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Jen's 7th Sea Game 4-13-11: Raymondo Glim 2

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“You sound quite afraid of this Drachenbergen!” Donald said.

“Afraid!” the man said.

He laughed loudly.

“I laugh in the face of danger!” he said.

“Then why do you have a 10-foot pole?” Donald asked.

“Because he is not an idiot, that’s why,” I said.

“Because if I fall and I trip over my own feet or over a root, that I could have avoided by tapping with a stick ahead of me ...” Albrecht said.

“Do ye need a 10-foot stick?” Donald asked.

Albrecht said there were many uses for it and it came in handy. He also warned us to watch out for the traps the kobolds left. Kobolds were apparently small, scaly creatures that had much treasure.

“Kobolds got treasure?” Fernando said.

“Yes!” Albrecht told him.

“We need to go get some kobolds,” Fernando said drunkenly.

“What do you know of the witch’s castle?” I asked.

“Ah, the witch’s castle!” he said.

“Have you seen it?” Nichole asked.

“Yes, of course,” he said. “You can’t not see it.”

“Where is it?” Nichole asked.

“North and then into the woods,” he said.

“Can you take us there?” Inara asked.

“No,” he said.

“How do spot the traps of the kobolds?” Nichole asked.

“That’s why you take a 10-foot pole,” he said. “You tap it on the ground and you don’t trip the tripwires.”

“Tripwires?” Nichole said.

“They’re pretty smart little critters,” he said.

I asked what kind of traps they had and he said they were mostly traps that allowed for live capture as they liked to eat humans. He admitted that the kobolds were small but they traveled in packs. He also noted that it was not too terribly hard to get out of the traps if you had comrades who didn’t also get trapped or killed before they could lend aid. He told us the kobolds hunted both as packs and as intelligent creatures, depending on if they had goblins with them. He mentioned hobgoblins and goblins, which were smarter than the kobolds. He also noted that kobolds’ hearts were on the back of their bodies and lower than a man’s.

“What other dangers are in the forest?” I asked.

“How many years do you have?” he asked.

“I have ... half an hour,” I said. “Near the witch’s castle.”

“Near the witch’s castle?” he said. “I don’t know. I’ve never been near the witch’s castle. You know, if you don’t have a good reason to go near the witch’s castle, you just tend not to go near the witch’s castle.”

“We’re thinking she has taken the white bear that used to rule here and his wife and children,” I said.

“That’s a pretty good reason to go near the witch’s castle,” Rafael said.

Albrecht looked at him.

“Only if you want to get killed,” he said.

They bickered amongst themselves. It soon broke into Albrecht shouting in Eisen and Rafael shouting in Castillian until they both took a drink and sat down.

“We are planning to go to the witch’s castle and saving this bear and the children,” I said frankly.

“Well, good for you,” Albrecht said. “I wish you the best of luck. Thanks for the drinks.”

“You’re so welcome,” I said.

“Is there any way we could get you to assist us more?” Inara asked.

“How much money have you got?” he said.

She put her hand on his knee. He looked at her a moment.

“That only gets you a discount,” he said.

“How much of a discount would that be,” Nichole said.

“Well, with both of you, significantly more,” he said.

“So, you’re not from Hamlin?” I asked him.

“No, we got here a few years back,” he said.

“Well, we are trying to help this village, because apparently it needs its leaders back,” I said.

“That’s very noble of you,” he said.

“Yes,” I said. “Yes it is. And, if you are not brave enough to face the witch, we understand.”

Albrecht stood up.

“Because I think that all of us here are brave enough to face this ... woman,” I said.

Rafael put a hand on the other man’s shoulder.

“He’s just baiting you,” he said. “Sit down.”

“I mean no offense,” I said. But I did. “But ...”

“Raymondo,” Nichole said.

“Yes?” I said.

“We have asked for the most experienced, most knowledgeable monster hunter ...” she said very slowly.

“Yes, they were shouting that across the room,” I said. “I heard that.”

“Yes, I asked for that information in the castle earlier, and this was the man they told me to talk to,” she went on.

“And that is fine, and I appreciate his knowledge and intelligence, appreciate his candor, but I will not lie,” I said. “If the man is afraid of this witch, he is afraid of this witch.”

“The man has no reason to go after the witch,” she said.

“That is fine,” I agreed. “We do and we are.”

“Exactly,” Donald said.

“I am merely pointing that out,” I said.

With a roar, Albrecht flung the table over at me but I deftly leapt aside.

“You seem to have accidently upset the table,” I said.

“There was no accident!” Albrecht said.

“That was sarcasm!” I replied.

“Fellows!” Inara said.

“We don’ need to fight,” Fernando said drunkenly.

“I believe he’s challenging you!” Donald cried.

Rafael was holding Albrecht back. I merely glared at the man.

“There’s no need for this,” Fernando said again, slurring his speech heavily. “You mus’ excuse m’ friend, Raymondo. He is an idiot.”

“Hey!” I said. “Young is the word you are looking for.”

“Like I say, he is idiot,” he went on. “And I am certain ...”

Donald had turned to me.

“I agree with him,” he said to me.

“So, you are afraid of the witch too?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “I will go to the witch by myself, without them. You are welcome to come if you like.”

“Oh, thank you,” I said.

Fernando and Alonzo were continuing to slander me in an attempt to appease the Eisen hunter.

“Why do you say these things?” I asked Fernando.

“Just to get a rise out of you,” Donald told me.

“They are true, Raymondo!” Alonzo said.

“You should teach your friend that you never insult and Eisen’s courage,” Albrecht growled. “It is worth a blood oath for death.”

“Not friend,” Donald said.

“My friend, did you not say you would not go to see the witch?” I asked.

“I’m not being paid any money to go see the witch,” he said.

“So you are not afraid to see the witch?” I asked.

“I do not foolishly throw away my life,” he said. “If you would like to travel to the witch and be ensnared in her traps, that is your business. Every monster hunter who has ever traveled towards that palace, has never come back.”

“Ah, but I am not a monster hunter,” I said.

“Congratulations,” he replied.

“So, perhaps, that is to my advantage.”

“Oh, I’m sure that will be a real advantage.”

“Well, at least we’ll have someone to throw at the trap,” Nichole said.

“Ah yes, this from a Montaigne,” I muttered, rolling my eyes. “Who will never go first.”

“Honey, I’m just not that stupid,” I heard him say to Inara. Then: “Come on, Rafael.”

They turned to leave.

“Rafael!” I said. “It was a pleasure.”

“Always good to meet a fellow countryman, senor,” Fernando muttered.

“Raymondo, you are very good at making friends,” Donald said to me.

The others then berated me for my treatment of Albrecht. I defended myself, saying that he was not going to help us because he was afraid of the witch. A short argument ensued though Donald said he thought we’d be just fine by ourselves. I agreed with him.

“We could have been finer,” Nichole said.

“We’ll rest up and in the morning we’ll go,” Donald said.

“Tomorrow we go to the tower but I would also like to see if anyone remembers Morgana and her family and there’s something else they can tell us,” Nichole said.

We told her that the lady of the house was going to look into that for us. Nichole pointed out that she had asked the woman to look through the official records but she hoped to find a matron in the city who could give us less official information.

I righted the table

“I very much wanted to see you get your ask kicked,” Fernando said to me.

“Then you should have told that man to try to kick it,” I said.

“I think he would have tried had you kept talking,” he said.

“I did keep talking,” I said.

“That’s a good point,” he said.

“Thank you.”

There was talk of what to do the next day and Dr. Puhe said he would check the bakery as “there’s always good information there.” We discussed, briefly, going the next day, and how to get out of the woods. Donald said he’d ask the various other hunters. I pointed out that I was confident of navigating our way through the woods if the stars were above me, though not so easily in sunlight. I also pointed out that the paths change but the location of the castle did not change. Nichole suggested to Donald to ask about travelling through the woods at night.

At some point, Kai handed me a piece of paper that read “I have to go see something. I think I saw someone I used to know. I’ll be back by morning.” I bid him to be careful.

I headed up to my room and found that the key didn’t fit into the lock. I went back down to innkeeper to tell him the key no longer worked. He apologized and said there was a problem with the room. I was told it was changed out for the next best room and he handed me another key. When I asked who had the best room, he lied to me, claiming there was a maintenance problem, but he would not tell me anymore. He told me all of my things were in the new room and they had changed them very carefully. I told him that my companion would be coming back to the wrong room. He claimed that they would make sure he found his way. I also got 10 cents change for the second best room.

I was awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of someone loudly copulating and some slut shouting in Avalon in the next room, in the room I had rented and that chiseler of a bastard God-damned Eisen innkeeper had then rented out to someone else. After considering for a moment, I let my temper get the better of me and, taking my pistol, went down to the innkeeper’s chambers and pounded on the door.

“Good evening, sir,” I said when that fat bastard answered. “Whatever God-damned *****es you have sold my room to are keeping me up, and if I lose more sleep, I will have to take it out on you. Do you understand me? Am I making myself clear?”

His wife, behind him, fell to her knees and started loudly praying in Eisen.

“You see, I would not mind so much, if I could not have the best room,” I continued. “But for you to sell it, out from under me, to someone else!”

The innkeeper started to offer me sums of money.

“I do not want your money, but you tell them to shut the hell up, because if I do not get a good night’s sleep, tomorrow morning, something bad will happen!” I said. “So, basically, you will shut them up ... that’s it. Yes. You understand? Thank you. You have a very pleasant place. Thank you.”

I went back to my room and pulled my clothes on, gathered my things, and waited for the inevitable. It came a few minutes later as three large, burly Eisen men, who let themselves in my room and ordered me out. I complied after some harsh words, taking my things and going out to the stables, where I slept in the hayloft. I did not have a very good’s night sleep.

* * *

I awoke early the next morning. I was somewhat surprised that Kai was not there for the youth had a way of finding me. I passed Alonzo as he entered the stable.

“You’re up early this morning, Raymondo,” he said to me.

“Yes, I am,” I replied.

“Did you sleep well?” he asked.

“Yes, I did,” I said.

I went to the market and purchased bread and cheese for a light breakfast before I started to look for the boy in the town. After searching for a while, I had not found him, though someone asked if I was looking for a girl named Kaila. Fernando and, of all people, Dr. Puhe found me in the midmorning as I continued to search that town.

“Where were you last night?” Fernando asked.

“I was out,” I said. “I was looking for Kai. I’ve been looking for him all morning and have found no sign of him. I am very worried.”

“We have not found any sign of Kai, but we did find other things that were interesting which might be tied in with wherever he is,” he said. “Come with me.”

“What?” I asked.

“It’s a very long story, we have a meeting to get to but I will explain on the way,” he said.

“What meeting do we have to get to?” I asked.

“It’s too much to explain,” Dr. Puhe said.

“The thing about the Dragonwood and ... stuff,” Fernando said. “I don’t know. The Avalons thought it was important and they are smarter than me so I don’t ask.”

“Fine, fine,” I said.

“But first I have to stop―” he went on.

“I thought the Montaigne was going to talk to someone this morning and the rest of us were going to wait for her and then go to the Drachenwood,” I said.

“Apparently, we’re all going,” he said. “I don’t know.”

“Fine, fine,” I said.

“You are like a mule,” he said. “I will buy you breakfast on the way.”

“I have eaten,” I said.

“I will buy you a better lunch, then,” he said.

“I’m not in the best of moods!” I said.

“I’m sorry, Raymondo,” he said, being uncharacteristically polite for a change. Perhaps he was hung over. His eyes were unusually bloodshot. “We will make one stop first.”

He stopped at the shop of a woman who sold flowers, buying several green ones. I waited on the street, looking out for Kai. Then he led me to the palace and we met the rest. We were taken up to the observatory and allowed to look through a telescope that pointed at the witch’s palace.

It was a large structure and very sizeable, though somewhat run down. They were not exaggerating when they named the place a palace. After looking at it, I took out my compass and compared the angle of the telescope with the device, seeing that the palace lay north by northeast of the castle.

“Uh, Raymondo, I did not tell you,” Donald said. “I have a map now.”

“That is very good,” I said.

“I completely forgot because you weren’t here when I explained it in the bar,” he said.

“Yes, we have a map,” Dr. Puhe told me.

“Yes ... he said so,” I said, pointing to Donald.

“But it is a good thing to take the measurements because Fernando said it changes,” Nichole said to me.

“All I can get is the relative angle from this point,” I said. “Now, if we use the compass in the woods, we would follow a south by southwest direction. It should lead us back here.”

“The way the map is set up, we have enter from up here,” he said.

I asked to see the map and saw that it was very detailed. He pointed out that we had to travel north along the woods and then head east into the woods at a certain point. It was a very good map and I complimented him on it.

“Very well, let’s follow the map,” I said, unenthusiastically.

“Raymondo, where is your servant?” Alonzo asked.

“I cannot find him,” I confessed again. “And I reluctant to leave this filthy town before I have found him.”

“Raymondo, before I tell you what I think I might know about Kai, I must ask you a question,” Fernando said. “How long has the boy been in your care?”

“It has been several months,” I said. “It has been ever since I entered Eisen.”

“How did you come by him?” he asked.

I frowned.

“He saved my life,” I said. “We were on a caravan together. He woke me and took me away from the rest. At which point, at least a hundred bandits attacked the caravan. And though I tried to intervene, he stopped me, knowing ... more wisely than I ... that there was no way I could defeat so many men. Perhaps half that number, perhaps not.”

“Well, then I have some news that is going to surprise you more than a little bit,” Fernando said. “Your manservant is a young woman.”

“No, he is not a woman,” I said, laughing. “That is insane.”

“There is a local family with a portrait that would beg to differ,” Fernando said.

“It doesn’t surprise me much,” Dr. Puhe said under his breath.

“Apparently Kai, or as they call her, Kaila, has ... uh ... been betrothed for quite some time,” he said. “She’s on her way to meet her future husband in Vendel.”

“What?” I said.

I was certain, without a shadow of a doubt, that Kai would not have left without telling me or at least saying good-bye. We had been through too much together.

“The fact that he, she, it, whatever, has just disappeared is unsettling,” Donald said. “Given especially the fact that we know when he is touched, he very―”

“He is touched by a man,” Nichole said nastily.

“Touched by a man,” Donald said.

“Did she take the road?” addled Alonzo asked.

“Wait!” I said. “Who is this Vendel?”

I had the worst sort of suspicion forming. My father once told me that those who believed in coincidence were fools and, for one impossibly clear and precise moment, I felt horribly certain I knew who that Vendel merchant might be.

“The country Vendel,” Fernando said to me.

“No, who is this Vendel person?” I asked again.

“No no no no, Vendel is not a person, it’s a place,” Fernando told me. “The person is Sigurd Valsund―”

They had told each other I was an idiot so often that they had forgotten I was not. I put my fingers to the bridge of my nose and sighed.

“Vendel is a group of islands,” Nichole chimed in.

“Yes, I know what Vendel is!” I said, my voice rising. “Who is this Vendel person!?!”

“Oh,” Nichole said.

“What is he?” I continued loudly. “Is he some nobleman?”

“Sigurd Valsund?” Fernando said.

“A merchant,” Inara said.

“A merchant?” I said. I feared more and more I was right.

“Another merchant family,” Nichole added.

“He’s a merchant?” I said again.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Do you know what he looks like?” I asked.

“I have no idea, but I―” Fernando said.

“Do you know if he has a BLUE BEARD?” I asked. “Because, I really need to know this!”

“You know, I never thought of that,” he admitted.

“Where can I find out?” I said as calmly as I could.

“You could probably ask―” Nichole started to say.

“I don’t think we should tell him,” Donald, of all people, said. “He looks a bit peeved.”

“No, I am more ‘peeved’ at you people,” I said.

“I think Raymondo is right. I think maybe we should follow,” Alonzo said. “What road did she take out of town?”

“If this is true―” I started to say.

“She took a ship,” Inara said.

“They went by boat!” Nichole said. “If they went by the river, they will go to the south.”

“We can go to the ship master and look at the records,” Alonzo said.

“How did you find this information out?” I asked Fernando.

“We need to get to the docks as soon as possible,” he replied.

“They said they left at sunrise,” Inara said.

“We need to find a faster boat,” Fernando said.

“No, I need you to find out, from whomever you found this other information out, this man that she is betrothed to, and if this is even Kai, which I have very great doubts―” I said.

“All the people here who think that Kai is Kaila, raise your hand,” Fernando said.

They all did so.

“The picture looked like the boy,” Inara said.

“All right, very well,” I said. “Let’s take your hypothesis as fact.”

“Yes, let’s,” Fernando said.

“I still need to know what this merchant looks like, because if he has a blue beard and you are correct in that Kai has been a girl, of which I am still of sincere doubt, though I do not believe, my friends, that you are lying, I believe you believe this,” I said. “In any case, we need to find out this man, what was his name?”

“Sigurd Valsund,” Fernando said.

“Sigurd Valsund, we need to find out if he has a blue beard,” I said. “If you are not willing to let me speak, because I am upset, perhaps you can find out yourselves.”

“Very well,” Donald said. “Are you going to behave?”

“I will take you Raymondo, but if you are going to have an outburst like you had at the inn last night ...” Fernando said.

“Were her parents the innkeeper?” I asked. “The innkeeper who lied to me and took my room? Is this the same man? Is it? You met the man. Is it the innkeeper?”

“No,” Donald said.

“I’ll be fine,” I said.

“He lives down the street,” Inara said. “He’s a merchant.”

“He took your room?” Nichole said.

“Do they speak Castillian?” I asked.

“No,” Donald and Fernando said as one.

I sighed.

“I hate this country,” I said.

“I think we are the only people in this country that speak Castillian,” Fernando said.

Alonzo told us he would go to the dock and try to find out what he could about the boat that had taken her. Then he was gone. The rest of us headed back into that horrible town. Dr. Puhe stayed at the observatory.

One of them knocked on the door of the quaint little house. It was opened by an elderly woman who seemed surprised to see us. Donald spoke with her in Eisen for a moment. I started asking what they were saying and Nichole was kind enough to translate, telling me the woman wanted to know if we wanted to look at the portrait.

We entered the house and were shown into a quaint sitting room.

“This is a portrait of Kaila,” Donald said to me as the woman brought us a portrait.

It was Kai though the boy’s hair was longer and he looked younger. I did not know what to say, how to react. I couldn’t believe my own eyes. But it was the boy. The girl.

“Ask her about this ... betrothed,” I said quietly to Donald.

He spoke with her in Eisen. The woman left the room and Nichole told me she was getting the girl’s father. Some minutes later, a man entered. He looked fairly imposing: His hair was growing silver at his temple, he had a thick beard, and was very well-dressed. He looked at us and then spoke in Eisen. Even though I couldn’t understand what he was saying, he oozed insincerity, veritably dripping it out of his pores like some weasel.

Donald spoke to the man at some length and I asked Nichole what he was saying. She said Donald had asked the man to describe the betrothed, though the man seemed suddenly on his guard.

“What does he look like?” I asked Nichole as the man spoke.

“He hasn’t said yet,” she told me.

“Offer the man money,” I said, pulling coins from my pocket and beginning to shuffle them in my hand. “Twenty guilders.”

Donald spoke to the man again. Then Nichole talked to him and he started speaking again, moving his arms as he described the man. First he held them out as if describing a large man and then moved his hands by his face.

“What is he saying?” I asked quietly.

He continued to talk and finally fluffed his own beard a little bit. They continued to talk and I turned to Nichole again.

“Blue beard,” she said.

“So, he has a blue beard, is that what this man is saying?” I asked.

“Yes, he has a blue beard,” Donald said.

“Ah,” I replied.

Nichole spoke to the man in his own tongue again and he responded.

“What is he saying?” I asked.

Donald said something to the man with almost a laugh and then looked at me.

“Bluebeard,” he simply said.

“This is our guy,” Fernando said.

“Please thank the man for selling his daughter to a maniac who kills people,” I said.

I graciously handed him the 20 guilder as Donald said something else to him in his own tongue.

“You are a piece of filth who has sold his daughter who will now die soon,” I said, still smiling graciously. “It is a horrible thing which you have done and you will regret it for the rest of your life. May a curse fall upon your entire family.”

“That’s a very impolite thing to say in a man’s home,” he replied in Castillian.

I felt my false smile grow into a real one. If this man could understand me I could really give him a good tongue lashing!

“It is impolite and I apologize for the fact that we found a dead body who’s apparently the victim of this Bluebeard who you have sold your daughter to,” I said, somehow staying calm.

“That’s impossible,” he replied. “He’s a Vendel merchant; I’ve known him for years.”

“The woman was clutching a note that said ‘Find Bluebeard’ on it,” Fernando said.

“She was gutted of all her internal organs,” I said. “Above and below.”

“Hollowed out like a log used to make a canoe,” Fernando said.

To that man’s credit, he looked sickened.

“This can’t possibly be right,” he said.

I felt pity for the greedy fool.

“Perhaps you did not know,” I said. “I apologize for what I have said because―”

“Is there any way to call her back,” Nichole said.

“No, she’s already with his people,” he said.

“Do you have a more definite location where we could find her?” Donald asked.

“She went on the boat this morning,” he said.

He gave us the name of the boat and when they left.

“Which town is he from?” I asked.

“I’ll look it up in my records,” he said.

“Please,” I replied.

He left us only a few moments before returning with a large ledger. He told us that the city of Kirk on the Vendel Isle of Oddiswulf was where payments went.

“Does he, perchance use for his signature, signet, a blue sapphire?” Nichole asked.

Someone pulled out the ring.

“Yes, yes,” Kaila’s father said. “That’s his.”

“We found that ring on the girl,” she said.

The man looked sincerely upset.

“Very well,” I said.

“It seems we have a new quest,” Donald said.

“You have my word that I will try to return your daughter as soon as possible,” I said to the man. “And I apologize for what I said. You obviously did not know what you did.”

“On his honor as a Castillian!” Donald said.

I looked at the man.

“Well said,” I said.

“Not mine,” he went on.

“Not surprising,” I said.

I headed out of the room towards the market, planning on buying equipment and either a fast horse or passage on the next boat that would leave that filthy, rat-infested town. I planned on leaving the musket and horse that Professor Eckhart had leant me with the others so they could fulfill our initial task.

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