9th day of the 10th moon in the year 4512 of the Noruz reckoning, morning.
Noting Relana’s disappointment at the lack of information about Xelem XV’s bard, Jongo shares the tale of Wesselrie Kylarian. Many elves do not know this story. The shame of the Elven Diaspora is so great, older elves often neglect to pass on tales from that period to their young.
“Wesselrie Kylarian was a famous elven minstrel from the time of the Elven Diaspora. He had a magic lute known as the Weeping Lute. It is said he played it as the elves retreated from the elven woods before the Claacos horde started its final advance. Wesselrie Kylarian was so despondent at the abandonment of the human allies, he played the Weeping Lute to the limits of his virtuoso ability. Some say the melancholy he created was so profound, its effects are still felt today. It is true that elves are rarely known to celebrate anything these days. Some say the deep pathos is also responsible for the inability of the elves to reorganize themselves into a nation as great as their heritage would suggest they are capable of. None know where the Weeping Lute is, but the bravest Claacos hunters who venture the farthest into the lands south of the Shomaal sometimes tell of eerie music heard at twilight that depresses them so much, they must turn back.”
“Ahhh…” Relana says. “We should go there some time. Too bad it’s extremely far south. We’ll probably have plenty to keep us busy if we go for Xelem’s treasures anyway. That and we probably would need some more… muscle, and a way to not be so weepy. By the way do you know if the Claacos are susceptible to sound or music in any form? Should I even come up with “Claacos” songs to sing?”
Jongo ponders a moment and confesses he hasn’t heard of any attempts to use music on Claacos for any purpose. He’s pretty sure he hasn’t heard of any serious attempts to generally communicate with them either. He muses there must be some way to communicate with them since they definitely communicate with each other to an extent.
Having finished her grueling studies in magic channeling, Relana strolls Kahnul, taking in the sights. Kahnul is a large city. After visiting the legendary stables where the bulk of Aval Kingdom’s Mounted Patrol units are based, she starts walking towards the city center to see Duke Hecther’s palace. On the way, she senses she is being followed. A nondescript man wearing everyday workman’s clothes always seems to be chatting informally to another or contemplating a shop’s window whenever she turns around. “Not again!” Relana thinks. “Last time didn’t work out so well… It couldn’t be Flavio could it? We didn’t have anyone follow us on the way over did we?” Relana wants to get a better look at this guy. She decides to proceed to the city center nonchalantly.
Upon arrival at the city center, she starts an impromptu performance. A tale of prowess about a caravan that defeated some Claacos. She pays some attention to her performance, but she’s more interested in appraising the gentleman following her. Is he attractive? His appearance? His origin/location, and what he appears to be doing/is interested in. As she begins her tale, she spots the figure in the crowd and keeps an eye on him. Despite her split focus, she still delivers an amazing performance and passersby quickly reward her with 22 copper pieces. After observing from the crowd for a few moments, Relana’s tail turns around and leaves. Relana tries to keep track of him as he retreats, but he quickly goes out of sight. Everything about him seems average and Relana was unable to get a good look at his face. However, he does not look like Flavio who is short and pudgy. Relana concludes her performance and proceeds to the ducal palace periodically glancing over her shoulder to see if the man reappears. After she arrives at the ducal palace, she is not sure if she has been followed by the same person. She saw some people behind her who might have been the same person, but then again might not have.
Relana decides that she’s had enough of this. She decides to wait in an open area, and when she sees the person, to walk towards him and confront him. She waits in the plaza in front of the ducal palace to scan the crowds for a while. She doesn’t think she sees her tail passing through, and though there are some loiterers, they seem to be of the normal kind. She passes the rest of the day touring the public areas of the ducal palace. She mostly sees life-sized statues of previous Defenders and other prominent individuals. In one courtyard with a tremendous fountain, Relana sees a mosaic showing a map of the old kingdoms.
Relana decides to spend the rest of the evening generally carousing at some inn (while fending off advances from overly amorous men). She chit chats, and tries to find out more information about “guilds”, or “organizations” or “brotherhoods” (any thing that might be of interest to her). Relana first walks into the Queen and Her Drones. The loud cheers from the male patrons and dark stares from the female staff prompt Relana to look elsewhere. She fares little better at her next stop Crazy Horse.
Now a little bit more wary, she enters the fancy-looking High Tower Grille. The hubbub inside continues uninterrupted at her entrance, but the maitre-d’ ahems and asks her, “Hwhoom are you here to see?” Glancing down at her drab, travel-stained clothes, Relana notices the stark contrast with the finery worn by the almost exclusively male customers. Before entering the High Tower Grille, she did notice a place called Old Soles Pub that did not give off brothel vibes. Figuring she’ll need to buy some new clothes before attempting the High Tower Grille, she backs out and spends the evening at the Old Soles Pub.
Relana has a generally good time flirting with the other customers who are almost all middle-aged and older men. A band is playing. The drinks and conversation come freely and Relana does not have to spend any money on herself or anybody else. One grizzled claacos butcher fills her in a little on the Zakhm Brothers. “The Brothers have their fingers in everything. I have to pay a protection fee to keep my shop from getting busted up. I see you have a lute, if you want to play it in a public place, you have to pay them off. Even this pub has to pay up, and probably that band. You won’t find the Brothers, they’ll find you.”
Relana surmises that the tail is probably a low level member of the Zakhm brothers intended to keep tabs on her. As the butcher stated, they’ll find you… She suspects that she’ll have to start paying some sort of “protection fee”. Perhaps Flavio was a member of the Zakhm brothers. Relana shudders at the thought.