DIPLO: Port Defiance and Skal'daja
((Moderate Risk event, social character focused, inform Apostate on signup if you have any character ties to Reveka Tyde, the Free Seas, or Fort Defiance.))
Jan. 15, 2021, 7 p.m.
Apostate's Dynamic GMing Room <OOC Room>
Comments and Log
Rumors of the Skal'dajans trying to bribe the pirate forces of Port Defiance to attack the Compact have filtered back to Arx, creating a stir among the peerage. There was a particularly strong reaction among the peers of the Lyceum among some vassals of House Fidante and Mazetti, alarmed that their own shipping concerns would be attacked by pirates. That pressure resulted in asking for diplomatic representatives such as Aconite and Lady Alessia Mazetti to see what could be done, and Crownlands peers hoping that a former member of the King's Own in Dame Felicia Harrow could lend an air of Crown prestige. And then it's a matter of -finding- the place, which has individuals considerably further away from polite society proving enormously useful, and that's where Mayir and Evaristo come in.
And so, shortly outside of Port Defiance, they have a decision to make. Would they rather send word ahead and announce their presence, or just slip in, as if they were any other piratical forces, and try to gather information as they do?
((Or any other option, this would be a choice between a diplomatic entry, or one relying upon stealth/streetwise))
"So, I don't know if you all have been to Port Defiance before," says Mayir Grayhope from the helm of his cog, the Gray Crow, that he is using to bring the band to the far-away place. Not his caravel. Not letting Reveka have that. "It's sort of a piratical hive of scum and villany. The Gyre used to claim it, before the War. Now? Reveka Tyde. Oh." One more thought. "Port Defiance isn't fully in our world. Expect a little chill as we go into port. Sort of a cross over between our world and ... whatever." So precise.
Felicia doesn't do well with ships, though, she's so far managed to keep her lunch down. She picked a spot to sit and has refused to move from it since. Stirring to very, very gingerly try and squint over at it,"So how are we approaching this?" she asks in general, shooting a look Evaristo's way specifically,"I'm not going to pretend to be even close to the most diplomatic sort." absently she rubs an arm through her armor as if concerned what this little chill might do.
Evaristo is happy to let Mayir use HIS ship for this - on much the same reason the other captain is not bringing his caravel. He's leaning against the railing just below the helm, staring out towards the direction of the famed pirate port. "I figure we can make it there and not draw too much attention, just another band of merry smugglers or something," he suggests cheerfully, cause diplomatic approach isn't really his thing. But he looks at the group and lofts an eyebrow to hear the other opinions. "Anyone got any sort of contacts in there?"
Glancing toward the shore, as she stands on the deck of the ship, Alessia's attention peels away when Mayir gives them information on the eery location. She lifts her cowl as though to shield herself from the chill preemptively. "That's interesting." She says faintly, her voice distant. "I'm not exactly dressed for stealth. It's not a skillset either." She admits.
The tall Fidante courtier wrinkles her nose at the mention of cold and she looks away from the water to listen to Mayir's explination. She replies in a soft contralto, "I might be able to talk to some of the Eurusi that remain. But I do not know anyone specific but much like Lady Mazetti, I stand out just a bit." She lifts a gloved hand pinching her fingers together.
"I have friends." Alessia adds to Evaristo, a faint smile on her lips.
"Oh, I know people here," agrees Mayir with Alessia. "Magpie and I knew some rum and other ... substance smugglers. It's why we used to visit." He shrugs. "I figure we dock and see what we can learn at the local taverns. The Gray Coin flag of Grayhope is welcome here."
"You know how I do with stealth... I'm with the ladies... trying to sneak in is probably just going to go badly. So let's just..." she makes a wavy gesture towards the dock,"Yeh." there's a brief flicker of a tight smile,"Especially if the Grayhope's are already welcome here."
"It's not about sneaking in, it's about blending in, which Mayir will allow us. We're with him, we're here to do business. But if we send word ahead as a diplomatic envoy thing, we're changing that parameter," Evaristo says and turns to face evryone, leaning with his back against the railing. "So, we can sail in under the Grayhope flag, just another rum-run or something, and then work to make contacts and find the right people, or just go full-on 'We are here to talk to your Big Boss Lady about not Joining the War' - all official and all of that." He grins.
Mayir checks wits and streetwise at normal. Mayir marginally fails.
"We'll try to blend." Alessia decides with a nod, looking to Mayir with a familiar smile. "Otherwise, we'll have to hope to bump into our friends on docking." She cranes her neck. "Put on the charm."
Aconite nods to Evaristo and Alessia as she looks back out over the approaching port and she falls into rumanitve quiet while they approach.
"It's fine, how hard can it be?!" Evaristo says cheerfully and thumbs up at Mayir, as he moves to be able to see ahead, and face this mythical port directly.
What is it they say? Sail casual. Mayir, of course, knows the ways of the smuggler. He tries to slip on into the normal flow of ship traffic, making his way towards a slip at the dock. But it /has/ been a while since he was at Port Defiance. It'll be fine? It should be fine.
Port Defiance is much larger than most would expect. A city in to itself, it was obviously built on a relatively small island to start, but has since extended several miles out over the sea on wooden planks and long gangways that stretch well over the water. Hundreds of ships flying all manner of flags (and many just with black skull and cross bones), are docked into the endless slips over the water, and it's simple enough for Mayir to guide his ship in to one of the quieter sections. The dockhands never ask questions, and Reveka's rule over the port city means that all can approach and dock, and at first all seems to go well, with only scattered individuals on their far dock, with no one seeming to pay them much heed, which will let them slip away and into the port proper to see what they can find. But they have some bad luck. Another ship begins to dock as they are finishing, flying a flag of Thraxian colors that shows a man with his neck just above water glaring at the viewer. A hulking, armored sellsail with dark hair and dark complexion is coming off his ship, and glowers as he takes a step down the gangplank, looking at them in the opposite slip, "Oy! Whose ship is this?"
Land. Or at least, the semblance of it. Felicia doesn't need any encouragement when the ship docks. A plain black poncho thrown over her gear to at least make it a little less shiny-noticable. But. There's a dock, and the redhead is definitely heading towards their own gangplank with solid ground on her mind. Disregarding the sellsail, inasmuch as she doesn't immediately answer him in favor of letting someone else identify them. Possibly for concern that if she opens her mouth she make well lose her lunch after all.
Alessia checks charm and manipulation at normal. Alessia is marginally successful.
It appears Alessia's relief is premature, since just as they reach the port, they've been noted by the hulking man. She studies him as he steps down the gangplank before her lips curl. "Well, hello there." She lifts a hand, casually wiggling her fingers. "This a place of business is it not? I'll tell you what, we won't pry, if you don't." She gives a wink, as though they're two peas in a pod.
Aco's gaze follows Felicia for a moment though she remains behind. Head turning to track Alessia's response as she hangs back a moment to catch a quiet word with Mayir.
Evaristo checks intellect at easy. Evaristo is successful.
Evaristo does his part in helping with the ship as it docks, but is also eager to get off it to finally visit this port. With light steps and a confident stride he leaves the Gray Crow and looks up and down the planks to take it all in, including the glowering sellsail that just called out. He's acting like he belongs, taking one look at that flag and realising something. He flashes a grin. "Oh heeey," he breathes and his expression turns into one of awe. He nudges Alessia with his elbow. "I recognize that flag - you're one of /them/. The most fearless band of sellswords of the Mourning Isles - the Undrowned Sons?"
"We're just going about our business like all the other ships that come and go to the Pirate Queen's land!" calls out Mayir, following Alessia's lead as she greets the sellsail. When Aconite comes over, he tilts his head to listen, supervising as the crew ties up the ship to the dock.
Evaristo checks charm and manipulation at hard. Evaristo is marginally successful.
Mayir checks charm and manipulation at hard. Mayir is marginally successful.
The brute eases ever so slightly at Alessia's comment, going from menacing to a mere surly give or take a leer for good measure. He turns unfriendly eyes towards Evaristo and he makes a deep throated grunt that is most likely a sound of agreement before gesturing with a meaty hand back towards his boat, "We're all under Salgor, who has done Tehom's own work in getting us all back into fighting shape after the pitiful debacle at Sungreet. Damned idiot contract that was. You all aren't here for Clan Black Reef or their Sayfs, are you?" He glowers more than a bit asking that, his returning scowl is not exactly hard to see what answer he's watching for. Some of his men have come to the ship railing and are giving the party the once over, and one dark skin sailor gestures towards Aconite and then murmurs something to his shipmate next to him.
Aconite waits for Mayir to add to their exchange with the men on the ship and she leans in to whisper something to Mayir though inky eyes remain on the exhange between the Drowned Sons, Evaristo and Alessia.
Noting the shift in his demeanor, Alessia's features warm, before her brows rise at Evaristo's observation. She prepares to disembark after the ship is tied to the dock. Despite the cold, she lowers her cowl, ever so casually brushing her fingers through her hair. "Definitely not." She assures him. "With fighters like you..." She gestures to his build with approval. "I pity your foes. This Clan Black Reef particularly if they're among them."
Felicia settles her hands on her hips, tilting her head back slightly to look up towards the sailors gathered on the other ships. She's still content to let others do the talking for now. For all that she gives a lopsided smirk, as casual as you please... now that her stomach's not trying to abandon ship.
Evaristo checks intellect and investigation at hard. Evaristo is marginally successful.
"Surely not Clan Black Reef," confirms Mayir with a nod of his head, again following in Alessia's wake. "Though I'd hate to be them if that's who you're looking for. We're just going to take our cargo and be on our way." He also leans back and murmurs to Aconite, thoughtful.
"Sungreet - good money for smuggling, but yes, must've been tough for mercs," Evaristo says - sort of hinting to THEIR business without outright admitting it - and nods in sympathy for the plight of hard working mercenaries. "Here to work up another contract?" he asks conversationally; he digs out a few cigarillos from a small case and offers one over. "Decent tobacco," he promises, and works to light one up for himself, then offers around to the rest - he doesn't seem to be in any rush. "There's bound to be lots of more work soon, eh?"
The fighter puffs up his chest a bit at Alessia's flattery, quite obviously soaking it up, and his glower has faded into barely surly territory, and a scowl from Evaristo's mention of Sungreet not lasting long. "Clan Black Reef are SCUM! They are trying to undercut everyone, and all that time with the Sayfs! It'll be blood, mark me. Can't trust shavs to begin with." The man makes a disgusted sound, echoed with boos from his crew behind him, one who shouts, "Salgor will sort them out!" to a chorus of cheers. The big hulking man glances over his shoulder and nods before turning back to Alessia, "I ain't gonna block you from your business, since you ain't with them."
Aconite flashes a quick smile Mayir's way and nods as she continues to consider the group from the other boat. The tall woman seems content to let the others talk as she drifts the direction that Felicia had gone. The offering up something smoke however stops her long enough to smile and take one off him with quiet thanks. "Certainly pently to go around." She agrees with Evaristo's assessment though it's still pitched fairly low.
"It does seem tough." Alessia nods at Evaristo's words, though shakes her head at the offer the roll. "They're undercutting you? I wonder if they were hired for Sungreet." Is she twirling her hair? "Who hired you?" She asks, studying him with an admiring gaze.
Alessia checks charm and manipulation at easy. Alessia is marginally successful.
With the sellsails not bothering them further, Mayir seems content to head towards the gangplank so that he can get out there and see what is going on in the Port. But at Alessia's question to the sellsail, he pauses, curious.
Felicia checks intellect and linguistics at daunting. Felicia is marginally successful.
Evaristo checks intellect and linguistics at daunting. Botch! Evaristo is simply outclassed. This is monumentally beyond them and the result is ruinous.
Felicia turns her green eyes towards Aconite with an acknowledging upnod,"...and who seems to be hiring for this other crap going on over there?" she elects to dovetail after Alessia's words.
Evaristo looks a little indignant and puffs on his cigarillo quite vigorously, eyes narrowing for a moment as he starts to think they're being called something truly BAD - then he's getting a whisper from Aconite and looks mollified. He nods instead to Felicia's question, and keeps handing out cigarillo's to anyone wanting some, including the Undrowned Son crew - not that he has enough for ALL, but they can share. Assumedly.
The burly sellsword is looking maybe just a little too casual while being chatted up by Alessia, as he cocks an elbow to lean against the dock's wooden railing. "It's that damned Clan Black Reef. The Eurusi are throwing money all over, but they are trying to make stupid offers to the Eurusi! Salgor had a great deal lined up, but then these shavs came in..." He makes another disgusted sound, "Really need them out of the way."
"Huh," says Mayir, at this new piece of information. "Well. Perhaps if they are competing for this contract ..." His voice trails off at the possibilities that this creates for him and for them, furrowing his brow. "Maybe we can get them more than bidding against each other." This sotto voice to his crew.
"Ah." Alessia says with an understanding nod, furrowing her brows with a look of sympathy. "I know problematic competition all too well." She wrinkles her nose. "You really should do something about them. It's unfair, after all the work you've put in for the benefit of the Eurusi." She pauses. "Perhaps you should speak to your captain about focusing attention on eliminating the enemy. Or else they'll start nibbling at all of your contracts." She glances back at her group. "It's what /we'd/ do."
"What kind of stupid offers?" Felicia asks with a brief grin,"Something dumb enough to get them all killed?" she shifts her position to look back towards Alessia,"...maybe we ought to go and talk to Salgor, ah?" she asks.
Evaristo glances at Mayir and there's a subtle nod in agreement, but Alessia's direction of it makes him tilt his head while he takes another puff of the smoke. "Yeah. Got to keep on top of competition. For example, not EVERYONE gets to come to Port Defiance and do business," he notes with a firm nod. "Ooooor - find someone that pays even better. In these times? You're hot commodity, and there's more than the Eurusi to fight for, eh?"
There's murmurs and some ugly sounding muttering from the Undrowned Sons ship as the crew sounds largely in agreement with Alessia, though the lead thug seems a little more skeptical, "We'll see what the boss thinks." He's only too happy to gripe in exasperation at Felicia, "Idiotic shit! They said they'd help the Eurusi for FREE if the Eurusi help later at some abandoned ruin called Harrow Hall! How the fuck do you outbid people dropping swords at some empty ruined castle? They are out of their fucking minds!" He punches the railing in annoyance, "We all figure they are just fighting other shavs over some stupid scraps or somethin'. You know how the barbarian grudges go, stupid shit."
Felicia checks composure at hard. Felicia is marginally successful.
Alessia checks composure at normal. Alessia is marginally successful.
Evaristo checks composure at normal. Evaristo is marginally successful.
Aconite lifts a brow and shakes her head. "Help them? Right. Only because it would benefit the Eurusi later. Do a job for free and then end up paying them for the privlage." She half mutters quietly and shakes her head and goes back to savoring the smoke from the cigarello.
Felicia can't help the pause, though most might miss the flicker of her expression at the words 'Harrow Hall'. The laugh that comes is brackish,"Tehom's tits... what do they expect the Eurusi to help with up there? Little bit of spring cleaning or some shit?" she asks as casually as she can muster with a glance back at the others,"Though I suppose maybe we ought to be about our business... ah?"
Resting a hand on the man's, whose name she has not bothered to find out, arm, Alessia manages to limit her reaction to slightly widened eyes. "Oh? That's odd. I've never heard of mercs who'd ask for such... odd payment." She sighs, keeping her hand on him to soothe him. "Anyway, are they currently docked? It'd be a pity if someone sabotaged their supplies."
Evaristo manages to somehow keep his expression the same as before, though he snorts and nods along with the Undrowned Son lead thug. "Shavs," he says and just shakes his head in disbelief. He makes a vague gesture out over the large port. "What about the Pirate Queen, and her people?" he asks. "Just curious if they're going to get involved, are they hiring?"
"Huh. Harrow Hall?" asks Mayir, looking perplexed. Name rings a bell, but he doesn't seem to figure out what it is. He shakes his head. "But yes. We better get along on things."
The man calms down a little at Alessia's touch, patting his own meaty hand over hers, "Shav grudges, who can say for them? They got a half dozen ships on the Northeast side, at the old Fisherman's Folly docks. All the ones with the banner that looks like... well, I mean, it's a black reef. It ain't subtle." He gestures with a hand at the surrounding docks, "We got ten here ourselves, and it WOULD be a shame if their supplies went wrong, but be hard to sneak aboard. Still, Salgor would be thrilled if that happened. You wanna talk to him? He's in town." He then turn towards Evaristo, "Reveka gets a cut outta all of all work of anybody here, which makes the Black Reef shit weird. I dunno if she knows about their offer. Still, maybe we'll sign on regardless, they might take all of us. That's up to Salgor and the Eurusi ambassador who is reminding him that the fucking Black Reef are working for free. Constantly."
Felicia gives a small bob of her head,"...thanks." she elects to offer towards the guy casually, turning to prowl in the direction of the port itself unhurriedly, though from the way her eyes have turned northeast and the set of her jaw, chances are good she's got something on her mind at least.
Aconite holds her cigarillo in front of her face and looks at the rest of the small crew on Mayir's ship. She tilts her head towards the Greyhope Captain before turning to head deeper into the Port as well though she does cast another quick glance towards the sailor who'd spoken in Eurusi.
"Sounds like a man we should talk to, maybe there's a business opportunity," Evaristo asides to Alessia, nodding slowly at the Undrowned Son lead thug there. "Eurusi Ambassador?" he asks, realising he almost missed that part. "Who's that then?"
The offer of meeting Salgor definitely has Alessia's interest, though she shifts a glance to the others first, then turns back to the man. "While we do have business to attend to, an hour or so delay wouldn't hurt. Feel free to lead the way. Will the Eurusi ambassador be with him?" She arches a brow. "We can assure you, we're not looking to be hired by the Eurusi. The last person I'd want as an enemy is a man like you." Her lips curl.
"All right, then. What do we do?" asks Mayir, speaking to the crew on the deck with him. "We either try to get the Ambassador to not hire anyone. Or we try to turn these two crews against each other and maybe none of them work for the Eurusi." This, of course, in a low voice just for them.
Alessia is getting more chest-puffing from the lead thug, "Ain't no one that wants Bartholomew the Big as a foe!" There is a literally chest thump for emphasis, he really does. Fist to the breastplate and everything. "It's easy to find the Eurusi, he looks just like a mirrormask but in weird Eurusi getup. I think his name is Magister or something. That's what they call him. I should probably work on the ship here, but if you wanna talk to Salgor, you can say I sent ya." He does seem tempted to accompany them and could likely be persuaded, but glances back towards his ship, with no doubt things he has to take care of.
Evaristo's eye twitches a little - not that he's entirely surprised either, learning there's a Magister around here somewhere. "Thanks, Bartholomew the Big - great to meet you!" he calls and waves, as he turns about to wander off, looking at the others and nodding at Mayir in thoughtfulness. "Or we try to hire them," he offers, as a third option. "I don't think we want to talk to the 'Ambassador'."
Felicia slows up to let Aconite catch up and casts her attention back towards the others and the boat, muttering under her breath and shifting her weight. She drops her voice to say,"Whoever these Black Reef are, if they're offering to work for free for help with Harrow Hall... it's bad news for us. Let's wait for the others to catch up and see how they want to handle this... but I'm all for burning it down to the water line." the redhead mutters quietly to the taller woman.
"But how do we hire them if they are willing to work for free?" asks Mayir, puzzled, at Evaristo, as he walks down off the gangplank. "I'd much rather just turn the two on each other. Take out two threats and not spend my hard-earned coin. Unless we help them at Harrow Hall, whatever it is."
"Oh, mirrormasks. Wonderful. Though it's probably best we don't disturb him, after all we don't want his business." Alessia says with a smile as though she's not at all disconcerted. "It's a pity that we must part so soon, Bartholomew the Big." Her fond expression remains. "However, I don't want to drag you away from your work. If you tell us which direction, we'll find Salgor I'm sure."
Aconite casts a quick look back over her shoulder as she catches the tail end of what's being said before catching up to Felicia with a raise of her brows. She nods to the armored woman's words and murmurs quietly in return to Felicia. "Especially with the Magister's involved. No wonder so many are leaving the Port. The smart ones will have noticed so we may not have to resort to a full razing."
"We can't burn down this place, if that's what you mean," Evaristo murmurs, looking decidedly alarmed. "For one, I'm sure this place is protected - you DO know who Reveka is, right?" he says and casts some worried glances around. "Mayir, I meant we hire the Undrowned sons. Same thing, but they now fight for us - against the Black Reef, but also against anyone else we pay them to fight. Probably won't be a popular thing, but - we got some people that might pay them on the sly, don't we?"
To Bartolomew the Big's credit, he gives fair directions. Talking about how many rows of buildings to go up, and which one has the Undrowned Son's flag flying from the top of the building for their barracks. Port Defiance itself has a carnival atmosphere, with scores of pirates, smugglers, and just travelers in the streets with a wide range of the styles of the Compact, including decidedly Lycene wear that might be a little thin for the cooler autumn weather. Port Defiance sits right along the darkwater, with the black water sometimes visible beneath the planks below them. There's some odd effects from the darkwater- once in a while seeing shadows move out of the corner of their eyes, the sensation of being watched, but it is something one can forget in the muddled masses moving around Port Defiance.
((Letting you decide IC on an approach, just updating flavor))
As they leave, Alessia inches closer to Mayir to murmur something in his ear, her eyes brightening at something.
Felicia lofts a brow,"Magist.." there's a low bark of laughter, she catches just enough of Mayir's words to pick out 'Harrow Hall' but elects to stay where she is, scuffing a foot and waiting with ill grace until they're in range,"I need..." she stops, tries again,"I want... to check out these Black Reef. There's few who know about Harrow Hall. And ones that are offering services for free to help with it have all the hallmarks of people that I'd rather like dead. Before they manage to open it. We can go treat with this Salgor if you guys prefer, but... that Magister is probably going to be a problem." she manages a tight smirk for Evaristo,"Yes. I know. Which might mean that... other people are about, too. So let's hear it... how do we want to handle this?"
Aconite shakes her head to Evaristo then Felicia. "Should we have a drink before we go meet Salgor? I feel as if it might be something I might need a little wine before experiencing." Aco suggests as dark eyes flicker towards the boats and then off towards the shadows before she steps back to let the others take the lead finishing the last of the gifted smoke.
"There are eyes everywhere." Alessia says with a faint smile, turning to them. "Besides the Tyde woman gets a cut of their profits. If we hire them, then /we'll/ be paying her OR we're making an enemy out of her. Either way, we're either getting penanced by the Faith or exploded by a Herald." She shakes her head. "It's safer to have them fight one another. I don't think she cares enough about their well being to notice."
It really does seem roughly half the buildings are inns, taverns, boarding houses or the like all in stiff competition with one another, including to see who can have the worst name. Felicia is currently standing next to 'The Terrible Trout.' It's not even an ocean fish.
"Mercenary companies fight each other all the time," says Mayir, chiming in for his own views. "I think buying them out. We will need to buy them both. And if the one works for free ..." He shakes his head. "I don't like it. Better let them sort it out with them. But I'll go along with the group."
"I never said we hire them under OUR name," Evaristo says, but he gives a conceding nod and looks to that nearby inn. "A drink sounds good. We can feel out the locals a bit too meanwhile," he says and rubs his hands together, ready to put the charm on here.
Felicia turns towards the Terrible Trout at least briefly with a quiet grunt,"Deception isn't my strong suit... but. Tactically. If we meet with this Salgor, even if we don't hire him, but soon after make a move on the Black Reef... it's going to look like it comes from him." she offers barely above a whisper to the rest of them.
Aconite falls into pensive quiet again as she moves with the others and tilts her head. "Hopefully we can find some place with a bit of life to it, some music. Shouldn't be too hard."
"We can get a drink, though I believe we aren't far from our destination." Alessia says, nodding ahead, her features wistful. "If we can somehow keep our hands clean throughout this and weaken them both." Her eyes glitter. "Maybe we'll run into familiar faces." She glances at Mayir.
Mayir checks charm and manipulation at normal. Mayir is successful.
Alessia checks charm and seduction at normal. Alessia is successful.
Evaristo checks charm and manipulation at hard. Evaristo is marginally successful.
Felicia checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Felicia is marginally successful.
Aconite checks charm and seduction at normal. Aconite is marginally successful.
Evaristo spends some time chatting with people in some inns nearby, cracking jokes, doing business, and fishing out little bits of information here and there - though when he goes to find the rest, he looks thoughtful and has to admit; "I didn't find out much to help us with the problem."
When they meet back up again Felicia has to offer,"..the Black Reef's leader calls himself 'Servant', and overall they are weird enough that most of the Port seem to be staying clear of them. They might well be an offshoot or a... rebranding of a shav group formerly known as the Black Bone clan. Who were Abyssally tainted and once considered experts at demon summoning. Moreover, Harrow Hall sits near the Mother river... the Dune Emperor certainly knows enough about the area that he could use that river as a threat to Arvum. I feel strongly that taking out their leader is in the best interest of Arvum's safety." she opines firmly.
Aconite enjoys her wine and her socializing and finding an ambiable conversation that she seems to hold for at least the duration of two glasses of something weak. She rejoins the group and her expression is thoughtful. "The Black Reefs might not have to much sway here yet. Word is they're new to Port Defiance. Appearently they've just returned from Whitepeak with appearently a piqued interest in Harrow Hall and a penchant for Centipede tattoos, so they're a bit odd as well as being fresh additions."
Felicia checks composure at hard. Felicia marginally fails.
Evaristo checks composure at hard. Botch! Evaristo is simply outclassed. This is monumentally beyond them and the result is ruinous.
Alessia checks composure at hard. Botch! Alessia is simply outclassed. This is monumentally beyond them and the result is ruinous.
Mayir is just a little bit tipsy as he comes back to the group. "Apparently Reveka doesn't much care about the inter group squabbling. She doesn't like Thrax. Hates them. For obvious reasons." He shrugs. "Let's the factions do what they want and decide the end of it. Anyway. I think of we mess with the Black Reefs, it's fine."
The bartender quietly takes the bottle of the same kind of liquor he was serving and reprices it.
Felicia might have had more to say to try and convince the rest of the team but it's effectively derailed by Aconite's words. The already fairly pale redhead goes a distinct shade of pasty green at the words 'Whitepeak' and 'centipede', horror going across her face,"...they definitely need to die. Mother help me..." she breathes with an abject shudder.
The mention of centipede tattoos seems to prompt nothing but pure horror in Alessia's expression, her mouth hanging open. "Fuck!" She says a little -too- loudly, her hand accidentally knocking over her glass sending her drink spilling. She seems too disturbed to notice the mess she's caused. "Well, I found out Salgor used to be a Helianthus and pines for his old title. Perhaps luring him to the Compact *could* be feasible. Trevor Helianthus would probably welcome him back if he helped defeat the Eurusi."
She quietens down, of course, to say this.
Evaristo heards 'Whitepeak' and Centipeds and turns totally white in the face, his jaw dropping as he stares at Aconite; he barely registers the rest of the interesting information. "...no..." he breathes and he meets Felicia's gaze as he grabs for his drink and downs it all in one go. "Gods," he murmurs, "why is everything always connected to everything." He blinks, trying to get back on track. "Whitepeak is overrun by the Horned God - I mean, it makes sense, we do know who the Skal'dajans love and adore." He runs a hand through his hair, taking a few deep breaths. "Sorry. Just some personal TRAUMA around it. Hey, this is all really good. What if we suggest - they take out Black Reef, they'll be pardoned and can join Trevor? Can we promise something like that?"
Aconite takes in Felicia, Alessia and Evaristo's reactions with a tiny tilt of her head. The poised Fidante courtier's brows lift and she continues to speak in a sotto contralto. "There's no need to apologize." She reassures Evaristo before tilting her head. "One can promise anything. The question is is that all we have to work with? And will it give us a foothold to branch out to others?" She glances at Mayir, "Do we know how many crews might have refugees from Eurus?"
"Shall we split up?" Felicia asks,"I... this Black Reef threat is personal. Harrow Hall is my ancestral home. And... what Evaristo said..." she gestures his way with a firm frown etched on her face,"If you can convince Salgor to switch sides... great, but I want to see this 'Servant' dead and buried personally or I'm not going to be able to sleep. Like... ever." she shudders,"Or... we could go and talk to this Salgor and then maybe..." she chews at her bottom lip,"I just... Black Reef. Need to be dealt with." not that her opinion might be biased there.
"I understand." Alessia says with a nod at Felicia's words, glancing around the room, slipping from her seat. She doesn't seem to care much about the increased liquor price. "If we can get Salgor to do the work for us... That would be ideal. But of course, we cannot only depend on an ideal outcome." She exhales. "We don't want Black Reef growing in influence." She turns to them. "I think we should go to the captain. But splitting up is always an option. We have our own choices to make. Praise Skald."
"I mean, sailors end up everywhere," says Mayir, with a shrug of his shoulders. "Some likely have Eurusi refugees." He seems content to tag along with the others. "I think neutralizing Black Reef, but happy to help with anything."
"Fel, I know you want to kill him with a deep burning desire - but even I wouldn't be crazy enough to try that here, not with a Magister on their side," Evaristo murmurs, looking pleadingly at her. "You'd get yourself killed. It's better we try to see the tribe being dealt with, in the other manner." He upnods at Aconite. "What's your thinking, about the refugees?"
Aco grins a bit and lifts a gloved hand to tap on her lace covered collarbone. "While I hate to miss the experience, I don't know how helpful I would be speaking to the leader of the Drowned Sons. My time might be better used making friends." She explains to the group with an upward smile. "See if they might be inclined to agree that the Black Reefs and their friends might not be the kind of people they want in their midst. Bad for business as they say. I do think someone should speak with him. A potential ally is better than none." Her shoulders lift a little as she watches the faces of her companions.
"We've killed one before." Felicia states flatly, jaw set and lips pursed stubbornly, chinning in Alessia's direction,"We were there. I got the feeling the Grayhope and the beautiful Aconite can handle themselves quite well, too. I've got nothing against talking to Salgor but I've got nothing to offer him. Right now I really wish we'd brought some Arvani fire, though." her gaze settles on Aconite with a slow kind of nod,"That might work, too. Yeh. Or at least... slow them down some. Something." she clenches her fist briefly.
"I really don't think we should split up," Evaristo says, "but I'm not anyone's boss. I'll go with Alessia to talk to Salgor, which I think is our best chance to make a difference in the war. If we start trouble here, we're fucking over a lot of people. You think we'll get any sympathy or understanding? We're here to try to /negotiate/, to /diplomatically/ figure out ways of ensuring the forces from here don't attack us later. To make allies, not enemies. Salgor is our best bet. Think about the /long con/, Felicia. So, you kill the servant - another will take his place, they got a whole tribe."
"I'm just saying, we really want to keep our hands clean in this." Alessia nods at Evaristo's words, dusting her hands for emphasis. "If we can get /him/ to handle the clan leader. That's perfect. And we have something to offer him, a chance to knock the competition and get his title back."
Aconite listens to Evaristo and her brows raise and she nods. "You'd know better than I would." She concedes with a lift of her hand and glances around again though she folds her hands and says quietly. "Though I hold some reservations to being there if Salgor's chatty companion is with him. It just sounds ... creepy."
Felicia expels a breath through her nose and gives Evaristo a nasty squint,"Fine. We talk to Salgor. And who here has the authority to offer his title back...?" she asks of her companions,"I don't like it. I mean... I could stay with Aconite and ask around. If they're aiming for Harrow Hall they /might/ listen to a Harrow... though my skin crawls at the idea of pretending even in the short term to be okay with that lot."
"There's a good chance he probably won't survive this turf war." Alessia assures Felicia, her voice attempting to be upbeat. "And then it doesn't matter what we have the authority to do or not." She shrugs. "If he survives it, then I'm sure he'll find a way back in his family's good graces. I mean it was Ivan who disowned him after all." Something in her voice suggests she's hoping the man doesn't make it. For ease.
"We don't have to offer him the title back, like she says," Evaristo says and hikes a thumb in Alessia's direction. "We just need to plant that seed in his mind; that fighting the Black Reef, publically standing on our side, will likely give him a pardon from Trevor. He'd know this is a chance. I hope."
"Fine." Felicia says flatly,"Let's do it. Let's go find Salgor." she states without any attempt to hide her grumpiness at the idea of not trying to take out the Black Reef.
Salgor is many things, but nice is probably not one of them. There are skulls on pikes outside of his headquarters, but in fairness, the arrangement had an eye towards aesthetics at least. Being able to say 'Bartholomew the Big sent me' actually works, with thugs posted outside the main door looking surprised but one just saying that Bartholomew really wanted to know the name of the woman that matched Alessia's description. Whether she dignifies that or not, they are escorted inside to meet Salgor. It's definitely a barracks, and a larger one than to be expected, with at least four floors and at least several hundred men staying inside. A modest army, and that's just who is stationed. First Captain Salgor's room is one that has a decidedly thraxian design, and is definitely a homage towards past nobility. There's no Helianthus sigils or motif in the room, but it's close enough that anyone that's been to Sungreet would recognize the similarities. And the man doesn't dress like a thug- the chainmail, tabard and design is much more like a noble at war, and the fairly handsome man keeps himself groomed. Almost certainly he's the type that likes to look good while doing war crimes. He rises, drops into a perfect noble bow and looks confused, "Bartholomew? Really? He doesn't like anyone. Do come in."
There's a vaguely apologetic look on Alessia's face when she passes the man who mentions Barty. "Oof. Tell him I'm married." She taps her ring, as though that's ever been an impediment. But she simply drifts into the room, glancing around as she takes in the fare. "I like this room. Definitely gives a 'take no prisoners' vibe. Just wonderful." She nods with approval. She dips before smiling. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Captain. My friends and I bonded with your man at the docks."
Evaristo is not really at home in military environments, but he's good enough at hiding it - he marches alongside Alessia, and gives Salgor a very respectful bow of his head. "Well met," he says simply, and smiles a quick charming smile without laying it on TOO thick.
Felicia sizes Salgor up from her position towards the back of the group, having subsided to silence, for now at least.
Mayir, too, is here, bowing and scraping, and offering his greetings as "Captain Mayir Grayhope." But he mostly hangs back now to take in the environment and the one here, touching something under his shirt to make sure it's still there.
Aconite follows after Alessia glancing sidelong at people as they pass. She takes in the atmosphere with a wide scan and a lifted-brow in consideration while she remains collected. She too dips in into a boneless courtsey of mute greeting before standing back to her full height and folding her hands before her.
"He once broke a man's neck and threw him overboard when he commented that his name was too long, my lady." The former Thraxian nobleman comments to Alessia as he gestures for her to take a seat before adding with a shrug, "He's an extremely effective mercenary though, excellent for discipline aboard his ship. Please have a seat, all of you. Wine?" He snaps his fingers and a well dressed man shuffles in, holding some Lenosian red and glasses, with the carefully cultivated neutral expression that looks just a little out of place in Port Defiance. "And how can I help you all?"
Exchanging a few quiet words with Mayir, Alessia turns to the captain as she settles down, smiling graciously at the drinks offered. She doesn't take one just yet though. "Well, Bartholomew, who was incredibly patient with us, told us about clan black reef and how they've been stealing your business. It's no fun when competition begins to chip away at your wealth." She shakes her head sorrowfully.
Evaristo is nodding along with Alessia, looking grimfaced and like he's disturbed. "He also said they're doing it for free, which is just an insult to good hard working men," he mutters, as if he finds this also a personal affront, empathising hard.
"It's really quite awful," says Mayir, speaking up. "To think. People thinking they can do this business for free. After all, this is a cash in hand business. What is the world coming to when they think that they can just step in and take your work? It upsets the entire market."
Felicia declines both seat and wine with a small shake of her head, content to lurk near the entrance with her arms folded before her and lips firmly closed.
Evaristo will accept a glass of wine with a thankful nod.
Aconitetakes the wine and finds a seat as well. She looks at the others and echoes with a quiet agreement. "One certainly must wonder at their motives."
Salgor's lips thin ever so slightly, and a small flair of his nose, as if he was a noble that noticed something in his household wasn't dusted properly as he nods in agreement with the comments. "I confess to being terribly vexed over it myself." He takes a dainty sip of his wine, "But I am a sellsword, not a murder-competitors-in-a-fit-of-pique sword, as that usually is terrible for one's reputation." He makes an airy wave of his hand, "Well, at least when one does it for free also. The precedent they are setting is just ghastly, isn't it?" He gestures with his wine glass towards Aconite, "The beauty speaks true. It would suggest they are madmen with a penchant for Eurusi redecoration but that doesn't seem right, now does it?"
"It surely doesn't," says Mayir, piping up from where he sits with his wine on the place that he hasp
"It doesn't." Alessia says in agreement, fingers spinning the glass slowly. "Well, I admire your ability to put such a thing aside. Though... I did hear something very fascinating. Salgor Helianthus." Her eyes glimmer a little. "You know your cousin? Or uncle? Or whatever he was, is an outlaw. Trevor's in charge. I have a *feeling* taking out a threat to the Compact could get you into his good graces."
"It surely doesn't," says Mayir, piping up from where he sits with his wine on the place that he has plunked himself. "And if not in good with the compact, then to protect the profession. You can't let people get away with this. This isn't just this one job. It is about keeping certain /customs/ among sellswords."
Aconitemakes a little noise under her breath. "First the decorations then customs and soon enough it's a way of life.." It's a quiet comment said just in between the more direct words of the others though the LYcene courtier seems to take an interest in her wine for a moment.
"What would it cost, then, for you to turn your attentions on them?" Felicia elects to ask bluntly.
Evaristo tries the wine as well, but remains standing a somewhere behind Alessia there, but relaxed and comfortable enough. "Can't think of a more public and open display of support family and the Compact," he says, nodding slowly at the suggestions. Then he quirks an eyebrow at Felicia's blunt query, looking at Salgor with interest.
"Reeeeeeally?" Salgor's eyes lock on Alessia, a sharp and dangerous glitter shining in his gaze when the Mazetti noblewoman mentions his family. "Why, I haven't spoken to Trevor in years, ever since a little misfortune took me out of the family. What interesting news." The sellsail captain leans back in his chair, setting his wine glass down and steeples his fingers, resting his chin on top of his hands for a moment, "Mmm. So you want the Black Reef gone. We outnumber them. I could take them at sea, and Servant is a crazy idiot, so he'd probably let us flank and rake them. Mmm mmm mmm." He draws it out, "Two hundred thousand silver and a signed promise from my cousin Trevor for my rank, title and family name. And every one of their ships goes to the bottom with them on it."
Evaristo leans in to murmur something to Alessia here - some negotiation suggestions, no doubt.
There's a small snort from Felicia,"Your cousin isn't here and I don't work for him. But I'd be willing to pay your people a hundred thousand silver to see them dead. Particularly Servant." she offers with a slow blink of her eyes,"You'd also get to remove a thorn in your own side under the banner of fulfilling a contract." she counters.
"The silver is no trouble," says Mayir, speaking up immediately from where he sits. Offering, perhaps, to underwrite it himself if need be. He leaves the titles to others. "Of course, if yout took this job, we would expect that you would be too busy for the Eurusi."
"Mhm, really." Alessia says with a nod, her smile brightening at this. She nods at Felicia's question, perfectly alright with the blunt nature. Especially when the man does indeed name his price. "For every one of those ships to go to the bottom? That's more than fair. Honestly, Trevor has nothing to lose. The traditionalists hate him anyway, so welcoming you back ought to be no problem at all. Especially with all of your help." She claps her hands together.
Salgor holds up a finger in objection towards Mayir, shaking it chidingly, "Another two if I refuse the Eurusi offer. It's Clan Black Reef, not a serious opponent. I expect to have something to do after lunch. But..." He draws out the word with Alessia, "I would be willing to do it as soon as their ships are on the open sea, for silver up front, and the promise of influence over my brother. If I get a signed note from at least one of you."
"I have heard you are a man of honor when it comes to your contracts, so I don't doubt you would do this if we paid you now and signed this letter. But, it's a bit much for something you say you can handle before lunch," Evaristo begins and starts the inevitable bartering.
"Don't you worry. I'll talk to your brother. I'll sign a note and everything." Alessia says with a warm smile, as for the silver, she simply looks at the others for bargaining.
Evaristo checks charm and haggling at normal. Evaristo is marginally successful.
Mayir checks charm and haggling at normal. Critical Success! Mayir is spectacularly successful.
Felicia checks command and diplomacy at normal. Felicia fails.
Aconite checks charm and propaganda at normal. Aconite is marginally successful.
Aconite says, "While I'm certain you're worth the price. Wouldn't it look more impressive and a lot more appealing to anyone in the future who might seek your assistance in other matters, I'd certainly consider telling people you were worth it.""
As numbers start flying, Felicia tries to get in her two silvers, but fails in the face of more persuasive voices, the Harrow subsiding again as they get into the nitty gritty of it and trying not to give away too much of her eagerness to see the Black Reef smote hard.
Salgor does barter for some time, in his polite, languid that showcases one of the more affected mannerisms of certain nobility. "I could see three then, those are some valid points." He retrieves an odd golden quill with a very sharp point, and there's no ink well. He offers the quill to Alessia, "I'm rather old fashioned, my lady. If you'd be so kind as to sign in blood?"
Because he is gambling with his own money, Mayir pours his heart and soul into haggling with the sellsword, pointing out that passing on the Eurusi job is really just a side benefit because it would allow him to rest his ships after wiping out the bad guys. But when there is the ask to sign in blood, Mayir grabs Alessia's hand and whispers to her, before letting go and letting her decide.
When Salgor retrieves the quill with the sharp point, Alessia doesn't seem surprised, nor does she react much when he suggests she sign with blood. "I'm sure you are." She says with a wry smile. A glance is given to Mayir when he leans over and grabs her hand. She murmurs back, unphased by whatever he says. She leans forward to prick her finger, barely flinching when she draws blood. Is that a cat by her foot? Another one appears too. And then she's signing her name, with a slight exhale. "To old traditions." She says, setting the pen down, lifting her glass. She gives the others in the room smiles as though Nothing Weird has happened.
One of her cats seems to hop onto Alessia's lap to... lick the blood from her finger. That's normal.
Evaristo does frown as the signing of blood is proposed, but says nothing - it's Alessia's blood, and her decision. Since he doesn't carry hundred and fifty thousand silver on him, he brings out the paperwork to sign it for bank transferal, splitting between himself, Felicia and Mayir. Grayhopes, Arterius and Harrows - commoner families doing business. He looks quite confused at the sudden appearance of cats there, as well. Maybe Salgor loves cats?
Salgor smiles at Alessia, "To old traditions indeed. In that case, we are in accord." He recites in a sing song voice, "By the Kindly Voices, Who Never Tire. By old Caer'Alfar, Now Burning In Fire. For Ancient Dawnhome, Gone and Lost. A Bargain is Rendered, With Known Cost." He takes a little seal to stamp the parchment with a symbol that looks like a mirror, "All of Clan Black Reef will be dead before the fortnight, as I expect them to sail any day, and we'll fall on them. And then you'll talk to Trevor. Perfect. A pleasure doing business with all of you." And he rises, as if to draw a meeting to an end, or at least to imply that suggestion. He does reach down to pet a cat, which cuddles up against his hand.
Silver exchanged. Deals made. Mayir, it seems, is going to consider this a fine deal done. He rises to his feet and bows his head to Salgor, before touching Alessia's hand again "May our Eurusi friends find no succor in you during the upcoming battles. And that Clan Black Reef soon be at the bottom of the sea." And on that happy note, Mayir is ready to head for home.
Felicia can't help the blink she gives and squint at the recitation, doubly so at the stamp that looks like a mirror and looks towards Evaristo,"What's with the stamp?" she can't help but ask aloud.
The rhyme is noted down by the bard with great interest, tilting his head as he tries to memorise it. "Pleasure doing business, indeed," he says and he bows before backing out of the room. "I wish you swift winds in your favor, and a huge victory. We look forward to hearing word of it." He grins, then he turns to leave. The question from Felicia has him shrugging. "I donno. Thirteenth related?"
Aconite's eyes dip to watch each detail of the deal though she makes no attempt top negotiate. She already said's she'd advertise. The tall Fidante ward nods to Salgor once he rises and follows suit. She moves towards the door to follow the others out.
Aconite's eyes dip to watch each detail of the deal though she makes no attempt top intervien when blood is involved. She already said's she'd advertise. The tall Fidante ward nods to Salgor once he rises and follows suit. She moves towards the door to follow the others out with a quiet, farewell "Fair sailing."
Managing to keep her face decidedly unperturbed during the man's recitation, Alessia doesn't seem to give the blood signing all that much thought. "The Thirteenth god of the holy Pantheon." She says simply to Felicia's question. "I'm glad that the gods aren't neglected here." She studies her cat as it cuddles against the captain and her features seem to warm. She rises. "It was lovely meeting you. The next time we meet, you should be Lord Salgar Helianthus once again." And with that, she follows the others out.
"Oh believe me, I look forward to it, and I have full confidence in you, Lady Alessia Mazetti." Salgor bows, "Safe travels to you all. No one will accost you on your way back to Arx." He says with full confidence, and has an unsettlingly casual smile as he wave sthem out.
((And that'll be it. Clan Black Reef won't get a write up till later, but they will be destroyed. So 150k from Evaristo's bank?))
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