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Thread: Chapter Four: Are There Any Bad Seeds?

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    Post Chapter Four: Are There Any Bad Seeds?

    SPLIT SCREEN: ON SIDE “A” OF THE WALL, FLINT AND ULVENN…

    Out of a combination of training and habit Flint and Ulvenn move with stealthy grace and soundless footfalls and mask their own passage in the sandy underground caverns as best they can while they trail Ashlan. A year ago someone who observed them and deduced they might pick her pocket or cut her purse strings wouldn’t have been wrong, but that was then.

    Their subterranean journey involves more mazelike corridors and illusory walls and two orange glowing teleportation circles, the last of which deposits them in a dramatically different corridor whose smooth red stone floors and walls suggests a finished building. The two soldiers-of-fortune have high hopes they have at last reached their destination.

    As if sensing their high spirits, Jack the almiraj pokes his horned head out of Flint’s enchanted backpack, and Syriaax the green pseudodragon sticks her snout out one of Ulvenn’s coat pockets. Both of them take deep sniffs. Then they extricate themselves and stand “at attention,” the rabbit-like fey creature poised with neck raised telescope-fashion beside Flint’s foot, and Syriaax with her leaf-like wings furled and tiny claws digging into one of Ulvenn’s shoulders.

    Ashlan hmmms at the appearance of the beasts and makes sure neither man is wearing any kind of mask or face covering, including making Flint remove his darkvision goggles. She even pats their cheeks lightly to make sure they do not wear false faces.

    “No disguises in front of Lady Weslen. Strict protocol,” she explains. “She is trusting us to look upon her, and her most valuable asset the Oppara Gateway, after all. But I will allow you to make your own introductions.”

    Then she leads them through yet another false wall, takes a few steps toward a seeming dead end (though they know better now, of course), and raps out a pattern on one wall. It’s obviously a code but not one either man recognizes.


    SPLIT SCREEN: ON SIDE “B” OF THE WALL, SHADE…

    After Ashlan’s knock rings out (similar to the maritime code of Shade’s acquaintance), Peasblossom the pink haired and pink winged pixie renders herself totally invisible with an easy effort of will. She stands straight at her favorite post on her companion’s shoulder, with Shade’s dark locks providing convenient (well, convenient for one of them) handholds if anything should startle them.

    Shade reassures Lady Weslen in a low tone that she will be discreet about whatever and whomever enters through the secret passage. Subconsciously the private investigator adjusts her wide brimmed conical black hat.

    It’s a hat with storied history that transcends boundaries and planes, a history that would have some onlookers beseeching her for herbal remedies and others scurrying the other direction---neither of which was incorrect as a show of respect when meeting with a witch.

    Lady Weslen issues commands in the nonsensical machine language, spurring the gold plated winged constructs to lumber away from a far wall and line up in two orderly rows. Their ranks form an aisle that leads from a blank wall to where she and Shade stand with their backs to the magical Gate.

    (golems, refresher)


    BOTH SPLIT SCREENS, NOW UNITED

    A concealed door in the wall swings open…


    OOC:

    To be continued directly! When these posts get too long I feel the need to break them up into a series.
    Last edited by magrat4; 03-19-2020 at 07:08 PM.

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    Default A Wolf, a Fox, and a Witch Walk into a Parley...

    [From Shade’s/Peasblossom’s perspective:]

    The first to enter the large room of arches and pillars (and too many gold constructs) is another fetchling woman. Ashlan has yellow eyes and pale hair like Lady Weslen but looks young enough to be the middle-aged woman’s daughter, and is clad all in black with many knives strapped about her person.



    Behind Ashlan are two men between the ages of nineteen and twenty-two if Shade had to guess, both around six feet tall and clad in black cloaks and varying armor (one plain leather, one shiny mithral silver). They are well armed with sheathed blades of varying length and different types of bows, one a longbow and one a crossbow. Some of their weapons emit a moonglow radiance of enchantment.

    To the trained eye of a witch accustomed to meeting “Otherworlders” like fey and elementals and shapeshifters and even the undead, certain aspects hint the men are not themselves ordinary, or at the very least their ancestors weren’t.





    On the longbowman’s shoulder perches a cat-sized emerald pseudodragon with leaf-like wings.




    [@JB: Knowledge Arcana to ID the dragon? Read next spoiler IF you roll high enough to match the Difficulty Class, i.e. DC listed.]








    Hopping beside the crossbowman is what appears to be a brown rabbit with a black unicorn horn. Each bounce reveals a flash of raw chest covered in scars, which combined with the creature's sharp horn and narrowed black eyes give a mien of ferocity rather than friendliness.



    [@JB: Knowledge Arcana to ID the magical beast? Read next spoiler IF you roll high enough.]





    [From Flint’s/Ulvenn’s perspective:]

    The door opens to a palatial chamber crowded with golden gargoyle-like constructs whose ranks leave only a narrow clear walkway. This path ends in a fiery-orange magic portal, with two female human figures standing in front of it dramatically backlit, only one of whom is obviously shadowfolk.



    “I did not anticipate you had company too, Lady Weslen,” Ashlan says in a tone that clearly gripes Because you didn’t warn me.

    The fetchling she addresses has one metallic golden arm ending in a claw just like the constructs, but otherwise is typical of her people with yellow eyes and white hair beneath her leather cap that holds a pair of dark goggles. Her clothes are grand, almost like an Admiral’s dress uniform, except for the black glove dripping mechanical grease that hangs from one fist.

    The men study the room’s other occupant while the thirty-ish human looking woman studies them back, first checking for weapons concealed or otherwise. They detect none amid her black and maroon traveling clothes and boots. None, save for a bandolier (peeking out from the gap in her high collared midnight blue cloak) that could hold flasks or potions. Her witchy hat strongly hints they’re potions.

    She does not appear to be accompanied by a cat or other traditional familiar.






    Ashlan extends her arm toward the other fetchling and declares, “Lady Weslen, I may have found some men willing to help with our recent…troubles. When you have a private moment.”

    Lady Weslen shakes her head. “Too late for secrecy, Ashlan. She deduced the murder of Mr. Zlatnik and the Pathfinders sent her to see that his killer doesn’t get away with it. She may as well know about the---“ she falters a moment---“the other murder, too. They may be unrelated…or else Rovagug’s cult may just be getting bolder.”

    In a flash Flint and Ulvenn recall the first murder mentioned, and it seems likely the Shining Quarter’s herald and favorite minstrel is the second.



    The fetchlings look from Shade to Flint and Ulvenn, clearly hoping they’ll choose to introduce themselves.


    OOC:

    Respond at will! And it doesn’t have to be with introductions just because the NPCs expect them, there’s a lot going on here.

    Done editing this post.
    Last edited by magrat4; 09-23-2020 at 02:57 PM. Reason: orc

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    Shade takes a step forward, greeting the newcomers with a tilt of her head. "Greetings. I'm Shade Renard. As Lady Weslen says, I've been hired by the Pathfinder Society to find out who's responsible for the murder of Mr. Zlatnik. The tiefling was found dead in a crate that he'd apparently intended to stow away in. The crate that left the Umbral Market arrived in Oppara holding his dead body and a living Gokan mastiff." She pauses. "I was unaware there was a second, connected murder. May I ask what you know about it?"

    It's a good sign to Shade that both the fetchling women seem to trust the men who stand before her. Still, she doesn't mention Peasblossom, or give her familiar a sign to make herself known. She'd wait to see how the men reacted to her first. Not everyone trusted witches, and the close call with the construct had her feeling more overprotective than usual.

    Knowledge Arcana rolls mentioned in above post:
    Last edited by magrat4; 09-23-2020 at 02:58 PM.

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    Default (^%$%%^

    Knowledge Arcana rolls mentioned in previous post that I forgot to include in my response and the *$%*% editor won't let me edit to add later.

    Authentic Forum Dice-roll(d20+14) [22]
    Authentic Forum Dice-roll(d20+14) [22]

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    Before entering the room.

    As Syriaax comes forth from her hiding place Ulvenn rewards her with a small wedge of cheese, projecting to her a mental image of a peaceful waterfall, as he does so in case her memories of the shadowplane might bring some anxiety.

    In the room

    The Ulfen (think viking) warrior stands taller than his roguish companion, however despite his somewhat wild appearance his eyes are critical, observing the room in a few moments. He looks the investigator up and down as she speaks before introducing himself, unlike his outward appearance his voice comes is soft and deep, "If we're sharing names then you can call me Ulvenn, and this," he says gesturing to the little dragon munching cheese on his shoulder, "is Syriaax. As for the murder we are as a wolf pack at the beginning of the night, unsure of what quarry we might seek, knowing only that a hunt is before us," Ulvenn then parrots what Ashlan had told Flint and himself just a little bit ago, adding his own faint knowledge of history, "What we do know is that a bard was murdered, and in some fashion preventing basic magic from restoring his body and spirit. It may be the work of a weapon owned by Zantog fashioned after a vile demon's blade, or it could be something else. Not enough information to really lay blame."

    H
    e turns to Lady Weslen, "But that's not the only reason we are here. We also have some business in Oppara, and your gate seems to be the best option for getting there swiftly."
    Last edited by magrat4; 09-23-2020 at 02:58 PM.


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    Shade smiles at the imposing man's deceptively soft voice and poetic turn of phrase, though it wilts quickly at the mention of the bard's murder. As the warrior turns his focus to Lady Weslent, she unzips her pouch. "To do list," she murmurs.

    Bizbee scowls at her from inside the pouch, the grig's antennae vibrating in apprehension. New people made him nervous. Well, until he was introduced. Then he treated them all as children. She glances at the remaining person who hasn't been introduced. One more, then she'd introduced her smaller companions.

    She takes the to do list and reads the remaining item:

    Speak to Rhodal's butler Hubbert at 121 B Sonoria Lane, above Joyful Strains music shop about mysterious retrieval team. Password: Swordfish

    After a moment of hesitation, she sighs and accepts the pen to add:

    Address poor conditions of the Umbral Market for Harbormaster Annett

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    The two fetchlings interject to clarify what Ulvenn was explaining.

    Lady Weslen begins in a somber tone, "Zantog is an orc and known worshiper of Rovagug. Gods help us, he is also one of six merchant royals that form the Caliginous Court that oversees the Umbral Market, at present."

    The emphasis on the last words implies she wants him ousted, perhaps even has plans to do so.

    Ashlan chimes in tightly, "Zantog's territory is the Gambling Quarter. Its centerpiece is a gladiatorial arena. Fights there are always vicious and to the death. We have no proof he was involved in Duffy's murder. But as Ulvenn said, Zantog owns a sword in part fashioned from demon teeth. It can drink the soul of a victim stabbed in the vitals."

    "However," Lady Weslen resumes, "as I was about to tell you Miss Renard, those two witnesses to Mr. Zlatnik's murder saw Zantog's second-in-command break his neck. That would be an orc named Mr. Splinterbone, a powerful druid and shapeshifter. To my disgrace, the Umbral Market has become a law unto itself and a very corrupt one. The four Darklanders on the council voted not to punish Mr. Splinterbone beyond a sum of blood money which nobody has shown up to collect."

    He turns to Lady Weslen, "But that's not the only reason we are here. We also have some business in Oppara, and your gate seems to be the best option for getting there swiftly."
    His mention of Oppara spurs a memory in Shade, and she realizes one of these men's faces look familiar...




    "I could let you use the Oppara Gate for a sum of 975 gold for two heads," Lady Weslen offers. "Or you could pay for its use in trade if that suits you better?"

    "Seizing the demon blade from Zantog!" Ashlan blurts.

    Her superior grimaces. "That might be asking too much. Perhaps a reconnaissance mission first. Then we'll see."


    OOC:


    Am happy for the PCs to talk among themselves a bit while I plan...
    Last edited by magrat4; 05-03-2020 at 04:06 PM.

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    Flint's deep blue eyes seem to shimmer, either showing the dark unknowable sea, or the fury and passion of the hottest flame, either way, No one but perhaps the wolfish ulfin beside him could hope to divine what the pickpocket was thinking. Still his cocky smile and relaxed posture betray that the young man is never far from overcoming yet another "impossible" challenge. Diminutive besides Ulvenn, the young man moved with the practiced grace of a lethal duelist, who could say who was the greater threat between the two? One thing was sure, a concert of Fox and Wolf was surely a daunting affair for their enemies.

    Despite being classically handsome, it was clear that the taldan could disappear into the streets of oppara and be as invisible as any spell could make him, at least within a throng of other humans or a dark alley. Though like any good gambler, Flint held more than just an ace up his sleeve, barely hanging out from under the cuff a leather wrist sheath could barely be seen. In fact the way that he bore some weapons openly and hid others was far more interesting than him carrying a hidden blade.

    Inquisitive eyes sweep over the room, they never seem to stop moving, weather darting back to whoever was speaking, checking the doors or simply peering at anything that could even pretend to be valuable, a pair of eyes that rest curiously over shade for far longer than anything else

    "I am Casper Rooke" Flint leans back on standard alias for the shadow market, a gift from an vishkanya who had helped him fake his own death. Dexterous fingers freeing a fresh stick of celery and presenting it to the large jack rabbit sitting at attention by his feet "And didn't another prince loose his seat recently? makkenna? malazar? something like that? the way I heard it, he managed to get on the wrong side of a genie and had a tunnel dropped on top of him."

    Of course Flint could remember Melkenazar's name, it was certainly one of Flint's most vicious duels and ended with the former Drow prince being beaten to death by one of Lucianna's worst spells, but that was.... well about a week ago. "I think we can handle 'royalty" Flint mocks "as for Duffy, I don't mind getting paid to avenge a friend" Flint states finally, his jaw set, though no murderous intent can be read from his face.

    As for Flint's voice, it is rather common for a Taldan, but there is something more to it, its not just that he seems to know how to wear his words like a mask, or use them like a blade, there is more, something... something ancient, and powerful, but simple at the same time. An old type of magic, a magic left to runic goddesses, and pacts made under willow trees in the moonlight. The kind of magic that wizards dismiss and clergy condemn. Whatever the power was, it clearly enhanced a natural ability and for the young street rat, it was a welcome tool.

    ooc
    sorry if the post was overly flower/took too many liberties, and sorry if I mischaracterized the nymphs kiss
    Last edited by magrat4; 03-20-2020 at 11:27 PM. Reason: not an ifriti but a vishkanya who helped him, tiny detail change

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    "If this Mr. Splinterbone is involved in the murder of the bard--Duffy?--and Mr. Zlatnik, then it seems our goals may be in alignment. Though if I may ask..." Shade tilts her head and focuses on the man who'd introduced himself as "Casper Rooke." "Who is paying you to find the murderer of the bard? I've been hired by the Pathfinder Society, but Lady Heidmarch didn't mention another party was involved. Though perhaps she did not realize the two murders were connected."

    Shade doesn't respond to Lady Ashlan right away about the request that they steal the demon sword from Zantog. She's only just begun this investigation, and knows little of what lies ahead, and the level of danger posed the threat they faced. Casper had spoken with a great deal of confidence when he'd assured the room that he had no doubts he and his companion were more than a match for any of the royalty Lady Ashlan and Lady Weslen seem so concerned about. It was too early for Shade to know for certain if it was the bluster of youth that gave him that confidence, or if he had concrete reason for believing himself a match for the royal with the demon blade.

    Shade glances at the first speaker, Ulvenn, looking to see if he shares his companion's conviction.
    Last edited by magrat4; 03-20-2020 at 11:27 PM.

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    "The drow merchant prince lost his power to a Matron Chazserae," Lady Weslen agrees. "She is still in power far as I know, but her influence has diminished. Duffy was the one who financed the liberation of the slaves who were expanding her tunnels, and the destruction of those tunnels. So it is possible that the drow were the ones who killed Duffy or paid for the...despicable deed."

    Shade tilts her head and focuses on the man who'd introduced himself as "Casper Rooke." "Who is paying you to find the murderer of the bard? I've been hired by the Pathfinder Society, but Lady Heidmarch didn't mention another party was involved. Though perhaps she did not realize the two murders were connected."


    Ashlan speaks up to answer Shade's question before Flint can. "I told him less than an hour ago that Lady Weslen would hire someone with a proper contract to find Duffy's killer and bring them to justice."

    She reconsiders her words. "Well, as much as can be had, when arrests cannot be made within the Umbral Market. The only court around here are the merchant royals. As the murder of Mr. Zlatnik proves, they are not reliable for justice. They had one of two witnesses willing to testify. The other witness was a half-elf ranger who has not been seen in the marketplace in two days."

    Lady Weslen raises a finger. "No contract has been drawn up yet. Perhaps the more brains working on the problem, the merrier? But perhaps you have pressing business in Oppara first, some of you?"


    OOC:

    Ulvenn and Flint definitely have business in Oppara. Shade's investigation has some leads to follow in Oppara as well.
    Last edited by magrat4; 03-20-2020 at 11:52 PM.

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    Shade refrains from commenting on Casper's wanted poster for now. If he wishes to keep his real identity from her, then she can respect that. After all, she's no stranger to having a past best kept behind her--and out of polite conversation. As long as he takes care to hide his face when they leave here so no one else will connect him to the wanted poster as she had, she sees no reason to raise the subject.

    Besides, her head is already spinning as the flood of new information merges with what she already knows.

    "Mr. Zlatnik--or the canine traveling with him---was poisoned with an herb meant to incapacitate, not kill. It is often favored by cultists for weakening a victim intended for human sacrifice. I was told that just before his death, Mr. Zlatnik was after a play written by Rhodal, a play that heavily featured Rovagug the Devourer.

    "He was very interested in a blueprint of the bard college called the Kitharodian Academy where Rhodal's last script was auctioned off, and a blueprint of the House of Immortal Son opera house, the owner of which was said to hold the winning bid--but never collected the script. I was told a team had been sent after the script, and I had planned to speak with Rhodal's butler to see if any progress had been made by that team. I had believed that Mr. Zlatnik ran afoul of Rovagug's cult while pursuing the script, and they'd intended to sacrifice him."

    She looks to Lady Weslen. "You said Mr. Zlatnik got in the crate with the intention of smuggling himself out of the Umbral Market. Do you know anything about how he came to be drugged? Did he seem to be fleeing anyone in particular?" A frown marred the skin between her brows. "And you mentioned a half-elf ranger witnessed the murder. The murder of Mr. Zlatnik or the murder of Duffy the bard? And do you know where we might begin searching for him?"

    Her brain clicked and whirred as it processed information, demanded more. Always more information. She glances at Ulven and Casper. "You mention that you have business in Oppara. May I ask what it is?"
    Last edited by magrat4; 03-21-2020 at 03:49 PM.

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    Ulvenn's features harden for a half moment as the woman begins into his own business, but it passes so quickly that any but the most observant would assume they imagined it. He considers silently that there are a few things of business in Oppara beyond finding Siri which is more likely her concern. His first words carry just the hint of a bark over his usual softness, "We have a delivery for a contact, and a job for Lady Weslen which is her business to tell you," he says not actually knowing himself what he's tasked with... Although until he has reason to Shade doesn't need to be informed, "But I'm in the business of not sharing my client's information... The barking dog gets a boot, the silent stray gets scraps."

    He thinks over Shade's own choice of words, "You're looking for Rhodal's butler? Rhodal is a friend of a friend. What interest do you have in his play?" Ulvenn asks, silent to the fact that the very play currently sits in his own bag.

    He also speaks to Ashlan and Lady Weslen, "While it is dangerous for such a foul weapon to reside in the hands of that vile merchant prince, the bee doesn't fight every being that nears its hive, waiting only for some provocation to attack as a swarm. So do you have informants looking for more information or will you need us to shed light on that before carrying out such an operation?" Its interesting how quickly the Ulfen warrior switches from analogy and metaphor to the crisp clean language of an agent


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    Shade's opinion of her new companions shifts with each new piece of information, each new tone of voice and changed expression. Ulvenn is less ameniable to an alliance than she'd at first thought. Not so easygoing. She dismisses an urge to proceed on her own without the new alliance as quickly as she has it. Wisdom comes with age and experience, and Shade is far too old and far too experienced to pass up the chance at help when it presents itself. This is a new world to her, but to Ulvenn and Casper, it is home. Close to home if Casper's Taldan accent is anything to go by. And so she lifts her chin, and opens her expression. If someone needed to get the ball rolling on forming a party, then she could be that someone.

    "I believe it was Mr. Zlatnik's pursuit of the script that got him killed. Lady Heidmarch asked me to find out who killed Mr. Zlatnik and turn them over to the proper authorities. I now know that it was this Mr. Splinterbone. But I would like to tell her why he was killed. It would help me to know if Mr. Zlatnik ever succeeded in laying his hands on the script. Perhaps he was killed for it. Or killed because he got too close?"

    She looks from Ulvenn to Casper and back. "It seems Lady Weslen has asked all of us for help. I would welcome an alliance if you are open to one?"
    Last edited by magrat4; 03-21-2020 at 05:53 PM. Reason: added phrase to clarify

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    Ulvenn steps over the question for a moment, and his measured words seem to indicate that he is gauging her response before answering her questions, "You keep mentioning this script... What is so valuable about a play about Rovagug? Why would a cult of a force of destruction care about a play written by one who opposes their object of worship?" More and more Ulvenn was coming to wonder about this script... Siri was currently the primary objective, but what if Rhodal was right about this being an actual global threat... If Shade had more information on it perhaps that would be useful.

    "Regardless of your interest in the play, more hands could certainly help if we seek to uncover the murder of the Bard," he says, "But although you mention your investigation I know nothing of your own capacities although ours are quite obvious by our weapons and garb." He keeps silent of the fact that he does in fact recognize that she at least fancies herself magical with the conical hat atop her head, but best to learn from the horses mouth.

    ((I promise, not trying to be difficult just trying to establish our teams working together.))
    Last edited by Zeros; 03-21-2020 at 02:53 PM.


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    Shade barely keeps her eyebrows in check. "You want...a demonstration? Of my capacities?"

    One hand twitches with the desire to touch the top of her head, make sure her large, pointy, obviously witchy hat is still there. He'd mentioned that he and his companion's weapons and garb gave their capacities away, so she wasn't entirely certain why he didn't trust her traditional garb to do the same?

    Perhaps he realized as she did that garb and weapons could be very misleading. Shade could carry a sword if the urge took her, but it wouldn't say squat about her ability to handle it well. But then if he did understand that, and that was why he'd dismissed her hat, why would he assume she could draw conclusions about their capacities based on similarly potentially-misleading garb and weapons?

    Added to that, her potions and scrolls were tucked away, true, but Lady Heidmarch had loaded her down with magic items and garb. Perhaps her new companions were not trained in the recognition of magic objects? A bit odd, considering their companions.

    "I'm a witch," she said slowly, resisting the urge to point to her very pointy, very large, very witchy hat. "Not a wizard. But if you'd like a flashy demonstration of magic, I suppose I could give you one. But if I'm entirely honest, I would prefer not to waste magic." Or words, she added to herself. But alas...

    "As to the script, I'm afraid what I've told you is the entirety of what I know. Rhodal wrote a script about Rovagug's seventh spawn. Mr. Zlatnik wanted the script and was pursuing it when he was killed." She shrugged, unable to think of anything she could say to convince the young man that she'd been up front about everything she knew.

    She considered emphasizing her desire to work together, but didn't. She'd been clear about her willingness and desire to team up. It was up to them now.
    Last edited by magrat4; 09-23-2020 at 03:23 PM.

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    Ulvenn thinks back on Luci's request, or perhaps more accurately demand, that they find a spellcaster to help them, and now one lands right here... Although admittedly Ulvenn didn't really understand the distinction between a witch or wizard but that's not a major hurdle for him, he wasn't really sure what Luci really qualified as anyways.

    Ulvenn relaxes a little, after all she apparently has more motivation than his own (save his seeking after Siri of course), but if he takes her at her word she wants to work together... 'I wonder if she would still want to work with us if she knew who I am...' he chuckles a little bit, "Its always hard to tell 'selfless' people's motivations, and I'm not used to working with such. After all, the Wolf will grin right in your face before tearing it off but a buttefly's menacing spots hide their innocence," He halts a moment, torn between his desire to find Siri and alternatively working with this new companion to solve a murder that he frankly has no stakes in... "If we were to work together, do you think you could track down the actual murderer? I have no need of making more enemies than necessary right now and don't want to waste resources going after the wrong villain."


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    Default That's what she said...

    Shade nods with all due confidence, encouraged that they seemed to be taking positive steps toward an alliance. "As you yourself heard Lady Weslen say, there were two witnesses who saw Zantog's second in command Mr. Splinterbone break Mr. Zlatnik's neck. I have to tell you, I dream of murder investigations with not one eyewitness, but two."
    Last edited by magrat4; 03-21-2020 at 05:51 PM.

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    "You said Mr. Zlatnik got in the crate with the intention of smuggling himself out of the Umbral Market. Do you know anything about how he came to be drugged, assuming the odor Annett mentioned came from him and not the dog? Did he seem to be fleeing anyone in particular?" A frown mars the skin between her brows. "And you mentioned a half-elf ranger witnessed the murder. The murder of Mr. Zlatnik or the murder of Duffy the bard? And do you know where we might begin searching for him?"
    Lady Weslen shakes her head and struggles to answer all the questions in order, and doesn't quite manage it. "I never opened the crate or laid eyes on Mr. Zlatnik. I can tell you nothing of whom he was hiding from. This ranger witnessed Mr. Zlatnik's murder, not Duffy's, and he could be anywhere on the Material Plane. You may however talk to the other witness, Blue the raven whose master Aleph sells spells in the main bazaar."


    [GM NOTE: Meta-knowledge, you CANNOT talk to the half-elven ranger witness, only to Blue the raven. The ranger was a PC whose player quit the game, his PC is written out of the story and gone far away.]


    She pauses, thinking quickly. "If Mr. Zlatnik was drugged, I have no knowledge of it. If it was the crate's other companion, the guard dog, who was drugged, then the person who might be able to shed light on that subject is Philossith. He---"

    Syriaax's ears flatten and the pseudodragon hisses like a cat at the name "Philossith."

    Jack the almiraj's reaction is similarly antagonistic, baring his teeth and rearing up on his hind legs to make himself taller. When he does so he exposes a grotesquely scarred underbelly with lots of fur missing, as though some mad vivisectionist plied his cruel trade.

    Flint/Casper suddenly has extra reason to be glad he tampered with the lock on Jack's cage, among others, at Philossith's booth.

    Their hostess finishes slowly, "--he is a lizardfolk, and the only rare animal dealer in the main bazaar of the Umbral Market. And he is a scoundrel, though that is putting it lightly."


    "You mention that you have business in Oppara. May I ask what it is?"

    "We have a delivery for a contact, and a job for Lady Weslen which is her business to tell you," he says not actually knowing himself what he's tasked with... Although until he has reason to Shade doesn't need to be informed, "But I'm in the business of not sharing my client's information..."

    "You're looking for Rhodal's butler? Rhodal is a friend of a friend. What interest do you have in his play?"
    Ulvenn asks, silent to the fact that he has it in his possession.

    The wtich explains, "I believe it was Mr. Zlatnik's pursuit of the script that got him killed. Lady Heidmarch asked me to find out who killed Mr. Zlatnik and turn them over to proper authorities. I now know that it was this Mr. Splinterbone. But I would like to tell her why he was killed. It would help me to know if Mr. Zlatnik ever succeeded in laying his hands on the script. Perhaps he was killed for it. Or killed because he got too close?"
    Ulvenn addresses Lady Weslen, "While it is dangerous for such a foul weapon to reside in the hands of that vile merchant prince, the bee doesn't fight every being that nears its hive, waiting only for some provocation to attack as a swarm. So do you have informants looking for more information or will you need us to shed light on that before carrying out such an operation?"
    Lady Weslen replies, "Our best theory is that Duffy the halfling herald of our Shining Quarter was killed by means of a soul-eating sword. I would like someone to confirm Zantog holds such a sword. I would also like confirmation that if he does, it has not left his possession since yesterday afternoon."

    She massages her temple. "I have one potential informant who has visited the arena recently, but I do not trust him. The difficulty is that my people, that is, the fetchlings and the various Shining Quarter merchants and the staff of the Dozing Dragon Inn, do not associate with the Gambling Quarter on principle. And everyone knows it. So I need investigators who could visit the Gambling Quarter and even Zantog's vile arena without arousing suspicion."

    "Lady Weslen won't let any of the Shining Quarter regulars get our hands or names in the muck,"
    Ashlan paraphrases with open bitterness. "Not even those willing to assume the risks because we see the necessity of it. Not even those with a past that would make such undercover work easier."

    A past...that is certainly a concept that the witch and both sellswords can relate to only too well.

    Ashlan's superior looks pained but doesn't deny it.

    Shade speaks up, "It seems Lady Weslen has asked all of us for help. I would welcome an alliance if you are open to one?"
    Ulvenn steps over the question for a moment, and his measured words seem to indicate that he is gauging her response before answering her questions, "You keep mentioning this script... What is so valuable about a play about Rovagug? Why would a cult of a force of destruction care about a play written by one who opposes their object of worship?"

    "Regardless of your interest in the play, more hands could certainly help if we seek to uncover the murder of the Bard,"
    he says, "But although you mention your investigation I know nothing of your own capacities although ours are quite obvious by our weapons and garb."
    "I'm a witch," she said slowly, resisting the urge to point to her very pointy, very large, very witchy hat. "Not a wizard. But if you'd like a flashy demonstration of magic, I suppose I could give you one. But if I'm entirely honest, I would prefer not to waste magic." Or words, she added to herself. But alas...

    "As to the script, I'm afraid what I've told you is the entirety of what I know. Rhodal wrote a script that somehow concerns the worshipers Rovagug. Mr. Zlatnik wanted the script and was pursuing it when he was killed."
    It strikes Shade suddenly that Ulvenn recently said "Rhodal IS a friend of a friend." Present tense.

    The rather cryptic exchange between their respective guests has the fetchlings looking uncomfortable. Lady Weslen ventures, "Perhaps if we gave you privacy you would feel more comfortable discussing your respective commissions and clients? And how your goals might overlap and an alliance might benefit all, even just a temporary one to get justice for Duffy?"

    There's a knock at the far door, in a distinctive pattern. Then another fetchling sticks her head in. "Matron Chazserae the drow to see you, Lady Weslen. She came to offer condolences for the herald's death, she says."

    "I'll bet,"
    Ashlan growls.

    Lady Weslen communicates with the constructs in the odd machine language. Then she announces in *Taldane, "Please excuse me a moment? I will trust you to wait here, but I did feel it necessary to instruct my contructs not to let anyone use the Oppara Gate until I return. It is not you I am worried about, believe me."

    She exits the room, flanked at the front and back by golden golems, with Ashlan close behind.

    Ashlan turns around before closing the door. "Obviously the drow can't be trusted. They'll know we're on a skeleton crew here while most of our people attend Duffy's wake. As I've said, this Gate is our most precious asset. I suggest you get ready to defend yourselves and the Gate in case someone tries to force their way in?"

    The fetchling lieutenant seems strangely confident of her warning, almost as if the Gate has been the subject of attack before.


    OOC:

    Please feel free to post dialogue replies to things that have been said? Basically use the "quotes" function to keep the flow straight?

    But the last few paragraphs of this post will need their own reply---consider this a warning you should take the equivalent of TWO ROUNDS (which is 12 seconds) to prepare for battle.

    So you have some time to get a defense or weapon ready, and move closer to the door if you wish to do it, but don't take a whole lot of actions like you have all the time in the world?
    Last edited by magrat4; 03-21-2020 at 06:55 PM. Reason: verbs

  19. #19
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    Shade glances at Ulvenn as his use of present tense fights its way to the front of her brain. "You said Rhodal IS a friend of a friend. I'm sorry if this is the first you're hearing of it...but Rhodal has passed away. Lady Heidmarch indicated it was old age, and he passed away in bed at home--someone's home--surrounded by friends."

    Ashlan's warning echoes in Shade's ears, and she flexes her stomach and arms, reassuring herself with the weight of the Cushioning Corset & Sleek Armor Sleeves that Lady Heidmarch loaned to her. Magic warms her insides as she flexes her fingers, ready to throw a spell if necessary. She also lifts the flap of the pouch at her waist and slips one hand inside. "Bizbee, the Rod of Echoing Spells?"

    [OOC: Shade readies Stricken Heart spell: Attack [roll]d20+0[/roll] Spell Resistance [roll]d20+14[/roll]
    Shade draws Rod of Echoing Spells]

    Behind her neck, Peasblossom squirms and readies Scruff's Band.
    Last edited by magrat4; 03-21-2020 at 06:55 PM. Reason: verbiage, sorry I know the names are too close together

  20. #20
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    Default *&^$^*

    Can't add rolls in editing. Someday I will remember that ^%$#^%&* fact.

    [OOC: Shade readies Stricken Heart spell: Attack Authentic Forum Dice-roll(d20+0) [11] Spell Resistance Authentic Forum Dice-roll(d20+14) [26]
    Shade draws Rod of Echoing Spells]

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