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 Plotting The Abolition of Slavery

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Registration date : 2007-04-26

Plotting The Abolition of Slavery Empty
PostSubject: Plotting The Abolition of Slavery   Plotting The Abolition of Slavery EmptyWed 13 Mar - 16:35:26

Plotting the Abolition of Slavery
I drove our party towards the great skyport of Yaravan, to bring word to Duke Percy of our findings. During the journey I was concentrating on steering the airship but could hear Mannis continually adjusting the ventilation system within our fantastic craft and pumping the Baron.*

*For information obviously

So with Mannis blowing and pumping with the Baron and just the occasional grunt of complaint from Vizral in the back, we continued at tremendous speed to our objective. As with our approach to the Baron’s holdings we stopped well short of the city to conceal our vehicle.

The Baron talked of huge airships that could travel to other worlds and we nervously awaited our first view of these unbelievable craft. Vizral meanwhile started to place doubts in everyone’s minds about the wisdom of seeing the Duke.

He pointed out that foreigners could have persuaded the Duke to go along with the kidnapping, perhaps the Duke had sold out in the face of superior forces, or was being forced by them under threat of terrible retribution to comply with their wishes. Either way, the Duke might be part of the problem.

Vizral’s not the brightest to be fair, but when it comes to suspicion, paranoia and pessimism, he’s a world beater. His next theory was that the Duke might be unaware of what was going on, but a powerful member or members of his inner circle could be ‘the worm in the apple’ as he put it. Chief suspect- his spymaster – either he’s incompetent or complicit. For the record, amongst the Baron’s pumping results he seemed to rate the spymaster, and for that matter was himself loyal and confident in the Duke.

The Baron did however seem sufficiently alarmed by the distrust successfully sowed by our unpleasant associate to remove his badges of rank and other insignia when we entered town. We were also alarmed to see chimeras liberally positioned on many street corners, some of them even moving as you watched, tracking something of interest in the crowds perhaps. The Baron felt these were recent additions as were some modifications/ upgrades we noted on the fort including gunports. It seemed progress had come to Yarazan, possibly on a caravan of love.

Our depressed musings were interrupted by an argument between a couple of merchants. One in particular caught our eye, he seemed slightly foreign in appearance with the darker skin we had come to associate with the slaving fraternity, he also had a peculiar accent, having difficulty pronouncing the word ‘tea leaves’ which was odd as ten tonnes of them appeared to be the subject of the dispute.

After the dust had settled we accosted the merchant who seemed to have lost the argument and was now rich tea leaves, but poor in cash. As Vizral remarked, no one needs to know that much future. The Baron felt here was an opportunity, perhaps this foreigner would know something? As I opened a conversation with the somewhat crestfallen trader, Vizral sauntered around behind him, his hand casually in his jacket, in case as he explained to me later, ‘of accidents’.

The man’s name was Belron Afgar and he claimed to be from Tarajoon to the south. After some discussions the Baron paid him a retainer as a guide for our visit. The man knew of the Chimeras or ‘cameras’ as he comically mispronounced them, and confirmed they were relatively recent and that they were devices allowing remote viewing of their location. He also confirmed that there had been a number of unexplained disappearances in the city of late.

We decided to beard the lion in his den; if we could see the duke, perhaps Mannis would be able to gauge how much he really knew of the situation using his canny knack of judging people. There might also be tell-tale signs that might incriminate the Duke, for example if he ordered our execution, he would definitely be in with the slaver gang.

The Duke welcomed the Baron warmly, but we were already on our guard, for the Chimeras were liberally scattered through the building and even here in the council chambers. Plus it was hard to miss the four Ducal guards armed with very shiny looking stubby rifle-like weapons that looked formidable even to my untrained eye.

The Baron cautiously explained we were here for help in the matter of disappearances and mentioned we had killed two foreigners we were sure were involved. (We had decided not to mention the other five as that might suggest we had deeper knowledge and were therefore more of a threat.) The Duke was not surprised and immediately shared with us the somewhat startling news that his own brother the King was responsible.

The King is selling the right to take slaves from Trebizond to foreigners, the Duke meanwhile is unable to acquire the weapons he needs to protect his lands apart from a few minor trinkets for his personal guard. The 25 yearly tithe is due in a couple of months and war is in the air, with the Duke and his barons all suffering from the slavers and being taxed to the hilt by a distant foreign despot.* Interestingly the Duke confirmed that as far as he is aware, the King has as yet no heir, so he is actually next in line to the throne, although I can’t see how Vizral thought questions about the Duke’s family tree could help.

*All we need to do now is to tip Belron’s tea leaves in the harbour and we are away

The Reverend confirmed to us that he had been gifted an insight from Kobe during these discussions seeing an image of the Duke arguing with presumably his brother. Vizral looked sceptical at this, muttering something about ‘mumbo jumbo’.

We left and split up: I went with the good Reverend to the spaceport to reconnoitre. The dark side of the party as I now think of them accompanied the Baron to see a people trafficker that our new trader associate knew of. Hmmm. Perhaps our new friend or Bellend as Vizral continually calls him is not quite the whiter than white innocent we first thought. Perhaps also that is why Vizral seems to be warming to him, several times I notice him playfully punching him on the arm. Or cheek.

Vizral tells me that after some Smalltalk that got nowhere, the Baron threatened the man whose improbable name is Jon Snow, and he immediately caved and gave him a foreigners name to speak to at Bay three of the spaceport. Meanwhile I wandered around the port, seeing several airships of the sort we have left hidden in the forests and a number of the phenomenal sky or space ships, which Vizral summed up with the phrase ‘What the F*** is that?’

I actually managed to get on board one but could get beyond the first door in a chamber called an airlock. I talked to some of the local loaders who told me about power packs that seem to be the key to making everything operate, and both Mannis and I see foreigners operating small metal plates similar to ones we looted from slaver bodies back at Mudflatts. They are clearly communication devices. You can see lots of lights and images flashing on them as they operate.

Talking to a guy and impressing him with his cassock and holy credentials the Rev gets a lot of information how these things work and manages to scrounge some of the energy that powers them, activating his device or comlink as it is called. After some more study and scrounging we both become quite proficient, learning how we  can communicate between the two devices and also tapping into a lot of messages between slavers operating all over the world.

Perhaps most significant of all: With Kobe’s guidance Erabis finds a map showing where the slavers raiding the Mudflatts area are based. Incredibly they are a thousand miles beyond the town. I also borrow what I now realise is a fuel cell for our airship, leaving ten credits for it in payment. With such distances and the ability to travel so rapidly using all this strange technology, the good Reverend is getting quite excited: He thinks he may be able to become a very skilled cleric within his religion, apparently the very rarely achieved rank of Globetrotter.

We meet up again satisfied that we are learning much about our foe. The Baron is particularly pleased that we now know the location of the enemy. We decide to return to the spaceport to see if we can learn more from interrogation of a foreigner. The Duke, impressed by our progress lends us four of his machine gun equipped guards to aid us. We return to Bay three and introduce ourselves to a foreign overseer as business associates of Jon Snow.

Not having seen Game of Thrones* he invites us aboard his ship where Vizral quickly slips into full intimidation mode. Well, to be fair he is never really out of it, but he steps it up a level by toying with his revolver infront of the ship captain as he questions him, and his gun seems to casually point at vital parts of the captain’s body at key points in the conversation.

*If he had seen the red wedding we never would have got aboard for a start

Captain Arteum Swen (or Swine as Vizral continually calls him) turns out to be another in the ‘well Vizral isn’t very frightening but as soon as the Baron mentions the breaking wheel I’ll give up and tell you everything’ club.*

*Vizral is clearly keen to get a look at this wheel at the earliest possible opportunity.

Amongst the useful information we obtain from the Captain:

• He will not risk his ship attacking a much more powerful, better armed vessel manned by a much larger crew and possibly more besides.
• The vessel looks to him to be a corvette
• There could and probably are other vessels used for shuttling prisoners from Mudflatts to the main ship
• There could of course be other ships in orbit
• Psychic powers can be used to render people helpless for capture
• A psychic would be very powerful indeed to capture 20 prepared guards without incident
• Or it could be many lesser psychics
• He doesn’t care that Vizral thinks that’s all mumbo jumbo
• He could drop a force 60/70 miles short of the location to hopefully avoid detection
• He would, for a full pardon, a plot of land, plus reasonable expenses, be prepared to find a mercenary captain to train up some of the Duke’s troops in the use of weapons.
• He even has a name in mind, one Colonel Sanders but it seems unlikely he would engage in any actual action as he has a reputation as a chicken
• He could procure said weapons given two weeks off planet and suitable compensation plus the afore mentioned pardon
• But no he couldn’t possibly take any of us along to make sure he followed through on the deal as his crew of six will need all the oxygen during the trip and everyone will die if we send a minder or minders
• No, he has no children or other family members available for us to hold hostage against his safe return
• He thinks Vizral has trust issues

After we agree the plan with the Duke, his marshal and spymaster, Vizral bids a tearful farewell to Captain Swine and they swap mutual promises of gory revenge if either betrays the other or as Vizral puts it, if he ‘disappoints’ him. The Duke magnanimously agrees to lend us four of his thirty fully trained guards for the mission and one hundred levies to whom peeling of potatoes represents the pinnacle of their knifely skills.

So now we wait. Vizral is convinced we will never see the good captain again and proposes we completely disregard the plan relying on his return, indeed we should assume immediate betrayal. I’m not so sure as the Reverend is usually a good judge of these things.

We’ll have to wait and see.


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