the content of Tod's brooding thoughts:
"I know I told Creperum that I could get Charlie to agree to reneg on the contract by threatening to take advantage of it, but I do have my doubts about doing that. I can think of two mutually exclusive ways for us to take advantage of the fact that the contract includes a nondisclosure penalty for us that is defined as being 0. If the activation of one penalty renders the rest of the contract void, then we can get out of it simply by telling the elves that we have a contract with Charlie. If multiple clauses can be activated, then we can tell the elves that we have a contract with Charlie and then lie about the contents. We say something that makes him appear as an enemy to the elves and then he wouldn't be able to correct us and would have to do the whole 'I can neither confirm or deny' thing or risk paying us. (A good lie to tell the Elves would be that we are using Charlie to keep the majority of our treasury in escrow. If we fall, then he is contracted to use the money to subsidize the contracts of any other side that wishes to hire him to attack the elves.) The taking Dis in lieu of payment clause may or may not be abusable by first razing it ourselves, emptying it except for a token archer, and then having that archer attack. "
"We need to prepare for having to live with the contract as written. If we're lucky, Charlie is scouting us out for a reason like 'the elves aren't good customers' and he doesn't really have a gambit in mind. If there is a gambit in it, it could be many things: He could be expecting a contract from the elves shortly after the non-aggression period ends and wants to scout us for risks now. He may have ways to get around the nondisclosure. There could be a large amount of Archons 4 or more turns out from Dis. The non communication clause is only in effect after the non aggression ends, so Charlie has the whole period of the alliance and nonaggression to talk to the elves and the elves can still call him after the non-aggression ends."
"We need to decide what information needs to be kept secret from Charlie and what doesn't. (Of course, we need to be realistic about our goals.) Depending on the definition of what can and cannot be disclosed, we may find ourselves wanting to tell Charlie things about our side so he cannot make educated guesses about them using information that he cannot disclose. T. Coil's name alone may be a bad thing to have out there. Up until now, I've assumed that the elves would deduce our capital is the city that used to be Farkistan based simply off the proximity to Dis. But if they don't already know that, then they could use T. Coil's name to figure it out because of his history with them. (Leaving T. Coil in Tenebris is an option.) We also may want to hide the presence of some of our magical gear. (Leaving T. Coil's and my magical gear here is an option.) I'll need to ask the casters if there is a way to hide things from the archons' spell sight. (Wrapping them in either regular or magical cloth?) Since Charlie makes alot of his money off of selling thinkagrams, we may want to hide the presence of our thinkamancy-capable item and artifact more than the presence of the other items. If they can tell when someone is receiving a thinkgram, then calling the group while it is still in the city is out of the question."
"There will be an opportunity for me to arrange a covert thinkagram to the group and find out what they have learned from and said to the archons before entering the city. The imp scouts will make their rounds at the beginning of our turn. Creperum or I can contact one of them when our turn starts and Creperum's ruler senses tell him that it is out of sight range of the city. That imp can be used to get a message to the group telling them to come outside the city to either meet with me physically or via thinkamancy."
(MarbitChow, what's this talk of an evening? Shouldn't it still be morning if our turn hasn't started yet?)