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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
     
    3SecondCultist's Avatar

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    Dec 2010
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    UK
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    Default Tales of Neutral Ground IC

    "Tales of Neutral Ground"

    "Diplomacy is selling a deal you don't want to people you don't trust for reasons you won't admit to."
    – Overheard during the signing of the Treaty of Thronehold




    The waning day leeches all color from the skies, giving way to the procession of Eberron's moons over a city that ever sleeps with one eye open. Throneport, city of secrets, scandals, and sedition. Throneport, the foundation of equality. Throneport, the rotting heart of consensus. There are as many stories to be told about the people who live on the island of Thronehold than there are pages in the world's largest library, but yours begins on a crisp spring evening in mid-Therendor, 998 YK. The sun dies once more, plunging the world into night as the continual flames and oil lamps come on along the docks of the city's Port District.

    Each of you has arrived here, at this moment and this place, for your own reasons. Only you can know the truth of them - though others may suppose at your motives, they cannot speak to what lies beneath the skin. For in your hearts, you all bear the scars of love, hatred, belonging, fear, and everything in between. You have all come far in your respective missions, and you owe it to yourself - to all of the scars you carry - to finish what you have started.

    Lurking right at the edge of the southern docks like some caged animal, the Speckled Hen is a two-story building made of old, warped wood. Here and there, you spot the occasional bit of tarnished brass used as decorative ornaments, a half-hearted attempt to incorporate a naval theme with ship's plaques. Rather than being honorable, it merely goes to show the lack of care that the management has put into this place, as most of the brass displays are stained or have had their names scratched off. Inside, the interior is dimly lit with oil lamps and it smells strongly of unwashed bodies and smoky fires. Seats are scattered around mismatched tables and crates. There is also a staircase to the south-west that looks like it might lead up to a second floor, and a smaller set of steps that lead down into what look like a set of basement kitchens.

    The inn doesn't seem all that crowded: other than the heavyset balding server behind the bar and stools, there look to be several smaller groups of two or three huddled around various tables. At your first count, there are at least nine patrons present. The conversations make up for a low buzz, but nothing catches your attention about them right away. There don't seem to be all that much in the way of obvious threats here, either: no drawn weapons or exposed armor of any kind, save for that which you bring with you. In front of the stairs, a bardic duo of younger half-elf singer and older male human musician singing a surprisingly bewitching rendition of the famed hit 'The Crimson Contralto'.

    "Eyes that bring mine down,
    a laugh that gets lost on his mouth;
    here is the portrait without retouching
    from the man I belong to:

    When he takes me in his arms,
    he whispers to me,
    I see my life in crimson
    he shows me love words..."

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Alright, so we have officially started the game! Now is the time to introduce your character. How are they arriving at the Speckled Hen? Are they already there? Have any of them arrived together? What will they do while they wait? What kind of food / drinks would they order?

    These are all potential questions for you to answer in your opening posts. You know what they say: there's no such thing as a second chance at a first impression!

    Spoiler: Raz
    Show
    With your Passive Perception of 21 (!!), you notice right away that there are several interested parties watching the bar despite their being supposedly 'active': a pair of shifty rogue-types in the far north-western corner of the room are paying unduly close attention on the barkeep and any conversations that seem to be happening in that vicinity.

    I will also update this spoiler as people reveal how their characters enter the scene, so your character in particular can get a good impression of them.
    Last edited by 3SecondCultist; 2020-05-12 at 07:07 AM.
    Spoiler: My Profile
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeno Desaqqara View Post
    You divine bastard.
    Currently Running:
    - Tales of Neutral Ground
    - Skull & Shackles

    Winner of Total War: Rise of Kingdoms (Ironfang Republic)


    "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
     
    (Un)Inspired's Avatar

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    Default Re: Tales of Neutral Ground IC

    Gryphon wakes up the way he does most morning with the first rays of sunlight steaming into his window onto his face and with the sounds of the Port District coming to life combining to make restful sleep all but impossible. He rubs his hand up and down across his face and stretches out his arms and legs to help himself wake up. He was glad that his landlord, Granny Mebsa, who he rented this apartment from was willing to rent him a second floor lodging for the privacy it affords but gods! The sound of the city carried almost too well into the room from this height.

    Well... dawdling is a luxury for people without a purpose. With his own personal admonishment echoing in his mind Gryphon swings his legs out of bed and holds his arm out so Spritz his familiar can slither up his body and secure himself in a comfortable coil around his neck.

    Spoiler: Spritz
    Show


    With Spritz securely in place Gryphon drops down to the floor to do his morning workout. Baba Maenya would literally kill me if she caught me skipping working out any morning which reminds me, I need to send her a birthday present pretty soon.

    In the middle of Gryphon’s stretching and sit-ups the Sending message from The Great Crag comes through. Gryphon dashes up to write down every word and respond with affirmation that he received the spell and then spends the next few minutes committing it to memory before Prestidigitizing a match and burning it away.

    F*** he uttered quietly to himself. This wasn’t exactly his specialty. He runs his split tongue back and forth across the roof of his mouth and furrows his brow for a few moments before he drops back down to the floor to complete his workout. He spends the rest of the day settling stray accounts and using his spell book to prepare the spells he felt would best suit his task.

    As evening comes on Gryphon dresses in his charcoal military cut tunic, his white hose, brown boots that reach nearly his knees ,his short black gloves and his khaki keffiyeh around his neck(with Spritz hidden safely underneath). After which he spends far too long fiddling with his short black hair using Prestidigitation, Shape Water and his hand mirror to get it exactly the way he likes it and he rolls up his sleeves to his elbows. And with that he slips off into the night.

    Spoiler: Gryphon
    Show


    When Gryphon arrives at the Speckled Hen he looks the building up and down. It would be a pretty fun looking tavern if it didn’t reek so heavily of unwashed humanoid.

    Despite his reservation Gryphon takes a deep breath and steps into the establishment. He scans the room as he walks to the bar trying to take in as much as he can about the people patronizing the Speckled Hen as possible without looking like he is too obvious with his eyeballing.

    Lager, please and if you don’t have it I’ll take whatever Karnathi red you stock.

    After dropping a few silver onto the bar top Gryphon does some rapid tavern-room calculus to determine the best possible seat, near enough to the fire to be warm and not too close to be uncomfortable; far enough away from the other patrons for privacy but not tucked into a dark corner.

    After he calculates his perfect seat and plops into it Gryphon holds his drink close to his face and lets Spritz take a quick taste of it to see if it’s been drugged at all. After he’s convinced of the drink’s portability he gives it a sip and waits.
    Last edited by (Un)Inspired; 2020-05-12 at 01:51 PM.
    amazing avatar of my favorite character, Gheera, by Pesimismrocks

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Amnestic's Avatar

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    Default Re: Tales of Neutral Ground IC

    Kett slid her cards, and a few coins, across the table with an over-the-top sigh. She'd like to say she was losing on purpose, but that wasn't quite true. She'd never had a gift for these games and it was less-than-chance that she'd actually come out on top. With one hand she brushed a loose strand of hair from her face, with the other she brought the tankard of ale she'd been nursing for the last hour and drained it. Her third of the day, but she barely felt it. Watered down, but with just enough of a bite to keep sailors from acting up. Two hours she'd been here, scoping the place out and ingratiating with the 'locals' - or what passed for it on a dockside tavern. It was nice, in a way. They reminded her of her family's old crew, and the waft of seasalt air that came whenever the door opened was gently relaxing, even if it was masked a bit by the stench of sweat, piss and grime. The latest waft came from someone who distinctly looked out of place. Far too neat for a dive like this.

    She'd traded her normal equipment for some light worker's clothes - a baggy shirt that had been white at some point in the past and after tonight's drinking had more than a few ale stains (spilled on purpose), and a pair of roughcloth brown trousers. She'd tied up her hair and covered it with a small cloth too. Even dashed her face with bits of dirt to complete the effect. You wouldn't think her anything but a washerwoman or a dockworker, blowing some coin to drink and gamble the stresses of the day away. The rest of her tools and gear were left back in her room, on a small merchant ship docked in the harbour. It'd be there for another ten days it raised anchor for another port and she had to find alternate accommodations, but it served well enough for now, and the light rocking of the ocean and creak of the wood was excellent for sending her off to sleep.

    "Lads. It's been a pleasure." Her partners in gaming weren't important to her, just the first table she'd seen she could steal a good spot to watch without arousing suspicion. Sailors from some place far away with a shipment of...something. Maybe she'd drunk more than she thought. She looked down at the table in front of her. Five tankards. Not three. Huh. They'd been a good laugh so far though. It had been fun. She stood to go, but they jeered and yelled to keep her there. No surprises there, she'd been on a fairly consistent loss streak since she sat down. They weren't gambling for lots but they'd certainly gotten a few nights of drinks worth out of her already. She hesitated before conceding. "Alright, alright. One more game. Then I'm done." Another cheer went up, and drinks were downed as one of them dished the cards out. She'd watch for a little longer.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Gonna take 10g off her purse for the drinks and the gambling.
    DMing:
    Iron Crisis IC | OOC
    Red Hand of Doom IC | OOC
    Playing:
    Tales of Neutral Ground IC | OOC
    The Madness of Men in a World of Monsters IC | OOC

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GameOfChampions's Avatar

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    Default Re: Tales of Neutral Ground IC

    Sask groggily wakes up as the morning rays hit him in the face, he had been up late the night before with Kossaria and they had drank a little too much cheap rum. He goes to gather his hair back and pauses as he grasps at his neck only to feel nothing. He feels around for a few seconds before reality catches up to him, he was a different guy right now. He forgot that he had changed forms to meet with Kossaria, right now he was Orlan the Thug.

    He tried to use one of three different personas when meeting with her and Orlan the Thug was the one that was friendliest with Kossaria, which in turn led to the drinking. Waking up he made sure to clean up a bit before heading out, leaving the run down inn that he had crashed in for the night. He paused in an alley on the way back to his actual rooms, setting up a fake wall with his silent image and changing behind it back into Kleris. His clothes shimmer and change with him, from wine soaked leathers to a comfortable wool and leather ensemble that fits with well off craftsmen.

    He smiles as he heads out the other end of the alley, more comfortable in the half-elf form he had become used to instead of the thick muscle bound human he had been. The smile vanishes as he sees a passing colorful merchant trample over a homeless mans blanket, then shouting at him for being in the way. 'Kleris you have to help your fellows on this earth, everyone deserves dignity.'

    He crouches down, tossing the homeless man a silver coin and passing him a biscuit he grabbed in the market. "Here you go friend, have a good day."

    He watches as the merchant walks down the the market lane, loudly talking with his friends. 'Karma needs to swing the other way too Kleris, show him how the world treats it trash.'

    This he glances back to the merchant and with a small twist of the fingers he makes a small shower of sparks right in front of the rude merchent, timing it right as he was crossing a muddy puddle. The merchant squawks awkwardly and slips, landing in the muddy puddle and ruining his fine colorful pants. Kleris casually saunters over to a nearby stall and leans over to a nearby merchant and whispers in a conspiratory stage whisper "Man it seems like they're going to have to murder another hundred peacocks to keep him in pants another day."

    The stall owner chokes up and tries to stop from laughing as I twist away and start to head back to the inn, my last glimpse is the stall owner leaning to his friend and provoking the same strangled laugh before he in turn leaned over to tell someone.




    Later that day Kleris was dressed to kill... figuratively. Her had gotten a tip that the person he was looking for would be in the Speckled Hen tonight so he was prepping himself. This called for Kleris himself if he was going to achieve what he wanted tonight so he kept on his well off clothes on, had a quick wash in the tub, prestidigitated his good boots, and stored his splint mail and halberd away. They were too eye grabbing and catchy.

    If you say look out for heavy armor and a guy with a halberd thats easy to spot no matter what form you take. A chain shirt with a sword and shield was just right, low key. Everyone had a sword, shield and a bit of armor. It said "I'm here to shake and move but to be taken advantage of."

    Ready to go he made his way down to the inn, rattling his lucky bone dice for luck.

    The inn looked a little run down but a good place to fish in muddied waters. He could here loud music, louder patrons, and smell the ale from a block away. As he enters he looks for a free table, catching a servers eye he calls out "A pitcher of ale and whatever today's special is with a hunk of bread!"

    Then he pops the dice onto the table beside a few silvers and looks around, studying the patrons.

    Waiting.
    "Facilis Descensus Averni." - Virgil, The Aeneid

    “Why would I want to win anything other than a beautiful game?” - Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man's Fear


  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    CozJa's Avatar

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    Default Re: Tales of Neutral Ground IC

    The streets of Throneport were always an interesting sight for Arimart, and they never ceased to amaze him: mounts of rabble side by side with amazingly artistic structures, people of so many different nationalities, the clear limits impressed on the very heart of the city by the bordered zones, and the sense of constant wariness that each citizen had around him, like an aura. Not of good, or evil, but of life lived with deceit. Sometimes the Paladin thought of the whole city as a large, metropolitan, changeling: never the same, always defined by what was going to become the next day.

    He was used to a perilous life in Sharn, the largest and most rotten place in the continent, but this city was different: not as intimidating, but contemporarily more worrying and less welcoming, like an invitation from one of those damned Zil gnomes somewhere in their accursed nation.

    The cold touch of his armor struck his forearm whenever he tried to roll his cape around himself, as a protection from the stinging evening breeze; while he was walking, he recalled the events of the last days, just before the Magistrates gave him his new orders.
    He spent the previous week at Vathirond, searching for Hellan Fedani, a Jorasco healer and expert of deseases, wanted for war crimes, after his responsibility for the release of a plague on two different villages during the last four years. It's not clear on which orders he followed, nor he seemed eager to testify it after his apprehension. the most interesting thing of Arimart's hunt was his surprise when he confronted the halfling, and the 'good doctor' proceded to smack him with one of the strongest punches he ever felt. All due to his gauntlets, that the Paladin confiscated after the fight; it wasn't too difficult, but reminded Arimart one of the most important lessons in his life: never underestimate the shorties!
    Well, and never trust anybody, but that was more a way of life than a lesson. Maybe he'll ask more questions to Imra about this case...

    And now it was time for something definitely greater but, as usual in those cases, it started in the lowliness of this debased city, around the southern docks.
    The Speckled Hen is far from being a respectable place, and the first look has the only merit of keeping up with expectations: tattered sailors, cheap musicians, and the smell of stale alcohol, what more to expect from an evening at the docks?
    Looking around, Arimart sees some people at the tables, but nothing particullary interesting. On one side, an inelegant, noisy woman, seems to stir trouble with some sailors, probably drunk like her, the paladin instinctively moves his hand toward the handle of his hammer, but the situation defuses and the group goes back to playing games.
    He notices the presence of a familiar Khoravar face, but he is not sure where exactly to place him in his memory.
    Slowly walking to the counter, he salutes the bartender, and orders:
    "I need a glass of Nightwood Pale, and maybe some directions."
    Last edited by CozJa; 2020-05-13 at 11:14 AM.
    Does this poster have a sign?

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tales of Neutral Ground IC

    Spoiler: Quite some time ago...
    Show
    “Buddy, Isn’t it a bit strange, buddy, they call it the last war?” Raz slowly rose his head from the tavern table in response to his drinking companion. “I mean, buddy, I guess no one believes that this will be the last war, right?” Raz let his head sink on the table again. “You get it, buddy?” A growl was the only answer. It was moments like that when he wondered why he even spent time with Geldon. Time to end this, at least for the evening.

    “Your jokes are even worse when you’re drunk, you idiot. I’ll go… crawl… whatever... to sleep.” He pulled himself up and wandered towards the stairs that would lead into the common room upstairs. Stairs! Why do they love stairs so much? Stupid city dwellers. What’s wrong with like… the ground? At the foot of the staircase, he fiddled in his pocket, then the pouch on his belt. “Here.” He blabbered and put coins on the counter. “If ‘s not enough, I’ll *hick* pay … tomorrow.”

    On the upper floor, Raz staggered through the doorway, and dropped to straw next to his backpack. Please, sleep, come early tonight. His plea turned out to be wishful thinking... again. For weeks (or months?), regardless of how tired he was, the moment he laid down and closed his eyes, the images arrived. Torn between dream and wake, he would doze but not find good sleep, until his brain finally gave in after hours. The past war haunted him, fallen comrades, fallen foes, the heat of battle, the silence of the aftermath. Loss, relief, fear, excitement. A mix of emotions that kept him awake when he wanted to sleep. Memories from a war - memories from home. A home that he felt he could never return to after the cruelties that had happened there. It would never be the same without his brother, and he could never return to his family without him. He closed his left hand around the pendant around his neck, and tried to focus on the monotonous snore of his neighbor. Sleep tight, brother.


    Flipping a coin to the urchin, Raz approaches and enters the Speckled Hen a few minutes after Arimart.

    He glances casually over the crowd, nods to those who are near the entry, and turns to the barkeeper to order a beer. With a tankard in his hand, he heads for a good place to stand and listen to the bardic duo. Leaning against the wall, he slightly sways back and forth to the rhythm of the music, taking a sip from his beer every now and then, and joining in the clapping between their songs. Seemingly immersed in their music, he observes his environment from the corner of his eye. Good, the boy was right.

    Spoiler: Description, you decide how much you notice
    Show
    Raz, lithe and not very tall for human standards, displays a bizarre combination of graceful movement and crooked limbs. In fact, it appears as if most of his bones were once broken at some point in his life, and coalesced irregularly. He displays what most humans would classify as “bestial features”: His nose too flat, his eyes too round (and yellow) and the jaw and teeth of a predator. Fur grows on most of his skin, only here and there disrupted by scars. He wears sturdy clothes in colors of brown and gray, supplemented by light protective parts from leather and metal. Around his neck, he wears a leather necklace with a few small, modest pendants, some of them animal teeth. On his belt, he carries a blade, and on his back a small pack with a long object wrapped in canvas, that every experienced adventurer can easily make out as a stowed bow.


    After a few songs, Raz donates a few silver to the bards, returns to the bar to get a new beer. While waiting, he looks around in the room, apparently pondering where to sit.
    Last edited by Niobaran; 2020-05-13 at 04:23 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Amnestic's Avatar

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    Kett shifts slightly on her stool, leaning back as she looks intently at her cards, while not looking at them at all. He'd walked in, and suddenly she was reconsidering her disguise. Prim, proper, with a suitably moneyed choice of drink. She hadn't expected him to actually turn up himself. Chances are he wouldn't throw a second glance at her in her current get-up. She was sobered up in a second as scenarios started running through her head, playing out step by step. Seduction was off the table - personality type didn't match. She could try begging, but again, unlikely to work. He seemed the kind to look down on peasantry. She fingered one of her cards, before tossing it out onto the table to the raucous laughter and cheers of her table. Maybe she should quietly start a bar fight, play the damsel. Wouldn't work if he saw through her though. Full on kidnapping? Her gamblers luck was bad enough without adding that to it. Honesty. Or at least partial honesty. It'd blow her cover though. A risk she wasn't happy to take just yet. He wasn't the only unusual person, but he was the only one that mattered for now.

    Quiet.

    Focus.

    Just be helpful. That simple. Nothing more ornate than that. Just look helpful. She was pretty proud of her lip reading skills, and it helped that he didn't seem to be keeping her voice down.

    "All right. You've cleaned me out, next time I'll win it all back, yeah?" She tossed the last of her cards away along with a few coins to the table and stood up, clutching a tankard in one hand as she made her way to the bar, effortlessly weaving between tables and drunks. She was back to 100% now that work had started for real. She slid into the spot next to him and dropped her mug on the bar, giving it a two finger double tap to indicate she wanted a refill, before finally turning to Arimart.

    "Did I hear ya wanted some directions?" She kept the accent, of course. One of many. "I might be able to help. Where you headed?"
    DMing:
    Iron Crisis IC | OOC
    Red Hand of Doom IC | OOC
    Playing:
    Tales of Neutral Ground IC | OOC
    The Madness of Men in a World of Monsters IC | OOC

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    CozJa's Avatar

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    Default Re: Tales of Neutral Ground IC

    While Arimart drinks slowly, waiting for the bartender to complete his work, and hoping he'll answer back with something useful, he notices that the drunk woman from the table raises up and walks toward the counter.

    He studies her appearance when she offers to help... Heavy accent, dirt and rags... exactly what can be expected from somebody living at the docks. But, something seems off... she is now nearer, he looks at her with more attention; the details work, but something in her posture is unexpected...
    "She looks half drunk, but she is not!" The paladin says to himself, while pondering what to answer; then he thinks that she may be more than she looks, but the high call of gold is seldom ignored.

    "I don't know if you can help me, you see, my need for directions pertains more the who than the where. I'm looking for business, and heard a woman who goes by the name of Renn may be the suitable partner for my... line of work"
    Does this poster have a sign?

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
     
    (Un)Inspired's Avatar

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    Default Re: Tales of Neutral Ground IC

    Gryphon has been paying subtle attention the Khorovar Paladin since he stepped into Speckled Hen. He listens intently at every word the familiar man speaks only actually looks over to the paladin’s position at the bar as Gryphon takes sips of his drink to attempt to hide the fact he’s giving the prosecutor his full attention.

    Spoiler: Deception Roll to be covert in his snooping
    Show
    (1d20+5)[9]


    Gryphon notices the sailor woman approach Arimart and strike up a conversation with him. Well, well, well Prosecutor Kaessel. We’re very popular tonight it seems. he listens in as the woman offers to help the paladin find something he looking for and his sharp half-elven ears perk up upon hearing the name Renn. Is Renn the target? Better get some follow up info the old fashioned way.

    While sitting at his table Gryphon removes a copper piece from his tunic pocket and says out loud to no one in particular, Penny for your thoughts? And flips the coin in the air, catching it before it hits the table and chuckles quietly to himself.

    Spoiler: Gryphon’s Action
    Show
    Gryphon just cast Detect Thoughts. he’s not going to press beyond just surface thoughts for anyone in the room so no one gets a saving throw but for the next minute he goes from person to person reading peoples thoughts. He starts with Arimart as the paladin mentions the name Renn, then on to the woman he’s talking to (Kett) then onto whomever in the bar seems to have perked you when the name Renn was spoken, then on to anyone paying him or the pair at the bar extra attention.
    (I messed up a perception roll in an edit but it was an 11)

    * post roll count doesn't match database
    Last edited by (Un)Inspired; 2020-05-13 at 02:28 PM.
    amazing avatar of my favorite character, Gheera, by Pesimismrocks

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Amnestic's Avatar

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    "Hmm." Kett rapid fire taps her fingernails on the bar in her thought, a steady three-finger beat. "There's a few I could think of. One works down the docks, another's a..." She gives Arimart a look up and down and raises an eyebrow at him with a sly smirk, "well, she normally goes for girls, but I'm sure she could find time for you if that's your...business, and if you've got the coin." Her drink is refilled swiftly and she chugs half of it in a single go. This batch was fruity. It was...surprisingly good, masking the oak aftertaste she'd noticed previously.

    "If you know any more about her - name or 'business', I might be able to narrow it do-" She stops mid-sentence, a light twitch at the back of her head, just above the neck. She'd felt it enough times before. Someone was casting spells nearby. Sloppily, if she could feel it. She forces a burp and pats her chest a few times to cover the confusion before pulling another quick swig. "Down. Narrow it down. Apologies m'lord..." She trails off, implying a question of his name along with more detail on Renn.

    Spoiler: Her Thoughts
    Show

    "I have no idea who Renn is."
    "This ale's better than the stuff they were giving me before - is it because he looks moneyed?"
    "Sloppy spellcaster, someone else will probably deal with them."
    Last edited by Amnestic; 2020-05-13 at 03:12 PM.
    DMing:
    Iron Crisis IC | OOC
    Red Hand of Doom IC | OOC
    Playing:
    Tales of Neutral Ground IC | OOC
    The Madness of Men in a World of Monsters IC | OOC

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Titan in the Playground
     
    3SecondCultist's Avatar

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    Default Re: Tales of Neutral Ground IC

    Each of you gets settled in to the Speckled Hen, whether listening to the music, ordering a drink, or preparing to perform covert operations. The larger bartender - a Karrnathi man by the name of Jhory who turns out to also be the manager tonight - makes sure that all of the arrivals are well looked after. He grins appreciatively when serving Raz, Arimart, and anyone else who ordered a beer the dark frothy 'pale ale'. "Aye, the pale's a good choice," he crows, "just got a few barrels in from a brewery north-west of Korth!" By contrast, he gives something of a smirk when getting one of his staff to deliver a glass of Iltrayan red to Gryphon, but otherwise says nothing.

    When Kett saunters over in the midst of her drunk performance, those she was talking to before return to their games largely unbothered by her leaving. However, a few eyes have followed the interactions with the recently arrived Arimart: among them are the comparatively well-dressed elf Gryphon and the distant shifter Raz. Though neither has made any signs of approaching the pair right away, Gryphon decides to make a move. With his coin to his lips, he murmurs the incantation for his spell. Immediately, his mind is flooded with information as he scans the room, picking up on every stray flitting thought that passes through the heads of those present.

    Unfortunately, his actions do not go unnoticed. "Oy," the man behind the bar calls out in the wizard's direction over the music. His eyebrows furrow into an open scowl and he points at the elf with a meaty finger. "What d'you think you're doing? By the Blood, you're casting on my patrons, aren't you?"

    Spoiler: OOC
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    So for the items purchased so far, the bottle of pale for Arimart (and I presume both Kett and Raz) costs 4 cp, the glass of red wine for Gryphon costs 2 sp, and the pitcher of beer for Kleris costs the same 2 sp. The 'special' is a basic cabbage stew that costs 1 cp.

    A five star hotel, this ain't.

    Spoiler: Gryphon
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    So your Detect Thoughts worked against everyone in the bar... except for Raz and Kleris, who seem to register as complete blanks to your spell. They might as well be barstools. As for the other thoughts, I'll let CozJa list what Arimart is thinking but I will give you a brief summary of pretty much everyone else in the bar.

    Spoiler: Thoughts
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    The bar staff and performers are all thinking variations on a theme: boredom, counting down the minutes until their shifts are over, and expressing various forms of disgust and disdain for the dirty sailors and dockworkers that make up most of the people here. None of them seem to be thinking anything interesting or all that suspicious (though there's one woman who is doing a small internal prayer that she won't be found out for stealing some silverware from the kitchen to feed her sick aunt).

    Similarly, the patrons don't really have anything else to go on. Of the three sailors remaining at the table that Kett left, every single one is cheating in a different manner and hoping that the others don't catch on. There are a few other thoughts of note - most of them lewd or lascivious in some way about either other patrons or, more commonly, the bardic singer performing the song. Several of them are quite invested in leering at her, and their thoughts are best not repeated. Two rogues in the corner are thinking about casing the joint to potentially rob it later.

    Finally, the bartender Jhory is busy balancing the books in his head and wondering whether to up security since the latest rumors about gang activity. However, immediately after hearing the name Renn he thinks to himself that he should send her a signal that someone is here looking for her.
    Last edited by 3SecondCultist; 2020-05-13 at 05:52 PM.
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    Raz

    As Raz is still thinking about whom to approach, he notices the spell being cast. His grip around the tankards tightens, and a certain anxiety seems to wash over him. This can't be good... he thinks to himself. He moves a few steps backwards, until he feels the wall behind him. Feeling safer, he notices that his other hand had reached for the grip of his blade, but fortunately not drawn it. Calm down... Better not pick a fight... He slowly raises his tankard again to take another sip of the beer, glancing over the rim to see the reaction of the other patrons.

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    "That's not the kind of business I'm thinking about" Arimart answers with a smile as he hears the not-so-drunk-drunk's suggestions.
    As the still unnamed woman goes on speaking and stops midsentence, Arimart look at her with perplexity, especially after her... 'rumors'. At the same time, the other Khoravar sitting at the table catches his attention: his moves are trying to deceive those around him, but he clearly casted a spell...

    "Gryphon! The Drooam boy!" finally, Arimart remembers the face.
    As the woman speaks again to him, the half-elf starts to follow her "Wait a minute! Do you kno-"
    The bartender's enraged voice covers the music, and Arimart thoughts, for a while; fearing how the situation can end up, he stops and says "Excuse me for a brief moment, m'lady", underlining the last word as to mock her previous "m'lord".
    Before anything too violent happens, he turns towards Gryphon, scowls, then turns to the bartender. "Do not worry, my friend, I'm sure you know who I am and who I work with. This is a long evening and I am sure none of us wants to end it in a brawl. I believe that your elegant customer means no harm to everyone here, am I right?"
    Speaking at the bartender, Arimart keeps an eye on his woman of interest.

    Spoiler: Mind Reading
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    "The pale is better than I expected, but I miss Imra"
    "This woman is trying to fool me... I hoped she was Renn!"
    "What is Gryphon doing here? And what did he cast? And why is he so terrible at being unnoticed?"

    Last edited by CozJa; 2020-05-13 at 05:59 PM.
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    Gryphon ands up slows and smiles in a friendly fashion. No need to be upset Mr. Jhory, trying to get my friend’s attention, he gestures mildly to Arimart at the bar, and I couldn’t help but try my hand at a bit of magic. No harm done but I tell you what, next round for everyone is on me.

    Gryphon walls over to the bar on the other side of Arimart from Kett and puts 2 gold pieces down on the bar and raises his glass of wine in a “cheers” gesture to the room.

    Its good to see you again Kaessel. Its good to see you looking well.

    While the bartender Is busy pouring more drinks for everyone in the room Gryphon leans close to Arimart and whispers to him, I’ve been sent here to help you tonight but we have to be careful. When you spoke the name Renn I read the barkeeper’s thoughts and he immediately thought to try and reach out to warn her of your coming. No one else in the room had any reaction to your words.

    Gryphon watches Johiry out of the corner of his eye as he whispers to Arimart and looks out of any attempt of his to send messages to people or for any people who instead of getting there free drink instead try and slip out.
    Last edited by (Un)Inspired; 2020-05-13 at 07:12 PM.
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    Kett silently tutts to herself while Arimart's distracted. The spellcaster was a friend of his. Maybe. Just a guess for now. She pushes away any thoughts of recognition of the caster tuning out his name entirely, and started counting coins in her head. One copper, two copper, four copper. She watches the bar patrons coming and going for new drinks. Eight copper. One silver, two copper. One silver, three copper. One silver, five copper. It was taxing on her concentration, but she found it paid off when dealing with prying minds. The drinks were adding up, but not that quickly.
    "I ain't a lady." She says, frustrated a little that he wouldn't give his name as she gestures to her clothes. Two silver, one copper. Two silver, one copper. Two silver, one copper. A lull in the drinks buying. Kett turns to the one that had almost incited a full on bar brawl. Two silver, three copper. Three silver. Big spender that one, when it's someone else's money anyway. "Around these parts you can just talk to people to get their attention, no need for..." She twiddles her fingers at him, a clear mockery of spellcasting, "any of that. You in the same business he is?" Three silver, seven copper.
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    Sask watches, very interested, as he notices the well dressed half elf casts a spell and proceeds to draw the attention of everyone in the bar. The bar owner was angered a lot by the spell but Kleris is chill, he isn't worried about what the spell could be though he does not like the idea that it could have violated some aspect of him. 'Maybe he needs a... suggestion to respect other people.

    Kleris rolls his eyes and ignores the thought with ease and long practice, regulating that hateful little part of him to another part of his mind. Istren had his uses but Kleros was more helpful in day to day life. 'That's because forgiveness is the key to life.

    The armored person at the bar had attracted the attention of a women from the card table and were having a talk. The weird part was the armored person glancing at the caster somehow. Then the weirdo making a scene walks over to join the pair at the bar. That was an interesting trio and it seemed that they were having some serious conversations, he mutters under his breath "Well time to make some new friends."

    Kleris stands up and brings his pitcher over to the bar, glancing around to see if anyone is paying any specific attention to him joining the trio. He pulls up beside the ale stained women and the caster with a quirk to his lips "Hello. Seems like that was an interesting stunt to pull in a bar full of suspicious folk. Learn anything interesting, you folks seem to be in some serious conversation."

    Spoiler: Thoughts
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    --------
    Last edited by GameOfChampions; 2020-05-14 at 09:19 AM.
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    As Gryphon approaches him, the paladin ponders his words, still looking at him, the bartender and the woman, wary of every move each one of them could take.
    He thinks that if the barkeeper is the only one who reacted to the name, it may be better to follow him discretely; after all, if he didn't answer imediately to him when he spoke about Renn, he may not want him to meet her, or maybe... then the half-elf stops his train of thoughts, realizing one thing he didn't consider, and looks Gryphon in the eyes, while making a single, concentrated thought: "Get out!"

    As another man approaches them, Arimart feels already tired, and starts thinking that this whole thing is becoming a real mess. He answers to the newcomer, partially to continue the conversation, and partially to submerge his thoughts.
    "Well met, my name is Arimart, and I think that on my part the only serious thing that will come from this 'conversation' is an headache."
    He turns to the woman he was speaking to, and politely ask her: "I may have been distracted, but you said your name was...?"
    Last edited by CozJa; 2020-05-14 at 12:08 PM.
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    Raz

    Seeing a small crowd forming, Raz hesitates for a moment, but then approaches the bar again to get his free drink. He leans slightly over the bar next to Kett, trying to get the Jhory's attention. Addressing Kett, he motions to the seat next to her. "Do you mind?"
    Last edited by Niobaran; 2020-05-14 at 03:14 PM.

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    A few moments pass, as the exchange has gathered the gazes of practically everyone in view. Most look at either the mage or the barkeep, but Jhory lets out most of the tension at the offer of gold and the placating words on behalf of the gallant knight Arimart. "Alright, I'll let it slide this time... but don't let me catch you doing it again," he grumbles half-heartedly as he snaps his fingers in the direction of several of his staff to get back to work.

    The first of them, a woman in a strategically slit skirt, begins to head up the stairs with a plate of beverages and assorted foods on a tray. Presumably, there are patrons who frequent the rooms here who have called down for some food. The second makes rounds among the customers, making sure that the free drinks bought by Gryphon come to the waiting and thirsty. And in the middle of all of that, the last server moves to take out a bit of trash through a back door to the alley behind the inn.

    While the five of you gradually gather at the bar, each of you with your own angle, there is one new arrival that pushes through the door. A warforged wearing a patchwork cloak over stained steel composite plating, orange eyes flickering back and forth over those already being served their drinks. He carries a shield over his shoulder and his right arm shows the bulky outline of an armblade that is currently sheathed.

    "May I sit?" gravels a tinny voice from its slash of a mouth, as the construct does not wait for permission but instead slumps into a stool at the far end of the bar, ignoring the multitude of stares currently being sent his way. He does not order a drink.

    Spoiler: Raz
    Show
    You notice two things occur in quick succession when the warforged enters the bar. The first thing is that the pair of shifty individuals in the corner have very quickly stopped paying attention to you and looking at the warforged. The second thing is that the warforged seems to be wearing some kind of carved metal amulet much like a holy symbol beneath its clothes.
    Last edited by 3SecondCultist; 2020-05-15 at 06:15 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeno Desaqqara View Post
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    Oh Jhory. This place wouldn’t be the same without you. Gryphon says to the bartender as he goes about serving all his patrons. While still leaning close to Arimart he gives the paladin a quick wink and gives the other three at the bar a small smile and a single wave.

    With that he takes a few steps to the open front door of the Speckled Hen and leans on the door frame enjoying a moment of fresh air while keeping his attention on the interior of the establishment and looking out into the night.
    Last edited by (Un)Inspired; 2020-05-14 at 08:14 PM.
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    Kleris eyes the warforged for a second, shifting slightly to have an eye on the warforged on the end of the bar and the people around him. He tips his head to the newcomer as he slumps down at the end, watching to see who the warforged is watching and how he is moving his body.

    He smiles to the large metal clad man and the women "Greetings, you can call me Klereis if it pleases you. Hmmm, well seems interesting you came to an inn full of people then. Seems like a headache would be certain to occur, unless you have more pressing business?"

    Spoiler: Insight Check
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    Insight on the Warforged
    (1d20+5)[18]
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    Kett's a little taken aback by Raz, who she had not heard or seen coming, which put him solidly on her "danger" list for now. She took a half step back and motioned for him to take a spot beside her, regarding him with idle curiosity in her eyes and deep wariness in her mind. "Oh, sorry, of course." She lingers a moment before turning back to Arimart to continue the most casual interrogation she can manage.

    "I didn't, but it's Kett." She volunteers casually - no sense in giving a fake name. They rarely paid off and Kett wasn't that uncommon a name to begin with. "If you're not in the business of - " She bounces here eyebrows suggestively "- then just what are you looking for Renn for?"

    Like almost everyone else she notes the Warforged enter. It seemed like the night was getting very interesting all at once, but it wasn't the kind of excitement she was after, not today at least. At this rate she half expected a dragonhawk would come crashing through the ceiling next, just to really liven up the party. Warforged were a pain - to talk with and to fight. Even moreso because she'd left her weapons back on the ship. She quietly hopes that whatever they're here for, it doesn't cross purposes with her. Her foot starts tapping absentmindedly as she's trying to mentally navigate the rapidly confusing situation she'd landed herself in.
    Last edited by Amnestic; 2020-05-15 at 06:10 AM.
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    Arimart looks around, studying this group of... well, interlopers? He is not sure on how to call them...
    Then he looks at the warforged, but ignores his presence, for now, he had other things to think about.

    He looks at Gryphon while he walks to the entrance, then speaks to those still around him.

    "Well, miss Kett, master Kleris, it looks like we may indeed have some business in common, but I'm not sure that speaking about it while we're standing in the middle of an inn is the wisest thing to do. Or the most comfortable. Why don't we all take a seat?"
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    Raz

    With a nod, he sits next to her, setting down his still full tankard in front of him. Using the distraction provided by the entering warforged, Raz leans over to Kett. For a bystander, it might all look as if he were trying to clumsily flirt with her, but his words sound serious. "This place has many eyes and ears. Mostly concerned now with the big guy, though. Might be a good moment to leave for a better."

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    "I -" Kett's response to Arimart is cut off by Raz's whisper. Deciding she can't look too eager to stick with her only lead for now, she leans back in to Raz. She laughs - a feint, to make it look as if his 'clumsy flirtations' weren't falling on deaf ears, and with an interested smirk playing across her features queries back "Do you know him? Why the concern?" Taking it outside of the bar might be for the best at this point - contact had been made, so backing out before further attention was attracted might be the play. She needed something to go off though - if the warforged was a potential threat, better to know about it.
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    He eyes the warforged curiously, the mechanical man seemed to watching this group of people seriously. He gives Arimart a raised eyebrow and jerks his head toward the warforged in the corner. "Seems like we have a another interested person keen on business with us, should we maybe sit down and see what's up with him before we discuss our own business? May be something... impactful."

    He smiles a bit and gestures to Kett and Raz. "Besides it seems like your lady has found another interesting mark in this suave individual.
    Last edited by GameOfChampions; 2020-05-15 at 05:55 PM.
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    As the five of you - united in location, if not in purpose - bandy back and forth about moving this way or that, the drinks and conversations resume their flow. The disruption caused by the appearance of the unknown warforged seems to have been a temporary one, as he sits apart and doesn't seem to be making any moves towards anyone. Within a minute, both of the wait staff have returned to their other duties, and the atmosphere seems to have settled back down entirely.

    At least until a minute or two later, when one of the waitresses silently slides a note face down to Arimart. It's covert enough that the average evening drinker across the room might have missed it, but there is no escaping the attention of everyone else sitting near the special prosecutor.

    Lingering at the threshold of the inn, Gryphon can feel the presence of the construct behind him. He looks out over the moonlit evening, the glimmering faces of Zarantyr and Therendor casting their light over the portside street and distant waves of Scion's Sound. There doesn't seem to be all that much going on outside the front doors of the Speckled Hen: other than a few dockworkers and the odd fisherman, the avenue in front of the inn is bereft of much excitement. If the half-elf were to poke his head out further, he might spy the small green sometimes frequented by dreamlily smokers, druids, and other disreputables.

    Spoiler: Arimart
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    The note is written in a messy hand. It reads:

    Wait ten minutes and have another drink. Then find an excuse to leave the inn and come around the back alley. I'll be waiting.

    - R
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    Raz

    Responding with a toothy grin of triumph on her laughter, he leans in again to whisper:

    "Don't know him, no. But I think he's more than meets the eye. Anyway, he attracted quite some attention from them eavesdroppers, which could have worked as a diversion. Name's Raz, by the way."

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    "Kett. A pleasure." She tilts her drink at him before taking a swig. "If a warforged isn't more than meets the eye they're probably not built right," she adds quietly, still keeping the fake flirt smirk and overly bubbly tone. She catches the note slipped to Arimart and tries not to look too interested as she reads his features for any sign of...anything. Acknowledgement. Surprise. Anger. Confusion. Confusion would be the best, she decided, but any icebreaker would be nice at this point.
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    Still waiting for an answer, the paladin receives the note, reads it, quickly crumples it up, and puts it in one of his pockets.
    He knows that those around him obviously saw him read it, and is unsure on what to do, and how to leave the place without arising suspects. Furthermore, Arimart is quite sure that this Kett woman approached him for a reason, and now she's speaking with another... conspirator? Acquaintance? Stranger?
    The half-elf is considering if Gryphon may be of help now; he doesn't know him that well, but he has been a valuable asset for the Tribunal in the past, ignoring his peculiar political ties, maybe he could ask him for some cover? But would the wizard be able to provide it? or willing?
    So many questions, in so little time... why those people were at the Speckled Hen? Why Gryphon, who didn't seem a typical client of a place like this? And, why Kett is interested in him?
    The paladin believes it almost looks like the Silver Flame itself is guiding him to unexpected alleys. Or, maybe, he just sees links where there are not, as it often happens in this kind of work.

    "Work, yes, better get back to my work."

    Arimart answers politely to Kleris: "Well, the warforged caught a lot of attention, you are right, but I may have met enought strangers for this evening, master Kleris."
    He turns toward Kett, and looks at her and at the shifter she is talking to...
    "Well then, miss Kett, another friend of yours?" he asks, pointing at the shifter, "I have received an interesting offer, but I still want to know if there is something we have to talk about. If I'm not mistaken..." the paladin rests his elbow on the counter, gazing at Kett, "You approached me first."
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