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The Chronicles of 'Team B' - Chapter 23 - Local Wonders

Written by KoshcheiBessmertnyi

General Summary

After two weeks of hard rowing upstream, the party and the captives reach the city of Ladeisk - the seat of Vladykino's prince, Trofim Andreevich. The prince receives the party with honor, and awards Yuri 50 rubles for his efforts, to be distributed between the companions in any way he sees fit.   There is no Vladykino to return to, of course, so the former captives have to be housed at the Convent of the Dormition while the village is being rebuilt - the prince does not want them to be in the vicinity of the men who are busy with reconstruction efforts. Svetlana goes with them, though Yuri is granted permission to visit her during the daylight hours. The prince, as it turns out, is a martial type who is quite open about avenging the destruction of Vladykino and attacking the Kochmaki while they are reeling. Yuri is glad to finally find a commander who is of like mind, and quickly joins the prince's retinue, with Svetlana's encouragement. She sees Yuri rising through the ranks and becoming an important officer with access to the prince's favor and quality housing in Ladeisk. Yuri, however, wants her to accompany him on the prince's raid, and to help him rescue other members of their families, who have not yet been located. To practical Svetlana, that seems like a wild goose chase. Their other relatives have certainly been sold off by now, and her own rescue was a miracle that will likely not be repeated. Yuri persists, but in stubbornness, Svetlana seems to be his match.   In the meantime, Yuri's companions make themselves at home in and around the citadel, and the city. Compared to Udyn, Ladeisk is quite small - maybe one-tenth its size. Lokan begins to seek out like-minded people about town, but soon discovers that Ladeisk lacks members of the Banu Tabar. There are various toughs associated with particular professions and trades, particularly in the area of leather-working shops, and at the docks on the river port. He makes several contacts, but takes up especially with two lowlives called Vanya and Vasya, who seem impressed with him, and eager to integrate him into various jobs that the dockworkers' gang has going.   Agapia wins special favor with Trofim Andreevich, who allows her free movement about the citadel. There, the girl spends endless days pestering people, looking for treats to lift from the kitchens, and seeking out 'magic words' for various projects.   As for Augusta, she immediately takes up the mission of sizing up the prince's interest in the Ecumenical Faith, and the prospects for his conversion. Initially, Trofim Andreevich seems amenable, though he is interested less in the finer points of theology, and more in the economic and technical benefits his realm might gain if he were to allow a Friazin bishopric to be established in Ladeisk. Augusta's proselytizing zeal is a bit off-putting, and she decides to present the prince with a royal gift. She pays most of her share of the reward to have the nuns of the Dormition convent restore the badly burned Of Defensive Armaments, and then proceeds to translate the tome into the Norik tongue.   Before she is able to schedule another audience with the prince to deliver the fruits of her labor, Lokan hears from his new friends that in the village of Sitnitsa, roughly a two day's trip on foot from the capital, a hen laid a golden egg. Vanya and Vasya encourage their new friend to go to check out this marvel, and Lokan immediately goes to Yuri. The cossack owes him, as far as he's concerned, because of all the treasure the wolfman had to sacrifice to lift Yaqub's curse from the captives. Yuri is still dreaming of an attack on Udyn, but life in Ladeisk has become complicated. Not only is Svetlana's nagging becoming oppressive, but after an initial success - being promoted to desiatnik, and being given nine riders to control, his own superior - the sotnik Yaropolk Khmelnitskii - has developed an intense dislike of him, and has started to make his life difficult. Though he cares nothing about any golden eggs - real or invented, getting away for a few days may change his mood.   Agapia has also heard this story from Mother Feodosia - the Mother Superior of the Convent of the Dormition, whom she has befriended, and she is excited to meet the beautiful chicken. Augusta decides to accompany her old friends as well. She still has not received an audience, and the tall tale about the egg makes her concerned that her companions may give in to temptation.   The journey to Sitnitsa is uneventful, and Lokan is easily able to locate the village. Within, they quickly locate the abode of the purportedly wondrous animal - a brown, speckled chicken named Ryaba. The family, including some young men clearly present to repel any trouble, as well as many other local residents are assembled in a barn - Ryaba is obviously a local celebrity. Agapia, who is sensitive to this sort of thing, quickly divines that the hen is surrounded by both good and evil forces. She casts her die to learn what sorts of outcomes are likely to result from touching it, and the results are unsatisfyingly indeterminate. Lokan and his friends demand to see the egg, and the hosts display it on a bed of hay - a pure golden hen's egg, to all appearances. Lokan inquires as to whether the hen will lay more eggs, and the host tells him that she has not yet done so, but there is every reason to expect that she will (though it's all in God's hands). Out loud, he wonders what would happen if the egg is cracked. An old woman sitting near the door shoots him a look, but then quickly looks away, though her reaction is noted. The tension in the barn is quickly growing, and the host inquires whether the travelers will be staying the night, and offers to put them up. Before turning in, the party has a brief chat with the old woman from the barn. Her name is Cherniava, and she invites everyone to visit her on the morrow.   The following day, the party pays a visit to the local priest, Father Vadim, to ask him about his feelings on the matter of Ryaba and her egg. Vadim is rather noncommittal, for Augusta's tastes, and is happy enough to consider the egg a miracle and a boon for the village. Everything is in God's hands, but he prefers to believe that Ryaba will lay more eggs (or at least, hoping for this to be the case would be salutary for the villagers). When asked about Cherniava, and why he tolerates a witch in his village, Vadim says that she doesn't really cause much trouble, and that it's easier for everyone to just ignore her.   Next, the party visits Cherniava herself. The old woman tells them that the ignorant villagers don't realize that the real treasure isn't the egg, but what's inside it. When asked what that is, she speaks in riddles, but indicates that if anyone succeeds in cracking the egg, theirs would be power, wealth, and knowledge. Augusta presses her for why she believes this, and Cherniava relates a story about how the world was born from an egg. This is unacceptably pagan, and both Augusta and Yuri are convinced that this old woman is trying to tempt them to commit evil acts. Cherniava counters that the temptress is not she, but the God who places them before the Apple, and then commands them not to eat it.   Agapia, for her part, is preoccupied with a rat that is rooting around Cherniava's hut. She begins to magically clean it and smooth its fur. Cherniava says that the rat's name is Stinker, and then gifts it to the enchanted girl.   After leaving the old woman, Yuri proposes immediately returning to Ladeisk. He is completely uninterested in this egg, and the woman's stories, and is growing concerned that Lokan's two larcenous friends are going to try to steal the egg, and get everyone in trouble. Lokan responds that the latter concerns him as well, and for this reason, he has decided to steal the egg first, so that they do not get it.

Rewards Granted

  • 50 rubles
  • Yuri gets a promotion
  • Agapia and Lokan make friends
  • Augusta has Of Defensive Armaments restored

Missions/Quests Completed

  • Arrival in Sitnitsa

Character(s) interacted with

  • Svetlana
  • Prince Trofim Andreevich
  • Mother Feodosia
  • Vanya and Vasya
  • Ryaba's family
  • Father Vadim
  • Cherniava

Report Date
24 May 2019
Primary Location
Ladeisk
Secondary Location
Sitnitsa

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