Thursday, October 24, 2013

Days in Constantinople

Monday, March 14, 1651, afternoon
With overcast skies, cool temperatures and a gentle breeze with a prevailing wind.


The party has been in Constantinople three more days, giving Andrej time to learn what he has of Cumana, that it is said a war will erupt between Poland and Russia in the summer of 1652 (so go the rumours).  He has also learned that Bulgarian soldiers have been marched east towards the frontier in Persia, where the Safavids are making moves against the Ottomans on the far eastern frontier.

The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, the party also learns, is a 9-year-old boy, Mehmed the 4th ... and that the real power behind the throne is in the hands of a woman called Kosem, the aged grandmother of the Sultan.  Much discussion is made of her decades of influence over the throne through her sons, but that there are factions that threaten her (but there are always factions that threaten her); or that the Vizier supports her (but when a Vizier doesn't, she manages to be rid of him); that the mother of the Sultan, Turhan Hatice, despises her mother-in-law Kosem (but this has always been so); and that the Chief Black Eunuch in the court, Tall Suleyman, is part of a plot to replace Mehmed with another of Kosem's grandchildren.  And so goes the intrigue.

Ahmet would remember Mehmed's name, but only as a boy born to the royal family ... he perhaps knew before that Mehmed had been given the throne, perhaps not. Ahmet has been away a long time.

Please buy whatever else you need, do whatever else you will. The Captain of the Petrel has suggested she would be ready to sail by the 19th.

The weather continues in the same old way, day after day. You have been living on the sea so long you hardly realize the weather does change; now and then cloudy, few clear days with sun ... and rain becoming less and less frequent now that you are far from central Europe.

60 comments:

Andrej said...

After a night spent ashore and a few days more gathering news, Andrej is happy enough to stick closer to the ship and see about our business, unless some other opportunity should present itself.

Some things to consider...

1) Do we need to buy another large amount of hay together? Andrej kept Sofia's horse so I'm buying for two still. Please advise on your preferences. Ideally we buy a bale of hay and split purchase and freight costs by horse.

2) Our route to Cappadocia. I suggest we leave for Amisos upon the Black Sea and take what appears to be a good road from there to Melitene, Ahmet's home.

Alexis, what are the captain's plans while we are ashore in Anatolia? Will she take us all the way to Itossa or do we need to make other arrangements?

How are Andrej's church-provided hirelings eqipped? I have footmen, sappers, crossbowmen and a master-at-arms.

Lukas said...

Lukas once again attempts to tour. And possibly find the same walking stick for Hichem. He tries to find his glove from this plane which he knows is there.

Lukas encourages Andrej to come with him to see the Blue Mosque.

Lukas said...

Oh and I also wanted to thank the gnome if I see him after we emerge. For the knowledge and rescue.

Maximillian Boii said...

My shopping is done, including Hay and feed for Mareo's horse. This city has a lot of potential for exploration if someone has the inspiration. I'd be happy to follow along if anyone had something they wanted to do.

Andrej said...

Andrej will accompany Lukas wherever the latter wishes to go, part out of curiosity and part of protectiveness. He will pester him with ideas re: the structure and layout of our eventual mission, though hints that at first we might be making due with a couple of yurts and an altar.

Does Lukas fill Andrej in on the encounter with the gnomes? What are Lukas, Ahmet and Max's thoughts on the bottle and the souls of Brenden and Robur?

Ahmet said...

Ahmet tells Andrej all about his journey to the ethereal plane, and what little he understood about what the gnome said.

He still seems to think they were in Hell, however briefly. It is obvious he is now uncertain about converting to Christianity.

"I have done things that warrant Hell's punishments, I grant you," he muses, "but to endure them without my father and brothers... that is truly torment. And anyway, your Christian Hell was so boring."

Andrej said...

Andrej takes the news of Ahmet's misgivings with stoic silence. If he cannot make one of his dearest friends see the light, what hope does he have with his more distant countrymen? He must trust in God, he supposes.

Maximillian Boii said...

Re: the souls, I think you're free to do with them as you please, but you might consider consulting someone from your church. It's possible they could provide information if they were released, but it's also possible they have none, and potential enemies could be alerted.

Andrej said...

Here's the thing, though, Max. Just hanging onto the bottle at this point poses a danger and a risk to the entire party. There's a good chance we are being hounded already by other powers. Given that belief, I want to hear your thoughts on the matter. All three of you.

Lukas said...

Honestly, I think if the gnomes had malice, they would have the book and I would still be in the ethereal plane. Furthermore, they advised getting rid of the bottle. While that seems simple enough without handing it to the gnomes, they might be able to protect it from search easier. That said, soul trapping does sound like something less than good people would know how to do...

Lukas said...

Oh and the least knowledge that we ever had the bottle the better should it be found...

Maximillian Boii said...

I'm far more concerned about what Lukas carries. I know little about souls. What is it precisely that you wish to do with them?

Andrej said...

Max, the idea was to release the souls somehow, so that whichever god or gods sought after them would sort it out. Given recent knowledge, though, I'm OK with either handing this off to the gnomes or tossing it into the sea unless there is a strong and sound opinion to the contrary.

Maximillian Boii said...

Lukas, perhaps no malice, but also no care. We suit their current purposes, is all.

Lukas said...

I'd prefer the gnomes. They apparently can hide it on another plane.

Maximillian Boii said...

Could you simply crush the bottle? Or better, arrange to have it crushed with no ties back to you?

Andrej said...

I do not know, Max, and don't know if doing so would be better or worse than just handing it over. I'm leaning toward Lukas's way of thinking on this; to just hand it over when they next make contact with us.

Maximillian Boii said...

That's fine with me, if they'll take it.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet has no opinion; he didn't know them, and leaves it up to Andrej.

Andrej said...

Alright, the souls are gone next opportunity.

Now...

Our route to Cappadocia. Yays or nays on the proposed Black Sea to Amisos to Melitene route?

Alexis, what are the captain's plans while we are ashore in Anatolia? Will she take us all the way to Itossa or do we need to make other arrangements once we complete Ahmet's business?

How are Andrej's church-provided hirelings eqipped? I have footmen, sappers, crossbowmen and a master-at-arms, do they at least have weapons and armor? If not, I may consider buying some now. If you have answered this before somewhere already, I'm sorry. I did go back and look and couldn't find anything.

Ahmet said...

I'm fine with that route, it seems the most direct.

As to hay, I already bought enough hay to replace what had been consumed on the ride here.

I'll deduct costs for lodging and stabling once we leave so I can pay the total bill.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Sooooo much to answer.

Okay.

On hay: I understand some of the people have bought enough to supply for their animals. I suggest Andrej take it up with them, how much they have purchased, how much he needs for his horses, remembering that Amisos is perhaps ten days away (though extra won't go bad for months, and there will always be the next sea trip and time spent in the new environment of Cumana).

On the Captain's Plans: Madam is prepared to take you to Amisos and arrange to pick you up again, so long as she's not required to remain in port for weeks. She may obtain some knowledge about the Black Sea or venture down the coast ... you'll be probably inland a month or so.

Regarding Deitweiller and his men: take it for granted they have enough to carry them through a year; the master would not want you buying anything for the men, for that would probably make them 'soft' in his eyes ... so please do not worry about all that unless you wish to press the issue.

Alexis Smolensk said...

On Lukas' tour: Let me forego a description; plenty of places to go look up and see video of the places you could think of. Presume you're unimpeded with anything you wish to buy.

On the blind gnome: He acknowledges your thanks but does not wish to stick around and chat.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Deitweiller does want to have a 'chat' with Andrej regarding this side trip to Anatolia ... which apparently he has only just heard about.

Lukas said...

Thanks. I just wanted it done. A tour of the ethereal realm is good, but you know... Seeing an awesome mosque and other architecture while talking to Andrej about it seems appropriate.

Andrej said...

Andrej will grant Deitweiller his chat and, cutting to the chase, will support whichever actions Deitweiller wishes to take while the party is ashore for that month. Since the trip into Anatolia has nothing to do whatsoever with the mission Andrej does not expect Deitweiller to accompany them. In fact, he'd prefer the master at arms and his men to not come along.

Lukas said...

I think he's upset at all these delays...

Andrej said...

Boo-fucking-hoo. We don't work for Detweiller, I just happen to work for the same pope as he does.

Andrej said...

Sincerely, I wish he'd just leave and take the men with him. They've only been an annoyance so far and I don't see things getting much better when I bring all these white boys into Cumana with me.

Andrej said...

Regarding hay and feed I went ahead and made my own arrangements. Once we sort out things with Detweiller I think I'm ready to scoot.

Alexis Smolensk said...

To quote: "boo-fucking-hoo"

I think we can dare suppose that the conversation where Deitweiller explains that this sort of delay is unreasonable and that Andrej has a responsibility to the MISSION and not joy-trips to the interior of a barbarian culture does not necessarily go well for either the master at arms or for Andrej; threats are made, tempers run high, lines of demarcation are drawn and ultimately nothing is settled or changes. Got it. No need to play out that dialogue, then.

Andrej said...

That might have been fun to play out, but I'm good with moving it along.

Andrej would have taken pains to remind Detweiller that it is he, the arch-deacon, and not the master-at-arms who is beholden to the cardinal for 4,050 gp, only 1,000 gp of which will actually be spent upon the MISSION. The church is getting their due and then some. Andrej, on the other hand, needs to consider how a church will actually be built from the grass and dust of the prairie and these "joy rides" often provide a means to that end.

Maximillian Boii said...

Andrej, Have you considered importing building materials? Or do you intend to go and scope out the location, and then make plans for the actual building?

Andrej said...

Max, I have tried not to bog the game and our DM down with a ton of questions that couldn't be answered properly until we get there, but yes I have considered both of those options and more. You may have noted earlier I told Lukas that the mission would at first be a couple of yurts and an alter. I wasn't kidding. There's also the option of occupying an existing structure. We'll see once we get there the availability of materials and what has to be done, but whichever way it plays out I don't think I have enough capital to build anything of much substance... yet.

James C. said...

Max, I hope you didn't take the above as me implying that you were bogging the game down... just trying to express that yes I have thought much about it but keep coming back to waiting on extensive planning until we get there. Re-reading my last comment just now I saw how one might interpret a tone in my reply I did not intend and wanted to make sure it came across as I intended.

Maximillian Boii said...

Well, you know I have bogged the game down a couple of times recently, so I'm sorry for that, to you and everyone else.

I appreciate your clarification.

Ahmet said...

Ah, one more thing while you guys are bogging down the game by talking about bogging down the game -- I keep meaning to buy a silver dagger, so... Ahmet attempts to buy a silver dagger and sheepskin scabbard, while keeping out a wary eye for ethereal wolves and three-story tall demons.

Andrej said...

And let me just add that while you bog the game down pointing out our bogging the game down by discussing our bogging down of the game that... dang, what was I going to say?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Hi.

So long as we're loosening up.

I presume we're ready to leave Constantinople?

I must point out that according to my own schedule I am done posting come this Thursday, six days hence. At this point, I'm happy that most of the wild ends have been tied up, that I'm not stepping out in the middle of a combat or a moment of inconclusiveness; so I wonder if there's much point in starting an adventure right now that is going to be cut off in five days.

At the same time, its probably possible to get you as far as Amisos, which I believe is your next destination. The Captain has purchased some navigational maps (must add to the equipment list) of the Black Sea, and has told her crew she has no intention of plundering any vessels until she has a better sense of the waters, the ports along the coast, where a safe haven might be for pirates and so on. The Black Sea is a virtual Ottoman lake, making piracy tricky and very dangerous. As such, even if you spot a ship on the way to Amisos, at this time she'd be a fool to take it.

I am, however, here for questions. so "bogging down" things with details such as Maximillian queries may not be a bad idea at this time. We cannot really move forward anyway.

Still thinking about the Yetabeshi.

Andrej said...

I'm just appreciative for the game and where we're at and looking forward to more on the Yetabeshi. Therefore, I'm OK with either leaving it here or in Amisos prior to the break as you please.

Some few questions I have:

How much further has Andrej come on his reading and writing? He should have had 10 more days with Lukas while underway from Kofounisia to Constantinople.

How goes the irrigation project in Kofounisia?

To the party, I'm assuming when the B team was left behind it was with the knowledge that the A team was going to Melitene and then Itossia. Based on that, they could catch up with the main party if we desire it. What's left to manage in the islands (a family of cyclops and a tribe of lizard-men) is probably beyond the capabilities of those left. Thoughts?

Alexis Smolensk said...

I have added the Yetabeshi to the list of tribal descriptions on the main blog about Cumana. You can read it there.

We can presume that Andrej is keeping up with the writing ... but really, there would be little notice of improvement at this point. Just little bits and pieces here and there, a steady gain. Andrej can 'read,' but its difficult and time consuming, and not really something he would do for pleasure at this time. I'll adjust the numbers sometime in the summer of 1651.

The irrigation project in Koufonisia, you will remember, was set to be completed in early May.

Andrej said...

Thanks for the Yetabeshi entry. I'm really enjoying these descriptions.

As for the irrigation project, I did recall it would extend until spring, I was just curious to know whether all was on schedule or not. I take from this that all is well so far, so thanks.

While the Kofounisian party licks their wounds and we take a break, one thing has been bugging me and now seems a good time to address it. Sofia would like to ask the prisoner we rescued if he ever observed the psammodrons using boats or taking to the water in any fashion.

Maximillian Boii said...

Yeah, I wondered that myself. next time we split back there, we could find ourselves under seige.

Regarding the pause, I agree that this is a pretty good stopping point.

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: I've forgotten the old man's name already, and it's not on this thread!)

He is completely certain that there won't be anything of the sort. They keep to themselves, they do not take to the water, nor are there any boats on the island. They kill birds for food and are able to swim out a few hundred yards to seize nearby boats.

Ahmet said...

The old man's name is Kapelos.

Ahmet said...

I hate to be "that guy", but do we get X.P. for the wolf encounter?

Lukas said...

If by that guy you mean the one that will drive me towards 3rd level spells, then I don't mind at all...

Alexis Smolensk said...

No, I'm glad you brought it to my attention. You do get experience.

Listen, I'm very sick. Again. I'll find the numbers in awhile.

Lukas said...

Sok, I'm sure we understand.

Alexis Smolensk said...

As I crawl from death's grip ...

There was no damage done to the party, so there were no bonus experience points. Maximillian did no damage, so he was short-changed in the exchange. Lukas did four damage, and gets 44 xp. Ahmet did the most, however, doing 19 damage and getting 209 xp.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Was ... so sick.

Maximillian Boii said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better? I hope...

Alexis Smolensk said...

I have been much, much healthier than this.

Lukas said...

Well I hope you feel better soon. Especially with November coming in hot.

Would be good to start it off on a healthy foot.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Feeling better every day.

Any other last minute questions, O great ones?

Ahmet said...

Ahmet is ready to roll.

Maximillian Boii said...

I'm getting married at the end of next month, so don't expect me until probably the 3rd. I look forward to picking things up then.

Enjoy the month, gents, may you find the time productive and relaxing!

Alexis Smolensk said...

Congratulations, Alex ... a toast, then:

"May your days be long, and full of happiness; may your children be many and full of health; and may you both live in peace and freedom."

Maximillian Boii said...

Thank you! I'll drink to that!

Lukas said...

Congrats!
This is what I get for not reading campaign on the last day...