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Deal 1182: Taught

The betrayal was inevitable.

For a long time, we preyed on just enough travelers to keep us fed and clothed without being greedy.

But lately, the temptation to take more was always there.

And who better than to foment that temptation than the wandering bards and itinerant teachers who filled the heads of our younger members with grand ideals, tempting them to stray from our proven path.

And to think that we had been kind to them in their time of need.

My rule had been absolute. Take only the fat merchants, and then, only their purses and some of their goods. Take as little of their dignity as practical, lest they be motivated to do more than band together for protection.

Then we rescued that teacher from starvation.

And let him repay us in kind.

And now our youths are wondering if we have the right to prey on travelers. If we have the right to live as we have for decades.

All because we let a teacher in.

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Deal 1154: Haunting

The ghost manifested, if it was seen at all, at midnight and stayed no later than dawn. It was seen best by moonlight, with the pallid glow of the moon added to its appearance without drowning it. It did not seem to be a malignant spirit. But it was insistent that it be seen and heard. Being nearly invisible and nearly silent did not help with either condition.

Whatever its mission, it lingered in this world against the normal order of things. The longer it stayed, the higher the stakes became.

Until then, there was something humorous about using the light of a ghost to read by.

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Deal 1095: Dark setting

No one went there. It was darker, and creepy. It was easier to just go around.

Safer too.

Everyone knew that the best poisons came from its fringe. Nightshade and death-cap mushrooms grew in the twilight near the edge, and Hemlock grew just outside the edge. No one remembered a time when it wasn’t there, looming, and yet ignored.

But those few who dared enter found in its depths a grotto, with a clear view of the sky, and just enough sunlight.