Curse of the Crimson Throne

17th Calistril 1408 (continued)
Out Like a Lamm!

Hi! My name’s Bowie. Here is the next installment of my awesome adventures serving Cayden Cailean, the awesomest god there is!

I ask an escaping little girl if I am her dad. Then I manage to stand up in the slippery fish guts and tell her to be careful. Then I fall down again.

Po drops a bomb on Jargen in the boat. He gets blown up and falls in the water. Then Po jumps down into the boat. He sees another level below.

Pavitra tries to talk to the kids and kind of stumbles through it and doesn’t get them to react much. Mod heads downstairs.

Brian shines his glowing lights down into the hole. “There’s a door down here!” yells Po. “I think ”/characters/gaedren-lamm-16" class=“wiki-content-link”>Lamm is behind the door." Brian then jumps down and says, “Come down everyone!”

I crawl over to the staircase and ask the little girl where Lamm is. She points to the hole. I tell her Cayden Cailean is going to make it all ok and I channel positive energy to heal Mod and Pavitra.

Pavitra speaks to Kester, one of the kids. He asks if she is with that lot, meaning us. Pavi says she is. He asks if she can throw bombs. When she says no he loses interest. She says we’re looking for Gaedren. He asks if we’re going to stick a knife in him. She says something like that. Then she asks him if he’d gather the children and take them upstairs.

“Out of the way, pretty boy,” says Po the cockroach. “Do you really think I’m pretty?” giggles Brian as Mod tells the children, “Run, children!”

Then Mod jumps into the hole and trips on the edge of the boat and goes straight into the water.

Brian tries to hold an oar out for Mod, futilely. “Mod’s dying! Come quickly” he yells.

Some kids run by. “Am I your dad?” I ask another girl. “No, I don’t think so.”

Kester watches to see if Mod shows up again. Mod does not yet.

I stand and head over to join the others. Brian asks Po for help with Mod but Po instead readies a bomb to throw at the door.

Pavitra jumps down into the skiff and lands awkwardly and falls prone in the boat. Under the water, Mod sees some motion and some cloudy agitation. “I saw something!” he cries when climbing out.

Brian sends his light to see in the water and sees a ton of blood which frightens him.

I put my weapons away and step towards the hole and ask Kester to shout if bad guys come.

Po sees a little warning sign painted above the door hidden to darkvision. He warns Brian to stay away if he values his appearance. “But there’s blood over there!”

“There’s still something in the water,” says Mod. “It’s blood!” yells Brian.

“Wait for the smart one to arrive,” says Po. “I think he’s talking about me,” says Kester. True to form, I slip sliding down the rope with the fish guts on my hands and fall into the boat. “I can’t remember the last time I was on my back this much alone,” I say.

Po examines the door. The warning he remembers from the Lady in Yellow is about how it would be if, say, their vault had been compromised. This informs his planning.

Pavitra grabs another oar and pokes in the water around the red stain. Mod is saying that someone should go swimming. We argue a bit about my ability to see through doors. Then Brian goes charging at the door and slams into it, hard. The door doesn’t budge.

I see a fin swim by and then I say, “We’re going to need a bigger skiff.” I climb out of the skiff and tell the others to move out of the way and I’ll check the door.

Pavitra fiddles with the water with the oar. Brian starts yelling, “Oh please! Please! Please! Thank you!”

Mod drags Brian away from the door a bit while I call upon Cayden Cailean to grant me Door Sight and I place my hands to see…

A lit room with a big hole in the floor, rusty manacles hanging over it, with a couple of walkways. There are lockboxes and piles of clutter. There is a figure watching the door with a rope and a hand crossbow. And old fellow with a twisted visage.

We have a whispered conversation for strategy. Mod has a memory of Gobbleguts, a disgusting giant alligator.

“It’s Gobbleguts!” he says. “What did you eat?” I ask.

I grant Mod the Virtue of a temporary hit point and then increase my speed and give myself some Virtue. Mod smashes through the door. “Hold it right there!” yells Lamm. We see as he pulls a chain that Gobbleguts is rearing in the water right below a small girl hanging from manacles near Gobbleguts. Oh no! I wonder if it is Leela.

Mod tries to move past Gobbleguts who lunges up and bites at him but misses because of the railing. “Oh it’s you! You can’t even die right you little shitstain!” yells Lamm. Brian tries to stick the oar in Gobbleguts’ mouth as he goes glassy-eyed and says, “Your mother sucks cocks in hell!!!” It’s a startling transformation of personality, I must say.

I see that the little girl is not moving and her eyes are rolled back in her head. I kneel down next to her to defend her and call upon Cayden Cailean to heal her and Brian and Mod. She seems to be completely out of it. Gobbleguts snaps at me but misses.

Po throws a bomb at Lamm and blows him up. “You’re friends with that bitch in yellow!” he yells to Po.

“Wake up, sweetie,” I say to Leela. “Look, it’s your mom,” as Pavitra runs in and tries to slash at the rope with her kama, limiting Gobbleguts’ movement.

Mod steps up and slashes him as well. “You ungrateful little shit!” yells Lamm and then aims his crossbow at Mod and hits him.

“Come on, Mod. No need to be like this!” wheedles Lamm.

Brian walks in and his whole face opens far more then it possibly should be able to. He stars evilly at Lamm who then clutches at his head which is now glowing and then falls uncomfortably unconscious.

I drop my battlemug and feel Leela to see what might be wrong with her. My guess is she may be drugged.

17th Calistril 4708
Our Heroes Meet

My name’s Bowie. It’s the 17th of Calistril, 4708. It’s the day after King Eodred’s birthday. Normally, it’s a raucous party but the king is sick. Folks are sad and muttering. I feel pretty good, though! Because I’ve got Cayden Cailean looking out for me.

I wake up next morning and meet Pavi for breakfast downstairs in the Three Rings Tavern. Two drunk young women dressed as Queen Ileosa and Savina make out. Then Theandra has Tauk throw them out. Made it easier to concentrate on my honeybun. For breakfast, that is, not Pavi. She wouldn’t want me to call her my honeybun. At least not now.

I find a Harrow Card of the Rabbit Prince with a note to get info on Gaedran Lamm… the man we think took Leela… and to meet at 3 Lancet Street in West Dock. A clue! Pavitra’s got a similar note but the Demon’s Lantern card. I like mine better. Bounce! Bounce!

Meanwhile, a nice, handsome fellow I haven’t met yet, Brian, is serenaded in his dorm room by his friend Feanaro, a bard who tells him that he is doing a song soon in public. Brian gets a card as well with similar information. Why, I don’t know.

Mod, a hulking sort of half-orc fellow who I have not met yet, wakes up in the Traveling Man. His friend Sez yells, “Get your fucking sword, mate!” Some imps are bothering the maxmax vendor. Mod scares off the imps and Sez gives him a gold to make a bet that the otyughs burst out today. He also gets a Harrow card.

Po Gorb, a less hulking sort of half-orc fellow who I have not met yet, meets Rizzo the Rat. He hears some rumors that the Lady in Yellow was passing bad Shiver. Po, guess what? That’s right! Also gets a Harrow card.

I decide to ask around about 3 Lancet Street. I find out it is the home and fortune-telling shop of a Varisian woman. That’s exciting! It makes sense now about the Harrow cards, which fortune-tellers use.

Po arrives first and hides in an aley. Brian strolls up eating a lollipop and knocks three times. Then it opens onto a little chamber/living room. It smells of incense. “Hello?” he calls. No answer. He finds a note saying “Welcome. Have some bread and drink.”

Then Mod shows up. He spots Po lurking in an alley. Mod joins Brian inside. They touch each other. Pavitra and I join them and we have some bread and wine. There are tapestries in the room of a black-skulled beast juggling hearts, angels dancing atop a snowy mountain and a hooded figured shrouded in mist with a flaming sword. In my apartment, I just have a picture I drew myself of Cayden Cailean. It’s not as good. Po comes in and I accuse him of sending the notes. A ha!

An attractive middle-aged woman comes in next. She is Zelara. She is the one who had invited us with the notes.

She shuffles lots of cards very skillfully. Mine disappears from my hand. She says she has to remain hidden from Gaedran Lamm. Pickpockets stole her deck and her boy rescued the deck but Lamm killed him in revenge. She says he can find him at West Pier 17 in West Dock. She needs our help and doesn’t trust going through proper channels.

We agree to have a reading before going. Pavitra plays a card and gets The Dance. Zelara describes it as a rich and delicate card which advises knowing your place and staying in step. She says it is a good card. Po gets the Avalanche… a disastrous card symbolizing big change. Mod gets the Demon’s Lantern the card of traps and tricks. I get the Juggler, of fates, even gods. He who keeps up his rhythm has success. The Locksmith goes to Brian and has something to do with destiny but I’m still thinking about the Juggler. I have to juggle my time to keep all my ladyfriends happy, I know that much. All the cards have keys on them, symbolizing that they grant tools.

She gathers these up and lays out 9 more cards for the past present and future. The past is the Lost, the Twin, and the Beating. The Beating is strength and resilience versus attacks from all sides, the Twin is a secret meaning, The Lost is clarity of mind under duress.

The present… a Cricket, speed and quick passage, the Survivor, rebirth through ordeal, but maybe loss, Betrayal, a warning about selfishness leading to ruin.

The future, the Demon’s Lantern… important that Mod’s role card reappears here, a guide at a perfect moment to his destiny. The Tangled Briar means the future is unclear, difficult, the Rakshasa a negative aspect of the future, dominance and mind control.

Zelara says she can’t go with us but wishes us well. The sun has gone down. We talk about how we should act. We hear a voice that says, “Go Now or Brian Dies” outside. I look out there and no one is there. We decide to go though Pavitra seemed unhappy about it.

I walk ahead and wait for others to catch up. I lead the way and smell a lot of dead fish. There is a drooping signpost above the door. Double doors, that is. I call upon Cayden Cailean to allow me to see through it. I hear a growly dog. Then the dog starts barking and pawing at the door. I see someone in his pajamas: a sour faced man with short blond hair. Eventually he goes away and the dog calms down but faces the door.

I sneak back and talk to the others and tell them about the room. Then we try moving on the pier which is very rickety. Pavitra walks up to the door off the pier. She gently touches to see if it seems locked. In fact it doesn’t even turn like it is connected to a lock. Po sees that a window is blocked. The pier looks really worn. So I decide not to follow them out.

Pavitra climbs up on the roof. Po goes up along the pier. We hear the dog barking again from the front room. Brian follows up the pier. Then I follow Brian. Pavitra sees an old barge lashed to the boardwalk behind the building. Po drinks a mutagen to increase his dexterity and natural armor and lower his wisdom. It makes him look like a large cockroach. Brian and I argue in the dark about the door on the side as light is revealed at the front window where Mod hides.

Pavitra jumps down onto the rotten roof of the barge and it splinters under her. Mod hears a voice inside yell for “Hookshanks!” Some lights appear around Brian’s head as he begins to panic.

We feel a rush of energy somehow from the Harrow deck. I turn back to help Mod at the front door. Pavitra discovers a drain spider in the collapsed cavern. It tries to get her but she avoids it but then it bites her as she stands up. Brian and Po rush to aid Pavitra. I try to reason with the sour man behind the window and say, "Look, fellow. We don’t have a problem with you or your dog. If you just open up this door and go on your way, there’s no problem. But we’ve got to get in there. What do you say?

“Ger off! Private property!” he replies.

Pavitra gets bit by the spider again. I may have to suck out some poison later.

The sour faced man sticks the wand out at me and a wad of liquid comes out. It barely misses me. He curses and moves from the window and yells, “Hookshanks get out here!” Pavitra manages to squash the spider. Po tells Pavitra he’s heading towards the front.

“I don’t like this!” yells Mod and he tries to crack in the door but it doesn’t work. Mod remembers the name of a half-orc, Giggles, who he hears inside, who worked for Gaedren Lamm. He says, “Giggles in there.”

I said, “It’s a ball of laughs out here, too.”

I close the window and then cast Guidance on Mod to give him CC’s (That’s what I call Cayden Cailean when I’m in a hurry. He knows what’s up.) benefit to busting down the door. “Giggles, get up here!” says the sour-faced man. Mod works himself into a rage and then has another go at the door and smashes right through it. Then he slips through next to the dog and sees Giggles. “Trouble! Trouble!” giggles Giggles.

I stab the doggie but miss him with my battlemug. The sour man, comes out and shoots the wand at Mod, but misses. Mod recognizes him as Yargin Balkro, Lamm’s right-hand man who tortured kids with acid. Then Mod is bitten badly by Bloo, the dog.

Po Gorb drinks an extract of Reduce Person. Mod slashes Bloo in half. Brian fires a crossbow over my shoulder. Giggles comes running over to attack Mod. I step in and slash at Balkro but miss. Then a gnome enters as Balkro escapes into a room covered in fish guts but slips on the guts and falls. A small roachy version of Po comes running into the room followed by Pavitra.

Mod then guts Giggles horribly who does not die but grits his teeth and stops laughing. Brian fires a crossbow through the room. He doesn’t seem to be very good at that.

“Get him, Hookshanks,” giggles Giggles, undeterred, and strikes Mod and then still manages not to collapse. I miss Giggles and slip out towards Balkro. The gnome slips back out of the room and closes the door behind him.

Balkro calls for Lamm while he escapes. Po throws a dagger but misses. Pavi jumps on the table and also misses him. Mod, instead of using his sword, tries to punch. Giggles who whacks him and knocks him unconscious but then also falls unconscious too.

Brian attempts to stop Mod from bleeding to death and succeeds. I slip and slide chasing after Balkro. Brian comes running by, “The lady said we have to be fast.”

He sees down the stairs that Balkro went a large room with shallow sea water on the floor. There is a large vat of chum and sea water as well. There are crude paintings of a fish in red paint, two dozen small hammocks, with ratty blankets and pillows and tiny children looking at us in fear. “Children, run to me! I’ll save you from this brute!” cries Brian. Some of them come running out.

I go back to heal Mod as Pavi yells, “Leela!” Balkro calls for Lamm and tries to climb down a rope into the hold. Po comes in and tries to throw a bomb at Balkro. Pavitra gets very upset by this. “Leela, are you there!” she calls out. Brian says to the children, “Stop him, kids!” Then he yells, “Come back here, you brute!” to Balkro who seems intimidated.

A couple kids try to attack Balkro with oars. One runs past me and kicks Blue on his way out. I manage to wake up Mod with more healing and then head down to find Leela but slip on the guts. Balkro climbed down into a skiff as Po and Pavi chase after him.

“Run away while you can, kid,” says Mod as he stands up and takes after me.

Brian tries to take an oar from the kid to strike at Balkro in his skiff.

When Bowie Met Pavi
"Vrocked Up!"

The First Date

Pavitra Cavendish adjusted her sari and peered at a table of brass ewers inside one of the brightly-colored tents of the Gold Market. A sign nearby read, “Imported directly from Jalmeray! One of every hundred contains a real djinni! We sell wishes, not water!” The vessels looked like nothing she’d seen on the island, but rather exactly resembled the simple drinking ewers used at every tavern across Vudra for storing ale, not powerful elementals. Laughing softly to herself, she turned towards the next stall.

“Hi there!” came a boisterous voice at her side. A young man of perhaps eighteen summers fairly bounced next to her. He was tall, around six feet, with light red hair blowing in and out of his eyes and in clumsy braids on either side of his ears. His face was freckled and the light fuzz around his broad, guileless grin looked to be something he was growing to make himself look older. His eyes were a bright green and fairly seemed to drink her in in a single gulp. “You are definitely not from around here, are you?”

“Oh! Um, hello. Yes, that’s right. I mean, no. I am not from around here. In fact I’m from Jalmeray, quite far from here indeed.” She nodded to the sign. “Unlike those ewers, I reckon. Though we do consider ourselves part of the Vudra peninsula. I am Pavitra.”

“I could tell right away! I saw your clothes and thought, ‘She must be from Tian Xia!’ My name’s Bowie. I’m a cleric of Cayden Cailean. Do you know Cayden Cailean? He’s kind of my hero. I mean, he is my hero but he’s also a god! He was a person just like us and then he became a god. He didn’t even try to, really! That’s just how awesome he is. He’s a god without even trying. Anyway, my dad was a sailor for a long time and he’s been to Tian Xia! Isn’t that an amazing coincidence?”

Bowie spoke with the enthusiasm of a toddler who has just discovered the sound of its own voice. Or like a condemned man trying to talk his way out of an execution.

Pavitra furrowed her brows slightly but then began to smile. Her first chance to teach a local about geography! “Well, Vudra isn’t quite as far as Tian Xia,” she said. “It’s part of Casmaron. We have so many rulers and kingdoms that they call us the Impossible Kingdoms! House Arkona of Korvosa has traded with Vudra for many…” She realized that the young man hadn’t stopped to listen to her at all.

“My dad’s stuff is what got me interested in traveling too and I guess that’s how I started following Cayden Cailean because he went all over the place, having great adventures, and I’m going to do that too! Do you want me to show you around? I know all about Korvosa. In fact I don’t know who could be a better guide for you than me. For instance, this here is the Gold Market. You can buy things here!”

“Hmmmm.” Pavitra gave him a dry look but he didn’t seem to notice. There was something a bit endearing about Bowie’s cheerfulness, though. Why not let a real Korvosan show her around? Just for a bit, anyway.

“You need money, though. Do they have money in Tian Xia? Let me buy you an Oliphant Ear! Or, maybe part of one. They’re delicious for breakfast. Do you like coffee? I had four cups this morning at the Jittery Quill.”

Bowie claimed that every day he walked the length and breadth of the city, visiting almost every neighborhood. By the pace he set and his seemingly ceaseless enthusiasm, she began to believe him. They headed north and on a downward slope towards the waterline. Dozens of rickety-looking footbridges crossed the water here and after waiting for space to clear among the shuffling masses, he led her across.

“So, this part of town is called Bridgefront. Look at those houses on top of houses on top of houses! It’s amazing, isn’t it? Can you believe that almost one out of every ten Korvosians lives here? I have a couple regular stops here.”

They came upon a large crowd which had gathered in the street. The people were in a dreadful state. Some of them had open wounds while some held dirty bandages to staunch blood. Most of them appeared to have some amount of orcish blood within them and little in the way of possessions. Many did not wear shoes.

“Hi, everyone!” Bowie called out sunnily. Some of the half-orcs answered his smile but some did not. A small girl, perhaps four-years-old toddled out toward him holding out a hand which had been burned, the bandage taken off for her to show him.

“Oh no!” said Bowie, his eyes getting wide as he squatted down in the filthy street to be on an eye-level with the half-orc girl. “What happened?”

“I buhned my finguhs,” she said, through slightly jutting canines.

“You burned your fingers? Let me see,” he said, gently reaching out towards the greenish-skinned toddler. “Oooh. That looks pretty bad. Do you think Cayden Cailean can heal that for you?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, I think he can. Now, what’s your favorite food?”

“Maxmax!” the girl cried happily, naming the inexpensive Shoanti treat of pickled moose fat in powdered sugar.

“Mmmmm… Maxmax?” answered Bowie. “I think that might be one of Cayden Cailean’s favorite foods too. Let’s see if we can tempt him.” He lifted the half-orc girl up quickly and strode towards the larger group. “Listen everyone, we’re going to have to crowd around me now. Come on, press in. We can get a lot of people in here. Right, the whole square. If you’re not injured, you can stay for the blessing, but if someone with an injury needs your space please give it up. OK. Is that everyone? My friend here has a burn on her hand so I’m going to hold her up the highest so Cayden Cailean can see her. Then she’s going to count to three… You can count to three right, sweetie? Right, ok… she’s going to count and then we’re all going to yell, ‘Maxmax’ OK? We need to yell loudly so Cayden Cailean can hear us all the way up in Elysium. Ready?”

The delighted little half-orc girl on Bowie’s shoulders put her hands up toward the steel mug he held high in the air on a handle and counted to three. At that, many of the half-orcs cried out, “Maxmax!” despite the silliness of it all. Some just rolled their eyes and muttered it or didn’t, but as they did, a palpable wave of light, bright healing energy burst forth from Bowie and the small wounds, bruises and cuts of the half-orcs went away and they began to disperse in a bit of wonder, showing one another their healed state.

Some began to press around him, offering him copper pinches or a few duck eggs or a scrap of cloth. He accepted everything gratefully, taking the time to thank each gifter as if it was the finest thing he had ever seen, telling each giver how much his mom would love to use the cloth and were they sure they could spare the copper. When the mother of the half-orc girl came up to say that she’d worked all day and had fallen asleep with the stove on and thank you so much and here’s a silver shield she had saved, Bowie bade her keep it and save it for the girl’s Nameday to buy her some maxmax. Then he gave her another few silver of his own.

After they were gone, he apologized to Pavitra for it taking so long, then seemed quiet for the first time. Bowie lowered his voice, “Do you know this word: ‘Empties’? It’s what rich folk call poor folk here. Meaning that they’re empty. Empty of worth and value. All those nice folk back there, that little girl who likes honey cakes… some people would call them ‘Empties’. It makes me a little angry but mostly just makes me sad. Cayden Cailean wouldn’t look down on people like that. You can’t help where you’re born, can you? So, I do what I can around the city and… uh-oh.”

Pavitra looked ahead in the street. Another crowd had gathered but between them and the sick and injured were three well-armed members of the Korvosan Guard. Taking a deep breath and blowing it out first, Bowie walked right up to the bald, scarred one in the middle. “Good morning, Sergeant Hamwhistle. How are you today? Have you come for a blessing from Cayden Cailean?”

The bald man had to look up Bowie a little bit but he seemed like he could break the cleric in two should he choose to. “Now, come on, lad. You know why we’re here. You don’t have a license to do these things. If people want to get healed, they can go down to the Pantheon of the Many and you can heal them there, provided they pay the proper fees.”

“Sergeant, we both know these folks don’t have the proper fees… and most of them aren’t welcome in South Shore. This isn’t hurting anyone. In fact, it’s helping! I mean, keeping folks alive means no one has to take the time to cart them down to the Grays to bury them!”

“We’ve talked about this, kid. Don’t make me have to arrest you. Because I will.” He frowned but crossed his arms. There was no changing his mind.

“Okay, okay,” said Bowie, turning away. “Cayden Cailean won’t like it though. I’d double-check your ale mug tonight.” The crowd behind them called out to the Guards angrily, who turned to face them and settle them down.

After they had gone fifteen feet, he whispered to Pavitra, “Can you run fast?”

“What?” she hissed.

“Can. You. Run. Fast?” He made a little gesture of walking fingers on his opposite hand. “On three, break right, I’m going left. Ready? THREE!”

Bowie spun and started dashing back the way they had just retreated from, Pavitra and her silks fluttering behind as he ran swiftly to the left around the Guards.

“Hey!” yelled the Sergeant. But at that point, Bowie was well past him, leaping headlong into the middle of the gathered crowd. He twisted his body mid-leap, pumping both hands in fists towards the sky, his face a frozen mask of beatific ecstasy.

“Cayden Cailean RULES!” he shouted and another burst of healing energy filled the square as he then crashed backside-first into several half-orcs, who joined him in a tangled mass as the Guards attempted to give chase only to have their pursuit fouled by the crowd.

Pavitra ran the other way, trying to keep pace as Bowie gained his feet again and took off down the nearest side street, laughing hysterically. “Was that not totally righteous?!”

“So, are you hungry? My mom runs the best fishcake shop in High Bridge. My dad goes out and catches the fish and she and my kid sister Fuchsia make and sell the fishcakes. Come on! You’ll love it!”

He led her along the busy docks, teeming with activity as longshoremen loaded and unloaded an endless variety of sailing craft. Most at least gave nods to Bowie’s endless greetings and quick remarks about how bright the sun was today but some seemed to pointedly ignore him and then mutter a curse and spit after they’d passed.

He prattled on about how lovely his sister was and it would be nice for Pavitra to have Fuchsia as a friend, too, since she’d know all about the fun places for fancy dresses and perfumes and things like that. Soon, he turned back inland for a block and on a corner there stood a market stall with the words, “Fishcakes. Cheap” painted on it. A frowning teenage girl with dirty dark hair tied into a braid wrapped across a pockmarked forehead watched them approach with a sideward glance. A boiling pan of oil bubbled and spat on a portable stove in front of her, her shapeless gray clothes stained with the stuff.

“Whoa! What’s Queen Ileosa doing in West Dock?” Bowie cried, his arms wide open as he approached. The girl rolled her eyes and turned to face the other direction. Bowie whispered to Pavitra conspiratorially, “I’m just kidding. That’s my sister!” He hurried the last few steps to wrap the girl up in a hug.

“Fuchsia, this is Pavitra. She’s just arrived in Korvosa. She’s from Tian Xia! Isn’t that amazing?”

“Totally amazing,” the girl deadpanned, looking Pavitra up and down, after squirming out of his embrace.

“Vudra…I’m from Vudra,” Pavitra mumbled, wondering if it was worth it to keep reminding him.

“So, what’s on the menu today, kiddo? How about… a smile!” He opened his mouth and held it there, staring his sister in the eyes until she cracked the briefest of smirks.

“Um… fishcakes. But, if you come back later, we might just have some fishcakes to go along with that. Do you like fishcakes?” she asked Pavitra.

Bowie began fiddling with Fuchsia’s sleeve. “Hey, what’s on your arm?”

“Leave it!” she cried but they struggled until he’d pulled her sleeve up completely baring her arm.

“Is that…?”

“Yes. It’s a tattoo.”

“You got a tattoo?! That’s awesome! Did you show Dad? I’ll bet he loves it.” To Pavitra, “Our Dad got a lot of tattoos in the navy.”

“Noooo, of course I didn’t tell him but Mom saw it and she told Dad and he totally flipped his shit.”

“Hey,” Bowie replied. “Language. I’m sure they’ll get used to it. Is it a word? What is this, Elvish?”

“It’s a dragon fighting a sea serpent.”

“Oh…” Bowie took a serious look at the clumsily done scribbling on her arm in colors that ran together to make a muddy brown. “Yeah, you know I totally see it now! That’s great!”

Fuschia smiled for the first time then. “Yeah, it’s pretty good, huh? Jagov never did one before.”

“Jagov? Whoa, who’s that? Is he like your boyfriend?”

She stopped smiling. “Nooo, we just hang out. You know. Is she your girlfriend?”

“Who, Pavitra?” He seemed a bit flustered. “No, I mean, we just met today. I’m showing her around. I mean… not that I wouldn’t… um…”

Pavitra raised her brows and eyed him with a cool, discerning glare. Oh dear, she thought to herself.

“Hey, you should meet my mom!” He went bounding into the structure behind the stand, crying out “Mom! Come meet my new friend!”

“So… do you want a fishcake or not?” asked Fuchsia.

After finding out that his father had gone out on “one of the big boats” and so wouldn’t be returning until late and that his mother was very upset that Fuchsia had been spending time with a tiefling… young man (“He’s 30 years old!” “I think they age slower, Mom.” “He has horns!” “Really? Cool!”) Bowie took Pavitra on what he called his evening “Blessing Crawl.”

Apparently, tavern-keepers and vintners offered respect to Cayden Cailean and Bowie felt a responsibility to visit each one and offer a brief, “May Cayden Cailean bless this brew such that it will flow freely and flavorfully, bringing courage, comfort, and joy to all those who partake of it,” or such over the casks and bottles and be presented with a drink on the house for his efforts. Sometimes he would take his ale “to go” in his own heavy steel stein which was attached to a handle such that it might also serve as a bludgeoning “battle mug” which had been crafted especially for him by a Dwarven smith whom he had cured of “swamp foot.”

The names of the taverns became a blur after a while: Jeggare’s Jug, Shoreline Drinkhall, The Sticky Mermaid, The Jittery Quill (where the proprietor told the embarrassed Bowie that an “Ellie” was going to be back later that night, having recovered from the clap), Twitcher’s, The Overlook (where Bowie absolutely insisted that both of them try something called a “This-n-That” which was completely atrocious), Aram’s Crown, The Creaky Hammock, Posh and Turtle (finally somewhere clean), The Travelling Man, Bard’s End, and finally, Three Rings Tavern, above which, she learned, Bowie had a small studio residence.

Pavitra had never had so much to drink. While Bowie’s complexion had turned rosy, he seemed able to navigate the streets and crowds of Korvosa with the rolling gait of a sailor at sea. Her head began to swim and she wondered how she would find her way back to her room that night. It only seemed logical to stay over with Bowie since he lived right there and the coffee and breakfast promised in the morning at Three Rings sounded delicious indeed.

The Second Date

There was a knock at the door. Bowie sat straight up in bed and blinked. A dislodged bottle rolled off the filthy wool blanket to clink onto the floor amidst some other bottles. He smiled dreamily and leaned back down and went back to sleep. Surely he’d dreamt it.

There was another knock. More of a pounding, really. This time he was sure it wasn’t a dream but he rolled onto his stomach and pulled the pillow over his head. Surely it was not noon yet? Whoever it was would probably go away and come back at a decent hour.

They didn’t. The pounding kept on, echoing the pounding in his own head. Those Dwarven Boilermakers… he’d have to lay off those in the future. Could it be the Guard? They’d probably have kicked the door in by now. Something nasty? Probably wouldn’t knock.

Bang, bang, bang. He heard neighbors yelling to keep the noise down but no word from outside his door so he swung his legs over the edge of the bed and grabbed his rapier from off the floor, moving as quietly across the squeaky, cluttered floor as he could.

When he reached the door, he placed his left hand on it and concentrated on calling forth the Door Sight which Cayden Cailean granted his adherents who carried out his love of exploration. A minute later, who Bowie saw was the least expected person he could have imagined. He opened it a moment later and stood there looking down at Pavitra. It had been six years since they’d met for one day and night, but it would have been impossible to mistake her for anyone else, her impossible number of flowing silks just as beguiling and her icy eyes just as inscrutable.

She coolly looked him up and down and then said, flatly: “Three things you must know. First, you have a child named Content Not Found: leela-1 who is now five years old. Second, she is missing and I need your help to find her.”

His mouth began working before his brain had comprehended it all. “I… you mean… we? But.. where were you? You disappeared? I thought you returned to Tian Xia? I… why didn’t you… a baby? Leela? That’s a nice name. But missing?! Of course. We’ll find her! Wait, what’s the third thing?”

“Third, you are naked. Put some clothes on.”

After getting dressed, the two caught each other up on the last six years as they strode through the streets of North Point. Bowie learned that Pavitra had awakened shocked and deeply angry at herself for letting her discipline slip that fateful night.

“I looked all over for you after that night. Cayden Cailean says you should always at least leave a note if you’re never going to see someone again after sleeping with them,” he admonished. “Technically, you should always buy breakfast, too… I figured you’d gone back to Tian Xia!”

Here we go again. “Vudra,” she said, enunciating the words slowly, as if to a very small child.

“Whoa! You went to Vudra, too?!”

She had not, in fact, gone to Vudra. Instead she had secluded herself away in a little-known temple on the edge of town to work more strenuously on the Rules of Perfection, partly as repentance for that one uncautious night. When Leela was born, Pavi raised her so that the temptations of the mundane life would not drag her down from the ideal existence. But the girl grew willful and curious, having run off that very morning after a passing tinker while Pavitra was busy with a pre-breakfast Wind Blowing ceremony. Leela had disappeared in the Green Market, with no clue where she had gone despite Pavitra’s questioning of the frightened tinker and other merchants.

“You came to the right guy, Pavitra. And not just because I’m her dad because that person would also have been the right guy, but because I know everyone in this city,” he bragged. “I’ll just have to ask around and we’ll have her back by lunchtime.”

Pavitra pointed out that it was already after lunch but he obliviously carried on.

“Plus, I happen to personally be acquainted with many of the members of law enforcement. But also, I am great at figuring out mysteries! It was just yesterday I figured out where my holy symbol to Cayden Cailean was. It was in my right pocket the whole time! I’d looked for it for hours but I usually put it in my left pocket. Then I remembered that I’d used my left pocket for half a piece of cake that I’d found and I didn’t want to get it all sticky. Pretty amazing, huh? Plus, free cake!”

Bowie was pretty much the same person that she had met years ago. Though, after being fined often and sometimes even run in for a short stay in jail by the Korvosan Guard, he was a little less brazen in his attempts to heal the poor folk of the city. His confidence and positive outlook were hardly dimmed despite these setbacks, Pavitra noted, and he seemed to be taking all this news in stride and excitement, which grated against her anxiety. With the strain of missing Leela, there was no being charmed by Bowie’s carefree attitude this time around.

“Do you know that ‘Being Somebody’s Dad’ is on my Bucket List?” he asked. “Though, I didn’t think it would be for a while but still, get to cross that off!”

“A what list?” she asked, nervously twitching her hand in a small tornado of movement.

“A Bucket List, just like Cayden Cailean. When Cayden Cailean was still mortal he went on new adventures all the time and did amazing things. When he got back home, he’d celebrate. And, you know, when you celebrate like Cayden Cailean, you have to eventually take, you know, a whiz like Cayden Cailean. So, while he was whizzing in the bucket for ten or fifteen minutes, to pass the time he would write down what great adventure he’d just had, like ‘Killed Red Dragon’ or ‘Rescued Princess,’ on the wall in case he didn’t remember what he’d done the next morning. He called it his Bucket List. I’m doing the same thing but what I’ve done is I wrote down all of the things first that I’m going to do and when I do one, I cross it off the list! But.. maybe I shouldn’t do that until we find her. I mean, it’s not good to tempt fate like that. I wonder if I should even tell mom and dad that they’re grandparents…”

After a lot of vocal arguing back and forth with himself, Bowie decided not to tell his family about Leela until she is rescued and they can meet her. “They’ll just worry themselves to death right now. But it’s going to be really, really hard to keep it a secret! Has she had her first fishcake yet?? What about maxmax?! I should buy a whole bunch for when we find her!”

Another issue, she learned for him, was how he would explain Pavitra and Leela to Ellie, a university student and server at the Jittery Quill, Kaylie, a dancer and server at the Overlook, and Meagan, a musician/actress and server at Bard’s End. That would have to be dealt with, he concluded, the same way as he’s dealt with explaining Ellie to Kaylie and Meagan, Kaylie to Ellie and Meagan, and Meagan to Ellie and Kaylie. He doesn’t… and hopes for the best.

The Ensuing Weeks

Despite Bowie’s confidence, locating Leela proved to be no easy task. The two searched tirelessly, while Pavitra also kept trying to feed him purified greenrose sap as a “detox” after too many swallows from the ale stein. They found themselves chasing rumors that the criminal Gaedren Lamm was responsible for abducting Leela. It was surprisingly hard to track him down, however, and their leads have been dead-ends again and again. Once, they found what they thought was a hideout of his in an abandoned rotting warehouse in Old Korvosa, but it had been vacated long ago. Another time they arranged to meet an informant up in the Shingles only to have him and his thugs try to mug them among the rooftop shanties. The people who might know where Lamm is are lowlifes, and dangerous in their own right, and both Bowie and Pavitra are out of their element and are beginning to feel desperate.


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