Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Conspiracy of Shadows (Season Two, Session Three)

The group finally arrive at Jenkaz, approaching along the river using the old boat they discovered in the woods. The city is well guarded and the group are searched and their details noted before they are allowed to enter. Sedziwoj's family livery is discovered but he manages to pass it off as an old affiliation. The two Alexander's claim to be wandering monks who have come to make notes of the current judgements of the King's Court for the use of jurists in the other kingdoms.

The group stay in the old pilgrim quarters next to the cathedral. Sedziwoj decides to "blood" his recently recovered squire in the local brothel and includes the remaining members of his entourage as a compensation for the trauma they have suffered in the dark woods.

On the way to the stables Big Alexander notices something familiar about one of the beggars asking for alms and having given him a few pennies he sends Little Alexander after him. The beggar retreats into the alleyways off the courtyard and reveals himself to be Totay, one of the members of the cell. Uncertain of Totay's story of escaping arrest Little Alexander decides to have Anatoli stay close to his former comrade for the night.

Anatoli decides to sell the holy relics he has brought all the way from Kulzulgrod and Totay eager for a share of the money takes him to one of the few silversmiths in town who also does some gold working. Anatoli makes a tidy sum and Totay asks him to share it. When quizzed as to why Totay wants the money, the toothless peasant replies that he wishes to bribe the castle clerk and discover where another surviving member of the cell has been posted as a member of the King's Army. According to Totay, Beker (the only other survivor) gave evidence against the other members of the cell.

Anatoli refuses to give any money to Totay and says instead that he will go to the castle and bribe the clerk himself. When he approaches the castle gate he is challenged by the guards and decides to say that a beggar has asked him to question them about the whereabouts of Beker. The guards are somewhat suspicious of this explanation and ask where the beggar is. Anatoli then starts to panic and passes off his comment as a failure to speak Valdorian properly and then runs off into the night. He is chased through the city to the brothel where the appearance of the pursuing town watch forces a swift evacuation of the clientele (including Sedziwoj and his party) and Anatoli to hide himself in the thatch of the roof until the hunt is abandoned.

Totay visits Little Alexander, enraged by Anatoli's betrayal and Alexander's suspicion. Although angry he realises that he can hardly threaten or punish Little Alexander and so leaves the Pilgrim's Rooms with a curse on priests and a warning that the watch could soon be visiting.