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Author Topic: Chapter the Second, The Road to Canagadi  (Read 24043 times)

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Offline Murometz

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Chapter the Second, The Road to Canagadi
« on: January 11, 2013, 02:56:22 PM »
Chapter IThe Six Degrees of Joachim Ebellos is complete (though still confusing :P)

Here in this thread, we will begin Chapter II, The Road to Canagadi.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 11:31:25 PM by Murometz »
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2013, 06:22:46 PM »
The following day the mismatched companions gathered outside Abodroc’s Bronze Gate.

The well-trod merchant’s road beyond the gates of the city, snaked north across drying tableland and grazing lands for many miles, veered east then north once more, now parallel to the vast Trade-Sea which lay less than a dozen miles to the east from this route.

From there, they would travel through no-man’s land for many more miles still. These would be lands outside the Ban-Ral-Sab Caliphate’s dominion, where independent (and highly paranoid) walled city-states still dotted the otherwise uninspiring landscape and where merchants still roamed, but also, where the perils of the wilds were all too real and palpable.
 
They would know they had arrived in Canagadi, their ultimate destination, when the Great Mountains of Seeneryp rose up from the horizon seemingly blocking all travel further north.

Somewhere in that small mountain-drowned country, where the clime was unusual and dozens of unique spice-plants flourished like no where else, sat the great stone keep of St. Hurdegilda and the Sisters of Silence.

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

Hezzab snorted as Nisher Stryne strolled up to the group, leering all about. Zuan was busy checking the straps of his howdah, but managed a scowl at Nisher as well.

Iskander was already there, his arms crossed, a strange look of bemusement on his face, as if he was contemplating a great secret known only to him. Next to Iskander, arms also crossed, stood a bear of a man with an emotionless, disinterested look in his eyes. This was Tagu.

Saano seemed lost in thought as well as he joined the others, barely looking up from a tome he was reading, but nodding acknowledgement at his new companions.

The sun was shining bright this morning and the skies were clear.

An auspicious beginning?


(OOC: Bits of info sent to Iskander via PM)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 10:17:09 PM by Murometz »
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2013, 09:51:49 PM »
Nisher Stryne strolled up to the small group lazily, stretching and yawning - he was well rested; in fact, it felt like he had been out for a fortnight! Nish's eyes flicked over each of the party members momentarily, taking each of them in. A low whistle parted from the spellwriter's lips as he noted the large newcomer to their 'merry' band of travellers, and a wry smile appeared on his lips, "Well, who's this one, then?" Nish addressed Iskander, assuming the reason he was standing next to the stranger was that he was aquainted with him, "Not even out the gates and old Ebellos has managed to give us a surprise."
The spellwriter's eyes lingered on Tagu for some time - undecided on what to make of the fellow- before he walked over to Saano, making sure to give Zuan and his odorous camel a wide birth, but sneaking a sardonic grin at the Trade Priest. Nisher peered over Saano's shoulder to catch a peek at what the tattooed man was reading.

Nisher was truly in a great mood, today; although he never would admit such a thing! He liked travelling, and he liked throwing himself into the unknown, and he -loved- annoying the Zuan Coursi, so the day would be sweet. The platinum bezoom which Ebellos had given Nisher remained tucked behind his belt, unused - he was only two days in Abodroc and his travelling gear was not even unpacked so purchasing fresh equipment was not a necessity. He had spent his smaller coin on dried rations and general supplies. The request for money was only truly an act to see how eager the elder Trade Priest was to get Nish on this journey.
Yes, that snake-eyed look Ebellos gave when Nish had asked for some of his hard-earned coin remained fresh in the spellwriter's memory, and it put him slightly ill-at-ease. Nisher would be cautious. He felt that not all was as it seemed.

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2013, 01:54:01 AM »
Saano

Hm...Byakhee...Byakko...Ah! There it is, B'kakor. Not much new information here, though that particular binding circle looks promising. A combination of aural and physical bonds, to chain the spirit and prevent it from fleeing...I wonder what the materials are for that...?

Saano took absent note of his companions as they gathered (Tagu needed no introduction, for his purpose and employer were obvious), and once Nisher joined their ranks, the last of the group to arrive, he marked his place in the tome and looked to each in turn, a half-smile on his lips that didn't quite reach to his eyes. "Are we all ready? I should think an early start will give us enough time to take a rest for meal during the worst of the mid-day heat. And the sooner we depart, the sooner we'll arrive."
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2013, 07:47:40 AM »
"Yes, we should be off soon," said Iskander.  "Tagu here is a friend of mine who agreed to come long, as a favour to me," not elaborating that he had paid for this favour, painfully, in advance.  "He's a good fighter, but not one for conversation.  "

"I normally don't do this, but it may be useful to know our employer has not been completely fortright with us. It seems he has been getting around a bit , coming back from abroad shortly before hiring me.  Now, I don't begrudge a man his secrets, but it seems odd. What purpose did saying otherwise serve I wonder?"


   
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2013, 03:21:11 PM »
Zuan ignored Stryne's sneer, finishing the final straps on Hezzab's howdah. "I am sure it is nothing," he said in answer of Iskander. "Joachim has many business ventures abroad; he was likely attending to financial matters unrelated to our..." He gestured, searching for the right word. "Our enterprise," he shrugged.

Satisfied with the howdah, he placed his hands on his hips and looked about. "He is late," he said simply. Then, from behind, a voice called out.

"I am quite on time, sir!" A young man, perhaps twenty, wearing a yellow kaftan and green turban approached leading a heavily-laden camel. He smiled broadly, a thin beard framing white teeth. "Do not fret, Master Zuan. I would not make you late for your journey." He smiled at the others.

"Azrec, my apprentice," Zuan introduced. "He will maintain correspondence with us from Abodroc. I trust Joachim, but it is useful to have another party to keep things in perspective."

Azrec nodded. "I will keep news to you as best I can manage. The messengers say the road to Canagadi is ill-kept." His smile grew more forced. "No doubt you will be safe, with such fine warriors with you," he nodded to Tagu and Iskander.

"No doubt," Zuan repeated dryly. He nodded to the camels. "Tether Maurban to Hezzab, if you please." He looked again to Iskander. "Regardless of where Master Ebellos has been, our mission is the same. Let us concern ourselves with what lies ahead, yes?"

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2013, 07:25:54 PM »
The company rode for four whole days without the slightest bit of incident. The first day they crested the rusty hills outside Abodroc, and passed its vast orchards and vineyards. That night they stayed at an inn inside the walls of Garafala, a small town of six hundred souls.

The second day and third, took them past gigantic fields and vast mesas, the Ban-Ral-Sab’s bread-basket and grazing lands. The road here was a busy thoroughfare. Perhaps surprisingly, many mercenaries and hedge-knights seemed to be traveling to and fro, and less so merchants, but then again, autumn was here, and soon the merchants, like the geese, would start heading south of Abodroc to trade, and these northern routes would become desolate by winter. On the second night the companions stayed inside the walls of a small country villa, rented them cheaply by a friend of Zuan Coursi’s, the third night they rented rooms in a small nameless castle used as a vast hostel for travelers.

------------------
B’kakor are foul”, Girontus Medranos insisted in his book, as Saano perused the tome a third time since they had left Abodroc.

“…quick-silver is the key if the B’kakor are swarming. Additionally, no personal information of any kind should ever be revealed to the B’kakor.  The more it knows, the more dangerous it is…”

“The B’kakor like to haggle and bargain. Do not fall for their trap. As well, never promise the demons anything…”

“Keep women away from the B’kakor. They are particularly ripe for possession by the monkey-demon, and are powerless to Dispirit it, even in numbers…”

“…three vile types of B’kakor exist, each more dangerous in progression. The Ninth-Word of Thol uttered in conjunction with the Five Protocols, and usage of the proper binding circle, shall easily distinguish the lesser two from the true evil, the B’kakor King….”

“…once freed of their flesh-prison they must be dealt with quickly for their agility and speed is legendary among demon-hunters. Likewise the Dispirited person must be immediately burned three times in succession with a hot-iron, and then dipped three times in running water. Then only…”

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


The fourth day out passed without excitement as well, and toward late afternoon, the travelers turned due north at the crossroads that unofficially separated the Ban-Ral-Sab’s Dominion with that of the northern territories. Twelve miles east of here were the shores of the mighty Trade Sea.

It was here at this cross-roads also, in a small station-house manned by a single clerk, where Zuan Coursi picked up his letter which had flown here for him by raven, only hours before.

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

Zuan, hope your road is paved with rindods, It is I, Azrec.

Day #1 since your departure:
All is well here. Don Ebellos dining at the Seven Palms rubbing meaty elbows with quite a few of the Bursars.

The annual warehouse fees have gone up as of yesterday. “This is the final straw that snaps our spine!” some were overheard saying.

Day #2:
Ifon Obroscol, the Bursar, asked of you when I accidentally ran into him yesterday. I told him you were off to Canagadi. “Oh?” he says. Yes, I says. “Who will be awarded the Canagadi spice route is still an undecided question” he says, and so on…

Later still…

Overheard in never mind where and how… (though I’d swear in an Abodrosi Court-chamber that Ebellos was alone at the time)

Someone Unseen:  Do tell

Joachim Ebellos: Yes, the spellwriter showing up at my door was the final piece of the puzzle. The others were hard enough—like herding cats—but then this one just walks up to my manse and well, you know the rest.

Someone Unseen:  You have done well.


That is all. I heard some noises next, and had to evacuate my—position. I’ll await your word.
-Azrec, son of Tazrec


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

Toward sunset the mounts were visibly tired, especially Nisher’s nag and the overloaded Maurban. The road here was unpaved and narrow. To each side, dry, parched shrub-land proliferated, as far as the eye could see. A new realization came upon them then. This would be the first night they would have to camp beneath the stars. There was little to be had for shelter or protection from the elements in this terrain.

The sun was setting quickly, despite not having any mountains to hide behind. soon it would be dark. And Nisher was still concerned about the warning the station-clerk had given them...

"Moadi birds have been spotted recently. They say a few travelers have disappeared. Be careful these next few nights as you head north. The next town is not for many miles."
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 07:59:14 PM by Murometz »
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2013, 07:53:40 PM »
Saano

"I think that's about as far as we're going to get for today. Lets stop here and make camp." Saano began looking around the area immediately beside the road, trying to find a cluster of rocks usable as a firebreak. Less work hauling rocks was worth the extra minute of searching.
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 12:35:52 AM »
Nisher Stine hurriedly agreed with his tattooed companion, slowing Jeza, his nag to a slow walk - for the last half hour or so his poor, weary animal had been releasing a worrying wheezing whistle with every few exhales, and Nish was worried the horse would collapse! "Shoulda grabbed something a bit pricier," he muttered to himself, yet he gave Jeza a reassuring pat on the neck and muttered quietly to the animal in a rare display of empathy; "To all the beaten and downtrodden in this world, hey girl?" Nisher kept his eyes peeled also for a suitable place to stop, then with an exclaimation of "Ah!" He pointed to a natural dip in the ground - already largely cleared and with signs of an old, previous campfire which suggested previous travellers had made use of this point; "How about there?" He questioned to the group in general.
Nish was eager to get off Jeza and get a small camp established. He was spooked by the Station-Clerk's words about the Moadi-birds. The spellwriter had never seen one himself, but he had heard plenty of gruesome tales - perhaps just superstition - about the scaled creatures' razor wings and sharpened, toothed beaks.
"Keeping a watch might be smart, tonight. I'll take the final watch, if there are no objections." Nish's hand found it's way to his coveted spellwriter's tome beneath his cloak, and he absently stroked the book.
After a moment's silence, Nisher brought up a question almost casually, "Have any of you seen Moadi-birds before? That Station Clerk mentioned them... I hear that it's not the scales you have to worry about; they can really get in your head and make you freeze in fear." The simple fact he wasn't being obnoxious is suggestion enough that Nish was troubled.
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 06:35:11 AM »
"I know them only by rumor," Zuan said, dismounting from Hezzab. "Let us hope they are only that." He gazed out over the roadside. "You don't suppose there are better places to set camp?" he asked, knowing the answer. "Ah well."

Tethering the camels, he made a quick inventory of Maurban's saddlebags. The camel, older than Hezzab, was quiet and more docile, quietly ruminating as Coursi pushed through the stocks. "Are we lacking anything of need or want?" he asked. "My heart grows eager to dicker. I will flag the next merchant we see to do some trade."

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2013, 10:12:24 AM »
Zuan didn't have to wait long. They were already sitting around their makeshift campfire when bobbing lights in the distance came into view from the north.

Nisher was busy terrorizing the group with his overheard tales and half-reliable descriptions of the feared Moadi-Birds, until even stoic Tagu shifted on his arse uncomfortably and peered around the surrounding darkness nervously. Another few minutes, Iskander thought, and the spellwriter would leap up and start flapping his arms and cawing...

A merchant's caravan came into view. Four horses, two camels, and a drawn cart ladden with gods knew what. Travel lanterns hung from the saddles and covered howdahs, allowing them to travel on in the near-darkness. The caravan moved slowly along the road, and paused expectantly when the companions camp-fire came into view.

A hidden voice from one of the howdahs broke the silence, "Well met by night", it announced and soon the mustached face of an olive-skinned Abodrosi emerged from the make-shift "camel-castle."

Tagu instantly rose, saying nothing, his various muscles twitching in anticipation of possible danger.


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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 10:55:54 AM »
Zuan smiled. Praise to the Divine Broker, who grants profit to His lucrative ones! "Well met indeed, sir," he greeted, making a deep bow. "I am Zuan Coursi, and these my companions. What brings you and yours on this road? We were just discussing the topic of the dreaded Moadi-Birds; I pray they have not troubled you."

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 12:42:17 PM »
Iskander watched on with a somewhat bored expression, having previously donned the garb of a common pilgrim. 
There were times for ostentatiousness, and times to blend, and this trip definitely seemed the latter.

It was also the time to allow others to talk, and so Iskander kept with Tagu in his silence, though Iskander wearied of hearing more of the d**ned birds.

   
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 01:34:51 PM »
"Moadi-birds?" the mustached man involuntarily scowled, "Nay, gods be good, we slew a few red-wolves a few hours back", he gestured north along the road. "their packs grow bolder as the seasons change..." he left this thought unfinished and squirmed out of his howdah far enough out to be seen.

"I am happy to meet a fellow Abodrosi in lands this far north." He continued glancing at the group then Zuan more closely."I am called Tursto Bulvan, returning to Abodroc from Zamorza and Canagadi...and these are my unfriendly body-guard", he smiled and absent-mindedly waved toward the other riders, who remained seated on their mounts and did not speak.

Saano raised an eyebrow. He had heard this name somewhere before, but for the life of him could not recall where or when he came across it.

Iskander recognized one of the body-guards from years ago. The man didn't recognize him in return. Iskander remembered him as an average soldier with below-average loyalties and some questionable vices.


"And what brings you lot to the northern territories?" Bulvan added.

« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 01:40:33 PM by Murometz »
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 02:03:42 PM »
"A mission of mercy, if you will," Zuan said with a small smile. "We follow the spice route to Canagadi to do business with the religious of that fine city. I bear goods from our own city and beyond - brilliant carpets, fine cinnamon and cloves, berbere and grains of paradise..." He slowly arched a curious eyebrow. "Have you any interest in trade, Master Bulvan? Perhaps you have some good we are in need of."

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2013, 04:13:37 PM »
Bulvan grinned widely. "Alas, Master Coursi, I have sacks over-stuffed with cloves in the wagon, berbere as well, and pink pepper", he said pointing to the huge, rickety contraption. "Did you know the Canagadi use them to cure tooth-aches? Cloves I mean" he grinned again.

"But I sell many things, so perhaps I have something that may interest you" he added dramatically, "What kind of carpets do you have? Jelfiri? Rimaram? One can never possess enough finely-woven mats, eh?" now he laughed heartily and climbed down form his camel.

"I was planning on reaching the crossroads before camping, but perhaps a night beneath the stars is fated for Bulvan. May we share your fire? We have meat to roast. And figs. It is only me and the five men you see. They speak little, take up little room, and eat even less" he laughed again.



« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 04:18:49 PM by Murometz »
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2013, 05:31:13 PM »
If Nisher noticed the guarded motions of Tagu at the sight of these traders, he didn't show it. In fact, Nisher seemed as glad as Zuan to see these traders. Sauntering up to stand next to Zuan, the spellwriter spoke in the Trade priests ear. "Zuan Coursi. Your tongue is more silvered than I, and if nothing else I know you to be fair.  Would you mind pursuading them to take Jeza and some coin for one of their fitter steeds?" Nish dropped his coveted platinum bezoom into Zuans palm, "I fear Jeza will not be able to keep the pace for many more days. Try and save me some coin if you can; my purse doesn't exactly overflow." The spellwriter gave the Trade Priest a single pat on the shoulder before moving away. it was perhaps the first complimentary thing Nisher had said to Zuan on the four days of travel.
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2013, 06:18:10 PM »
While not showing it outside, Iskander was perhaps even more put out then Tagu.
d**ned merchants who let their hubris and love of profit forfeit common sense. He regretted not finding a couple more sell-swords for this journey, since his compatriots appeared short on both street smarts and martial ability.

Now he had to count on a Abodrosi not being a crook, not something Iskander was comfortable with.  He'd let the others prattle on about trading and the like. Iskander would do his job and plan who he would strike first should it come to that.

Roast meat was always welcome, however....

   
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Offline Murometz

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2013, 07:34:30 PM »
Sometime later...

The companions and Master Bulvan--who indeed confirmed he was a merchant of a sort, though not under the auspices of the Divine Broker--found themselves seated around an expanded stone-ringed fire. Domesticated antelope meat, tender as pork, was rotating on skewers, casting globs of hissing fat into the flames on occasion.

Bulvan's men, his body-guards, as he called them were off to the side speaking amongst themselves, tethering their mounts, and propping lanterns on poles around camp.

Saano was silent. Until he could figure out where he had heard the name 'Bulvan' before, he could not focus on the roasting meat or the conversation. Perhaps she remembers...

Iskander ate, his antelope still a bit bloody on its skewer, and watched everyone without giving himself away. Tagu was lost in thought staring at Bulvan's body-guards. Nisher was somewhere nearby skulking or sulking, who could be sure.

Bulvan's white teeth shone in the fire-light as he looked at Zuan. "So religious matters? Missions of mercy? I find such things unpleasant myself." he chewed on a fig, "I have books beside Canagadi spices, old ones, some from antiquity..." he lowered his voice for effect, "I have masks from Zamorza, a few bejewelled kinjals, spider-silk--very little--, and other things."

Somewhere a smattering of red-wolf howls pierced the night.

"To answer your question, Master Coursi, I always have interest in trade. Yes."

Jeza moaned, suffering from an acute bout of arthritis.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 08:05:00 PM by Murometz »
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Offline Dozus

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2013, 09:46:07 PM »
Zuan nodded as Bulvan rattled off his inventory. "A fine selection of trinkets you have," he said agreeably. He pushed to his feet and tugged open one of Maurban's saddle bags, pulling out three rolled carpets. He stood before Bulvan and let one roll out with a flourish, draping it over his shoulder and knee.

"A rug of Dobradi," he intoned with reverence. "Of finer threads than your Rimaram, and better dyes at that. See how the fiber gleam in the light. You will not find that in any ordinary weave, I tell you that."

He handed it carefully off to the other trader before brandishing the next. "This one is Sozuk. See the little flowers? I met the weaver himself, and saw the same garden in which these little gems grew. If you look close, you can see how each petal is individually raised. No, it's not a trick, the technique is quite difficult. Years to master."

Then the third: "Padan. Now I admit, it does not look quite as fine, but never will you find a stronger carpet. You could throw one in the center of a bazaar in the springtime, pick it up at the dawn of winter, and not a thread will be loose. Go on, try to pick it. Your nail will not mar it, to be sure."

Zuan settled onto his cushion next to Bulvan, laying the last carpet out in front of him. "I suppose I am the host here - it is our fire, is it not? So, as guest I will let you open. Surely one of these piques your interest, if only to trade again third-hand. Offer what you will."

He raised a pointed finger. "Oh, and while you do browse, consider also this: Abodroc is not so far off, and I gather your guards are temporary hires. I may be willing to take one of your horses off your hands for a fair price. I could give you one of ours, so you will not be lost for time or treasure." He nodded toward the old nag. "That mare is of good temperament, and quite sturdy. She should hold one of your footmen for long enough of the journey. I'll even give you a rindod for the pleasure."

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Offline Chaosmark

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2013, 11:43:26 PM »
Saano

I've been wracking my brain, but I just can't seem to catch the memory of where we've heard of this guy before. We didn't meet him personally, we'd remember his face. Maybe he was a customer back home?

I don't think so. If he was a customer, he would've shown up at least once or twice in the shop, and I would have seen him. But I swear, he gives me the creeps. Something about him just seems...off.

I know. I'm getting the same feeling, like he was involved in something nasty that we had to clean up afterwards. With two minds, you'd think we'd be able to remember where we'd heard a name before. This is a bit frustrating. I'll see if I can pick up any clues from what he says and how he acts. Keep trying to remember while I do?

Of course, love. Just keep an eye on those guards. If he's someone we had to clean up after, we might not be getting much sleep tonight.

Cheery thought. But no less valid for being unpleasant. I'll stay on my toes.

Saano looked up from the wheels he had been cleaning on his bow while thinking over their new merchant companion, capping the small jar of grease that kept the compound weapon working smoothly. His gaze tracked past where the caravan guards were gathered chatting, noting their stances and demeanor. Nothing appeared to be out of place. Yet. His eyes continued on to the merchant in question, currently looking through Zuan's offered goods.

"Master Bulvan, have you any quicksilver, or Essence of Innocence? I realize such are rather rare, but one cannot find what one seeks if one never asks."
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Offline Shadoweagle

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2013, 12:18:01 AM »
[ooc: Some rolls courtesy of Muro involved]

Nish had made a seat for himself further back from the fire, complaining absently about feeling too warm to bundle up close to the light and heat. As the conversation took off between traders, the spellwriter faded to the background and was quickly forgotten.
Several minutes into Zuan's tirade about his rug collection (Really, Nish thought, What's so great about rugs!?) Nisher absently played with his Spellwriter Tome beneath his cloak, unclipping the latch on it and leafing through the pages; taking care not to reveal the book.
Without having to peer at his beloved tome, he found the correct page and lovingly placed his palm upon it, opening himself to the magics which lie within.
Stryne inhaled gently, his eyes half-lidded as he felt the mystical writings seep into his very skin and become absorbed to his body. To the others, Nisher Stryne will simply have faded away out of their thoughts, as though he were never there at all. Quietly, Nish stood and calmly walked out of the campsite, patiently making his way around the edges of it, heading towards Bulvan's Caravan.
Nish stopped hurriedly, pausing just in time as one of Bulvan's burly guards stepped out from behind the cart. He was carrying a bottle of what Nish assumed was alcohol which he must have retrieved from the beneath the caravan's canvas, and met up with two of his fellows under one of the lamps they had erected.
The Spellwriter stood still for some time, reconsidering his options; he had expected the guards to be relaxed and distracted within their own little group but no... The three were talking quietly amongst themselves under the lantern light; one was halfway in the dark near the road, peering up and down it casually, and the final one - a mean looking grunt - was by himself, stoicly watching over Bulvan.

Nish came to a decision. The bodyguards were all occupied now; plus he had his magicks hiding him from sight. Nisher Stryne stepped forward and quietly partially unwrapped the rope holding the canvas down in the back.

Nish's eyes widened in surprise. He had genuinely meant to only assess the trader's belongings to make sure he was on the level, but now...
Silvered statuettes of various significance and books of history and lore! Pots of expensive ink and Jewelled bracelets shining! Gloves of silk and leather, and sacks which smelled strongly of clove. Shortswords, daggers and light maces enough to equip three-score mercenaries and much more! Trinkets! Knick-knacks! Odds and ends! Nisher realized he was just short of drooling. With a little smile he peered over to Bulvan; still deep in conversation, and the guards had not moved as yet.
Alright... Nisher considered his options. He -wanted- this stuff. How hard would it be to get? Impossible. That's how hard. But what about just one or two bits and pieces? Well, lets consider. Nisher knew sometimes traders were able to set magical warnings and traps on their goods. However, the merchant had five bodyguards. That's quite a number - and if he was capable of magical feats, he would feel more comfortable with less hired help, so it seemed unlikely there would be anything too dangerous; he would rely on his henchmen to stop intruders -before- they got to this point. But what if one of the guards were handy with magic? They did not appear to be 'the type', as such, and if one was a spellcrafter, he would cost much more to hire. So that also seems unlikely.
Finally, it was dark here, and there was a small scrub of a bush just nearby... Nish had an idea. In one movement the spellwriter gently snatched one, small canvas sack - one which DIDN'T smell of cloves - and bent over, pushing it underneath the scraggly bush next to the trunk. He quietly pulled the canvas of the wagon back down and swiftly walked away into the shadows to circle the campsite and reappear once more. His reasoning was thus:
If the sack was linked to any kind of magical alarm, Nish hoped to be out of the 'scene of the crime' before he was spotted (His own invisibility will hopefully aid in this.) If he had to be searched, the sack is not on, nor nowhere near his person. If Bulvan notices it missing in the morning, he may find it under the bush, after which Nish may politely suggest that his bodyguard that collected the bottle may have accidentally knocked it there. Ideally though, this little transgression will go unnoticed and in the morn, after the merchant has left, Nish may collect the sack at his leisure and then find out what he had managed to 'aquire'. Hopefully gems and gold aplenty! Perhaps Bulvan's dirty laundry.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 12:19:51 AM by Shadoweagle »
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2013, 08:12:05 AM »
Iskander's sense of alarm reduced at each passing moment. If this was an ambush, surely it would have been sprung sooner.

No matter, he would quietly watch and wait.  The list of items that this Bulvan had available to trade was quite interesting.  There were those who would greatly relish such goods, and knowing this one could obtain such might be useful someday. 

Iskander also let his eyes alight upon Saano's composite bow wistfully, admiring the quality weapon from afar.  Perhaps not completely useless in a fight, he thought.

The even before he showed up outside Abodroc’s Bronze Gate he had taken a few drinks at the Shorn Ram, a place where various 'professionals' mingled.  The drums of war were beating up north and threatened to come south.  Hopefully they would not meet them on the way up.  North seemed to be a popular place these days...
   
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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2013, 09:53:26 PM »
Bulvan's eyes were fixed on the carpets. It was as if Zuan was the snake-charmer and Bulvan, the cobra.

"Is that---?" Bulvan gaped at the fourth unfurled carpet, "Is that Rashuli thread?" Bulvan was lost in thought as he gazed upon the rug by fire-light. "Ha! You save the best for last. A fine specimen! I will---"

Bulvan stopped when Saano spoke, as if seeing the Midnight Guardsman for the first time really.

"Quicksilver? No." Bulvan took his gaze from the Rashuli carpet engraved with a scene of dozens of men and women coupling. "Essence of Innocence?" Now Bulvan smiled, though his smile held no warmth. "No, Guardsman, i have not" Bulvan smiled again, "but I also am interested in...Essences."

Nisher cursed his luck. It was too good. Too easy. Everything happened so quickly and smoothly. The sack--and it was heavy--was now hidden under a prickly bush, and just like that Nisher was back at the fire, only to catch the merchant's last words..."Essences."

Saano's brain tingled. Another minute, nay, seconds, and he would remember where he heard the name Bulvan. The merchant smiled at him and turned back to Zuan.

"I will buy this." He petted the carpet as one would a cat. "What do you want for it? What would you deem fair value?"

A few dozen feet away, Tagu turned to the vigilant Iskander and spoke....a rarity. "I know that man." he stated plainly, looking at one of Bulvan's men but not pointing, "He was sentenced to hang."
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 09:57:15 PM by Murometz »
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Offline Shadoweagle

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Re: The Road to Canagadi
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2013, 10:22:22 PM »
Nish uttered something offhandedly about having to 'bleed the lizard' as he sat back down and dusted his hands absently on his hands; his invisibility long since faded. The spellwriter allowed the conversation to continue, washing over him as the spellwriter peered absently into the fire.
Can it have gone so smoothly? Ah well, we must not question our luck or it will run sour! Nish smiled faintly and glanced over the group. He and Zuan were deep in a bartering conversation. Saano had just finished slathering oil or grease or honey for all Nish knew, over his compound bow's wheel; Nish had no idea about the function of the compound bow.
Over to one side, Tagu shared some rare words with Iskander - which Nish couldn't quite make out - it appeared to be a serious conversation. But then, those two were always serious.
The Spellwriter awaited a natural lull in the trading before speaking; "Say Bulvan," Nish intoned casually as though he had known the man for years, "Did you happen to hear anything about newcomers arriving in Canagadi recently? You said you had recently been through there." Nish ran a hand absently through his greasy hair as he peered at the merchant. He was still off-handedly curious about his Spellwriter fellows.
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