We poured a bucket of cold water on Goethe’s face to wake him from Mr. Finn’s unmerciful beating. Goethe claimed innocence! He alleged that he was possessed by a slug-like Belier devil on a mission to manipulate and kill. It seemed plausible given his out of character smiling and maniacal laughing. Begads, there really needs to be a magic trinket that alerts others when you’re possessed or mind raped. It sure would’ve solved a lot of recent problems. I gave Goethe a stern warning not to let it happen again.
We searched the rest of the store house. We found the devil summoning circle that was used to pull shit into the real world. Goethe and Mr. Finn babbled about various dimensional anchor switches. Ya know, mostly boring stuff. It was surmised that the Belier devil was probably the devil that was to be bounded into Lirovilex or Ashicuk. I shall ask it that question the next time we meet it.
I penetrated the adjacent building that looked more domestic in purpose. Inside, I crept as quiet as a shadow, until I spotted a ravishing Ashen writing behind a Gothic desk. I silently removed myself from the situation and joined up with the others on the street to inform them of the familiar gray dragon bard. Goethe knocked on the office’s exterior door like he owned the place which he kind of did. Ashen answered the door sweetly, invited us in, and sat down to continue to write.
“Now Goethe. How should I complete this contract? Especially this section with your name on it”, causally goaded Ashen with a heavy Ustalav ascent.
“I just added a clause to your contract with my brother stating you must be exceedingly benevolent to my family. Every single one of us until your death.”, she toyed.
Then Goethe talked an awful lot in the way that he talks. I perused the office space in the meantime, especially paying close attention to the insanely large dragon skull mounted over the fireplace and the piled up treasure chests. The dragon skull looked to belong to a dragon I couldn’t identify.
“Handover your platinum staff Goethe! Or else I will keep writing. Maybe something about a dog choker, a leather leash, and my stilettos”, she warned. Goethe was between the devil and the deep blue sea. This time the pen was more powerful than the sword. His face went bloodless, his sphincter audibly tighten, and his lips were harp strings. What would he do? Face Ashen’s wrath or give away a piece of Apsu’s power? An impossibly difficult choice for the proud Goethe.
Goethe looked away from Ashen and shoved his staff into her hands. Oh My Fucking God! May be he was still possessed by the Belier. He was crying. I was not expecting that outcome. Ashen clung to the staff like it was the holiest relic in the whole world. She forgot to breath a number of times like she was in a trance. Given that the Gray Dragons are so freaking obsessed with their lineage, it was understandable and a little sad.
“I honor your sacrifice”, bowed Ashen. She signed the contract without added another line. As soon as the contract was signed Goethe grabbed his chest in a short bout of pain. The contract was active.
We had a nice conversation with Ashen afterwards. She was very pleased with herself. She told us that her uncle Slate was traveling the River Styx on his way to the Maelstrom or Axis in search on the next set of dragon Obelisks. She doubted we could catch him if that was our goal. Goethe got to read his devilbound contract. Turned out Goethe inherited all of Murk’s business including the operations outside of the Infernal line. Speaking of the Infernal Line, Lorenz determined that it was a vast money laundering network that stretched throughout Hell and beyond. The scope was immense. Tracking a single coin would take years.
“Goethe you should go meet with Captain Hulihee. He is liable to raze this place to the ground if kept waiting too long”, she reminded.
The tavern next door was at Bearded Devil capacity like a depraved high school prom. I quickly assimilated into the their drunken fold by dancing a pirate jig with Mr. Finn. Goethe and Lorenz went to go see Captain Hulihee, one of Redbeard’s Whiskers, to talk business. They all returned together. Captain Hulihee was savage looking, large, and armed with an over-sized hellish glaive. His wriggling beard dripped in filth and fresh blood. Goethe has some fearsome business partners!
Captain Hulihee explained he was a privateer under the command of Redbeard, an arch-devil who spreads Hell the furthest. His ship the Mutonchop was tasked with transporting chaos laced Maelstrom treasure from the Bolgian Shore to Dis for sale. Murk was usually the buyer. He hoped Goethe would honor those past contrasts and even offered much more if we could make it to the Shore with a ship. We accepted in a heartbeat.
Goethe scurried off to talk to Ashen one last time before she departed. I bet he was aiming to get his platinum staff back. I stayed to party with the devils. Why not? Like they say when in Hell do as the devils do.
While drinking heavily. A funny thought invaded my mind. We could take GIGACETAN’s hellmouth portal to the Bolgian Shore, then sail across the Maelstrom, dine with the Pirate Goddess Besmara, and finally land in Axis ahead of Slate. It was enticing. Imagine the look on his Slate’s face. Very enticing.