Author Archives: Dennis

Broken Faith

Previously, the adventurers departed from Kingsport and headed for Bournemouth. The goal of the first day way to reach the Inn at the Crossroads, halfway to Bournemouth where the Silesian Road split off north to White Fork. They had lunch at the Seat of Friendship, a glade formed by a primordial oak tree, protected by a group of druids who promoted the glade as a communal place. Many different people took their rest there, including a group of three szygani.

Emma decided to approach the szygani and talk about esoteric matters. Vadoma, the defacto leader of the group engaged Emma in a friendly manner. Emma felt confident enough to ask the szygani about the strange gems the group had found in the Lynnecombe catacombs. The szygani said they looked like ordinary crystals and proposed a trade for a silver necklace and pendant, which Emma agreed to.

After continuing their journey, about an hour away from their destination, the group changed upon two merchants who were beset upon by their traitorous guard. The adventurers decided to intervene on the merchants behalf and defeated four of the guards and drove off the remaining two. Trent and Oliver were merchants on their way back to Kingsport but agreed to return to the Inn at the Crossroads with the adventurers, as they were convinced it would be safer than travelling on to Kingsport without protection at night.

Eight Day, Third Ride, Summer Light, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning, Bloodmoon in low sanction. Darkmoon is waning.)

The ride from the site of the combat to the Inn at the Crossroads was a quiet one. Trent and Oliver sat on the back of the cart, dangling their legs off the end while Emrys laid in the back of the car, uncharacteristically silent after being seriously wounded in the battle with the traitorous guards. Despite Emma channelling Sedna’s healing graces into Emrys’ wounded frame, he needed a moment to compose himself.

James decided to drive the cart so that Emma could take a look at the flesh wound he had incurred during the fight. She cleaned and bandaged it and was confident it would not lead to infection.

They arrived at the inn around supper time, finding it the size of a small village, surrounded by a wooden palisade, complete with their own guards keeping the peace. Two gates, one looking out over the Silesian Road, the other looking out over the road leading north to White Fork, allowed entrance onto a wide open space surrounded by a stonemason tavern building, large stables with an overhead hayloft, two large buildings with rooms of different sizes and qualities, as well as host of log cabins and bungalows for staff as well as guests.

Outside of the palisade there were several small houses, huts, carts, carriages and tents set up by travellers and more permanent residents. The adventurers noticed another, colourful szygani carriage standing on the opposite side of the junction than the inn.

Inside the palisade the adventurers found a liveliness of different visitors, all sitting on wooden tables and benches outside of the tavern enjoying food and drink in the early evening sunlight. The horses were put up, three single rooms and one double room for Astrid and Emma were rented, and equipment was stored away. Luca found a notice board with some random messages pinned to it from some of the locals.

The adventurers met a guard named Bram, a foreign stable master by the name of Nica, the innkeeper Selma, and a one-armed bartender by the name of Tom.

A table was found outside the tavern and the adventurers ordered food and drinks while discussing who among them would be the treasurer of their coin. It was decided that Luca would be the one to mind the coffers.

Later the adventurers were joined by Trent and Oliver, who had talked to the head of the guard about securing passage back to Kingsport the following day. They told a little bit about themselves until James was bored enough to find entertainment in a game of dice, elsewhere.

An agreement was made that they would continue onward to Bournemouth at daybreak, and all retired for the night.

Ninth Day, Third Ride, Summer Light, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning, Bloodmoon in low sanction. Darkmoon is waning.)

In the middle of the night Emma awakens from something stirring in her room. She instinctively reached for the material foci she needed to conjure a magical light to illuminate the room and found the room empty and Astrid vast asleep. She spent a few minutes looking around the room and when she found the door locked and the inside and outside shutters fastened, she decided to go back to sleep.

When she jerked awake some time later, she was certain something was wrong and she repeated the action of conjuring a light. She found the room empty as before, except for a strange, spectral hand hovering in front of the shutters, trying to open them. She reached out and grabbed the hand and unleashed a shock of malicious energy and the hand disappeared. In that instant, the door to her room opened and she could hear the footsteps of someone running down the hallway.

Emma quickly woke up Astrid and ran down the hall after the intruder, yelling for the guards as she went. When Emma turned the corner towards the exit of the building her room was in, she found the way blocked by a wall. She stood there for a moment, confused. Astrid came running in after her and seemingly disappeared straight through the wall. The confusion grew, but Emma put it aside in favour of finding a different way of pursuing the intruder and she returned to her room.

James had woken up from Emma’s shouting and immediately deducted what was going on. Instead of taking the regular route down, he decided to open the shutters to his the window of his room on the first floor and climb out. While he was doing so, Emma had returned to her room, locked the door behind her and climbed out of her window on the ground floor, too. Both of them set off in pursuit of the intruder who was being chased towards the main gate by Astrid.

After cornering the intruder in front of the closed gate, the adventurers realised that the intruder was invisible and they could only follow their footsteps on the dirt ground, dusty from backing for days in the summer sun. The intruder slipped past the adventurers and headed in the opposite direction, towards the other gate. Emma cast a holy prayer towards the intruder, outlining them in a faint, divine glow. Astrid set off in pursuit while James manoeuvred himself on an intercept course cutting off the pursuer’s route.

When the intruder found their route blocked off by James, they grabbed a hand of dust off the ground and blew it into James face, trying to set off an arcane spell to lull him to sleep. The invisibility spell immediately broke and quickly Vadoma, the szygani shimmered into view. She clearly misjudged James’ heritage or perhaps wasn’t aware of their natural resistance against sleep enchantments, but James wasn’t affected at all.

Eventually, as Vadoma was struggling to make it to the other gate, Astrid and James injuring her severely as they pursued her and eventually she fell and a bag full of red gemstones spilled from her grasp.

Emma gathered the gemstones while James and Astrid made sure that Vadoma didn’t escape. The head of the guard, Milton of Green Orchard, eventually took her into custody and locked her up in a make shift jail cell and put two guards to watch over her. He said he would bind her hands and the adventurers made sure that she would also be gagged so that she’d be hard-pressed to make sure of her arcanist abilities.

The adventurers went back to their rooms and try to get back to sleep. The following morning it was decided that Astrid and Emrys would get the cart ready for departure while Emma, Luca and James went to see if they could talk to Vadoma before she was taken away by the local lord’s guard. Milton explained that the lord’s punishment could be rough, anywhere from lashing, to losing a limb, to hanging. The managed to convince Milton to allow them to talk to Vadoma.

It didn’t take long before Vadoma was willing to talk, provided that the adventurers would make sure that she would be freed before they departed that day. Luca promised to do so. Breaking faith, Vadoma promised, would incur the wrath of the szygani.

She explained that the gemstones she had tried to steal were Lyrium crystals. The crystals were one of two expressions of the powerful reagent Lyrium – the other being Lyrium ore – that could be found around powerful fissures, rifts and portals in the fabric of reality between the planes. These rifts haven’t been seen for thousands of years, since the Age of Fear, and therefore, Lyrium was incredibly rare and incredibly powerful.

Vadoma shared that she would have taken the crystals to Duén Gwyndeith, the Palace of the White Flame in the Worthwilde, and offer them to Hlaith N’Deireadh, the Lady Without Ending, in exchange for protection during the next Age of Fear.

The adventurers reapplied Vadoma’s gag and went to talk to Milton. While Emma and Luca were trying to convince Milton to let Vadoma go, James got frustrated that his companions were actually going through with it and went to help Astrid and Emrys get ready, but not before trying to sabotage his companion’s attempts to have Vadoma freed.

Despite James’ attempts, Luca and Emma managed to convince Milton to go easy on Vadoma by appealing to his sense of sympathy for Vadoma being part of a misunderstood and persecuted group of people, something that Milton could sympathise with. He himself grew up in Green Orchard, but was born in Fulham and as such had to deal with many negative stereotypes about his heritage – inbred, sheep fuckers, dumb, etc. – throughout his childhood in Green Orchard.

The adventurers departed and had a fairly quiet day on the Silesian Road. Their journey took them further and further away from the coast and the road became less maintained and the villages and hamlets fewer and fewer. More and more trees dotted the landscape, casting a blessed shade over the path, shielding the adventurers from the punishing heat.

Eventually, they took some rest outside of the small, hillside town of Eastwarren, just before they were to turn towards the south, towards Bournemouth, the second largest city in Lyria.

Just before the end of the afternoon, as the sounds of the gulls and the sea of the Lyrian Gulf started to wash over them again, they descended down into the valley of the river Bourne and the city came into view.

Departing Kingsport

Previously, James awoke from his days-long unconsciousness in the servant’s quarters of the Sheridan estate, tended to by an old friend, a priest of Pholtus. He remembered nothing after snooping around the library in the Sheridan manor and vaguely remembers something happening to him there. Benten was there for his wake up as well, who shared a few details of what had happened during his unconsciousness. James found a strange, arcane burn mark on the inside of his right hand which Benten claimed belonged to the lost Lord Destan. Benten suggested he make his way to Kingsport to catch up with the others before they departed for Pinefall to find Lord Destan.

When James returned to Kingsport he quickly found the rest of the adventurers who were trying to wrap up some loose ends in the capital and find out some more information which might be useful to their mission to find Lord Destan. They visited the docks to speak to a Sheridan Trading Co. representative, visited the Bromley estate in Ravensbourne to speak to their majordomo, and visited the College of Bards to find out a bit more about the Crimson Tower.

Seventh Day, Third Ride, Summer Light, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning, Bloodmoon in low sanction. Darkmoon is waning.)

In the late afternoon, James arrived at the butcher shop at Fleet Street run by the Daymaster. He was sitting out front, at a small table, trying to escape the stench and heat of the shop. Men with fast, knife hands and cold, dead eyes were standing guard at a distance. They spoke about what happened at the Sheridan estate, and the Sheridans specifically. The Daymaster seemed very interested in hearing about the supposed portal that was found in the catacombs underneath Lynnecombe and seemed quite concerned with artefacts and antiquities which may have been recovered.

Eventually, the Daymaster instructed James to continue travelling with the other adventurers to recover Lord Destan. His interest in the Sheridans seemed to be more than a passing one, and he explained that there was an upset in the balance of the underworld, caused by a mysterious grouped which called themselves The Penumbra, and the Daymaster implied that he thought that House Sheridan might be behind the group.

He told James to be mindful of artefacts, ancient books and antiquities and gave him an enchanted bag which would help him gather and hide some of the things he might find along the way. James, in return, paid the Daymaster the kickback that he was owed on all the work he did. He then proceeded to continue to the Wanderer to catch up with the others, but not before loading up the bag he was given with enough food to last him a month.

The rest of the night was spent at a table in front of the Careless Wanderer. James was paying for chilled drinks, which Astrid eagerly downed to the point where she became quite intoxicated. All the while, James was asking the others about the details of what happened in the Lynnecombe catacombs.

Emma had picked up the new platinum rings she required to place divine wards on any who wore such a ring. She gave one to each of the others in the group, but she was one short because of James’ reemergence. Astrid parted with hers and gave it to James, feeling confident that he would benefit more from it than she would.

An agreement was made to meet in front of the Wanderer at sunrise so that they could start travelling before the punishment of the midsummer’s heat would become too much. Lauryn and Durham suggested staying at the Inn at the Crossroads, which they could make before supper, and they recommended taking rest at the Seat of Friendship, a glade halfway between Kingsport and the Inn at the Crossroads.

James departed to his abode in Kingsport, Emma and Astrid both took up a bed in the common room, with Astrid being quite drunk at that point. Emrys went back to his room and concluded that he had forgotten to give the large chest of valuables to Luca, like the adventurers had agreed upon over drinks, seeing as how it was likely that Emrys would be visited that evening. He decided to take a few handfuls of coins and put them in his own pouches and hide the chest underneath his bed instead.

Luca visited the House of the Raven Queen across the small square from the Wanderer. He entered the large building only to find it accessible but empty on the inside. He walked up towards the altar, rows of pews and unadorned, grey pillars, and sat down in one of the pews. He was soon joined by an elderly man with a neatly trimmed, steely grey beard. He was wearing a dark robe ruffled around the shoulders by hundreds of dark feathers. The man politely asked Luca to depart. While he was welcome, the staff he carried was not. Luca left without resisting.

Lady Annabella of House Waxley showed up by the time that Emrys had already settled down for the night. She was wearing what she probably understood to be understated, commoner’s clothing, the quality of which had probably drawn a lot of gazes on her way to the Wanderer. Emrys hoped that she had not gone without a guard.

She was carrying a bucket with a bottle of wine in it, together with two delicate, elven crystal glasses. She told Emrys to chill the wine, which he did using a minor cantrip. Lady Annabella didn’t waste any time and proceeded to undress and instructed Emrys to do the same.

Later, when the were laying together in bliss, sipping on the wine, enjoying the cool evening air, they spoke about Lady Annabella’s position at court and the pressures that come along with representing her house while serving as the queen’s handmaiden. Suddenly, they heard a blood-curdling scream coming from the room directly below theirs; Luca’s room.

While Emrys and Lady Annabella were entertaining themselves upstairs, Luca was reading in his small room. As the temperature outside slowly dropped, the wind coming in over the gulf was picking up. The breeze was playing with the candles that Luca was using to read by, casting strange shadows on the wall. Just as his eyelids started to droop and sleep was about to take him, he noticed a large figure in the shadows of his small room

The figure explained that they were the one to give Luca his arcane powers, but that they would come at the cost of his obedience. It also became clear to Luca that this figure had been following and manipulating his life for a long while. Their instructions to Luca were to make sure to remain Blackstar’s master, and continuing the search for artefacts and books from the Age of Fear, ominously stating that it would help in “the wars to come.”

Eventually, mildly frustrated by Luca’s lack of knowledge, reached out his hand and told Luca to take it, so that they could show Luca all that he needed to know. Luca did and with the touch the knowledge of ages was revealed to him in a violent way which left him screaming a primal scream.

When Emrys reached Luca’s room he used a canister of water and a simple cantrip to freeze the lock on his door in order to break it open. Luca was alright, but very shaken. He told Emrys he was having night terrors. When Emrys went back to his room, he found that Lady Annabella had departed.

Eight Day, Third Ride, Summer Light, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning, Bloodmoon in low sanction. Darkmoon is waning.)

The following day Emma and James were very punctual. James found Emma taking care of the cart and horses outside of the Wanderer together with Wojciech, the Silesian stable master. It took a while for the others to get ready. Emrys mended the damage he caused to the door to Luca’s room with a simple cantrip. Astrid was trying to wake up through the fog of her hangover, and Emma and James went up to Emrys’ room to pick up the chest of values.

Astrid laid her great sword down in the cart and laid down underneath a blanket to shield her from the sun. James and Emma sat up front and Luca and Emrys were in the cart together with Astrid. An hour past sunrise the group finally departed going out of the Eastern Gate.

The adventurers travelled east on the Silesian road, running close enough to the coast to hear the waves, hear the gulls and occasionally see the cliffs. The route was dotted with small villages and farmsteads.

Around the time that everyone’s stomachs started rumbling a signpost indicated toward a small path leading north which read “Seat of Friendship”. A few minutes up the forested path it opened up into a large, beautiful glade with a humongous oak tree in the middle providing shade to the entire glade. The oak was a hundred feet tall and twenty feet in circumference with a thick canopy of green, orange and red trees.

The glade was the host to two score of people who were taking shelter from the midsummer heat. Families, travellers and small groups of people. Mostly human, some elves and halflings. A notable figure in the glade was Ciarán, the Kaedwyni hierophant who, together with several other druids, took care of the glade and the oak tree, which they call Gheolgothis. A barrel-chested man with a red and black chequered skirt on, a sweat stained shirt and a black mitre adorned with bits of deer antler. He made sure to talk to each and every group of visitors to the glade.

There was a lone knight by the name of Ser Hammond of Dunashire, whose horse carried a bundle of Vermillion gilded armour. A nobleman by the name of Lord Fabian Fetterling was travelling from Farcorner to Kingsport together with a group of guards. A group of three szygani, two men Danior and Manfri, and a woman named Vadoma, were sitting together, away from the rest, sharing a bottle of cheap wine, playing music while speaking together in a strange language.

Lastly, atop a wooden stump stood a learned looking man by the name of Prementhine Shakeslock. He wore high quality, but sober clothing, with an embroidered, silken doublet of black with a purple pattern, a leather double belt and a simple blue pair of breeches. His boots were worn but well cared for. He had a neatly trimmed beard, streaked with grey and he was wearing a brown cap, covering a balding head. His belt held many pouches and a large quiver filled with several scrolls. He was addressing the people of the glade;

Verily, there is nothing so hideous as the monsters, so contrary to nature, known as the warlock, for they are the offspring of foul sorcery and devilry. They are rogues without virtue, conscience or scruple, true diabolical creations, fit only for killing and corruption. There is no place amidst honest men for such as they. You need look no further than the subversive way in which they masquerade as mages. But they are not mages, for the source of their powers is evil and corrupt. The magic the mages wield is a tool, evil only in evil hands, while the very source of the warlock’s magic is itself evil. This is why the warlock is now masquerading as a mage! Even going so far as to carry hefty tomes along from which they pretend to study. They have no need of magical formulae like the mage does, this is simply a prop in their disguise.

So I say unto thee, good fellows, to be wary and mindful of witches, fortune tellers (he makes a quick glance to the szygani), pellars and unusual wise women, for their abilities, if not a preposterous sham, might elsewise be bestowed on them by a dark and fiendish patron! Report them to the proper authorities so that we might be swift in culling the threat that they pose to all of our mortal souls. The Time of Fear will surely come again if we do not stay vigilant.

Ciaran: “How are we to recognise the warlock from the mage, good sir? What prevents us from making false accusations?”

Shakeslock: “First and foremost it lies in their actions and demeanour. If they use their magic for good purposes, then you may rest easy. If not, then further investigation is required.”

Fetterling: “There are plenty of mages and sorcerers who wield their magic for selfish and nefarious goals. What’s to prevent people from mistaking them for warlocks and burning them at the stake? It’s a dangerous message you are spreading.”

Shakeslock: “Warlock or not, evil must be brought to justice, no matter the shape it takes.”

Vadoma: “But that is not what people take away from your warning. You are further deepening the already existing suspicions that people have of those they deem contemptible.”

Shakeslock: “Poppycock!”

Hammond: “Not so. If the Time of Fear is to come again, surely we must be vigilant, but was also must stand united.”

Shakeslock: “People merely need to turn to the crownsguard and report their suspicions. Those who are innocent will be acquitted.”

Vadoma: “Those who are born into a group burdened with collective guilt sprung forth from misunderstanding, superstition and suspicion…”

Fetterling: “…you are already defending yourself even before accusations have been made against you. That doesn’t seem becoming of an innocent person.”

The two szygani men stand up, menacingly and Lord Fabian’s guards do the same. Ciaran steps front and centre and with a booming voice says; “None shall defy the peace this hallowed glade,” while holding up his hands. “Geolgothis will not abide it. Sit back down and enjoy the shade as friends. We will need one another when the real war comes.”

Luca decided to talk to Shakeslock and learned that he was a lecturer at the Bournemouth Academy specialising in Black Magic, specifically the research in its nature and the defence against it. He himself was not an arcanist. When learning that Luca was on his way to Bournemouth Academy, he warned Luca that the academy was a nest of vipers because of the influential Faculty of Statescraft drawing many of Daerlan’s nobility. Shakeslock suggested that Luca find a library by the name of Faulkner when he arrives, citing the person to be an excellent researcher. When the man excused himself and decided to continue on his trip to Kingsport, Luca decided to follow him but eventually couldn’t catch up and decided to turn back to the glade.

In the meantime, Emma decided to take one of the ruby-like crystals and approached the group of szygani. Vadoma was the one to talk to Emma and they talked a little bit about religion. Emma described Sedna, while Vadoma explained that they were followers of Maškar, the Bloodmoon and paid reverence to its siblings Lačhi, the Silvermoon, and Nasul, the Darkmoon.

Emma asked the szygani to take a look at the ruby-like crystal and asked for them to appraise it. The gem exchanged hands and all three of the szygani spoke to one another briefly. They concluded that it was likely a beautiful piece of crystal. Vadoma said she would make jewellery out of it. Emma and Vadoma decided to barter for the gem and offered a simple silver chain with a pendant with the Bloodmoon on it. Emma asked whether the pendant would hold some sway with other szygani and Vadoma confirmed that it would. The made the trade. James briefly joined in the conversation to verify that the szygani really didn’t have any extra knowledge about the gem, which they seemingly didn’t have.

Before that, James and Emrys had stayed with Astrid and had been visited by the druid Ciarán for a quick chat, during which it became clear that the irises of Astrid’s eyes, had turned a bright golden yellow. She didn’t seem to have any idea as to how or why that had happened.

Eventually, the group got the horses together and put them before the cart and started travelling further up the Silesian road. After several hours of travel, the adventurers heard the pleas for help from two merchants who were beset upon by half a dozen armed guards.

The adventurers didn’t hesitate and decided to get involved and save the two merchants from the armed guards. Astrid drew her great sword and dashed into action with little regard of her own safety. James sneaked around the battlefield and frustrated two of the armed guards who were at a distance firing arrows into the group of adventurers — and wounding Emrys rather grievously. Luca used his arcane powers to devastating effect and Emma also engaged and also made sure that Emrys and Astrid were healed when four of the armed guards were cut down and the remaining two had retreated from the conflict.

The two merchants, Oliver and Trent were incredibly grateful. They explained that they had come from Bournemouth and had a rendez-vous with a buyer at the Inn at the Crossroads who was running late. This meant that the deal was done much later in the day, but they insisted on travelling to Kingsport, where they have their business, the Càrcerian Trading  Company. About an hour into their journey the guards they had hired decided to renegotiate their contract due to having to travel at night. The negotiations had broken down and the guards had decided to simply take the merchants’ earnings of the sale they made.

It was their intention to continue travelling to Kingsport, but the adventurers managed to convince them to come back to the inn with them because there were still two guards out there who got away. And so the entire group went towards the Inn at the Crossroads.

Statue Riddle

Four guardians, four flames, standing proud in line.

The First to light his fire dared not march on the end.

The Second, by the First, played a woeful lament.

The Third kept close to his faithful beast / The Fourth marched not beside the First, yet like the Second, played a tune. / And thus they stood o’er their queen, who slept beneath flickering stars.

I Met a Man Down on His Luck

Tonight, as I was cycling home from training, as I was crossing an intersection, a guy on a scooter came up from behind me and yelled some profanity at me. We were both coming from the same street, but he was taking a right, while I was crossing the intersection only to take a right afterwards. We both ended up on the same road, going the same direction, just on opposite sides of it.

As I cycled onward, I saw him waiting at the next traffic lights and I noticed that it was a food delivery scooter. One with a box on the back to keep food warm. I recognised the sign on the box as being the fast food place on the ground floor of my apartment building.

As I continued cycling home, I lost sight of him and started thinking about what happened. I suspected that considering the speed he was maintaining he had to slow down to allow me to cross the street before he could take a right turn. The road that I was crossing, and he was turning into was a priority road, so we would have to yield to any traffic coming from it, but the road was empty as I crossed it. The same traffic rules applied to the both of us, and as I was going straight, and he was turning right, I had right of way. I think he was just annoyed that he had to slow down.

I beat him home because I saw the scooters that the fast food place uses standing out in front, and the one in question wasn’t there yet. I briefly considered talking to the owner of the place to tell him that he’s employing a prick, but just as I decided that I was going to go inside and forget all about it, the guy rides up and parks his scooter.

I had to talk to him. So I waited for him to notice me. The brief exchange that I had with him made me glad that I didn’t end up talking to his boss. It went something like this;

Me: “Hey man”
Him: “Eh, hey…”
Me: “I thought I’d come and say something, since I didn’t really appreciate what you did back there.”
Him: “Oh, that was you? I had right of way!” (He sounded a little bit shocked.)
Me: “No you didn’t, we were both coming from the same road, so the same rules applied to us, except I was going straight and you were turning right.”
Him: “Man, it was nothing personal. I just didn’t see you and what I said was more out of shock.” (He looked miserable.)
Me: “Okay, had a bad day?”
Him: “Yeah, I try really hard, you know,” as he pointed at the fast food place, “and today I had three traffic violations, I hit a parked scooter and then when this happened I just reacted.”
Me: “Oh man, I hope your day improves.”
Him: “No, my day won’t improve. I’m misery incarnate.”

Now, it’s interesting, because that last bit he said in a way that I wouldn’t have expected. You see, he was a guy in his early twenties, probably not very well educated, tall but not healthy looking, wearing tracksuit bottoms and faded trainers. He had a type. And what he said in Dutch was “ik ben ongeluk zelve”, which is old-fashioned and almost poetic.

He apologised again. I told him to hang in there (“Sterkte.”) and he wished me a pleasant evening. I’m really glad I didn’t talk to his boss. I think that guy has been having a rough couple of months. Hell, perhaps even a rough couple of years.