Rodrigo was busy trying to refuse the offer of petty coins and "valuable" objects from the sandal maker's relatives, when he caugh the child's mother's expression and looked behind him. Falling silent, he observed the exchange. Looking at the mother again, he added in a low, somewhat hoarse voice "I think that will do", awkwardly tipped his hat and left with his companions.
The group left the sandal maker's shop behind and moved onto the bustling walkways of the Old City. It was strange to see so many people coming and going with no knowledge of the zombies and crazed wizards that had only been a few hundred yards away. Eventually, they made their way through the city gates and along the high road past the Grand Souk, to the Market Ward where they climbed the steep streets of Mount Sibasa to the home of Alastar Bol.
The overweight paladin is so thrilled to see that they have returned with Derio that he hauls himself from his pillowed seat to embrace the man. "I am heartily glad to see you alive, my friend. Please feel free to use the copper bath. I will have your clothes sent for."
He then turned to the group, "Thank you all for your service! Come, have water, wine, or both. I am entertaining guests - Allow me to present the famous world traveller, Volothamp Geddarm. He may be a useful resource to you."
A bearded gentleman with a broad smile nodded to the adventurers from his seat near the window.
Bol continued, "And newly arrived by ship from Baldur's Gate, my friend, Undril Silvertusk, priestess of Torm. She is very interested to accompany you on that expedition we spoke of."
A serious-looking half-orc woman smiled with pointed lower teeth and said somewhat ashamedly, "I was told that I would be able to reach Camp Righteous by horse." (at which point Volo broke out into laughter), "Clearly I was misinformed. This jungle is much more formidable than I was led to believe."
Dellrak partakes of the refreshments and eyes the new folk with a cautious eye. The dwarf is not one to speak, especially to strangers, as there always seems to be a misunderstanding or some miscommunication that ends up turning into an argument.
"Seems I be remember'n us needing ta finds a guide, fore we headed into these wild lands." he comments into one of his cups.
"Indeed, worthy Dellrak, a guide you will need." ventured Volo, "I have many in my acquaintance, and I'd be happy to suggest one. I have used their services myself to venture forth into these very jungles, preparing notes as I researched my latest book.
Speaking of which, you may yourself benefit from a copy of Volo's Guide to Monsters. In it, I have put forth truths like the deep and ancient secrets whispered into my ears by the guardian spirits of the hidden tombs of fallen archmages, now dust. Yes, in my tome, I set forth details, never before gathered with such coherence in one place, of the creatures varied and strange that it pleases humans and most other civilized races to deem as “monsters.”
I cannot recommend the essential lore contained in my new volume highly enough, and cry it to be “life-savingly necessary” to every adventurer and wayfarer in the jungles, be they treasure-seeker, soldier, or traveller seeking shelter in a cavern from hungry undead or the claws of predatory beasts. Should you find it within yourself to complain that this or that entry is lacking in veracity or comprehensive completeness, let it be known that I, Volo, took no shortcuts, and stinted not in the depth of my probings or the courting of discomforts in gathering the most extensive and authoritative lore possible. At great personal risk, might I add!
It is only my humble generosity that allows me to part with a potentially life-saving copy at the meagre cost of only fifty gold pieces."
I'm not making this up. Volo is in the adventure and wants to sell you his book.
Though she needed a proper scouring, from her point of view, that could wait until the welcome had been properly received from the old paladin. Miss Imogen had begun to greet Mr. Geddarm, and had introduced herself in a way of which Miss Prim would have approved. Treating his guest well would serve them well. She lost interest completely, however, on learning that he was a salesman. Or if not that, an academic, which was worse. "How wonderful that you have been published!" she exclaimed with enthusiasm before turning to the second guest.
As she began to speak with Undril Silvertusk, she wondered to herself if perhaps her deference to the man had betrayed some inner hierarchy, in her instinctual sense of worth. She introduced herself to Undril, and sought to get a sense of her as a person. Was this someone she could trust?
Are we level 3 now?
EDIT: I'll add that in no way is she being Rude to Volo. She simply chooses to turn the conversation away from him. She Background feature is "Etiquette" -- she's using that here.
"Indeed I have, young miss." replied Volo enthusiastically to Imogen just before she turned away, Many times, in fact. This is but the latest (and greatest) in my many publications.
He began to pull a copy out of his satchel and by the time he had done so, Miss Imogen was in conversation with Undril. Undaunted, he turned to Dellrak to continue his pitch while doing his best to include the others.
Miss Imogen quickly learned that the priestess was friendly, if somewhat taciturn. She was also distracted. She had arrive by ship that morning and had already found that everything was harder in Chult than she had been led to believe. She had not expected it to be easy - she was no fool, but he whole morning had gone wrong. To make matters worse, Alastar Bol had just informed her that her intended destination, Camp Righteous, had been out of contact and that Squire Perne, who she knew well, had gone there and not returned.
"I had vowed to join the efforts there," she told Imogen, speaking of Camp Righteous, "And I have a packet of dispatches to deliver to Commander Breakbone, as well as a number of letters for his men."
Rodrigo's eyebrow rose. Two could play at this game.
"50 gold piece, to adventurers that have but a few silvers to their names? Surely you jest good sir, you jest! Imagine that - heroes back from slaying foul zombies and crazed wizards - penniless wizards - heroes who are attempting to preserve the Realm from a curse most foul, and you, most educated sir, come along with life saving information like an angel from upon high, information vital to our the safety of every living soul on this blessed land... but you would deny it but for lack of funds! Ha! Imagine the scandal! Volo, turning away in the hour of need. Volo, risking us all to line his purse! No, sir, I cannot believe it. It is but a little prank, a joke to liven the day"
Turning to Alastar Bol he added "I must commend you on your guest Ser Bol, his wit is, ah, golden".
Alastar Bol appeared ashamed of himself and had to concede that Rodrigo was right. Volo, on the other hand, prepared to launch into a well-designed counter argument. He was interupted by Bol, who offered to buy the group a copy as a gift for having successfully rescued Derio.
"As a gesture of my extreme good faith, I shall sign the copy at no extra charge." offered Volo magnanimously. "Do you have a Company name for the inscription? I understand you have only travelled together for a short while."
Miss Imogen listens to the half-orc. In spite of herself, she stares at the tusks. She knows she shouldn't, but despite her training, she is still young an inexperienced of many aspects of the world.
There were no half-orcs at Miss Prim's School. Naturally.
"My companions and I have plans to visit Camp Righteous ourselves," she volunteers to the kind woman before her, when the moment seems opportune. "I should be happy to carry the letters for you, and save you the journey. They would be very safe, and you could remain within the comforts of the city."
She looks to gauge the woman's reaction.
"Or I could ask if they would be content for you to accompany us, though I must admit that Master Dellrak will probably insist that you pay for your share fully."
A roll, if needed (Insight/Persuasion both at +4): [roll0].
"Well, I had intended to join them, but if the encampment has been overrun (which seems likely) my efforts would be better spent in reporting this news and sending for replacements. Undril nodded to Miss Imogen while ignoring the fascination about her teeth, "I am not against discomfort, but I admit that I was not prepared for this heat. I knew it to be hot, but this thickness of air, this dampness, I hate every bit of it."
After speaking longer to Miss Imogen on various subjects, she eventually agreed to hand over her packet.
"I will remain here and work with Alastar while you are gone. Get word to me as quickly as you can on the fate of the camp and if it stands, I will come with reinforcements when they arrive." she decided and then she gave a brace of three vials to Miss Imogen, "Take these healing potions. You will need them more than I."
Dellrak seems more than slightly distracted as those better at battering than him talk of books and gold. After that is over he looks at the author and asks, "You do be mentioning guides. Why don't ye write der names ina da book and where we's can find 'em. Your name won't be necessary. At all thank ye."
Rodrigo bowed deeply and respectfully to Ser Bol. "My sincere thanks"
Upon hearing Volo's comment, he gasped "Such generosity will not go unnoticed, oh most courageous of scholars! We will be sure to spread far and wide how your selfless devotion to helping those in need and furthering worthy cause. Give us but a few months, and the entire continent will know that Volo will spare no expenses when the need is great!"
He fell silent for a while and inclined his head to the priestess of Torm. He then quietly murmured to Miss Imogen "It would appear that faith is pushing us towards camp righteous, for better or worse..."
But before leaving... Miss Imogen found this piece of jewelry on the necromancer. Miss?", said Chrysagon reaching out to her. "Does this look familiar to any of you? A pair of twisted snakes cast in silver."
Miss Imogen receives the package from Undril, and secures it amidst the folds of her garments. "I should be happy to save you the journey," she says. "We shall keep you informed of any progress. Do let us know where you are to be found."
When the woman offers the healing potions, Miss Imogen takes them, and places them in the outside pocket of the satchell she normally carries slung over her shoulder, but now which lies resting at her feet.
When Rodrigo indicates his expectation for the next destination, Miss Imogen nods. "Indeed. Though my intention is to travel to the Western jungle after we do so."
When Chrysagon mentions the silver snakes, she hands them over. As she does so she measures the paladin with her eyes, looking for some insight into what he might be thinking, and whether it differs from hat he might say.
Miss Imogen hears Volo's inquiry, and shudders. She is here for her Uncle, not out of some sense of comraderie with these others, however pleasant their company has proven to be. There is no deeper bond, except what they choose it to be.
"We are a bundle of sticks, on an open hand," she observes enigmatically. "No more than that."
Looking closely at the twisted snakes, Alastar Bol appeared immediately concerned. "This has the look of something made by the Yaun-ti. The Wren has been searching for items related to the snake-worshipers. If you wish, I will deliver it to him, or you could do it yourselves."
Volo wrinkled his nose and said, "I have long suspected that the ancient structures here in Chult held connections to the Snake People. We would all like to believe that those devious cannibals are as dead and gone as their ancient empire, but I believe that they operate still, yet in secret."
Harb stayed in the back of the room, generally doing his best to stay non-significant. He considered asking to deliver the charm himself, but decided it would ve easier to just report it and let them maje the delivery in their way. No reason to accidentally draw any more attention to himself than he already had.