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


Moderator Emeritus
Session #4 – “Delirium Tremens” (part 3 of 4)

Osilem, the 17th of Sek – 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

The next morning found a fully restored Victoria discussing tactics with Markos. They talked for a long time without the interference of the others

“I am sorry for my rash words spoken in the heat of my anger,” Markos said to the militant. “I know your actions in the battle were not done out of cowardice. It is just that I cannot agree with the tactics of it…”

And on and on the discussion went… Eventually the others joined it as well, but before it could become another quarrel it was agreed to let the discussion lie until another time.

Chok’tem announced that he would be willing to let Sir Quintus go. “His body has been broken of the need, though his mind might still dwell on it,” the lizardman said in his tongue to Markos. “He should recover fully as long as he does not use the shannis again.”

“Perhaps we should search his things to make sure he does not have any more of it,” Markos suggested.

“He does not have it,” Chok’tem said. “He came to us because the desire had grown so strong upon him from not having it…”

“The truth of the matter is… the men you refer to as ‘brigands’ were only near Bog End to pick up the raw pollen,” Sir Quintus said, as the other lizardman pulled up the stakes that confined him. “The problem was that there was none to pick up because Chok’tem and his people had withheld the pollen because I was taking too long in talking to Lord Swann on their behalf…”

Bleys nodded to Chok’tem approvingly. The knight continued, “I came into the swamp to convince them to give up the pollen, as I was afraid that the longer MacHaven and his men were around, the more chance there was they would cause some trouble to the locals, and… and the greater the chance that my secret would be revealed. But… when I arrived, the lizardfolk captured me instead to break me of my habit.”

“Are you happy that they did this?” Markos asked.

“I fear I may never be happy again,” Sir Quintus Gosprey replied with resignation in his voice.

“And Valerius… You will keep his secret?” Markos turned to the squire.

“Yes…” the boy answered dejectedly. “If he is to redeem himself he need a clean slate and he will need help, and what else does a squire do but help his master?”

They were two horses short, what with Sir Quintus Gosprey’s horse having been eaten by the muckdwellers, and Argo falling into the plant pit, so the packhorse was fitted with a saddle, and the gear it carried was spread out among the others. Sir Quintus took Valerius’ horse and Victoria rode the packhorse. Valerius walked, climbing onto Markos’ horse when deeper water required a mount.

Chok’tem led them back to the track by a winding way that still took less than half the time than that of Tavius. The lizardman did not even say good-bye. He slipped back into the brush and was gone before anyone noticed.

The topic of tactics came up again as they slowly rode out of the bog. As usual, Bleys stayed out of it, perhaps not even listening, and Laarus while attentive, was quiet, and after a few words, both Timotheus and Telémahkos tried to stop listening – but it didn’t work.

“All I am saying is that any tactics that allow you to walk away from a fight with no one on your side dying could not have been too bad,” Victoria said.

“I totally disagree,” Markos insisted. “Next time someone’s cowardly demeanor could lead to someone else’s death…”

Telémahkos, who rode right in front of Markos, turned around, not stopping his horse. “Just to let you know, I will not dirty my hands here and now, but if you insult me again in public I will meet you with steel.”

“…And he continues to live up to my expectations,” Markos said to Victoria.

“You cannot continue to impugn the honor of others without expecting to be challenged on it,” Victoria replied.

“Even if we fought and he killed me, it would not make him any less a coward,” Markos replied. “But I will let it go, for now…”

A break in the foliage could be seen up ahead and deep muddy field where Telémahkos’ horse had gotten stuck was in sight when Timotheus saw Laarus suddenly sway in his saddle.

The sharp smell of burning chemicals filled Laarus’ nostrils and he felt his stomach immediately turn. His vision dimmed and when it began to return, he no longer saw the swamp around them, but some cramped dark place where he could see a ‘Q’ branded onto the side of a barrel.

Laarus could feel something welling up in his throat and suddenly there was a loud explosion that caused the world to go white for half a moment as it echoed in his mind.

The priest of Ra leaned over suddenly, his body flopping loosely as if drunk and he coughed up a stream of yellow bile.

“Laarus! Are you alright?” Timotheus asked. Laarus sat back up and wiped his mouth with a kerchief he drew out of a pocket in his doublet. “I am fine. I just got nauseous there for a moment… I am fine now…” Laarus looked even paler than usual.

“Isis protect us!” Timotheus hissed, covering his mouth. “He has the bog flu!” He made a mental note to not share a room with Laarus wherever they ended up staying that night.

Just after mid-day they finally reached Bog End, but rode another couple of miles south of it before stopping to have lunch not wanting to be seen by locals. Once again Sir Quintus tried to convince them to allow him to return to Gullmoor Keep first, but Markos reminded him of the choices, and the knight acquiesced.

The road south grew wider and better maintained the further they went. The bog gave way to narrow strips of forest divided by steep bald hills, while on the left the sea came into view and then fell away, leaving the road atop tall jagged bluffs. Soon the hills to the west were gone and the strips of forests divided large farmsteads. All afternoon they passed peddlers and other locals with ox-drawn carts and wheelbarrows filled with springtime fruit, but it would not be until nigh sunset that New Harbinger would come into view.

It was an octagonal fortified town of yellowing white stone with eight tall towers about is outer wall, and a tall spire of a citadel at the northern side. It abutted the rocky shore, connecting to a fortified harbor with smaller towers that reached the water’s edge. There were many ships docked there. The cry of gulls made Markos’ frustration with his companions melt away in the moment.

The Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland came down the slope towards New Harbinger, and the size of the place became more and more apparent.

“Wow, this is bigger than the Gate,” Timotheus said as the road wound down to the cleared lands about it. There was a livery among the few buildings that began a few hundred yards away from the wall, and Sir Quintus explained that there was a local ordinance regarding horses in the town’s narrow streets.

A middle-aged bearded man named Tolliver ran the livery and he was expecting them. “I was asked to look out for your arrival by your steward,” he said. “And I am also to tell you to ask for Lieutenant Ferris Twelf at the gate.” The party took their gear from their horses and walked to the entrance of the town.

The drawbridge was still open, but the great portcullis decorated with wrought iron black swans was lowered, and after a brief questioning they were shown through a narrow door in the gate into an enclosed bailey with countless niches for bowman on either side. There was a great wooden gate reinforced with iron that led into the town itself, but a smaller door was set into it.

Lieutenant Ferris Twelf met them there and greeted Sir Quintus warmly, but immediately asked him as to his health.

“Welcome to New Harbinger,” the lieutenant said turning to the other and introducing himself. “The captain of the guards wants to meet and talk with you, and he has been summoned. Your steward arrived a few days ago and alerted us to your coming. She and your hirelings have taken rooms at the Sign of the Green Gem, the only inn of repute in town, and may have arranged for rooms for you there, as well. However, the current season means that there are many merchants in town, so if there are no rooms, I have been instructed for you to send word to the citadel so they might see to your hospitality.”

This lieutenant Twelf bore little resemblance to the lean half-elven officer they had met on the Beach Road. He was shorter and rounder, and had no visible elven heritage to speak of. (1)

“Speaking of hospitality, Ferris… I have to see the Lord immediately,” Quintus said. “It is very important…”

“I’ll have someone bring you there right away,” the lieutenant replied, and he summoned one of his guards.

The knight turned to the young nobles and thanked them for their help. “If you are ever in the area of Gullmoor again and have need of aid, please seek me out…”

“Sir Quintus,” Bleys stepped over. “Did we not agree that you would speak to the Lord in our presence?”

“Yes, that was the agreement,” Markos reinforced.

“I am more likely to get an actual audience with him at this time if I go alone, rather than show up with six young nobles in tow,” Quintus replied, his exhaustion evident in his voice and manner. “You are being asked to wait here, and have other business in town, I would rather get this over with…”

“And how will we know that you have fulfilled your promise?” Markos asked.

“You can confirm with the Lord when you speak to him,” Quintus replied quietly as to not have Lieutenant Ferris hear. “And if you find that I did not inform him satisfactorily, well then… do what you think you must…”

The lieutenant looked confused by the sudden heated whispering when he turned from giving his guard his order to escort the knight and his squire to the citadel, but the party acquiesced and the knight and squire were led through a narrow side door into the town.

A few moments later Captain Aurelius Oberto arrived. Tall and handsome with long brown hair held in a tail by gold thread, the captain wore a chain shirt, and had a long sword at his side. His golden tabard bore a quartered field with a black swan in the top right and a bluish-green gemstone in the bottom left. He smiled broadly as he approached the young nobles, bowing and then shaking each of their hands as he introduced himself and welcomed them, guessing each of their names. The captain gave a strange look at Markos as he shook his hand.

“And how long do you plan to stay here in New Harbinger?” he asked everyone.

“Not long…” Laarus of Ra replied. The young priest looked to the others to reinforce his reply, before continuing. “Perhaps three days?”

“More or less,” Timotheus added.

“But if we have to leave suddenly that won’t cause anyone any…” Telémahkos began to ask.

“No… No… I was just curious. The gates are closed at sunset, but other than that, you can leave whenever you like, but…” He paused. “Well… The citadel steward asked to be informed of your arrival, so if I were you I would expect to be invited to dinner there for an audience with Lord Swann.”

“Yeah, sure… that’d be great!” Timotheus replied with real enthusiasm.

“Well, don’t take my word as invitation,” the captain clarified. “I am just saying that her asking is a good indication that a invitation will come… So, please keep that in mind as you make your plans.”

“Thank you for letting us know, we will plan accordingly,” replied Victoria.

“Also, master Bleys,” he looked to the tall purple-garbed watch-mage. “Your fellow alumnus wanted me to tell you to come see him when you arrived. Do you know Oroleniel the Salmon?”

“Yes,” Bleys said, bowing his head slightly in thanks. “He graduated two years before I did…”

“Well, that was basically it… I just wanted to see you with my own eyes so I can report your arrival with utter truthfulness,” the captain said. “And if there is anything you need while you are in town that we can help you with please see Lieutenant Twelf, and if there anything he cannot help you with, he will refer you to me.”

“Actually, I may as well ask now… What temples do you have in the city?” Victoria asked.

“Only Tefnut has a proper temple,” the captain explained. “But there is a shrine to Horus near the harbor, and also a plaza that holds shrines to several gods, including the triad of Ra, in the northwestern quadrant.”

At the captain’s signal, the inner gate was opened to let them into the town proper, and they were immediately struck by the pungent scent of spices and the sea. The town beyond was mostly draped in the gloom of the day’s last moments. There were many winding streets thought tight clusters of buildings, some of which where wooden and leaning towards ramshackle, but others were of white stone; most of them had their roofs and walls painted with quicklime. All of them were one story, except for one building near the center of town. This one Lieutenant Ferris Twelf pointed out as the Sign of the Green Gem. Beyond this to the left they could see the towers of the citadel, and to the right those of the fortified harbor.

Bleys, Laarus, Telémahkos, Timotheus, Markos and Victoria walked down the main thoroughfare, where guards were lighting lanterns at the edge of the entrance to each cluster of buildings, lighting their way.

. . .to be continued…

(1) Lieutenant Ferris Twelf is actually a cousin of Lorkas from the human side of his family. The party met Lorkas Twelf in Session #2.

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I am currently about halfway through reading your previous story hour (which I think is very well written and entertaining)
One thing that struck me was that there was a bias in favor of clerical spell casters (as pointed out by others before me ) mainly due to the fact that there was an extreme low availability of magic items and coupled with that was the difficulty arcane spell casters had in obtaining new spells.

It also stuck me that the players never attempted to construct there own magic items or even brew a potion.

Was this a game style thing or an Aquerra rules issue?
Are Players allowed to take a craft magic item feat?

Is Aquerra inherently low magic or was that just for the previous campaign?

As a dm do you think magic items help balance out the power the players have?
Especially when they get to mid or high level play?

Keep up the good work



Moderator Emeritus
darkhall-nestor said:
I am currently about halfway through reading your previous story hour (which I think is very well written and entertaining)
Thanks! :)

And by the way, if you are reading the actual old threads (as opposed to the word doc compilation, you are welcome to bump them ;))

darkhall-nestor said:
One thing that struck me was that there was a bias in favor of clerical spell casters (as pointed out by others before me ) mainly due to the fact that there was an extreme low availability of magic items and coupled with that was the difficulty arcane spell casters had in obtaining new spells.
It has struck me as well, and while I have not changed arcane casters, soon after OOTFP finished I went back and redid all the priesthood powers and spell lists and also made the requirements for praying for spells stricter - increasing the probability that at some point in the campaign a priest may have to go without their alloted spells.

Also, keep in mind that I have not abandoned the 2E mindset that you can use RP restrictions to balance crunch benefits. . . I enforce those pretty strongly and being a priest has a lot of responsibilities and guidelines that go along with them.

darkhall-nestor said:
It also stuck me that the players never attempted to construct there own magic items or even brew a potion.

Was this a game style thing or an Aquerra rules issue?
Are Players allowed to take a craft magic item feat?
Well, as for the first question, the answer is: Both. The use of training rules means gaining an item creation feat can be difficult because you need to find someone who has one, and pay them. But also, the way they work has been limited to require specific formulas be known for specific items and also power components to "seal the magic".

So yes, players can have their characters take item creation feats, it is just not east to do.

Also, the last game had almost no downtime, which is a big consideration in the taking of such a feat. Why take it if you won't have time to make stuff? Other campaigns may have more downtime (I think this one will).

darkhall-nestor said:
Is Aquerra inherently low magic or was that just for the previous campaign?
I call it "moderate magic". Low magic makes me think of Conanesque level magic.

But yes, definitely lower than "standard".

darkhall-nestor said:
As a dm do you think magic items help balance out the power the players have?
Especially when they get to mid or high level play?
I'm not sure what you mean by this.

Balance out against what? Creatures of equal CR? I guess they would, but I find it easier to tailor the encounters than to give out more magic.

darkhall-nestor said:
You're welcome. :)

Sorry I could have been clearer.

What I mean is do you think magic items balance the relative strength of each party member ?
So that for example a fighter could contribute against a demon
As opposed to becoming canon fodder
so that the palidin can move in and take charge

Thanks for taking the time to answer me


Moderator Emeritus
darkhall-nestor said:
Sorry I could have been clearer.

What I mean is do you think magic items balance the relative strength of each party member?
So that for example a fighter could contribute against a demon
As opposed to becoming canon fodder
so that the palidin can move in and take charge

Still not sure I get you on the paladin part, but I don't know about magical items balancing out the relative strengths of the party members, it is not really something I have put much thought to. I think of the party as group in terms of what challenges they face and how they face them and in individual strength of any character is not all that important in that perspective (unless a foe has an attack for mthat could possibly kill one particularly weak member with one attempt - which is a rare thing). I think generally everyone is close enough in power that doesn't really matter and everyone has an opportunity to take part.

darkhall-nestor said:
Thanks for taking the time to answer me

Are you kidding? I love this stuff! :)


Moderator Emeritus
Session #4 – “Delirium Tremens” (part 4 of 4)

The Sign of the Green Gem was packed with patrons. The odor of scented candles wafted over the stench to sweat and ale, as the strains of bard plucking a lyre floated over the rolling wave of voices raised in merriment. The crowd was mostly men in the maroon and black doublets common to merchants, surrounded by sons already growing to resemble their road-weary fathers. There were also about a dozen women, some of which were working here this evening, though for the rest it was not so clear.

The innkeeper, one Wilson Tummins, greeted the signers of the Charter of Schiereiland effusively, guessing who they were as soon as Timotheus asked after Euleria. He sent a servant to fetch her, and then yelled to another to clear a table for them. But he also warned them, that while Euleria had been able to make some arrangement for quarters, it might not be enough to suit such noble guests.

As they took their seats pitchers of ale and clean mugs appeared by means of smiling serving wenches, and they were offered a choice betweens the daily brown stew or today’s roast game hen.

“Has Euleria Finch taken care of paying for this?” Timotheus asked.

“I will find out,” said the serving wench, but when she returned it was with the food, informing them that no, Euleria had not made provision to pay for their meal.

Timotheus grabbed his money pouch from his belt and held it up upside down for all to see, waving it like a limp flag in a faint breeze. “My money’s pouch’s as flat as a grandmother’s teats!” He swore.

“I will pay for you,” Victoria offered. “And for anyone else who cannot pay…”

“Thank you, Victoria,” Timotheus replied with a kind smile and genuine gratitude. “It is just that we didn’t make a bronze penny off of that…”

“Off of what?” Telémahkos asked.

“Our first adventure,” Tim replied. He turned to the one of the servants walking by. “Could you bring us some Old Wes?”

“No,” replied the servant curtly.

“You don’t serve it, or you are out?”

“We don’t serve it.”

“But why not? It is made in the Border Shires, and we get it all the way in Schiereiland…” Timotheus was perplexed.

“Well, Schiereiland is really far away from here,” the servant replied, annoyed. He walked off.

“Does that make sense to you?” Tim asked Victoria. The militant shrugged her shoulders.

Euleria arrived as they were still eating, wearing a dark green outfit with doublet, vest, trousers and high boots, as if she were about to go riding. Unlike most women in the place, she wore no make-up.

Telémahkos, Markos and Timotheus all stood as she arrived, but the other three remained eating. Euleria seemed put off for a moment, and then demurred gesturing for them to be seated again. She would remain standing.

“I am glad that you have finally arrived. I was beginning to worry that something had befallen you on the road,” she said. She went on to explain that she had hired two sell-swords in Sluetelot, along with a boy of about fourteen summers to act as porter. The sell-swords were named Dunlevey and Falco, and they came highly recommended. The latter had served mostly as a scout, but the former had worked as a guard for House Tenbrook. She also explained that she had sent word ahead to Tribunisport to allow the lord there to know they might be coming, and had taken the liberty to send word to the Border Shires in case the party decided to go that way.

“Speaking of the Border Shires, is there some conflict with them here we should know about?” Timotheus asked.

“They are not well-liked here,” Euleria explained. “There has often been conflict between House Swann and the halflings of Thistlewoodshire.”

“Why? They’re halflings!” Timotheus exclaimed, and then lowered his voice. “Who can not like halflings? They’re pretty inoffensive…”

“Well, let’s just say that at one time of another the land that is now Thistlewoodshire belonged to House Swann…” Euleria began as Timotheus let out an “oh” of understanding. “Lord Gosprey of Gullmoor? He calls himself the Count of Thistlewood, and that drives the halflings mad with anger.”

Timotheus Smith shrugged, suddenly bored by the topic. There was a brief argument about whose idea it was to hire a porter, initiated by Markos – everyone else insisting it had been his idea. Euleria confirmed this when asked.

“You are very efficient, Euleria,” Bleys complimented their steward. “Thank you.”

“Yes, very good,” Victoria said praise sounding awkward in her tight-lipped manner of speaking.

The steward went on to explain that this was the time of year merchants came to New Harbinger to secure spice and other goods for the rest of the trade season, and because of this she had only been able to procure two double rooms. The young porter was asleep in one of the rooms right now, but the two mercenaries could be sent down to sleep in the common room and bedrolls could be used on the floors.

Laarus preferred to call on the hospitality of the citadel, and Euleria would be sent to inquire before it became too late. But before she left, Bleys brought up the salary of the hirelings.

“We agreed upon fifteen copper pieces a day for the sell-swords and but one copper per day for the porter, plus room and board, of course…” Euleria stated.

“Fifteen!” Timotheus was surprised. “I didn’t get that much when I worked as a caravan guard!”

“They are well-trained,” Euleria replied. Tim frowned.

“Are you already paying them?” Bleys asked. Euleria nodded. She went over some their skills. Falco was an archer and a woodsman. Dunlevey was skilled in the use of several kinds of swords. The boy porter was quick-witted and strong.

“I am having a hard time accepting that we are going to be paying people to possible bring them to their death,” Bleys the Aubergine commented, his flat tone occasionally swallowed by the raucous crowd around them.

“That is why they get paid,” Timotheus laughed. Bleys glared at the expressive young veteran.

“So they know what they are getting into?” the watch-mage continued his questions, not taking his eyes off of Tim.

“I am sure they do…” Timotheus said.

“I would not have hired them if I was not satisfied as to their capability, both mentally and physically,” Euleria said.

“And the boy, as well?” Bleys asked. “He knows what he is getting into?”

“I think that serving as your porter is a better choice than what his life would have been like otherwise,” she replied.

“Which is?”

“On the streets of Sluetelot, living copper to copper…”

“Very well…” Bleys relaxed slightly. “Euleria, again, you have served us well. Accolades.” She gave a quick bow and then headed out to the citadel. She said she would find Falco and Dunlevey at the tavern they were at and send them back to meet their employers.

“Oh, wait! One last thing,” Euleria hurried back over from the doorway. “I was able to contact Joezyn Barhyte regarding your interest in the King Stones and he sent me this map to pass on to you.” She gave Bleys a folded piece of parchment stained with age and scribbled over in several hands. (1)

The young nobles finished their meals. Laarus of Ra ordered that a bath be drawn for him and despite Bleys’ request that he remain to meet the hirelings, the priest did not want the water getting cold. He also asked that his clothes be laundered. (2)

Telémahkos joined the bard in song, drawing long applause and many copper coins thrown into the bard’s urn.

“Is he begging?” Victoria asked Timotheus, unused to a noble singing for spare coin in an inn. Tim laughed and called for another pitcher of ale. Markos looked increasingly uncomfortable in the crowded and merry tavern.

Telémahkos looked happier than any of the others (except perhaps Tim) had ever seen him. He had the whole crowd singing a traditional Thrician drinking song, and he walked over and even got Bleys to sing a line with him.

The hirelings arrived soon after. Dunlevey the Swordsman had a long sword on his left, a short sword on his right, a great sword on his back and a wicked looking dirk in a sheath on his boot; all tied with red ribbon in a peace-knot. He was around six feet tall and had a bush of red-brown hair and a pock-marked face. Falco fletching was three or four inches shorter, with greasy long black hair tied in a ponytail, a hooked nose and narrow green eyes. He wore a scimitar at his side.

Timotheus and Bleys took some time to further question their hirelings, but Victoria headed out for the Plaza of the Shrines soon after she met them. Markos Ackers headed out as well, seeking a tavern that was more to his liking. He found out where they had been (a place called “the Bird’s Eye”) and he headed in that direction. Dunlevey was a little drunk, but very friendly and respectful, and obviously eager to make a good impression on his noble employers, while Falco might have been able to teach Bleys a lesson in terseness, as he gave one word answers, when not simply nodding or shaking his head.

Once satisfied, Bleys the Aubergine excused himself and headed out of the inn as well in order to visit the local watch-mage, Oroleniel the Salmon.

Falco retired, but Dunlevey and Timotheus got on right away and soon they were drinking and schmoozing with other patrons as friends and equals, not as employer and employee – working hard to get a couple of local ladies to give them some attention.

Telémahkos, on the other hand, did not have to try to hard at all. The young Briareus had good looks, charm and talent, and in this environment it shined through as an aura of confidence that was obscured in places like bogs and abandoned roads. Soon he was dancing with a voluptuous woman named Amalda. She worked for the Great Matet Merchant Company, giving ‘special aid’ to its employees while they were on the road. A woman of loose morals and easy laughter, Telémahkos found her arousing, but that included his suspicions, so he tossed his belt pouch of coins to his cousin to watch over. However, being flat broke, Timotheus used some of that coin to buy drinks for himself, Dunlevey and the cold ladies they were talking to. Telémahkos would chastise his cousin for this later.

Euleria returned about an hour later with news that she had arranged for the party to stay at House Swann’s citadel, but they needed to be over there within the hour. Timotheus and Dunlevey left to go find Markos, just as Victoria arrived from her prayers at the Plaza of Shrines. Bleys the Aubergine returned after having told the local watch-mage that he would return for another visit soon, sensing that the half-elf was eager for company. He immediately went over to Telémahkos, who was dancing close with Amalda, the both of them giggling drunkenly like teenagers.

“Away woman, he is done with you,” Bleys said, rudely pushing between them. Amalda stumbled away in shock, but Telie gestured for her to stay close by.

“The watch-mage mentioned a party of adventurers that passed through here recently from the Disputed Territories,” Bleys told Telie. “It seems they may have lost some of their number, see if you can find out what happened.”

As Bleys walked back over to the table, Telémahkos grabbed Amalda and apologized for the interruption

Amalda pointed out her employer as he left the common room, and Telémahkos asked if she could arrange a meeting with him. She said she’d try. He then went on to ask her about the talk of the adventuring party Bleys has mentioned. She explained that the merchant caravan she was a part of had met them on the High Road. The party had lost two members, one of which was a priestess of Isis, and they were carrying a gravely wounded “northern barbarian priest of the dwarf hammer god”.


“That’s the one!”

“And what led them to such dire circumstances?” Telémahkos asked.

“Well, I was not present when Master Lowe spoke with them, but the rumor around the caravan was that this group had come upon a camp of dervishes training for an attack on Thricia, and had barely escaped at all,” she went on to explain.

Laarus Raymer of Ra re-appeared fresh and clean and back in his jeweled cassock, his travel clothes would be ready the next day.

While they waited for Tim’s return with Markos’, Telémahkos went around back a shadowy corner out in the rear alley for a few sleazy moments with Amalda.


The hour was waning as they all finally made it to the citadel gate, escorted by two pages bearing lanterns. They were allowed in through a narrow entrance around the side, and past a narrow courtyard to a narrow alley made up by the citadel and one of its outer buildings. Here they were led down stairs to a narrow hall of austere windowless cells with straw mattress cots, a writing table, and a chest of drawers with a washbasin and fresh linen atop it.

The New Harbinger Citadel steward was a plumpish woman approaching middle age with a bob haircut with streaks of white in the black, and a broad slightly misshapen nose. She was called Tabitha Mark. She explained that they were not to leave the guest hall without permission, and that there were guards at either end of the hall if they needed anything. There was also a common room where breakfast would be served in the morning, but that if anyone were hungry now, she would have something brought down from the kitchens.

“Also, will you be available for dinner tomorrow night?” she asked. The signers of the Charter of Schiereiland accepted the invitation without hesitation

And then thanking her, the young nobles gathered in the common area they had been provided to talk some before retiring. Telémahkos informed the others about what he had learned from Amalda regarding the other adventuring party, emphasizing the camp of dervishes.

“I don’t know about the rest of you, but this news does not exactly increase my enthusiasm for going to the Disputed Territories,” Telémahkos said.

“You? Scared? Naw!” Markos smirked.

“You know, one thing about this whole discussion that was never brought up is the fact that you were not exactly embroiled in the battle in the stone building either,” Telémahkos mentioned. “If I remember correctly you were out in the courtyard yourself.

“I am a mage, and as such gave support with my spells when I could,” Markos said by way of explanation. “I cannot be expected to jump into a melee when my skills lie elsewhere…”

“Can we speak civilly for a moment?” Telémahkos asked, looking up from his oatmeal. “I hope you can hear what I am saying despite being burned by a deep bitterness whose origin I do not know… You can acknowledge that a mage does not fight as a warrior would, so would it not make sense that someone whose skills are more aimed towards being a scout, for example, be used differently as well? So telling me that I should have been at the forefront of that battle is a similar case. It does not help.”

“Well, m’Lord,” Markos sarcasm dripped off his lips like stray bits of porridge. “May I speak freely without fear of your using the training you received as part of your station in life against one whose circumstances kept them from getting the same training? Huh? M’Lord? Sir?”

“No, better just to think on what I just said…” Telémahkos replied, and then stood, excusing himself for the night.

“Telémahkos is right on at least one thing, let us leave such talk for tomorrow,” Victoria said. “It is late.”

“Yes,” Laarus of Ra agreed. “We can discuss what our next move may be over breakfast perhaps.”

Tholem, the 18th of Sek – 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

Loud knocking on each of their doors awakened them. After several days of camping on the roadside or in the bog, their sleep was deep and much appreciated. And after morning prayers they gathered in the common room to chew on bacon, and slurp down bowls of steaming oatmeal chock full of nuts. There was wine and goat’s milk provided as well.

“So the plan is to go to Tribunisport and see if we can find out more about this pirate plot, and then decide if we will follow up on that, or go to the King Stones in the Disputed Territories,” Laarus started up.

Victoria and Timotheus nodded, and Markos said, “Yes.”

“I am not sure if this plan is the best,” Bleys the Aubergine offered. “It seems we have little to go on in terms of this plot, and a trip to Tribunisport will cost us coin we may not have, especially since we are now spending over three silver pieces a day for our hirelings…”

“True,” Victoria said. “And there is the cost of either ferrying the horses or keeping them here…”

“It seems to me that unless we have some news of the plot we can bring to the authorities, we should go to the King Stones and forget about going to Tribunisport,” Timotheus said.

Telémahkos let out a deep sigh.

“The only thing I will say on it is that I am baffled by the actual ethics of this group in terms of deciding what we should be doing, when we have something we know is happening, as compared to some rumors of what may be happening with dervishes, or chasing after some gold… I am just surprised at your choice when we have something nearby we can look into that might really help someone…”

Markos snorted with laughter. “Your talk of ethics amuses me.”

“Let me see if I can clarify where I am looking at this from,” Victoria said, ignoring Markos. “While we know for certain of nothing happening in the Disputed Territories… True… All we have regarding this pirate plot is…”

“Right… My word,” Telémahkos finished for her. “As a nobleman that should be more than enough…”

Markos laughed again, spitting oatmeal onto the table.

“But it is not more certain than other information we may have…” Victoria continued.

“Oh certainly it is!” Telémahkos protested.

“More than a priest of Ra?” Timotheus interjected.

“There was nothing in what Laarus told us of what the priest of Ra said that should lead us to think any trouble is imminent,” Telémahkos reasoned. (3)

“But with this new news of dervish camps?” Victoria said.

“Yes… Does that not lend aid to the tales of troubles in the Disputed Territories?” Laarus added.

“How is that different from all the years of back and forth skirmishes and raids?” Telémahkos asked.

“That may not be a new development, but we are a new development,” Victoria said with pride in her voice.

“Well, we all knew such things existed when this charter was signed and this is the first I hear that we want to involve ourselves in the borderlands strife,” Telie filled a mug with wine. “There were a variety of things we could get involved in…”

“Right, but the borderland strife and one other thing,” Victoria pointed to the map, which was unfolded on the table. “Seem to lead us in the same general direction…”

“Personally, I think pirates are more likely to be troublesome to common people,” Markos piped up. “And so, I would want to look into that, but if there is an invasion… Well, in the long run that causes more suffering…”

“Yes, and if we find that the followers of the Red God of the West are planning an invasion, if we find these camps and get a sense of their number we can send word to the Margrave and make a difference that way…” Laarus added.

“This conversation has become absurd!” Telémahkos was flustered. “There is no indication that any kind of invasion is imminent! Even if there is an invasion being planned, I do not think it is so pressing that we should ignore this other matter that may only take a day or two to find out there is no problem… But I fear that it will be worse…”

“What is it your fear will happen?” Bleys asked. “You seem to be the only one with any information about this, so perhaps you can tell us more about what you know we will see the situation as you do and make our decision easier.”

Telémahkos sighed again. “The reason I have been tight-lipped is because of the politics of the parties involved, and someone of a noble house, or a close ally may be involved, and I have been asked by someone who cares about this person to intervene before he makes a stupid mistake… From my perspective, whether his shame comes to light or not, we are still doing something by preventing this from happening.”

“It seems like cleaning up after the stupid mistakes of nobles might become a habit for us,” Markos sneered.

“As I said before, I know of a plot that is happening in this place and it involves an attack on the Wetherwax fleet,” Telémahkos spoke each word loudly and slowly. “If we don’t want to do anything about it, that’s fine, but that baffles me as to the group’s ethics and its purpose.”

“Why not just tell the watch-mage of Tribunisport…” Timotheus began and looked to Bleys.

“Cwell the Carmine,” Bleys said.

“Cwell the Carmine,” Timotheus repeated. “And let him investigate it. It is not as if we are especially suited to this mission.”

“And, well… Not to be too blunt,” Victoria of Anhur added. “But this is a danger to only one noble family, while the Kingdom of the Red God of the West is a threat to all of Thricia. Some unorganized groups of pirates will never be a real threat to the fleet.”

“I guess I will have to continue to be baffled,” Telémahkos said.

The discussion descended into the logistical details of costs to go to Tribunisport and that of provisioning themselves for a long trip into the wilderness. Bleys bemoaned the fact that they were paying the hirelings three silvers a day without even knowing where they were going, and that would not be needed in Tribunisport and be even a greater drain to keep provisioned on the long trip to the Disputed Territories. Well, he didn’t really bemoan, being Bleys, but was as close to bemoaning as could be detected in his steady voice.

No one had any argument against his points.

Realizing how low on funds they really were, the talk moved to which of their choices was more likely to bring monetary reward, but were unable to come to an agreement on that either.

“Can you tell us any more about this noble who is involved?” Victoria asked Telémahkos getting back to the topic of the party’s choices.

“He is not a noble, but a son in one of Thricia’s richer and more influential family,” Telie explained. “Also, this information was shared with me with the understanding that I would attempt to dissuade him from his rash action before reporting this to the authorities… Therefore, I will not betray that because of a promise made.”

“Wait… So how would we get rewarded if this must be done in secret?” Victoria asked.

“I hope to be able to persuade this person to turn against the plotters and we can bring them to justice, or bring that information to the authorities,” Telémahkos explained.

They decided to postpone any decision making until after the dinner with Lord Swann that evening, in hopes that perhaps he might give them some reward for aiding Sir Quintus, which might ease their monetary woes.

In the meantime, Telémahkos would wander around New Harbinger to gather what information he could. He asked Timotheus to meet him at the inn for lunch. Markos went back into his cell, burying his face into a book, while Victoria went into town to purchase some things, including, perhaps, a new horse.

Bleys the Aubergine turned to Laarus of Ra, “Would you care to accompany me to see my fellow Academy alumnus? I met him last night and I am sure he would not mind the extra company.”

“I am honored that you would invite me,” Laarus replied.

End of Session #4


(1) You can view a scan of this map by clicking here.

(2) Priests of Ra have must abide a by the rule of finery to remain in their order.

(3) This is a reference to Laarus’ conversation with Dracius of Ra in Part 3 of Session #1.


Moderator Emeritus
Look for the first of three special "InterSessions" that took place between Session #4 and #5 via email to be posted sometime Monday evening.

Originally, it was going to be posted behind a spoiler block, but more recent events in the campaign have made that unnecessary.


First Post
Remind why these characters are adventuring together ?

There seem to be much interparty conflict and so little comradeship that several (at the least Markos and Telémahkos) would seem more likely to just leave.


Moderator Emeritus
monboesen said:
Remind why these characters are adventuring together ?

There seem to be much interparty conflict and so little comradeship that several (at the least Markos and Telémahkos) would seem more likely to just leave.

Well, I think the easiest answer is, because of familial responsibility and expectation. They have all signed on to this charter that their noble houses have sponsored to a degree and to just leave would reflect badly on them and their house.

Now, that is not to say they can't leave - but the consequences might not be so good.

As for the conflict itself - it is going to get worse before it gets better, unfortunately - but I hoping that we are past the worst of it (having just played Session #6 yesterday) because while it made for an interesting dynamic - it was taking up too much time, focus and energy of our sessions and ceasing to be very fun to have to sit through anymore.


First Post
In the case of Telie, he really has no choice unless he wants to be disowned. Not that he would mind that either if the circumstances were right, but for the first time in his life he sees the possibility of gaining independence without losing all of his privelage.

So, he hates Markos and knows the others all have holier than thou attitudes but for now they are a means to an end. And his cousin is a good man he would like to see make something of himself so he would like to help him as much as his limited courage will allow.

Telie keeps lashing out at Markos in moments of exteme stress because he presents such an easy target. The irony is how much they seem to agree with one another in matters not regarding noble privelage and battle tactics. ;)


First Post
BlackCat said:
Why thank you, sir. I did try to keep things away from simply "Wow! What a dick!"

I look forward to seeing the dark side of any character manifest itself in ways that are meaningful and move things along!

My apologies for not responding to this earlier. I think this was really spot on, and things get more interesting as we go along. I think things are settling into a place where nuance may come more into the mix, which will be a nice change.

Now, if I could just stop John from pissing me off so much, I could get closer to a purely character reaction to Markos. ;)


Telémakhos said:
My apologies for not responding to this earlier. I think this was really spot on, and things get more interesting as we go along. I think things are settling into a place where nuance may come more into the mix, which will be a nice change.

Now, if I could just stop John from pissing me off so much, I could get closer to a purely character reaction to Markos. ;)
No apologies necessary.

I don't think I can help you with that last. He had a talent at pissing me off in OOTFP but it's not a surprise considering race and alignment and general character demeanor. In this case, there may be similar circumstances as far as House, alignment and attitude are concerned.

It's just important to make sure that any particular discussion (read as argument) is relevant either to character or story development and that it doesn't take too much time from others. I realize, though, that it's very easy to lose track in the heat of the moment.

I'm really looking forward to getting more opportunities for insight into the other PCs. Telie himself is a pretty interesting character and I like seeing him in action.


First Post
Telémakhos said:
And his cousin is a good man he would like to see make something of himself so he would like to help him as much as his limited courage will allow.
Amusingly, his cousin would say the exact same thing, but the other way around. ;)
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Moderator Emeritus
InterSession #4.1 – “Oh Captain, My Captain!”

Telémahkos summoned a page as he made to leave the Citadel that morning and had the boy send word to the Captain of the Guards that he had a message for him. (1) He spent the first part of the morning playing cards at the Bird’s Eye, probing for information as innocuously as possible among the hard-core gamblers who has been going all night. In the mid-morning, after a run of bad luck, though he got up and headed out to the market to talk to folks around there, but aside from some vague word of an unusual number of Herman-landers over in Tribunisport, there was nothing of interest.

He hurried over for lunch with Timotheus at the Sign of Green Gem, and not an hour after that he was back at the Bird’s Eye trying dice with some better luck, but still not finding much that seemed like a lead to an attack on the Wetherwax fleet. Before the dice got cold on him, he stopped and headed out again to try to roust up some rumors around the docks. He was stopped by a townguard.

“Follow me,” said the man, wearing the long thin beard with no mustache that was the custom among the Swanns and the people of New Harbinger. He carried a spear, and wore a heavy mace at his side and shield on his back.

Through a few narrow winding streets, down an alley and around back of a quaint stone house, he was brought to a patio with a small wooden table flanked by two benches. A window in the back of a house looked into a kitchen where a goodwife sang sweetly while preparing something.

“Sit down,” the guard said and then left. A moment later, Captain Aurelus Oberto came out of the house, grim-faced. Telémahkos stood to greet him, bowing slightly. The captain stopped on the opposite side of the table, placed a booted foot up on the bench.

"You have a message for me?"

"I do." Telie reached into his belt where he had the note given to him by Floris Tenbrook stashed, and handed the small folded paper to captain.

A widening smile appeared on the captain’s face as he read. "Sit."

The captain sat as well, and the woman came out with a tray with two small cups of a steaming black coffee and a small bowl of sugar and two tiny spoons. She did not look either Telie or the captain in the eye, and curtsying, went back inside. She was young and pretty, with a sort of vacant look that Telémahkos found appealing.

"I take it you drink coffee? This is some the best. The real stuff, not that dwarven mushroom sh*t. . ."
Captain Auerlius Oberto put half a spoonful of sugar into his coffee and stirred. "So, did you read this note?"

Telie took a long careful sip of the piping hot coffee, enjoying its bitterness.

"I am intrigued by your question, so why don't we assume I did read it?” Telémahkos smiled as well as he put down his cup, looking the captain right in the eye. “Whether or not, I have, rest assured that you can ask of me whatever it is you have in mind…" (2)

The captain’s smile widened to show perfect white teeth. "We can use good liars, but perhaps not so good that we cannot detect the untruths ourselves. . . so I guess you will do. . ." He winked and took another sip of the coffee. "As for what I want of you. . . It is not what I want, but what we want - and what we want is for you to add your support to a group of concerned citizens of the Magocracy that I am representing at this moment. . . A group that has foreseen the coming political and social turmoil throughout central Aquerra, and wants to minimize the consequences of that chaos, but also to take whatever advantage of it we can to ensure Thricia's future prosperity and security. . . " He took another sip. . . "I mean, you are a patriot are you not? Or you would have not have signed that charter. . . But you are clearly also a man seeking to make his own place in the world. . ."

"I am indeed a patriot of Thricia and also a loyal scion of House Briareus. It is also fair to assume that if I am able to enrich myself and my House while helping my kingdom, I would be a fool to protest,” Telémahkos paused to drain the tiny cup. The afternoon sun was hot, and the coffee made him sweat. “However, that being said, I am also not looking to carry a large target on my chest to encourage slings and arrows...”

Telémahkos waited to see if the captain would say anything, but was met with silence. The woman came out with a iron kettle to pour more coffee, and brought out a plate of tiny cinnamon pastries.

“So, tell me of your proposal," Telémahkos finally broke the silence when the woman left.

"Ideally, not one of us would have a target on our chests - but sometimes the coat of arms on your tunic is target enough for some. . ." Aurelius replied, reaching for the sugar bowl. "Tell me. What are your feelings on our barrel-making friends?" (3)

"I have been a foreman at the family mines. Barrels can be very useful at times," Telie smiled and took a bite of a pastry. "My compliments to the local baker, captain. This is most impressive… Anyway, barrels and those that make them… I think it is enough to say they serve their purpose. On the other hand, they have not all been reared with the idea of playing nice with others and sharing when there is enough to go around.”

Telie dipped was left of his pastry in the coffee.

"Those barrel-maker's bosses are all found in Herman Land, and as the need of coin grows there, they think they have grab more and more from here, causing practical, but law-abiding men, such as you and me, to have to pay attention to the legal indiscretions we might have ignored before. It may be coming time to pull our teat from their mouths, before they decide they want to turn us over and really have a go. . ." The captain cleared his throat and took another sip. "And speaking of teats to be sucked, I heard you and your companions are thinking about going to the Disputed Territories. . . It would be a shame if every barrel in that land, when it is opened up, ends up coming from the same source. . . "

"How can we change what is in the barrel before we arrive to know where they are?" Telémahkos asked, hoping he was not losing the thread of the obtuse conversation.

The Captain replied: "What might be in those barrels remains to be seen, but for so long that group of concerned citizens of our mutual interest have been unable to spread any news aside from that that might be found in a barrel, or would be of interest to those that sell barrels - if you follow me - but this close relationship also means that the framework is already in place to replace that barrel lobby - but we need people to spread that message. (4) The Disputed Territories will open up, and when that happens - be it through war or negotiation - would you not want it be organized Thricians who spread that news and show their influence? Heralds of a new order that does away with the petty needs and measures of barrel-makers. . ."

"And whom do you see replacing the barrel's friends? Is the aim to replace those who are there now with people more in line with our thinking so we do not need to reinvent the thing?" Telémahkos asked.

"If you were to inherit a manse with a staff that knew the local land, the house, the locals and how to serve their master faithfully would you not keep them on? All you would need do is spread the word that you were the new master. . . " The captain picked up a pastry as if to eat it, but put it back down and took another sip of coffee instead. "The question is. . . Are you willing to help spread that message?"

"I suppose this brings us back to the question of how big of a target I wish to wear. I am willing to do many things, but under the right circumstances, the right cause, in service of my crown, without betraying my charter or House ... I think I need more information at this point." Telie sipped his coffee.

"Adela!" Captain Aurelius called to the woman in the house with a sudden stern voice. She hurried out and he made a dismissive gesture to the table. She quickly cleared away everything, including Telie's unfinished second cup of coffee.

The captain stood, and once again propped one foot up on the bench. "That is not how it works, Master Briareus. . . Information is the most precious commodity those people of our mutual interest have access to, and I think you understand, that sometimes the less you know the better. There is a certain amount of faith required to work in the borderlands of law. Trust is earned by means of small steps, but what is more important than trust right now is just knowing that you support the cause your brothers died for. . ." (5)

Telémahkos stood and tried to keep his composure, but was certain he might have blinked one too many times. "I cannot speak of these unknowns, but I am loyal to my brothers' memory," he replied with a bit of heat in his voice. He adjusted his cloak in an exaggerated display of aristocratic manners and continued "If I am given cause to believe I can support something they believed in deeply, and better yet, bring to light any facts that lead to those that plotted their demise, assuming they did not all die on the other ship that sank that night ...(6) If I am given reason to believe this, I will not fail to find out more and act accordingly... I obviously cannot say more without the invaluable information others hold."

He stepped over the bench and turned as if to leave. “Good day Captain, and thank you for the delicious treats."

"So should I take your leaving to mean that you have no interest in doing something specific that can lead to that invaluable information?" The captain asked, ignoring Telie’s tantrum.

"No, you can take my leaving to mean I no longer expected to learn anything useful and that my time has some value while I am still in a town ... by all means, what is it you hope I can do?"

"I want you and your companions to infiltrate Kraken's Cove. . ."

Telémahkos sighed. "Something I have already considered. But how does a charter of adventuring nobles infiltrate such a place? Especially when it seems like there has been a great deal of fanfare associated with our movements? It is not myself I am concerned about of course. But you do realize I have a watch-mage and two priests of law with me, yes?" Telie turned back to Oberto expectantly

"The fanfare can easily be avoided. For one, don't ask you steward to send out messages to all local nobles about your movements and arrivals," Aurelius Oberto said, not bothering to hide his disdain, but his stance softened. "As for the other, perhaps the word 'infiltrate' was too strong. It may be technically a lawless place - but it is still a place where smugglers and the less law-abiding of our merchants gather to make trade - and it is technically not in within the borders of Thricia. In other words, you could get access there, if it were arranged through a contact of mine. . . And what you and your companions do while there would be up to you. . . what matters is that our message is sent. . . And that part would be yours to handle. . ."

"Does this place have dealings with Red Godians? Perhaps if I were to ‘find’ evidence of a conspiracy here in Harbinger, I would have what I need to get the upstanding members of the charter to move in this direction. You spoke of the Disputed Territories, which is where my companions wish to be. What is the connection with the cove...?"

The captain let out a huge laugh. "The Rubes! Ha! Who do you think the smugglers get their sugar, coffee and spices from? Though, I guess they are lapsed Rubes, but who can pay attention?"

"I know a lot more about the Hobgoblins up north than the situation down here: So, former Red God followers are traders or they run plantations? Where do they get their goods from?” Telie asked.

"Everything down there belongs to the church, and that includes all lands and all products of the lands - but that doesn't mean that crops don't go missing . . . They have a tradition down there called 'Midnight Harvest'. Overseers wake up in the morning and a whole section of plantation is picked clean. . ."

“Do you know anything about Dervish activity of late?" Telémahkos figured it was worth asking to see if his companions’ fears had any foundation.

"Just the usual rumors. . . nothing of substance. . . But anyway, do I have your interest now? Shall I put you in contact with my man in Tribunisport so you can arrange passage?" the captain asked.

“Yes.” Telie replied.

"I am glad to hear it," He walked closer and clasped a strong hand firmly to Telie's neck and shoulder and smiled. "I am sure I don't have to say this, but once this conversation is over we should return to less familiar relations, and of course to anyone else it will be as if this conversation never happened. . ."

He stopped himself shortly. "Did you tell anyone about the note you brought me?"

"No. And my discretion is assured," Telémahkos replied.

"Of your discretion I am certain. . . I mean, people have ended up on at the bottom of a staircase with their head cracked open for less… But good… Discretion is good… But if for some reason someone were to ask, you were just bringing me our mutual friend's latest King's Men (7) move to me - as we have been playing a game for nearly a year now via messages…"

Captain Aurelius Oberto stepped towards the house's backdoor. "When you get to Tribunisport, look up a fat Herman-lander named Boris Crumb at the Brown Turban. . . He will see to getting you to the cove. Another agent will be contacting you about the specific message. Farewell."

Telie stood there for a moment, nodding, and then slowly departed. He felt his head spinning as he headed back to the citadel to freshen up before meeting the merchant Cornwallis Lowe.

End of InterSession #4.1


(1) See Session #2

(2) Of course, Telémahkos did read the note. It told the captain that Telémahkos was of a like mind as they were and he should be offered a job. It also noted that Telémahkos would have probably have read the note.

(3) This is a reference to The Coopers the Thrician arm of Berman’s Gang, a Herman-lander Thieves guild, and the most connected criminal organization in the Spice & Thread Islands.

(4) This obtuse talk filled with innuendo and code is referring to the Herald’s Guild, a Thrician organization that lost all repute due to selling out all sense of integrity and privacy in passing news and messages to The Coopers. The innuendo here is that the Herald’s Guild could take over the running of the criminal enterprises, squeezing out the Coopers.

(5) Three of Telémahkos’ brothers died in 564 H.E. (635 M.Y.) aboard the Siren when it was purportedly attacked by pirates.

(6) NOT FOR SsoaSS PLAYERS: [sblock]Telémahkos is privy to information that one of his brothers, Jason, survived the initial attack and knew it was an inside job. However, he was caught up to soon after and killed as well. Telie was fishing for information here, mentioning another ship to see if the captain might let go of some more info about what happened, since he seemed to know something about the real reason they died.[/sblock]
(7) King’s Men is Aquerra’s version of chess. It is not unknown for people distant from each other to play by means of passed messages.


First Post
I'm glad that Timotheus has been getting a good bit of screen time in the Story Hour so far, since he doesn't show up in any of these InterSessions. I feel so left out! :p


Moderator Emeritus
InterSession #4.2 – “At the Watch-mage’s House”

As Laarus and Bleys made their trek through the narrow streets of New Harbinger towards the local watch-mage's house, the priest noticed his companion's every step betrayed signs of discomfort. Bleys felt a hand press firmly upon his back, as he continued to walk, and heard Laarus' voice clearly call: "May the warmth of Ra's light ease your pain." A sensation of warmth passed through the watch-mage's body, as the last of the bruises from the battle with the lizardfolk faded away.

Oroleniel the Salmon lived in a small cottage tucked behind two large buildings near New Harbinger Gate. The half-elf answered the door with a wide smile. Dwarfed by Bleys, the half-elf had very pale skin with mottled spots of blue-green on his neck. His green hair had yellow highlights, and was very long and worn in one thick braid. His large green eyes opened even more widely in obvious joy at having company. He wore pinkish-orange Academy robes.

"Master Bleys! I am surprised and pleased to have you visit again so soon!"

"Oroleniel, good morn. I had nothing further to attend to until the formal dinner this evening. Not being particularly comfortable imposing upon the hospitality of House Swann, I figured that you might not mind if I found refuge here for a spell. I hope you don't mind but I've brought along a companion of the Charter: Laarus of Ra,” Bleys said, more verbose than Laarus had ever witnessed. “Laarus, this is Oroleniel the Salmon, Watch-Mage of the Academy. He graduated a few years before me."

Laarus nodded and extended his hand to Oroleniel, "It's a pleasure to meet you."

Oroleniel gestured for the two of them to enter the well-appointed cottage. "I was about to make some tea. Would you like some?"

Inside they saw a white and gray gull hopping up and down a rafter above, squawking at them as they entered. "Oh don't mind Coleridge, he's a crotchety old bird."

The gulls squawked even more angrily as the watch-mage put a kettle on the iron stove, which he lit with a quick cantrip.

"Please. . . Please sit. . .” he told them gesturing emphatically when Laarus hesitated for the host to take a seat as well. “Don’t wait for me, I need to see to the tea, and plus I picked up some wonderful sweetbread in the market this morning. . .Let me cut us a few slices. . . Now was there something specific you wanted to consult about?"

"No, nothing specific, really. I hope we are not imposing. Though perhaps you could tell of this drug called shannis?" Bleys sat in one of three large stuffed chairs that surrounded a low table.

The half-elf busily prepared a tray as he talked. "Shannis? I am curious why you ask of it. I know something of it. . . It is sometimes called 'Soldier's Boon' or even 'Soldier's Bane'. . . Rare and expensive, it has a numbing effect that is not dangerous in small doses. . . or so I have been led to believe. . ."

He set the tray down on the low table and asked Laarus how he'd like his tea. He remembered precisely how Bleys likes it (lemon, no honey) from the night before. The priest of Ra replied, sitting upright and folding his arms across his lap.

“Is this the same variety of tea as you served last night?” Bleys the Aubergine asked politely.

"Yes, this is pinesmoke black tea, grown on Black Thread Island. . .Delicious!" Oroleniel smiled and patted his stomach.

"We've heard of individuals who are transporting this shannis for sale. Its trade does not seem to be viewed favorably. Though, I don't know its legality," Laarus commented.

Bleys drank deeply from the cup of hot tea, "Mmmm, pinesmoke... Do you know how the shannis is made?"

Oroleniel handed Laarus his tea and sat across from them with his own cup. The gull hopped from the rafter to the windowsill and then to the back of the watch-mage's chair.

"I am not sure how it is made,” the half-elf replied. “Except that it uses the pollen of some dangerous marsh plant and some kind of mushroom - but the process is a mystery to me. I understand it is inhaled through the nostrils."

After a few more sips of tea and a bite of sweetbread, their host continued, "As for the legality, I am surprised a priest of Ra would not be versed in such things. . . I do not think it is illegal to own it or use it yourself, but if a local watch-mage or magistrate wanted to declare it a poison, then its sale and transport in quantity would be illegal, and also any bulk amount of a crafted product, poison or not, falls under the need of peddler's license. . ..Could you share with me what this is about? Is the sale and transport of shannis what brings you to New Harbinger?"

Laarus carefully squeezed a bit of lemon into his tea, placing the rind back on the saucer. He took a slow sip, savoring the flavor. He permitted himself another sip before responding to the Oroleniel's comment. "Contraband isn't my area of expertise," he informed with a stern tone. "That is not what brings us to New Harbinger. We'd already planned on stopping here on the way to our next destination."

"I meant no disrespect, good sir. . ." Oroleniel said, a smile never leaving his lips. "I spoke out of turn, what do I know of what is taught to young priests of Ra? I spent some months in Herman Land after my graduation and before my appointment here, and there, as you know, the church of Ra is involved in every aspect of law and the judiciary. . " He stood and offers refills.

Bleys leaned back in his chair as if to study the structural integrity of the rafters for a time before speaking. "We only happened upon our limited exposure of the shannis on our journey here, but it is not the purpose of our sojourn. There is a tribe of lizardfolk whom we know have harvested the plant pollen necessary for its creation. Specifically, I was more curious to learn what you may know about the mushrooms, or a man in the bog who sings to them?" (1) At this last sentence, Bleys leaned in a bit scrutinizing Oroleniel's face for any immediate reaction.

"A man who sings to mushrooms? Ha!" Oroleniel laughed. "I have heard of no such man, though admittedly I know next to nothing about what folks call the Crossroads Bog. . . it being relatively small and all. . ."

Bleys was unamused by the half-elf's attitude. "Well, I guess there is no accounting for local legend. My mistake…" He grew quiet, enjoying another cup of the pinesmoke black tea.

Orolieniel refused to let Bleys recede, "But why ‘a mistake’? As I said, I know next to nothing of this bog - so I cannot clarify the matter for you. . . but perhaps if you explain how you think this man is connected to the shannis trade I might at least give you a different perspective on the puzzle pieces you do have. . . You will have to excuse my ignorance, but my expertise lies in the Great Wanderings of the elves and the conflicts of migrating and neighboring cultures. . ."

"Well, I only mean that I was simply mistaken to ask you. You obviously know nothing of what I was asking is all. As I already said, mushroom spores are required to make this Shannis. I was merely inquiring, thinking perhaps this 'legendary' man may know more about them,” Bleys replied flatly. "But if the shannis is not illegal, then my inquiries are unnecessary...." Bleys again found refuge in his cup.

Oroleniel the Salmon smiled and gave a forced laugh as if Bleys made a joke. "If only legal and political matters were so black and white!"

With an arcane word from their watch-mage host, an invisible figure began to clear the dishes. Coleridge the gull leapt up onto the half-elf's shoulder and was fed some bits of sweetbread. "So, what is happening with the Shannis? Is there a local problem with it I should know about?"

"Well that depends… Is the shannis a problem? I must assume that its use is new in the area. Do you know what its effects are? Perhaps you could enlighten us, as I myself am unaware of how it works." Bleys plucked his cup from thin air, before it could escape him, not wanting to waste the final sip of the flavorful tea from the overeager unseen servant. Oroleniel commanded it to put the cups and saucers back.

"Aside from some specific locals who became addicted, I would not say there have been any broader problems that have come to my attention regarding it." Oroleniel the Salmon got up and put on more water to boil. "As for the effects, it has a numbing effect with an associated euphoria that varies based on the strength of the dose. It also can have the side effect of rash or spontaneous actions. It is as if it can drain the very wisdom from a man. . . Overdose and withdrawal both cause wild emotional fluctuations, from what I understand - and a more severe clouding of wisdom."

"Then its use must certainly be new in the region, for the growth of something so potentially harmful to the mass populace should certainly be addressed. It is like a plague, for which the only cure is abstinence. People willingly wasting their hard-earned coin on a drug that robs them of their wits? Certainly if they are not savvy enough to protect themselves, it is our duty to do so. What are you and House Swann doing to wrest its deathgrip from the people? Perhaps we can be of some assistance?" A tinge of eagerness actually entered Bleys’ usual placid voice, as if ready to charge forth from the hut to see to the task immediately.

Oroleniel looked surprised. "You have not told me anything of what you know to lead to that conclusion. I just said there have been some isolated cases. . .. But, I think its addiction is only a problem to those who use it for a long time. Its numbing qualities can still be very useful to those who suffer from debilitating chronic illnesses that cause pain. . . So, to answer your question more directly, nothing is being done."

Bleys looked to Laarus, staring hard at him. Though he might have simply been looking through him, as he turned thoughts over in his head. Finally, he exhaled heavily. "Very well, since you are obviously confused and eager for more information, allow me to disseminate. But first, let me urge you, this is in confidence and know I give you this as a fellow Watch-Mage, believing the greater good is served by my doing so."

Ever-insightful, and sensing that Bleys was about to tell the details of Sir Quintus Gosprey’s shame, Laarus stood up, attempting to draw attention towards himself. "You've spoken much already," the priest said, looking at his wizardly companion, "Enjoy your tea. Give me the honor to share our knowledge about this shannis." Laarus gazed at Bleys for a moment, ensuring the purple-cloaked watch-mage was amenable to this arrangement.

Laarus went on to explain about Sir Quintus and his men, the brigands/smugglers, how Sir Quintus worked alongside the lizardfolk to get the components of shannis and provide it to the brigands/smugglers, in hopes of uncovering the criminal elements behind the drug ring. He mentioned the names Sir Quintus supplied them with (MacHaven and Connduel), in hopes they might be familiar to Oroleniel. The priest paced a small area of the room while he spoke, looking towards the floor at times, and others at Orolenial. He left out Sir Quintus' addiction and the deal with the lizardmen to speak with young lord Swann. He did briefly mention, however, that the lizardfolk had helped Sir Quintus in hopes of building some form of alliance with House Swann.

"So, you see,” Laarus concluded. “Though they've not seen fit to get it legally ruled a poison, House Swann does seem concerned with stopping those transporting and selling it."

There was a long quiet moment before Oroleniel said, "Sir Quintus? Is he not Sir Quorland of Gullmoor's son? He earned his knighthood at the Battle of the Burning Rift by leaping over a wall of flame to kill the opposing force's priestly leader. It is said he suffered some terrible wounds in the process. . ." The watch-mage was quiet for a long time again, considering the tale he had been told, before speaking again. "Do you know if Lord Gosprey of Gullmoor has sought the aid of Lord Swann? Or is it perhaps a more localized issue? I would take your recruitment to their aid to mean that he has not. . However, this is not a surprise to me considering the delicate political situation in House Swann right now. . ."

"I do not know of such aid being sought, and I do not feel our recruitment sheds any light on it. It was Sir Quintus' supposed disappearance we were asked to look into. Though, I sensed his men didn't know how involved he was in the plan to capture these shannis smugglers," Laarus of Ra replied. "Our talk now is of our own choice. We've not been asked for any other aid by Sir Quintus or House Swann in the matter."

"And yet you continue to look into the matter, so you must feel there is more to it, or that it goes deeper and poses some danger. . . I have not heard of this MacHaven or the other name. . . But there are many that smuggle goods from the Glogrichio and beyond. . . Cwell the Hawk would be the one to ask." Oroleniel the Salmon looked to Bleys as he said the name of the watch-mage of Tribunisport. "As for the lizardfolk's desires… Well, it is not that I know of anything specific about Lord Swann’s feelings about the lizard people, but the fact that his most favored knight is sometimes called 'the Lizardbane' may reveal something about that house's attitude in general. . . "

“I can only hope that the new Lord Swann's eagerness of youth does not cloud his judgment from making a decision that is best for his people," Bleys said, standing. "Perhaps there are more than a few answers in Tribunisport." Almost absentmindedly, he broke the remaining pieces of his sweetbread into small bits and threw them down to Coleridge, who was looking for crumbs and squawking occasionally.

"I am curious, have you any theories about Barakis the Bold's untimely demise?" Bleys changed the subject as he sat back down.

Oroleniel the Salmon let out a long low breath and then stood. Coleridge hopped down onto the watch-mage's shoulder, as the latter walked over to the window. Oroleniel took the bird from his shoulder and held him up and out towards the window, standing near motionless for a full minute, before the familiar flew off.

"The only people who really know aren't talking, and it really is not my place to ask, unless I happen upon more information that can lead in some direction or another…” Oroleniel the Salmon finally replied, as he turned around. “My own limited inquires have been exhausted…"

"Is that all?” Laarus asked with sudden intensity. “I feel you might know more. If you'd share, I'm sure the weight you're feeling would be lessened." (2)

"Weight? Feeling? Whatever do you mean?"

Laarus stood and placed his cup down on its saucer. He looked towards Bleys. "Leave me with Orolenial for a moment."

"Hmmm....." Bleys looked to Oroleniel for a response. "You have me at a disadvantage… Did I miss something?"

"I must have missed it as well," Oroleniel replied, frowning and then looking to Laarus. "I am at a loss for what you are implying. . ."

Laarus walked over to the window where Orolenial was standing, putting his back to Bleys. He clasped his hands in front of him and fixed his eyes on the half-elf's. "There is more you aren't saying. I see it bothers you. You're nervous about sharing with Bleys. So, speak to me," he said quietly. Being closer the half-elf's height, Laarus bowed his head slightly and turned his ear to the watch-mage, giving him the opportunity to speak more privately.

Oroleniel the Salmon stepped away from Laarus as if startled. He sighed and his shoulders sagged. "I mean no disrespect, but there is no way I can express what are unsubstantiated opinions without giving insult. . . It is not that I am trying to be unhelpful. . ."

"This that weighs on your heart appears too heavy to be unsubstantiated opinions. I feel you yet have more you can say,” Laarus insisted. “More that can lead to the truth and bring justice to the guilty. You are not disrespecting me. Your silence insults your late fellow watch-mage."

Laarus maintained eye contact for a long moment, and then turns and walked back to his seat, making eye contact with Bleys along the way and giving him a short nod.

"It is not you I would insult. . ." Oroleniel said with a sigh. "As I have said before those who know are not talking, so who am I who was not there, and not having any special knowledge or evidence to speak against someone else? Down that path lies rumor and injustice, and I will not be origin, or part of, that. . ."

"Very well, I respect your position. Perhaps we have imposed too long," Bleys stood and made for the door. Turning with raised eyebrow, he added: "But one last thing, can you tell us who it is that you think knows?"

"Ask your former master…" The half-elf said, looking down. He took a deep breath and then his demeanor became gregarious again as he showed them to the door. "But if there is anything else I can help you with you while you are here, let me know. This last exchange has soured your visit some, which is the last thing I desired. . . and so, would like a chance to make it up to you. . ."

Laarus shook the watch-mage's hand, "You've been most hospitable. May Ra's light shine on you and light you the way."

"We are not soured, Oroleniel the Salmon. We are only seeking answers. It is commendable that you wish not to sully the reputations of others by propagating half-truths, speculations, and rumors. We will speak again, I hope sooner rather than later. I should enjoy some more of that pinesmoke," Bleys shook his fellow watch-mage’s hand and turned to walk away with the priest without a backward glance.

As the Bleys the Aubergine and Laarus of Ra strolled back, the priest seemed lost in thought, and no words passed between then until they had nearly reached the citadel.

"Who is your former master?" Laarus asked.

Bleys kept a steady pace, without breaking stride, he replied flatly, "Sir Abberd the Argent, of House Schemerhorn. Uncle to the Margrave,” Bleys said, not looking at his companion, or slowing his pace. “I resided in the Golden Tower of the West for nearly three years before entering the Academy of Wizardry. In Sluetelot, Darbold told me it was Sir Abberd who had been sent to investigate the matter of Barakis' death. I saw no further need for inquiry."

"You saw need to inquire of Orolenial. Something still bothers you about the matter?" Laarus asked.

"Well, it is a mystery. I was merely inquisitive is all… I thought perhaps if some knowledge was to be shared a fellow watch-mage would have more than that slovenly backwater bard,” (3) Bleys allowed himself a rare sigh. “Apparently I was wrong. If there have been answers found they must not have been made public to the rest of we alumni."

There was another long silence before the watch-mage continued. "And I wish you had not brow-beaten Oroleniel, I fear it reflects poorly on me. We were guests in his home. He is lonely is all, and eager for company, otherwise I'm sure we may have both received a tongue-lashing from a graduate more senior. Cwell the Carmine, for example."

"His lies reflect poorly on him. He knows something more than his personal opinion. Your broaching the subject made him very nervous. Why would he feel that, if he knows nothing? He was hiding something,” Laarus insisted. His brow furrowed as continued. "I'm beginning to sense the truth is not wanted to be found. Tell me, do you know what Barakis had accomplished while serving as watch-mage, or what he hoped to?"

"Again you have me at the disadvantage. Either you have had a revelation from Ra or you are vastly superior to myself when it comes to reading the subtle nuances of body language and tone of voice. I wondered how it is you knew he was lying, but I do not doubt your divinations. I agree the truth must be serving some other purpose, perhaps protecting someone or something. An agenda?" Bleys paused, while musing, before continuing. He stopped walking. "I suspect Oroleniel was nervous that we, an Academy Mage and a Priest of Ra showed up at his door making inquiries. He may have suspected that we had indeed suspected him of some involvement. But, I do not think he is the type to harbor secrets."

The taller man resumed the pace back toward the Citadel, "As to Barakis, he was, as you may have gathered, best known for his carousing, drinking, brawling. He had no real enemies or agenda of his own that I know of… Perhaps he was merely a target of circumstance or an unwitting pawn in someone's game. As of now, I am content to keep my ears open, as it is not my place to make any official inquiries, especially at the risk of offending my mentor. I'm sure you understand."

Laarus nodded. "I understand the delicacy of politics. I understand when I can speak freely and when I must hold my tongue. It may not be your place to make inquiries but as a shining servant of Ra, it is my place to seek the truth, ensure His laws are upheld, and mete out His justice. My gut makes me feel there's something else."

"I guess mine does too then, eh?” Bleys frowned. “Why else would I still be asking about it?" Bleys receded into his thoughts as the duo reached the Citadel.

Laarus' lips stretched into a brief smile at Bleys' comment, but the walk concluded in silence, the watch-mage considering another visit to his fellow alumnus later in the afternoon. Alone.

End of InterSession #4.2

(1) Tavius made an off-hand remark regarding the hermit that sings to mushrooms in Session #3.

(2) Laarus of Ra made a sense motive check to determine that Oroleniel the Salmon seemed to be holding something back in Bleys’ presence.

(3) This is a reference to Darbold the Gay.
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InterSession 4.3 – “Just Business…”

That afternoon Amalda met Telémahkos with a chaste kiss and a wink in the upper hall of the Sign of the Green Gem. "Master Lowe knows you are coming and is eager to meet you. He is inside with his middle son, Plavus who shares his business savvy. His other two sons and his daughter are about somewhere well."

She knocked softly on a room door and let herself in. After a few words that came through the closed door as a murmur, she opened it again and called Telie into the suite.

Cornwallis Lowe appeared to be nearing his fifties, but in good health. He wore a red and green kilt and a long lighter green-colored shirt tied in an elaborate knot with the edge of the kilt and tied again with gold tasseled silken rope. His long brown hair was whitening, but not thinning, and he had alert light brown eyes and a paternal smile.

"Master Briareus! It is a pleasure to meet you!" The merchant stretched out to take Telémahkos’ hands and shake them firmly. "This is my son Plavus." Standing next to him was a squatter and darker version of Cornwallis. The son, likely in his late twenties, smiled nervously and nodded.

Amalda lets herself out with a quiet and respectful, ‘good-bye’.

"The pleasure is mine," Telémahkos replied with a hearty handshake. He made a respectful gesture to the son. "Plavus."

Cornwallis Lowe gestured for Telie to sit in a low stuffed chair across a low table from two chairs that had been pulled up for the merchant and his son. He poured the young Briareus some wine and then a glass for himself. Telémahkos smiled and noted the quality of the surroundings. This was clearly the most expensive set of rooms in the place, and many personal items had been brought in to make it more comfortable. Over Lowe’s shoulder to the right was a curtained doorway to an adjoining room.

“This is beautiful land around here,” Telémahkos said taking the glass and trying to think of a pleasant and innocuous way to start the conversation.

"Aye, it certainly is beautiful, but I prefer the amber plains of Schiereiland myself. I worked a trade route from Heartspire to Hillsgate for over ten years, and I still dream of that place…” Lowe was wistful. “One day soon I hope to have the coin to purchase some land and build a more permanent legacy for my family…" He raised his glass and his son followed suit, "But enough about me, let us toast to you and your braves companions that I have been hearing about. . . Well, the word is you have only just gotten started, but if the nobles I have known are anything to go by, I am sure you already have several irons in the fire all of which require discretion."

Cornwallis Lowe smiled and raised his glass even higher, "To House Briareus and the Charter of Schiereiland!"

"Here, here!" Plavus added weakly. The younger man's smile reminded Telémahkos of a face someone would make when straining on a chamber pot.

"Here here!" Telie echoed and took a sip of the wine. It was strong and sweet, just how he liked it.

"House Briareus has a long mercantile tradition. I can honestly say trade has been our lifeblood," Telémahkos said. “I think my goals fall somewhere in the realm of that tradition…”

"And what are our children and their children if not a means of extending that lifeblood and tradition beyond our own allotted time?" Cornwallis said, getting very serious and reaching over to clasp Plavus' shoulder paternally. "A father must ever seek to expand his wealth and resources so that his progeny might have an even better life…" He took a sip of wine.

"If you know of my own father's path then you know my family believes deeply in that same value," Telie replied with feigned emotion. Sometimes he amazed even himself with just how easily he could turn it on and off.

"I know of your honorable father, and his sharp and uncompromising mind when it comes to business. He is no doubt a great man. . But he is established and rich. . . It is with the younger generation and how they surpass their fathers that I am concerned with, and that is why I was so happy to hear of you and your group," Lowe paused and took another deep sip and then refilled his cup. He gestured as if asking if Telie would like a refill. And Telie nodded. "Are the rumors I hear of your plans to enter the Disputed Territories

"It appears that sometime soon we will be heading there. I hear there may even be land suitable for the nobility of Thricia to cultivate. There might be some money to be made for a trader down there if a town or keep of some sort is established or re-secured."

"The apple does not fall far from the tree it seems," Cornwallis said with a wink. "For it was something along those lines that I wanted to talk with you about… That is, when the disputed territories are open up the way the western frontier has been, and when a declaration of homesteading is made, it will be those who are prepared to seek out and hold lands that will succeed the most; those ready to set up routes by which needed goods can be sent to and brought from there." He stopped and took another sip. "And those who know of lands… who might have access to maps or detailed directions to fertile and safer places to go along with that preparation, they will be in the best position…And the wealth that will come from being in that kind of position will purchase a form of independence and influence that I feel is harder and harder for the younger noble generations to attain…"

"It certainly is,” Telémahkos smiled realizing that they were closing in on the heart of the matter. “It would seem that those who can supply information and logistics will be seeking those with the standing and resources to settle these areas. I suppose some might already be making arrangements to assure themselves such a position early in the game. I am sure there will still be a price to pay to gain this advantage on the competition, but I am certain it will be worth every silver piece." He drained his glass and accepted another. "Now that I am aware of these opportunities, I am very interested in expanding my family’s holdings, status and fortunes simply because I know it is going to help my beloved kingdom and better yet, will relieve my
father of his worries about my future. The problem I face right now is a lack of financial stability within the charter..."

"Yes, coin is certainly an issue…" Cornwallis raised the bottle to pour more and seeing it is empty, put it back down a little too hard. "And if we can come to an agreement, I would certainly invest some to help in your endeavors. . ." He clapped his hands loudly and called out, "Ida! Attend to me!"

The curtain to cordoned off section of the suite was pulled aside, and for a second Telémahkos could see another man standing back there, but the man was easily forgotten when Ida came walking through.

She was a lithe girl of about fifteen summers - petite, with long golden brown hair, and a soft radiant beauty like a romantic painting. She wore a flower patterned silken dress that Telie reckoned cost more than everything he wore. Ida was demure and graceful, gliding over with a freshly uncorked bottle of wine in her hands. Telie could see the label facing him, "Pyla Reserve". She had soft brown eyes, and each of the handful of freckles on her nose were like a mote of stardust…

"My daughter… Ida…" Cornwallis said, standing. Plavus stood as well, but Telémahkos was already on his feet, bowing.

She curtsied. "How do you do, sir. . .?" she asked in perfect practiced diction. Ida filled Telie’s glass and then her father's.

"Where was I?" Cornwallis asked rhetorically. "Oh yes. . . Investment. I also wanted you to understand that I there are some business relationships that coin alone cannot arrange. . ."

Ida blushed, and her air of innocence redoubled as she stood there awkwardly, before remembering to pour some wine for her brother.

Telémahkos was quiet just a little too long before saying, "Yes, of course, more than coin alone..." Telie nodded distractedly as he made a mighty attempt not to look upon the daughter for overly long.

"As I said," Cornwallis continued, putting an arm lovingly around his daughter's shoulder as he gave her a kiss and shooed her off. "I am most concerned with the generations that come after me and that their lives
and that of their children will be in a better place than I am now. . ." Lowe smiled broadly. “And to that end I am willing to invest not only coin in your efforts to aid our business arrangement, but invest my children in this endeavor as a means of investing in their future…If you get my meaning… And it is for this reason that as part of our understanding, I would like for you take one of my other sons with you to the Disputed Territories. He is trained in martial skills, but just as importantly he is a gifted surveyor, knows his letters and speaks four languages. . ."

"This is an interesting development. You do understand that the charter lists in excruciating detail how any riches we discover are split, yes?" Telie mulled the idea in his head. "Your son's role would be to help with
cartography and dealing with local populations? We certainly see ourselves as liberators and heroes rather than merely on a quest for land. That being said, many of us do also wish to honor our Houses as best we can."

Telie sipped his wine and took another long look about the room. "So, where is this son? And can you tell me where he may have learned his craft?"

"Like Plavus here, my son Tymon learned a great deal on the road with me, bringing goods up and down the coast to and from Schiereiland to New Harbinger and back - but recently he just completed a series of courses at the University of Thricia. . . He is actually at the port right now with some of my employees securing some shipments of spices to be brought north, but I can arrange for you to meet him later tonight or sometime tomorrow. Actually, you may have seen him in the common room last night, he is taller and broader than me, and, but darker. . .taking after his mother in that regard, like Plavus here. . ."

The merchant continued: "As for the split, I willing to pay for his travel and needed gear for the journey, so that is not an issue - and as for any recovered treasures, we are more than willing to leave it to a handshake agreeing that you can give him whatever you consider fair for his help - whether that be from your own share, or from some agreement made among your companions… On a case by case basis, of course."

"What sort of martial training does your son have? I am certain that the biggest qualm my companions will have is not wanting to responsible for bringing a merchant to his death."

"My son was trained by the former head of my company's caravan guard. He has been involved in more than one battle involving bandits, and once against a treacherous kobold ambush…" Cornwallis poured even more wine for the both them, smiling proudly at the recollection of his son’s heroics, and ignoring Plavus who seemed to be nursing his wine. "But I was speaking of your companions…Before we make a final agreement, I was curious… How well do you get-on with Mistress Ostrander?"

"She and I get along fine. I am not certain of her inner thoughts of course since she is a woman…” All three of them burst out into self-satisfactory man-laughter, and then Telie continued, “But then again, she is an Ostrander and I do not expect any of that House to look very kindly upon House Briareus. That being said, I think she is much more concerned with Anhur and honor to worry much about politics. Why do you ask?"

"I was wondering if you knew if she was close to her uncle, High Inquisitor Estatius Ostrander, of the Margrave's court. . ."

"No idea… But I could always ask her,” Telémahkos replied dismissively. “But regarding coin, I was thinking that two hundred and fifty silver pieces might be a reasonable number to acquire my support in this situation. The coin would allow the charter to not worry about immediate needs and rather concentrate on the correct next step. If we were to gain land in the Disputed Territories, your company would be among
the most advantaged merchants we work with. I would love to offer you exclusive access but I am certain my father would not be happy with that. Also I can assure you that your son would be more than fairly compensated in return for this generosity on your part."

Telie finished his fourth glass of wine.

"Well, if those lands are made available in the same form as that in the western frontier was given, that is, first come first serve with the condition of there being evidence that the land is being worked and remains productive - then those who are prepared will arrive first. . . It would not be a matter exclusivity… So do not worry yourself on that point…" Cornwallis Lowe looked to his son and nodded, and Plavus got up and went to the back room.

"It is commonly known secret. . ." Lowe winked when he said this. "That Esatitius Ostrander is one of heads of the pro-expansionist movement, but he is also kind of an outsider in his family, and since he and Sir Lionel Ostrander, Victoria's father, are the only children of the same mother in that particular branch of Ostranders - I thought perhaps there might be a little of that outsider status for her as well… And so she might stand with her uncle on the issue. . . And if so, this might help you in your own endeavors… Or should I say, our endeavors now that we will be working towards a common goal."

Telémahkos mulled this over, but did not respond to it, his mind still on Ida.

"When we are done, I request the honor of bidding your daughter farewell, and if my companions and I decide to stay in the town another day, I would like to have tea with your beautiful daughter with a chaperone of your choice of course,” Telémahkos said as respectfully as he could, trying to hide his nervous excitement.

But it was as if the merchant could read Telie mind, for he stood when Plavus came back into the room followed by Ida.

"Ida, come and bid this fine young man farewell. . " Her father said to her.

Blushing as she glided towards Telie, she immediately looked down when their eyes met. "It was my pleasure, sir. . ." She said as she daintily offered her hand and curtsied.

"Nay, m'lady, tis all mine, as Bast herself has blessed my eyes this day..." Gently and slowly he bowed low gave her the lightest kiss on her hand.

"I do. . . um I do hope that we get to meet again soon," Ida bated her eyelashes and looked down again and then turned to leave. As she got to the curtained doorway to the adjoining room she looked back at him, and seeing he was still looking let out a little yelp and hopped behind the curtain.

It is then that Telémahkos noticed Plavus was sitting and writing at a desk against the wall. Cornwallis led him over. On the desk were two piled stacks of ten Thrician gold pieces each and five stacks of ten Thrician silver pieces each.

"If you will sign here," Plavus said handing Telémahkos a quill.

"Stand up you idiot! Let him sit!" Cornwallis Lowe smacked his son in the back of the head, and Plavus leapt off the chair to allow Telie to sit.

The paper was two copies of a simple receipt acknowledging Telémahkos’ acceptance of two hundred and fifty silver pieces from Mister Cornwallis Lowe in return for "future special considerations".

Telie took the quill and sitting, took a deep breath and signed his name twice. "I may need to be circumspect when I explain to my companions where this coin has come from. They are very suspicious...." He said as he put the quill down.

"You know best your own business," Cornwallis said with a smile, risking the familiarity of a pat on the shoulder.

"And I need to emphasize the danger you are sending your son into,” Telémahkos said, turning in the chair to face the merchant. “We have already traveled into a deadly bog in the middle of the night and done battle with vicious lizardfolk. This is no caravan. My companions are looking for trouble so they can right wrongs... I am happy to have your son along but he will need to join us as my hireling. You and he will be relying on my own honor and generosity until he proves himself to the rest of the company."

Telie got up and Cornwallis Lowe walked him to the door. "My son is not only aware of the danger, he is eager for the adventure. He has sharp eyes and a sharp wit and will only be an asset. When and where shall I have Tymon seek you out? Or should I simply send him to your steward for the arrangements of travel?"

Arrangements were made for Tymon to meet with Euleria that evening, so that she may question him a bit and make arrangements for him to meet the rest of the group the next day.

"I do look forward to forging a lasting alliance between my House and your family, if Bes and the other gods see fit for this to happen."

Telémahkos headed back to the citadel to get ready for dinner.

End of InterSession #4.3
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All I know is that I hope that Telie knows how or can learn how to juggle real fast! He has a few balls in the air at the moment and his footing isn't as even with the group as one might like. I really do like how he goes for it with those around him and deals with the people that approach him.

He's swiftly becoming my favorite. Say what you like about him but you gotta admit, the boy's got STYLE and that's a facet of a very interesting character.

Kudos, Telie!

Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition Starter Box

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