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The Mivon Missives

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The Mivon Missives

Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:04 pm

7th of Erastus, 4711

My Most Charitable King Thaddeus
 
Greetings from the southern Narlmarches!
 
I am happy to report that we returned Ereval to his people without incident along the road and though we passed signs of trolls we were not assailed.

The elves as a whole are secretive, distant and unwilling to engage in any lengthy conversation.  They would not say anything about who leads them or what their forces number, but after the war with Mivon I would imagine they are even less trusting of people than before.  Only time will allow them to see that your word is genuine.

Ereval seems to be the one who drew the short straw and gets to be the representative of his people to Novastasia.   He is the only one with whom I have had any real communication with, but he is pleasant enough.
 
After informing the Mayor of the exodus of the elves, he has called a cease to all attacks against them.  This is provided of course, that they do the same.  So far so good.  The two sides hate each other, that is plain enough to see, but both want to bring this unpleasantness to an end.
 
The elves waste no time in their preparation.  They should be leaving within a day or two and be arriving in your neck of the marches in about a week.
 
I pray you are well, my King, and I look forward to hearing reports of your victory with the trolls!
 
Your Humble Ambassador,

Wynnsaren


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Letter #2

Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:09 pm

13th of Erastus, 4711

To The Virtuous King Thaddeus,
 
The departure of the elves has settled things down here in Mivon quite a bit.  Mayor Selline has been more willing to communicate with me, even showing me some modicum of respect for the work that was done with the elves.  However, that respect does not yet extend to you, my King, as there are still grumblings that you have intentions toward the land that “in no way belongs to you”.
 
I feel that much of this will abate once your word is shown to be true after dealing handily with the trolls and leaving the borders that Mivon calls their own.  I know and wholly understand your feelings on the matter, and I may yet seek out a local mapmaker to inquire as to when (if ever) those borders have been extended northward. . . and why.  This is not however, a subject that should be broached as of yet with the Mayor.   Until Novastasia has some credibility with Mivon and hopefully some military might that stands behind her, then even talk of border negotiations could tip us toward open war. 
 
The High Council has complained that their final two grievances had been refused; though our discussion had initially been to deal with the trolls first, then talk of whether reparations for the loggers would be required.
 
I have convinced them that you would have had no part in such destruction, but they still pressed that because of your siding with the fey against Corax and his workers, that the fey of the area believed that violence against the loggers was permissible, having your backing.  In this manner Selline believes, as do many others on the Council, that the violence incurred upon the logging group was a direct result of your “uncalled for intervention.”
 
I argued that we cannot know the workings of the fey mind, nor be held responsible for their mischief, but as a show of good faith between our nations, that you had provided me with the coinage to replace the loggers equipment.
 
So that should put an end to the matter of Corax.  Such a trifling thing. . .   There are houses on the council that are looking for reasons to go to war, and though the reparations may not alter their opinion of you overmuch, at least they should not be able to use the incident as an excuse to mount an attack against Novastasia. 
 
Diplomacy takes time.   Mivon’s opinions of you will change, King Thaddeus, please don’t be overly frustrated with them, for I see that the tide is turning.  Barring any further misunderstandings, I have a good deal of hope for at very least a mutually beneficial trading relationship.  I’m working on laying those foundations now to later be built upon.
 
I would guess that the elves will be arriving in the northern Narlmarches very soon.  I pray that all goes smoothly with them and our eventual interactions.  They will want to be left alone for the most part I’m sure, but there could be some benefit in appointing an ambassador to the elven kingdom, since I am so frequently away on business.  As we have one contact in Ereval, they could have one contact among our people.  If you will it, my King, and have not already chosen someone, I will appoint such a person upon my return to Akiros, whenever that should be.
 
May the sun empower your sword to strike the baleful blow to the heart of the irredeemable corruption that is this King of the Trolls, and may the moon and stars guide your steps and loudly sing of your glorious victory that I might hear the sound of it from here in Mivon.
 
Your Servant,

Wynnsaren


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Letter #3

Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:37 pm

18th of Erastus, 4711
 
To His Majesty, the Valiant King Thaddeus Medvyed:

These past few days have been very productive here in Mivon.  I’ve learned a good deal about the politics that drive this nation and some of the nuances of the houses on the High Council.  Currently, I’m in meetings with each of the houses and will send you a full report on my findings as soon as they’re concluded.

Political power in Mivon is expressed mainly in martial prowess.  They have a system known as The List, which ranks one’s skill with the blade. To move up in power, one must move up on the List.

As you can infer, Mayor Selline is at the top of The List and rarely sees a challenge come his way.  He does not claim to be a swordlord, as four of the nine houses are led by, but in fact Selline makes no claims at all, which is interesting seeing as most people here strive to get their reputation with the blade out into public hearing.  It makes me believe the man much more dangerous than he looks.  None doubt his skill.  None dare to doubt it.

Outside of the High Council, there are two other significant power groups that exist here.  The first is the Houses in Exile, which is headed and represented by Lady Andara Gisvet.  These are the twenty minor houses of Mivon, whose views she relays on the High Council.

Second is called the League of Merchants.  They control nearly all river trade in Mivon and are at constant odds with House Zerov, which sits on the council and would like to have more of an influence in that enterprise.

I will be spending some time this week specifically learning more of the trade that is done in this nation and see if there are some specific trade goods that Novastasia might one day be able to supply.

Since my return to Mivon, Sir Decarius Jovvoxum, the councilman and paladin of Iomedae that I’d spoken to you about, has been most welcoming.  He was pleased and impressed to learn about the success of the elven dealings and admitted surprise since even he believed such achievement beyond possibility.

In our weekly meetings, he has spoken to me about the state of the High Council toward Novastasia.  House Jovvoxum has desired peace with us and is pleased that war has been averted.  Houses Pitroisk and Istresz have both backed down from their stances against us, but House Drakovic has actually been pushing harder for the destruction of Novastasia, as he believes we will become a greater threat with the elves now on our side.  House Volk is still enticed by the thought of war, but I believe that it is war in general that he finds appealing.  Houses Fausti and Tellick both currently stand neutral after previously voting to go to war.  I believe they wait to see if your word on the matter of the trolls holds true, my King.

All in all, only two of the nine major houses still show hostility toward Novastasia.  A vast improvement from my first journey to this nation.  As you know, Mivon was founded by swordlords and in general, holds skill with the blade above nearly all else.  Many seek to prove that skill and pursue glory on the field of battle.  Mivon may not be the largest of nations, but it would be wise not to underestimate their military might.

On a more personal note, King Thaddeus, please tell your sister that the thing she seeks is on the top shelf of my bookcase in my castle quarters.  I feel that you are no longer in Akiros, but when you all return, she may borrow it for as long as she wishes as long as she agrees to return it in its current state.  Tell her I miss her company and her conversation as I do yours, Your Grace.


Safe Travels and Swift Blades,


Wynnsaren


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Letter #4

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:09 pm

24th of Erastus, 4711

His Royal Highness, the Sword and Shield of Novastasia:

As I had written previously, I have been working to meet with each member of Mivon’s high council to get a better understanding of the Great Houses and through them, our southerly neighbors in general.

Nearly all have been accommodating.  Nearly all. . .  House Drakovic in particular seems to have taken an extreme dislike to me both personally and undoubtedly to what I represent.  I seem to be putting a crimp in his plans toward war.  His wroth gladdens my heart.  It is because of this affront I have caused them, that Lord Tulstor refuses to meet with me, but that in that rejection of I have learned much of the man.  While I’m not expecting any trouble, if I happen to suffer some sort of mortal ‘accident’ while here in Mivon. . . well you can surmise the rest.

Lady Caterine of House Fausti refuses to make time for me, which is completely within her right, though I wonder if our success in solving their elvish dilemma after telling me I would die if I went to them, rankles a bit.  True or not, she regards me with apathy.  I’ll take that as an improvement.

Swordlord Neski Pitroisk feels like a dangerous sort of man; patient and brooding as the sable spider which adorns his coat of arms.  That is not to say that I believe him to have evil intent, but it is plain that martial skill is his primary interest.  On the surface, he seemed pleasant and hospitable; most of his inquiries revolving around Novastasia’s military designs, of which I was pleased to be mostly ignorant.  Pitroisk hinted that he might be the man to approach if our nation was ever in need of the outside aid of professional soldiers.  Not in so many words was it said, but he led me to believe that he has ties or perhaps even heads a mercenary company.

My next appointment was with House Volk.  Lord Palisso is in many ways the opposite of councilman Pitroisk.   Where Neski was subtle, Palisso was brash and when Neski danced around his point, Palisso stated it flatly.  These councilmen are endlessly interesting.   I can imagine that their meetings could grow quite heated and need to be overseen by a strong leader such as the mayor.  

As different as Houses Pitroisk and Volk are however, they appear to have very similar interests.  Lord Palisso didn’t skirt around the issue, but outright told me that he sought employment with Novastasia for mercenary companies.

To both councilmen I could only say that I would make their requests known to you personally.  Mivon’s mercenary companies are of high repute.  No doubt their cost would reflect that.  I pray that we might never need to use such contacts, but nonetheless, it’s good to know the options.
Houses Tellick and Gisvit were more interested in simple, pleasant conversation and honestly it was a nice change of pace.  Lord Denov Tellick who had previously voted for war with us, was quite gracious and expressed optimism due to our work with the elves, as did Lady Andara Gisvit, who I’d mentioned previously was the representative of the Lesser Houses on the council.  Those meetings were a nice reprieve, especially in light of the session which followed.

Lord Hiven Istresz, ugh. . .  Even now I feel like I need to bathe when I think of him.  He seemed bitter and almost vile, though it was hard to tell whether this attitude was aimed at me or is just his general personality.  He was interested in discussing Novastasia’s future plans and how I personally see our future relationship with Mivon.  I spoke optimistically and truthfully of my hope for peace and good trade relations to benefit both our nations.  
He also asked of my impression of Mivon and her Houses, which immediately put me on the defensive.  Fortunately I harbor no ill will toward any of them and have no particular dirt on any of the Great Houses, for I became uncomfortably aware that Lord Hiven seemed to have insights into my thoughts, nodding at odd times and even occasionally answering me before I spoke.  I don’t know if you have ever had your thoughts read without your consent, my king, but personally I find it terribly intrusive and inappropriate.   It may be of benefit for you to get some sort of magical item which blocks such mental probing.   It just will not do to have anyone rooting around your mind uninvited.

Lord Kas Zerov was an entirely different animal, and not at all unpleasant.  He never much cared one way or another for war, as his true passion and drive seems to be toward commerce.  He’s looking to get a bigger slice of the trading pie of Mivon, so he talked my ear off for hours about how rivers are the backbone of commerce and life in our region and on and on about different products and the variables which affect their prices.   I actually learned a good deal from him.   It could be that when we get around to trading, he might be the man to speak with.   No doubt this would please him greatly!

While I have met with each of the Houses once so far, with the exception of the two which refuse to see me, I have had official weekly meetings with Lord Decarius of House Jovvoxum.  Unofficially, I and my little band have spent a good deal of time at his estate at his invitation.  Glas enjoys his runs there in the evenings when the horses are put to stable.  

Lord Decarius has expressed interest in Novastasia’s goals and outlooks as well as her leadership, of which I could only answer with high praise of course!  I think the two of you could become friends if the stars were ever to align just so.  

Your Grace, it has been a month now since I left you there in the castle library in Akiros and I have had troubling thoughts; dreams that take no shape but fill me with worry.  Since I’ve had no word from my home in so long, and I know in some part the trouble you march into, I believe the apprehension for the safety of my friends and my king is playing havoc with my mind.  I pray to hear good news from you soon.


Your Ambassador, your servant and your friend,

Wynnsaren


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Letter from the King

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:50 am

27th Erastus, 4711

To the esteemed Ambassador Wynnsarren

I hope this letter finds you better than it finds me. Dark times have come to Novastasia. There is much I wish to speak with you about, and as soon as would be diplomatically appropriate I would like you to return home.

The war with Hargulka is finished. He is killed and his trolls were utterly destroyed. That is the extent of the good news I have.

It appears that there may be more to this then I expected. It seems that Hargulka was manipulated into this war by a hobgoblin working for 'The Red Hand'. I don't know what it is, but it's symbol is a red claw against a golden disk.

While we were fighting the war, A second group of trolls sent a massive beast of an owlbear to terrorize our city. When we returned, the death toll was over 70, with at least three times that wounded. Structurally there was little damage, but the human cost was great.

It cost us Datzig. As we were able to determine, Our friend shot the beast repeatedly and drew it out of Akiros. It chased him many miles before he finally fell to the creature.

The creature's skin now hangs above my throne. At least it will by the time you return.

I know not what the situation is with Mivon at the moment, Now that the trolls are finished, and we currently respect their borders it is time to come home.

For your information, the Owlbear and the other group of trolls were in the 'disputed' lands south of Akiros. We entered with no thoughts of expansion, and in my opinion this fell under the 'permission to destroy Hargulka's kingdom' clause. However I do not wish for you to be surprised by this information.

Honestly, I thought the war would last longer than it did. I hope the last bird arrived to you before other word of our battles did.

I would still like to speak personally with any council members who had an inkling to, especially Councilman Jovvoxum. The Lizardman fort on the islands in the Murque river, is directly on the border between what we claim and they do. As such it would be an excellent 'neutral territory.' Now that the lizardfolk are gone.


Thaddeus Medvyed, Lord of Novastasia.


P.S. Do you know anything about Samsarans? One seemed to have joined us on the campaign, and he seems... odd.

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Letter from Sarala

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:53 am

My dear Wynnsaren,

As I am sure you have heard by now Novastasia is no longer under the threat of Hargulka. The success we had in our war on the trolls and their allies has brought me relief, to say the least. Their ugly faces got what they deserved and I am glad to be rid of them. Now our only concerns are the more cunning races. Brevoy is such a hot bed right now, and it seems that Mivon is not far off, at least in respects to their relationship with us, though you would know more about that than I would right now. How are things going down there anyway? Have you had any more visits with the handsome Decarius? Do his good looks improve with familiarity?

No word from the elves since they moved in, but that's not any news. I have to say that I am quite fascinated with that reclusive race, especially now that they are our neighbors. How fortunate that I paid attention to my language lessons as a girl. Maybe someday soon I will get to put their beautiful language to use.

Somehow I wish that all our enemies where as flagrant and openly aggressive as the trolls because this sitting here and waiting to get stabbed in the back by someone's manipulative hand is disconcerting. But we will press on!

I have some sad news to relate to you. Once we returned to Akiros from the war path we found that it had been attacked, by a giant owl bear. The monstrosity thankfully didn't succeed in doing any grave damage though we lost a few lives in the process. One of these was Datzeg, our reformed bandit companion. I'm sure you remember him. He was the only one you didn't know by name when we first met you. Datzeg died a hero, leading the rampaging owl bear away from the city. He saved many lives.

And as if fate knew that we would be losing Datzeg it brought another man along our path. A couple of days before we went to the troll camp a blue skinned apparition walked into Thaddeus' tent claiming ownership over the surrounding area. As you can imagine he caused quite a stir. This man's name is Dracean and he is a druid, and self proclaimed protector of the Stolen Lands. He says that he doesn't care for the politics of people and I think I believe him. He was a great help to us as we were fighting the trolls, though I found him to be too familiar with the king then was my liking. Thankfully once the fighting was out of the way I was able to have a talk with him and we seemed to have come to an agreement that should make future relationships with him a little easier.

One last thing before I close. Zaistrun and I had another confrontation, almost a month ago. It was... interesting. When you get back to Akiros I would love to talk to you about it. Come home soon. Do not let pugnacious people of Mivon get their wicked claws into you. Be careful and be safe.


Eagerly awaiting your return,

Sarala

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Re: The Mivon Missives

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:36 am

7th Erastus 4712


To the Well missed ambassador Wynn

Much has happened in recent days, and a shadow is about to descend upon our fair nation. As such I feel it prudent to call for your return home.  

There is much I do not know yet, but every nugget of information only makes me more concerned for our future. The last message I ordered sent spoke of the lumberjack rescued from the Fellknight realm, and I hope that he has made it home, however that is secondary now.

The Red Claw clan has made it's move. They are called the Red Doom and are a massive army of Hobgoblins gnolls and goblins... and a green dragon. We have evidence of their intent to raze the kingdom and a tentative timetable. I am sending my armies to defend the people, but that leaves the dragon for myself and the inner court. The others and I have the only hope of reaching and killing the Dragon before the army meets up with it

I know not if relations with Mivon are strong enough now to request help... though I am hesitant to welcome an army of theirs into our kingdom. Though perhaps some kind of mercenaries you know there would be efficient.

The elves could also use some diplomatic persuasion. The doom's plans are to bypass them for now... The map shows them raiding from the Slough, through Tatzelford, and on to Akiros...  but I hold no illusion that would be a permanent arrangement. If we fall, they may soon follow. I have warned Lord Varn. They seem to have an eastward route planned and will head toward him next.

I regret that I will not be here when you arrive. Your advice and wisdom have been sorely missed these last few days. The First Light rides with the dawn, and we follow (and pass) them later tomorrow.  There have been many adventures I look forward to sharing with you when next we meet. I sincerely hope the slaying of the dragon will be the first I tell you.


King Thaddeus Medvyed


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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:31 pm

"Good gods!"  The ambassador helplessly muttered a prayer into the darkness after her second read-through of the deciphered letter.  "Please, please keep them safe. . ."

Her eyes, liquid pools of starlight at this hour, burned holes in the curled up parchment, searching for inferences and emotion behind the written script.  The king's celestial was usually impeccable, his hand steady and sure as he penned the symbols, but this was written in haste and in part. . .a very slightly tremulous hand.  

Exhaustion.  Worry, not for himself but for his people.  For his nation.  

Wynnsaren regretted not being there for him just then to help him talk through his concerns and join in the battle against this dragon threat, and though she couldn't help in that regard, there were other ways she could find to be of service.

For all her work out of nation, it seemed that war was about to come to Novastasia after all.  A most unexpected and puzzling one!  Who led this army against her home and why?  For the simple desire to conquer or was there a more complex reason than that?  Perhaps Matsuro Shi already knew the answer to that question, but here in Mivon, she did not.  

There had been no visions of this Red Doom, leading her to conclude that this was decidedly not the encompassing shadow she'd foretold over two years ago.  This new threat would only complicate matters.

Like the thick silence before a storm, the aasimar held very still as her mind flicked through scenarios, schedules, things that needed to be done and could be done to aid her king and her friends before she left Mivon.  

Glas lay sprawled out on the rug that sat before the unlit hearth, his belly distended after his large meal of freshly killed venison at the Jovoxxum estate.  They'd only just returned from the visit when Wynn was told of the raven's arrival.  Kaz and her guards were in the adjoining room playing a boisterous game of Towers before turning in for the night, enjoying the remainder of what had been a relaxing evening.

Scratching a note on a new sheet of parchment, Wynnsaren folded and sealed it with the wax drippings of the recently snuffed candle at her desk.  She stood suddenly, deliberately, knowing now that when she started moving, it would be a very long while until she had the opportunity to stop. Pulling open the double doors dividing the common room from the bed chamber she'd been residing in for the past month, her companions' game came to an abrupt hush as they turned to regard her unexpected entrance.  

She yet wore the simple dress of soft green and white trim that she'd chosen for their dinner with Lord Decarius, with whom she and especially Kazimir, had become fast friends.  Her hair, which had been neatly pinned up, now struggled free of its constraints and spilled to her porcelain shoulders in haphazard locks.

"What's wrong, m'lady," Kaz spoke up almost immediately, seeing something in her eyes and the steel set of her jaw that the others did not have the familiarity with her to notice.

Wynnsaren turned her gaze to meet his briefly, carrying a silent promise to explain everything before she spoke up to the men and woman that assisted her on this visit to the foreign nation.

"Destin, I need you and Daniil to go to House Volk.  Now," she pressed urgently before handing the young guard the sealed letter she'd just penned.  "Give this note to the attendant for Lord Palisso.  Tell him that you will wait for his lord's response before returning to me."

Wynn turned to the second pair, barely pausing for a breath.

"Masha, Tikhon, you will go to Drake's Folly and purchase a ten-year old bottle of brandy and a box of orange suckets.  

"It is Fireday," she considered, "so Cristoff's daughter will be singing as the evening's entertainment.  Haggle with him a bit and he will give you a good price just to get you out the door so he can listen uninterrupted."  The ambassador handed the woman a pouch of coin.

"Bring the items back straight away please.  It will not take long for the Councilman to reply to my message."

The four aides quickly gathered their gear and left the room, leaving Wynn, Kaz, and Glas, who'd moved lazily to the doorway to see what the commotion was about.

The ranger studied her with implacable steel-grey eyes as he lounged back in the wooden chair, his legs stretched long beneath the gaming table.

"Volk?"  He questioned gruffly.  "It's rather late for a meeting don't you think?  Why are you so sure he'll see you?"

Wynnsaren stared blankly across the room in thought, her hand reaching down for Glas, who met it with an enveloping tentacle.

"The Lord's wife has been south visiting relatives and is not due to return for another week or so.  He has been inviting me to have a drink with him since she left," she offered matter-of-factly.  "He will not turn me down."

"The hells is this all about, m'lady?"  Kaz sat up in a huff, instantly agitated by her nonchalance.  "Volk ain't a man to be toyed with and neither is his harpy of a wife.  I'm not fool enough to believe you've got designs on him, which means you're playin' a dangerous game.  You know his interests tend toward more than just business."

"This is not a game, Kaz," Wynn responded calmly in the face of her friend's usual ire.  "I happen to rather like Lady Tasha, hence the gift of her favorite orange candy, and she happens to rather like me.  She is well aware her husband is a boar and doubly aware that I have no interest in such lurid trysts.  No, this is not a game, this is an advantage, and as such, I will use it.  War is about to come to Novastasia, and the king may be in need of mercenaries."

That set the ranger back in his chair again.  His silence urging the aasimar to go on, and she did so, divulging what little information had been contained in the king's missive.

After she finished, Kaz ran a calloused hand through his tousled brown hair, which was now heavily sprinkled with salt and pepper strands.  He blamed her for that.  She couldn't deny it either.

"Okay," he began as he digested the troubling news, "so you want Volk's mercs for the defense of the city?"

"It is hardly my choice to make but no, Kaz, I will suggest the use of Petroisk's mercenaries to the king."

The man boggled at the labyrinthine mind of a woman.  "What?  Then why. . ."

Wynn leaned against the frame of the door as she interrupted the obvious question.  "A bottle of brandy and a bit of a dance of words will buy me a more than fair estimate on the price of Volk's troops.  Tomorrow at dawn, Lord Petroisk will agree to meet with me after his swordplay, and I will exact a price on mercenaries from him as well.  He will know from his spies that I have already gone to Volk and will subtly press me on any agreements.

"They are rivals for power," she explained, "if quiet ones, and both see Novastasia as a ripe market for their particular business.  Both will want to be the first to get their foot in the door, though neither would admit it."

"So why bother with Volk if its the Spider ye want?"

"Because a good deal with Volk will afford me a better deal on Petroisk's more seasoned men than we would get otherwise.

"I just need to get reasonable costs, Kaz, and then I will take that information back with me to the king.  He will need options.  It is in my power to give him some."

"You think King Thaddeus would want a bunch of Mivon military men in the city during a war?"  He asked skeptically.

"The army of Mivon, no.  He said as much in his letter, but he considered hiring a mercenary troop and that could be to our advantage.  

"If the Red Doom attacks the city, we leave a tempting opportunity for Mivon to move in while we are in a weakened state.  Not that the Council would consider a move to such action any longer, but I know one of the houses that would certainly suggest the idea.  If the city has just been defended by Mivonian mercenaries, it will be less likely that the more war-like councilmembers will be tempted to take advantage of our trouble."

"Why?"  Kaz raised an eyebrow.  "And what if the mercs decide to turn on us in the midst of battle?"

Wynnsaren grinned brightly.  "I adore you, my friend, do you know that?"  The ranger snorted as she continued.

"You see that is precisely why we want the Spider.  Petroisk is unnerving, I will give you that, and I am not the only one unnerved.  Half the Council is wary of him and even Mayor Sellen is more respectful toward him than the others.  As frightful as the Spider can be however, he has something to prove.  To himself if no one else.  The man carries the burden of family history around with him like a leaden sack.  He hides it well, but it is there.  He is a stickler for honor and reputation and seeks power and glory for his house.  Betrayal is not in him, for that would be proof that he is no better than his forebears and nothing would prick his pride more deeply.  If we hire the Spider's troops, they will die for us.  Their reputation is impeccable.  To do otherwise would put them at odds with Lord Petroisk, and that would be a much. . . messier death, than death by hobgoblin.

Wynnsaren paused, pursing her lips in thought.  "Volk I am less sure of, though he is obviously intimidated by Sellen.  He is proud and blustery, and surely not the honorable sort, which is evidenced by the fact that he will accept my offer to visit him for an unseemly evening drink while his wife is away.  Lord Palisso just wants a good fight and easy coin.  He loves just the thought of war, and is much less particular about established contracts.

"Neither would turn on us in the midst of battle, for to do so would destroy any hope for further business in the River Kingdoms, but Petroisk would never consent to a following attack on our city simply because it would smack of conspiracy and he would go to any length to avoid stain upon his house and profession.  His refusal to participate in such matters would certainly give the Council pause and without his might, any conflict would be more drawn out, opening Mivon to attack by their neighbors to the south and the much hated Pitax to the west who is always seeking opportunity for advantage.

"So you see, if we hire the Spider, we need be less worried about Mivon during and after an assault against Akiros."

Kazimir closed his eyes, rubbing the painful throb that had developed over his left brow.  "You terrify me, m'lady."  He grumbled bluntly and not at all complimentarily.

"Oh come now, Kaz," Wynnsaren laughed as she moved behind him, wrapping her arms about his neck and kissing him lightly on the temple like an affectionate daughter would her father.  "You know you love me."

"Gods help me," was all he offered in way of concession.  

"I'm coming with you tonight."  He stated his intent flatly, patting her arm and lifting himself from his seat.

Wynn smiled.  "Of course.  We do not want to start any rumors of an unsavory nature.  In fact, we will make sure that we are seen and our destination known by a few parties before we get there so it can be verified that I was not alone.

"Before the guards get back, I am going to write a letter to Ereval, then ready myself to visit Lord Volk."

The aasimar moved toward the doors of the bedchamber as Kaz spoke.

"What do you need me to do in the meantime?"

"Get packed," she replied.  "We leave for home as early as possible tomorrow."

The ranger nodded.  "Can't say I'm not glad of it."

Wynnsaren turned, smiling at him over her shoulder.  "Nor can I my friend.  We have been away too long."

The doors clicked shut behind her, cutting off all light in the room aside from that of the stars that shone through the small window.  She went immediately to the writing desk and placed another sheet of parchment before her as she carefully dipped the nib of the quill into the inkwell.


7th Erastus, 4712


Heru en Amin Ereval,

May the sun ever shine dappled and warm upon your face beneath the boughs of the mighty oaks of the Narlmarches.  

I write to you now with a heavy heart and concern for the peace of both of our nations.  

We have received information that an army of hobgoblins, goblins and gnolls will soon be advancing east through the sloughs just north of your position.  The sum of their ambitions is yet unknown to me but I will return to Akiros in two days time and inquire for more information.  I wish merely to hasten this letter to you that you might be prepared, for neither of us wish to see such an army roving unchecked through the Stolen Lands, destroying great swaths of forest in their wake.

It would honor me to meet with you in person in a few days time, and at a place of your choosing, to further discuss this matter once I have consulted with my king.

It is with much gratitude that I anticipate your reply.


Wynnsaren

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