Ailukka was looking forward to the break. They would be remaining in Kalsgard until the end of January at least. What was best was that she had little to do: the bulk of the planning would fall on Sandru and Ulf.
According to Ulf, this was the very worst time of year to attempt a crossing of the Roof of the World. They needed to reach the High Ice in early spring, to maximise their chances of good weather (or at least, as good as it got) for their crossing. Ukshakka would be leaving Kalsgard after the WInter Festival, to prepare suppiles and a change of beasts ahead of them. Ulf Gormundr had suggested to Sandru that his caravan should avoid the primary caravan route that passed through the trade-town of Unaimo for the time being and instead journey to a cliff-village he knew of some miles to the west, called Iqaliat: Uksahkka would make preparations and meet them there.
When they had reached Kalsgard they had agreed to go straight to see Fynn Snaeveld. They gave as as much of their story as they thought was prudent, though Lute, the merchant they had rescued, had spilled out a little more. The hawkish old merchant had eyed them strangely.
“A bargain is a bargain” said Fynn, “and I will present the blade to you as a reward. Even now it makes me feel uncomfortable handling it.”
“I see however more than you choose to reveal. These shadow warriors: Ninja they are called- I know of them from my travels. And for the Rimerunners to be running such an organisation? The King must know of this.”
“I can bear witness” said Lute. “The King will have to act!”
“But I set one simple condition before I relinquish the sword. I wish to see this relative of the man I bought it off. It is clear to me that this all revolves around her. That old man was in a great hurry to sell the sword to fund his familiy’s flight southwards. I am guessing he had powerful enemies, who would not wish his heir to return?”
They had all looked at one another rather sheepishly; Fynn was very astute.
“I am no longer old enough to travel”, said Fynn. “But indulge an old man in this and I might be able to help in ways you might not think.”
They had agreed and half an hour later Ameiko had appeared with Sandru. Reynald and Shaleelu kept watch outside. The old man stared at Ameiko intently.
“Yes. Yes.” he nodded finally. “I see the resemblance to your grandfather. You have his eyes.” Bowing he handed Suishen over to Ameiko.
She suddenly jumped as though given a sharp shock. Then she collapsed to the floor.
“Here we go again” thought Dinald.
She was soon revived however, and asked for the sword, and then she looked up strangely.
“The sword has told me much” was all she would say. “I will tell you later, but it says we can trust Fynn Snaeveld.”
More discussions had evolved, and the top and bottom of it was that Fynn had agreed to invest the caravan for its expedition, which was something of a relief to Sandru. Listening intently, and with an eye for an opportunity, Lute had also agreed to invest several thousand crowns.
Fynn had been as good as his word, and had recieved an audience with King Sveinn. The upshot was a major shake up in Kalsgard. Sveinn had suspended the Rimerunners Guild’s operations and seized all of its assets while investigations were being conducted. Publically he had immediately distanced himself from his formerly cordial relations with Thorborg Silverskorr. With his hands on the Rimerunner’s assets Ailukka expected that it would be a very long time indeed before the investigation was concluded.
“From what you say I suspect the real Thorborg Silverskorr is long dead.” said Fynn, “This Katmandatsu no doubt found it convenient to adopt her identity.”