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It was one of those days.
You know the sort. A quiet one. One of those days that is just so damn quiet that you can almost hear something coming up behind you to smash a bottle over your head.
Yep. [sigh] It was one of those days.
It started with a rider coming into the covenant and demanding to be taken to who was in charge. Somewhat worryingly, perhaps, Lyskandria answered. The man was certainly not prepared for that. Poor bloke. I mean, he wasn't expecting a woman for a start, particularly one who carried a threatening staff and spoke latin. Anyway, Lyskandria ended up getting Marek and the conversation went much more smoothly.
We were invited to the baptism of the son of the grand prince of Kiev. We should attend the five days of feasting that had been planned, and, from veiled hints, present a suitable gift. The somewhat pressed herald and his troops then ate, before hurriedly leaving. It was quite amazing to see the horses accelerate out of the gate when Lyskandria grinned at them.
A group was delegated to go. Scientus very nearly went before people realised that he was blatantly gifted and might thus damage relations with mundanes. Lyskandria was briefly considered, being gently gifted, but then again, her entire normal appearance inspires distrust and general discomfort, and so she was ruled out. The party that left was Marek, in his capacity of maintaining mundane relations, Myself, Tomod, Marsann, who posed as a minor noble, and five other grogs. With us we took a stained glass window that had been manufactured by Julian, as a gift for the young prince. Nicolai tagged along for the ride, disappearing when we reached the city itself.
We went to the palace and found our alotted floorspace. When it came to our turn to meet with the Grand Prince of Kiev, we spoke with him briefly and handed over the window, which seemed to go down incredibly well.... We were then taken in to briefly see the young child. It was screaming, poor thing. I confessed that I had some small knowledge of medical matters, and I indeed managed to ascertain that the child was not well. We were then escorted out as the next group came in for an audience, to present their bag of barley.
It was quite noticeable, to those with eyes, at least, that the grand princess was looking at Marsann, (or Errol as we tend to call him for short), in a kind of shy, coquettish manner. This was but the harbinger of worse events to follow.
That evening, we ate in the huge hall, and again it was noticed that the princess was loking overly frequently at Errol, and also was not very enamoured of her brother in law. A court wizard performed some amazing tricks, disappearing in a puff of blue or orange smoke, to reappear a little while later in a puff of smoke with a bang. It was truly great entertainment, but I have seen far greater wonders at the covenant. Marek scowled throughout this entertainment. Maybe it is possible that he is slightly jealous? As father prior always said: "Jealousy has been the downfall of many a man....".
After the magician, came the harpist. Such great melodies I have not heard in my life. Truly, if he had been present, Vitenka would have loved to hear this. Strangely, the music lured everyone in the hall to sleep. Marek tried to resist, but I could not tell if his efforts were successful as I fell asleep, just as small, dark-clothed figures - thieves no doubt - scurried into the edge of my vision.
In the morning, Marek told me that a young, bedraggled-looking girl had appeared from behind the curtain at the back of the high platfrm where the Prince, Princess and baby had been seated. Apparently the child's uncle had nodded at the girl and she had placed her hand on the child's forehead before disappearing. We resolved to stay more awake that night.
During the day though, I had little to do and wandered aboutthe palace. Wondering what kind of an academic man the Prince was, I went and had a look at his library. It was miniscule, and contained nothing that I would even consider adequate reading for an acolyte who had never read before. Indeed, I could have copied most of that library in a week, but I would consider it an insult to my ability.
That night, we were in the hall when the harpist entered once more. Once again
I succumbed to the lullaby that he played and knew no more. Even the evil duke
was asleep this time, and did not notice as his bedraggled accomplice came in.
Marek had stayed awake through the incident, and awoke me and Tomod and
we investigated. The child had been daubed with a weakened essence of Henbane that
was, I knew, poisonous. I removed it from the child, and then raced off down the
passageway after the girl. But I slipped, and she was fast, and I lost her.
Marek told us to return to our seats and he then left, dropping to his hands and knees
as he went down the passageway, while Errol carried off the Princess. Strange lot, magi.
Hang on...... ERROL CARRIED OFF THE PRINCESS!?!?!?
When we caught up with the young love birds, it was altogether too late. Me and Tomod decided to leave them to their night of passion. We presumed that Errol was used to covering his tracks and beating hasty retreats, given his chosen line of work.
Rather bored and listless, due to the pitiful state of the library of that philistine,
we had little to do that day but plan for that night. Apparently the girl was a "witch" who
made herbal remedies. Marek said that the duke had her young brother and sister captive in the
castle dungeons. Marek had agreed to free them and deal with the problem. That night,
the harpist played once more and again everyone fell asleep, except Marek and Errol,
who was having a wonderful time. Marek awoke us, Tomod stunned the duke with the
pommel of his sword, and we carried off the Duke for
friendly chat, in disused warehouse where no-one could hear him screaming.
To cut a long story short, Marek assumed the Duke's appearance after proving that he was indeed a thoroughly nasty individual, and then went and ordered the release of the two children, who met their sister and hurriedly left the city. As a precaution, we kept the duke tied up. Tomod looked worried and had to leave, saying that his honour forbade his being party to these acts. Strange guy.
The festivities are now closing and the child is recovering rapidly. Errol has survived his adventures for the moment, but I cannot help thinking that this particular episode will haunt him later. Let us hope that we are not guilty by association. I ran into Nicolai this morning, and I think that he released the Duke, who we had left in the warehouse for the past two days. I asked him to, anyway.