Broken Sword returned from a recon of Lucky Chang's estate (located in the Hon'eth Arcade, near the Port of Auspicious Voyage), after the Opening Cages run, bearing a statuette that he took from what he presumes to be Lucky Chang's desk.
Description of the statuette:
It's carved in some dark stone, but has highlights, like it was once leafed in gold, although most of that has flaked away. Perhaps to protect it from elements or some such? In any case, it's a miniature of a great mansion that you haven't seen before, though there is something familiar about it.
Broken Sword thinks he was spotted, but not recognized, by one of Lucky Chang's servants (the butler), who should be able to give a description of him. He was tempted to kill the butler, but said that he thought that Cai Wen would not approve.
The mansion looks just like the mansion on the label of Golden Palace Rice Wine. So it may depict the Golden Palace Of The Immortals.
- It wasn't a decoy or a trap
- There's something we don't quite understand about Broken Sword's interactions with the butler. (And therefore, I think, something that we don't understand about the estate's defenses.)
- Best guesses about the model's uses:
- He wanted it to identify/recognize a specific location which contains something important or valuable
- Maybe it's a sufficiently precise model that it's tactically useful if you are doing something at/to that location
The only project of Lucky Chang's that I know of is that he hoped to find the Great Talisman of the Dragon at the Red Pagoda. It's not immediately clear how/if this could be related to that.
Yanyu did some winnowing of truths about Broken Sword's infiltration, and ranked the truths thusly:
- Broken Sword took a statuette from Lucky Chang's estate
This one is the most important. It changes many things.
- Lucky Chang's butler spotted Broken Sword during his infiltration of Lucky Chang's estate
This is significant; it changes some things, and is informative.
- The statuette was found in a location which made it seem interesting.
This is not very important, and its only real important comes from it being part of point #1.
- Broken Sword was tempted to kill the butler, but didn't
This is also not very important - which is interesting, since point #2 was important and this ought to affect it.
Cai Wen's risk evaluation: Assuming that Lucky Chang cares about this thing (seems likely), he will probably put more serious resources into finding it than we have seen before.
's commentary on the statue as art:
It's very well done - very fine detail, and no apparent mis-steps, though there are some chips at this point - but the artist's own aesthetic seems to be mostly subsumed in attempting to be accurate - so you might describe it as a model rather than a sculpture. It's quite old, and was definitely fully gilded once.
Hana's thoughts, based on history, memory, high society, and KS: Hon'eth Arcade:
"It seems familiar...I think I've seen a drawing of it somewhere, not the building itself, but I can't think where...
I wonder if I could have seen it in the Illuminated Library, or in art on the wall in someone's house or in a flower house, or -- hm, for that matter, perhaps in the Master of Trade's House. Come to think of it, I did visit the archives there one time, though I was mostly talking with people rather than looking at the actual records, but it's possible I might have chanced to see it there... For that matter, I also went to the city library, looking up when the Master of Trade's House was built and that sort of thing, which is perhaps a more likely place for me to have come across it.
It couldn't be the Master of Trade's house itself, could it? I don't recall whether I read anything about it's being altered or expanded over the years, but that does happen. (And everyone who pays attention to such things is curious about what's going on with the economy of the Hon'eth Arcade just now.)"
Anto considered its bindings:
It is not magically bound, but it is still bound to its owner, in the "he'll be coming for it!" kind of sense more than the "he will always be able to locate it!" sense. Taking it may have made it more important to him rather than less.