Montagem 14 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 4

Certain religious types spend a great deal of their time trying to catalog all the different demons.  Maybe because they think it will help people avoid those demons but probably because they’d rather sit and write in a book than actually help anyone – charity and compassion are a lot of work.  Trust me I know where from I speak on that.  Gastronok the demon that makes people sick.  Dozzeth the demon of people who sneeze without covering their mouth.  Arrrrlizz the demon that makes pine trees get sick and lose their needles.  Sarthronothronoth the confuser of migrating birds.  Drolgalos the demon that makes you grab a lady’s thigh under the table.  Stiffrenillious the demon who makes you want to put your hand into a fire.  Sharbinith the demon who wants you to cut yourself.  Urzorich the demon of suicide by hanging.  Jag’than the demon that encourages people to flick their boogers.  The defiler of graveyards, the urge to jump off bridges, the desire to fart in someone’s hat, etc. 

You have to assume that most of them are made up right?  The priest that writes these who’s who books of demons, maybe they start off with a possession in Briartown where Snaxiskics the lord of blue flies took over the body of a young girl but after the first few they’re probably just freestyling right?  How would a priest even know about Phimsham the demon of inaccurate cartography?  Doesn’t seem like the kind of demon that would be involved in the kind of world ending plots that attract people’s attention.  My point is this, there’s probably a book somewhere that names and gives vital statistics on a demon for poorly made beds, and a demon for being woken up early, and a demon for crusty morning eyes, and a demon for harsh sunlight when you first open your eyes in the morning but I bet it’s made up.  I bet there are no such demons.  OR IS THAT THEIR GREATEST TRICK ?!?!?

Although to be fair I woke up mostly because I was hungry.  Isn’t that weird how that can happen?  You can’t feel hungry while you’re asleep, you can’t feel anything, but somehow it wakes you up?  Explain that.  Demon? As I tried to failed (failed to try really if we’re being honest) to get up I realized Martialla was sitting in the corner.

“Were you watching me sleep?”

“No, I was gazing at you while you rested.”

“Oh, well that’s not weird then.  I assume you were standing by invisibility to help me this morning in case things went south?”

“Of course, that’s the great thing about invisibility, you can assume whatever you want and it can be true.”  She paused for a moment before continuing soberly “You know your luck is going to run out one of these days if you keep doing that.”

I snorted “What luck would that be?”

“I’m serious.  It doesn’t matter how sneaky you are, eventually you’re going to run into someone who can’t be snuck.”

“Good thing you’ll be lurking about invisibly to get me out of hot water.  I assume you’re the one that roasted one of the belt buckle brigade.”

She nodded “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

“I’m sure it was.  You look around here?  Did Nilda leave anything good behind?”

“I found a folding bow that is actually really well made – normally those trick bows are garbage.  I think anyway, I don’t really know anything about bows.  That was it though, I think she was packed to leave at any time.”

“Smart girl.

“I did find a coded list that I think was people she was going to kill before you came along and solved her money problems.  If you ever want to finish that up.”

“In a way you have to admire a woman who resolves her money problems with contract killing rather than hooking, it seems commendable – but realistically shouldn’t be the opposite?  Making people feel good has to be morally superior to killing right?”

“Depends on the person.  Besides, no one pays you twenty five THOUSDAND gold for sex.”

“Depends on the person.”

She hooked her thumb towards the door of Nilda’s cottage “That guy who said you saved his life is out front, he’s been waiting to talk to you.”

“All this time?  Stalker.”

“Exactly, that’s why I was guarding you.”

“Sure.” I gestured imperiously “Send him in.”

Martialla nodded like the dutiful servant she isn’t and went to the door to escort in the tall fellow with the hammer belt.  He had acquired a hat somewhere, I think for the sole purpose of taking it off as he came in as a sign of respect.  I bet there’s a book that claims there’s a demon that makes people not take their hats off indoors.

“Sorry to keep you waiting my good man, what can I do for you?”

He wanted to thank me, which you know, whatever, and he wanted to tell me his tale – which wasn’t terribly interesting but I thought that it would have been rude to say so.  He had been indentured to one of the Duke’s military pals for seven years to do “lawful and reasonable works and labors” which covers quite a bit of ground.  One problem was that after the seven years was up they told him he had to work for them for another three years because of a clause in the contract about the condition of his boots.  When he complained to the authorities they gave him six months of hard labor for lying under oath.  Another problem was that the good Captain’s wife was something of an amateur loanshark and liked to send him out on collection jobs – and by collect I mean to rough people up.  Once she realized he was pretty good at that she started organizing “events” where he would fight other indentures or servants.  Also she started demanding sexual favors from him.  And when her husband found out she said she was raped.  There’s another five years on the tab there.  This is all in addition to the beatings and general humiliation.  Rich people do love their humiliations. 

“That must have been Sicar Gaudkroger, I remember hearing something about her little fight nights.  What a stone cold bitch.  I should probably kill her.”

Even though he was a strong man who’s clearly been in many battles and she’s hundreds of miles away he actually looked frightened at the mention of her name “I’m not sure she can be killed.” He trailed off, lost in thought for a moment “I was pretty shocked when I saw you last night, or this morning, whichever it was.  I feel like I have to do something to repay you.  You gave me my life back.”

“Well, and no offense, I’m not sure that skulking around in the woods ripping people off is that great of a life.”

“It’s a paradise compared to what I had before.  Now I’m free.”

“I understand that, sort of.  You saved me from your friends so I think we’re even.  Can you cook?’

He was clearly puzzled “Uh . . . what?”

I threw back the covers of the bed and stood up stiffly on my bad hip “I’m fucking famished, pardon my language.” I gestured to the kitchen “If saving me isn’t good how about this – if you can whip me up an egg dish all debts are paid.  I can’t cook for shit, pardon my language, and this one” I pointed at Martialla “is even worse.”

Martialla scowled “That’s not true at all, I can make food . . . of a sort.”

“Yes, well I admit that some of the things you’ve made have had some of the same qualities as food.”

Irori (as I learned his name was) glanced at the kitchen and then back to me “Uh . . . . what?”

I clapped him on the back “Don’t worry about it buddy, glad to do it, all part of the job, just passing through, think nothing of it, don’t mention it, etcetera and so forth.  I don’t mean to diminish the importance of your rescue or anything like that but let’s not make a big thing of it okay?  There’s no rewards for being a decent human being.”

Martialla grinned “She’s a humble heroine she is.”

“Shut up you.  I really am hungry if you can cook at all and there’s any food in here.  But there is something you can help me out with.  Because of certain events I put you and your friends on my list, and I don’t take people off my list – not ever, it sets a bad precedent.  But I don’t want to take you all out now that I know more of the story, so I think I need to amend the list a little.  Who was the guy doing the whipping?”

Irori pursed his lips “He’s the one what was barbecued last night.  Never cared for him myself.”

“Hmm, what about the guys that were doing the holding down for the whipping?  Keep in mind this isn’t a death list exactly, but something needs to happen to them.”

“Victor, Beharri, and Cebuano – they’re not the best, but they’re not the worst either.  I mean we are criminals, there’s no angels amongst our ranks.”

“Everyone’s a criminal in some way I’m sure.  Well, they’re going to have to go on the list, but the rest of you are off the hook.  And there’s nothing that says I have to cross them off the list right away.  I can save them for last.”

Martialla was rummaging around in the kitchen area “After a long draught you’ve really bulked up the list lately, you may not ever get to them the way things are going.”

“Time is the enemy of us all.  Seriously like a fried ham and cheese sandwich would be great, or a kabob, anything really.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 53,040 platinum, 9,605 gold

XP: 923,451

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 Extravagant Necklace

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, holy symbol of Kozilek 

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, Colonel Tarl Ciarán’s wizard soldier, Victor, Beharri, Cebuano, Mayor Eryn, Chimera Trading Company

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