A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    Fix decides to ask about the Wild Hunt at another time, and internally kicks herself for mentioning that there was trouble on the road. She hoped that it would inspire pity, but she should have suspected that the lawman would want a report with details. Still, he was being more pleasant than she could have hoped for, and she keeps her voice cheerful. "A report will not be a problem; just show us where we need to go. And, out of curiosity, our innkeeper mentioned something about a death cult. Is there truth to the rumors? If anyone would know the truth of what's going on, I would imagine it would be you and your peers."

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    Good old fashioned untrained Diplomacy: (1d20+2)[21]

    EDIT- Golly gee willikers, Batman, I think I just made him helpful.
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  2. - Top - End - #122
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    The man dismounts with a nod and a wave to his compatriot to take his spot and leads the group into the city. Where the village was defenseless and bustling, the massive walls of Fairhaven seem cold comfort to its denizens. The street chatter is hushed, and people walk quickly around heavily patrolled streets, giving the impression that the city might again face trebuchets and cavalcades of griffoners pouring over the walls. "They're out there. We prefer calling them bandits, though. It makes them sound less organized, and keeps people from panicking, but that illusion might not hold much longer. This morning my son found a young woman hung by the fountain in front of the Sovereigns' Palace. He took it well though, for being his first day. He wouldn't tell me much more than that, though, and the Eyes are still investigating so they won't tell us much, either." He takes a deep breath and sighs. "I'm Grant, by the way."

    The walk is short, and ends at an unassuming two-story a stone-and-brick building. The sign indicates that it's a jail, but the prisoners seem more like rowdy drunks and others who simply disturb the peace, than hardened and truly dangerous criminals. This is often the case in Aundair where belligerent drunkenness, or other minor offenses if you can't afford the fine, yield a night or two in the hands of watchmen. Grant takes your names and professions, and when he prompts for traveling or identification papers he's unsurprised by hesitant responses. Instead, he nods knowingly. He tells the group that bandits often steal identification papers to sell to forgers, since it's easier to alter existing papers than replicate the magical watermarks, and that they can be replaced for a nominal fee at the city hall, or an embassy.

    Maria easily finds out where the Sword and Board Inn is located asking a few people, and leads the group to the dingy waterfront tavern. Its furnishings are as robust as its patrons are loud, as might be expected of an establishment catering to sailors and dockworkers, and listening carefully one can hear a dozen stories of varying plausibility simultaneously in the large common room. Whatever the tensions outside, it seems not to have seeped into these walls, even if a few people are talking about the murder. One of the men stands out with a large and brightly-colored tattoo of Dol Arrah's rising sun on his broad shoulder, listening to a stout woman tell one of the more dubious stories to be heard, involving her ship and an undead Karrnathi sea monster. In one corner, a well-dressed elven man who looks to be waiting for somebody, and looks as if he'd rather be waiting in the middle of a volcano, and in another corner a pretty gnome deals a card game to her table, expertly flicking cards around the table made for people far larger than she.

    "You can take a seat wherever, I'll be with you in a minute!" The voice comes from a young-looking half-elf waitress who's made a proud display of her ample cleavage as she carries a pile of dishes to the kitchen. Two tables sit empty, and many others are half-filled.

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    If anyone feels the need to lie to Grant about who they are, cool. Fix managed to improve his disposition, so he's indifferent to her, and friendly to all the real people

    Likewise, if anyone is not going with Maria (who I'm assuming is going to find the place immediately), that's cool too.

    Again, sorry for taking so long.

  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saskia View Post
    The man dismounts with a nod and a wave to his compatriot to take his spot and leads the group into the city. Where the village was defenseless and bustling, the massive walls of Fairhaven seem cold comfort to its denizens. The street chatter is hushed, and people walk quickly around heavily patrolled streets, giving the impression that the city might again face trebuchets and cavalcades of griffoners pouring over the walls. "They're out there. We prefer calling them bandits, though. It makes them sound less organized, and keeps people from panicking, but that illusion might not hold much longer. This morning my son found a young woman hung by the fountain in front of the Sovereigns' Palace. He took it well though, for being his first day. He wouldn't tell me much more than that, though, and the Eyes are still investigating so they won't tell us much, either." He takes a deep breath and sighs. "I'm Grant, by the way."
    Fix can't flush or pale or shudder, but she casts her eyes down when the guard speaks of the hanging. She understands killing from a technical perspective, she knows how to do it, she has defended herself with lethal force; but killing someone out of a fight has a hideous note of wrongness that scrape against her senses. Morality has always been a loose concept for Fix, likely due to her upbringing. Even so, she makes the quiet decision to never take a life outside of a fight; sentient lives are infinitely easier to break than they are to restore.

    The walk is short, and ends at an unassuming two-story a stone-and-brick building. The sign indicates that it's a jail, but the prisoners seem more like rowdy drunks and others who simply disturb the peace, than hardened and truly dangerous criminals. This is often the case in Aundair where belligerent drunkenness, or other minor offenses if you can't afford the fine, yield a night or two in the hands of watchmen. Grant takes your names and professions, and when he prompts for traveling or identification papers he's unsurprised by hesitant responses. Instead, he nods knowingly. He tells the group that bandits often steal identification papers to sell to forgers, since it's easier to alter existing papers than replicate the magical watermarks, and that they can be replaced for a nominal fee at the city hall, or an embassy.
    At this turn Fix promptly shuts her mouth and moves to the back of the party, letting the others do the talking. When pressed for papers she admits that she has never heard of such a thing, and that she does not own anything proving an official identity. She says that she will visit a Brelish embassy or a House Cannith outpost as soon as she can. Until then, she recommends that the man record her identifying mark, a slightly stylized hashmark.

    Maria easily finds out where the Sword and Board Inn is located asking a few people, and leads the group to the dingy waterfront tavern. Its furnishings are as robust as its patrons are loud, as might be expected of an establishment catering to sailors and dockworkers, and listening carefully one can hear a dozen stories of varying plausibility simultaneously in the large common room. Whatever the tensions outside, it seems not to have seeped into these walls, even if a few people are talking about the murder. One of the men stands out with a large and brightly-colored tattoo of Dol Arrah's rising sun on his broad shoulder, listening to a stout woman tell one of the more dubious stories to be heard, involving her ship and an undead Karrnathi sea monster. In one corner, a well-dressed elven man who looks to be waiting for somebody, and looks as if he'd rather be waiting in the middle of a volcano, and in another corner a pretty gnome deals a card game to her table, expertly flicking cards around the table made for people far larger than she.

    "You can take a seat wherever, I'll be with you in a minute!" The voice comes from a young-looking half-elf waitress who's made a proud display of her ample cleavage as she carries a pile of dishes to the kitchen. Two tables sit empty, and many others are half-filled.
    Fix then proceeds with the group, making a note to the others that she will need to go get an official identity whenever it becomes convenient. She is not exactly sure how that will work, but she knows for a fact that she shouldn't go anywhere near a House Cannith representative without the group to back her up; Merrix is jealous of his possessions, and she does not want to consider how angry he will be at her betrayal of his trust and subsequent flight.

    She surveys the bar with inquisitive eyes, taking in the patrons. "The letter," she murmurs, "said to look for a man with a, and I quote, 'Brand on his Forearm of the rising Sun of Dol Arrah'. That man has a tattoo of what I assume to be the same sun on his shoulder. A mistake in the letter, or the wrong man? How common are such tattoos?"
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  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Maria listens casually to Grant. The body in the fountain... again, Maria wonders just how difficult it must be to flay a corpse. She says nothing, however, and just nods at his words. An eerie air is all around town as she looks it over. Without wasting more time, she heads straight for the indicated inn with Fix.

    Sitting down, Maria casually adapts to the place's atmosphere. It's not very difficult, considering she doesn't like to stand out in most kinds of situations. She starts to pay attention to some smudge of dust on the back of her hand, so as to not seem suspicious. As she does so, she considers Fix's question.

    "I have not studied theological matters extensively," she says in a low tone, "but the faith of Dol Arrah is pretty common throughout Khorvaire. A particularly faithful person getting such a tattoo wouldn't be that odd. This is quite ambiguous..."

    Then she frowns, and thinks back to Sevruul. "I don't think that elf would have made such a trivial mistake, however. Wrong man, perhaps; we should wait and see."

    And then, to not pass the time in complete silence: "...I take it Merrix didn't care to teach you of religion?"

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Fix frowns for a moment, thinking about what she's been told. She is growing more aware with each passing day that the information groups "what is true" and "what Merrix told me" are not necessarily identical. "I know a lot of objective information about divine magic, positive and negative energy, and the planes of existence. I know about outsiders, and I do know the names of each member of the Sovereign Host, the Dark Six, and a few of the other divine sources such as the Silver Flame. Merrix has used the word 'gods', often as a part of an expletive, and he has mentioned that The Traveler is the only one that seems to enact his will on the world. But religion in and of itself? Worship? I don't understand it. It has something to do with asking these powerful outsiders for favor, I take it?"
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  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Thianin nods with appreciation when Grant describes his destrier, taking that as permission to approach the beast and give it a caring stroke as he sizes it up some more. Though the man is certainly right about this horse being a far cry from the mighty steeds of Thianin's homeland, seeing a fine horse nevertheless improves Thianin's mood substantially. He even manages to start smiling despite the cold weather. When asked for his papers, he laughs haughtily.

    "The Valenar need no papers and keep no embassies. The last time I tried to get papers the halfling working the desk nearly lost his head. Perhaps I should let someone else do the talking for me around the short ones."

    At the Sword and Board Thianin walks in and surveys the scene with the wary eye of a warrior. After sizing the place up, he strides straight towards the uncomfortable-looking elf and practically shouts at him in their native tongue.

    <"By the grace of my forefathers, if I have to listen to another squawking human, I might have to fall on my own sword. What are you drinking?">

    OOC: Based on how the elf is dressed, can Thianin get a feel for what flavor of elf he is?
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  7. - Top - End - #127
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    As he looks upon the familiar walls, Simon half-smiles. This had been his home, for however short a time, and it was good to see the walls again. He begins to wonder how the city had changed in the years he had been away, but these thoughts were short-lived as he remembered what was going on in the city. There was a mad woman inciting what were to an undamaged mind, almost unimaginable crimes. On an intellectual level, he could picture what was happening, but simply being in the city had made both the threat of a homicidal cultist and a worry for the people of Fairhaven more concrete.

    Rather than go with Maria to the tavern, Simon sticks around at the jail. Before the others go, Simon pulls Maria aside and tells her, "We might be watched, so I think it best we don't all go to the tavern together. I'll be in touch if I find anything." Simon hopes he made the right decision to trust Maria. Fix and Thianin didn't much seem like people used to mild deception, and Phinneas, well, he probably would have scoffed at his stating of possibilities that he had already thought through in that way that arrogant-- not helpful. Whatever the case, he remains at the jail, and asks Grant, "I used to live here, around the end of the war. Have they been able to identify her? I'm just worried that it might be someone I know."
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    (1d20+1)[5] Bluff
    Also Know (Local) +4 for 17 on laws and such about homelessness, criminal investigations, city leaders, and governmental style (democracy, theocracy, etc. and liberal vs. conservative) in the city. Mostly interested in the first 2 as they will have the most sway on immediate actions.
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  8. - Top - End - #128
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    The elven man looks at Thianin and his mood suddenly shifts. Though he's dressed in a conventional Cyran manner, he wears a a bright orange sash under his vest, indicating his status as a veteran Valenar lancer.

    <"The serving girl called it an Imperial pilsener, but I think it came from the latrine. I'd rather suck a halfling's tit."> He raises an eyebrow and looks back to the busty waitress as she walks by again. <"I could do with hers, though."> He smiles as he offers his hand in greeting. <"My name's Kanyo, brother. What brings a friendly face to this festering rock pile?">

    The girl returns as promised to the fresh table, apparently having inherited her elven ancestors' hearing over the loud place. "Host's hooks, don't let Turisas hear you ask about 'faith', he'll talk 'til the dragons come." She shakes her head and laughs uncomfortably. "Sorry. He's a good guy, but you know how those academy priests are. If you aren't one of them you might as well be worshiping Khyber for how wrong you're doing it." She surveys the arms and armor of her table, and asks "We got the militia here for booze, food, or both?"

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    Fairhaven is mostly run by the same standards as other cities. It has a body of aldermen and a mayor, all elected by the city's property owners which, while being moderately liberal, places emphasis on being friendly to business and the rich. Despite highly punctuated social and economic inequality, Fairhaven is a very prosperous city overall with greater social mobility than many other major cities. Homelessness and vagrancy aren't crimes in and of themselves, but several activities connected with homelessness—sleeping in public, pandhandling (without a license), and carrying "unusual" amounts of baggage—are. It's even illegal to share food with the homeless in public, and That an ordinance exists with nearly identical wording that forbids the feeding of feral or wild animals within the city has become common knowledge.

    These laws are not new, but they are unpopular, being seen by many as criminalizing poverty after a century of incredibly destructive war. The council has maintained for years that the law applies to everyone equally, but the sense among most people is that to the extent that this is true, it's trivial; as the Aundairian journalist Anatole Franco famously noted, "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich, as well as the poor, to sleep under bridges."

    Criminal proceedings follow the Code of Galifar: The accused are presumed innocent until proven otherwise, and are tried by a jury of peers chosen jointly by the barristers of the defense and the accusation, and that if the prosecution does not submit a written accusation within a certain period of time (usually a year for serious offenses), the accused has to be released. Criminal investigations are generally launched by the city constabulary, but larger investigations involving more serious crimes or crimes that extend past Fairhaven itself are also overseen by the Royal Eyes' Bureau of Civil Peace.

    Grant nods. "Yeah. Aurora ir'Lain. She is, or was I suppose, Lord Darro's favorite niece. She was a graduate student at Wynarn University. Studying what, I don't know; certainly something above my pay grade, but I hear she was working on a really important project." He lights a cigar and sighs deeply. "You know, any old bastard can learn to swing a sword. A dozen young men could take my place when I die, and some of them might even live to be as good. A great wizard can't be replaced so easily."

  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saskia View Post
    Its furnishings are as robust as its patrons are loud, as might be expected of an establishment catering to sailors and dockworkers, and listening carefully one can hear a dozen stories of varying plausibility simultaneously in the large common room. Whatever the tensions outside, it seems not to have seeped into these walls, even if a few people are talking about the murder. One of the men stands out with a large and brightly-colored tattoo of Dol Arrah's rising sun on his broad shoulder, listening to a stout woman tell one of the more dubious stories to be heard, involving her ship and an undead Karrnathi sea monster. In one corner, a well-dressed elven man who looks to be waiting for somebody, and looks as if he'd rather be waiting in the middle of a volcano, and in another corner a pretty gnome deals a card game to her table, expertly flicking cards around the table made for people far larger than she.

    "You can take a seat wherever, I'll be with you in a minute!" The voice comes from a young-looking half-elf waitress who's made a proud display of her ample cleavage as she carries a pile of dishes to the kitchen. Two tables sit empty, and many others are half-filled.
    Phinneas climbs up the side of one chair like it was a ladder, teetering slightly as he makes his way up. He finally settles into his seat and breaks out a thicky, musty tome. Ignoring the commotion around him, he draws his reading lenses from within his robe and looks down his nose at the text, beginning to soak it in. However, it seems less like pleasure reading than a nervous habit to distract him from the chaos of the place.

    Quote Originally Posted by RaggedAngel View Post
    "The letter," she murmurs, "said to look for a man with a, and I quote, 'Brand on his Forearm of the rising Sun of Dol Arrah'. That man has a tattoo of what I assume to be the same sun on his shoulder. A mistake in the letter, or the wrong man? How common are such tattoos?"
    "Common enough among the fiercely devout," Phinneas muses aloud without looking up from his book. "I'd imagine him to be an academy priest, were I a more whimsical gnome. Were that the case, I'd imagine the man we're looking for is a superior in the order. You see, the tattoos function as a form of self-flagellation, and one on the forearm is a more painful statement and thus a larger banner to be waved. But again, I don't engage in such frivolous speculation." He continues reading, but his ears perk up and he lends an arched eyebrow to Fix's following words.

    Quote Originally Posted by RaggedAngel View Post
    "I know a lot of objective information about divine magic, positive and negative energy, and the planes of existence. I know about outsiders, and I do know the names of each member of the Sovereign Host, the Dark Six, and a few of the other divine sources such as the Silver Flame. Merrix has used the word 'gods', often as a part of an expletive, and he has mentioned that The Traveler is the only one that seems to enact his will on the world. But religion in and of itself? Worship? I don't understand it. It has something to do with asking these powerful outsiders for favor, I take it?"
    "More like an attempt to find easy answers to questions that have none," Phinneas snarls a bit. "But you have information about divine magic? You don't say, Fix...we'll have to chat sometime. It would be nice engaging in scholarly inquiry without being proselytized at all the while." He closes his book and makes eye contact with the warforged; for the first time he seems to regard her as an individual. He even forgets to call her a machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saskia View Post
    The girl returns as promised to the fresh table, apparently having inherited her elven ancestors' hearing over the loud place. "Host's hooks, don't let Turisas hear you ask about 'faith', he'll talk 'til the dragons come." She shakes her head and laughs uncomfortably. "Sorry. He's a good guy, but you know how those academy priests are. If you aren't one of them you might as well be worshiping Khyber for how wrong you're doing it." She surveys the arms and armor of her table, and asks "We got the militia here for booze, food, or both?"
    "Neither for me," Phinneas says with an air of haughtiness, "just a spot of tea. You say that gentleman is an Academy priest?" He looks around the table, full of smug pride that his intuition had been accurate.
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  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Fix notices Phinneas's interest, and she nods. "I would be happy to discuss any kind of magic. I know more about magic than just about anything else, though I don't know much compared to true scholars. I just haven't had the time. Even operating at all hours, I've only had around a year to learn, and there is much more information than that in the world. I daresay one could not even learn everything there is to know about Cure spells in a year, let alone all of divine magic."

    When the waitress addresses the group Fix shakes her head politely. "I do not think I can eat or drink, though I suppose I have never tried. Could I have a glass of water? I will experiment with a relatively nonreactive substance and progress from there." She speaks as if such experimentation is completely typical and reasonable. "And I suppose you would know better than we do; have you seen a man in here with a tattoo like that, but on his forearm? We were told he could help us..." She trails off when she recalls that perhaps she should not divest their secrets to an open room.

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  11. - Top - End - #131
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    Well, that was certainly a name that he knew, would have known even if he hadn't studied at Wynarn. So what had seemingly been simply a horribly grotesque assault could now be construed as an attack on a political power's family. Now all one could do is wait to see what Darro's reaction was going to be. Would he give some public speech to show that a person can stand firm, even against such a demented mind, or would he proceed directly into using the Knights Arcane to find the people who killed and flayed his niece? If he were to give a speech, no doubt Cass would be there, listening to the man writhe in emotional turmoil even as he stood as a beacon of hope for his people. Or she might use the time to carry out even more crimes.

    "Yeah, I knew her, or at least of her, though I doubt there are many at the college who hadn't heard of her, prodigy that she was and all that. Never really met her; though, I'm certain our paths crossed at some point. It's just... well... hard to imagine. I mean she was going somewhere, going to be someone important, already was to an extent, but to have that future cut short like that..." He shakes his head, "I'm assuming her uncle knows or you wouldn't be telling me. Do you know if he's decided how he's going to proceed?"
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  12. - Top - End - #132
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    Thianin's smile is the widest it's been since he was last barreling down on a pack of halflings. He returns Kanyo's handshake and can't help but laugh.

    <"By the bones of my ancestors, it must be my lucky day. I'd just assumed you were one of those doughy and dragonmarked city-dwellers."> He points across the room to his companions. <"I'm offering my services as a guard to a band of research-types. They quibble about the roots of magic while I freeze my balls off. What about you? From your clothes it looks like you've gone native.">
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  13. - Top - End - #133
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    Kanyo laughs and nods, and gestures for Thianin to sit down. <"All the better to blend in, friend. There's an idiot Vadalis boy who doesn't understand the Valenar or the horses we count as our comrades-in-arms. He thinks he can ride in with some thugs, harry our herds, and make off with the horses so he can breed them with Vadalis lines, and somehow he thinks he'll make out better than his ancestors. It's like they value their ancestors' failures as much as we value ours' successes. My instinct is the kid deserves what comes to him."> he pauses, and gingerly he places a white-and-brown object from his vest on the table, which Thianin recognizes it as the bones of an elven finger, bleached white with time and lashed together with leather and animal sinew. <"But when she tells me my instinct is wrong, I don't argue. I have a meeting with the kid when his barge comes downriver. He thinks I'm wanting to join him, but hopefully I can convince the boy he'll only be throwing his life away. Failing that, even she agrees he's done it to himself, but in her honor I have to try, and hope he's not as dumb as I'm afraid he is.">

    The waitress smiles at Fix, amused and disarmed, and leans against the weighty table. "Sure thing, hon, water and tea. Now you're looking for a priest with that tattoo on his forearm, you are looking for Turisas. He's academy trained, but he's doing dockwork now. He says it's so he can understand the working class or some horse**** like that." She looks to the door momentarily and smiles at a trio of gruff-looking men walk in, looking very much like they fit right in. "He's been staying here the last few weeks. He's usually back about nine or so in the evening if you want to come back, or if you want to hang around for a while I can get that tea and water. Maybe something else? Stewed beef and rice to warm the soul? It's walleye season, how about some fish to feed that brain, Doc? Not that salted crap either, my beau fished a bunch up out of the river just last night. Still got'em live in the barrels, waiting to be filleted."

    ++++++++++

    "No," Grant says, shaking his head. "But if I was to hazard a guess I'd say he's got a few plainclothes knights on the hunt already. I know I would, anyway." He ashes his cigar onto the floor and looks at Simon curiously. "You and your posse aren't here for a symposium. If you're here to bring her in, I can't tell you not to, but I really don't advise it. They're bad, bad folks."

  14. - Top - End - #134
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    "Just the tea, thank you," Phinneas mutters dismissively to the barmaid. Clearly, etiquette was not the subject of the book he was nose-deep in.
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    Maria holds back a deep, instinctive, and above all human urge to press the palm of her hand to her face. There was something rather antisocial about this group, on the whole. Perhaps she should have considered going with Simon instead, given that everyone else went with her. There was such a thing as not drawing attention, after all.

    "Thank you, I'll take the stewed beef and rice, and some water besides" she says to the waitress, almost apologetically. And then, in another attempt to keep up a semblance of a conversation and avoid more silence, she thinks of something.

    "...Something a professor of mine once told me was that one of the more important things about religion is that as a whole, it's as much of a motivating force for people and nations as politics or economics. People individually can find some meaning in their lives by seeking a connection to a great power outside themselves."

    She pauses to collect her thoughts, and watch her companion's reactions, before continuing in a lower tone. "I can't say I find the appeal, but for many that's something important to consider. It can be something people turn to in times of trouble... much like Cassandra's followers probably have."

  16. - Top - End - #136
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    Fix nods her thanks to the waitress, and then she listens to Maria intently. After a moment's pause, she replies. "I work with raw magic, like all artificers. I can see it in the air, if I look hard enough, and I can bind it to myself or to objects if I exert a portion of my personal energy to do so. More powerful artificers can do more than that; they can create true magic items, constructs, and with a creation forge they can even create life. They can create people, like me."

    She looks to the general population of the bar. "If I didn't have that power? If I knew that I had no way of changing the world other than my by muscles and my words? It would make me feel limited. Constrained. It is easy to imagine that I would want to know that something with power cared about me. That something would enact the changes in the world that I otherwise could not."

    She shrugs. "Enough of that, we have tasks to attend to. There are a number of hours before our contact arrives. How important are identification papers? Is it worth going to the Brelish embassy to purchase one?"
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  17. - Top - End - #137
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    Well, they had been found out. Great job, Simon. He wasn't trying to hide the fact that they were going after Cassandra, but given the ease with which he was discovered, he might have to rethink his infiltration plan. He shakes his head, "Much that I would prefer a symposium..." he sighs, letting the rest of the statement speak for itself. "I was thinking of infiltrating the group, but I guess I'm more of the open book type." He shrugs, "I guess I'll just have to think of some other way to find her."
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  18. - Top - End - #138
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    Thianin's smile fades to a more solemn expression when Kanyo presents the finger bone. <"You honor her greatly by heeding her words. Would you like me to stick around for the meeting? As you say, hopefully the boy is not an idiot, but he may bring his thugs with him."> Thianin nods back over his shoulder to the vertical blade of his double-scimitar. <"Even if I don't take her dancing, she's sure to send a strong message.">
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  19. - Top - End - #139
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    Maria nods as Fix lays herself out. There was a certain quality in her that made that answer very pleasant, somehow. Maybe it was her inexperience or innocence, or maybe that certainty. Whatever the case Maria found herself liking her more than she'd expected. Not by much, but enough that she didn't feel like a stranger anymore.

    "It's relatively important, and it should not cost much, but you can get by without one. We don't have anything else to do besides waiting, so we might as well. Still..."

    She takes a long look at Fix's body. "Considering who made you, it might be best to not to go to pains to identify yourself. If you still feel you have to, at least pick an alias."

  20. - Top - End - #140
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    Fix nods, glancing down at herself. "They shouldn't have any method of determining my real identity; after all, the only records of my existence are in my maker's personal laboratory, and if that has been breached we all have more concerns than merely being identified. Having official documentation could prove to to be quite useful or important in the near future; it wouldn't do to be detained at the gates of another town or city if time was of the essence."

    She taps her small leather coinpurse. "I have enough for a document, as well as a few alchemical reagents that could prove to be useful. Maria, after we've finished our drinks would you go with me? We shouldn't be gone for long, and after we return I can start working on a scroll. Might as well use our time productively."
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  21. - Top - End - #141
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    Kanyo nods. <"I would appreciate that. I'm still an ace in the saddle, but..."> He raps his knuckle on his leg, <"Even with magic, some injuries don't heal quite right."> As he stares at the beer on the table, it's as though it taunts him, and with a grimace he takes the earthenware mug and chugs its contents defiantly. <"Eat, drink. Your friends, too; it's on me. I just advise something else to wet your throat.">

    As quick as she's gone, the bored elf Thianin has been talking to waves the maid over, and on her return (with the clear water and tea) she taps the table twice. "If you change your mind, Kanyo over there said he's buying." And with that she's off again.

    ++++++++++

    Casually, Grants stands to close and lock the doors. "I have a meeting at half past midnght with a guy who claims to be one of them. He says he wants to rat them out, but as a badge I can't claim the bounty." He turns over the day's issue of The Crier, a well-respected and popular left-leaning newspaper, on his desk:


    THE NINTH MURDER

    _________________
    and the
    ____________
    FIRST NOBLE
    ____________
    now, finally a
    _________________
    BOUNTY FOR MAD CASS



    Additionally, the story's first two lines begin to lay out a case that the Fairhaven Bounty Council, whose membership has always been drawn from noble and merchant families, is perhaps more class-conscious than they admit to; historically a source of bubbling resentment among Fairhaven's working class, and a claim the Council emphatically denies.

    "If you want to bring your people to this meeting as my security team, though, that wouldn't be breaking any rules. The bounty's four thousand alive, half dead. Just posted this morning. You bring me her, or her corpse, and my friend identifies her, and you get paid. And maybe you give me a little under-the-table gift, maybe four-fifty. I can't post the broadsheet yet, but I can give you a copy tonight, if you're interested."

  22. - Top - End - #142
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    Once Fix explains the situation, Maria nods again. "If that's the case, it's fine. It shouldn't be a problem. And like you say, we really don't have anything to do other than waiting."

  23. - Top - End - #143
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    Simon's eyes widen. Now, he wasn't an expert on bounties; he didn't even know what the going rate for them was, but whatever the case, 4000 subtract 450 for this fine gentleman, maybe 50 or 100 for a finders fee or whatever for the person wanted to out Cass, and that left 700 or so for each member of the group. He nods to Grant, "I'll see what I can do. I'll see you here at midnight then." With that, he turns and exits out into the street. Now, all he needed was to send a message, but to whom should it be sent? Well, Phinneas seemed to enjoy decoding Sevruul's incendiary letter, so he probably had some sort of background with codes. He didn't seem to be one to take a hobby though. Well, off he went to the library to research codes as well as he could. Something simple would probably suffice, but who knows what evil hands this letter might fall into.
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  24. - Top - End - #144
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    Thianin smiles and gives Kanyo a strong pat on the back. <"I will return your generosity as soon as I have the coin to do so. Tell me, Brother, when is this little runt due in?>

    Thianin glances over towards the table of his comrades and raises his not-so-fantastic beer in a silent cheers, a sly grin sliding across his face briefly before he returns his attention to his new best friend.
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  25. - Top - End - #145
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    As the barmaid turns to leave, Phinneas raises a finger (still without looking up from his book). "Miss?" he asks, showing interest for the first time. "It would be inadvisable of me to pass over complimentary potables. Perhaps a splash of peach brandy would complement the earthiness of the tea leaves, yes?" Looking up from his reading, it seems that Phinneas has found something else of greater interest to him--whether or not it's of any interest to anyone else. "Funny things, homophones," he muses aloud and chuckles, an uncharacteristic sound for the tiny academician. "What a difference a vowel makes..."

    When the proffered alcohol arrives, Phinneas pours a small amount into his mug as the tea steeps. Then a medium amount. Then a large amount. "Sláinte!" he calls to the elf chatting with Thianin. It is only then that he notices the gnomish card dealer in the corner. "By Syrania's skies," he mutters to the barmaid, "what kind of tomfoolery has that gnome gotten herself into? Wasting time with idle games? One would expect more from a properly disciplined gnome," he says with an air of superiority before taking a large swig from his mug and returning to his reading.
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  26. - Top - End - #146
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    She looks back at the gnome that raised Phinneas' ire, and back. "Aria? She's an astrologer, or wizard or something. Every time she comes in she walks away with piles of money. She said it's how she funds her research."

    Kanyo shrugs. <"Two hours? More, or less maybe; it depends on how drunk the stevedores are. You know humans, can't drink but to numb the pain of their short lives. The charm of the drink means nothing."> He raises his cup and calls back to Phinneas, "Sláinte mhňr, old man!"


    For Maria and Fix, the Brelish embassy is easy enough to find. It sits a half-hour's walk from the Sword and Board, and just a stone's throw from the palace. The masonry building looks like it used to be an armory or barracks; simple and unadorned, built for strength and for the very narrow purpose of holding quite a lot of something, and construction crews milling about laying stone and timbers suggest the Brelish embassy is getting an upgrade.

    Inside, the building is quite cozy. Its decor is very obviously Brelish to the core; almost hokey in its artistic affectations of bears, mattocks, and hammers, but unmistakably the home of Brelish nationals abroad. A trio of Brelish soldiers clad in mail armor greet the two by politely asking for weapons to be surrendered for the duration of the visit. The receptionist, however, just stares dumbly at Fix like a deer caught in a lantern's light.

    ++++++++++

    On his way out, Grant shakes Simon's hand, leaving in his palm a hastily scrawled address. The number Simon doesn't recognize, but he knows Riverfront Plaza; a street aptly-named for its lines of shops and warehouses along the docks. "Tonight, then."
    --
    Despite the Royal Library's utilitarian name, its appearance is anything but. The old building was largely destroyed during the Last War by a freak lightning storm. Nobody would mistake it as a rival for the Library of Korranberg, but as Queen Aurala said regarding its reconstruction, breakage is the best excuse for upgrade and it's a widely accepted second best, at least as far as publicly available libraries go. The facade's colossal windows are reinforced with stone, and probably magic. The foyer's marble floor bears a boldly colored inlay of the royal crest of Aundair, flooded in the morning sun. A young librarian directs Simon to the cryptology section, but tells him that without proper identification as a citizen of Aundair, he'll have to search manually, and reminds him that it is preferable for the librarians' sake if researchers leave books on their tables rather than put them back, and that mundane writing materials can be purchased at the front desk, should he need them.
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  27. - Top - End - #147
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    "Hmph, a proper huckster is what she is..." Phinneas stews in his seat and sips his tea. Whether he's bolstered by the spirit in him or the spirits in his mug, he eventually finds the courage to leave his seat. The tiny old man hops down to the floor and scurries over to Aria's game. While she's clearly in the middle of something, Phinneas makes the executive decision that it's something worth getting out of the middle of.

    *aHEM* Phinneas loudly clears his throat in the most pedantic way possible.

    No response.

    "I do say, young lady," he starts into his tirade, "I am Dr. Phinneas Herringbone Mathersby Kessler of Morgrave University, and as a proper gnome I would ask you to cease this hornswoggling immediately. Surely you have more productive ways to be spending your time?" The lecture has begun, invigorating Phinneas but sapping the energy from everyone around him.
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  28. - Top - End - #148
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    As an interesting aside, Aria is the name of the only PC I enjoy playing more than Fix. My Aria is an Illumian (or sometimes human) Truenamer who managed to outlive her original (and very high-quality) game, and has recently been reborn in another rather excellent game.

    I can hear the question, for those of you who care enough to read this far. "Wow, Angel, you mostly play classes like Artificers, Archivists, Warblades and Druids. You know. Brokenly good ones. Why play a Truenamer?"

    It's simple; because Aria is a badass despite her brokenly bad mechanics, and I fell in love with her when I didn't know any better.

    This has been a RaggedAngel Service Announcement. We will now return you to your regular broadcast.


    Fix hands over her crossbow without a second thought; 'disarmed' is a very loose term for both warforged and artificers, and an impossibility for warforged artificers. She looks to the receptionist and does her best to imitate a human smile. Mostly she just opens her mouth a little and squints her eyes. Note to self, she muses as her face returns to normal. Learn to better emulate organic body language and facial expressions.

    "Good afternoon!"
    She says aloud, cheerfully. "I have recently learned what identification papers are, and I decided that they are important to have. I am of Brelish origin, and consider myself loyal to Breland before any other nation or any mercantile house. How do I obtain proper proof of identity?" She finds herself surprised by her own words. A bit of introspection determines that she does consider herself loyal to Breland before other countries. Odd, since her only memories of the country were of Merrix's laboratory/lair and of her escape. Even so, it was where she was born. Not a perfect reason for loyalty, but better than nothing, and if not logical, it at least wasn't illogical.
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  29. - Top - End - #149
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    Thianin nods to Kanyo, taking a swig of his beer and wincing slightly at its taste. <"Well then, looks like we've got two hours to kill."> Thianin turns around so he can rest his back against the bar as he leans back and surveys the room. <"Let me tell you about the time I killed two halflings with a single stroke...>" Thianin proceeds to spend the next two hours shooting the breeze and swapping war stories wtih Kanyo.
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  30. - Top - End - #150
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    Right alongside Fix, Maria follows. Trying not to seem reluctant, she gives her morningstar, her scimitar, and her dagger to the guards, feeling somewhat vulnerable without them.

    She follows her companion to the receptionist, before attempting an apologetic smile behind Fix's back.

    "And I lost mine some weeks ago, before I noticed it was gone. What is the proper procedure in these situations?"

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    She might have actually lost it while traveling, but from an OOC perspective I never actually bought one for her at the start of the game.

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