[Taocow PBEM] Fwd: Chapter IX - The King Of The River

Alex Bayne hayden.bayne at gmail.com
Sat Nov 24 00:55:14 GMT 2007

> [GM]
> Major Pournelle turns to Sia.  "I'm under orders to find these people
> accomodations for the evening.  It's the King's command that they  
> leave
> the city tomorrow morning, so we'd best get them some rooms.  I expect
> you have much to talk to them about."

> With that Major Pournelle leads the company down the road to a rather
> tasteful brick building, well-kept, with bright gas lights  
> illuminating
> a sign "The Traveller's Retreat c. 77PA".  A wide wooden door leads  
> into
> a high-walled tavern, brightly lit, with two large fireplaces at both
> ends, roaring and inviting fires in both.  There are at least thirty
> tables, with nearly a hundred people inside, enjoying a show where a
> pretty, red-skinned alien woman sings while a four-armed lizard man
> plays impossible chords on a grand piano.
> A tall man, dark-eyed with scars across his face, wearing a white  
> apron
> comes up and bows to Sia.  She recognizes him as Max Stein, former
> adventurer from Europe who has owned the Traveller's Retreat for the
> better part of a decade.
> "Lady Sialillion," he says in a thick German accent, "you grace my  
> doors
> far too infrequently.  Come come, I will get a table for you and your
> friends."
> Major Pournelle interjects "That's all very good, but these people  
> need
> rooms for the night.  The King's paying, but don't let that get you
> extravagant."
> "Of course not, Major, of course not." Max says.  He looks at the
> company.  "I haven't seen such a group since my own journeying  
> days.  No
> doubt some great adventure afoot.  Ah well, come and sit down,  
> drinks on
> me, and I will get Brunhild to prepare your rooms!"
> He quickly pushes together two tables so that everyone can sit down,  
> and
> before anyone has had a chance to catch their breath, he and two  
> serving
> girls are coming up with large mugs of a rather dark-looking ale.  "I
> insist you have some of our local ale.  Best to be found south of  
> Lazlo
> they say!"
> Major Pournelle shakes his head.  "I must be on my way.  I will be  
> here
> at 6am to escort you all to the boat.  So get plenty of rest tonight."
> With that he turns and leaves.
> The ale is thick but not too strong, and very fortifying.  A meal of
> roast beef, potatoes and gravy follows, a simply, hearty and delicious
> meal.  If anyone pays the company any attention at all, most of it  
> is on
> Sialillion, who gets deferential nods.
> As the company eats, they see two people in thick fur coats walk in.
> They're hooded, so their faces cannot be seen, but one of them  
> stares at
> the company for an uncomfortably long time, his green eyes oddly  
> visible
> beneath the shadows of the hood.  The other speaks to one of the
> waitresses for a long time, before Max takes notice and begins walking
> towards them.  The one cloaked figure quickly disengages from the  
> girl,
> though the company notices that a gloved hand lingers on her arm for a
> moment longer before they leave.  Max seems satisfied and walks away,
> but the girl has a peculiar look on her face and she lets the empty  
> tray
> in her hand fall aside and she walks towards the kitchen at a brisk  
> but
> almost mechanical pace.
> [/GM]

Sialillion eats the hearty potatoes and gravy appreciatively, though  
she pushes the roast beef to the side.  "No matter how many times I  
explain to Max that I'm vegetarian, he always serves the meat just the  
same.  I think he hopes that some day I'll come around."  She smiles  
and takes small sips of her ale as she speaks.

"Anyhow.   The king has informed me of your aim to travel to Rath-Iren  
and slay the Reaver.  An ambitious goal to say the least, though not  
one without merit.  The king fears whatever power may still lurk  
there, and that it may threaten the kingdom."  At this, however,  
Sialillion gives a sly and conspiratorial smile to the group.  "I, on  
the other hand, am more interested in seeing for myself what ancient  
mysteries you may uncover.  But I will do my duty just the same."

At this, Sialillion takes a small draw of ale, and her eyes follow the  
cloaked men over her glass.  She is suspicious, but just the same  
trusts that one would have to be a fool to do something rash under  
Max's watchful eye, and also she is interested in seeing the group's  
capabilities should something come of the suspicious activity.  She  
watches the situation unfolding, but says nothing of it.  She  
continues in a somewhat more casual, almost aloof and bratty air.

"The king has asked me to accompany you on your journey and report  
back on what you find, and of course to protect the kingdom, blah  
blah, etcetera.  His view is a bit shortsighted, if you ask me,  
considering the magnitude of the forces at work here.  Should K'murd- 
faka really want to destroy a minor kingdom such as this, it would be  
as a child blowing away a sandcastle."  She seems amused at the idea.   
"But I digress... as Major Pournelle mentioned, I have convinced the  
king to provide you with a jetboat which will speed our passage along  
the riverways southwards.  I also have something that you might not  
have- a map of the riverways leading to Rath-Iren, from some of our  
ancient archives.  It should lead us there directly."  She looks at  
each member of the group, gauging their reaction.

"In return, all I ask is that you allow me to accompany your group.   
Nothing more."  Another small sip of her ale.  "Now, I, for one am  
sincerely curious, what draws you travelers towards so dangerous a  
destination?  Do you truly believe yourselves equal to the task of  
slaying a greater demon?"

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