I suppose in retrospect I should have guessed that the hag might send a minion instead of coming herself. I hate when my enemies don’t have the good graces to fall into my obvious traps, it’s simple rude it is. I tell you this much, I don’t have a sister, but if I did have a sister and I wanted to murder her I’d do it with my own hands. I wouldn’t send someone else to do my dirty work for me. I’m just old-fashioned that way. The thing was screeching louder than a two copper whore so we dragged it inside as Elania trailed behind us looking ill. Rem was about to shout something but when he saw what we were dragging in he fainted dead away behind the counter. It would have been funny under other circumstances. Okay it was funny anyway. Elania stayed far away in the corner, keeping a table between herself and the screaming creature.
“So that’s her? That’s my sister? And you can fix her?”
Martialla and I exchanged a glance “No, this is just her hunting dog.”
We tried to question the thing about where its mistress was but even if it understood us (which I wouldn’t swear to) all it did was shout at us in the grating demon-language. We had Elenia send her staff home and we dragged the thing into the back and drowned it in a big pot of water. So yeah, now I’ve done that. Once it was well and truly dead I spoke the command word to turn the bands of banding back into a ball and we tossed the body in the cold storage with the other meat.
Martialla frowned slightly “How come I got soaked and you’re barely wet?”
“A little thing called grace.”
“Grace or a little thing called me doing all the work?”
“Fine, I promise you the next time we drown a shapeshifting jackal monster in a kitchen pot I’ll be sure to hold up my end.”
“What now? We head back out and see if she shows up herself once her minion is overdue?”
“Let’s head back to Vetovia’s and see if maybe she has another idea.”
“What if Vasya attacks while we’re on the way?”
“Then we’ll get her then, doesn’t matter much.”
Elenia was sitting on a stool in the corner looking wan and distressed “What about Rem?”
“Don’t worry, we’ll put the closed sign up on the way out.”
On the way to Vetovia’s shop Martialla also took on the form of Elenia just in case we were ambushed along the way, making it better odds that the real target wouldn’t get attacked. You’d think people had never seen triplets before the way people stared at us. Once we got to the shop Vetovia didn’t blink at the site of three identical women, but she was distraught nonetheless.
“Why did you bring her here?!”
“The plan didn’t really work, Vasya sent a scout. We were wondering if there’s anything else you could do to draw her out.”
She looked around worriedly “I’m sure she’ll be here soon enough!”
“Calm down. Clearly Vasya has marked Elania with some kind of magic mark right? It seems like she knew immediately when Elania came out of the Halfling’s hole. Can’t you backtrack that to where she is with your magic?”
Vetovia blinked “Yes. I can. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.”
“Right so figure out where Vasya is, then pop a little magic circle around Elania here to shield here and then we’ll go grab her.”
Vetovia warded Elania first and then insisted that she prepare the ritual of reverse hagification first before performing the divination. I saw no reason to argue with this, but it turned out not to be a great idea because as I sat on the counter being bored watching Martialla help Vetovia with her magic rigmarole a half dozen of those nasty gnome bastards came charging in with their sharp farm implements. You would expect the shop of a craftmage to be filled with all kinds of arcane traps and magic defenses but nothing happened. I rolled backwards off the counter and came up reaching for my holy symbol to scare them off again when I remembered that it had exploded when it killed Auraluna. I took up my Walking Stick to fend off the blighters, I got in a few hits but mostly I just ducked down as Martialla and Vetovia destroyed them with spells. They might act like redcaps but they’re not resistant to mage the way the real things are – I wonder which was worse for the crazy little buggers, dying horribly or dying horribly being a reminder that despite their fervor for imitating fey killers they’re actually just gnomes?
Hot on their heels came Vasya – looking as bizarrely disfigured and warped as ever. Seeing her the second time what came to mind was a fellow that I saw fall victim to a paralytic poison back at the Duke’s court. Once he was “frozen” the poison continued to eat away at him, turning him into a cracked and grey monstrosity. That’s what she looked like, sort of. Her eyeless face was streaked with black bile and her toothless mouth was flapping wildly. Vetovia yelled not to let her touch me as I threw the capturing orb at her – as if I didn’t know what would happen if she touched me. The iron bands wrapped around the hag and she strained against them with all her incongruous beastly strength. I was amazed to see them start to give a little, so immense was the power in her thin fissured limbs, but iron doesn’t get tired and her strength was spent before she was able to burst the bonds. Vetovia and Elenia looked at the now pathetic figured trapped on the floor with horror but Martialla got them back to business soon enough.
The ritual was a lot of chanting and candles and the waving about of burning herbs. Some kind of vile concoction made of the hag bits was poured over Vasya with a lot of arcane words being said and then Vasya started both shrinking and filling out – changing from a manically thin seven foot monster to a normal looking woman with dark hair. Tossing a blanket over her nudity was my only contribution to the ritual. All three women were crying and embracing and emoting all over the place as Martialla and I looked on awkwardly.
“You want to get a drink?”
We went to a nearby bar, it was a sedate kind of place given the neighborhood we were in and seeing as how it was mid-afternoon we pretty much had the place to ourselves. After a couple hours of cooling our heels and drinking some mid-range booze we figured the tearful reunion was over and we headed back to Vetovia’s shop. They thanked us excessively for saving Vasya from a fate worse than death and yada yada yada until I managed to divert them.
“Yes, yes, you’re all very welcome. Now, Vasya, do you remember where your ‘lair’ was?”
She shook her head “It’s like a bad dream, I don’t really remember specifics, and I never want to.”
“Vetovia, by chance did you do your magical tracing before things got kicked off here?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“Well, not to bring up harsh memories from the bad dreams time but I have to assume that when you were . . . different you killed many people, and there’s probably a stash of valuables wherever you laid your hag-head down at night.”
Vetovia nodded “I did. I’ll tell you, but you must return here – I have gifts to give you for saving my friend.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
The hag-hideaway was the same building where we first encountered her. Martialla had investigated it before but some portions were magically hidden – from her anyway, I could see through the illusions easily. The hag had accumulated quite a nest of bowls and chalices in both gold and silver. There were two goblets with the royal mark on them! And a book written by Saint Swailing himself. Where do they get this shit from? And why? She didn’t even have eyes to enjoy looking at it. I guess I should just be grateful that crazy monsters horde this stuff for no seeming reason. After scooping it all up there was just enough time for Martialla and me to hit the market and sell what I didn’t want off at disgustingly low prices. Once we were back at Vetovia’s shop she presented me with a new amulet and an outfit that were both magically impressive. Turns out that you can get decent magic things – all you have to do is save the friend of a mage from a life of as an evil hag. It’s just that easy folks.
Funds: 28,040 platinum, 59,608 gold
Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Ela’s Dazzling Garment, Belt of Physical Might +4, Ring of Urban Grace, Black Marketers’ Bag (5), Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Extraordinary Walking Stick, Ela’s Elegant Boots, Ela’s Marvelous Amulet
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), darkwood and platinum music box, silver bracelet set with bloodstones, platinum ring set with fire opal, silver and moonstone bracelet
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, Baron Saltwheel, Baron Harmenkar
Behind the curtain: Ela hit 16th level, taking another level of rogue. She took Charisma for her stat bonus. For her rogue talent she took Skill Mastery with Bluff, Disguise & Ride