Roleplaying > Moderated Freeform

Chapter the First: Six Degrees of Joachim Ebellos

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"Useless bint..." Nisher muttered - intentionally loud enough for the insult to catch the ears of the servant, who huffed in an offended tone and began sweeping more furiously. Nisher had already been through this meager building, looking for any signs of the Spellwriters who not-so-long ago took residence. Not that Nisher often got along too well with many of his ilk; but it would have been nice to have a taste of familiarity in this alien city.

Musing to himself, Nisher ran a hand through his greasy hair, "I wonder what the Magistrate has tooOOAUGHCAFF...!!"  The ample dust raised by the servants exaggerated sweeps choked Nisher and caused him to double over, coughing. "Gah!" After catching his breath, the Spellwriter glared furiously at the woman until she took a few steps back and wisely began sweeping along the other side of the modest hall.

Nisher's right hand gently stroked the closed elaborate book in held by his left hand in a slightly obsessive manner, and he glanced to the door leading back to the Street of Warm Shadows. He did not particularly want to go back out into the glaring sunlight. He had been here only three days and already seven - SEVEN strangers had given him friendly 'Good day!'s and 'How d'you do!'s in the streets.

With an audible sigh and one last glare at the servant - who wisely kept her eyes on her work - Nish Styne steeled himself and pulled open the stone door of the former Spellwriter's 'outpost'. Perhaps the Magistrate could offer more information about this now-vacant building. Nish walked out the door and Abodroc swallowed him.


“Wealth be upon Him”, Ebellos muttered under his breath, then more audibly, “You should know that there are those who have their eye on that same trade route my friend. But yes. Yes of course! I will pour honey down the right Bursar throat on your behalf. It is the least I can do.”

He paused, as he spied someone approaching Zuan’s camel below. The beast was tethered right outside the walls of Ebellos estate, as the trade-priest was afraid the creature would eat his orchids if left inside the garden, and now it seemed a slight figure had paused to study the camel.

“It is indeed unfortunate what happened to Valdeo Sonna, and his widow, she is—difficult—to deal with”, Ebellos went on then was suddenly interrupted by a servant who slithered into the chamber and called out to the balcony…

”Don Ebellos, your afternoon appointment has arrived shall I send him in?”

“Uh-yes. Send him up Ronsalvo” then turning once more to Coursi, “My friend, there is someone I have to meet. Why don’t you join me tomorrow evening for dinner at the Seven Palms? I hear some of the Bursars will be there.” Ebellos smiled suggestively.


The wards of protection were painted with blood, Saano noticed immediately upon approaching the wall. If the gods were good he reasoned as he studied the scribbling, it would have come from a pig or rooster. The protective symbols did indeed seem basic, that is to say they were general wards against demons and devils, although one seemed specific enough, the ever-popular sun sigil, meant to burn away those creatures that bred and thrived in darkness. Though still, that didn’t tell Saano much.

Just then the servant returned and ushered the Midnight Guardsman to follow…

The servant seemed to be nervous as he ushered Saano inside, but that certainly wasn’t unusual. If you were ushering a Midnight Guardsman into a home, you were probably already in a permanent state of nervousness.

Through the archway, and up a long, stylish set of alabaster stairs into a wide open chamber with a high ceiling and several plush divans, they came. Bird cages hung everywhere suspended by slender chains, their inhabitants whistling, clacking, and chirping away.

“If you will wait here just a moment, Don Ebellos will join you. He is presently with a friend.” The servant said and left.

Again, Dealonar waited. This time the birds and the soothing sound of an inside fountain kept him company. Well, there was one other. One other he could always have a chat with if he wanted.


Nisher Stryne examined the humped creature as he rested from the hot sun, overbearing even into late afternoon here!  He had been walking through the city for several hours, overwhelmed by the smells, sights, and sounds. Abodroc was impressive, particularly the bizarre (to Nish) architecture. And the Grand Library he had passed! Stryne had heard of it even in his northern homeland. If scholars and monks were to be believed, there was in excess of half a million volumes housed in that building.

But the heat! The heat he could do without. Likewise annoying, was that Stryne soon learned that “The Magistrate” was in fact not one person. Indeed, there seemed to be thirty-six Magistrates in Abodroc, according to someone he questioned. Finally pointed to the right Magistrate, the one who would be responsible for all buildings along the Street of Warm Shadows, Stryne made his way to the right building only to be told it was closed for the day.

Aimless now, he made his way across a vast arched bridge which led to what looked like a posh residential neighborhood. Stryne paused to lean on a tree along-side a wall, surrounding what looked like a fancy estate of some rich man, and spied the creature.

The camel looked back at Nish, chewing something absentmindedly. No one was about.

As soon as they entered the room, Saano could feel an intense focus on the caged birds in the back corners of his mind, like a child pulling a parent by the hand towards a sweets-shop. Well, there was really no helping it; some things never changed. At least have the patience to wait until the poor frightened man is gone, love. It would hardly do to seem more interested in the avian company than the approaching meeting.

The insistent tugging on his attention abated until the nervous servant left him there, presumably to go finish whatever tasks he'd been dragged from to handle the Guardians arrival, and immediately Saano moved over to the cages. The feeling of focus shifted into one of affection, and a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.

Each of the large wire prisons was filled with multiple songbirds, all trilling away in an odd symphony of sound. His eye was caught by some species of lark, or so he presumed it was, and he held out a small handful of birdseed to it, plucked from a nearby stand. Rare was the chance to get a bird to eat from your hand, and he didn't want to pass it up. One had to take life a day at a time, and a day is comprised of the little things.

Besides, it wasn't like he had much else to do while waiting.


Wiping the sweat off his brow and spitting unceremoniously onto the ground, Nisher Stryne eyed the animal suspiciously. He had never seen a camel before, but had heard of them. Knobbly, walking watersacks with far too many knees. His eyes peeled back to the residence which the camel was secured out of - a lavish building of complete with unnecessary adornments. "Likely has ten servants to lick each toenail clean!" Nish scoffed to himself, giving himself a chuckle while looking around to see if anyone else had heard his 'wit'. The truth was, he was trying to hold on to his cynicism, as most things about Abodroc had indeed impressed him in his aimless walk. The people were too friendly and the weather was sickly-warm, but the architecture and especially the library he passed - he would have to give that a look sometime - was chipping away at his pessimism.

Nisher spied a couple of 'gents' conversing on the balcony of the manor, and felt their eyes pause over him before returning to their conversation. Well... clearly one of those was the camel-master! And they both seemed very well-off... Nisher itched his nose while he considered something, and then with a little smile to himself, he flipped the lock on his Spellwriter Tome and leafed the pages over. Stryne stroked the page he had paused on nervously and then, steeling himself, he placed each of his fingertips against the enchanted paper.

Nish suddenly felt cold and shivered slightly as he felt the transferrence of power from his coveted book into his own body, and the page began to glow slightly, the arcane runed on it vibrating and twisting before simply melting away, leaving a pristine, empty page in its wake.
To those looking on, Nisher Stryne will have simply faded to the background; in their heads becoming just something a little less important to notice.

A little, dizzying high running through him - as always happens when he casts this enchantment upon himself - Nish peered around nervously and then cautiously approached the camel, his eyes always on the beast, but his mind on the Howdah; it was time to see what these fancy folk kept in their stinking beasts.

Zuan smiled and clasped his friend's arms. "That will do very well. You are a good friend, Joachim." He quickly kissed the man on both cheeks. "And a fine businessman. May your trade be ever prosperous!" He clapped the priest's shoulders before heading down the stairs into the villa.

Coursi wound his way through the residence, passing again through the bird menagerie - too gaudy even for him, and far too loud even if it did impress the locals. As he passed through the squawking room, his eyes caught a young man, waiting. Ebellos' guest, he presumed. As Zuan drew closer, he saw the man's simple, almost shabby clothes and disconcerting eye color. He was slightly taken aback, though far enough away to compose himself. He gave a curt nod as he passed the man, pondering what Ebellos would want with such a fellow.

The thought continued as he walked into the dim street, the cool evening breeze still blowing. Hezzab, his recent acquisition, greeted Zuan with a bray and bellow. "Quiet down, beast!" he called out. Coursi was surprised at how quickly he'd grown to dislike the ill-mannered animal. But as he grew closer and the camel's groans more insistent, Zuan grew more cautious. Something was wrong somehow. But what?

"Calm yourself, Hezzab," he said, louder than he would normally. He began to sift through the contents of the saddle bags beneath the howdah, one hand resting on the hilt of the jeweled dagger at his belt.


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