BardHaven Begins Part 3A

Woolgathering in The Beacon Room

The following is the continuation of an account of the first meeting between Miss Kirawill Collingwood and the young Zealot Benmergui, Baron of BardHaven.

It is designed to be read in parallel with similar entries by the Baroness, which may be found HERE. Our story picks up after the Baron has left Miss Collingwood in his suite at the Posada de Vampiro in Lauk City, holding her breath…and the bag.

Buried in the godforsaken mean streets of Lauk City, at the end of an alley that rats tend to avoid as too dangerous, is a luxurious, lavender-scented oasis known as Madame LaFarge’s Guillotine. It just happens to be the oldest brothel in all of Lauk, having been founded in the late 1700s by the first Bishop of Lauk, Bishop Antonio “Spaz Tony” Umberto. It’s motto, “If you got the money, we got the head” is known throughout the region.

The brothel had passed through the hands of many owners in it’s time, and finally came into my possession some years ago when it was used to repay the gambling debt owed to me by one Horst Templeman, who died by accidentally shooting himself in the back while hanging from a meat hook in a public bathhouse in Rio de Janerio. I suppose he was trying to clean the revolver.

At any rate, once I left the Posado de Vampiro in something of a hurry the Guillotine is where I went to lay low and sooth the pain over the Hummel collection I had to leave behind, not to mention the complete collection of Harlequin Romances that were now lost to the banker’s bag.

So there I sat on a leather chaise, in the sumptuous Gallery of the Bohemians at the Guillotine, lost in negotiations with the Madame, a woman who was born Doris Pembroke of Provo Utah but had been known for years as Juno. She had been sold into white slavery when just a girl by her dentist during an unusual energetic cleaning and eventually worked her way up the ladder until she ran the day to day “operations” at the Guillotine. Once I was safely hidden way in the brothel, stress release should not have been overly difficult. The trouble was, I was being difficult….or to be specific, PARTS of me were being difficult.

I shook my head, sipping my fifth Cranberry Flip with a vermouth chaser as Juno paraded one corset clad Diva after another past my chaise lounge. I just couldn’t find one that matched the amorphous sort of longing I had, floating in the back of my mind like an english muffin in a fish tank.

She had brought out, at my request, her entire current stock of redheads..but I was unhappy.

“No Juno, they are the wrong red….”

She was not amused….”My Lord, we have auburn and copper and orange and strawberry blonde, magenta and hot pink and crimson dawn….”

“I know, I know…but they are ALL the wrong red.”

Juno dismissed them with a wave as they departed, grumbling as they closed and belted their diaphanous robes again before returning to the Chamber of the Citizens. “Then perhaps my most august and terrible Lord Baron will tell me what the RIGHT red might be?”

I had to think long and hard about that before answering….”Well, not so much red as, the color of hickory embers just before they fade to ash..not orange, or purplish..more the color of blood dried on mahogany tiles, the color of claret hurled on a dark velvet doublet…well, a Kirawill red, I suppose.”

The big woman raised an eyebrow….”A Kirawill red? I don’t have any Kirawills on hand, whatever they may be. Perhaps an Irish Setter?”

“Hmmm…that red is closer, but too many legs. Besides, the silly bitches always want to cuddle afterwards.”

At that moment, there was a soft breeze as the door opened to admit my invisible manservant, Kashmir, who murmured in my ear that one of my employees, Parsifal Lonstein had arrived suddenly, apparently disturbed, with news.

I sighed and put my pants back on. “I had sent him to see what the St. Ooge Brothers had for sale to liquidate the debt on my old suite. Perhaps I could buy back my Hummels. I especially wish my Shepard Girl set back, it was nearly complete. Show him in…”

As he entered, the stench of imitation Brylcream preceded him as always. My lightning sharp mind immediately deduced he had bad news by the fact he crawled in..backwards.

“Ah Parsifal, my loyal yet disgusting toady. What news from the St. Ooges?”

Mr. Lonstein cleared his throat, trying to find a way to look up at me without looking up the strip of silk Juno generously considered a skirt.

“Oh most Dread Baron, Lord of BardHaven and Keeper of the Shadow that Sings, Ruffian King of Caledon, Defender of the Dark Hope and Master of Calamatus Majora….”

I sighed. “Enough with the formal titles. I love you too, you worm. Now speak.”

Lonstein pressed his face to the floor, leaving an oily stain on the parquet. “The St. Ooges didn’t have no figurines, your BardHavenship…but they did have a broad for sale.”

I sighed louder and Parsifal whimpered. “Disappointing. Well, I suppose that isn’t a total loss. Buy the woman, and we can trade her along with half a pack of Luckies and some beads to the Itchysporkchowchow for the mineral rights to their ancestral lands.”

Parsifal cleared his throat. “That’s just it, my Baron…I think the broad knows you. She used your name, said if we..umm…”hurt” her, it would cheese you off.”

This brought me up short. “The deuce you say. A woman who knew me…hmmmm. What color was her hair?

The toady tried to look up, got a full view of Juno’s professional credentials and stuttered for awhile. Finally he managed to answer. “Well, your Ruffianess….sort of red, only not so much red as, the color of a barbecue just before it is time for dah Marshmallows..not orange, y’know…and not grape..more the color of liver after I forget it in my pocket for a day, the color of Thunderbird that has aged for a week or two…a really sexy red, ya get me Sir?

“Yes my pungent friend..I think I do. Take me to her…NOW.

Of course, I wasn’t surprised that as soon as she laid eyes on me, Ring Ding smeared though she was, she slapped me. There are several women who greet me like that and I don’t take it to heart.

I just smiled serenely at her as the two slavegirls who had been left to keep an eye on her hid behind the cots. Yes…I had been craving Kirawill Red.

”Hello, Love…. I see you’ve made friends. Now, while you’re adorable when you’re brutish, wouldn’t you rather stay unshackled and enjoy the sights?”

What an inconvenient moment for Mt. Lauk to erupt…..



  1. Yes, Darling, your henchmen are MUCH improved regarding their hygiene now. :)


    Bardhaven Begins, Part 4, is now posted at !

  2. *waits with baited breath for the next installment*

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