Fyrtor is quiet as the group walks toward the inn and he seems nervous. For now he is content to leave the talking to the others.
"That would be lovely, thank you," Mel says. "How are Alice, David and Laurel? These are two recent acquaintances, Fyrtor Smithson and Túrion Alagostor."
Fyrtor extends a hand. "Good to meet you."
The innkeeper nods with a smile while his wife brings out trays of hot food and tankards of chilled cider for you. "They're well, thank you! Though David has been a tad more responsible and las prone to wandering off, which suits us." He smiles, stroking his wife's shoulder as she bustles by. Then he turns to Turion with an eyebrow raised "What brings you here, Mr. Alagostor? I must admit we don't get many from the Concordat here. Are you associated with the embassy?"
It is very rare for Avinoans to travel to the other nations, especially the quiet land of the Bishopric.
|Captain Brolin Muse|
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On their way to pick up some nifty new clothes, Captain Muse drops by the Sonder to say a quick hello and check on the progress of the ship's repairs, and considers making a pitstop by the Public Counting House to drop off some of the gold he's carrying, but in view of that Halak and his crew are themselves in view, he concludes both that a pickpocket would have to be mad to come anywhere near him, and that the bank would have to be mad to let his little company inside.
So it is that he makes his way to Eastman's Livery Emporium to outfit some orcs. Muse keeps the straightest of faces as he watches old Eastman's own expression at the dozen-odd furred and armored orcish outlanders who just trudged into his shop and abode.
"Brolin." the old man states with all the condescending longsuffering Conrad Eastman can muster. Which is rather a lot. He perfected the art of sounding impatiently patient a lifetime ago as Captain Conrad Eastman of the Salt Dragon.
Captain Muse grins. "Miss me? No, no, don't answer that. Look, this is Halak, Wudugog, Dumburz, Gnarlug, Kodagog, Opkagut, Targhed, Oghuglat, Ohulhug, Sahgorim, Gat, Bandagh, Mergigoth, Vakgu, Zaraugug, and Dular. Gat, Suhgorim, Ohulhug, Oghuglat, Targed, Opkagut, Kodagog, Gnarlug, Dumburz, Wudugog, Dular, Zaraugug, Vakgu, Mergigoth, Bandagh, Halak, meet Conrad Eastman. Conrad Eastman, meet Halak, Wudugog, Dumburz, Gnarlug, Kodagog, Opkagut, Targhed, Oghuglat, Ohulhug, Sahgorim, Gat, Bandagh, Mergigoth, Vakgu, Zaraugug, Gnarlug, Dumburz, Wudugog, and Dular. They need something to wear in town."
Eastman shakes his head longsufferingly and chuckles. "I'll see what I can do for you."
After they have a chance to settle into their rooms Fyrtor seeks out Kazador. "My friend, we are in the city now. Have you been here before? I want to see if I can find a smith who can strengthen the magic of my sword. Do you know of a gifted one? One you would trust enough to work on your hammer? I know my blade may not be a special as a Runewarden's weapon, but it is precious to me. I can't imagine loosing it, or having the it harmed by a clumsy or overconfident smith."
Túrion delays for a moment by taking a sip from his chilled cider, then responds:"I am associated with neither the embassy, nor the Concordat as a whole. You could probably consider me a free agent. I pursue my own agenda, which currently seems to align with that of Mel and her travel companions."
He knew he was not good enough at bluffing to fool a innkeeper - but neither did he feel it was necessary to disclose all the details about his background. In fact, it seemed a good idea to try and be...less easy to remember.
He looked over at Nelly.
There was magic to change one's look, or shift into a new form entirely. But it would probably be a very hard sell to get her to agree to being transformed into some harmless pet form.
He sighs, then takes another sip:"Apologies, but do you per chance have some fresh raw meat you could put on my tab?"
I literally can't fail that check since skill checks don't auto-fail at 1 nor auto-succeed at 20.
|Kazador The Clanless|
”To be honest, my reputation here wasn’t the greatest when I was last here. I think I might know someone, but don’t expect to get anything from my name. Quite the contrary. I...ah...was known as a slave to the mug. And rightfully so. But we can go together, see what we can find.”
Overhearing this conversation between Kazador and Fyrtor, Mel adds "I was quite pleased with the work of Pippi Ravnasdottir. She owns and runs the Whispering Anvil Smithy. She enchanted my bow before we left for the barren lands. She's a devotee of Brigh, and you know they're just all about clever craftsmanship."
|Captain Brolin Muse|
While Eastman's fitting Suhgorim, he catches up with his one-time first mate. They converse, which is to say, trade insults they don't mean.
"Why in hell'd you go and shave your face, kid? If I'd a face like yours, well, I'd wear a veil, but a bit of face-hair's the next best thing."
Muse rubs his woefully barren chin. "If I had a face like yours, I'd disguise self myself. So you know, I did not make this regrettable fashion choice by choice - some son of a bugbear wizard lit my head on fookin' fire. I healed the burns, but, to my eternal woe and dismay, positive energy can't bring back facial hair. I've been keeping it trim since . . . I'll have to wait for it to grow back the normal way and I do not wish to be seen in some awkward state of transition."
"Sympathy," Eastman grunts. "What'd you do to piss off a wizard, anyway? Insult his man-dress? And, if you don't mind my asking, why in the lightless depths of hell am I plying my trade for what seem to all senses but the common one to be sixteen orcish raiders?" The old man grows more serious as he talks. He might sound like he's joking, but he wants answers. "Last thing I hear, you're getting paid to bring in van Beem like you were a bounty hunter. Then the Sonder gets back without you on it, Brickenden's dead, Torval says you're off to gods know what but they'll be sailing back out to the Barbaric Lands to extract you when repairs are done. The hell happened out there, Brolin?"
"Ah." Muse is pensive. "It's . . . rather a long story. Did I ever mention that I wound up speaking with Bishop Claudius himself, about those suspiciously well informed pirates? Well, I did. And . . . like in that old story where a girl falls down a rabbit hole into this whole other realm where nothing makes sense, or where everything makes sense but only by some foreign, abberant logic, I found myself in some nightmare realm just alongside the world we live in, where heads of states vie for dominion and rogues like the Reapers and van Beem vie for the crumbs that fall. The Bishop's the one who chartered the Sonder to ferry Captain Blackskull, her marines, and two Bishopric agents with their own agendas to Captain van Beem, because they needed a fast ship for the job and there weren't any suitable in the Navy. I can't even tell you why it is the Bishop wanted van Beem, or why he wanted her alive, because that's a secret that could spark a war if it got out. Or at least accelerate one. But it sounded impressive enough, dire enough, that I took the job. I don't even know if I regret it. I'm reserving judgement on that for after I learn what the Bishop learned from that pirate. Just got back today, after all."
"The way I heard the story, you're the one who beat van Beem. Shield to the side of her head, dropped like a sack of flour."
Muse is far from exultant in that small victory. He pulls his flask from his pocket and stares at it. "Well, I had help. But yeah."
"You're a legend in the pubs."
"Hm." He drinks.
"But why didn't you sail home with the Sonder?"
"More cloak and more dagger. There's a dwarf named Kazador, called the clanless. He's a warrior, a mage, and a fookin' force of nature on the battlefield. He's also nobility in hiding, from a city-state that was overrun by orcs. I swore that I wouldn't tell anyone where his city was hidden, but that's kind of a pointless promise now - we barely made it out of there before the whole place collapsed. There's nothing left of it at all. We went there to retrieve certain items that were by rights Kazador's own, hidden at the heart of the dead city. But en route we met . . . a band of murderers. They were vying for dominion or vying for crumbs, I don't honestly know. Either way, they tried to kill us. Rather a few times, actually. That's where I lost my beard." Muse gestures towards the orcs in the shop. "Halak et al fought with us, and after the city collapsed they sailed with us back to Helm. I came here hoping to dress them up so everyone knows that they belong. And, well, I also came here to talk."
With Halak et al more suitably outfitted in fine cloth and brass buttons, stylish hats perched atop their craniums, Muse sets out to gather Mel and everyone else who wants to talk with the Bishop.
|Kazador The Clanless|
Quite a tale! Not sure if I believe it myself. Luckily you have a band of orcs as living proof. Otherwise that would just get you a free drink for a good story
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After bidding farewell to Kazador and Fyrtor for the moment, Mel resumes the same room she stayed in previously, on the second floor of the Cozy Badger. She sets her bag down on the bedside table and sits on the edge of the bed, facing the window.
For a moment, she simply stares out the window, which provides little enough for a view, facing another building opposite. The bustle of the street filters in: horses clopping their way along the cobblestone streets, the occasional call of a street vendor selling food. She can't make out any conversations, but undoubtedly there are people walking the streets on this fine day of early summer: parents remonstrating children, friends chatting, lovers holding hands.
She flops backward onto the bed and stares at the ceiling instead.
It seems unreal.
"Tätä rakastat, Ostara." Mel whispers. "Pehmeät vuoteet ja rauha ja lämmin sää. Ihmiset kaikenlaisessa muodossaan. Eläminen ja haluaminen ja tekeminen ja ajattelu ja rakastava. Jokainen voi tehdä niin kuin haluaa, kunhan se ei vahingoita ketään muuta."
"Ja puolustan sitä koko sydämestäni. Mutta se ei tunne ..." her voice trails off.
"Minulla oli paikka Lywelasissa. Ja tein paikan yliopistossa, Etsi Paljonissa. Olin jopa alkanut löytää sellaista Brooksidesta."
"Mutta täällä? Minulla ei ole todellista paikkaa täällä. Minusta tuntuu ... juurtumaton."
She pauses a moment, marshalling her thoughts.
"En ole kukka, joka voi kasvaa siemenistä kukkii muutamassa viikossa. Tarvitsen aikaa kasvaa paikkakunnalle."
"Mutta en saa sitä tänne. Muutaman päivän kuluttua lähdemme Iustiaan, ja minä tulen taas siemenen tuuleen."
"And I will defend it with all my heart. But it doesn't feel ..." her voice trails off.
"I had a place in Lywelas. And I made a place at the university, in Etsi Paljon. I was even beginning to find one in Brookside."
"But here? I have no real place here. I feel ... rootless."
She pauses a moment, marshalling her thoughts.
"I am no flower who can grow from seed to bloom in a few weeks. I need time to grow into a place."
"But I will not get that here. In a few days we leave for Iustia, and I will be a seed on the wind once more."
She goes quiet. The bed is comfortable -- so much more so than sleeping on bare dirt in the barrens, or the floor of the smithy in Brookside, or a hammock slung belowdecks on a ship. Thoughts of their recent expedition swirl through her head.
Muse offering a meal of people to the sea serpent.
Van Beem's ship exploding, a blossom of boards and nails and death.
The pain of being shot in the darkened hallways of Kazad Gravr.
Kazador, vanishing under a pile of orcs, his prized hammer taken from him.
Túrion, lying so still and pale amongst thrashing tentacles while the Magister of Conjuration rained spells and curses upon them.
Fyrtor, heedless of danger -- driven by guilt.
The cloud of dust rising from Kazad Gravr to mark its grave.
"Haluan vain, että tiedät hyväksyväni sen," she says. "Luotan sinuun. Jonain päivänä ohjaat jalkani johonkin paikkaan, jota voin kutsua uudelleen kotiin. Mutta toistaiseksi teen sen, mikä on tehtävä, jotta muut voivat pitää kotinsa."
And with that, she heaves a sigh, sits up, and begins penning a note requesting an audience with the Bishop to report their activities, and noting the importance of clearing Fyrtor Smithson and Túrion Alagostor to participate, due to their important information and unstinting assistance.
Fyrtor places a hand on Kazador's shoulder following his confession. "All will be well my friend. Let's go see this Pippi Ravnasdottir. I don't know how well bowyery translates to weaponsmithing, but it is at least a place to start." Turning to Mel he says, "Thank you. The city makes me nervous. It's good to know I have a friend here who knows her way around."
"Oh, Pippi isn't a bowyer," Mel says. "Or at least I don't think so. She's a dwarven smith. I made the bow; she enchanted it."
"Ah I understand. That is excellent news."
"She. It's a she. And I assure you, she will cause no trouble, she will happily stay in my room with me. Of course, I am aware her fur will cause more effort in cleaning after our stay, and so am prepared to significantly overpay on the going rate. If you have a room near a backdoor and are willing to lend me a key, I'll gladly come and go that way so not to spook any other guests.", Túrion answers, glad the man did not push regarding the Concordat.
I am, btw, quite curious about the cellar :P But I don't know if he knows Mel is not human (would not want to talk to her in Elven or something) - nor do I know the nature of what is down there - if it's something that can be asked in casual discussion, or something to secret it needs to be whispered in a closed chamber.
|Kazador The Clanless|
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
”Yer talking to an elven wizard. His pup ‘aint a normal one that’ll nip anyone. And he’s offering good good for any damage caused. What’s the harm?” Kazador added.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 = 16
Added roll, I already spoke my part. With Kazadors assist we are at 18, if overpaying maybe gives a +2 circumstance, we're at 20, which should give "dangerous aid" from a "friendly" creature.
"I don't think Nelly will cause any problems," Mel adds. "She was very well behaved on the journey back here, despite being cooped up in a crowded ship for a week."
Diplomacy to Aid Another: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
Whew, passed the DC 10! Take a shiny +2.
That settled, Fyrtor and Mel (and anyone else who would like to go) head off to see Pippi Ravnasdottir, Dwarven enchanter. They find her shop about a mile away with a copper pan shining from the sign. Inside, there are many self-cleaning home implements for sail for the wealthy women who are tired of managing maids. The redheaded, freckled dwarf walks to the counter wiping grease stains from her face with the back of her hand, wearing a broad apron covered in a variety of colors of smudges. "Welcome to Pippi's! What can I do for you?" she asks brightly.
Fyrtor extends a hand, "Master Pippi, Mel tells me that you enchanted her bow. That is a fine piece of work. I have a sword that I would like you to enchant further. It has a great deal of sentimental value. It may not look like much, and I'd rather it stay that way. Can you make the edge of the sword even sharper? Also I worry about losing the blade. I've heard tell of bladed that can shrink to the size of a dagger. Can you make my blade do that?" Drawing his sword he extends the hilt towards Pippi and awaits her assessment.
"Hi, Pippi," Mel say. "Did you change the name of your shop? I thought it was the Whispering Anvil Smithy."
Ninja'd by three seconds. XD
|Kazador The Clanless|
Kazador likewise came in. In the streets he had glammered his armor to appear as if though he was wearing regular traveling clothes, including a leather tunic and cloak. For any who looked closely they’d see a long spiraling torc that ran the length of his right arm. When he entered, he let the enchantment slip off, revealing his runic armor. Made from stone, sung into shape rather than hewn, he stood before her looking every inch a noble.
”Ahem.” He began, awkwardly, not looking her in the eyes. ”After ye help my friend there, one of the runes on the armor is chipped. A butchering axe near broke it, though by Magrim’s Mercy it didn’t break me. But the armor ‘aint working as well as it should. Was hoping ye could help me get it back to the way it should.”
Pippi shakes her head and chuckles at Mel. "No of course not! Why would I do a thing like that?" She shakes her head mockingly. "And here I thought you knew me. This is just the domestic retail portion of my business. The Smithy is a block over. It was hard to find space for everything with these building prices so I had to settle for a split arrangement."
She eyes Fyrtor's request and nods "Aye I think I can help you with that. Might take a little while but I'll manage."
When Kazador walks in, she nods respectfully then queries "Might I ask Sir, where you hail from? I don't see many kin walking around in clan regalia anymore." When he details the job, she nods firmly. "Yes sir. I will do my absolute best for this fine piece. Top priority."
|Kazador The Clanless|
”Kazad Uzgul*” He replied, somewhat sadly to her question. Though he quickly continued in common ”Thank ye. I would trust none other than kin with such work.” With obvious reluctance he took off the armor, though he did not part with the helm. Handing it over reminded him of his past. Of how he had once sold it in his quest to the bottom of a mug so that he could forget. It was painful to even think of it. As he did so he muttered a prayer of protection to Torag.
Kazad Uzgul literally translates to “The Dead Hold” or “The Hold of Death.” It is a way of referring to a hold, mine or city that has fallen to an enemy
"Oh yes, that's right -- so these are your self-cleaning pots and pans?"
"Indeed!" says Pippi. "You just hold one up -- over a midden or someplace you don't mind getting dirty -- and say 'Clean!' And then any leftover oil, crusted on goop, or what-have-you will just slide off. Saves tons of scrubbing."
She reddens slightly. "Err ... it works better if you yell the command word at the top of your lungs. Still working on that. I figure it's got to be an issue with the second stage of the enchantment, but ..." she starts spouting arcane jargon, but reigns herself in when she sees her customers' eyes glazing over.
"It still sounds plenty useful," Mel reassures her. "How much for a frying pan? A small one."
Pippi reverently takes Kazador's bulky armor but it doesn't seem to slow down the energetic woman at all. She nods to Mel "Well I have to charge a lot since they take a while to make. Three hundred gold pieces for one but the high class ladies consider them a status symbol and real time saver."
"Thank you Master Pippi if possible I'd like it to be able to slip into a worst sheath of the opening of a belt pouch."
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Mel purses her lips. "Whew! That's a lot of gold just to avoid some scrubbing. Maybe when I unexpectedly inherit a vast fortune from an uncle I never knew I had, hey? Anyway, now that you two know where to find Pippi, I'll leave you to it. I've got some other errands to run." Mel nods at everyone, and steps out the door.
The streets of Helm: cobbled, spacious, and full of people. Mel makes her way through the area, stopping briefly at the potion shop run by Whisken de la Monega. "Your potions stood me in good stead, lately," she tells him. "Especially that one that lets you see in the dark for a few hours. Can't say I'm especially fond of the flavor, but there's no arguing with results!" She purchases another of those, plus one that wards off malign influences, and loads both of the tiny bottles into her wrist sheathes before even leaving the store.
Her next stop is The Bravest Soul. The sign is unchanged; Mel pushes the door open and steps inside to find Laine Windfall sitting in front of a piece of tough leather lain flat across the wood counter. A variety of tools lie neatly lined up beside it, and Laine has many small pieces of metal spread across the scored surface of the leather. The tapping of her hammer echoes slightly as she puts rivets in place and checks her work.
"Hello," Mel says.
Laine looks up, a smile crossing her blunt, square face. "Oh! My pardon for not noticing you there. I was caught up in my work," she says.
Mel looks curiously at the items on the table. "What are you making?" she asks.
"Gauntlet," Laine says. "The joints take careful work. Many small pieces, and they all have to articulate perfectly, or it could bind up." She picks up the half-finished gauntlet and puts it on one hand, demonstrating how the tiny plates of metal smoothly slide past one another. "I remember you," Laine adds as she takes the gauntlet off again. "Sold you some leathers, what, a month ago or so?"
"That's right," Mel says. "And they served me well."
"But you're not wearing them now, I see," Laine observes.
Mel shakes her head. "No. I ... had another altercation with orcs, and one of them had this." She shrugs out of her chain shirt and hands it over. "I don't think it's originially orcish work. It's not much like the last one I got from them."
Laine inspects. "Indeed not," Laine agrees, inspecting the links. "My, this is fine work! Mithral, and ..." she pulls the chain up close to her eye for inspection. "... every link's been welded shut. Makes for excellent mail, but it takes a damned long time. That's elven work, or I'll eat my hammer. Nobody else has the time -- except maybe the dwarves. But if it were dwarven work the shirt would be much broader across the shoulders."
"I thought so," Mel says. "Anyway, it's clearly also been enchanted, and although the leathers you made are excellent, I thought this might offer just a bit more protection."
"You're right at that," Laine acknowledges without rancor. She sets it down again. "So, have you come to sell back the leathers, then? We'll buy 'em, provided they're in good condition, but don't imagine you'll get a full refund just because came across a nicer set a couple weeks later."
Mel shakes her head. "No, actually," she says. "I plan to keep those. Partly to have a spare set, just in case; but really it's ... well ... here's my very first set of armor. See?" She reaches into her haversack and extracts a somewhat battered lamellar cuirass. "I bought it just for the journey to Brookside, in case of bandits. And then it stood me in good stead there, when the orcs came. Selling it would feel ... disloyal. So I kept it. And the same with your leathers. Perhaps I'll need them again some day; or perhaps I'll find someone else who needs them. Maybe it's foolish of me, but ..."
Laine smiles broadly. "Nah, I can see it," she says. "You take care of the armor because it took care of you. So what if it's just a bunch of leather and metal? It's kept your back like a friend, for all that."
"Exactly!" Mel says.
"So what brings you here, then?" Laine asks as Mel puts the cuirass away once again.
"I've two jobs for you," Mel says. "First, I want you to enchant this chain shirt further. Specifically, I was wondering if you could make it do what this cloak does." She lays out the Cloak of Elvenkind on the counter. "It tugs the shadows closer for me ... makes it easier to slip by unseen."
Laine frowns. "You're not one of them Reaps, are you? We don't hold with that."
Mel laughs. "Nothing like that, I assure you," she says. "In fact, I'm pretty sure the Reaps would be happy to see me dead. We've tangled a couple of times. No, I just ... I'd rather avoid battle, if I can. General Tullian wrote that the best fight is the one you win without fighting. And if it does come to a fight, I'd rather that I saw them coming before they saw me."
Laine relaxes. "A fair answer. Yes, I think I can arrange that." They dicker over prices, settling on 3,750. Mel hands over the armor and the money. "Good then," Laine says. "Now, what's this other job?"
"More leathers; but not for me. Hold on, let me get them out." She extracts Nelly's barding from her haversack.
"What on earth?" Laine says, as the leather piles up further and further on the counter. "Barding, but ... there's no horse in the world that these would fit."
"Not a horse at all. One of my travelling companions has a rather large wolf. She's very attached to him; and more intelligent than most wolves, I think. In any case, he outfitted her with this barding, and wants it enhanced to protect her better." She has a sudden, vivid memory of Túrion burning as he perished in the Magister's fire. "Though honestly he could do with some protection himself. But armor isn't really his thing."
"Well! A wolf, you say?" Laine shakes her head in bemusement. "That's a new one. But sure, armor is armor. I can make this tougher -- lay threads of magic through the construction to let it absorb blows better. Should be the same as working on any piece of armor."
They settle on a price, and Mel passes over the coin that Túrion gave her for the purpose.
"All right then, this may take a bit," Laine says. "I'd guess four days for each of the two projects. So eight overall. I'll do yours first -- I want some time to study this barding before I start working on it. You're lucky, I'm between big projects at the moment."
"I hope I'm not slowing down your gauntlet," Mel says.
"Nah. Don't worry about that -- that's not a paid job anyway. Da told me to make a pair because he's not satisfied that I've really mastered the technique yet. I think he's just being persnickety at this point; but hey, practice never hurts."
"How is your father?" Mel asks. "He was working the counter when I last came."
"Healthy as a horse," Laine says. "He's visiting my sister today -- she's just had her third child, and everyone's gone gaga over the tike."
"Well!" Mel exclaims. "Congratulations to her. And please tell Master Windfall I said hello."
"Aye, I'll do that," Laine says.
They chat a bit more, and then wrap it up. Mel takes a moment to duck into a fitting room and don her leathers before leaving.
Her eye falls on the fat fox on the interior of the door as she leaves. The painted eyes seem to glitter at her. "Not today, Mr. Fox," Mel mutters. "And I hope, never."
She pushes out through door and returns to the Cozy Badger. There, she reports to Túrion that his errand has been accomplished, and should be ready in eight days.
After getting some of your orders in, you all meet up a the Cozy Badger and share a warm meal together. During the meal, a man sits down near you and passes you a note. "Hello Melira and company. I would like to meet and discuss recent developments without attracting too much attention. Please meet me on the third floor of the imports office this morning. ~Claudius II"
Mel nods at the man. "We have an appointment at the imports office," she tells the others casually. "We should head over there."
Once everyone is done eating, Mel ushers everyone out the door and heads for the imports office.
I second Mel's action. I was going to tack on something to indicate as much, but it disn't seem to fit. Mel's description provides a very nice segway.
|Captain Brolin Muse|
Muse and company, who now that they were all garbed appropriately for the occasion were just now setting out to gather everyone who wanted to speak with the bishop, run into Mel on her way out of the Cozy Badger and joins his posse with hers.
"Uh, Brolin," Mel says quietly, "May I have a word?"
Pulling him aside for a moment, she continues "Our patron here wants to keep this meeting low profile." She glances at the milling group of sixteen orcs in flamboyant nautical outfits, and the people gawping at this unexpected sight.
"Perhaps we should return them to the ship first?"
|Kazador The Clanless|
|Captain Brolin Muse|
Muse takes a moment to read the note Mel got. "Hm. That makes sense. I can do cloak and dagger, with a little advance warning. But . . . now that I mention cloaks and daggers, I think I'm going to tell Tiyeri where we'll be and why. Recent events have me somewhat on edge vis-à-vis precisely how far we can trust the rulers of our nations. I've no specific reason to distrust the bishop, but I'd have said the same thing about the Council and King Stephan, which shows what I know. And all this is assuming that we can gave you that message at their word that they speak for who they say they speak for - and that isn't something I'm altogether certain of. Captain van Beem was working with the Reaps in Helm, and they've proven themselves distressingly on top of things."
To Halak he muses, "While if there were a way to pass beneath notice, I wouldn't mind having you and your warriors backing us up, I can't think of a way to pull that off. Would you be able to keep your warriors on board the ship until we've spoken with the bishop and or have been assassinated?"