Session One Hundred Forty-Nine - January 12, 2019

Wherein the ongoing story of the FtF campaign may be found ...

Session One Hundred Forty-Nine - January 12, 2019

Postby Matt » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:37 pm

Kelen 12, 733

The morning begins cold and overcast with the normal prediction of rain in the afternoon.

At the breakfast table, Goreg, perhaps feeling a little stir-crazy with talks of deals and debts, expresses an interest in local theater or other artistic entertainment. One of the house-staff overhearing, mentions that next door it is the local harpers hall. This new bit of information does much to explain the occasional music heard wafting through the courtyard.

Ewen thinks of who might review the contract that will be coming in the next coming days. Baris pipes up, you speak Khuzan, you should be able to read it, no problem.

Ewen opines that he should perhaps inquire about hiring a Khuzan litigant. Mostly to help with the nuances of the language and the stressing and use of the no doubt technical language it will contain. He inquires of Lord Relkazan about a proper litigant who would be fair and honest with a visitor. Ewen truth reads the majordomo as he asks and listens to the answer. It transpires there are two litigants in the outer city- one is clan Sereth and the other Warian. Both are human clans. Clan Sereth is generally more regarded, but Ewen hears the unstated ‘but you get what you pay for.’ Ewen thanks him and decides to wait until the contract arrives to see what level of law understanding is required.

Baris and Goreg spend the morning sparring and working on form in the garden in the middle of town. Goreg spent more of the time looking over his shoulder to make sure that they were not about to be arrested or reprimanded for being on some sort of forbidden ground.

That evening, at the Golden Wheel Arva sees two older dwarves engaged in conversation and at least twice she is pointed at. Some sort of conclusion is reached between the two and one walks away. The other sits at another table and engages in conversation and essentially ignores Arva from that point on. Arva and Goreg finish their two ales, Goreg sampling the number three, and then return to their temporary home.

Ewen takes advantage of the lull in action and sits to speak with his sister at the appointed time. No specific news, no Vikings sighted, Lady of Paladins are sequestered at Whyce; the Earl of Neph has not been seen in Tashal; and Rahel has been appointed the Queen’s Master of Esoterica. At Ewen’s laugh and inquiry Rahel explains that she has allowed the Queen to think she is an alchemist. She continues that she has been given a room at the castle, and of course, installed a portal so she doesn’t have sleep there and other reasons. Ewen inquires after the Baron of Stimos, Rahel says his replacement is expected with the Salt Route caravan.

Kelen 13, 733

Still cold and overcast. Baris and Goreg spar again. The contract arrives from clan Rakin, roughly a dozen pages. Ewen reviews the pages and immediately folds the document back up as it written in runic. He walks over to Clan Sereth attended by Arva. Inside the clan building, the front room is open with desks with three occupied behind a low wall. The person the front the desk greets Ewen and inquires of the nature of his business. Ewen introduces himself and tells of his need of having a contract reviewed. The man inquires with whom the contract is with, as they would need to ensure there is not a conflict of interest with another client. The man explains it is very bad for business to find out that both parties had the same litigant. Ewen tells him with Eiki Rakin. The greeter turns and looks at the others working and one shrugs his shoulders and tells Ewen Bandmann is able help. Ewen and Arva walk over to the high desk where Bandan sits. Ewen thinks the desks are rather high for any Khuzan clients, perhaps for intimidation. The price is a range of 72-96d. Ewen asks if that includes a translation. The clerk tells him that the 96d will include that. Ewen winces at the price and pays without a word. He is given a service confirmation contract with the clan Sereth explaining at a high level the services expected to be performed.

Ewen then hands over the contract he received this morning. At one point the litigant looks up and asks if Ewen is aware of the profit clause. Arva indicates that that there was a cap of £1500. Bandan makes a note and adds that. He makes a note that this will have to be changed.
“There is a matter of a debt?

“Yes, I am to purchase a debt owed to Clan Rakin by the late Baron of Kolorn and assume it and the collateral, a house in Tashal.”

The litigant pauses and gives Ewen a very quizzical look, “I was unaware that slavery was legal in Kaldor.”

“It is not,” Ewen replies.

“Well, that is going to need clarification. The ‘collateral’ as indicated here is not a house, but a household, specifically the late baron’s mistress.”

Ewen asks if a proper name was used, and Bandan says no, just the description.

“I think that needs changing,” the Baron states drily.

Bandan makes another note and then looks up again.
“There is a bit about mercenary services?”

“Yes,” Ewen explains, “we are to have a joint venture to ensure the safety of the caravan to Tashal.”

The litigant shakes his head, “it says Voldran Rakin is in command of the Baron and retinue.

“No that doesn’t work, Ewen says. We will not be under his command. He is to provide equal service.”

Bandan continues, moving his finger down the line of runes, “He is to provide support on a good faith effort, and the second party of this contract is not hold clan Rakin liable for anything that may transpire.”

Ewen thinks a moment, “Let’s make the support thing a little firmer, I can live with the other section, the risks associated are those incurred in the normal course of ... business.”

The litigant nods, “Well then, all else is order, I shall have copy made and translated, and emended.”

Ewen, holds up his hand, “It does say that I hold the note now.”

“No, when you pay it off this summer.”

“No now. If I fail to pay, then I am a debtor but they will no longer hold the note.”

“I certainly can add that in.”

Arva speaks up having thought of a possible loop-hole in favor of Ewen, “Put in that the payment will be in the local currency.”

The litigant nods again, “Very well,” he pauses, and adds “and that the final binding contract will be in Lakise.” He makes a few more notes, the parchment filling quickly with text.

Ewen, seeing where the details are going, adds, “Ensure that the extra guards are to be contingent on clan Rakin giving the same consideration. Also if they fail to provide the note, I get the 10% down payment back in addition to any legal fees incurred.”

Bandan smiles, “Well, legal fees are always in flux, let’s just say a pound and writes down 320d. The new document shall be ready the day after tomorrow.”

Ewen nods, “What’s the usual process for the final signing?”

“It is usually between parties, but I can be present at the signing to ensure the proper clauses have been agreed to.”

Cekiya pipes up that Ewen should read it before being sent just to make sure that everything is as it should be. the litigant says he will send it to Ewen and await instructions.

That evening at the Golden Wheel Arva and Goreg take the now familiar table and make their selection of the ale for the evening. Goreg chooses number 5 and Arva tries the second option.

She scans the room and notes that few face look familiar. She thinks that either she is coming too often or they are. She sees an older dwarf enter, one of the men from the night before. She notes it is the one who left originally. He comes to her table. He asks, in Harnic, “Arva of Kerryn representative of Baron Ternua?”

Arva responds,” That is me. Might I know your name sir?”

“I am Hraldan Tharin. “

“Would you care to join us?”

“I would, it has been years since I have been here, at least to stay. I was here briefly a few times before but did not stay. I understand you have a proposal for me.”

Arva smiles, “Proposal may be too strong a word. It is merely the broaching of an idea. Our new Queen feels that the Silver Caravan is too valuable to leave open to another possible Viking attack. Until the threat can be assured of not recurring, she would like to propose a deviation to another way station already in use by clan Garibath.”

Hraldan gives the actress a half-smile, “Is that all?”

Arva gives a chuckle in return, “Pretty much. My lord Baron has been sent to see how we can ease the burden of the new path.”

Hraldan leans forward, “Tell me more. I am always interested in an attractive young woman who can ease my burden.”

Arva laughs, “First, tell me of your clan and what burden this deviation would cause and then I can perhaps offer an easement.”

“Well, you play it bit a close to the vest don’t you?” Hraldan says with grin, “We are a small clan, Probably the smallest, of the four mercantile clans. We have a long standing relationship with the mercantylers of Gardiren. They depend on us for their very livelihood. The Earl of Neph is an old friend of mine. Now of course, I know that he has been taken to his reward, which if he has anything to say about it would be in a Halean fantasy land if there is such a one, but I have no doubt that his successor will be just as fine as fellow.”

Arva, frowns and makes a slight sound of disagreement. “His character is not mine to describe,” she says with some disdain. “My lord Baron is a peer and indeed sat and debated with the new Earl in council and could better answer to his character.

“Also I would not want to be the one to send those merely doing their job into ruin. However there are other mercantylers that would benefit from your patronage.”

Hraldan narrows his eyes, “That sounds vaguely threatening ...”

Goreg, enjoying selection number five very much, thinks to himself, who is Arva talking to? He then belches loudly.

Hraldan begins to say something else but trails off and looks across the table. Arva turns to look she see a young human female, a serving maid, walking slowly towards the table with eyes wide on the dwarf. The maid intones, “I thought you were dead old man.”

Hraldan recoils slightly at her words.

The girl continues, “You live, but my father is dead.”

Hraldan stands, “Be gone or I will speak to your master.”

The serving maid stops, “We will see each other again,” and walks away.

Goreg, swaying in his seat, “whoooah drrraaama llama.”

Hraldan mutters to himself, “I knew there was a reason I didn’t like this place.” He turns to Arva, “Bring your Baron to my clan house tomorrow night.” He turns and stiffly walks out.

Goreg, realizing that is a good thing, pumps the hand not holding his tankard into the air, “Wahooo!”

Arva, looks around and sees neither the maid nor the dwarf from last night. She, sighs, and takes Goreg by the scruff of the neck and with the experience of one who has been involved in many late night bar crawls, walks him home. Baris’ corrupting influence, of course, is to blame for the state of the squire.

Once back to the house, Arva relates all things to Ewen when they return, including her intention of returning on the morrow for an interview with the maid.

Goreg looks to Baris, “You have to try ale number five.”

Baris, looks smugly to Goreg, “I am already on number seven ... keep up man.” Goreg nods, and both men leave to continue the counting of ales.

Kelen 14, 733

Goreg wakes up the next morning not in his bed, nor in jail. He finds that good enough and so disentangles himself and makes the walk home with his head low as each step is a jarring spike to his head. At least the sun in not out and the cold is a soothing upon his brow.

Baris and Goreg do not take the day to spar.

Qorsad the swift sends a thought to Ewen as the knight and squire lay in their beds that there is a lot of bad thinking going on today. Ewen idly wonders what that means to the creature.

In the afternoon, Arva and Cekiya go to the Golden Wheel. As they take a seat, Arva glances around but does not see the maid in question. Arva inquires with her server about the maid.

The server responds, “That sounds like Vigdas. She was very ill this morning. I can deliver a message for you if you wish.”

Arva inclines her head. “Yes, please ask her if she would come and speak of the character of one Hraldan of clan Tharin to Arva of Kerryn in the Tasokin Palace.”

While Arva was out attempting to gather information, a formal dinner invitation arrives from clan Tharin expressing a request that the Baron and whomever the Baron deems appropriate to come for dinner that evening at 7 pm.

Then the appointed time comes, Baris and Goreg are still in their beds attempting to recover from the night before. Ewen and Arva make their way to dinner with Cekiya trailing behind. The Tharin clan house is the middle building of the cluster of three buildings north of Karasat Square. The house is made of stone with an undercroft and a side stair up to the front door. There are four stories in total. Ewen takes the brass knocker in hand and thumps it loudly on the door. It opens to show an old Khuzan woman.

“Are you Lord Ternua? I am Dorbela Tharin, come in.” As Ewen and Arva enter Dorbela spots Cekiya at the bottom of the stairs and beckons her in as well.

Ewen turns seeing the little adder come up the stairs, “Don’t break anything, Cekiya.”

Arva is not sure if he meant things or people.

As they walk into the hall, Dorbela leans close to Arva, and whispers, “What did you say to my husband?”

Arva turns her head with sympathy feigned across her face, “‘Twas not my conversation but the maid’s who blamed him for her father’s death.”

Dorbela pauses a moment, “Oh that must have been the one he hanged. We will speak no further of it; he is not in a good mood. Your Baron has a high mountain to climb.”

Once inside, the trio see a large opening to the left and double doors to the right, the entry was has pegs and benches. Dorbela points to the double doors and indicates that the doors are the entry to the hall, but she does not open the doors. Ewen opens them and stands aside to let the ladies enter first. Once in the hall, they see there are a couple of tables with benches and a head table. The table with benches to the left is very nicely set. Dorbela says that she hopes they don’t mind but they will be dining family style.

Ewen smiles at their hostess, “It is just a informal business dinner, no need for frippery.”

Dorbela responds, “Good, we don’t do formal. My daughter-in-law is cooking, I hope you like it, for there is nothing else. My son is not with us but my nephew and my daughter-in-law are and if I decide I like you I may introduce you to my granddaughter.”

“I hope to have the honor. I am looking forward to dinner.”

Dorbela nods, “I am going to check on just that. Someone should pour, there is ale in one and porter in the other. And then you should tell my husband to bring out the aquavit.” She nods satisfied that she has said everything, turns to go through the doors the party assumes leads to the kitchen.

After an awkward moment, Ewen decides not to stand on his dignity, and pours out drinks to the ladies.

A younger Khuzan male comes into the hall, “Does it feel like snow to you?” He peers intently at the peer.

Ewen thinking this evening is going to be a long one, responds, “Good evening, I would not hold myself as an authority of snow in this land.”

The newcomer nods, “You are wise to keep your council on the weather, I am Balavan Tharin. You must be that baron fellow.”

“I am.”

“Is that porter?” Balavan asks, indicating the drink in Ewen’s hand.

Ewen indicates that it is and still allowing the tenor of the evening to dictate itself, pours a glass. Balavan takes it without comment and quickly downs the dark heady brew and holds it out for a refill. “You have to lubricate the canal first,” he explains.

Down the spiral staircase comes Hraldan, looking decidedly unhappy. “Well so you are here, you must be the Baron as you are the only male I do not recognize.”

“I am and I thank you for your hospitality.”

Hraldan pours his own glass and sits in a chair at the head of the table without another word.

Ewen, unsure of the protocol, begins. “I assume there are no assigned seats, and then follows Hraldan’s lead and pulls a chair from another table to the foot of the table, seating opposite Hraldan.

Hraldan, actually looks amused at Ewen’s gesture, “You are a noble man aren’t you?”

Ewen grins into his glass, “It goes with the title.”

Hraldan nods, “Just another version of the chicken and the egg question. Balvaran, why are you wandering around, come sit down.”

Alarmed and thinking of Aethal Atan, Ewen moves to stop the philosophy before it can take root, and steers the conversation in a direction more to his liking, “According to Arva here, I understand you knew the late Earl of Neph well. Did I understand correctly that you have had the honor of sitting at his table.?”

“I did indeed, it was many years ago when I was still caravan master and my venerable father headed this clan.”

Ewen nods, “I, too, have supped at his table, it was a prodigious experience.”

“Did you throw up?” Hraldan asks, and at Ewen’s indication to the negative, continues, “Then you didn’t get the full treatment.” He continues, “I can’t remember the heir very well though. The boy was just that, a boy or a babe, either as it makes no difference in memory.”

Ewen takes a moment to pause, “I have shared a table with him as well. He is not of the same character as his father. For starters he has a devoted wife and is equally devoted to her. He is less indulgent than his father and attempts to give the air of a cultivated man. Of course, the late Earl had an enormous brood.”

Hraldan nods, “You have put your finger on it. This always confused me. He hated his wife, but they had so many children.”

At the moment Dorbela comes out with a tray and screams. She drops the tray with her gaze locked on something right behind Ewen.

They all turn and behind Ewen is Vigdas, with a crossbow. Vigdas looses the bolt and immediately flees. Ewen makes a quick attempt to telekinetically deflect the quarrel but it flies true into Hraldan’s chest. The clanhead falls backwards. Cekiya follows after Vigdas after a brief look to Ewen for his approval.

Ewen takes action as well, “Is there a physician in the house? Should the authorities be summoned?” He asks the nephew as Balavan and Dorbela reach Hraldan’s side.

Balavan looks to Ewen, “If you would go seek the authorities, I would ever be so obliged.” Ewen looks to Arva and tells her that Hraldan is not dead yet.

Arva runs to summons the guards.

Cekiya darts to the outside stairwell, looks over the wall, and sees a dark figure turn the corner to the right. Leaping over the edge, Cekiya follows. Dashing towards the canal, leaning into the turn as she goes right, she sees her prey ahead running full speed holding a light crossbow. Vigdas turns right on Hazmadul way. Cekiya barely sees the figure round the corner to the left, but is able to follow.

Arva runs outside and straight across the square to the inner Taniz gate. There are several Khuzan guards standing guard. She runs up and breathlessly exclaims that there has been an assassination attempt on the leader of clan Tharin and to come quickly. Four come at her urging. Arva notes that all are in livery. As they are running back to the clan house, one guards peels off to the left.

Ewen meanwhile bends low to help support Hraldan and to take advantage of situation to poke around in the head of his host. Ewen hopes to get a sense of regrets or secrets the man had when faced with mortality. Ewen also hopes as well as the suggestion to take the caravan to Kiban can take root. Ewen finds no regrets at the top of the Khuzan mind, but is surprised to find that the suggestion seems to been willingly received.

Cekiya rounds a corner, thinking that she is gaining on the serving maid from the Golden Wheel and finds that Vigdas has stopped and is facing her. The brazen holds the crossbow at Cekiya and shouts, “Stop or I’ll shoot.”

Cekiya, in her own reality, cocks her head, “No you won’t.”

Vigdas does fire, but Cekiya dodges the bolt and moves quickly forward. Vigdas throws down crossbow and surrenders.

Cekiya takes her back to the Palace of Tasokin as it is closer than the clan house. She walks in with her dagger near the back of the serving maid and looks at Lord Relkazan as he opens the door. “Send someone to Lord Ewen and tell him I got her, she shot at me. Let me know what now?”

To his credit Lord Relkazan, merely blinked once before sending the messenger with Cekiya’s curt message.

Back at the clan house, a physician arrives and takes over. Soon after, the messenger arrives and all learn that Cekiya has the girl. Hraldan rallies a bit at this news and breaths out a raspy ‘well ... done’ to Ewen.

The guards to go Hraldan and ask, “Master Hraldan, what is your wish?”

Hraldan asks the circumstances surrounding the capture. Ewen informs him that his retainer had chased her down and took her into custody after the woman shot at the retainer.

Hraldan gathers his breath, “She attempted to kill yet another ... hang her.”

The guards nod and ask Ewen to take them to her. Ewen leads the men back to the palace and oversees the transfer of the woman into the guards’ custody.

Meanwhile, as Cekiya waits for Ewen’s answer to what she can do with her prisoner, Cekiya holds the crossbow with it pointing at Vigdas. Vigdas looks the weapon pointed at her and says, “It would be more intimidating if the bow was cocked.” Cekiya glares at Vidgas and pulls her knife. Baris, who was feeling much better was sitting nearby and laughs. He tells Cekiya that he would be willing to keep a very close eye on the woman she brought in. He explains it would be better to watch her in his room as it has only one door versus the hall where there are multiple exits. Baris is saved from Cekiya’s answer as Ewen and the guards arrival.

Ewen walks over to Cekiya, “Well done.” The priestess moves to the side, hiding the crossbow behind her, thinking of who should help her make it work.

Ewen attempts to read Vigdas as he hands her over. He reads the anger instantly and learns, Skir, her father, was hanged by Hraldan when he was serving as a member of a caravan going to Kaldor. Skir was accused of theft of caravan goods. She believes the charges to be false, and someone framed him.

The guards say to Ewen, “We must take this woman into custody. Because the victim demanded she be executed she will be hanged, however, any death sentence must be appealed to the King and so it will be.” The guard adds, “Just you know Khuzan law is civilized.”

Ewen replies, “Obvious that justice has a secure place in this kingdom and I respect it.”

After the guards leave, Ewen prepares to eat his missed dinner, Arva brings back news that Hraldan Tharin will recover with time and treatment in the baths of the northern province, a detail she decided to make up on the spot.

Kelen 15, 733

At breakfast, Cekiya shoves the unloaded crossbow into Baris’s face, “This is mine now. Make it work.”

Baris takes the weapon by the handle and works the slider to the stock, loading the bow. Cekiya takes it back and aims it at various targets in the hall. All are tense as she silently practices her aim.

Early in the morning just after breakfast, guardsmen present themselves at the front door. Lord Relkazan admits them into the antechamber, Ewen is summoned. Ewen enters and identifies himself. They bow and Ewen bows in return.

One of the guardsmen speaks, “Milord, I am the herald of King Hazmadul III of Azadmere. My master, the King, requests and requires your presence at a feast in your honor.”

Baris turns to Goreg and whispers, “Plot twist, Ewen is the main course.” Goreg looks at Baris, confused.

Ewen responds, “All honor to the King, I am honored and on behalf of Her Grace Queen Chelebin IV on whose service I am here, I thank King Hazmadul for the honor of dining at his table.”

The Herald continues, “Said feast will occur two days hence on Kelen 17, 733, In the great hall in the inner city of Azadmere. Escorts will be sent.”

“I shall make myself ready for that day and esteem the high honor.”

The Herald, nods, “All hail the King of Azadmere and his fellow monarch the Queen of Kaldor.”

The herald and guards leave.

Evening arrives, Arva makes one last night at the Golden Wheel with Cekiya as her companion, as Goreg had excused himself from the drinking for the evening. As Arva begins her second and final glass of ale of the night, she sees at another table the first dwarf that was talking Hraldan of Tharin, several nights ago.

Arva goes over and apologizes to the three men and one female at the table for interrupting. She turns to the dwarf and says that she noticed him with Hraldan Tharin the other night and inquires if they are friends.

The dwarf smirks and without looking up says, “Have a seat Arva of Kerryn.”

Arva sits and looks a the dwarf without saying a word.

The dwarf continues, “You are so like so many of your kind, forward, brash.” As he speaks he points over at a server and an ale is brought and placed in front of Arva, “I am Bilbur Garibath.”

Arva raises her ale slightly, in thanks, “It is a honor to meet you sir. As you already think me forward, I shall ask if you have any news on the health of Hraldan Tharin.”

Bilbur looks at her, “It is very kind of you to inquire. I can tell you that my friend and competitor has not been mortally injured. All expectations is that he will recover. His would be assassin has been taken, as few of your kind are, into the inner city. The King will decide her fate: to hang or not.”

Arva smiles at the dwarf, “I am quite glad to hear of the prognosis. I have been told the first 24 hours can mean much to the outcome a person’s health. As for the assassin, she will face justice.”

The head of clan Garibath shrugs, “The King will probably pardon her, no one died. Had the kitchen maid who chased her died, she would have hanged.” He pauses and looks at Arva expectantly, “And there is much speculation as to how the kitchen maid managed the capture her.” As Arva says nothing, Bilbur continues, “She will face exile from the kingdom instead, a sad fate to never return to the this vale of milk and honey.”

Arva merely says, “The King’s justice is just.”

Bilbur of Garibath gives her a bland look, “But you came to us ...,” he pauses and the others at the table snicker slightly.

Arva, apt at reading a room, abandons her plan of attempting to get more information, “Yes, for as I said, news of the health of the head of the Clan Tharin. The Baron will be pleased that the news did not change from last evening. I thank you for the ale and bid you good night.” Arva stands and bows to the table.

Bilbur, with a confused look upon his brow, bids her good night as she walks back to her table.

Arva gathers up the hero Cekiya, the kitchen maid, and they make their way back to the palace and bed.

Kelen 16, 733

The morning begins with snow falling from the sky and Cekiya muttering “That guy knew, two days ago, he knew.”

Baris responds, “Well maybe he did it.” This seems to give Cekiya pause in her wandering from window to window.

Just after breakfast, the translated contract is delivered to Ewen. As the party has nothing to do, all take turns reading the document. Ewen and Baris, both having proper education, have the most luck in reading through the legal documents ensuring that the notes and changes requested were added into the new draft. A messenger is sent to the litigant with approval to forward the document on to the Clan Rakin.

Later in the day, a message arrives from litigant that the documentation was sent and have accepted it and the clan wishes to sign as soon as possible. In fact if the Baron agrees, all will present themselves at the Palace of Tasokin that evening. Ewen sends a message back it sounds acceptable.

Bandan Sereth arrives later in the afternoon. The representatives of clan Rakin arrive and verbally agree to the changes made in the contract. Ewen takes one last moment to read it before he signs it. Clan Rakin hands over the papers holding the debt of Kolorn. After reviewing the documents of collateral, Ewen believes the house is near the wall of the temple of Larani. He hands the documents to his squire to file within his personal papers later. Ewen invites all for a drink, but the litigant and the members of clan Rakin decline, citing other engagements. Ewen sees his guests to the door and then retires for the evening to finish his preparations for the royal feast tomorrow.
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