© 2018, Kevan Hashemi

The Gebong Conjunction, 2482

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Contents

Cast of Characters
The Gebong Conjunction
Prestor's Proposal
The Opening
Current Accounts

Cast of Characters

NameOccupationAge
Rikard Le RichOnly Son of Baron Le RichM 22
Pong Aveline"Mistress Pong", Mayor of VoissonF 57
Ping Pong AvelineWizard of Noc, Native of VoissonF 24
Nignog GateauxKnight of Gebong, Native of VoissonM 21
Nignog SchuneMaster of the Order of GebongM 79
Zar QueznelWizard of Noc, Son of ZarquonM 17
Sheriff TromboneBig, strong sheriff of VoissonM 41
Joe HansonOne-time adventurer, now plumber of VoissonM 36
Jeane MalliusOwner of the Trollhammer TavernM 52
Bradley ButchermanButcher of VoissonM 32
Napiza StrudleHalf-elf assassin, Nignog Schune's nephew's daughterF 21
Helene MalletEditor of the Voisson Village NewsF 48
Ralf MalletBlacksmith of Voisson VillageM 45
Judith Mallet"The Inebriated", Artist for Village NewsF 45
Gene ClairmontWealthy Man of MachayM ?
Table: Cast of Characters. Ages given on 15th August 2482.

The Gebong Conjunction

The Gebong Conjunction, CSMS1, connnect Clarus to Makrinos. The Knights of Gebong occupy the mansion beside the site of the Gebong Conjunction and maintain the walls and lawn about and beneath the site. The Order of Gebong was founded in the year 2234. They call the mansion their "Lodge". The order gets its charter to guard the conjunction from the Claran Watchers, who pay 1000 gp to the Order for each occurance of the conjunction, to compensate the knights for their seventy-eight days of labor checking the passports of travellers trying to enter Clarus, stopping orcs and other hellspawn from sneaking off Clarus to Makrinos, and stopping citizens of the Open Worlds from forcing their way onto Clarus. The Order has the authority to issue Free-World passports to people on Clarus, at a fee of 50 gp, and also to issue Free-World citizenship to people hoping to enter Clarus, for a fee of 500 gp. The Knights pay the Claran Watchers 10 gp for each blank passport paper, and keep these papers in a safe in the Lodge. They fill out the papers themselves, and keep two records of the passports they issue, one they keep at the Lodge, the other they give to the Claran Watchers. They keep the entire 50 gp fee to cover their expenses when they issue a passport, but when the issue a citizenship, they keep 200 gp and give the remaining 300 gp to the CLaran Watchers. These exchanges of funds occur after the conjunction closes, when a representative of the Claran Watchers will come to settle accounts. And so it is that, every seven years, the Kights of Gebong have 78 days of work to do, and the hope of some profit to keep their Lodge in good order.

The FXMS1 conjunction is 133 km away to the south-east on Makrinos, and leads to Fyloxenos. Here is a map of the region around CSMS1 on Makrinos. On the Fylixenos side of FXMS1, only 50 km to the south-west, is the site of HAFX6 leading to Heima, and every couple of centuries, CSMS1, FXMS1, and HAFX6 are all open at the same time, so that travelers can pass from Clarus to Heima in a matter of days.

CSMS1 2942 2037 78 {37.8 22.1} {-36.2 -0.7}
FXMS1 -47 189 5 {15.9 -102.9} {-37.3 0.0}
HAFX6 -803 948 33 {-60.8 -87.8} {15.6 -102.7}

Here is a summary of the route from CSMS1 on Clarus to HAFX6 on Fylixenos in 2483.

Route from CS 37.8 22.1 to HA -59.4 -88.2
    0 km    0 Cdy CS   37.8   22.1  CSMS1   37.8   22.1
  133 km    3 Cdy MS  -36.2   -0.7  FXMS1  -37.3    0.0
  183 km    4 Cdy FX   15.9 -102.9  HAFX6   15.6 -102.7

Here is a list of the Gebong Conjunction opening and closing dates in the recent past and future.

2404:Nov:14-2405:Jan:31
2410:Jun:13-2410:Aug:30
2416:Jan:10-2416:Mar:28
2421:Aug:08-2421:Oct:25
2427:Mar:07-2427:May:24
2432:Oct:03-2432:Dec:20
2438:May:02-2438:Jul:19 (Nignog Schune attends as Knight of Gebong)
2443:Nov:29-2444:Feb:15
2449:Jun:27-2449:Sep:13
2455:Jan:24-2455:Apr:12 (Alicia Schune attends as Knight of Gebong)
2460:Aug:22-2460:Nov:08 (Nignog Schune attends as Master of the Knights of Gebong)
2466:Mar:21-2466:Jun:07
2471:Oct:18-2472:Jan:04
2477:May:16-2477:Aug:02 (Nignog Schune only remaining Knight of Gebong)
2482:Dec:13-2483:Mar:01 (Nignog Junior attends for first time as a Kight of Gebong)
2488:Jul:11-2488:Sep:27
2494:Feb:07-2494:Apr:26
2499:Sep:06-2499:Nov:23
2505:Apr:05-2505:Jun:22
2510:Nov:02-2511:Jan:19
2516:May:31-2516:Aug:17
2521:Dec:28-2522:Mar:16
2527:Jul:27-2527:Oct:13

Here are the times when the Gebong and Fyloxenos conjunctions occur together. It is these occurrances that are busy: people travel between Fyloxenos and Clarus via Makrinos. The most exciting occurances, are those in which the conjunction from Fyloxenos to Heima are all open at the same time. The last time this happened was in December 2298, almost two hundred years ago.

2449:Jun:27-2449:Sep:13 CSMS1 open
2449:Jul:05-2449:Jul:11 FXMS1 open

2455:Jan:24-2455:Apr:12 CSMS1 open
2455:Mar:15-2455:Mar:21 FXMS1 open

2477:May:16-2477:Aug:02 CSMS1 open
2477:Jun:14-2477:Jun:20 FXMS1 open

2482:Dec:13-2483:Feb:28 CSMS1 open
2483:Feb:22-2483:Feb:28 FXMS1 open 
2483:Feb:20-2483:Mar:25 HAFX6 open

2499:Sep:06-2499:Nov:23 CSMS1 open
2499:Sep:14-2499:Sep:20 FXMS1 open

2505:Apr:05-2505:Jun:22 CSMS1 open
2505:May:25-2505:May:31 FXMS1 open

2527:Jul:27-2527:Oct:13 CSMS1 open
2527:Aug:25-2527:Aug:31 FXMS1 open

During the conjunction, travellers are welcome to stay in one of the ten guest rooms in the Lodge of the Knights of Gebong, which is the mansion inhabited by Nignog Schune. He is the Master of the Order. After the death of his daughter, he was the only Knight of Gebong, but now there is Nignog Gateaux as well, making two of them, and a promising new relative who may be invited to join after suitable service: Napiza Strudle, the half-elf second-cousin of Nignog Gateaux and great-nice of Nignog Schune. She just graduated from the School of Espionage in Jitain, the capital city of Caravel.

Prestor's Proposal

Prestor the Prospector arrives at the Trollhammer Arms on 10th December 2482. He has a map and an description of how to get to a site rich in spessartite garnets on Makrinos, about a hundred kilometers south-west of the Gebong Conjunction. His map is one of the one hundred full-color copies Alicia Schune had made of the large map hanging in the Lodge. There are thirty-six copies left, and the Lodge sells them to travellers for 2 gp each. On the back of the map is an account of a journey made to the garnet vein during the 2455 occurance of the conjunction.

Rikard, Zar, Nignog, and Prestor talk in the pub. "My grandfather wants help watching the conjunction. I'm sure he'll welcome your help, Prestor, and Roikard and Zar have already volunteered. We're not being paid, but we get to stay at the Lodge and the food and hot water are provided. My grandfather's cook is very good."

"And all his maids are pretty," Rikard says.

"Hands off my grandfather's maids," Nignog says."I'll volunteer too. Perhaps we can persuade your grandfather to watch the conjunction himself for a week while we go and find some garnets."

The Opening

The conjunction opens for the first time at the east end at about 14:00 on 13th December. There are twenty men in loin cloths, with leather harness, and armed with sticks and staff, in the passage. They jump out suddenly as the aperture of the conjunction is opening. Nignog and Rikard come forward with swords drawn and block the passage, but not before four of the men have escaped. Zar blinds two of them with a Flash, while Napiza cuts one down in the stable and Prestor bashes one into submission in the stable. The sixteen men in the passage do battle with Rikard and Nignog. Nignog breaks one leg and cuts another. Rikard cuts one severely. The sixteen retreat to the far end of the passage, which is on their own world.

The guardians of the conjunction transport their four prisoners to the conjunction tunnel. They resolve to call it Tunnel A, and the other one will be Tunnel B. Tunnel A will remain open for another three quarters of an hour, give or take five minutes. Meanwhile, on Makrinos, they assume that Tunnel B is open at the same time. One of their prisoners is bleeding stealiy of the wound he suffered form the blade of Napiza, and may die. Zar, Son of Zarquon, is a Healer and a Wizard. He spends twenty minutes working on the wound to stop the bleeding and save the man's life. These men are well-nourished and healthy, but they are not as muscular as trained soldiers, and they are suffering from sunburn. They are tanned, but otherwise fair-skinned, with brown or black hair, but sparse beards and chests. Down the other end of Tunnel A, the leader of the twenty men is bleeding badly and another has a nasty broken leg. At Nignog's invitation, the men leave their fighting sticks behind and come to the near end of the passage where Zar binds the leader's wound, an accomplishment of which he is rightly proud.

During the course of these efforts, the guardians find that all the twenty men speak Greek well, and Latin poorly, in addition to their own language. They come from Aranash, a large island in the Sea of Obit on Makrinos. Their own language is some evolution of Greek that none of the guardians of the conjunction can understand.

"We are bookeepers in the court of Queen Claire," they say, "We are fleeing the Dark Times that are coming to our fair nation. We completed a census of the population of Aranash and found it to be some two hundred thousand souls. Queen Claire commanded that all families raise many children so that our land will be strong in arms to fight the demons of Grellack, the Lord of Death, if he should ever return, bringing demons to slaughter and enslave our people. But we consulted the old books, and we paid heed to the words of the wisest of our druids, and we believe that the Lord of Death arises when our land is burdened by too many mouths to feed, when conflict arises over land, and when the poor go hungry. Out of such conflict evil rises. Even now there is rumor of Black Druids gathering support for rebellion against the Queen. None of us have wives or children. We do not want to live through the Dark Times. We do not believe that good will triumph over evil. And so we sailed across the sea and walked across the desert to come here, hoping to flee to this world of yours and live in peace. We are educated. We can read and write. We are willing top work hard. Surely we can find a place here?"

Tunnel A closes. Soon after, Tunnel B opens, but it is emptly. Over the next two days, the bookeepers come in smaller groups to talk to the guardians. Zar sets the broken leg. The men understand that citizenship of the Free Worlds costs 500 gp per person. They have only 100 gp between them. But this is enough to buy food, which the guardians have delivered from Voisson: fresh bread and cheese and meat.

At 5 am on 17th December 2482 it is raining and cold. Zar and Napiza watch the opening of Tunnel A by the light of a luminous stone on a pole. The opening reveals a man in plate armor and a woman richly dressed for warm weather, with long brown hair and a sunburned face. The man has his helmet under his arm, a pack in one hand. His skin is dark brown, with a short black beard and hair. The woman carries a pack also. They stand close together. Behind them are six of the bookeepers. Zar blows his whistle.

"We wish to enter your world," she says in Latin. The man does not appear to speak Latin. "We have money to buy passports." She is shivering in the sudden cold of the Claran rain. "We are in haste."

"Stay there until our commander arrives," Zar says.

Napiza moves to one side, out of the bright light of the stone.

One of the bookeepers, their leader, says, "These two are from Aranash. She is the sister of Queen Claire."

The man turns and shouts at them. His tone is angry and discourteous. The bookeepers move back. The woman looks at the bookeepers with what appears to be disgust.

Nignog, Rikard, and Prestor emerge from the Lodge, all in armor, in which they have been sleeping. Nignog introduces himself and asks to see their money. The woman hands him a bag containing three items of jewelry. These he hands to Prestor who examines them for less than a minute before declaring them to be worth at least two thousand guineas.

"We think these are worth two thousand guineas. The price for two of you is one thousand."

The woman holds her hand out for the bag of jewelry and Nignog returns it to her.

"You have seen our money," she says, "We will pay you when you give us our papers."

"No, we are not sure of their value. Give us the jewelry and we will keep it safe. We will settle with you tomorrow when give you your passports."

The man is displeased. The woman says, "How can we be sure you will return half their value to us?"

"You will have to trust me," Nignog says.

The man says something that they take to mean, "Up yours!" He takes the woman's hand and leads her out of the tunnel. She protests, but follows him. Nignog stands in his way. He shouts at Nignog, but when Nignog does not move, he puts his helmet on, draws his sword and attacks. Their steel blades clash.

The six bookeepers rush for the tunnel opening. Zar Flashes them and three are blinded. Nignog is duelling against a more skilled swordsman with heavier armor, but he does not give ground. Napiza sneaks up behind the woman and garrots her, dragging her back to the conjunction. She cannot speak, and her companion is unaware that she has been taken away. The remaining three bookeepers try to escape. Zar Flashes again. Another is blinded, but two keep running. Zar and Rikard chase after them, shouting that they will use deadly force if neccessary. Both the bookeepers stop and return. Prestor corralls three blinded bookeepers into the tunnerl, but one has disappeared.

The man in plate armor sees that the woman is now being held by Prestor. He abandons Nignog and rushes back to her, but Zar envelops him in spong and he tips forward, hovering a meter above the ground. The woman shrieks. Zar, Rikard, and Napiza search for the lost bookeeper. They hear a cry of pain from the top of the wall. The bookeeper drops back to the ground and Napiza knocks him down with the edge her hand.

"He's going to be fine," Prestor says of the man in the sponge, and releases the woman, who rushes to try to hold the man, but cannot get through the invisible material. Nignog pushes him into the tunnel, and now all eight foreigners are once more contained within its roof. Zar binds the one bookeeper's hand, but he is going to lose the finger he cut on the glass at the top of the wall.

When the sponge decays, six minutes later, the man and woman decide to trust Nignog and hand over their jewelry bag. "Good. Welcome to Clarus. Come and stay in the lodge, you must be cold."

And so Yrma, sister of Queen Claire, anmd her companion and lover, the Duke of Kloffus, arrive on Clarus and take a room in the Lodge of the Knights of Gebong.

Out in the rain, Zar and Napiza make sure the bookeepers stay in place until Tunnel B closes. Then they cross to the other side of the Celesti and watch Tunnel A. It opens soon after. It is six in the morning.

Current Accounts

Here we list the assets of our heroes. Last updated 10th October 2482.

Location PingZarNignogRikard
Machay Bank
Account
1279 gp710 gp140 gp1980 gp
Voisson Bank
Deposit Box
1000 gp Mi glass1000 gp Mi glass1000 gp Mi glass1000 gp Mi glass
Summoning
Account
0 gp1308 gp0 gp0 gp
Cash
on Person
60 gp100 gp200 gp200 gp
Table: Current Assets.

Expenses paid to 30th September 2482.