Pattern Recognition, Part 4
Signe spends several more days at Ragna’s, learning how to cast the runes and interpret them. Signe asks the runes if it will help if she takes the initiative in going to meet Asger. The answer is an ambiguous “not necessary.”
Ragna warns Signe about the importance of discerning what to tell others about what she sees in the runes, or the water, or the fire. Ragne tells her that the visions are of a future which will come to pass if circumstances are not altered, and it is a tremendous responsibility to be able to perceive the difference between those who need guidance, and those who need to be kept ignorant.
Abul writes copious notes on the lichen samples he collected, and he shares his notes with Dr. Barnaby, who is happy to make annotations. It’s apparent that he and Alfonso are suffering from a bit of cabin fever, and are eager for anything to occupy their time and attention.
Enzo receives a note via pigeon from Eric, giving an exceedingly brief update on the situation in Karlsdal, saying that he’s on his way back but the plan went bad.
Eric returns a couple of days later, and gives him the full story. As soon as he arrived in the village, he sent a pigeon to Vendel with the ransom letters. However, several days later, it became obvious that Signe’s parents did not comply with the ransom demands. Instead of Rasmus’ family, Odynsee has sent a contingent of armed guards. Eric and Ulfgar’s men stayed out of sight, while Captain Jespersen made himself known to the guards. He spun a fantastic tale of his kidnapping and subsequent escape from bandits, and says that they all departed from the village headed west toward the coast. Eric and his friends were then free to leave headed north, and thus returned to Klorhulg. One detail the Captain was able to include was that Rasmus Lorentzen was tragically killed.
Enzo delivers the news to Rasmus, who takes it in stride, He deeply regrets that his family must suffer, but is confident that once they are no longer being observed, the Captain will be able to tell his wife and child the truth, and they will be reunited in due time. Meanwhile, he is free to operate as no one will be looking for him.
That same day, Ragna sends Signe back to town for supplies. She arrives in time to say hello to Eric, but Ulfgar returns home and very abruptly informs them that they all need to come with him. He takes Signe, Eric, Abul, Enzo, and Christof down to the docks and board a longboat. They head east past the hidden cove to a small unassuming dock and disembark. Signe borrows a sword from Stig, saying that if things go badly, she wants it known that she fully intends to go down fighting.
Ulfgar leads them up into the hills along an almost invisible footpath, to a tiny shack in the middle of nowhere. Once inside, he opens a trap door in the floor and leads them down a long winding staircase cut into the rock. At the bottom of the stairs are a couple of raiders standing guard, who wave them past. Ulfgar continues to lead them through tunnels which are evidently the remains of an old mine, and into a large central chamber. There they meet Asger Jacobsen, the leader of the Vesten Raiders.
Asger is angry, not at the fact that Signe borrowed his men for a raid, but that she somehow convinced them to not make the required sacrifices after taking the ship. It’s touch and go for a few minutes, but Signe is able to plead her case successfully. In the end, Asger lets them go and says that Ulfgar is free to continue to host Signe and her friends as she is family, and they can continue to use the cove as necessary, but forbids the Raiders from accompanying her or her crew on any more of their endeavors at sea.
Back at town, the crew has dinner and discusses next steps. Abul says he’s been tasked with delivering a message to Carleon, and explains about Alfonso and Dr. Barnaby, though he does not mention the organization they represent by name. Enzo also brings up his idea to kidnap one or both of Signe’s parents, to attempt to cut the head off the snake before their business gets too bloody. Signe commends him on his ambition, but points out that her parents are not the only company officers, and certainly not the only ones executing their scheme.
After dinner, Enzo speaks to Signe alone, and assures her he hasn’t lost his resolve. He renews his vow to do whatever she needs him to do. She makes it clear that she is still open to alternative ideas for how to induce the scheme to collapse sooner rather than later, but says that if their present course of action is the only one open to them, she’s prepared for the consequences.
The next day, Enzo takes the cart full of provisions to the cove and stays to supervise the completion of the work on the Jackdaw.
Signe goes back to the shack to find Ragna waiting for her at the front door. Tea is served, and Ragna asks Signe for her assessment of Asger. Signe recounts all the details of their exchange, with some insight into the man’s character and motivations. Ragna comments that Signe has certainly added to the man’s reputation, indicating that her training is complete (for now). A familial connection between Ragna and Asger is implied, but not explicitly stated. Ragna reiterates her warning to exercise caution in discerning what to disclose to others when reading the future. Signe heads back to town.# NotPirates