I’ll spare you rehashing my thoughts on tattoos for a third (fourth? Fifth?) time and just say that I’m displeased but not as displeased as I would have once been. This tattoo they put on me is extensive but it can mostly be covered up by clothing and it’s not like I do a lot of naked gallivanting these days so it’s unlikely anyone will see it. I’m still not happy that my glorious body has been debased by the crude ink of religious (or anti-religious?) fanatics but as the old philosophers ask – if a perfect body is besmirched under a robe is it really besmirched? Yes, but you know what they’re getting at. The good news is that in addition to taking the place of the Whiterock family ring in keeping away one of the infinite world-ending threats from beyond the stars, these tattoos seem to be protecting me from the nightmare hag as well. I slept like a baby for the first time in a long time last night. Maybe she was just taking the night off though, we’ll find out soon enough. You know how I’ve come to appreciate a good night’s sleep.
Did you ever read that novel about the professor who was a tattooist? I believe the twist at the end was that the professor was a devil in human guise, although I’m not sure why that was necessary – the story was messed up enough on its own. The gag was that the professor devil would kill people and grab their souls and then turn he would turn that soul into ink. Then he would tattoo that soul-ink into other people and they would become living tattoos. One of the tattoo-people was a crime boss that had his goons keep the person he was tattooed on tied up and gagged all the time so he could keep on being a crime boss without being interrupted by the person he was on. The author spent a lot of time talking about that guy’s bondage. It was pretty fucked up. Unless you like that kind of thing. No, even then. Point is I’ll be keeping an eye on this new unwanted “body art” of mine just in case.
At long last I reached Bryny today, which is less of a town and more of a meeting point where people put up tents. There was one little building complex with a wall around it and that was it as far as permanent structures. I knew that Bryny was a trading post, but what I didn’t know until now is that one of its main purposes is the trading of horses. I should have figured that out though since the area to the west is renowned for horse breeding. There were a couple hundred people there and probably a couple thousand horses. It was really something. I got a fantastic deal on fine mare with a smooth naturally ambling gait, a compact and well-muscled build, and a good disposition. I would have paid five times as much in Paladore for a horse like this. Pays to go to the source I guess.
Not only that but as LONG last I got a magic means of feeding her as well. Horses are all well and good but they need a lot of food and contrary to belief they cannot just eat grass after you’re done riding them. Try that out and see how that works out for you. Actually don’t because the horse will die and you’re the one that should die. Actually that’s not a bad idea, if I ever get a wish from a demon or the several hand of an old God or something I think I’ll wish for this – if a horse is ever mistreated it should transform into one of the flesh-eating cattle of Akerbeltz. But you know the horse version. That’s a wish that doesn’t even need to be twisted to evil because it already kills people, but for a good reason. Everyone wins.
I’m no writer but if I was one thing I would write is a story about one of those ‘be careful what you wish for’ malevolent wish-fulfillers who’s supposed to twist everything people wish for into a nightmare from which they cry “I didn’t mean it!” but they’re just not very good at it. Someone wishes to be rich and instead of having their beloved husbanded murdered by a nobleman who pays them off all they can think of is to change the person’s name to Richard. They’re not stupid really they’re just not very creative. Maybe the shocking end is that someone wishes for him to be better at his job and then he does become good at being evil and sadistic with his wish-twisting. Be careful what you wish for!
After doing some trading I found a drinking tent and settled in to do some gambling and carousing. There is an obscene amount of money changing hands at this tiny little non-village at the edge of nowhere. You’ve got all these half nomadic horse breeders coming into town to sell of an entire herd, which is some serious money, and what are they going to with it? They don’t really give a shit about money. So they gamble.
I’ve not seen this level of action since leaving the Duke’s court – and that was a very different experience. One rich man wagering a small fortune over cards with another rich man takes about half a year as they both make pussified speeches and wave their hankies and whatnot – it’s a production. Here it’s a free-wheeling affair where a man who only owns one pair of pants, which they’re not even taking good care of, will lose more money than all the villagers in a small town put together will ever see in their lives in eight seconds and then laugh about it while calling for more whiskey. I don’t normally go for these low-down rowdy kinds of country jamborees, that was always more Martialla’s domain, but this was exhilarating. For the first time in a long time I had fun.
One curious thing is that amongst the hustle and bustle I saw a wolf, a big wolf, walking on its hind legs go up to the bar and order itself a drink. It wasn’t a werewolf or a barghest or anything like that, it was just a big wolf walking around upright like that was a normal thing to do. And no one else seemed to think it was strange either. Normally I’m pretty good at keeping my composure and hiding my feelings, Hells pretty good, I’m great at it! But I couldn’t help but staring a little bit. And the big wolf sitting on a stool like a person holding a tankard in its paw noticed me looking and fucking grinned at me – and then winked! It finished it’s beer, flipped a coin to the bartender, and then walked out like a person. I asked one of the men at my table slowing losing a lot of money to me about it.
He frowned and looked towards the door “What? Oh, that’s just Barry.”
I don’t really ever want to come here again, but I kind of love this place.
Funds: 13,432 gold
Inventory: Bag of Holding, +2 Distance Light Crossbow, traveling outfit, Ring of Invisibility, potion case, potions (Protection from Evil, Cure Moderate Wounds x2) Blessed Robes, +1 Mithril Holy Undead Bane Sword-Cane, Cerulean Sign Tattoo, Satchel of Plentiful Feed, Horseshoes of Surety, Teremana (light warhorse), Wind Fan
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, Peronell Missplitter, Nightmare Hag