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A Trader Heads North
- Posted 29 November 2016
Jorshin sat in the dim light of the tavern with his back to the corner, trailing his finger idly through the mug of ale sitting on the worn wooden table in front of him. He wasn't thirsty, but like in most establishments of the sort he was occupying, you had to buy something in order to stay. Thoughts raced through his mind too fast for him to order them properly, despite his best efforts. Thoughts of home, of the strange town he was now sitting in, and of the task that was given to him by an overbearing father before being sent out into the world. Click to view more... He missed his wife, Meeka, and his two kids. He had only been gone a couple of weeks, but the journey from Allace to Vornavis was slow and uneventful thanks to the guards sent with him. He very pointedly did not look at the table a dozen feet away, at which sat three men. They were there to watch and make sure nothing happened to him, and he wasn't supposed to know they were shadowing him. The sound of dice being rolled, and the shouts of the winners and losers alike, brought Jorshin out of his brief daydream. He watched intently as piles of silver coins changed hands on the outcome of the wager. That's what it was all about now, coins. He had been sent here to gather as many as he could under the ruse of helping those poor souls afflicted by the terrible tragedy that had befallen Talador in the far northeast of the Empire. He felt for those people, for sure and for true, but his instructions had been clear. He knew in the next few days he would need to start a collection effort. He was a stranger here, however, and although the populace had seemed friendly enough to another human subject of the Empire so far, Jorshin knew that those smiles could quickly vanish once the subject of money arose. Perhaps he could offer some kind of service for them in way of compensation. Some very simple alterations to their belongings; dye a red sack green or stitch a few extra pockets into a cloak. Maybe he could even lighten some armor; this seemed like the kind of crowd that would have need of those sorts of services. The more he heard about the events that had befallen Talador and its people, the more he continued to question the actions he was about to take. He knew he wasn't like his father, and that material wealth for the sake of having it held little interest to him. He cared about his wife and his kids. He cared about the two dogs they had adopted and raised since before those kids were born. Jorshin knew he had everything he would ever want or need. He had what truly mattered in this world, and it wasn't the largest treasure chest or the most expensive estate. His mind made up, and his course of action chosen, Jorshin bided his time at the table. He listened to a bard strum a lute and sing tales about some company of heroes… Or maybe it was two companies? He didn't recognize any of the names, and Drakes and Gryphons and the like all sounded the same to his foreign ear. Finally, his chance came when a particularly large giantman happened to position himself just so, in order to speak with one of the barmaids. Thalk tried to hide his impatience with the oaf of a giant that was blocking his view. The brute had stopped to talk to one of the waitresses and was taking his time about it. He had to be eight feet tall and half as wide, with a stomach that looked like it could hold a whole keg of ale. It didn't help that his two comrades were too busy staring at the same woman to be doing their job properly. Thalk had to admit that she was pretty… for a fair complexioned sort. His personal tastes ran to those that were dark of hair and eye, so he paid her little attention. The lighting in this cursed tavern was not good, and it was crowded. More than once he had had to stare down some local turnip farmer that had hoped to share the table with him and his associates before they had gotten the point. The giant moved on his way with a last farewell to the dimple-cheeked woman. Thalk gave a start, uttering a curse as he saw the table he was set to watch was now empty. Rousing his men, they made their way to the now unoccupied table with their heads on a swivel looking for any sign of the man they had come to observe. He was nowhere to be found, and all that remained was a full cup of ale, and a small pile of silver coins in the middle of the table.
- Posted by LEAFIARA 8 December 2016
Bundt asks, "You keep an account book?" Jorshin says, "In a manner of speaking, yes." Jorshin says, "We are certainly doing our best to make sure we can negotiate the best prices for the goods we procure to send north." You knowingly say, "I saw the destroyed lands firsthand. It was... quite a sight." Jorshin says, "I haven't traveled to see Talador myself first hand yet, but I hear it's very bad, yes." Speaking to Jorshin, Shaelethe says, "'the secondhand word I have gotten has... not been good." Jorshin says, "I trust the Lady Kasendra. She feels the situation is dire, and so I have decided to do what I can to help. She is the true aid organizer, however... I am just trying to pitch in as I am able." Jorshin asks, "Was anyone here able to visit the camp this past weekend?" Jorshin says, "I hear it isn't quite finished yet, but they're still able to store supplies and organize there." Jorshin says, "I hear the Lady has quite a guard Captain that was accompanying her." Jorshin says, "Foodstuffs are of course greatly appreciated. Especially ones that won't go bad very quickly such as chocolate." Unira softly says, "Chocolate doesn't go bad quickly? I wouldn't know..." Shaelethe says, "No one knows how long it takes chocolate to go bad. Because it's never around for long, uneaten." Jorshin exclaims, "Exactly!" Jorshin says, "I hope to get out there to see the camp myself soon... and to have a few meetings with the Lady and her senior staff about what things they're seeing the most need for." You curiously ask, "Is any water needed or only food?" Speaking to you, Jorshin says, "I am sure anything that can be given will find a good home." You proudly say, "Here's some fine pure water distilled with the cleric guild's best equipment." Jorshin says, "I am sure clean water is not easy to come by." Jorshin says, "Has anyone heard more about groups of survivors being found? I confess I've been so busy trying to arrange things I haven't heard much in the way of news in the past week." Jorshin says, "I keep hoping to find news of more groups of people found alive or hiding out." Unira softly says, "Hopefully both." Speaking to Jorshin, Shaelethe says, "There must be some." Speaking to Bristenn, Jorshin says, "You stepped away before I could ask. I heard there was a group of individuals that visited the Lady Kasendra's camp this past weekend." Bristenn nods once at Jorshin. Speaking to Bristenn, Jorshin says, "Were you, by chance, among them? I would like to visit myself once it is completed." Jorshin says, "Oh excellent! Would you mind terribly if I asked what your impressions were? I have heard little except things are still being organized and there was a guard captain of some kind present that was a little overbearing." Mynon asks, "Overbearing?" Jorshin asks, "Perhaps the word I want is... protective?" Bristenn nods in agreement. Bristenn plainly agrees, "Protective." Speaking to Jorshin, Shaelethe says, "Understandable given recent events, though." Bristenn slowly offers, "But, such is his charge. The number of conflicts the north has seen has given rise to no small amount of banditry." Mynon says, "After what we have seen, on the frontier, anyone looking after the security of any from one of the important families does well to have zeal in their protectiveness." Jorshin says, "I confess I.... have guards that accompanied me as well but I'm not sure "protective" is the word I would use to describe my own guard commander." Fionola says, "Well ah wer there an' ah think it be comin' alang nicely." Jorshin says, "He is more my father's man than my own." Bristenn simply agrees, "It's a work in progress, but I think it'll be a fine hub of an outpost when complete." Jorshin beams happily at Bristenn! Jorshin says, "I am glad to hear that." Jorshin says, "I've been sending shipments at the direction of the lady. I'm sure they are being put to good use." Jorshin says, "So, for those that were not present the last time I came to speak to you wonderful people." Jorshin says, "I am going to be offering some simple services this evening as a way of saying thank you for all of your generosity and good will." Ariandae quietly says, "Thank you for taking your time to collect funds. It's very appreciated." Jorshin says, "The thanks are certainly not due to me... but to all of you for helping out your fellow man in this time of great tragedy." [lots of merchant work later, with Haidrea arriving partway through to double up on the people providing services] Speaking softly to Jorshin, Unira says, "I would like this to be able to hold more chocolate, please." Speaking to Unira, Haidrea asks, "Your mouth?" Haidrea chuckles. You begin to giggle, then burst out in a silly laugh. Unira nods eagerly at Haidrea. Shaelethe grins at Unira. Speaking to Unira, Haidrea exclaims, "Wouldn't we all!" Jorshin says, "Lets see what we can do." Mynon smiles. You nod enthusiastically at Haidrea! Jorshin exclaims, "There you are!" Jorshin says, "A few more pieces should fit, at least." Speaking to Jorshin, Shinann asks, "Who do you give the coins you collect for the displaced people to?" Jorshin says, "Most of the coins are actually used to purchase wares that are sent north to the Lady Kasendra's aid camp. From there she makes sure that they get to those that are the most in need." Jorshin says, "I may not know much about the distribution of relief supplies myself... but I have a number of merchant contacts here and to the south that I am able to leverage to secure favorable pricing on the sorts of things that these people are in short supply of." Shinann says, "I see... that is most kind of you to help." Crime quietly asks, "What's the suggested donation amount?" Speaking to Crime, Haidrea says, "All your coin." Speaking to Crime, Jorshin says, "I would not presume to tell someone the value of helping to save a life good sir. We take any amount, small or large, with a smile and a thank you." Speaking thoughtfully to Jorshin, you say, "Well said." Haidrea says, "Ah yes, any amount." Speaking to Jorshin, Haidrea says, "You had a better answer." Jorshin says, "Thank you all again for your gifts." Jorshin waves. Jorshin just went southeast.
Deceiving the Deceiver
- Posted by 16 December 2016
A thin cloud of dust drifted in the air in front of Jorshin's face, as the coarse burlap sack bursting with aid supplies thumped on top of the pile of others filling the back of the sturdy wooden cart. The cart, and many others like it, would all eventually be sent northeast to Talador to aid the survivors of the terrible events that had recently unfolded there. Jorshin smiled and wiped his forehead with the back of his hand, as he stepped away and took a quick surveillance of the rest of this round of supplies. This would be the third such shipment he had sent along to be combined with others under the care of Lady Kasendra to go to the needful. Click to view more... The sound of crunching gravel under a heavy tread caught Jorshin's ear, and he turned to find the commander of his guard escorting the supplies approaching, clutching a fistful of crumpled papers in a gauntleted hand. Kormack had been in his family's service for most of Jorshin's adult life, so when his father had sent him north to do his bidding, Kormack's presence at the head of the guards accompanying him had been an unwelcome, if not unexpected, development. Jorshin had hoped to head north from their estate on the outskirts of Ubl in Allace by himself so that he might best perform the task that had been given to him without the possibility of outside interference or prying eyes. Not only had those hopes been dashed with Kormack being assigned to lead his guard, but the look upon the grizzled man's face told Jorshin that the conversation they were about to have would be far from pleasant. His suspicions were soon confirmed when the crumpled papers in Kormack's fist were thrown at Jorshin's chest with a rasping, "What in the blazes is this, Jorshin?" Jorshin knew that his views of the world did not necessarily coincide with that of his father's, and that Kormack was his father's man through and through. Taking a measured breath he replied simply, "Those would be the manifests of what we're sending to the Lady Kasendra's camp with this aid shipment, Kormack." "I can read, you know," was the seething reply he received. "I mean why did we buy the heavy blankets? That merchant was willing to sell you the lighter weave at a fantastic price. Why you paid probably 20% more for these ones instead. What will that do to profits?" "Have you ever been to Talador, Kormack? They don't just have cool nights with a breeze from off the water to worry about like we do back home in the winter. We're supposed to be helping these people, not letting them freeze to death in a refugee camp with snow to their knees and a only a thin blanket for warmth." Kormack scowled but did not relent, "Well what about this? You paid someone to winnow this grain before we sent it? Why would you waste your money on something like that?" "Because these people need good food, Kormack," was Jorshin's patient reply. "There were signs of weevils in that grain, and the chaff in some of the bags was pretty prevalent. We bought by volume, we may have actually ended up saving money not paying for the inedible portion. Why are you stomping up here demanding answers about the goods you're here to protect?" Kormack narrowed his eyes briefly and assumed a false pretense of deference. "My apologies, sir. I just know your father would want us to make as much as we can, and..." Jorshin raised a hand to cut him off, "We aren't here to make money, Kormack. We're here to help people." Kormack's face flushed deeply as he angrily replied, "That was the reason given to the people in this town to hand over their coin. You're playing with house money! Think of how much you could make if you play your cards right. You could impress your father and finally earn his respect, and mine, as a trader instead of just being a day dreaming do-gooder." Jorshin stared at Kormack expressionless as he considered his reply, "I know the kind of man my father is. The kind of man my father wants me to become. I also know the kind of man I want my wife to know she married, and the kind of man my kids look up to as they grow, Kormack. We're here to help people, not to line our pockets with the goodwill of the rest of the citizen's of the Empire!" At the point of continuing his explanation Kormack waved him off and stomped back towards the small group of guards he had left waiting for him some ways down the road. A quiet exchange quickly took place and more than one head turned to glance Jorshin's way as he watched the commander's lips moving and arms waving. He suspected this wouldn't be the last he heard about how he was screwing up this opportunity by actually doing what he said he was going to do for the people of Talador. After the conversation ended Kormack barked orders and men moved off to their posts around the staging area looking a bit more rigid than usual. Jorshin shook his head and sighed. At least he'd be able to help these poor people. His father would just have to understand.... and it wasn't like he even knew what was going on. What did it matter how much profit Jorshin took back home? He was always adept at explaining the margins on his business ventures to his father to make things look favorable for himself anyway. He would never find out that his son wasn't a heartless crook like he was. Walking across the market in Vornavis, a tired mother kept her eyes on her two young children as they scampered on ahead of her. Suddenly, they stopped and one pointed excitedly to the sky where she could just make out a speck heading south against the overcast sky off the bay. Catching up to the children, she found them mid-argument. "I'm telling you, Cassie, it was just a stupid seagull." "No it WASN'T, Trent! I saw it first, before it got far away. I'm telling you it was a pigeon! You know like one of the ones in the tales with the messages on their legs?" "You listen to too many stories. Who cares what kind of dumb bird it was, anyway?"
Trapped Like a Rat in a Maze
- Posted by 17 January 2017
Jorshin drummed his fingers idly against the dingy table, his chin resting sullenly on the end of his other hand with an elbow propped for support. He was back in the same seedy tavern he had schemed in when this whole fiasco first began, and his mind was racing once again. There would be no simple slip behind a giant flirting with a barmaid this time. Men from his guard, from Kormack's guard really, sat at no less than four tables throughout the establishment. The guardsmen coincidentally just happening to be dispersed in such a way that Jorshin wouldn't be able to leave his own table without being seen from some angle. Click to view more... He was convinced that word had somehow reached his father that he wasn't taking a big enough cut of the money being donated to help those in need to the north. Jorshin played dumb, and feigned not to notice the shuffling of men that Kormack had slowly been executing over the past month, since their somewhat public argument had taken place. Anyone that had ever been on friendly terms with Jorshin in Kormack's employ had been either reassigned to the wagons, or let go. Furthermore, Jorshin now counted at least a dozen more men, locals by the look of them, than they had with them when they had first departed on their mission. Kormack was definitely taking orders from someone. Despite his bluster and rudeness, he wouldn't have had the initiative to do something like this on his own. Then there was the matter of the troubles the supply wagons heading to the camps had been having lately. Sure, everyone had said at first it was just a hard winter and bad luck that resulted in a few blocked paths and delayed deliveries, but with this most recent incident, a creeping dread began to gnaw at the pit of Jorshin's stomach. A faceless assailant, a crossbow, and a stern warning. How far did his father's reach extend? Jorshin knew Kormack would not have sent one of his men to hide in the woods on the off chance that he had been on one of the wagons that was visiting the aid camp that day. Jorshin had intentionally kept a very regularly irregular schedule with his trips to make sure that his presence could not have been predicted too far ahead of time. Kormack wouldn't have had the time to send a man out to wait in ambush, given the little warning that he had when Jorshin would announce his intentions to accompany a shipment to the outpost. Squinting slightly and staring off into nothingness, Jorshin continued to ponder the situation from all sides. He knew from long years of trading that the deals that ended in you holding the short end of the stick never ended up being what they appeared to be on the first or second look. It had been a long time since he wound up with the short stick, and he feared if he did so this time it may be the last stick he ever held. If it wasn't one of Kormack's men perhaps it was one of Martohck's? Jorshin forced himself not to dismiss the thought out of hand but rather to continue the line of inquiry. He had met the Captain on a few of his trips to see the camp and thought very highly of the man. Twist his motives however he could, Jorshin could not come up with a scenario that made the Lady Kasendra's guardian fit the mold of a would-be assassin. Martohck and Kormack may be in the same line of work, but those two were as opposite as two guard captains could be. One a sneaking weasel of man who would sell his own grandmother for two coins to rub together… and the other the kind that would pay the ultimate price to save someone's grandmother he had never even met. No… Martohck wasn't involved with this. If anything he would be appalled to discover the situation existed entirely. That presented some interesting lines of thought that Jorshin found himself eager to wander down and begin exploring, but no. Not yet. First he had to finish the mental exercise in front of him before he ran off to work on another. Jorshin furrowed his brows, and a thought suddenly struck him. There were a lot of people to the north that needed help. The Lady Kasendra and Lord Salnim had done a great deal of good so far in distributing the aid that had been collected, and Jorshin was proud that some of that aid had come from him. The camp was located a bit aways from the affected areas, but definitely closer to those than it was located to where he was in Vornavis. Not everyone that needed help was going to be a poor widow or orphan that needed, or even wanted, a helping hand. Some of them would be men, and some of them would be angry. Some of them might view help from the Baron of Vornavis to be an unbearable insult given the circumstances that led to their current situation. Perhaps Kormack had found sympathetic ears not among the guards and soldiers in the camp, but scattered amongst the refugees and survivors of Chaston's final betrayal. His mind made up, Jorshin decided that he would accompany the next supply wagon he could out to the aid camp. He may not have been the only one to come to the conclusion that there may be those out to harm others, but he knew of at least one man who might help him, if shown the paths of thought Jorshin had wandered down. Kormack might want him injured, or worse, but Jorshin forced his face to stillness as he felt a smile start to form. He would find a way out of this yet.
- Posted 10 February 2017
A bitterly cold wind greeted Jorshin as he slowly climbed down from the wagon he had caught a ride into the aid camp on. He marveled at how much of a difference just being out of the gale had made as he hitched his cloak up on his shoulders and pulled it close around him, suppressing the shudder that tried to run through his quickly cooling body. Jorshin's concentration slipped, and he barely kept from falling face-first into a snowbank, as he half stumbled the last few feet of his descent. Only an outstretched hand that blindly found purchase against the rough wood side of the supply wagon kept him from his fate. Click to view more... Jorshin cautiously started up the rough path toward his destination, still not entirely sure how he was going to make his proposal. The last time he had come, with a group of local heroes and some of the knights from Solhaven and the surrounding areas, the person he had intended to speak with had not been present at the camp. Jorshin desperately hoped that was not the case today. He could tell that time was beginning to run short. Kormack had continued to gradually swap out men that knew and liked Jorshin for rugged mercenaries in his guard, and there had been more than one additional heated discussion about just how profitable this enterprise was with Jorshin not going out of his way to take advantage of the situation. Although he now knew that the man who had stopped the wagon he traveled in the month prior was not sent by Kormack, Jorshin was still convinced that his father had somehow learned of his actions, and that Kormack was working under orders to impede, or possibly even stop him, by any means necessary. The tops of the palisade watch towers came into sight as Jorshin continued his apprehensive approach to the camp. He knew the small shapes moving in the distance were guardsmen walking the walls, vigilant in their duty with all that had transpired. As the path topped a small rise leading to the main gate, the full walls of the fortifications came into view; as did Jorshin appear to the men watching for signs of any incoming or unwelcome guests. One pointed and whispered something to a comrade who then disappeared down a ladder below. Jorshin wasn't afraid of being denied entrance; everyone knew who he was at this point. Still, for some reason the action of the guardsman did little to calm the feelings of uneasiness and concern that he struggled to keep from showing on his face. Jorshin eyed the gate, a large sunburst sigil standing out starkly against the coarse bands of forged steel that reinforced the wooden planks. A guard poked his head over the top of the wall and called down to him, "Ho there trader! Come to visit us again have you? Don't worry, we sent word as soon as we saw you approach. That green cloak of yours might blend in nicely during the summer, but in this barren forest, it sticks out against all that snow. We'll have the gate open for you in just a moment." Jorshin smiled and waved to the guard with a great deal more patience than he was feeling at the moment. He vaguely recognized the man's face; there were only so many guards in the camp at any given time. Lord Salnim had the contingent of Vornavis guards rotated out fairly regularly so that they didn't grow stale on constant guard duty. Being away from home for too long would eventually lead to hard feelings amongst even the most disciplined ranks. What Jorshin had been surprised to learn, however, when making idle conversation with some of them, was that a number of men had approached their commanders and requested to be stationed at the camp more frequently than was required by the duty roster. Evidently, they liked being under the command of Captain Martohck, and saw guarding the aid supplies as their way of being able to contribute to the cause of assisting Talador. As far as Jorshin had heard, Captain Gurbah had been more than willing to honor their requests and had instructed his Lieutenants to allow any man that wanted to rotate back on duty to temporarily join another company to do so. A small man-sized door built into the palisade gate swung open, and a junior officer ducked his head to avoid the top as he passed through to greet Jorshin. Bowing slightly, fist to chest, he politely asked Jorshin what he could do for him. Upon hearing Jorshin's reply the officer bowed again, this time slightly deeper, and asked Jorshin to follow him inside. He could feel the eyes of men on him as he followed his escort north through the camp. Guards peered down from atop their walled posts. A few looked out from inside their tents and from the open-aired mess set up for meals. Jorshin smiled and waved whenever eye contact was made with a man with whom he was on good terms, but inside the feeling of nervous anxiety continued to build. They made their way past untold numbers of boxes, piles of supplies, and well-tended fire pits fighting back against the oppressive cold that engulfed everything. The fires were welcome and warm, though Jorshin couldn't help but feel as if the heat emanating from them was in some way diminished. The fire's heat did not reach as far as it should have, almost as if winter itself fought back against the burning intrusion into its icy dominion. Eventually they came to a large crimson pavilion set up at the very north end of the camp. Holding the flap aside, the junior officer beckoned for Jorshin to proceed in ahead of him, allowing the material to fall closed as he followed. Seated behind a travel desk with his attention buried in a stack of papers, sat the man Jorshin had come to see. The officer saluted, striking fist to chest and standing upright at attention. The sound of a gauntleted hand striking armor signaling their presence. The man paused and raised his head, his concentration having been broken by the officer's subtle announcement. Putting on a warm smile, he stood to greet Jorshin and turned to the guard that had brought him. "Thank you Traves, you may leave us. Please have refreshments for our guest sent on your way back to your post if you don't mind." The guard saluted again and backed out of the tent, leaving Jorshin alone with Captain Martohck.
A Proposal is Made
- Posted 20 February 2017
OOC Note: And so continues our little saga....
For a moment, Jorshin was unable to say anything. He stood frozen, staring at the imposing figure of Captain Martohck Hightower that loomed before him, searching for a way to break the tension. Martohck had a dangerous air about him even here; dressed in camp clothes and reading reports in his tent. Jorshin knew only a scant few seconds had passed since the junior officer, Traves, had ducked back through the tent, but already he felt like momentum was beginning to slip away from him. Click to view more... Fortunately, it was Martohck himself that broke the silence. Extending his hand towards Jorshin, the captain gave a nod of greeting. Jorshin reached out to shake his hand. When his palm made contact, it was as if that frozen moment, so pregnant with anxiety and doubt, shattered, allowing him to focus and concentrate again. Gesturing for Jorshin to have a seat in a flimsy looking wooden chair that folded for easier transportation, Martohck himself resumed his seated position behind his travel desk. "Thank you for seeing me unannounced like this. I know you must be very busy with all the work related to Lady Kasendra's efforts." "She definitely keeps me busy," Martohck replied with a grin that conveyed his understatement. "Still, she really does most of the hard work. I just make sure everyone can do what they need to safely. I think recent events have shown that there's no such thing as too much vigilance when it comes to guarding who, and what, we do here. Thank you, by the way, for all your continued efforts to assist our cause. You have truly been a valuable and welcome partner in our efforts. I know that you have spent a great deal of time, and I'm sure quite a bit of your own coin, to help us and the people of Talador." Jorshin kept his face smooth despite the feelings of nervousness that started to creep up inside of him again. He had been wracking his brain to figure out a smooth and natural way to bring Martohck around to the subject he wished to discuss, and here it had been handed to him on a platter. "Thank you, sir, for your kind words. Regarding my role here with your operation," Jorshin paused for a moment to carefully select his next words. "That's actually why I came to see you today. I have some concerns…" Martohck cut him off with a wave of his hand and barked a short laugh. "I know I gave the doom and gloom speech, but I assure you, trader, everything is fine here. Mureyk has been dealt with, and his men have scattered without their leader. Their hearts were never in it the way his was. I doubt we'll have to worry about another organized effort to stop us from that particular lot." Jorshin nodded and gave a brief smile. He thought the man's bravado refreshing, even if he found himself wondering how he showed such confidence if the reports he had heard regarding the way that particular threat had been dealt with were true. From Jorshin's understanding, Martohck had been bested in single combat by this Mureyk and imprisoned with a number of his own men. Had it not been for the timely arrival of Lord Salnim and the captain of his guard, Gurbah, things may not have gone as well as they did. "Yes I agree with you in that regard. I'm sure those men won't bother us again. However, my concern is actually of a more personal nature. I've come to see you today in order to propose an arrangement between us." The captain's eyebrows rose in surprise, and he leaned forward, resting his forearms on the desk. "You're worried about different groups of bandits? I thought you had your own contingent of guards to see your wagons arrived here safely. That man of yours, Kormack, he seems capable enough." With that they had come to the heart of the matter. Jorshin took a few deep breaths to calm himself before continuing. He had negotiated countless deals worth hundreds of thousands of silver in his life. He had seen fortunes pass back and forth across dingy tavern tables and polished ebony desks. He had dealt with the dirtiest wharf rats, and the most powerful merchant guilds, and almost always managed to come out on the good side of the deal. But this deal was the most important one he would ever strike in his life. He had to get it right. "I would like to propose that I join your camp in an official capacity." Jorshin began. Out of Martohck's view, he began slowly tapping the tip of his forefinger against his thumb in order to meter himself, so as not to begin speaking too quickly and betray his nerves. "Kormack has become more of a problem than an asset. You may not be aware, but I was sent north to aid you by my father. He is a powerful figure in the merchant's guild in Allace, and saw this situation as an… opportunity." Martohck's forehead furrowed slightly as he began to squint, doubt and suspicion clearly beginning to form. Jorshin continued quickly before Martochk could interrupt again. "Your instincts are well founded. I was sent here by my father for the worst of reasons. He is a man driven more by his love for coin than by his desire to do what's right. The problem I face is that I am not my father. I ignored his orders, and instead set out to help your efforts here to the best of my ability. I think my results have borne that out as proof. I get better prices on goods and supplies for your camp than any other trader you have in your informal alliance." Martohck gave a noncommittal grunt and leaned back in his chair, folding his arms across his broad chest looking skeptical. "I could do even more for you and the Lady Kasendra, but I need a favor……" As Jorshin continued to explain, Martohck leaned forward in his chair once again. His countenance shifting from guarded and suspicious, to incredulous, and eventually to one full of concern and sympathy. By the time Jorshin had laid out the entire situation, sympathy had been replaced with outrage and anger. "I'll have to talk to Kasendra, Jorshin, but I am inclined to agree to your proposal. Neither of us can deny the great value having you around full time would bring to our efforts. Besides, this favor you request is something I think we would both have agreed to even if you were not offering yourself in servitude as payment. I agree it is too dangerous for you to return to town at this point. Kormack is even more of a snake than I suspected, and I'm sure he's not stupid. I'll make arrangements for you to stay at the camp here with us. You'll be safer here than anywhere." Jorshin leaned back in his chair and let out a relieved sigh. It was done, or almost anyway. He had no doubt that Martohck would be able to convince Lady Kasendra that the quid pro quo being proposed was mutually beneficial. He slipped a hand into the pocket of his coat and slowly rubbed his thumb back and forth over the small river rock he kept there. The worry stone had been a gift he had been given just before heading north to Vornavis. A gift he had received from his son.
A Plan is Devised
- Posted 28 March 2017
OOC Note: Hey guys, below is the next entry in the Jorshin resolution Arc
The flame of a solitary candle burning low cast dim, murky shadows across the interior of the red canvas tent. Night had fallen, and with the darkness, the crisp winter air became colder, pressing down upon the walls on the outside of the tent. Inside the shelter, two figures sat, both making fog with their breaths in the flickering light of the candle. Neither would show any outward acceptance of the cold. They had spent far too long in the north to let it bother them anymore, and both were much too proud to admit it, if it had. Click to view more... The imposing frame of Captain Martohck Hightower seemed all the larger in comparison to the smaller form of the Lady Kasendra. Even here in the midst of their camp, he wore his heavy mace and sword at his belt. The larger two handed weapon he usually wore harnessed to his back had been left behind in his own tent, along with the heavy full plate armor he donned during the day. He trusted his men to give alarm… fight, and die to protect the camp; but he had been taught painful lessons about what could happen when any conceivable contingency wasn't prepared for. Martohck continued to take every possible caution to avoid a repeat of any unfortunate incidents. He shifted on his seat, and the candle's light caused the mail shirt he now wore in place of the heavy plate to gleam faintly. The Lady Kasendra leaned forward resting her forearms on the wooden desk, separating them on either side; an intent look fixed upon her countenance. The talks had been going on for some little while, and Kasendra had almost heard Martohck's entire report. "So, Jorshin is saying he thinks his family is in danger?" she asked, her voice conveying both worry and disbelief. "But the man is his father, Martohck. How could be possibly do such a thing?" Martohck shook his head, at a loss to understand himself. "Jorshin was very clear on that, Kasendra. His father cares more for profits and running his enterprise than he does about anything else. He would see the family of someone who wasn't doing as he wished to be leverage, even if that someone was his own son." He continued, hoping that Kasendra would see things the same way he did. "He came to see me. He offered a proposition, which I told him I would need to talk to you about first." "A proposition?" Kasendra asked, interest replacing concern in her voice. "Aye," replied Martohck. "He wants our, my, help in dealing with the situation. He says in exchange for smuggling his family out of their home and bringing them north; just long enough to get them out of their immediate danger and for him to find a place for them to settle, he will join us full time. He'll direct his not inconsiderable network of relationships and resources towards making sure that we get the best prices and highest quality goods for our work. Jorshin's already one of the best volunteers we have, Kasendra. Having him on full time could really make a difference." Kasendra leaned back in her chair, tapping a finger against pursed lips. "It is true that having him around all the time, and devoted only to helping our cause, would be worth no small amount," she conceded. "However… what do we know about the danger his family is in? Are they guarded? Will those guards put up a fight if you come for her? We don't want to risk an incident with a powerful human merchant if we can avoid it. If what you tell me of the man is true, I have little doubt he would take us stealing away his 'leverage' in the middle of the night personally." Martohck found himself agreeing as he listened to Kasendra speak. He had anticipated these issues. They were questions he himself had asked. "Jorshin agrees that his father would take the loss personally. He also thinks that there's a strong chance we can pull this off without his father necessarily knowing who it was that took the family. He will, of course, assume that Jorshin was in some way involved, but that is why he intends to relocate the family far away from both Ubl and Solhaven after they are freed. I figure myself, Jorshin of course, and… ten other men ought to be more than enough to enough to handle things. We're there to extract them, not fight an army." Kasendra nodded thoughtfully and opened her mouth, but Martohck continued as if he had not seen she intended to speak, "and of course we'll have to figure out what to do with you while I'm gone." This elicited a cooly arched eyebrow, and a quietly mused, "Oh?" which conveyed the obvious displeasure that was absent from Kasendra's expressionless face. "You intend to enact some overly protective plan that results in me twiddling my thumbs for an extended period of time? I'm not a porcelain doll, Martohck." The corner of Martohck's mouth turned down slightly, betraying his frustration at Kasendra's painting of the situation. Why doesn't she understand she's a target? Why doesn't she take this seriously? She was almost killed last time. Outloud in response, however he was much more conciliatory. "Nothing quite so severe as digging a hole for you to hide in with a wagon sitting over the top of it this time." Kasendra's lip curled up briefly before she could school her face, and Martohck breathed a quiet sigh of relief. "I was thinking, you're going to be heading to Vornavis soon for court. Lord Salnim has, on multiple occasions, graciously offered to host you for visits and opened his residence to you. I expected he would be thrilled to hear you intend to take him up on the offer and stay a few days. I'm sure I won't need more than three or four to get everything done." Kasendra drummed her fingers against the desk as she listened. "That would certainly be preferable to hiding in a hole in the ground, anyway." A touch of warmth had entered her voice as she spoke, subtly undermining her attempt to sound noncommittal. "It's settled then. I'll escort you to court, and you'll stay with Lord Salnim after, while I take Jorshin and our men to get his family. Jorshin says he has an idea for where they may go after we get them out. He said he found the people there particularly kind-hearted when he was travelling and seeking donations." The burning flame of the single candle casting the only light inside the tent suddenly guttered out, leaving the two alone in the cold black of the night with the smell of smoke faintly rising in the air. Martohck could no longer see Kasendra sitting across from him, but her previously amused tone was now replaced by one of seriousness tinged with concern. "Go, Captain Martohck. Add another example of heroism you'll deny to your record. I know you'll free these people and get them to safety." Martohck said nothing as he rose, moving by memory towards the entrance without being able to see. He paused, looking back over his shoulder into the dim moonlight that had banished a few of the interior's shadows when he lifted the tent flap, to meet Kasendra's eye. "I'm no hero," he said quietly. Martohck let the flap drop as he departed, leaving Kasendra alone in the dark with her mouth half open.