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  1. #191

    The issue of the Oddcog

    All in all, the opera seems to be a big success though not everyone in the audience seems to have completely grasped the meaning of the story. Carlyle congratulates Auryn on this perfect premiere, even if she's a bit skeptical herself, finding flaws in her performance where no one else would see them.

    She explains that she's still far from the levels of Navras or even Vekesh and even asked herself whether she'd disgraced these two great artists with her mediocre art. After all, Navras managed to have a whole audience in tears before he disappeared, she says. Carlyle tells her that, while in his opinion, this is all pretty much nonsense, she could try to watch the audience's responses more closely next time and try to figure out what works for them and what doesn't. He himself is no tearful man, so crying at a performance is not in his usual repertoire, even if he found her songs touching.

    (She's totally projecting the lack of understanding onto herself and her performance. Also she's a bit pricked that this damn Carlyle obviously didn't realize that she took inspiration from his own character and made that big of a statement in front of everyone.

    Well... I guess he did realize it indeed but didn't know how to handle it.)

    Some time later, we receive an emergency call from Slate where we're asked to come to the capital immediately as they just got more information on Tinker Oddcog's whereabouts. So we take Chief inspector Delft and our luggage and teleport to Slate where we're already expected and brought to Torfield Palace. This time, we partake in a more official council meeting with Price-Hill, Harkover Lee and King Aodhan.

    Lee starts the meeting by handing out copies of a newspaper article from Ber, written by reporter Melissa Amarie. She writes that Bruse Shantus recently employed a strange person named Tinker Oddcog as head of his arms development team, a mechanic with dubious reputation. She finds this troubling news indeed as there are rumors that this Oddcog was involved in building the ginormous metal colossus that threatened to devastate Flint a few weeks ago.

    We find these news to be pretty surprising and Lee snarkily reminds both Delft and Price-Hill that it is kind of embarrassing to find that some young half-orc is doing a better job at gathering critical information than the RHC. Both men seem embarrassed indeed and admit that they couldn't find any trace of said engineer. Fortunately, it seems as if the Danorans got the memo only recently as well as the Lux Profectusque left for Ber and arrived in Seobriga two days ago.

    We guess that this means Lya Jierre will be involved in finding Tinker Oddcog as well and that her presence in Seobriga might complicate things a lot. Especially as we don't know whether she's trying to find Tinker Oddcog for the Danorans or for the Obscurati. So King Aodhan asks us to find out more about Lya's motives, assess the situation in Seobriga and try to question the gnome ourselves. After all, getting more information on Borne and how to stop him is critical.

    Regarding Lya, we discuss whether keeping good relations to her and Danor should have priority during this mission or whether it'd be more important to get Tinker's information at any cost. King Aodhan seems to trust our diplomatic instincts in this case, but he's leaning a bit towards getting our hands on Oddcog. He also mentions that we're free to parley with Bruse Shantus and may offer him good deals should he be willing to hand over the gnome. Still we should try to not rub the whole Ob story under his nose right now.

    Price-Hill has some older information on Tinker Oddcog as well and it turns out that this guy had originally tried to get a job as chief engineer of the Slate Subway system. He didn't get the appointment though and strange accidents happened afterward, so the whole project got cancelled eventually.

    (during all these talks Carlyle pretty much always dryly spoke of “the Oddcog” or “his Oddcog” regarding Shantus which made the situation utterly hilarious. In the end, both Tiz and me ended up laughing loudly whenever he returned the subject to the gnome.)

    In terms of Shantus and getting the Bruse's ear, Harkover Lee warns us that the minotaur is kind of eccentric and doesn't like giving audiences. So while he might seem to be accessible while being at his summer court, he prefers watching games to governance. Which is why getting an audience with the Bruse usually includes a long waiting time. What's making matters worse is the fact that the Bruse has come under pressure lately as he's on bad terms with his former companion, Cavallo de Guerra who he might see as a rival to his rightful claim on beran authority. On top of this, the gnolls to the south are (still? Again?) in open rebellion against the government. Oh and did he mention that we may not use our standard diplomatic channels because the official ambassador of Risur died recently and his position is still vacant?

    The latter fact is bad news indeed as we have very little knowledge of beran politics (our aliases Amira and Hector Fernandez had no political background at all) and we really need someone to introduce us to the court. So we discuss our options and come up with three names: Pemberton, Brakken Heffanita and Francis Fordren.

    Pemberton may be the easy choice as he's basically a Risuri and helped us with the Mad King debacle, plus he has shown interest of expanding to or investing in Ber. Still we barely know him and he's a businessman, so he'll need some incentive to help us.

    Heffanita brings the benefits of being from Ber and also being known as a diplomat. We know him quite well and we helped his niece, Wolmi, so he might be easily swayed to help us out. Still, we already used his family's contacts excessively and don't wish to pile on too much debt with a foreign diplomat who may or may not have his very own agenda.

    And then there's Fordren, who already established contacts in Ber and may be eccentric enough to help us out simply because a certain Eladrin asks him for help – something that would be very surprising and therefore exciting. Still, he's... Fordren and Auryn would only agree to this plan if he was the best choice.

    So we decide that Heffanita might be the best option after all and also agree that the Bruse might be interested in a bunch of colorful newcomers to his court. Newcomers, which include a deva (a rare sight in Ber), an eladrin women (again, rare), and a faerie dragon (cute miniature tyrant?). We also decide to take Margit and Burton with us, as the goblin will stick out very little compared to us and Margit is... well, she's our dear, reliable Margit.
    XP RangerWickett, Tizbiz, Andrew Moreton gave XP for this post

  2. #192

    A long glass of wine

    Session 34

    Promising to do our best to get our hands on Oddcog, we say goodbye to the King, Harkover Lee, and Lord Price-Hill (or, “the pleasant round of charming gentlemen”, as Auryn would call them... yep, she's totally casually flirting with her superiors) and teleport Delft and us back to Flint.

    We then send messages to our fellow constables about our upcoming trip to Seobriga and use the remaining time to have a chat with Morgan Cippiano. First, we inform him that we'll leave Flint very soon, so should he have anything going on at the moment, he'd have to share his news right now. When he signals that everything is alright, we then carefully tell him that one of his sources, the oracle Ottavia Sacredotte, should be handled carefully regarding to sensitive information as we suspect her to be affiliated with the conspirators who are behind the creation of the Colossus and the attacks on High Skyseer Nevard. We both agree that she's an altruistic person though.

    Cippiano senses that we're unusually tight-lipped when it comes to matters of these conspirators and we explain that everything surrounding this topic is filled with very sensitive, classified information, some of which is only shared by the King and ourselves, so we ask him to understand our caution. The Don surely understands, even if he wished that he were able to see the full picture. He then adds that Ottavia isn't his personal contact, merely a acquaintance of a friend's friend or so.

    Auryn then surprisingly asks Cippiano whether he knows anything about the attack on the Vantrys estate, as this case had been extremely frustrating for us and as even the RHC wasn't able to solve this mystery after all these years. On the contrary, information about who might be behind the assassination is so scarce that we suspect there might be true professionals behind it.

    Cippiano says that he honestly doesn't know much about this incident as the Vantrys are but a name in Flint's ever-growing industrial jungle. Still he offers to keep his eyes and ears open and hand us any kind of info he might get his hands on. Auryn also hints that even Carlyle wasn't able to find out much after pulling all his strings and using his supreme abilities, but said Carlyle prefers to add no comment to her statement.

    After saying goodbye to Carlyle, he tells Auryn that, while he does find her engagement for his case really honorable and also thinks that asking Cippiano about information a clever idea, he'd prefer to be informed about such ideas in advance. Especially if her plans involve giving people information about himself, something he'd need to have full control of. Auryn only then realizes that Cippiano might have taken her hints as a sign that Carlyle still has a strong connection to his former employers, which might be interpreted as a vulnerable spot.

    “I'm so sorry, I didn't plan to open up your flank like that. It is just... Mr. Cippiano is such a nice guy that you easily forget how potentially dangerous he can be.”

    “And that's exactly what makes him dangerous. We should never underestimate a man like him.” Carlyle says and then tries to brush the matter off as nothing bad happened yet and he does plan to stay on good terms with the Don.

    (Sooo true. Cippiano is just the guy who's nice and sweet and plays games with your kids but still means deadly business should anyone dare to stand in his way or cross his Family/Familia.

    Mr. Carlyle's player recently introduced me to the Blacklist and I see so many parallels between Cippiano and Red in terms of presonality. Even if Morgan usually isn't the action-type of mafia boss. Yet.)

    Auryn is very much embarrassed by her obvious mistake, especially as Carlyle seems to be a magnet for her mistakes. She adds that it is very hard for her to read his thoughts, wishes or desires, which is why she keeps making these mistakes.

    Carlyle returns the favor as he's usually reading people like an open book, but wrapping his mind around Auryn is a tough feat.

    (When two people with high bluffs and sense motives interact... he's a really high-skilled expert at judging people, but she's just a silver-tongued uncanny valley who doesn't like being read)

    “Don't judge yourself too harshly” he adds “That's no bad sign at all. I'd actually find it rather concerning if our relationship descended into routine or professional taxation. I prefer hearing your thoughts when you wish to share them.”

    Auryn says that she's glad to hear that and then invites Carlyle to her home to share a glass of wine. Once they're in her living room, he's quite surprised when she hands him a bottle of one of his favorite wines and jokes that his partner might actually be a crazy stalker.

    She laughs and then says “I'm just paying attention to your daily routines. And I am not too shy to ask your wine dealer for your preferences. Take it as a means of saying 'Thank you' for helping me deal with the task of freeing Isobel's family.”

    When he mentions that he's sure that she would have been able to free them on her own as well, Auryn replies that he's quite correct, but she doesn't know whether she would have made decisions she'd have regretted by now. So yes, she's really thankful for his support.

    “I hope you don't think that I sound like an obnoxious teacher. I don't wish to instruct you. But I've been in your situation as well and I...”

    “You had no one to support you, I know. You had to decide all alone and I guess you do have regrets about some of the decisions you made. See, I'm beginning to understand you.”

    Carlyle smiles faintly in response, thus confirming Auryn's hypothesis. Regarding regrets, he adds that it does seem as if she's having regrets as well as she seems kind of disconnected with her weapon. Auryn explains that regrets isn't the right word, she rather betrayed the purpose of von Recklinghausen's rapier, a weapon he had forged for self-defense.

    “Oh, you mean the weapon he made to exorcise the demons that may haunt him or those he loves? The weapon that you used to slay the Gidim? These people were demons that threatened your people, so I wouldn't say that you betrayed the Doctor's intentions. Even if the Danorans may have a different point of view on that matter”

    “Curse the Danorans and their stupid law that allows them to own other intelligent beings”

    “Yeah, curse them.” Carlyle responds and then both agree to toast on their curse.

    Auryn then shifts the subject back to where both of them are standing right now as she guesses that both are quite vulnerable to each other which is why dealing with one another is such a tough task compared to other people. She explains that at least she needed a lot of the time to understand that there's quite the sensitive soul behind the professional facade of Mr. Carlyle.

    He agrees to her assessment and adds that this doesn't have to be a bad sign at all, as vulnerability is quite normal when it comes to dealing with people you trust.

    They then talk about all the things that may or may have not changed over the last months and Carlyle realizes that despite everything that happened, he and his environment didn't really change that much. Sure, he was knighted and that meant much to him, but being given a title doesn't mean that your life has changed forever. At least nowadays, he adds, before explaining that back in the days, being elevated to even a low noble rank had quite the impact on someone's life. Especially as such an honor was and is quite rare.

    Compared to what he saw back then, his life hasn't changed at all. And what makes matters even weirder is the fact that his chief inspector Delft is a “simple man” who's now below him in terms of social standing. He explains that such a situation would have been impossible in earlier centuries and that it would have been a necessity to knight Delft as well in order to keep social structures intact and avoid a scandal.

    Auryn laughs quietly at Carlyle's little outrage and adds that at least the head of the RHC is a full-fledged Viscount, so there are at least some parts of his precious social structure left. Carlyle agrees that this thought is soothing indeed. He just believes that matters of rank and status mean much less in risuri society today.

    As Auryn still got the feeling that belonging to a different social class now that he's a Knight of Risur does mean much for her partner, she asks him whether there's something he always wanted to do but didn't because he felt it wasn't proper or too daring. Carlyle replies that there had been secret wishes of his back in the day when he was still a butler. But this last year kind of made all of these wishes come true, like traveling around the world first class or being invited to a royal banquet. Which is why he cannot spontaneously name one wish he'd like to see fulfilled.

    Regarding more personal wishes, he also doesn't know who he'd like to be or what he'd like to change either as he'd always been used to be exactly the person he had to be. When Auryn brings up Hector Fernandez as a man she could imagine Carlyle would like to be were he free of all duties and obligations, he shakes his head in response. Being Hector Fernandez, he explains, had been an interesting experience, but this man lacked purpose or direction and he couldn't imagine himself without a purpose.

    Auryn seems a bit surprised, but understands his reasoning. She then adds that he should take some time to think about his wishes. And that she'll help him sort his thoughts should he need her advice. Trying to fulfill your wishes prematurely, she says, might spoil the result anyway as she had to learn when she dared to take on a masterpiece like the “Dirge” on the big stage. Carlyle senses that this topic left quite the impact on her and so he encourages her to keep analyzing reactions and keep practicing without being discouraged by small mistakes.
    Last edited by Lylandra; Monday, 4th March, 2019 at 07:40 PM.
    XP Andrew Moreton, Tormyr, Tizbiz, RangerWickett gave XP for this post

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