Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  David on Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:19 am

As the Celeste goes round the trirenes, Winnow sees the difference. These ships' prows are not hounds, but hawks. Their banners show a fierce predatory bird, holding a crescent moon in its talons.

He also views the target ships, and the jagged rocks they seek to avoid, which prevents a retreat in the direction of the best winds. Those rocks stand before a series of barren islands.

One of the target ships seems a fighting vessel rather than a freighter. Presumably an escort. But the name of that ship attracts the most attention: The Crimson Unicorn
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  Winnow on Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:34 am

"So these are not the Hounds, but similar enough. And my shifting shouldn't have gone so far astray that I achieved a mere name. Or a mere-name, ha ha. I held in my mind a vision of the Crimson Unicorn itself, not the words painted on a ship's stern, as well as the people and circumstances I knew. Perhaps one of those personages is on that ship. In any case it is the best lead we have so far."

Winnow will influence the winds near the Hawks, driving them hard against their ships to slow them down, while bringing the Celeste within hail of the Crimson Unicorn. He will also change the winds to favor whatever his sailor's sense is the best for their apparent desires - to not be blown upon the lee shore, to let them run slowly out to sea tangent to the line of attack, whatever buys them time and avoids a loss of opportunity. Delay, delay, delay, for now.

As he does all this he will also cause the Celeste's pennant or colors, whatever they are now, to become those of Amber. He will also raise a white flag above Amber's, hoping this near-universal signal of truce and parlay is recognized.

"Milady Mint, I hope you have your diplomatic portfolio handy, as well as your spells and blade. This encounter may turn more on speeches than swordplay."

Once this is done Winnow will lay the Celeste alongside and parallel to the Crimson Unicorn, and to windward (else the larger ship will eat the wind from her sails and she will be forever falling behind), keeping a safe separation of fity feet or so to start. He will appear in full armor, without helm or gauntlets or weapon, his own colors ablaze. He will see what he sees, and hail the ship in a tremendous seamanlike bellow.

"Ahoy the Crimson Unicorn! His Royal Majesty King Random the First of Amber's ship 'Celeste' greets you, Captain Winnow commanding."

[Assuming it looks like they have time before a forced battle, a half hour at least:] "Permission to come aboard for parlay. You have our parole."

If this is agreed, he will give orders to edge carefully over to (Amberite) jumping distance, perhaps ten or fifteen feet. Then he (and hopefully Mint) will board by the simple expedient of leaping across. He will influence the winds and probability to ensure no stray movement or gust causes a disaster.

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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  David on Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:37 pm

[OOC - the only reason I'm waiting to post is to see if Mint has anything to add and whether she accompanies Winnow.]
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  Mint on Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:23 pm

(OOC: Mint is busy spell casting. Please carry on with the thread until the hour has passed.)
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  David on Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:48 pm

An officer(?) from the Crimson Unicorn returns the hail, identifying the ship as from High Sombra. They welcome him aboard, the sailors impressed by his feat.

Everyone seems dressed in a more-or-less similar manner as in Amber. Winnow thinks some subtle differences exist which he cannot quite put his finger upon. More precisely, he's not paying attention to minuteia. Salient details include the fact that this crew is well-armed, and that they a fair number would appear to be archers. The bows he sees are of bone, no doubt delivering a powerful force behind their shafts, which look very high quality.

The Captain walks up, introducing himself as Diego. Middle-aged, with black curly hair and bright blue eyes, he bears a startling resemblance to the late Prince Eric. Yet the nose is different in shape, and the mouth a little too narrow. He grins, and Winnow can spot how the crew take a certain amount of courage from his presence. Around his neck is a golden chain, and on that a black stone set in a four-pointed star of gold.

"Welcome and well met!" He extends his hand in welcome.
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  Winnow on Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:06 am

Winnow takes an instant and instinctive liking to this man that so resembles his family elders - Eric, and thereby Gerard, Caine and Corwin. He withdraws his armor to above his elbows, then grasps the man's wrist in the grip of greeting he is used to, unless that proves awkward. He also makes a brief, military bow to the ship's officers, then turns back to their leader.

"Well met to you as well, my Lord Admiral. I am Winnow, a Lord of the Kingdom of Amber. It seems as though you are in something of a pickle, yon Hawkish ships desiring to express their hostility with more than words. Though I am sure you have the situation well in hand, still, we may be able to provide some slight assistance. But first, may I have a private word?"

Winnow would like enough privacy that it be possible to overlook (by Diego), to feign not overhearing (by his officers), any slight or offense he might give by some frank speaking with this man. It is not necessary that they go below, just a certain amount of distance.

"My Lord, forgive my impertinence in the midst of this struggle, but my lady companion and I have been for some time been seeking those of the Crimson Unicorn, and here, like a dolphin broaching, your fine ship appears bearing exactly that name. We also seek word of this man," Winnow extracts his Trump of Julian and shows it to Diego, careful not to lose it in the breezes, "my noble uncle and Prince, Julian of Amber, who has gone missing. If the name of your ship is not merely coincidence, I have hope you will tell me something."

Winnow's demeanor and face are earnest and imploring, direct and hopeful. Or he hopes so, since he is quite sincere. The only subterfuge, if one can call it that, he employs, is to give Diego a glimpse of the back of the card, flashing the Sign of the Unicorn, to see what reaction this might bring.
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  David on Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:59 pm

Once alone, Diego's eyebrows rise. "Julian you say? Well, curiouser and curiouser as my Aunt Alicia likes to say. Perhaps you don't realize it, but we call this the Sea of Mysteries. No one knows who or what might be found within its confines or come out from its depths. Ships enter, find lands no one has ever heard of, then return and can never find their way back to that self-same lands. Although sometimes we reach places similar to ones visited before, yet fundamentally different! We even reach strange versions of the homelands we left behind!"

"As for your questions--you speak of figures from legend! Julian founded the realm of High Sombra centuries ago, under the standard of the Crimson Unicorn when he wed the Princess Esmeralda amidst a series of civil wars that literally lasted generations. Together they defeated all of his brothers as well as her own. Alas their dynasty did not last, but it has been the ideal and standard of all that has happened since!"

"Your help in dealing with these Hawk-themed Corsairs would be most welcome! And once completed, I long to hear more of your quest as well as seeing if there is any way we may be of assistance!"


Last edited by David on Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  Winnow on Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:03 pm

[Does our Julian look like his Julian? Presumably he had seen portraits from his ancient times.]

"My Lord, do you have a plan at this point? My Lady cousin aboard the Celeste and I are both possessed of certain mystical powers, wherein we have some contol of the wind and waves, and may be able to destroy at least one of the Hawks by main force. Nevertheless, these powers are not limitless, and if we can all escape without bloodshed, at least on our own side, this would seem expedient."

After hearing Diego's opinion or plan, Winnow will take his leave, signal Franclen to bring the Celeste alongside again, transfer himself, and brief Mint on the situation if her preparations are done. Once he has told her all that transpired:

"I tend to believe these folks are goodhearted by their meins, in the main, heh. It may be that Prince Julian or a shadow of his, some time past founded their nation of High Sombra. It is even conceivable that his disappearance so recent in our realm left him in a realm where time runs so quickly that he found himself stranded, and founded what is now a kingdom hundreds of years old. In any case it seems a promising lead, and that we should drive off or escape these reavers, thence to investigate the Crimson Unicorn connnexion."
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  David on Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:39 pm

[OOC - No reliable and detailed portrait of this Julian exists, although the physical description matches well enough.]

Diego is all in favor of outrunning the Hawks if they can. The Crimson Unicorn and the ships it escorts were headed deep into the Sea of Mysteries. He thinks you're most welcome to come along with. He'd be more than happy to answer any questions once they're out of immediate danger.
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  Mint on Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:04 am

If Winnow waits for her to finish her spell casting Mint will eventually emerge.

"Can you find out the depth of their ships? I believe that I can create a portal which we might all use to travel as far as the horizon and then slam it shut on the pursuers. Would that do the job?"
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  Winnow on Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:41 am

Winnow would easily be able to tell the draft of their ships by their design and the way they sailed. He will communicate his expert opinion to Mint.

"But let us hold that in reserve and try to simply outrun them, shall we?"

Winnow will alter the wind and waves to favor the High Sombrians and Celeste, to help them run fast and perpendicular, away from shore and out to the deep blue sea. If this does not end up looking like it will work, then Mint's spell may be needed.
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  David on Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:17 pm

The hawkships have a low draft.

With a judicious (and expert) use of altering the winds, the hawkships are soon well out of range. The High Sombrians give a little cheer. After a time, Captain Diego brings his vessel closer and requests to come aboard Celeste.
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  Mint on Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:00 pm

While Winnow finishes up with the winds, Mint will signal that the Captain is welcome to come aboard.
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  David on Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:28 pm

Diego is not quite as strong and agile as Winnow, so elects to cross via a simple gangway.

He makes a salute to Mint, introducing himself. He also suggests speaking to both of you at the same time.
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  Winnow on Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:42 pm

Winnow welcomes Diego aboard with a salute of his own. "Welcome, my Lord Admiral." He will send the crew off the quarterdeck and wait with Mint expectantly, as it seems he has something to say.



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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  David on Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:52 pm

Diego says "Our ships are on a voyage of exploration and profit. Given your help, I am authorized to negotiate your continued alliance with us for the rest of our journey--or at least as long as we can persuade you. The Sea of Mysteries is a place well-deserving its name! What would you desire in return for your help?"
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  Mint on Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:26 am

Mint will allow Winnow to conduct any negotiations.
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  Winnow on Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:38 am

Winnow responds, "We are happy to help. We desire information only, at this point. Let us retire for a few moments to the great cabin."

Winnow leads them down to the great cabin in the stern. Of course, on a small merchant ship, it's not that great. But it does at least have the sternlights [the gallery of windows], a table and chairs, and what amenities there are. Winnow will get out a bottle of the best wine that happens to be aboard, and pours with his own hands. Once they are settled:

"My Lord Admiral, I do not know what your knowledge of the many worlds may be, so forgive us if we startle you with our narratives."

"You may know, or have guessed, that the worlds contain similarities, rather like pack of playing cards arranged in order in a deck, one differing only a little from the next. The farther one travels, the more the changes pile up, but among close worlds, there may be many similarities. For example, there is Julian. You yourself resemble one of my elders, a man named Eric, who was a prince of the realm before his death in heroic defense of our Kingdom of Amber." Mint and Diego may notice a slight roughening of Winnow's voice as he says this, an indication of emotion. Of course, all warriors are moved by tales of heroic death.

Winnow takes out his Trumps, removing the card for Eric, to let Diego see it. He places the pack face down on the table, to show there are more. "This is our Eric. Perhaps his counterpart in High Sombra was an ancestor of yours? Or perhaps you yourself correspond. I only say this as an example of what we are more interested in." He turns over the card to show Amber's Unicorn.

"Amber's patron beast, if I may use such a rough term for so divine a creature, is the Unicorn. Recently we have had irregular and possibly dangerous tidings of another realm, peopled with a powerful royal family, who also have cards such as these, with backings of a crimson unicorn on a black field. Rather like the name of your fine ship. We have heard such names as Josette and Fernand associated with this family. At the same time some strange and dangerous happenings - the movement of landmarks, changes in the behavior of powerful creatures - you may have heard of Merewives? - have recently occurred, associated with those of the Crimson Unicorn. We are very interested in finding this realm and speaking to those of it, to see what their viewpoint and involvement in these things be."

Winnow could say or show more - about such things as a Crimson Unicorn trump in Mint's possession, or the picture of the personage on the same. But he wishes not to give too much away too soon, and he is interested to hear what Diego has to say. And as Mint has seen fit to hang back, he will play the stalking horse, to let her watch, and contemplate.


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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  David on Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:33 am

Diego in particular gazes at the Trump of Eric, a grin on his face. "Handsome devil, if I say so myself," he says, winking. "Well, what you say at least matches up with what some philosophers back home have speculated about the Sea of Mysteries!" He lifts an eyebrow towards Mint. "Allow me a guess. You are a descendant perhaps of your version of Julian? All agree the Lady Esmeralda had hair much like yours, a fiery copper in shade."

He thinks for a moment. "Never heard of anything called a merewife. I studied accounts of those ships who returned from the Sea of Mysteries, though, and at least one such ship did say they'd traded with the outpost of a place called Amber. But their unicorn was blue. Another ship once came across a ship with a black unicorn on green banner, from somewhere called Onyx. But both of those were from last century. Entering these waters is a roll of the dice. Potentially wealth and fame await any traveler, but so might death or any one of a thousand other dangers. I'd say you have at least a chance of finding what you seek here."
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  Winnow on Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:08 pm

"Ahh, but my Lord Admiral, forgive me for pressing - is there no Eric in your realm? And from whence does the name of your ship proceed?"
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  David on Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:58 pm

"Well, Eric is not an uncommon name. Neither is Diego for that matter. The name of my ship? Didn't I tell you? It was the sigil of Julian the Unifier and his bride Princess Esmeralda. In High Sombra we often name vessels after figures from legend and history."
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  Winnow on Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:41 pm

He is being evasive about the matter of 'Eric'. I wonder why? I did not seek in shadow for a mere name. I cannot compel him...but perhaps...

Winnow receives back the card of Eric, rubs his chin contemplatively and studies the card intensely, to give himself time. In fact, he stands, and, in turning about, gives Mint a significant look shielded by his own broad back. He stares out the sternlights, as if thinking deeply. In fact, he is concentrating on the Trump of Eric, reaching with his mind, half-expecting to make some contact with this man or some other Eric, being on this side of the distortive veil. Perhaps nothing will come of it.
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  David on Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:58 pm

Not a glimmer of a response. Hardly surprising, given the sheer number of witnesses to Eric's death.

Diego turns to Mint. "Sorry to disappoint. I take it you're looking for a specific Eric? If you can give me a few details maybe I'll have heard of him. But, like I said, Eric is not an uncommon name here. There was even a dynasty for a time, where every single King took the name Eric. A good bunch. One reason parents name their sons that way." He laughs. "Diego on the other hand was a character in a famous ballad, about a lad who went to sea and became rich!"
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  Winnow on Tue May 01, 2012 10:10 am

Winnow hides his disappointment. "I only thought that your resemblance to our Eric, combined with my searching that led us to your ship, meant something more than it does."

He turns back to Diego, tops off his wine glass. "So this crimson unicorn - the heraldry, not the ship - is it your realm's patron? Or merely something out of myth and legend?"
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

Post  David on Tue May 01, 2012 1:02 pm

"None in High Sombra have seen a unicorn in generations, but at least one trading ship returned from the Sea of Mysteries with some claiming to have seen such a creature. And yes, they said it was red. A strange place they described, hundreds of islands in a sweetwater sea, all connected by natural bridges of root and wood that had simply grown that way, or looked to have. The trees had a variety of fruit no one had ever seen before, and when eaten by the sick they were usually cured of what ailed them. Of course that wasn't discovered until the ship got back, quite by accident. Alas, their seeds did not take root. And some terrible events surrounded efforts to acquire the last few such fruit the ships brought back. But all that was two hundred years ago."
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Re: Because Because Because Because Because...!!! (Mint & Winnow)

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