The Neverending Luncheon aka The Road to CanagadiBeware of the fool whose volume of words is as that of ten men, a hundred arrows shot and each one wide of the target. If thou art wise, shoot one and that one straight. The Great Sa'di
"...It is odd for them to completely abandon Abodroc, though."
"Hmm, yes." Ebellos said, "Indeed....quite odd", he muttered toward Stryne and for a moment his eyes glazed over. "Now that you know, I imagine you will want to investigate further, am I right?" Ebellos said, misjudging Stryne perhaps, "So when I saw you this afternoon, and you mentioned your accomplices, I thought, well, here is a man on his way to Canagadi, you see?"
To Zuan, Ebellos seemed out of sorts and not himself, though perhaps this was due to his distress over his sister.
"My friends, my sister has been unwell. She is a Silent Woman in St. Hurdegilda's Keep, as Saano Dealonar has just shared. His--kind," Ebellos was now gesturing toward the red-eyed Midnight Guardsman, "are trained and equipped to deal with such matters, and so I ask him now, in your company, if he would travel to Canagadi to investigate and deal with this matter, before the Silent Women take drastic measures...as I said, my sister seems to be haunted by some supernatural forces. Or did I say?"
"Meanwhile, Zuan, when you had first mentioned Don V. Sonno's spice route on my balcony this afternoon, it made me think---mayhaps my friend Zuan is bound to take the Road to Canagadi as well sooner not later, and well----" he left off again, as was his infuriating habit.
The plates and trays of food were now being whisked away and dessert bowls came next, various berries buried beneath dollops of frozen cream, flavored with some exotic spices.
"Naturally," Ebellos began again, "I will speak to the right Bursars, as mentioned, and recommend you Zuan, in the meantime. In fact what better way to win the Bursar's favor than to be traveling the very roads in question, when they ask your current whereabouts, eh?" Ebellos smiled widely.
"And as we all know my friends, old and new, the Road to Canagadi is dark and full of terror." That last was way too dramatically stated by Ebellos, yet indeed, the wild lands between the enlightened cities of the Ban-Ral-Sab were infested and plagued by bandits and creatures most dire.
"And for this reason mainly, I would not take no for an answer, my dear Zuan, I ask now, in all your company for Iskander here, to accompany you. For he is, as he says, a man who knows when courser hands are needed" at this Ebellos looked at Iskander. "Three weeks travel, is it? I believe so", Ebellos now spread a vellum map on the table. "Three weeks to Canagadi, three weeks to St. Hurdegilda's Keep. I will pay you two hundred rindods now, and two hundred rindods upon your safe return if you will accompany, and defend if need be, my friend Zuan here as he traverses his potential new trade route and in his dealing with the northerners. From what I heard of you Iskander, you have contacts everywhere, no? Now, Saano Dealonar here, also needs to reach his destination--that is, my sister--safely. So I thought--" Ebellos spread his arms satisfied with himself.
Why Ebellos was suddenly was so eager for Zuan to have this minor trade route, Coursi could not guess. Neither could Stryne guess why the corpulent trade-priest would care two tails about the disappeared spellwriters.
"The Divine Broker be blessed. What a serendipitous dinner this is." Ebellos concluded, stuffed the last of his berries into his mouth, all the while eye-ing his guests, one at a time, intently, and then rose, inviting them all to join him in his avian menagerie for spiced brandy.