A full day had passed since the meeting with the stranger in the shadows. A busy day packing and storing the goods and stock that was held over from the meeting of the Warhost, most of whom had drifted off in various directions, back to homelands or to other adventures. Vollsanger had counted up the takings and dictated the figures to Agnes who wrote them into the Book with practised hand. It was now a few years since Vollsanger had learned his letters by the fireside working into the early hours with the patient owner of the Crimson Moon, but keeping the ledgers was still out of his reach. "Generating income is no problem " he would reflect, "recording it is a pain and leads to ink on the fingers"
Out back he could hear the Bynts busy with the daily tasks, and the occasional laugh and giggle showed all was well. It was getting dark and he expected a visit any time ...
Sure enough, about an hour after sunset, a tall lanky figure in a heavy cloak and hooded features slipped in through the curtain at the rear of the tent. Vollsanger sat by the low firepit in his fur covered chair, sipping on some hot mulled wine, the kettle hissing gently on the coals. He gestured with his mug to a seat by his side and the stranger looked around at the entrances into the main tavern.
"It is quite safe here - we will not be disturbed" Vollsanger assured him. "you may tell M'lady De Sade that she may come at any time.."
It was clear that the stranger had not expected to hear the name spoken aloud! He jumped to his feet, legs balanced for fight or flight, arms poised and only the relaxed stance of the old Bard stopped him from reaching for the dagger at his side.
"Sit down Mr Everhard, it took me a while but I recognised you from our brief meeting. I presumed the Lady was Mistress Wren, and your reaction tells me that my guess was right. "
Indeed, Vollsanger had spent a fruitful day. At first it was a difficult task to remember where he had seen the stranger before, but the rapidly departing Warhost had cut down the options considerably. The Ship in the harbour called the "Atrocity" had been very quiet, little happening, but enquiry had shown that most of the Crew and passengers were aboard their shorebased "Knot Yacht", a sprawling tented camp of Yurts and Belltents. He had not needed to enter to make more enquiries. The Mongols had been friends of the Tavern for years, and the strange defection of Binabik Tai-ishi from their numbers had been a subject of speculation over many an ale and mead. But when Bin had joined the Caravanshi and suddenly appeared as the Lord General of the Steppe, no barkeep worth his salt could have failed to recognise such an influential character.
He may call himself Everhard De Sade now, he may claim to only be the "housekeeper", he may state his only position was as messenger - but the figure standing before him was still Binabik Tai-ishi, also known as Bin Caravanshi the juggler and fool, the swordmaster, ex Lord General of the Steppe Alliance.
The fire glowed and poured out heat into the cool evening. Vollsanger slowly reached out and poured a mug of Mulled wine and placed it in front of Everhard.
"I think we have business to attend to... I shall call the "Widow" if Mistress Wren de Sade wishes to join us"
Two hours later, the two ladies had conducted their business...
Yarp the cellarman and barrel roller had stood on guard just outside the tent, a threatening sight and any unexpected visitor rapidly changed their mind about how important their visit to the back room was going to be. There was no doubt that various members of the steppe were patrolling the outside, it was the quietest two hours ever experienced in the back room of the Crimson Moon.
And so it came to be that the Widow and Vollsanger would leave for the Norscan Homelands - secretly, and with a large quantity of Gold - the same strange gold that Vollsanger had seen the day before.
And the Crimson Moon, in its entirety, with Yarp, and the Bynts would head to the next meeting of the Factions with the Steppe Alliance, under the ownership of Mistress Wren de Sade, sailing in the Atrocity to new adventures, with the De Sades and the Carvanshi and perhaps even some of the mongol horde..
A new day was to dawn for the Crimson Moon ... a time to move on to bigger and better times.
The Land may have a Renewal of Magic - now the Crimson Moon had its own Renewal...
We wish them every success for the future...
[from the hand of Vollsanger the Skald - here all week]