Post by Space Cowboy on Dec 23, 2018 11:11:01 GMT
The merchant, Kerdrick Dunnharg, was predictably smooth, and at least respected protocol, speaking firstly and foremost to Liha. Roshek listened, but kept his eyes on the goings on away from their table, while Oerik chimed in on the discussion of the surface roads, and their safety. He particularly enjoyed watching the pompous chevalier attempting to complain to Lord Rainier. Sabina, having made the introductions she wanted to, left the dwarves to speak.
"If I may ask the lords," Kerdrick said to Liha, all the while looking at Oerik, a patrol of legionnaires along the roads would help to ensure that—"
"Legionnaires stay in the Deep Roads," Oerik pointed out, "surely surface mercenaries may perform that task with more efficiency? Durk?"
"But my lord, mercenaries are expensive, if we were to go that route, we would require some sort of stipend to cover the costs..."
Oerik laughed, "You want us to cover the cost of hiring mercenaries?"
"My company has reasonable rates." Durk chimed in with an offer.
"Well, it's that or..." Kerdrick began before Roshek raised a hand, silencing him. "I'm sorry, my lords, I forget myself." Addressing Liha again, he continued. "Perhaps we could come to some sort of agreement, cost sharing or..."
It was during this conversation that Roshek observed a bit of a commotion on the other side of the room. First Lord Aehrenthal was called away, then a few other important guests. He nudged Oerik to gain his attention. The conversation fell silent as they waited to see what was going on. Finally Aehrenthal's Master of Ceremonies asked that all the guests remain in the ballroom,until further notice. The Human lord who had placed his horses on their ship on the way over. Lord Oswyn, the name was, he thought, was then called away, perhaps to discuss whatever the commotion was about. His elven companion and a human retainer joined him, as they followed the servant to a back room.
"Hmph," Roshek grunted. "Wonder what that's about. I'm not willing to be kept here indefinitely until they deem it acceptable to leave."
Oerik nodded. "Yes, we should find out what's going on."
After some time, Lord Oswyn and the other human, Jasce, returned, without their third, Roshek noted. Oerik leaned forward, speaking to Durk, "Go, speak to the Human lord, let him know we are curious what the commotion is. Offer our aid, if it will help loosen his tongue."
Roshek nodded in assent, not that Durk was waiting for it. The mercenary nodded and walked off, leaving the Deshyrs and Liha with the merchant.
*** Durk's POV
Durk had mixed feelings about leaving the presence of the Deshyrs, as well as the merchant to negotiate with them. It was an opportunity for his mercenary company, should they agree to hire protection, but on the other hand, negotiations among nobles bored him. Far more interesting to see what the commotion was among the surfacers. Negotiations for future contracts, should they even happen, could wait.
He approached the Human nobles, Oswyn Sighard and a retainer named Jasce. Jasce could have been mistaken for the noble's second, had Durk not been more familiar with how Human politics worked than his Orzammar employers.
Offering a short bow towards Oswyn, he asked, "Excuse me, my lords, may we speak?"
Jasce recognised Durk and gave a glance towards Oswyn, before saying. “You are working for the Deshyrs from Orzammar are you not?”
Oswyn nodded his agreement with the statement and gave a friendly smile. ”I remember you from the ship. I don’t recall being given a name, though.”
“Durk Hirral, my lord, of the Swords of Amgarack mercenary company. We operate out of Ferelden, but I was hired to aid the Deshyrs on this trip.” Durk replied. Didn’t hurt to offer some hint at availability in the future.
“I have to admit you’ve provided us with a great deal of entertainment with your bronto,” Oswyn continued in genial tone. “Naturally we’re all in favour of allowing it. Not only does it help our allies but it has unsettled the Orlesians. I look forward to seeing how they will cope when faced with it in the arena.” His demeanour became more serious. “Still, I sense that is not why you came to speak with us. Please, how may we help?”
Durk chuckled. “Thank you, my lord. Yes, the bronto will surely have some tongue wagging.” he grew more serious. “But yes, that isn’t why I’m here. The Deshyrs were wondering what the fuss was, and whether we could offer aid in some way.”
Oswyn’s face grew thoughtful as though considering the matter. There was a glance and silent appeal to Jasce, who nodded his approval. Oswyn lowered his voice and moved closer to Durk.
“Since our parties arrived at the same time yesterday, I think you are no more likely to be involved with what happened than we were. Still, I would request your discretion about revealing to anyone outside of the Deshyrs what I’m about to tell you. The Qunari delegation have been murdered, all of them, and I have been asked to investigate the incident as an impartial outsider. It appears to have been done by magic but my companion, Ellas, is currently checking this out. Nevertheless, even if the weapon was magic, that doesn’t rule out someone else commissioning the deed. It has even been suggested to us that the dwarven merchants could have enough of a grudge against the Qunari to have done so. I notice you have been talking with what I assume are leading surface dwarves in the city. Would you say there is any justification for directing suspicion towards them?”
Durk scratched his beard, and weighed the options. The suggestion that Kerdrick might be behind the murders was almost laughable, were it not for the serious nature of the query. Finally he shook his head. “No, I don’t see that as being very likely. The fellow speaking to us wants free help from Orzammar to protect his shipments. No way he would spring for some sort of magical assassin, if he won‘t even hire a team of guards.” He glanced towards the Dwarves table. “You can count on me for discretion, as well as the Deshyrs, of course.”
Oswyn nodded. “I didn’t seriously entertain the idea. To be honest, I’d hardly have thought murdering their envoys would make Qunari more likely to leave the caravans alone but rather the opposite. Still I had to be thorough if those in charge here are going to accept my findings. If you should hear anything you think might be relevant whatever the source, I’d be grateful if you would let me know.”
Durk nodded in agreement. The murder was not likely to make them more friendly to non Qunari. “Of course, my lords. In fact, if there is any particular direction you’d like me to explore, I can arrange it.”
“Thank you, I may hold you to that. Give my compliments to the Deshyrs. I dare say I’ll see them watching proceedings once the competition begins in earnest tomorrow.”
Durk took his leave of the human lord, and returned to the deshyrs. The merchant had already moved on, either satisfied with his attempt at negotiation, or not. Durk signalled them all, including Liha, to lean in close, and explained about the murders.
“Then why are they keeping us here?” Roshek asked, “They can’t suspect us.”
“No, my lord. In fact, the Fereldens are leading the investigation, and recognise us as fellow outsiders to the quarrels some of the others have with the Qunari. They may want our help, and I’ve offered it.”
“Good,” Oerik replied, “We can offer what help we can, if and when it comes up.” he added, glancing at Roshek, who nodded. “In the meantime, I take it we are still not allowed to leave?”
“Yes, for now,” Durk said, “It’s worth mentioning as well, the Fereldens seem to be as amused as we are at the reaction by the Chevaliers to our bronto.” Both deshyrs chuckled at that.
It was another twenty minutes or so before they finally received some information from those leading the investigation.
The Captain of the Guards appeared at the private entrance and beckoned over the Master of Ceremonies. As he spoke to him, the Master of Ceremonies nodded his understanding. The Captain moved off round the room to give his soldiers their instructions, whilst the Master of Ceremonies called for the attention of the room and then made his announcement.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Lord Aehrenthal thanks you for your patience and forbearance but need detain you no longer. He wishes you a good journey.”
“Good,” Roshek said, “Let’s get out of here. It’s been a long night.”