Ashnabis session 10

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Summary

Session

Session date: May 5, 2019
Fair Cycle date: Pesme, I.E. 765

Prologue


<AshnabisNarrator> Late in Pesme, the first harvest of local onions fill the air with rich scents, as Kaskind finally breaks through into real dry warmth and lively good cheer. Even the poor can afford a meal of boiled onions slathered across a warm piece of fresh-risen bread.
<AshnabisNarrator> https://open.spotify.com/track/2YJ207A0xFOZk3P8YVDowN?si=fFa4RgDVRTa-_f20QUMSgA
<AshnabisNarrator> Summer is just around the corner, but that means that those with longstanding claims are busy on their plots, as the weather is ideal for the year's first fos harvest, which will be starting next month.
<AshnabisNarrator> This year, with the enormous number of new arrivals, seemingly more every day, the community is a little more chaotic than usual but everyone is doing their best to accommodate. Last week a new garrison arrived from Choradan, to supplement those sentinels and soldiers already here, which ought eventually to provide a modicum of order, once the soldiers sober up.
<AshnabisNarrator> And, of course, the end of the heaviest rains means that the new arrivals will be placing and making their first claims - so eager, and yet so naive. Those of you who have been here a while know that many of these may be on the boat home in a year or two, or trying the overland pass.
<AshnabisNarrator> Speaking of which, the overland route, northeast out of the Sestapor and through the one secure pass to the Choradani city of Kebulund, has also been more active than usual, although you are led to understand it has also, thereby, become more dangerously infested with those seeking to take advantage of unwary fortune-seekers.
<AshnabisNarrator> Construction around the fort continues apace and promises to do so for the foreseeable future. At the registry, you've just been told to expect disruptions around the office to be 'ongoing'. Hurrah.
<AshnabisNarrator> Nothing else has come, yet, out of your most recent investigations into the area near the temple, but to some extent you might attribute that to how busy things have been. Just as the bread rises, and the spring waters of the Kaskos fall, your tempers rest uneasy, as if something is about to break the rhythm …

Veznara receives a visit from Voice Gili about the mysterious temples


<AshnabisNarrator> Veznara, your time has been busily spent with duties at both the registry and the temple, both of which need your attention. It's almost as if Dezmali is working you overtime to keep you from distraction, for which you're grateful, you suppose.
<AshnabisNarrator> One evening, you are at the temple laying out linens for the next day, when you see an unfamiliar man sitting on a bench along the far wall, looking over at you.
* A_Man is a handsome older man, perhaps in his 50s, his swept-back brown hair and thick beard threaded with grey. He wears the black robes of the Voice and a serious expression. He seems content for now to simply sit.
* Veznara continues her work for while, then looks up. She sets aside the remaining linens, and approaches the man
<Veznara> Greetings. May I help you, Voice... ?
* A_Man is now known as Gili
<Gili> I am Gili. And you are Hand Veznara, yes?
<Veznara> Yes, Voice Gili. I am Hand Veznara.
<Gili> I have been looking for an opportunity to speak with you.
<Veznara> (Does he have an accent?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (yes, a Choradani one, you think. One of the western Ombesh dialects, anyway)
<Veznara> Ah. Well, I have two more linens to set out... shall I finish, and then we can go somewhere else to talk?
<Gili> That would be acceptable. I will wait.
<Veznara> Thank you.
* Veznara goes back and quickly finishes, then returns and guides him to somewhere they can talk privately
* Gili follows you respectfully.
<Veznara> (So somewhere in the temple, I assume)
<AshnabisNarrator> (sure)
* Veznara leads him inside to a private room where they can sit
<Veznara> Please, do sit down.
* Gili sits.
* Veznara also sits
<Gili> I have come to speak to you about a theological matter.
<Veznara> Yes?
<Gili> In your work at the land registry you have been involved in not one but two expeditions recently of interest to me, have you not?
<Veznara> I think I know what you refer to, yes.
<Gili> Did you seek out those assignments specifically, or were they assigned to you?
<Veznara> They were assigned to me. I imagine those doing the assigning may have particularly wanted me included, but I don't know.
<Gili> Hmm. I see.
<Gili> And so you are aware of the temples.
<Veznara> Yes.
<Veznara> That they exist, at least.
<Gili> Have you come to any conclusions about what they represent?
<Veznara> No, I'm afraid not. But surely the Voice here in Kaskind is aware?
<Gili> They are aware of the existence of the active temple, and have been for some time, yes. The ruined one, that is new to us.
<Veznara> But their significance?
<Gili> Only partially understood. Voice Tegus knew, through our colleagues at the temple in Timiil, that the Sashnir clan had its own temple cared for by its own priests, to communicate with their ancestors.
<Gili> And also that there is no corresponding Hand temple.
<Veznara> None that I know of, no.
<Gili> But efforts to learn more have not met with much success. This temple keeps very much to itself, as do its priests.
<Gili> I am concerned that my brethren at the temple currently occupied by the Sashnir may have fallen into doctrinal error in need of correction.
* Veznara frowns
<Veznara> What sort of doctrinal error could that be?
<Gili> I was hoping you would have some insight.
* Veznara sighs
<Veznara> I could only speculate, I'm afraid. You are aware of the contents of my registry team's report?
<Gili> In general terms, yes. I have not read it.
<Veznara> Well, the saglikom was placed on the inside of the temple rather than the outside, as though to keep something in rather than protect against intrusion.
<Gili> Yes, I did hear that. Although the use of the saglikom at all is just a local custom.
<Veznara> There was also a persimmon grove very nearby.
<Veznara> I don't know if that has any local significance?
<Gili> And that is at both temples, correct?
<Veznara> Yes.
<Gili> That seems unlikely to be a coincidence.
<Veznara> Indeed. I think it must be significant. but I don't know how. Perhaps they're used in a particular ritual in the local practice.
<Veznara> I don't know of any specific properties of the persimmon that would be important in that regard, though.
<Gili> At the very least, would you not agree that we ought to be concerned that there is at least one, possibly more Voice temples working outside our scrutiny and supervision?
<Veznara> Well... I imagine that would be primarily for the Voice to determine.
<Veznara> Officially.
<Veznara> Do you know how these temples came about? I understand they are sanctioned, or were once.
<Gili> I don't, no. Voice Tegus is loath to interfere too deeply with local custom and practice.
<Veznara> And I imagine you have had a chance to discuss this with Voice Erku as well?
<Gili> Yes, of course.
<Gili> Voice Erku was not fond of the ruined temple.
<Veznara> "Not fond"?
<Gili> He believes the place was cursed. I don't disagree with him.
<Veznara> I don't either...
<Veznara> But what could it be?
<Gili> I don't know. I am no scholar, I admit that. I am of simple birth and have spent my life tending to the dead.
<Gili> But I also have heard that you are deeply concerned with the history of temples in this area. I thought perhaps you would have some insight.
<Veznara> I am something of scholar of history, though I'm not sure I'd say I'm "deeply" concerned with the temples in particular - or I wasn't, until this happened.
<Veznara> May I ask who told you that?
<Gili> Voice Erku did.
<Veznara> (Sense Motive?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (sure, make a roll)
<Veznara> !roll 1d20+8
* Lan-werk rolls for Veznara: [ 1d20+8 ] getting [ 6 ] which, after the modifier [ 8 ] totals [ 14 ].
<AshnabisNarrator> !roll 1d20-1
* Lan-werk rolls for AshnabisNarrator: [ 1d20-1 ] getting [ 16 ] which, after the modifier [ -1 ] totals [ 15 ].
<Veznara> (Curses!)
<AshnabisNarrator> (seems like that would make at least some sense)
<Veznara> Ah, I see. Yes, I suppose my knowledge of history is one of the reasons I was chosen for the assignment with him.
<Gili> Of course I understand that you are of the Hand and our temples are not of deepest concern to you.
<Gili> But I cannot abide the appearance that one family can simply flout our precepts and be tolerated.
<Veznara> Oh, I understand!
<Veznara> But if Voice Tegus is not concerned, what can you do about it?
<Gili> I don't know. I can learn more. That is why I came to you.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> I suppose so. But, Voice Gili... I would caution you to be very careful.
<Gili> Because ...?
<Veznara> I think this is indeed a matter that is sensitive. Looking into it too openly may get you unwanted attention.
<Veznara> It may even be dangerous.
<Gili> I will be cautious.
<Gili> As you should be also.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> If you are determined to pursue this, what do you think should be the next step?
<Gili> The Fort has asserted its rights over the land you investigated near the active temple. So I may go there, just to see for myself.
<Veznara> Not alone, I hope!
<Gili> I don't know. Perhaps.
<Veznara> What about the history of the temples - even if Voice Tegus has no wish to look into it, there must be some sort of documentation as to why the dispensation for a separate Sashnir temple was granted?
<Gili> Documentation by ... the locals? I don't imagine so.
<Veznara> No, I mean by the Voice leaders of the time.
<Gili> But those would be locals.
<Veznara> Oh, I see.
* Veznara sighs
<Veznara> Are there any sort of records from that time?
<Gili> There may be, but if so, I don't know of them. As I say, I am no scholar.
<Veznara> Well, I am sorry I cannot be of more help. I will think on it, if you like - perhaps something more will occur to me. There were other details I forgot to mention, but I expect you have heard about them already from Voice Erku - the stoneguard, and so on.
<Gili> Yes, I have learned much from him. He is a good man.
<Gili> Thank you for your time, Hand Veznara. This has been very informative.
<Veznara> You are welcome, Voice Gili. But please, if you must go through with your visit to the area...
<Veznara> When I went, I was careful to wear clothing other than my Hand robes. If you go there, I think it would be wise for you to do the same and wear civilian clothes.
<Gili> Thank you for your advice.
<Veznara> Please be careful.
<Veznara> May the Ancestors protect you.
* Gili departs.
* Veznara watches him go, troubled

Llillilli and Jimba go with Thelef to meet his aunts and try to impress them


<AshnabisNarrator> Llillilli, you have been invited, along with your 'lineage elder', to join Thelef at the Aanilaus longhouse to meet some of his aunts. To say that you are anxious about this meeting is a gross offense to the word 'anxious'.
<AshnabisNarrator> Thelef will be coming over to the boat to pick you up and introduce himself to Jimba, then escort you over to the lineage house in Kaskind. Seeing as you don't have a formal lineage elder, or at least, none here, Jimba will have to do.
* Thelef arrives at the boat one evening after you have all returned from work.
* Thelef has made himself quite presentable for this occasion, with his black hair neatly combed and tied back with a copper band. He wears a long dark blue dashi decorated with an intricate crimson and white pattern.
* Llillilli is wearing a new burnt orange dashi that Daifan picked out for her, with her hair in a wrap also picked out by Daifan.
* Jimba will dress in his best dashi, red with geometric white patterning.
<Thelef> Ah, hello, request permission to board?
<Llillilli> Oh! Yes, please. Yes.
<Jimba> Dang it, Llillilli, I was going to hassle him a little.
<Jimba> Please, come aboard.
* Jimba smiles widely.
* Jimba offers his hand.
<Jimba> Jimba.
<Llillilli> (is this the first time they're meeting?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (yes I think so. I think Katenzhi knows him but not Jimba)
<Jimba> (We haven't met in game that I know of)
<Jimba> (I haven't, rather)
<Thelef> Jimba of the Ghughife, I acknowledge and recognize your standing as head of your people. I am Rasaben of the Aanilaus, known as Thelef.
* Thelef smiles warmly.
<Llillilli> . o O (Rasaben, huh)
<Jimba> Rasaben of the Aanilaus, known as Thelef, welcome to our home, we are honored by your presence.
<Jimba> It's good to finally meet you.
<Jimba> Strange under the circumstances, but good.
<Thelef> And you as well. Llillilli has told me much about you.
<Jimba> Don't believe half of it.
* Llillilli rolls her eyes.
* Thelef laughs.
* Jimba grins.
<Thelef> Well, we should get the formal part out of the way.
* Jimba nods.
<Thelef> I come to seek permission to join with your sister as husband and wife.
<Jimba> (Is there a specific response to this?)
<Thelef> (none that you know of. You are not actually a lineage elder so ... what do you know?)
<Jimba> (heh)
<Jimba> (to Llillilli) And your thoughts on the matter?
<Llillilli> It sounds weird to ask Jimba.
<Jimba> You're telling me.
<Thelef> Ultimately it will be my uncle Tobor making the formal arrangement with you, Jimba. If this meeting goes well today.
* Jimba nods.
<Thelef> We are not our own people in this matter.
<Jimba> -_-
<Jimba> Right.
<Jimba> Well, Llillilli seems happy about the match, so I'm happy for you both. I guess now we just convince your family?
* Thelef nods, somewhat uneasily.
<Thelef> That's the plan.
<Thelef> My aunt Kiklatsa, who is the sister of my uncle the lineage head, will be the one speaking with you. My uncle Tobor is … well, he's a strong man, and a good leader, but not as concerned with these sorts of things.
<Jimba> All right.
<Jimba> Anything we should know going in?
<Llillilli> Well, everyone likes Jimba, so
* Thelef breathes out heavily.
<Thelef> Well.
<Thelef> Kiklatsa is a reckoner, and not one to be trifled with. She's not unreasonable, but she wants to ensure that her kin have good marriages.
<Llillilli> Is she... going to use powers on us?
<Jimba> Good as in they're happy, or good as in advantageous? Because we're not exactly rich or noble or anything.
<Thelef> No, I don't think she'll do anything formal today, Llillilli.
<Thelef> As for a good marriage ... that's complicated.
<Thelef> Aunt Kiklatsa knows every Aanilaus, and most of the other important families, not only living, but also all of our ancestors back to the Omban excursions. I don't think there are any Aanilaus, or … Amnilos, in Omba these days, but she doesn't forget.
<Thelef> She takes the lineage very seriously.
<Jimba> Okay.
<Thelef> She's a little ... stern.
<Thelef> But I also suggested that my cousin Yena, who is really my aunt, to be there. She's a little more - modern, I guess? She is a priestess of the Hand at the temple here in Kaskind, so her word carries a lot of weight.
<Jimba> That could help.
<Llillilli> Mm.
<Thelef> Kiklatsa will have a lot of questions.
<Thelef> The fact that you're of Ombesh birth won't matter. Your Aummesh is very strong. The fact that you're not noble will be … a bit upsetting. It may be a concern. But we don't take those things as seriously here as Omban folks do. She will probably want to know about your lineage, though.
<Jimba> (Presumably that's stuff we know, but, like, I haven't mapped it out. Hazel?)
<Llillilli> (yeah... )
<Katenzhi> (Well, I had in my background that we're from an old trading family. Caravaners.)
<Jimba> (Right)
<Jimba> We'll do our best.
<Thelef> She will want to know, for sure, whether you are committed to stay here. She doesn't want her kin spread throughout the continent. She's turned away some impressive noble matches for some of my cousins because the lineage didn't seem committed to being here.
<Jimba> Oh, well, we've got that down, then.
* Thelef nods.
<Thelef> Yes, I think so.
<Thelef> Jimba, she may want to see how the lineage may profit from its connection to the Ghughife. So, you should have an answer to that, probably.
* Jimba nod.
<Llillilli> Do we?
* Jimba laughs.
<Jimba> I've got an answer.
<Jimba> Whether it's the right one, we'll have to see.
<Llillilli> And what is it?
<Jimba> Well, we're looking at investing here in Kaskind, which shows we both have an eye towards growth and are committed to staying. Our position in the land office, and the possibility of advancement there, gives us an in with the Ombesh settlers and society. I have friends and business associates with local Aummesh communities, as well, and my hope is to see them all prosper.
* Thelef smiles and nods.
<Jimba> We're nothing much now, but we're building a presence here.
<Thelef> That is as good as any answer you could give, I think.
<Thelef> Oh ... and Lllillilli ...
* Thelef squirms a bit.
* Jimba smirks a little at Llillilli.
<Llillilli> What?
<Thelef> Ah ... as for names … she will probably call me by my Aummesh name, Rasaben, which is fine. But ... well … you will need to decide how to handle that. She may wish to know your human name. Which, actually, I suppose I don't know.
* Jimba freezes.
<Llillilli> Mm.
<Llillilli> ¬_¬
<Llillilli> Don't like that
<Thelef> Right.
<Thelef> Well, I guess we should get going, then.
<Jimba> Lead the way.
<AshnabisNarrator> You walk over together to the Aanilaus lineage house, which sits in a prominent place along the south side of the Colony Road in Kaskind, to the west of the bridge.
<AshnabisNarrator> It is a striking building - a longhouse, in the style of Aummesh lineages, but built mostly of stone, some of which is imported. At the front door stand two marble columns in Choradani style, carved with heads of figures who you presume must be former lineage elders.
<AshnabisNarrator> The Aanilaus are one of the oldest and most prominent Aummesh families in the colony, and surely the most willing to adapt to colonial rule.
<AshnabisNarrator> Although you know that the lineage itself goes back centuries here in Kaskind, the building itself is of new construction - it can't be more than a few years old. It stands as a sort of testament to the lineage and its willingness and ability to work with the Fort.
* Jimba whistles.
<Llillilli> 's a big house...
<AshnabisNarrator> You are escorted into the house and into a small parlor where two women are seated around a small table. Oil lamps light the room and low embers glow in the fireplace.
* Kiklatsa is a slender woman of about 50, with curly dark hair cut fairly short and swept over to one side. She is wearing a pale rose-coloured dashi that reaches her ankles, and a darker red auna draped over her shoulder. She wears a belt decorated with pearls, and a pair of gold armbands.
* NPC3 is now known as Yena
* Yena is the younger of the women, perhaps in her mid-30s, very pretty and dark-skinned, with long black hair falling in waves down her back. She wears the simple white robes of a Hand, although accentuated with a purple shawl and some silver earrings.
* Llillilli feels underdressed now
<Llillilli> (more)
<Thelef> Aunt Kiklatsa, Aunt Yena, good evening. I am pleased to introduce to you my betrothed, Llillilli of the Ghughife, and her brother, the elder Jimba.
<Kiklatsa> Rasaben. You're looking well. I hope you have been using that soap.
<Yena> Hello, Ben. It's good to see you.
* Yena smiles warmly.
* Llillilli looks askance at Thelef; it's so strange to hear them call him another name.
* Kiklatsa looks the two of you over, as if her scrutiny alone can assess your value as a person.
* Jimba makes sure to stand straight and tries to look less poor. :p
* Thelef smiles uneasily.
* Llillilli just stares back.
<Kiklatsa> Jimba of the Ghughife, you are hereby acknowledged as the esteemed representative of the Ghughife lineage. Be welcome in this, the house of the Amnilos, known as Aanilaus, proud over the centuries.
* Kiklatsa says in an almost perfectly unaccented Ombesh.
<Jimba> (Is there a proper response?)
<Kiklatsa> (again, none that you know of!)
<Jimba> Kiklatsa of the Amnilos, known as Aanilaus, proud over the centuries, I thank you for your hospitality on behalf of myself, my sister, and the Ghughife.
<Jimba> (Obviously also in Ombesh.)
<Kiklatsa> Please, sit at my table and join us.
* Llillilli isn't sure whether that's everyone or just Jimba >.>
<Jimba> Thank you.
* Thelef sits and motions to you to sit next to him.
* Jimba will take a seat.
* Llillilli sits then, relieved.
<Jimba> You have a lovely and, if I may say, quite impressive home.
<Jimba> We are humbled to be hosted in such a grand manner.
<Kiklatsa> Thank you. Our lineage has been blessed with great fortune and we are happy to be here in Kaskind, the heart of this new and revitalized territory. It is perhaps not as friendly as the house in Timiil, but, as you say, quite grand.
* Jimba smiles.
* Llillilli folds her hands in her lap awkwardly.
<Jimba> I'm sure both well convey the story of your people.
* Llillilli feels like a horse at market.
<Jimba> If perhaps different chapters.
<AshnabisNarrator> A young man of perhaps twelve or thirteen, who looks like he must be a member of the family, comes out and deposits a pitcher of wine and several fine ceramic mugs on the table, then scurries off.
<Kiklatsa> Well spoken.
* Kiklatsa looks at Jimba.
<Kiklatsa> Tell me of the Ghughife. Who are your people and what are their accomplishments? To what elder do you pay your respects?
<Jimba> (Presumably Jimba can do that, but, I, Josh, really can't.)
<AshnabisNarrator> (fair)
<Jimba> (Unless you want me to just make up stuff on the spot. :))
<AshnabisNarrator> (if you want! but no.)
* Jimba will do his best to recount the Ghughife lineage in a good light (though I believe we've been solidly middle class at best for a good while)
<Jimba> (We're prosperous, but far from rich or noble)
<Kiklatsa> And your father, or any brothers he may have, do they live still?
<Jimba> We were raised by our uncle, Romoga. When our family came to Ashnabis, our father stayed in Choradan. We trace our lineage through our mother and aunt's lineage.
* Jimba says a little hesitantly.
<Kiklatsa> I see. Very well.
<Kiklatsa> And as for yourself, how do you pay for the feasts for your ancestors?
<AshnabisNarrator> (that phrase is a formality, you know. It means 'where does your money come from, you deadbeat?')
<Jimba> (I figured :))
* Llillilli tries not to fidget.
<Jimba> We both have good jobs at the land office here in the fort. We also own our own vessel and trade where and when we are able. We're in the process of acquiring a stake in one of the docks on the waterfront, and warehouse space to match.
* Yena perks up.
<Yena> Oh! Do you work with Hand Veznara Kezondo?!?
<Jimba> Veznara? Oh, yes, she's one of our common associates.
* Llillilli bites the inside of her cheek.
* Yena turns to Kiklatsa.
* Jimba avoids giving Llillilli a pointed look.
<Yena> Esteemed cousin, Veznara is the colleague I spoke of, who is of a house of royal kinship in Taizi, where the Pretender rules. A friend of Zeba Mopister, and a person of some esteem.
<Kiklatsa> Ah, I see!
* Yena turns to the two of you.
<Yena> Veznara is a friend of mine, I suppose you could say I am a mentor to her, in the ways of this place.
* Jimba smiles.
<Llillilli> . o O (great... )
<Jimba> Fortune smiles, meeting a friend's friend.
<Yena> The work you do at the registry is very important for the future of our land.
* Kiklatsa nods.
<Jimba> I like to think we contribute to keeping the peace in our own way, trying to sort out the various land holdings.
<Kiklatsa> As for you ... Lilili. My grandfather's mother was named Lilei, a beautiful name, don't you agree?
<Llillilli> ... Yes?
<Llillilli> It's ... very nice...
<Kiklatsa> And what is your name in the temple?
<Llillilli> Llillilli is my name, wherever I am.
<Kiklatsa> I see.
<Llillilli> . o O (they hate me. this was a terrible idea.)
<Kiklatsa> All right, then. Why do you wish to marry my nephew?
<Llillilli> BEcause he asked me...
<Llillilli> And he is kind, and well respected in our community.
<Llillilli> HE's a good person and I like him very much...
* Llillilli cringes internally at the words coming out of her face hole
<Kiklatsa> He is kind. His beloved parents raised him properly, I agree.
<Kiklatsa> You are very fortunate to have attracted his attention. Rasaben has always had many girls who sought it.
* Thelef blushes.
<Thelef> Auntie ...
* Yena stifles a giggle.
<Yena> Lilili, we all want the same thing, which is for a happy union.
<Yena> This is all a little sudden on all of us.
<Llillilli> Oh?
<Yena> Well, we had not heard of you, until Ben announced your betrothal.
<Llillilli> I'm a very private person.
* Yena nods.
* Llillilli blurts out
* Jimba casts a glance at Thelef.
<Kiklatsa> You speak your mind, though, do you not?
<Llillilli> Yes, that's right.
<Kiklatsa> You know that I am a reckoner. I can see the telling of truth and the telling of lies. And you spoke your heart earlier, when I asked you why you want to wed.
<Kiklatsa> But you are also keeping a part of your reason from me. I can see that.
* Llillilli glances at Thelef.
<Llillilli> . o O (YOU SAID SHE WOULDN'T USE POWERS YOU SAID)
<Jimba> I must apologize, but I really doubt Llillilli would keep anything from you. She doesn't do that.
<Jimba> You can ask anyone.
<Thelef> We are all a little anxious, as you might imagine. It's not every day that I bring my betrothed to meet my family.
<Yena> Of course, of course, we understand.
* Yena nods.
<Kiklatsa> Well. Yes.
<Kiklatsa> Tell me then, Lilei. Rasaben is a bold young man, given to many flights of fancy. How do I know that you are not one of them?
<Llillilli> I'm not fancy.
* Jimba smiles at that.
<Llillilli> Has he brought many others here to you like this?
<Kiklatsa> You are the first. All the others, we brought to him.
* Llillilli lifts her chin slightly.
<Llillilli> Well, that is how you know.
* Jimba manages to keep from laughing.
<Kiklatsa> You understand, then, that as his wife, your role will be to keep his follies in check.
* Llillilli permits herself a small smile.
<Llillilli> Oh yes.
<Thelef> Auntieeee ....
<Kiklatsa> Hush, you.
<Kiklatsa> I'm talking here.
<Kiklatsa> Now listen here, both of you. Well, all of you, but Rasaben, I've given up much hope of you listening.
<Kiklatsa> It is important that we all learn to adapt to new circumstances. My father, and now my brother, have learned to adapt to the new flood of Omban settlement here, after so long at low tide. In the abeyance, we Aanilaus have established ourselves here, but we have not forgotten the history.
<Kiklatsa> If you are to marry into my lineage, and bear the new generation of Aanilaus, I must know that you understand this, that to be flexible, like the reed by the riverside, is a great strength. And so you too will need to adapt.
<Kiklatsa> Do you understand my meaning?
<Llillilli> Not really.
<Jimba> My sister prefers plain speech.
<Kiklatsa> Very well, then.
<Kiklatsa> I do not much care what you do with my nephew, under the sea, or under the sheets, as long as it brings no dishonour on this house.
<Kiklatsa> But in entering into a marriage, you are binding yourself to my family, and we to yours. That is the meaning of a marriage.
<Kiklatsa> So you will need to learn to adapt yourself to us, to our customs, to our ways, just as we have had to learned to adapt to Ombesh ways.
<Llillilli> Mm.
<Kiklatsa> I have turned away other suitors because it was clear to me that they had no interest in local custom or practice - simply as a source of wealth and power. In you, I have no such concern. You seem ... refreshingly honest, and unconcerned with what this lineage might bring you.
<Llillilli> That is true. I'm only interested in Thelef.
<Llillilli> Uh... Rasben.
<Kiklatsa> But I will admit to some concern that you will take my nephew to Sulise and raise your children under the banner of the hith king.
<Thelef> Auntie!!!
* Thelef says with some anger and alarm.
<Kiklatsa> Be silent!
* Kiklatsa retorts sharply.
<Llillilli> He is my elder in the eyes of the people. It would be his decision.
<Llillilli> ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
<Kiklatsa> Hmmm. So you do understand deference.
<Kiklatsa> And Jimba, you have assented to this union, knowing that your nephews and nieces will be raised under the Aanilaus banner?
* Jimba nods.
* Kiklatsa scrutinizes you, Jimba.
<Jimba> It's a prestigious name, and my possible future nieces and nephews would be lucky to bear it. I'm still around to carry on the Ghughife name and lineage.
* Kiklatsa nods.
<Kiklatsa> Do you mainly do what your sister asks of you?
* Jimba grins.
<Jimba> I'm sure she'd tell you otherwise.
* Llillilli snorts.
<Kiklatsa> I'm not so sure.
<Jimba> But I trust her to know herself and make her own decisions.
<Jimba> She does nothing half-heartedly.
<Jimba> If she wants to be with Thelef, then I will not say otherwise.
<Kiklatsa> My brother Tobor, many years my elder, sometimes supposes that he runs matters here too. It's quite charming, but he knows better.
<Jimba> Here in Kaskind, it is only myself, my sister, and our cousin. There's little need for hierarchy.
<Kiklatsa> Well. That's a perspective.
<Jimba> We each act according to our strengths.
<Kiklatsa> I see.
<Kiklatsa> Very well. I will consider this matter further. If a contract is to be drawn up, I shall inform you. Although I am a reckoner we would of course use some neutral party, agreeable to both our clans, for such a purpose. If the Aanilaus assent, of course.
<Jimba> Of course.
<Kiklatsa> Is there any other business to be considered this evening, then?
<Llillilli> . o O (Business? ugh.)
<Thelef> I have none, aunties.
<Kiklatsa> Very well. We will speak again soon.
<Jimba> It has been an honor and a pleasure.
<Llillilli> Nice meeting you
<AshnabisNarrator> The three of you leave the lineage house.
* Thelef seems pensive.
<Llillilli> Thelef, I am so sorry. -_-
<Thelef> ...
<Jimba> It's not decided yet.
<Llillilli> They hate me.
<Thelef> I think she likes you.
* Jimba smiles.
<Llillilli> What?
<Thelef> You must understand that I was as much being judged there, as you.
<Llillilli> They don't seem to respect you very much.
<Thelef> She thinks I am fickle and flighty and vain.
<Llillilli> I didn't like that
<Jimba> Had to convince them she wasn't a "fancy"?
<Thelef> In need of being ... disciplined.
* Jimba snickers.
<Jimba> I'm sure she can oblige you.
* Thelef pauses, unsure what to say to that.
* Jimba chuckles.
* Llillilli smacks Jimba in the back of the head.
<Jimba> Ow! Hey!
<Thelef> Yena really helped out there too. I didn't know about that connection.
<Llillilli> Until she talks to Veznara.
* Jimba dodges back, still laughing.
* Llillilli says glumly.
<Jimba> Hey, maybe Veznara will surprise you.
<Thelef> Is there a problem with this ... Veznara?
<Llillilli> She is a Hand...
<Thelef> So?
<Llillilli> I don't like them much.
<Llillilli> Pretty sure she knows that.
<Thelef> Ah.
<Jimba> It'll be okay.
<Thelef> Well, I don't know what Yena will say to her. Perhaps nothing.
<Llillilli> Maybe.
<Llillilli> ¬_¬
<Thelef> Anyway ... I think it went fine. It really did. You were amazing.
* Jimba gives Llillilli an encouraging smile.
<Llillilli> I guess we'll see
* Thelef returns with you to the boat.
<Thelef> Thank you, Jimba, for all your help.
<Llillilli> Just doing what I tell him, as usual
* Jimba laughs.
<Jimba> I don't know that I did help, but I'm happy to try.
<Thelef> I'll come by maybe tomorrow or the next day, OK, Llillilli? I guess you need a little time away from all this business.

Katenzhi has a confrontation with Usuf Rorifiti


<AshnabisNarrator> Katenzhi, you are returning home one day after work, making a stop to purchase a slab of lamb for the three of you for dinner tonight.
<AshnabisNarrator> As you leave the stall, food in hand, you run into Usuf Rorifti, the head of the Amalgam. Next to him is standing Fuvas Khundoki, who you remember meeting once or twice.
* Usuf is a middle-aged man with a dark beard trimmed to just his chin and a magnificent dark red turban ornamented with a cluster of pale blue feathers and a red gemstone. He wears a blue robe, belted at his waist with a cream-coloured fringed sash.
* Fuvas is a rather plain woman in her late 20s, with short-trimmed wavy hair and light brown skin. She wears an Omban-style knee-length robe in a faded shade of red, decorated with a few simple embroidered details.
<Usuf> Katenzhi! How fortuitous to run into you!
<Katenzhi> Usuf! How have you been?
* Katenzhi waves at Fuvas also, with her hand that isn't carrying a grocery sack.
<Usuf> Very well, very well! It's been too long.
* Fuvas smiles thinly.
<Fuvas> Hello, Katenzhi.
<Katenzhi> Heya Fuvas. What are you two up to?
<Fuvas> We're just here to get some dinner.
<Usuf> But now that we ran into you, we should talk, briefly.
<Katenzhi> Sure, I guess. Wanna get a drink?
<Usuf> Yes, that's a fine idea!
* Usuf leads the way to a local bar, where he slaps a couple coins on the bar, nods to the innkeeper, and takes a table in the corner.
* Katenzhi will have a seat.
<Usuf> So ... you know Bivizmi Pindevuzi of the Pindevuzi herbalists, do you not?
<Katenzhi> Sure. She's a friend. Why?
<Usuf> Have you spoken to her recently?
* Katenzhi narrows her eyes slightly.
<Katenzhi> Yeah, why? What's this about?
<Usuf> What did she talk to you about?
<Katenzhi> You're ignoring my question, Usuf.
<Usuf> I'm not.
<Usuf> What did she talk to you about?
* Usuf asks, a little more annoyedly.
<Katenzhi> We talked about fos. And magic. And other things.
<Usuf> Did she tell you about a project she's been working on, something that she isn't telling folks about, perhaps?
<Katenzhi> *If* she did, what does it have to do with you?
<Usuf> Well of course as you know, we're always interested in learning more about the craft. We are all, after all, the Children of the Source, and as we draw upon the Source, so too do we have an obligation to treasure that gift.
<Katenzhi> So your interest is purely academic, is it?
* Usuf smiles.
<Usuf> I'm interested in learning more about fos, and how to use it, and those who would manipulate it in new ways.
<Usuf> Of course that's an academic interest - if one that may have practical applications, as all Sourcecraft does.
<Katenzhi> Of course.
<Katenzhi> Well, I can tell you that if everything goes as planned you'll have every opportunity to study what we talked about first hand in the future.
<Usuf> She's talked to other people, including Fuvas. But in very general terms. But you're closer to her than most, outside her own family.
<Katenzhi> Yes. I am. Because she trusts me.
<Fuvas> She is ... very spirited about something.
<Katenzhi> Yeah, well... spirits are good for you.
* Katenzhi downs her shot of liquor.
<Usuf> She's a fine artisan, at her craft. But she's no expert in the use of Source, even if she can make it better than most.
<Katenzhi> She's the best herbalist in that family.
<Katenzhi> And that's saying something.
<Usuf> I agree.
* Katenzhi sighs.
<Katenzhi> Look Usuf, I can't tell you anything right now. Things are kind of delicate.
<Usuf> What I'm hearing from you is that you are choosing not to tell me. That is not a good choice, Katenzhi.
<Katenzhi> Are you fucking threatening me?
<Usuf> Don't take that tone with me! You can't take that tone with me!
* Fuvas shuffles uncomfortably as Usuf continues to talk.
<Usuf> You have an obligation here. To share your knowledge with others, rather than greedily keeping it to yourself.
<Katenzhi> Why can't I? Is your little cult gonna get me blacklisted at the good bars?
<Fuvas> Usuf ... perhaps we should move along.
<Usuf> No, I want to hear why I should simply accept that those who I have helped, and can help, should be entitled to such rudeness with me.
<Katenzhi> You started it.
<Usuf> You're making a mistake.
<Katenzhi> Look Usuf, I have nothing against you or the Amalgam. I just can't tell you what you want to know. You're the one escalating shit to threats.
<Fuvas> Usuf ... let's go.
<Katenzhi> Don't bother.
* Katenzhi stands up.
<Katenzhi> Thanks for the drink.
<Fuvas> You're welcome. Thank you.
* Katenzhi nods to Fuvas and turns to leave.
<Usuf> What a hideous person.

Daifan talks with Dekhesh about the discoveries at the plantation


<AshnabisNarrator> Daifan, your dreams have been disturbing since your trip to Galdai Ebesnata's plantation last week. In waking hours your mind races with theories and hypotheses. In sleep, you see yourself in chains on a bed, unable to stop whatever is happening.
<Daifan> :|
<AshnabisNarrator> You bring yourself to calmness - for not the first time, you steel yourself with your knowledge and experience of the world's awfulness - but not to ease. You haven't heard anything since telling Balinteze about this, although things move slow at the fort, you know. Perhaps Hangnail can be of assistance, as he has been before.
<AshnabisNarrator> You head down to the Mudbug and sure enough, there he is.
* Daifan will get themself a drink and make token social rounds with people they know before plonking themself down beside him
<Daifan> hey Hangnail
<Dekhesh> Oh, hey, Smiles! How's the baby?
<Daifan> Cute. Probably sleeping better than me right now...
<Dekhesh> Oh, hey, what's wrong?
<Daifan> Oh it's this thing with that plantation...
<Daifan> I went there, to see how bad it might be
<Dekhesh> Oh yeah, how did that go?
<Daifan> mmm.
<Daifan> Well, I didn't get caught or anything, but what I found....
* Daifan will describe the buildings for him, starting with the two dorms and working up to the creepy windoowless building with the observation room and the bed with the chains on it.
* Dekhesh wears a dashi in a checked pattern of several shades of green, patched with a few squares of coarser brown fabric. His hair is tied in an elaborate knot to the side of his head.
<Dekhesh> Wow. That's ... that's worse.
<Daifan> yes.
* Daifan swirls their drink in their cup and then drinks... a lot of it.
<Dekhesh> So what are we going to do?
<Daifan> well.
<Daifan> I... have someone at the fort who is going to see...what they might do, if anything, if they see this.
<Daifan> but you now, I don't really have a lot of faith that they will.
<Dekhesh> Good instinct.
<Daifan> I am hoping maybe this will be a surprise to the people she was working with here and they will be angry at being deceived but... maybe not. Who knows.
<Dekhesh> So, we need a plan?
<Daifan> ....yes.
<Daifan> its all so complicated :|
<Dekhesh> It doesn't have to be.
<Dekhesh> They want us to think it's too complicated to solve.
<Daifan> no?
<Daifan> please tell me how -_-
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I'm listening
<Dekhesh> We're not slaves. She can't enslave us.
<Daifan> At first I though if we could just destroy the buildings...
* Dekhesh shakes his head.
<Daifan> yes, but they are prisoners, and this is meant to be their sentence. That's the justification - that they would be executed otherwise
<Dekhesh> Sure. By the Pretender of Taizi. But I don't see him here, do you?
<Daifan> no...
<Dekhesh> So maybe this princess Galdai can just decide to kill a bunch of us, if she's insane, just murder all her new workers or whatever they are. But is the fort going to execute them?
<Dekhesh> I don't think so.
<Daifan> depends on how much trouble it all is for them
* Daifan says darkly, taking another drink
<Dekhesh> And these budal who are coming, we don't know who they are, but maybe we should think that they might be able to help in their own emancipation.
<Dekhesh> Like, it's our job to help, but these are going to be smart people, maybe powerful people. Some of them, anyway.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> Did I tell you what they were accused of? I forget.
<Dekhesh> No, what?
<Daifan> Witchcraft :p
<Dekhesh> What ... is that? I mean I know that word, but ... what is that?
<Daifan> who even knows
<Daifan> they are al from the same aizer
<Daifan> but its... bullshit
* Daifan sighs
<Daifan> you;re right
<Daifan> this isn't all on us
<Dekhesh> I think we might have to wait for them to get here.
<Dekhesh> Then we see who they are, what they can do to help themselves, and what we want to do with them.
<Daifan> I would have liked to have a better plan
<Daifan> :|
<Dekhesh> Yeah, me too. But sometimes you just have to accept that any plan we'd make now is based on too little information, and just ... wait.
<Dekhesh> I know, waiting is impossibly hard.
<Daifan> yeah...
* Daifan sighs
<Daifan> ahh well.
<Daifan> It can't be too much longer...
<Dekhesh> Yeah.
<Dekhesh> When the time is right, we'll mobilize.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> maybe we can just,.... bury her under curses until she relents >.>
* Dekhesh smiles.
<Daifan> I did have something less awful to mention though
<Dekhesh> Oh?
<Daifan> i'VE TOLD YOU ABOTU THE HEDAL i WORK WITH, RIGHT?
<Daifan> (gah CL)
* Daifan does not yell that in the middle of the bar ;p
<Dekhesh> Yeah, a little bit, why?
<Daifan> well, I was talking to Jimba, and he suggested that he woudl be interested in doing trade with banei in some form
<Dekhesh> Really? Hmmm. What kind of trade?
<Daifan> either bringing things in here or buy stuff from people here and selling it elsewhere...
<Daifan> he's pretty flexible, I think.
<Dekhesh> Okay ... do you think he'd be willing to trade in weapons? Mostly simple stuff, knives, clubs, spears.
* Daifan smirks
<Daifan> for the uprising?
<Dekhesh> For future use.
* Dekhesh smiles.
<Daifan> mmhmm. But honestly - he might. He has, hmmm... an interesting background. He didn't have much contact with budal, when he was growing up, and he thinks how we are treated is stupid.
<Dekhesh> All right. Well. I think we'd need to figure out what we would sell to him. Because no matter how much he likes us, his customers would need to like our stuff. And not know it was made by budal.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> Well maybe you'd like to meet him? :)
<Daifan> I'm sure he'd be happy to talk about it
<Daifan> O:)
<Dekhesh> Of course!
<Dekhesh> Set it up.
<Daifan> I'll see what I can do. Probably you coudl come down to his ship, that might be easiest
<Daifan> But I'll let you know.
<Dekhesh> Sure, if he'll have me aboard.
<Daifan> he will.
<Daifan> They have me on there all the time.
<Daifan> they don't even get it hallowed :x
<Daifan> but I think they lie and say they do >.>
* Dekhesh laughs.
<Dekhesh> I like him already.
<Daifan> I thought you might.
<Dekhesh> And hey ... don't beat yourself up over this other thing. Just remember, we live our whole lives being patient. This is just another one of those things.
<Daifan> I'll try
* Dekhesh smiles.
<Dekhesh> We'll talk soon, then.
<Daifan> okay. thanks, hangnail.
<Daifan> I'm gong to finish this glass.... and maybe one more... and then go see how my housemates are getting on >.>

Afterword


<AshnabisNarrator> As morning breaks, news travels throughout the city.
<AshnabisNarrator> https://open.spotify.com/track/2J4iRUe4ewPCwrUr4Fm5Ss?si=mi6pN4T6Tsq7D-J3T7nw7g
<AshnabisNarrator> Last night, under cover of darkness, the Imperial galley, the Pinnacle, has arrived in town with a most unusual cargo from Taizi. While few were awake at the time to see it, those who were quickly spread the word.
<AshnabisNarrator> Sixty passengers, fifty women and ten men, were offloaded, where they were met by none other than Princess Galdai Ebesnata of Taizi.
<AshnabisNarrator> Every last one of these newcomers is Corpseborn, rumoured to be convicted criminals sent here as punishment.
<AshnabisNarrator> The prisoners were not chained as they were brought out of the hold, although their clothing was ragged and grimy and their expressions somber.
<AshnabisNarrator> Almost all of them were immediately taken away, out of town, to her inland plantation, where presumably they will work on her farms. They were escorted by the princess and two well-dressed men from the ship, but there were no armed guards.
<AshnabisNarrator> Three of the Corpseborn, however, two women and a man, were separated from the rest. This trio was instead taken to the temple of the Hand in Kaskind for unknown reasons, under the supervision of a hastily-summoned priestess and flanked by bubun.

Solos

Jimba talks with Veznara about the Aanilaus clan


* Jimba will try to catch Veznara the next day at work.
* Veznara is doubtless around going over reports and/or the attached maps in particular
<Jimba> Hand Veznara, do you have a moment?
* Veznara looks up
<Veznara> Oh... certainly, Jimba. What is it?
<Jimba> I was hoping to talk to you for a moment about a, ah, personal matter. Perhaps I could buy you lunch?
<Veznara> (that's an instant Sense Motive right there! :P )
<Veznara> !roll 1d20+8
* @Lan-werk rolls for Veznara: [ 1d20+8 ] getting [ 17 ] which, after the modifier [ 8 ] totals [ 25 ].
<Veznara> (Whatever you think I would pick up on...)
* Jimba is genuinely offering to buy lunch? I don't know what you're looking for there.
<Veznara> (I was thinking whether there's something behind it, because I don't think he's done this before - or been particularly friendly before)
<Veznara> That would be nice. Thank you.
* Jimba seems a little awkward, but not like nervous or anything. I doubt he's done this before, but he is, in general, pretty friendly to everybody.
* Veznara puts down what she was looking at and joins him for lunch
<Jimba> Another fine day of paperwork.
* Veznara smiles and shrugs
<Veznara> There is a lot of it now, yes. I guess it's the season for it... all these new claims.
<Jimba> A shame, really. I'd prefer to be outdoors. I'm sure we'll get called away on something soon.
<Veznara> Perhaps. It is much nicer now. I've actually put away my rain wear for the moment!
* Jimba smiles.
<Jimba> I don't think I've actually asked. Do you have duties with the temple? Work takes up so much of our time.
<Veznara> Oh yes, of course! There are various tasks that we all perform. The ones that bubun cannot do, or cannot do unsupervised.
<Veznara> They realize I have a duty here too, of course, so my schedule is set up around it.
<Jimba> I would imagine it has to be pretty flexible, what with our journeys farther afield.
* Jimba will presumably have headed to somewhere near to work for lunch.
<Veznara> Yes. I am still one of the most recently arrived, of course, so I do have more duties.
<Veznara> It is a calling, though. So I don't mind. :)
<Jimba> Are you, perhaps, acquainted with Yena Aanilaus?
<Veznara> Oh yes! Do you know her?
<Jimba> I had the pleasure of meeting her recently. She spoke well of you.
* Veznara smiles
<Veznara> I'm glad. I think very highly of her too.
<Veznara> She was one of the people who went out of their way to help me feel at home here.
<Veznara> How did you meet her?
<Jimba> That's very nice. I know it's been an adjustment for all of us.
<Jimba> Well, Llillilli and I met with her and some others of the Aanilaus recently.
<Jimba> Thelef, who you might know as Rasaben, Aanilaus asked Llillilli to marry him.
* Veznara stops.
<Veznara> I... I'm sorry. Did you just say that one of the Aanilaus asked for Llillilli's hand... in marriage?
* Veznara is obviously taken aback
<Jimba> Uh, yes.
<Veznara> Oh.
<Veznara> ...
<Jimba> What?
<Veznara> Congratulations!
* Jimba laughs.
<Jimba> Thanks, though it's not a done deal just yet.
<Jimba> We just met with them, and they're still deciding.
<Veznara> Oh. I see.
<Veznara> And you are too, I suppose?
* Jimba shrugs.
<Jimba> Not really. Thelef seems nice, they've been friends for a little while now. Llillilli says she wants to marry him, so who am I to stop her?
<Veznara> I'm afraid I haven't met him, but I'm sure he must be. Nice, that is.
* Jimba nods.
<Veznara> I can certainly vouch for Yena, at least.
<Jimba> I liked him on short acquaintance.
<Jimba> Her, too.
<Jimba> Kiklatsa...she was...imposing.
<Veznara> I don't know her... is she the lineage elder?
<Jimba> Functionally speaking. Her husband is in theory, but she's the one making this decision.
<Jimba> Yena has a say, too, though.
<Veznara> Hmmm. I see.
<Jimba> And that's kind of what I wanted to talk to you about.
<Veznara> ...I see.
<Jimba> I know my sister isn't the best with people, but she and Thelef really do get along well. She likes and cares about him.
<Veznara> Well, that's good.
<Jimba> If Yena asks you about her, if you could see your way to speaking well of Llillilli, it would mean a lot.
* Veznara sighs
<Jimba> To me, Llillilli, and Thelef, I think.
<Veznara> Jimba... it depends on what Yena asks.
<Veznara> I have no wish to get in the way of Llillilli's happiness.
* Jimba sighs.
<Jimba> I know.
<Jimba> At the very least, you know her well enough to know this isn't about the Aanilauses. Llillilli just likes Thelef.
* Veznara nods slowly
<Veznara> Yes, I can believe that. I don't think she would be interested in him because of his position.
<Jimba> I...I just want her to be happy.
<Jimba> She'd kill me if she knew I asked you about this.
<Veznara> You mentioned a second name for Rasaben... is he one of these Hith friends too?
* Jimba nods.
<Veznara> Ah, that explains it. Well, a few things.
<Jimba> He's [hithkindred], yeah.
<Jimba> That's how they met.
<Veznara> Ah. That makes sense.
<Veznara> I imagine she didn't even realize who his family was. Not that she would have cared.
<Veznara> But they *are* a distinguished local lineage. You know that better than I.
<Jimba> Yeah, I'm definitely aware.
<Jimba> @.@
<Veznara> I'm afraid that will probably be more important than anything *I* do or don't say.
* Jimba nods.
<Veznara> As far as that goes, I'll certainly do my best to be fair.
<Jimba> That's all I can ask.
<Veznara> Both to Llillilli, and to Yena.
* Jimba sighs.
<Jimba> I appreciate you hearing me out.
<Veznara> Of course!
<Jimba> This sort of thing isn't exactly Llillilli's area, so anything I can do to help...
<Jimba> You understand.
<Veznara> Well, yes... she doesn't seem to be very inclined to deal with this sort of thing if she doesn't have to.
* Jimba nods.
<Veznara> That's the sort of thing I will have to tell Yena if she asks. It may or may not influence the lineage's decision, I don't know.
<Jimba> Oh, well, they've met her. I think they know how she is with people at this point.
* Jimba smiles.
* Veznara smiles too
<Veznara> Ah, well then. I hope she made a good impression!
<Jimba> Thelef seems to think so.
<Jimba> She made an accurate one, at the very least.
<Veznara> That's a good sign, then. I'm sure he's in the best position to judge.
<Jimba> Now, I believe I offered you lunch?
<Veznara> Ah, yes. Let's!
<Jimba> (brb, or I'm good to let the scene go there, whichevs)
<Veznara> (I think we're good - is there anything else?)
<Jimba> (Back, and nah, just Jimba will try to have an actual friendly conversation with Veznara, not asking for any more favors :p)
<Veznara> (Veznara will respond in kind!)

Daifan and Veznara talk about the new corpseborn arrivals


* Daifan seems pretty tense and preoccupied the day that the rumours start to circulate about the ship full of corpseborn
* Veznara is continuing with her work as normal, as there is still much to do and many claims to process
* Daifan will screw up their courage and see if they can catch you alone
* Veznara is surely alone somewhere at some point - most likely the map room, going over the positions of some recent claims
<Daifan> (always the map room :3 )
* Daifan will slip in
<Veznara> (It's my home away from home! :P )
<Daifan> Hand Veznara?
* Veznara looks up
<Veznara> Oh, hello, Daifan.
<Daifan> I am wondering if I might trouble you briefly?
<Veznara> Certainly. I'm sure it would be a welcome break.
* Veznara sets aside the documents she was looking at.
<Veznara> What is it you want to talk about?
<Daifan> well...
<Daifan> I am sure you have herd the rumours about the ship that came in the night....
<Veznara> The ship from Taizi, yes.
<Veznara> I'm afraid I don't know much about it.
<Daifan> the ship full of corpseborn.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I am sure you can understand, this has cause some...concern in Banei, for several reasons.
<Veznara> I suppose so. I have to admit, I haven't given it much thought.
<Veznara> What have you been hearing?
<Daifan> Oh, people are speculating about all sorts of things, of course, but I have some sources I trust more than others
<Veznara> And?
<Daifan> Things like, that they all knew each other, before they were brought here, and were all charged with the same crime
<Veznara> Oh? The crime of... ?
<Daifan> well.
<Daifan> WHat I heard doesn't really make any sense
<Daifan> but I heard they were condemned for...witchcraft.
<Daifan> I don't even know what that would mean
<Veznara> Witchcraft?
* Veznara frowns
<Daifan> Does that mean anything to you?
<Veznara> !roll 1d20+14
* Lan-werk rolls for Veznara: [ 1d20+14 ] getting [ 3 ] which, after the modifier [ 14 ] totals [ 17 ].
<Veznara> (Pitiful! :P)
<Curtana> (with that, you would know that it's a very old type of crime, a holdover from the old Empire, something that probably is rarely if ever enforced these days. But you don't really know what it would mean in the context of these prisoners.)
<Veznara> I... well, no. Not really.
<Veznara> There was once such a charge in ancient Imperial law. But it's long since fallen into abeyance.
<Veznara> I mean, it isn't really enforced.
<Veznara> Do you know more specifically what kind of "witchcraft" they performed?
* Daifan shakes their head
<Daifan> I would have thought any crime you can do with magic is the same as a crime committed any other way >.>
* Daifan clearly thinks its some bullshit, you don't really need a SM for that :p
<Veznara> And you and others in Banei are concerned that this is a threat?
<Veznara> That you may find yourselves accused of similar "witchcraft"?
<Daifan> mmm, no I hadn't thought of that...
* Daifan frowns slightly though because hey, you never know
<Daifan> This isn't Taizi.
<Daifan> But, we look out for our own.
<Veznara> No, I was just about to say. Though to be frank, I'm surprised the law would be applied in Taizi anyway.
<Veznara> So your concern is more general, for the new arrivals.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> Yes.
<Veznara> Who, rumour has it, have been sent to work on Her Imperial Highness' estate.
<Veznara> I remember you asked me about her some time ago.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I have a friend who works for her.
<Veznara> I remember encouraging you to consult Nezha. Is that who you mean?
<Daifan> yes
<Veznara> Was she able to tell you anything more?
<Daifan> hopefully she will have some news...
<Daifan> strangely, people seem to be cautious what all they will say about her...
<Veznara> About the Princess Galdai Ebesnata?
* Daifan nods
<Veznara> I am not surprised. You realize, she is a *very* powerful woman.
<Daifan> Yes.
<Daifan> I very much understand that.
<Veznara> Not just because she is the Emperor's cousin - she is an exceptionally skilled Mystic, you know that too.
* Daifan nods
<Veznara> ...
<Daifan> I had wondered more about the others, who were taken to the temple in Kaskind...
<Veznara> Ah, of course.
<Veznara> I'm afraid I don't know anything about that... yet.
<Veznara> I may be informed in due course.
<Daifan> I know you are very busy here, and with other concerns.... but if you hear anything of their fates....
<Daifan> I would deeply appreciate anything you could tell me.
* Veznara sighs
<Daifan> Or, if it might be possible to see them, and hear their stories...
<Daifan> I understand that it is unlikely.
<Veznara> I will see what I can find out at the temple, when I return there.
<Daifan> thank you, Hand Veznara.
<Veznara> If I can find out anything, and if I am permitted to speak of it, I will let you know.
* Daifan nods.
<Daifan> I understand.
<Daifan> I will leave you to your other work, then
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> Very well.
* Daifan will slip back out, then :x
* Veznara goes back to work, more distracted than before
<Veznara> (So when I get back to the temple that evening, what do I hear? :D )
<Curtana> You can confirm that there are three corpseborn from the ship, being treated for ailments that seem to mostly amount to malnourishment, maybe in combination with other illnesses/conditions. One of the women is pregnant. They are being kept separate from any other people there for care, but that isn't too unusual for corpseborn.
<Veznara> (So they aren't being assigned to the temple for anything - just brought there for treatment.)
<Curtana> (that's your understanding, yes.)
<Veznara> (Do I get assigned to have anything to do with them? If I just went to talk to them on my own, would that be weird? )
<Veznara> (Will they be there long?)
<Curtana> you don't get assigned to care for them, as you're otherwise busy with work, but you could likely talk to someone who is in contact with them, or potentially try to talk to them yourself. You don't know how long they'll be there, presumably it depends on how their recovery goes.

Daifan goes to the temple, talks to Hand Dezmali, and is able to get in to meet Ughiva


* Daifan will ask around to find out who is a good hand to talk to, if any, at the temple in the Kaskind - someone who is sympathetic at least
<AshnabisNarrator> (K:local?)
<Daifan> (K: Local?)
<Daifan> (yarrr)
<Daifan> !roll 1d20+7
* Lan-werk rolls for Daifan: [ 1d20+7 ] getting [ 20 ] which, after the modifier [ 7 ] totals [ 27 ].
<AshnabisNarrator> (well)
<Daifan> (A strong but useless start. maybe someone gives me blackmail material ;p)
<Daifan> (or like.... emotional blackmail, which is even better ;)
<AshnabisNarrator> Someone at the Mudbug tells you that they heard from a friend of theirs that the high priestess, Dezmali Jesha, is a sid and has sympathy for the budal.
<Daifan> (WELL, IF i CAN GET IN TO SEE HER... >.>)
<AshnabisNarrator> (HI I'M DAIFAN I'M A LOUD TALKER CAN I TALK TO YOU ABOUT THE GOSPEL OF MY BABY SAINT?)
* Daifan WILL HEAD TO THE TEMPLE, ANYWAY, PROBABLY AFTER WORK?
<Daifan> (Gah Cl, I thought I fixed rthat)
<AshnabisNarrator> You head down to the temple, a large stone structure adjacent to the fort, with a great entrance on the west side. The Corpseborn have a small separate entrance along the west wall that you are permitted to use.
* Daifan will enter via the shame door and ask politely if maybe perhaps Hand Dezmali might be available :3
<Priestess> What is your business with Hand Dezmali?
<Daifan> I am a healer in banei, and I wanted to speak to her about a matter of public health.
* Priestess considers.
<Priestess> Wait here. Don't touch anything.
<Daifan> thank you, of course.
* Priestess goes off for a bit.
* Daifan will look around a bit, but not too far :x
* Dezmali is a thin woman of around thirty years old, with fair, short-cropped hair. Her white Hand robes are accented with a panel of green and blue diamonds, and around her waist is a wide silk sash.
<Dezmali> Yes, how may I help you?
* Daifan has probably comwe over after work, but has cleaned up as best they can before coming oveer
* Daifan glances around
<Daifan> Hand Dezmali?
<Daifan> I understand that it is unusual, but I was hoping to speak with you i confidence...
<Dezmali> Have we met before?
* Daifan shakes their head
<Daifan> I am Daifan. I work at the land registry with Hand Veznara, though this is unrelated.
<Dezmali> All right ... come with me, then.
* Dezmali doesn't sound completely exasperated.
<Daifan> thank you
* Daifan bows their head.
* Daifan will go with her, anyway
* Dezmali leads you to a small office.
<Dezmali> Would you care to sit or would you prefer to stand?
<Daifan> thank you.
<Daifan> I will sit.
<Daifan> (Well actaully where does she think I shoudl sit :V Because if itas the floor then I'll stand ;p)
<Dezmali> (there is a chair there for a guest. She didn't specify)
* Daifan will sit in the chair then.
<Dezmali> So, a first question, then, Daifan. Earlier you told my colleague you are a healer in Banei, but just now you said you work at the land registry with Veznara.
<Daifan> Yes.
<Daifan> one of those things I do to purt food on the table, and the other is something my community needs.
<Dezmali> All right.
<Dezmali> What is this public health matter that brings you here?
<Daifan> The Corpseborn from Taizi.
* Dezmali nods.
<Dezmali> All right.
<Dezmali> Something in particular?
<Daifan> mmm... several things.
<Daifan> I'd heard that some of them were broght here because they were ill
<Dezmali> They were, but I don't believe they have any contagion.
<Dezmali> They are under excellent care.
<Daifan> I am sure they are - I would trust by your reputation in banei to see that they are well taken care of.
<Daifan> but there are...concernes, in Banei, about what is going on with these people. ALl of them, not just the ones here.
* Dezmali nods.
<Dezmali> One does not need to be one of your people to see that this is a very odd circumstance.
* Daifan nods
<Dezmali> Honestly given the secrecy of the whole thing I'm a little surprised I was able to extract the three.
<Daifan> There are many rumours circulating.... I thought it would be beneficial to see what truths might be gleaned
* Daifan nods
<Dezmali> What rumors have you heard?
<Daifan> That they're criminals, that they're.... witches, whatever that means. That they're going to be kept on Princess Galdai's lands where no one can check on theim, and not allowed to leave >.>
* Dezmali nods.
<Dezmali> That may all be true, in some sense.
* Daifan nods
<Dezmali> The last part, it definitely seems that Galdai believes it to be true.
<Daifan> mmmhmm
<Daifan> it would be an ill precendent, and, I think, bad for these people in particular.
<Dezmali> No doubt. Your people are not slaves. In fact, many might say you are the freest of us all.
* Daifan smiles a little at that
<Daifan> IN some ways, certainly.
<Dezmali> But you say you have come here with information for me?
<Daifan> mmm, I believe I said I came here with concerns :x
<Daifan> I was hoping I might be able to speak to the three that you brought here...
<Dezmali> All right, concerns. We have established that we are both concerned.
<Dezmali> Do you know them?
<Daifan> Not yet.
<Dezmali> All right, then why would I let you in, and not, say, Galdai Ebesnata?
* Daifan raises their eyebrows and makes a -_- face at that
<Dezmali> I have known Galdai for many years - she is very faithful. I have known you for a few minutes.
<Daifan> I think it will be good for them - for these peple, and for the others, if they are reuinted with them, to know that they have allies in banei, who will look out for them. And for us to know who they are, so that we can quell worse rumors.
<Dezmali> Hmm.
* Dezmali ponders.
* Daifan doesn't say 'well I mean if you've known her for years then you know exactly what I mean' but it may come through on my face >.>
<Dezmali> Did Veznara recommend that you should speak to me?
<Daifan> also, as I said, I am a healer
<Daifan> No, I did not tell her that I was coming.
<Dezmali> That wasn't what I asked.
<Daifan> But people in Banei feel that you are someone who would.... understand.
* Daifan shakes thier head.
<Daifan> She did not.
<Dezmali> And so I am well-spoken of by your people in Banei, am I?
* Dezmali smiles thinly.
* Daifan shrugs
<Daifan> we don't spend much time gossiping about The Hand. When I asked around about who I should talk to here, yours was the name people recommended to me.
<Dezmali> Daifan, please understand that I'm not trying to be difficult here. But these people are very ill, and are my charges. And you are surely not the only person to have some curiosity about the new arrivals. Or worse. What if someone had ill intentions towards them?
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I understand, and I am sure there are those who do. But I am not one of them.
* Dezmali considers.
<Daifan> It troubles me deeply to see my people treated the way they have been, in how they were brought here, and what seems to be expected of them. I want to find some way to help them, if I can. I'm not alone - there are other in Banei wwho feel the same.
<Daifan> The more we can learn about what is happening, the easier it will be to figure out what we can do.
<Daifan> Learning thier stories is an important part of that.
<Dezmali> I couldn't let you in unsupervised.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> of course
<Dezmali> I will let you speak to one of them. The one who is the healthiest. With me present. Those are my terms.
<Daifan> thank you.
* Dezmali opens a door which looks like a closet, but which has several bubun inside. She calls two of them to accompany her.
<Dezmali> Come with me, then.
* Daifan will go with her
* Dezmali leads you down a set of halls to a plain wooden door, and knocks.
<Ughiva> Yes?
<Ughiva> (a thin voice comes from through the door)
* Dezmali opens the door and commands the bubun to stay outside and not let anyone in.
<Dezmali> Ughiva, there is someone here to speak to you.
* Ughiva is a very thin, dark-skinned woman of around 40 with pale black hair roughly cut short, wearing a simple cloth dashi.
* Dezmali closes the door after you enter.
<Dezmali> Ughiva, this is Daifan.
<Daifan> Hello...
* Daifan will do a rough visual assessment of her health
<Ughiva> Hello.
<Daifan> I'm from Banei.... Toadtown
* Ughiva seems to be very thin, and has clearly lost a lot of weight recently but you don't see any sores or other visible sign of illness.
<Ughiva> Is that the aizer?
* Daifan will sort of casually switch into argot
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> Yes
<Ughiva> You are too young to be the aizeron.
<Daifan> I'm not.
<Ughiva> All right, then, who are you?
<Daifan> a friend. Someone.... one of many, who is concerned about how you all came here, and why.
<Ughiva> You're no puru of mine. That's hedal talk. You just met me.
<Daifan> :|
<Daifan> I don't need to be puru to know what things are not great for you and yours.
* Ughiva considers.
<Ughiva> All right. So, how and why we came here, that's what you are wondering?
<Daifan> I heard you were all condemned for witchcraft.
<Ughiva> Do you believe in witches?
<Daifan> No.
<Ughiva> Neither did I, until I became one.
<Daifan> Mmhmm, that is what I thought.
<Ughiva> You're not from Taizi.
<Ughiva> Choradan?
<Daifan> Daligash.
<Ughiva> Ah, same thing.
* Ughiva nods.
<Ughiva> Do you know why we've been sent here?
<Daifan> ...do you?
<Ughiva> As opposed to, say, having us all rendered?
<Ughiva> Not really. Maybe. I have lots of ideas.
<Daifan> OStensibly to work in the fos fields.
<Daifan> But I wouldn't rule out some of your more concerning ideas either.
<Daifan> you might imagine that the woman who organized all of this is ... not a pleasant woman, though very powerful >.>
<Ughiva> Who is she? Taizian, I assume?
<Daifan> A princess, Cousin, or something, to your emperor
<Ughiva> Pretender, not Emperor.
<Daifan> well whatever you call him. She's also a powerful mystic
<Ughiva> I see.
* Ughiva drinks water from a nearby cup.
<Ughiva> So what do you think she wants with us?
<Daifan> (we are talking argot, right?)
<Ughiva> (yes although, there are lots of same words, it's not totally a 100% different language)
<Ughiva> (so you can't like totally rely on not being understood.)
<Daifan> I think she wants people who have no friends or allies or contacts, isolated, who she thinks no one will care about, away from anyone who can help them, to do whatever she wants.
* Ughiva takes that in.
<Ughiva> What do you think she wants, this princess?
<Daifan> Power.
* Ughiva nods, but a little uncertainly.
<Daifan> She's already a princess, but she comes here for fos, to become even richer, to take some measure of control of the resources of magic and at the same time setting herself up with a limitless supply...
<Ughiva> Is it true, what they say? That the fos in Ashnabis grows in every garden patch, and is cheaper than beer?
<Daifan> that's a bit of an exaggeration, but its not far off.
<Ughiva> Well. Another bit of luck.
<Daifan> it is very common. It's very cheap.
<Ughiva> And budal, do they use it here?
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> Yes, some do.
<Daifan> There are some who have plantations, even.
<Ughiva> Huh.
<Daifan> TOadtown is a very special place.... I'd rather see you there than here, or on that plantation.
<Ughiva> And this plantation, it doesn't have any budal there other than us?
<Daifan> there is one who workd there, but at the house. I don't think she will be allowed anywhere near you.
<Ughiva> And how many at the aizer, at Toadtown?
<Daifan> a little over two hundred. Why?
<Ughiva> And there is a real fos plantation, run by budal, there?
* Daifan nods
* Ughiva laughs loudly, startling Dezmali.
* Ughiva starts coughing.
* Daifan frowns
<Daifan> Do you need help?
<Ughiva> No, I'm fine. It's just ... the first time I've laughed in months.
<Daifan> :|
<Ughiva> So ... you came to tell me that we've got some allies in Toadtown. What else?
<Daifan> We will find a place for all of you there.
<Ughiva> All right. And when this princess comes for us?
* Daifan looks at Dezmali
<Daifan> I think they will keep you here as long as they can...
<Ughiva> No, I don't mean the three of us. I mean all of us. When we're all there, in all our power.
<Daifan> ...what do you mean by that?
<Ughiva> Well, you are planning to help us get everyone off that plantation, right?
<Ughiva> But she's not going to be happy. According to Taizian law, we're convicted witches, all of us, guilty, punishable by death. She probably thinks she spared us and we should be grateful.
<Daifan> If you are witches, what I expect what she wants is to cut you open and find out how your magic works.
* Ughiva nods.
<Ughiva> Makes sense.
<Ughiva> But we're not, not all of us. Just me. For now.
<Daifan> Okay.
<Daifan> then.... be careful.
<Ughiva> The others, Trickle and Munchfang here, and all the others wherever she's got them, we are all learning the use of fos.
* Daifan nods
<Ughiva> We had a supply. We ... were probably not as careful as we should have been.
<Daifan> how did you get caught?
<Ughiva> Not sure. Probably one of the children.
* Ughiva says, choking out the words.
<Daifan> :|
<Ughiva> We hope ... I hope they were dispersed to other families.
<Daifan> I hope so too.
<Ughiva> But most of the men, and all the haren, and the elders ... the ones who were found guilty, they weren't sent with us.
<Daifan> I wondered.... the numbers were wrong.
<Daifan> there were not enough for a whole aizer :|
<Ughiva> So ... even on the boat we could see what was up, so few men, so many adult women.
* Daifan takes a deep breath and nods
<Ughiva> So the mind races.
<Daifan> I understand.
<Ughiva> So, what now?
<Daifan> We will get you all out of there. As for when she will come - she came to take the others
<Dezmali> No one will take you from this place against your will.
* Dezmali interjects.
* Ughiva looks over at her.
<Ughiva> All ... right.
<Daifan> Now.... I will take what I've learned back to my allies. And we will see what other plans we can make.
<Daifan> Hopefully.... I will be able to speak to you again, more easily.
<Ughiva> The others here, too ... Trickle has been so brave. He didn't eat for weeks, so Munchfang could have it all ... her and the baby.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> ....she wants to keep it?
<Ughiva> No ... I don't think so ... maybe? But no. But what choice did she have? To let it die?
<Daifan> :|
<Ughiva> You have to understand, we're country folk. Gagambor is a small town, all the hudal there know where their babies come from, and the other way around too.
* Daifan nods
<Ughiva> Me and Kida, thankfully we don't have that problem. Oh yeah, if you are up in that plantation and see a woman named Kida, most beautiful thing you could ever imagine, tell her I'm all right. Or hey, bring me some fos and I'll tell her myself.
<Daifan> I will see what I can do.
<Ughiva> Thanks.
<Dezmali> Well, we should be going. Daifan, come.
* Daifan nods
* Daifan will go with her
<Dezmali> Well, I only understood bits of that ... but that did not sound good. She seems in good spirits, though.
* Dezmali says, as the bubun trail behind her.
<Daifan> Mmhmm.
<Daifan> She has a lot of confidence.
<Dezmali> The other two, the couple, are in rougher shape. Honestly I'm not sure with Ughiva why I insisted on taking her in. She seemed worse at the time I suppose?
<Dezmali> She doesn't seem good ... but mostly just needs food. But so did they all.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I don't know. Maybe she's just recovering quickly
* Daifan sxays, but thinks probably she tricked you :p
<Daifan> My kind are pretty tough
<Dezmali> Yes, I've always observed that.
<Dezmali> You understand that I can't actually get the others free. I don't have that kind of direct power.
<Daifan> I do.
<Dezmali> You do?
<Daifan> I do understant that, I mean
<Daifan> But what can you do?
<Dezmali> Ah.
<Dezmali> Well, if she wants workers, I can arrange for bubun to work her fields.
<Daifan> I don't think that's what she wants.
<Dezmali> If she wants these people to be her slaves ... that's a matter that General Ghurtai will take seriously. I think.
<Daifan> I hope so.
<Daifan> I might.... recommend that perhaps... someone should inspect where they are being held.
<Dezmali> I thought you said you work at the land registry. Isn't that something you could do, or have done?
<Daifan> it is a little outside of my purview, or my authority, to arrange such things.
<Dezmali> But someone like Veznara surely could?
<Daifan> Mmhmm. Hand Veznara is a Taizan Noble.
<Daifan> So her aithority is...complicated in this matter.
<Dezmali> I've never heard that she is close to the princess.
<Daifan> I'm not sure it matters.
<Daifan> but what do I know about nobility -_-
<Dezmali> All right. Well ... I can insist on their right to pastoral care, perhaps, as a way of getting a couple of my priestesses out there. I'm not sure, this situation is so strange, and I do need to remain relatively neutral.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> that would be helpful.
<Dezmali> And I am going to have a talk with Veznara.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> alright.
<Daifan> Thank you.
<Dezmali> You're welcome.
<Daifan> Will I be abl to come back and see her again?
<Dezmali> Yes, if you want.
<Daifan> Thank you for that too then. I think the people I spoke to in Banei were right.
<Dezmali> I'm glad to hear that.
<Daifan> I will let you get back to your work
* Daifan will take their leave :3

Jimba pays Jenam Kergoze's bar tab and offers him a place to sleep


<AshnabisGM> Okay, let's say this is some evening when you're out having a drink. Maybe at the Moon and Dagger, where Liraula's crew seem to frequent when they're in town. It's a bit more run down tavern close to the harbor.
* Jimba will be carousing with the best of them.
<AshnabisGM> As you're heading to the bar to get another drink, you notice some commotion - the barkeeper is clearly trying to get one of the patrons to pay up, and the man is unwilling or unable to do so. Not an unusual scene, but you take a second look and notice that the man about to likely be roughed up by the bouncer and thrown out is Jenam Kergoze, the farmer who was arrested for murder but then released.
<Jenam> Look, I can't pay right now, but I'll get the money somewhere...
* Jenam is pleading with the bartender
* Jimba will quietly make his way over that direction.
* Jimba tries to get a read on the situation, but will definitely step in before there's violence.
* Jenam has clearly had a few drinks, and seems like he's seen better times - he looks thinner and more unkempt than you remember.
<AshnabisGM> The bartender looks unimpressed, and is on the verge of calling over the bouncer to deal with the situation more forcefully.
<Jimba> Uh, hey there, no need for that.
* Jenam and the bartender both look over at you, surprised
<Jimba> How much does my friend here owe, hmm?
<AshnabisGM> "Two tusks," says the bartender.
* Jimba will hand over the necessary money.
<Jimba> Lot of fuss for all that.
<AshnabisGM> The bartender accepts it with a grumble, and Jenam looks enormously grateful.
<Jenam> Thank you... you didn't have to... I can pay you back...
<Jimba> It's all right.
<Jimba> Are you...doing okay?
<Jenam> Ah... well, since you ask.. no, not really.
* Jenam says with a weak attempt at a smile.
<Jimba> Well, I've got an ear if you've got a story.
<Jimba> Two, in fact.
<Jenam> you're one of the land agents, aren't you?
<Jimba> Yeah...
<Jenam> well... you know what happened, then, I guess.
<Jimba> Not exactly.
<Jimba> We were, really, barely involved.
<Jimba> Just recovered...your neighbor.
<Jenam> They couldn't get me to say I killed him, couldn't prove it anyhow, because I didn't do it.
<Jenam> But they were determined to get me for something, so they accused me of stealing from him. Fined me a hundred horns - more than I had, by a long shot.
* Jimba winces.
<Jimba> (Is that a standard fine for theft?)
<Jenam> (it seems high to you)
<Jenam> (unless he was stealing, like, gems and gold or something)
<Jenam> I couldn't pay that, of course. But the work I had put into my farm... the house I'd built, the land I'd cleared... that was worth something to someone.
<Jimba> Was there anything unusual about it?
* Jimba blurts out.
<Jenam> about my farm?
<Jimba> Yeah, or the fos you grew?
* Jenam shakes his head
<Jimba> Just, uh, curious.
<Jenam> No, it was just regular... I mean, I don't use the stuff, but I never noticed anything unusual about it.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> Is there some reason someone might want your land specifically?
<Jenam> well, it was a pretty good location... not too far away from town, right on the river.
* Jenam says with a shrug
<Jenam> All that work... gone :/
<Jimba> I'm sorry.
<Jenam> it's not your fault.
<Jimba> Not really, no, but I was involved.
<Jenam> someone wanted me out of the way, just like they wanted Ilben out of the way.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> Yeah, I think you're right.
<Jimba> What will you do now?
* Jenam gives a short, bitter laugh
<Jenam> I thought about going home, but I can't even afford to drink myself senseless - there's no way I can make it back to Basai.
<Jimba> Do you have people back home?
<Jenam> My sisters, but they have their own families to worry about. I'd just be a burden :/
<Jimba> You looking for work, then?
<Jenam> I... guess so. I don't know who would hire me, after hearing I'm a convicted thief.
<Jimba> Well, I guess that depends on how honest a living you want to make.
* Jenam gives you a sort of sidelong glance
<Jimba> If it's an honest living you're after, i can't offer much, but I might need some dockworkers soon.
<Jenam> what if I don't care so much about it being honest?
<Jimba> Well then, I think you're in the right bar.
<Jenam> look, if you're looking for a blowjob or something to pay you back for the drinks, that's fine, but I don't know what else you're suggesting...
* Jimba basically does a spit take.
<Jimba> Uh, heh, no, thank you.
<Jimba> I mean, this is a Black Stork bar. Did you not know that?
<Jenam> No, I'd just been kicked out of most other places >.>
<Jimba> Fair enough. Plenty of these lads can say the same, though Liraula tries to keep trouble to a minimum.
<Jenam> some before I even tried to order anything... this place seemed shitty enough that they might not care. uh, no offense.
* Jimba grins.
<Jimba> I'm well aware the company I keep.
<Jimba> I can introduce you, if you like.
<Jenam> uh, okay...
* Jimba will try to introduce him around to some crew members, try to put in a good word for him.
* Jenam can get introduced around. His Aummesh is kind of iffy, but he makes a good effort, anyway.
* Jimba will do his best to cover for him.
* Jenam can try to smile and be friendly, at least, even if his language skills aren't great.
<AshnabisGM> The Black Stork folks are generally a bit wary of non-Aummesh types, unless they have a good reason to trust them, but you putting in a good word for Jenam does help smooth things over.
* @Kigar will have a drink with you fine fellows, and seems in a decent mood.
<Kigar> You good at lifting and carrying things?
* @Kigar asks him in Aummesh
<Jenam> Uh... yes.
* Jenam says confidently, if perhaps not entirely sure what he's agreeing to.
<Kigar> Well, there's always some kind of work to be found for a young fellow with a strong back and a willingness to work hard.
* Jimba will translate as necessary.
<Kigar> And a friend of Yimba's is a friend of ours.
* Jimba shrugs modestly.
<Jimba> (quietly, to Jenam) If you change your mind, you'd have some experience to try to find a job on a boat back home.
<Jenam> (likewise quietly) if I change my mind, are they going to just murder me and dump me overboard?
<Jimba> (quietly) No, they wouldn't bother murdering you first.
<Jenam> great...
<Jenam> well, what have I got to lose at this point?
<Jimba> There's always dock work.
* Jenam nods
<Jenam> but I don't have anywhere to stay. At least on a ship there's got to be some kind of place to sleep, right?
* Jimba finishes his drink.
<Jimba> Look, you really don't owe me for the drinks, but, if you need a place to sleep...well, we can sling an extra hammock.
<Jenam> you would?
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> Least I could do.
<Jenam> thank you
* Jimba smiles.
<Jimba> No problem.
<Jenam> I'll think about the offer, too, but I'm just kind of worried about getting out to sea with a bunch of people I don't know, who might not be the friendliest types... Maybe dock work is safer for now.
<Jimba> Your choice. I'll help how I can either way.
<Jenam> I don't know what to say. Thank you so much...
<Jimba> It's really nothing.
<Jenam> It's more than anyone else did for me.
<Jimba> I'm going to guess you don't have anybody here in Kaskind, right? Just your family back home?
<Jenam> yeah...
<Jimba> This place can be rough. Everybody needs people.
<Jenam> well... most people look out for themselves, or their families and friends. Not everyone would look out for someone they barely know.
* Jimba shrugs.
<Jenam> So thank you.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> You're welcome.
<Jimba> Now, I should consider getting out of here before these reprobates drink me out of house and home.
<Jimba> Shall we?
<Jenam> Sure.
* Jenam will head off with you, then.
* Jimba will set him up with a hammock and spare blanket, and plenty of water nearby for when he sobers up.

Veznara and Yena talk about Llillilli


* Veznara is going about her duties in the Temple
* Yena is supervising the brushing off of the bubun as would be typical most mornings before they go off to work
* Yena comes over to you afterwards.
<Yena> Hello!
<Veznara> Hello, Yena! How are you?
<Yena> I'm good. Ahh, do you have a few minutes to talk about something? Well, about someone?
* Veznara looks at her, and nods
<Veznara> Yes, certainly.
* Veznara stops what she is doing, and goes to talk with Yena
<Yena> It's about one of your co-workers at the land registry ... uhhh, Lilili? That's not how it's pronounced.
* Veznara sighs
<Veznara> Llillilli.
<Veznara> I made the mistake of calling her "Lily" once.
* Yena giggles.
<Yena> My cousin Kiklatsa calls her Lilei ... I think partly to infuriate her to see how she reacts.
<Veznara> Ah. How *did
* she react?
<Yena> Ahhh ... not terribly. It could have been worse.
<Veznara> Yes. She wasn't actually bad to me, either - just ignored me the first few times, then corrected me.
<Yena> Anyway, ahh, the reason I'm asking is that she and her brother Jimba were over at my lineage house to meet with Kiklatsa and me, to seek to contract a marriage with my cousin Rasaben.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> Jimba did mention that to me.
<Yena> So, ahhh ... what's she like?
<Veznara> Well, I have to admit, when he said that your cousin wanted to marry her I was surprised.
<Yena> Oh? Why is that?
<Veznara> For one, I... well, I don't know her that well, you understand. But it just wasn't something I expected to hear.
<Yena> You already said that.
<Veznara> Well, I've been raised to think of marriage in a certain way. It's something you do to establish alliances with other powerful families, that kind of thing.
<Yena> Yes, right, I understand.
* Yena nods.
<Veznara> I understand that your cousin is also an admirer of the Hith, though?
* Veznara says quietly
* Yena laughs.
<Yena> 'Admirer' ... yes.
<Veznara> When Jimba mentioned that, it suddenly made a lot more sense.
<Yena> Rasaben is ... among the hith he is known as Thelef, and he is some sort of advisor to the hith king.
<Veznara> And he lives among them?
<Yena> Part of the time. He spends the other part here, in Kaskind.
<Veznara> Is that common?
<Yena> No, not at all. At least, I don't think so. I'm not an expert on the hith. But Rasaben has mastered the art of breathing underwater, which I understand is very rare.
<Veznara> Oh? That does sound like a rare gift.
<Yena> Has Li ... has she said much about him at the registry?
<Veznara> Not that I have heard! I really had no idea that she had a beau at all.
<Yena> She seems very quiet. But headstrong.
<Veznara> But as I say, I don't know her well. She.. well, she and I don't really have much of a rapport.
<Veznara> I don't think she's very socially inclined. She can be remarkably tactless.
<Veznara> Or 'blunt', I suppose.
* Yena nods.
<Yena> Yes, that's clear. Although ... I think it helped her, at least personally, with my cousin Kiklatsa. She appreciated her ... bluntness.
<Veznara> I'm afraid it didn't help during that unpleasantness with the poor Yetsner boy a while back. :(
<Veznara> But that was a bad situation all around.
<Yena> Hmmm.
<Veznara> I don't think she would be interested in your cousin to take advantage of his position, if that's something that concerns you.
* Yena shakes her head.
<Yena> No, it's not that.
<Yena> I want Ben to be happy - I'm his aunt technically but I'm only a few years older than him.
<Yena> And I know he'll be happier with one of the hithkindred than someone else.
<Veznara> I suppose so.
<Yena> I just have my doubts. I can't put my finger on it.
<Veznara> I don't know what to say. I'm able to work with her...
<Veznara> I don't think she cares much for the Hand. But that may simply be me.
<Yena> Well, that may be. That's fine
<Veznara> You do have some time to get to know her before a decision must be made?
<Yena> A little, yes.
<Veznara> What has your cousin said about her?
<Veznara> Or nephew, rather.
<Yena> Well, look, I understand what he sees in her. She is extraordinarily beautiful.
<Yena> Exotic, I suppose.
<Veznara> And they have a common interest in the Hith way of life.
<Yena> Yes, exactly.
<Veznara> Which at this point, I assume, must be something you accept as something that is not going to change.
<Yena> It's not that I don't trust his judgement. I just ... oh, who am I kidding, I don't trust his judgement.
<Veznara> Well, do have any idea of what could help you decide?
<Yena> Not really. There are other matches to be had, but ... not everyone is comfortable marrying someone who spends half his time under the sea.
<Veznara> I wish I could be of more help.
<Veznara> Llillilli strikes me as someone on the fringes of our society. I suppose that's why I was surprised at the news.
<Veznara> But perhaps that's what Rasaben - or Thelef - needs.
<Yena> Well, there is something you can do. Teach me how to make that awful sound in her name. If she's going to be in my family, the least I can do is learn to pronounce her name properly.
* Veznara smiles
<Veznara> I'll do my best!

Daifan talks with Balinteze about the new corpseborn arrivals, and they make plans to go out on a date (??)


<Balinteze> (okay, how did you want to set this up?)
<Daifan> I had been plannign to wait for them to come to me at this point, but if the timing doesn't work for that I can go see them.
<Balinteze> (okay, that's fine, we can have them come to you, maybe after work sometime they can meet you?)
<Daifan> (sure)
* Balinteze will meet you after work, with a couple of meat skewers wrapped in bread.
<Balinteze> Hi - I brought dinner.
<Daifan> oh, thanks!
* Balinteze will walk to a bit more quiet space with you, so you can sit down and talk as you eat.
<Daifan> (Are they just Pinkberry rn?)
<Balinteze> (yeah, they're just in regular corpseborn clothing, with their hair tied back)
<Daifan> So...
* @Daifan says, once we find a quiet spot
<Daifan> do you have any news or should I go first?
<Balinteze> Well, I talked with Kikhash about what was going on. I know the folks at the fort are not happy about it, but I'm not sure yet what they're going to do.
* @Daifan nods
<Balinteze> I think they view it as basically an infringement of their laws. She's trying to introduce indentured servitude, which isn't something they have here. It's less about protecting budal and more about their sense that she's defying the Choradani laws, but I'll take it.
* @Daifan nods
<Daifan> That's about what I expected...
<Daifan> were you able to convince them to go and look around?
<Balinteze> It's complicated. It would be potentially offensive to go and investigate her plantation outright, so I think they'll try to be more subtle about it. The Hand are involved too, and they might be the way they'll go about it. I guess the idea might be to appear as though they are concerned from a religious perspective, more than a legal one, to avoid making it a Choradan versus Taizi issue.
* @Daifan nods
<Daifan> Yes.
<Daifan> Hand Dezmali wants to send people there for providing 'Pastoral Care'.
<Balinteze> Yes - I know she's met with Hand Asaizi, at the fort - I suspect that was what they were talking about.
* @Daifan nods
<Daifan> I went to see her, to see the budal they got away
<Balinteze> oh?
<Balinteze> they let you in to talk to them? what did they say?
<Daifan> yes.
<Daifan> I saw one.... I think she is like their Aizeron. She somehow tricked the hand into thinking she was as ill as the other two...
<Daifan> She told me she *is* a witch, that the whole aizer was learning to use fos.
<Balinteze> huh
<Daifan> I didn't get to talk to her alone, only with Hand Dezmali there so I didn't ask her exactly what that meant.
<Balinteze> where would they even have gotten it? it's so expensive back home, and it's not as if it grows wild there...
<Daifan> but some way of using fos, I guess.
<Daifan> It isn't the whole aizer here though.... she thinks they executed the rest. All the elders and haren, the other men...
* Balinteze looks dismayed
<Daifan> She said hopefully the children were just rehomed. :/
<Balinteze> that's awful
<Daifan> yes.
<Daifan> She was... mmm... maybe a little mad? But I don't think I blame her
<Daifan> She said some weird things
<Daifan> She didn't seem afraid of Galdai, but seemed to think she could handle her if she had the fos.
<Balinteze> after what she must have been through, I'm not surprised.
<Daifan> Mmhmm.
<Daifan> Yes
<Daifan> She said somethign about them being 'together in their power' when she was back with the other budal.
<Daifan> I think she just wanted to find out as much as she could before she went back to them
* Balinteze considers that
<Daifan> The other two are a couple - the girl is pregnant, and her man gave her all his food so keep her and the baby okay.
<Balinteze> :/
<Daifan> so they really do need the care.\
* Balinteze nods
<Balinteze> this is supposed to be a fos plantation. Even if that isn't really what Galdai is after, there must be fos there. If these people are skilled in using it - regardless of what that means in this case, exactly - that might be something worth considering.
* @Daifan nods
<Daifan> yes
<Daifan> It isn't processed fos though...
<Daifan> maybe they know how to do that though.
* Balinteze nods
<Daifan> I could find out. I should be able to see her again, and maybe without supervision this time
<Balinteze> Maybe... I guess it depends how they were getting it back in Taizi.
<Balinteze> all right.
<Daifan> Hand Dezmali was also going to see if she could get hand Vezanara to use her sway at thr land office to get them to check on ther plantaion....
<Balinteze> It might be an option, if other plans don't work - to have the land office go in there on some pretense of checking the boundaries or making sure things are in order.
<Daifan> yes
<Balinteze> or as a preliminary start, perhaps... I don't know what order they'll try to do things in.
* @Daifan nods
<Balinteze> I can... mm. Maybe I can try to find out what happened to the others... to the children. I don't know what good it would do, but maybe it would be something, at least :/
<Daifan> yeah...
<Daifan> they might like to know. I mean if it is bad we don't have to tell them >.>
* Balinteze nods grimly
<Balinteze> I'll reach out to my contacts back home and see if I can learn anything.
<Daifan> thanks.
<Daifan> for now I guess we wait and see what the fort does, if anything, and I can try and see Ughiva again
<Balinteze> And of course I'll keep my eyes open around the fort and let you know if I hear anything else there.
<Daifan> okay.
* Balinteze sighs
<Daifan> I hope that having the hand go out there will stop anyone from being taken into that other house >.>
<Daifan> but I guess we'll see.
* Balinteze nods
<Balinteze> I hope you're right.
<Daifan> how are you, other than this?
* Balinteze considers that
<Daifan> or even with, I suppose :3
<Balinteze> I'm... alright. I've had a lot on my mind - this, and other things.
* @Daifan nods
<Balinteze> I wish I could just... not think about it for a little while. But I can't even go get drunk or something.
* Balinteze says with a resigned laugh.
<Daifan> why not?
<Balinteze> because I can't let my guard down like that...
<Daifan> MMhmm... not even a little?
<Balinteze> are you offering? :)
<Daifan> Offering what?
<Balinteze> I don't know. to get me drunk and watch my back to make sure I don't do anything stupid?
<Daifan> that I can absolutely offer.
* @Daifan smiles
* Balinteze smiles back
<Daifan> Maybe Kemai needs a night out with his new girl ;)
* Balinteze smiles more at that.
<Balinteze> Yeah. That could work.
<Balinteze> Are you busy tonight? ^-^
<Daifan> I could make some time...
<Daifan> in my busy schedule ^-^
<Balinteze> well... maybe we should make more of a date of it. You know, dress up a bit, do our faces, that sort of thing
<Balinteze> if you wanted.
<Daifan> That could be fun...
<Balinteze> ah, well... whichever you'd rather. I mean, we don't need to make a fuss over it.
<Daifan> well. It doesn't take much to convince me to get dressed up.
* Balinteze smiles at that
<Daifan> I'm just a little lost here on who exactly is going on this date now. :x
<Balinteze> ah... who did you want to go on it? >.>
* @Daifan smiles a little nervously
<Daifan> I think you would be a very fun date
* Balinteze smiles at that
<Balinteze> I don't know if I'm a very good date, but fun... I can probably manage that :)
<Daifan> well... we can find out. I woudl say the same for me, right now.
<Daifan> so, we can just aim for fun.
* Balinteze nods
<Balinteze> Okay. No obligations or anything. Just fun.
<Daifan> mmhmm
* @Daifan smiles more genuinely
* Balinteze leans over and gives you a quick kiss on the cheek.
<Daifan> Tonight then?
<Balinteze> sure :)
<Balinteze> are we going to go somewhere in Banei, or here?
<Daifan> . o ( Before Idovo talks me out of this >.>)
<Daifan> where would you feel more comfortable?
<Balinteze> I guess in Banei there's less to worry about, as far as whether people are going to pay much attention to us.
<Balinteze> But I know some places here that would be okay too.
<Daifan> Hmmm....
<Daifan> Some place new might be better? To unwind.
<Balinteze> all right. I'll figure out someplace we can go here, as ourselves.
<Daifan> okay. I'll see you then :3
<Balinteze> See you later :)
* Balinteze smiles and will take off to go get ready, then
<Daifan> . o ( AHHHHHHh )

Balinteze and Daifan go on a date (!!)


* Balinteze will meet back up with you after you've each had a chance to go and get cleaned up and changed.
* Daifan has done thier makeup and busted out their panel coat
<Daifan> hey :)
* Balinteze is wearing a knee-length dark green tunic with a pattern of diamond-shaped patches in gold at the hem. Their hair is down and they clearly did a bit of makeup, although just subtle.
<Balinteze> Hi. That's a gorgeous coat :)
<Daifan> thanks, I like yor tunic :3
<Balinteze> Thank you. I don't get much call to wear it these days, so it's nice to have a good reason :)
<Daifan> yes, same...
<Daifan> so where are we going?
<Balinteze> How do you feel about honey?
* Balinteze asks with a smile
* Daifan rsises thier eyebrows
* Balinteze smiles wider at that.
<Daifan> I mean, who doens't like a little honey ^_^
<Balinteze> It's called the Beehive. The woman who operates it keeps bees, and makes mead and other things.
<Daifan> ooh! I think I've only had mead maybe once or twice?
<Balinteze> And it has the benefit of being small and fairly ... intimate. And she won't give us trouble.
<Daifan> that sounds perfect
* Balinteze will lead the way there, then. It's a small building set somewhat back from the water's edge, and there are definitely a group of beehives in the back of the property.
<Daifan> hmmm
* Daifan will make light small talk alomg the way :3
* Balinteze offers you their hand to go up the stairs into the building.
* Daifan smiles but will take it
* Balinteze leads the way inside. The room is lit by small lamps that shed a soft golden glow over the interior. Balinteze will take you to a table near the back, where there is a section set apart by a paper divider.
<Balinteze> This way no one has to be horribly offended that we're here, and as a bonus, we get more privacy ;)
<Daifan> huh, is it always set up this way?
<Daifan> (and how much room is back here?)
<Balinteze> (really just room for a couple tables - you're currently the only ones in that area)
<Daifan> (cool)
<Balinteze> Muzal, who runs the place, keeps a few seats for budal.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I'll have to remember this for other dates, if its any good ;)
* Balinteze smiles
* Balinteze will order us a bottle of mead to share, and the short woman who takes your order also brings a basket with some warm bread drizzled with honey.
<Daifan> oooh...
* Balinteze pours us each a cup of mead
<Daifan> So what is our aim here with this?
* Daifan asks, holding theirs up
<Balinteze> hm?
<Balinteze> I was planning to drink it - did you have a different idea? :)
<Daifan> just to unwind a bit? Am I still friendsitting a little bit? ^-^
<Balinteze> oh... well. I don't want to make you stay sober just to keep an eye on me ;)
<Balinteze> maybe if we start to think either of us is getting too tipsy, we can take the rest of the bottle - assuming there's anything left - and go back to my room to finish it there?
<Daifan> Mmm, okay...
<Daifan> You're not a handsy drunk, are you? ^_^
* Balinteze gives a little chuckle
<Balinteze> I'll be well-behaved - as long as you want me to :)
<Daifan> Well, you have probably figured out, I can be a bit cuddly...
* Balinteze nods
* Daifan says, trying not to sound too nervous about, like, trying to set boundaries or something , whatever they are doing :x
<Daifan> BUt that doesn't mean I'm looking for more, right?
<Balinteze> I can handle that. But I really do mean - I won't do anything we aren't both eager for. Not just 'maybe okay' or 'if you want, I'll go along with it'.
<Balinteze> does that sound okay?
* Daifan blushes a little, but nods
<Daifan> Okay.
* Daifan will take a sip of their drink then
<Daifan> Oooooh.... smooth.
<Balinteze> it's good, isn't it?
<Daifan> dangerously good!
* Balinteze smiles
<Balinteze> it can go to your head if you drink it too fast, that's for sure.
<Daifan> welll... I'll try to show *some* restraint.
<Balinteze> If you don't, I'm certainly willing to give you a piggyback home ;)
<Daifan> ^-^
* Balinteze takes a piece of the bread and tears it in half, offering you part of it.
* Daifan will take it
<Balinteze> so, when you said you'd keep this place in mind for other dates... have you been seeing anyone else?
* Balinteze asks casually
<Daifan> I guess? I had one date, with somoene. It was nice.
* Balinteze nods
<Daifan> I'm guessing you don't ...get much of a chance?
<Balinteze> Not ... dating. Not like this - going out someplace nice to spend time with someone you like.
* Balinteze sips their drink
<Balinteze> Either it's work, and it's not about having a good time, or ...
* Balinteze pauses for a moment, considering how to phrase something perhaps.
* Daifan has another sips as wel;l, waiting for you to chose your words
<Balinteze> ... or when it has been with someone who really knows who I am, it's been something secret. not going out in public together.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> Mmhmm.... I know what that can be like.... welll a little. It's probably not really the same.
<Balinteze> with someone back home?
<Daifan> mm. It didn't work out >.>
* Daifan takes another drink ;p
* Balinteze nods sympathetically
<Balinteze> Let me guess... they were hedal.
<Daifan> :|
<Daifan> Of course.
<Balinteze> I know how that goes.
<Daifan> well, I'm sorry to hear it -_-
* Balinteze shrugs
<Balinteze> It's... complicated. That was just one of about twenty-seven reasons it was a bad idea ;)
* Balinteze says with a little smile
<Daifan> was it worth it, for you?
* Balinteze thinks about that
<Daifan> ....that's a pretty heavy question, you don't have to answer.
<Balinteze> it's okay.
<Daifan> well, were supposed to be having fun :3
<Balinteze> I think it was, on balance. It was good to know that someone could know me and still want me the way I am. We had good times, for a while. There were a lot of complications, but I guess if I had to do it over, I wouldn't change that part of it, at least.
<Daifan> well, that's good, then.
* Daifan smiles
* Balinteze smiles back
<Balinteze> But it was also kind of a relief to come here.
<Daifan> less complicated?
<Balinteze> Having new surroundings and things to keep me busy... Not having to stay someplace where I'd have to see him all the time...
<Balinteze> ...with his new wife...
<Daifan> Oh :/
* Balinteze makes a sort of 'c'est la vie' shrug.
<Daifan> stupid hedal :p
<Balinteze> I know, right?
<Daifan> My... work friend? Llillilli, is getting married to a friend of hers, I think mostly so his relatives will leave him alone.
* Balinteze nods
<Balinteze> His was... something sort of like that. Family arrangements. Not something he could get out of.
<Daifan> mmhmm.
* Daifan wonders why Kesh wasn't married... or maybe he was, or.... who knows, certainly not me :
<
<Balinteze> Is your friend happy about it? About the situation I mean? Or is it really just practical for them?
<Daifan> Oh? Um. I' not sure.
<Daifan> They're both hithkindred... so they are friends and have a lot in common. I don't think she really cares much, and maybe it doesn't really matter to the hith, anyway?
* Daifan makes a 'who even knows?' face
<Balinteze> oh, hm, I suppose that does make things go smoother, if they both share that.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I helped her get dressed to meet his aunts ^-^
<Balinteze> that sounds like an interesting challenge. What do aunts like? :)
<Daifan> people who wear tops to formal meetings ;)
* Balinteze chuckles
<Balinteze> Such exacting standards!
<Daifan> We went out and got her a new dashi, and she looked very presntable
<Daifan> I think she also said somethign about not being covered in mud? but that's more beyond my control ;)
* Balinteze nods
<Balinteze> Mud is sort of inevitable here...
<Daifan> more so if you spend a lot of time splashing around in the river :x
<Balinteze> true, true
<Balinteze> I try not to, personally :)
<Daifan> me either! But sometimes you can't avoid it at work
* Balinteze nods
<Daifan> I'm getting better at getting around in the swamp thouigh, that's nice
<Balinteze> that's good - I like you not getting lost in the swamp :3
* Daifan smiles
<Daifan> we're usually working out of the boat, so we don't need to go too far inland. Of course now that I've said that, who knows where they will send us next ;p
* Balinteze chuckles
<Daifan> Oh - do you want some work gossip from your fort people?
<Balinteze> Absolutely!
<Daifan> so that Sentinel lady - Tiz?
<Daifan> she had us go look for land "for a lighthouse" out along the bay
<Daifan> but the land was terrible for building
<Daifan> what we *did* find was a village that wasn't on the map, near an old old temple, like the haunted one I...think? I told you about?
* Balinteze looks intrigued
<Daifan> I guess there are little settlement like that all over the place
<Daifan> but she still put in a requisition for the land
<Balinteze> I guess it wasn't for a lighthouse, then.
<Daifan> nope
<Balinteze> Interesting.
<Daifan> Mmhmm.
<Daifan> Moss said they never even had the other team out there to look at all... they're all Aummesh, I think, except one girl.
<Daifan> and it was a *personal* landclaim, too, not for the fort ot government at all
<Balinteze> That's very odd.
<Daifan> mmhmm
<Balinteze> Tiz and the General are close - I can't imagine she would do something like this without the General knowing, or even maybe telling her to. If they're keeping it as a 'personal' claim, they must have a reason for not wanting it to be associated with the Sentinels as an organization.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I think there's somethign about these temples that they're interested in. She pulled in Junan and Hand Veznara to talk to them afetr we were at the first one, too
<Balinteze> Maybe. I wonder what, though?
<Daifan> also there's some kind of weird fos out there, but I don't thinik we put it in out report
<Balinteze> weird fos?
<Balinteze> what sort of weird?
<Daifan> I don't know. It wasn't even really fos, it was some other kind of plant, but *like
* fos.
<Balinteze> but it works like fos?
<Daifan> there were some animals that had been eating it... Uruun? And then they attacked people it gave them visions of the future.... but a bad future.
<Balinteze> oh... that sounds not so great.
<Daifan> I'm not sure - Katehzhi was going to look into it.
* Balinteze nods
<Balinteze> It sounds interesting, but 'visions of a bad future' doesn't sound very marketable.
* Daifan shrugs
<Daifan> I'm sure it has uses
<Daifan> I mean, regular fos can do plenty of bad things to you >.>
<Balinteze> That's true. Maybe people would want to give it to their enemies.
* Balinteze finishes their piece of bread, licking drops of honey off their fingers.
* Daifan smiles
<Daifan> I can think of a few people I could use that for ;p
* Daifan says, doing the same
* Balinteze pours us some more mead, and splits another piece of bread for us to share
<Daifan> :)
<Daifan> thisb is nice... but sticky
<Balinteze> that is the down-side, yes...
<Balinteze> many fun things are, though :3
* Daifan grins
<Daifan> this is true
* Daifan licks some more honey off their fingers
* Balinteze leans forward a bit, enjoying watching that.
* Daifan will take their time ^-^
<Balinteze> you get them so clean, only to get them messy again a moment later ;)
<Daifan> but the cleaning is half the fun ^-^
* Balinteze nods
* Balinteze holds out their hand to you.
<Balinteze> May I help? :)
* Daifan considers, and then extends them their hand
* Balinteze takes it and brings it to their lips, gently licking off a few remaining drops of honey, keeping eye contact with you as they do so.
* Balinteze lets your hand go after they're finished, and leans back slightly, giving a bit of space for that moment.
* Daifan also sits back, picking up thier glass with their newly cleaned hand
* Daifan takes a sip
* Balinteze does as well
<Daifan> better with help, I think.
<Balinteze> It's certainly more enjoyable.
<Daifan> Mmhmm.
* Balinteze takes a bigger swallow of their drink.
* Daifan smirks
<Daifan> I*could* offer to return the favour, but that *might* not be nice...
<Balinteze> it sounds pretty nice to me :)
* Balinteze dips their finger in the cup of mead and holds it out to you with a smile
<Daifan> mmmhmmm...
* Daifan will give them a demonstration of just what they meant by that statement
* Daifan will defintely watch their face
* Balinteze bites their lip slightly.
* Daifan sits back again with their drink maybe looking a little smug
<Daifan> nice enough?
<Balinteze> very nice.
<Balinteze> do you want to take the rest of this bottle and go?
<Daifan> mmm....
* Daifan hesitates, trying to think through the mead
<Daifan> okay
* Balinteze will gather up the bottle, pay the innkeeper, and be ready to go extremely efficiently
* Daifan will finish their glass and drift along
<Balinteze> (the walk will at least give you a chance to potentially clear your head ;)
* Daifan will follow thier lead in terms of getting back into the fort, assuming that's where we're going :x
* Balinteze carries the bottle and occasionally takes a drink from it, offering it to you as well.
* Balinteze will get us back to their room at the fort - slipping the guards a couple of coins to look the other way at them bringing a guest in at this time of night ;)
* Daifan will drink a little, trying to push away intrusive thought and worries
* Balinteze 's room is the same as before, although maybe a little more tidy.
<Balinteze> (perhaps in case of guests ;)
* Daifan has a suspicion ^-^
* Balinteze sets whatever is left of the mead down on the bedside table so they can light a lamp
* Daifan picks it up to investigate
<Balinteze> (maybe 1/4 of the bottle left?)
* Daifan takes a sip
<Balinteze> so... should we talk about this?
* Balinteze asks gently, sitting down on the edge of the bed.
* Daifan takes another sip
<Daifan> Well... what are we talking about?
<Balinteze> what each of us wants? what we expect from one another?
<Balinteze> I know it's not as fun as licking each other's fingers, but ...
* Balinteze shrugs a little
<Daifan> oh...
<Balinteze> I like you. I care about you. I don't want to mess things up because I didn't take the time to ... express that care.
* Balinteze says a bit shyly
<Daifan> I.... I like you.... But I don't knwo what I'm doing
<Balinteze> okay
<Balinteze> in terms of sex, or... emotions? or both? :p
<Daifan> I... no one has ever asked me to thikn about it.
<Balinteze> oh...
<Balinteze> do you need to take more time to think about it?
* Daifan looks at the bottle and huffs.
<Daifan> No :(
<Balinteze> I mean... if the answer for tonight - or for as long as you want - is 'all I want is to cuddle'... that's okay.
* Daifan sniffs a bit
<Daifan> That's all I want
<Balinteze> okay. It sounds really nice.
<Balinteze> hey... come here?
* Balinteze asks/invites
* Daifan nods and will go over and curl up with them
<Daifan> I'm sorry...
* Balinteze holds you close.
<Balinteze> Daifan... it's fine. I'm not upset. The last thing in the world that I would want is to push you into something you didn't feel ready for.
<Daifan> It's not... it's not you :(
<Daifan> You've been very lovely. Are being.
<Balinteze> oh honey.... I know it's not me. I know I'm thoroughly charming and handsome ;)
* Balinteze says with a faint smile to lighten the tone a little
* Daifan smiles weekly as well
* Balinteze gives you a kiss on the forehead.
* Daifan sniffs
<Balinteze> another time - when you're not drunk - you can think more about what you might want. and we can talk about it. but for now, let's at least get this gorgeous coat off so you don't wrinkle it all up by sleeping in it.
<Daifan> okay...
<Balinteze> do you want something to sleep in?
* Daifan nods, sitting up, and wiping their face
<Daifan> I'm sorry, I shoudl have just... gone home. I keep thinking about things I don't want to think about :(
* Balinteze will help you with hanging up your coat, and offers you one of their tunics to put on. They'll change into a sleeping robe as well, but politely turn away so they aren't flashing you (much)
<Balinteze> mm... I know how that goes.
* Daifan can keep it together enough not to be a total mess
<Balinteze> There's two choices - you can think more about them, try to talk about them if you want... it can help, but it can also hurt more. Or you can try to put them aside for tonight and just ... be here with me, and know that I'm here with you too.
* Daifan sniffs
<Daifan> I just keep thining....
<Daifan> about, earlier, when you said, you had someone who cknew who you were and cared for you and wanted to be with you even if it was complicated and...
<Daifan> I thought I had that, for such a long time, someone who loved me, despite everything.... but it was all lies
<Balinteze> :(
* Daifan wipes away their tears more angrily
<Balinteze> I'm sorry
<Daifan> he said it.... in front of a *reckoner*.... that he never loved me.
<Balinteze> that's terrible.
<Daifan> :(
<Daifan> mY feelings are.... all fucked up, and I don't know how to trust them, let alone talk about them... or think....
<Balinteze> :|
<Daifan> But I dn't want to be alone :(
<Balinteze> You don't have to be.
<Balinteze> I'm here even if your feelings are fucked up and you don't know what to do or what you want.
<Daifan> I'm... this was supposed to be fun. It *was* fun :/
<Balinteze> yes. and it doesn't make it not have been fun, even if it ended on a sad note.
<Balinteze> and other things will be fun again in the future. I promise.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> Can we just... lie down?
<Balinteze> of course
* Balinteze will lie down and let you arrange yourself however you're comfortable - whether that's beside them or snuggled up close or whatever.
* Daifan takes a while to figure that out, but does wind up snuggled
* Balinteze holds you
* Daifan will eventually fall asleep