We wind up action back a little. Fetnah, Smersh, Utana and Farshad search the corridor in which the battle was, but do not loot the dead, they search around, finding accomodation and signs of habitation that belonged to the slain.
The last room was a store room and prison, half of the room was closed off by magically grown stalagmites and stalactites behind which were two women and a man in Faliscan style clothing, Keteaorum slave collars.
With Juan José not there the Faliscan words were initially strange to those there
“Salute, ego som Claudius. Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres. In pictura est puella nomine Claudia”
When it was apparent that the group did not speak the language, Claudius switched to Idarit, “Ah hello, I don’t suppose you could find your way clear to rescuing us? We were on our way across the sea, heading to a diplomatic conference when our ship was swarmed by these things, most of the crew were slain, and we were kidnapped.”
Farshad volunteered that rescuing the Faliscans were the very reason they were there. Well, other reasons, but might as well do that too.
As to the rescue, they considered how the magically created bars could be opened up, as there was no door or lock. Utana’s eye immediately flashed with the simplicity of the solution, quickly followed by Farshad’s realisation. As they looked at Smersh, eventually Fetnah caught on, as Smersh followed thir eyes to his mace, he picked it up wondering why and then went “oh” and broke the stalagmites and stalagtites.
Freed, Claudius thanked the group, and his daughter Claudia and the other Faliscan nodded their agreement. Claudius then rendered Utana speechless with the next conversational gambit, to the amusement of the others.
“Right then. If you would be so kind as to take our chests there back to the boats or whatever you have…”
Utana gasped in disbelief
“Come on now, boxes, there, carry. Jaldi Jaldi! Bisareih! Chop chop!”
Unable to counter this arrogant entitlement, Utana was silent for a moment (I really wish I had had Claudius repeat the command slower and louder – ach well), then stalked off muttering to himself.
Laughing, Jalabu, Dhran and José appeared, and took
- The statrue they came here to find
- Four chests, highly decorated in the Faliscan style. Sealed to resist the water of a sea journey
- Five amphorae, sealed
- A small battered box, with ancient cuneiform carved into it
- A short spear in the Keteaorum fashion, richly decorated
Back up to the surface to load onto the boats.
Fetnah was curious about Claudia, but more particularly with the third Faliscan, as she had not spoken a word or even been introduced.
The boats sailed back to Nashwa, with one sighting of one of the Faithful Keteaorum, checking on the success of the group’s endeavours. The Palace was quite bustling now. Utana’s servant and some others of the household that the agents had been assigned, with towels and robes, hustling them back to their quarters, Utana flashed a haughty look back as Claudius as if to say “SEE!”.
Guards took Claudius and his party to meet the magistrate Niralha, to announce themselves and their credentials.
Once the agents were freshened up, and better dressed, Utana was particularly resplendent in his fullest, mosr over the top finery, but all were smarter and more formal than normal, they met the Faithful in the underground chamber, and handed over the statue. The Keteaorum thanked the group, and dissolved the armlets. As payment they handed each a pearl of a decent size.
Fetnah asked about the slave collars placed on the Faliscans, and they were given a magical key, fashioned from sand and water, with which to dissolve their collars. Under Smersh’s leadership, the group took the items of the goddess Tevamurtyu. The priests of the Cold Ones there spoke to them, and the group were guided to an empty alcove to place the items. Some of the priests assembled a frame to better display them.
Fertnah and Smersh seemed suspicious of the priests, and their anxiety to get rid of the group, but they eventually figured out that the priests were just busy and, having received the artefacts of a goddess not of their pantheon, they had work ahead of them.
Their next port of call was the Faliscans. Claudius greeted them and seemed in better mood, especially once the wand was touched to each of the Faliscan’s collars. First the collars and then the wand sublimated into mist.
Claudius was no less effulgent than before, but more appreciative. He apologised to Utana for his terrible mistake, mistaking him for the help, and Utana was reasonably gracious in his acceptance. Claudius gifted them all with scross of his epic poetry, translated into Idarit and Araya and written in the Shamek script common along much of the world.
In Farshad’s view, it was competent enough, but a bit overblown.
Fetnah queried of Claudia and the other who they were. Claudia is not just the daughter of Claudius, but also his advisor, personal secretary, and speechwriter. The third Faliscan introduced herself as Hortensia, another ambassador. Fetnah seemed puzzled about why there were two ambassadors, but Hortensia explained that the Faliscan culture is comprised of many independent states, since the city of Falisca was swallowed by the Great Forest, and that two observers were sent.
Hortensia prefers to let others speak whilst she listens. She speaks, butt concisely and to the point.
Fetnah expressed wonder, again, on this event, as the Pale Folk she knew were reticent and unlikely to conquer the world with their trees, but the world is as the world is, and an empire collapsed trying to fight the Pale Folk.
The evening came, and the great feast. The group were close to the table of honour, save for Utana, who was at that very table, in his role as acting as viceroy for Nashwa in Niralha the magistrate’s name. That role, and his staff of office, he relinquished. Now Niralha was assuming the duties of host of the conference. In return Niralha presented Utana with a gold ring, with Niralha’s falcon symbol, that token showed her favour towards him, and the access he had to her.
Niralha was in charge of the location, but she is not one of the negotiators. They are ambassadors of each involved nation, plus observers. The main ambassadors are
Each gab a short speech, as did Claudius, who seemed remarkably constrained and eloquent in his speech, not at all the pompous buffoon of before.
During the night there was mingling, both with ambassadors and their entourages, but also with the leaders of the staff of the Palace of Nashwa, Juan Jose’s deputy in charge of the guards, Chim Zaadmoy, the chief artificer Karzahdar and even Niralha and her gusband.
Niralha presented the other agents with silver rings, now, like Harvan and Utana, they too are no longer just agents of the magistrate, they are members of her extended household. Her’s, not the magistrate.
Chim Zaadmoy is a gruff man, whose rough accent betrays his northern origins. He is still on duty, and his talk is of security and protocol. Karzahdar is more personable, but as the person whose job it is to ensure that work is done, artisans work together in the most efficient manner and raw materials reach those that need them, he knows everyone, and Farshad and Utana sought recommendations from him. Utana seeking an earring for a setting for his pearl, Farshad a new body for Aaribu the crow spirit, to Fetnah’s dismay, given her own efforts in that regard.
The feast ended, and folks went home.
The morning started as it often did, with Fetnah vcommuning with the spiruts and cleansing herself of their touch, but soon peace was interupted with the arrival of Chim”.
Zaadmoy, with a reticent air, he got straight to the point “There’s been a murrderr!”
Mirnusz, Prince of Ishtir, the greatest power currently in the known world west of the Zhau, had been murdered. The group went to see and investigate, finding him pinned to the bed by a sword. Utana, who had been along many a mountain trail, including to the lands of the Kurrim, recognised the sword as being of Kutin design, a fact that the group thought a bit too neat.
Smersh, examining the corpse, noticed the tell tale signs of a sleeping drug, made from a herb most common in Idym. That too, seemed too pat.
Orders were given for the restriction of movement of people awat from Nasjwa, and for the start of searching for clues
But there we left it.