A Gathering of Conspirators

A new day arises and hope springs eternal. The Countess’ party is tomorrow evening, so very little time remains for any last minute plans. Everyone agrees to meet at Amer’s townhouse. Amer lays on the table what he has promised and that he is running up against the wall and needs help. It is a rather difficult debate, but in the end they agree that they must have more from Girardino for this task. Rukul and Briz will visit the tailor to help “civilize” Rukul for his appearance, while Amer and Xarth contact Girardino.

A Sharp Objective

Girardino agrees to meet with Amer and his companion at a tavern along Glory Ridge named Two Coins. It is mostly empty and Girardino has a table near the bar, where he has a guard sitting in case of trouble. Xarth pulls up a chair nearby while Amer sits down to negotiate with his cousin. It is about as friendly of conversation as two sharks would have when a wounded tuna is between them. Amer knows he is accepting a grave risk and expects more in compensation – while Girardino wants this task handled cleanly with no direct connection to himself.

It takes several hours as Thedovans do not believe in negotiating directly, but rather prefer debating through metaphors, obligations, and relationships. Several times Xarth forces himself to keep a watchful eye on things, but as the minutes turn to hours it gets difficult. In the end Amer agrees to smuggle the knife into the party in exchange for a larger share of the recognition. Girardino lets him know that he expects to leave within the year, assuming his goals are successful, and his plans call for Amer to take over all of the Erasmus holdings in Bornheim. It will be a much stronger house in local politics once things get turned over.

Part of this negotiation entails additional rewards for those who helped him recover the knife and will be instrumental in getting it into the party. Some of these rewards stagger the imagination, but in those cases Amer simply wishes for information on the whereabouts of such things – he is more than willing to secure the items himself.

An inside source

Briz and Rukul go to the tailor’s shop to be get their clothes as well as confer with the Vulfgrau representative. Inside Briz faces someone that he never wanted to see again – Ian Fist. The tailor greets Ian warmly, but more strange is that Ian does not immediately kill anyone, he seems a changed man somehow. Before Briz rushes out, Ian explains that his name is actually Sir Hubert, Knight of the Realm, and currently a guest of Lord and Lady Liese. Master Friedhold explains that Ian showed up in town badly wounded, but as a member of the Vulfgrau he saw to his needs and assisted him with creating his new identity. Sir Hubert is known to be on good terms with the crown and is unlikely to be personally known.

Ian agrees to call upon Amer and his guests before the party so as to make their acquaintance. This will give them a further chance to discuss matters or grave import in confidence. After Ian leaves, Briz explains Ian to both Rukul and Master Friedhold – Rukul is impressed while Master Friedhold simply says that he has worked well in Bornheim so far and he sees no reason to change things. He does remind Briz that Lady Liese will be sponsoring him during the party so she expects a new tale of chivalry and heroic daring.

The Evening Festivities

Amer is dressed in his best, while Xarth is going as his “companion”. Rukul was given the role of strange oddity and sponsored by Amer just for this party – he is not happy with the disguise, but has agreed to play his part. Briz is arriving with Amer, but Lady Liese expects him to circle among the guests. Sir Hubert (Ian) is already there with seemingly the perfect gift for both the Lord Marshall and the host.

A scan of reveals a room that is both crowded and deeply segmented. The Thane and Jarl of the Stonearm clanhold are pointedly ignoring Silune, the elven dignitary, who seems to take delight in moving around the jarl. A Valparian Patrician and his wife seem to enjoy the shock the wife’s halo of glory is causing – as she is both a magician and Priestess of Irrish and rarely prone to subtly. The High Priest of Karash as well as a Senior Priest of the Temple of Light are in attendance, each with their own small cadre of knights. Combined with the Countess and Lord Marshall’s men there is a relatively high number of men with swords in this room.

After pleasantries, Amer ends up involved in a long conversation with Theresa, a distant cousin from his mother’s side of the family. Rukul moves among the crowd playing the bespectacled monkey, but lifting some valuables as well. He does manage a strange conversation with the Irrishite Priestess who inquires about warships needed near the mouth of the Black River to curb Theodovan excesses. Gloria, a lady-in-waiting for Baron Lange’s young daughter once served as  handmaiden for the Countess – she seems quite smitten with the dashing Briz.

Ian sees his opening and makes his well-wishes to the Lord Marshall and Countess. He shows himself well and the Lord Marshall asks him to visit the Queen’s Guard in the near future about a position. Xarth, shuffling behind Amer, suddenly gets a small aura of fire about him. He recognizes the touch of one of the spider followers and although he tamps it down it is not in time and a few people saw him. He tries his best to inform the rest of his friends, but the dinner bell chimes.

Ian, acting on Xarth’s information, watches the servant and notices that three of them are moving as a well-organized group of assassins – not simply servants. He tries his best to disrupt them or at least bring them to someone’s attention, but he is not sure if anyone noticed.

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