Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Day Six

What else should I add to my account of yesterday's events? Well, Between us we carried two bag's worth of the least evil items away from that terrible room, mainly the sort of restraints that Delinda is happy to sell, but a few weapons which, like the flaking old sword I'd used, might have some magic in them. I did offer to cut away Memree's chains, but she'd wanted to leave as she'd come, except for that gag, which we also took. She said very little, but I think we both felt as if we'd known each other for years; my fears that she might have a voice like a corncrake were banished, anyway. In a pouch we found a ball-gag, probably something Delinda had imported, and she insisted on wearing it home.

Sometimes I wonder where such items come from, things so minutely crafted that no smith on Fortune's World could produce them, fabrics that don't seem to be made of fibres - this book, even, which would take a craftsman a week to put together so accurately, but which I got for coppers. Oh, I know that some wizards trade with "demons", but how and why would strange other-dimensional creatures craft such things, and in Sunil's name, what use do they have for plain Fortunia honey, or farm-churned butter, or some rocks containing metals that even the dwarves are unable to smelt? Delinda did business with a wizard who lived out by the mountains, she'd load up a cart occasionally and go out to him, stay a few days, and come back with shiny, gleaming new wares, things so exact that no human craftsman could have had a hand in their making... but what spooked me was the way the items were packed, the bags of soft not-glass, the colour paintings all exactly the same, even the thick paper boxes used instead of honest wooden crates. People liked the other-worldliness of the items, but Del always took care to burn the packing materials, just as she and Loji would unpick the ridiculously exact, complex labels inside the clothing. It's all magic, I suppose, demon magic from a plane far different from ours, and I'm as addicted to these wares as most girls, but - spooky!

This morning I left Memree in our room, making out a careful list of all the items we'd appropriated, and, dressed in trousers, shirt, and my favourite waistcoat, plus boots to tuck the trousers into, made the necessary visit to the Restormel townhouse. I spoke to the chamberlain, and he and four of their men accompanied me to the castle, and up to the room, which now was just a room, or at least just a torture chamber. The coffin and the body were still there; I'd not wanted to give Lady Restormel my news before the body had been secured, it could have magically vanished and left me looking very stupid. The chamberlain looked at the mess we'd made of the place, the signs of the battle, the head iron-maiden, and sighed. "Lady Restormel will have to be told everything, you know, but please underplay the 'intelligence transfer' angle, leave your little slavegirl out of it as much as possible, I think she'd find that unbearable."

So we took the body, in the coffin, down the ladder, and the four men carried it out of the castle on their shoulders, with the two of us walking behind. Guards came to attention as we passed, men took off their hats and bowed their heads. The coffin was plain, but everyone knew Lord Restormel had been missing, and recognised the chamberlain and the livery he and his men wore. Women went into a curtsey as we approached, and held the pose as we passed. There would be an official funeral in a few days, but I found this all surprisingly touching.

Lady Restormel was brave, in the way that nobles so often are. I assume she thinks I exaggerated Atzmon's size and strength, but she gave no sign of it. I mentioned that the girl-slave had been with me, I mentioned that Atzmon had boasted of some mind-experiment on her husband, I assured her that his end must have been quick, and painless, but generally I told the truth. At the end she hugged me, and thanked me for all my efforts, and I returned the hug before leaving with the chamberlain, who was already sorting through the keys he carried to find the one that opened the safe. He gave me all the money I'd been promised, and a little more, and said that I should consider myself to be a friend of the house. So if I need a favour some time, that looks like a good place to go!

I returned to Memree carrying two rather large beef and kidney pies, still hot, and a jug of ale. After Lady Restormel, I was still in a hugging mood, so I hugged her, too. Perhaps I should mention that she was wearing a perfectly respectable shirt and shorts of mine, plus slippers and absolutely no chains, cuffs, plugs or gags at all, and she still looked rather special.

We took our bags of loot to Del that afternoon, along with Memree's list, and she was suitably impressed with what we'd got. Naturally, she already knew almost everything about our adventure, but we were able to fill in a few of the gaps. Many of the items could well have been imported by her and her mage in the first place, though she was more interested in things she'd not stocked, and truly, some of the equipment was of jewel quality. We made a deal - Delinda would sell the things slowly as she wished, keeping a third of the money, and pass the rest of the silver on to us as it came in. This time, Memree was able to join us in having a glass of wine, and Del ungagged Loji so that she could have some too. Delinda had some fresh bread, and butter, and slices of some cooked bird or other, and we were easily persuaded to stay and eat and toast our good fortune - our good fortune in being alive, for a start.

So a quiet day, but a rewarding one, leaving me ample time to write this for you, my imagined Librarian-Mage. I look back at my last couple of entries and wonder that I could have written so much and still had time to sleep - this is more than enough of a diary entry for any more normal day.

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