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Renegade Project 12: Hunches or Grudges?

“Someone informed me that you may have heard word of an attack planned against the caravan,” you say to the two siblings.

Selyna’s face goes pale and she glances at Natin who tenses for a moment, then scowls.“Whoever it was either lied or was misinformed.”

You eye Natin. “You, young lord, are a horrible liar.”

He glares back, but you have almost a foot, not to mention at least seven years on him so you are far from intimidated.

“Natin,” Selyna pleads. “We can’t keep this up. We have to trust someone. How can we ever dream of convincing Father if we can’t convince others too? We have to start somewhere.”

“What loyalty mercenaries may have is always for hire,” Natin says.

“I sell my services as a warrior, but not my integrity or honor as a man,” you correct. “I have been hired by your father to protect his family and his household. He holds my loyalty for as long as the contract stands and I will do all I can to fulfill that agreement.”

Natin scoffs at that. “And who will protect him from his own blindness? What happens if your honor says you should do one thing and yet your employer orders you differently?”

You sigh and wonder if this bristling cub would still annoy you this much if you weren’t exhausted. “Employers come and go, but one’s honor is etched in the soul and that cannot be shed.” Funny how some childhood memories remain just beneath the surface while other memories fade away. Of course, painful lessons do tend to be memorable.

“We don’t want to hurt anyone,” Selyna whispers. “We’ve done everything we can to avoid it. The people helping us, they plan to drug the wine so that everyone will fall asleep.”

Natin groans.

“We just want to know what Gallino is doing under the cover of the caravan.”

All in all, you’re still pretty dubious about the possibility of a connection to some instance of strange deaths – as well as the motives of the Selyna’s mysterious informant. Besides, she didn’t want you to mention their talk. “So what reasons have you to suspect a cover up?”

“Gallino hates the caravan,” Natin says. “He hates sleeping on the road. He deems it beneath his ‘station’. He was furious when father insisted he take over the business five or so years ago. So when I came of age, I offered to start helping on the trips. Gallino laughed it off, but when I went and got Father’s approval anyway, Gallino grew furious and threatened me.”

You shrug. “Maybe he’s just skimming off more than his share of the profits. It’s common enough in such situations and he might worry about you finding out.”

Selyna seems to mull that one over.

On the other hand, Natin rolls his eyes. “I’m sure he’s been doing that since the first, but there’s more to it than that, I’m sure of it.”

“So is that all you really have? A hunch?”

Natin narrows his eyes. “Fine, when I have more, I’ll let you know. I’ve seriously underestimated him once before. I have no intention of letting it happen again.” He bows to his sister, then returns to his room and slams the door.

Selyna sighs but avoids your gaze. “I’d better go tend to the kitchens.” Then she too hurries away.

Left alone, you proceed to the closest window to see the mid-morning sun. You can probably sneak in one more hour of sleep before reporting to Galen. Heading back to your room you reflect on the tangled mess you seem to be in the middle of and wonder what in the world are you going to report to Galen.

So, what are you going to tell him?

Everything
-OR-
Nothing – just forget the whole idea.
-OR-
????

Voting is open until Friday.

For those who missed the rules for this game or an index check them out here!

And to see how this adventure began, see Renegade Project #1

About Ren Black

Part-time novelist. Weekend artist. Full-time Mother. Ex-poet. Perfectionist by training. Compulsive researcher sporadically. Prone to fits of linguistic commentary Unorthodox Renegade occasionally. Sarcastic by habit... Dreamer Always... Consider Yourself Warned

13 comments on “Renegade Project 12: Hunches or Grudges?

  1. Lovely intrigue, Little Sister. I will need to go to my bed and ponder this further. 😀

  2. Oooh–intriguing developments!

    I think our hero should grab his nap, then report to Galen that there’s trouble brewing with the caravan and our hero needs to go investigate; to see if he can head it off. He should not mention his talks with Natin or Gallino; as again, Galen probably won’t believe him.

    A variation on this would be to tell Galen that there is serious trouble brewing between Natin and Gallino, and that our hero needs to go do what he can to head it off. Possibly; if he can talk Galen into coming along, he could allow Galen to draw his own conclusions, but it sounds like Galen has his mind firmly made up as to what’s going on, and may mix into this situation in unhelpful ways that do not solve the problems his sons are having with each other.

  3. I apologize for the delay of posting this… Life and family sicknesses… I think I feel off the edge of the “digital world” for a while and still struggling to regain some semblance of control.

    Oh, and I should make it clear that yes, now is the time to decide if we still want to offer to go personally defend the caravan.

    This is most -likely a major turning point for the story. So, choose wisely!

    • Oooh hoo hoo! Upping the stakes on us, are you? [Chuckling gleefully while rubbing my hands together]

      I vote to go rescue the caravan and see what GALEN is really up to! (and if those third-rate mercs are really doing their jobs properly or if they’re really so stupid as to accept drugged wine?

      But first, more sneaking around spying, to see who pays Galen visits on his routes, etc., too. Are there third parties involved, mixing into the situation and deliberately sowing confusion and contempt between the siblings? And if so, what are their motives?

      • You mean Gallino, the eldest son? Or are you actually suspicious of Galen (ie, the merchant who hired you) … sorry for the easy name confusion on those two. He’s one of those old traditional types who likes his son to carry a version of his own name and I couldn’t dissuade him.

        Your last comments about spying and finding out who pays visits en route and third parties… that could be tricky. How would you go about such?

        We do know that Selyna at least has a third party informant who seems to involved with Natin… so it could well be they’re all being played… sinister indeed. If so, makes you wonder where Natin goes/went in the day. Is it Selyna’s informant or someplace else? And then there’s always the mention of Selyna having a rich lover/boyfriend/whatever.

        And as for those… er… “third-rate mercs” one does have to wonder about if they’d fall for such a trick…

        So, with Gallino’s warning… will he be able to defend against a sneaky attack verses a straight-out ambush? Course, you could just send a messenger giving more details… after all, your main job is the estate, not the caravan. Your job is to gather info… If you go save the caravan, you will be gone for an estimated 24 hours or so… unless you want Malor to guard the house overnight while you’re gone…

  4. Love the ongoing story here. I’ll have to comment more later. 😉

  5. Oops; yes, I got confused between Galen and Gallino. I meant Gallino. This is probably why we were told in Nangie 101 not to name characters too similarly, and to start their names with different letters.

    I thought Malor had left already with the caravan? Or is he the carpenter on loan from Gallino?

    If I was sneaking around, spying on the caravan and Gallino; I wouldn’t announce myself when I caught up, but parallel their course through the countryside, and see who else is hanging about.

    I might wait until dark, then disguise myself somehow, creep in past the perimeter, and sit at the fire nearest Gallino’s tent to watch who comes to visit him, and if he leaves the caravan for any reason, follow to see where he goes and whom he meets.

    Posting another night guard is essential, but! If two out of Galen’s three kids are getting ready to duke it out away from home, it’s even more essential that someone trustworthy keeps an eye on at least one of them, and tries to keep them from committing fratricide.

    • lol, and I’m sure it doesn’t help the way I’ve condensed stuff down to keep up the pace.

      Malor is the “carpenter” on loan. If you mean the drunk punk Taz, the guy you arrived with that seems to have a personal issue with monks… yes, he left with the caravan.

      If it helps, I am trying to limit characters and plan to heavily reuse where I can – thus the drunk partiers were headed up by Taz. I’m sure that Malor will come in handy too. So I am trying.

    • I vote for this option.

  6. I’m here! I’m here! I was thinking. Not deeply, alas.

    I’ll take my one hour nap and tell Galen everything I’ve learned up to now. I’ll offer to go after the caravan as a spy/additional guard if he wants me to. He hired me for information and to take care of his house; he’s my boss.
    He may not believe any of what I have to say. According to the younger siblings, he favors Gallino. If that’s the case, I’ll either continue with the job as hired or (if I can’t stomach working for the Addams family) thank him for his kindness and give my resignation.

    I might then go after the caravan to rob it while everyone is drugged. hehe! Just kidding. About the robbing part, anyway. I might go find a temple and pray for guidance, too.

  7. I say rest then go tell the Father that you have informants who have let you know that an attack is planned on the caravan and that Gallino is lying about the caravan’s activities. Offer to go help “rescue” the caravan (of course planning to see if Gallino really is up to something. Try not to attack the caravan though, just kind of “bring a message from Gallin.” That way you can help Gallin, find out IF Gallino is lying and tell the other kids to hold of their attack until you have had a chance to investigate secretly first. But the main thing is that you need Gallin’s permission to go. He is your employer, so you should honor his wishes.

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