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Miles to go before we sleep (Kitsunegami, open)

This is where all of the medieval Gawain role-plays are archived.
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Post by omndragon » Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:11 am

Omon sighed. The minute he had heard there was a letter of Marque and Reprisal, he had been furiously thinking back to every conversation he had had with his employer. Omon had come to the conclusion that he had to tell them about his favor or else they might think that he had led them to a trap like Tansa had accused him of doing.

"As I have told you, I am doing this as a favor. I owe one of the partners a favor. I had to reach Wexlar from Old Nottingham Town and I had to get there fast. I was left with either paying allot of gold, which I do not have, or come to an arrangement with the co owner of the company. You see it is rather expensive to travel long distances by coach, so I went ahead and agreed to repay the favor upon the completion of my business in Wexlar. I finished my business in Wexlar and when I came to the head quarters of Stemar & Benson coach line, I was given a brief description of the situation, given the bag with the payment, and then given directions to hire your company . I am not privy to any specific details, but, I did ask around before I agreed to this. That is how I got the info about the new leader. The favor seemed simple and for the life of me I couldn't see any surprises. This was a simple task but with the danger involved, the long distances involved, and the bandits themselves, I had made the assumption this was something they needed to resolve, but they didn't want to risk anybody from the company."

Omon suddenly realized something. His eyes lost focus for a second.

"You know the youngest son of the duke of Saxony is the co-owner of Stemar & Benson. He hasn't a wif of business sense, but he is no fool. He is co-owner with someone who is practically a business genius. I talked with Mr. Benson, but if I was a betting man, I would bet all the silver in my possession that Duke of Saxony ordered his youngest son to find a pretext for his company to hire your band to wipe the bandits out."

Omon scratched his head in astonishment.

"Now that I think about it there was a very light guard with the strongbox. I remember asking why it was so small. They told me it was to cut costs, but, they had a duke’s son to finance practically everything. It doesn't make sense they would want to save money on a guards when their reputation could be ruined if mere bandits could take away a shipment intended for Gawainian soldiers. I think they needed the bandits to take the strongbox, so they could have an excuse to hire you to take them out."

Omon shook his head.

"That would mean that the Duke knew about the letter before hand, but couldn't do anything directly about it. I mean that letter shouldn't be valid here in Saxony. It should only be valid in Duke Alagur von Weimar-Sachs's dukedom."

Omon frowned.

"I have been used. Manipulated like a pawn. The aristocrats and their games, well I guess that is something that won't change. I mean a snake will always be snake."

Omon looked at Miles and asked,

"That leaves one queston. Why is the Duke of Saxony so scared of Duke Alagur von Weimar-Sachs?"
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Post by Rackenhammer » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:51 pm

(Man, this went on for a lot longer than I had planned. Brace yourself)

Thoughts buzzed through Miles' head as Omon recounted his information. *What was his need in Wexlar? To which of the partners did he owe a favor to?* These were, admittedly, incidental questions, but they jumped out at him so he filed them away for later.
*The youngest son of the duke of Saxony... that would be Gregor, wouldn't it? Doesn't surprise me that he has no business sense, but I've heard he's a sharp study in politics. This might have been his idea, and not his father's. No doubt the Duke knew and approved. Does he know who I really, or is he merely operating on the knowledge that I'm the hottest new strategist to come into Saxony since... oh, Lord, my father... He must suspect, but he can't know for sure. I hope.*

The bit about nobility being nothing but snakes nearly provoked a denial, but Miles managed to stifle it. "Duke Alagur... well, to understand, a little foreknowledge of Gawainian politics is necessary. I find the subject near-impossibly... complicated, but here's a layman's version, such as I know."
It was true, even as Lord von Wexlar, Miles' tastes had run to the military rather than the political. Still, he had picked up a few things. "The foundation of Gawain's power as a nation is the duchies, unlike, say, Edwin, which is a royalty-centered nation. We do have a king, or actually a queen now, but by ancient custom, his or her power is limited to nation-wide affairs only; the dukes are granted a large amount of autonomy in their own districts. Still, the royalty typically holds the allegiance of the non-serf commoners, so it balances out, usually. What has kept royal power from growing stronger is that ours is not a hereditary monarchy, at each succession, the Dukes select the successor, usually from among themselves. Obviously, none of the passed over is going to give one inch of ground that can be contested to their former rival, so the dukes take care to keep their power base intact."
"Now, as you might imagine, relations between the dukes are hotbeds of alliances, animosities, treachery, subterfuge, and sometimes outright war. The aim is usually to bring more revenue into the ducal coffers, and more land and people under their influence. The individual barons, see, are bound by nothing more than a contractual agreement, enforced with threat of military action, of course. That still leaves open the possibility that one duke could offer a more advantageous "deal" to a baron than the one he is currently under, if he brings a promise of protection."
"Now, to Alagur. The last royal succession was three years ago. Duke Alagur was one of the favored candidates; Weimar-Sachs is one of the richest duchies, and maintains a military of it's own that rivals those of smaller nations, as well as an impressive information pipeline." *Though, I sometimes wonder if my father actually has a better one.* "Nevertheless, the current queen, Filia Alean'th, manages to outmaneuver him. Don't ask me how. So, Alagur, robbed of royal ambitions, now seeks to strengthen his regional power base, perhaps as run-up to a second try. Of all the dukes, he's best-equipped for that, and has a rather... nasty reputation for dealing with his enemies. The commoners, anyway, he hasn't got around to dealing with his noble rivals yet. The duke of Saxony is one of them. Now, Alagur tried nothing at the time of royal succession because too many of the dukes really did not want him over them. However, many of those dukes wouldn't mind Alagur's expansion, provided it was at Saxony's expense, and not theirs. Open warfare would give the advantage to Alagur, so subtlety is called for."
*Hmm... Saxony is allied with Wexlar, but we can't spare too many resources, especially for war; we're still cleaning up after ours. Subterfuge, though, we could provide. After all, we already are, if you count me and my crew. Alagur, so far as I know, has few friends in this game, though alliances of convenience aren't out of the question. I can't name any duke that would stick his neck out for someone like Alagur unless they got a really big payoff. Somehow, I doubt it. This doesn't look like too big a foray, but it could grow if not checked. I'll have to work out how later.*

"I'm beginning to see what his plan was, at any rate. Saxony is stretched thin in resources, so guarding the citizenry is left to the local barons. A few along the border, out of laziness, mismatched priorities, or plain lack of funds, cannot do this properly. Now, if a coordinated bandit attack were to occur in such a barony, it would make the people restless. The duke of Saxony would be unable to help much; so if Weimar-Sachs were to offer to help, chances are the baron would switch allegiance. Alagur would then call off the bandits, and allow them to retire in luxury. The baronies, their revenue, and their political influence would be under his command." Miles grimaced. "All in all, I cannot say I like the idea of him gaining more power much. He is, as you say, a snake, rather than one of the exceptions."

"That's provided he actually wrote the letter." Lena piped up. "Suppose it was a forgery?"
Miles grimace grew more pronounced. "Well, it's a very good forgery if it is one. The motivations behind that possibility grow much to baroque for my taste." He paused. He had a duty to find out, but no one else here did, he suspected. He'd have to find some way of convincing them.
"It would be best for us to at least find out if Alagur is behind this. It would enable us to better vet contracts from now on; I've no desire to plunk down on the wrong side of an inter-ducal conflict unwittingly." *Like we did this time* "Also, if he is behind this, we've made a new enemy today, or at least when he hears the news. The motto know thy enemy comes to mind. I can't force you to do anything, of course, and I cannot promise we will get paid for this. I have outlined what the strategical issues are; whether you wish to continue with me is up to you."

Pierre spoke up first. "Personally, I'm not optimistic about our survival chances alone. Also, you've a knack for getting us out of bad situations, with style, too! I stay."
Miles smiled at this, but Pierre was liege-sworn to him, along with Lena, Rulf, and Thari, who all signaled that they would follow Miles. The other enlisted troops knew nothing of this, but Ashe led them into Miles' camp.
"Y'know, this could well put us in a position to derail the stuck-up prig of a duke, and that's not an opportunity that comes every day."
They all saluted Miles, who returned the salute. He then turned to Tansa, and Omon, wondering of they would join too. Tansa probably would, but Omon he wasn't sure about.
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Post by omndragon » Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:17 pm

(Wow that was quite a mouthful. Sorry for the long post as well. :D )

As Omon listened to Miles, he fervently thanked god that he was not an aristocrat. At least when he was angry with someone he didn't use a convoluted plan in another convoluted plan to exact his revenge. When he didn't like someone a punch was a clear indication of his distaste. After Miles finishes talking Omon frowned. He wanted nothing more then to leave, but until they found the case he hadn't technically finished his favor. And any truth spell cast on him would reveal the fact. He had several delicate people whose assistance he desperately required, but if his reputation were to be ruined their cooperation would disappear. This wasn't the first time someone had asked him for a favor in lieu of a service he desperately needed, and Omon knew that this would not be the last time he would need a favor. Omon silently cursed his luck. He did not like the direction this day had gone, but in all honestly it didn't look to bad at least Miles kept his word.

"Well Mr. Miles as of yet I haven't completed my mission. Until a certain box containing 50 Groschens is recovered, I am unable to return to the coach company. I may not be a mercenary, but my reputation is very important to me, so unfortunately I will have to continue to accompany you."

Omon turned around and began to walk to the bandits still scattered on the ground. Most of them had been killed or hurt. All of the ones hurt weren't in any critical condition, but their was one who was on the brink of death. A sword wound to the stomach is a slow and painful death. If this dog had fallen anywhere else in the world he would have no chance at survival. Omon bent down and slapped the dogs face slightly.

“Pay attention.â€
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Post by Kitsunegami » Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:55 pm

Tansa merely agreed with what had been said. All of what had been said seemed plausible to her. She didn't know how to read or write, and wasn't able to see for that matter. So any information she could gather would be movements, scents, sounds, and all the information that comes from that type of information.

"I'm afraid that I have no information that I can supply, aside from various other information, but very little of a visual nature." she said while standing with her arms behind her. "You can rely on my to aide you in this however."

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Post by Rackenhammer » Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:14 pm

Miles was slightly surprised to learn that the box had been taken. *50 Groshens isn't much to a rich duke, which Alagur most certainly is. Still, he could still just be parsimonious... although the box itself might actually be worth more than its reported contents. Father certainly doesn't have many boxes like that, or at any rate, none I know of.*

Assured of his follower's cooperation, he followed Omon out, hoping that movement would stimulate his strategical thinking. He encountered the recently-healed dog. "Name, rank, and serial number." Miles spit out, a bit irritated at his slow mind.
"Ah, Fallo. Er, we didn't have ranks, and I've never been good with figgerin'."
Miles then remembered that this was a bandit, he also saw the marks of a recently-healed wound, and he put two and two together. "If you're wondering what to do next, I have a few suggestions."
Fallo brightened a bit. The ferret recognized the dog as one of nature's non-alphas. *What the hell, half my force are former bandits anyhow.*
"Is there anything you can tell me about the person who talked with your leader?"
"'E was a fancy chap, wouldn't speak to any of us, no sir, only to our leader. That type don't give much out, neither, you'd have to be nob to get much from 'em, g'sir."

Something went *click* in Miles' head. "Given what you've been through, a second chance is a gift impossible to repay. Nevertheless, there is a way you could try. If you want to be a part of our campaign... follow me."
Miles turned back to his temporary headquarters. After a moment's hesitation, Fallo followed.
"Would you be able to pick him out, the fancy person that directed you, out of a crowd."
"Aye, sir. I'd recognize that pompous mug anywhere."
Miles grinned, and strode in the door to his waiting officers. His enlisted had come in too, awaiting further orders. "I have here, a repentant wishing to atone for his sins. Do you think he will be a good addition to the Dresden Free Mercenaries?"
Thari looked Fallo over. The young dog only looked a year or two older than Lena, and hadn't developed the look of the hardened criminal that Ashe, Chaz, and Orion were stuck with. "Ashe and I will put him through the paces. If he makes it, you've got a new private." The wolf put a hand on Fallo's shoulder and guided him out, the dog looking rather nervous. Ashe and the two other privates followed.

Miles turned to the rest of his officers. "I am formulating a plan on how we may infiltrate Duke Alagur's manor. In order for it to work, though, I have to ask, how well do you think that we all could portray a ducal visiting party?" Since almost everyone remaining knew Miles' true identity, it did not take long to see where he was going with this.
Rulf whistled. "Well, I don't know about a formal procession, certainly nothing Alagur would be caught dead with. But, coming from a reputed backwater... maybe. If you can convince him you've got a noble with us, we could pull it off, I think."

Lena nodded agreement. Pierre was slightly miffed. "Backwater? You say I am too uncouth to be let into the bastions of chivalry?"
Miles fixed him with a look. "No, but lairs of villainy are very exclusive concerning guests." That brought a bit of a laugh.
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Post by omndragon » Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:57 pm

Omon's ears flicked at Miles when he started to talk to the dog. Omon almost said something to Miles about leaving the poor boy alone. What he had wanted for the kid was for him to go back home. maybe learn a trade. He had wanted him to get out of the life taking business, but Omon reluctantly admitted to himself he had no ties to the young person, and that the choices were his to make. Omon had been careful not to let any negative emotions come to his face. He had to be careful or else someone would catch it. He walked a short distance away and sat down. When the party moved he would be there and would be ready, but for now he didn't have anything pressing to do and he would just rest.
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Post by Kitsunegami » Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:01 pm

"Well, it is possible to fool the upper class with some simple disguises, forged signet rings, and the proper cover identity. I could see about working something out, though it may lead to some... uncomfortable situations." she said looking at the other 'officers'.

"However, I do see more often than not, that a foreign cover works best in situations such as this. I definitely suggest learning about the nobility his court commonly associates with, and those he keeps track of. That will give us a significant edge in formulating and coordinating our infiltration." she said as she sat in the 'war room' to prepare.

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Post by Rackenhammer » Tue Oct 13, 2009 6:46 pm

Miles was now left with only officers who knew his true identity. Lena leaned over to him. "Do you really think this will work?"
The ferret grinned back. "Father always thought Alagur was a pain. From his complaints I gathered a pretty good picture of him. He always got a letter every month, as an oblique invitation for me! It's practically being handed to us..." He paused. "Ah, you think it's too easy?"
Lena shrugged. She hadn't, but it did sound too easy.
Miles gave a lopsided smile. "Well, there's really no other way for us to get in. I can only be sure of one noble that Alagur will let in. Fortunately, I know him well..."

Meanwhile, Thari and Ashe were putting Fallo through a basic regimen. Fortunately, Fallo was a bit more skilled than the average bandit, who were skilled only in attacking the unarmed and helpless. It was gathered from him that he was raised among the bandits, though his parentage was unknown. Ashe was pretty much the same, and nodded at him. At the end, the Dresden had another among them looking for a second chance.


Later, after they had all been gathered back...

Miles stood, addressing his followers and customer. "As you well know, our mission has complicated itself. What we must do now is attain entrance into the manor of Duke Alagur von Weimar-Sachs. Obviously, like most nobles, he's not letting in those he believes inferior, thus he must believe one among is nobility, and the rest retinue.
"Now, I don't know if any of you ever attended the Faire he puts on nearly every year, but I and some others here," here Miles nodded to Lena and Thari, "And I got a good reading of the man. He's distrustful of foreigners, so only Gawainian nobility will be admitted. Also, we'd have to aim for a pretty high rank to be sure of him letting us in. Needless to say, that restricts our field somewhat. However, I came by an interesting bit of information some time back, which proved a lucky break.
"See, the Duke of Wexlar has a son, who has the same condition as me. Some say it's because of the commoner he married; me, I say it's because I've got noble blood in me." The got a chuckle, especially from those in on the joke.
"Anyhow, Alagur has a daughter about the same age as the young lord, who he'd love to marry off to a duke's son, and thus further increase his influence." Miles remembered his father complaining about that, and his reply too. *Doesn't it work both ways?* Duke Fredrick had laughed out loud, then explained that Miles was free to woo Cynthia, but that was his decision, not his father's. This atypical attitude was mostly due to Fredrick having married for love himself, before he became the duke.
"Now, I have it on good authority that Alagur has extended an open invitation to this lord, who he's not seen for a while. What made this piece of gossip stick in my head was that the young lord's name... is Miles."

Even the densest among Miles' group saw where he was going now. "You see now what you've got to do. In the morning, you'll learn how to march like a proper regiment, and not incidentally, have some minimum of good behavior drilled into you. You will probably, with few exception, not fool anyone into thinking that you're a ducal revue, but at least you'll be hired help I can take out into the upper-crust, and-" Miles had shifted into the tone and mannerisms of his noble self, and just now abruptly switched back, with a wink to all present. "Relax. If I can do it, you can do it. Get some rest while you can. Reveille's bright and early tomorrow."
The Dresden Free Mercenaries filed out, slightly shocked, but clearly excited. Miles had that effect on people, he got them to follow him and like it. Miles himself was getting a familiar feeling; adrenaline was building up, things were being put in motion. The initiative was his now!
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Post by omndragon » Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:23 pm

As Omon listened to the plan, he almost smiled. He felt the General Miles had played noble before. Hidding his half smile with a yawn Omon asked in an uninterested tone.

"What capacity should I serve. I can't very well play soldier. I imagine that this Lord Miles von Wexlar has a small army of healers at his call? "

Omon smiled thinly. He didn't feel the need to menchion that if this went horribly wrong then he would indeed be spending a very long time getting aquanted with a dark dungeon.
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Post by Kitsunegami » Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:54 pm

Tansa nodded to Miles, accepting his plan since he knew more of the noble in question than she did. "I shall take my usual role in such situations, Miles," she said with a grin, "and merely be a member of your cadre."

"I need only know when to change into the appropriate attire, from that point on, I shall be as another fur." she said as she moved off and changed back into her more common clothes.

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Post by Rackenhammer » Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:18 pm

Miles nodded to Omon. "Oh, yes, healers' presences are not going to be questioned. Actually, you and Rulf may be some of our greatest assets. Keep a look out for liegemen who have chronic, and embarrassing, ailments. Curing them will get them on our side. Plus, not many secrets are hidden from healers. Yes, if you can come, do so." Miles didn't give much thought for his safety, Duke Alagur would have had to go completely over the mental catastrophe curve to actually imprison Miles. For one thing, it would provoke an out-and-out fight with Duke Fredrick, one of Gawain's most respected military leaders. Secondly, it would ruin any chance of Cynthia and Miles' marriage being arranged. *There was not a chance to begin with, but no need to tell von Weimar-Sachs, eh?*
Miles then responded to Tansa. "As soon as possible. The Dresden need to rest after today's exertions, but we are racing the duke's spies, so we'll need them kitted out as soon as possible. On the plus side, the bandits had apparently a mercantile shipment, so were fit as far as clothes go. Drills we'll have to do on the way. Good night."
With that, Miles retired.

* * *

Miles was up again a little before reveille, ready in the noble garments he'd carefully hidden among Thari's luggage. The rest were now being roused by the officers.
Miles had been too high on adrenaline to lie abed. There was as much an exhilaration in standing still as there was in being in motion, and Miles was feeling it. *Here we go.*
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Post by omndragon » Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:49 pm

Omon didn't like going into enemy territory. He did see that there was no other option, but that didn't mean, he had to like it. He understood Miles orders, and they were easy enough to comply. He just hoped that there were some rich nobles there that were ill there at the fair.

He secretly hoped that there weren't any nobles that knew him at the fair. He wondered at the possibility, but most of the people that he knew didn't associate with Duke Alagur von Weimar-Sachs. Omon had only heard rummors about him, but Omon was sure that the Duke didn't think anyone below his station was worth thinking about. He was sure that all of the dukes servants on down to his knights were all treated like pawns on a chess board.

He frowned, and then he siged. He was going to have to cast an illusion spell. As a mage he already had a slight magical pressence, and the spell was so minor it wouldn't change what he already emmited. He took a deep breath and drew one rune onto his forehead then immangined his white stipes on his head to turn into black. The spell makes his white stripes darken into black. His white stripes always made him the subject of close scrutinizingly, so this spell would help to alleviate that problem. He dressed in his best robe, and then went to go find his"Duke".

Omon walked in to the war room took one look at miles then bowed extremely low.

"M'Lord I am reporting as I was instructed. I hope my timely arrival pleases you."

Omon always enjoyed a good joke. He wondered how Miles would respond.
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Post by Rackenhammer » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:39 pm

It had taken some time for Miles to get into the mindset of a noble after such a long and enjoyable stretch as a common general, but blood will out eventually. The ferret was standing as straight as his body allowed, and crossed his arms and gave Omon a critical inspection before nodding; a subordinate had passed muster. "I should have hoped you would be in the habit of punctuality; a healer not in time is little better than a killer." Miles was a good reader of people; it wasn't easy to pull off a practical joke on him.

As his liegemen and followers came out, Miles wondered if there wasn't something in the phrase "The clothes make the fur." All of the Dresden were acting a little higher-class since donning clothes that indicated a higher social position. *Enjoy it, lad and lasses. After all, it's closer to the truth than some of you know.* That was the brilliant part of the "deception," if anyone tried to call his bluff, they'd soon find out that Miles wasn't bluffing.

Pierre, of course, fancied himself the snappiest dresser. *I might have to explain him as an eccentric distant relative; his clothes are just a little too fancy.* Lena, Thari, and Rulf, of course, were in the roles they'd always played until Miles created the Dresden Free Mercenaries, no problem there. As for the rest... "Well, well, looking mighty fine, are we? Don't bloody forget who your boss is." The rank and file looked a little sheepish, but Miles wasn't sorry. If they acted too cocky, the whole thing could end in disaster. Miles looked around for Tansa, they'd get started once all were accounted for.
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Post by Kitsunegami » Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:52 pm

Tansa entered the command tent in her elegant court clothing. She was dressed as the escort of a noble, even a member of court! "Master Rackenhammer, I am ready to depart to the court of Lord Alagur von Weimar-Sachs. I will set to depart upon your leave, my liege." she said with a deep bow and a grin, speaking in a perfect Gawainian accent.

"I hope that this will suffice for the infiltration and reconnaissance of the Weimar-Sachs estate General Miles. As you know I am highly skilled in matters of this nature." she said as she joined his little entourage of the upperclass.

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Post by Rackenhammer » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:05 pm

Miles gave the same approving nod to Tansa. "That is very satisfactory. I trust your expertise and discretion. Would it be too much to ask for you to impart a little instruction to the rest on the way?" With that, the party set off.

It was, Miles had to admit, not impressively done. The sergeant was a little out of his element, and Pierre's 'help' veered between the useful and the spurious. Lena and Rulf, however, were fairly good at imparting protocol. Actually, when there were no visitors to the ducal manor, protocol was optional in Wexlar, so Miles was fairly impressed by Lena's mastery of it. *Of course, this damned gap between us would not have opened of not for it. No one would mind if I fell in love with a commoner, except her... and that's all that really matters.* Miles wasn't sure how long this unrequited love had been brewing. It had been brought to a head by the fact that his expedition was ostensibly to woo the daughter of Alagur, a prospect that Miles didn't relish.

He sighed and moved on. The whole question was academic; he was reluctant to bring up the issue with Thari watching his every move. With effort, he turned his thoughts to their upcoming crash of the Scarborough Faire. Last year's had not been without incident, rumors abounded so prolifically that Miles was supremely sorry to have missed it. *This will put them all to shame though, I'll bet. I wonder what reception awaits us...*


(Right now, I'm waiting for Flickerfinger to post; he'll be RP'ing the Duke for now, and setting the scene.)
Be Humble in Yourself, but Adamant in the Truth.

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