Week 41 - Travelling Abroad

More planning sessions, that started with discussions on how to bridge the gap between Newhaven and Varnhold, and then considered ways to exploit the resources of Lake Silverstep. And when that was done, it was time to visit their neighbours – well Rudy, Larran and Cassandra did - Robert, Ox and Hebrin stayed at home to get on with more prosaic tasks. The first job was to establish contacts with a merchant from Mivon, who specialises in magical items, so they could sell some of their loot and buy bits and pieces to enhance their own gear.

First though was a comprehensive briefing on Mivon from Charles (who had visited before) and Helga (who had grown up there). They were told of a political system based on duels, competing Aldori houses, gangs in the Low Quarter, and how ‘River Traders’ could become ‘River Pirates’ - almost at the drop of a hat. Eventually Charles booked them passage on a ship from their quayside and sent the boat guard with them to provide guidance and extra security. Harriet was assigned as Cassandra’s personal guard, while Tom got Larran and Dick got Rudy, while Helga remained in a more general role. The ship was a typical sailing barge found on the river - shallow draft, short masts and a gaff rigged sail – with a single passenger cabin at the rear - it was owned by Vysult Shipping, an independent merchant family from Mivon. While seven people in a 10x10 cabin is very close quarters – at least they had it to themselves.

First stop was Jovvox, where Cassandra went ashore for dinner, taking Helga and Harriet with her. Rudy stayed aboard and practised his bagpipes while Larran went to the opposite end of the boat! The women had a good meal and wandered around town for a bit - but they didn’t hear anything really interesting – about the best was a conversation between a group of mercenaries, discussing weapons, tactics and war.

Then on to Mivon. The first thing they noticed was the smell of fish that pervades the air, followed by the muddiness of the streets and general squalidness in the Low Quarter. They had been told that The Eel Inn was the best place to stay, although Rudy wouldn’t book I until he had seen the menu and assured himself that the there was a full range of meals on the menu - as he was concerned that eel would be their primary dish! Still, they got a suite - three bedrooms and a small sitting room, a privet privy and good room service! And the complete menu with everything they might ever want to eat. Rudy even got a big sticky cake for breakfast! Like everything else in the central Quarter the inn is built on a secure courtyard pattern, with small windows on the outer sides and guards on the door - almost like they felt to need to make sure they were properly protected.

Then off around the market, buying souvenirs for himself, Hebrin and Lord Numesti! All three of them brought some things on their way to Yarki the Mivon magic Merchant. She is an elf, rumoured to be an ex adventurer who now spends her time trading magical items up and down the river. If you need something magical Yarki is the person to see. Her store is another courtyard although she has a tower in one corner and it is protected with magic as well as mundane means. She, and her assistants, looked over the items presented to her and made a fair offer on the goods - especially as most of it could be paid in magical reagents and ingredients. While not everything was in stock, she undertook to have the items delivered as speedily as she could.

There were a couple more days living in luxury at The Eel with just the occasional shopping trip and walk around town during the day. During the evenings, Larran availed himself of the bar and restaurant while Cassandra and Rudy made trips into the Low Quarter. Rudy found a stage and was soon entertaining the locals, while Helga cleared a table for Cassandra who was soon drinking much better quality wine than one would expect to find in an establishment of that sort. They had stayed to watch the duelling at the Sevier, where even government positions could be put up as a prize, but it wasn’t particularly exciting. Excellent duelling according to the aficionados, but quiet and defensive with just the occasional telling blow as far as the layman was concerned.

Then it was home, briefly, before the same three made a second trip to Fort Drelev. They took the Horseguard with them this time and sent a messenger ahead to book rooms at the inn. That first day Rudy sent dinner invitations to Lord Numesti and his daughters, while the others settled in and looked around town. Rudy was on his best behaviour, staying in and getting an early night - while Larran and Cassandra headed for the Velvet Corner. Cassandra gambled for a while, without much success, while Larran headed for the booze and the ladies. Cassandra got home fairly early, while Larran came in as the cock started to crow …

The next day, Rudy hosted Lord Numesti and his daughters (Tamary and Kisandra) to a full blown dinner at their inn, The Iron Steeple. It was expensive, coming in at about 10 gp per head, but it included Lord Numesti’s favourite wines (they had spoken to the local wine merchant) and a whole series of imported foods cooked to perfection. The dress sword and ornaments, bought from Mivon, didn’t seem to impress lord Numesti all that much - but he took them in good faith. Late during dinner, Rudy fely Tamary’s foot pressing us against his leg and stroking slightly - but both managed to keep straight faces and dinner continued without incident.

It finished up with an invitation for Lord Numesti and his family to visit Newhaven during the coming summer, specifically over the Archerfest celebrations. Eventually Lord Numesti accepted, on his own behalf but said that the girls would not be accompanying him.

The next evening they were invited to dinner at Baron Drelev’s castle. This time it was a very formal dinner, with polite and very limited conversation, orchestrated by the baroness and (apparently) the small lap dog she carried around and kept speaking to as if it was a small child! There was a very clear ‘pecking order’ and everyone did what the Baron and baroness expected.

Between times, they had taken their time to look around town and form their own opinions of the place. Baron Drelev had clearly spent a lot of money on his castle and the heavy troops guarding it. However, he appears to have given less concern to the development of the town generally. The temple to Erastil is unfinished, there are no town walls and there has been little development away from the town - even though he claims everything within about 20 miles as his own! There had not been any progress in opening up a trade route through the swamp, nor developing a trading relationship with Pitax. None of the businesses were really successful, people were a bit down hearted (although not rebellious) and word had it that they were still getting regular support from Brevoy.

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