Wednesday, October 28, 2020

House of Worms, Session 204

A Livyáni traveler named Tríddaz Uó of the Blood Red Orb clan arrived at the governor's palace, seeking an audience with Nebússa, in his capacity as vice-governor in charge of external affairs. Nebússa received him and, while not fully versed in the intricacies of Livyáni Aomúz tattoos, he judged Tríddaz to be of high status, possibly even a nobleman. Tríddaz explained that he had come to share some information about an individual named Miyomáz Arshú. The name immediately piqued Nebússa's attention, as it was very similar to one his agents had told him was the name of the ringleader of a Zu'úr smuggling and distribution ring in Linyaró. 

Tríddaz explained that Miyomáz was a minor member of the Livyáni trade delegation in the colony. As to why he was involved in the proscribed Zu'úr trade, he had no idea, but he intimated that Miyomáz might in fact be a member of the Vrú'uneb, the feared Livyáni secret police, one of whose supposedly rogue agents had caused great mischief in Linyaró at the start of Aíthfo's governorship. In any case, Tríddaz said that he would remain in Linyaró "on business" for another few days and provided his current address to Nebússa, in case he wished to contact him. Nebússa then summoned Znayáshu to plan a means of checking out this lead.

Meanwhile, Sorúda hiVráika, an older woman and a member of the Black Stone clan sought out Grujúng, since he is clanmaster of the House of Worms in the colony. She explained that she had come to inquire as to why her clan's most generous offer of a marriage alliance had been rejected. She added that Ta'ána hiKhánuma was an attractive, intelligent young woman "with a good head for figures," who would make a fine first wife for Aíthfo and, more importantly, solidify a relationship between the Black Stone and House of Worms clans. Black Stone, after all, is perhaps the pre-eminent clan of Linyaró, while House of Worms, as the clan of the colony's governor, was similarly important. Together, they could achieve much and an alliance between them only made sense.

Initially, Grujúng was reluctant to agree to this arrangement, pointing out that Aíthfo is a young, headstrong man who would be a poor prospect for a husband at this time. Sorúda countered that this is precisely why he needed the "moderating influence of a wife" such as Ta'ána, adding that she had been the same on all three of her husbands (all now deceased). Further, a first wife is about duty to lineage and clan; Aíthfo need not have any affection for Ta'ána. Such fleeting things could be found in later wives or dalliances. Though Grujúng's natural inclination was to push back against Sorúda, it was at this point that he remembered that Black Stone was also the clan of the current governor of their home city, Sokátis. Since the characters planned to return to Sokátis once Aíthfo's term was completed – in a little less than a year, they hoped – the marriage now made more sense, since it might open doors back in Tsolyánu. Though the matter was not definitively settled, Grujúng strongly suggested that the marriage was acceptable to his clan and discussions should continue.

Keléno had been appraised of Nebússa's discoveries and approached his second wife, Akolána, about using the resources of her Copper Door clan, to inquire into this Miyomáz Arshú. She said she knew of him, confirming his status as a member of the Livyáni trade delegation. She then said she would have her clan look into the matter further and would let Keléno know what they had learned by the end of the day. Not long thereafter, Keléno, Nebússa, and Znayáshu, with the assistance of Znayáshu's wife, Tu'ásha, planned to observe Miyomáz more closely. They had him called into the palace on the pretext of irregularities in trade documentation. Once he came into an office within the palace, Tu'ásha used magic to read his thoughts as a clerk (an agent of Nebússa) quizzed him about various matters in the hopes of lodging certain memories to the forefront of his mind. Little was achieved beyond the image of an unknown Livyáni man, when the matter of Zu'úr was briefly alluded to.

After Miyomáz left, Nebússa had him tailed, as he moved about the city. The tails noticed that someone else was also following him discreetly and doing so very well indeed – clearly professionals. Nebússa's agents then split into two groups, one that continued following Miyomáz and one that followed the people following Miyomáz. The former group learned that the Livyáni had spoken to multiple sailors on the docks before returning to the trade delegation. The latter group learned that the second set of tails eventually met one another before one of their number broke off and headed toward the governor's palace bearing a letter. Nebússa arranged for the letter to be intercepted. It was addressed to Akolána, at which point it became clear that the second group was employed by the Copper Door clan, on Keléno's instructions and that they were sharing the same information Nebússa had already learned.

Nebússa ordered the sailors from the docks brought in for interrogation. They were asked a wide range of questions so as not to alert them to the true nature of the investigation. They denied that they were in any way involved with Zu'úr or the piracy that is occurring along the northwestern coast of the Achgé Peninsula. As to Miyomáz, they knew him and admitted meeting him. They explained, however, that he only wanted to charter their vessels for a trip to Súchel Head, a promontory two weeks east of Linyaró that, so far as they knew, was uninhabited and entirely jungle. Nebússa let them go and pondered the matter, which would probably have to wait until after the characters returned from their planned trip to the ruins of Pashkírigo.

Finally, Lady Srüna paid a visit to Nebússa. Uncharacteristically flustered and uncertain, she admitted to him that she was not sure how to take her recent letter to him, proposing marriage between them. She explained that, all her life, she had only ever experienced flattery for things over which she had no control – her status, her beauty, her family – and that to read the sincere expressions of affection for her was unexpected. She was not yet certain whether she would take Nebússa up on his offer, but she would definitely like to spend more time with him. She thanked him several times for his words and his kind treatment of her. With that, she left and Nebússa got back to work preparing for the coming journey.

No comments:

Post a Comment