Date unknown – Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

You spend a few days in utter darkness and your mind starts to play tricks on you.  I’ve heard that sensory deprivation can cause you to hallucinate and that must be true unless a highly localized version of the Northern Lights was happening by me.  I suppose your brain gets bored with not having anything to see and just starts making things up.  Beyond dreams and lights though despite the fact that I’m pretty sure I’m in an old storeroom I started to convince myself that the room had no door.  That they sealed me in here somehow, with magic, or just normally with bricks like nobles too sometimes when they’re bored with their mistresses.  I’ve worked all around the walls several times and I only felt stone – nothing that felt like a door.  It would explain why no one has come to taunt me or throw food at me or anything since I’ve been here. 

But like I said, it was just my mind playing tricks, which was made apparent when the door opened today.  The very small amount of light that came in through the doorway was enough to sting my eyes like flying grit and start them to watering.  Once I was able to stand looking I saw Martialla coming in holding a candle and a pitcher, maneuvering the door with her hip – she’s more graceful than I give her credit for.  Sometimes. She handed me the pitcher and I took a drink (sadly of water) as she unslung a pack from over her shoulder and brought out some bread and cheese.

Martialla shielded the candlelight with her body “I figured you’d need to regain your strength.”

“I’m fine actually, I had a dinner date just the other night.”

“What?”

“I’ll explain later.  Have you made contact with Mord?”

“Would I be here if I hadn’t?”

“Don’t get touchy, I was just asking.”

“I think I’m entitled to get a little touchy since you fucking stabbed me.”

“I knew you wouldn’t die.  And we could go tit for tat on that, all the shit you pulled on me.”

“You said that it had to look real!  You said that they could be watching us at any time so . . .”

“I know what I said, I wasn’t the one complaining, I was just titting at your tat.  I won’t insult you by asking if you’ve identified the targets but can you at least tell me who they are?”

“The old lady is the main one we need to deal with, there’s a couple other women too – as long as we catch them by surprise it shouldn’t be a problem.  One of them is a real hardcase though, we need to be careful with that one.”

“Aren’t we always careful?”

“No.”

I took my gear out of the satchel and stripped off the peasant rag I was wearing to start getting dressed “You kept my clothes in the same bag as the cheese?  And you just wadded it into a ball?  You’re lucky this magically repels wrinkles otherwise you’d be in a lot of trouble with me right now.”

“What are you going to do?  Stab me again?”

“Good Gods are you going to keep bringing that up forever?  You kicked the shit out of me like ten times!”

She crossed her arms “I feel like an apology is in order.”

“I’m sorry I stabbed you.”

Her eyes widened slightly “That almost sounded like you meant it.”

“I do mean it, why would I want to stab you?  It was just for show, and I’m sorry.  I’d do it again in the same circumstances but that doesn’t mean I’m not sorry about having to do it.  I had to sell the story you know?”

“I just hope someone was watching.”

“So what’s the deal?  Why are these Kostelos taking orders from women now?”

“I don’t know really, something Kartak brought with him changed things for them – after he slaughtered their old shaman anyway.  Brutally slaughtered that is.  Apparently he brought about some kind of religious sea change that favored women.”

“And marginalized himself?”

“I’m just telling you what I know.”

“Well you know what they say, you can’t keep a good woman down.”

“Do they say that?

“They’re going to start.”

Once I was dressed in my clothes I felt a thousand times more calm and confident.  I’m sure I still looked like a scarecrow and smelled like a dockworker after a hard day’s work but even so I felt much better.  There’s just something about being properly dressed you know?  Also it was just nice to have boots on – my feet are going to need a lot of attention once this is all over.  I looked at Martialla as I slipped the Whiterock ring back on my finger.

“What do you think happened while I wasn’t wearing this?”

She shook her head slowly “Nothing I hope.  I agonized over that, I thought maybe I could slip it to you and no one would notice, but you said . . .”

“Yeah, I know what I said.  Why are you carrying a candle instead of using your magic?”

“Seemed a little too conspicuous.”

I didn’t understand her reasoning there but I let it lie.  She’s not pretending to be anyone other than she is, and they all know she’s magic so what’s the point?  I assume it made sense in her mind.  Martialla took on the appearance of the one of the Juost manor maids so I could copy it and then we were off.  The room I was being held in was indeed a tower, but I think from the outside it looks round and I know the room was square – I’ll have to check from the grounds when this is all over.  We went down a short staircase and across the upper halls to the master bedroom where the old Kostelos woman who’s causing all the problems had installed herself.  As we left the room where I was imprisoned I saw a guard sitting on the floor sobbing uncontrollable and covering his face in horrified sadness.

“What’s with him?”

“I learned a new spell.”

I shook my head “Magic is awful.”

When we walked into the room I had a flashback to the keep outside of Hillside.  Or was it Tall Elk?  Anyway, you know the one I mean.  The room had the same kind of stink infusing it and there were similar looking markings painted on the walls.  And while I am no expert, these seemed to be less of patterns to ward off evil spirits  so much as patterns to invite the evil spirits in to have a good old time.  One of them specifically I know is the reverse of a sigil that’s supposed to ward off death.  So draw your own conclusion there.  The Kostelos are not a large people generally and the women was shrunken with age, looking even more so in the comprehensively soiled former grandeur of the Baron’s massive bed.  Martialla grabbed her legs and I put a pillow over her face and in a couple minutes her days of evil doing were over.

Now you may not think that murdering an old woman in her sleep is not particularly heroic but you’d be wrong.  If an orc comes charging at you and you stand your ground and hit with a club that takes guts sure, but fighting against someone attacking you is one thing.  That’s an immediate reaction to something right in front of you.  But the cold blooded murder of a defenseless old-timer?  That takes some real courage.  And I’m not saying that murders are courageous, they’re mostly cowards, which is just the point I’m trying to make – I’m a normal person and I did this anyway because it needed to be done.  This weak old woman brought down ruin on thousands of people, she had to go – and I had the willpower to do it.  That’s a hero.

Not to mention what I had to go through to get the chance.  And what Martialla had to go through.  I wonder if she had sex with the Duke’s cousin.  I’ll have to ask her later.  As we headed for another part of the manor we heard fighting outside – Mord’s crew must be doing their part to keep attention down in the courtyard.  They’re a little early, but what can you do?  Timing is hard.  When we got to the next room the woman inside was out of bed and throwing on some kind of primitive animal-skin armor (looked like an armadillo but that can’t be right) and had an axe lying close at hand.  She wasn’t old, but she was ugly.  I don’t know if she was deformed or possessed or had a curse on her or what, but she didn’t look precisely human.  Her eyes were kind of oblong and set at an angle – like they were sloping down towards her nose.  It was unsettling.  And that nose itself was upturned like that of a bat.  Her hands seemed to be fifty percent too large as well.  I didn’t care for her whole vibe.

She snarled at Martialla “What’s going on down there?!”

Martialla affected a tone of fear “The peasants are revolting!”

I couldn’t help myself “Of course, but she asked what’s going on outside.”

They both turned to look at me, confused, and then Martialla extended her hand with the magical words of magic and assailed her with a line of fire.  This didn’t bother Batnose too much as she countered with some magic of her own and deflected the attack – sending up a huge wall of flame between us that bisected the room.  And set the bed on fire.  It was just a perfect plane of fire hanging in the air – I never saw anything like it.

“Huh, will you look at that.”

Martialla cast another spell to protect us from the fire and we dove through – which was quite exhilarating.  If you ever get the chance to walk jump through a giant wall of fire you definitely should.  I don’t know why we jumped instead of just walking, it just seemed more apt.  Batnose was waiting for us and blasted us with another pillar of fire which burned the Hells out of us even through Martialla’s protection.  She claimed later on that it wasn’t real fire, that it was divine energy that looked like fire but I think Batnose just had a better spell and it overwhelmed Martialla’s.  Martialla is always making excuses for her mediocre magical powers.  Batnose expanded in size to where she had to duck to avoid hitting the ceiling and then lay about with her axe but there’s the thing – she was big but she didn’t seem that strong.  She was four times my size but I was still able to pin her down with my Walking Stick while Martialla heroically stabbed her in the ribs until she died. 

It’s really nice to have my Walking Stick back in my hands.  More than anything else I felt naked without that.  There’s something about the heft of holding an item that you can really whack someone on the noggin with that makes me feel assured.  It’s like you can point your stick at the entire world any say “You, you’re in my way!”  I can see why rich people like it so much.  Well that and for beating poor people so badly that they go blind.  We stepped back through the fire just as another woman was coming in the door. She was wearing full armor, even the helmet, but you could tell that under all that metal she was a muscular slab of humanity.  She’s have to be to move so easily with all that weight – I tried a chain shirt on once and it nearly brought me to my knees, she had on plate mail and it didn’t seem to bother her in the least.  She had long ornately plaited blonde hair that hung down to her waist – that part looked like what opera people think that warriors look like.  We looked at each other at the same time and then Martialla and I hopped back through the flame wall.

“I assume that’s the dangerous one?”

“Yeah.”

“The one we need to take by surprise?”

“Yeah.”

“Why didn’t we go after her first?”

“I was just going by the rooms that were closest.”

“Okay, so we climb out the window and . . .”

That’s when the opera warrior came charging through the flames – she had no protection, she just didn’t care about running through a wall of fire.  She smashed Martialla into the wall with her shield and she was swinging a hammer at my head.  You know a warhammer, not like a hammer for carpentry.  I managed to get my Walking Stick up to block it – and by block I mean get in the way sort of.  You have your friend swing a sledgehammer at you and you try to block it with broomstick and see how that works out.  The good news is the hammer didn’t hit me in the head.  The bad news is that the Walking Stick was driven back into my head with enough force to knock me on my ass.  The even worse news is that the Walking Stick broke into three pieces.  I just got it back!

Scrambling to my feet as opera warrior hammered Martialla I grabbed a flaming blanket off the bed and tossed it over her head.  I tried to grab and hold her as well, but she shoved me off with one elbow like I was a silk ribbon trying to hold back a rampaging rhino.  At least Martialla was able to get in a few stabs while she was blinded by the blanket of fire.  At least I think she was able to, as an observer it’s hard to tell with all that armor if the strikes are getting home of just glancing off.  With no other bright ideas I double-fisted my Flask and my Tankard and then pulled out the axe I took off Greysmith.  Not being an AXEpert (come on that’s funny!) I don’t think I struck a single telling blow, but I did slice her shield in half – this thing is ungodly sharp!  And more importantly I distracted her enough for Martialla to stab her in that area between where the back of the breastplate (is the back of a breastplate still called a breastplate or is it a backplate?) and the armor that covers your ass.  Does ass armor have a name?  It must right?  That was that, and neither of us got our brains dashed out by a hammer in the process – but it was a close thing.

Martialla looked at me grimly “One more stop.”

I grimaced “I think I liked being a prisoner better.”

At this point servants and various other people were running in every direction not knowing what to do – which I understandable when there’s a fire in the building and you’re under attack by unknown partiers.  It’s not like they were under siege or anything, they went to bed thinking this was going to be a normal night.  Martialla and I made our way to a solid door that was locked up tight, but this dwarf-axe made short work of it.  One the other side, in a small bedroom clutching a book to her chest and looking scared out of her wits stood Baroness Juost.  I’m not sure what surprised her more, seeing her axe-wielding maid on the other side of the door or when I returned to my normal appearance.

She gasped “Cousin?”

“Are we still doing that?”

“I never expected to see you again.”

“Well you know what they say, you can’t keep a good woman down.”

She frowned “Do they say that?”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 53,040 platinum, 8,000 gold

XP: 1,070,851

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Ela’s Dazzling Garment, Belt of Physical Might +4, Ring of Urban Grace, Black Marketers’ Bag (5), Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Elegant Boots, Ela’s Extravagant Necklace, +1 Adamantine Dwarf Waraxe 

Noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, disguise kit, covenant ring, tiny diamonds (26), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three), darkwood and platinum music box, silver bracelet set with bloodstones, platinum ring set with fire opal, silver and moonstone bracelet, holy symbol of Kozilek, dwarf journal

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee,  Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa, eyeless hag, Baron Saltwheel, Baron Harmenkar, Colonel Tarl Ciarán’s wizard soldier, Victor, Beharri, Cebuano, Mayor Eryn, Chimera Trading Company

Mantelderith 2 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Why is it so satisfying to tell someone “I told you so”?  There’s nothing worse than being right, so it must be purely the delight you feel in seeing someone else fail.  Which certainly isn’t an attractive quality by any means but it seems to be pretty common.  I suppose it stems partially from a sense of competitiveness – when someone doesn’t listen to you and then falls flat on their face you’ve proven yourself to be superior.  It’s a biological thing I guess, still rattling around in our brains from the old days when you had to fight your way to the top or die like a dog.  Actually I guess in that regard nothing much has changed.  That’s a question for the philosophers I reckon – all those animalistic tendencies that were so important to get where we are today now hold us back from progressing further, so how do we get rid of them?  Whiskey? 

My point is this, if we had gone to Margrain like I wanted to we never would have been captured.  Technically I was already captured but you know what I mean, Martialla and the cousins were captured and I was transferred to someone else’s captivation.  Turns out that the Bloody Jake that Martialla killed (pretty sure I wasn’t involved in that one at all) wasn’t a lone wolf – this was more of a family of killers scenario like those Harrow people from up in Verdal.  They had a slick operation, I’ll grant them that.  I don’t know if they had mystical backwoods shenanigans up their sleeves like their dead friend or if they were just really sneaky but they caught us completely unawares – and it’s a rare bastard that can catch Martialla and me one hundred percent off guard.  We’re pretty good at sniffing out ambushes you know – most of the time. 

There were three of them, one normal and two less so.  The normal one was a tall rawboned countrified roughneck with short curly dirty-blonde hair, he was actually fairly handsome, or would have been if he wasn’t going to kill me.   Friend number one was a short fellow whose face had that waxy look of someone who’s been burned but it also looked like it had been stretched somehow, like it was taffy that had been pulled into the shape of a face and then left to harden.  In addition to being short he was also slender as a maiden, a look that wasn’t helped by his overly loose puffy red pants and frilled shirt – he looked kind of like a scarecrow, only lighter.  Friend number two though was the main event.  His skin was not a color I’ve ever seen on a healthy person – a kind of green-grey, I’d say it’s similar to the color of the mold that grows on a peach if you leave it too long.  He was also oblong shaped – very skinny up top, then bulging in the middle only to taper away to scrawny chicken legs.  He was wearing dirty orangish trousers and that was it, which didn’t do anyone any favors.  Why is it that the only men that walk around without a shirt on are the one’s you’d never want to see shirtless?  It’s uncanny I tell you.

They sprung out of hiding and eliminated their only real threat immediately – Curly and Taffy seized Martialla and Chicken-legs put a sack over her head that had been soaked in something.  Smelled a bit like some kind of trumpet lily to me, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a floral perfume because Martialla went all rubbery legged (and rubbery everything else) in a matter of seconds.  I’m not a poison expert, but I know a few things about toxicology, and I’m telling you that whoever whipped that up knew their business.  Putting someone down like that, like a blown out candle, that takes some real skill.  The fight was over before it began, Parfinis and Betrei made an effort with their scavenged axes but there were two things hindering their effectiveness.  First if that while most people of a certain status have a passing familiarity with light blades, fencing lessons and so forth, very few fancy people are trained to fight with axes.  I don’t know where you’d even go to learn something like that.  Maybe ask a dwarf?  Is that racist?

So that was one problem, but the more pressing hindrance is that they are, at best, enthusiastic amateurs in the fighting arts.  All three of them managed to get captured by one of these Bloody Jakes when they had their own gear, what chance are they going to have when the odds are turned the other way about and they’re working with borrowed equipment?  Plus you have to consider the domestication factor.  The cousins are soft-hand types from the big city, not nobles, but not the kind of people that don’t have to empty their own night jars you know?  What chance are they going to have against wild creatures like these three?  You ever see someone’s pet dog tangle with a feral?  It aint pretty.  Civilization has many good qualities, but making you tough isn’t one of them.

Jesslin was completely useless.  She had a scavenged knife but she didn’t even try to use it.  I guess her magic isn’t the kind that’s useful when someone is attacking you, which seems pretty stupid to me.  Seems like one of the first spells you should learn is one that dissuades someone from ripping your lungs out.  Maybe that’s just me.  I don’t know what they teach you at magic school in Indlecastle but it clearly isn’t the kind of stuff I’m used to seeing Martialla to where people are doused with motel iron or blasted with acid or burned alive.  I guess even magic has a wild unruly dangerous side and a sedate weakling cultured side.  Seriously though, what’s the point of studying magic if you can’t even use it to crush your enemies?  Tell me that.  Parfinis and Betrei had the good graces to at least get wounded before they threw down their weapons and begged for mercy, Jesslin didn’t do anything – Chicken-legs just grabbed her by the elbow and she fainted dead away.  It’s embarrassing that we’re even distantly related.

“Well fought gentlemen, a great victory assuredly, I assume you’re here to rescue me?  Can we get these manacles off, my shoulders are killing me.”

Taffy chuckled and Chicken-legs shot him a vicious look “This woman killed our brother, don’t laugh!”

“Point of order sir, I didn’t kill anyone, the unconscious young lady over there with the bag over her head is the one you’re looking for, she’s the one you want to torture to death.  I witnessed it myself, I saw her kill your brother in cold blood, the rest of us were just innocent bystanders so you should probably just let us go.”

Taffy laughed again and Chicken-legs came over to breath his onion-rotting meat stink in my face “You’re all going to die!”

“Now then, let’s not be hasty shall we?  I’m sure we can come to some kind of agreement right?  Some manner of exchange of good or services?  My cousin over there, the one that’s fainted, she’s a real tiger in the sack you know?  I’m sure that . . .”

Chicken-legs was spitting mad “You will die!  Do you have any idea what you’ve done?  All the work that you ruined when you killed Vancher?!  Do you have any idea what you’ve unraveled here you gnat?  You worm!  You insect!  Our work here is more important than anything you can comprehend!  You’ll suffer for what you’ve done.  You will cry until there is nothing left wet in you.  You will scream and beg and pray to all the Gods until your throat ruptures and it will make no difference!  The pain will go on, you will never be released!”

“Okay, well, that’s your opening position, I would like to present my counter-offer where that doesn’t happen.”

Apparently he wasn’t interested in hearing the counter-offer because he kept ranting.  He went on at some length about how he and his family where some kind of cosmic guardians.  On their land they had found an old cave where some people that lived on this land before even the Kostelos had documented by cave-painting that there was manner of force that would devour the world if it was not appeased with human lives.  He really belabored the point that this was NOT some alien inhuman and incomprehensible being of the far universe, but rather just the opposite – a grotesque creation of pure, distilled, and entirely human hate.  He claimed that his family had for generations been the caretakers of the world by feeding this entity lives to keep it abated from annihilating everything.  He was upset because somehow they store up the deaths until they go into the cave and release them to the entity – and by killing Vancher we had “wasted” a bunch of souls or whatever and therefore put the entire world as risk.  He really went on and on about it.   

“Good gods, do you ever shut up?  I thought that the good thing about being captured by primitive country murderers would be that at least I wouldn’t have to listen to a lot of speeches about why they’re doing what they’re doing like with city murderers, but here we fucking are.  You’ve been talking non-stop for half an hour!  I get it, there’s an eldritch abomination that I’m responsible for too, I have this ring I have to wear or this creature my great-uncle summoned from beyond the stars will destroy the world.” I looked over at the injured cousins who had been kneeling in horrified silence this whole time “That reminds me, we should figure that out genealogically, to see if you’re related to the Whiterocks or not, it would be good to have a back-up for that ring in case something happens to me.  Although, if we’re being honest, it’s hard to care about the world ending if I’m already dead.”

Chicken-legs stopped ranting long enough to look at his brothers.  Curly stared at me for a moment and then nodded.

“I do see something.  Her rope is greasy.”

“My rope is greasy?  What the fuck does that mean?  Sounds obscene, and not the kind of obscene that I could ever be.  Although I met this woman one time who used to be a male gladiator and she was cursed so that . . .”

Chicken-legs grabbed me by the unbreakable necklace around my throat – which hurts more than you’d imagine “Show me this ring.”

“Sure thing chief, just get these manacles off me.”

Curly came over and did something behind my back, not like a normal something, some kind of backwoods magic bullshit – it didn’t sound like any spellcasting I’ve heard before and I’ve sadly heard a bit and this point – and the manacles popped off.  Chicken-legs grabbed my hand and pulled it up to his face like he was near-sighted or something which made it easy to stab him in the belly with my off-hand.  My secret pocket isn’t as handy as those magic tattoos were, but it’s pretty convenient to always have access to a weapon.  Well not always, but almost always.  Obviously there’s no way I would have taken these three on by myself even if I had all my gear.  I don’t know if Jesslin was faking it or if she had woken up from her swoon, but I had spotted her moving her hand a little and pulling the poison-sack off Martialla’s head from afar with her (not entirely useless) magic.  It took Martialla a long while to come around, but once she turned invisible and not one of the Bloody Jakes noticed I knew it was time to interrupt Chicken-legs monologue and get the party started. 

When I cut Chicken-legs across his bulging belly I halfway expected spiders or fanged worms or dirt or something to pour out, but it was just regular old blood.  Martialla reappeared as she ran Taffy through from behind, using a dagger in left hand her to cut his throat for good measure as well.  Chicken-legs threw me aside like a . . . thing that you throw aside and pulled out some kind of ugly piece of hooked metal to go after Martialla.  I screamed for Jesslin to help me and we tried to tackle Curly, but he was too strong even for the both of us – thankfully her brothers jumped in the scrum as well and we managed to drag him to the ground while Martialla and Chicken-legs were hacking each other’s bits off and doing magic shit to try and kill one another. 

I got a hold of the sack and shoved in in Curly’s mouth – there was enough juice left in it to knock him out but was clearly less potent at that point because we had to pin him down for a good long while.  Once he was out I sprang up and dashed in at Chicken-legs enough to distract him so Martialla could really lay in some good stabs.  We’ve done this kind of thing enough times that we have a good system worked out – I’m pretty good at getting someone’s attention hard enough that a better fighter can take advantage.  And Martialla is damned good at taking advantage.  She’s no great warrior, but she’s like a surgeon when she strikes someone from behind – which is always the best way to strike someone.  Once he was done for I went back to put my sword through Curly’s neck, finishing off the noble guardians of the earth.  I plucked a jug of shine off him and sat down against a tree to take a drink. 

“Oof, what a day huh?”

Jesslin was looking around fearfully “What do we do know?”

I looked over at Martialla “On to Alleene right?”

“No, I meant about what they said!  About the entity.”

I smiled slightly “You believed that shit?  Some inbred morons find some charcoal lines on a cave wall and they start killing people?  I wouldn’t worry about it.”

Betrei was pressing his bloody shirt against his stomach “So what you said about the ring that was just so they’d let you get free?”

“Oh no, that is true.  We really should figure out something about that.”

“I don’t see a ring on your hand.”

I looked at Martialla again and she shook her head “I believe that I’ve misplaced is just at the moment.  But it probably takes a while for a being to destroy the entire world so . . . you know.  It’s probably . . . . fine.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: None

XP: 1,025,251

Inventory: None

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

Behind the Scenes: One million experience!  That’s almost like an accomplishment. 

Montagem 26 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 2

I feel like with the number of them that have tried to ruin my day and hurt my feelings I should know more about hags.  What are they even?  It’s been implied to me that they’re a species (race?) of the fey folk (ironically sometimes called the fair folk) which seems like it maybe makes sense.  They’re definitely full of magicalness which a common characteristic of the fey.  They look spindly and sickly but you can wail on them all day with a whacking stick and it won’t hurt them and they’re stronger than a strong man (maybe a really strong man) so they don’t obey the laws of biology which is another earmark of faeries.  They’re whimsical in their own sadomasochistic way as well, whimsy being one of the hallmarks of the fey, so there’s some strong evidence there of them being fey.  On the other side of the coin though fey, even the evil ones, seems to be pro-nature and all the hags I’ve meet seem to love wrecking nature with their foul slimes and odors and tree-killing.  Plus fey, even the evil ones, seem to stick to the wilds far away from the hand of mankind whereas hags seems to be all up in our business.  So?  Dunno. 

I’ve also heard that hags are just witches who get all mutated and flagellated from doing too much witchy stuff.  The way it works is that a woman makes some kind of deal with the Lord of the Thirteen Hells (or maybe his secretary if he’s busy) to become a witch and then if you delve deep into the dark arts you turn into a full-fledged hag?  It’s like there’s stages you progress through – normal woman, then witch, then hag, then demon?  The only hag origin story I know is a witch who got sad because a boy didn’t like her and so she tore her eyes and tongue out which transformed her into a hag.  So that seems to support the hagification theory.  But a person can’t become a fey creature right?  Or is it like werewolfism?  You get infected with hagness? 

But wait, there’s more!  I’ve also heard that hags propagate themselves by using their rumors and trickery to have what I envisage is weird rough sex with mortal human dudes so they can get pregnant and then have hag-babies.  Or actually no, the babies are normal at first and they swap them with other babies so some sucker will raise their baby for them (I believe the hag eats the baby they stole) and then when that hag kid becomes an adult they turn into a hag.  If it’s a girl anyway, I think if it’s a boy they’re just an asshole?  Sidenote I would imagine the hags turn back into their normal forms right when the guy fills them up – which you have to admit is pretty funny.  Admit it!  This information does make it sound like hags are a “normal” race of things that need to throw down to reproduce, which doesn’t support either of the above theories.

I bet what happened is that way back in olden times there was a woman who’s beauty was renowned the world over (although keep in mind they didn’t bathe in olden times so, you know) and some jealous lady god (probably not Adariel because she doesn’t seem like the type but what other lady gods are there?) was like “huh, we’ll see about that!” and then slammed her hard with a curse that made her be ugly and haggish.  End of story right?  Wrong!  In order to facilitate her revenge on the world Kralten gave this woman magic powers so she could torment people and do evil shit.  Ugliness plus magic equals hag.  And then she created other hags by vomiting in a stew-pot and all the women that ate the vomit-stew turned into hags and all the men turned into . . . orcs or something.  Boom, did it, mythology mythologized. 

Anyway, back to the hag at hand.  After she was done snuffling over me like a truffle pig the bald hag grabbed the chain on my ankle and gave it a pull.  She wasn’t able to snap it instantly like a piece of string, she had to exert herself, but she did rip the mooring (is that the right word, the ring on the deck of the ship that held the chain) out of the wood.  It’s hard to imagine what it would feel like to be that strong.  I mean it’s crazy, she just ripped a metal chain out of the ground.  I suppose if you really wanted to analyze hags it shouldn’t be surprising that they do horrible things to us – they don’t look like us and they have abilities far beyond ours.  If you were strong enough to crush a goblin with one hand what kind of monster would you be?  There’s really nothing that brings out the cruelty in people like power.

I stood up and dusted off my crappy peasant dress “Well thanks for freeing me, I guess I’ll be on my way now.”

The hag was still holding onto the chain and gave it a yank, sending me stumbling and falling heavily to the deck of the ship – it was from the side too, which make it extra awkward and painful.  She cackled at the sight – it’s a stereotype for a reason, hags love to cackle.

“You’re funny, I like you.  What other tricks can you do besides telling jokes little flower?”

“I have to say, I find it annoying that you hags always call me little.  I’m very tall for a human lady.”

She stalked forward in a weird hunched posture – I’ve never seen an hag knuckle around like an ape before, it’s very unsettling, which is probably the point – and I thought she was going to slap me or something but she just laughed in by face, blasting me with a stench that made my eyes water worse than any slap. She poked a claw into my chest.

“You.  Are little.  You are a weak little thing that can be broken at any moment.”

I punched her in the stomach with all my strength, which didn’t amount to much – although in my defense I was sitting on the ground, you can’t throw a decent punch like that.  Also I never really learned how to throw a decent punch anyway.  She cackled madly again.

“Oh, I do like you, hissing like a little kitty.  I have ways of wringing away such deficiencies.”  She grabbed me by the hair and put a claw against my cheek under the eye “How about I flay off your pretty face for starters?”

“I got my face scarred up badly once before.  This big bitch kicked the shit out of me.  I’m sorry to say that I didn’t react very well to it, but at that time I didn’t realize that it can fixed if you have the money.  It’s not exactly easy, but it’s not hard either you know?  I wouldn’t like it of course, but I’ve learned to be a little more accepting of these sorts of things – there’s a lot more healing out there than you’d imagine.  There’s not a lot that can’t be repaired if you’re willing to pay for it.  It’s a real indictment of the way the Kingdom is run that people are walking around missing limbs with and with harelips and shit – it can all be fixed.  So, I would vote against you slashing my face to ribbons if I got a vote, but I would just get it fixed after you’re dead so it’s not a huge deal.”

She let go of me so should could step back and really laugh at that – sometimes you need your whole body to really give a good belly laugh.

She shook her head in a disquietly human-like gesture “You are something else little kitty.  But I believe I said that joke time was over, I told you to entertain me another way.”

I launched into singing the Ballad of Nanny Grunch, a happy little tale about a woman who becomes unsatisfied with her husband’s genitals so she turns him into a minotaur to get some sweet bull action.  This is course doesn’t sit well with the local populace so they chop off her head – she doesn’t die though, and through a series of grotesque events her head ends up biting the mayor’s wife on the ass and the wound becomes infected and she dies while having sex with the mayor and instantly turns into a ghoul.  The ghoul wife rips the mayor apart and then she and the head go on to further revolting and perverted adventures.  It’s not a good song for my register and the composition is a mess but seemed like the only song I know that might appeal to the interests of a hag.

She flapped her arms in a weird approximation of clapping “Magnificent!  Magnificent!  You’re not a little flower or a little kitty at all, you’re a little songbird.  I shall keep you in a cage and have you sing for me and feed you bread crumbs.”

“Does this body look like I eat a lot of bread?”

 “Another song!”

“I don’t really know any other songs like that, he only reason I know that one is because some drunkards were singing it a tavern one time – I’m more of a classically trained singer.  Besides, it’s about time.”

She bared her bent and broken teeth angrily “Time for what?”

Martialla was dry as a bone when she made her attack.  She must have clung to the side of the ship for a moment and used her magic to dry off her clothing – which was a clever move because even invisible it’s going to be hard to sneak up on someone when you’re sopping wet.  Too bad it didn’t work.  I don’t know how the hag detected her, maybe she could smell her, but she turned at the last second just as Martialla appeared in mid-thrust.  Instead of taking the twisted creature in the back the hag grabbed the blade of Martialla’s sword and shoved it to the side – losing three fingers in the process.  I’ve seen quite a bit of hag-blood at this point.  Sometimes it looks normal.  Sometimes it hisses and steams and gives off noxious vapors.  Sometimes it’s thick and tarry.  Sometimes it purple or green.  This hag’s blood looked like water with a reddish tint or like a really watered down wine, it dripped off her hands like a bucket with a hole in the bottom.  And because everything with hags has to be awful the severed fingered writhed on the deck of the ship like blind worms.

Can we take a quick moment for me to ask about invisibility?  Why does it go away the instant you attack someone?  It makes no sense.  It can’t be the physical motion because you can run and jump and make all sorts of wild motions while you’re invisible but it doesn’t go away.  You can even “attack” a training dummy or punch a wall without the invisibility going away.  But the second you come at a person, not even a person, a living thing, not even a living thing because it happens with undead too, the second you attack a . . . being, the invisibility goes away.  What kind of sick joke is that?  What does that even mean?  How does the “magic” know that you attack someone, and why does it care?  I don’t want to know much of anything about magical theory but I’d like an explanation of that.  Does “magic” think that it’s unfair to let people attack other people while they’re invisible?  Is magic a thing that can think?  It’s frustrating because there seems to be no logic, which I guess there isn’t because it’s magic.

Martialla fell back with a cry as the hag slashed at her with its claws and I dove forward to crash into the back of the hag’s knees.  We all went down in a chaotic tangle and I managed to get the chain around the hag’s neck as Martialla struggle to control her arms.  In this sense having the chain hooked to my leg was actually helpful since I could use my legs to help pull – with my two arms I was almost able to match one of the hags while Martialla dealt with the other one.  Martialla drew a dagger and stabbed whenever she could as well.  It was a slow messy awful death, the kind that happens often but that they never include in stories of heroic battlefield murder – I think it took a full minute before the hag was dead.  The tongue that lolled out of her mouth was obscenely huge, no joking it was probably as wide and thick as my arm and had to be close to a foot long.  It wasn’t even flat like it was supposed to be, it was round like a snake.  We rolled away from the hag and lay on opposite sides of her like exhausted lovers after a spirited roll in the hay.

“Just like old times eh?  Only best friends kill hags together.”

“Don’t . . . . just don’t Ela.  You could talk birds out of trees, in fact I’ve literally seen you do that, but you can’t get me Ela.  I’m ungettable.  This is . . . . this is just the way it has to be.”

“You’re pretty fucked up from the fight before, I could probably take you right now.”

She snorted “With that?  A chain on your leg?”

I pulled a short blade out of my secret pocket and popped up stabbing at her.  She was certainly surprised but she had reflexes enough that managed to get her knife in the way enough so that she only got stabbed in the hip instead of in the chest.  That was basically my only chance, I’ve never been the fighter that Martialla is – after she avoided that initial deathblow she was able to wrestle the blade out of my hand and strangle me half to death before stunning me with a hard kick to the back of the head.  She stood up wearily and gazed at the blade slick with her blood.

“Where the Hells did you get this?  I took all your magic pouches.”

On my hands and knees coughing I managed to choke out “You know me Martialla, I’m full of surprises.”

Funds: None

XP: 962,851

Inventory: None

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

Montagem 20 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 1

I have to imagine that the list of people who aren’t confined to or work in a working asylum but have spent the night in one is pretty short.  As per usual I’m in a very elite and exclusive group.  Spooky teenage girls and the boys that want to nail them probably daydream that spending the night in a nuthouse is some uncanny experience with creepy paintings where the eyes move and ghostly screams in the night and things of that nature, but it was perfectly ordinary.  Honestly it was better than half the inns I’ve stayed at in the last year.  I have to say this place is extraordinarily well run.  Based on the stories I’ve heard about these kind of places I was expecting it to be, well, a madhouse. 

Even so I didn’t sleep well.  Hardra didn’t say anything when they brought her out – she just stared at me.  She recognized me for sure, but beyond that I don’t know what she was thinking.  There wasn’t hatred in those eyes, but nothing like joy either – nothing that I could understand.  I think if a dog heard another dog speak like a person it would look at that other dog like Hardra looked at me.  In was a kind of incomprehension that was streaked with the utter conviction that this should not be happening and in fact was impossible and therefore if it was happening that it should be stopped.  Even when I told Hardra that she could leave this place with us she didn’t react at all.  Just stared.  The old man had the nurses take her away and told us that we could talk to her again in the morning.  So I had all night to think about it.

This morning before I went to see Hardra I mentioned to Martialla that one of the guards was a soldier that I knew from back at court.  I told her about how the nurse had looked like a vocal coach that I knew too and I was starting to wonder if it actually was her.

She frowned “Okay, so what?”

“Don’t you think that’s odd?  Winters was a captain, and he was from a good family, how the Hells could he get stuck out here on this shit duty?  And the singing instructor, what are the chances of them both being here?”

She shrugged “I don’t know, a hundred percent?”

“I’m serious.”

“About what?”

“Maybe someone has cast a spell on us to trap us on a fantasy realm they can control.  But they’re too lazy to create a bunch of people from whole cloth so they’re ransacking my mind to populate said realm.  Have you seen anyone here you recognize?”

“Yes, the head doctor is my father.”

“Don’t . . .” I bit back an angry retort with a sigh “Just tell me will you?”

“No, aside from you and Hardra – who looks nothing like I remember by the way so that didn’t come from my memory – I don’t recognize anyone here.  If you think this a dream and you want me to punch you in the stomach to wake you up just give me the signal.”

“I’m telling you Martialla, if I see a third person here I know there’s something weird going on.”

“We’re in an insane asylum Ela, of course there’s something weird going on.”

When they did take me to speak with Hardra they took me a tiny room with a bed, a chair, and a holy book of some kind – I guess the idea is to pray the crazy away.  She was sitting on the bed with her hands folded and if I had taken a seat on the chair our knees would have been touching, that’s how small the room was.  I was worried they were going to lock us in there, but they didn’t, so I stayed in the doorway. I was just about to speak when she beat me to the punch – although she remained staring at the wall.

“You did this.  Somehow I knew, I knew that it was you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“It wasn’t worth it, none of it is worth it.  Something is broken inside of me.”

“There’s something broken inside of everyone, you’ll get over it.”

She turned to look at me for the first time, her eyes full of anguish “There was nothing.  There was nothing.  No Heavens, no Hells, no judgement, no nothing.  I didn’t see my dead friends or family.  I wasn’t cast into a pit of eternal torture.  There were no angels.  There were no demons.  There was nothing.  I was just gone.  And now I’m back.”

“Well . . . . uh . . . . I mean we know there’s an afterlife so . . . . if you’re, uh,  into that kind of thing I wouldn’t worry about it.  Who knows how magic works?  Maybe all that was wiped away by the spell that brought you back to life.”

“Do we?  Do we know that there’s an afterlife?  Do we know it?”

“Look, Hardra . . .”

He face twisted in anger “No you look!  Why did you did it?  Why did you bring me back?  I didn’t ask for this!  Am I even the same person?  What I am?!  Some empty shell walking around?  A zombie?!”

“I don’t know what you’re going through, I . . .

She clenched her fists “Yes, you don’t know!  You can’t know.  You weren’t there.  It happened to me!  Nothing feels right anymore!  I don’t even know what I’m doing sometimes!  Where are my thoughts coming from?  Why did you do it?  Why?!”

“I felt responsible, I felt I owed it to you.”

The look on her face became one of utter disgust “You felt guilty?  How is that possible?  You’re the worst person I’ve ever met in my life.  You do bad things and you get away with it so you do something worse and you get away with that too!  And it just keeps getting worse and worse and worse.  Are you even human?  What are you?  Why do you do these things?!  I used to sit and think about you, I would think to myself ‘what kind of person could do such things?’ But now I understand. There’s just nothing inside you. Nothing at all. You’re sad and empty.  You feel nothing because you’ve got nothing. You’ve got nothing to love, care for, or fight for.  You exist to destroy. And you get away with it!  I don’t understand how!  How, how are you allowed to be?!”

I held a hand up “Alright, enough of this self-pity bullshit.  You don’t want to be alive?  Then kill yourself.  It’s pretty easy.  Otherwise get the fuck over it.”

She turned her head back to the wall “That’s some great advice there, either kill yourself or just stop being crazy.  Exactly the kind of inspiring words I would expect from you.”

“What is your problem?  When did you become my nemesis?  I brought you back to LIFE.  How about a little gratitude?”

She laid down on the bed, curled up in a ball “Go away Ela.”

“You want to stay here and rot with these lunatics?  Fine.  I’m going to Juost Manor to save the Baroness.  Remember her?  I have no idea what you thought of her but she’s currently fucked right now.  The least you can do is tell me what you know about it, if anything.  The timeline isn’t clear to me , was the Baron back when you rose from the dead?  I need intel.” When she didn’t say anything I kicked her in the ass “I’m talking to you!”

She spun on the bed “Hey!”

I kicked her again as she grabbed at my foot “Good, there is some life left in you, I was starting to wonder if I got ripped off and you were just a pathetic depressed lump.  So you got a raw deal, so the fuck what?  You got a second chance!  A literal second chance!  You want to throw that away fine, but that makes you the dumbest woman that has ever lived.  Get with the program!  You want this to break you or do you want to fight?  Most of the world has it worse than you and they manage to keep going you entitled bitch.”

“How could anyone have it worse than me?!  I was dead!”

“And now you’re not.  What are you going to do with that?  You hate me so much do you?  Well I don’t give up Hardra.  I wanted to bring you back so I fucking did it.  I brought you back, me, I did that because I decided to do it.  What are you going to do?  You want to sit here like a whiny baby or do you want to grow up and be an adult?”

“I want to beat your face in.  I want to smash you in the face until its mush.  I want you to be ugly.”

I shrugged off my greatcoat “Let’s do it then.  I can’t imagine that you’re much of a fighter, but then neither am I so it’s a fair fight.  You want a piece of me you whiny whore I’m game.”

This is not how I envisioned my day going.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, people have no sense of gratitude.  I honestly wonder why I bother.  Hardra stood up, I think to lay into me again rather than to fight but I slapped her as I hard as I could.  Which really isn’t a good idea, I think I sprained my wrist.  She did go down to the floor, although I think that was more out of the shock of being hit more than the force of the blow – I would imagine that the chaperone to a Baroness doesn’t get struck a lot.  Well, depending on the Baroness.  Also sometimes I forget that I’m wearing a magic strength belt – it was probably a heck of a slap.  Whatever the case it got the ball rolling.  She charged at me and we tumbled into the hallway in a tangle of limbs.

Unless you count the time mother Hurk beat the shit out of me I’ve never been in a fist-fight before.  I suppose there’s no reason I should be but I did have a whole three days of training with Hlebinksy in the fighting arts.  He’s dead now I hear, I should have brought him back instead – I think he at least would have appreciated it.  Plus, while it’s not exactly the same thing, I have been in (sadly) numerous serious kill you weapons fights so I at least knew the theory of trying not to get hit and hitting back.  Hardra clearly did not.  I’m confident that I could have beat the crap out of her but I didn’t see how that would be helpful so it was more of a mock-fight from my point of view.  I let her get in a few good hits before the staff came and restrained us – they’re really good at that on account of they spend their days grabbing crazies.

Dr. Sugarcane (if that is her real name) came running up “What on earth are you doing?”

I grinned at her with my bloody mouth “Therapy.”

A few minutes later we were in the infirmary getting fussed at by a nurse who thankfully did not look familiar at all.

“Do you feel better now?”

“No.”

“What was going on at the Manor when you returned from the dead?  Was the Baron back?  Were the Kostelos already there?”

“I don’t know.  All I did for the first few days and scream and cry.  And after that . . . I was overwhelmed with desires . . . of a sexual nature.  My behavior was inappropriate.  I was kicked out of the manor.  After that I was . . . . I was . . . . . eventually those religious people grabbed me and stuck me in here.  It’s all fuzzy, I don’t really remember.”

“So you don’t know anything.” She shook her head “Do you know what happened to Tudos?”

“I . . . I remember him being there.  Sometimes.  I think he was trying to help me.  I don’t . . . I don’t know what happened to him.”

“Maybe you should find him.  Give yourself a goal, something to work towards.  That time the bounty hunters came for me why did you think they were after you?”

“My name isn’t really Hardra, its Veda.  I came to the Baroness under false pretenses.  I knew the woman who was supposed to show up wasn’t going to make it so I took her place.  I crafted a new life for myself.  Veda was wanted for falsification of royal documents, disruption of trade, and the transportation of foreign nationals.”

“You were a criminal?”

“No, I just tried to do the right thing.”

“There’s your problem.”

I ripped off the bandage the nurse had put on my forehead and took a drink from my Flask for healing – all the cuts and bruises and marks that Harda had put on me disappearing instantly.  She watched with wide eyes.   

She shook her head “Something terrible needs to happen to you.”

I dropped her a sassy wink “It already did.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 53,040 platinum, 8,000 gold

XP: 953,251

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Ela’s Dazzling Garment, Belt of Physical Might +4, Ring of Urban Grace, Black Marketers’ Bag (5), Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Extraordinary Walking Stick, Ela’s Elegant Boots, Ela’s Extravagant Necklace, +1 Adamantine Dwarf Waraxe  

Noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, disguise kit, covenant ring, tiny diamonds (26), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three), darkwood and platinum music box, silver bracelet set with bloodstones, platinum ring set with fire opal, silver and moonstone bracelet, holy symbol of Kozilek, dwarf journal   

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee,  Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa, eyeless hag, Baron Saltwheel, Baron Harmenkar, Colonel Tarl Ciarán’s wizard soldier, Victor, Beharri, Cebuano, Mayor Eryn, Chimera Trading Company

Montagem 12 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Remember when I saved the entire Kingdom yesterday?  That turned out not to be such a good idea because later that night (or early this morning I guess) a mob caught the captain of the bug-ship and so when Martialla and I were trying to leave this morning the streets were clogged with people gathering to watch the poor bastard get strung up.  It took us hours to reach the coach house and I was convinced that they would have left without us.  They didn’t but my relief quickly turned to outrage when I found out that we weren’t the only ones on it.  I offered the coachman a hefty bribe to ditch the other passengers but he wouldn’t go for it.  They said the other passengers had bought their tickets first – as if that was supposed to mean something.  The streets were still packed with people so it was another hour before we could leave, and then it took us forever to get out of Preen since the coachmen weren’t willing to start running people over despite my command that they do so. 

The two other passengers were both women so at least we don’t have to watch our backs with them (you know the way I mean).  The one sitting across from me was broad shouldered and had powerful legs.  Her hair was blue-blonde somehow and she was wearing a black uniform that I didn’t recognize.  She had a messenger bag clutched to her side but I can’t imagine what kind of messenger would travel by luxury coach.   The woman across from Martialla was smaller, thin, with greying hair despite not appearing to be out of her thirties at worse.  She was wearing the colorless frock of a servant girl but again, what kind of servant girl travels by luxury coach?  The best thing that I can say for them is kept quiet – the worst thing I can say for them is that they were there.  The ride would have been tolerable if it was just Martialla and I, but having two strangers swaying back and forth staring at you doesn’t help anything.

I feel compelled at this point to mention that a luxury coach is still pretty crappy – on account of it’s a coach, there’s really only so much they can do.  Unless you’re going to make some kind of land-ship to drag around like that monstrosity that Homar and his fellows were carting around on.  That coach that the baroness gave me was truly comfortable but it was magicked up the wazoo beyond anything I’d ever seen before, and I know from decadence – I still think about it sometimes.  My point is that even though this was a luxury coach and we were on a good road it was still a bone-rattling and colossally boring ride.  I grew to hate the two other passengers in short order – if they weren’t there we could at least stretch out our legs and/or lay down.  Plus we’d probably be drinking which always helps.

Normally the coach stops at Cataola, which is the halfway point to Obsis and mostly exists because it’s the halfway point to Obsis but would have been good enough because it’s designed to be a stopping point.  Since we got such a late start because of the hanging in Preen we probably would have stopped in Sirasee which would have angered me greatly because Sirasee is basically just three buildings, none of which are an inn.  But that didn’t happen either because in the afternoon we were flagged down by a group of men by a broken down medicine wagon.  When we started to slow down I shouted at the coachmen not to stop.  I even went so far as to hang out the window and yell up at them in case they weren’t obeying because couldn’t hear me, but it did no good.  What kind of luxury coach is this when the employees ignore everything the passenger says? 

When the five men by the medicine wagon drew their weapons and killed the two coachmen it was so predictable that I could barely even muster the energy to enjoy being right.  After slaughtering the coachmen the coach tilted slightly as an older fellow with a floppy black hat climbed on the side and stuck his head through the window.  Looking at the four of us inside he grinned.

“Well isn’t this a pretty sight.  Too bad we’re in a hurry, otherwise we could have ourselves a nice time together.  As it is we’re going to have to ask you ladies to disembark.”

Martialla and I exchanged a glance “And if we don’t?”

Black hat seemed startled that anyone responded at all “It would be better if you did.”

The four of us climbed out of the coach to much leering and lascivious elbowing but quickly the men moved to wrestle a large chest from the medicine wagon into the coach.  Whatever it was it was clearly very heavy.  Once they managed to haul it into place they quickly started grabbing their possessions from the medicine wagon and seemed intent on taking off shortly when the blue-blonde in the uniform stopped them.

“Pardon me, could you please lets us take down our luggage?  I have medicine in my bag that . . .”

“I wouldn’t worry about your medicine.  They’re not going anywhere.”

Black Hat was climbing into the driver’s seat as a saggy-faced fellow wearing riding boots sneered at that comment and came forward to grab at me.  “Oh we’re going, but maybe we do have a little time to . . .”

I don’t like being manhandled.  I suppose no one does.  But I really don’t like it.  I got quite a bit of satisfaction out of giving Saggy a bicep-full of snakebite from my Stick when he grabbed at me.  He jerked away screaming as Martialla used her magic to transform herself into a creature half again her height and many times her bulk with shaggy white fur, jagged yellow teeth and massive paw/hands.  With a terrifying roar she rushed forwards and ripped one of the fellow’s arms off through the window of the coach.  It was really something.  I give them this, Black Hat and his two friends didn’t hesitate – they had their weapons back out and came at us hard.  These are clearly men used to some heavy action, the kind that don’t get rattled by snake attacks to the face and shocking dismemberment. 

I swung my snake-Stick at Black Hat as he came towards me but he blocked it with his sword and then neatly disarmed me.  I really need to get a back-up weapon.  Remember when I had that bag that summoned animals to maul people for me?  That was great.  I managed to duck out of the way of his strike and then dove for cover under the Medicine wagon.  Black Hat didn’t even bother to come after me, he immediately turned to help his two pals take on Martialla in her beast-form, I assume because he considered her to be more of a threat.  Which is insulting.  Accurate, but insulting. I’ve heard Martialla bragging about her spell that transforms her into a monster and seeing it now it is impressive but I see that it’s also kind of a problem.  As far as I can tell once she’s monsterfied herself she can’t cast any more spells.  So it’s just a fight by tooth and claw – which is fine, but shaggy fur don’t stop no swords you know?  She was already bloodied when Black Hat came over and stuck her with his blade as well – eliciting another roar, the pain kind this time though.

The bandits (or whatever they are) had unhitched the horses from the medicine wagon so I quickly mounted up (I’m great at riding bareback you know) and pranced my way over to the melee where I induced the wagon-horse to rear up and stomp down on one of the men harrying beast-Martialla, flatting him pretty good.  In response Black Hat turned his sword at a funny angle and decapitated the poor thing.  Which is crazy.  You know how thick a horse’s neck is?  I’ve seen strong men with double-handed greatswords that couldn’t pull off that feat.  I was quite startled by this turn of events but being the expert rider that I am I managed to jump clear without being trapped or crushed under the bulk of the instantly slain horse.

I retreated as Black Hat came for me and behind them with a furious roar beast-Martialla yanked the chest, which had taken four struggling men to carry out of the coach, and hurled it at her last opponent – caving in his chest with a grotesque snap crackle and pop.  I did my best falling to my knees and begging for mercy act which slowed Black Hat enough for Martialla to revert to her normal form, slashed to ribbons but not hurt enough to stop her from calling on her magic.  Black Hat slumped over like a narcoleptic, his blade falling out of his hand as he swooned like a maiden.  I helped myself to said blade and jammed it through his chest, which woke him up for a moment, but only for a moment.  I gave Martialla a healing draught from my Flask and we surveyed the carnage – the snakebitten man still shaking and convulsing on the ground.

I took a drink from the Flask “I told them not to stop.”

“What happened to the other two?”

“As soon as the fighting started they grabbed their luggage and ran.  I don’t suppose they got too far but regardless it saves me the trouble of telling them to get lost.”

She ducked her chin at the chest, sending a little blood flying off her face “What do you think is in there?”

“Gold I reckon.”

I was wrong about that, it wasn’t gold, it was platinum.  A lot of platinum.  The two of us could barely budge the thing, but Martialla turned back into a furry beast and muscled it back into the coach.  We checked out the medicine wagon as well, the thieves had tossed most of the stuff out – I guess so they could move faster which is probably why they broke an axle in the first place – but I did find a hidden compartment with a few odds and ends, most interestingly a holy symbol of Kozilek. 

“So these guys stole the money, then they stole this wagon to carry it, then this wagon broke down they tried to steal our coach?”

Martialla shrugged “Who knows?  Can you drive this thing?  I’m feeling faint, either way I need to sit in the back for a while.”

“Probably all the blood loss.  Get some whiskey in you, that thickens up the blood.  I’m sure I can drive this thing, how hard could it be?”

I tied the spare horse from the medicine wagon to the coach and climbed into the driver’s seat as Martialla crawled into the back – she was bleeding all over the place which fine because the intertio was soaked with blood on account of the de-arming anyway.  Turns out driving a coach without any experience is actually pretty hard.  It took me a good hour to figure out how to do it at all (I’m sure it would have been faster without Martialla’s grousing from the back) and I was still trying to get the hang of it when a dozen men in horseback back thundering up.  I saw they were wearing the colors and symbol of one Mister Tarl Ciarán, retired Colonel, rich bastard, probable wife-murderer, and total asshole.  They cut in front of the coach and it’s a good thing that the horses know what to do because I’m not sure I could have stopped them.

“Thank the Gods you’ve come, we were attacked by bandits!”

A fellow with a heavy dark beard and his hair in stupid braids answered “Those weren’t bandits ma’am, they’re deserters and they have stolen Royal property.  How long ago did you see them?”

“Less than two hours, if you continue down this road five miles or so you should find their bodies.”

His eye raised “Bodies?”

I nodded, biting my lip “Yes good sir, it was a terrible fight.  Our guards managed to defeat them but they were mortally wounded themselves.” I shook my head sadly “There was nothing we could do for them but pray that Adariel takes them to her holy bosom.”

“Did they have a chest with them?”

“Not that I saw, but they had a huckster wagon, there could have been a chest in there.”

“You didn’t look?”

I shook my head emphatically “No, we were terrified, we just got away from there as quickly as we could.”

“Do you mind if we check your coach?”

“Certainly not, my friend is in the back and she’s been badly wounded if there’s anything you can do for her.”

He grunted noncommittally and ordered one of his men to check it out, he kept his eyes on me in a much less than friendly fashion.  I was assuming that Martialla was smart enough to turn the chest invisible and I must have been right because I heard the report back that there was nothing. 

“Please my friend is in poor shape, if you have a healer . . .”

Braids turned and rode away “Balus, Waroth, kill these two and burn the coach.  Make sure you bury them away from the road, if you can see the road when you start digging you too close!  Afterwards catch up with us.  Everyone else with me!”

Most of them rode off as the fellow that had checked out the coach drew is his sword and his companion that was still mounted unlimbered a spear or a lance or something like that, measuring me up.  I begged them piteously not to hurt us, first saying that we would never tell anyone what we saw, but then moving on to promising them every explicit and degraded sex act imaginable but in a way that made it clear that I had no real idea what I was talking about.  That’s the key.  No man is impressed by a slattern offering up her dubious favors, but when a good honest Gods fearing woman is begging you to turn her into a sexual plaything for a few more minutes of life that’s where you can really get them interested.  That’s what the men want.  It’s the saint and the whore all wrapped up in domination and control of the weaker sex – what could be more appealing?

The lancer glanced back at his friend “Should we?”

He looked in the coach at Martialla “This one’s all bloody.  Do you want to share that one up there?”

The lancer considered it for a moment “Nah, better just kill them.”

“You two are some hard bastards you know that?  I was going to start begging again to buy more time but I don’t think it would work, I just hope your friends away far enough away already.”

The lancer’s head whipped around at the sound of his buddy screaming, which is what tends to happen when Martialla conjures molten metal onto someone’s face.  I grabbed a hold of the mounted one’s spear-lance and kicked him in the face from my elevated position but sadly it didn’t seem to bother him too much.  I saw Martialla slam another motel metal orb into the footman as the horseman and I wrestled over his spear-lance.  In the end he reversed direction and sent me tumbling to the ground.  Have you ever fallen off a coach?  It hurts.  I’m not proud of it, but I used the snake-head on my Walking Stick to bite his horse on the leg.  While he struggled to gain control of his panicked mount Martialla came out of the coach to stick her rapier into the other fellow a couple times and then toss it to me.  Just as the lancer was getting his steed under control I sliced away his saddle girth and he dropped heavily to the ground – his maddened horse kicking him in the face as it fled the scene. 

As he struggled to his feet I lifted up whatever that little flappy thing is on the back armor of mounted fighters and stabbed him in the kidney.  Or in that area anyway.  It was unnecessary because he was done for, but Martialla came forward and roasted him alive with her fire spell anyway.  She was pretty pissed. 

“It takes a while to dig a grave, we probably have a couple hours lead before they wonder what happened.  Is it enough?”

Martialla was panting slightly “You want to leave all this money behind?”

“No, but there’s no use in dying over it.”

Martialla looked down the road “Let’s give it a try.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 28,040 platinum, 59,605 gold

XP: 914,921

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Ela’s Dazzling Garment, Belt of Physical Might +4, Ring of Urban Grace, Black Marketers’ Bag (5), Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Extraordinary Walking Stick, Ela’s Elegant Boots, Ela’s Marvelous Amulet 

Noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, disguise kit, covenant ring, tiny diamonds (26), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three), darkwood and platinum music box, silver bracelet set with bloodstones, platinum ring set with fire opal, silver and moonstone bracelet, holy symbol of Kozilek  

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

Montagem 7 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

In retrospect I guess I should have mentioned to someone that Auraluna knew that we were coming instead of just going back to sleep.  In my defense though I’m no military strategist, how was I supposed to know that she’d stage a counter-attack?  Wait that doesn’t sound right because we hadn’t attacked them yet.  What’s it called when you attack someone before they can attack you?  A preemptive attack yes, but I feel like there’s a specific name for it.  My first indication that something was wrong is when an arrow came through the tent and hit me in the elbow.  Have you ever been shot in the elbow?  I’ve heard people say that getting kneecapped is the most painful thing possible.  I’ll call bullshit on that unless any of those people have taken an arrow through the elbow and can compare the two.  Plus I was fucking asleep!  Waking up out of a dead sleep because you got shot?  In the elbow?  There was a moment there where if I had the means I would have amputated the arm just to stop the pain.  I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have an easy way to remove arms.  Who would have ever guessed I’d say that?

A good distraction from the pain was when the side of the tent was ripped open by one of those curvy elf swords and a grey skinned elf with coal-black eyes (it looked like that because it was undead you see) came in trying to kill me the way it killed my tent.  I rolled out of the way of its wild downward stroke with the bent elf-sword and it was such a powerful thrust that the blade got stuck in the ground.  I don’t know if these things are mindless, I suspect not since it cut a hole in a tent, but it wasn’t smart enough to do anything other than try and yank the it’s sword out of the earth.  I grabbed the holy symbol around my neck and thrust it into the ghoul’s face.

“In Adariel’s name I cast you out!!!”

This didn’t do a Gods damned thing.  I bashed it with my Walking Stick but I’ve learned that the walking dead are generally pretty resistant to blunt force trauma.  I assume because they they’re dead.  That seems like it makes sense.  The stupid undead elf was still trying to pull it’s sword out of the ground so I took a moment to slip my Sharpshooter’s Blade onto my Walking Stick and create the world’s shortest makeshift spear.  Even the undead tend to lose motivation when you impale them through the skull – and without motivation they just go back to being dead dead.  There’s probably a lesson of some kind there.  I don’t know exactly what happened next, either someone fighting outside the tent fell into it, or someone else (Martialla probably) inside the tent was also fighting and smashed into the side but the entire thing came down and I found myself trapped under all that magical canvas.

I know this is going to sound crazy but being wrapped up in that tent I think the closest I’ve come to dying.  I almost suffocated in there I did.  I tried the command word to make it “untent” itself but it must have been too ripped up to still work.  In the end I did manage to fight my way out before I choked to death, but it was honestly terrifying.  As soon as I got free I saw fighting all around.  Auraluna and her daughter (who looked great by the way, even better than before) and two other little spindly ashy looking broads were directing the attack of a score of undead elfs and festrogs.  It was a Hells of a melee for sure.  Baron Ridley and Kendrick had already slain (reslain?) half a dozen of the attackers and were rallying their men to counter-attack, which is the right term in this instance.  I saw the annoying Strider-priest call upon his divine power and disintegrate a charging pack of undead hounds instantaneously.  The strangest sight of all though was Ismail.  His arms had transformed into the freaky hook-things of a giant mantis and he was slicing his opponents in half when he was ripping bloody hunks of dead flesh off them.  That was a hideous sight for sure, it was like watching someone being ripped apart by a jigsaw.

While I was still on the ground half-suffocated, a festrog charged at me with its mouth hanging opening in a soundless howl.  Mostly by luck it impaled itself on my makeshift spear and I reached into my Vest and set it ablaze with a tindertwig.  Staggering away from the fire I was slashed across the back by another undead elf before I was able to whirl and stick it through the neck with my Stick-Blade.  This action however revealed the flaw in my jury-rigging because the Blade got wedged in the body and came off the Walking Stick pretty easily.  I’m probably the last person that should be improvising weapons, that’s pretty advanced murderology.  While I had a moment of not being almost killed I drank a Healing draught from the Flask and took a blast from my Tankard for fighting spirit (and booze). I picked up one of the fallen elf-swords but it was so awkward that I was much more dangerous to myself than anyone else so I abandoned it quickly.  With nothing else in the way of weapons I laid about at the undead with my Walking Stick for all the good it did.

As the fighting intensified I saw Auraluna take to the air (which hardly seems fair) and suddenly incinerate four of the Baron’s retainers with a massive blast of fire.  All that was left was their skeletons.  I know this because those skeletons remained standing, wreathed with fire and turned to attack the Strider priest with burning claws (which really doesn’t seem fair).  Next she swooped at me, absorbing my clubbing attack like it was a gentle breeze.  She slammed me to the ground and while in her withered state she was half as strong as she had been when she threw me around in Graltontown she was still plenty strong to dash me to the ground.  She bared her wicked fangs at me as she pinned me to the ground like a cruel child (so just a child really) with a bug.

“No machines now!  We’ll do this the old fashioned way!”

Remember that time that lake mermaid vampire tried to drink all my blood?  I do.  You don’t forget a thing like that.  I was just out for a pleasant walk and then a lake mermaid vampire tried to kill me.  Anyway, when Auraluna tucked into me at first it was a lot like that, like for maybe a second.  But then something very curious happened.  Curious in the sense that Auraluna recoiled in tremendous pain as beams of light issued forth from underneath her skin like some manner of holy force was burning her alive.  Which is what I figured was happening when I saw a massive light-wound appear on her chest in the shape of Adariel’s symbol.  The holy Symbol around my neck was hanging suspended in air as if held by invisible hands as light poured out of it into Auraluna’s body and light poured out of her body into the symbol – some kind of endless loop of destruction.  Well, not endless, it ended after about fifteen seconds when the symbol exploded – a piece of metal shrapnel digging into my stomach – while Auraluna simultaneously crumbled like old bread before my very eyes, leaving behind only a pile of black grit.

“Huh, that was something.”

Once Auraluna was dead the fight turned against team hag swiftly.  The other two dusty witch monsters were hacked to pieces quickly and all the various undead were sent back to their graves.  Auraluna’s daughter escaped but I’m sure she’ll just go somewhere far away and never trouble anyone again.  That seems likely right?  The survivors of the battle made their way to the village, which was decidedly less than jubilant at their apparent salvation.  Seems that Auraluna and her daughter had been there a while with some scaled down version of the Machine I saw in the Domiel manor basement-dungeon that they had been using on the village women to maintain Auraluna’s daughter.  And this wasn’t even the first village.  Remember that village the Baron ordered me to check out that had some manner of disease?  Turns out it wasn’t a disease, at least not in the literal sense.  The people there seemed sick because Auraluna was stealing their blood for her daughter.  Eventually they bled the entire village dry and then moved on to this place.  We arrived just in the nick of time, in the sense that only most of their young women had been killed instead of all.  That evening we bad a bonfire going in the middle of the town square enjoying the fruits of victory, in this case nothing.  Well that’s not true exactly, the villagers did bring us some fresh baked bread. 

I looked over at Baron Ridley “I suppose in the horrible monster hunting business this is what you’re used to right?  No joyous celebrations, no victor’s spoils, no fanfare, no warrior’s reward – just the slim comfort that there’s some traumatized people left to pick up the pieces.” 

“That’s a forbidding way to put it, but yes, our work isn’t the romantic quest of a knight errant.”

“Most knights as assholes anyway.  Speaking of grim business, when I was in Cauldron at the edge of the woods I saw some witches that had been nailed to trees and tortured.  Did you do that?”

He looked at me evenly “Yes.”

“Personally?”

“I had it done, that’s the same as if I pounded in the nails with my own hands.”

“Why?”

“Hags are hard to kill.  Sometimes extreme measures are necessary.  As you said it’s a grim business.” He was quiet for a while and I was about to say something but then he spoke again “You know what’s worse?  Finding men that are willing to do it.  Not just willing, but who do it without any qualms.  That’s what scares me sometimes.  How good I am at finding men who are skilled at doing atrocious things and don’t mind doing them.  I tell myself that at least thing way I’m using their violent desires for a good end, but I wonder if that matters.”

“Yeah, be careful with that shit, you’re one of the good ones – the world needs you to stay not evil.  He who hunts monsters and all that.”

He looked distinctly uncomfortable with these words and after a moment cleared his throat “Your friend and Kendrick seem to be hitting it off.”

I snorted “She’s a friendly gal.”

The good Baron seemed even more uncomfortable “I hope she’s mindful of his feelings.  For all his bravado and skill at fighting he’s rather fragile when it comes to those sort of things.  He plays himself as a bounder and cad but it’s just a way to try and protect himself.  Since we’re going to be parting ways I hope that things between them can end without any issues.”

“I’ll talk to her.”

“Your friend Ismail is quite a fighter.”

I shrugged “Yeah, I guess so.  That thing he did with his arms was pretty crazy.”

“I think we would have died without him.”

“Seriously?”

The Baron nodded “Yes.  He destroyed almost half of the attacking undead.  Even without that odd transformation of his body I’ve never seen anything quite like him.  He was perfectly calm, perfectly in control.  I’m not sure I’ve seen a more effective warrior.”

I looked around but Ismail was not in sight “Huh.  How about that?  Maybe I should start praying to a bug too.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 28,040 platinum, 47,545 gold

XP: 884,921

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Amulet of Dreams, Ela’s Traveling Outfit, Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Ring of Urban Grace, Black Marketers’ Bag (5), Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, Ela’s Boots

Noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, disguise kit, covenant ring, tiny diamonds (26), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three), assorted hag pieces 

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  

Montagem 3 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 2

This time we did run to Dulphistos’ compound.  There’s an old saying that you can’t outrun the anger of a wizard but there’s no harm in trying right?  I was pretty out of breath by the time we got there.  I’m not sure what’s wrong with me.  Probably I should be smoking more.  Martialla turned us both invisible again and we went over the wall like last time, but this time something a little different happened.  Namely that as we crested the outer wall a little streak of light came out of the window, speeding towards and blossoming into a ball of fire.  A fireball I’ll call it.  You can use that term if you want.  Martialla flipped back down the wall and out of the way agilely and I was blasted off the wall and to the ground in a smoldering heap somewhat less agilely.  I rolled to the bottomn of the wall by Martialla safely out of sight of the window.  Barring magic.  Which is certainly what was going on.

I batted out a couple flames on my clothing “Well we tried, let’s get out of here.”

She favored me with a grim smile “You’re the one that wanted to come here, well we’re here and we’re going in.  I’ll keep him busy here, you circle around and find a way to come at him from behind.  I know you’re usually the one being taken from behind but you should be able to reverse engineer it.”

“Me?!  You’re the one who . . .”

“Just go, and hurry up Ela, this whole thing is going to go really bad in a minute or so.”

“It’s already bad!”

I ran in a crouch (silliness since the wall was ten feet high) around to the east side and used my Walking Stick to weaken he wall and then kick my way through – it feels good to smash through a stone wall even if it’s been magically weakened.  I dashed across the lawn (getting a stitch in my side from all this running) and smashed in a window with my Walking Stick (you know, just with hitting not with magic) and found myself in a huge room of indeterminate usage.  There were a couple large tapestries, maybe it was just for displaying them.  Oh and the place was wrecked and there was a dead guy lying on the floor.  No sure what that’s about.  The door hung open and I made my way into the hall at the end of which was a staircase leading up.  As soon as my foot touched the bottom stair there was a loud buzzing noise and the dwarf from last night appeared at the top of the steps – instead of wearing a stupid nightshirt though she was wearing a very fine chair shirt and you know, pants and whatnot.

“If you still don’t want to get involved this would be a good time to move aside.”

She responded with arcane gestures and words and suddenly the floorboards beneath me buckled and a grasping black tentacle sprung out of the ground and slapped me like I owed it money.  I have to assume the two things were related.  The groping tentacle tried to wrap around me and squeeze the life out of me but I managed to slither and stagger away from it – more tentacles broke through the floor reaching for me, but I continued backpedaling until they stopped appeared.

I glared over the field of waving tentacles at the dwarf standing at the top of the stairs “No fair!  Everyone knows that wizards can’t cast spells in armor.”

She smiled smugly “Maybe you don’t want to be involved in this”

“Maybe you should shut up!”

With that witty rejoinder (is that the right word?) I shot her with my crossbow but it didn’t seem to hurt her too much.  Clearly I need to get a dwarf-slaying crossbow as well.  Still getting shot is no picnic and she ducked back around the corner.  Taking a wide berth about the tentacle-field I made my way into the next room and used my Stick to break through the wall to the staircase – carefully and quietly crawling through the hole and onto the stairs where I stealthily made my way to the top on hands and feet.  Using my vocal abilities I made my voice issue forth from the bottom of the staircase where I had been before.

“Okay look, I’ve put my crossbow down, I don’t want to fight.  I think we can cut a deal here.  You said you’re just in it for the money right?  Well . . .”

The dwarf peeped around the corner, expecting me to be downstairs, and I sprang up to catch her under the shoulder and throw my hip into her – tossing her over and down the stairs to fall into her own tentacle zone.  A couple of the tentacles grabbed her and started to crush but they disappeared as quickly as they hand sprung up.  I shot at her with my crossbow and she ran back into the hallway out of sight.  At the top of the stairs I turned just in time to see a tall man with a bloody smashed nose and ridiculously large gold earrings running at me with his shield extended to smash me to the ground.  Which is what he did.  I’ve never been gored by a bull (yet, it will probably happen with my luck) but I imagine this is what it feels like.  I was hammered to the ground and most, nay, ALL the wind was driven out of me.  I managed to barely get my crossbow up to block his sword-stroke coming down at me and the damn thing smashed to pieces. 

“But Ela, a crossbow isn’t meant to parry a sword of course it broke!  Don’t get mad about that.”  The damn thing is magic, it should have held up better.  Why do you always stand up for the things that annoy me?  What’s your angle?  I managed to grab the bayonet Blade in time to block the second attack and it was knocked out of my hand to ricochet off the wall and almost hit Mister Shield in the face.  He flinched back and that gave me the chance to get a hold of my Walking Stick, turn the head into a real live serpent and thrust it at him from my position on the floor.  He clearly wasn’t expecting trouble because he had hastily donned his armor and there were a few pieces missing – most saliently at this moment the codpiece.  The point is the fight was over for him.  I think he would have thanked me for jamming the Blade into his face if he could.  But he couldn’t.  On account of he was dead. 

Moving down the hallway I saw a bedchamber beyond where I could see a robed figure at the window doing magic stuff.  Based on the layout of the house this should be Dulphistos, or least whoever was shooting fire at us from the window.  At his side was a well-dressed dandy with a fine pair of boots (although they looked to be women’s boots to me) a shimmering gold-cloth half-cape, and one of those stupid hats with a feather in it.  I disguised myself as the guy I had killed just as he turned around.

“What’s going on back there Edrick?”

Having no idea what the guy’s voice sounded like I just smiled and made a gesture that I felt communicated “I just won a fight and am awesome” as I walked towards him.

He frowned “Where’s your shield?  And what is that you’re holding?” His frown deepened “Is that a crossbow blade?”

Before I could get into striking range he came at me with a handaxe.  What kind of weapon is that for a fop like this?  I think we can all agree that the rapier is the standard weapon for clotheshorses and duded up hotspurs.  There was no hesitation in his attack at all so either he was sure that I was not really his friend (or at least co-worker) of he’s a cold-blooded piece of business who didn’t care if he accidentally chopped pieces off his cohort.  I activated my Amulet for metal skin and his ax bounced off harmlessly.  He banged into me a few more times, searching for a weak spot, but there was none to be found.

“You’re a mercenary right?  Beat it, this job’s gone south.”

Dulphistos, of whoever it is in the brown robe whirled around and called into being a bolt of acid that hurtled down the hallway.  I assume that it was supposed to be aimed at me, but it hit Mr. Ladyboots square in the back – ruining his fancy cape and you know, also burning the shit out of him.  Clutching at his back Ladyboots ran past me screaming as I barged my way forward and charged the wizard.  A second blast of acid issued forth before I could get my hands on him and splattered all over me.  I felt no pain but I could see the metallic skin warping and corroding as the acid ate away at it.  I have a feeling once his wears off there’s going to be plenty of pain.  I grabbed him, figuring that as a puny wizard I would be able to wrestle him into submission, but he was stubborn enough that our wrangling was inconclusive.  At least until Martialla climbed in the window and stabbed him in the back several times.  I like my chance in a grappling contest against almost any man who’s been impaled.  I shoved him to the floor where he lay dying.  On account of having been stabbed in the back several times.   I helped myself to a healing draught from my Flask, hoping that would repair metal as well.

“That’s him right?  That’s Dulphistos?”

Martialla leaned over to get a better look “I think so.”

I nodded and amplified my voice to booming proportions “Attention mercenaries.  The guy paying you is dead.  There is no further need for you to fight us.  Please leave in an orderly fashion in the next five minutes.”

“You think that’s going to work?”

“Couldn’t hurt.  So now we wait five minutes and then loot?”

Martialla looked around appraisingly “I don’t know if that’s a great idea, there are probably traps all over the place, you know how paranoid wizards are.   Besides which, don’t think you think everyone else is going to take all the good stuff in the next five minutes?”

“Maybe they’ll trigger all the traps.  Plus you’re magic, can’t you . . .” I made a vague “magicky” gesture.

“For someone who hates magic so much you sure don’t mind using it for your own ends.”

“I don’t hate magic, I just think it’s stupid and dangerously uncontrollable and anyone who spends their time on it is a moron.  No offense.”

“None taken.”

While we were waiting Martialla took Dulphistos’ staff, which I assume is full of magicalness.  I wonder why wizards collectively chose staves as their implement of choice.  Probably because they’re weak and feeble and actually need them to limp around.  Watching out the window we saw a couple goons run off with silver candlesticks and rugs and the like and after a few minutes we started looking around ourselves.  As Martialla had predicted most of the good stuff was done, if there’s one thing mercenaries are good for its quickly and efficiently looting a place.  We did find a locked door, which seemed promising, but after Martialla finagled it open it was just another frilly bedroom like the one in which we found Cathadela.  We entered and picked at the knickknacks and cosmetics.

“So what’s this?  A lady apprentice?  How many damn apprentices does one man need?”

Martialla shrugged  “More clearly since he’s dead now.”

“Are they meant to be protection?”

“I have to assume so.  Protection, gophers, sycophants, assistants, they probably fill a number of roles.  Why else would you take them on?”

I was about to say something else when suddenly I felt a stabbing pain in my foot and I felt to the floor – mostly because I had been stabbed in the foot.  I saw a red-haired woman in a ridiculous carnation pink dress under the bed with a dagger in her hand, her freckled face terrified and her eyes wild. 

“Ow, fuck!  What the Hells is wrong with you?!  You put a hole in my boot!  I just got these, do you know how much these cost?!”

Martialla had her rapier in hand, flicking it intently “Come out of there.”

The woman crawled slowly out from under the bed and placed the bloody dagger on the sheets with a trembling hand and sat there looking miserable.

“Stand up Gods damn it, you’re not the one who got stabbed in the foot!” She was shaking like a leaf as she rose to her feet “What were you doing under there?”

Despite her spineless quivering her voice was strong “I heard fighting, I didn’t know what else do to.”

I winced as I pulled off my boot to examine my mangled foot “Why did you stab me?!  The point of hiding is NOT to be found right?!  You were successfully hiding!”

“I don’t know.  I panicked.  I just happened.”

“You’re lucking I’m the forbearing type.”

Martialla looked down at me “You are?”

“Shut up you.”

Her name was Marigold or Daisy or some other dumb flower name like that.  Turns out that Cathadela wasn’t the only one being held her against her will.  What is it with wizards and their sex slaves?  She led us to another locked door where a fellow was in the process of breaking it down with a small marble statue of some manner. 

“Hey, bugger off!” I reached for my crossbow only to remember it was smashed to smithereens and then gestured at Martialla “Or else she’ll shoot . . . magic . . . light at you.”

For some reason he didn’t believe that awesome threat and he charged us instead – forcing Martialla to shoot magic light and him and knock him on his ass, at which point he fled.  In that room was another cowering ginger, this Dulphistos character sure had a type.  I can’t blame them for being scared I guess but I would have liked for them to show a little backbone.  When you’re being rescued have a little dignity right?  I think the second woman said her name was Lidia.

“What are you going to do with us?”

I frowned slightly “Nothing.  The wizard and most of his apprentices are dead, go do whatever it is you did before you came here.  Go down the stairs and out the door and into the city.”

“Is it safe?”

“I mean, no?  But that’s life right?  Were you safe before?”

They dogged our heels as we continued through the complex and I saw no reason to chase them off.  Well, some reasons, but not enough to counteract the reasons not to chase them off.  We saw a few people still looting but they ran off at the sight of us – which is more gratifying that I’d like to admit.  Down in the basement level was the typical mage workshop with bubbling shit and weird metals and the like.  It was guarded by a couple zombies and an animated statue of Dulphistos (what a narcissist) but they weren’t terribly dangerous.  Martialla took all kinds of magical crap but there wasn’t much that interested me – aside from a sack full of emeralds.  You see this is what I mean with wizards, what kind of person just leaves a sack of precious stones sitting in the corner?  Madness.  I tossed a couple to Daffodil and Lidia for their trouble and gave the rest to Martialla since I owed her anyway.  Despite my proven trustworthiness she still seemed surprised.  Some people you know?  After leaving our two hangers on looked about uncertainly.

“I don’t mean to be rude ladies, I understand that you probably want to stick with us for safety, but that’s not a good idea, we tend to attract a lot of non-safety to our area.”

At that moment a group of street-toughs appeared to surround us – the lead tough stepping forward.

“We’re here to take you to the mayor.”

“See what I mean?”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 28,040 platinum, 47,550 gold

XP: 865,721

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Amulet of Dreams, Ela’s Traveling Outfit, Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Expedition Pavilion, Sharpshooter’s Blade, Ring of Urban Grace, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, Ela’s Boots

Noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, disguise kit, covenant ring, tiny diamonds (26), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three) 

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  

Montagem 2 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 2

It would have been quiet poetic had this happened a couple days ago.  Getting drugged and kidnapped on the anniversary of the day I was drugged and kidnapped from the Duke’s court?  That really would have been something.  That’s the kind of shit that you roll your eyes at when it happens in a book.  But it would have been real.  If it happened.  Which it didn’t.  I could easily say that it did though, who’s keeping track?  Nobody, that’s who. 

This is the first time in a while that I’m waking up having been made a captive.  Seems like it used to happen every other week back in the early days.  Looking back on it now the sheer volume of times that a cult wanted to sacrifice me was staggering.  I can tell you this now, I don’t miss it.  Call me crazy but I don’t enjoy being abducted and bound and left to the mercy of violent strangers.  I suppose on the plus side this time I’m not in some weird dungeon or the top of a tower or anything, it looked like I was just in a normal house.  I’m not sure but I think the street where I was shot with that dart was literally just outside.  On the negative end of things I was tried pretty securely to a chair, which is very uncomfortable.  Even worse my captor was in the process of sticking me with a thin needle-like instrument that was dripping with a thick yellow liquid.  She was young, skinny as a rail, and her dirty blonde hair was chopped up hideously – I’ve seen better hairstyles on scarecrows. 

“What the Hells are you poisoning me with now?”

She turned her head over her should “She’s wake.”

“Did you happen pick up my Walking Stick or did leave it lying in the street?  It’s very expensive.”

“Shut up!”

“You must be the blow girl.”

Her head whipped back around “What did you say?!”

“You’re the one that shot me with the blowpipe right?  Hey, I know you.  You’re one of the Gallow Girls?  You and your friend were hassling me when I came to talk to your leaders a while back.”

She grabbed me by the hair and made as if she was going to jam the needle up my nose “My friend is dead because of you!”

“Ow!  Ease off the roots lady!  Clearly you’re rejecting societal norms surrounding a woman’s hairstyle but my hair is very important to me.  It all got burned off once and . . .”

She let go and stepped back with a sneer “I tell you my friend is dead because of you and all you can talk about is your hair?”

I shrugged as best you can while tied to a chair “It’s a pretty good story.  I didn’t kill your friend, I only met you two that one time and I didn’t kill anyone that day.  I don’t think.  No one in your gang anyway.”

Choppy-hair was working up an angry retort when another woman walked in the room.  I recognized her as well.  Very pale, long dark hair, practical commoner clothing made expensively, an enviable degree of cool confidence.  Her pale face was now marred with several ugly bruises.  She set a chair in front of me but didn’t sit in it, hovering at my side.

“Where’s Tario?”

“Tario?  What . . .”

She punched me hard in the side of the head.  Along with being abducted it’s been quite a while since I’ve been punched.  Stabbed?  Sure.  Bitten?  Absolutely.  Clawed, burned, strangled, battered, poked and prodded?  You bet.  But I haven’t been punched in a while.  It hasn’t improved with time.  I’m going to be controversial here but I’m going to say that getting punched sucks.  I started to say something else but was silenced when I was hit from behind by something hard.  For a moment before my vision started to swim I could see Choppy-hair grinning at me mercilessly.  Paleface was talking but with the ringing in my ears I couldn’t understand her – it sounded like she was talking underwater.  I could see her getting angrier when I didn’t respond.

“I’m no expert but when you’re interrogating someone hitting them in the head is maybe not the best idea.  Makes everything get all dizzy.”

Paleface nodded “That’s fine, we’ll work on your toes.” She took something out of a pouch on her belt.

My vision started to clear “Is that a fucking hammer?  Who carries around a fucking hammer?”

“My father was a carpenter.” She ducked her head at Choppy-hair “Cren, get her boots off.”

“The way you have me tied up I think that’s going to be hard.  You should have discussed your torture plan before you tied me up so thoroughly.  But in any event it’s unnecessary.  I’ll tell you whatever you want.  I’m not one of those people who get salty in the face of torture, whatever you want to know I’ll tell you.  You want to know my deepest darkest secrets?  I’ll blab happily.”

She put the hammer away “The only thing I want to know is where Tario is.”

“Why?”

 She moved behind me and pushed my chair over so that my face smashed into the empty chair in front of me – she held on and careful positioned me so I was levered onto the chair at an awkward and painful angle.

“I don’t want questions from you, I want answers, and the only thing I want to know is where Tario is. 

At this point a very odd thing happened.  The ropes, which had been excruciatingly tight suddenly loosened of their own accord, spilling me out onto the floor.  I would find out later that this is something that my Tankard does.  It has some enchantment on it to loosen bindings, not even right away, after a while, which is ingenious.  I should really learn what all my magic shit does one of these days.  I think all three us were equally caught off guard by this turn of events but I recovered the quickest – spinning to my back and kicking the chairs up into my interrogators face.  I scrambled to my feet with the unfortunately revelation that without my Walking Stick I don’t really have a good weapon for close quarters fighting.  I’d skip the standard complaint about how I shouldn’t be leading a life where I even need to know about close quarter fighting (but I shouldn’t).  Remember back when I had dwarf runes that allowed me to turn my hands into lion-paws with big gnashy claws?  That was pretty sweet.    

Choppy-hair had a dagger out which she was smearing with poison (I assume, some kind of white paste) so I used the ropes that were still hanging off me to toss around her neck.  She dropped the dagger to grab the rope and I did my level best to use her as a human shield as Paleface came at me with a club.  Club sounds too crude, it was a very fancy club, I’ll call it a fighting baton, that sounds better.  Or wait, baton sounds like it’s leading a parade.  Let’s just call it a cudgel.  After getting cudgeled upside the head I decided that my rope strangling plan wasn’t working out so well.  I let go and activated my Amulet instead, covering myself with metal skin.  This took my kidnappers aback but they rallied quickly.  Choppy-hair hurled her dagger at me, which bounced off harmlessly.  Paleface leapt into the air and spun about with some elaborate whirling attack move, her strike made an ugly sound like a bell poorly struck but it didn’t do anything.  Paleface danced back but I bashed Choppy-hair in the nose with a metal fist and sent her crumbling to the ground with a fountain of blood.

“I think we can agree here that I have the upper hand now, so let’s talk.  I have no idea where Tario is, I haven’t seen him since the last time I was here.  Why do you want to kill him?”

Paleface glared at me as she helped Choppy up “You’re just protecting your boss.”

I made a sour face “My boss?  Tario?  That moron?  I wouldn’t sign on with that scapegrace if I woke up nude in an alley in Malgereth.  He’s probably already dead.  With all that money he got from the heist he probably drank himself to death, or someone killed him to take it because we was talking about all the money he had.  Is that what this is all about?  The heist?  You had your chance to get in on that action, what’s the problem?  Non-buyer’s remorse?”

Her expression remained implacable “Maybe you’re the boss then.  Maybe you’re the one we need to kill.”

“Why would you want to kill me or Tario?  You’re the ones that got over on us last time.  You ripped me off.  I offered to cut you in on the jewel job, you were too afraid of Razmiran’s assassins to take it – that’s your own fucking fault.”

She shook her head “And that’s why you and Tario are back in town, to finish us off.  You thought you could extinguish us because we’ve been weakened but we captured you easily enough.  You and Tario are both going to die.”

“I don’t care about you, I’m not here . . .”

She pointed “Ever since you came into town there’s been trouble for us.  I think you’re the cause of it all.  You’re not as clever as you think, we figured out what you’re up to.”

I sighed “People love saying that to me, do I seem like I think I’m overly clever?  Look, I . . .” At this point my metallic skin faded away “. . . oh shit.”

I really should learn how my magic items work.  Choppy drew another dagger and poured an ugly black syrup on it as Paleface charged with her club.  We had moved far enough away though that I was able to get my crossbow and shot her at essentially point blank range – the bolt punching all the way through her stomach to almost hit Choppy as well.  Paleface sagged to her knees, as people tend to do when shot completely though, and I stabbed her (you know, in the head) with my Crossbow Blade.  Choppy came at me with her poisoned knife but I smashed her down with the stock of my crossbow.  Thankfully I did see my Walking Stick in the next room as I walked out of the house, I would have been pissed if they left it in the street and someone snatched it up.  Once I was out in the street and walking towards the Song and Dance again Martialla fell in beside me.

I looked down at my dress “If those idiots tore my dress I am going to be very upset.”

“I told you should have it magically treated to avoid being damaged.”

“You tell me a lot of things.”

“And all of them wise counsel.”

“Where the Hells were you?”

“I was looking for you.”

“How did they get me in the first place?  You were literally holding onto me.”

“There were more of them, it was a whole scenario, I knew you’d be able to get free on your own.”

“I’m sure.  I tell you this much, I’m glad we framed them now.” 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 28,040 platinum, 47,560 gold

XP: 807,911

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Amulet of Dreams, Ela’s Traveling Outfit, 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), Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, Ela’s Boots

Noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, disguise kit, covenant ring, tiny diamonds (26), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three) 

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  

Montalan 30 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Today it’s part two of operation frame-up.  Part one of part two is finding a place from which we can observe Dulphistos’ manor house and wait for him to fly out on a roaring rampage of revenge.  Part two is faking the murders of the two snitches we impersonated yesterday by agents of the people we’re framing to real sell the story.  The first part turned out to be rather simple.  Several buildings are so close to Dulphistos’ compound that they’re almost abutting his wall – which I am confident is not allowed by the Preen building code.  If Preen had any building codes.  Most of those buildings are abandoned, either because no one wants to live next to a wizard or because said wizard had his goons run them off.  Although I suppose in a sense those are the same reason.  The building that offered the best viewpoint of the Dulphistos’s compund looked like it had been a watch-house back in the days before Preen was a total shithole and then had been converted to a tenement of sorts once Razmiran showed up to run the place straight into the ground before ultimately being abandoned.  I know what you’re thinking, “Ela, wizards aren’t totally dumb, he’s going to notice if you start squatting there”, but don’t worry about it, I’m not stupid.  Martialla assures me that she can cloak our presence with her magic.

After that was the simple matter of faking a couple murders.  Most of Generous’ girls work in the area around the vice district where I found Aubesh, so we went to that area and Martialla took on the form of one of the women we kidnapped and strolled around a bit before I appeared in the guise of Velké Dářkos and abducted her, smacking her around enough that any watchers would know that this was going to end in murder.  The response from “law enforcement” was laudable – a brute squad from whichever gang the Lumber Consortium is using as their strong arm showed up in just a few minutes to shake down potential witnesses and make a nuisance of themselves.  Martialla and I made sure to turn up in the guise of honest hardened gamblers to tell them about the horrible scene we had witnessed.  Then a couple hours later once the hubbub had died down we returned and did it again with Martialla in the guise of the second woman.  This time things didn’t go quite as smoothly.  As soon as I showed up looking like Velké a couple guys had blades out and were coming at me almost before I could get my hands on Martialla. 

Anyone paying close attention might have thought that for someone being assaulted woman number two was being very cooperative with her attacker, but hopefully no one was who’s that paranoid.  We led them down a blind alley where Martialla put them to sleep with a spell and I made sure they weren’t going to wake up again by activating my Amulet and bashing them good – I figure that should simulate Velké’s methods as much as possible.  With that done we figured the frame was as good as it was going to get – assuming that all the moving parts work Generous should be telling the Lumber people what’s going down and he should be telling Dulphistos.  In retrospect maybe we went one level too far with the whole thing but time will tell now.  After that we gathered up some stakeout supplies – molasses fry bread and a case of Stolen Kisses Rum – and headed for our wizard-blind.  I stashed our supplies and started looking around for a good watching chair while Martialla took out some scrolls and starting doing magic stuff.

“I’m not looking forward to this, I have a feeling this is going to take a while.”

“Assume we even see him leave.  There’s no reason to believe he’s just going to walk out the front door if he even goes himself.  He could very well ‘magic’ himself wherever he’s going.  Plus wasn’t Tarver bragging about a secret passageway?”

“Do you think he was being literal?  I assumed that was an ill-conceived innuendo.”

Her response was forestalled by the appearance out of thin air of some manner of deformed gnome with a red cap and iron-shod boots, swinging a very much not gnome-sized sickle at her.  It sliced the scroll in her hands in half and then ripped a bloody line from her sternum to her belly button.  I have to admit I found this quite startling.  The ugly little man gouged her again with his outsized farm implement before I could react – clobbering him with my Walking Stick.  Even though I was attacking someone hald my size this maneuver had about as much effect as a playful paw slap from a kitten.  At least it did attract his attention, Martialla staggering away spilling blood in buckets as he whirled on me, raising his sickle to strike.  But the blow never came, instead his tiny wrinkled face became strangely smooth with a look of terror and he ran out of the room.  I know what you’re thinking “clearly this was no man at all but rather the fey creature know as a redcap – their fear of religious icons is well known and it must have seen your Adariel symbol hanging around your neck”. 

That’s a decent theory, but sadly wrong.  I would find out later that this man and his fellows, because there were more of them, were not Recaps at all but rather actual gnomes that either think they are recaps or want so desperately for other people to think that they are redcaps that they even mimic an actual redcap’s fear of holy iconography.  So there, not to smart are you?  I moved towards Martialla to check on her, but I only made it a step before a creaky door flew open and wildly rushing in was a spindly grey skinned woman that had to be over seven feet tall for all that I doubt she weight more than a hundred pounds.  Her hoary skin was cracked and shot through with black veins and what little wispy hair she had hung over a face that featured empty eye sockets, a toothless mouth, and a gaping whistling hole where a nose should be.  I was told later that this was yet another hag.  It seems like I can’t go a month without being vexed by a hag.  I wonder if one of the curses that first hag put on me was to attract other hags like a drunk woman at closing time attracts sexual predators. 

This violently failing monstrosity grabbed me by the shoulder.  I’ve come to expect even the most decrepit and frail looking hag to be monstrously strong.  Based on that I expected her hand to close on my shoulder like a vise, tearing muscle and cracking bone with brute strength.  But that’s not what happened.  That’s not what happened at all.  I barely felt her touch, which was curiously light, before the flesh of my shoulder and arm started running like water.  It was like a wax candle being tossed into a roaring fire.  I’m not ashamed to say that I screamed in abject and helpless terror.  I am a little ashamed to say that  at that moment I would have wished anyone in the world to have been in my place other than myself, up to and including Martialla.  There’s nothing and no one I wouldn’t have betrayed in that moment not to have experienced that. I was suddenly struck by a sharp pain in my throat and I felt to the ground heavily cradling my malformed limb with my good arm.

I’m not sure what would have happened if Martialla hadn’t been able to regain her composure.  Actually that’s not true, I know exactly what would have happened, I would have died.  That withered eyeless beast would have killed me.  Slowly and tortuously.  Martialla called on her magic and blasted the hag with a stream of fire – her already cracked flesh burning like dry paper.  The hag’s mouth opened wide in a silent scream (turns out they’re also tongueless) and she responded to the attack with a massive cone of freezing death but Martialla was able to dive out of the way – stabbing back at her with twins rays of flame.  The hag made a twisting motion with her hand like gathering up a fistful of loose thread and Martialla charged forward with her rapier.  I would learn later that’s because the hag at rendered her temporarily mute to prevent her from casting spells.  Her sword though did little to no damage to the hag, which responded by tearing further bloody rents into Martialla’s body with her ugly claws.  At this point I finally managed to stop sobbing, dragged myself up and knocked the hag in the back of the legs with my Walking Stick.  With her off balance Martialla and I both tried to bare her to the ground but in addition to being able to stretch flesh like taffy she was also obscenely strong like your “standard” hag and she hurled us both back easily. 

Martilla pulled out a dagger in her off-hand to attack with both blades while I tried to work around to flank the hag, striking with all my might.  Our efforts to engage the thing physically were fruitless, our attacks barely seem to harm her and she was able to batter us without much trouble.  I was start to think about a way to escape when either Martialla was able to overcome the hag’s abetment or the effect wore off and she burned her with another furious bolt of flame.  Even this didn’t slay the creature but she finally fled, tarry grey blood falling out of her bubblinh flesh.  Martialla staggered after her for another attack but the thing turned invisible and disappeared.  I managed to give Martialla a healing drought from my Flask to stop her bleeding before I started weeping uncontrollably again at the sight of my gnarled arm.  I would find out later that this is what the hags call “shaping”.  Usually they use this ability to offer people beauty and youthful appearance, resculpting them into more pleasing forms in return for foul deeds.  But in a pinch it works equally as well in combat.  I pride myself on staying level headed in almost any situation but I was beside myself in this instance.  Instantly my thoughts went to Malgareth and the disfigurement I suffered as the result of the beating I took there. 

I looked at Martialla desperately as she helped me out of the building and down the street back “home” “We can fix this right?  Some magic spell or other.”

“Of course.”

But I could tell from her voice that she wasn’t sure.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 28,040 platinum, 53,590 gold

XP: 803,511

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Amulet of Dreams, Ela’s Traveling Outfit, 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), Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet

Noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, disguise kit, covenant ring , tiny diamonds (26), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three)  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    

Montalan 27 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) Part 4

I’ll hand it to Dross, Tarver, and their unknown blonde pal in this sense.  They were clearly expecting an easy outing to kidnap some dizzy dames to take back to their sex dungeon.  But upon encountering resistance – namely me shooting Dross in the ribs – they didn’t fold up their tent and bail, they raised up on their hind legs to fight.  I’m not sure if that kind of courage is to be admired but it’s not what I expect from spellcasters so it’s something.  Although, they are just apprentices, maybe they don’t teach you the appropriate level of wizardly cowardice until to graduate to being a full . . . whatever, non-apprentice?  While the apprentices three were still shocked by our resistance to their opening salvo Martialla cast a spell of her own but I saw no visual indication of it doing anything. Dross was the first to recover and he reacted by pulling out a canvas bag and setting it on the ground, which seemed very strange until I saw two shambling corpses climbing out of it.

Activating my Amulet for metal skin I charged forward with my Crossbow Blade, bypassing the dead things as they staggered out of their bag and stabbing down into the collarbone of a startled Dross as he was still halfway crouching from setting the bag down.  This seemed to be an even more startling turn of events for Tarver who turned invisible with a yelp of surprise.  Martialla cast another spell of her own which again didn’t seem to do anything but it must have interfered with Blondie’s spell because he did some frantic hand waving and eldritch word yelling and then looked confused and afraid when nothing happened.  The two dead bodies walking started muscling in on me and in the melee I grabbed for Dross’s beard to steady myself and it came off in my hands!  That fucking forked monstrosity was a false beard!  What sort of lunatic wears a false beard?!  Especially one like that?!  I suppose in the wizard community it’s possible there’s a lot of peer pressure and beard shaming.

Dross rolled/fell/staggered backwards clutching at his wounds as his two zombies grappled with me but he had enough fortitude to call upon his magic and conjure up a wide pit beneath my feet.  If his dead minions didn’t have a hold of me I probably could have jumped out of the way but as it was all three of us tumbled a good twenty feet down – although my metal skin mostly absorbed the impact on me (don’t ask me how) it didn’t do any favors to the zombie that I landed on, which exploded like a ripe melon.  A ripe melon full of rotting meat.  I grabbed the other zombie by the hair/scalp/skull and bashed it to redeath against the wall of the shaft and then made to scamper up the wall before remembering that I left my Slippers with Vetovia.  Grumbling, I took out my Badge and transformed it into a rope and grapping hook.  I hurled the hook up and over the edge of the pit lip hoping to catch something and was surprised when I heard someone cry out and then a muffled thud as I put my enhanced weight on the rope.  Pulling harder I saw Blondie come failing into my line of sight and then falling over the side with the hook around his leg.  He clutched desperately at the edge but with my metallic transformation I have to weigh more than three hundred pounds and his arms quickly gave out – sending him plummeting basically on top of me. 

You know what wizards aren’t good at?  Fist fights with a metal woman at the bottom of a pit.  Terrified, Blondie was trying to weave his magic but it turns out that’s pretty hard when someone is on top of you slamming a metal fist into your mouth.  I stopped punching when he stopped moving.  Listening carefully I didn’t hear the sounds of anything much going on up above.  After a moment I saw Martialla’s head poke over the edge.

“Are you done fooling around down there?  I’ve won the battle up here so it’s safe to come up now.”

“Help me with this hook.”

“If I had a gold coin for every time I heard that.”

“What?”

“It’s a joke.”

“Are you sure?”

Martialla affixed the grappling hook to something but even so I had a pretty difficult time trying to get up.  I mean have you ever tried to climb a free standing rope against a wall?  It’s fucking hard.  You try climbing out of a twenty five foot pit and then come talk to me.  In the end I had to swallow my pride and ask Martialla to get me out.

“How am I supposed to do that?”

“Can’t you magic me out?”

“You’re too heavy for that.”

“Excuse me?!”

“Have you ever seen me ‘magic’ anything bigger than an apple?”

“Fine, wake up Aubesh and then you guys can haul me out of here with the rope.”

“Ugh, that sounds like a pain.  How about this, I can climb down there and . . .”

At that moment the pit disappeared and suddenly I, along with the two zombie bodies and Blondie, were standing on the street with Martialla.  The magic must have worn off.  It was so abrupt that I almost lost my balance and fell over for no real reason.  About that same time Aubesh was coming around from her slumber.

“ . . . or not.”

Aubesh groggily looked around “What happened?”

“Things took a bit of a turn.  The good news is that you get to learn how to dispose of a body.”

Martialla was knelt down to examine Blondie “Good Gods Ela, did you have to cave his whole face in?  What did you hit him with, an anvil?”

Aubesh looked over and then whipped her head back the other way to start vomiting noisily.  That’s probably just the after effects of the magic though.  Turns out there is one good thing about Preen, it’s really easy to take care of bodies on account of all the channels and waterways.  We hucked them into the mud and they started to disappear instantly.  Not to mention some kind of slimy eel-snake-fish things came swim-crawling out of the muck to start nibbling on them before they were even submerged.

“Remind me not to fall in these canals.”

Aubesh was pretty shaken “What do we do now?”

“Let’s go back inside, a triple shot of rum with some lime juice should calm your nerves.”

“You just killed three people!”

“Yeah, so?”

We went back into the Red Hearts and found our way to a table where a few of the Red Heart Specials – raspberry and cherry rum punch – failed to do much for the shell shocked Aubesh but they were doing me a world of good.  When I was on my sixth one Martialla had to be her usual wet blanket self.

“Gods almighty Ela, slow down, are you trying to get completely wasted?”

“I think I sprained my ankle when I fell in that damn hole.”

“Maybe you should pour the rum directly on your foot then.”

“Maybe I will.”

Aubesh was shaking her head slowly “It doesn’t seem real.  We were just here talking to that man . . . and now he’s gone?  He’s just gone  . . . ?  I don’t . . . it doesn’t . . . . how can you do that?”

I shrugged “It was self-defense.  They attacked us.  What do you think would have happened to you if we didn’t do anything?  Do you think you would have woken up anyplace nice?”

She looked at me intensely, her eyes shining “How can you say it was self-defense when you were talking about kidnapping and killing him?”

“The only reason we were going to do that is because his master is holding a woman against her will.  You think they were blameless in that?  They’re surely helping him and if not at the least they knew about it and did nothing.”

“So what are you saying?  That they deserved to die?”

“I’m saying grow up.”

Aubesh looked utterly disgusted “How can you say that?  How can you live with yourself?”

“I just take it one day at a time.  The matter before us now is what should our next move be.  The problem is we don’t know if Tarver contacted Dulphistos, otherwise maybe we could pretend that they were still alive and that we wanted to work out some kind of trade.”

Martialla pursed her lips “Maybe we could pass ourselves off as a third party of some kind that knows what happened to them.  What was that lady group you dealt with here last time?”

“The Gallows Girls.”

“Right, maybe we pass ourselves off as them and say we know what happened to Tarver and Dross and work it from that angle.”

“Maybe, but we’ll have to make sure they’re even still around – I don’t like the chances of an all-female gang surviving the kind of underworld war that apparently happened when Razmiran skipped town.”

Aubesh’s voice was flat and dull “What about Generous?”

“What about him?  You think we can involve him in this?”

She shook her head sharply “No, I’m supposed to go see him soon, what are you going to do about him?”

I finished the last of my drink and called for another “We’ll worry about that later.  Tonight didn’t go exactly as planned.”

She shook her head more slowly “I can’t not show up, you said that you’d deal with him, that’s the only reason I came.”

“Well you’ll just have to meet with him tonight, later we can . . .”

She clutched at the table like she was afraid of falling “No!  No, I can’t see him!  I can’t face him now.  He’ll know.”

I frowned “Know what?”

She took a big swallow from her drink “I can’t . . . I can’t . . . . I can’t.”

Martialla reached across the table to take her trembling hand and looked me in the eye“You did say that she wouldn’t have to see him again.”

“Fine, so don’t go, stay with us tonight.  He won’t . . .”

Her voice had turned wretched “No, he’ll be looking for me.  If I don’t show up . . . . you don’t know what he does to people.”

“Look, there’s no way that . . .”

“You promised me.  You have to kill him tonight.”

“Oh sure, ten seconds ago you were whining about it and now you want me to kill someone?  Those are some flexible morals you have there girly.”

Martialla frowned “Come on Ela, lay off her.”

Aubesh looked me in the eye fiercely “What does it matter after what you’ve already done?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

She looked slightly afraid of her own words “You’re a killer.  What do you have to lose by killing?”

I snorted and picked up my new drink as it arrived “That’s not what I am, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Martialla took Aubesh to a room at a nearby inn across the bridge and somehow I found myself taking on Aubesh’s appearance and walking into Gentlemen Jack’s.  There was an open kitchen in which a little older fellow was bustling around, and in the front sitting at a table was the man himself.  Generous as I now know he’s called was wearing the same lubricious get-up although it appeared to be newly made – which means that he got that same horrible outfit tailored again in finer detail.  He was paler than I remembered but somehow looked healthier in a way I can’t quite define.  Leaning on the chair next to him was a swagger stick with a serpent’s head on the end, I’m not sure why but I knew that it must be magical.  The two promised goons lounged by the door, forcing you to walk between them to hand over your money to Generous – they too looked like a cut above the gutter scum that he had at his beck and call previously.  Sitting at the next table over with several small sacks of coins was a short wavy-haired man with spectacles and a ledger on the table in front of him.  When I walked in a giant shark-grin split Generous’s face and he held his arms out wide.

“Lily, my favorite, I was starting to wonder if you weren’t going to show up” he gestured with his stick at one of the goons “Beetle here said that he thought you had run off.  You wouldn’t do that do me would you Lily?”

I sat across from him demurely “Of course not, what would I do without you?  You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”

His grin turned even more predatory “You wouldn’t last long without my protection and that’s a fact.  Now what do you have for me tonight sweetheart?”

I reached into my pockets and started dumping out handfuls of gold coins into the table, dozens upon dozens of them clattering onto the table, some of them spinning and others rolling onto the floor.  Generous’s smile disappeared, replaced by a combination of unbridled greed and a fair amount of trepidation.

He rubbed his stick nervously “Where did you get all this?”

“It wasn’t easy, well it was in a way but it wasn’t you know?  What I did is I decided that I would have a sale – I told everyone that today only my price was just a silver.  I had ‘em lined up around the block to have a go at me.  I must have fucked more than a thousand men today.  It was a heck of a promotion if I do say so myself.”

He slid his chair away from the table “Who are you?”

I laughed and returned to my normal speaking voice “Isn’t this what you want?  It looks like you’ve really moved up in the world since the last time I saw you, no more hustling at bridges for you eh?  Generous they call you?  That’s cute.”

He regained a bit of his composure “Things always work out for me, I know which horse to back.  Why are you here?”

I sighed and looked around the room “Oh, when I came to town I thought about looking you up, I have to admit I’m a bit sore about our last meeting.  I decided against it, no reason to go looking for trouble right?” I gestured broadly “But here I am.  I guess I just can’t help myself.”

“You’ll have plenty of trouble if you mess with me.  What happened to Lily?”

“I decided to help you out.  I could tell that she was a thorn in your side.”

“She would have come around eventually.  They always do.”

“Maybe, but an important man such as yourself?  You don’t have time for that kind of headache.  So I took care of her for you.” I gestured at the money I had spilled out “Consider this repayment for the loss of her services.”

“You presume quite a lot.” He gazed at me for a moment “You’re different.  I remember you.  But you’ve changed.”

“Oh well, you know what they say, change is a part of life.  It’s the one constant in the human experience.  Or something.” I stood up and nipped the edge of one of the fallen coins with the tip of my boot – flipping it into the air and catching it to place it on the table “I’m going to be in town for a couple of days.  It would be best if we didn’t bump into each other wouldn’t you agree?”

His words were emphatic but hollow “This is my town, I go where I want.”

“Of course you do dear, of course you do.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 28,040 platinum, 53,663 gold

XP: 805,311

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Amulet of Dreams, Ela’s Traveling Outfit, 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), Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet

Noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, disguise kit, covenant ring , tiny diamonds (26), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three) 

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