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House Affairs City Excursions - Calendar of Events

'Ilero visits his "guests" in the mansion basement'

Ilero opens the door and moves into the room where the two people in the mansion under his name are staying. (If he can pull off a silent and unnoticed entry, all the better to build up some reputation of his own.)

"Sorry hye gone so long. What want here?"

The two humans startle and look around. Then they look at each other puzzled. "I thought you had something for us?" one man in a dark blue cloak says. "We were told to come here and wait for you to give us a package to take back to Regor?"

(Bob - I'm sorry. I can *not* find the page where these two were first mentioned, so I have no idea what Ilero knows about them. Do you have a link handy so I can get caught up? - TMO)

Ilero tilts his head to one side. "Not told expect you. You has proof you from Regor?"

Shi and Kel start to explore the city, shop and venture outside of the walls''

7-7 Mario

Kel's first night in Dryad's Lair

The bustle of people on the streets was almost overwhelming. Humans. So many in one place. So crowded. So cramped. And no green. Shops with hard roofs, and glass windows, and wooden doors. And everyone seems to behave like this is so normal. Like they actually wanted to be here. Doesn't seem safe at all. Especially walking amongst strangers completely weaponless, save a pitiful knife. Have they ever gone outside the walls, and simply looked around?

Master Hugh directed the pair through the stone streets lined with shops of all kinds. Some sold homemade goods, like paintings and pretty plates and craftsmen tools; a true talent required to create each one. Others sold hard-to-find items, like exotic ingredients and liquids in small bottles from faraway lands; that took time and effort. But someone went out and collected various fruits and berries and brought them all into one location, so to sell them for gold? Hmm. Why wouldn’t one just go out and find his own? One that meant something, that surely was placed there for you alone, provided by Solonor. Not one plucked by a stranger. Odd. Very Odd.

Kel's mind continued to wander. How different this city is, he thought. If we elves had to defend this area, we would be lost. There are no trees to climb, or shrubs to hide in, or tunnels to confuse our enemies. We would have to simply fight toe to toe. A free-for-all if there ever was one. He felt naked to be outside his normal surroundings.

Kel casually looked around, and made mental notes of these new surroundings. Hmmm. He was patient, but hoped he was wrong. He looked over to Shi'Nynze. The awe in her eyes was quite comforting to Kel. At least she's enjoying her new experiences, learning about those so much different than herself. She seemed fascinated by it all. I hope she doesn't like it enough to stay. She definitely wouldn't if she knew how dangerous it was for her, or anyone, to be out here so exposed. With little or no armor, completely weaponless, and no natural cover for hiding. It made Kel shudder.

He again casually surveyed the streets. Kel's suspicions were confirmed as they rounded the next corner. He immediately noticed the crew a few streets back. The larger man in a coat seemed to always be right behind them; close, but never passing. The slender female in a large hat was directly across the street, looking into the store windows. Up ahead two poorly dressed men were on opposite sides of the street, trying too hard to look like they were not watching. He noticed them all before Master Hugh led them into the tailor shop, and they were all there again when they left. As they walked further along Kel very naturally put his hand on Teb. He never felt more vulnerable as his hand grasped nothing but air. Kel started to panic.

The sun set to dusk almost in an instant. Where did this fog come from? Master Hugh kept walking, faster and faster, vaporizing into the mist. Kel called to him, but he disappeared. Nothing was making sense. Kel turned to look at Shi. She was gone. He whipped around searching the street, and only found the four stalkers, now forming a wall blocking the street behind him. His head was swirling like the fog around him. He heard movement behind him, and saw another wall form. He and Shy'Nynze was boxed in, with no exit. He had to trust his eyes, but his heart told him no. The humanoid walls dropped their coats, and Kel's heart sank.

The four orcs forming each wall were drawing their bows. Kel zeroed his focus on Shi, standing in the middle of the street holding hands with Ellidor. Where did he come from? Brother and sister seemed oblivious to their enemies, the two looking into each other’s eyes, smiling in blissful peace. The orcs raised their bows and took aim. Kel shrieked, but the only sound audible was that of snapping bow strings. The barrage of arrows all found home in Ellidor. He slowly dropped to the cobblestones, still clutching Shi's hands. She continued to smile at him, then she turned toward the orcs. She slowly walked towards them, arms outstretched. The walls readied another barrage. Kel struggled to run toward Shi, but his feet were rooted to the stones. He flailed, trying to grasp his weapons, any weapons, to stop the slaughter. He could only watch as the orcs let loose another fury of arrows, all aimed at Shi.

-- Kel sat up straight, trying to catch his breath. The fog of his nightmare still pooled in the dark corners of his mind. He fought to control his breathing, and his shaking. He tried to rub the illusions from his eyes. It took a few moments for him to realize his surroundings, which almost immediately calmed him. The opulent room was dark, but warm and safe. Kel went to the window to crack the shutters, the soft bristly boar skin rug under his feet helping to bring him back to reality. He felt comforted seeing a pair of guards on patrol on the street just outside the mansion.

It's been a while since he had this nightmare. This one in particular truly shook him to his core. They always were about Ellidor, but never about Shi. The settings were always different, but the results were always the same. Kel turned back to the disheveled bed, laid his head on the linen cloud, and sighed. Wow, how your mind can be so mysterious, make mere thoughts and imaginations seem so real. But Shi and I are well, safe in a home with caring new-found friends. Yes we are safe. For now. But for how long at this level of vulnerability?

As he closed his eyes, his heart raced again, his breath got short. His mind was far from quiet, returning to the dangerous streets of his nightmare. "Not again", he vowed. "Oh no, I won't lose another one. By the grace of Solonor, not again."

Carissa 7/10

(ooc: if I have the timeline correct, I believe technically Hugh showed them around on the second night, but that second night was their first real, true night since they arrive late the day before, yes? okay we are now in agreement!)

Shi'Nynze slowly made her way to the room she was given with heavy steps and a full stomach. Jilly could definitely cook. That was obvious the very first night Kel and her joined up with the Dragonslayers, but now with access to a full array of kitchen utensils, let alone a kitchen? Yes, Jilly could definitely cook. Although, if Shi was honest, she preferred the campfire meals. There were usually a hint of familiarity to them, if only in the foraged ingredients themselves. The new dishes Jilly made for dinner were richer, heavy, and just...different than what Shi knew.

Different. All of it was just so different. Shi'Nynze sighed as she got into the wonderfully comfortable bed with her mind now as full as her stomach. The cold grey stones of the city. The throngs of people, densely packed and not all necessarily friendly. The produce sometimes days old and shipped in from who knew where. She was very grateful for the tour Hugh gave them and all the fascinating shops and views he pointed out, but all the things she tried to ignore came crashing back with the setting sun.

That little seed of doubt she couldn't dislodge upon leaving the Wildlands had rooted and established itself into undeniable homesickness. Just like all the small, unpleasant details about the city she couldn't ignore, Shi could no longer pretend to herself that she wasn't homesick. It didn't matter. She was determined to overcome it and enjoy the new sights. All she had to do was make sure she was successful hiding it from Kel. She knew he'd otherwise be all too happy to suggest they return home as soon as possible.

With a groan of annoyance, Shi rolled over, but she was no longer able to find comfort nor sleep. The other thoughts she tried to ignore bubbled to the surf, all dug back up by that very unpleasant red-haired woman. All that unwelcomed prying made Shi remember that moment when...and then there was that kiss No. They promised they wouldn't speak of it again. Besides, as Kel pointed out, that was how many years ago now? Wait. Did that count as speaking of it? Maybe she simply made that promise to herself. It didn't matter. The only thing that mattered was that she would never, ever mix feywine and beer again. Or drink beer again for that matter.

Giving up on sleep for the moment, Shi'Nynze sat up in bed. She started humming familiar tunes to herself in an attempt to clear her mind. It worked, but only temporarily. The songs of her childhood, quite a few her parents wrote together, soon morphed into the lovely song Nieven wrote for her before she left. Or, he claimed he wrote it. Shi had a sneaking suspicion her mother helped him. Nieven was exactly the kind of elf Lorahana would approve of: traditional, kind, and with exactly zero desire to ever leave the Wildlands. Boring, in other words. He was a good friend, of course, but Shi could never quite understand his lacking curiosity of the world beyond the woods. But it was that exact characteristic that likely earned him a spot at the top of her mother's imaginary list of acceptable, eligible elves for her daughter.

The bedroom was becoming as suffocating as the Wildlands had become. After putting on something slightly more acceptable for her destination, Shi hesitated only a minute at the door before she risked leaving the room. She was certain she knew the way, but her cluttered mind failed her. She barely stopped herself from jumping when she ran into one of the staff who kindly gave her directions. Who was that? Phillipe? Her mind was too preoccupied to be sure of the exact identity except to know that it was thankfully not Aunt Jennevive. She was definitely not prepared for an encounter with her at the moment.

Within minutes of reaching the stables, Shi could feel her restlessness ebb away. She was greeted with a slight growl from Anor, but also a thump of her tail. The message was clear enough, especially spotting the bone Anor was chewing on: It is good to see you packmate! But this is mine. Do not touch it. At least the goat wasn't going to complete waste. Shi sat down next to Ithil and checked the scars from the Ankheg. The wounds were healed and the fur was almost completely back. She scratched his ears as they both watched the pups finish their nighttime game before settling down to sleep. Galad and Tinu decided her lap made for the perfect spot, and in that moment, Shi noticed just how much they'd grown.There was no doubt they put on weight, but considering how skinny they were at the keep, it wasn't much of a surprise. Their fur was so much better, too. No more mats, mites, or mud, thanks to her hard work and their patience with her constant grooming of them. Having finished her bone, whether hidden or eaten, Shi wasn't certain, Anor came over and joined them, and let Shi lean against her. That comforting, musky scent was exactly what she needed: something familiar and of the woods.

Shi'Nynze eventually made her way back to her bedroom, tired, content, with a calm mind, and without needing help to find her way back and without being seen. As tempting as it was to stay with the wolves, she could only imagine what would be said about her sleeping in the stables. This time, slumber found her much easier, but not before realizing she had exactly the idea she wanted. Or at least an excuse.


"There is something...odd...about Mr. Silver," Shi'Nynze whispered to Kel as she watched the middle-aged man get in a few last words with Branwyn. Shi was mindful that for once, someone there could understand their conversation which was why, even though she'd pulled him slightly to the side, she still kept her voice low.

"Anyways, you were going to check out the Thieves' Guild with Ilero for some training, right? Do you...know how long that might take?" asked Shi, turning away from watching Mr. Silver to face Kel. She hesitated, realizing how much she hoped for her idea to work. She had to remind herself that she was going to try to convince him it was for the sake of the wolves, not herself. Pushing the hesitation aside, she continued, "The wolves are getting a little restless. They're not used to the stables and there is nothing in there to occupy them anymore. They get bored of training after a few hours. I was thinking I could take them to the woods."

Shi'Nynze could see the Kel already knew where the conversation was going, but she pressed on before he had a chance to shoot her idea down completely. "If your training is going to take long, I was thinking I could just...go, er, without you? Not that I don't want you to come, too," Shi added, hastily. The last thing she needed was for Kel to think anything that unkind women said was true. "But, well, your training could take weeks, and I still want to make an Elixir of Health. I cannot do so without the guidance of Solonor, and he is certainly not to be found here. Hugh and Neith did offer to come with us. I mean, I know, if there are elves in those woods, and they're anything like my mother, and they spot a pair of humans...but I think there is a town nearby where they could stay and..."

It was no use. Shi could already see from his expression that he did not like her idea. Kel seemed even less willing than usual to even consider it. Just her luck for him to wake up on the wrong side of the bed today. She gave up her argument with a resigned sigh. "Fine. I already know what you're going to say, but if you have another idea, I'd like to hear it. Just think about what it is like for the wolves, though. They were kept in a keep, one where all the nearby trees were completely cleared away, for who knows how long, finally freed and able to explore the forest only to end up surrounded by stones once more. I think our walk here was the first time the pups even experienced a forest. I just want to give them at least a taste of the forest once more," said Shi before she shook her head and looked in the direction of the stables. "I hope your training doesn't take too long. I don't know if there are enough goats in the city to keep them occupied for long."

And a goat certainly isn't going to help me overcome the homesickness fast enough to actually enjoy visiting this city in full like I wish I could, Shi thought to herself.

Ellenara and Lord Branadarus Visit the Grand Celestry Library 8-11-1266 TGR

Lord Branadarus whistled as he walked through the lane up to the library. "Ellenara, maybe you can help me pick up a plant or something for Branwyn. She is not much for that sort of thing, and it is winter and all but I think I should do something nice for her after these past few days. You are all woodsy so you could be good for helping find something she should like." He then turns quickly to the young acolyte accompanying them, "I want to thank you young man for being our escort. It is a good exercise to visit with those you do not normally mix with. Trust me in a year or two you will want more experiences to draw upon. The world is not always how they say it is when you are listening in the services." The young man scowled, "You cannot sway me from my faith" and Branadarus laughed, "I hope you do not have so little faith that only walking and talking with me can sway you."

Arriving at the entrance to the library Brandarus nods and holds the door for Ellenara.

Inside out of the wind he glanced around at all the tiers of shelves. Scrolls and books, tomes stacked on top of each other. Branadarus muttered to himself and was brought up short by the old woman in the chair at the desk. "What was that you said? You can imagine this how?" Branadarus chuckled and said louder, "I have never grasped why people love books so much but I wonder which of these would please my soon to be betrothed."

The priestess shook her head, "Branwyn the Mysterious would not be interested in books such as these. Aunt Jennevive would be more envious and appreciative of your choices."

She picked up a scroll and offered it to Branadarus, "You are a man of action so I have chosen a suitable quest for you. There is a lost keep in the Blumm Wood. It was built by a pious man a century ago. He has long passed onto his reward in the Green Fields. Yet he had some precious scrolls in his possession that we would like back here in the library." hands over the scroll to Branadarus "If you can find at least three of the five scrolls listed there then we will take that as your donation and we will divine the question you seek."

Branadarus looked at Ellenara, "You were in the woods there? or the rest of the group was at least. How hard can it be to go in and bring back some scrolls from an old religious place?"

Ellenara looked at Brandadarus, "Well... they barely made it home alive, so very hard?"

She chewed on her lower lip as she thought and turned to the librarian, "Can you show me where this is? Maybe if it is close to the edge we can do this safely."

"I do not know where the keep is or it would not be a lost keep. I can tell you that it is somewhere in the Blumm Wood along the border with the Cordrawn Hills. He was part of the Duke of Domvile's retinue at the time."

"Well then I should talk to the Ambassador to the Cordrawn Hills. How long ago was this? Is the current Duke the same one? I have a hard time judging human generations."

"It would be at least the current Duke's grandfather if not his great grandfather I would think. The Cordrawn Hills are a desolate wild place. Unless you think there is an elven enclave there? Perhaps that is why Lord Branadarus here thinks you can find the lost keep?"

Branadarus chuckled, "She is on top of things, I think that Ellenara can cut a deal with anyone she runs into in the woods or hills."

Looking at Ellenara, "So we have a deal"?

Ellenara sighed. "Great. Another adventure. Because the first one wasn't uncomfortable enough. I will try."

She led Branadarus out of the library before addressing him, "My Lord, will you aid me in this? I am not able to go do this on my own. Do you know anyone from the Hills or this current Duke? Perhaps that house will have knowledge of where their castle was. Though with human memories I don't expect much."

"Of course I will come with you, this will be a great pre-honeymoon trip for Branwyn and I. Maybe we can even get Jenny out of the house?" he says with a chuckle.

Queen of the Market - Branwyn, Jennevive and Atribella 1-11-1266 TGR

Mother Pingrant welcomed Branwyn with a hug. "It is good to see you again. Thank you for attending the festivities today. I will introduce you. Then you will give a speech, say something about now the worst of winter is over, perseverance, looking forward to spring, how much you love the city. Then you will go about the market, you can choose an item or two to purchase. It should all be over by mid-day." Mother Pingrant nodded to Jennevive and Atribella.

Turning to the growing crowd, Mother Pingrant raised her voice.

"Welcome everyone to another month at Dryads Market. May the blessing of Broodhoy settle upon us all. Today we see the beginning of the end of winter. The nights will grow warmer, the days longer and the earth is renewed."

She smiles over the crowd, "Today the Queen of the Market is Marquessa Branwyn the Mysterious, Ambassador from Drillian and the Small Kingdoms. Welcome our new Queen. " The crowd cheers as Mother Pingrant gestures Branwyn to the front of the small stage.

Branwyn glanced back at Jennevive and Atribella nervously and then stepped forward and took a deep breath and then smiled brightly. “Good morning! It is truly an honour to be here and I thank you for making me feel so welcome in this great city. I had never come farther east than Rivers Bend before this and so I really had no idea what to expect when I arrived. And every day that I am here I am more and more impressed with Dryads Lair, everything it has to offer as well as the kindness and good hearts of its people.”

“It has been a long winter and though we still have more cold days to come,” Branwyn continued, “I feel the frost beginning to lift and the promise of spring to come. Soon, we shall be able to toss off out winter cloaks and bask in the warmth of the sun that shines over Dryads Lair. I look forward to spending that time with you all. But although I am not one for speeches, I am one for shopping. Let me not keep you any longer, but allow me to come and spend the morning with you in the market. Ummmm … May the gods bless and keep you … most prosperous and healthy!” Branwyn ended with a bit of uncertainty.

She stepped back and asked Atribella for her purse. “I hope that was all right,” she whispered. “I do enjoy shopping though. Perhaps I can find a nice comb for Marisu’s hair and some spices for Kenna and Jilly and whatever I see that would make nice gifts.”

23-10-1266 TGR The Third Séance at the Waverlyn House is Attempted

After dinner, Branwyn gathered the members of the group who had not gone travelling and led them tromping through the snow back to the old Waverlyn house for yet another séance.

“I wonder who we shall speak with this time. I hope it will be the Ambassador herself at long last. I do not think I wish to meet another spirit of someone she has murdered. It only angers me and makes me not wish to find her assassin for any reason other than to offer them my hearty congratulations,” Branwyn said as they arrived at the burned out house. “Besides, I am not sure what we are going to do once someone builds a new house on this site. I am sure the future owners will not take kindly to our weekly gatherings to meet with the deceased.”

“The former Ambassador of Drillian has committed murder in her own home?” asked Lord Branadarus in genuine shock at the suggestion.

Branwyn colored slightly, realizing that she probably should not have spoken so freely. “The spirit said she was killed by her, yes, but we have not been able to confirm that. Sometimes the spirits speak from their own motivations and do not necessarily speak truthfully. It is still a matter of investigation and yet another problem we must solve. But we have arrived so if you all can busy yourselves for the next half hour, I shall prepare to greet our next visitor from beyond,” she said smiling.

With Howard and Johan’s help, Branwyn proceeded to set out the candles in a circle and then she sat upon the ground. Closing her eyes, she set her concentration to the task at hand while the others moved to the far corner of the site and spoke softly amongst themselves until the séance could begin.

The preparation time came to a close. Branwyn made a request for the spirits to come to them and speak. Her eyes snapped open and she looked around to see who showed up this time.

With a gentle breeze the snow covered over the candles and they go out.

Pausing at the semi dramatic nature, Branwyn looks around. Then after another moment of smoke drifting in the breeze she realizes that there will be no spirits tonight.

Branwyn looked at the group sheepishly. “Well, that hasn’t happened before. It is disappointing, but I expected that I would fail to summon a spirit at some point. I’m sorry to have dragged you all here in the cold for nothing, but we should probably get back. It’s getting late.”

Branwyn and her apprentices quickly put all her supplies back into the box and they made their way to home and a warm fire.

23-10-1266 TGR Branwyn and Lord Branadarus Visit the 12 Leaves Bookshop

Branwyn and Lord Branadarus trudged up Dryads Hill. “This is different. Doesn’t seem like there’s much up here compared to the Traders Quarter or the Market. This 12 Leaves shop should be around here somewhere,” Branwyn said, looking about them as they walked.

“Oh wait! Here we are. We have to walk around the shop and look at the outside first. I want to see if there are any feathers painted outside,” she said walking towards the shop but not going directly to the door.

As Branwyn and Branadarus stroll down the street she glances up and confirms that yes this is part of the network. She continues down the block and around the corner. "Why are we not going in if this is the right place?" Branadarus says.

“Oh, we’re going in. I’m just trying to scout out the surrounding area,” Branwyn replied as the two came back around the corner and were towards the shop again. “This is no ordinary bookshop. There are signs. I wish I knew more. I had to make a sign, but it’s not like I know any code words or anything. Let’s go in.”

“So, my dear, is this where the Mysterious part of your name comes into play? You do realize that you are making no sense at all. But you lead and I shall follow in case you get yourself into trouble in there,” Lord Branadarus said.

Branwyn entered the shop and looked around. It was actually a bit larger than she expected from looking at the outside. She stopped just inside the doorway, closed her eyes and breathed deeply. The scent of the old books filled her, making her feel lighter. She smiled a bit but then opened her eyes in a flash as Lord Branadarus ran into her coming into the shop.

“It is dangerous to stop in doorways when there are people behind you. Move along, you are letting all the cold air in,” he said, giving her a push forward so he could close the door behind them.

“I’m sorry,” she said softly, as if in a library. “I’m not allowed out much since I’ve been here and it has been a long time since I have been to the shops. Atribella brings everyone to the manor most times. There is nothing as pleasant as the smell of old books. The knowledge and the people that have touched them in the past surround you if you pay attention. Let’s take a look around.”

She stepped over to a small table in front of the main shelves and ran her fingers lightly across the covers of the books laid out. The Countess and the Gardner. How to Master the Art of Making Ale in Your Cellar. Guildmaster’s Guide to Apprenticeship for Sewer Men. These were silly books, thought Branwyn, and not well taken care of at that.

“Ahem! Can I help you two find anything in particular? All the books on the front table are specially priced,” said a man as he stepped out from around the back counter, eyeing the two visitors carefully.

Branwyn looked up from the table at the man and then back at the books. “No, no thank you. These books in front are of little interest to me. I am here to deliver a message to the proprietor who has sent an invitation to a friend of mine. Would that be you?”

(Image for inspiration of the inside of the shop)

"I am Mr. Snevile. I am the owner of the twelve leaves. How can I assist you?"

“Good Morning, Mr. Snevile. I wanted to respond on behalf of Ilero Sauscha that he would be happy to attend the party at your shop on the 25th. He is travelling at the moment so I offered to deliver the message for him. Of course this event is on the same day as the Feast of the Basket. Should I tell him that he needs to bring a basket to your affair?” Branwyn asked.

"Ahhh Prince Ilero Sauscha, yes I had sent out invitations to him in the past. I am pleased he has chosen to join our group. Certainly as an outsider he would not know the proper forms so yes please tell your master to bring an appropriate basket. With his attendance we expect a dozen people."

Glancing over at Lord Branadarus, "Is there anything I can help you with Lord?" in obvious deference but not knowing who he is.

Branwyn’s opened her mouth to protest, but before she could get a word out, Lord Branadarus let out a boisterous laugh that rang throughout the shop.

“No thank you, good shop keep. I have not come to purchase anything. I saw this unsavory character lurking about your shop,” he said with a grin, gesturing towards Branwyn. “And I thought I had better follow.”

“Unsavory? I certainly hope you weren’t planning on coming to the house for dinner tonight. Unsavory, indeed,” retorted Branwyn irritably.

Turning back to Mr. Snevile, she said, “As for you, I was not lurking. But, of course, one could not help but notice the interesting signage outside. I have something similar on my tower at home and Ilero and I have seen similar drawings of feathers on other buildings we have visited. What do you suppose the odds are of that? Most interesting. But I would like to ask if you carry maps. I need to find a map of Joyclin. Not an overview type of map, but a map or picture of the Baron’s home or town center. Do you have such a thing?”

Mr. Snevile raises an eyebrow. "If you like feathers then there is a tailor shop you must visit." Watching Branwyn carefully. At her nod he nods back.

"A picture of a particular place in Joyclin? That would be something that I think I could find for you. I am not certain how quickly I could find such a thing. Are you in a hurry?"

“If you could find one before the first of the month, it would be most helpful. I am travelling there on the first and it helps to be able to see a place before arriving. If you could send word whether or not you have found anything to Ashcroft Manor in care of the Ambassador of Drillian, I would be much obliged,” Branwyn replied, happy that she might get what she needed without having to run all over the city. “Thank you, Mr. Snevile and good day to you.” Branwyn gave the proprietor a quick bob of her head and left the shop with Lord Branadarus in tow.

Visiting the Mages Guild- 23-10-1266 [TGR]] - Miranda

Morning of 23-10-1266 TGR

Hoffman and Miranda part ways in the morning from their cozy apartment. Hoffman hold Miranda's hand and try's to change her mind. "Please, can't I go with you. It is a big city and I thought we were a team?"

Miranda smiles reassuringly. "We are, we are just dividing to conquer quicker. This mystery needs to be solved quickly so we can move on, besides they will not let you in at the guild. You go do your ... bonding and we will meet back here before you know it." she kisses him and head off to the Mage Guild. Hoffman watches as long as can see her and then heads off to find the Captain of the City Guard.

Miranda arrives at the Guild and knocks on the door.

A woman opens the door and says "Yes?"

Miranda smiles "Good morning, I am Miranda Page, an associate of Branwyn the Mysterious and I am working on a research project of a member of the guild. To start with I am looking for the more mundane facts like his known associates and apprentices. Do you have written records or is there someone specific I should speak to?"

"If you are a member of the guild you can come in and use the library to search for whoever it is you want. Are you a member of the guild? Branwyn the Mysterious cannot just send anyone in here she wants and she should know that. " Watching Miranda nod yes, she grunts. "Very well take the stairs up then go to the third door and a clerk will help you.

Miranda walked up the stairs, passing the stairs back down into the main guild area and went to the aforementioned door. She knocked and walked in. The young man looked up at her. "Yes?"

Miranda smiles "I am here to do a little research on Chornlin and his apprentices. This is my first time here so I hoped you might point me in the right direction. " She starts to get the layout of the records and paces herself for a long day of reading.

"I am not aware of who that is but feel free to look through the rolls of members. He is not a current member I can tell you that. There have not been any dues payments under that name that I know of. "

Miranda sit down at a table and pulls out the first of six large tomes. Only one new member had joined the guild after her, that was Marisu from Branwyn's household. Looking farther back she made it to the year 1200 in the third book she searched. Looking at the next volume she thought "older than 66? just how old?"

After the next three books were done Miranda shook her head. Hours of searching had turned up no Chornlin in the records and now she was over 500 years in the past.

Miranda looked at the even more ancient scrolls and decided to tackle those another day if the need came up.

She headed back to the apartment over the candle maker that Hoffman and her had rented.

The next day, Miranda wishes Hoffman a good day and heads off to the Mages guild for more research. Looking again for the name Chormlin and keeping in mind to see anyone whom might be connected to the royal family or wore a blue cloak.

After the first couple of hours of carefully opening and looking through scrolls Miranda was convinced that she would not find any mention of a mage that would help her search here in these records. If Chornlin was a mage he must not have been a member of the guild here in the City.

Determined not to return to Branwyn without news, Miranda headed to the apartment to wait for Hoffman to see how his day went.

Visiting the City Guard - 23-10-1266 TGR - Hoffman

Hoffman goes to the office for the City Guard. He is brought into the Captains chambers where a lieutenant sitting at a desk filling out a form. She looks up, "Yes?"

"Well, ah, excuse me. My name is Hoffman and I am looking into a matter of the frozen bodies appearing at the old Ashgrove house. I was .. well occupied when the last one appeared, and I have heard some stories but I thought I would come here and try to separate the facts from the stories. Can you help me solve the mystery?"

"I am not certain that I know exactly what you are talking about. The old palace? Where the ambassador of the Small Kingdoms lives? I am not aware of any investigations going on there. You say a dead body? If it happened in the old palace then it is the Ambassador's territory and they would have to investigate. Are you saying you think the Ambassador had something to do with this?"

Hoffman chuckles "Well the way I hear it, this has been going on for years, so no we have nothing to do with the bodies, we just want to solve this problem once and for all. I just need a little history, so if you do not have records, who would best best to talk to with the most information. I talked to the Captain of the Guard for a bit, but did not want to disturb him if he is busy. Should I make an appointment ?"

"I do not know who you would talk to about that. The house has been vacant on and off for the past couple of decades. The hauntings get worse and then seem to peter out. I suppose you could talk to the priests who went out to do exorcisms there. That would be handled at one of the local churches in the Kings Common area I would guess."

Hoffman nodded and said his good byes. He only hoped that Miranda was doing better on her searches.

He left to go back to the apartment they had rented above the candle makers shop.

The Candle Shop in the Traders Quarter

Miranda and Hoffman have rented a small apartment above the Candle Shop down an alley off of Guild Street. Across the alley from Opaline the Jeweler. ---

Miranda comes home still determened she is on the right path when she see Hoffman sitting and waiting, rather glum. "Hey there, why so blue, big guy" Hoffman, seeing her quickly cheers up and recantation his day. "I felt like they didn't even consider it a problem, and certainly not their's. I know priest and godly magic doesn't always work, but you would think they would have the problem solved if they tried." Miranda hugs him warmly. "Just tink of this a a journey to the truth. it may not be short, but we will se it through. I have one more day of research, you can wander arround all you want and just let fate guide you and then later or the next day, we can visit the priests together, ok?"

19-10-1266 TGR In Which An Afternoon is Spent with Branwyn and Lord Branadarus

After riding for a bit, wherein Branwyn struggled to keep up and to what she imagined was the amusement of Lord Branadarus, he pulled up and asked her if she wouldn’t mind stopping for a bit to give the horses a rest. Gratefully, she nodded and shakily got off her mount. Lord Branadarus tied up the horses and then spread a small blanket out for them to sit on. He waved his arm in a flourish of welcome for her to make herself comfortable.

Branwyn had the feeling that he was somehow making fun of her general ineptitude in the areas of both horseback riding and afternoon jaunts with gentlemen. But sitting on the blanket was definitely preferable than either the bare ground or the horse, so she readily submitted without argument. “I really should learn to ride better, or I should memorize a proper spell in case I should fall. It would make these sorts of things a bit easier,” she said, settling herself on the blanket. “I hope I haven’t ruined your outing with my slow pace. I found it difficult to keep up with you, Lord Branadarus.’

‘Speaking of which,” she continued once she found herself on surer footing, “why is it that a prince goes around calling himself Lord when he is in fact a prince, thus deceiving those that don’t know you or those who do not wish to run around checking on your background as to who you really are? Is this part of your ‘I am going to interview all ladies of Dryads Lair for the opportunity to win my hand in marriage’ plan? Then the lucky maiden finds that she is getting a real live prince in the bargain and will be twice overjoyed. But if this is the case and if you have done any research on me, you should know that I am a highly unsuitable marriage prospect for a prince. My title was granted by deed and not birth which usually is a cause of irritation to those who have simply to breathe to be afforded such. And my position and what appears to be wealth is fleeting. I am serving my Queen for a temporary period of time and shall be leaving my post and all the prestige, that some feel that it bestows, to return to a simple mercenary life in my tower in the Mist at home. Countess Marisu of my household is far more aligned in what your Mother should approve of and I freely admit, much more charming in her demeanor than I. So why, Lord Branadarus, do you continue to torture me with this charade that cannot possibly have any good end?” she finished, out of breath from this pent up tirade that an hour of horseback riding and time to do nothing but turn things over in her head had unleashed.

Lord Branadarus smiled at Branwyn. "Why I think that there is a very good ending to this." Then to forestall any further comment he leaned over and kissed Branwyn quickly but firmly. Then he pulled back and smiled.

"I could have quite a few women I do admit. I am interested in you."

When Branwyn opened her mouth to retort he moved in quickly for another kiss. Firm strong lasting.

Then he took Branwyn's hand in his and sat up straighter.

"For your first question, I am sworn to the Prince of Terrabrink. So when I travel outside of his lands I go by Lord. I would not like to have to explain to many people who I am and why I am here rather than at home. It is much better for them to think of me as the rich retired adventurer, which I am, rather than as my father's son."

He took up his goblet with his free hand and taking a sip, looking over the rim at Branwyn.

His words ran through her mind in a jumble that didn’t make any sense. All she could really think about was his lips on hers. That she wanted that kiss again. And more. But ohhhh, she thought. This could end badly. Very badly in so many different ways. Her ring of protection was doing nothing to protect her from this man. And if she brought him closer, she could not be sure she could protect him. Think, Branwyn, think. Don’t just sit there like a dolt! She shook herself slightly and pulled herself from the moment. She looked down at the ground and then away before she tried to meet his gaze once more.

Clearing her throat a little, she said, “Well. Ummm … that was interesting. Perhaps you could tell me why you are here instead of home or Terrabrink. No one seems to be calling you Ambassador. Are you working as a spy for the prince you are sworn to?”

He gave a hearty laugh. "That is a delightful idea. Would you like to call me ambassador? I am certain that my mother would not believe it for a second." He leans over to refill Branwyn's goblet. "I think that she would believe me to be a spy much more willingly. My brother is in Terrabrink for my father." He reached out ran a finger down Branwyn's jaw line to her lips. "I fear I am just a roguish man who is intoxicated a beautiful woman." He leaned in to kiss her again.

“Maybe just once more,” she murmured softly meeting his lips with her own and returning his kiss most willingly. She felt his hand move around her back and she began to slip lower onto the blanket.

“Wait! Stop,” she said, reluctantly, but yet firmly pushing him away from her. “We can’t just do this. There are things you must know.” Branwyn then proceeded to tell Lord Branadarus about her demon mark and how she had acquired such a nuisance. “So while these various demons will be coming with the intent to kill me, they will have no qualms about hurting or killing anyone who seems to be in the way of achieving their goal. So being close to me is putting yourself in unnecessary danger. If you still wish to see me after knowing this, you must promise me that you shall step aside and let me handle any demons that may arrive while we are in each other’s company. I would not like it very much if you were hurt because of my folly. Besides, it would create quite the unfortunate international incident if I got a Prince of Cornelia killed by a demon only because I can’t keep my hands off an interesting book when I see one.”

"Demons you say? Have you seen any? Are you sure they are demons and not devils? Have you actually seen one?"

"As for my safety I am not terribly worried. Seeing some of those people on your staff I would wager I can handle what they can."

I think it would be a wonderful thing to throw myself on top of you.... to protect you of course. " he says with a smile.

Branwyn’s passion quickly turned to exasperation. “Yes, demons. Not devils. Hence the name, demon mark. No demons have arrived yet. Well, unless I burned one up. Not sure what that one was. But we have seen what they have sent to do their bidding. Hell hounds and a fire elemental so far. And I will have you know,” Branwyn continued, “that my ‘staff’ is quite formidable. So if you are going to compare yourself to them then you had better be truly extraordinary, my Lord. Perhaps it is time we rode back, before it gets too late,” she said, standing up and preparing herself for the ride back.

When she reached her horse, she turned back to Lord Branadarus. “I told you this thing because I do want to trust you. And I do not wish there to be any surprises between us. Ever since I came to this city, I seem to be subjected to people who present themselves one way and then later I find that the truth is much different. I would not like to find this happening with you. So if there is something you wish to tell me… Something that I should know before we continue with this … whatever this is, I would appreciate knowing sooner rather than later if you don’t mind.”

Lord Branadarus stepped up and put his hands around Branwyn's waist. "I do not mean to impugn everyone on your staff. Sir Indigo is obviously capable. The raven priestess that was with you at our first dinner was intriguing. But it is you that interests me. You who I would want to spend time with." He gives a firm kiss. Pulling back, "I ask because there are many differences in demons and devils. One comes from the Hells and the other comes from the Abyss. One is lawful full of contracts. The other is wild and chaotic. What you say is more devilish behavior than chaotic."

Leading Branwyn back towards the blanket he said with a twinkle in his eye, "And I know devilish behavior."

Branwyn stopped short. “Do you have any idea how frustrating you are? No, I think it is time to go home for the day,” she said, pulling the hand that was leading her to the blanket back to the horses. “Does it really matter whether it is a demon or a devil, when whatever arrives doesn’t stop for a discussion and only tries to kill me? And does your silence as to my last question mean that there are no dark secrets that will explode in my face? You may think of your answers on our return to the city.”

Lord Branadarus bows deeply to Branwyn. "I only have one dark secret that I am certain will explode in your face." He bends down to give Branwyn a boost up onto her horse. Seeing her safely seated and frowning down at him he could not stop smiling. Reaching up to squeeze her thigh quickly, "I snore horribly, according to Emily."

Then with a SMACK on the rear of the horse to start it off he went over to assist his guards in picking up the remains of lunch, gesturing to one to follow Branwyn.

18-10-1266 TGR Ball for King Winston of Golinar

As Branwyn and Lord Branadarus began to dance, their conversation started like this:

[Branwyn (Lisa)] Just dance with me and tell me how you know the King of Golinar
[Lord Branadarus (Master)] King Winston has three daughters that he desperately needs to marry off and I think that he will quickly find someone and then consolidate his holdings and then his neighbors should keep a firm watch on their borders
[Branwyn (Lisa)] So what does all this have to do with you, other than you might be marrying a princess?
[Lord Branadarus (Master)] I thought you were a Marquessa? Are you soon to be a Princess as well?
Branwyn (Lisa) smiles "Only if a Prince marries me."
[Lord Branadarus (Master)] I am not a Prince sadly yet.

Branwyn frowned. “But we have gotten completely away from my original question. I am going to be introduced to King Winston this evening and he seems to know you well enough to give us pointed looks during his welcome speech. Are you going to tell me what your relationship is to the King of Golinar or shall I simply ask him myself?”

Lord Branadarus chuckles. "I am certain that his highness was merely frustrated that I have the most beautiful woman in the room on my arm as my soon to be betrothed. Taking me out of the running for one of his daughters must be a frustrating thing for him to deal with. But I am certain that he holds no animosity towards someone as lovely as you my sweetheart."

"I suppose we shall have to see about all of that when I meet His Majesty. He may well demand that I give you up for the sake of the Kingdom of Golinar. We wouldn't want Golinar to fall into ruins simply because you wish to marry a Marquessa instead of a Princess," replied Branwyn. "By the way, Lord Branadarus, when were you planning on telling your future wife your first name? I certainly hope you did not imagine your wife would be calling you 'My Lord' day and night. Is your first name terribly frightful, My Lord?"

He looks at Branwyn, "You do not know?", then a broad smile. "That makes things slightly more clear I suppose. My father and mother chose an auspicious name for me. They thought I would be a great traveler and diplomat. I am always attempting to live up to the expectations they set out so long ago. Being the representative of my father here in the City has given them some pleasure I believe."

Lord Branadarus pauses and waits. Just as Branwyn opens her mouth to remind him he did not answer one of her questions yet again he says with a twinkle in his eye. "Tiberius, my given name is Tiberius."

Taking a drink of wine, "Yes my father is King Branadarus of Cornelia, so you can see why King Winston would like me to be interested in his daughters over you."

Branwyn gave a faint gasp. “No, I did not know. I suppose it says what a terrible Ambassador I am that I know so very little about you. But at least you know that I am not interested in you because of your title and birth. Not that I’m sure that I am interested, of course. If I was, it wouldn’t be because of that. It does seem to explain some things and quite confuses others, however. I think I am asking a simple question and then this happens. Perhaps we should focus on the ball for now. Another glass of wine would be very nice.”

Lord Branadarus lets out a happy chuckle, "I am quite pleased that you are interested. You are one of the most interesting women I have encountered. My mother will be very happy with you." He gestures and a servant brings over a tray of goblets. Picking two up he offers one to Branwyn. "I did mean to thank you earlier for finding a partner for the Ambassador from Turndale. Lorilop is a smart woman and I am pleased to see her at events such as these."

Branwyn took her goblet and blanched a little at the thought of being introduced to Lord Tiberius Branadarus’ mother as his intended. Telling herself that he only said such things to elicit a reaction from her, she shook off the notion. “There is no need to thank me. It is our pleasure. All of us have found Ambassador Lorilop quite kind and pleasant and we enjoy her company. I was pleased when Hugh wished to accompany her this evening. She seems quite shy and reserved, though. It would be nice to see her feel more comfortable in society here in the city. Shall we go say hello?”

The morning of 2-10-1266 TGR Branwyn visits the Royal Library at Hightowers to look at Princess Dassani's Magical Library.

The morning of the second, Branwyn, Abe, and one other eager apprentice from the Guild arrived at the Prince’s library.

“Good morning, Ill. It’s good to see you again. We are here to help you with those magical texts you mentioned the other day. I hope we haven’t arrived too early. Where should we begin?” Branwyn said in greeting trying to hide her own eagerness to delve into the tomes.

Abe inches towards the table to the right and Ill steps up to put a hand on his chest. "No, you are not allowed to touch"

"Mistress Branwyn, Welcome back to the Royal Library. I was able to bring the first three books up out of the vault for you. They seem to be safe, although I cannot say if there are any magical traps on them. No one has opened these in at least a couple of decades as far as I can tell. There are other books that will require some additional precautions I believe. Especially the two that are locked up with chains."

Ill moves to the table set aside with a clean white tablecloth with three large tomes laid out on it.

"What can I do to help?"

She placed her pack on a side table and pulled out her quills, ink and some parchment. Branwyn frowned at the thought of traps and wished she didn’t have two apprentices with her at this moment. If a trap exploded in her face, she would have much preferred it to happen with her friends laughing at her and not strangers.

She looked up at Illporn and smiled. “I think we shall be fine for the moment. We will have to touch the books in order to read them though. We do so appreciate this opportunity and I can promise you that we shall be very careful. May I open one?”

Branwyn walked up to the middle book of the three and looked down at the cover. Slowly she reached over and with one finger lifted the cover up a couple inches off the book.

Ill looks at Branwyn, "I expected you to open them, but I have no idea on magical traps. The covers have been opened before so I expect they will not be ... ahh" as he sees Branwyn open the book, "well that solves that."

He takes a step back to watch over Abe and Branwyn.

Branwyn smiles in anticipation at the cover of the middle book. Rilliker's Portable Imaginations on the cover with sunburst over circle. Inside the cover is a small note, "These are my choices for spells to take with me on my travels into the land of the halflings. I am leaving several pages open in the hopes of discovering new and interesting spells from the mages of that land."

“I think these books will be quite safe. We had better take precautions on the chained ones, but we should get started on these first. I think this one should be quite interesting,” Branwyn said happily, setting herself up to start reading and transcribing the book she had chosen. She looked back at Abe and the new apprentice and nodded. “Time to get to work.”

Branwyn made quick sure notes as she carefully skimmed each page of her new found spell book. Phantom Armor, Spark Shower, Nystals Crystal Dagger, Blood Glass she smiled and started to plan her next visit to have time to copy some of these. Looking up "Illportune, how could I check..." and a ray of light burst out of the book to her left as Abe froze in place with frost starting to hang off of his outstretched finger.

Branwyn let out a small gasp and then stifled a completely inappropriate urge to laugh. Knocking the small icicle that was forming off of Abe’s outstretched finger, she turned to the other apprentice and said calmly, “Can you take care of this please? It would seem we need to take a bit more care in reviewing the other books.”

Branwyn put her head down and continued to write, hoping this apprentice knew how to dispel the magical trap that had gone off just a foot away from her and desperately trying to pretend for the librarian's sake that this was an expected occurrence that should be no cause for alarm. “Blood Glass,” she murmured. “I wonder what that one does.”

The apprentice gave a startled look at Branwyn and stammered, "Me?!" he squeeked "I don't know anything about freezing or unfreezing people. I just learned how to cast read magic last week."

Ill looked at the frozen Abe and frowned, "I did warn every one to be careful. Could you please take him out of here before he starts dripping all over things."

As the apprentice tried to find leverage to pick up the frozen Abe Illporn glaces back at Branwyn. "I think you will have to help him. We can reschedule for later this week if you like. We are closed tomorrow but on the 4th you could come back and start with these again."

When he sees the look of frustration on Branwyn's face he adds, "At least this is another clue about your hauntings right?"

Branwyn thought about that last statement for a moment. “Perhaps. I shall be quite interested in the contents of that book once we get it open. But you are most correct. We should remove Abe so he doesn’t make a mess all over the library floor. I am sorry that I wasn’t able to get more done today. And for this … inconvenience. I will transcribe my notes from the second book and bring them to you on the 4th.” She quickly packed up her things, threw her backpack over her shoulder and went to help the struggling apprentice remove Abe from the library.

Once they had gotten the frozen mage out of the library and to the front courtyard, Branwyn gently let go of her end of him for a brief rest. “He is quite heavy this way and getting a bit slippery the longer we carry him. We certainly can’t take him all the way to the Mages Guild,” she said, looking at the frightened apprentice who was wiping his damp hands on his apprentice robes. “Can you not cast dispel magic on him so you both can go home? The Guild seems to love that spell. I can't imagine you do not know it yet. Go on, now. Do some magic," she said waving her hand at him a bit as if to prod him into making this problem go away.

Kenna and Jennevive pay a visit to the Grand Celestry

Jennevive leaves the salon after the breakfast meeting, "Kenna, I will go get my things from my room and meet you in the front reception room in twenty minutes. We will walk over to the Grand Celestry and continue this investigation to solve the previous Ambassador's murder."

Jennevive goes out the door to the courtyard balcony and around to her room.

{space for anyone to speak without her there before leaving, or people to join in}

Jennivive looks down at Kenna with a smile, "I would like to go to the Temple by way of the Beacon Gate if you do not mind. It is how many of the local pilgrims come into the city. I so often come in by way of Old Iglot or Stonehall, I think you would also enjoy a different perspective on entering."

'Branwyn, Atribella, Ilero and Shur go dagger shopping'

Atribella looks at Branwyn and Shur, "Do you really want to go shopping with me in the Naval Yard? We can find daggers that look much nicer in other places. There are weaponsmiths in the Kings Common that sell a more elegant blade."

Branwyn nodded. “I know, but sometimes an effective blade is more attractive than an elegant one. This shouldn’t take long and maybe we can see someone in the Kings Common after this stop. Tell me, Atribella, how do you know not only where to find the finest gowns but weapons as well? I would have imagined that these kinds of purchases would have fallen to Joseph given his background.”

"I have lived here in the city all of my life. I grew up going through alleyways and rolling down the Dryads Hill. I even went swimming in the Fault on a dare once when I was younger."

She stands on the top of the steps, "We can stop in Seaguard to see if anyone there has any spares before we go to the Naval yard. If we take Aldwych Road we can avoid all the fancier people on Regency." Atribella goes down the lane to Dunbridge and turns right heading for the bridge into the rest of the Diplomatic Quarter.

Branwyn fell into step with Atribella, trying to take in her surroundings without looking too much like a tourist. “And it is my fault I do not know these things about you. Phillipe keeps me busy and I have spent time with Joseph, but we have not spent nearly enough time to get to know each other properly. I will work to remedy this.”

“And I did miss you at the séance last night,” she continued. “I was counting on the three of you to help identify any spirits we were able to summon. When the spirit appeared, Phillipe was shaking his head no and Joseph was nodding. A deciding vote would have been of much help. Where were you and Jennevive off to last night?”

"I do not know where Jennevive was last night. I was in the kitchens with Jilly for a while helping her. It is quite understandable that you would spend more time with Phillipe, he is the head of the household. " She pauses, and reconsiders, "Well I suppose after you that is".

"I am not certain I would be any use around spirits, that seems far too magical for me. You are right you might have liked having Jennevive near by when you do something like that."

After crossing the bridge Atribella gestures to the right, "Did you want to see the old house in the daylight? or take Aldwych around next to the wall?"

Branwyn shook her head. “I think we’re going to be spending enough time at your old house. Let’s just head straight over. That way we might have time to go to the Kings Common.’

‘So you did not refuse to come to the séance? I had told Phillipe I wanted all three of you there. When I asked Phillipe to find Jennevive after we got home, he told me that you and Jennevive were off visiting a shrine. This habit of stories changing depending on who I speak with is getting rather tiresome. But I do want you to attend the next séance attempt on the 14th. We need all the people who knew Mistress Waverlyn best there. We shall not leave without you next time. And Jennevive is of no use in these things. She is quite adept at dealing with the undead, but the simply dead? Not so much,” Branwyn said looking ahead in the distance, thinking.

Shurkural jumps into the conversation, "Hey, d'you think we can call up some of the royal ghosts in our house some day? That'd be so neat! Not as scary as meeting a live royal person, except for the whole 'dead' thing. That's kind of spooky. So maybe it is more scary? Huh, I don't know..."

Ilero rolls his eyes and continues following the rest of the group and watching the shadows.

Branwyn grinned. “I didn’t think certain people,” she said pausing, her eyes darting over to Ilero, “liked the idea of inviting ghosts in the house. We can try another séance at our house any time you’d like.”

“But…” Branwyn added after a moment, “real live royal people aren’t always scary. Queen Wilamina isn’t scary. Well, not usually. And you will get a chance to practice on the least scary royal person ever tonight. The Prince’s adopted son, Lord Sam, is coming to dinner tonight. I think you will like him once you get to know him better.”