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Kulan: Knightfall's Crisis in Bluffside Game [IC]

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Relgar Takes His Leave:
Seemingly outvoted, Relgar relents. "Fine; whatever we're going to do, let's just do it. The longer it takes us to confront Elday Annithclay, the more prepared for us he will be. Take it from one who knows, an arcanist loves nothing better than to convince his enemies to sleep on it before confronting him."
'I suggest a strategic retreat,' a voice intones in Relgar's head. The intelligent tome, Obliteration of the Eclipse, draws Relgar from the physical world into a mindscape that looks like Relgar's home. 'It is folly to continue down this path. The others are willing to rush into danger and I sense you are not inclined to lose your life over the renegade's plans. If you return to your home, I will find a way to protect you, personally, from the sorcerer. I cannot protect the others, but I don't think they would accept such help even if I offered, if it means having to abandon the people. ' Eclipso pauses. 'We might have to withdraw from the city, entirely. I know of several secret lairs that now stand vacant and I will gladly help you become powerful enough to bypass the wards, but it will take time.'

Relgar watches as several unknown locations flash through the mindscape. One in particular intrigues him.

'Ah, that one is an interesting choice. It is quite far and isolated. it is good choice. I suggest you return home immediately. It will be safer there for the time being.'

Relgar doesn't even nod in the physical word. He simply walks away from the others instead of following along towards the Garden's tower where the guards went missing. Luckily, Custodio is not around to object to him leaving. The others do not notice his departure (at first). The draft-wizard stops at the old Oakfirst residence to pack up the meager belongings he'd left there. The staff don't seem to be aware of his presence in the manor or his leaving for the safety of the Wizard District. For the first time in a while, Relgar's mind is free of the renegade sorcerer and the constant worry of being attacked. His mind can completely focus on his studies once again.

Once home, he locks all the doors and windows. There a good amount of dust. He cleans up and then bolts himself inthe back room to do more research on the location Eclipso showed him. Hmm, he could borrow some books from the library in Terger's old house. Terger had said he could. He shakes his head. 'You don't want to be accused of stealing and end up in the Dungeon. Stay here for now and read. I can protect you for now. The others will go on without you and fight Waldo.'

OOC: I needed 5 re-reads to understand who is Elday :) Turning things around for non-native speakers...ouch!
OOC: You weren't the only one who didn't get it right away. Heh!

Searching for the Missing Guards:
Tuck nods to Sylemis gratefully.

"Thank you, friend. Stay safe."

The kobold then turns to his companions.

"Shall we check on the others first? Or should we confront our adversary right away?"
Tim, who has been silent thusfar, speaks up: "I see no reason why we can't spare the time to go look for the guards now. If they were felled by a creature, it might still be nearby, and we have a chance to catch it. If they were taken against their will, then every minute we delay looking for them is a minute within which they could be tortured or executed. It is wrong to wait."
Arcanus Detch turns to look at them and beckons them to follow. "If you're going to look for the guards, you should start at the tower. We didn't find any obvious clues in the tower. Nathaniel's tabard was still hanging from his peg but he often chafes at the idea of wearing it all the time. None of Geoffrey's gear was left behind, except for his playing cards. He likes to gamble but I wouldn't say he has a problem."

The arcanus remains mute the rest of the way to the tower unless engaged to speak. He shows them Nathaniel's tabard, still hanging on the guard's peg alongside the other guards' tabards, cloaks, and even a few extra weapons hanging from sheathes. Geoffrey's peg is the only one without something hanging from it. The playing cards are stacked neatly on the table on the main floor of the tower. One guard sits at the table, reading a dusty old book.

"This is my apprentice, Torcull," Detch says. "He just came on duty."

The man, no boy, looks barely old enough to wield the staff leaning against the wall next to him. He looks up and acknowledges his arcane master and then notes the assortment of adventurers before him. His eyes go wide when sees Tim and then his mouth snaps shut when he notices Tuck. Mutt sniffs around the table, which makes the young man nervous.

"Arcanus, are these the people you told me about?" He asks.

"Yes, and try not to embarrass yourself or me," Detch replies calmly. "They are going to try to find Geoffrey and Nathaniel, the gods willing." The old wizard pauses and shakes his head. "Tuck in your shirt, lad. And put on your tabard. I need you to go get Isabella from the ramparts."

The boy nods and gets up while trying to avoid Mutt's inquisitive nose. He heads up the tower's spiral staircase and out of sight.

"Isabella Svend. She was on duty when the other two disappeared. She says she didn't notice any odd behavior from either of them, but you should question her. Perhaps she will tell you something that she won't share with an old sod like me." Detch moves to the stairs. "I will be at my desk. Paperwork to do."

The group only has to wait a few minutes for the young Elite named Isabella to arrive, escorted by Torcull. The boy shuffles his feet to his staff, which he'd forgot and then disappears back upstairs. Isabella is older and more confident but she balks when she looks at Breva but then steels heself.

"I'm told you wish to speak to me about the others? There isn't much I can say that I haven't told Detch," she rolls her eyes when she says the arcanus's name. "They're probably both slacking off, is all. Geoffrey Suggitt is so unreliable and Nathaniel is a fop easily swayed by a pretty face, male or female."

OOC: Tuck gets a +2 circumstance bonus to track Nathaniel using the guards cloak and Mutt's help (in addition to any other bonuses). The guards have only been missing for part of the day (we'll say about 6 to 8 hours). The cards on the table have too many other scents on them for Mutt to distinguish Geoffrey's.

Tellerian Hawke said:
OOC: Sorry I haven't responded lately, I've had a lot of RL stuff going on.
OOC: No worries. ;)
 

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JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Tuck ignores the expression on Torcull's face when he sees the kobold, instead moving over to the cloak from one of the missing guards. He beckons Mutt to sniff the item, while he himself asks a few questions about the guards to form an image of who they are and where they may have gone off to.

"What are their last names? What's their family's standing? Any places they frequent often? What assignments did they get the last few days? What were their specific instructions on duty? How would you describe their personalities? Did they get along well?"

OOC: As an urban ranger, I can use Gather Information to track a person, hence the questions.

Gather Information to track Nathaniel: 1D20+16 = [19]+16 = 35
 

Scotley

Adventurer
Breva looks at the woman curiously before realizing he might be being rude to stare so frankly and begins looking around the room. Once Tuck finishes his barrage of questions he ask, "So they have abandoned their post without telling anyone before?"

Breva make a show of looking about examining things in the room and surreptitiously detects evil.
 

Aust Thale

Explorer
Falen Enters Bluffside:

The unseen seer is soon wading through the throng to the massive lifts that will take him from the Undercity up to the New City district of Bluffside. The lifts are run by water wheels and steam power and the one descending to him makes an awful racket. The lift arrives and the metal grate opens and dozens of workers pour out to begin what is likely the night shift, as dusk is soon approaching. Those heading home up in New City push on to the lift and Falen is carried on to it. The smell of people cogs his nose. Falen is thankful once he reaches the top and the workers exit the lift. He is one of the last to leave the lift.

The Bluffside Regulars stop him as he does. "I don't recognize you. Are you new to the city?" The guard sergeant asks Falen. His tone is very serious. "New City is under Martial Law, I need you to provide your credentials or your worker's badge."
Falen, speaking with a thick, highly educated Sprache accent but in the language of the guard (this is Cliffspeak, yes?), "Indeed Guard Sargeant. Many apologies. I just arrived, and other than your obviously effective presence, I was unaware of the city's status. I would like to gain entry in the proper manner. Should you direct me, I shall do so. Could you help me with this? I know your time is valuable; I would be most appreciative. As to why I am here, I trade things. Today, I am particularly interested in securing ale, wine, and exotic spirits. I am to meet a cheeky fellow named Steadman who is supposed to have a line on a rare blend of Frostwine. I have a bottle here in my pack. I want more. He works during the day in the southeast pie-slice of the city. I will have to inquire as to where specifically. Unfortunately, I don't have that information just yet. This state of affairs here doesn't bold well for my prospects, I can see that. Again, apologies if I have caused consternation."

Falen wants to carefully measure this fellow, whether he might be helpful or useful, now or later. #1d20+7. I'm not sure which dice system you use, so might the DM help a brother out and roll for me?
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Guard Tower in the Gardens:
Tuck ignores the expression on Torcull's face when he sees the kobold, instead moving over to the cloak from one of the missing guards. He beckons Mutt to sniff the item, while he himself asks a few questions about the guards to form an image of who they are and where they may have gone off to.

"What are their last names? What's their family's standing? Any places they frequent often? What assignments did they get the last few days? What were their specific instructions on duty? How would you describe their personalities? Did they get along well?"

OOC: As an urban ranger, I can use Gather Information to track a person, hence the questions.

Gather Information to track Nathaniel: 1D20+16 = [19]+16 = 35
"Nathaniel is the youngest son of the Aceron Family. They are a wealthy merchant family but not true nobility," Isabella replies. "I've never met any of his family, but I know they have a house here in Old City and shop in New City. I think they sell used and found magical items brought in by adventurers. I don't think he has anything to do with the family business. He often complains about his older sister who is next in line when their mother passes away. While I've never met her, Lady Aceron, from what Nathaniel brags about, is too tough to die. Nathaniel's duty is to stand guard in front of the tower and tell visitors that the area around the tower is restricted." She pauses. "As I said, he's a fop and easily swayed by good looks. He spends a lot of time carousing with young lords and ladies. He does do a decent enough job as a guard, but if you want to know more about his record, I suggest you go the Regulars Barracks here in Old City and ask Captain Ivan Wildore. Nathaniel didn't seem to mind spending time with Geoffrey, which pisses me off!"

She shakes her head. "Geoffrey Suggitt is a sniveling little weasel who often shirks his duty and gambles away his pay -- the day he gets it. He is only good around here for the lightest of work... unless he has a chance to kill something." She lowers his voice. "Arcanus Detch seems unwilling to sack Geoffrey because his noble family has had bad luck and 'this is all young Suggitt has left in the world'. His father was a bad as him and gambled away most of the family's fortune. That's not bad luck. That's incompetence." She sits down at the table and thinks for a minute. "I really don't know where'd you'd find him when he's not here, but I wouldn't be surprised if he is lounging in some seedy brothel in the Undercity or out on Sordadon. He's an Elite, so he answers to Commander Jessamin Trembath. She has an office at the barracks but spends more time at the Tribunal as a Guardian to the Justices. Personally, I don't think Suggitt care about much anymore. He's lied to me and to everyone else here more than once."

Breva looks at the woman curiously before realizing he might be being rude to stare so frankly and begins looking around the room. Once Tuck finishes his barrage of questions he ask, "So they have abandoned their post without telling anyone before?"

Breva make a show of looking about examining things in the room and surreptitiously detects evil.
"Nathaniel is a good guard and doesn't abandon his post. Him disappearing is strange but who knows. If he thinks he can get some amour, I wouldn't put it past him." Isabella says amour with disdain in her voice. "Suggitt has disappeared before, but he always covers his buttocks before doing so. This time, he just left. From what the other guards who were playing cards with him said, he just got up and left without a word. He didn't seem panicked but he did look worried. Perhaps his mother is drunk again. She didn't handle her husband's death very well -- not that she's a pillar of the district. She has lost herself in the Black Boudoir near the theater. It would almost be tragic if she didn't go home and beat her step-daughter. Poor girl. That, I guess, is Geoffrey's one redeeming feature, he cares about his step-sister. He talked about it once while drunk, on duty." She sighs. "His mother married an old peddler named Tinon. The man usually works out of New City, but I doubt he's working now since the Martial Law edict. Geoffrey hates him."

She shakes her head and look at the stairs. "I've tried to get Suggitt kicked off the guards or, at least, reassigned to someplace less important, but Arcanus Detch always gives him 'one more chance'. It's like that man is the patron saimpt of lost causes."

OOC: Breva doesn't detect any evil in the room.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
New City:
Falen, speaking with a thick, highly educated Sprache accent but in the language of the guard (this is Cliffspeak, yes?), "Indeed Guard Sargeant. Many apologies. I just arrived, and other than your obviously effective presence, I was unaware of the city's status. I would like to gain entry in the proper manner. Should you direct me, I shall do so. Could you help me with this? I know your time is valuable; I would be most appreciative. As to why I am here, I trade things. Today, I am particularly interested in securing ale, wine, and exotic spirits. I am to meet a cheeky fellow named Steadman who is supposed to have a line on a rare blend of Frostwine. I have a bottle here in my pack. I want more. He works during the day in the southeast pie-slice of the city. I will have to inquire as to where specifically. Unfortunately, I don't have that information just yet. This state of affairs here doesn't bold well for my prospects, I can see that. Again, apologies if I have caused consternation."

Falen wants to carefully measure this fellow, whether he might be helpful or useful, now or later. #1d20+7. I'm not sure which dice system you use, so might the DM help a brother out and roll for me?
"Well, well, you are a fancy talker, aren't you," the sergeant replies with a oily grin. "Wine you say? Well, you'd need a license to carry around a bottle like that, I think. You need to hand it over, and I want to see in that pack of yours too. I think your up to no good and if you don't have a badge or a license, it is the Dungeon for you!"

"Sir... don't...," a younger guard stammers.

"Shut up!" He glares at the other guard.

"Now, if you want to pay the fine up front, you need not find yourself lost in the bowels of the Dungeon. It can get very scary down there at night." He looks at the sun, which is nearly set. "You don't want to be down there at night. Rats and worse prowl its depths. So, be a good trader and give up that wine and pay the fine and I'll let you go with a warning."

Falen: Sense Motive > 1d20+7=27 Nat 20! So the roll is considered a 37!

Falen can tell that this guard is up to no good. He's likely corrupt beyond all hope. He's likely fishing for a bribe or dislikes people in general. It might be best for Falen to slip him some coin (no less than 5 gold) and pray the bastard doesn't take his pack too. Bribing him a lot will likely put Falen's 'disguise' on the man's radar as being an easy mark. The other guards around him are just as bad, although one of them, the one who spoke out, looks uncomfortable.

The guard is scraggly and looks like he's just climbed out of bed. He would be a disgrace in any city of note. There is a look of avarice and ill intent in his eyes. He might be easily intimidated by bravado (you get a +2 circumstance bonus to the roll). Falen could call his bluff but being too diplomatic might make the man angrier. You should consider him Unfriendly and the others Indifferent. Note that Falen is sure these guards are true guards and not fakes.

And you can use any dice roller you are comfortable. Simply post a link to the roll.
 
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Isabella Svend said:
"...he just got up and left without a word. He didn't seem panicked but he did look worried..That, I guess, is Geoffrey's one redeeming feature, he cares about his step-sister..."
Tim says, "If his strongest motivation is his concern for his sister, then we should start with that. If he got up and left suddenly, for no apparent reason, then it must have been because of something he had prior knowledge of. My hunch is that his sister has been threatened. He was likely told to meet someone somewhere at a certain time, or she would be harmed. And as with most ransom scenarios, he was probably advised not to tell anyone and to come alone. Further, he might have feared treachery, and perhaps he convinced Nathaniel to come with him. I mean, who truly walks into a suspected trap completely alone, without at least one person for backup? That's my sense of it. How skilled a Wizard is Master Arcanus? Now would be a good time for some sort of augury spell... or whatever Wizards call their version of it. Barring that, we should start trying to track him now, because if my gut is correct, then every moment wasted is one in which these two guards could come to harm."
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Akos looks around and things what to ask...before he spots a mirror and gets lost in analyzing the line f his beard. When he snaps out of it, the questions are already asked. He listens with more attention afterwards.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Garden Tower:
Tim says, "If his strongest motivation is his concern for his sister, then we should start with that. If he got up and left suddenly, for no apparent reason, then it must have been because of something he had prior knowledge of. My hunch is that his sister has been threatened. He was likely told to meet someone somewhere at a certain time, or she would be harmed. And as with most ransom scenarios, he was probably advised not to tell anyone and to come alone. Further, he might have feared treachery, and perhaps he convinced Nathaniel to come with him. I mean, who truly walks into a suspected trap completely alone, without at least one person for backup? That's my sense of it. How skilled a Wizard is Master Arcanus? Now would be a good time for some sort of augury spell... or whatever Wizards call their version of it. Barring that, we should start trying to track him now, because if my gut is correct, then every moment wasted is one in which these two guards could come to harm."
Akos looks around and thinks what to ask...before he spots a mirror and gets lost in analyzing the line of his beard. When he snaps out of it, the questions are already asked. He listens with more attention afterwards.
"If someone wants to ransom Cecia back to her family, they aren't going to get much. Tinon likely won't care. Lady Suggitt has nothing to barter with except maybe her life. Geoffrey's not even the heir to the Suggitt estate. He complains often about it going to a distant relative in Pertan or it being sold off in pieces to pay for his father's debts. No, if she's been taken, then she's probably headed for slavery in Montresor or Talangrán." Isabella thrums her fingers on the table three times before continuing. "While slavery is illegal here, it doesn't mean that slavers don't get in and take people. That usually happens in the Undercity though."

She pauses again. "I could see Nathaniel agreeing to help him, but from what the others told me, they didn't leave together. Still, it's possible. Geoffrey's old home is on the other side of the district... I think. I try to ignore him when he prattles on about his family's woes. Hmm, there will probably be records of it at the barracks. Inform Commander Trembath of the situation, if she doesn't already know, and tell her that Arcanus Detch wants her to let you see the documents. Detch's respected by the leaders, so if you mention his name, it will quicken your search." She looks towards the stairs. "Oh, and he is quite apt as a wizard, but I don't think he's into auguries *. He's more into slinging fireballs and lightning bolts, but you can ask him."

She stands from the table. "If you want to know more about those two, I suggest you talk to the others who were here when they both bolted. Their shifts ended an hour ago, but I think they were headed to one of the nearby taverns. I don't know which one. The Elite guards at the Gate of Lilies might know which way they went. Ask if they've seen Zaos or Ganna. Ganna's brother, Ulbran, is the night watch sergeant for that gate, so if she left the Gardens that way, he will know where she went." She waits to see if there are more questions before saying, "I need to get back to my post."

OOC: * This came up before when Detch mentioned he doesn't know legend lore. He prefers battle spells. :)
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Tuck thinks about the answers, and summarizes for his own clarity.

"So it's possible both have gone off to meet someone if Geoffrey's sister has been kidnapped, and we could ask his family. We can also talk to their commanders, or their colleagues who saw them last, although I doubt they'll tell us more than what they've said to you."

The kobold studies his dog to see if it has found a scent.

OOC: I understand the answers, although I'm not sure how to follow them up in finding the missing guards. Does my successful check mean I have a sense of where to go?

And does Mutt have a scent to track?
 


Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Through the Streets of Old City:
Tuck thinks about the answers, and summarizes for his own clarity.

"So it's possible both have gone off to meet someone if Geoffrey's sister has been kidnapped, and we could ask his family. We can also talk to their commanders, or their colleagues who saw them last, although I doubt they'll tell us more than what they've said to you."

The kobold studies his dog to see if it has found a scent.
Breva watches the dog curiously waiting to see if he has something.
Mutt sniffs the tabard and then walks around the room before heading to the door of the tower. He turns an barks at Tuck. The big dog has Nathaniel's scent.

Isabella wishes you good luck.

Mutt waits for Tuck to open the door before bolting out into the cool night air. The sun is setting over the city. The big dog follows the scent trail along the eastern wall of the Gardens down the cobblestone path. He doesn't go near the trees, although the sound of a small chattering animal distracts him for a second. He tracks all thee way to the other Garden tower where the other guard went missing from. No one stands guard in front of it, but one of the guards on the wall does watch Mutt and Tuck track all the way along the Garden's southern wall to the Gate of Lilies. At first, Tuck think the dog wants to go through the gate but Mutt, instead, tracks past it and down to the Garden's main gateway back into Old City.

Mutt track the missing guard all the way across the district to a large stone manor house that is quite posh. The sun has set and the lamplighters are out doing their work. The big dog circles the manor house and then stops and the back gate along a large hedgerow that is taller than Big Tim. Mutt scratches at the stout wooden gate than blocks his path. He looks at Tuck and then sniffs the air. He circles twice through the street before coming back to the kobold urban ranger and sits down in front of him with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. The dog is happy and he barks twice at Tuck.

A small patrol of Regulars appears and then watches them intently before one of them recognizes Tim. He signals the big man shouting out an acknowledgement. The guards are out hunting for troublemakers including the murderer* on the loose in Old City. "Let us know if you see anything!" He shouts.

The manor is dark. Either no one is home or its residents go to sleep very early. The streets have become nearly silent. The hubbub of the day is replaces by an eeriness. A light fog moves inland from the bay, obscuring some visibility (anything beyond 100 feet). The guards become misty shadows in the haze. Mutt sniffs the air again and then circles the gathered group of adventurers. He doesn't seem concerned by the guards' presence.

JustinCase said:
OOC: I understand the answers, although I'm not sure how to follow them up in finding the missing guards. Does my successful check mean I have a sense of where to go?

And does Mutt have a scent to track?
Urban Tracking says you need to make a certain number of successful rolls in order to find your target. I've rolled and found the number of success you need and the book says I'm supposed to keep that number to myself, but for the sake of expediency, I'll tell you it is two more successful checks. Each check represents and hour of searching, I believe.

And yes, Mutt has the missing guard's scent, which gives you the bonus below for the next check. I think if you fail a check, Mutt loses the scent, but you won't have to start over.
OOC: Tuck is certain that if Nathaniel went anywhere in Old City it is probably to his family home. That is where Mutt leads the group unless forced to go somewhere else. Make another Gather Information check with a +2 circumstance bonus to continue following the trail.

Or you can take some time to try to speak to whoever lives in the manor. The three-story building is well maintained, so the group can tell someone legitimately lives in the house. It is completely dark in the manor, however.

* While Old City isn't under martial law, the fact there is a serial killer on the loose in the district means that most of the district's citizens head home after dark. The group will encounter several guard patrols as they search for the missing guard, but Tim has become well known enough to be recognized from a distance. Akos is known as well but more by the faithful. The district's taverns and inns are open but not very busy and they ask for acknowledgement from those that come knocking before letting anyone in. Anyone on the street is likely to be up to no good.

While the PCs don't know these guards personally, Big Tim's current stature in the district gives the group some leeway while investigating at night (at least, among the good people of Old City). Also, no one is likely to mistake Akos or Breva for ruffians. Tuck would likely get some loosk if he was on his own. As well, the group has a Sectarian Guard attached to them now, in full uniform.
 

Aust Thale

Explorer
New City:

"Well, well, you are a fancy talker, aren't you," the sergeant replies with a oily grin. "Wine you say? Well, you'd need a license to carry around a bottle like that, I think. You need to hand it over, and I want to see in that pack of yours too. I think your up to no good and if you don't have a badge or a license, it is the Dungeon for you!"

"Sir... don't...," a younger guard stammers.

"Shut up!" He glares at the other guard.

"Now, if you want to pay the fine up front, you need not find yourself lost in the bowels of the Dungeon. It can get very scary down there at night." He looks at the sun, which is nearly set. "You don't want to be down there at night. Rats and worse prowl its depths. So, be a good trader and give up that wine and pay the fine and I'll let you go with a warning."

Falen: Sense Motive > 1d20+7=27 Nat 20! So the roll is considered a 37!

Falen can tell that this guard is up to no good. He's likely corrupt beyond all hope. He's likely fishing for a bribe or dislikes people in general. It might be best for Falen to slip him some coin (no less than 5 gold) and pray the bastard doesn't take his pack too. Bribing him a lot will likely put Falen's 'disguise' on the man's radar as being an easy mark. The other guards around him are just as bad, although one of them, the one who spoke out, looks uncomfortable.

The guard is scraggly and looks like he's just climbed out of bed. He would be a disgrace in any city of note. There is a look of avarice and ill intent in his eyes. He might be easily intimidated by bravado (you get a +2 circumstance bonus to the roll). Falen could call his bluff but being too diplomatic might make the man angrier. You should consider him Unfriendly and the others Indifferent. Note that Falen is sure these guards are true guards and not fakes.

And you can use any dice roller you are comfortable. Simply post a link to the roll.
Falen: He slips an agate gem from a pouch inside his belt. Moving uncomfortably closer to the guard, and gazing dead at him, eyes ablaze with intent. He leaves his free hand against his chest within reach of his hidden magical knife. He speaks calmly and directly to the Guard Sergeant, clearing his throat and changing his demeanor to a man not to be trifled with, "Here is the toll you seek. I have business here, and I am expected. I have chosen to humor you in front of your men. But don't kid yourself. Your next action should be to take the agate from my hand. It's a handsome reward for the day. Do yourself a favor, take it and say "move along. I assure you, that's the best decision you will make all day."

Unseen seers typically loathe provoking drama. It rarely serves anyone's interest. However, if provoked, Falen had and would again leave bodies in his midst. Turning over his belongings, particularly the letter he carried, wasn't an option. It would become an open fight, and the first to drop would be this disgrace in front of him.

Intimidate = 8+1 (skill) + 2 (circumstance per DM) = 11; COre COliseum Battle Map
 
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Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Akos finally gets interested as things start moving forward. He is not a creature of patience and investigating and looking for clues and such...not his thing. But this chase, slow as it is, and the chance to interact with people gets him involved again.

He nods amiably at the guards, speaks openly and enthusiastically with whoever is outside (including the guards) and in general distracts people Tuck questions with nice chatter so they are less likely to hold back because kobold asks the questions.

OOC: auto-succeed aid another for Tuck/@JustinCase
 

Scotley

Adventurer
Breva trots along in the dog's wake with the others finding this a novel experience. Breva acknowledges the guards' request with a nod, "Will do, give a shout if we can be of help to you."

As their quest leads them to the dark manor he asks, "Does anyone know who lives here?"
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Falen makes his way to Old City:
Falen: He slips an agate gem from a pouch inside his belt. Moving uncomfortably closer to the guard, and gazing dead at him, eyes ablaze with intent. He leaves his free hand against his chest within reach of his hidden magical knife. He speaks calmly and directly to the Guard Sergeant, clearing his throat and changing his demeanor to a man not to be trifled with, "Here is the toll you seek. I have business here, and I am expected. I have chosen to humor you in front of your men. But don't kid yourself. Your next action should be to take the agate from my hand. It's a handsome reward for the day. Do yourself a favor, take it and say "move along. I assure you, that's the best decision you will make all day."

Unseen seers typically loathe provoking drama. It rarely serves anyone's interest. However, if provoked, Falen had and would again leave bodies in his midst. Turning over his belongings, particularly the letter he carried, wasn't an option. It would become an open fight, and the first to drop would be this disgrace in front of him.

Intimidate = 8+1 (skill) + 2 (circumstance per DM) = 11; COre COliseum Battle Map
The guard sergeant takes the gem greedily and inspects it with glee. Falen can see that he doesn't find it lacking in any way. Once he's pocketed the gem, he give Falen an angry look. "Your little speech might have saved your pride but be careful you don't push me to far. I will take the gem as your payment and let you go, little man, but I know your face and we will continue this chat at another time." He looks around at the streets. "Someplace less public. And then we'll see if you have any bravado."

"Sir, we need to go," one of the other surly guards say. "They'll be along any minute now. We need to get back."

"Yeah, yeah," he moans. "That new commander is a horrible stickler." The sergeant doesn't give Falen another glance as he and the others walk away.

The youngest of the guards pauses for a moment. "I'm sorry for what Sergeant Vonner said and did. He's a brute and a bully,' he whispers to Falen. "Here, it's not much but it's all I can give you for that gem." He hands Falen six silvers. "If you want to make a report against him, go to the main barracks in the Military District and speak to-"

"Ducas! Get your ass moving!" Sergeant Vonner yells. "Make money on your own time, whelp!"

The Regular sighs and rushes to catch up to his patrol.

Falen finds himself alone for a moment, before another one of the lifts grinds to a halt and spills out more workers heading home for the evening. The sun has gone down and the lamplighters are out. Falen is forced to follow the throng for a block before splitting off to head to the district's gate that will lead him to the other 'pie' known as Old City. The guards there are polite and warn him that there was an attack on the road. "Be careful and get to Old City as quickly as you can. They'll be closing the gates soon."

Falen is forced to rush the entire way, but he makes it just in time. The guards are less friendly but do not 'accost' him in any way. The give him another warning. "I suggest you find an inn and get inside as soon as possible. There is a killer on the loose on the streets," a female guard warns him.

"Damn, fog, just what we don't need tonight," Another guard curses.

Indeed a light mist has billowed in from the sea. Falen is ushered through the gate into the foggy streets of Bluffside's oldest district. He pats the letter in his pocket and heads towards the Ticinum embassy. His instructions say that he'll have a place to sleep for the night after he delivers the letter. It takes some time to find his way there through the mist. Falen is completely chilled by the time he arrives, as two different guard patrols stop him and warn him to get inside for the night.

The embassy is a large three-story building with two banners of the Empire of Ticinum flanking the door, barely visible in the fog. Guards in the uniforms of the empire greet him at the gate. They refuse him entry at first until he explains why he is there.

"I see," one of them says. "He looks at his compatriot uneasily. "You best get inside and talk to Lord Sisenna. He can take you to the ambassador."

"Not that it matters now," the other guard says.

"We're not to talk about it in the open, Kaeso!"

The two guards usher Falen into the embassy and close the large double doors behind him. The unseen seer is bathed in warmth and light. A young scribe sits behind a desk in the embassy's large anteroom. He is embroiled in a mountain of paperwork and doesn't look up until the doors slam shut. He looks at Falen quizzically.

"Can I help you?"

XP for dealing with the Guard Sergeant > 1,200
 

Aust Thale

Explorer
Falen makes his way to Old City:

The guard sergeant takes the gem greedily and inspects it with glee. Falen can see that he doesn't find it lacking in any way. Once he's pocketed the gem, he give Falen an angry look. "Your little speech might have saved your pride but be careful you don't push me to far. I will take the gem as your payment and let you go, little man, but I know your face and we will continue this chat at another time." He looks around at the streets. "Someplace less public. And then we'll see if you have any bravado."

"Sir, we need to go," one of the other surly guards say. "They'll be along any minute now. We need to get back."

"Yeah, yeah," he moans. "That new commander is a horrible stickler." The sergeant doesn't give Falen another glance as he and the others walk away.

The youngest of the guards pauses for a moment. "I'm sorry for what Sergeant Vonner said and did. He's a brute and a bully,' he whispers to Falen. "Here, it's not much but it's all I can give you for that gem." He hands Falen six silvers. "If you want to make a report against him, go to the main barracks in the Military District and speak to-"

"Ducas! Get your ass moving!" Sergeant Vonner yells. "Make money on your own time, whelp!"

The Regular sighs and rushes to catch up to his patrol.

Falen finds himself alone for a moment, before another one of the lifts grinds to a halt and spills out more workers heading home for the evening. The sun has gone down and the lamplighters are out. Falen is forced to follow the throng for a block before splitting off to head to the district's gate that will lead him to the other 'pie' known as Old City. The guards there are polite and warn him that there was an attack on the road. "Be careful and get to Old City as quickly as you can. They'll be closing the gates soon."

Falen is forced to rush the entire way, but he makes it just in time. The guards are less friendly but do not 'accost' him in any way. The give him another warning. "I suggest you find an inn and get inside as soon as possible. There is a killer on the loose on the streets," a female guard warns him.

"Damn, fog, just what we don't need tonight," Another guard curses.

Indeed a light mist has billowed in from the sea. Falen is ushered through the gate into the foggy streets of Bluffside's oldest district. He pats the letter in his pocket and heads towards the Ticinum embassy. His instructions say that he'll have a place to sleep for the night after he delivers the letter. It takes some time to find his way there through the mist. Falen is completely chilled by the time he arrives, as two different guard patrols stop him and warn him to get inside for the night.

The embassy is a large three-story building with two banners of the Empire of Ticinum flanking the door, barely visible in the fog. Guards in the uniforms of the empire greet him at the gate. They refuse him entry at first until he explains why he is there.

"I see," one of them says. "He looks at his compatriot uneasily. "You best get inside and talk to Lord Sisenna. He can take you to the ambassador."

"Not that it matters now," the other guard says.

"We're not to talk about it in the open, Kaeso!"

The two guards usher Falen into the embassy and close the large double doors behind him. The unseen seer is bathed in warmth and light. A young scribe sits behind a desk in the embassy's large anteroom. He is embroiled in a mountain of paperwork and doesn't look up until the doors slam shut. He looks at Falen quizzically.

"Can I help you?"

XP for dealing with the Guard Sergeant > 1,200
His old mentor, Max, had sent him to get the missive for an man named Lord Cassianus Avitus, the current ambassador of Ticin to Bluffside. Why he had to go all the way to Tânger by ship to physically pick up the letter is a mystery. Magic would have been considerably faster. Max hadn't told him the reason why had to be this way, but he'd paid Falen well for the trip, up front. Max never parted with gold easily.

Falen:
Falen closes Ducas' palm gently upon the silver coins with his own hand, " No sir. I appreciate your integrity, and should we meet again, it shall not go un-noticed. I assure you, I do not confuse kindness for weakness. Be well. " Falen takes care to quickly memorize Ducas' face and Vonner's. Should Vonner get his wish, and he and Falen meet again, it will be the young Ducas' face he sees at the end. Falen proceeds to the Old City. As he walks toward his goal, he takes care to note his surroundings and listening for languages of which he is familiar. He slowly changes his features under his hat of disguise as he moves along, taking care to not alarm anyone, but acquiring a shorter and very much younger version of Max, his old mentor, albeit with darker, slightly unkept hair and 'five-o'clock shadow'. Under his hat, in the twilight of sundown, he would expect nobody to really notice.

Upon his arrival and being addressed by the scribe, he studies the fellow carefully before answering diplomatically in High Ticin, " Yes indeed, Master Scribe. My name is Falen; I come bearing a message for Lord Cassianus from Lord Max, Earl of Ravenhill. The message is both under Seal and time is of import. I am to remain, pending a response and at his disposal, at the embassy for such time as Lord Cassianus deems appropriate. "

 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
In the Fog in Old City:
Breva trots along in the dog's wake with the others finding this a novel experience. Breva acknowledges the guards' request with a nod, "Will do, give a shout if we can be of help to you."
The guards wave back but the fog soon swallows them up. The mist is growing thicker and soon it will hard to see anything more than a dozen feet away.

Akos finally gets interested as things start moving forward. He is not a creature of patience and investigating and looking for clues and such...not his thing. But this chase, slow as it is, and the chance to interact with people gets him involved again.

He nods amiably at the guards, speaks openly and enthusiastically with whoever is outside (including the guards) and in general distracts people Tuck questions with nice chatter so they are less likely to hold back because kobold asks the questions.
Tuck finds few people on the street, although the adventurers' presence does bring out a few onlookers. It takes some time to get anyone to talk to him and Akos. The Loremaster's words help sway a few young lads heading home from a hard days work at a nearby shop. As they stop to talk, Mutt takes notice of them and tries to get them to pet him. One of them looks at Tuck with his eyes wide.

"Careful. He's fierce," Tuck says.

"I believe you," the boy says. He pats Mutt gingerly on the nose, once. "You wanted to know something... what was it again?"

"Kojo, they asked about someone named Nathaniel," the other youngster notes while rubbing Mutt's neck. He's more at ease with the big dog.

"A young lord named Nathaniel Aceron to be precise," Vinccenzo adds. "He is also a tower guard."

Scotley said:
As their quest leads them to the dark manor he asks, "Does anyone know who lives here?"
"The Acerons," Kojo says. He looks at the manor house. "That's their family home here in Bluffside, but Lord Aceron is rarely uses it. They have an estate about dozen miles outside the city. If you're looking for any of them, you'll probably find them out there."

"We've rode by it on our patron's wagon a few times," the other boy adds. "While on the road to Straftbridge. It's not the grandest country estate along the road, but does have an old tower next to the main house."

"You know a lot about them," Tuck says. "Why is that?"

"Lady Aceron has bought statues and paintings from our patron, Naida Amrouche," Kojo replies. "She is quite the art lover and buys a lot from Madam Amrouche."

The other boy looks around to see that the fog threatens to make it impossible to get home. "We really need to get going. It's a long walk from here to the dormitories."

"Right Essien," Kojo replies. "I'm sorry, but we can't stay any longer," he says to Tuck. "I hope you find the young lord. I think I met him once, but it might have been one of the other Acerons. If it was him, he was nice."

The two lads head into the fog as quickly as they can.

"They aren't wrong," a voice says in the fog. "But not entirely right."

"Who goes there?" Vinccenzo demands. "Show yourself!"

"No, I don't think so," the voice drones. Then there is mad giggling. "Ah, young Nathaniel Aceron. He is such a pretty boy... with bad habits. I saw him tonight, yes. I considered leaving my mark, but he already had fear in his eyes. It's no fun when I can't be the one to make them afraid."

"T-the killer," Vinccenzo stutters.

"You presume to much, Sectarian," the voice snaps. "Like those waifs and their mistress, I am artist. Blood is my paint. I would paint all of you, but there are too many of you."

Mutt growls and stands guard next to Tuck.

"Ooh, nice doggie," the voice shrills. "Aren't you a pretty thing, yes."

The voice seems to come from all around the group. It echoes in the streets and is muted by the deepening fog. There is something almost magical about it. Ethereal. Otherworldly. It is chilling and surreal.

"What do you want?" Tuck asks.

"To point you in the right direction. The boy went into the manor and he came out with a bundle. I trailed him, I did, yes. To the place where people leave. The soldiers didn't see me. They let him through without even a word. He is one of them, after all. Gone, he is. Gone into the wilds where the hunting isn't as safe as here. Too many monsters in the wilds. He wasn't good prey. I found several others this night." The voice becomes wispy. "Two old maids in a cart and a young buck in a stable," the voice laughs. "The maids are eating grapes. The buck shot in the rump, its leg broken from the fall. All three painted a lovely picture. The buck was still kicking when I left him. Maybe you will find him in time, yes. He is near."

The voice becomes a whisper and then manic laughing in the distance, in all directions.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
In the Ticinum Delagacy:
His old mentor, Max, had sent him to get the missive for an man named Lord Cassianus Avitus, the current ambassador of Ticin to Bluffside. Why he had to go all the way to Tânger by ship to physically pick up the letter is a mystery. Magic would have been considerably faster. Max hadn't told him the reason why had to be this way, but he'd paid Falen well for the trip, up front. Max never parted with gold easily.

Falen:
Falen closes Ducas' palm gently upon the silver coins with his own hand, " No sir. I appreciate your integrity, and should we meet again, it shall not go un-noticed. I assure you, I do not confuse kindness for weakness. Be well. " Falen takes care to quickly memorize Ducas' face and Vonner's. Should Vonner get his wish, and he and Falen meet again, it will be the young Ducas' face he sees at the end. Falen proceeds to the Old City. As he walks toward his goal, he takes care to note his surroundings and listening for languages of which he is familiar. He slowly changes his features under his hat of disguise as he moves along, taking care to not alarm anyone, but acquiring a shorter and very much younger version of Max, his old mentor, albeit with darker, slightly unkept hair and 'five-o'clock shadow'. Under his hat, in the twilight of sundown, he would expect nobody to really notice.

Upon his arrival and being addressed by the scribe, he studies the fellow carefully before answering diplomatically in High Ticin, " Yes indeed, Master Scribe. My name is Falen; I come bearing a message for Lord Cassianus from Lord Max, Earl of Ravenhill. The message is both under Seal and time is of import. I am to remain, pending a response and at his disposal, at the embassy for such time as Lord Cassianus deems appropriate. "

As Falen's eyes adjust to the brighter surroundings, he notes that the young scribe appears much older than he first thought. And there is something odd about his appearance. It's not the large cap he wears or his puffy clothes. The man looks like he hasn't shaved in days. His hands are hairy too and his facial features seem exaggerated.

The man nods once before looking down to finish scribbling on the document in front of him. He taps dust on the parchment and then blows off the excess. He drips melted wax onto it and stamps a seal onto before placing it to the side. Once he's done, he looks back up at Falen.

"I am Vel Faunus Amphion, but you may simply address me as Scriba Amphion. Your timing is terrible," he says leaning back in his chair. "Lord Cassianus Dovius Avitus is permanently unavailable, but I should probably let Lord Sisenna Romnius Casca explain the situation to you. He has taken charge of the situation until a successor can be named by the Emperor."

The scribe stands and stretches. He is very short but still taller than a halfling. He steps out from behind the desk and walks to a door to Falen's right. He opens it and motions for Falen to follow. "I will take you to him."

As the two walk down a long hallway to an expansive office, Falen notes that the scribe has an unusual gait. Just before entering the open double doorway, the scribe speaks, "When you speak to the praefectus, please address him either using his full name preceded by lord or simply as Praefectus Casca."

Entering the room, Falan notes a tall man in full military uniform standing in front of roaring fireplace, his back to the doorway. His uniform is blazoned in red and silver with a stylized eagle in black on his cloak. Scriba Amphion introduces the unseen sear.

"Lord Sisenna Romnius Casca, may I present," he glances at Falen. "Falen, a servant of Lord Max of Ravenhill. He has brought a letter for Legatus Avitus."

The praefectus sighs and turns around. The man is chiseled with a well-trimmed beard. "I was expecting a message from the Emperor not one of Legatus Avitus's friends." He offers Falen a place to sit on a chair by the fire. "If you had arrived sooner, the legatus could have seen your missive before he was killed."

He sits in a chair across from the one he offers Falen. He clasps his hands together and shakes his head. "He has been murdered. We're not sure by who but it seems to be related to the legatus's dealing here in Bluffside." He motions to a table behind him under a large window. "There are documents that show he has been forced to deal with a group of mercenaries known as the Rising Swords. They are quite infamous around Bluffside and the Aarzen Valley to the east. It seems the legatus was being blackmailed by someone, unnamed. This person was forcing him to smuggle in members of the Swords, as well as another group that the legatus referred to as Arreptitii. We don't know their origins, but I suspect it isn't good."

He sighs again and looks at the fire. "You might as well give the letter to Scriba Amphion."

OOC: Falen can sense that there is something wrong but nothing wrong in the scribe's motives. He is a man simply doing his job. He senses that the praefectus's motives are sincere.

Falen may have heard of the Rising Swords; the group is quite infamous. It would be a Knowledge (local) roll [DC 18]. Falen knows that Arreptitii means 'the Fanatics' in Ticin. It's very unlikely he knows of their origins [DC 28].
 

Aust Thale

Explorer
In the Ticinum Delagacy:

As Falen's eyes adjust to the brighter surroundings, he notes that the young scribe appears much older than he first thought. And there is something odd about his appearance. It's not the large cap he wears or his puffy clothes. The man looks like he hasn't shaved in days. His hands are hairy too and his facial features seem exaggerated.

The man nods once before looking down to finish scribbling on the document in front of him. He taps dust on the parchment and then blows off the excess. He drips melted wax onto it and stamps a seal onto before placing it to the side. Once he's done, he looks back up at Falen.

"I am Vel Faunus Amphion, but you may simply address me as Scriba Amphion. Your timing is terrible," he says leaning back in his chair. "Lord Cassianus Dovius Avitus is permanently unavailable, but I should probably let Lord Sisenna Romnius Casca explain the situation to you. He has taken charge of the situation until a successor can be named by the Emperor."

The scribe stands and stretches. He is very short but still taller than a halfling. He steps out from behind the desk and walks to a door to Falen's right. He opens it and motions for Falen to follow. "I will take you to him."

As the two walk down a long hallway to an expansive office, Falen notes that the scribe has an unusual gait. Just before entering the open double doorway, the scribe speaks, "When you speak to the praefectus, please address him either using his full name preceded by lord or simply as Praefectus Casca."

Entering the room, Falan notes a tall man in full military uniform standing in front of roaring fireplace, his back to the doorway. His uniform is blazoned in red and silver with a stylized eagle in black on his cloak. Scriba Amphion introduces the unseen sear.

"Lord Sisenna Romnius Casca, may I present," he glances at Falen. "Falen, a servant of Lord Max of Ravenhill. He has brought a letter for Legatus Avitus."

The praefectus sighs and turns around. The man is chiseled with a well-trimmed beard. "I was expecting a message from the Emperor not one of Legatus Avitus's friends." He offers Falen a place to sit on a chair by the fire. "If you had arrived sooner, the legatus could have seen your missive before he was killed."

He sits in a chair across from the one he offers Falen. He clasps his hands together and shakes his head. "He has been murdered. We're not sure by who but it seems to be related to the legatus's dealing here in Bluffside." He motions to a table behind him under a large window. "There are documents that show he has been forced to deal with a group of mercenaries known as the Rising Swords. They are quite infamous around Bluffside and the Aarzen Valley to the east. It seems the legatus was being blackmailed by someone, unnamed. This person was forcing him to smuggle in members of the Swords, as well as another group that the legatus referred to as Arreptitii. We don't know their origins, but I suspect it isn't good."

He sighs again and looks at the fire. "You might as well give the letter to Scriba Amphion."

OOC: Falen can sense that there is something wrong but nothing wrong in the scribe's motives. He is a man simply doing his job. He senses that the praefectus's motives are sincere.

Falen may have heard of the Rising Swords; the group is quite infamous. It would be a Knowledge (local) roll [DC 18]. Falen knows that Arreptitii means 'the Fanatics' in Ticin. It's very unlikely he knows of their origins [DC 28].
Falen:
Remaining silent through Praefectus Casca's description of events, he studies the Lord's facial characteristics. Yes, this one would make quite a lovely face to add to his repertoire. Falen's eyebrows raise upon knowledge of Avitus' demise. He had heard of the Rising Swords, and frankly, it's not particularly surprising that Avitus would find himself, by accident or on purpose, at their bidding. They had a tendency to be...persuasive. Something is obviously amiss. Thinking quickly, he addresses Casca, "Praefectus Casca, thank you for informing me of these matters. It occurs to me that I should inquire as to the manner, and perhaps some detail, of Legatus Avitus' demise. I can not presume your scribe to correspond with his personal acquaintance. I was unaware of their relationship. I beg of you to provide more detail if possible; Lord Max will certainly want to know. And candidly, the Lord of Ravenhill is known to be three things: a spendthrift, having a loyalty to his friends and retainers, and driven to some excess upon acquiring bad news. Would you or Scribe Amphion be willing to share with me something I might provide him to temper his...intemperance? "

Regardless of Lord Casca's response, Falen will defer to Scribe Amphion as the Praefectus instructs. He will study closely Scrive Amphion's facial expressions.

In closing, Falen suddenly snaps to, as if recalling something odd, " Praefectus Casca, is it in the habit of Bluffside's elite guardsmen or their regulars to "shake down" newcomers to Bluffside? I don't mean ordinary taking advantage; I mean overt threats for those without credentials to the city? I ran into a guard Sargeant, a 'Vonner' fellow, upon my reaching the city, intercepted me for a few minutes, demanding a toll. I complied as my mission was more important than my pride. However, as these Rising Swords or Arreptitii appear to be less than quiet about their business now, I wonder if this Vonner fellow or his ilk would be susceptible to their graces and charms? It has been my observation as a courier that external meddling nearly always relies on internal discontent or corruption."

Falen intends this latter query to simultaneously document his encounter with Vonner, if for no other reason than to cast suspicion on his sort of asshattery, but also to tease out more information from Lord Casca and Scribe Amphion about Bluffside and this situation.

 

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