We stopped exploring for a while and things were incredibly boring. I must have spent weeks just roaming our tiny settlement and making excuses to chat up whatever handsome elf happened to be passing through. But even successful flirtation gets boring after a while, and I was starting to get a reputation I didn’t want. Eventually our generous horned Queen decided we could take some time to do whatever we wanted (I suspect she was tired of Theod tinkering with his illusions — I know I was, as entertaining as they could be at times), rather than sit around waiting for things to be built. To that, all I can say is long live the queen. So for my “summer vacation” I decided to visit my younger brother, since I’d been away from him for so long. As I was writing the letter, however, a drunken Isa stumbled in and spilled whatever she was drinking all over it. When I explained what I was doing, she apologized and declared she would join me on my journey.
The exchange went something like this:
“I’m writing my brother a letter. I’m going to go visit him.”
“You mean WE’RE going to go visit him!”
“Here, have some of this!”
Liquor was promptly poured down my throat. I decided fighting it was futile, and the absinthe was surprisingly good. I was glad to have some company, anyway. Although I was a little bit wary of what would happen. Isa does not have the best track record when it comes to good ideas, after all.
It turns out my fears were warranted. A good deal of my time was spent in a drunken stupor.
We set out at dawn the next day, bags packed with food, weapons, and enough booze to last us a year. My fellow half-elf proposed a celebratory drink to get our adventure started, and against my better judgement I took her up on her offer. That was the end of my sobriety that day; whatever she gave me went straight to my head. I assume we stumbled around like idiots for a while. I vaguely recall someone passing by and asking us if we were okay. I don’t know how I responded but I’m pretty sure it was positively. I remember warm, rough hands. They might have been Isa’s though; I imagine swinging around that sword of hers could give a girl some nasty calluses.
I think the next few days were similar, because I remember having to take a day to recover from drinking so we could find out where we were. It appeared that the gods favoured us on our journey, as somehow we ended up right where we needed to be… and ahead of schedule.
I don’t even know.
In any case, we stopped for a while in an old stomping ground of mine. I got caught up on all the local gossip and Isa visited every tavern in the small town. It was a fun night, full of laughter, merriment, and, of course, booze. In a stroke of luck, however, we didn’t even have to pay for our drinks. One of my old flames had come into possession of the tavern we decided to visit and he took quite the shine to Isa. “Can’t let my old sweetheart an’ ’er pretty little friend go thirsty now, can I?”
I made sure he was tipped very handsomely.
Soon after, we were back on our way. Shenanigans occurred. I think. I don’t remember very well. (And there are some things I’d rather NOT remember. Isa is not nearly as pretty when she’s hungover.)
Eventually we reached the town in which my brother had settled. I, at least, was sober when we met with him. He hasn’t changed much, aside from gaining a little bit of muscle. (He’s still prettier than I am, the bastard. Figures he’d get the bulk of mother’s elven genes.)
He and Isa seemed to get along quite well, for the most part. I think she even sobered up for a while, which I’m thankful for, since Aron was a little bit uncomfortable with her rambunctiousness.
We spent a few days catching up with what we were doing in our lives. Aron’s been working as a merchant with a friend of his. Very innocuous. He was somewhat surprised to learn that I’ve become the leader of a spy network (hah!) in a kingdom I helped found. He was even more surprised when Isa told him she was the councilor.
“You decided to make her councilor?”
“Is she… sober enough to do her job?”
“I know like everyone Mouse. Everyone. ‘Cause we drink together ’n’ stuff.”
I was then asked why she was calling me Mouse.
Once we had gotten the pleasantries out of the way, the three of us decided to have some fun. Isa even managed to convince Aron to drink. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. In fact,
[ The next few pages have been torn out of the book; there are still visibly torn edges, and a few other pages are slightly crumpled. Some ink is smeared. ]
(Note to self: try to remember what else we got up to and write it all down when Aron isn’t around. His embarrassment is cute, but I really don’t want this book to be destroyed.)
When it was finally time to leave, Aron made sure to pack our empty bags full of bread and dried meat. I felt a little bit bad, taking food from my struggling little brother, but he assured me that the townsfolk kept him well fed, and mother and father would be back from their travels within the month. He wouldn’t starve. So we reluctantly accepted.
On the way home, we were once again sidetracked. We happened to pass by that senile bastard of a potion merchant’s little cabin. Since Isa has demonstrated on multiple occasions that she is skilled at the art of rock-pitching, I convinced her to break his windows. Being yelled at has never been so satisfying.
The second misadventure on our journey home happened as we passed the Mites’ tree. In a fit of drunken silliness, Isa insisted we investigate it. I told her we already had. She said we hadn’t and ran off to go look. I followed, hoping to stop her from going back in and falling to her death. Unfortunately, I wasn’t fast enough, and even worse, I was just drunk enough to stumble in after her. Gracefully, of course. As if I move in any other manner.
As soon as we tumbled (gracefully!) into the tree, we came upon a small group of mites. It would seem that in the few months we’ve been away, they have begun to repopulate. I feel as if I should be alarmed at how quickly their population has grown, but I’ve heard nothing of any sort of disturbance involving mites, so I think it’s safe to say that nothing will come of this. Still, I should inform the others just in case (but maybe keep Mikmek in the dark. I don’t want to agitate him).
I digress. They looked like they were going to attack us, but Isa drew her “Jingle Sword” and waved it around a bit. I think they were impressed with the gentle tinkling noises of the bell attached to the end of it. But it wouldn’t keep their attention forever, so thinking quickly (and not particularly clearly), I offered them the bottle I’d been drinking from a few minutes ago. In retrospect, I think that’s what caused the whole mess. But it didn’t matter, because shortly afterward everything became a blur. Then Theod showed up. It seems he… acquired a horse while we were gone? It wasn’t quite the large, graceful white stallion a man with his… tendency for flamboyance would be thought to have, but it was enough to get us all home.
Apparently its name is Stan. Weird.
Anyhow, Theod informed us that when he found us, we were dancing and singing merrily (and loudly, and badly; that’s how he found us) in the mites’ tree. When he jumped in to “rescue” us we were apparently ranting and raving about being gods. He put on a very unflatteringly squeaky voice that I’m guessing was for emphasis when he told us what sort of thing we had been saying:
“NO. YOU CAN’T DO THIS. WE’RE… GODS. WE’RE THE GODS! OUR PEOPLE NEEEEEEEED US!”
I’m pretty sure Isa said that. One hundred percent. It was definitely her. No doubt.
So thanks to Theod, we’re back home and all caught up on everything that’s happened while we were away. I do believe I’ve had enough alcohol to last me a lifetime — my head is still pounding, even as I write. I can see why Isa is so taken with her liquor, though. It certainly helps keep some of my less pleasant thoughts at bay, but I think I should lay off the stuff for a while. I have important duties to attend to, after all.
… Scratch that. I can hear Isa calling me.
After a few days of detoxing, I decided to go back to my routine of wandering around and seeing what I could pick up from people. I was surprised at how much our little town had grown in the weeks Isa and I were away, but I think it’s fantastic. I have more faces to learn and buildings to inspect, so I figured it should keep me entertained for a while at least.
I was right. There are many interesting new people coming in and out of our town.
I ran into Mikmek shortly after resuming my daily rounds. It seems he was picking up the slack while I was away and patrolling the city. Aww. Maybe I’ll appoint him leader of a team of spies, assuming Wyn lets me put a proper network together. I really should bring that up with her, but she’s so busy all the time. Still, there’s a prince involved now, so I don’t mind waiting a little longer. Her lovelife is much more interesting anyhow.
(Note to self: dig up more info on this prince. Only the best for
my friend our Queen.)
Anyway, back to Mikmek. He informed me of all the things I had missed, and gave me a grand tour of the new portions of the city. He seems thrilled about the Kobold village, and with good reason. I’m excited about it too. I’m excited for almost everything we’ve planned out, and what we’ve built. It’s finally starting to seem like a kingdom rather than just some half-assed collection of houses. I will admit that I kind of miss the intimacy of a smaller town. Seeing my brother and some old friends again has reminded me of how much I like knowing everyone (and all their habits and haunts).
I’ve also realized how much I hate gaudy statues. I sincerely hope Krom isn’t actually proud of that monstrosity.
For the most part, our city has been pretty peaceful. There are the usual arguments among our party, but that’s to be expected. I don’t think Krom and Theod will ever get along, and I don’t think Isa and alcohol will ever NOT get along. Outside of our little group, however, things have also been relatively calm. Although there was that one little bump with the ‘brewers.’ While making my usual rounds one night, I overheard some men muttering something about selling potions. Now, having spent much time around Theod, I like to think I know what most potion brewers are like — the genuine ones, anyway. These men seemed shady, so I tailed them for a while. As I suspected, their concoctions were far from normal. I decided to tip Wakka off about them, and apparently he did a magnificent job of cutting the problem off at the source. I like Wakka. I just wish I could understand him better, though I think he is improving in speaking Common. I’ve picked up a little bit of Draconic myself, since it’s become such a common language around here. Maybe I should arrange something with Wakka. He can teach me, I can teach him? I’ll have to figure out how to ask first, though. I don’t trust my translator.
Speaking of my translator, his illusions are getting slightly less ridiculous and slightly more entertaining. His strange exploding light displays are nice. I think his visiting family was a little bit too proud of it, though. They seem… pleasant, if not a little smothering. I’m a little bit jealous. A little bit of motherly affection can go a long way, but I suppose when all one is concerned about it how she appears to others, certain things must be sacrificed.
[ The next page and a half has been filled with increasingly messy notes, and what little was legible has been scratched out entirely. ]
I suppose I shouldn’t dwell on it. I’m a spymaster in a kingdom of my own founding (sort of). I’ve got more important things to worry about. More glorious things. More glorious things that can only be achieved through the shadows. Which means I won’t get recognized for my accomplishments.
… I miss traveling.