Winter 1220, Chapter 2: The Baron's Fist

Guillaume knits his brow in consternation. "A wise man once said that it is folly for a man to presume to know the mind of a woman," he murmurs, "But if I am to cast aside that wisdom for a moment-- I do not believe that this was her plan. She seemed confident that she could dissuade the baron from collecting our taxes, and seemed quite surprised when he refused her request for an audience and doubled our annual fee for this spring. She insisted on going to Flynt anyway, and-- this is my fault for being unable to refuse the request of a strong, beautiful woman-- but I carried her there at her behest. She demanded an audience, and was carried away by armed men. All my requests to learn what has become of her have been denied."

Gracchus the raven picks the remaining morsels from Lamentus' bowl as the elder mage sucks a bit of spilled honey out of his beard. Once done, he seems to notice everyone else again and clears his throat to speak:

"Ah, Maria--"

"Maruska!" squawks the bird.

"Ahem, Maruska--never mind, I already told you about the portents for today, didn't I, last night?" Lamentus says.

Somewhat surprised at his lack of inclusion, Attravere raises an eyebrow at Rhodri's declaration, "I... see."

Turning to the other Magi present and Maruska in particular, "While we..." at which Attravere looks to Rhodri for a moment before continuing, "...may not be able to scry in the most strict sense, reconnaissance would still be useful. If you would be willing Maruska, I believe you are particularly suited to such a task."

"Oh, of course. I will be sure to keep that stew i mind." She winks at Lamentus then turns to the other members. "Sodales, I believe we should take our leave then. Lady Elysante awaits."

With that, Maruska turns into a Raven. When her clothes fall to the ground, the bird catches a bracelet she had on and slides into it, wearing the thing as a necklace. It doesn't fit perfectly at first, so she struggles with it for a little while. It is made of wood, and looks like a thunderbolt curled into a small circle, inscribed with the word ворон.

After putting it on, the Raven flies upward, landing on Rhodri's left shoulder.

"A formidable team indeed!"

The bird turn its head to Attravere. "Sounds like a good plan." It takes flight again, and lands in the table, right in front of the magus "However, I do not speak the language of this place, so I won't be able to get as much intel as possible. I can try to find where se is being held, though. With a little luck, maybe I can talk to her or something."

"Talbanus, Rhodri and Attravere. Is there a way for all three of you to follow me? That is, if all of you want to come along. Someone should follow me and stay a little behind, so I don't have to come back all the way here to discuss a course of action."

Lamentus smiles. "I'm glad you did not forget, Maruska, for the only thing worse than forgetting is five-getting, but four now, let us consider the advantage of six now." When the others give him puzzled looks, he adds, "That is, I mean to say, Gracchus and I might accompany you, if we would be welcome. Three ravens has a certain mythic quality, don't you think?"

He looks around the room, as if hoping that these interesting young magi will not consider him too old and Twilight-ridden to join them.

"Of course you would be welcome, too, Attravere. You just hadn't said you planned to make the journey."

"From what I have seen I believe Attravere can get there faster than the rest of us. I can travel similarly, but much more slowly."

Shmuel rises and bows deferentially to his parens. "Pater, I will go notify Stefan so that he can make preparations for the journey. I'll make sure he doesn't forget the currant scones for you this time. If he tries to give you undercooked crumpets again, I'll set his head on fire. We'll meet you at the south gate in an hour."

Erro nods. "IIt sounds like the rescue is in hand then. Will you be taking mundane support? "

"I think the question of mundane support will come down to a question of expedience. We magi can get there a lot faster on our own. Do we think we will need additional assistance? I doubt it. We have negotiators and warriors among us. I think Guillaume can make the trip quickly, too."

Little William cocks an eyebrow curiously. When he speaks, it is with a hesitant cadence, as though he is choosing his words very carefully. "I would be glad to lend my assistance in this instance," he begins, "Though of course it must be absolutely clear that Redcaps are not and never will be servants-- we are autonomous, answerable only to our House." His posture becomes more rigid with these words. "...And I suppose also to the Tribunal, to some extent," he adds offhandedly.

"I do not imply you are a servant. Rather, a noble has acted against a member of the Order. As a member of the Order I see it as my duty to act. I would not deny you the same opportunity, for you are a member of the Order as well."

The knightly Redcap grins broadly. "In that case, we are of an accord," he replies. "Let us make haste, for the maiden requires the use of our swords!"

Rhodri grins back at the Redcap. "Well said my new friend." Rhodri gets up to prepare for the trip. "If someone would tell me where to head, I would appreciate it."

((Rhodri will use Wizard's Leap repeatedly. Even still needing rest he can manage it with requisites without fatigue loss. That's 50 paces every 6 seconds, or about 30 km/h (letting 1 m = 1 pace, a little slower if 1 yd = 1 pace.) While that's not so fast, it won't take him too long to make the trip.))

Guillaume points across the river, where the bright shine of a sister lighthouse glimmers across the two mile expanse of delta. "By land, it is a trek downriver where the estuary is narrow enough to cross, then back up the coastline to the town of Flynt. If you are using Seven League Stride I can pace you overland. Champion knows the way and can carry two others. But of course Stefan will have things for us to carry by cart or mule-- likely including some gifts to curry favour with the baron."

Lamentus states, "Gracchus and I will travel with Stefan unless there is need for us to arrive sooner. Maruska, I have a charm I enchanted in my spare time that will allow the wearer to understand the meaning in any language; you may use it if you can find a way to wear it." He offers Maruska a sapphire pendant.

((Sapphire of Understanding, Lesser Enchanted Item (LT 60)
Sapphire (set in a non magical necklace)
Thoughts within the Babble InMe 25
Just like spell, but item maintains concentration.
Effect level: base 25 + concentration 5 = 30))

((I actually had him make this while I was cooking him up--had no idea it would be useful.))

With more clarity than anyone's seen in his eyes, the elder mage stands up and says, "I'm off to my lab to prepare! Call me ere the owl crows!" He then leaves the room.

When you all assemble at the gate an hour later, Stefan and Shmuel are waiting. Champion is wearing a riding blanket such that he could carry two riders, and saddlebags stuffed to capacity. "Is there aught else you require, monsieurs et mademoiselle?" Stefan inquires with a bow.

Attravere shows up, nodding to Shmuel and Stefan and bidding greetings to his fellow Magi.

"Thank you, good Stefan, for arranging these preparations," nodding to the saddlebags. "I'm sure they're quite well stocked, but could you give us a quick word of what we have here?"

Stefan nods. "A bottle of uisce beatha as a gift to the Baron. Changes of clothes for each of you. Cured hide boot coverings in the event of inclement weather. Food for the journey, both fresh and preserved; sufficient amounts to get you all there and back again, in the event that the baron does not provide you with rations for your return journey. Waterskins and wineskins. A skinning knife, a hunting knife, a bread knife; a piece of flint. Two lengths of rope, in the event of emergency. A fishing net. Two blocks of soap. Two lamps and oil. Some bandages in the event that someone is injured; remember that if there are any open wounds, you should rinse it with wine prior to bandaging it. There are also some various sundries I packed in case--"

"They get the idea, Stefan, okay?" Shmuel interjects, before turning to the gathered magi. "You're prepared in the event of just about any contingency, because that's the kind of guy Steve is. Now hurry-- if you leave any later you may end up having to make camp along the road."

((This is your cue to tell me if there are any last minute preparations you'd like to make before you depart, or simply let me know if you're ready. You may do this in or out of character.))

((Rhodri will head out. He will be carrying his weapons and wearing his armor, without the yellow robes. He will travel as mentioned above. I'm not sure what the distance is, but it will probably take him an hour or two. He will try not to rush things; it's OK if an hour trip is doubled to two hours, for example. Knowing he'll be the last to arrive, he'll head out before all the others get there.))