Monday, February 19, 2007

Sigrid's Journal 4 - Failed Morals and Yellow Roses


Secomonth 11 (Continud)

Veyr evntful evenin. Wil l writ abut tomorow. Need slep.


Secondmonth 12

Sailing to Rellik's island. The combination of being hung-over and being on a moving boat is most unpleasant. I did bring this upon myself however. I should write about yesterday's events, as fuzzy as they are in my mind.

Blank and I had an interesting conversation at the Twisted Fish. He told me a little about his life. He had to go live with his uncle at a relatively young age (he didn't explain why). The island on which his uncle lived was frequented by many pirates. Blank just sort of “fell in” with them. I told Blank a little of my life in De-Shamod, including some of the more unpleasant details, such as how that Giant vendor cut my finger off. I suppose I was lucky. He could have cut my entire hand off, and no one would have really cared. It did teach me a good lesson though. Do not get caught stealing. I later amended this lesson to just “Do not steal”, but I had been 14 at the time and had a different set of morals than I have now. I didn't go into everything, and I suspect Blank didn't either. People need their secrets. Rellik told us nothing, other than the fact that he had been born at his “wonderful” guild's island and that he was 175 years old. Rellik is difficult to talk to. I've talked to Mojh before that were personable enough. Rellik is not one of them.

A few stories and glasses of ale later, I visited Ea-Shamar and offered to assist in the investigation of the murder of the human murder. I thought it may take a while to convince her to accept my help, but she surprised me when she immediately said yes. She told me that the noble's name was Kedlar Mevarin, who fancied himself a historian. She also told me that she thought there may be a connection to Sa-Follen's death, as both persons were killed with a rare substance known as crystal scorpion poison. Ea-Shamar also reminded me that Kedlar Mevarin had been found with a yellow rose. Perhaps this is some sort of calling card?

I wonder what Lord Morek would think of me assisting the Giant guards in Ao-Manasa. Oh well. I suppose I'm not really helping the Giants, per se, just wishing to stop a murderer. And not all Giants are horrible people either, I suppose. I don't dislike Giants, I dislike that they are in charge of everything. I dislike all the corruption that is the result of a stagnant government. I think we need a change, and a logical change would be to not have one race ruling all the others. Sure, there are non-giant nobles, but how much power do they really have? It makes me so angry sometimes.

Anyway, after I left Ea-Shamar's office, I met Rellik and Blank back at the Twisted Fish where they had been chatting up the locals. They had gotten a lead on the arena. They had heard about a tavern in the lower city known as the Black Angle where arena fans tended to hang around. The name was very reassuring. We wandered on down to the Black Angle and I found myself walking through streets that seemed very familiar to me. This place reminded me of where I had grown up. It was a little unnerving. I had never wanted to end up in an area like this again. But for all the bad memories I had in some of the most grungy areas of a city, the familiarity was almost comforting.

As we got to the Black Angle, Blank was accosted by a dirty young teenage boy. His name was James, and he had been on Blank's old ship before the accident. He was exceptionally annoying, but I couldn't help feeling sorry for him. I had been about his age when I was coinless and homeless on the streets. James and Blank talked for a bit, and James told Blank that he thought he had seen another member of the crew (named Mark) inside the tavern. James kept talking and talking. Blank seemed to be getting more and more annoyed by the second. I sent James on a pointless errand (and grossly overpaid him), just to keep the peace.

There were a few people in the tavern, but it wasn't very busy. It was still pretty early in the day. Ten years ago, I could have blended into a place like this easily. If I had wanted to be ignored, no one would have noticed me. If I had wanted to banter with people, no one would have thought twice about talking to me. I used to always know when someone out-of-place would be around. They would “smell” like guard or noble. It wasn't a real “smell”, it was just obvious. Now I was the one that stood out. Did I “smell” like a noble? Me? The kid who used to steal to live? I guess becoming a Knight had really changed me.

Blank found his old crewmate Mark and they talked for a little while. Blank invited him to join the crew, so Mark left to go the port and look at the ship. Blank chatted with the barmaid, Tillienne. He learned that she was the coordinator of the Arena. She told him about today's match. Mazquar, a Verrik sitting at a table across the tavern from us, was fighting a Human named Baern. When she mentioned Baern, Rellik and Blank exchanged a look. Blank then asked about the details of the match. Tillienne told us it was being fought at another tavern down the street at sunset.

Tillienne also told us about Gannen, who sat with Mazquar. He used to be an Arena fighter and his matches were always to the death. He was knowledgeable about poisons. While Blank talked to a man at the bar, I decided to talk to Gannen. I asked him if he knew about Crystal Scorpion Poison. He did know what it was, but he claimed to not sell it, nor know where it could be found in Ao-Manasa. When I had finished talking to him, Rellik and Blank had retreated to a table in the corner and were quietly talking.

I ordered an ale at the bar and went to sit with them, but as soon as I sat down, they stopped talking. Blank had this odd smile on his face and asked me if I had asked James to return when he was done with my errand. I told Blank that James would probably be back within the bell. Rellik left the table at that point and went to talk to Gannen. Blank just sat across from me, staring at the table, occasionally laughing and muttering “brilliant plan.” That man is completely witch-brained.

Rellik returned to our table. He nodded his head at Blank and we sat in silence for a while. When I got up to get another ale, I noticed that Gannen had left. I had been planning on asking him a few more questions, so this dissapointed me. Blank and I talked for a couple bells, when Rellik suddenly stood up, walked across the tavern, and sat down next to Gannen. I hadn't seen him come back. Oh well. Rellik came back to the table and motioned Blank to come with him. He told me to keep an eye on Mazquar. I obliged. Why would I question the motives of an assassin, after all? I'm sure he just wanted to wish her good luck in her match. I am so spell-brained sometimes.

Rellik and Blank left the tavern. I remained there for almost a bell, when Mazquar finally got up and left. I decided to finish my glass and then follow her. When I got outside, I could see her about a giant's reach away. I started to follow, but was stopped by James tugging on my shirt and saying “Nice lady! Nice lady! Can I polish your sword too?” Too? I was confused by this. A little questioning revealed that Rellik and Blank had convinced James to polish Mazquar's sword. It took a little thinking, but I finally realized the sinister truth. They'd been plotting all afternoon. Rellik must have bought poison and had James apply it to Mazquar's sword. Baern must be Rellik's next mark.

I should have run down the street and told Mazquar. I should have found Baern before the match and warned him. I could have. I really could have. But I didn't. I went to the tavern where the match was being held and promptly downed no less than ten more tankards of ale. Rellik and Blank gleefully bet all their gold on the match (predicting Mazquar as the winner of course). Not only were they using her to kill him, they were profiteering as well. Everything's a little hazy after that. I barely remember the match itself.

What I do know is that I could have stopped this. I knew about it and did nothing. My inaction caused Baern's death. I am as guilty as Rellik and Blank. Why didn't I stop them? That I do not know. Maybe it's because even though I am an antithesis to them, even though my system of morals condemns them, even though my call to Justice opposes everything they are, they are still the closest thing to friends I have had in a long time. I don't want to ruin that. If I stopped them, there is no way we would be traveling together anymore. I would kill them, or they would kill me, or we would just go our separate ways. And then what would I do? I would return to the Order and continue to feel unwelcome. Lord Morek would send me on more missions I am not qualified for, just to appease the vast number of Knights that dislike me.

When I first arrived at the Ao-Manasa Chapterhouse, Lord Morek told me I had great potential to be good with people. He told me I could be a great leader someday. Right now, I have not yet reached that potential. Lord Morek certainly isn't helping me deal with my “people issues”. Doing solo missions every moment of the past year has only dug me deeper into myself, and farther away from everyone else in the world.

Lord Morek told me to keep an eye on Rellik and Blank. Certainly I cannot do that if we end up killing eachother. By allowing them to continue on this path they are on, I am, in a way, betraying my own morals and Justice itself. But as Loghan used to tell me, “You can pick your own path, but you cannot pick the path of others. Sometimes you must walk alongside those who are different than you.” Rellik, Blank, and Sorern are becoming friends to me. I cannot betray that. Even so, I still feel absolutely terrible about the evening's events. So basically, I am betraying myself to enable personal growth. A bit of an oxymoron really.

Correction to my earlier statement. The combination of being hung-over, being on a moving boat, AND feeling extremely guilty is most unpleasant. It's also cold and snowy.


Secondmonth 13

I was in the crow's nest all day. I saw absolutely nothing of interest. It was still cold, and it was still snowing. Why can't we share lookout duty more? Oh right, I'm “good at spotting stuff.”


Secondmonth 14

We arrived at Rellik's island this morning. He was there all morning. It was still snowing, so I couldn't lay in the sun on the dock and annoy the guards, as I had previously. When Rellik got back, I demanded he just tell me his mark's name. I won't stop him from his “duty”, but I am not going to allow Blank and Rellik to make a fool of me again. I think Rellik was surprised by my little outburst, and he told me the name of his new mark. Mischa Mevarin. Blank and I thought she might be related to Kedlar Mevarin, and we convinced Rellik to not immediately go for the kill until we investigated this a little more. I will have to pay Ea-Shamar a visit when we arrive back at Ao-Manasa.


Secondmonth 15

Blank made me take a break from lookout duty when he climbed up to the crow's nest and found me curled up against the railing shivering with a good layer of snow on me. He sent Sorern up as my replacement. Sorern was unhappy with this arrangement, but Blank seems pleased. He says that Sorern needed to get out from below deck anyway, and that it would do me good to be off of the crow's nest for awhile. He's probably right.

I spent the rest of the day assisting the crew on deck. Blank seemed very distant and wasn't talkative. It was rather unlike him.


Secondmonth 16

We went to the Twisted Fish as soon as we arrived in Ao-Manasa. We talked to some of the locals about the events of the past few days. I was dismayed to discover another human noble had been murdered by the Yellow Rose Killer. Her name was Dialle Westing. Strangely enough, Dialle had been a professional historian. First Kedlar Mevarin, an amateur historian is killed, and now Dialle Westing, a professional historian has also been killed. I doubt it's a coincidence. Someone must have a vendetta against historians, or perhaps there's some other odd motive for wanting historians dead.

I visited Ea-Shamar while Blank and Rellik went to the Black Angle (Sorern had, once again, refused to leave the ship). I told them I would meet them there. Ea-Shamar informed me that Mischa Mevarin was Kedlar's daughter, but she didn't know anything else about the girl. She didn't have much to tell me about Dialle Westing's death, other than the fact that the details were identical to Kedlar Mevarin's death.

When I met Blank and Rellik outside the Black Angle, they were trying to reseal a letter. Apparently a young girl had given it to them to deliver to Gannen. When Blank opened it and read it, he discovered that the girl was Mischa, and that it was a love letter. It also mentioned that Gannen's Arena name was the Yellow Rose. All the pieces were falling into place. Gannen was a poison expert who went by the name “Yellow Rose”. He was obviously the killer. That's what troubled me. It was too obvious.

We went into the Black Angle and delivered the letter to Gannen. He thought it was amusing but didn't seem to care about it much. When questioned, he denied everything. I wasn't expecting much else. He claimed to know nothing about the murders, the poison, even about who might want to frame him. I could see the interview was going nowhere.

Gannen did congratulate Rellik and Blank on the death of Baern. He thought it was pretty clever. The look on Mazquar's face revealed that she didn't share his opinion.

I returned to Ea-Shamar to inform her of Gannen. Even though he is probably not the killer, he certainly has some connection to all of this. She should know to at least look into it. It's the only lead we've got. After meeting with the Guard Captain, I stopped by the market to restock the Ocean's Blade's foodstores. After that I returned to the ship. I think I will ask Captain Blank if we can return to my Chapterhouse sometime soon. Lord Morek will want to be informed of the murders.


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