I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to return to the capital. I usually don’t mind spending some time in the wild but that swamp was awful between the heat, the humidity, the wildlife. I hope we can stick to nice, temperate forests in the future. After seeing that the “Basiliscus Maximus” (which Cosmo has taken to calling it) was safely stored away and preparations for research done we got down to what was really important.
It hasn’t been that long since we last went but the swamp really was quite the ordeal. It wasn’t just Cosmo and I however, Viscountess Valmus joined us. I was hoping on bringing Miss Honduran along as well but she was rather insistent on not accompanying us or even leaving me a list so that I may shop for her, leaving her to do what she will. I’m not sure I understood her reasoning, she seemed concerned she was somehow embarrassing herself or me. Maybe I’m misunderstanding something, but I’ve been a valet for near enough a decade now, I should think that there would be no need for such concerns. Oh well, she missed out on a great time. Cosmo got his uniform waterproofed, a wise decision if we ever have to go traipsing around such an awful place such as that swamp again. The Viscountess seemed hesitant at first but after a little encouraging she left with an amazing new dress and we even convinced her to let me use my honed skills as a stylist and beautician. I must have been divinely inspired that day because that was possibly my best work yet. The Viscountess certainly seemed pleased at any rate!
Later that day was rather odd. After I secured everyone adequate accommodation for our stay in the capital I chanced upon Miss Honduran and Mister Ratcliffe. Miss Honduran was most concerned that she was being followed after a trip to a rather seedy bar and requested that she sleep in my room for the night. The more time I spend with this woman, the less I understand but I could hardly refuse. Perhaps her fears had some truth to them though. I could have sworn I saw a hawk staring at our room. Could have just been a hawk, could have been something else.
It wasn’t all fun and games however as I had the task Eljinor entrusted me with, as vague as he was. The interrogation was simple enough, even if I nearly buggered up a simple disguise. Was a little rough but I was in no mood to be playing around. Got pointed to the riverside district where apparently, she was approached by a cloaked elf. I considered posing as a prospective hunter myself but I wasn’t feeling entirely confident. Thankfully I know someone who can pull off bloodthirsty murderer rather well. To his credit, Mr Ratcliffe did an exceptional job of gathering the necessary information. Although I didn’t like what I heard. Capturing lycanthropes to skin alive and sell their pelts? I have never heard anything so utterly, disgustingly evil as long as I have lived. This must be stopped. I refuse to stand idly by and allow these atrocities to happen. Although the viewpoints of the others leave much to be desired. Miss Honduran seems to be under the mistaken impression that lycanthropes possess some form on contagious disease and should be put down for the good of all. She seems to me a very bright and well educated young woman so I have no idea how she has been taken in so easily by such nonsense. As for Mr Ratcliffe, well, his position was less surprising. He cares not from where the blood flows, only that it flows. Absolutely vile. If he wishes to be a “barbarian” perhaps he can take the first step and leave civilised society far behind and get himself killed in some nameless wasteland instead. No matter, I’ll stop this with or without their help. If they dare stop me or defend these monsters however, Gods have mercy because I will not.
The situation around this discussion was growing rather tense but Cosmo as ever found a way to diffuse the situation and proposed a night out on the town to toast their success at convincing the academic board to back their plans for research. The suggestion was even enough to lighten my darkening mood and I got to work setting up the necessary reservations. Once again Viscountess Valmus would be joining us in celebration. The evening was lovely from pre-event drinks, to the dinner and the entertainment I reserved was quite thrilling. The Viscountess departed before the more serious drinking which was quite fine, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (or bottle of wine rather). The evening was slated to finish as a private affair for Cosmo at a more… salacious establishment by the name of the Silken Lounge that Miss Honduran had recommended. I wouldn’t have expected her to know about such a place but she is apparently full of surprises.
Well it was supposed to be private but Miss Honduran and most bizarrely Mr Ratcliffe insisted on accompanying us. With any luck, after this they won’t insist on inserting themselves into occasions where they were not accommodated for, nor invited nor is even to their liking! The establishment was much as you would expect although clearly very high end between fine scents, expensive drugs, fabrics and the high concentration of nobles that make up its clientele. The, uh, “entertainment” on show was certainly… impressive. I was approached by two “entertainers” almost immediately upon arrival which was strange but really flattering because nobody ever really bothers or tries for the butler. We talked a bit but I’d be hard pressed to fathom a single word that was said. They were really nice though and the evening was going really well.
Anyway. Took me about 10 minutes to realise I was separated from Cosmo and I was still on duty. But leaving seemed… difficult and I was left stammering for help. Then Mr Ratcliffe ruined everything. He had apparently been causing trouble for whatever damn reason because going anywhere and not causing difficulties is too damn difficult. The owner however was more concerned about Ratcliffe knowing that the establishment was brimming with magic and somehow deducing that the crazy man with the skulls strapped to him was considered a trustworthy source by anyone and was now deciding to kidnap, brainwash and transform us to be his employees…