A Winter's End
'If you have nothing to say, do not waste words doing it.'
But I get ahead of myself. I am going to try to keep a brief self-dialogue here so that I may have it for reference should the need ever arise. I guess this is the first part. I'll call it: impressions.
Today is the 9, Sek 637 M.Y. I found myself, quite unexpectedly, in Sluetelot
, the seat of power for House Tenbrook. I could feel that outsiders were most unwelcome, especially here in a raucous Inn named Death and Taxes. Now, I didn't arrive here by mistake, quite the contrary, I've been assigned to come here, as the case may be, quite intentionally. The unexpected part is that I did not dream my assignment to be of such seeming importance nor hand-picked by the Margrave herself. Of course my former mentor Sir Abberd the Argent did not directly say this to me, but I am fairly certain as to whose idea it was that I join the Charter of Schiereiland. I am humbled and very enthusiastic. I wish not to let her down.
As I waited in the Inn with father for everyone else to arrive, for the first time I found myself thankful that our surname was indeed Winter and not Devenpeck. It seems that after the mysterious murder of Barakis the Bold, a well-loved Watch-Mage here for many years, the entire town was very upset and disturbed, blaming the entire affair on the people of Weirspierogen, and I can only assume the Devenpecks. I must conclude that this was why father was so unusually quiet and left after the evening's meal.
Barton Digits, the proprietor, showed us upstairs to two semi-private adjoining suites. A hand-painted sign outside the doors. It read: Schiereiland Luncheon. It was not the gala reception or celebration that I had expected given the station of everyone I had assumed would be attending. A woman about my age greeted us warmly - Euleria Finch. She proved to be a most gracious host, introducing us to a man already present, Darbold the Gay. As it turns out the once athletic, now paunchy man was on the Watch-Mage's Council. Shortly after our arrival, representatives of House Raymer
were shown in. Accompanied by his father Jansen Ackers, was Markos, and his cousin Laarus Raymer of Ra. Markos is a weathered young man, seemingly frail like a twig. His lithe build and fair features are perhaps what add to this. His cousin, the priest, is by contrast quite broad, though sports the same fair features and pale skin.
More characters arrived; first Nikephorus hobbled in, a quiet Librarian
who quickly found a seat, producing a book. I assume he was there to record the events of the day. I later discovered him to be the older sibling of Telemakhos Briareus. Next came Victoria Ostrander
, Militant of Anhur
, with all the accouterments I begrudge a knight. She and her father Sir Lionel, stood awkwardly apart from everyone else, seemingly inexperienced in the delicate art of political mingling. Of course, none of us proved any more effective. Given the opportunity to get a good look at her in the meantime, I could tell that she took her business very seriously. Not one to succumb to narcissism, her hair was cropped to a hand's length and, despite the chain armour, it was obvious that her martial skills kept her body well-tuned. The remaining guests arrived in short order now. The Briareus
clan, led by their burly patriarch Agamemnon, included my brother-in-law Telemakhos and another vaguely familiar face, Timotheus. The duo could not be more disparate. The former, is a smaller man and was obviously dressed for the occasion. Time had been spent meticulously curling his blond hair, and he dressed in the traditional formal toga matched only in glamour by his sword, with it's fancy peace-knot hinge. The latter was a large, broad shouldered, thick muscled brute. His face was dominated by a square jaw housing a wide, expressive mouth. Tailing Telemakhos so closely, it was hard to tell if the warrior was either out of place, or his bodyguard. I assumed a bit of both. All the while, Markos, obviously as out of place as myself, would continue to stand when others arrived, as if in anticipation of some formal announcement, and when there was none he'd sit and continue to keep company with his plate.
Dracius of Ra, mentor of Laarus, also came to bid his best wishes to his pupil. An older man, with graying-blonde hair, once dyed black, now growing out again - Joezyn Barhyte - was last to arrive. And in so doing, launched the formal introduction of the Charter. In honor of the occasion several gifts were given for our disposal:
- The Margrave
generously purchased the services of our steward Euleria for the duration of one year.
- House Tenbrook
generously paid for our usage of these same two suites and all food and drink purchased therein for the duration of 7 months.
- House Barhyte
generously paid for the stabling, grooming, feed and care for our horses at the Tensmoor Stables outside of Old Town for the duration of 6 months.
- House Curen
generously offered the services of discounted training facilities at the University of Thricia for the duration of three years.
- House Devenpeck
offered us nothing. I suspect that they are unknowing of my involvement in the Charter, or that father would even bother mentioning it. Neither of these points surprise me nor upset me. I'd rather remain anonymous just now.
After the announcements, the Charter's outline was read aloud by our steward. We all signed the Charter
. Only Laarus was as eager as I to put pen to paper, and simultaneously we cast our names to the two different copies that we were to sign. Ultimately, everyone did so without hesitation. Leisel of Isis, former member of the Watch-Mage's Council and head of the local temple of Isis then arrived with Lavinia Vanderboren, a mercantile woman; they'd come to wish us well. The moon priestess
was radiant, draped in black with a silver shawl, her hair braided and wrapped on a bun. Telemakhos did not miss his cue, and always the affable, was the first to break rank and begin mingling. Unfortunately, my brother-in-law came to speak with me. Mostly small talk, introducing his cousin-bodyguard, a bastard now recognized by Agamemnon's brother. Quickly, Telemakhos found something else more interesting and moved on to speak with the merchant woman, Timotheus in tow.
After some time spent in silence with father, observing the peacocks preen about and shower each other with proper decorum, we moved to speak to Sir Lionel. Unfortunately I was waylaid by a weasely little Hermanlander who must have snuck in while I was not looking. He kept me from meeting the knight. He introduced himself as Cavalind Rattlendale
and did his best to hide his intentions by beseeching me to mention to the Charter members the merits of traveling to Herman Land and combat evil humanoids, etc. 'What adventurers do,' as he phrased it. I quickly tuned him out, and he moved on, attempting to appeal to Telemakhos instead. My brother-in-law at least heard the conniver out, but as it has not been mentioned since, must assume the pleas again fell upon deaf ears. As I was listening in on their conversation, Laarus of Ra beckoned me to join the conversation in which he had become embroiled. I did so. He wished my input on the subject of what mission we should begin with our Charter undertaking in. Specifically, he asked if the 'Margrave had an idea in mind.' How he came to know that I was a representative of the Margrave I don't know, for I assumed that it was not common knowledge beyond the assignment of a Watch-Mage. How was he to know that I believed she hand-picked me, of all Watch-Mages, for this task. But such are the glories of Ra. I assured him that I was unaware of any such personal requests.
As everyone continued to meander about now, many conversations continued simultaneously. A few individuals began to come and go, some retiring for the evening, others wishing words of final encouragement and advice before beginning their long journeys home. I took the opportunity to inquire into the recent death of the Watch-Mage here. Leisal, a former member of his council, informed me that there was no further progress into discovering the nature of his untimely end. She did, however, enlighten me as to the close camaraderie that he and Darbold shared. I found the bard, relishing yet another plate of food. He mourned the death of his drinking buddy, and had no insight to offer. I asked him for directions to Barakis' house. Conveniently, it was just across the street, where the carousers would usually go to continue their revelries. Additionally, I learned that Floris Tenbrook shared an avuncular relationship with the older wizard and mourned his passing to Anubis' Realm most of all. I sought out Laarus. I found him already engaged with Telemakhos. He seemed to be weighing the Briareus' words. It appeared that the man was trying to convince the priest of the merits of investigating a possible plot by pirates against House Wetherwax
, originating in Tribunisport
. Telemakhos seemed to have already come by some leads for our Charter to follow up on, continuing to suggest that after doing so we should look into some barbarian raids originating from the area of the Kingstones in the Disputed Territories
. The latter suggestion appeals to me greatly. The former worries me.
I waited for Telemakhos to finish his piece. I wished to enlist Laarus to accompany me to the abode of the Watch-Mage. Fearing for the appearance it may have upon myself and the Charter should I be noticed 'snooping' around his place, especially were it to be discovered that my liege-lord was House Devenpeck, I knew his presence would lend an heir of credibility. I explained this to the insightful cleric and in hearing the merit of my words, he graciously agreed. Telemakhos invited himself along.
Quickly we crossed the street, passed through the gate, and stepped over the empty tankards and goblets strewn about the yard. There was a note on the door. It read 'for all normal business concerning the Watch-Mage, visit Darbold the Gay'. There were crude hand-drawn directions. I tried the door; it was locked. I was angered and returned to Death and Taxes. Darbold was still there stuffing his fat face. I asked if he knew who had the key. Over greasy lips he told me that he did, pulling it from a string draped around his neck. I asked for it. He asked why, and then insinuated, the nerve, that I wished to measure for drapes. I could barely contain my fury. He asked if I was sent by the Academy to do so. Again I tried to explain that I was merely pursuing the personal interest of looking into another Watch-Mage's demise. It was only now that he was forthcoming with the fact that the Academy had already investigated. If he knew the outcome, he wasn't telling, or he deemed me not needing to know. Finally, I asked if he knew who had investigated the crime. I did not expect his response - Abberd Argent. While a truncated version of my former master's true title, I instantly divined who he meant. And if Sir Abberd the Argent was satisfied then so was I. I let the matter close. I thanked Laarus for his time.
We found ourselves situated in the common room of one of the suites, snacking on a light supper, just enough to fill our bellies before retiring for the evening. Just then Timotheus and Markos returned. The stench of foul-spirits heralded their approach as they sat down to gorge. They broke the calm, and loudly proclaimed that now was the time to discuss what our course of action should be. I grew annoyed. I informed the group, now together for the first time, that more than one of them was at least mildly intoxicated and that I recommended against making any decisions until tomorrow morning. I took the remains of my meal, bid them good night, and retired to one of the sleeping areas. It was then that I realized that my worst fears may become realized. I take this assignment very seriously, but perhaps not all of us do. I have the utmost respect for Laarus, as he station commands it. And Victoria must be a boon to us; a Militant is worthy warrior. But these other three, I don't know about. I agreed to abide by the provisions of our Charter when I signed, and it clearly reads - sober intent. For the group to sit around, while any of our member is without clarity, and make a declaration of intent: that does not sit well with me. Frankly, I was surprised that I was the only one seemingly offended.
As I have no funds, and little rations, I am sneaking food back to my sleeping area and Preserving it. And that's it, for today. Well, I guess not. Telemakhos has just left. He took it upon himself to inform me that while he was pissing on the Watch-Mage's house, the ne'er-do-well happened to notice that the rear door was left open. Of course, I asked him if he then closed it. He did not.