"Second Son of a Second Son" - An Aquerra Story Hour (*finally* Updated 04/19)

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
darkhall-nestor said:
"but nothing else was magical aside from the rapier "

what was it?
Just a note to say that I added a footnote about The Steel Whip to the previous installment that has a link to the sword's page on the wiki.
 

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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
InterSession #8.4 – ‘Denouement & Decampment: “Aboard the Silver Milk”

Teflem, the 6th of Ter – 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

Tim and Markos sat below decks in their tiny cabin on the Silver Milk, betting iron pieces in a rather dull head-to-head game of bluff & draw. The ship rocked slowly as it progressed northward. Telémahkos was atop getting some fresh air and avoiding their cramped quarters for a while. He was also avoiding Markos after a failed attempt at some kind of conciliation when they first came aboard the day before. (1)

"So, did anyone ever figure out what was up with that Vanthus Vanderboren guy?" Timotheus tossed a couple of coins into the pot. "Like, what the deal was with that map with the stuff about the 'Ivory Pearl'?"

Markos was bored. "No… I do not think anyone did but I plan to look into it in Moon City."

"Huh. You know, I've been to Azure lots of times, but I never got around to crossing the water to Moon City. I hear it's pretty impressive." He pushed another coin into the meager pot. "Raise you one."

"It will cost a lot of coin to be thorough," Markos ignored the small talk regarding the City of Sorcerers.

"Eh, it's no big deal. I'm not sure I want to get wrapped up in some other magic pearl hunt anyway, especially if it's just going to lead to more smugglywugs somewhere far away. We've got lots of better things we can do much closer to home, like the hobbos and the King Stones. Fold, raise or call, Markos,” Timotheus shrugged.

Markos said, "You left out "bluff." He then raised. "If this pearl is anything like the black pearl we should probably at least look into it. Even if we take some time before acting."

"Sure, as long as you magic men can make sure that we don't get turned into smugglywugs like those poor bastards at the Cove. I got no problem with stuff I can fight, but being turned into some creepy mindless frog-thing isn't high on my list of things to do this year." Tim called Markos' raise and flipped his cards over. "Pair of rogues. What do you got?"

Markos threw in his cards without showing them, "You're lucky you're playing with an honest mage. Avoiding being turned into anything is exactly why some research would be nice. Perhaps you could ask the rest about contributing funds to compensate me? I estimate a hundred to one twenty-five per day would be needed. Can't say how long would be needed so should probably just come up with a number of days we would stop at, though I suppose taking it one day at a time would be ok.”

Tim rakes in the pot, shuffles and deals. "That's a sh*te-load of money, sailor boy. I say we hold off on that until after the King Stones. We make a decent sized haul there; maybe we can look into funding your anti-Ivory-Pearl research. But me, I'd rather sink our purse into doing some real, for-certain and good for folks close to home. Not on going on some wild goat chase for some magic doodad that may not even exist. Ante up."

"I'm inclined to agree but I would like to get as much input from the others as possible. The only counter argument I can make is that I will have access to resources I may not have access to at a later time unless we are in Moon City's vicinity again. I raise in the dark…" Markos put his cards down and then looked at them again and sighed.

"I cal…" Tim peered at his cards. "I wouldn't worry about that. Moon City's pretty central, especially if we come back up to Schiereiland again. It's right on the way. And you know I still want to come back up and clear the hobbos out as soon as we raise the cash for troops. Raise you one."

"Yes, yes very reasonable. We should allow others their say, however." He flipped the next card over and then looked at his cards again before saying, "Raise you…uh…fifteen…" He looked Timotheus directly in the eye waiting.

Tim rolled his eyes. "No sh*t, sailor-boy. Fold." He tossed his cards in. "Course everyone gets their say. We all agreed to that, right? I just hope we can work it out with everyone one-on-one first, because you know what any kind of group discussion with this bunch turns out like. That's the problem with not having a leader, everyone's gotta stick their own oar in and we waste five hours arguing over sh*t that ought to take two minutes."

Markos appeared to be grinding his teeth, biting back on the sharp answer he would have liked to spit at Tim. Instead, he sighed and replied calmly, "I guess I simply meant to suggest we drop it until the others were present. I think we are in agreement though I could easily be swayed given what Lavinia told T.K. she heard." He quietly gathered and piled the cards before handing them to Timotheus for his turn at dealing. "As for the problems of not having a leader, I've been trying to push you to take a more aggressive hand in that - especially when violence erupts. I have some very basic ideas on what to do in a fight - just common sense things really - but you're going to have a better feel for things when the decisions need to be made quickly, I think, given your experience."

Tim shuffled. "Thanks, Dad… Next time we storm a villa full of frog monsters, I hope you're there to make sure I can actually lead." He raised a hand to forestall Markos' reaction. "Sorry… I'm sure you're trying to help. But it's not me you need to push. I can lead men just fine if they've agreed to be led. But we got a bunch of snobby nobles here who signed a charter saying that everyone gets a vote. I'm doing what I can to keep on top of things in battle, but until they actually agree to follow me, the best thing is probably just to take it slow and hope they get used to it.

Markos raised an eyebrow at being called "Dad" but did not interrupt. When Tim finished he cleared his throat, "Just push a little harder than you have been, alright? We had one battle where we coordinated our actions well and it was mostly due to our discussing things ahead of time… You didn't have to give many ‘orders’ as a result. Just a reminder to everyone to mind fields of vision and dart in and out, giving archers and such opportunities to time their shots effectively.”

Timotheus began to deal the cards, as he replied. "Think about it. If I push too hard, who knows what they'll do? The last thing we need is them calling votes in the middle of a fight, or worse, they decide that if they gotta have a leader, they'd rather have Pukey the Golden Boy or Little Miss Never-Surrender, instead of a jumped-up guardsman who's got nothing to offer aristocrats except something as useless as ten years of experience."

Markos grunted and looked up. “By the by, I'm trying hard to control my anger and keep my displeasure with certain members of our group to myself - your being an assh0le because I think the group needs your direction and say so doesn't help."

"Aww, everyone's so mean to poor Markos, after he's been so nice to everyone." Tim chuckled, accentuating the words with an infantile sing-song teasing style. He did not look up from his hand. "We all know you're a big brain, and like I said, I know you're trying to help. But no one likes a know-it-all. Especially one who's… what…? All of fifteen? I think you need a beard before you can pull off the 'master of all knowledge' routine." Tim made an attempt at a comical 'elderly sage stroking his beard' face, as he looked at Markos.

Markos' face hardened, looking away he said with angry wonder in his voice, "I'm a know-it-all and putting on airs of the wizened wizard because I've made some suggestions?" He refocused on Timotheus, the creases of his face deepened with anger. "And I was speaking of you, you f*cking prick! Not ‘everyone’. I expect the others to act as they do, and sure as there is whale sh*t in the ocean I don't feel sorry for myself for it. I know who they are and I know how I am… You, however, I didn't expect to be such a f*cking assh0le. And I may be a f*cking kid, but I've seen just as much sh*t in this world as you! If I have a gods damn idea I'm going to say it! And if you were smart," he stood up from the floor where they were playing. "…you would judge the f*cking idea and not who f*cking gave it!" He looked down from his standing position for a few moments, breathing heavily but then sat down abruptly, spitting out with disgust, "Just f*cking deal the cards… I'll leave you to your own council."

"Gosh, silly me," Tim replied mildly. "I sure am the assh0le. After all, I yelled at you, told you how to do your job, and threatened to punch you in the face. (2) Oh no, wait, that was you talking to me."

Tim set his cards down on the floor. “What I did now was listen, and give my own opinion in a having-a-discussion kind of way, and thank you for trying to help. Okay, maybe I teased you a little bit. And boom, here you are, throwing a tantrum. I don't really mind, I've seen lots of 'em before from my sisters when they were little. But it really is pretty childish, no matter how much sh*t you've seen.”

"So, how many cards you gonna discard?" He added after a moment, holding the deck in his hands.

Markos looked disgusted, "Just give me three cards you condescending prick."

Timotheus slid the cards over with a wry smile. "Sure thing. Here you go, little cousin."

End of InterSession #8.4

------------------------------------------------
Notes:

(1) This was one of a handful of InterSession scenes that did not make it the story hour. As much as I would like to be able to say that it’d be great to include all of them, that is just not the case. Just imagine your typical Telémahkos/Markos interaction, perhaps with a misinterpreted apology in there, and that was basically it. No need to beat a dead horse or anything…

(2) This occurred during the parley with Harliss Javell. While the story hour did not cover it at the time, it later became a point of contention. Basically, when Telémahkos and Markos were arguing over Markos’ laughter upon hearing that Harliss had sent the bullywugs to the Vanderboren Manse, Timotheus tried to break it up, and Markos threatened to punch him in the face for his trouble.
 

Telémakhos

First Post
(1) This was one of a handful of InterSession scenes that did not make it the story hour. As much as I would like to be able to say that it’d be great to include all of them, that is just not the case. Just imagine your typical Telémahkos/Markos interaction, perhaps with a misinterpreted apology in there, and that was basically it. No need to beat a dead horse or anything…
That was a ridiculous waste of time. For those dying to know everything about the characters, Telie wanted to inform Markosk that he is going to ignore him when he is being an a-hole, but that Markos should, in turn, let Telie know when he is insulting Markos since Telie had not been able to tell when this is happening (except when he has tried to do so on purpose of course).

It went poorly from the start, with Markos taking everything Telie said as manipulation, which may be the case but is innate to Telie's personality so it all went south from there.

However, there were no blows exchanged, and I think Telie has been living up to his end of the bargain, treating Markos with respect and ignoring his jibes. Then again, Markos is much more likely to read and ignore the group these days than he is to openly insult. Though the negotiations with the hirelings got him going.

I think everything would go a lot more smoothly if a gnome invented ritalin for Markos to take. ;)

It's a slow day at work so this is what you get.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
InterSession #8.5 – “Denouement & Decampment”: Meanwhile, Bleys About In Quillton

Balem, the 5th of Ter – 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

After seeing his companions off and an hour of uncomfortable poses at the Rare Earth Armory, Bleys Winter walked past the Quillton market. He rolled his neck and stretched his arms, trying to work out the cricks that developed while Harvel Hammeral and his assistants measured and sketched, and asked him to change positions and then back again while they gibbering in numbers. He heard a deep voice call his name over the sound of the peddlers and their customers loudly haggling. Bleys blinked in the late afternoon sunlight, as he turned to see a tall handsome man with long black curly hair approaching. He had deep tanned skin, a well-kept goatee, and amber eyes. He wore bronze watch-mage's robes over a black tunic and close-fitting pants, and tall boots. His ears were pierced with only slightly more various silver hoops hold tiny sparkling gems than his fingers were covered in gaudy rings.

"Bleys!" he greeted smiling. "I was hoping to run into you! I was just doing what watch-mage's do. wandering about town talking to folks and seeing how they are and how I can help them… But I am glad I ran into you, I should have some time now if you'd like to walk with me back to my house and talk… Maybe have a drink…"

Bleys met the eldritch-knight's eyes and extended a hand, careful to control his excitement. "Sir Malcolm the Bronze! I apologize for not announcing myself sooner. As you were busy, I took the time to visit your armorer. Harvel is obviously a master of his craft, and I am truly fortunate that he finds the time to hammer for me."

“Oh yes, and Harvell is an excellent armorer… None better on the island, and among the best in Thricia. He must like you if he is taking personal time to work on armor for you… Usually he relegates his everyday work to his family…"

Malcolm the Bronze shook Bleys’ hand firmly and he smiled widely.

"I imagine that it may have something to do with liking you, sir, but I am greatly appreciative nonetheless. I hope you do not think I take advantage of our shared alma mater," Bleys replied, his voice betraying his awe at having this conversation with the famous Malcolm the Bronze. He cleared his throat, and regained his normal even tone. "He tells me he has crafted armor for you."

"Yes. He did. . " Malcolm replied with a sly smile as if hinting at a secret. "As for taking advantage of our alma mater - well, that's what it's for! We take care of our communities and if we are lucky they help take care of us…It is a reciprocal relationship…Anyway… How goes the charter? Having fun yet? Any good plans? I assume this more than a social call… but a social call works just as well. . . "

"I have the time and can think of nothing that I would rather do than consult with you," Bleys added.

"That's the spirit!" Malcolm said with an avuncular slap on the younger mage’s back as they begin to walk. Bleys gave an uncharacteristic wince at the blow, which was harder than he expected, but then he noticed how broad the watch-mage really was. He rivaled Timotheus.

As Malcolm the Bronze led the way through town, the people… Well, gnomes of Quillton all greeted him kindly, some interrupting to ask if they can come see him later. He treated each one of them with great respect and seemed to have total recall of their many names.

"It like having the best of both worlds once you have established yourself," he said, musing. "Wandering and adventuring are fun and diverting, but it is in the coming back here that I see what all that work and danger are really for…”

Soon, he pointed out a large house near the center of the town as they approached it. It was two stories tall and loomed over the squat gnomish architecture used in most other places in town. In front of it is a large green plot on which is planted an exquisite garden. A small figure was working in it.

Bleys admired the garden as they approached, but tried to keep the conversation going. "And here I worried the Charter's conception eclipsed by the disappearance of Agon's Reef. Even so far as the far shore of Quillton, you have heard of our coming? I must admit, it is not all the glory I had hoped for. Nothing so daring and as adventurous as I am sure you are accustomed to…"

The gardener stood and waved as the two watch-mages came through the gate.

"Perhaps we will find more excitement when we travel to the King Stones,” Bleys added as the gardener greeted them warmly, standing beside a patch of yellow tulips.

"Hello Master Malcolm! Back from your walk already?" Malcolm introduced the curly-topped halfling named "Penn". Bleys gave a courteous half-bow to the gardener.

"The King Stones, huh?" Malcolm said as he held the door to his house open for Bleys to step in first. "It has been a while since I have been there… But there's a long tradition of exploring that area… Lot's going on… Plenty of mysteries to still be discovered and solved… Ah!" He looked wistful. "It was a simpler time…"

The front door opened into a main hall with a wide staircase that led up into a large parlor with a picture window. Here he asked Bleys to sit and called loudly for one of his servants. A petite woman with a round face, probably on the far side of thirty, came to the door. "Oh, hi Tanya! Can you please be a dear fetch us some wine and maybe something to nibble on…” She nodded and was off to do his bidding.

The picture window was more glass in one place than Bleys has seen since his time at the Golden Tower of the West. It looked out on the town square and the market, and the towers of the harbor fortress was visible in the distance, as were the tall masts of the naval ships docked there.

"We'll get back to the King Stones in a minute… So, I have to admit," Malcolm said, sitting down across from Bleys. "I did not know of your coming or even who was in your charter exactly until I spoke with Mistress Vanderboren the other day. She explained that you and your companions were looking to find her brother and save him from himself when you ran into those that wished him harm, or wished his family harm as a means of hurting him…?"

"That is correct, sir, apparently the result of a series of unfortunate events, which we discovered while pursuing leads to a haven for smuggler's known as Kraken's Cove."

"Hmm, yes… Well, if he made enemies in Kraken's Cove no wonder they tried to kill him…Sometimes you have to leave well enough alone… So I take it you went there? Were you quoted good prices?" He winked and then stood as Tanya came back into the room with a bottle of wine and two goblets. He turned to her and said, "You know what? I don't want wine in the afternoon, have Tomo bring up a couple of hand casks from the basement instead." She nodded and turned away again.

"I hope you don't mind," Malcolm said, turning back to Bleys. "But meeting fellow alumni always makes me feel like I am back at the Academy, sneaking skins of mead into the dormitories, sneaking them under our robes after coming back from White Plumerock… Well, you must remember that stuff better than I…Not too long ago you were still doing it!" He laughed and sat again.

"Yes, I did graduate but only recently," Bleys offered timidly, not sure how else to respond.

"So… Any idea where this brother is now? Do you think people might still be wishing him or his sister harm?"

Bleys did his best to elucidate. "Well, obviously Vanthus made an enemy of one Harliss Javel, the pirate who sent her first mate, Drevoraz Kabran and a hold full of bullywugs to savage the Vanderboren manse. And while I think Mistress Lavinia is in no further danger at the moment, her brother I am not so sure about. Vanthus now seems to be consumed for some quest after some magical pearls." Bleys eyed Malcolm for a reaction. “Apparently the destruction of the black one in the cove caused all of the unfortunate inhabitants there to be transformed into feral, tentacled, hybrid, bullywug creatures. Harliss blamed Vanthus for its destruction, thence laying said mission upon her crewman. Her tale had Vanthus escaping the cove aided by great feats of jumping and swimming."

Again, Bleys regarded Malcolm carefully, checking for reactions to his revelations.

"What?!" Malcolm frowned. "This is the first I have heard of these pearls and this transformation! Please recount to me your tale from the beginning… and tell me everything you know about these magical pearls…"

Bleys did not react to Malcolm's surprise, as if suspecting it. And with composure began to recount the tale of seeking out Vanthus and the rumors regarding an attack on House Wetherwax. He also explained about the map folios and the sepia snake sigil, and finished with Aug Bohr’s escape (1), and the reference to the ivory pearl on Vanthus’ map.

“And as the bloated bullywug shaman hopped off into the night, he called back…” Bleys concluded. “Or at least, that is what my companions have recounted to me. He said… something about how we’d get what was coming to us when the ‘savage tide’ begins…? Or maybe, he said, when it comes… Again, I was not there…”

During the time Bleys was telling the story, Tanya appeared with the two handcasks (2) and poured a rich frothing ale into two large mugs on a low round table between him and the elder watch-mage.

"The Savage Tide…? Hmmm…" Malcolm was quiet a long time. "I wonder if there is any connection to 'the Savage Tide' in Azure? Um, I forget his name, young kid…Must have been at the Academy at the same time as you, he runs the place by that name. . . If I understand correctly he inherited it from his grandfather who was also of the Academy… Other than that, I am not sure what it refers to… But I can try to find out…Now that I hear your story, the bullywug involvement makes a lot more sense, however, I can never imagine that ‘wugs would align themselves with anyone, unless it had to be done for their bizarre religious devotion."

He took three large gulps of ale and then poured himself some more, gesturing to Bleys' mug. "As for Kraken's Cove. . . It won't be long until the Coopers find out what happened…You know the Cooper's right? And if they find out that the Charter of Schiereiland were there, they may think you were involved… So be careful whom you tell… But boy, is THAT going to de-stabilize the area. . ."

Bleys grabbed the large foaming mug grudgingly and put down a large swallow with an audible gulp.

"Coopers? You mean barrel-makers? Yes, I understand what a cooper is…" Perhaps it was the taste of the ale, so uncommon for Bleys, but he seemed slightly annoyed. "But I fail to understand what they may have to do with the cove. It is my suspicion, however, that the place will continue to be used for nefarious purposes. But, I cannot understand why, if House Wetherwax, or Swann for that matter, knows of its existence, they allow such activity to persist…"

"Bleys…" Malcolm smiled widely with paternal condescension. "The Coopers are a guild of thieves. They are the Thrician branch of what is sometimes called 'Berman's Gang', which are Herman-lander merchant/thieves. A bad bunch, but certainly no Red Lantern Gang… As for why the noble houses tolerate the cove, well, they profit from it… And they always know where the contraband is being traded - in a controlled and relatively peaceful environment outside of Thrician territory… Is that not preferable to many small clandestine possibly violent meetings that become more dangerous the more those involved have to worry about secrecy? But now, if the involvement of young nobles gets out, and if this Harliss lives, it is sure to be reported to her superiors, whoever they may be, it will undermine the security the smugglers felt they had there…" He took another sip. "Good stuff, right? Quillton Brew. . . At least sixty percent of the reason why I have stayed on here…" He winked again.

Abashed by his display of ignorance, Bleys made no inquisition as to who Berman might be or what the Red Lantern Gang's province was. Instead he swallowed another less hefty mouthful of Quillton Brew, noting that it was good, bringing his palate to life after so long.

"This 'savage tide' in Azure? Is it an inn? A Watch-mage runs it?" Bleys finally asked.

"Yes, you know Azure…Council of Watch-mages and all that…The watch-mage of Graingate has always run the inn there. Just one of those strange little local traditions, I guess. Well, the kid there now, I forget his name… Something the white? No, not white…" He scratched his beard as he puzzled at it for second and then continued. "They change the name, but the new one… He gave it the same name his grand dad had… It was the 'Mulberry Bush' during most of my time. . . You should know him, he could not have graduated more than two or three years ago…"

Malcolm the Bronze stood and went over a table with small drawers and pulled out a pipe and leather pouch. "Have a pipe? Want one?"

Bleys politely refused. "No, thank you all the same. I wish not to sully the flavor of this fine beverage." Bleys finishes his mugful. Malcolm packed his pipe and soon there is a sweet lime-like smell in the room.

"Athoen the Blanche?" Bleys tried to remember, "Fercal the Sand?"

"Athoen! That's it!" Malcolm laughed easily. "Pale as a ghoul. . .!"

Bleys the Aubergine produced the map folios, and held them out to show his senior. "These are the maps we recovered. I have yet to circumvent the warding on the bottom two."

Malcolm took the folios and tossed them casually on the table. "I shall examine their wardings later, and if it is a simple matter I shall remove them for you. Were there other things you wished to consult me on?"

Abashed again, this time by Malcolm's dismissive treatment of what he considered a rare and precious find, Bleys soldiered on. "Well, um, yes. I am excited to be visiting these King Stones. Though they are not exactly in my realm of knowledge, I have always been fascinated with the time of Thricia'sSix Kingdoms. You implied that you have been there. Any sagacious words?"

"Hmm, well actually I was hoping that you might do me a favor… Do you know about the Moor-tombs?" Malcolm sat back, down taking a long pull on his pipe before continuing. He rolled his rings around on his fingers as he talked. "In my youth, when I visited the King Stones with some friends, we never got to see the one place I was most interested in exploring… I have an old map I could give you to find the place, though it was drawn from memory… And more information, of course… If you are interested…"

Eager at the talk of high adventure Bleys let down his guard. He grabbed his refilled mug and took another long sip, nodding.

Malcolm continued: "As for the Stones themselves, I recommend exploring as close to mid-day as possible, as whatever humanoids are living there are usually active in the late evening and the time before dawn… Also, avoid the Baphomet Stone Maze…"

"The Baphomet Stone Maze? Sounds mysterious…”

"Let me say again. . . DON'T GO THERE,” Malcolm’s face grew serious, and his voice deepened with practiced authority. “It is for that reason that were never got to the Moor Tomb, that I spoke of… For my old companions' curiosity led to the death of one of our number and we chose to return to civilization instead…”

"If you order me not to go, I will not,” Bleys sat up straight, considering the connotations of the warnings of one of the most powerful wizards outside of the Academy Masters that he knew of… “But, may I ask, what more you know of it? Knowledge, especially of this kind, is ever my pursuit. It may help me further convince someone else to proffer from your wisdom some day. Sir, and if I may ask without being impolite, how green were you then?"

"A race that was long considered extinct in Thricia, and most other places in Aquerra except perhaps the U.K.S.F… They live there,” Fatigue crept into Macolm’s voice. “And even though many years have passed and I have grown, I hope…wiser than those green years, I would not go back. We were warned and did not listen, and thus we were in the wrong… Green or not, it is a place best avoided.”

“But certainly, I'd be honored to do you the favor, but I don't quite understand…” Bleys wiped his mouth with a cloth napkin that he conveniently noticed beside the keg. “Do you merely just wish your curiosity slaked? What has kept you from the final tomb? I thought they'd all long since been plundered?"

“Life being as it is, I just never got back there,” Malcolm replied, perking up again. “Regardless, the map I have shows the way to it. I don't think anyone has found it and lived since the last time I was in the area… As far as I know, it remains untouched for over a millennia."

“I see…”

Malcolm the Bronze leaned forward and continued in a quieter voice, as if practiced for the use when retelling lore. "Dalvan d'Amberville was a wizard that served Agon the God-King much to the chagrin of his fellow nobles of that lost house. The d’Ambervilles purged all those members of their house who served the God-king after he was defeated, and Dalvan was among those. In exile, he went among the people of the moors who among the ancestors of the Ray-Ree."

“The name ‘Ray-Ree’ appears on the map of the King Stones we have,” Bleys mentioned. “They are a barbarian people, are they not?”

"Yes. They are usually willing to trade information and give food for common tools and the like…But they are a proud people. Everything should seem like a gift freely given or else they will drive a hard bargain or refuse to trade at all." Malcolm paused and furrowed his brow, and then slapped his leg. "Oh! So. . . Dalvan hated Fallon and her followers, and it said he had stolen an amulet once blessed by the mortal Fallon from one of her followers. He cherished the theft of it, and it is likely still among the treasure in his tomb. I would like to examine it before giving it as a gift it to the Church of Fallon, which is my primary intention…” He looked up and then smiled again. “Of course, you and your companions would be given the credit for retrieving it."

Intrigued, Bleys peppered Malcolm with a salvo of questions: "The moors: who were they who lived there, barbarians as well? And did Dalvan just end up there or search them out? So, you suspect that the sole tomb that you did not enter is where Dalvan is interred? Along with this artifact of Fallon?"

"The people of the moors were common folk and mercenaries driven out of the northern portion of the Island of the Six Kingdoms when Agon was defeated, for they had supported him…Legend says they were all evil people, though I doubt that… I am sure many were just caught up in the wrong place and had to serve him or die… And while death is ever an option for people such as you and me, a common person cannot be expected to do the same, or else they would no longer be common…” He cleared his throat. “I am fairly certain the amulet is there… And I know the tomb is Dalvan's and thus likely to be well-guarded. I know of at least three groups that sought it out in the past and did not return… But they were from before my time. I have not heard about it again in all these years, and I keep my ear to the ground for the softest of rumors and news of adventuring exploits…"

Malcolm paused and smiled again, seeing Bleys was excitedly trying to piece together the information he been given. "By guarded, do you mean traps… Wardens? Might there be some similarity to the other tombs I should know about?"

"I do not know of what other tombs you know of, but it is certainly nothing as dangerous as the Mud-Sorcerers, for example, or I would not send one so inexperienced as you there… No offense. As to what kind of protections, it is hard to know except that Dalvan was something of a necromancer and that each of the wizards that ruled the people of the moors took pride in devising the protections of their tombs when immortality became inaccessible by other means… Of course, all of them were seeking to emulate Dalvan… and as far as I know, his is the only tomb left."

"I take no offense sir. For I was still suckling at my mother's teat while you were already engaged in learning the ways of magic. I am green, I concede, but seeking to remedy that, though it may take some doing to convince my companions that this is worth doing…"

"Seems to me like you need to learn how to make them think its their own idea," Malcolm winked. "But it should not be hard to convince them… It is less than three days march from the King Stones. The Ray-Ree should know the general area, and the map should help from there…”

The younger mage patted his sabre hilt, "I was also wondering if you might be able to procure the skills that would help me meld my arcane abilities with the martial skills I trained for in my youth," Bleys grew sullen. "As I have mentioned, I still wear armor despite the danger of its weight and discomfort disrupting the free somatic expressions required to cast. It seems fruitless to abandon the training I had when I thought I would become a squire… The goal to someday, perhaps, even become a knight…"

“Returning that amulet will begin to cement your reputation, and knighthoods are built upon reputation… Trust me on that one…" Malcolm the Bronze smirked. “As for casting in armor, I can introduce you to someone, if you want to get better at it. (3) It'll cost some, but it shouldn't take more than a week or so… If you can promise you'll do your best to get your group to check out the Moor-tomb I will use my influence for you to get you a discount…" The elder watch-mage’s smile never died.

"Ah…" Bleys was somewhat deflated. "I am greatly interested but my desires far outweigh my purse…Unfortunately, I also lack the leverage to make the promise that my companions will want to look into this Moor-tomb. I would rather not give my word lightly to you, sir. But I can promise you that I will do my best to convince them. And I believe that they may be receptive, particularly the priests…

"You don't have seventy-five silver?" Malcolm looked at Bleys with disbelief.

Embarrassed for a third time, Bleys nodded and admitted that yes, he did have that much. They shook hands on the deal. Malcolm told him he would send word to the manse once the arrangements for the training were made, and that he would also send along the map to the Moor-Tomb. In addition, he would look into dispelling the wards on the map folios.

Bleys thanked him graciously.

"And while I am sure you will decline, I believe proper decorum demands I offer you spell exchange. I am not so naive to think as I may have anything to offer you, but I humble myself all the same…" Bleys slipped his spellbook from his satchel and handed it over. Malcolm smirked and flipped through it disinterestedly and then handed it back with amusement.

“No, there is nothing, but I appreciate the gesture,” Malcolm said.

As Bleys the Aubergine left soon after, Malcolm told him that since he was called away on business often this would likely be the only time they would get to meet, but that Bleys should come back the next time he was in Quillton.

Bleys agreed.

End of InterSession #8.5
---------------------------------------------------------
Notes:

(1) See Session #8

(2) A handcask is a small cask of ale or mead with a handle for easier pouring. It usually holds one and half gallons.

(3) Soon after Bleys began his training with a local gnomish wizard to learn the still spell feat.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
So is anyone finding these InterSessions remotely interesting?

I am nearly done with the next one (which may be in two parts), and after that there is only one more (which might also be in two parts) before we get back to the actual game sessions.

Unfortunately, between my (recently ended) summer class and preparing these for posting, I have fallen four sessions behind in writing them up (we recently played session #12).

In the future, I think any significant between session downtime we take care of via email/messageboard will be handled in the story hour via flashbacks and footnotes in the normal session updates. While I like the individual scenes, they are not as fun to prepare for posting as the sessions themselves, and in some cases can seem repetitive as the info gained in them has to be gone over again in the session itself.

I am not saying there won't be any more InterSessions at all, but am going to limit them to no more than 2 or 3, and not more often (on average) than every three or four sessions.
 

Rastfar

First Post
Well,I didn't realize that you would get so mired in these. I thought that they would be easier for you to handle and post as most of the typing is already done. A simple matter of cut-and-paste, but I guess not.

I thoroughly enjoy them as I am a completest. But, if it is really a chore and slows things down so much, you should do as you've suggested.

Thanks for editing them though, and posting them up.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
InterSession #8.6– “Denouement & Decampment”: Meanwhile in Schiereiland… (Part 1 of 2)

Tholem, the 11th of Ter – 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

Telémahkos arrived in Epithalassos-by-the-Sea just before mid-day. After paying off a debt to a gambling associate in Floodwall, he was able to talk some sailors he met into dropping him off on their way to Sluetelot. He would meet up with Timotheus and Tymon (1) back in Azure the next day, and from there they would be leaving for Chalkour. Originally he thought he would have more time, and had sent a message to his family’s trusted servant, feeling out the atmosphere about his father to gauge if a visit back home after having so recently left was a good idea. However, he had come to the village before hearing back, realizing that in order to accompany Timotheus north their schedule would need to be more hurried. Markos had taken a ferry over to Moon City the day before.

Telie walked through the dock market, taking in the many familiar sights, sounds and smells. “Mom” and Ham were selling their hearty stew and buttery bread nearby, and dockworkers and merchants alike were lining up for it.

The Fighting Square was being raked in preparation for some brawls likely to happen later in the afternoon when the sun was not so hot, but right now it was very hot, and Telie looked over at the Longhouse remembering the coldness of their mead. The rowdy yelps of the Tholem crowd would soon emanate from there, as Tholem was pay day!

However, before he could decide whether to risk a public appearance before seeing his father just to get a drink, he heard a familiar voice. “Master Briareus!” It was Mena, a long-time servant of his father’s household. He was dressed in his typical drab gray robes and sandals. A few strands of curled gray hair clung to his sweaty liver-spotted head. “What are you doing here already? I am just coming back from sending you word back!” He spoke to Telémahkos with a familiarity that only a servant who had seen his master grow from a young boy could have. There was even the hint of a careful scolding to it.

“Mena! It is good to see you,” Telémahkos walked over, shook the elder man’s hand, giving him a warm squeeze on the shoulder. “I am a busy man. I have to head to Chalkour with Tim tomorrow. Just taking care of loose ends as we finished one adventure and now head out to the Disputed Territories. How are things here? Are you well?”

“You should not have come,” Mena said in his usual even and calm manner, taking Telie's arm, and leading him to the direction of the edge of the village and the trail to the Briareus manse. “Bad things have been happening… And you cannot be involved…”

Telémahkos’ stomach tightened with nervousness and he stopped walking. “What is going on?”

“Keep walking!” This time Mena did scold, as he yanked on Telie’s arm. “As you know, my connection to the Barrel-makers has always been because of my days working for the Herald's Guild as a… courier. . . For all their faults, the Guild was made up of Thricians - and if the bosses were Herman-landers. . . well, I did not care because I rarely if ever dealt with them. . . But now some people don't seem too happy with the Barrel-makers anymore and their squeezing of their Thrician resources dry to cover for losses due to the war on their side of Aquerra… “ (2)

He sighed and stopped for a minute to catch his breath in the shade of the eaves of a house at the edge of the village. Telémahkos looked up and saw two of his father's guards sweating out in the sun at the opening through the outlying trees to the path up to the manse.

The old man continued: “So in the struggle for power some people have been dying…You know accidents, bar fights, sudden illness… Nothing suspicious…Except of course, it all is… And among those killed were my main contact, and conveniently, his replacement is a loyal Coop… (3) The father of the man I had to… deal with that night. . . You know which night I am speaking of?”

“Yes,” Telémahkos replied in a course whisper. His mouth dried up and his lips got stuck on his teeth as he spoke. “The Guild is bringing Herms here? (4) Is there any way to stay out of the fight?”

“Not the Guild, the Coops… At least, that's the rumor. . . a few ringers to spill a little blood and show the Trumps (5) who is boss. . . But those who started to chafe and fight back, and want to drive out the Coops altogether aren't going to stand for it. . . This fight is coming. . . And it is going to be ugly. . .”

Mena swallowed hard. “There is some kind of evidence against me. This man, Kristopf, knows or suspects about the real fate of his son and has brought this information to your father…Now your father does not know the details of why and how this happened, and he does not care… The truth is…” He looked back and forth and then right into Telémahkos’ eyes. “The truth is your father is aware of my talents and contacts and has made use of them from time to time… But if this accusation becomes public there will be nothing he can do to protect me, and then the Coops will use the excuse of my coming public trial to kill me before I can rat on them…”

He took a deep breath and took Telie's arm again as they continued up the path. The guards nodded their greeting as they passed.

“But it gets worse…” Mena said even more quietly when they had passed them. “Your name has come up…”

Telémahkos squeezed his temples and wiped the sweat off his face, closing his eyes with passing anguish. “How? Has my father heard anything?”

“Conveniently… old rumors about Kristopf the Younger bragging how 'the young son of the lord' was going to let him into the House have re-surfaced… And while I have no doubt that he did the bragging, I am sure that it was to people who could generally be trusted to keep their mouths shut until they were convinced or paid to remember again… And that is why I said you should not have come,” Mena said. “Your father is furious about the accusations and the threat to his increasing business this entails. If he pushes back against the Coopers too hard, how many of his ships or caravans are going to arrive safely? And if that happens, how long until he will be forced to something about it? It would have been best if you had just stayed far away for now… But it is too late…”

Almost panicked, Telémahkos let out a harsh whisper, “Let us find me a horse and I will be off!” But then he gathered himself and added, “No, the guards saw me. I need to give a grand performance…”

He stood up straight and walked resolutely toward the manse.

Mena led the way into the house and the other servants greeted Telémahkos warmly, including a kitchen wench who had warmed his bed more than once. They made their way to Agamemnon's parlor/trophy room and then Mena left to fetch him. Telémahkos looked over the various weapons and mounted animals; examples of his father's prowess.

“Shouldn't you be somewhere robbing tombs and killing kobolds?” Agamemnon barked by way of greeting as he entered the room. He was flush and sweaty, and dressed in a light toga that revealed the dark coarse hairs of his stout muscular legs. He gave Telémahkos a rough little push into a chair and then took a seat himself. “What failures are you here to whine about? Are you here because you need money or help to get out of some mess? Mena says not, but that old man would feed you his teat if you told him milk would come out…”

“There is no problem, father. In fact, we were successful on the first adventure, the House split will be a modest amount of silver… but this is just the beginning. We head to the Disputed Territories next and Timotheus wanted to take care of some family visit so I joined him to let you know I was doing well… In fact, I have had some discussion with the merchant Cornwallis Lowe. There seems to be lots of trade opportunities down south and perhaps I can set up a new base for you down there… Is that something you wish?”

“Heh. If you think you can manage it… Lowe, eh? The name is familiar. But don't go mucking around with smuggling if you don't know what you're doing… Which you probably don't… Is that all you came to tell me? Some scheme that is going to require the re-annexation of the Disputed Territories to work? It seems your instinct for quick coin is as developed as your courage. . But it matters not… Go do whatever you want down there and stay away from Schiereiland for a time. It looks like I am going to have to dismiss Mena over that foolishness with that intruder a few years back, and I want you gone too, so you cannot be called to testify about it.”

Agamemnon’s small dark eyes never left those of his ne’er-do-well son, boring into him with contempt.

Telémahkos paused, and then tapped his temple. “I have an idea! Do you think Mena would want to join the Charter as a hireling?”

“Gods, damn it!” Agamemnon stood, towering over his sitting son. “THINK, why don't you! I don't know if you were dropped on your head as a child, or if being dropped on it now would fix you, but you certainly make me want to try!” His big meaty fist pulsed as he squeezed his hand tighter and tighter, but he did not strike Telémahkos. Instead, he paced around the room, panting to let his purple-faced anger pass.

“Actually, you had better hope these plans you are trying to make pan out, as we might be needing that income if everything goes as badly as I think it will. Gods damned Herman-lander thieves! Look, I don't want to see your face until I can actually trust to send you to do things for me… Difficult things… The kind of difficult things I long ago asked Mena to prepare you for when I thought Philo and Jason would be taking over for me and you would be doing something else useful for this family… Now it seems I have to hope you learn to do both… Or else wait until your twin brothers are old enough to do it…”

“Alright father, I will do what I can… I… uh,” Telémahkos stood, but his eyes never left the floor. He continued in a low defeated voice. “I think I can become great with the blade… I will make… I can help with coin. I am sure of it and… and we will see what else needs doing once that happens.”

Agamemnon only smirked, his body language making it clear their meeting was over.

“I only wish to see Paulien before I go. I will seek a servant. Good day, father.” Telémahkos did not even try to shake his father’s hand. He left the room, and out in the hall he swore, “I will never return here as long as that man lives…”

------------------------------------

A little later, after finding a washroom where he could weep in private, Telémahkos washed his face and then summoned a servant to bring him where he could find Paulien, his sister-in-law; Bleys’ sister.

In a large sunlit parlor, Telémahkos found her sitting on the floor and playing with her children in a very unself-conscious way. She was tall and thin, and had sharp, almost severe features framed by straight thick black hair. She still looked youthful despite being nearly ten years older than him. Her unusual looks gave her an indefinable beauty. Also present was the light-haired and voluptuous Agatha, his stepmother. She was only a couple of summers older than he was, and quite lovely. She sat in her chair with a paper fan as she watched the twins scamper around knocking over Spiro wooden soldiers.

“Telémahkos!” Agatha was exuberant when she saw Telémahkos, standing and hurrying over to hug and kiss him. Menaleaus, his younger brother began to cry, toddling over to grab his mother's leg possessively, while Paulien carefully tried to extricate Andrea’s hair from the claws of Nestor who was clearly already developing a cruel streak. Paulien looked up at her brother-in-law with a weak smile.

After some pleasantries and greeting the children, he asked Paulien to accompany him for a walk through the nearby orchard. “Your brother has given me a note for you and the shade is long enough for us to escape the heat.”

“Oh, of course, Telémahkos… I am glad my brother still thinks of me. It is too bad he could not come with you on this visit.” Paulien’s voice was smoky, deeper than most women’s, but with a delicate mellifluousness. She stood and asked one of the nannies to watch the children.

Agatha gave her a jealous glare and then planted a soft kiss on Telémahkos cheek close to his mouth. “And how long will you be here? I do hope we get a chance to catch up and you can entertain us with tales of your adventures…” She said to her stepson.

“Unfortunately, not very long, but I will be back to chat,, Telie replied, offering his arm to Paulien as they leave the room.

As they walked out to the orchard he began: “I wanted to let you know that I wish to take my responsibility to you and your children more seriously. I am not sure yet what this will entail, but know that I think about you and your children and plan on making sure you are always given what you need…” Telémahkos spoke with an awkward cadence ending his speech suddenly to wait for a reaction.

“Are… Are…are you asking if I would like to marry?” There was awe in her voice. “I mean, I understand the sentiment and it is honorable for a man to take care of his brother's widow… But we hardly know each other and I am not sure where this is coming from… I would have to think on it… Though it would provide me and the children with a more stable place in the household…”

Telémahkos’ eyes open wide and he stammered. “Ahh! We both know how rash I am. Let us take a first step and not even consider that yet as I am going to be away for a while anyway. Know this, though… I consider you like a sister and even if I were to marry another you would have place of honor in my household, and I would make that bond legally binding so as to relieve you of worry. If I make anything of myself I will fulfill my brother's obligations one way or another.”

“So, you aren't asking. . . “ Telémahkos could not tell if that was disappointment in her voice. She continued: “I mean, the only legal obligation I can think of is marriage… Not that I care to dishonor Jason's name, but finding me a husband is the best way to make sure we are cared for. But then again, I worry a new husband will want children of his own, and Spiro and Andrea would suffer it. Someone who already considered them family would be the best choice.” She stopped talking and walking very suddenly and scrunched up her face with suspicion. “Did Bleys put you up to this?”

Telémahkos stopped as well, and smiled. “All he did was show his deep regard for you and your children, reminding me of responsibilities I have not paid much attention to before. Before I forget…” He reached into his toga. “Here is his letter.”

He handed it to her and continued. “I can't ask yet for your hand yet. I can only find out where you stand because I have no means to support even myself let alone a family. My father does not trust me with much at this point. And when I say legal obligations, there are agreements that people reach… nobles reach about the rights and such of the members of their household… You could have a special place in my family. I am not a traditionalist, so excuse me if this all sounds odd to you. If I find other lands for the House to rule, we will need able-bodied lords and ladies to take on responsibilities and I am sure Spiro and Andrea would be perfect for such a thing. I am sorry to speak of so many uncertainties…let's leave it at that, and I will do what I can to fulfill that obligation willingly.”

He noticed her turn the sealed letter in her hands. “Do you wish to read that now?”

“I would rather read it later,” She replied, still sounding a bit suspicious. “And I thank you for your concern and for trying to make plans that fit me and your brother's children. It is very noble, even if Bleys did put you up to it.” She gave Telémahkos a light kiss on the cheek. “When you see him, tell him he is as much in my mind as I am in his, and I look forward to his visiting as I have not seen him since the funeral…” (6)

“I will let him know…” He looked at her again in the sunlight, noting that much like Lavinia, she was taller than he was, but her beauty, while very different, was no less striking. He felt overcome with the emotion of the moment. “You are a beautiful, strong woman so do not think anyone needs to plot to have someone show interest in you… Anyway, it was good to talk with you, especially since I do not have many relatives here any longer that I can speak to with… much sincerity. Out of curiosity, How does Agatha treat you and the children?”

He began to slowly escort her back the way they came.

“She treats me fine,” Paulien replied unconvincingly.

“And…” Telie stopped and looked at her gently. “Can I ask you a terribly personal question?”

“Yes?” She replied, with a mix of apprehension and curiosity.

“Was love a part of your marriage to my brother? Was he a loving man?” In a quieter voice, he added: “I did not know him as well as I would have liked.”

“He was in his own way…” Paulien replied hesitantly. “As with any arranged marriage, it took time for us to get to know and love each other, but he was a good man, and very driven when it came to his work… whatever that was.”

“He was secretive about what he was doing for the House? Was he always having meetings with my other older brothers? Am I naive to think a House in this day and age can survive without daggers hidden behind cloaks?”

“I know nothing of daggers,” She replied. “But he was often traveling on business, or seeking out some spell. More than once he spoke of adventures in a kind of off-hand and vague way, and yes, sometimes he had Philo or Demosthenes with him…sometimes not…”

Telémahkos nodded and began walking slowly again, offering Paulien his arm and changing the subject. “It is amazing how much Andrea looks like you, and Spiro, my brother. Isis has blessed you.”

to be continued…

-----------------------------------------------------------
Notes:

(1) Timotheus would spend this time drinking with old caravan guard buddies and visiting the local house of ill-repute in Azure, while Tymon visited family that lived in Azure.

(2) This is a reference to the Herman Land civil war with its rebellious protectorate, the Black Islands Barony.

(3) ‘Coop’ refers to the Coopers, an influential Thieves’ Guild.

(4) ‘Herms’ is Thrician slang for Herman-landers.

(5) ‘Trumps’ or ‘Trumpeters’ is slang for the Thrician Herald’s Guild, long beholden to the Coopers.

(6) There was a large funeral for Telémahkos’ three older brothers, and Bleys was excused from the Academy to attend and be at his widowed sister’s side.
 

Telémakhos

First Post
I completely love this stuff as I keep saying. I would feel bad if all our acting is deflating the hack and slash fun factor.

No I wouldn't.

Great fun!
 

Ciaran

First Post
el-remmen said:
So is anyone finding these InterSessions remotely interesting?
I think they're awesome. They provide perspective on, and insight into, the characters that we simply don't get from the sessions themselves. More please.
 

handforged

First Post
Just caught up again, and I have to say that while I greatly enjoy the intersessions, I much prefer the actual games. If I have to pick one, I pick the game sessions. I am excited to see what Markos might learn during his time in Moon City. And it will be interesting to see how the combat tactics change with everyone's advancement.

~hf
 

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