Mantelderith 12 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

After chopping down the door (it chopped down if you destroy it?) to the chamber where the Baroness was being held prisoner I realized that it probably would have been safer to leave her in there until the fighting was over.  After all no one should be trying to kill her specifically, and I would judge that door was pretty impregnable if you don’t have a magic dwarf axe.  Oh well, what can I say, I like making an entrance.  Since that horse was out of the barn (so to speak) we escorted her up to one of the parapets of stately Juost Manor.  Is it still a parapet if it’s not on a castle?  What is it, a turret?  You know what I mean, one of the high parts of the manor.  Crossing through the upper hallways we had to kill a couple of the Baron’s men – why they didn’t obey the commands of their Baroness and stand down I don’t know.  They were probably just confused and frightened.  Ironically (?) the only Kostelos we saw, who would be reckoned as our actual enemy turned and ran as soon as he saw us.  Not sure how he knew who we were, I guess word gets round.

The Baroness explained that once her husband came back with his barbaric new friends and started banging a geriatric death shaman she just resolved to keeping her head down and prayed extra hard to Adariel to save her.  After a while though the Kostelos became increasingly paranoid and suspicious that she was working against them so she was locked away until the Baron could be mind-twisted enough to execute his lawful and true ladywife.  She didn’t think it would have been much longer since just the other day he came to visit her alone and gave her a long and confusing “goodbye” speech.  She seemed to think that the timing of our rescue had something to do with that – I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was purely a coincidence.  Actually that’s not true, I had plenty of heart to tell her, it just didn’t seem like a good idea. I didn’t resist from chapping her hide about expecting prayers to do anything though.

She smiled “You’re here aren’t you?”

I rolled my eyes “Don’t give me that mysterious ways bullshit.  My being here is not part of some divine plan.”

She looked down her nose at me, which is tough when you’re looking up at someone who’s taller than you “I see your time away hasn’t improved you manners.”

“My manners are fucking impeccable when I went them to be.”

The good Baroness seemed rather anxious about her household being torn apart by chaotic violence, and the potential for her own death probably didn’t help so I asked Martialla to put her to sleep with her magic.  Martialla said that it would only last for a couple minutes but the Baroness stayed asleep even laying on the hard floor for hours.  I guess after the magic wore off she was asleep for real.  Not sure how that works.  What’s the difference between magic sleep and sleep sleep?  I’m sure no one knows.  No one asks questions about magic, not even the people doing the magic, it’s exasperating.  From our high position we had a good view, not of the fighting which was below us, but of the countryside.  We watched the sun rise – which normally I don’t care for but after being stuck in a lightless tomb for a while it stirred a little something inside me. 

“It is beautiful country out here isn’t?  If you like that sort of thing.”

“That it is.”

“What’s today’s date?”

“The twelfth I think.”

“Huh, it’s my birthday.  If I remember correctly last year on my birthday is when I ran into the Hurmont family.  I think that was the first time I got cursed and that time it was by a god no less.  I mean Kratlen, but still a god.  And I believe that was the first time I ran into a secret cult of murderers trying to kill me.  It was definitely the first time I threatened the life of a child.”

“Sounds like quite a day.  What were you doing the year before that?”

“Nothing probably, my birthdate wasn’t anything anyone cared about at court.  The Duke’s birthday though – that was really something.  I bet you could found a colony with the money spent just on the appetizers.”

“You could?”

“Maybe not be but someone could.  I wouldn’t count civil administration as one of my skills.  I’ve heard that deciding on the proper location for a latrine is harder than you think.  Do we need to talk about the stabbing or anything else that happened on the way here?”

Martialla shook her head after a moment “No, I’m good if you are.  That was unpleasant, let’s not do anything like that again.”

“Seemed like you were enjoying it.”

“I thought I might get a little kick out of it, at least at first, but I didn’t.  At all.  Turns out that pretending to betray your friend and treating them like a hated enemy isn’t much fun at all.”

“If you love me so much why don’t you marry me?”

“Maybe I will.”

An hour after sunrise or so we saw a large body of men (and some women maybe) fleeing the grounds.  No one was chasing them that I saw, but they were certainly in a hurry.  It’s hard to say for sure but I think they were the Satander exiles.  I asked Martialla how those dirty foreign bastards got involved in all of this but she didn’t have much information other than that Zedkath had made a deal with them to let them through the gap he was supposed to be guarding.  What that had to do with Kartak or the Sky Thunder tribe or the Kostelos in general she didn’t know.  Clearly though it didn’t work the way they wanted since they were bugging out of the manor with extreme prejudice. 

“I suppose it doesn’t really matter what was going on, probably just another plot against the Kingdom that I’ve thwarted.  It really isn’t fair that I’m an enemy of the Crown given the regularity with which I save the entire nation from certain disaster with nothing more than pluck and determination.  In the stories when the brave heroes save the Kingdom there’s a big ceremony and the King gives them medals – or at least the human members of the party get medals.  The male humans anyway.  I mean there’s only so many meals to go around.  But what do I get?”

“Maybe if you tell the Queen about all the times you’ve saved the realm from our enemies she’ll kill the Duke for you.”

“That would be no good, I have to do it myself.  Speaking of, what do you think happened to Kartak?  You think that shaggy beast got him?  I’m worried that I’m going to have to bring him back to life so that I can kill him myself.  Which, as you know, is a whole can of worms.  Resurrection is a tricky business, it’s a worm on a worm it is.”

“I bet he escaped.  I bet he’s on his way here right now and you can grab him when he shows up.”

“That would be nice.”

“Back to the other thing though, maybe if they capture Zedkath he’ll explain what the plan was and how the Satanders fit into it.”

“He’s here?  I wish you would have told me that.”

“Why?”

“I would have tried to capture him.”

“You think the Duke would care enough about his cousin that he would make himself vulnerable by leaving Indlecastle to come get him?”

“Probably not, but there’s no harm in trying.”

“Isn’t there?  Right now the Duke thinks you’re dead, if he thinks about you at all, if make a move on him and it doesn’t work out that’s probably going to be it.  Once he knows that you’re alive and a credible threat he’s probably going to make sure you’re dead.  I think you’re only going to get one chance at this, I don’t know if this is a situation where you want to just try things and see if they work.  I think you want to make your move only once you’re sure.”

“I suppose you’re right about that, but having the Duke’s cousin under your thumb couldn’t hurt – as the old saying goes it’s better to have the Duke’s cousin as a prisoner and not need him than need the Duke’s cousin as a prisoner and not have him.”

“Wise words.  Does the Duke have any siblings?  Maybe they’d make better hostages than cousins.”

“A couple sisters that got married off as consolation prizes to some other nobles, all his brothers ended up dead one way or the other – funny how that happens with rich people.  I can’t think of a single solitary soul that he cares about even a little besides himself.”

“A real humanitarian huh?  Sounds like the fighting is dying down, should we go down?”

“Nah, let’s let them find us whenever they wander up here – you know how men get when women are acting with too much independence.  Can’t have the Baron thinking that we saved his fiefdom after all.  This is a fiefdom right?”

“What if it’s not the Baron’s men?  What if the Kostelos are the ones that win out and find us?”

“Obviously we’ll surrender and beg for mercy.” I took a deep breath “Not a bad day is it?  Not a bad day at all.”

“The only thing that could make it better is a drink.”

“You still got that bottle of Oldlaw?” She shook her head and I pulled out my Flask “Oh well, I suppose this will have to do.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 53,040 platinum, 8,000 gold

XP: 1,070,851

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 Elegant Boots, Ela’s Extravagant Necklace, +1 Adamantine Dwarf Waraxe 

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, dwarf journal

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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