Montalan 26 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Sometimes you can tell that someone is in an ugly mood even without any visible indications.  I don’t believe in aura or chakras or any nonsense mystical crap like that but there are times when you can inexplicable tell that someone is on the verge you know?  It’s nothing in their face or speech or posture, they just feel wrong.  I found out today that cities work the same way sometimes because coming into sight of Preen I could tell that the city was agitated and on edge.  It looked the same, mostly anyway, one of the big the shanty town sections looked like it had been scorched by a fire and then “re-built”, but something about its energy was less “bustling frontier town dangerous” and more “watch your ass dangerous for no reason”.  Martialla could evidently sense the same thing because we both stopped and stood looking down at the sprawling mess below for a while.

“Lovely place isn’t it?”

“Maybe we should go in disguise, we didn’t exactly make a lot of friends here last time.”

“Capital idea old chum.”

We took on the appearance of the couple of anonymous roughnecks and headed into Preen.  I thought that I had learned my way around well enough last time to approach from a better section of town but it’s such a rat’s nest of random construction with bridges everywhere that we were quickly in the rough parts of town instead.  They seem to spring up randomly.  In a normal urban area there’s a gradual shift from neighborhood to neighborhood – you don’t see the fancy area next to poor town – but here, probably because of the canals or river channels or whatever, there’s no rhyme or reason.  At least not one that I can figure out.  Nevertheless we eventually made our way without incident to where the prosperous travelers are welcome, at which point we changed our appearances to that of two well-heeled young merchants.

We found ourselves lodgings at a very fine inn with the odd name of For a Song and a Dance.  I had myself a nice long bath enhanced with water treated by alchemical reagents and sprinkle with pure elfen herbs harvested from some forest’s sacred heart.  After that I got myself a four-hand massage and then smoked a little flayleaf and had a late lunch/early diner – seared short ribs with sweet rum pineapple sauce , game fowl tagine, almond-thyme-crusted copper pikelord with lemon wine sauce, served with golden ice wine.  For dessert a six layer crunchy pecan pudding.  After that I took to the veranda in my complimentary silk robe to enjoy a kapre cigar and watch the sun set.  I heard Martialla coming through my room to join me.

“You look relaxed.”

“How did you get in my room?  I’ll have to have a word with the staff.”

She pulled up a lounge chair next to me “Yes, they’ve really done you a disservice today.”

“I suppose I can forgive them this one lapse, I feel almost normal.  Why don’t I live like this every day?”

“Because your lust for revenge is driving you to make ruinous decisions.  The Duke crossed you and you can’t let that stand, even if you’d like to.  There’s only one way this ends, in blood.  You’re going to ride this horse right off a cliff before you give up.”

“Oh right, that.”

“So now that you’re yourself again thanks to extravagance what’s the plan?”

“Here’s what I’m thinking.  Tomorrow after I get up I have myself some sherry and a coffee with a little bourbon.  Then before lunch I have a couple whiskey and sodas.  Later in the afternoon it’s time for brandy and sparkling wine – and I mean the good stuff from the north counties.  Then we get some psychedelic mushrooms . . .”

“I meant what[s the plan for Alleene and the Baron.  The Kostelos and all that.”

I sighed “Oh right, that.” I shrugged “I have no idea.”

“Out of the many surprising things you’ve said to me lately that shocks me the most.  Granted I’m pretty sure that you don’t know what you’re doing most of the time but I never thought that I’d heard you admit it.”

“It’s just the two of us here and we’re old friend.  No reason to put on a show amongst old friends.”

“True, we have known each other for several months.” 

“Exactly, what stronger friendship could there be?” I flicked some ash over the balcony edge irritably “All I want is to destroy one of the ten most powerful men in the Kingdom, why does everything have to be so complicated?  I feel like I reel from disaster to disaster without ever having a chance to get my bearings.  It’s one thing after another you know?  When it is time for me huh?  When do I get what I want.”

“What you want being horrible bloody vengeance that may well cause a civil war.”

“Right, is that so much to ask?”  I sighed again “What I’d like to do is find that clown-pimp that made a fool of me last time I was here and slice his nuts off and toss them in the river for the fish.  But probably what we should do is hit the road and head for Juost Manor.  I don’t need another vendetta.”

“What about what Jasmi told us?”

“That we’ll die if we go alone?  I guess we better find someone to come with us.  Then we’re not alone.”

“And you think a third person will make a difference?”

“I think that we can’t get too wrapped up in the spiritual visions of an old hedge witch.   I appreciate her coming to warn us and I’m sure she thought it was important, but you know how magic works, it’s kind of nonsense.  Seeing in the future, clairvoyance, far seeing?  What does it mean really?  Besides, who are we going to find to help us here?” I held up my hand to cut her off “And don’t say adventurers, I’ve had it with them.  Had it!  It’s just you and me against the world baby.  You know like the pimps say to their ladies.”

“The whole world?  Can’t we get a little bit of the world on our side?”

“I suppose there’s a first time for everything.  So what’s going on here?  Why is everyone walking around with their hands on their daggers?  The orcs?” 

“I’ve just heard a little bit but it sounds like you were right about Razmiran, after you robbed him . . .”

“After we robbed him.”

“After you robbed him and I was barely involved Razmiran skipped town one step ahead of the neckbreakers.  The word is that he was already having money issues and you cleaning him out was the last straw.  The mayor, who had been his puppet up until then, tried to assert his authority and some gang killed him in broad daylight in front of everyone.  Then it was a gang-war, and then the lumber people got involved – organized it’s said by your friends the Black Widows or the Black Watch or whatever those anti-monarchists call themselves.  Once they got involved the violence really got out of hand.”

“Ugh those guys, who knew starting one little riot over worker’s rights in Graltontown would cause all this trouble?”

“Some Lumber Constorium rich guy came in with his own personal army and crushed the rebellion and basically took over the town.  The gangs either got on board or they ended up getting fucked.”

“Proper fucked?”

“Absolutely.  Sounds if anything having the orcs to fight helped calmed things down – it gave people someone to take their anger out on.  So that’s what’s going on, not a small amount of turmoil in the streets of Preen.”

“And for once I didn’t have anything to do with it.”

“Uh, except for the part where you initiated the entire thing by ripping off Razmiran.  And also you created the movement to overthrow the monarchy that got in the mix and allowed the Lumber Consortium to take over.”

“Yeah, but other than that I didn’t do anything.” 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 23,045 platinum, 52,043 gold

XP: 789,511

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Censer of Dreams, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Ring of Urban Grace, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Better Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, unknown gauntlets, mysterious staff, Cape of the Mountebank, Sandals of Sprinting, +1 Agile Rapier  

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 (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, lots of luxury goods, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three) 

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  

Montalan 25 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Even though I had gone through all the trouble of letting my Pavilion magically erect itself I ended up falling asleep on the low couchlike thing we had dragged out of the farmhouse.  Not that it was exceptionally comfortable in the consideration of all things, but it was enough like a bed that sleep snuck up on me like a serpent on a baby bird.  This meant my Censor wasn’t in operation, which meant that I was plagued by ill dreams of annihilation and horror, which meant that I slept fitfully at best.  I woke up with a stiff back to form a tight friendship with an aching shoulder and a stinging knee.  Martialla’s remark the other day about me being too young for these kind of wake up pains hit the mark a little too closely.  I’m not made for all this chasing about the countryside and roughing it – I should be treated more like a treasured piece of art, cared lovingly and admired by all, protected from ill-treatment by devoted hands.  Waking up I was disgusted to see that dew dampened my clothing uncomfortably and mildly surprised to see that Jasmi was already gathering herself to leave.

“Gone so soon?”

She tapped her walking stick on the ground as is testing its soundness “I’ve given you your warning, not much else to do here for me.”

“You have enough magic to know where I’m going to be and what’s going to happen why did you come here at all?  Why couldn’t you use that magic to project your words into my mind?  Or visit me in a dream?  People do that to me all the time and it’s never nice.”

She shrugged “It doesn’t work like that.”

“Why is magic so stupid?”

To my surprise she answered “I’m no great magician so take this for what you will, it’s merely the opinion of an old woman, but it seems to me that magic is a force or energy like water.  Try to cup water in your hand and how much can you get?  Very little.  Learn to make a bucket and you can scoop up more.  Turn those buckets into a tub and so on.  But if you really want to move a lot of water what do you need to do?  Dig a trench.  Bigger and bigger for more and more water.  But no matter how much you want to you can’t move an ocean.  So you get a ship and you sail on the water, and that water works for you as long as you stick to your rules, but also it’s dangerous to you – very much so.  A storm, a hidden reef, a hurricane, a massive sea-beast, whatever you like – and you’re dead.  And magic is water that you can’t even see, only sense a bit.  So you’re manipulating it blind, and some get very good at doing that but they’re still groping in the dark.  I don’t think we’re meant to be doing magic at all.  I think magic is for others, I think like a dog picking at scraps we don’t even know what we’re doing or where it’s coming from – we’re just down here like salivating dogs waiting for the next drop.  We’re on the edge of something, taking tiny bits here and there, but it was never meant for us.”

“Others like the Gods?”

“Maybe some of it but on whole I don’t think so.  Older things, things of power to dwarf the Gods even as they dwarf us.”

“Sounds like heresy.  Or apostasy maybe, I always get those confused.”

“One of the benefits of old age, you stop caring about what people think.  Mostly because they stop caring what you say.”

Martialla emerged from Pavilion looking desirably rested as the old woman clumped off into the early morning fog.

“Did she have any final prognostications for us?”

“What’s your sign?”

“Ragabash Thurgau.”

“She said that you’ll try with all your might to save your poor little life, but there’s nothing any mortal can do when Beast of War announces your doom.”

“Well that’s certainly dire, I’ll be on the lookout for that.  Do you want to dive back into the woods or skirt the forest north?”

“Neither, let’s head for Preen.  I’m tired of this countrified bullshit.  It’s a sad day when I’m looking forward the dubious comforts of a garbage town like Preen but that’s where we’re at.”

“What about Razmiran?”

“You mean the murderous crimeboss overlord of Preen that we ripped off?”

“Yeah, that Razmiran.”

“Maybe the orcs killed him.  Maybe his own men turned on him once they realized he was broke.  Or maybe he’ll be there waiting for us.”

“And if he is?”

“If he wants to cause trouble then they’ll be trouble.”

“And what happens when you finally run into trouble that you can’t flim-flam your way out of?”

“I’ll die probably.”

“Can you try not to take me with you when that happens?”

“Sure, but as you’ve pointed out several times people that come to kill me usually end up trying to kill you as well.  It might help if you teamed up with them instead of trying to save me from them.  Get on the winning side for once, jump on the bandwagon.”

“Sure, but what fun would that be?”

“True.”

We headed straight south (probably) towards Preen (maybe) rather than following the river figuring that whatever orcs or military jerks left roaming around the area would be by the river.  Why did we figure that?  Not sure really, but we did.  After only a couple hours of walking we started to see intact homesteads and shortly thereafter we started to see people out working in the fields so clearly things hadn’t gotten too out of control.  The only excitement of the day was some moron farmer shooting at us with a hunting bow because he thought we were thieves or deserters or something.  I don’t know what the Hells he thought.  He saw us well enough to almost put a shaft into my head so he should have been able to tell that we were two innocent girls roaming the countryside and not some threatening duo of criminal murderers.  Now, if you accidentally shot at someone, even someone normal and not someone wonderful like me, you’d be apologetic wouldn’t you?  Of course you would, because you’re good people.  Common, but good.

This guy however was a real asshole.  We got into a bit of a shouting match because instead of apologizing and inviting us to dinner saying “it’s the last I can do ma’am” bashfully he blamed us for being in his field.  As if walking in a field is a perfectly normal justification for murder.  I was tempted to do so for real but I settled for merely eviscerating him verbally.  Don’t let Martialla tell you otherwise, he DID run off crying when I was done laying into him.  Martialla glanced at me as we continued on from that jerk’s plot of land – which by the way looked terrible, his fences were a mess and his rows were a disaster.  

“I’m impressed.  Not only did you not kill him you don’t seem to be plotting his downfall either.”

“What kind of a person would I be if I killed everyone who yelled at me?”

“The kind of person you were when I met you.”

“That’s unfair.”

“Only a little.”

“Perhaps.  I’ve learned a lot of things since getting hurled from the Duke’s court like an unwanted child from a clifftop, most of them appalling.  But one useful thing, I won’t say good, that I’ve come to understand is that you can’t take revenge on everyone who deserves it.  There’s not enough time in the day you know?  Let the little revenges take care of themselves.  That guy probably makes his own life miserable enough that I don’t need to bother.”

“You think so?”

“No, I think most assholes are happy as clams, but it helps to pretend.”

“Why are clams so happy in theory?”

“Well they have no eyes, nor ears, nor any senses of any kind.  They have no idea what’s going on.  Given that what could possible make them unhappy?  If an otter cracks them open and eats them they don’t even know about it so how could they care?  Even about their own deaths?”

“Is that happiness?”

“I guess.”

“That’s disappointing.”

“Tell me about it.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 23,045 platinum, 52,143 gold

XP: 789,511

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Censer of Dreams, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Ring of Urban Grace, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Better Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, unknown gauntlets, mysterious staff, Cape of the Mountebank, Sandals of Sprinting, +1 Agile Rapier  

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 (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, lots of luxury goods, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three) 

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  

Montalan 24 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

“There was a time not long ago that I would have found this very unsettling.”

This is what I said to Martialla as we watched the outcast sea elfs crawl out of the soft earth like zombies spilling out of grave ground.  The soil wasn’t wet enough that you would call it mud, it actually looked like it had the consistence of a nice sponge cake, but it was forgiving enough that the elfs could wriggle out of it like worms.  Holloway looked like he was going to puke this guts out, but he’s been looking that for a while now.  I don’t know if he’s actually ill or if recent events are just grinding him away physically.  That can happen you know.  Some people just can’t handle seeing weird shit.  It eats away at them like a disease.  There was a mage back at court, a seer I guess really, who saw some real messed up shit in his little scrying pool and he went from being one of those wildly obese laughing fatmen who seem full of energy and lust for life to being a flabby skeleton in the span of six months.  Towards the end he wouldn’t have even needed to wear his stupid wizard robe because his own skin hung off him like bolts of cloth.  Everyone was happy we didn’t have to look at him anymore when someone slit his throat and put him out of our misery.  Except for him probably.  Or maybe death was a sweet release from the nightmare visions that haunted him.

Once we corralled Holloway and got him moving the sea elfs started plodding along with us looking none the worse for wear for having taking a literal dirt nap – although they were looking pretty sad to begin with so maybe there wasn’t much in the way of a downward step they could take.  I was surprised to see that by the middle of the afternoon the trees were starting to thin out as we came to the periphery of the forest.  Which either means we were nowhere near where Martialla thought we were when we set out or somehow time and distance had been magically warped causes us to travel at several times our normal speed.  Probably the first thing.  Probably.  When I pointed this out to Martialla she just shrugged.

“I wasn’t trying to rub your face it in, I was more wondering, if we continue on is there going to be a bounty hunter out there waiting for us?  And by us I mean you.”

“I don’t know.  Also, can’t the Baron find you any time he wants with that necklace they yoked on you?  What do you think he thinks you’re up to at this point?  Aren’t you long overdue to respond to his summons?”

“I’ve been wondering about that as well.  Maybe the Kostelos don’t know about that?  Maybe they’re controlling him too well?  I suppose we’ll find out if we’re attacked by a bounty hunter and or a band of Sky Thunder berserkers.”

“I was going to suggest that you go on alone to thwart the oracle after me, but since we both have magical albatrosses around our necks I don’t know what good that would do.  We’re really up against it here aren’t we?”

“As always.  But that’s what makes our triumphs so epic.”

“Which triumphs are those?”

“I’ll get back to you.”

As we got towards the edge of the woods late in the day there came a sudden shout from Holloway.  I’ll give this to that crazy bastard, he’s got good eyes – I don’t know if the sea elfs can see well on land but in any case neither Martialla or I saw anything before he did.  Holloway gestured to a half dozen orcs charging at us.  I wonder, does anyone ever get a chance to talk to orcs?  Seems like all they do is attack on sight.  And yet don’t evil masterminds always use orcs as their foot soldiers?  How does that work?  Must be some trick of evil masterminds.  I wonder also how there are even any orcs left when they’re so mindlessly savage that six will attack fifty without any pause.  I snatched out my crossbow and Martialla started summoning her magic (have you ever been right next to a sorcerer channeling power?  It’s weird, they radiate a kind of heat) to defend our herd of fish elfs, but it wasn’t necessary.  The orcs ran headlong into a bog, a bog that I am one hundred percent confident wasn’t there when they started running at us.  The non-normalness of his bog was confirmed for me when I saw “arms” made out of mud helping the orcs to drown faster.  Also the bog disappearing after the orcs were underwater (underground?) was a tip off.

I turned to the sea elfs “I thought you didn’t have any magic.”

They didn’t bother to answer of course, but Martialla piped up “Actually they never said that.” She pointed at Holloway “He did.”

He went pale like he had just been pointed out as a murderer in court “That’s what they said.  They told me cut off from the seat of their power they had no magic.  Or maybe just that it was diminished?”

“That looked pretty damn magical to me.” I turned again to the elfs “Anyone want to explain what that was to me?”

After a long moment I heard a voice unseen from the crowd “Guardians.”

“Well that’s an enlightening answer.  I suppose we shove on.”

As you all know I have nerves of steel and never get scared of anything ever but I was a little rattled heading out into the open country.  I had the awful feeling that a band of horsemen was going to swoop down on us at any moment.  Probably because that’s what happened last time.  But there was no woman in armor and her Shireling bloodhounds, no traitor Kostelos war party, no wild bands of raiders.  What we did see in short order was burned out farmsteads and ruined fields.  We didn’t see anything in the way of bodies, orc or otherwise, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t out there.  I wonder how many people made it to Preen ahead of the horde and how many did not.  My thoughts turned to the Everard family and Samwort who have to be somewhere in this area.  That would be a bit of irony (not irony irony but you know) if I left him here to spare him being in the war only for him to be caught in the path of an orc war-host.

I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I didn’t notice at first that we had come across an irrigation ravine of some kind that the sea elfs were disappearing into.  I tried to tell them that it might be better if they waited until we got to the actual Tremor Creek, since I have no idea how irrigations works – aren’t there locks or dikes or something?  But they paid me no mind and in short order they had all disappeared under the water.  They left the promised relics on the edge of the drop-off and were gone without a word.  I walked forward to pick up the blade I needed.

I called into the slightly rippling water “You’re welcome.”  I saw Holloway hovering nervously a few yards away, afraid to approach “Come and get your share, I was speaking true when I said the rest are yours.  Except that Martialla deserves half as well, since I wasn’t really in a position to speak about the entire pack.”

Martialla clapped him on the back, startling him badly “You can have first pick good sir, you’ve had a tough go lately.”

Holloway scrambled forward like he was worried about his opportunity literally being grabbed away from him at any moment.  Once he had gathered up his goods he seemed intent on running away that very moment but I was at least able to convince him that it might be a good idea to find some boots and a pair of trousers before we parted company.  In one of the more undamaged farmhouses we did find some clothing and with that he was gone as fast as his legs could carry him.  I told him that it might be safer it he stuck with us for a while but he would have none of it.  I can only assume that as soon as he was out of sight some thieves fell on him and murder-robbed him.  The farmhouse was burned enough that we didn’t care to stay there so the Pavilion was the best option again.  The barn was mostly intact but if you’ve ever slept on straw you know why we didn’t bother with that.  We did find some hard bread and cheap wine in the kitchen, which we “enjoyed” under the stars having dragged some of the less burned furniture outside by our tent.

“Aren’t sea elfs the one’s that lure sailors to their deaths on the rocks?  I know that being at sea must be lonely but how the Hells desperate do they have to be to fall for that from women that look like that?”

“You’re thinking of mermaids.  Or sirens maybe.  Or selkies perhaps.  Or those other ones, the ones that turn into seals.   Or rusulkas.  Or undines.  Or nereids.  Or selkies.  Or melusinas.  Or . . .”

“Shut up about it, how many water tarts luring sailors to their door are there?”

“A bunch, although some just bite their heads off without bothering to lure them.  And probably most of the luring is just drunk sailors falling overboard and they get blamed.  Oh, they’re also those dolphin ones, I forget what they’re called.”

“Blowhole queens?”

“No, that’s something else.”

“How do you know so much about monsters?  Assuming any of these things you say are real.”

“Oh, you know . . . . magic.”

“Bullshit.”

“Would you believe that my father was a professor of monsterology at university?”

“I’ll believe anything for the right price.  Man, look around, the orcs really did a number on this place.”

“It wasn’t orcs.”

This was a voice from the darkness.  It sounded vaguely familiar to me, but nevertheless Martialla and I were both ready for a fracas until we saw that it was an old woman clomping up to our “camp”.  Martialla was still somewhat on edge, but I recognized the face from the past.

“Jasmi, this is quite a coincidence.”

She shuffled up and sat on the partially couch with Martialla who was still a little concerned but by this point was used to odd people turning up “No coincidence, I have enough of the far eye to seek you out.”

“You and everyone else it seems.  My friend here is being vexed by some manner of oracle even as we speak.”

“I know, that armored woman of hers is not her because I sent her a false vision.  She has power but she wasn’t expecting anything like that so I was able to get away with it.  Otherwise she would have swatted me away like a fly.”

“Hmm, well thanks.  Did you come all this way to reminisce about old times?”

“I feel I still owe you.”

“Between keeping the oracle off our backs and what you did for me at the trial I’d say you’re paid up.”

She shook her head stubbornly “You saved my life.”

“For my own reasons.  Plus you’re so old you don’t have much life left, so really did I do much when you think about it?”

She smiled “Charming as ever you.  Whether you’re owed my help or not you need it.  If you two go up against the Kostelos witch on our own you’ll die.  I’ve seen it.”

“What else are we to do?  The allies we’re tried to gather so far have turned out to be unreliable.”

“I have no idea, I just came to warn you that if you go alone you’ll die.”

“Huh, well I guess that’s better than nothing.”

Martialla was looking curiously at the old woman “You said that orcs didn’t do this, who did?”

“People.  Soldiers came from Preen and run the orcs off.  I guess they didn’t get enough of a fight to quiet down their bloodshed though because they did this on their way back.”

“Why?”

She shrugged “Since when do people need a reason to be awful to each other?”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 23,045 platinum, 52,143 gold

XP: 789,511

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Censer of Dreams, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Ring of Urban Grace, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Better Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, unknown gauntlets, mysterious staff, Cape of the Mountebank, Sandals of Sprinting, +1 Agile Rapier  

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 (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, lots of luxury goods, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three) 

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  

Montalan 23 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

I tell you this much, this Holloway character is turning out to be a pretty uninteresting companion.  All he did last night was sit there like a lump on a frog.  Is that the expression?  Sit there like a toad on a log?  Like a bump on a log?  Something about a frog log?  I admit that I’m meeting him under extreme circumstances, but even so I’m starting to get the impression that he’s nothing to get excited about even at his best.  This is all that I’m saying, I don’t know where I fit in the overall rankings (pretty high though) but I’m undoubtedly the most lovely and charming woman this fellow has ever met and he can’t summon up anything to try and win my favor?  No songs?  No poems?  No funny anecdotes?  Nothing?  You’re probably thinking that he’s a little afraid of me after seeing me single handedly (mostly) defeat an entire inbred clan of ogre mutants and that’s what’s putting a damper on his ardor.  Which is certainly possible.  I’ll take it under advisement at the very least.

Since there was nothing much going last night on I was abed (although there is no bed, so aground?) quite early and subsequently awake early in the morn as well.  So early that I saw, before the sun was even raised, the sea elfs come gliding out of the water like pale and grotesque apparitions.  It’s hard to judge if their menfolk are even more wretched looking than the women.  They don’t have all that greasy hair clinging to them but as a matter of fact they don’t have any hair at all which reveals their bulging odd-shaped eyes and flat little noses.  Neither of them wear much of anything, as I suppose you wouldn’t underwater, but all that exposed soft pallid flesh doesn’t do them any favors.  They came out in ones and twos and threes and there were far more of them then I would have expected – probably more than forty walked silently out of the waters.  It would have seemed like quite the magic trick had I not know about the “caves” they inhabit, which I have to assume is a ruin of some manner.

They filed out of the water and walked a short distance onto land and then just stood there in a clump unmoving, seemingly staring straight ahead, although it’s hard to tell with their mostly colorless eyes.  I wonder how long they would have stood there had I not approached.  Hours?  Days?  Forever?

“I take this to mean that you’re amenable to my trade offer?”

I heard a voice coming from somewhere in the mob but I couldn’t tell from whom “Take us.”

“Sure thing folks, but I don’t work on credit.  Show me what you got for me.”

“Take us.  Then you get remnants.”

“Sounds great, but I need to see them first.  There’s only one thing I’m looking for as I said yesterday and if you don’t have it then there’s no deal.  You follow me?”

After a moment there was some stirring in the horde and one by one eight of them came forward to drop items reclaimed from the forest deeps at my feet.  A bronze mace (does bronze rust or is it magic?), what looked like a piece of a larger suit of armor, an amulet with a massive moonstone, a delicate looking light blade of an odd shape that was probably elf made (the normal land kind of elf), a thick staff of some kind of white wood carven with images of bears, a small pyramid made out of jade (why?), a perfume vial of all things, and mercifully, the Turnbill blade that I was looking for.  I wonder what would happened if it wasn’t there and I had told them to go hang.  They don’t seem violent at all despite their eeriness but you never know how people will react.  I wonder if they would have set off on their own to look for fresher waters.  Probably Holloway would have made some kind of deal with them on his own, or at least tried to.

“Well it looks like we’re in business folks.  You need some time to gather your things or is this it?” No answer was forthcoming for a long moment “What I mean is, are you ready to go.  You know to go to the river, to travel?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, you travel light huh?  I can respect that.  Give me a moment to gather up my companions and we’ll be on our way.”

Holloway was pretty startled to see them all out there standing like that – he said that even seeing the three yesterday was more than he had encountered before.  Can’t blame him really.  Martialla took the sight in stride, I guess we’ve both seen weirder in our day.  It wouldn’t be quite right to say that the elfs were clumsy on land, they weren’t stumbling or lagging behind or anything of that nature, it was more like when you see an elderly person going up stairs – every move was very measured and careful.  I suppose wandering about like this on land has to be pretty foreign to them.  Apparently it can’t be very good for them either because after a couple hours they had transformed from slimly into being very cracked and dried.  By the afternoon skin was flaking off them so badly that we were leaving a cloud of sorts in out wake.  It was like traveling down a dirt road kicking up dust, only instead of dust it was thin strips of papery skin.  I’m glad I was at the head of that procession.  I asked them if they were okay and how long they could be out of water but they didn’t answer.  They got here so they must not be all that fragile right?  I did ask them something else which prompted a response.

“These woods aren’t all that safe.  There’s dangerous beasts and such about.  If we get attacked can you do anything?  Do you have warriors?  I don’t see any weapons.  I don’t see much of anything really.  Can you protect yourselves?”

“Out of water we are weak.”

“Can you run at least?” There was no answer so I changed topics “What happened to all the stuff Holloway was trading you?  I don’t see you carrying hardly anything at all.”

“Too heavy.  We can get more later.”

“There may not be anything valuable to trade with where you’re going.  Although I suppose you can fish or something right?  But you may be far away from Holloway, you may have to make other contacts.”

This elicited no response, I guess it’s not my problem.  I had a horrifying vision of a bear charging out of the woods and attacking them and the flaky bastards just standing there and getting ripped to shreds before my eyes.  I just have to hope that they’re so many of them and they’re so bizarre that nothing will bother us.  And you know what they say about hoping.  They seemed indefatigable and willing to march on endless until we reached the stream, but I wasn’t and in any case I saw that their shoeless feet were getting raw and bloody so I called a halt shortly before sundown. 

“Do you guys have any provisions or food or anything?  It might take us a couple days to get where we’re going.  Do you need water to drink?  How do you feel about wine?  I can make an unlimited amount of wine but we actually don’t have much food ourselves?  Would it be better to travel at night?  The sun doesn’t seem to be very good for you.  Hello?  Is anyone listening to me?”

I don’t know if they were or not, either way they didn’t respond.  Several of them broke from the group and stood shoulder to shoulder in a little circle with their arms around each other.  They started mumbling something in a sibilant language that sounded nothing like elfen and kind of juking back and forth in their little huddle.  After several minutes of this a small spray of water issued out of from the ground like it was a fountain in the town square.  They broke apart and stood patiently as the water flowed out, turning the ground into a soft slurry.  I watched as one by one they filed forwards and disappeared into the muck.   

“Neat trick.  I thought you said you didn’t have any magic anymore.  Is that good for you?  It’s basically just mud it looks like.  Can you breathe in that?”

None of them bothered to answer but once again I have to assume they know what they’re doing.  Maybe it’s some kind of hibernation like those weird walking fish do when the water dries up.  They’re about as grotesque and lovable as mudskippers or whatever you call those fish-things.  Martialla’s scrounging turned up nothing edible but the water elf’s mudhole dislodged a family of gophers from their tunnels and Holloway was quick enough to grab a couple of them and bash their little heads in to give us, not a decent meal, but at least a meal.  I guess he’s not totally worthless.

“Not that long ago if you told me that I’d be eating a charred gopher on a stick I’d have thought you were insane.”

Martialla nodded “Life is an endless adventure.  I’ve been thinking, if we run into some stray orcs down south with this lot there’s going to be trouble.”

“I’m sure it will be fine.”

“Orcs hate elfs.  Granted this lot look more like they are orcs than anything but even so I don’t see that going well.”

I shrugged “Eh, if we run into some orcs and they kill them all I get the sword I want anyway so no big deal.”

“That is stone cold Ela.”

“Hey, I’m trying to help them out, but I haven’t adopted them.” I tossed my now empty gopher-stick into the fire “If it doesn’t work out it doesn’t work out.  Nothing to shed any tears about you know?”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 23,045 platinum, 52,143 gold

XP: 789,511

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Censer of Dreams, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Ring of Urban Grace, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Better Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, unknown gauntlets, mysterious staff, Cape of the Mountebank, Sandals of Sprinting, +1 Agile Rapier  

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 (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, lots of luxury goods 

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  

Montalan 22 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 4

Who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool that follows?  It’s the eternal question, one that can never be answered.  Except by me.  It’s easy to assume that the fool that follows is the more foolish because they were fooled by a fool but what that disregards is how good at fooling fools a foolish fooling fool can be.  What we can all agree on though is that the fool three times removed is blameless.  For you see what happened when the dam broke was nothing much.  The pond drained away quickly, the stream refilled its banks somewhat more slowly (if you can explain that to me please do) and that was pretty much it.  There were no sea elfs left flapping on the ground gasping for air (water?) like landed fish.  There was no underwater village revealed.  There was no nothing.  Buttons was agog that his prophesied destruction had failed to materialize. 

I looked at him curiously/annoyedingly “So . . . . what the fuck?”

He ran into the muck and looked for a moment like he was going to dive into the stream “I don’t understand it!  They built the dam so they could have a place to live.  They always came out of the water here to trade.  I don’t understand.”

“Did you ever actually see this underwater village?”

“No . . . it’s underwater . . .”

“So what exactly did you do out here?”

“I’d bring wagons of goods, stuff that you can’t make underwater, to trade them and they’d come out of the water here.  Right here!  They said they had a village under there.  They said they lived here!  I thought . . . the ogres said . . .  they were going to destroy the dam to get at the elfs!  They said they were going to kill them.”

“Clearly they were wrong.  Not surprising really, dumb as they are I can’t imagine that their plans pan out so often.  I suppose that’s a little bit of a lesson about buying into what ogres say huh?  I guess we murdered them for nothing.  I mean good riddance because they’re awful, but still you’ve wasted a good deal of my time.”

He fell to his knees in the sludge “I don’t understand it . . .”

“I wouldn’t worry too much about it.  So you failed miserably, at least you tried.  Granted Martialla and I did all the actual work and you did nothing, but you got us to do it, which is even better if you ask me.”

He was about to say something when without any preamble a shiny black diving beetle the size of a mule slid out of the water nearby with some manner of water vine-netting on it, presumable for carrying cargo.  A moment later three elfs walked slowly out of the water as well to stand by their beast of burden.  I personally think that people give too much credence to elfen beauty, the men are handsome enough in a cold somber way but I find the women to leave something to be desired, being all hard angles and basically indistinguishable from the men (or is it the other way round) but elfs are reckoned to be a comely bunch and not without good reason.  Given that fact these water elfs were a very poor representation of their race.

They were pale as newly fallen snow, as I guess you might assume being removed from the sun as they are, but this was not the porcelain skin tone that some find appealing, this was a very anemic looking and unhealthsome pallor.  But what was worse is that their skin seemed both thick, like that of a buffalo perhaps, but also semi-translucent like that of a salamander.  You could see little lines of gray-green veins underneath in clear disgusting detail.  Even out of the water they glistened and after I while I realized that trains of saliva were dripping off their thin lips constantly.  Their dark hair was stringy and unkempt and somehow looked overly dry despite clinging wetly to their scalps and faces.  That may have disturbed me most of all – they didn’t even bother to brush their sopping hair away from their faces, just letting it stick there like that was fine.  Add to that large white eyes with pinkish irises and you don’t have a great look bunch.  I will credit them this, unlike normal elfs they were not shrimpy (which is amusing since they come from the sea) all three of them being close to six feet tall despite being women (I think) and looking sturdy where your standard elf is ethereal and weak in appearance.  They looked like they could take a punch.

The middle one spoke haltingly with hair draped over her face like a water ghost “You come to trade.  You have missed the appointed time.  You will receive less.”

Buttons started babbling wildly about what had happened while trying to haul himself to his feet but he was stuck in the mud pretty good and only managed to pull himself free, heaving at the effort, after losing his boots and his pants to the stream bank.  It was hard to tell if the three water elfs were even listening to him but eventually the middle one spoke so they must have gotten the message.

“There is no trade.”

Button could find no response to that so after a moment they turned to leave, their beetle slipping back into the water with nary a ripple, but I gestured for them pause.

“Hold on a second there, uh, I didn’t catch your name.” I waited a for a moment but no name was offered “Okay then.  Looks like it didn’t end up mattering, but Holloway Giswain Cumberland the Third here was trying to help you guys out, he thought those ogres were going to kill you.  I don’t think a little gratitude would in uncalled for.”

“We were in no danger.”

“Sure but those ogres killed all his men and took all the stuff he was going to trade to you.  Sounds like you have been working together for a while, why not help the guy out?  Give him a little something to get back on his feet.  You want to keep trading right?  Can’t you meet him halfway here?”

“He has nothing to give us.”

“Not now, but if you send him away empty handed maybe he can’t come back you understand?  And then no more trading at all.  It’s in your best interest to keep things going right?  If you need to consider it a loan, give him a little right now and then later he’ll hook you up.”

She flinched at that last bit, the first reaction of any kind she had shown, and I realized that was probably not the right thing to say to a fish elf.

“That’s a figure of speech, I didn’t mean anyone was going to be harmed in any way, I just meant that he would give you more later in return.  You know what a loan is right?” 

They said nothing and I turned to Martialla who just shrugged.  Elfs are also counted to be very intelligent and advanced, clearly appearance is not the only way in which their seabound cousins don’t measure up.

“Okay then, maybe you and I can trade.  I’m looking for a specific Turnbill sword.  It has some particular markings on it, if I describe them to you can you tell me if you have it?”

Buttons spoke up miserably “They don’t know what that means.”

I jerked my head and Buttons “The stuff you’ve be trading that guy, I might be interested a certain item if you have it.  Is that something that you’d be interested in?  What kinds of things do you trade?”  After a moment it seemed that no response was going to be forthcoming “Hello?  Are you listening?  Can you understand me?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want to trade with me?  I got all kinds of stuff, I don’t know how well it would work underwater, but some of it should be fine.  And I have some magic stuff.  Holloway told me that being here away from the ocean has broken your magic connection, maybe something I have could help you.”

I could see her one eye shining through her hair-wall “Magic?”

I unloaded some of my Bags to show her what I had, as I halfway expected she wasn’t interested in the coins or the jewels of any of the valuables I had.  Buttons explained that he traded them mostly mithril crafted items since they obviously can’t forge underwater and mithril doesn’t rust.  But she was very interested in the tooth-sword.  I laid it on the ground and all three of them came forward, slimy hair swinging pendulously and flinging gunge, to lay their hands on it reverently.  After a moment the talker stood back up while the other two, each holding onto the sword like they were lovers holding hands, disappeared into the water.

“Hey, I . . . okay, I guess.  In return for the tooth thing here’s what I’m looking for, it’s a sword kind of like that, but made of metal.  It’s a single sided blade of folded steel, engraved with kind of a flame shape up the length of the flat, you know the broad side.  The hilt is inlaid with ivory and has like this little silver wire around it and the crossguard has two silvered flowers on it.  Do you know what a rose is?  But most importantly on the pommel there’s going to be a rune or a symbol that looks like . . .”

She reached into the water and pulled out a saber made of some manner of blackish metal and held it out – like it had been floating there somehow waiting for her to pluck it from the water.

“That’s very nice, but that’s not what I’m looking for.  What I need is . . .”

She dropped the blade to the ground with a splat and turned to leave “The trade is done.”

“Hold up, hold up, I’m looking for a very specific item, can you just tell me if you have it down there?”

She didn’t turn but did answer “We have no interest in the detritus of your world, we trade whatever we find.”

“Find where?  What’s going on down there?”

I wasn’t sure she would answer but eventually she did turn “When we first came here we dug to make more space.  We broke into caves full of water.  This is where we live.  We find items of your world there sometimes.  Old things.”

“Okay, now let me ask you this. Do you like living here?  Holloway said that it was making you sick.  I’ve never met your kind before so I can’t really judge but you don’t look very vigorous to me.”

“There is nowhere else.  We are outcast.”

“Sure there is.  Your a long way from the coast here and you got made it this far so clearly you can survive on land for a while right?  Just a couple days south of here there’s a much bigger stream that leads to an actual river.  And that river leads to a lake – a big beautiful lake full of clear clean water.  It’s a thousand times bigger than this shithole.  Plus there are all kinds of other rivers, some of which lead to the ocean – you can’t be outcast from the entire ocean can you?  The ocean’s a damn big place, whoever you have problems with can’t control the entire thing can they?  If you bring me all the stuff you have to trade I’ll get you there.”

“I cannot decide.”

“What’s there to decide?  On the one hand . . .”

Buttons shook his head “She means that she’s not in charge, not that she can’t make up her mind.”

“Oh, well is there a way I can talk to whoever is in charge?  Or can . . .”

“Wait” she said before disappearing into the water quickly.

I looked to Buttons “She’s going to talk to her leaders.  She’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Why are you so glum looking my trouserless friend?”

“Aside from my business being ruined?”

“Nonsense, come out of that mud will you?  This is good news mister hairy legs, you want this saber?  It’s yours.”

He gasped “It’s priceless!”

“No, its price is about four thousand if you can find a collector, maybe half that if you can’t.  I don’t care about any of that Turnbill shit except for one specific thing.  Whatever these watery corpse looking fuckers drag up I just want to check for the sword I want, you can have the rest of it for all I care.”

He fainted dead away, face-first into the silt.  Martialla dragged him up by the back of his shirt so he wouldn’t drown. “Are you really going to give him all of it?  That’s a lot of money isn’t it?”

“I suppose to be fair I’ll just give him my half, the rest is yours by right.”

“Speaking of, don’t you still owe me a small fortune from the jewel height in Obsis?  Wasn’t I supposed to get a third of that?”

“Hmm, doesn’t sound familiar to me.”

“It’s good to know you haven’t changed that much.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 23,045 platinum, 52,143 gold

XP: 789,511

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Censer of Dreams, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Ring of Urban Grace, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Better Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, unknown gauntlets, mysterious staff, Cape of the Mountebank, Sandals of Sprinting, +1 Agile Rapier  

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 (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, lots of luxury goods 

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  

Montalan 22 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 3

“That’s your plan?!  That’s a terrible plan, that’s so bad that you can’t even call it a plan!”

“It’s better than a lot of the plans that you’ve come up with for us!”

“None of my plans ever ended with our skin being made into ogre-garters!”

“No, they just end up with ME being branded a murderer and becoming a forest outlaw!  I hate the forest!  And ogres don’t even wear garters!”

“You don’t know that!  You’re not an expert in ogres!”

“More than you are!”

Martialla’s plan was for us to disguise ourselves as the two ogrekin we killed (which would easily do) and infiltrate the group attacking the dam.  What’s the next step of the plan you ask reasonable?  Winging it apparently.  Never mind that fact that even disguised I’m the only one of the two of us that could sound like an ogrekin.  She had suggested that we go and tell the rest of the clan that they needed help chasing down Buttons, but that’s laughably stupid.  First of all they’re probably just kick the shit out of us for failing – I don’t feel like there’s a lot of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty shared by gross human-eating monsters.  And secondly even if they did come with us what does that accomplish?  Eventually they’re just going to come back to continue attacking the dam.  I took a deep breath and made an effort to calm myself.

“Look, I’m sorry I yelled, but that plan seems a tad suicidal for my liking.”

Martialla looked stunned “Did you just apologize?  What has happened to you?”

“You’ve heard me apologize many times before.”

“Never sincerely.”

“That’s a fair point.  Let’s just pretend that I’ve grown as a person and move past it.” I pointed at the giantess “I’ve actually run into her before, she’s not as stupid as she looks.  Setting aside jokes about how it would be impossible to be as stupid as she looks I don’t want to tangle with her again unless I have to.  I mean what’s our motivation here Martialla?  It’s shitty luck for the dumb water elfs sure, but why is that our problem?”  I jerked my head at our tagalong and his many-buttoned coat “This guy is just trying to save his trading partners, this is not some high minded mission of mercy.  Let’s not go overboard here okay?  We came and took a look and it’s nothing we can handle.  So let’s just move on.  Why risk our lives for this jerk?”

Martialla sighed “I suppose you’re right.  It just seems like you’re the one who makes all the decisions, maybe I was pushing this one a little too hard because it was my idea.”

“Hey, I get it, no one likes to feel like they’re the junior partner.  And rest assured Martialla, I don’t think about you that way at all.  I may joke about you being my sidekick but I’m just busting your balls, you know that.” I reached for her “Come on now let’s hug it out.”

She laughed and playfully shoved me away “Get off of me Ela!”

I winked “Hey, you can’t blame a gal for trying right?”

Buttons look utterly confused “What’s going on?  Are you guys going to help me or . . .”

I clapped him on the back sociably “I’m afraid not my friend, it’s just too much for us to take on right now you know?  But I tell you what, if you take those fancy buttons into town and sell them you can probably scrounge up enough money to hire some adventurers – this is the kind of shit they eat up.  A clan of ogres attacking some weird kind of elf village?  That’s what they’re all about.  That should get you fixed up in no time at all.”

“There’s no time to do that!  They’re ripping down the dam now!  My friends sacrificed themselves so I could get away and get help!”

I patted him on the back consolingly “They had to know what was probably not going to work.  I mean who are you going to find to help you in the middle of a forest?  Plus they’re all dead so sounds like so it really doesn’t matter right?”

Martialla held up a finger “What about this?  If all the ogres are here their lair should be empty right?  Let’s go there while it’s undefended, maybe some of your friends are still alive and we can rescue them.”

He shook his head violently “No, we need to stop them now!  The elfs will be killed!”

I scowled “What is your deal with these Gods damned elfs?”

“I’ve been trading with them . . .”

“And?”

He looked like a trapped animal but eventually his he sighed “They’ve been giving me Turnbill crafted weapons.”

I couldn’t help but snicker “So you’re just in it for the money?” He stood shame-faced but said nothing “That’s interesting though, very interesting.”

Martialla frowned “What’s a Turnbill?”

“Jheronimus Takan Turnbill was a master weaponsmith in the time of the Old Empire.  The old Old Empire if you know what I mean.  Collectors pay a lot of money for his swords and whatnot now, not enough to risk our lives over for sure, but the reason I even know this at all is because your and my favorite of all the dukes of the land – one mister Eaglevane – owns two Turnbill blades of a set of three forged for some general of the Old Empire, and getting the last one is one of the few things that might lure that smarmy toad away from the comforts and security of Paladore.  Which would be helpful.  For me.”

“So now we are going to help?”

“Maybe.” I turned to Buttons “Let’s hear a little more about what’s going on here.  Are the ogres trying to drain the lake because they want the Turnbill relics?”

He shook his head “No, they just hate the sea elfs and want to kill them.”

“Did something kick this off?  If they hate the elfs why is this happening now?  Did something change?”

“I have no idea, I just came out here to trade and they grabbed us.”

“You mentioned some kind of stupid water faerie that set up this little pond for the elfs to live in.  Sounds like someone that could help us out, what do you know about her?  How can we contact her and get her in on this action?”

“I don’t know anything about it, that’s just what the elfs told me happened.”

“Well what the Hells do you know!”

He shied away like I was going to hit him (which I guess I have done) and Martialla held up a restraining hand “I say we visit their lair anyway, if any of your friends are alive maybe they can help us.”

I nodded “Plus if there’s no one to rescue we can set it on fire.”

“As a distraction?”

“Yeah, sure.”

 Buttons gestured at the ogrekin picking away at the dam “There’s no time, look!”

Martialla took a good look at the scene below “I’m no structural engineer but it’s going to take them hours to make a dent in that thing just grabbing at it like they are, maybe days – it will be fine for a while.  Ela’s right, we can’t take them on alone, we need allies.  Unless you have a better idea let’s check out this lair.”

I shrugged “Works for me.  What kind of lair are we talking about?  I assume ogres live in caves.”

Buttons was looking glumly at the dam below “No, it’s an old ranger fort.”

“What?  There’s rangers here?  Enough to necessitate a fort to accommodate them all?”

He looked at me forlornly “Not anymore.”

The fort wasn’t too far away and it turned out to be a real piece of garbage.  Being in the care of creatures that don’t have much interesting in maintenance or renovation for three generations doesn’t do much for the integrity of a building.  On the other hand they appear to be very proficient in hanging dead bodies on the walls and smearing them with excrement.  Some massive ugly hounds charged out at us to defend their home, along with one ogrekin with a clubfoot but we were able to dispatch them easily enough.  None of Button’s friends were still alive though and I didn’t see there being any real chance of anything worthwhile being inside that mound of fetid trash and body parts so the trip was pretty well pointless. 

“I feel like I got tetanus just from looking at that place.”

Martialla nudged one of the dead dogs with her foot “So what now?”

I sighed “I guess we go back and take them out.”

“And you said my plan was stupid?  How are we going to do that?”

“Carefully.”

We returned to the scene of the un-dammening, where despite Martialla’s proclamation it appeared that the ogrekin were making pretty good progress in undamming the stream.  I had Martialla turn me invisible and I crept around using my Walking Stick to cautiously and strategically weaken some of the larger trees in the area.  Once I had things configured to my liking all it took was a little push to send a river birch that had to be close to seventy feet tall toppling over right onto the giantess.  You may remember that I pulled this same maneuver on a Kostelos renegade assassin and she caught the damn thing instead of being crushed.  That was a Hells of a thing to see.  This time my target did no such thing because she was caught completely unawares – it fell directly onto her and the tree broke in half right over her head.  I’ll repeat that, the tree broke in half over her head.  It didn’t really seem to bother her much either.  I would say it had about as much effect as when you slap at a mosquito on your neck and hot yourself little harder than you intended – it smarts but it’s no big deal. 

I had intended to knock over more trees and then use my invisibility and vocal powers to try and convince them that it was the work of an angry forest spirit and hopefully scare them away but I was so flabbergasted but what I saw that I just stood there gaping.  But here’s a new thing that I learned.  There’s these creatures that people call deadfall scorpions.  They’re over twenty feet long even without the tail and they have coloration looks like thick sheets of moss and other forest debris that allows them to blend in with the woodland floor.  They’re called deadfall scorpions because despite their massive size they can compact themselves down to hide inside deadfalls created by old trees – a maneuver which some label as “disturbingly stealthy”.  But also sometimes what they do is crawl into the hollows of dead trees that haven’t fallen over yet – like the one I pushed over on the giantess.  One moment she and the ogres were laughing about a tree breaking on her skull and the next moment a very large and very angry scorpion comes charging out of the tree-trunk and attacks her.  I think we were all pretty surprised by that. 

If you’re never seen a giant wrestle for their life with a scorpion the size of a small cottage it’s really something.  I don’t know if I would recommend it exactly but if you get the chance to see it you probably should go just for the novelty of it.  I mean how many chances are you going to get to see something like that?  At first this made the ogres laugh even more, but once they saw their boss/matriarch/whatever was in real trouble they started bellowing profane threats and charged to her rescue.  Martialla appeared and put one of them to sleep with her magic while I finally snapped out of my reverie and knocked a second one down with another treefall.  I started firing with my crossbow and Martialla with her magical blasts of molten metal and in the end only the armored ogre made it to help the giantess.  I dropped the third tree on the ogrekin in the muck and then we concentrated our fire on them as the armored hulk and the giantess tore the scorpion apart.  Once it was all over she looked like she had fallen into well full of broken jagged pieces of metal – she was all kinds of bloody – but her armored friend looked fine as the two of them squared off with the two of us.

“Hey, remember me?”

Her massive face screwed up in concentration, then turned to outrage “You throw rope on me!  You steal my dinner!”

“Yeah, and you can’t sing for shit either.”

With a shout of rage that literally shook the trees she came lumbering around the muddy ground towards us with her armored pal.  I drank from my Flask and Tankard to grow to ogre size (still being dwarfed by the giantess) and activated my Amulet for metal-skin while Martialla cast a spell to transform into a bugbear.  If the giantess hadn’t already been torn up something fierce by the scorpion the two of them would have rolled over us anyway even enhanced as we were, but she was so we took her down (that means killed) with only a couple more blows.  Her armored friend turned out to by a much tougher nut to crack.  Neither one of us could land a telling blow on him with all that steel protecting him and he was battering us badly with his mace (which was also a real weapon and not a tree branch like you normally see from ogres) but in the end we managed to work together to tackle/trip/throw him down the bank into the mire below.  Without all that armor he probably could have clambered out.  As it was we saw him slowly sink into the mud and disappear.

Martialla returned to her normal form “Ugh, what a way to go.”

I shrunk and de-metalized as well “Better horrible suffocation for him than being bashed to death for us.”

Martialla nodded and Buttons came running up, excited as can be. 

“You did it!  I can’t believe it!”

“Yes well, we’re really quite something.  You see . . .”

I was interrupted at this point by a resounding crack and the sight of the dam springing a major leak – and then giving away complety after a moment.  Turns out that last tree falling really did a number on the weak spot the ogrekin were creating.  In short order the entire dam was largely obliterated.   

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 23,045 platinum, 52,143 gold

XP: 789,511

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Censer of Dreams, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Ring of Urban Grace, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Better Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, unknown gauntlets, mysterious staff, tooth-sword, Cape of the Mountebank, Sandals of Sprinting, +1 Agile Rapier  

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 (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, lots of luxury goods 

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  

Montalan 22 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 2

Mr. Buttons claims that his name is Holloway Giswain Cumberland the Third, which falls into the category of names so awful that you’re have to have a real set of balls to be passing it off as a fake one.  Although on the other hand a con artist I knew passed himself off as Lord Gordin Gordin for years before someone split his head open with an axe (which was unrelated).  Buttons claims additionally to have been captured by the “ogrekin” as he called them and that he had escaped when his fellow captives sacrificed himself to create a diversion so that he could get away.  Those two charming mutant fellows that had attacked Martialla and me were actually out chasing him when our paths crossed, much to their misfortune (and ours).  Or so he claimed.  He made that move to grab at my clothing or hands the way people do sometimes when they’re really panicked but I knocked him on the head with my Walking Stick and he pulled up short with a surprised look.

“Back up there chief, I don’t need you grabbing at me with your grimy little rat fingers.”

“What?!  I . . .” He shook his head as if trying to shake off a haze “You have to help me, you have to . . .”

“You don’t look like you’ve been tortured to me.”

Bafflement crawled across his face like an inch-worm “You have to help . . . wait . . . what?”

“Does he look very tortured to you Martialla?” She shook her head. “You look like someone who got out of bed quickly to me, not someone who just escaped from a marauding band of pain worshipping torture monsters.  Did they just capture you five minutes ago?  I don’t see a mark on you.  Look at Martialla, have you been tortured today Martialla?”

She shook her head again “No I have not.”

“Exactly, and look at her.  She looks like crap.”

“Hey!”

“No offense, and she looks like that because one of the ogre things chasing YOU gutted her like a filthy stinking slimy fish.  And here you are looking fresh as a daisy.  How do you explain that?”

His eyes darted back and forth between the two of us “I . . . . who are . . . . what do . . . . there’s no time!  We have to . . .”

I gestured to myself and Martialla “We don’t have to do anything.  Whatever you’re up to that’s your business.  I don’t believe for one second that you were in the clutches of those reprobates.  Well maybe one second, but not two seconds no way.”

He gestured wildly “I was their prisoner!  They did . . . things to me!  They’re animals!  We have to save the village, they’re going to destroy the dam!  The flood will kill them all!”

I scowled “Dam?  Village?  What are you even talking about?  We’re in the middle of the woods. There’s nothing like that around here.  Martialla, you’ve been in these trees for weeks now, are there even any rivers through here?  Let alone a dam?  Let alone a village?”

She thought about it for a moment “I mean, maybe.  I mostly keep to the edges.  I don’t really know what goes on here in the middle.”

“What?!  Then how are you leading us to Alleene?  Do you know where we are right now?!”

She looked around “No, not really, but you can’t ever honestly know exactly where you are in the woods.”

“YOU can’t.  Damn it Martialla you lack of navigational skills as screwed me again!”

Her lips tightened angrily “You see, you see Ela, this is what I’m talking about.  We’ve been back together for a few days and you’re yelling at me for something that isn’t my fault again.  You got lost in your own suite back at the palace and now you’re lambasting me for not being able to orienteer my way through the damn woods!”

“Hey, I was drunk when I got lost that time!  I told you that in confidence.  Also please d don’t say ‘back together’ like that, it makes it sound like we’re a couple or something.”

“You should be so lucky.”

“No YOU should be so lucky!”

Buttons rushed at me again and I had to draw back my Walking Stick like I was going to club him “Stay off me man, don’t think I won’t crack your skull open.”

“We’ve got to do something!  The dam!”

“There’s no dam you lunatic, all that lives in this forest are monsters and fey folk and a couple of bandits.” I turned to Martialla “Say, when you started banditing here weren’t there also some bandits?  Did you ever run into them?  Do bandits bandit other bandits?”

“Of course bandits go after each other sometimes, you know the old saying – there’s exactly as much honor amongst thieves as amongst everyone else.”

“Amongst?  Calm down there lady, what are you going to say next?  Erstwhile?”

Martialla’s retort was lost as Buttons rudely jumped into the eyeline between us “There is a dam!  There’s a village and if they unleash the waters everyone will be killed!”

I sighed “Even if I believed that there was a dam, which I do not, what sort of morons would build a village in the dry bed of a river?  I’m no engineer but people built dams to create ponds right?  Not to build a town right in the path of where flowing water should go.  It makes no sense to do that.”

He shook his head wildly “No, the village isn’t in the path, it’s in . . .”

Martialla interjected reasonably “If the village is in the path of the waters just evacuate the village.”

His histrionics became even more overstated “No, no, that’s what I’m trying to tell you!  The village is IN the water.  If they break the dam the water will flow out and they’ll all be killed.  They live IN the water.”

I gestured to Martialla “We’re going now, good luck to you crazy man.” He grabbed at my Cape and I tried to shove him off but he clung to my garment “Get your hands off of me!”

“They’re water elfs!  They’ll die if we don’t stop the ogres from wrecking the dam.  They can’t survive on land!”

I finally managed to pry his hands off my clothing “Water elfs?  Even if that was a thing that existed why would they be here?  We’re hundreds of miles away from the ocean.”

“They were exiled!  The king of Paladria died and his brother sized power, the Pillarists tried to stop him and ensure that the rightful heir . . .”

I made to kick at him but Martialla held up a restraining hand “We may as well see what he’s talking about, otherwise he’s just going to keep raving about it.  Unless you want to kill him to shut him up.”

I stared at the wild-eyed unkempt man for a good long while “Alright, let’s go.”

Maybe half an hour later Buttons lead us to, what, a glade?  Is that what a forest clearing is called?  Anyway, the trees thinned out on account of there was a forest stream that had been dammed to form a decent sized pond.  Even so I would have judged the entire story to be bullshit if not for the fact that maybe a dozen of the so-called ogrekin (if they can so be called) were up to their nuts (and what have you) in mud pulling away at the dam.  Watching them from the “shore” and shouting encouragement in the form of profane insults were four actual ogres.  Three of them were the savage mounds of guts and flab that you’d expect but one of them looked like a block of solid muscle and was wearing actual armor that looked like it had been made for him.  Where the Hells did that come from?  One of the ogres was all muddy like they had tried to go at the dam only to find they were too heavy to make it through the mud.  But that wasn’t all, standing over them all (literally) was my old friend the giantess from outside of Newberry Hill.  She was just as horrid as ever but her hair is still radiant and vibrant as you like – it’s such an odd juxtaposition that it almost knocks you on your ass just seeing it.

“That’s it?  It looks like a beaver dam.”

Buttons nodded vigorously “It is, when the exiles first came here the water nymph Cryseria spoke to Wishapoosh the lord of the beavers and he . . .”

“Shut up.  So you’d have us believe that there’s some manner of water elfs living in that pond?  It’s not that big, how many elfs could there be in there?  Also why can’t they defend themselves?  Aren’t elfs full of magical powers?  Why can’t they summon a big blast of water that looks like charging horses for some reason to knock the ogres away and drown them?”

Martialla piped up “Well that would knock down the dam for one.  Besides not all elfs can do magic.”

Buttons seemed to be calming down from his earlier hysterics “They’re sick.  Living in this place is not good for them.  Their power is diminished to nothing.  They’re helpless, we need to save them.”

“Why do you care what happens to them?”

“They’re my friends and trading partners.  That’s why I was out here.”

“That sounds like a long and boring story.  What could elfs in a forest pond possible have to trade?  Wait, don’t answer that, I don’t care.  What do you want us to do about it?”

He gestured vaguely “Can’t you go down there and . . .” He made the traditional finger across the throat gesture for croaking someone.

“You want us to fucking fight them?!  The three of us against all of them?”

He cleared his throat “Well the two of you anyway, I’m not much of a fighter.”

“Okay , you clearly are insane.  There’s no way the two of us can fight all of them!  Even if we wanted to.  Which we do not.”

“You already killed two of them.”

“Yeah, TWO, and that’s because we had to kill them to save our own lives.  We didn’t seek them out, we’re not warriors.  Its tough luck for the water elfs that they’re all going to die but there’s nothing we can do about it.  Sounds like their lives kind of sucked anyway, so is it really that big of a loss?”

Martialla smiled “No, there is something we can do, I have a plan.”

“No there isn’t.”

Her grin widened “Oh but there is.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 23,045 platinum, 52,143 gold

XP: 763,911

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Censer of Dreams, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Ring of Urban Grace, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Better Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, unknown gauntlets, mysterious staff, tooth-sword, Cape of the Mountebank, Sandals of Sprinting, +1 Agile Rapier  

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 (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, lots of luxury goods 

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