, they have a fighting arena there – it could really help me out if I had someone to participate.”

He smiled slightly “I have you dragged here to answer to me and instead you’re asking me for a favor?  I see your boldness in Newberry wasn’t an anomaly.”

“Boldness in Newberry?  Isn’t that the name of a musical?  I’m not asking for a favor, I’m giving you a chance to help yourself.  You give me one of the pit-fighters that a mercantile guild apparently has on staff for some reason and I’ll fix your entire situation.  You want to be a hero?  Taking me in won’t do that but give me one of your gladiators and you’ll be a rising star, for whatever that’s worth in a lumberman’s guild.”

He eyed me coldly “It means quite a bit in these parts.” He was quiet for a moment before speaking again “Ordinarily I wouldn’t consider this in the least.  But it just so happens that we do have a certain  . . . individual . . . in town right now for another matter.” He spread his fingers wide “Now, I can’t send him with you . . . unless you do the job he’s in town for, then of course he’d be free to . . .”

“Fine.”

He grinned ear to ear “You haven’t heard what . . .”

“You need someone killed right?” His face fell “Fine.  We’ll do that and then you send the guy with us?”

He recovered his composure “Yes that would be the deal, but I don’t think you understand what you’re getting yourself into.”

“I understand plenty, just give me the information and it will be done.”

He didn’t seem overly pleased by that turn of events.  I guess the idea was that I was supposed to be tormented over the idea of killing someone or that I would refuse or something and he could toy with me.   I guess he only remembers the first part of the duel in Newberry.  Duel in Newberry, that’s a stage play isn’t it?  I feel kind of bad for killing that guy, but on the other hand he was a pit fighter so who cares? 

I was expecting him just to give us a name, but he felt the need to tell us an entire backstory.  Back when he was running lumbercamps instead of lumber-dependent townships old Premum had become good pals with a “timber tramp” by the name of Double B.  He explained the nickname but I wasn’t listening.  Premum and DB became best pals.  Of course a woman would ruin this.  Double B was out of the camp doing tramp stuff when Glory showed up, pregnant and the victim of a broken heart.  Premum gave her a shoulder to cry on and soon enough they were to be married.  Wouldn’t you know it Double B turns up on the day of the wedding and Hell’s bells HE’S the father of Glory’s child.  He ran away because of was scared of the responsibility but after this unlikely reunion he and Glory reconciled and instead THEY got married instead.  Ouch.  Premum tried to be a good sport about this but he really did love Glory and it’s been eating at him over the years.  Long story short (too late) he wants Double B dead. 

After leaving the lumber guildhouse Martialla and I were informed that we were no longer welcome at the Song and Dance which hardly seems fair since we were the ones who were attacked.  Typical.  We set off to find new lodgings. 

Martialla looked over at me “So, we’re assassins now?”

“Sure, why not?”

She nodded thoughtfully “As long as you have a good reason.  You know, Dulphistos has a whole mansion we could stay at.  He’s only been dead for a couple hours at this point, probably it hasn’t been taken over my squatters yet.”

“Might as well check it out.”

I was halfway expecting the place to be burned down or overrun with redcaps and mute hags but it was just sitting there like “normal”.  Martialla insisted that the bodies be removed before she was going to go to sleep but that was her hang-up so I left her too it and went to sleep in the bedroom where we found Cathadela.  The décor was abominably ugly but the bed was good enough.  I had a good sleep going when Martialla woke me up excitedly with one of her blazing magic lights.

I covered my eyes irritably “Good Gods woman, give me a little warning.”

She waved some grimy ink-spattered papers at me with a grin “You are never going to believe what this guy was up to!”

“What?”

She shook her head gleefully “You’ll never guess!” She waved the papers around again “Do you know what this is?”

“I was fucking sleeping, just tell me!”

“Dulphistos’s real name was Blywen and he’s been plotting to overthrow the Duke for the last ten years!”

“The Duke of what?” I was suddenly fully awake and sat up “MY Duke?”

She nodded, grinning like a lunatic “Yeah, Duke Eaglevane.  They had some kind of beef years ago and Blywen had to run off and live under an assumed identity.  But he’s been plotting his revenge for more than a decade.  And we killed him, isn’t that crazy?!”

I grunted and lay back down, pulling the overs over my head “Yes, quite madcap indeed, turn that damn light off.” 

She ripped the covers off me “I haven’t told you the best part.  He’s been spending a fortune hiring mercenaries outside the Duchy and bribing officials within, keeping them in readiness for the day he makes his move.  He’s got a whole army hidden in the hills waiting for the word to attack.”

I sat back up “Hmm . . . that is . . . something.”

Her eyes danced in her magical illumination “You want to go meet them?  Remember that big gate thing we saw downstairs?”

“No.”

“It leads to the hidden mercenary camp.”

“If he had a magic gate why was he writing them letters?”

“It takes a ton of magically energy, it’s probably only for emergencies, for the day to day operations of plotting to overthrow a Duke it’s easier to just send letters.  You want to go?!”

“Yeah, yeah, let me get my pants on.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 28,040 platinum, 47,545 gold

XP: 865,721

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, 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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