1229.1 Where All Honor Lies

Alexei heads straightaway to the tavern with Michel and Brionne in tow. Once there he looks about the tavern, squinting in the poor light. Finally giving up he announces to those in attendance:

"Renaud? Is Renaud here? I need to speak with him quickly."

((Alexei is not likely a stranger to the tavern scene, the way he interacts with the men and his Gentle gift, but coming in here all business will likely seem odd))

Saw Roberto's name mentioned. What do you need of him? I have no problem multitasking, but I will be unavailable until Sunday night.

Once Alexei gets a few answers he'll be calling the Flambeau together. Knowing Roberto's feelings for Ariel he might not care too much, but I'd mainly like him (as Imperator) to keep the grogs on high alert for whatever is happening. I was expecting an attack on Mons Electi already as soon as Alexei left.

((Sorry. Lost this thread for a bit))

The room quiets down and some men look to a back table. A bearded man, dressed in various shades of red, is leaning back in a chair with a lute in his hands. He plays some more cords to himself before he answers in a slow and lazy tone. And who would be looking for Renaud?

Alexei turns and nods to the grogs, who nod in return...and then head to bar and get some drinks. Alexei approaches Renaud, pulling a scroll case out, leveling a very serious stare at him as tavern folk step aside. Once there he leans a bit on his spear (not a staff) and takes a chair and sits across from him.

"I..." he begins but Brionne has returned with a tray of drinks and interposes between them. "Thank you Brionne." Alexei takes one and the other is offered to Renaud. "I would like to ask you some questions about these letters, and who delivered them. Can you do that for me please?"

Renaud looks at Alexei for a moment then down at the letters. After a long time ( for Alexei) he slowly puts all four legs of the chair back on the ground. He talks a slow pull on a beer and puts the mug down. I'm not sure what mystical qualities you imbue upon my brethren to know all of the various and multifarious goings on of the Order nor of ones such as Renaud to ascertain enlightenment from hither-to unknown communiqué. But as you are a friend and compatriot of Korvin, Renaud will strive to entertain and enthrall you as to these phenomenon.

Alexei hands over the letters to Renaud. "Merci beaucoup." and takes a drink. There's a brief commotion at the door as the huge mastif pushes his way through, nose to the ground, unconcerned about who he bumps into as he unnerrignly heads to Alexei, but not without taking a scrap or two from some tables. Once at Alexei's side he drops a heavy paw on his lap and looks directly into Alexei's eyes. The dog looks remarkably like another dog that has been seen around the covenant since fall, except he's smaller. The other dog is as big if not bigger than warhorse, while this dog is quite large it is still of a normal size for a dog.

The magus seems to get defensive as the huge dog puffs out his chest and begins to make low growls and barks. Alexei responds to the dog in annoyed tone. "I wasn't gone for long! Barely a few hours! No, I told you that it would be brief and that Fiona would come to visit. Look, can we do this later? Fine! I'll get a mutton leg for you!" The dog seems to nod his head and then looks at Renaud briefly before taking Alexei's drink in his mouth right off the table and bringing it to the floor where he begins lapping up the ale right out of the mug. "I was drinking that! Nevermind." Alexei can finally return to Renaud.

"I'm sorry, this is Donner, he is very possesive of my time. Renaud, that letter was delivered by Redcap to a page who gave it to me. I know Redaps come and go at Mons Electi with some frequency, perhaps even you were the one who delivered it. But the letter is false, it claims to be sent by Ariel, the Prima of Flambeau, as well as the second response. But she never sent it. It wasted both our time and also could have been part of ruse to set an attack or ambush. Can you tell me or find out which Redcap delivered the messages so I can speak with him?"

This presumes he survived his adventure last year and was not horribly transfigured by it
Ariel is my Prima, and I am ever ready when duty calls. But I fear you may be right, this was a trick on us. And the target may be the two of you, or others of your societas. Check in with them, see who else has recieves messages to go there or anywhere. And keep me posted and call on me as needed. Have Cidito share his scent mark with you, I will have him check in on you, and if you need me, send him back along with an Arcane Connection for me to use and I will magically transport myself to your side.

Isen was not happy to see this trick played on them. So? He frowned, of course! :smiley:

The letters. Hopefully, they should still be arcane connections to whoever wrote them. This can help us.

Renaud regards the letters for a moment then leans back in his chair and picks up his lute and resumes his former position.

((The Flambeau Meeting))

"As absurd as this sounds, I'm concerned about using the letters to try and find exactly who did this by magic. It could be thought of as scrying. I'll be seeing Renaud the Redcap to see if he can provide any information about them. Since no attack has happened yet, the person who wrote them could be accused of a ruse at most, perhaps costing us power by wasting our time. Using the letters to scry could be a trap for a worse crime. As Hoplite I have to be...cautious. So, other options first before we try that?"

((The Redcap Meeting :wink: ))

Alexei watches Renaud while Donner continues to noisily lap the ale in the mug. After several awkward moments Alexei clears his throat. "Ahem. Renaud, there is some urgency to this, whoever sent the letters might have done it to distract us in prelude to an attack." he says in Latin to avoid the people in the tavern from eavesdropping. Donner's ears pick up at that and he looks about before going back to the ale.

Of course worthy consociate of Korvin. Unworthy Renaud was but drawing a moment to reflect upon the quandary that your worthy self had placed before me. And also upon this luscious and neglected ale that you brought before me. Alas, only one may be solved within this room but Renaud will do it forthwith so as to assure the other shall not be wasted.

He then drinks the ale.

Now, the fiendishly clever Renaud shall remove myself from these locale and seek erudition of the courier of these missives.

Everyone in the room says goodbye ( or something ) to him as he leaves.

((He will travel to a tavern in Autun that he knows is frequented by passing Redcaps.))

Isen pauses a moment

That's not absurd at all. Especially given our ennemies. You are right, we should use mundane methods for this. Which means asking redcaps, and possible witnesses: One may have used magic to baffle the redcap, yet some passerby may give us useful information. You idea to ask renaud is a sound one. He will surely be able to get more info than we could.

I'm still baffled as of the motive of this letter.

About 2 weeks after Alexei talks to Renaud, he hears that Renaud has returned. Of course, he is in the tavern for the grogs. Alexei ( or a representative) goes to find him back at his usual table with a small group around listening to him spin a tale. When it is finished, another grog gets him an ale and he comes over to Alexei.

Most noble friend of Korvin < he bows> the most humble Renaud has traveled far and wide in search of elucidation to your most perplexing dilemma. Renaud would have come to you in haste had he not been on the verge of collapse from a lack of nourishment. Having thus been replenished by the good graces of this humble tavern, Renaud is ready to divulge the enigma of the quandary. He takes a long gulp of ale and clears his throat.

There is a tavern on the edge of Autun that is sometimes frequented by couriers of my most enlightened House. Renaud, always the sly fox, lay in wait for more wearers of the rufescent chapeau. When they did arrive Renaud did curry favors with them. Enduring horrible barbs against my honor in the process. But at last Renaud was able to induce one to tell me who had made that particular delivery. It was a scoundrel called Alaire. Be careful with this one my Lord Magus. He was as close as a dingleberry to Protor, Valerian and that old bunch. He has been based in Dragon's Rest in the past.

Renaud drains his tankard and sets it on a table. A word of caution most magnificent sir. Beware traveling through Cunfin least your quarry smell the hounds. He taps the side of his nose as if thst act told all there is to know.

Alexei mulls over the information. "Thank you Renaud, your efforts are most appreciated." he hands over a pouch in payment. ((3 pawns of vis, Corpus if he has that, I can't access the wiki page for the vis lists)).

"So Alaire delivered it...but more than that, you believe he is in league with the ones that have been causing us so many difficulties? I'd hoped he'd be a dupe or unwitting at least, but that was too much to believe. I don't wish to get the Redcaps involved in this, their service is too valued. Renaud, if your duties are not taking you away from Mons Electi for the time being, can I ask you to stay and enjoy our hospitality a bit longer? I might have further need of you."

((Alexei calls a meeting of the Flambeau and also invites Korvin and will likely call upon Renaud...things might get awkward))

"Brothers, I have the name of the Redcap who delivered the letter. I didn't really think it would be possible that the Redcap would be uninvolved, perhaps hoped he merely delivered it...but there was little chance he couldn't have knowledge of the deception. His name is Alaire. I have included Korvin as this may involve his House and the Redcaps within it. Korvin a few weeks ago Isen and I received a letter supposedly from our Prima Ariel to meet at Val Negra for the Milites. It was a hoax, Ariel never called for a meeting, but the signature was hers. This also used Val Negra's hospitality with Harco for their portal, it was how we travelled. I believe only Isen and I got such a letter. Renaud said that Alaire is perhaps working with Valerian and others in his...gang. I'm not sure what purpose this filled, I assumed we'd simply be attacked while this was going on, but so far nothing. Has anyone heard of anything going on that I or Isen might have gotten involved in if we weren't already busy?"

Excuse us a moment sodales.

Korvin and Renaud remove themselves and carry on a whispered conversation for at least a diameter. When they return to the table Korvin puts his elbows on the table and steeples his fingers. He closes his eyes for a moment collecting his thoughts.

I would not assume that any Redcap knows what he carries unless he was told by the person who paid him. So do not assume that Alaire was involved in the plot other than a messenger. That being said, there is a fraction within my House that feel close to Guernicus. Alaire is in that fraction. If he was involved with the plot he did so willingly thinking it for the best of his House.

"Well Korvin, how is malfeasance handled amongst the Redcaps, they are full Magi and accorded rights, shall I include him in any actions we take? Or give him a chance to explain himself? This deception nearly brought myself and Isen to blows with the Grogs at Val Negra, to say the least of wasting our time. I'm inclined to bring him here to explain himself before I explore our legal options...for as it is, the message seems to begin with him, we don't know who if anyone hired him to send it." he pauses before asking the next question.

"What laws were broken? Impersonating a Primus? Wasting our magical resources?" he sighs. "These petty attacks...so unworthy of Magi...it just draws more blood from me than a wound, to think of such a petty, ignoble tactic." he pours himself a cup of wine as well as cups for the others.

Redcaps are magi so you could include him in a Wizard War or and court proceedings. I would only do that as a last resort. You have no proof that he knew what he was delivering. As for your investigation....While asking Alaire may seem pointless, I would point out that Dragon Rest used to be the Mercere House and many Redcaps still are based from there. Including Alaire. I'm not sure if the records of his travels would be kept there but there is a good possibility that they are. Unless I'm mistaken, the record keeper is a fine fellow called Perceval. He has retired from traveling. He was there 7 years ago when I visited Dragons Rest. He likes to tell tales of his travels.I'm sure someone who listens to his stories, would convince him to look at Alaire's recent travels. Especially if it is the Chief Hoplite. That might get you something.

This is frustrating Isen to no ends.

So. We don't know if he's guilty or not. And we can't ask for an investigation, because the quaesitores are our ennemies. Unless... As Alexei says, someone forged the Prima's seal, and made us waste magical ressources. And we have multiple testimony. So it may be worthwhile to bring it to the next tribunal, since it may display the treachery of the guernici even more. But now?
I hate this. I would declare a wizard's war and be done with it... :unamused:

Alexei is nodding in agreement with Isen. "Had our enemies the honor to match their power, we'd be involved in it now. My concern is taking actions against the Redcaps and then having the other Redcaps take it personally, costing us their most valuable services. I'm reminded of one of my House who challenged a Redcap to Wizard's War and was effectively cut out of all messages. If we take action won't others in the Order think we're bullying him?" Alexei pauses and taps his staff on the floor a few times in thought.

"What about a warning? Perhaps we could send a message using Alaire? Bring him here in the pre text of having him send a message. And we can ask a few questions of him surely, but basically send a message to those who sent this. Sometimes the threat of a Wizard's War is warning enough? But just bringing him here and asking some questions would help us." he pauses. "Maybe we could have him deliver a message to Ariel? I'm sure she'd appreciate that."