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    Default [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    It was raining in the City of Towers.

    A hard rain.

    Hard enough to wash the slime off of the sky bridges and back into the holes they crawled out of. The fire elemental bound to the fireplace behind you cracked and popped as it fought the valiant fight to keep the cold and damp out of the Professor's office. Beyond the single pane window, the deep sounds of a far-off airship's horn echoed through the fog and rain, crying out like a lost animal in the night.


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

    The Professor's office was well appointed but eclectic. Some say the old elf was secretly a gnome, on account of his taste in furnishings. You knew better. Drago ir'Dorn had been your patron for many years now. His office was littered with the relics and knickknacks of your adventures, and of those who came before you. The Professor did not speak of the other teams he had drawn together. Too sharp was the pain of their passing. From what you understood, the last team before your's died shortly after the Last War had broken out. Killed by Aundairian Knights who believed the adventurers to be Brelish spies in the far west of their magical kingdom. ir'Dorn was a kind-hearted old elf who did not relish putting his companions in harm's way but... His research required it. You had been through many a tough scrape in the past. Your last mission took you deep into the bowels of a long-forgotten dungeon deep within the Eska Mountains, which lay at the northernmost point of the mysterious continent of Sarlona. There you had battled a group of Knights of the Emerald Claw, including one Sarai d'Deneith - a powerful priestess-paladin of the Blood of Vol. Although you bested her in combat - she had escaped. Before teleporting away, the woman swore an oath to kill each and every one of you...!

    In that dark, dank dungeon you found a mysterious tablet, written in an ancient dialect of draconic, a dialect spoken only by a handful of non-dragons. The Professor just so happens to be one of those people. He has spent the better part of two weeks painstakingly translating the tablet. Much of the inscription had been worn away by the relentless march of time. The Professor's three-eyed homonuculus scoured the City of Towers to locate each of you. The diminutive creature told you to return this night to ir'Dorn's office. It was sunny when the homunculus found you, quite the stark contrast to the dark and stormy night that you now find yourselves in.

    A willowy elf with pale skin stands before the single pane glass window. If it were day, the Professor would be looking out across half of Sharn but on a foggy night such as this, one can barely make out the silhouette of the next tower, much less the city as a whole.

    "Welcome, welcome friends," states the Professor. He does not turn around to greet you, rather he remains stationary, staring out the window. His mood is somber and forlorn. "I must thank you again for heading to the Delves of the Dark Giant and retrieving this tablet for me... Yet part of me wishes you had not..."

    He trails off as a peel of lighting rips through the sky, lighting up the whole room for a brief moment.

    "Someone broke into my office last night. I initially assumed it was a prank by one of the freshman students who is more eager than headstrong. But, to my surprise, nothing was amiss. Nothing had been disturbed... Save for the secret safe, hidden behind the portrait."

    Your eyes naturally drift towards the eight foot tall portrait that rests above the magical fireplace. The portrait depicts King Galifar ir'Wynarn I - the man who united the continent and forged a common destiny for all who live upon it - sitting atop his throne with a member of each of the Dragonmarked Houses kneeling before their new liege lord. The Professor hid his most prized relics in that safe. Designed by the best locksmiths in the Mror Holds, it was billed as un-pickable by its creators.

    "The thief knew exactly where to look, exactly how to break into the safe and - worst of all - only took my notes and the tablet, leaving behind many other valuable items. I initially suspected it was one of my colleagues or one of the many spy agencies of the various realms... We have had run-ins with both in the past... That was until I found this..."

    He walks over to his desk, reaches into his robe's pocket and pulls out a pendent made from metal, formed into the shape of a claw, colored green. "This." He tosses the pendent onto the desk. It lands with a loud thud.

    The fat-bodied homunculus scrambles up the Professor's chair and then leaps onto the desk. He grabs the pendent. His eyes glow blue as he says, "The item's material is primarily composed of Cold Iron, plated with bronze. The bronze has been allowed to rust, giving it this green patina." The tiny creature drops the pendent and scuttles off to the far side of the desk. He sits down in the edge and swings his chubby little legs the way a child would when sitting on a swing. In a sing-song voice he quietly hums, "Cold Iron, Cold Iron, very cold."
    Last edited by Felhammer; 2020-01-20 at 12:45 AM.
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    The Heroes of Jinshu - IC / OOC / Doc
    The Forge of Fury - IC / OOC / Doc
    The Maze of Shattered Souls - IC / OOC / Doc
    Stomping Ground - IC / OOC / Doc

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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    "Sooo.....they left you this to tell you who took it? Like a challenge to come do something about it if you have the spine?". Rain seems amused.
    Semper ludens.

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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    "Or to throw you off whoever actually did it," Jhera adds. "We do have plenty of reason to believe that the Claw want your hide in particular, and I apologize again for my part in that. But does anyone other than us know about our last venture? That's the only connection between the Emerald Claw and that tablet. I can't imagine any of us would have been naive enough to blab about it in a tavern ..." She scans the faces of her companions, probably imagining exactly that -- but no, this is a very canny group, and careful enough to have survived some truly shocking trials. "So how could anyone other than the Claw know to leave this? I think you're right as rain, Rain."

    Spoiler: very canny!
    Show
    Our Wisdom scores average to 19, higher than most PC races can even start!


    While listening to the ongoing conversation, Jhera gives a small shudder, thinking of the threat implied by this flawless theft. She's had far too many death threats delivered similarly. The spiderlike mini-monstrosity on her shoulder strokes her cheek with two of its twelve legs, probably as a calming gesture.
    Last edited by Dimers; 2020-01-20 at 07:47 AM.
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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    Cato
    Level 15 Hunter| HP: 100/100

    Cato stands leaning against the wall by the entrance to the office, idly playing with one of the knickknacks on the shelf next to him. He glances at the portrait and the hidden safe.

    Well, for starters, who might have known about the existence of the safe?

    And you never really told us the significance of the tablet professor. Is this more a loss for scholars at Morgrave or something that can be dangerous in the wrong hands?

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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    The Professor nods, "Agreed Jhera. The Claw are most likely the culprits. No one else knew of your secret expedition and fewer still knew of my secret safe! Beyond that, few would have the resources to hire a master lockpick..."

    The homunculus chuckles, "The lock still works!"

    "Indeed my diminutive companion. The master thief was able to bypass the lock AND not break it. I am certainly going to have some strong words for that locksmith who billed this as an unpickable lock! HA!"

    After a few moments of disgruntled sighs, the Professor turns to Cato and responds, "The tablet! Of course!" The old elf walks over to his big comfy padded chair next to the fireplace. He then retrieves his smoking pipe from his pocket and begins fiddling with it. "Indeed. The tablet. It was written in a bygone era, before humans had left Sarlona, a time when the the primordial dragons and the ancient fiends battled for control over the whole of Eberron. The tablet was heavily worn away, so I was only able to translate a portion of its text but..." He takes the first big puff of his pipe, then belts out a perfect ring of smoke. "It spoke of a powerful weapon that the dragons once used to slaughter the fiends. The heart of this weapon was a powerful artifact called the Orb of Kevrik the Crusader. Sadly, the inscription describing what the orb looked like, what it specifically did and how the weapon specifically worked were worn away. Still, I fear such a potent magical artifact could bring much ruination to the Five Kingdoms, especially in the hands of nefarious individuals..."
    DMing:
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    The Forge of Fury - IC / OOC / Doc
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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    Cato
    Level 15 Hunter| HP: 100/100

    Cato frowns. He slicks back his hair, still wet from the rain, and wipes the water that dripped onto the khybershard lens of his visor. He moves over to the portrait and safe and inspects what he can of the locking mechanism to confirm if it was truly opened without forcing the lock. As he works he says, So the tablet doesn't say what this thing looks like or how it works. These thieves may be just as in the dark as you were professor, especially since we don't know where to find this orb in the first place.

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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    While the Professor was speaking, Rin waited in the corner with her arms crossed, shifted into her common, rusty scaled dragonborn guise. It was rare to she her in her natural form and the recent robbery showed that even in private quarters it wasn't always safe. She moved over to have a look over at the lock as well. "In and out without a trace or popped lock? That sounds too perfect to be true. Though we could investigate further, I presume you have other plans for us? This is far too important to let stand."
    Last edited by CateranEnforcer; 2020-01-21 at 12:44 PM.

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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    Rain
    Level 15 Rune Priest| HP: 96/96

    Rain leans forward and bares her fangs in a smile. "We should strike hard and fast. Startle everyone at the watering hole and see who flees".
    Semper ludens.

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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    Cato
    Level 15 Hunter| HP: 100/100

    Do you think it was Sarai? She did vow vengeance, Cato says, still tinkering with the lock.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show

    (1d20+17)[25] I forgot to put the check in my last post. (Cato can use Dungeoneering in place of Thievery for locks.)


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    Thumbs down Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]


    Noah

    Pacing around the room, the half-elf taps his fingers, making tiny thunderclaps while a small cloud of fog hovers around his feet. At the moment, the cloud is dark and looks like it might rain, though the group's familiar enough with his mood to gauge that he's just thinking (not upset).
    "This is a pressing concern, but there's hardly enough information available to actually make a decision on the matter, much less waste time tracking anyone down.
    Telling us the details of this situation sits with me as having a dual purpose: our friend learns if we have any knowledge to assist him with putting together the pieces of this puzzle, and more importantly he gets to show his trust in us.
    Do you have another dangerous task for us, Professor? Or are we to deliver a message like that trip for Bed'Athali back in Karnath? You wouldn't call all of us here to conjecture about a high-tech break-in; no sense in having over those of us who aren't good with mechanisms or tracking, if that were the case."

    He motions vaguely towards Cato, pointing out that he clearly has no comprehension of what the man with the visor is doing.
    Last edited by MinotaurWarblad; 2020-01-21 at 09:55 AM.

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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    Rain
    Level 15 Rune Priest| HP: 96/96

    Rain nods along in agreement with Noah.
    Semper ludens.

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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    OH!" exclaims the professor as he rushes over to his table. He quickly sifts through a stack of parchments before finding the one he was looking for, "This! The thieves did not steal all of my notes... Mostly because I forgot to put this note in the safe! On the back of the tablet was written the following:

    “Those who seek the fractured spirits
    under the light of Storm’s bright moon
    when the Twilight Forest is at its nearest
    shall turn barren lands into spring’s first blossoming.”


    I assure you it is much more poetic in the original ancient draconic. Now tell me, what does this mean to you? I will give you a hint, "barren lands" could be a few different places on Khorvaire, including Icewhite Island, the Talenta Plains, the Mournland or many of a myriad of other locations. The "fractured spirits" - I believe - is a reference to the Maze of Shattered Souls, an ancient seat of power for the fiends who once fought the dragons for control over Eberron. That Maze lays deep in the heart of the Labyrinth - a twisting network of barren canyons full of deadly hazards. I ask again, can any of you decode the rest? He smiles, expectantly, knowing his allies will surly impress him...

    Spoiler: Arcana
    Show
    Jhera (1d20)[20]
    Noah (1d20)[11]
    Nymphaea (1d20)[6]
    Rain (1d20)[6]
    Rin (1d20)[4]
    Tarkanan (1d20)[20]

    Spoiler: DC 20
    Show
    You know that The Twilight Forest refers to the plane of Lamannia, one of the angelic dominions of the Astral Sea

    Spoiler: DC 30
    Show
    You know that Lamannia’s closest approach will occur on the 6th of Dravago. It is the night 19th of Eyre, which means the closest approach will be in 14 days.



    Spoiler: Common Knowledge
    Show
    “Storm’s bright moon” is a reference to Zarantyr, the moon associated with the Mark of Storm. It waxes full every month.


    Spoiler: History
    Show
    Jhera (1d20)[10]
    Noah (1d20)[14]
    Nymphaea (1d20)[12]
    Rain (1d20)[4]
    Rin (1d20)[15]
    Tarkanan (1d20)[5]

    Spoiler: DC 15
    Show
    You know that Zarantyr will be at its zenith on the 6th of Dravago, just 14 days hence.


    Spoiler: Cato
    Show
    You indeed verify that the master thief was able to pick - and not break - the lock. Difficult task, even for a person with great skill.
    DMing:
    The Heroes of Jinshu - IC / OOC / Doc
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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]


    Noah

    The dark fog cloud around his feet acquires a frosty-white pallor, rising and becoming wispy around his head -- Noah enjoys riddles, but he's not very good at them.
    "Zarantyr is my House's symbol of power. It's supposed to be especially full and bright this month, in a couple weeks. There's even a big party for the Firstborn, since she supposedly came about during its zenith exactly one hundred years before. Anyone want to match that up with the rest of this, er, poem?"
    Last edited by MinotaurWarblad; 2020-01-21 at 05:10 PM.

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    Cato
    Level 15 Hunter| HP: 100/100

    "Zarantyr is my House's symbol of power," Noah says, "It's supposed to be especially full and bright this month, in a couple weeks. There's even a big party for the Firstborn, since she supposedly came about during its zenith exactly one hundred years before. Anyone want to match that up with the rest of this, er, poem?"

    Cato turns away from the portrait to face the rest of the group, Well, the Twilight Forest is another name for Lamannia, one of the otherworldly realms or dominions in the Astral Sea. A place of abundant wilderness, I think.

    So... those seeking, he looks to the professor, the Maze of Shattered Souls, when Zarantyr is full, and that's in two weeks, he says looking to Noah, when Lamannia is closest... I don't know when that will be... When these things happen, we'll turn barren lands into spring's first blossoming...

    "Spring's first blossoming" doesn't sound bad professor. It sounds like rejuvenating the Labyrinth or something.

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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Samurai View Post
    Do you think it was Sarai? She did vow vengeance, Cato says, still tinkering with the lock.
    "Twelve Moons, I hope not!" Jhera shudders again. "She's mighty and mad enough now, without ancient artifacts of power to help her!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Felhammer View Post
    "On the back of the tablet was written the following:

    “Those who seek the fractured spirits
    under the light of Storm’s bright moon
    when the Twilight Forest is at its nearest
    shall turn barren lands into spring’s first blossoming.”


    I assure you it is much more poetic in the original ancient draconic."
    "Ancient draconic, high poetry, high vagueness -- is that a fragment of the Draconic Prophecy?" The ash-skinned woman doesn't wait for an answer, mulling over the verse. "Twilight Forest, nearest ... Oh, that's coming up quick! It's--"

    Quote Originally Posted by MinotaurWarblad View Post
    "Zarantyr is my House's symbol of power. It's supposed to be especially full and bright this month, in a couple weeks."
    "... that," she finishes lamely. "Fourteen days, on the grain, sixth Dravago. Professor, if that means what it looks to mean, you got the tablet just in time."
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    Cato
    Level 15 Hunter| HP: 100/100

    "Fourteen days, on the grain, sixth Dravago. Professor, if that means what it looks to mean, you got the tablet just in time." Jhera says.

    Cato frowns, Just in time indeed, he echoes, The timing could suggest that the thief was also aware of the... poem or prophecy, stealing it just in time to fulfill the inscription. But, if that verse is really speaking of the Maze of Shattered Souls in the Labyrinth, you'd have to be traveling quickly to get to the Wastes in a fortnight from here. Especially over the Icehorns...

    Unless you had an airship, he wonders aloud, Could an airship get you there in that time?

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    Noah

    "It'll be difficult to hire a House ship right now, due to that party I mentioned. It'd have to be privately owned.

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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    Rin leans over to read and reread the notes as the others talk. It certainly could be a portion of the Draconic Prophecy she'd leave that for the scholars to decide. "How can we be certain where this crossover will occur? As the Professor said, there are a number of 'barren lands' to choose from. Is there some other clue to the location? To travel long way on a hunch with a limited window could be ....disappointing."
    Last edited by CateranEnforcer; 2020-01-22 at 08:23 AM.

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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    Nymphaea Caerulea
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    The dryad, Nymphaea, has been playing with that one inscribed dagger as her team discusses the plan to get to the location the tablet pointed to, listening carefully. "I believe it's settled either way. We'll have to track down whoever stole the fragments. You did mention that it would take an airship to get to the destination, correct? When accounting for that and the fact that many airships are already in use for the recent festivities, it would be a simple matter of asking the direction of any airship leaving or preparing to depart to determine which way our intruder is going." She stands up from the chair near the window. "I say we have little time to tarry. Noah, could your connections get us the information we need from the airship ports?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by CateranEnforcer View Post
    "How can we be certain where this crossover will occur? As the Professor said, there are a number of 'barren lands' to choose from. Is there some other clue to the location? To travel long way on a hunch with a limited window could be ....disappointing."
    "Where the renewal, uh, the ... spring's first blossoming ... would occur isn't the time-sensitive aspect, though. For now, we should only focus on the fractured spirits. Whatever this 'Maze' is that the Professor mentioned is what's tied to the 14-day mark." Jhera spits out a Elvish-sounding word in a somewhat peeved tone. "The way the Prophecies go, there might not even be a connection between the blooming place and the fractured spirits place, other than 'those who seek' the one being involved in the other." Apparently she's not a tremendous fan of the Prophecies.
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    Rain
    Level 15 Rune Priest| HP: 96/96

    "Blossoming spring doesn't sound that bad though".
    Semper ludens.

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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    The professor nods, "Indeed Jhera! I believe this is a piece of the Draconic Prophesy. I had hoped to spend more time with the tablet in order to unlock more of its secrets..."

    Scoffing loudly the professor mutters, "My hunches are worth a thousand uninformed ones!" as he pours more tobacco into his pipe and takes a few big puffs.
    Last edited by Felhammer; 2020-01-22 at 04:35 PM.
    DMing:
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    The Forge of Fury - IC / OOC / Doc
    The Maze of Shattered Souls - IC / OOC / Doc
    Stomping Ground - IC / OOC / Doc

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    Cato
    Level 15 Hunter| HP: 100/100

    Alright. A Medani inquisitive might be able to tell us something about the person that left the claw behind if we let them inspect it.

    In the meantime, let's search for any clues that might give us a lead on the thief. And we should have a talk with the installer of the safe. Whoever stole the tablet did so without cracking the lock. Very difficult to do. Maybe someone got to your safesmith, professor.


    Spoiler: Perception to look for clues...
    Show
    (1d20+18)[37]


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    Quote Originally Posted by Felhammer View Post
    Scoffing loudly the professor mutters, "My hunches are worth a thousand uninformed ones!" as he pours more tobacco into his pipe and takes a few big puffs.
    "Of course,"Rin apologizes. "You have yet to tell us wrong. If this is your task, then I would be glad to fulfill the unfolding Prophecy. Already, we are forming a plan to track the thief to this Maze of Shattered Souls without question. Is this what you would have us do? Time is apparently against us." The changeling similes at her companions' eagerness to delve into unknown dangers. She wouldn't have it any other way.

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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    Per Discord:

    Felhammer: The professor indicates that you seek a dwarf named Wendara Leatheraxe, a priestess of Kol Koran, who is widely considered to be one of the greatest lock smiths in both Sharn and the Mror Holds. She has a small shop in Tradefair, which is the mercantile hub in the central plateau.

    It is late in the evening. It is raining hard. Many of the cut purses that would be haunting the marketplaces have fled to dryer havens to wait out the storm. Most of the shops and stalls in Tradefair have closed for the night but a few remain open, hoping for that one final sale of the day.

    One such shop is Leatheraxe's Locks. It is a quaint little shop nestled between two much larger storefronts, both of which are House Cannith tinkerers. Above the door to the shop, hangs a shield-sized symbol of Kol Korran - the patron god of merchants.

    As you enter the Leatheraxe Lock's store, a high-pitched, unseen bell chimes. The storefront is small, barely capable of holding four or five adults at once. A middle-aged looking dwarven woman comes out from the back. She has tanned, leathery skin and pre-maturely graying hair. She wears a simple purple robe with a leather apron littered with pockets and small, delicate tools. Around her neck is a black choker, with a golden pendant of Kol Korran's holy symbol hanging off it.

    "Greetings, sirs and ma'ams." Her tone is cheery but tired, "How can I help you on this dark and stormy night?"

    Rain: Rain looks at the small, enclosed space, sniffs, and backs away, gesturing for her companions to go on in.

    Afterwards, out of sight and with the proprietor engaged, she scales the neighbouring building, goes up on the roof, and looks for a rear exit for the locksmith's store.

    Felhammer: Rain easily scales the walls and quietly locates a second floor balcony entrance. The wooden door is locked.

    Rain: "Let's see if this badger has other exits to her den". Rain checks the building for other exits; if she doesn't find any, she will watch the street from the balcony.

    Jhera: When Jhera enters the shop, her shape and clothing suggest a military officer off-duty, and her face is a little reminiscent of the professor's -- as if she were perhaps a cousin.

    "Hello, priestess. May Kol Korran favor our discussion," Jhera says, making a pious gesture. "I'll get right to the point: the 'unpickable' safe you sold to Professor ir'Dorn was broken into. With finesse, not violence. He hasn't seen fit to charge you with misrepresentation of goods--" Though clearly the implied threat does exist, particularly after invoking the deity of trade. "What's important at this time is determining how this might have happened."
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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    The dwarven priestess angrily scoffs, "HOW DARE YOU imply my wares are pick-able! I have hired the best thieves on this continent to pick my locks and none have been successful! Show me proof or you can GET OUT OF MY STORE!"
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    Jhera is unmoved by the crafter's anger. "Please. The best thieves aren't hiring themselves out for the purpose, and the smarter ones would pretend to fail anyway. Priestess, the 'proof' is that an item is missing; if we had something to show you regarding the theft, then we'd already be following another track. Divination will show that your customer used your product correctly and that his claim is not fraudulent. Now, you could try to arrogantly claim that you're forever beyond error and that thieves never figure out new exploits, but you'd have more of an appearance of wisdom and skill if you help your customer in outthinking the rogues." A fair enough point -- but would the sense reach past the smith's wounded pride?
    Avatar by Meltheim: Eveve, dwarven battlemind, 4e Dark Sun

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    The priestess grumpily agrees, angrily muttering under her breath before finding her composure and stating, What would you like to know?"
    Last edited by Felhammer; 2020-03-01 at 10:00 PM.
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    Rain
    Level 15 Rune Priest| HP: 96/96

    "Oooh, someone is getting angry in there". Rain continues to watch the street.
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    Default Re: [IC] The Maze of Shattered Souls [4E]

    Rin stands of straight before turning to leave. "I'll be back later at the usual spot. I'm going to see if the thief made any waves in the underworld while we're investigating." Once away from the group, the changeling finds one of many secluded spots to allow her some privacy. Once so hidden, the rusty scales retreat into her skin and her form shrinks all over. Leaving the alleyway is now a human male with long black hair tied back in a ponytail. This guise, with Rin named Derik, was the one he assumed when he wanted to mingle with the riff-raff of the lower parts of the City of Towers. He figured it was worth a shot to see if any of Derik's friends had heard of anything that might help them learn about the mysterious thief.

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