The Pearl of the South


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Lucinda wakes up, and gets off the illusory bed, which promptly fades from sight. She wanders over to the giant clam and for no particular reason which she can think of speaks to it.
I hope that helped, she says, although she's not quite sure why.
Gathering her train of fish to her (which have changed whilst she slept to become much prettier and more friendly) she takes to the balcony and departs.


I hope so, 'Perdita Ignota' murmurs as the Herald with her train of now ferocious pseudonatural fish departs. She puts away her shortsword at last, and tries to look the humble kitchen assistant for the guards who have arrived and are already knocking on doors checking for witness statements.


A hard-bitten triton responsible for investigating all crimes and suspicious deaths in this part of the city arrives to take stock of the situation at one of the city's boarding houses.
The two combatants are covered with red welts, as if they had been repeatedly stung with jellyfish, and something appears to have been fixed to the face of each, from the bruising, although there are no signs of either jellyfish or whatever may have been clamped to the faces.
The cause of death is obvious. Each has stabbed the other through the heart with what appears to be a yellow rubber duck - and to have used some force to do so.
One of the men serving under the triton has pulled one of the ducks free and squeezes it. The duck emits a mournful squeaky noise.

The diviner can't make head nor tail of this one, the triton's lieutenant reports. He's picking up a strong aura of chaos, but nothing else. Death-speech isn't working, and something tells me that attempts to raise either of these guys isn't likely to go too well, either. Some of the tenants say they saw the two fighting, with some sort of starfish over their faces, and using jellyfish as whips, alongside the ducks.
Why their hands aren't stung to blazes, trying to handle jellyfish like that is a wonder.
The triton inspects the bodies.
Hmm. This one's a lowlife, with markings of one of the city's crime syndicates. The other guy looks pampered, and well kept, as if he's had an easy life, although he seems to have enjoyed physical exercise. Some sort of family signet ring on one finger. Wonder what he was doing here, fighting with a Black Pearl torpedo?
Get these bodies back to the morgue, and get some inquiries under way. If there's aristocracy involved, there's going to be political pressure on us to get answers in this case.


Nimora Orlbereth wrote:

Nimora pales.
"Then there is no honorable way out of this? Is that what you are telling me?"

Melusine sighs and looks at Nimora

There is no EASY way to extricate you from your promised marital contract. There is ALWAYS a way to do anything you set your mind to. As for honor, that is for fools and dreamers. Our family has not got where it is today by being honorable.

Melusine stares hard at Nimora.

I will attempt to void our contract with Blurghoot, but I will need King Mirathan to agree to send troops to our city to prevent any incidents with the Free Companions or the Brightwater Clan. These nomads have a prickly sense of 'honor' and will most likely be aggreived that you have traded up in the marraige game.


If any meatbags need terminating, I humbly offer my services.


Melusine Orlbereth wrote:
Nimora Orlbereth wrote:

Nimora pales.
"Then there is no honorable way out of this? Is that what you are telling me?"

Melusine sighs and looks at Nimora

There is no EASY way to extricate you from your promised marital contract. There is ALWAYS a way to do anything you set your mind to. As for honor, that is for fools and dreamers. Our family has not got where it is today by being honorable.

Melusine stares hard at Nimora.

I will attempt to void our contract with Blurghoot, but I will need King Mirathan to agree to send troops to our city to prevent any incidents with the Free Companions or the Brightwater Clan. These nomads have a prickly sense of 'honor' and will most likely be aggreived that you have traded up in the marraige game.

Nimora blushes. "I understand, Mother. I am sorry that I did not tell you the whole truth before. I did not think you would believe me."


I feel like a piece of meat in a shark tank. Maybe Mirathan just wants to be really good friends? lol.


Mirathan wrote:
I feel like a piece of meat in a shark tank. Maybe Mirathan just wants to be really good friends? lol.

Hey, at least you're not being treated like currency. I'm really starting to remember why I left home in the first place.


Nimora Orlbereth wrote:
Mirathan wrote:
I feel like a piece of meat in a shark tank. Maybe Mirathan just wants to be really good friends? lol.
Hey, at least you're not being treated like currency. I'm really starting to remember why I left home in the first place.

LOL. Maybe it's due to your considerable assets?


Mirathan wrote:
Nimora Orlbereth wrote:

Hey, at least you're not being treated like currency. I'm really starting to remember why I left home in the first place.

LOL. Maybe it's due to your considerable assets?

What assets? I think my political connections aren't that great when you realize they come with my family attached....Oh, you mean...*blush*.


Nimora Orlbereth wrote:

Nimora blushes. "I understand, Mother. I am sorry that I did not tell you the whole truth before. I did not think you would believe me."

Melusine huffs

I didn't believe you when you said the barracudas ate the seaweed crab cakes. I would hope I could believe you when you professed your love for a future king! By Blibdilpoolp's claw child, sometimes you amaze me with your thought processes.

Melusine calms herself

I am going to go talk to the brothers. Please try to discover if we can rely on some military assistance should Blurghoot take this turn of events badly .....

Melusine swims off, her ladies-in-waiting hurrying after.


That's right dude - be calm. You're Karmic aura needs to be a really nice shade of blue...or maybe green....I like green....It reminds me of traffic lights....


Nimora breathed a sigh of relief. That had been awful, but still not nearly as bad as it could have gone. And at least her mother was going to try to help her, albeit in a twisted sort of way.


Melusine Orlbereth wrote:

[Please try to discover if we can rely on some military assistance should Blurghoot take this turn of events badly .....

somebody's after her own private army...sorry, it's the cynic in me... ;)


Nimora Orlbereth wrote:
Nimora breathed a sigh of relief. That had been awful, but still not nearly as bad as it could have gone. And at least her mother was going to try to help her, albeit in a twisted sort of way.

Marielle approaches Nimora following a circuitous path, stopping to exchange brief greetings with the assembled guests.

"Nimora dear, how are you enjoying the festivities? Was that your mother that just left?"


Queen Mother Marielle wrote:
Nimora Orlbereth wrote:
Nimora breathed a sigh of relief. That had been awful, but still not nearly as bad as it could have gone. And at least her mother was going to try to help her, albeit in a twisted sort of way.

Marielle approaches Nimora following a circuitous path, stopping to exchange brief greetings with the assembled guests.

"Nimora dear, how are you enjoying the festivities? Was that your mother that just left?"

Nimora sighs. "Yes, that was my mother. And the Brightwaters, although mercifully I didn't have to talk to them. Mother was bad enough all on her own."


Nimora Orlbereth wrote:
Queen Mother Marielle wrote:
Nimora Orlbereth wrote:
Nimora breathed a sigh of relief. That had been awful, but still not nearly as bad as it could have gone. And at least her mother was going to try to help her, albeit in a twisted sort of way.

Marielle approaches Nimora following a circuitous path, stopping to exchange brief greetings with the assembled guests.

"Nimora dear, how are you enjoying the festivities? Was that your mother that just left?"

Nimora sighs. "Yes, that was my mother. And the Brightwaters, although mercifully I didn't have to talk to them. Mother was bad enough all on her own."

"Ahh, the nomad clan. They don't usually come to our gatherings."


Queen Mother Marielle wrote:


"Ahh, the nomad clan. They don't usually come to our gatherings."

Nimora wrinkles her nose. "They were at my parents' villa to talk about arrangements when the invitation arrived. I presume that they came because my mother could not find a way to politely leave them behind. Or because of some complex political maneuver I can't possibly understand no matter how hard I try to think things through."


Nimora Orlbereth wrote:
Queen Mother Marielle wrote:


"Ahh, the nomad clan. They don't usually come to our gatherings."

Nimora wrinkles her nose. "They were at my parents' villa to talk about arrangements when the invitation arrived. I presume that they came because my mother could not find a way to politely leave them behind. Or because of some complex political maneuver I can't possibly understand no matter how hard I try to think things through."

"Arrangements? What sort of arrangements, dear?"


Queen Mother Marielle wrote:


"Arrangements? What sort of arrangements, dear?"

Nimora looks startled. "Didn't Telestial tell you? I had to...." she pauses, feeling slightly ill even having to say it. "I had to agree to...I needed the information in order to save Mirathan. After we were sent away from here I didn't know where else to go for help. My mother was able to scry the location for me, but as a price..." She took a deep breath. "The price for the information was my agreement to an arranged political marriage. I had no choice. I probably could have found someone else to help me eventually, but every second that Mirathan spent in captivity...I had to be able to find him while there was still something left to save." Nimora held her arms closely across her chest, trying to fight off the feeling of utter misery. "I begged her to call it off, and she said she might be able to, but she wants things she has no right to ask for, and I don't know how this will end. Probably badly. It sometimes feels like all I am to her is a commodity to be auctioned off to the highest bidder." Nimora covered her face with her hands as she struggled to regain her composure. Finally she looked up, a strained smile on her face.

"I am sorry. This is supposed to be a happy occasion. I should not burden you with my troubles. Please forgive me."


"Not at all,dear one."

"Telestial shared some information with me, but was hesitant to go into details. Most likely for some sense of decorum, but mayhaps out of a lack of hard facts."

"Mirathan knows nothing of this. Not even a hint."

"It sounds like your mother had you over a barrel, and took advantage." casting a stare at the retreating priestess

She muses "But what can be done to buy your freedom? It is not right that you should sacrifice so much. Negotiating with the Brightwaters will be difficult at best."

"Your nobility would be wasted on them."

Shadow Lodge

Queen Mother Marielle wrote:
She muses"Negotiating with the Brightwaters will be difficult at best."

I suggest an honor dual between Mirathan and that Brightwaters dude!


Queen Mother Marielle wrote:

"Not at all,dear one."

"Telestial shared some information with me, but was hesitant to go into details. Most likely for some sense of decorum, but mayhaps out of a lack of hard facts."

"Mirathan knows nothing of this. Not even a hint."

"It sounds like your mother had you over a barrel, and took advantage." casting a stare at the retreating priestess

She muses "But what can be done to buy your freedom? It is not right that you should sacrifice so much. Negotiating with the Brightwaters will be difficult at best."

"Your nobility would be wasted on them."

Nimora blushes. "Thank you, your majesty. My mother seems to think that she can end the betrothal, but she wants troops to help defend sandreef against any reprisals. It might be more cost-effective, not to mention more likely to maintain peace, to simply negotiate directly with the Brightwaters. But I have no idea what would appeal to them. They are...the reports I have had of them have not been pleasant. I - " she looked down. "I have no right to ask for your aid, but I will not turn it away if you can help me. I could not bear it if I had to go through with this."


"Well, help we shall...but a reception is hardly the place to think. How much time do you think we have before things...devolve?"


A bellow sounds out from the other side of the palace


Queen Mother Marielle wrote:
"Well, help we shall...but a reception is hardly the place to think. How much time do you think we have before things...devolve?"

"I hope that we can at least make it through the coronation ball. I will do my best to keep my distance from them. That should help. Beyond that I can't say. I do not know how prickly they are, or how willing to make fools of themselves. I hope that my mother and brother will be able to run interference adequately to prevent any unpleasant scenes."


... wrote:
A bellow sounds out from the other side of the palace

"What in the seven seas - what was that?"


... wrote:
A bellow sounds out from the other side of the palace

The General signals and a couple of knights head toward the sound.


Mirroring the general, the chamberlain signals two waiters to investigate. Partygoers sometimes drink a bit too much, and need to be 'handled'.


Standing in the midst of several dignitaries, the Prince loudly states, "Sounds like someone has been at the wine a bit too much."

The group chuckles.


Four men dressed in mother-of-pearl plate mail storm towards the royal party, Melusine trailing after with as quick a dignified swim as she can manage.

The largest nomad knight belows out:

I DEMAND SATISFACTION! WHERE IS THE NEW RULER OF THIS PLACE?


Nimora Orlbereth wrote:
... wrote:
A bellow sounds out from the other side of the palace
"What in the seven seas - what was that?"

"Sounds like your mother has been a bit too quick to try to negotiate. Or, that she was pressed."


... wrote:

Four men dressed in mother-of-pearl plate mail storm towards the royal party, Melusine trailing after with as quick a dignified walk as she can manage.

The largest nomad knight belows out:

I DEMAND SATISFACTION! WHERE IS THE NEW RULER OF THIS PLACE?

Before the nomads can get too close they are cut off by several knights.


General Orseidon wrote:


Before the nomads can get too close they are cut off by several knights.

Blurghoot and his brothers halt at the sight of the guards and sneer. Blurghoot calls out

You hide behind your hounds. Come! Tell me why you would take my intended from me! What sort of ruler are you?

Melusine attempts to talk to him, but he snarls

Away witch! T'was your plans brought me hither!


Telestial approaches the challenger.

"I'm not sure how you conduct yourself in your own group, but here nobles try to avoid shouting in the midst of parties."


Nimora pales. "Oh no," she moans.


... wrote:
General Orseidon wrote:


Before the nomads can get too close they are cut off by several knights.

Blurghoot and his brothers halt at the sight of the guards and sneer. Blurghoot calls out

You hide behind your hounds. Come! Tell me why you would take my intended from me! What sort of ruler are you?

Melusine attempts to talk to him, but he snarls

Away witch! T'was your plans brought me hither!

Mirathan pushes past his other guards and approaches.

"Care to explain yourself, sir?"


Mirathan wrote:


"Care to explain yourself, sir?"

Blurghoot snarls

I came to this place to claim my bride, as promised by this Sandreef witch. I am now told that you would void my contract and take her for yourself! What is the meaning of this breach of hospitality? I seek justice!

His three brothers grumble and stare down the surrounding knights


Nimora steps forward. "Leave him be Blurghoot. He isn't involved with this. I asked my mother to end the betrothal. I agreed to it under duress. And believe me, sir, we would not suit. Now I suggest that we take this pointlessly loud discussion outside rather than continuing to interrupt a state function and throwing around baseless accusations. I am not a commodity to be argued over as if this were a seahorse fair."
She holds herself proudly erect, but those who know her well can see that she is on the brink of tears.


... wrote:
Mirathan wrote:


"Care to explain yourself, sir?"

Blurghoot snarls

I came to this place to claim my bride, as promised by this Sandreef witch. I am now told that you would void my contract and take her for yourself! What is the meaning of this breach of hospitality? I seek justice!

His three brothers grumble and stare down the surrounding knights

Torn btwn diplomacy, confused, but quick to catch on, Mirathan straightens his back.

"I void no one's contract, nor would I. Your customs are different than ours, but hospitality does have limits. You, sir have crossed that line."

"If you find it necessary to find a bride in this way perhaps your quarrel is with the person you made the bargain with. Again we may differ here, but no guest shall be mistreated by another."

"Surely someone as strong as you seem to be has many potential beauties vying for his hand?"


Mirathan wrote:

"Surely someone as strong as you seem to be has many potential beauties vying for his hand?"

Our marraige was to be an alliance, one which ..He turns to Melusine ... Is now void ... BROTHERS! We ride!

The four swim off and collect their hippocampi and riding off into the deep waters. They stop at an inn that evening

I figure this is a good place to have Lucinda do her dirty work


Nimora Orlbereth wrote:

Nimora steps forward. "Leave him be Blurghoot. He isn't involved with this. I asked my mother to end the betrothal. I agreed to it under duress. And believe me, sir, we would not suit. Now I suggest that we take this pointlessly loud discussion outside rather than continuing to interrupt a state function and throwing around baseless accusations. I am not a commodity to be argued over as if this were a seahorse fair."

She holds herself proudly erect, but those who know her well can see that she is on the brink of tears.

"No. You are a guest here, and a close friend. You are not alone in this."


Consider him mysteriously vanished from the inn.


Investigations will proceed once a suitable time has passed to allow events in the palace to 'catch up' with the forward posts detailing his end.


After the four leave Melusine swims up to Mirathan.

Your Excellency, if I may have a moment?

She whispers in his ear:

Spoiler:
I would recommend that you make sure those four never reach their destination. They are poison, and they will rise the Free Companions against Sandreef and the Pearl as well.


"Mother, what happened? How did things go so badly so fast?"


... wrote:
Mirathan wrote:

"Surely someone as strong as you seem to be has many potential beauties vying for his hand?"

Our marraige was to be an alliance, one which ..He turns to Melusine ... Is now void ... BROTHERS! We ride!

The four swim off and collect their hippocampi and riding off into the deep waters. They stop at an inn that evening

I figure this is a good place to have Lucinda do her dirty work

Mirathan takes Nimora's hand and holds it up.

"The depths of passion inspired by such beauty. How many tales have been sung throughout the histories about that?" he kisses her hand and releases it, to nods of agreement from the assembled nobles, and signaling for the musicians

bowing to Nimora "Since I have just been called a codfish, I may as well act the part. A dance, milady?"


Mirathan wrote:


Mirathan takes Nimora's hand and holds it up.

"The depths of passion inspired by such beauty. How many tales have been sung throughout the histories about that?" he kisses her hand and releases it, to nods of agreement from the assembled nobles, and signaling for the musicians

bowing to Nimora "Since I have just been called a codfish, I may as well act the part. A dance, milady?"

Nimora blushes, realizing that she has become the center of attention. And even in the midst of her embarrassment and anxiety, she cannot help but enjoy Mirathan's attention.

"Of course, your majesty. I would be honored."


Melusine Orlbereth wrote:

After the four leave Melusine swims up to Mirathan.

Your Excellency, if I may have a moment?

She whispers in his ear:

** spoiler omitted **

time warp. Mirathan hears the message but doesn't react to it.


Nimora Orlbereth wrote:
Mirathan wrote:


Mirathan takes Nimora's hand and holds it up.

"The depths of passion inspired by such beauty. How many tales have been sung throughout the histories about that?" he kisses her hand and releases it, to nods of agreement from the assembled nobles, and signaling for the musicians

bowing to Nimora "Since I have just been called a codfish, I may as well act the part. A dance, milady?"

Nimora blushes, realizing that she has become the center of attention. And even in the midst of her embarrassment and anxiety, she cannot help but enjoy Mirathan's attention.

"Of course, your majesty. I would be honored."

Though a stately underwater waltz the sparring sessions pay off, and neither Nimora nor Mirathan trip over their owned webbed feet. Miratha bows at the end and begs to be excused, hoping that he has salvaged this 'mix-up', and not wishing to add fuel to the fire below the seas.

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