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 Post Posted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:14 am 
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Felix voices his opinion.

"So we're going to be going to a country that hates magic while it's currently reaching the heights of its current cycle of magic hatred, and everything we have and everything we do with what we have is virtually indistinguishable from highly advanced magic." Felix sighs. "This is going to be quite the trick."

"An apt summary," opines the Earl. "Perhaps not the heights, but - it would most certainly be prudent to avoid even the appearance of magic."

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 Post Posted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:43 am 
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"I'm sure we'll manage somehow."

Nate takes a drink of his tea.

"I have a question unrelated to Rendor. Earlier today, an aquantance mentioned that the King had died under very similar cercumstances as we now find the Queen. Would you be able to ellaborate on that?"

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:17 am 
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"Certainly," says the Earl. "In the light of more recent events, the happenings in question were extremely suspicious - but there was no actual proof. To sum it up Aldreas was a fairly weak King, and he listened - too much, some would say - to the Primate. For several years, the Primate enjoyed pretty much unfettered access to the Elene Treasury. But after some time, the King evidently began to feel that perhaps he had allowed the Primate a little too much leeway, and began to obstruct his access to the Treasury - in little ways at first, but it hinted at shutting him out more completely afterwards."

"The King promptly developed symptoms like those of the falling-sickness, a rare familial disorder with no known cure and of which his family had no history. When he died, the official coroner's report stated that it was the falling-sickness that had claimed him. His daughter, now the Queen, immediately took power - and where the King had merely begun to limit the Primate's access to the Treasury, the Queen cut it off entirely, and had him evicted from the palace as well. Three days later, she began to develop the symptoms of the falling-sickness - which, incidentally, are nearly identical to the symptoms of certain rare poisons. It's not hard to join the dots - but there's no proof, and without rock-solid proof the Primate will bribe his way out of any court."

Felix asks about local merchants, physicians and scholars he can talk to at his leisure. The Earl happily provides a list of several names (which Felix dutifully writes down), with commentary ("this one won't cheat you, that one will gouge you on price but if you need something rare or hard to obtain you'll get it more quickly from him...") Not all of the names the Earl gives are local - he also names a few other cities which contain particularly famous examples of their profession. For both scholars and physicians, for example, if you want the best of the best, you'd want to go looking for the university at Borrata; and the richest of the merchants tend to live in port cities, rather than in the Capital.

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:19 am 
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After he finishes answering Felix' questions, Arkady asks "What is the Primate doing with the money, aside from hiring mercenaries to protect his access to it?"

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:53 am 
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The Earl shrugs. "He has developed a taste for expensive luxury goods, and so far as I can tell he appears to be bribing near anyone who's willing to take a bribe. I have little idea what his reasons are beyond that."

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:52 pm 
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Arkady considers for a second, then says: "It is sounding like he wants to be promoted. Perhaps within the Church, perhaps by turning the kingdom into a prelate run state." He shrugs. "Either way, you would not benefit."

He checks if Piper has finished her tart, then says: "Please excuse us for a second." and goes on in English: "We are needing to stop by the ship before we head to the desert; should we invite the Earl to visit? Even if he is declining, it might help him think better of us; and if he agrees he can be useful voice in the Queens court."

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:24 pm 
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I english: "It would be the neibourly thing to do, and it wouldn't cost us anything. I say we invite him over."

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:26 am 
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"It could be wise," Felix says in English. "Would be nice to have more allies, though I would assume our friend here is already an ally as it stands and that his duties in the capital mean he can't leave for long."

Piper still has a couple of bites of tart left. The Earl nods - either agreeing with Arkady's assessment or acknowledging his request for a private chat - and waits politely for the Terrans to finish their discussion.

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:20 pm 
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Arkady nods, and turns back to the Earl. In Elene, he says "My lord, my comrades and I have to report to our captain before we go to Rendor; and we want to invite you to come with us to visit our ship. It would only take a few days, and I'm sure our Captain would be happy to be hosting you."

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:04 pm 
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The Earl nods. "A most auspicious invitation, and I thank you for it. Unfortunately, there is a fairly important Council vote the day after tomorrow, regarding a new tax law, and it is vital that I be present for it; perhaps I can take advantage of your generous offer in another occasion?"

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:12 pm 
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Arkady glances at Sir Ulath then says "Of course you can. But if you wish we could bring you with us and have you back before the vote. We intend to spend the night tonight with our people."

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 Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:10 pm 
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(Due to the state of some of the roads near the forest, it's likely to take you two days to get back to the ship. You can't go too fast where the 'road' is an uneven dirt path with barely enough space between the trees for the truck.)

"Really?" asks the Earl. "I had thought you were in Fangorn Forest - isn't that at least a week's travel?"

--------------

"To be honest I was hoping to spend a few days at the ship," says Felix. "A journey like this needs preparation and I wanted to make sure I could build and prepare all the tools we'd need for the trip. The more mundane looking the better. Also I wanted to do some work on the ship. It's been a while since I've had a wrench in my hand and I'm itching to do some quick repairs.

Felix ponders. "What if Nate and I go on ahead to the ship and Arkady stays behind here to escort our guest?" Felix nods to the Earl. "We could get some work done, then the Earl could come for a visit.Then we drop him off back at the city on our way out to Rendor?"

While he's at it, Felix quizzes the Earl on everyday objects he can expect to find in Rendor that wouldn't draw attention - the Earl responds by giving Felix the address of a merchant who specialises in Rendorish imports.

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 Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:30 pm 
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Arkady thinks for a second, then nods. "I am doubting that my wife has been woken up yet, so I can wait a couple of days. As for the travel, well, we can do it in a day but it would be unpleasant and a bit risky." He inclines his head towards Sir Ulath as he says that. "Two days would be better."

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:04 am 
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"That seems... surprisingly swift," says the Earl. "I certainly can't leave within the next two days, and... I'm not sure it's a good idea for me to be too far from the city at any time while the Primate retains power, to put it bluntly. But if we can be there and back within five days... when I think of what the Primate can do in five days while I'm absent... though it pains me to do so, I must for the moment politely decline your invitation."

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 Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:13 am 
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Felix shrugs. He'd figured the Earl was going to decline anyway, but it didn't hurt to ask.

"I've asked about all I wanted to ask," he says. "I'm about done here if everyone else is?"

He turns to the Earl.

"Thank you for putting up with us, I know your time is valuable."

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