The bill is paid, the food is consumed. Mistress Bianca leaves the Sheltering Frond and enters the late morning rain. Soon after, you arrive to the Transit Guild gates. You are challenged for a name, a list is referenced and you are allowed to pass within.
Mistress Bianca heads to the building her rooms are in, and goes into her room and checks to see if anything was changed since she last left it. It’s basically a mess.
Even the door is slightly ajar as you left it. All seems to be untouched. You pass many guards on the way in. Two of them are outside in the corridor that dead ends in your chamber.
Mistress Bianca addresses a guard: “Where is Meryl Dunestal?”
Transit Guild Guard looks at you and then his partner across the hall then responds to you, in a thick accent: “I don’t know where the former leader of this outpost is currently at.”
Mistress Bianca trying to keep from sounding shocked: “Has been kicked out onto the streets?”
Transit Guild Guard: “I really don’t rightly know. I do know that I am to keep tabs on this section of hall and report on any irregularities.”
Mistress Bianca: “Well, tell whoever is in charge when you are to report on any irregularities that Mistress Bianca checked on her rooms and asked around for Meryl.”
Transit Guild Guard frowns a bit but acknowledges with a quick tilt of his head.
Mistress Bianca turns to walk away and pauses, turning her head back saying: “Thank you.” and heads to where Meryl’s rooms used to be if they are indeed still his.
You arrive and after asking the nearby guards you are informed that he is not here. They don’t know where he is. There are no rude undertones in any of these short engagements. Perhaps they don’t perceive the situation the same as you do.
Mistress Bianca sighs at the response, and then looks for Federico in his rooms.
Once again you are met with disappointment. Though this young guard tells you that Federico isn’t expected back for some time. He is on an expedition.
Mistress Bianca: “Hmm. How quaint.”
Mistress Bianca hobbles off throughout the place using her staff more and more as she becomes sorer from the exertions, just wanting to find someone she knows.
There is a new sense of order and discipline that is outwardly expressed as you stroll through the compound. You think there may have been 30 or so men here prior to the arrival of the new Transit Guild men. Every once in a while you see a familiar face but none that you personally know.
Mistress Bianca asks the nearest person where she can find Bjorn Hightower.
After asking the question a few times and receiving conflicting or no informative answer, you find out that Bjorn Hightower and Meryl Dunestal left the docks by skiff. They left before dawn with a contingent of 4 other men.
Mistress Bianca: “I see.”
Mistress Bianca heads back to her room and gathers most of her good clothing and trinkets and stuffs them into laundry bags placing her dirty dress from the swamp swimming in the top of one. As she leaves her room she looks at the guard again and says: “Laundry day.”
Transit Guild Guard smiles at her, perhaps sharing in the knowledge of how delicate that can be in a compound full of men.
Mistress Bianca goes to the washing well and scopes out around to see who may be around that she recognizes, especially ones she thinks don’t hate her. She then begins to clean her dress so she doesn’t look odder than she does normally.
You find a group of woman working the clothes. Younger girls take clean clothing a few hundred yards to the west. There another pair of adult women hang them to dry in what could be seen as a vineyard; a vineyard of clothing. One of the women nods at you as she works.
Mistress Bianca does her laundry until everyone else seems to leave.
As you set up to work your laundry an old woman speaks.
Old woman doing laundry: “So, even you are affected by the … changes at the Compound, eh?”
Mistress Bianca: “Yeah, I was gone a few days and I come back and no longer feel welcome in my home.”
Mistress Bianca: “It is a shame this town does not have an inn.”
Old woman doing laundry: “Well, maybe it is for the best then. Although, now you’ll have to pay for our services, instead of using the Transit Guild’s coin. That arrangement has been ended. “
Mistress Bianca: “Can you…show me how to do this? I feel like I am lost right now. “
Old woman doing laundry licks her lips as if thinking how best to reply for a moment.
Mistress Bianca: “I have money… I just think it is about time I learn to do this myself.”
Old woman doing laundry: “Move your things over there. Then step on the other side of me, and do as I do.”
Mistress Bianca: “Thank you…Mrs. …”
Hours pass in the hard labor of sudsing and cleaning your clothes on stones that may have been cut over a thousand years ago. It is not easy labor but it is good labor. Your clothes are set to dry along with all the other clothing the women have gathered together. It is quite an operation.
Old woman doing laundry: “Your clothes will have to dry until just before dark.”
Mistress Bianca finds a spot to sit and reads one of her books until her eyes hurt from the dimming light.
Rikard and Darren, you are both downstairs in Darren’s house, enjoying a third bottle from the cellars.
Rikard Castleberry: “Like I was saying before, you really should go talk to Alma. He has a lot of pretty things that you probably would like around here. Like some spoon thing he was trying to sell me.”
Darren sets his feet up on a small end table and leans back into the chair. “I’ll have to do that sometime, perhaps you can introduce me?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Um, sure, if you like, but most people just stroll in and look around. I can tomorrow if you want. However, there is something I do have to attend to before it gets too late, if you prefer I can walk you up to the shop now, since I am going to head in that direction.”
Darren swirls the wine around in his glass and his thoughts stray a moment. “So, do you think Bianca will return to the Transit Guild today?”
Rikard Castleberry: “It’s possible, but she looked pretty steamed. I wouldn’t cross out any course of action from her at this point. “
Darren: “Well, in a minute, I thought we might chat a moment. I would like to discuss the meeting we had with Jorian.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Yes? “
Darren: “You and Bart really were playing with fire there and I’m not speaking of the spiders, at least not directly.”
Darren takes a small sip of his wine and appreciates its dryness.
Rikard Castleberry: “Perhaps, but I don’t have any particular side I play for, so I tend to not talk to anyone involved unless it’s their part. You’ll note that I didn’t tell anyone in the Transit Guild about what happened in the Leaf or Jorian about what we did for Meryl.”
Darren: “Well Rikard, I can appreciate that quality, however it is not necessarily what you say as what you…might do or have done that speak volumes about such allegiances.”
Rikard Castleberry: “I’ve never pretended to be an extra smart guy. What keeps me alive is my toughness, and my word. Everyone knows I don’t speak to others about what they ask me to do; it’s why I’m trusted by so many. “
Rikard Castleberry: “Jorian seemed off, but he had to know Bianca has family from the guild. She lives there!”
Darren: “Yes, an admirable quality, and Jorian did, in fact put trust in you. However, you allowed that trust to be tested.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Which you will note, we did not break. We docked at the guild, yes, but we didn’t tell them anything, or show them anything.”
Darren: “Though that may be true, you had full knowledge of what Jorian expected and said nothing when the mission began to become compromised.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Sure, but everyone becoming almost dead changes things a little bit, sometimes you just have to limp to the first house you come to. I have some history with that sort of thing.”
Darren: “Rikard, I can appreciate that friendship is important to you, but today is a dangerous day and tomorrow will be even more so. If you make an agreement with an Order official, it’s up to you to keep it. It becomes your responsibility.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Well, since we all undertook 2 responsibilities from 2 different people, how do you judge which bears more merit to do first?”
Darren: “The problem was that you took on a second objective which compromised the first.”
Rikard Castleberry: “I consider them exclusive, not against each other. Both of them were for different items, and neither learned anything about the other, until you told Jorian of the device. For all they knew at the guild, we didn’t have anything special in the skiff. We do all sorts of weird things.”
Darren: “Rikard, the moment you stepped foot into the Transit Guild walls after you spoke to Jorian and received the mission, you failed to do what he asked.”
Rikard Castleberry: “We’re just going to have to agree to disagree. I don’t see it as that concrete. If we go around worrying about what might happen if we look at the wrong person, or walk into the wrong house constantly, we will all end up with gray hair. And I like my hair.”
Darren: “Well I would like to tell you why I divulged everything to Jorian, I am sure it plays upon your mind.”
Darren takes another sip and smiles lightly at Rikard.
Rikard Castleberry: “Eh, if you want to. I’m not particularly bothered by it, one way or the other.”
Darren: “Well you should be. If I was not there you might have been taken from his office in chains.”
Rikard Castleberry: “I doubt it.”
Darren: “You see I do not have chit in my pocket as you three. You three are hero’s here, men and women of note. I have no such status.”
Darren: “Whatever could have happened to you three, it would have been much worse for me and my good name.”
Rikard Castleberry: “I wouldn’t know, to be honest. However, those that stand in the thick and thin will back each other up when the times are hard.”
Rikard Castleberry glances outside to check the sunlight.
Darren tries to assemble what Rikard said.
Darren: “It is good that you are willing to stand behind a friend; however care should be taken with dealing with those that serve in official capacities here. They have people to answer to as well and what you might consider as…nothing of importance might not be taken so by those of real status here in Kith’takharos.”
Darren: “Now, let’s not burn the sunlight any further shall we?”
Darren stands up and takes one last sip of the wine and sets the glass down gently
Rikard Castleberry heads out the door, leading Darren to The Last Stop.
Darren follows him closely.
Rikard Castleberry: “Now, Alma is a good friend of mine, so do be polite to him, please.”
Darren: “Rikard, now you know I am always on my best behavior.”
You leave the house glowing with the after effects of so much wine. You both feel good if not settled on the previous conversation.
Within a few steps you realize that the noise from the docks is gone. The work day is over. There is no sense in heading to The Last Stop, as it will be closed.
Darren: Well, perhaps on the morrow then?
Rikard Castleberry: “Yeah, tomorrow.”
The sun is setting.
Rikard Castleberry: “I will catch up with you later. I have somewhere to stop first.”
Darren: “Alright, I have a place to go as well.”
Darren smiles and heads off toward the Frond.
Rikard Castleberry walks towards the doc’s house, just past The Last Stop.
Darren makes his way across the city to the Sheltering Frond. The lamps are lit and the smell of good food emanates from all around as you near.
_Once inside you see the tables are almost full with officers from both the Jade Lead Order and Transit Guild. It looks like the moratorium on not leaving the Transit Guild Compound has been lifted. _ _Oddly enough you see Mistress Bianca leaning over the counter talking in her low gruff voice with Cylene. To your eyes it would appear as if they are negotiating something. _
Darren thinks to himself, “Well, this will be interesting”.
Darren steps in and claims a table. He hoped that she would be arriving soon
Mistress Bianca: “Share?”
Mistress Bianca: “I suppose that is alright. How much?”
Cylene: “My rate is compris. For the room, and three meals a day, laundry, etc., I will accept 5 gold.”
Darren catches the eye of a waitress and gestures with his hands and mouths the word “wine”
Mistress Bianca: “And if I must…Share?”
Cylene: “I will admit it is unlikely. But, should the need arise I will refund 1 of your gold.”
Mistress Bianca: “I suppose that is acceptable.”
Darren had been looking forward to tonight but he was not at all sure she would be able to make it tonight. He wanted to ask her about Port Lissup as he missed the city very much.
Cylene: “Then I will suppose to thank you for your decision.”
Cylene smiles at Bianca.
Mistress Bianca chuckles.
Mistress Bianca: “You are a hard woman Cylene.”
Darren watches as a glass is poured in front of him…“If you could leave the bottle and supply yet another glass?”
Darren smiled as he set a gold piece upon the small tray the woman held.
Sheltering Frond waitress: “I will do so. I will also ask about Lauralin for you.”
Darren nods appreciatively.
Mistress Bianca digs into her coin pouch and pulls out 10 gold coins and hands them to Cylene.
Cylene: “I am a woman none the less, similar perhaps to you.”
Cylene collects the gold and places it into a pink soft leather pouch at her waist. “Two weeks then. Here is a key. I will have you led to the room shortly.”
Mistress Bianca: “Thank you.”
Darren looks as if he studies the rich color of the wine but actually he uses his peripheral vision to see if anyone is paying a little too much attention to him.
Darren takes a small wedge of cheese, set sit upon a small piece of bread and consumes it slowly, enjoying the taste.
At that moment, a waitress walks over and asks Cylene if Lauralin left a message for Darren? Cylene nods and tells the waitress to tell Darren that she could not make it, try again next week at the same time.
Mistress Bianca cringes and forces herself not to look and ignore the comment.
An Elf with silver hair comes down the open banister stairs to greet Mistress Bianca.
Mistress Bianca greets the elf cordially and quite formally.
Elf: “My name is Kalloran. If you would follow me please.”
Mistress Bianca: “Lead on.”
*Kalloran turns and heads up the stairs leading you to the first room on the left at the top of the stairs.
Mistress Bianca: “Thank you Kalloran.”
Darren: Asks his waitress, “Perhaps some sharp cheese and soft bread to start if you please?”
Kalloran: “I am here most of the time. Should you require any special provisions please place the blue lacquered chit under the door so it sits in the hall. I’ll see it and inquire.”
Kalloran opens the door to your room with his own key, then he takes the time to show you about the simple room, bed, stand mirror, wash table, writing desk. You think to yourself if you had to share this room they would have to cram the other bed in and remove the stand mirror?
Mistress Bianca: “I will do so. Could my meal be brought here tonight?”
Kalloran: “Yes, I will see to it, Mistress Bianca.”
Mistress Bianca nods approvingly
Kalloran then turns and leaves, closing the door behind him.
You did not notice it while the room was open but soon after the door closed the humidity seems to disappear and you are much more comfortable. As if you were walking before the sun rose.
Mistress Bianca places her things out in the room and lies down with a book.
The blue chit is lying on the writing desk. There is a strange iron lever on the wall above the bed.
Mistress Bianca becomes more then curious and sets down her book to examine the lever, eventually pulling (or pushing) it.
There is a scraping noise and the pressure in the room changes slightly. The room grows more humid and hot when the lever is up. More cold and dry when pulled low. It is currently comfortable at a middle setting where it was.
Darren slowly alternates eating small pieces of cheese and bread with taking small sips of wine to get him in the mood for a meal
Sheltering Frond waitress moves over to Darren and tells him that she will try to meet him again in a week. Same time and place.
Darren nods and smiles "Well then, how about the stuffed fish, is it good tonight?”
Sheltering Frond waitress: “I’d recommend it with the lemon sauce, it is quite wonderful.”
Darren: “Very well and perhaps a sweet wine then.”
Sheltering Frond waitress: “As you desire.”
Darren pushes his glass and the bottle toward the center of the table
Mistress Bianca goes back to reading until her meal comes.
Darren and Mistress Bianca eat well in different parts of the Sheltering Frond. It grows late.
Darren stands up and waits for the waitress to take his coin for the meal, upon her approach he holds up a gold piece, and says "Please give the Lady Edarrion my compliments.”
Sheltering Frond waitress: “You are generous. Enjoy your walk home.”
Darren before she can take the coin, he gestures for her to wait…
Darren uses sleight of hand and makes the coin disappear
Darren smiles and gestures quickly pulling back from her ear, holding two coins before her!
Sheltering Frond waitress: stops short of taking the coin, a glint of irritation turns to an amusing smile. “Thank you!”
Darren smiles brightly, bows and exists toward home.
Rikard Castleberry meets with Dr. Cornelius Troost at last.
Rikard Castleberry: “Evening Doc, busy day?”
Cornelius Troost: “It was a long day. My daughter informed me of your visit earlier. What may I do for you?”
Rikard Castleberry: “I’m still quite banged up from the other day, particularly around the midsection. Can you take a look, see if there’s anything that can be done?”
Cornelius Troost examines you in a room designed for this sort of thing. After a few painful minutes he washes his hands and turns to you.
Cornelius Troost: “You will heal. This burn has not turned septic. I would advise keeping clean bandages and this burn salve I have for you. That is if you should be able to afford it? It is made of quite expensive ingredients.”
Rikard Castleberry: “I do have some money, and yes, I keep a large supply of general medicinal things as well, mostly for my own good. This line of work can be brutal sometimes.”
Cornelius Troost: “Alright, the fee will be ten gold and you should expect to see me over the next few days at this same time. I want to make sure that burn doesn’t go sour.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Any particular time of day? “
Cornelius Troost snaps, “This same time of day!”
Rikard Castleberry: “Very good. Well I won’t take up any more of your evening. Thank you for seeing me this late. I do appreciate it.”
Cornelius Troost nods and shows you to the door.
Rikard Castleberry takes his leave of the good doctor, leaving the coins on the table. As he walks out the door, he waves to Cornelius’s daughter, who giggles and runs around the corner.
Morning comes to each of you, though you are in different places.
Bart arrives back to town leaving the skiff a short distance away from where the longshoremen will be getting to work soon. Already there are barrels floating in the water.
Bart waves to the workers as he makes his way to Darren’s.
They wave at you and continue on with their work.
Bart arrives in short order at Darren’s house. The second story is hard to see through the mist that covers the land in the morning.
Bart walks in and yells “Good Morning”
Rikard Castleberry: “Mrhrhagrhag!”
Rikard Castleberry mumbles incoherently.
Bart enters the kitchen and starts cooking his fresh fish.
Darren sat up and held his aching head.
Bart takes some herbs and spices from his belt pouch to flavor the fish.
_The sounds of a Blood Scar raid finish removing whatever cobwebs were left in both Rikard’s and Darren’s head. What in the name of all that is holy could make so much noise in the kitchen? _
Darren gets up and buries his face in a cold basin of water that Gregor had set out earlier that morning.
Bart hums a swampman ditty he has learned.
Darren slowly began to get himself together and now wishes he had never invited ANYONE to his house.
Rikard Castleberry: “Bart? That you?”
Bart: “Yes, Breakfast is almost ready.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Ah excellent, you know how much I love food.”
Darren puts on some clean clothes and fixes his hair just so.
Bart: “Darren, Spicy or Not?”
Rikard Castleberry sits down at the table, rather stiffly, heavily bandaged.
Darren: “No fish for me, thank you!”
Bart sees that Rikard has clean bandages and nods with approval.
Darren brings his own hands up to his head as the sound of his own voice made him recoil.
Bart sits down at the table with plates for Rikard and himself.
Bart: “So what did you learn?”
Darren: “Tea and…Bread. Yes, that’s the ticket.”
Darren heads into the kitchen and places the kettle upon the fire.
Rikard Castleberry: “I spent all day yesterday wandering around. I found the absolute most bizarre non tavern ever.”
Bart: “What about Meryl?”
Rikard Castleberry: “I think Bianca was going to look into that. I did not investigate that part of town.”
Bart: “Is she still sleeping upstairs?”
Darren cut off a small chunk of day old bread and set some tea leaves in a small mug.
Rikard Castleberry: “I’m not sure she’s here.”
Darren: “No, Bianca stayed at the Frond last night.
Darren poured the hot water into the cup then came over with a small tray and sat down next to Bart and Rikard.
Darren: “Apparently the Transit guild is now moving about the town. I saw many in the Frond.”
Bart: “Oh, so how are we getting Meryl back in his position?”
Darren rips off a small piece of bread and sets it into his mouth.
Rikard Castleberry: “Kick down some doors, kill some people, the usual.”
Darren raised a brow to Rikard’s remarks.
Darren: “Well, I did learn a few things in the last few days, they may be important.”
Bart: “What’s that?”
Darren picks up his mug and takes a small sip, testing the heat of the tea with his lips.
Darren: “Well, for starters, I have learned that a skiff belonging to the Transit Guild was seen parked near the ruins recently.”
Bart: “Which ruins?”
Darren: “The Harlass Orn Ruins I believe.”
Bart: “Where the leaf has their expedition? “
Bart: “Figured they would be working together. But that started before this mess.”
Darren: “Also and even more troubling, it appears that the Jade Leaf have discovered a means to become invisible and plan on using such a boon against the Transit Guild very soon.”
Rikard Castleberry: “I only know of one man who had invisibility, and it didn’t end well last time.”
Bart: “We could probably use that to help get Meryl back in power. It might even be better than my plan.”
Rikard Castleberry: “It would work, if it can be proven.”
Darren: “I do not know Meryl, but I can tell this Hightower fellow is not good for Kith’takharos. I believe there is a motive to usurp the profits from the plant trade afoot here.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Naturally, it makes sense.”
Darren: “If that is true the Jade Leaf will do whatever it takes to not let that happen. You both need to be on the right side of this thing if any of this is true.”
Bart: “I don’t care about the politics. Meryl treated me right and that has value. We need Bianca.”
Rikard Castleberry: “From what I know about politics, there is no such thing as a right side. Everyone is wrong.”
Darren: “Well the politics may be the only way Meryl can be helped.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Maybe, but I have no skill on that field.”
Bart: “No, I got a plan. “
Darren: “I would very much like to hear it.”
Darren takes another sip from his mug.
Bart walks to the door with Darren’s fish leans down and whispers “Find Bianca.” He comes back fishless.