Odyssey of the Alabaster Lioness
[tab][/tab]Then there is the matter of the Alabaster Lioness. Roberto was approached for a request of assistance by Carmine of Flambeau, wife of the Primus Andru of Jerbiton. He gained her attention when he defeated her sister at Dimicatio during the 1227 tribunal, earning a place in the semi-finals (which he lost). Seeing how determined and resourceful he performed under pressure, she knew he was the right man for the job. And the opposition was an old enemy of his, Leolinus, whom he thought was dead (killed by Lord Soulis).
[tab][/tab]Andru had recently acquired a text concerning an ancient Egyptian artifact known as the Alabaster Lioness, supposedly some sort of "soul jar". The text was being copied, but work had scarcely just begun when a thief absconded with it one night. All that was left was a few pages and a diagram that were copied. The thief, it was learned, once had ties to Leolinus. And he dropped the knife he used to kill the watchman. They traced him to Cairo, and through there agents they learned that Leolinus was indeed still alive, and again in cahoots with the renegade sahir Jabl Tariq. Roberto agreed to help, and the only favor he asked in return was a bottle of wine of Jerez. Carmine promised him a cask.
[tab][/tab]Roberto assembled his entourage; his personal grogs and long time friends Carlos & Pedro, his almogavar hirelings Allen and Albert, a few of the grogs of Mons Electi such as Wen, Daykin, Ache, Villaume, and Miroslav. And a mysterious rabbi named Pinchas. The journey started off by using the covenant's Mercere Portal to go to Harco, then from there using another portal to Valnastium. Cidito was disappointed he did not get to meet with the King of Cat's, Andru's familiar, as they were away on other business. But they did meet up with Carmine's son Felo, who was to accompany and guide Roberto on his mission. From there they all went to Venice, where a magus named Aeolus of Flambeau was to take them all to Cairo his magical flying ship.
[tab][/tab]That's where things took a turn for the unexpected.
[tab][/tab]Johan VanHalen Junior, at that time just a young grog and tough guy, had acquired Warping and a Malediction as a result of his Encounter with the Sea Hag a few years earlier. He was afflicted with a prohibition against riding on ships with a woman aboard. Though he was magically sedated to shut him up, the flying ship mysteriously would not lift off. Roberto thought to put the lad aboard a life-raft, make it float, and tow him. It just so happened that Aeolus had a small mundane skiff, and laughed as Roberto tried and failed to make it levitate (after hearing him brag about how he flew a ship over the English channel). Aeolus knew the spell and had it well mastered, and did the trick for him. Johan woke up aboard the floating skiff in tow with Cidito sitting on his chest offering him a bottle of wine. Drinking, fuming in resentment, Johan concocted a plan to rig a sail, cut the floating skiff free, and steer the winds himself. Ever the mischievous feline, Cidito swiped a swath of sail-cloth from Aeolus' stores, and they went to work. Unbeknown to them, it was magical sailcloth. They cut the tow line, hoisted the sail, and the ship took of like a bat out of hell and plunged into the sea. Magically surrounded by a bubble of air, Aeolus explained that they were headed to meet Poseidon himself and would have to bargain for their lives and more air.
[tab][/tab]Aeolus was understandably upset with Roberto, for he claims that Poseidon is his father and that the sail was created to visit him (which was a bad experience I suppose because there is a grudge and this is another story). Anyways, once arriving at Cairo, Aelous announced his intentions to ditch Roberto and company and leave them to their own fate. Roberto tried to persuade him to be more forgiving, but Aeolus would listen to none of it. So Roberto went about setting up headquarters in a dockside warehouse, and Aelous went about filling his hold with Cargo.