It looks as if not much happened, but Koll Neveshtan took up a lot of time and energy.
The trip to Tilis was uneventful, except for the occasional dry spell. It continued to rain all the way to Essle. We were more subdued than usual, although I do not know if this was because of the weather or the impending war. Probably both.
When we arrived, there were pleasant surprises waiting for us along with dry clothes. Moyri was there and she looked completely recovered (I have my doubts now, though, and you will see why later) and on top of that Uznur had some use of his left arm again. Enough to put his arms around Moyri. That evening we had the obligatory banquet. It was a small enough affair and we watched the children play with each other.
The next morning a messenger arrived, asking us to visit Koll Neveshtan as soon as possible. It turned out he did not have long to live and he knew it. We took a small guard there and Athal made sure we were not casually noticed. We went though a long entrance, where we first left our guard behind and then the provided replacement, and finally we were escorted to his room by a female clerk and a young woman who looked to be on her way to becoming a dandar. We exchanged greetings and talked about the situation at hand until he came to his point.
His point was the situation in Albetire with Koll Konandé on the throne. And he did not like that at all. He was not unhappy with how the situation was resolved in general, but his nephew was the wrong man for the position. Naturally we completely agreed. In Valdis I had had information that Koll Neveshtan might be in league with our high priest of Mizran to subvert and control trade in Valdis, but that does not match my experience with him first-hand, though he is of course very capable of making deals that others might find unpleasant.
He had a solution for the problem: put Moyri and Uznur on the throne. When the first implication of that idea seeped though, Moyri’s heart could not take it and she collapsed. A doctor was called immediately, but it took a quarter of an hour before she arrived and brought her back. I wish I had known what to do. Clearly Moyri does not want to submit her children to life in the palace in Albetire. The idea had merit, though, and Moyri suggested Fian, the Nusan who was chasing Halla quite unsuccessfully. We imagined him marrying Zahmati and Roushan. There is a war going on between the palace and the Valdyan territories in Albetire. I would have liked to leave such matters to the people there, but that seems not to be going so well. If Fian, with the help of our recommendations and his own charm, can persuade them and they prevail, then Albetire could become the firm ally we wanted all along.
Given Koll Neveshtan’s health, this was not the moment to look into dealings in Valdis, but for the future I asked him who his heir would be. He chose not to answer. We left together with the doctor to get Moyri some medication. And she insisted on paying for it herself, instead of Koll Neveshtan. Athal returned shortly after we did. It seems that there are even more soldiers who want to join in the war, and so even more food and ships and such are needed. And it all costs money, but they have taken care of that for now.
Somewhere during the day, Moyri suggested visiting the poor parts of Essle. Even though there are so many people living there, I know of none that have wanted to join the war. Perhaps they do not care, but the adventure should at least appeal to some. She said there is a devide and that they don’t feel part of Valdyas anymore. So we should make an effort to show that the king and queen have not forgotten about them. I was being doubtful, and I think Moyri thought I did not agree, when in fact I thought It wasn’t enough. Showing the will and all is a good thing, but quickly forgotten in such squalid surroundings. I wanted to do more. I wanted to found a school at each place we visited. Nothing fancy, but a place for children to learn their numbers, to read and write. That way they could build a better future for themselves or even pass these skills on. I hope that the schools are a success and that they will sprout more similar places and new teachers.
So we made plans. First we called on Radan, to see if the Guild of the Nameless was more connected in these parts, but even they seem to have few connections there. He suggested the priestesses of Naigha, who are already doing some of this work, so we asked for the high priestess next. She was willing to help, but had little help and fewer resources. I suppose not many do in the face of over five hundred times a thousand people to teach. Soon after the rest of the council arrived and we must have had dinner again. Plans were made: the priestesses found writing materials, the council arranged for wood and nails and canvas and people to put it all together. I will teach a first lesson and hand out certificates stating that they were taught by the queen. Athal will talk to the men and Moyri to the mothers. At least that is the plan.
One more thing of interest happened, or rather did not happen. Aidan was there and so was the Mighty Servant. Aidan knew what happened when Khora first entered Essle, of course, and he didn’t quite know how to handle himself. The high priest did not seem to notice anything though. Moyri did. She took me apart out of concern for Rhaye who still loved the Mighty Servant. She said how it did not seem natural. Under a seal I admitted that it wasn’t and gave her the short version of what had happened. We then called Dushtan to ask if she could undo it, but she said that it would probably break his heart.
Things to do::
- Ask Moyri or Dushtan what to do if it happens again.
- Visit the camp where soldiers are trained before they go to war and see where they plan to put up the wounded returning.