As rampant as crime is, and just ask anyone its very rampant, most communities don’t have a place to lock anyone up. Makes sense, why go through the trouble and expense of building something that isn’t going to be used most of the time? Why give dirty criminals free room and aboard? Generally when a perpetrator is caught they just get their ass kicked and they’re turned loose or they’re hung and that’s the end of it. When an area does have a “jail” it tends to come in two forms. The first and far rarer is like the Tower of Woe/Midnight in Beresford – a very expensive deal that’s intended to keep people who are too important to kill but can’t be allowed to run around free. Princesses of foreign enemies and popular rebellious Earls and the families of political opponents and people like that. Usually they aren’t even criminals, just victims of circumstance, and there aren’t many of them. The second kind of place is when they take an abandoned flophouse or warehouse and slap some bars in it where you throw people in there to live in their own filth. It’s very expensive to imprison a large number of people so it’s important to cut as many corners as you can. The prison in Cathars I was briefly in is a real anomaly – someone put a lot of effort and resources into building a secure and humane place to lock people up there.
After my conversation with Farvin Mitzegarld (what the Hells kind of name is that anyway?) I was taken to a holding facility more towards but not fully below the squalid death prison side of the spectrum. It looked like a store room of some kind that had been portioned out into closet-sized cells (I’ve actually seen many closest that were much larger) that were just free standing bars, no walls oy anything. I don’t know if that was a deliberate thing to deny you your privacy/dignity or it was just easier to build. Each one contained a pile of straw with cloth kind of in the shape of a mattress and a stool and that was pretty much it. I would have loved to have fallen on that mattress lump, even vermin infested as I assume it is, desperately tired as I, was but thanks to the everwake in my veins I knew there would be no sleep forthcoming. Instead I paced ceaseless around my cell like a jungle cat trapped in a pit.
Everwake was never intended to be used as a torture tool and as far as I know it never has been used that way, but I’m starting to realize how effective it could be in that capacity. I’d do or say quite a lot at this point just to be given a chance to sleep. Maybe that doesn’t work because there’s no counter-measure that turns it off. Of course the fun part is when the serum wears off (and I can feel it starting to do just that finally) and I fall into a deep sleep I’ll probably be killed. I can’t imagine that my dream visitor is very pleased about what I did and I have no idea if Timora has been able to come up with any counter-measures. Maybe it’s just what happens when you’ve been forced awake by drugs for ninty-six hours straight but I was coming down with a real bad case of “I’m so fucked” syndrome. Which is not helpful, but I couldn’t concentrate long enough to think about anything else other than how bad things were.
At first I was alone in there, I know that, but at some point during the night they must have brought someone else in because in the early hours I saw a sleeping lump in one of the other cells. It disturbed me that somehow I missed them bringing in another prisoner while I was doing my closet-waltz, sure it was dark in there, but that just means they had to have a light when they did it which makes me not noticing even more disturbing. Once morning had broken and enough sunlight filtered in to see I resolved to study the lump-form of my new compatriot but before I could the guards brought in other prisoner. He was wearing an odd red garment that almost looked like a dress (it wasn’t) with a leather jerkin over it and he had a lean wolfish face – not the mean kind though, the somewhat handsome kind. He looked exactly like the kind of lumberman that you’d fine in a place like Three Rivers being tossed in jail for being drunk on the job, aside from the fact that his hands were smooth and his eyes were clear. He said something to the jailors that I didn’t catch and they sneered at him. Once they were gone our eyes locked across the non-crowded incarceration facility.
He raised an eyebrow “I’ve never seen a lady in a prison cell before.”
“And I have the distinct impression that you’ve had a lot of chances to see the inside of a prison cell.”
He smirked “I had a feeling I was going to like you. What are you in for?”
“I assassinated the King a while back, I’m surprised you didn’t hear about it, it was all anyone could talk about for a while there.”
“I heard it was dyspepsia that got him.”
“Well of course that’s what they would say, they can’t have people knowing that a mere woman killed the divinely mandated leader of the only just and moral nation in the world. That would be bad for morale.”
“It certainly would at all. How did you kill him?”
“Simple really, I disguised myself as a game hen that was going to be served to him at a reception for the Swardish ambassador, when he went to take a bite I kicked the fork back at his mouth and bifurcated his uvula. Which as you know is fatal of people of royal blood. Something with the breeding you know, that’s their weak spot.”
“Of course. Why did you do it?”
“Oh, you know, I was at the pub with the lads having some drinks and one of them told me I couldn’t assassinate the ruler of the world, the only part of world that matters anyway, and that got my hackles up. I have one of them complexes where I just have to prove people wrong.”
“In that case I don’t think you can break me out of here.”
I looked around “It’s funny you should mention that because I’ve been wondering for a while now if I should escape or not. I have powerful friends that may be working to get me out here, in which case it would be very embarrassing for them were I to escape in the meantime. But I don’t want to wait until it’s too late in case they can’t come through. Communication, that’s always the problem. Who knows what and when do they know it? It’s a real issue.”
He nodded sagely “That’s why I work alone.”
“That and other reasons I wager.”
He put his hand to his chest “You wound me. Aren’t you going to ask me what I’m in for? You wouldn’t want to break out of prison with a murderer or worse, a tax cheat, would you?”
I snorted “I know what you’re in for, I can tell a conman when I see one and . . .” I pointed at him.
“I’ll have you know that I’m here for transporting a barrel of herring over the Visgoth with an improper bill of lading.”
“Sure, we’ve all been there.”
We were interrupted in our bantering by a visit from another one of the judges present at the Newberry trial – the ugly Halfling strode in smoking a huge human sized cigar that looked massive next to his tiny head. I know that “the ugly Halfling” isn’t very descriptive but there isn’t much else to say, he was just an ugly Shireling. When it comes to ranking the comeliness of the various races (don’t pretend you don’t do it) no one puts Halflings at the top but they’ve never at the bottom. Overall they’re just a pleasantly unremarkable bland looking people. So when you see one that’s ugly as a mule’s teat it’s startling. He sauntered over in a cloud of smoke and tossed a hat that hit the bars and flopped to the ground sadly. Whatever drama was meant to be conveyed by that gesture was completely lost on me.
“Good to see you again mistyer whatever your name is, I’m surprised to see you – I don’t remember you saying a word at the trial yet here you are to wish me well.”
His voice was shockingly deep “Yer friend’s dead.”
“I don’t have any friends.”
“My men killed her before she could get your message out, no one’s going to save you.”
I reached through the bars and picked up what looked like Martialla’s battered naval cap “The touch of blood on the brim here is a nice detail but even if she was dead, which I doubt, the lawyer was the one who was going to contact the Duke for me anyway.”
He grinned, showing yellow smoke-stained teeth “That swindler that came to visit you in prison? Who do you think send him? We followed him right to your girl and he kept her busy while we cut her fucking head off. You wanna see it? I can have it delivered.”
“That would be more convincing than a hat.”
He look at me for a moment, clearly disappointed, and then blew out a massive cloud of noxious cheap tobacco smoke “You don’t scare easy to you?”
“There’s not too much that hasn’t already been done to me, intimidation is like a bar of soap – the more you use it the less there is left to use the next time.”
“We’ll find something to make you squeal.”
“I would make a remark about how a close look at your face could do the trick but I won’t sink to that level of childishness. But thanks for coming to tell me that my friend is dead.”
He stood there for a long moment, I’m pretty sure he was trying to think of a comeback, but eventually he clomped off in a cloud of smoke. Once he was gone I examined the hat closely, if it’s not Martialla’s they did an obsessively good job of faking it. It’s possible that they stole it just for this ruse, but it’s hard to see why they would bother to do that. Even though I couldn’t sleep I still lay down in my cell and put my feet up on the bars, covering my face with what was probably Martialla’s hat to rest for a moment. I heard the wolfy conman calling over to me.
“That sounded dire.”
“The Consortium and I go back a ways, there’s some bad blood there. I’ve made a vow to destroy them and that hurt their feelings.”
“How’s that working out for you?”
I gestured at our surroundings “Everything’s going perfectly to plan.”
I heard another voice, a woman’s voice, coming from the direction of the only other occupied cell “Would you two shut up? I’m trying to sleep over here.”
“You better be nice to me or I won’t set you free when I break out of this joint.”
“If you don’t take me with you I’ll scream for the guards.”
I heard Wolfy rejoin “She’s got you there.”
Inventory: Whiterock family signet ring (Ring of Binding)
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, maker of the manacles, Calvados Eure, Law Offices of Lampblack and Brimstone