I resolved to play nice today and rose with the Baroness for morning prayers. Afterwards when we were getting dressed and ready for a full day of womanly nonsense I asked her very humbly and kindly if she could arrange for a meeting with the Baron. She was suspicious of course, why wouldn’t she be, but once I explained to her that I was worried about the things I had heard about the Sky Thunder tribe she relented. She confided in me that their recent aggression was something that everyone in the valley was worried about.
We discussed the recent betrothals, marriages, poetry, and music over breakfast. We saw to the education of her charges. We attend our mid-morning prayers. We had lunch. But then a twist! Instead of the usual after that the Baroness and I took the young ladies in her care into Aleene to mix with the common folk – under heavy guard of course, you don’t want the common people to get too close. I have no idea what the folk around here think of the Baron but they clearly are enamored with the Baroness. We handed out food and provisions and people were all but kissing her feet in gratitude. I’m not sure if this was genuine or if she’s one of the few rich folk who’ve figured out that you can exploit the ever-loving Hells out of people and they’ll still love you as long as you give back one percent of what you take from them.
It’s a curious phenomenon, the nobles crush everyone else and take everything from them – but you hand them back a little bit and they go completely head over heels for the very people oppressing them. I assume there are some low class types who recognize it for what it is, but I assume as well that those are the same types that tend to get drafted and sent off to war. For some reason. It’s a pretty nice system as long as you’re on the top. We were back in time for evening prayers of course followed by supper in the main hall. But afterwards another break in the regularly scheduled program – I was invited into the Baron’s study, where he and the Baroness sat with their master at arms and seneschal in overstuffed chairs enjoying some brandy and being very rich in a very poor land.
Without going into any detail I explained that I had some history with Kartak – the young upstart who was the catalyst to the Sky Thunder tribe causing so much trouble. As a newcomer to the area I was wanting to know more about the situation and if there was anything at all that I could do to help. There was much harrumphing and beating about the bush from the baron and his two cronies – the Baroness refrained some saying anything as is proper – but the situation was laid bare to me immediately. The Baron was worried about gathering the troops to confront the Sky Thunder because he wasn’t sure of victory and losing would be, in a word, “bad”. And while it was also bad to not take action against them they hadn’t yet done anything so egregious that he was forced to take action. It’s the typical bullshit you see from people in authority – as long as it’s only the peasants that are suffering they’re going to play it safe. The Baron could ask Cathars for aid and crush the tribesmen but doing so would make him look weak, like he can’t handle his own business – which of course, he can’t.
So instead he does nothing, and lets people die because so far it hasn’t been enough people dying for him to start losing stature because of that. I wonder how canny these Sky Thunder people are – do they know they’re treading that line or is it just a coincidence? I made some very subtle probes into the idea of turning the conversations towards being proactive and going after them before things got too bad but I was able to sense that that line of talk would not be welcome. The Baron was doing what men of his type away do – ignoring problems and hope they’ll go away. After all there’s always more peasants right?
The Baroness isn’t easy to read but I was able to pick up a little bit of disapproval from her. After the men kicked us out I had a quick walk and talk with the Baroness.
“Tell me ‘cousin’ what do you think should be done about these tribesmen?”
“It’s not my place to consider such things.”
“Oh come on, it’s just between us girls here – if you were making the decisions what would you do?”
“I am not the one making decisions so it scarcely matters. We shouldn’t discuss such matters.”
“Oh sure we should, it’s just talk. Look, I know I just got here and the situation is . . . less than ideal, for all of us, but I can help you. You’re obviously an intelligent woman, you just need a few pointers on how to talk to your husband.”
“Even if I wanted to he would never listen.”
“That’s the beauty of it cousin o’ mine, if you do it right they think the entire thing was their idea. People are dying out there, and together we can do something about it – I have no doubt. Think it over.”
I gave her a companionable squeeze on the shoulder and retired to my room.
Inventory: Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion)
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince
Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle
the butler , Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire
Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror,
Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe,
Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni
Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander,
Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother
Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee, Helgan
van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot
Behind the curtain – One level of retraining from Expert to Rogue complete, Ela is now Expert 1/Rogue 6/Master Spy 2. Sixth rogue level gives another talent as well has getting the bonus talent for rogue as a favored class – not too shabby. So now she has Beast Speech. The other talent taken was One of Those Faces.