Lamashan 17 Moonday waning moon
7 units of hard maple bought for 560 gp sold for 616 gp on the 17th
1 unit of Ravenmoor wine worth 250 gp – sold for 375 gp on the 17th
Lamashan 18 Toilday waning moon
1 units of glass for 500 gp – sold for 625 gp on the 18th
1 unit – flayleaf worth 600 gp – 720 gp – sold for 900 gold on the 18th
Jewelry and other items sold. The proceeds are then distributed to the party.
Ameiko invites Toshio and Jethrik to accompany her to the armorer to see if she can sell her leather armor for something better. To her delight she is able to get trade it in for a discount on a mithral shirt made in the elven village of Crying Leaf in the Mierani Forest to the north. On the way back to the inn they are disgusted to see that burrowing among the offal in the alleys of Roderic’s Cove are cockroaches the size of cats.
“Ugh. Why have they let their town get so filthy?” exclaims Toshio.
Keng heads to the general store where he buys some supplies that he foresees will be useful in exploring Brinewall Castle, things like a silk rope (he trades in his hempen rope), climbing gear, and other items. On the way back he is approached in the street at dusk by a streetwalker, a dark haired girl, with only a couple of teeth missing but whom otherwise has retained her beauty despite her hard life. She winks at Keng and asks if he’d like some company.
Keng looks at her and finds her somewhat repulsive. He grunts and mutters and finally manages, “Ah… no… not at this time.” He fishes out a silver piece and hands it to her saying, “May your spirit guide you.”
The girl is amazed at Keng’s generosity. She happily takes the coin and backs away saying, “Thank you kind sir, thank you!” and then runs off down the street.
Zeyala visit the temple with shrines for various deities and finds that it does indeed have a space dedicated to Pharasma. As she lights a votive candle and offers a prayer a dark haired girl in a low cut dress with a gap tooth but otherwise still retaining some of her youthful beauty comes in, drops some coppers into the offering box, and offers a candle as well. She smiles shyly at Zeyala and then leaves without a word.
Afterwards, Zeyala goes to the armory and trades in her chain mail shirt and the sickle from Ravenmoor for a mithral shirt made in the elven village of Crying Leaf in the Mierani Forest to the north. The armorer laughs and tells Zeyala that she is the second woman to make a trade for such armor that day. He points to the items traded in by the other woman. Zeyala recognizes Ameiko’s enchanted leather armor. The armorer confirms that indeed it was a Tien woman, accompanied by her samurai retainer and his gnome servant.
“Smart woman,” laughs Zeyala. “If one is traveling between towns, it never hurts to take precautions.” She thanks the proprietor and heads out to some of the other shops to buy a scarf for herself and some incense for Koya.
Jharad, meanwhile, breaks away and heads to the apothecary, intent on selling the blue whinnis poison he acquired in Ravenmoor. For a time he is troubled by three stray dogs that shadow his path but in the end they go running off into an alley, probably to chase a rat or one of the ginormous cockroaches sometimes spotted among the offal of Roderic’s Cove. The apothecary happily takes nine of the ten vials of poison off his hands for 540 gold.
When Keng returns to his room at the inn, Jharad and the others have not yet returned. He can’t help but think of the woman in the hallway. Then he notices that there is a rhythmic banging noise coming from the suite upstairs. It is almost as if someone or something was hitting the door every few seconds. It is not a very loud noise, but because it is quiet in the inn it is easily noticed. Keng becomes increasingly annoyed at the banging sounds coming from upstairs. This is somewhat heightened, although he won’t admit it to himself, by his curiosity about what and who is in that room. Against his better judgment (some might say that is a stretch) he decides to go up and investigate. Still wearing his armor and taking his axe he heads as quietly as he can upstairs to the door and puts his ear to it and listens. There is no sound coming from the room except a slight scuffling, like someone walking back and forth, and then the door is thumped as though someone were bumping up against it. The same pattern repeats again and again, scuffling, thumping of the door, scuffling, thumping, scuffling, thumping… It is already getting dark outside, and now inside the inn, but there is no light coming from beneath the door. Keng kneels down to look through the keyhole. Being able to see perfectly in the dark, he sees that it is the smaller of Baron von Luden’s servants. She seems to be walking into the door, and then backing up, then walking back into the door again, over and over and over. He cannot see her face only the middle part of her through the keyhole, but she seems to be wearing nothing more than lace undergarments of red silk.
Keng’s eyes widen as he takes in the fair complexion and shapely contours of the beautiful young girl within the suite. Again, Keng finds himself unable to stir as he takes in what is clearly the most desirable girl he has ever seen in all his travels. He knows he must have her at any cost, and can’t break away from the keyhole even when he hears the sounds of someone coming up the stairs behind him. Fortunately, it is the innkeeper’s son Pavo who has come to uncover the everburning lamps in their wall sconces. He doesn’t see Keng until the stairwell is lit up, but when he does he shakes him by the shoulder and whispers, “Hey, stop that. We can’t let you spy on our guests. The baron would be furious, and him you don’t want to cross.” Pavo backs away as Keng is finally able to tear his eyes away form the keyhole.
Keng regains his senses but now he notices that he is still feeling the effects of this uncontrollable desire and that it seems to be caused by a musky but pleasant scent that pervades the stairwell outside the door to the suite. Now he remembers that he smelled it the other night in the hallway too when the baron and his servants passed him by but he thought nothing of it until now. The innkeeper’s son is also coming under its effects. He is standing still and staring past Keng at the door, his eyes glazing over.
Keng shakes his head in an effort to dispel his clouded lusty thoughts and pieces together the effects from the previous night. He realizes he is experiencing some kind of spell and spells never lead to anything good. He tightens his gut in an act of will and quickly heads back down the hallway, easily lifting the young boy in his arm as he passes, “Boy we need to get out of here now.” He proceeds down to the second floor where he releases Pavo explaining, “There is an ensorcellment spell up there. We were almost ensnared. You saved me. I saved you. Now we are even.” He hands Pavo a silver and says, “Speak not of this to anyone, only ill will come if you do.”
Keng heads downstairs to the public room looking for the elf. He must share what just happened. Seeing the others gathered around for dinner, he walks over to the table and looks around carefully to see who is nearby. He hunches over the table and leans in so he can whisper to them. “I was in Jharad’s room putting away and organizing my new gear. I heard a rhythmic banging coming from upstairs that went on and on without stopping. It became quite annoying. I went upstairs and it was coming from the baron’s room. I was concerned because the banging was coming from the door and perhaps someone was trapped inside. I peered through the keyhole and saw the smaller servant pacing back and forth into the doorway. I became ‘aroused’ again but was saved when the innkeeper’s son came upon me and pulled me away. I noticed a musky smell in the hallway similar to what occurred last night when they passed me and first ensorcelled me. The boy started to feel its affects too, so I grabbed him and we quickly went back downstairs where the effects wore off us both. I paid him a silver piece to hold his tongue. Something is very wrong inside that room. That servant is not of this living world.” Keng finishes his story and looks around.
Toshio has a number of thoughts and questions. ‘Why didn’t Keng just knock on their door so he could ask them to be quiet? Keng’s spying through keyholes is going to make trouble for the whole caravan. Has Keng now changed his mind and wants to confront them for spelling him the other night? What does Keng want done, if he’s so troubled?’ All this passes through Toshio’s mind in a flash, but he holds his tongue. Considering the troubled relationship he has with Keng, Toshio thinks it better to let the others lead the discussion.
Jharad looks directly at Toshio, only guessing at why he is not replying to Keng. Curious that only Keng seems to be bothered by the baron’s presence he decides what to do. Standing he addresses the group, “I would like visit the baron to both ask if there is anything I can do for him while we are both staying under the same roof and to ask him to have his servants keep down the noise as it seems to be bothering my friend Keng here. Toshio would you mind accompanying me?”
“I’d be happy to help” Toshio says to Jharad. “Shall we go now?”
“I think that would be foolish. And the Baron isn’t the only wizard in the world using erotic spells.” Jethrik objects. “It’s kind of an obsession with some.”
Toshio looks at Ameiko with a big smile and says, “Wish us luck. A couple of highly skilled diplomats like us may need it.”
Ameiko smiles back at Toshio. “Of course. Good luck dealing with our noisy neighbors. If that doesn’t work we’ll just ask the landlord to talk to them. They’ll quiet down for a while and then resume. Then we’ll call in the watch. They’ll quiet down for a while and then resume. At that point we will have to kill them.” She is, of course, being sardonic.
Keng, not catching the subtleties of the civilized lands, nods his head in agreement.
Jharad catches Ameiko’s eye and smiles widely, “Yes that is the course of action I was planning,” and heads up the stairs after Toshio.
“Well, if anything comes of this adventure,” says Zeyala, “I’m sure we will be made aware. Have fun,” she says with a smile.
As Keng, Toshio, and Jharad are heading towards the baron’s room, Zeyala mutters softly to herself, but still loud enough to be heard by Ameiko and Jethrik, “However, I do believe I might cast a spell on an uninvited peek through the keyhole on my door, or at least a jab with a pointy stick.” She lets out a little giggle as she lights up her pipe.
Ameiko also giggles. Then she leans over to ask Jethrik about this new tale he’s working on.
“I’m so glad you asked! I’ve been running it through my head on the long ride out here and I think it is finally ready for it’s debut. If I may be so bold, I have dedicated it to you; my good friend and mentor!” Jethrik bows. “It is called the Lovesick Squire, being the true and tragic farce of the romance between a paladin and a werewolf.”
“Scene 1 The Paladin promenades into town with his retinue; his destrier wearing it’s least patched caparison, the servant boy that polishes the pommel of the paladin’s short sword, 14 chickens, 2 maids and a gnome bard.
“Scene 2 Wherein the Paladin spies the tavern wench and falls madly in love! He compares her to Iomedae in a soliloquy that attempts to be flowery and epic, but is in fact scatological and farcical.
“Scene 3 The Paladin surprises the tavern wench with an ardent proposal, which shocks her so much she turns into a werewolf and runs away!
“Scene 4 The Paladin tracks down his love… but in fact is mistaken and woes a common mutt instead (which humps his leg before it is shooed away).
“Scene 5 Iomedae blesses the couple. The paladin is transformed into a riding hound for the bard. The happy couple is surrounded by puppies.
Zeyala nearly spits out her pipe and begins choking in a fit of coughs.
Ameiko’s eyebrow’s arch from the moment she hears the theme of the play. As Jethrik goes on to describe it she looks increasingly shocked but also bemused. Finally she stammers, “Uh, I, uh… I’m flattered that you would dedicate this minor opus to me, but… well, I fear some people… in our company… might take offense.”
“Let’s find out!” and Jethrik hops up on the table and gives his performance. As he does, other patrons begin to filter into the inn. They seem to be a rough crew: sailors with bandanas or knitted caps, tight fitting breeches but billowy loose-sleeved shirts, studded leather vests, golden teeth and earrings, an eye-patch or two, and cutlasses at their sides. They are led by a man whom the innkeeper addresses as Captain Grudge. He is wearing a blue frock coat with gold trim and a matching tricorn hat, out of which hangs his blonde dreads. His beard is likewise braided. A rapier hangs from his belt. By his side is a dusky Garundi woman with white braids wrapped around her head. She is wearing golden-hooped earrings and loose fitting silken clothes of yellow and black. She bears a whip by her side and around her neck is an amulet bearing three outward pointing daggers, the sign that she is either a devotee or even a priestess of Calistria. Among the crew there is also one who is an elf. He bears a longsword and is wearing masterwork studded leather and has a wand tucked in his purple sash. Captain Grudge and his crew take seats at nearby tables and fill up the bar, but after ordering drinks they begin to listen attentively to the gnome’s tale. It is not long before they are roaring with laughter, throwing silver coins at Jethrik, and otherwise showing their appreciation of the farce.
As Keng, Toshio, and Jharad head upstairs they hear the rhythmic thumping from the upstairs door. It is evident that the smaller servant is continuing to walk into the door over and over again. As they head up the stairs they see that Pavo, the innkeeper’s son, has returned to the door at the top of the stairs and has just opened it with the master key. Before anyone can do or say anything to stop him, he pushes open the door. Like a snake grabbing a field mouse two fair and shapely hands reach out, grab him by his collar and jerks him into the room. The door slams shut behind him.
“Uh oh,” rumbles Keng. “Well at least now we have a good reason to intervene.”
Jhrard gives out a quick barking laugh before sobering up. “I think maybe this falls under your purview of ‘rescuing the innocent’ does it not Toshio?”
Toshio jumps to the door and pounds on it, shouting, “Open up! Release the boy!” Toshio notices the musky scent and for a moment his mind drifts to Ameiko and how much he’d like to… but then he shakes his head free of such indecent thoughts. The mental discipline instilled in him as a paladin but above all the divine providence of Iomedae enable him to keep his longings at bay and concentrate on the task at hand – freeing the boy!
Jharad calls down the stairs, “Keng I believe we will need you for this after all,” and then moves to back up Toshio. He also smells the musky perfume that fills the landing outside the suite door. Nearly threescore years of erotic dalliances with the bawdy wenches of Varisia and the delicate yet flirtatious elven maidens of Kyonin all come rushing back to him at once. Yet, as the vulgar humans say, “You can’t con a con-man,” and elves are masters of enchantment. Jharad discerns that the scent is magical in nature and the realization allows him to close his mind and heart to it and return with full awareness to the present moment.
Keng nods and his long strides make quick time up the stairs. He reaches into his belt pouch and ties a handkerchief across his nose and mouth. Unfortunately this precaution is not enough. The perfumed scent of the young woman within the suite pervades the landing and top of the stairwell. The thin strip of cloth is not enough to shield Keng from it. All he can think of is that he hasn’t had a piece of tail since leaving Urglin, and even then the best he could aspire to there were the more human looking of the orc-blooded tramps of that city of exiles, outcastes, and degenerates. Keng slows his advance up the stairs and stands still, eyes glazed over, lost again to his imaginings of the possibilities just behind the green painted door at the top of the stair. Keng manages an, “Oh baby…” and is helpless to move beyond that.
Toshio and Jharad see that Keng has come to a stop, overcome by the enchantment. From within the door are muffled cries and whimpers. There is the sound of clothes ripping and then bodies falling on the floor and against the door. The door is firmly locked once more, and the boy was still holding the master key when he was dragged within. Toshio proceeds to try to kick in the door while crying out for someone to call in the authorities. Jhard also lends his boot to the cause. Unfortunately the door is fairly sturdy and resists their first three attempts.
It is not long before the innkeeper is bellowing up the stairs, “What’s going on up there?!” He turns to a serving girl and says, “You heard him! Go get the watch!” The girl quickly hurries away to find the watch.
From inside the boy weakly cries out, “Go away… I’m fine… don’t tell my dad…” His voice is then muffled again.
Upon kicking the door the fourth time, the lock breaks and the door is driven hard into the back of a young girl in red underthings of silk and lace. She is entwined around Pavo, kissing him deeply. His shirt has been torn off and discarded and he does not seem to at all mind being ravished by her. His eyes are startled and more than a bit outraged by the paladin’s intrusion. As for the girl, she does not seem to have even noticed that a door was just kicked into her backside.
To Jharad, the girl’s blond hair, long lithe build, and tapered ears look very similar to Shalelu. Understanding the magic that is at play here, Jharad clearly sees that the boy and Keng are both enthralled against their wish. He grabs the girl about the waist and tries to pull her off of the boy saying, “I think we have had enough of that now.”
In Toshio’s eyes, the figure, complexion and hair of the girl looks awfully similar to Ameiko. In fact, he is afraid to turn her over even though he knows Ameiko is downstairs. He senses no evil in whoever it is. ‘Well, that’s a relief.’ thinks Toshio. ‘Ameiko is not mine,’ Toshio reminds himself, just in case he is deeply hurt when he turns… whoever… around. Toshio sets his feelings aside and reaches out to help Jharad pull her away. “Let the boy tell me he’s fine when he’s away from this scent!”
Jharad and Toshio succeed in pulling the woman off the boy. She whimpers and struggles but otherwise says nothing. The boy does cry out though, “No, what are you doing! Go away! Leave us alone!” He scrambles to his feet, jaw set and hands curling into fists.
“Pavo!” shouts the innkeeper. “Is that you! What are you doing up there!” The innkeeper can be heard tromping up the stairwell, where Keng still stands trapped in a reverie.
The girl, in the meantime, writhes salaciously in the arms of the elf and paladin.
Jharad ignores the innkeeper and boy, focused solely on trying to keep his wits about him as he grapples with who appears to be in his arms. He wrenches her away from Toshio, at first intent on removing her from his grasp. Then rallying his senses completely he slaps her hard across the face, though doing so brings a grimace of anguish to his own. “Tether your powers now girl or next I will move to truly hurt you,” he says in anger. She says nothing but only looks at Jharad in mute shock and surprise.
Toshio winces with the slap and reminds himself again that this is not who it seems. “Let him go!” Toshio gestures to Keng. “And stop this magicking! Show us who you really are.”
Keng, finally having shaken the enchantment, walks over to the girl, grabs her hair, pulls her head back to look at her growling, “What are you? Why are you spelling us?” Her only response is to moan and close her eyes as if in ecstasy as he pulls on her hair.
Keng sees a vision of beauty: Long golden hair that shines like the sun on earth. There seems to be a glow that lights all around. Her eyes are the deepest blue of the high desert sky. Her features are more handsome than pretty, strong and confident. Her body is voluptuous yet muscular and Keng knows she will be a tigress in bed. He can barely contain his desire.
Now, though, it is the innkeeper who is standing stock-still just below the landing, his eyes gazing into space and a slight smile on his face. “Oh,” he murmurs. “Heh, yes, yes…”
Pavo, his son, however, is not so entranced. Instead he is enraged by the abuse being heaped upon his beloved. He hurls himself at the half-orc and hits him in the face screaming, “Let her go! You’re hurting her!” This in spite of the fact that the girl is actually rubbing herself up against Jharad, who is still holding her, and if anything seems to be enjoying Keng’s rough housing.
Keng snorts at the boys feeble attempts to hurt him, instead he grabs the boy by his collar and hoists him in the air, “Be still boy.” He carries him out of the room and hustles both Pavo and the innkeeper back down to the second floor where he quickly explains what is happening about the door bumping and the malodorous lusty spell. He says, “Keep watch here and let no one pass, except the baron if he returns, while our paladin of Iomedea sorts this out.”
With less chaos and distraction in the room Jharad relaxes just a bit with a heavy sigh. Allowing this all-too-familiar effigy to continue rubbing up against him he looks Toshio in the eyes with a wry smile of understanding. With a tone of commiseration he asks with one word, “Ameiko?”
With eyes of understanding the paladin nods ever so slightly.
Nodding in return Jharad replies, “Shalelu,” and hopes they never speak of this again.
As Jethrik is finishing up the humorous introduction of the “hero” of his tale to the assembling pirate crew (to the growing alarm of Ameiko and Zeyala) he catches out the corner of his eye one of the serving wenches running down the stairs leading to the inn’s rooms on the second floor and above that the baron’s suite. She crosses the public room in a panic, though the pirates are too engrossed in Jethrik’s tale to notice, as is Ameiko, and Zeyala can’t see her anyway. She leaves the tavern and with his sharp gnome ears he hears her calling desperately for the watch as she runs down the street. Jethrik uses dancing lights to cover the pause between the first and second scene and spins to Ameiko and Zeyala. “Check upstairs, the boys are in trouble.” He spins back and takes up the tale again.
Ameiko and Zeyala are off like a shot. Captain Grudge and his woman exchange glances, as they obviously heard Jethrik’s aside. They whisper something to their elf companion (maybe the first mate?) and he quietly follows after Ameiko and Zeyala.
Ameiko and Zeyala arrive at the foot of the second floor stairwell just as Keng is trying to explain to the innkeeper and his son something about a “malodorous lust spell.” At the top of the stairwell, the door to the third floor suite is open and within the two women see Jharad and Toshio interrogating a squirming captive that Jharad is holding.
Ameiko advances up the stairs and then her eyes widen. She shakes her head and then proceeds but then stops again. Her jaw drops. “Toshio! There’s two of you?! Is it another shape shifter?”
‘Oh gods! I hope he never speaks of this, especially to Keng,’ thinks Toshio. Toshio turns to look at the other (real?) Ameiko with a feeling of horror. He doesn’t want her to see what’s going on! His face pales as he realizes there’s no avoiding it now. Then her words register – she saw him in the creature – and his spirits lift again. “Don’t know. It isn’t explaining its actions!” he says in answer to her question.
Jharad’s eyes widen slightly and he snorts out a giggle. Under his breath intending only Toshio to hear he says, “Care to explain my friend, or shall I?”
Toshio replies with a smirk, “I don’t think I can. You give it a try!”
Smirking to Toshio then addressing the women at the bottom of the stairs, Jharad says with as much authority as he can muster, “Both of you please retreat back to the common room immediately. Toshio and I have this well in hand, but if you approach any further you will put us both at risk. Please trust us now and leave.”
Up to this point, Zeyala had been standing behind Ameiko, lost in erotic reveries like Keng, Pavo, and innkeeper had been. Hearing Keng’s exhortation close at hand she returns to the present. “Keng?!” says Zeyala uncertainly. “What is Jharad doing to you? Wait…what?” she stutters as she looks at Keng standing nearby. ”I know my sight is dismal, but what I’m seeing is not right. Who’s the real Keng? What have you done?” she asks.
Jharad’s face turns to stone as he stares at Keng, then blurts out a guffaw before sobering himself again.
Keng blinks rapidly for a moment looking at Zeyala with his head cocked, then says, ”Zeyala, it is I… the real Keng that stands here next to you. That creature back there is some sort of sexual predator and easily affects those around it with powerful thoughts of lust. The fewer nearby it while we sort this out the better. Please go downstairs with Lady Ameiko… for your safety,” he adds. He then lightly takes her hand and places it on Ameiko’s shoulder and says, “Please lady, take her downstairs.”
“Predator?” Zeyala mumbles. She looks back at Jharad holding down Keng, then to Toshio, and then finally towards Keng standing near to her.
“A sexual predator? Lustful thoughts…” says Ameiko slowly as she works it out. Then she blushes furiously, turns around quickly, and drags Zeyala with her away from Toshio, Keng, Jharad, and the creature.
Zeyala can feel her face flushing red as well as Ameiko pulls her along back downstairs. ”Gods forbid,” says Zeyala. ”On this, I will remain silent.”
As she begins to catch her breath, Zeyala says to Ameiko, “I think I need a drink…or a smoke… or both.” She then lets out a hearty laugh.
Ameiko says to Zeyala before they get back to the common room, “Lets you and I please agree to never speak of this. I fear the others will find out, and if Jethrik does he’ll probably include all of us in his next ribald tale. Bad enough he’s lampooning Toshio to a den full of pirates.”
The innkeeper and Pavo, however, are still standing at the foot of the stairs. The former says, “Uh, Keng, the girl is Baron von Luden’s servant. Maybe it is best that you just leave her in the room and lock the door again.” He looks to his son and asks, “Wait, what were you doing in there?”
“I’d like to hear your explanation, too,” says Toshio, “but locking you up until the watchmen arrive wouldn’t trouble me. You can explain your actions to them if you won’t answer to us.”
Pavo gulps and looks to his father nervously. His father seems in no mood for any more nonsense. The boy begins, “Well, I came up to uh… uncover the everburning lamps and someone was bumping up against the door. I… uh… paid it no mind at first and left,” he says this eyeing Keng and then proceeds, “But I was worried that something might be wrong so I came back later and opened the door to check. Then she dragged me into the room and attacked me! She ripped my clothes off and uh… anyway, that’s when those two,” he points up the stairwell to Toshio and Jharad, “burst in and uh… rescued me. That’s the long and short of it. Really!”
“Hmm,” says the innkeeper, “seems to me like you were trying to poke around in another man’s business, and a paying guest at that! Now we need to fix things up right and proper before the baron gets back or he’ll burn this inn down around our ears. He’s no one to trifle with.” The innkeeper visibly shudders.
Keng says to the innkeeper, ” Wait here. As I said before, keep watch here and let no one pass, except the baron if he returns.” Keng then heads back upstairs enters the room and shuts the door. He grabs the creature pulling it away from Jharad and throws it into the corner of the room growling, “Stay put, do not move and answer our questions!”
Jharad says, “Keng stop. Truthfully she probably likes that.”
Nodding in agreement with Jharad, Toshio says, “Yes. Now that the boy is safe let’s let things calm now and hear her answers, or let’s leave her locked and alone until the watch arrives.”
Keng shrugs his shoulders and steps back just behind Toshio and Jharad, crosses his arms and glares at the creature. He asks, “Does anyone know what she is and what she really looks like?”
The baron’s servant picks herself up. She has a questioning expression on her face. It is clear that she does not understand and does not know how to respond anymore. Apparently grappling and hair pulling make sense to her, but being violently hurled away does not. Nor does she seem to understand the Common tongue. She stands and stares at them mutely, questioningly. Then her face begins to squirm and shift like molten wax. Now all three of them can see her in her different guises – as Shalelu, as Ameiko, and as an athletic blue-eyed blonde haired woman. In these guises her red silken lingerie does not change except to conform to her different physiques.
“M…m…master!” she cries at last as she continues to shift from one form to the other. Then she hurls herself through the shutters of the window overlooking the front of the inn. A servant girl screams outside as they hear the body crash into the cobblestones below and there are shouts of men as well.
As Jethrik is getting into the scene wherein the paladin meets the tavern wench and launches into a farcical love struck soliloquy, the elf return and whispers something to the captain and his woman. The captain nods and a sly look comes over the faces of all three. The elf sits back down behind the captain, who returns his attention to Jethrik’s tale. Now, however, he seems to be scheming more than listening. Soon after the elf returns, Ameiko and Zeyala reenter the public room, they are both blushing and seem to be embarrassed about something as they quietly resume their seats.
Because Jethrik is orating and the pirates are being fairly noisy in their hooting, hollering, laughing, and other expressions of mirth and enjoyment they do not hear the shutters of the third floor suite bursting open or the body hitting the cobblestones outside the front door of the inn. They do hear the servant girl screaming outside (the one who went for the watch) and the startled shouts of men (who may be watchmen). The pirates also hear this and run for the door and front window, and then they pour into the street to get a better look.
Toshio goes downstairs quickly – ready to lay on hands for healing if the thing survived the fall.
Jharad sighs, “Well that’s not good,” and runs downstairs after Toshio.
Keng walks over to the window and looks out.
Outside the inn door, the servant of the baron picks herself up off the cobblestones. She does not seem to be hurt at all. The servant girl with the two members of the Roderic’s Cove watch in half-plate and armed with halberds back off and then stand stock still. As the scurvy band within the inn pour into the street to gather around they too begin to slow and come to a standstill, all staring in undisguised lust at the servant. Even Captain Grudge comes under her spell. Only a few pirates resist it, including the elven first mate and the captain’s woman.
Zeyala, Jethrik, and Ameiko attempt to wade through the crowd to get outside.
This time the servant’s changes are apparent to everyone. As in the room above, her appearance shifts into a kaleidoscope of genders (though mostly female), ethnicities, complexions, hair and eye colors, and physiques. Through all the changes she is dressed only in a raggedy loincloth and a wrap around her breasts. She looks to the night sky and wails in anguish, her fists at held rigidly at her sides.
As Toshio and Jharad finally make it outside, Captain Grudge and his crew finally break free of the intoxicating enchantment they walked into by coming near her. Reason, however, has not returned. They eye each other and begin to draw weapons. The two watchmen back away and lower their halberds. It is clear that a riot over the girl is about to ensue.
That is when her screaming stops. She stands catatonic and the changes end as well. Now she appears in what is likely her true underlying form – a petite woman with a shaven head and mismatched eyes, blue and gray. Her skin has a waxy sheen, but underneath it is ashen and cadaverous, and in some places such as around the neck and limbs there are obvious sutures.
Then the baron appears with his larger servant at his side. He murmurs something to the large servant who doffs his cloak and cowl to reveal a face and body dressed in loose fitting purple breeches and tunic. His face and limbs are loosely wrapped by scarves but it is plain to see that underneath his complexion is also livid and marks of suturing can also be seen.
In the light of the street lamp it can be seen that the baron is shocked and even blushing to find that that the nature of his servant has been revealed. Then he reddens further in anger. “How dare you! Get away from my servant! Pleasure, to me! Business, make sure no one interferes!”
The girl servant, Pleasure, turns at the voice of her master and starts to walk towards him. The male servant, Business, forms his hands into two mighty fists and lumbers towards her.
Keng is watching the entire scene from upstairs. He murmurs, “By the gods! What the frak are those things?” He carefully backs away from the window so as not to be seen in the baron’s room and walks downstairs to the common room. He looks around for Jharad and Toshio and follows them outside.
Jharad smiles in full realization and nods in amusement at what damage this creature could cause to a civilized town. He murmurs under his breath, “Pleasure and Business… no imagination at all.”
“He has pleasure with that thing?” Jethrik shudders. “Bleh! I’m not picky, but I prefer live women.”
Jharad replies, “You have no idea, my comedic friend, until you have been under her thrall. A single one of those could easily double the traffic of any brothel. As long as she sees only one customer at a time, otherwise the results could be catastrophic.”
Based on her initial encounter with the smaller servant, Zeyala cast resistance on herself, then not knowing what the creatures are, she cast detect undead on Pleasure and Business and discerns that they are not undead.
Toshio lets the baron collect his things. Seeing Keng, he says quietly, “Still want to talk to them about the noise?”
“Nope. Not me.”
Jharad adds, “I’m good.”
Toshio says, “Unless the inn keeper is upset for his son, I’m happy to drop it.” He pauses before asking innocently, “Buy you guys a drink?”
Still staring at Pleasure and Business Jharad absentmindedly responds, “Definitely,” and heads back into the inn.
“I’ll get the second round!” Keng agrees, “Lead on!”
Meanwhile, Captain Grudge and his crew slink off, disenchanted with the corpselike pallor of Pleasure, and not wanting to tangle with Business or his master. Baron von Luden looks as though he might cast some terrible spell but then thinks better of it as he is approached by the innkeeper who sinks to his knees begging forgiveness and then pulls Pavo down beside him to also beg forgiveness. The watchmen then intervene, demanding to know what is going on. Eventually things are sorted out to Baron von Luden’s satisfaction. He is given a full refund for his stay and that very night he leaves in his carriage to head bck to Ustalav with both his servants and the large iron trunk they came with, this time unmistakably jinging with coin.
Back in the common room, Toshio has the first round of drinks brought over.
Zeyala finds an empty seat, takes a lengthy draw on her pipe, and chases it down with a pint.
Jethrik looks around, clearly annoyed that he was so thoroughly upstaged. “Okay, so what happened?”
Ameiko gives Toshio an anxious look and then looks away sheepishly.
Toshio’s glance catches Ameiko’s, but he doesn’t notice her turn away – he’s too quickly turning away himself (blushing deeply). “Good ale, eh?” he says to change the topic (and ignoring Jethrick’s question.
Jharad smiles at the gnome, “This one you will not get your tall tale hands on I am pleased to say. Just accept that you will never hear the full story and leave it alone, for I am certain that none of us want any of what occurred parodied in one of your lewd performances.” After a pause he adds, “But you are certainly welcome to drink with us,” he finishes with a wide grin and fills the comedians mug with ale.