Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Black Ivory Hostel

Monday, April 19, 1651, morning
With overcast skies and brisk temperatures, a light breeze that's a prevailing wind
Waxing Gibbous

Judging that Saturday was spent purchasing items, and Sunday waiting for the Kadi, there being no Sabbath, and Andrej effectively resting and doing no business of his own, it is Monday morning when the 'next day' arrives. For the record, Hichem should have arrived in Melitene last night, but he did not, and there is some concern that he's been waylayed.

The party finds themselves at the Black Ivory Hostel, a medicant's home in the high hills three miles east of Melitene, that Ahmet knows of, though he's never been. The Hostel is a single story collection of plaster and stone rooms that are kept warm with terra cotta pipes and many, many small ovens, so that the party feels almost as though this is the first time they've been able to be warm since last summer in Germany. This despite the brisk weather that still speaks uncomfortably of early spring and late fall.

You expect to wait all day, but it isn't yet noon when you're told of the sound of wheels making their way up the final road to the hostel, just out of sight. You half expect it to be Hichem, but it isn't ... it is a cart, pulled by a donkey led by three men, with a woman sitting in it. Ahmet recognizes without question that it is Sevim.

As it nears, the party gathers to watch it come forward. The men stop the cart forty feet from Ahmet, who has moved forward from the Hostel. There, they let Sevim go. She is wearing a white cotton dress; her hair is free to the wind, dirty and scraggly. She does not resist as she's pulled from the wagon, and her feet do not support her as they touch the ground. She collapses to a kneeling position; she looks around her, uncomprehending. The men simply begin to turn the cart around.

75 comments:

Andrej said...

Andrej approaches Sevim carefully, to examine her for injury and assess whether healing magics are required.

Alexis Smolensk said...

It's clear that Sevim can hear Andrej's footsteps upon the small stones on the trail, but her eyes do not focus on Andrej's person.

Andrej said...

Are her eyes intentionally fixated elsewhere or fixated upon nothing? Is she obviously injured in any way?

"I am Father Andrej, a catholic friar and a friend of your benfactor. I wish to help you as I may... would you like to sit and rest inside in the warmth?"

(OOC: Not sure if Ahmet wants to jump in or hang back, but I'll take things slow for now and not get too far along)

Alexis Smolensk said...

It is closer to light-blindness; she clearly cannot see in the sunlight, even though this is an overcast day.

Andrej, approaching within ten feet, suddenly realizes with a start how really beautiful she is. It is not as though he has not seen beautiful women; Serafina, right off, has probably been the most beautiful woman Andrej has seen. Even so, Sevim, dirty, apparently half-starved, hair hanging in knotted strands, her eyes unfocused and dull, she would certainly challenge Serafina for the title.

Any description of the various features would only diminish them; but her olive skin suggests health despite her condition, her body yet rests in a manner that demands attention, even as she has fallen on the ground. There is a sense that, were she in command of herself, this woman would be frightening in her potential to influence. You see her here in her mid-thirties ... Heaven knows what she must have looked like to Ahmet years ago.

(Ahmet, I don't your age or your birthday on your character. Is it there?)

Andrej said...

If she made no response to my offer I will simply gently lift her and guide or carry her into the hostel. I'll await the others before acting beyond that.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I'll argue that Ahmet is too stunned and moody to respond yet, and that Andrej has in fact moved her to the hostel. A resident, Parbin, will direct you to a room with a thatch bed, where a warm mud bath can be used should she fall into a state of hysteria.

Andrej said...

In that case Andrej will ask Parbin to observe for the sake of propriety while Andrej examines her for wounds, applying a cure light wounds if she appears to be hurt in any way. If that is satisfactorily done, Andrej will leave her some food and drink from his daily casting of create food and water and then leave her to rest and acclimate. The door to her room is left slightly ajar so that she may be monitored.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Sorry. Ahmet was born March 24, 1624, so he recently turned 27.)

Ahmet said...

Ahmet watches her from the doorway -- arms crossed, stone faced. He does not speak to her or approach her.

As soon as she is brought inside, he heads off to the bustling market streets.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Then change that to her late 20s, not 30s.

Alexis Smolensk said...

She has bruises, nicks, scrapes, and a host of malnutrition illnesses that it would take cure disease to allay. But yes, she's probably at 1 hit points or thereabouts. There's no knowing if she's ever had any training that would allow her to sustain herself in the negatives. She grows noticeably more comfortable after the cure spell, and she can see better inside. When she is given food, she falls on it like an animal would - but then realizes that the figure in the doorway isn't a guard, it's Ahmet.

She throws the food away falls to the floor and presses her forehead to the ground at Ahmet's feet. She does not speak.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Oops.

Oh well. Ahmet is going to come back from the market at some point. Let's presume she does that when he returns.

Andrej said...

:)

Andrej said...

She gets 6 points from the cure light wounds, should you require me to roll it.

Lukas said...

Lukas is still agitated by lack of Vardo. Fortunately his concern is limited to Hichem rather than the book as he should have brought it on his horse in the metal locked box.

I don't know if I should mention I would have done that now. In retrospect mentioning it seems like something I should have done earlier.

Ahmet said...

(Heh, sorry.)

Ahmet goes to the Slave Trader intending to buy a female House Servant; there's one available, but I suppose it might be male. In that case, he'll look at the lone Deportee available, again hoping for a female. If that the Deportee is male too, he seeks out a female hireling who can work as Sevim's servant.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I'm pretty lax about such things, Lukas. I wouldn't assume you would leave anything truly valuable in the wagon, nor ever be separated from your spellbook.

In any event, when Ahmet enters the market place, he finds Hichem, safe and sound. He was delayed simply because it proved harder to hitch up the wagon than he suspected, while the new mule he has obtained is ornery and difficult to manage. He lost a whole day a few hourse each morning, struggling with the beast. He would like to sell it for meat, now.

Deportees are all either males, or male & female couplets. There is a pair if you're willing, and if they're indicated on the market I provided - and lucky you, Cumana is an Ottoman deportee destination (you can't just take them anywhere!).

A female servant is available for 6 c.p. per day, with six months paid up front to the bondsman who is owed her father's debts. There are no servants in the European sense of the word. You must pay the 1,080 c.p. to the man, and then the servant girl is more or less 'yours,' whom you must negotiate with in six months or simply make your slave. That is the risk these girls take.

Ahmet said...

I'll take the servant from the bondsman, provided she appears to be placable. At least she and Sevim will have something in common -- a deadbeat dad. :P

Andrej said...

So are we waiting on Ahmet's response to Sevim's servile gesture?

Ahmet said...

I thought we were waiting for the new servant to be named and backgrounded...

(OOC: Snow day today, work was open but schools were inexplicably closed, so I stayed home and went sledding. Sure beats working!)

Alexis Smolensk said...

We're waiting for my schedule, which was adjusted radically by a spontaneous 3-hr upgrade of the department's database program, which was about to make all work after 13 minutes from now impossible.

Been a lovely morning.

Let us call the girl Mistassa, or Mist for short. She's from the country surrounding Melitene to the northeast, her father fell into debt following a drought and has already sold Mist to the bondsman. The bondsman having received his money from Ahmet, pronounces the girl transferred to Ahmet's care.

As Ahmet is leading her back, and Hichem with the cart also, she will ask, "What am I to do for her, Master?"

Ahmet said...

(OOC: How old is she?)

"Whatever she requires," Ahmet snaps, ordering her into the vardo. He sits next to Hichem up top, lecturing him on how best to keep a Turkish mule moving. Ahmet uses his bullwhip to demonstrate on more than one occasion.

Returning to Sevim's room with the girl in tow, he stands in the doorway for a moment, watching her gorge herself on the food. He bristles as she prostrates herself at his feet.

"Stand up," he hisses. He snags Mistassa by the wrist and nearly flings her at Sevim. "This one is called Mistassa, she will attend to you. Do not bother me or my friends with your mewling... or your lies."

Alexis Smolensk said...

Okay, this should be a fairly good day.

Mist is 19. Hichem looks distressed at the manner in which Ahmet speaks to the girl. At the hostel, when Ahmet hisses at Sevim, then flings the girl, the medicant Parbin flies into a fury at Ahmet, shouting at him to step outside and recognized that this is a "Place of healing!" If Ahmet shows any hesitation to do so, Parbin will seize one of the iron pokers used to stir the fires and threaten him with it.

Mist reacts to Ahmet's order by collapsing against the wall in fear and doing nothing. Sevim never rises from her position on the floor, head pressed to it.

Lukas said...

At this point Lukas will try to start assisting Ahmet to another room. Away from where he is harassing the two ladies and being harassed by the medicant.

"Better to calm down over here than take your rage out on the innocent one. I assume she's innocent yes? Why don't you tell me where you've been out here."

Alexis Smolensk said...

Apart from the psychological development of Ahmet's character, can we have a discussion among the party about the next relevant action? I'd like to know when you're leaving, if you're going back to the ship, if there's somewhere else you mean to go, if you mean to take a different route, if the woman Sevim is going with you and generally if there's any last business in Melitene.

We're grinding down a bit.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet ignores them all and stalks off. As Lukas speaks to him, Ahmet keeps walking, and soon it is apparent he is looking for Andrej and Maximillian.

Once the four are assembled again:

"My business here is finished," he snaps.

"The Kadi knows where Ramazan is but refuses to bring him to justice. So be it. Allah will judge them both.

"Let us be away from this place and never return."

Lukas said...

"As you say Ahmet. May the Kadi choke on his breakfast for this madness. As we know nobody would be there to save him."

"I must check on Hichem and then we can leave once supplies are verified."

Lukas said...

I think the plan was to stick with the route.

As for bringing her with us, I think that's related to Ahmet's psychological development as compared to Andrej's stance on the matter.

Lukas said...

I think were going back to the ship taking the same route (or an easier one should it present itself) and otherwise moving on. We may avoid a certain spot, at least at night.

Andrej said...

Perhaps we should give Sevim an opportunity to speak before we decide our next course? If there are no objections, Andrej approaches her after speaking to Ahmet. Is she still lying upon the floor?

Alexis Smolensk said...

When Ahmet leaves, Mist encourages by degrees to have Sevim get off the floor and return to laying down. Parbin suggests she might have some sleep, but seems that Andrej's heal has restored her. However, no one can induce her to speak a word.

Maximillian Boii said...

My only business here is Ahmet's business. If he wishes to leave this Ramazan unharmed, we can leave tomorrow. I express a desire to make my appointment for an augury tomorrow regardless of the hunt for Ramazan.

Andrej said...

She is conscious though, yes? How about her light-blindness, is there any indication that is better?

Andrej said...

Certainly Max, I have no objection to your making the appointment should you desire to make use of the augury. I don't think we'll be leaving sooner than your appointment even if we plan to leave.

Lukas said...

If you have a spare question could you add, "Is anyone malevolent trying to find anyone in our group?"

ITS NOT PARANOIA IF IT'S TRUE

Maximillian Boii said...

heh heh, why would I waste my time asking a question so obviously true ;)

Lukas said...

Not going to lie, one of my reasons for considering a cleric as my follower still is auguries on demand...

Alexis Smolensk said...

Maximillian, backdating the augury to the 17th, when you were first shopping in town, it's a second level spell. If you want it from the local moslem's guild, then you can have it tomorrow, but if we assume you spent yesterday hiking out of the city to find a Celtic druid, then you've already obtained the augury (1 day waiting period, it says on the equipment list, for a non-local religion). Pay your 11 gold pieces and tell me your question.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: As a player, I think we have to talk to Sevim; as a character, Ahmet makes a big show of not caring.)

Alexis Smolensk said...

She's obviously shocked out of her wits, Ahmet; and whenever you're in sight, she will do nothing except fall onto her knees and press her head to the ground in your direction, like at Mecca. It should invest itself even into Ahmet's thick skull that she isn't afraid, but that she's incredibly grateful.

Ahmet said...

He knows she's not afraid, he just doesn't want to have anything to do with her. But Andrej has a way of appealing to the better angels of Ahmet's nature. ;)

Alexis Smolensk said...

Do we want to get on the road on the 20th, then?

Maximillian Boii said...

Ah, I could have sworn it said none available, my mistake.

Very well, I ask if the anti-taurus mountains are truly more than a million years old.

Ahmet said...

...seriously, that's your question?

Lukas said...

It wasn't like he went on an epic quest.

The Druid may feel your sentiment given he can only answer 365 a year, but...

Maximillian Boii said...

Seriously.

I looked it up, and there were no 2nd level auguries available from the non-local religion, so I'll ask on the 20th, from the moslem cleric. It's more fun from them anyway, since Yazigi is a moslem.

Alexis Smolensk said...

LOL. That's a VERY interesting question, Maximillian. Particularly when you consider that the question asks the GODS, and not the local professor of truth. If the mountains are older than a million years, are the Gods? Would they even know? Could you trust the answer you got from them? Perhaps that is why Yazigi lives by himeself.

In any case, you have a 76% chance of getting an answer, and it comes back, "No."

Lukas said...

Furthermore, if you are asking the gods, and they know the mountains are older than them, but want credit for creating them, would they answer yes?

Andrej said...

Forgive me if I'm being dense or seem pedantic... I'm still not clear what Sevim wants and what we intend to do with her. My sense is there's no collective appetite for RPing this and since she's not speaking anyway, we can get right to the essential question. Is she coming with us, then?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Right now that's the essential question for me.

Lukas said...

I am impartial either way.

While I don't completely exclude this conflict from my attentions, I see little benefit or loss from either route.

My concerns are keeping eyes open for wealth opportunities and considering how we're going to proceed on the construction in the near future.

I also don't mind XP opportunities from a player perspective.

If she comes we merely have to update the food consumption information.

If she stays my only concern is that I don't think she has a viable source of income to support herself and a servant.

I think the big determiners in this are Andrej, Ahmet and Max's opinions.

She's been in prison for 3 years, I have doubts she has relevant immediate knowledge.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Perhaps I looked at it wrong, Maximillian. Don't worry about it. DM's fiat.

Andrej said...

She's not talking, so it's impossible to know what it is she wants at this point. Ahmet's inclination seems to be to have her along though outwardly at least to be resentful of it.

I indicated above Andrej approaching her to speak but that didn't seem to go anywhere. Whether it got lost in the shuffle or she's just unwilling to converse I don't know. At a minimum we should:

a) decide whether she can come with us and

b) inform her that we're leaving for Cumana and she's welcome to join us.

I vote yes on a and volunteer for b should Ahmet not desire that task for himself. She need not reply... if she follows us the answer we can presume was "yes".

Maximillian Boii said...

My vote is that she can come with us to the ship, and on our sea voyage, but that she not come along any further. In fact, while I understand it may not be feasible to leave her here, I would urge leaving her at the first viable opportunity where she can be set up in comfort and safety. Yazigi may have contacts, and could possibly direct us towards someone who could look after her while we are on our adventures.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, muttering about soft-headed Europeans, apparently presumes that the others won't allow him to just abandon Sevim and Mistassa -- even if no one has actually come out and said that.

When Maximillian leaves to consult the gods about Young Earth creationism, Ahmet goes with him... at least as far as the first merchant selling clothing.

Ahmet is appalled at the cost of women's dresses. After much haggling and arguing he finally buys a cotton dress with lacing bodice for 15 g.p., howling in protest with each coin he hands over.

Then he finds another merchant, and buys from him two sets of goodwife's wear for 8 g.p., two woolen cloaks for 48 s.p., four woolen women's chemises for 52 s.p., four woolen loin cloths for 16 s.p., two woolen robes for 34 s.p., and two pairs of ankle-high cowhide boots for 8 s.p.

Still seething, he seeks out the first merchant to complain again about the cost of the cotton dress and bodice.

But the first merchant is nowhere to be found. Instead, he finds another merchant who sells him two woolen blankets for 34 s.p., two pairs of sheepskin gloves for 24 s.p., and two waterskins for 12 s.p.

Laden down with packages, he buys a large wooden chest for 10 g.p. and puts everything inside it. Then he seeks out a pair of urchins capable of carrying the 136-pound chest between them. Preferably a pair of crippled urchins who will not be able to out-run Ahmet should they prove to be less than honest. He gives the lads a silver piece each and promises them five more once they are back at the hostel.

While looking for urchins, another merchant convinces him to buy two eating bowls for 8 c.p., two wooden cups for 28 c.p., and, with much grumbling, two wooden combs for 6 s.p.

He splits a roasted chicken with the urchins and eats it while lecturing them on the evils of women. Then he buys a dozen biscuits for 2 s.p., six sticks of beef jerky for 30 s.p., a sack of potatoes for 3 g.p., and two small boxes of salt for 16 s.p.

Then he returns to the hostel, pays the urchins as promised, and lugs the heavy chest upstairs. He puts it in Sevim's room. He does not address her, but rather Mistassa.

"Clothing and other necessities for you and your mistress," he growls. "Dress her and yourself for travel. We leave tomorrow."

Andrej said...

:)

Lukas said...

My one condition:

If I see so much as one throw pillow in my Vardoo that I didn't put there, I swear to god I will find a way to turn the offender into a frog.

Oh and don't touch the books, for all I know some could probably devour your soul.

Maximillian Boii said...

(OOC: HAHAHA! That is exactly how I feel every time I go shopping with your system, Alexis!)

Alexis Smolensk said...

Sevim is possibly unable to converse; you cannot be sure she is just unwilling. She seems a lost lamb.

The Kadi has released her to Ahmet. Ahmet, for all intents and purposes, OWNS her.

Oh yes. Ahmet is so furious at the cost that he buys TWO and FOUR of everything.

The urchins happily carry the chest. They are not likely to thieve it.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I will need to know sleeping arrangements with the two new women and the vardo.

Maximillian, sorry, I don't know if you're laughing at the DM fiat (which I do rarely) or Ahmet's buying spree (which does tend to happen I guess)

Ahmet said...

(OOC: He's mocking me for acting like a kid in a candy store with a fiver. "And two of these... and four of these... and two of those..."

But how often do I get to buy women's clothing? :)

Oh, I bought multiples of everything because I'm assuming Mistassa came with nothing, and she needs clothing as well. Besides, the merchants kept telling Ahmet that buying two only cost twice as much, and he just couldn't pass up that kind of a bargain.)

Lukas said...

I see Lukas as more handing all the things to the unfortunate person coming with him like a wife to a husband as she goes clothes shopping.

'Oh this would be perfect! Isn't this cute!?'

As for sleeping arrangements, I have no interest in kicking them out of the Vardoo and into the night. That said, I am loathe to waste all the sleeping space for just TWO women...

Ahmet said...

While acknowledging that Lukas owns the vardo, Ahmet won't allow anyone other than Andrej to sleep inside it with the two women. He is quite insistent on this fact. He also seems to be under the impression that all Catholic priests, including Andrej, are eunuchs.

Lukas said...

If you can fill the spare beds then go for it. I'll be conjuring myself a bed outside.

Maximillian Boii said...

I have no problem sleeping under the vardo, as long as water isn't actively running into my bed.

Maximillian Boii said...

(Oh, and yes, I was referring to Ahmet's reenactment of his shopping excursion.)

Lukas said...

I finished my shopping list.
Items of note aside from my usual treats and foods...

Chopsticks
Ornamental Basket
Prism
Takraw Ball (Honestly didn't look this up, sounded exotic enough)
5 more books
Small Wool Carpet

Alexis Smolensk said...

Then I'm going to move the campaign ahead today. I'll get a post up within a couple hours.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Oh, I should add that if Lukas wants to apply his mount to the Vardo, so that 'two' mules would be pulling instead of one, you can increase the speed of your journey by 25%.

Maximillian, incidentally, has NO trouble with the mule that annoyed Hichem so much.

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: sorry, sorry, surprise disasters. I'm done today, guys)

Lukas said...

SOK, my stuff has gotten pretty busy too.

Ahmet said...

Thinking happy thoughts that today will be a good day. :)

Andrej said...

me too. :)

Lukas said...

In the game hopefully...
But my Sunday night bodes poorly for work.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The next post is up.