1/25/14 – 55th Session – Module HM10 – The Silver City (Act 2 – The Imperial Court)
Game Date: 11/28/900
Basileus Arkonides (Chris) – domur: 70, hamingja: 2
Caelrath (Josh) – domur: – 70, hamingja: 3
Estrid (Tanya) – domur: 71, hamingja: 3
Thrand Hallsteinsson (Josh) – domur: 70, hamingja: 3
Bergsveinn Farisson (Metellus) – _domur: 20, hamingja: 2
Neferata (Jessie) – domur: 55, hamingja: 3
Kasimir (Chris) – domur: 24, hamingja: 2
Hakon Finehair the Skald (NPC) – domur: 69
Gruull (NPC, Cohort of Basileus Arkonides) – domur: 23
Bronislava (NPC Mercenary)
Freyjudagur, the 28th of Gormanudhur, 900 N.Y.
Early in the morning on this date, Kasimir von Schosse got up and wrote a rambling, two-page note. The note covered a variety of topics, digressing for a long section in the middle about butterflies, but essentially it said that he was going out to look for a house that he might purchase, and so would not be attending the Imperial Court. On his way out the door, he ran into Estrid Freysteinn, who was bored and decided to accompany him on his expedition. Besides, she had no wish to put herself at the mercy of the Palnorran emperor, and wanted to look for a marketplace where she might purchase elemental gems.
On that same morning, Basileus Arkonides also awakened early, between a serving wench and a stable boy. He arose and went to the household shrine to pray to the patron saints of House Arkonides that they watch over him on this day. He ordered his retainers, Olaf, Anders, and Gruull, to remain behind and get out of the city if anything bad happened to him. The rest of the heroes were to accompany him to the Imperial Court for his audience with the emperor.
The heroes came to To Mega Palation and progressed through several outer courtyards and consequent layers of security as they approached the palace proper. At one of the innermost courtyards, they encountered a band of Barangoi guardsmen who harassed them and rifled through their bags before allowing them to go further. These hulking Northern brutes were not very friendly to the heroes, despite their ethnic affiliation.
The heroes were shown to a waiting room, where they were left for nearly a half an hour. Eventually, slaves came to offer them refreshment – wine, food, and a drug known as silver lotus. Only Neferata tried the silver lotus, becoming instantly addicted, experiencing brief euphoria and intense hallucinations. The others merely had some food and wine. They found that Neferata was actually much more friendly and pleasant while under the influence of silver lotus, but it clearly made her physically ill and weakened her body.
While they waited, the heroes saw a secret passage open into the antechamber in which they awaited, and a very young man with coal-black hair emerge. He introduced himself as Konstantinos Dukas, as scion of House Dukas. He asked them to keep silent about the passageway, and then walked away into the palace.
After waiting a considerable time, finally, at long last, a eunuch entered the antechamber, introducing himself as Kalynyches. This eunuch informed them that they were about to be admitted to The Presence (by which he meant the presence of the emperor, Leon VI “The Wise”). Kalynyches informed them about matters of etiquette and protocol, then led them through the mazelike, Byzantine labyrinth of the palace to the room in which The Presence awaited them. As he was about to admit them to the room, Basileus Arkonides suddenly asked if Diokles Tzimiskes was at court today. Once informed that Diokles was present, he asked to send a messenger home to bring a “gift” for Diokles (by which he meant the captured svartalfur prisoner).
And so, the heroes were admitted to The Presence in a large, vaulted chamber with a dome and an oculus open to the sky. Imperial guards and such lined the shadowy walls, but the emperor himself awaited in the center of the room, in the light admitted to the room via the oculus. Emperor Leon VI, Leon the Wise, was a middle-aged man, clean shaven with white hair and distinguished features.
Each of the heroes reacted in their own way. Basileus Arkonides abased himself before The Presence, kow-towing to him as Kalynyches did. Thrand Hallsteinsson and Caelrath knelt respectfully.
Neferata knelt on one knee, rising once this had been acknowledged. Hakon Finehair the Skald and Bronislava also knelt on one knee. Bergsveinn Farisson stayed several paces behind the rest, and simply bowed.
The emperor spoke with them at length, and allowed Diokles Tzimiskes to present his evidence against Basileus and Neferata, but the weasel-faces scion of House Tzimiskes botched the job, and they were cleared of everything, except that Baz was still guilty of misusing the imperial seal and representing himself as an imperial ambassador . . . so Emperor Leon VI appointed him a true ambassador to the North as a punishment – essentially a minimum one-year banishment from the city, to commence in four months (when sailing season resumed).
Hakon Finehair the Skald was allowed to perform for the emperor, singing part of his epic saga about the heroes, recounting their battle with the scylla and charybdis. He gave an extraordinary performance, and was rewarded by the emperor himself with a big of 10 gold coins.
Baz informed the emperor of Konstantinos Dukas creeping about in the secret passages of To Mega Palation. The emperor was not pleased . . .
The heroes were invited to be guests at the emperor’s private box at the Games at the Grand Arena, to which they traveled through the secret tunnels and passages that link the palace with the amphitheater. At the Games, Bronislava informed Baz that she had heard of House Tzimiskes in her homeland, said to be a cruel and vicious family that delighted in torture and horror, and to have private treaties and arrangements with dark powers, like the witch queen of Inazor Obram.
After the Games (in which the champion of House Arkonides lost to Celadus Thrax, the champion of Emperor Leon VI, the heroes were dismissed and went back to the Arkonides Villa.
Meanwhile, Kasimir von Schosse led Estrid Freysteinn through the streets of the city in search of a house to buy. He hoped a house would speak to him or call to him, but none did. So he used his “ribbonmancy” to seek a house. The ribbons led him to a dilapidated mansion down by the docks. He inquired from the steward, Torgos (who “took care of the place while the Master was away”) whether the place was for sale. Torgos tried several times unsuccessfully to get them to try food or drink laced with silver lotus. He took them on a tour of the creepy old place, saying that he believed that his Master (who turned out to be of House Tzimiskes) would sell.
The Master of the House, Yuri Tzimiskes, returned home while they were negotiating with Torgos. He was wrapped in a black cloak and cowl, so they never saw his face, but he agreed to sell the house to Kas, and extended a pale hand with long, ragged, filthy fingernails to shake hands on the deal – he had asked 6000 gold coins for the house, but sold it for 5,995. Yuri ordered Torgos and his other servants to move out all the essentials, saying that he would stay uptown with “cousin Diokles” until he was ready to return to the Vylgari Marches.
Estrid Freysteinn did get to the market to buy her elemental gems – one red/orange gem (for Fire) and one clear, transparent gem (for Air).
They also returned to the Arkonides Villa, where they all met up, and made plans. They would have to leave the city in four months, but in the meantime could set up Kasimir’s creepy new mansion as their own home . . .
XP Earned: 22,800 (3800 each)
Total XP: 127,156 each
XP to level 11: 155,000