• Closed • An Imperial Audience

Edd meets the Empress

A blistering desert that stretches for hundreds of miles around Nashaki, with very little relief from the baking heat.

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An Imperial Audience

Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:08 pm

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Raskalarn took no offense from Eddrick's previous misconception of The Eternal Empire and their motivations, it was a fairly common occurrence. Instead, she and the rest of the Imperial commanders listened intently to Eddrick's tale. When it was over, there was a pause, a heavy silence. Then Raskalarn let out a laugh. "You're right, there is no dishonor in telling this tale. You're right though, the Avriel are not going to side with us. They suppress the tale now, but they used to roost in what is now part of The Eternal Empire. When we defeated them, they chose to leave en masse. It's why they're so antagonistic towards us." she said, grinning slightly.

Then she leaned forward slightly. "However, there is another issue that springs rather prominetly to mind. We could send word to Athart about this non-existent treaty quite easily, but I have a concern. Do you happen to know when they discovered there was no real treaty?" she said, her voice intent. This caused a bit of confusion among the commanders, but they listened quietly for an explanation. "Our meeting with Nashaki was disrupted, there's a non-existent treaty that's coming to light now and the fact that the ambassador you got just happened to have that information?" she said, her tone curious. "I don't believe you're acting against us, Commander Brodon, don't worry about that. But I think there's more to this than we know. Did anything odd relating, or possibly relating, to that ambassador ever come up again?" she asked, her tone intent.
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Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:22 pm

Eddrick was somewhat intrigued to get the brief history lesson regarding the avriel's exodus from some previous homeland in the Empire's holdings. It was not exactly the answer to some pressing mystery, but it was the sort of tale he'd always found interesting. And he could see that this could account for some lingering hostility. But in all his time in Athart, he'd never heard any avriel rhetoric about vengeance for that kind of cause. He could only assume their move to the jungles of the Crescent Peninsula was long enough ago for any tender nerves to have long since dulled. Or the flappers just figured that no human had any right to know.

The bandit's reverie was broken by more actual questions from Raskalarn. He found himself eager to provide answers, but his time a moment's confusion stayed his response. "You mean, how long ago? The ambassador...uh...what was it? Falloni or something...Fallini! He didn't even know. or perhaps at that point, I felt I'd gained what information I wanted."

He hung his head just a bit, "I'm sorry, Your Majesty, but at that time I was only looking for the details that pertained to my situation. I really didn't need to know that. But in truth, I truly do not think he knew. So I can only assume it was some time before his birth. How long I could only guess. It was definitely well before my departure from Athart these five or six arcs."

The Immortal continued to press for details. Not in an angry or threatening manner, but her words gave Eddrick cause to think back. His gaze became unfocused as his memories scrolled by his inner eye. "Yes..." he murmured, "There was a time that a stranger recalled that incident to me. Almost as a taunt, a warning of extensive connections and a threat to tread very lightly...a woman...what was her name?"

Besides the ambience of shifting armor, breathing, and the noises outside the chamber, there was silence in the room as Eddrick squinted into the past. He started counting off odd titles as he scanned his memory of the incident. "...Business woman...arms dealer...war profiteer...slave trader...information broker...Mmmo...bud...mo-bud...Mobid. MORbid! That's what she called herself! Obviously a false name. She said that's what we could call her, though she said for that venture she was only an historian."

The Immortal's eye bored into him silently encouraging him to give more details. "Again, I was only interested in certain information then. I had been burned by the Tower of Gems and was out to steal a share of what I thought was a mining operation. it turned out to be some relic search in some old tomb. Carvings on the walls of some old past event. Fates! Your Majesty. I wish now I'd paid more attention. I'm no historian, but for all her claims of illicit activities and power, she seemed to know her history; knew a lot about it."

Silence held its course as the bandit strained his memory, "Well anyway, she referred to my capture of the delegate that told me of this business with the treaty as a "gift" they'd given me; her organization, I assume..." He continued to wrack his brain for details. "She may have been a necromancer. But it also may have been one of those with her that was. I was sort of a late arrival. She knew about my Bone Yard thing...that both you and Nashaki would like to get their hands on her, but there's no one who knows her real identity, so there's no one to get that information from."

A deep breath preceded his next comment, "In fact, this was said to suggest you would torture me for this information." he paused, "Anyway, let's see...she called up some beast made of lightning...some sort of flying reptilian-looking creature..." he stopped again, embarrassed that he may have given offense in the present company. "Okay, ummm...the language in the tomb..very old...possibly the root of all Idalosian, except the ancient spoken by the Immortals..."

He did not meet Raskalarn's eyes. He knew there was no real cause to be concerned, since he was trying to help. But it still rubbed him wrong to speak of 'The Immortals' in her presence. "The place was also full of jars that she warned us not open...possible riches...possible deadly chemicals, traps...plenty of those in the walls and floors as well. Traps, I mean."

He did not bother mentioning Morbid's slaughter of both nomads and bandits that had been in the ruins at the time. The carvings and what she said of them was what probably mattered. "Morbid wanted the carvings interpreted. One was four symbols, a shield, a sword, and I think just a circle and a star. In the middle of them was man holding something over his head; and above all that was another man sitting at what looked like a campfire with a book. Then the other carving was a man surrounded by something, I'm not sure now what. But I remember there was a man at a forge making a huge sword and then an image of him fighting it. Then the wall was damaged...no, more than that, it had been blasted out or something. But last was the big sword again, in its sheath, run through by a smaller one."

He shrugged in obvious frustration, "I really don't know what it all means, but the guy who was with her said it had to do with four artifacts of power. But the whole notion of some smith making a sword he couldn't control made no sense to Morbid. To be honest, I'm inclined to agree. She said she was going to look at other ruins, and that one of them may be under the Tower of Flesh, with stuff that might predate...uh...your arrival. I never know if people mean 'The Originals" as well when they say that. Forgive me if I am out of line saying that, Your majesty. I'm only trying to remember everything I can." He bowed and took a step back in deference.
Last edited by Eddrick Brodon on Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:43 am, edited 5 times in total.
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An Imperial Audience

Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:59 am

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Raskalarn waved away Eddrick's apology. "There's no need to apologize, Commander. There's no way you could have known and having this information at all is quite useful." she said, before listening to his reasoning about how long the treaty had been not-real. "So it's not that likely that someone destroyed it in the interim, but still a possibility. We'll have to keep our ears open." she murmured, before turning her attention Eddrick's ruin adventures.

One of the commanders, a man wearing black leather and a heavy black cloak, cleared his throat at the description Eddrick gave for Morbid. "We've run across rumors of this individual before, though this is the first in-person sighting of her we've had. She has no known real name, but she's likely to be a problem. She's a career criminal, and a very successful one at that. She does, however, have two signatures. Every operation she's been involved with has been illegal in some way, and every operation is held to a strict code of honor. No double-dealing, no double-crossing, everything is as honest and above-board as it can be in a criminal operation." he said, before grimacing. "In truth, she's simultaneously the most worthy and the most dangerous opponent for anyone trying to catch her. The combination of utterly criminal and unbendingly honorable is rare, and it makes people even less likely to sell her out, since they can trust that she will never sell them out. The fact that she's rumored to be capable disappearing members of the Nashaki Towers without a trace makes it even worse." he said, shaking his head.

After the intelligence commander sat back down, Raskalarn nodded and all turned their attention back to Eddrick's tale. The moment the carvings came up, however, Raskalarn's face went completely blank. Already it was hard for people to get a read on how she was feeling, but now you might as well be trying to divine the opinion of a blank wall for all the good it would do you. It was only when Eddrick finished his tale that Raskalarn sighed and shook her head.

"The swords are metaphorical. It is a tale from long, long, long ago. None of the races that now walk Idalos had come into being yet, and the world was a much different place. The ancients crafted living weapons to fight their wars for them, and what you saw was such a tale. And yes, it had been blasted out, an attempt to erase the record and hide the existence of these weapons. Alas, I was hasty in my youth and neglected to properly complete the task. That people are now seeking those weapons is...bad." she said, before shaking her head. "Commander, if you should find any other such symbols, I would take it as a personal kindness if you would destroy them and report the location. The Hotlands have changed much since my youth, the old landmarks now buried by the sands. I can no longer find the old ruins that had the records." she said, shaking her head again. "Hopefully, they do not yet know what they seek." she said, shaking her head.

That matter settled, Raskalarn turned back to Morbid herself. "You said Morbid mentioned she worked for a group, yes? That's quite the valuable nugget of information, a wonder she let it slip." she said, before smiling at Eddrick. "Quite the treasure trove of information you've brought us Commander. I wonder, would you be interested in fully joining my forces? We've a protocol for small mercenary style companies that operate within Imperial Territory, so you wouldn't have to worry about losing command of your troops or any such thing. And even should you choose to remain an independent contractor, your amnesty with us is still guaranteed, so worry not about that." she said, her tone cheerful and sincere.
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An Imperial Audience

Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:23 pm

It may at first have appeared that Eddrick had to actually weigh the option of joining forces with the Imperial Army, as his eyes were squinting at some event in the past. But the words soon registered and the effect was profound.

The bandit Chieftain took a clumsy step back, reeling with the ramifications of the offer. He mouthed silent stammers for a few ticks before collecting himself, and dropping to his knees with bowed head. "Your Majesty, your generosity is beyond words. How could I be such a fool as to reject such an offer; one that would even extend such leniency as to allow my men and I to retain independence after having fought against your forces? But yes, certainly I DO wish to fully join. It is only if it serves some strategy that the Rhakriis would fail to show your colors."

He stood, some embarrassment showing on his face as he elaborated, "Many of us already wear Imperial gear, though it was hard won. We have a variety of makes and colors in our ranks, of course, but would certainly do whatever you would require to mark our alignment."

He appeared briefly at a loss for what to do with his hands, "I don't know exactly what gesture I make to show acceptance. I uh...don't use a sword in battle; and though that seems the most common symbol of loyalty in the rituals of which I have heard tell, I can only offer the hilt of my ball and chain."

The bandit stood as if he feared it all may have still turned out to be a dream, prepared to make whatever gesture was commanded of him. Before this occurred, however, one of the other commanders asked him what he had been thinking of a moment ago; that it had clearly been of some significance. His expression become a blend of doubt and hope.

"Well, the wagon in which I was being taken here, after the Claypan battle, was attacked by some of the risen dead, and the horses panicked and bolted. Eventually the harness tree snapped and the wagon rolled to a stop in the sand. The dead caught up quickly, but I was actually protected inside, though I figured it would really only mean a slow death of thirst instead. But many of the dead were recent victims of the fighting and still carried canteens and rations, as well as other items worth collecting inside the cage."

He looked a bit sheepish, though many he looked at looked back at him with some increased regard. "But many were not recent. In fact, some, I would venture say, were "ancient" dead, with rags that looked to be of primitive make, and with no emblems I recognize from anything I have read or heard tell of. But again, I only concerned myself with what was immediately beneficial and might facilitate my escape."

His eyes furrowed at thoughts of old crumbled bits of parchment he'd tossed aside, as well as others he'd never bothered removing from their pockets. "I wonder now, if it may be worth going back and seeing if there might be some remnants of old maps. There may be a clue or two to finding some of these old ruins."
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Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:00 pm

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Raskalarn smiled slightly as Eddrick accepted her offer, then stood up. "Kneel, Commander Brodon." she said, walking around the table. When Eddrick knelt, she put her hands on both sides of his head. "Your fealty and your service speaks well of you, Eddrick Brodon, and it is gratefully accepted." she said, as her Power began to wrap itself around his head. "You have done us no small service since allying yourself with The Eternal Empire. I accept you and your company into my domain, with all the rights and protections that entails. Moreover, I grant you the Blessing of Krorros, that your strength and ability will be augmented." she said, as her Power finished wrapping itself around his head, forming into the symbol of the crown of Krorros. Her Blessing bestowed, Raskalarn dropped her hands and stepped back. "Rise, Commander Brodon." she said, smiling. Vierka gave Eddrick a wide grin and the rest of the commanders smiled and nodded their approval.

"Now, as to colors and such. Mercenary companies are allowed to wear whatever they wish, as they operate under their own rules and have their own specializations. Jet black armor doesn't work for a company that mostly does stealth work in forests, for instance." she said, smiling as she sat back down. "So, once we're done here, a soldier will take you to the quartermaster here and he'll give you...however many Imperial banners you feel you need. We do have mercenary companies fly Imperial banners over their base of operations, since a few centuries ago one of the licensed companies was confused for a bandit group and attacked. These days we make sure that doesn't happen." she said, wincing slightly as she recalled that embarrassment.

She and the rest of the commanders listened quietly as Eddrick recounted his tale of the undead attack. When he was done, Raskalarn sighed. "Marshall Helfyre, I want a quarantine around the Boneyard. No one goes in without an escort, anyone coming out is searched. Those bones are a problem I do not want resurfacing. Even if we ourselves use the bones, there's no way of controlling them. Too hazardous." she said, before falling silent in thought as the old man nodded.

After a moment, she spoke up. "Commander if you can find where this took place, I would like the dead there examined for clues. If that old tale is coming to light, I want to be sure the sealed weapon remains sealed. I would not, for any price, willingly risk that evil being loosed upon the world again. Since it is not possible to destroy it without first unsealing it...well, I'm sure you get the idea." she said, before pausing. "It is imperative we find these ruins first. Find them and destroy any remaining clues. I want to be clear, under no circumstances are any of us to go looking for this weapon. I know where it is, if we have to go there, I'll lead a team myself." she said, her tone focused, intent.
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Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:32 pm

Eagerness warred with an odd sense of dread as the Immortal actually did Eddrick the service of coming to him. It seemed somehow that for him to have initiated some cause for it to be her that made the effort, must be the result of some unforgivable transgression. But he knew he should not rise yet, no matter what was about to befall. Another part of his mind spoke to him of his foolishness; that it was his Athartian upbringing miring his heart in such groundless uncertainty. He was still, even after these arcs as a free bandit, defaulting all too readily to the assumption that, as a human, he was the lesser race, needing constant confirmation of his worth around those of other races.

So, he held his ground, reminding himself that his new queen had shown only honor and appreciation to him. Why should she change now? As her hands gripped his head, he knew suddenly that the only change was within himself. A strangely painless burning encircled his head, as if the cranial hem of his Keffiyeh had been heated just short of the point of causing actual damage. His body felt invigorated as well. In the same manner as a good night's rest will refresh and focus the mind, his body felt as if it had suddenly reached the peak of its natural capability.

It was not as if some abnormal or supernatural strength and fortitude had been bestowed unto him. Just a realization of his full capability in these regards, and the certainty of being able to access it when needed, and to maintain it as never before. As he rose, to look in momentary wonder into the eyes of the Immortal of Conquest, this vision was obscured by another face. One of his chief lieutenants back at the bandit stronghold came unbidden to mind. In that instant, Eddrick knew that Coren would be resistant to accepting the rule of the empire, even with the unprecedented leeway it entailed.

That thought preceded a flash flood of escalating scenarios, culminating in a 'duel-of-no-surrender' between them. Eddrick was partly surprised that he felt no grief with this realization. There was respect for the surety that Coren was a man of his word, and that their equal refusal to compromise must bring one of them permanently down. There was knowledge that somehow Coren would understand. One of them would die, but it would not be done with hatred or disdain, only the understanding of necessity.

Coren's victory, and subsequent ascension to command of the Rhakriis, would negate the seal of alignment stricken this trial with Raskalarn. He would reverse this development immediately. Eddrick could not allow that to happen. There could be only one conclusion. He would, of course, give Coren one chance to see reason; but he already knew it would not be taken. As he logged this inevitability away in a compartment of his thoughts, his own sobered expression was met with smiles by those he now saw around him; their congratulations voiced only in their faces. But it was sufficient. He felt the smile reappear on his own face in response. He nodded deeply, "Thank you, Your Majesty. I will not fail you."

The Queen's next subject, the marking of the Rhakrii stronghold with new banners of alignment, gave him cause to figure that she knew what thoughts had just been present in his mind regarding the other bandits. Truly it was not surprising to him. It stood to reason that anytime free men were called to give their allegiance to a cause, there would be those that instinctively resisted, no matter the worthiness of that cause. And of course, there were times that the cause was a sham, and deserved no such loyalty. But such was not the case here and now.

Nor did it surprise him that past confusion may have led to a wrongfully combative encounter between would-be allies. Eddrick did not know of this event, but could only presume, if it had been "centuries ago", it was surely far removed from where they stood now. He could only nod in earnest to the proposal to lock out the Bone Yard from any further violation. Even though they had been enemies, Eddrick still occasionally found sleep difficult in the face of memories of the member of his prison escort cutting his own throat in grim resignation as a horde of tireless undead reached him with savage, hungering intent. And that was even a soldier; one who knew that his life may be called to sacrifice at any time. It was more the following visions of nomad camps and villagers being overrun by these same shambling corpses that brought wakeful guilt to his heart in the dead of many nights.

Now Raskalarn brought focus upon the old tomb where Eddrick had found the images he'd described. The bandit-turned-commander nodded and strode to the map, quickly perusing the displayed keys and legend, dropping his finger to a spot a trial-and-a-half's slow riding distance east-southeast of Nashaki. "There is a narrow ravine. The entrance to this ruin is cut into the wall of that ravine. It cannot be seen from above, and there are no features inclined to bring the curious to bother with the effort of climbing or roping down. But it is not really difficult to descend to the floor of the ravine, and is easy to find from there."

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Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:28 pm

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Raskalarn nodded and smiled when Eddrick said he wouldn't fail her. "I don't believe you will." she said, sitting back down. When Eddrick explained where they could find where he found the ruins, she nodded, lost in thought for a moment. "Probably the old theater. Used to show tales of the elder days before they died." she muttered, before shaking her head. "Anyway, thank you for telling us where we can find it. Now, where was the place where you were cornered by the undead? So we can search that as well." she said. Once Eddrick explained that, she nodded and looked back back at the map again.

"All right, back to military matters. Commander Brodon, would any of your people be willing to train new cavalry troopers in using poko mounts?" she asked. "Campaigning in this season isn't feasible, so we'll use it, and at least the first part of the next, for reinforcement. We've a new training group of untrained cavalry, I'll send them down here to be brought up on pokos instead of horses, give us the start of a desert cavalry." she said, before pausing and looking at the rest of her commanders. "Any problem with the infantry, scouts, or agents?" she asked, her tone intent.

Gardise cleared her throat at the question. "Due to the intense heat during the day and our heavy armor, our infantry tends to wear out faster than we're used too. It hasn't cost us a battle yet, the forces in this part of Nashaki aren't that skilled or that disciplined. However, relying on that would be a mistake. I have tried working with troops at night, but the cold is just as tiring as the heat, and the dark limits their effectiveness. We could perhaps use lighter armor, but doing so would necessitate a change of tactics and retraining our troops." she said, grimacing slightly. "In long battles, it will cost us to have the same troops fight the whole way through. I request an reinforcement of ground troops even in number to our current forces so that we may switch out active forces during the battle." she said.

Raskalarn thought for a moment, then nodded. "Agreed. I'll have them sent down." she said, before looking at Eddrick. "Commander Brodon, have you noticed any deficiencies in our troops caused by the climate of the Hotlands?" she asked, her voice intent.
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Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:24 pm


The question surprised him, but only momentarily. It stood to reason his new queen would seek what insight a member of a different race might possess regarding what racial features a human may have found to exploit from the reptilian soldiers over the last few arcs. But his face registered more embarrassment than cleverness in response.

Eddrick shook his head as if in some amusement, "Deficiencies, Your Highness?...No...In fact, I remember the sinking feeling I got when your troops did not wilt under the desert heat when I first fought them at the Claypan. May it not offend, I had been prepared for the lethargy associated with the small native reptiles one often finds basking on flat stones at mid-trial. It came as some surprise to see both races in your armor showing as much ability to withstand the heat as my own men."

"Naturally I temper this observation with respect to the fact that we were in lighter armor, and therefore a bit quicker. But had we been in the heavier type your troops wore, we'd have been no faster or able to fight any longer before exhaustion claimed us. The downside of this, of course, being the lack of armored protection. We were spending our strength as much in simply trying to actually do damage through your hide and armor as we were by dealing with the heat. but we were able to dodge your return strokes a bit easier, perhaps."

This thought brought about some reassessment as his brow furrowed in memory, "Wait though...I now speak of a straight-up fight. I guess I did always hold it as an advantage that in a running fight, we could always out-maneuver your men...uhh...troops." he corrected himself, with a slight blush. "I had encountered your scouts before the Claypan battle, and always enjoyed a quickness your troops lacked, even the lighter armor of scouts. But I would not assume this to be an effect of the climate."

He looked around to see if any looked to be offended by the unsaid racial suggestion. But there was only consideration of the tactical details showing on the faces. He continued, "More like effects of terrain. And we had an advantage there as well. We could always track you with no problem. Again, no offense, but the tail...and the broad feet...the webbing some of you possess. These were a giveaway. Of course, you surely recognized human tracks by the footwear, but you would not know who they actually were."

He absently counted off on his fingers, "Bandits? Nomads? Farmers? Travelers? Troops from Nashaki's holdings? Even the humans in your own ranks wear boots, or at least sandals. We always knew who you were, but how often did you know who you were tracking?" He let the question hang in the air a moment before following up. "The same is true of cavalry. The depths of your mounts' hooves, due to your greater weight, left little doubt who had passed by. It takes long for the wind to sufficiently obscure this detail."

There was some talk of his observations, but Eddrick himself was not listening as he pondered one more issue. He nodded to himself as his decision was made. "I have one more item...an advantage...I would mention. I don't know if this is a thing already known to you, Your Highness, but if not, I would offer you to gaze through this spyglass into the darkness. The lens is something called a Night Glow Gem. I found it among several of the items I gained from the dead that besieged me in the prison wagon. It is quite remarkable. Unfortunately, I don't know where they are found, or mined. It was ground for me by a man with connections to the Tower of Gems."

He was well aware that the revelation that he had a contact with one of the Towers may be a bigger deal than anything he had said up until now.

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Thu May 03, 2018 11:58 pm

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Raskalarn and her commanders listened as Eddrick explained the differences in results their differing combat styles had produced. In the end, she nodded and came to a decision. "Our main forces will maintain our current combat tactics, while mercenary and auxiliary forces, such as Commander Eddrick's Raiders, will use their own honed styles of fighting. Mandating a massive, unnecessary shift in tactics and equipment will slow us down and leave us vulnerable." she said, before looking at the scout leader. "Now, as to the tracking, we can't hide our ithecal soldiers by their very nature, much less change our equipment. But as for tracking other forces?" she said, her tone intent.

The scout commander cleared his throat and nodded. "We've always been able to tell civilian groups from armed groups. Civilians, even the nomads, tend to meander a bit, no manner of formation and they were slow. Even the nomads had a slower walking speed than any of the armed groups. As for the armed groups, none of the bandit groups we've encountered stayed in formation, but they're heavier and faster than the civilians. Nashaki regulars, those we can track with ease. They may be undisciplined, but they still march in formation, and you can't really hide the tracks an army leaves in it's wake. Just the waste from their animals leaves a trail even the most undisciplined hunter could follow. Being able to determine exactly who we were tracking would be nice, though." he said, grimacing slightly.

Raskalarn pondered that for a moment, then looked at Eddrick. "How many of the other armed factions in the desert are mounted, and how many of those use Poko mounts?" she asked, her tone intent. Then came his mention of the Nights Glow Gem and his connection to the Tower of Gems. To the former, the Immortal gave a wry smile. "Near as I can tell, nobody knows where Nights Glow Gems come from. I've used them before, even had a politician in my court for a long time who had a pair of glasses made out of one of the gems. But no one has ever found a source for them." she said, before she leaned forward, curiously. "Now, what manner of connection do you have to the Tower of Gems?" she asked curiously.
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Tue May 15, 2018 5:52 am

Hearing that his new allies would not be changing anything significant about their battle tactics relieved Eddrick. He had not honestly believed he'd said anything that ought to motivate them otherwise. He'd always been quite impressed with their tactical approach any time he'd faced them, and would not wish to see them alter anything. They were well adapted to the desert clime and terrain. They seemed every bit as able to intuit flaws in their enemies' strategies just as quickly as anyone else he'd ever fought.

The fact of knowing who they were whenever his bandits had encountered their tracks had never made Eddrick think of any particular strategy that would greatly enhance the likelihood of a successful attack against them. Other than the benefit of discovering tracks, and thus enabling the possibility of an ambush, he'd never found any serious weakness to exploit. What tendencies they showed were always sound military precautions and responses, and had never given his bandits an edge.

The subject changed to tracking other forces, as he'd figured. In truth, he had not made the comments Raskalarn was now reacting to with any sense of having any great information to give. It had only been part of his attempt to add any amount of detail to her previous questions that he could. Now, it embarrassed him somewhat to have so little to offer.

He grimaced somewhat, "I'm sorry, Your Highness, but there is little difference in the herds of the nomads. Nor is their footwear much different from tribe to tribe. The wind and sand quickly obscures any difference in the possible details of the lacings that might show, or the hooves and jointed segmented legs of pokos. I suppose it's possible that if you see only mount tracks, it would suggest one of the richer tribes,as they would wish to show off their wealth through their mobility, and would have their honor guard riding along, instead of walking."

He started to list those tribes he knew to be better off than the others in the same sectors. As he did so, it reminded him of comments some of those chieftains had said about their wealthier or poorer fellows. There was definitely the usual resentment between "Haves" and "Have-nots" that could be found in every other walk of mortal life. He turned toward his new queen with a calculating squint.

"Your Highness; if I may be so bold...You had mentioned the possibility of my serving as liaison to the tribes. What if we offered the poorer tribes something beyond the basic benefits of citizenship in your empire, and gave evidence of the equality all can enjoy, by provisions that will raise them to the wealth of their tribal rivals. I do not necessarily mean weapons, or armor, though I will get back to that. If we gave them mounts, and worked some distinction into the shoes, it would make them immediately recognizable, and by the lack of such, would identify their rivals as well."

He ventured carefully as he continued, "The same could be said of armor, but to be honest, I do not think they would take it. They are canny, and would probably think of the possibility of being identified themselves. The shoes though, could simply be cast to be of wider imprint. It would be considerably less obvious. Not only would it aid in identification, it would give them a sense of obligation to you."

When the subject of the Night Glow Gem came up, Eddrick was disappointed to hear that even the Immortal did not know much, or was not telling if she did. But when the subject turned to his connection in the Tower of Gems, it connected in his mind as well. "That touches on several subjects already discussed, Your Highness. I had found the stone and gone into Nashaki to have it made into the spyglass you see there. I was then partially betrayed, by being put into a position of bargaining weakness with the threat of arrest. It was the crafter, one Elaka Niervane, who has the actual connection. I had only hoped to lay the groundwork for my own."

Raskalarn's expression remained inscrutable, but he assumed there was disappointment behind the stony facade. He continued, with just a glint of mischief in his eyes. "However, even though I was forced to give over the remains of the leather case with the diagram - which the Tower greatly wanted in hopes of finding some detail that night lead them to wherever the Gem that I obtained had been found - I did not tell them that I had a few other items with the same symbols. There was more than one ancient warrior with such scraps still on his corpse."

As he rummaged through his bag to produce what looked like a bit of leather gauntlet cuff, embossed with an odd emblem, Eddrick explained how he'd promised himself, after the betrayal, to follow any oddly geared mining parties, out of Nashaki, in hopes of finding what they were looking for. And how one such trek had led him to his run-in with Morbid in the Old Tomb. He handed the cuff to one of the other commanders, who delivered it straightaway to the Immortal.

"I don't know if that emblem means anything to you. It does not to me. But those of that symbol must have found them somewhere. And the agents of the Tower of Gems know it too. If it's of any use, I suspect I could bait them into following me to some remote location with a few dropped hints."
Last edited by Eddrick Brodon on Thu May 24, 2018 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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