In Fina’s words
So we went back up the stairs and Cathal kept looking at the mud wall, saying something moved in there. Well, I says, use a pointy thing and poke it. So he shot an arrow into it, but, yeah. Nothing.
After some investigation of the magically sealed, steel door, we discovered that the mud wall was not mud at all. So we decided to research a bit and return. We do still have to deal with pirates after all…
Once in town Amara, the lady Blackwell, sent Humphrey to summon me. I went right away. I think that the boys went to the Sheriff while Margie went to seek her father. There would be an elders meeting regarding the pirates proposed trade arrangement. I suspect that Amara wanted to discuss the same thing with me.
We spoke and got on the same page with regard to the pirates and our own business. We agreed that the safety and care of our people, our courtesans were our primary concern. If the deal with the pirates was insincere and we felt there was danger, then we would move away.
I went to the meeting with Amara. I can’t help but think there is something I can do that might make this whole situation both interesting and educational.
At the meeting, the mayor reminded us that Captain Harless did say he had “ships”. Not just one. But we had to consider he led hobgoblins. I spoke my peace in the meeting. But clearly, there was much to consider.
The leader of the legionnaires at the tower came to speak, too. He beseeched us to beware the pirates and that Vergras might feel there is a threat and seek to seize the town. It was a good debate. People were very worried. I did offer my service as a negotiator to the mayor, if she wanted my help.
They voted against dealing with the pirates. And Amara did not receive any assurances about the safety of the manor. I’m concerned. The mayor has asked us to be present when the Sheriff informs Captain Harless the town’s decision tomorrow night.
Margie stayed the night at the Manor and will be with us through the crisis. The added protection should be a relief.
They next day found the Sheriff leading Forfur the giant into town! People didn’t panic as much as was feared, I guess because the Sheriff didn’t seem upset and there wasn’t any fighting. He actually deputized Forfur! In exchange I hear Forfur’s home is now officially so that he doesn’t have to sneak about anymore. He might be a great asset if things go poorly with Captain Harless.
The town had a meeting of elders. I was able to go with Lady Blackwell. Although she remained mostly quiet during the meeting, I couldn’t help but to point out the dangers of angering the pirates. Nevertheless, the elders decided against cooperating with the pirates, even at an independent trading post. It is feared that it would anger Avonians and bring the legion here to conquer the town. I understand the fear, but wish there was a way to avoid conflict.
I managed to convince the mayor to let me help with meeting Captain Harless. I even dressed for the occasion! I think I caught the dashing Captain’s eye perhaps more than I had intended…
But it was the Sheriff that did the talking. He was very curt with Harless, who went away very disappointed. I’m pretty sure he meant to attack the town. After my friends and the Sheriff left the dock, I used a bit of Shadow magic to create ice and walked out after Captain Harless. It was a risk, I know, and something I think Amara might not have liked, but I felt the safety of the town was at stake.
To my great relief, he treated me very well. He invited me aboard and we had a private dinner together. Polite and gracious, he never wavered in his hospitality, at least I didn’t think so. I told him exactly what I was and what Blackwell Manor was about so that he would know that his invitations to his cabin weren’t refused due to personal dislike but due to professional obligations; I worked at the manor and he could visit me there if he liked.
The social hour was productive, however, aside from less than subtle, yet polite flirting. I was able to describe the town’s position in a way that he found understandable. We really are between a rock and a hard place. If we trade with pirates, Avonian nobles will be upset and likely take action. If we do not trade with pirates, the pirates will be upset and likely take action. Either way, he town loses.
Captain Harless actually took this into consideration. He has decided that he will embark on a new voyage. In two month’s time he intends to return with a new proposal.
It seems I have bought Cliff’s Hollow some time. Now, how to tell the Mayor and Lady Blackwell what I did and what I won for the town without getting a scathing talking-to…