Gotha date; RH

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A stopover at Fisks
04-02-2019, 09:56 PM
Post: #1
A stopover at Fisks
(OOG: For those still hanging in there, this bit is the follow up on "Escape from the dark side" and "HRH Tovemor visiting")

The airship landed with a three day delay at the airtower next to the Residency of Carls Nybygge.
“Travel papers, please,” the Fisks militiaman yelled at the disembarking passengers. Moa had made sure she was at the head of the line, with Svea Gefna right beside her. Her security guards and assistant would take care of the luggage.

“Moa av Blåkulla, travelling on a diplomatic passport. Could you let me and my security officer pass quickly? We're on a diplomatic mission and need to contact the foreign department.”
Svea Gefna lifted up her jacket, showing her belt and empty shoulder holster. “There are two ensigns further back in the line carrying my handgun. Can they check it in or do I need to return?”
“I would appreciate it if her ladyship could return,” the militiaman replied while saluting. “Do your ladyships need an escort to the Residency?”
“I know my way, thanks for asking,” Moa replied. But Svea Gefna took off in the other direction, towards the federal police station where she could use the radio telegraph without nosy Fisk militiamen looking over her shoulder.

“Welcome, Your Grace,” Anton Fisk greeted jovially once Moa was led into his working office. “We did not expect Her Grace until 2 or 3 days.”
“I took an earlier departure in order to have more time here, but I ended up in Shangtienrand. This has become a different mission now and I need to report back directly to the court. Could his lordship accommodate that? I will have to fill in his lordship and the rest of the leadership after that, if that is OK.”

“Should we be worried about our Häverist neighbors?”
“Not more than usual, if I am able to synchronise some efforts with the Court.”
“Please follow me to the radio room. Why the Court?”
“Well, there are some aspects that concern Fjällsta Stift, the Kakuri and Fisks. If I can communicate directly with the court, then they will see to it that it lands on the proper desks. I am improvising, my lord. This wasn't exactly planned.”

That was only half the truth. The visit to Shangtienrand was carefully planned. The fact that Torhild stayed behind and needed a cover, that was the unplanned part Moa was referring to. She handed over a handwritten document in stoldavinized Kakuri for the radio operator to transfer.

“Hang on,” Anton Fisk objected, “this is communication between member states, it should be done in Wortsproke.”
“My lord,” Moa replied, “we could discuss the technicalities of this communication, with me stating that it is communication from a member of the Royal Court to another member of the Royal Court. Does his lordship trust me?”

It remained quiet.

“Well, that is an answer too. I understand that I have done some things in the past that didn't build up the trust we need right now. Let's meet each other halfway then. I could have started transmitting this message from the airship, directly to Villes and then on to Östvallen. Instead I came here. If your radio operator could start transmitting, then I could brief you on the situation at the same time.”

Anton stuck out his hand in order for Moa to seal the deal in a more informal way.
“Right,” Moa continued, “this briefing should happen in private. Only his lordship, your brother Arild and the federal liaison Iunse Tunn have clearance.”

Anton entered his work office, cleared it from all the people that had continued their work meeting there and pointed towards Moa, inviting her to sit down.
“As his lordship is aware, I am combining my visit to Fisks with a not completely official visit to Aspasia. I'm travelling with a small delegation, translator, assistant, some security officers. When we had to make a precautionary landing at Shangtienrand, we saw an opportunity. We left behind two agents. What I am communicating with the Court is the cover story they need to get a longer visa. Beside their official role as caretakers for Orkanan pilgrims, they will report on the situation in Schlund and Shangtienrand in general. Information that will be beneficial to Fisks as well.”

“How do we know this information ends up with us as well,” Anton asked suspiciously.
“Communication will be done by mail. Instead of posting directly to Vittmark, we will use a proxy on Gilles Carls. Which means that the mail will end up in your service and you will be notified as soon as a message arrives.”

“It is fully possible that the Häverists will check the contents.”
“We work on the assumption that they will. So we have improvised a codebook of adjectives. A bunch of adjectives. A whole load of adjectives. A ridiculous amount of adjectives. It's easy to fill up our written language with redundant adjectives. So we can sneak in coded messages in regular conversation.”

“And we will get a copy of the codebook?”
“This is where His Lordship's assistance would be welcome. If you could make some clerks available for making two copies, then I can take the original back to Vittmark. One copy will be for the federal police here, and one for you.”

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
04-05-2019, 05:16 PM
Post: #2
RE: A stopover at Fisks
“Your Grace, the Kakuri party has left Ny Skiöldavik with two trimarans. Petterson added that both Byebye and Surprise are on board. Surprise is not sure she is allowed to enter.”
Last time Surprise travelled to Fisks she was arrested for trespassing. Only five Kakuri emissaries are allowed to roam freely, and Surprise did not belong to the group that traveled to Vittmark the first time.

And indeed, the controls in the harbor of Nybygge were thorough.
“Byebye Nenne av Kakuri... your papers seem in order. But the baroness Surprise... av Kakuri... You are not an emissary. And neither is this man. You can choose one of them as your escort.”

Moa had to provide a translation. But halfway through it, she noticed Flower disembarking the trimaran as well. Of course Flower would be there. Moa and Flower met maybe once a year on average and she wouldn't want to miss out on the opportunity.

“Officer, the ladyship back there is an emissary, baroness Flower Sano av Kakuri.”
“Why do they all have these weird names?”
“In Kakuri, your name is what you are. Luckily you are not Kakuri, or your name would be 'rude weird smell'...” Moa was getting a bit cocky now the solution the their potential problem had presented itself. Vind's master plan.

Flower knew she could not show her affection to Moa in public. So the company started to leave the jetty and made their way towards the steep ascend leading to the upper part of town. As soon as they touched Fisks soil, Moa turned around and indicated everybody to stop.

“I just spoke with Midori,” Moa started in Kakuri. Surprise and Flower looked at each other. “When would you have told me?” Moa continued.
“Told what...” Flower half whispered. But Moa just kept looking at the three Kakuri in front of her.
“Yes... why all the trouble of visiting Midori?” Flower continued. “She is not Nokumo Nobono. It was dangerous for her.”

“You should have told me. I need to know. I am Durrum Mu-Wa of the Nokumo Nobono, tear eater, red panther sister, afterlife ruler, tensho of the weeping box and... anchor of the kotan.”
Moa paused for the dramatic effect. Although she did not have a clue if that was a Kakuri thing as well.
“Anchor of the Kotan... I can not anchor what I don't know,” she continued.
“You didn't know?
“Which one of you told me?” Moa asked directly. The three Kakuri women looked at each other.

“We assumed... Lin-Ya would tell. She's... your eyes and ears.”
“YOU should have told me. I can not anchor what I don't know,” Moa repeated. “We are the Nokumo Nobono, me included. I need to know, before...”
“It was Midori's decision,” Flower countered. “You could not have been part of the decision. It just... happened.”

“Now I know it was Midori's choice. But I had to visit her. Yes, that was dangerous. You put me in danger. You put Midori in danger. Think...” Moa pointed at the side of her head, “think of me.”
Only Nenne gave a short nod and whispered “Hai...” But Moa was not addressing her. Nenne had left the Nokumo too, previously. She thought her role as healer was more important than that of performer and administrator. Nenne had informed Petterson herself, so the event was quickly communicated with Östervallen. It was just a bit awkward that Queen Anna had just left for her retreat and had not been updated.

But this time, now Midori left, no one had informed anyone.

“Anyone entering the Nokumo,” Moa continued, “anyone leaving the Nokumo, anyone taking over after the Nokumo... It only is... after I have been told, and after I have said it's good. Yes?”

Flower and Surprise exchanged some looks again. Then Flower looked up and confirmed she had understood. Only then Surprise followed. That bothered Moa. There was a group hierarchy and she was the lowest in rank. She decided on the spot she would change that.

“If this happens again... you all are gone. All of you...”
Flower tried to resist. “Only Kirisaki...”
“Fuck Kirisaki,” Moa interrupted. “Fighting Bird owns Kirisaki. I am Fighting Bird's dream. I will... point out... Sukandaru, or Fesukoda, or... whatever... Me... Durrum Mu-Wa of the Nokumo Nobono...”

It remained quiet. No one seemed to have an idea about how to conclude this sorry episode. Until Nenne took a chance.
“Hoooooo...” she half yelled with her hand in front of her mouth and then started clapping, rhythmically... 1, 2, 3; 1, 2, 3; 1, 2, 3, 4, “Whoah!”
She repeated it and the third time Moa joined in. Flower and Surprise did not know if they had to join in, even though they recognized the rhythm as one of their own songs. Surprise decided to kneel down on both knees, looked down and presented her wrists. Nenne yelled “More power!!” and kneeled down as well. Now Flower had no other option than to follow, but instead of presenting her wrists, she flipped her head back. Moa continued one round and screamed the last “Whoah!!” before she pulled up Surprise, Flower and Byebye one after the other.

When the company resumed their path towards the upper town, Moa quickly grabbed Flower's hand.
“You missed me?” Moa said.
“Glad to see you too,” Flower smiled. “Well, until a short moment ago.”
“Friends can make mistakes, argue, yell, fight... and then move on. Next time we meet, don't make me yell at you. Oh, and tell Lin-Ya she is out of a job.”

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
04-06-2019, 02:13 PM (This post was last modified: 04-06-2019 06:05 PM by Pepijn.)
Post: #3
RE: A stopover at Fisks
Two federal soldiers knocked on the half door of the Kakuri cubicle.
“Linnea Blåis,” they yelled through the opening, “we're here to escort you to Ny Skiöldavik.”
“I'm not going to Ny Skiöldavik, and I don't need an escort.”
Fru Blåis, based on the Fisks Kakuri Exemption of the Association Act, you are ordered to leave the Eastern Crown Domain.”
“What,” she replied, now appearing in the door opening with a 2-year old in her hand. “That must be a mistake. I am the High Administrator of the Eastern Crown Domain's civil affairs.”

“Not anymore. Your position has been terminated. I have it in writing. Well, as a telegram.”
“Let me see that...” She yanked the telegram from the soldier's hand. The message was much shorter than she had anticipated.

W H E R E I S M I D O R I – S T O P – G O V E R N O R A V B L Å K U L L A

“But... I have a life here. My children...”
“Without a federal assignment, your presence here is illegal. You can file for entry back in Ny Skiöldavik, or in Carls Nybygge.”

Linnea started panicking. “My group, my blade.... they won't let you.”
The soldier made a quick assessment. It was about 5000 against 2, so the odds were indeed against them. And it was obvious Linnea would not come voluntarily, with her family ties over here.
“Let us compromise,” he tried. “Would you care to follow us to our compound here? You will have house arrest there, but you can take your children with you for the time being. In the meantime, we'll sort this out with the Nokumo.”

It was quite a gamble, because usually it was Linnea who would communicate with the Nokumo. He waited strategically between the kotan and pavilion for the time when Little Finger would show up.
“Excuse me, mylady...” he began while bowing deeply, “when would be a good time to have a word with her ladyship?”
“You... want to talk... with me?”
“If it is appropriate, mylady.”
“Where is Lin Ya?”
“It is about Linnea...”
“Come,” she gestured. They walked to the pavillion, where the soldier had to wait at the stairs.

“Sit,” Little Finger ordered when she returned with Orange and Chopper. “And speak...”
“Thank you, my ladies. Linnea has been called back to Vittmark.”
“Called back?”
“She has to return...”
“Return? She lives here...”
“We know. She works for crown princess Moa, but she has been... let go...”
“I don't understand.”

The soldier presented the telegram.
“Can not read. You read.”
“It is from Princess Moa, it says 'where is Midori'...”
Little Finger put her hand in front of her mouth. Then she started explaining to the other two.

“Durrum Mu-Wa is angry at Lin-Ya because of Midori.”
“But... Lin-Ya could not help that. It was Midori's decision.”
“I know. I don't understand. She asks Lin-Ya where Midori is.”
“Doesn't she know?”

Then Chopper realised. “She does not know. Who told Durrum about Midori?” She looked around. “Nobody told her. We thought Lin-Ya would do that. But we never asked her. We never told Rock. We did not tell Durrum. This is our fault...”
Orange understood the gravity of the situation. “Flower... she's seeing Durrum, right now...”

“You...” Little Finger addressed the soldier. “You have bird box? Send message...”
“We can only send to Ny Skiöldavik. There they can relay to the police station.”
“Come... Let's get Lin-Ya.”
“She is already there. We have to bring her to Ny Skiöldavik. From there on she will be taken to Nybygge and back to Vittmark.”

“This... is Vittmark. Lin-Ya already in Vittmark.” Little Finger looked at the other two. Both of them several months pregnant. It was up to her.
“We send. Then we walk to Nushurudawiku. We wait for answer. No answer? We boat to Toto. Wait for answer. Good?”

“My orders are only to take Linnea to Ny Skiöldavik. If her ladyship is assisting me then I am very grateful. Thank you.”
Little Finger looked at the soldier in silence for a while.

“You... too many words.... say yes...”

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
04-07-2019, 12:15 PM
Post: #4
RE: A stopover at Fisks
“So I have been told these women are musicians as well?” Arild Fisk inquired.
The whole company had been invited for dinner and they had just started the starter course.
“Some sorts," Moa replied diplomatically. "Surprise is a vocalist. Byebye is mainly a performer but I have seen her playing a guitar...”
Arild frowned. Why would ant-eaters play a guitar?
“Amo does some string instruments and Flower... well... quite a lot of instruments.”

“String instruments? I thought they only had pig skins on coconut shells.”
Arild did not hide his superiority feeling. “Take my daughter, for example. She has been playing the harp for eight years now. Had it imported from... Amberia? Auresia? Don't remember...”
“It's Anisoran,” Malin Fisk mumbled.
”Why don't you get it from the cellar and show these people some real music?”

Malin was not really interested in showing off, but her father kept pushing her to show these jungle people some superior culture. So after dinner, a servant rolled in the harp that usually was stored carefully in the coolest and driest place of all Gilles Carls. Malin set up her music stand, arranged some paperwork and started playing a slow song with many arpeggio's.

After she finished, the entire dinner party started applauding politely. Malin wasn't playing bad, but it sounded a bit stale. The notes were there, but the soul was somewhere else.
“Now that is a string instrument. I bet that none of you could play like that,” Arild boasted.

Moa turned towards Flower. “Toto is talking from the back of a cow. He says you can't play that...”
“It's just a large koto...”
“Let's not make Toto feel... bad...”

She then addressed Arild. “She says it's not unlike an instrument they use themselves, but she does not want to insult the host by attempting to play it.”
“Come on,” Arild continued, “I won't be offended.”
Of course Arild would not be. The embarrassment would fall on the Kakuri if they failed. He started pointing towards Flower, inviting her to come over. Flower got up.

“Are you sure?” Moa asked. Flower only nodded. She sprinkled some water on her hands, dried them with a napkin and slowly walked towards Malin. Once there, she bowed her head and presented her open hands to her.
“It's their custom,” Moa explained. “They are asking if they are permitted to touch someone else's instrument.”

Malin did not know what to do. Her harp was precious and she did not want a savage to put her hands on it. But her father insisted that she give up her stool for the Kakuri guest.
Arigatou,” Flower said. She noticed that some strings were red, others blue. She played them gently with the nails of her right hand, finding out that these were in octaves. She got it immediately, this was exactly like a koto, but then with some extra strings in between. And it could be played from both sides. She looked sideways at Malin, put her right hand in a V-shape beside her right eye and smiled, indicating that everything was OK. She started to get up again.

“No, no... Let me hear her play,” Arild insisted. “Everybody can pluck some strings.”
After Moa's translation, Flower replied.
“I feel sorry for her,” she pointed at Malin, “but what can I do?”
She sat down again and started playing. Her arpeggio's were exactly reversed, starting with the highest note and then working down. The small audience immediately recognized the 6/8th signature song. Arild's mouth fell wide open. Not only did Flower play the harp, not only with much more soul, but she played a song called “A flower”. An Orkanan traditional bearing her own name.

Moa put both her hands in front of her mouth, Byebye just one, while Surprised buried her entire head into her hands. To make things worse, Flower started playing a variation, with three strings at the same time with her left hand. She suddenly stopped.
“Could you tell her it is a wonderful instrument and that she should keep playing it?”

Moa translated diplomatically. “She says thank you for allowing her to test such a marvelous instrument. It is a bit similar to a koto, an instrument she plays herself as well, but much more refined, this harp. She considers it an honor, she hopes you will enjoy playing on it as much as she did.”

It was unclear if Malin had heard Moa at all. Her face had turned gray. Suddenly she turned around and walked away.
Herr Fisk,” Moa continued, “maybe you can not feel insulted by a Kakuri playing a harp, but clearly your daughter is.”

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
04-09-2019, 07:28 PM
Post: #5
RE: A stopover at Fisks
The dinner company entered the other side of the room for a more informal mingling. Surprise, Amo and Byebye were standing there a bit lost, in the company of Svea Gefna with whom they could not communicate. But they were glad they had some company, uniformed company, right in the heart of the enemy's main compound.

Anton Fisk was discussing the uniform with the woman wearing it.
“Are you allowed to show that much skin at the royal palace?” he asked. Svea laughed.
“Usually not. Back home female officers tend to wear trousers with this short jacket."
"Trousers? That's... unusual..."
"A knee length skirt is much more practical in this climate though.”

The outfit was exactly the same as the one Sanna av Blåkulla, Moa's younger sister, had been wearing when she came checking up on Queen Anna only a couple of weeks ago: a dark grey pleated skirt with an orange vertical band at the left hip, a black button down shirt and a short waisted jacket in black.

“Well, I like what I'm seeing,” Anton replied while checking out Svea's knee length black stockings. Svea did not know if Anton was paying a compliment or just was a sexist pig. Probably a bit of both. As a Fisk, you could do about everything within the Residency. And outside of it as well.
“But it's not the same as the federals wear over here,” he continued.

“Court Security has separate uniforms, more formal generally speaking. Just like the Federal Police has different uniforms than the Federal Military or Federal Navy. Our uniforms hardly ever get used in the field. They're more ceremonial than practical. I'm a cavalrist, but this outfit, as well as the female version of the trousers, they simply do not work in combination with a horse.”

Moa wanted to save Svea Gefna from her misery, but was stopped by Arild Fisk.
“Your Grace,” he started, “harbor security has informed me that another Kakuri with a diplomatic pass has shown up, In the company of federal officer Petterson and someone else. They are waiting in my library.”

Moa put one and one together. She was expecting to meet Little Finger as soon as she would open the door of Arild's working quarters. And if Petterson was there, then so would Linnea Blåis. She thought it was a good idea to meet them without her host though.

And indeed, Little Finger ran the whole self shaming ritual for having made a huge mistake towards Moa. Only when she had finished, Moa informed her that Surprise and Flower were in the dining room, that everything had been talked through. But she made sure Little Finger understood that any more of these mistakes would have consequences.

Then she turned towards Linnea. She pulled off a similar ritual, but then in Wortsproke. Moa stopped her before she had reached halfway.
“You know I don't have to listen to you, right? If I say you have to return to the mainland, you simply have to do that. That's how this works. Your stay at the Kakuri is a privilege and I can revoke that at any time.”

Linnea remained quiet. She felt that nothing she would say would help her case. Luckily for her, someone else opened her mouth.

“Durrum,” Little Finger ended the eerie silence, “Lin-Ya made a mistake. We made a mistake. We learn... from our mistakes. You send her back, what does she learn?”
Moa looked at her. She was not used to Little Finger addressing her in Wortsproke. But she understood that she wanted Petterson to witness her remark. The same mistake should result in the same repercussion.

“If you take with you... Lin-Ya... then I will follow.”
Moa looked tired at Little Finger. She knew she had a point. But she hated that.
“Can I slap her in the face?” Moa continued in Kakuri.
“Of course. You're Durrum-Muwa. You're Nokumo Nobono.”
“Then I can slap you in the face as well. With my arm... back as... speed...”
“Her first, then you?”

Moa turned towards Linnea, who was holding her breath and bracing for impact.
“Last warning, Blåis,” Moa said in Wortsproke.
“Oh hells and Vald on a stick, I really thought...”
“Nokumo humor... It's an acquired taste,” Moa continued. “But the message is serious. You have a good advocate in Koyubi, if they only get a final reprimande, then the same goes for you. It is your last chance though, it takes one telegram to lift you from your mattress and put you on an airship. You report to the post in Ny Skiöldavik so they can inform me. Now let's get you all something to eat.”

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
04-10-2019, 08:37 PM
Post: #6
RE: A stopover at Fisks
Moa woke up from one of her least favorite sounds: someone throwing up. It turned out that half the group was already awake.
“Your Grace,” Manda said before Moa could wake up completely, “I am going to get the physician of the federal forces.”
“Little Finger...”

Moa could see herself now, Little Finger was breathing heavily, sweating like an ox and pale as a Stoldavian.
“Go,” Moa said. On her hands and knees she made it towards Little Finger. She was in a terrible state.
“Get her out of her clothes and off these sheets,” she commanded. But Byebye, Surprise and Flower looked at her puzzled. Only then she noticed she had been speaking Wortsproke. “Clothes off.... sheets away... wash...” Speaking Kakuri wasn't that natural for Moa that she could formulate complete sentences in the middle of the night.

After the women had washed the almost lifeless body of Little Finger, they wrapped her in one of the clean sheets. Moa felt a stomach ache as well, but she knew she was projecting. She had done so all her life, if her sister had a cold, she felt a sore throat, if her father had the flu, she would feel feverish as well. Moa understood that this would become a hellish night, because she had to mentally suppress her subconscious. It was all between her ears, but then again, everything that she was, was between her ears.

When the physician arrived, Moa was holding Little Finger in her arms like a little baby. To be honest, she was about as helpless.
“If this is contagious, you all have to stay here,” he started by saying. Moa understood that it would be best for everyone not to travel to Aspasia if they were carrying a disease that had this effect.
“Your Grace,” he continued, “whatever this is, I would like to try an experimental treatment. But I need her to agree on that.”
“She's in no shape...”
“So who can speak on her behalf?”

Moa wanted to point to Byebye, but then she realised. She was Durrum-Muwa of the Nokumo Nobono.
“I do.”
“We need to get her hydrated. If her stomach does not hold anything, I am proposing to inject it directly into her bloodstream.”
“Before you have examined her?”
“No, but I need to have boiled water which has cooled down. That will take a while to prepare.”

Moa signaled Manda to arrange it, hoping that someone still was around in the household to assist her. After the examination, the physician still was not entirely sure.
“No blood, so let's assume it's only the digestive system. Difficult to combine it with the hyperventilation and sweating, but she does not seem to have a fever. So let's rule out a disease for a while... Food poisoning, or maybe plain poisoning.”
Then it dawned on Moa.
“She is sensitive to dairy products.”
“Right... that could be it... but she must have digested a lot in order for it to result in this. Her whole system is off, there might even be some permanent damage.”

Manda returned with a kettle of boiling hot water. The physician filled a liter bottle and added two spoons of salt.
“Could you explain to her that this is going to be painful, but that it's for her own benefit?”
“What is the plan, doc? I need to explain a lot.”
“I will have to put a hollow needle into her arm. With the help of gravity we will bring this solution into her bloodstream, through a rubber tube.”
“Won't the blood just poor out?”
“Not with this.” He grabbed a rubber balloon from his bag and attached it through a tube to the bottle. “We need to help gravity a bit by adding air pressure. That's the experimental bit. I am not sure how much pressure. But someone needs to keep her arm steady and someone needs to keep an eye on the pressure.”

Moa was furiously thinking about how to explain this. She addressed Byebye, in the hope that Little Finger would hear along.
“Little Finger needs water... not through the mouth... it will... come back. Directly into... the arm! It will hurt, but it will make better.”
“If she can't drink, it will be difficult to keep her breathing,” Byebye replied. She was a healer herself and knew the situation was serious.
“It is wrong food”, Moa continued “Serious... not drink for days...”
“Days? She will die!”
“The man says not. He's a healer too. Our healing... different...”
“I know. I have been with your tooth doctor, remember? Your healing is painful. But it works. Will Little Finger live?”
“The healer says... good chance...”
“We'll take that chance.”
“You tell Little Finger? I am... clumsy...”

“Durrum...” Moa heard a weak voice from below. “ too much.”

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
04-12-2019, 09:11 PM
Post: #7
RE: A stopover at Fisks
Moa woke up with a shock. She knew she should not have dozed off. She was half lying on her back, half sitting on a folded mattress, with a pillow supporting her head and her left arm. That left arm was holding Little Finger's left arm stabilized for the IV. The frail woman was curled up on Moa's lap. One of her legs was numb from carrying her weight, but that didn't matter. Moa was relieved to see that her little powernap had not resulted in a major disaster.

The IV bottle was hanging from a tripod. Flower was sitting next to it, holding the balloon. She was humming a familiar song, after each verse she was squeezing the balloon gently. The physician was sitting on Moa's other side.
“Forgive me for asking,” Moa said, “but what was your name again?”
The physician smiled. “They call me Mattan, Your Grace.”

Svea Gefna now approached.
“We need to get moving, out of this house.”
“We have done some deduction. She was either poisoned, or fed dairy, which is the same in her case. None of the others have any symptoms. So there was no dairy or poison in our food. Also, Petterson and Blåis are absolutely fine. They had something to eat together. So I have to assume that Little Finger was targeted by someone in this house.”
“There's no real proof...”
“While we gather proof, we have to move out. If I am wrong, then there is no real problem. But if I am right, we all might be in danger.”

“I had a terrible night, I'm not even trying to think straight. I'm trusting on your judgement. Let's move.”
A portable hammock was improvised from some sheets and then the company set off, first through the house which was relatively quiet this early and then through town. Security guards had tried to stop them, but when the physician said it wasn't ruled out it was an infection, the happily let them all go to the federal compound.

Shortly after they arrived and even before they had settled in, a messenger from the Residency arrived, with a request from Arild Fisk to see Moa. But due to the security risk, only Petterson walked back with the messenger.

“One of the emissaries has fallen ill, if I have been informed correctly?”
“Yes, it's Little Finger, the one who arrived after dinner.”
“Something contagious?”
“Could be, but quite unlikely. She does not have a fever. We suspect foul play.”
“Excuse me?”
“Poisoning... not with something we would consider poisonous, but...”
“Milk...” Arild Fisk finished the sentence, much to Petterson's surprise. “Anyone else suffering from it?”
“No, sir...”
“Then it could have happened when the new arrivals...”

“Sir,” Petterson interrupted, “are you considering the possibility that one of your people did this?”
“Let me be honest to you... I don't like the Kakuri and I don't like the status they now have. But I invited them into my house, this residency, and I consider it my responsibility to care for their well-being. I have nothing to do with this. I want to know what happened here as well, if it was an accident, or simple neglect. But it still is our responsibility. I will have my security staff investigating this.”
“I want to be present as well. It is a suspected attack on a member of the Kakuri stift. I'm not their police officer nor arms bearer, but I think his lordship would rather deal with someone who he can communicate with.”
“Isn't their policing force headed by someone who speaks our language?”
“It is... but it is she who is the victim here.”
Arild understood the ramifications. The victim was not just any Kakuri, she was one of the leaders.
“You are welcome to follow the investigation, but it will be our investigation,” he concluded.

Petterson hesitated a while. Arild was either putting on a very convincing show, or he truly wanted to go to the bottom with this. Arild noticed the hesitation.
“Sergeant... mister mayor.... You can tell the Kakuri that I understand that if they don't concur with our our findings, that they probably will take matters into their own hands. It is in my interest to convince them by objective facts. The alternative is... well... let's avoid the alternative. I know how surgically effective they can be with their violence.”

Petterson remembered all too well how Arild Fisk was abducted by no more than two Kakuri warriors. He was pretty sure Arild remembered as well.

“But this was not the reason why I asked for Her Grace. A telegram arrived for her, a lengthy one, containing instructions from the Anisoran embassy regarding her visit.”

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
04-13-2019, 08:28 PM
Post: #8
RE: A stopover at Fisks
(OOG: Alex has been busy, this part is a coop)

“Mattan, prognosis?” Moa was very short in her request.
“Your Grace is referring to the trip to Aspasia? If none of you have any symptoms the next 24 hours, we can definitely rule out a contagious disease. But our patient is too weak to travel.”
“She would not have followed along anyway.”
“She will have to stay at least seven days, maybe even a week.”
“Flower will stay behind as well.”
“But how do I communicate?”

Moa smiled. “This is a lucky coincidence, but your patient speaks Wortsproke. Flower speaks Cheltai. There must be someone along your 40 colleagues with a bit of knowledge of Cheltai?”
“I would not know. I could check.”

Moa looked at Little Finger. She still looked panic-struck, unable to relax and helping the healing process. Once in a while she looked in horror to the large needle sticking into her left upper arm. Invasive procedures like these did not belong to the Kakuri healing tradition. They weren't standard procedure in Stoldavia either, but Mattan had combat experience as a field medic and had applied some of the more unorthodox procedures to this tropical setting. He knew that staying hydrated was pivotal. Little Finger just trusted her own healer Byebye, who had allowed for the procedure.

At that moment Petterson came in.
“Your Grace...”
“You can speak freely.”
“Arild is conducting a full inquiry and I am going to witness and help out. He seems genuine in his attempt to find out what happened. But there is something else worrying me.”
He pointed to the three Kakuri leaders gathered here.
“Byebye is no longer Nokumo Nobono. Surprise will follow with you to Aspasia. Little Finger is incapacitated. Flower is here to support her. Green is elsewhere. This leaves two pregnant women, one of them in her final weeks, in the role of leadership of the Kakuri people. They're vulnerable. You are vulnerable.”

Moa quickly had to weigh her options. Postponing the visit to Aspasia would be complicated, her host might not be available in a week time and the visit was already on the cutting edge of diplomacy.

“Give me a minute,” she said and then turned to the Kakuri. “I am Durrum-Muwa of the Nokumo Nobono, anchor of the Kotan. I am... pointing... do you follow?”
“What is happening?” Flower asked.
“A change... Sano, you will return to Toshi-bu, with my claws. Sitchi and Kirisaki can not be... alone... not now. Urashinu, we two go to the land of tomorrow. Nenne, you stay here with Koyubi, until Urashinu comes back. Good?”

Flower repeated the whole proposal just to be sure they all meant the same thing. They agreed without any further discussion.
“Petterson, Flower will return to Toshi-bu. But I want her accompanied by as many federal soldiers we can make available. How many would that be?”
“Eight, maybe ten of the people we have in Ny Skiöldavik... and there usually are two soldiers already there.”
“Good... because my orders are that the Nokumo Nobono will have to remain in power. I don't know if that is my order as representative of the crown, or as governor of the Eastern Crown Domain, or as member of the Nokumo... but the effect is the same. Is that clear?”
Petterson smiled. “Yes, ma'am... That is the first time I receive an order like this from Her Grace and I will be honored to carry it out.”

“Well, let me take a look at that telegram then.”

Petterson was already turning around to leave and prepare for Flower’s return trip, when Moa stopped him.
“Don’t leave yet… I am afraid I will be needing your services a bit more.”
“Your Grace…”
“There’s a new challenge. The Anisorans are telling us not to bring any Kakuri to Aspasia. Could you get Iunse Tunn? I need to discuss this.”

It took about half an hour until Moa’s improvised reference group had gathered: Fisks’ federal governor Iunse Tunn, Ny Skiöldavik’s acting mayor Peter Petterson and head of court security Svea Gefna.

“The whole point of this visit was that the Kakuri leadership would get a better understanding of different forms of distant government.” Moa was using a euphemistic term for colonial. “That won’t work if they’re not allowed in.”
“I can understand their point of view. The Kakuri solution could be interpreted as a threat. Having some native leaders from a neighboring holding visiting Aspasia might give the wrong signal. Also, Her Grace will be visiting the current princess whose uncle had staged a rebellion against the Anisorans.”

“We’re not here to discuss how legitimate their request is," Moa cut the discussion."I am their guest. We simply have to abide to their prerequisites. But I made a promise to the Kakuri as well. Options?”
“We could pose a Kakuri as a personal assistant…”
“Smuggling in Surprise under false pretences? She kind of sticks out. We would get caught, what would the diplomatic effect be?”

“Your Grace… we could ask for Shay-Na to follow along. She is registered as Hagenite and therefore not a Kakuri on paper. You could fulfill your promise to the Nokumo Nobono.”
“If she looks like a Kakuri and speaks Kakuri, then the Anisorans will see her as a Kakuri, no matter what her paperwork says. We might be getting away with this on paper though…”
“I am not doing that,” Moa concluded. “I have made enough diplomatic faux-pas during my last visit to Anisora to last a lifetime, I am not running the risk of creating a big rowe. As soon as Surprise or Shay-Na shows up, I am insulting my hosts.”

Sve Gefna had been quiet all time. But now she had some input.
“What if no Kakuri would show up in the company of Her Grace, but somewhere else? Maybe not Surprise, she would stick out like a lighthouse. But Byebye could pose as a local. She even speaks the language.”
“I can not arrive with Byebye…”
“Then don’t… Let her do her own visit, together with Manda. She is fluent in Anisoran. This duo could pose as locals, Manda does not look too Stoldavian and could be Anisoran. They’re just in the area and our two security specialists could relay messages and reports to them. We just keep them informed while they have their own parallel program.”

Moa remained quiet.
“It’s a risk, but a small one,” Petterson added. “If they would be subject to interrogation, then there is no link to Her Grace directly. Manda is your father’s responsibility.”
“Manda is my interpreter, I need her,” Moa herself replied, “I am advising against this,so if someone is carrying out this, and sends Milltun instead, I don’t want to know. ”
Svea Gefna gestured Petterson. “Come on, we have some preparations to make. She does not want to know.”

“I’m confused,” Petterson said once they were outside.
“It’s simple, Moa has said she is against this and does not want to know about it. Which is Fjällsta code for ‘please carry out this as long as I am not involved’. Now she truly can say she did not know if the duo would get caught.”
“So they’re going?”
“Of course”

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"

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