Friday, October 14, 2011

An Outsider's Viewpoint

21st Vog, Kocsfalu, Crown Lands

Kale watched as Borsonin Thàthoür concentrated on the testimony. He clearly took this duty very seriously. All of the villagers were questioned again. So was the local nobleman, who looked ill at ease being questioned by one of the great lords of the realm. Kale inferred that since this settlement was not in Thàthoür's territory he must be here to ensure that no local influence could detract from the investigation. When a priest was murdered a day's ride from the capital, the Tjlar Mother Church needed to be sure that what was revealed was the unexpurgated truth. Kale was not so sure that the Orthodox Church of Byzantion would be quite so zealous. Her new travelling companion, Father Nicolai had preached at her on the road from Nemetsz and convinced her that the Tjlars took their religion very seriously.

They had left Nemetsz with the haunt of the Moroi still not located but Thàthoür had sent south to Racivow for scouts to search the area. If the local Borszàg had not located the Moroi by then the Borsonin's rangers would assist in a week or so.

Thàthoür also questioned each of the new people she had met in Nemetsz with the exception of Hector. Hector (or Àctor as the Tjlars insisted on calling him) was Rhodian. She could clearly make out the accent. It was pleasant to chat to someone in the civilized Ionic tongue - once she had established that Hector had left the Empire when Kale was still an infant.Whatever his story was it was unlikely that he was looking for her.

Nicolai, Gorran, Vojeslav and the others had arrived in Nemetsz directly from Kocsfalu village and had been close by when the Priest was slain and when the great beast had slain the latest in a series of merchants. So Thàthoür had questioned them closely about the carefully planned assassination of the cleric in the waggoner’s encampment and also the hideous frenzied slaughter of the merchant in the local inn on the following night. Even Vojeslav who was still weak after the loss of his leg was not spared some very lengthy questioning.

Poor Vojeslav had been very weak when Kale had met him just yesterday. She had used her healing powers on him with quite satisfying results. Now the Artificer seemed quite smitten with her. Not that it was the first time a patient had reacted this way. She didn't object when he paid handsomely for the healing and he seemed quite happy to lose a similar amount to her at Yacta.

 The testimony about Damieni Hnufa seemed to interest the Borsonin a great deal. He seemed to quickly connect this with an incident which occurred in Nagyolaszi a few days earlier as recounted by Nicolai and the others. It seemed to revolve around some boots, but Kale had been thinking about Basil and Byzantion at the time and didn’t quite catch the significance. She did see the moment when the truth dawned on Thàthoür. His demeanour changed almost at once. He asked some more questions and then left with his amanuensis to prepare his report for the Tzar.

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