Curse of the Crimson Throne

A day lost
Meanwhile back home...

Being stuck in bed all day while my friends are out in the city doing who knows what is making me twitch. Looking like someone tossed a whole pot of red paint on me and aching all over is not fun. I feel like someone has been kicking me repeatedly in the kidneys. Thankfully I am better off than our friendly monk. He is continuing to run a high fever, but it has stabilized. Whatever herbs and such Aerich had given him has helped him. Resting all day makes me more and more ansy the longer I lay here. There is so much I should be doing but I know I need to rest in order to get better. I heard a knock at my door. “Come in.”

In walked a tea tray with legs, well that is what it looked like. Actually it was my mother carrying a huge tray loaded with tea pots, soup, toast and jams. “Morning lazy bones, ready for some food?"

“If it is your cooking, sure.” Perdi sat up in the bed.

Caranga set the food on the bed before Perdi. “Thankfully the pantry is stocked so I have food for both you and Boshi. “

“You havent’ been touching him, have you?” I looked at her concerned.

“Oh heavens no. I might put chicken soup on the table next to him, but touch the boy? Not on your life.” She poured tea foe Perdi.

“Good.” Perdi took the tea and began sipping it. The warmth seemed to seep into her bones and help with the aches.

Caranga sat on the end of the bed. “How bad is it really? Don’t you dare try to lie to me. “

Perdi sighed as she picked up a piece of toast, “Near riots at the churches, bodies piling up of the unfortunate poor. Thankfully after what happened yesterday it is no longer just the rich being healed but now the poor do not have to pay to be healed.”

“The churches were charging for healing?” Caranga said surprised.

“Not Sarenra. Abadar was charging 150 gold pieces to remove disease. They were treating people but removing the disease with magic was costing a fortune. That is why is a blessing to have Aerich here. He was able to remove it from me, but was unable from Boshi. Thankfully he is a wonderful healer and was able to treat him. Hopefully that will help him in the long run. I’m still going to look like hell but I am feeling better. I will say your cooking always make me feel better. “ Perdi smiled

“Sweet talker. “ Caranga smiled, “I take it the city is on lock down?”

“All gates are locked down, and quarantine is in effect. They are bringing in food but it is only through one gate, and coinage is going through vinegar treatment.”

“Are we going to be ok here?”

“For the moment, before word got out about the quarantine I bought an extra week of food. We are loosing money have this place closed but I think it is safer to keep the place closed for now. “

“It isn’t my shop so it isn’t my money but it does make sense. That doesn’t mean I like the fact I am not making good tips. “

“Instead you are taking care of me and grumpy Boshi.” Perdi smirked.

“Yeah lucky us.” Caranga sighed, “Be that as it may, I need to get back to the kitchen to help Derik and Guntha. I have them organizing the pantry, and inventorying the liqueur cabinet.”

“Is Derik still mad at me?”

“A bit, he hates the fact that you did what you did but he can understand why you did what you did. His feelings are hurt but he will get over it. Give him a few days to get over it.” Caranga patted Peri’s arm as she left the room.

Perdi sighed and set to work eating the lunch her mother had made for her. It was not often that she got to be served good food made by someone else, much less in bed. She had much to think about while she waited for her friends to come back. She silently said a prayer that her friends made it back, because knowing her friends’ luck they would need all they help they can get.

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Journal of Perdi - Back in the City
The beginings of the plague

Perdi returned to the bar after her shopping trip. She had bought another week’s worth of food for the bar. It had only been a couple gold pieces but it would have to do for now.
As Perdi came in the back door she was met by Derik. “Hey, everything alright?”

“No.” Perdi grabbed his arm and dragged him back into the bar, and shut the door.
“Caragana! Adalade! Guntha! Get in here!”

It took just a moment for them to get into the kitchen. Perdi turned to Guntha. “Guntha and Devin, get everyone that is not the boss’s friends, or us out of the bar. NOW! Do NOT touch them. Get them out the door. “with a nod they went back into the main room, and from the sound of things they had the few customers that were in there moving quickly.
Looking at the other two, “We have a confirmed case of a plague starting in the city. We need this place locked down. No one but us and the boss’s friends are to be allowed in that door. That being said a delivery man will be arriving soon. He is NOT to get out of the cart. He has already been paid . Just unload the supplies then come back in. That is all. Do you understand?”

A chorus of “yes” responded. Looking at Adelade, Perdi said, “If any of you want to leave here, go somewhere, buy something, do it now before things go into lock down.”
Caranga and Perdi looked at each other as Adelade grabbed her shawl and ran out the door. It was safe to assume that she was going to Old Korvosa to warn her other masters.

A couple minutes later Devin and Guntha returned to the kitchen. “Where is Adelade?” Devin asked.

“She went home.” Caranga sighed. “She may or may not be back.”

“What does that mean?” Devin asked.

Before Perdi could say anything the delivery bell sounded.
“Devin, and Guntha help me with the delivery,” Caranga directed the two assistance, and gave Perdi a knowing look. Perdi could only sigh.
--
The next morning Perdi was working on her famous porridge as Devin brought in another keg of ale. It would go well with the porridge and hopefully hold of the illness. “Perdi, have you seen Adelade yet this morning?”

“No I haven’t.” Perdi continued to stir the pot.

“Aren’t you worried about her?”

“Devin, I don’t think she will be returning anytime soon.”

“What do you mean by that? Aren’t you worried about her?” Devin began to get angry at her.

Perdi refused to look at him, “ Adelade either has the red veil and is sick, OR she is with her masters. Either way she won’t be returning to us anytime soon.” She began to ladle up to food.

“What the hell do you mean by that?”

“Devin, she had been spying on us the whole time we were in the city a year ago. She has been working with a cleric that works for the spider court. If she is ill then the cleric can help her, and is better off staying with her to get treatment. “

“You are just going to leave her there? Are you going to go after her?”

“What good would it do? There is nothing we can do for her now. Right now it is safer to say in here.”

“Do you not care about her?”

“Of course I do, but it is hard to have sympathy for someone who was especially stabbing me in the back for over a year. Once this plague is over we will check on her, for now we just need to survive.”

“You are heartless.” Devin stormed off.

Perdi sighed. His words cut. She wasn’t heartless and she was worried about Adelade but for right now there was nothing they could do for her. Caranga came in the room, saw her face, and came off and patted her back. She took the bowls from Perdi as she dished them up.

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My City Weeps

The city screams, her muffled cries break my heart.

I cannot deny her.

I wrap my white cloak around me and crouch down on the shingle, staring down onto the streets.

I am a cleric. My lord, Ragathiel, is not a god of mercy but righteous vengeance. Every tear my city weeps is another shout of anger from my Lord. The plague delivered onto her, brought on mysterious black sails, has drawn me to her defense.

In our absence, the Church of Asmodeous instituted a draconian law that their toadies, the Order of the Nail, are all too happy to enforce. The Order was useful as an existential threat. Now they were a danger to the city and its residents.

I see a young woman move quickly through the alley, her cloak drawn around her. It is after curfew. The Nail has already found her. Two knights, dressed in plain clothes, were shadowing their target.

Saying a small prayer to Ragathiel, I can feel his wings cover me. The spells I cast protect me as I return to the streets.

“Stay back,” I hear her say. I hear the sound of steel clearing scabbard as I raise my hood around my head and approach.

My city provides for me. She gives me everything I need. And I’m her angel.

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The Harrow for Seven Days to the Grave

Everyone gets 4 harrow points

The Varisians know that Fate is a plan known only to the Gods, but the hearts of men determine the path and shape of its coming. You may use these Harrow points to accomplish any of the following. Remember, though, the Fates are also fickle. Any points unspent by the end of the adventure are lost.

Constitution Rerolls: Spend a Harrow Point to reroll any one Fortitude saving throw, Concentration check, or other Constitution-based d20 roll. You must abide by the new result (although if you have additional Harrow Points remaining, you can use them to attempt additional rerolls).

Fast Hit Point Recovery: Spend a Harrow Point after resting for a minute to catch your breath and recover from your recent ordeals—you heal a number of hit points equal to your class level and 1 point of ability damage (but not ability drain) each time you do so. You may spend a Harrow Point in this manner once after each encounter.

Damage Reduction: Spend a Harrow Point to gain damage reduction 3/—. This damage reduction persists for the duration of the encounter in which you spent the Harrow Point.

Character Card Notes
Aerich The Brass Dwarf (LN) Combat with Jelistina (+2 on con rolls and temp hp X2 character level)
Boshi The Tangled Briar (LE) Combat with Girrigz (+2 on con rolls and temp hp X2 character level)
Perdi The Sickness (NE) All encounters in the sick ward (+2 on con rolls and temp hp X2 character level)
Thorn The Mountain Man (CN) Combat with the Hungry Dead (+2 on con rolls and temp hp X2 character level)
Ithamore The Wax Works (CE) Combat with Rolth (+2 on con rolls and temp hp X2 character level)
Kes The Desert (CG) Combat Yvicca (+2 on con rolls and temp hp X2 character level)

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Thrill of the Hunt Part 13
Korvosa & Vengeance

It’s been about a year since I have been in the city. I left the city after the day my world was shattered.

Lies.

Betrayal.

Corruption.

Death.

These were a few of the things I left behind. Now returning the city looks different, but I still smell the putrid stench of its existence. You can put a fresh coat of paint on something to cover something up, but what is beneath still is there, festering like an infected boil, just ready to pop.

I left this behind because I needed to be free. Coming back here only puts me back in shackles. This city needs a savior, a hero, or heroes that will be it’s champion.

~Thorn


The city is different, the streets cleaner, no beggars, people working; like street sweepers, builders, and repairing the roads. Thorn looks at his friends and help escort the Lady Ileosa home. Parting ways from his friends he stands there in the city listening to it. People passing him by, the conversations, the reconstruction. Narmo nuzzles his hand, snapping him back into reality. He looks at his trustworthy animal companion… Something is not right here.

Thorn heads to the Temple of Sarenrae, where he grew up, and once held the Master Huntsman position there. A place he called home, but he left in a hurry that day. Perhaps he still can.

Walking up to the gates of the temple he looks at it, he’s looked at the temple before many times, but it all seemed different now. Opening the gate he steps in and heads down the path to the stairs up to the temple.

“Thorn.”

Stopping he turns to see a familiar face, a red headed woman approach him, “Olivia…”

Olivia walks up to him and grabs him by the arm, “You… Come with me.” She escorts him into the temple post haste.

“Hey…” Thorn begins to protest as he is dragged along.

“Do shut up until we get to a safe location,” she responds harshly to his protest. Eventually, Thorn, Narmo, and her arrive in an abandoned barracks. She closes the door behind her and then approaches him.

“Safe? Olivia, care to tell me what is going on?” Thorn straightens himself up.

She shakes her head, “I want to say it is good to see you Thorn. It’s been awhile since you left… abruptly. I feel like we need to talk in private.”

“Yeah well,” he says rubbing the back of his head, “With all that went on in the city, and personal reasons. I made a quick exit. I needed to get out of town with my companions and Lady Ileosa’s offer just came at the right time.”

Olivia shakes hear head, “A very convenient time.”

Thorn looks about, “Why are the orphanage barracks so barren, Olivia?” He says looking about.

She sighs, “After you left things changed. The city changed. The orphanages were taken over by the Church of Asmodeus. We…”

Thorn looks at her in horror, “Asmodeus!”

Olivia frowns, “After you left. We found a new hunter. A… unscrupulous fellow. He didn’t start off that way. He kind of just appeared at our doorstep. He seemed fine at first. Then as time went on he was not as kind as you. We had to buy the meats from him, which we did after all we had mouths to feed.” She pauses, “He took up residence in your old shack and he he recruited some of the orphans to be hunters with him.”

Thorn raises an eyebrow, “I see. I guess it is more efficient that way as long as the laws of nature are respected.” Now he pauses too, “Hm…”

Olivia looks at him, “I sense that you want to ask something Thorn.”

Thorn nods, “I left with some unsettling business with Steven that day. He revealed to me some things that were disheartening.”

Olivia looks at Thorn, her eyes wide, and they begin to swell with tears, “So… you don’t know.”

Seeing the stern demeanor of Olivia just fade away before his very eyes, “Steven?”

Olivia she breathes in hard, “Steven is dead. He was stabbed in an alleyway not to far from here and left to bleed out.” She turns her head from Thorn, “You were a prime suspect.”

Thorn take a moment to process this information, stumbling he sits on a nearby cot, “Dead…” He holds back the emotions feeling very responsible for this revelation. “Suspect? Me… I… No. Never would I.”

She walks over to Thorn, “This I know, but when you left, a bloodied knife was found in your residence by the new hunter under your bed covered in the dirt, and Sister Margret saw you two fighting.” She kneels by his side, “It was a little too suspicious, a fight, you leaving, finding the boy dead, and the knife.” She rests her hand on his leg, “I prayed to Sarenrae every day for weeks, when the truth was finally revealed.”

Thorn looks at the hand, “The truth? The truth is that I failed Steven. I was so distraught with what he told me. That he could be involved with Thousand Arrows’s death…”

Narmo’s ears perk up at the name.

Olivia, “The truth set you free from being the prime suspect. A dark, and mysterious presence… a force of hatred, and evil was the answer I got. A man. A man in black.”

Thorn looks at Olivia and he tilts his head, “What was the name of the hunter that took my spot?”

She looks back at him, “He called himself Raven Slate. He is no longer with us… As I said he was a untrustworthy fellow. He and the orphans he recruited stole from the church and left our coffers barren so we couldn’t keep the…”

Thorn grunts and balls his hand up into a fist, “Raven… Black… Slate… Black. I’m sorry Olivia, but this was all my fault. Thousand Arrows, Steven’s death, the temple being robbed, the orphanage being shut down… It was something Steven said to me about a Mr. Black. Apparently this Black fellow has a grudge against me. I’m not sure who he is, but once I find out…” Thorn stands up and he vows as sense of intense emotion overcomes him, “…vengeance.”

Olivia scurries back from Thorn looking at him seeing an aura about him and she mutters silently to herself, “Ragathiel…”

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Winter Solstice
“You aren’t the brooding type,” Aiori said. She was wearing her finest winter cloak, the white fox trim framing her face. It took Aerich a moment to realize that not only was the snow not sticking to her, it seemed to be passing right through her.

The realization made his head ache. He continued his walk, the thick white flakes adding to the deadened soundscape.

“It’s this place,” he said. “I’m sure things will get better now that Holy Mother Hesis has dispatched a Sister to tend the temple here. I can only do so much…”

“…and healing and tending to the day-to-day spiritual needs of a flock is not your calling,” she finished, smiling softly.

“Ragathiel serves the faithful in their times of need and conflict,” Aerich said plainly. “It is more the company kept here.”

“Your friends?”

“No, not them,” Aerich sighed, bracing against the wind. “It is our keeper and our charge.
She and her entourage are quite the group.”

Aiori walked beside him.

“Ileosa is as vain and vacant as the rumors betrayed,” Aerich said, giving the snow a kick. “she is one of the least benightedly unintelligent people it has been my profound lack of pleasure not to be able to avoid meeting.”

Aiori winced.

“I don’t trust her,” he said at last, continuing to walk, his head low. “There is something about her I can’t put my finger on.”

She nodded.

“It’s probably nothing.”

“I’m sure it is,” Aiori said, “but it doesn’t hurt to be prudent.”

“The only one worth a damn—“

“Aside from your compatriots,” Aiori said.

“Aside from my compatriots is Sabina.”

“The bodyguard?”

“She is a woman of singular grace and a skilled combatant,” Aerich said. “You should know.”

“I should?”

“You’re in my head, aren’t you?”

Aiori ignored the bating.

“The Lady does seem quite keen on you,” Aiori said, changing the subject.

“She does,” he replied. “I’m surprised you’re so calm about that.”

“Oh?” Aiori asked. “You can have any woman you want, Love. Just remember that I will always have your heart.”

Aerich stopped and turned to face her. “Is that right?”

“Of course,” she said with a playful, thin smile, “and I can always rip it out of your chest if I have to.”

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Back Home
Returning Home

When we came all piling in to the tavern we were greeted warmly. Some of the long term patrons were even happy to see me. The hug got from my mother was wonderful. Adelaide and Devin were still working there. Devin had primarily taken over much of the bar area. You could tell that he had put on some muscle. Adelaide was doing well, but the look she gave the group when we came in seemed a little forced. Guntha had a big smile for Perdi. Business seemed to be doing well. Given the tavern was in a bit of a rush Peri stowed her items in her old room, then came out and helped in the kitchen. It was nice working the kitchen with her mother and putting out food to the patrons. They chatted a little as they cooked but nothing serious. Honestly Perdi just enjoyed being home.

It was late when things started to wind down. Adelaide took care of the customers, and by now few were eating. Similarly to when her mother had first come to work for the tavern, they found an out of the way booth and shared a bottle of wine.

“How have things been here?” Perdi asked as she poured the wine.

“Better, not great but better. “ Caranga Beesting took a sip of her wine. “Petty crime is down. There is no more curfew. Civic works are flourishing. Food prices have gone up 10% this year, but they are down from the scarcity last year. It is not ideal but we are making a profit.”

“Good.” Perdi swirled her wine, “And the tavern? Has everyone behaved themselves?”

Caranga scoffed. “Addy was pretty miffed when you left, and by the way I kept her on morning shifts until the curfew lifted. One can hope she has learned her lesson about poking her nose where it doesn’t belong, but then again she is young and may have to learn the hard way.” Caranga gestured to Devin. “He is a good boy. He works hard, and does the best he can. He has grown up a lot this year.”

“And Guntha? She seems happy. “

“At first a few people made comments, but after she bodily pick one guy up and threw him out the door, their view of her changed. She doesn’t start anything unless some else starts it first, and usually it takes her a while before she will even pay attention to it. She has been a good pair of hands around here. She helps Devin with the bar, she helps me in the kitchen, and she minds the place. She seems content. Given her background, this is haven to her.” Caranga looked to Perdi seriously, “With you being back, were you thinking of letting some of them go?”

“Huh? Oh no. I don’t think Ithamore would allow that. Now that the former queen is back in town I’m not sure what is going to happen.“ Perdi shrugged as she sipped her wine. “I got a good reputation for my cooking, so having me associated with this place won’t hurt business any, especially since one of my cooking patrons was her Ladyship. She seemed pleased with our work, who knows if she will call on us again.” Perdi sighed and sat down her wine glass. “For now I think we will just get settled and then go from there. “

“I think is about all anyone can do. “ Caranga patted Perdi’s hand, “I will say, be on your guard. Things are better in the city that is true but that is because they are not taking any nonsense from anyone. The Thieves guild has gone into hiding. Begging is forbidden. The orphanages have been filled nearly to capacity with street children who have nowhere else to go. Many use to survive in those gangs and pick pockets. The risk for petty thievery is so high they are better off in the orphanages. If someone is going to steal from you, they will be beyond desperate. That makes things even more dangerous.”

“Oh lovely…” Perdi swirled her wine, and then tossed back the last bit of it. “I have spent a long day traveling and then helping you here. I am going to go find a warm bed. I have business to attend to tomorrow morning but I should be in before noon to help with the evening meal.”

“Be careful Perdi, do not take everything at face value.” Her mother warned.

“Mother, I learned a long time ago that everyone has an agenda. The trick is to make sure that yours isn’t changed by someone else.” Perdi leaned down, kissed her mother’s cheek, and when to retrieve her belongings.

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Journal of Perdita Bernardi- the end of year
A recap of our year abroad

(Written in the script of Halfling, but switching between sylan, draconic, giant, and Halfling language)

My time here at the keep has not been too bad. Yes it is big and I am constantly busy but I am doing what I was trained to do. I know the former queen has been trained since birth to know how to speak half-truths and deceive those around her for her own gain, but I truly believe that she means it when she says my cooking rivals her former chefs from the castle. Kess may have her lady ships favor for her performances but have her favor for my cooking. Yes it is a little petty but when you’re someone who was quite literally tossed into the garbage, hearing a high ranking noble compliment your work, it means a lot.

It is good to have my suggestions taken into account around the keep. We acquired a small flock of goats. Their milk is good for our cooking, and for cheeses. Also their milk can make nice soaps and lotions for her lady ship. We managed to get a couple cows which we used for their milk. One of their calves is a fine steer. We are currently fattening him up for the fall. He will feed us well until the New Year, as will the few pigs we have acquired. The pigs are being pickled and smoked. The leased lands have provided us with grains, fruit and vegetables. The keep should not want for food this fall and winter.

Her ladyship has not required many servants but to run a small town with in the keep, we do need some. The maid staff has been small due to the number unseen servants the keep has acquired. Her ladyship is fine with me leaving out food and drink for them, and they repay us in kind. They do their job better than many humanoids I known, so I am not complaining.

When asked, it is no secret, that I do not trust the former queen. She is a royal with a lot of not good things happening around her. Did she cause them? Maybe, maybe not. Do I trust her? Only to a point. You see do I trust her to keep mutual interests beneficial to us, oh yes. Do I trust her that should our mutual interests not benefit her that she will stab us in our backs? You better believe it. Like it or not she is my employer. She has seen to it that I have a roof over my head that is warm, and dry; something that has not always happened in my past. I am paid well, very well for my position to be honest. For the first time in a long time I have wool blankets on my bed which is thickly stuffed with warm straw and hay, and not thin, lumpy and stuff with rags. If that goose doesn’t quit pecking me when I go out to the stable to get the milk, I may end up with a good feather pillow. My clothing is no longer stained, heavily patched and thread bare. Much of my clothing is new, or at least semi new, and mostly free of stains. I am a cook after all and mess does come as part of the job.

The sale of our goods and wages has allowed us many additions to our armaments. The time out here, while refreshing has given us time to grow in certain ways, but we must go back to the city with her ladyship. What that will hold, who knows.

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Time in the Keep- part 2
What happened to my kitchen?!?

When the party trotted up the road to the keep, Perdi couldn’t help smiling to herself. They were home, well their home for the next year anyway. The journey had been a good one. The two families were very happy to have their daughters’ home to them. Trade discussions went well. Getting the 30 % discount on goods from them would certainly help. Also they seemed interested in leasing the land around the keep, which is always good for us. We came home with a couple chickens, and a nice butchered sow. The sow had a litter of piglets in the summer but nearly died giving birth. If she couldn’t deliver live piglets she was worthless to the farmer. At least this way we get a healthy fat pig, and they made money instead of losing it on the pig.

As we entered the gate we were met by Aerich. For some reason he seemed very happy to see me, which was odd because usually he generally has an air of disapproval with me. I can’t help the fact that I have had to steal to survive but when it is that or die….. You do what you have to. It took Ithamore and Boshi both to carry that 300 pound dead pig to the kitchen and hang it up. The farmer was kind enough to put all the entrails, and blood into wine skins and ouches. It made things a little easier.

I think my scream of “My KITCHEN!!!!” Could be heard all through the keep. From what Aerich told me the ‘queen’ had decided to make my porridge for everyone for breakfast that morning. There was flour everywhere. Honey was spilled on the table. There was a puddle of clabbered milk on the floor. My pots and jars of ingredients were strewn all about the room. I wasn’t sure if even wanted to look in the actually cupboard. The kicker was went I went to fish my ladle out of the mostly full porridge pot. I couldn’t pull it out! The porridge had congealed so much it had turned to almost stone. I had to ask Ithamore to pull it out for me. Even he had a bit of trouble. There were many joke of pulling to ‘sword’ from the stone. Once it was out I inspected the porridge. Somehow she had a mix of eggs, Oats, scorched milk of some sort. Then there was black pepper, and a lot of salt. It looked like she added flour to thicken it, then it appeared to have burned on the fire. I couldn’t believe that anyone had actually eaten it. It was then that Aerich said I was never to leave him again, and would I PLEASE make dinner for everyone. What do you know? Who knew that the way to a man’s heart was through is stomach. I was always told it was a little lower.

Thankfully Thorn was over his fever and had brought in a large brace of rabbits. It took a little while but I had a hearty rabbit stew made in no time. I cooked up chunks of lard and the smoked bacon we brought in a big pot to make them release their grease. I browned the rabbit in the bacon and lard drippings. I saved the flavored far for the gravy. I then tossed in the shallots, and garlic, followed by red wine. I may have had a few sips of the wine. Just to make sure it was a good wine for cooking. Then a bunch of stock. Once it was boiling I added some currant jelly, crushed peppercorns, and other herbs. Then I added back the bacon and the rabbit. While all that was cooking in the pot, I made up a gravy using the drippings, flour, herbs and some of the stews juices. Given the looks on my companions faces when I set the pot in the table you would think I had just given them the crown jewels on a platter. It must have been good because they ate the pot clean. Her ladyship asked if there was enough rabbit for me to make another pot for them to sup upon while we were gone exploring. I informed her ladyship I would make some in the morning before we left.

It was late when we finally headed to our beds. We all had bellies full of warm hearty food, and storm outside lulled me to sleep. I slept well that night, and nearly over slept. I planned to make a large batch of fritters for breakfast since my porridge pot was full of ‘mortar’. Some of the others had said they would come help clean up the kitchen after the disaster the day before, which is why I wasn’t completely surprised at how clean the kitchen was when I got there. In the night someone had cleaned the kitchen spotless. When I say spotless, I mean spotless. There was not a speck of dirty, or flour anywhere. Heck even the porridge pot was looking like new, and not a speck of the old porridge was left. I was impressed. Not having to clean up the previous days mess made the cooking of the fritters and the extra pot of stew much easier.

The rabbit stew was easy to make. The stew could easily sit next to the fire and stay warm after it was made. It was enough to keep her ladyship and her servants well fed for a couple days. I started work on the fritters. I had enough pig blood for 5 batches. I mixed the blood the egg yolks with flour and then ladled them into a pan I had melted lard in and began to fry them up. As I cooked them I had one of the servants take them into the dining room. I sent warm bread, and cheese as well. Add a good ale with this, everyone was well fed. Everyone was finishing their breakfast when I finally came out of the kitchen, but no one seemed to mind. We talked as we ate. I got several “thank you” for the good dinner, and wonderful breakfast. I in turn naturally thanked who ever had cleaned the kitchen for me. Soon as I said it the room got very quiet, which made we think I said something wrong.

Turns out that there are quite a few fae that are in the area, and it seems I have some living in my kitchen. We must not say that they are there. They are simply, “unseen servants”. If I continue to leave out some sort of food, and may be some wine, I will continue to have my unseen servants. They would do no harm to us as long as there is a benefit for them, and we do not speak about them. I had no problem with them to be honest. I pay them with food and lodging. They clean up the kitchen when I am asleep. Sounds reasonable to me. Frankly it is a better deal than what I was getting from my PAYING lackeys. I’m not going to complain.

We returned the dirty dishes to the kitchen, and I instructed her ladyship and her servants how to care for the stew I had left cooking. They just had to stir it occasionally, and keep it next to the hearth to keep it warm. Anytime someone was hungry, they had stew to eat. Putting away my cooking knives, I went and suited up with my other job’s set of blades.

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Time in the Keep- part 1
A warm breakfast

Even with all the banging around they had been doing to the keep, Perdi still awoke early to tend to her duties. On the road she was making what little food and trail rations into something palatable. Given what she had to work with, it wasn’t easy. This morning she finally had access to the items on the wagons. It really wasn’t feasible to use them on the road now the stores were unpacked and able to be used. Putting on her apron Perdi got out the new pots her ladyship had purchased for her. She may not like the ‘queen’ much but she is willing to invest in things that benefit her. They brought bags of good quality oats instead of the barley. The dried fruits were figs and apricots, not simply apples and pears. The honey was fine clover honey, not the common honey found near Korvosa. They had real cream from cows, and not goat milk cream. The smell coming off the porridge pot was heaven. “It won’t be ready for another hour, but I can get coffee or ale and heat the wine if you like. Perdi said over her shoulder as she went to the kitchen’s shelves.

“I was actually hoping I could help.” A kind voice came from the doorway.
Perdi spun around her kitchen knife in her hand, but she quickly put it on the cutting board next to her. “Forgive me your ladyship. I did not expect you to be awake this early or in the kitchen. “

“It is forgiven. Please continue about your duties. I had hoped there was something I could do to help. I always wish to learn things.”

“There is not much to do at this point, but the porridge pot needs to be continually stirred. If you don’t mind that, it is something you could do.” Perdi racked her brain for something that her ladyship could do. If a former queen asks to do something, and they are your employer, you WILL find something for them to do. “I must finish unpacking the supplies and preparing for the journey to the farms.”

“Just show me what to do and I’ll do it.” Her ladyship took the porridge ladle, and did the figure 8 stirring Perdi showed her.
Neither said much for a while until Perdi sighed as she was putting jars in the cupboard.
“Is there something wrong?” Her lady ship asked.

“Hmm? Oh no, I had simply forgotten that Kess had already opened a jar of honey. She had used it when we were in the forest for; I think it was the pixies.”

“The honey was most appreciated.” Her ladyship replied.

“So Kess told me. I was asleep when they appeared. Hearing one of their songs would be wonderful. They are said to be beautiful.” Perdi put the roasted coffee beans into the burr mill and grinded them.

“They are, and more so when you can understand what they are singing.” Her ladyship watched Perdi intently as she prepared the beans for making coffee.

“I have never heard any actual fae singing but I have heard elves sing it in Sylven. “ Perdi emptied the roughly ground beans into the coffee pot, added water from the well bucket, and hung it over the fire.

“Oh, you know the language! Good for you. “Her ladyship smiled, and began speaking to Perdi in Sylven. To which, Perdi responded in kind. As much as Perdi liked to cook without someone underfoot, her ladyship was not bad company with her questions about cooking, and such. Honestly, she paid more attention than some of the kitchen help Perdi had before.

When Perdi heard people stirring in the keep, she came over to the porridge to make sure it was ready. It was. “Thank you for minding this your ladyship. I had feared with all I must do before we leave it would have scorched on the fire without someone stirring it.”

“You are very welcome.” She looked at Perdi strangely. “Was there something else?”

“Just a question as the lady of keep.”

“What is the question?”

“We came with provisions that would get us settled but much of our meat is dried. While that is good food, I had hoped we could pick up fresh meat at some point. Thorn normally would bring in deer or rabbits but with him out sick I fear we will not have any fresh meat until he is well again, or we return for additional provisions from Korvosa.”

Business face in place her ladyship nodded, “What do you need?”

“When we are at the farms may I purchase a pig, or goat for fresh meat, a cow for milk, and possibly a few hens? Of all the things, the animal for meat is the most urgent.”

“How much would it cost to get the pig or goat?”

“In Korvosa I was able to get a good fat pig for 10 gold pieces. One 300 pound pig would feed us well for a while, especially if Thorn can help with wild game. A goat would be 6 gold pieces, but there is only 50 pounds of good flesh on them. Having flock of goats around the keep would be good eventually for their milk, meat, hair and hides. Also they would be happy simply eating the grass around the perimeter of the keep. “

“If possible, return with a good size pig, but if not pick up a couple goats. If Thorn is not well soon the goats can be eaten if necessary, otherwise they can be the start of a flock. You will be reimbursed for your funds.”

“Very well your lady.” Perdi curtsied. “For now, I fear if we do not get this porridge and coffee to the others it shall not be pretty. “

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