I awoke to a stinging ache behind my eyes in a darkened room with checkerboard walls. Stoneshrooms were peeking out from the light squares. There appeared to be no entry or exit. Just as I gained my composure, the tiles on the walls began to sink in one by one. As stoneshrooms were swallowed, choke mold appeared. I began to smell the witch weed and like a mist, he appeared in a dark corner of the room, his gray elvin figure hugging the darkness. I began to choke.
“ My dear girl, at long last! To what do I owe this pleasure?”
“Excuse *gasp me? *cough”
“Well, I must have done something for you to come sniffing around my neighborhood. Don’t you prefer the pub district? I bet you really clean it up at the mud wrestling.”
The choke mold retired into the wall, which then blossomed into stoneshrooms top to bottom. I began to breathe deeply and soon regretted it. Shairkash slunk towards me and he reeked of something foul. Otherworldly in it’s foulness, almost alien. I’ve been in the lairs of dragons and have never smelled anything so vile. He looked into my eyes and smiled.
“I see you are responding to my scent. It is a new project I am working on. Axis body spray. It is created from the leaves of an Eastern plant I’ve been trying to cultivate for years, the Djinn Blossom.”
“I didn’t ask, you shouldn’t have told me.”
“I don’t want to take advice from fools, but what do you think of the scent? You know… as a woman? How does it make you feel?”
“Nauseous. But it could just be the man wearing it.”
“It increases Charisma”
“That’s all just whispers at the bus stop.”
“Indeed”, he replied curiously.
“ Is it my turn to ask questions?” I began to stand.
“Yes, DO tell what this intrusion is about”
“ Do you know anything about the recent sale of a ring with peculiar powers? One that might, say, inspire a young woman to engage in human sacrifice?”
“ Well, I’m gonna need a lawyer…”
Just then, Shairkash seemed to vanish into the darkness, whispering “A real man makes his own luck. – Billy Zane”
Hours would pass. Hours which felt like days. Then, suddenly… massive amounts of light. Blinding light. Sunlight. The room opened to a cliff near the sea. When my eyesight adjusted, I recognized my whereabouts and made my way home with ease, but what the hell was that? I leave with no answers. I walk home, wondering if there be an antidote to the choke mold he used. I need dirt to get dirt. I would need something incriminating to leverage in order to force him to make things right.
I’ve learned how to work with Evil people. It becomes so easy once you acknowledge that they are really just pragmatists at heart. Offensive linemen in the game of life, trying to get theirs and then just hang onto it. It’s all about the lie of security. The Evil man is the biggest slave to security. He wants it the most and that is what drives him to success. He is willing to achieve “security” at any cost, usually in the form of money, and then power. The more people with their hands in your pocket, the more power you have. It’s sort of insidious. Ironically, it often begins out of a desire to mix things up and to rebel against convention, and then success begets a craving. Security begets the need for more security, powered by the fear that it will all one day come crashing down. And it does. I can’t tell you how many pirates lost ships in just that way. You get high, then you get weak, and then the strongest of your slaves pulls you down. It is a cycle so predictable, I’ve learned to ride the wave. I’ve been in Murann the past year waiting for the tides to turn at sea and within.
I’ve had many offers for work and everyone around here is getting sick of the sight of me, but let them be sick. A girl has a right to cling to the land if she wants to. Truth be told, I get seasick. It’s embarrassing, so when I’m out at sea, I eat minimally and have become stealthy hiding my aversions. Over many years it’s become exhausting, so I’ve been considering going in search of work land side. This is a complicated endeavor. It might also be time to find out what has happened to my father, just to silence the part of my brain that wonders if he is even still alive. Knowing he is dead would just set me free from the worry. It seems odd that he wouldn’t have found me sometime in the last 7 years, but who knows. He could be imprisoned or exiled somewhere. I didn’t necessarily want to intervene… I honestly think he is probably dead, but it would be nice to know for sure.