An Arm and a Leg

Interesting Times

I should have remembered old Lyesmith's advice: 'Never gamble when you've nothing worth betting". I'd had a deal go bad recently, and some thugs robbed me of everything save the clothes on my back. Of course, as a traveling merchant of magical goods, I didn't have much for them to take. Business has been bad for those of an arcane inclination ever since mechanization outpaced wizardry in day-to-day industry. But I would bounce back. I always did. It was as I was reacquiring some ingredients that I was offered the chance I should never have taken.

The chemist mentioned that someone was looking for talented individuals to help with a familial curse. I had taken on jobs like this before, and usually they are just the kind of low risk high reward proposition that I was in desperate need of right now. Stressed out city dwellers often believe that they are plagued by curses or spirits when it is in fact their own conscience that is haunting them. So you show up, cast a few spell, tell them that if they keep cheating on their wife the ghosts will come back, and collect your payment. The name of the family, however, gave me pause. Laverick. If any family were to have a curse, it would be them. But one curse I know they have is excess wealth, and I was eager to avail them of that.

So off I went. Although I had never seen Laverick Manor in it's hayday, I could tell that held only a fraction of its former glory. Seemingly home to only one heir and one servant, most of its grand halls were taken up by piles of dust and long shadows. The heir regaled us with stories of the curse, and wrongs that must be righted, as the servant placed a portrait of Aleksandr Laverick above the mantle. Suddenly, me and my companions fell into a collective hallucination of the past. Our initial reactions were surprisingly mundane considering what we were experiencing. I was stunned into inaction, while some other members of the party immediately started picking fights. Quickly though, we decided that the only way forward was to try and accomplish what we had been sent here to do, discover how to right the wrongs that persist in the present, and kill Aleksandr.

The factory, which we were near when we began our hallucination, was in the middle of a strike, and subsequent strike bust, so we decided to investigate. We learned from the foreman that Aleksandr's workshop was on the road to the manor, and that became our next destination. The two gentlemen guarding the workshop, however, informed us that we would have to wait in the manor itself, and so we did. I would have been impressed by the multitude of bustling servants, the bright decorations, and the wonderful tea, if only I could have forgotten the situation we were in. Because we were not, in fact, enjoying tea in a lavish mansion. We were sitting in a dark, dusty hall, collectively dreaming that we were sipping tea two rooms over and 3 years in the past.

Anyway, although it took us two tries to get there, we eventually met with Aleksandr in his workshop. The place was practically a single mass of machinery, more wondrous than any display of magic that I have ever seen. Though he had the home field advantage, we had the numbers, and we did him in without ceremony. I'm not quite sure how this kind of curse is supposed to be lifted, but I never immagined it would involve quite so much stabbing.

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