Tuesday, December 6, 2016

In the Foyer of the Harbourmaster

Cafer Mohammed-ibn-Assud seats Enrico, Ibrahim and Kismet on deep plush cushioned chairs, the sort with long and comfortable arms, in a wide foyer with open walls on two sides. This, too, gives a beautiful view of the sea, without the clutter of the town below to mar the vista.  The parquet floor is made of black and white stones in a geometric pattern; it feels cool on the feet, after the hot stones of the street.  You're each served a chilled coffee with cream and vanilla ~ a favorite of the harbourmaster ~ while on the table in front of you is a large bowl of pomegranates, oranges, nectarines and grapes.  There are small bowls of olives floating in oil around the bowl.

The harbourmaster is serviced by two scribes, who stand on either side of him.  There are a dozen guards in the foyer, but all are well away from your group, and are facing outwards at the crowd outside.

"This may seem strange to you," Cafer starts, after initially offering his hospitality.  "But you have the answers to my questions, though you do not know it.  But allow me to explain.

"Some eight days ago, a devastating storm struck the city from the south.  This is not unusual for this time of the year . . . but on this occasion the storm dredged up a wreck, which was discovered just four feet deep in the water just off Dimitrios point.  A rather fabulous wreck, as it turned out, for it contained something like twenty thousand gold pieces."

At this point, Cafer will hold up his hand.  "Now, the wreck has been declared for scavenging purposes . . . but it was clear that the wreck was not long sunk.  It appears to have been in the water some two or three months.  By our law, if there is a recent wreck, it is our responsibility to determine the ownership of the wreck.  But after examination, it appeared to be a pirate ship, and apparently of construction somewhere in the west.  Knowing no one in the west, we asked the Old One, Philoctetes, to perform a divination.  He is a known local oracle: and his answer was ~"

Cafer turns to one of the scribes and begs the scribe to read the words.  The scribe reads, "If you would know the life and purposes of this ship, ask the stranger from Koufonisia that comes to Syros, for he will know the ship well."

Hearing this, Cafer spreads his arms.  "Well?  Do you know a ship called the Petrel?"

36 comments:

Enrico Guerriero said...

Enrico goes white and has to bite his tongue to stop himself from wailing out in dismay. He hides his face behind his coffee cup, hand trembling as he takes a sip.

He is not the most experienced lad but he knows it might be unwise to claim friendship with a pirate. On the other hand to deny all knowledge could condemn his companions to execution... assuming they aren't already dead.

"The Petrel," he squeaks nervously. "I believe that name is familiar, yes. Were there any survivors?"

Nine-toes said...

.

Sofia Viktorova Koleva said...

dun-dun-DUN.

(couldn't resist, please ignore me :-) )

Ibrahim Bin Yusuf said...

Ibrahim sips his coffee with pleasure, but his expression switches to concern at Enrico's obvious distress.

((Two notes: A) before I chime in any further, I'm not sure how much Ibrahim knows about their adventures and friends before. B) I hadn't noticed Enrico's age on his character sheet until yesterday!))

Kismet said...

Kismet, who is slightly less familiar but knows the story better decides to be a little less evasive. Enough probing and they would know everything anyhow, they DO have a cleric.

"It was a ship that stopped at Koufonisia, it seemed to take up opportunistic jobs as well as piracy. When we last saw it, it was transporting cargo and passengers for the purpose of establishing a mission. Koufonisia is a convenient place with a water supply. Some of the passengers came to shore before returning on their voyage."

Kismet said...

((Urg, first line isn't quite right, "Kismet, who is slightly less familiar but knows the story decides.."))

Alexis Smolensk said...

To Enrico, Cafer says, "No, we found no bodies on the ship at all. It appears to have been completely abandoned before it sunk. We did not find any meaningful stores in the hold ~ though it was difficult to dive into every part of the ship ~ beyond a few smashed barrels and crates."

At this point, Kismet speaks his piece and Cafer answers,

"A pirate? I see. That would explain the lack of markings or flags. Did you know the name of the captain?"

Kismet said...

("it appeared to be a pirate ship" was mentioned earlier, I assumed they already made that assumption)

What kind of response is that last question asked with?
Calm curiosity? A dark ominous tone? Do I know anything regarding to the usual practice at this point and the point of these questions?

Alexis Smolensk said...

It seems quite apart from ominous. Calm curiousity is closer, with a touch of bureaucratic dotting the i's and crossing the t's. As to the point of these questions, you'll have to ask.

Kismet said...

Kismet changes the subject slightly abruptly, "If you don't mind I have a question first as to your motives on the subject. I presume you are determining whether or not the owner is still around to claim the salvage, whether or not the salvage is legitimate and some other book keeping. I made good friends with one of the passengers on that ship, and would like to inquire as to whether or not there will be any action taken aside from claiming the salvage in regards to the captain, crew or passengers. I would be concerned about retribution on myself, our island, or perhaps even my friend."

Enrico Guerriero said...

Enrico is relieved to hear his friends are safe, or at least, not definitely dead. He listens anxiously to Kismet's question. He reaches out and is about to grab a nectarine, but his hand hovers nervously just above it. "Ah... your excellency," he says, "may I?"

Alexis Smolensk said...

Cafer smiles. "Yes, you have approximately the right sentiment there, sir. It is a question of salvage. I'm under an obligation to attempt to find the owner ~ and to pay the owner 5% of the salvage, a thousand gold pieces. I'm also an obligation to assign persons to find the owner, with a commensurate reward upon success ~ 10% of which is to be paid up front.

"And since you seem to know the owner, you are likely the best possible persons to send in this case. Until three months have passed, I cannot release anything that has been gained from the salvage, and I must show my superiors that I have attempted to find the owner."

He pauses and tells Enrico to go ahead and help himself, then continues to Kismet:

"So you see my position. There are 20,000 gold pieces at stake. I can collect the money from the wreck, plus whatever else there is, but I am bound to hold the money until three months have passed ONCE a bounty has been paid to search for the owner. And since the cove in which the wreck appeared is counted as owned by the town of Syros, every member of the population here is entitled to a SHARE - approximately 2 g.p. per resident."

Enrico Guerriero said...

Enrico anxiously eats the nectarine while looking at Kismet for guidance.

"I think, ah, we would be well suited," he swallows nervously, "to that task, your excellency. We would be, um, happy, to assist you, in finding her." He smiles and then blanches realizing he may be letting on a bit too much. "...her... uh... I mean to say, the Petrel's owner. Her owner. The owner of her, the ship." He nibbles the last of the nectarine. "Whoever he may be."

He smiles and fidgets with the pit.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Hah ha ha ha ha ha! Brilliant.

Alexis Smolensk said...

"Excellent," says Cafer. "I shall put 100 g.p. into your hands by morning." Then, he adds quietly, "Of course, if you don't find the captain ~ it is no great loss. Only 100 coins. Far less than 1,000 coins, I think we can all agree."

Kismet said...

Kismet nods, "Yes, given the context I do believe seeking out the Captain Salvador for this purpose wouldn't result in much retribution since they would be gaining a portion back of their losses. Now you have not expressly offered that we be the assigned the task of seeking them out. Is this an offer to pursue this task?"

Alexis Smolensk said...

"Quite so. I ask you to take these 100 pieces and find the captain. The townspeople will be pleased that I have hired the Koufonisia people for the task ~ there will be less accusation of corruption, you see, since it was Philoctetes who named you.

"Normally," explains Cafer, "We would give 100 g.p. to a friend, who almost always fails . . . but this is something that always arouses the discord of the residents, but then what are we to do? We obey the word of the law if not the purpose. In this case, however, the people will know we tried our best!"

He gives the three of you a large, toothy, somewhat avaricious grin.

Enrico Guerriero said...

Enrico, somewhat naive in the ways of the world, nods eagerly, not following the intricacies of the Cafer's offer. "Thank you, your excellency. I assure you we will find the captain. Absolutely, have no fear, it will be done." He smiles confidently and stands. Then, seeing no one else stand, promptly sits again. But he thinks perhaps it is time to leave, so he begins to stand again, but thinks better of it, and the result is he sort of crouches in mid-air.

"Ah... may we get to looking, your lordship?"

Sofia Viktorova Koleva said...

OOC: Ahhh... I missed this. The Alexis Reveal, preceded by the dispensing of information as if from a dropper. Is the party in trouble? Are we implicated in some trouble? Tick-tock-tick. Not at all, here's 100 gold pieces for you to disappear.)

Alexis Smolensk said...

OOC: You're not supposed to notice!

Sofia Viktorova Koleva said...

OOC: It's great though, I missed playing like this. Also, you made a very excellent post once about just that, even using the "info from a dropper image" and might have written a book that mentioned it, too. ;-)

Kismet said...

"I would accept this task as well. I think at the minimum before we engage on our search people would want us to view the wreck, I assume this is acceptable? Perhaps we could have a guide to get us there? Obviously a fair and impartial hunter would at least go to the start of the trail. If a local is sent then they could know with greater confidence that we are taking this seriously."

Kismet said...

OOC: To be honest I was counting on it in this case. It would have been pretty cruel to open with an imprisonment or other horrible thing.

Ibrahim Bin Yusuf said...

Ibrahim smiles gently at Enrico, then allows his smile to broaden a bit as he nods to the Harbourmaster.

"There's no need to rush, Enrico. I'm sure that the Harbourmaster wants us to be deliberate and careful in our search for the good captain! Your enthusiasm is wonderful, and Kismet will balance it with thoughtful care to make sure that this situation has the best possible result for all."

Enrico Guerriero said...

Enrico sits again, nodding. "Yes yes, of course, of course. Deliberate and careful, certainly." His hands flutter nervously in his lap and he eyes a pomegranate.

Alexis Smolensk said...

If you so wish, the Harbourmaster would be honored to provide you with a soldier able to take you to the wreck the next morning; and would like to pay for your lodgings tonight, if you would rest at Alcibiades House at the base of the Palace Hill ~ then he would know where to send the money come morning.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Cafer will pick up the pomegranate and HAND it to Enrico.

Kismet said...

"I greatly appreciate the offer of lodgings and will accept it." Kismet says.

Enrico Guerriero said...

Enrico gratefully accepts the fruit and the offer of lodging.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I'd like to get the party back together now. Has anyone any difficulty with joining up at the Alcibiades House, including those who are outside speaking with the crowd?

Ibrahim Bin Yusuf said...

Sounds good to me.

Nine-toes said...

Fine by me.

Enrico Guerriero said...

Ready!

Sofia Viktorova Koleva said...

Ready.

Yuliya Romanyuk said...

Ready!

Kismet said...

Ready