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Lightholder Crossroads - Interdistrict Carriage Hub <Palace District>


A small village has sprouted on the edge of the Lightholder River where the cobblestone roads from Fastheld's other prominent districts intersect, in the shadow of Caryas Hill and the majestic gray silhouette of Fastheld Keep - the seat of power for the entire realm.

Sutlers, traveling performers and other small-time merchants ply their trades along this main crossroads - competing for space with carriages hauling passengers, couriers rushing important communiqués from one district to another, and the soldiers of the Emperor's Blades who regularly patrol the area.

On the northwest corner of the intersection, next to the road that twists north toward Lightholder Bridge and the palace, sits a large tavern and inn where weary travelers can refresh themselves.

It is a mildly warm morning. The air is stagnant, not stirring with the slightest breeze. Puffy white clouds fill most of the sky.


It doesn't seem to be an incredibly busy morning, just the normal hustle and bustle of activity at this intersection. At the stables is a short man dressed in the grays and blacks of a waterman's attire which hangs upon his small frame a little awkwardly He anxiously looks towards the stable hand’s treatment of a small chestnut river trotter. "mind how you do... careful now...” The stable hand nods, and shrugs off his concern- "Don't mind me young feller, I've been at this for years now...”


Morgan walks out of the tavern, tying her hair back into a large ponytail as the door swings shut behind her with a thump. For a few moments, the girl blinks her eyes to adjust to the bright sunlight outside as she looks around the crossroads. Once her hair is held in check, she scrubs at her eyes with the heels of her hands before tilting her head back and glancing up at the partially clouded sky.


The 'young feller' glances down at his clothing a little self-consciously, pulling up his britches to adjust his belt a little tighter. He fiddles quickly with the pouches at his hips to make them sit a little more comfortably, angles his cap, and takes a cursory glance about him before heading towards the tavern. He walks quite stiffly as if he's been riding for some time...


Morgan sees Nirniel walking away from the stables and coming in her direction. She breaks into a smile as she looks him over discreetly. "G'morning to you Nirniel," the girl calls out with a wave of her hand as she steps away from the tavern door and heads in his direction.


A man dressed in simple black clothing now exits the Tavern. His long cloak protects him from the mostly hidden sun, yet his hood is down, due to there being lack of a breeze. The man's face is a bit scruffy, yet for once, the hair of the man is combed quite neatly.


Nirniel's face brightens with happy surprise. "Morgan! ..." he says excitedly "how good it is to see you... how have you been ... there's so much to talk about... I’ve been thought about you a lot quite recently and ... well I was just this very moment thinking about you and... well...” He appears to say this all at once, without pause for breath. As he approaches Morgan, Nirniel impulsively readjusts his cap.


This girl continues towards the man coming from the stable, unaware of the other person coming out of the tavern behind her. "You have?" she asks in reply to the quick barrage of talking from Nirniel as the two of them stand close to the middle of the crossroads. "I've been busy. Momma's getting worse with her coughing," she continues. "I don't know what to do 'bout it."


Trenton looks over as he flags down a carriage, once it stops, he vanishes inside.


"Dearohdear... that doesn't sound good at all..." says Nirniel, biting his bottom lip, netting his smile and folding his features with worry for the briefest of moments.”...you know, so much has happened to me recently... you remember last time we met at the keep and ... well... you know immediately after that," Nirniel offers the usual courtesy of saying things to make sure others are listening, yet doesn't wait for replies, usually continuing without pause. "... well and we were at the tavern an' then I met this healer an' she made me drink some real nice soup... so, in the end, I lost the letter, but I managed to feel better... I’m sure she could do something for your mum you know..." He eventually comes to a stop looking expectantly towards Morgan for her opinion.


"Letter? Where'd you loose it at?" she asks before yawning briefly. "And who's this healer person you're talking about?" As she talks, Morgan looks over towards the carriage stop and watches someone climbing into a carriage before it leaves in a dusty rush.


"...sittin' at the table, see- ...an' so, he went inside the pouch an' jus'took it while I was away using the tavern conveniences...” Nirniel begins the story and is halfway through it in no time, excitedly gesturing throughout it. "...but of course, that's of no real importance, see the woman, Dalayna she said she was called... well she said she was a healer ... and when I asked her what I could do for her... she said.. well I don't remember quite... but before I knew it, she was off, and I didn't even get the chance to ask her about what to do for your mother." Nirniel's expression falls. "trust me to be so silly... light, that's just like me..." he says as his lip begins to quiver. He bites his top lip and takes a deep breath in an attempt to stop himself from crying in front of Morgan.


Morgan listens to the rambling story, smiling all the while as Nirniel gestures and motions with his hands. "Oh... well I guess that's ok. I mean, you tried an' all. Her name's Dalayna?" she asks again, glancing back to Nirniel after a moment. "I don't think I've heard of her."


Nirniel folds his lips inwards, nodding slightly as he "mmm’s", although it is unclear whether he does so in response to Morgan's question or her remarks on his efforts. "...well, she's-a-nice-lady, though maybe a bit bossy... I was really tired'n'all, an' as soon as she saw me she made the nicest soup and tea I’ve ever had'n'said I was to drink it. of course, I was wary about some strange woman tellin' me to have stuff, but she was... she had a really genuine niceness about her'n'after I’d had a bit I realized how good it was... it really perked me up until that scary man came in... but it all worked out good in the end, see- and I think she's a decent person, although she is perhaps a little overwhelming when you first come across her..." Nirniel had by now clasped his hands together behind his back to keep them still and was smiling quirkily at Morgan.


"Wait a minute," the girl says as she shifts her posture slightly in response to the breeze stirring through the crossroads. "You said her name was Dalayna? I think I do remember her," she continues as she glances back towards the tavern. "I met someone that did that to some stew I had once here," she says as she turns back to face Nirniel."


"...yes, that was it!" Nirniel chitters, now bouncing excitedly on his toes. "Stew, not Soup!" He takes short moment of pause as his expression assumes certain quizzicality. "...how did you find her?" he asks, quickly adding, "as a person, not... you know.." whilst he quickly snaps open one of the leather pouches on his hip and withdraws a creased map to complete the thought. "oh..!" he exclaims before clapping a hand to his mouth and allowing Morgan time to answer his original question. He is impatient, but yet still manages to listen attentively for her reply.


"Well... I didn't really find her," the girl replies. "I just went into the tavern to get something to eat an' she was there. It was a long time ago though," Morgan finishes. For a moment, the sky darkens as a few clouds obscure the sun and the girl looks up, frowning slightly. After a moment or two, she looks back to see Nirniel pulling something from one of the pouches at his waist. "What's that?"


Nirniel is now stuffing the parchment back into his pouch. "-'s'justamap.” he says distractedly, now opening the other pouch. "Justaminute... there, that's what I was after!" he says after a moment, pulling out what appears to be a small painting.


Morgan watches with obvious interest as Nirniel hunts between the leather pouches. "You've got a map?" she asks as the map disappears back into one of the pouches. As she watches, Morgan reaches up and brushes her hand at a thin strand of hair that's come loose from the leather thong trying to keep her hair in check.


Nirniel says, "I thought about you, and I wanted to give you this... I ought to get to light's crossing, as I need to see Mr. Siltwater..."


Standing near the middle of the crossroads, a young red-headed girl stands talking with a guy of similar age. As they talk, the girl is holding a small painting as the two look at it.


Lunch hour it is, and Lucius is in town to indulge his appetite and otherwise enjoy the late summer day. He strides off of a Blades carriage's exterior, making his way quietly through the square with his hands clasped behind his back.


From the outskirts of town comes a solitary woman and horse, slowly making their way towards the stables. A light frown graces her lips as she slows the horse down to a walk as they near society.


The girl in the green dress looks up from her conversation for a moment and sees a man coming from the carriage stop. Her eyes are drawn to the long sheath that hangs from his waist but she quickly looks back to the painting in her hands, exchanging a smile with her conversation companion.


Morgan's gaze is effectively lost in the mid-day crowds of the Crossroads; people sell their wares and ply their varied trades all across. There is shouting, and haggling to be heard in every corner of the square. Lucius, however, seems accustomed to this hustle and bustle, and slowly makes his way for the tavern. Conveniently, this takes him directly into the path of those two young'uns.


From Jasper's saddle, Upon reaching the stables, the young Lomasa dismounts, swinging down in a grateful fashion, only pausing long enough to pat the horse on the neck before handing off the reins. "Take good care of him," she murmurs softly, pressing coin into the stable boy’s hand before turning to look towards the stables. "I will return for him soon, so ensure that he is fed and rubbed down."


Morgan now notes the arrival of another woman on horseback as well as the approach of the man that she had seen earlier. For the moment, the girl listens to something that Nirniel is saying to her and she lowers the painting to her side, keeping its face close to her and obscured by her dress.


"Hello." Lucius says to Morgan and her companion, rather cheerfully at that, a smile plastered onto his lips as he approaches the two. His hands release from their place behind their back and drop to his sides, in a relaxed manner.


Dianna Lomasa's gaze flickers over Lucius for a moment, frown appearing on her lips, before she heads in that direction slowly, clasping her hands together in front of her.


Morgan stops talking and shifts her posture to stand a bit straighter even though it does little to improve her small stature. After a glance that's shared between herself and Nirniel the girl answers. "G'day Sir," she offers evenly as she offers a brief curtsy in her too-long dress.


From Burnish's saddle, A cloaked rider gallops in from the south on the back of Burnish. The figure slows his horse down to a trot as he approaches into the early morning stream of merchants making their way from the crossroads to the Merchant district. His path puts him near the Tavern, where he brings Burnish to a halt and surveys the scene before him


Nothing else is really forthcoming from Lucius's lips, other than a slight nod given to Morgan. That is, until his green-blue eyes, sweeping over the Crossroads as always, spot Dianna approaching their position. He stops where he is and turns to face the noblewoman, now crossing his arms.


"Is Ester well?" Dianna asks Lucius softly, her bright blue eyes focusing in on the Blade. "She was worrying me last eve. I hope that she has returned to her quarters and now rests at ease." As Burnish appears, a light smile curves her lips.


From Burnish's saddle, Wilesly draws back the cowl of his hood, as he catches sight of a particularly well-dressed and familiar noblewoman in a small gathering of unfamiliar personages save one particular lad. A smile mirroring Dianna's touches his lips, before his expression returns to its former stoic look. A flick of the reigns has Burnish moving towards the ensemble.


Nirniel nods in deference towards all assembled. With a burning awareness that he is not noticed by those immediately present, he turns to whisper something in Morgan's ear.


Morgan sees the change in direction of the man that's just spoken to her and Nirniel and looks at the woman approaching the three of them. Hearing the other woman start talking to the man in the white tunic, Morgan takes a step back from those two and wraps her free hand around Nirniel's arm to pull him back a bit just as he whispers to her. Morgan's only reply is a firm, negative shake of her head.


"I do not know how she fares now. Last I saw, she was in heavy fever, and the healer wanted to do an 'immersion' or some such thing." Lucius shrugs, facial expression now neuter. "It was a bad fever."


Nirniel looks down towards his pouch nervously looking up periodically while he fiddles with its clasp.


From Burnish's saddle, Wilesly is upon the group just a moment later, vaulting over Burnish's left side to dismount even though the horse continues to move along slowly. He takes the reigns to lead him, raising his left hand mostly to Dianna. "Hullo, m'lady." The rest of the crowd gets an acknowledging nod.


As Burnish approaches, Dianna lifts her fingers to lightly pat at the horse's soft nose, though her attention remains on Lucius. She gives a slow nod of her head, lips twisting downward in a frown. "I see... she was truly delusional last eve," she murmurs with a shake of her head. "Thank you for your time, Master Nepos," she adds before turning her attention to Wilesly. "Light keep. Has your business finished at the Glade?" she inquires, continuing to lavish attention upon the horse.


Morgan is distracted from Nirniel's fidgeting by the quick arrival of the man on his horse, an event which startles her somewhat with his quick dismount and the horse’s movements.


Upon noticing the new arrival, Nirniel nervously rushes his hand to his mouth, wide eyed. He composes himself to acknowledge Wilesly's nod to force out a brief, cheery smile. He then quickly turns to Morgan to whisper in her ear once again.


With that, Lucius is off towards the tavern and, hopefully, the filling of his waiting belly with a hot lunch.


Lucius Nepos heads into Lightholder Tavern. Lucius Nepos has left.


"If I had any wits about me it would have been finished last night. But somewhat of a erm...situation developed. I shall tell m'lady about it when we are not in mixed company.", Sly replies, letting a frown touch his lips as he shoots an inquisitive, almost menacing glance over Burnish's saddle to Nirniel.


Morgan looks to Nirniel after a moment and manages to calm down a bit. "Him?" she asks clearly puzzled. "Him who?"


Dianna Lomasa frowns faintly before nodding her head. "Then stable your horse and join me in the tavern," she says making a gesture towards the stables. "And I suggest you be swift about it. There are some matters to discuss that require a... careful hand such as yours."


Nirniel steps forward, anxious to conceal Morgan's inquiries. "mister Wilesly... kind sir, how pleasant to meet you..." He speaks for everyone to hear, saying, "I must thank you for taking it upon you the personal deliverance of my letter..." He looks directly at Wilesly, in an attempt to displace Dianna's speech in importance.


Nirniel's thanks are waved off before he raises an eyebrow at Dianna. "Yes m'lady...with all due haste." He brings Burnish about towards the stables, sending a friendly smile Morgan's way. His horse is soon stabled and he waits by the door of the tavern for Dianna.


Morgan is perfectly happy to have Nirniel take up the conversation and moves to stand behind him, almost hiding herself as she drops her gaze to study the shoes on her feet quietly and missing the smile from Wilesly.


Wilesly pays a stableboy to have Burnish stabled in Crossroads Stables. The boy leads the animal back into the stables.


Dianna Lomasa smiles almost smugly at Nirniel, before dipping her head down slightly as she turns on her heel to make her way towards the tavern, her long brown hair floating out gently behind her like a light cape.


Now that one member of the group has left, Nirniel is no longer so confident about speaking with Wilesly, and simply calls out "sorry to interrupt you madam...” Turning towards Wilesly, he quietly utters a "Thank you very much sir..." before rejoining Morgan, clasping her hand. “Lovely to meet you..." he continues as he ushers for Morgan to follow him as he makes his way towards the tailors.


Wilesly beams a smile towards Dianna she approaches, throwing an almost exasperated glance towards the departing Nirniel. When she is near the door he opens it for the noblewoman and delivers a half-bow.


Morgan isn't paying much attention to anything other than staying behind Nirniel and out of sight. As a result, she stumbles a bit when he pulls her in the direction of the tailor but quickly finds her step and hurries along, not bothering to look back over her shoulder as the two cross the road.


Dianna Lomasa tips her head down to greet Wilesly, before moving off into the tavern, flicking a strand of hair off of her shoulder, a slightly annoyed expression appearing on her face.


Wilesly follows Dianna into the tavern, closing the door behind his person and nearly catching the tail end of his cloak in the door stop.


Nirniel casts a look back as if to make sure that Wilesly and the other lady had indeed both entered the tavern. He stops and touches Morgan's arm, his worried expression softening as he faces her. "I’m sorry... I... I didn't mean for... I…" He struggles to express himself, half starting sentences. Finally he settles on, "I shouldn't have spoken so quickly, I ought to have paid more attention to you..." He sighs "thank light that scary man has left now though... I would tell you how it all started, but I just thought I’d warn you, I don't trust him..."


"Oh... that's the man you were talking about?" Morgan asks as she also looks back over her shoulder towards the tavern. "Did something happen between the two of you?"


Nirniel instinctively looks once more over his shoulder before motioning towards the low sill of the tailor's window. "Come on, let's take a seat...” He begins to move towards the appropriated bench, and turns to face Morgan, glancing at the tavern beyond her.


Morgan follows without another glance and sits down next to Nirniel. Even though the two are of similar height, the girl looks small next to him with her thin body.


Nirniel casts his glance down as Morgan seats herself beside him. For a moment, his only focus is the rubbing of his thumbs together above his clasped fingers resting in his lap. His knees are together, but one begins to bounce as he considers how to begin explaining about the man. Eventually, with a sharp intake of breath, he lifts his face to meet Morgan's eyes for a moment, before gazing into the distance just beyond her face.

"...I’m sorry I behaved the way I did with Dirk..." He bites his bottom lip thoughtfully. He continues, at a verbal trot as opposed to his normal gallop. "can you forgive me that?" He looks back towards Morgan, and then lowers his eyes to his lap once again.


Paelnor Harper has arrived. Paelnor Harper walks in at a brisk pace.


Morgan looks slightly puzzled at the mention of Dirk and several moments pass before she answers. "You mean at the Palace? You didn't do anything wrong. Did you?" she asks as the two of them sit on a small bench just outside the tailor's shop. "I don't know what you mean but ok, I forgive you," the girl says confidently.


Seated by the window at the window of the Tailor's shop at the intersection is a young girl with vibrant red hair drawn back in a ponytail and a small man with grey apparel and a grey cap. The intersection still has some afternoon traffic bustling to and fro, all sorts of people traveling towards the market or up towards the palace.


Trying to look important and probably just coming off as a bit goofy, comes one Light Infantryman walking into the crossroads from the palace. The reason for the awkwardness, while normally may be attested to his odd mannerisms, today stems from the fact that the boy has an apple firmly stuck in his mouth. His hands are busy trying to tug his gloves on properly.


Still apparently engaged in conversation, the grey cap bobs up and down. "Just... well, you know, if truth be told, I don't really think the boy has a bad heart. Yes, I mean the boy we met at the palace gates... mm… I mean, well, that was really what I was sorry about, 'cos you see, after you'd left, I went up there lookin' to deliver a letter belonging to the lovely woman who sells flowers at Eastwatch. Dirk was ever so nice to me, I thought he must have clean forgotten how rudely I had treated him in front of you... well anyways, out came that man from the palace, and since I thought he'd come from there, I thought maybe he might be able to help me to see Miss Lady Nillu..." Nirniel glances towards the palace in remembrance of the event.


Morgan listens as Nirniel explains about the man that they are talking about. "I didn't think you were rude at all," she says in reply. It's then that she seems to remember the painting that she's been holding in her hand. "Oh... here's your painting back. It really is quiet nice," she offers with a smile.


Well, the gloves are on well enough. Harper is about to reach up to remove the apple from his mouth when...yes...he stumbles, sending it spitting out of his mouth to thud on the ground and roll a bit. The boy looks down at it with a disgruntled look, before scooping it up and brushing it off.


Nirniel's distant gaze is captured, returning like an obedient pet, firstly to Morgan's smile as it warms her cheek, then to the painting as she presents it to him. Were one to be focusing on his expression, one would detect the change flickering within his face to register a shadow of worry cross it before he embarrassedly looked towards his hands, now unclasped, one gently rubbing the new-looking grey woolen vest. "..do you really think it's good?" He sighs deeply and places his elbows on his knees, cradling his heavy head upon his wrists.


Morgan nods enthusiastically as she glances from Nirniel's face to the painting and back again. The sun has moved enough that the two of them are now just within a bit of shadow cast by the roof of the tailor's shop as they sit on a bench just outside of it. "Yes, I do think it's very good," she says with a bright smile.


With a small grunt, Harper tears a bite out of the apple before beginning to wander about the crossroads, absently drawing a spear from the thong at his waist.


Without much regard for anything else, the wild Lomasa, Dianna, comes fleeing out of the tavern, heading straight for the stables, tears slipping down her cheeks. Wilesly with even less regard, but with a slightly longer stride catches up with the wild Lomasa, his arm reaches out to grasp at the woman to spin her about so that he may engage her properly and place a very impassioned kiss upon her lips. Of course, this all depends on whether he is able to grab hold of her fast moving arm.


Looking towards Morgan, Nirniel begins, "You know what..." but his attention is snagged as the tavern door bursts open immediately in view behind Morgan. Nirniel shifts nervously "...fancy a kafe sometime?" he says quickly, changing subject. He glances nervously towards the tavern door again.


Another normal day, apparently. Dirty apples, crying children, and noblewomen being grabbed. What? The Light Infantryman turns on his heels to approach Wilesly and Dianna, chewing on his dirt ridden apple as he watches.


Morgan is watching Nirniel intently as she holds the painting but she turns to follow his look towards the tavern and stares at the woman who comes running out and is shortly followed by the man from earlier.


Dianna Lomasa is indeed caught, but doesn't seem to like it. She struggles against Wilesly, pushing him back, if at all possible, her eyes flashing angrily. If all else fails, the woman resorts to biting Sly in order to get him off of her.


Thankfully it does not come to biting, as Sly remembers his settings and let’s go of the woman. He looks towards her exasperated, and raises his arms, "I am sorry Dianna. I'm bloody well sorry for everything. What would you have me do Dianna? What...", he pleads near dropping to his knees. His eyes shift for a moment towards the approaching Paelnor but back towards the woman grasping at her skirt.


"'ey!" Harper calls, the shoving and such having clued him in, apparently. The boy tosses the apple aside haphazardly (narrowly missing a horse, though the animal is quite happy to finish it up), and tromps over to, quite boldly, position himself between the two. "What are you doing, huh? Is it open season, or somethin?" he asks the taller man, prodding him in the chest with two gloved fingers.


Morgan stands up from the bench where she and Nirniel are seated and looks through the gathering crowd of people watching the events. "Um, Nirniel... I think I should go check on Grut," she says in a distracted manner and then turns to hurry towards the stables without really waiting for a reply.


Nirniel shouts out "Write to me!!" impatiently.


“Stay away from me. All of you," Dianna all by wails, moving away from both men and for the stables. "Leave me /alone/!" With that, she's gone.


From Rei's saddle, Gallop, Gallop, Zoom! Off towards the river district Rei goes. Rei speeds off at a gallop toward the Northeast.


Wilesly stands watching Dianna go, ignoring the man for just a moment. With a sigh he turns to address the man who had given him a good poke to his chest. "Good sir it is quite more complicated than you could ever imagine...". With that the man storms off towards the stables before he thinks better of it, and move to enter the crowd.


"Wait a second, huh?" Harper grunts, beginning to sound slightly annoyed. The boy jumps over to again block Wilesly's way with his body, and holds a hand out. "You just wait a second here."


Nirniel watches Morgan leave. He continues sitting at the Tailor's window. He watches Dianna leave. He continues sitting at the Tailor's window. He watches a lady zooming by... and continues sitting at the Tailor's window. He sees Gabby headed towards the stables, from his viewpoint sitting at the Tailor's window. He eyes Wilesly suspiciously, noticing Paelnor's interruption... sitting at the Tailor's window.


“This is a good place..." he says to himself. “I hope she writes..." he mumbles to himself dreamily. However, with Wilesly in such close proximity to the stables, he only warily looks towards the stables now. "... I hope he doesn't do anything to Elena or the wagon..." he thinks aloud, lifting his fingers to his mouth.


Wilesly stops very abruptly as the boy manages to block his path. "What is it you want?” he asks a tone betraying how tired he is. "M'lady is not well at ease...and if I am to have any luck correcting my transgressions I should need to depart with all due haste."


"Correcting?" Harper repeats, eyes widening, before he guffaws at the thought. "You're not chasin' after her, huh? She don't look like she wants anything to do with you, right? Maybe you need to practice the kissing, I don't know. How about you come with me, though? Fastheld Keep's a much nicer place than some dingy stable." He gestures to the north road with his spear.


Nirniel bites his nails in trepidation, unsure about whether to flee or go to his horse and his wagon's personal contents. He taps his foot on the ground anxiously


"Oh I should know that quite well enough sir. As I have a good deal of business to conduct there as well hence me wanting to hop off right away... Tell me Sir, are you acquainted with Her Grace, the Duchess Nillu? Now I take it from your very pointy stick there that you should be serving in some sort of official capacity as...one of the Flying Daggers perhaps?" He reaches in his cloak very carefully and openly to show now will ill as he produces a satchel that bears the mark 'FTB'.


"Now I would not think it wise for one's career in the auxiliary to detain one of the tax bereu on a matter of extreme importance. If you doubt my employment sir, speak to the lad over there.” he says with a point and nod towards Nirniel. "Otherwise sir I will be on my way to the keep to have a word with the Duchess about the matter that has just transpired. I even invite you sir to escort me there. He stops for a moment, risking to take a step towards the spear and speak quietly towards the Bladesman. "There is more at work here than may be at first glance discovered."


From his vantage point at the tailor’s windowsill, Nirniel sees Wilesly point towards him. Fearing for his life, he suddenly decides that the windowsill is not such a good place and hastily gets up, making a break towards the River district's road to the northwest, away from tavern, stables and palace.


Harper leans forward a bit to peer at the satchel and the emblem, and then to the fleeing Nirniel. He snorts again and shakes his head. "Extreme importance? What, grabbing at someone? A noblewoman, too? We learn to keep our hands off, right? I saw you trying to attack her, and I don't care what office you're in, or who you answer to. You're coming with me to the Keep, right? We can send a rider to talk to your Duchess."


From the east a man enters, his pace is fast, yet at the sight of the three gentlemen, he blinks and moves quickly over to the walls of a building not too far from the group. He stays within the shadows, trying to stay hidden.


Nirniel trips slightly in his oversized outfit, scrambling away from the intersection, hardly daring to look back.


Nirniel starts running toward the Northwest.


Wilesly nods his head rather dejectedly. "You'll notice, sir, I did not attack m'lady and when realizing my error I did not continue my transgression against the Lady Lomasa. You may of course satisfy your sense of duty sir and I will have the appropriate time to record the events that have transpired today. Your name and unit sir, so that I may record them properly?"


"Guardian Harper," Paelnor answers, attempting to turn the taller man about firmly and prod him to the north. "Flying Daggers. Guardian Lucius Nepos is my superior."


Trenton steps back out of the Tavern with a mug of beer. He notices that a couple of torches are lit, and, after examining the outside of the Tavern, he douses them with the said mug of beer and quickly he escapes into the darkness of the shadows which now form. The man begins to try to move closer to the group of men without being detected, with his superior skills in stealth, it would take a very keen eye to spot him.


Nirniel walks away toward the Northwest.



A short while later…


Trenton finally reaches the two men and he creeps up behind him from the crowds. He reaches his arm out at the soldier's coin pouch, trying to grasp it away from him.


Wilesly just continues walking onwards towards the Keep, paying little heed to the bit of gawking pointed his direction. He even whistles a bit of a ditty whose words left unspoken would usually start, "Closer thou art to me...". He shifts his weight to one leg as he stops for just a moment to reposition the strap of his satchel.


Harper may be off in la-la land, but he still notices the fumbling about at his waist and at his money. He looks over to Trenton with a blank expression, an eyebrow slowly lifting. "Wha..." Maybe he doesn't understand why someone would go attempt to rob someone wearing Iron. "What in the Light are you..." he blurts, before making a grab at him.


From Rei's saddle, Having completed her errands, the blue-and-grey clad Duchess and her wagon-hitched river trotter ride in from the direction of the River District, braid bobbing from side to side as she savors the mildly warm evening. On the driver's bench beside her, a middle-aged guardsman in Nillu livery stolidly watches the scenery, slowing Rei and the mummer's wagon at the approach of civillization.


A grey felt cap peeks out of a carriage window, looking warily about. The door opens and a small guy, dressed in a waterman's apparrel follows the cap as it descends from the carriage.


Trenton begins struggling from the Bladesman's arms; the thief begins yelling at him. "Don't yeh know who that man is, yeh scummy soldier? He's one o' dem F-T-B fella's." Struggling some more he mumbles at the soldier. "I aint mean no harm by goin at yer coin pouch, yeh see... That fella there, I work for him." he says, pointing to Wilesly. "The Duchess will have yer head for messin wit us, eh. So get yer blimey hands off me, yeh blimey fool."


Wilesly sends a positively charming smile to the fast approaching Bladesman. He lifts his hands as to show he does not plan to resist and allows himself to be led along as usual hoping to get as far away from the whole scene as possible. "Your name sir?", he asks rather coyly not expecting an answer. A simple grunt follows and Sly shrugs as he continues to walk northwards. "Strong words," Harper snaps back hotly to Trenton, giving him another smack up on the head for good measure. The arriving


Duchess doesn't miss the soldier's notice. "Hey! Your workers need to be put on a leash or something!" he calls to her, before beginning to try to drag Trenton off north, to the Keep.


From Rei's saddle, The guardsman gestures to his mistress, and Sahna looks over to Paelnor with a look of surprised confusion. "Donnain, pull the carriage over there so I can see what's going on." She murmurs in a low tone, before raising a lace-gloved hand in an elegant motion. "Guardian Harper, so good to see you." She calls out, her powerful contralto taking on a warm timbre. "I'm afraid you're being rather cryptic, however. May I ask you to hold up and explain, if it isn't terribly too much trouble?"


Trenton grimaces in pain as he gets smacked. The man reaches out to try and bop the soldier in the face. "Will yeh quit that, yeh big oaf." he says, struggling to get free from the bladesman's grip. "Let go, I aint done nothin wrong. Yeh aint got any evidence!" he says as he the carriage pulls up and he finally goes silent and limp, as if something had just calmed him down completely.


Wilesly is far enough up the road in the charge of his new escort that he doesn't notice the arrival of the Duchess. Instead he ambles along quietly up the road and to the bridge.


Nirniel strains to catch wind of what's being said, although he can't make much of it. He pulls his cap a little lower over his face.


"That one's grabbing at Nobles skirts, and grabbing at their arms," Harper responds, jerking his head in the direction of Wilesly. "Hey!" he shouts in addition to the departing Blade and escort. "Guardian! Back here!" Turning his attention back to Sahna, he adds, "I may be willing to let that one go. I wasn't going to let him chase after her though. She's busy cowering in the stables, right? This one, though..." He shakes Trenton a bit more. "This one's a thief, and is going to be lucky if he doesn't lose his hands."


Eventually, satisfied that the fuss did not concern him at all, but something completely different, he studies the carriage and it's occupant. He looks towards the stables, then back at the carriage. Repeating the motion a couple of times, he utters a quiet "...wagon? Elena?" to himself.


Wilesly is rather surprised as an iron grasp lands on his shoulder as the Bladesman spends him back around with a grunt to return to the scene he so desperately wished to be escorted away from. As he is escorted a bit further up the road he, gains a look of abject whore noticing the prescreens of a particularly dour noblewoman. He tries desperately to resume a diplomatic mask before the pair is upon the main group again.


From Rei's saddle, Sahna considers this for a moment, as her carriage pulls alongside the struggling blade and Trenton. She glances over at Wilesly, then down at Trenton. "The one walking up the bridge is a mere courier in my employ... You would be remiss in your duties if you let someone go who presumed to so much as touch a noblewoman. He can go to the gaol and I'll investigate the matter. As for the thief? We can dispose of that issue immediately. Put his wrist against my wagon and hack off his hand. Theivery in Lightholder itself must be punished swiftly. I'm certain someone in the tavern will cauterize the stump."


Trenton blinks at the man and shakes his head. "I aint a thief.. If I was a thief, yeh wouldn't have that coin purse, yeh bloody fool." Finally the man's eyes look up at the Duchess. "Eh, m’lady, I work for yer courier. I aint no thief... I was trying to SAVE him from this oaf's mindless blubbery!"


"I'm taking him back," Harper responds, starting to drag Trenton away again. "May be other things he did, the way he's carrying on. You can get your man later, then. Sure you know where to find him, right, Duchess?"


Wilesly is back with the group soon enough, but he attempts to distance himself from Trenton. He manages to irk out of the man's grasp and say, "The man here may have worked for me in the past but if he is to be found guilty for some crime he shan't longer. I can only apologize to Your Grace for actions ill thought out and appeal to Her Grace's experience with my previous etiquette to be the judge of whether I should dare approach upon a noblewoman without consent." He inclines his head and steps back.


Trenton growls at the guard once more. "Get yer blimey hands off me! I meant no ill attempt! Don't yeh think I would be off and away if I had been so much the thief as you think I am?"


"The Blades are the law of this land." Sahna states, sourly, to Trenton-- She affixes him with a cold, basillisk gaze. "Your punishment is actually quite light. You don't just take it into your own hands to interfere with a bladesman who's doing his job. Allright, Guardian Harper, as you wish.. But before the sun sets, that hand comes /off/. As Tradesmistress, I have seen the work of theives too often to tolerate any bleeding-heart skullduggery. Additional punishments, if any, will be up to Hartnek. Regarding Wilesly, please write a report of the details and sent it to both myself and Hartnek, as he /is/ on the Imperial Payroll. I will consult with the Bladesmaster as to how to deal with that punishment personally while he cools his heels in the gaol. Are these orders understood?" She cranes her neck back to watch Paelnor, with a businesslike expression.


Trenton blinks as he speaks to the guard, now calm. "Eh you, I'll go with yeh, lemme have a word with the duchess, eh?"


"Right. You'll see the report," Harper responds to Sahna, giving her a brief salute. To Trenton he scowls and drags him along. "You'll have a word if she wants to give you one. And she already gave you a few, right?"


Trenton looks up to the Duchess. "Eh, your grace, may I just have a quick word with you?"


"Consenting or not, no commoner has a right to lay a finger on a noblewoman... I do suppose it happens in the hidden boudoirs often." Sahna muses with a half smile, "And at the Crescent Moon, but in public... That's quite something else. The ruling class has an image to maintain. "

Her icy sage-green gaze sweeps to Trenton, as the ghost of a smile plays across it. "I see no reason to speak with you. Your implication that you have any connection with my department offends me most deeply. If I were you, I would start considering more honest trades... That can be done with only one hand." She gestures to the guardsman in Nillu livery, taking the reins from him. "Donnain, assist the Bladesman if he needs it, and follow any orders he might give."


Trenton glares at the guard and then speaks to Sahna. "I aint said I worked for you, I said I worked for ol' sly there. And I am an honest man, I did not steal any! I'm an apprentice blacksmith for a shop in the East leg! under a miss Saorise!"


Wilesly keeps his head inclined towards Sahna. "Yes Your Grace. I was the fool and I shan't let it happen again." He looks over to Trenton. "And you shut your codpiece if you know whats good for yeh." He is soon tugged on the shoulder by the Bladesman, and ambles along but not before delivering a customary half-bow to Sahna.


From Rei's saddle, "Then it's your own poor judgement getting involved." Sahna replies, sniffing. With a chirrup and a jerk of the reins, she manuvers her river trotter around, lashing Rei into motion.


Harper doesn't seem to be paying much attention to Wilesly anymore. Most of his focus is on keeping a hold on the struggling Trenton. Though he does manage a "Mmhmm," in response. "Keep still," he scowls to Trenton. "She's not going to do a thing. And I'm not the one to beg to."


Wilesly shakes his head realizing a bit of comedy at his own plight. He moves on northwards with the group.


Wilesly hires a passing carriage and it pulls up so they can board. Wilesly has left. Carriage - 12176 rolls off toward its destination.


Trenton stops finally and begins speaking again, "Sir, listen, can we just talk for one moment? I promise I won't do anything to get away. I just want to discuss this. Think about it..why would /I/ an honorable blacksmith, go for such a target as yourself?"


"Because you're daft? You proved as much when you spat on me," Harper growls, shoving him along. "Keep moving. Stop dragging your feet."


Nirniel waits just outside the Interdistrict carriage Stop, surveying the scene in front of him. He notices Tito and Saoirse arrive, and attempts to make himself as inconspicuous as possible. With the awkward fit of his clothing, this is not /terribly/ successful.


Trenton once again he tries to scramble out of it. "Maybe there's something I can get you...something.....listen, I'll do anything not to get put in jail. Can't yeh warn me not to do it again as I didn't actually get anything?" he says blinking. "Women... Gold... something! Anything! I need my hand for smithin I tell yeh! Please, chap... Spit in me face and we'll call it even! I've learned my lesson.. I was just tryin to help me boss out. You'd do the same eh!? I can get yeh a fine woman... a nice lookin one, I promise yeh!"


Saoirse leads her horse out of the carriage stop to hear Trenton's whining before she actually sees him being dragged by Paelnor. She has a half of a mind to go and actually find out what's happening, but you don't necessarily go messing with the Blades.


Harper rolls his eyes, giving the man another shove. "Shut your mouth, before I shut it for you? Do you understand that? Get going!"


Trenton sighs and nods. "A thousand nine hundred Kahars! How's that buddy? It's all I got! I'll give it all. Call it bail!"


"Duchess knows you're there," Harper shoots back. "Not happening. You knew what you were doing when you tried to lift my purse."


Trenton shakes his head and replies. "Listen, sir. Tell her it was a misunderstanding! I didn't intend to steal it! I was tryin to get your attention! If I was the thief you think I am, don't yeh think I would have gotten it, if I intended on stealing it?"


Nirniel takes off his cap to scratch at his head before bundling his hair back together and replacing it. He steps forward cautiously, glancing between the new arrival and the two men in 'discussion' ahead. He looks back towards the mounted woman and calls up towards her "...I wouldn't get involved if I were you, it looks kind of complicated..."


Saoirse sighs gently and pats her horse a bit before dismounting, "I'm not sure if I can do that." she says frowning a bit, "Could you at least tell me what happened? If you know."


"I really don't think you're much of a thief," Harper grumbles. "And if you don't stop fighting with me, you're going to be more sorry."


Trenton blinks and turns around nodding. "Look, you said it yourself! I'm not a thief. You admit it!" he says as he looks back and nods. "Look, there's my employer! If she tells you I'm not who you think I am, will yeh let me go? You'll never see me again.. You can write your report out that I was found guilty and served my time... I'm telling you.. I didn't mean to get in this trouble, I was merely trying to get your attention. I swear it on the light!" he says before searching himself and nods... "look, here. Take this gem... I found it the other day on the ground in the lake district. Just lying in the dirt on the path... I was gonna pawn it… but yeh can have it. I'm sure it's worth a pretty penny!"


"...wells, see- it's like this..." he begins. He then proceeds to regale her with something of a story, if it could be caught since he speaks at a breakneck pace. "...an'then I thought 'e was pointin' at me see, so I was really scared, n'i scarpered, but then I came back..." Nirniel gestures towards the ICS. "... n'i saw this fancy carriage'n'everyone was Duchessing and Gracin' an' then they said they were about to chop off 'is 'and..." Nirniel takes a little breath now, "...an all I wanted was to get back Ellie'n'the-wagon..."


Harper is finally irked enough to yell at the man. "How dumb are you? Are you trying to bribe me /again/?" The bladesman glances over his shoulder to Saoirse before lifting his voice. "Miss? Your worker here? He's a damned thief. Check your things." His grip tightens on Trenton as he works to move him along.


Saoirse's brow furrows a bit in confusion at the man's retelling of what happened, but she gets the jist of it, even if she doesn't exactly know what happened. She looks to Paelnor as he calls out to her. She moves towards them and shakes her head gently, "If he was thief, I wouldn't have employed him. What exactly has he done to warrant such treatment?"


Trenton points at Saoirse. "Yeh see? I told yeh, I aint no thief. I was trying to get yer attention, see if yeh knew who exactly the man was.. If I knew he was in trouble, I aint would have done anythin! I swear it!." he says looking at Saoirse.. "I aint done nothin, I kept callin at him, but he aint listen to me, so I went over to him and tugged his coin purse, I knew it'd get his attention, but then he grabbed at me.. he grabbed me so hard me lungs couldn't breath! so I spit at him to get him to back off! tis all! and now they want me hands for just tryin to help me friend and the bladesman alike!"


Trenton points at Saoirse. "Yeh see? I told yeh, I aint no thief. I was trying to get yer attention, see if yeh knew who exactly the man was. If I knew he was in trouble, I aint would have done anythin! I swear it!." he says looking at Saoirse.. "I aint done nothin, I kept callin at him, but he aint listen to me, so I went over to him and tugged his coin purse, I knew it'd get his attention, but then he grabbed at me.. he grabbed me so hard me lungs couldn't breath! so I spit at him to get him to back off! tis all! and now they want me hands for just tryin to help me friend and the bladesman alike!"


Nirniel bites his lip, unsure of which side to take, now that he claimed to witness a great deal of the events past. "...wells, miss, in all the confusion, I can't honestly say I saw him" nodding at Trenton, "...do a thing... but I would like to get to my horse an' wagon as I’d like to check that the scary man led towards the palace hadn't done anything with them when /he/ arrived..."


"I don't believe this," Harper blinks. "This isn't a debate! Come on, we're going. And I'm sure you didn't know he was, Miss. Now, come on." Trenton continues to get shoved along.. "Hey, bub. Listen, alright. I aint done nothin, you still have your purse, and I still have me hands. What would be the harm in lettin me off with a warnin? I'll pay a fine if yeh want, but I've got a family, and many orders to fill at the smithy! What if we at the smithy make yeh somethin real nice?"


Saoirse follows him and shakes her head gently, "I have never found anything missing in my shop before or after he came to work for me. He is not a thief." she sighs gently, "If he is to go to jail, then there surely is a fine to get him out. I'd pay it now if you knew the price."


"If his hand is going to be taken, are you offering yours instead?" Harper says to the woman, lifting an eyebrow. "I don't think so. And for Light sakes, stop bribing me!" The last bit is given to Trenton. In a huff, Harper signals to the other bladesman again to come help him.


Nirniel looks up towards Saoirse, with a glimmer of panic entering his expression. "...he Grace, Duchess what's-her-name said his whole hand was to be chopped off... miss", goggling somewhat at her.


Trenton struggles to get free, "I ain’t need a hand to be taken cause I ain’t done nothin!" he glares.. "Please, buddy. I ain’t tryin’ to bribe you...I'm tryin’ to pay to make your feeling not be hurt!"


Saoirse shakes her head gently, "I cannot offer my hand in place of his because I need it, but surely there must be some other punishment that he could suffer."


Trenton blinks and talks to Saoirse. "I ain’t want your hand.. I'd rather it be mine." he says as he looks back at the guard. "Listen buddy, who's your superior?"


"Help me pick him up," Harper says to the other Bladesman, returning the spear to the thong at his waist. "Get his legs. We'll carry him if he won't walk." He puts his other hand on Trenton's shoulder and works to turn him about. "Guardian Lucius Nepos. You'll be able to talk to him, don't worry."


"He's a thief. And tried to steal from me. Regardless of his intentions," Harper replies, shaking his head. "I'm not dictating his sentence."


Trenton sighs and talks as he continues. "Listen, how much yeh got in your purse? I'll pay exactly what you have on you right now and we can call it even. So even if I would have taken it, you'd have the same money. Not a bribe, just a fine incurred."

"I’m sorry Miss, Sir, I couldn't be of better help, but I really am worried about my horse. perhaps I ought to check on them..." Nirniel says, nervously. "good light..." He makes towards the stables, smiling with a forced cheerfulness towards all of them as he goes."


Harper groans and nods to the other Bladesman again. "Get his legs." Saoirse gives a small nod to Nirniel before she turns back to Paelnor, "Honestly, if there is no harm done, why can he not be pardoned with a fine? You still have your coin purse and the coins in it. If you were in his place you would ask for the same.


Trenton sighs as he's dragged off. "Please, just hear me out, Paelnor. Please."


Nirniel says something to the stablehand. "Look, if you wanna check your property, that's fine, but I c'n assure you, no-one but us's been allowed near yer horse'n'cart, n'it'll be just as you left it with us." the stable hand declares firmly. Another stable hand leads out a small brown Rivertrotter with a shardwood wagon attached to it. Nirniel looks both the wagon and the horse over, leaning cheek to cheek with it before sending it back in to the stables. Satisfied, he re-emerges from the stables, looking at the scene in front of him "I heard you. Numerous times. We've gone over this over and over, right? Over and over and over," Harper grunts, tightening his hold, as he and his helper haul the man northward.


Nirniel, anxious to avoid confrontation, opens the door of the tavern, hoping to slip in quietly.

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