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Max_Writer

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 - Luxit Sol Campaign Session Four - Arrest

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Friday, November 13, 2015

(After playing Kit Howard’s D&D 3.5 game Wednesday, November 11, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. with James Dixon, Katelyn Hogan, and Ethan Gordon.)

From the recollections of Rory Buttertongue - Halfling

I had a very strange dream that second night we spent in Denrith. First, I heard the words “Protect me.” Then I saw a face with glasses on it, though I couldn’t see the face. The person was also holding a slingshot. He wore a ring on the index finger of the hand he held the pouch with while the other two were on the hafts of the slingshot itself.

* * *

I woke on the 3rd day in Denrith when someone knocked on my door and called my name.

“How’s your head?” I heard Dack Fel yell.

“Wha?” I called back.

I was a bit out of it but at least didn’t have a headache.

“Can I come in?” he called.

“Hold on,” I muttered. “Wait a minute. I gotta find the key.”

I found all my things and then climbed up onto the bed to reach the shutters of the window, opening them up. I took a deep breath of the morning air. Light poured in. I went over and opened the door.

“What?” I asked. “What do you want? C’mon in.”

I picked up my items and unlocked my chest to get the rest.

“I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me but, since you wanted to get that mole rat thing stuffed, we’re going to have to find a house to keep it in,” he said.

“Oh, that’s a good idea,” I said. “I’ll be right down.”

“Okay,” he said.

He left. I used the chamber pot and then went down for breakfast, which was extensive. There were eggs, chunks of ham, and a sweet summer wine. I filled the plate until it was almost overflowing and joined the others at a table.

“Sorry I’m late,” I said. “What’d I miss?”

“Not much,” Arya said.

“You look radiant this morning.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome!”

“About time you woke up.”

I had dug into my food but stopped.

“I overslept,” I said. “But, you know what? Oh, that’s right! Someone was in my room last night!”

“Oh really?” John Wayne said.

“No,” I said, thinking. “Maybe it was a dream. I woke up and I thought I saw somebody fiddlin’ with this.”

I pulled out the pouch I’d found with the three rings and the spectacles within.

“Anything gone?” John Wayne asked.

“No, I checked,” I said. “Everything’s in the room. And then I had this weird dream. Let’s see. Wait! I’m going to have to try this out. There was a figure and he had my magic item. And he had my slingshot and he took two of the rings and he had a ring here and a ring here and then I put another ring on this finger. And then I put the spectacles on.”

I had put a ring on either of the hafts of the slingshot and slipped the third onto my finger. Then I put on the spectacles.

“How do I look?” I said.

The rings fit onto the slingshot and over the rubber band. I heard a buzzing in my right ear.

“I probably shouldn’t shoot anything in here, should I?” I said.

I pulled back the slingshot.

“I guess I’ll try it outside and see what happens,” I said.

“Wait, you found rings?” Dack Fel asked.

“The things we found in that chest with the kobold wizard,” I said. “Remember we each found something?” I pointed to John Wayne. “He had those gloves, they’re all bloody now. She got that and you got that cloak of yours. I think it was a dream. It must’ve been.”

“How come you get a dream?” Arya said. “I don’t even know what this thing does.”

She gestured at the guard on her arm.

“We should try it out!” I said. “Oh, you shot your bow. Why don’t we find a bard today and he could tell you a legend about it?”

“Legends are not answers,” she said.

“Ah, but he could help point you in the right direction,” I said.

I took the spectacles off and when I turned over the slingshot, the rings fell off the hafts. I left the ring on my right index finger. Then I tucked the spectacles away with the other rings.

“We’ll try it out after breakfast,” I said. “Oh, and I thought I saw someone in my room and he was looking at this, at my pouch and my stuff. And I couldn’t move and I went back to sleep. Maybe it was a dream. It might’ve been a dream too, but it felt so real!”

“Did you hurt anybody in your dream?” Dack Fel asked. “Or did the figure hurt anybody in your dream?”

“No, he was pointing … wait, which figure? The figure I thought was in my room?”

“No, the figure in your dream.”

“No, he just was aiming.”

“We had similar dreams except my dream, the figure wearing my cloak, exactly the same as yours, seems to have decapitated a guard.”

“Well, tell me exactly what happened.”

He said he had heard a voice saying “Someone is after me. Protect me. With a calm center, think of death and I will assist you the most.” Then the man had swung his hand and decapitated a guard.

“So, try that next time you see a guard,” I suggested. “Maybe it’s a cloak of guard decapitation.”

“I don’t think I’m going to try that on a guard,” he said.

Arya looked very disturbed.

I asked John Wayne what his dream had been about. He said his had started out with someone saying “Help me, don’t squelch me.” I suggested that sounded like a jingle for some product. The voice had gone on: “For if you do, I cannot help you.” Then he saw a figure going through a war zone beating up everyone while wearing his gloves. Dack Fel thought the figures were supposed to be us.

Arya said she had a dream as well. She said she had seen a bloody figure with a broken composite bow stagger back and then had seen an army of orcs. The lone figure wore the guard she had on her wrist. She remembered the words “Something is after us. Protect me. Think of me in dire need and I will be there to protect you.”

“These are riddles!” I said. “I love riddles!”

John Wayne suggested we have a magician examine our items and I told him I was going to try out my own item and see if anything happened. Then I finished my breakfast. I hadn’t had before-dinner or after-dinner the night before so I was very hungry. Once I finished, I called over one of the innkeeper’s wives. I asked her who we’d talk to about buying or renting a house. She told me we should go to the housing authority. I thanked her and looked on my deluxe map for the place. It was easy to find and stood only a little ways away in the market. We decided to look into getting a more permanent place to stay in the city.

“Then you can get your bird or whatever you want,” I said to Dack Fel.

“I can’t get a bird,” he said.

“Your pet?”

“They’re expensive.”

“Then you can go borrow a bird … that you’ll give back at the appropriate time to the person you borrowed it from. Borrow. Borrow. Borrow a bird.”

We left the inn and found the market, as always, packed. I looked for a target to test the slingshot on. There were birds flying overhead.

“Rory, be careful with that,” Dack Fel said. “Rory. Be careful. Careful. Don’t.”

I put on the spectacles and the other two rings on the slingshot and once again felt the tickle in my right ear. I looked around but no one was near me. I scratched it. Then I spotted a seagull and shot at it with the slingshot. The bullet missed completely. I tried again and when I aimed, my ear tickled again. I told the others about it.

“He’s gone weird,” Arya said.

I looked at her.

“She has a little crush on me, I think,” I said to the others.

I shot a sparrow and the bird exploded into feathers and dead flesh, falling to the ground nearby. Arya and Dack Fel laughed uproariously at it.

“Definitely magic,” I said. “Definitely magic.”

I put the items away again. En route, Dack Fel stopped at one of the stalls. He soon rejoined us.

The housing authority was in a warehouse. There were two doors, one with a line. I asked the man at the back of the line what it was for and he told me it was for housing. I asked about the other door and he said it was for people new to the city. I thanked him and we went into the batwing doors without the line. There were several small booths set into the walls of the room with. We went through the empty line.

A small blonde woman was in the booth.

“Hello, my name is Jenny!” she said loudly.

“Hello Jenny!” I said.

“Are you here for housing?” she asked.

“Why, yes we are!” I said.

“Good, are you new to the city?”

“We’ve only been here for … this is our third day here.”

“Okay, please, hand here. Let’s verify that.”

She held out one of those magic books.

“Sure,” I said.

I put my hand on the book.

“Three days, wow!” she said. “Most people don’t make it here for a couple of weeks. What are you looking for?”

I told her we were looking for a place to rent or purchase in the market district. She asked how many rooms we were looking for and we told her we were looking for four rooms with a kitchen and sitting room.

“Something nice but not terribly expensive,” I said.

“I’ve got just the thing!” Jenny said.

“We’re not terribly rich,” I told her.

Arya looked annoyed with her.

“We’ve got just the thing!” Jenny said again.

“I like her,” I said. “She’s happy.”

“Oh, you can like her all you want,” Arya said with a glare.

Jenny showed us some houses in the market district, back from the main market area. We looked at a few that morning and found them adequate. All were a single story with several bedrooms, an indoor privy, and kitchen and living area. All were located near public wells in the area. The price of the one for rent we liked the best was about 15 gold coins per mouth, which included a pebble for utilities. We looked at a few houses to buy, which looked better.

We discussed buying vs. renting during lunch but decided to rent. We talked to Jenny again and learned there was a one-month deposit in addition to the first month’s rent. We paid the money and she said we also got the utility pebble. When I asked what that was, she said there were two pebbles, one for heating the fireplace in the living room and activating the small, pot-bellied stove in the kitchen, and one for flushing the privy. We also got a large, complex lock for the front door if we wished to lock up the house. Dack Fel signed the paperwork for the rental, something we would eventually regret.

I asked how the pebbles in the house worked and Jenny explained. If one took the heat pebble to the fireplace or the stove and thought of something warm, it lit the fire. The fireplace in the entry room and a small stove in the kitchen could both be lit. Testing proved though there was wood in the fireplace, using the fire didn’t actually burn it. The privy had a pebble embedded in the wall. When it was touched, the bottom of the privy opened and anything there was sucked down into the sewers. We would have to replace the pebbles every month.

I’d already paid for the night at the Scented Seasons so I spent one last night at the inn. I learned I had actually purchased the locks there so would be allowed to keep them.

* * *

The fourth day of our arriving in Denrith, I went to the house and asked the others to help me get the rat ogre I’d had stuffed. Dack Fel joked we should pebble the thing to make it easier to carry but I told him they’d chop off some bit of it and send us the rest. I thought it a terrible idea.

We went to the booth called “I Stuff Things!” and found Samuel the gnome. The stuffed rat ogre was pretty frightening-looking. Samuel had done a good job and it looked better than I thought it would. I paid him the other 25 silver coins I owed and Arya and John Wayne helped haul it back to the house. We put it in the living area facing the front door.

We spent the rest of the day buying furniture. I made sure I got a child’s size feather bed, the equivalent of a king-sized bed for me. There was also a chest with a sturdy lock for my room. We got kitchen implements and a table and chairs as well as a few places to sit in the living room. We got lamps and candles to use in the house too. It left us a few gold coins and we decided to keep it in a chest in the living room for us as a group.

* * *

I cooked breakfast on our fifth day in Denrith and the egg soufflé was delicious, if I do say so myself. It was my grandmother’s recipe and was amazing.

“Right, so what’s our plan for today?” I asked. “We got a house for the next 30 days. We got some food in the pantry. It’s good. I got a room next to a beautiful lady.”

Arya just looked at me.

“I’d like to take that translating job to make back some of that money we just spent,” John Wayne said.

“How much does it pay?” I asked. “We’re asking in advance this time.”

“No idea. I haven’t checked.”

“Because that 20 gold was not worth it.”

“It’s a few days work.”

“So, what’s the plan? You want to go on the translating job? Now wait, what did it say on the board? Is that a time thing? We gotta go on a sailing ship?”

“Yes.”

“Ooo! A cruise!” I said, clapping my hands in excitement.

“But the lost dog …” Dack Fel said.

I suggested we get the information on the translation job and if it was going to take a while, they could tell us when we would be leaving. If it wasn’t immediate, we could go look for the lost puppy.

“And we should be able to find the puppy,” I said. “We’ve got the best tracker in the world here.”

I pointed at Arya.

“I wouldn’t say that,” she said.

“I would,” I said.

We headed down to the docks. According to the magical map, we were supposed to talk to Brigadier Stutterlynch. On the way, Dack Fel gave a bottle of milk to a beggar. Arya looked at him suspiciously. We finally arrived at an older, regal-looking three-masted ship, practically a galleon. It was painted red and had an elaborate figurehead. There was no name on the bow, which I found strange.

“This is a fancy ship,” I said.

I looked to the ship on beside it. It was called Queen Diane. I looked on the other side of the red ship and saw that vessel was named The Porcelain Doll.

“That’s unusual,” I said. “There’s no name on the ship.”

“Maybe it doesn’t have a name,” Arya said.

No Name. Then it should say No Name.”

“Maybe that’s the name.”

“Then it would be on the ship.”

“This is a new ship,” John Wayne said.

The ship did look new. Perhaps no one had named it yet. It looked like it was spit-polished and perfectly clean as if had been kept up since the day it had been laid down, or it was newly in the water.

“And we’re after the Brigadier so it’s a military vessel, potentially,” I said.

A Luxit Sol flag flew on the vessel.

“Let’s go on board,” I said.

“Are we allowed on board?” Arya said.

I walked up the gangplank and saw a few scraggly men on the deck. One of them stopped us. He had dark skin and dark hair.

“What can I help you with?” he asked.

“We’re here to see Brigadier …” I said.

“Stutterlynch,” both Arya and John Wayne said.

“Stutterlynch,” I said.

“You’re here to see the commander?” the man said. “All right. Hold on one sec. I need you to step back off the vessel. He gets very, very fussy with people getting on his boat.”

I backed down the gangplank.

“This is a boat?” I said. “I thought this was a ship.”

“Boat, ship, it floats on water, it gets us from point A to point B, he likes it different ways but that’s not me,” the man said before disappearing into the ship.

While we waited on the dock I took out the slingshot and started experimenting with the rings. I tried different rings on the hafts and my right index finger, putting the spectacles on as well. After some experimentation, I put different rings on the hafts and my finger until, at one point, the rings on the haft slid down over the rubber band and seemed to connect themselves to the slingshot. I put the last ring on my right index finger and put on the spectacles. When I aimed the slingshot I got a humming in my right ear, and crosshairs appeared on the spectacles. I guessed it would make bullets strike more accurately. The rings were now part of the slingshot and didn’t come back off. Likewise, the ring on my index finger couldn’t be removed. I tucked the spectacles away.

I told the others what I had discovered in great excitement. Dack Fel was wearing a plain, boring cloak by the time I got done with my own fiddling.

A man with a peg leg walked onto the deck. He wore a huge, blue admiral’s hat and had a ridiculously long and curly mustache and whiskers. His gray hair was cut in a huge pompadour and he wore a military jacket. He also had a monocle over one eye and that eye looked a different color than the other eye. Very strange.

“Edwards!” he screamed back towards the ship. “Edwards! Where are they!?! You said they were up here! Where are they!?!”

“Hello,” Arya said.

I waved.

The other man, presumably Edwards, came out and pointed us out.

“Down there, sir,” he said. “Down there.”

“Oh!” Brigadier Stutterlynch said. “Okay lads!”

He headed down the gangplank very quickly and his peg leg got stuck. He stopped and almost fell but miraculously stood straight back up and then kept walking towards us. It was very strange.

“Hello gentlemen!” he shouted at us. “I’m Brigadier Stutterlynch! What can I do for you!?!”

“We’re here about the translating job,” John Wayne said.

“Oh yes!” Brigadier Stutterlynch shouted. “Yes! My young … elf? And elf and human and … what the hell are you!?!”

“I’m a walking mouth,” I said.

“Even better!” he cried.

“I said Halfling,” I said.

He stopped and looked at me for a moment, then seemed to carry on as if it hadn’t happened.

“Yes!” he shouted. “Translation!”

It was again, very strange. As if he had suddenly become another person.

“Brilliant!” he said, pointing us out once again as if he was cataloguing it. “Yes, walking mouth! We made need that!” He turned to John Smith. “Do you speak elvish!?!”

“Yes,” John Wayne said.

“Prove it to me!” he cried.

John Wayne started speaking hesitantly to the man in elvish.

“Okay!” Brigadier Stutterlynch said and turned to Arya. “Can you!?!”

She also spoke to him in elvish.

“Do you speak Halfling?” Dack Fel asked me.

“Yes,” I said.

They were still jabbering away in elvish.

“What’s going on?” I asked when they stopped talking.

“It’s going to be a three-day trip,” John Wayne said.

“Leaving when?” I asked.

Brigadier Stutterlynch continued to talk to Arya in Elvish.

“When do we leave?” I asked.

“Two hundred gold,” John Wayne said. “Three days out and three days back.”

“Bargain,” Dack Fel said to John Wayne. “Three hundred gold.”

Brigadier Stutterlynch continued to talk in Elvish, which seemed pretty rude to me.

“It’s going to be 10 days actually,” John Wayne told me.

“Ten days?” I said. “When do we leave?”

“In five days,” Arya said.

Arya told me there were issues with sea elves. Apparently the Brigadier needed the elves to communicate with the sea elves as they were being rambunctious.

“Oh, we have to talk to ‘em?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“Oh! Oh! I’m good at that.”

“Because they’re causing the ship problems.”

“All right. I’ll talk to people. I like talking to people.”

“In Elvish?”

“Uh … um. Well, I’ll smile a lot. You know, if you talk loud enough …”

“No.”

“… and you talk slowly enough.”

“You might piss them off.”

The Brigadier, meanwhile, had been speaking to John Wayne in Elvish now. It was very strange.

“I’m up for this if the rest of you are,” I said.

“Doesn’t sound too hard,” Arya said. “Sea elves.”

“Piece of cake,” Dack Fel said.

“I see your friends have filled you in on most of it!” Brigadier Stutterlynch said. “I’ll see you in a couple days!”

He headed back up the gangplank, tripping once again and almost falling before suddenly standing back up straight and continuing on to disappear on the ship. It was very strange.

We headed up the dock.

“So, where’s this dog?” I asked.

“Billy the kid,” Dack Fel said. “Northern market district.”

I looked on the deluxe map as we walked back up through the market district. I fell back from the rest and picked a random man’s pocket. Then, up ahead of me, a man who Dack Fel bumped into grabbed him by the wrist.

“Excuse me,” Dack Fel said.

“Guard!” the man yelled. “Guard!”

I panicked and rushed at the man.

“Get out of my way, you filthy beggar!” I yelled, slamming into the man’s legs from behind.

I kept running, not even looking back, until I the commotion behind me stopped. Then I slowed my pace and walked to where we were supposed to meet with Jimmy the kid. I pebbled the money pouch I’d gotten and handed off the cheese it became to the nearest beggar en route. I waited there for about a half hour but my companions didn’t arrive, so I went home. I found three gold coins and 50 silver coins from the thieves’ guild on my bed.

* * *

I later learned from the others my attempt to knock the man over had failed and he kept hold of Dack Fel, who tried to claim he’d merely bumped into him. Arya apparently tried to claim Dack Fel was simple minded but the man wasn’t convinced. The guards then arrived and she tried to tell them the same story, but one of them took out one of those damned magic books and grabbed Dack Fel’s hand and put it upon it. They noted he had been in the military and the thieves’ guide and seized Dack Fel, dragging him off to gaol.

Arya and John Wayne went to the gaol and found out Dack Fel would be sentenced the next day. It would be listed on a board on the wall outside of the gaol.

* * *

Arya finally got home while I was baking some potatoes for lunch.

“Where’s Dack?” I asked her. “He got accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Or something. I didn’t really see clearly.”

“I saw his hand in that man’s pocket,” she said.

“Oh right. Okay, so he got caught pick-pocketing. And I tried to help him out.”

“So, what’s that about?”

“He likes to pick pockets, apparently. I’m a locksmith though. That’s all I do is pick locks.”

“Sure.”

“Now, c’mon now. Where’s that other fellow? Where’s John Wayne?”

“He’s out training.”

“All right. He seems really … worried about stealing. So if you don’t tell him about Dack’s picking pockets, it would probably be for the best. Or you could also blackmail Dack. It’s a possibility.”

“He already asked.”

“Oh, he asked?”

“Yeah.”

“What did you tell him?”

“Uh.”

“Did you tell him the truth?”

“Uh … yeah.”

“Oh. Fair enough. Is he going to go kill Dack?”

“No. No. He just wanted to know.”

“Well, Dack has his name on our rental so they might seize all our property.”

“Let’s hope not.”

“That’s why I got all my stuff out. It’s in my pockets.”

“Well, I did see him take that cash from that man’s pocket.”

“Wait, what?”

“Wait, what?”

“When? What cash from what man’s pocket?”

“Nothing. Nothing.”

“No no no, don’t you ‘nothing’ me.”

“Oh, you don’t worry about it.”

“I do worry. The man in the market or some other man?”

“No, not the man in the market. Don’t worry about it.”

“What other man?”

“It’s just his pick-pocketing thing, like you said?”

“When?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“It does!”

“You don’t seem to care about the man in the market.”

“You would tell John Wayne but you won’t tell me? My feelings are very hurt right now.”

“I told you he was pick-pocketing from that man.”

“Yes, but what about this other man he pick-pocketed from? Who was this other man? Just tell me.”

She walked out and I followed her. She turned back towards me as if she was going to kick me.

“No!” I said. “Get away from me! What other man did he take from?”

“You’re not going to be mad if I tell you, are you?” she asked. “You’re not going to tell him, are you?”

“Well, I might tell him I noticed.”

“But you’re not going to be mad at him?”

“No. Look, he’s a thief. He’s a thief. He steals.”

“Oh, is he?”

“Well, I guess. I … he apparently steals. He got caught for it.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because it’s happening.”

“Well, they did say he was in the thieves’ guild. What is that?”

“What? Iunno. I’m a locksmith. That’s why I asked about getting a little shop in the market so that I could start a little locksmith shop. Take old locks and fix ‘em up and sell ‘em. For profit.”

“I tried to help. Tried to say he wasn’t there.”

“Not that. That other man you said he stole from.”

She just looked at me.

“Just tell me!” I said. “I won’t be mad.”

“Okay,” she said. “Remember the man they detained? You were knocked out for a while. Yeah, you were knocked out. That’s why you didn’t notice.”

“Oh, that one that attacked me from behind?”

“Yeah. He took some gold from him, I think.”

“Oh. You might should ask him about that.”

“I don’t care that much.”

“Well, we should have equal shares, shouldn’t we?”

“Meh. He did get the last kill.”

“All right. I might ask him about it. Might tell him I had a dream or something about it, how about that?”

“I don’t think so. Of course, I don’t think he noticed that I noticed.”

“Fine, then I’ll just ask him if that man had anything on him.”

“Why do you need to talk to him?”

“Because, if he got gold, we should get some. You and me and him … and John Wayne too, who took a bit of a pounding and had to spend a bunch of money on healing. I don’t know how much he spent but I’m sure it wasn’t cheap.”

“This isn’t that big of a deal to me.”

“If you don’t want me to, I won’t.”

“Don’t. Don’t.”

“All right. I won’t.”

I had gotten so involved in the conversation that the potatoes burned. I ate what I could of them but Arya declined. I offered her some carrots from the pantry. She told me what had happened to Dack Fel. John Wayne returned a few hours later and I gave him some of the cold, burnt potatoes.

“She told me that Dack Fel was arrested,” I said to him.

“He was,” he said.

“That’s a shame. Were you able to talk to him? Could you go in and speak to him?”

“Nope. Wasn’t allowed to speak to him.”

“All right. So, she said sentencing was tomorrow.”

“Well, it’s going to be posted tomorrow,” Arya said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be tomorrow.”

We decided to wait until the next day to see what his sentence was.

* * *

After the elves went to bed that night, I snuck into Dack Fel’s room and searched it. I opened up the locked door and the locked chest and found clothing, extra daggers, a document with his real name on it, and a journal. There was a small bag of 15 gold pieces on the bed as well. I guessed that was from the thieves’ guild. I didn’t figure I had time to read the journal but I might be able to read it at some point.

I put everything back exactly where it was and then crept out, locking his door behind me.

* * *

The next day, the sixth since we’d come to Denrith, I got up and made us all breakfast of eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, and toasted bread. I slipped into Dack’s room and took the bag of gold from his bed. I figured we might need money for him. After we ate, I had the others take me to the gaol. I didn’t want to go but I did.

We found a sentence had been set for Dack Fel: Seven Days - Ten Lashings Times Stocks. We found him in the stocks near the market district. It looked like he’d has his face beaten as well. I expected that as I always thought gaol was a terrible place. However, I noticed none of the other people in the stocks had their faces beaten.

“Who beat you up?” I asked. “Did you mouth off? You talked, didn’t you?”

“We have a special friend that works here,” he said.

“Who?”

“One of the four jerks back from basic.”

“Which one?”

“The cleric.”

“Oh.”

Arya glared. She had been the one who had fought the cleric when we first joined up months before.

“You said she beat the crap out of you?” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “And there’s not much I could have done about it.”

“There was some money on your bed,” I whispered to him. “We’ll start with that. Fair enough? I know where it’s from. Wait! Where your pebble?”

“I don’t know,” he whispered back.

“Next time swallow it,” I said.

“Just get me out of here,” he said.

“All right,” I said. “Let’s go. C’mon.”

“Don’t bribe them!” he called.

We went into the gaol and asked if there as any way to make a payment in lieu of Dack’s punishment. He told us the only way to do it was to get a specific letter from Dack Fel saying he was sorry and delivering it to the man he robbed. We could talk to the man he robbed, but only with the escort of a guard. Then the victim would have a choice of what he wanted for reprimand. I asked for the escort.

I went back out to talk to Dack Fel.

“Do you have any more money at the house?” I asked.

“Yes,” he growled.

“How much?”

“Enough.”

“How much? I need a number.”

I told him exactly what we were going to do and reminded him the man might want a good amount of money. I told him I needed to know, that I could get into wherever he locked it and might use it to pay the man. He guessed he had about 80 gold pieces so that gave us a total of potentially 95 gold coins.

The man who was to act as our escort did not look like a typical guard but carried himself more like a house guard or a personal bodyguard. He took us to the nobles’ quarters to a specific mansion. He went to the door and talked to a servant who led him into the house. We waited outside for them. He returned after a few minutes and told us the lord Dack Fel has insulted was Duke Brennan. The duke said his day with his children was interrupted and it was something he liked to do, so we had to come up with something his children would like. John Wayne asked about the duke’s children and we learned he had a boy of 13 and a girl of about nine years old.

We talked, just the three of us.

“I don’t want to go near the duke,” I confessed. “Because, I realize I shouldn’t have been in such a hurry. I yelled ‘Get out of the way, filthy beggar’ and I ran into him as I ran by.”

I glanced at the house, fearful the duke might be watching. I pulled my hood up to obscure my features as well.

“It’s up to you two, so … I dunno,” I went on. “Take ‘em to the zoo or something.”

We discussed it. I suggested as a beautiful woman, Arya would entertain them. She said she could tell them stories of her homeland. I noted it would be appropriate if Dack Fel had to do it. Then I had it!

“We can sent a proposal to the duke that the perpetrator will dress up as a jester and do magic tricks,” I said. “You know, things like pull pennies out of their ears and make cards magically disappear. We could send that to him and note it would an appropriate punishment, if the duke is willing. He would do tricks for his children and entertain them for as long as the duke so wishes.”

“Or maybe the children could just throw food at him,” Arya said.

We told the guard and sent that proposal back to the duke. I also suggested the duke could pick the jester costume. The guard left for a bit and returned. He told us the duke was fine with it with the stipulations it be done in the public market and the orphan children would be invited as well. The duke also had a costume in mind.

He escorted us back to the gaol and the guard told us to wait. He returned with a piece of paper we were tell the guard to give to Dack Fel. We went to the stockades and were to return that night. I told Dack Fel everything that had happened with the duke. I advised him to take the blame in the apology letter, perhaps noting he was misguided and regretted what he’d done. Then we left, returning at nightfall to take the apology letter.

* * *

On our seventh day in Denrith, I fixed us breakfast before we headed out. We left for the market and eventually made our way to the market center, where the show would probably take place. I went into the Scented Seasons Inn and asked if they had a room on the second floor overlooking the market square. Unfortunately they didn’t. Instead, I crept into the market square and found a niche I could hide near a booth where I could see the market square but remain hidden. I soon saw the Duke in the center of the market square. There were a lot of children around and a lot of people had rotten fruit and vegetables.

Dack Fel arrived shortly in the most ridiculous jester outfit I’d ever seen. It had massive shoes and bells everywhere. Only his face and his buttocks were uncovered. He looked like a raggedy hobo.

That’s the worst suit ever, I thought.

I realized I should have brought him some cards to do card tricks or perhaps makeup for his terribly bruised and beaten face. Oh well.

Dack Fel talked to a guard who didn’t seem want to talk to him. He then talked to John Wayne and Arya for a few moments. The two left and John Wayne brought him various items. Then he was pushed towards the middle of the square. Then the Duke came forward.

“Ladies and gentlemen, in regards to my son and daughter’s birthdays, today, all day, we will be having entertainment from … Lester the Jester! Remember kids, throw that food all you want! You’ll never miss.”

“Yeah, right!” a kid in the back yelled.

He chucked a tomato and it bee-lined straight for Dack Fel and slammed him in the face. I had a great idea and I left the area, even as I saw Arya handing out tomatoes. It took me a half hour to find a pie cart and the lady told me it was early and it would be some time before her pies were ready. I told her that was fine, as I wanted to buy all of her pies and for her to take her cart to the market center and distribute them to all of the orphan children there, who were having fun with a clown.

“Oh, are you a part of the festivities today?” she asked.

“I just heard about it happening and so I want to help out,” I said.

“That is wonderful! Come back about 11 or 11:30 and we’ll have a full cart for you. You want ‘em extra messy?”

“Yes, as messy as you can make them. Spare no expense.”

I returned a couple hours later and she told me it would cost a gold coin for her 50 pies. I paid her two gold coins for her trouble and asked her to take the cart down to the market center and distribute the pies to the children so they could throw them at the jester. I went back to my hiding place.

By then, Dack Fel was completely covered in rotten fruit and vegetables. I figured pies would be a blessing after that. The pie lady arrived and handed out the free pies. I soon noticed any adult who threw something would miss while children would always hit. It appeared all of the children were having a good time, though they didn’t like the pies as much as they did the other things. Dack Fel was soon covered in white pie filling.

By the early afternoon, they were out of things to pelt him with. Then he started doing magic tricks for the children, though none of them wanted to get near him. Arya helped him to do some of his tricks. He did the cup and ball trick with three cups and a ball. It was not a very good trick. Dack Fel claimed it was just a test round and tried again. He did the trick again and the cup and balls just seemed to vanish. The children cried for him to bring them back. I ran to where I could quickly purchase more cups and a ball and did so. I flung the whole thing at Dack as hard as I could. Cups and a ball flew over the crowd and landed on the table. The children loved it. Then I went back to my hiding place.

He tried some juggling and did a couple of tricks. Arya appeared with more tomatoes and gave them to the duke’s children. Eventually the show ended with evening. I saw the duke talking to Dack Fel before they took him back to the gaol. Arya, John Wayne, and I went home.

“That was the best day ever,” Arya said with a giggle. “That was the best. That was great.”

* * *

Dack Fel returned to the house early the next morning, our eighth day in Denrith, just as we were getting up. John Wayne was waiting for him and talked to him briefly. Then Dack Fel came to my room.

“Rory, where’d you put the gold that was on my bed?” he asked.

I tossed him the sack, telling him there were only 13 gold coins left.

“You can have six,” he said.

“Well, shouldn’t everybody get some?” I asked. “Where did you get this?”

John Wayne and Arya peeked in.

“We should all get some of this money that you found somewhere that I don’t know where you found,” I said.

“What are you talking about?” Dack Fel said. “I’m a government employee.”

“You should divide this money between all of us,” I said.

He did so, giving us each three gold coins.

“No matter what, I’m taking the day off, so … you know,” Dack Fel said. “We could relax. We could all just relax and think about what we’ve done. And me and Rory can−”

“Or you can think about what you’ve done,” John Wayne said to him.

“I’ll think about what I’ve done with Rory,” Dack Fel said.

The elves went to the ship to talk to Brigadier Stutterlynch. While they were gone, I questioned Dack Fel about how much money he’d stolen without telling me. He told me he’d successfully stolen from two people.

“What about that guy in the warehouse?” I asked.

“What guy in the warehouse?” he asked.

“Did he have some money on him?”

“A little bit.”

“You’re not going to share it with your best friend?”

“It’s gone now!”

“Aw, damn it.”

“But from now on, we should do this together and share in the profits.”

I agreed with him.

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