”I travel the twilight road, looking but not seeking. Though the shadows are deep, mine eyes are keen and the night holds as many delights as it does dangers. Sharpen my wits and hone my tongue, beloved Calistria. I am at your work.”
Well, that was a fascinating week, diary. Highs, lows, and everything in-between. Still, I did not choose to come out amongst humans so that they could behave in as staid and slow a fashion as my own kin, did I? In the last fortnight, I’ve seen significant shuffling in the halls of power, been added to the same, lost some coin, lost some arguments, found friends, and, hopefully, eliminated an enemy.
On a pedestrian note, sales in the last fortnight have been, frankly, abominable. I am barely selling a philter a day, leaving my own finances in much the same state as the Barony’s – barely covering costs. As I reflect, I suppose I ought not be surprised by the matter: I am still an outsider, I am still in a tent, I still have a competitor that sells alcohol and has enticing décolletage. Still, I brought Erevel here with promises of making his fortune, which should hardly require I become fantastically successful – only moreso than I am at present.
”In evaluating markets, consider both the demand in numbers and the demand in type. Type will tell you a story, but numbers will tell you how long the story goes.”
- Luwin Von Mises, Principles of Trade
Anyway, on to recent events. The Barony has interred its previous baron and invested its new one. Humans and their catacombs, really! Oh, the ceremony was lovely and it broke my heart to hear Katya’s lovely voice break recalling her lost sibling (…or was he? That was rather odd), but then they put him in a rock to rot for all eternity. Ugh.
The investiture was a good ceremony – excessive formality that lent gravity to the event and made everyone itch for the post-ceremonial celebration. So now, I suppose, I live in Brevoy. That wasn’t my plan but one can hardly complain when the nation’s borders move around you! I can also hardly complain since it was my suggestions that moved them in this direction. Honestly, I don’t see how we had another option – this Rastilov fellow may be been bold and forward-thinking as his sister said; however, should this constitution have actually come to pass, he’d have likely had his scanty nation at war with Brevoy and half the River Kingdoms before they even saw another harvest. I kept asking where the secret army was to withstand a great many offended lords with swordsmen at their back – I still have not been informed.
That evening was a far brighter spot in my day. At last, some good libations and some laughter. Dark pasts are best put behind us and this helped get that process started. It was here that my initial miscalculation was unveiled, though I did not yet see it clearly. Grigori had been continuing to flaps his fleshy jowls to our communal detriment. I had what I thought was a rather elegant plan to have him removed from the scene, driven by the denunciation of a disinterested third party – Miss Lebeda, I think, should have sufficed, though I suspect Miss Teskerton would have done if I could not have made the rather complicated arrangements. All of my thinking, however, had not counted on our Lord Marshal, who denounced trickery and stitching up people as base activities unworthy of us. O, Savored Sting, save me from the well-meaning with boundless faith in the people! I hoped to compel him to my side, but it was not to be.
Oh, and Diary, just between you and me: the religious community of this territory is deliciously welcoming.
Despite our disagreements, Lem asked me to lend my magical talents to the elimination of a beast that had been threatening the area and devouring local farmers. Never one to miss an opportunity to ingratiate myself with the powers-that-be, I left Erevel in command of the tent and journeyed East with Dyimi, Lem, and Katya in search of a rumored beast, known as the “Howl of the North Wind.” Well, we found him! Not only that but he had brought some friends along, slavering wolves who assaulted Dyimi’s mighty riding dog, though to little avail. My own magics were of negligible benefit, though Duath provided able assistance to our comrades and distraction to our enemies.
Norgorber’s tooth, Diary, but sometimes I feel how I have spread myself thin. Reading books on architecture, alchemy, history, the darker side of herbology – all of these things fascinate me and I spend days poring through the texts…and my Art suffers for it. Human impatience makes me seek power now, but the Art will not be compelled like a strumpet for coin. She must be seduced. Ah well, anything worth doing, right?
”I turned my eye inward upon myself, and from that time not a syllable fell from my lips until we reached the bottom again…How many times, think you, did I turn back that day to glance at the summit of the mountain which seemed scarcely a cubit with the range of gnomish contemplation?”
-Platarcus Whistledown, Gnome Reason Cultist
Speaking of seduction, seeing as Miss Lebeda seems to be getting no attention from anyone but her attendees…I wonder if she grows lonely in that big gray castle? Sonea wux evkayl?
”It is simply, and solely, the abundance of money within a state which makes the difference in its grandeur and power.”
-Jean-Claude Dormert, Galtan economic philosopher”
I formally took my seat as Treasurer three days ago. First was an interesting sort of “small council” meeting that included myself, Lem, Dyimi, and Katya. It seemed the three of them (presumably along with the previous Baron) were in the habit of discussing what might be put before the entire privy council before such putting actually took place. They rearranged their governmental posts and otherwise largely agreed to leave things well enough alone. Having reviewed the record of the Baronial Treasury, I discovered the nation was not quite so destitute as had been previously believed. We now have more than 60,000 in gold in the treasury, but I will need considerably more to finance the expansion I have planned. With Pitax and Mivon threatening one another and Gralton continually eyeing Galt hungrily, I think there is a significant opportunity, commercially speaking, for the production of enchanted items. Right now, clergy who stop by the local shrine will periodically deal in minor magic items, but such are, tragically, less than pocket change in terms of national finance. His Excellency has mentioned the creation of a Bank, though I think we need to be able to see the outer limits of the possible economy before we seek to expand it through the introduction of credit. Still, the “Bank of the Boar” has a nice ring to it.
The Archimedes Screw dates to the reign of Aroden on Golarion and was used to provide water in lands with bodies of water but little vegetation. Clerics of Gozreh would provide purifying spells to remove the salt, though ocean water tended to ruin the screw over time.
Then came my first meeting of the Privy Council! It seemed to Dyimi that Lem and I would resume our quarrel over how best to deal with Grigori at this stage, but he was destined for disappointment. It was clear to me that Lem would never accept a solution that might appear “underhanded” or “dishonorable.” I take my own honor as seriously as any Elf, but I hardly feel bound to popular notions of behavior unless I have already stated so. Lem is determined to bind us to what dead men think honor is, perhaps failing to note that those thoughts of honor may have helped them get dead in the first place. He seems to have a drive to defend his vision of what the dead Baron would have wanted. Again, just between us Diary, the death of the previous Baron may have just saved this tiny nation from catastrophe. Faith doesn’t defeat armies unless you’re a god or well on your way. I think I can speak for all of us – we’re none of us gods.
All that being said, we did finally reach a decision on how to resolve the problem of the chubby conspirator. Dyimi determined to engage him in a public forum and respond to his many calumnies directly. Lem seemed perfectly content with this idea and he had angrily spat venom at more aggressive solutions, regardless of the source (Our councilor has a harder edge to her than her title might suggest…how tasty). Just as swiftly as we had fallen into discord, we were in agreement.
None of this, of course, meant that I was going to let this be a fair fight. Lem’s high-minded ideals notwithstanding, I’m not bound to them (indeed, so he said explicitly!). I treated some with Grigori, making noises that I may be sympathetic to his cause and even got him to pass over a few pieces of gold in exchange for pointing him toward Eoghan as a sympathetic ear. Never had anyone pay me for self-assassination before – my new experience for this month!
On the day of the debate, I had posted announcements of the upcoming event all over the camp and I think we nearly had the entire population of Tuskendale out to see it. There was, tragically, no elven wizard to witness the festivities, only a poor farmer, having wandered in from the outlying areas to see what all the fuss was about. If that farmer placed a hex or two on Grigori’s silver tongue, well…no, surely that would be impossible, wouldn’t it, Diary?
Not that Dyimi required me to cheat on his behalf – his voice and his heart are ten times the size of his small frame. By the time the debate was over, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind who the victor was and who had the loyalty of the people. I suspect that many had seen the little gnome as a placeholder, perhaps for Katya, in their own dynastic little brains. Today, they saw their new baron and knew him.
Tomorrow, we’re apparently bound for an island in Candlemere lake. Rumors state that it represents a weak point between the worlds. I confess that I’ve been wanting to go see this tower ever since I heard of it: such places are often rife with potential magical discoveries. I had simply lacked allies to share the hazards of the road. Now I go by Baronial command! Oh, Diary, I have such hopes!
P.S. – One last note, as I have had a most recent and useful conversation. It is good to know that there are like minds in the Barony on how to deal with threats. I think I might almost miss Grigori. I’ll certainly miss his coin if I can’t get to selling a bit more! Ah well, good night, Diary.