Monday, January 14, 2013

Christmas Eve in Discomfort

December 24, 1650, Wednesday afternoon
Weather: frosty all day; with a light breeze and intermittent flakes

Surprisingly, it hasn't gotten any colder ... except that it no longer becomes warmer during the daylight hours.  Over the last twenty days, there has been only one without any precipitation ... but there is still the occasional drizzle, one day in 3, in the afternoon.   It is not enough to melt the snow, and its presence is just numbing in the extreme.  But making a check for the entire party, and still exempting the possibility of damage for travel (which I took up working on again this last weekend, but you're still free from that nightmare), the party remains entirely healthy.

There's been no movement at all from the ground since the arrival of the goods twenty days ago.  Lazaro has re-emerged from his hut, but he continues to be in a sour mood.  The party spends most of their days trying to keep warm, but the reading lesson continues as best it can.

Christmas is approaching, and on the Eve, a single man approaches the bottom of the waterfall and the guard responsible rings a bell, summoning the camp.

A basket is sent down.  It comes up again, virtually empty, except that it contains a small letter.  It is looked at by Lazaro, who hands it to Andrej to read ... who opens it (presumably) as it is addressed to him.  After  a brief glance, in which he can read some of the letter, he passes it along to Lukas or Maximillian, who can read it out loud.

"To His Archdeacon Father Andrej of Cumana ... we have received your request for 2,000 pieces of gold to ransom you and your companions from the Epirot Bandit Hadji Lazaro of Tyrol, examining the matter closely and addressing the circumstances within and withal the matters pertaining to, and we have resolved upon the method of disseminating a security which will, in substance, provide for you the means of eschewal that the church rightly sees as the only possible result in this circumstance.  Please act in whatever means you see appropriate,

May God Be With You,

Father Ranko Stipanov, Prefect of the Fourth District of Fiume,
Director of the Croat Bank of Fiume
Writing on behalf of the Cardinal of Fiume, his holiness Zrinko Ivanec the VI

"What is the answer?" asks Lazaro.


Andrej said...

Andrej shrugs with some distress, in confusion "I do not know. Are you sure that you read the letter correctly? It sounds like a lawyer vomited. No offense to your father, Sofia."

Andrej freely hands the note to Lazaro or one of his men.

"Disseminating a security... provide the means for eschewal... act in whatever means I see appropriate? I can't tell if we've just been blown off or assured of a ransom."

After a pause for consideration...

"Did your man receive any further word from the bearer of this note, Lazaro?"

Alexis said...

Upon looking at the note, Lazaro smiles.

"You are free to go!" he says. "The Father has explained that the coin has been passed forward to my bank."

He rubs the letter, showing that there are a few hidden icons along the edge that Andrej would not have seen. "These show where the money is."

Hadji Lazaro laughs and embraces Andrej. "MY FRIEND!" he shouts. "BUON NATALE!"

Lukas said...

"I assume that means you are glad not to have to kill us. I am glad we part on our own feet as well."

Andrej said...

"Buon Natale indeed. Would you suffer our company a few days more, my friend, as we plan and prepare our route? I greatly desire your opinion on the matter of travel this time of year. While we need to be in Fiume by February 7th, I do not wish to escape Lazaro's fury only to fall disappear into an ice-choked ravine!"

And of course, there's the matter of Maximillian's ransom.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet grunts. "Free to go? How can we leave? How far is it to the next town? It is now the heart of winter, and we are high in the mountains."

Alexis said...

"You are but 8 miles from the town of Bozen," says Lazaro. "Your horses and all you own are in the care of the Innkeeper of the Horse Clog House ... minus two daggers, a mace and a military pick; I have not taxed your servant a weapon."

He laughs again. "I shall have a woman show you the way," he adds. "You will not find the journey especially onerous."

Andrej said...

I will note the missing dagger and mace for Sofia and Andrej. Also, the keg.

So, what shall we do about Max?

Alexis said...

"Maximillian and his man are equally free to leave," says Lazaro. "I have been holding his ransom for twenty days - but as you had grown to be friends, I had decided it was better to retain his company until the present."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet abruptly shuts up about the traveling conditions if a woman will be their guide. If she can make it, how hard can it be?

Andrej said...

Sofia notes Ahmet's sudden silence and allows herself a small smirk. Say that five times fast.

I suppose there's nothing left to it, then. Unless you guys can find some reason to stay put shall we be off?

Maximillian said...

(ooc, heh, I didn't expect that answer... Here I was trying to formulate an escape ;)

"I'm sure my grandfather will be suitably rankled. Nonetheless, I have noticed the honor of your word. I will long remember that, and will convey it to him.

Now, friends, perhaps I can be of service to you after you leave Bozen. I am somewhat familiar with the roads of this region, and can certainly guide you to the border with Venice, if not beyond.

Maximillian said...

(ooc: I meant to mention this last post, but I have the attribute "Suffers from subsceptibility to colds. Exposure of any kind to rain or snow in the outdoors will cause character to experience cold symptoms, and to suffer double damage for travel effects." Which is interesting, because I also reduce damage from cold +1, once per day.)

Anyway, that might have made a difference in your calculations previously.

Maximillian said...

(By the way, that made me think of the druid episode of "Standard Action" Look it up on youtube, it's amusing.)

Andrej said...

Andrej and Sofia prepare to leave the valley, awaiting only our companions and our guide before leaving.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, after making preparations to leave, asks for a weapon that he will return to this female guide upon arrival at the inn. "Easy journey or no, I do not like the idea of traveling eight miles with nothing to defend myself except the blessings of," pause, sly glance at Andrej, "Jesus?"

Alexis said...

A weapon will be denied.

This post seems to have finished. I'll get a new one up.

I just want to say that Maximillian recognizes the name of the Inn mentioned above, and knows where to find it.

Alexis said...

The next post is up.