The Case of The Merciful Illusionist (Part I)
Quentin Gabriel Tarella III was an interesting person. From what little we could find out about him, he was a recent addition to the market in Zeif. He sold Alchemy potions that worked fairly well, and was an amazing salesman. People remarked that he was born a Baklune at heart but not in flesh. This is a high compliment from a people who can be, to be honest, a bit superior at times. He was definitely a Baklune in fashion sense. He did not wear the flowing robes and albs of our hosts, but his colors were astonishing.
Quentin somehow made a very unique fashion work. He was, at times, as if a rainbow had fallen upon itself in physical combat with each color seeking the territory of the other. All beams entwined and, being personally startled at the turn of events and letting the blood rise to their cheeks, flushed with the brightest of their colors. Normally he reserved the most outlandish colors for his cravat or shoes, and complimented them with overcoat and vest of a more subtle, when compared to the epileptic pallet of his fashion accents, and solid in color. The day we met him for the first time was a very misleading off day for his fashion. He wore a dark olive suit with a vest somewhere between wine and apple red and a yellow cravat to enliven the whole ensemble. All this wrapped around features that were both sharp and disheveled at the same time.
I turned to my master, “At least he is easy to spot.”
“For now,” he replied cryptically, “Remember why we need him. He’s an illusionist of unsurpassed skill. Sometimes the best way to be secret later is to let everyone know where you are when you don’t mind them knowing.”
“Kind of like being a genius but letting people think you are an idiot.”
“That would be effective. Let me know how that works out.”
I sighed. As hectic as the last month or more had been I enjoyed getting out and about the world with my brother. “So, master, will we do this directly or indirectly?”
Jeremy observed for a moment. “Let’s wait a bit. Something is not right.”
I turned my attention quickly to the stage. Because a stage it was. Quentin moved about waving a walking stick, using his entire lanky frame for effect:
“And that is it that keeps a person up at night? What is it that takes that precious jewel of the evening…sleep, and makes it an unreachable star hanging forever out of reach? It is the stress of the day? Too much coffee? Or an active, insightful and piercing intellect that does not let go of the problems it sees? Oh my friends…all of the above and more. But why let your pillow be as empty as the heart of Vecna when you can…for a small fee enjoy the sleep of the just and righteous? For a small investment, miniscule…smaller than miniscule by comparison to the benefits, you can have Dr. Ebbons Sleeping Tonic…guaranteed to provide good dreams and restful nights…or…or, and yes I am saying…TRIPLE your money back. That is three times an investment for failure!! So you ask after I said that, how can I buy anything from a madman? For madman indeed it would take to offer triple money back. What if, you ask…what if disreputable people claim failure after a few nights sleep. I answer, boldly. I answer strongly. Whoever uses this will sleep so well and so justly that they will not seek to defraud me of three times my meager cost.”
“Alright,” I asked, “What, apart from the obvious is not right?”
“And,” my master inquired, “what would the obvious be?”
“That it’s a scam.”
Jeremy was astonished, “At triple money back…not likely.”
“The problem is that…that,” He pointed to the man on stage, “has been an illusion for the last three minutes.”
I looked up astonished. It moved, it emoted, it was perfect. It was impossible to believe my master except I trusted him and his skill.
He began to move through the crowd toward the stage and I followed. Going around the stage he opened the flap on the attached merchant tent. Inside Quentin Gabriel Tarella III sat smoking a pipe and counting money. He looked up and his eyes met my master’s. There was a moment of silence as the smoke curled into the air.
My master began, “Mr. Tarella…if we could…”
In a split second there were four of him running in different directions. I cursed out loud, “Always a chase…people always run from you.”