- 1 7th April
- 2 11th April
- 3 12th April
- 4 16th April
- 5 17th April
- 6 29th April
- 7 30th April
Winter Day -- Mozyr
Brec'han Le Bras
Captain Magdalena: "The captain says we make land in morning. Men like not the sailing."
Brec'han smiles. Men will like the plans.
Winter Evening -- Cobalt Gulf
As you go to bed, you spot a dark figure hiding in the shadows. No sooner have you drawn your sword and readied yourself for combat, as the infiltrator attacks. You can parry most of the attacks, but one gets through, wounding you. Fortunately, nearby guards arrive before your attacker can finish the job. The guards are unable to prevent the attacker's escape.
Kiran decided to pen a letter, he after all did have an interest at studying other nobles. They were interesting creatuers after all his background was that of a Mercenary and to survive information was power. There should have only been a handful of people that could attempt a strike against him in Duil and one was already eliminated due to the requirements set on them by the duties of a Cavalier, one other individual remained one that Kiran was well aware of from their previous Lurian Service, the now Margravine Peregrine.
He was jumped while returning to his chambers, though Kiran thought he could have a slightly mischievous play in regards to the situation.
Kiran began penning his letter
"Dear Margravine Peregrine,
I wonder if it was yourself that managed to breach the cordon of my quarters. After all it is understandable if a young lady growing further into adulthood might wish to observe unusual individual's that have received noble titles. Though I would suggest if you seek to observe individual retiring in their bedwear. That you do not hide yourself within the shadows, you could easily be mistaken for an Assassin or worse maybe a distort or deviant.
If you would be so kind as to announce yourself, should you wish to attend my quarters that would be preferable while a tussle of blades is interesting. There are many other interesting encounters, maybe you would be as so kind to show me round your estate and quarters in your region of the Outskirts of Eidulb.
While I could always visit it in a profession's context that would greatly displease the ladies of power in my life, though a visitation not in regards to business would be perfectly fine.
With humble blades,
Kiran Mir-Ashtan Earl of Nid Tek"
Kiran couldn't help but somewhat chuckle to himself. Maybe this was a jest to far but he wasn't to be restrained by noble etiquette as those other blue bloods were and it always interested him to see if his conduct made someone hot under the collar as he had the letter sent off by runner.
Winter Day -- Cobalt Gulf
Brec'han Le Bras
Brec'han looks at city of Mimer, amazed. So many buildings, so many peoples. All dresses, all colors.
"Quiet now" he makes warning. "We look. We report. We leave."
So many things for seeing, he thinks.
Winter Evening -- Ammando
William Fitz Roberts
The citizens of Poryatown were gathered in the square before the villa, awaiting the daily address from their lord as he held court. Many looked round as they heard shouting coming from the direction of the white citadel, where the prisoners were usually kept. A roar of excitement went up as they saw the cart upon which a noble woman was tied, beaten and broken. The citizens looked up as William and his family stood out upon the balcony and raised his arms
‘Behold, a traitor to Luria, caught in the act of attempted murder of our heroic vice-marshal’ Bellows of rage and hatred went up from the crowd as they began to pelt Bellatrix with mud and stones. She was dragged onto the gallows that stood in the centre of the square, usually used for punishing common murderers and rapists.
William nodded for the hangman to get on with it. Next to him stood his twin daughters, who had grown much in the last few years in Poryatown and were close to their mother in height. Manfred was also there, looking on in disapproval. William muttered under his breath, so only Anne could hear ‘I told you, I always get someone once I have decided they need to go’
‘Indeed you did husband’ Anne said smiling, then frowned as the rope around Bellatrix’s neck snapped. ‘Oh for goodness sake’ she snarled as the citizens of Poryatown surged forward. Under the traditions of the city, if the hangman’s rope snapped then the fate of the condemned belonged to the will of the people. Sometimes they were granted mercy. Most times, however, the citizens enacted their own method of punishment, with sticks and stones and fists and boots. William turned as he heard Manfred vomit. He grabbed the youth, pulling her close ‘tell me, how are you Antonia’s son?!’ he growled, before pushing the boy aside and walking back inside, flanked by his daughters. He trusted that his people would deal with the traitor.
He nodded at the master carpenter as he passed and stopped for a moment ‘good work with the rope’ he muttered, handing the man three gold coins. ‘Thank you m’lord’ the man bowed and scurried away
Winter Day -- Ammando
Mikael’s sword found his mark as the flat of the blade made contact with a peasant; he was having a hell of a time keeping the rabble at bay, looking at his formation he knew they would not be able to keep the press of peasants back much longer. The escorts lines where being jostled and pushed with the increase of numbers from the rabble.
“Countess, we must head back! It is not safe”
But Veronica had eyes only for the Gallows in front of the Villa. The gallows had been erected in the square at the front of the Villa and the mob of peasants kept surging into the square. She was brought back out of her daze when one of her Escort bumped into her, the rabble had forced him out of formation but it took him mere seconds to push back and finding his footing made some space between her and the mob.
“Countess! We must leave”
Veronica looked at Mikael, before scanning the square.
“There” she pointed.
The Escort shifted and started pushing towards a double story building with a balcony overlooking the square; the escort seemed to have enough of the rabble and was not kind in making those that did not wish to move regret their actions.
At the approach, Mikael pushed ahead and started banging on the door. “Open up in the name of the Countess Gardarr”
With no answer Mikael turned to some of his men. “Break it down” Two of his men stepped forward and started to bash at the door.
“Hold, hold I’ll open” a cry came from within. The bolts could be heard as they where slid open and as the door opened a crack Mikael pushed in and Veronica followed.
A scrawny man, a merchant by the looks of it was standing a few feet back wringing his hands, bobbing up and down.
“My apologies Countess, I did not hear, due to the noise, be welcome, be welcome” he gestured.
As Veronica’s Escort pushed in and secured the Merchants shop, Mikael tossed some gold coins on the floor and spoke “Show us the balcony” The Merchant eyes flicked to the gold lying on the floor before he quickly scooped them up and led the way. “It’s this way Countess, please if you will”
They followed the scrawny man up the stairs and through a sitting room leading to a balcony. Veronica’s escort took up some positions on the balcony as she stepped out to overlook the square, the merchant tried to join her but at a look from Mikael thought the better and retreated back into his shop.
It was chaos, while they had made their way to the balcony a cart had appeared carrying Bellatrix, she was disheveled, the dishonored dame looked like a wretch. Veronica’s eyes kept following the cart as a hush fell over the crowd. A voice echoed over the square.
‘Behold, a traitor to Luria, caught in the act of attempted murder of our heroic vice-marshal’
Veronica’s eyes left the cart as she looked at the man speaking; with arms outstretched the Imperial Magistrate was addressing the populous from the balcony of the White Citadel. If looks could kill Veronica’s gaze would have struck him down
At his words peasants went into frenzy and started throwing stones, rotten food and garbage at the prisoner. Soldiers wearing the livery of the Imperial magistrate took hold of the Dame and dragged her from the cart towards the gallows.
The noose was tightened and a hood placed over the dames head. “Not even any final words” Veronica muttered to herself.
As the hangman pulled the lever and the rope went taut, there was a loud crack as the rope snapped. Veronica’s hands went white as she gripped the railing.
Bellatrix was set upon by the mob, her body disappearing from view.
Veronica looked at Mikael. “If only our man had succeeded, poison would have been the most merciful way to end this fiasco. Any chance our man is still alive?”
“Let’s hope not Countess” he replied
The crowd was getting rowdy and a few stones took flight and scuffles were breaking out. “We better step into the parlour Countess, it might take some hours for order to be restored and we will be stuck here until then”
As Veronica retreated into the parlour she plopped down on nearby settee.
“I think I need a drink” a few minutes later she was sipping her wine with Belletrix execution playing over and over in her mind.
As Wassgandr gathered his men who retreated safely, a messenger delivered him a letter informing him of Bellatrix's death.
"About time we are done with that fool. I should send a letter to our dear Imperial Magistrate to find out what her final moment was like."
As Wassgandr grabbed his pen, Aelfmona, Wassgandr's new captain, entered his camp.
"We are ready to march again, milord. But some of our men are still limping so it may slow us down."
"Our enemies are as slow as we are if not slower. As long as we can reach Eidulb Outskirts at the same time, We should be fine. But we better start moving before the sun sets. I will have to ask William about Bellatrix some other time. Order the men to march toward south."
Aelfmona left after a short nod.
Winter Evening -- Cobalt Gulf
Septinia dropped her fur cap and gloves on the campaign table and let out a resigned sigh. It had been a tough morning, even the brief skirmish with the Westgardian vanguard doing little to lighten the mood.
"Morale amongst the company is grim Ma'am," she poured herself a generous cup of Alowcan brandy, the fiery liquor soon bringing a flush to her hoar-rimed cheeks.
"I had noticed," Ciarghuala was checking the shipping manifests for the gold and food secured from Ammando.
"Grim or not we need to leave today Captain. The Winter snows will soon pass and when they do we'll have Westgard's full strength to contend with."
"Are we not going overland with King Bennet then?"
"Not given the mutterings Septinia. Or do you think I don't have ears to ear?"
"It's true Your Highness," clearly it was going to be one of those conversations, "I've never known news from home to cause so much trouble."
"Aye, well, no one likes to think they're fighting for a less than honest cause," Ciarghuala set aside her papers and leant back in her chair.
She'd laid claim to the Customs House during the first landing, evicting the blustering Harbour Master and his staff with the flat of her sword and a few choice expletives she'd picked up during her youth in Niselur. The fat fool was her first encounter with what passed for a bureaucracy in Westgard though it certainly hadn't been the last. An ineffective and officious lot.
"Do you think the rumours are true?"
"Which ones? The rumours that Lady Bellatrix was Aeon Rosalind's top asset in Luria? Or the rumours that our Emperor sacrificed her to ensure his other assets in Westgard are secure?"
"I don't know. I mean, if she was a traitor she deserved a traitor's death..." Septinia bit her lip.
"But if she wasn't you worry at what kind of man we serve?" Ciarghuala finished the thought for her.
"That's not for me to ask Your Highness."
"At ease Tinia. We've saved each other's lives too many times to let formalities stand between us. You and the company want to know my opinion, correct?"
"Correct," the Captain seemed to deflate as she mumbled the word, eyes downcast in a most uncharacteristic manner.
"Our Emperor is a Great Man," Ciarghuala let out a long sigh, "and Great Men are prone to do things without a second thought which the rest of us could never bring ourselves to do."
There was a long silence, broken only by the pop and crackle of the hearth.
"So what do we do?"
"We take care never to place our lives between the Emperor and his goals."
"That's not a reassuring answer Ma'am."
"It wasn't intended to be. Now get the kit stowed Captain, we sail for Askileon with the tide. Command detail and heavy equipment only. I've booked separate passage for the rest of the company and our precious cargo," she rummaged through the papers on the desk, producing a list of ships and quay assignments.
"Yes Ma'am," Septinia snapped to attention, once more the efficient Imperial Officer.
Spring Evening -- Poryatu
Myr Arnickles Renodin
Captain Amparo took a sack of money and an earful of instructions from his lord as the latter climbed the swift sloop that was to take him over Euschean. Myr hoped that by the time he returned a regiment of men would await him, ready to march.
He himself set sail along with the paid for helmsman - a man boasted to cross Euschean in quarter the time of a usual ferry. Myr assumed there was little true to that statement, but upon seeing the shores of Grodno he gladly added a piece of gold to the pouch of silver he would hand the helmsman as payment.
True to the arrangements made with avian messages, ashore a proper steed awaited. The magnificent beast of a silvery-white coat looked cautious of the approaching knight and so Myr took a bit of time to calm the animal and let it get used to him. The clouds of steam shot out the equine nostrils slower and slower until - after half a dozen of minutes all told - the beast was completely relaxed. Before long the young noble coursed the shores, then plains upon his mount on the way towards the inland estates.
The Grodnian sun had curious habits. Not two hours ago the steam came with breath out of people's mouths and nostrils, now it vapours off the entire body as the droplets of sweat sizzle on the skin. A person less used to local climate could say something akin to "what are you doing, Sun?!". Someone else might say that indeed, but not Alya Renodin. No, Alya Renodin had a similar sentiment but directed it at a silhouette of a rider approaching from the horizon. "What are you doing?! Who the hell would face such a weather in a full plate armou... ah!" - she shot up from the parapet nearly falling through the window. She rushed down the corridors shouting: "Tyra, Waldred! Tyra! Quick!" The door to the bedroom let go like a dam during a flood and a wave bursting through it was the young lady Renodin, covering her eyes theatrically with her hand, stating hurriedly - "I see nothing! I see nothing. And whomever I don't see should quickly hide under the bed, for I need to have a word with the Countess."
She almost giggled at the imagined scene of a gentleman trying to make himself as thin as a sheet of vellum to fit under the bed. For whatever reason Countess at one point ordered for her beds to be arranged in such a fashion that they would never leave enough room beneath it to squeeze in even the thinnest of people.
Allowing one eye to peek through her fingers Alya exclaimed with a self-satisfied smile: "Tyra, be quick! We must set a trap."
Spring Evening -- Poryatu
Tyra Andrasta Bluelake
Whoever Alya didn't see was a chambermaid helping Tyra out of her bloodied armour. The Countess looked at her oldest ward with the most amused expression. "Should the chambermaid hide under the bed, Alya? Is that how we repay her for helping me after a bloody battle before sunrise?" Laughing at how the teen peeked between her fingers, she cracked her neck and put on a lighter chainmail over her tunic. "Alright, what are we trapping? You know Edelyn will want in on it."
Alya puffed up her chest, lowered her voice and started walking around the room stiffly in a form of parody, delivering a fiery speech:
"Why, the beast most foul, milady! A criminal! Guilty of years upon years of neglect for his friends and family. We must capture the fiendish creature and ensure he regrets his hellish misdeeds" - she raised her short training sword in a rallying motion and gasped for air from the uncomfortable pose and the low voice she was putting on, she immediately dropped the facade and continued normally:
"Myr came to visit."
William Fitz Roberts
Dealing with loose ends
In William’s study in Poryatown. Evening
‘oh for the sake of all that is sanity’ William through the letter from the queen across the room
She seemed to forget that it was only under him that Poryatown had become the great city it was. The state it had fallen into under previous lords was reprehensible and it was only through his hard work and investments that the walls were now shining white pillars of civilisation in the south and that the slums had been cleared and new districts developed. It was because of him that a new stables and hippodrome had been made to train the greatest cavalry in the known world, it was because of him that the new archery ranges and barracks had been created to accommodate the new recruits that he had so carefully selected, handpicking their arms and armour and choosing the drill books they would be following.
William turned to his captain
‘How many do we have in the dungeons beneath the white citadel as of now?’
‘How many were at the execution?’
‘I suspect all of them m’lord, most citizens were’
‘What are the worse of them?’
‘3 rapists, 2 arsonists, a murderer and a man who tried to sell his daughter to a Madinan merchant’
‘Good. We shall call those the ringleaders of the lynching that occurred. Have them boiled in the centre square in the morning’
‘m’lord, the traditional execution for rapists is castrate them and leave them to the pigs, I am not sure the families of the victims will be pleased…’
‘They will see some justice, will they not?!’ William snapped ‘You may go, and send in Fabrizio and my daughters’ the captain bowed and went about the Magistrate’s business
Shortly afterwards, Fabrizio walked in flanked by two towering figures. In the years at Poryatown, his daughters had grown to be the height of his cousin Antonia, broad shouldered, dirty blonde hair tied up out of their eyes. Both had the traditional schiavona of the family at their hips
‘My daughters, it is time you learnt what it takes to defend this family. In time, one of you will take up my mantle as head of this house, the other by her side as advisor and guide’
At this, both daughters perked up in interest. ‘What has happened father?’ Giesla asked, always the more inquisitive of the two
‘Some loose ends that need to be tied up, else they could threaten our existence. Let’s make a hypothetical scenario. Say a man or woman knew about a secret that could damage the family, what would you do to deal with them?’
Helga answered first. ‘Pay them off father’
Giesla rolled her eyes at that, and William smirked at her
‘Not what you would do, G?’
‘No, father, I would threaten them so they wouldn’t dare talk and spread the secret. I think Helga has spent too much time being influenced by uncle Leopold’
William smiled and chuckled at that. ‘Yes, my brother always seems to like the bribery and corruption route. Unfortunately, in this instance you are both wrong’
Both of the twins looked outraged, and began to protest, before William held up his hand for silence.
‘In the money option, we would only have some time before he got greedy and demanded more. We would be beholden to him for the rest of his days and he might be tempted by better offers. If we threaten him, he will only keep the secret so long as he fears us, and he might use it as a means of leverage to get rid of us. No, the only solution stands between the two of you’
The twins both looked down at the slight figure stood quietly beneath them. Understanding dawning, they both said quietly and together ‘murder’
‘Precisely’ William smiled, before addressing Fabrizio ‘there is a man and his family near the Harbour Fort. He is a carpenter. He must be silenced’
Fabrizio smiled ‘Harbour district has an awful lot of fires. And it is so easy for families to become trapped’
‘Spare me the details, I trust to your expertise’ Fabrizio bowed and hurriedly left the room. After he had gone, William invited the twins to sit
Now, to other business’ He said, pouring them all some wine ‘Helga, why have you been moping around the villa for the last week like a shepherdess who has lost all of her sheep’
Giesla grinned with mirth ‘because she likes Drake and she doesn’t know if he likes her back. She’s spent the last two months trying to give him all these hints, but he seems not to have notice, and she is worried he is being too nice to the other girls’
‘Giesla’ Helga yelled, giving her sister a pleading look, before turning to her father, worried what he might say
‘Do not worry yourself, daughter’ William grinned, pouring her another cup of wine ‘your mother was doing much the same to me when we were about your age. Love takes patience. Give it time and he will realise how astonishing you truly are’
‘But what about the other girls?’ Helga moaned in despair.
‘If he has half as much taste as you give him credit for, he won’t give them a second glance.’ William said, hoping that this has reassured his daughter. ‘Talking about other girls, Giesla next time you want to spend time with the cobbler’s daughter, just go out the front door, rather than crashing into the fountain beneath your balcony. You woke up the entire household’
This made Giesla spit out her wine and Helga burst out in laughter. William clapped his hands together. ‘Good, now you are smiling again. If you really are so longing for Drake, just talk to him. I get the impression that subtle hints won’t work on that boy. Now, both of you, to bed. Your own bed, tonight, please’ At that last comment Giesla looked sheepish before hurrying out of the room
Later that evening, as he sat out on his balcony, Anne by his side, William noticed a small glow beneath the harbour. He smiled, before closing his eyes and drifting off to sleep.
"You know he'll use this as an excuse to tidy up any lose ends, don't you" Em stirred two off-white granular cubes of sugar into her tea.
"Oh to be a fly on that wall," Ciarghuala tested the slice of battenburg on her bone china plate with the tines of an equally dainty cake fork, its unnatural pink fondant icing defying easy explanation, "I don't think he's going to be happy."
"Why? What have you been up to in Poryatown?"
The Queen deftly separated a corner square and trimmed the icing from it, "Lord William puffs and preens and schemes, dreaming of the favour he'll enjoy as the Emperor's creature. When he learns that a certain carpenter and his family no longer reside within his power it will remind him that he is but one small player in a much deadlier game."
William Fitz Roberts
TYING UP LOOSE ENDS PART 2
The carpenter and his wife hurried along the road into an inn in Poryatu.
‘It’s okay, we’ll be safe here’ the carpenter reassured his wife.
‘I wouldn’t be so sure about that’ came a voice from the shadows
Before anyone could scream, daggers had slid along the throats of the carpenter, his wife and his three children. Their work done, Fabrizio turned to his fellow Bravi
‘Time to go’ he muttered
‘Do you know how they were smuggled out of the city?’ Cosimo asked, cleaning his blade and picking up one of the bodies.
‘Aurelio said he had intelligence that the queen’s agents had been involved’ Ascanio muttered, heaving the body of the carpenter onto his shoulders
‘Damn her, this could start a turf war. We need Michelotto back here, not keeping an eye on bloody Franz’ Cosimo growled
‘shut up’ Fabrizio snarled at his companions ‘Hopefully this will teach the queen that we always catch our mark. If not, well, there is always more of us, even if she does send swords after us’
‘Don’t say things like that’ Ascanio said, dragging the bodies down the road towards the cart which had brought them to the inn. ‘Let’s just get these to the fire and have done’