So a few days passed and I couldn’t stop thinking about what my dream might have meant. What did the voice mean about me serving her when the time was right? I also couldn’t shake the feeling that the dream was some sort of bad omen.
Now it’s funny but time seems to pass differently on the inside, our neighbors were taken away. We were able to suss out from the guards that they were taken to the capitol for “high crimes” since they were charged with assassinating a nobleman. We were laughingly told that our trial would be coming sometime soon. And what felt like an eternity later it did. But Shojin and I had made use of our time inside to formulate a plan for our defense strategy, once I talked him out of his ridiculous plan.
He fully intended to conjure the illusion of a box just slightly larger than himself and only say “Shojin isn’t here” when addressed by anyone in the room, which was beyond ludicrous and I told him as much.
Our plan was simple and multi-pronged and would rely on each of our unique skill sets. And to do that, for most of the trial, I would handle the speaking. While everyone was paying attention to me Shojin was going to provide “enhancements”.
And things went perfectly and according to plan. Mostly.
We were led into the courtroom and made to sit as the charges were read against us. The pathetic, little human piece of feces with his tiny little lady whistle was there too. The magistrate presiding over the matter was so short by human standards that he was almost my size, which is saying something. Where we differed in appearance though was that he was balding and had a mustache of a sort that says to a parent “this man cannot be trusted with your kids”. And his name was Steven. Steven! Ha! His poor court reporter, Madeline had a sadness in her eyes. I sometimes wonder what she is doing these days. But I digress.
After the charges were read I finally had the chance to stretch my powers of persuasion. I offered up our defense, but as I was offering our defense I peppered in a little of the language that people with my background would understand and while doing so I noticed that the trial artist seemed to Perk up as I was doing so, but nothing came of it at that point. My prime contention was that we were not shopping in the marketplace. Well Shojin was, but that little man with his little whistle really irked me. Even if he was shopping how does it help anyone to charge a shopping tax on those who are merely window shopping. That was an injustice I refused to stand for.
At a previously appointed time, when I was laying out for the judge a description of the clown who was falsely accusing us a small image of the town market appeared there in the courtroom for all to see and right there in front of the tiny versions of us was a tiny little clown. A jester if you will. Of the tiny little whistle man, Davison was his name, the little punk.
As I was in the progress of making my demand under the laws of the realms for satisfaction, a great sound erupted from the back of the courtroom and in walked a series of guards with reat Ravens emblazoned on their chests. (Was this as sign?) Followed by a man of some unknown but seemingly prestigious heritage.
And creepy Stevey looked shocked to see him.
The new arrival announced himself as Lord Ravenclaw back to assume his rightful place as magistrate of Dillard. He and Steven had a brief exchange and while that was going on nobody seemed to notice Shojin work a bit of trickery on Steven and talk him into going along with the newly risen magistrate.
As lord Ravenclaw was taking the bench to assume his rightful place as magistrate a beam of light from the window caught his cloak and there was the briefest flash of red. Quickly looking at my companions, none of the others saw this.
I tried to confront him once on the stand without outright saying anything but he feigned innocence. This red cloaked fiend, who had accosted my companion and betrayed our incarcerated acquaintances.He must be held to account. Maybe not in a room full of guards but I sometimes make poor choices.
His response to my saying that I knew who he was, was to take his cloak off, then his shirt, and an offer of everything else. Which was tempting as he was not a pain on the eyes. But I had my sights set on another much more Clever man.
We were ultimately acquitted of all charges and sent on our way. I still try to demand a trial by combat with my accuser, but was summarily denied and told not to try the courts patience. Slightly defeated we went on our way.
So we found something just north of a fleabag motel and set up shop there. Before I did anything else I ran back to the courthouse to let Clever know where we were staying and that I would love for him to come visit me…and bring the shackles. It was a fun week.
In that time the town of Dillard transformed into a place something akin to prosperous. There was a newfound life in the residents as they were no longer under the rule of constant daily taxation. Visitors and travelers came to town.
And postings went up in the town square looking for those willing to brave troubles for a bit of gold, but I’ll get back to those.
As we were preparing to set out again, in the name of progress, I bid farewell to Clever. I miss him mostly at night, and hope that someday I will see him again, and set out to finish one piece of business left incomplete.
Without the group’s knowledge I set out in search of our accuser and after greasing the right palms was able to track him to one of the most scummy, trashy bars working as someone who cleans up what patrons too inebriated leave on the floor. And I found him in the alley. Perfect.
I moved on him like I was his own shadow and when I was so close I could breath on his neck and he would feel it said simply “Boo!”. He was ass over tea kettle at that point from the sheer surprise of it all.
Now while I was recuperating, and as fun as Clever was I did pick up a few tricks from the story Simple told us and magic was no longer such a foreign idea to me. It seemed fitting to me that this little turd should have some little turds to keep him company so I told him as much and filled his pants with refuse.
He looked downright terrified at that. So I did the same to his shirt.
Now he was screaming and he ran back into the bar, but due to being just a dung covered mess, the barkeep or owner or bouncer maybe was having none of that and promptly threw him back out where he tumbled unceremoniously in a heap, crying.
For one final bit of good measure I went ahead and filled his shoes with more of the excrement I thought him to be, but he was scrambling out of his clothes at that point.
I insured that I had his attention as I had a simple message to relay. If he ever crossed my path again, I would kill him. Period. If he was smart he would develop a sixth sense and see me coming before I saw him and go a different way.
And with that I snuck off into the night with my new friend Huginn sitting on my shoulder. My companions and I were done being the victims of happenstance. It was time to be masters of our own fates and the following day we searched the available “job” listings to do just that.