Goriel and beyond, part 3

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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 3

Postby Alberich » June 8th, 2012, 4:41 pm

Father Boris cheerfully accepted Rose's written report. "Yes, I will send it with my own," he said. "This attack last night, it has been the talk of the town all morning. It is a disaster for the Yurkashev! I thank you for coming - of course this is what I want to talk about.

"I do not know if this relates to your mission, if this man you seek has anything to do with it" -- for Father Boris had not yet been told of the sudden deaths, or how so many others had died without a mark on them, including the real "acrobats" and their escorts -- "But I think it would be strange for him to attack you for the sake of it while you were surrounded by all these Yurkashev warriors. That makes sure you will live! Why not attack you in the street? So I think the Yurkashev were the real target. Cunning to attack them by attacking you. The loss of face is huge! And it may be more.

"If you do not know - trade with Veracia and other countries, it is complicated here. You think a merchant simply goes to whichever place he likes - but it is not simple. The clans with most prestige, they can set the prices, and determine who comes to see a delegation. If you have to sell your goods through another clan, the other takes a premium, you see? Yurkashev does not have mines but they are second clan in prestige, from their old blood and their strength. This brings them more wealth than their goats! If they fall and they stay fallen they will be much poorer."

Indeed, one part of Boris' job as ambassador was making sure that trade delegations knew which clans were up and down - and which "representatives" from Duravsky were truly what they said. Well he knew that baksheesh got paid - but that was simply how business was done here. Who could not stomach it should not come here. At least this way his countrymen got value for their money.

Boris asked a little about the assassins themselves. Argus gave a good description of the hairy, unwashed, ill-equipped fanatics and their entrance. Boris was impressed -- at the men's bold desperation, and at the power of whoever could force a group of Gorielian men not only to go to their deaths, but to walk like girls while doing it. "This tells me what I thought before. These must be outlaw men.

"If you do not know, sometimes a man is expelled from his clan - or his clan is wiped out and he has survived - or he does not come from here and he is not accepted. Well, a girl like that, she might end up in a, a naughty house under protection, yes? An ugly man like that - he can't live in the city. He'd be robbed and killed too fast! So they live out of town. They hide. They poach. They hunt. They steal sheep. It is very dangerous out of the city. I did not think there was any band large enough to supply that many assassins. But it makes sense the larger clans have spies out there and know something about them. Whoever could bring them in and equip them and murder the girls and their escorts and the guards and do that switch - it was someone with power, in the city and out of it, as the larger clans have."

Argus asked whether Boris had any idea who might've been responsible.

"I do not know who did it. But I think the Zukalin are the most likely. There is also word last night the Gibazov mining museum, it was robbed. Have you heard this? Valuable things taken, guards killed. So the two big enemies of the Zukalin, both on the same night, have big blows to their prestige? That is a strong coincidence! And the Zukalin have the least to lose. They are desperate to survive and hungry for revenge. A few people think it was the Gibazov, to supplant the Yurkashev and increase their wealth, but the favorites are the Zukalin.

"But what I think will happen is this. The Yurkashev will not long stand to leave this unavenged. So this is what they will do. They will find someone, probably a Zukalin, and - how would you put it? Squeeze him. Put him to the question. Torture him until he confesses. And then use that to make all out war. Maybe the Gibazov join in, maybe they do not - but the Yurkashev need their revenge on someone and that is the obvious target. And is it really true? It probably is but it does not matter to them. There has been an offense, and there has been revenge, so their honor is restored.

"So my point is, if it is in your mind to find out who it was and do something about that, you do not want to wait a day if you can help it!"

Neither of the listeners wanted to wait a day in Goriel for any reason whatsoever if they could help it. Whether Boris knew that was hard to read behind his bearded face. An Orthodox priest as well as a diplomat, he would not have understood Rose's distaste for bits of opulence in his surroundings. As she and Desiree had seen in the dining halls of the chief clans, wealth here was meant for display - to show power and prestige. Too spartan an office would make him, as ambassador, seem weak and poor, as if his own masters did not value him so highly.

This also fit the Orthodox preference for ostentation in their chapels and rituals. The gaudiness, the incense, the candles, the colored glass - these were not for Luminosita. What did he need them for? They were for the worshippers, to show them they were in a holy place, and to turn their minds to the divine. For his own little congregation, used to hard work and wrestling drill, a religious ceremony in the beautiful chapel was a welcome thing indeed - often their favorite part of the day. (And how many priests could say that?) Although in Boris' mind, there was also an element of showing respect to the god, just as you'd wear your best clothes when visiting a strong man here, or not ask an honored guest to meet you by the dunghill.

Rose asked whether there was anyplace they could go to learn about the different outlaw bands, to find that angle on the assassins. Boris did not think so. "There is no hospitality there. In the villages, they don't talk. If you meet the outlaws themselves - they kill first and ask questions never, you see? And they are scattered all around. But if you do meet them, and you kill them, there is no revenge or punishment - they are really 'out-law' - you can do what you like to them."

Finding the assassins directly, then, didn't sound like a job for Rose's kind of Special Operations - it better fit the ophidiophagi. (How much cleaner it seemed, right now, to be one of them! "Soothing the barbarians" - an ugly task in this ugly country.) But if Boris was right and one of the richer clans had arranged it, there might be a "weak link" somewhere in this town. Someone who knew and would let slip that he knew. Or some other kind of evidence.
Last edited by Alberich on June 9th, 2012, 12:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 3

Postby Graybeard » June 8th, 2012, 11:43 pm

Quite uncharacteristically, Sister Rose fidgeted restlessly in her seat as Father Boris orated. Yes, the politics of this particularly vexatious piece of nowhere were difficult and troublesome. No, they couldn't just ignore the whole mess and go gallivanting off into the wilderness, no matter how much some of the party wanted to. (Like I want to.) All of these intricacies had to get absorbed somehow, because they were the way Goriel worked, and somewhere in them, there might be a clue to what had become of Blaise.

Yet she fidgeted.

When Boris was finished, she cleared her throat. "I can understand the -- complexities of trying to work here," she said, "but we need to start making some progress. The longer we take to thread our way through all these clan rivalries and conflicts, the more of a lead Bl-- the man we're looking for has on us, and the harder it's going to be to find him. Isn't there any way we can speed this process up?"

Boris looked at her for a long second or ten. "Honestly? No."

Rose sagged like a deflated balloon. There was no mistaking the truth in the man's words. "Well," she eventually said, "I guess we'd better get on with it." She turned to Argus. "My lord husband, I suppose we'd better get ready for a courtesy call on Clan Duravsky -- what?" Boris was holding up his hand, stopping the two of them from leaving.

"There is one other thing," the priest said.

"What's that?" Rose wasn't sure she wanted to know, the way this conversation had been going, but she had to ask.

"You're being followed."

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

In this, Boris was wrong: because of the time spent at Clan Yurkashev, the followers had become the leaders ... even though they didn't have a clue where they were going. [OOC: I'm going to be intermittent for a few days, so consider this a "hunting license" of sorts for Jamie, Tamina and Udo, even if they in turn don't have a clue what they're hunting for or where.]
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 3

Postby Alberich » June 9th, 2012, 12:40 pm

[OOC: Hmmm? They're hunting for Blaise and based on their current lead they're hunting him in the direction of the Gibazov ruby mine...and the sooner they leave town to do it, the better for the town and everyone in it them.]

The miners Jamie was stalking soon enough joined their escorts for the trip to the north. The mining party was quite small - about ten, and most of them seemed to be fighters rather than miners. In the outlaw-haunted lands outside Goriel city, that was a small enough group. The land was uneven enough that the assassins could trail them unseen pretty easily. Whether they wished to was a different question - they already knew roughly where the mine was; and the Gibazov were known for the fanatacism with which they guarded it. (Which was why it would be about the safest place for Blaise to hide, if he could convince this clan to take him in.)
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 3

Postby Drusia » June 9th, 2012, 4:22 pm

As the thought this, her hand stole to Desiree's hip, and then her longest finger began tracing down her lover's back.

I sigh and open my eyes. "Tonight, while Irina's gone to her duties," I whisper to Anfisa. She looks sad, so I kiss her, once, long and lingering. "Be strong."

I extract myself and get up. Time to start getting ready for the day.

-- Desiree
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 3

Postby Alberich » June 9th, 2012, 9:32 pm

Boris went on to explain that a second airship had arrived yesterday - airships were rare, and two in one day had never happened in his own lifetime. And apparently this one had brought some very strange passengers, who had made a beeline for the nearest whorehouse, flourishing all manner of forbidden weapons and powers. Apparently the mission was being led by a Tsuirakuan Special Ops officer with no sense of subtlety -- definitely not from Rose's kind of operation -- and they'd brought along a giant hairy monster from Luminosita-knows-where. Apparently at least one of the minor clans had mobilized its militia after these interlopers had used the Tsuirakuan's elite training and the monster's giant claws to rout a pack of mighty warriors (the tale had grown in the telling, as tales will). But so far they had not been caught. "I am glad they have not come here, and I hope they leave town quickly! - Too much more of that and the offended parties will petition Lord Duravsky for help, and if he makes an example...it will not be pretty as diplomacy."

* * *

Anfisa sighed, and Desiree hoped it was not so loud as to be heard. Dina and Valentina already knew, of course, but the point was that Irina not know - or at least that things stay so subtle that she could pretend not to know. Desiree's firm hand had kept a lid on things so far. This had at least delayed Irina. But Anfisa's passion was not easy to keep contained. And anywhere but here, who would want to?

The burning business of the early afternoon was helping Valentina prepare for her trip back to Clan Yurkashev. She had decided to wear the copper chain she'd gotten from "Beetle" -- Iosif Duravsky (the other geteroi hadn't told Desiree how he got that nickname among them - maybe he was helpless when lying on his back?). This was the present that had surprised her so much last night. If she'd been staying here, that would've been a problem - an individual gift from a "lord" worn would look like a proprietary interest, not a good thing when she'd be assigned to another in the same household the next night. But wearing it back to her own clan was a different matter. It helped to show that she, at least, had not been at fault for the re-exchange, had in fact been well thought of in the place she'd sojourned. So naturally she needed to pick the right clothes to go with the chain, and the right clothes were the subject of spirited debate. But in the end, all were satisfied.

[OOC: And I think we can leave it there 'til Rose & Argus, and whoever comes with them, come calling.]
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 3

Postby Graybeard » June 10th, 2012, 11:36 pm

OOC__ I am on travel, with less connectivity than expected until tomorrow. Go on and have fun without me.. :lol:
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 3

Postby Jack Rothwell » June 11th, 2012, 6:58 am

OOC I think at best I'm here once every other day until monday, it's tough being on holiday :D /OOC

"Umm... 'bout the shinies you mentioned." Tamina said, elbowing Udo's ribs for attention. "Would the mine-or-yours men mind if we mined the mine shinies to make some mine?"

OOC Eli's just hanging around somewhere until Rose and Argus return with new info, drag him around as needed./OOC
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 3

Postby Alberich » June 11th, 2012, 12:08 pm

Udo was by Tamina well to the rear of Jamie, waiting for her to finish stalking the loudmouth miners. He was wearing the bundle with their new-bought camping gear on his back -- not an extensive or modern collection, but there was a puptent (as if they'd ever share it with him) and a spade plus a few other things. At Tamina's elbow he let out a slight "oof!" but they were far back enough not to alert Jamie's quarry.

"Uh? - Ah." he said. "Well...I'll tell you what. If the bad man we want is still with them, we'll cut off his shinies! And feed them to the ca...ah, the galdy." He paused. "Or whatever monsters we can find up there, that's what we'll feed 'em to." Though of course the idea of meeting monsters in a gem mine was simply absurd.

He waited for Jamie to get back to them.
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 3

Postby Graybeard » June 11th, 2012, 10:26 pm

[OOC: Still limited, but better than the last two days, so to help move things ...]

Sister Rose wrinkled up her nose in puzzlement. "Another airship?" she said. "News to me. And I can't imagine the church would have given any information out on where we were going. There may be a security breach somewhere. Could you ask home to check on that?" [OOC: I'll handle the response to that when I'm back in more regular contact. In a nutshell, they're not going to know anything. /OOC:]

She turned to Argus, sighed; the more two people were together, the more mannerisms they came to share, and she'd certainly heard that sigh escape his lips before. "I guess we can't put it off any longer. Off to Clan Duravsky, my lord husband?" She wasn't too flummoxed by the news of the other airship to manage a wink.
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Re: Goriel and beyond, part 3

Postby Sareth » June 12th, 2012, 2:28 am

[OOC]With us not having heard from Eli for a bit, combined with some of his inner thoughts of late, I'm going to assume he's slipped off on his own to enjoy his new found badassofbadnessness. If that's an issue I'll retcon. Or even better, we can just strike my Lillith post from the record altogether. Thanks to the post that kept the Bonnie Reed here and set the crew loose on the town, the weather is threatening to get ugly, so I'll be referring to that as well as a reminder.[/OOC]

Lillith and Brad were waiting out in the well kept garden, being carefully avoided by the brothers Boris had taught so well. Tim was sitting alone not far from the couple, allowing them to share a bench in a vague resemblance of privacy. Eli, it seemed, had managed to disapperate after breakfast as everyone dressed themselves. Least wise, he'd made himself scarce, leaving poor Tim to trail along with the doting couple. Brad seemed to be doing most of the doting. Lillith actually seemed a bit preoccupied.

The slight woman turned toward Tim. One might even say rounded, except that would imply some degree of hostility that was not present in the half-elf priestess. Instead, her slightly self chewed lower lip pouted in an expression of fretting. "Do you have any idea what Eli might be doing?"

Before Tim could answer, Brad quitely chided Lillith even as he snuggled a bit closer to her on the bench. "We already asked before we left Clan Yurkashev's compound."

"I don't mean right now," Lillith replied. Her eyes darted around and she lowered her head slightly, almost conspiratorially. When she spoke again, her voice was similarly lowered, as if she was worried she'd be overheard. "I mean... I don't know. In general, I guess. Something feels wrong about him. He frightened Desiree badly. He seemed happy to have killed those people back in that harbor. He lost his temper far too easily and quickly last night. And now he's going off without letting anyone know." The fingers of one hand reached up as if to smooth her hair against the breeze that was threatening rain and thunder, but instead began playing with the tip of an exposed ear.

****

Just at that moment Jamie reappeared. "Comeon, hurry up! Don't want them getting too far ahead. Especially as gloomy as the sky is getting." With that Jamie grabbed Udo and began dragging him forward, almost tripping him in her haste. "They've got to be getting close to the mine soon. I'm getting bored." She released Udo and began fingering what was hopefully a fire arm and not an erogenous zone, but could be either given how lumpy and loose her clothing was.

****

Katie sighed quietly and knocked down the card house she'd built on the table in the chart room. The ship was absurdly quiet, without the sound of Tiny's big feet, or Rip's vile mouthed parrot, or the cook banging pots and throwing things at hungry sailors. With the ship at anchor there was preciously little watching to be done either. The chances of another airship coming along and causing them problems were less than her odds of going to bed with a god-forsaken Gorelian clan head. Which meant the only real risks were someone trying to get aboard or a major wind gust tearing a mooring loose. She'd locked the hatch, and she could monitor both moorings and the plank from the bridge. Neither of these tasks took more than half an eye and even less brain.

Much as she was loath to admit it, she was actually rather bored without the crew around to torment. She found herself wishing for something, anything, to liven up her day.

Captain Rackham stepped into the chartroom. "Katie, with the crew away I thought I might ask you to come to my quarters for a bit."

"Who'll man the watch?"

"Why, the crew, of course."

Katie's sigh was louder this time. "They're away."

"Quite right." Captain Rackham nodded. "My need for you has strongly awoken. One might even say that my need has been most strongly aroused."

Katie nodded. "Alright."

Rackham grinned. "Wonderful. My cabin. And you know what to wear."

Katie stood. "Of course."

Rackham giggled like a naughty school girl and dashed off the bridge.

Katie reached into the gear and pulled out a mask, which she immediately doused with perfume and tied around her face. "One of these days I'm going to make him treat his own bunions. And start stuffing his boots with fresh rose petals every morning." Grumbling, the dark skinned pirate slogged off the bridge towards the Captain's cabin. "I'd rather be bored."
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