I woke up with a third of a hang-over today. It’s been a while since that happened. I’m not sure if it’s because I imbibed a bit more than I thought last night or because I’m starting to lose my tolerance. Either way it’s something I need to work on. That didn’t stop me from getting up (relatively) early however, even though I was having a lovely restful nightmare-free sleep. Last night I met a pair of sisters who were heading to Cathars with a string of ponies and they were willing to let me tag along.
With all the horse trading going on here you’d think there would be a road to Cathars, or a road to somewhere, but there’s nothing of the sort. Maybe Bryny is the kind or place that’s hopping for a couple months out of the year and is deserted the rest of the time. Whatever the reason no one has seen fit to build any roads here. I guess that makes sense, it would feel pretty strange to have a road end at some tents.
As frenetic as the place was last night it was completely still this morning. With all the drinking going on last night it may also be the kind of place where no one gets up before noon. Although someone has to be taking care of the horses right? I caught up with the sisters at the last tent on the left and we were on our way. You’re probably thinking that a set of horse trading sisters it probably not the best defense when crossing unsettled land but I got the measure of these two last night. This is just a part time gig for them, they spend the other part of their lives gladiating and when they’re not fighting for money they hire on with as legbreakers for a merchant outfit up north – you know, fighting for money.
I had actually seen the older one, Davidia, fight once back in Paladore. One of the Duke’s cousins or nephews or third uncles seven times removed came to mooch off him for a couple months and that distant relation was really into fighting women. Really into them. For his edification the Duke brought in Davidia and some other brawny broads to perform. It was more of an exhibition than a real prize fight, but even back then I could tell that she was the goods. Sometimes you just know when someone is a dangerous beast.
Davidia and her sister Capriol have that thing where when you look at them individually you’d never suspect they were related but when they’re side by side you can’t imagine how you missed it. They don’t look alike really, but they do. You know? One thing I can tell you for sure, for horse wranglers they’re both pretty mediocre riders. I’m rusty as Hells and I could still ride circles around both of them. Several circles. Once we were well underway I asked them about that bipedal beer drinking wolf I had seen. I halfway expected them to accuse me to being drunk off my ass and seeing things. They did not.
Davidia glanced over at her sister “What you mean Barry? What would anyone want to know about him?”
Capriol half shrugged “Yeah, he’s just some guy.”
“But like what’s his deal, why is the like that?”
Davidia frowned “Like what do you mean?”
I sighed and told them to forget it. Must be some kind of massive inside joke where the entire town pretends like a wolf that walks like a person and orders booze at the bar is nothing noteworthy. It’s are to see that kind of thing in a place like this, usually it’s more of a big city thing – and usually it’s more malicious like giving out of towners directions to mugger alley – but I suppose anything is possible.
Davidia gave me the once over “What about you Lenore? What brings you out this way? You didn’t come all the way out here to buy a single mare did you?”
“Maybe I did. I’m just a knock around gal like you, moving around seeing what’s up, looking for some action.” Capriol snorted and I glanced her way “You don’t buy it? Usually people believe whatever I say.”
Davidia smiled slightly “I don’t doubt that but you ride far too well to be anything other than a blue blood. The question is how did you end up out here with the rest of us scum?”
“Maybe I’m just a farm girl that rode a lot of horses out on the back forty.”
“Maybe my father was a groom and I grew up around the horses owned by the fancy rich folks.”
“He wasn’t and you didn’t.”
“Alright you got me, the truth is that my father is an aristocrat but he was one of those gentlemen highway men you read about. By day he was just a boring old patrician, but by night he would put on his dashing blue cloak and mysterious mask and steal from the very noblemen that he was hunting with that very afternoon!”
Capriol chuckled “And he gave the money to the poor?”
“Some of it, enough so they would have money to pay his taxes. It was like an economic stimulus – take from the rich to give to the poor so they can give it to you and make you more rich. But poor old dad ran afoul of some organized crime sorts – you know the kind, with their thick necks and pudgy hands. They wanted in on the action but father would have none of it – he was a grandee bandit not some common cutpurse.”
Davidia nodded “So they croaked him?”
“And how, cut him into six pieces they did – which is often fatal. My father was accompanied on this night-time raids by his loyal manservant Davioli and he said that good old pop had squirreled away a lot of money before he died and we needed to go get it – otherwise mother would end up selling her body on the streets.”
“Yes, I hear that happens often to high society ladies.”
“And trust me I love my mother dearly but she didn’t have the looks to make it at night work. So I get my best friend Luciana to come with us and we go after the money. We get the money no problem, but on the way back home we get braced by a couple of road wardens and I have to ditch the money – seeing as how it’s ill-gotten gains and all. I tossed it in a bush but when we had a chance to come back for it it was fucking gone!”
“Oh yes. Now just so you know I can speak with animals, it’s just a thing I do, so asked the songbirds of the forest who took they money and they pointed us towards a forest warden. Now we can’t go after the warden directly, seeing as how he’s a legal authority and all, so Davioli calls upon one of dad’s old friends – and I mean old old from the war.”
“Which war would that be?”
“Not the last one but the one before it, the bad one. So dad’s old army buddy Rudolf comes in and he wasn’t just some foot soldier or other, he was a dyed in the wool killer – charged the line at Herenford five times and lived to tell the tale. Not that he ever word, man of few words was old Rudolf. He told me one time the best way to end a fight is to rip out an eyeball.”
“He’s not wrong there.”
“So Rudolf goes up against the forest warden and gets the money back, but in doing so he attracts the attention of some local sheriffs – and now they decide they should have that money. Since they’re breaking bad we try to work out a deal with them, share out a little money for everyone but they don’t go for it and they kill Davioli. That doesn’t sit well with Rudolf, and I tell you ladies, Rudolf is not someone you want on your ass. Rudolf kills the sheriffs, and one of the sheriff’s cousins who got in the mix as well. It was a bloody night I tell you that right now, but we got the money back.”
“If you got the money back how did you end up out here?”
“Oh, that’s an entirely different story, I was just making conversation.”
Capriol smiled at her sister “See, I told you she’d be an interesting traveling companion.”
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