Elemix had been granted a private meeting with the Baron. Lord Roland Baron d’Uzec was a large and powerful man in his mid-40s. With a tone of respect he said, “Magus Dungaroon, you have traveled long and hard to get back here. We thank you for your work exposing the goblins earlier this year and we also thank you for your part in delivering my daughter, the Lady d’Uzec back to us, if only for a short time. What is it that I can assist you with?”
Elemix nodded and bowed respectfully. “Thank you for granting me this opportunity with which to speak. It has been a great honor meeting and traveling with your daughter. While obviously beautiful, I have also found her to be highly intelligent. She has already proven to be very skilled both with the law, and as a member of the bards guild. So I must thank you for granting me the opportunity to know her better, even if only by association. I am made better for it.”
Elemix hoped his expressions for Rivanon were enough to indicate to the Baron that Elemix might have an interest in her, but not so much as to assume Elemix would follow up on such without at least so much as an indication of approval from the Baron. Regardless though Elemix continued so as to indicate that Rivanon was not the sole purpose of this meeting.
“As you know we plan to journey West on a preemptive mission to find and acquire ancient knowledge or artifacts that if obtained by the wrong hands could be used against us. We have happened upon evidence of ancient magics of an extraordinary nature in the form of scrolls and the Aquila which we have discussed before. We have also discerned that whatever awaits us is guarded by undead.
Therefore in order to amplify our chances of being successful, I must request Sister Jocelyn be granted the opportunity to travel with us. To lend Ariths healing when needed, and assist with destroying the undead and others that threaten to block our path. I know this will likely be denied given her new duties here, but I feel I would be remiss if I did not at least formally make the request.”
He knew the answer without asking but at least doing so made the attempt. And who knew when the Baron’s own daughter stood to benefit from the assistance.
The Baron thought for a moment and then replied, “Magus. We can discuss the former part of your introduction shortly. The latter on the other hand, while I sympathize with your request I cannot grant it. I do not wish Sister Jocelyn to go. Furthermore, the Bishop and the Holy Curia has trusted her with building this extension of the diocese and the many parishes within. So even I wished to grant your request, I am not at leave to do so. I can of course dismiss her, but I do not wish that. Therefore, formally, I deny your request. You may; however, ask her to prepare what she can for you on your expedition, should you be willing to remunerate her at least in part for the time and materials that Uzec would lose.”
With a slight grimace, he continued, “On the other matter. Her skill and abilities are well noted by you. But I note that you spoke of her beauty first. Could you explain your order of words? A magus such as yourself no doubt chooses words a deftly as an artist a brush. Is this not true?”
Well he heard you and hasn’t scolded you yet, thought Elemix.
Elemix did his best to project confidence and wisdom in how he responded and acted.
“Forgive me but even for a Magus such as I, I think it not possible to speak of your daughter without first mentioning her beauty. I would be remiss in doing so. I am grateful to have been in her presence.”
He would have said more but thought it best not to. He was certain he had made his point. If the Baron wanted him to elaborate he needed only ask. If however this was some kind of ploy to get Elemix to reveal his true feelings for Rivanon, it was best for Elemix not to go too far. He barely knew the Baron after all and he couldn’t be certain how the man would respond. Besides thought Elemix, though he was somewhat enamored with Rivanon, he didn’t yet know how far those feelings went. Best to not dig himself in a whole if he could manage it.
The Baron considered his words and replied after a pause, “She is as her mother before her. Now, for real business. Once this affair is complete in the east, what are your plans Magus?”
Elemix was somewhat surprised by sudden turn and the question. What did he plan to do after the mission? He knew he wanted to help Tiffany, but other then that, he hadn’t really thought about it. Why did the Baron care?
“After our mission to the East, I had planned to report our findings to the academy and then to return here. In the Spring or Summer, I have offered to assist my comrade Tiffany in dealing with a situation to the North. Other than that I have no immediate plans.”
Elemix straightened, “Is there something I can do for my lord?”
“As of now, no. However, I have heard rumor of this mission north. What is it?” the Baron replied.
Elemix thought about his response for a moment. It was really not his place to tell. This was Tiffanies mission after all. Still he was fairly certain it wasn’t a secret and the Baron was likely to find out about it in time anyway. And, if Elemix dodged the question, it might slight him in the eyes of the Baron. Still, the Baron may respect him more for not telling. Again, he didn’t know this Baron well.
“My lord, with respect the details of that mission should be shared by Sister Tiffanie of the Just. I would not want to upset her or her Order by speaking on it out of turn. May I suggest that if you wish to learn more, I could go and get Tiffanie and bring her here to discuss it. Though of course if you require me to speak on it first without her I shall humbly obey.”
Elemix bowed slightly as he finished the statement. He hoped his response would impress the Baron, showing that he understood when to keep silent on things. Silence after all was sometimes more important than speaking. Elemix had already harmed one relationship when he spoke with Revan on behalf of Emmiline, even though he thought he was doing her a favor. He did not want to make that mistake again. If he could avoid it.
“By that then, other than the involvement of you, de Cerisey, and the two Aarithine sisters is there any reason this mission would affect Uzec?” he replied.
Elemix thought carefully about his response. He knew the Baron would most likely welcome the mission, but didn’t want to disclose too much so as to overstep his bounds.
“As I hope you know, Uzec and its people are important to us all and that is one of the reasons I have offered my aid in this mission. It is possible the outcome could effect Uzec and Derrion in a most beneficial way I would think. Yes. If we are as successful as I would hope to be, then we may in fact enlist a new ally in the lands to the north. One that doesn’t care much for goblins and such.”
“A new ally? The north is but wild men, goblins, and enemies uncounted. Of whom do you speak?” the Baron asked.
Elemix, again not wanting to say too much replied simply, “Dwarves”. He wondered if the Baron knew the history of what happened to the Dwarves.
The Baron looked quizzically, “You are aware that the old Empire defeated and drove the dwarves from this valley hundreds of years ago?”
“Indeed I am,” returned Elemix. The dwarves were scattered and lack a leader. We may be able to do something about that. But again I really should get Tiffany before we discuss more my lord.”
Slightly annoyed the Baron replied, “Very well. Find Sister Typhon. We will discuss this.”
Elemix went to find Tiffany and requested she return with him to speak with the Baron.
“He is very interested in our mission to the North in the Spring,” Elemix stated. “I told him that as it is your mission I shouldn’t speak about it without you.
“Very well, lead the way,” Typhon replied.
“Have you told him anything about it yet?” She asked as they walked back to see the Baron.
“He was pretty persistent,” Elemix replied. “I told him it would be best to speak with you about it but he pressed for some information before finally relenting and allowing me to get you.” Elemix tensed slightly. ” I told him that this mission has the possibility of finding a leader who could unite the dwarves to the north. But I tried not to sell the mission to him, merely relating a potential outcome that could benefit Uzec in the future.”
“The quest to the north may find a dwarf leader, but that is not why I am going,” Typhon said. “It’s to bring vengeance and justice to the dwarves for a betrayal that was done. Nothing more, but if there is a leader amongst the missing dwarves the we will be better for it.”
“I understand and agree. As I told the Baron the quest may have a beneficial effect on Uzec, but I didn’t want to disclose your full intentions. Not without you there to speak.”
They proceeded back to the Baron’s keep and when they arrived, Elemix stated that the Baron had summoned them for an audience.
The Baron entered the room. Everyone stood and he took his chair. He then said, “Sister Typhon. It is agreeable to see you once more. The Magus has made it clear that he values your privacy very highly, even in aspects that may affect Uzec. Therefore, at his suggestion you are here. Please tell me of this mission of yours and the dwarven aspect in particular.”
“My Lord,” Typhon started,”this mission I plan to undertake is one of Justice and Vengeance. I must see to the betrayal that was done to the dwarves, namely one done to the called Khord. The axe that you see me with, is none other than the one that he carried. I found it along with this flute,(Typhon pulled out to show the Baron) up in the north mountains after stumbling onto a cave while in a snowstorm. Inside I found a dwarf that had been frozen to death, with this axe in hand. Now to make a longer story shorter, once in Thalassa I had a vision quest and communed with the ‘Will of Khord’ which resides in the axe. It is pretty much all of his rage stemming from the betrayal and the disappearance of his family.
“I was informed of what had happened during this vision quest, and was asked to see it finished. I was told that the wyrmn knows where the betrayer is, along with Khord’s family. I will seek out this wyrmn to find out this information.”
The Baron waited a bit, taking in the information. He then replied, “a wyrm – you mean a dragon? This seems more like suicide than justice. That aside for a moment, you are aware that Khord’s people over 600 years ago once controlled these very lands, the upper valley and the lower valley alike?”
“I am quite aware of that, my Lord,” Typhon replied. “The “Will of Khord’ informed me that the betrayer still lives, and so must some of this family. The bone flute that I carry, that Khord carried, is made of dragon bone. The very dragon that aided in the betrayal. The runes carved into it are actually music notes, that help to guide one to the dragon, and also call to it when one is close.
“The notes have been transcribed into the Thalassan way of playing. And I have asked your daughter to help me learn this way of playing. It will take some time to do this, but I plan on practicing while on our way east.”
“Should you avenge Khord, do you believe these dwarves that the Magus mentioned will decide to try to undo the results of 600 years ago and attempt to retake these lands?” Asked the Baron.
“That I can not say, my Lord,” Typhon replied. “But reuniting them with other dwarves that were scattered from the fallout of the war. Well they could become another ally, or just choose to remain separate from others entirely. I could not say, or speculate.”
“We need people to populate the Upper Valley. I have several groups moving into allotments this spring, and several adventurous knights with their retinues. If whatever dwarves you help wish to return there are two delvings I know of that were recently scoured of goblins, monsters and the like. Depending on whether they wished to swear allegiance, I could grant those and the surrounding farmland. If; however, they wish to reconquer the area, we would find that a direct challenge to Uzec itself, the Duchy, and by extension The League. As you both are officials by office of Thalassa, you understand the defense of the greater League is paramount,” the Baron said.
“Of course my lord,” replied Elemix. “We can only speculate as there are too many variables at this point. I will say though that should we manage to reunite the Dwarves and should they decide they would like to stay and rebuild a community they would need to do it with your permission. That being said I would think they would be friendy to us.”
“Seeing as we don’t know what we will find,” Typhon started. “I will see that justice and peace prevail. When we return from the east, I will then head to the north. If you have documents prepared with your offer, I will take them with me and see what they will say to it.”
The Baron replied to both, “I do not believe they will be. My ancestors, and likely some of yours Magus, destroyed the dwarves for backing the Danéan’s rebellion against Eterian rule. Despite our own overthrow of the Eterian viceroys centuries later, it is my belief that they will equate us with the Eterians. Mountain Dwarves have long memories. However, I will prepare instructions on what latitude you have.”
“Thank you my lord. We shall do everything in our power to win them over if such eventualities were to occur.”
“Very well. Do not put me in a position of having to destroy them. My factor and I will work on the options and we can renew this conversation when you return from the East.” said the Baron.