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 Post Posted: Thu May 07, 2020 3:58 am 
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"I think there were multiple purposes to his financial abuses," Felix says. "His pilfering of the national treasury would have both robbed the nation of it's ability to fund fighting capability and also to mask where the gold he was using for bribery was coming from."

Felix coughs.

"Of course that is merely my guess. It's up to a court of law to decide the actual, legal, truth of the matter. Until then it is so much hearsay," Felix continues. "The tithes we were to pay were part of the settlement agreement we had come to with Raven. We arrived somewhat unexpectedly and made landfall on Crown property. We lacked the ability to move elsewhere, so we needed to come to an agreement with the local government. Raven happened to be the one pulling the strings. I imagine he's regretting allowing us to move so freely."

Felix pauses, considering his next thoughts.

"We can discuss the matter of continuing the tithe or whatever you want along those lines. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of outsiders paying tithes we could discuss turning it into a trade. You help us, we help you. There's a fair bit we can help each other with."

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 Post Posted: Thu May 07, 2020 7:55 pm 
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Arkady adds: "It would be difficult to set the proper value of a tithe anyway, Your Holiness; most of what we make is not easily assigned a price, and we don't use money between ourselves yet. But if we are not to tithe, at least yet, then I am guessing we can regard the gold we turned over as a donation against the expenses of any upcoming war against the Zemoch; and a gift to help with the rebuilding of this city. Besides, we may able to help you find more if you decide it's proper to levy a special tax on any Zemoch gold that may be in town right now."

"As for us, we do need to trade. And we would be grateful for the ability to own land in our own right. Then there would be matter of missionaries, and the matter of the treatment of the Styrics to discuss. If you please, of course."

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 Post Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 8:11 am 
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Ortzel nods. "We will certainly be putting forth a full and in-depth inquiry into exactly how Raven may have defrauded the Church whose colours he wears. But I'm afraid that a number of the concerns which you mention lie in areas where the Church has no direct influence. For example, on the matter of land - I understand that you wish to lay claim to an area of Fangorn Forest? That is not Church land, and the Church cannot make decisions about who does or does not own it. If that land was Crown land, then it would belong to the Kingdom of Elenia; currently headed up, officially, by Lycheas the Bastard."

When the Terrans think back, they will easily remember this weak, ineffectual monarch; a young boy, almost completely under the thumb of more aggressive personalities - chief among them being Raven. Should the former Primate ever return to the Kingdom, it's certainly possible that he would be able to bully a lot out of the poor boy.

"The settlement which you had arrived at with Raven is unfortunately a settlement beteen your people and the Elene Crown," continues Ortzel, "and there is little the Church can do about the land ownership question. There is no need for your people to pay tithes to the Church; however, the Church is happy to both accept donations and to perform good works among peoples throughout the world - if you have some particular good works that you feel strongly about, then the church will at least consider them. We will be considering the money that you bought to us a donation; we thank you very much for it, and will put it to good use. Unfortunately, a tax on Zemoch gold seems impractical, as there seems no way to tell it apart from other gold. Now, what did you wish to discuss about the treatment of Styrics?"

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 Post Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 9:09 am 
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Arkady nods. "There may be a way to tell Zemoch gold apart, though. Are you familiar with a touch stone? You rub gold on it and by the color know how pure it is? We have methods which do the same thing, but can tell you exactly what the impurities are. When you know that you can tell where the gold was mined, since different mines have different impurities. Basically, once a properly equipped Terran assayer worked with samples from known origins they could tell you where any new samples came from.

"As for the Styrics: we have heard that one of the favorite tricks of the Zemoch is to send agents who look like Styrics to cause problems among the Elenes, and then draw the Elene response down on local Styric settlements. Now I am knowing it is not easy to embrace the other, but taking the Zemoch bait and burning out Styric villages and such like is unjust; and the Elenes are alienating potential allies against the next real invasion when they do it. Besides that it is a matter of some practical concern to us: Terrans come in many colors, and a widespread prejudice against light skinned people can easily turn against us as well. Primate Raven tried to use it against me earlier today when I pressed a complaint against him. Arkady shrugs. "I am guessing it is not the official policy of the Church to regard Styrics as outlaws; but I am thinking it would be helpful if the Church were to stress that they are people, and should be treated much the same as any other basically law abiding people. Even if they do have light skin and worship different gods. The last was said with a bit of a wry grin.

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 Post Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 2:21 pm 
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"Telling one bit of gold apart from another wouldn't be too difficult," Felix says. "Telling which bit of gold came from where is a more difficult proposition. It can be done, but we'd need a lot of information that I'm not sure we'd be readily able to access. Still, it couldn't hurt to try."

Felix nods, then moves on to personal matters.

"We Terran are capable of many things on large scales, but it takes us time to build up to those scales. Our journey here robbed us of all our food provisions and we're pretty desperately trying to build our supplies up to feed our people as quickly as possible."

Felix spreads his hands while presenting his request.

"We need food. Before anything else, we need to eat. A reliable, consistent supply can help us bring to readiness more of our fellows more quickly so we can do more work more quickly. Then we can help you bolster the Realm more thoroughly. We'd have to set up a discussion with the Captain to determine what we do and how we do it, but he's an amicable man at the end of the day. We can work something out quite readily."

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 Post Posted: Sat May 09, 2020 8:35 am 
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"I'm not a metallurgist myself," says Ortzel. "I've never ehard of this touchstone, and I suspect that neither have many of the Patriarchs. Furthermore, we don't exactly have a sample of known Zemoch gold to test other gold against - even if we were to take a sample from a Patriarch who had been bribed, well, that particular bit could always have come from the Elene treasury directly. You may well be able to tell that a lot of gold came from the same place - but, given your description, it sounds like you cannot be absolutely certain as to which place that is, short of having at least one sample known to come from a known place. Is that correct?"

He gives Arkady a nod. "You are correct about the Styrics. Official Church policy is to work with them where necessary - as in the case of the Church Knights - and to gently and kindly try to persuade them to convert to the Elene faith at other times. We unfortunately haven't had any luck in converting them from their heathen deities, but I'll make a note to pass the message down firmly through the Church structures that violence against Styrics is neither to be permitted, nor encouraged."

"As far as food goes, feeding the hungry is one of the Church's works of mercy - but not generally on the level of entire cities. What I would propose instead is that the Church sends to your people a man who had spent a long time living in the wild, living off the land; so that he can show to you what is or is not edible that may already exist in the forest, awaiting only harvest. Would that be helpful to you?"

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 Post Posted: Sat May 09, 2020 11:45 am 
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Arkady nods when Ortzel comments about the Styrics, and then after he finishes replies: "Learning how to find food in the forest would help us a good deal, Your Holiness. As for the gold? In my experience, gold mining regions generally coin their own gold. We can test the coins from around your world and quickly figure out what gold comes from where. Especially if someone can find a Zemoch coin."

He shakes his head. "But it is not just a matter of "a lot of gold". You heard earlier how much gold could possibly have been in the treasury of Elenia before Primate Raven...allegedly started looting it. What you did not hear was that all of that gold put together would have paid for the vote of perhaps four patriarchs. That is why so many suddenly turned against Raven when Sir Sparhawk testified; they all knew the amounts involved and it was too obvious to all of them where the money had to be coming from. Frankly, the majority of the gold not long since cast into known objects in this city would all be found to come from the same place; and that place would not be any gold mining region among the Elene kingdoms. Even if a single Zemoch coin can not be found, it will be very easy to determine which gold comes from there.
He shrugs. "Oh, and ask any goldsmith or banker about a touchstone; they could show you one. Indeed, it may be possible that they can already tell Zemoch gold without our help. It is not likely, but it could be."

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 Post Posted: Sat May 09, 2020 9:18 pm 
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Felix rubs at his mouth, contemplating Ortzel's suggestion about living off the land.

"I'd brought the idea of hunting and gathering up to our organizer, but it was felt that such methods weren't reliably predictable enough to support the kinds of numbers we're wanting. Still, it couldn't hurt to have an expert on hand who could help us out. Maybe with professional opinion on my side I can convince the Captain to set aside a small contingent of people for foraging and trapping. If I can prove that we can get reliable food from the untamed wilds we might be able to expand in that direction somewhat."

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 Post Posted: Sun May 10, 2020 2:34 pm 
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"Good grief," murmurs Ortzel. "I thought that was their consciences getting the better of them." He clears his throat. "I shall certainly look into it," he promises. "But I did recently receive a small amount of gold, from someone who - explained that it was a burden on his conscience. It seems possible, even perhaps likely, that the gold in question is of Zemoch origin. Perhaps you could have a look at it, see what you can find out from it?" He hands over a very small, featureless nugget of gold. There seems nothing at all significant about it. "And I will be sure to send that forager, as soon as possible. Now, is there anything else to consider?"

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 Post Posted: Sun May 10, 2020 3:36 pm 
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Arkady nods. "Forgive me if this is not my place, but this morning I came to better understand your god and his distaste for intervening in the affairs of his church. He granted you the authority to set the rules to run it, and does not seem inclined to lightly drop hints of what he wants. It does not...seem consistent with his views on Law.
But with that said, a man who...alledgedly...is no stranger to the servants of Azash was nearly elected the arch-prelate of His church. When that happened he had to communicate; but was forbidden to simply speak to you of it because he is not a patriarch and only patriarchs can address the convocation. For him to break that rule would be to recant the authority he granted you to run His church, and that he apparently will not do. So instead he was reduced to speaking to Piper, who is willing to speak to us, so that we could send you a note. This is not seeming to me to be the best way for things to be handled if another emergency ever arises. How often are such as She and we likely to be in the galleries?
Now you could handle this matter by simply changing the rules regarding your convocations to allow Him to address them. My suggestion, for what it might be worth, is that instead you name him a patriarch; change whatever rules might be in the way and induct him into their ranks. This way whenever it falls on the patriarchs to vote on some matter it is not just his right but his duty to vote as well. And come the day that he does not simply quietly abstain? Then I am thinking you should pay careful attention.
"

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 Post Posted: Sun May 10, 2020 11:47 pm 
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"At the first opportunity I'd like to discuss trade and cooperation in depth between our people," Felix says. "If it could be arranged, a chance for our leader to meet with you so we can figure out the finer points of how we handle our relationship going forward?"

Felix pauses to think for a moment.

"One more question. How long will it take for Raven to go through his trial?"

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 Post Posted: Mon May 11, 2020 12:45 pm 
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"To name our god as a Patriarch in His own church would seem disrespectful, at a minimum. However, it might be sensible to amend the rules such that only Patriarchs and those of higher rank may speak in the Convocation; and to clarify very specifically that there is no mortal rank that is not inferior to that of the Elene god. I shall think on that. As to trade; we are a church. We do not, as a rule, engage in large-scale trading; for that, I suggest rather contacting the various King of the different Elene kingdoms. We are, however, very interested in cooperation."

"As to Raven's trial, I expect it to be finished within a week, or two at the outside. We are simply not in a position to keep a prisoner for very long, at all."

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 Post Posted: Mon May 11, 2020 1:47 pm 
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With a grin: "You are a Church, yes; but who rules this city? There is, I am suspecting, some room for commerce between us and this place."

Arkady decides that now is as good a time as any. "One last thing, Your Holiness. As I mentioned at your brother's keep, Terrans practice freedom of religion. Your Church will be allowed, under our laws, to try to convert such Terrans as may wish to join you within our settlement. But I am feeling I should tell you that a number of our people belong to religions that are similarly inclined to spread what they regard as 'the good word', and so you will probably see some Terrans trying to return the favor. Under our law this is their privilege so long as they do so peacefully."

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 Post Posted: Tue May 12, 2020 1:29 am 
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"At the very least, I figure you can help us coordinate matters with the other nations. Serve as an introduction to associated parties, if you would," Felix says. "I think one of the greatest strengths that us Terran can offer the Elene nations is vast improvements in logistics. When the siege first arrived I was able to immediately send word to my people over long distance via radio, who then sent a message using one of our fast transport vehicles you're acquainted with to get in touch with the Pandion HQ to send a relief force. That was how they got here so quickly."

Felix continues.

"If we could offer similar services over a larger scale, among the other details we could provide, your people's ability to respond to threat and strife should improve quite greatly. After you've introduced us to the other nations so we can start larger trade operations we could bolster the realm in other ways. If you're willing, that is, Your Holiness."

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 Post Posted: Tue May 12, 2020 7:32 am 
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"There is nothing in our laws against people attempting to spread and religion they wish, on the condition that the religion itself is legal. So no human sacrifice, no practice of illegal forms of magic, that sort of thing. Though, even then, they must, of course, be prepared for the occasional poor reception, perhaps some flinging of vegetables... It's not encouraged, but it's also known to happen on occasion. I... don't believe that the city of Chyrellos itself engages in much commerce; it shouldn't, as a city, but I will look into that."

"In terms of military logistics, I'd advise speaking with the Church Knights; military matters are in general left to them. I believe you already have a good relationship with Preceptor Vanire? I can certainly arrange introductions to the other monarchs of the Elene kingdoms, but I doubt I can help more than that in such matters."

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