Know the Game

Tales from a goblin-infested brewery (home of Jake Thrash and Badsider Brew), and a lawyer-infested sports bar (home of Kalamere Ar'Din and The Line).

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Black Wizard
Black Wizard
Posts: 1568
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:45 pm
Location: Dragon's Gate

Know the Game

Post by Kalamere » Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:43 pm

“Morning, Boss” said Jerry as I made my way downstairs from the loft and into the barroom. He was behind the bar, checking stock levels as he prepared our lunch time opening.

“Mrnnphf”, was my friendly greeting in return. Morning isn’t my finest time. I motioned towards the coffee pot, which he knew was coming and had already been reaching for. I gave him a dark look as he made to push it my way, pulling a disapproving sigh from him before he finished off the cup with a couple fingers of whiskey.

“You’re an addict, you know that right?” leaning against the bar and fixing me with an uncharitable look while I sipped from the cup.

“Aye,” I admitted, though it wasn’t in the sense he’d meant it. A sip of the dark brew sent the alcohol splashing into my system and awakened the magic gone dormant in my veins while I’d slept. Slowly the tendrils flared to life, a gradual burn to combat the poison I’d administered. There was a time I’d found the sensation uncomfortable, but that was years ago. It had become an addiction over time, a physical need I could no longer function without. The body didn’t self regulate temperature anymore, instead relying on the magical burn off of toxins to supply heat. A small smirk spread across my lips as the enchantment did its work and I considered the situation. Between my condition and the profession I practiced, I guess I literally am a ‘cold-blooded killer.’

“Never you mind that,” Let Jerry think me the alcoholic, RhyDin was full of them anyway. The truth would lead to him looking for ways to get the ring off my finger and disclosure of a host of secrets he just didn’t need to know. Was much safer not knowing.

Jerry let it go. It wasn’t the first time we’d had this exchange, nor likely to be the last, and he had other things he wanted to talk about. “So, how was your night with fair Maria?”

“You understand, she would probably brain you with that bat of hers if she heard you call her that, right?” I pointed out. The cheeky grin said he didn’t care, or probably more accurately that she wasn’t here to hear it and I’d be unlikely to repeat it.

“Aww, come on now, Boss. A five course meal, couple bottles of red older than me. Sure it was quite the... affair.” He paused before the final word to make sure I caught his double meaning, it being morning and I not at my best yet, he didn’t want his own humor to be missed.

“A gentleman doesn’t tell,” I demurred. He wouldn’t believe me anyway, I could tell he’d already made up the story in his mind.

“Nor, sneaky elves of unusual height I guess.” he shot back. “I’ll have to wait and see what gets written in the columns,” Jerry sighed dramatically, though the smirk he wore somewhat dampened the effect.

“You wouldn’t have, “ My eyes narrowing dangerously.

“Me?” he scoffed, “‘course not. I’m no intern or Franco spy. Don’t go thinking I was the only one to see the fine looking miss walk in here then vanish upstairs last night neither though.”

I groaned. He had a point and I think Maria and I both knew the likelihood of it before we’d arranged to meet anyway. As with so many things though, you get a stark look at some actions the next morning that seemed much wiser the night before.

“Get your business settled with her at least?” Jerry inquired.

“Aye, “ I chose to ignore his stress on the word business and take it for the actual negotiation we’d agreed to meet about. “We settled on terms, I’ll be declaring Old Temple renegade within a day or two.”

“Weren’t you planning to do that anyway? After your visit to the manor yesterday?” the old bartender gave me a quizzical look. “Did you mention any of that to her?”

Gracing him with a look at said, 'why in hell would I have done that?' I replied, “I don’t believe it would have strengthened my bargaining position”.

“What happened at the manor anyway? You were pretty quiet when you got back.”

“Jer, when you heard I’d be moving to live in an old church for a spell, what came to mind?”

“Elf kabob,” he answered without hesitation, “I had visions of you bursting into flame.” I found it disturbing that his eyes lit up with excitement as he used his hands to pantomime the event. “Or, maybe lightning. That’s another method I’ve heard gets used.” he followed, nodding sagely.

As you can tell, he holds me in the highest esteem. I couldn’t completely disagree, however. I’m about 0 for 10 where their best known edicts stand and nifty phrases in their text like ‘thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’ can make a guy whose veins course with magic a little bit edgy.

“Aye, something like that,” I admitted. “What I found instead was something quite the opposite.”

“So, this god of forgiveness and turning the other cheek stuff holds true?” Jerry asked curiously, “So how’s the visit play into your ties with the Overlord? He leave dead mice laying around or something?”

I shook my head to indicate he’d misinterpreted. I’d have to relay the entirety of it for Jerry to understand.

“When I got there, I found the manor as clean and tidy as it has perhaps ever been. Whoever Rakeesh hired to clean up did a fine job and his things were already moved out. Presumably sent on to Overlord Island. It’s a nice building really and I spent some time exploring the various rooms and guest chambers, even spotted a couple of secret passages to explore another day when I have more time.

“The general inspection went great. House all in order and no angry god striking me down, so I was pretty happy about things. I headed up to the master suite to start setting up portals and wards, “ Jerry knew me well enough to know I wasn’t going to call anyplace home, temporary or not, until I’d gotten it properly protected and installed an escape route, “ and that’s when it struck me. It was a sense in the magical spectrum. An acceptance of my touch. It almost felt like relief to be suffering a gentler hand. I’m no empath, Jer, nor seer or anything like that, so I don’t have a ton of insight into this sort of thing. It isn’t at all what I expected though, so I explored it a little bit more.

“There has been a lot of magic use there. And recently. You can’t clean up that sort of thing like dirt or other evidence of habitation ... or a crime. It lingers, infusing the surroundings, leaving traces of itself that another mage will discover if they’re looking for it. I can’t tell you what sort of spellcraft was employed, I’m not that good, but whatever it was there was a lot of it.”

I shrugged at Jerry, still not understanding for myself what it had meant. That fact in itself made me more uncomfortable than anything else.

“He is a magic user himself, Boss. Maybe you’re just feeling whatever wards and stuff like that he’d set up when he lived there?” the bartender offered helpfully as I stood and moved behind the bar to refill my cup.

“Not like this, my friend. There was too much of it, too much power. It doesn’t sync with what I know about the liontaur. I can’t say it was Rakeesh though. It may have been a servant or a visitor, hell even a stalker hiding out in the place biding his time to strike. Either way, I don’t think binding myself to it with an oath of loyalty is the wisest course of action” I shrugged before topping off the coffee with a bit more whiskey, I turned to the door behind the bar, “I need you to send someone down to City Hall for me.”

“Can do. Deliveries should start rolling in anytime now and I can wrangle one of those lads into it. Whatcha need?”

“A few thing, make sure the lad you pick out is literate. I need transcripts from the last few Governor’s council meetings and have ‘em dig into whatever prop 37 was.” I was never one to pay much mind to RhyDin politics, since I spent most of my time elsewhere, though I suspected whatever that proposal was it had been an issue during my extended absence. “I’ll also be wanting anything they can find on Rakeesh himself an Old Temple in general. Might need to check the arena archives for that.”

“Got it, Boss.” said Jerry before giving me a curious look, “What are you planning to do?”

“Nothing, most likely,” I admitted. “I need to do a little self educating. I’ve gone an inserted myself into a game Jerry, but I don’t know what it is. I’m not even sure I know who the other players are.” I pushed open the door and took a step into the short hallway behind. “I’ll be in my office when they get back, there’s a letter to Apple and Rakeesh I need to be writing so as to bring this alignment business to a close.”

Jerry nodded as I stepped away towards the office. There was going to be a lot of reading to do over the next day or two and probably more research beyond that. I’ve never been the white knight type, so it probably wouldn’t matter what all I found, but a bookie can’t lay odds until he knows the game.
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