It was sometime after wedding practice. The “invisible” person on the stairs and overheard conversation was still rumbling around in my head and I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I took a stroll around the castle grounds, trying hard to avoid any areas where I might invite trouble. I didn’t want to admit it to myself but I knew where my feet would lead me and after a half hour of walking I found myself standing outside the servants quarters. I used to play here quite a bit when I was a child, it was one of the few places I could play without being reminded by some snob child of a nobleman that I was a bastard. Playing here was how I met and befriended Majere, an old woman who would weave fantastic tales and lies in such a manner as to educate me on some subject or person. Hers were words of wisdom and it wisdom I sought a couple nights ago.
Unconsciously I knocked on the door in the same manner I had as a child, so of course she knew who it was before she opened the door. As always, she greeted me groggily and gruffly, threatening me with her always mentioned, never before seen, magical powers. I promised that the item I had to discuss would interest her and I put on a pot of tea. It is my belief that Majere has always appreciated that I have never forgotten her or her lessons, as she always perks up when I visit. As I related my discovery on the stairs and my worries about the Thaycian wedding party and upcoming nuptials, Majere drank her tea and asked many questions, mostly about fashion and gifts strangely enough. I was more than a little frustrated and was starting to wonder if age was finally catching up to her.
Majere could always read my mood and sometimes I swore she read my mind. After her last question about the bridesmaid’s dresses, seeing my displeasure, she cackled gleefully and pointedly asked me if I thought “Mother Majere” had lost it. I stumbled over some words and feebly tried to claim that I had not thought that, which she quickly waved away and then really started peppering me with questions.
What is it you fear about this marriage? She asked in her supremely confident manner. I explained that I feared a plot by the red wizard nation to take over Waterdeep by proxy. Majere then asked me, out of all I had seen and heard, how did I think they would accomplish that. I thought for a moment and then said that if any of the Wands had been charmed or replaced they would be able to accomplish what they needed and then began to rapidly remind her of the conversation I overheard and how Raine Wands had denied it in such a way as to convince me he truly didn’t remember it. Majere smiled a knowing smile and asked me if I though a charm or doppelganger would succeed in pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes for an indefinite period of time? I quickly responded no. She then asked me, if this were my plan, how would I do it?
Majere knew how much I disliked this type of question because no matter my answer I suspected she had a better one and was just using the question to teach. That was a fine method when I had yet deflowered my first virgin, it was frustrating and maddening now. Yet I knew I had to humor her if I was to get any rest that night.
I thought long and hard while she patiently drank her tea and stitched. Some hour later I was ready with several ideas. My first two ideas she immediately dismissed, not because they weren’t good plans for infiltration and defeat of the Castle but because they required too much insider knowledge. She pointed out that the Thaycians would need a means to sneak in whatever items were required for their plan and would need to know that they could accomplish it under the watchful eyes of a castle full of strangers. It was here that I fell upon what could be a key to this madness. The Bride and her bridesmaids would be afforded much more privacy and latitude than anyone else in their wedding party. I was quickly to my feet and almost out the door when, with disappointment in her voice, she stopped me cold in my tracks, asking me where I was going. I turned and explained that I would go and search their belongings for proof of their duplicity and plans. Clicking her tongue, she admonished me for thinking that the Thaycian’s would not have thought of the same thing. Defeated and perplexed, I sat down.
Majere made another pot of tea and my visit must have entertained her because she let me off her hook. “Not everything necessary for the wedding to take place has arrived Damian.” She explained. “In fact I believe there was an important item that has been delayed in much the same way the Bard and other trade has been hampered of late, those damnable pirates.” I still sat confused as to what else was still to come. “The Dowry is not here. Were it here it would be an unconscionable breach of etiquette to look at the gift before the nuptials are complete.” I stared at her as if she had just solved all life’s mysteries. I could feel myself instantly grow tired as her wise words seeped in. Knowing that as yet there was nothing I could do, I asked her if she would know when it arrived. She smiled that knowing smile and explained that she would make sure I got the message when it got here. I left soon after, thanking her for her help, and promising as I always do to visit more often. She told me to be sure to send her more of her favorite tea and thanked me for bringing her such an interesting puzzle.
Then this morning before dawn a messenger from the castle had this note for:
Just in time for the wedding a chest has been delivered to the Bridesmaid’s quarters. On top of the chest, a fine jeweler’s display case with a man’s chain and fine black opal. This necklace is scheduled to be placed on Marcus Wands by Kight the bridesmaid as soon as the ceremony is complete. It is unknown what else is in the chest. Everyone is certain the chain is magical. There is a cursed item of some renown among spell-casters and assassins called a necklace of strangulation. There are many tales and varieties but a curse seems much more in line with their country don’t you think?