Curse of the Crimson Throne

Sixth Recollection

Plotting a caper, Pursuing a painter

The days after our encounter with Devargo were a strange time for me. I found myself obsessed with the thought of that pseudodragon locked away in the Spider King’s lair and set all my faculties to the task of freeing it. Never before in my life would I have guessed I’d be plotting a heist, especially against a powerful figure. Don’t mistake me, I’ve skirted the fine line of the law many times in pursuit of my profession, but always for a cause I knew was moral and right. This was—something different. A personal need to see that creature released from its suffering mixed with some perverse desire to stick one to the King of Spiders, though he had done me no injury.

Sav was happy to join me for a few trips to Eel’s End to partake of the drinks and gambling while scouting out the establishment. He had many thoughts on how best to pull off the jailbreak, though he shocked me when he refused to take any part in the actual proceedings. Never before had he said “no” to a proposition, and I was forced to confront the fact that there was either an honorable streak hidden under that coarse exterior, or that he had, shall we say, a very well developed preservation instinct. Not that I blamed him, but I confess it was a disappointment.

Similarly, Shakro stunned me with his insistence on helping. Surely not many priests would be willing to get mixed up in that sort of thing, but he refused to let me throw myself into danger alone. A brave soul, though not a subtle one. His talents were the sort that I hoped not to need in this endeavor, but if I did need them I would need them very much. Honestly part of me suspected he was hoping I’d get caught and beat to a pulp just so he could bust in, save my skin, and justify the exorbitant price of his shiny new curing wand. Yes, yes. The majority of our shared earnings traded for a magic stick. For that price, I could have had hundreds of salves, tonics, and admixtures for dozens of different ailments, and he goes and gets an overpriced trinket with the same effect as a roll of gauze and a good night’s rest.

So enrapt was I with my schemes that I hardly noticed how Korvosa was devolving around me. I was making the final preparations for the heist when Sav came banging on my door with word from the Field Marshall. She had a job for us, as usual. She didn’t have payment to offer, as was becoming disturbingly usual. There was a woman, a young painter named Trinia Sabor, who’s name had begun to circulate throughout the citizenry. Don’t know if you’re familiar with her work, but she was—ahem—up and coming at the time. She had just gotten her first big break when she was hired to paint a portrait of King Eodred II himself, but the commission had not garnered her the sort of public recognition she had hoped for. You see, the Queen was accusing her of poisoning the late monarch, and the mob was out for blood. Cressida thought it strange that Ileosa had released Trinia’s name to the masses instead of the guard, and ordered us to apprehend her for interrogation before she was torn apart in the streets.

Straight away we ascended to the Shingles and began hunting for her studio among the ramshackle rooftop dwellings. The situation was grave yes, but I wish you could have seen Shakro and Sav up there. The orc was lumbering along in his heavy armor, every rotten plank creaking under his weight, while our brave swordsman’s eyes kept darting to every crevice and shadow as he fretted incessantly over shingle spiders. Come to think of it, maybe he just had a thing against arachnids. His refusal to go against the King of Spiders, his constant warnings about spiders dropping from the rooftops. Perhaps it was a phobia all along.

Regardless, we made our way to Trinia’s apartment. I thought to knock politely like civilized folk, but the others advised to be more subtle. So along the walls and over the roof I went scrambling to try and get a view inside. Instead of a window, I spotted a shock of blonde hair on the rooftops across the road. Trinia was smarter than I had given her credit for, and she was getting away. Warning the others, I unstrapped my stilts, downed an extract I had been saving for just such an occasion, and gave chase.

I always considered myself rather nimble, though most folks outpace me easily on their gangly, striding legs. With the extract coursing through my veins, it was a thrill to find my feet moving so expeditiously, rapidly closing the gap to my unsuspecting quarry. She only noticed me when I was practically upon her, and by then it was too late. I pounced in front of her, and we eyed each other for a panting moment. I admit her beauty was striking. A face such as hers seemed incapable of conjuring a killer’s scowl. Then she stomped on a rotten board, breaking a hole clean through. I was nearly bowled over by the force, but before she could drop away my instincts kicked in. I lashed out with my scarf, catching her foot and tripping her. She rose and tried again to escape, and again I toppled her. Not wanting to inflict any further hardship, I begged her to stop, but again she scrambled for the exit. After being sent sprawling for her a third time, Trinia finally gave up. There were tears in her eyes and a bruise on her cheek as she submitted to capture, and I fear my attempts to comfort her had little impact.

Eventually the others caught up. I haven’t the faintest idea whatever took them so long, but together we agreed on a plan to get her safely back to the guard. A thorough disguise dimmed the radiance of her features sufficiently, and we set off to turn her in. Along the way I felt compelled to inspect her apartment for evidence. Not only was there no indication of nefarious activities, but the aspiring artist knew not even how to properly store her paints. She seemed not to have a chemist’s mind or aptitude, only further confirming my doubts. Either Trinia was very good at pretending to be something she’s not (and who better to know), or she had been framed. I suspected the latter. The best painters always get framed.

Comments

“The best painters always get framed.”

Brilliant!

Sixth Recollection
Shimon CrunchyCrab

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