Montalan 26 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

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

“Lovely place isn’t it?”

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

“Capital idea old chum.”

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

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

“You look relaxed.”

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

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

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

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

“Oh right, that.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What about what Jasmi told us?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“After we robbed him.”

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

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

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

“Proper fucked?”

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

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

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

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

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 23,045 platinum, 52,043 gold

XP: 789,511

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

Noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, disguise kit, covenant ring , tiny diamonds (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, lots of luxury goods, Turnbill blade of first forging (one of three) 

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