Session Five: Knives and Fire

Session Date: September 9, 2007

Judyn's Activities
17 Nolus 720 TR (Afternoon/Evening) to 18 Nolus 720 TR (Morning)

On the evening of the 17th, Judyn went to Kuseme to visit her mother. The two discussed recent events as well as made plans to host two dinner feasts: a small feast for her fellow missionaries on the night of the 18th and a large feast for a group of respectable guildsmen on the afternoon of the 20th.

The following morning, she reunites with her fellows at the Scroll & Quill and gets caught up on news. She invited them to a dinner at her house that evening; most were enthusiastic, but Kalrun politely declined. She also told them about her plan for a dinner feast for appropriate guidsme two days later. When the others were occupied, she indicated to Bowdyn that she would like himand Hillay to join them for both meals.

She took leave of the group and visited the office of a scribe, whom she paid to draft and send written invitations to the guildsmen that she was inviting. She also visited the market in Kotros Square and arranged for the purchase of a few specific items that she did not entrust entirely to her steward.

Judyn then went to visit Hillay at her home in the western city. Hillay, having just returned from the Halean luncheon-feast of St. Eloedaeia (a minor saint of the church) received her graciously. Judyn invited Hillay to the dinner that evening and again to the banquet-feast on the 20th, explaining that, for the second dinner at least, several leading guildsmen from the city would be there. To Judyn's mild surprise, Hillay delightedly accepted both invitations.


Others' Daily Activities
18 Nolus 720 TR (Morning, Afternoon & Evening)

Following their morning discussions and meeting with Judyn, the other missionaries pursued their own activities.

Kalrun and Duglan gwento outside the walls to practice fighting in a grassy field in the village of Eldin. Kara went with them and watched, but quickly became bored.

Bowdyn went to work in the shop of Corwyn the scuptor. Corwyn asked him to try hand at some actual shaping of figures, rather than just engraving letters on the base. Bowdyn sought to do such a fine job that Corwyn would lend his support in Bowdyn's bid for obtaining a franchise. Corwyn praised his work as “competent” but did not appear to be overly impressed. He did, however, offer Bowdyn some advice on his quest to obtain guild permission for a franchise: “You're going to need to do more than convince the other masters of your abilities; you're going to need to convince the guild masters that it's in their best interest for you to be given a franchise. That may mean convincing them you'll help guild business overall. It may mean geting something on them so that they're willing to let you in to keep it quiet.”

Maban went to the market to buy a gift for Judyn, to give her at her afternoon dinner. In the Kotros Square market, she spends all of her money on a small phial of pungent animal musk from a Shiran perfumer as the gift.

At his shop, Jaroud was brought by one of Tiny's 'associates' three severely injured dogs, who appear to have lost fights. He devoted the day and the next day to treating their injuries and on training his new wolf. He taught Mykel more about dog and wolf handling, and also spoke with the young man about Ilvir.

Brother Olrau went out to stroll around the city.

The Group Dinner at Judyn's
18 Nolus 720 TR (Late Aternoon / Evening)

Late in the afternoon, Brother Olrau, Bowdyn, Hillay, and Maban arrived at Judyn's home in Kuseme for the dinner she has planned. Maban presented Judyn with the phial of pungent musk.

During the dinner, discussion covered a variety of mattesr. Hillay spoke at length and quite animatedly about the Halean temple in the city— its size, its beauty, its wealth, and the quality and number of its adherents. She particularly emphasized how much nicer it was than the one in Tashal and how much younger and more attractive its Solithori (temple guards) were. She also praised the fashionability of the priestess' and parisioners' raiments, and some of the exotic foods they imported for their feasts. Bowdyn sensed that she was trying to either bait him into an argument or encourage him to return to Tashal through her praise of Halean temple here, but chose not to take the bait.

Hillay also talked at length about the “people of quality” she had met at the temple— several wealthy guildsmen and a few members of Tharda's greatclans. She also related some of the gossip she had heard. Of particular interest to the group was what she said regarding the Master Mason, Punat of Khonary. He was, Hillay related, a member of a small but influential greatclan in Coranan Proince, and that he had a cousin who was in the Senate. He also apparently tithed regularly to all of thte city's temples, thinking it best to be on the good side of them all, but had recently made a very large donation to the Halean temple. His reasons for doing so, Hillay indicated, were political rather than sincere. Apparently, he was making a bid to get elected into the Senate and wished to gain additional favor from the Republic's most powerful curch.

Another item of gossip that intrigued the group was that Indros of Obryne, the mercantyler with whom Judyn had met on her first day, was a friend of Punat's and had attended a banquet at the mason's house on the evening of the 15th. Punat's cousin, the Senator, had allegedly also been in attendence. The rumor was, Hillay reported, that Obryne himself nursed political ambitions and was hoping to shore up the support of the Khonary clan for his own bid.

The missionaries discussed these rumors and considered their import— and possible connection— to their own affairs. They also came to realize that, despite her worship of another god and her often expressed hostility to their own mission, Hillay could be a valuable resource in the city.

Later on during the dinner, Judyn's mother Gwelen asked the group if there was any way she could be of assistance in their efforts. She also made some comments about Brother Olrau's limitations: “Olrau is a holy man, blessed with visions and inspiration, chosen by Ilvir himself to found this temple. But I am not so sure that he is the best personfor day-to-day practical matters. Now that money has been raised, and that we are here in Coranan we really need leadership from someone who is wise in the ways of merchants and money, of property and politics— someone who has a shrewd head for negotiation and diplomacy and making deals with others.”

“Someone like Judyn, you mean,” said Bowdyn pointedly, quite clearly perceiving what Gwelen was driving at.

“Why, yes!” replied Gwelen, “That's an excellent observation. Judyn does seem to have all of those qualities the group needs right now. I couldn't have said it better myself.”

Stepping up to Olrau's defense, Bowdyn remarked, “I would say that it's a sign of Olrau's keen leadership that he sought out and brought with him others who possess the skills that we need, but which he himself lacks.”

A brief moment passed where this minor dispute could have led into a more serious argument, but Judyn defused the tension by asking her mother if she had ever heard of a group of Ilviran priests who chose not to use the ouroboros or other circled snakes in their iconograhy and instead used only straight/elongated serpents— and who perhaps also had objections to female priestesses or parishioners.

Gwelen was surprised by the abrupt change in subject. After a minute or so in silence, she spoke slowly: “I do recall something of the sort… there was a small enclave of priests from the North— from Jara, I mean— who passed through Kaldor… they were going to… somewhere else, I'm not sure where. They called themselves the Brotherhood of the Elongated Adder— or something like that. Or that's what I had heard when I was an acolyte so many years ago. I never met any of them myself, and I had heard that they scorned women— as well as marriage, sex, and children. I was told that they had some very strange ideas about life and deat. They denied reincarnation, insisting that this life was the only one we had. With such absurd beliefs, no-one paid them much heed. After they passed through, no-one ever heard of them aagain.”

Several ask Gwelen if she could recall any other details about this Brotherhood of the Elongated Adder, but she was unable to do. Bowdyn asked her if she thought the group might have been heading to Tharda. Gwelen just shook her head and said, “Maybe. It's possible, but I really just don't know. This was a long, long time ago.”

By the time dinner finished, it was after sunsett, and the gates to the bridge and to Coranan itself were closed, Judyn directed the steward and slaves to arrange for everyone to sleep at her place that night.

An Incendiary Proposal
18 Nolus 720 TR (Night)

After dinner, but before all had gone to bed, Judyn and Bowdyn had a brief, private discussion. They discussed their mutual conviction that an Ilviran cult was already in the city— perhaps the very same Brotherhood of the Elongated Adder that Gwelen had spoke of— and that it was this group that had sent them the severed hand as a warning message.

Judyn felt that it would be to everyone's advantage if they could find a way to work with this group of Ilvirans rather than to be in conflict. Bowdyn agreed, but observed that it seemed that this other cult clearly did not want to work with them.

Judyn suggested that they needed something to happen that might help show this other Ilviran cult that they were not enemies, but in fact, had common cause. After floating several ideas back and forth, the two came up with idea that they needed to persuade the other Ilvirans that they shared a common enemy, whom they both needed to work against. What they needed, she explained, was to persuade members of this cult that there was a third group out there (perhaps Ilviran, but more likely not) who knew of and were violently opposed to both the existing Ilviran cult (of which they suspected Punat of Khonary to be a member) and to their own new mission.

After several hours of late-night discussion, they formulated a plan which they resolved to put into action the following night. With paint from Bowdyn's shop, they would paint anti-Ilviran symbols on the walls of Bowdyn's shop, on the outside of the Scroll and Quill Inn, and on the home of Punat of Khunary. Specifically, they would paint a long line with many curves on the walls of these buildings to represent a serpent, and would then stick knifes (simple utility/kitchen knives taken from Judyn's home) through the serpent to impale it. Then, they would take oil lamps (from Judyn's home) and throw them against the windows or doors of the building in hopes of creating the appearance of an arson attempt. They both agreed to this bold plan. They also agreed to keep it secret from the other missionaries, who might not approve or understand

A Visit Turned Violent
18 Nolus 720 TR (Evening)

Following his martial training and practice with Duglan, Kalrun returned to the Scroll and Quill where he found Brother Olrau looking dispirited. Olrau explained that he had gone to the shop of Hondash the Cobbler during the afternoon in order to give consolation to the family and explain how the journeyman's death, though tragic, was part of a greater divine plan. But Master Hondash was not willing to hear his words— and in fact became quite angry, even downright hostile. Hondash, Olrau said, had all but physically thrown him out of his shop into Kotros Square. Moreover, Hondash had also threatened to take him to court on accusations of witchcraft. Brother Olrau observed, “He carries much anger in his heart.”

Kalrun, angered by the poor treatment of Brother Olrau by Hondash, decided to go pay the cobbler a visit of his own. Still wearing his armor, and with his sword at his belt, he strode down to Kotros Square to the cobbler's shop. A servant admitted him and led him up to the second floor vesibule, thinking that he was a member of the Red Guard.

When Hondash came downstairs to greet Kalrun, he appeared both puzzled and slightly annoyed. Kalrun made an effort to speak reasonably with the man, and perhaps persuade him that he had misunderstood brother Olrau's intensions. He also thought that maybe he could also persuade the cobbler to sele the shop.

Unfortunatley, Hondash, after hearing Kalrun speak just a few words, quickly became quite angry— and from Kalrun's perspective at least, quite irrational. He said strange things such as “We've had enough of you Ilvirans coming into this city robbing and murdering people. But not this time!

After saying this, Hondash through a punch at Kalrun. Kalrun deftly blocked the blow and, in fact, got Hondashes fist in his hand and drew the man forcefully to him. The fight escalated as Hondash through additional blows at Kalrun. Kalrn struck him back a few times and then, with one strong uppercut of his own, stunned the cobbler. Kalrn, his temper now quite hot, dragged Honadash down the stairs, and then threw him hard on the cobblestones of the square in front of his shop. He then grabbed the cobbler's head and made him look towards the Umbrathri on the roof of the shop and said, “See, this is no longer your house. It is Ilvir's house now!"

He then stormed away, leaving the cobber lying on the ground. As he walked back to the Scroll and Quill, he barely noticed from the corner of his eye that the Umbathri had vanished from the top of the roof. It suddenly reappeared next to the feet of Hondash. It ripped off one of his shoes, and then 'blinked' back up to the top of the building.

Debates, Prayer, and a Vision
19 Nolus 720 TR (Morning & Early Afternoon)

The following morning, the missionaries gathered at the inn for discussion over breakfast, as has become their daily custom. Duglan, the recent convert, joined them in their meeting, but said little.

The main subjects of conversation, unsurprisingly, were Olrau's and Kalrun's visits to the shop of Hondash the Cobbler. Many expressed frustration at this turn of events, as well as uncertainly as to the best way to proceed with buying Hondash's shop, given his overt hositility. They also discussed how they should proceed in the event that Hondash does accuse them of witchcraft. Judyn expressed hope in the fact that her litigant acquaintance Vurnt specialized in criminal trials.

The group, still uncertain as to what the path should be, prayed to Ilvir for guidance. Almost immediately upon the conclusion of the prayer, Maban has a vision:

She found herself on a raised wooden platform in Kotros Square, the main market of Coranan. She was clad in a very strange outfit of long flowing yellow robes and a strangely shaped blue, conical hat. She held a short, sharp, curved knife in her hand. Standing next to her was Jarren of Mohr (the same fellow whose fortune she told in the Scroll and Quill a few days earlier), who was similarly clad. The market place was filled with people, some of whom were shopping, but many of whom were looking at her and Jarren, and crying out, “Where is the sacrifice?”

Confused, Maban looked at Jerran “The god will provide a sacrifice,” he told them and gestured out across the Square towards the shop of Hondash. The crowd turned its eyes towards Hondash's shop. A person appeared at the top of the building and was suddenly thrown off by an unseen force; the body plummeted down towards the square, much like that of Tymas the journeyman had, just a few days before. Several in the crowd brought the body up to the platform where Maban and Jerran stood. The body was that of Hondash!

Jerran gestured encouragingly to Maban, who drew her knife and approached Honash's body. She slit open the belly with six slices strokes, and revealed the entrails inside. They were strangely twisted and unnaturally knotted. Some organs were in the wrong place. Somehow, she knew that it was a very bad sign, one sure to mean destruction for the city, either through fire, or plague, or famine, or some other terrible means. “It was wrong that he died,” she said aloud before the crowd, who looked fearful.

Jerran stepped up to the body and began touching the exposed bowels. He unknotted the intestines and shoved the pancreas and liver back to their proper positions. He then told her, “It was right that he died.”

The crowd began to cry out again, asking Maban what the entrails now meant, but she found herself unable to respond. “She doesn't know!” cried some in the crowd. Others began to follow suit, pointing and laughing with cruel derision, and soon the whole square was mocking her. Even the Umbathri from the top of Hondash's shop began pointing and cackling in her direction, as if highly amused.

To Maban, this vision seemed to last many minutes, but to the others there (including Brother Olrau) no time at all had passed. They had not even noticed anything unusual with Maban while she experienced it.

Maban related the content of her strange vision to her fellow missionarires. She suggested that the vision related that the path Ilvir had laid out for them had a fork in it— one related to how they should deal with Hondash— but she was unable to ascertain what those paths were— or which one the vision was telling them to follow. Judyn suggested that they might wish to contact Jerran, since he had appeared in it— and since he apparently knew something of divination through haruspicy, which had also been central to the vision.

Slander from Hondash / Maban's Command
19 Nolus 720 TR (Afternoon)

Following some additional discussion, Maban told the group that she intended to go to Kotros Square to see if she could persuade the Umbathri to leave Hondash's shop— at least temporarily— to defuse his anger. Accompanied by Duglan, she went to Kotros Square. (Both Brother Olrau and Kalrun voiced the opinion that it might not help things if they went, since they have already had unpleasant encounters with Hondash; Judyn, Bowdyn, and Jaroud had other obligations that called to them).

When she got to the Square, Maban found that Hondash was going around from stall to stall, teling the various merchants and customers about how he was being persecuted by “evil foreigners” whom he accused of summoning monsters to “plague his shop, to harm his business, and kill his family”. He also tells of how two of them, one wearing armor, broke into his home, assaulted him, threatened him at swordpoint, and then threw him out of his own home into the street. Many seem to be listening to him with grave concern, though others seem dismissive of his complaints.

While Hondash was occupied with his harangues, Maban went to the front of Hondash's shop and began praying loudly in Ivashi, asking Ilvir to lend her his voice so that the Umbathri might heed her call. Once she felt the power of Ilvir enter into her, she called loudly to the Umbathri in Ivashi, commanding it to leave the shop on which we was perched and to instead join his stone bretheren on the bonding house across the way.

To Maban's great surprise and delight, the Umbathri obeyed her. It stepped off of top of of Hondash's shop and promptly vanished into mid-air. From where it vanished, though, Hondash's shoe came falling. Maban caught it deftly. A few seconds later, The Umbathri appeared on the roof of the other building.

Maban barely noticed how many in the square were looking at her and pointing at her and at the Umbathri, and whispering amongst themselves., Hondash also noticed Maban and came up to her quickly, an violent look on hs face. “Get the Ak-Syt out of here and away from my home”. Maban tried to explain to him that she had removed the gargoyle from his shop— but he refused to heed her words..

Despite Hondash's stub, Maban kindly handed his shoe back to him. As she did, she noticed that it was all ripped, torn, filled with holes, as if it had been gnawed by the Umbathri. Hondash stormed off and Maban and Duglan returned to the inn to let the others know what had transpired.

A Visit to the Arena
19 Nolus 720 TR (Afternon)

After she and Duglan returned to the Scroll and Quill, Maban persuaded Kalrun to join her on a visit to the Pamesani Arena, to see if she could figure out where the Ivashu and other beasts were kept.

A token bribe got them past the Demon Pameshlu guards and into the arena seating area, where they discovered many several dozen other individuals seated in various groups, watching gladiators practice. The three missionaries sat near one of the groups and engaged them in conversation, finding out a bit about arena practices, but nothing much of substance regarding the Ivashu who are captured to fight in it.

Maban and Kalrun return to the Scroll and Quill; Duglan returns to his small rented room to get some sleep before his evening guard duty.

An Unexpected Meeting
19 Nolus 720 TR (Evening)

While returning to the Scroll and Quill from the Arena, Kalrun realized that he had completely lost track of where Kara was. She had not come with him to the Arena, nor had arrangements been made for one of the other missionaries to take care of her. Upon getting to the Scroll and Quill he saw Brother Olrau was there, but without Kara. Olrau related that he had not seen the girl since the morning. He also related that he had given a speech in the marketplace that he thought had gone well.

Looking around the common room for Kara or one of the other missionaries who might know where Kara was, he noticed that the Agrikan priestess who had followed him. Duglan, and Kara two days before. sitting conspiciously at one of the tables, He has a bad feeling that her presence may be linked to Kara's absence.

Kalru approached her and she invited him to sit down. She introduced herself as Analia of Erm, and explained that she was an Aperahkaiherucha (“Lieutentant Mistress of Propogation”) of the Order of the Eight Demons.

After some slightly tense initial verbal banter, Kalrun told Analia that he was their misionary group's “Captain of the Guard”. After buying some wine, Analia spoke to Kalrun sympathetically about some of the difficulties of being a member of a small religious order whose rituals and god were little understood by most people. She suggested that the two of them might find that they have mutual interests or concerns— if not immediately, then perhaps in the future. She also suggested that the two of them might find it worthwhile to get together once per tenday to exchange news and inormation.

As sh is getting up to leave, Analia mentioned to Kalrun, almost as an afterthought, “Oh, and if you're lookng for that girl of yours, she's out in the alley throwing rocks at cats”. Kalrun rushed outside and ran to the nearest alley, where he found Kara, crying, and holding an injured cat. He chided her, explaining that actions have consequences— often painful ones. They returned to the inn— and she brought the cat back to the inn with her, intending to nurse it back to health.

Knives and Fire
19 Nolus 720 TR (Night) and 20 Nolus 720 (Wee Hours of the Morning)

Late at night, Judyn and Bowdyn put their plan from the prior day into action. After Hillay and Nur have gone to sleep, Bowdyn sneaked outside his home, crudely painted a serpent on the front of his house, and stabbed the painted serpent with a knife. He then smashed the window of his shop's office, and threw in a lit oil lamp into it, to give the apperance of an arson attempt.

Judyn, in turn, sneaked down to the shop and home of Punat of Khonary, painted a snake on his front wall, buried a kitchen knife into serpent's head, and then through a lamp against the window. The glass on the lamp shattered against the window, letting the oil to drip down against it the side of the house.

Judyn then ran back to the Scroll and Quill, where she made a similar vandalizing graffito outside of it. Then, late at night after Kara and Maban had gone to sleep, she opened their room window and smashed a lamp on the floor, hoping to make it seem as if someone had lobbed it in through the window. The oil splashed further than she intended, and one of the bedsheets caught fire, creating a singed and smokey smell in the room. The fire was put out, but the incident woke the whole inn, which launched into a flurry of mixed accusations and speculations at everyone and anyone.