1259.4 Pilsners of the Earth

Diotima spent a day in Histria to rest and get ready for the next leg of the journey to Héviz. The Mercere House was welcoming enough and the Gifted Mercere, a young looking woman called Panacea, invited her to a dinner to hear about her travels and other news. Diotima had gotten directions and they had even given her a shield grog who spoke passable Latin and the local Slavic language.

But it did not last. Quicker than most, the Redcaps soon began to discuss her pater and with that, she knew from experience, would cause most if not all to turn cold to her.

As she readies her horse for the journey she notices a man in grey and brown robes watching her. When she noticed him he walks over in a slow manner as if taking in the scene before he approaches.

Greetings Sodalis. I am Cunobarrus, humble Quaesitor of this Tribunal. I understand you are traveling to the new oppidum of Héviz. I am also traveling in that direction. I was hoping we could travel together for a bit and chat.

OOC: Histria ? The city on the Romanian coast ? Or Istria the Peninsula on the Adriatic coast ? Both have been spelled with and without the H. I gather it's the second, it makes much more sense when going to Héviz...

OOC2: Diotima does not ready her own horse, she has a groom (I posted him/her on the grog thread) to do it for her. As a matter of fact she wouldn't know here to start, having neither Animal Handling nor Ride skill of her own. She also has a maid. And lots of clothes and 30 years of correspondence to take with her. So three horses and at least a couple of pack mules for the journey.

Diotima had gracefully accepted the loan of the shield grog, having someone who spoke the local language would be useful. And a little protection never hurt, although her familiar was more than capable of dealing with any brigand unlucky enough to choose her as prey. The thought of her familiar made her turn her head, and there she was, on her maid's gloved hand, in the form of a merlin. Rosanna was feeding Peripha small tidbits of meat, part of Diotima's ongoing (and going nowhere) campaign of convincing her familiar that when it came to eating, bigger was not necessarily better.

She was thus occupied 'supervising' her two servants, Philippos the groom and Rosanna, getting everything ready, when the quaesitor approached her (her major contribution so far having consisted in slipping a purse to the Mercere House steward, generous payment for their stay and the loan of the grog). She drops a small curtsy and answers Cunobarrus:

Greetings esteemed quaesitor. I am indeed traveling to Héviz, where I have been persuaded to take a post. I will be glad to have some company on the road. Please, join us ! Do you have a horse ?

As she spoke she looked at her maid Rosanna and at the horses, trying to gauge their reaction to the proximity of the quaesitor.

The horse shies away from him as you have seen animals react to the Gift.

No horse. Your House has an advantage with the gentle nature of your Gift. My house has other ways for it's servants to travel. Have no fear. I will not slow you down.

He moves away towards the gate and waits for your group to finish preparing. While waiting, a Redcap comes to him and hands him a letter which he opens and reads. When finished he tucks it into his pouch and looks back at Diotima and waits.

Philippos comes forth, signalling that all is ready, and gives Diotima a boost into her saddle, then does the same for Roxanna. With everyone mounted, the party gets underway. Diotima signals Roxanna to give her some room and Philippos to stay near; she figures she can use the help in case her horse becomes skittish, then she rides toward Cunobarrus.

Cunobarrus has an easy stride that eats up the road. So much so that the pack horse falls behind a bit until Cunobarrus stops to rest by a wooden bridge to catch up.

So tell me Diotima of Jerbaton, why did you want to come to Transylvania Tribunal? I'm sure you would have preferred the going to our neighbors in Thebes.

Diotima smiles appreciatively at Cunobarrus' speed.

Well, part of me wishes to go back, certainly, but... it's complicated. For one thing, I don't think they want me back. Or, at least, it would trigger enough of a controversy that I would end up having to bribe a lot of the old... excuse me, I meant to say I would have to surrender earnest tokens of my resolution to be a model citizen before I would even be admitted. And then I would have to do it again when my probation period ends, and I just know I would somehow end up with the most onerous duties and the ones least suited to my abilities.

And besides, the mundane politics are complicated too. I'm a Jerbiton, so I'm sure you realize I don't live cut off from the mundane world. Anywhere else in Europe, I'm just a scholar, known for my translations. When a mundane seeks me out, or at least writes to me, he just want to debate about the best translation of some centuries-old scroll on the ethics of government, or something like that. It would never occur to him to try and recruit me to topple his king or some other innate scheme. But if I go back to the Theban Tribunal, well, it's no great secret that my family comes from Constantinople, and sooner or later someone is going to ask me to join the war effort. And the quaesitors won't be far behind.

For that matter, and forgive me for saying so, but I wouldn't put it past some of the quaesitors down there to arrange for something like that to happen, just to see what I do.

Cunobarrus' right eyebrow raises at the last comment. Arrange something? I think you have been listening to stories. We are just servants of the Order and the Code.

So there is a call for a translator of ancient Greek here in Transylvania?

Diotima waves her hand at the story statement.

If you say so. I admit I cannot speak from personal experience.

As for translators, I expect there is some work for one, but I'm going as a scholar of Ancient Rome. It seems the Tribunal is founding a new covenant... no, they call them oppida in the Transylvania Tribunal... anyway, they are founding one near an ancient Roman fort. I'm going there to see if there is anything interesting in the ruins. Maybe I'll get lucky and find a cache of scrolls dating from the Roman Empire... the old one that is. It is rather unlikely, to be sure, but it would be quite a coup. And if not, I can always go back to Italy.

It is my experience that the officers of this Tribunal to not count on luck.

You walk for a while in silence.

What do you know of this Oppidum you are assigned to?

Diotima gathers her thoughts.

What do I know ? Well, it's a new oppidum, or so I've been told. Founded as a research covenant apparently, although strangely it seems to be researching everything and anything in sight. It's located near a hot spring, supposedly a rather large one, near a village named Héviz. And it"s near the town of Keszthely, which sounds like a bastardization of Castellium, or little fort, undoubtedly in memory of the Roman fort that once stood there. The aedile is [strike]Myrteus[/strike]Laterala ex Tremere.

If I may, why do you ask ? We're as close to the place as I've ever been, surely you know more about the place than I do ?

((The character would not know the Myrteus part as it was never on any documents that Diotima or any other character has seen. It is a Tremere title.))

Laterala is a bitch. I'm not sure what her job or specialty is but the Prima seems to trust her. She rarely leaves the Tribunal from what I can tell.

I know more about the place but not the Oppidum. It is the second oppidum to be founded there. The last one ended in disaster with all 3 magi missing. No one is quite sure what happened. They just stopped reporting one season.

Diotima raises one perfectly shaped eyebrow.

They just stopped reporting, and that is all that is known ? I thought the Tremere prided themselves on their planning and organization, surely they sent someone to investigate ? I would have expected that they would have sent as many magi as it took to get some answers... unless they do have the answers and just don't want to make them public.

The Tremere may have answers but I do not. And who is to say that you are not the investigation team? If you do discover what happened to the magi, I and my House would be very grateful.

Well, I'll keep that in mind. Who knows what I might dig up once I start looking around ? Or what tales the people around might tell to one who does not frighten them ? I just hope that whatever happens, it's not something that requires half a dozen experienced hoplites to fight. I'm a scholar, not a fighter !

We shall have to stay in touch via correspondence. I shall be very interested to hear about the goings on within your new Oppidum.

((Cunobarrus will talk about mundane things until you reach Zargreb and then he will take the north road whereas you will take the east road. Anything else you want to ask him?))

Certainly, I'll make sure to write to you if I find out anything. Or even if I don't, if only so you know I'm still alive and looking.

(No more questions)

Diotima travels on reaching Hèviz not long after dark. She does have the feeling of being watched. Not all the time but it does become persistent as she approaches Hèviz. The Inn is outside of the village proper. Near the hot spring lake. There is a low wall surrounding it but the gate is open and the lamps by the doorway into the Inn are lit. She is not long in the courtyard when a boy will come and help with the horses.

(I asked the question in OOC but it got lost in the chatter: is that inn significant (is it the oppidum ? somewhere she was told to report to ?) or is it just a place where Diotima can spend the night before going on ? )

((The inn is part of the Oppidum grounds. She would not know that until she got there. It is on the edge of where the Roman fort stood. The Oppidum proper is build on the foundations of the Roman Fort.

Diotima looks at the starry sky, then at the lit inn. Well, time to inquire about the cov... no, oppidum, she must remember that, later, for now an inn is just the thing. She lets Philippos help her dismount, makes sure to tip boy a small coin, and strides toward the inn.