Winter Sleeping, Packer’s Day 2, Year of the Lion number 427; December 10, 1738 Agathon; Linne 181
Oh, sorry, I need to back up a bit. It’s been seven days since my last journal entry. I believe I’ve entered a new phase in my life, but it’s hard to say. These past several months have been nothing but change, so one might say that this phase of my life is change.
The day after the Coven meeting, Mak Vashiga found me at the castle. The Outlaw Girl is sailing the next day at first light, and as a member of the crew, I should be there. He handed me a pouch containing 143 gold pieces and 13 silver pieces, saying this was my share of our profits. All-in-all, it was a good haul.
I spent that day perusing the market wondering how and where I would spend my money. Other than food, I couldn’t find anything I really wanted. But my mind wandered as well. Did I want to continue with the ‘Girl, or did I want to stay here for a while?
During the night, I tossed and turned. I pulled out this journal thinking I’d put my thoughts down, but I couldn’t think of the words. I stared at a blank page until I fell asleep.
The next morning, I made my decision. I made it to the dock in time – just before sunup. I went first to Mak and then to Captain Silverkeep. I decided I was going to remain here in Linne for now and see which way the winds would blow. They bid me good fortune and I watched as they disembarked. Norrod was their next port-of-call, and beyond that, who knows?
I then went to Lord Baird to tell him that I was staying, but rather than living on his charity, I had the funds to pay my own way. He recommended a couple inns and an apartment building that had a vacancy. I wasn’t sure how long I’d be staying, so I paid for two weeks at a place not on the lord’s list, “The Club of the Panther.” How could I turn away from that?
Lord Baird did offer me a job working in the castle if I was interested. My money won’t last forever, but if I wasn’t irresponsible with it, it would last at least until Spring, if not longer.
But I’m off track.
It snowed last night. According to the locals, it wasn’t much, but every building and street was covered by an inch or so of the stuff. By the time I was up, the streets were mostly clear from horses, wagons, and foot traffic. It wasn’t cold enough to freeze the rivers.
I was fascinated as children played. They packed together balls of snow to throw at each other, laughing and giggling the entire time. At first I was afraid someone would get hurt until I caught a stray throw on the shoulder. It was cold and wet, but there was no pain. I laughed, scraped up a handful, packed it into a ball, and threw it, hitting the urchin square in the chest. He laughed, yelling “nice one!” and ran on with his friends.
Lacking anything better to do, I accepted the open invitation to visit the castle and ask about some work. When I arrived, I found Lord Baird in the dining hall speaking with his son. I know I missed part of their conversation, but I think what I heard was important enough to record.
“This is not what we do in our family. You are my only son, and you are to be the next Lord of Linne,” Lord Baird said.
“But father, I understand. You had an older brother. I know Uncle Hilfred was killed accidently, but while you thought he would be the next Lord, your father allowed you to travel and learn about the world. If I stay trapped here, what will I learn?”
“When Hilfred died, I knew it was my responsibility to be here and learn what I needed to lead this city.”
“Yes, but that knowledge was enhanced by your experiences, father. You cannot deny that.”
Mordecai bowed his head. “Son, I must admit that there is truth to what you say. If you go and live as one among the people, you will learn what it means to be like them.”
“Live like them? That’s not what I’m talking about. I want to go and visit the other cities in the realm. I want to know who the movers and shakers are. I want to understand who has the real power. If I’m to do that, I need my inheritance now.”
By this time, Lord Baird was aware I was in the room. He beckoned me to join them. “Kabize, you told us how you survived the past few months just scraping by. You’ve lived off the land and sea where you could, and you’ve worked for your share of copper, silver, and gold.”
“Was anything, uhm, given to you?” the emphasis on the word ‘given’ took me aback.
“No, not in that sense, anyway. If I was given anything, it was the opportunity to know some great people along the way.”
“My point,” the lord said.
At this time, the steward, John of Scales, joined the conversation. “Lord Baird, Master Saxton, Miss Vipertree. My Lord, as requested, I reviewed the books and have determined the amount of Saxton’s inheritance you’d be able to provide, considering all the factors.”
Saxton smiled but Mordecai scowled. “I requested no such thing.”
The steward replied, “Master Saxton made the request and assured me it was your wish.”
Suddenly, I was scared. Mordecai stood up from his seat, spilling his mug of juice in the process and glared at his son, red faced. “You lied!”
“Obfuscating the truth is no different than lying. So be it. John, give my son one half of his inheritance. Saxton, return when you understand the importance of truth and honesty, not one minute before. Until then, you are banished from Linne.” He turned and marched from the dining hall, slamming the door behind him.
I looked first at John, whose face was impassive. Saxton, on the other hand, seemed glad. Through lying to his father, he was getting what he wanted. I wondered how this lesson would play out for him down the road.
Feeling incredibly out of place, I slipped out and went to the kitchen where I found the chef. She handed me a broom and said for two silver pieces a day, I was welcome to work. With this, I’d be able to rent an apartment and eat modestly and still have plenty left over. How long I’d stay here I don’t know. But for now, it was an equitable arrangement.
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Author’s Note: The first adventure for one of the D&D groups I’m running was called Heir of Linne. Set in year 191, it followed the story of Saxton Baird’s return to the city after his father had passed away and the steward, John of Scales, was in control of the city. I talk about this a little in one of the earliest posts on this blog, here: It Started with The Heir of Linne. Here, in Kabize’s story, I lay the ground work for that story. There are more developments prior to when the player-characters start their adventure, but I don’t think Kabize will be witness to any of it. Research the original song, as I have (not just Steeleye Span’s rendition) to discover what follows in Saxton’s journey. While the setting isn’t historical Great Britain, I do manage to stay pretty close to the original story. Oh, the witch, Syreni, is the nurse referenced in the song. One thing not mentioned here is the key. The key was given to Saxton when he was much younger, and for now, he’s totally forgotten about it.