Breva readies his weapon and reaches out with this divine senses trying to detect the evil thing in the fog.
"Legatus Avitus was stabbed through the back. He was found slumped over here at his desk," the praefectus motions to the desk once again. "The wound was likely made by a long, serrated dagger. Whoever did this managed to find his way into the embassy without any of the guards noticing or setting off any of the building's magical defenses, which have always been adequate before."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.
Praefectus Casca sits back in his chair. "The guards in this city are in a state of chaos right now. New City is a mess. Old City isn't much better. Rumor is that the Regulars are spread thin and fraying under the strain. I've never heard of this 'Vonner' fellow you speak of, but he sounds like a typical corrupt Regular and Bluffside has plenty of those even though The Five would have you think their guards are all shining examples of goodness and grace. Bah! No city this size is free from corruption."Aust Thale said: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.
Breva manages to detect an evil presence in the fog and that whatever it is could be deadly to him and his new allies. The foe tries to scamper away and Breva can tell that who or whatever it is isn't trying to be overtly stealthy.Breva readies his weapon and reaches out with this divine senses trying to detect the evil thing in the fog.
Tim's bravado is met only with laughing that slowly becomes more distant as the killer moves away.Tim readies both sword and shield, as he taunts the evil thing in the fog, "Please, oh master of stealth, come, teach us about fear; where numbers give us the edge, the fog is the equalizer, is it not? Don't pass up such a grand opportunity for the sake of cowardice. Please, I want to know. What is there to fear in the darkness? Show me."
Even with the light from the streetlamps, Tim is unable to see the killer in the fog. It isn't hard for him to hear the foe fleeing away in the opposite direction of the two boys that the Tim and the others spoke to moments before. The footfalls of a single foe are clear on the cobblestones.Tellerian Hawke said:
Akos knos he has two options and likely only moments to pick the right one. While the Blossom's stables are close by, the Mill of Hooves is looked after by youngsters. Young Joseph could be lying near death among the horses of that converted windmill, and it is closer to the nearest gate leading out of the district.Akos looks around and frowns. He was good at reading people, but this is not people. And he cannot see him/her/it. But his strength is in his head. The knowledge, the detailed memory of facts and books, and bits and pieces all connecting to a greater whole.
"I know where the boy is." he tells others
"Begone, foul thing!"
The pulse of energy, golden-green, shortly brightens the fog. He ignores the effects, starting for what he thinks the stable in question might be.
Neurotic said:OOC: Akos is getting crazy with knowledge rolls (except for trolls)
Tuck narrows his eyes as the voice of a man - or is it not a man at all? - comes from the fog. Unless the killer has some magical way of seeing, there is no way he could see them when they cannot see him; obviously, magics are at work. And that means the killer is likely not even there, physically.
For good measure, the kobold quickly fires a bolt from his small handheld crossbow into the general area of where the voice resounds, not expecting it to hit anything.
"Legatus Avitus was stabbed through the back. He was found slumped over here at his desk," the praefectus motions to the desk once again. "The wound was likely made by a long, serrated dagger. Whoever did this managed to find his way into the embassy without any of the guards noticing or setting off any of the building's magical defenses, which have always been adequate before."
"Legatus Avitus had requested the Emperor send a Magus to inspect the embassy to see if more protections were needed," Scriba Amphion adds. "I helped him write the letter himself and had it sent off just last month. The Emperor hasn't replied yet."
"Assuming he got it," Casca says.
"I told the courier to come back here and inform Legatus Avitus, personally, once it was delivered. He returned here from Ticinum a week and a half later and ensured the legatus it had been hand delivered."
Praefectus Casca turns back to Falen. "Regardless, the assassin, and I do believe the killer was a hired assassin, got in, killed the legatus, and got out without being seen by anyone. If you feel you must give the letter to a family member instead of Scriba Amphion, you might have to take to to Ticinum. I don't believe the legatus had any family here."
"There is one," the scribes notes. "Lady Oppia Nazaria. She is a distant cousin of his and lives the Temple District. They had a chilly relationship."
"Very well," Praefectus Casca says. "You may deliver it to her, if your prefer. Or Scriba Amphion can take it and see that it is delivered to legatus's widow in Ticinum."
Praefectus Casca sits back in his chair. "The guards in this city are in a state of chaos right now. New City is a mess. Old City isn't much better. Rumor is that the Regulars are spread thin and fraying under the strain. I've never heard of this 'Vonner' fellow you speak of, but he sounds like a typical corrupt Regular and Bluffside has plenty of those even though The Five would have you think their guards are all shining examples of goodness and grace. Bah! No city this size is free from corruption."
"Which is why the guards that protect this embassy are brought in from Ticinum," the scribe adds. "Not every embassy in the city uses their own guards or can afford too."
"That is how mercenaries like the Rising Swords worm their way into cities. I doubt their are any of them are working in Bluffside as guards. You can always see them coming. They rarely hide their allegiance during a fight, but they will skulk around the fringes of society looking for work. I would suspect them of the Legatus Avitus's death if he wasn't completely under their thumb. Whoever these Arreptitii are, they could have killed him or their master. The documents on his desk are vague and covered in blood."
He pauses. "Vonner could be in their pocket. Or he could just be a monster of a man. You could go to the Bluffside Barracks here in Old City and report him or go to the Tribunal and issue a formal request for justice."
"That will take longer and the Regulars won't like that you went outside their power structure," the scribe adds.
"Yes, yes. At the very least, find a man named Lord Commander Reginald Oakfirst. He is the supreme commander of the Regulars and the Bluffside Elite. I can vouch that he is a good man and doesn't tolerate corruption. Best to look for him at the Tribunal."
"As I said, someone was blackmailing him. It was in the letters on his desk. We've put it away for now," the praefectus replies. "The details of the blackmail weren't mentioned in the parchments but the the blackmailer's intent was clear — comply or face the ruination of Legatus Avitus position here in Bluffside and his life."FALEN:
Falen remains stone-faced, careful to not give away his disdain at the lack of more substantive investigation. These fellows seem rather resigned to Legatus Avitus' death. He responds to Casca's suggestion, "Thank you, Praefectus Casca. I appreciate your time. If you don't mind, I should like to retire and deliver to Lady Oppia Nazaria in the daylight. Scribe Amphion, if you don't mind, if it turns out that this is indeed a diplomatic matter and not a personal one, I shall bring it to you tomorrow evening. If not, consider this business concluded by tomorrow evening."
As he fully expects Scribe Amphion to be the one leading him to his lodging, he turns and asks one last question to the two of them, "How again did you discover these Rising Swords had Legatus Avitus under their control? Magic. Simple bribery. Or was he like-minded anyway?"
"Doppelganger!" Tuck calls out as he thinks he recognizes the whispering killer in the fog, and the kobold wastes no time in readying another crossbow bolt.
"Get him quickly!" he calls out to the others, afraid the shapeshifting creature will be impossible to find if it gets away.
Breva can sense the creature in the mist and takes two long strides to his right and brings down his greatsword. The doppelganger is there for only a moment in the swirling fog but the blade slices only air and bounces off the cobblestone street. Breva can still sense the killer is within reach and hears a blade slide from a sheath. But instead of the snik of blade, Breva feels a mental force lash against his mind.OOC:
Spot and Listen checks: 1D20+5 = +5 = 13
1D20+4 = +4 = 17
Breva steps into the fog, his blade at the ready. He turns his head carefully in the direction of the sound he heard. So hard to see. Was that a footfall?
Tim finds himself lost in the haze with only the slight glow of the district's nearby street lamp behind him. He knows this is where the sound came from but he finds no one. Instead he walks into a high fence surrounding one of the fancy manor houses.Tim seems confused, "Dopple--what?"
~Whatever it is, it seems intent upon hurting innocents. I must act now!~
Tim rushes blindly into the fog, in the direction of scream, hoping to get close enough to the creature to be able to see him.
Akos only has his knowledge of the district to guide his senses as the fog thickens around him. He knows he's going the right way, but one misstep could put him on the wrong path.Flapping of priest sandals recedes in the distance as he runs toward the Mill of Hooves.
OOC: full double move
If the creature is out there, the dog cannot find him in the fog, and it is deepening even more now. Big Mutt's teeth only bite mist air. He sniffs the ground again to try to pick up the doppelganger's scent.Mutt moves forward, sniffing the air. The dog certainly has the scent of the doppelganger, but something seems to spook it. With a growl, Big Mutt leaps at where he thinks the killer should be.
It was just a shadow in the mist, however, and it takes Mutt a second to realize it and start tracking its prey again.
Tuck stays close to Mutt, not seeing the doppelganger either.