As Stavros begins to go he has some basic options- after talking to several ship captain, he can secure passage on a ship for 2 hyperpyron (1/3 Mythic pound) for the full distance or he can take a smaller boat across to Navpaktos for 5 billon (about 3.8 mythic pence), or of course he can travel by land from the beginning.
Taking the small boat across and then going overland from there seems to make the most sense for him. I assume that folks with more goods would go the whole way by water.
Stavros has been traveling for 2 days, asking directions often enough to keep himself pretty well on the fastest path to Thessalonica, when one night as he lies sleeping he is awakened by the sound of soldiers gathering outside his door.
bumping to get this adventure back into play.
(Sorry, I had somehow missed that this was posted more than a week ago.)
Stavros will sit up quietly, get dressed to move quickly in case of problems, and then listen to try to determine what is happening.
(Is he in something that passes for an inn, or more likely a farmers barn, or?)
Side note: I have to use the corporate network to get to this, as Atlas Games prohbibts the forums from being used from Hong Kong.
He is at this point in an inn.
He has just gotten on his pants when the soldiers break into his room.
"You, you are a spy for the Franks. Finish getting dressed, and come with us."
Stavros looks up startled when the door bursts open. He stands, half dressed as the soldiers address him.
He looks stunned at them, in bewilderment and fear. After a moment:
"Yes, of course, just a moment." He practically falls over stumbling to get dressed quickly. Assuming they let him do so, I will pick up his bag, and step forward almost stammering "I don't understand."
"Of course you don't, come along." The man pushes you towards the door and forward through the main room of the inn, then out into the road where they keep you between the 4 soldiers as the man who was speaking to you leads the way down the road in the moonlight.
Stavros will try not to stumble too much as he goes along with the soldiers. Being dragged would be even more embarrassing.
If the walk takes a while, eventually his fear will recede in the face of his both his confusion and his desire to talk to folks. If so, he will try to talk to whichever of the soldiers near him seems the most willing to talk (friendly is clearly too much to expect.) He would be asking who they work for, and eventually why he is being taken. (Admittedly, he is probably talking as much to distract himself as from any hope of learning anything.)
"I am a soldier in the employ of Theodore Dukas." The soldier next to you replies, "Under the command of Alexios the Ruthless." Further information he seems disinclined to offer.
I doubt that Stavros knows anything about Theodore Dukas, but he can at least remember the name.
(If there is a roll for knowing anything, silveroak please take it for me, as I do not have any dice with me this week.)
Theodore's reputation precedes him- he is the pre-eminent chance at Greece being reclaimed from the Latin invaders- and he is doing it with a combination of terrifying ruthlessness, Frankish mercenaries, and an iron fisted rule over the territories he does control.
Not sure if you are waiting for me to post something more.
Stavros is neither brave nor foolish enough to try to escape. So he will make his way with his captors. He will periodically try to talk with them, but I don't expect to learn anything else useful. If it reaches the point where they appear to be throwing him in a cell he will protest, asking when he will be able to talk to someone about what is going on.
In fact they do not bring you to a cell, but rather to a tent with a makeshift office.
Inside is a man who appears to be in charge, two soldiers continue to flank you as he speaks.
"Hello spy, I'm sorry, but I do not know your real name, or even what to call you. Please, save your protests, they will do you no good. We have heard about a stranger wandering from Patros towards Thessalonika, whom nobody know or has seen before, obviously this man must be a spy. So the question which I must decide is whether you can work for us, can you provide us with information, and an eye in the other camp, that we should allow you to keep living."
Stavros looks at him completely befuddled for a minute. He then blurts out:
"I wish I could be of help in the cause of stengthening our culture and local leadership. I don't know how to help as you ask. I am a simple merchant from Patras. I am going to the Fair at Thessolonica, which I have heard about for my entire life. Our Trade fFair that makes those fabled in France and England small and irrelevant. I do not yet have enough goods to go as a merchant to the fair to sell, but I had the time to go to learn. Does no one walk to the Fair any longer?"
After a moment to catch his breath,
"Is there no other way I can be of assistance? I do speak many languages from Europe. Maybe I can listen at the Fair for folks who really do not belong?"
"A merchant may walk to the fair, but with no goods? And from so far? Who would spend their time so frivolously? No, you are a spy, we already know this. If we must torture you to get the confession we must, I give you one last chance to come clean."
"I am sure I would scream many things for your torturer. But none of it would be what you want to know,a s I just don't know anything. It would leave me broken and my wife and son without support. Yes, I speak high and low german. I also speak Arabic (he inserts a bit). And even Italian, but not Latin. The only folks I know who care about latin as the folks at the mountain school, and they seem to hate it, using Classical Greek all the time. Many merchants in Patras know me. I am not important there. No one in power will care if you dispose of me. But how will it help you?"
Stavros tries to stop babbling. And start thinking.
"I can promise to pass on to you anything I do hear. I can even look for word of Frankish intrigue for you. Although I am not sure how I would get word back to you even if I heard anything. Patras trades mostly west by land, and to the levant by sea."
"Much of Frankish intrigue is to the west. If you had a silent sponsor for your trade, you could investigate for us, could you not?"
"Yes, I would be happy to do so. I can discretely ask who my trading partners are trading with, and try to see if someone is trying to influence the markets here. We always assume that Venice is always trying to do so, but I can listen for whether that has increased, and if there are any other groups trying to involve themselves."
"I was thinking perhaps something more direct, if we can trust you that is. We would need reason to be able to do that. After all, you are a spy." He says the last as if he both reminding you and making a point.