The City of Lives

Lord Useless and the Men of Real Talent: Stupid Idea No. 143: Gamble Away My Father's Land Holdings Part 3: The Canapé Caper

Stupid Idea #143 Part 3: The Canapé Caper
The Men of Real Talent regrouped at Varos Manor. They handed Blanche over to Theonides, assuring her that he would get her a secure job in another district or outside the City—in any case, outside of Freyj’s sphere of influence. With Fortunato’s dive assured, the Men discussed what their plans for the big Councilman’s Hand game that night would be. Eustice insisted that with Mios’s teachings, he had no need to cheat, even if Fortunato screwed them over. The rest of the Men made their own preparations:
-Gruda decided to use her cooking skills and keep an eye on anything Eustice eats or drinks at the game. She also tried to get some of her Iversdotter friends to stand by as backup… only to find out that she didn’t have any such friends, being a “black sheep.”
-Mili Farshared into the Thousand Tastes and observed Fortunato preparing, seeming nervous and surrounded by watchful Sky-Carvers apparently working for Freyj. She also observed that there was an open window upstairs in Freyj’s apartment (an escape route for either her or the Men of Real Talent), and that there were no ninjas on the roof (that she could tell).
-Iolanthe got some of her own friends together to come by and distract the Sky-Carvers with their womanly charms. She then used a little money and a lot of charm to bribe the Thousand Tastes’ bouncer to not allow anyone in or out of the Thousand Tastes without the password “cheese.”
-Jonakin followed Gruda’s idea but actually succeeded, getting a half-dozen of her brawniest compatriots to hang around in the bar next door, ready to attack if the game gets out of hand.

Aware that Crafting is impossible in the Thousand Tastes due to a powerful Nullcrafting field, the Men of Real Talent prepared for it (as well as the possibility that Freyj’s people would in fact be able to Craft. They pondered why exactly Freyj wanted the mining rights to Mili’s home Realm, but unable to answer the question, they set themselves up in the Thousand Tastes. Freyj had gathered a small crowd to watch the “battle royale between one of the Thousand Tastes’ greatest gamblers and one of its most loyal patrons,” and sarcastically wished Eustice good luck before the game began. Eustice snarked back that he didn’t need luck, and the game began.

Iolanthe sneaked Fortunato a heliotype of his child and girlfriend, assuring him that they were safe. However, Freyj spotted it, and Iolanthe heard her whisper to Fortunato “I don’t know what she showed you, but remember I own you.” Meanwhile, Eustice identified Freyj’s Sky-Carver minions as members of House Verimadia, a group associated with his cousin Phineos’s claim to House Varos’s power. Before he could do anything with this information, Eustice was distracted by his brand new tarts du jour: one running her hands on his inner thigh, the second running her fingers through his hair, the third resting her head on his shoulder.

Gruda grabbed a canapé from a tray and discovered they were dosed with a soporific herb. She signalled to Mili, who was camouflaged in the corner, and Mili tripped a Pariah to bump into the tray of canapés and spill them all over the floor. Later on, emo Pariah poetry described how the “unseen hand of fate ruins another day.”

Iolanthe at first watched the game for cheating, but after seeing that Fortunato appeared to be throwing the game fine, she turned her attention to Uncle Mios, distracting him from talking to Freyj by telling him raunchy stories about improper ladies (with the added benefit of making herself look better as a match for Eustice).

One of Freyj’s Sky-Carver minions started trying to seduce Gruda, seriously flustering her, while Freyj sent one of Iolanthe’s friends running, sobbing, with a single whisper. Iolanthe reflected on how inaccurate the label “friend” in fact was, and decided not to care. Meanwhile, Mili decided that accidental spills were her friend, and knocked a drink into the lap of Gruda’s Sky-Carver seducer… but the smooth-talker shrugged it off, saying he was “better with his tongue than his hands.”

[At this time, Molly noticed a face in the orientation of furniture in a room on the map. Mindy tried to draw a face, but somehow deleted her token. Before realizing this, I turned the “face” into an evil vampire clown, with red nose and big fangs.]

The Men of Real Talent continued their campaign of confusion, hoping that Fortunato would go ahead and throw the game soon…

Notes:
-Gruda is Eustice’s “personal” chef
-The “source of man” campaign: CoL bloodlines come from Earth or go to Earth?
-I like their big plans and orienting themselves

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