Signe visits St. Benedict’s Cathedral. The first thing she notices is that not only is it much smaller than the Grand Chapel of the Church of Avalon, it is also smaller than most Vaticine churches that she’s seen in other cities around Theah. She sees several priests out front, preaching loudly about the Third Prophet and the dangers of sorcery, warning her to stay away from Glamourtown and the Fae. She heads inside and speaks to a monk about the prophecies regarding the Last Prophet, and the events of the End Times.
Enzo has an eye toward their next voyage, so he spends some time making sure the ships are in order, and chasing down rumors of what to expect on the way down to Vodacce this time of year, weather, pirates, and what cargo might fetch a good price in Mondavi.
Signe catches up with Abul at the ship and convinces him to accompany her to Glamourtown, her interest having inadvertently been piqued by the Vaticine priests. They find it a quaint little neighborhood, not far away from the Marketplace, where all the houses and buildings are made of intricately carved wood. The most notable structure is the House of Seabright, which has been carved from the trunk of a strikingly large tree. A herald out front welcomes them, and answers questions about the house and its purpose. The herald tells them about lady Daniele, the chosen representative to Avalon from the Fae court. Signe asks what is Daniele’s purpose here in Avalon, and the herald informs her that Daniele oversees magical contracts. The herald recognizes that Signe is marked by runes, and she confirms that she is familiar with the price of magic. She warns Abul not to go inside, and they take their leave.
The Next Level, Part 1
Back at the ship, Signe receives word that Lord Coulthurst has set up a meeting with Lord Stevenson to discuss foreign trade. Before heading out, she checks in with Enzo and advises him to check the markets for some profitable cargo, but don’t commit to anything before she has a chance to put some concessions in place first.
Signe and Dorotea head to the offices of the Parliament House. The clerk at the front desk recognizes Signe, but follows protocol when asking if she has an appointment. He leads her to Lord Stevenson’s office, where she’s expected. She and Dorotea are ushered in, where Lord Stevenson and Lord Coulthurst are already waiting.
Signe outlines her proposal to allow foreign companies to invest money in local businesses in exchange for a share in the future profits of those businesses, explaining that it’s in the investors’ best interests to ensure that the businesses involved flourish (since if they don’t, the investors are the ones on the hook, as it were), and that the Finance Office would of course be free to levy whatever tariffs and taxes it saw fit on such business. In contrast to Lord Coulthurst, Lord Stevenson is an older man, with a very stern demeanor. He listens to Signe’s sales pitch, and only speaks when she has finished. He asks her several pointed questions, but she has prepared for this, and is able to counter every one of his concerns with well reasoned arguments. In the end, he seems well-disposed toward approving the idea.
Signe takes a leap of faith, and puts forth another proposal. In purely hypothetical terms, she outlines the intricacies of per parents’ scheme. It becomes clear even before she has finished explaining the plan that Lord Stevenson not only understands the implications of such a scheme, he has serious objections to it. She tells him that such a scheme is being perpetrated even now in Vesten (though she does not name the conspirators), and he would do well to enact whatever legislation he can to prevent it from spreading to Avalon. She relates her difficulties in convincing anyone back home of the dangers; either they couldn’t understand what the scheme represented, or they refused to believe that anyone would dare to deploy such a destructive economic practice.
Lord Stevenson admits to being skeptical, and asks her for proof, however she points out that even if it weren’t true, there’s no harm in enacting preventative regulations, and he agrees. At the prospect of bringing this information to the attention of other governing bodies around Theah, he warns that not all will be as conscientious as he is; he shudders to think what would happen i the Merchant Princes were to become aware of such a scheme. This gives Signe something to think about, as Vodacce is their next destination.
[Signe earns 1 hero Point for proving that there’s more to nobility than fine clothes and fancy dinner parties.]
After Signe thanks Lord Stevenson for this time and takes her leave, Lord Coulthurst speaks to her privately in his own office. He says that he has spoken to Queen Elaine, and while she is sympathetic to King Ferdinand’s plight, she cannot be seen to make any overt move to remove him from Castille. However, that doesn’t mean she can’t lend aid. He tells her about the Sea Dogs, a group of privateers who occasionally perform tasks on behalf of the Queen when she requires a certain level of deniability. He has sent a letter to the crew of one of the Sea Dogs’ ships that happens to be in port now, tasking them with the mission. Signe guesses that it’s the Erebus. The irony of this is not lost on her, but she doesn’t make mention of it.
Lord Coulthurst also offers to take Count Vicente off Signe’s hands, explaining that he has a country estate not far from the city in which Vicente can hide, if he is agreeable. Signe agrees to extend the offer to him.# NotPirates