Zeth doesn't know if it's exhaustion or the emotions he's been bottling up for so long finally being released, but he begins speaking.
It's all he can do to phrase it politely and omit a few particularly damning details, it's like the words need to come out.
"Trust me when I say I know the power of your goddess's domain personally. I arrived in this village today. Before that I was on a ship that became frozen in the ice. Of those who set out from there to reach civilization, I'm the sole survivor. All my crewmates perished in the cold."
He isn't even looking at the priestess anymore, he's gazing into the past. He speaks dispassionately but his teeth chatter unconsciously.
"The only difference between day and night was the light, but the cold was constant. The others kept dying, they'd fall and not get up or not wake up the next day or go mad and run away from the group. I kept going. I was the only one with the fortitude and will to survive, I did what I had to do and didn't let it break me. Even with that I would have died if I hadn't found this town, I don't know if that was luck or fate."
He gives a humorless chuckle.
"Or your goddess's will maybe. After all, she values stoicism, pragmatism, and cruelty and I needed all three to make it through the cold."
Zeth catches himself and tries to use what he's said to get information before he gives more away.
"I might be wrong though. About being the sole survivor. I've heard rumors of another sailor from the ship, Sephek Kaltro. From what I've heard he either survived a plunge into the icy water before it froze over the ship completely. Or he didn't survive and walks the world regardless."
He steadies his breathing.
"He was not a religious man in life, but I've seen many who find faith after near-death. Or after it. I need to know this. If he's living or undead I need to find him, whatever comes next I need to find him to make a clean break from the past. So if you can tell me anything, about him or what he may have become, do so. I'll keep searching regardless, because I know no matter what he is he's not stronger than me."
Zeth stares into the priestess's eyes unblinkingly.
(OOC: Persuasion 1d20+5 with Advantage = 16+5 and 9+5, so 16+5 = 21)
Alma turns her head towards Zeth. It's perhaps the most she's heard him speak since meeting. It's also the most he's shared of himself. Her brows raise. A strange sentiment prickles in the back of her mind. She's always eager to learn about people, to hear their stories. In that respect, she's intrigued to know more.
But there's something else. What he talks about. Unending cold and struggle. She recalls days spent trudging through blinding snow, huddled together over the dying embers of a fire. She thinks of the pages torn from her logbook, knowledge sacrificed for survival.
Stoicism. Pragmatism. Cruelty.
Those words strike something even deeper.
Alma stays quiet as Zeth speaks. Lets him take the reigns of the conversation for now. This talk about Sephek... she remembers the name. One of Torrga's bodyguards. He had pirate tattoos. She wonders if this is someone he truly knows or an impressive, on-the-spot improvisation. Either way, she awaits Jelenneth's response with baited breath.