"Absence extinguishes small passions and increases great ones, as the wind blows out a candle, and kindles a fire."-- - Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld


Whitehaven, the Carlisle Hotel.

Kaeth: "Lady Marguerite, I've never been to this part of the world before..." He wants info. Between the colonies and the fact that they have a large merchant fleet, Albion is kept going. One of the reasons for increased tensions is the fact that Fredonia is increasing it's fleet, having been a continental power up until know. A lot of the countries in the area are neutral, or trying to stay neutral in the hostilities. Kaeth is interested in countries who are neutral, and might be a potential place to lay low if things get worse before the party can figure out a way off.

Geoff manages to get 80 Zendan Ducats for his trade goods here. Which translates into £150 Albion. Not bad. When he returns to the Carlisle, Geoff asks Sophie about eloping. Sophie: "I couldn't do that, it would break Aunt Patricia's heart. She took care of me when my parents died. And it's just not done. It would kill her." Geoff: "But would it, if you were happy? And if you marry for fortune, for X number of pounds a year, that doesn't guarantee that he'll treat you well, or take care of you, or that you'll want to sleep with him or have children with him." [This conversation is brought to you courtesy of the Prince of Anspach, who's letter was received by Lady Patricia upon arrival at Whitehaven, it seems the prince is interested in Geoff's Sophie.] Sophie: "I don't know." Geoff: "You're nineteen, and you're becoming an adult. And no matter how much we love the people who raise us, there comes a time when we have to make our decisions. You may decide to make the same decision as your aunt would make, and that's fine, as long as it's your decision." Sophie is really confused, and ends up fleeing the room. She's going to need to think on this.

Kaeth is off in pursuit of newspapers, so he can learn the lay of the land. He stops as he cuts through a narrow street by an urchin selling red carnations. Oh look, it's the little flower Vargr girl! Kaeth buys a flower for a tuppence. Girl: "Oh, thank you sir. Let me pin it on you." Kaeth keeps his hand on his wallet, but no attempt is made to pick his pocket. The girl is very excited about having money to buy food for herself and her little brother. This concludes the social commentary phase of our adventure.

Continuing onward, Kaeth discovers he's being followed by a gentleman in a bowler. He stops when Kaeth stops, and looks in a window. Kaeth decides to not do anything to piss off the local constabulary. He's going to see ALL the sights in town. And he's going to buy things from vendors, human and Vargr, and generally just play tourist. Kaeth buys a cup of tea and sits down. The man in the bowler sits down at the same table, sets down his neatly folded paper between them, and comments upon the weather. Kaeth remarks that "yes, it is very nice", in a noncommittal sort of way, then the man leaves, without his paper.

Geoff looks around and checks for the local opinions with regard to dueling. It's illegal, although there are duels here for matters of honor. Geoff goes in search of that bastard Captain Cutler, who killed Franz. It takes some doing, but Geoff manages to track the man down on a train, in a car full of other naval officers, bound for the Admiralty. Wherever the heck that is.

There are a number of men in what appear to be captains uniforms, but Geoff thinks he recognizes the one he wants. And there's an easy way to check. Geoff: "Captain Cutler?" Cutler: "Yes?" Geoff slaps him. Geoff: "This is a matter of honor. You have fired on a civilian ship. You are a coward, and a murderer." Cutler stands, red in the face. Cutler: "You are fortunate, sir, that I am under orders to report to the Admiralty immediately. I am more than happy to settle this matter as soon as I am free from my duty. My second will contact you." He hands his card to another man, who passes it to Geoff. Geoff passes back his own card. (Not that he's at that number, but it does have his name on it.) Then there's the train trip to the first stop, and then Geoff will have to catch the next train back to Whitehaven.

Kaeth, after the odd man leaves, takes the paper to a nearby tavern to read. It has some plans in it - technical drawings of some sort of airship with guns all over it, stamped MOST SECRET, Ministry of the Admiralty, etc. . Hmm. Kaeth goes to the nearest police station, after asking a cop for directions. He goes to turn in some lost property. [In spite of the screaming from the other players.] The papers aren't his, so they're lost property. He couldn't have just burned them?? The papers are taken, eyebrows are raised, higher level officers are called out, consultations occur, more eyebrows are raised. Officer: <to Kaeth> "We'll have to ask you a few questions, sir. May we see your papers please?" Kaeth explains that he's just off of the Repulse, and was one of the people rescued from pirates - his papers were lost, what with the multiple shipwrecks, and the aforementioned pirates. Kaeth: "We're staying at the Carlisle, and -" But they won't let him go back to the Carlisle, he must be taken to the Admiralty. He asks that they inform Lady Marguerite's party, but they're not really listening.

Samantha is in her room looking out of the windows, when she sees a very familiar looking Vargr being led off by men with blue uniforms, white gaiters, sidearms in white pistol belts with white lanyards - armed sailors. Samantha: "Well, merde." She goes to Marguerite's room. Marguerite: Come in." She's getting dressed, with some care. Samantha: "I'm sorry to interrupt. Who's the lucky man?" Marguerite: "Oh not at all. Sit down, I'd like your opinion. <holding up two dresses, one red, one blue> Which one?" Samantha: "Go with the red." Marguerite: "You think so? Does Robert like that color?" Samantha: "Uh..." Marguerite: "Which do you think he would prefer? And could you give me a tug on the laces?" If that apparatus fails, it could kill Robert. Samantha: "Okay. You look splendid, Robert's engaged or something, and two armed sailors have just taken Kaeth off." Marguerite: "Engaged? Officially?" Samantha: "I haven't the faintest." Marguerite: "Did you say something about Kaeth?" Samantha: "Yes! He's being taken off by two armed sailors." Marguerite: "Oh. Is he in trouble?" Samantha: "I'd guess so, yes." Marguerite: "Then we should make inquiries. Hand me my boa, would you?" She does. (Boa - feather, rather than boa - snake.) Marguerite: "My dear, you aren't going out in that are you? It is Whitehaven. But then again, it is still afternoon. I suppose something more practical is in order. I'll just be a minute." She changes into something more practical, while Samantha contemplates throttling her.

Happily oblivious, Robert is in his room checking out the paper he was given, and has told no one else in the party about. He goes downstairs to ask the concierge if he knows the solicitor whose name was on the paper. The concierge doesn't know that particular one, but he does give directions to a particular street, where there are many solicitors.

Geoff is walking down the train away from the annoying Navy people when he sees a couple of men in uniform and a Vargr. His Vargr. He opens the door. SP: "I'm sorry sir, this section is occupied." Geoff: "What's up?" SP: "He's under arrest, sir." Kaeth: "That's news to me." Geoff: "Want me to call a lawyer?" Kaeth: "I'm going to the Admiralty court, whatever that means." Geoff: "Okay. I'll get a lawyer." SP: "Please sir, move along. Nothing to see here." Geoff will hire a lawyer.

Once Marguerite is finally happy with what she's wearing, she agrees to go with Samantha to check on what happened with Kaeth. As the two women come out of Marguerite's room, Samantha looks down the hallway and sees figure wearing a coat, collar turned up, knocking on the door to her room. Samantha: <to Marguerite> "I'll catch up with you in the lobby." She goes back to her door and recognizes the man as Heinrich. Okay, now that's a surprise! She unlocks her door and pulls Heinrich inside before someone else sees him.

Robert decides to try out room service. No phones of course, which means he has to figure out how to use the bell pull. This takes a while. Once rung for, a bellboy appears to inquire what the gentleman would like. Robert: "First, I want a large cup of hot chocolate." Bellboy: "Yes sir." Robert: "With marshmallows." Bellboy: "Yes sir." Robert: "Three marshmallows. No more than three." Bellboy: "Yes sir." Robert: "I would also like a listing of solicitors in Whitehaven." Bellboy: "Yes sir. That will take some time sir." Robert: "That's fine. Bring up the hot chocolate now, and the list when you have it." Bellboy: "Yes sir." Robert: "Oh, and some sandwiches with the hot chocolate." Bellboy: "Yes sir." He leaves.

Meanwhile, down the hall... Heinrich: "I have a letter for you." Samantha: "You're not dead." Heinrich: "No, madame." Samantha: "I'm sorry, I'm sure that sounded really inane." He takes out some sort of oilcloth, unwraps it, and hand over a very nice envelope, handwritten. Samantha recognizes the handwriting. Heinrich: "Shall I wait for a response?" Samantha: "Yes." It's the basic "hi, hello, oh by the way I'm still alive. You probably don't care, but..." letter. It continues: "Owing to a supposition that proved to be correct, plans were made and lives were saved. I'm currently staying in the Carlisle, on the seventh floor, in suite 701." Just upstairs. How convenient. After several false starts, Samantha gets the pen to work, finally. (Damn these fancy quill pen things any way.) "You're wrong. I do care. S."

There's a knock on Robert's door. He answers it, expecting the bellboy, but instead finds an attractive young woman in a red dress that looks like it was made for her, carrying a tray of sandwiches. (Yes, Marguerite changed clothes. Again.) Robert: <confused> "Lady Roarke?" Marguerite: "Mr. Shelzie. A young man was bringing these to you. I though I'd save him the trip." Robert: <taking the tray> "Please, join me." She enters. Marguerite: "Thank you. After all we've been through, we haven't have time to talk." Robert: "Do sit down." She does, right beside him." Robert: "Would you like a sandwich?" Marguerite: "No thank you. I thought we might have a chance to talk. I thought I'd stop by and see if you'd gotten settled in. You don't mind?" Robert: "Uh, no. Of course not." Marguerite: "So, have you heard anything from your friend?" Robert: "My friend?" Marguerite: "Yes, Lady Telford said you had a particular woman friend, somewhere." Robert: "Oh. No, I haven't heard from her. I wasn't expecting to this soon." Marguerite: "That seems almost derelict that she hasn't made contact with you. However, these things take time. I'm sure everything is fine. Should you need anyone to talk to, in the meantime, please feel free to call on me. After all we've been through, I'd like to think we've become friends." Robert: "Thank you. I feel privileged to have made your acquaintance, and I would be honored to introduce you to my betrothed, when the opportunity arises." Marguerite: "I see. Is there anything I can do to facilitate things? I do have some influence, due to my relations." Robert: "thank you, but not necessary. But do join me for lunch." Marguerite: "Well, I suppose I could stay." Robert: "You said you'd been in Whitehaven before. Have you heard of a solicitor named Epstein?" Marguerite: "That name is familiar. I would be most happy to make inquiries. My own solicitor has an office here in Whitehaven." Robert: "Thank you, that would be very helpful." Marguerite: "I'll make the request and deliver the response myself." Of course she will.

Samantha gives her note to Heinrich, who leaves. She waits a few minutes, then goes upstairs to suite 701 and knocks. Heinrich answers. Samantha: "It would probably be less messy if you just announced me." Heinrich: "Certainly. Please come in. His excellency would be pleased to see you." Heinrich lets her in, then makes himself scarce. Franz, also very much not dead, is in the room. He's got his jacket off, and his white shirt and cravat. There are a few bloodstains on his shirt, indicating a not quite clean getaway at some point. Samantha: "Wouldn't a doctor be a good idea?" Franz: "Doctors ask awkward questions." Samantha: "I'd go get Kaeth, but there's this small matter of him having been taken off by a couple of sailors. Marguerite is going to help find him..." Franz: "Are you well?" Samantha: "I'm doing better now." Franz: "I debated making contact with you. Given my situation, and the unfairness of it all. I did want to see you again. Does that seem selfish?" Samantha: "No." Franz takes several halting steps, then sweeps Samantha up into an embrace. She's surprised, but not unhappy about it. Several minutes pass, then Franz sets her down. Franz: "Forgive me. I had not thought that I would ever see you again." He clears his throat, and takes several steps back. He's putting on his "this never happened" attitude. Screw this. Samantha steps up and kisses him. After a few seconds, Franz responds. Very much so. Eventually it breaks off. Franz: "We mustn't. I'm a married man." Rapping on the door. Franz: "Enter." Heinrich enters. Heinrich: "Will there be anything else, your excellency?" Franz: "No, thank you." Heinrich: "If your excellency doesn't require anything else, there are matters I wish to attend to." Franz: "That would be fine." Heinrich leaves, probably headed for the bar, poor man; this will end in trouble.

Robert gets to finish his lunch, and his hot chocolate, once Marguerite goes off to find the solicitor, or whatever At least she's stopped making Robert crazy for the moment.

On the train, Vargr hears footsteps, above him. And perhaps the sound of metal on metal, like the sound of a hammer being cocked. Kaeth: "Do you have train robberies here?" SP: "How would someone effect the robbery of a train in motion? We're travelling in excess of 30 miles an hour." Then the roof hatch opens, revealing two men with masks and guns. Shots ring out.

Robert, finishing his lunch, picks up the magazine Scientific Albion. "Will this be the ship that will be the first to leave the planet's atmosphere? Scientists in Zenda plan to send dog into space." No hot chocolate is spattered on the magazine, but only because Robert already finished.