Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Yazigi's Hut

Yazigi leads the party two miles to his abode, a small circular domicile in the woods, where the ground is covered in old hazelnuts and leaves left over from last autumn, concealing treeroots that the party trips over before learning to recognize where they are. The domicile is large enough for sleeping no more than four persons, and is made of mud and plaster, supported in places by pillars of stacked rocks. It appears, for all the world, that Yazigi and his compatriot Hayund, the orc, may have built it themselves.

Hichem settles the vardo and all is done that can be done to wrap Mareo, before you're invited into the hut to eat and warm yourselves. There's room enough for all to sit inside.

He has a haunch of goat that has been slow-roasting on the fire, a circular pit in the center of his hut, and around the outside of the fire pit there is a small dog, only 9 inches high, that apparently has been walking in a circle for perhaps hours, turning the meat, that hangs on a metal frame suspended over the fire. Yazigi takes a sack that hangs outside, yet under the eave, about the size of a back pack, and draws from it unleavened bread. He teaches the party - though Ahmet, of course, knows the method - to catch the drippings from the meat on the bread. Hayund cuts slices from the meat to add to the repast, and all settle comfortably.

Eventually, Yazigi brings up the conversation around, saying, "I must tell you, Ahmet, that Ramazan has been cast from the faith. His whereabouts are unknown, and his family lives in shame, having been driven out of Melitene. All is not as you remember."

67 comments:

Lukas said...

Lukas will remark about the dog, but be very interested in hearing the news of the region.

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: the dog was brought to my attention by this episode - start watching at 16:20. I knew it had to be added to the menagerie page)

Maximillian Boii said...

(Thanks for the post, I'm here listening)

I huddle close to the fire trying to warm myself. I have much to think about, but the prospect of hearing the story of the normally reticent Ahmet is compelling.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet is clearly surprised by this revelation, though he does his best to receive it with his usual inscrutable glower. There is a long silence, broken only the crackling of the fire. Finally Ahmet asks quietly,

"And his daughter?"

Alexis Smolensk said...

Yazigi's face goes slack, like the expression a man has when they know they have something to say that is very bad, and have just realized the actually have to say it.

"She is in prison for her father's debts," Yazigi says.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet mulls this over for a long moment.

"So there is justice in this world," he mutters darkly.

Ahmet then switches topics abruptly, telling the mullah about his cousin Fatima, her travails in Europe and the death of the imam who accompanied her, and ultimately her news of his cousin Asif's death and the promised inheritance.

Alexis Smolensk said...

"If you call wasting away in Acanthius' Hole for the crimes she did not commit justice, then the world has ruined you, Ahmet," says Yazigi.

The words describe a prison that Ahmet was not sentenced to. He went to a hard place, but it was one where labor was applied and where one expected someday to leave. Acanthius' Hole is a tomb carved into the rock below the mountains north of Melitene, where religious prisoners are sent to die.

"It is not YOUR place to judge the actions of others, Ahmet, it is ALLAH'S ... and whatever she did to you, you were left with your life and a purpose for living. The outside world has corrupted you, it is transformed you into a miserable lackey, tied in service to bitterness, meanness and hate. No man alive has any reason to envy you, my former student, but not because of her, but because of what you have done to yourself!"

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Sorry... got called away)

Ahmet is obviously hurt by Yazigi's words but tries to hide it beneath a scowl. "Did I not suffer for a crime I did not commit?" he sniffs petulantly.

He seems content to let the conversation die out, staring into the fire. Then he eventually asks: "How long has she been there?"

Alexis Smolensk said...

"You were punished for acting the fool, for seeking to circumvent tradition, honor and respect for the family," says Yazigi. "You did it out of lust, like a fool. The Koran clearly warns against such activity. I know very well that you were taught the Koran as a young man, and you had reason to know better than your actions. That was your crime. All perceptions of your being wronged come from your failure to accept responsibility for being a man and a penitent of Allah. As such you abandoned your family, you abandoned your responsibilities and now your abandon your reason."

Lukas said...

Lukas shifts uncomfortably.

Andrej said...

(OOC: Thank you all for the supportive words in the previous post. Life has resumed its normal pace for me, I am ready to play.)

Andrej puts a hand upon his friend Ahmet's shoulder and gives a brief squeeze before dropping it and resuming his appreciative consumption of the goat meat and bread. He wishes to show support but not interfere with what is playing out here. He is carefully listening, however.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Yazigi will turn to Lukas. "Have you tried radish hash?" he asks. He reaches under his bed, behind him, and draws out a pot filled with something that looks like fine chopped onion mixed in thin milk.

Lukas said...

Lukas shakes off his attention to Ahmet and Andrej's interaction to respond to Yazigi.

"I have not actually, is it common in these parts?"

He will gratefully sample some if offered.

Alexis Smolensk said...

"Actually, no, not at all. The recipe was developed in a far off land that is called 'Korr-hea;' I encountered the dish when I shared a hut during a winter in Gilgit, high in the Himalayas. It is a red vegetable that grows in the ground, something like a potato. Please, try some. It is a sharp flavor."

Lukas said...

Lukas will try some, "Oh, so I assume you're growing them here then? I would think a supply would be extremely difficult to acquire otherwise."

Maximillian Boii said...

Is the hut in a clearing, with cultivated ground? Or does the forest envelop it?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Let us say that the forest envelops the hut. The forest is not very large, only a couple of acres, and all this in the flat part of a glen bottom. As Lukas recently pointed out, the land all about is quite barren, particularly on the side of the mountains before the pass you've just crossed. This side, there are more patches of woods, not all cut down as they were by the end of the 19th century.

"I do cultivate them here. I try to increase the number, but I admit that more than half the crop dies each season in this soil. The Korr-heans must possess a knack I do not have."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet has been silent all this time; now he repeats his question. "How long has Sevim been in prison?"

Maximillian Boii said...

"Mullah Yazigi," I say, finally pronouncing his name nearly correctly. "We were truly fortunate to find you here, but I am surprised to find anyone, let alone one so eminently wise and well traveled as yourself, in a place so isolated and... inhospitable."

Maximillian Boii said...

(whoops, sorry Ahmet. I would have awaited another lull in conversation.

Alexis Smolensk said...

"I have a deep fascination with stone," says Yazigi, ignoring, for the moment, Ahmet pointedly. "I have been walking this range mountains for over a year, exploring, digging, seeking answers. Would you believe that these mountains were raised by Allah more than a million years ago? I have pondered his reasons for doing this, long before we came to live near and upon them."

Maximillian Boii said...

"I could not believe it. Surely not even mountains could last so long; why, time itself cannot have existed for so long, and it must have run out long ago..." I trail off in slight confusion, having never pondered these things before. "Forgive me, I don't mean to argue. Tomorrow, I have interest in a supply of stone, for I wish to lay my friend's body to rest. However, that he rests is thanks to you, and that we are yet to rest is thanks to Hayund. Tomorrow, while you and Ahmet... reminisce, I will perform any service you would ask of me."

Alexis Smolensk said...

The mullah holds Maximillian's eyes for a long moment, then says, "You may perform one service for me. Grow wise. Learn all that you may learn. If you will do this thing, you will have repaid me a hundred fold." Yazigi, after he stops speaking, will let his eyes rest on Ahmet.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet shrugs and lets the matter drop.

Maximillian Boii said...

I drop my gaze to the fire again, and know that I am not yet wise.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, unable to meet Yazigi's gaze very long, glowers at the dog.

Lukas said...

Lukas will wait a moment in case Yazigi has anything to say to Ahmet...

If not he will continue, "I have an interest in stone myself. I would not have the hubris to raise mountains, but do have interest in future construction prospects. Have you explored many mountains? Or has most of your consideration been this one?"

Alexis Smolensk said...

"Three years," says Yazigi. "Did your sister not tell you?"

Ahmet said...

(Ahmet doesn't correct Yazigi, for though Fatima is technically his cousin, they were raised as brother and sister, and he certainly thinks of her that way.)

"We had other matters to discuss," Ahmet says brusquely.

"Three years... so perhaps Sevim is already dead." He seems almost hopeful that this is the case.

Alexis Smolensk said...

"She isn't," says Yazigi. "But, perhaps I don't understand. Perhaps we could find an assassin to sneak into the prison to kill her. Or we might bribe the jailor." He pauses. "Or, we might just ensure the jailor and others use her repeatedly in the worst ways. To be sure she pays enough for the crimes she has committed against Ahmet."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet has never been quick of mind but he finally sees where this is going.

"I'm not in the maiden rescuing business," he snaps, "and she is no maiden!"

Lukas said...

Lukas will look to Ahmet.

"Ahmet, I do not know what this is about, but we are your friends and will help you with whatever you need.

Perhaps it would be best to take the night to think on this issue, you would not want to be too hasty like a certain second cousin?"

Andrej said...

Andrej clears his throat and addresses the holy man. "Tell me please, Imam Yazigi, what were Ramazan's crimes and why does his daughter pay for them?"

Alexis Smolensk said...

Yazigi speaks to Andrej quite respectfully, as someone who has addressed Christian priests before: "Hubris, Father," he says. "There was no degree of power he would not seek to gain, nor wealth he would not sneak into his possession. It was said he was the sort that might reconsider the theft of a red hot stone, but that he would probably find a way to hide it until it cooled. When he foolishly attempted to dupe the Vizir's tax collector, at last he had gone too far - but he escaped. It is said that he still dwells about, though no one knows where. To pay for his crimes, his daughter was seized."

To Ahmet he says, "My boy, you are certainly muddled. Does the Koran not also say, 'Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you.' Again and again you seek to circumvent Allah, and always you're left with nothing. Will you not learn? There is nothing you can do, Ahmet, except right. I have never asked you to do anything except what is right."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet harrumphs, but the wheels seem to be turning in his head. (Ever so slowly.) He casts a sideways glance at Andrej... not wanting Yazigi to see how much he relies on the infidel's wisdom.

Andrej said...

Andrej reads and reacts to his friend's unspoken question. "Mullah Yazigi, should some interested party desire to make right... how would he and best go about locating Ramazan? You have said he is about, but noone knows where... surely he is not acting without accomplices. Perhaps some known associate resides nearby and one could begin investigating the matter from there?"

Alexis Smolensk said...

Yazigi smiles. "My very best suggestion would be to have another bit of bread, and more meat." And so he cuts a piece for Andrej.

Andrej said...

Andrej accepts the offer with thanks and eats with gusto. "We are in your debt, Mullah Yazigi." Even he has tired of his create food spell these last many days.

Continuing after a bite or two, "It would seem to me that this girl, whatever wrong she may have done, suffers unjustly Ahmet. The bible tells us that, 'Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. Isn't this so, Mullah Yazigi?"

Alexis Smolensk said...

"That is so. But I think our friend Ahmet will see his way clear, once he has been on his way. I suggest we let this be, finish our repast and rest for the night. There have been many doings, you have lost a compatriot, and emotions no doubt run high. I believe I shall rest in my bed; Hayund usually sleeps with his body across the door. I have room for three of you, but I'm afraid the others will have to sleep in your vardo."

Andrej said...

"Again, your wisdom is a beacon to us, mullah. I shall sleep in the vardo after I have seen to the horses if this does not displease Lukas or the others. God bless and keep you all, brothers."

Upon completing his repast and barring any objections, Andrej will make good on his offer to tend to the animals and sleep in the vardo, taking his time on the former task should any wish to speak privately with him.

Ahmet said...

At last, Ahmet has an insight. "What if we capture Ramazan? Surely he should pay for his crimes, not his daughter." He glances apprehensively at the mullah, like a schoolboy unsure of the answer to a tricky question.

Maximillian Boii said...

(OOC: For a moment, I was wondering if "Ramazan" might be Ahmet...)

Alexis Smolensk said...

The mullah wraps himself in his robe and blanket, turns his back to the hut, and ceases any motion, suggesting sleep.

Maximillian Boii said...

I help Ahmet with the animals, and then retire to the Vardo. I intend to awake with the first light, to begin building Mareo's Cairn.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Has anyone any business before dawn arrives and Maximillian begins? Maximillian - will you accept aid from Hichem? He would like to help.

Maximillian Boii said...

I will accept help from Hichem with thanks.

After the body is prepared and the cairn complete, I return and ask Andrej to please say a few words over his grave, saying "As his closest friend I had to perform the burial ceremony, but his family was Catholic and I would like to be able to tell them that you were there, when I return his belongings."

Maximillian Boii said...

(OOC, I am going to go back and post a question in the General Campaign Info thread.)

Andrej said...

I have no further business this day.

Andrej of course conducts a burial for Mareo as per Catholic tradition upon Maximillian's request for a "few words" ;)

He conducts this in conjunction with a brief mass that all are invited to attend and where those Catholics among the party may take communion.

The short but urgently delivered homily he prepares has to do with the importance of mercy and forgiveness and how we all have a responsibility to be proactive in seeing God's will done. He opines that the righteous man often knows deep down inside what needs to be done per God's will and that this "voice" of his conscience is God's manner of speaking directly to his children.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The party is apparently very anxious to make it the next morning already; so I will say that when you awake, Yazigi and Hayund are gone. How they slipped out, without waking anyone, you do not know, but it is not the first time Ahmet has known the mullah to perform this trick.

Melitene is 80 miles away. Do you plan to set out upon the road?

Hichem will say, "Masters, I had spoken to the orc yesterday. He tells me the road is very busy, and well patrolled, and safe. I can bring the wagon myself to Melitene in four days - whereas you, if you so wish, can ride hard and be in the city just after nightfall. Perhaps you would not wish to wait, if Master Ahmet's concerns weigh heavy on him."

Alexis Smolensk said...

lol. Pardon me.

Hichem SAYS ..."

Damn catchy, that future tense.

Andrej said...

Assuming all is conducted as per above, yes we can move ahead of the vardo and Hichem if Ahmet wishes it.

While the party decides Andrej makes a point of playing with his pet monkey Farooq, who has been keeping a low profile so far it seems.

Maximillian Boii said...

On Yazagi's pillow, I leave the agate figurine I purchased in Constantinople (1 inch, 21 gp)

Would Hayund be able to wear a suit of scale mail?

Alexis Smolensk said...

He would be able to, but it is possible he doesn't want to. Not wearing armor might be a choice; you do move faster, after all.

Lukas said...

Actually this is not possible unless someone has a spare mule.

My summoned mount will not last 4 days. The 'spare' as it were requires my presence at least daily still.

Of coarse, perhaps we have some way to shuffle the mounts appropriately?

Maximillian Boii said...

Well, I'd leave the 40% value scale mail as a gift for him if it wouldn't be seen as insulting or something. I also leave the ring I've been wearing. ("Gold Ring, Heavy" from Boroge's horde.) I tie them together with a thong, and place them beside the door where Hayund rested his head. I have no doubt my gifts would be rejected if they were here, but... they're not, and they saved all our lives.

To Hichem, I give Mareo's great helmet (Also 40% value.)

Lukas said...

Oh and I will sleep in the Vardo, if it's just me and Andrej I will be interested in speaking on my desire to follow up on this situation and debating options for the Vardo.

Maximillian Boii said...

Updated description for the gold ring: smooth, unset gold ring, heavy

Ahmet said...

Ahmet leaves nothing; his presents is his... presence?

Anyway, I'm all for riding for Melitene if we can find a spare mule. Perhaps there's a small village around here where we could barter for one?

Alexis Smolensk said...

"I am sorry, Masters," says Hichem. "I had inquired into that, and I have been given the name of a local who would lend his mule on Yazigi's say so. The village is only a half-mile away, there, up the valley. I am sorry I did not explain this, my Masters."

Lukas said...

"Thank you for taking initiative Hichem. That's great! We can take a mule to there, then split up."

Maximillian Boii said...

That plan works for me.

Andrej said...

Agreed. Let's move out.

Ahmet said...

Onward!

Lukas said...

BTW I appreciate the quick resolution to this issue. Dragging out that problem would have been a royal pain.

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: I didn't want it any more than you did, Lukas.

Fellows, today I am sick; and I have meetings most of the afternoon. I had hoped that I could get some game in this morning, but now that's gone and I'm at a loss. Look for me tomorrow.

Will this work pestering nonsense ever end?)

Andrej said...

No worries and ditto on the mule.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The next post is up.