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 Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:38 pm 
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"What about him?" asks the woodcutter.

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 Post Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:05 pm 
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"I want to know if you've seen him lately," Felix says. "And if you might happen to know where he'd go. His employer is concerned about him."

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 Post Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:18 am 
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Felix: Rapport: +4 Roll: -1 Total: +3

Theresa cannot help since the conversation is in a language she does not yet speak well enough

Brother: Resolve: +2 Roll: +2 Total: +4


The woodcutter narrows his eyes. "None o' your business. Foreigners."

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 Post Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:59 am 
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Arkady notes: "We can show him that it's actually his lord's business. If he can't read then Sir Ulath can."

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 Post Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:58 pm 
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That might be a good idea. Felix is fine for it.

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 Post Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:13 am 
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Felix: Laser focus: +2 Total: +5

Felix's glare promises that he's not going to stop until he has an answer to his question; and the woodcutter realises that there's really no benefit to stonewalling here. In fact, refusing to talk will just mean that the (ugh) foreigners will stick around for longer.

"None o' my business, either. You wanna know where the Count sent him? Then ask the Count, 'cos I sure don't know."

...well. It seems that the brother here may be even more out of the loop regarding Ivan's whereabouts than you are - he still thinks that Ivan left on the Count's business.

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 Post Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:24 am 
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Arkady shakes his head and takes out the letter. "We just came from the Count, with this letter from him for Ivan. Your brother decided to help him and the Countess one night; and thought the Count would hold it against him. So he left his service, leaving a letter of his own that didn't say where he was going." He shrugs. "The Count doesn't hold anything that happened that night against your brother, and wants him back. He clearly values his service, and I honestly think he misses him." Glancing back at the castle, he finishes. "He certainly can use his help. Your brother is clearly an excellent steward."

Tagging 'brother'.

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 Post Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:10 pm 
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The woodcutter's eyes narrow, and one doesn't have to have Arkady's perception to see the calculation running behind his eyes.

Either Ivan lied, or these men are lying.

These men are foreigners.

Is that man over there even a genuine Church Knight?

"I see it," he growls. "I see it all. You seek to entrap honest men in some way, do you? You'll not find out where Ivan's horse rode from me!"

He holds up his axe aggressively, and looms threateningly. Any implied threat, however, is largely counteracted by the fact that Sir Ulath steps up; and Sir Ulath is a lot bigger. Sir Ulath doesn't loom, though; Sir Ulath doesn't need to loom. He doesn't even draw his (larger) axe. "Your stance is poor," says Sir Ulath, "you're gripping your axe wrong, and it isn't anywhere near sharp enough to use for battle, anyhow."

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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:54 am 
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Arkady shakes his head. "We don't really have time to teach him how to do it right, Sir Ulath. We can ask at the stable what Ivan's horse looks like." Assuming nothing gets in the way of that, he heads off to do so.

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 Post Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 5:55 am 
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You're not going to get anything more from the woodcutter, but he's not the only person in the village, either.

After a few questions, Arkady gets a description of the horse - a bay mare, with white socks on the fore-left and rear-right hooves. Everyone who gets asked assumes that Ivan left via the road through the forest, because (a) that's the only actual road leading out of here, and (b) while it's possible to go over the mountains, and there are paths that lead that way, it's not going to be easy going on horseback. If he did go through the forest, then you must have missed him by less than a day on your way in. The road splits on the far side of the forest - it seems likely that at that point he chose a direction other then the way that you came in - but there are several places where that road splits further along, and it might be tricky to guess Ivan's route after that point.

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 Post Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 8:33 pm 
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Arkady turns to the others. "We can ask at the towns on the other side of the forest if anyone has seen him. If he went that way then someone will be telling us; then it's a few hours to catch him."

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 Post Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:32 am 
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It'll probably take about a day and a half to get through the forest; but after that you'll be well placed to catch up. I take it that's what you'll be doing, then?

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 Post Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2021 1:17 am 
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Sure enough, it takes a day and a half (approximately) to get through the woods. This is a terrible road. (Something just doesn't seem right about the timeline here, but somehow no-one quite gets around to mentioning it.)

Looking around on the other side of the forest, you guess that Ivan probably went to the right (you had come from the left when you came in here). Off to the right, the road heads to a small - one hesitates to call it a village. A small cluster of huts, resting between several farms; and there's a few peasants working some nearby fields, as well.

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 Post Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2021 7:52 pm 
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Arkady tends to drive the truck without the firepower, which generally goes second; so he radios ahead: "I am thinking we should ask the people in that hamlet if they've seen him. It is as good a place to start as any."

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 Post Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:09 pm 
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The hamlet proves to have a small stable - occupied only by one phlegmatic old horse who happily ignores everything - and, most promisingly, what seems to be a general store whose proprieter is dozing in an armchair on the stop. But he wakes up promptly enough when poked.

"Eh? What?" he asks, when Theresa touches his shoulder. "Who?"

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