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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 1171: Tied in knots

Strings bind us all, and guide our actions. Of course, a true gentleman knows where the strings will lead, and requires only a light touch. And a scoundrel needs constant correction.

The strings on the body don’t control the heart, however. But they can occasionally provide a needed nudge.

She wasn’t aware of her strings at all, being the sort that blows along with the in crowd and would never even consider acting outside her character.

He was nearly her opposite. Risk-taking and daring to her meek acceptance. A bad boy in image and in deeds. And aware enough of his strings to cast as many off as he could find ways to release, and bucking the control of the rest.

Their chance meeting on the street may have been set up by the weird sisters, and made available for those able to watch by crystal ball, magic mirror, or scrying pool, as light entertainment for the supernatural set. But that didn’t make it any less real for our players.

If he had planned the bump, he might have been prepared to pick her pocket or purse. But he was as startled as she was. She, of course, would have done everything in her power to not bump into anyone on the street.

But neither had a chance to act, and the bump was rather more literal than the fates would have preferred. She ended up sitting in a puddle, and he nearly had an impromptu lynching from the bystanders. But struck by some slightly out of character notion, he was polite and apologetic, and helped her to her feet.

Next the knew, they were dining together and comparing notes on how odd it was that this was happening at all, how startled and amused their families would be, and before long dessert was just a fading memory and they were comparing hopes and dreams.

They never were able to untangle their strings from that meeting, so they married, and had the expected number of children, pets, and pickets on their fence.

The lesson the fates may not have learned here is that the meeting itself may be dramatic and unexpected, but when the meeting is demanded by the fates themselves, it is also likely to be far more anticlimactic than entertaining.

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Deal 1169: Squeak!

Life on the bat-stretching line is not for everyone. Especially not for those with extended hearing ranges.

They squeak when stretched, you know. Terribly loudly, but mostly also terribly high-pitched.

Most people find it rather off-putting. But without stretching, bats would never be as fit for flight.

Are your bats freshly stretched?

Does your belfry need attention?

A visit from a skilled bat-stretcher will cure-all that ails.