By Jaap-Peter Hazelhoff
Chapter 4 - Questions Unanswered
Berdusk, 1371 DR, Eleint, 8th day, afternoon
An elderly man makes his way toward Portia, dressed in ash-gray robes and wearing a silver circlet on his hairless head. If it were not for the symbol of Kelemvor, golden scales in a skeletal hand, she still would have recognized him as Death’s Hand of Kelemvor, High Priest Sillisten. When he reaches her, he takes her arm and asks in his husky voice “Please accompany me young lady.” Without waiting for an answer, he walks with Portia to an anteroom in the former merchant’s mansion that now makes up the new Temple of the Lord of the Dead in Berdusk. Portia is somewhat surprised at Lord Sillisten’s actions, but he is a high priest of the Faith…
The anteroom serves as the public mourning room, but currently there are no other people besides her and the High Priest. The Death’s Hand walks to the center of the room, his arms behind his back, hands folded in his characteristic manner. “I know you would rather be out in the field hunting these damned necromancers of Velsharoon…” ‘Right in one’ Portia thinks, already not liking the way this conversation, one-way though it is, is going. “…But I have another mission for you, which might turn out more important than hunting down that irritant priest and his undead abominations.”
Portia sees some of the veins on the old priest’s head swell with anger when he talks about the Velsharans. “It will be a mission with a need of secrecy and discretion. I don’t want the Crystal Mansion to be officially linked to your mission.” He lets these words sink in for a moment before continuing. Portia’s eyebrows rise as a somewhat startled expression comes over her face. ‘Not officially linked?’ She wonders.
“I want you to go to the Minstrelride, to the Angruatil mansion. A young man named Matteo Ashgale will wait there for you. You and he are to team up and continue with the mission. Saer Ashgale will have further information.” He looks Portia in the eyes and takes her hands in his. “I wish you good luck my dear, may the Lord’s favor shine on you.” The High Priests then proceeds to walk towards the exit.
“Very well milord.” Portia’s curiosity is evident. While her natural tendencies would lead her to ask for more detail at to the mission, she endeavors to restrain herself. She does have some questions that need asking though. Moving to walk with the man as he leaves she asks, “Milord, is there someone that can direct me to the Minstrelride? And the, was it the Angruitil Estate? As you know, I am new to the city. I wouldn’t want to…” She smiles; amusement dancing in her eyes a moment, “…to misplace myself.” ‘All too likely though’ she thinks.
“Hmmm… ehm… yes… I forgot… let’s see.” He turns towards you. “The Crystal Mansion is located on Steelspur Way, across the Riverbarge Tankard House. You just follow the road to the east past Dragon Square to Amberside… That is the big market place… You cross Amberside to the north…, walk uphill toward Clearspring Tor, and continue in the direction of the High Lady’s Castle. You cannot miss the castle. And then… hmmm…” He rubs his hand over his chin in thought, though only a small moment later he continues. “…At the Ruby Shawl Festhall you take a right turn, which should bring you to the Minstrelride. Just ask there for the Angruatil mansion.” He looks at you, waiting to see if you have another question…
“Also, this Saer Matteo Ashgale, milord, how will I recognize him?” She repeats the name to herself again; to make sure she has it right. “Just introduce yourself, and ask for him. I don’t know the man, but Lady Angruatil assured me of his competence.” He peers down the hall toward the main entry, where the double doors are open, and sunlight streaming in. “It is Highsun now; you should be able to get there in the afternoon.” The high priest turns around again and proceeds toward the mansion’s inner sanctum. As the Death’s Hand strides purposefully down the hall toward his offices, Portia sketches a respectful bow, saying, “Kelemvor guide you, milord.” before turning in the opposite direction.
She makes her way through the receiving hall to the converted mansion’s main entry, smiling brightly at the young acolyte on duty there. Very shortly, she will be making her way through the city, following Lord Sillisten’s instructions. Garron, the young acolyte bows to her. “Good day Milady, enjoy the nice afternoon.” Portia winks at the young acolyte and steps through the door. “What a sweet boy.” She says, as she steps onto the street.
Portia makes her way through Berdusk, passing some areas that have become familiar in the past couple days, but mostly sorting through Lord Sillisten’s directions in unfamiliar territory. After losing her way only twice, the young cleric finally rounds the corner at the Ruby Shawl. She eyes the establishment somewhat dubiously before striding past. Entering the Minstrelride, Portia looks with a slight disapproval at the extravagance of the place. Shaking her head, she mutters, “I hope they realize that they can’t take it with them…” Shortly, after asking a young man wearing clothes that would rival a peacock’s plumage in splendor and astride a beautiful dappled mare for directions, she arrives at the Angruatil mansion. She cocks her head, examining the place critically before sniffing disdainfully. Shrugging, she realizes that while her opinions might mean a great deal to her personally, they are not likely to be in much demand in this neighborhood. She mentally packs them up and stores them in one of the seldom-used chambers of her mind. “Knock, knock.” She mutters, before stepping through the gate.
As she strides evenly toward the double door main entry, the left one opens. The older man is obviously a longtime servant of the household. He looks upon Portia somewhat dubiously before asking, “May I help you?” He is polite, if aloof. Very few people, Portia has found, are rude to a priest of the God of the Dead. After all, you never know… “Actually, I think you can.” She says, smiling softly. “I’ve been tasked with aiding a certain man that I’ve been told can be found at this residence. Would you please inform Saer Matteo Ashgale that Portia Coldspring is here, at the request of Lord Sillisten?” Giving a short polite bow, the elderly servant replies, “Ah, certainly Milady, if you would be so kind to follow me.”
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