She pretended to sleep on the drive today – I guess she doesn’t want to talk anymore – then we arrived at Tremethick and she hid.
The guards checked our names against a list, presumably of undesirables, which we are blessedly not on; I assume she is.
At the inn, much finer than those we have previously seen, so Jayca is pleased, Catrain sorted the rooms. We are sharing a room, Malachai will bunk with us too; this is good, I don’t trust myself.
J’s suite befits the noble that he is: lots of portable objets d’art I noticed, and I saw she did too. But the landlady looks too observant for my liking.
The knights next door will keep the dragon for us; I think Hanneke might make some friends. Which is fine, as long as she keeps her guard up; heavens that girl is too trusting. She thinks she’s a merchant gone bad! Not that knowing better makes any damned difference though.
She was going to hide in our room whilst we ate so a put aside some food for her, like a good friend I thought, though I caught M’s eye, I suspect he’d have another word for it.
M mentioned her. I suppose that’s not entirely unreasonable given she is technically our prisoner, and it wasn’t like she wasn’t on my mind anyway. Hanneke wanted her to atone for her crimes, . M’s going to speak to her in his capacity as a ‘cleric’. Actually that’s not fair, he is a cleric, just maybe not the kind that focuses on atonement…
Well, I suppose he, we, help others atone for their crimes against us…
Then, by all that would plague me, she appeared, wearing C’s clothes, I don’t suppose C liked that much, she looked well in them though.
She introduced herself as Lady Else Vissen, of all the names, of all the alter egos, she could have picked she chose that one – she’s playing me.
She told a story, and she’s no bard, she hasn’t C’s skill or voice but she has a way with words when she wants, and though she wasn’t exactly being subtle she managed to hit the right notes with her talk of torture and haunting and lost friends.
H, generous heart that she has, piped up that she was wrong about not having friends left. She’s more forgiving than I but I could only awkwardly nod as well.
C, more practical demanded to know what I should have asked, had she compromised me or H?
And the question I was afraid to ask… who was her captor?
And of course it was him, Stellen, the one who drove us apart.
But if we were still… well it’s been good to work with the Hearthbreakers again.
But of course why is she here now?
She said she heard the names Esther and Hanneke and it couldn’t be a coincidence…
She said she heard that someone had put a lot of gold on our heads…
She said “Put it this way, someone very rich wants you dead”…
I want to believe she came because of me, because of me and H, but there’s always an angle with her.
I couldn’t deal with the bar anymore, and I had a pretty strong desire to get very drunk. Thought it also might be good to get M and her off to have that ‘talk’ so took some wine upstairs.
M and I headed upstairs and she followed along with C, probably best to have M and C there, their judgement definitely less clouded than mine even before the wine.
Not sure it why I thought it was a good idea to break into J’s suite to drink…
Something about J’s taste for the finer things just makes my fingers itch.
M asked how she met H – apparently she hired her as ‘muscle’ and then dumped her when things got hot. Seems like a habit of hers, not sure it makes me feel any better to know she did it to H too. I think it’s worse, at least I don’t think she lied to me…
Stupid though, she probably did.
She said she didn’t sell me out to Stellen, apparently he already knew about me, and I can’t remember what name I was using back in Heuvelbrun so I don’t know how compromised I am.
It’s not like I was planning on going back, but it seems he reach is growing.
I used all my knowledge of her and of reading people to see if she was telling the truth, I think she is but I don’t know if it’s just want I want to believe.
We heard J coming up the stairs, luckily in his ‘merry’ state, well actually he’s a rather maudlin drunk, he was singing pretty loudly.
We ran to the window and the others managed to make it out but alcohol or my unsettled thoughts made me clumsy and I slipped and was left dangling from the window frame.
Thank the heavens C’s quick and before I lost my grip entirely she hit me with a spell and I was able to gently drift to the ground.
I finally scrambled inelegantly up to the room.
Hardly an impressive display.
At least J was too drunk to notice.
No sooner were we settled again when that damned cat started yowling outside J’s room. M tried to shut him up with a water spell, which would have been hilarious except it got J instead, which was actually also hilarious except J complained to some man who came to investigate and Shay nearly got blamed so M did the just thing and ‘fessed up. Damn.
C decided to return to the others in the bar and I thought maybe it might be a good idea to leave M to get things done alone, also desperately wanted more wine.
I’m not sure what Malachai said to her whilst I went to get the wine but she looked rattled and he looked pensive.
It might have been better if I hadn’t blurted out “we need to sort sleeping arrangements…” at that point, not even remotely smooth.
Malachai, damn his organisation, deftly noted that he had a bed roll and there were two beds, which very helpfully simplified things, and neatly closed the matter to further discussion.
He wanted to know more about a ‘he’ – Stellen I assume, I think M might actually want to go after him, which is good, means I don’t have to try not to blush when I suggest it.
I missed what happened to the others for the rest of the night, too busy finding solace from a bottle of wine, but from the shouts and squawks from downstairs it seems everyone had fun and I think Kolyev may have been showing off and Hanneke’s glow the next day suggested she made a new friend. It took some effort to look pleased, not that she doesn’t deserve it but when I compare her smile from a night probably more sleepless with mine to how tired I feel today I just … I just wish there wasn’t all this complication.