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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Jul 2007

    Default The Crimson Echo IC

    A reboot of Shizu's Curse of the Crimson Throne.

    Dramatis Personae

    Spoiler: Our Heroes
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    Spoiler: Allies
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    Spoiler: Enemies
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    Spoiler: Important People
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    Spoiler: Of Korvosa
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    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Locations

    Spoiler: Korvosa
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    Spoiler: Map of Korvosa
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    Spoiler: Districts and Neighborhoods
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    Spoiler: East Shore and Gray
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    Spoiler: Midland
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    Spoiler: North Point
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    Spoiler: The Heights
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    Spoiler: Old Korvosa
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    Spoiler: South Shore
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    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

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    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Act 1: Edge of Anarchy


    Prelude

    Theme Music

    Far beneath Castle Korvosa, a stone door that had remained shut for many years slowly ground open. This door was a secret one, flush with the wall it had been built into, and gave no sign that it even existed. Only one who knew where to look would be able to find it, and even that would prove useless were one not to also possess the door’s only key. A large iron key, bigger than a man’s fist, decorated in macabre fashion with screaming skulls and runes from some long-dead language. A key like the one now brandished in one hand by the woman who stood in the open doorway, illuminated only by the light of the candle that she held in her other hand.

    Queen Ileosa Arabasti stood in front of the open doorway for several long moments, nervously examining the room beyond. It was an intimidating sight, resembling a tomb rather than a hidden off-shoot of the treasure vault she currently stood in. Runes similar to the ones adorning her key skittered along every surface beyond the door, forming vaguely menacing patterns across the floor, walls, and ceiling. Save for the runes, the room itself was featureless except for the pedestal jutting up out of the floor at the exact center point of the room, the runes racing along its surface until they reached its peak, atop which sat a large stone coffer wrapped in thick iron chains, held in place by a screaming iron skull, a keyhole just barely visible at the back of its yawning mouth.

    Reaching out her magical senses to detect sources of magic in the room, Ileosa saw no immediate threat, as the room’s rune artwork was entirely defensive in nature, focused on suppressing whatever was inside the stone coffer – and despite that Ileosa could still faintly feel the presence of magic within it. There was no doubt whatever was inside, it was powerful – and that it was what she had come down here for. And despite that, still Ileosa hovered in the doorway, her fears holding her back – she was down here alone, with no one to stand between her and danger. If there was still some hidden trap within, if she was injured . . .

    Ileosa gathered up her frayed nerves and brought the memory of why she was down here at all to the forefront of her mind.

    Kneeling beside the bed of King Eodred Arabasti the Second, her head in his too-frail lap, tears staining the fur of the thick blanket separating them. Wishing there was something, anything, that she could do to make him stay at her side. She’d pay any price – her wealth, her youth, her very soul if it would mean they could be together again as they had been, not like this as every passing moment took her Eodred farther away from her. But such pacts only existed in fairy tales, and in reality there was no cure for old age, nothing else she could do but lie beside him as the spark of Eodred’s life flickered out.

    “Stay with me. Please

    She begged, and was rewarded with a shuddering groan as Eodred stirred.

    “Are you there my queen?” Came the hoarse whisper, at which point she lifted her head to look at her king’s withered face, and raised one hand to gently caress it.

    “Yes. I am here my love. Always.”

    To her surprise, with sudden strength Eodred reached up and grasped her hand. With his other trembling hand he fumbled the blankets aside and reached inside his robe to remove a key that had been hanging around his neck. A key that Ileosa had often seen hanging around Eodred’s neck, but never received an honest answer as to its purpose. An iron key decorated with macabre designs of screaming skulls and runes from a long-dead language. Eodred pressed the key into her outstretched hand, and then closed her hand around it with his last strength.

    “There . . . might be a way . . . for me to yet live. But it will require . . . breaking a promise I made long ago. And I am too weak . . . to go myself. You must . . . you must go down to the treasure vault . . . castle basement. At the back . . . behind the fourth brick from the top . . . seventh from the right . . . key. Go alone, take no one with you! Hurry . . .


    Ileosa had flown from her husband’s side that moment, and despite the strangeness of his request, she had done as asked. She had come down here alone, she had found the hidden keyhole at the back of the vault, and now that the item that could save Eodred’s life was in her sight, she hesitated? She would pay any price!

    Ileosa took a step into the rune-covered tomb, and then another, the iron key held in front of her like a shield. With growing determination to match her mounting sense of dread, Ileosa crossed the remaining distance to the pedestal, and once there, hesitated only a moment more before ramming the key home into the gaping mouth. There was a soft, raspy click, and then the key was torn out of Ileosa’s hand as it sank into the mouth, which closed around the key as gears groaned into motion. Ileosa jumped back, narrowly stifling a startled scream, although that scream died on her lips as she glanced up to check the ring on her hand that clenched the candle holder, only to see the emerald set into its face had gone completely dark. A magical ring that was part of a pair, its singular purpose was to inform its wearer of the condition of the one wearing its mate. And if the stone went as completely dark as hers was now, then it meant . . .

    “No . . . no no no no, please no!”

    Ileosa breathed, switching her grip on the candle holder from one hand to the other so that she could stare more easily at the ring’s gem – and more safely shake her hand, hoping to fix the magical fluke responsible for this news. But the stone remained dark no matter how vigorously she shook the ring, and Ileosa sank to her knees onto the merciless stone as the truth of it washed over her. She was too late . . . if only she had been faster, less afraid, maybe she could have done it. Ileosa’s vision blurred as hot tears began their race from the corners of her eyes, and it was a struggle to keep hold of the candle holder as her body was wracked with sobs.

    But sorrow turned to terror a moment later as the iron skull finally finished its meal, and with a final rattling click released its hold on the chains. Chains which flew away from the coffer, unfurling from where they had been tightly wrapped a moment before like a hunter’s snare. One such length of chain lashed across Ileosa’s hand, sending the candle holder tumbling out of her hand and plunging the room into total darkness. Wincing at the sudden stab of pain from her hand, Ileosa nonetheless crawled across the stone floor, flailing at the floor out in front of her with her other hand while clutching the wounded one to her chest. Where was it, where was it!? There! Ileosa’s fingers brushed against the length of the candle, and pain flared in her other hand as her outstretched fingers raked through still molten wax. But after another moment her fingers finally found a solid grip, and she drew her prize back to her, already stumbling over the necessary arcane words.

    One after another, sparks briefly appeared from her hands to illuminate the tomb for one brief moment before expiring – she couldn’t find the damn wick to light it again! And then suddenly she saw where the wick was, and reflexively lit it, before she realized that she only found the wick because she could see it. The room had slowly been filled with a dim light, coming from all of the warding runes throughout the room – but the brightest light by far now shone from the coffer, through the narrow slit between its lid and body.

    The glow of the coffer was hypnotic, and Ileosa slowly felt her terror, her sorrow fade away, to be replaced by a burning curiosity about what was inside. What had Eodred sent her down here to retrieve, with what had been essentially his dying breath? And why had he been convinced that it could save him? Pushing herself back up to her feet, Ileosa ran her fingers across the face of the lid, trying to find purchase with her fingers so she could lift it up. The stone coffer swung open at her touch of its own accord with a low hiss of grinding stone.

    Within the coffer was a crown, made of some twisted, jagged shards of black metal with pieces of . . . bone? . . . slid into metal sheaths along the rim. A mote of deep blue light floated above the crown, dancing and twirling in mesmerizing patterns within the coffer’s narrow confines. It ceased its pacing turns a moment later, hanging in place a moment before it shoot upwards – towards Ileosa’s face! The queen jerked her head back, but it was too late as light enveloped her.

    The bright light became searing as it poured into her eyes, her nose, her ears. She tried to move but found she could not, held immobile by the light as firmly as if by chains. She opened her mouth to scream, and the light poured itself into the new opening, choking her. She couldn’t move, couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe – she was drowning in the light. No. It was crushing her. And then just like that, the light winked out, the room plunging back into total darkness as the wards all went out and the candle again fell from Ileosa’s lifeless hands. She crumpled to the floor like a puppet with its strings having been cut, and as she fell her hand caught on the edge of the coffer, pulling it off of the pedestal. It shattered as it touched the floor, and the crown skittered across the floor, free at last.

    For what seemed like an age, Ileosa lied still on the floor, not moving, not making even a sound. But then she stirred, throwing a hand out to steady herself and push herself up onto her knees – and found the crown. Reflexively, she reached up and set the crown onto her head, adjusting its position to make sure it was firmly in place before wiping the tears from her face.

    “Everything will be alright.”

    Ileosa promised, and then got to her feet, leaving the tomb behind. She did not collect the extinguished candle on her way out.

    --------------------------------

    Theme Music

    In one corner of the upscale Three Rings tavern, the conspirators met for the final time. The tavern had been chosen as a meeting point for its dedication to discretion in regards to its clients’ privacy. It seemed unlikely, however, that the group’s privacy would be respected if it was known what they had met here so many times to discuss.

    “A toast to our future fortunes. Soon the roster will be dead, if he isn’t already, and then the henhouse will be ours.”

    Their leader declared, earning a murmur of approval and clinking of wine glasses. It was all so tedious and juvenile to the eldest member of the conspiracy, who had spent years bitterly wishing he was able to kill the king and topple the city’s monarchy. Well now he had finally done it, with the help of these others interested in regime change, and the accomplishment only tasted like ashes. Much like this piss weak wine he was drinking, and finished in one long swallow. Time to leave – let these sycophants bathe in their leader’s afterglow if they must, but he had better things to do with what time was left to him. As he rose to leave, of course the leader’s chief toady chose that moment to open his fat mouth.

    “Sulking back to your hole already? The night is young – you might as well enjoy the quiet while it lasts.”

    The punk was lucky that they’d never have to see each other again after this. Otherwise he might have learned the painful lesson of respecting his elders while picking the shards of this empty wineglass out of his neck. But attempting to murder one of his fellows would undoubtedly jeopardize his payment, and that was the only important thing left here.

    “I’d rather collect my, heh, “commission” and leave the playing with farm animals to younger men, Junior. The streets aren’t going to be very safe in a few hours, and I’d rather be safe aboard my ship as it arrives to take me away to the rest of my life as a very wealthy man someplace far away from here. Unless, of course, the plan wasn’t to kill just one old man.”

    All those assembled tensed at his bluntness, but their leader remained stone-faced, betraying nothing about what the real plan was for covering their tracks. Not for the first time was he grateful that he had arranged for some insurance ahead of time to prevent a double-cross. After a tense moment of locked eyes and everyone else holding their breath, the conspiracy’s leader produced a bulging purse and tossed it over to his side of the table. Cautiously, the old man picked up the top of the tied-shut bag with thumb and forefinger, and then let it drop back to the table – just in case there was something else in there instead of coins. But no, the rattling jiggle of coins was the only thing he heard as the bag smacked back down onto the table, and so he scooped the bag back up and shoved it into his shirt, giving an exaggerated bow to those assembled.

    “Pleasure doing business with you all. Hope I never see any of you again. Because if I do . . .”

    He let the threat of deploying his insurance hang in the air, but the leader’s face remained expressionless, until a disdainful hand waved a dismissal. He was free to go, released from service as if he was no more than a cheap porter, easily replaced and quickly forgotten. The gall of it made his blood boil, and yet he was seasoned enough to not do something rash and irrevocable, like he would have done in his youth. Some battles were not winnable, and some were not even worth fighting in the first place. He had his payment, and now it was time to leave and turn his thoughts to the future. However much of that he had left at this point, anyway.

    And so he left, leaving the conspirators to their trite little party on this last evening of peace. While he still half expected a knife to appear in his back at any moment, he nonetheless walked along the docks back towards his “hole”, breathing in the thin mist rising off of the Jeggare River. It would be the last time he would get to do that, for as soon as he collected his things from his stash, he was on the first boat leaving Korvosa. With any luck, the ship would be able to clear its moorings and be at sea before everything went to hell. But first, he had to deal with the ******* coming up behind him. He slowed his limping gait to a stop, reaching for the knife tucked at the small of his back, underneath his cloak, as the footsteps drew closer.

    “I don’t like being followed.”

    He announced, and then extended his offer to his pursuer.

    “So why don’t we skip to the end, where you **** off and I don’t give you a new mouth three inches below your old one.”



    Theme Music

    A dry chuckle that sounded like dead leaves scraping over the cobblestones was the only reply, and then came the whispered counteroffer.

    “So this is how the great Gaedren Lamm ends. A broken old man crawling off to die in safety and comfort, while his city changes hands from one parasite to the next, achieving nothing. And all he has to show for his life is the pittance doled out to him by his masters, a far cry from what he was promised. What he is owed.”

    Gaedren Lamm spun about on his good leg, producing the dagger from its hiding place as he snarled at the mocking interloper, who was little more than a silhouette a dozen feet back, concealed by the mists. If this was an assassin sent by his “masters”, he had bungled the job by announcing his presence. Or perhaps not, considering with his limp Gaedren didn’t have a prayer of escaping. Hoping to buy himself some time, Gaedren tried to keep the figure talking – and unleashing some of his simmering resentment felt good.

    “You don’t know **** about me or what this city owes me! And this “pittance” is more than enough for me to live the sort of life I was promised!”

    Again, a dry chuckle from the figure as it advanced closer. Now instead of a silhouette, it was a cowled figure – another few steps and Gaedren would have a clear throw of his knife at its head.

    “For as long as that life lasts. But then you will be gone. Forgotten. All your dreams and efforts for naught. Korvosa will go on without you, unchanged. Is that the result you fought for, sacrificed so much for, clung to these past thirty years?”

    The figure continued to draw closer, and as it loomed out of the mists, coming within six feet, Gaedren sneered and made his move.

    “This conversation bores me. But however long my life will be, at this point it’ll be longer than yours.”


    The knife scythed through the mist and night air, and yet when it flew perfectly into the darkness of the interloper’s cowl, the figure winked out of existence entirely. Lamm swore as he heard the soft plop of his knife continuing on into the Jeggare River beyond, the perfect throw wasted on some kind of illusion. The interloper’s voice chided him from all sides within the mist.

    “This doesn’t have to be how your story ends, Gaedren. I can provide you with the means to rewrite your ending. You can still do everything you wanted to do – what you were born to do. All you have to do is accept my invitation. Take some time to think about it if you must. Just know that you are short on time to change your fate. So what’s it going to be, Gaedren? Is your life going to end as a failure, or as the fire that will sweep Korvosa clean?”

    From the mist, a card fluttered out to land at his feet. Looking down to examine it, Gaedren saw that it was a Harrow card, much like one from the set he had stolen from that fortune teller bitch some time ago – oh, the irony.

    “Harrow, really? What’s next, you going to tell me that in addition to fame and fortune, I’ll find the woman of my dreams?”

    Gaedren taunted, but there was no reply from the mist – whoever he had been speaking with, they were gone now. Cautiously, Gaedren picked up the Harrow card, flipping it over to reveal that an address had been scratched onto the back. Apropos, given how ridiculous this whole night had been. And yet . . . the figure in the mist’s offer did hold some attraction. He had forgotten how fiercely that spark had burned in him, forgotten himself. He could always retire to Magnimar later, after things calmed down again. It couldn’t hurt to at least see what this lunatic was really offering him, right?

    But first, he was going to need more men – he was going to need a *lot* more men. Which wouldn’t be a problem, thanks to his newfound wealth. Gaedren set off down the street again, but this time his destination wasn’t home, but instead a few local watering holes he knew where the patrons didn’t ask questions, and were rather fond of money.
    Last edited by Inspectre; 2018-01-27 at 12:37 PM.
    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Jul 2007

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Stelio Kontos

    Theme Music

    You awake from your uneasy sleep to find yourself alone in your new, decidedly upscale apartment. Gods, those had been some wild dreams you had last night – the King was dead, the city had gone to hell, and for some reason everyone was . . . resorting to cannibalism to survive? Oh well, just nonsense dreams, no doubt fueled by your equally wild night before finally falling asleep.

    Beautrice and Nadine had been over, and although the two ballerinas’ clothing was no longer scattered on the floor amongst your own, they would likely be back tonight. After your performance in front of a packed amphitheater, and the after-show party the entire cast would attend. A tinge of pain from your forehead reminded you to go a little easier on the drinking tonight as you swung your feet out of bed.

    Judging from the light streaming in through the window, it was going to be a beautiful day today. You didn’t have to meet up with the rest of the troupe until noon for rehearsal, so that left you with a few hours this morning to do with whatever you’d like.

    Darvin

    Theme Music

    You awake with a start from a nightmare regarding your dismissal from the Acadamae. The nightmare had started out much like reality, with you being sent to the Headmaster’s office. Toff Ornelos liked to cultivate the personae of a kindly grandfather in front of all his students, but those who broke the rules quickly learned he was anything but. As you learned that day with an hour long tirade by the old bastard over something that you didn’t even do. Gaedren Lamm had set you up to take the fall, but at the time you barely even knew who he was, just another creepy drug dealer peddling Shiver and other “mind-expanding substances” to bored or desperate Acadamae students. So out you went, with no real hope of an appeal to reverse your dismissal.

    The nightmare portion began when you were left not outside the gates of the Acadamae, but down into its basement. A small dark room with the walls literally crawling with imps. “Gotta keep ‘em fed somehow”, the orderlies explained to you, and then they shoved you inside. The imps wasted no time descending on you like a cloud of flies, stinging and mocking you, until you awoke in a cold sweat. Gods did you hate imps.

    Downstairs, the front door to your modest upstairs apartment, downstairs shop bangs open. A moment after that, you hear Greg’s voice calling out to you.

    “Mister Dalen! Are you up yet? I picked up some breakfast on my way over here, if you want some! Figured we could get an early start on planning out your appointments today afterwards, if’n you’d like!”

    PiccadillyPi

    Theme Music

    The young woman dances across rooftops, skipping over gaps in the Shingles’ ramshackle footing. You can only watch in helpless frustration from below, unable to help her, as fingers point up at her and alarms are shouted. But words aren’t the only thing flung at the girl, as a trio of crossbow bolts fly up from further down the street. One strikes her in the leg, throwing off her next jump and leaving her to crash into the side of the building instead of landing atop it. Flailing unnecessary for something to catch her fall, the girl tumbles to the street below. But as she falls, she turns, and it’s not the face of Trinia Sabor you see in that moment, but your daughter Vjala.

    It’s not the horrifying end of this nightmare that rouses you from sleep. Instead it’s the rather gentle but persistent caress of your left horn by your client from last evening, the wife of a rather well-to-do merchant. You didn’t usually sleep over, but your entire evening had been purchased by the lady, so why not?

    “Good morning.”

    She whispered into your ear.

    “I was starting to think I was going to have to resort to more . . . drastic measures to wake you up.”

    Before you could consider putting in some overtime, the door downstairs boomed open and you both froze.

    “Honey, I’m home! Caught a tailwind just out from Palin’s Cove, saved nearly two whole days off the trip! You won’t believe the deals I was able to make in Magnimar this time around!”

    As you start to hear the creaking of stairs as someone ascends to the second floor bedroom, your client practically shoves you out of the bed.

    “You need to hide! Right now, under the bed, or out the window, I don’t care! But if he catches you here . . .”

    And this would be why you generally tried to avoid married clients unless the pay was quite substantial (as it was in this case). For that matter . . . hrmm, what an odd thought. For a second you thought this woman was in fact a widow, her husband recently lost at sea and leaving her in need of companionship. Clearly that was wrong, as you were about to meet Mr. Client if you didn’t get out of here or find a convenient place to hide.

    Steveodore

    Theme Music

    The nice thing about not having permanent accommodations was that nobody knew where to go to find you. The bad thing was that you have to keep changing your accommodations, else everyone eventually figured out how to find you. Looks like you were going to have to move on again, as a banging came from what passed for your front door, followed by Dahl’s voice.

    “’Ey, Apprentice! I gots a job for us, well meself, but I could use some ‘elp on it! You wants in fer thirty percent? I’ll give it to ya straight off the top, in exchange for a bit o’ yer time!”

    Great. This was probably some other hair-brained scheme of Dahl’s, although it sounds like he was doing working for someone else this time. You aren’t sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing for your chances of getting burned on this, but either way you can’t have him keep pounding on your door and shouting for you like he was doing right now. Which he would probably keep doing until the entire neighborhood knew you were here.
    Last edited by Inspectre; 2018-01-27 at 06:35 PM.
    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Disoriented, Dalen rises to a sitting position. Is he still dreaming? Didn't Greg die several days ago? His mind rippled and raced with an alacrity he was unused to. He put his hands to his temple and felt an unfamiliar strand of silver around it. He intuitively understood what it was, but that was just another question that needed answering. His mental acuity and competency seemed intact, and his magical abilities bristled underneath as if to reassure him. It didn't, but uncertainty had never caused him pause before now.

    "My, it seems I've overslept," Dalen stands up, and begins to scan around for any sort of journal or writings for context, "too much on my mind as of late. Let's see, what did I have planned for today?" he intones this rhetorically, but underneath his confident facade it is a serious question.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Silas

    There is some amount of luck to be found within instances of great misfortune. In the case of Silas Rata'da, his current predicament precluded a happy ending. A restless wife, not his, and a busy husband, home too early. His greatest misfortune was that he did not bring his usual tools of escape. However, his greatest victory that day was that he was only on the second floor.

    'Quite the darling predicament.' Voiced the fiendish fellow, hurriedly gathering his belongings. 'We'll have to continue our... convulsions another time.' He winked.

    Managing only his trousers before the creek of the stairs reached their peak, Silas dropped his items from the window. Bundled together, they land well with the sound of belts and silk meeting cobbled stone. Wrapping his tail around his stick, the courteous courtier hopped to the sill. Turning to his client, unable to remember her name, he tipped the cane with a farewell bow. As the doorknob turned, the thief of love descended to the streets. Mid flight, he realized he was missing his small clothes. Whatever landing he managed, it was well enough for him to become scarce as quickly as a merchant might find foreign undergarments peaking out from under his bed.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    In an alley some blocks from the scene of the crime, Silas fitted himself for proper market mingling. Belts, silks, and a bit of coin from a good night's work. The ritual of dressing gave the tiefling time to reflect on his dream. He had been sober for a year, but in that time his father had never contacted him. The common method was a self-insert. Usually two chairs in a cold room for some father-son bonding. However, this time it felt different. Too much unlike anything he'd ever experienced when he was bound to service. It felt... real.

    But why Vjala?

    An address flashed into memory. Familiar, surreal, and uncomfortable. A wave of nausea overwhelmed Silas, forcing his body to bend and retch. His mind whispered the address again.

    Forty-two Moon street, Apartment twenty-two

    'Forty-two... Moon street... Apartment twenty-two'

    This was more than just a dream. Perhaps a career in fortune telling was in his future. On the other hand, selfish visions likely don't offer much profit. Collecting himself, he headed home for a brief intermission to what was likely to be a busy afternoon. From there, he set out for the Shingles.

    Again?
    ~ Piccadilly Pineapple

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Illinois, USA
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    Male

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Aliani awoke at dawn to brew his cup of tea, as per his habit. Whatever depravities he'd allowed himself these last couple of years had certainly broken down many of his habits -- and yes, as he looked at the pair of silk scarves still knotted 'round the head posts of his bed, he'd allowed himself quite a few, though few as enjoyable as that -- some habits just weren't to be broken. He really wished they'd stayed, just for the company, while wondering if they'd gotten all they'd hoped out of it. Fame had its drawbacks of course, and living up to lofty expectations, in all areas, was probably the most immediately relevant.

    The sun's rays filtered through the stained glass window into the kitchen, filling the space with a warm pinkish glow. He opened the small casement beneath it, letting the breeze blow in the flowery scent from the small garden outside. He sat quietly, scarcely moving, letting the tea and floral scents mingle and dance around his mind.

    The dreams had started a couple of weeks ago; little flashes at first, but coming through more forcefully the last few days, even drifting into his waking thoughts. It always came back to Gaedren Bleeping Lamm, of course. It seemed like the harder he pushed himself to bury that part -- part, hell, it was the whole thing, he had to admit -- of his past, the harder it came bobbing back up to the surface. He'd spent, what, the better part of three years chasing down leads, getting stonewalled by corrupt or incompetent guardsmen, waking up crying in the middle of the night seeing his mother's face, before he'd finally managed to quell the urges toward vengeance and thrown himself into the theater? He'd damn near blocked it away for good this time. Almost.

    The rest he'd dismissed as an amalgamation of flurries of subconscious memories. The desk, clearly a symbol of the things he'd pushed aside in his mind, probably more deeply than he should have truth be told. He'd always hated those drapes, wasn't even sure why he'd brought them over from the place on Moon Street. When was that man supposed to be by. Was it today? No, next week I think he said. Of course the entire system of government was garbage, inadequately protecting the citizens from scum like Barvasi. Of course it did all it could to lock up the innocent ones and reward the corruption. He'd given that speech a hundred times -- well, one of his alter egos had anyway. Nobody would listen to a mere entertainer, he'd found; he'd done all he could to separate the images he presented to the world. Aliani Rose was Aliani Rose, orator extraordinaire, the darling of Kendall -- and nothing more, as far as anyone else was concerned. He'd worked hard to keep it that way. He'd convinced everyone of that. Until lately, he'd even convinced himself. Almost.

    It was time for his daily reading, the whole point of being awake after all. He unlocked the desk, pulling out the dog-eared copy of The Light of Hope, and let it fall open to a page, as was the habit. There were his favorite passages, of course, that helped motivate him; today the wind had picked a chapter he hadn't read in a while. Third Martyrs was always a rather gruesome read; the details regarding the untimely deaths of many of the most faithful were more than a little excessive, but the comfort in knowing that the truly faithful would never truly die, but would be reborn, their souls and memories carrying on to others, fortifying them. Bodies broken, spirits eternal. He hoped someday he'd be regarded as worth that sort of respect. It'd only take a lifetime of building up a reputation, a life, to be sacrificed when the time came. He thought he was maybe, almost, ready to give up the fame and the relative wealth and, yeah let's face it, the twin ballerinas wanting every part of your body was nice too. Not quite almost, though.

    He slipped into his breeches and his favorite silk shirt -- the color wasn't great, but that hardly mattered any more though did it, but it was so damn comfortable. He gave the brooch a quick kiss before slipping it into place, then slipped on the sleeves and his cloak. Who do you want to be today?
    he thought to himself. He felt the little scrape from inside the shirt pocket. He reached in -- Probably just another fan slipping him a room number -- and pulled out the little drawing of a unicorn. A card. A harrow card --

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Steveodore's Avatar

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    Jan 2018

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Miz was cooking her morning meal when the knocking started. She grumbled internally at the at the early morning interruption, doubly so recognizing the whistly lisp of her old master. The first thing that came to mind was to pretend she wasn't home but she dismissed the idea out of hand, Dahl could probably smell the stew from down the hall. As big of a pain as she was expecting this to be she really couldn't put it off, the longer he persisted the more likely some lowlife addict would sniff this place out. That damn sewer squatter had no head for the nuances of city living. Dire rats and vermin paled in comparison to a pack of addled scavs tearing down her door in search of a fix. Miz really didn't want to move again.

    She got to her feet and stepped over to the door. "Alright, alright! keep it down already and we can take this inside!" Prying open the door for Dahl, she poked her head out and peered around to see if the rat's racket drew any attention.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Jul 2007

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Darvin

    You look around the bedroom for a moment, taking stock of the place as you try to get your bearings. This was definitely not your bedroom, and yet it felt intimately familiar in so many ways, from the choice of decoration to the position of the furniture. Your eyes settled on the old desk in a corner of the room, opposite from the bed, and that was familiar too. You had at one point been looking to purchase this exact desk – or one so similar that it was uncanny – due to the concealed bottom it had in the right drawer. Pulling that one open, you check the hidden compartment to find not one, but two books sitting inside: a spellbook (which a brief review of showed a considerable selection of spells that you had always wished to have), and a journal that seemed to be pulling double-duty as a ledger.

    It would take at least a few hours to review the entire journal, but a few pertinent details come through from a quick scan of the most recent pages. First, there’s no question that this was your own handwriting despite the fact that you don’t remember writing any of this. Second, you are apparently still an ex-student of the Acadamae, having been thrown out for being caught cheating (a fact which you are still apparently bitter about). No mention of Gaedren Lamm being involved in that though. Third, you were now running a successful magic item creation business, which presumably was what was allowing you to have such a nice place. Fourth – well, that one was self-evident, as a moment later your bedroom door creaked open, and Greg peaked his head in. And it was definitely Greg, albeit a Greg that was considerably healthier looking and better groomed. And, y’know, not dead.

    “Hey, morning boss! You alright? Come on, we’ve only got about half an hour before your first meeting of the day! It’s Mr. Big Spender!”

    Right, this was something your quick scan of the journal could help with. Apparently you were getting commissioned to craft several items for an anonymous client. You had already tried to charm the information out of the representative that this client sent, to no avail – the representative only knew where to drop the items off. Whoever was holding the purse strings on this one was being really careful to stay in the shadows. You didn’t like that very much, but weren’t sure yet how you could get more information before making a decision whether or not to undertake this work order. The first item you were being asked to make was a Brooch of Shielding, a fairly innocuous defensive item that would be fairly simple to make – no doubt some sort of test of your abilities.

    There was one other thing you had found in your study of the journal before Greg came in to interrupt. At the back of the journal was a Harrow card. A familiar card, as the masked face of the Foreign Trader gazed up at you. And on the back, an equally familiar message from Zellara the fortune teller. You had destroyed this card, melted it with magical acid – and yet here it was, good as new.

    Spoiler: The Foreign Trader
    Show

    -Front-

    -Back-
    I know what Gaedren has done to you. He has wronged me as well. I know where he dwells, yet cannot strike at him. Come to my home at 3 Lancet Street at sunset tomorrow. Others like you will be there. Gaedren must face his fate, and justice must be done.


    PiccadillyPi

    You bid farewell to your client and hop out the nearest window, taking your clothing with you – except for your smallclothes. Oh well, hopefully she would be able to hide those or explain their presence away somehow – it wasn’t your concern anymore. You manage a graceful landing on the cobblestones outside, and find a nearby alley to finish getting dressed in. As you do so, you can’t shake off the feeling of wrongness about the whole affair.

    That feeling wasn’t helped any when a Harrow card tumbles out of your assorted clothing – now that was definitely not there last night! Emblazoned on the front of the card was a picture of a rabbit sneaking along a dark hallway, a silver crown perched on its head and a broken sword clutched in one hand. Written on the back of the card was a message, addressed specifically to you, from someone named Zellara – who wanted to help you get revenge on Gaedren Lamm. But that was impossible, wasn’t it? He . . . he was dead? Wasn’t he?

    The card triggered another strange memory, an address that held a troubling importance to it. Forty-two Moon Street, Apartment Twenty-Two. It could be dismissed as just the address of a troublesome client, but that address was in the Shingles. You didn’t do business in the Shingles as a general rule, and most people who lived in the Shingles couldn’t afford your rates anyway. So it wasn’t a client . . . something Vencarlo had asked you to check out for him? That . . . that seemed right.

    You decide to check it out immediately instead of allowing it to trouble you further. But just in case there was going to be trouble, you made a stop at your home first to be properly outfitted. Once you were satisfied that you were prepared to any potential trouble, you headed down to Forty-Two Moon Street to observe the building from a nearby street corner before making the climb up to Apartment Twenty-Two.

    As it turned out, you wouldn’t have to go all the way up to the apartment itself after all. Shortly after you set up on the street corner, you saw the girl from your dreams come up the street. Lithe, pretty, short-cropped platinum blonde hair, dancing emerald eyes – yup, it was her. Other than in your dream, you had never seen her before, and yet somehow you knew her name was Trinia Sabor. Currently, Trinia’s arms were full of painting supplies and blank canvases, and as the girl tottered towards the stairs one of the apartment’s other inhabitants came down and started helping her carry the disorganized mess upstairs. Trinia said something to the man, and the two of them shared a laugh as they started ascending the stairs, one of the canvases balanced between them. She looked so happy and innocent – how could she go from this to desperately fleeing across the Shingles under crossbow fire?

    A chill went down your spine in that moment, and you suddenly knew that you were being watched. You scan the crowd looking for the source of that chill, and it abruptly turns to a frigid rock in the pit of your stomach. Far down the street, at the mouth of an alley, was Vjala. She was watching Trinia climb the stairs, and then she turns her gaze back to you. And seems to smile, giving you a jaunty wave, before stepping back out of sight into the alley behind her.

    Well, now you knew why both this Trinia woman and Vjala had been in your dream together. But how they were linked in the real world or just what in the Hells was going on, you had no idea.

    Spoiler: Trinia Sabor
    Show



    Spoiler: The Rabbit Prince
    Show

    -Front-

    -Back-
    I know what Gaedren has done to you. He has wronged me as well. I know where he dwells, yet cannot strike at him. Come to my home at 3 Lancet Street at sunset tomorrow. Others like you will be there. Gaedren must face his fate, and justice must be done.


    Stelio Kontos

    You pull the Harrow card out of your pocket, and the very sight of it fills you with an existential dread that you don’t understand. Unbidden, the scene from your dream of Korvosa burning, and you hunkering down with others to feast on the remains of the dead amid the squalor floods back into the forefront of your mind. Something was coming to Korvosa. Something dark. Evil. You were convinced of that to the very core of your being and yet if you were pressed to explain why, even to yourself you could not. You just knew that It was coming, somehow.

    Well, that was something of a buzzkill, to be sure. The name of Gaedren Lamm scratched into the back of the Harrow card was another shot of adrenaline to your system. Although you don’t know how this Zellara managed to slip the card into your pocket, something about that felt familiar too. But unlike the unshakable feeling of doom now squatting full-time in the back of your mind, this feeling of déjà vu was reassuring somehow, as if everything would be alright if you simply went to this Zellara’s house tomorrow evening.

    But that meeting wasn’t until tomorrow evening, and until then the show had to go on. You still had plenty of time after your morning medication was finished to grab breakfast and do some shopping. You could probably pick up some supplies to help you with whatever was coming, and probably have enough time left over to pick up a little gift for your two ladies if you wished. Any skepticism you might have about this meeting with a fortune teller and “others” tomorrow evening might also be settled with a quick visit to 3 Lancet Street to investigate it from a safe distance. But once you were at rehearsal this afternoon, the rest of your day was likely to be booked, so you would need to spend your time wisely on those three goals.

    Spoiler: The Unicorn
    Show

    -Front-

    -Back-
    I know what Gaedren has done to you. He has wronged me as well. I know where he dwells, yet cannot strike at him. Come to my home at 3 Lancet Street at sunset tomorrow. Others like you will be there. Gaedren must face his fate, and justice must be done.


    Steveodore

    You open the door to see Dahl’s pointed face grinning at you. No one else looking this way – not yet, not that you could see anyway.

    “’Ey, there’s my lovely apprentice. Lookin’ great as always. Talkin’ inside is probably smart.”

    You open the door the rest of the way to grant Dahl admittance to your humble abode, and as you pull the door open wider a card that had been stuck in the door’s hinges wafts down onto the floor. Closer to it than you, Dhal snaps it up in one paw, looks at it with one eyebrow raised for a moment, and then simply hands it to you. You weren’t one of those Varisian scavs who put much faith in such things, but you did recognize the card as a Harrow card, used by fortune tellers for divining fortunes – and how much coin they could soak a mark for the privilege. Some kind of giant was depicted on the front side, pounding away at an anvil inside of a massive forge.

    “Friend o’ yours have a thing for the Harrow?”

    Dahl asks idly, not really expecting an answer as he slips past you over to where you were preparing your meal. He was going to ask you if he could have some, you just knew it. No point in telling him no, either, or he’d just pout and whine until you gave him some. How the two-legged rat had managed to survive on his own for so long was a mystery to you.

    While Dahl was distracted by the food, you took a quick glance at the back of the Harrow card – there was a message written here. A message intended for you, involving someone who knew where Gaedren Lamm would be and when. Plus a promise of aid from some similarly-minded folks. All you had to do was show up at this Lancet 3 place in the heart of the Midpoint slums tomorrow evening. It smelled like a trap, yet for the life of you, you couldn’t think of a reason why anyone would bother with such an elaborate ruse when if they knew where to find you, they could’ve just kicked in the door and buried a knife in your ribs while you were still waking up.

    Dahl managed to pry himself away from the idea of nicking half of your meal for himself long enough to explain this job he had.

    “So, yeah. You remember Long Nose Niles, right? Ratfolk, black fur ‘cept for tha’ one white stripe runnin’ along his long nose? Well, ‘e’s dead. Ere’s the thing though – ‘fore ‘e died, ‘e went on a rampage ‘e did. Went running through Girrigz’s burrow ‘e did, down in the Vaults, shooting gouts o’ flame and lightnin’ out o’ his fingers! Then ‘e’ just falls over and ‘as some sorta seizure, screaming about the End or some nonsense ‘fore ‘e just croaks it. Girrigz wants to know ‘ow the ‘ell ‘e did that, cuz Long Nose Niles knew about as much magic as I know ‘ow to fly!”

    Girrigz. Gods damn Dahl was going to get you both killed. Girrigz was a full-on wererat, and while most of the wererats were willing enough to let the other undesirables of Korvosa live and let live, Girrigz was a bit of an agitator. Always trying to rile his fellows up into open revolt against the rest of the city, take over the topside, and drive all the humans out. Nice plan, except for the fact that the reality of that would be the Hellknights or even the city guard marching down here to clean all of *you* out instead.

    Apparently somebody had finally had enough of Girrigz running his mouth, and decided to do something about it by setting a crazed Long Nose Niles loose on him and his small following. That part was none of your business, frankly, and you weren’t sure there was enough coin in the city to make it worth you having to listen to Girrigz ranting about the Evil Topsiders, especially since nearly getting killed had probably worked him up into fine form. But – Dhal was right that Niles was no mage. And working up enough magic to make a big showy exit from this mortal coil should not be something he could have ever accomplished. Which made you wonder how he did it, short of some mage dressing up and pretending to be Niles.

    And even if you did go to this Gaedren Lamm Funeral Planning Shindig, that wasn’t until tomorrow evening. Plenty of time to at least listen to what Girrigz had to say for himself, take his money, maybe get some samples from Niles body to try and figure out just what the hell happened to him that spontaneously gave him real magic powers.


    Spoiler: The Forge
    Show

    -Front-

    -Back-
    I know what Gaedren has done to you. He has wronged me as well. I know where he dwells, yet cannot strike at him. Come to my home at 3 Lancet Street at sunset tomorrow. Others like you will be there. Gaedren must face his fate, and justice must be done.
    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2017

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Dalen can't help but crack a smile as he looks at the card, "some threads are harder to cut than others it seems. I really should have paid more attention in divination classes," Dalen slips the card into his pocket, his impatience swelling inside of him, "good to see you, Greg. I'll need to get ahead on my work because I have some important errands to run today and tomorrow," Dalen didn't need much time to establish his priorities, and was quickly acclimating to his faster mental acuity. There was a thread of fate that Zellaria had tapped into with regards to him previously, a thread that still seemed to be strong. His first priority was to seek the others who shared that fate. The meeting with Zellaria would come at its appointed time, and until then there was only one other who he had any clue of where to search: Aliani.

    "Let's meet this client quickly so I can better plan my day," he grabs a familiar cloak that had existed not long ago in his mind's eye and clasps it tightly around his neck as he walks out of his bedroom.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Illinois, USA
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    Male

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Aliani sat, staring at that card in his hand for what felt like hours. It was all a little too real, just then -- all the strange dreams, figments of the mind trying to make sense of snippets of things it'd taken in, he'd thought. No, they weren't a coincidence, they were a message. There was a reason the book chose those pages for him to read today -- that too was a message. A wake-up call of sorts, perhaps. Maybe he wasn't doing as much as he could. And if something real and dark and that cataclysmic was coming? All the other stuff could wait.

    Well, whatever was coming, he would be damned if he would end up as a cannibal. He'd sooner be dead than do that. Obviously that was allegorical -- right? It was hard to tell what was real and what wasn't -- and, as he reflected, that was equally true of his life as much as it was of as his dreams, or memories, or commandments from Milani herself, or whatever they were. He had so many fictions built into his own lifestyle that it was hard for him to even remember what was real any more. When you build up two completely fictional people to take care of your public life -- no, dammit, three fictional people (see what I mean about how hard it was to remember what was real?) -- things can get a bit jumbled.

    Okay. Bad things coming. That's what matters. Focus. He began to make a mental checklist. He'd need food, of course. A hundred days would be a nice round number, probably they're a hundred to a case anyway. if it lasted longer than that there were other issues. Weapons, too. He looked at the morningstar mounted above the fireplace; he'd barely held the thing in the last year, and now he was thinking about how to use it. An exquisite piece, with ornate flowery etching along the sides of the handle that fit his hand so perfectly. He'd had it appraised at something like two hundred fifty gold pieces. I wonder what it's worth with blood stains on it. He didn't know why mom had kept it around when times had been a bit rough instead of just selling it. Sentimental value, he guessed. Or maybe she, or the Everbloom, knew he'd need it someday. Well, he couldn't argue with that. He'd need backup weapons of course; there would surely be allies in this war and might not have them. A few daggers, maybe ten or so, a few clubs, things anyone could use. A crossbow or two, and ammunition for them, and a lot of it. And finally, something to store it all in in the event that leaving town and regrouping was the only option. He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, trying to tap into the dreams telling him what he might need, to calm himself. For truth be told, he was trying to talk himself into all this. Yes, it had to be done.

    He couldn't very well go out himself and buy these things. Fortunately, he'd built a solution over the last year and a half, right when he'd moved. He'd spent days perfecting that disguise, the flecks of gray in the hair, the salt-and-pepper beard, the slight paunch in the jowls that merged into a slightly thicker chin than his own, the white button-down shirt with the silver buttons that looked suspiciously like Mom's brooch (he knew that was foolish, but couldn't resist, and who looked that closely at a button anyway?), a shirt that said "either this person is wealthy or someone wants him to look like he is". Now it was just a quick wave of the cloak, and there he was: Aliani Rose was no more, replaced by Stevens Randell. Two layers deep now. Master Rose, recluse that he was, couldn't very well run around to the market in public. Last time he'd done that he'd spent two hours being chatted up by adoring fans. Not that that wasn't nice, but you can't spend two hours getting a piece of fruit. Enter Mr. Randell, "personal assistant". He took care of all the day-to-day errand running. He'd be able to explain that the food was for a wilderness themed after-party, and the weapons were for an upcoming production of Two Kings In Garund. Yes, they use stage props most of the time, but they want this to look especially real. No no, the actors are well trained, nobody would be injured. Would they be able to deliver the items directly to 119 Overlook Crest, right there at the very west edge of Midland a block due east of Marbledome, at precisely 11:00 AM and leave them outside the door? Mr. Randell would take them from there and deliver them to the theater, as Mr. Rose was preparing his lines and absolutely not receiving visitors. Yes, of course there was a delivery surcharge, he understood, but Mr. Rose insisted it was quite urgent that the items be procured with haste. Stevens took care to examine the weapons carefully, looking them over for any flaws and finding none. He paid for the items, in cash, and set off toward home. Once safely inside, he chained and locked the front door, closed the shutters, flicked the cloak back to return to his normal visage, and the thoughts came pouring through his mind. My lady, my savior, please let me be acting in Your will. I don't know if I'm ready for what you are asking of me, for what will come, but you know that I will do my best. I hope that's enough.

    The bad thing about the flood of memories was, it's hard to pick and choose what comes back. That's probably why, right as Mr. Rose finished his silent prayer, all he could see was Mother Silverlight, laying on the cobblestones of that damned alley -- what was it, five years now? -- with her blood running down the hill in the rain. He had himself a good, long cry.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PiccadillyPi's Avatar

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    Oct 2017

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Silas

    Vjala!

    The harrow card crumpled in his hand, suddenly unimportant. How many years had it been? He'd seen her in passing, but she disappeared every time. Before he could talk to her--apologize. He yearned to embrace her, tell her he's sorry, tell her it was all his fault. She knew it, it was obvious, but his guilt became the core of his being when he removed himself from a crutch he mistook for a shield. This guilt, he used it to create hope. This hope, he used it to combat the despair that enveloped his mind every day and night. Of course, Vjala could have been an illusion. A feature of years of drug use, providing him with a lifetime of hallucinations. He'd never spoken to her after sighting her. She'd always disappeared. Regardless, Silas had to put off visiting Trinia for a moment. She was safe, as far as he could tell. No roof-running, no crossbowmen, and there was no feeling of imminent death. Fate, if it was that, could spare him from all of that for at least a few minutes. He wanted more than anything to hold his daughter again, even if she did turn out to be a trick of the mind.

    Pocketing the balled card, Silas sprinted toward the alley. Upon reaching it he called out. 'Vjala!' His eyes searched high and low. 'Vjala, show yourself!'

    Please
    ~ Piccadilly Pineapple

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Steveodore's Avatar

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    Jan 2018

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Miz frowns down at the card Dahl passes her while shutting the door. None tha comes to mind.. Reading the message on the other side set her mind turning. Gaedren Lamm.. Miz met with her share of monsters in life but good old uncle Lamm may well be the grand daddy of the lot. This was.. Something to think about, but now wasn't the time to dwell on her skeletons. Miz stuffed the card in pocket and turned back to Dahl sniffing around her food. She stepped over to a shelf, snapping up an extra bowl and spoon, she clanked them together to get Dahl's attention.

    "Let's hear it awready Old Man, cut to the quick then."

    While her old master filled her in, she gave the stew a taste and added more salt before she deemed it good enough. After Dahl finished up she filled up the bowls and set them on Setting the bowls on a bare table, she took the chair for herself leaving a tall stool for Dahl.

    "So supposin' I have this straight, Girrigz wants you to cut into poor Niles, pull out some answers and maybe dig round some afta. And then you want me around for some extra eyes and brains? Maybe an extra pair of hands to keep Girrigz agreeable?"

    Miz took a big gulp of tabby stew while thinking. Beyond the obvious concern that this was something coming from bloody Girrigz, this was hardly the worst job Dahl tried to rope her into.. Course in a couple cases, the rat failed to share some small details she quite liked to have known ahead of time.

    Eitherway, despite Dahl's knack for getting into throuble, he always had a good nose for getting out of it. Miz saw nothing too risky the way he was selling it so long as she stuck close to Dahl if things turned sideways.
    Last edited by Steveodore; 2018-01-31 at 04:06 AM.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Jul 2007

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Darvin

    The meeting with Mr. Moneybags AKA Mr. West AKA Rodney Pergoliski (as your double has learned through carefully applied charm spells) was incredibly dull. With all of the mystery taken out of it already by “your” journal (save for the man’s employer), and with the details already worked out, this meeting was largely just a formality.

    You would receive half of the money upfront to cover expenses, with the other half being paid upon delivery. Rodney – Mr. West – would be back in two days’ time to see if the work was complete. If it was, you would receive a 5% bonus for speedy delivery – if not, Mr. West would return 5 days after that (a full week from today) to check again. If it was still not completed by that point, the contract would be null and void, you would be expected to return the 750 GP, and there would be no further opportunities coming. The client had also requested the brooch be made in the shape of a rose, but that shouldn’t be difficult to manage.

    The other you had every confidence that you would be able to finish the order by the two-day deadline. You weren’t as sure, given you needed to go find Ailani to figure out what in the Hells was going on, and tomorrow evening you had a date to lop off Gaedren Lamm’s head. Oh, and around that same time if history repeats, the whole city goes to the dogs. With Mr. West expected back the very next morning, who knows if he’d actually show up to collect, and if he didn’t what would happen to your bonus.

    Hells, who knows if Mr. West would even *ever* show back up to collect, and given the contract didn’t cover what would happen if Mr. West was jacked up by some imps on his way to you, there was the possibility of his client weaseling out of paying you. Which meant no brooch for him either, and an effectively free brooch for you, but that still meant spending almost all of your remaining time before the chaos working on it. You could also do only a little work on it now, and wait to see if Mr. West showed back up, which would give you confidence the deal was still going to happen, at the cost of your 75 GP bonus.

    For that matter, while your other self had been enthusiastic about this deal just to have a well-paying client, you were more skeptical of gift horses. This whole thing was shady as hell, because normal people didn’t tend to hire representatives to go shopping for them, especially when the guy didn’t even know who he was representing! Of course, “normal” people didn’t buy magical items whose sole purpose was to protect them from magic missile, either. You could still walk away from this, but once you took the 750 GP upfront payment, you were obligated to see this through – unless you wanted word getting around that you were a welcher and a thief, which would pretty much sink your business for good. Maybe you could stall for some more time, difficult given so many details had already been hashed out, but perhaps arguing it would be hard to find a rose-shaped brooch would work.

    (So by my count, Darvin will need to work on the brooch for 12 hours total to make it (since it costs 1,500 GP, 8 hours of work = 1,000 GP). To make things simple let’s cut the days up into 3 8-hour chunks: day, evening, night. Tomorrow evening and night chunks are already booked for Lamm-hunting and Eodred’s dead rioting. That leaves today, evening, night, and tomorrow morning open for crafting. Darvin can only ever spend 8 hours maximum/day working, so I don’t think there’s any way he can do it all today. Which means the big decision is whether he spends 8 hours tomorrow morning – all of it – or only 4 hours, which would mean spending a full chunk today – either this morning, evening, or night. Or 2 4-hour chunks today, I guess. Let me know how Darvin is going to break that up, or if he’s even going to go through with this deal, or even try to stall and put it off until after the riots.)

    Stelio Kontos

    Your masterful disguise had proven effective in allowing you to escape notice before, and it served you well here as well. You make your desired purchases without any questions being raised, nor anyone seeming to recognize the real identity of “Stevens Randell”. It does take you a little longer than you expected it would, however, as you have to visit several stores to purchase enough trail rations. Apparently the hoarding of food was already starting, as many thought Eodred didn’t have long to live – if only they knew just how short of time he had left. The panic and profiteering hadn’t started in full swing yet, and so you manage to get the full 100 days’ worth that you desired, without having to pay an extortionary mark-up – but that day was coming.

    Returning to your home, you remove your disguise and await delivery, hoping that there wasn’t much of a delay in the delivery of goods as you needed to be at the Kendall Ampitheater soon. A knock at your door eventually comes, but when you go to answer it you find not the store’s courier, but instead a member of the city guard. A sergeant, by the look of his rumpled uniform. The man gives you a pleasant enough smile, but it doesn’t touch his tired, sad eyes. The faint stench of alcohol wafts from him – he had been drinking recently, although not enough to impair him judging by his level speech. Still, typical that this was the best the guard could offer.

    “Hello, Mister Ailani Rose? I’m Sergeant Grau Saldado of the Korvosan Guard. I was wondering if you had a few minutes to discuss a complaint you filed a number of years ago against a Gaedren Lamm. You claimed that he murdered a Miss Silverlight. I understand you were frustrated with the results of the previous investigation, Mr. Rose, but the new Field Marshall is very dedicated to justice, and investigating previously stalled cases is part of that. If there is anything you can remember about that case, it would be most helpful.”

    Ah yes, the new Field Marshall of Korvosa, Cressida Kroft. It was an open secret that the previous Field Marshall, Edward Jeggare, was so busy shoveling bribes into his own pockets that he couldn’t be bothered to run the city guard, let alone enforce the law. The fact that it took King Eodred as long as he did to finally remove the man several months ago was disgraceful, but par for the course. Not that the “new” Field Marshall, for all her promises, was going to be any better. She’d probably charge one of her guardsmen handing out free food to the people with dereliction of duty or something equally ridiculous ( ).

    You, of course, remembered the discovery of your mother’s body in intricate detail. The blood slowly flowing away from her in little crimson rivulets through the cobblestones, carried away by the rain. The washed out smear of blood by her right hand where she had either flung out a blood-smeared hand to catch herself, or write out the name of her killer only for the rain to undo her last effort on this mortal coil. The knife, buried up to the hilt in her left side in between her ribs, lodged there so firmly that it was impossible for you to pull out. Her mouth half-open and full of water, her eyes that were once so lively and cheerful now empty and staring, oh yes you remember all of it.

    But you weren’t sure what the use of it was to relay any of that to this lackey of the guard, nor were you certain you’d be able to dispassionately maintain your façade that “Mother Silverlight” was anything but *your* Mother. On the other hand, you did need to get rid of this lackey of Kroft’s somehow, and quickly, lest the good sergeant was still around when your sizable delivery of food and weapons rolled up.

    Spoiler: Grau Saldado
    Show




    PiccadillyPi

    You chase after your daughter, only to find an empty dead-end waiting for you. This wouldn’t be the first, or last, time that you had seen Vjala turning a distant corner, or out of the corner of your eye, only for her to be gone before you could reach her.

    But then you hear a soft voice clear its throat from above you, and look up to see Vjala crouched on a catwalk overlooking the alley. You work out the path she took to get up there quickly enough – on top of that refuse heap at the back corner of the alley’s dead-end, up to that rope, to swing over to that windowsill, and from there it was a short leap over to the catwalk. Moving to join your daughter up above street-level seemed like a dangerous proposition right now, however, as she gazed down at you with a look of pure venom.

    “Hello, father.”

    She sneered.

    “Are you here to apologize for selling me for a fix? For condemning me to a living hell? Well. Apology accepted. You can go crawl back into the Shiver vial now, and leave me the Hells alone. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll stay far away from me from now on. And you’ll stay even further away from Trinia Sabor. She’s a dead woman.”

    And without further warning, Vjala turns, scampers up the slope of a nearby roof, and drops down out of sight on the other side. You could try to keep up with her, but you got the sense that you only caught her for this brief moment because she wanted to deliver that verbal stab, and warn you away from Trinia Sabor. What was it about this woman that was so important?

    It was clear from Vjala’s death threat that there was a sword hanging over the young painter’s head, although it was completely unclear to you why. You could always go try to get the information straight from the source, and there were pleasant and much less pleasant means of accomplishing that, but who knows if Trinia even knew why someone wanted her dead. The real question was Vjala planning on doing the deed, and thus warning you off, or was she warning you that Trinia was marked by someone else for death, and that you needed to watch your own back if you stuck around here? It didn’t seem like you were going to get any answers here in this alleyway though.

    Steveodore

    “You is a real angel, you is.”

    Dahl said with genuine gratitude when you produced two bowls for the stew, although he forsook the spoon in favor of just sticking his snout directly in and slurping it up like it was the first food he’d seen in weeks. You never did manage to teach your former mentor table manners. You had settled for teaching him some common sense when it came to taking potentially dangerous jobs. As much of a nutter as Girrigz was, at least this job was unlikely to end with both the city guard and some smugglers shooting at you while you fled with the smugglers’ latest haul of cargo.

    Not that a trip down into the Vaults, the official term for the maze of tunnels, sewers, and buried ruins that laid beneath Korvosa’s city streets was perfectly safe. The good news was that the wererats didn’t tend to lair too far down below the surface, and so a stray otyugh might be the worst thing you’d run into on the way there. That was bad enough, but there were stories about what parties of adventurers looking to make some quick coin mapping the lowest reaches ran into down there – and those stories generally ended with “and none of them were ever seen again, and their screams could be heard echoing in the tunnels for miles around”.

    “Aye, ye gots the right offit.”

    Dahl says, looking around as if he was expecting to discover some peeping tom hiding under your bed, as he reaches into his jacket.

    “I . . . may have already done a bit of digging. Took a bit of a looksee over Niles’ corpse, and I found this waiting for me.”

    Dahl produces a small glass vial, which you recognize pretty much immediately because it was virtually ubiquitous in the underworld you lived in – a vial of Shiver. An empty vial of Shiver to be precise . . . although Shiver was usually some shade of blue, depending on what alcohol it had been cut with. But it was always some sort of blue because that was a property of the Dream Spider webbing and venom that made up the . . . “active” ingredient in Shiver, and gave it hallucinogenic qualities. The tiny amount of liquid left at the bottom of this vial was pus yellow.

    “Ye always had a betta hed for this alchemy stuff. I’m pretty sure it’s not Shiver, whatever it is, but there’s not a whole lot left to shift through, yeah? Figured you’d have a better chance than I would at making good with what little is left here.”
    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  16. - Top - End - #16
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Jan 2017

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Dalen raps his finger on a nearby table with impatience as the proxy-client speaks. He feigns indifference while drinking in every word. His attention to detail feels more focused and precise, picking up on subtle cues and shifts in tone. He rolls his eyes incredulously as the man goes over his employer's timetable. Really, two days? Dalen hadn't walked in these shoes yet, but he'd assisted in lab-work with the older students. He knew exactly how long this project should take.

    "I'll have your employer's brooch ready well before sunset, Mr West. Come back with the full amount at four o'clock precisely. I'll be closing shop promptly at that time, and if you're not back by then you'll have to wait until tomorrow to pick it up," Dalen explains as he ushers the proxy client out. He cracks his knuckles and calls for Greg and Rhetoric with a grocery list of components. Aliani could wait until evening, and distractions need to be pushed out of his mind; he centers his mind on the idea of Abjuration, recalling the principles of the Shield spell, and sets to work.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2017
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    Illinois, USA
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    Male

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Aliani gave the man a long stare, with a thousand highly inappropriate thoughts running through his head. A drunken guard? Yeah, that's about right. First of all, it wasn't Lamm, it was one of Lamm's lackeys though. Have you even read the case file? I practically handed it off on a silver platter. Is there even a case file any more or did that end up in the river? Do you even know who she was, or care? Of course not.

    Still, it was the first time anyone from the guard had shown any interest in, well, a bit over five years. For the most part at the time they seemed to judge the entire matter as a chore, as though someone getting murdered in their street was an inconvenience for them to be apologized for. It wasn't them that had tracked down mom's brooch, secured it, gotten a description of the person that had brought it in to be pawned off, spent countless hours in seedy bars putting the pieces together to link that cutpurse to Lamm's gang, and written it all up meticulously for them. Hell, the charcoal drawings he'd paid for to bring the man's face to life were works of art. How hard is "find this person and arrest them", anyway? But, well, maybe they had a new lead, and that's what had brought this out, today of all days? Don't take it out on him Aliani convinced himself, though he dearly wanted to. He composed himself, mentally transforming himself into someone as dispassionate as the man standing before him.

    "I'd welcome the chance to talk to you, or Croft, or whoever, about it. But this is really a very very poor time. We've got the very last night of the production tonight, and I have to get myself in the proper mindset. Tell you what -- how about I stop by the station house in three days, at noontime, we can sit down with the entire case file and go over everything again. Does that sound acceptable?"

    He leaned in to speak a little closer to the man, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder; the alcohol smell on his breath was... quite potent. "And this may not be my place to say, but if you're going to make more of these house calls, you may want to sober up a bit more first. I'd hate for you to lose your job because someone complains to your new leader about the whiskey breath. It doesn't bother me, but others may not be quite so understanding."

    He hesitated just a bit, trying to convince himself to just close the door and have another good long cry, before continuing with a sigh. "I... I have a private bathroom inside, if you want to take just a couple minutes, get cleaned up a bit. You can tell me briefly about whatever new leads you might have. But I really do need to prepare."

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    I'll just take 10 on a Diplomacy check (18) to hopefully get this guy in and out the door in five minutes or less.
    Last edited by Stelio Kontos; 2018-02-01 at 08:20 PM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PiccadillyPi's Avatar

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    Oct 2017

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Silas

    What do I do?

    The dandy left the alley feeling about as well as any man whose heart had been pierced by their own needle of fate. Whatever path Vjala traveled, it would be Silas' fault. Even if that meant his death... or hers.

    For now, the best course of action in his eyes was to follow through with his vision. Apartment twenty-two. Trinia Sabor. With that in mind, Silas returned to the scene of the vision, climbing the stairs. He walked slowly, pacing himself. There wasn't much that unnerved him in this city, but the feeling a deja vu in a place he'd never been... well, that was unpleasant.

    Apartment twenty-two

    Silas raised his hand, anticipating himself to knock vivaciously on the shoddy door with the number twenty-two chiseled into it. Instead, his hand lay still at his side. His eyes gracing the grains of the portal that may hold answers for his riddled mind. Instead, he hesitated, and stood in that hallway. Alone. Warnings of doom and gloom are formidable deterrents. The room number may as well have been an effigy, burning bright to ward away those the courage to muster a single breath beyond them.

    He turned to leave, but halted his step upon facing the neighboring door. Someone lived there, surely. But why was the door closed? He remembered it was open. Or... it did open.

    Placing his hand on the knob, he attempted to open the door opposite of apartment twenty-two.

    ((Sorry. Lots of work and little time to write.))
    ~ Piccadilly Pineapple

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Steveodore's Avatar

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    Jan 2018

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Miz took the vial from Dahl, holding it up to get a better look at the meager dribble remaining.

    You arn't kiddin' when you say this in't much to go by but it's better then anythin' we could scrape of Nile's guts. Have at the the rest of the pot if you want while I give this a proper look-see. Dunno how long this would take but maybe set the kettle up in the meantime.

    Miz waved to the kettle's place before stepping over the other room where her mess of a lab was set up. Would need to make some room available before she could work out what was in the vial. Miz gathered up the heap of anatomical journals and her own sketches, maps and diagrams from the main worktable and dumped the lot over in a nice clear corner of floor. She'd been busy the other day whipping up her latest mutagenic concoction, something she dubbed yellow guano No. 5, so everything she needed was more or less already in place. The viscus yellow mutagen was right where she left it after slumping off to sleep the other day, she quickly transferred it over to a travel friendly container and stuck it into a free pocket. A little muscle might be what she needed today if they were dealing with Girrigz. Miz finished up readjusting her Alchemy array to test the vial before she got herself ready for the next bit.

    Settling the vial down Miz reached inside herself, hunting for the elusive shadowy qualities that flutter just beyond the edge of her being. The feeling might be different for others but visualization of the hunt helped Miz center herself and pinpoint what she was after quickly. With only a few seconds passing she snatched up the aspect she was after and pulled it out, feeling herself change as she did so. Fine hairs rippled out across her body and her face contorted into a bestial shape. Her now upturned nose took up much for then her face complete with wide pronounced nostrils. Not wasting time, she popped the cap of the vial and took a deep wiff of the drug. Assuming this was Shiver, smelling the drug shouldn't be hazardous as normally it's ingested. Keeping the smell in mind, she set about the task of isolating the ingredients. stretching out the small sample with a neutral solution and separating it to preform tests all while carefully watching and sniffing for telling reactions.
    Last edited by Steveodore; 2018-02-01 at 08:10 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Inspectre's Avatar

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    Jul 2007

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Darvin

    Once Greg has seen Mr. West out, you get to work. It takes Greg a while to find the requested rose shaped brooch, an unassuming piece made of copper with garnets for the rose petals. Fortunately, while Greg is busy finding a base item of high enough quality to hold the enchantments, Rhetoric is actually efficient in picking up all the other materials you’ll need – various arcane reagents and powders that would transfer the actual magic into the brooch.

    The good news is that the Acadamae had taught some basic magical item creation as an introductory course that all students had to take – no doubt as part of a plan to get cheap item creation labor out of them all later. It was hard to be too upset with them for that plan, though, given that was what allowed you to smoothly slip into the shoes of your business-running doppelganger.

    The sun is just beginning its slow descent towards the sea when you finally sit back from the workbench to admire your finished work. Exactly as planned, you had time to eat a late lunch, flip through your journal a bit more, and socialize with Greg a bit before Mr. West returned to collect – and pay. Which paid some dividends as it seems there was something Greg wanted to bring up.

    “Hey, boss, you aren’t going to need me after Mr. Moneybags is gone, are you? I was hoping that I could go see that production Mr. Aliani Rose is hosting at the Kendall Ampitheater tonight. It’s supposed to start just after sundown, and it’s their last night of performance! I already got a ticket and everything!”

    Stelio Kontos

    The guardsman, rather than taking offense at your commentary on his breath, smiles and nods.

    “That would be much appreciated, Mr. Rose! I, um, wasn’t expecting to be on duty today actually. But the Field Marshall wanted somebody to go around talking to people today, and I guess I drew the short stick, eh!?”

    Grau gives you a conspiratorial slap on the shoulder as you usher him inside. He makes himself at home in your wash room, gargling some of the soapy water and even splashing some under his arms. While he does this . . . unconventional clean-up, he gives you further insight on why he’s here.

    “I apologize for taking up your time, Mr. Rose. But you’re right that there’s been some new leads. Or well, I guess I should say some old leads that I tracked down. We can go over the whole case when you have time to stop by Citadel Volyshenek – you know where that is, don’t you? Can’t miss it! Anyway, just stop by whenever you have time, ask the guards out front for Grau Saldado and if I’m not out and about – or off-duty, you know what I’m saying? – I’ll make sure they bring you right in. What was I saying? Oh yeah, the old leads, briefly! So you might remember making a follow-up claim on Miss Silverlight’s murder a few weeks later, when you actually named who you thought was responsible. Something about a silver rose pin that belonged to the victim being sold by the man in the sketch you provided.”

    Grau has finished his washing up at this point, and he looks sodden more than soused now. He turns to look at you intently, and for a moment you catch a glimmer of excitement in his eyes.

    “Turns out this guy worked for Gaedren Lamm, yes. But he was also running a couple other gigs on the side – you name the underworld kingpin, and he was doing jobs for ‘em. Probably why he was found in the Jeggare a couple weeks after you lodged that report, somebody got wind he was working for the competition! I suppose that’s cold comfort for you now, all these years later, but at least now you know the one responsible for Miss Silverlight’s death got what was coming to him in the end. Don’t you worry though, Mr. Rose, I intend to follow this trail all the way back to Gaedren Lamm or whoever ordered him to make the hit – or at least confirm for sure that it was a crime of opportunity, anyway.”

    Grau slaps you on the shoulder again, as if he hadn’t just told you that not only had your hard work five years ago resulted in nothing being done, it got a man killed. A man who, while yes, held the knife that took your mother’s life, he was also the only link connecting that crime to Lamm. You didn’t just want your mother’s murderer to face justice, you wanted the man who employed scum like him to face justice as well, and every other scum who still worked for Lamm. If it had just been simple revenge you sought, you could have just killed the man yourself and been done with it.

    Wait . . . was that really why the “good” guardsman was here? Not really to investigate Gaedren Lamm, or your mother’s murder, but to find a nice tidy way to wrap up the old case. Yes, implicating you in the murder of your mother’s murderer would put a neat little bow on this whole thing! The man who reported the initial crime decided to take justice into his own hands, leaving no one to question which criminal boss had actually ordered the death! It was almost poetic in its simplicity – if the very thought didn’t make your stomach churn.

    Clearly it was time for the good sergeant to go, before he just “happened” to “find” some crucial evidence in your washroom that you never threw away all these years after taking justice into your own hands. Of course, if he stuck around much longer, he’d have ample evidence to plant suspicions against you without even having to fake anything at all.

    PiccadillyPi

    With your daughter lost to you still, there didn’t seem to be anything else you could do except go investigate the source of your grim premonitions – Apartment Twenty-Two. And yet when you found yourself in front of the door several minutes later, you just couldn’t bring yourself to knock. Intermingled with all these portents of doom was Trinia’s face as she climbed the stairs with her neighbor – peaceful. Happy.

    Whatever was really going on here, whatever she was really mixed up in – Trinia was innocent. She didn’t deserve to be involved in this doom you foresaw, and talking to her now would only hasten that doom’s arrival. And it would be of no benefit – she wouldn’t know what you were talking about anyway. The innocent rarely were aware of the doom coiling around them until the moment it was too late and their world was shattered forever. You didn’t know how yet, but you wanted to be there when that moment came for Trinia – or stop it all together if you could.

    As you turn to leave Trinia’s apartment, the door across the hallway catches your eye. Something about it seemed oddly familiar to you, as did opening it. Perhaps you could find the answers you were seeking inside? That strangely familiar memory of opening this door held in your mind, you try the door to find it unlocked. Swinging it open, however, you are certain that this was not what you had intended to find.

    Whatever dim memories you had of the room beyond this door, they did not match what you saw now. And what you saw was three people – no, that was wrong – three low-lives seated around a table in the middle of the room. On the table in front of each man were various implements of harm – one was reassembling a crossbow, another was sharpening a set of knives, and the last was measuring and cutting out lengths of rope with a set of iron manacles resting on the table in front of him.

    The largest of the three men, who was the one sharpening the knives, was seated with his back to you but at a quiet warning from the crossbowman he stood and turned. That gave you a good look at his face, and what was already a disquieting scene to behold now turned blood freezing. The half-orc coldly regarding you now was Tark “The Fishmonger” Vigo – a man you knew only by reputation as a kidnapper, slaver, and murderer-for-hire.

    The Shingles were not usually a happy place to live – while perhaps not as dangerous as the belowground tunnels where wererats and the utterly destitute squatted, there was still a share of giant spiders, criminals, and chokers living above the city streets as well. As such it wasn’t entirely unfathomable that Tark was moving up in the world, literally, and had settled on this little apartment as his latest hang-out.

    Yeah, right, a notorious criminal with connections to the slave trade across Varisia just happened to be living across from a pretty, innocent girl who was surrounded by portents of doom. There was no doubt Tark was here for Trinia, and the only reason she wasn’t gone yet was because whoever had hired him hadn’t given the order yet. But someday soon, the order would be given, Trinia would disappear into a world of horrors she barely even knew existed, and no one from around here would ever see her again.

    “Oi! What ya lookin’ at, Hornface? Close tha’ damn door already, piss off, and forget ya ever saw nothin’.”

    Tark sneers, cradling one of his half-sharpened daggers like he was planning on demonstrating his nickname on you.

    Steveodore

    Dahl looks at you like you just promised he could have your entire cut instead of the promised 70-30 split. While he feasted on what was left of the soup, you enjoyed the relative peace by moving over to what passed for your workbench. The vial of “just-in-case-of-trouble” No. 5 (no trouble on one of Dahl’s jobs, hah yeah that would be the day) was ready by this point, so you tuck the insurance away and turn your attention to the vial.

    Your transformed nose is much better at separating out different odors, and as such it only takes a single wiff of the almost-empty vial’s contents to get an idea of what was inside. There was definitely the acrid, potent stench of Shiver in the vial, the faint burn of the cheap moonshine used as the alcohol base (despite the margins on Shiver, no one really bothered to use anything other than the cheapest paint remover they could find), and something else.

    Surprisingly, that something else was overriding even the smell of Shiver, making your eyes water and your stomach briefly consider expelling the tabby stew recently added. With all the time you spent in the retched underbelly of the city and your alchemical studies, your stomach was made of sterner stuff than that, but just the fact it even considered it was telling of just how foul this last overpowering smell was. And it was truly unique in its vileness, like moldy wool socks soaked in sulfur and pus, with an extra helping of maggots. How Niles managed to choke this down you had no idea, but perhaps he uncorked and chugged before the smell was even able to register. And there was one last smell, mixed in amongst all the others but unmistakable for what it was – blood.

    Moving on from the smell test, you extract the few drops of liquid from the bottom of the vial, allowing its unique odor to spread out and soak into your entire work area. Great, yet one more reason to move as soon as this job was over. Still, you manage to dilute the tiny sample into a larger neutral solution, and start running alchemical tests to see what it reacts with. You identify the alcohol and Shiver, telling you nothing you didn’t already know. You even manage to confirm the presence of the blood, although interestingly enough it reacts as ratfolk blood, and foreign to the solution overall.

    It must have been Niles’ blood, and the only way it could have gotten there was he must have dribbled a few drops into the vial before consuming it. That made absolutely no sense to you – Shiver worked by bonding to the alcohol, hitching a ride into the drinker’s bloodstream, and from there traveling to his/her brain to stimulate the senses and depress the adrenal glands. Consumers of Shiver therefore experienced hallucinations simultaneously with a warm sense of relaxation and a desire to sleep, whereupon they experienced vivid dreams that felt brighter and more real than reality itself. It was apparently a similar but much more intense reaction to what those bitten and enwebbed by the carnivorous Dream Spider, the source of the Shivers “base” components, experienced . . . until the spider eventually got around to eating them.

    That was all alchemical reactions though – minus slight variations between individuals, Shiver had the same effect on everybody. And it didn’t need to somehow bond with the consumer’s blood ahead of time – it was more like some sort of strange ritual done out of some strange belief rather than actual fact. It was possible Niles had been told that adding his blood would make the effect stronger, like some Shiver addicts believed drinking their own urine could maintain the Shiver’s effects for longer by keeping the toxins inside the body (it couldn’t).

    But the next component you separate out suggests a different, more disturbing interpretation. You hadn’t detected this because they were odorless, but the sparkling you briefly activated in the suspension was proof of enchantment reagents. The Academae often used such reagents in the creation of magical items to transfer the magical power of their spells into the physical material of the object being enchanted. You hadn’t heard of anyone using those reagents to imbue people with magic, but it didn’t seem impossible.

    You were starting to get a disturbing idea of how this stuff, whatever it was, worked. Like Shiver bonded to the alcohol, this stuff used Niles’ blood and the enchantment reagents to bind . . . whatever this last, horrible smelling ingredient was. So perhaps it really was a ritual of sorts, a blood ritual to . . . do what, exactly? Apparently the end result was to grant its drinker legit magical powers, which involved some sort of blood magic to bond . . . whatever the last ingredient is to the consumer’s blood.

    And that last ingredient defied description. It was not some sort of admixture that you could separate out further, so whatever it was, it was one singular ingredient. It had some similar properties to blood itself, but it didn’t react in any of the predictable ways that blood did to your tests, so it was something else. And whatever it was, you’d need a much larger sample of it than the less than half a drop you had to work with here. So, that was pretty much it then. Until you got another sample – like an entire vial of this Shiver+ (Shudder?) stuff to play around with. Although you are pretty sure that will not include consuming it – any sort of blood magic wasn’t the sort of thing you fooled around with unless you were prepared for it to be a one-way trip.
    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  21. - Top - End - #21
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Jan 2017

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Dalen twitches visibly as Greg mentions that name. Threads of fate indeed.

    "That sounds like an excellent way to spend an evening," Dalen remarks to Greg, "I could stand to get a bit of culture now and again, myself. Any idea where I might be able to find a ticket at this late hour?"

    In truth, Dalen isn't much of a man for plays, preferring prose in its written form. However, he certainly isn't going to complain is the business of the evening happens to coincide with a performance.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PiccadillyPi's Avatar

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    Oct 2017

    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Silas

    Doing his best drunkard's impression, Silas apologized.

    'Soory boys, I's lookin' fer my place. This don't be it, sure. I'll be leavin' ya.'

    Not what I was expecting

    Closing the door, he swiftly attempted to open Trinia's door to enter and lock it behind him, and signal a shush for anyone objecting to his presence.

    He'd dealt with scraggly types before. He'd run from harsher goons. These ones looked to be on the tougher side, and there was no guarantee they didn't have lookouts. If he could convince Trinia to come his way, maybe he could prevent the sword above her head from falling. Remembering the harrow card, he may have a secondary safe house.

    ((If the knob doesn't turn, he'll instead knock in asymetrical patterns in line with his current facade of drunkeness.))
    ~ Piccadilly Pineapple

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ogre in the Playground
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    "Wait... what?"

    If the jurist in charge of any trial was in the room at this moment and saw the expression on Aliani's face, he'd have instantly been cleared. Or he'd think Aliani was the best actor in all of Varisia. Maybe both?

    How did I not hear about this?

    "That... makes sense, I suppose, from what I know of Lamm's methods. He wouldn't want any loose ends tracing things back to him" Aliani said, distantly, trying to process and think through the news as he spoke. "I ... I don't understand why nobody said anything to me before now. I was looking for that man for the better part of three years, you know. I'd half convinced myself he didn't exist. It was like chasing a ghost. I guess I know why now." A mixture of dejection and anger flashed through him, as he thought about how simple it would have been for a member of the guard to put these pieces together, if they'd tried or cared. It wasn't as though Aliani hadn't been persistent about it. So much time wasted. He slumped into his chair, the anger narrowly beating out dejection at the wire to take over his thoughts. In a moment of better judgement, he wouldn't have said what he said next, but right in this moment judgement was out the window.

    "Do you think the guards that couldn't figure this out were incompetent, or on someone else's payroll?" he asked, in a tone that admitted of no third option.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Darvin

    At your inquiry Greg grimaces and shakes his head.

    “Boss . . . it’s the last show for an Aliani Rose production. It was sold out weeks ago. You can probably find people outside the Kendall Ampitheater selling tickets they bought, but it’s going to cost you gold instead of silver – and that’s for a seat way in the back like mine. If you want somewhere that will let you see all the action down on the stage too, assuming anyone is selling such a seat . . . ugh. I hate scalpers.”

    For a moment Greg looks concerned that perhaps you would ask him for his ticket, as he hastily adds.

    “Um . . . hope it’s alright that we won’t be able to sit near each other, boss. I’m . . . kinda meeting someone for the show.”

    Greg didn’t need to worry, although the news that he was meeting a friend was interesting news. It seemed like you would be able to get a ticket at the Ampitheater for a considerable mark-up, but when the original ticket cost silvers from the theater, the scalper-gouged price would be a handful of gold. And you were about to have a sizable windfall of new wealth, assuming Mr. West got here on time.

    Speaking of which, after you finalized your plans for the evening, Mr. West showed up at the appointed time of 4:00 PM. He made appreciative noises about the quality and speed of your craft, yes yes, and promised more work would be forthcoming. Then he produced another sack of coin, which Greg swiftly counted out to be 825 GP exactly, you handed over the rose-shaped brooch of Magic Missile Absorption, and Mr. West left. And just like that, you were a fabulously wealthy man, at least by Acadamae student standards.

    PiccadillyPi

    Tark sneers at you, but seems mollified by your performance as he slumps back down in his chair (which to be honest was a little too small for him). You close the door to that gang of cut-throats and decide that given the circumstances, breaking into Trinia’s world now was worth it after all.

    You cross the narrow hall and check her door, only to find it’s (wisely) locked. Possibly with a chair or something pushed up against it judging by how little the door wiggles in its frame. You could probably kick it in if it came to that though – these doors were not made for privacy, not security. For now you opted for the polite approach, knocking on the door while continuing your drunken deception. However, if Tark did have any lookouts watching Trinia’s apartment, after drawing attention to yourself by throwing open the door to his hideout, every moment you spent out here was fraying that deception more and more.

    Fortunately, you get an answer to your knocking almost immediately, as a soft melodious voice called out from within, “Just a minute!”

    You hear the creaking of some floorboards and furniture being rearranged from the other side of the door, and then a moment later the voice called out again.

    “Yes? Can I help you?”

    The door is still firmly closed and locked, but you get the sense that you’re being watched – likely through one of the cracks around the door frame. Cautious and smart – well, at least you had that to work with. It might be hard to convince her to let you inside though, while simultaneously maintaining your cover.

    Stelio Kontos

    “What, both’s not an option?”

    Grau quips, and then quickly frowns as he realizes making light of the accusation wasn’t the best way to handle it.

    “Hope you understand that I don’t like to talk politics to people outside the guard, Mr. Rose. Just isn’t wise career move to talk about your superiors, y’know? But Field Marshall Jeggare sir . . . he was a terrible Field Marshall. He had no interest in running the guard right, and it weren’t much of a secret that he was open to bribes. Hard to be an upstanding guardsman in those times, sir, damn hard. But there were good people in the guard too; still are . . . Field Marshall Kroft’s one of them. I’ve . . . well, I’ve known her for years, so you can trust that. There wasn’t much she could do while working her way up the ranks, but now that she’s in charge mark my words, the guard’s going to change. This is just the start.”

    For a moment it looked like Grau was going to say more, but then he just sighed and sheepishly scratched his head.

    “Anyway, if you want my opinion about what happened Mr. Rose, it’s like as not your report got buried under a pile of identical reports from similar crimes. Meanwhile whoever buried it spread word to whichever crime boss was paying them, and they dealt with a potential threat before it could be traced back to them. And then the report for *that* murder also got buried until I went digging. If you hadn’t pushed so hard to find the man in the first place, they probably wouldn’t have bothered to eliminate him, but you must have spooked them. If you ever leave the theater, Mr. Rose, you should consider a career with the guard – we could use someone with your dogged persistence. Most men run into a wall like you did, they just give up instead of keep pushing. Either you take Justice very seriously, Mr. Rose, or Miss Silverlight must have been very important to you, for you to keep going like that.”

    Grau stares at you like he’s trying to gauge your reaction, and then smiles nervously and shrugs.

    “Anyway, I’ve taken up enough of your time today, Mr. Rose. I have a few other stops to make today myself. Then I plan to visit one of the man’s closest confederates who’s currently in Longacre (Korvosa’s largest prison) for an unrelated crime, see if he can tell me anything. I’ll be sure to share anything I learn with you at our meeting three days hence. Until then, Mr. Rose!”

    And with that, the good sergeant leaves your home, just in time too as a few minutes after he left a wagon pulled up in front of your residence and several men unloaded the two chests you had purchased. Inside was all of the food and weapons you had purchased as well.
    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  25. - Top - End - #25
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Silas

    Continuing his inebriated act, the tiefling tapped the door as if it were made of glass. He spoke to the door with his head against its harsh surface.

    'Is that yoo, Tilly? I got yer a present.'

    Following this, he whispered, almost as a mumble, into whatever door slit he could find, voicing whatever sincerity he could muster.

    'My name is Silas Rata'da. You are in grave danger. I am here to help.'

    He knocked on the door again.

    'C'mon baby, I didn't mean what I said. Take me back!'

    Sometimes one recalls odd things within the confines of a dangerous situation. In this case, Silas remembered the name of the merchant's wife whom he left hot and heavy earlier that morning: Tabatha.

    Or maybe it was Aubrey?

    Never mind.

    I hope she returns my undergarments

    Spoiler: Diplomacy
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    Diplomacy: (1D20+8)[15]
    ~ Piccadilly Pineapple

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Well this isn't good at all. Miz had thought figured this was just an exotic dose of Shiver, a probable cause of Nile's death. ...This.. This was so much more. There was alot to think about but it didn't do Miz much good speculating on her own here, especially since Dahl was better in touch then her with the Vaults these days. She picked up the now empty vial and reentered the main room whistling for Dahl's attention. She took up her chair again an patted to table to get Dahl to join her. She leaned close to the Ratfolk and spoke quietly.

    "I managed to get a good read out of the spittle left in this thing. You got it dead to rights there was something funny about it."


    She filled her old man in on her findings. Dahl's earlier unease with handing the vial had transferred over to Miz. She was handling this knowledge like an unfamiliar blade as she shared it with Dahl. When she was done she leaned back and rubbed her nose, giving Dahl time to process the load.

    "Dunno what you want to do with this now, if you have any leads or not. Might be needin' to see Niles up close anyhow and see if he's got anythin' else to share. Could always just stop here too and just give this to Girrigz as is. I dunno what the deal you have with that angry nut but without a clear identity tied to this spooky outfit, He'll be filling in the blanks himself and you know where he'll go with it."
    Last edited by Steveodore; 2018-02-03 at 03:29 AM.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    "By all means; enjoy your evening. I'll find my own way," Dalen smiles at Greg before moving to clean up. Even as the Mr West arrives his true thoughts are on this production. In truth, it's less about his view of the performance and more about getting access to the lead actor afterwards. With distractions gone, Dalen opens his spellbook and remarks to Rhetoric, "front row seats aren't quite close enough for my purposes tonight. Let's see if the production company notices one extra stage hand,"

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Dalen spends fifteen minutes prior to leaving with his spellbook, preparing a Silent Image spell and an Invisibility spell in his reserve spell slots.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    As the wagon pulled up, Mr. Randell made his appearance again from the safe confines of the living room, closing off the bedroom doors just in time to hear the knocking at the front door. He greeted the delivery people warmly and thanked them for their promptness. The two chests were loaded in, and placed just inside the living room door. Mr. Randell thanked the delivery people again, tipped them each a gold piece for their troubles, and sent them on their way as quickly as possible. Then, just as quickly as he appeared, he was gone again, replaced by a young firebrand of a half-elf (Aliani had a few different names for this lad, but none of them generally mattered; the point was simply to get around town without being bothered) who slipped out the front door once he was sure the street was clear of passersby. He could deal with the chests later.

    He slipped into a back entryway at the theater, returned to Mr. Rose once again, and slipped in (a bit out of breath, to be sure) for rehearsal just at the stroke of noon. To say he was distracted would be an understatement. He'd planned to have a word with the twins, make sure that the relationship wasn't changed for the worse as a result of the previous evening's dalliances, get a feel for how they felt about the whole thing. But that was two hours ago. The world had changed.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    PiccadillyPi

    Your only answer is silence, until suddenly you hear the sound of something being slid across the floor a moment before the door is flung open. Trinia is standing there, and while one hand is holding the door open for you, cradled in her other hand is a wand. It’s definitely a wand, and not some sort of stick – you can see the arcane runes carved along its length even from here.

    ”Okay . . . Silas, was it? Get in here, but no funny business. I got this wand from an Acadamae dealer after I got tired of the damn Choker that used to live up on the roof here trying to get in. It’s not trying to get in anymore, got it? So don’t you make any sudden moves or you’re going to learn how that Choker felt.”

    Trinia warned, backing up away from the door while continuing to point the wand’s business end in your general direction. Well, this was certainly another unexpected development. Perhaps the innocent little painter girl could take care of herself after all. Then again, while impressive a lone Choker didn’t really compare to a professional team of kidnappers and thugs.

    Speaking of that professional team, you hear the door to Tark’s apartment open behind you – hopefully he hadn’t been listening in, but considering you didn’t feel the hot sting of a knife being buried into your kidneys, he probably hadn’t heard all of your conversation.

    “Trin, this drunk ass bothering you?”

    Tark calls out, and Trinia smoothly hides the wand behind her back as she calls out a reply.

    ”No need to worry Tark! This is an old friend of mine – he just broke up with his girlfriend and he’s not handling it well. So I’m letting him stay over for a couple days until he gets his head right again.”

    “Yeah, okay. Well if he gives you any problem, you just give a shout, yeah?”

    “Sure thing!”

    Trinia replies, shuffling back further into her apartment and nearly backing into a set-up easel holding one of the fresh canvases, before she nimbly steps around it, wand no longer behind her back but not pointed directly at you either.

    Her apartment was a small one-room affair, and much of the space was taken up with paintings, supplies, and a modest but well-padded cot. It’s entirely possible that in the narrow confines of this room, you could rush Trinia before she could bring the wand to bear, but that would hardly improve her trust of you. She’d probably yell for Tark, and you’d be right back to the part where you got stabbed in the kidneys for all your trouble.

    “Close the door. Now, what did you mean, I’m in grave danger? And how are you planning on helping me?”

    Steveodore

    Dahl nods as you explain, and while it’s clear he doesn’t fully understand the process, he gets enough of it to understand this wasn’t ordinary Shiver. The stuff in the vial was some serious ****, and it might not be a good idea to poke your nose into the business of whoever is capable of making something like that. Then again, a “safe” life was for the sheeple living the good life topside, eking out a living pulling fish from the Jeggare or unloading cargo from someone else’s merchant ship.

    “Damn. I knew Niles’s rampage had something to do with some bad juju! I just didn’t think it’d be from something ya could carry around in yer pocket!”

    Dahl crows, slapping his paws down onto the table in excitement. When you bring up the idea of taking this back to Girrigz, he laughs, his voice taking on a deep, melodramatic creak that was a spot-on match for Girrigz’s voice.

    “The top-siders are behind it! They sent Niles down here to silence me! They’re going to flood the entire Vault with the stuff and watch us kill ourselves!”

    Dahl shakes his head and clears his throat, growing serious again.

    “Um . . . actually . . . that’s the thing though. Girrigz already knows who gave Niles his power – well, thinks he does obviously. No, what he wants to know . . . is ‘ow it ‘appened. And, of course, ‘ow he can get the same thing. Now, I’m not sure I like the idea of a twitchy squeaker like Girrigz getting ‘old of legit magic powers, but he’s a hard guy to say no to once ‘e’s got an idea in his ‘ead. So . . . it’s kind of a “do the job and get paid well” or “fail and never come back” sort of thing . . . y’see.”

    And *there* it was. You knew a job from Dahl had to always go sideways somehow, and this time it’s going to go so far sideways it’s going to end up on the ceiling. Because there were only two kinds of people to Girrigz – friends and enemies, and for all his idle talk about the topsiders he didn’t tend to tolerate actual enemies down in the Vaults. No doubt Dahl told Girrigz about this “skilled alchemist” that he knew, which meant you were on the hook to deliver now as well. And it sounds like Girrigz was only going to accept another vial of this stuff for himself before considering this a job well done.

    Which in turn meant now you either had to track down Niles’s supplier of this horrifyingly dangerous substance, or start packing your bags and figure out how you could get an address topside. Permanently, because Girrigz had about as long of a memory as he did a list of the topsiders he’d like to kill.

    “Don’t worry, I gots a plan. Part one was to meet up wit’ ya, see if’n ya could crack the secret. Part two was to go check out Niles’s place. Last I ‘eard, ‘e was shacked up in a little nook off Junction South Thirty-Three of the sewers. So we go over there . . . and hope ‘e had a stash o’ the things? Or at least a receipt? Unless you got another plan we could do? Anything from all that stuff ya said that we could track down further, try to figure out what they’re usin’ to make it?”

    Darvin

    "Dummy Ned made a fumble, broke his neck from the tumble!"

    Rhetoric trills in response to your plan. Your bird was, of course, referring to the infamous Acadamae student Ned Winril, who a number of years ago tried to sneak into the Kendall Ampitheater to watch a show for free (the precise show varied by who was telling the story, from a children’s play, to a death play from Cheliax, to a particularly vulgar burlesque show). He managed to get past the security at the gate with an invisibility spell, but one of the crew caught sight of him slipping into the rafters above the stage. One thing led to another, and at the end while trying to climb from the stage rafters up to the next level of the ampitheater’s stone structure in order to escape the guards, Ned slipped and fell three stories to the stage, making a huge mess.

    Even professors told the story, as a warning to students to *always* make sure you had a Featherfall spell prepared – just in case. There were some rumors that Ned was pushed by an angry theater manager, but an investigation by the guards ruled the fall an unfortunate accident. Which didn’t mean much given the state of the guard, but Ned also had the reputation of being a bumbling dumbass, so the incident being just an accident had the ring of truth to it. In response to this incident, and a number of others – including an obsessive fan sneaking backstage and murdering a performer, the Ampitheater started taking its security pretty seriously.

    Which didn’t dissuade Acadamae students from trying to slip inside the amphitheater anyway to watch shows for free. From what you remembered from gossip at the Acadamae at the time, the guards had started having several roaming patrols of guards in the mezzanine between the gates and theater seats, each patrol having a big mastiff with them to ferret out any invisible people trying to sneak in. The mastiffs were actually pretty friendly, putting people more in danger of drowning from dog drool than dog bites, but with the guards right behind them any caught student was quickly ejected. The guards all wore distinctive hats with numbered badges on them, and last you heard they started having code phrases they could challenge each other with after counterfeit hats started appearing.

    You’d have to deal with that after getting inside the gates, though. At this time of day, they’d be starting to let people inside the theater, but only those who had tickets. Given Aliani Rose’s productions were extremely popular, the amphitheater would likely be packed or nearly so, which meant a thick wall of people waiting to get in around the amphitheater through one of the nearly dozen entrances around the periphery. There were also service entrances, but those would be locked up by now specifically to prevent someone from sneaking inside – likely not guarded, though. Once the sun went down, the performance would start, the gates would be locked, leaving anyone who was *still* outside unable to get in to see the show anymore, ticket or not. They usually leave guards at those entrances though, to let anyone *out* who wanted to leave the show early.

    It would probably be simpler to purchase a ticket at whatever extortionary price was necessary, and then make your way back stage. Although with the roaming patrols that may be difficult, and if Aliani was already on stage because the show had started by the time you got inside the amphitheater, well, that would make talking to him *very* difficult. You could also just skip the show entirely and spent your time trying to get invited to the after-performance party that the cast of these shows always held. Charming or bribing your way onto the guest list for that would almost certainly be much easier, provided you could figure out where it was being held. But then Aliani might be . . . distracted by other adoring fans too. Either way, getting some time alone with him to figure out what in the Hells was going on was going to be difficult until tomorrow. And tomorrow you were on a collision course with history repeating, right down to the deaths of Korvosa’s king and worst criminal.

    Stelio Kontos

    Theme Music for Kendall Ampitheater

    Arriving at the Kendall Ampitheater, you find that you would have a minute to catch your breath after all. Apparently the comedy routine set to perform ahead of your play “Draco and Maria” to warm the crowd up still had the stage. Then again, perhaps you wouldn’t get a minute to catch your breath after all, as Beatrice sees you and immediately comes over with a knowing smirk. The tall, auburn-haired ballerina leans down to whisper into your ear as she slips an arm conspiratorially around your shoulders. Clearly things last night must have left off on a positive enough note that she wasn't ashamed to be seen with you.

    “Hello, Aliani. Nadi and I were just talking about this private, exclusive party we were planning on throwing tonight following the after-performance party. How do you feel about encores?”

    Beatrice asks, flashing you a dazzling smile that swiftly fades as she looks across the room to the woman who could almost pass as her double. There were a few physical differences . . . as you took note of last night, but primarily the difference between the two was in personality. Beatrice was the upfront and . . . adventurous one, while Nadine tended to be more quiet and contemplative. Which is why it was a little disturbing to watch as Nadine accepted a bouquet of flowers from a courier, only to immediately throw them onto the floor and stomp on them after reading the tag attached to them.

    ”*Sigh* Not again. As you just saw, Nadi really needs a nice quiet evening to help her unwind, and forget about her troubles for a little bit. She tends to obsess a bit if she doesn’t have something to . . . distract her.”
    Last edited by Inspectre; 2018-02-03 at 10:56 PM.
    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  30. - Top - End - #30
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Crimson Echo IC

    Silas

    The door behind him, gently shut, he leaned against it with a sigh.

    What in all the planes am I doing.

    He turned his head back to the door, imagining if he fell for his own prejudice with Tark. However, Silas was remiss. He dreamed an omen. His daughter warned him of danger. All of this to do with a girl named Trinia. There was little doubt in his mind that something was amiss, but he could not fathom what it may have been. You'd think he'd be more concerned in his situation. A child pointing a weapon his way, just as likely to burn herself as she would him, but there was a bulge in his pants demanding some attention.

    'You don't recognize me... Just one moment, darling.'

    One hand raised to signal for time, and the other reached into his pocket to retrieve the harrow card. Removing it from there, he fiddled with its crumpled form. Strangely enough it helped him think.

    'Alright. I apologize, if I may begin there. Allow me to properly introduce myself. My name is Silas Rata'da. I am resident... well, I suppose I am a pet for hire. Sorry again, I've never been one for grand introductions. May I?'

    Silas left the door alone and walked to the nearest seat, careful to avoid her loose paints and powders.

    She killed a choker with that thing?

    'Could you point that tool just a little... away? Never mind. Where was I? Of course. I am, to put it plainly, a companion by trade. Loins for coins, et cetera. I talk to you as I would no other because I do not desire you as a client, not that you could afford me, and frankly speaking I should have turned around the second I approached your apartment. I thought my daughter's life was in immediate peril. Her life, as it seems, is not my concern today. She warned me that it is yours--that I should avoid you. I won't bore you with the details, but a source of mine has informed me you are being hunted.'

    Hornface counted himself as a source.

    'I assume the Fishmonger is a friend?'
    Last edited by PiccadillyPi; 2018-02-04 at 05:38 AM.
    ~ Piccadilly Pineapple

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