Aside : Apologise for the lack of updates this week. Let’s just say that over the last day and a half, my assistant (worth her weight in gold!) and I have prepared 8,000 pages of Appeal Books and lodged them with the Family Court of Australia.
She’ll never read this, but C.G. – you’re awesome!
Back to my adventure as a fugitive from the state.
After my refreshing bath / sauna / towel-stealing, I lightly trip down the steps of the bathhouse, and enter the ‘Saadi-tas-Ouda’ or Square of the Dead.
I can only assume that I know this name and location from my conversations with my [former] ship’s crew, because I would be (gorily) impressed if there was actually a sign announcing this ominous title.
In a ‘gasp’ ominous moment, I note that the heads of my introductory envoy and the crew of my ship have been separated from their corresponding bodies and now ‘decorate’ the poles of the square, all with their foreheads adorned with the Vassagonian epithet of ‘traitor’.
Hell of a thing for the mere ‘crime’ of manning an oar on the ship of an envoy.
I quickly dash into the quarter of the city which houses the spice and herb merchants. I immediately notice a shop which is directly relevant to my physical condition.
The shop in question is clearly adorned with the legend of :
‘Bir Dar Masoun—HERB-MISTRESS’
Aside : This will all be for naught if this sign simply means that Bir is the illicit lover of some dude named ‘Herb’.
I enter the shop, and, after some preliminary blather, the ‘herb-mistress’ regretfully declares that she has no supplies whatsoever of the ‘Oede’ herb due to cost, and that the only supplies in the entire kingdom are within the palace of the Zakhan.
Bring it, Adam.
She does attempt to pad her profit margins by offering me some temporary relief in the form of Laumspur, Larnuma and Rendalim’s Elixir potions. Given my full backpack (with 2 healing potions already) I politely decline her offer.
As Lone Wolf has done so many times, with so many other available women, presumably.
As I leave, I do get what may be helpful advice as, for no particular reason, the herbalist mentions that the guards at the north entrance of the palace can be bribed.
Aside : Whereas, presumably, the guards at the east, south and west entrances are steadfast servants of morality and don’t care about money.
I leave the herbalist store through a side-alley.
There is then a MASSIVE amount of colour dialogue here, all relating to a previous rule of Vassagonia known as the ‘Black Zakhan’ and the tomb containing the two daughters who were slain by him. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with the main narrative, but go to here and then section 160 if you want to read the story.
In any event, I arrive at the palace and promptly, based upon my intelligence, approach the north gate.
There are two guards on duty and for some reason (!) I somehow ‘know’ that normally there would be twenty guards present at this time.
As I ponder my plan, a rider hands a scroll to the guards, before speedily riding through the gate, which is quickly opened for him. As the guards examine the scroll, I note that they have neglected to close the open gate.
Since I have the Kai Disciplines of both Camouflage and Hunting I am able to take advantage of the guards’ distraction…
WILL YOU STOP SHOWING MS DELPY EVERY TIME I MENTION THE WORD DISTRACTION!
…the guards’ distraction to sneak into the palace gardens without them [the guards] raising the alarm.
For some reason it is now (!) and not while I was in the peaceful confines of the herbalist, that I must eat a Meal or lose 3 Endurance. I make an executive decision that I can’t exactly use my ‘Hunting’ skill to grab some food, so I get a Meal from my backpack.
There are two entrances to the palace, being either through the kitchens or the ‘trophy hall’. However, my Sixth Sense / Tracking skills both inform me that the only way to the storage room containing the Oede herb is, in fact, through the ‘trophy hall’.
And that is where I leave you, with a promise of another entry before Christmas.
Base Stats : CS : 17, E : 20, GC 48
Current Stats : CS : 24(-3 for Limbdeath), E : 26
Weapons : Sommerswerd (+8 CS), Sword
Backpack : 1 Meal, 2 Laumspur potions (+4E), Rope, Tinderbox, Towel (2 spaces)
Special Items : Map, Crystal Star, Shield (+2 CS – CURRENTLY UNUSABLE), Sommerswerd, Padded Waistcoat (+2 E), Chainmail Waistcoat (+4 E) Blue Stone Triangle Pendant, Diamond, Ornate Silver Key, Dagger of Vashna, Black Sash
Kai Rank : Savant
Kai Disciplines : Camouflage, Animal Kinship, Tracking, Hunting, Sixth Sense, Healing, Mind Over Matter, Mindblast (+2CS), Mindshield
Paragraph : 149