Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jack's Tale

Saturday afternoon & evening, August 16, 1650


With the afternoon the sky grows increasingly overcast, with the wind rising to where it sways branches and small trees; the weather remains no less pleasant, however, and rain seems to avoid falling ... so except for some slight pressing of the wind while walking, you make fairly good time.
 
As you approach Oldenburg you pass more and more loaded carts filled with hay and seed, and sometimes with asparagus and kale.  Then when you reach Oldenburg itself, you find some sixty or seventy wagons standing and waiting outside the town gate, jamming up the road and parked upon either side.  It is about an hour before dusk, and by sending Emmanuel forth to enquire you find out that the guards are not allowing any normal traffic tonight into the town, as they are processing wagons entering after the harvest.
 
You have little choice but to bed down outside the walls for the night.  The sky remains overcast, but the wind lessens.  The smoke jumps around a fair bit that night, forcing the party to change seats again and again between keeping warm, but Jack is pleased to tell stories.
 
He tells the first about being a cabin boy out of Newcastle and shipping out to the Arctic, where he met the little people called halflings in a town called Archangel.  He then tells a story of how on his second voyage he sailed to India, where his ship was plundered and half the crew taken to a pirate cove Hajipur, sometimes called by the Portuguese pirates Diamond Harbour, in the Great Bengal Delta, where he was for four months until his ransom was paid.  Having made the acquaintance of a fakir called Lassafar, he and twelve others crossed through the hills of Odisha and onto the plains of Bihar, where he saw a great many amazing things about the people called Hindoos, and how they burned their dead on the shore of the Ganges, and how they believed in thousands of gods, and how free their women were with strangers, even sometimes being given by their husbands as sleeping companions to guests.
 
From Bihar he travelled up into the valley of the Teesta River, climbing thousands of feet to Darjeeling, where they make a marvelous kind of tea, and higher still into Sikkim, where the air became so thin he could not breathe, though the natives could run back and forth as though the air were as thick as by the sea.  Though he climbed many more feet above Gangtok, where the king of Sikkim met he and his companions, finally Jack could climb no higher, though he learned that there were still people who lived in villages which were as high as the mountains that soared up on every side.  He heard tell of yetis and rocs, though he never saw either, and he learned that over the passes was mystical Tibet and beyond that China, but he and his companions declined to go further.
 
Returning to England his ship was driven by a storm into the coast of Arabia, where it was driven upon rocks.  He was washed overboard near a place called Sayhut, and for days wandered along a desert shore between the great inland desert they call the Empty Quarter, before he was found by a sheik of Hadramaut, in whose country he was.  There he lived for three weeks before gathering provisions to reach Sayhut port, and during that time he lived with the sheik's daughter as though they were husband and wife.  In Sayhut he found his ship under repairs, and rejoined it.  To regain their lost cargo, the captain decided to enter the Red Sea to buy goods from Ethiopia, and it was there that Jack saw a place where lava bubbled up from beneath the sea in a region called Eritrea, so that the sea boiled.
 
He has been back now for three years in England, and has since found little interest in living any life but one upon the road.  He hopes again to sign with a ship, perhaps in another year's time, and see America, or perhaps Africa, for he has seen none of the south part of that continent save the cape where his ship rounded on its way to India.

142 comments:

Silvius Volundr said...

"Amazing travels, Mr. Buchanan. I too should like to see Africa one day. I seen drawings in books once. Seems a place of wonder. The south continent of the Americas holds my interest as well."

"Friends, once inside Oldenberg, what is it that we seek?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet is fascinated by Jack's stories and hangs on his every word. For the first time since the others have known him, he's not scowling or sneering -- prompting for more details, giving little shouts of surprise, or just staring open-mouthed.

Alexis said...

When he is done, and the conversation around the fire dies down, and the food has been eaten and people are thinking about, but not rushing towards, bed, Jack will ask about the satchel, and why it is heavy.

Andrej said...

(OOC: Like re-reading Marco Polo... especially the part about the hospitality of certain eastern men concerning their wives. Struck a chord with me for some reason... :) )

Andrej listens attentively, but makes pains to appear as if he is not. Being somewhat of a traveler himself he sees a kindred spirit in Jack... but by God the man has seen so much more of the world!

Andrej considers the more exotic places mentioned and wonders if as a self-professed missionary he would not be better suited to roaming further out in service to God.

Once inside Oldenburg I believe we want tents and can resupply as well. I'll take a look at the food stores and buy extra as necessary for the trip to Engelke. The town itself may offer some opportunity or distraction. Otherwise, perhaps we relax a day, enjoy an inn for tomorrow evening and set out early the following day. Given Alexis's hinted-at travel damage, such days of respite may become more necessary than before.

Andrej said...

Andrej does not address Jack's question right away. Seeking some sign from his companions, he shoots them each a glance as he is able.

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius shrugs at Andrej. It isn't as though we could answer him anyway.

Alexis said...

"Have I ... asked something I shouldn't?" Jack seems perplexed.

Silvius Volundr said...

"Fact o'the matter is that we don't know why it is heavy."


(OOC: it goes without saying that we keep an eye on jack at all times. The evening watch is alllll about keeping him from robbing us.)

Alexis said...

Jack will raise his eyebrows in confusion.

Andrej said...

"The bag is not our own, but belongs to an acquaintance. We know very little about it, aside from its intended destination. Would you care to have a look?"

Andrej lets the question hang there, asking his companions as much as he is Jack.

Alexis said...

"... well I've seen the bag," says Jack. "I saw it earlier when Friar Andrej moved it to gather food for dinner. And I saw it when Emmanuel pushed it under the sack over there. And I saw that it is locked. So I was curious."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet hrmphs, regarding Jack a little more suspiciously now.

"You say you've come from England?"

Alexis said...

He answers, "Why, yes."

Andrej said...

Andrej picks the satchel up and hands it to Jack. "What do you make of it? It appears to be empty, but it is heavy as if full. It radiates no magic. It is locked, but we have no key." Andrej is careful to observe Jack and his reaction to the satchel once he holds it.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet watches carefully as well, a hand draped near the dagger in his boot.

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius moves to toss a small branch onto the fire, resting on the balls of his feet. Should jack do something foolish, his catlike swiftness will come into play.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet says, "Just that you're the second English we've met this week... a strange coincidence."

Alexis said...

Jack will take the bag, weigh it at arm's length without drawing it towards him, and put it down on the ground (he is sitting next to the fire as he does this).

"No need to be tense, friend Silvius. And you won't need that dagger, bayefendi. I have no interest in robbing you - it is only clear that something is amiss, and I have a tendency to take note of details. If this concerns you about me, I hasten to reassure; and if you will not be reassured, I shall be happy to be on my way and bring you no trouble. As you can see, I am unarmed."

Andrej said...

"I suspect that were your intention to rob us, Jack, you would not have made such plan mention of the bag. You strike me as more clever than that. I believe you and that's why you're holding the bag. If we seem inhospitable, it is only that we are tense and unsure. Please, take no offense... you are still welcome among us until you prove otherwise. What can you tell us of the bag?"

Andrej said...

should read: "plain mention of the bag" as opposed to "plan mention"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet hmphs. "A spellcaster is never without a weapon." Then listens for Jack's response.

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius smiles at Jack and let's his shoulders relax, but he remains in the same position, quietly reassuring himself that if Jack gets squirly, he is eating a flying hammer.

Alexis said...

At the moment Jack isn't holding the bag. He has put it on the ground and left it there.

"None should trust a stranger," he will say to Ahmet. "You're right not to trust me. But if you are carrying this for a friend, and if you do not know what is in it, why do you altogether act as though it will bring ill? Did your friend tell you to beware of thieves? Did your friend give warning that they would be English thieves?" Again, he looks at Ahmet. "If your friend did not tell you what was in the bag, and did not want you to know, should I risk exposing your friend by making a guess? Would you consider me a friend if I betray a friend you already have?"

Andrej said...

"Our 'friend' was an acquaintance. He is also dead. Killed possibly for the very satchel you hold in your hands. He gave us no indication what he carried, other then to obliquely say that it was precious, hard to come by and not cherished when acquired. I'd consider any possible light that you could shine upon the nature of the bag or its contents to be a most friendly gesture. I'm sure my companions agree."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet looks very confused at Jack's words. "If... I... uh... friend..." his voice trails off and he eagerly allows Andrej to step into the breach, then nods at the half-orc's words.

Alexis said...

"Why do you not simply cut open the bag?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet looks quite pleased. A smart person suggested what he suggested, ergo, he is smart too!

But then he remembers what Andrej said, and frowns. "But that would be obvious to the person we are bringing the back to."

Andrej said...

Andrej shoots Ahmet a look as if to say "I know, I know, I know"

"We had considered that, but put it off for the time being. It may have some value to those receiving it should it arrive intact. Should it not, it may have less or no value. I must admit, we don't even know ourselves. Short of cutting it open, is there anything you could tell or guess about the bag?"

Ahmet said...

Grumble. "But that would be obvious to the person we are bringing the bag to."

Alexis said...

Pointedly ignoring Andrej's question, asked again, Jack asks in return, "Who are you bringing it to, that your seeing the contents would matter to?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet takes a shot in the dark. "Know you of Crocus?"

Silvius Volundr said...

"They may understand that we 'found it'that way. I say we open this thing."

Alexis said...

"The flower? Yes, it blooms in May. Or June sometimes."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet hrms. "Or perhaps... Clocus? Clovis?" He looks at Andrej for assistance.

Silvius Volundr said...

"Twas The Clocus. A Spanish ship, Ahmet."

Alexis said...

Jack looks even more confused. "One is a 6th century Frankish king and the other is a mythological beast in the Caribbean. Which could you possibly mean?"

Andrej said...

"You know all that we know save the assumed location of those receiving it, Jack. In short, a man was to hire us to escort him and we assume this satchel. He was to pay us a nice sum of coin in exchange for our discretion, specifically avoiding the city of Bremen. He missed the arranged rendezvous time so we assumed the deal was not to be. Last evening, as we made camp upon the road before crossing the Weser we saw the man attacked by a thief. He was clutching this satchel as he died, the thief we never found. Upon his person we found also a key and what appears to be an address. On the following day we found you upon the road. The rest you know."

Andrej said...

"The mythical beast."

Ahmet said...

"The King of..." Ahmet falters, tries again. "The Seal King, was it?"

Alexis said...

"Forgive me," answers Jack, no less perplexed than before. "If you bring something to a person you do not know, from a person who was murdered for the object, how can you know if you are perhaps aiding an enemy or a friend? If the satchel contains something the state would sanction, you do right, but if the satchel contains something the state would not sanction, you are as like to be hung as not, whether you are in the know of it or not."

Andrej said...

"Aye Silvius, I'm coming to regard the bag in much the same way. Let us cut the damnable thing open, then, if there's no objection."

Ahmet said...

"Remember the man's description, 'not cherished when acquired,' or some such... Perhaps it is a curse we will be stuck with!"

Andrej said...

Further nodding at Jack's words, Andrej gathers up the satchel and offers it to Ahmet.

"I was going to wait until we were settled in Oldenburg before we discussed this, but as the matter is now upon us... if you prefer, friend, I'll cut it open myself but I'll require the use of your dagger."

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius slides a dagger from its sheath and passes it to the cleric.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet scowls, apparently taking Andrej's comment as some sort of challenge to his manhood. When Silvius passes over his dagger, Ahmet snatches the satchel away before the cleric can do any slicing. It was his idea, after all!

Ahmet said...

Ahmet places the bag on a flat patch of ground with good light from the fire and draws his dagger from his sheath.

He puts one foot on the bag to hold it down, and with his left hand pulls up the handle, making it as taut as possible so the dagger in his right hand can slide in cleanly.

Before he begins, though, he looks at Nine-toes. "Didn't you say you could sense if something was cursed?"

Andrej said...

Andrej bows and offers Ahmet the dagger from Silvius, "I do not question your bravery, friend." then takes a step back (and closer to Jack) to give the burly fighter room to operate.

Andrej said...

Andrej hands the dagger back to Silvius.

Alexis said...

Nine-toes would be able to sense it, once he tried. We haven't seen him today, so I'll just jump in and say he can sense no curse here.

Silvius Volundr said...

(OOC: are we releasing the Black Plague?)

Ahmet said...

With Nine-toes's assent, Ahmet places the dagger against the top of the bag. Just to be sure, he gives that area a squeeze to check, as best he can, that there's nothing up there that will be cut by his dagger.

Once satisfied, he plunges the dagger into the leather and begins cutting, making a slit about the width of his hand.

Andrej said...

(OOC: If so, by the 17th century it won't be the first time. I suspect something rather less... imapcting)

Alexis said...

It is night, but the quarter moon, a little gibbous, has risen ... so Ahmet between the moon and the firelight sees the glisten of silver, flat and wide, with an edge, through the open flap.

Ahmet said...

"A blade -- I think," Ahmet says.

As always more brave than wise, he reaches in with his hand to draw it out, careful not to seize it by the edge.

Alexis said...

It is as heavy as a sword, though it is two inches in diameter, one inch thick, and seven inches long. And made, apparently, of pure silver.

It is engraved, but it is difficult to make it out in this light.

Andrej said...

a 2 inch by 1 inch by 7 inch... blade? Is it straight?

Alexis said...

It is a silver bar. An ingot.

Ahmet said...

Holding the bar and the dagger together in his left hand, Ahmet reaches into the bag again with his right to see if there's anything else inside.

Alexis said...

There are three other bars, and nothing else. You would estimate them as weighing about five pounds each.

Andrej said...

"A lb. of silver is worth about 16 g.p. in Cuxhaven. If this is 6 lbs. of silver, then this would be worth just under 100 g.p. less than half what Victor would have paid us to transport it... is there anything else in the bag? Bring it closer to the fire, let us see the inscription (a sea lion?)"

Andrej said...

Correction, just under 300 g.p. total for all three, retail value.

and the engraving, can we make it out with better light?

Andrej said...

And I'm assuming silver the metal, not the color. This could be anything... mithril? adamantite?

Ahmet said...

(OOC: I think there are four bars, not three... the first one and three others.)

Ahmet passes the first bar to Andrej. He leaves the other three(?) in the bag for now, and the bag in his lap, and the dagger in his right hand.

Alexis said...

It is, in fact, an image of a sea lion, more ornate, better done, but essentially the same image you saw on the post of the barn south of Cuxhaven.

Jack is amazed.

"The mark of Amacuro," he will call it.

Andrej said...

"Jack, please elaborate... who is Amacuro and what do you think these bars to be?" Andrej will hand his bar over to Jack if the vagabond will take it.

Alexis said...

There are four bars, as Ahmet says. The one he took out, and the other three in the bag. It is almost certainly silver.

(OOC: I confess to being a little surprised about the value of silver, guessing these myself at 250 gold each; but I remind myself I am used to Eastern European prices. Nonetheless, it changes nothing about where they come from)

Nine-toes said...

(OOC - sorry, work is a hastle today. Quite the exciting read, though)

"300 gp is likely enough of a sum to merit murder in the mind of the thief, but the man must have had some other purpose in wanting us to keep him safe."

(OOC - have we asked Jack if he recognizes the symbol we saw in the barn?)

Alexis said...

"Amacuro is a name for the bay into which the Orinoco River flows in Venezuela. More importantly, it is the name a league of Spanish pirates adopted almost a century ago - created by the pirate captain Ruiz, so they say, who destroyed the very Clocus you mentioned a few minutes ago - a reference that makes sense now bayefendi, having seen this."

Alexis said...

He pauses before going on. "This symbol is that of the Amacuro Pirates. Why it should be here in this bag, and marked on silver, escapes me. I would think it was payment of some kind, either from them or intended for them - but why here? What -" And then he stops.

"There is an ongoing war between France and Spain," he says.

Andrej said...

"What significance does the symbol have today, and upon these ingots? I thought pirates stole such wealth and did not manufacture it."

Silvius Volundr said...

"Pirates? Men, it would trouble me not one bit to shave that emblem from them bars, and call it the price for keeping one's throat inspiring."

Andrej said...

Andrej allows Jack to continue, saving any questions for when the man has seemed to exhaust the information or conjectures he's willing to share.

Alexis said...

"Pirates sometimes work as mercenaries," says Jack.

Nine-toes said...

"Perhaps the ingots themselves are evidence of some conspiracy or plot, and have a value beyond gold to whomever waits for them. Would now that I were other than Ninetoes the addlepated and I might be able to reason it out for myself. Or we may lack the evidence yet to make a connection."

Alexis said...

Jack will add, "Spain may be paying them for work done, or work asked for, against the French."

Nine-toes said...

"Jack, would it profit anyone to make a connection between the Spanish and the pirates? Would anyone seek to suppress the information, or would it cause scandal to any should these ingots be found by the right men?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet extends a hand to Jack, motioning for the bar to be returned.

"Perhaps it would be best to secure these bars in a less... obvious location."

He looks back at Jack. "So you claim no affiliation to these Crocusmen? Who are they, and what role do they play in the war between Spain and France?"

Andrej said...

"This explains Victor's desire to avoid a city held by Sweden, France's ally in the war. I wonder what role England or Ireland play here? Was Victor simply an adventurer such as ourselves, or did he represent greater powers from across the channel, now embroiled in matters?"

Alexis said...

"Profit anyone? That hadn't occurred to me. Well, every state cooperates with pirates ... but I suppose the Spanish would rather not give the French proof they could use to rouse the anger of the Dutch or the English. A lot of Dutch and English ships have been plundered by Amacuro Pirates."

Jack returns the bar to Ahmet without hesitation. "I would not want to be caught with that."

"What do you mean, 'affiliation?'"

Alexis said...

Jack reacts sharply to one word Andrej uses. "Ireland?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet puts all the bars back into the satchel for now.

Andrej said...

"Victor was Irish, we believe. I have no experience with the Irish. He had an accent not unlike the English to Silvius's ear, but slightly askew. He also carried Irish coins as well as those of the Empire." Andrej offers one of said coins to Jack.

Ahmet said...

"Affiliation," Ahmet repeats, softly, second-guessing himself. He likes using big words, but sometimes he uses the wrong ones.

"I mean to say are you a Crocusman yourself, sir, or are you against them? For that matter, do you believe the bearer of this satchel to be a worshipper of the Crocus, or an enemy?"

Alexis said...

Jack disdains to touch the coin. Nor does he have any idea what Ahmet is talking about. He moves graciously so that Andrej is between him and the Turk.

"If Victor was Irish than he was without question working for the Spanish. For a century now Spanish weaponeers have been supplying Irish rebels. No doubt this Victor was the go-between the Amacuro captains and whomever provided - or wants - the bars."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet grunts softly, still more than a little confused about how the Crocus fits into all this, but letting it drop for now.

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius listens in to the theories, his head spinning.

"Right. So let me get this straight. Pirates are profitting by carrying out fell deeds for Spain against France. We stumble upon an agent, Irish or English, brokering this deal and end up with his loot."

"Let us fence it and spend it. I need a roof and an ale."

Silvius Volundr said...

(OOC: this is awesome, Alexis.)

Nine-toes said...

"Ahmet is right, we need to secure these somewhere safe. It would go ill for us if we were caught with them. We should try to get them to the contact and be rid or them, or report this to the authorities."

Alexis said...

Jack points at the bars in Ahmet's possession. "Do anything with those at your peril," he says. "If the silver is wanted by the pirates, they will do what they will to recover it. And if it is what the pirates have paid to others, then it will be worse for you, for they will not be greedy, but wrathful."

Andrej said...

"Aye, Silvius. The question before us: to be satchel carriers for Spain, spend this loot or leave it by the roadside to no longer trouble us. I'd think that melting it down and refashioning it would be wiser than fencing it, though. Perhaps there is a smith or smelter in Oldenburg whose shop could be used by a practiced hand for a few coins expense." Andrej means that Silvius could be the practiced hand, and makes this obvious.

Ahmet said...

"Authorities... which authorities? France? Spain? Bremen?"

Ahmet shakes his head.

"And let's not forget, Victor's murderer is still on the road somewhere, and no doubt seeking this bag."

Andrej said...

"Ahmet has the right of it. Which lion do we turn to for succor and which lion do we then anger? But as to Victor's murderer, it could be that he was simply a mugger upon an isolated stretch of road. Indeed, the killer may have had no better idea what was locked in the satchel than we did before this moment."

Andrej said...

"Jack, one more thing. There is a monogram upon the satchel lock. Have a look. Does it hold any significance for you?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet passes the bag over.

Alexis said...

"E.H.S.? It means nothing to me."

Silvius Volundr said...

"We could borrow a smithy's shop one eve. I could have these here bars looking like nuggets in no time at all."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet takes the bag back.

"Perhaps we should bury the bag and hide the silver."

Silvius Volundr said...

"Bury it! Not a chance, Ahmet!"

Alexis said...

(OOC: Well, I must desert you and step away. I'll have a little time tomorrow, but probably not much, so prepare for a bit of a break.)

Ahmet said...

Ahmet smirks. "Just the bag... not the silver."

Andrej said...

"I would have no qualms delivering the silver to the address and hopefully collecting the reward offered by Victor. I have no love of France and Spain has ever been a stalwart Catholic nation."

Silvius Volundr said...

"Tis a good thought Brother Andrej. It does leave us at the mercy of the man or men what killed Victor, however.

But if you think it best, let us deliver the silver for Victor."

Andrej said...

"I suspect that if that man or men exist they are our enemies regardless of what we now do. As for their mercy... let us just say that the only mercy I have interest in is not an earthly one. For those that would see us harmed I have an earthly response." Andrej rubs the head of his mace at this last, a dangerous gleam in his vaguely orcan eye.

Nine-toes said...

"I leave it to Andrej to choose between the Scylla or Charybdis, but let us rid ourselves of the silver with haste."

Silvius Volundr said...

Vaguely recalling some biblical passages about "holy retribution", Silvius shoots Andrej a wary glance.

"Any ideas who we take this loot to?" He asks those around him.

Ahmet said...

"The paper," Ahmet says, "had an address, we think. Of course, it might not be the address to where Victor was to bring the silver, but I don't know where else we could go."

Nine-toes said...

(OOC I've been getting dumped on at work for the last several days. I'll check in sporadicly)

Alexis said...

(OOC: intermittently with me, Nine-toes; all I ask is a word)

Jack seems lost in thought. He stares hard at the fire without speaking.

Emmanuel, on the other hand, stands and asks earnestly of Andrej, "Master, is it not true that France is a catholic nation also? And do I hear right, that you are saying we should help pirates, merely because we happen to have their gold? For Master, we are talking of men who murder without thought, who are themselves godless and who bring only woe to people such as I. They're only brigands upon the sea ... and master, you have heard me rail about Noblemen who crush the life out of peasants - brigands are the worst alternative."

Nine-toes said...

"What would you have us do, Emmanuel? We are caught between the devil and the sea. Even if we bury the ingots, someone may question the ferryman, who will know we buried a recently deceased body, and who could point the way that we went. Two of us were known in Cuxhaven. Our trail will not be hard to find."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet barks out a strange word which is undoubtedly a cuss.

"As I said, which side do we trust with our lives? We don't even know who Victor was working for. No doubt they will think we murdered him -- or even if they believe our story, that we know too much to be allowed to leave."

He pauses a moment, listening to Nine-toes's words. Then he shrugs.

"And you seem to forget whoever murdered Victor is likely still on our tail as well. Still -- the safest course is to bury the silver and continue on our journey. Insha'Allah, we will return some day and, if it is still here, reclaim it."

Alexis said...

To Nine-toes Emmanuel says, "I would have you do nothing, sir, wise man sir, but can we aid people who only hurt others?"

Slowly, Jack will say, "I, for one, would like to know more. What do we know, truly? That the silver happens to have a sign of Spanish pirates. Everything else is conjecture." He stops, and shrugs. "It matters not to me; I seek a good meal. It is not my silver, and I leave you to the troubles that it brings. But if you bury it, let no one see it, and be sure there is not now one in the dark looking at it while we speak."

Nine-toes said...

"I took no offense, Emmanuel, I sincerely wish for counsel. I feel adrift amidst too many uncertainties."

"Lads, it seems the choice is bury it or deliver it to what we presume is an address. I, too, would like to know more, though the knowing may put our fat in the fire. Let's have our say and let the majority decide, until Adrej speaks and I shall undoubtedly change my mind once again. I swear I will need to wrap a wet towel round my head once this business is concluded."

Silvius Volundr said...

"I say we melt it down and sell it off, still."

Andrej said...

Andrej snorts at Emanuel's characterization of France as a "Catholic" nation.

His worldview being a simple one, Andrej sees only that France aided the Protestants in what was a war about religion and God to him. Whatever others may think about the political, strategic and commercial considerations that motivated the participants, Andrej sees only that a so-called Catholic nation stood against the Catholic world, making France at a minimum very suspect in his estimation.

But Emanuel's argument is not entirely without merit. The thought of ultimately aiding pirates does not sit well with Andrej.

...Upon Jack's words regarding being peered at from the dark, Andrej walks about camp scanning the area with his infravision as he speaks...

"One small detail continues to trouble me about the whole matter. Victor promised Silvius 50 gold up front and much more upon delivery, but was himself without a single gold coin when he showed up dead on the road. It's the up-front part that's not adding up for me. That the amount of promised gold also seems out of proportion to what the satchel contains troubles me more. Calculated risks I do not mind. I'm not sure how to calculate this one."

Pacing a bit, brow furrowed

"Melt them down or bury them, it matters not to me. But we should be rid of the satchel, the address and 'this', I say." Andrej takes the key and chain out from under his hauberk and tosses it to Silvius.

"Who takes the first watch?"

Nine-toes said...

"I will take first watch."

"Perhaps we should rest and then decide."

Andrej said...

"Aye, Nine-Toes. Wake me when the moon has set. I will stand the watch when the night is darkest."

"If we keep the silver bars we should each hide one upon our person before we enter Oldenburg. Once we make it to Engelke and upon learning what we can of LeBeau's boatswain, we should consider the purchase of a scroll for the removal of curses should we next go to France. Perhaps we will pay for it in silver."

Nine-toes said...

"And perhaps an extra scroll, to remove the curse Victor and his silver may have set upon us."

Andrej said...

(OOC: I'm truly good either way regarding burying the silver or melting it down if you guys (Ahmet- bury it/ Silvius- melt it) have strong feelings. If I need to vote and break the tie, I'd say melt it.)

Nine-toes said...

(OOC - Melt it is.)

Andrej said...

Of course, now that I consider it... what reputable metal worker in Oldenburg would allow strangers to rent out his shop, no questions asked, then possibly see us sell off silver ingots? How could we possibly find a disreputable one without calling attention to ourselves?

Silvius Volundr said...

(Ooc: guys, I am buried for the next 3 hours .I will go along with the majority.)

Andrej said...

I say we decide not to decide. That is, hide them on our persons and just get into Oldenburg for now, move the game forward and see what we see on the other side of the wall.

Nine-toes said...

Ninetoes hides a bar on his person, then starts watch, after eating, repairing gear, etc.

Ahmet said...

"I think it is unwise to carry this silver with us. If just one of us is searched for any reason..."

Ahmet said...

But, seeing he is outvoted, Ahmet sighs, finds a way to attach a five-pound bar of silver to his body in an innocuous place ("is that a bar of silver in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"), and then goes to sleep before it's his turn to take watch.

Andrej said...

It's possible the symbol on the ingot might mean something to somebody, but I'd bet it more likely that it won't. That's actually why I'm leaning more toward just recommending to you guys that we simply sell them as-is, though I think melting them down was originally my idea.

Also, Andrej has traveled through a dozen or more towns and cities in Alexis's campaign and I don't recall the party ever having been searched upon entering the gates.

Ahmet said...

Assuming nothing untoward happens during the night (and Ahmet keeps a wary eye on Jack whenever possible), it's on to Oldenburg!

Alexis said...

It will be very late at night by the time the party gets to sleep at last. Throughout the night, the carts and contents are examined and accounted for and allowed in one by one. When you wake in the morning, after watches, you hear scuttlebutt from other camps of persons also waiting outside the walls that this search was merely to reduce the importation of disease and insect infestation into the city, a problem that arises every autumn.

(OOC: I will not be able to start the next post until late tomorrow morning...but the campaign seems to be moving on fairly well, even with our mutual troubles)

Nine-toes said...

(OOC - Life happens. Things should slow down for me again after this month.)

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, watching the slow goings as the carts are processed, turns to the cleric.

"Are you sure we're not going to be searched, Brother Andrej? Jack's stories have me hungry to visit new places, but the inside of the Oldenburg Prison is not one of them."

Silvius Volundr said...

Alexis, would Silvius have the ability to, say, forge a silver scimitar of he had the right equipment? I am starting to think that we could yarns good lycanthrope weapon.

Andrej said...

"There is no certainty in life save for what God Himself deems certain, Ahmet... but yes, I'm certain. Even if we are searched, what of it? We carry silver ingots. We also carry silver coins and more than a little gold. What does some guard at the gate know or care about what treasure we carry? I'd lose the satchel, though." Andrej winks.

Andrej packs his silver bar at the bottom of his backpack, beneath all other items and makes ready to enter Oldenburg.

Nine-toes said...

"Come, Ahmet, Elder Brother hasn't steered us wrong so far, has he?"

Andrej said...

"See, the monk is untroubled. I say we get into town and find an inn to put up the horses and cart for the day. We should purchase whatever supplies we need for the remainder of the journey... perhaps a large tent and some food for the party, and then whatever else we may need individually."

Andrej looks about, being careful not to speak too loudly, "As for the ingots, I say we simply sell them. If we endeavor to melt them down I fear we'll cal more attention to ourselves than not. we are strangers here. Not all four of us should be present at the sale, but one of us. Not Ahmet nor I as we would be memorable I suspect. Silvius, perhaps, though not in his usual attire and perhaps Emmanuel too, acting as his servant. They should make some mention of traveling to Munich and wanting coins for the trip when the ingots are sold. We should leave for Engelke early tomorrow morning. Thoughts?"

Nine-toes said...

"Can we scrape the identifying marks off them somehow?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet nods to the monk's question. "You seem unconcerned with the symbols on the bars," he asks Andrej. "Are you sure it will go unrecognized?"

He then picks up the satchel, tucks it under one arm, and hoists his pick in the other hand, preparing to be a one-man burial detail.

"Anything else you'd care to throw into a hole while I'm at it?" he asks the other three. The Turk's eyes flick to Jack, and then back away again.

Alexis said...

Silvius,

Silver would be out of your realm, as it requires delicacy and the art of applying that metal to iron; it would require your being a silversmith.

Nine-toes,

The engraving is too deep to be scratched off.

All,

There are generally so many opinions flying around I'm getting confused.

1) I presumed you were entering Oldenburg; you see others packing up and entering the town without being searched, so there seems no reason to worry about that. The guards were only searching the heaped produce going in.

2) Are you burying something or not? I thought you weren't, but now Ahmet is talking 'burial detail.'

Silvius Volundr said...

Let's enter Oldenberg and ONLY bury the satchel...not the silver.

Andrej said...

Concur: Bury satchel, enter Oldenburg, seek out an inn. Then we decide if we try to move the silver here or keep it. Head to market either way.

Nine-toes said...

Also concur with Silvius

Ahmet said...

Ahmet asks Silvius and Loki to search the perimeter to make sure no one is watching them.

Then he removes the half-burned logs and other debris from last night's fire. He digs a hole in the center of the fire circle, dumps the satchel in the hole, fills it in, covers it as best he can with the ash, and then covers that with the half-burned logs.

Alexis said...

Thank you. This is continued on the next post.