Liberty Journal 12

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23 Flocktime, 595 CY

Dear Connie,

I can’t sleep again, and it’s not just because I know the chimera is still waiting for me in my dreams. No, tonight I was at the Crooked House again, chatting with an attractive elven man named Firlis, when Mom came down the stairs, stabbed Tarquin the innkeeper, and went back upstairs.

You didn’t know Mom very well, but even you know that he’s not a murderer. And you’ve seen enough magic to know that you can’t believe everything you see. But before I could do anything, the merchant, Fargus, accused all four of us of murder. Now I knew someone was trying to frame us… and as Fargus tried to turn the patrons against us, I knew he was part of the frame-up, if not the man behind it.

To make matters worse, Drake was the only one with me. Mom and Xan had already gone to bed, and I had no way of knowing if Mom was dead or compromised. Drake was never much for oration, even before his… well, I knew it was up to me.

I argued against Fargus, which was enough to keep Mallak from arresting us on the spot. But the merchant drew a short sword and came after me like a mad dog, stabbing me until I gave up on a peaceful solution and started trying to burn the flesh from his bones. Finally the tide turned, and Fargus tried to escape, but he had pissed me off, and I needed to see him pay.

I burned him down in the Crooked House’s doorway.

I didn’t feel bad about it until afterward… knowledge of spells just comes to me spontaneously, so I don’t have any control over what I know how to do, and I just don’t know any spells that don’t inflict lethal damage. Even if I did, though, I somehow doubt I would have used them on Fargus. Like I said, he pissed me off.

But he changed shape after he died, becoming something Drake called a “doppelganger.” It’s a kind of face-changer, which makes me wonder. Was there ever a real Fargus? If so, how long ago did this creature take his place? If his sweet wife is real, should we tell her? Would the doppelganger have killed Mom to take his place? Could it have fooled us? For how long?

This is why I can’t sleep.

Fargus, or whatever it was, had a strange key. We think it’ll unlock a warehouse in the River District… I hope we can find out who’s trying to frame us, and why. I got a nice hat of disguise out of the scuffle; I hate to wear it instead of the one you gave me, though, so I just make it look like yours.

And it didn’t occur to me until I’d been in bed for an hour that I missed having Firlis join me up here. It’s just as well, really. Pretty as he is, he’s kind of… ordinary. I never thought I’d say that about an elf, but I guess that’s life in the Free City for you!

I’m just not interested in something physical and meaningless. I can have that whenever I want, now. Hells, the comfort I gave Marta the barmaid could easily have blossomed into something more if I’d wanted.

No, I want… I need something more.

We saved Tarquin’s life tonight. He’s a good man, and one I already think of as a friend despite the short time we’ve known each other. I would’ve hated to lose him, especially when it was in my power to stop it. We didn’t even ask for a reward – the man’s already giving us cheap room and free drinks, and I got that hat, so why ask for more?

Doing “good” things doesn’t feel half-bad.

All right, I think I’m ready to brave the chimera. I’ll write again soon.

All my love,

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Liberty Journal 12

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