A local noble, named Duka, has bought a few horses in the weeks since the Company found Darian. Nothing has been payed yet and Peric needs the money to buy food for the horses he’s training. The old rancher asks them to go get the payment, once at the nobles’ mansion, there is no one except a dead body. From there it is from bad to worse…
Darian at the ranch
As the Company came back to the Reewos Ranch, they saw a familiar face haggling with Peric, a noble named Duka was buying another horse from the ranch. When the noble sealed the deal, he went on his way with the horse he had just bought. Darius took the opportunity to present Darian to the old rancher and conviced him that he had to accept Darian since he’s the brother of Darius and he’s a very hard worker. Peric was supprised by how much work Darian could do in a day, the only problem was preventing the horses from going crazy when he was near them. In the following weeks, Duka came by twice to buy more horses. But no payment ever came in and Peric had to buy food for the horses and pay taxes to the Tokite collectors for his sales. A Gaketan Mare with insufficient food during his rearing could loose more than a thousand golds in worth.
On a cold rainy morning, Peric asked Mieka:
‘Could you to go see Duka and remind him that he has to pay for my horses.’
Mieka, quickly asking:
‘Do wee need to make him pay up ?’
And Peric replying slowly.
‘There is no need for violence, he’s a good client and I’d like to continue doing business with him.’
Mieka then proceeds to gather everyone and leaves for the nobles’ house. They quickly walk the hour trek from southern Gaketa to the northern suburbs of Gaketa, why would a noble establish himself outside of town is anyone’s guess. As the quatuor exits the gates of Gaketa, Darius sees a small hawk flying south, as it gets closer, the bird starts a rapid dive toward the rogue and as it gets close enough, the company can hear it saying “Darius! Darius! Darius!” in a high-pitched voice. As it lands on the fhokkis’ shoulder the bird continues:
‘I found a cure for Darian, I found The Cure.’
The Company, now complete, resumes it’s road to the nobles’ manor. Arriving in sight of the house, Bast sends Tenser flying high to act as a lookout. There is no movement around the manor, no servants or slaves to be seen. Mieka knocks on the door but there is no answer … in response, Faerbast wonders how to get in, Darius jumps on Darians’ back and the pair crawl up the wall to look through a window, seeing nothing inside, Darius quietly opens up the window and the pair sneaks in the second floor.
Mieka turns the knob on the door and slowly opens it, Ariana and Faerbast follow her in the lobby of the manor, from this place, they can see a few doors on the ground level and a large staircase leading to the second floor. Ariana observes that for a noble, it is woefully quiet and Faerbast quickly notes that the house is pretty blandly decorated. Upon exiting the room from which they entered the house, the brothers see a body leaning on the bedside and laying dead in a pool of its own blood. Darian observes:
‘This is Duka and no life is ebbing out of him, he has been dead for a while. At least half a day.’
Faebasts’ guardian, Tenser, telepathically warns his master that riders have left the town and are quickly coming towards the manor, information that Faerbast quickly shouts to everyone in the manor. Darius proceeds to warn the others that Duka is dead. All hell breaks loose with the news, everyone is scrambling to hide somewhere, the brothers crawl up on the roof and hide there, Ariana transforms her body in a hawk and flies to the roof, Mieka runs through the first door she sees, which is the kitchen, and hide in the pantry and Faerbast, not knowing where to hide, alters his shape to look like Duka. Taking a quick peek through the window, Bast can see twelve heavily plated riders dismounting from their warhorses. “They are already here ?” Taking a second look, he now can see only six guards, the gnome tries a spell on the man that looks in charge.
The soldiers immediately put their hand to their pummel, the spell seems to have failed. A loud knock comes from the door. Faerbast walks slowly toward the door, as he opens the door a second loud knock comes. The door bursts open as the lawmen move toward him.
‘BARON DUKA SORIBA YOU ARE UNDER ARREST. LAY ON THE GROUND. NOW.’
To which Duka (Faerbast) quickly answers:
‘This is an outrage! On what grounds are you arresting me ?’
Bast still in shock at the situation takes a second to analyze the men while laying on the floor; "These soldiers look like tokite soldiers but they are not wearing any official emblems. They are acting as if my noble rank means nothing. They speak flawless kalamaran but they have a strange accent." A soldier then proceeds to tie up Duka with strong manacles while answering his inquiry:
‘High treason to the Empire of Kalamar.’
Darian, hearing the commotion, uses the distraction to slide back inside and search for anything that could explain the situation or who is that noble. The first thing he inspects is the dead body, on it he finds a letter of change destined to Peric Reewos for 15,000 golds. At the very least we’ll have what we came for, the payment. The undead monk then turns his attention to a large desk located in the corner of the room. Finding nothing, he starts inspecting the rest of the rooms without much success. Some noise coming from the lobby lead him to believe they are leaving. Darian, then goes back to the desk, feeling there is something more to that desk, fumbling around he toggles a small splinter, he hears a slight click that opens a hidden conpartment underneath the lowest drawer. In it he finds a couple hunderd gold coins in diverse metals, a large gem and a pile of letters. A bunch of letters from a man named Adoku, a letter sealed from Kalamar and finally a letter from Prince Kafen.
Darius had left the manor to stealth back on the road to Gaketa when the soldiers entered the house. He’s wow walking toward the Duka’s home again with not specific plan in mind.
At the manor, the soldiers hoist Duka on a horse and mount up. They are taking him back to town. Faerbast thinks to himself “At least I was not killed on the spot.” The riders then take up a formation around the prisoner and the captain.
… much fighting …
The company ends up learning that the soldiers are trying to prevent the death of King Adoku.