Curse of the Crimson Throne

Thrill of the Hunt Part 3
Learning the Way of the Bow 2

Returning from a particularly tough night of being on guard duty for the city watch after several factions were rioting against one another for who will be the next to take the throne. Having broke up at least a half dozen fights, and chasing Miles O’Sullivan’s escaped pig from his pen he was beat. Dawn was right around the corner by a few hours and he knew he could get just a few moments of rest before then. No sooner than he returned home and his head hit the pillow there was a knock at his door.

Though it was not warm, it was not cold as well. The bright sun shone brightly that morning as it started to peek its yellowish and orange glow over the treetops. A familiar call from outside his door awoke him.

“Thorn?”

“Thorn, are you awake?”

Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, answering slowly, “Yes,” he says says sitting up, grasping blindly for his tunic slipping it on, “Come in.”

Steven from the few days prior came in looking around the humble shack, Thorn called home. Its furnishings very sparse; a bed, a small table, two chairs, a wash basin, with a sponge, and a fireplace. Not much, but it is home, and comfortable accommodations.

“Good morning, Steven,” Thorn says standing up stretching.

“Hi, Mister Thorn,” the lad responds enthusiastically.

“What brings you here,” pausing as a scream is heard from inside the temple from one of the priestesses. “Hold that thought,” snapping awake, grabbing for his bow.

As quickly as he got his bow he was out the door, only to witness two of the priestesses run out from the temple wielding brooms in their hands chasing after a pig. Miles O’Sullivan’s prized hog had escaped again. Amused, he watches them chase the animal around the yard.

Steven joins Thorn by his side, laughing.

Thorn soon joins in with the laughing, but taking a moment he walks forward and claps at the sisters and holds his hand up, “I got this from here ladies.”

Approaching the pig he stares it down like he did previously, and with a loud squeal he starts making a hog call, summoning the pig to his side, handling the animal.

Steven cheers Thorn on watching his impressive skills.

Thorn turns to look at Steven’s cheer distracting him, but the pig also became startled and charges Thorn, knocking him down to the ground.

Covering his eyes with his hands, Steven peeks between his fingers, trying to stifle a chuckle.

A loud high pitched call bursts through the air, another hog call as Miles O’Sullivan calls the pig to him.

Thorn, trying to regain his pride, stands up and nods to Mr. O’Sullivan, “You’ve got to keep a better watch on your pig, or someone will have a mighty feast of ham, bacon, and pickled pigs feet.”

Turning to look at Steven, as the priestesses go over to Miles he walks over to the boy, “Well, now that I am awake, how has your training been going, still practicing your stance?”

With a nod, Steven goes into a stance, showing off his skill.

“Wonderful! You have been practicing,” clapping at Steven’s ability. “We’ll need to work a bit more on this, but great progress. The stance may change due to the bow you will wield.”

Handing over his bow to Steven, “First, we must find a bow that feels good in your hand. We will practice using mine for now. I recommend a bow that has a thin grip. The thinner the grip, the less torque you can put on the bow. Less torque equals more accuracy. Accuracy is your best friend. Now, hold the bow for me, show me what you understand.”

Fidgety, Steven holds the bow awkwardly out in front of him, but in his head he thinks he is a grand archer, one of the best.

“Not bad,” Thorn observes the boy, “But, Ideally, you want the grip to sit firmly against the line on your hand that starts above the thumb and runs through the palm area,” assisting the boy, helping him with the grip.

Steven looks at Thorn, “Like this?”

Nodding, “Yes, very much like that. Once you achieve full draw, the bow should feel like it’s pushing into the palm. We will need to work on drawing the bow string back. This can take great strength, agility, and endurance.”

Lowering the bow, “Can I be a hunter like you someday, Thorn?”

“You can, and will Steven.”

Steven smiles.

Thorn rubs his chin, “We need to find a bow that suits you. I say we go into the city and we’ll find one for you. My treat.”

His eyes growing wide, Steven runs to go and hug Thorn, tightly.

Thorn, not really surprised, but taken back by the affection. He remembers Steven being brought to the orphanage a few months ago after his parents were mysteriously were killed and was rescued from the streets as a thief for the now dead Lamm.

“Let’s go,” he says ushering Steven out to the city looking at the boy, who marches out a few paces in front of him. “Not to far ahead, the city… is dangerous,” feeling kind of strange like an older brother, or a guardian to the child, he wonders is this how his master felt?

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Conversations in the Dank

“Their suffering will be my first odes, and they will not end until I feel satisfied that even dead, resting wherever you are resting, you can hear the pain of the idiot that thought your death would go unavenged.”
― The Angel Ragathiel, from The Trials of Ragathiel 20:2

The sewage pipe was rank and small. The brick tube was slick with waste, filth, and heaven knows what else, punctuated by an earthy, putrid stink that seemed to hover around him, and Aerich was there, keeping an eye out.

For what, remained to be seen. Thus far, spiders had been announced, and the able swordsmen and culinary artists had descended to deal with them. What had helped put his mind at ease was the absence of his wife.

Or the projection of his wife, or whatever it was.

“Gone at last,” he sighed, shaking his head room slight. The truth of the matter was, he felt better being away from the church and out in the city. His darkvision allowed his eyes to pierce the darkness much further than anyone else, yet the confines hampered him at the most basic levels. Aside from Kess, he knew he was utterly alone in the upper portion of the sewer.

How he wished he could stand and stretch. “For a minute there, I thought I was really cracking up,” he muttered quietly to himself.

“Maybe you are,” Aiori said, appearing out of nowhere, watching Aerich smack his head against the ceiling of the pipe, his cloak whirling through her as he turned. Glancing at his head with a wince, she looked back at Aerich with a bemused smile.

“You are a figment of my imagination,” he said at last, his voice a whisper, “you aren’t real.” He rubbed at his head, hard, trying to work her away.

“Of course I’m not real,” Aiori said, walking closer to him, the running waste not bothered a bit. “I’m not a figment of your imagination, either. I suppose you could call me a manifestation of your subconscious.”

Aerich’s eyebrows furrowed. “If you are my subconscious, why did I choose my wife to be its physical manifestation.”

“I’m not here, Aerich,” she reminded him, “so I’m not truly a physical manifestation. What I am is what you are thinking, without filter, so, in that sense, I am very real. As to why I am who I am, perhaps you need to think about that a bit – I only know as much as you let me.”

“So I’m having a psychotic episode,” Aerich sighed, rubbing at his head.

“That’s possible,” Aiori shrugged, leaning against the pipe, crouching close to him “but you have your doubts, maybe that’s why you told yourself that I’m your imagination: that explanation would be the culmination of your anxiety, fears and fatigue talking. What if it was the more simple explanation that I’m just a hallucination that your rational mind has made up to address the strain you have placed yourself in.”

“I’m too busy to have hallucinations,” Aerich replied, trying to make it sound confident as he ignored her headed back to the main drain.

“It doesn’t really work like that,” she replied, appearing in front of him, backing down the pipe with him. “You can’t walk away from me because I am you.”

“Then stay out of my way,” Aerich snapped as they squeezed into the main drain shaft.

“Cleric,” Kess asked, glancing down, then looking around quickly. “I didn’t realize that I was in your way.”

“Sorry,” Aerich said, feeling his cheeks flush slightly, ignoring Number One’s laugh, “I wasn’t talking to you. Carry on.” As he poked back into the pipe, Aerich turned quickly, glaring as Aiori stifled a giggle. “Is there something funny?”

“There are about ten things funny about this,” she chuckled, “starting with how you are talking aloud to a hallucination in the middle of a sewer drain under the streets of Korvosa.”

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Hookshanks

Several days ago:

Hookshanks Gruller whimpered in pain. His severed ear and the stump where his forefinger had been burning in pain. He had been here for hours, shivering in reaction to the pain and then the cold night air.

“ He looked like an angel. Angels are supposed to be good guys.” At least that is what he remembered his mom telling him when he was young. “Not crazy, torturing lunatics!” he whimpered again in pain and fell to the ground has arms still cruelly bound to the heavy railing. His elbows and shoulders twisted in pain but he could no longer stand upright. The dizziness and uncontrollable shivering wracked his body as he tried to find a comfortable spot.

More time passed in agony until he noticed that it was no longer dark outside. “Maybe someone will find me and let me free, or kill me and release this torment.” The thought gave him hope and he called out with all his strength. “Help me! The shout sounded loud in the warehouse but with the doors mostly closed he knew from experience that shouts and screams did not carry far beyond her walls and the locals pretty much minded their own business. “I have a hundred royals to anyone that comes in and helps me!”

Greed. always appeal to their greed.

The day slowly past. The pain in his hand and head hurt, the cramping in his shoulders and legs was agonizing, the thirst was worse. His throat quickly dried out from his shouts, pleas, and promises until he could just not do it anymore. He whimpered and weep and prayed for a bit of water to moisten his lips.
The day slowly crept along.

Then he heard it start raining and he screamed in torment. The roof leaked and he saw a drop fall and splat in the dust about a foot from him, the moisture slowly disappear into the earth. He then felt a drop strike his back and he twisted and squirmed his body around to try and reach the spot with his mouth. Pulling with al his might against the ropes that bound him he tilled his head back and watched the next drop slowly form on the ceiling and then plung toward him bending his body backas far as possible he felt it strike his forehead and run off.

Shrieking he snapped his head forward and smacked it into the heavy railing, he remembered no more for a long time.

Some time later he stired his vision was doubled and he was sick at stomach and tried to throw up and a bit of bile is all that came up.

“Ahh your awake.” Hookshanks looked around and then tried to crawl into the railing away from what he saw. She/it was not very pleasant to look upon nor smell. A pretty laugh came out of the thing in front of him and it leaned closer and gaped/leered/smiled at him. “Is that anyway to treat your possible benefactor, hmmm?” It/she then lifted up a decanter into his sight and slowly swirled the clear liquid around so he could see it dance in the light. Beads of condensation formed on the outside of the decanter and he knew it would be cold, and clean and crisp just like the water from the spring back home. He could not take his eyes off of it as it swirled about in the decanter.

“All you have to do is swear yourself to me body and soul and it is yours, and much more. You will even have the chance to take your revenge on the one who put you here. Such a naughty little angel.” The coquettish laugh coming from the thing was so vile and disturbing that Hookshanks gagged on bile as he tried to throw-up again. Then he swallowed and smiled back at the what-ever-it-was and croaked his oath. The thing looked at him and then looked up into the rafters of the building. “What do you think my pet? Does he truly wish to serve me and our mistress?”

With a hiss a ‘sick’ pseudodragon flew down and landed next to his hands on the heavy rail and looked at him closely with milky white eyes, then turned to it’s mistress and seemed to shake itself all over and then started licking up the dried blood on his hand and ropes. “Ahhh, oh well I am sorry to hear that.” Then lifting up the appendage with the decanter in it she turned it over and let it start pouring out on the ground. At the same time Hookshanks saw hundreds of beady eyes start to close in from the shadows of the old warehouse as rats seemed to come boiling out of its very walls.

He croaked out a scream, gibbered and this time swore the oath for real and the Daughter or Urgathoa took his torment and fear and anger and turned it into something less pleasant.

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Thrill of the Hunt Part 2
Learning the Way of the Bow

Thorn, at his humble accommodations at the temple was outside in the early morning, bow in hand, his quiver of arrows on the ground near him.

His muscles clenched tight against the cold. The cold was like the tiny feet of imps, marching their way up and down your arm. The cold was like minuscule teeth, nibbling on his shirtless extremities. Breathing in and exhaling his breath visible on the air of this particularly cold morning. That was no bother to him.

“Thorn?” A voice called from behind him. A sandy blonde haired boy, about the age of thirteen from the orphanage came up to him, wrapped in a blanket. " Whatcha dooin’?"

Thorn, holding up his hand to silence the lad as he was in deep thought. What he was doing was attuning himself to the wild, drowning out everything around him, focusing, honing his skills. Taking a moment more he makes one final deep breath and exhales.

Turning to face the boy he smiles, “I was focusing myself to listen to nature. Hard to do in a city, but with much practice you can hear the call of the wild. When I am out hunting I need to focus my survival skills, and perception for tracking and spotting the target.”

The boy nods, eyes wide, taking in what Thorn was saying, “Ohhh,” he says in awe of the hunter’s wisdom.

Approaching the boy, “Steven, right?”

The boy nods, fidgeting in place, “Yes, sir.”

“Would you like to practice with me, Steven? I was going to shoot my bow a few times.”

Excitedly Steven shouts, “Yes!”

Another smile crosses his face, “Wonderful. There are a few things you must learn when learning to shoot a bow.”

“Stance.”

“Grip.”

“Anchor.”

“Breathing.”

“Confidence.”

“Release.”

“And, Follow-through.”

“You think you are up for the challenge? This is how my teacher taught me, patience and one step at a time,” he pats the boy on his head.

Steven nods in anticipation, “Mmhmm!”

“Our first lesson is your stance, follow my movements, but do whatever is comfortable. Everyone will develop a stance that promotes a solid shooting platform. Get your feet too far apart and you will be unbalanced forward or backward. Place your feet too close together and you will feel very unstable left or right. Try shooting with your feet shoulder width apart or just past shoulder width apart.”

Thorn kneels down, and the boy follows, “I recommend practicing by putting your feet close together, kneeling down and letting your butt rest on your heels. This creates a very solid platform. Especially for beginners.”

Together the two practice all morning long. As the sun rises into the midmorning glory, the chill starting to dissipate as it starts to warm up.

Looking over at the front of the church, spotting some of his companions have gathered looking for him. “Steven, I need to go. The city needs me, see them people over there? That is my new group of traveling companions and friends. Keep practicing, building stamina for your stance. Next we will focus on the grip. This is the big one. If you plan to drive arrows into the target at extended distances, we must take the time to develop a proper grip.”

Steven rises up and smiles at Thorn. “Thanks sir. Say hi to your friends for me,” he says while running inside the church.

Grabbing his things he heads off to meet his friends.

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A long few days

On the night of the 4 th Perdi dragged herself back into the falcon’s roost‘s kitchen. Devin was on duty cleaning the last of the pots and tankards of the night, and doing a general sweep up of the tavern. “Dare I ask what happened?”

“God forsaken imps.” Perdi grumbled. She began shedding weapons and armor. “By the way, if anyone shows at our back door with an imp ear, let me know. That includes if I am asleep.”

“Imp ear?” He leaned on his broom. “Why…”

Perdi picked up her discarded equipment and headed toward her bunk in the next room. “Bosses orders, and trust me it would take me too long to explain.”

Devin rolled his eyes and went back to sweeping but before long Perdi stuck her head back into the kitchen. “Oh if the supply run happens before I wake up, order an extra 5 pounds of coffee. I have a feeling it will be required.” She then disappeared back into her room.

Davin chuckled then went back to his sweeping. He did not envy the one who was going to have to wake her in the morning.

Perdi was enjoying a wonderful dream of her swimming in piles of gold coins and jewels when she was awoken to the sounds of “no, you wake her up!”

“Neither of you have to wake me up because you have already woke me up. Now WHY did you want to wake me up in the first place?” Perdi snarled as she made her way out of her room.

Wisely one of them handed Perdi a mug of coffee, then spoke, “You said to wake you if anyone came to the door with an imp ear.”

“Yes, and?”

“There is a …lizard creature at our back door with one. He keeps saying in my head ‘He promised dinner.”

“Yeah yeah I know what this is about. Go make up a plate of fish, fried eggs, and some of the hard cheeses, half ling size portion.”

“You are serious.” Devin’s jaw dropped.

Perdi glared at them. “I suggest you do it, unless you want to explain to the boss why you are not upholding his agreements. These psudodragons are as much our guests as the guests in our dinning room. Treat them well, and they will treat us well.”

“A plate of fried fish, fried eggs, and cheese coming up.” Adelade started to cook the food.
“I’ll go talk to our client.” She made her way to where the psudodragon was waiting. “Sorry for the delay. You food is on it’s way.”

It said something in dragonish to Perdi. “ Your welcome, I think. ”The psudodragon responded with an affirmative.

“I will stand by my bosses agreement. The FIRST psudodragon to bring us an imp ear each morning will get a free meal. I’ll also make a deal with you. I’m always interested in information. Anytime you bring me any useful information, I’ll give you some food. The better the information, the better the food. Deal?”

Before she got an answer Adelade was bringing out the plate of food.

“That is my offer good sir. ” Perdi nodded to the psudo dragon and went back to her work. There was a lot to be done before they headed out into the camps. Hopefully they would get the information they needed.


Later that afternoon Perdi was cursing in every language she knew and a few choice words she had picked up along the way. She wasn’t quite sure what went wrong but one minute they were chatting up some shanti the next things were being thrown at them including steaming piles of pooh! All of them were covered in it. I don’t care what we have to do but next time we are taking Kess and our cleric with us, regardless.

It was extra to get hot water in her bath but it was worth it. It was not fun washing all of the filth out of well, everything. Perdi wondered if she had any skin left all the scrubbing she had done. The one good thing she could say about the day was that when she returned to the Falcon’s roost Adelade and Devin had kept the place in one piece well enough for dinner service to start with out any serious problems. Business was even good that night, granted most of it were people discussing the queen vs the brother as the next ruler. No fights broke out, and business was good that is what mattered.


“Where is Devin with the supplies?” Perdi grumped as she stirred the rabbit stew.

“He wouldn’t have made off with them, would he?” Adelade asked as she took the fritters out of the oven.

“No unless he wants me to turn his guts into garters.” Perdi said flatly. Adelade wasn’t sure if she was joking or not.

A moment later there was the sound of Devin shouting for help to get the supplies in the building. “Sorry it took so long. The streets were busy, and it was hard to get the wheat and barley.”

Perdi surveyed the sacks he brought in. “What is the deal Devin? I said 50 pounds of wheat flour and barley. There is only 25 here, and you paid twice the amount.”

“Sorry Perdi, but that is the best I could do. I was lucky to get that much. It is like the grain supply as been stopped dead over night.”

“Oh….” Perdi pinched the bridge of her nose, “The grainery. This is going to be a problem. ”

“What about the grainery?” Adelade looked at her confused. “something happen to it?”

“Devin keep an eye out on the grain prices, and quantity. We don’t want to be caught un prepared.” Perdi starting putting the supplies away, “Adelade two nights ago someone set fire to one of the city graineries. It’s my guess 6 months worth of grain and flour went up in smoke. We managed to save the people that lived near by but the grainery was a total loss. Bread and poriages will be 2 silvers more than normal, if people ask why tell them supply and demand.” Perdi sighed, “Come on we have work to do if we want to make any profit today.”

The day was pretty uneventful other than the special ‘visit’. Two of the ‘The Guild’ came to the bar to give the boss a shake down, but thankfully it went better than planned. Normally it would have cost 100 gps in ‘protection’ but since the bar is open to business transactions and since I do good business for the guild they lowered the price to 10 gps. The boss cut a deal with them for 20 gps and they would pass along information to him that would be helpful to us. The guild’s books show the boss is paid up and we have an informant. Win win for everyone. All in all business was good.

The next morning the streets were busy with the funeral of the fallen king. It was a national day of morning. The bar did well with toasts to the king, and for discussion on who would be the next ruler.

Perdi had sent Devin out to pick up a load of fresh bread when he brought back some odd news. Not far from the tavern they found the body of a Guildman’s man with his tongue cut out. Someone did not want this particular man speaking their secrets, even in death. Devin wasn’t sure if it was one of the men who had been in the bar the night before, but it makes one wonder. That wasn’t the only news that came through the tavern. All the morners not only drank a lot but they also talked a lot. The long shore men at the docks were not unloading ships. There were ships full of goods ready to be unloaded but they just weren’t. The flow of goods in and out of the city was pretty much at a stand still. This raised Perdi’s concerns even more.

That evening after all the commotion of the day had calmed down our friendly cleric and I went about examining, and selling some of our recent ‘acquired’ goods. There was one item, a succubus broach, that we could not identify but we did hear a rumor that it might be a stolen broach of the queen. Kess had a connection with a hand maiden of the Queen. It might be more valuable to us if we return than to just sell it. While the boss, Kess and our cleric meet with the queen, I sold the goods we had left.

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Did you ever see a dream walking?

“Nothing is more wretched than the mind of a man conscious of guilt.”
- The Trials of Ragathiel, 10:9

Aerich sat bone still. This, in and of itself, was not unusual. He often prayed in silence and complete focus. Even here, with only the sounds of the labored breathing of Kess, the Temple of Sarenrae was quiet. This was also not unusual, as even the servants of the dawnflower need sleep, and Kess was his patient.

The judgement of Lamm allowed him to let down his guard somewhat. He knowingly kept an unflappable demeanor, appearing even keeled to the point of distance, yet always ready to take the next challenge. As a servant of Ragathiel, such a demeanor was to be expected. Soldiers marching to war needed someone to be the calm in the storm.

With Lamms death, however, he could feel things take a turn. His wife, Aiori, was avenged. Lamm and his men had ultimately been responsible for her death while botching the kidnapping. In a city like Korvosa, where the distance between the “haves” and “have nots” was so far, kidnappings happened far too often for the wealthier populace to ignore. And even with Aiori able to serve in the choir of angels, it revealed that her kidnapping and death was planned and executed by someone else.

So, the hunt would continue. But that didn’t stop him of thinking about her. Of late, it was more than mere memory that he was seeing. It was actually her. Always just walking around the corner or disappearing into a crowd, she would be there and then gone.

As he prayed, he could hear her, Aiori, standing in the room. He tried to focus on his prayers, his head resting against the pommel of his blade.

“Ignoring me won’t help,” Aiori said quietly.

“I’ve decided that you are a dream,” Aerich replied quietly, his eyes closed, “a figment of my mind, reinforcing the guilt and shame.”

“Really?” Aiori replied, genuinely surprised. She was dressed in the gowns of her calling, another cleric in the service of Sarenrae, which flashed gold and bronze as she stepped out into the candle light. “So, I’m a figment of your imagination?”

“Yes,” he said, dejectedly, “I saw your corpse. I helped consecrate the ground and your body. I anointed your head with oil and was the last to see you before I closed the tomb myself.”

Aiori seemed to consider that as she walked behind him, slowly. “Have you considered the possibility that I exist in your head, but without being a dream? Maybe, because of our holy bond, that the Heavens allow me to visit you right into your brain?”

Aerich stopped and looked up, catching his wife approach in the reflection of his altar. “No, that would be me again. My subconscious self expressing irrational hope. There is a time and place for such things, Love, but this isn’t it.”

She ignored the platitude and regarded Kess. “What are you doing here?”

“If you’re in my head,” he said, “you already know.”

Aiori turned, cross. “Indulge me.”

“We were attacked by Imps,” Aerich replied matter-of-factly, “and she was stung several times. She is a harrower, and if one believes such things, her skill aided in the death of the man who abducted and had you killed. I owe her.”

She smiled a soft, knowing smile. “That’s what I always loved about you. Your focus and attention to duty.”

“Guilt is what people feel when they run out of excuses for their behavior,” Aerich replied.

“I hope you make it out of this mess, now, Aerich,” Aiori said as Aerich turned back to his altar. “I think we could have a real future together.”

“Together?” He asked, turning around, and she was gone. “We were together…”

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Thrill of the Hunt

“You have to hunt to understand the hunt.”

Week after week of hunting and honing his skills. He waited, watched, stalked his prey. He watched from the shadows, the treetops, under camouflage.

Learning, sharpening his expertise at traps and with his bow. A curious bow, a thorn bow. This bow was the only thing found with him when he was uncovered in the shambles of his ruined home after his village was ransacked and destroyed, all adults were slain, the children were taken, or left to die, babies left in their cribs crying and screaming. The bow the gift that was left there by his parents, and now his adoptive name, “Thorn”, his true name lost for he was just a baby back then. A story for another day, for today he is on the hunt. He is the master huntsman for the orphanage connected to the Temple of Sarenrae. This is where he grew up and learned his skills from Liopicat, his former master and took his place when he passed away.

Today, he is out for the hunt enjoying the rush. Under camouflage so well he was transparent to the unknowing eye. Twitching as he heard the sound of the leaves of the forest crunch a sound to him that resounded across the forest. The hunt was on.

The very air tensed with pressure, the feelings rushed inside him. Using his senses to their fullest, sniffing the air to get a sent, listening for any sound, feeling the ground for the slightest of tremor, and watching for any movement. Donned the more strategic and safer path of waiting camouflaged for his foe to walk past as he catches a glimpse of his prey, a deer. Thinking to himself that should fetch a good gold piece or two selling to Perdita an unusual cook he has befriended previously, and brought together by unusual circumstances recently with several other people from the town.

Drawing his bow from behind the tree stepping softly he takes aim shooting, and with terrible luck on his side critically missing, alerting the deer, who darts off. Cursing his bad fortune he brushes it aside and using his survival instincts he springs into action tracking his target. A smile crossed his face as he enjoyed the thrill and exhilaration of the hunt.

Traversing the forest he has been in so many times knowing the area well he quickly found his prey, but stopped his bow in hand, arrow already drawn when he came witness to the deer and her fawn. He lowered his bow as she looked at him eyes wide. Slowly he put his bow away and smiled. “I’m sorry.”, he said kneeling outreaching his hands, nonthreatening. The deer cocked her head and backed away with her fawn and snorted at him. Slowly the deer came to him cautiously and her fawn followed.

“Hello, momma.” ,he spoke softly to her reaching out to her petting her head gently. She pulled back, but came back again and snorted allowing him to pet her. After a few moments he also pet the small fawn as well. What seemed like hours was just a few moments and soon they darted off into the forest where he watched them prance out of sight.

Raising up happy with the experience he walked back towards the city, Korvosa checking his rabbit traps along the way for something to bring back for his time out in the wild for some coins in his pocket his hunt was over, but it was such a rewarding experience which is worth more than any coin in his pocket.

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A nights work

With everything going on Perdi had to hire a massager to deliver a short message to Carista. She asked her to stop by for lunch and if she could give some recommendations for helpers in the kitchen. One thing Perdi knew about Carista is that she won’t blow smoke up your skirt over things. She will help you if it serves her purposes, and most of the time Perdi’s purposes align with hers.

At the appointed time she arrived, and Perdi took a bowl of her Barely and Mushroom soup and some Beef Marrow fritters out to her. With a mug of ale in my hand she joined her at her table.

“Now why do you want help in this place? It seems like it is doing well.” Carista asked soon as Perdi sat down. Carista was never one for hanging out in “shady” places. Honestly Perdi thought it was because Carista hated getting her silk clothing dirty, but either way Carista didn’t waste time getting to business.

“It is but ‘the trade’ is often taking me away from some of my duties.”

She nodded her understanding, “And you need someone to cover some of the kitchen duties while you are out and about?”

“Yes, and as I have finally seen the death of Gaedren Lamm, and I know with his death there will be a resurgence of ‘lost ones’ on the streets I thought could kill two birds with one stone.” Perdi saluted her with my tankard.

“How so?” She raised an eyebrow at Perdi.

“Simple as this, The Falcon’s rest is neutral territory for the guild. If you want troubles take it outside but that is not to say that sometimes people try to take advantage of that.”

“As you found out the hard way,” Carista smirked.

Perdi made a face at her, “That said, it wouldn’t hurt to have someone skilled around the place to keep an eye on things. They could make contacts, and begin training. On my side I get good workers whose needs match my own, and my employers.”

“Sounds reasonable,” Carista reached into a pouch and pulled out a slip of paper. “I don’t particular care for the manual labor that you do but I have to say the benefit of a well prepared meal is always welcomed. From your note I have located two possible candidates. You can choose one, or both I don’t care but I think they would benefit all our causes. “

One the slip were two names Adalade Winesmith, and Devin Wirhall . “Who is this first one? “

Carista took a bite of the fritter and savored the flavor for a moment, “A good kid. She is 12 and is the lost daughter of Lady Irene Winesmith.”

“Why does that name sound familiar?” Perdi racked her brain.

“Lady Winesmith patron’s my church frequently. She is also a known information broker for the guild. Somewhat well to do in polite society.”

“If you don’t mind my asking, why is her daughter needing a job as a kitchen girl in a tavern? “
Cal waved her hand, “It was 10 years ago. The caravan that the Winesmiths were part of was attacked by raiders; their daughter was taken, and presumed killed. Both of her parents assume shis is dead and I intend to keep it that way until I feel it is necessary.” Carista glared at Perdi, who rolled her eyes and waved her hand in a ‘whatever’ gesture.

Carista continued, “Her parents have moved on somewhat, they have a son named Justin, and thanks to a drunken tryst by Lord Johnathan, Adalade has a half-brother sibling.”
“Hence why her mother patron’s your church.”

“Let’s just say her talent in gathering information for the guild is well earned. It is my hope that her daughter will follow in her mother’s footsteps. She has her mother’s in beauty and intelligence. She would be a fine asset once trained.“

“Would she have a problem with hard work? While it isn’t working in a blacksmith, a busy kitchen is not always an easy job.”

“Up until recently she was a ladies maid of a minor noble man’s wife. The wife was known to be abusive to her servants and recently became with child. After a particularly nasty verbal abuse in front of many noble wives, she ‘accidently’ let slip that the best place to find her mistress’s husband was not the local ale house where the ‘put upon’ wife said he always was, but the Three Kings bath house. That statement started a scathing rumor campaign that question if the child she carried was by her husband or a secret lover.”
“Sweet vengeance, but not the most tactful way to do it. “ Perdi pinched the bridge of her nose. “This kid has a lot to learn.”

“Indeed, which is why I felt it would be best to get her employment where her skills could be put to good use and she could perfect other ones. Given the bridges she burned her options are limited. She gave away her employers secrets in a very public way, which makes her job prospects as ladies made nil. It is my fear that if she does not find a place soon she could end up working in a less than reputable house of ill repute, or starve on the streets. ” Cal smirked. “Working here she could begin training for the guild, and learn a good trade as well. Roof over her head, and food in her stomach she could do worse. “
“And the other?” Perdi again rolled her eyes and took a drink of her ale. The girl actually didn’t sound bad. She had done will as a ladies made, so she had been in a servants role, but she had much to learn. She didn’t want to pick too soon as the second candidate might be better.

“He is 14 years old and has a chip on his shoulder. His mother was one of my elven clerics, and his father is a well-known married solider in the city. He has a human half-brother who is older.”

“Does he know who his father is?”

“His mother told him, and even showed him. Our boy did try to make contact with his father; however the man’s wife found him first. She made it known that his human half-brother was the heir and if he ever showed up again near her family again he would be killed for being ‘an ungodly creature’. Vowing that he would prove to his father that he was worthy of if not his love, then at least his respect he left to find his way in the world. Given his size he was picked up as to be the muscle for a small street gang.”

“Why isn’t he still with them? Picked up by the guards? Step mommy dearest put a hit out on his head?”

“Nothing as juice as that, just someone else’s stupid greed getting in the way of an honest set of thieves making a living. He is real good at keeping the balance of when to push for more and when to back off, something that isn’t easy to do. He lives by his own set of rules which are similar to some of yours.”

“Such as?” Perdi smirked.

“Never go anywhere without a knife.” She smirked back.

“My kind of guy.” Perdi signaled for her to continue.

“A corrupt merchant moved into their territory, and through his actions he brought heat down onto the gang. When then merchant targeted one of his gang members, and had him unjustly arrested, our boy took it as a personal insult.”

“The unspoken rule. I like him even more.” Perdi laughed.

“He managed to sneak in and take the guys dirty books, and contact list. Our boy managed to covertly air this guy’s dirty laundry everywhere. His professional and private reputation is destroyed!”

“At least he did it covertly.”

“This is true, however just because the guy can’t prove it doesn’t mean he can’t target him.”
“And you want him here? Carista this is neutral territory!”

“What better place for him to learn an honest trade and maybe get in with a better group of adventures. He is 14. He has time to learn before he is tossed out into the woods. He just needs someone to guide him, and give him a kick in the pants when he needs it. Besides you need a good strong back to help around here.”

Perdi glared at her, “You want me to take both don’t you?”

“It would be in your best interest. Both fulfill needs you require in this place.” Carista grinned as she savored the cooling food before her.

“Would calling you a conniving, egotistical, manipulative witch hurt your feelings any?” Perdi glared but couldn’t keep the amused look out of her eye.

“Quite the opposite really.” She smirked. “But I take it you want me to send them here?”

Perdi pinched the bridge of her nose, “Have them here before sunset. I’ll have the girl work in the kitchen, and help serve patrons. The boy I’ve got some heavy lifting to do, and I’m sure the boss has some other general work for him. Pay won’t be great but it will give them a roof over their heads, a warm fire, and food.”

“More than either of them has right now.” Finishing the last of the food before her Carista rose to leave. “I will have them here by sunset.”

As planned the two young people arrived before sunset. Soon as they walked in Perdi called them to the kitchen. Perdi’s first impression of the two was that that Adelade seemed a bit frail but she seemed light on her feet and very knowledgeable. Devin was a stout young man with flaming red hair, and the elven ears. Judging by his build with a good bit of work he would do well for himself.

Drawing herself to full height Perdi addressed them. “I agreed to hire both of you on the same conditions I was hired. If you do your work you will continue to eat good food, and have a warm place to sleep. I can offer you 3 silver pieces a week, plus food and lodgings. My expectations are that you are responsible for this kitchen. If anything goes missing, I will look to you for blame. I will set you a list of chores to be done; they are to be done by the appointed time. If you cannot fulfill these duties you will be dismissed. Let me be clear. I do not care what has happened in your past, what I care about is what you are going to do now. I am offering you a chance to learn a trade and if you wish this is a place where you can start gaining contacts to further your trainings in the guild. Do your work and we won’t have any problems. Is that understood?”

“Yes Mame.” “Yes Chef.”

“Addy I’ve got a bushel of carrots I need peeled, the trimmings go in that bucket over there. Carrots will go in the bowl. They are for the roast. I will show you how to make peasants barley soup using the trimmings when you are done. You may put your things in the storage cupboard. “

She turned to Devin, “I’ve got a back log of pots, mugs, and utensils that need to be cleaned. Bar of soap is next to the wash basin. Put the pots by the cook stove, the utensils in the clay pots to the right of the stove. When you are done come see me as we may need you to fetch more ale from the cellar.”

“Any questions?” Perdi looked back and forth at them.

“One question Ma’dam. Where are we to sleep?”

Devin scoffed at Addelade, but Perdi quieted him with a glare. “The kitchen must work in shifts. I will take the early morning breakfast shift. Addy will serve breakfast and work lunch, and dinner. Devin you will work the noon to late night shift. This will not change unless something drastic comes up. I will have a set of bunks put up in the side room. Each of you will have a bed of your own, but until then there are blankets, and the hearth is warm. Whoever is on shift will be in charge of keeping the fire going. It will be your heads if goes out. “

“Sounds good to me, after sleeping in drafty old warehouses, and flops a clean, dry floor with a fire is downright heaven to me. “Devin tossed his little belonging into the cupboard, and went over to the basin to begin work.

“I am grateful madam, but after my last position it is very different.” Adelade sighed and put her things away.

“Be grateful for what you have and do what you can with what you have. You never know where it will take you.” Perdi handed Adelade a paring knife and set her to work on the carrots.

Yawning Perdi walked by the fire and using an oven mit took the coffee pot off the fire. After filling a large mug for herself, Perdi headed out into the main dining room. She said hello to a few frequent patrons, as she weaved her way over to Kess’s table. Without asking Perdi smiled as she filled a mug full of coffee for her. “I had a feeling you could use some. It’s been a long few nights.”

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The Falcon's Flight - First Floor
A map of the bar

Please forgive the crudity of the layout, but I was playing around in paint and created the first floor of The Falcon’s Flight.
The only part I didn’t think I had room to label were the pillars. They are pentagonal and unevenly spaced to interrupt the flow and collection of magical energies. (Again, I based this off Mac’s pub from Dresden. Where he had 13, I have 7).
Falcon_s_Flight.png

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The search begins

The party died down near 4 AM. I had to wind my way through a few drunken fellows as I made my way to the kitchen proper. I had gone to bed early that night as I knew the next morning would be a busy one. Just as the revelers had partied hard, they would awake and want more food. I can only assume that Carista did good business last night as well. Though we were unable to go to the Kings speech word reached our ears quickly. The kitchen staff and I talked as we cooked. To those of us in the trade it seemed obvious that something was seriously wrong with the king. It is my guess it has to do with that young queen of his, Ileosa. Why else would a young woman such as she is after an old man 3 times her age. Then again there was word that the king formally acknowledged his step brother. The obviously not completely human step brother. It doesn’t take a wild guess that there is something going on between the “horny” brother and drop dead gorgeous wife. As long as what they are doing does not impede my plans to deal with Gaedren Lamm and his cronies they can fool around to their hearts content. Though I wonder what shall happen when the very ill King passes, but from what everyone has said it won’t be long. With the acknowledgement his brother is next in line for the throne, which put the royal wife to third in line. It does make me wonder what she has done to prevent an heir being born. A son by the king would give her an even stronger claim to regency than the brother, it makes one wonder. For now I must begin breakfast for all.

I had just gotten out my best porridge pot when I found the note. “I know what Gaedren has done to you. He has wronged me as well.” That statement piqued my interest, and then the offer to help find him was very tempting. I had put the Harrow card into my apron pocket and went back to my work. If I wished to go I would need to have everything ready for the evening meal, and how was I to ask my boss to go to this thing? It was going to take time to work out. For now I had bellies to fill, and not a lot of time to do it. I had been in the process of bringing out the first pot of porridge to the customers when I heard Ithamore call me over. I knew he had dropped off the previous night’s take at the temple of abadar. Trust me I know when and how the money flows around this place. Just because I don’t partake of that temptation anymore because my needs are met doesn’t mean I don’t still keep track of things. He was talking with our fortune teller, Kess, about something. I don’t see her much, as I generally work the morning shift, and if I am here when she gets here I am doing prep work for the next day. That is not to say she isn’t a good person, she tips, and her customers pay well. More customers to the place, means money in the coffers, more money in the coffers means more pay for me. Not going to argue there.
Ithamore was asking me if I would mind running the tavern while he ran an errand at sundown. That was going to be a problem as I needed to be gone as well. When he showed me his harrow card, I knew something was going on. Why did Ithamore and Kess have a card as well? Ithamore didn’t trust the place to be open without either of us here, and right now our normal manager isn’t available. That is something we will have to look into; for now, the shop will close before sunset. We did amazingly well last night, so we can afford one slow night.

Before sun set Ithamore, Kess and I geared up and headed out to our mysterious benefactor’s home. We knew the address as a fortune telling shop of a woman named Zellara. Upon arriving we found several other’s there. There was Aerich Whitecloak, a cleric of Ragathiel; Boshi, a monk of the empty hand, and Thorn, a ranger who brings fresh game birds, deer, and rabbits for the tavern. Each had a similar card to what each of us carried. This already odd situation got even odder when there was a note left for us with food. She had been called away and would return shortly. With nothing better to do we chatted about what brought us to this place. All of us had been wronged by Lamm. Aerich’s wife was killed, Boshi’s brother was taken, Ithamore’s wife was also killed, and Kess was one of Lamm’s ‘Lost Lambs’. All of us had a grudge against Lamm. If she has information where to find the bastard I feared it would be a race to who got to kill him.

When our host, Zellara, arrived she explained that a year ago she lost her son to Lamm. Her Harrow deck and only source of income was stolen from her by one of Lamm’s urchin. Her son went to retrieve it, and was murdered for his efforts. She tried going to the Guard but they turned her away. Using her Harrow magic’s and a few bribes she had located Lamm at an old fishery at Westpier 17. A plan was devised for me and Thorn to scout the place out. To say the place had a stench was an understatement. I know bad fish and this was beyond bad. This smell would put a carrion eater off his food. Yuck!

We watched the loading dock area where barrels of what we assume are fish remains are stored. The barrels could contain more but I was not inclined to go looking in week old fish guts for anything. I was able to sneak in a side door and scout around. We found some cabinets, and ledgers. Then proceeded further in to an overhanging area where we could see kids taking refuge in hammocks and sleeping spots below. From the whispers I fear they may have heard my companion. How can someone who can sneak up on deer and rabbits and not startle them can be heard by a bunch of snot nosed kids? Our pretense of sneaking about was put to a quick end when 2 large dogs heard us on the other side of a door. Their barking was going to bring someone to investigate. I hauled tail out of there. I knew the boards were rickety but I didn’t anticipate just now rickety. I was just over the shore when the planks broke. I landed on the shore below. Though I can swim, I am not interested in swimming in those waters; they are spooky to say the least.

We reported back to the group. The rest of the group had been trying to draw the people in the building out using a distraction; however that didn’t do much more than get those inside upstairs to talking and telling each other to shut up. At least we knew there were a couple adult voices in there along with the children. With little more to do, we began our assault on the loading dock. I noticed that the ‘child’ there was actually a gnome. The battled did not take long a few swipes of Ithamore’s ax and the combatants were long gone. Giggles, the gnome was turned over for questioning to Aerich. The rest of us traveled down a trap door to an under area. There we found a young boy tied up on the bed, and his tongue removed. We found that Lamm was moving to escape from us, but I doubted he would get far, and he didn’t. Boshi pursued him and managed to leap upon his skiff and crush his chest with a mighty blow. The vial thing was now dead, but his accomplices must be dealt with. Ithamore made short work of the alligators, and the traps Lamm had set could have been deadly. One nearly killed me as tried to get past it. It was not one of my best days.

The vial man is dead but his lost “Lamms” are up stairs. They will either be happy their master is dead, and rejoice, or they too could try to tears us limb from limb. We must check this place out to find out what else this vial man has done. There is an odd smell in the air, that little to with fish. I fear this battle is not over.

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