In the Bleakest of Nights

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In the Bleakest of Nights

Post by Dungeon Master on Sun Sep 20, 2015 7:49 pm

In the Bleakest of Nights

Lavinia was devastated. After the silver council had left, she had sunk onto one of the huge and expensive, but not overly comfortable sofas in the hall and cried until she could cry no more. She had not even noticed Bejames helping her to her private chambers. If only her parents were still here. What little strength she had just refound instantly evaporated as she was hit with new waves of grief and sorrow. How could Umberlee have been so cruel as to take her family ? Now she was the head of the family, and she hardly knew what to do. Her father had never talked much about the business while he was alive, but Lavinia was clever enough that she had picked up much from just seeing him work with other traders. Most she had learned from her mother and the household staff. Those memories of fun and tutoring with the servants made her smile through tears. At first it had been to earn his praises even though she was a girl. Looking up to her father, she had always admired that little smile on his lips and around the corner of his eyes. No matter how bad the business had went lately, he always seemed to have that glow happiness about him. Jorken had been good to the family. The trade routes that had been opened to the Sea of Fallen Stars had been a heaven sent. Her mother had not cursed Jorken for business gone bad recently, one never did she said. “One should never estranged an ally that had such marvellous angles at his side”.  Lavinia remembered those words of her mothers clearly. She also remembered briefly as a young girl having spotted the angel Corfitz Silverfrost on one of his meetings with her father and mother. And the picture her mother made her father commission and keep in the family vault of the angel who gave so much to their family. The thought of the Merchants Saviour brought Lavinia back to the present.

It was dark. Her curtains had not been drawn, and she was fully clothed lying on top of her covers. She could make out spires and dimmed lights beyond the manor wall, but the heavy lead windows muffled all sound from the streets beyond. It was dark and silent in her private chamber. Lavinia felt her stomach growl. Her eyes were puffy and red, but she doubted she had any more tears left in her. Discarding her expensive and now ruffled dress, for a more accommodating adventurers outfit, she set out for the kitchens. She easily slipped down the service stairway and navigated the dimly lit corridor with practised familiarity.

There were lights on in the kitchen still. Not working lights, more like conspiratorial lights. One lamp flickering in the corner over a table in an alcove. The kind of light, she and her parents would huddle up with her to eat some of Marsha's fantastic blood sausage after a late night to the theater. The thought of her parents and those happy times, made Lavinia miss the conversation spilling out through the open door. As she got closer, a name made her pause. Someone had mentioned her brother Vanthus. She stopped by the door, listening intently.

“…changed. I know miss Lavinia feel it also.” It was the cook Marsha. It was unusual for Marsha to be up late. But then maybe late had turned to early ? She did not know exactly. Preparing the morning bread for the manor was one of Marsha’s every day tasks that she would do before anyone else got up. Lavinia quickly made out the two other conspirators; Bejames and Ludwig the gatekeeper. They were discussing the events of the day. She listened for a while, the conversation taking a different turn than she thought. Her heart warm and grow soft as she realised the care and worry that the servants had for her. This was no conspiracy, this was a gathering of friends.

“The Silver Council have expedited their claims against the Vanderborens.” It was Bejames speaking. He was the only of the servants present when Jenya met with Lavinia, so he would know. Listening to his explanation to the two older servants, she realised that the butler left out all information that could be damaging to her name, should it get public. In reality, he only told the two other trusted members of her household what they in time would learn for themselves. She was glad that to have a friend like Bejames who would console the others who were not in the know. These were going to be hard times. Even harder than before.
“Someone made claims against the misses that the half-orc on the docks were hired by her, and it has turned public opinion against the family. The Silver Council had no choice in the matter. A huge – nay, enormous, fine has been levelled against the family, and the missus could do nothing to dispute it. With the Ravens on their way to Silverspires, she has no means to clear her name either. It looks bleak.”

“But we will be allright ? Won’t we Bejames ?” It was Marsha talking. Clearly worried, she looked to the younger valet for guidance.
“Yes, Marsha, the missus will see us through. But the family is in dire straits. The Council gave her only a few days to pay the fines and what the city is owed, or they will be forced to take action. We’re all hopeful that the Ravens will return from Silverymoon long before then.”
“But Silverymoon is a tenday away on horseback!” Ludwig interjected. “How would they be able to get back in time. There is no way!”
“Worry not Ludwig, the misses still have some options open to her. Pray to the Coinfather that she will be prosperous, and I’m sure we will all be back to normal soon.” Bejames assured the gatekeeper in a confident manner.

“But what about the thieves guild ? The visit the other day from those shady characters. I swear one of them lingered by the gate, and all the flowers on that side of my station has withered and died. I don’t like it. He said the Silken Hand were back – but they’re not are they ? They got destroyed by the Tormites, right ?” The older man sounded crestfallen, and unsure about his facts.
“I don’t know Ludwig, but I don’t think so. You must have misheard – those adventurers didn’t come from any thieves guild, the misses would not consort with such types.”

Lavinia was suddenly not so hungry anymore. What had she gotten herself into ? She silently slipped out of the secret back entrance to the manor. The agents from the Company had been her last hope to get out of a bad situation. It had now turned for the worse. What was she to do ? So many people depended on her now that her parents were gone. How was she going to save them all ? How was she going to save the family name ? Bejames was a good man, but both he and she knew that if a miracle did not happen, she would loose everything. Everything. Deep in thought, she did not again slip into despair. Instead, her pace quickened and her feet found her a steady way. She had not consciously realised she had decided to go to the shrine, until she was practically racing towards Jorken Road.

She needed a miracle.
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