Enzo asks around in the area of the docks about business opportunities in Vodacce. He already knows that Mondavi makes most of its money via agriculture (primarily rice). He learns that what would be in demand there is farming equipment, and the raw materials to produce them (such as iron), especially this time of year, with the harvest coming in only a few months. Another solid bet would any kind of exotic luxury goods, such as alcohol or textiles from other nations. On top of that, high quality glass products from Avalon would fetch an especially good price. He mentions this to Signe, and she knows just what to do.
Enzo also learns that tensions have been heating up between the various Merchant Princes, and the normally minor border skirmishes are starting to occur more frequently. Historically, Mondavi has been left out of this sort of political maneuvering, due to their role in providing food for most of the country. But everyone knows that the Merchant Princes are capricious and impulsive, and cooler heads don’t always prevail.
Professor Colmer sends Abul a coded message, informing him that he has received word that Bernard and Alonso have been moved to St. Andersen in Ussura, and should be out of the Inquisition’s reach for the time being. Abul does the math, and the timeline seems to indicate that sorcery may have been involved in speeding communication.
Armed with the knowledge provided by Enzo, Signe goes to see Elias the glassmaker in the marketplace. She presents her offer to invest in his business to help him set up a franchise in Vodaccce. She offers him a total of 6 Coin (3 now, and 3 when she reaches Vodacce), in exchange for a percentage of the business. He says he’ll need to confer with his cousin George, who works at the bank.
Enzo negotiates with Richard the blacksmith to buy up as much raw iron as he can on short notice. He spends 4 Coin on 2 Cargo worth of iron. He tops it off with 1 Coin worth of Avalon ale.
Elias catches up with Signe, his cousin George in tow. They negotiate a deal for about 25% of the business. George includes a buyout option for Elias, should he decide to exercise it. Signe says she’ll need Elias to send his apprentice with her to Vodacce, to oversee the setup of the new shop. He says that she’ll have to teach him to speak Vodacce on the way.
Cast a Wide Net, Part 1
Enzo disguises Signe as a few years older, and they head to the Odynsee office to investigate. Signe presents herself as the wife of a well-to-do Vesten businessman, and that she is looking for a job to occupy her time while her husband scouts out investment opportunities. The secretary at the front desk brings Signe to speak with the manager, Gunnar. There’s some small talk regarding her qualifications as an accountant, but it’s not too long before he begins to pitch investing in The Scheme. Of course he characterizes it as something with high returns and low risk.
Enzo makes his way around the back of the building, and climbs up to an open window on the second floor. He sneaks into an unoccupied office and begins snooping around. He rifles through the desk, but doesn’t find much of anything useful. Just then, he hears footsteps approaching the room, and he quickly ducks behind the door. The occupant of the office returns, a large man bearing a wax paper bundle. He makes his way across the office, sits down heavily behind the desk, and upwraps the bundle, revealing a large sandwich. Enzo begins to develop a bit of a cramp, hunched down behind to door while the fat man starts eating his lunch.
Gunnar shows Signe some pre-printed material detailing the particulars of The Scheme, promising huge rewards in a very short turnaround time. Signe pretends to be open to the idea, but lightly skeptical. Gunnar senses that he may be losing a potential customer, so he calls for backup, asking the secretary to send for his associate Timur.
Timur is about a quarter of the way into his sandwich when the secretary knocks on the office door and tells him that Gunnar needs his help with a client. Timur puts the sandwich down and begins the process of hauling himself out of his chair, eventually lurching off down the corridor. Enzo wastes no time going through the filing cabinets, and comes away with copies of the same material that Gunnar is presenting to Signe in the front office. He also finds a ledger with entries, but the names are coded. He takes all of it, and grabs the sandwich on the way out the window.
[Enzo earns a Hero Point for taking the sandwich.]
Gunnar and Timur go to work on convincing Signe to sign up for their great new investment opportunity. She asks some very pointed questions, and they do their best to counter them. They mention that they are primarily taking advantage of Eisen’s weakened position on the world stage following the War of the Cross. Signe keeps up her questioning, and eventually they have to admit that the Scheme is not entirely legal, but that they have an inside man in the Vendel League, which allows them to conduct business without reporting the transactions. This seems to satisfy Signe’s skepticism, and she says that she will discuss it with her husband, and encourage him to come round and sign up. She thanks them for their time and takes her leave.
Outside, Enzo comes around the corner and offers Signe the other half of the sandwich. Back at the ship, she examines the ledger and determines that The Scheme is still in its very early stages here in Avalon, no more than a month. She hopes that Lord Stevenson moves quickly to prevent it from escalating.
Signe is also able to decipher the names of the local investors. She decides to keep that information to herself rather than hand it over to Lord Stevenson, as she hopes to incite a little panic in the locals and goad them into demanding their investments back. She spends the night copying the ledger, and tells Enzo to sneak back into the office and return it, as it will be missed.
A Castillian, a Vodacce, and an Avalonian Walk Into a Bar, Part 3 (Intro)
On his way back to the ship, Enzo passes by the A&M warehouse, and runs into a very irate Francis, who is looking for backup when he confronts the crew of the Erebus. Once off the main street, Francis explains that his men discovered a cache of weapons hidden in the bottom of the case of wine he bought from Roland Moore. He shows Enzo a knife made of cold iron, and explains that it’s highly illegal in Avalon, due to the Queen’s friendly relationship with the Fae. Enzo convinces Francis that they need all the facts before doing something rash, and advocates merely asking some questions rather than jumping to making accusations.# NotPirates