”O Sensual and Savored Sting, may your dreaded piercer find the heart of mine enemies. May they drown in the blood on their hands and find only ashes in their former delights. Teach me to chase desire, both carnal and cruel. For these things we pray.”
The Wasp, despite belonging to the same suborder as the bee, is in all ways superior. The Bee, with its spikes and hooks, cannot sting but that it gives its life to do so. The wasp, with its smooth stinger, may stab its foe again and again. Here, then, does Calistria teach the danger of attachment. Like the hooks of the bee’s stinger, they will catch you and hold you fast to your victims, so that you will tear yourself apart. Better to be the wasp, which may land lightly or sting, may come or go.
Oh, Diary, had I only known! The “rustic” nature of the River Kingdoms had, I thought, inured me to the odd habits of Men. Their lack of hygiene, their rough manners, and even their quicksilver lives had, as my brother was so fond of noting, corrupted me and left me impatient with typical Elven living. But this…gods, be merciful! It’s no midden-pit like Gralton, but it’s not exactly a Daggermark either. Still, I suppose the castle is rather nice…
But I’m getting ahead of myself, as usual. The day began as it had since I arrived one week past. I opened the tent and helped Erevel get the shop open. As usual, we start the day with a rush on Alchemist’s Kindness. Madame Thistlewhip’s brews are rather ferocious concoctions. As she spends her mornings teaching the local children, many folk have begun flocking to my little tent for respite from the mighty gnomish drum corps that takes up residence overnight in their skulls. I took a walk through the town, which still struggles to determine whether it is a town or a camp, the castle notwithstanding. A new wasps’ nest has been spun in the trees of the town’s sacred grove and I stopped to say a brief prayer. I may have flinched a bit when the wasps came out to greet me, but it was apparently not enough to earn a sting, Calistria be praised.
The rumor mongering had, however, gotten started early. The erstwhile rulers, who had been absent when I arrived, had apparently returned in the dead of night and a great deal of consternation was about. Even Grigori had managed to rouse himself to set to rabble-rousing early. Really, Diary, he certainly demonstrates the life cycle of the common demagogue. On the first day, his passion inflames, on the second it can enrage; subsequently, however, it begins to bore. I mean, really! He goes on, in his bombastic fashion, about the many foibles of the town leadership, as though stable and well-established men and women would come out into the middle of nowhere to establish a kingdom! It’s preposterous given any sort of real thought, but real thought is rare enough among my own people, never mind well-meaning pioneers.
The butterball bloviator intruded upon my lunch as I could hear him in a discussion as he tromped into the Chocolate Wench. This, then, was my first opportunity to lay eyes upon those bold souls who led the way out into the wilderness. The gnome, who I would learn is called Dyimi (it’s so fascinating how gnomes will capriciously steal naming conventions from anywhere!), was a handsome fellow with a glib tongue, though it was clear something was weighing upon him. His far taller companion was Lem, who may well be the theoretical ideal of the phrase, “well-meaning.” The two of them sparred with Grigori for a bit, though it was clear that our resident troublemaker had been planning for this occasion, even buying the house a round of drinks! The steely-eyed gnome did, at last, put the blowhard on his back foot (with not a little help from a certain opportunistic elf, I might add!), but Grigori’s moment of triumph was utterly unwound by the same thing which undoes males from the Land of the Linnorm Kings to the Mwangi Expanse – a pretty girl.
The bainherya or “Beautiful Lady” as the Taldan call it shows the folly of Men and the power of Nature. Men used it as a cosmetic before they realized it could kill. A handful of her ebon berries can kill a child, while two dozen may bring death to an adult. Her leaves are deadlier still, but may be mixed with the poppy to bring the Uialidh during childbirth. The root is the most toxic part. Of interesting note is that cattle and hares appear to be immune to her charms.
I consider it the mark of a lady of fine beauty that, even in mourning, she can shine and such is our High Priestess, Diary. With breaking voice, she announced that the former Baron of this new land had fallen in combat! Barely a year old and some crazy election pending and they already have a change in ruler! When she identified young Dyimi as the new ruler, that certain opportunistic elf may have taken the opportunity to bring Grigori’s rabble-rousing day to a close: some things are simply inappropriate in the circumstances. Even as the grieving priestess (whom I was to learn was the now ex-baron’s sibling) shuffled out, Lem made some point to nearly run over another vision of loveliness. Diary, they’ve been hiding the eminently beddable human women in the castle! Sneaky!
Imposing upon my only friend in the government thus far – my fellow mixture-maker and alluring bar mistress-cum-educator-in-chief – I managed to get into the castle and meet the rulers, who found themselves in a terrible state of discombobulation, no doubt brought on by the loss of the fellow in the big chair. Keeping in mind the delicate state of those in mourning, I made such noises of assistance and counsel as my not inconsiderable skills would allow. While Lem did not seem eager to embrace my offer to make Grigori’s next cup of tea his last, I think said eagerness may wax and wane like the moon, especially if the porcine pontificator continues to be a nuisance.
Speaking of the whale of anarchy, I even paid him a visit. It seems to me that none of our otherwise well-meaning heads of state will be able to approach the blowhard without the hairs on his greasy neck prickling up. But a stranger – indeed, one who seemed to side with him at the bar – might be able to keep tabs on him a little easier. Oh, Diary! How I’d missed a little intrigue to keep things lively!
Bother! It’s practically dawn and Erevel is steady as a water clock in showing up to work. I suppose I best trance and leave this for now. I have passed within the wake of the social whirlpool and am now, very likely, caught in its pull. More to follow, no doubt!
Almost every species of pest on Golarion is preyed upon by one form of wasp or another. Thus does Calistria show her secret love for us all…unless you’re a pest.