I take a few days to run errands. Visiting my parents and sister results in the discovery that my social secretary is exceedingly efficient, and they are packing for a trip to Warsaw to help me set up my new estate. Gulp.
Later I head to Paris via the rings. I place a few orders with the jeweler that made our Lantern rings, pick up a few odds and ends (snacks), and a case of good wine for Porter.
We group back up after a few days and head out to Warsaw, overland, arriving December 30. On the way, Milo and I chat a fair amount about what needs to happen in Poland. He has a friend that has some good contacts in the merchant sector. Her name is Lynn.
The city seems to have partly recovered post-war. Refugee camps are still around, though more organized and smaller. We’re met by a messenger who escorts us to what is apparently my new estate, a modest horse ride outside of the city and just past a small village. A bit run-down, though nice, and with a staff. A large staff. I lose track quickly of their names, and focus on their faces. The estate had been in the hands of a family made heirless by the war, and who decided to go elsewhere. Apparently there are farms, including tenant farmers, and I will have an agent to help handle all that.
(Andres) Chambers [social secretary] gives me a tour, and we chat about the estate and setting things up. We agree on how to restore the house and get the estate fitted out. He suggests a Polish valet, which is a good idea. I give him names of some people that I want to encouter and have time to chat with. The list includes the Captain Rogar Kajorzich of the Winged Hussars and the reference that Zaranova gave me about my likely opposition, one Colonel (ret.) Inar Kragaren.
Chambers and Tomas help me interview the prospective valets. We quickly work through a few candidates before one stands out. Andres Grazo is clearly an experienced soldier, and also passes muster with both Tomas and Chambers. I hire him on the spot, pretending not to notice that Chambers had a few more names on the list. I get Chambers to get Grazo settled, and I wander off.
Kell and Mery are tasked to find the better caterers and chefs. The current estate chef is a halfling, which gives us instant credibility.
On January 3rd, my family arrives in town. My mother at least, is somewhat taken aback at the sprawl of the estate. Milo sends her in the direction of Mery to get caught up on the “plan”.
When Mery gets back, my Mother promptly engages her in conversation. Congratulating Mery on her wedding leads to Mery trying to avoid the topic. This switches to “the plan”, to which Mery tells her about my seeking to become the next King of Poland. My mother is quite surprised, then angry enough at me to smack me like I was 10 again.
Over group and family dinner, things proceed casually until about the meat course, when my mother reraises “the plan” question. I tell her about this woman I like, and how “the plan” logically unfolded from there. My Mother is slighly comforted, though is quick to confirm that I did not steal my newfound wealth.
Late dinner and desert is sidetracked with the unfolding drama of Mery’s secret wedding. Mery is steadfast in not wanting to tell Cate about her secret wedding, and is upset that the topic has even been broached.
Milo scouts out the area religious scene. The village has a multi-purpose temple, and a relatively (small) new one to Goram. He also checks in with the Sarinrae church in Warsaw, which doesn’t need anything special at the moment.
Heinrich assesses the Prussian presence in Warsaw. The current presence is related to deconstruction some of the now-unnecessary temporary military structures. Some are making plans, others are socializing with the locals. After watching and interacting with several, he does notice that members of one particular unit are acting somewhat strangely.
A few days later, when I return to the estate, Grazo tells me that my undergarments have all suddenly burst in flame. A few days later, my shield goes missing, which really upsets me. I use the Wayfinder to find it buried in the back yard.