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Tuesday, 9th March, 2010, 02:57 AM #541
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
"Good idea, Chaku," Kaeysari says, then in a whisper, "But what have we got besides a couple of mules?"
somewhat belated insightL4E characters: Fenwick Orc Barbarian 9, Kaeysari Shifter Fighter 7, The Black Fox Bard 4
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Tuesday, 9th March, 2010, 04:40 AM #542
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Laeleg considers Chaku's proposal. "Yes..." he says. "Ordinarily we would not allow outsiders to accompany the caravan, but under the circumstances..." He rubs his chin. "I think I could persuade the Fang that it would be all right. And there are no guarantees, but I imagine the Great King could also be persuaded to return the zocalti, as long as those at court who support the zocaltipapatlaca didn't catch wind of it. And there is plenty more zocalti from Newhill in the tribute."
He thinks some more. "Although, you'd have to make your own arrangements for the return journey - and these soldiers are not for show. There have been problems with bandits and giants along the route as late, and on occasion, very strange and dangerous creatures seem to be attracted to the henge. Also, the round trip could take as long as a fortnight. I expect the zocaltipapatlaca might be long gone by the time you returned. Which is more important to you, the zocalti or the thieves?"
Tuesday, 9th March, 2010, 03:03 PM #543
Gallant (Lvl 3)
Although her face shows no sign of it, Azryah is perturbed by this whole situation. While keeping one ear on the discussion she is running through some calming exercises in her mind. Clearly it won't do to speak in haste or anger, and this is definitely some sort of test from her god. He is constantly presenting them, after all. Once calm she tries to see a way out of this puzzle, but cannot seem to find one quickly enough.
She shook her head as the dwarf completed his speech.
"It is unfortunate that our tasks are at such great odds. Merkari himself set me the task to return the Zocalti to it's rightful owner and so that is much more important to me than meting out punishment on thieves. With or without my hand He will see that done. However, we are also on a strict timeline. We have just 2 days remaining to return it or suffer dire consequences. A journey lasting a fortnight is out of the question for us.
Unfortunately, before being set this task we were not warned of zocaltipapatlaca and I am afraid that I am unfamiliar with them. However, what they gave was not theirs to give; and My Lord is quite adamant that it be returned to its rightful owener. I'm sure there's some way to solve this to everyone's satisfaction, I'm just still trying to work out what it is."
Tuesday, 9th March, 2010, 03:30 PM #544
Gallant (Lvl 3)
Yes, a fort-night journey is not acceptable. In Surtyr, many tribes offer tribute to the great Jarl’s of the lands for peace, and I have seen a man beheaded for offering something that could bring dishonor. Surely we can find something to barter for the zocalti so that the Great King can have an untainted tribute, and we can please our patron as well? Tell us, what would please the Great King more than stolen and tainted zocalti? Asks the goliath, making ready to rummage through his pack.
L4W: Chaku- Barbarian LEB: Ryda- Ranger, Thalin- Bard
Tuesday, 9th March, 2010, 06:58 PM #545
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Papolstaanas nods in agreement with his companions. "I don't understand these... zocaltipapatlaca," he says, pronouncing the word carefully. "What does the word mean? Why would they murder the workers and steal the crop, if all they wanted was to give it away?"
Papolstaanas (babbling kobold); Pharodeys (living statue); Scarmiglione (singing kenku)
Tuesday, 9th March, 2010, 09:20 PM #546
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
Jynxx loved every word that was coming out of his companions mouths. They were a noble lot indeed! "We must come to some for of terms on the road I fear, for we are on a time limit that cannot be moved."
Jynxx pauses for a moment, considering what the Great King would desire. "We do not have anything of value among us I fear. I have the gift of many stories and the desire to make music, but a king would have such talents readily available to him. I fear we do not have much to offer."
Tuesday, 9th March, 2010, 09:49 PM #547
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
He sighs. "But for now, the tradition still binds us. That zocaltipapatlaca Chikulotl, he is clever. When he gave over the tribute he used the formal words which invoke the right of the spoils of conquest. I had thought he did so merely because the zocaltipapatlaca are so enamored of the old ways. But now I wonder - did he know that he was being pursued? If so, perhaps he hoped we would come into conflict. A fight between Dauntonians and a caravan carrying the Great King's tributes would likely please the zocaltipapatlaca, who are generally opposed to contact and trade with those outside the Kingdom."
He turns back to the deva. "Sister who sat at the side of the First Man, you are right, we do still have a dilemma. Cipactonal teaches that though the way forward may be blocked, a backward or sideways path may still allow progress. Is there something special about these particular zocalti beans? They seemed ordinary - of below average quality, truth be told. If any zocalti will do, you ought to be able to get some at Newhill. If the peasants there do not have the quantities you need, I'm quite sure that the headman would."
He snaps his fingers, . "Yes... And you could make our traditions work for you! He does bear responsibility for the zocaltipapatlaca operating in his domain. Demand the right of redress against vassals, and he will be obligated to negotiate compensation." He looks over at Cillani. "And he would certainly not be inclined to refuse to see you!"
Tuesday, 9th March, 2010, 10:11 PM #548
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
"'zocaltipapatlaca' means 'zocalti... shakers', I suppose? It refers to their habit of drinking zocalti until they shake with religious fervor.
"To understand the zocaltipapatlaca, you need to know a little bit about zocalti. The drink is beloved by nobles and warriors. Demand for it was so great that in times in the past, zocalti beans were used as money. But it also has a religious significance. It is sacred to Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent. It is used in rituals. There have also been many taboos around its use and its trade.
"That is where the zocaltipapatlaca come in. They are fanatic followers of Quetzalcoatl and zealous enforcers of his rules. The Feathered Serpent is also the ruling god. The Great King and other rulers pay him fealty. So at their height the zocaltipapatlaca had more than religious influence. They were a sort of... 'secret police', is that the phrase? Opponents of the rulers would find zocalti pods - real or carved from stone - left by their homes as warnings. If they persisted in their course, they would disappear.
"In the last few generations, there have been many changes in the Kingdom of Glad Weeping, and the Valley of Bone in general. Zocalti has become less popular as trade has introduced different food and drink. Most of the taboos around it have fallen away. And as you can probably imagine, the zocaltipapatlaca earned many enemies who have worked to undercut them. A few reactionaries at court still support them, but the zocaltipapatlaca are a fraction of what they once were, both in number and influence.
"Unfortunately the ones who are left are those whose beliefs burn with the strongest fires of fanaticism. I can't imagine how this band could have learned that Dauntonians were trading in zocalti outside the Valley, but I'm sure that they would regard it as an abomination and stop at nothing to eliminate it. As to why they would give it in tribute... well, they do respect the Great King's authority. But why not keep it for themselves? I can only speculate, but my guess would be that they are not done here. They have more business on the Isle and did not want the beans to weigh them down, or risk outsiders taking them back."
Tuesday, 9th March, 2010, 11:27 PM #549
Cillani grew bored with the conversation and had taken to watching the lazy habits of the large cats, but when the dwarf addressed her she raised an eyebrow. Her face flashed a series of emotions ranging from suspension to curiosity before resting on mild amusement. Now that he had mentioned it she may have to head to Newhill later if her companions choose a different route. "One bushel of Zocalti looks like any other. Just my 2 coppers."
Cillani: approvedCillani stat block
Wednesday, 10th March, 2010, 01:37 AM #550
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
Jynxx looks around, it seemed curious to him that the beans are used by religions to envoke a kind of fervor. Oddly enough... they were securing for a religious festival. "What kind of "shake" does this bean cause?"
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