Tales of the Cheesy Dragons

Marella Shieldhart's Journal

22 Verrach 940

New patron – EM. Combination of business and nobility work. Interesting woman, I admire her ambition. Signed a contract for exclusive work for a year – a risk, but I think it will pay off. New goal is to leave the city in five years.

*

32 Verrach 940

EM fabricated a new identity for me, I’m a minor noble from Habryg come to Cairwych Bay to find a spouse. It lets me move in her circles. Interesting to be in the ballrooms, instead of impersonating servants. I’m learning a lot.

*

01 Meidanna 942

At EM’s request, befriended her youngest daughter. The girl’s a romantic, and keeps company her mother doesn’t approve of. I anticipate attending many boring salons.

*

29 Nollaig 942

End of year revels with MM and friends. Newest questionable additions are a group of artists; M is smitten with one of the poets. M asked me to keep quiet, but her mother pays me, so I reported the dalliance. EM very unhappy, asked me to keep an eye on them. Which involves watching a lot of rather disgusting kissing and cuddling. Still, she’s happy, which is more than I can say for the rest of us.

*

11 Breinn 943

Attended B’s poetry reading tonight. I am possibly still drunk, which is a first for this journal. I may regret my candor later, but hopefully the cypher will prevent me from embarrassing myself in front of others.

It’s odd to have friends. It’s been a long time. I don’t think I’ve ever had a friend as an adult. I’ve had contacts, and people I enjoyed spending time with, but my job makes friendship a very difficult prospect. But I have friends now. Friends I’m employed to spy on. What would they think if they knew that? I don’t want to know. I don’t want this to end. But I’m not stupid, I know this can’t go on forever. My loyalty is to my employer. It has to be. Head over heart.

*

09 Meidanna 943

M & B are planning to elope. B has a performance at the end of the month, but they want to travel to Atbury to marry afterwards. Reported to E, who is furious, as she has plans to marry M to a Viscount from Varstone, part of a long-term business deal. She is considering having B killed. It would be my job, I know it would. I could easily do it. But for the first time, I wonder if I should.

*

19 Meidanna 943

[Something scratched out here, now illegible]

I don’t know if I can do this.

*

14 Luille 943

It is done. I cannot return to Cairwych Bay. I cannot do this work any more. Even if I had the stomach for it, EM would see me dead the moment I show my face in society, no matter the city.

M is much cannier than her mother gives her credit for. I wish her all the love and luck in the world. Goodbye, my first and only friend. May you always choose your own happiness over your family’s.

I must now find my own. And stay alive.

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