Curse of the Crimson Throne

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[Prelude] A Mystery

Prelude – A Mystery

Knight of the White Erich Wolfe, Servant of Iomedae
Aiori Baynes, Disciple of Sarenrae
Knight of the Red Marta Severin, Disciple of Iomedae

Two years ago

Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?
- From the journals of Ameiko Kaijitsu,

The city of Magnimar was a massive urban sprawl along the massive western ocean, framed with the verdant forests of Varisia. From the crisp scents of fresh spices and cut fruit in the market to the stagnant clouds resting out over the port, one did not have to go far in the city to encounter something new and alien. Not even Korvosa, for all of its scope and scale could measure up to Magnimar, from its massive ruins to the scale of the churches, where even blessed Iomedae managed to keep quite a Regimentary staffed and ready for action. The Tetragrammaton of Abadar kept the peace in Korvosa, but the scale of Magnimar precluded one church from such domination.

The Church of Iomedae shared a massive complex with the Church of Sarenrae, if you could call the Church of Iomedae much of a Church. It was a barracks, really, and boot camp. The quarters were spartan, with focus split between spending time training with their weapons and armor, studying the Book of Iomedae and her 11 stories, and spending time “serving the people”.

By contrast, the Church and Chancel House was the domain of the priests and Sarenrae. The massive stone edifice, with its white marble and flying buttresses soared into the sky toward her glory. Inside, the faint scent of frankincense could always be detected, the faint white smoke of its burning a small sacrifice to the sky.

Knight of the White Erich Wolfe knew these grounds better than most. He had grown over the decades within this place. As an assimar, he grew more slowly than his human mother, and as a bastard child, he had no place in her world. Added to that, the angel wing birthmarks that stretched across his back had been taken as an omen by the Clerics of Abadar. Recognizing his Celestial bloodline, he was brought as a foundling and raised in the church. Because of his heritage, he often had a run of the place. The Paladins of Iomedae had recognized his appearance and had taken his admission as a sign of good fortune for the order.

Leaning back against the one of the mighty oaks that overlooked Belvedere Garden, Erich continued his reading, preparing himself for his upcoming class. The spring weather in Magnimar was bright, clear, albeit a bit cool as the westerly wind blew in off of the ocean. Already, the fog on the bay was burning away – another gorgeous day.

Assigned as a Knight of the White, Ser Erich Wolfe reported directly to his direct superior, in this case, a Knight of the Red who was in charge of the 2nd Regiment, who then reported up the chain of command to the Knight Commander.

“There you are,” he heard a familiar voice call out. Looking up from the book he could see a young priest of Sarenrae, her silky robes flowing in the morning breeze. Her brown hair was pulled into a tight french braid, and her elven complexion belied as unique a history as his own at some point in her family tree.

“Sister Baynes,” Erich said quickly as he rose quickly, suppressing a smile and standing at attention smartly.

“As you were, Ser Knight,” Aiori said, adjusting his tunic jacket. “Looking smart, as usual.”

“Thank you, Sister,” Erich replied, lowering his voice. “I missed you last night.”

Smoothing down his tunic, she left her hands placed on his chest. “I did, too, but it couldn’t be helped. We have our duties to attend to, particularly as we both are finishing up our studies and prepared to bring the good word to the world.”

“We need to consider where we plan on taking up our mission,” he began, his face softening a bit as she fussed over him, “We are ready…” his words faded away as he caught sight of someone, or something, just standing in the colonnade surrounding the church gardens.

“Erich?” Aiori asked, looking up, an eyebrow cocked. “What is it?”

“I, uh,” he stammered, looking down at her for a moment, then back at the colonnade, the figure regarded him. It was indistinct, sheathed in black robes, seeming to both meld and stand out from the shadows projected by the morning sunlight. The figure nodded once and then turned, walking down the colonnade, deeper into the complex.

She searched his face. “Now would be a good time to speak up, you know,” she said, still looking in his direction.

“I’m sorry,” he managed, shaking his head with a small chuckle, “something…never mind, My thoughts escaped me there for a moment. I was just saying that…”

Aiori eyed him suspiciously. “An escape?. Anything missing aside from your sense of cool?” she said, gently jibing.

“I must be seeing things, because I swear that I saw someone standing over there,” he motioned in the direction of the building colonnade, “and they weren’t a member of the Cloister or order”

“Are they still there?” she said as she turned and examined the colonnade.

“No,” Erich said, “but I swear, they were standing right there.” Stepping around Aiori, he took a few steps toward the building before glancing back, “and they were looking at me. Whoever it was walked deeper into the building.”

Erich jogged over to the colonnade and looked – the long stretch was filled with the usual mingling of clerics, knights and servants.

“Someone you recognized? Erich? Wait!” Aiori called after him, eyebrows furrowed in concern as she gave chase.

Trying to peer through the small crowds, Erich caught sight of the figure. A slender man, dressed in flowing, black robes and swathed in equally black hair, flowing as if affected by some unseen breeze. Even from the fifty feet of distance between the two of them, he could tell he possessed an otherworldly beauty. He glanced back over her shoulder at Erich, then continued walking away.

“You there!” Erich shouted, everyone in the colonnade suddenly looking toward him. “Halt!”

“Everything alright here, Ser?” Knight of the Red Marta Severin, gave Erich a questioning look.

“Sorry, Lady Severin, I just,” Erich shook his head, then stopping and taking a deep breath. “I can’t believe I’m saying this but, I saw someone, and as crazy as it sounds, walked right down this corridor and into the promenade, right past all of you. She didn’t look like a member of the order; they definitely weren’t in uniform or armor.”

Marta and the other assembled holy men and women looked back where Erich was motioning. “We didn’t see anyone that wasn’t supposed…”

“Look, Lady Severin, I’m not seeing things,” Erich said, both defensive and sure.

Lady Severin regarded Erich for a moment, her eyes narrowing. Their service together in the Order gave her a unique insight into her junior. Erich could be brash, cocky at times, quick to fly off the handle in action, but never in word – frightening composed under high stress situations – the kind of believer and servant of Iomadae that the order hopes to build and rarely achieves.

“Mind your tone, Ser Wolfe,” she said finally, “but you aren’t one to make something like this up. Alright, we’ve got a couple of minutes before class, everyone spread out and see if we can find this mystery person”

Aiori came up close behind on his heels and nodded civilly to Lady Severin. “M’Lady,” she said, a small smile pulling at the corners of her lips.

Lady Severin spared a nod and a quick grimace in acknowledgment, then turned back to the search. “Did you see whatever it is Ser Wolfe was chasing?” she threw over her shoulder as she searched the crowds.

Aiori shook her head as she reached out through Sarenrae to find anyone who didn’t belong in the milieu of students and faculty. “No, he was looking behind me and I’m guessing I didn’t turn around in time,” she said, pausing where she was to concentrate.

Marta drew up close to her side. “You’re going to want to watch that, Sister,” she said quietly. “You know that fraternization is permitted, but in a command structure it can be suspect.”

“Yes, I’m aware of the necessary professional boundaries. We do at least attempt to be discreet and it does not enter in on duty,” she said in a quiet but somewhat prickled tone. “I’m not sensing anything out of the ordinary, m’Lady. There’s no one who shouldn’t be here,” she said a little louder, as if to indicate that the subject was closed.

Erich stopped at the end of the colonnade, looking into the cloistered promenade, empty save for the few students and junior knights who had responded to Ser Severin’s orders. Standing there, defeated and embarrassed, he didn’t need be an empath to sense the confusion and sniggering among his friends. Hearing Aiori step up beside him, he spared a slight glance.

“I saw her, here,” he said quietly, his voice a low rumble. “I’m not crazy.”

“Alright cadets,” Lady Severin began, raising her voice, walking toward Erich and Aiori, “we’ve had enough nosing around, return to your studies.”

“M’Lady, we’ll be right there,” Aiori said. After Severin hurried away in the direction of class, she fell easily into step with Erich. “You sure you’re okay?” she asked softly, trying to keep her question out of the general buzz of busy students.

“I’m going to have to be,” Erich said with a bit of confidence as he quickly compartmentalized the experience, the somewhat frazzled look on his face disappearing in the blink of an eye.

[The Fishery] Interrogation

“The dead cannot cry out for justice. It is a duty of the faithful to do so for them.”
- The Trials of Ragathiel, 4:1

“I’m going to ask you questions. If you don’t answer, fully and truthfully, you will suffer much more than you have to,” Aerich said in Fluent Gnome. The sounds of combat was dying down and his new comrades were busy searching the place for Gaedren Lamm.

Aerich picked up the dropped Kukri and nodded once, sticking it into the torch sconce, burying the blade in the flame.

The boy-faced gnome grimaced, glancing around. In a flash, Aerich clopped the Gnome with the pommel of his sword. Hookshanks felt the world spin and his body go limp. Seconds or minute passed, who could tell, and when he awoke, he was standing naked, his hands bound against the heavy rail, his hands splayed out with rough rope forced between each finger.

“Good, you’re awake. If i think you are lying, I’m going to cut off your fingers,” Aerich continued, letting the blade get hot before pulling it out, “one by one. Once it’s hot, the blade will cauterize the wounds.”

The gnome swallowed hard, sweat breaking out on his pale skin.

“Do you know who I am?”

Aerich shook his head. “No, who are you?”

“Hookshanks Gruller. I am the Boss’s right hand.”

His face a mask, Aerich whipped the kukri from the torch sconce and Hookshanks howls, his body twisted in pain as he struggles against the restraints. The gnome continues to buck against the rail as his left ear is suddenly missing, tossed indifferently into the darkness.

And then a terrible scream, the Man/Child trying in vain to pull the large railing from its mounts.

Hookshanks stares in shock at the stump of his right forefinger, smoke rising from the stump. Aerich sticks his pilfered kukri back into the hot torch sconce, devoid of emotion.

“What do you want to know? Huh? WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW!?!?”

Aerich adjusts his gauntlets. “Lamm, where is he? Is he in the building?”

“Downstairs, there’s a concealed door in the entry,” the gnome stammers. “Let me go, please.”

Nodding, Aerich made the mental note. “Tell me about the Baynes kidnapping and murder. How did it work?”

“I don’t know.” Hookshanks thought through a cloud of detached pain. “The cleric? We were just given instructions to take her.”

“Ordered by who?”

Hookshanks licks his lips, hesitating. Looking at him, Aerich glanced knowingly at the Kukri in the torch and made sure he followed the glance.

Tears streaming down his face, Hookshanks let his head fall forward and hit the wooden railing with a hollow thud. “I don’t know,” he blubbered with a shrug.

Snatching the blade from the torch, Aerich jerks back the gnome’s middle finger.

“I don’t know,” the Gnome yelps, the words falling out of his mouth in a torrent. “We always work in parts, Lamm always makes us work in parts. We deliver the victim to the guardians. We don’t know their names. They might get moved through the city to other guardians. Lame never even sees the target, they just make the deal!”

“Who ordered it?”

“We call him ‘The Dreamer’.”

“Where can I find him?”

“I don’t know. No one knows, not even Lamm.”

Hookshanks screams again as Aerich snatches kukri and rested it against the railing near the gnome’s hand.

“I don’t know! I swear,” Hookshanks screamed, his face slick with sweat and tears.

Whitecloak nodded after a moment, regarding the sweating, nearly naked gnome. “I believe you.”

Breathing hard, the Hookshanks licked his lips. “I’m a professional. I’m just doing my job.”

Nodding, Aerich glances through the open doors and sees the young cook motion toward him. “He tell you anything?”

“He has, after a fashion,” Whitecloak began, rubbing the bound Gnomes head, “He says Lamm is in the building. There is a concealed trap door in the entry. Is it trapped?”

The bound gnome shook his head vigorously in the negative.

“It isn’t trapped,” Aerich said as he produced a small clay vial from his belt. Pulling the wax cap from the vial, he winced as the strong smell of oil coursed into his nose, cutting through the smell of dead fish and chum.

Turning the vial up over the gnomes head, it began to mix with the fear and sweat as it ran down his face and body. Aerich continued to pour out the flask until it was empty, then again, emptying lantern oil over the gnome.

Pulling a torch from its sconce, Aerich set it into a notch of the railing, well within reach of a child. “Alright, Hookshanks, you know the difference between revenge and punishment?”

The gnome stared at him.

Aerich heard the screams from below. With a prayer to Ragatheil, he felt his merciful power burst through him. Then the calls of Lamm escaping…that wasn’t going to happen…

Menu from Perdi's Kitchen


  • Hearty barley porridge severed with dairy cruds, dried fruits extra
  • Bread, Cheese and fruit – bread served with either goat or cow’s milk cheese, with either dried or fresh fruit depending on the season. Barley & Rye bread standard, wheat available for extra cost. Honey & Sugar also available at extra cost.


  • Barley Soup – a hearty Barley soup with carrots, cabbage, Mushrooms and garlic
  • Cod liver pies
  • Beef marrow Fritters
  • Eels in a thick spicy sauce
  • Meat of the day roasted or boiled with seasonal vegetables
  • Saltwater fish
  • Broth with Bacon
  • A meat tile – pieces of chicken or veal, simmered, sauteed, served in a spiced sauce of pounded shrimp tails, almonds and toasted bread and garnished with whole shrimp tails
  • Meat Stew of the Day – Roast Beef, Pork, Lamb, Rabbit, Goat or Venison in a hearty stew with carrots, herbs, and mushrooms


  • Fresh Baked Apples or Pears
  • Fresh Apple Pie w/ cinnamon & Sugar
  • Fruit Fritters
  • Spice Biscuits

Note: Salt is available for 2 sps with 1 gps deposit on salt seller.

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.

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).

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.”

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.

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…”

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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