Seventh Sea

Viv's Journal Day 936

Day 936
Oh! Mon! Dieu!  Finally food!  Truly edible food!  Breakfast – and all of it was lovely, I couldn't stop myself.  As ladylike as I normally am, I made a complete feast of it.  And somewhere between Luigi's attempts at theft from my plate and my third pastry something weird overtook me and I had a vision.  My great grandfather stood before me, distorted and enchained, his quavering voice told me it was my job to become a hero.  A hero to save the world.  Well most of the civilized world anyway.  He bade me to become the hero needed to save Montaigne, Castille and Eisen.  All of them – the fate of which rests in my hands.  I questioned how that could be done and if we really needed all of them but he grew angry and his countenance grew even darker.  He warned me that should I fail, grandmama would write me out of my inheritance and leave me penniless.  And just like that, a moment later I was back to the dining table with tears trickling down my cheeks.
I managed to subdue my snuffling long enough to finish my meal, at the end of which the butler asked if we would need some food packed for our hunt later today, to which I responded with a resounding, "yes!"  Wolfie's mother continued to try to engage me but I was wary since her last inspection of my teeth and we continue in our struggle to find a common language so I mostly just nodded and smiled at her.
Shortly thereafter, Alexis reported to me that someone was messing with our minds and that he had received a visitation from his dead mother.  I stiffened but didn't tell him of my visitor and was relieved when we were interrupted with a call to the hunt.
Stahl took some time to provide instruction on the use of firearms and I paid particular attention, intent on practicing as much as I could during this outing.  When we reached the gardens of our intended hunt we spied an enormous rabbit like those from the tales of fairie.  Only instead of taking aim, Wolfie approached the creature with some vegetation and spoke to it.  I know not what exchange they had but he must have offended it as others came streaming out of their warrens and attacked him.  We engaged in a quick flurry of exchanges but they seemed to have done quite a bit of damage to Wolfie before the field was washed with their blood.  We returned with the makings of a magnificent supper.  I couldn't wait.
Before falling asleep that night I reviewed Pepere's strange visitation.  Careful consideration made me all the more determined to win back Grandmama's affection.  If that means I have to pretend to care about the little people so be it.

Day 937
We prepared for more travel and departed, but not before my handmaidens presented their fine handywork having fashioned a lovely hat from the dire-rabbit carcasses we returned with previously.

Day 938 – Rain.
Day 939 – Rain.

Day 940
Rain, but we finally arrived at our destination – not that it looks any different than any place we've passed in the last three days. As something of a surprise, we came across our old friend MacLeod.  The gentleman had been fighting monsters in this region and his presence was a bright interlude on an otherwise dreary day.  But we pressed on as Wolfie was eager to get to his uncle's home.  Wolfie presented and introduced us to him, then saw us escorted to our rooms.  I looked forward to the opportunity to freshen my appearance before joining the scheduled revelries to celebrate the man's birthday.
I have found that despite their dreary countryside, abject poverty, and abnormally overcast weather the Eisen peoples, even the uncouth peasantry, have the ability to set it all aside and throw a resoundingly enjoyable party.  It will have no refinement but all those in attendance will have a good time and this gathering was no different.  I only partook of a glass of water before I felt completely a part of it all.  I felt completely carefree and enjoyed myself wholeheartedly.  I even found Wolfie's Uncle's people to be educated and charming. I had a lovely time and Hanz and Wolfie caught up with me to deliver a fine bottle of German sparkling wine.  It in no way compares to our finer vintages but was a perfectly passable attempt.  Hanz continued to occupy my attentions with the occaisional word or two from Wolfie and slowly the revelry of the party began to fall away and I found myself more somber.  I even found myself remembering the unpleasant visitation of my pepere and no longer took much pleasure in the company so I sought to retire early and recover from our long travels.

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Viv's Journal Day 931

Day 930

Well, we survived. It looked like a close thing for Luigi too so I am quite relieved. We split off from the main party and Luigi and I headed straight back to Stahlfort while the others went to pursue some information or other. We traveled slowly so we returned in the evening hours and quickly retired for the night. The healers were thankfully more helpful than the last time we required their efforts. A good night’s sleep and I shall be much better.

Day 931

I summoned my ladies but made my ablutions quickly as I wanted to assist Luigi with his morning preparations. We went down to the main dining hall to partake of another dreadful Eisen breakfast, but Wolfie had made sure to send over a lovely jam which softened the coarse and horrible bread they serve. There was some buzz about a new outsider during the meal but I have no idea what the fuss was about as he clearly wasn’t royal and in fact appeared to be of Castillian descent. We we leisurely made our way back up to our rooms where Janetta and Brooke were busy mending my dresses yet again. We discussed the new dress design I had proposed and they introduced a few embellishments they had thought of adding. I approved their smart thinking and quick hands and before I knew it we had sped up the clock to the lunch hour. Luigi and I picked our way through an offering of meats and breads that we had faced everyday since we entered this godforsaken country. Bored and underwhelmed we returned to our rooms to rest and amuse ourselves for a few hours.

I was refreshed when the dinner hour arrived but Luigi said he’d rather rest then deal with dining hall again so I went down alone. Excitement was already afoot in that Wolfie was fighting one of the men-at-arms and while I cheered him on, Hans also cheered then engaged Alexis is a bit of wrestling. I put in a word of advice suggesting he use speed (since Hans has none) but I think that Alexis was trying to best him in strength. Still I found a local willing to bet and made myself 30 marks to start the festivities. Some more drinks and dice games and I was up four guilders. A contest with knives and I was up another guilder but then the drinking games began and I lost the guilders but kept the marks. I stumbled and reeled my way back to my rooms but it was a good evening indeed.

Day 932

I woke early with a throbbing head so instead of rising I burrowed under the pillows and covers. My girls competed with potions to cure me and tempt my appetite and by afternoon I managed to rise and dress. I found as long as I kept my head carefully balanced and didn’t shift too quickly I could make my way to the main dining hall. Luigi continued to speak in a bold brash tone as if he were mocking me for my excesses the night before. I smiled gently in return but quietly vowed to get my revenge against him at a later time. We were called before Sieger along with Wolfie, the Black Ghost, and a small man I didn’t recognize. After more waving and shouting between him and Wolfie, Sieger shoved a few bottles my way. Things continued in much the same while they focused on some exchange with the Black Ghost. I was barely keeping my head on and was fading rapidly while I stood there so I cracked open one of the bottles of ale and tried in vain to make sense of any of it. After a while we were bowing out of the room and I breathed a sigh of relief. These exchanges were so pointless and tiresome. I was happy to retire again.

Some time later Wolfie knocked on our door and asked if we were ready to depart. Not knowing what the hell he was speaking of I questioned our destination. Thrilled when I heard his answer of Montaigne I still cursed him as we scrambled to pack and prepare for the road. The wet, rainy roads through the bleak, Eisen countryside. Our retinue seemed to have increased yet again but I cared not to explore this further.

During the dinner break Alexis approached me to beg a favor. He asked that to gain a favor from Wolfie, that I help Wolfie negotiate with Grandmama for lands, dirt of trade routes. He said this mud covered creature he gestured at would be wanted by Zola and Wolfie would give him to Alexis’ care for a favor. I was more than willing even without him helping Alexis, for all the things he has done Wolfie has demonstrated himself more than worthy of any assistance I could offer.

Sometime later still I caught sight of Alexis tearing the fabric of the world, a bright light and he stepped through with yet another man I did not recognize. The light disappeared and all the grey half-light returned to the grey landscape. I am becoming very weary of this place and will be happy to see civilization again.

Day 933

Alexis was back by the next morning with a happier disposition. We continued our travels and Luigi and I invented games to amuse ourselves to pass the time. On one of our breaks one of the new retinue introduced himself. Apparently a Castillian of no particular family or lands, he is off travelling to seek adventure. He seemed stilted and boring so I took no time with him.

Day 934

Day 935

By the fourth day we had made it to Wolfie’s family homeland and we were introduced to his parents. A dark and disturbing place, and Ludwig and Marie Steppenwolf were quite overwhelming to meet. Apparently a miscommunication resulted in the Lady Marie thinking I was wed to her son. Subject to an inspection I resisted the need to draw my blade to fend her off. Wolfie separated us and explained the mistake. She quickly moved on to be bespelled by my brother’s beauty. The others in our party were introduced including the new Castillian and we were sent off to our assigned rooms to return for dinner.

A couple of officers were brought as guests to amuse us but I it was an evening of enlightenment for me as they explained the premises of Eisen heredity of noble title and lands. This entire country only rules by its ownership of their fancy metal armor and weaponry. The item itself is what imbues nobility and authority here. No wonder their world is chaos. What a completely bewildering system. One would assume those with very little to their name would see no reason not to challenge nobles in the streets on the off chance they get lucky and win.

To finish off the evening, Wolfie proved himself a perfect host and produced croissants for dessert just to please me. I retired confused but replete.

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Viv's Journal Day 928

Day 928
The next day, more heads put together in boring meetings and discussions that meant less than nothing to me until Wolfie and Alexis came to tell us we were going, with Stahl, to help recover a man who had been kidnapped. It sounded more interesting to me than sitting around here. I was offered some leather armor which I was loathe to accept but with my lingering wound I was considering it. When Wolfie mentioned it was very attractive I decided to keep it. We rode long and hard with Stahl’s men a day behind us, but we made it to the town or fort or whatever just a mile off by nightfall.

Day 929
They awakened me early, which they should know better than to do. Some discussion was had over a breakfast of cold rations (really?) and Alexis was sent off to scout the town or fort or whatever. We then spent our time awaiting Alexis’ return while Luigi grew impatient. When my brother returned it was to inform us that they were making weapons using blood. Not a good sign.
We set out to sneak up on the settlement but then it seemed Alexis stepped out of the shadows and went to talk to a woman who bore a striking resemblance to the Black Ghost. Then he dashed off and we continued to move up. Unfortunately I didn’t see a rock in path and I realized the guards spotted me when I tripped. I decided to brazen it out and when they questioned me in their harsh tongue, I waved a greeting at the Black Ghost. She gestured me forward and I spoke to her in Montaigne but failed to make myself clear. I tried Vodacce and even Castillian to no avail, but her gestures offered hospitality which I accepted. And just when I feared we would have to resort to mime to play this out, Wolfie stepped forward and played translator. Instead of smoothing things over though, his presence seemed to incite them and despite my attempts at distraction, no one was interested in a dice game. Then were heard the wolf howl.
I thought this would offer Luigi and me the opportunity to use this as a distraction while we recovered the missing man but the guards leapt to us immediately and were trying to wrestle us to the ground. I twisted and turned then managed to break free. Freeing my blades I took out several guards then turned to the Ghost herself. She kept trying to bind my sword and even succeeded a time or two but I taught her a trick with a throwing knife and the advantages of the Valroux School. She seemed startled when she fell but I don’t know why as I had bested her the last time too.

As I turned to survey the battle I was rushed by a large Eisen with two axes. I ducked under his first swipe and managed a few slashes of my own but he returned with a couple of large strikes that left my head ringing. I looked about for Luigi for support but he appeared to be taking a breather. I rushed to flurry a few more strikes hoping my speed would take this brute down but another hit and I was worried I would bleed out. I heard a growl behind me but my attention was focused in front of me. I was relieved to see Alexis step in to help weaken him, then another strike from me and he fell to his knees and grunted out something or other. It was then that I heard the beast behind me attack Luigi who had stepped in. It seemed Luigi fell under some grand attack from the giant wolf (werewolf?) and was not returning a strike. I feared the worst as I rushed to assist. I didn’t have a lot of strength left but I managed enough of a blow to chase it off, then I fell to Luigi’s side but it the damage I saw was terrifying. Alexis came to my aid and we managed to carry Luigi to safety. Hopefully not too late.

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Viv's Journal 926

Day 926
After the fighting, of course there were festivities. Even Luigi felt well enough to participate and we ate and drank heartily. It was with bleary eyes we were roused in the middle of the night by a guard pounding on our door. Wolfie, trying to reign in some of the Sieger’s guards told us to dress quickly and come to the main hall. Alexis was there and we were lined up with some other people in front of Wolfie’s brash liege. Once again I couldn’t understand a word they spoke so Wolfie informed me this was some type of strange test. A beautiful gem on a chain was passed from our grouchy host to Wolfie’s hands. He handed it to some other fellow and then took it back. Wolfie moved on to some other fellow who held it then handed it back. Wolfie then stood before me and handed me the gem. I, of course, knew it should be worn as a necklace, so I donned it then arranged my robes to display it properly. I thanked him for the gift but Wolfie explained this was some strange test and it was not mine to keep. Which I think is truly rude, as you should never present a woman with jewelry you don’t intend to let her keep. I returned it but I wasn’t happy about it since I was the only one to wear it properly so, clearly, I wore it best. Wolfie then handed it to Luigi who held it a moment, then taking it back Wolfie sent us back to our room to retire once again for the night. I think his Eisen leader might just be a teensy bit insane.

Day 927
The next day Luigi seemed eager to be active despite his wounds and he suggested a day of hunting. Eager to find some enjoyment in the bleak place we headed out. I questioned where we were headed and Luigi was dismissive as if we hadn’t already encountered cultural complications of etiquette in this land. I pointed out we wouldn’t hunt the King’s land without permission and he sulkily agreed. We returned to seek Wolfie’s direction authorization and he sent us off to the forested area to the north. I spotted a magnificent stag but at the same time Luigi noticed some men watching us. He leaped off our horse and charged them with his sword and knives. I had no idea why he took after them merely for looking our way, but after a minute Wolfie rode up and mentioned these were truly spies. Which I took as permission to join the fight, which I gleefully did. Immediately it was clear I would wipe the field with my skill as I struck at two opponents. A moment later though, the tide had turned and I was in trouble. These foes were quicker than I was ready for and they bound my blade and blooded me a couple of times. Not usually a problem but still wounded from the day before I was struggling. Luigi took a blow intended for me and tossed me his blade but I do not think he knew how impaired I already was. Thankfully Alexis showed up out of nowhere and his distraction allowed me to effectively land a few more blows before he wrestled the last foe to the ground. Apparently some additional spies had been trying to get to Sieger and Wolfie had skirmished with them with predictable results.

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Tagebuch Steppenwolf - Dueling Duels

So after tying things up at home I and my retinue progressed to Stalfort. Along the way we came ever so close to my childhood home of the Wolf’s Lair, I could hear the thunder (no really there is always lighting a thunder around the Wolf’s Lair, this has disconcerted attackers so that sieges have been broken, but it always just makes me sleepy).

Day 1 of travel – Beautiful Eisen weather, like rain to clean the gutters and make that fresh loamy smell…

Day 2 of travel – More Beautiful Eisen weather, crisp cool drizzle to make a man feel alive

Day 3 of travel – distant thunder and so close to home…

Day 4 of Travel – Beautiful..

Day 5 of travel – Beau…

Stahlfort

Ah my adolescent home (well split with the Vanderkrieg Vaticine Academy of War), it looks exactally the same.

After talking to Seiger I found I had a Dracaneisen smith to steal back… doable enough. Seiger seemed to be in good spirits. I tried to get out of the duel with Luigi, because I made the duel as a proud man and I now realize my people don’t need my pride they need my guidance. I must learn never to stoop so low as to allow the 7 deadly sins to influence me even if they influence my adversaries.

I could not get out of the duel but I did have it lowered to a man is finished and not to the death. Sieger wanted me to put real nasty blows to the Vodaccie Prince’s son, but I knew I would need a working relationship with him, but even more so his current concubine Vivian. I intimidated the man and put him down, but instead of laying more blows convinced him to apologize. This seemed to appease all, and hopefully Luigi with get over his pride… well some day.

It was not long later Alexi talking to Sieger managed to get himself into a duel, when his sister found out she was furious and the duel expanded to be a two on two affair with men fated to die. Though the fight was closer than I thought the Montaine siblings were never really in danger, and Sieger roared his approval, even when (especially when?) one of the prisoners screamed defiance and flung at him a trident… (it missed, I caught it, but Seiger would have batted it away with ease, his lack of dodging was both a test of me, and a chance to let me look good, he does stuff like that a lot).

Now we must get to the real work…

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Viv's Journal 919
Day 919

We rested after our return but Luigi’s disposition remained dour.

Day 920
The next day he complained of the dreariness of Eisen and I was growing quite sick of it. I did not see to his rescue for this. Where did the man who was generous and charming go? With one too many of his dark remarks I told him that I thought it was possible to be entertaining and amusing wherever we go. Truthfully I expected this to cause an outburst and I was prepared to have it out with him here and now, so when he dressed and went to down to mount a horse I watched him go with a wave. I was delighted when instead of riding off to the forest; he performed magnificent tricks in the courtyard. I cheered and threw my handkerchief from the window which he swept up with another death-defying do and a courtly gesture. I hurried down to enjoy the company of my newly revitalized beau. Maybe the fey was good thing after all.
There were several dour Eisen that I don’t recall seeing before in the courtyard watching amongst some of the locals but I brushed past to hurry to my darling’s side. Luigi’s cheery attitude was contagious and after a kiss or two I rushed upstairs to change my clothing so I could have him show me how to do these awesome horse tricks. Upon my return my attempts to leap into the saddle were smooth and easy, but the trick where I flip off the horse and throw a knife took a couple of false starts. Persistence won out and I eventually got it. We celebrated with wine and a private afternoon.
Dinner was a tiresome affair with the Eisen strangers, whom Alexis had to translate for. The one asked strange questions about fighting for the Montaigne side of the conflict but I don’t think he has much of a chance since he doesn’t speak a word of the language.
It seems these Eisen are the bearers of a missive wherein Wolfie has been called to the court of his Prince and Luigi, Alexis and I have decided to go with him. So too has Anne and Hanz and the strange little drunken Eisen that has been with us since Vodacce. Of course I am bringing my handmaidens as I must make a suitable showing at this palace.

Day 921
We commenced our travel. Dreary, dreary scenery.

Day 922
Dreary.

Day 923
More drear.

Day 924
Dear God, it never ends.

Day 925
Finally. Stahlfort was indeed impressive and the leader, Erich Sieger, was a suitably powerful figure. After a brief and strange exchange about purchasing some Montaigne lands, Luigi, Alexis and I were dismissed to an antechamber where the sounds of the Lord Sieger’s temper and voluble tones were only barely muted. It seems he approved the duel that Wolfie and Luigi had been holding off on in accordance with local law. A reprieve to make an event of it I guess.
It was held in front of the main hall (which though grand was not stylish enough to really be called a palace). Wolfie postured a bit before the fighting began and Luigi appeared to not let the mockery affect him but once combat began it was clear he was less than his normal self. I’ve seen him fight before and this was nothing like his usual style or flair. While Luigi managed to blood Wolfie first and few times after it was only five strikes of Wolfie’s blade before Luigi fell. I was a bit confused as there was some tension in the air before the combat ended once an apology fell from Luigi’s lips. Wolfie seemed content and the Eisen all roared and cheered their pleasure. I assisted Luigi from the field and set about cleaning him up and tending his wounds while the others moved on to celebrate. I must say that while I’m disappointed Luigi lost, I am relieved he is not dead, especially at Wolfie’s hand.

Having no skill within the healing arts I was forced to the church to seek the ministrations of a local Padre for Luigi’s aid. While the Padre made his best attempts to heal Luigi it was clear he didn’t have a lot of actual skill. I shuffled him off with a small offering for his coffers which I lifted from Luigi’s purse. I was worried about what to do next when another healer showed up offering his skills. It was just then that one of my handmaidens appeared to tell me another duel was afoot, this time with Alexis as a combatant. You know for a land that I’ve been told prohibits dueling there’s been quite a bit of action today.
I stomped off to see how this could have happened. I should have known Wolfie would be assisting him in this venture. Sieger had somehow engineered my brother into this and I wasn’t going to stand for it. A few translated exchanges with Sieger and a stubborn refusal from Alexis to bow out and we were at least given the option to fight together. Sieger scrambled some locals deserving of punishment and we were pitched into battle. Alexis went for the big guy and danced around the other fellow for a bit. Ultimately the fight was hard won but with a couple of flourishes from me and Alexis we were ultimately victorious. It looked a little rough at the end when the last man standing tried to attack Sieger instead but Wolfie defended him and eventually we were victorious. I accepted a victory drink from Wolfie with which I toasted Sieger before having my wounds tended.

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Tagebuch Steppenwolf - if the Imeritor's Armor fits...

We manage to return the Imperitors armor to the Eisenfurts… He was young and much too interested in magic for his own good. I gave him vague warnings that his plots would be recognized, and he seemed pleasent enough.

There were lots of plots in his court, but I was too exhausted to play with them. I did go to a bar and play with some of Zappada’s guards, I finally got them to drink their beer. Seriously when an Eisen buys you a beer in Eisen YOU DRINK IT!!! It’s only polite…

We did take back off to the south (but not before Alexi got a little something-on-the-side (and front and rear and oh never mind)).

We settled up with mayor and the witch and got the broomstick. When we returned to my earldom, Vivian was overcome by the “snow” (snow stands for something else… “powered sugar”… which is a euphemism for… oh never mind). But she got over it with a punch by her brother… I fought a snowman (with is a euphemism for snowman), Alexi got a little more on the side, and Luigi was free.

Upon return to the Schwartzhaus Alexi was attacked by Zola magically, but I dressed he down, if he is not good enough now to be your husband he has right to wander a bit. Oh and I was immediately to take 50 men to Seiger, too bad it started to rain…

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Tagebuch Steppenwolf - Treachery

Soon after we entered the village I found there was plot. Someone had stolen the Eisenfurst’s piece of the Imperitor’s armor. I was directed to the Mayor who claimed that it was a plot by the Eisenfurst himself to oust Vaticine men of power in the province…

After Alexi did his expert scouting he found that just such a plot existed.

Oh and I caught up with my brother Hans over some Werewolf killing.

While confronting the Eisenfurst’s men we were sneak attacked, but defeated our foes easily. I quickly found (thank Thea) the armor piece hidden among the conspirators things and off we where to hand it back to it’s owner.

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Viv's Journal 917.2

Day 917.2

We hopped back on the strange broom and traveled to some other Eisen noble’s palace. Apparently to the home of the prince the Black Ghost serves. This is where we are supposed to return the fancy armor, or so says Wolfie. I didn’t especially know or care. I was finding my wounds increasingly more inconvenient and even painful. I was tiring fast there was no end in sight. Fortunately once Wolfie introduced me to the prince after returning what we brought for him, the prince offered the services of his healer. I was taken aback with his visage which was a mask with a large beak protruding from it. He gestured for me to follow him and it speaks to my exhaustion that I merely followed. It turned out his skill was far greater than most of his kind and he stitched and bound my wounds so well that I no longer even noticed them.

Upon my return Pierre du Crieux was introduced to me and he was quite polite. We were escorted to our rooms and it was quite pleasing but for some strange reason Alexis suggested we explore the local inn. I declined opting instead to stay at the palace where the butler was not only polite but forthcoming on the local political and social affairs. I retired replete and awoke refreshed.

Day 918

In the morning we made our exit only after paying court to the prince. He was once again gracious but away we went on our magic broom, back to the town where the mayor had been released and in his gratitude he agreed to go to the manor of the Lady Samantha and welcome her as a citizen of the town. She gave us the broom so one down, three to go.

I remember landing – then nothing else until I found myself on the ground with Alexis on top of me and a horrible throbbing in my nose – which he just hit!!! He said I was acting irrationally and he was trying to save me from myself. All I know is my nose is swelling up and fucking hurts and he messed with my damn blades again.

When I dusted myself off I swear I saw Wolfie fighting with a snowman(?) but the satyr(?) went over to chat up Alexis and that brought the witch out of her cottage. A tug of war ensued and Wolfie and I negotiated with the young witch, no need to go after the apple if she but has three hours with Alexis. I accepted promptly while Wolfie seemed to have some qualms. It wasn’t his nose throbbing. I gave the satyr a bit of a smile to distract him from his obsession with Alexis and when he released Alexis’ arm the witch whisked him away and I sat down to make nice with goat boy. Wolfie suggested he woo me with food and off he went to prepare something or other to entice me with.

After what seemed a very short time, the old witch returned to us with the dress. I immediately rushed to the dryad and obtained Luigi’s release. He seems under the spell of the fey that had him captive and Wolfie had to knock him out so that we could haul him back to Wolfie’s keep.

Alexis, who had retired to sleep we thought, screamed out in pain and I am not exactly sure what had happened. Wolfie and I rushed to his side and I’m pretty sure that bitch of a fiancee was the one who caused him this. I cannot see how he can even think of marrying her!

Amidst everything a stranger was pulling at Wolfie and seemed to be trying to get him to leave with him – I think. I wasn’t sure but I didn’t really care either. I returned to Luigi’s side and his brother Hercules’ gratitude.

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