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PostPosted: 08 Feb 2012, 04:59 
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PROLOGUE
Comings and Goings


Caedwin d'al Cazarosta, Earl of Leoniscourt and Tierran Ambassador to Callindria, mopped at his brow with the silk cloth of his handkerchief as he scanned through the thin file one more time. The harsh noonday sun filtered through the gaps in the drawn blinds and made the room even hotter, something which the Earl - used to the cool breezes and cold spray of Leoniscourt - could have done without.
"So, what do we know about this new fellow anyways?"
The man on the other side of the desk shook his head. Sir Esteban d'al Miradorez was theoretically the chief secretary of the embassy, that was the polite fiction the Earl fed to decrepit old King Antonio and his similiarly senile cronies. In reality, of course, Sir Esteban was station chief for Royal Tierran Intelligence on Callindria.
"Not much, milord. We both know full-well how bloody good Takaran intelligence is. Even if we had gotten someone deep enough to get anything profound, their security services would have still caught any information coming out."
Lord Caedwin grimaced as he sipped his coffee. The last time His Majesty's Intelligence had tried slipping an agent into the Altrichs, they hadn't gotten enough of him back to fit in a small shoe box. Of course, that was years ago. Tierra was on good terms with Dir Altrichs vam Takara; at least, officially. Sir Esteban met the ambassador's weary gaze and continued.
"What we do have is just about common knowledge. He's from a very old family, personal friends with their Emperor" he began, in that clipped, methodical, smartass tone which Royal Intelligence agents always seemed to have when they rattled off facts. "Widowed, two children, disproportionately powerful in their Senate. New to diplomacy though. He was a soldier before."
Caedwin's ears perked up at the last bit. A state often gave away their intentions towards another country through the sort of ambassador they sent. A trader or a court dignitary was good. Young, flash advernturer types were always trouble. Former privateers and arms manufacturers were something in between a deliberate slap to the face and a thinly veiled threat. An ex-soldier was the worst of all. It meant that whatever the Takarans were planning on, it probably involved the possibility of that ambassador would have to turn into a military commander. With a military officer (and Caedwin was sure he was an officer. Great Powers did not send corporals to negotiate with foreign governments) on the scene, that transformation would have taken as little time as it would have taken to put on a tunic and belt on a sword.
"What kind of soldier, exactly?"
Sir Esteban frowned as he caught the gist of his superior's train of thought. One did not serve under a fellow for two years without quickly recognizing his standard facial representation for 'oh shit'.
"He was Lord Colonel of the Richslybgarte milord."
Caedwin's posture stiffened. His cup of coffee halted halfway to his parted lips as his eyes widened slightly in surprise. The Richslybgarte, or Imperial Life Guards, was a collection of the most elite regiments within the most singularly formidable army on the Infinite Sea.

This did not bode well.

Caedwin wasted no time. Pulling open his desk drawer, he brought out a sheet of parchment. Unstoppering his inkwell with one hand while reaching for a quill with the other, the Tierran Ambassador went to work with mechanical precision, turning out line after line of coded correspondence in his neat, methodical hand. "I'm afraid Alaric is going to be quite cross with me."
"Milord?" Sir Esteban still found the fact that his immediate superior was on a first-name basis with his monarch to be quite disconcerting.
The ambassador continued writing, not bothering to look up to respond. "I'm afraid I'll be needing to borrow another score of his marines. Some new officers to command them of course, there's an old friend of mine I have in mind, if he is not currently occupied by Alaric's little war in the North. I'll also need to borrow one of his warships to get them there."
All in all, it was a perfectly sensible request. For a minor power like Tierra, what happened in Callindria was a genuine matter of high importance. Sir Esteban had no doubt that Caedwin would get the twenty marines he'd need to double his embassy guard, and the ship to get them to Callin's Glory. Of course, knowing Tierra's mercurial twenty one year old monarch, 'quite cross' would likely end up a bit of an understatement.
As the ambassador put his signature to the coded missive, Sir Esteban reached for the stick of enchanted wax sitting on the desk and held it over the burning candle. Taking the now-folded message from his superior's hands, he dripped the melting wax over the fold before handing it back, allowing Lord Caedwin to stamp the seal with his signet ring and direct the needed bane into the wax, finishing the enchantment. Anybody who tried to open the message before the necessary counter-enchantment was cast by another member of the Foreign Office would be in for a shocking - and most likely fatal - surprise.
"Right, get that to Aetoria through the normal channels. We don't want the Callindrians realizing what's going on until our marines land."
Sir Esteban nodded and got up. "Anything else milord?"
"Yes. Tie up any loose ends and get all of our interests in order. I will expect our hands to be quite full over the next while..."



"Those are brave men," he told Ser Balon in admiration. "Let's go kill them."
-Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings


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PostPosted: 08 Feb 2012, 11:24 
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Leud Elbe stepped lively through the halls of the Takaran Embassy at Callindria. The structure was interesting, in his opinion. A strange blend of "definitely Takaran" and "kinda Callindrian" that made it stand out like someone pluckingthe strings of a violin in an orchestra. For certain, it was a violin and so it belonged there, but it was just...different. And you couldn't possibly miss it. And because of that, you'll pick out what's different bout it over what made it similar to its surroundings every time. Not that Takara was noted for conforming anyway. Other peoples conformed to Takara--not the other way around. But still, it had plenty more marble than the vast majority of Callin's Glory, and than made it quite Takaran and rather like home. Though to Leud's mild annoyance it always seemed to be alternately too cramped or too spacious in all the wrong places.


He nodded once, slowly, at a fellow who had arrived with himself and the new Ambassador, Leud's liege Richsgraav Maximillian vam Holt, to the new postings at the Callindrian Embassy as he continued on his way to the Ambassador's office. Leud was carrying in his left hand a small bundle of four or five letters addressed to the new Ambassador. He recognised the somehow tyrannical handwriting that addressed the topmost envelope. He had been somewhat surprised to have seen that one amongst the rest; it was out of character for Maximillian's son to write a simple and cordial letter to his father. In any case, it was not addressed to him, so he was left to wonder if Cassius was demanding something or had simply had an extraordinarily good day. The other letters were more formal. Approaching the heavy wooden door of the office, he rapped thrice on its surface.


"Mi'graav, fir du briven." Letters for you, m'lord.



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PostPosted: 08 Feb 2012, 18:11 
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The door opened as Leud announced himself. Nobody was behind it, of course. No Takaran would ever deign to get up to open a mere door. The wood had been willed to move through an offhand application of the bane.
The office looked empty. The door to the backroom stood ajar. Patterns of shadow danced across the sheets of blue banelight that spilled from the chamber beyond - the telltale sign of a communication crystal in operation.
The door closed, and Leud heard the smooth click of a pistol cocking behind him.
"Well, well..." breathed a silky contralto in a Varsovian accent. "What a convenient time for you to slip into the Ambassador's office. Care to introduce yourself?"



"Those are brave men," he told Ser Balon in admiration. "Let's go kill them."
-Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings


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PostPosted: 08 Feb 2012, 19:20 
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Leud stiffened, as one is likely to do when their brain translates the sound of a pistol clicking mere centimetres from it, but was remarkably calm. Well, remarkably calm if he had no idea what was going on. As it was, it only took the mind a half second longer to remind itself of the facts.

"Richshiir Leud Elbe tzu Holt, personal aid of the Ambassador Richsgraav Maximillian vam Holt. I apologise for any intrusion on the...empire's business." Because Imperial Intelligence's business was the Empire's business, naturally. Why wouldn't it be? Right? Right? Right. "Is it common to leave the door unlocked in favour of a pistol?" Leud wasn't being sarcastic. Well maybe he was a little. It was often difficult to tell with Leud, because his snarky comments were generally simultaneously legitimate questions.

"I can leave these on the desk if you've brought more clandestine affairs to which the Ambassador must attend."



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PostPosted: 08 Feb 2012, 20:04 
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Joakim Westman strode along the corridors of the Takaran Embassy on Callindria with what he hoped looked like a purposeful gait. In reality he was still familiarising himself with the layout of the building. Like a number of the staff, including the ambassador himself, he had only recently arrived on Callindria, and, if he was honest with himself, he had to admit he was a little apprehensive. True, he had received the necessary training before being shipped over here, but switching from just being an 'ordinary' swordsmith to being an intelligence operative was a pretty major career change, and one that he would never have anticipated. While he waited for more specific orders (beyond keeping his eyes and ears open) he was making a point of ensuring he knew as much as possible about the embassy itself, the weapons likely to be present in the building at any given time, and the security measures already in place to protect them, including the identities (and hopefully, in time, the habits) of the guards. He was already beginning to recognise some of the personnel here, one of whom he had just passed and exchanged nods with only a few moments ago. A few tactful enquiries had revealed that this man was in fact the ambassador's personal aide. Almost certainly someone trustworthy then, but you never could tell: his experience with the attempted espionage within his own company had taught him that you couldn't take anything for granted.


As he made his way down the corridor he found himself grinning at the irony of the fact that he was now doing exactly what he had caught the spy doing back at Westman and Son, the difference of course being that he had full authorisation and not the slightest intention of passing any of his knowledge on to anyone who wasn't supposed to get their hands on it.



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PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 21:12 
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The voice behind Leud gave an quiet, annoyed sound. If a sneer could have been given some kind of sound, that would have been it.
"If you are trying not to be snide. I sugggest you try harder."
Two more pistols cocked behind him. The light coming from the back room door faded and died. Foootsteps echoed across the room as the pistol circled around Leud to face him, along with the person holding it: a lithe, young-looking Takaran woman wearing the field grey of Imperial Intelligence, her platinum blonde hair tied back into a tight bun.
"Don't even try to explain yourself, Hiir Leud, if that is who you are. You tried to gain entry to the ambassador's office as he was recieving classified orders. That does not reflect well on you. The very thin possibility that you are telling the truth does not stop me from wondering. I'm sure you'd consider my conclusions to be... most unpleasant."
It was then that the back door opened. Out stepped a tall aristocratic figure in the black of the Imperial Guards.
"Well, Frohliin-Intendant, I can assure you that the Altrichs' state secrets are quite sec-"
The Ambassador stopped as he beheld the scene which was in the middle of impertinently unfolding in the middle of his office.
"Tree and Crystal, Leud. What in the demon regiments is going on here?"



"Those are brave men," he told Ser Balon in admiration. "Let's go kill them."
-Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings


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PostPosted: 09 Feb 2012, 23:12 
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Leud was unmoved.

"I was making myself acquainted to the..." he eyed up the woman. Neither tall nor short, no bend to her ears nor a streak in her hair. Straight nose and a petite hourglass figure, but no feature particularly striking when compared in one's mind to any other given Takaran woman. All things considered: the average image of a pretty Takaran young lady and therefore a perfect Imperial Intelligence agent. "...Intendant, m'lord. She was not returning the favour. But she is merely doing her job, and I can't say she's bad at it. Save the simple task of, again, locking the door." He addressed the lady with the guns, "I hope this will not impede our professional relationship once the Ambassador has verified I am who I am to you." He hesitated for a moment. "Frohliin Intendant."



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PostPosted: 11 Feb 2012, 21:43 
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The intendant gave a little chortle that somehow managed to sound unamused and surprised at the same time. She began to step slowly towards the Ambassador. All three of them knew that standard II procedure was to get between a VIP and a possible assassin. Maximilian doubted that Leud particularly cherished that thought.
Max stepped forward, deliberately putting himself between the two. The slight twitch of annoyance on the intelligence officer's face was worth almost enough to compensate for the damage this whole affair had done to his already-bad day.
"Leud, this is Intendant Ulrike Eckharts, station chief for Imperial Intelligence on Callindria."
Maximilian had been surprised when he found one of Lamar vam Kaien's pet proteges assigned to the nowhere island upon which he had planned to reassemble his life. What was worse was the fact that II agents holding the rank of Intendant answered only to the Director of Imperial Intelligence, the Aldkizern and nobody else. Theoretically, Max had authority over her, but that was not something he really wanted to push. It was better to solve this one more amicably.
"Frohliin Intendant, this is Hiir Leud Elbe tzu Holt. He has been my aide for fifty-five years. I assure you, he can be trusted entirely. You can put that pistol down."
Eckharts didn't move.
"Long-time personal servants are the most dangerous and insidious security leaks. His past loyalty proves nothing."
With an exasperated sigh, the Ambassador walked up to Leud.
"There is no need for this." He snatched the first envelope up from the pile. "Look, a letter from my son. I always have these delivered directly to me with all haste, regardless of what I am doing at the moment. Leud was just following one of my standing orders."
The Intendant looked back and forth, from the Ambassador to his aide for a moment. Before giving up and shaking her head. Max walked up to her and with one hand, eased Eckarts pistol down so it pointed away from Leud.
"Don't you think you are being just a little paranoid?"
"If I were only being a 'little' paranoid, I'd hardly be doing my job."
Max sighed again. He would never understand intelligence people.
"If that is all then, Intendant. You may go."
With a click of her heels, Eckharts turned and stepped out of the room, shooting a look of 'this isn't over yet' at Leud as she closed the door behind her.
With the II officer gone, the atmosphere in the room relaxed considerably.
"Well then Leud, what else do you have for me?"



"Those are brave men," he told Ser Balon in admiration. "Let's go kill them."
-Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings


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PostPosted: 12 Feb 2012, 01:17 
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Leud nodded amiably to Ulrike Eckharts at the introduction, and eagerly accommodated Maximillian's taking of the letter. Seeing Ulrike was no more interested in conversing with him than before, he merely nodded again at her exit.

"Nothing I expect as pressing as whatever matter to which you were attending, m'lord." He placed the remainder of the letters on the ambassador's desk and began to summarise them. "To you personally, other than Cassius' letter, there is a letter from the House," he referred to House Holt and those caring for it in its owners' absence. "For his Excellency, Ambassador and Envoy Plenipotentiary, there are two printed pages each from different broadsheet publishers in Callindria that are looking to reaffirm or conclude the embassy's subscription to their product, and a message from a certain schooner captain operating between here and Varsovia. I believe that's likely to be in regards to what we heard of those accusations of petty theft when we arrived. At the bottom of the stack you will find the seal of one of the olderand more prominent Callindrian noble houses...Orodini, I believe. I wouldn't hazard my humble guess of what that may contain for you."

-=-=-=-=-

Antonio rolled the neck vertebrae until they gave a few satisfying pops and cracks, and then picked up the satchel resting on the ground nearby. Pushing off the post holding the marketplace vendor's stall's temporary top up, Antonio reached into the satchel after slinging it over a shoulder, and, after rummaging very briefly, was rewarded with a quite small but complete half loaf of bread. The enquiring hand also managed to locate an apple. Simply delightful. Striding into the busy marketplace, Antonio was easily able to get lost in the crowd with the new satchel.

Ten minutes later found the short, youthful figure ducking into an alley behind an tavern and removing the tricorne hat that peeked over the empty, broken crates and rain barrels in the alley near the back of the building. A mess of dark brown hair was beneath it, and Antonio stood again and abruptly dunked the hair and the head it was attached to, in its entirety, into one of the nearby rain barrels. Coming up, had anyone been watching (nobody was), they may have at that point noticed that the water running out of Antonio's hair was darker than it ought to have been, but also that the seemingly peach-fuzzy hinting of facial hair was...running.

Head still held over the barrel, Antonio reached a hand under the white linen shirt now dripped and splashed on by water and made a grunting sound as there sounded a ripping sound. The hand re-emerged with a long strip of cloth, which was immediately put to use as a towel on the sopping wet head. The impromptu towel has started nearly as white as the shirt—just a bit darker—but became streaked with darker colour as it was rapidly pulled over and through the hair to dry it.

And like that, Antonio was Claudia. For the moment at least. She was rather relived. The noonday sun was hot, and the hat she had been wearing was now coated with the sticky blacking she had mixed into her hair the previous night like a refurbished ship was coated with pitch. Taking a breath—she could do that a bit more deeply now that she hard torn off the binding around her chest (tearing that off wasn't really the most comfortable thing to do, but it was sometimes certainly the most satisfactory thing to do)—she looked at the hat for only a moment before tossing the now filthy rag she had dried her hair with into it and then tossing that into one of the discarded crates. Having done so, she took the apple she had creatively—and easily—acquired from out of the satchel, resting at her feet where she'd dropped it. She looked it over and approved of it by taking a huge bite out of it. It was a bit sour, probably the slightly too-early product of the earliest harvest of the year, but she liked sour, and thus loved it. Letting her head fall backwards after swallowing, she gazed upwards at the outside of the second story of the tavern. Another man with Antonio's looks but not his name had asked for the room three nights ago, and had stashed her pack there after she had plied up some protruding nails from some corner floorboards. With a not-apple-laden hand she reached into an inner pocket of the brown vest she was wearing over the linen shirt and fingered a few large, pure coins.

Claudia wiggled some fingers through her hair. There was still enough blacking in it to make it easy to shape. Her chest wasn't bound any more, but she wasn't that endowed and still had the loose vest over top of the loose shirt. A little dabbing to clean up any smudgy messes, and her new satchel could easily allow her to pass for a messenger boy at a glance. All she had to do was avoid the person who had taken not-Antonio's money three days ago.



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PostPosted: 13 Feb 2012, 05:59 
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Having completed his perambulation around the building, including stopping off at the armoury and having a brief exchange of words with the staff there, during which time he ascertained that no-one expected to have to call upon his skills as a smith in the immediate future, Joakim took it into his head to extend his observations out into the city. While security of the weapons belonging to the embassy and its staff came under his brief, the embassy had its own guards and, as a civilian, he had no direct responsibility for them. What was his responsibility was obtaining information about anything which might pose a threat to security and that was more likely to originate within the human population. One of the things he had learnt after he had been recruited was that the incident with the spy he had caught had never been fully resolved. Despite intense interrogation, no useful information was obtained. Whoever was behind it had clearly been very careful to cover their tracks and ensure that nothing could be traced back to the source. But the human had had a noticeable Callindrian accent, so it suggested someone had been on Callindria to recruit him. And Callin's Glory was a major centre for the sword trade, so it seemed a good place to start.


And so Joakim stepped out through the grand doors that served as the main entrance of the embassy, and into the bright, early afternoon sunshine of Callindria.


As he made his way down the street he found himself accutely aware of the reactions of human passers-by. Given the eclectic mix of races who used the port, and the size of the staff at the embassy, he was pretty sure most of the indigenous population must have seen plenty of elves but, even so, very few acted as though he were simply another member of the public on the streets. Some openly stared. (He liked to think it was in admiration of his striking figure - taller than most of them, and blond, in a nation of largely darker haired humans, and he considered himself, like most elves, rather better-looking than the average human. But he knew full well that this was highly unlikely to be the case: humans tolerated elves at best. He put it down to jealousy.) Many tried to pretend they hadn't noticed him, but he could see them deliberately lower their eyes or look the other way as they passed. Some even went so far as to cross the road and walk on the other side. It didn't bother him though. So long as no-one was actively hostile, he didn't care what any humans thought of him.


A short walk brought him to the street that ran down to the docks. On either side were assorted shops and market stalls, as well as a tavern and quite a smart-looking café, and, set back from the road, a swordsmith's workshop with the smith's name emblazoned on a large sign on a post by the entrance: Ricardo Amadeo, swordsmith. Joakim eyed up the café. It had a few tables outside, sheltered from the sun by a brightly coloured awning, and the spot afforded a good view both of the street in general and towards the docks. He hadn't yet eaten lunch; it might be interesting to try the local cuisine.


He sat down at the nearest table and a few moments later a waitress came out to take his order, somewhat warily, he fancied.
"Good afternoon, Miss. Might I ask what you would recommend for a light luncheon?" he asked brightly, in slightly accented, but otherwise impeccable Tierran.


After a brief discussion, he settled on a dish devised from locally caught mixed seafood, and pasta.


"And a small glass of wine, if you would be so kind. SMALL," he emphasised.


As the waitress went off to fetch his order Joakim settled down to watch the world go by.



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PostPosted: 13 Feb 2012, 18:55 
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At the mention of Orodini, Maximilian reached forward and slid the bottom letter out from the pile. It looked thick - more due to the expensive quality of the paper than anything else. The envelope was edged in what was, no doubt, real gold leaf. Maximilian's eyebrow rose perceptibly as he read the name of the letter's composer.
"Duke Matteo di Orodini. No doubt more empty promises of aid and oaths of fealty made worthless by his family's current position." Maximilian smirked, House Orodini was the second most powerful family on the island. The eighty years which had followed Pietro Orodini's failed bid for the crown had not treated the former royal family poorly. "If only we were to but snatch the crown from the usurper Kauronna and place the wretched thing on his ambitious brow" drawled Maximilian sarcastically. "Then he would be more than happy to offer us the world."
Prying open the seal carefully, the Takaran ambassador unfolded the letter as the baneseal recognized his sorcerous signature. Privately, Max felt that the whole process was both a blessing and a curse. To blend in with the rest of the traffic and to ensure that secret correspondence didn't get "lost", messages between II and Takara's clandestine foreign allies were always funnelled through the ambassadors present. While it meant that he could have the simple pleasure of decoding Orodini's letter without Intendant Eckarts' angry red margin notes, it also made him the effective head of Imperial Intelligence on the island. A role he was hardly suited for.
Max scanned the letter carefully, counting lines as he went. The Ambassador had already recieved two seperate letters from the Duke in his three days on station in his post, not to mention the rather the rather tedious half-hour conversation he had been forced to endure during his first diplomatic reception. As such, he was well familiar with Orodini's verbose, dry writing. It took him a full minute for the Richsgraav to pick out the passage he was looking for.
He looked up.
"Leud. Be so kind as to fetch my copy of The Lancer's Folly from the library?"
The Lancer's Folly was a Tierran play. The dialogue was mediocre at best and the stage directions were melodramatic at their most understated. Max did not specify why the script was needed, he didn't have to. He just looked back at the passage in the letter:

"I must regret I must call to your attention our exchange of words the evening last, when I made an allusion to a literary work which eluded me. As promised, I have had the title of this work found and retrieved for your benefit. It is at the end of Act III, Scene 2 of The Lancer's Folly, a Tierran work which I am sure you will find a mild diversion should it ever come to be played again."


-=-=-=-=-


The carriage was a strange sight on its own.

Callindria was not a land made for the breeding of horses. Its relatively mountainous terrain meant that flat, open space was reserved for the all-important estates that kept the population of towns like Callin's Glory fed. Those few studs that did operate were almost exclusively royal property, supplying mounts to the Twelve Companies. Even the Knights of Saint Ludovico were used to fighting on foot. In Callin's Glory itself, the palaquin was more of a nobleman's form of transport than any wheeled contraption...

Which was why when Lord Caedwin d'al Cazarosta's coupe rolled down the street, the crowd fell away as if it had been split by an invisible cleaver.

The black enclosed cab that bore the tower and gryphon of House Rendower alongside the golden lionhead of Leoniscourt was a rare sight. Upon Callin's Glory's relatively poor streets, it did not provide a particularly smooth ride. Though the Tierran Ambassador was no longer a young man, he was still fit enough to take a few shocks and jostles for the sake of appearances. Besides, the comparatively massive Cunarian greys he had imported to pull his coach and carry his escort towered over any Callindrian horse, and Caedwin knew that some of his marines took especial pleasure in peering down their noses at the normally arrogant Silver Cavaliers who served as the twelve companies' horse guards.

The carriage rattled to a stop. From inside the secluded cab, Caedwin could hear the telltale thumps and feel the whole contraption rock as his marine guards hopped off the running boards and cleared a perimeter. The door opened. Sergeant-Major Reyes, Caedwin's personal guard, held the door open as the Ambassador stepped out. There was little point to secrecy, this was a regular visit, after all. The Earl of Leoniscourt stepped down off the running board and walked towards the open door. The Sergeant-Major fell in behind him, carrying a sheathed sword. The two other marines who had come along took up positions on each side of the door. Caedwin needed not say a word as he entered the building.

Sergeant Reyes followed after and closed the door of the swordsmith Ricardo Amadeo after him. The Lord Ambassador had specified no interruptions.



"Those are brave men," he told Ser Balon in admiration. "Let's go kill them."
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Joakim heard the approach of the coach long before it came into view. The rattle of the wheels and the clattering of the massive horses' iron shoes on the hard, uneven streets was an unmistakeable sound. Even so, Joakim couldn't help unconsciously raising an eyebrow in surprise at the sight of the insignia of the Tierran Ambassador emblazoned on the side; he recognised it instantly from the briefings he had received before before his departure from Takara. He was even more surprised when the coach stopped directly across the street from him. For one split second of paranoia he feared he was somehow the reason for its arrival, before putting that thought out of his head as totally illogical: he had only been here a few days; he had broken no rules and had done nothing to draw excessive attention to himself; and if Tierran intelligence had been investigating the identities of the new Takaran embassy staff, all they would have learnt about him was that he was a swordsmith - it wasn't unreasonable that such committed sword-users as the Takarans would have brought their own smith with them. Nothing there of excessive interest to the Tierrans.


Although his view was partially obscured by the stationary coach, he could identify the figure of the Tierran Ambassador, Caedwin d'al Cazarosta, as he disappeared inside the building opposite. That certainly got his attention. If this Amadeo person was under contract to the Tierran embassy it wouldn't be unusual in the slightest for embassy staff to be visiting from time to time (though still of potential interest to know who was supplying their weapons), but if the ambassador saw fit to come in person that suggested something rather less mundane. Clearly the visit wasn't intended to be secret - not with the massive publicity that such an ostentatious coach would inevitably attract, but even so, Joakim thought that his boss, Frohliin Eckharts, would want to hear of it, with details of what they were doing, if possible. One of the ambassador's staff - maybe his bodyguard, Reyes, he guessed, had been carrying a sword. Did it need repair? If so, why was the ambassador's presence necessary? Was he having it enchanted? Was he ordering a new one on the same pattern? Most likely the answer would not be of great significance, but it was his job to find out about such things, and Frohliin Eckharts' to decide on the importance of the information. He wished he could let her know straight away what was going on, but he knew he couldn't leave while the ambassador was inside. Was there anything he could do to find out more? he wondered.



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"Ah! Excellency! It is always a pleasure to see you in my humble workshop!"

Ricardo Amadeo was a florid man in his late forties. The boiled leather apron he wore showed off his tightly muscled arms. Despite his somewhat unassuming shop, Maestro Amadeo was one of the finest swordsmiths in a city of full of fine swordsmiths, and the shields of the rich and powerful lined the walls of his workshop, quietly boasting about the quality of the shop they hung in.

"Indeed" answered the Ambassador as he returned the swordsmith's low bow. "My treasurers back in Leoniscourt would disagree of course."

This was, of course, pure pleasantry. The Earl of Leoniscourt was immensely wealthy. The toll revenues which came with the title brought in nearly two hundred thousand Tierran Crowns a year, even more now that the Antari merchant hulls which used to sail through without paying were now mostly owned by lawful, toll-paying Tierran traders. About fifteen thousand of those crowns went to House Cazarosta; an enormous sum by any standard. Amadeo was a first class swordsmith who could command high premiums, but he was still just a swordsmith.

"Of course, yet you come to Ricardo Amadeo, all the same. Could it be that my craftsmanship is really so good, your Excellency?"
Caedwin gave a light chuckle as he beckoned Sergeant-Major Reyes to step up to the counter.
"Don't be snide, Sihore Amadeo. You know full well that your work is the best I've ever seen by human hands."

The swordsmith gave a wide grin. The man took pride in his work, but took genuine pleasure out of the banter between customer and businessman. It had taken a while for the Ambassador to get used to it. In Tierra, there would have simply been a rapid, almost violent back and forth of haggling and a quick exchange of money. To be honest, Caedwin rather liked the banter too. It was one of the reasons why he bothered to come out in person.

"So, Sihore Ambassador. What would you have of me this time?"

Caedwin ordered the Sergeant-Major forward with a look. Reyes deposited the sheathed sword on the counter and stepped back without a word. He was more talktative off-duty, but the enlisted man had spent thirty years not talking to officers unless bid to. He wasn't going to start now.

"Hmm" mused the swordsmith as he picked up the scabbard. The Callindrian's eyes darted to the pommel and rose in recognition. he made to draw the sword. "Let us see what torture you have inflicted on the poor thing this time, hmm?"

In one swift motion, the sword slipped out of its scabbard. It was a training blade. The steel was intentionally made dull and overly heavy. The heavily notched and battered blade elicited an obviously exaggerated expression of mock-horror from the swordsmith.

"By Saint Ludovico, your Excellency! The poor blade!" Without skipping a beat, the Callindrian pointed an accusatory finger at the Ambassador. "You! You callous monster!" He said in a tone that would have gotten him shot had it been in earnest. "You have been parrying with the edge again! With a smallsword no less!"

The swordsmith was more than qualified to offer advice on sword work. Alongside the shields advertising his clients hung a smallsword of black steel, dulled and adorned with a drab tin pommel. That sword marked him as perhaps one of the three dozen best swordsmen on an island brimming with swashbucklers and sellswords

"I have been informed that it is a... poor habit in a swordsman." The ambassador admitted. "I have been trying to do away with it for quite some time."
The swordsmith nodded emphatically.
"You know, in Takara, I hear they have a game, played with wooden swords. Each man - or even woman, sometimes. You know how immorally licentious elves are - gets three strokes. They must hit their opponent with one of those strokes. Only three! No more than that! How terrible you would be at such a contest! You must learn to deflect with the flat, Excellency. Better yet, get out of the way of the stroke. Use your opponent's commitment to his attack to hit him when he cannot guard or move away!"
The Tierran nodded as he took the counsel to heart.

"That is wise advice, Maestro Amadeo."
"Indeed." The Callindrian leaned over the counter, brushing his fierce mustachios as he did. "Expensive advice too, especially when coupled with the cost of the work I must do for you. Fifty Blade-marks, or twelve Tierran Crowns. Preferably the latter. Your king is smart enough not to put lead in his coinage."

Now it was the Ambassador's turn to pretend to be horrified. "Twelve crowns? Why that is highway robbery!" Caedwin leaned in a bit, as if to emphasize just how much like being cozened by a brigand this was.
The swordsmith called the Ambassador's bluff. "I am not stupid Excellency. I know of your most generous expense account. two thousand crown a year, was it not?"
"That money is for expenditures made by King and Country, not by me."
"Eleven Crown."
"Eight."
"Ten and six."
"Nine."
"Nine Crown, nine Dams and twelve Gryphons. Not a tin scrap less."
"Very well, Maestro Amadeo."

Sergeant-Major Reyes handed the ambassador a small booklet, upon which the Earl of Leoniscourt began to scrawl the requisite banknote.
"You know," drawled Ricardo as the ambassador signed his name on the note for the not-insubstantial amount of money. "Duke Matteo of the Orodini would not ill treat me so."
Caedwin made a sidelong glance as his eyes followed the swordsmith's finger, pointing to the golden dolphin on black field of House Orodini, hanging proudly from the wall. The ambassador looked back with that expression of mild ennui that nobles seemed to be so good at.
"Oh really?"
"Indeed! Just the other day, one of his men came to have His Grace's parrying dagger shaperpened! Paid me fifty marks extra! No tower-and-gryphon miser that one - no offence Excellency."
Caedwin leaned back from the counter. "And what, pray tell, does the second most powerful man in the Kingdom need with a dueling blade?"
The swordsmith leaned back and gave the most Callindrian of shrugs.
"I have absolutely no idea. Perhaps it is for the use of one of his sons? The young Lord Marco is known for the... unfortunate duel-related accidents his romantic rivals have been known to suffer. It is said he has been seen with the Archon's daughter."
"Which one? Antonia?"
"No, the other one, who is all of four years old! Of course Lady Antonia!"
Caedwin shared a chuckle with the swordsmith as he handed over the folded note. folded and stamped with the roaring lionhead of House Cazarosta. Amadeo took it and stuffed it into a neatly shuffled drawer full of the things (only those who wished to be robbed, or whom the banks could not trust would actually pay with cash).
"Now, I am afraid I must get to work. Two blades need to be finished aside from yours and one of my idiot apprentices used the wrong acid to etch one. Now the saintsbedamned thing has patterns which look more like those of a harlot than a lady. Hah! See if he gets a good report for the Trades Guild from me this week!"
The ambassador gave a light bow.
"A pleasure, as always, Sihore Amadeo." He said, in earnest.
"The pleasure of your conversation is mine, your Excellency." replied the swordsmith, giving a much deeper bow.

Caedwin made a glance at Reyes as the door shut.
"Did you get all that."
The marine NCO smiled. "Right here sir." he smiled, tapping the side of his head.
Sergeant-Major Reyes had a magnificent memory, which helped in a place like Callindria, which respected verbal contracts a lot more than Tierra did. Caedwin saw no reason not to use the man as his living notebook, especially for his almost-regular visits to Sihore Amadeo...

...who was, after all, the senior Tierran informant in the city.

As Caedwin reached the coach, he spied a rare curiosity through the windows of the airy black cab: an elf, in unremarkable but unmistakably Takaran garments and a sword that, though plain-looking, crackled with power to the ambassador's bane-sight.
"Reyes"
"Sir?"
"I could do with some sustenance. Go on and order me something from that restaurant across the street. Something for yourself as well." He handed the Sergeant a copper Gryphon. This was a very upscale part of the city, and Reyes could not afford food from such a place on a Sergeant-Major's pay, let alone be allowed entry without that Tierran (and thus, valuable) coin.
The Sergeant snapped off a smart salute.
"Yes sir. Rankin, cover for me."
Caedwin crossed the street after his bodyguard, Corporal Rankin slipping in unobtrusively after him, taking Reyes' place. The ambassador walked up to the table at which the Takaran was sitting.
"Pardon me mir hiir." he began in accented, but servicable Takaran. "Is this seat taken?"



"Those are brave men," he told Ser Balon in admiration. "Let's go kill them."
-Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings


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Claudia was, to say the least, pleased with her quick but very serviceable pilfering of the early afternoon. The merchant she had snitched the satchel from had a curious taste, but a pleasant and appreciable one at any rate. A further washing of her hair in the rain barrel and subsequent drying, and then tightly rolling up of the other things on her person so as to not be too noticeable in the satchel, let her don her hat once more, but without the slight crookedness she had it adopt before. She took off her vest and turned it inside out to show the rougher looking inside. This vest was a handy one, since it was very well made, and she could pass off the reversed inner side as a very poorly made but entirely different other vest. Joined by the satchel and some new smudges of light grime she added to her face after patting down the side of the building and the very messy looking wisps of hair poking out from under the hat, she looked very much the part of a lazy messenger boy. She also looked like a washed-up version of the young man who had rented the room in the tavern. Roberto.

So at best she simply had to nod and wave at whomever was watching who went up to the rooms above the tavern, and at worst she had to actually tell them she was going up to her room. She had surreptitiously espied a few names on the ledger when not-Antonio had made arrangements to lodge anyway, so if something was really amiss and she caught it time--and assuming the person who had checked her in was not the person at the counter now--she could always say she was delivering a letter. Emerging from around the back of the building, she corrected her gait as she made down the alley and then entered the street.

Santis shite! Was the first thought that slammed into her head. Takaran! At a luncheon!

And here is what Claudia knew about Takarans:
1. They were always richer than humans. Humans without a title, anyway, and sometimes those too, depending on the title.
2. They were foreign.
3. They were arrogant.

This one, sitting outside the tavern with such an obliviously charmed look about his face as he took in the scenery, reminded Claudia of a...uh...

Now that she thought about it, she used the term so rarely she hardly could think what it was.

Oh, right: tourist. He had that sort of enchantment about his curious figures like a duke inspecting a hovel: Oh, look at me now, making myself aware of the lower classes like a good little ruler. It's my duty to do that, you know, since I'm in the position to help those less privileged than myself. Like the inhabitants of this quaint little place. Recognise me.
Whether he was or not, who cared? He was distracted, probably just as arrogant as any other elf, owing to the expensive looking sword he had with him. Not exactly a special sword, but it must have been brand new, judging by the general state of its scabbard and hilt. Brand new! The guy must be a total sap! Arming himself for defence against the wild world he was exploring.

She heard him place his order as she skirted discreetly past him into the establishment, and noted with a sort of sickly glee that even the waitress had told him a higher price for the food than what it was. It was, quite simply, beautiful. She'd just get into something more decidedly different from her current, very simple costume and ply the bastard's surely overdeveloped sense of pity. Or disdain. It depended exactly on how prejudiced this particular elf was. Although in her line of work it paid to formulate plans based on stereotypes, it paid more to know the different directions a con could go based on the fact that people weren't stereotypes.

She piddled a bit at the side of a very large man just inside the tavern until she saw the counter man distracted by an order, and then slipped over to the stairs leading up to the rooms. She waved good naturedly in his direction anyway in case he looked up, and it was a good thing she did, since it looked like she was doing the right thing when she almost walked into a woman knitting in a chair near the foot of the stairs. This woman had been in somewhere on the ground floor almost everyday, she had noticed.

'Oh, sorry, sihora. Let me just get out of your way...' the Roberto-slash-messenger boy stepped to the side with a smile. He felt good that the woman didn't say anything in return. A combination of looking like he was meant to be doing what he was and politeness had made her unwilling to question him. Besides, he had clearly already cleared himself with her employer (or husband? father? brother?) at the counter, now hadn't he? No clubbing needed here, no siree. If there were any questions later (there wouldn't be; he wasn't even doing anything wrong, just going to his room), then this lady would muddle the issue severely.

In her room, Claudia locked the door and hurriedly moved the bed (she had naturally asked for the smallest, cheapest, dirtiest room possible, as a drift-ish-y sort of lad like Roberto would, and probably only barely could in this part of town--Roberto had some pride and dignity issues--and so the bed was small, light and...barely a bed, really) and lifted the floor boards to forcibly pull her pack through the little opening. The pack was most of the size of her torso, and was, for all intents and purposes, everything she owned in the world that she cared about. She reflected somewhat often that she would be loath to ever find it destroyed or stolen, but even then she could start from scratch. She had the first time, after all.

And that was about it. She replaced the floorboards and moved the bed back. This con was going to be simple. The most effective ones always were, and had an element of truth in them to make things cloudily grey. She'd been based in this establishment for almost a week now, so it was definitely time to find some place different anyway. Roberto was moving on, and the elf outside would help him.

Coming down the stairs with the heavy pack and a slightly hunched back, she passed by the woman knitting again.

'All paid up, racazzo?'

Claudia winced slightly before Roberto turned around and simultaneously made a humble bend at the waist.

'Yes sihora--paid for five nights but I need to leave now I'm afraid...' Roberto sounded sad but holding it in.

'You haven't been here for five days?'

'No, sihora. Only the four. I received a letter that my mother is very sick, and I don't know if I will get there in time even now...'

The woman sighed and muttered something under breath. 'Come here, you.' She pushed herself up like an old woman (though she couldn't have been more than forty, Claudia thought) and started waddling with a bad back and wide hips toward the counter. The man looked at her with a raised eyebrow. 'Give me a day's lodging.'

'Why?' he asked sceptically.

'Because I said so,' the woman snapped back with a sort of authority usually owned by an irritated mother. The man grumbled, and must have figured this would be settled later, but went into a back room and re-emerged a minute later with a few coins, which he handed to the woman. She in turn handed them to Roberto. She then patted him down, again like a mother--maybe even grandmother--looking for injuries on a mischievous child. Claudia hated it. But apparently the woman was bad at this, or simply was looking for the wrong thing, most likely both, and found nothing. She inched up to Roberto with a squinty look.

'Don't think I didn't see you leaving so early in the mornings and coming back so late at night. I know you got it hard, and I hope you get whatever job you begged for right back, because only an idiot would let loose a motivated worker like you.'

Oooh...she's a 'clever' one. A real watcher of people.
'Thank you so much, sihora.'
I love these people.

'No need. Just get along to your mum.'

And although Roberto left with a pit full of sick in Claudia's gut from the terrible chain of near misses that was that incident, it was an excellent excuse to walk out of the tavern backwards and saying profuse and heartfelt thank yous for the benefit of the elf outside so that when Roberto turned around he could on about the lack of money for a horse--the only way to get to his sick mother in time--to the man when asked--and he would ask, since--

The elf is with someone.
An expensive someone.


Claudia spied the coach across the road and had to fight Roberto very hard to keep him from choking on the heart that had leapt up into his throat.

Suddenly it seemed like a good idea to just go about putting that illegally returned money to good use. The woman had not in fact, been on the ground floor when Roberto had first arrived, but had for three of the five days after that.

She walked past the table with just enough of a glance to be a normal, nosy person, but not enough to be suspicious. Amateurs always made it a point to not look at all. And that was more of a give-away than any sort of look could ever be.



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Joakim eyed up the guard standing on duty beside the door. He couldn't see past the coach to the far side of the door, but he imagined there would probably be a similar guard on that side too. He wished he could somehow listen in on what was going on inside but the street was too open for him to be able to get up close without being seen. Use the bane to create a distraction? What were the chances of success against two guards at once, who, if they were doing their jobs properly, had probably already noticed him sitting there? (Not to mention the patrons of the café, and some passers-by - he had briefly registered a youth passing behind him as the waitress had been taking his order. He hadn't seen the lad continuing up the street, so he assumed he must still be around somewhere, either inside the café itself or in the adjacent tavern.)

That was the moment when the waitress returned with his lunch - and a fairly sizeable glass of wine. Joakim eyed the drink, and then the girl, with an irritated expression.

"I said 'small'," he complained. "Are you trying to get me drunk, woman?"

"I'm sorry, Sir," the girl replied, though Joakim fancied she didn't look sorry at all, and suspected the staff of trying to have a joke at his expense. "That's the smallest size we offer."

Somehow Joakim doubted that, but he didn't want to be kept from his observations by petty arguments so he let the matter lie. The thought occurred to him that this slight irregularity with his order might even be a deliberate ploy to distract him from what was going on across the road, just as he had been wondering about the possibility of distracting the guards.

With a sigh he reverted to his usual more refined, if somewhat curt, tone. "Very well. I shall call you, should I require anything else."

He waved her away and returned his attention to the street. And to his food. That, at least, was good; he couldn't deny that.

It hardly seemed any time at all before the door of Ricardo Amadeo's shop opened once more and the ambassador and the NCO emerged. Joakim saw d'al Cazarosta turn to the other man and say something, to which the latter smiled and tapped his head. He thought the swordsmith was a bit loopy? Or he was indicating he'd stored something away in his head? As with the whole event, it was noteworthy but sadly lacking in specifics.

He turned his attention back to his meal. It wouldn't do to be seen to be too interested in the scene: curiosity was to be expected; intense studying would look suspicious, if his very presence here didn't already. Ironic that it was a genuine coincidence.

It was with that mildly stomach-churning, adrenaline-fuelled combination of nervousness and excitement that Joakim became aware that d'al Cazarosta had not boarded his coach but was crossing the street and making a bee-line for his position.

"Pardon me mir hiir. Is this seat taken?" The ambassador asked in Takaran as he reached the table.

Joakim glanced quickly at the rest of the outdoor tables. True, there were only a few, and all of them had at least one occupant already, but he knew better than to think it mere chance that the Tierran ambassador would opt to share his table.

"Sehim ik, Takarashon sprakim du, mir hiir" (I see you speak Takaran, Sir,) he replied without missing a beat, and without getting up from his own seat. Then, in his own excellent Tierran: "You honour us by taking the trouble to learn our tongue, when you have so much less time available than we do for mastering such skills. Please, do feel free to share my table."

He inclined his head and gestured with his hand towards the seat by which the ambassador was standing.

"Am I to assume from the insignia on the coach over there that the address, "Your Excellency" is in order?



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Caedwin caught the unintended slight about human lifespans adroitly. He gave no indication of it as he sat down. His own "unintended" little slight at the elf's expense was already en-route.

"Indeed sir, you may assume so." he began, hiding his relief that he would not have to resort to his passable, but hardly perfect, Takaran. "Lord Caedwin d'al Cazarosta, Tierran Ambassador, at your service. Of course, you knew that already."
Just then, Reyes reappeared. With a stern salute, he slipped back into his customary position, tapping Rankin on the shoulder. The corporal, taking that as the signal for his relief, gave his own salute and returned to the coach.
"Lunch is on the way, Sir."
"Thank you Sergeant-Major."

A serving girl appeared soon after Reyes did. Shooting the elf what seemed to be a dirty look, she stepped up with a tray. She everything down on the table. A wax-paper box was handed to Reyes (as he could hardly eat lunch on duty) and a plate of rice that had been cooked in fish broth until it had become creamy, garnished with some green herb which Caedwin could not recall the name of. A few thin slices of delicately smoked ham accompanied the dish, as well as a rather large snifter of full bodied, and well-chilled Cunarian brandy. The Tierran took an appreciative sniff of the burnt orange liquor, knowing full well that to the elf opposite him, it was as deadly as arsenic.
"Thank you miss." The ambassador began, dropping a coin - this time, a silver Callindrian dagger-mark - onto the tray. "My compliments to your chef and wine steward."
As the girl exited with a curtsy, the Ambassador turned back to the elf, pausing to take a sip of the brandy, letting the strong Tierran liquor pillage and burn its way down his throat. Caedwin's alcohol tolerance had been long fortified past even human norms by the never-ending fine wines and liquors which served as such an important part of a diplomat's diet. He hoped that the offhanded demonstration of it would remind the elf to watch his words better around a diplomat.

"I do not believe we have been introduced, mir hiir. Might I assume that you are one of Graav vam Holt's aides?"



"Those are brave men," he told Ser Balon in admiration. "Let's go kill them."
-Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings


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The pungent aroma of the brandy assaulted Joakim's sensitive nose. It wasn't an unpleasant scent by any means but he knew that spirits in anything but the tiniest quantities were bad news for an elf. He also knew, without any shadow of a doubt, that the ambassador's casual drinking of such a large serving right in front of him was a not-so-subtle dig at him, a deliberate flaunting of the aspect - the only aspect - of physiology in which elves could not claim to be superior to humans, namely tolerance to alcohol. Nevertheless, he had no intention of reacting to such a petty attempt at baiting. Let the ambassador have his bit of fun if he wished. Joakim took a sip of his own, barely touched, drink.

"You are correct, Sir," he replied to d'al Cazarosta's question. "I arrived just a few days ago as a member of His Excellency, Graav vam Holt's staff. My name is Joakim Westman."

Joakim initially had in mind to inform the ambassador that he was Graav vam Holt's swordsmith, but he thought better of it. It might be interesting just to leave him with his name and see if it triggered any reaction. How well informed was the ambassador?



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Caedwin's mind went to work. The Westman family was known for its fine metalwork, after all. The first name, however, was an unfamiliar one. That would make him one of the sons, perhaps. The ambassador nodded between bites of risotto. It had been a long day and he was genuinely hungry. It was interesting how the elf hadn't offered his his post as well as his name. Bureaucrats, especially young ones, were always proud of foreign assignments, no matter how insignificant. This one didn't, which usually meant...


"A pleasure to meet you, Hiir Westman. In what capacity to you serve Graav vam Holt's embassy exactly, If I may be so bold as to ask?"



"Those are brave men," he told Ser Balon in admiration. "Let's go kill them."
-Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings


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PostPosted: 24 Feb 2012, 16:28 
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Joakim watched the ambassador's face and manner as he asked his question. From the lack of reaction to his name it appeared that it wasn't of any significance to d'al Cazarosta. It was unlikely that a man in his position would be unfamiliar with the name "Westman" - Joakim's father, Irik, was after all of one of Takara's most famous swordsmiths - but if he already knew anything of Joakim himself he was hiding it very well. Joakim had wondered if d'al Cazarosta was aware of the attempted espionage at the company and his own role in foiling it. Apparently not, it would seem. And it didn't have to be Tierra behind that incident. It could just as easily be Kian or simply some overzealous Callindrian company. But who could tell? If the ambassador did have anything to conceal Joakim didn't doubt for an instant that he would capable of a very convincing performance.


Joakim didn't allow these thoughts to delay his answer: any hesitation might look suspicious.


"I am his swordsmith," he replied brightly, and then went on: "I see you give your patronage to Sihore Amadeo over there." He looked over towards the swordsmith's shop as he spoke, before fixing his gaze once again on the man in front of him. "We Takarans are not so lucky. We cannot simply ride a coach from the embassy to Varsovia every time someone needs a swordsmith's services. And so His Excellency saw fit to bring one with him instead, namely myself. I'm sure Sihore Amadeo is very skilled, but I'm also sure you appreciate that a human smith's skills would not be adequate for work on Takaran weapons, nor would their owners wish them to come into the hands of an outsider."



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PostPosted: 29 Feb 2012, 12:38 
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Caedwin didn't need long to find cracks in the Takaran's cover story. First of all, he claimed to be the ambassador's personal swordsmith: perposterous, what reason did Graav vam Holt have for not bringing his own man over, one who he no doubt trusted implicitly, if the ambassador's file was correct. He could not have been the swordsmith for the embassy guard either, seeing as they already had one and he had not been replaced. Then again, it was interesting just how Joakim had failed to mention his office to begin with. Two decades of diplomatic experience had taught him that young diplomatic staffers always announced themselves and their posts in relation to their ambassadors. Caedwin had done it himself years ago. Joakim had initially tried to hide his post, as if he knew it would have garnered suspicion, which meant...


The ambassador leaned in to finish the last bites of his meal. His off-hand slid under the table and tapped its knuckles in a certain pattern against Sergeant-Major Reyes' knee. The Marine NCO leaned in.
"Sir, it's time to return to the embassy." he said, just loud enough to be audible.
Caedwin nodded lightly and quickly tidied up his plate.
"My apologies Hiir Westman, It has been a pleasure speaking with you, but I must return to my desk."



"Those are brave men," he told Ser Balon in admiration. "Let's go kill them."
-Tyrion Lannister, A Clash of Kings


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PostPosted: 01 Mar 2012, 10:44 
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"It was an unexpected pleasure to be able to make your acquaintance, Your Excellency," Joakim replied, "and I, likewise, should be getting back to my work. Thank you for the entertainment of your company."


He took one final sip of his wine, still leaving more than half the drink behind, and stood.


"I wish you good day, Sir. I look forward to the possibility of our paths one day crossing once again."


He would have liked to head down to the docks and have more of a look around, but, having told the ambassador he was returning to work, that would have looked an odd direction to be heading in. And on top of that, the intendant would almost certainly expect him to report this encounter as soon as possible. So with a hint of a bow he turned to leave the way he had come.



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