Merrick Awareness 12
Merrick Awareness 12
Owain, Earl Roderick is back to practising his bow as you arrive
“I assume you mean to attend. That you are invited and I am not indicates a certain ‘under the table’ nature to the proposal, make sure you keep your wits”.
Owain, when you next leave the villa, the Iberian is gone, this is because he has started to shadow Merrick.
“Indeed. Our understanding of the situation here is sadly lacking since Lady Indeg’s passing, and attending such a dinner at least gives us a chance to fill in some gaps. I am concerned that I lack the skills to navigate such a function. The intrigues of court are fairly opaque to me, but if I at least keep my ears open and mouth shut I can report back to you later.”
“Have you been granted an audience with the King yet?” Owain enquires, prompted by seeing the Earl practice his courtly etiquette.
“Not yet, he will send for me in due time. For the moment, we can assume he is giving us time to recover from our journey, settle and prepare. If no audience is granted within a week, then we know games are afoot, but our first day here would be a little soon, as we have not declared our case to be urgent.”
(Well… If that is the worse thing to happen because of a fumble… Unless Merrick get knifed by the Iberian… )
(I would ask if they look like they are approachable, but with the fumble I think Merrick is unable to tell either way… Or is it that Merrick is distracted by the strange man who is now following him? Or maybe he does not see the strange man following him? )
He make quite sure you can see him! I don’t think the mercenaries do look particularly ‘approachable’, they are experienced soldiers, on guard duty, they are bored and glaring at any passers by.
(Thanks, now I know how to play this out. I am going to ‘turn into the skid’ on this fumble a bit… Assuming the fumble was picking up the Iberian as a tail. Hope that is OK.)
As he is walking through the gardens, Merrick gets a funny feeling and notices a strange person sitting on a bench near by. I think I have seen this person before… Is… is he following me? He thinks to himself.
Merrick decides to test the notion. He starts to approach the man, but then sees him disappear, then reappear as if by magic somewhere different. Puzzled and confused by his tail, Merrick decides to try and elude the strange man in the hat. After several minutes of walking, doubling back, and direct approaches; Merrick decides to give up and resolve to the fact he has an ‘admirer’.
During his attempts to thwart the strange man from shadowing him further, Merrick crossed through the area of patrol around the Villa belonging to Gaius a few times. When Merrick resolves himself to defeat to the strange man pursuing him, he sees a small group of Syagrius’ Mercenaries standing on guard. He decides he needs an answer to a question which has bothering him. He approaches and asks the group of the guards, “Sorry to bother you. I know you are within your rights to ignore me, but surely you have seen the man in the funny hat who has been following me… have you seen him before? Should I be concerned?”
That is an incorrect assumption, but I’m absolutely fine with everything!
You approach a pair of men standing either side of the door, and as you say “funny hat”, he furrows his brow, and in perfect Cymric, leans over to his colleague and says
“You seen anyone around here in a funny hat?”
“Oh, really, is he following this… gentleman… around”
“Certainly is, yep, I seen them together”
“I see, then this is something we should take seriously?”
They are both wearing great Cheshire cat grins. I think it’s at this point, you realise they are both Iberian themselves.
Merrick, realising he has put his foot firmly into his teeth, begins to back peddle his comments by lightly steepling his fingers together and quickly says, “Ahhh, I think there is a slight misunderstanding… When I said ‘funny’… I did not mean as in the hat was amusing or humorous, but rather that the hat was different from what I have seen before; and is rather quaint and charming… Obviously, a mistake for me to not have thought of my words more carefully before I spoke…”
They continue to grin
“It’s alright Sir, we understand, the person in a quaint and charming hat has been, shall we say harassing… threatening… the gentleman.”
“Absolutely, we really must take this seriously”
“Yes we must, do we have a name for this fellow in the f… quaint hat?”
“I think we do, I’ve only seen one person around here, looking fun… charming… this foreign Earl.”
“Rightio, let’s write it up.”
They make to disappear into the door they stood guarding, guffawing to themselves
For everyone else, there are no Iberians in the mercenaries, this was the fumble
If everyone has run out of ideas to get your task done, we can skip to your evening events?
(Sorry, the combination of busy at work and severe weather in the evenings I have been a bit delayed posting…)
Merrick raises an eyebrow as the men head towards the door they were guarding and thinks to himself: Are they taking the piss out of me?.. Well, I got what I needed from them and the Earl had said to not make trouble…
Merrick’s attention then turns to the task at hand. He heads back to the Earl to give a report of what he has discovered…
“So” the Earl is trying to choose between his finery, with an eye on which will allow him to bow without tearing “The soldiers are all green, and the veterans are nowhere to be seen, unless you count the mercenaries. I would very much like to know where the veterans are, but I suspect their whereabouts is not something Malahaut will be keen to share, if they will, it will be for the King to inform me, perhaps even by sealed letter to Uther. What’s more interesting is the soldiers loyalty to only one of the Lords, I would very much like to know why. Can you ingratiate yourself with this Tullus, find out why he has taken to paying the soldiers, are they not being paid by the crown?”
Merrick nods and replies, “Earl Roderick, I think I will need some ale and wine to help enact a plan I already had in mind to try and discover more from Tullus’ men… It is said the best information can be found by sharing stories… I am going to see if this old adage is true.”
“But, before I depart, I wish to tell you some theories I have of the situation. Granted, I am not one for the finery of court and not knowledgeable of the machinations of the upper nobility, as I do not desire such lofty ambitions; but I think there are several scenarios which may be occurring here…”
He lowers his voice, to display his sincerity on the subject, and continues, “I think there is a clear power struggle here… I am unsure of which might have the upper hand, but I think it shows whoever of the three Dominus’ has the most strength, that is the one the King will listen to when the time comes for any decisions… I am not sure the Crown of Malahaut has much if any in the way of finances to fund an army based on what seems to have been stripped from around us. Anything and everything of value has been taken away and I think what holds the King in power is respect and unity of mind. The situation here is teetering on the edge of a knife. Though it is clear the fear of attack in the city has wained, evidenced by the green soldiers and the bored mercenaries standing guard, I think all the veteran soldiers are out in the field preventing the Saxons from reaching the city. I do not think it can withstand another siege, but then again, I am not practised in this form of warcraft…”
“On initial observations, it may look as though Gaius with the mercenaries has the upper hand, as they would be more expensive to fund and we know there are mercenaries of the same company patrolling the borders. But this could be compensation for his position, a show of force. Tullus thinks it OK to station green soldiers in his third of the grounds. Perhaps he feels his status as Princeps is such he does not have to have experienced men guarding him. However, the third Dominus, Potitus, it appears there are no guards stationed in his third of the grounds. Are they hidden? Is he considered that little of a threat he does not worry to have guards at all? Or does he have the real strength at the moment and does not fear the other two… Hopefully, when I go to the villa of Tullus, I will be able to unravel some of this riddle.”
“But again, these are only theories from a simple soldier, and hopefully this information aids in your understanding of the current situation here…”
“Very good Sir Merrick. Take whatever beer and wine you need for your plan.”
(There is enough in your villa for 5-10 men to have sterile drinks for a couple of weeks, say 25 bottles of wine and 50 of beer - however, drink will need to be acquired if you take too much of it!)
Understanding supplies are low in a city so recently lifted of a siege, Merrick takes only enough to enact his plan, but not so much to hurt their own supplies. Two bottles of wine and three bottles of beer will be taken and he will head towards the Tullus villa.
(Happy to move on.)
(I am assuming Merrick’s plan is an ‘evening event’? If so, I am ready.)