Campaign of Evil

B02C11 a la Shizuka
Sine Qua Non

Meimei and I bound ourselves in the bed, having taken care to strategically tear our clothes and apply fake wounds to our bodies. We would play either to the compassion or the lusts of these invaders.

Suddenly, we heard the doorknob turn, and in walked an impetuous serving girl with a bag of stolen treasure from around the palace. We had no interest in her destroying our plan, so before she could scream and alert anyone the wiser, Meimei dispatched her easily, and I tossed her into the well. We hid her loot in the wardrobe so it wouldn’t arouse suspicion, then quickly resumed our positions.

Finally, some armed men entered the room. Seeing us, they called for backup, though it should have been apparent that we were harmless. They spoke a different eastern language than our own, but I wove a sad tale of capture and mistreatment in my native tongue, trying my best to sound pathetic and sad. However, these barbarians took my words as insults and became aggressive.

Eventually, they called in a man who could understand us. He claimed we were liars and assassins. When 15 soldiers roughly yanked us from the bed, they found all my daggers hidden under the pillows, so our defense was blown. They manhandled us: stripping us, binding us, and throwing us to the ground in the courtyard. I was able to free one hand, but with soldiers milling about everywhere, I thought better of pressing my luck.

After a while, we heard the tinkling of bells and saw a trail of dappled light; it was beautiful but in an unsettlingly sad way. In fact, I felt uncharacteristically miserable as I watched a boy with blue hair walk towards us, dragging lethal chain weapons behind him. “Why did you not run?” he asked us with palpable melancholy.

I told him we were prisoners of the evil Duke Cassus, but he knew I was lying. He began to raise those chains, and I knew that Meimei and I would be dead in an instant. “The ants!!” I yelled. And he stopped. He asked a few questions and knew I had spoken truth. Instead of execution, we were thrown into the empty dungeons we had left only a few hours earlier today.

It was dark and cold. Meimei stayed oddly silent but she did bring some magic light to the room. With my free hand, I was able to unbind us completely. As hour wore upon hour, I began to knit our ropes into shift dresses, covering our nakedness. I braided Mei’s hair and she braided mine, and we talked about our long ago past and how much we loved each other and our plans for growing old together.

It was nice to spend time with her like this. But my mind kept going back to the venomous dagger that the gods had given me and was now lost. Even more, I had lost my thumbnail necklace and all the growth and history it symbolized for me. In my homeland we have a saying, “An item’s worth runs deeper than its value.” I must retrieve it! I tried to pick the lock with the handle of the bucket but to no avail.

Suddenly the door flew open and guards motioned us to kneel before them. I threw the bucket of water in their faces while Meimei went into an impressive display of deadly magic. Meanwhile I was able to grab a short sword from a guard I knocked out with a punch to the face. While fighting the guards around me, I realized there was an endless stream before us. Meimei had walked past my assailants and was surrounded by the evil horde. She cast spell after a spell, but too soon, my sister went down. She was completely silent and I feared the worst. I let out an angry scream and began to wail on those around me. Then I too was overcome and knocked out.

I awoke, naked and suspended by chains above a hot kiln. There was to be an inquisition. I was asked where we came from, so I tried the captive sex slave line again, and a hot blade of iron was laid against the back of my knee—the smell of burning flesh and a pain so intense I almost threw up. I learned quickly that they could detect lies and would punish them with pain. But if I told the truth, they seemed pleased. So I told the truth. Thankfully, I don’t always know so much so well. I knew we had put foxglove into one of the wells but I didn’t know if Kiaran and Belo had successfully poisoned the other wells, and if they did, what poison they used. I did not know where they were or even if they still lived.

Of course, as they questioned me, I kept asking about the fate of my sister. I couldn’t see her or hear her or sense her anywhere. When I asked, they would harm me again. Finally, I had satisfied their questioning and they unchained me, rubbed salve in my wounds, and wrapped me in a blanket. “You have done well,” my interrogator told me. “Where is my sister Kinmei?” I asked weakly one last time. “She is dead.” He said and turned and left me.

Reality breaks.

I’m falling. I’m floating. I’m heavy, sinking like a stone. Total darkness – I can’t see. Total emptiness. Alone. This pain more devastating than all the pain of my recent torture. Pointless – my life now. I’m howling. I’m fighting for a breath. Fury. Anger fills me and gags me. I imagine my rage consuming me until I am a pure force of hatred, an infinite whirlwind of cruel destruction tearing the world into smaller and smaller and smaller pieces. No one will survive. Nothing will remain.

But I am just a girl. There will be no destruction. I have no power, no strength, no sister.

I must have passed out, because the next thing I remember is being chained to a wall in the dungeon again. I am so tired, so spent. I want death to take me quickly. I sing a song my mother sang to us when we were so small. And I hear my sister’s voice singing with me. I’m going insane, but I still call out, “MEI!?!??!?!” “MEI!!!!!!!!” And I hear “Zu?” My soul shudders with the force of despair turning to instant joy. I’m sure I felt a crack deep within, but I don’t care. My beautiful sister lives!!

My voice is raw from yelling back and forth with Meimei. Suspended by my arm cuffs, I fall in and out of sleep. Wondering how long we will be forgotten in this pit.

Finally, after hours and hours, Belo and Kiaran come waltzing in, looking well-groomed and bored with their adventure. “Oh there you are. Well, we’ve won. Let’s move along now.” No knowledge whatsoever of the universe having crashed and been rebuilt. No concern that we are naked, and seared, and soul-wrenched. But in my homeland we have a saying, “A boat to a bird is different than a boat to a fish.”

I was glad to recover all of my possessions (yes, my precious necklace included). As we wonder what treasures we should snag from the palace, Hieronymous Q. Polecat greets us at the gate. He believes we need to leave this area quickly. Though we killed the Evil Masked Death King Emperor, another will come, seeking revenge. We have his magical golden mask in our possession but were strongly cautioned not to put it on.

Instead, he says, “Have you ever considered piracy?” And like that, we are on another mission. Only now, it feels different. I feel different. Stronger, crueler, and broken.

The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul
Session 55 and 56

We awoke the next day to screams, commotion, and terror.  Clearly the invading army had arrived.  I took my time arising from bed.  Layed out the days clothing, washed and groomed myself meticulously, and then present myself to the day.  The others, by now were lounging about and so it was decided that we should make our way to the Duke’s stronghold.

Arriving at the gates there was a long line of prissy aristocrats waiting to get in.  Being the Duke’s Champions, I naturally assumed that the business of lines were intended for lesser stock.  I started pushing our way toward the front of the line, bringing the others with me.  Apparently some entitled lady-man took exception to our exceptionalism and challenged me to a duel.  Naturally, I excepted his honorable challenge of one on one combat and gave warning for no other man (or woman) to interfere.  Within moments he found himself bleeding out on the street at my feet.  A witness, Count Lying Swine Dog, called the guards and accused me of murder.  Completely glossing over the honorable combat bits.

This is not the first time in this place I had witnessed such corruption.  These people deserve everything that is about to happen to them.  I begin to protest, but soon realize I am being arrested and led through the line and into the gates.  I give a little wink to the Count as the gates close behind us.  He attempts to retort but manages only a weak mime act.

I am separated from my female companions as they are led to some other portion of a jailing area.  I was quite confident of my position up until the point where I was denied access to speak with a magistrate.  My possessions were taken, I was stripped naked and led through the courtyard in utter humiliation.  Some way to treat the Duke’s Champion.  After a sound beating, I was lead down a long spiral staircase.  I made several feints to feel out escape options, but thought the better of it. 

Part way down the stairs, I became conscious of a commotion of some kind above.  Soon my dark angels arrive on the scene to deliver me.  Being bound and naked I was really of very use to them and was really only in the way.  That gave me an idea – be in the way.  While the guards were focused on fighting the females before them, I kneeled down behind them and made myself a tripping hazard on the slick stony stairs.  Zu Zu knocked one of them over me – the guards neck was heard to snap as he fell down the stairwell.

The fight was soon over so we took what we could with us and decided to head all the way down to the prison level.  We reasoned that our best means of escape was to secure the assistance of our fellow prisoners.  Reaching the bottom, we negotiated with the single guard to assist us in exchange for his life.  As expected, there were many men down below who were willing to fight their way toward freedom.  And one ‘thing’ I hesitate to call a man.  He was more of a crazed animal.  We shove him through the door to let him fight his way up first while the everyone else made due with whatever arms were available.

Obviously, there were clearly more men here than we had weapons available.  I made sure the strongest of them were armed and rallied them to freedom up the stairs.  We tarried a bit behind, letting the prisoners absorb the brunt of the initial combat before we joined the press.  Luckily, the prisoners were victorious and we were not need in the fight at all.

We and the remaining prisoners adopted the garb of the fallen guards.  The old watch guard led us to our gear.  The prisoners availed themselves to what they could find.  We advised the old guard take collect his ‘retirement’ from the secure vaults here and be on his way.  An idea he found most agreeable.  The Kieran and I set to making as much poison as we could while Zu Zu and Mei Mei snuck out and poisoned each of the wells.

It wasn’t’ long before a brilliant flash and a loud bang brought all the fighting to an end.  The Duke and his men had surrendered and were being granted passage to flea the city unmolested if they left in the next few hours.

With the Duke’s stronghold virtually empty, we had the run of the place mostly to ourselves.  The two sisters wanted to try their hand at seduction and murder.  Kieran and I were inclined to let the poison do its work.  We found a hiding place from which we could ride out what was to come.  We had calculated that the bulk of the effects would come in approximately 24 hours.   

At one point, we saw the sisters drug into the center of the square.  Our initial instinct was to led aid, but with an army between us in broad daylight, a cup of tea seemed a more appropriate use of our time.  Hoping that the girls could talk their way out of it someone, we stayed hidden.

After many hours of quiet contemplation.  The commotion outside began to die down in the night.  We felt a bit freer to move about and tried a few times to test escaping into the night.  Thoughts of daring rescue were interrupted by a stroke of inspiration that resolved us to stay the course.  Kieran and I had many interesting conversations about the differences between ritual animal sacrifice and practical butchering.  I definitely feel much more proficient in both fields at this point.

As sun began to rise, we heard screams and wailing.  The poison was beginning to take hold.  Kieran and I again sat tight.  I pulled out my ceremonial tea set and we enjoyed a nice bit of breakfast while we ignored the distress happening around us.  Through this Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, I came to a conclusion:  All my life I have been pushed around and railed at these circumstances.  Similarly, I have bullied my way through life, trying to force my will on the world. 

“People who need to bully you are the easiest to push around.”  It was then that I realized that the time had come to evolve again, and yet come full circle.   From thief to butcher.  From butcher to investigator.  And now I must relearn the silver tongue of my youth, which served me so well in those days.  Lost though it may have been in the trials of adulthood, I will teach myself to call upon it again.  The way of the investigator is not to brashly bully one’s way to the meat of truth with bludgeoning words.  One does not slaughter a beast with a hammer.   Rather to use one’s mind to carefully trim away the fat and reveal the perfect cut.

<slurp of the tea>  A gong was heard in the distance.  “I believe our mission is complete.”

Kieran and I came forth from our hiding nook and found everyone dead.  Putting the mission first, we immediately went for the Ducal chambers.  There we the Emperor slumped – dead.  His second remained behind – still living – and thanked us for his freedom.  Giving a word of warning, he counseled that we not take up the Crown ‘unless we were already the strongest of all we knew’.  Further, that the Empire had a long arm, and that the heirs would come for retribution.   And with a blink he was gone.  Kieran and I carefully stowed the crown in a sack – being careful not to touch it.  I took the head the Emperor as a gift for my Lady god.

Polecat made an appearance and gave his congratulations as well after we found and freed our comrades.  He also warned us that the Empire would soon come here looking for revenge and the crown, we must leave this place and lead them away from our Lady gods.  He offered us a job and a reward.  Something was stolen from him, and he needs a punishment dealt.  Should we deal the punishment, we may keep what was stolen as reward.

Obviously, his image is far more important to him than trinkets.  We accept his mission and begin to outfit a ship which we liberate from the harbor to take our quest to sea.  Some time at sea will be a great time to further investigate my new insights into my own psyche.  Because, of course – old habits die hard….

B02C10 a la Shizuka
Good Fortune and Anticipation

It’s the biggest bedroom I’ve ever seen with the biggest bed topped with the softest coverlet of the deepest blue. On the wall hangs a mirror from ceiling to floor. When I stand in front of it, it’s like I’m standing face-to-face with Meimei before her hair turned white. (But I should mention that she just turned her hair temporarily back to the original black.)

My cunning sister and I are in Duke Cassus’ private chambers. A few hours ago, we left Kiaran and Belo mixing up poisons while we took the bit of foxglove we already had and threw it in a well outside the palace. We were dressed in fine clothes we found in the prison, and we simply walked in as everyone of importance was rushing out.

The Duke himself rode by us. He stopped when we called to him, and we tried to tell him of our plan, but he was already resigned to surrender.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.


At dawn we awoke to a loud hullaballoo. It seemed the town was finally aware of the invasion we had been expecting, so we were not concerned; however there would be no sleeping through the sounds of fear and panic all throughout the city. Donning our badges (two legit and two counterfeit), we decided to go at once to the Duke’s palace to put our plan into motion.

We were not the only ones seeking audience with Duke Cassus. Crowds of aristocrats were waiting to get in through the gate. We showed our badges around, but it seems that all citizens of Marish have these badges. (Dare I say, “Oopsie Daisy”?) We have learned by now that Belo’s touch is not the softest, and our attempts to cut in line resulted in several fights. Luckily, I was able to lift some gold pieces off of one of his victims to help reimburse me for all the healing potions I required after the gladiator fight the night before.

In my homeland we have a saying, “An enemy’s horse can be a gift from the gods if you look in its mouth.” And, the gods did smile upon us as a troop of sentries arrived on horses. After all, there would be no quick way to break through the throngs of rich people other than to be arrested.

We submitted as the guards manacled us and took us to the holding cells. They separated Belo from the rest of us. I don’t know about his treatment, but other than a few innuendos, we were treated gently. However, it was devastating to lose our weapons, our poison, and Meimei’s powerful staff and scrolls. Luckily, I literally had a few blades still up my sleeves.

When the guards returned to takes us from the holding cell, Kiaran knocked them out with quick-thinking and skilled magic. We hastily dragged in two of the guards, took their keys, and locked them in our cell, then we dispatched the others and headed off to rescue Belo.

He was being led down a windy staircase, and I soundlessly crept up behind the rear guard and went to stab him, but I lost my footing in the last moment and one dagger glanced off his armor as another loudly bounced down the stairs. So a brief fight ensued without the benefit of surprise, but these armed men were no match for the three of us girls … and Belo, on his knees … which was actually helpful as I shoved one guard who tripped over Belo and cracked his spine bouncing down the endless stairs. Another guard was knocked out, so I also took his life as a safety precaution. And just like that, I had earned two more thumbnails!

We heard throngs of guards above us so decided to free the prisoners below us and pray the true gods were on the side of us and the captives. Easily the prisoners overtook the guards on the stairway—two even survived—and we climbed over the bodies in order to find freedom. An old man named Chester, a sleepy harmless guard, showed us where our supplies had been stored. It is in this storehouse that Belo and Kiaran set about making more poisons and where Meimei and I found these fine clothes.

We found some peace in the storeroom while soldiers ran in panic all over the Duke's grounds. At one point there was a loud bang and a light brighter than the sun that seemed to take over the world. We knew the Death King God Emperor Evil would soon take Marish for himself. 

So Meimei and I decided on our oldest and best trick: sisters in a bedroom. We will see what kind of man this Evil God King Emperor Death is. If he’s like any other man, he will meet his death in bed with us. Oh, I love when the power tables turn and a domineering man finds he is not in control and that what he thought would be his selfish pleasure will be his last breath! It’s my absolute favorite. But you know, in my country we have a saying, “Everyone prefers their cup of tea in a different way.”

So we wait.

Mortal Combat
Session 54

Mortal Combat

As dawn broke on the morning of the big gladiatorial match, I found myself in quiet contemplation.  After completing my morning grooming rituals, I stepped into the parlor to find my companions already present – along with the Rockettes.  Zu zu was conversating with one of them in the corner while she honed her blades.  Mei Mei deep in study with her tomes as she sipped on tea and crumpets.  Kiaran made not a single sound, although I could tell she was reciting a prayer by reading her lips.

Soon it was resolved that should pay one more visit to Mabel the Seer to learn the latest news.  Her visions were told us nothing we didn’t already expect, or at least was conscious of.  The suspended platform over the arena, someone would fall.  That last bit did concern me – fall as in die?  Fall from the suspended platform – I may be the least nimble of my companions.  I shall have to be extra vigilant.

Our next stop was the Swamp.  It was prudent to spend our available time sizing up our opponents.  The werewolf was of special concern and looked to be the fiercest – at least physically.  With him were an undead, a sorcerer, and a cleric.  Two of the magical arts, again – unwelcome news.  I despise these wielders of the arcane arts – they are an afront to the science of matter which I have dedicated myself.  I dare not let the females see the concern on my face, so I made light of the contest, complained of the foul order in this establishment, and made my exit.

The others soon joined us and we were then off to grab free food and beverages along with the other contestants.  We reasoned that our best shot to aid Rockettes might be to give them a little edge in the health category.  I give a few doses of the Foxglove to Zu zu so that she could attempt to poison their opponents.  She and Mei Mei made a little show of being clumsy and managed to get the deed done.  I wish we were able to get it done a little earlier in the day for maximum, but every little edge helps.

Everyone else helped themselves to the buffet and free drink.  I, of course, abstained.  Even on the best of days, I shun alcohol, but willfully choosing to poison one’s body hours before engaging in mortal combat seems a fool’s bargain to me.  Talk around the establishment was of the approaching army and many had chosen to flee.  Indeed, many of the contestants in tonight’s match had even left town.  I attempted to place a wager on the outcome of our matches, because truly – what use do I have of money if I am dead?  It appears though, that the man we killed in the warehouse district may have indeed been the man.  There was no one able to organize the action around these contests – perhaps that’s a role I should assume later?  Enough of idle thoughts though, there is a mission to perform for my Lady Goddesses.

Before we knew it, we were in the arena.  We had cunningly crafted a plan to focus our efforts on felling one of them as quickly as possible to gain numerical superiority.  Zu zu and I were to provide interference from melee attacks Kieran and Mei Mei.  I carefully explained that I would engage in one-on-one combat with one of them, thereby granting a blessing from my Lady Landrew in combat.  All being agreed, we waited the announcement of the beginning of the fight.  Only the beginning came with an attack being pressed by our opponents!


Being caught flat footed, I had not had time to drink my potion and lost precious time in doing so.  Kieran leveled a curse on the enemy troop while Mei Mei cast her magics to hobble their advance.  Zu zu and I advanced to create space between we and comrades.  It was at that point, unfortunately, that our plans came to swift conclusion.  Zu zu then broke ranks and rushed both the werewolf and the undead on her own.  I admire her tenacity, but feared we were undone.  She failed in her attacks on the werewolf and lost a blade to the water.  I was left to declare singular combat with the skeleton and gauge timing of my assault. 

Kieran then assaulted the undead!  I physically felt a sting of pain as my honor was ripped from my soul by Landrew.  The shock of it left me weak and barely able to move.  Meanwhile the undead and the wolf viciously attacked Zu zu and brought her low.  This bodes not well indeed!  I took occasion to drink the true sight potion I had prepared earlier and gauged the wolf a more difficult target.  Our only hope was to bring it down in one blistering attack.  While the attack was indeed blistering, I was unable to cause enough damage to dispatch the beast.

While I was unable to lay a further blade on our opponents, I was able to control their movements and keep them off of my more ranged combat minded friends until they were brought down – and just in the nick of time as Mei Mei was able to administer a life saving dose of potion to save Zu zu as she bled out on the platform.

Victory, snatched from the jaws of defeat.

We needed to buy more time for the poison to kick in for the next fight, so I attempted to rile the crowd with great comedic stylings.  Sadly, my performance fell flat and the crowd was unamused.  Thankfully, again Mei Mei saved the day.  Using a spell to summon spirits of the undead, she was able to put on a fantastic light show while Zu Zu and I egged on the crowd with a dazzling display of blade work.

Hopefully we have bought our friend enough time.  I subtly suggested to them, as the match was to start, that their opponents’ hearts may have suffered some damage and not be up to a protracted cardio intensive battle.  They heeded the advice well enough at first.  While the crowd was not pleased with the running about the platform trying to tire their opponents, it was a sound strategy.  Eventually the fight was engaged, but by then I had lost interest.  I was told later one of the Rockettes had met her demise, but they found victory.  By now, my thoughts had turned toward the Duke and the completion of our mission.

B02C09 a la Shizuka
Puppies and Bones

The number of gladiator teams has been greatly diminished. We heard that many people—those with money and influence—were leaving the area by boat and heading west. So, based on the limited selection, HQ Polecat determined that the purple-mohawked lesbians (Beth, Lizzie, Elsie, and Ella—now going by the name “The Rockettes”) should fight Rattlesnake, the easier team. Our party, POE, would fight Finality, a bunch of baddasses.

I had a lot of nervous energy that morning, so I sat in the parlor, honing my blades one by one. In my homeland we have a saying, “If your hands don’t keep you busy, your brain will.” And I really don’t like when my brain does that. Elsie sat and talked with me. She hates her father too, for reasons even more insidious than the reasons I hate mine. She is shy, but has a deep-seeded bitterness blooming into a robust hatred throughout her soul. I really like her.

The whole crew was getting antsy, so we went to talk to Mabel at noon. For a gold piece, she made some predictions about our evening. “Someone will fall.” “Suspension above a dangerous pool.” “Blahbity blah blah.” She was insistent in telling us repeatedly, “You must all keep moving.” I didn’t know if she was talking about the gladiator fights or the impending war, because, as usual, she makes no sense.

Next, we went to the Swamp and got some info about our opponents. Apparently, we’d be fighting a dead-guy-turned-skeleton, a man-eating werewolf, a bald Raven Cleric, and a real wimp of a sorcerer. We drank a round of beers and fed peanuts to the cute owlbear there (definitely not the same owlbear we met at HQ's).

As we left the bar, the people of Shady Lane were pointing at us and whispering behind our backs. I tried to announce our big event, but they acted really weird towards us, like they weren’t even concerned about the fight. They wouldn’t answer any questions and didn’t even know that people had been leaving Marash in droves.

HQ joined us at The Wet Spot where we were given complementary dinner and drinks. I wasn’t feeling too hungry, so I picked at my veal and potatoes. Rattlesnake sat at a nearby table. Meimei and I came up with a plan, and she walked over and feigned being drunk and asking for an autograph. They obviously didn’t know who she was, and they were miserably snotty and rude. It took all I had to hide my smile when she “accidentally” spilled her drink all over them. I hastily stepped up and apologized for her, sopping up the mess with napkins from the empty table next to them. As I did so, I poured the foxglove that Belo had given me into their fresh beers. They didn’t notice a thing! I cheers’ed them, satisfied as they drank their drinks with gusto.

POE volunteered to fight first because the foxglove does take a few hours to settle in. Belo tried to warm up the crowd with a failed attempt at comedy. I stepped up and got their attention with some graphic descriptions of the blood bath that was about to occur. Crowds always like dirty talk.

Then the fight was on. Kiaran’s opening move trapped the opponents in a sticky web, and my respect for her grew. Meimei, the bravest and most powerful of us, went straight after the Raven Cleric while I marched towards the werewolf. Belo kept declaring one-on-one fights of honor that everyone else ignored.

What happened next is a blur. I remember being sandwiched between the hideous Skeleton (dagger vs. bone is not ideal fighting) and the furry Wolf Man. I was slicing and throwing daggers, pretty sure they were hitting. I remember feeling a deep cut that vibrated my whole body and I remember falling though I felt like I was standing. I remember seeing wisps of flames. Everywhere a person should be, I saw flames: bright and steady and concentrated in the stands, red and hot where the wolfman stood, faint and dark purple where the skeleton should be. A bright white flame burned at the far end of the arena where Meimei stood. When I looked at it, I gained comfort. It called to me and told me “Stay here.” I was not a flame, but I felt hot like a burning coal.

A swirl of memories assailed my brain and I felt so tired. I saw Yoshiko, my childhood dog. He was golden and happy, licking my face. Of course, he always loved Meimei best. I had killed a mouse for him and was calling him over to give it to him, and he wouldn’t come. He was rolling at Meimei’s feet, happy and oblivious as she pet him and cooed at him. There was suddenly a knife in my hand. I walked over to him and stabbed him in his chest and in his face. Again and again. Meimei was yelling, crying. I was sobbing too. Meimei comforted me and told me to remember how bad this feels. I cut off Yoshiko's toenail so I would remember. It still hangs from my necklace. Then I remembered Fat Lee, and Meimei looking so young and beautiful performing for the crowd, bright beautiful lights dancing above her fingertips.

I felt light from fingertips. I felt that burning ember heat cooling. I saw myself as a flame, as dark and weak as the skeleton’s wisp. I opened my eyes. Kiaran was kneeling beside me. She gave me a drink of potion and I felt amazingly better. I looked around. The fight was over. The Finality team was strewn around the arena, dead or injured. I walked over to Werewolf Jerk who seemed out cold, and I kicked him into the pool below, giddy as the crabs started pinching away his stupid flesh. I didn’t want a second claw for my necklace anyway.

It had only been 4 hours since we gave the foxglove to Rattlesnake, so we decided to delay the next game a bit. Belo and I were in a rhythm, emceeing and sensationalizing. You could feel the rapt attention of the crowd as Kiaran and Meimei dazzled them with a spectacular magic show like none you have ever seen. The crowd was entertained for another hour at least.

Finally, we watched the Rockettes fight Rattlesnake. I’m sure Rattlesnake was not at their best, but they were still formidable, and the Rockettes were just bad bad bad, even with the help of our magic. Ultimately the Rockettes pulled through and won, but I was disappointed that Elsie, the one I had talked to this morning, fell into the water and never came back up.

We returned to HQ's house, all of us exhausted. Me, feeling pretty bad off with a new impressive scar from my right shoulder to my breast bone that still ached. But I had no trouble sleeping, even though the sound of the three purple-mohawked lesbians weeping was pretty annoying.

Parlay in the Boat House
Session 53

Dear readers: I have just had the best nights sleep in my life.  I had forgotten what clean sheets even felt like in my meandering over the years.   And never had I known the comfort of whatever this strange fabric – doubtless it is imported from some far away heathen land.  Perhaps the heathens aren’t as uncivilized as I had once assumed.  After we had the opportunity to break the evening’s fast, we were joined for conversation with our gracious host, Mr. Polecat.  His peculiar nature speaks of a man that can afford such freedoms bought with perhaps only the most elite mix of wealth and power.  As he is our host, I have chosen to overlook the basal debauchery of some his extensive drug use off the posterior of a beast of the fields, albeit and exotic one.  He took his leave after some bewildering lectures?  Or was it an interrogation?  How can say when dealing with such a man.

We were then left alone to discuss the disposition of our gladiatorial arrangement with those whom we have started referring to as The Rockettes.  A troupe of meekly built, purple haired women – surely they don’t mean to compete in the upcoming contests?  At that point Meimei decided to take exception with something I had said.  I don’t even remember what it was in all honesty.  But rather than confront my slight like a man, she took occasion to strike me! 

Seeing the ire break across my face, the rest of our mismatched band decided to join in!  Again Meimei assaulted me – this time missing.  Kiaran cast some sort of spell on me which left me diminished.  Shizuka had the stones to come at me with a knife – however ineptly.  I am a patient man, but this sort of violence can not be left unanswered.  Quickly producing a blade, I targeted the stretch of floor between MeiMei feet and through.  As the dagger trembled, having been expertly positioned – I thanked them all to mind their manners and not try that again. 

Yet again they tried to assault me, again escalating the situation.  Meimei trying to replicate my skill with the blade but failing embarrassingly, the blade bounced flew well off target and clanked uselessly to the floor.  Shazuka meekly beat upon my chest.  At this point it was up to me to be the bigger man, or rather the man and draw this encounter to a close.  Zuzu was easily cast aside, I retrieved my knife, and went on to converse with The Rockettes.

The Rockettes, it seems, are really only interested in gaining access to the hill – the same as we.  Their mission is clear, your standard distribution of wealth.  They are a bit stumped, however, on how to achieve victory without being brutally murdered.  It was decided that we would arrange things so that they and we would be the two reigning champions and both earn our trip up the hill.  In exchange for our aid in this matter, they would provide for us a map of all known water resources in the region.

Next we were off to our meeting with ‘The Man.’  Hopefully enough time remains before the approaching army arrives for any deals we are able to strike are able to reach maturity.  We were lead to a house where we were locked within coffins, and then transported to and frough before arriving at our final destination.  I expected some obfuscation being taken to the meeting location and participated quite willingly.  My companions followed suit and we were brought to a boat house where we were set free.

Well – freeish.  The coffins were opened remotely, likely some kind of magics in use, but we were release into a locked steel cage suspended over water.  I opened negotiations as I normally have in such situations – calmly describing the situation the city is facing.  And an offer to negotiate an arrangement that would bring both profit and a means of surviving the coming menace.  We could hear the inexperienced whisperings of what sounded like two boys bickering from beyond the floodlights.  They then demanded all available in exchange for..nothing?  Obviously inept negotiators, I began to understand that these boy’s were not ‘the man’, at best – they were his agents.  At worst, we had been duped by Knucles.

Obviously, I refused to divulge the only information currently keeping us alive at that point.  Unfortunately, the boys took that as a signal to murder us out of hand.  Standing brave, I called their bluff stating that we were not afraid of death as the cage was lowered into the water.  As the cage continued to be lowered into the water, I reminded them that the information we had would die with us, and that a beneficial arrangement could be made for all parties.

It was about that time that Zuzu chimed in by stating she had knowledge of the Gladiatorial bouts being fixed.  I judged that her gamble might just pay off, so I allowed her to continue.  Unfortunately, she overplayed her hand in stating that it was her desire to murder Duke Cassus.  Men such as these operate with under agreement and even a sort of cooperation with the nobility.  In threatening his long-term position, the die was cast.

Luckily, Zuzu is quick on her feat.  She immediately recognized her misstep and set to unlocking the cage with a skeleton key.  Shrewd move (for a girl).  In an instant, the door was open and she had lept across the water to ledge with an easy grace.  Being an ungraceful old man, I opted for a more measured pace.  Climbing atop the cage, I got a running start and lept across 10 feet of water.  I was actually so stunned in making the jump and landing expertly on my feet, I just stood there.  My, that did go better than expected.

Kerian and MeiMei made effort to following along but came up short and found themselves handing from the precipice.  I reached down – offering a hand to each.  Accepting my aid, in unison, we were able to get them hoisted over the ledge.  Zuzu was attacked by what I later learned were magic missles in took some injury.  The rest of us sprinted after the boys who had betrayed the neutrality of our parlay.

A fire bomb of some kind was set off, but I quickly sprinted past with the others hot on my tail.  Our attackers attempted to barricade themselves behind a door while fire spread through the room.  We had wanted to preserve their lives and merely subdue them, however with the fire spreading this course of action was becoming quite impractical.  Little by little we whittled down the resistance until none remained.

By this point, the build was engulfed in flame.  I made effort to retrieve whatever information and possessions I could from the bodies of the boys, but the flames forced my retreat as well before I could remove some rings that seemed of interest.

Bursting into the street, a crowd had gathered and seen us exit the burning building.  I quickly shouted for the fire brigade and got to organizing bystanders to aid in fighting the flames lest the entire district go up.  Knowing what to do, the town citizenry quickly took my direction and started to work.  At this point, we melted into the chaos and disappeared.

We are met again by our gracious host.  Zuzu came right out and asked if he could fix the fights.  Seeming to take offense to this he went off into a spirited and somewhat comprehensible lecture.  Quickly interrupting, I explained that she is new to this language and misspoke.  By ‘fix’, she mean ‘arrange’ or ‘setup’ – like any true manager would.  Feeling better about this situation he again started, but then drifted off looking for the ass of the great beast which provided him with his comfort.

Later that night, I was awake at the table in my room, preparing extracts for the next day.  I could have sworn I heard Zuzu’s voice in the room next threatening some poor soul with her knives.  Adorable.

B02C08 a la Shizuka
Men and The Man

After breakfast, we spoke with H.Q. Polecat, an interesting man. He only answers questions to ask questions, and even that game tires him quickly. Which is fine with me. In my homeland we have a saying, “Some people need answers, others live life.” His attention is rapidly switching, one moment talking of Emperor Sun Kings, the next anxious to snort drugs off of a live hippopotamus.

After our host excused himself, Belo made one of his usual sexist comments. (I’m thinking he must be trying to be funny. Surely he can’t believe the things he says?!) Meimei, ever principled, slapped him across his face. Rather than apologizing, Belo retaliated aggressively, and the whole room gasped as our party went full-on combat mode including Belo and Meimei throwing knives at each other! I had thought we were such a great team. Meimei, my favorite person in the world, was under attack by the only man I’ve known that I haven’t flat-out despised. I had a vision of our party splitting, of our mission over before it had begun. Confusion overwhelmed me. I just don’t know how to fight someone I’m not willing to kill. My eyes burned with stupid tears, and I ran to Belo and started punching his chest rapidly, pleading with him, questioning him. I was emotional, and it was pretty embarrassing. He forcibly pushed me off of him, but thankfully, that pretty much ended the fight.

The fight was actually a nice segue into a productive conversation with the four purple-mohawked gladiator lesbians we had originally met at The Swamp, because they also think men are ridiculous. They too were considering H.Q. Polecat as a manager. Though they are inexperienced in combat, the top two gladiator teams are rewarded with a trip to the governor’s palace, and they wanted to go to pilfer some of his riches. Together, we devised a plan of rigging the fights so that our teams could fight a choreographed match in the final bout, hoping of course that no one dies on the way there. In return for our “altering the odds,” the ladies are to give us a map of Marash’s water sources. We promised them a spectacular draw in the final match, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up killing a few of them.

At noon, we set out to meet The Man, an appointment that Belo had set that up with that guy Knuckles. We were escorted by a young boy to a flop house with a sign that read “Rooms for,” and I was intrigued to meet this master of the town’s underbelly. I have plenty of experience with scoundrels of the nomadic type, but it must take a different kind of scoundrel to remain in one place. When we were nailed into coffins and placed on a ship, that difference was confirmed. They didn’t even try to rob us first.

When the boat stopped moving, we were hoisted into the air and set upright. The nails were removed from the coffins one by one, and we each became aware that we were locked in a cage suspended above water in a boat house with bright spotlights shone right in our faces. My initial panic eased when I noticed the padlock on the cage door. In my homeland we have a saying, “What can be locked can be unlocked.”

To no one’s surprise, Belo immediately began bellowing at our unseen captors, and “The Man” (who sounded more like a nervous boy) started lowering our cage into the water. As the water was disturbed, we heard the scratching sound of hundreds of crustaceans shifting positions. We had just heard of these flesh-eating crabs, and I for one was not interested in meeting them. I quickly jumped into the conversation before Belo got us killed.

Like I said, I have experience with scoundrels, and no matter what motivates them, money is always a happy byproduct. They were not interested in our warning of an imminent army of doom. But when I said, “We have information about the gladiator fights that will make you money,” the cage stopped dropping. “We will trade that information for access to Duke Cassus.” The Man and his attendant were intrigued, but when I mentioned killing the Duke, the cage started dropping again. They ignobly demanded to know our information before we had negotiated a trade, and for once, I agreed with Belo when he boldly refused and insisted he’d rather die. All four of us stood in solidarity as the water reached our knees.

Then I heard the ominous sound of shellfish armor clanking and tiny crunchy feet scraping across rocks. This is a stupid way to die. I grab a skeleton key from my wrist sheath and work on the padlock as Belo continues his loud defiance. The lock falls, and I swing the door open and use its momentum to fly through the air towards the dock … and miss. My hands scrabble on the edge, and I’m hanging by my forearms, careful that my feet do not touch the bottom of this horrid body of water.

Belo quits talking and jumps on top of the cage, making an impressive running leap and landing with panache on the dock. Kiaran and Meimei decide his way is better than mine, and they both climb and jump as well, but neither quite makes it. I’ve already pulled myself up out of the water, but my stomach lurches as I see Meimei swimming above those ravenous creatures, picturing her delicate toes being devoured by a horde of flesh-eating monsters.

In my homeland, we have a saying, “Fate is on the side of the passionate,” and if anything, our party is passionate about surviving and punishing those who would rather we not. Belo pulls our friends out of the water. And though I’m hit by one of those colorful spinny things Meimei can conjure (which means we must be facing a powerful wizard), and though we have to skirt a quickly growing fire, we shove our way into the room those scared whelps have hidden themselves in and they are killed before I get a chance to muddy a blade.

Belo and I search the bodies, finding some gold and a few weapons. They have some pretty fancy rings on their hands, but the fire is approaching (I mean, Belo is literally on fire), so we leave them and their rings and run outside into the gathering crowd. Belo directs the fire brigade, and the crowd suspects no fowl play. We disappear during the confusion and head back to H.Q.’s.

Our host was wasted and unintelligible when we returned. He babbled about true truth and causal truth, and wet spots, and the right day to fight. Man, I just wanted to join him in his altered state. But instead, I drank just one glass of wine and went to bed, waiting patiently. My mind started thinking (which I hate):

Did we really kill The Man or just a stand-in boy? Why does this group of crime bosses want to protect the life of Cassus? Are those rings on the bodies the same that Mabel was talking about? It’s a crazy idea, but if so, maybe all of her prophecies were about the governance of Marash and not at all about the Sun Death Emperor Terror King! Are we on a fool’s mission to poison a town for an imaginary army? Are those mohawked lesbians really inexperienced fighters? Do those crabby things bite or do they pinch the flesh off so they can eat it in small pieces?

When enough time had passed, I quietly got up and went into Belo’s room. He was snoring soundly, but woke when the cold metal of my razor touched the flesh of his neck. “I do not want to kill you,” I whisper, “But if you ever raise a knife at Kinmei again, I certainly will.”

…And that should have been the end of this chapter, but Belo, startled awake with the business side of a razor at his throat, immediately started his thing—unafraid, unapologetic: “I didn’t start it, she did!”

Urgh! I hate men. If it wasn’t for how amusing he is, how impressive his knife skills, or how asexual he is, he would be dead.

Glory Lasts Forever
Session 52

Meimei vs The Preacher

Prior to this fight, Meimei volunteers to operate the stretcher.  Perhaps it is best that she is fighting first, I’d hate to join combat after having labored removing dead and injured bodies all evening.  The preacher seems a sad sort.  Obviously, a worshiper of Belo, my name sake, his spirits were stolen much like his gods life – or so I have heard.  Either way, he seems to be more interested in being released from the burdens of this life than fighting.  His half-hearted attacks fall short as he dances about with Meimei.  She dispatches him with ease.


Kiaran vs Smiles

Smiles, is an old man, a handful of decades past his prime.  I’m not sure if his trident was meant as a weapon or a cane to keep him standing.  He must have truly mountainous debts to be entering the arena at this age.  Still the muscles of his past might still have memory to cause Kiaran some issue.  She is not a hand to hand fighter and will need to be wary.  As the battle begun, it’s clear that his muscle memory might match that of his mind – she easily spins away from his desperate attacks.  After towing with him for a bit, she uses some kind of ice spell to freeze his ancient head.  As he topples to the ground, the ice, and his head with it, shatters.  The crowd goes into stunned silence over his loss.  Fearing that they would turn on her for the fatality, I shout:  “Oopsie Daisy” from sidelines – the crowd erupts into laughter and gains her accolades.


Zuzu vs Sly Jimmy

As Zuzu was entering the arena, Sly Jimmy tried for a backstab.  MeiMei didn’t take too kindly so that and put a crossbow bolt in his back for the trouble.  Unfortunately, the Jimmy decided to play up the crowd and they turned on Zuzu in a hurry.  The match was soon started begun.  Jimmy was able to draw first blood but artfully carved loose Jimmy’s life with her knives and fed it to the crowd.  The crowd had no hunger for such a meal.  They only flower they threw upon her were the gravest of insults – some of which even made me blush.  I thought I’d heard and seen it all but… gasp


Me vs The Pulper

Dear reader:  I pulped the Pulper.   I played with him for several rounds, making a good show of it for the crowd.  As their cheers reached a magnificent crescendo, my cleaver took first the hand holding his mighty war hammer.  As he stood in shocked disbelief at what had happened, next I caught the leg and brought him to his knees.  I offered him the chance to submit, but still in some kind of berserker rage he bellowed only curses.  Asking the crowd for their opinion, the roared with approval and laughter giving the Pulper the thumbs down.  And so it was that I ended him.  It was a piece of cake, really.  Barely even took a scratch.



After the bouts were over, made my way to the dressing chambers.  I could still hear the cheers and adoration of the crowds in the background.  A man named Hieronymous Q. Polecat introduced himself to us.  I had heard mention of his name back it Little Walop, but never really got the particulars.  Evidently, he has come here to see our contests and was quite please and excited to make our acquaintance – well, mine anyway as I take his card.  He has us all back to elaborately decorated villa and offers us a suite of rooms to rest and recover from our battles.

The next morning, we are brought to a party attended only by the finest class of people.  I felt right at home.  Hopefully those girls’ wont’ embarrass me any further.  I made the acquaintance of a fiery haired dwarf who I believe is a god of war.   Showing him every respect and honor, I humbly ask him to bless the master cleaver I had procured from town earlier.  He lay his hands upon it and it seemed much improved.

We had arranged an appointment to make the acquaintance of ‘The Man’ back when we were scoping out The Swamp.  When meeting a master of the underworld, I suspect it will serve me well to have such a fine weapon ready in defense of my life. 

In honor of, well – myself, i have decided to undertake a sacred quest:  Thrice more shall i defeat foes in man-to-man combat.  And in so doing, I shall truly become the Champion.

B02C07 a la Shizuka
Deceptive Appearances or Why Elves are Jerks and Chocolate is Wonderful

This is it: Gladiator Fest. We all look amazing and feel amazing … and a little nervous if we’re being (uncharacteristically) honest.

Meimei is up first against The Preacher. My beautiful and brave sister’s foe was well-armored with a huge deadly flail, yet we all noticed his dejected walk, as if the meaning of his life had already been torn from his clutches, as if all he had left to do was keep fighting until merciful death claimed him. Though he was not aggressive, each time I heard that chain swing through the air, my stomach turned at the thought of it connecting with my darling sister. But Meimei was all too cunning for this battle. Again and again, she sidestepped his flail. Though her arrows bounced off his armor, I knew she was also using her powerful magic against him. When finally the flail did strike her, The Preacher fell an instant later, knocked out cold for no apparent reason. Meimei was victorious! Still, the people in the stands seemed quite apathetic during the entire bout.

Next, Kiaran fights Smiles, a bumbling feather of a man who brought the crowd to life—obviously their favorite fighter. I felt for Kiaran who hates attention yet had to endure the rabid booing and insulting of the crowd as she tried to avoid their notice. Smiles fought ineptly with a ridiculous trident and fishing net. Though Kiaran is not much of a hand-to-hand fighter, she easily defeated him, much to the crowd’s disappointment. She nearly escaped a riot when, after covering him in ice, Smiles fell and the ice shattered in sickeningly dramatic fashion. Fortunately, Belo yelled out his trademark “Oopsie Daisy” from the dressing chambers, and the crowd couldn’t help but laugh.

I have the third round of fighting with a half-man, half-elf named Sly Jimmy. That twinkle-toed Keebler sent me out to the arena first, then tried to shiv me as I went past him! (I should have taken the clue from his name.) Honorable Meimei cannot abide such cheating, so she wasted no time in shooting an arrow into his back. Upon being struck, he quickly darted in front of me then played like I had just shot him before the match had begun. The crowd was immediately turned against me, though I tried to win them over with a grand speech of epic adventure and actual truth. It was obvious I had no weapon that fires arrows, but these Marashians are jerkwad idiots. In my homeland we have a saying, “A wise word falls on an angry mob like a grain of salt into a bucket of slugs.”

I was still waiting for the official start of the match when that mutant pixie shit sliced my leg with his rapier. So I immediately reacted by slicing him with both my short sword and prized venomous dagger. Blood rained like blessings from the gods, and his cheating jerk ass fell to the ground. I was the worthy champion and tried to regain the favor of the crowd, yet they hissed me away, full of vitriol and void of grace.

Finally, Belo the Butcher meets with that orc of a man, The Pulper. Pulper is a rabid beast, foaming at the mouth and swinging a mighty war hammer while charging at the much smaller Belo. We watch from the doorway, certain of Belo’s fatality. When I look to my companions, both Meimei and Kiaran are staring so intently, I know they are magically stacking the odds. I wonder if Belo’s pride will be hurt.

Belo throws his mighty cleaver and misses, and he is struck in return by The Pulper. Our friend falls to the ground, certainly dead. At this point, Meimei turns to me and says, “Cover me,” then raises her staff and went into an inspired trance. I guard her as my own life, while Kiaran runs to heal Belo. Meanwhile, Pulper slugs around the arena half-heartedly beating his chest. The crowd is surprised when he walks back into the dressing chamber before being announced the winner. The attendants are even more surprised as they watch him systematically murder each of his three unconscious companions, first Jimmy, then Smiles, and finally the Preacher finds his eternal rest.

At this point, I sneak up to The Pulper and punch him over and over with my punching daggers, caught in a frenzy—knowing how strong he is and that I must kill him, but not knowing whether I endanger my Meimei’s life as well. I am sweaty and covered in his blood when his riddled body finally crumples to the floor. I scowl as I work on removing his thumbnail, for it is misshapen and torn and stained by unidentifiable matter.

Meanwhile, Kiaran was desperately trying to revive Belo, rummaging through his pockets searching for a potion that would restore his consciousness. I can't help but notice that she rummages for a bit too long. Could a romance be stirring between this sexist old man and this young and fiercely independent woman??

Meimei and Belo return to awareness just as a garishly dressed short man with a magnificently shaped mustache enters the chambers. He introduces himself: Hieronymus Q. Polecat, Esoteric Services Agent. He waxes fanciful praises on our skills in the arena, laying it on pretty thick. He offers his services and whisks us away to his fancy mansion astride exotic creatures called elephants, which I had always thought were mythical. At his home, we are offered hot baths, our first in weeks. I am worried and suggest we take turns watching our possessions, but Belo points to the opulence around us and assures me there is no danger of theft.

The next morning we awaken rested and restored, as if we had suffered no injuries the night before. We have a grand breakfast that includes waffles covered in an ugly brown substance called chocolate that is deceptively delicious! For the first time in ages, I can’t smell the rest of my party.

Speaking of parties, Mr. Polecat was hosting one. And quite the array of people! Such richly dressed people, beautiful and well-educated. An array of dwarves, both of the stoic and the drunk kind. An ethereal lady with a handsome companion that Kiaran and Belo are convinced are the goddess of the moon and the god of war. I ask this “moon goddess” about her preferences for fingernails, as everyone knows that the half-moons on our hands are interlocked with the auspices of the great moon, yet she simply ignores me while an owlbear suddenly enters the room and starts eating peanuts. Surely a strange morning!

Settling the Tab
Session 51

For once, we were all agreed first off without even a smattering of our usual debate:  talking to Mabel the Seer was our top priority.   I’m glad I didn’t need to do even more mansplaining to these young girls about missions and objectives.  Perhaps the fear of the gods has helped understand the authority I hold in these matters – well, all matters where they are concerned.

A quick flip of some gold saw our Seer’s tongue loosened.  She gave to us the following visions:

  • The Dawn Rages at the theft of the morning star.
  • So many are coming.  Many spears from the East.
  • A hand of nights
  • Everything turns on a bad water beneath the hill
  • So much thirst, weakness, and death.  A hard road.
  • The signet ring on the hill is replaced by a golden mask and scepter.

Her meaning seems clear enough.  The warlord to the East has been angered by the death of his father.  An army approaches, we have maybe five evenings until their arrival.  Water, beneath hill will go bad – funny we had been contemplating poisoning it to curry favor with the warlord.  Thirst, weakness and death – the hard road: likely the citizenry here driven from their homes into the wastelands by the conquerors as the warlord topples the local Duke.  It’s almost like the plan’s, I mean my plan’s success has been preordained.  I suppose this means I’ll be successful in the ring tonight as well since I doubt it could possibly succeed without me.

She had no other information to provide and about that time it became clear that the traffic jam we saw earlier of sorts was about to become an angry brawl.  Well, this seems like an opportune time to hype my own status for the coming events in the arena.  I made a rousing speech for the lads as they struggled to right the carts.  Using my expert guidance, they were squared away in fairly short order.  I took a few moments then to bid them cheer me on in the arena this evening, and then took my leave.

We made our way into the entertainment district.  I stopped along the way to grab a new blade and see my existing blades repaired and sharpened.  The charged a steep price but with my own life on the line, I’ll have only the best tools at my disposal.  We entered an establishment called The Swamp.  It’s a rough sort of joint with a motley assortment of patrons – just my kind of place.  I settled in to observe while the girls went on to do a bit of drinking.  It wasn’t long before trouble started.

Meimei decided to assault some obviously rich tourists along with their hired thugs.  I let them have a bit of fun until things started to take a turn for the more violent.  One of them stabbed ZuZu.  No one roughs up my girls but me:  I let me dagger fly:  it found a gurgling new home in the throat of the nearest thug.  I waltzed over to check the pockets of the dead fellow and the unconsious tourist that ZuZu had dropped into the muck.  Quite a haul:  a nice satchel of coins, some weapons, a copper badge?  Interesting…

As I turned to see what the girls were getting into with the remaining tourists.  The rich boy was all full of piss and vinegar, but his hired help decided to terminate this employment contract when confronted with the odds.  I decided to have a bit of sport with him and offered a truce and a handshake.  As we should I turned his well-manicured hand over in invitation to Zuzu.  Predictably goes for it and a bit more fun ensues.  Meimei offers a bit of distraction and Zuzu ends the fool on the spot.  Those two really are a dangerous combination.

The unconscious tourist regains his consciousness and makes a hasty retreat.  He tries to hire the other patrons at the bar to end our lives – sadly, for him – I’m holding his coin purse.  Zuzu tosses a blade across the room and catches him right in the gizzard – nice shot!

The girls enjoy a final round of drinks while I tidy the mustache – mustn't let appearance drop just because of a little mortal combat.  We leave a short time later to make final preparation for the big night in the ring.  Adding our name to the lists, we decide amongst our selves whom would fair best against which opponents:  lucky me, I’m fighting the Pulper.


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