Take 2

Hope at Last

Reading is Fundamental

World Dates: 2010-08-03 to 2010-08-03

   After some breakfast and the usual morning workouts and the realization that nobody was dead yet, it was time to continue their interrogations of the Baron, though nobody really knew how they should go about such a thing as his waking moments were still pierced with wails about how they had poisoned him and his death was imminent.

   There had to be a way and so they opted for one last attempt where they cut him and bled him, which caused immediate unconsciousness to ensue, and then awoke him to tell him they would kill his family if he didn’t help them. Again, failure was on their side as he wailed and screamed about how pointless is all was that they had poisoned him and now they would kill his family regardless. Still, they needed the Baron.
   Shane felt they might be able to do things without the Baron, but only if one of them could look like the Baron and so they needed Trian. Tredroy was so far away through and the only way there and back quickly would be by teleportation, but Shane would need a ritual and lots of help to make it happen with any degree of success and so he asked Sable to order her men to participate.
   Sable laughed in his face and told him what the “mundanes” felt about wizards and their trickery and craft and that most wouldn’t have a care, nor a clue, nor a desire to help. Shane was surprised at the reaction, but knowing how “pirates” reacted, he wondered if they might not buy the support of a few members of the crew. Sable summoned John Swift and asked him to ask of the crew if anyone would aid the wizard for fifty apiece and he left to do so, noting it would take a while since some men were sleeping.
   While that was going on, Shane headed into town to pick up the candles and chalk he needed to create the circles and magical runes to channel the energy for the ritual. Sin took the time to write up a letter to Mailei explaining to her about the baby and the rift and hoping she was alright, but he still held a niggling feeling that something horrible was in play and she was not going to be fine in the end.
   In the end, ten men arrived to help with the ritual, but they wanted the money up front and wanted to know where they were going to be soon since Hazi currency wasn’t so good up here and if they were leaving soon, then Megalan currency wouldn’t be so great. Nessa stifled any questions and tossed the group a Talent and they realized they were getting twice what they were offered and even exchange rates weren’t that bad. With everything ready, the ritual started, the words were spoken, the magic unleashed and Shane disappeared.
   A couple of hours passed until Shane returned with help from those in Tredroy. He arrived with Trian and word that everything back home was as it was supposed to be. There was no word on if Duke Taveon had made it or not, but that was so secret he didn’t know if anyone would know regardless. Still, with Trian, they had a chance to make Sin appear to be the Baron and that might get them into see Ser Walder and maybe get them to Ser Issac...though what they would do from there was anyone’s guess.
   Trian studied the Baron and then was able to turn Sin into the Baron for most intents and purposes. He and Shane then departed and found themselves a carriage to take them to the Templars keep. Like everything else in New Jerusalem, the road was dusty and hot and the ride seemed to take them forever as they wound their way to the keep.

   Meanwhile, Nessa conceded the fact that maybe reading was important to getting into the Wizards’ Guild and so asked Sable if she’d accompany her there. She had a plan while Sin and Shane were gone and wanted to see if they could pull it off. Sable agreed and the two were off.
   They arrived at the guildhall and were second in line. The men before them made polite conversation with Sable as they waited their turn and even spoke to her about the difficulties getting in and how to avoid them. Sable was sure she could bypass anything too harrowing with the directions above the door “Right Door, Down Stairs”. And so they waited until it was their turn.
   The two entered at the same time and nothing untoward seemed to happen. They moved toward the right door and then through it. Down the spiraling stairs they went and down another hall where they were greeted with a room with three doors. Above two of the door were the words “Not this door” and above the third was a sign that stated “Choose this one”. They chose that one and were down another short hallway and a set of stairs into a ante room with a woman waiting in attendance.
   The woman asked them of their need to which Nessa responded that they needed a Seeker spell cast. The woman pointed them to a door to their left and explained their wizard would be in shortly. They only waited a few minutes until the wizard came in and started querying them about their needs. Soon enough, she was ready to cast the spell which pointed out Nessa’s desire was six miles west.
   Nessa and Sable both offered her money to Trace for them, but the wizard would have nothing to do with it, and as the seconds turned into a minute, Nessa realized there was no point in arguing anymore as their window was passed. They did know more than they had and it was enough to allow the two to return to the Mystral’s Tryst with smiles upon their faces.

   Back at the Templar’s Keep Shane and Sin scoped the place out once they were inside. They had no problems getting into the keep as the guards out front seemed to recognize the Baron and just let him pass. Inside to their right was the church and to the left was tilting. Ahead and to the left was the stables and across from it lay the main keep. They walked briskly to it, past the guards outside the door and then inside.
   Once inside, they were met with three large halls, one going each direction and one laid out before them with stairs to either side. The decadence was amazing with marble busts and columns, artwork and stained glass everywhere. Inside were another half-dozen guards who watched them enter and then only paid casual attention to them.
   Shane felt awkward, like they should know where they were going but didn’t and so spoke up, “so, were is Ser Walder’s office”? The question was half rhetorical and half pointed at the “Baron” and elicited a chuckle out of the guardsmen.
   The “Baron” turned on the guards demanding, “What are you laughing about”?
   “Um, nothing Baron Hollows…it’s just that you seem to forget every time you’re here. Did you need us to show you the way?”
   From behind the “Baron”, Shane nodded his head as Sin turned slowly from one passage to the next until the guards nodded that he had the right way. Sin harrumphed and led Shane onward down the rightmost hall whilst chuckles came from behind them.
   Thus far the plan was working better than they had hoped it would and quickly they found Ser Walder’s office. His waiting room was elegantly decorated and a knight bid them sit while he attended Ser Walder to determine when they’d have a chance to meet. The knight returned promptly to inform them they would be seen soon and then took up his guard position by the door. Soon enough, they were led in.
   Ser Walder was an older gentleman that somewhat reminded both of them of Ser Issac. He was balding and had a long white mustache, but looked a few years younger. He sat behind a massive wooden desk with marble inlay upon a very comfortable looking chair and motioned for them to sit themselves down.
   “So Baron Hollows, what have you brought us today?”
   “This is Ferdinand Antigua, also known as Duke Taveon, as you instructed me.”
   “So, the Duke at last. What took you so long? You were supposed to have him here yesterday so we could work matters out.”
   “The Duke and his bodyguard were a little nervous with the arrangements and so wanted to wait a day to see how matters unfolded.”
   Ser Walder responded back, “that’s unfortunate. We did have a chance to interrogate Ser Issac and found that the Duke is in Tredroy, not here, so who have you really brought us?” He said this last bit as his voice raised and the doors burst open as dozens of guards started to rush in.
   Shane grabbed Sin’s hand and uttered the magic words and they were instantly out of harms way and back aboard the ship.
   Sin yelled out, “We need to get ready to sail! They’re on to us!”

   Slowly the ship came around to see what his cry was for but Sable stalled any notion of weighing anchor just yet until they had further chance to talk. She was also irritated that he thought this was his ship once again and she wasn’t going to acquiesce so easily this time.
   Nessa and Sable explained that they had gone to the Wizards’ Guild and spoken to a wizard who was able to do a Seeker for the Duke’s baby. The baby was six miles west of the Wizards’ Guild. That put the baby outside the city and outside of the hands of the Templars and put the baby somewhere they might be able to find it.
   This was something they couldn’t pass up even if it meant there would be dangers. Sable gave John the order to stay his ground and hold the ship as long as he felt safe. Should they come under attack or feel they were under duress, they should set sail for Durham immediately. There would be a certain degree of safety being out of Megalos and in Caithness. The cart and horses were made ready and they started along the westernmost road out of the city with all haste.
   The road was fairly straight along it’s initial track and quiet as it turned into evening. It took them just over an hour to close the distance and as they did so, they saw a small village with a large manor house surrounded by a wall. A nearby sign showed they were upon the village of Walder and that’s when they heard the sound of hoof beats behind them.
   Nessa, Sable and Trian stayed visible while the rest hid beneath blankets and the benches of the wagon as the horsemen passed, but the horsemen barely noticed them. The men carried a banner of blue with a curved fish upon it and when the three were able to describe the men that passed, they realized one was Ser Walder, probably riding home to deal with the baby.
   They had little choice now as time was of the essence and so they pushed on into the village of Walder and found themselves a room in the village’s only inn. It was likely going to be a long night for they felt tomorrow might be too late.



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