Search for Dimlai
Week 3, Tracking Dimlai's Travels
Our attempts to find an undetectable means of following Dimlai's carriage prove futile. Two more alternatives were considered: a Jack-era gravitic gravbelt with and without cloaking magic--easily detectable--and Daewen's monolog gravitic tuner--harder has a sufficient `ookiness' [remember this term?] to be detectable. Cantrel then suggests trying a more mundane alternative: he takes the gravbelt and flies overland to catch up with the carriage, then hides and tracks them.
This also proves to be futile, especially after Cantrel tries to circle around and let them catch up to him. The one who we know think of as the leader of the outriders somehow detects just the aura of the lying-in-wait Cantrel, who in order to escape needed to transform into his bird form.
Lacking means to watch their travel, we decide to move forward two weeks and drop off Cantrel and Dafnord (sans most magical and technological artifacts) to wait for the arrival of the carriage, using the theory that if they spot the carriage, then nothing untoward happened during the journey.
Cantrel and Dafnord manage to find a tavern with a good view of the major road into the town surrounding Count Riotri's castle. Eschewing all psionic devices of all sorts to keep from being detected, they bring no translation devices but manage to order several ales during the day through gestures and ignore the overcharging and inconsistent change. They wait, and drink for a while, then finally see Dimlai's carriage roll by along with the outriders. The leader notices Cantrel and looks at him intently--but we dismiss this as a natural caution--Cantrel has been again transformed into a Hero as he was before in Hreme. They continue drinking, Dafnord quickly becoming quite drunk, and realize their unfortunate slip: forgetting to schedule a rendezvous. Alag eventually comes and retrieves them.
Chris and Lorelei are send in to wander and look for gossip. They learn a number of interesting facts:
We consider various means to get close to Dimlai. Cantrel eventually arranges to join the Count's Black Guard--also not highly regarded in town--and ends up in a contest to prove his skill. While arranging weapons--Cantrel chooses flail--and opponents--Cantrel faces both a rather large gentleman named Mongo and a one who turns out to be an axe-master, two of the outriders come out of the keep to watch.
Cantrel learns that there is an Outer Guard--which he is now trying to get in--and an Inner Guard--from which apparently came the outriders that protected Dimlai during her journey. The head of the Outer Guard notices Cantrel's innate magic and suggests that Count Riotri might not like it. Cantrel also learns that we would draw quite a bit of unwanted attention to ourselves if we tried to penetrate the inner keep with magic.
The battle begins. Mongo is good, but he only has one straightforward attack. This would have been easy to dodge but for the mastery of the axeman. Cantrel is blindsided at one point by Mongo while dodging his other opponent. Eventually, it is clear that Cantrel is going to lose, however he does hold his own against two very good opponents. The head of the guard is impressed, especially when Cantrel nearly knocks the axe out of the master's hands, and offers Cantrel a position (and a lousy wage, but the point was infiltration, not permanent employment).
In the meantime, Ashleigh, Alag, and Kate make plans to find and talk with Kumner back at the Alatar manor home in Kelmerian. They fly over, and find that the home is in a bit of an uproar: the family is in the midst of preparations to head to the wedding ceremony. A page, Jerome, greets them and despite his nervousness manages to summon Kumner.
Kumner is a kind man and exactly as Salindera described him to us. Alag and the ladies are invited to his apartment to chat. He seems a bit uncertain of them at first--and keeps reading the scroll--but listens while Ashleigh relates our concerns. Kumner evasively mumbles a bit about having to quiet loose tongues around the household. Ashleigh takes this opportunity to examine the scroll more closely. Surprise: Her Ladyship quite naturally dated the letter to Kumner--a date two weeks hence! Alag quickly fixes it, leaving Kumner momentarily confused at his next reading of the scroll.
After reading the corrected scroll once more, Kumner decides he can confide in them. He skips around a bit, digressing as old men are want to do.
Kumner hedges some more, and eventually Ashleigh draws out of him the story of Dimlai's cousin [yet another relative, apparently, not the brother of whom Salindera spoke] who disappeared three or four months ago. "Just up and vanished," Kumner explains. "He went off to earn his own way. I can't blame him." However, Kumner says that many think the marriage is somehow related to this disappearance.
Ashleigh asks for an item of the cousin's. Kumner becomes very nervous, knowing that she plans some type of scrying. If the cousin isn't involved, then Kumner thinks it's a good idea that he not know of what's going on. If he is involved, then it's best not to rile the Count. Alag uses confession on Kumner to draw him out more, and we find out more information.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.