This morning, Farbax elected to remain in our room at the distillery to review our proposed contract with Nonce. It’s probably for the best; I’m sure that Nonce would locate and fully exploit any loophole we fail to remove.
The rest of us attended court to meet the Faulks. It turns out that General Viola and her entourage of ten soldiers was also there in the room. I had a very pleasant and productive conversation with Viola, in which I learned the following intriguing things:
- Narfort ordered Qynton to be killed rather than ransomed. Viola seemed unhappy about this decision. I suspect that her sense of decency and her sense of duty are in conflict. Eventually she will need to choose one over the other; perhaps we can tip the scales a bit.
- Narfort engineered the initial Hooligan attack on the fort as a pretense for moving troops into that general area. Apparently he’s been consorting with orks on a fairly regular basis.
- General Viola sports a very striking helm fashioned like a dragon’s head. Apparently she had it crafted as a response to a certain someone taunting her with ‘Dragonslayer’. When I asked for further details on her conflict with Nonce, she portrayed it as a series of continual annoyances that eventually blew up into a duel. If that is so, I wonder why being called Dragonslayer would have struck such a chord with her, as it apparently has.
- Viola and Nonce initially met when Viola caught him trying to break into Flavio’s house.
- I asked Viola how long she and her troops were to be stationed here and she was evasive. I suspect a rather long occupation.
When our audience at court was granted, we introduced ourselves as partners in the Goldbax Guild and stated that we wanted to discuss the possibility of mutually beneficial trade partnerships with the Faulks. This gambit won us an invitation to dinner with the Faulks to discuss matters, where we could be more candid. Although the food was merely acceptable, the drink was excellent and well paired to the cuisine. These people know their beverages!
At dinner, the family divulged the fact that, although they are publicly maintaining the pretext that Qynton is merely missing, they know that he is in fact dead (Viola having brought his body back to them). They have requested that we organize and supply a funeral feast for 20 in two days’ time, as a demonstration of our ability to procure and transport perishable goods and delicacies. We can obtain the drinks here in town, but will need to send away to Mullen for food product. The only specific requirement is that we provide the Bloody Flange as one of the drinks; it’s apparently Qynton’s favorite. Otherwise, they were pleased at the possibility of a regular trade network, since, being a small area, they have so far been overlooked by the established merchants.
When talk turned to politics and diplomacy, I chose to be very candid with them. I told them of Narfort’s ambitions and that we were opposed to him; what had happened at the Shadowpeak; and that we had been hired by him to find out who was backing Qynton in Prast, but that we hoped to turn that information against him. I asked them who Qynton may have been associated with in Prast and they gave me some names but they knew very little of his life there; I suspect that, when it came to Qynton, there are a lot of things that his family was very happy not knowing. I also offered to convey messages to anyone in Prast for them, but they did not take up that offer (at least not yet). In turn, they told me some very interesting things as well:
- Qynton ascended to the position of power in the family because his father and brother were killed by orks and Qynton was the next one in line to inherit. Knowing that Narfort is allied with the Hooligans, I suspect that Narfort engineered these killings himself and suggested as much to the Faulks. I suppose that Qynton could have treated with orks and engineered these killings himself, but let’s throw suspicion on Narfort for the moment.
- When Qynton returned from exile to claim his position of power, he immediately threw together an army and marched off to take the Narrow Fort within a week. That’s a mighty short time to put together an army and go off to war. His action also completely drained the Faulklands of its own defense force. Viola and her troop of ten are the only game in town. Very convenient for Narfort, I’d say.
All in all, it was a very pleasant and illuminating dinner. Now we have to plan a party and hunt down some wild game to serve at it.