Finding Home

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Monkey Kitty
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Finding Home

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Tempest Rutherford

The group was in agreement that it would be better to send a smaller delegation to address the Tiefling refugees - the presence of so large a fellowship could give the impression of threat where none was intended, and no one wanted to get off on the wrong foot. Splitting up made sense. Since it did not appear the elf/human conflict was destined to have a swift resolution and was likely to become a protracted stalemate, Ulga and Mikael took the opportunity to return to their respective homes to check on their families. Tempest and Cullen were of course willing to assist Fira - and unsurprised to be asked, since they had by far the most experience with formal diplomacy of anyone in the group. Angus and Drina were surprised; once the reasons were explained, though, they both agreed readily. (With Angus assuring Fira that as a friend rather than a parishioner in his professional capacity, she was not expected to call him "Father.") Anakita, Stefan, Gwindor, Sellia, and the two Rutherford daughters would stay behind in camp, ready to step in if there was an emergency of either a Mer or a Tiefling nature.

It was not difficult to locate the Tiefling refugee camp. The hastily constructed circle of wagons and makeshift dwellings of spare lumber and scrap metal were easily spotted on the muddy, trodden turf of the edge of Esten's fields.

As they got closer, they could pick out individual people.

"Oh my," Tempest said softly, at the same time Cullen whispered "Maker's breath!" almost inaudibly.

There were many. So many. It was not the skins of red and orange, the horns, the golden eyes that the healer noticed. No, her gaze immediately focused on the conditions. Close to fifty individuals, few who looked like warriors, a higher than expected population of children and teenagers. Bruised, battered, malnourished. These people were fighting for survival. And perhaps for the far-off dream of a place to call home.

As the group approached, some of the adults acting as "guards" blocked their way holding drawn weapons. A handful had swords, but most of the weapons were more improvised, and the overall effect was far from fearsome.

"Hail, friends," Tempest said.

This was Fira's mission, and she would allow Fira to take the lead as she saw fit. But perhaps she could smooth the way a bit. A tall Tiefling man standing at the center of the refugee guards was clearly their leader. His left forearm was bandaged, blood from a hastily staunched wound already visible through the cloth.

"May I?" Tempest asked, pointing to the injury. It was nothing dire, but it was a source of pain and potential infection.

All the Tieflings looked suspicious, but the leader nodded guardedly. Tempest laid her hand over the wound and began healing it.

Distrust remained. The Tieflings were wary and weary. But seeing their leader being healed... well, it helped. This would be an unlikely start for strangers intending violence or threat. They would at least be willing to hear the newcomers out.
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Duke Esten and Baron Perry
The Perry Estate, Glenumbra


The meal had been finished and cleared away by the Perry household servants. Wine glasses had been emptied, and cheery fires lit on the hearths. The two noblemen had withdrawn to the Baron's study to have a last glass of brandy and talk, while their wives had - in a move most in Tamriel would consider utterly archaic - sequestered themselves in the drawing room to avoid the male conversation.

The talk over dinner had been commonplace and jovial. When the two men were alone, however, Perry said without preamble, "This elf business is out of control, Myron."

"What do you mean?" Esten replied, a touch of curtness in his voice. "You're no fan of the knife-ears yourself."

"Be that as it may. The province has descended into utter chaos. Humans killing elves. Elves killing humans, even, here and there. So many displaced. Refugees everywhere, all mixing together... it has become difficult to distinguish our own dispossessed from those who have arrived here from other places. Other planes, other... worlds, even. The rumors of these foreign elves are disturbing, to put it mildly. Some are refugees like our own, sent here for some gods-only-know reason to seed even more chaos and confusion. But others... there are others who seek to destroy our very world, Myron. Our world and every other. Our very reality. Have you not heard of the Dread Wolf?"

"Yes, I've heard," the Duke said grudgingly.

"Apparently this creature's forces have allied with our own mer supremacists to tear down the Veils between worlds. That would destroy us, Myron. All of us. We have no time for petty grievances. Not now."

"And what exactly do you propose to do about it?"

Perry leaned back in his chair with his arms folded. "Well," he said, sounding just a trifle self-satisfied. "I intend to set it right. Speaking of. What exactly is going on at your estate? There are rumors of strange creatures, daedra, perhaps? Or demons?"

Esten waved his hand dismissively. "Don't worry. I have it well in hand. I will..." He studiously imitated his friend's phrasing. "I intend to set it right. My steward has hired some mercenaries to roust them out."

Perry looked skeptical. "And if the mercenaries fail?"

"Then I have a backup plan. I have entered into a private negotiation with House Dres. If necessary, these ruffians will be removed in chains."

Perry raised an eyebrow. "Dres? You are speaking of slavers."

Esten shrugged. "That's an ugly word. Think of it as... providing useful employment that will keep the wastrels out of trouble and stem the drain on our resources, and receiving compensation for our efforts in exchange."

Perry let that pass. "In any case. The elves. You have to stop stirring them up, Myron. Allow me to end this. Help me bring peace to our homeland again."

"It will end one way or another," the Duke said cryptically.
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Fira-Nar (by Quaxo)

Truth be told, she hadn’t a clue what to do. She really had just taken the job so no one else would. And now…all these people. Poor. Hurting. Weird-looking people. Well, maybe not weird, just not…quite like the people usually inhabiting the area. She eyed the ones coming to greet them. Shoddy weapons. Unsure hands. Weary limbs.

Their approach didn’t worry her – but she was already nervous about the whole thing and Fira couldn’t help but fidget. She didn’t have her weapon drawn and that was troubling her. Instead the argonian scratched at her armour and spent copious amounts of time taking in the scenery. Frightfully warm weather for a soggy morning.

“Ho there. We ah, don’t mean to cause you alarm. We just…well, that is we heard you lot were here and might be in a bit of a spot. If you don’t mind my saying, it looks like that’s true.”

Fira whet her lips and tried to come up with a something reasonable to say. She should offer help. But that seemed almost ridiculous in the face of such need. Such tragedy. Anything she could do would be laughably inadequate. What then? They’d practically promised to help. And now they were here.
“So…where’re you all from?”

Small talk. Clearly the best next step was small talk.
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Monkey Kitty »

The Tieflings

The words hung silently in the air for a moment.

It was the same thing they had heard countless times. No matter how it was worded, it was always the same question in the end.

You aren’t from around here, are you?

Which of course really meant, You don’t belong here.

As if they didn’t know that. As if they imagined they were wanted and welcomed, anywhere.

“Not from here, as you’ve clearly seen,” the leader said shortly. “We’ll tell you the same thing we’ve told the other goons the duke has sent to get rid of us. We have no more desire to be here than you have for us to occupy your land. We have no attachment to this particular patch of soil. We would happily move on if there was anywhere… anywhere... for us to go. Since no one has offered any sort of solution to that little conundrum, here we stay. You can tell your employer that. Again.”
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Fira-Nar (by Quaxo)

“Well…I just…I mean…that…you’re not the only…well…um…”

While she didn’t know exactly what to say, she at least knew that she shouldn’t talk about other worlds and such as an opening line. There was no sense in getting anyone’s hopes up that they knew what was going on any better than anyone else.

“That is, we’re no friends of the Duke and not in his employ. Oh, except I guess I am because I accepted the job - but that was only so no one else would step in! I swear we’re not trying to just get rid of you. I heard what the duke’s messenger said and it sounded to me like there were people here needing help. That’s all. But I…I don’t have the solution.”

She paused again, taking in the sheer number of people hunkered down on a patch of the Duke’s lawn. Felt the enormity of the problem. Then remembered that she wasn’t alone.

“And while I might only have solutions that involve using this,” she gestured at her sword, “I brought some friends with me who are a lot smarter than me. And I think…I think that maybe we all together can think of a real solution that gets everyone to a safe place.”
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Tempest Rutherford

There was a tiny, momentary tensing when Fira admitted to being employed by the Duke - but it passed quickly, when they heard the rest she had to say.

“Thank you,” the leader said - then nodded again to acknowledge Tempest too, as the mage had finished healing the cut on his forearm and had moved on to addressing an old shoulder injury. “I am not quite sure what to say, other than to give my thanks. We have found few allies. Not here, not anywhere. This is… surprising. I would not expect easy solutions. But a response other than hatred is refreshing. Forgive me for failing to introduce myself. My name is Zevlor.”

Introductions were traded back and forth. Once names were known, Tempest ventured to speak. “If I may, a thought occurs to me. One of the difficulties you have is that you are currently competing with a large number of Elf refugees for resources, and the Elves have by far the greater numbers.”

Zevlor nodded ruefully. “True, but unavoidable.”

“Perhaps,” Tempest mused. “But I wonder. Is this competition truly necessary? Why not join forces with the Elves? Achieve your safety in numbers with them, instead of against them. To them, with the scale of their refugee crisis, fifty more people is trivial in terms of providing, so perhaps they would accept you as allies to lend a helping hand.”

“Perhaps,” Zevlor echoed. “But I would not know where to begin to parlay with them.”

“I have an idea about that too,” Tempest said. “We have had indirect dealings with an Elf leader. They call themselves ‘Farsight.’ We have found this Farsight to be reasonable and open to negotiation. Perhaps we could open a conversation with this leader on your behalf.”

“I would appreciate that,” Zevlor said. “You will, however, understand my reluctance to fully trust our future to the hands of strangers. I would like to send my own representative as well.” He indicated a young woman who - because the sword she carried was an actual sword, even if slightly battered - was perhaps more of a true fighter than some of the rest. “This is Githia. Will you consent to bring her along for any dealings concerning us?”

“I think that sounds reasonable,” Tempest agreed. “Fira? What do you think?”
Quaxo9
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Quaxo9 »

Fira-Nar

A solution. Well, a potential temporary solution, but that wasn't nothing. Fira was so relieved that she nearly let out her pent-up breath as a full-on sigh. They had a direction to move in and no one died. A win, as far as she was concerned. She nodded to the group's leader, then to Githia.

"Of course. Only your own people would know enough to make negotiations on your group's behalf. We can go into town and find one of Farsight's contacts to set up a meeting."

At least, she hoped it'd be as simple as that. Fira was a little concerned about bringing the 'strange-looking' Githia directly into town without the backing of the elven refugees. Tensions were already high and they did look a little like dremora.

"Or we could use our camp as neutral ground - invite Farsight or his representative to come meet your representative. Yeah."

She nodded to herself, clearly pleased with thinking of a good idea. Of course, she also wished she'd thought of the latter idea first - or that she hadn't said anything until she'd thought of it - but oh well. Maybe next time she'd remember to think things through before opening her mouth.
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Tempest Rutherford

If anyone seemed troubled by the shifting plans, it wasn't apparent - and likely wasn't the case at all. All of those present were used to adapting quickly to circumstances, and would give little thought to such a minor course correction.

"Either option would work," Tempest mused. "Ultimately, which we pursue may be Farsight's choice, not ours. I get the feeling this leader is cautious - rightly so, for longevity's sake. We should probably make contact first, and then decide how to proceed. We can reach out to Aimosh; he knows how to contact Farsight. Angus, can you do that? Aimosh trusts you more than the rest of us. Whatever the response... we'll adjust our strategy."

The priest nodded, glad to be given something useful to do.

"That's a good starting point," Cullen agreed. "But the people here may not have that much time to waste. At any moment, Esten may decide to take action--"

"Esten!" Zevlor muttered darkly, and a few of the Tieflings agreed.

Cullen raised a hand in a gesture of calming. "Yes, you're absolutely right - Esten is a piece of work, and if he ceased to exist I would not shed a tear. But our present reality is that Esten does exist, and is potentially a grave threat to you. We need to do something to mitigate that threat. As I see it, we have two options. You could entrench here and fight them off, which would be easier logistics in the short-term, but the duke likely has the power to summon forces great enough to overwhelm you, given enough time and when the nobles become panicked enough. Or, we could find another place for you to go... temporarily, of course, until we are able to parlay with the elves... but that may be easier said than done. It's a conundrum."

"Fira?" Tempest asked. "What are your thoughts?"
Quaxo9
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Quaxo9 »

Fira-Nar

It was a good idea to move them off the Duke's lands. She had the feeling that this noble - like most other nobles - had a very short time frame in which they expected a job to be done. If these people weren't gone by sundown, there would probably be mercenaries burning their tents by morning. But where to find land that wasn't owned by some noble or another?

The idea visibly dawned on her. The land didn't have to be unoccupied.

"Oh yeah, I gotanidea. You'rerightthepeoplecan'tstayhereorEstenmighthiresomeoneelseandtheremightbeacrisisbutthatdoesn'tmeanthereisn'taplacetolive."

Fira's next breath came as a gasp and she realized that she'd probably been talking a little fast. People said she did that. She wasn't certain if that was the case, but as it was, everyone was staring at her and she realized that she should continue to expound on her idea. Taking another breath, she steadied herself and continued:

"So, not every patch of land is owned by nobles - and not every unowned piece of land is in a foggy swamp. There are camps set up by the local bandit gang called the Red Rooks. There's one east of here, actually, near the sea and south of the town of Aldcroft. It's a prime location for a real settlement! No one wants bandits around, but no one has gone to kick them out, either. That makes me think that the land isn't owned by anybody...so all we have to do is root out some bandits no one likes and you have a place to live until things get sorted out! How does that sound?"

It never crossed Fira's mind that the party might not want to go slay some bandits, or that they might not succeed in doing so. In her mind, it was a foolproof course of action.
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Monkey Kitty »

The Rutherfords

Cullen nodded thoughtfully. "Yes," he said. "That very well might work. I heard tell of these 'Red Rooks' in town - and none of it good. Apparently they've been robbing and pillaging and generally terrorizing the area for some time. Clearing them out might be a public service on its own, as well as providing some breathing room for our new comrades here."

Tempest agreed. "That does seem an ideal solution. It also might help smooth things over diplomatically if the arrival of this refugee group were to coincide with the removal of bandits who have been troubling the populace."

Ordinarily she would not have agreed to displace one group for another - that simply transferred the same problem to a new target - but when those in question were actively choosing to pose a threat, it was another matter.

"We should gather up the rest of our group before we undertake this," Cullen suggested. "We will need strength in numbers."

Looking over at their new allies, Tempest asked, "Will you be joining us, Githia?" The Tiefling woman exchanged some brief looks of confirmation with her fellows, then nodded; Tempest understood that it was not out of altruism, but out of a desire to see that the newcomers kept their promise to help. Tempest, fully intending to keep that promise, was happy to accept that.

After a brief regrouping at camp, they were ready to take on the bandit enclave.
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