Chapter Seventy-Nine

November 24, 2012


15th of Woodmonth


Over the next week or so, we begin receiving thanks and accolades and our people return to town.  One afternoon in court, we hear, “I don’t think I intend to wait in line” coming from outside the doorway.  The voice sounds vaguely like Nicodemus, but we can’t be certain.  Our wait is cut short, however, as the doorman enters to announce him.  We see that it is, indeed, Nicodemus, and Ulric tells the doorman to ensure that this man never has to wait in line again.  He is wearing black robes and is followed by another form in black robes.  He introduces her as his assistant, Nancy.

“His Grace would like to see Count Ulric,” Nicodemus explains.  Ulric calls for Briggette and myself to come with him, and Boian steps up to join us.  We send for Anna and Handers to join us as squires for the journey.  Nicodemus asks us all to join hands, and he begins to cast, teleporting us to the top of a tower in the Duke’s keep.  He leads us down through the trap door and through the tower’s interior.

He leads us to a large room off of the Great Hall which has a very large table in the shape of the island.  He tells us he will see us in a moment, and he disappears right in front of us.  A steward comes in and brings us brandy and tobacco while we await the Duke.

About 20 minutes later, Nicodemus returns with a man in armor who we recognize as the Count Mladenov.  We all greet one another appropriately.  Nicodemus and Nancy take their leave, and the two counts are left to speculate as to why they’ve been summoned so suddenly.

The Duke comes in and we stand and greet him.  He tells the squires to leave and bids the rest of us to sit.  He talks of the attack of the Silver River Baronies two years ago, and of his own plans to launch a raid and remind them of what happens when one decides to move against Grozney.  He lays out his battle strategy, including where he will need Ulric’s particular talents and those of his compatriots.  He is planning for us to go and seek out their wizard in his tower and hold him accountable for the thousands he has killed.

We discuss the plans in detail before parting ways for a while.  The duke asks us to join him for dinner later in the evening.  As Briggette came in her armor and is uncomfortable appearing at a court dinner in it, we decide to go shopping.  We find her a gorgeous gown, and as she goes to find shoes, I head to Little Ward to find a dress of my own.  I, too, am successful and am able to find a dress that will magically change between two different patterns and will always be clean.

While we are shopping, Ulric goes to the tavern with Mladenov, and they drink—a lot.  Ulric tells songs of our battles, and he keeps the entire bar rapt with attention and plied with free drinks.  By the time we go to dinner at the castle, everyone is fairly well inebriated.

When we arrive back at the castle later that evening, we dine and dance with all the nobility in the area.  All in all, it is a lovely evening.  Briggette and Ulric retire to their room, which I am supposed to share with them, as usual.  However, their revelry proves a bit too raucous for my currently sensitive state, and I decide I just can’t listen to them for another night.  I go to seek another bed, and decide to try to get a rise out of Boian.  I enter his room, strip down to my chemise, and curl up in his bed with him.  He stirs and lifts the covers to allow me access, but doesn’t really say anything.  “They’re being loud—again,” I say by way of explanation.  I wiggle up against him, and fall asleep comfortably.  It is a good night.

The next morning, I thank him for the safe haven, and we get dressed (he had been sleeping in the nude), and head downstairs for breakfast.  After a bit, Briggette joins us, followed shortly by the Duke, then later, by Ulric.