Monday, November 5, 2018

The secret travelers

It was a cold morning in West Tower, though the frost coating the rooftops would vanish well before highsun. Bonie's nimble feet padded silently from the lodge where she'd slept, finding Audric and Zeb alone in the village, the pair having just convened with Erathmar to ensure that preparations to depart remained on schedule.

The girl wore her customary dark leathers and roan overcloak. Her blond hair, as always, was tied back, her longsword sheathed at her side. Sapphire eyes bore into her companions with urgency. She spoke to them in whispers.

"Jent and his family must accompany us to Mirabar: the man, his wife, and their babe, an infant. No one but the merchant can know."


In-character replies are welcome.

7 comments:

  1. Zeb smiles when he first sees Bonie approach, but his smile quickly fades, replaced by a slight frown after hearing her share her news of Jent.

    "Did Jent come to you about this, then?" Zeb is thoughtful, weighing several potential courses of action in his mind before he responds. "I am willing to escort anyone who wishes to leave this town on to Mirabar. I have doubts that any but soldiers will survive through the winter, and even then, I'm unsure. Even without the threat of goblins, this town is struggling."

    "Bonie, I will gladly allow Jent to accompany us, but doing it in secret seems wrong. At the very least, I'd not willingly deceive any of Erathmar's company."

    "Does Jent think that there will be resistance to him leaving Westtower with his family? From Falinor? I would plead Jent's case with Falinor...but I would know first if Jent is beholden to him in some way."

    "In any case, stealing away an able warrior and his family would surely leave bitter feelings...if not enemies...behind us, and there's no saying that we won't have to pass through Westtower again. What if we break another wheel, or encounter enemies on the road and have to retreat to the succor of Westtower? We might find doors closed to us, in that case, and I wouldn't put it past Falinor to seek some kind of justice if he perceives our actions the wrong way."

    Zeb runs a hand through his hair, still thinking. "I'd know more before I made a decision, one way or the other."

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    1. "Well, if yer not foolish enough to get throttled again at the hands of some devil, I think we'd do well enough to make it through without returnin', at least not anytime soon. And I agree with you: this is no place for mother and child, but that's not why I'm wantin' to help Jent." The girl betrays a smile at the remark toward Zeb, though her eyes harbor a fire that smothers any lightness in her words.

      "Falinor was hangin' Jent from the spit, sendin' him with us to the falls," she goes on, speaking with a passion that lays bare the northerly accent oft undetectable in the girl's voice. "The mercenary has it out for 'im, ever since Jent abandoned his post during the razing to see to the safety of his family. Falinor Daggercross isn't one to let go a slight, by my measure. Nor is he one to be trusted by those I'd place my own trust in. I'll not see the newborn die to frost, hunger, and goblinkin, nor will I see its father lost to the whims of an ill-minded mercenary."

      She pauses, breathing deeply. "So now ye know where I stand on the matter. Erathmar and his men are as one: trusted to the last, so long as ye'll avow to their honor."

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  2. "I can't make this decision on my own, but after hearing your side, I tend to agree with you. If Jent is not beholden to Falinor by contract or some other method, then I would help him escape the situation. We should consult with Audric and Erathmar--for if Falinor should learn of the plan, and should he be as ill-minded as you say, it could lead to conflict."

    "My instinct would be to do this openly, without subterfuge...but yours is a compelling argument and I would hear other opinions."

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    1. The girl nods. "There is risk for us, I know. Jent already tried to leave openly, aboard the last caravan returnin' to Mirabar before winter. Falinor denied him. They've no other chance, in my mind, unless it's to be with us."

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    2. Audric thinks on the words he hears, not wanting to speak rashly. "I agree that I would like to help Jent and his family, but I have no desire to cross Falinor. His anger and potential wrath are not something I would undertake lightly."

      He seems to get lost in thought, being quite for a long period of time. He begins to speak again while staring into the distance, and it is not certain if he is talking to anyone, or just thinking aloud. "How to balance the welfare of a family against the potential wrath of an entire mercenary company. I do not wish to leave the family hear in harms way, especially when they want to leave. But Falinor leads a mercenary company, and I do not wish to have a price on my head over this. How do we proceed."

      Audric turns to Zeb, and with a slight smile claps the man on the shoulder. "I think I have a solution, and you, my friend, may have provided it to me. If we assume that Jent is not beholden to Falinor in any manner, then perhaps the solution is as easy as taking him on as my man, at a fair wage of course. I would think that no sane man would ask someone to leave a worker, employee, servant, the word doesn't matter, of his behind against the employer's will. Falinor may not like it, but it is not unreasonable that Jent would approach us for work, and ask to bring his family with. I would think we could leave in the open, and as upset as Falinor would be, I am well within my right to hire on someone like Jent, and bring him with me in my travels. So what do you think, Zeb, could it work?"

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    3. "No, Jent is not beholden to Falinor," Bonie replies, "but Falinor holds full command over West Tower, and those who reside herein... including, for the moment, us. Make no mistake that we will be defying him regardless; the difference is that our departure should go unchallenged so long as we leave with nothing more than we arrived. As for a bounty... we might find leverage in our ability to influence the last supply caravan from Mirabar, should we meet it along the road."

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    4. Zeb considers Audric's idea, finding that he does indeed like it. "There are no laws that I know of that would prevent you taking Jent into your service, and several that would afford protections in that case." He considers Bonie's warning, as well. "Though if what Bonie says is true, that might not be enough."

      "If Erathmar and his men agree--for it will be their lives at risk, as well as ours, if we're found out--then I think we should formalize Jent's agreement in writing, should the need arise to use it, but it seems most prudent to follow Bonie's original plan and smuggle Jent and his family from Westtower without Falinor's knowledge."

      "We should be prepared, however, for resistance, especially if Falinor is particularly shrewd or alerted to our plan."

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