The Wader of Sangris part 3
Nov. 17, 2020, 6 a.m.
Outside Arx - Saffron Chain near Hissah - The Caldera
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The Wader of Sangris part 3 has started at Outside Arx - Saffron Chain near Hissah - The Caldera.
The name of the corpse collection at the city gates
The group encountered a young thief back in the city of Sangris and interrogated him and the merchant he stole from about the cause of the incident. The youth had stolen a crystal egg from the merchant which the youth swore was an important artifact stolen from his tribes spirit-god whilst the merchant claimed it was just an interestingly shaped rock. Ember and Calla confiscated the egg and the group began a two day long journey to the tribesmans home. It was a difficult journey plagued by misfortune but the group is now overlooking a crater like valley. The rock beneath them is the typical rusty red of much of the surrounding region and the lake itself stands out starkly because of the incredibly vivid blue its waters form. Its like a painting of a lake rather than the real thing. Entirely too blue.
You have barely started to climb down the relatively gentle slope that leads down to the lake when..
Domonico checks perception at normal. Domonico is marginally successful.
Thea checks perception at normal. Thea is marginally successful.
Martino checks perception at normal. Martino is successful.
Calla checks perception at normal. Calla is marginally successful.
Medeia checks perception at normal. Medeia is marginally successful.
Ember checks perception at normal. Ember is marginally successful.
Some hint of movement in the tall grass around you reveals the presence of an encircling group of lightly armed shavs before any actual ambush can be sprung. The way behind you is still open and free but continuing on the route you are taking will put you right into their net.
Stretching his arms up over his head, there is a deep exhale from Martino's chest as his leather boots step on into the sands. His sharp greens glancing over the red rocks as he is sighing, "Oh I so regret now not bringing along more clothes. More... things to make this journey a touch luxurious." Twitching his lips, the chatty Malvici continues, "Another bottle of red wine. Mmm... a hot spa. I would now, even, take up the chance to have a building block thrown at me by Arsenia." Glancing to his side, still rambling, Martino says to Thea, "I mean this is the longest I have been in armour since. Umm." Tapping his fingertip upon his chin, there is a glance aside to the tall grass twitching, Martino's right hand reaching out to touch Thea's shoulder, "Um."
"'Ware the flanks!" comes the voice of Domonico from his position near the back, his spear being lowered and ready, held so the front is aimed to the left and the spiked end towards the right. Other than that he doesn't make any other hostile moves, just... primed.
"Ugh, don't mention red wine, I would kill for a glass...." Calla trails off when she too notices that they are no longer alone out here. Domonico's warning is heeded as she stops and takes a moment to consider their position. "Maybe they can be reasoned with..." She adds in low tones for her group.
Thea's face is a look of--SAVE ME--,but she listens. Because ugh! "Will you just-,"Thea starts before her older brother touches her and Domonico is getting positioned. Looking into thr rustling grass, the youngest Malvici reaches for her dagger. Just to be ready. "Im blaming Martino and his red wine addiction.."
The longer this journey goes on, the more people become privy to one of Ember Redreef's secrets. The weather could be much worse, but it's still enough that after a full day's march, roughing it in the rain, and more marching besides, the Bloody Baroness's hair is starting to seriously frizz out. It's enough to make it look like a burning corona around her head when the sun hits it just right.
Ember was one of the first to cross the bridge that led them here, and she remains close to the head of the group, behind their young guide. The quartz egg of the Wader is still in a satchel on her shoulder. The rustling in the tall grass causes Ember to stop and fan her amber eyes around. "...we're here to return to the Wader what is his," Ember says, loudly, in Arvani. "Think for a moment whether the Wader would enjoy your disruption of that process."
Medeia just... sighs. "Martino, this isn't the time for..." She looks around. "Oh, no, we are definitely not alone." She falls quiet, though, hanging somewhere in the middle of the group.
"Mmm... oh." Stepping slightly further away from Thea, Martino's right hand is reaching behind his nape as he flickers his lips to faintly smile, "Well I can speak some Shav'Arvani dialects and... a few others. Eurusi." Dipping his chin lowly in agreement with Calla, eyes flickering to Ember to chuckle slight, "Did we want to tell them the truth? I mean reasoning with people and making people think I am reasoning with them are... my bread. Butter. Red wine as well." Yes. Again with the wine.
Knowing that there is no way they have not been spotted three of the shavs emerge out of the grass. They are all armed with crudely made spears and bows, and they all look at you with suspicion. The one who speaks is in his mid forties and has that certain aura of leadership about him. He stares at the group, taking in all the details, and looking down his nose at you all, despite the fact he's only 5'6 or so tall. For a moment he studies Arn, the would be thief. It seems he's about to talk but Ember's words cause him to stop and instead stare at her for a length of time designed to make her uncomfortable. "You aren't welcome." His arvani is very close to the dialect spoken in Sangris proper.
Calla steps up next to Ember when three of the shavs emerge from their ambush. "Please, hear us out. I'm Calla Vaevici, Magistrix of Sangris, and we are here to help, not to harm you in any way. You have my word on that. Like my companion has said, we're here on a mission to return the Wader's egg for the betterment of the people who live under his watchful eye."
Domonico lets the others handle negotiation as his sweeps his gaze across the grass, searching for other ambushers while working out the best way to defend the others aggressively should it come to that.
Ember raises an eyebrow toward Martino, her stony expression probably making it clear that she doesn't consider now the time for a debate. Her intense stare then fixes on the shav leader. Of anyone in the world, Ember is probably the best suited to endure an uncomfortable staring contest. Her eyes only leave the shav when Calla speaks. "The faster this is done," Ember adds, "the faster we are away."
Thea eyes Martino and mutters,"You couldn't scare a rock into submission, but want to teach me some languages,"she hushedly murmurs. That said, Thea just waits as they wait to talk their way out. Or Ember rather. Or someone.
Medeia is tiny and not super threatening, even in her full armor - which definitely has some Isles shav influence - which may be recognizable, if not the specific influence the shav influence in general. She's taking a gamble that such recognition may be taken as "oh, someone like us" instead of "oh another fucking intruder" when she quietly steps to the other side of Ember from Calla. she stands in an open stance, hands empty and relaxed at her side, expression neutrally pleasant.
The spokesman's expression barely changes when Calla's says they are returning the egg but the two with him shift as if words are bubbling up behind their lips. A glance from the spokeman keeps them from speaking however. The spokesman speaks again, his bodylanguage still icy enough to chill wine. "If that is true. Thank you." A gesture from him sees one of his companions fumble at his belt for a bag before stepping forward. "Give it to Erli and leave in peace."
"Maybe on the trip back." Creasing his sharp greens for a moment to Thea, Martino's dipping his chin to her, "And sometimes the scariest people aren't the ones who stare." Glancing to Calla, watching how she behaves around the Shavs, the Malvici Lord is stepping forward to add with a smooth roll of his tongue, "See, like you, we want the egg back that was horribly, terribly even, Taken from it's rightful home. But... it has been a long trip. The sun is high, the red wine running out. To return the egg, please, might you let us pass? We hope to map out these lands and share the story of... your people and this egg."
Arn is slowly edging away from the group towards the shav's. He doesn't quite seem to know which side he should be on.
Domonico is still silent from his ready position, shifting slightly as the would be ambushers move, keeping his eye on them.
Thea lifts her eyebrow when the tribe simply says to hand it over. "They want us to just--give it and go? How so we know it'll get there safely?"
Medeia's eyes open wide at Martino's words. "No!" Is she acting? or is she genuinely upset? Who knows! "We do /not/ want to share their story!" She takes a half step forward, hands up in front of her. "Please, ignore him. We do not wish to endanger you or disturb your relative anonymity." One of her hands goes out, gesturing to Ember and Calla. "If not for these women," She glares at Arn, here, for trying to trample her, "The would not be recovered. We are honor-bound to see this through. The journey has been rough - and we have proven capable of overcoming the challenges laid before us by the Wader in returning his egg. Let us complete this task and we will leave quickly, quietly, and not return."
"You don't know me, so I will assure you that I'm not the deceptive type," Calla responds with a dip of her head in the spokesperson' direction. "We want nothing more than to right a wrong that was done to you, which I only became aware of because of the bravery of this young man..." She searches briefly for Arn with her gaze before pointing him out. Then with a glance towards Thea, she nods, "Indeed, how would we know? It's a matter of honor at this point as my good friend has stated." She offers a smile at Medeia. "We've taken on the task to see it rightfully returned to the Wader's nest and we would like to see it to the end to ensure ourselves that it is completed."
The spokesman tells Martino. "The lake is forbidden." one of his companions clears her throat and the spokesman's mouth twists as if that simple sound was a public scolding. "But." This is clearly offered with reluctance. "You may stay with us tonight." She clears her throat again and the spokesman is about to say more when Medeia's no pulls him up short. His gaze settles on her for long moments, the gesture he was about to make aborted. After letting the full weight of his stare settle over Medeia for a bit he looks to the group as a whole. "Who speaks for you?"
Medeia falls silent and steps back, not intimidated or looking away, just looking to ease the confusion. She gestures again, vaguely, in the direction of Ember and Calla.
The spokesman's eyes follow Medeia's gesture until he is looking expectantly between Ember and Calla.
"Mmmm." Martino's lips are drawing slightly down upon his face before his left hand turns to incidate across to Calla before stepping back with Medeia, "We are Calla Vaevici's guests here."
Ember makes no motion regarding the satchel on her shoulder -- why give away the location of the egg? "This land is the domain of Baroness Calla Vaevici, Majestrix of Sangris," Ember says, and turns to dip her head toward Calla. "As she speaks, I will obey, for I am her guest. That, too, is a matter of honor." Her eyes cant back toward the spokesman: "As would defending her from any threats to her person -- or anyone else within our group."
Domonico doesn't speak at all from his position, merely staying alert and watching these potential enemies closely.
"I speak for us." Calla offers, stepping forward just a bit and squaring her shoulders to the spokesman. "As orthers have said, these people are my guest here in the Caldera and as such my responsibility. We will be glad for the offer to spend the night with you. I would love to hear more about your people myself. "
"So the warmongers turn their eyes to us." The spokesman says without an ounce of surprise in his voice. "Are we to fight then Warmonger?" Her words lead him to give a slow, suspicious, nod before gesturing at his soldiers. Immediately they all melt away. "Come with me." he commands before striding off into the grassland, simply expecting them to follow. His path eventually leads to a modest and somewhat transient settlement made up of a mixture of hide tents and simple huts. "Arn will look after you." he tells them. With a final statement of "The feast will be at sunset." he leaves you to your own business.
Maybe you can sway the tribes opinion whilst you're here?
"No. Warmongers we may be in name and history, but we are here on a mission to help, not harm." Calla assures the spokesman with a hopefully disarming smile before following along.
"Ohh I see..." Martino's voice is hush as his eyes widen, realising with a glance to Calla just who was 'warmonger'. Shrugging slightly as he steps over the grassland, murmuring mostly to himself, "I guess warmongers can be umm... cute." But, enough with that, the Lord Martino Malvici follows on in to catch up with the Shav's to turn his chin to the female companion with drawing his lips into a faint smile, "Well that was a strong cough you have there. Might what your name be then? Martino Malvici, not quite from around here but... you know. That means we might only meet this /once/ ever. A shame, isn't it?"
Martino checks charm and seduction at normal. Martino is successful.
Domonico seems satisfied with the current situation and plants his spear back into the ground, using it as a temporary walking staff as he follows the rest, shaking his head slightly at Martino's antics.
Calla checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Calla is successful.
To say that the strong-features woman that Martino has approached is suspicious initially would be an understatement but over time she melts under the attention. Its not long before she's relaxed enough to tell him all about those little tragedies that happened in her youth and especially all about her stubborn headed husband - the spokesman it seems - and her frustration at not being listened too. At one point she tells Martino that she wants them to return the egg.
Once at the camp and settled, Medeia takes a look around and gets a feel for the settlement. Her gaze lingers where women gather, moving from cluster to cluster, seeking out pregnant women or something that might serve as a medical area. Perhaps there is something to learn from, or to teach to, this tribe. She takes her helm off and tucks it in her pack before checking the pouches at her belt for various medical supplies. She approaches the most visibly pregnant woman she can find, cautiously, with a friendly smile. "Hello, my name is Medeia. My group is staying here tonight. I am a midwife and medic. Is there any way I can assist you or your people while I am here?"
Medeia checks charm and medicine at normal. Medeia is successful.
Medeia doesn't get too far with the pregnant woman herself but she does get pointed to the local medicine woman. The medicine woman, unlike everyone else, is terribly pleased to meet with Medeia and they soon end up comparing the properties of local plants with those Medeia is familiar with. Some of Medeia's medical supplies, super rare around here, end up in the herbwomans hands and Medeia ends up with some local plant samples in hers. More importantly however the herb woman promises to talk to that "stubborn old fool" about letting them go to the lake.
"Thanks...I guess." Calla replies with a chuckle of amusement to Martino's comment about a warmonger's cuteness. When they arrive at camp, she takes a bit to freshen up before she starting to mingle with the Wader's people, using her keen eye to pick out anyone who looks important, including the man who was talking to them before. "I'm trying to bridge the gaps that my ancestors before me have widened, I don't want war with my neighbors, I've been learning there are much bigger threats out there to the Saffron Chain that we need to work towards protecting against. Let me show you that my words are truth by letting us fullfill the task we took upon ourselves, and show that Sangris can be honorable and help, not harm."
Calla has an uphill battle against the (justly earned) reputation that comes along with her family name but slowly her words and consistent efforts to win the people of the tribe over bear fruit. By the end most of the people she's speaking too are going away with 'whats the harm' on their lips.
Ember checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Ember is marginally successful.
"Mmm... you know, back in the Lyceum... across the sea where I live. Women there are some of the most powerful, but also terrifyingly addictive people to be around." Leaning slightly closer to the strong-featured woman, Martino continues to listen to her. Shaking his head slightly as he tisks, "Oh dear, well for us... would you, please, tell the one we spoke to how we must see this through and return the egg?" Exhaling soft, touching his fingertips upon the woman's knee, Martino adds, "For me, at least... oh and would you be able to let me know as well where my tent is?"
Domonico checks command and teaching at normal. Domonico is successful.
Once led to where they'll be staying, Ember Redreef does two things. First, she removes the quartz egg from her satchel and slips it down the front of her shirt. Her bustier is harder to steal off of her than a bag, after all. Then, she re-braids her hair because otherwise the frizz will drive her completely and irrevocably mad. After that, Ember takes Arn aside, to ask some discreet questions about the Wader, and how the locals pray to him. Ember's next step? Finding a visible location, kneeling in the properly pious stance, and silently praying in the direction of the Wader's lake. With her prayers not spoken aloud, who's to say who it is that's receiving her prayers? Still, by all appearances...
Ember's show of wanting to understand and respect the S'Ki faith doesn't have as obvious a response as approaching any one person directly but for a few minutes the spokesman stands watching before ducking away into his tent. He's seen, and so have many of his people.
The influential woman that Martino is swaying is very very swayed. She keeps smiling, fiddling with her hair and listens oh so attentively to Martino's reasons why they should get to return the egg. Eventually, in the shadow of their tent, he gets the promise he wants.
While Martino impresses someone with his 'sword' in private, Domonico takes to the training area to meet with several of the warriors of the tribe. There he demonstrates various techniques with his weapon. He shows them how to grip the shaft properly and effective thrusting techniques designed to impale others. He even lets some of them handle his weapon too. All in all it was an impressive lesson is spear combat.
Domonico's approach doesn't gain much traction to begin with as the warriors mostly scoff at the very idea that this strange foreigner might know better than they do. Then he starts teaching and demonstrating, beating up a challenger or two, and suddenly most of the young men are crowded around him watching and in several cases trying to copy what he's doing. If nothing else Domonico's proven to the tribe that you can handle yourselves.
The promised feast begins around a great fire. Almost immediately people start dancing in complex patterns around the fire, accompanied by nothing but a slow beat of the drum. Whatever tune they are dancing to is one that exists mostly in their minds and culture. The food consists of a wide range of plants, some you've never seen before, that have been roasted in firepits during the day. There is some fish as well but otherwise there doesn't seem to be any meat at all. The spokesman steps out from his tent dressed in an elaborate costume made up of long gray feathers (probably from those birds that attacked you) and takes up a place of honor by the fire. He watches the dancing for a bit and then thumps the haft of a staff down for attention. "Let us trade stories."
"Back in the days before the Wader's egg was stolen he loaned us his children. We grew up together, bird and man, and reaped a generous harvest from the lake. When the Curious One took that egg so too did the Wader take our friends and companions. Now its rare that a bird lives with us and rarer still that they fish for us. We mourn what we lost." The tribespeople echo "We mourn what we lost"
And then suddenly the attention is on Martino. He who (sort of) promised to give a story for a story.
At the feast, Ember seems to go out of her way to sit next to Medeia. She offers no straightforward explanation for this, just a nod to Medeia herself.
Thea gives a silent snort at both her brothers as she watches the others as well. When the tribe's spokesman steps out, the Malvici goes to sit next Medeia. Her friend and protege as she listens, gold-flecked green eyes going between the man and flames.
Happy with what she thinks she managed to accomplish with her offers of diplomacy, Calla welcomes the feast as her throat is going dry with all the talking she's been doing. The smell of the cooking food is making her mouth water, even if she doesn't recognize most of it. The dancers are watched with delight as she munches on strange plants and fish as if she eats them every day, as she's parked herself on the otherside of Medeia than Ember, and listens intently to the story the spokesman offers, a look of sympathy in her eyes. "Sangris mourns that loss for you as well." Then to Martino, she raises a brow pointedly with a look that conveys that she's counting on him to make it good.
Of course, the Malvici Lord Martino - the Playboy of Southport. He who is banned in some cities and, well, perhaps by the end of today banned in a Shav'Arvani village in Caldera, goes along with the influential woman to his tent. As some time passes, until food is being served, Martino is emerging once more from the tent with his hair dishevelled and his armour undone over his torso. Subtly a smug face draws over his lips, his neck faintly scratched and marked red, as he walks to his place at the table. Glancing at his siblings as if to say - what?! - to them. Listening to the story from the spokesperson, the Lord Martino's chin lifts as eyes from the Spokesperson lands upon him.
"Oh I have not one but three stories... see we also mourn what we lost. We recall an Archduchess Eleya Velenosa. A very important woman where we lived and she took the white lily as her symbol. In one village, a well was poisoned killing people. One day, those lilies were found inside." Leaning over his table, Martino's lips are drawing into a smile, "In Tor, a corrupt leader was betraying his people. Young children being lost... he drowned in a pool of thirteen lilies. Then, in another city. His wife died... his child was dying. One day, though, the Gods favoured him. He woke up to his daughter giggling, healthy and holding a white lily." Dramatically pausing where needed, lifting his left hand and waving off with his right, Martino's sharing the story before finishing with a smooth roll of his Lycene tones, "While they seem small, to each of those people, they are important. We mourn the loss of the Archduchess and thank the Gods for helping those back home with the flowers."
Domonico joins the rest of the party around the campfire, his helm resting beside him as he listens to the story, tasting the food and enjoying the fish more.
Once done conversing with the medicine woman and exchanging some supplies, Medeia relaxes more and peels off her cuirass and vambraces for the evening feast, appearing to gleam in her long aeterna gown. She's brushed through and braided her hair before settling by the fire - looking for more "lady" than "shav mermaid queen." She returns Ember's nod, and seems content as Thea and Calla join the huddle of women. She watches the dance appraisingly, as if trying to memorize some of it for storytelling later. And then actual stories begin to be shared and she sits in rapt attention. She might have a story to share, if it is desired, but otherwise she is happy to experience the evening.
Ember isn't quite NEXT to Medeia, more of a 'back and to the left' position, allowing Thea and Calla to flank the Eswynd-to-be. Ember keeps watch from behind, and said Eswynd-to-be might feel the particularly intense stare of the Bloody Baroness watching her.
When Martino's story finishes, Ember looks around to see if anyone else says 'We mourn the loss' to Martino's story. One way or another, she moves to speak next. "What is lost can be regained," Ember says, by way of introduction. "In my home of the Mourning Isles, I know of those who fell from grace with their chosen god, just as the Curious One caused the Wader to withdraw his children from among the S'ki. Sadly, they died yet to reconcile with the benevolence of their faith, and the generation after them was left without a way back into that god's view... no map, no knowledge, no tradition was known to them. But their minds were open. They accepted the help of those strange to them when it was offered, accepted their knowledge, and it was in that way that they were put back on the road toward... redemption, with their god," Ember concludes. "Mourn what is lost, which is time, time spent cast separate from a god's heart. But know that there is only one mourning that is eternal -- and that is the Mourning Isles. All else is passing and temporary, for it can be healed."
Nobody echoes we mourn at the end of Martino's story. Nor at the end of Ember's. It seems that echo belongs specifically to that story. But, in the aftermath of Ember's tale the medicine woman lifts her voice "Oh let them go you old fool!" That 'subtle' entreaty is followed by a "Yes let them go!" from the spokesmans wife and then from a sizeable number of warriors that interacted with Domonico, and the less martial tribesfolk who interacted with Calla, and even Arn himself.
It seems like the spokesman might stick to his previous course, despite the pressure being put on him by more than a third of the tribe, but in the end he sighs and relents with a nod. "If the Wader wills it tomorrow we will show you the way."
Calla looks mildly amused as Martino in his slightly disheveled state, though her eyes dance with approval for his story and Ember's after, which she listened to with quiet intensity throughout. When the medicine woman, then the tribesfolk start to speak up, her smile grows until the spokesman finally relents. "Oh thank you, most wise leader of the S'Ki. I feel like this small step is huge for the future of all of us here in the Caldera. I will make sure you don't regret it, you have my word."
When the spokesman issues his judgment, Ember gives a deep nod, either of gratitude or just of confirmation. The Baroness's stony expression is hard to read most of the time.
There's a shake of Thea's head at Martino's appearance, following a sigh. When those start proclaiming to allow the group to go, Thea actually starts to smile a bit. Sometimes--it pays to be quiet. To the medicine woman, there's a slight look of appreciation. Or perhaps admiration.
Medeia is definitely aware of Ember's staring, but she's /pretty sure/ she hasn't done anything to offend the baroness. As such, she only flicks /one/ curious look over her shoulder - instead of the dozen she feels the urge to, warm hazel eyes under dark lashes meeting Ember's briefly. When the woman starts to tell her story, though, Medeia does shift her body to face her better, listening intently. The medicine woman's words draw her attention, though, and she smiles across the gathering at the woman, head inclining in thanks. As the rest of the tribe speaks up, she moves her gaze around the gathering, and settles on the spokesman. "As the Wader wills," she murmurs.
Sinking back down into his chair, Martino is leaning to murmur hush to Medeia, "Tough crowd. That was a /good/ story including death and poison and... flowers. Delightful flowers like the Delight of Saik mm?" Returning to his food, Martino's eyes flicker to Calla for a moment as she speaks before chuckling low, "Oh no. Another overnight stay."
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