The Khuzan ruins

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The Khuzan ruins

Postby Imarë » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:25 pm

Just thought we should do some talking about the ruins that we found. From the topography on the map, my supposition is that the lake was a quarry or a mine. This would account for no streams feeding it, the ground water has filled it up and it has no runoff. Sir Ewen may have to look into this. I doubt that dwarves would do this just for stone, there are no Khuzan ruins anywhere in the area as far as I know. My thought would be getting something more valuable (like ore). Sir Ewen should also think if there is any purpose to put to a secret (or at least not well known) underground complex which is really his. Maybe a nice cabana for the swimming hole? Men could also be concealed here if needed (it looks like it would hold quite a number). With our track record, a temple of Morgath has probably set up shop in the basement and are waiting to suck out our souls (although we do seem to be a soulless lot). Stone out of the weather should not deteriorate so the physical plant should be in good order. If the outer door has been closed for centuries, the wood may even be in good condition (Sir Ewen might have a new dining room set with 24 chairs). I guess with the numbers that we will not have visitors singing "HI HO" anytime soon. Does anyone else have any ideas they wish to bring forth?? Participation is encouraged, shouting in the darkness gets old really quick.
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Postby Sir Baris » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:02 pm

I think the most important question is, when we are exploring, are we going to use the left hand method, (always turning left, until eventually we explore the whole dungeon), or the more controversial right hand method?

But seriously, how do we want to go about efficiently exploring?
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Postby Imarë » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:23 pm

We could always flip a crown to see which we use. Not very scientific granted. To choose left would make us seem gauche so I vote for the right.

On the earlier topic, if this is actually a mine itself, the ownership would be the king's (who retains all mineral rights). If this was just the dwelling of the miners and the pond was a quarry, Sir H would get it. This would mean that either we let him have it, prevent him from having it (an accident etc), or we try to keep the existence secret. This would mean that if the girls are there and still alive, Sir Ewen would have to play with their minds (like the dwarf).

We could also use it as a secret clubhouse (we would have to work on a secret knock) or Sir Baris could bring a few barrels of ale and call it a temple of Sarajin. I vote we don't tell Cekiya's friends about this place.
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Postby Sir Baris » Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:55 pm

Imarë wrote:On the earlier topic, if this is actually a mine itself, the ownership would be the king's (who retains all mineral rights). If this was just the dwelling of the miners and the pond was a quarry, Sir H would get it.


Just out of curiosity, (and not to doubt your veracity), what is your source for this info? I love old property law stuff, so I'm interested. :)

If the mine is exhausted, does the king still own it? In other words, does he have any rights if the minerals are gone?

All this discussion may qualify as counting chickens, of course.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:46 pm

We can certainly speculate here about the original purpose of the site, and clues may be forthcoming as exploration commences, but we should also spend some time mulling over the present purpose. As in, who the hell is using it now, and what for? More pressing, are the beadle's granddaughters still alive (I assume one was, for Ewen to clairvoy), and where are they? Would the barrel seen in Ewen's vision be likely down below this level, or closer to the surface entrance?

My initial sense is that we keep a lid on this if possible, until we better understand what we are dealing with here. Which does militate that, depending upon the circumstances, the girls' lives might be forfeit. :twisted:
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Postby Matt » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:31 am

Sir Baris wrote:
Imarë wrote:On the earlier topic, if this is actually a mine itself, the ownership would be the king's (who retains all mineral rights). If this was just the dwelling of the miners and the pond was a quarry, Sir H would get it.

Just out of curiosity, (and not to doubt your veracity), what is your source for this info? I love old property law stuff, so I'm interested. :)

If the mine is exhausted, does the king still own it? In other words, does he have any rights if the minerals are gone?

I'm the source. :wink:

All mineral rights belong to the crown. This is a part and parcel of the notion of 'real estate,' where real is really royal. Our concept of eminent domain flows from this notion that all land ultimately belongs to the monarch. In Harnic terms, any exploitable minerals revert to crown control. If the minerals are exhausted, then the crown has no claim. A fascinating point of law would be if there remain minerals that are no longer exploitable. Who then owns the site ...
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Postby Imarë » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:41 pm

Sorry I did not source my information. Lovely afternoon at the cafe.

I don't believe that the complex is currently being used much. The dust indicated a couple of people going back and forth, not legions. The way I read it is that the site was abandoned either when the item sought ran out or when the dwarves pulled back to their current borders sometime after the Battle of Sorrows (where, in the elven mind they developed their sour dispositions). I think what Imare first spotted could have been a chute to bring ore in for processing (making this a refining area). It was sealed well because it was in clear view. The entrance was more remote and was just filled with stones to seal it and keep prying eyes away. My supposition is that one of the girls was our watcher and saw Sir Ewen doing his act. Knowing the area, they might have put two and two together and come up with a funny looking area to look into (for profit, to get their Lords approval if it turned out to be something, thinking this would make them contestants on "The Bachelor", who knows). They made it in but ran into trouble and became trapped.

I don't know enough about Khuzan architecture to guess where their storerooms would be. I would put them close to the entrance to cut down on the transportation through the complex. It could be that in the past, the complex was discovered and used for smuggling (not far from the main trail after all) and still the rooms near the front would be best. Smugglers might also have left booby traps to capture or kill those who wander in.

There are some interesting possibilities of what to do. First, if Sir Ewen were to present the King with a Khuzan mine for his very own it might provide brownie points in his favor. If we decide to keep it secret, we might not have to kill the girls, they could have taken care of that themselves. It is also possible to manipulate their minds to forget. What would be needed would be a cover story in either case (missing bodies would lead to people checking the odd places and perhaps finding the entrance). For bodies, the pond would be the best place in my mind. I doubt that Forensic Files would be available to dispute the manner of death and/or time. Blaming the local knight would not provide much of a satisfactory result. I don't think that officially anything could be done. Is killing off the locals malfeasance? This is the only above ground way for Sir Ewen to replace him totally (Sir Ewens preferred method is always open however). If we blamed him it would certainly add to the tension in the area, perhaps causing a drop in yield and thus payment of his obligations (a slower way to get him out). We don't know if he has something tucked away for a rainy day or not so this could take quite some time.

I like the idea of keeping it secret. With the current political situation, Sir Ewen could bring negative notice to himself and might need to lay low for some time. This might be such a "safe house".
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Postby Lord Ewen » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:55 pm

I have no dispute with Dave's analysis here - well done. There seems to be two basic scenarios that might be in play.

One, the complex is long deserted, our activities at the cliff piqued the granddaughters' interest (one of them being the person Imarë failed to detect spying on us), and they explored and stumbled upon the entrance. Failing to follow Teddy's left hand rule, or the more controversial right-hand rule, they became lost and are now languishing somewhere within the dwarf-warren. Objections to this theory are mainly on internal logic: if seeing us messing with the cliff face was all it took for two skinny-dipping teenage nymphs to locate the well-concealed and rather distal entrance, then why is it abandoned as this theory suggests, or unknown by Sir Herrill and the other locals?

Two, somebody is using the place. Smugglers, as you say. Or Sir Herrill, who has something going on under the table, which brings in extra income and makes it easy to pay his feudal dues, escheat, or whatever. Or someone else. At any rate, whatever the details, our activities at the cliff face have gotten someone twitchy, and the poor girls have unwittingly stumbled into trouble and have been seized to keep the cover from being blown. The significant difference with theory one, above, is that we are likely to run into armed trouble in this scenario, for one thing.

In favor of theory two is my recollection of the description of the disturbed dust, which seemed perhaps more than what two girls might stir up. Also, diving off a cliff is one thing, but two girls exploring a Khuzan complex alone seems beyond the heights of folly. But maybe I'm too old fashioned, and I've probably made more than enough remarks disparaging of adolescent girls for one post. :wink: Anyway, I lean toward theory two, but am interested to hear the analysis of others.
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Postby Matt » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:13 pm

I suspect "skinny-dipping teenage nymphs" bought you a lot of latitude. Certainly Sir Baris would linger lovingly over the thought ... :lol:
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Postby Imarë » Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:15 pm

Both are good theory. My thought on the dust is that if this were used regularly, there would be a track in the dust, not individual scuffs (the obligatory worn track as it were). I don't know if much is known about non-arable land in a feudal society. Unless a hunt happened to pass by, I doubt that the local knights even would think about this area. The main baliff (Sir G) did not even know there was a pond at this manor. Which ever the back story here, I suggest we keep on our toes and our blades ready for use. Having never been a skinny-dipping teenaged female nymph (SDTFN), I cannot fathom what their thoughts would be. Maybe Sir Baris could use the place to start a harem for himself...
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Postby Lord Ewen » Sat Dec 19, 2009 7:02 am

Harem? Sir Ewen is thinking about how many Thardan troops he could stash in this place. How to unobtrusively get them in there, though? Ay, there's the rub.
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Postby Matt » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:54 am

Supply is the real problem. Moving in under the cover of night is easy. Feeding 20-40 active warriors is the true challenge. 8)
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Postby Imarë » Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:00 pm

I think our biggest problem with supply would be the local knight. If he were not there to question, I don't think that the locals would raise much of a fuss being as insular as they are. The troops would then have to be kept inside, not something that other than dwarves would relish.

The place seems large enough for both troops and a harem for Sir Baris. Maybe Sir Ewen could start Club Khuzan, a resort spa...
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Postby Imarë » Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:43 pm

Since conversation seems to have dried up on the topic, I thought I would stir it some. If this is a smugglers nest as Sir Ewen suggested, there are limited possibilities as to who would be running it. As I have stated before, I believe that suspect pool would be rather small. Strangers would be noticed here and I am sure they would be at least observed. To add to this, the light horse quartered in Inbernel used to ride patrol in the area making it harder for outsiders. I see the possible candidates as: Sir Grogan (the bailiff of Inbernel), Sir Herrill, the innkeeper Bran, The bailiff and/or beadle (though why would they kidnap their own daughters/granddaughters?) I think Sir Grogan would be too far removed. The smuggling route to Tashal would not lead to Selepan but by the main trail. He would also be watched by the locals, especially the local knight. Sir H would be a better candidate for villain but I don't think that with his popularity he could count on the locals to keep quiet, especially if the new lord is hanging around and they really want to be rid of him. The innkeeper makes a good suspect. He deals with any strangers coming through anyway s one or two more at the inn would not arouse suspicion. He does have Deryni abilities, whether he can use them or not is a question too. Could he have honed certain abilities but not be aware of the full talent? Could he know and have talents but is just not showing that he knows. All we have is that he did not react to the mental touch of Sir Ewen, not that he was not aware. It was shortly after Sir Ewen tried this that the girls vanished. Could there be a connection? Might they know something that they should not? They do make frequent trips into the area where we found the entrance. Could they have stumbled on the entrance (either now or in the past) and thought where Bran could "hear" that this might be what Sir Ewen was seeking and he took them to prevent this? Another possibility would be the light horse. They go around the area regularly, perhaps they have added smuggling to their repertoire. How they would know that Sir Ewen was looking for something near their lair is unknown since they have not gone on patrol for months. Does anyone have any other suspects or comments to add to my wild ramblings? Feel free to join the conversation (HINT, HINT)
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Postby Matt » Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:41 am

Well, it seems to me that if this facility is used for smuggling whether by Sir Herrill or someone else, the key question is what are they smuggling and why?

While I recognize the romantic allure of smuggling, it must be said that not much lends itself to the concept. The point of smuggling in general is to avoid customs or other taxation. The latter may be viewed as a marginal cost of doing business, and any smuggling must offset the marginal cost in order to be worthwhile. Outside of cities and major towns, such customs do not enter the picture, and so the motive to smuggle decreases in proportion to the distance from one of the aforementioned settlements.

A manor lord like Sir Herrill faces almost no taxation outside his feudal dues. Sir Grogan, as a bailiff, would be less interested in smuggling and more interested (assuming a significant level of venality) in hiding income so as not to be liable to the overlord. However, since Sir Ewen has had an opportunity to examine the books in detail, it can be said there is no evidence of such embezzlement.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:23 am

Well, just to be comprehensive here, the other purpose of smuggling would be to move goods which are outright illegal, or have been obtained illegally and are therefore "hot". Not that we have any indication that such is the case here. I don't believe I used the term "smuggling" below. I just threw out as one possibility that perhaps Sir Herrill was using the complex for some economic activity not strictly within the bounds of normal feudal practice, as it were. I would note, however, that the fairly minimal disturbance to the dust noted thus far does not strongly encourage that theory to my mind.

As for the question about the innkeeper Bran, Sir Ewen can only comment upon his own experience. When Rahel probed him back in session 19, Ewen felt only a strange brushing sensation at his temples. At that point Ewen had no clue that he was himself Deryni, but had been aware at different points in his life of possessing a certain intuition about things, and having occasional, preternaturally vivid and perhaps predictive dreams. But that's about it. My hunch is, without any tutelage from a fellow Deryni at some point in his life, Bran is unlikely to have much of a clue about his own nature. It should also be noted that, whomever Hodril might be, it is unlikely that Bran's share of Deryni blood is as potent as Sir Ewen's, but that would depend entirely upon Hodril's family line.

The question of what to do about Bran is, I think, important, and distinct from the question of whether he is involved in the dwarf warren. Does one leave a fellow Deryni to languish in obscurity and igorance of his own nature, which would seem a waste at the very least? Or should Sir Ewen embark on the task of making the young man aware of his nature, and bring him into the fold, so to speak?

And, BTW, Merry Christmas to all.
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Postby Matt » Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:07 am

Sir Ewen wrote:Well, just to be comprehensive here, the other purpose of smuggling would be to move goods which are outright illegal, or have been obtained illegally and are therefore "hot".

Fair enough. Of course, there aren't many things that fall into this category either. A few drugs of rare usage, gaethipa, and perhaps religious icons of the 'evil' temples.'

Sir Ewen wrote:And, BTW, Merry Christmas to all.

And to all as well. 8)
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Postby Imarë » Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:50 pm

Matt took the latest point I was going to make. What on earth (or Harn) would be smuggled from Melderyn? Also I don't recall any customs barriers on our trip to Burzyn. I suppose if we were in a wagon or had pack animals it would be different but I am sure that it would not be inconvenient to avoid any barriers.

The only possible thing I can think of would be a covert mining operation. The physical clues do not seem to back this possibility up. Can anyone think of any other options for a secret dwarven ruin?
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Postby Lord Ewen » Fri Dec 25, 2009 6:41 pm

Imarë wrote:Matt took the latest point I was going to make. What on earth (or Harn) would be smuggled from Melderyn? Also I don't recall any customs barriers on our trip to Burzyn. I suppose if we were in a wagon or had pack animals it would be different but I am sure that it would not be inconvenient to avoid any barriers.


Eh? Was smuggling from Melderyn discussed? Have I missed something? Why on earth would we be in a wagon? Help!

As for covert mining, I agree that the evidence doesn't support it. Not on any significant scale, at any rate. Not enough evidence of regular traffic at the entrance, for one thing. Although I suppose another as-yet-undiscovered entrance might exist elsewhere on the hill, perhaps off the GM-provided local map. In other words, there's no guarantee we found the main entrance.

My recollection of the entrance we did discover was that it was well hidden by the terrain, mostly blocked by rocks save for some limited, recently-cleared access through those rocks into the cave. Does this match everyone else's notes?

Also, the door into the dwarven complex. Unlikely to have been opened by two girls sans tools or other implements?
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Postby Imarë » Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:07 pm

I'm sorry about the confusion. With the location of the manor, smuggling would have to come north from either Burzyn or Melderyn. As I don't think anything but food is produced by Burzyn, that would indicate Melderyn as a source of smuggled items. I don't believe that I ever said we were in a wagon, merchants would probably use a wagon or a cart and thus be a target for customs duty.

My remembrance of the discovery of the entrance would agree with yours, a recently uncovered entrance. I don't know if the door was originally closed. The dust comes inside, indicating to me that the door might have been open. No mention of a lock being on the door was mentioned and if there were not another entrance, the door could not have been barred when the little rats left. Nothing was said about the girls being small and weak so I don't think pushing open a door would be a problem.

The only mining item would have to be valuable and not hard to remove from the earth. Gems perhaps. I would not flood the market, I would take them a few at a time so that would prevent a big trail. I still follow my original thought that the pond was a quarry and that some kind of roe was mined and the facility we found was where it was processed. I don't think that even dwarves finish the walls of their mines and a spiral stair would seem a bit extravagant.

On a personal note, we have a new grandchild born 12:27 am (US time, 8:27 Kuwait) on December 25th (a Christmas baby). Her name is Sondra Elizabeth. Her father is our son, Erik.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:43 pm

Imarë wrote:On a personal note, we have a new grandchild born 12:27 am (US time, 8:27 Kuwait) on December 25th (a Christmas baby). Her name is Sondra Elizabeth. Her father is our son, Erik.


Congratulations!
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Postby Imarë » Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:09 pm

Thanks. We thought the baby was trying to make Oma a liar before birth. Niki had bought her baby's first ornament 2009. 16 more hours and she would have done it too...
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Postby Imarë » Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:36 am

Another possibility comes to mind. What if someone is taking Kuzan artifacts for sale on the market? From personal experience Imare knows how much dwarf made items go for. If the site was not permanatly abandoned in the minds of the dwarves (the hiding all signs of it point that way to me), they would not have stripped the place of its fittings (cups, plates, locks on doors, etc). Any thoughts on this?
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Postby Lord Ewen » Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:37 pm

Well, I guess we have seen Khuzan items valued by jewelers and locksmiths, and the worth of a gold crown is pretty solid. So I guess if those things were left by the dwarves, then a modern discoverer of the place would be well positioned to sell them in a city. As you suggest with the gems, they would want to avoid flooding the market both to avoid garnering notice as well as to not depress prices.

Of course, this is all wild speculation, as it is not clear that the site was open until recently.

Historically, when the Khuzan withdrew to Azadmere, did they originally intend to return?

Do you think the spiral staircase a sign of orgulous extravagance? I would think such a contrivance child's play for the Khuzan....
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Postby Imarë » Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:19 pm

Stairs, true, but for a mine? It would be a bitch to get the ore cart up and down one of those to me.

We don't know whether the entrance was cleared or widened (plus we don't know if there might be another entrance). It could be a couple of peasants who want to pad their meagre income from farming (or innkeeping).

As to speculation, of course it is. Isn't that what we are best at?? I don't think we have ever been right in our suppositions but that should not stop us from discussing the issue and deciding what we think it might be. Where would be the fun if we didn't?
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