Beneath the Linden Tree.   Posted by Segev Stormlord.Group: 0
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 723 posts
Fri 6 Feb 2015
at 01:49
Beneath the Linden Tree
As the banquet came to close and the crowd started parting ways, various people had various places to be. For some, it was as simple as bed. The combined disapproval of Sir Methius and the passive aggressive not-quite-remonstrations of Brother Bars-the-Way convinced an over-exuberant (but obviously a bit tired) Prince Seln that he should take his party and retire to quarters. Reluctantly, he sees that his hunting mopsid is well provisioned with left-overs, and does his best to put a mature face on it as he leads his guards to get some rest.

Princes Deen and Salf had obviously planned to include their fellow noble in some late-evening fun, but their father's own stern reminder that they should be good hosts in the morning got them to also head off.

Freverick somehow managed to elude his older brother, and has dragged Ned off to do something, despite the latter's protestations of tiredness.

Those heading to the garden find that a certain serving-woman is standing beneath the large tree off to one side of it. Other guests have begun walking through the area, but it is large enough and they seem to be seeking enough privacy that it is not intrusive.
Merlin
 player, 427 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Fri 6 Feb 2015
at 01:54
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
In reply to Segev Stormlord (msg # 1):

Merlin heads over to the tree, making sure that Bars-the-Way is nowhere to be seen when he does so. Once there he addresses the woman, "So it would seem that you have brought the Monk here trailing you or do you read things differently?"
Totally Innocuous Serving Woman
Fri 6 Feb 2015
at 04:35
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
"You have good eyes to recognize me," says the serving woman in tones far less servile than would be at all appropriate for one of her professed station. "Did not the monk seem off to you? I smelled a misguided whelp who accosted me in my investigations into your LeSchaye's claims; it is likely that is his disguise.

"What did you wish to speak to me about? I am expecting the LeSchaye woman to join us shortly,"
she adds tersely.
Merlin
 player, 428 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Sat 7 Feb 2015
at 01:54
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
In reply to Totally Innocuous Serving Woman (msg # 3):

"I had hoped that you had concluded your investigation. If it is a disguise who then is this misguided whelp, if I may be so bold as to ask?"
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 403 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Sun 8 Feb 2015
at 05:45
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
Beatrix approaches her destination, coming to a pause when she hears voices - moreover, voices she recognizes. Being the curious sort she approaches close enough to listen in, and while she isn't quite hiding, she isn't exactly hiding her presence, either.
Listening, she muses that Merlin coming here was a good idea - but that she would've preferred he kept out of sight, in case there was trouble. In lieu of that, she elects to serve that role herself; for now she will listen, and if there is a problem she will act.
Alternately, Silent Thunder Leaves may already know she's there, but if nothing else it would be polite to let them finish their conversation before butting in.
Totally Innocuous Serving Woman
Sun 8 Feb 2015
at 05:51
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
"One who attacked when I was questioning the one in charge of the slaves on the sand bar," she answered negligently. "I am not sure if he thinks it clever to pretend to be one who hunts his own kind, or is just that dense.

"What did you want? I am expecting the LeSchaye woman. She has been lied to, and may want to make up for the consequences those lies have to the one properly due the stolen tribute."

Merlin
 player, 429 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Mon 9 Feb 2015
at 00:04
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
In reply to Totally Innocuous Serving Woman (msg # 6):

"So one blessed by Luna pretending to be an Immaculate bless by the Dragons?"

Merlin thinks on this for a bit.

"I would think that anyone would want to know if they had been lied to. She can't be far...."
Austringer
 player, 42 posts
Sun 15 Feb 2015
at 01:05
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
The informal mews where Austringer has been lodged was relatively secure from the inside ... but not to one who has worked around much better ones his entire life.  It was the work of a moment to slip out quietly.

Austringer immediately began a search for the Lunar he'd fought at the Yanaze and recognized in the guise of a servant.  Fortunately for him, she turned up in the first place he happened to overfly, the garden.  He alit on the linden tree in time to hear most of the conversation between the "servant" and the self-assured man and to notice Beatrix LeSchaye, whom he first spotted at the banquet, watching nearby.  He is too surprised at the thought that the Full Moon has mistaken the monk for him to respond to her insults.  Remembering that Master Harrez always said to trust one's instincts, he decides not to reveal the truth for now.  If only he'd had time to bite Brother Bars-the-Way before coming here ...

But when the "servant" gives her latest pronouncement, he can't restrain himself any longer.  Austringer drops down silently to earth on the side of the tree away from any observers and swiftly resumes his human true shape.  He sidles around the trunk, hoping he can at least make the Full Moon jump, even if he can't surprise her.

"I may well be a dense whelp, you murderous excresence," he says, "but at least I don't defend myself by flinging helpless innocents into the paths of my foes."

Austringer nods to the man.  "I don't believe I caught your name at the banquet, sir," he says.  "Before this goes any further, you must know who-- no, what!-- you are dealing with.  You're clearly aware of this ... woman's ... true nature, but if anyone is being lied to here, it is you.  That so-called 'tribute' is a flow of mortals being delivered to the abominable Wolf with the Red Roses, and the 'questioning' she undertook on that sandbar involved biting bystanders in half and worse!"
Not-So-Innocuous Serving Woman
Sun 15 Feb 2015
at 18:27
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
The serving-woman turns abruptly - possibly startled, possibly merely alert - to keep both men from being behind her back. "I have lied to no-one," she snaps. "Tribute is tribute. It is due from the beastman tribes to their lord. Interrogation requires motivation. Life and limb are highly motivating. And if you're concerned with collateral damage, you should be more careful where you pick your fights.

"It was none of your business, and I fail to see why you're interjecting yourself now. I haven't the time nor patience to be your mentor in the ways of the Silver Pact."
She looks to Merlin, eyebrow raised. "I assume it is none of his business, anyway. He is not of your group? One might wonder why he was hunting at your friend's mining camp, if not."
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 405 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Tue 17 Feb 2015
at 17:43
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
"My my," says Beatrix, stepping forward and making herself fully known "I admit I wasn't expecting quite so much company."
She looks at the others - particularly Austringer, whom she hasn't met before - calculatingly, trying to get a read on them while exuding an attitude of confidence that she doesn't really feel here. She is in truth worried that the situation may have already become too volatile to defuse, but she needs to try.
"I have come as requested, Silent Thunder Leaves. What do you wish to discuss?"
Serv--er,
Tue 17 Feb 2015
at 18:08
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
The "serving woman" snorts. "Finally. Your foreman is buying slaves meant for tribute from those with no right to sell them. You will return them," she declares with an economy of words as frugal as a Trademeet housewife.

This message was last edited by the GM at 07:12, Sun 22 Feb 2015.

Austringer
 player, 43 posts
Wed 18 Feb 2015
at 00:59
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
Austringer looks down his nose at the other Lunar.  "'Silent Thunder Leaves?'  Sounds like something some House Cynis deviant would smoke."
Merlin
 player, 431 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Wed 18 Feb 2015
at 02:15
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
In reply to Austringer (msg # 12):

Merlin does his best to bring humor to the situation and a reminder of where their loyalties ultimately lay.

"Now now, you know better than that. Cynis would have to slurp it from a wooden spoon, carved from a tree watered only with milk or some other nonsense. Lets get back to business and figure out how everybody can get what we need out of this auspicious confluence of servants of Creation."
Austringer
 player, 45 posts
Thu 26 Feb 2015
at 04:15
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
Austringer's eyebrows rise at the phrase "servants of Creation."  He glances at the others (aside from the Lunar) speculatively.

As for Silent Thunder Leaves, he has his own opinions about what she serves, but he bites his tongue for now.  He's been searching all over Falan for Beatrix LeSchaye and is eager to hear what she has to say.
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 407 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Sat 28 Feb 2015
at 07:02
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
Beatrix nods thoughtfully, as though she thought the proposition was reasonable. She very briefly glances at Merlin before speaking to Silent Thunder Leaves.

"I indeed did not know about this, and am quite distraught by the notion that my investment is being used to go towards the purchase of slaves; the entire thing is abominable, for people should not be treated in such a way." She does not say that letting them go into the clutches of Ma-Ha-Suchi would be the only thing worse for them, and thus the only thing she would oppose more vehemently, and she fights to keep it from showing on her features. "I was preparing to go inspect the mining camp before I was pulled into all this. It is a shame I was unable to uncover the problem in a timely fashion."

Worse, she thinks, the prospect of demanding the slaves be handed over without pay is adding insult to injury; but then, it is the way of warlords and tyrants to think that everything is merely their due, and both were words that suited Ma-Ha-Suchi. And of course, they get upset when not granted their due. After briefly entertaining the notion of demanding payment for them, she dismisses the notion; while Lunars would never agree to it, thus possibly buying time, that would more likely just lead to the war that she was warned of. And a war against Ma-Ha-Suchi would not end well. War was not in their side. Diplomacy, on the other hand... Leaves was anxious to get back home, she could tell. Maybe that could be put to use.

"I'm afraid," Beatrix says, in a sympathetic tone, "That it just isn't that simple. There's a great deal more to the transfer of that much... property, than coming and taking it. I would need to discuss the matter with the other party directly, or else the matter would drag out interminably. In other words...

...take me to your leader.
"
Silent Thunder Leaves
 NPC, 13 posts
Sat 28 Feb 2015
at 17:34
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
The "serving woman" frowns, obviously not having expected that. "Very well," she begins, turning and gesturing for Beatrix to follow before pausing and looking over her shoulder with narrowed, frustrated eyes. "You're going to want to gather things and people to travel with you, aren't you," she sighs. "How long until you're ready?" she asks with a mixture of resignation and warning.
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 408 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Mon 9 Mar 2015
at 01:53
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
Beatrix looks to Merlin and the newcomer, Austringer with a questioning glance. "I can be ready to go within perhaps two hours? And you, my companions?" She favors Austringer with a 'play along' look on that last bit.
Merlin
 player, 432 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Mon 9 Mar 2015
at 02:49
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
In reply to Beatrix LeSchaye (msg # 17):

"Only a few minutes myself m'Lady. More if you want the glider."

Merlin indicates he would have to fold it up.
Austringer
 player, 46 posts
Tue 10 Mar 2015
at 00:32
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
It was surprising enough to hear anyone ask to meet Ma-Ha-Suchi, but that was nothing compared to the shock of seeing Silent Thunder Leaves acquiesce.  Fortunately, by the time Beatrix LeSchaye addresses him, Austringer has wiped the look of wide-eyed astonishment off his face.

Of course, there's no question that he'll accompany these people.  He has plenty of reasons of his own to investigate the Goat-Wolf.  Not to mention the fact that they won't last long without his protection!

He tips his head toward Merlin.  "I'll furnish my own wings, of course.  I can be ready shortly."

He reflects that a chance to introduce himself and fill Lady LeSchaye and her allies in would be wise before walking into the Goat-Wolf's presence.  "Perhaps I can help you gather your gear?" he asks her.
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 409 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Sun 15 Mar 2015
at 04:40
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
Beatrix nods to Merlin. "The glider would be a very good thing to have along, yes," she says, before silently mouthing 'talk to me inside' so that Silent Thunder Leaves doesn't see it. To Austringer she says, "And I would most assuredly appreciate any assistance you could render. By all means, please follow."
Merlin
 player, 433 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Mon 16 Mar 2015
at 15:50
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
In reply to Beatrix LeSchaye (msg # 20):

"Then let us meet outside the city at the tall Oak between the two hills to the West?"

Once that is decided Merlin heads off to fold up the glider and get it ready for transport. Once done he goes to check in with LeShaye and see if she is ready.
Austringer
 player, 47 posts
Tue 17 Mar 2015
at 00:39
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
Austringer sketches a bit of a bow and follows Beatrix.
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 410 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Sat 21 Mar 2015
at 01:43
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
Beatrix gives Silent Thunder Leaves a respectful bow and a few pleasantries before turning and moving back towards her room.

"I haven't the faintest idea who you are," she says to Austringer on the way, "But you seem to have no love for the Wolf, as you call him. I will understand if you wish to distance yourself from me, considering what I have just volunteered myself for. However, I would at least hope for a few words from you, since you seem knowledgeable on certain matters that are of keen interest to me, now that I find myself inextricably tied up in them." She sighs, adjusting her hair (not out of need, but simply from frustration). "Even if I'd never made the request I had, I would be tied up in them. My gambit is simple in acknowledgement of that unhappy fact."

After that last bit she pauses and turns more fully to Austringer. "My apologies; I seem to be monologueing at you. I shall cease if you wish it."

Soon she arrives in her room and shuts the door behind her after letting Austringer in.
Austringer
 player, 48 posts
Tue 24 Mar 2015
at 04:17
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
In reply to Beatrix LeSchaye (msg # 23):

"You're not the only tangled in matters bigger than you might like, Lady LeSchaye" he says.  "Forgive me for failing to introduce myself earlier.  Most people call me 'Austringer.'  As you say, you don't know me, but I've been searching for you for a while now, after what I've seen."

"Yes, I do despise the Goat-Wolf and his acolyte out there.  And I know quite a bit about them ..." Austringer bites his lip, clearly nervous about something.  Reminding himself of what Beatrix must have heard out under the linden, he squares his shoulders and resolves that sometimes, you simply have to take a leap of faith.  Like a man tearing off a bloody bandage, he peels off his glove to display the moonsilver whorls along his fingers.  "... for reasons that should now be obvious.

"That Silent Thunder Leaves ... ugh.  She represents everything I can't stand about the Silver Pact.  They can pretty it up with rhetoric about 'cleansing Dragon-Blooded corruption' as they like, but too many of our elders just want to watch Creation burn.  Anathema, indeed."

Austringer stares at the tattoos on his hand, seemingly having forgotten Beatrix is even there. "That was how I knew them, as a child.  I grew up on an estate on the Blessed Isle.  The first time I saw another Lunar, it had slaughtered most of the people I'd grown up with and was about to ... assault ... my childhood sweetheart in front of her twin brother, my best friend.  If I hadn't drawn the Second Breath then and there--"  Austringer pauses to clench his fists tightly, squeezing his eyes shut.

He exhales slowly.  "In any case, my friend and I drove that vile creature off, but we made a vow to exact justice on the thing for what it had done.  I've since come to suspect that it was one of Ma-Ha-Suchi's acolytes--one of Silent Thunder Leaves's brethren-- or even the Goat-Wolf himself.  The savagery and deliberate cruelty certainly seem to fit.  Regardless, I lost its trail out here in the Threshold.  Eventually, I met my mentor, Master Harrez the Rough, who taught me how to live as a Full Moon.  Just over a month past, Master Harrez vanished somewhere in this region.  I think Ma-Ha-Suchi might have killed my master, too.  So, yes, I have plenty of reasons to hate him and his.

"I saw what Silent Thunder Leaves did to your people at the jade mine, and it was awful.  I did my best, but it was all I could do to slow her down, let alone stop her."  ((OOC: Austringer goes on to relate the events of the thread "Crossing the Yanaze."))

"... And that was it," Austringer finishes lamely, feeling oddly as if he's apologizing for letting Silent Thunder Leaves attack the mine.  "I failed your people at the mine, but I will not fail again.  If you're determined to march down the Wolf's throat, the least I can do is to try my best to make sure you come to no harm.  And, I hope, get some answers for myself."

Austringer quirks an eyebrow. "Now who's monologuing?"
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 411 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Thu 2 Apr 2015
at 03:57
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
Beatrix pauses, having managed to pack most of her things by the time Austringer finished relating his tale. "This bodes ill. I had arranged for protection at the mine with the seventh legion, but... well, then again, it is likely they hadn't reached there yet. And slaves, you say." She sighs. "That won't do at all. It seems I have much to do. I will need to compose many messages tonight. On the road," she says with a bit of a sour expression.

She has a seat on her bed. "I am glad to have you along, then. I apologize again for my suddenness, but as you have no doubt realized yourself, Silent Thunder Leaves is a beast pacing at the edge of a cage it has grown weary of. She is sick of her mission and I believe she may accept its failure if it means getting free to do as she will again. I do not want to encourage this; my hope is that if we get to the Wolf, he will be more open to discussion. Everyone has a price, after all. Right now, Silent Thunder Leaves' price is freedom from her task. We will give her this. Hopefully, we can parlay the down payment of cooperation into information that could tell us what Ma-Ha-Suchi's price might be."

She sighs. "And hopefully we can do this in a timely enough fashion that we can decide if it's worth paying before we get to the heart of his nation."

After a pause, she says, "Merlin should be here soon. I hope he will have some information we can use as well."
Merlin
 player, 434 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Fri 3 Apr 2015
at 02:07
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
As if on queue there is a knock on the door. It is followed shortly by the handle turning and a Merlin type person entering the room. He gives both a smile and says, "Things seem ready to go."
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 412 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Mon 20 Apr 2015
at 01:04
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
Beatrix nods. "Good; I am glad to hear it." She takes a bit to catch Merlin up on what they've been discussing before saying, "Merlin, I will make you the same offer I did to Austringer here; I would not be fair otherwise. This mission is extremely dangerous. I cannot give any assurance that we will succeed, nor that we will even survive it. All I can say is that it is, from my perspective, the preferable option. Certainly, I and the nation-state I have a duty to have a much greater chance of surviving negotiations than open warfare. If you wish to back out, I will not think ill of you for it. If you agree to come with us, I will lay out the rest of my plan, such as it is for now."
Merlin
 player, 435 posts
 If you knew he
 would have to kill you
Tue 21 Apr 2015
at 02:28
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
In reply to Beatrix LeSchaye (msg # 27):

"So far so good Lady LeSchaye. If things seem untenable I will let you know. However, you will likely be dead at that point so that we are being honest with each other."
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 413 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Thu 7 May 2015
at 00:21
Re: Beneath the Linden Tree
Beatrix grimaces. "Your optimism is a breath of fresh air, good Merlin," she responds, with maybe just a hint of sarcasm. "But, Sun willing, it shan't get to the point where we learn whether it is unwarranted."