"Oh, my sweet Esmeralda, how overjoyed I am to see you in my arms once again!
Err, what do you mean your name is not Esmeralda? I could have sworn by the Sun Lord...
|Manzafrain the Mirthful|
As you well know, since our happy union I have struggled to shower upon you the riches that you so deserve. Alas, Radegast is a fickle god full of malice and caprice, and each harrowing expedition into the Weird was fraught with perils incommensurate with my meager returns. Desiring nothing so much as your favor, I determined to set aside such foolhardy capers and dedicate myself to the life of a respectable scribe under your father's employ.
I earnestly set forth at dawn, emboldened by the thought of my manful enterprise. It was a day full of enervating labors which would break a man not spurred on by the love of his doting wife. I returned home weary but full of good cheer, knowing that I would be well rewarded by your arduous attentions.
Upon arrival at the family estate, however, I found the household in complete disarray. Your seven stately sisters, normally picturesque in their well-mannered poise, were gnashing their teeth and tearing at their hair. It took much gentle prodding on the part of your caring and sensitive husband to discern that you had gone missing while I was at my labors.
When the ladies' choral cries reached my ears I quailed with dread. Your loving husband was sorely tempted to join them, wailing and beating my breast, for are you not the star on which I have pinned my orbit? All my joys are yours, and no flower may bloom without the radiance of your smile. What life then could this wretch hope to wrest from a world so wicked as to deny me my sole pleasure?
Such fears could not paralyze me for long, however. Never being less than a man of gallant action, I resolutely fixed my thoughts towards ensuring your safe return. Marching upstairs to demand a full report from your father, I found him in an unusually foul and disconsolate mood, having little patience for guests. Despite my insistent inquiries, he was unable or unwilling to divulge even so much as a clue to your whereabouts. I can only suppose that, in his grief, he was unable to gather his wits about him, perceiving friend and foe as one alike.
With no leads and fewer prospects, I found myself somewhat at a loss on how to proceed further. Having no further recourse, I dedicated myself to scouring the city, harrying any passerby to account on your whereabouts but to no avail. What few snatches of sleep I stole were fitful and restless, as Morpheus set visions upon me of your visage, each more lovely than the last. Despite these harrowing trials, however, I soldiered on, cleaving my days between labors devoted under your father's tutelage and my ongoing quest to divine your whereabouts. Alas, all of my efforts were for naught, for despite all the seeds I had strewn about, none had borne fruit.
Ah, but finally divine providence has shined upon me, as I awoke to hear the joyous cries of your sisters. Rushing from my humble apartments beneath your father's manse my heart was all a-flutter, my most precious Esmeralda, for I knew that we would soon be enjoined together once more. As I turned the corner, mere moments ago, the scene that unfolded before me was one of such bliss, such miraculous jubilation, that it seemed to me that all the saints had gathered in a great congregation in answer to my fevered prayers for your safe return. Hark, and I do believe I can hear their choral voices raised in thanks to the beneficence of the Sun Lord, whose hand surely has touched us this day...
What? Of course your name is not Esmeralda, my dove. A mere slip of the tongue, I assure you.
My sweet, I have been remiss. In so telling you the tale of my own sorrows, I have deprived you a story of your own. Tell me, my most lovely ... creature, where were you spirited away to?"
This has been an exceedingly truthful account of Manzafrain's most recent foray into the Hill Cantons. To hear slanderous account of the night's events whose base falsehoods could never be proven in a court of law, you can read an actual play report from a drunken lout here, and his compatriots may very well weigh in on the matter as well, hoping to drown out Manzafrain's simple truths through their torrential outpouring of lies. Keep an eye out for such scurrilous stories here, here, and here (or if you're looking for some of the most bang-up OSR content today).