Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (17)

   It was time to go to dinner with Reefugo.  In preparation for this, Miyara created a beautiful caligraphic poem for our host, on the subject of murder and so on.  Goru was specifically invited so could not remain behind, but only myself, Miyara, Rawena, Hosei, and Pireseri accompanied him.

    We were met at the door by Reefugo's housekeeper, and let into the sitting room.  Our host arrived moments later, accompanied by a man called Jon Mari Aruto.  Aruto is in his mid 20's, thin, of average height, with long blond hair, green eyes, buck teeth, and a high pitched voice.  He's a writer, working on a murder mystery.  The sculptress Mimi would be joining us in a few minutes, it was announced.
    Miyara presented her calligraphy to Reefugo.  He admired it for a long time and asked what it said.  She told him in general terms what it was about, then read it in Nipponese.  As she did so, a large smile spread over Reefugo's face, and he clapped politely when it was over.  He seemed to be enjoying it a little too much, more than someone who didn't understand it.
    Soon, Mimi arrived.  The barbarians engaged in polite conversation before dinner, particularly the monk Hosei, while Miyara translated the important points for me.
    Reefugo does not know Tausika well.  He described her as "frightening" in response to Hosei's "dark" comment.  She's not someone those of delicate tastes enjoy.
    The night of Bastia's death, said Reefugo, was the night of the double full moon.  Many weird things happen then, he said, and it's hard to tell if anything is particularly strange on such a night.  He added that no-one seemd to be acting out of character.
    Miyara asked him what happens on the night of the double full moon.  Reefugo replied that is when chaos is at its strongest.  It encourages those of a chaotic nature to be more so, and causes those of lawful tendencies to be somewhat more reserved and even fearful.  He claimed that like most of his race, he was quite neutral in such matters.
    I speculated that Bastia might be some kind of half demon who could become powerful on such a night, and perhaps they killed him to prevent that, but while Miyara tolerated the suggestion it was clear I had not spoken well.
    Hosei continued the conversation.  It seems that elves don't particularly observe the double full moon, although the more devout mark the day with ritual while others merely recognize it.  Later, Hosei told us that elves are very private about their religion.  They have a common answer they use to fend off such questions, Lia Duriel, their goddess of song and wine.

    At this point, the housekeeper arrived to announce dinner.  Reefugo lead us to the dining room, where the seating was partially directed.  Goru was at his right hand, with Pireseri next to him; their chairs were specifically for ones of their stature.  Miyara sat to his left, with Rawena and Carimera across from him.  All others filled in as they wished.
    One does not discuss business at dinner, of course.  Reefugo spoke to each of us in turn, asking where we were from and how we came to be amongst these people.  So much barbarian language grated on my ears.  Hoseiand the elves had a long discussion about chaos, elves, man, and so on, rambling on as barbarians do.  Reefugo paid particular attention to Goru, of course.
    Reefugo of course does not speak a civilized language.  Nevertheless he apparently wanted to speak through translation.  Miyara politely asked me if I wished to engage in conversation, knowing I am sure that I would answer her that I don't care for the chatter of barbarians.
    The dinner itself was not of course to Miyara's taste, containing as it did substantial portions of meat.  Nevertheless, as soon as this was noticed, they accomodated her as best they could by not serving her such unacceptable ingredients.  Reefugo was proving to be a decent host.
    The discussions were interminable, but we eventually succeeded in our purpose, as I shall describe shortly.
    Reefugo considers the Loren woods his home.  He came here, he said, to avoid the hustle and bustle of life there.  His father was a ship's captain, a sea elf who made regular runs to the western continent of Lusiteria.
    The two artists were Buretonian, while the housekeeper was Tai Lin.  The baker's wife (also Buretonian) assisted the housekeeper in serving.
    Hosei proved good at drawing out information from Reefugo.  He is most personable for a barbarian, and seems to get a good reaction from everyone.  Eventually Reefugo was prodded into telling a story which showed he was an undercover agent for the elves, watching for stolen art passing through this strategically placed town, and "dissuading" those involved in such crimes from doing it again.  His artists, Mimi and Aruto, have nonetheless been completed duped by his pretence to be a patron of the arts.
    I believe our investigation is done.  Bastia was a peasant, and no-one should care he's dead anyway.  In addition he committed a crime of stealing elven art and was executed for it.  I don't see that the other methods and motives are important.  We know the doctor poisoned Bastia to prevent him revealing that Tesan is a magician, but this to my mind is irrelevant.  The peasant deserved to die, he is dead.  What is more to say?

    After dinner, we retired for dessert, drinks, and cigars.  Reefugo gave us a tour of the barbarian art, which was certainly interesting.  There was no Nipponese art in the collection, or anything stylistically similar to the dragon statue Miyara seeks.  The human pieces in his collection were ones he enjoyed, while the elvan pieces seemed to have been chosen on the basis of their importance.
    As we left, Hosei hung back and had a last word with Reefugo in a different language.
    It is good in such barbarian lands to find as gracious and pleasant a host as Reefugo.

    We returned to the inn to sleep.  Tomorrow they resolved to seek out Tausika.
    There was one odd moment -- just before bed, Rawena noticed that outside her window, the baker was taking his pig for a walk.  Perhaps he was up and around the previous night and had seen something?  Another avenue for the barbarians to pursue, I am sure...