Ale and a warm bath

Thanks, Raisse, for jotting down your thoughts at the end; I think we can do something with those. (And I’ve left your self-made spelling of the Iss-Peranians, though not of the Valdyans)

The next morning Athal got up early to sit by the fountain in the garden. I seemed like he wanted to be alone, probably something to do with Timoine, so I let him do his thing. It did not seem to improve things though. Then we had breakfast and Hinla smiled and said “Good morning” and she looked as proud as I felt. Did someone teach her that? If I have any time I should take her aside and try and teach her some words, just to spend some special time with her.

Then Halla brought the list of invitations for unofficial meetings to our attention. Those are to determine in what order we do the official ones. It seems to me that the meetings we have had so far do not have enough content for anyone to be sure if we are on their side, once the formal meetings start. I thought that was their purpose, or that there would be more then one informal meeting with each faction. Some people were too important to go themselves so they sent a representative, though they used different names for it.

As far as we could guess, it was something like:

  • a high priest of Mizran who will send his miravit Shu-oma-Biroun
  • Beguyan, general of the central army or palace guard and his wife Mehili who we will admire the sunset with.
  • Zachmati & Rochan, dignitaries of the guild of merchants
  • Lady Gagalate and her husband Prince Khetabayesan, who is not from Albetire
  • Separdan, chancellor of the Enshag and competitor of the Khandihan, who sent his zadan Ethevag. He is also opposed to the army as a faction
  • Lady Karnor Farmoudant Khedjenap who sent a very secretive note, I will meet her tonight, because I returned her note.

All spelling made up by me.

That morning over breakfast I also discussed my plan to get three independent advisors, so we can get answers to questions we have in a reasonably independent way. The order in which guests ought to be invited will certainly be one of them.

Then we had to get dressed for our visit to Little Valdyas. We wore an odd mixture of styles, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. There was no veil. Sometimes hiding your face like that could come in handy. We went though a very opulent and wide street, right down the middle, and so did someone coming the other way. No one would move aside until it became clear who was the more important person. Even the beggars were following protocol and only begged at the last of our sedans. When we moved into smaller street people kept to the left which was far more practical. We went over a hill and I could see the sea ahead but long before that we turned left and went though a gate into Little Valdyas. Passing the gate I had a view of what must have once been the city wall. Most of it was now used as part of a house.

Seeing the rest of the city made me think of Mernath again. I was still hoping we could be allies, but when I looked for him I found him near the harbour with the Nameless’s grand master who was part of the Red Party. That’s a pity. I convinced Athal not to take a look so as not to draw any attention. And anyway there was an inn and something which he had clearly missed. I went to show the crown prince to our people and when it became too much for him went into the inn to feed him. He’s getting so big and soon he won’t need to anymore.

After people had had their fun, we met the gathered dignitaries and went to the bathhouse “Orange Blossom”. That was pleasant and after the local head of the Order sealed the place so thoroughly that even the hot water could not enter we had a strategic talk. There were:

  • Jichan, elderly man, unhealthy priest of Mizran
  • Sellei Erdan, commander of the Order
  • Venlei Cynla astin Brun, representative of The Rising Sun

We learned a couple of things there. There are three grand masters of the Nameless here, not eight. One of them is Meruvin and he is important in the Red faction. They have chosen Khiaban as their figurehead, just as the Blue faction have chosen Yilde. The Blue faction are in league with Koll Neveshtan. And Koll Konandé. (I’m not sure if that is a relation of Koll Neveshtan or the name of the movement). They want to become the new nobility, where the Red party wants to be rid of all nobility and have free criminal reign. Then there are the army, the eunuchs, the nobility, the merchants, and the witches and of course the Khandihan and the Crown Prince. Who thinks he can lead the army but won’t listen to advice enough to stand much chance against the Khas. The witches have some overreaching goal and ways to see that couples are formed were they want to, unnatural control over men. They protect women who have very few rights here.

So for the facts or what we know of them. Now I’ll jot down some thoughts before they are pushed from my head by yet more games, factions and new people.

I really wish I had taken the time to learn to play chess.

Joining one faction won’t fix things. If all the factions keep opposing each other the result will not be strong enough to withstand the Khas. Yet the scheming seems to be deeply ingrained.

If the Khas conquer Iss-Peran they will get so big that no nation will be able to stop them.

Perhaps we can use the alliance of kings to form a force in this mess. Create unity between at least a few factions and a neighbouring king might just be able to deal with the Crown Prince and make him listen. An actual fight might do him some good.

Coming back victorious from fighting the Khas with a big army would give us lots of leverage, but will probably take a year or two even if it does not fail.

There are unknown ways of using anea here. Dangerous, interesting.