A Quest to Lemon Grove

July 3 2024 - Day 1342

James is sitting among three tables. Sitting at his table are his fellow members of House Lapin among those of differing houses. All the people at his table are wearing the uniforms of their house.   James continues his conversation with a fellow soldier of equal rank about how best to protect House Lapin in the next war or other disasters. With his right hand James is holding a goblet of red wine, before taking another sip of his wine, he is tightly gripped by his left wrist and pulled away, some of his wine spills on the table he was at. As he is dragged off he looks round to see who it is. To his astonishment it is Sable.   His left hand is turning red from the lack of blood and he is dragged around so he isn’t walking backwards. This, in turn, made Sable change how she was gripping James. Well, at least I have my left hand back! James thought as he forcibly held hands with Sable.   James saw he is taken to not the Leaders of the Houses, for he isn’t one, but to the noble’s table. Sable sat him next to a person who looked like a successful merchant and across from someone who looked rich. Sable swapped his wine a finer vintage and lowered her head to whisper into his ear.   Sable: [whispers] As you survived the war and saw, CoffeeQuills and I collect the Iron tome they will want to know about it. Please impress them.
  James nods, not sure how he could help more. Things were good at House Lapin. Even for a person designated as a Soldier. He got better food rations, his quarters were greatly improved by his bed linens, and his desk chair had been repaired. He couldn’t think as to why Sable would want him to impress a bunch of people who didn’t fight in the war or wouldn’t do so, as they have people to do it for them.   James tried to listen to what they were talking about. All James got from it was they were talking politics. Instead, looks into the middle distance over the other side of the bridge, to where he last saw Greg portal away to the lemon groves. Often thinking where they were.   He snapped out of it when one of the Nobles noticed who he was and they had a discussion about the final battle of how his house leader got the Iron Tome. James tried correcting them but they didn’t seem to notice. They didn’t seem to care about the finer details, just about the battle.   James indulged their curiosity about the Molluscan Isle and the alliance Mollusca and Lapin now have. A few of them scoffed at this and James recoiled slightly. This continued with James excluded, once it was clear to them he was of no use to them. He was taken out of the conversation and treated like he was invisible.   Various people of other lines of work congratulated James on his promotion and other things such as fighting in the war. James took this graciously. His food was replaced with a pudding which James savoured. I hope I did what you asked Sable? James thought.   Near the end of the feast, James saw a teenager no older than 15 holding a catalogue for outdoor equipment among other things. He got the attention of the boy. James got his left hand and closed his ring and little fingers along with his thumb and made a come over here motion. The boy came over.   Teenager: What have I done?
James: Nothing, I just want to ask you where you got this catalogue?
Teenager: Oh, it’s a new place that has opened up recently.
James: If you go and get me one of those catalogues and a large coin pouch. I will give you 3 silver.
  James intentionally began the bargaining low.   Teenager: Make it 5 and we have a deal.
James: Good. You will need a gold piece for the pouch, just say it’s for a member of House Lapin.
  The boy nods and walks in the direction to complete his mission. While James helps clean up the feast, and the other members of other Houses have left, the boy returns.   Teenager: There you go [handing a large coin pouch and the catalogue and change]
James: Good, thank you. [James gives the boy 5 silver]
  Just before he leaves, James taps on his shoulder.   James: One other thing?
Teenager: Yes?
James: Tell me about your family.
Teenager: What is there to tell?
James: Do you have both of your parents? Do you have brothers and sisters? How many of each? And that’s just the basics.
Teenager: Well [he said rubbing his nose] My mother died not that long ago, I have two brothers and a younger sister, I’m the middle son. My brothers and I are expected to join the military or we will make our father disappointed in us.
James: And how are your family faring, are you starved?
Teenager: We eat well enough. Our father beats my brothers and I. Saying ….
James: Join the military or I’m disappointed in you? [James interrupts].
  The boy nods and James regards him.   James: What would you rather do ... I mean, apart from the beatings ending?
Teenager: Well I’d rather be a carpenter.
James: I have some good news [James thinks back to a poster he saw detailing places in House Lapin]
Teenager: What would that be?
James: Well, if you're looking for work, House Lapin has something for you [James puts a hand on the boy’s shoulder] and you can live here instead of with your father.
Teenager: Thanks! [his eyes glow in pleasure and walks off]
James: Wait! [James goes after him] take this. [hands him 1 gold 4 silver] The gold is for your father, the silver is for your siblings.
  The boy nods and walks away and James walks in to find Sable. Upon finding her going up the stairs to her office, he follows her and starts a conversation.   James: Do we have any positions left for the woodcrafts person?
Sable: Why do you ask, we need a soldier like you. Don’t tell me you have gone soft?
James: [slightly insulted by this] No, I want to keep up the fight and protect others who can’t. You know how I feel, L4L. I just found a teenage boy who could do with a better life here with Lapin.
Sable: And you thought he could be a woodcrafts person?
James: Yes, he is getting beaten by his father. The father wants him and his brothers to join the military. Something he doesn’t want to do, but he wants to be a carpenter.
Sable: James it’s a shame people are treated that way. We do have a job opening. We hope to see him but when the next fight happens I hope he will be alright.
James: Me too and thank you, House Head
Sable: Not at all James [Sable winks]
James walks back the way he came back to his quarters and closes the door. He goes over to the desk with the coin pouch and catalogue and put them on the side and finishes off the documentation he was working on this morning.   He comes to one parchment coloured bundle, as the other documents are and look to see that it is a pay invoice, his pay invoice. Nothing odd about that, he is getting paid for being a member of House Lapin. He looks up the records and sees he was deducted pay as house Lapin fell. He traces the rows of records down toward the present day. Seeing the number increase on the right. Once he gets to July of the year he is in he looks two columns over to see that the amount of money he has waiting for himself is large.   James didn’t care much about money, why would he, his duties of House Lapin filled his days he was fed, clothed and well treated he was happy with his life and no longer had to deal with his parents in West Kelowna seeing as they were dead and all. James wasn’t materialistic it was clear from his quarters they were as barren as when he got them except for The Brass Gear that stood in a glass-topped display box.   James put the pay invoice on top of the catalogue and continued through the documents adding details where he needed to. While doing this he doesn’t notice that the time has gone past the time to leave his quarters and go to the canteen for his evening meal. James doesn’t feel hungry and continues to work on the documents and writes about the war and that it was won.   A few more minutes later there is a knock at the door. James says enter and Johnathan, a higher rank individual comes into his quarters, holding a copper bowl of stew and a copper tumbler of cranberry juice.   Johnathan: There you are. You’re not taking care of yourself again that’s the second time this week you have missed evening meals in the canteen. Do you think people haven't noticed?
James: [respectully]Bogler, I’m sure other’s see me taking my duties of this Great House seriously and dutifully.
Johnathan: Woodwright, taking care of yourself if a part of that. While others see you as taking your duties seriously others wonder about you.
Johnathan: [Seeing the catalogue under the pay invoice]What’s this, your not looking after yourself and you plan to desert us for the wilderness?
James: You know that is not true! L4L. I’m curious as to where Greg is, he took over 3 months to deliver lemons and other supplies to us.
Johnathan: I’m sure Greg had a reason?
James: He did, his establishment didn’t know we were up and running as well as safe.
Johnathan: Ah, I see so you want to know where he is geographically so in the future, so you can go and inform his establishment that it’s safe to deliver to House Lapin.
James: Essentially that's the plan.
Johnathan: You know I will have to report this to Sable don’t you?
James: Yes you got to make sure I’m safe and mental sound for the duties of House Lapin.
  Johnathan leaves the bowl of stew and cranberry juice with James and leaves the room. Once he has James takes bites out of the stew not taking much notice of the flavours and texture and with some time the warm stew turns cold with subsequent bites as it’s finished.   James leaves his Quarters with the Documents, leaving his pay invoice behind ensuring that his uniform was to the standard he went about delivering his paperwork mostly to the library and to Alister, his weapons trainer.   Alastair: It won’t be long now and your classes with me will commence again.
James: [lying]I look forward to it sir!
  After some light conversation in Alastair’s office, James leaves for his quarters. Upon arriving at his quarters he notices a new set of uniform has been placed on the other bed in his quarters. As he closes the door and locks it he strips and changes to his nightclothes and tries to get some sleep.

July 4 2024 - Day 1343

James wakes up and rubbed his eyes and changed into his uniform for the day’s duties. James walked out of his quarters with the Bowl and tumbler and headed to the canteen. James handed in the crockery and took his place in a queue. He looked at the board behind the servers and metally selected what he wanted for breakfast.   Canteen Attendant: What can I get you, Woodwright?
James: Breakfast A, please.
  The older Canteen Attendant put 2 sausages a portion of beans and an egg on James’s plate. James took the plate and then on to the next station where he took a helping of hash browns and his ration of Cranberry Juice and found a seat with his former dorm mates. They had a congeal conversation about their duties for the day.   Upon leaving the table with the plate and tumbler James is still thinking about the catalogue but pushes it to the back of his head when he straightens up and tucks in his shirt, ready for his guard duty. James makes his way to the entrance to House Lapin, before making his way out he is spotted.   Hayden: Woodwright, Sable, would like to see you, she says it’s urgent.
James: Very Well, thank you.
  James makes his way back up the stairs to Sable’s Office and presumably to her quarters. Upon arriving he knocks and mentions it is him.   Sable: Ah James, there you are I’m sure you know why I have called you up here?
  James nods, bows his head and puts his hands behind him.   James: I do, House Head
Sable: You don’t have to be that formal, this isn’t a disciplinary its safeguarding.
  James nods and moves his hands to his sides and but doesn’t move his head up to meet hers.   Sable: I’m pleased you take your duties seriously at The Warren, but you have to take care of yourself. We need soldiers. Not tired unfed soldiers for when the next threat occurs [James nods]
Sable: What is this about Greg?
James: Well after the war he said he didn’t make deliveries to us until he knew it was safe to do so, but that was many months until he . . .
Sable: he turned up, so you thought you would go over to him and find out where he is so that you can teleport to him and say we are safe and well?
James: Yes that’s the plan.
Sable: When were you going to tell me about this?
James: As soon as I could with knowing what equipment I had
Sable: Do you know where he is?
James: I presume somewhere in California.
  Sable nods and puts a finger under James’ chin and forces James’ head up.   Sable: Oh James you do have your surprises, next time, plan to tell me sooner, alright?
  She goes to slap him in the shoulder but instead goes to hug him instead. James hugs her back and agrees to her terms.   They bid farewell and James goes to his guard duty on top of a hill and stands. He helps people about their day giving directions and other things when he is relieved for lunch he goes back to the library first to withdraw a book on Maslow’s needs and takes this book to his quarters and then goes to the canteen for lunch.   After this, he guards the dock area which, to James was far more enjoyable, seeing people arrive by ship and dropping wares off. After about 2 hours he was relieved of his duty and went back to his quarters to fill in more documentation.   James concentrates on this filing his time with it and leaves to deliver it. After this, he has about 3 hours before he needs to worry about his evening meal. Opening up the book on Maslow’s needs James notes down the bottom two layers of the pyramid and closes the book and puts it aside ready to be put back into the library.   He instead turns to the catalogue and turns to the end page where the order form is. James notes down the details he needs to fill in and goes through the catalogue noting down the item, page number item number and its cost.   At the end of his list, he finds that of course he will need to withdraw some of his Lapin pay and makes a note of how much he will need. James then fills in the form in the back and tears it out.   James takes this, with the coin pouch from yesterday and his pay invoice. James makes his way down to the finance department. There are a little surprised to see James, seeing as they knew he wasn’t on Tax collection duties.   Cashier: How can we help you, James?
James: Can I have 21 gold 4 silver and 6 Copper from my pay, please?
Cashier: [Surprised]Sure! A little surprised it took you this long to want to withdraw your pay.
  The cashier counts the money out and James pushes through the coin pouch to be filled. Pleased, the cashier fills the coin pouch with the coins and pushes it back through tightly and with a metal grinding sound. James thanks the cashier and makes sure he has the form with him looking at the address of the establishment, he sees that it is not that far from one of his guard duty places.   James saunters his way to the store and sees that it is still open for the day. James walks in and hands in the form and the coin pouch.   Shopkeeper: Ah a Lapin Member good to see you!
  They look at the form.   Shopkeeper: I see you haven’t put a recipient or an address?
  James blushes in embarrassment.   James: Ah yes please deliver them to House Lapin under the name; James Woodwright.
  James expected the name to mean something to the shopkeeper but they just wrote those details down.   Shopkeeper: I would expect the items in a week.
  James nods and leaves the store and back to House Lapin.

July 05 2024 - Day 1344

James wakes up and completes his morning rituals and goes outside of House Lapin and relieves one of the door guards as he stands there for his allotted two hours, members of House Lapin leave and come back from their duties some holding documents, James tries to ignore that some of those documents might be for him to process.   After he is relieved instead of going back into House Lapin he goes to his usual spot to guard and helps citizens with directions.

July 12 2024 - Day 1351

While James guards the entrance to House Lapin he sees a large box of Cardboard being delivered.   Courier: I have a package here for a James Woodwright.
Librarian: He’s on guard duty but i can sign for it for him.
  The Librarian signs for the package and the courier leaves with their clipboard as they go past James thanks them.   After his guard duty at the entrance of House Lapin, he goes to collect the heavy package, his legs bending to take the weight and goes to his quarters to drop the package. After this, he goes to the canteen for lunch.   After his filling lunch, he goes back on guard duty on Kelowna’s streets. After some time he comes back to his quarters and works on some documentation that has been left for him. Following this, he opens the box and unwraps each item from its card wrapping and lays out each item on the other bed and checks the list.   He then packs his new purchase into a travel sack, but puts water into things that require it. He goes back down to the Canteen and he has his evening meal of stew and cranberry juice. When he leaves instead of going back to his Quarters he goes to the library instead.   This wasn't odd as there were still members down there, it was odd for James however because there was no ongoing war for him to need to research or write to help in the war effort.   James made his way to the area of the library to do with geography and atlases. He finds the section then goes through each section making his way around the world on the bookshelves. He finds the section he needs and a map of the area he expects to be going to.   James makes his way back to the entrance to the library, with the book and withdraws it in his name. He makes his way back to his quarters and ensures that the book and a compass is at the top of his bag. He looks back to ensure that there are no documents to process and gets an early night.

July 13 2024 - Day 1352

James awakes unnaturally early and gets dressed in his uniform for House Lapin. Once he leaves his quarters, he makes his way for an early breakfast. After this, he makes his way to Sable’s Office and knocks at her door and waits to be asked in.   Sable: Hello, Woodwright, what can I do for you?
James: I have things prepared and I request leave so I can go on this expedition to Lemon Grove.
  James says this as he holds his back straight and has his hand behind him while looking to Sable.   Sable: [Sadly]Woodwright, I hope you realise that we are in the tourney, you are one of my best writers.
James: Sable I hope to report my words on my journey to Lemon Grove.
  Sable nods and returns to James with a USB dongle.   Sable: Stick that in your laptop it will send your words to us.
  James nods to this and is dismissed returning to his quarters he packs his laptop as well with the dongle.   With the Backpack on his back, he heads out of House Lapin and south towards Vancouver.  

July 16 2024 - Day 1355

James upon seeing a large stretch of water follows the coastline a distance away and heads south.   James follows the coastline as the sun sets he makes camp using his flint and steel on some wood he found earlier he makes fire and sets up the rest of camp. After this, he writes for House Lapin to detail what has happened.  

July 17 2024 - Day 1356

James wakes the next morning he finds a nearby river and purifies some water by boiling it, packs up and sets out on his journey south.  

July 24 2024 - Day 1363

In the midday, and James has his jumper around his waist he slowly gets delirious and starts seeing vivid colours as he sees this he has a pounding headache and passes out.  

July 27 2024 - Day 1366

James wakes up in a camp bed with his head propped up by blankets to have better access to his forehead. With his forehead covered with thin wet strips.   James: Uh [James rubs his head] where am I?
  Greg waits for James to sit upright on the camp bed and backhands James on his upper left arm and James rubs his arm.   Greg: [admonishly]What were you thinking James going into the desert without enough supplies!
James: [defensively]I was trying to find where you go. As you said in April, last year, that you didn’t know we were safe again …
Greg: and tell my organisation that House Lapin is up for business?
  Off in the distance someone makes a hacking cough and asks for Greg.   Greg: Be right with you, sir.
  Greg gets up leaving James along with his thoughts. Some minutes later Greg comes back with a sheet of weathered parchment rolled into a scroll with scents of lemons. James calms himself.   Greg: I believe this is what you’re wanting, James.
  Greg hands a scroll of parchment to James. He promptly unravels the scroll on his lap. Revealing a circle of 30 cm wide. With rings within between the lines are runes of various cultures.   Upon looking at this the knowledge of where Greg is situated and James rerolls the scroll and pockets it. Greg looks to James and regards him thoughtfully and leaves and pulls one side of the blanket entrance to where James is.   Greg: Rest up and we can send you back to Kelowna.
  James nods and rolls on to one side and seems to find it easy to fall asleep.  

August 2 2024 - Day 1371

A few more hours later, when the sun is coming over the horizon of the sky, James is woken and asked to follow. When he leaves his abode he finds himself among rows of Lemon trees lined up as neatly as grapevines.   He walks with Greg for about 1 Kilometre to a large flat open paved square, with 40cm pillars of quartz. A man nears a podium of arcane knowledge, beyond James’ comprehension.   Man: Lets see here, Lapin, Lapin. Ah, here we go! Kelowna, BC, Canada.
  A portal opens of blue light. Which on the other side is Kelowna at one end of the bridge, with The Warren in the background and with bunting put up. James faces Greg.   James: Is that how it works for you?
Greg: No James, this is how it works for non-members.
James: I will see you soon then?
Greg: You will indeed, James.
  James bids Greg farewell and goes through the portal. Once he is on the Kelowna side, the portal closes unceremoniously and James walks across the bridge to The Warren.   Once inside, celebrations had clearly happened as bunting of Lapin colours had been put up, and there was still some remnants of party poppers and confetti on the floors. A distinctive smell of blown-out candles hung in the air.   James sees that, as usual, House Lapin is at its normal state of busyness. He is finally noticed when a member of his house notices a follow member not doing anything.   Private: Woodwright, is back from his quest!
James: My equal, any word from Sable?
Private: No, not much. She hasn’t spoken much about you. You are a Private after all. Regardless of what you have done for House Lapin.
James: Thank you.
  James departs and goes up the stairs with the scroll in his hand and finds Sable in her quarters and office.   Sable: Come in
  James comes in.   Sable: [surprised]Hello James!
Sable: How goes your quest to see Greg?
James: It goes successfully.
Sable: How did the journey go getting there?
James: While I researched and took supplies I collapsed by dehydration in Oregon only to be rescued by Greg’s organisation.
  Sable grimaces thinking she might have lost one of her own members.   Sable: And did you get what was intended?
  James lays out the scroll in front of Sable. She then unravels the weathered scroll to see the runes within the circle.   Sable: Very good James. I am pleased you have managed to complete your own projects.
  James nods.   James: Thank you, House Leader.
James: [curious] Since I have been gone for a while, what’s with the bunting along the bridge?
  Sable’s face lights up when James doesn’t know!   Sable: James, July was the tourney. House Lapin won!
  James: Good News, Sable. I’m pleased for you.
Sable: I couldn’t do it without my members, so thank you, James.
  James nods and asks where Sable would like him to go if he is meant to be on duty.   Sable: As you were James, on guard duty on Kelona’s streets.
James: As you wish House Leader.
  James nods and does what is expected of him to leave the presence of the Leader of House Lapin. James closes the door and goes to his usual guarding spot. Seeing as there is already someone there he relieves the guard on duty, who seems pleased to see James.   As per usual, James helps those in need and those who need directions. At a quiet point in his guard duty, he looks out and down a hill.   James: Kelowna and House Lapin, I can’t think of a better place to be!
Instead of the Game of Tomes theme playing, the screen fades to black silently

Echos ring out of James shouting to Sable, in the blackness.   James: What's wrong Sable!
This article is a work in progress, and may be subject to changes.
This article is part of a series related to streaming the Game of Tomes. For more information, see Streaming Game of Tomes.

Article Contents

Cover image: Iron Tome by Misades


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