Strangers at an Inn

Our weekly game of Zweihänder continues. Since we’ve caused the collapse of most of the criminal groups in the city, it turns out that our services are greatly needed to do all the spying that those groups would have done. We couldn’t have planned it better if we’d tried.

In the days running up to the Conclave, I decided that it would be interesting to head to the White Orchid and visit the workhouse there. Nobody stopped me going inside, but a larger woman soon came up to me wanting to know what I wanted. I explained that I wanted to see if anyone here was interested in me performing a short service for them.

The woman organised a group of about 40 workers to come down at lunchtime, and I gave a short ceremony. A few prayers and some hymns, to cheer people up and hopefully make their day a bit better. At the end, I gave the woman a gold coin, and told her to ensure that the workers got something decent for their meal. I’m fully aware that she will probably take as much as she can for herself, but hopefully I did it publicly enough such that at least some of it makes its way to the workers.

I don’t think the woman (whose name I never got) was too impressed, but on the whole the people seemed a bit more cheerful. I said I’d come back the following Sunday and maybe give another session.

I’m not entirely certain what I was attempting to achieve, except that it seemed like a good idea and that I feel that I probably haven’t done enough to help the poor of the city. It’s not as if I’m lacking in money at this stage, and it only seems right to share some of it with others. It might also get me noticed at the White Orchid (well, it definitely has at the workhouse), and maybe stir some things in order to find out what is going on.

On the way back to the Drumhead Inn, a big procession comes into the city – several wagons flanked by soldiers. The arms are those of Baron Schenfeld, our actual employer who must be here for the Conclave.

Djarin and myself were at the inn whilst Calthar was off buying clothes when a young boy carrying a message comes in asking for us. Apparently our reputation has spread to those new to the city, and we were invited to go and have lunch with Lief Harrison at the Brawling Bear inn. He is the adviser to Jarl Norisdötter.

Since we had no idea where Calthar was, and we only had about an hour, we paid some runners to take messages around to the various clothes shops to try and find Calthar and let her know where she needed to be, then headed down to the inn ourselves.

When we got there, the door was now guarded by a rather large guy with an axe. Djarin and he got on well since they were of the same culture, and he let us in to see Lief Harrison. Calthar arrived only a few minutes later.

Lief himself was a large man, and looked like he had been a warrior at one point. However, he had obviously become more… sedentary with time and sounded reasonably well educated. We settled on a language that we could all understand, and had a nice lunch of stew and beer, though Djarin went for the fish which seemed to delight the serving girl.

After the meal, we got to talking, and he explained that he had heard about our problem solving ability, and also our ability to keep quiet. It was greatly to his lieges benefit if she was to be aware of how the other barons were going to be voting on the various issues at the Conclave. A couple of them we’d heard about – Barn’s Root and Neffer’s Vale, but there was also a third topic which was that of Gar Straight.

He paid us some coins up front, and said that there would be considerably more if we could find out any information from the others. Their usual contacts in the city were no longer available which was why they were coming to us. The fact that we were probably mostly responsible for their previous contacts being no longer available obviously wasn’t a fact that he was aware of.

To his credit, he seemed to want to avoid war – that was something he may have been more interested in during his youth. Calthar as always seemed keen on the prospect of there being potential conflict, but she can have a very narrow view of the world at times.

After the meal and the talk, Djarin and Calthar took to playing a game of … I’m not certain what it was, but it involved throwing axes at the wall. They got me to have a go, which I tried once, and managed to get an axe to at least stick into the wall somewhere close to the target.

On our way back to the city, another coach – with impressive gold highlights – came through the gates. There was a huge commotion around it, for the occupant was throwing out showers of brass coins much to the delight of the townsfolk. They bore the coat of arms of Revna Svensgarde.

After lunch, I’d got it into my head to try something else, and headed up to the castle. Whereas before there had been a single bored guard on duty, now there were two in shining armour and looking alert. I complement them on how they look, and request access to see Baron Barnstable. They are reluctant at first, but then I show them the Baron’s medallion and they let me through.

The castle is definitely clearer and tidier than it was, and everyone seems to be on high alert. I am shown up to a secretary who makes a show of trying to find a point in the Baron’s busy schedule. Unsurprisingly, a couple of gold coins slipped onto her desk enables her to find a time only 30 minutes away.

Once I got in to see the Baron, he seemed pleased to see me. Actually, he seemed pleased in general, and was pretty much recovered from the troubles he’d run into when we rescued him from the Broo. We chatted about how he’d been, and what was happening, and he was willing to talk about how he expected the discussions to go.

He was in favour of both the Barn’s Root and the Gar Straight policies, but against Neffer’s Vale. However, Barn’s Root didn’t concern him too strongly.

It was then that a woman’s voice calls to him and asks for help with her dress. A young lady, pale skilled and looking very similar to several other young Lubechian women we had encountered recently. When she sees me, she is charming and polite, and seems to become genuinely pleased with me when the Baron mentions that I was one of those who helped save him.

We have a brief chat, and then I’m asked whether I will be at the ball in a few nights time. I explain that I have not been invited, so the Baron quickly makes out an invitation, though first clears it with his lady as to what he is allowed to do. We’d heard rumours that the Baron had met a young lady whilst recovering, and it seems that the Luchecians have their hooks firmly planted in at least two of the Barons.

On my way out, she commented that she is interested to see what a priestess wears to a ball. I mentioned that I would also be interested to find out.

The the secretary validates the invite and also passes me two more for my companions – apparently we were due to be invited anyway.

Once I got back to the inn, it turns out that Calthar has received an invite for us to meet Gorm Suneson at sunset for a meal. I assume that he and his liege will be wanting our services as well.

Samuel Penn