Macendamandel 2 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Dwarfish is generally agreed upon to be the first written language ever created.  Even elfs agree with that notion, which is odd since they claim to have been around for EONS UNTOLD before dwarfs even showed up on the planet (where did they come from?).  What most people don’t know is that modern dwarfish (which a somewhat amusing moniker given its ancientness) is nothing like that original dwarfish script.  The dwarf written language has been revised at least six times, and three of those times involved civil wars over the changes – that’s how humorless dwarfs are, they killed each other in mass multiple times over how the alphabet works.  They are an odd folk for sure.  If you ever visit a dwarfen fastness deep underground, which you probably won’t, you’ll see runes and writing and shit all over the place.  It’s less impressive when you realized that most of the dwarfs there can’t even read it themselves.    

“Ela this is boring, what does this have to do with anything?”

I’m getting to that.  Bonder’s journal is not written in “modern” dwarfish, being the crazy bastard that he was (or maybe as a security measure) it was written in one of the older forms.  And yet with the ring I liberated from a dead wizard I’m still able to read it.  Makes you wonder.  To make a ring that allows you to read dwarfish do you need to know all the forms of the language for it to work?  If you know them all why bother making the ring in the first place?  I’ve been told that there’s a relatively simple spell that allows you to read and understand all written languages.  Think about that for a moment.  That is a massive amount of information all unlocked with an elementary bit of magic.  Without magic it’s an impossible feat.  And yet the ability to fly via magic, something that billions of birds and bats and wyverns and nightgauts do all the time, is very difficult to pull off.  I’ve said it before and I say it again, magic doesn’t make any Gods damned sense.

I skipped to the end of Bonder’s journal to see if there were any entries that contained clues to the whereabouts of his companions – who also need to be revenged upon – but he hardly even mentions them aside from occasional threats to “kill the Halfling”.  It’s not even clear which one he meant.  I’m starting to wonder if I read this whole thing if I’ll end up as mad as he was.  Maybe that’s what happened to him in the first place.  He killed someone and took their journal and reading it made him lose his mind – and he was good and insane the journal blanked out so they he could record his own crazy ravings to poison the mind of whoever kills him and takes it.  That would be an interesting tale.  Diary of a Madman they could call it.  Or something better, I don’t know, I’m not a writer.

As the caravan churned inexorably onwards we did see many more folks heading north with supplies but it wasn’t the deluge I expected.  Although I suppose if the people we saw yesterday were the very early birds it’s going to be a while yet before the road really gets hopping.  One of these groups of fellow travelers was stopped at the side of the road – a mule train that looked to be transporting tea and spices.  Doesn’t seem like the kind of think that’s important in rebuilding a burned up city to me but then again who doesn’t enjoy a nice cup of tea?  I couldn’t tell why they were stopped but a woman in a leather jerkin and a merchant looking chracter seemed to be arguing about something while the rest of the crew (and the mules) lazed about.  Amongst the lazers I spotted a familiar face – thin man with slick dark hair, spectacles, and a grim countenance.  He had added a white and black overcoat to his brown robes, which was a much better look if you ask me.  I hopped off my box-throne to re-make his acquaintance.

Martialla looked down at me “Where are you going?”

“To chat, it’s not like I won’t be able to catch up.”

“You do run like a scared rabbited when you want to.”

“These long legs aren’t just for show you know.”

“That’s good because I’ve seen those stork-legs without pants.”

I shook my head “One of these days Martialla.”

I heard her voice as the wagon based behind me “I look forward to it.”

I walked up to the stagnant mule train, and their lone guard – who was clearly a veteran just back from the front –  didn’t even glace at me.  I suppose I don’t look much like a bandit, but then again that’s how the bandits get you now isn’t it?  I used my fancy new gloves to tap Damrow on the back before I was even in reach of him – never a bad idea to alert someone to your presence before you’re right behind them.  I mean unless you’re planning on stabbing them of course. 

“Well if it isn’t my favorite priest of Sickness, and as far as I know the only priest of Sickness.”

His face fell so hard when he saw me that I’m surprised the momentum didn’t knock him down to the ground “It’s Cycnus.”

I clapped him on the shoulder “So it is, so it is.  Fancy meeting you out here on the high roads, you doing some scouting for your bandit friends?”

His head whipped around right and left “Say that a little louder will you?”

I looked around “What?  Are these people not aware of your place of honor as bandit priest in the bandit camps?”

He made a move like he was going to put his hand over my mouth, but then seemed to remember something and dropped it limply “Would you stop saying bandit?!”

I punched him playfully on the shoulder “I’m just busting your balls Damrow.  And don’t worry, I’m not here to arrest you for murder or get revenge  on you for the two men your friends killed or anything.  Even though they were soldiers and that’s treason I’m pretty sure.”

Before Damrow could say anything the guard came over, a shiny blade at his hip drawn a few inches “What’s that you say?”

I put my arm around Damrow “I’m just catching up with my pal Damrow here.  We had some lively times out east some time back, more than a year ago I think.” I gave him a good squeeze/shake “Lively times indeed!”

The guard pushed his sword back into the scabbard and took his hand off “Who are you?”

“Argentinia Cabersaft my good man, I’m a famous singer don’t you know?  I don’t blame you for not recognizing me, I’m from the Three Sisters you see, so that’s where I did most of my performing.  I did come down to Bowcrag for a performance once, although I can’t say as I cared for the place.  However as I’m sure you know the land about the Three Sisters is a bleak and barren one, what I needed was a change of pace, so I came to Cymrile – country green and fair!  I know some folks are worried about the war and all, but I’m sure our boys will show their boots to the asses of those Vieland dogs soon enough – pardon my language.  I was traveling to Cathars and I saw my old friend Damrow here plain as day.  Well you could have knocked me over with a feather you could, I haven’t seen him in a dragon’s age and here he is – just like that.  Can you beat it?”

“Uh, no ma’am.  You’re a singier you say?”

I elbowed Damrow “He’s asking if I’m a singer, what a goose!  Is the sun hot my friend?  Is water wet?  Is mother the name of the Gods on the lips of all children?  Would you like to hear something my fair friend?  How about the Lamentations of the Flame Princess?  Or maybe the Exile of the Moon Elfs?  What about the Lies of Locke Lamora?  That’s one of my personal favorites.  Just give me a moment to warm up.”

I started with some vocal exercises and he assured me that it wasn’t necessary and hurried over to where the man and woman were still bickering.

“Well that’s insulting, I really am an excellent singer.”

Damrow looked at me sourly “Did you come here just to rattle my cage or what do you want?”

I gestured expansively “What I want my friend is to turn you sad sorry life around.”

“I’m going to Renwick to minister to the survivors there – there’s nothing sad or sorry about that.”

“Perhaps not, but I came from Renwick right after some brave woman killed the mighty and powerful dragon that was plaguing it, I was there during the whole scouring.  And here’s the deal Damrow, they’re basically fine.  If you really are supposed to be helping the downtrodden and the dispossessed, the poor and sick, the huddles of disgusting masses yearning to be free, where you should be going is to Three Rivers with me.”

“Why would I do that?”

“Damrow have you ever been to Three Rivers?  It’s a company town for eponymous the Lumber Consortium.  That’s not just where their headquarters is, most of the people there are lumbermen and their families and they depend entirely on the company for their livelihoods – and you better believe that they bend those poor suckers over the barrel.  Not in the whip you across the back way but in the fuck you up the ass way – just to be clear.  Actually it’s both.  The people there buy their goods from the company store and they living company housing, and what law there is in Three Rivers is the law of the company.  The only other people that go there are wretched outcasts who have nowhere else to go – it’s a grim life that is in desperate need of Cycnus’ love.  What’s going on there is little better than slavery Damrow, and at best it’s a form of social engineering.”

“Why do you want me to go there?”

“Because of all the things I just said.”

“I only met you once before but I certainly formed the opinion that you were a heartless bitch who didn’t care about the suffering of anyone.”

“First of all, ouch.  Second of all, it just seems like that to you because I killed a bunch of your friends.  Third of all, I admit that I have a certain pragmatism that some people would mistake for ruthlessness but in my heart I am a woman of the people.”

“That’s a hard line to swallow when you’re wearing several thousand gold worth of jewelry.”

I laughed “More like several TENS of thousands.  Bottom line Damrom, whatever my motivations what I’m telling you is true.  Renwick is going to be fine, people are flooding the place with relief efforts right now.  But no one is helping the people of Three Rivers who toil under the heavy boot of their company masters.  You ever had a boot right on your neck?  It sucks.”

“So what?  You’re going to get everyone all riled pretending to care about workers’ rights and cause a big riot so you can rob a bank or something?”

“No, nothing like that.  The Lumber Consortium crossed me.”

“So?”

“So they’re going to go away.  It’s going to happen, so why not come along for the ride and make some people’s lives better along the way?  It’s true, I don’t care about the people of Three Rivers, not really, what I care about is destroying the Lumber Consortium.  Something is going to rise its place – get in on the action now and you can shape what that is.  Otherwise it will just be some other group of rich exploitative assholes.  You have a chance to change things for the better here.”

He made a disgusted noise “Why would I throw in with you, your motivation is terrible, you just said that you don’t care about the cause.”

“Wrong, I have the best motivation you could want.  People that want to do good, to help other people?  That’s fickle Damrow, that comes and goes.  But I tell you this, once I decide that someone has to go, they’re as good as gone.  The Consortium is on my List and that means that I will never stop.  Not ever.  Join up with a bunch of other do-gooders or those Black Widow psychos and who knows what you’ll end up with.  Throw in me with and you know exactly what’s waiting at the end – the Lumber Consortium’s ruin.  Period.  Nothing else.  Except what you make of it.”

“Did you think this all up when you just saw me now?”

“I have a gift for these things.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 47,040 platinum, 12,880 gold

XP: 1,190,751

Inventory: 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, Ela’s Stately Greatcoat, Ring of Eloquence, +1 Dagger, +1 Thundering Light Crossbow, Cheating Gloves  

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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