Ashnabis session 32

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Session date: May 17, 2020
Fair Cycle date:


<Ashnabis_Narrator> By the month of Loster, the worst of the dry summer is over, and the cooler autumn winds should be coming onshore. The rain still hasn't come the way it should - just a sprinkling here and there, really - but at least it's not as oppressively hot.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> You have returned from your trip with Lentus to Kinjilai, and then beyond to the lost village of Dzugon, where once the Olodzoi, the former inhabitants of this place, lived during the Imperial invasions.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> It's a small piece of knowledge, that two of your loved ones died perhaps two hundred and eighty years ago rather than three hundred and twenty. But Lentus is positively ebullient on the trip back in the knowledge that his beloved Liuppina and their son Taipatus Iuppach survived, presumably to become part of the population that eventually became the Aummesh and the Lentu lineage.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> That knowledge, and the setting to rest of those slain at Dzugon, has given you all a sense of renewed purpose, though you know not where to put this new energy. Perhaps something will transpire to help point you in the right direction.

Daifan tries to help mediate between Useir and the new arrivals

<Ashnabis_Narrator> There is a curious notion among some corpseborn that they have easier lives than the hedal - a close-knit community, fewer obligations, fewer stresses to succeed in life, fewer enemies. Those people have clearly not lived in your clothes, Daifan.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> Between caring for an infant, managing a job, who-knows-how-many romantic partners, planning at least one armed insurrection, healing the newly-unstoned, and saving dozens of people from torture and woe ... you have a busy schedule.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> But then again, the corpseborn also have a saying: "six stones, why not seven?"
<Ashnabis_Narrator> One afternoon as you are caring for Shira, Prickles strides into your house, clearly peeved about something.
* Useir is wearing a green, grey, and pink striped dashi cinched at the waist and her dark hair tied up in a bun with sticks.
* Daifan looks up
<Useir> She is just impossible to deal with!
<Daifan> uh... who?
<Useir> This witch. Ughiva.
<Daifan> oh, yeah
<Daifan> what now?
* Daifan asks, keeping an eye on Shira
<Useir> Well, I had a talk with her this morning - just pointing out some basic facts. Like that our village was already just producing enough for ourselves, and now we have fifty new people to deal with, fifty people who aren't pulling their weight I might add, who demand food and housing that we can barely provide, especially with this weather...
<Daifan> Mmhmmm
<Daifan> and she said?
<Daifan> . o O (Get stuffed, bitch?)
<Useir> And she had the nerve! to say to me! That they were going to contribute by doing magic for us.
<Useir> Magic!
* Daifan kinda wishes they'd been able to see this bitch off
<Daifan> well, magic is very useful
<Useir> She does know that magic takes fos, right? It's like a shoemaker offering to make us all new shoes, as long as we provide the leather and tools to make them.
<Daifan> Theybcould probably get us some rain for our crops
<Daifan> there's fos around
<Useir> She also said that her people have gone through such struggles, such tribulations, that they can't be expected to jump in and help with the farming or anything useful like that.
<Daifan> Mmhmm
<Daifan> why woudl they want to jump from force labor to forced labor?
<Useir> Contributing to the community you want to live in isn't 'forced labor', it's being a productive member of society! a good neighbour!
<Useir> We've helped them, given them a place to stay while they get adjusted, but that can't go on forever without them giving something back.
<Daifan> they will
<Daifan> they're sill budal
<Daifan> (still)
<Useir> I'd like to see some proof of their willingness to help. It's hard enough to accept when we have three or four newcomers at the same time, to accomodate the ones like you who come from outside - so many at once is going to mean we go hungry if the drought continues and our harvests are poor.
<Useir> And since you brought them here, and Ughiva clearly won't listen to me, you need to deal with her.
<Daifan> and you want me to sort this out is that it?
<Useir> If you can't, then they're just going to have to go somewhere else. We can't do this unless we all do this together.
* Useir folds her arms, clearly waiting for you to agree with her.
<Daifan> I can talk to her.
* Useir nods.
<Useir> Good. I'll be expecting to hear from you later, then.
<Daifan> Mmhmm.
* Useir departs, then.
* Daifan sighs
<Daifan> well, Shira, do you want to go for a walk?
<Ashnabis_Narrator> Shira agrees cheerfully, oblivious to any adult concerns.
* Daifan will strap her on in a dashi and go and find Ughiva
* Ughiva is seated in a shady area beneath some trees near the barn where her people are housed.
* Daifan will wander through with everyone else a bt to get a sense of how pwople are actually ding and what they're up to, etc
<Daifan> (and so Shira can meet them)
<Ashnabis_Narrator> (:3)
<Ashnabis_Narrator> They are doing okay, you think - at least, recovering from their captivity, seeming to regain some of their energy and good spirits for the most part, although some are clearly still struggling.
* Daifan will eventually amake their way lover to Ughiva
<Ashnabis_Narrator> (well!)
<Daifan> (over, lol)
* Ughiva nods in greeting when she sees you, and smiles at baby Shira
* Daifan smiles
<Daifan> Afternoon, Spoons
<Ughiva> how nice to have friendly visitors - much nicer than my last guest.
<Daifan> Oh yes. She came right over to me to say how unreasonable you are.
* Ughiva rolls her eyes
<Daifan> We call her Prickles for a reason.
<Ughiva> Because she's a bitch?
<Daifan> Mmhmm.
<Ughiva> Of course, not wanting my people to be forced into back-breaking work when they're recovering from terrible torments, is completely unreasonable of me.
<Ughiva> I tried to point out that we do have useful skills - they just might not be for farming.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> HOw do you imagine them being used?
<Daifan> the skills, I mean
<Ughiva> Well, it's plain the weather here has been unusually dry, everyone's talking about it. We could work on bringing rain here, to help the crops. If they want to build more houses, we could help with that too, using our magic.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> That makes sense - the troube is that because of the weather, even fos here is doing' poorly.... I guess I don't acually know what the prices are like.
<Ughiva> Hm.. well, a little would be enough to let us get started - maybe to prove to Queen Prickles that we aren't useless freeloaders.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> how much is a little?
<Daifan> I think maybe.... we could go and talk to Fleabite and Wetfoot, and see if they'll make some kind of a deal, where if they give you the fos to help their plantation we can get a bit extra to help the community gardens here
<Ughiva> Controlling the weather isn't simple - that would take a fair bit. Maybe fifty doses would be a good start? More is better, but we could do some with fifty.
* Ughiva nods
<Ughiva> They've been good to us - I'd be willing to do that.
* Daifan smiles
<Daifan> okay... I think they'll agree. It woudl be good to be able to help them out too, you're right.
<Ughiva> Well - if we change the weather, we change it for a fair distance - a couple of miles around us. So we'd bring rain to their crops too, as well as the local gardens.
<Daifan> I'm not sure where their crops are, but hopefully that will work out
* Ughiva nods
<Daifan> wanna go see if they're around?
<Ughiva> All right.
* Ughiva gets up, dusting herself off.

Junan goes to dinner with Kikhash and Zesel

<AshnabisGM> Junan, you're never one to turn away a free dinner. Part of being an envoy is learning to graciously accept opportunities that come your way. Sometimes, though, you worry what you might be getting into.
<AshnabisGM> At work at the land registry yesterday, you received a formal invitation to come to dinner tonight at the home of Kikhash Urdondu and his wife, Zesel "The Elk" Vovosa. You know Kikhash, of course, and have been eager to talk to him since the meeting at the kelta last month.
<AshnabisGM> Zesel, you don't know, except that through Daifan's investigations you know that as the head of security for the Fand lineage, she may be embroiled in all of this business - and what that means for their marital happiness, you can't say.
<AshnabisGM> And while you don't go in for the whole Bronze/Ruby thing too much, it is very odd to receive a formal invitation sealed with ruby-coloured wax, even if it is from a known colleague.
<AshnabisGM> One thing is for sure: no one nicknamed Elk is to be trifled with.
<AshnabisGM> Kikhash and Zesel live in a stone house near the Fort with their two sons, you believe. You head over there at the appointed time. It's a stout construction in western Daligashi style, as if anticipating an invasion at any moment.
* Kikhash greets you at the door.
* Veznara is now known as Induriel
<Kikhash> Junan, good to see you. Allow me to introduce my wife Zesel.
<Junan> Thank you for the invitation
* Zesel is a woman of average height but absolutely massive build, thick and burly, with long braided grey hair. She wears a grey dashi with a reddish-dyed leather vest over it, neither of which do much to conceal her musculature.
<Zesel> Good evening, welcome to our home.
* Kikhash is a tall, large man, and somehow still seems minuscule in comparison to his wife. He is wearing a rather formal set of envoy garb with a simple gold chain around his neck with a small simple ruby at the neck.
* Junan is dressed fashionably, with a chain and a couple of rings.
<Junan> why thank you.
<Junan> Now I know where to run if there is an invasion and I cant make it to the Fort.
* Kikhash laughs.
* Junan jokes
<Kikhash> We have been meaning to have you over for a while. The boys are out with their friends tonight, so it's just us.
<Zesel> I'm sure they would have liked to meet you, they are only a little younger. Perhaps another time.
<Junan> It would have been a pleasure to meet them. another time for sure. I promise to not be too bad an influence.
<Kikhash> What can I get you to drink?
<Junan> A nice red is always appreciated.
<Kikhash> Of course, let me just grab that. And you, dear, something to drink?
<Zesel> Oh, just some juice?
<Kikhash> On it!
* Kikhash returns a short time later with some drinks.
<Kikhash> And here we are.
<Zesel> Thanks.
<Junan> why thank you
* Junan takes a sip
<Junan> You two have lived in Kaskind much longer than I. Have you ever experienced such late dry heat?
<Zesel> No, it's very unusual.
<Kikhash> Very.
<Junan> I'm not a farmer but I'm sure things are not looking great right now.
<Zesel> The rain has been pouring as usual elsewhere, but seems to avoid us. It's not a good sign for the harvest, to be sure.
* Junan nods
<Junan> more kindling in our somewhat tensed colony
<Kikhash> Given that we had a relatively normal wet season earlier in the year, it's not critical yet. But if this goes on ... and if the usual crowd of new arrivals comes next year ... well.
* Zesel nods
<Kikhash> The General has resources at hand to prevent starvation, for now.
<Junan> I'm not keen on missing meals... lets hope it never gets close to that.
<Zesel> Speaking of meals, dinner is ready - if you'd like to follow us?
<Junan> ok course
<Kikhash> Of course!
* Zesel shows you into their dining room, a well-appointed if somewhat spartan room - the furniture is not ostentatious, but clearly imported and expensive. A substantial meal of flaky grilled fish, thin, crispy pancakes, and other fillings such as shredded vegetables and various sauces to apply is laid out.
<Junan> this looks delightful
<Junan> my thanks again for the invitation
<Zesel> Dig in, please - we have teenage boys, we don't stand on a lot of formality at meals normally :) We're lucky to get a few bites in ourselves, hah!
<Kikhash> So, Junan ... I've heard about your meeting at the kelta from Oskor, but I'd be interested to hear it from your perspective.
* Junan chuckles to Zesel's comment
<Junan> I would say it both went as expected and not as expected at the same time.
<Kikhash> How so?
<Junan> the Charadip stance was of course they're not responsible for what one individual mystic does, if one was helping Yeggun
<Kikhash> Of course.
<Junan> which they would not admit
<Junan> like you said, no real surprise there.
<Junan> Its the Charadip's somewhat quick agreement for the joint expedition to capture Yeggun that was unexpected... at least to me
<Zesel> Mmhmm.
<Kikhash> Yes, I wouldn't have thought it would be so easy.
<Junan> I was expecting the best we would get out of them was a public distancing on the mystic with Yeggun, and that would be hard fought
<Kikhash> Maybe their situation has changed for the worse, forcing them to back off?
<Junan> or there efforts on Ruur did not prove to achieve thier goal?>
* Junan shrugs
<Kikhash> How was Zefa, in all this?
<Junan> Mostly just playing her role... the joint venture was her suggestion, but not an unobvious one.
<Kikhash> Hmm.
<Kikhash> Well.
* Kikhash looks over at his wife.
<Junan> I don't know why she played the game she did?
* Zesel sighs, shrugging her huge shoulders.
<Kikhash> My assumption going into all this is that Zefa is rational.
<Kikhash> She has some goal - which I have been presuming to be to incite chaos to lead to a war.
<Junan> A joint venture could still make things much worse
* Kikhash nods.
<Zesel> Fighting is fighting. Yeggun fights the people on Ruur, the fort fights Yeggun, the hith fight the fort... maybe it's all the same.
<Kikhash> If the goal is to generate profit for her true masters.
* Zesel looks displeased, but nods.
<Zesel> My employers...
<Junan> Fighting is good for profits, true, but it's also destabilizing and can easily blow back on you.
<Junan> especially when one side likes to fight with magic
<Kikhash> Maybe that's Zefa's thinking, then. That a war with the hith is safer than a war with the mystics
<Zesel> I fear for my sons, if this does come to war. They're of an age where they'd likely be drawn into fighting...
<Junan> getting into a war with a water dwelling people when you make money from shipping on the water seems like an insane strategy to me.
<Zesel> With the hith having withdrawn most of their representatives, it's difficult to know what they might be thinking right now.
<Junan> most but not all
<Kikhash> You have connections still, yes?
<Junan> Llillilli returned to Kaskind
<Kikhash> This is your hithkindred friend, married to Thelef Aanilaus.
* Junan nods
* Kikhash says, partly in way of explanation.
* Zesel nods, listening attentively
<Kikhash> I would be very interested to know how the hith would react to us taking out the pirate Yeggun.
<Junan> I'm sure she's kept them informed on how Yeggun targeted the hithkindred in Ruur.
<Zesel> The fighting, even if not deliberately involving their people, would be in their territory - they might take it as an aggressive action.
<Zesel> But maybe Yeggun is enough of their enemy that they would tolerate it.
<Kikhash> It is all wild, this sort of recklessness, in the cause of, what, a few more horns of profit on the fos trade?
<Junan> and so the scales of risk swing... you could try and let the hith know our intentions and the expedition... but the more people know, the greater the risk Yeggun learns and we arrive to an island with no enemy to capture
<Zesel> The Fands have been good to me since I was a young woman - trusted employers, faithful friends. I find it hard to reconcile this ... as you say, reckless behaviour, with what I know of them.
<Zesel> But I know that, if it comes to a choice, I have to choose what's best for my family.
<Kikhash> The old man isn't what he once was, and the children are squabblers.
<Junan> Zefa seems to have little respect for the envoys of the fort. Did something happen?
<Zesel> It's true, I'm afraid. Perhaps it is only some of them who lead this path towards war.
<Kikhash> I don't think anything happened. But perhaps?
<Kikhash> She is an annoying enigma still.
<Junan> you talk about the Fands... they sound like my family business, lead by the father with children underneath?
* Zesel nods
<Zesel> Orfiz Fand, the father of the family, is now elderly - his children strive to prove themselves, struggling over who will succeed him.
<Junan> hate to say it but sounds like poor planning on his part not to have a clear path of succession.
<Kikhash> Rolal, the eldest, is his heir.
* Zesel nods
<Zesel> His plan was for Rolal to succeed him, but it may not be to the liking of all the children.
<Kikhash> But he is surely sixty by this point himself. And there are younger ones who see that if they don't take their chance now, by the time Rolal dies they will have missed their chance.
* Zesel nods
<Junan> that will teach him to have a long life
<Zesel> Mmhmm.
<Zesel> Well... if you can help with getting some sense of the hith response to this crisis, it would be more information than we have currently. Perhaps we can still avoid having this battle turn into a larger war.
<Kikhash> That would be a great help.
<Junan> I'll see what I can do
<Zesel> Thank you.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> You can enjoy the rest of your meal with Kikhash and Zesel, and head home to think more on what they've said.

Llillilli visits Shulilae and Helithae to talk about her experiences in Sulise

<AshnabisGM> Llillilli, since returning from your travels with Lentus, your mind has been greatly on your visit to Sulise and your test there under the supervision of Fellis. You passed - of course - but you are still unsure what it all means.
<AshnabisGM> Even if Thelef were here with you, he is no more expert on these matters than you are, and you are starting to understand that in many ways, as your case is apparently unique, maybe no one has the answers. Maybe they're making them all up as they go along.
<AshnabisGM> But in any case, it's been quite some time since you have visited with Shulilae and Helithae. You know that Helithae's eggs are not due to hatch for a couple months but you can only imagine that handling five hoele is still far less stressful than a single hifis, so you have arranged to go over for lunch.
* Llillilli will come by at the appointed time
* Helithae welcomes you warmly.
<Helithae> It's so good to see you back again. How was your time in Sulise?
<Llillilli> Interesting, I guess?
<Llillilli> How has it been here?
<Helithae> We've been well enough.
* Llillilli nods
<Shulilae> Home is calm. Everywhere else ... not as much.
<Helithae> Unfortunately, this is so.
<Llillilli> Ah.
<Shulilae> Well, come in, we have much to talk about, I discern.
* Llillilli comes inside.
<Llillilli> (do the eggs change in appearance at all as they get closer to hatching?)
* Helithae offers you a cup of broth
<Llillilli> Thank you.
<AshnabisGM> (not too much - they more or less look similar to the last time you visited)
<Shulilae> I have been eager to hear about your trip.
<Shulilae> And about the testing.
* Helithae also sets out a bowl of some gathered clams and steamed prawns.
<Llillilli> There was only one real test.
<Llillilli> I saw Loeluth
<Helithae> oh :o
<Helithae> what were they like?
<Shulilae> Oh, my ... that is a rare privilege.
<Llillilli> They were amazing... but so sad.
<Helithae> Loeluth was old even when the hesethi were hatchlings. They are truly ancient.
<Llillilli> Fellis hoped they would eat me, I think
<Helithae> When we spoke to Laelaesi about the eggs, when you were in Sulise, they had come just after you had done your test. They always believed it was truly a selleluf, of course. But according to them, Fellis was in a very dark mood afterwards.
<Helithae> They guessed that Fellis didn't like what happened but couldn't deny it without denying the Sun itself.
<Shulilae> I am glad you were not eaten!
<Shulilae> And I am glad that you passed the test. I think that there is much in this world that I do not understand. Whether a great turtle like Loeluth can discern a selleluf ... that seems improbable to me, but many things that are improbable are so.
<Llillilli> I still don't really understand what it was supposed to mean.
<Llillilli> But I did feel their pain and I... tried to help them.
<Helithae> That is the best any of us can to, to try and relieve suffering when we can.
<Shulilae> It is just as likely that Fellis hoped that you would flee in terror. Being in its presence is something of a test, I suppose, given to solars to ensure their commitment. I have always found such a thing distasteful. But there is much of the faith that I find distasteful.
<Helithae> I am glad you were able to see Loeluth, and perhaps give them some measure of comfort, regardless of what it means to the solars.
<Llillilli> That is how I feel as well.
<Llillilli> It was an experience I will never forget.
<Llillilli> I hope one day I can see them again.
<Shulilae> Few among the People even have one such opportunity.
* Helithae looks wistful, nodding.
<Helithae> But perhaps you will be so fortunate as to see them again.
* Llillilli nods as well.
<Llillilli> Has there been any news from Pfaeshes?
<Shulilae> None that I know of.
<Shulilae> Perhaps that is a good thing, though.
<Llillilli> Hmmm.
<Shulilae> How is Thelef doing?
<Llillilli> He is well, but worried... same as everyone I guess.
<Llillilli> He hopes that this... test will change some minds at court.
<Shulilae> It may.
<Shulilae> I will admit that I do not know what to make of it myself.
<Shulilae> There is no denying the sun's power or that the solars have learned to master it. And I cannot deny the evidence of my own eyes, that you are a selleluf. These are matters of evidence. But matters of interpretation, those are much murkier. But I do think you are very special, my friend. And I have never doubted that.
<Llillilli> Well, thanks...
* Helithae nods in agreement
* Llillilli grins a little.
<Llillilli> Interpretation is yes, muddy
<Llillilli> I also prefer evidence...
<Llillilli> Something I can see, and touch, and feel
* Llillilli sighs.
<Shulilae> What will you do now?
<Llillilli> I don't know what I *can* do.
<Llillilli> Other than what I would be doing anyway.
<Helithae> I know we did not bring you to speak with Laelaesi as we promised. Perhaps we can make arrangements for you to meet them.
<Helithae> We would have waited to bring you, but the eggs would not wait, and we must obey their timing :)
<Shulilae> It is true - Laelaesi is among the eldest of us, and has great wisdom about affairs in Sulise that I simply do not have.
<Helithae> already our lives are controlled by our offspring ;)
<Llillilli> Hm. Well, I would be interested in what they have to say
<Llillilli> Heh.
<Helithae> Well, we will try to make those arrangements. And hopefully Thelef will be back at your side soon, too.
<Llillilli> Thank you...
<Llillilli> And before I forget to say; when the offspring are less... contained, I will be happy to help with them :)
<Shulilae> We are truly fortunate to have your friendship and kindness.
<Helithae> ah - thank you. We will surely need help - with just two of us, it will be a lot of work, but your help will make it easier :)
<Llillilli> I don't have much experience with children... but I guess that's true of many *parents* when they first start too
<Helithae> Indeed. Even if one has helped with the young, there is always much to learn.
<Helithae> And perhaps I can learn more about Loeluth too - if I am able to gain more knowledge, perhaps I can help you with your efforts to encounter them again.
<Llillilli> I will tell you everything of what I experienced...
<Helithae> I am eager to hear it all.
* Llillilli can relate the whole test process in detail over dinner.
* Helithae pays close attention to every detail, listening with avid fascination to your encounter.

Katenzhi and Bivizmi meet with Gefraz and after some discussion, Katenzhi agrees to marry him

<Ashnabis_Narrator> Katenzhi, you have now met two potential suitors, Sarduvos Ghorokron and Gefraz Argolda. Neither of them seem awful. Under another situation, either one of them might be ideal.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> Of course, it is all very complicated either way - but less complicated than if you make neither choice and still have your parents nagging you.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> Tonight, you are going to the house of Gefraz Argolda, who you met recently, along with Bivizmi, who hasn't had the chance to meet him yet. You have many questions still, as you're sure she does, but hopefully it all goes well.
* Bivizmi seems a bit nervous
* Katenzhi takes her hand as they approach the house.
<Katenzhi> You ok?
<Bivizmi> Oh... yes. Just hoping things go well.
* Katenzhi nods.
<Bivizmi> I don't want to mess this up for you :/
<Katenzhi> Trust me, if anyone's gonna mess up my future, it's gonna be me.
* Bivizmi smiles at that
<Katenzhi> I have lots of practice at it.
* Bivizmi gives your hand a squeeze
* Katenzhi will give her a quick kiss.
<Bivizmi> well - what are we waiting for, I guess?
* Katenzhi nods and takes a deep breath before knocking.
* Shulilae is now known as Gefraz
* Gefraz lives in the center of Kaskind above his small office from which he conducts his local business. It's well-apportioned in Choradani style, and seems to have been built early, around the time of the founding of the Colony (so perhaps fifteen years ago), rather than more recently.
* Gefraz is a short, elegantly-dressed man with a mustache and wavy light brown hair fashionably styled. He is wearing a sharp thigh-length yellow silk jacket over a well-fitted brown dashi.
<Gefraz> Good evening.
* Gefraz smiles.
* Katenzhi smiles as well.
<Katenzhi> Good evening to you as well.
<Bivizmi> Thank you for inviting us.
<Katenzhi> Gefraz, this is my... friend... Bivizmi.
<Gefraz> Bivizmi of the Pindevuzi, it is a pleasure to meet you. I am Gefraz of the Argolda.
<Gefraz> Your work is well-known to all who appreciate the craft.
<Bivizmi> Thank you. My family speaks well of your business dealings.
<Gefraz> Well, come in, let me show you around. I hope you like how I've decorated the place.
* Katenzhi will follow him inside, looking around.
* Bivizmi also takes a look around, curious.
<Gefraz> Some of this furniture I brought from back home with me. Others are things I've acquired since being here.
<Gefraz> I've been told I have an eye for these things.
<Bivizmi> It looks very nice. It must be helpful to have trading contacts back home to be able to import things - some goods are hard to get here.
<Katenzhi> It's beautiful.
<Bivizmi> For a single person, it must suit you very well. Perhaps close quarters for a family though...
* Gefraz nods.
* Bivizmi says, glancing around
<Gefraz> Granted.
* Bivizmi looks over at you, worried that maybe she overstepped.
* Katenzhi smiles at her reassuringly.
<Katenzhi> Is this what many Choradani homes look like? My parents didn't get to take much with them when we left.
<Katenzhi> And I don't remember much from before that.
<Gefraz> I suppose it is. It's a little small for my taste but it suits my needs at the moment.
<Bivizmi> Would you be looking to build a new house in the future? Or acquiring a larger one, at any rate?
<Gefraz> I mean ... yes, I think, depending on my situation, that would be ideal.
* Katenzhi nods.
<Katenzhi> Are we... alone here? Can we speak candidly?
<Gefraz> Of course.
* Katenzhi relaxes a bit.
<Katenzhi> Are you and your partner... will you want more children?
* Gefraz tenses a bit.
<Gefraz> I ... there are so many unanswered questions in there.
<Gefraz> I forget how much I told you. Not much, I think?
<Katenzhi> I know. I'm sorry. I have a tendency to be blunt. Let me know if I overstep.
<Katenzhi> Just that you already have one child.
* Gefraz nods
<Gefraz> A daughter, Ghesmin. She's two.
<Gefraz> My, ahh, partner, Divrola ... it's very complicated. I would want them to come here to live with us, in an ideal world.
* Bivizmi glances over at you
* Katenzhi nods.
<Bivizmi> I feel like probably we should know how exactly it's complicated. If you're able to say, anyway.
<Gefraz> Divrola works, or worked at any rate, in my parents' household. As a servant.
<Gefraz> Her lineage is a low one, of no consequence in my family's eyes. And thus, a marriage is out of the question.
<Katenzhi> I'm sorry.
<Bivizmi> Oh... that's a little awkward, I imagine :/
<Gefraz> I know what you must be thinking. Wealthy asshole son takes advantage of the maidservant. I don't know how to convince you that's not it.
<Gefraz> We've been together for years now. Five, no, six years now.
<Bivizmi> I think if you were just taking advantage, you probably wouldn't be planning to bring her and the child here...
<Katenzhi> I wasn't thinking that. I don't know you very well but.. you don't seem like the type.
<Katenzhi> Not that I'm a great judge of character.
* Katenzhi smirks.
<Gefraz> It's hard being here - she can't read, so I can't write her.
<Bivizmi> Is the issue more that your parents would object if you tried to bring her here, or are there other obstacles?
<Gefraz> Well ... when she got pregnant, my parents fired her. And if they discovered that I brought her here regardless, and our daughter, I think that they would cut me out of the business.
<Gefraz> All this ...
* Gefraz waves his hands around
<Gefraz> I do my share, but this is not all mine.
<Gefraz> It belongs to the lineage.
<Katenzhi> I know the feeling.
<Gefraz> So I suppose contracting a marriage, for me, is a way of signalling to my parents that I have forgotten Divrola. So that, perhaps, I might then take the next step of secretly bringing her here.
<Bivizmi> How would she feel about that? About you getting married, I mean.
<Gefraz> I can't imagine she would be thrilled. It's not the life we imagined for ourselves, when we were children.
<Gefraz> But right now I can only communicate with her via envoy, and send her money that way. Which is also not great.
<Katenzhi> Maybe when we meet her we can... reassure her somehow.
<Katenzhi> But that might not be for a while, it sounds like.
<Gefraz> Well, that is, I suppose, why a union like this one might make sense. Because, ahhh, it would seem less threatening to her. Almost like ... a gift that we could give her, to give her the life she deserves.
<Gefraz> Even if not perfect.
<Katenzhi> I think it would be advantageous to everyone.
<Bivizmi> I sort of hate to bring it up, but what about children... with your wife? Is that something that would be completely off the table, or a possibility?
<Gefraz> I don't have any objection.
* Katenzhi looks back and forth between the two of them.
<Bivizmi> It's something that families tend to expect.
<Gefraz> As a father already, I might add that my children would inevitably be extremely good-looking.
* Bivizmi kind of chuckles at that.
* Katenzhi laughs, albeit a bit nervously.
<Katenzhi> Hopefully... not right away...
<Katenzhi> No offense.
<Gefraz> Right, well, that would really depend on familial expectations more than anything else. How long we could put it off to everyone's satisfaction.
<Bivizmi> Even the most pushy parents surely have to understand that you can't just snap your fingers and have a baby. These things can take time.
<Gefraz> We would just have to manage everyone's expectations.
<Bivizmi> we already talked a bit about living arrangements, but what would your expectations be, if Divrola did come here? That she would share your house? Or would you keep a separate dwelling for her and her children?
<Gefraz> I think it would be best if there were a place in my house for her. For her sake and Ghesmin's as much as anything else. To assure them that this is their place, at my side.
<Gefraz> I can't just shunt them off to a cottage on the grounds.
* Katenzhi nods.
<Katenzhi> I wouldn't want you to.
<Bivizmi> That's understandable.
<Katenzhi> I have no objection to them living with us.
<Gefraz> But of course I also know that ... our marriage, would need to appear real and valid to all parties.
<Gefraz> We might just need to be so fantastically successful in business that we could have two opulent homes. Perhaps one in town and one in the country.
<Katenzhi> Well, with the three of us, that shouldn't be a problem.
* Katenzhi grins.
<Bivizmi> I think we can manage that part, yes. At least, eventually.
<Bivizmi> Maybe not overnight.
<Katenzhi> It will be challenging but... it's possible we can all have at least part of the life we wanted.
<Bivizmi> Would you be planning to go back to Choradan in order to get your parents' blessing and so on? It would give an opportunity to talk to Divrola as well, which might be wise - she surely would have opinions on this matter as well.
<Gefraz> I would. Although I will need to be careful so that my parents don't find out when I visit her.
* Katenzhi nods.
<Gefraz> And Bivizmi, I would not want you to be too hidden in this. I would want you to be noted as Katenzhi's business partner, right from the start. The Pindevuzi name in all this would be helpful, not a hindrance.
* Bivizmi nods
<Gefraz> And who knows? I have many attractive cousins if you need one yourself.
* Katenzhi laughs
<Bivizmi> Ah, heh. well, that's something to worry about in the future, I suppose.
<Katenzhi> Maybe once our first crop comes in we will have the money and time to take a trip to Choradan.
* Bivizmi nods
<Bivizmi> It's something to think about, definitely.
<Katenzhi> And it won't look suspicious for you to come along for business purposes.
* Induriel is now known as Veznara
<Gefraz> Well, then ... do we have an agreement?
<Katenzhi> I... think so.
* Katenzhi looks to Bivizmi.
<Bivizmi> I think so.
* Katenzhi nods.
* Gefraz smiles.
<Gefraz> Good. I can start making some preliminary arrangements.
<Gefraz> And ... you will want me to meet your parents, I presume?
<Katenzhi> Oh... heh... I completely forgot that part.
<Katenzhi> Probably a good idea.
<Katenzhi> Trust me, they're gonna love you. They already do, honestly.
* Gefraz smiles
<Gefraz> All right!

Veznara confers with Lentus about stoneguards and other historical matters

<AshnabisGM> Veznara, you have so many questions! (What else is new ...) Your return to Kinjilai in the company of (no-longer) Stone Prince Lentus has given you a glimpse into life during the Osnabi campaigns of the late Imperial period, to complement your own (as always, fragmentary) understanding of the Espali Annals.
<AshnabisGM> The people known as the Osnabi or Wasanab - but remembering that Lentus called his people Olodzoi - clearly left an imprint on this place, in the Lentu lineage, and perhaps elsewhere. But there is so much left to learn!
* Veznara is determined to go over them with him, and fill all the gaps!
<AshnabisGM> For his part, Lentus has been out and about more often - his wounds have mostly healed, under Daifan's ministrations, although he's likely to have some nasty scars on his back and torso. But the former general is cautiously entering this new world he's found himself thrust into, three weeks, or three centuries, after he left it.
<AshnabisGM> It's not a total shock to you, then, when Lentus appears at the temple of the Hand one evening while you're attending, looking for you.
* Veznara greets him
<Veznara> Hello, Lentus! Welcome.
* Lentus is wearing a soft beige dashi with long sleeves, to cover up any signs of his worst injuries. He is walking with a slight limp, perhaps, but far more confidently than you have seen him.
<Veznara> How are you feeling?
<Lentus> Hand Veznara. I am glad to have found you.
<Lentus> I am well. As well as I can be, I suppose.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> Good, I'm glad to hear it.
<Veznara> What can I do for you?
<Lentus> I was hoping we could find a quiet place to talk.
<Veznara> Certainly. Here... let us go inside.
* Veznara leads him somewhere they can talk privately.
* Lentus sits down, a bit gingerly still.
<Lentus> It has been many, many years since I have been in a temple of the Hand. Even before ... it is not as if every fort had its own temples.
<Veznara> I'm sure it's very different now. The town has been growing...
<Lentus> I have been wanting to speak to you about something you had asked before. I know you have many questions, and I do want to answer them if I can.
<Veznara> Thank you. I'm grateful for your time.
<Lentus> When we were traveling to Kinjilai, you had asked me about stoneguards. Why did you do so?
<Veznara> Well, a number of reasons, I suppose. One of them is because a stoneguard asked me to ask you...
<Veznara> Stoneguard Ikhavor serves at the temple of the Voice here, and she had heard about you.
<Veznara> She wanted to find out why her order is less influential now than it has been in the past, and thought you would have some insights.
<Veznara> I think she would very much like to talk to you directly, at some point.
<Lentus> Ah. I see. Well, I am not opposed to that, exactly. I have been warned by many, including my, ah, descendant Bohin, to be cautious.
<Lentus> I have come to understand that even talking to you may carry certain risks.
<Veznara> Oh?
* Veznara doesn't appear to be offended, just curious.
<Lentus> Well, not so much that it prevented me from coming here. But Bohin has noted that the Voice temple still holds my kinsman Buhin, after whom he takes his own name. And that the Hand and the Voice are of course the two halves of the Corps.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> I have been thinking of that - whether you would like to go to the Temple of the Voice to communicate with him.
<Lentus> I would, very much! But I also know that doing so involves asserting my existence in a very public way, and that also being acknowledged.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> Yes, that's certainly something to consider. I don't know if it's possible to introduce you simply as a member of his lineage and leave it at that...
<Veznara> (Would it be? If I vouched for him, would the Voice press further to find out exactly who he was?)
<Veznara> ...but of course, any questions you wish to ask him would have to go through the priests.
<AshnabisGM> (as a member of the Odzahi lineage? You're not sure how you could do that plausibly)
<AshnabisGM> (as far as you know there aren't any Odazhis left)
<Lentus> Yes, of course.
<Veznara> (Other relations, then?)
<AshnabisGM> (Normally only members of the lineage have an automatic right to talk to their ancestors - the Voice can talk to any ancestor, of course, but you don't have a right to ask for answers from non-lineage members)
<Veznara> (They made an exception for me & Dezmali though - and I thought they would do so again, if we asked?)
<AshnabisGM> (well, sure, I mean, this is a long-dead guy from ancient times. But for Lentus to just show up - you'd need to explain who he is. )
<Lentus> I do want to talk to Buhin, despite the risks. And if you want to know more about the stoneguards, I would imagine that that is the way to do so. I know a little, but only a little, and mostly through Buhin.
<Veznara> Is there anything in particular you wish to discuss with him? Hand Dezmali and I were permitted to consult him, as I was part of the group that found him. I might be permitted to do so again, if you do not wish to identify yourself.
<Veznara> Or if you do, I could certainly vouch for you. But as you say... that may not be something you wish to do, at this point.
<Lentus> Well ... there are many things, of course! About what happened after I was turned to stone. What happened to Liuppina and Iuppach. How and when he came to be my guardian. And much more. Many things that were surely never recorded or remembered.
* Bivizmi is now known as Stranger
<Veznara> (Are the Temple of the Voice basically required to permit this, if Lentus has a valid claim?)
<AshnabisGM> (well, not infinitely many times or anything like that. But it would be highly irregular to refuse a first visit from a valid kinsman, yes)
<Veznara> (Would they be required to keep it confidential?)
<AshnabisGM> (hahahahahaha
<Veznara> Well, as I say, I might be permitted to ask such questions.
<Lentus> This stoneguard, Ikhavor. She wants to know about the history of her order?
<Veznara> Yes. So she said.
<Lentus> Hmm. Well, I do know that there are not always good relations between the stoneguards and the rest of the Corps. Particularly during the war.
<Veznara> No? What was the problem between them?
<Lentus> I don't know precisely. But once, or so I understand, they were much more independent than even in my era. And during the war, those strains were surely evident.
<Veznara> Hmmm.
* Lentus sits back, reflecting on his times.
<Lentus> Those last years at Kinjilai, when the people of Dzugon were close to us, they were very troubled years for the Empire. The war was not going well. Any fool knew that. Each victory brought with it more burdens.
<Lentus> No one had any sense of what the goal was - it was conquest for its own sake, as much as any strategic goal. That is partly why I laid down my sword. Others were more rapacious or adventuresome, taking the land and its people as opportunity for sport.
* Veznara frowns, but continues to listen avidly
<Lentus> Once, the stoneguards were organized in whole regiments. Even during the Osnabi campaigns, some armies had many. As for my troops, only Buhin and his apprentice, but he corresponded with many others, especially to the south, where there were more. Even when I had fully rejected my orders, Buhin still wavered. He was long loyal, and not only to me.
<Lentus> They were not, quite, like the sentinels, but they were no mere tomb guardians. They fought alongside the soldiery, and stood strong against foes. They were feared, the stoneguards were.
* Veznara nods
<Lentus> Around two years before my end, Buhin had received some correspondence from the other stoneguards that disturbed him. I don't know what it was. But it was the beginning of something.
<Lentus> A time after that - some months, I reckon? - word came from the south, from the priests there, that the stoneguards who had written him had been killed by Osnabi raiders.
<Lentus> The story the priests told was that the stoneguards had attacked a local village, that there had been a massacre, and that the natives, outraged, had raided the army, killed them in retaliation, and taken their bodies away.
<Veznara> Did you believe that?
<Lentus> No, not at all.
* Veznara nods
<Lentus> Buhin did not believe it because he knew the stoneguards in question. And I did not believe it because, by this time, I knew many of the natives well. The Olodzoi, of course, but also others.
<Veznara> What really happened, then?
<Lentus> This tale, it did not sit well with Buhin, nor with me, to be honest. We know the local peoples. They are brave but no fools. To attack an army, how could they do that? To do so without other losses - impossible! And even if they had done so - to take the bodies, that was not the way of the people.
<Lentus> We don't know for certain what happened. But for bodies to be gone - for any bodies to be gone is terrible. But in war, it happens sometimes. But for it to happen only to this group of stoneguards, and under such circumstances. ... no.
* Veznara frowns again
<Veznara> A way to be sure they could not be consulted as Ancestors.
<Lentus> Of course.
<Lentus> Buhin came to believe that they had been killed and their bodies disposed of to prevent them from telling some secret. What it was, I cannot say. Perhaps there are things Buhin did not confide in me. After that, though, I know that Buhin was with me fully in my rebellion.
<Veznara> Horrible!
* Veznara sighs
<Veznara> I... I think there is much here that some people would like to have remain hidden. Even today.
<Veznara> I fear that Bohin is right to urge caution.
<Veznara> Did you know of a particular lineage... the Sashnir?
* Veznara asks quietly
<Lentus> No, I've never heard of that lineage.
<Veznara> We found it mentioned in a temple in this area. While surveying the land.
<Lentus> All right - how bears this on my tale?
<Veznara> We were exploring a ruined temple, and it contained the remains of a Stoneguard, apparently of that family.
<Veznara> For a long time now, the Sashnir lineage and others have been granted a special dispensation by the Temple of the Voice to worship in their own temples.
<Veznara> They do so in their own way, it seems. And they do not let outsiders know the particulars of their services.
<Veznara> I can't help but think that it ties in with what you've just told me.
<Lentus> Because of the stoneguard?
<Veznara> Yes, that's part of it.
<Veznara> The Voice seems not terribly eager to have the matter discussed.
<Lentus> If I may ask - are you not concerned that in your search, you are weakening your own bond to the Corps?
<Veznara> By investigating such things, you mean? Because I'm looking into things that the Voice does not want known?
<Veznara> Or because what I find out may change my beliefs?
<Lentus> Either, I suppose.
<Lentus> The Hand and the Voice work together as part of one body, the Corps. That is from the Maxims.
<Veznara> The first... does not concern me, so much. While you are right that we are each one half of the Corps, we are separate from each other.
<Veznara> And for the second, it seems that this concerns the Voice, rather than the Hand.
<Veznara> And in any case, we both serve the Ancestors. That is the most important consideration of all.
<Lentus> If your superiors bade you to cease your investigation, would you comply?
* Veznara smiles wryly
<Veznara> Well, I have already been bidden to stay out of danger.
<Veznara> And there was a priest of the Voice, Voice Gili. He approached me to ask about some of this, but was instructed by Voice Tegus to stop his own investigation.
<Veznara> So I am... cautious.
<Lentus> I know what it is, Hand Veznara, to bear the burden of betraying one's superiors. I am eager to know, but only if your eyes are open to the consequences.
<Veznara> And I do worry for your sake, too. You may know something of what so many people are eager to keep hidden.
<Veznara> Or others may assume you do, which can be just as dangerous.
* Lentus nods.
<Veznara> But if something displeasing to the Ancestors is happening here...
<Lentus> If you feel you need to know this, then I will assist you however I can. I would not be here today if not for your intervention. I am greatly in your debt.
<Veznara> Thank you, Lentus. I'm just not sure what this is all about... and I know it will be dangerous to try to find out.
<Lentus> I am not afraid of danger. I am afraid of failure.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> Well... I'll certainly think about what we can do.
<Veznara> And perhaps it would be good for me to pay a visit to the Temple of the Voice, too.
<Veznara> I expect they may have heard of your disappearance from the site of the Fort... it would be good to know how they feel about it before introducing you.
<Lentus> Very well. That seems reasonable to me.
* Veznara smiles
<Veznara> Thank you for coming to see me.

Jimba is accused of piracy by Salozh Zastorifti, captain of The Opal

<Ashnabis_Narrator> Jimba, as much as you like him, it's been nice to not have Lentus around quite all the time over the past several days. He's healed up well, and while you are of course keen to see him not get in any trouble, he has proven himself to be a quick study on local customs.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> Not surprising, you suppose - he was, after all, an Omban general, which is rare enough in the first place, and also one who came to learn and adopt local ways. He does spend enough time at the warehouse that you aren't too concerned about his whereabouts - you know that he's spent at least some time at the Lentu lineage house, talking to his newfound descendants.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> You're tidying up around the warehouse one afternoon - one thing that generals apparently do not do is clean up after themselves - when there is a knock at the door.
* Jimba will go answer the door.
* Stranger is a woman in her early middle years, tall and tanned with curly black hair worn loose. She is wearing a black dashi with a stout leather belt around the waist, and thin boots of the sort that local sailors often wear.
<Stranger> Good day. Are you the owner here?
* Jimba gives her a smile in greeting.
<Jimba> I could be. Who might I have the pleasure of addressing?
<Stranger> A potential customer. My name is Salozh Zastorifti.
* Stranger is now known as Salozh
<Jimba> (That name mean anything to me?)
<Ashnabis_Narrator> You can roll k:local
<Jimba> !roll 1d20+13
* Daifan rolls for Jimba: [ 1d20+13 ] getting [ 8 ] which, after the modifier [ 13 ] totals [ 21 ].
<Ashnabis_Narrator> It doesn't sound familiar to you - and you do have a pretty good knowledge of local traders and merchants and sailors, so that suggest she's from out of town or at least newly arrived, perhaps.
<Jimba> Well met, Salozh Zastorifti. I am Jimba Ghughife, proprietor. Please, come in.
<Salozh> Thank you.
* Salozh steps inside, taking a look around.
<Jimba> What sort of custom did you have in mind?
<Salozh> I am newly arrived in your town, and I happened to take my lunch at an institution called the Silver Waves - I presume you know it?
<Jimba> (Is that the Cormorant hangout?)
<Ashnabis_Narrator> It's the inn that Zefa owns, on the site where the kelta now stands.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> (or, next door to it, anyway)
<Jimba> (Ah, okay)
* Jimba nods.
<Salozh> Just a little way out of town, up the river - a new inn and tavern.
<Jimba> Yes, I'm familiar.
* Salozh nods
<Jimba> With the site at least.
<Salozh> As I took my meal, I couldn't help but admire the fine quality of the tableware. Of course, it's a new establishment - well furnished and their dishes aren't all chipped and worn yet. The plates were of imbis blue, quite hard to come by in this area.
<Salozh> I inquired as to where the staff had purchased them, and your name came up. I wondered if you still have some in stock. If you do, I'd be pleased to take it off your hands.
<Jimba> (Do I?)
<Ashnabis_Narrator> (You do still have some of that shipment, yes. Probably about half of it? It has been a bit slow selling, as it's on the expensive side for this area, although you do recall someone from the Silver Waves buying a considerable amount for the inn's tableware.)
<Jimba> Are you opening your own tavern? ;)
* Salozh chuckles
<Salozh> No, that's not my intention. But there may be a market for it in Charadip, where I'm from. I would take it back there to sell it.
<Jimba> Well, I think there might be some still around here somewhere.
<Jimba> You're wanting whatever I might have?
<Salozh> That's right. I'm interested in whatever's available.
<Jimba> (Can I roll Sense Motive or anything like that to see if she seems like she's on the up and up?)
<Ashnabis_Narrator> (sure, you can roll Sense Motive)
<Jimba> !roll 1d20+1
* Daifan rolls for Jimba: [ 1d20+1 ] getting [ 4 ] which, after the modifier [ 1 ] totals [ 5 ].
<Jimba> (Heh, no)
<Ashnabis_Narrator> Seems legit to you! Hey, it would be a relief to finally unload the rest of this shipment, make room for new things...
<Jimba> All right. You have a ship or caravan?
<Salozh> A ship, yes.
<Jimba> Okay. I can bring a sample by this evening, perhaps?
<Salozh> That would be acceptable.
* Jimba smiles.
* Salozh can give you directions to where her ship is docked.
<Jimba> I'll see you this evening, then, and thank you for your interest.
<Salozh> Until later, then.
* Salozh will depart.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> So, you're going to bring a small sample to her ship that evening?
<Jimba> Yeah, but I want to ask around some of my contacts, see if anyone's heard of this person or her lineage.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> Okay, you can do that.
<Jimba> (Is that Diplomacy?)
<Ashnabis_Narrator> I guess roll Diplomacy, yeah, to see what you can find out.
<Jimba> !roll 1d20+14
* Daifan rolls for Jimba: [ 1d20+14 ] getting [ 7 ] which, after the modifier [ 14 ] totals [ 21 ].
<Ashnabis_Narrator> Not bad :)
<Ashnabis_Narrator> You ask around and you find that her ship, the Opal, is in town as part of the ... task force? raiding group? from Charadip, that has been sent to aid the fort. Rumours about their aims abound, but it's said that they are intending to wage an attack against Yeggun's pirates.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> She's the captain of the ship, known as a good fighter herself, although also a trader.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> So, you can imagine it makes sense since she's a trader, that she might be interested in doing some business, but it does seem a bit odd to buy something fragile like pottery when you're about to go into a fight as well. It isn't *totally
* suspicious, but the timing seems a little odd.
* Jimba will show up with a sample of his wares that evening, then.
* Jimba will also make sure to let at least Katenzhi know where he'll be.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> okay.
<Ashnabis_Narrator> You arrive at the Opal, and Salozh will greet you at the gangplank.
<Jimba> (I don't know if we have a Tuck available, or he'd ask Kat along.)
<Salozh> Ah, good - you brought it?
* Jimba nods.
* Jimba produces some small piece of the shipment.
* Salozh examines it, looking carefully.
<Salozh> Excellent.
* Salozh passes the pieces back to you
<Jimba> Will you need me to hold onto it until you're headed home?
<Salozh> No, that shouldn't be necessary.
<Jimba> (Is the Opal clearly a military vessel?)
<Ashnabis_Narrator> It looks like a merchant ship to you, though outfitted with some additional defenses.
<Salozh> You're going to turn over whatever's left of the shipment to me, at no cost, or else I'm going to report you to the master of sail for the colony as a thief and a pirate.
<Jimba> That certainly doesn't sound like me.
<Salozh> This was *my
* shipment, stolen from my vessel - I recognize the pottery.
<Jimba> Where was this shipment taken?
<Salozh> On the return journey from Basai, off the coast at Rigge.
<Salozh> As I'm sure you remember!
<Jimba> (Where is that?)
<Ashnabis_Narrator> (north-west a fair way - Rigge is 1 on this map)
<Jimba> (Oh, yeah, just found it. Thanks. :) )
<Jimba> Stolen from...this vessel?
<Salozh> Yes.
<Jimba> This...very armed vessel.
* Salozh frowns.
<Salozh> Some of our new armaments are recently acquired - since clearly piracy is a problem in these waters.
<Jimba> Did you happen to see the ship that took your pottery?
<Jimba> Was it perhaps a small keelboat crewed by three people?
<Jimba> Which is the only ship I command?
<Jimba> And command is a strong term, here.
<Salozh> You... could be a sailor on another ship. I admit the one that attacked us was not a keelboat :p
<Jimba> And when was your shipment taken?
<Salozh> About four months ago, in Gugivas.
<Jimba> (Crap, where were we 4 months ago? Did we have any big trips then?)
<Ashnabis_Narrator> (well, that was your first trip to Kinjilai, so that was a few days/a week or so anyway)
<Jimba> Well, I happen to work for the land office here, in addition to my humble mercantile interests, and I can produce a multitude of people who can account for my whereabouts at the time. I *did* take on a mission that took us away for a time, so I suppose you could argue, against the word of my companions and employer, that I slipped away, boarded a ship, helped take your cargo, and returned while still somehow managing to convince everyone I'd accompanied my coworkers.
* Salozh frowns.
<Salozh> If you didn't steal it, then how did you come by it? Because it *is* the same shipment I was bringing from Basai, that much is plain.
<Jimba> I bought it from a passing ship, as I do much of my cargo. Little to distinguish it from any other passing through, though I might have records of it somewhere.
<Jimba> I'm terribly sorry if it is your property, but I can't very well give away cargo I paid good money for solely on your say so.
* Salozh looks displeased.
<Salozh> Fine. But rest assured, I'll be bringing this up with the master of sail next time I speak with her.
<Jimba> If you want to press your claim, we can go find Sizhif. She should be sitting down to dinner right now, but she'll see me if you like.
* Salozh looks even more uncomfortable.
<Jimba> Shall we?
<Salozh> No... I won't disturb her in the midst of her evening. Tomorrow will be soon enough. Will you go with me to speak with her?
<Jimba> Of course. It would be best to resolve this to everyone's satisfaction.
<Jimba> I'll meet you here in the morning?
<Salozh> Very well.
* Salozh turns on her heel and will go back on board her ship, clearly fuming.
* Katenzhi waves.
<Katenzhi> Nice meeting you!
* Jimba smiles pityingly at her back and turns to go with Katenzhi.
<Jimba> Hopefully I can talk her down to cost and this will all blow over.
<Katenzhi> Don't sweat it, you know Sizhif has your back.
<Jimba> Yeah, but I don't want to put her in that position if I don't have to.