Ashnabis session 24
Session date: December 29, 2019
Fair Cycle date:
Katenzhi and Bivizmi talk about who might want her dead
* Bivizmi comes over to visit sometime after the wedding.
* Katenzhi is probably at least slightly tipsy and sitting out on the deck of the boat, staring at the water.
<Bivizmi> Hey Kat.
* Bivizmi climbs on up and sits beside you.
* Katenzhi turns and smiles when she sees Bivizmi.
<Katenzhi> Hey yourself. Come join me.
<Katenzhi> How are you doing?
<Bivizmi> I'm all right ... I guess. Some days are better than others.
* Katenzhi nods.
<Katenzhi> You seemed to be doing well at the wedding.
<Katenzhi> It's good to see you out and about some.
<Bivizmi> I was, and it helped that there were friendly faces around.
<Bivizmi> Other times, though ...
<Bivizmi> Sometimes it feels like ... I'm still being hunted down, watched, you know?
<Katenzhi> I know. What happened to you... anyone would feel that way.
<Bivizmi> Right, and that was what I kept telling myself. Only ... I don't know - it feels so real.
<Katenzhi> Is it just a feeling or... is there something more?
<Bivizmi> I don't know how to know that.
* Katenzhi ponders that.
<Bivizmi> I've been accused more than once of overthinking things, trying to make them make more sense than they actually do.
<Katenzhi> I've been accused of just the opposite.
<Katenzhi> But if you think there might be something wrong then I believe you.
<Katenzhi> This whole thing is so weird. I wish we knew who did it in the first place. And why.
<Bivizmi> Yeah. It doesn't seem like it could have been a random attack. But the only other explanation is something to do with our land claim, and I don't know what that would mean either.
<Katenzhi> Do you think there's any way to get the samples to grow somewhere else? Maybe we should leave well enough alone, just in case.
<Bivizmi> There might be. But I think we'd need more, regardless. The few samples we have are hardly enough to sustain a crop.
<Bivizmi> And ... part of me doesn't want to let ... it, them, whatever ... have the last say. I'm no coward.
<Katenzhi> I know how you feel, trust me. But if you go back there who knows what could happen. I don't want to lose you again. And I'm sure you don't either.
<Bivizmi> I know. But I don't want to just be afraid of things. Face them head on. You and me, together. And other folks too, if they want. Jimba.
<Katenzhi> Well, Daifan told me something the other day... I'm not sure how much there is too it, but it might be related.
<Katenzhi> She said she had heard about a trader group out of Daligash called "The Fand" that was interested in your family's business. She said they have dealings with both Usuf and a woman who we suspect murdered a claimant for their land. Nothing provable but...
<Katenzhi> That's the problem. There's nothing but rumors. No proof of anything.
<Bivizmi> Oh, the Fands, yes, we know them.
<Katenzhi> What do you know about them?
<Bivizmi> They're a big lineage. Orfiz Fand, the lineage elder, is one of the richest men in the colony. But they're of fairly modest means originally, made all their money in spices, and now in fos. He moved the whole family here, or much of it, some years ago.
<Bivizmi> They are our rivals in business, but they're more traders than producers. I can imagine they'd be very interested in any product we'd bring to market.
<Katenzhi> No, but Usuf might. And if he's in bed with them...
<Katenzhi> (Sorry, misread that as "Can't")
<Katenzhi> Yeah, and is Usuf knows about it then he might have told them.
<Bivizmi> He might have, that's true. But I would expect something different than just murdering me, in that case. Not that the Fands wouldn't murder someone they needed to get rid of, but, this doesn't really advance their interests. Or does it? I don't know.
<Katenzhi> It does if they want to be the ones that get it to market.
<Bivizmi> Yeah but they'd also have to kill you. Or buy you off. Have you been bought off yet?
* Bivizmi teases.
<Katenzhi> Oh sure. I mean just look at all the coin I'm swimming in.
* Katenzhi grins.
<Katenzhi> And if they are responsible, what's our next move? How do we find out without them being alerted?
<Bivizmi> I don't know.
<Katenzhi> Maybe I can ask Daifan how she found out about them. Maybe there's someone I can talk to.
<Bivizmi> Yeah, that would be all right. The more poking around in Fand business that happens, though, the more likely that my family is to get involved in all this.
<Bivizmi> They're going to find out.
* Katenzhi sighs
<Katenzhi> Yeah, that's another wrinkle.
<Bivizmi> For the record, I think the Fands would be most likely to resort to murder only after they had tried to buy us out.
<Katenzhi> Then that leaves us back where we were before.
<Bivizmi> Usuf, he's a strange one, I'll grant you that, but preemptively murdering me to satisfy his connections ... maybe? I don't know.
<Katenzhi> I wouldn't put it past him. He's too chicken-shit to do it himself, but to have someone else do it? He might.
<Katenzhi> And then there's always the possibility it was the locals who didn't like us snooping around.
<Katenzhi> My head hurts...
* Katenzhi rubs her temples.
* Bivizmi wraps her arm around you.
<Bivizmi> Mine too.
* Katenzhi leans into her.
<Katenzhi> Maybe it's all connected. Maybe the whole world is against us. Fuck it. At least then we'd know where we stand.
<Bivizmi> Us against the universe.
* Katenzhi grins.
<Katenzhi> I can deal with that.
Daifan learns some disturbing news from Nezha
* Daifan will go see Nezha, then, and bring an extra fish that Idovo caught
<Nezha> oh, hello!
<Daifan> hello :)
* Nezha greets you, out on her porch doing some washing
<Daifan> I wa wondering if this would be a good time to catch up?
<Nezha> as good a time as any. how have you been doing?
<Daifan> I brought you some fish, if you would like it
<Nezha> oh, thank you :) that's so thoughtful.
* Nezha will take the fish
* Daifan smiles
<Daifan> I've been well enough, with work, and other things...
<Daifan> so many people want my attention lately :x
<Nezha> You're a popular one :)
<Daifan> yes, for better or for worse... time will tell!
<Daifan> how have you been?
* Nezha will put the fish aside and get you a drink of fruit juice.
<Nezha> Well, things have been... busy.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> is that good?
<Nezha> It's... I don't know. I do what I can to help keep things going smoothly, make sure everyone is taken care of, but... Lady Galdai obviously has her own ideas as well.
* Daifan nods, sipping their juice
<Daifan> what kind of ideas? >.>
* Daifan asks, somewhat cynically
<Nezha> Well... some of the women prisoners - subjects - I don't know what to call them... some of them are pregnant now. Once she knows that they're with child, they are moved to another cabin to keep them separate from the others. They are well cared for, as far as getting plenty of food and not having to do her... experiments anymore >.>
* Daifan looks very angry
<Daifan> That is not acceptable.
<Nezha> I know, but what can I do about it? I just try to make sure they're safe, at least as much as I can.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> Thank you, for that
<Daifan> I will see....what I can...do.
<Daifan> We ca't let this go on.
<Nezha> What will you do?
<Daifan> I don't know yet
* Nezha asks, concerned
* Daifan is so mad, though! so mad!
<Daifan> We're not.... animals! To be bred for her whims!
<Daifan> or her experiments!
<Daifan> I'm sorry - this is not your fault.
* Daifan ried to rein it in
<Daifan> is ther... anythign else?
* Nezha looks uncomfortable
<Nezha> One who did not comply - or who was disobedient in some way - was punished by being separated from her... partner, Needles. Lady Galdai used a spell on her to make her desire stronger, and then separated them, as a punishment.
<Daifan> That's disgusting
<Nezha> I don't know what she did, but after a day or two of that, the woman must have given in, or done what Galdai wanted of her, because she was returned with the rest of the prisoners.
* Daifan takes a deep breath
<Daifan> Thank you for telling me.
<Nezha> it's a punishment that won't leave any physical harm or damage... but it's terribly cruel nevertheless :/
* Daifan shakes their head
<Daifan> is there anything I can do for you?
<Daifan> It cant be easy to be there
* Nezha hesitates, thinking for a moment
<Nezha> Just being able to tell someone is good.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I am here for that - not just for them, but for you, too
<Nezha> I feel like I should be doing more. Like it is in part my fault that this is happening.
* Daifan will take her hand and squeeze it
<Daifan> YOu are brave to speak of this at all
<Daifan> If it weren't for you, I don't know how we would know at all, what exactly is happening there
* Nezha nods
<Nezha> If I can do anything to help with... whatever you decide to do, please let me know.
<Daifan> Thank you.
<Daifan> I will
Thelef and Llillilli talk the morning after their wedding
* Thelef talks to you in the morning after the wedding.
<Thelef> I'm sorry.
<Llillilli> It's not your fault.
<Thelef> You never asked to be involved in all this.
* Llillilli shrugs.
<Llillilli> That doesn't matter.
<Thelef> It matters to me.
<Llillilli> I think I would be anyway.
<Thelef> When King Whuthe calls for me, I don't know how long I will be away.
<Llillilli> I know.
<Llillilli> Just... be careful
<Llillilli> You have to come back.
<Thelef> I will. I don't think the king needs me for fighting.
<Thelef> I may have to go to Pashas, to negotiate.
* Thelef concedes.
<Thelef> Depending on what we learn about this whole situation.
<Llillilli> I could go to Pashas. WIth you
* Thelef laughs awkwardly.
* Llillilli frowns.
<Thelef> It's just that, I've been lying here awake for a couple hours, wondering if I should ask you to come with me, and whether you would come.
<Llillilli> Oh. Well I would.
<Thelef> I ... I know you would.
* Llillilli puts her arms around your waist and hugs you *very
* tight, mashing her face into your chest.
<Thelef> But Sulise, at war, is not the Sulise you would want to see. It's not the Sulise I want to see. The People when angered are ... not kind.
<Llillilli> Pashas isn't Sulise.
<Llillilli> I could go there.
<Thelef> No. Because alone, you'd be vulnerable. A target. You could be held as ransom, to get to me.
<Llillilli> WIth you :(
<Llillilli> Listen better, Thelef.
* Thelef nods.
<Thelef> But I expect to be called to the court.
* Llillilli sighs and nods, defeated.
<Thelef> If I go to Pashas ... then, I grant, I could bring you.
<Thelef> Being a selleluf, among the People, will be a mixed blessing. Some will treat you very well indeed. Others ... perhaps not.
<Llillilli> That's not much different from now.
<Thelef> That's true.
<Thelef> I know I shouldn't worry so much. You can take care of yourself.
<Thelef> I just ... this is all a lot.
<Llillilli> It is.
<Thelef> I want you to be happy.
<Llillilli> Then you should bring me with you to Pashas.
* Thelef considers the matter, then nods.
<Thelef> If I am sent to Pashas.
<Thelef> And then, your job? You'd just ... leave it?
<Llillilli> Well, it wouldn't be forever.
<Llillilli> And it's not so far.
* Thelef nods.
<Thelef> I love you, Llillilli.
<Llillilli> I love you too.
* Thelef smiles.
Daifan gives the news about the female prisoners to Veznara
* Veznara is in the Registry map room, studying a claims map while her bubun stands by
* Daifan will corner veznara in the map room
* Veznara looks up as Daifan enters, and frowns slightly.
<Daifan> Hand Veznara - we must talk
<Veznara> Must we.
* Veznara looks around to be sure nobody else is in hearing distance.
* Daifan was assuming that part of cornering you wasnto ensure this already ;)
<Veznara> Very well. What is it, Daifan?
* Daifan is an evil mastermind, aerall :V
<Daifan> Your princess.
<Daifan> Is torturing people. Breeding them.
<Veznara> Breeding them?
<Veznara> Daifan, I have been keeping as close an eye on them as I can under the circumstances.
<Daifan> It isn't enough.
<Veznara> As far as I can tell, they show signs consistent with physical labour, but no obvious torture.
<Veznara> And I certainly haven't noticed that any of the women are pregnant.
* Daifan shakes their head
<Veznara> When did you hear about this?
<Daifan> I am not blaming you. But what we are doing to protect these people - it is not enough.
<Daifan> she can torture them in ways that would never show, with her magic
* Veznara frowns
<Daifan> drive them mad until they comply wth her wishes...
<Veznara> I'm afraid that may be true.
<Daifan> it is true
<Daifan> ...or did you suspect?
<Veznara> What, that she is having them tortured? Perhaps; though as you say, in ways that leave no marks. My visits may have done at least that much.
<Veznara> That she is deliberately breeding them? No. I did not realize that any of them were pregnant. Now that you say so, I will certainly look more closely the next time I visit.
<Daifan> to what end?
<Daifan> she wants their babies, she'll care for them >:|
<Daifan> by the time they're knocked up its too late
<Veznara> If those women are pregnant, then their children are a legitimate concern of the Hand.
<Veznara> I can raise that as an issue, and will have an extra excuse to visit the estate and monitor the prisoners.
<Daifan> How will you explai that you even know?
<Daifan> she is keeping it from you on purpose
<Daifan> if you play this so straight forward, you will put others at risk
<Veznara> Daifan, each time I go to the estate I check on the prisoners.
<Daifan> YOu will need to confirm it for yourself
<Veznara> It's part of the routine.
<Veznara> I was there... about a week ago, last time. I didn't notice anything then.
<Daifan> well now you know to look.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> Yes. And I will.
<Veznara> And I will talk to Dezmail ahead of time to decide how we will try to take control of the situation.
* Daifan doesn't look entirely satisfied, but nods
<Daifan> I will see... what else can be done. if anything
* Veznara sighs
<Veznara> I don't know.
<Daifan> She's monster, that's what I know.
<Veznara> For now, let me investigate this and bring official attention to it, if it is true.
* Veznara rolls up the map scroll she was looking at, and puts it back among the others.
<Daifan> just.... do it quickly. This has already gone on so long :(
<Veznara> I'm going to Dezmali right now.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> thank you.
* Veznara and her bubun head for the Temple.
Veznara and Dezmali talk about Princess Galdai
* Veznara and her bubun head directly for the Temple, where she goes to talk to Dezmali
* Dezmali is at temple, attending to some reports.
<Veznara> Dezmali, may I speak with you? There is a new development.
<Dezmali> Ah, yes, of course, come in.
<Veznara> Thank you.
* Veznara enters Dezmali's office, ordering her bubun to wait outside
<Veznara> Daifan just came to see me. She says that some of the women prisoners are now pregnant.
<Dezmali> Yes, I suppose that was inevitable.
<Veznara> I'm a bit embarrassed if it's true - I didn't notice anything last week. Though I suppose they're all at the early stages.
<Dezmali> How does Daifan know?
<Veznara> I'm not sure. I assume she has her sources. The Princess does have a Corpseborn servant who may be one of them - Nezha - but I don't know for certain, and I didn't ask.
<Veznara> It may not be true, but of course I'm going to keep an eye out for it when I attend the women prisoners on my next visit.
<Veznara> If it is true - and I think it may well be - we must be ready to do something about it.
<Dezmali> What do you propose we do about it?
<Veznara> Those children are our responsibility; as a pious woman, the Princess knows that it is the role of the Hand to care for the children of Corpseborn.
<Veznara> If I notice that some women prisoners are pregnant, that gives us a pretext to pay more attention to them.
<Dezmali> Do you think we need a pretext to pay more attention to them?
<Veznara> Well - I think the estate is very careful to keep up a front when I visit, of course.
* Dezmali nods.
<Veznara> I've made a point of checking in on the prisoners on each visit, but only at the end, after attending to the Princess herself first, and her staff second.
<Veznara> When I do get to the prisoners, the steward and head guard are with me, and know exactly what I do. I don't talk to the prisoners, and I can't really examine them closely.
<Veznara> This would give me a reason to do so that the Princess would find difficult to deny.
<Dezmali> You seem to have ... turned firmly against the Princess. Is that fair to say?
* Veznara frowns
<Veznara> I do not trust her.
<Veznara> I am torn for obvious reasons... but it seems all but certain that she is doing something terribly wrong.
* Dezmali nods slowly, with perhaps a half-smile.
<Dezmali> And what Daifan has told you, you believe her, and you think her motives are good ones in sharing information with you?
<Veznara> I'm still angry about Daifan's behaviour in the swamp over the Iron Knight. As far as this goes...
<Veznara> I am sure her concern is sincere.
<Veznara> I'm just not sure how much of all of it is true, and how much exaggerated.
* Dezmali sighs.
<Dezmali> All right.
<Dezmali> Know that when the time comes, our Order will, of course, serve as tide-mothers to any children born at the prison, and care for them.
<Veznara> Proof is needed. But I'm also very aware that people suffer in the time it would take to gather proof.
* Veznara nods
<Dezmali> As for the suffering ... it is difficult because they are prisoners, and they are meant to suffer. That is the argument your Princess would raise, and one that most people here would believe.
<Veznara> The prisoners were assigned to be labourers, not to be raped. That would be my answer.
<Dezmali> So you do believe that is what is happening.
<Veznara> Effectively. If this is true.
<Veznara> Daifan suggested that she is using magic to torture them until they 'consent'.
<Veznara> Implied, rather.
<Veznara> In any case, if these women are pregnant, it raises that issue.
<Dezmali> Yes, if what you described earlier is related to their pregnancies. The Princess might counter and simply note that there are both corpseborn men and women in the prison, and that she can't monitor them all the time.
<Veznara> Of course. But I would never accuse her of being involved in something so base.
<Veznara> Because it would be confrontational and cause offense, and give her grounds to dismiss me. But clearly, this is beneath her notice.
<Dezmali> All right. What do you want me to do?
<Veznara> Is it possible to get more of us involved in monitoring the situation? I'm assigned to the Princess specifically; but it seems to me that once I notice this officially, we have a reason and a pretext to send in somebody to tend to the women specifically. Someone who doesn't have to be a Taizi of noble heritage.
<Veznara> And who can check on the women more frequently and closely than I can at present.
<Veznara> To be honest, I'm finding this overwhelming.
<Dezmali> I can imagine. I will see what I can arrange. It may be difficult. It is particularly because of your Taizian noble birth that I was able to get you such easy access.
<Veznara> Even someone who merely accompanies me on my visits and goes to the prisoner sheds while I attend the Princess.
<Dezmali> As you have noted before, the Princess is very private, even secretive, about her own matters. She need not grant us access simply because there are some pregnant prisoners.
<Dezmali> Let me be clear, Veznara, about one matter.
<Dezmali> I grant you that Daifan's testimony cannot be used as proof of anything - that is the burden we face, because of her status. But I do believe her, and as far as I can tell, so do you - otherwise you would not be breathlessly running here to report her claims to me.
<Dezmali> I do not think your Princess is a particularly good woman - no, let me go further.
<Dezmali> I think she is very likely to be a very wicked person.
<Veznara> I cannot, and do not, deny it.
<Dezmali> She is owed our deference only because it is politically necessary.
* Veznara grimaces
<Veznara> I'm well aware of how politically necessary - I fear that my duty here may have repercussions for my family.
<Dezmali> And the fact that Daifan can, and has continued to provide you valuable information about this situation, at great potential risk to herself - bear that in mind! - she does not have to do that. She could stop, at any time.
<Dezmali> You are welcome to reserve, in whatever way you choose, your judgements on her overall character, but I am instructing you to put aside whatever petty squabbles you may imagine you have with her.
<Dezmali> I never met my own mother, brought in as I was by the tide myself, but I would be proud to have a mother such as her.
<Veznara> Well, never mind. I assure you, I'm not going to let that matter get in the way of working with her.
<Veznara> Not on this.
<Dezmali> Very well.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> Thank you, Dezmali. I will let you know what I find out on my next visit, which will be soon.
* Veznara takes her leave, and goes to prepare her next excursion to Galdai's estate...
Moss consoles Daifan
* Daifan will show up at Moss's place in the evening after talking to Nezha
<Sulidein> oh, hey
* Sulidein smiles but then can immediately see that you're upset
<Daifan> oh, good, you are home
<Sulidein> what's wrong?
<Daifan> can I just... sit with you for a little?
<Sulidein> of course
* Sulidein makes room for you beside him in his hammock.
* Daifan will slip in and snuggle up
* Sulidein puts his arm around you to hold you close
* Daifan will close their eyes
* Sulidein won't press on whatever is bothering you, if you don't seem to want to talk about it.
* Daifan sighs after a bit
<Daifan> I'm sorry. I had some very upsetting news
<Sulidein> is everyone okay? your roommates, and baby Shira?
<Daifan> And now... I have to tell a very difficult person something they will not like.
<Daifan> everyone at home is fine
* Sulidein nods
<Sulidein> is there anything I can do to help?
<Daifan> This is helpful
* Daifan smiles
* Sulidein gives you a kiss on the forehead
<Sulidein> I know that whatever it is, you can handle it. You are so strong.
<Daifan> Am I? :/
<Daifan> You don't know that.
<Sulidein> Well... I think so. I think you've been strong to come this far.
<Daifan> I don't feel stronger than anyone else.
<Sulidein> it's not an easy life here, especially if you aren't born to it, and yet you've made a new home and a place for yourself here. You work every day with people who might look down on you for who you are, and yet you don't let that bother you.
<Daifan> I'm very lucky with my team
<Sulidein> I know that isn't easy, so I think you must be pretty strong to deal with it.
<Daifan> They look out for me, and stand up for me.... even when sometims I wish they would just let things be >.>
* Sulidein smiles a little ruefully at that
<Sulidein> sometimes they think it's better, but they're wrong. but it's nice to know they care, anyway.
* Daifan nods
* Daifan smiles a little too, but more thoughtfully
<Daifan> Do you ever think that things here could ever really change for us?
* Sulidein ponders that
<Sulidein> I think they are changing. Things are already different than when I was a kid.
<Daifan> how so?
<Sulidein> So many new people coming in, bringing new ideas and new traditions and new wealth...
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> how much change d you think we can handle?
<Daifan> how much do you think they would even *let
* us change?
<Sulidein> Honestly the money is one of the biggest changes. People like Fleabite and Wetfoot... when I was young, no one here had that kind of money. Now... well, they aren't the only ones who figured out how to make a profit off the changes.
<Sulidein> And when budal have wealth, that changes things. I don't know how much, but it affects their power.
<Sulidein> So they aren't going to be able to ignore it.
<Daifan> well... I guess we'll see
* Sulidein nods
<Sulidein> People like us are changing things too.
<Sulidein> Working alongside the hedal, they can't really ignore us.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> yes. And sometimes people even listen to us ;)
<Sulidein> occasionally :)
* Daifan flashes a little smile
<Daifan> Still.... I thnk there are more changes ahead. Big ones - too big for just one person.
* Sulidein nods
<Sulidein> well... whatever happens, I'm here for you.
<Daifan> thank you... that means a lot.
* Daifan will turn to kiss him
* Sulidein kisses you back
Jimba talks with Liraula about the situation in Pashas and about Bohin's possible ancestor
* Jimba will go seek out Liraula after enough time has passed that she might have more info.
<AshnabisNarrator> OK, you can head over to the Black Stork a few days after the wedding
* Liraula seems very tired.
<Jimba> Long day, Captain?
* Liraula chuckles.
<Liraula> Long couple of days.
<Jimba> I can imagine. Do we know anything more about this shitpile?
<Jimba> I'm referring to the situation, though it applies to its instigator, too.
<Liraula> Everything I learn just makes me more confused.
<Liraula> At first, I wondered whether this was something internal to Ruur. Yeggun has been based there for years, on the west side of the island. That's where the Cormorant Fleet is based. Maybe this was just some squabble over there. They're weird folks to begin with.
<Liraula> But I can confirm that the Choradani banner was indeed flying in Pashas, at least a few days ago.
<Liraula> And there's no one, no one that Yeggun hates more than the Choradani.
<Jimba> That is strange.
<Jimba> Any idea what it might mean?
<Liraula> Presumably Yeggun wants to stir up trouble between the Fort and the hith at Sulise. But as to why that should be ... no idea.
<Jimba> Well, I think he's going to get his wish. Things were already at a boil as it was.
<Jimba> I could try to head over there and see what's going on? I know some folks on the island.
<Jimba> I might be able to keep a low profile.
<Liraula> Hmm ... maybe. Your profile is higher than you know, though, since the wedding. If you were recognized ...
<Liraula> Well, I don't know. It's not an awful idea.
<Jimba> I could try to disguise myself.
<Jimba> I'm not great at it, but I know someone who might be.
<Jimba> And I have a few friends who might be able to be more surreptitious than me.
* Liraula nods.
<Liraula> I do have ... some sources in Yeggun's fleet. As I'm sure he does in the Black Stork. We're very collegial in that way.
<Liraula> But my regular lines of communication are a bit thin.
<Jimba> Are you worried about your sources?
<Jimba> Communication being thin and all?
<Liraula> Not so far. But I'm worried that the hith king is going to send his armies in and kill them all, yes.
<Jimba> I have that same fear.
<Jimba> I think the colony had underestimated the hith because they haven't been too hostile.
<Jimba> But that's a choice, and they are more powerful than the fort realizes.
<Liraula> I don't think that General Ghurtai underestimates them at all.
<Jimba> If you say so.
<Jimba> What happens if the hith retaliate?
<Liraula> I don't know.
<Jimba> That's never a good answer.
<Liraula> Officially, Kaskind doesn't claim Ruur as its own. So it's not an attack on the territory. But if somehow the Fort is in league with Yeggun now, well, that would be different.
* Jimba nods
<Jimba> Possible they're using this to start something?
<Liraula> Sure, and I've been thinking about that. But what would they be starting, and how would it help them?
<Jimba> I don't know.
<Jimba> There's definitely more to this, though.
<Liraula> Oh hey there, on a different subject, has Bohin talked to you yet about the stone guy?
<Jimba> Oh, no, not that I recall. They're from the same lineage, though, right?
<Liraula> Well ... no, but maybe? I'm just hearing what Bohin has been hearing from Artep Nugoptu, mind you.
<Jimba> What's he hearing, then?
<Liraula> That maybe this statue is maybe where the Lentus take their name, and reckon their lineage from? And that there's a body brought back that has Bohin's name?
<Jimba> Oh, yeah, well, sort of, I think? We fought this statue thing out at the ruined fort, and there was a...I guess a bubun in it. Kind of.
<Jimba> We brought the body back for the Voice to try to get information from it, and see what it wanted done with...itself, I guess.
<Liraula> So it's still at the Voice temple at Kaskind?
<Jimba> So far as I know. Why?
<Liraula> Well, of course there'd be many Lentus who'd think it should be in Timiil, with his people. Especially if he's their ancestor.
* Jimba nods.
<Liraula> But I don't know that an ancestor that old, that the Voice in Kaskind would be likely to give that up.
<Jimba> I haven't heard what the ancestor wants.
* Liraula nods.
<Jimba> Seems like that should be the deciding factor?
<Liraula> The ancestor doesn't know anything about history or politics since he died.
<Jimba> So it doesn't matter what he wants?
<Liraula> Not saying that.
<Liraula> He may think of himself as an Imperial Omban soldier, not as the ancestor of a low country lineage of local fishers. But the Lentus, they have no proud history, until now. They may want to claim him as theirs.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> I don't pretend to know how that all works, but maybe the Lentus can convince him of the honor of being their ancestor.
<Liraula> The ancestor there may not have the Fort's best interests at heart, when it comes to dealing with Aummesh folk, is all I'm saying.
<Liraula> I don't think you can convince an ancestor of anything - he can't remember anything that you tell him.
* Jimba frowns.
<Jimba> Well, maybe I can ask around. See what's what.
* Liraula nods.
<Liraula> I know Bohin would appreciate it. He's in a tough situation. With me, we have ... an understanding, with the Fort, you know. To keep a certain peace. But he's young for a lineage elder, and not without rivals. This puts him in a tough situation, with this ancestor coming up. Plus, I hear there were a bunch of things you found there?
<Jimba> Oh, yeah. They're still being identified.
<Jimba> I guess maybe they belong to the Lentus...
<Liraula> Some would say that. Or some would say that that's just a story that someone is telling, that no one knows where the Lentu clan comes from actually.
<Liraula> You see that this gets pretty complicated pretty fast.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> Like I said, I'll do what I can.
* Liraula nods.
<Liraula> You are in a very strong position here. You were part of the team who found it, of course. Now, through marriage, you are linked to the Aanilaus. Elukir Aanilaus is the head of the Voice in Timiil. And of course, through our tie, you are linked to Bohin and the Lentus.
<Liraula> I know you're not especially fond of politics. But like it or not, welcome to the game.
<Jimba> Oh, I wouldn't say I'm not fond of it.
<Jimba> Just maybe not so great at it.
<Jimba> But I need to learn sometime.
<Liraula> You do. And I think, soon enough, your sister will too. But that's a matter for a different day.
<Jimba> That'll be some day...
<Liraula> Anyway ... I'll give some more thought to how I might use you in Pashas. That's kind of you to offer.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> Just let me know.
<Jimba> I'd like to try to calm things down, but, failing that, at least minimize the harm.
* Liraula nods.
<Liraula> Thanks, Jimba.
* Jimba smiles, a little grimly.
Llillilli visits Shulilae and Helithae to see their eggs
* Llillilli comes to visit Shulilae shortly after the wedding.
<AshnabisNarrator> You travel over to Shulilae and Helithae's house. You see that a hatching pool has been built over on one side, and Shulilae is over working on it.
* Liraula is now known as Shulilae
* Shulilae sees you as you approach and raises a hand in greeting.
* Llillilli waves back.
<Shulilae> Ah, hello. Did you come to see the eggs?
<Llillilli> Well... can I?
<Llillilli> When I saw the two of you at the wedding I figured.
<Shulilae> They're not much to see, yet, but of course.
<AshnabisNarrator> You can inspect the eggs. There are five of them, all told, although you know that only one usually is fertilized and hatches successfully. They're cream-coloured with little black flecks.
* Llillilli says reverently.
<Llillilli> How long until hatching?
<Shulilae> Not till winter. Probably five months still.
* Llillilli nods.
<Llillilli> Helithae must be pleased not to be carrying them around all the time now.
<Shulilae> Oh, well, I don't know about that. It was inconvenient, but ... now they're out, it's out of their control, more.
<Llillilli> Hm. I guess.
<Shulilae> And how have you been?
<Llillilli> Well. Busy.
<Llillilli> With the pfullaes and then the wedding.
<Shulilae> That is certainly true!
<Llillilli> Now I have lots of free time.
<Llillilli> Too much
<Shulilae> Thelef has been summoned to court?
<Shulilae> I'm sorry, little one ... I mean, rather ... my friend.
<Llillilli> THere's trouble with Phaeshes, maybe you heard.
<Llillilli> So now he's gone, and I am on the boat with Jimba and Katenzhi
<Shulilae> I'm so sorry. And Thelef's kin do not really understand either, I am sure. And you probably do not wish to spend much time with them.
<Llillilli> We don't really have anything in common.
<Llillilli> I didn't expect to feel... an absence like this.
<Llillilli> I don't like it
* Llillilli fiddles with her necklace.
<Shulilae> I understand.
* Shulilae pokes idly at some algae on the rocks in the pool.
<Llillilli> I never asked you about the selleluf.
<Shulilae> Ah, yes. What did you want to know?
<Llillilli> What do you think it means? I know you didn't seem pleased.
<Shulilae> I ... I am sorry, my friend. It was not displeasure on your happy day, just ... consternation.
<Shulilae> Well ... you know, that was not ... supposed to happen.
<Llillilli> So I hear.
<Shulilae> Technically I should now refer to you by a whole set of new honorifics. As a selleluf, you are touched by the light in a way that marks you specially. I do not follow the ways so closely, so I do not do so. But still.
<Shulilae> Those more faithful to the solars than I am will find it very difficult.
<Shulilae> Or else, they will think it was some trick that someone contrived.
<Llillilli> People like Thethu.
<Shulilae> Yes, exactly.
<Llillilli> But what do *you
* think it means?
<Shulilae> I do not know. I am not a solar and it is not my place to say. But soon, Helithae and I are going to meet with Laelaesi, who is one of the solars whose opinion I still respect, with regards to our eggs. And I intend to ask him about you. He is one who manages to stand above some of the pettiness that characterize too many of the solars today.
<Llillilli> May I come and hear what he has to say?
<Llillilli> (they have)
<Llillilli> (unless S actually said 'he' in which case so will I)
<Llillilli> If it's too intrusive I understand. With the eggs.
<Shulilae> Yes, I don't see why not.
<Shulilae> The eggs are indifferent to our conversation topics, as I understand it.
<Shulilae> This is why I enjoy your company, my friend. You appreciate my sense of humour.
<Llillilli> I do :)
<Shulilae> These are strange times, and Helithae and I are in need of our friends, as always.
<Llillilli> Yeah. Me too.
Junan meets with Ghendalt and they discuss the political situation
<AshnabisNarrator> Two days after the wedding and the news that the pirate Yeggun Shotser had taken over the town of Pashas under a Choradani banner, you head over to visit the Senator to get his take on the matter and to learn more about the implications.
<AshnabisNarrator> By this point, the Senator's staff knows you well enough that you are quickly ushered in. No sign of Kirikha around today, though she may be preoccupied.
* AshnabisNarrator is now known as Ghendalt
* Junan will find a glass of something
* Ghendalt is wearing an elaborate green outfit with a thick red silk belt tied around the waist.
<Ghendalt> Junan, young fellow, good to see you here. I was wondering if you might be by soon.
<Junan> Times like these need the best wine, and I know where to find it.
* Ghendalt laughs
<Ghendalt> Well, it's been a hard year, but that calls for more wine, not less.
* Ghendalt grabs a cup for himself.
<Junan> well Ruur... can't say I expected that.
<Ghendalt> No, indeed. I'm not sure any of us did, if that's any consolation. Very unexpected.
* Junan shakes his head
<Junan> what does it mean for Kaskind? Is the General taking sole control now?
<Junan> Can the General even do that?
<Ghendalt> Well ... that's complicated. But no, she doesn't have the authority to take control of everything - and even if she did, that wouldn't be politically wise.
<Ghendalt> She has sole military authority - so if she's sending troops to Ruur, that's her decision.
<Ghendalt> But I think now, more than ever, she needs friends like me to ensure that things stay as normal as possible.
<Junan> I know Ruur isn't a big place, but if you are trying to keep the locals on your good side using a pirate to take the place probably isnt the best step to be taking
<Ghendalt> Well, of course, she didn't - unless my judgement of her has been greatly impaired.
<Junan> well you don't fly a Choradani flag without somebody sanctioning it, unless you really want the Sentinels on you.
<Ghendalt> That is exactly right.
<Ghendalt> So what do you suppose is happening?
* Ghendalt remarks, with a tone of 'I already know the answer but let's see what you think'
* Junan pauses and takes a drink
<Junan> Well its either a false flag, like I said, to sow distrust, or provoke an over-reaction... or there are Choradani factions outside the Generals control, trying to gain a foothold or undermine her.
* Ghendalt nods.
<Junan> I mean we went there and scouted out for a possible watchtower.
<Ghendalt> Very good. But figuring out which of those is the case is not a simple matter.
<Ghendalt> Particularly if there are insiders within her own circle who may not be completely loyal.
<Junan> heck it could be both at the same time
<Junan> so what have you heard? You have that "I know whats going on" look about you.
<Ghendalt> I'm afraid that at this point, the General has asked for some discretion, so as to not stir up fear.
<Junan> things must be really murky if "say nothing" is the best response
<Ghendalt> Well, nothing for the moment.
* Junan nods
<Ghendalt> Lines have been opened to the hith king - well, they were already open.
<Ghendalt> My understanding is that the hith king himself may have problems from rivals or dissenters. But as for that, I admit to a spectacular lack of knowledge.
<Junan> well the king seemed warm to the Ombesh, which may not win all the friends back home.
<Junan> or maybe its their tolerence to use colonials
<Ghendalt> I'm not sure the term 'warm' has ever been used to describe the hith
<Ghendalt> We must not forget that their thought processes and worldview is very different than our own.
<Junan> I'm sure you've reminded the General not to stay quiet too long. If Kaskind doesnt lead the narrative on these events, someone else will.
<Ghendalt> She needs no reminding, but yes, of course.
<Ghendalt> I think that she simply needs more information before deciding what precisely to say.
<Junan> I get that, and honestly, I'm glad its not me having to make those kinds of decisions
* Ghendalt sips his wine.
<Junan> The folks who have money invested here back home aren't gonna be too happy regardless of the narrative.
<Ghendalt> If I were to guess - and it is just a guess - I would blame the mystics. They have the most to gain from sowing dissent. But of course there are Choradani mystics too, not just Basaians. But the General can't let that narrative fester without some evidence that it is true.
<Junan> to what? Get the Choradani to leave?
<Ghendalt> To gain control over the fos.
<Junan> I'm sure they would love that, but Ashnabis is big and not the most hospitable... sure they have magic but do they even have the numbers?
<Ghendalt> I don't know what resources they have at their disposal, I really don't.
* Ghendalt sighs heavily.
* Junan shakes his head
<Junan> Jaigadu was all big on promoting stability for the region. I though he had been working with the Basai to try and come to a compromise.
<Ghendalt> I'm sure he had. I'm sure he still is.
<Junan> I figured Kaskind helps that. I mean lots of nations in one colonly keeps a sort of balance.
<Ghendalt> Every political action inspires reactions, though. For all we know this could be a reaction to the nambimoshe, escalating matters before the envoys have a chance to settle them down.
<Ghendalt> And you're right, it does help. As long as everyone's interests are being served. But even within some nations, some interests are better served than others.
<Ghendalt> Among our Daligashi brothers, I can imagine that the Ruby are none too happy that I am the representative on the General's council, for instance.
<Junan> you say that, but there is a powerful Ruby reckoner and a well positioned Envoy here at the same time.
<Ghendalt> As you say.
<Ghendalt> I don't think this is the Ruby. This isn't their way. I'm sure my colleague Orfiz Fand is as annoyed as I am that this conflict may disrupt trade for a time.
<Junan> My point was they they are not without influence... I would agree that this whole thing is not really aligned with their goals
<Ghendalt> Of course. But that is just the nation we know best. Who knows what goes on in Hasmala, or Taizi, or Omba herself?
<Junan> Hasmala isn't winning any allies with the Basai, last I heard.
<Ghendalt> And see? This is how it starts. Now we look at every ally for what potential angle they may have from a seemingly random act of violence.
<Junan> Were just talking and spinning thoughts
<Ghendalt> Yes, of course.
<Ghendalt> So, then, I have a question for you.
<Junan> what is it?
<Ghendalt> One option would be that I would suggest to the General that she send a team, with knowledge of the community, to Pashas. If only there were such a group ...
<Junan> is this a fact finding mission or a negotiation?
<Ghendalt> Honestly, I have no idea, but probably the former.
<Junan> sounds like being thrown into a hornets nest blindfolded... should be fun
<Junan> at least I've seen the hive
* Ghendalt nods.
<Ghendalt> Well, I will suggest it, then.
<Junan> I'm sure others in the group will have thier own interests in going, but that's expected.
<Ghendalt> Of course. I would trust that you would do your best to rein any overexuberance on their part, though.
<Junan> I'll do my best to remind them of the delicate situation and to step lightly
<Ghendalt> If any of this even happens, of course. But I do think it is a good idea.
<Junan> Sending an Envoy is not typically known to make things worse.
* Ghendalt smiles.
<Ghendalt> I have every confidence in you.
* Junan holds up his cup
<Junan> I'll drink to that