Echoes of Invasion: The Inquest | Scene 4

News regarding the outcome of Kachen’s trial comes too late for falcon mail. Aderyn was sent back home the day after the fighting ended. At that point, since Kachen was recovered from his coma, Heppa updated her letter to Damal with the medical details of her unnamed patient. Her letter to Alric, though, she scrapped and started over, telling him about what she had been up to in the past month and giving him some details about the battle. She did not include things pertaining to Kachen’s illness, recovery, or impending trial. With him able to write for himself if he wanted to, there was no longer a need for her to serve as a communication proxy. Indeed, when she mentioned to Kachen that she was going to tell Alric what happened, he dissuaded her from publishing news of what was going on with him. Perhaps Heppa has an inaccurate picture of their relationship in her mind, but if so, it is only because Kachen’s letter told her to trust Alric, and the bartender himself is rather wonderful.

Despite discouraging Heppa to write about him, Kachen did send a message of his own back with Aderyn. Used to her normal message tubes, he prepared a thin strip of paper and wrote very small, then rolled it up tightly and gave it to Heppa to affix to the falcon. Heppa respected his privacy, curtailing her curiosity about who the message was for or what it might say. She had no justification for reading it, after all. It is one thing if a person is unconscious and going through their journal could give you helpful information. It is another thing to just read someone’s mail for no practical purpose.

Before Aderyn headed home, Tric added Lady Sabine’s broach and the letter from Thrandolil to the falcon’s leather bag. Given that they still have the arch mage’s stolen ruby ring, it is probably best for them not to personally deliver the broach, anyway.

* * *

Following the dismissal from the council meeting, Kachen and Heppa once again go over the steps for making his dapper inkcap powder. It really requires an alchemy setup to do properly, which Kachen does not have, but he wants to make sure he understands the process as well as can be. After just a few doses, Kachen can tell that the new formulation is effective, achieving the purpose it was supposed to without any of the former side effects. Given that he is never allowed in Estbryn Forest again, he cannot rely upon Heppa to make more for him. If he finds himself in a city, he may be able to commission an alchemist somewhere else to produce more, but realistically he may need to just try his best with whatever tools he has on hand while he is out in the wilds conducting his research. 

Heppa writes up steps that she is confident another alchemist would be able to follow. She applies her sealant to protect the recipe from the elements during travel and from wayward reagents during its use. Then she provides it to Kachen, telling him that if he passes through South Tower on any of his travels, Damal would certainly be able to prepare more. She does remind Kachen, too, that they can communicate through Aderyn. She would certainly love to correspond with him about all the things they do not have time to discuss, given the hasty departure that faces him.

“I did look through your notebook when you were unconscious,” she admits, “trying to figure out how much of the dapper inkcap you were taking. Is there some way for us to communicate safely?” She is hoping maybe he can teach her his obfuscated writing style. “And would you like that? Maybe no, of course… But if we learn things, I would like to share them without causing troubles with your friends or the authorities or whomever.”

“The problem will be with anyone unsympathetic reading the messages in between us. Sending information is not advisable,” Kachen tells her. “Sending requests to meet is a better way to do it. The most reasonable way to do that would be by bird since Aderyn is able to find both of us. Though, it may take a while to be able to meet somewhere—that’s probably less of a concern for elves than it is for humans,” he adds with a touch of humor.

Tric arrives during this discussion. Ultimately, they decide to simply schedule a meeting, setting it for South Tower in autumn. That is when the next major faire is, the After Harvest Festival, which Heppa is interested in attending anyway. Plus, any excuse to go to South Tower is welcome as an opportunity to see Alric. This arrangement is better for Kachen as well, since it allows him to plan his movements accordingly.

“But do you really want to be in South Tower?” Tric asks, knowing some of the crimes Kachen is associated with there. “Obviously you’ve been there before, but…” 

“Last time I was there, I was not yet using dapper inkcap as a solution to my problem, so it was very difficult to be there. It will be much easier to be there with this new formulation,” Kachen assures him. “And my supply will be almost out by then, so I will need more of it made. Returning to a city with a known alchemist around that time would be helpful. And if circumstances cause this to not work out on your end, leave a message with Alric. Or if you know farther ahead of time, send one by Aderyn to reschedule to the start of winter, for example.”

This is agreeable all around and gives Heppa something else to scribble down on a corner of her map.