Mantelderith 21 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Yesterday when the caravan ground to a halt I took a little walk around and found a lovely bubbling (not babbling) stream to dump the nixie wine into.  I never really thought about what a nixie would look like before that moment but if I had I would have been expecting that like most watery fey that lure men to their deaths she would be tarted out.  She was not.  Her hands and feet were both webbed froglike monstrosities bigger than dinner plates and her skin/scales were a glistening grey color that looked very unhealthsome.  Her seaweedish green-brown hair was about the best thing about her, certainly her giant all white eyes were not.  I guess unlike water nymphs nixies entice people to drown with their personalities.  Once she was released straight away she started complaining.  This wasn’t HER pond, it wasn’t a pond at all!  Seems to me like a stream would be a much nice place to live than a pond but when do I know about it?  While she was whining at me I wondered for the seven hundredth time why I ever help anyone.  They never appreciate it.  If there’s a number one bullshit saying out there it’s that beggars can’t be choosers – they sure as Hells can and they do all the time. 

“Aren’t you fairies supposed to have some old forgotten by mortals code of hospitality?  I just saved your life, instead of being verbally abused shouldn’t I get a wish or something?”

If she could blink I think she would have, but she had no eyelids “A wish?”

“Yeah, like I wish to be reunited with my parents but somehow you twist things around so that my wish backfires.  Like I’m back with my parents but they’re mean and beat me or something.  That’s not a good example, but you know what I’m talking about – monkey paw type shit.  You know, the old saying that the best curse is to give someone exactly what they want?” She seemed to be staring at me but with those eyes it’s hard to tell “Forget it, look, I don’t know what to tell you – this is the only body of water around.  Can you live in there or what?  Because if you can’t I guess you’re going to die.”

Her disturbing lips twisted into a fish-pout “I guess I can live here.”

I sighed “I’m not promising anything but where is your pond?”

She smiled dreamily and started maundering about the virtues of her watery home – I’ve heard poets on drug trips make more sense.  She waxed romantic for several minutes about the way the water tasted between her toe flaps and how the light smelled.  I would say she not only loved that pond but also that she was in love with it.  It got uncomfortable after a while.

“That’s not terribly helpful.  Is where the dragonflies dance in the rainbow light in the cool morn north or here or what direction?”

She fish sneered at me, which is really something to see “My people are as old as the land itself, your petty directions mean nothing to the Old Ones.”

“I’ll take that to mean you don’t know where it is.” I turned to leave “Have a good life.  Or immortal whatever you people have instead of lives.”

“Wait stop!  Please don’t leave me here.”

I turned back around “Look, here’s what I can do for you.  I’m heading south, if you want to hop back in that wineskin I can see if there’s a better body of water to let you out in.  I’m not going to go haring all over the land looking for your home though.  This is the best I can do.”

Her voice was quiet “Alright.”

“Are you sure?  You said you were dying in there.”

“I’m sure, anything is better than living here.”

I’m not sure why she hated that stream so much she would risk her life to get away from it, it seemed fine to me.  Maybe there was an eel in it or something.  Or a snail.  Snails live in water right?  But don’t gardeners always complain about snails?  Are snails amphibians?  I’ll have to check on that.  They’re gross, I know that for sure – give me a good honest slug over a shifty snail any day.  Rather than putting her back in a wineskin I went back to the caravan and nabbed a bottle of Gridrieu Halbtrocken ’76 which incorporates heavy licorice flavors and a hedonistic mango-fandango aftertaste – which is why it’s more fit for nixie housing than drinking.  I dipped the neck in the stream water and she magicked herself back inside.  Afterwards I popped the cork back in.

“What happens if I drink this?”

Her tiny voice could barely be heard with the cork in “I’d die.”

“What about me though?  Would I get some kind of magic powers from ingesting a fey creature?”

“No, you would die too.  In horrible agony.”

Sounds like a cock and bull story to me, I bet I would get magic powers.  I’m pretty sure that if I drink this I’ll have the powers of one human woman and one nixie – which isn’t bad if you ask me.  But there’s no reason at this point to murder a thing just for more power.  Before I sipped the bottle in my Trunk I found an inkwell and pen and wrote across the label “Nixie inside, do not drink” just in case I forget or a dreamhag eats my memories or something. 

Despite the eminent attackability of the caravan we passed to Arbeven today without molestation.  I paid a visit to my old friends the Quiviras and took advantage of their hospitality for a third time.  Now these are people that understand how you treat someone after they save your life.  They’ve told me I’m always welcome in their home and I bet they kind of mean it – I am sure I could come here six or seven more times at least before they start getting snotty about it.  They had a water feature that I dumped Melusine (that’s the nixie) into but she didn’t like it at all.  There’s really no pleasing her, it’s a perfectly lovely fountain waterfall well type thing.  I don’t know what you call it, it’s one of those things where the water comes up somehow and then pours into a thing that then dumps the water into another thing when it’s full.  You know what I’m talking about. 

Once I had things squared with the Quiviras I went to see my old friend Maudi the wizard.  He’s never nearly as happy to see me even though I saved his life even harder than I did Lady Quiviras.  He’s happy enough to take my coin though, that’s a nixie style of gratitude if ever there was one.  I wonder if I could get the expression “as ungrateful as a nixie” to catch on.  He bought up some of the items I took from Hellerhad fair and square as greedily as a pixie (another new expression – try it out and if you like it pass it around) but he had garbage for sale.  I want a new crossbow but all he had for weapons was a warhammer that he said would protect your allies which is useless on two fronts being as that I can’t swing a giant hammer and the person I want to protect is myself.  The other “weapon” is what looked like a miner’s pick that he was trying to pass off as a military item.  He squealed like a baby about how most of his work in on commission so I shouldn’t be mad at him and tried to wheedle an invitation to the Quiviras’ compound.  I told him that I’d be glad to introduce him as soon as got some decent wares.  There wasn’t even a place in town where I could get a non-magical crossbow, but I’m not the type to complain.

After striking out with Maudi I went back to the Quiviras to have a nice dinner with their guests while Martialla was out seeking whatever low class diversions she entertains herself with when I’m not around – probably betting on weasel trousering or participating in blood pig or something.  She’s my oldest and dearest friend but sometimes she so common she makes my hair hurt. 

People in the good part of the Kingdom like to make mock of the country gentry, and rightfully so in large part, but the Quiviras know how to do it right.  I showed up here out of the blue without any prior notice (I know that’s redundant but shut up about it) and they still managed to throw together a decent dinner party.  Nothing that anyone back home wouldn’t turn up their nose at, but I’m at the point where I appreciate good food and decent company for what it is.  None of their guests were very annoying, and that’s taking into account that one of them was a Strider priest.  He was a Shireling though so maybe that mitigates the normal boorishness of Striderians.  A local “artist” did drone on for an improbably amount of time about a lost goat – I’m not even sure if it was a story or a joke or a cry for help or some kind of parable.  But other than that it was a plainly enjoyable evening.  I certainly enjoyed myself to five eights of a good bottle of rye whiskey.  For most people a little drop helps them sleep, I tend to go the other way – for reasons unknown being a little tipsy tends to keep me up.  I was still awake and sitting in the window smoking some leaf when Martialla came clomping in smelling like a newly cut wheat field.

“Where have you been?”

“There’s a company of adventurers in town, I wanted to see if they were one of the many that want you dead or that you want dead.  Or if they were going to attack the caravan.”

“Do adventurers do that?  I thought the one valuable service they provided to society was guarding caravans.”

“They must right?  They attack everything else.”

“So?”

“So what?”

“So what did you find out.”

She waved her hand idly as she set down to take off her boots “Oh, I never made it, I got distracted.”

“Nice work, thanks for bringing it up.  How long do you think will it take to get to Cathars?”

“At caravan speeds?  Ten days, two weeks maybe.  But once it get destroyed by marauders we’ll go faster on our own, once we escape from the clutches of said marauders anyway.  Or escape from the slavers they sell us to.”

“Where do all the slaves go do you think?”

“Ulpine right?  Slavery is legal there.”

“Good Kingdom peasants toiling under the lash of dirty Ulpinese slavemasters?  Now I’m glad we’re at war with them.  We’ll give them what for”

“How’s the war going anyway?”

“I keep forgetting to ask.  When the caravan gets destroyed who are you going to shed a few quiet tears in private for?”

“Diarmaid Hücresel, I like her, she seems like a tough broad.  Her husband and sons were all killed the last war you know.  And yet she carries on the family business and she doesn’t take guff from nobody.”

“Maybe they were just taken as slaves.”

“Is that better?”

“It is if they escaped together weeks ago and after a harrowing journey where the father learned that he can rely on his sons as men and the boys learned that their father would sacrifice anything to save them and their love for one another grew deeper than they ever thought possible and then they return to their wife and mother on this very night.”

We both stopped and listened for the sound of a joyful reunion but there was none.  Maybe tomorrow night. 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 53,040 platinum, 25,750 gold

XP: 1,147,551

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, Brooch of Shielding, Headband of Subtle Misdirection, Antiquarian’s Monocle, +1 Glorious Undead Bane Short Sword, Nixie in a wine bottle

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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