Mery drags us quickly across town to her Father’s residence. Mery’s mother-in-law quickly excuses herself while General Ovim hosts us in the library, even offering us some brandy. The General gives us a bit of background on Colonel Carasal. He had been “tainted politically”, passed over for promotion, and had prospects for a non-military. He had taken some position that the King had not found favorable (the General needs to consult an aide to recall the specifics). At a guess, the General would categorize the witnessing cavalry officer as English or German. Almost certainly not Polish. Prior to being in Logistics, Carasal was a Signals officer. Well educated, well traveled, spoke six languages, served with the Diplomatic Corps for some time. After the conversation, we leave Mery to catch up with her Father.
Mery shares her journeys with her father. In the course of conversation, she also covers needing a Royal Spymaster, and my desire to stay in a field command. The General points out that volunteering for the lead unit in the upcoming offensive, the Forlorn Hope.
Milo stops by my apartment to inform me that my axe has an appointment with the Artificer for another round of magicking. I drop off the axe the next morning after hearing the Artificer babble for a few minutes — fortunately his young assistant simplified the discussion. I grudgingly entrust my axe into their care for the day, while I visit my family.
[Add +keen on the battleaxe]
When Garrick and I get to my parent’s house, I discover my Father (Almod Hagen) is in a state about a rumor that I’ll be joining the Forlorn Hope. I work to squash that rumor — while on the list of possibilities, not anywhere near the top, and there is plenty of time (May-ish) to do so. Father thinks one of Carasal’s sons was killed during an expeditionary force (mostly British), headed into the Crimean Peninsula. At one point, he carefully inquires whether he should be attempting to dig up a family heirloom for presentation to the Queen. I work to dodge any deep inquiries until Father mentions some money is riding on nationality of the Queen’s future husband — where I reassert my patriotic nature. Safine (youngest sister) stops by on a pass-through visit and we catch up. She mentions that she had talked to someone from my unit, Ollie, at the end of September in Athens, and had mentioned heading to Cairo for some research.
Tomas spends some time on military research. At the big battle, who would have been the obvious successor-leaders to the Montenegran military leadership after the King was killed. The Prussians were most likely, in the form of General Ludendorf. He also looks into the Birthstone, and emerges convinced that it is an Elven artifact. He also manages to get a description of the birthstone, described as an infant-sized Sapphire, with veins of white that glow, is warm to the touch, and pulses with its own “life.”
Milo has a quiet conversation with the Queen.
At breakfast, I provide my updated information about Vyse, and we dispatch to pick a path to Athens and Cairo. Jared heads to the Rings to try and find a Ring to get us close. I head to Porter, Justinian, and Sebastian. Milo to Gerald and Cate, Garrick to Polarion, and Mery to Sebastian.
Upon hearing we may be in Cairo, Gerald gives Milo a name and address in the city. Milo is to pick up a box (and not look inside).
Polarion notes to Garrick that she is a tad disturbed by how quiet things are within the Castle. Patient intriguers. Polarion does not have a tattoo.
At Porter’s, I tell him Vyse’s itinerary, and inquire as to who to inquire with to learn about Vyse. He mentions we do not have an office in Cairo. He suggests checking in with the harbormaster of city watch. Also, potentially a bank or money changer may have aided in converting a draft. Some of Porter’s research indicates Vyse’s family is Guilded Merchants and reasonably well off. Vyse’s initial commission was purchased. He may be able to write drafts against family funds and not attract significant attention. The family does not have known significant assets in Athens or Cairo. Both locations have really good libraries. I leave a note with Porter for the Queen, explaining our imminent rapid departure.
My conversation with Justinian is relatively brief. He cautions me, politely, to be clear that I am only talking to Vyse. He also mentions a rumor that a certain Captain is thinking of volunteering for the Forlorn Hope.
Sebastian is intrigued by Vyse approaching my sister. He suggests watching for others looking for Vyse, perhaps by following us, and approaching Vyse as someone working directly for the Queen, not the military. Working theory, Vyse knows something important that others want to keep secret.
Jared reports the rings can get us to both Athens and Cairo. We assemble.