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Ashnabis session logs
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Summary

Session

Session date: July 12, 2020
Fair Cycle date:

Introduction


<AshnabisNarrator> It is now the month of Udim, which means that, at least in the Empire, the beginning of winter. Here, of course, there is hardly any release from the heat, although it should get rainier soon. But you've said that before.
<AshnabisNarrator> It is said that Udim takes its name from an Omban festival of that name, a feast-day when new lineages that had been formed over the past year would be acknowledged by the Emperor. Of course, there is no Emperor anymore - at least not one that you would all recognize.
<AshnabisNarrator> Here in the Kaskind Territory, of course, lineages are still around, but hardly as strong as back home, and if you listen to the older Aummesh, hardly as much as in the past even here.
<AshnabisNarrator> Your recent role in rediscovering the origins of the Lentu lineage reminds you that all persons (ahem) bear the mark of some lineage, some claim to some clan that has an origin in someone's choice to claim an affiliation.
<AshnabisNarrator> And yet the entanglements of kin can be complicated, as some of you are about to discover.

Katenzhi goes to Choradan to meet her future in-laws


<AshnabisNarrator> Katenzhi, you are off on a great adventure with your parents and the man you are all hoping you get to marry. You, your mom and dad, and Gefraz are using the services of Uzeld Nampai, who specializes in transportation magic and will be taking you all to visit Gefraz's relatives.
<AshnabisNarrator> You leave your business dealings in the hands of Bivizmi and Jimba during your absence. Gefraz is leaving some of his fos in Jimba's hands as well as he has no one to manage his business in his absence.
<AshnabisNarrator> The trip itself takes just a moment - one minute you are on the rough dusty streets of Kaskind near the fort, and the next, you are in a wide stone plaza in the center of what you desperately hope is the city of Kindi Nasku.
<AshnabisNarrator> Kindi Nasku is a fortress city and port in western Choradan. In the late Omban Empire, it was one of the hubs for the ultimately-failed expansion westward into what was then the Osnabis province, and a major naval supply centre for the Empire.
<AshnabisNarrator> It sits on a great peninsula that separates the ocean from the inland waters of western Choradan, and thus still holds great strategic importance for sea travel. Its populace, around twenty-five thousand, are mostly sailors, traders, and soldiers.
<AshnabisNarrator> Its fortified granite walls and parapets look out in every direction, as if to claim all around as the domain of its master. Marshal Fuld may live in Tendokho to the east, but Kindi Nasku serves as a reminder that this truly is the protector of civilization, at least, as conceived centuries ago.
<AshnabisNarrator> But as you know from your dealings at the Fort, the Choradani and especially the sentinels take their role as protectors very, very seriously. You see a squad of red-garbed sentinels march by in lockstep even as you gather up your possessions and leave Uzeld to her business until your return trip.
<AshnabisNarrator> Kindi Nasku is by far the largest place you've ever been. You knew that was true, but it's hard to put into words until you see it. At the same time, it has hardly any of the vibrancy and diversity of tiny Kaskind, barely a quarter its size but with folks from all nations.
* Gefraz seems nervous, understandably, as he capably helps you navigate the broad city streets. He brings you and your parents to a fine inn, the Hooked Eaves, where you will be staying, of course to maintain propriety.
<Katenzhi> Wow... this place is... huge.
<Romoga> Yes, a mighty city - a strong base of trade.
* Gefraz also shows you the location of a nearby supplier if you feel you need any new clothes or anything for your visit to the Argolda lineage house.
* Katenzhi brought her own, courtesy of Daifan and their friend :3
* Romoga is definitely already eyeing some shopping plans.
<AshnabisNarrator> Before any of that, though, Gefraz is going to bring his parents to the inn to meet you - you gather this is to ensure that it's worth taking the next step, although he assures you it's just a formality. Probably.
<Katenzhi> O.O
<AshnabisNarrator> The Hooked Eaves is a nice place - as nice or nicer than anyplace in Kaskind, which you've always thought has nice inns for travellers, seeing as there are so many of them. You hesitate for a moment when thinking of the expense, but then, you're in this to impress, so it makes sense.
<AshnabisNarrator> As the name suggests, its distinctive feature are its great eaves that hang far off the roof and curve under in a wide crescent, very unusually - most of the buildings here in Kindi Nasku are far more square and blocky.
<AshnabisNarrator> You settle into your rooms and then go out onto a fine slate patio for a drink, where Gefraz brings his parents to meet you after about two hours have passed since your arrival.
* Kertu is a short man of middle-years who wears his long grey hair in a ponytail, and his beard short and well-trimmed. He is wearing a black riding jacket that extends almost to his knees and a buttoned shirt open at the collar.
* Ikai is a very fair-skinned woman with striking green eyes. Her long hair is tied in an intricate braid that hangs over her right shoulder. She is wearing a long green dress that looks to have been made to the east, perhaps Omba or Taizi - certainly not local.
<Kertu> Good season and good spirit to you and your kin. I am Kertu of the Argolda, son of Marami. I present to you my wife, Ikai of the Sunozga.
* Romoga stands to greet them.
* Ikai nods her head respectfully.
<Ikai> Welcome to Kindi Nasku.
* Katenzhi will stand also.
<Romoga> Good day, sir, I am Romoga of the Lovresi, and this is my wife, Shiklazh of the Ghughife. Thank you for meeting with us on this fine day!
* Romoga has put on his 'politely dealing with rich people' voice.
* Kertu looks you all up and down as if appraising a horse.
* Katenzhi will smile and stop herself from saying anything until introduced.
<Kertu> And this must be the young lady.
<Romoga> Yes, my daughter here, this is Katenzhi of the Lovresi.
<Katenzhi> Pleased to meet you.
<Kertu> Sit, please. Let us order a drink.
* Romoga takes a seat.
<Katenzhi> Oh, yes... Thanks.
* Kertu waits for the ladies to sit, then sits himself.
* Katenzhi will sit.
<Ikai> How was your trip here? I've never teleported anywhere.
<Romoga> Very easy - as if in the blink of an eye, we were here.
* Romoga is almost certainly resisting the urge to say anything about how expensive it was, in case that makes him sound cheap.
<Katenzhi> Yeah, it was pretty fun, actually.
* Kertu orders a bunch of expensive-sounding drinks for the table.
<Katenzhi> Although, of course, there's always the risk of ending up on the other side of the continent.
<Ikai> How alarming!
<Ikai> But in any case, it is good that you are here. We have much to discuss.
<Kertu> Yes, let's get down to business.
* Kertu does not seem to be one for idle chitchat.
<Katenzhi> Ok...
<Kertu> The Lovresi name is one I have not heard here in many years. But you are Choradani, yes?
<Katenzhi> Yes. I was born here in Choradan.
<Katenzhi> And our family goes back a long time here.
<Romoga> That is right, we have been merchants, travelling these lands back and forth, but our lineage's origin is here.
* Kertu nods.
<Kertu> And how is business in Kaskind these days?
<Katenzhi> (who is he addressing generally, me or my father?)
<AshnabisGM> (no one in particular, feel free to respond)
<Romoga> Very good, very good! Many people are coming there to build a new life, and of course they need goods and supplies. My daughter has been investing in fos, which of course is always a popular item.
* Romoga nods to you so you can explain more about your business if you want.
<Katenzhi> Yes, it's going well. There's a lot of opportunity for growth. My business partner and I are trying to open up new markets.
<Kertu> Who is your business partner?
<Katenzhi> Bivizmi Pindevuzi. Her family are herbalists who own a fos refining business. Some of the best around.
<Ikai> Oh yes, we know them a little. A good family.
* Katenzhi smiles.
<Ikai> Tell me how you and Gefraz came to meet, dear.
<Katenzhi> Well, my parents introduced us and we began seeing each other. We have a lot in common, actually.
* Ikai nods.
<Ikai> What sort of place is Kaskind, for raising a family?
<Katenzhi> It's... a bit rough sometimes, but the people are friendly and the town gets bigger every season. People come from all over for the fos trade.
<Kertu> Hmm. Yes, fos is a good business.
<Romoga> Today, I would say it is much more civilized than when we first went there. Our family, we raised on our boat more or less, but nowadays the town has many amenities that one could want. It's normally very safe, of course, with the sentinels there.
<Katenzhi> I mean, it's nowhere near as big as here, but it has everything we need.
<Kertu> I have prepared an initial list of bridewealth that we can bring to the table in exchange for your daughter's labour and skills.
* Kertu passes your father a written list. He looks at it briefly then slides it over to your mother for her review.
* Katenzhi tries really, really, really hard not to look.
* Romoga is now known as Shiklazh
* Shiklazh looks it over and her eyes widen a bit as she gives a nod of approval.
<Shiklazh> This would be acceptable.
<Kertu> Ultimately, it is not up to either of us, of course.
<Kertu> But the Argolda is very fair. I do not anticipate any difficulties with the marriage of a son who is, admittedly, far from the central concerns of the lineage. As long as you are respectful and keep a distance. Here in Choradan, we are not a close people.
<Katenzhi> I will... remember that.
<Kertu> Bring no gifts or anything else that could be viewed as such. That would be interpreted as demeaning. You, Katenzhi, are the only gift on offer, the only aspect of this negotiation. You understand?
* Katenzhi turns a shade redder but nods.
* Shiklazh is now known as Romoga
<Romoga> Of course. So, we will go to meet the Argolda tomorrow?
<Ikai> Yes, that's right.
<Ikai> You'll want to soften that country accent in front of the Argolda. Demis is a very formal man, beloved of the Marshal and others.
<Kertu> But kind enough, in his way.
<Katenzhi> ...accent?
* Kertu interjects hastily.
<Romoga> Ah... yes, I will do what I can.
* Katenzhi looks at her parents.
<Gefraz> I don't think her accent is a problem.
<Kertu> All right then. It has been a pleasure, Romoga.
* Gefraz says mildly.
<Romoga> We are pleased to have this honour, as well. I hope that before we leave we will have more chance to discuss how this union can benefit both our families.
<Katenzhi> Well... nice to meet you both.
* Romoga waits until after they leave to let out a breath and smile and give you a hug.
<Katenzhi> Do I have an accent? I don't have an accent!
<Romoga> Ah, who cares. They needed to find something to pick on, probably, else we might demand even more bridewealth from them ;)
* Romoga is now known as Shikhlazh
<Katenzhi> Ugh... I feel like a slab of beef.
<Shikhlazh> The offer is very generous, already. But they are happy to see this marriage take place, which is the truly important part.
<Shikhlazh> As long as their lineage elder agrees, it will be fine. You did well :)
* Shikhlazh is now known as Romoga
<Katenzhi> Thanks. I'm glad it's over until tomorrow at least.
<Romoga> Now, maybe we can do a bit of shopping before this visit tomorrow? Eh?
<Katenzhi> Ummm out of curiosity...what did they offer?
* Romoga is now known as Shiklazh
<Shiklazh> A very respectable amount of goods - cloth and spices and other goods we can trade, as well as a sum of gold. You don't need to know the precise details, though, do you?
<Katenzhi> Well, I'd like to know how much I'm going for per ounce these days.
* Shiklazh chuckles.
<Shiklazh> You are invaluable, my darling. No price could equal your worth. But they offered a thousand gold horns, above and beyond the goods.
<Katenzhi> Holy fuck!
* Katenzhi puts a hand over her mouth quickly.
* Katenzhi thinks for a moment.
<Katenzhi> Can I get married again?
<Shiklazh> Only if something unfortunate happens to your husband... But I'm not advocating that :p
<AshnabisNarrator> (we should move along to you meeting the lineage elder :)
<Katenzhi> (Oh, sure, I didn't realize we were doing both :3 )
<Katenzhi> (Sorry)
<AshnabisNarrator> (yes, no problem - just want to make sure we have time :)
<AshnabisNarrator> The next day, from the Eaves, you travel by horse and carriage, really only a short distance that you easily could have walked. You arrive at a great stone building of pink and grey granite. Hexagonal stone columns line an arched gateway leading into a treed courtyard.
<AshnabisNarrator> As it swings open before you, you see that the gate bears a painted symbol of a blue lantern with a glowing orange flame, the mark of the Argolda.
<AshnabisNarrator> It is cooler here than in Kaskind and the leaves are golden as you pass along a cobbled path towards the Argolda lineage house, a great two-story rectangular house with a copper-domed roof above a central circular hall.
<AshnabisNarrator> You enter a large oblong chamber with a vaulted ceiling. Heavy tapestries hang from the walls and a finely-woven blue and white carpet lines the marble floor.
<Katenzhi> (w) fancy...
<AshnabisNarrator> As you enter, you hear your names called out in a clarion voice:
<AshnabisNarrator> "Romoga of the Lovresi! His wife, Shiklazh of the Ghughife! Their daughter, Katenzhi of the Lovresi! Hail and welcome to all in the presence of the Argolda!"
* The_Argolda is a white-haired man of advanced years. He wears a long blue riding jacket with silver buttons, tied at the waist with a leather belt. Both his long hair and his beard are carefully braided.
<The_Argolda> I am the Argolda, Demis son of Varai. Hail and welcome, here in our ancestral home. This is my reckoner, Haske of the Gazgom. The Gazgom have been bannermen to the Argolda for many generations.
* Haske is a tall, very thin woman of middling years. She is apparently the one who called out your names. She stands at a lectern, quill in hand, making notes.
<Katenzhi> Greetings.
<The_Argolda> Bring forward the petitioners.
* Romoga steps forward with you and your mother.
<The_Argolda> It is my understanding that you seek an alliance with the Argolda through marriage with my late cousin Marami's grandson, Gefraz.
<Romoga> Yes, sir.
<The_Argolda> Very well.
<The_Argolda> What bring you to this alliance?
<Katenzhi> We believe it would be advantageous to both families, sir. Our businesses are mutually beneficial.
<Romoga> We offer my daughter's skills in business and her talents in magic, her cleverness, her beauty and her kind heart.
* Katenzhi smiles at that.
* Romoga says as if he had rehearsed that a few times
<The_Argolda> A kind heart, you say. That is a commodity rare in these troubled times.
<Romoga> As you say, sir.
<The_Argolda> So, tell me, Katenzhi of the Lovresi, what have you to say for yourself? Is your heart as kind as your humble father asserts?
<Katenzhi> I like to think so. I try my best. Some people are hard to be kind to, but... a little kindness can go a long way sometimes.
<The_Argolda> Hmm.
<The_Argolda> The Argolda are an old and mighty ifti, as you know. Our slate is long with the achievements of my ancestors, back even unto the time of the Empire itself. Have the Lovresi any such claim?
<Romoga> Our family do not make claim to great and powerful ancestors, but we are a long lineage of hard working traders and craftspeople. We are proud of our lineage, and believe we have much room to grow.
* Romoga says after a moment's thought.
<Katenzhi> We are traders and merchants, but our lineage stretches back to the empire as well. And to be frank, I hope that my own achievements will be at least as good as any of my ancestors.
* Romoga smiles at you, nodding.
<The_Argolda> You are in the fos business, I understand. There are fortunes to be made there.
<Katenzhi> Very much so.
* The_Argolda nods.
<The_Argolda> My young kinsman Gefraz is a headstrong lad, bold of spirit. To take himself away from kin and friend, to risk it all in search of fortune in Kaskind, that is no life for a mild soul. Find you that life appealing?
<Katenzhi> I wouldn't have it any other way.
<Katenzhi> Sir.
<The_Argolda> I presume that all of the preliminaries between the two of you have been discussed.
* Katenzhi nods.
<The_Argolda> Very well.
<The_Argolda> Knowing of no impediment to this union, and pursuant to a contract suitable to elders on all sides, I hereby grant permission for the union of Gefraz of the Argolda to Katenzhi of the Lovresi. May their union be bountiful.
* Katenzhi smiles.
* Haske makes a note.
* Romoga also grins.
<Katenzhi> Thank you, sir.
<Haske> It is recorded.

Ikhavor visits Veznara to tell her about Tegus's trip to the Auggi


<AshnabisNarrator> Veznara, it is not too long after your 'conversation' with the remains of Buhin that you receive a visit from Stoneguard Ikhavor, who comes to seek you out at the temple of the Hand.
* Romoga is now known as Ikhavor
* Ikhavor greets you politely.
<Ikhavor> Hand Veznara, I trust you are well?
<Veznara> Stoneguard Ikhavor! Yes, thank you. And you?
<Ikhavor> I'm all right, thank you. May we talk?
<Veznara> Yes, of course. Why don't we sit...
* Ikhavor comes to take a seat.
* Veznara leads her somewhere private where they can talk unheard.
<Ikhavor> I couldn't help but hear that you came to consult the ancestors with Voice Tegus.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> Yes, that is so. I also have spoken to Lentus. I don't know if you've had the same opportunity?
* Ikhavor shakes her head.
<Ikhavor> Did you find it a useful encounter?
<Veznara> Well, I did learn a few things.
<Veznara> Have you ever heard of Rushultagri - the Lost Child?
<Ikhavor> I've heard of it, yes. It's an old legend.
<Veznara> I understand that it was of particular interest to your Order at one point in time.
<Ikhavor> I don't know about that. It's a tale, but even among scholars or students like myself, not a very well-known one.
<Ikhavor> What does that have to do with Lentus, though?
<Veznara> Well. I did have an opportunity to ask Lentus about the Stoneguards.
<Veznara> He knew only a little, and that mostly through his cousin. He said that the Stoneguards used to be more independent of the Corps.
* Ikhavor nods
<Veznara> He knew that his cousin had received a letter from other Stoneguards that greatly disturbed him.
<Veznara> A few months later, the Stoneguards that had sent it to him all died in what was said to be a confrontation with a local village.
<Veznara> It was said that these Stoneguards had committed a massacre in this village, which had later retaliated - killing them and taking their bodies away.
* Ikhavor listens to your account
<Veznara> I don't suppose you've heard an account of such a thing?
<Ikhavor> No, I haven't.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> Neither had I. In any case, it gave me a question to ask Buhin. What was in that letter?
<Veznara> I wasn't sure of the wisdom of asking directly, however. So instead I asked about this alleged confrontation.
<Veznara> I must say, Voice Tegus thought carefully about what to say before conveying the answer.
<Ikhavor> I believe that Voice Tegus was... troubled by something that happened. I don't know if it was due to your conversation with him, or something else, but around that time he seemed unusually withdrawn.
<Veznara> I am afraid that there is a great deal behind all this that he is afraid to reveal.
<Ikhavor> Then, just a few days later, he departed unexpectedly to go on a trip, to visit the temple of the Voice out on the Auggi.
<Veznara> (Where is that?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (http://rocksfall.org/wiki/Kaskind_Territory:_Map_and_Communities - somewhere around D on this map)
<AshnabisNarrator> ("D. The Auggi: A rocky outcropping, probably once an island, separated from the rest of the mainland by a largely impassable swamp and reachable only by boat - and even then, only with risk. There is a very old Aummesh mausoleum here, for an all-but-forgotten community, but remains tended by the Voice of the Dead.")
<Veznara> (Ah. Interesting. That sorta answers my next question. :P )
<Veznara> I see.
* Veznara looks concerned.
<Ikhavor> That's very unusual. The temple on the Auggi is an old Aummesh temple, very isolated and hard to get to - you have to go by boat, and the approach is quite difficult, rocky and inhospitable.
<Ikhavor> I did visit there once, some years ago. I was naturally curious about such an ancient temple, and what it might have to teach me about the traditions and customs of this region.
<Veznara> And did you learn anything?
<Ikhavor> The head priest there is Voice Witis, an elderly man who has served there many years. He was not especially welcoming, when I made my reasons for visiting known, and tried to tell me that it wasn't possible for me to look around.
<Ikhavor> It had been such a difficult process to get there that I was very unsatisfied at the thought I might not even be allowed to see the interior of the temple.
<Ikhavor> I asked for entrance again, and insisted that as a stoneguard it was my right and duty to examine the temple, and finally he relented, although I could tell he was not pleased about it.
<Ikhavor> My impression was that the temple there is in disorder - perhaps the Voice there know whose remains are where, but to an outside visitor, it was almost impossible to comprehend. It is little used now, but clearly long ago it had many faithful members, since their remains are stored there.
<Ikhavor> I looked around for a while, but I couldn't make much sense of it. It seemed like chaos to my eyes. Bones piled here and there, stacked all the way up the walls and across the floor.
<Ikhavor> Some parts of the building were so full of remains as to be inaccessible - or at least, that was what they told me. It's possible that because I was seen as an interloper, they did not wish to show me some areas of the temple.
<Ikhavor> The architecture of the building was very interesting, certainly old and unusual, but I'm afraid I didn't stay as long as I intended. They had no stoneguards there - at least, no living ones, so I couldn't inquire as to their traditions and practices.
<Ikhavor> I found the whole place somewhat unsettling, and certainly unwelcoming.
<Veznara> Well, I have experienced for myself how the Aummesh are not that eager to have us newcomers poking around... was it more than that?
<Ikhavor> I'm not certain. I suspect they have few visitors of any kind, Ombesh or Aummesh, but it's hard to know the reasons, beyond isolation.
<Ikhavor> I'm not certain what Voice Tegus would hope to gain by going there. He would probably be as much of an outsider there as I was, but maybe he has some particular purpose in mind. I can't imagine it's a trip he would make just on a whim.
<Veznara> I'm guessing he wanted to verify more of what Buhin actually said, and that there are Ancestors there who would be able to tell him.
<Veznara> As to that, what he told *me
* was that these Stoneguards had been on a quest related to this legend of Rushultagri.
<Veznara> And that after they were slain and disappeared, Buhin lost faith in much of what he had believed and held dear.
<Veznara> However, I am sure there was more. Voice Tegus just didn't want to tell me.
* Ikhavor nods, listening.
<Veznara> However, he did explain the story of Rushultagri for my benefit.
<Veznara> I later asked who the Ancestor though might have been responsible for putting a stop to the quest. He said that Buhin didn't know.
<Ikhavor> So you believe this story relates to the history of the stoneguards in this region, in the time of the Empire?
<Veznara> Yes. And it seems to me that Voice Tegus must, as well.
* Ikhavor nods
<Veznara> This story that the Stoneguards attacked a village, and were later slain and their bodies removed...
<Veznara> Well, I'm afraid that it does not ring true.
<Ikhavor> It seems like if someone wanted to prevent them speaking after their deaths, about something they had seen or known, that would be a way to ensure they could not reveal it.
<Veznara> Yes, absolutely.
<Veznara> Which makes me wonder what they uncovered that anyone would go to such horrible lengths to uncover it.
<Veznara> I'm afraid I may not be doing you any favours by telling you all this. :/
<Ikhavor> Well... I appreciate your trust in me.
<Veznara> Why would the story of Rushultagri be a threat? To the Corps, or to anyone else?
<Ikhavor> I don't know.
<Ikhavor> But if at some point you want to try and venture out to the temple on the Auggi to try and gain more information, I would be glad to make that trip with you if you wish.
<Ikhavor> Or if there is any other way I can assist.
<Veznara> Thank you. Of course I can't consult the Ancestors there directly, but perhaps there are other clues to be gleaned...
<Veznara> But I'm afraid it is dangerous to look into this more closely.
<Veznara> We should both be careful.
<Ikhavor> Perhaps when Voice Tegus returns he'll have learned more - but whether he would want to reveal it to us, I don't know. I suppose it depends on what it might be, and whether he thinks it's a risk to us, as you say.
<Veznara> I'm afraid he may want to cover it up completely.
<Ikhavor> I'm not sure. I think he is a cautious man - he would not want to jump to conclusions or assumptions based on one single ancestor's word, or one piece of information. Ancestors are only people, after all, and can be mistaken just as any of us. Perhaps he wants to have more information before he decides how to proceed, as you suggest.
<Veznara> Well, I'm sure you know him better than I do.
<Veznara> In any case, that is what I have been able to discover. I hope it is of use to you.
<Ikhavor> Thank you. I'll consider further what you've said.
* Ikhavor rises to depart.
* Veznara also rises, and escorts her out
<Ikhavor> Be well, Hand Veznara.
<Veznara> May the Ancestors guide and watch over you, Stoneguard Ikhavor.
* Ikhavor gives you a quick one-armed hug and leaves.

Jimba receives a visit from Mayiru and her brother Deshtiir, who seems to recognize the Argolda sigil on some goods


<AshnabisNarrator> Jimba, your warehouse-slash-boarding house is somewhat quieter at the moment, as Aptan has been at the fort for a few days, presumably reporting everything he knows about Yeggun's fleet.
<AshnabisNarrator> Ulutse remains behind, but without his company, she seems inclined to keep to herself and hasn't been too much trouble (although you're sure she's getting alcohol from somewhere).
<Jimba> (:/)
<Jimba> (These kids.)
<AshnabisNarrator> Katenzhi has departed on her trip to meet Gefraz Argolda's relatives back in Choradan, along with your aunt and uncle, so you're keeping an eye on their boat and goods as well as your own while they're away.
<AshnabisNarrator> On this particular afternoon, you're just returning from a few errands when you hear heavy, lumbering footsteps, and smell the familiar scent of a hippo. Turning, you see Mayiru and her brother Deshtiir, walking alongside her massive hippo, Auri, who is laden down with packs.
* Ikhavor is now known as Mayiru
* Shiklazh is now known as Deshtiir
* Mayiru doesn't usually come into Kaskind - it takes a lot to get her to visit a town she despises.
<Mayiru> Jimba! How goes your business?
* Jimba smiles to see them.
<Jimba> It goes all right. What brings you into town?
<Mayiru> I have some goods to sell, and thought you might have a better chance than I will of disposing of them.
* Mayiru gestures to the packs on her hippo
<Jimba> Oh, well, I'd be happy to help.
<Jimba> What've you got?
<Mayiru> Just don't ask too many questions about where they came from!
* Mayiru says with a wink
* Jimba laughs.
<Jimba> I rarely do.
* Deshtiir nods to Deshtiir, a short, skinny boy of maybe about twelve or thirteen, and he takes hold of Auri's tether, keeping the huge animal calm and steady while the goods are unloaded.
<Deshtiir> (oops, ww)
* Mayiru nods to Deshtiir, a short, skinny boy of maybe about twelve or thirteen, and he takes hold of Auri's tether, keeping the huge animal calm and steady while the goods are unloaded.
* Mayiru helps carry the packs into your warehouse. They aren't extremely heavy, but she handles them carefully.
* The_Argolda is now known as Dezmali
<Mayiru> It's a bunch of ridiculous Ombesh nonsense - nothing practical in the lot of it.
* Haske is now known as Ulutse
* Mayiru opens up the pack to reveal a bundle of rich silk fabric. As she unwraps that, inside are a large number of delicate crystal bottles that look like they probably hold perfume or oil or something similar.
* Ulutse emerges from the back of the warehouse, peering curiously at the new arrivals.
* Jimba whistles.
<Ulutse> Does everyone here have a pet hippo? I thought it was just you who was weird...
<Jimba> Maybe you're the weird one, then.
<Jimba> (To Mayiru) Practical or not, I imagine I can get you good coin for this.
<Mayiru> Auri isn't a pet, she's a business partner.
* Mayiru says to the girl, before turning back and nodding to you.
<Mayiru> I expect so, but not to the kind of people I'm usually trading with. This is the kind of thing you need to sell in a town.
<Jimba> Washteppo is less partner right now and more...hmm, child?
<Jimba> But she's getting there.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> Shouldn't be too difficult.
<Mayiru> Great.
<Mayiru> I appreciate it, as always :)
<Mayiru> Otherwise, how are things going with you?
<Jimba> Oh, you know. Trying to stay afloat.
<Jimba> Keeping an eye on this one.
<Mayiru> You have a new... helper, here?
* Mayiru asks, nodding to Ulutse
* Jimba gestures to Ulutse.
<Jimba> Yeah, let's go with helper.
* Mayiru nods
* Ulutse laughs.
<Ulutse> I'll take that.
<Jimba> Mayiru of the Laguur, meet Ulutse of the Meglaar.
* Mayiru nods in greeting
<Ulutse> Pleased to meet you.
<Jimba> How 're things in Hapaan?
<Mayiru> All right. Our weather's been good, rainy, not too hot - not like here, it's so dry. It's strange for this time of year.
<Jimba> Yeah...
<Mayiru> Maybe the very storms themselves avoid this town, hah!
* Jimba chuckles.
<Jimba> Let's hope not.
<Jimba> Hunting been good out that way?
<Jimba> Some types more than others, I'd say?
* Jimba eyes the goods.
<Mayiru> Yes, do you want to come out for a visit sometime? You could bring Washteppo to play in the lake.
<Jimba> She'd like that. Me too.
<Jimba> I'll need to make some arrangements. Kat's gone at the moment.
<Mayiru> oh? gone where?
<Jimba> Back to Choradan. She's meeting her prospective husband's family.
<Jimba> Teleported and everything. My auntie and uncle are keen to get her married.
<Mayiru> Husband? Huh. Is it a whirlwind romance?
<Jimba> It's a whirlwind something.
<Jimba> Her folks came to town for Llillilli's wedding, and decided Kat needed to follow suit.
<Mayiru> Ah, be careful, or they'll be on to you next.
* Jimba sighs and rolls his eyes.
<Jimba> Yeah, I imagine it won't be long coming.
<Jimba> They should know I can't be tied down. ;)
<Mayiru> Well, maybe they'll be satisfied with having the girls married, you never know.
<Jimba> I can hope.
<Jimba> (I forget. Is Mayiru married?)
<Mayiru> (she is not, no)
<Mayiru> Good luck to you with that, anyhow...
<Jimba> Thanks. I'm sure you know how it goes.
* Mayiru nods
<Mayiru> I should check on Deshtiir - he's a good kid, but I don't want to leave him out there alone for too long, in case he gets anxious.
* Jimba nods.
* Mayiru steps back outside to look in on her adoptive brother, and relieve him of the responsibility of handling the hippo by himself.
* Jimba steps outside with her.
* Deshtiir is drawn to Bashi and Mogri, who are keeping watch near a pile of crates at the door. He extends a hand to them and the dogs sniff him, wagging their tails as he pets them. He seems to have a way with animals, and they respond warmly to him.
* Jimba goes up to say hello to Auri.
* Deshtiir doesn't speak, as you understand, or only a very few words, but he is doing better than when Mayiru's folks first found him.
* Deshtiir is absorbed with petting the dogs, but suddenly you hear him give a pained, wordless cry.
* Mayiru immediately turns, concerned that perhaps he's been hurt.
* Jimba looks at him, concerned.
<Mayiru> What is it?
* Mayiru hurries over to his side.
* Jimba follows.
* Deshtiir appears unharmed, but is staring at the boxes, pointing at them in surprise and waving his hands, possibly in distress, or excitement, you're not quite sure how to interpret it?
<Jimba> Is he all right?
<Mayiru> I'm not sure...
<Deshtiir> Huhhh. Hhhh.
<Deshtiir> ... Home.
* Deshtiir points again at the crates, which you see are stamped on the side with the sigil of the Argolda lineage, a stylized blue lantern with an orange flame.
<Deshtiir> Home!
* Deshtiir says again, his voice wavering with emotion (or perhaps simply lack of use).
* Mayiru frowns, crouching down to talk to him.
<Mayiru> We can go home soon, if you want. I know you don't like it here.
<Jimba> Wait a sec.
<Jimba> I think he recognizes this.
* Jimba points at the sigil.
* Deshtiir taps it with his hand, repeating "home" several more times.
<Mayiru> Well, what is that? some merchant company?
<Jimba> (I'm assuming I know of Kat's prospective husband and his lineage and all that?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (yeah - this is some crates of goods he left with you before heading off - like some fos he was going to have shipped out or whatnot.)
<Jimba> This is the sigil of the Argolda lineage.
* Mayiru frowns a bit at that.
<Jimba> Its the lineage of Kat's possible husband.
<Mayiru> Who are they? Ombans or something?
<Mayiru> Hrm.
<Mayiru> Deshtiir, it's all right. I'll figure out what this all means. Can you go and help get Auri ready to leave soon?
* Mayiru puts a hand on her brother's shoulder and begins to draw him away from the crates.
<Jimba> Yeah, they're Choradani.
* Jimba looks at the boy, concerned.
* Deshtiir still seems a bit worked up, but will do as he's asked.
<Jimba> (What do I know about Deshtiir?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (you know that Mayiru's family found him as the sole survivor of a wrecked riverboat, about 5 years ago, and took him in. He doesn't talk, or not more than a few words. Mayiru considers him her younger brother.)
<Jimba> (Quietly, to Mayiru) Maybe it's something about where he comes from?
<Mayiru> [q] I don't want him to get too upset about this. Who knows what he thinks it means... maybe it reminds him of something, his family had a lantern like that or something? I don't know.
<Jimba> (q) Came from, I mean. Now he comes from Hapaan, of course.
* Jimba nods.
<Mayiru> [q] maybe you're right, and it does mean something to him. But what good would that do?
<Jimba> (q) Right now? Probably nothing. But he might want to know when he's older. Just something to keep in mind.
<Mayiru> :/
<Jimba> (q) It's not a bad thing. You're his family, but he still might be curious.
<Mayiru> We should get going. I'll look forward to seeing you if you make it out for a visit, Jimba. Thanks for your help.
<Jimba> I look forward to seeing you all. And I'm always happy to help.
* Mayiru gives you an affectionate smack on the back and will get ready to go.
* Jimba grins and waves to her and her brother.

Junan visits the Silver Waves to try and learn more about the disappearance of Atsusei


<AshnabisGM> Junan, over the past day or two the challenge presented to you by Widiil Laulida has been pressing on your mind. Her nephew Atsusei is missing, and while there is nothing to prevent someone from going astray for a while, being unresponsive to magical efforts raises any number of more troubling scenarios.
<AshnabisGM> As Atsusei wears the black and white hat as you do, you do feel an obligation to look into his whereabouts. And his involvement with Zefa Teltai on work that, at least according to his aunt, had upset him, gives you even more reason for concern.
<AshnabisGM> The kelta is really the only place you have to start, although you can hardly just walk up to Zefa and ask her.
<AshnabisGM> You head upriver and soon find yourself at the Silver Waves, seeing if there's perhaps any information to be gleaned at the inn. If Atsusei had business here, he surely must have slept somewhere.
<Junan> (ok)
<Junan> (is this place big enough to Commun with using Commine with city?)
<Junan> (commune)
<AshnabisGM> (Kaskind? sure, you can do that)
<Junan> (I was thinking more locally around the Sliver Waves and the kelta?)
<AshnabisGM> (no, you can't do it that locally)
<Junan> (ok)
<Junan> (i dont suppose the kelta is supposed to keep track of who comes and goes for envoys?)
<AshnabisGM> (it is, but right now that would probably mean asking Zefa)
<AshnabisGM> (so you could ask her ... but uhh, I wouldn't)
<Junan> (yeah doesnt seem to be a wise plan)
<Junan> (could just ask employee's whose been coming and going... looking for friends met at the nambimoshe
<AshnabisGM> (yes, that would work)
<Junan> (that is my plan then to start)
<AshnabisGM> The Silver Waves is pretty busy at night, but during the daytime it's pretty quiet. You find a staff member who is cleaning up around the place, who seems likely.
* Dezmali is now known as Kezosia
* Kezosia is a young woman in her mid-twenties, perhaps, with long black hair tied back in a ponytail.
* Kezosia is organizing tables and getting things ready for the evening business.
<Junan> Looks like its going to be another busy one, eh?
* Junan comments as he approaches her
<Kezosia> Sure is.
<AshnabisGM> (are you wearing your hat?)
<Junan> (yes)
<Kezosia> I've seen you here before, haven't I?
<Junan> that you have... around the nambimoshe... I played the lute, but disinguishing an envoy by a musical instrument is a fools task.
<Kezosia> I had a friend once who said she could identify a man by his instrument.
<Junan> Im Junan Ghez
* Junan smiles at the comment
<Kezosia> Kezosia Rorifti.
<Junan> Your friend must have a good ear for music
<Kezosia> Who was talking about music?
* Junan chuckles
<Junan> I guess nobody
<Kezosia> Are you here for a drink? Mozemas hasn't really opened the bar yet.
<Junan> I'll be getting one eventually, of course.
<Kezosia> Of course.
<Junan> No, I had met a few other envoys at the nambimoshe that travel to Charidip from time to time and I was just trying my luck to see if any of them were back around to catch up.
<Kezosia> They've mostly gone back now, as I understand it, now that that treaty is signed.
<AshnabisGM> (give me a K:local roll)
<Junan> !roll 1d20+12
* Daifan rolls for Junan: [ 1d20+12 ] getting [ 18 ] which, after the modifier [ 12 ] totals [ 30 ].
<AshnabisGM> (you recognize her surname Rorifti - a Ruby lineage from Daligash. Usuf Rorifti is some sort of big spellcaster around Kaskind)
<Junan> Mostly left you say. Any chance (i'll list off four names with Atsusie as the second one) are still around?
* Junan will pay close attention to any shift in her reaction
<Kezosia> Atsusei ... he was here longer than most. Aummesh fellow, tall?
<Junan> (that leading in the right direction for a description?)
<AshnabisGM> (I mean, those two things are both correct you think)
<Junan> Correct and vague
* Junan chuckles
<Kezosia> He had been staying here, now and again. During the nambimoshe, and also during the visit of the delegation from the Academy, but also after that.
<Junan> 'had' means that I have also missed him as well, I take it.
<Kezosia> Afraid so.
<Kezosia> The last time he was here was ... maybe a week ago or so, he left? I think with messages to take back to the Academy. I wouldn't know all of that. And of course it's not his place to state his business.
<Junan> I don't suppose he left any messages or what not?
<Kezosia> Not with me. Maybe at the kelta proper - with Zefa? I could ask my brother Vadekhash - he's actually apprenticed to her.
<Junan> I wouldn't bother. Just thought he might have brought something back from Charadip for me from another friend. Too much to hope for.
<Junan> I'll catch him on the next trip back.
<Kezosia> Sorry. If he comes by you want me to tell him you were here?
<Junan> (i dont get any impression she is hiding anything or being misleading so far?)
<AshnabisGM> (give me a SM)
<Junan> !roll 1d20+16
* Daifan rolls for Junan: [ 1d20+16 ] getting [ 18 ] which, after the modifier [ 16 ] totals [ 34 ].
<AshnabisGM> (she seems fine to you)
<Junan> If you happen to remember you can mention it.
<Kezosia> Sure, no problem.
<Kezosia> Ahhh ... was there anything else?
<Junan> Since my luck has failed me, and I'm here now, I might as well stay for a drink... I could play a few songs as well if its fine with you.
<Kezosia> Sure ... what are you drinking?
<Junan> you have a good red? Have a favourite tune? My fingers are have a talent with the strings Im sure you'll enjoy.
<Kezosia> I'll see what I can find.
<Kezosia> And ... as for a song, do you know 'Two for the Senator'?
<Junan> of course I do, and even if I don't if you hum a few bars, I'll have it straight.
* Junan will unsling his lute
* Junan picks a few notes to makes sure he has the right of it
<Kezosia> That's it! ~Two for the senator and one for his scribe ...~
* Junan will pick up the tune
<Junan> !roll 1d20+18
* Daifan rolls for Junan: [ 1d20+18 ] getting [ 18 ] which, after the modifier [ 18 ] totals [ 36 ].
<Junan> (performance :))

Llillilli is reunited with Thelef


<AshnabisGM> Llillilli, it's been a rough few weeks. But today there is something to lighten your spirits, as Thelef has sent a message ahead that he will be returning from the court at Sulise.
<AshnabisGM> Of course, you have many things you need to talk about - he's been out of touch for so long now, even though it really is only a month or so since you returned from court.
<Llillilli> (yay!)
* Kezosia is now known as Thelef
* Thelef smiles as he sees you, and runs over to you to embrace you.
* Mayiru is now known as Nezha
* Llillilli wraps her arms around you and hugs you fiercely.
<Thelef> Oh, it's good to be back.
<Llillilli> It is good to have you back.
* Thelef seems tired, and maybe has lost a couple of pounds.
* Llillilli frowns.
* Deshtiir is now known as Shira
<Llillilli> You don't look well.
<Thelef> I'm fine.
<Thelef> It's just been a long month.
* Llillilli nods, but is still frowning.
<Llillilli> Hm.
<Llillilli> Yes, it has.
<Thelef> How have things been here? We haven't had much news at court.
<Llillilli> The business with Pfaeshes has been the biggest.
<Thelef> Yeah ...
* Thelef says sadly.
<Llillilli> What is it?
<Thelef> It's just been hard - on the refugees who came to court, and then, with the invasion, everything feels different.
<Llillilli> Different how?
<Thelef> In terms of who holds power at the court ... relations between humans and the People ... everything like that.
<Llillilli> How has it changed?
<Thelef> Well, you know that the king's position is not as strong as it was. They have to be careful, in everything they do, or else they fear they will be replaced.
<Thelef> Sending Fifelus to Pfaeshes - that has cost them much, I'm afraid.
<Llillilli> How so?
<Llillilli> I do not understand all the political maneuverings.
<Thelef> Because, once the People had been killed or forced to flee, many considered the bonds of humans and hith at Pfaeshes to be irrevocably broken
<Thelef> That it was time to recognize that humans are ... irreparable, in the eyes of some.
<Thelef> To claim that, despite everything, the humans of Pfaeshes deserve the protection of Sulise - that is a political statement.
<Llillilli> ANd it was not popular?
<Thelef> More that it was costly. That some who were already angry are now lost to the king's circle.
<Thelef> There have always been some, especially the solars, who were in opposition. Now there are more.
<Llillilli> Hm.
<Llillilli> How could they replace the King, though?
<Thelef> It is not unheard of.
<Thelef> When a king grows too old and feeble to rule, for instance.
<Llillilli> WHat happens then?
<Thelef> They elect a new king. I think. It's never happened in my lifetime.
<Llillilli> How do they force the old one out though?
<Thelef> Well - of course, they can kill them. Or compel them to resign.
<Thelef> I don't think either of those scenarios is very likely, but the second is the one that worries Whuthe the most.
<Llillilli> Does compel mean threaten?
<Thelef> Threaten, cajole, blackmail ... the People can be as vicious as we can, when they want to.
<Llillilli> Hmm.
<Llillilli> Why did the king wait so long to help the humans on Pfaeshes?
<Llillilli> It would have been easy to send aid, even just supplies.
<Thelef> I don't know their mind fully. But partly, because it was seen as too risky, as an intervention into human matters - something that would strengthen their enemies.
<Thelef> Isolationists, at court, have a lot of power.
<Thelef> These are the same sort of people who see you and I as interlopers.
<Llillilli> I know.
<Thelef> Who fear that you are a selleluf. Who fear that I have the king's attention.
<Thelef> I think that Fifelus and Hillisi played a role in swaying their mind, in the end. That intervening with force, to assert our ancestral rights over Pfaeshes, was a show of necessary strength.
<Thelef> A reminder to the humans that the land is not only for the humans - that the People rightly occupy both.
<Llillilli> BUt it was humans who came to the island's aid.
<Thelef> Yes, but if they had been left to their devices ... Pfaeshes would belong to Kaskind now. That is what they want, ultimately, isn't it?
<Llillilli> ANd humans who shelterd the hifis who were abandoned.
<Thelef> So in the end, the human invasion gave a ... rationale, perhaps? For those People who might otherwise have been skeptical, to see some value in asserting our rights.
<Llillilli> And that is why they chased away my friends who came to help?
* Thelef nods.
<Thelef> To ... make a claim.
<Llillilli> They should have said so.
<Thelef> A symbolic claim to be the saviours of Pfaeshes.
<Llillilli> Instead of talking to me all mush-mouthed like I am stupid. >:(
<Thelef> Hmm ... that was Fifelus you talked to?
<Llillilli> ANd Hillisi.
<Thelef> Well - they are warriors, not political people. But I can't say why they said whatever they said.
<Llillilli> Hm.
<Thelef> On the island, Fifelus may have needed to ... make a show of disdain, for the other troops. Because there will be some of the People there who know who you are.
<Thelef> As for Hillisi - he's human, after all.
<Llillilli> What does that mean?
<Thelef> Just that he wouldn't be expected to truly understand the workings of court. He may have just come to you because Fifelus asked him to try to explain.
<Llillilli> I am sure that was the case.
<Thelef> But that's hard, because ... well ... none of this really makes sense.
<Llillilli> No, it doesn't.
<Thelef> None of this is all right. It's all wrong and strange.
* Llillilli nods.
<Thelef> It's the politics of the People, which I'm coming to think I will never fully understand. But I know I have to try. Otherwise - I'm just surrendering to Fellis and Thethu and all those who argue that there shouldn't even be huwhi.
<Thelef> I don't know ... does that even make sense?
* Llillilli sighs.
<Llillilli> Yes.
<Llillilli> I don't really care what they think of *me*, but...
* Llillilli makes a face.
<Thelef> You care that we have a place in their world.
<Llillilli> Yes.
<Llillilli> The bigger we, anyway.
<Thelef> Yeah.
<Llillilli> I would personally like to run away to the middle of a swamp and be left alone these days.
<Llillilli> I am coming to understand Shulilae much better.
<Thelef> I knew that might happen when I married you. Try to leave a trail of crumbs if you do that, ok?
* Llillilli smiles.
<Llillilli> HOw about a trail of hamag? The smell will lead you straight there :p
<Thelef> Delicious. I accept.
<Llillilli> You should come and see the hifis.
<Thelef> The what now?
<Llillilli> I've been helping Shulilae and Helithae look after them...
<Llillilli> From Pfaeshes.
<Llillilli> As I said... the eggs were left behind
<Llillilli> This little one hatched with humans, in the Heptachei lineage house.
<Thelef> And ... now it is here?
<Llillilli> They think their parent is most likely among the dead.
<Llillilli> Yes, I brought them here before the attack.
<Llillilli> To keep them safe.
<Thelef> Of course.
<Thelef> Ahhh ... then I would definitely like to see them!
<Llillilli> They are very cute. :3
<Thelef> They are over at Shulilae and Helithae's home, then?
* Llillilli nods.
<Thelef> Can we go now?
<Llillilli> If they are home, certainly!
<AshnabisGM> The two of you head across town to the little cottage and soon enough, you find yourself holding the little scaly hifis in your arms.
<Llillilli> :3
<Thelef> I've never actually held a hifis. I mean ... why would I have?
<Llillilli> I guess they don't show up at court.
<Thelef> Can I?
<Llillilli> Certainly...
* Llillilli carefully passes the baby over.
* Thelef smiles as he holds the little one.
<Thelef> What amazing fortune that they survived.
<Llillilli> Yes, they are very lucky...
<Thelef> What do we do now? I mean ... with the child?
<Llillilli> We are hoping to find out if they have any living family... but if we can't
<Llillilli> Well, I said I would look after them.
* Thelef nods.
<Llillilli> The solars will love that.
<Thelef> It's a complicated world you've come into, little one.
* Llillilli grins maliciously
<Thelef> Well ... I'll make some inquiries, quietly. There are many refugees in Sulise still, and while some of them are returning right away to Pfaeshes, others may stay.
<Thelef> Even if their parents are dead, there may be other kin, also.
* Llillilli nods.
<Thelef> Laelaesi may have some wisdom there, as well.
* Llillilli nods again.
<Thelef> Well ... now that I'm back we can figure it out together.
* Thelef smiles.
<Thelef> One way or another.
<Llillilli> Yes. :)

Nezha confides more concerns about Galdai's plans to Daifan


<AshnabisNarrator> Daifan, you have been enjoying the relief that the rain has brought to Banei. Every three or four days, the spell is cast again to bring another storm to the area, and the village has benefited greatly, from heartier crops and replenished water supplies, to simply a break from the heat.
* Daifan is pleased that this is accomplished without it raining constantly all the time, also ;)\
<AshnabisNarrator> It's raining this evening and you are sitting out on the small porch of your house with a cup of tea, with Shira on your lap, giving Idovo and Chimi some privacy for a little while.
* Nezha walks over to you, waving as she approaches. She wears a wide-brimmed hat to protect her from the rain, and carries some lumpy green cherimoya fruits in a basket.
<Nezha> I have too many of these, and they're just perfectly ripe now, so you know they'll go off by tomorrow. I thought I'd see if you and your friends would like some.
* Daifan waves back
<Daifan> thank you!
* Nezha comes to sit beside you, offering you however many of the fruits you would like to take.
* Daifan will take a bunch, and offer her some tea as well
<Nezha> That's lovely, thank you. How is the little one doing?
<Daifan> mmm, she is getting into everything these days, aren't you girl?
* Shira giggles, reaching out for one of the fruits.
<Daifan> yes yes, let me peel you a section you little monkey :3
<Nezha> Well, I don't think you'll have any trouble using these up, she can probably eat a dozen by herself, at the rate she's growing :)
* Daifan smiles
<Daifan> at least
<Daifan> how have you been?
<Nezha> I'm all right. Things have been quieter at Lady Galdai's estate since her return, which is a relief.
<Nezha> I hoped that would mean she's given up on the line of research she was pursuing, but... I'm not certain.
<Daifan> oh?
<Nezha> There have been some strange visitors lately - people I don't know, coming to speak with Galdai privately.
<Daifan> what's the old bitch up to now?
* Daifan frowns
<Nezha> First there was a young couple, I assume locals, maybe farmers or something? Not the kind of people the lady would usually associate with, so I thought it was a bit strange. She met with them for a short while, and then they left.
<Nezha> Then, another similar pair. And another. By now she's met with four or five of them, all of them pairs consisting of a man and woman, not too old, and certainly not wealthy.
<Daifan> any idea what they're talking about?
<Nezha> I don't know, but I worry that... if she wanted a baby for whatever she was trying to do, maybe she's looking at other ways to obtain one. I hate to think that a family would be so desperate as to consider selling one of their children or something of that sort, but who knows?
<Daifan> or she will help them somehow to get one from the Hand for her own purposes.
<Nezha> Maybe.
<Daifan> how did these people come? Did anyone bring them?
<Nezha> Ghegis, her steward in town. He would accompany them.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> thank you for telling me.
<Daifan> I will see what I can find out.
* Nezha nods
<Nezha> Then, too, she's behaving oddly about Lady Ziftu as well. I understand that while they were back at court, Lady Ziftu's parents were eager to introduce her to several possible suitors - she's old enough to be engaged to be married, and so there were quite a few young men interested in her.
* Daifan nods
<Nezha> But apparently Galdai was unimpressed by any of them. By Ziftu's account, she found petty reasons to dismiss each one - this one's grandfather had a club foot, and it wouldn't do to have such a problem arise in a new generation, never mind that the boy himself had no such issue.
<Nezha> Another, she claimed that he liked to bet on racehorses - well, so do many noblemen, it's hardly a terrible flaw as long as it isn't done to excess.
<Nezha> A third was unacceptable because once he sneezed in her presence, and she pronounced that to be unforgivably rude. And so on, and so on.
<Nezha> Each one was not suitable for her granddaughter for one minor reason after another. And the girl's parents either could not overrule Galdai's wishes, or weren't brave enough to do so.
<Daifan> hmm.
<Nezha> I think Ziftu is quite upset about it. She had hoped... well. I think she imagined that once she was engaged to be married, she would be moving back home.
<Nezha> She's a young girl stuck in an isolated house with her grandmother, who often ignores her or reprimands her. Of course she would prefer to be back at court, with friends her own age, and handsome young men to pay court to her.
<Nezha> But Galdai must recognize that Ziftu is unhappy to be back here. She's started giving her magic lessons. Not that the girl shows any particular aptitude for it, but it does at least help to pass the time a bit more interestingly.
<Daifan> what does she get reprimanded for?
<Nezha> Oh... any little thing that Galdai notices amiss - her room being untidy, or her arriving late for dinner, any such small things that are not unusual in a girl of that age.
<Nezha> Now, it's about the lessons, as I think Galdai feels Ziftu is not giving suitable attention to them.
<Daifan> hmmmm
<Daifan> I will maybe talk to Veznara about that
<Daifan> That sounds like... something she is better suited to handle
* Nezha nods
<Daifan> Ugh. I see evil motves in everything she does :|
<Daifan> I will have to hope its just my imagination
<Nezha> I try to do what I can to look after Ziftu, but there's only so much someone in my position can do...
* Daifan nods
* Daifan smiles
<Nezha> Sometimes I think, maybe I should just stop working for her. Just don't go back one day. But then who would be there to see what's happening? :/
<Daifan> It's very brave of you.
<Daifan> I hope we'll get to a point you won't need to.
<Nezha> Is it? I don't know. She's ... in a way, she's the only family I have known. Even if she's not what one would wish for in a mother, in a way that's what she has been to me.
<Daifan> But If you aren't comfortable... you have to take care of yourself, too
<Daifan> We make our own families here
<Nezha> I think ... if I'm honest... what I'm hoping is that she'll die. And then I will be able to live my own life and go my own way, and not feel responsible to her anymore.
<Daifan> but I know... its not so simple.
* Nezha sips her tea.
* Daifan smiles sympatehtically.
<Daifan> And in any case - it doesn't make what you are doing easier. So, thank you.
* Nezha nods with a faint smile.
<Daifan> would you like to go for a walk maybe? Shira's getting restless
<Nezha> Yes, sure.
<Nezha> I understand you've been helping with the rain - thank you for that :)
* Daifan smiles
<Daifan> I'm learning a lot lately
<Nezha> I wonder if it's something I could learn as well.
<Nezha> Somehow the idea of magic being shared like that... seems less frightening to me.
<Daifan> I shoudl think so - especially if you already know more about how to use fos
* Nezha nods
<Daifan> (I hate that I am suspicious but I am a bit - just want to make sure this is something she is really interested in for herself here... sm?)
<Nezha> (sure, you can roll)
* Daifan rolls [ 1d20+17 ] getting [ 15 ] which, after the modifier [ 17 ] totals [ 32 ]
<Nezha> (you don't think she's being deceptive or anything like that. What I suppose you can't entirely rule out is whether Galdai could have implanted the idea in her mind with a Suggestion or some spell of that nature, which would make it seem as though it's coming from her but is really coming from Galdai.)
<Daifan> I'll talk to spoons
* Nezha nods
<Nezha> Thank you.
<Nezha> It's no hurry - I'm just curious about it.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> Well.. lets go see how the ponds are doing - Sheepstealer wanted to now if he might have any luck yet at his favourite fishing spot...
<Nezha> Of course.
* Nezha will take a walk with you and Shira in the rain.
* Daifan makes themself a mental to-do list, including talkign with Veznara and Junan, and Balinteze...
<Daifan> (and Ughiva of course!)

Solos

Veznara speaks to Dezmali about Tegus


* Veznara goes to find Hand Dezmali to discuss these latest developments
* Dezmali can be found in her office, as usual.
* Veznara goes there, then, and asks to speak to her
<Veznara> Hand Dezmali? I wonder if I could ask for your advice...
<Dezmali> Veznara, of course, come in.
<Dezmali> How are you?
<Veznara> I'm healthy, thank you, but somewhat troubled...
<Veznara> I recently went to the Temple of the Voice to consult the Ancestor Buhin again.
<Veznara> I asked him some questions, and... well, I'm afraid I don't think Voice Tegus conveyed the full answers that the Ancestor gave, and I wonder why.
<Dezmali> Hmm ... that is a little unusual.
<Dezmali> What was the question, and the answer?
<Veznara> Well, it's alleged that this group of Stoneguards engaged in a massacre in a local village. The villagers supposedly attacked them later in retaliation, and made off with all their bodies.
<Veznara> I asked him about this incident.
<Dezmali> Wait ... this is about some incident hundreds of years ago?
<Veznara> Yes.
<Dezmali> All right.
<Veznara> (Sorry, guess I skipped over that part! :P )
<Veznara> (But then, I was talking to an Ancestor who died several hundred years ago, so...)
<Veznara> It was during the period of Imperial occupation.
<Veznara> In any case: it seems these Stoneguards were on a quest involving the legend of the Lost Child of Zunuga.
<Dezmali> Oh dear.
<Veznara> I gather that may behind a lot of this.
<Veznara> I don't understand, though. Why is this legend so significant?
<Dezmali> It's not. It's silly nonsense, but every so often people get obsessed with it, and then things like the massacre you describe can happen.
<Veznara> I feel it must be important, though. I know that a few months before the incident, Buhin had received a letter from these Stoneguards that disturbed him.
<Dezmali> Did Buhin believe in the legend?
<Veznara> I don't know, actually. I didn't ask directly; I only know that this particular group was investigating it, and he knew of that.
<Veznara> And then this happens, and they are all killed. Worse, their bodies disappear.
<Veznara> After that, Buhin loses faith.
<Veznara> And I *know* that Voice Tegus was holding back information.
<Dezmali> Loses faith in what?
<Veznara> Voice Tegus only said that he lost much of his faith in what he had once held dear.
<Veznara> I suppose that could mean the Stoneguards...
<Veznara> Or it could mean the Corps.
<Dezmali> Well, in death he had himself sewed into iron skin to protect his entombed kinsman. That does ... not strike me as someone who has no strong beliefs.
<Veznara> You say that this legend is nonsense... but what if there were *some
* sort of truth to it?
<Dezmali> Veznara.
* Dezmali says sternly.
<Dezmali> No.
<Veznara> Well.
<Dezmali> Is there anything else?
<Veznara> I suppose not. I just found the experience troubling, and hoped you could give me some insight.
<Dezmali> Leave the Voice to the matters of the Voice. Our role is our own. As for Voice Tegus - I am sure he has his reasons for whatever confidences of the ancestors he retains.
<Veznara> As you say, Dezmali.
<Veznara> I shall leave you to your work, then.

Katenzhi meets Divrola and her daughter


<Gefraz> All right, you ready to head over?
* Gefraz asks you, the evening after your visit to the Argolda.
* Katenzhi will check her hair once more to make sure it looks at least vaguely like Daifan showed her.
<Katenzhi> As I'll ever be.
<Katenzhi> I assume she knows we're coming?
<Gefraz> I went over this afternoon and let her know we'd be coming, yeah.
<Gefraz> And, you know, what's going on.
<Katenzhi> Ok.
<Katenzhi> Is she... did she seem ok?
<Gefraz> I don't know. Maybe? I don't know how anyone would be likely to feel about that.
<Katenzhi> Yeah...
<Katenzhi> Ok. Well... now or never.
<Gefraz> Right.
* Gefraz leads you through the broad streets of the main part of the city, then to an older, more dilapidated neighborhood with dirt streets, until finally you arrive at a simple door in a row of lodgings.
* Gefraz knocks.
* NPC1 is now known as Divrola
* Divrola opens the door. She is a young woman, maybe around 20 or so, with dark brown hair tied back in a braid that reaches to her waist, and a simple light brown dress. She's very beautiful.
<Divrola> Ah... hello.
<Katenzhi> Hello...
<Gefraz> Ah ... hi ... Divrola, this is ... Katenzhi Lovresi. Katenzhi ... this is Divrola Sulail.
* Divrola steps aside so you can come in. The home is small, probably only two rooms, with this one being a kitchen/main room.
* Katenzhi will enter and look around. It's probably still bigger than the ships's hold ;)
<Divrola> I have some tea made, if you want some.
<Katenzhi> Oh... sure... thanks.
* Divrola puts the tea pot on the table with a thump and will let you pour your own.
* Katenzhi will do so.
* Divrola sits down, crossing her arms.
<Divrola> So, you're getting married?
* Gefraz shifts awkwardly.
<Katenzhi> Apparenty.
<Divrola> His family agreed?
<Katenzhi> Yeah.
<Katenzhi> Look... I know you must hate me right now...
<Katenzhi> But I promise I'm not here to get between you two. This wasn't really my decision either.
<Divrola> I don't know you. I know his family, though. I'm surprised anyone was good enough for them.
<Katenzhi> I'm as surprised as you are.
<Divrola> Your family must be rich?
<Katenzhi> Not really. They're traders. So am I. We're an old name, but not a particularly rich one.
<Divrola> Hm.
<Divrola> Gefraz says this is the best solution for us. That it will let us be together again.
<Gefraz> It is.
* Katenzhi nods.
* Gefraz nods.
* Divrola glances at him in a way that clearly indicates she isn't totally convinced.
<Katenzhi> I don't know what assurances I can give you, but I don't want to be a burden on anyone.
<Divrola> I'm supposed to move myself and my daughter a thousand miles away to some new town, where I don't know anyone and have no family to help if something goes wrong.
<Divrola> I don't need you not to be a burden. I need you to be better than that. You are one of the few supports I'm going to have there.
<Divrola> So I have to trust that you're not going to let me down.
<Gefraz> I know.
* Divrola gives him an "I'm talking to HER" look.
<Katenzhi> I won't let anything happen to you or your daughter.
<Katenzhi> I promise.
<Katenzhi> I'll do what I can to help you.
<Katenzhi> I don't know what more I can offer.
* Divrola nods.
<Divrola> I'm not going to be a servant in your house.
* Divrola says, just to be very clear about that.
* Katenzhi cocks her head slightly.
<Katenzhi> I wouldn't know what to do with one.
<Katenzhi> I don't need a servant.
<Divrola> All right...
<Katenzhi> I could use a friend, though. Eventually.
<Divrola> What do you get out of this?
<Katenzhi> I get for my parents to leave me the fuck alone.
<Katenzhi> And I get to be with the person I want to be with.
<Katenzhi> Same as Gefraz.
<Divrola> Gefraz said you had another person you were in love with.
* Katenzhi nods.
<Divrola> So they're all right with this too?
<Katenzhi> Yeah. As alright as any of us.
* Divrola nods.
<Katenzhi> I honestly think this could work, if everyone's on board. But that means you too. If you don't want this, then we'll call everything off.
* Divrola listens to that, considering.
<Divrola> I'm still not sure how this is going to work. And if it doesn't work, then I want to come back here, to be near my family. But... I'm willing to try it.
* Katenzhi looks at Gefraz at that.
* Gefraz smiles.
<Gefraz> I understand. This is strange for all of us. I don't know that it will work. But I have to try. For you and Ghesmin, more than for me.
<Divrola> It's going to be a big change for her.
<Gefraz> Better now, than when she's older.
* Divrola nods grudgingly.
<Divrola> When would you be ready for us to come?
<Gefraz> After the wedding, I think.
<Divrola> When is that? Or do you not know yet?
<Katenzhi> We don't know exactly yet.
<Gefraz> Not yet. But we're not looking to delay a long time.
<Katenzhi> If you want, I can arrange to teleport you there when the time comes. It would be easier than a long overland journey.
<Divrola> That would be ... a help. I was worried about how the trip would be for Ghesmin.
<Katenzhi> I'll take the two of you myself.
<Divrola> All right.
<Katenzhi> I'll be honest, Ashnabis isn't the easiest place to live, but it has advantages. And you'll have us. And I know my family will help. My cousins are good people.
* Divrola nods
* Curtana is now known as Ghesmin
* Ghesmin wanders out from the other room, rubbing her eyes like she is half-asleep.
<Ghesmin> Mama?
* Gefraz smiles.
* Divrola goes over and picks her up.
* Katenzhi smiles a bit awkwardly.
<Gefraz> Did we wake her up?
<Divrola> Oh, anything wakes her up... She doesn't sleep all through the night even under the best circumstances.
* Ghesmin peers uncertainly at you from over her mother's shoulder.
* Katenzhi waves at Ghesmin.
<Katenzhi> Hello there.
* Ghesmin waves back.
* Katenzhi looks at Divrola.
<Ghesmin> Who that?
* Ghesmin asks her mother
<Divrola> She's a friend.
* Katenzhi smiles.
<Katenzhi> My name is Kat.
<Ghesmin> Hi Kat :)
<Katenzhi> Hello Ghesmin. You're very pretty. Just like your mama.
<Divrola> All right, little goose, you should be in bed, it's night time.
<Divrola> I'm going to take her back to bed - you can stay if you want, or if you have to leave, then I'll see you later I guess.
<Gefraz> Ahh .. do you think you can find your own way back to the Eaves, Kat?
<Katenzhi> Oh... umm, sure. I think so.
<Divrola> And, ah... Thank you for coming. I know you didn't have to, and I appreciate it.
<Katenzhi> Of course. Thank you for having me in your home.
<Katenzhi> I hope this works out for all of us.
* Divrola nods
* Katenzhi will quietly take her leave then.
* Katenzhi will stand outside the door for a minute looking around as she has no idea where the hell she is or what direction the Eaves is in.
* Katenzhi will eventually find a bar, have a few drinks, and ask directions.

Daifan makes plans with Junan to find out more about what Galdai is up to


* Daifan will sneak into Junan's place one evening with some wine on the premise that either he is home and this is a good time, or he is out and they can have a quiet nap and surprise him later ;)
* Junan is found already napping... must have been a long or slow day
* Daifan will snuggle into bed then ^_^
<Daifan> Why hey there, lazy man
* Daifan says affectionately
* Junan stirs and smiles
<Daifan> Were hou hoping your dreams were coming true?
<Daifan> They might ;)
<Daifan> (you)
<Junan> I was thinking they may now
<Daifan> I brought wine.... its cheap, but maybe the company will make it better
<Junan> what wonderful act have I performed to have earned such a surprise?
<Daifan> mmmm... nothing yet ;)
<Junan> so what wonderful act would have of me?
<Daifan> Oh I have a few in mind >:)
<Daifan> but... should I be more serious now, or later?
<Junan> I'm freshly awake and motivated now... best to start with serious.
<Junan> I'll get some cups
* Daifan nods, pouting in false disappointment as they prop themselves up on an elbow
* Daifan reaches down and will produce the bottle and pass it over
* Junan unceremoniously rolls over Daifan, maybe lingering a little bit to find his feet and get some cups
* Daifan giggles
* Daifan will sit up
<Daifan> well.
* Junan hands her a cup
<Daifan> I do need your help.
<Junan> the best wells pour the juice of the grapes
<Daifan> mmhmm
<Junan> I'll shall do my best to offer aid
<Junan> whats the what?
<Daifan> It's the old bitch again - Galdai.
<Daifan> She is up to something and I want to find out what.
<Daifan> I don't trust that whatever she was doing before, that it is over with, and that she is really doe with my people.
<Junan> I imagine significant effort was taken to bring that crowd here. Its not unsurprising she would just let things be.
<Junan> Do you have any... hints as to what she is up to?
<Daifan> I think she is scheming some way to get her hands on Fuska's baby, once it is born.
<Daifan> She knows Hand Dezmali would never let her have it if she could
<Junan> Any chance you've plumbed the depths of any knowledge Veznara has? The two do speak do they not?
<Daifan> but she has been interviewing couples - peopel who are desperate - that have been brouht to her by her seneschal in town
<Daifan> not yet, but I plan to
<Daifan> I expect she will not know much, and it might be difficult to ask abou such busines in therole she has there.
<Junan> your peoples couples or just any couple?
<Daifan> Hedal couples. Your people.
<Daifan> I think she wants to have them get the baby for her.
<Daifan> but I don't know.
<Junan> ah, I suppose that makes some sense
<Junan> I wonder what the qualifications for be chosen are?
<Daifan> I'm not sure. That might be easy enough to find out by asking around tow. Her steward is picking these people out, so he is finding them somehow
<Daifan> there might be word on the street
<Daifan> I will see whazt I can find out, and other friends, about that
<Daifan> but if you hear anything, please let me know.
<Junan> its always possible a poor artist and his muse might fit the requirements, if they needed to, at least to find out more?
<Junan> once we knew what she was looking for.
* Daifan smiles broadly
<Daifan> Yes, exatcly - See, this is why I like you ^_^
<Daifan> we can get a sense of what he is looking for and... play into thaat, I am sure.
<Daifan> Oh for shame that I cannot have children of my own
* Daifan says dramatically
<Daifan> or whatever ;p
<Junan> once we're in we should be able to easily find out whats what
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I think so, between the two of us
<Junan> and if were caught, well, I'm just some nosy Daligashi writer trying to find some dirt for a salacious story to tell back home.
<Junan> on those crazy Tazi royals
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> mmhmm. Oh yes see that wold be perfect
<Daifan> she has been keeping her granddaughter form being able to find any marriage match, and she is very unhappy
<Junan> so many scandals to dig up
<Daifan> so there could always be a sory about that, if you need a cover ;)
<Daifan> mmhmm.
<Daifan> I don't know why she wants to control her, either, but maybe that is just how she is :p
<Daifan> But apparenlty none of the suitors are good enough, but all for stupid reasons
<Junan> she's saving her for someone specific
<Junan> who that is?
* Junan shrugs
<Daifan> mmm, that could be, I suppose, but why is she waiting?
<Daifan> oh well. Tha's just.... a distraction, for now.
<Daifan> I don't care so much, but it would be a good cover if we need it
<Junan> definitely
<Daifan> well... I will see wha I can learn, and we can make a plan from there, for our alter egos, and for now.... wine and bed seem like a prety nice evening ^_^
<Junan> I cant disagree with that
<Junan> I'm getting so entangled in mystics, I wonder if I should find some magical protections
<Daifan> Well, maybe I can help a little with that, too... :3