Ashnabis session 42
Session date: November 8, 2020
Fair Cycle date:
<AshnabisGM> The rain has continued to fall as the month of Zhuno has progressed. The Sestapor is starting to feel like a swamp again. The fall fos harvest will be a bit damp, but you have hope that the spring harvest to follow will be bountiful.
<AshnabisGM> It's been a few days since your return from your surveying expedition up the Kaskos and your visit to the Glinting - almost surely the Battle of Alughambaz - with its many treasures beneath the half-sunken field of war. These items are still in your possession.
<AshnabisGM> The registry is busy again, with new arrivals coming in this month and especially next for the planting season. And the plantations to the east of Kaskind, which are farmed mainly by bubun, must have done all right for themselves, judging by the Hand-guided husks of ancestors seen carrying sacks of product here and there.
<AshnabisGM> As all the major construction at Fort Kaskind is now complete, the bubun aren't around the registry so much anymore. The wide plazas outside the fort are looking very sophisticated these days - more stone than wood, basalt imported from the Imperial City herself, new buildings to support the sentinels and their administrators.
<AshnabisGM> In ten or a dozen years, the muddy path of the Colony Road that runs nearby will surely be no different than any other Imperial roadway. The population of the colony already feels less wild than it did when you first came here - certainly, more Ombesh colonists every month. It is civilization in the Sestapor, in its own way, and with its own costs.
Bivizmi and Katenzhi receive an unexpected visit from Atsa Lerushti
<AshnabisNarrator> Katenzhi, you and Bivizmi are nearly ready to bring your first crop of the pale oracle to market. It has been dried and is now in the final stages of processing. You're working late in the evening most nights, after your regular work is done, trying to get everything ready.
* Katenzhi tries to keep an eye on her to make sure she's not around the stuff too much if possible.
* Bivizmi seems ok, at least at the moment.
<Bivizmi> So, ahhh ... I've been thinking.
<Katenzhi> What's up?
<Katenzhi> Have you seen him again?
<Bivizmi> Not ... *seen him*. I'm not that kind of girl. I spoke to him again though.
* Katenzhi smiles
<Bivizmi> I told him about you - I mean, I told him enough, about you, you and me, that kind of thing.
<Katenzhi> What did he say?
<Bivizmi> I mean, he seemed fine with it.
* Katenzhi nods.
<Katenzhi> I guess that's good...
<Bivizmi> I think a little bit ... well, you didn't tell him about us, when you met with him.
<Bivizmi> So I think maybe - he had to readjust his thinking about why two sexy ladies were going to dinner with him over the past couple of months.
<Katenzhi> ...no. I didn't think I needed to at the time.
<Katenzhi> Well, one at least
* Katenzhi grins
* Bivizmi laughs.
<Bivizmi> And well - I did reassure him that this was not some weird contrivance.
<Bivizmi> Because men, perhaps you know this already, misunderstand *everything*.
<Katenzhi> Oh, I'm aware.
<Bivizmi> But I think it would work, the partnership, I mean. So I mentioned it to my family as well. Nothing too serious, mind you. Just - they know of his existence.
* Katenzhi nods.
<Katenzhi> Have they been keen on getting you married?
<Bivizmi> Honestly, I think they assumed I would need to be convinced. I think they were surprised that I met someone on my own.
<Katenzhi> You know... you don't have to do this if you don't want. I mean... I want you to be happy.
<Bivizmi> No, no, I mean. Look, eventually, my family was going to find someone. I wasn't going to get away with being a spinster herbalist.
<Bivizmi> I thought about playing up the crazy revenant business, to push folks away, but I'm not that good of an actor.
<Bivizmi> And I'm crazy enough as it is.
* Katenzhi puts a hand on her cheek
<Bivizmi> Better that I take charge of it myself, find me a nice Choradani sentinel who's excessively occupied with his work, do it now, maybe it works out long-term, maybe not. But it gets the matter settled.
<Katenzhi> You're not crazy.
<Katenzhi> I just want to make sure you're not marrying the first guy we find just because you think you need to.
<AshnabisNarrator> At that moment, there's a knock at the door of the workshop, which is unexpected at this time of night.
* Katenzhi looks up
<Katenzhi> Your family?
<Katenzhi> (loudly) Who's there?
<Bivizmi> I'll go see.
<Katenzhi> No... wait.
* Bivizmi stands behind the door.
<Bivizmi> Who is it?
<Katenzhi> I'll get it.
<Bivizmi> All right.
* Bivizmi steps aside.
* Katenzhi will open the door a crack.
* NPC1 is now known as Woman
<AshnabisNarrator> A tall, elegant-looking woman in her mid-thirties stands there, peering at you uncertainly through the crack in the door. She has short brown hair that accentuates her high cheekbones and impeccable makeup.
<Katenzhi> Uhhhh... can I help you?
<Woman> Excuse me... I was looking for Bivizmi Pindevuzi, is this the right place?
<Katenzhi> Who wants to know?
<Woman> My name is Atsa Lerushti. Can I come in so we can speak privately?
* Katenzhi looks her up and down once more.
<Katenzhi> (I assume she doesn't have any obvious weapons or anything?)
* Woman is now known as Atsa
* Atsa does not seem to be armed, but I mean, you know as well as anyone that someone could use magic.
* Katenzhi nods and opens the door for her.
<Katenzhi> Biv... friend of yours?
<Bivizmi> No ... but I do know you. You own that shop, west side of town, right?
<Atsa> Yes, that's right. I know we haven't met before, but I needed to speak with you.
* Atsa glances over at Kat.
<Bivizmi> About what?
<Atsa> In private, if possible?
<Bivizmi> Well, anything you can say to me, you can say in front of Kat, she's my partner. Business partner.
* Bivizmi corrects quickly.
* Kennesaw is now known as Jimba
* Katenzhi stares at Atsa and crosses her arms.
<Atsa> ... all right.
<Atsa> I needed to warn you. This is a matter of life and death. As you should already well know.
* Atsa says with a look at Bivizmi.
* Bivizmi looks at her sternly.
<Bivizmi> Who are you really and why are you here?
<Atsa> If you sell this fos, the pale root, more people than yourselves will be in danger, but even this is enough to put you at risk.
* Atsa gestures around at the many bundles of dried powder.
<Katenzhi> What are you talking about?
<Katenzhi> It's just fos
<Atsa> I'm Atsa Lerushti, I wasn't lying about that. My husband is Watskas Sashnir. Maybe that name means something to you?
* Bivizmi pauses.
<Bivizmi> Never met him.
<Atsa> His family - not all of them, but many - are part of a secretive temple. They call themselves the Maiden's Voice.
<Bivizmi> All right.
<Atsa> This type of fos, they consider it sacred - a part of their rites. To make it known to the public will bring unwanted attention to them, as people try to learn more about it, cultivate it... They've already tried to scare you off, and if it doesn't work, they'll turn to violence - again - if need be.
* Bivizmi folds her arms across her chest.
<Katenzhi> Are you saying... they're the ones who...
* Atsa nods.
<Atsa> Already they thought that killing you might be enough to end the seeking after this root, but that wasn't successful.
* Bivizmi steps back.
<Katenzhi> Then they won't have to worry about us selling it because I'm going to burn their fucking temple to the ground with them in it.
<Bivizmi> And you are here, what, out of the goodness of your heart?
<Atsa> If they find out I talked to you, I'd be in danger as well. Even though my husband and I have been married for fifteen years, and we have three children together, they wouldn't hesitate to eliminate me if they realized I was a risk. But I can't stand by and let this violence go on without trying to warn you.
<Katenzhi> Why not go to the fort with this?
<Katenzhi> They could shut them down
<Bivizmi> Like as not, she's lying to us so they can take our business.
<Katenzhi> No. It fits. It makes sense from what I've seen
<Atsa> I don't want my family to be killed. I just want this to go back to the way it was, when they could operate quietly and not pose a threat.
<Katenzhi> Except for when they randomly kill people who are just looking around you mean?
<Bivizmi> So what you're saying is that you want my murderers to go free.
<Atsa> Look, I'm trying to help you. I took a huge risk in coming here at all. Maybe I should just leave, if you won't listen.
<Katenzhi> We are listening.
<Katenzhi> Why didn't you tell us this before?
<Katenzhi> Before we put so much time and money and effort into getting this stuff to harvest.
<Atsa> I thought maybe you would drop it on your own, or that something might go wrong with your crops that would prevent this becoming an issue.
<Atsa> But it seems like your crops did better than expected.
* Bivizmi glances over at you briefly, then returns to Atsa.
<Bivizmi> We're not just going to give up because you thought we were bad farmers and were wrong.
* Atsa sighs
<Katenzhi> Biv... I think we need to talk about this. I don't want you in any more danger.
<Atsa> I'm not part of their inner circle - I don't know exactly what they might be planning. I just know that they will do something.
<Bivizmi> Have you said whatever you have to say then?
<Katenzhi> How many are in this... cult?
<Atsa> Around fifty or so - it depends who you count? if you include children and people like me, who married someone involved, it would be higher.
<Katenzhi> And I assume they're the ones behind all the fucking persimmons?
* Atsa nods
<Atsa> It's a symbol for them, of the Maiden.
<Bivizmi> All right, Atsa ... thank you for coming. Now leave.
* Katenzhi looks at Bivizmi.
* Bivizmi says brusquely.
<Atsa> I hope you'll take this into consideration and remain safe. I'm sorry to have brought this to you. Good evening.
* Atsa will turn to go.
<Katenzhi> Biv... she's trying to help.
<Bivizmi> She helped. Now she can go.
<Atsa> Farewell, then.
* Atsa takes a look around outside before stepping out to leave.
<Katenzhi> Thank you.
* Katenzhi turns back to Bivizmi.
* Katenzhi will put a hand on her shoulder.
<Bivizmi> Let's get back to work. The pale oracle won't grind itself.
<Katenzhi> Biv... I think we nees to talk about this.
<Bivizmi> I don't want to talk about this! We talked, now we're done talking.
<Katenzhi> What are you talking about? Your life is in danger because of this stuff!
<Bivizmi> I died once, it wasn't so bad.
<Katenzhi> It was for me!
<Katenzhi> I'm not going to lose you again!
<Bivizmi> I don't know what else there is to talk about, Kat.
<Katenzhi> About whether or not we should continue here!
<Bivizmi> We're not going to just give up because some peasant lady shows up at the door one night.
<Katenzhi> Let me at least talk to my friends at the registry. They might be able to help.
<Bivizmi> We don't need a surveyor. Like you say, the only solution to this may be fire.
<Katenzhi> Then they're the ones I'll need to help me light the torch.
<Katenzhi> Trust me. Please.
<Bivizmi> All right, talk to your friends, fine! You're going to do it whether I want you to or not!
<Katenzhi> What the fuck is wrong with you right now?! This is your life we're talking about!
<Bivizmi> I am the fifth child of five, in a family that treats me as a baby. The only thing I am good at - the one thing where I can make a mark - is this.
* Bivizmi waves her hand across the room.
<Katenzhi> You know that's not true!
<Bivizmi> To create a new kind of fos - that's amazing. I'm not going to be pushed off it by some lunatic cult.
<Bivizmi> Oignestros has been on site there for months, no problems.
<Katenzhi> Oignestros is the sive of a barn and for all we know some kind of magical plant-growing troll!
* Katenzhi sighs
<Bivizmi> Look, I said it was fine. Talk to your friends. Find a way to deal with this ... Maiden's Voice and their fucking persimmons! But don't tell me not to do the thing that I was made to do!
<Katenzhi> ...ok. I'll fix this...
<Katenzhi> I promise. I'm not going to let anything happen to you.
* Bivizmi smiles thinly
<Bivizmi> I believe you.
<Katenzhi> ...I love you.
<Bivizmi> I love you too.
Daifan and Junan meet with Lady Galdai to try and convince her of their qualifications for her plan
<AshnabisNarrator> Daifan and Junan, you are given an appointment time to meet with Lady Galdai, who will be making one of her rare trips into town for the occasion.
<AshnabisNarrator> You can take time to disguise yourselves accordingly - make Disguise checks, please?
<Daifan> (can I take 20?)
<Junan> (I have to make her a painting as well!)
<AshnabisNarrator> I think you could only take 20 if there was no penalty for failure. You could take 10, as you're not distracted.
<AshnabisNarrator> but since you have in fact met her before as your regular self, I think there's a definite chance of penalty for failure.
<Daifan> (hnnnnnng can we assist each other?)
<AshnabisNarrator> Yes, you could also theoretically get Balinteze to assist you as well if you wanted.
<Daifan> (sure if they're up fo it :)
<Daifan> (and can they gve me fortune also we can stack it for Junan ;p)
<AshnabisNarrator> sure, I think that works.
<AshnabisNarrator> !roll 1d20
* Daifan rolls for AshnabisNarrator: [ 1d20 ] getting [ 16 ].
* Daifan rolls [ 1d20+17 ] getting [ 11 ] which, after the modifier [ 17 ] totals [ 28 ]
<Daifan> (30 if Junan success in an assist roll too)
* Daifan rolls [ 1d20+13 ] getting [ 9 ] which, after the modifier [ 13 ] totals [ 22 ]
<Junan> (which I do)
<Daifan> (and he can have assist and fortune also ;p)
<Junan> !roll 1d20+22
* Daifan rolls for Junan: [ 1d20+22 ] getting [ 3 ] which, after the modifier [ 22 ] totals [ 25 ].
<AshnabisNarrator> did you want to roll for your painting as well, Junan?
<Junan> (thats without fortune)
<Junan> !roll 1d20+5
* Daifan rolls for Junan: [ 1d20+5 ] getting [ 13 ] which, after the modifier [ 5 ] totals [ 18 ].
<Daifan> (lol perfect)
<AshnabisNarrator> ok, you are all disguised up as well as you think you can be, so you can proceed to your encounter with Galdai.
<AshnabisNarrator> You go to her home in town, rarely used except by her staff, and are escorted in to see her after a short wait.
* Atsa is now known as Galdai
* Galdai is wearing a costly violet silk robe embroidered with a pattern of blue vines. Her hair is hidden under a complex wrap, with gold earrings dangling from her wrinkled lobes.
<Galdai> Good day. Take a seat - would you care for some tea?
* Junan clutches the artwork nervously
<Junan> I... yes... of cours!
<Daifan> ...Yes please, ma'am
* Galdai has a servant bring some tea, and eyes the painting you are holding.
<Junan> I painted this for you... a thank you for taking the time to see us.
<Galdai> Oh... how interesting.
* Galdai has the same servant take away the painting before they leave.
* Junan will offer the painting
<Galdai> Very thoughtful of you.
<Junan> You see... its a ship on its journey from the harbour
<Junan> since you may be helping us start a new journey
<Galdai> Ah, yes. And the tern, an omen of a safe voyage?
* Galdai points to some speck of a bird that may or may not be a tern ;)
* Junan smiles pleased
<Galdai> Well, thank you.
* Daifan appears encouraged
<Galdai> My steward has told me something of your situation, but perhaps you could indulge me with a brief recounting of how you came to be here - both here in the colony, and here before me now.
* Daifan nods and looks to Junan
<Junan> well like we told your steward...
<Junan> we traveled here so I could persue my passion... the works I just showed you.
<Junan> We have a little studio that I rent with coin I had from my family
* Junan shakes his head
<Junan> they never believed in me... Zola, she believes in me.
* Junan holds Daifan's hand
<Galdai> And now all that you lack to make your lives complete is a child.
* Daifan nods, and squeezes his hand
<Daifan> We tried but...
* Daifan shakes their head, and sniff, closing their eyes
<Daifan> there were...complications
* Junan squeezed her hand, showing signs of pain
<Galdai> I believe I need to be perfectly clear with you. You want a child, and this may help you to get one, but not in the way you imagine.
<Junan> It's so terrible... we want a family
<Daifan> what do you mean?
* Daifan looks up at her, hopeful but wary
<Galdai> If you were selected, you would be adopting this child only temporarily. When an appropriate interval of time has passed, you would surrender it to me.
<Daifan> ...what kind of interval?
<Galdai> Perhaps a few months, not more than a year at most.
<Galdai> I only know that at my age, they would not allow me to adopt a child, but there is nothing that would gladden my heart more in these few final years of my life.
<Daifan> I see...
<Galdai> Of course it would be cared for and looked after in the greatest luxury.
<Daifan> ....I see.
* Daifan glances at Bavlo
<Galdai> Naturally, after I pass on, my granddaughter would continue caring for the child - it would not be abandoned.
<Galdai> And of course, the recompense would be considerable - more than enough to ensure you have your choice of future adoptive children if that is what you seek.
<Daifan> ...I think I understand, my lady...
<Daifan> it would be like.... a trial run, for our own future, to care for this baby, for you?
<Daifan> and we would be rewarded?
<Junan> enough of a reward we could get a one for real!
<Galdai> Yes, if you wish to imagine it that way, that would be sensible. You would be well-rewarded for taking good care of the child for a few months, and those funds could then be used as you please - including to obtain a child of your own later, if you so choose.
* Daifan nods
<Junan> you would be like a secret wetnurse.
* Junan frowns
<Junan> What you ask isn't going to be easy for us... to care then give up.
<Galdai> I understand that it is asking a great deal, which is why the reward would be generous. I can assure you that the child would be cared for and treated as much like a member of my own family, of royalty, as possible. It would be a wonderful life for them.
* Daifan nods
* Junan looks at Daifan
<Daifan> and... when would this reward come? after you take the baby back?
<Galdai> Half of the reward would come at once, to ensure you can provide suitable care. The remainder would come after the child is handed over.
* Daifan thinks
<Daifan> And half woudl be enough to keep the baby in a royal style?
<Daifan> for... up to a year?
<Junan> a royal studio
* Junan muses to himself
* Daifan nods to him and then looks back to her
<Galdai> Well, perhaps not royal style, but certainly more than adequate.
<Daifan> It woudl be difficult. But for our own future.... I hink we can accept these terms - right my love?
<Junan> Its just another sacrifice to achieve the life we dreamed of.
<Junan> If you are willing my love, I could do it with you.
<Junan> I mean, we've survived hard times before
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> We have.
* Daifan says with dertmination
* Junan looks back at Galdai
<Junan> So we're the ones? that steward fellow sorta said that there were others? There is nothing else we need to do?
<Galdai> You are among the final candidates to be considered, so if you are selected, then you'll be contacted soon to make the necessary arrangements. There is but one other couple to be interviewed.
* Junan will try and sense her thoughts, see where she is leaning
* Daifan frowns a bit at that
<Junan> (with moment of precience)
<Junan> !roll 1d20+11
* Daifan rolls for Junan: [ 1d20+11 ] getting [ 8 ] which, after the modifier [ 11 ] totals [ 19 ].
* Galdai is difficult to get a read on - she seems guarded, cautious.
<Junan> If there is something we can do to show our gratitude for your consideration... just let us know.
* Daifan nods
<Junan> I could paint you something?
<Galdai> That's very thoughtful of you, but you have done enough.
<Galdai> My people will be in touch soon, with a final decision.
<Daifan> thank you.
<Junan> Yes thank you
* Galdai nods her dismissal.
<AshnabisNarrator> As you are escorted out of the building, you find another couple waiting their turn. They are perhaps in their mid-twenties, clearly wearing their best clothing for the occasion, but it's still obvious from their demeanour that they are desperately poor.
* Junan gives them the glare of hate
* NPC2 is now known as Husband
<Junan> (and makes mental note of their appearance so we can track them down if we need to)
<Daifan> (is it possible to use misfortune subtly? >.>)
* Husband glares back at you, sizing you up (he's very large)
<AshnabisNarrator> As they are being escorted in, you do catch their names - Havraz and Udarta.
<AshnabisNarrator> So you could probably track them down later or investigate them if you wish.
<Daifan> (misfortune tho)
<AshnabisNarrator> Daifan, you can misfortune them behind their backs, sure.
<AshnabisNarrator> Ok, you can head on your way, then, unless you want to hang around to see if they come back out eventually?
<Junan> (nah... good to be aggressively despirate, but stalking outside Galdai home... might be too far)
<Daifan> (yeah, but maybe follow them from a bit away after they leave)
<AshnabisNarrator> You can find a place to wait that's out of the immediate area of the house and wait to keep an eye out for them.
<AshnabisNarrator> If their meeting goes like yours it won't take ages, so you can wait for 15 or 20 minutes, something like that.
<AshnabisNarrator> Eventually you can spot them walking away from the house - did you want to talk to them, or follow them, or what?
<Daifan> (catch them a little ways away, yeah)
<Daifan> (maybe sm them first to see how their moods re after the meetng ;)
* Galdai is now known as Havraz
* Husband is now known as Udarta
<AshnabisNarrator> You can try to sense motive
* Daifan rolls [ 1d20+17 ] getting [ 11 ] which, after the modifier [ 17 ] totals [ 28 ]
<Junan> !roll 1d20+17
* Daifan rolls for Junan: [ 1d20+17 ] getting [ 12 ] which, after the modifier [ 17 ] totals [ 29 ].
<AshnabisNarrator> You think they are pensive, worried, maybe kind of confused?
<AshnabisNarrator> They are heading out of town, presumably they live on a farm/land holding out in the swamp, if not in another town entirely?
<Daifan> (I will see if I can follow them subtly, esp if ditching my disguise/corpsebornig it up will make that esier)
<Junan> (and I can head back to the studio)
<AshnabisNarrator> Ok, you can make a Stealth check to follow them.
* Daifan rolls [ 1d20+12 ] getting [ 4 ] which, after the modifier [ 12 ] totals [ 16 ]
<Daifan> (lol. they get a penalty to spot me though)
<AshnabisNarrator> !roll 1d20
* Daifan rolls for AshnabisNarrator: [ 1d20 ] getting [ 2 ].
<AshnabisNarrator> !roll 1d20
* Daifan rolls for AshnabisNarrator: [ 1d20 ] getting [ 11 ].
* lan_phone (firstname.lastname@example.org) Quit (Quit: Connection closed for inactivity�)
<AshnabisNarrator> well, they don't likely spot you at that. You can follow them as far as a farmstead a ways out of town, where they seem to have some goats and several other children, by the sounds of things.
<Daifan> (cool, good enough for now then)
<AshnabisNarrator> okay, cool
Jimba meets with Dezren Tertizhi about his family sword's recovery
<AshnabisGM> Jimba, business is good right now. Between your partnership with Liraula, and the ongoing and growing need for warehouse space at harvest time, there is plenty to keep you busy.
<AshnabisGM> Of course, you are away fairly often for work for the land registry. Your latest trip up the Kaskos was a pleasant enough diversion, but that just means you're all the busier catching up upon your return.
<AshnabisGM> And this trip, with the revelation of what you believe to be the Tertizhi khazkamma, adds further to your burdens. Mayiru has the silksword with her still, but her intention is to earn her reward from Dezren Tertizhi.
<Jimba> (Well, true to what I said to Veznara, I'll try to go see him right after I talked to her.)
<AshnabisGM> Since you have met Dezren, during your previous mission in search of the sword, you have agreed to meet with the Omban nobleman to broker a deal for the precious heirloom. Mayiru's starting asking price ... the astonishing sum of 20,000 gold horns.
<AshnabisGM> Dezren lives in a well-apportioned set of rooms in the center of Kaskind. It is no manor house - not run-down, to be sure, but seemingly organized as if for a purpose rather than for comfort.
<AshnabisGM> Various papers and books are strewn throughout the main living area.
* Bivizmi is now known as Dezren
* Jimba willing glance at the papers and books curiously.
* Dezren is a well-built man, perhaps in his thirties, dressed in what you could only describe as 'high Omban imperial meets the Sestapor'.
* Dezren has grown a beard since you last saw him back in Gugivas, at the land registry.
<Dezren> Ah, hello! Come in.
<Jimba> (How's it look?)
<Dezren> My apologies for the mess. The work, you understand - it requires careful attention.
<Jimba> (Also, what's in style, facial-hair-wise?)
<Jimba> No apology necessary. I know how it is to get engrossed in work.
<AshnabisGM> (pretty variable - Kaskind is very multiethnic. )
<Jimba> Thank you for seeing me.
<Jimba> (Okie doke.)
<Dezren> We did meet once before, right? At the land registry, with Artep?
* Jimba smiles.
<Jimba> Yes, sir. I was with the team that went with Artep to Fort Kinjilai.
<Dezren> That must have been very emotional - retrieving those ancients, and then, the revival of Lentus. Miraculous, almost. I have come to believe in miracles, in my time here.
<Dezren> Well - it is so different here, than anything I have been exposed to, ever, you understand. A city boy, born and raised.
* Jimba smiles at that.
<Jimba> I imagine it's been quite the adjustment.
<Dezren> I have good people around me.
<Jimba> That's always good, no matter where you are.
<Dezren> So, Veznara spoke to me already. Are you two ... partners in all this? It wasn't quite clear.
<Jimba> We're on the same team at the registry.
* Dezren nods.
<Jimba> Neither of us is directly involved in this, really.
<Dezren> All right.
<Jimba> I'm here as a broker for the party that recovered what we believe is your family's khazkamma.
* Dezren smiles broadly.
<Dezren> I am thrilled, simply thrilled, to hear that
<Jimba> I'm glad, and I truly hope it turns out to be the case.
<Dezren> What leads you to the conclusion that it might be?
<Jimba> I believe the location and dating fit, but of course you'd need to determine it's authenticity.
* Dezren pulls out a long scroll and unfurls it. It depicts a sword.
<Dezren> This is a copy of a very ancient record, drawn to represent the blade in every detail.
<Jimba> (Does it look the same?)
<Jimba> There was also a pair of bracers nearby, bearing the Tertizhi crest.
<AshnabisGM> (you're no expert, but yes, it is very very similar)
* Jimba says as he takes the scroll.
<Dezren> Ah, fascinating! And are these also with the possessor of the sword?
<Jimba> That could be coincidence, after centuries in the swamp, but they seemed indicative.
<Jimba> Ah, no, sir, we actually brought them back with us.
<Dezren> I see. Well, while of course I did not expect them, I would be happy to negotiate for those as well.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> I'm sure that can be arranged. We're still negotiating the distribution of what we recovered, but I'm sure you'll be able to discuss their repatriation with whoever ends up with them.
<Jimba> I'll be sure to put you in contact, or Veznara will.
<Jimba> As to the sword, this does look very similar to the one that was recovered.
* Dezren nods.
<Dezren> Each of the ancient khazkammas is unique - both in its construction and its powers.
* Jimba nods.
<Dezren> If it is the one, I will know it.
<Dezren> So, the person who has it now ... is not part of your team?
<Jimba> Ah, no. She's a friend of mine. We happened to run into her on a survey - she's Aummesh, and a hunter - and she showed us the ancient battlefield.
<Dezren> I am deeply in her debt, then.
<Jimba> Not debt, perhaps, but the reward could help her people significantly.
* Dezren nods.
<Dezren> Of course.
<Jimba> Hand Veznara seemed concerned the exchange would be acrimonious, but my understanding is that shouldn't be the case?
<Dezren> Is there a reason to think that the other party - I'm afraid you still haven't mentioned her name, so I don't know how to refer to her - will not exchange the khazkamma for gold?
<Jimba> My friend is perfectly willing to part with the sword, and I got the impression that the offered reward was a small price for your family to pay for the heirloom's return.
* Dezren nods.
<Dezren> Then I see no real obstacle - I appreciate that you are taking the role of broker here, as a sort of guarantor that the transaction can be smooth.
<Jimba> My apologies. My friend's name is Mayiru, of the Laguur.
* Dezren nods.
<Dezren> Very well. And will Mayiru meet with me directly, or will we conduct the exchange solely through you as intermediary?
<Jimba> And I believe she will be happy with the exchange. It is a magnificent sword, but it cannot feed her people.
<Jimba> I will speak with her, but I believe she would be willing to meet with you at a neutral location. Part of the reason I am acting as a broker is that she harbors some...native distrust of the Ombesh.
<Dezren> Ah, I see. Well, nothing to be done about that.
<Jimba> I was raised here in Ashnabis, if not Kaskind, and I only made friends with her because, well, because I was taking care of an orphaned hippo calf.
* Jimba smiles disarmingly.
<Jimba> So, I can inform her you're acceding to the reward, and we can move forward in good faith?
<Dezren> Well, yes, in principle, naturally. And did she give some sense as to the amount she would be seeking?
<Jimba> Given the significance of the find, she is asking for 20,000 horns.
* Jimba tries to say as gently as possible.
* Dezren pauses.
<Dezren> Yes, that is quite acceptable.
<Dezren> I can have that made available within three days.
<Jimba> (This is bad for me, but Sense Motive? Just to get a sense if that is indeed acceptable?)
<Dezren> (go ahead)
<Jimba> !roll 1d20+2
* Daifan rolls for Jimba: [ 1d20+2 ] getting [ 13 ] which, after the modifier [ 2 ] totals [ 15 ].
<Dezren> (seems acceptable? you can't really judge)
<Jimba> (okie doke)
<Jimba> If I may...
<Dezren> You may.
<Jimba> She is reasonable. If that is too great an asking price, now is the time to make a counter-offer.
<Dezren> I assure you that it is fine.
* Jimba nods.
<Dezren> You understand that I, and my family, and a retinue of hired people, all moved here for an indefinite period of time, to seek this sword.
<Jimba> Glad to reach an agreement.
<Dezren> That is not a mild expense.
<Jimba> Of course.
<Jimba> May I ask...I understand this is a family heirloom, and important, but...that seems a significant upheaval.
<Jimba> Not to mention the expense.
<Dezren> If it is the real thing - it is an item whose monetary value is simply inestimable.
* Jimba nods.
<Dezren> It allows me certain ancestral rights within the Sentinels, that go beyond my noble stature.
<Dezren> And I will forever be known as the one in my family to have brought it safely back to the Imperial City.
<Jimba> Well then, I hope we are correct, that it is the sword, and it is safely back in your possession soon.
* Jimba will offer his hand.
<Dezren> Each of the forty-nine is precious - in fact, are really the only ones entitled properly to be called silkswords, although these days, the word has become diluted.
<Dezren> It is unique, and thus, uniquely valuable.
* Dezren shakes your hand.
<Jimba> Hmm. I didn't know that. Fascinating.
<Jimba> My father was a sentinel, you know. Or perhaps still is. I've never met him.
<Dezren> Ah, I see. Did he pass before your birth, may I ask?
<Jimba> I truly don't know. My mother's family fled war in Choradan while my mother was still pregnant. I've never known my father or our homeland, except the latter in family stories.
<Dezren> I do see in you the bearing of those who hold the silk. It is something to be proud of.
<Dezren> As a noble of the senatorial class of Omba, and as a sentinel, if I could only choose one of those titles to bear with me after death, it would be the latter.
* Jimba gives a considering smile and nods.
<Jimba> I'd never had much knowledge of them until I came to Kaskind, and only then from afar.
<Jimba> Well, I don't want to take up too much of your time, sir.
<Jimba> You've been more than gracious.
<Dezren> Ah, the bracers? Did you want to negotiate those as well?
<Dezren> For yourself, of course, as a sort of finder's fee.
<Jimba> I can, once the claim for them is settled. However that turns out, I'll be sure you're informed of their owner, and they your interest.
<Jimba> I'd be a poor merchant if I turned down a finder's fee, but, truly, I did little.
<Dezren> Very well. Thank you, Jimba of the Ghughife. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
<Jimba> And I you, sir.
Veznara receives news that her parents will be visiting soon, and speaks to Dezmali
<AshnabisGM> Veznara, you have been a bit out of sorts since your return from the Glinting. You know your colleagues do not intend ill, and you always regret finding yourself in tension with them, at least after the fact. They do still appear to be speaking to you, at least.
<AshnabisGM> You are always happy to spend time at the Temple of the Hand in Kaskind. With the harvest now nearing its end, bubun have been released from agricultural work to undertake various repairs and cleaning around the temple, much of which you have the honour to supervise. These Ancestors serve with dignity.
<AshnabisGM> At the end of several hours of such work, Dezmali steps out of her office and comes down the hall into the side room where you are supervising the folding of linens. Your charges, of course, notice nothing.
* Dezren is now known as Dezmali
<Dezmali> Veznara? You are in here?
<Veznara> Dezmali! Yes, I'm here.
<Dezmali> Ah, good. Veznara, this has just arrived for you, care of my attention.
* Dezmali hands you a letter, sealed in green wax.
<Veznara> Thank you. Who is it from?
* Veznara asks even as she examines the seal
<Dezmali> From Taizi. Your family?
<Veznara> (Is it?)
<AshnabisGM> (The seal does indeed appear to be that of your lineage)
* Veznara smiles
<Veznara> Yes! Well, I think we're about done here...
* Veznara opens and reads it, assuming that's appropriate...
<AshnabisGM> The letter reads as follows:
<AshnabisGM> Our dear Veznara - it has been too long since we have seen you. We are confident that in your time in the Osnabi colonies you have made something of yourself. This letter precedes our visit by a month or more, but you should expect us at the start of the new year. We have much news to share, as we are sure you do as well. All our love.
<AshnabisGM> The letter, which is in your father's handwriting, bears the Kezondo crest at the bottom.
<Dezmali> News from home?
<Veznara> They're coming here!
* Veznara is astonished
<Dezmali> They - your family?
<Veznara> Yes! Or some of them... I'm not sure, it doesn't specify?
* Veznara reads it again for more clues
<Dezmali> Well, how exciting!
<Veznara> (I mean... am I wrong in thinking this is unexpected?)
* Veznara smiles widely
<AshnabisGM> (it is very unexpected - you had no reason to suppose they would ever visit you here)
<Veznara> This is wonderful... but...
* Veznara 's smile fades somewhat as she considers the possible implications...
<Veznara> Why would they come here? Just for me?
<Veznara> My father *does
* say "us", so it doesn't sound like it's him alone.
* Veznara checks the date of the letter
<AshnabisGM> The letter is dated 3 Udim, so just over a month ago.
<Veznara> (And that's the expected time it would take to get here? They don't mention a target arrival date.)
<AshnabisGM> The travel time can depend greatly, whether by land or by sea. By magic, obviously instantaneous.
<Veznara> Well, I'll be very glad to see them! I wonder... they must have sent something to my cousin Debergilda as well?
<Dezmali> One would imagine.
<Dezmali> I will admit, I am surprised.
<Veznara> Yes, so am I.
<Veznara> Who brought this?
<Dezmali> It came by envoy - though how it came to Kaskind, I can't say. Here at the temple, it was just one of the local messengers, a young girl.
* lan_phone (email@example.com) has joined #ashnabis
<Dezmali> I didn't pay it any mind - I get letters all the time.
<Veznara> Of course.
<Dezmali> What else do they say?
<Veznara> "We have much news to share".
<Dezmali> If they have news to share, why not simply share it in the letter?
* Veznara sighs
<Veznara> Because it would be dangerous to write down? :/
<Veznara> This is Taizi, after all. There can be implications within implications. :/
<Dezmali> I can't claim to know what it is like to come from a family of your esteemed birth, Veznara. While I have come, through this role, to circulate among the nobility, as you know my own birth is lowly.
<Dezmali> Perhaps they are ... checking in on you?
<Veznara> Well, they do also say they're "confident" I have "made something" of myself.
<Veznara> But surely they would not come all the way here just for that.
<Veznara> Not unless it has been, ah, *suggested
* that they do so?
* Veznara looks grim
<Dezmali> I can't say. No one ever expected anything of me - anything I have done it is because I expected it of myself.
<Dezmali> Wait, you're not suggesting that I would have done so?
<Veznara> You? Ancestors no, Dezmali!
<Veznara> I was thinking of my Imperial charge here.
<Veznara> I am sure she's quite capable of arranging such a thing, if she wanted to.
<Dezmali> Ohhh ... yes, I see.
<Dezmali> While I'm sure she's capable, would she have any reason to?
<Veznara> I would hope not!
<Veznara> At this point I can only speculate, and that seems pointless.
<Dezmali> And surely if you are suggesting that Princess Galdai is making some move against you ... surely there are worse things she can do to you than to suggest a family reunion?
<Veznara> Yes. My fear is that my family has been invited to take an extended vacation in the swamp, but if so probably for another reason.
<Veznara> Well, perhaps Debergilda will have a better idea.
<Dezmali> In the meantime ... if you are expected to have shown some, ahhh, progress? What progress are you meant to be showing?
<Veznara> Now, that's a good question.
<Dezmali> It seems, unless I miss my mark greatly, that you do not yet know what you expect of yourself. Merely what others expect of you.
<Veznara> Well, I... I seek to serve the Ancestors, of course.
<Dezmali> Of course.
<Dezmali> There are some who aspire to high station in the Hand. While I am not confident that this posting serves that goal well, the Corps is certainly expanding here, every day, with new arrivals.
<Veznara> Is there room for expansion, then? I really hadn't thought of it.
<Dezmali> I'm sure there will be new temples next year. But also - there are many other roles in the Hand than leading temples, and you have never given me an inclination that that sort of care is what you seek. Frankly - I had always imagined you would be here for a year or so and then you would be recalled home to Taizi.
<Dezmali> Part of me wonders whether that is what your parents are coming for.
<Veznara> Well - frankly, so had I. So you think they may be coming simply to decide whether to take me home?
<Dezmali> I don't know, Veznara, truly I don't.
<Veznara> That still surprises me... I'd expect them to send a trusted servant to visit, instead. But is it possible?
<Dezmali> I don't know your family, and I simply can't say. Do ... do you want to return?
<Veznara> I just assumed I would- as you say, I thought I'd just be here for a year or so.
<Veznara> But now I've made a place for myself here, with you and all my sisters.
* Dezmali smiles.
<Dezmali> You have - and not merely with the Princess Galdai, although of course I appreciate your help with her, given your position. But also here, amidst the linens, I see your attention to detail.
<Dezmali> A lesser woman, despite her noble birth, would eschew such trivialities.
* Veznara makes a gently dismissive gesture, but is obviously pleased at the praise
<Veznara> I.. I will have to think about all this. If you are right, I will have to think of what to say.to them.
<Dezmali> All right. But twice, there, you say 'think'. It is pointless to overthink this. I will leave you to your work. Try not to fret overmuch about this, Hand Veznara - such anxieties are unbecoming. We will take their arrival, when it comes, with grace and kindness and good cheer, and deal with any problems as they arise.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> Of course.
<Veznara> And it *will* be good to see them again, whatever the circumstances!
<Veznara> I will look forward to that, no matter what else.
Llillilli receives disturbing news from Sulise that Liwhis has been imprisoned, and speaks to Jimba to let him know she's leaving
<AshnabisGM> It's been quiet at home lately, Llillilli. Shulilae and Helithae's baby should be hatched any day now. Thelef has been spending more time with his lineage for the last few weeks, but mostly you are absolved from any duties towards your Aanilaus inlaws.
<AshnabisGM> This evening, you are having a quiet dinner at home with Thelef when there is a sharp scratching noise at the door.
* Llillilli frowns
<Llillilli> What's that...?
* Llillilli gets up to go look.
* Llillilli hesitates before opening it, listening for more noises outside
<AshnabisGM> The scratching stops and then a voice speaks from outside, in Hithaeli: "Hello?"
* Llillilli opens the door.
<Llillilli> <h> Hello?
<AshnabisGM> You open the door to see a young hith - at first, you don't recognize them but then you see that it is Silloeth, who you met with their friend Liwhis on your visit to Pfaeshes ... after they poked a hole in the Menagerie.
* Silloeth is a young, strongly built hith, with green skin bearing a pattern of darker green spots across their shoulders and arms. Their skin is still wet and briny - they clearly have only just stepped out of the sea.
* Silloeth seems alarmed, exhausted, or both.
* Thelef will come to see what is going on as well.
<Llillilli> <h> ... WHat is the matter?
<Silloeth> Elder Thelef ... Selleluf Llillilli ... I come to you with grave news. Liwhis has been confined in Sulise.
* Silloeth spits out urgently.
* Llillilli looks over to Thelef.
<Thelef> What has happened? Come in and tell us the whole story.
<Llillilli> Please come inside.
* Silloeth enters.
<Llillilli> (I will assume we are talking in H from here on)
* Silloeth settles down a bit.
<Silloeth> Yesterday, there was an argument with one of the solars, Thethu, I believe you may know them. Liwhis was incited to strike. It was not his own doing. It wasn't!
<Thelef> Incited how?
* Llillilli makes a face at the mention of Thethu.
<Silloeth> Thethu said ... Thethu openly said to Liwhis that when Pfaeshes was conquered by your pirates ... that he collaborated with them. That he worked against the People, that he was responsible for the hatchlings ... that he ...
* Silloeth curls up in the chair.
* Llillilli 's mouth falls open but nothing comes out; she is speechless with rage.
<Llillilli> That... that...!
* Llillilli looks to Thelef.
<Llillilli> He was supposed to be safe in Sulise.
* Thelef frowns
<Llillilli> Thethu is monstrous.
<Thelef> And Liwhis struck them in retaliation?
<Silloeth> Yes ... ahh, several times.
<Thelef> ahh... that is, I suppose, to be expected.
<Llillilli> This after they openly attacked the pfullaes. *They* should have been confined for that, ages ago!
<Thelef> To strike a solar is a grave offense... although it sounds clear that Liwhis was provoked unjustly.
<Silloeth> I came here as soon as I could.
<Llillilli> Thank you.
<Llillilli> We have to get him out.
<Silloeth> There is to be a trial. Fellis has demanded that King Whuthe hold Liwhis, and judge this matter.
<Silloeth> They will have to accede to that demand.
<Llillilli> I didn't rescue him from pirates - that he fought against *for the sake of the People as well as the humans* - so that he could be treated like this!
<Thelef> If there's going to be a hearing before the king, then there should be an opportunity for someone to speak for Liwhis's defense as well.
<Llillilli> Fellis will *regret* that Loeluth did not devour me! >:o
<Thelef> For instance, to say that it is clear Liwhis did not work with the pirates on Pfaeshes, since they had him in irons for sabotaging them, and that thus the accusations against him are unfounded and his anger was justified.
<Llillilli> I took him out of there barely alive!!
<Silloeth> Sister Llillilli, I know that I have wronged you, and so did Liwhis. We have no reason to expect your kindness. But I beg you, please, he is my friend.
<Llillilli> I will stand for him
<Thelef> I will try to use what influence I have with King Whuthe on his behalf as well.
<Llillilli> We should have kept him here with us...
<Thelef> Do you know when the hearing is to be held?
<Silloeth> No. I am but a sese, not privy to all the workings of the king's court
<Llillilli> Well. Then we should leave immediately.
* Thelef nods
<Thelef> Just give us a short while to make any preparations, let people know where we'll be going, and we will return to Sulise with you.
<Silloeth> Thank you, Elder. Thank you, esteemed selleluf.
<Llillilli> Yes, I will tell Jimba.
<Llillilli> and of course Shulilae and Helithae...
<Llillilli> This is... abhorrent
<Thelef> I hope that we can resolve the issue, and help Liwhis.
<Llillilli> We *will* bring him back.
* Thelef nods in agreement
<Llillilli> Do you think anyone knows you came here?
* Llillilli asks Silloeth.
<Silloeth> I don't think so. No one cares about me, particularly.
<Llillilli> Well. We do. >:|
<Silloeth> Thank you, selleluf.
* Llillilli will get her armor on and get ready to go find Jimba first.
* Llillilli finds Jimba on the boat. She is armed and armoured, and wears a grim expression.
* Jimba looks up and smiles, but it quickly falters when he takes in his sister's appearance.
<Jimba> What's going on?
<Llillilli> Jimba. I have to go to Sulise.
<Jimba> Did something happen?
<Llillilli> They imprisoned Liwhis! After we brought him there to keep him safe!
<Jimba> They what?!
<Llillilli> ONe of those awful solars goaded him into attacking by saying he had collaborated with the pirates, killed hatchlings and worse...!
* Jimba scowls.
<Jimba> But that's just, like, completely untrue.
<Llillilli> Of course it is!
<Jimba> Is he being put on trial or something?
<Llillilli> He was in chains, barely alive, because of sabotaging the Cormorant's fleet!
<Llillilli> So they say.
<Llillilli> I am going to speak on his behalf.
<Llillilli> If that is not enough... I will have to find another way.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> I want to help, but I don't know how.
<Llillilli> THe person who provoked him is the same one who attacked the age grade ceremony.
<Jimba> I assume Thelef will be with you?
<Llillilli> Such a hateful person.
<Jimba> Llillilli...did you consider maybe this person did this to goad you into rushing to Sulise?
<Llillilli> Well, now I have.
<Llillilli> But it doesn't matter, I can't not help Liwhis.
<Jimba> You asked for Liwhis's sanctuary there.
<Llillilli> I brought him there.
<Jimba> No, I know.
<Llillilli> He was supposed to be safe.
<Jimba> Gah, it sucks we can't go with you.
<Jimba> Thelef will be there with you, though, right?
<Llillilli> It would be even more dangerous for you.
<Llillilli> Though I fear it won't be long before even he is not welcome there.
<Llillilli> The solars seem to be trying to drive a wedge between the People and the kindred, not just the humans.
* Llillilli says bitterly.
<Llillilli> I don't know.
* Jimba frowns and sighs.
<Llillilli> Maybe they are afraid of us. Maybe they think we somehow... threaten their power.
<Jimba> I don't understand that, but...it's not my people, I guess.
<Jimba> You'll have to be careful.
<Llillilli> I am...
<Llillilli> I am very upset.
<Jimba> I know.
<Llillilli> I thought I had found my people. That there was somewhere I could belong. But they don't want me either.
<Jimba> *Some* of them may not, but that's not everyone.
<Llillilli> The solars have a lot of influence/
<Llillilli> THey're like the Corps here.
<Llillilli> And just as awful, it seems.
<Jimba> And the Corps doesn't have total control, either.
<Llillilli> They have a lot.
<Llillilli> It feels very hopeless is all. And it's just spiralling out of control.
<Jimba> I'm sorry.
<Jimba> This is a bad situation, no doubt.
<Jimba> But I have to believe it has a solution.
<Llillilli> Did I tell you about the dream I had... of humans and hith fighting each other
<Jimba> When was this?
<Llillilli> A while ago...
<Jimba> I can't lie and say it's not a possibility, but...it's not foregone.
<Llillilli> When I had to eat that snail.
* Jimba chuckles a little despite himself.
<Jimba> Look, I know things look bad right now, and this thing with Liwhis certainly is.
<Llillilli> And before that as well, with the moles...
<Llillilli> (I think)
<Jimba> But we can work on it. And other people.
<Llillilli> There is one other thing, if you can...
<Jimba> Thelef's trying to keep things peaceable. Maybe I can try to talk to some people.
<Llillilli> please help Shulilae and Helithae while Thelef and I are gone...
<Jimba> Uh, sure. What do they need help with?
<Llillilli> THe little one...
<Llillilli> And their own eggs will hatch soon.
<Jimba> I'll do whatever I can.
<Llillilli> I wish I didn't have to leave them like this. I hope it won't be long. :<
* Llillilli is clearly pained and torn
<Jimba> I don't know a ton even about human babies, but I'll offer my help.
<Llillilli> Well, even if you could just collect things they need that would probably help.
<Jimba> Hey, hey, it'll be all right.
<Jimba> I'm here, I'll do everything I can to help.
<Llillilli> Thank you...
<Jimba> Your family is my family, so they're my family, too.
* Llillilli nods...
<Llillilli> PLease tell Kat and the others for me.
<Jimba> I will.
<Llillilli> I have to go; I still have to see SHulilae.
* Llillilli hugs you fiercely
* Jimba hugs back.