LETTER NO. 8

A SANTHARIAN EPISTOLARY NOVEL

 
Magic and Murder   
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Introduction. The next letter in Clissa's ongoing battle with a devilish magic ring, inept kidnappers cum wizards, an evil cousin while trying to maintain her position in Voldarian society as best-dressed noblewoman continues! Read more about Society of Voldarian Ladies’ March to stop Excessive Molestation and Groping against Tavern Wrenches, encounter a horrible yellow wig with ghastly pink dress combination (on a man!) - and learn from "the Plan"...

 

earest and Best Sister,

Needless to say, I am abjectly remorseful, repentant and penitent to have left you so abruptly in my last missive!

In actuality, the truth of the matter is that I am not contrite to you in the least. A good letter writer, besides the necessity of a steady hand and excellent quillmanship, attributes which I thankfully possess, also should require the knowledge of when to leave their reader, you in this instance, beseeching for more, more, more!

The Plan, ah yes, The Plan as it henceforth shall be termed. Sister of mine, doubtless, you are wondering what is The Plan! The Plan, oh what a wonderful confection of perfection, comprising of such craftiness that even I shall marvel at it.

Naturally, only one with an absolute acumen as I possess can dream up of such a Plan! I have always displayed an acumen and aptitude for cleverness as my schoolroom days had proven. Unlike you, dear Brydda. Nonetheless, do not despair as you have a fine head of brown tresses to comfort yourself with (forgive me but I need to point out that the shade of your hair, fine as it is, is still not as comparable as my own golden-yellow locks which my suitors have contrasted against the living rays of the Injèrá).

While I know you must be all trembling to know and, therefore, heap praises upon the brilliancy of my Plan, I find I must keep you in suspense just a little longer!

Let us, without haste, proceed to the day that I have arranged to meet Alram, Lady Hronia’s former Chief Groper but who is, in actuality, a Ximax wizard of no great ability and even lesser kidnapping skills, sent to rescue me from the diabolical clutches of Kyiri.

Due to the accursed ring, I was conscious of a certain fatigue of nature emanating from my body. Just this morning, I discovered a, and pray do not be shocked at what I am about to reveal, white hair nestled within my beautiful gold locks! The sheer dreadfulness of such a grotesque thing made me feel quite faint. Cetin, the maid, had to desperately revive me with fragrant waters.

And so, the once-delightful emerald set in a band of pure gold now seems to be leering in an enormously offensive and smug manner at me as it sucked, sucked, sucked my vitality away. Despite Alram telling me that the ring is immovable due to the blackest sorcery cast upon it, I admit to having tugged at the horrible thing many a times but to no avail. All I had to show for my efforts was a swollen finger and a broken nail, the latter, which I cleverly hid by wearing delicate lace gloves bought from a quaint little shop the other day.

Oh I know, I am devilishly resourceful that way, am I not?

Like a doomed General leading a last charge, I mustered up all my remaining strength and languidly glided out Kyiri’s house under the pretext of joining the Society of Voldarian Ladies’ March to stop Excessive Molestation and Groping against Tavern Wrenches. Let it not be said that Clissa of Lilimar, the Golden Rose of Voldar (my admirers have taken to calling me that, how appropriate!) did not possess determination, courage and extraordinary gliding grace under extreme duress!

If you have followed my previous letter closely, you will recall that the Ladies’ March is but a front for me, a façade of which I shall subtly use to convene with Alram and convey for him my excellently conceived Plan.

The tavern, where the Ladies were to meet, is an establishment situated in a somewhat unsavory part of the city. Here in my narrations, I feel I must interject that I do not understand why the common-born so favored clothing in such unbecoming shades of browns and grays. An uninspired wardrobe is an affront to the eye, as you will do well to agree. Brown is only inspiring for mud and dead plants.

I said this in passing, in very pleasant tones mind you and with the finest of intentions, to a woman selling pompions. She was wearing an unbelievably unimpressive ensemble of brown woolen skirt (with patches), brown shirt (which gave off a very, shall we say, ripe? aroma), brown shoes and even her hair was brown. I do declare I have never seen so much dull browns amassed together in a pungently smelling heap in my life before!

However, my good advice was entirely ignored by her! All I received for my pains was a curse for being a meddling, ill-mannered, selfishly spoilt female with peas for brains!

Well, how rude! I certainly resent that she thought I was a mere common female like she was. I am a Voldarian noblewoman with impeccable taste in garments! Hardly common I daresay!

I nimbly dodged the pompion she threw at my head and after giving her my most gracious glance to show that I excused her shockingly bad manners, for we must maintain an assured charity towards the ugly and the poor, I went on my way.

Ye Drunken Sod, as you may recall, was the place whereupon the members of the Voldarian Society of Ladies for Many Worthy Causes were congregating in order to protest against the Excessive Molestation of Tavern Wenches. A sad state of affairs our great tribe has arrived to where even Wenches cannot navigate the fetid halls of their own taverns without being pinched here and there by wandering fingers till they were quite black and blue.

But fear not, for we, the Ladies, are here to better their lot!

Welcomed by my fellow Sisters (I mean sisters in spirit for, naturally, you are my only Blood Sister though many have thought that you had been adopted for you have inherited none of the famed beauty our family is known for. However those are mere rumors and you should not fret yourself over them even if you are less lovelier than I), we sallied forth into Ye Drunken Sod, cheering and singing in order to lift the spirits of such unfortunate Wenches.

Indeed, our martial appearance quite overwhelmed the degenerate patrons sitting inside the tavern for I observed that many of them stopped what they were doing to gape at us with open mouths. Mouths filled with yellowed, rotting teeth I might add. One or two even dropped their mugs onto the floor, no doubt overcame by the flawless magnificence of our goodness and valor!

One such unfortunate Wench that we have come to liberate blinked her eyes before coming over to us and placed her meaty fists on her relatively voluminous hips.

“ere, you lot, what in the Gods do ya think ya doin’ here. We’re a reespektable establismen, we ar’!” she told us in a near unintelligible and coarse accent and tried to shoo us aside with flapping hands.

Lady Soom, an eminently respectable member of Voldarian echelon, rushed towards the Wench and immediately enfolded her into her ample bosom.

“Sad, misguided creature! Fear not, your deliverance is at hand for we, the Ladies, are here to liberate you from a life of cruel pinchings by callous men! Come, join us and aspire to a life of non-groping fingers! It is your right! It is your destiny! Embrace it! We SHALL help. Yes! My Sisters! Begin your Noble Purpose!”

Ah, I cannot possibly begin to describe such a tender sight that was unfolding before my very eyes! I can only write, even now, with an overflowing heart, that my tears streamed as freely as those around me while we gathered around Lady Soom and the Wench who, doubtless, was as moved by her words for she flailed her arms about in such a wild manner that can only indicate a desire to be free of the incessant pinches she has endured all her miserable life.

Fortified with a renewed sense in our shared, righteous purpose, the rest of the Ladies fanned out across the tavern, berating the men within with strong, clear voices of their reprehensible behaviors towards the Tavern Wenches.

Some, perhaps too dazzled by the integrity that poured out from every pore of our radiant beings, tried to run out the backdoor but were cast back by the hefty Honorable Duchess of Dithnara, well known for her arms of steel that no man can defy.

As I myself advanced towards one who looks sorely in need to be redeemed and was cowering with some trepidation at my approach, a voice interrupted my planned virtuous endeavors.

“Pssssst!” someone psssst at me in a rather urgent tone of psssstness.

I turned around and….shrieked!!!

Brydda! Oh the horror of it!! I cannot tell you the depths of my anguish and repulsion then! Those depths, I swear upon Baveras’s naked bellybutton, are yet unplumbed in all the Caelereth Ages that have come and gone. The mere fact that I have sworn upon a Goddess’s pearly nude skin would be more than enough attestation of my utterly distraught state as I viewed the vision of awfulness before me. My feet were riveted to the floor, quite unable to move or even blink an eye in sheer and unadulterated dismay.

If you had been there, witnessing the monstrosity appearing before me, I am certain sure you would have been struck swooning to the ground!

But a mercy that I am not you so I gathered the shreds of my faltering courage and demanded in strong accents of loathing, “Alram! What in the Twelve Gods are you wearing?!”

Yes! It is the bungling Ximaxian wizard and failed kidnapper who has sworn to rescue me from Kyiri’s bony clutches! Hah! I would not trust him to save a cuticle, never mind my beautifully in peril body!

The man had the sheer audacity to look puzzled at the vehemence of my words for a moment before looking down at himself, “Oh, you mean the dress? I know it’s not very flattering but this was the only disguise I could think of without attracting any undue attention from any of Kyiri’s spies. And you don’t have to say it, I know I look horrible in a tavern wench’s dress but it was the only thing I could find at such short notice. I thought of magicking myself a smuggler’s outfit but the last time I tried transmutation, I accidentally turned Master Frit into a blob of…something and after that, the other Masters explicitly forbade me to transmute anything else.”

“Be quiet!” I screeched as I dragged him to a dark corner of the tavern, not noticed by the rest of the Ladies. “You blithering oaf! Do you not know that you should never, EVER wear a pink dress with bright yellow hair?!”

Truly, Brydda! I cannot stress the immense evils of this mismatch to you enough! The shade of pink is an admirable color, I do not dispute that. However, it is a transgression worthy of death if I was ever to be caught wearing pink, in public no less, as I myself possessed a fine head of golden tresses.

A Pink Dress Worn Together With Bright Yellow Hair Simply Will Not Do!

Mark my words! The shame of such a fashion blunder would have devastated my prominent reputation of being a Stylish Leader among Voldarian circles in one fell swoop!

Entirely and deplorably unaware of what he has done, Alram looked at me, in that ghastly pink dress and the even ghastlier curly yellow wig he was wearing, and blinked. So inexperienced, so young and so unspeakable! If Alram was to be my savior, I can see that I shall have to take him into hand about the appalling dresses and wigs he favors. And I write this with the highest of determination!

“Can we stop with the yellow dress and pink hair? I derive no joy from wearing this I promise you! I’ve been pinched five times already since I’ve been here, waiting!” Alram glared at me. “If you have anything helpful that can aid me to save your life, tell me now. This pinching is turning my bottom blue and black,” he ended with a distinct whine.

Men! Pinching is all fine and well when they are the ones with the thumbs and forefingers but they turn into absolute babies when the pinches are on them instead.

“Pink dress and yellow hair,” I corrected him. Imperiously important as saving my life is, nevertheless, protocols in dressing must be strictly observed or else we shall degenerate into the levels taken by those Kuglimz savages. Can you imagine? I hear they do not even wear clothes at times! Simply scandalous!

Alram glared more.

“Wait, I do have a Plan to save myself! And it’s brilliant-bright! Listen. So, after you tried to kidnap me and failed wretchedly I might add, I went back to the witch’s house and found out that she has headaches. And I am not surprised. A scheming, vicious brain like hers would get headaches, trying to leech away my life. My life that I justly earned by being born, how dare she…”

“Clissa.”

“Yes yes, I went back and she was there. And she has headaches. And she takes a potion for them!” I smiled most craftily, and then frowned at the look of incomprehension on Alram’s face. Sometimes I cannot help but wonder if I am the only intelligent Erpheronian left in the city!

I stamped my foot impatiently, “You may not know any Counter Counter Spells but surely you must know something that can ensorcell Kyiri’s headache potion to make her sleep! So while she is deep in such a drugged sleep, I shall smuggle you into the house using Cetin’s extra key! And then you can do… whatever you need to do to her. Turn her into a purple glob if you have to, so I can keep my youth and beauty intact! I can tell you that there will be dire consequences from several gentlemen who greatly admire my graceful form if you do not help me do that!”

I stamped my foot once more for emphasis. Really! I do not know what Ximax has been teaching their apprentices if this one was any indication of their standards!

“That’s your brilliant plan? It sounds rather…simple.” Alram said with doubt glinting in his eyes.

“Simplicity is a virtue in itself,” I told him virtuously. “Perchance you have a better plan then? No? I thought so. Humph!”

And so, the two of us agreed that we shall proceed with my Plan as Alram could not think of anything else and I refuse to allow myself to perish so infamously. If I must meet Lady Queprur, then I shall do so on my own time and my own terms, and preferably still looking youthfully alluring when I do. To die with wrinkles and sagging flesh?! I shall and will not do so!

Upon the utmost secrecy, I then informed Alram to come to Kyiri’s house tomorrow night, at the stroke of midnight. I will cast a sleeping charm over her potion to ensure her compliance and then Alram shall recite his Counter Spell while she is incumbent and I will be free! And just in time to attend Lord ________’s birthday festivities the day after! I hear he has employed a dancing bear to entertain his guests! I acknowledge a certain childish delight at this prospect for I have never seen a bear before, let alone dancing! I shall of course wear my best gown for the occasion, a delicately hued primrose silk gown which I have, with much modest blushes, garnered much comparisons to the Goddess Eyasha.

By now, the Ladies have finished their worthy work within the tavern and were preparing to leave after distributing much parchments, extolling the virtues of non-pinching and good hygiene to both Wenches and Patrons.

What a day’s work! Satisfaction thrummed in my every vein then as I left Ye Drunken Sod. The last glimpse I had of Alram was of him swatting away a man whose busy hands were trying to pinch his bottom. I will have to remind him again that never pink with yellow hair, goodness me.

Hence, rest assured that after vanquishing Kyiri and her wickedly evil ring, I shall tell you all about Lord _______’s birthday celebrations and the even more celebrated dancing bear.

And so, I shall end this letter as your ever-loving Sister in Deepest, Darkest Peril. Until the next!

Clissa

 


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