World Dates: 2010-07-09 to 2010-07-21
The better part of the day was taken up with the unloading of the ship. The contact had arrived when he had said he would and with the money he had promised and so Sable turned the cargo over to him. They winched the cargo out crate by crate and once the hold was free, Sable gave word to set sail once again. John Swift and the rest of the crew were confused that they might be leaving harbor without a full cargo, or even part of one, but since she paid their wages, they did as she said.
The ship came out of her moorings poorly. Sable wasn’t sure if it was her anxiety about leaving without cargo, the crew’s same anxiety or just an off day, but it took nearly an extra hour to get the ship going in the right way toward Yibyorak. The city was only five-hundred miles away and would take them just over three-and-a-half days to reach with a minor mishap in the middle, but they would dock safely.
Once in port, Sin, Nessa, Shane and Sable disembarked, bound for the Grand Ball Inn even though it was late. After being off the ship for half-an-hour, they thought better of things and decided to wait till morning when the rampant chaos would be less difficult to deal with. None of them had been to Yibyorak before, and Sable had only heard a few sailor’s stories about the place and it had already surpassed anything they could have imagined.
The next day they made their way into the goblin city again. The sights and smells were beyond anything they had ever seen in Tredroy. While there were only a third as many people, they were squished into an area a quarter the size and so everyone was closer together. There appeared to be no difference between residential and market areas and every street was filled with criers, wizards, thespians, prestidigitators, and other less savory people.
As they walked down the streets, trying to find directions to the Grand Ball Inn, they wan into numbers of salesmen with everything from food and trinkets to common, rare and unique magical items. They had passed so many of these people that the novelty was starting to wear off, or so they thought, when Sable caught sight of a particularly handsome goblin set someone behind many others who had a following of interested parties examine the small item he held.
The group noticed Sable had stopped, again, and so went to fetch her back when both Shane and Nessa became intrigued as well by the small object. The goblin claimed it was going to revolutionize magic in the world and that only he and a select few knew the secrets of such a revolution. They all looked on at the small copper sphere that looked more akin to a Christmas ornament that an evolution in magic.
The goblin demonstrated the special device by unscrewing the cap and letting the sphere fall toward the ground. As the sphere fell, a wooden rod came slipping out of the sphere and was significantly longer than it should have been. The rod continued coming out till the goblin must pull it at last and they saw it was about six feet in length. At the end of the rod was a Powerstone and the goblin started his spiel about how the process worked. “The stone is held in an extra-dimensional space where it exists six feet from every side of the sphere and thusly cannot come closer than that to any other Powerstone. With that spacing in mind, you can see that no matter how close we hold it to another of these spheres, or even another stone, it will not be limited and when we combine this process with the crystal from a Megalan Charging Chamber, the stone even recovers its reserve at four times the normal rate with no possibility of affliction to the holder.”
Not only were Shane and Nessa intrigued by these, and felt they could benefit from a hundred of them apiece, but even Sin and Sable saw the possibilities inherent in these items and knew they could sell them in Tredroy without problem if the price was reasonable and so they asked of the price. The goblin replied that he had three of them on hand and that he would sell them for the astonishing low price of only thirty pounds apiece. Everyone was astonished as they felt such an item should be at least ten times as expensive, if not more.
Their heads swam with the possibilities of what they could do and the fortunes they could make selling such items and then an extra-special thought struck them and they asked of a matrix with the spheres. The goblin thought about it for a brief moment and told them he could do one in approximately fifteen months and it would take half a million to make it, and for that he would need most of the money up front. It would be work it to have such power that could fit nearly in the palm of your hand, but he price was more than any could afford at the moment and so they moved on at last.
At last they came to the Grand Ball Inn and made their way inside the lavish establishment. The walls were papered, the floors covered in carpets, the wood lacquered and the furniture upholstered. Everything about the Inn spoke to them of money and lots of it. The concierge was a man of impeccable clothing style and it was oft times hard to discern where the jewelry stopped and the clothing started. All knew they couldn’t afford this place for a night or a week even if they needed to and they would soon find out just how different their world was from that of these people.
Sin spoke to the concierge asking, “do you have a man by the name of Ferdinand Antigua in residence?”
“I’m sure sir that we do not.”
“Well, did you have someone by the name of Ferdinand Antigua? We are expecting a letter or something from him.”
“I’m sure we do not have anything from a Ferdinand Antigua and even if we did, we would not be able to tell you of such a thing. Our clients demand nothing less than total anonymity.”
“Well, might you check just to see if there is anyone here, or if there was anyone here please? We are supposed to be picking him up to take him to Tredroy and were told he would be here. Is there anything we can do to help that along?” Sin tried to phrase it in such as way that it didn’t quite sound like he was asking what degree of bribe he should be providing.
“I’m sure sure, that the only desire I have for you is for you to leave and quit this inane line of questioning. If it shall please you though, and might make you leave me alone, then I shall acquiesce to seek answer from my staff and provide you an answer shortly.”
“Thank you,” replied Sin.
The concierge watched them as nobody moved. “It will take a few hours sir. You may return in a few hours.”
Suddenly everyone understood and they turned to leave. As they crossed the floor to the door they caught the wave of a man sitting in one of the lavish chairs who was beckoning them over. The man was somewhat older with a balding hair and a white mustache that hung around his mouth. He was well built and looked rugged as if he had been fighting or doing manual labor his entire life.
“I am Roberts of Craine. We need to talk of matters,” the man said. “I know why you are here and I need to speak to you in private.”
The man rose from his seat and started moving toward the stairway. With nothing better to do, and since they were now somewhat intrigued, the group followed him, smiling at the concierge as they went. The concierge gave them a look that bespoke of his desire to see them dead. The trailed the man for five floors and to an elaborate suite where the man offered them leaf, wine or spirits.
“Mr. Antigua sends his apologies, but he had to move on. He asked me to stay behind to bring you to him when you arrived.”
“This is bullshit Sin,” Shane stormed. “We didn’t come all this way to be jerked around again. Let’s get out of here.”
“Maybe we should see what has caused such a change of plans….again.” Sin was irritated as well, but not nearly so much as Shane. Of course, if they played off of each other it could really help. Sin couldn’t tell if Shane was seriously angered or just playing into the situation to expedite their intelligence gathering. Sin turned from Shane and faced the balding man again.
“Matters are afoot that I cannot speak to, but know that it is imperative that we follow as soon as possible. If he is endangered, it could ruin quite a number of things.”
“And just who is this ‘Antigua’ that we should care one way or the other,” Shane countered.
Sin looked askance at Shane again and gave him a quieting look before turning back toward the man sheepishly and with a shrug.
The balding man sighed and looked toward his feet. “I am Ser Isaac Silverlight, personal attendant and bodyguard to Duke Tavion of Dekemera, also known as Ferdinand Antigua.” There was silence in the room as everyone tried to understand what was just said. “The Duke, who must only be named Ferdinand outside this room, had to move onto Hyrnan and will be moving toward Bannock after that and we should meet him there with all haste.”
“Like I said Sin, this is bullshit and I’m tired of being run around. If he’s not going to tell us what’s going on, I say we get out of here.” Shane stood as if he were to leave and when nobody immediately started following him, he paced.
“What is going on here,” Sin asked of Ser Isaac.
“I cannot tell. I may only say that when the Duke was forced to move on, he left me here to meet with you and bring you to him. He expressed great sorrow that he could not be here, but matters are in motion that required him to leave at once. And now that I’ve found you, I must return to him with all haste.”and
Sin pondered the man’s words and felt a certain veracity in them. Shane, for all his impatients and apparent need to leave also understood what was going on just as well as Sin did. The Duke had left his only protection, his personal bodyguard, for them and had moved on alone which meant the happenings were dire he truly needed help. They both also knew what it meant to bring the Duke back to Tredroy as he would be able to somehow aid with the additional legion Cardiel was bringing to bear. Good or bad, they needed to help him for their own needs as well.
“We’re in then,” said Sin. “We’ll need a writ for weapons and armor and you will need to fund any other expenses and we’ll move out tomorrow.”
“That is fair and I’ll write the writ myself for you and yours. We should make for Bannock as soon as possible and from there we’ll wait a night then track back as needed toward Hyrnan.”
Sin stood and he peered over at Sable who followed suit. She spoke up then, realizing what was needed of her. “We’re upon slip forty-two and we’ll make sail as soon as you’re aboard.” She looked at Sin with displeasure in her eyes; two stops without cargo was about all she could handle at the moment.
Nessa suddenly realized they were moving as got up to join everyone else as they trekked through the city and back to the Mystral’s Tryst. Sable immediately had the crew up and running and prepping the ship for departure and and soon as ‘Roberts of Craine’ was aboard and his geared stowed, the ship was moving, bearing for Bannock.
Bannock was just a short trip across Keyhole Bay and they arrived on Thursday, July 15th, early in the afternoon. Roberts led the group, in full armor, to the Sprinklin Inn. The city was not nearly as nice as Dekemera or Yibyorak had been as it was still recovering from the recent battles between Megalos and al-Wazif. The Sprinklin Inn was nowhere near as nice as the Grand Ball Inn had been, but it seemed to be the nicest Inn in the city nonetheless. They walked past ruined buildings, burned out hulks and the occasional dead body or animal.
The night passed with stories of Roberts life as an adventurer in Caithness and everyone knew the stories were as fake as his name, but it gave them an incredible degree of authenticity and nobody gave them much more than a casual glance. The night passed away though and the morning came and there was no sign of Ferdinand.
Roberts suggested they buy some horses and make for Hyrnan. It was a four day ride, but they should run into Ferdinand somewhere along the road unless he got hung up in Hyrnan. Sable would send the ship on ahead of them so they had it there when the arrived and she passed the orders onto John Swift who looked at her with skepticism as they left once again without cargo.
Roberts purchased four horses and a cart that was sufficient to get them to Hyrnan in four days. As the days passed, he explained to them about Hyrnan and how the little city had changed much over the past few years as the Blackwoods encroached. The Emperor had sent in a couple of legions over the past few years, but few returned and nothing could be found to understand the wood or the horrors in it. Even the men who returned could only speak in vagueness about the wood.
Tensions rose as they made their way though and day after day passed and when they finally arrived at the Blackwoods Inn, there was no sign of Ferdinand. The inn was the premier inn within the city and Roberts assured them that Ferdinand would only stay there. He put forth for three rooms so they could plan what to do next.
Shane left eastward on his horse to see if he might be able to find some sign, though he didn’t really know who or what he was looking for. Still, he tried but was not shocked when he came up with nothing. Sable checked on her ship and crew while Sin and Nessa did very little. Finally, with no other option, they rested for the night so that Nessa could try a Seeker spell the next morning. While it would be difficult without any personal effects of his, it was still possible.
When morning came around, Nessa prepared for her spell and then she intoned the words as she concentrated upon the Duke. She felt the slightest twinge of him to the north a few short miles away and so she immediately went into a Tracing spell so that she wouldn’t lose him. Once the spell was active and the lines of magic between them tangible to her, she told everyone else….he was somewhere close by but in the Blackwoods.
Ser Isaac looked worried and then he opened his chest, the one they had been wondering about for days, and everyone saw the armor and weapons inside with some other personal effects. Ser Isaac carefully donned the magical armor and strapped on his weapons as everyone else prepared as well.
“This may be the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done, and I can only request you join me, for I must do this.”
Sin looked at him in his armor and realized how much of a knight he truly was as his bearing went from Roberts to Ser Isaac with the armor and weapons and he was truly noble, reminding him of Lady Monique LaBlanc whom he hadn’t seen in quite a while. He remembered back to the days they rode together and thought of the day he, she, Shane and the kids…they were just kids back then…entered the Tredroy Arena to fight seven other warriors and a mass of jungle cats. He smiled for himself, “It won’t be any more dangerous than what we’ve done before.”
Ser Isaac grasped his shoulder. “Then we ride.”