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Lhynard
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Per Multiversum
Chapter 3 — The Cormyrean Embassy in Wa
Back at the indoor garden, the group returned to Sofi and Belvin, each of whom seemed to have been meditating. After they informed their two companions of what they had learned, Jayce said that he thought it best that he remain with the Frihet. "With Wa as protective as it is of its borders and with the power of their spelljamming fleet, we cannot risk using our spelljammer to travel to Wa. That means that I need to pilot the ship and look after our crew, as before, while you are off adventuring. I need a backup pilot, so Oma will have to come along with me, and Nargroth is the ship's cook."

   "What will you be doing while we are gone?" asked Solisar.

   "I will not be staying on Toril, not while the dragons have collectively lost their minds. I am sure that I can keep Ombert interested in a trade route between Bral and the halflings of Anadia. Remember, they have a formula for smokepowder as well."

   "Could he maybe find a way to trade something other than weapons of war?" said Leokas.

   "Anadia had medications also; we could look into that."

   "Will it be bothersome if I continue to travel along with the rest of you to Wa?" asked Sofi.

   "Of course not," said Szordrin. She smiled.

   "You should know that Wa does not look favorably on women, Sofi," Jayce explained. "They consider it 'immoral' if a woman walks in front of any man, for example."

   "I can walk in the back," said Sofi. "It will not bother me."

   "You could wear the magic hat that Onran left behind," suggested Szordrin.

   "No, thank you. I must rely on the power of my patron only and not rely on magical items. I have taken a vow."

   "Having a woman in our party may be the least of our concerns," said Hakam. "I will be the only pure human, and I do not look Kara-Turan at all. We shall all stick out like an eyesore to the people of Wa. We shall have to hope that the queen mother's letter sways the shogun."

   "What do we have left to do here before we set off through the portal then?" asked Leokas.

   "I want to examine the portal with magic before we pass through," said Solisar, "and then I want to spend some time learning what I can of basic Wa-an grammar from Lord Dauntinghorn. He said that he would meet me here in the atrium in a quarter of an hour when he also brings the portal key and the queen's letter to us."

   "How long will that take?" asked Szordrin.

   "I only need about an hour, I suspect, to learn the basics."

   "You can learn a new language in one hour!" Sofi exclaimed.

   "Not the whole language, of course," said Solisar, "but enough."

   "While you are doing that," said Belvin, "perhaps Maru can answer some more questions about Wa, so that we are better prepared."

   "We need to sell the rest of the leucrotta bones, if we can, to that pawn broker we passed yesterday," said Szordrin. "I can take care of that while Solisar sees to the portal."

   "Do you still have your rod of sending?" asked Hakam of Jayce. "If so, perhaps you could see if you could arrange a meeting with Captain Grak at some place safer than the Nelanther Isles for when we return."

   "I can do that," said Jayce.

   "Do you think that you could also check in with Mythlos," said Solisar. "See how he fares in Tethyr's army and find out, if you can, if his sword has been acting strangely. I still suspect that Yashiera's prophecy about Eldenser may somehow relate to Mythlos' moonblade."

   Jayce nodded.

   "I also want to know about the safety of my mother," said Leokas, "and of Cassiera in the High Forest. I know that its trees hide the lairs of many great wyrms."

   "Consider it done," said Jayce. "I assume that you will use the sending stones to contact Oma or me when you need us to return to Suzail to retrieve you."

   "Yes," said Szordrin. "Also, can you check to see if the rod of retracing has been repaired by the Consortium. It seems to be taking an especially long time."

   Jayce agreed. Then, Lord Dauntinghorn appeared. He handed them an official letter, with the seal of the infant king and the signature of the queen mother, and a wooden token imprinted with the symbol of House Obarskyr, not surprisingly, a dragon.

   "Meet back here in two hours," said Solisar. "Will that give everyone the time that they need to be ready?" The plan seemed satisfactory, so they parted ways.

~~~~


The leucrotta skeletons sold for 2,500 golden dragons at the Ring of Coins, the pawnshop that they had passed the day prior. (They avoided purchasing the stool that folded up into a walking stick and dragon masquerade costume that were pushed on them.)

   Maru could not be found at the Dragon's Jaws. Milo said that he only ever came for the competitions at night.

   Meanwhile, Solisar was led to the portal. It was a massive magical gate, made of yellow brass, erected in a hard-to-find courtyard deep in the Royal Court complex. With a small crystal and mirror, Solisar used his magic to examine it. The portal was still active and stable. It functioned in both directions, provided that someone passing through it had the wooden portal token. Gazing into the mirror, he saw a large open porch of hardwood, then an overgrown garden in a sort of courtyard, lit by the dim light of late afternoon. He saw no one moving about on the other side; it seemed quiet, empty, and peaceful.

   Afterward, Lord Dauntinghorn took him to a government library, where he was shown a number of record books taken from the embassy in Wa when the diplomats were expelled three years ago. Solisar spent about an hour with Malark learning some of the more common symbols in the syllabary and going over basic pronunciation and common grammar rules. Despite his fluency in so many tongues, Solisar had never learned a language even distantly related to Wa-an. Wa-an was also unrelated to the Trade Tongue, the "Common" of Kara-Tur. Solisar was fascinated to learn that Wa-an was a member of the Han language family, along with Kozakuran and Koryo. Koryo had a very distinct vocabulary from Wa-an, but Malark said that Kozakuran and Wa remained similar enough that the two peoples could usually communicate without issue. The ancient Han people group had been the original settlers of the Koryo Peninsula in Kara-Tur, which was north of Wa and east of the great Ama Basin. Seafarers from Koryo were the ancestors of the modern Wanese and Kozakuran peoples.

~~~~

Kytharrah, Hakam, Szordrin, Solisar, Belvin, Leokas, Sofi, and their three animals stepped through the portal. They felt nothing; they simply found themselves in another place. The light was dimmer, the sun had already set, and crickets were starting their sounds. The air was also cooler. They were thousands of miles east of Cormyr now and hundreds of miles north.

   As Solisar had earlier seen in his magic mirror, they were standing in a wide covered porch. Wooden walls framed them on three sides. The massive magical gate of brass stood behind them atop a hardwood platform, which was itself atop a foundation of tiled stone. The ceiling was supported by seven thick wooden beams.

   Kytharrah sniffed the air and took in the scents of foreign flowers and plants, as they stepped forward. Surrounding the stone foundation was an outer porch of wood, about five feet wide, with slender beams supporting the roof above it. They looked out into an overgrown courtyard, about 60 feet square. The embassy complex, all constructed of wood, surrounded the courtyard on four sides, with an opening to the south. Two stone-paved paths intersected in the center of the courtyard, dividing it into four quadrants. The two northern quadrants each had a cluster of strange trees growing in a circular stone plot. The southeastern quadrant had a calm pool and boulder, while the southwestern quadrant had a bed of gray sand and large rocks. All around these intentionally arranged pieces of natural art were thick weeds and ferns.

   The narrow wooden porch or veranda extended around most of the complex and was raised off the ground by about a yard. In fact, the whole structure of the complex was elevated off the ground on stilts. Tiny red spherical objects, seemingly made of paper were hanging from the eaves of the roof all around the courtyard at the edge of the veranda.

   Two steps led from the porch down into the courtyard, and the group proceeded down them and began to spread out to look around. Looking up, they saw that the complex was two stories high. Curved, sloped, and tiled eaves between the two stories extended over the veranda, and the second story too was topped with a sloping roof of dark tile. The second story of the northern wing of the complex rose higher than the other three sides.

   "It certainly looks like no one has been here in three years," noted Hakam, observing all the untended plant growth.

   "I think that these are lanterns of paper," said Solisar, upon examining one of the red balls. It had a circular opening at the top, and there was wax inside at the base.

   Belvin continued across the courtyard and stepped up two steps to the porch on the other side. The door before him did not swing open; instead, it slid smoothly to the side, apparently hanging from a grooved railing above the frame on the inside. Within was a large room, 30 or 40 feet in length. There was no furniture in the room, but it had a square hole in the hardwood floor, lined with stone and filled with what appeared to be ash. The pit of ash was surrounded by a large floor mat. Hanging directly over the ash pit from the high, open-raftered ceiling was a chain with a hook at the end, perhaps for hanging something over burning coals. He noted that the only windows, paned with glass, faced into the courtyard.

   Szordrin followed behind Belvin. On the south wall, he moved aside another sliding door and entered into a long narrow room lined on both sides with book shelves. The shelves, however, were completely empty. The diplomats apparently took their books back with them to Cormyr but left the bookshelves behind.

   Belvin stepped back outside and crouched low to examine one of the plants. These were of a kind not known to him in any of his travels.

   Kytharrah wandered north up steps unto a porch and then slid aside another door to enter the northern wing of the complex. He entered a large chamber. There was a large, square mat in the center and two smaller square mats in the far corners. Eleven wooden beams supported a balcony that looked down on him from a second story above. A flight of wooden stairs on his left ascended up to it. Directly ahead of him, on the opposite wall, hung a large tapestry. It depicted knights and cats, and thus was unmistakably Cormyrean in origin. A hallway extended from the western and eastern walls each.

   Szordrin exited the left wing and followed the stone path south between the gap in the southern wing. Stone steps led him to a smaller lower courtyard. Two benches were here, one on each side of the path, which turned sharply to the left to pass through an opening in the stone wall that surrounded this smaller courtyard.

   Solisar, Hakam, Sofi, and Leokas still stood in the center of the courtyard, watching the other three move around. Leokas was looking up at the darkening sky. The brighter stars were beginning to show. "We should probably stay together as a group," cautioned Solisar, but his companions did not seem to heed this. Hakam strolled back to the east and walked south along the veranda. Solisar then himself went north to look after Kytharrah.

   Belvin walked along the narrow porch and opened another door into the western wing. This revealed a small room with another sunken hearth and chain with a mat around them.

   In the north wing, Solisar and Kytharrah found a number of small rooms, probably diplomatic offices, each with a floor mat and a small table that was low to the ground. Solisar examined one of the small rooms more carefully to ascertain if anything had been left behind, but there seemed to be nothing remaining but the mat and low table.

   Hakam found what was likely a kitchen in the southern corner of the eastern wing. Three kegs were left behind, but they were empty. A door in the back of this kitchen led to an outdoor well and more abandoned barrels.

   Szordrin passed out of the wall around the smaller courtyard to enter a space between inner and outer walls, a bailey. The wall behind him had a small tiled roof on the outer side, and the southern wall of the bailey was also roofed. The path split here, one branch passing through the eastern wall of the bailey and the other heading west. He followed the western path between the two walls and passed under a series of paper lanterns hanging from a rope to reach another courtyard. Among the thick weeds were three tiny structures, two shacks with thatched roofs and a stone object that looked like a giant lantern. The two shacks each had only three walls. A hole in the floor revealed them to be outhouses.

   Solisar climbed a set of steps at the southwest end of the veranda and found himself on a roofed balcony overlooking the large inner courtyard, where Leokas, Belvin, and Sofi were now standing with the wolf and the camel.

   Szordrin returned back to where the stone path split and passed out of the second wall into yet another courtyard. To his left, there was a statue of a Cormyrean knight. To his right was a gate house in the outermost walls.

   Coming from beyond the gatehouse, he heard voices. He crept closer to the gatehouse, making sure not to be seen, and peeked outside. He saw two guards. They were wearing a kind of armor that he had never seen before, with metal plates woven into the fabric. The armor had a back and chest piece and a skirt to protect the lower body. Their helmets were sloped and pointed and had horns. When one of the guards turned to speak to his companion, Szordrin saw that he wore a mask that covered his lower face and was crafted to look like the face of a devil or demon. Each warrior carried a long pole arm that looked like a staff with a slightly curved sword attached at the end. (The weapon reminded Szordrin of Kytharrah's new pole arm, but it was not the same.)

   Szordrin heard Hakam approaching from behind and made hand motions that two figures were nearby. Above them from the balcony, Solisar moved to the southern side of the complex and was able to see his two companions and the two guards on opposite sides of the small gatehouse.

   The others began making their way after Hakam and Szordrin. Szordrin began to cast a spell to comprehend languages, but Hakam pulled him back so that he would not be spotted.

   "Did you buy any fish at Northern Market yesterday?"

   "Yes, it was especially cheap."

   "Yes, it was. That was why I asked. The fishermen must have found a bountiful catch this tenday."

   "The sea gods are favoring us."

   "Yes, they have."

   Such was the boring conversation of the two guards, who then fell silent again.

   Hakam spoke to his companions as they gathered in the bailey. "I suggest that I go out and speak to the guards by magic and show them the queen's letter," he whispered.

   No one objected, so the Calishite carefully passed through the gatehouse. Usually, such a tiny building would have had a guard on each side of where the path passed between, but these posts were empty.

   Hakam readied himself and cleared his throat to get the guards' attention, as they were facing the other way, guarding from someone entering the complex, not trying to exit it.

   They spun around and lowered their weapons. "Halt!" they said, and Szordrin and Hakam's magics translated the word to their minds.

   Beyond the guards was a road moving east to west and on the other side a wooden wall with a sloped roof. To the east, the road passed under a red-painted, ornamental wooden gate and down a ramp to a lower part of the city.

   Hakam tried to calm the guards with his words. "I come with an official message for the shogun from the queen mother of the Kingdom of Cormyr. We have discovered information that your government may find useful, and we humbly request an audience. We intend to remain here in our embassy until our message can be delivered."

   The two guards glanced at one another with confusion in their eyes. "Was not the embassy empty?" "Where did they come from?"

   "The embassy was empty," said Hakam, "but we have traveled here by powerful magics."

   At this point, a peasant, pushing a wheelbarrow and heading home for the night, passed by on the street. One of the guards called out to him. "You there! Yes, you! Let go your wheelbarrow and come here."

   The poor man, looking terrified, immediately obeyed. "What did I do?"

   "Leave your things here and go, summon a messenger from the castle. Say that the bushi at the old embassy need a message delivered at once."

   "Yes!" said the man, and he rushed off.

   Then followed an awkward silence where the demon-masked guards stared at Hakam and said nothing.

   Five minutes passed, and a similarly armored man, though without a mask, ran up. Hakam held out the queen's letter to them. "The letter is written in the Common tongue of Faerûn," said Hakam. "Will that be a problem? I can dictate the message to you, if there is no translator to be found."

   "The palace will have a translator," replied one of the warriors. They took the letter and handed it to the third man, who turned and darted away. The peasant now arrived back at his wheelbarrow and kindly asked if he would be permitted to return to his home now. They gave their permission.

   "The shogun's ministers will respond when they will respond," one of the guards said to Hakam. "It is not permitted for foreigners to enter our city. You shall have to remain within until a reply comes to us in the morning."

   Hakam nodded. "We shall respect your laws. Be cautioned, however, that it is only by magic that I am able to speak your language now. Such powers of mine are fleeting. I may not be able to understand immediately if you summon us in the morning."

   The guards looked at each other and then one of them answered back. "We or someone else will be here at all hours. We shall not summon you; we shall wait for you to come out to us to see if a reply has been sent."

   "So that you are aware," said Hakam, "there are seven of us in total. All of us shall remain on the premises."

   The men at the gate nodded.

   Hakam returned to his companions. It was getting dark now. "We should rest for the night. We shall not have an answer until morning."

   "Should we set a guard?" asked Szordrin. "What if the shogun sends soldiers to take us by force?"

   "The fact that they still have guards here watching an empty embassy three years later says to me that they are respecting Cormyrean territory," said Hakam.

   "Could we just return to Cormyr through the portal and come back in the morning?" asked Szordrin.

   "We should at least leave a person behind in case the guards call for us," said Belvin.

   "By my words, I said that all of us would be remaining here tonight," said Hakam.

   Solisar created light, and Kytharrah withdrew the never-ending torch from one of the magic sacks. They found that the second story of the north wing was full of sleeping quarters, six in all, each with floor mats, one or two sleeping pads, and a dresser with drawers. It was almost like an inn.

   Gazing out the windows of these rooms, they could look down onto the sprawling city of Uwaji. Its streets were lit with the red glow of its paper lanterns, and this red light reflected off the endemic tiled roofs of every building. They saw now that the entire embassy complex was build atop a steep, sloped stone embankment, an artificial hill built higher than the lower city.

   "The lanterns are beautiful," said Sofi. "It reminds me of the street lights in Sigil at night."

   One of the six bedrooms, however, was the exception to the others. This was the room in the northwestern corner, and it had a "western-style" bed with a wide mattress in a frame. The same room also contained two dressers, a desk, a large oil lamp on the floor, and a metal chest.

   Szordrin crouched down to examine the chest. It was locked, but he got out his lock-picking tools and set to work on the mechanism. It took him a full two minutes, but at last there was an audible click, and he lifted open the cover, as the others looked on with interest.

   First, Szordrin lifted out a very expensive looking chess set. The pieces were made of jade and obsidian. The pawns looked like little three-eyed, horned ogres, and the king and queen wore noble kimonos. The knights were mounted samurai with katana raised, and the rooks were pagoda-style towers.

   Second, he removed a small mahogany box. Opening it revealed a set of calligraphy brushes and inking stones.

   The final item in the chest was a woman's parasol, made of paper and delicate tubing.

   None of the items had a magical aura, but Kytharrah could smell perfume on the parasol.

   Hakam got out Onran's letter box and opened it. "Kytharrah, can you smell the ink on these letters and see if it matches the smell on those stones?"

   Kytharrah was delighted to help, and indeed, he thought that the inks were definitely the same.

   "This is her calligraphy set then," said Solisar.

   "And we know that she played chess with her superior," said Hakam.

   "There are enough rooms for all of us," said Sofi. "I know that it is hours later than it was in Cormyr, but shall we each find a room and rest?"

   "Leokas and I shall take first watch, in the courtyard," said Belvin. "I want to examine all the new herbs and plants that I have never before seen."

   Szordrin claimed Yunoko's old room with the large bed. Sofi and Solisar took the two rooms next to that, although Solisar simply used his magic to create an extradimensional space from that room as he usually did. Hakam and Kytharrah headed to the northeast corner of the complex, beyond the balcony overlooking the room with the tapestry, and settled there. (Kytharrah picked a room with two sleeping pads, so that he could push them together.) Belvin and Leokas went downstairs with Kytharrah's torch, where their animals were already lounging.

   It was rather peaceful in the courtyard of the abandoned embassy. Belvin remained fascinated by plants that he had never seen before, and Leokas was captivated by new constellations overhead in the cloudless night sky.

   Belvin noticed something white and mistlike float past in the corner of his vision. It had moved over the western veranda and then vanished in the corner among the overgrowth.

   He tossed a pebble at Leokas to get his attention back from the stars and then motioned that something had moved in the corner and to be quiet. Leokas drew an arrow.

   Quietly and carefully, the two moved together from the center of the courtyard to the northwestern corner, around one of the planted clusters of trees and through a bunch of ferns. Sif lagged behind, tail between her legs, as if she could sense that something was amiss.

   They could see nothing in the small corner that was about fifteen feet square. Leokas stooped down and investigated the ground carefully. There was no indication at all that any of the plants or the grass had been recently disturbed; there were no tracks of any kind.

   "Are you certain that you saw something?" whispered Leokas in Elven.

   "Certain," said Belvin.

   Leokas stood back up to his full height.

   Suddenly, from the north wall, a being floated through the wood. They saw the transparent figure of a woman in a short white kimono. She was hovering in air, arms held out from her sides. Her face was expressionless, but the incorporeal skin was bluish, as if drained of blood. At her hip was a small curved sword in what appeared to be a wooden sheath, though it too was insubstantial.

   The ghostly being also carried a woman's folding hand fan. With a sudden snap of the wrist, the fan unfolded, and the apparition swung the edge of the fan at Leokas. Leokas' superb reflexes spared him any harm, as he bent back at the waist. The sharp edge of the war fan swished by, just missing his neck.
Session: 122nd Game Session - Monday, Oct 12 2020 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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