(1311-03-04) A Jeweled Caper
Summary: Roxane finds that an expected arrival has gone missing. Hélène offers her assistance.
RL Date: 2019-03-04
Related: Immediately precedes By Way Of The Sea
helene remy roxane 

Port - Marsilikos

Fortune laid the foundation for the grand port of Marsilikos; look how the arms of the land spread wide to embrace the setting of the sun, welcoming a bay of still waters rendered all the more peaceful by the presence of a small island to the south, on the flanks of which the waves cut themselves into powerless ripples as they move in from the sea. But what Fortune gave the D'Angelines their cunning and craft has improved to a hum of efficiency and culture. The natural bay has had its curved shores sharpened into straight edges bolstered with ridges of heavy stones on which the tides have left long mark when the waters are low, algae and barnacles hung onto the rugged stones. Then stone foundations have been piled out into the harbor to hold up wide wooden pillars and the great treated slats of the piers and boardwalks which extend into the bay, now at wider intervals for massive trading vessels, now at shorter intervals for private fishing and pleasure yachts.

The southern arm of the bay is reserved for the great sourthern fleet of the Terre D'Angan Navy, which is headquartered here in Marsilikos, and is ever a hub of activity, the giant slips outfitted to haul the massive warships up into the air for repairs, while further inland on the southern peninsula a forest of masts rises into the air where new ships are being built and old ones repaired in full drydock. Between the naval slips and the drydock rises the stately edifice of the Southern Naval Headquarters, glistening with huge latticed windows on the upper floors. Beyond the headquarters rises the massive fortified promontory of the Citadel, with bleached-white parapets and fluttering banners.

Markets and vendors throng the plaza at the innermost fold of the harbor where civilian and military seamen alike might find a bite to eat, supplies for their next mission, a good drink or a little bit of companionship. Far in the bay, that little isle sports a lofty lighthouse to guide the ships in by night.


The day is cool and overcast, but the winds are low and there is no snow, so the port is the busiest it has been in a few days. Helene is just overseeing the transfer of goods from a ship to a nearby warehouse, standing beside the captain, and speaking in low tones as the men work. Her eyes occasionally rise and drift to the other ships in port, taking in the various people present before returning to the delivery, now very nearly complete.

-

Remy is walking down the docks from where a ship has recently docked the crew scrambling to stow the gear while a few others set off to gather needed supplies in case the ship is needed to cast off again soon. His gaze flows across some of the other ships that are also docked near his.

-

Roxane was also awaiting the ships as they made their way into the port. Clearly it could not be the delivery of a shipment, because the expression on her face was not, as she spoke to the harbormaster, a look of gladness at the arrival of a long awaited package, but a look of consternation at some answer she was being given. Perhaps a member of some crew gone rogue, jumped ship, or lost. it might well have been either of those things, but her words, crisp, not angry, but effortlessly clear, put the nail in the coffin as it were, "I'm sorry, what do you mean…you've lost track of the shipment?"

-

Hélène looks first to the newcomer walking down the docks, noting how he gazes at the ships, taking them in, but then overhears that snippet of conversation, and turns to look at the blonde woman. She herself is dressed plainly, and would not be distinguishable from any other merchant were it not for the heavy signet ring on her finger that marks her a the title bearer for a noble house. She walks over, passing Remy and giving him a nod (her guard Jean-Marc giving him a once over), and approaches Roxane and the Harbormaster. "Good afternoon, Harbourmaster, Mlle, can I be of assistance?"

-

Roxanne's attention shifted in a smooth arc from the harbormaster towards the woman approaching. A lowering of her eyes in a gesture of respect as she caught sight of the house guard, usually the sort of thing nobles, or, well, adepts found themselves requiring, she erred on the side of respect, but did not miss the chance to take in the approaching woman's appearance, noting the ring, before she returned her gaze to Helene's face, "A bit of difficulty, yes, my Lady. I was due to receive a shipment today aboard the Juniper from Ephesium, and while the ship, as you can see, is here," She looked away a moment to nod towards the ship that was clearly in port, "My shipment is not aboard it. But by all accounts in so far as the manifests that have been reviewed by the harbormaster, the shipment was on board when the ship departed Ephesium for Marsikilos." At no time did Roxane raise her voice, nor show a hint of anything beyond a natural confusion at the clear error.

-

Hélène looks to the harbourmaster, and it is clear they have done business together for quite some time, and she nods, looking back to Roxane, asking rather delicately, "and why is it you are growing upset with our Harbourmaster? Do you suspect him of wrongdoing? Is there evidence that it was offloaded here in Marsilikos before your arrival?" She turns her green eyes towards the ship in questionand adds, "Have you spoken with the crew who handled it in Ephesium? Do you require a translator?"

-

"I am not upset with the Harbormaster. He cannot control that happens between one port and the next. However, I was assured that the Juniper, which is not a ship that I have used before, would be a fair substitute and suitable to transport the goods which were to be delivered to me. I have not yet made it so far as speaking with the crew. I had only just engaged the harbormaster to investigate, after I was told that my shipment was not offloaded by the dock master assigned to see to the the vessel upon its arrival. He seemed to me, to be the appropriate authority to handle my concern."

-

Hélène looks to the Harbourmaster and asks, "Have you had any trouble with the Juniper before?" Her brows furrow slightly as she considers, and shakes her head, looking to Roxane and saying softly, "there have been more issues of late with the steadiness of shipping goods, even with reliable trading partners. This could be more of the same." She pauses and then adds, "Oh ,I'm Helene Verreuil, Baronesse de Poumarous. My family is also in shipping, and we operate a port in Siovale, and there has been a surge in smuggling and piracy of late along the southern coast. I do speak Ephesian if you would like any assistance."

-

"Not the Juniper, my Lady, but we, as you say, have been having trouble with interference to the ships." The Harbormaster seemed a bit more at ease with Hélène, a face and a person with whom he had done business before. "My apologies, my Lady. And my thanks. I do not mean to cause trouble, but these supplies are quite important, and I do not wish to disappoint my customer, who's commission I am currently working on." At the introduction of herself, Roxane offered a polite curtsy to Hélène, "I am Roxane nó Eglantine, newly established at a shop in Marsikilos, in the grand plaza. I would very much appreciate your assistance in investigating."

-

Hélène nods to the Harbourmaster and excuses herself and Roxane both before starting towards the Juniper. She turns to Roxane as she walks, her steps sure, her guard maintaining as wide a distance as he is comfortable with. The guard is a tall man in his late thirties, with brown hair and eyes, who has an indulgent smirk on his face as he watches Hélène insinuate herself in the situation.

Hélène informs Roxane, "There have been issues with smuggling and piracy, though I know more of the former than the latter. Our harbourmaster though is a good man, and so far as I can tell, earned his position by being an honest one as far as the Duchesse is concerned." She pauses to take a breath and asks, "Eglantine? You must be the new Luthier I have heard of. I am afraid I am not very musical myself, but I do love it, and patronise others."

-

"Whenever I can, I do do my best to judge each person I meet fairly. And in the years I traveled here, before I was ready to establish myself, I have found, in at least so far as those I have had chance to deal with, that I have been treated both fairly and honestly by those officials I have had to negotiate with to see the shop come to fruition." As she walked Roxane, lifted her hand, pushing back the hood of her cloak, turning her face slightly to take the breeze that was coming in across the ocean. "I had heard some spare rumours of such, but one never knows what to believe, when one lives to far from the port, as I did in Elua." At the comment about her occupation, Roxane dipped her head in acknowledgment, "I am. And a patron with an ear for music is a gift for any artist, whether they can perform or no."

-

Hélène answers, "Well I am certain that if remain, I will have some custom for you, one way or another. Now, the smuggling? There will always be some. We expect low levels of it everywhere there is a market for taxable goods, and a bit more at large ports such as this one because it is easier to slip through amidst the sheer ovlume of traffic. It is entirely possible you own shipment was offloaded along with other goods going to someone else, if the order was small enough to be easily mixed in with a larger one. It could be nothing devious at all, or, it could be intentional if your materials were rare, and could earn more elsewise." Her voice is quite low as they approach the ship, so as not to be overheard amongst the port traffic. When they approach though she speaks up, and Jean-Marc falls into step behind her, towering over ten inches above the petite woman as she calls out, "Bonjour, may I please speak with the Captain?"

-

<FS3> Helene rolls Persuasion: Good Success. (5 4 6 8 7 4 6 6 2 8 3 2)

-

"I would be glad to receive you. Whether you are interested in an instrument, a lesson or simply a performance. Roxane allowed Hélène to lead, as the Baroness was far more familiar with both the harbor as well as dealing with the crews directly. "It was but a small shipment, my Lady. Citrines and fire opals. Decorations to be cut to use on an instrument I have been commissioned to make. The situation is not entirely dire, as the piece will take many weeks yet to complete, but as you can imagine, my business is still small and only just growing. I do not have the funds to easily replace what does not arrive. And while I might be able to purchase such loose gems here in the markets…they come at a considerable markup."

-

At the sight of the woman approaching under guard, and the other woman following, the men on the ship nudged at one of their number, the man stepping forward to come to the ramp of the ship. His d'Angeline was heavily accented, but still clear. And spoken with skill enough that it was obvious that he had some good experience with it. "I am Ahmet. How may I serve, Lady?" The word was pronounced in such a way that it was intended to be a little, rather than simply a reflection on her gender.

-

"and they are easily strolen and or faked," Helene murmurs before devoting her attention to the ship's crew. "Good afternoon Captain Ahmet," Helene says in a clear tone, clearly accustomed to be listened to, at least on the docks, "I just had some questions about a shipment you were carrying. It appears to have been mislaid." There is no accusation in her tone, just curiosity as though it could happen to anyone, and she is just trying to clear it up. She does not reveal that she can also speak Ephesisan.

-

Ahmet gave the Lady who addressed him his full attention, perhaps dismissing Roxane, standing as she was behind Helene, as some sort of ladies maid. "Yes, we have just finished the delivery, Lady. All of the paperwork, in order. All of the boxes offloaded. We had no problems with that. The workers are good, and my men. What is the trouble?" Roxane listened, attentively, but did not attempt to interfere with the conversation. Nor did she answer the comment Helene had made to her, with anything beyond a nod. They were now too close to the men for such conversations.

-

"May I?" Helene asks, holding her hand for the bill of lading, and taking it approaches Ahmet, her ears open to discussion amongst the crew. "This item," she gestures to the sheet, "Was not received according to the DockMaster, but is clearly listed in your manifest. Can you explain the discrepancy, or point me to the man who would have unloaded it?"

-

Ahmet stepped foreward, as Helene received the manifest, calling back to his men for his own copy. There were clearly some who understood the D'Angletine, though Ahmet spoke to them in his own tongue, for there were a fair number of interested faces. As well as a few who seemed inclined to look anywhere but at the Captain, "Here is my own, Lady." He handed over his own copy, rolled and a bit more careworn for having spent long days at sea. Should Helene read the entire manifest over, she would indeed find that the shipments matched. And had been signed off for by both Ahmed and the dock supervisor who had under taken the offloading.

-

<FS3> Helene rolls Perception: Good Success. (7 6 2 2 4 3 8 8 4 1)

<FS3> Helene rolls Composure: Good Success. (2 7 2 1 3 1 5 4 2 7 1)

-

Hélène offers her thanks and then asks Ahmet come with her to Harbour Master where the signatures can be compared. As she passes Roxane, she says, "Please, it seems there is a discrepancy between the two documents is all." She remains fairly light in her tone, though her eyes narrow as she looks between them. A few words are exchanged with the Harbourmaster who is able to confirm the signatures match, however, the dock master in question worked the morning shift, and has since left. Once Ahmet's honour has been satisfied, he too is able ot return to his ship, leaving Roxane and Helene to speak.

-
"Well, unfortunately it looks like the chink in this chain is the man who signed for it. If you had not been so prompt in your pickup, and the Juniper had already sailed, it would have gone unnoticed, and assumptions made about the Captain and his crew." Her eyes are soft as she looks to Roxane and adds, "The Harbour Master will try and track down the dock worker in question to recover your goods, or see restitution is made. Are you alright to give it a few days, maybe a week?"

-

Roxane stepped back, allowing Helene and Ahmed a chance to pour over the paperwork, gaze drifting between the pair huddled over the manifests and the ship itself. Sleek and beautiful, trading vessel or no, and it clearly intrigued her, despite the trouble it may or may not have caused. Once she was called to follow back to the Harbourmmaster, her expression once again neutral, as if it were a thing she had become so accustomed to it took no effort. Again, she seemed to know better than to interrupt Helene's business, which, though it involved her was not her forte. Her eyes returned to Helene once the business was done, as she listened to the Lady's explanation of what seemed to be well afoot. "Then I may well not be the only one who has had their shipments go missing." But in the end, she only bowered her head, "I am content to wait. I would hope for a good result. For myself as well as for those who may also be affected. I will not be hard to find, if you seek the shop, and I will await what word you send, my Lady."

-

"You may not, and the Mastre will be on the lookout for any other missing shipments, I assure you. If you do find your finances too stretched while awaiting this, please, so come by the manor and I will arrange for your needs. Again, the Verreuil residence," Helene answers, and it's clear whatever this is, is something she is something she is currently in the midst of. "It has been lovely meeting you, at least the part that was meeting you Mlle Eglantine, not the rest of this mess. Thank you."

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