Gene was pleased with himself. After subtly reminding (through some discreet hand gestures) Tirlae about the favor they owed him, and by extension Rasir, things finally started happening. They didn’t go exactly as he would have wanted them, but then again, nothing ever did for him. Part of the charm of the chaos. At least his people wouldn’t starve, which was better than what he had at the beginning of the day. As he exited to the street, he was stopped and handed a note, he was told a hyena woman wanted him to have it. The deliverer didn’t seem to have any connection to it, so Gene thanked him and went on his way.
“Good news, turns out I didn’t have to serve any time for my attempted theft. Law decided I had taken enough of a beating as my punishment (that and I had some good Lawspeakers) that I only needed to do some minimal service. I just wanted to let you know that I forgive you for the pain you caused, but I might have to fix that problem with the others.
“See you around, Floofums.
Gene read the note. He cocked his head upon reading the word “floofums.” Puzzled, he reread the note as he walked back to his room at the Diplomat’s Den. As hotels went it wasn’t bad, though Gene did notice the furniture didn’t hold up well to the bolts he sometimes shot off while sleeping. Upon entering his room he tossed the note onto the nearest pile of papers in the room. Many piles were scattered throughout the room, composed of notes from Alice, other ambassadors, and himself, though recently the latter were mainly “PAY ATTENTION TO ME YOU SELFISH BASTARDS” instead of the usual “she’s kinda cute – where’s she from? does she like strawberries?”
Alone in the room, Gene took off most of his clothes, to get more comfortable. He dug around in one of the piles of clothes that littered the room, retrieving his Hedge Wizard’s Gloves after a few moments. He sent its Mage Hand into a pile on the far side of the room, it came back with his magic dagger. He tossed the familiar weapon lightly in his hands a few times as he lay down on the bed and started thinking. Lekaral… Lekaral… where did he hear that name before? He began juggling the dagger between his two hands and the Mage Hand.
He tried to think back to his journey with Alice. The last few weeks (months? days?) as an ambassador made everything else blur together, somewhat. His increasing powers didn’t help much, either. He couldn’t remember the last time he blacked out, though it honestly was a matter of time before he lost control of himself and things started exploding. Lekaral… wait, those guys who jumped him and his friends on the road to Aegryndoun, or something along those lines. Most of ‘em were mooks, though their leader, she was something. Hyena. Crazy powers. They had knocked her out and brought her to the police, there wasn’t much of a reward since she was small-time. At this point Gene noticed his dagger hadn’t come down from the last toss he gave it. He glanced up and noticed it was buried several inches deep into the ceiling, next to a few other similar marks. He sighed (“don’t know my own strength,” he muttered) and pulled it out with the Mage Hand. He slowly turned it over in his hands, letting his mind wander back to the sorceress.
Lekaral. Apparently beating people up and taking their stuff isn’t a big enough crime that you get locked up for it. Not if you use the stuff you stole to hire an expensive legal team and get your ass off with a slap on the wrist. It’s crap like that that made Gene glad to live someplace else now, free of the oppressive bureaucracy. Though he’d managed to cut through some of it today. But if a crazy chick was on the loose and out for revenge, that’s a bigger problem. Why’d she forgive him? Was Gene the one who insisted on sparing her, rather than killing her like they had every right to? He looked at his bare, fuzzy chest. He rubbed a hand on it, even through the glove he could still feel each individual hair, tickling his hand. Yeah, that’s probably it. If he knew her, and he didn’t, she’d probably prefer to link up with him in person and send goons after his friends. At least the Thol was probably safe, he wasn’t with them when they captured her.
Gene tossed the dagger back into the pile he found it in, and got off the bed. He walked over to a desk and picked up a sending stone lying on it, labeled “Alice.” He couldn’t remember how he was supposed to activate them, so he used his workaround: hold it up to his head and gradually pump more magic into it until it worked. After a few seconds he felt it turn on.
“Hey, Alice! It’s Gene. I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Good news is, our orca buddies from Tirlae came through and helped get us some supplies, might wanna send them a thank-you card. Make sure our building plans are finalized, everyone’s gonna want a piece of that magic fount once everything’s built. Food shipments should be on the way any day now, keep the roads clear for ‘em.
“Uh, bad news is, the building stuff has been delayed. I know, minor thing. Just tell everyone that we’re all friends there in Rasir and it’s cool if friends share a room for a couple of days. Or, um, weeks. Keep getting wood from the forest, I know it’s kind of a pain but that’s all you’ve got for now.
“Last thing, tell my buddies to stay on guard. The sorceress robber chick we turned in a while back, Lekaral, didn’t have to do any jail time. She sent me a letter and I think she’s out for revenge. I don’t know what she’s planning, so be prepared for pretty much anything. Don’t worry about me, she says she doesn’t have any problems with me. Besides, I can take care of myself. Alright, see ya.”
Gene stopped the flow of energy into the stone and could swear he felt a distinct “thunk” as he did so. He placed the stone back on the desk, before picking up another one, this one labeled “Aello.” Gene knew that Aello was off on “sabbatical” alone, pursuing a personal project of his. Gene wanted to make sure he could keep in touch with his close friend and insisted they get a set of sending stones. He activated the stone.
“Aello! How ya doing? You’ve been a bit quiet lately. I managed to get some food for Rasir. They’re doing fine. Also that sorceress we beat up a while ago? She’s free and she wants revenge, she might send people after you or something. Thought you might like the heads-up. Later.”
Gene disconnected from the stone and placed it back on the desk. He reached over to a third stone, labeled “Olivia,” but paused before touching it. He took a deep breath before carefully picking it up and placing it against his head. He closed his eyes and took a few more deep breaths before activating the stone.
“Hey baby! Look, I swear, I thought she was actually an ambassador, not an aide to one of them. I was trying to get someone to give me some support, y’know? I mean, when it went from a business dinner to drinks at her place, I had to be polite and accept. As soon as I found out she didn’t have any diplomatic sway I left as fast as courtesy would let me. It had nothing to do with the fact that her boyfriend showed up, I was planning to go out that window anyway. It uh, looked like fun. And it was. Didn’t even get scratched.
“You probably already know this, but you’re not the only one who’s watching me now. Remember that crazy hyena chick? She’s loose, and I get the feeling she’s looking for a pomeranian playmate. Really, she’s crazy. She’s gonna attack my friends or something. I’m gonna do the best I can to explain to her that I’m already in a relationship, but I don’t think she’ll take it all that well. Besides, I don’t think it’d work out between us anyway – you understand me more than anyone else.
“Hey, I’ll keep charging those arcane batteries for you. Sorry I can’t send you all that many, they keep exploding. They’re doing a great job at keeping me focused. I’ll talk to you later, though I bet you’re listening to me most of the time anyway. Bye.”
Gene pulled the stone away and quickly placed it on the desk. Olivia was his girlfriend, though how she managed that when Gene kept running off and doing stupid things was beyond him. He got into this whole mess because he wanted to protect her – first from starvation by the blocked bridge, then from the invading Thols, and then from any problems the house of their town might have. Gene forgot to mention the last one to her, and was glad she was really good at scrying. She managed to link up with Alice’s followers and was one of the first people into Rasir once it had been cleared and prepared, there were still cooling scorch marks caused by Gene’s powers, and she found him helping Aello recover from his near-fatal wounds. Since Gene seemed to have gone an awful long way to make a new town for her, she decided to stay. She was great. A bit clingly, but great.
His duties done, Gene thought about how he would spend the evening. He didn’t have a date and there was a sorceress on the prowl for his soft, fluffy tail. Well, he thought, seems like a good a time as any to go take a bath. Maybe there’ll be some cute girls there. And after that I can go check out the nightlife. I’m not going to let some crazy chick get between me and a good time. He grinned and grabbed a towel before leaving the room.