The Let's Play Archive


by Seorin

Part 16

Chapter the Fifteenth: Gender Inequality Rears Its Ugly Head

Jayna seemed to be in much better spirits in the morning, which I almost regretted. She very obviously intended to continue following me and I really didn't know what to do about it. Come now, there's plenty of room for another student at the university... or you could apprentice yourself to the herbalist at the technologist's shop... really, there's far more opportunity for you away from me than there is with me. Please...

I decided to spend the early morning wandering all about Tarant, giving Jayna a good look at the place. I very explicitly pointed out places where she could go to feel comfortable and learn more about her trade, but my meaning went right past her. Even Virgil started trying to help me out, pointing out with mock excitement how wonderful it would be to study at the university. It was fruitless, however. The dear girl was just so damned clueless.

We happened to be strolling through the park, pointing out all the wonderful flowers and marveling at how peaceful it all was, when a jovial sounding half orc just walked right up to me and began chatting away.

Nothing like the morning crazy at the park. "Oh, uh, yes, I have had the pleasure of knowing him." Please go away.

Why, certainly. If I randomly bump into this man I never met... just who the hell do you think you are? I played along with his little game, hoping that if I pretended to acquiesce he would leave me alone. Polite lies were a specialty of mine. "Any idea as to where this fellow might be?"

The half orc snickered a bit, "Most likely at the bottom of a bottle somewhere, unless I miss my guess."

"I'll let him know you're looking for him if I see him." Not that I'm going to bother looking for him in the first place.

"Thank you much, madam," he smiled at me as I turned and brushed past. Glad that's over with. After the long morning I decided to temporarily giving up on convincing Jayna to stop following me. I thought that maybe I just needed to give her time for everything to sink in and then she'd wander off of her own accord. I had work to get to, anyway. Those Siamese twin skulls that Doctor Gershwin was interested in certainly weren't going to unearth themselves.

The cemetery was located in the Southwest corner of town, patrolled only by a single guard whose job it was to make sure nobody interfered with the graves or coffins. It'll take more than that to stop me. I crept over to a nearby building paying careful attention to avoid the notice of the guard. The sign on the outside read, "Beloved Twins, Jin and Xin Ren'ar," so I was fairly certain I was on the right track. The lock on it was missing completely and it appeared to have been pried open sometime recently. Undaunted, I headed inside and took just a little peek inside the coffin, hoping I would find the skulls straight away.

Much to my surprise, the coffin was completely empty save for a matchbook advertising the Wellington Gentleman's Club. Now that is one funny place to leave a book of matches. I wonder if I'm being lead somewhere. I wanted to ignore the matchbook for many reasons, not the least of which was that it was damned creepy, so I moved over to the only remaining building and hoped the Siamese twins would've been buried there. It's not entirely irrational. Whoever put the matchbook there might've switched the signs. I snuck into the other building easily, gently sliding the lock open with my pick. The guard didn't seem to notice.

I was quite surprised upon opening the coffin to find it had no bottom. Instead a ladder lead beneath the ground and into a secret passage of some sort. It was then that I remembered the headline from the weathered old paper I'd read in Frederick's study, Assassin Fails In Attempt On Tarant King's Life. The article explained that the assassin likely broke in through a secret passage between the castle and the cemetery that had been built as a secret escape tunnel. They declared that the tunnel was to be sealed and filled with deadly traps to avoid such a thing from happening ever again. I somehow doubt the skulls I'm looking for are down there.

It seemed like my search for the Siamese twin skulls would bring me to the gentlemen's club, and I didn't like that idea one bit. Aside from it being a foul den of inequity, somebody had intentionally planted that matchbook after stealing the skulls themselves. Whoever it was wanted to leave a trail, and following it seemed like a horribly bad idea. I wonder if it's possible to have curiosity surgically removed? That might be an operation worth looking into.

The gentlemen's club was just next door to the cemetery so I didn't have far to walk. I brushed off the dirt that clung loosely to the bottom of my dress and headed over to it. As I tried to enter, however, the man at the door quite rudely grabbed my arm and gave me a hateful glare.

I grumbled at him and pulled my arm free. "Might I go in for a drink?" ...or do the lads fancy each other more than an attractive lady?

Oh well that bloody figures. I suppose tomboys don't count then? I batted my eyelashes at him and looked up at him sweetly with wide eyes, "Is there no way I might be permitted to enter...?"

Then there will have to be an exception. I'm entering that club. "I see. And just where might I find this Mr. Wellington?" A friendly chat with the owner seemed like one of the faster ways of getting in without having to break any laws. Not that lawbreaking itself bothered me, but I would quite easily be caught and that was a much greater cause for alarm.

Do you really think I won't be able to find him just because you won't help me? Your prejudice is palpable, sir! Not all women are helpless. I stormed off, straight back to the university district. I thought I'd remembered seeing a building that billed itself as the 'hall of records' while I was strolling about there the other day. It didn't really interest me at the time, but now I was quite interested in any census records they might have inside. As luck would have it, the building was not just a part of my imagination.

The records office itself was located in the basement of the water works. I approached the counter and got the attention of the good woman behind it, "Good day, madam. Would it be possible for you to locate a person for me?"

"Yes, I would be delighted to do that for you. What is the name of the individual you are looking for?" Many names drifted across my mind then. I could ask her to find that Cesare fellow that Mr. Grak was looking for, though I didn't really care enough to. I might've asked her where Joachim was if I didn't think it would make Virgil mad, and I wasn't overly eager to find him either.

I snapped out of my daze. "Wendell Wellington." She searched throughout several papers while I tapped my foot impatiently. We'll see who has the last laugh.

That was decidedly easier than I'd expected it to be. I didn't even have to bribe the woman. "Thank you, madam. I must take my leave now." I had a rather self-satisfied smile plastered on my face as I climbed the stairs back up.

Mr. Wellington's residence was quite easy to find, being situated not far at all from Vermillion Station. Actually nearly any address along Vermillion Road was fairly easy to navigate to. It travelled the entire length of Tarant and had many noteworthy places along it, not the least of which being the train station or the inn.

I knocked on the door to Wellington's house and was admitted entry by a half ogre guard. I'm sick and bloody tired of being scared of you things. I resolved to pay it no mind. "Good evening, sir, are you Mr. Wendell Wellington?"

Ugh. You have got to be kidding me. What a disgusting little gnome. "Gentleman's club? Am I to assume women are not welcome?" He seemed to want to impress me so I thought that if I acted offended he might make an exception.

Something tells me this is not the exception I was hoping for. "What did you have in mind?" Please just say you'd like me to deliver a message, or fetch some item for you, or take your half ogre pet for a walk... anything like that...

Nothing brought out the worst in me quite like lechery. I smiled at him and tilted my head, gently and quietly withdrawing my dagger from my belt. I held it up to his fat, greasy neck, "What if I allow you to live, instead of ripping your throat out?" Jayna squeaked. Erk... I almost forgot she was still here.

The half ogre didn't even make a single move. Are all of those things that bloody useless? Maybe this is one of those decorative half ogres. "Pleasure doing business with you. Good day, sir."

With that nasty bit of business taken care of it was time to continue on my hunt for the elusive skulls. I had already done far too much work for a measly 100 coins and a souvenir, but on the other hand I was glad for the opportunity to knock Mr. Wellington and his pompous patrons down a few notches.

Bonus Content

Requested by TheCaptain

If you acquiesce to Wellington's demands you lose 100 coins, the screen fades out and then back in, and you get this:

Today's book is titled Quirren's Poem.

True magic remains as the one hope for peace
Not science or steam, all this progress must cease
My homeland awaits me, Nysterrial fair
The natural beauty of woodland lies there
I just can't explain it, if you haven't seen
How lovely is living surrounded by green

Oh people of Tarant, obsessed with your fire
With watching explosions and sparks floating higher
How can this compare with the Love Lights at night
The Amorous males of si'im tala in flight
I sit in my tree watching nature go by
The love of it all brings a tear to my eye

A curse from my lips as my time here expires
My spell isn't endless, despite my desires
So back to my body my soul's image flies
As each time before, a small piece of me dies
I swear by my fathers, your city will pay
The debt grows much larger with each passing day

The stench and the filth that this city throws out
Is something Arcanum would best be without
But here I must stay 'til my mission's complete
To leave you would mean I'm admitting defeat
So now having seen this, you know of my hate
By the time that you read it, you're already late