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Got closing shifts the next couple days so I can get a few posts in early and skirt the active hours. Would have run sooner, but have been helping out with the family since my father's managed to tear up the tendons in his leg. Nevertheless, lets have a good one.

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Lamia%20Legacy%20Quest
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LamiaLegacy
Opening Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCQmQwKEEOM
Story Thus Far: https://pastebin.com/WT9ayv5n
Season: Spring

Money: 5265

Sasha: Skill list
Ranching +4
Scholar +3
Marksmanship +6
Natural Ability (Lamia) +3
Intrigue +4
Casting (Draconic+4 Roc+3 Leviathan+3 Troll+1 Elemental+1)
Falconry +2

You rouse slowly from your slumber, but once aware of your surroundings you make a mad dash to your office. It's been a couple days since your return, and apparently that's all the time Serrak's men needed to offload your haul of silk. Late the previous night, you were just about turning in when a knock at the door revealed Serrak's cart drover and one of his other goons, carrying a chest between them. They handed you a pair of folders, explaining that the first was a receipt, showing the sales records of them offloading the silk. The second they didn't elaborate on, but said it was from Serrak himself regarding your 'request' from a few days prior. Deeming it too late to dive into the rather hefty files, you have them lug the chest into the study, and send them on their way with some of Tai's leftovers. You do hazard a peak into the chest itself, and are met with the sight of Isens galore. You closed it with some care, and transferred the padlock from your father's strongbox to it before easing your way out of the room, careful not to disturb the small sleeping fae spirit that seemingly has claimed the couch in the study and the quilt that you provided her the first night back.
Entering the room this morning, however, Purobka's advisor is nowhere to be seen. If you had to guess, you suspect the she's down bothering the beastfolk again. Nevertheless, you focus on the files tucked underneath the chest. Flipping through the first, you find that the estimate that the drover gave you about the profit margin of the silk was generous, though not by much. Instead of the "ten thousand, easy." the totals came out to be 9600 Isens of profit. There is a small note in what looks to be Serrak's handwriting saying that the lack of phoenix activity is a double edged sword, as prospective buyers were more willing to wait for a possible easing of tensions between the UFK and the Phoenix Empire than they expected. Regardless, with the 60-40 split, that's 3840 isens more than what you had yesterday, and puts your spending cash at a confident five thousand two hundred and sixty five. You set yourself to counting the money, taking more than a little pleasure at burying your hands into the chest of cash.

Everything is accounted for, and you've got to hand it to Serrak, he made off with the lion's share, but you've gotten a damned fine return on what amounted to a couple weeks of babysitting. Looking over to the other folder, you can see it marked "Requested Merchant Dossiers." Figuring by the size of the folder its a whole days worth of data to extrapolate, you pause, wondering if that's truly your next order of business.

>You've yet to hear from Veles, and you need him for your outpost endeavors. Go seek him out.
>See what Serrak's lined up for you and your beastfolk. (Specify armaments you're looking for.)
>Check on the ranch itself.
>See what Serrak's lined up for you and your beastfolk (Lever-Action Muskets chambered in the same cartridge the Nitor use (.45-70 Govt.))
Pic related

We can talk to Veles later. We're always going to want out men outfitted properly.
You know what needs to be done, pulling back your father's chair, you nestle yourself into it and begin devouring the information Serrak's given you. You do confirm that the note in the receipt folder is his handwriting, as he's compiled abbreviated notes on the five "merchants" he's singled out.

Three you can discount right away. Bulk mercantile sellers that decided to branch into munitions. Their selection is limited and, in truth, what they do offer is not much better than what you already have. One is even laughably marketing itself as a 'frontiersman special' and has a blunderbuss as its featured item. The remaining two, however, are much more promising. Both claim to have access to repeaters chambered in munitions you know the Nitor use and offer full package kit outs.

The first is the a company known as Standish Standoffs, owned by a lower ranking member of the largely superfluous nobility of the UFK. Guy Standish, Regent lord of a small stretch of land near Bronze Peak, who has a love of long range marksmanship and even more love for collectible firearms. Serrak's notes list the man as a pompous, arrogant, and altogether unpleasantly blunt individual who nevertheless has an immaculate eye for detail and to his knowledge, has yet to have a complaint leveled against him about the quality of his merchandise. Looking through a faded brochure Serrak's contacts have scrounged up, you see that he sells 'the complete package' which means that to acquire a firearm to your own specifications, you'd be bundling in cases, ammunition, kits, and one of a selection of 'uniforms' dyed to a color of your choice. Doing some mental math, you wager with shipping you're looking at 3000 isens to outfit your men. Pricey, but with the guarantee that 'a Standish Standoff Representative will personally make sure your selection reaches your domicile, come what may.'

The other one has no brochure, nor any official literature, just more of a series of notes and inquiries Serrak has put in to a mysterious figure known as Jay. Jay apparently specializes in acquisitions and shipment. You suspect less than legal means given the vague description, but Serrak's notes list him more as a "discreet shipping service." From what you can tell, the man revels in the logistics of complex orders and charges a nominal fee, usually a few isens above cost to get product where it needs to go. The caveats here, however, are that the product in question must not be legally dubious, and that the shipments may come in piecemeal over a long period of time. That said, judging from your expenditures, enlisting his services for just the rifles would run you 2000, and you'd likely have to procure ammunition from another source.
Serrak's notes are carefully neutral about the people, but you can tell there is a bit of personal distaste he has for Standish. You sit back, wondering what you should do. If you went with Standish, you'd likely have the men kitted out prior to your next sojourn into the wastes, however that'd just about eat up all the profit from your last run, and you've still a few constructions you'd like to complete at the ranch itself. With Jay you'd have a lot more money to play around with, but who knows when the full kit is going to arrive?

>Splurge on your men and go with Standoff
>Play it cautiously and go with Jay.
>None of these seem worthwhile.
It's only 1000 isens less to go with Standish, and for that, we get the whole package and a bit of time to get everyone trained with their new equipment.
That seems quite worth wile, and while it will eat most of our earnings, we'd still be ahead overall, and with a fighting force that can easily take on a force thrice their number that is using single-shot breach-loaders, and can likely even take on a force 5 times their number of melee oriented fighters.

>Splurge on your men and go with Standoff

The money is pretty, but we know that a storm is brewing. A fighting force that can share ammo with the Nitor is a good thing.
(how much more to order just the rifle and cleaning kit for ourselves? Sure, our rifle's served us well, but it would be nice to have a bit more power in our shots. Plus, it's only 2 rounds less than our carbine)
*It's only 1000 isens more to go with Standish
You weigh the immediate savings and resultant hassle of Jay's discreet shipping against the elevated cost of Standish. In your eyes, the opportunity cost you'd have to burn waiting on partial shipment after partial shipment far outweighs the advantage of a quick bulk delivery. Sure, it'd raise a few eyebrows, but the ability to habituate the beastfolk with a new means of force projection is too good a deal to pass up.

Mind made up, you partition out your expected payment in the lock box and seal it before pulling out the papers for the brokerage firm in Snake's Landing your father used for shipments. Riverport would probably be a quicker way to route the items through, but given the military cordon you anticipate people eying your shipment should it head through that town. Finishing off the paperwork, you head downstairs to see if Marie is available to do a quick fly to South Fork to find a courier.

As luck would have it, you see her attempting to wrangle the younger beastfolk and Purobka's advisor, who's ingratiated herself with the youths as they aren't as inclined to take a swipe at the fae while she indulges in the curiosity she's shown towards Zhou's people. You've half a mind to try and handle the situation yourself, but Tai's sounding of the lunch bell puts paid to that plan. Moving out of the way of the mad scramble to the house, you pull Marie aside and explain your plan. She's all for it, eagerly taking the paperwork and snatching a sandwich on the way out. Watching her depart, you wonder to yourself where the time went, as already half the day has passed.

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And because I forgot, you did add to the inquiry in regards to kitting yourself out. You expect it to run ~220 additional.
Worth it. We can mount our crystal in the new rifle too.

Lunch, then talk to Veles.
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Not one to refuse a meal, you head back towards the house. Tai's taken to a new tactic when it comes to meals. He'll double up on the size of breakfast, giving plenty of leftovers to tide the crew over for lunch while he devotes more time to the dinner menu. You're not one to complain, especially since cooled pancakes and sausage are as good a sandwich as the real thing. In any case, you do have the presence of mind you scoop a good amount of the remaining leftovers to act as tribute for your next aim.

Letting McCain know about the possible incoming weapon shipment you head around to the rear of the house where Veles set up that gateway for you. You're a little surprised the old snake hasn't been by to visit you, or at the very least bum a few meals off of Tai. Slithering through, you note Veles hasn't been in the gateway room for a little bit, as dust is starting to collect. Somewhat worriedly, you move through the rookery, giving Daisy her obligatory pat on the head before descending into his lair.

At least he's awake this time, you spy Veles standing over one of his workbenches lost in thought. Looking over the threshold you see at the very least your note is gone, so he must have seen it. Eventually your presence catches his attention and the old snake turns toward you. <Oh, hello Sasha. What brings you here today?>

>Ask him what he's working on.
>See if he can accompany you on your next trip south to set up a gateway.
>>Ask him what he's working on.
>>Ask him what he's working on.
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<Something catch your fancy?> You ask, moving up towards the workbench he's currently slaving over.

<As a matter of fact yes.> He produces a metal contraption with a suspended iron bar. <I was looking to make a ley line dowsing rod. It would make things far less taxing than scrying. However...> He trails off as the iron bar twitches limply back and forth.

<I'm guessing its not supposed to do that?>

He shakes his head, <Not in the slightest. It's supposed to face the flow of the line, and then when it reaches a local foci the end will tip down.>

<Are your crystal compass devices doing the same thing?>

He rummages around in the next workbench over and produces the tiny prototype he had shown you before. <No, I had wondered, but since this is tethered to a rune that one places it is largely unaffected by ley lines. What worries me about this new thing is that the line is fine, there is magic there, but its without direction. Normally they have a flow, for lack of a better word. Right now it seems the line is stagnant for the most part.>

<For the most part?> You say, not seeing the angle he's getting at.

<There are brief periods, a few minutes at most, where the line reactivates, but theres no rhyme or reason for it. A week ago it was pointing south, and then the last couple times it's now pointing north into your valley.>

>Try and help him puzzle that out. (1d20+3 Scholarship roll)
>Get to the original point of your visit. Ask about the gateways.
Rolled 2 + 3 (1d20 + 3)

>Try and help him puzzle that out. (1d20+3 Scholarship roll)
We are a nerd as well as a merchant.
Rolled 12 + 3 (1d20 + 3)

Not a good one, though.
(Second roll in case no-one else shows up to)
Forgot to mention this, but make sure that the uniforms are mostly brown with greens where one would add accents. (if the uniforms are even 2-tone)

You move over to the workbench he's set himself up at. Scattered across it are various notes scribbled inside one of the old notebooks you had given him. Deciphering his notes takes a bit of doing as he begins to shift between languages as he tries to describe concepts in a manner he feels adequate. The end result is the same though, for the past few weeks he has been detecting a current flowing through the ley lines originating from deep in Krasick held territory.

Flipping through notes, you can see Veles entertain a number of theories, however the one that he seems to settle on is that it is some sort of directional signal and he is only observing one component of it. Judging by that, he seems to have created two sets of maps of the area, one assuming the direction is traveling clockwise and the other counter clockwise as time passes. However one thing strikes you as odd. The counterclockwise extrapolation, if you were to go by the map, has a line passing near Bralin the same day you returned to collect your caravan after your visit to Purobka. Acting on this hunch, you try and remember the route you took on your way home. Each ray on this map he had created almost overlaps some place you had went through. You mentally shift the origin point from Veles' estimation a bit further out, and it would appear that his projection lines up perfectly. You're actually rather impressed at how a hermit up in the mountains with a bit of magically charged steel on string was able to figure all this out with naught more than a homemade slide rule and time to puzzle at it. The realization of what you've uncovered worries you, though.

One way or the other, the Krasick have found some means to track you.

Relay what we've gleaned to Veles. Though, it could be the Leviathan or similar watching us in its sleep. This is unlikely, but also plausible.
<Something is tracking me.> You state, holding up his counterclockwise projection. He watches silently as you draw a rough image of your route and superimpose his data over the top.

<That seems convincing enough.> He says looking over the sheet, <Any idea who it could be?>

<First though is the Krasick. I'm probably under their scrutiny for the shenanigans I pulled at Purobka.> Noting his curious glance, you fill him in on the details of your search for Purobka's advisor. Mid explanation another possible cause comes to mind. <Call it a wild guess, but would that leviathan be able to do that?>

He shakes his head. <Tanak is truly massive, but his resting place is beneath the western mountains. If the source of this disturbance was him, it would not be coming from the plains.>

You frown <Then it has to be the Krasick then.>


<Damn, ok. Well that might put paid to my plan to set up a gateway in Purobka.> He looks at you curiously, <That is, if you were amenable to the proposition.>

<I see no issue with it.> He says.


He smiles, <Thanks to the efforts of the Phoenix, I do currently have a freed up gateway. I severed the connection it had to their hidden cove some time afterwards. A private way to bypass the badlands into Casimiran territory could have its advantages.>

<But the Krasick tracking me...> You trail off.

<Will try and track you regardless. Better it be on their side of the mountain than yours. When do we leave?>

<Oh.. well, I've got a new shipment of arms for the beastfolk coming in. Not sure how long it'll take since it'll be coming from the mainland.>

<Well, when you are ready you'll know where to find me. Now, with the mysterious signal problem mostly solved I've suddenly gained much more free time. Was there anything else you needed from me Sasha?>

Rolled 10 + 2 (1d20 + 2)

Play/Train with Daisy.
(roll for Falconry)
Honestly, we need to get around to setting up a rook for her at the ranch.

<I think I'll take some time to work with Daisy.> You say, not thinking anything else pressing at the moment.

<Understood. I will keep my eyes open for these signals. Now that I know what they are looking for I can look into tracing them.> He says, turning towards another set of workbenches.

<You can do that?>

<I did it when those Phoenix tried to tamper with my portal. This isn't much removed from that. The principles remain the same. Be sure to call on me once you decide to head back south.> He says over his shoulder. Figuring on letting the old snake get some free time, you head up to the rookery and collect Daisy. Bird and gauntlet in hand, you and the falcon slip through the gateway and back into the ranch. Safely on the other side of the portal, you head up towards the hill your father is buried on to give you a nice clear view of the surroundings.

A lot of today's training is reinforcement. Running through the drills and routines you've already established with the bird, mostly to check retention as it was some time since your last sessions with her. You do however entertain the idea of setting Daisy up with a rookery on your own property. It'd make training a lot easier, and mean that she'd be far more available in the times you'd need her. However you can think of a couple of issues. Firstly is acclimating her, which while doable, would take some commitment to effectively change what she considers home. The other, is differentiating acceptable targets, you enjoy eggs far too much to have the hawk nail your hens.

You find that Daisy's remembered her training well and you're satisfied enough with her progress that you figure you can attempt to socialize her a bit more than the lazy arcs she did around your party in the Casimiran lands. Returning down the slope, you can see four areas of activity around the ranch.

Near the bunkhouse, it looks like Zhou is running his tribesmen through rifle drills, and off to one side you can see the youths watching attentively. Purobka's advisor is amongst the youths with Artyom looking on from a distance.

The next bit of motion you spy is Marie and McCain, the little harpy must have just returned from running your missive and has returned to the ranch. Her and McCain are in the redoubt, working on something within the fortifications.

Inside your house, you spy Tai, Tatiana, Liama, and a couple of her men having an animated discussion about something as well. Looking further towards the treeline, you can just make out the other two shadows stalking the perimiter of the compound.

The last bit of activity is something strange, as you can see a couple of Serrak's workmen fiddling about over by the bridge. Not really a cause for alarm, but you'd figure that they were done with that particular project.

>Where to?
It would be more fun to go to the redoubt, but I want to know what the workers are doing with the bridge.
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As much as you want a status report on Marie's inquiry, the actions of Serrak's men have piqued your interest more. Moving through the compound you approach the bridge and their operation. Attaching a rudimentary scaffold to the connection to the far bank, one of the human workers is suspended along the span, rappelling from pylon to pylon. Occasionally you can hear him call up a few numbers to the men atop, one of whom scribbles it into a notepad. You spy their foreman, James among the crew and beckon him over. He complies hesitantly, likely more to due with the falcon on your forearm than you yourself.

"Something the matter with the bridge?" You ask him.

"That's what we're tryin' to find out." He says, seeing your concern he continues, "Serrak was curious how our construction would handle the thaw from the rivers this year. It'd give us a rough idea on what kinda maintenance we'd be looking at."

You know that being so far from the warmer marshlands, it takes a bit more time for thaw to hit your neck of the woods even with the thermal springs hidden away in the woods behind you. This year is no different, and the river that runs all the way to South Fork is wide and swollen with this years meltwater.

"What'd you discover?"

"It was a good spot to put the bridge. Widest part of the river in these parts, that means less stress wearing against all the supports. That and with the majority of the construction on your Inn complete, a lot of the boys are spoilin' for work to do."

"They're already done!?" You ask, remembering the husk you a couple days ago.

"Not done, but the foundations in, house is framed, and the cladding on the sides and roof are finished. Now its all interior carpentry and the like. Too many people onna job like that will just get in each other's way. Only big thing left is roofing, and that's just waiting on the weather to clear where we don't have to worry about water getting in while we work."

"And the warehouse?"

"All over but the crying. Got most of my guys acting as heavy lifting to put in some rudimentary racking. Not the greatest carpentry work, but solid and sturdy for all those merchants I hear will be coming through."

"Ah," You say, curiosity satisfied, "Well, keep up the good work."

"There was one other thing Miss," James says, "Serrak told me that if I were to see you first, he wanted to inquire as to how you were going to staff your facilities. You've got a right proper little army over there," He says, gesturing to the drilling beastfolk, "But soldiers ain't quite fitting the mold of innkeep. At least, not while in their prime."

>We'll handle the staff hiring ourselves.
>I take it Serrak has some suggestions.
>A question for another day, check out something else. (Specify.)
>I take it Serrak has some suggestions.
Though I'd like to do it ourselves, as we're the ones in charge of it, I'm still open to seeing what our benefactor has in mind.
"I take it Serrak has some suggestions?"

He scratches the back of his head, "I dunno if'n you can call them suggestions. Just more... solutions."

"I didn't even know I had a problem." You quip.

"Might just be ya don't" He retorts, "But Serrak's a keen one, and with the inn so close to finishin' he's wondering if you've started hiring yet."

"Cannot say that I have."

He produces a slightly crumpled calling card from a dusty workpouch. "Ah, well then. He want me to hand you this. It's a staffing agency specializing in hands off income properties. Not sure the details, but if you find yourself in a bind for folks. Well apparently he's got a few of his own for pocket businesses. Figured you might be interested as well."

Pocketing the card, you think about the proposition. It'd be nice to have one more unknown taken care of, especially one as delicate as the hospitality business. On the other, if you don't get this business with the war resolved, you'll not have enough business to keep the place staffed in the first place, and it'd end up a drain on your coffers.

James seems to read your uncertainty, "Listen, I ain't no salesman nor am I a really one o' Serrak's cronies. Just a man hired to do a job. He asked this as a favor and it seems more like he's got somethin' banked on you doin' well, and is pullin' a few strings to see that. Might be you got a better way an he ain't seen it yet. So I'd not take the attention too personal."

>We'll take what help we can get?
>We'll see.
>We'll manage on our own for this one.

(Also specify what you want to investigate next.)
>We'll see.
I don't particularly want to go through a temp agency or the like. The people from them tend to be willing to leave to easily. We'll see about what happens. We should put an add in the papers or something about hiring an innkeeper, a cook, and the other sorts of staff that we'd need to run the place properly. (We need to make sure to pay the janitor well. They get fed up with peoples' shit quickly. They'd probably be pulling double duty as maintenance if reasonable.)

>Where to go next
Let's see if Mari and McCain are still at the redoubt. This conversation's taken 10 minutes at most. Whatever they were doing, it'd probably be taking a bit longer than that.
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"We'll see." You say, "If it wasn't on my property, and I didn't have a personal vested interest in maintaining all aspects of this trade route I'd be a bit more amenable to that suggestion. Not gonna discount it completely, but let Serrak know I'd rather vet my employees personally."

He grins, "Understandable, I'll be lettin him know that when were on the way back." A voice from the work crew pulls his attention away from you.

Figuring that to be a good time to make yourself scarce, you head back towards the ranch. Specifically, you head towards the redoubt where you saw McCain and Marie. Inside you hear a furious hammering of metal on wood, and poking your head inside you see that the two of them are nailing some wooden racking in between the framing timbers. Looking up you can see Marie clinging to one of the support joists. McCain, bristling at the mouth with a number of nails is going along and sinking them into the wooden racking. Not wanting to disturb their delicate process you wait until the pair notice you.

"That missive get relayed alright, then?" You ask, looking at Marie.

"Courier's running it to Snake's landing." She says quickly before frowning slightly, "They seemed to be expecting us. I expect that bugger Serrak put word to them ahead of time."

"Worried about him?" You ask, noting the distaste.

"Yeah, rich buggers like that always have some sort of master plan. Worried we might be playing right into it." She says.

McCain, ever diplomatic, says, "Not much we can do about anything like that at this point. Just figured we ought to turn this fort into a proper munitions depot, since your us with the good stuff, Miss."

Marie, however, will not be deterred, "What do you think the orc's plan is, Miss Masterson?"

"Well, probably to make as much money as possible. If I had to guess, he's using us for this end, which is what I expected when I got a loan from him. He's put as much effort into getting my own plans working as he has because he thinks it'll make him richer for it too. Now, if he goes and tries to cheat us, I'm going to make damn certain that he immediately regrets that decision very personally, but I believe that, so long as our goals, to make money, and his, also to make money, align to make both of us money, we should be fine. Now, I trust him about as far as I can throw him, but I'd say that all we have to do starting off is make sure to get all of this paid off and he won't really be able to do anything. Worst case scenario is probably him convincing the army that we're doing something illegal and taking our land afterwards, but I somehow doubt that that's his plan."
>this still exists
>its shambling along with 2 players
I don't know why I come to /qst/ sometimes. It just makes me sad.
Participate too if you want things to get better.
I'd like to not be the only one dictating how things go
You think about it for a few moments, "Well, probably to make as much money as possible. If I had to guess, he's using us for this end, which is what I expected when I got a loan from him. He's put as much effort into getting my own plans working as he has because he thinks it'll make him richer for it too. Now, if he goes and tries to cheat us, I'm going to make damn certain that he immediately regrets that decision very personally."

"I don't see how that'll stop him from turning on us the moment he can." Marie says, unconvinced.

"I believe that, so long as our goals, to make money, and his, also to make money, align to make both of us money, we should be fine. Now, I trust him about as far as I can throw him, but I'd say that all we have to do starting off is make sure to get all of this paid off and he won't really be able to do anything. Worst case scenario is probably him convincing the army that we're doing something illegal and taking our land afterwards, but I somehow doubt that that's his plan."

McCain expands upon your statement, "And with our connections to the Nitor, the chances are incredibly slim that a government response will go down in his favor."

"I don't know about that." Marie says, causing you to stare at her quizzically. "Correct me if I'm wrong. You're sitting on the only inlet the UFK has into the Casimiran lands. We've got a baker's dozen of foreign professional mercenaries. All exclusively loyal to you, their kids, growing up and learning the trade from their parents. Another group of five mercenaries, led by the daughter of one of the UFK's heroes, AND are secretly harboring the real Matthew McCain, who to public knowledge is one of the Nitor's biggest traitors, and who's official 'death' was confirmed by the Nitor after his imposter's body was found on your land. Doesn't take a few mismanaged rumors to portray you has a disruptive element holding a virtual trading smörgåsbord hostage."

>Smörgåsbord, really?
>Assuage her concerns. (Specify rebuttal.)
"What would it gain him, though? If he were to spread such rumors and get the government to bring the hammer down on us, he would lose all of this to the UFK. They're not going to let him have a monopoly on this land over us. Rather, they'd take possession of this land and make it public and start doing exactly what I'm doing now.
To each point specifically:
Anyone who's been attacked on a semi-regular basis would hire guards. Nothing odd about that, and even if that does go around, we're going to be relocating the majority, if not all, of them to Purobka soon enough. No one will see them here, so, if someone comes by asking, we'll tell them the truth: They moved and found a home for themselves.
As for Liama and her's, wouldn't that make people think we're even more on the level? Yes, she's known as a bit of a troublemaker, but so were both of her mothers, honestly.
Next, McCain is dead as far as the world is concerned. Why would anyone think that he wasn't, especially when the Nitor themselves declared him to be dead? You'd need someone pretty high up in the Nitor themselves declaring publicly that they were mistaken about his death for most anyone to believe something so ridiculous.
Finally, we're not charging that much on the traders we have been bringing over. Most of that is guide, guard, and translator fees. We will continue to not charge them more than we really do for them as trade picks up. They may only have one option for storage and lodging before going over, but they can learn the language as they choose and they can bring their own guards, and they can learn the rout up there.
Even if we /are/ a disruptive element, we're far from holding the trade rout hostage. We simply are the only ones capable, at the moment, of doing anything to facilitate any trade."
Another thing about the mercs, we're in the middle of nowhere and the closest help is half a day away by cart/carriage.

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