Rianalee Calls in The Favor
(Crossing, Zoluren: 269 Moliko 355)
It was a quiet gathering outside of town at the time agreed on. Rianalee, self-proclaimed mercenary assassin, met with Trynie, Romeode, and Slaydak to arrange the fulfillment of the bargain struck some time ago with many of the people of the Crossing. Rianalee handed over two relics which she thought to be important, and answered five questions from a group of people concerned about both the missing Lute and the missing Bardess, Wren. In exchange for these things, citizens paid Rianalee a hefty sum of coins and promised of favor. Trynie gave her word at that time to fill the promise when it was required. (You can read more about it in the parchment called: Rianalee sells Information and our Future.)
Rianalee asked, "This is our trader?" she inclined her head towards Slaydak.
Trynie nodded to Rianalee, "Aye. Slaydak, this be Rianalee … our employer"
Rianalee leaned forwards and cleared some branches away, revealing a large crate. She tapped the large crate bound with heavy iron bands and closed with a large padlock.
Rianalee said, "A simple package."
Romeode asked, "That crate got enough security?"
Rianalee said, "If you can do your task properly, aye."
Trynie asked, "Where do we bring it?"
Romeode asked, "Where in shard will we meet our contact?"
Rianalee said, "Take it near the south gate of Shard. A … friend … of mine will meet you there. You will know him. He will tell you the phrase "The L’Karm shall overcome.""
Rianalee added, "Give it to no other."
Trynie nods to Rianalee and inhaled a great swallow of air. Slowly she emptied her lungs.
Trynie asked, glancing at Rianalee, "You are workin for them now Rianalee?"
Rianalee said, "I work for whom I please and the call of my People pleases me very much."
Trynie nodded to Rianalee and responded, "My people as well …"
Rianalee asked, "You gave your honor oath to do me this favor. Do you go back on it now?" She raised an eyebrow in Trynie’s direction.
Trynie said, "No … I knew when I gave the oath it may be something … uncomfortable to do. This is less so than it could have been"
Rianalee said, "Then the burden goes lightly and we are clear between us." She turned to the trader, "As for you, Slaydak," and handed him coins. "The latter half will be given to you by my compatriot."
Romeode said, "I’d like to know what is in it since i’m guarding it. The crate I mean."
Rianalee replied, "Just things that make the fight go easier, Romeode. Of no consequence. Foodstuffs for those that starve and blankets to ward off the chill."
Trynie said quietly, "Hush Romeode … too many ears in the woods at night"
Romeode inquired, "That much security for blankets? If you say so. Lets be on our way then?"
Rianalee’s eyes blazed with a cold light as the crate lifted itself from the ground and moved onto the caravan.
Trynie said, "Anything havin to do with them would need guardin….they are not well liked"
Rianalee said, "History is ever written by the victors, Trynie. As a bard, you know that."
Trynie glanced at Rianalee and nodded, "I have said as much myself at times …"
Rianalee gave a large flawless opal to both Trynie and Romeode. They made way to travel in a group.
Trynie said, "Till we meet again then Rianalee."
Rianalee said, "One last word, Trynie and then we are clear between us. Wren has walked the wheel of life many times. She may well be beyond the skill of cleric, no matter how great, to be put on the wheel again."
Rianalee concluded, "So the window of chance and opportunity is small once she is found."
Trynie asked, "But perhaps … not beyond love?"
Rianalee said, "That I cannot answer," and shrugged her shoulders. "Then I bid you safe journey."
Rianalee raised a hand in salute and farewell.
Trynie said, "All right Slaydak…get yer caravan movin. I dislike bein out in the night"
The weathered caravan moved southwards on the Southern Trade Route with the cargo and the three travellers. They were edgy and half expecting trouble from one front or another as they travelled quickly. Romeode was already having second thoughts and suggested to Trynie that she break her word and take the crate to authorities.
They didn’t have to wait long for trouble. A dark-eyed gentleman approached them and bade them to stop. He was a big man and wore a sturdy black chain shirt and carried a silver-tipped scimitar in his hand. But his eyes blazed with a burning hatred, unfocused but entirely malevolent.
Trynie moved over to guard Slaydak.
A dark-eyed gentleman asked, "What, may I ask, are you hauling?" and tapped the crate on the caravan
Slaydak glared at him, "Those are my oats."
A dark-eyed gentleman asked, "And its contents?"
Romeode replied quickly, "none of your concern"
The dark-eyed gentleman chuckled and said evenly, "You lying scum." He stared at Romeode as he said this.
Romeode said, "You don’t sound like a gentleman talking like that"
Trynie asked, "What matters the contents? What concern do you have with them?"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "My concerns are for the lives you are helping to steal. Have you no decency?" He rapped at the crate, listening.
Romeode asked, "What lives?"
Trynie said, "I am stealing no one’s lives"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "Not at the moment, no. You are aiding preperations to do so."
Trynie said, "I am simply guarding a trader who wishes to not have his profit stolen"
A dark-eyed gentleman chuckled, "And all that concerns you is profit? I know what is in it, as you do."
Romeode insisted, "I do not. I was not told i am just guarding it"
A dark-eyed gentleman folded his arms across his chest.
Trynie asked, "Again, what concern is it of yours?"
A dark-eyed gentleman walked around the caravan, "You really don’t care how many die, do you?" He raised his eyebrow with the question.
Romeode asked, "What is in the crate sir?"
Slaydak carefully studied his ledger and looked thoughtful, then stowed it away and got his caravan moving again southwards. By this time, Romeode was whispering urgently to his companions that he felt the crate should be turned over to authorities. He was in the minority on this, Trynie felt she should keep the bargain. The caravan kept moving onwards, but the gentleman who had stopped them before came hurrying up again.
"Stop!" he exclaimed. "Fools."
Romeode said, "let the man speak he obviously feels strongly about this"
Slaydak said, "my oats are due in one hour to the shard guild"
Trynie said, "Contracts come with time limits, sir"
A dark-eyed gentleman told them, "You have no oats."
Romeode asked, "Then what does he have?"
Trynie asked, "What was your name again?"
A dark-eyed gentleman asked, "Time limits and lies are more important to you than lives are? Typical trader," and spit on the ground.
Trynie asked, "What lives? You are truly being very vague …"
Slaydak said, "I am merely a delivery man"
A dark-eyed gentleman asked, "You are going to tell me, that after the conversation you just had about ‘honor’ you have no idea?" He raised his eyebrow
Romeode and Trynie held a quiet whispered conversation outside of the earshot of the strange. He wanted to get the crate turned over to authorities. She had given her word this would be delivered, and would not break it.
A dark-eyed gentleman then revealed to them, "You are hauling weapons, not oats." He sneered at them, "Scum."
Trynie asked, "I was told it was blankets and food … what harm can come of that?"
The dark-eyed gentleman began to pull at a large crate, trying to get it off the caravan. Romeode was pacing back and forth nervously.
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "Fools, help me with this, unless you want blood on your hands."
Trynie asked, "Sir, what authority do ye have ta accost a trader on his way?"
A dark-eyed gentleman replied, "You are no trader, you are a Bard."
Romeode asked, "Who are you sir? You still have not identified yourself to us"
A dark-eyed gentleman asked, "Are you looking for songs of blood?"
Trynie responded, "I am guarding dear Slaydak here from thieves." She glanced at the man.
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "You are looking for a song. A song to sing about the blood you spill without lifing a finger."
Trynie said, "I spill much with my finger…I do not need to spill it without"
A dark-eyed gentleman asked, "So you admit to being bloodthirsty?" and raised his eyebrow at her. "And I had such respect for your guild."
A dark-eyed gentleman saod, "Such good work they did. Long ago." He chuckled to himself.
Trynie said, "We still do fine work"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "Yes, smuggling weapons is fine work."
A dark-eyed gentleman kept tugging at the crate.
Trynie said, "If you cannot produce anything to say ye have this authority we will be on our way"
Romeode told him, "Please do not touch the crate"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "Romeode, help me with the crate. Don’t stain your hands with blood."
Slaydak said, "you will not touch my crate good sir"
A dark-eyed gentleman exclaimed, "It isn’t even your crate, fool!"
The tension was escalating. Romeode was wringing his hands by now. The stranger slapped Slaydak across the face. Trynie tried to get everyone moving south again.
Trynie said, "Since ye have no authority to detain us, though, we will be on our way. Good day, sir"
A dark-eyed gentleman asked, "Well, Romeode? Will it be greed or honor?"
Romeode muttered to himself, wondering where "that damn elf" is.
Trynie asked, "Me?"
"No, not you"
Trynie said, "I am not damned … yet" and grinned.
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "No, not yet. You have a chance. Forget this madness."
Trynie said, "Tis no madness…tis business, and you are interfering"
Romeode asked of the gentleman again, "Who are you sir? I need to know your affiliation. Where are you from?"
A dark-eyed gentleman raises an eyebrow and said, "You know the affiliation of the owner of this crate. And that is all you should need to know."
Romeode countered, "Yes but I do not know yours. For all i know you could be worse"
A dark-eyed gentleman looked over at Romeode and nodded, "I am an agent."
Romeode asked, "of what?" and waited for a reply.
The dark-eyed gentleman whispered, "In the employ of the Baron of Therengia. Please, stop this madness!"
Romeode said, "He should not have gotten involved"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "He cares about his citizens."
A dark-eyed gentleman whispered to Romeode, "These two care of nothing but profit. I urge you to stop them."
Romeode asked for some time to think a moment.
Trynie asked, "Romeode … we were told it was food and blankets … what is the harm?"
A dark-eyed gentleman shook his head, "First you tell me oats. Now food and blankets. Why so many lies?"
Romeode said, "I was told that. I wish she would have shown it to me"
Trynie said, "Oats are food. Ever eat oatmeal?"
The dark-eyed gentleman started tugging at the crate again.
Trynie said, "Come on, we are wasting time. If you wish to fololow and talk, do so. But we must get going"
A dark-eyed gentleman told them, "Yes, no time like the present to equip murders."
Trynie said, "Come on SLaydak … Romeode can stay and talk all day if he likes"
Romeod declared, "No one is going anywhere till i get everything straightened out in my mind"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "Nothing will clense your hands, Bard."
Trynie said, "We have a job to finish"
Romeode told them, "Then i’m gonna help the gentleman if ya leave"
Slaydak flailed his arms and said, "I have never been late on a contract, i must keep my good rep"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "Your reputation for being late on one occasion will be nothing to being found to be a supplier of weapons to murderers."
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "Look. I understand business. And I understand your motivation. You’re a greedy pig."
Trynie said, "I doubt that"
Slaydak said, "thats exactly why i became a trader"
A dark-eyed gentleman asked, "How much were you offered to do this vile thing?"
A dark-eyed gentleman looked over towards Slaydak and nods.
Trynie quietly said, "I am gettin tired of bein insulted"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "I can compensate you for the crate."
Trynie rubs an opal-inlaid bastard sword.
Romeode asked, "you’ve already gotten plenty of coin for this Slaydrak, do you really need more?"
Slaydak said, "i don’t take bribes cretin, i do my job"
A dark-eyed gentleman offerred, "Come on, Slaydrak, my coin is good. Not a bribe. A job."
A dark-eyed gentleman asked, "How about three platinum?"
Slaydak pondered, but replied, "No."
Trynie said, "Coin will not satisfy my motivation, sir. I gave my word and I intend to do what I promised"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "You gave your word to a murderer. What honor to keep it."
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "How far you’ve fallen." A dark-eyed gentleman shook his head sadly.
Trynie said, "My honor. I have never broken a promise…never will"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "Your honor is laughable."
Trynie pulled an opal-inlaid bastard sword from inside her greatsword sheath.
Romeode said, "put that down"
Trynie replied, "It is down"
Romeode added, "well away"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "You give a promise to one that murders innocents, and stand by it even after you know this."
Trynie said, "I am gettin tired of standin. You got somethin better for me to lean on?"
A dark-eyed gentleman asked, "How many Bards have they killed, Trynie?" He poked Trynie.
A dark-eyed gentleman yelled, "How many?"
Trynie said, "Please … don’t touch what is not yours"
A dark-eyed gentleman asked, "Do you even care?"
Romeod said, "many bards have died"
A dark-eyed gentleman nodded at Romeode.
Trynie said, "And many others as well"
Romeode said, "let us take the crate"
Trynie countered, "Let us take it to Shard"
A dark-eyed gentleman asked, "And this means less than your word given in false circumstances?"
Trynie said, "The lady has kept her word to me. I will do no less"
Romeode said, "How can i help you sir? Trynie you have to break your word this time"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "She has murdered your sisters. Do they know that you are betraying them?"
Trynie said, "I will not Romeode"
Romeode asked, "She doesn’t care what happens to you, don’t you see that?"
A dark-eyed gentleman looked over at Romeode and nodded.
Trynie said, "Rom
ode … I will not break my word"
A dark-eyed gentleman pointed at Trynie, "She’s a pawn. Her delusions of grandure prevent her from acting with honor. She’d rather be at the center of attention."
Trynie grumpily said, "I am really gettin tired of you talkin about me that way"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "No matter the cost to her own sisters." He spit on the ground.
Trynie glared at a dark-eyed gentleman.
Trynie asked, "Are ye threatenin my family then?"
A dark-eyed gentleman exclaims, "No you are!"
Romeode said, "Trynie you have to see she doesn’t care"
Trynie said, "That is not the point Romeode"
A dark-eyed gentleman exclaimed, "Fool! You are providing the tools of your own undoing." He tapped on the crate.
Romeode said, "yes it is. She only having you do it so she doesn’t have to do her own dirty work"
A dark-eyed gentleman pointed to Romeode and said, "You know this is wrong."
Trynie said, "Romeode, I was under no delusions when I gave my word. Or when I accepted the conditions"
Romeode said, "but you knew not what yo where promising too"
Trynie said, "I will not break my word"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "So you enjoy the slaughter of your guild. And the others? What of them?"
Trynie said, "I didn’t have to … I knew what it could be … and I was willing. Wren is worth it. As is the lute."
A dark-eyed gentleman asked, "How many innocents will die because of scum like you?" He pointed at Trynie. "You think that supporting murder will free an innocent?"
Trynie glared at a dark-eyed gentleman.
Romeode reminded, "Wren is free. She is returning on her ow, Faenella will guide her."
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "Turn the crate over to me."
Romeode asked, "Gent do you have anything to show me that will prove who you work for?"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "You know … You are too trusting, Romeode.
Trynie said, "You weren’t there…you do not know…so please stay out of it. If you don’t want to help me … go. But do not destroy me this way"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "That’s the easiest way to neglect responsability. The gods will take care of it. I trust in the gods, true, but I realize that the decisions that I make are my own."
Romeode asked again, "Show me some proof of your employer gent"
A dark-eyed gentleman said, "And now, I will take the crate."
Romeode said, "first show me who you are"
A dark-eyed gentleman began to unfasten the crate. Slaydak growled ferociously! and then Trynie began to advance towards the dark-eyed gentleman. The dark-eyed gentleman was unable to retreat from Trynie, and she closed in on him. The gentleman threw something onto the ground which explodes into a million tiny particles! Trynie and Slaydak are poisoned by it, Romeode managed to avoid it.
With that, Trynie attacked him. He retreated a step. Candidus and others arrived to watch the gentleman advance back towards Trynie. Candidus began to advance towards the dark-eyed gentleman alongside of Trynie at melee. Amabella threw a shavi from a distance. A few clashes and exchanges of swords is all it took now until the dark-eyed gentleman screamed one last time and was still, downed by Trynie’s last blow.
They picked up his weapon, and searched the corpse. Surprise of all surprises, his scimitar’s handguard is etched with a picture of a mountain and a forest over twin-crossed swords. The emblem of the L’Karm.
The earth around the dark-eyed gentleman seemed to awaken, opening up and curling around him, pulling the lifeless form downward, covering him until all that is left is the empty shell of his clothing.
A dark-eyed gentleman decayed away.
Trynie and Slaydak were nearing death from the poison, and so the caravan and the group, without Romeode now, hurried to the empath in Leth Deriel.
When Romeode caught up to them in Leth Deriel, he exclaimed, "YOU DAMN FOOLS YOU ARE HELPING THE L’KARM!"
Candidus replied, "and she’s dead otherwise you fool."
Trynie answered, "We know, Romeode … we know"
Romeode responded, "so?" and made a case that sometimes one must be sacrificed that many may live.
There were more heated words, and Candidus halted Romeode several times as they made their way to Shard to deliver the crate.
But no words were going to turn Trynie from her promise.
Romeode ran ahead to Shard’s gate, and there with some others, waited for the caravan’s group to arrive to meet the contact there.
A darkly clad elf stepped into the area, surprised at the crowd, "This was not what was expected of you, sister. Not these people, not this fuss."
Trynie explained to the contact that there had been some trouble, and that she wasn’t the one who picked Romeode.
The elf questioned Romeode, accusing him of falling back on his word, as well as chastising Trynie for having told people. He paid Slaydak the rest of the transport fee agreed on, and said he alone had done a good job. He claimed the crate.
A darkly clad Elf said, "The L’Karm shall overcome. Stand in the way at your peril."
Candidus responded, "We’ll remember all right Elf. And remember Rianalee’s betrayal this day."
The gathered throng began to act increasingly violent towards the darkly clad elf until someone cast a spell at him. A paladin tried to put down a banner of truce. The elf had some tricks up his sleeve, though, and used some magic breeze to knock people down and blow them a bit aways, while he made his get away.
Harsh words were exchanged between the citizens who had gathered on either side of the issue, but nobody came to blows over it.
And with the favor fulfilled, the crate delivered, and the darkly clad elf gone, this long day came to a close with more questions than answers.
Was Rianalee always working for the L’Karm?
Why didn’t someone ask Rianalee what she meant when she said Wren had been on the wheel of life many times? Why does Rianalee know this, and who is Wren?
Who did that dark-eyed gentleman work for? Surely not an honorable paladin looking like he did, and using poison.
Why did the dark-eyed gentleman want the crate? How did he know what was in it?
Why would the L’Karm ambush their own shipment?
Why was not the Darkly Clad Elf or Rianalee the least bit concerned that the gentleman had knowledge of and ambushed the caravan? Instead, the comments of the Darkly Clad Elf seemed more focussed on laying guilt and blame down regarding the people who had gathered there.
But whatever this chronicler may think of this, it becomes opinion, and belongs in another article.