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Takeshi

16 (I think) Flamerule(pretty sure), 1372 (Azuth, I hope so)

Charm Person (enchantment). Material components: none, save a lack of shame. Makes a humanoid (very important--do NOT attempt on livestock--ask my friend Jonah about that one some time...or maybe don't, he can be quite touchy) view the caster in the most favorable light. Also the most popular wand enchantment among my female customers, for some reason.

Bed's not mine. Sheets were too rough and not as recently cleaned. Ugh. My head. Judging from the dry mouth and the breath that smelled like troll toes...let's try to get up.

Ohhh. kay.

Forgive me, skull. Might I introduce you to the bedside table? Table, skull. I see you've already met.

Yes.

Hangover.

Elf wine. With a hint of cheap local moonshine in the bouquet and something else in the aftertaste. Something...spicy. Could it be?

Let's try this vertical thing again.

The sheets slipped to the floor, and for a moment my legs thought about joining them, but I managed to steady myself against the bed.

Ah yes.

That's my old friend. What's that, friend? You're feeling tired, too? Yes, well, you're quite busy lately, aren't you? Off running with this one or winking at that one, I can't say I'm surprised. And if I do say so, you look, well, smell really...a little...triumphant? But if that's the case, where's the lucky lady?

The room was, aside from the sturdy bed and aforementioned table, the usual drab affair you find in little dives looking to supplement their coin beyond the largesse of the local drinking population. Cheap rug, generic picture of a unicorn traipsing across lush meadows, complementary proselytizing book from the good folks from Lathander. It also appeared to be devoid of any females, which was a little odd, as usually I'm the one trying to find my clothes as stealthily and quickly as one can without the aid of a Light spell.

Hmm. I wonder which one it was. There was that saucy half-elf with the come-hither stare and the slit skirt. No, that wasn't yesterday, was it? And she had children my age, which was really quite disconcerting. Maybe it was Susie, although I think she's still angry from last week. Although that's another story.

Oh right, clothes. There they were, strewn across the floor by the foot of the bed. Magnos, you animal. Couldn't you at least have draped them across a chair so they wouldn't get wrinkled?

I was reaching for my breeches when the door opened. "Ah, there you are! I've been wondering why you'd leave the bed so early in the morning!"

"Mayhap cuz it's afternoon near gettin' on evening? And th' room's only paid 'til high sun?" The voice was deeper than I expected. And quite a lot more masculine.

I spun, haphazardly holding my robes in front of me. But it was a dignified spin, really, if you can picture it.

Innkeeper type. You know what I mean. A few stubborn graying strands of hair plowed desperately over the pate, with an overabundance of hair on the forearms and peeking out from the chest from behind ill-buttoned vests and half-buttoned shirts, along with a protruding gut the size of a beholder, if you're lucky. Why can't my innkeeper ever be a smoky redhead with a wicked smile and an even naughtier figure? Just once, I ask you.

"Paid til high sun?" I tried to shrug into my clothes while talking. It's a lot easier when you're not being stared at by a burly, hairy man standing between you and the doorway.

"Aye."

"Well if that's the case," I managed to get the breeches on, if not buttoned, "I'll just be leaving then. Thank you so much for your patience. You've a lovely place--"

As I started to pass him, he stretched his hand in front of me, leaning it against my chest. "Hold it right there, boy. I said t'was paid 'til high sun. That was 5 bell tolls ago." He showed a grin marred by tobacco and a self-confidence too strong to bother with the vanity of dental care.

"How much?"

"Fifteen silver."

"Fifteen silver?"

"Y'heard me."

"For five bell tolls?"

"Y'pay for a full day, no matter if y'only use a portion of it. We're not one of them low-class places."

"I can see that!" Fifteen silver pieces. Maybe for some place which offered a mirror in the room. Not some common tavern like... "Say, what place is this, anyway? The Stallion's Mount?"

He shook his head and started to open his mouth.

"Bucking Mare? No, I can always tell them by the lacey windows. No wait, don't tell me, the Penetrating Spear?"

Another no.

"The Caravan in the Tunnel?"

"The Friendly Dwarf?"

"Sword and Sheath?"

"Halfling's Pride?"

I'd have guessed again, but he interrupted, "The Dancing Goat."

"Dancing Goat?"

"Aye."

"Doesn't ring a bell." I must have been drunker than I thought.

"Doesn't matter, lad. D'ya have my fifteen silver or do I have to call for the town guard?"

"Oh wait! Now I remember! The Syphilitic Gnome!"

"What?" He looked surprised for a moment, then fierce enough to call the town guard right that moment.

Crap. That was Jonah's name for the place, after some of the wenches we'd seen at this place once. Nothing against gnomes, mind you. Even the syphilitic ones. They've a tough burden to bear and nothing but their ingenuity and their gaping sores to get them through.

"Sorry. I had the wrong place in mind. Was a different place and a different time. Not classy, like here."

He stuck his hand out, waiting.

"Very well," I sighed, then searched through my pockets. Then searched again. Oh no. Whomever it was, my friend had slick fingers. At least she'd left me my clothing.

Now it was the innkeeper's turn to sigh. "I can see how it's going to be, lad. C'mon. Nothing like a short gaol visit to learn you of the dangers of copperlessness."

"Wait! I've got something. It's just going to take me a moment to get it." I slipped my fingers underneath the robe's folds like I was going to search through them again and hoped my fingers didn't get caught on the fabric. "Hold on." I started muttering the incantation. With luck, he'd mistake it for another language, maybe a dialect from the southern lands or even elvish. "Lepor lepos amibel per dilis..."

He screwed up his face as if he were trying to understand me. I stopped speaking and waited.

A smile grew on his face. Mine as well.

"My friend!" he exclaimed, grabbing me in a bear hug.

I tried to keep my shirt, which wasn't quite fastened, from falling off. "Dearest of comrades!" I sputtered.

"How can I even think of charging you, after the generosity you've shown me!"

"Well, it really wasn't much...generosity, you say?"

"Aye, lad. The way you and your lady friend were throwin' coppers around last night! Did my heart good to see young love!"

"Yes, well, we did it all for you...Jasper." I caught the poorly lettered name on a grimy tag on his lapel.

"Ho, ho! That's kind words from you, but I can tell you had some enjoyment in the matter as well!"

"Yes, well, you wouldn't have happened to have seen my lady friend today, would you?

"Of course! She and her friend just left this--" a shadow crossed his face.

"What's the matter?"

"Funny thing, lad. Got the damnedest feeling I shouldn't mention it. But she's around a lot. I'm sure you'll catch your lady friend around again soon enough."

"I'm sure I will." That's the problem with the spell. You can make them like you, but you can't make them do things they wouldn't normally want to do, like jump in front of swords for you. Well, not unless you're especially persuasive. Not wanting to press the limits of the spell, I grasped his hands gingerly, but with as much warmth as I could muster. "Jasper, you're a fine man. I'm afraid I'm running a little behind schedule this fine...afternoon."

And before he could protest, I left the room, fastening my clothing more securely about me.

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