The Razor's Edge

Serpent In The Thorns

I fear I should have lost myself forever in the imaginings of Mistress Artina (Marika) Randis, “a half-elven boy playing a human scullery maid in disguise as highborn lady,” had my companions not called me by Daeson’s name three times. It was as if they knew the charm by verse and book!

Next thing I knew I was Daeson again, standing there near nagoy in some hoochie’s slip, staring down at a Teifling sleeping all buckeye in a cushbed. I couldn’t slip into that divotchka’s shell again if my yarbles depended on it.

Such is the power of names.

Knew they my true name, what power they should hold over me.

But now to the point. I have been busy trying to solve a mystery. I’m sort of having to do this on my own.

But all they know I now know.

Abraham must also be more deeply involved than he lets on. Abraham may be an Innkeeper, and he may be Balmorrow’s closest friend, but there are secrets he has not yet unfolded to us, for why should a simple Innkeeper maintain an Inn in which secret passages connect the rooms beneath the floorboards?

William DiHellson has arrived in Garreton. He and Brandon Darkelf visited Balmorrow, the wealthy Bard who owns the Mystic Celebration, and discovered that Balmorrow has dedicated himself to putting an end to the Guild of Assassins in Garreton (GAG). Now it begins to make sense to me why the killer of the Baron Restonford should have sought to pin this murder on Balmorrow.

One unanswered question remains for me. Given the passion Balmorrow feels for his lute, how could another (assuming his guise) have taken it and travelled so far away as Restonford, without Balmorrow becoming aware that his instrument had gone missing? We were told that the bard (or his doppelganger) played at the Inn in Restonford from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm on the night of the Baron Restonford’s death. Balmorrow denies having visited Restonford at all.

I have also learned that two regular visitors at the House of Abraham are members of the GAG. I learned this not from asking questions but from listening. This time quite simply by listening to an exchange between my own companions who I doubt would have shared this information with Daeson. From their interaction it seems clear to me that they do not trust him. Besides Daeson was never a good listener. He talks too much!

Alas, one of the terrible truths of changelings is that we should bear witness to the uncensored thoughts of our companions, who realize not that they are speaking of us to us in another form. But it is hard to have hurt feelings when only words of truth are spoken. Besides they need me—especially the Tiefling! Bartholomew Bladeslinger may not know me, but I know him. I am a part of his destiny, and he of mine. It is no accident—our encounter in the woods. If I had that sketch of him that Túriel made for me after one of her visions then he might better understand. Unfortunate that it was lost; even more-so how it was lost!

Alas!

I visited the Mystic Celebration last night, but learned little. I managed to collect a few trinkets for my efforts, two gold candlesticks, 10 gold, and a golden stringed lute that belonged to Balmorrow.

I also discovered a small satchel containing a book, probably of little value, but the story was familiar. A set of loose leaf pages bound to it seem to be a work in progress, transforming the book into a stage play. It probably would have escaped my notice except for the sketch of the face on the top page, which drew my attention to satchel and book. I knew that face. I didn’t recall from where I knew that face until I dreamed about him last night while I was camped out in the old abandoned house. It wasn’t yet safe to go back to the House of Abraham.

I know William and Brandon visited the Temple of Osprom, the clergy who wear the barracuda holy symbols, the ones with the ruby eyes, but they learned nothing about the cleric who visited Restonford on that fateful night. The barracuda is the symbol of that Lydore Isle sea diety. I am as distrustful of priests of fish gods as is Daeson. Perhaps he learned that distrust from me! There is a whole fishing net full of secrets we have yet to haul in from the sea as far as they are concerned.

William is always a bit of surprise to me. I was watching him react when someone called him “father” and he became angry. Lots of emotion behind that face he fashioned to keep anyone from noticing. So now I wonder what happened to his child (or children). Something happened. He either failed to protect his child, or lost his child, or abandoned his child, or some other horror only a parent would understand. Makes me curious.

I never told him that I bought a dress from his mum.

I hate to say it, but now I wonder if all three of those suspects were ever spied at the same time. What if there were someone like me behind the murder. Abraham claims his vest was stolen, and it may well have been. There is still more to him than he lets on. His secrets overlay other mystery, obscuring them, and thwart me from finding out what I need to know if I want to untangle this gordian knot. Which is why it’s a good thing I found Serpent In The Thorns. To solve this mystery my companions don’t need Daeson. But I think I know who they do need.

I don’t think that we will learn any more from asking questions, though I believe I can assist them with their efforts. The answers they seek requires a spy, someone who can infiltrate the assassins and ferret out their secrets, not by asking, but by becoming one of them.

So I can see it will be necessary for me to spend some time studying that little midget and his friend. I need to know far more about them, and right now I don’t even have a name. To pull this off I will need to know more, much more. The face goes only so far. A quality performance will be called for this time, and I have gotten lazy. I like Daeson, it’s been easy being him. He was like a brother to me. Hell, he is like a me to me!

Almost too easy.

But as the saying goes, “time to put away childish things”. Of course even children have their place in the world. I’m sure I’ll visit him again! I owe him so much.

But for now I think it’s time to become what I was born to be.

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Duane

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