Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Behind the “Makeover”

For this one, I was doodling at an incident from That Saturday D&D game. Lamora is one of my most prolific when it comes to off-stage characterization; I’ll get revelations about how she works while walking home from the trolley station. Sadly, it almost never comes up in character. The context: two goblins, one group-satellite, one not, have taken it upon themselves to ensure that she knows what she’s doing while infiltrating goblin society as a whole. One is an expert. One… she’s not so sure about. Both seem to have forgotten that deceiving people is her Thing.

She’d take it from Seda, about her lot. They were a secret society, after all. Any instruction on how to look or act like one should be treated like the treasure it was, knowing the risk it entailed for both of them. And then used, with all due care and respect and protection of sources, and then rewarded, with interest, further confusing the ledger of mutual debts they’d long since lost track of.

She’d take it from Astrid. Nobody could become that old or that powerful without learning a few of the proper secrets behind a city, a country, maybe even a civilization. How many of her detractors had she simply outlived?

She’d take it from Ormand. If she did, there’d be a little joking about, probably in the range of “What are you going to tell me next, how to talk to squirrels?”, but if he thought it was worth bringing to her attention, it was probably important enough to be worth hearing again. Even if it was pretty high odds she could have found out herself.

Heck, she might even take it from Estric. Sure, the man didn’t have a duplicitous bone in his body (despite being a diplomat—this was apparently more unusual among the big folk than among her kind, and for different reasons), but anyone who could be that successful without telling lies had to have a master’s grip on the truth.

It wouldn’t even be that bad if it were just Broggthro. These were his goblins, or at least they would be if she had anything to say about it. He’d seen her operate, even if he had missed That Time She’d Posed as a Recruit to the Goblin Cause.

But she would sooner go back to the chills and the pine-sweat than deal with the ministrations and the redundant suggestions of someone even more foreign than she was, right species or no, who would yell at a person for pointing out that they were under threat of assassination during a tea ceremony and who would walk straight into one of her glitterfields while invisible (also thanks to her, and did he thank her for saving him from her possessed teammate? Of course not. That would be reasonable), and then who would try to convince her to join her choice for political leader in a role as his retinue. His bleeding retinue! And then to start talking to her as if she were a normal goblin, telling her things that they’d need to know but she’d take for granted rather than things that she did that she needed not to do. Of course she wasn’t going to pick her nose on guard duty! (She was actually somewhat surprised, given the behavior she’d seen from the local goblins, that he hadn’t told her she needed to surreptitiously pick her nose while on guard duty at least once an hour.)

And they seemed convinced she couldn’t apply her own disguises. All right, she’d been able to depend on magic for a while, might be a little rusty, but what did they know about getting a false skin tone to hold for longer than ten minutes? About balancing practical surviving-the-upcoming-excitement with verisimilitude, particularly when trying to be a comparatively disciplined guard in a completely undisciplined society and still come off as genuine?

Lamora wasn’t generally the type for last-minute backstabbing. But, she thought as Dalowag slapped on a handful of mud the right color but the wrong consistency, perhaps she could make an exception for this one.

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