Choose Your Own Adventure 32: Dropping Some Eaves
Your decision: Go invisible, eavesdrop, then flee or argue as appropriate.
A few exacting, whispered words are all it takes. It would take far more powerful magic that you expect anyone at Kleriv could wield to spot you. Nonetheless, it’d be best not to bump into anyone.
A few more mystic phrases are enough to amplify the conversation between the soldiers and the tavernkeepers.
“… Commander Sarnaev. Have you seen a woman…” He continues to give a good description of you, from your brown hair to the poor condition of your equipment.
“Sure, sure,” the tavernkeeper says. “She might’ve been around. Is it worth anything to you?”
“It’s worth sparing your sorry hide,” the commander hisses. He raps his gauntlet on the counter.
“Okay, okay. Fine. She was here not long ago for a hot meal. Didn’t say much. I think she just went out the back way to get her horse.”
You can imagine the smile on the commander’s face. “Thank you.” He waves a couple of the men over, towards the door you were about to use before they walked in.
“Why all the fuss over one woman, anyway?”
“She’s a traitor to the Empire, and extremely dangerous. She may be going by Syndel or another alias, but her real name is Severel Mazurek. She’s an expert in both the magical and martial arts. Don’t approach her if you see her again. Just send for help. With luck, we’ll have her soon.”
Or not, you think to yourself. You know the rule for traitors — kill or capture, whichever is more convenient. And, if captured, executed publicly at the earliest opportunity.
I wasn’t the traitor.
You step out of the way, to let the soldiers slip by you. Unfortunately, they’re probably going to take your horse unless you involve yourself directly. And your… borrowed… weapons and armor are hidden there.
On the other hand, this is an excellent opportunity for misdirection. While the commander’s two soldiers are in back looking for you, you sneak out the front behind a particularly drunk patron. Once you’re clear of the door, and have counted the dozen or so soldiers standing just in front of the tavern, you make your move. You cast a spell that you sense you have used many times before to similar effect.
From around another building, you create a phantom voice that cries, “She’s here! The Mazurek woman! She’s… AGH!” The soldiers outside are predictably drawn to the ruckus. One ducks back inside the tavern to find the commander, who, as you expected, could not hear the shouting over the tavern’s own noise.
Meanwhile, you make off with the commander’s horse and supplies. It was just tied to a post by the tavern, with whoever was assigned to watch it drawn off by your distraction. There were two others there as well, and while there’s no significant difference in the saddles, you’re quite sure that the nicer horse will belong to the senior officer.
Or, rather, it did. You and your newly acquired ride are equally invisible as you ride out of town.
You took a little time as the sun went down to cast a few nuisance spells on the road behind you — misdirection in one place, rocky mud dangerous for horses in another. Then you move what you judge to be a safe distance from the road to camp for the night. You go through your usual ritual, but there is an interruption that you did not anticipate before you finish your ward.
“Oh, good, I found you. Finally.”
There is a man standing just on the edge of your ward, wearing blue-tinted clothing that screams of wealth but is also clearly stained with travel. He fiddles with his spectacles, then runs a hand through his black hair. The nervous motion makes no difference to its degree of disarray. He seems vaguely familiar. Although you don’t remember any details about him, you don’t have a good impression of him. You also notice that he seems unarmed. And transparent.
It’s obviously a magical construct, of the kind commonly used by wizards for sending messages over long distances. Perhaps Kleriv has a decent mage after all. But given the lack of threats and force, perhaps not.
Option 34: It’s a trap! Probably. Cut him off, whoever he is, to prevent him from sharing information about your location. And then move somewhere else for the night, just in case.
Option 35: Talk to him, but keep your memory issues under wraps as much as possible. What he doesn’t know, he can’t use to hurt you.
Option 36: Talk to him, and be honest about your memory issues. You may have more holes filled in that way.