The Altai duo of Czerlai and szletko stagger home at an hour so late it could be now called early, but with a new found appreciation of the Empire, or at least the quality of the bathing houses within it. The others spend an evening relaxing within the home of Varediis Eloi, before turning in at an appropriate time.
Cassio of Padiha wakens, but the wakening is within a dream, where he views the world through the eyes of another as an apparent passenger; the person wakes up next to a large burly man in cluster of blankets and furs, all within some kind of tent. He watches as the hand of the person slaps the backside of the one sleeping in a familiar manner before arising from bed. He looks down and notes that it is a well formed and toned woman’s body he sees, and his guess at her being a warrior is borne out when she equips herself in armour made of leather, hide, fur and some metal. The warrior woman gathers her weapons, being a dagger, a shortsword and a style of 2 handed sword very familiar seeming before stepping our into the noise of a campsite, arrayed haphazardly and populated with many rough and barbarous looking warriors of either gender. The day is cold with peoples breath misting in the air, and several warriors passing the woman call out to her in an unfamiliar language, laughing at the woman’s throaty and husky response. She walks towards a gathering of warriors clustering about a tall and powerful looking man who stands on a raised mound, and as she approaches Cassio sees that the man has a prominent symbol of the war god Perang around his neck. At this point the image starts to fade and breakup, and within moments Cassio actually wakes up as himself in his bed within his room in the Eloi house. It is an hour before full sunrise judging by the start of the rose fingered dawn. He notes that The Large bickering, arguing, Magical Sword is of a very similar design and style as the sword he saw in the dream, and he starts asking the sword more about its past; typically, the sword answers with a mixture of abuse and exhortation to practise, and so his day begins. Cassio also sends a letter home through the Imperial Coaching Service, paying a princely 4 Ames for the privilege.
The breakfast at the back of sunrise takes place for the party in the garden, the better to enjoy the fine autumn morning of crisp clean air and bright sunshine. Abbas Jalil awaits the arrival of the scholar Tyrus, Bucephala Clangula and Czerlai plan to exercise the horses with a ride in the local parklands (perhaps with a view to meeting the bizarre eastern foreigner the Altai met the other day), Szletko plans to return to bed due to extreme exhaustion after his memorable night and Cassio plans a day of practise at arms, aided by the presence of the returning Ansprand House Guards Salvo and Martus. They are joined by Varediis who returns home from the Palace and his audience with the Emperor and other select individuals; the patrician seems tired and worn out, and once he reveals that his audience at the small select court lasted all night it can be understood why.
He advises that he was able to inform the Vardonnais ambassador Count Toderic de Sigabeaux of the party visiting the embassy later that day, and also that his interview was before a number of people, such as the ambassadors of the Valheeni Delegation, the Padihan ambassador, and the Calvian ambassador amongst others. The Imparioi (Empress in Waiting) and the Chancellor were also present along with other court functionaries. He was asked at great length and detail about his exile experiences and the party were discussed in the latter part of the tale, principally how they helped save him and what happened regarding the Orcs.
Varediis talks a little more, but is tired and desires to sleep (after a thorough grilling by his wife), so he retires for now, wishing the best of the day to the party. This done, the party head their separate ways. Cassios men arrive shortly after and the assist Cassio in weapons practise in the courtyard. Abbas meets Tyrus and the pair remove themselves to a study to look at the 2 books. Tyrus is happy to announce that The Cletian Tome is a travel journal, rutter and log of a famous Cletian explorer, merchant and adventurer called Siswa Koroba who was active in the years between The Armavine Civil War and the Bassuri Invasion of Cletia. Siswa was and is a great cultural hero to the Cletian people, and from the cursory look through some pages of the tome it seems to be his last charts and accounts of his journeys. More information would be possible after a full translation, including his encoded and unique style of chartmaking.
The Dwarven Book is a prospect that excites the already excited scholar, and though a full careful translation is needed still, he can state confidently it is a religious and historical tract, and seems to mention the Dwarven deity named Kurillem and the worship of Dwarven Ancestor spirits. Such a work in human hands is almost unheard of, and after some more poring over the book (which lasts until after 2 pm), Tyrus departs, for he would very much like to purchase the books for the Magna Ludata; obviously a full translation of the books would be provided for the party as well.
At the same time, Czerlai and Bucephala arrive at the park and enjoy a good ride in the fine autumnal morning, and after a while they see the distinctive form of Din Dak Koro Tuk’Vo sitting under a tree, accompanied by a figure of a leather clad warrior. They draw closer, and the 2 figures rise in greeting, with the warrior being a woman with long flame red hair, and clad in the distinctive armour of Omiskiira. The woman is introduced as Taturii Asamakiiro, and her people have had good dealings with Din Dak’s people, the Tan Ti Kikkuya, being as they are both from The Great East. The 4 talk of their experiences as foreigners in the Empire, with Taturii admitting her grasp of decent Armanian being irksome. Duty calls her away (for she is a guard at the Omiskiiran Embassy) but she hopes to meet the 3 of them again at some point. She departs, and the 3 left behind talk more, with Din Dak telling them why he is in the Empire; his people have sent him to examine and judge the Empire as possible allies against a dangerous foe back east known as The Natri-Bro-Addah Hegemony. It is important to Din Daks people that any ally be what he terms as “Of Right Heart”, and so he observes and judges. He tells Bucephala and Czerlai of his people, and they tell him of theirs. So they pass the morning, with the 2 saying their farewells for now before returning to the house.
In the afternoon once all the party have gathered again, they decide to set off for the Vardonne Embassy, and once they have procured Diplomatic Weapons Rights on to get back The Bone Toggle from the sorceror at Adeline Kothui‘s palace. They are led by the house servant Linus who chats amiably about Armarissan life, and also about young Bastius Eloi’s upcoming meeting with his father, which promises to be difficult. They arrive at the Peyarca District that houses the Embassies, seeing the palaces and compounds of many peoples, from Calvian, Valheeni and even Voyan amongst many others (the latter causing some consternation and unhappiness amongst the 2 Altai). However it is the Vardonnais Embassy they make for, and the distinctive fortified style of the Western Kingdom is a welcome sight amongst the Armavine pomp and splendour. They are admitted by the 2 Vigante guards, and are soon met by Count Toderic. He confirms that they carry the correct scroll and compares the half of the crest within it to its opposite half in his possession (he had actually already known of the party coming to him by a fast packet ship of the Vardonnais from Port Caros). Satisfied, he welcomes them and they talk, with his passing on the happy news that Chivaux Gaston Puignon and Maia of Turlavayne have been wed. They talk some more and are passed Diplomatic Weapons Permits stating that they are in the employ and entourage of the Vardonnais Embassy and so allowed their full weapons rights. He also checks with them to make sure that should the Vardonnais need them for tasks or duties, he can call on them with some degree of assistance. After this, the party depart and see 2 Chivaux conducting an equestrian exercise of admirable skill and quality, making their horses move in perfect unison and discipline, though obviously as part of some bet or wager judging on the frenzied betting around the courtyard.
Out in the street they press on to the Ludata District and pick up the Toggle, now filled with a 5 metre cubic Sylph. They also see Abbas exchange words with Adelines Familiar Shamuur, surmising correctly that he has a poor regard for most humans and constantly refers to them as “meat”. on their return to the Eloi villa, they are met by the Head Servant who is unaccountably anxious and now relieved at their return. This is because one of the Immaculatii (the Imperial Eunuchs) waits within accompanied by 2 of the Fist of Armanixes, and has been there for about an hour. He gives a quick run down of what the Immaculatii are, and then introduces them (he abases himself, but the party merely have to bow respectfully) to the 3 figures in the room. 2 are indeed the impassive and superbly disciplined soldiers of the Fist in their armour and full face mesh fronted helmets, but the third, sat on a low couch and drinking a goblet of wine, is the eunuch himself. He is a young seeming man, with either Bassuri heritage in his past or from one of the more southerly and arid provinces of the Empire judging by his colouration; so they meet Palidus Marcorius.
He welcomes them and asks them to sit, and to relax a moment before he asks them of Varediis and their time with him. They talk at length, with his listening to their truthful and extensive account of their time and adventures with the patrician; the Immaculatii listens patiently, indicating to go on and as time passes, they pass on to him as much as they can. During the course of the talk, his supernaturally enhanced vision and senses (courtesy of his Immaculatii status) determine much, some he reveals to them at the end of the interview. He also delivers a gift of thanks from his master Chancellor Asceppius Diotys, it being a ceremonial amphora of a fine Ventari Red, (likely the best wine known in the Empire and likely beyond), which being of a good vintage could well be decades if not centuries old. He also gives them a gold and white clay token to send to the Palace which will indicate they wish to see him, since he is now their liaison to the Palace should they remember or encounter any more useful information or evidence.
His final gift to the group is that of knowledge, for his senses and his eyes see far beyond mortal ken; firstly, he tells them (when shown it) that The Crystal Mannequin is actually a demon of Mowta’s and is utterly evil, with its own dark plans and designs.The party consider this, and decide perhaps ridding themselves of this to better equipped people might be the order of the day. He tells Bucephala that his sword The Lady’s Grace is blessed by Sensu herself, and he also advises the Altai that the Wolfskin cloak‘s they wear are blessed by her as well. It is his belief that they and the party must have pleased Sensu in the past for her to do such a thing, and he is humbled by it. His information to Abbas is in answer to his quest to find more about the Dragon Varrax Pyrofer; without breaking a confidence, he suggests asking Abbas’ and Bucephala’s mutual acquaintance Sunfather Militant Ascaus Medrenna more, as he knows more of the Dragon than anyone would suspect. He also tells them that they are all “marked” in some way, possibly by the attention of Sensu, possibly not; he also can sense that some other agency is interested in them, yet he cannot determine what exactly. Before he leaves, the Eunuch turns to speak to Cassio and Szletko…