Ashnabis session 43

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Session date: November 22, 2020
Fair Cycle date:


<AshnabisNarrator> Every new ship is a storm, bringing with it new settlers like raindrops upon the land. Kaskind's soggy east end, away from both the coast and the older settlements along the Maripak (or North Kaskos) river, are burgeoning.
<AshnabisNarrator> More and more - certainly this season more than last - the newcomers seem to be itinerant farm laborers interested in working someone else's claim, brought in by the shipload from Choradan or by caravan from Daligash, or perhaps even farther afield, from the Imperial City of Omba herself.
<AshnabisNarrator> But too, you are starting to see brown country dashis in Kaskind worn by unfamiliar Aummesh, as folk from the country villages have come to the town (soon to be 'the city'?) to seek their fortune.
<AshnabisNarrator> Until now, it seemed at least vaguely possible to get to know the newcomers to the town each year, but no longer. Even for those of you who have only been here a couple of seasons, the territory is becoming a very different place indeed.

Katenzhi pays a visit to Asta Lerushti and learns more from her about the Maiden's Voice

<AshnabisNarrator> Katenzhi, you remain troubled by the visit you received from Atsa Lerushti, and the potential threat posed to you and Bivizmi.
<AshnabisNarrator> Bivizmi is determined to press on regardless, and doesn't want to talk about the subject, as it seems to cause her distress. But the idea that out there somewhere is a cult of religious fanatics who would kill you for revealing their secrets is hard to just put aside and get back to work...
<AshnabisNarrator> You make your way to Atsa's shop one day, maybe just to see whether she's still alive and well after her visit to you, maybe to try and get some more answers.
* Katenzhi will enter cautiously
* Atsa 's cosmetics shop seems to do a good business - as you watch for a little while, several customers go in and out, often with small packages in hand.
* Atsa is behind a counter laden with her cosmetics and other goods. The scent of the store is heavy with floral perfume.
<Atsa> Oh! Can I help you?
* Atsa looks a bit nervous at seeing you here, but puts a smile on as if she's greeting any other customer.
<Katenzhi> Hello. Sorry, I was hoping I could get a... private consultation on some... cosmetics... things.
<Atsa> Certainly, I could help with that.
<Atsa> I might have something that would be more suitable for you in the back. Let me just close the door, so no one happens to wander in while I'm away from the counter.
<Katenzhi> Of course.
* Atsa latches the front door and will accompany you to the storage room at the back of her small shop.
<Atsa> Why are you here? Did something happen?
* Atsa asks once you're concealed out of view
<Katenzhi> No. Not yet. And I don't know what will.
<Katenzhi> I want to apologize for my... for Bivizmi. She can be a bit stubborn.
<Atsa> It's all right. I didn't expect a warm reception... And I know how difficult it must be.
<Katenzhi> I know you risked a lot coming to see us.
* Atsa nods
<Atsa> I've already said more than I should have... I could be in danger just being seen speaking with you.
<Katenzhi> I won't stay long, then. Is there anything else we should know? How far does this cult's influence go? Do they have supporters outside of the family?
<Atsa> It's mostly just the Sashnir family and people who have married in or are associated with them. But... I think some other priests know about us, at least enough to have decided not to interfere.
<Katenzhi> Look, I don't want to hurt anyone, but I know Bivizmi, and she's not going to stop. Especially now after... you know. There has to be some way we can settle this without violence.
<Katenzhi> Who's in charge of the Maiden's Voice?
<Atsa> well... it's really two people, I guess. Ragamen Sashnir is the high priest, but his brother Bakkus also has much influence, he's the lineage elder of the Sashnirs.
<Atsa> There are others, of course, but those two make most of the important decisions.
<Katenzhi> What do they believe? Why is this fos so sacred to them?
<Atsa> They follow the teachings of the Maiden... the saint, Sashni Ula. She guides them in all that they do.
<Atsa> I know they use the fos in some of their rituals but it isn't something I've been part of myself, so all I know really is that it gives them visions of the future.
<Katenzhi> So you're not a believer, then?
<Atsa> Well... I'm not one who was brought up in the faith since birth. I go to the usual ceremonies and the like with my husband, but I don't participate in the most sacred rituals. Only a few people do that.
<Katenzhi> WShy all the secrecy? And how have they managed to stay unknown for so long?
<Atsa> Until recently, there was little interest paid to any of us. Until people started coming here to take the land and farm fos, people just left us alone.
<Katenzhi> They must know that they can't keep this up forever. More people are coming every year. If not us then someone would have found it eventually.
<Katenzhi> Do you think there's any chance to convince them that it's in their best interest to come forward?
<Atsa> It frightens them. They will be driven to more dangerous acts if the pressure continues.
<Atsa> I think they believe that... if Sashni Ula became known, that there was a saint, here, she would be taken away from them, that they would be hunted down and killed.
<Katenzhi> Then it's inevitable that something will happen. Even if they manage to silence us, someone else will find out. If you want to protect your family, I would suggest you try to distance yourselves from the main clan. I'm grateful that you warned us. I don't want anything to happen to you if I can help it.
<Atsa> If I could take my children and get away, I would. I just don't know where we could go, where we would be safe.
<Katenzhi> If that's really what you want, then... I'll see what I can do.
<Katenzhi> I can't promise anything, but I have some friends.
* Atsa looks uncertain, but nods
<Atsa> Here - let me give you something, so it looks like you bought something from the shop. In case anyone might be watching.
* Atsa hands you a bottle of some kind of lotion, wrapped in a tasteful piece of cloth.
<Katenzhi> Of course. If you need me... if anything happens... I'm usually down by the docks. or at the surveyors.
<Atsa> All right. Please take care, and I will try to as well.
* Katenzhi nods.
* Katenzhi will take the package and leave, trying to be as "normal" looking as she can.

Daifan and Junan learn that Fuska's baby has been born and given to the other family, and speak to Dezmali

<AshnabisNarrator> Daifan, the news you have been waiting to hear finally happens in the early hours of the morning - Fuska's baby has been born, a healthy little girl with a strong set of lungs, as many in the village can attest.
<AshnabisNarrator> As is customary, the Hand of the Dead will take the child with the tide and deliver it to its new home. You wait with nervous anticipation to hear whether it will be yours - whether your deception has been successful.
<AshnabisNarrator> However, no priestess arrives to ask you to accept a child. All that you receive, later in the day, is a brief message from Ghegis, Galdai's steward, thanking you for your interest but letting you know that the princess has decided to go with the other family. The messenger also has a small sum of money, twenty horns, as a thanks for your time.
<AshnabisNarrator> Presumably, then, they have given the baby to Hevraz and Udarta, the goat farmers you saw at your last meeting, since as far as you know they were the only other candidates.
* Daifan will let Junan know
<Daifan> (well I guess he would also get the message but let's talk :V)
<Daifan> Show we go see them?
<Junan> we can, but how do you want to handle this?
<Daifan> I thkn... if we can convince them of the truth, maybe they will agree to help us?
<Daifan> or at least uderstand that she cannot be allowed to get her hands o thsi child >:|
<Junan> I could probably convince them of most anything if I really tried.
<Daifan> Okay.
<Daifan> we can talk to her, and then go to Dezmali and Veznara?
<Junan> If you think that is the best plan here.
<Junan> I mean even if we convince Hevraz and Udarta to release the child, the will likely have to tell Galdai what happened.
<Daifan> maybe >.>
<Daifan> what would ou suggest?
<Daifan> kidnap it? And take it where?
<Junan> do with the child what we were gonna do, right?
<Daifan> I thought I could take her back wth Shira, and that it wouldnt have to be for too long... now I don't know
<Daifan> but it would be a start
<Daifan> Maybe we are thinking this through backwards
<Daifan> We should go to Dezmali
<Daifan> maybe she will have a way to get the child away
<Daifan> then - we can decide if it is best to be direct or not
<Junan> good thinking, find an escape plan first then get the child... its not going anywhere for a few weeks at least
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> okay. Lets seee if she will see us now.
<Junan> I'm guessing were were despirate enough, but just a little too shifty
* Junan things about why they were not chosen
<Daifan> Mmmhmm.
<AshnabisNarrator> Okay, so you want to go and try to talk with Dezmali?
<Junan> (nod)
<Daifan> but the other family also has other children, so it may have been less remarkable
<Daifan> (yes)
* Atsa is now known as Dezmali
<Daifan> they are also out of town.
<Junan> makes little difference now
* Daifan nods
<AshnabisNarrator> You can make your way to the temple, and after a short wait, are able to get in to speak with Dezmali.
<Dezmali> Ah... how can I help you?
* Daifan just sighs
<Daifan> Oh Hand Dezmali... you may wish t sit >.>
* Dezmali sits, warily.
<Daifan> This is about Galdai, again.
<Daifan> and Fuska's child.
<Dezmali> What about it?
* Daifan will explain what they found out about the interviews, and how theirs went, their meeting with her, and then what happened this morning re the birth and being told they didn't get it
* Dezmali frowns, listening.
<Daifan> Every bone in my body tells me she should ot be allowed toget her hands on this child.
<Daifan> I don't think the pwople who have her now are bad people
<Daifan> they would not now the whole story
<Dezmali> The child was given to a family who sought a baby - they seemed qualified, if not wealthy, and have children already.
* Dezmali nods
* Daifan will tell her their names
<Daifan> in less than a yer... it will go to Galdai, or to her granddaughter
<Dezmali> Let me get the records... to see if I can ascertain anything from them.
<Daifan> that is the deal they have agreed to
* Daifan nods
* Dezmali will go obtain the documents that the temple keeps about children given into the care of various families, a long scroll.
* Dezmali unrolls it to consult the latest addition to the records.
<Daifan> I wasn't sure if the baby would have been exchanged here, or in Timil
<Dezmali> We endeavour to keep track of all children we are responsible for. It happens rarely, but for instance if a child's parents should both die, or no longer be able to care for the child they have been given, we would find them a new family. We also watch for signs of neglect or ill health, things we might be able to assist with.
* Daifan nods
<Dezmali> It seems that the priestess who assigned the child to this family was Hand Vordosisu... I do not know her especially well, as she has not been here long, but she seemed sensible when we have spoken.
* Dezmali considers for a moment.
<Dezmali> One option could be to reverse the decision - remove the child from their care and assign it elsewhere. This is... rare, and would certainly cause ill-feeling, both with the family, and perhaps with Hand Vordosisu, if she feels her judgment was being questioned.
<Daifan> well. We know Galdai is an encanhtress, as well as a nuber of other things >.>
* Daifan nods
<Junan> couldnt it be determined if enchantement was involved, or just a straight donation?
<Daifan> I think the family could be... made to understand. But I would still worry that she would bring her influence to ber on whoever the baby was reassigned to, if she could find out
<Dezmali> What were they promised in exchange for this child, do you know? money?
<Junan> I assume money, but it could be something else of value to them.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> we were offered money as well as funds and support to raise the child
<Junan> and implied assistance in getting a new child
<Dezmali> Could we simply outbid her? Offer them something greater. I know she is very wealthy, but perhaps there's something we could provide that they would find more desirable.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> that's possible...
* Daifan tells her what we were offered
<Daifan> I suspect that they needed it to help support their other children
* Dezmali nods
<Dezmali> Well... it sounds like, at least for the moment, the child is safe where it is, if she is not moving to seize it immediately. There is some time to evaluate possible choices going forward. Perhaps, if you are willing, you could observe the family, talk to them even, and see what you might be able to determine.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I should also say.... she is planning to have her granddaughter raise this child after she dies.
<Daifan> From thinsg Hand Veznara has said, I don't knot what the lady is, uh... well informed of these plans
<Daifan> but I can try ad speak to her directly about that
* Dezmali nods
<Dezmali> It's also expected that the Hand will pay occasional visits to check in on the child, so I will ensure that someone trustworthy is assigned to that task. Perhaps Hand Veznara would be suitable.
* Daifan nods
<Dezmali> Thank you for bringing this to me.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> Thank you for your support.

Daifan and Junan confer with Veznara about the baby situation

* Veznara is in the map room, checking various maps and redrafting some that require corrections
* Daifan will come in and close the door
* Veznara looks up, and suppresses a frown
<Daifan> Good afternoon, Hand Veznara
<Veznara> Good afternoon, Daifan.
* Junan waves hello
<Junan> Afternoon Hand Veznara
<Veznara> Good afternoon, Junan.
<Daifan> I had some information for you, about Galdai
<Veznara> Oh?
<Daifan> and her ongoing plots...
* Daifan sighs
<Daifan> mmhmm.
* Veznara frowns
<Daifan> Do you remember Fuska?
<Veznara> Fuska? Not offhand, I'm afraid...
<Daifan> mm. She was the corpseborn woman who sheltered here when she was pregnant.
<Daifan> err... at the temple
<Veznara> Ah, yes, of course.
<Daifan> she had her baby
<Veznara> All went well, I hope?
<Daifan> with the birth, yes.
<Veznara> ...
<Veznara> but?
<Daifan> The couple the child was given to, however, were selected, and paid, by Galdai, with the expectation that she will collect the child from them in a few onths, to raise as her own, and by her granddaghter after she has passed.
<Veznara> ...
<Veznara> ...
<Veznara> Oh dear.
<Daifan> yes.
<Veznara> I know nothing of this. Obviously she's been keeping it hidden from me.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I know you were concerned about why she was keeping her granddaughter so close
<Daifan> This is why - though... I don't understand fully what her intent is towards the child, after she is dead.
<Veznara> Yes. And there hasn't been any information on that from Taizi. It's disturbing.
<Veznara> I suppose we have to assume it's related to whatever she intended before...
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> She was so keen to acquire a child from the community...
* Veznara frowns
<Veznara> How is it she was able to arrange this in the first place?
<Veznara> And does she realize that it's *Fuska's* child?
<Veznara> Or is she simply looking for any child of a corpseborn?
<Daifan> We don't know. The priestess who arranged it is new - Hand Vordosisu
<Daifan> but yes, the Hand would know whose baby it was.
<Daifan> They know when the tide is going out
<Veznara> Vordosisu would know in the sense that she'd meet the mother, but I don't see how she would know that Fuska was one of the escapees.
<Veznara> She's only arrived recently... I don't know her well.
<Daifan> I can't think it is an accident
<Veznara> You say they were *selected* by Galdai? She didn't find out who had received a baby and then made an offer; she arranged the whole thing?
* Junan nods
* Veznara frowns
<Junan> I mean, Galdai knows that Fuska disappeared... and likely did not leave the territory
* Daifan also nods
<Veznara> Well, yes. She doesn't *know*, but she would strongly suspect
<Junan> and probably had an idea when she would give birth... so its not hard to think she just waited for the likely time. just adjusted her plans.
<Veznara> There were others she may be looking out for, at that.
<Daifan> Mmhmm.
<Veznara> I am not eager to accuse one of my sisters of allowing outside influences to determine her decision in such a matter. But if this is true, I should bring it to the attention of Hand Dezmali.
<Daifan> There are not so many babies born in Banei
<Daifan> We have already informed her
<Daifan> but I wanted to let you know as well
<Veznara> What did she say?
<Daifan> she is considering what to do - whether we can make the family another offer not to comply with Galdai.
<Daifan> She said she may ask you to check in on them and the child as well
<Veznara> Mmmm.
<Veznara> That would certainly be logical. Vordosisu would probably accept it, even, as it's known I attend the Princess Galdai.
<Junan> if she objected, then that would be revealing as well
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> also if we aren;t able to secure the child vefore Galdai take her, then you'd recognize her, as well
<Junan> which seems to me that Vordosisu should be actively trying to prevent you from checking on the child
<Daifan> perhaps - she may not know the whole plan
<Daifan> just have been told to ensure that this family are given the child
<Veznara> Her objecting wouldn't be that suspicious on its own, though. If this case is her responsibility, it would be unusual for another Hand to get involved.
<Veznara> Under normal circumstances, she might feel her choice was being questioned, and take some offense.
<Veznara> If anything, it would be more suspicious if she *didn't* object.
<Veznara> ..if the case is formally reassigned to me, that is.
<Veznara> I must talk to Dezmali about this.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I believe she planned to.
<Veznara> Mmm.
<Veznara> I hoped Galdai would leave off these plots...
<Veznara> ...
<Daifan> I hve only the wildest imagining as to what her plans even *are*
<Veznara> Well, yes. I can imagine a number of purposes she may have in mind, and none of them good. :/
<Veznara> But speculating is not of much use.
* Daifan nods
<Veznara> I shall consult Dezmali about this, and find out how she wants to proceed.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> if you learn anything, I would appreciate it if you let me know
<Veznara> I'll see what I can find out.
<Daifan> thank you - I will do the same.
<Daifan> well..
* Daifan smils at Junan
<Daifan> we will
* Junan nods

Mayiru brings a business proposition to Jimba

<AshnabisGM> Jimba, with the influx of new settlers, business at the port is very busy. The harbormaster Sizhif and her staff are more than occupied with the new traffic, which is good news for anyone looking to do a little business on the side with little chance of trouble.
<AshnabisGM> Aptan appears to have settled in for now to his new role, and Ulutse has been calm, at least, if not quite resolved. You have seen her more than once looking out across Nimneha Bay towards Ruur, at sunset.
<AshnabisGM> One afternoon, as you are at the warehouse doing some inventory, the door opens and standing before you is Mayiru Laguur, dressed rather more nicely than her usual state.
* Jimba smiles.
* Mayiru is wearing a red silk shirt, black tight-fitting pants, and high brown leather boots, of a sort most often worn by Ombesh merchants this year.
<Mayiru> So apparently this is what it's like to be a rich imperial bastard. I see the appeal.
<Jimba> Looking good, Mayiru. Special occasion?
<Mayiru> You are looking at a self-made woman. Made my money the hard way, in the fos fields, one sword at a time.
<Mayiru> Although as it turns out, you only need one.
* Jimba chuckles.
<Jimba> Apparently so.
<Mayiru> I like all of ... this.
* Mayiru says, waving her hands around the warehouse.
<Mayiru> You're a busy boy.
<Jimba> Hey, I'm a busy man. ;)
<Jimba> But thank you.
* Mayiru laughs.
<Mayiru> Town's getting big.
<Jimba> Yeah...
<Jimba> More coming every day.
<Mayiru> Good for your business ... and for mine.
* Jimba chuckles again.
<Jimba> I would imagine so, yes.
<Mayiru> So what is there to do in town for a rich girl with time on her hands?
<Jimba> We could go for a drink?
<Jimba> (Is there any sort of entertainment? I don't actually know what there is to do. :p )
<Mayiru> Fine, but you're buying.
<AshnabisGM> (sure, at taverns and whatnot)
<Jimba> Hey now, I thought you were rich.
<Mayiru> I didn't get rich by buying drinks for unattainable men.
<Jimba> Who says I'm unattainable? I've been attained.
* Jimba will step out to the street.
<Mayiru> Interesting ... well, come on then.
* Jimba smiles.
<Jimba> I have to say, I didn't think I'd ever see you dressed up like that.
<Mayiru> Don't worry, I'm not going to become some strange city girl. Auri wouldn't hear of it, for one thing.
<Jimba> 'Teppo does just fine as a city girl.
<Mayiru> You're right, I shouldn't blame Auri for my own qualms.
<Jimba> But I didn't figure you'd move here or anything.'re not a fan of...a lot of this.
<Jimba> I'm having some concerns myself, but I don't know there's much to be done.
<Mayiru> Well ... let's get a drink and then let's talk.
* Mayiru says rather cryptically.
* Jimba will take her to a good Aummesh tavern.
<Mayiru> So. Your imperial chum was very obliging. Threw over twenty thousand horns, four hundred pounds of gold, like it was nothing. My guess is that I undercharged him. But it seems wrong to complain.
* Mayiru sits back, sips her beer, and recounts the tale as if talking about a great hunt.
* Jimba smiles.
<Jimba> I'm glad it worked out.
<Jimba> Might be a lucrative side business in old relics.
<Mayiru> It does leave me with a problem though. Like what do you do with four hundred pounds of gold?
<Jimba> Well, I'm sure you can buy a cart easily enough. ;)
* Mayiru laughs.
<Mayiru> Not quite what I meant.
<Jimba> Well, it depends. What do you want to do with it?
<Mayiru> So my first thought was, buy a lot of weapons, get them back to base, distribute them among the people, take some more imperial heads.
<Mayiru> But that might be a bit suspicious, especially if I didn't resell them. And weapons are no good without competent hands to hold them.
<Jimba> And you don't have those available?
<Mayiru> Not that many! And certainly not well-trained hands, no.
* Jimba nods.
* Mayiru takes a long drink.
<Mayiru> That's a lot of money. It' s just kind of hitting me now.
<Jimba> It is. It can do a lot for you. For your people.
<Jimba> At least, that was my hope.
* Mayiru nods.
<Mayiru> So I have to figure out, what's the best way to help the Ivory Knives, and help the people? And that's where you come in.
<Jimba> Oh?
<Jimba> I'm all ears.
<Mayiru> You see, twenty thousand is a nice start, but it's pretty obvious that we're going to need a lot more than that to get rid of the infestation.
* Jimba nods carefully.
<Mayiru> If one Imperial city boy can drop twenty thousand like that - how's that going to make a difference when there's twenty thousand in fos going out of port every day, right?
<Jimba> Not how I'd put it, being an infestee myself, but...
<Jimba> Infestor? Something or other.
<Jimba> But I see your point.
<Mayiru> Nah, you're good.
<Mayiru> I don't care who your parents were.
* Mayiru drinks.
<Jimba> Oh, honey, I *know* I'm good. ;)
* Mayiru laughs.
<Jimba> But we were talking business.
<Mayiru> Right.
<Mayiru> Ironically, what I need first is more Imperials, not less. More ships coming my way, north and south on Lake Tsidul, rather than east and west along the Kaskos itself. And that means more fun for the Knives. So then I thought: a tavern.
<Jimba> A tavern, huh?
<Jimba> That's an interesting idea.
<AshnabisGM> (just for reference: she means up through the lakes F and E, as opposed to along the inlet at G and then the Kaskos river, at
<Mayiru> So here's the thought: I find someone to start a tavern, a good one, in Baziri, probably, south end the lake, under Imperial protection. Imperial scum keep saying they may even build a canal from there through to the sea someday.
<Jimba> (*nod*)
<Mayiru> I'd hire people from the lake communities, Baziri, Hapaan, even Udino, to work the place, gather information about ships coming this way.
<Mayiru> Have to keep the route tempting enough, and only hit boats with the right kind of cargo. Too much carnage is bad for my trade.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> No carnage is even better. Then they live to be fleeced another day.
<Mayiru> Well ... I mean ... depends on your goal.
<Mayiru> I'm not looking to settle down, Jimba.
<Jimba> The thought never crossed my mind.
<Jimba> You're looking for a bigger revenue stream.
<Jimba> To fund your real project.
<Mayiru> Well, yes, but ... also to make my real project easier.
<Jimba> Can I ask you...
<Mayiru> Think of it, someone tells you exactly what ships have Omban nobles with jewels, and which are full of, I don't know, orphans.
<Mayiru> I don't want to kill orphans. I'm not a monster.
* Jimba looks around to make sure no one is too near.
* Mayiru takes another drink.
<Jimba> Right, I know that.
<Jimba> Just, what does this look like in the end?
<Mayiru> Well, the thing is ...
<Mayiru> I'm no innkeeper. I'd need someone who wanted to make a lot of money but who I could trust. Someone well-known to the Fort, too - someone they trust also. To be the face of the place.
<Jimba> Right. I followed that much.
<Jimba> You need my pretty face.
<Mayiru> I mean, I know you're busy.
<Mayiru> You can't pack up your business to start a tavern.
<Jimba> I can sort it.
<Mayiru> You would need to hire a manager or whatever.
* Jimba nods.
<Mayiru> I trust you to find the people to do the day to day.
<Jimba> That I can do.
<Mayiru> But I do need an Ombesh friend, trusted here, with enough money that no one's going to ask too many questions about where he got the money to build a really nice tavern or inn.
<Mayiru> Cause that's what it has to be, a real classy place.
<Mayiru> A place where my marks will want to stay.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> I think I can manage that.
<Mayiru> And then not to ask too many questions about which bodies float downriver.
* Jimba ponders that.
<Jimba> I mean, I've never asked before.
* VeznaraK is now known as Veznara
<Jimba> But when I was asking what this looked like, I meant your long-term goal.
<Jimba> Maybe I can help with that.
<Mayiru> Ah... right.
<Mayiru> Well, I mean, there's my dream, and there's reality, you know?
<Jimba> And that might mean needing to know more.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> Well, dream first, then we'll haggle.
<Mayiru> My dream is that we make this place too costly to be worth exploiting. That the imperials take their fos, run back home, and leave us to our own devices.
<Mayiru> But that seems more and more hopeless every day.
<Jimba> What do you see in their place?
<Jimba> Like it or not, they've established something here. That doesn't go away when they do.
<Mayiru> A place where Aummesh people, my people, hold real power. Where Ombesh stay by our word and not their own desires.
<Mayiru> Where they understand the price of being here.
* Jimba nods.
<Mayiru> A price in blood, and power.
* Jimba frowns.
<Mayiru> The money, hell Jimba, I don't know what to do with money.
* Jimba chuckles.
<Mayiru> I wandered by the gambling parlor on my way here, thought about dropping it all on one hand.
<Jimba> Well, good you didn't.
<Jimba> I know you don't care about the money.
<Jimba> Can I tell you something?
<Mayiru> Sure.
<Jimba> I don't either.
<Jimba> Not really.
<Jimba> I care about Kat, and Llillilli, and the rest of my family.
* Mayiru raises an eyebrow, clearly surprised.
<Jimba> My friends, my people, such as they are.
<Jimba> Money keeps them fed, keeps them happy, keeps them as safe as I can make them.
<Mayiru> That's good. Family is good. Half the Laguurs don't talk to me, but they're still my kin.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> So I get it.
<Jimba> And, honestly, I'm with you.
<Jimba> You know how I deal. I try to do right by everyone involved.
<Jimba> That's how it *should* would.
<Jimba> And I think that might be more likely if the Aummesh had more leverage.
* Mayiru nods.
<Mayiru> But I worry, you know? About ... selling out.
<Jimba> I don't think Auri would let that happen. ;)
<Mayiru> Your friend Liraula, I mean ... how do you think it ends for her?
<Mayiru> She's so busy kissing Imperial ass that she's forgotten she's a pirate.
<Jimba> That's one view.
<Jimba> But another is that her people are prosperous and secure.
<Jimba> And I think they would still be whether the Imperials were here or not.
<Mayiru> Thirty years from now, mark my words, her kin are marrying the governor of the colony, and everyone comes to her as the esteemed auntie with a good head for business.
<Mayiru> At her eulogy they'll say how smart she was, and not how quick she was with a blade.
<Jimba> Is that bad?
<Jimba> Say that scenario plays out exactly as you said, but it's an Aummesh 'governor' or whatever you want to call it.
* Mayiru shakes her head.
<Mayiru> Not without decisive action now, it doesn't. You can't deal with Imperials as equals now and expect them to always honor that.
<Mayiru> The minute they get the upper hand, BOOM!
* Mayiru slaps her hand on the table, rattling your drinks.
<Mayiru> They'll take what they want. She'll be happy enough. But in the end, she won't be in power.
* Jimba considers.
<Jimba> Have you thought about making that argument to her?
<Mayiru> Not my business. She's not my friend, she's yours.
<Mayiru> I'm hoping that she won't be upset if we go into business together.
<Jimba> Sure, but she could be.
* Mayiru scowls.
<Mayiru> I just think ... ok, here's the thing.
<Jimba> Ally, rather, if you prefer.
* Jimba listens.
<Mayiru> I don't *like* Yeggun Shotser. The Cormorants are cruel.
<Mayiru> But I respect him. He does what he does, very well.
<Mayiru> He makes fear, and that's worth making.
* Jimba gives an equivocating nod.
<Mayiru> Liraula makes money, and has forgotten fear.
<Jimba> There are other ways to get what you want than through fear.
<Jimba> But I take your point.
<Mayiru> I can't ask you to go against the Black Stork. But I would have you as my partner in this, if you're willing and able.
<Jimba> I am.
<Mayiru> All right then. I'll drink to that
* Mayiru does so.
* Jimba does as well.
<Mayiru> All right, well, you think about some of the details, and I will too. Want to get this up and running sooner rather than later.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> Kat will be happy to pitch in once she hears it's about a tavern.

Veznara visits the temple on the Auggi to assist with repairs, and Bitsaar shows her a secret room in the temple

<AshnabisNarrator> Veznara, you are keeping busy with work and temple, but now always with the knowledge that your parents will be visiting before too long hovering at the back of your mind.
<AshnabisNarrator> You spoke about the forthcoming visit with your cousin Debergilda, but she knew no more of their reasons than you, so it remains a subject of mystery.
<AshnabisNarrator> On this morning, you arrive at the temple, hoping to talk to Dezmali. You are surprised to find her gathering a large group of bubun in the courtyard.
<Dezmali> Ah, Veznara, good. You are just the person I was hoping to see.
<Veznara> Yes, Dezmali? What's going on?
<Dezmali> The priests at the temple of Suduk, on the Auggi, have requested assistance from us. A portion of their temple collapsed and they need labourers to help move ancestors and rebuild.
<Veznara> Oh! How unfortunate. Of course we must help.
<Dezmali> I've made arrangements with one of the ships going over from the fort to bring supplies. You can accompany them and manage the bubun while they perform the necessary work, then bring them back, hopefully this evening.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> I would be honored to help.
<Dezmali> Very good.
* Veznara aids in getting things organized, makes whatever preparations she needs to, and sets out.
<AshnabisNarrator> You have never formally managed a group of twenty-five bubun before, so it is a bit of a challenge, but you are able to get them organized, down to the harbour, and on board the ship without too much difficulty.
<AshnabisNarrator> The ship is transporting building materials for the watchtower that the fort is constructing on the cliffs of the Auggi, but they manage to make room for you and your complement of workers.
<AshnabisNarrator> When you reach the Auggi an hour or so later, it's clear that work on this new extension of the fort's reach is well underway. They have constructed a basic lift with pulleys to bring people and goods up the steep cliff, which you can also make use of.
* Dezmali is now known as Bitsaar
* Bitsaar is there to greet you, and smiles widely when he sees that it's you.
<Bitsaar> Hand Veznara, it's wonderful to see you again!
<Bitsaar> When we asked for aid, I didn't know it would be you they would send, but I'm grateful for your help.
* Veznara smiles
<Veznara> Voice Bitsaar, it's good to see you too.
<Veznara> How can we help?
<Bitsaar> There was a heavy storm two nights ago, with strong wind and rain. In the morning, we found that part of the old temple wall had collapsed.
* Veznara looks around for Voice Witis as well.
<Veznara> That's unfortunate. I hope the Ancestors were not damaged!
* Mayiru is now known as Witis
<Bitsaar> Fortunately nothing serious. We need assistance in relocating them while the repairs are completed, as well as with fixing the wall itself of course.
<Veznara> Certainly.
* Witis is busy at the moment attending to the Ancestors inside, but is around.
<Bitsaar> Let me show you the way, then.
* Veznara orders some of the bubun to bring needed supplies, while others accompany them to the area where the work is to be done.
* Bitsaar will lead you (and the bubun) to an old section of the building's wall, which seems to have collapsed inwards due to the mortar between the stones crumbling away over centuries.
<Veznara> Well, let us put this to rights, then...
<Bitsaar> Here is the damaged section... we'll need to bring some bubun inside as well, to clear the debris and move the ancestors.
* Veznara issues commands to the bubun to do so. When everything is underway, she looks around some more.
<Veznara> This must be a very old part of the temple. Who are the Ancestors resting here?
<Bitsaar> Well... in this section, members of the Chetsu lineage, a very old family.
<Bitsaar> You are interested in the old ancestors?
<Veznara> Certainly. Do any of their descendants still come to visit them?
<Bitsaar> Only rarely, I'm afraid.
<Bitsaar> We do our best to look after the ancestors here, but it isn't the same as if it was a temple in a busy town, as far as receiving visitors.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> (Any sign of Stoneguards here?)
<Bitsaar> (in this specific room, no)
<Veznara> I suppose that many of the Ancestors here date back to Imperial times, or even before.
<Bitsaar> Yes, that's true.
<Veznara> Are the Stoneguards near here?
<Bitsaar> oh... well, yes, there are some. Do you ... want to see those?
* Bitsaar says a bit uncertainly
<Veznara> Yes, please!
<Bitsaar> Can you leave the bubun to continue their work for a little while?
<Veznara> I think so. They need to clear away the debris before we can begin rebuilding the wall, and that will take them some time.
<Veznara> Once they're done they'll stop.
* Bitsaar nods
<Bitsaar> All right, follow me then.
* Veznara smiles and accompanies him.
* Bitsaar will lead you deeper into the temple, with its complex, cluttered rooms.
<Bitsaar> Through here... watch your step.
* Bitsaar offers you his hand to help make sure you don't trip.
* Veznara takes it, and steps lightly as she can into the area.
<AshnabisNarrator> You pass through a doorway and down two steps curved with the passage of many feet over the years, to enter a small windowless chamber.
<AshnabisNarrator> It is cramped, but unlike much of the rest of the temple is reasonably well-organized. This is surely the oldest part of the temple - perhaps as early as the Osnabi campaigns. There are precious few Voice temples in Ashnabis from this era.
<AshnabisNarrator> There are five ossuaries in this room, all of great antiquity, you can tell at a glance. Four of them are made of the local slate that is common on the Auggi, but of a very old style, decorated with false fluted columns carved along the sides, and each bearing a stone hammer inscribed in the cover.
* Veznara looks around reverently
<AshnabisNarrator> The fifth is, if your eyes do not mislead you, even older than these - of a style you have never seen. It is of marble, which is certainly not local, and ornamented in carved leaves and flowers around the sides. And on the top, on each corner of the top slab, is carved a small fruit in marble, each with four leaves atop it.
<Veznara> <w> All honour and reverence to the Ancestors.
<Veznara> <w> Who are these?
* Veznara unobtrusively looks for names, if there are any in evidence
<Bitsaar> Well... these four are Stoneguards, very ancient of course.
<Veznara> Do you know their names?
<Bitsaar> I do not, I'm afraid.
<Veznara> Do you... do you suppose we could ask? Consult them?
<Bitsaar> Perhaps Voice Witis does, as he is much more familiar than I am. He tends to this room, I'm not really... supposed to be in here >.>
* Bitsaar looks rather wary.
<Bitsaar> I might be able to, but Voice Witis might think it's not appropriate.
<Veznara> But surely it's your duty. You are the only other Voice here... surely you have as much right, and obligation, to attend to them?
<Bitsaar> Well, only if Voice Witis instructed me to, or if he was no longer able to for some reason...
* Veznara looks at him in appeal
<Veznara> Bitsaar... I can't help but think that this may be why this happened.
<Veznara> The Ancestors want their stories to be known.
* Bitsaar looks uncertain, but nods slowly.
<Bitsaar> Veznara... I want to help you. But I also think if Voice Witis knew, he would be angry with me. I might even lose my position here.
<Veznara> I would not want that... but isn't it our service to the Ancestors that must come first?
* Bitsaar clasps your hand, which he hasn't let go since helping you down the steps.
<Veznara> We do this in all reverence... surely they will not mind, nor refuse those who have come to help the temple.
<Veznara> !roll 1d20+19
* Daifan rolls for Veznara: [ 1d20+19 ] getting [ 9 ] which, after the modifier [ 19 ] totals [ 28 ].
* Lan-werk rolls for Veznara: [ 1d20+19 ] getting [ 10 ] which, after the modifier [ 19 ] totals [ 29 ].
<Bitsaar> If I do this... would you... be willing to see me again? Perhaps, as more than colleagues?
* Bitsaar asks cautiously
* Veznara blushes
<Veznara> Bitsaar...I am certainly willing to see you again. And perhaps that will lead to more...
<Veznara> But I see that as something separate.
<Veznara> I'm asking you this not for my own sake, but for theirs.
* Veznara looks at him pleadingly
* Bitsaar sighs but nods.
<Bitsaar> I can try to talk to one of the stoneguards. Will you decide what to ask them? I can ask three questions.
* Veznara smiles
<Veznara> Thank you.
<Veznara> First, I suppose we should ask their full name and title.
<Veznara> Then, I would ask what purpose or circumstance brought them to Osnabis.
<Veznara> And depending on their answer, what they discovered or were able to fulfill regarding that purpose.
* Bitsaar nods
* Bitsaar will select one of the stoneguard's tombs, then, and carefully open it.
* Veznara watches reverently, helping if needed.
* Bitsaar places his hands on the remains inside, speaking a brief prayer asking for this ancestor's wisdom and guidance, and then falls into silence for a moment.
<Bitsaar> Ancestor, what was your name and title?
* Bitsaar listens intently.
<Bitsaar> His name was Izhozh of the Rodimulba, a stoneguard.
<Veznara> (Does that sound like an Imperial name of the correct period?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (sure)
<AshnabisNarrator> (you can roll k: nobility if you want to know more about the name?)
<Veznara> !roll 1d20+7
* Lan-werk rolls for Veznara: [ 1d20+7 ] getting [ 3 ] which, after the modifier [ 7 ] totals [ 10 ].
* Daifan rolls for Veznara: [ 1d20+7 ] getting [ 11 ] which, after the modifier [ 7 ] totals [ 18 ].
<AshnabisNarrator> It's a noble name, there are still Rodimulba descendants in Omba as far as you know.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> What was his purpose or quest in coming to Osnabis?
<Bitsaar> For what reason did you come to this territory?
* Bitsaar asks, then listens to whatever he might be hearing by way of a response.
<Bitsaar> He came because of the war being waged here, following the orders of his superiors in the church, as many of his brethren did.
* Bitsaar looks to you to see what you want to ask for the last question.
<Veznara> And did he discover or learn anything important during his time here?
* Bitsaar repeats the question, again listening to the voice only he can hear.
* Bitsaar looks somewhat shaken by whatever answer he receives, and takes a moment to compose himself before speaking.
* Veznara waits calmly
<Bitsaar> They found a... I don't know what this means, but he says they found a... religion here, like the Voice, but not like the Voice...
* Bitsaar stammers a bit, as if trying to put these words into some kind of order.
<Bitsaar> I, uh, he says they venerated an ancestor named Ruzuldaar, and that he - they - took that ancestor from the people... there was violence, death...
* Witis rushes up from behind you.
* Bitsaar jumps, trying hastily to close the tomb
<Veznara> (Can I block his view?)
<Bitsaar> Voice Witis, we were looking around for where to move the ancestors to complete the repairs.
* Bitsaar is not a great liar ;p
<Witis> You most certainly were not.
<Veznara> Voice Witis, please!
<Witis> Hand Veznara, I don't know what you suppose your rights are here. This is a deep violation.
<Witis> The Ancestors are not yours to consult at a whim.
<Bitsaar> it was my fault - I wanted to impress Hand Veznara, don't blame her.
<Witis> Both of you, out, now!
<Veznara> No, Voice Bitsaar... any blame is mine.
<Witis> I hold you both culpable. Now, out!
* Bitsaar will hurry out of the room.
* Veznara will comply, gracefully
* Bitsaar will go back to where the bubun are working away, looking unsettled and unhappy.
<Witis> Finish your work here with your bubun, and begone. You are no longer welcome here, Hand Veznara.
<Veznara> I am sorry, Voice Witis. I did not mean to transgress - I acted out of sincere interest in and reverence for the Ancestors.
<Veznara> I hope that you will accept my apologies for any offense I have caused.
<Witis> I do not.
<Veznara> Then I hope you will, in time.
<Witis> These are not your Ancestors. You had no right.
* Witis turns his back on you in disgust.
* Veznara looks guiltily at Bitsaar
* Bitsaar gives you an apologetic look and shrug
* Veznara waits until Witis is gone to speak
<Veznara> <w> Oh Bitsaar... I'm sorry. This is my fault.
<Witis> Bitsaar, with me!
* Witis calls back.
<Bitsaar> I'm sorry too... I have to go.
* Veznara watches sadly as he leaves.
* Bitsaar will hesitate for a moment, looking back over his shoulder, then leaves.
* Veznara takes a moment to compose herself, then returns to oversee the next stage of repairs.
* Veznara has the bubun complete the task, hoping that Bitsaar may return; but when he does not, she has them clean up, pack anything that must be taken back, and returns to Kaskind, thinking over the day's events...