“Now that’s what I call customer service!” I joke as we all make our way into the room and have a seat to discuss business with the Arcane ship dealer.
“My name is Tregazz,” the Arcane begins.
Why does that sound familiar? “Wait… you wouldn’t be any relation to Stregazz would you?”
“He is of our same House, yes.” Tregaz replies calmly.
So… an Arcane tried to slip his mark on us without us knowing. I wonder why? Was he trying to track us, or send us a message?
“You are known to us,” he continues. “Tell me of this liquid Mithral you have obtained.”
“Check it out all you like, it’s in those jugs over there,” points out Waylond with a wave of his hat to the large jugs in the corner of the room.
A tall human in blue and white military dress comes into the room after knocking and sets a box on the floor before he walks out.
“Yes… I believe I deal can be achieved. Here are four Arcane Trade Bars for when you are ready to finalize the transaction.”
“We look forward to doing business with you tomorrow,” Constance replies with a smile. “Until then, we must discuss our options.”
“Until then,” Tregazz replies with a nod as he and his escort leave down the hall.
“Hot damn!” exclaims Waylond. “What should we get?”
“It must be crewed by Kobolds!” exclaims Hodekin excitedly.
“A Whale Ship! Let’s get a Whale Ship! We could set it up as a cruise liner and everything!” Constance adds with a grin.
By the Hells… a cruise ship? They may like dealing with the mundane people, but I’ve had about enough after trying to eek a living reading cards in Ribcage. Besides… I’ve got plenty to keep my busy right now anyway.
My finger traces the spine of the book in my pocket with a gentle caress as I roll my eyes at my friends. “I’m going to be down in the bar… just make sure that whatever we get I’ve got some private rooms to do my work. “ I turn to Hodekin and shake my finger at him. “No Kobold-only crew… if we want to run a (shudder) cruise liner, we need plenty of eye candy for the customers to look at. I suggest Elves.”
“Kobolds are loyal!” protests Hodey with a feigned look of innocence.
“To you… yeah,” I joke as I wave my hand dismissively at the bunch of them and focus my attention on what kind of drink to order instead.
The rest of them eventually agree on their Whale ship and come down to the bar to celebrate the new business venture. After a few hours of drink and good food we stumble out the door to head back to the inn for some much needed sleep. I’m hoping I’ve drunk enough to keep the nightmares at bay tonight…
“Streets looking pretty empty tonight,” Hodey mumbles as we make our way to an intersection by the brothels. I look around at the deepening shadows and can’t shake a feeling of something…unnatural. Instinctively I pull out my wand and cast a spell of armor about myself; best to be careful after all. A quick chant brings a glow to my eyes as I look to the shadows for any magical traces. I peer into the darkness and quickly take a step back in fear as I swear I see things moving and slithering in the shadows.
Suddenly there is a loud ripping noise and a flash of purple light. Constance turns towards the noise as the rest of us shield our eyes… and then quickly ducks as a humanoid figure flies out of nowhere and hits the wall before it sinks to the ground and stops moving.
“By the Gods!” exclaims Constance as she runs up to the fallen figure of a brunette woman in black clothes. “Is she ok?”
I tear my stare from the shadows that have finally stopped moving and shake my head to regain my composure. “Hang on… let me tend to her.” I kneel over the unconscious woman and mutter a few healing incantations. “She’ll be fine… she should wake up soon-“
“Who are you!” exclaims the woman as she grabs my wrist. “Are you cool? Are you on your way to a party or interviewing for a movie role, perhaps?”
What? Oh… it must be the white skin. “I’m actually exceedingly cool… something to do with genetics, probably. As to the rest, we just came from a party, and I have no idea what these ‘movies’ are. What’s your name?”
“Clio… the name is Clio.” She mutters as she moves to sit up and look around. “Where are we?”
“You’re in Greyhawk,” answers Constance.
“That anywhere near Stockton, California?” Clio asks with a nervous chuckle.
“I’m getting the impression that we should talk about this over more drinks,” I reply.
“A glass of water would be great, actually,” Clio responds as she stands up and dusts herself off.
“Oh no… you don’t drink the water,” Waylond warns. “Stick to ale… it’s got what’s good for you!”
“Come on, we were heading back to the inn anyway… we’ll just put off sleep for a few more hours while we try and fill you in.” Not like I was looking forward to fighting off the nightmares anyway… especially after that.
After another hour or two of drinks and heated discussions from local religions to monster hunting theocracies we’re able to come to the conclusion that Clio is from the same reality where we visited Area 51. In fact… she’s a Division 7 operative to boot. I have to fight snickering as I can’t help but notice everyone else trying to scoot away from her while still sharing the booth.
“Was it something I said?” Clio asks.
“Don’t worry about them,” I chuckle as I move to sit to her other side. “We’re all monsters here…” I lean in and drop the disguise spell from my ring to give Clio a brief glimpse of my true face.
“Ahh!” Clio squeals as she scoots back into Waylond’s shoulder in the booth. She looks up nervously at the Giff and sits up, making sure she’s not touching anyone else. “So… monsters are real, I take it? Some of the races you mentioned I’d heard of in books… but they were never considered real per se.”
“I don’t know who you’re calling a monster, but last time I checked I was still real,” Waylond chuckles with a slight slur before taking another swig of beer.
“So… Division 7…” I begin. The Elan had warned us not to trust that group because of their strict practices… so our new friend is going to have to be handled rather carefully .
“Yes… we want to know what causes different people and different races so that we can keep things in balance.”
I tense at her words, because back home when someone wanted to keep something ‘in balance’ with other people/races it usually meant a campaign of genocide was soon coming. I quickly put a smile on my face and nod, however, as my mother’s advice comes to mind: ‘Keep your friends close… but your enemies closer.’
Besides… with the proper nudging towards the right groups, perhaps I can use her organization to my advantage.
“Now you all are getting into religion and politics… definitely not my thing,” says Waylong with a grunt as he stands up from the table. “I feel a song coming on… or perhaps it’s a really good belch… either way, I’ll be over by the musicians.”
“Sounds like fun!” says Constance as she and Hodekin get up to join Waylond. I chuckle to myself, because I know Clio was making them uncomfortable. Usually I’m the one making people uncomfortable, so I find it’s a nice change.
The night passes rather uneventfully for once after a few rousing choruses about bawdy bowlegged women and some philisophical debate over a few too many mugs of ale. I put Clio up in a room down the hall from ours and ask Omen to perch above the door and notify me if anything comes or goes into the room.
Sleep doesn’t come easy… too many things slithering in the shadows out of the corner of my eye. Maybe I can brew a sleeping potion tomorrow…