Griselda

Griselda

POINTS OF VIEW

(Kolli the Portly, head of the Jewellers' Guild)

"Griselda? A very dangerous person, by all that I hear; I cannot understand why she is allowed to remain at large. Why, if you believe the stories, she is behind half the crime in this city, or knows who is. Weren't her relatives implicated in that big warehouse robbery? Yes, I know that nothing was proved against them, but they had to leave the city, didn't they? Surely that means the Watch knew something but couldn't prove it. These days the Watch's hands are tied: Fleeter Nemm is too concerned with "justice", and not enough with the security of Pavis's citizens. No, she has done no harm to me or anyone I know."

(Hareva Hardblow, initiate of Humakt)

"Griselda? Fine sword-fighter, really fine. Mind, I think she could manage with a bigger blade than that puny little sticker, but I suppose she's used to it. That duel of hers with Red Hot, now, that was something to watch, and she showed some good moves against Carver Donan also. I'd turn out to see her fight any time, watch all day.

What do I think of her otherwise? We-ell -- it's a pity she's not interested in the cult."

(unnamed Mostali encountered in the entrance hall of Dwarfside)

"Griselda? We have heard this name for many work-periods, but we have no interest in individuals, and certainly not in this one. None of her reported activities tends towards harmony with the World Machine, rather the opposite. I do not wish to discuss this further."

(Avidius Tiro; see the story "Serious Money" in The Collected Griselda or Tales of the Reaching Moon #3 for this character)

"Griselda? A thief and a cheat, nothing more. Oh, she has a certain attractiveness and a degree of intelligence, I grant you, but she is only remarkable by comparison with the deadbeats who infest the same haunts that she does. Her exploits are vastly overrated, and I cannot understand why she attracts so much interest in Pavis. Yes, I admit that her superficial charm took me in for a while; but I am up to all her tricks now."

(Loud Lilina)

"You want to know what I think of Griselda? I wisht I had a silver for every idiot that has asked me that, I do in-deed. You really think, just because they call me Loud, I'm gonna go round talking about my customers? How'm I gonna keep them, they hear I do that?

But I'll tell you this: I bless the day she first walked in here, for all the mess she left behind her. She's real good for business. Everybody that hears about her and wants to see her knows to come here. I've heard tell, they surely are sore at Gimpy's, that the guys she was after that time weren't in there. Heh heh heh; serves 'em right, I say, for being too choosy about their customers.

Now if you aren't gonna buy a drink, maybe you'd care to step aside for someone who will."

(Rowdy Djoh Lo)

"Griselda? M'm; how can I put this? Around here, friend, they take a poor view of anyone goin' around askin' questions. I'd say the people at this table right here would take an especially poor view of questions about Griselda, bein' as she's a friend of theirs. But maybe if you was to buy them all a drink, they might be willin' to accept that you were just a poor dumb fool who'd made a mistake, wandered in where he shouldn't have.

That's right. Oh, I'm sure you don't mean any harm -- but people can do harm without meanin' to, now isn't that so?

Yes, the drink here is kinda strong, but we like it that way; we like most things that way, and that's why we like Griselda, and we don't like people askin' questions about her. Mind your head on your way out."

(unnamed troll of Javis clan, speaking heavily accented Tradetalk; this item is offered with a respectful bow in the direction of Walter Mosley and the culture that his stories represent)

"What you wan' wid me, thinskin? Does I know Griselda? No, I doesn' know Griselda. Wait, I 'specks you means Copperhead -- thass what all we uz callin' her, Copperhead. Yeah, I knows her, all right. When she first come to Pavis, boss Gan, he callin' us all together, says, `Now lissen here, you no-'count uz. They's a new thinskin female in Pavis you gotta watch out fo'. She got hair colour'a copper, 'n' stan's 'bout as high, my waist, but don' let that fool you: she smart, an' she tough, an' mos' of all, she a friend'a Pikat Yaraboom!' You can b'lieve, we makin' some noise then, to hear that mighty name. `Yeah, so,' boss Gan says, `I gettin' the word from him, and I passin' it on to you: long's she leaves you alone, you leaves her alone, or I'ma kill yo' ass!' An ain't none of us had a reason to do otherwise. Copperhead, she all right fo' a thinskin, she been puttin' stuff our way, an' we sure feelin' grateful. Anybody doin' sumpin' t'her, we be after 'm good an' strong, you hear me?"

(Jorjar the Quick, Constable of Pavis)

"Griselda? That woman gives me more headaches than any other hardcase around here, bar none. It's not so much what she does: I can't get any hard evidence that she's been involved in any bigtime crime so far, and I'm not bothered about the occasional killing -- the way I hear it, she never kills anyone that the city wouldn't be better without. No, what bothers me is what she may be planning to do. She has more brains than all of her friends put together; so what in the name of all the gods is she doing out here? You'd think, she'd have much more scope for her talents in civilisation. She has to have some angle, but my trollkin can't find out a thing, for all the drinks that they buy her and that I have to pay for out of what little the city allows me for expenses. I hope she's not political; I figure it would have shown some way by now, but there it is -- she is very, very good at covering her tracks. Well, I'm working on it."

(Vapidus Erronius, junior Lunar administrator)

"Do I know Griselda? My dear sir, if I were to tell you all that I knew of Griselda, you would be astonished, you would indeed. For instance, I have good authority for believing that she is in fact Pentan by birth, one of the redheads taken in tribute, and that she is a secret agent of our glorious Empire. Her so-called relatives? Easily explained, my dear sir: actors, hired to provide protective colouring. In reality, she may well be a sister or cousin of one of the famous Lunar Coders, Eslas; they have much in common, as anyone can plainly see.

No, I believe that she is investigating the cults, not the Governor, and is reporting to him. I cannot confirm the rumours of a more intimate relationship, but they are plausible -- consider the way that she and her associates were protected in that business of the charts, which of course was designed to discredit the cults in the eyes of the citizens of Pavis. Obviously, my dear sir, she is giving the impression of being a lowlife, and she has skills enough to make this seem plausible; no doubt this is allowing her to acquire useful information about the criminal element in Pavis, and provides opportunities to recruit persons who can be of use to us.

Her killings? Attempts to nip conspiracies in the bud, I would say; conspiracies can develop in strange places.

Her trip to the Devil's Playground? This certainly turned up information of value to the Empire, as well as allowing her to establish herself as trustworthy in the eyes of the Pavis cult; she is highly skilled at making any action serve more than one purpose, but all is for the good of the Empire in the end.

Really, my dear sir, you are as difficult to convince as my colleagues; but one of these days you will see that I am right. Her hair colour alone must surely indicate that she is with us."

(Dangmar Orlgardsson, Sartarite patriot)

"Griselda? Oh, she's a deep one. With hair that colour, she's gotta be a Vingan, right? But anything she does for the Cause, it's real secret. Sure, she comes on like a tough and hangs about with crooks; the Lunars are gonna give her less hassle if they think she's just a hardcase than if she's known to favour the Cause. Maybe she's aiming to recruit among the crooks, too; there's tough fighters among them, who it would be good to have on our side. My guess is, she's gathering information, too. Some say that Wolfhead knows where Balastor's Axe is stashed, which could be a real handy thing to find, get Pavis on our side. You just wait and see: she'll be there when Orlanth and Sartar call."

(Marius Sylvilagos, sergeant in the Marble Phalanx)

"I swear, you can hear more stories about Griselda at headquarters than there are fleas in a nomads' camp, but you can't believe any of them. She's just one of the adventurers they have around here, better at it than most. I like having her about, myself; somehow interesting things always seem to be happening to her, or around her, and that Olaf the Story-teller makes them into good stories. When you've been in this dump as long as I have, you welcome anything to break the monotony."

(Lucia Patroma, younger sister of Viridia Patroma; see the story "Bad Example" in The Collected Griselda)

"What do I think of Griselda? It's lucky you didn't ask my sister Viridia; depending on who's present, she either practically spits blood or dies on the spot when Griselda's name is mentioned. It's the best way we know of getting a rise out of her or shutting her up -- hasn't failed yet. In fact, we have a little competition going in the family, to see who can bring up Griselda's name in the most unlikely conversation. One has to do something to pass the time. We have some money riding on it, but we keep putting off the closing date because it's so much fun. And you know something? It's my impression that Father has taken to bringing up Griselda's name too, when Viridia is being particularly obnoxious. Yes, Griselda has been very useful to our family."

(Kleftissa, the youngest, and best, of Duke Raus's Bows, a group centring on 3 female crossbow-users who are among his most valued mercenaries; Duke Raus controls one of the Grantlands, along the river south of Pavis).

"Griselda? Well, I'll tell you. I sure hope the Duke never has cause to send us after her; I doubt even Hildie could dope out a sure-fire plan to take her. I really don't want to mess with her, ever. She's too small to make a good target, unless she was real close, and I don't like to shoot from too close: you don't nail them precisely, and before you know it they're all over you. Which could happen all too easily with Griselda, she's so fast. Lucky? You said it, and real smart too. Look at all the fighting she's done, and the places she goes, like in the Rubble, and not a mark to show for it.

I wish she'd join up with the Duke, for a fact; she's smart enough to run this whole outfit, and I like the sound of her. But if he ever thought of hiring her, either he changed his mind or she wasn't interested. Too bad."

(Grobar the Gormless, on his first visit to Pavis)

"Griselda? Who's Griselda? Small, very pretty, red hair, blue eyes? Sounds great; how do I get to meet her?"

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Griselda


© 2000 Oliver Dickinson
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