You didn’t stiff your bill at Miss Scarlet’s Boudoir.

Miss Scarlet, always elegant and dressed in the color after which she’d named herself, kept a repeater behind her desk and a shopkeeper’s six-shooter in her bustle, but she rarely needed either, thanks to the Art. Even though guns could kill a man quicker and with less exertion than the Art, many people still held mages with the same awe and reverence they had before the war, when the price of disrespecting one might have been enthrallment.

You didn’t stiff your bill at Miss Scarlet’s Boudoir.

Pearl Highwater had only been an employee for about six months, but in that time the young elf from back east had seen deadbeats with their ears blown off, their palms and worse seared by sudden flames, and a few of the more intransigent ones brought low with a few enthralling whispers. Everyone paid up eventually, though Miss Scarlet reacted indignantly to the suggestion that they ever paid a cent more than they had been offered in services. For the treasure hunters flooding into Smokewood had their needs, had their desires, and she paid her taxes. Deputy Sheriff Missy Ferguson was not exactly on warm terms with the Boudoir, but she knew the law and didn’t let things slide.

You didn’t stiff your bill at Miss Scarlet’s Boudoir.

But in her time at the Boudoir, Pearl and her friend Melish, an orc girl of around the same age who had joined two weeks before, had quickly became the favorites. Miss Scarlet steered the best customers to them, and trusted them with the “delivery jobs” around town. Until Melish had been badly burned by some hotshot pyromancer from back east–before got himself gunned down by the deputy sheriff for continued idiocy–and a customer from out in the wilds locked himself in one of the Boudoir’s many rooms with Pearl inside.

He wasn’t interested in his bill at Miss Scarlet’s Boudoir.

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