"All of them I've faced have fought to the death. They are his Loyalists after all," Custodio replies. "We did capture a few members of the Rising Swords who were acting as mercenaries for," he pauses and takes breath. "Del Cannitha. The Five had them questioned before they were put on trial. One of the leaders was executed for his part in the New City disaster. One was banished from the city with only the clothes on his back; he was quite young and naive about the Swords, so the Tribunal gave him a pass. Another man, who helped lead some old friends of mine to a Rising Swords hideout in the Undercity, was given a five year sentence instead of execution."
"Yes, he's in the Dungeon in New City, I believe," Oakfirst adds. "He's sworn all along that he has no idea how to open the portal or even its location. We tried to trick him up on that, but he passed. Discern lies was used on him and the others. We don't condone torture in Bluffside, so no one was stretched or beaten. Torture rarely works; magic is more reliable." He pauses, "Well, most of the time."
The kobold ponders for a moment.
"I do know of some odd things going on in the City, that may or may not have to do with the Loyalists. For one, there are rumors about people impersonating Bluffside Elites, and if that is true, they may be backed by the renegade."
After that statement, he keeps quiet in order to see the reactions.
"False Elites in the Gardens?" Custodio looks at his commander with concern. "I hadn't heard anything about that."Tim frowns, his brow wrinkled in thought, "Imposters? This is very disturbing. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Mr. Tuck. I often have difficulty deciding upon first impressions concerning new acquaintances. You sir, have made an excellent first impression. I think I am going to enjoy your company. Productivity and usefulness are good traits for a man to have, and you have just proven yourself quite useful. Good show."
Tellerian Hawke said:Tim turns to the others, continuing, "Are you wizard-types able to discern via magical means, the true heart of a man? Is the detection of imposters possible with the spells that are available to us? It would need to go beyond the scope of mere lie detection... we'd need to know, at a glance, whether or not a given person's heart was blackened by foul deeds; or at the very least, we'd need to be able to sense foul intent."
"If any of them have been corrupted, or enchanted," Custodio shakes his head."I can prepare both divinations tomorrow. But those could be just mercenaries, not evil by themselves. And some real elites could be cruel, domineering men, rotten to the core. Don't mistake living within the law with the goodness of one's heart."
Neurotic said:Akos considers other spells that could be useful for such an endeavor.
"We could simply agree on a code word with the real guards and patrol the night ourselves. But why would we? We have a renegade to catch! Portal to examine! A worthy warrior to cure! Let the guards deal with common murderers and fake guards."
"If it's true that someone is making trouble for visitors to the Gardens, let's hope they are impostors and not true Elites who have gone bad," Custodio replies. "But, you're right, Relgar, anything is possible."Overhearing snippets of a conversation whose context he largely missed, Relgar can't resist the urge to chime in sarcastically: "Are we sure that they actually are imposters? Or is that just what they want us to think?"
"Exactly that," Oakfirst agrees. "And the citizens who complained about 'fake guards' who harassed them aren't known for causing trouble themselves. One was a elderly noble who is widely respected while the other two were a younger married couple who run a woodworking shop. They are honest folk with no reason to lie. Yet, the legitimate patrols found no evidence of these false Elites in the Gardens. It's not only odd, it's troubling."Tuck's small chest inflates with Big Tim's compliments, and the kobold feels pride that such a big folk - a really big one, too! - voices his appreciation like that, and in front of others, too!
"I do not know if they are evil, or even truly imposters. But it is odd that new and unknown Elites are patrolling the Gardens at night, while there are no new recruits assigned there."
JustinCase said:Looking around nervously, the urban ranger continues, "I'm not saying that it's the only possible explanation, but it's at least worth investigating. I've heard that the Renegade is trying to unleash monsters into the City, starting in the Gardens with a hungry troll, although I must admit I'm not sure about those particular rumors. But what if there's a hideout nearby, guarded by his Loyalists masquerading as Elites?"
"A troll!" Oakfirst exclaims. "I think someone was pulling your leg on that one, Mr. Tuck.""Agreed. I could check on the gardener on the way or after the troll. If there is such."
"I do have several detection spells available to me today, but none for detecting evil," Custodio replies. "I can cast detect magic, detect poison, and detect undead. Most of my other current spells are protective.""No time like the present! And I don't need protection from evil or detects to examine the portal and the gardener. Maybe Master Custodio has one ready?"
Custodio waits for Relgar to finish scribbling his latest equation and when the matharcanist doesn't notice right away, Custodio clears his throat twice. It is his signal to Relgar that the group is heading out to the Gardens. A preemptive they agreed upon before Relgar delved into his equation. His responsibility handled, Custodio picks up the glass case with the bloom and follows Akos out of the hall into the manor's anteroom.Neurotic said:Akos immediately starts after the Lord Commander
"Finally, something to do, this standing around and waiting is terrible on the health."
Custodio listens to Akos musings without entirely understanding.Neurotic said:He thinks as he goes through the phrases in his mind
"Open portaly! silly ofcourse...lets see.
'Vrata ludila, otvorite se!' with grand gesturing
'Dome, slatki dome' plus the unlocking movement with the flower
'delCannitha nasljednik ulazi, otvori se' and simply walk toward the wall without flinching - this could hurt if I don't simulate the blood somehow...maybe it's any blood and I need to prick myself on the flower..."
"He does seem to like fire magic, from what I know of him and experienced first hand. He's used the fireball spell of several occasions including the trap at the Golden Lantern," Custodio notes. "And he has an obsession with the Far Realm. The markings in the Growers' Tower show that as a certainty. While I'm not a student of wizardry, I suspect he leans towards evocation, and probably conjuration. And if his mind is lost in a dark place, he probably lies shadow magic. But as I said, I cannot say for certain."Akos thinks some more about the portals he knows about and especially the ones created specifically for or by a single caster.
"Is there anything this wacko loves or prefers above all else? We know he wants magic-users to rule over the rest of the people...what cantrips does he know?"
Custodio continues to listen without true understanding knowing there is an end goal in Akos' words.Neurotic said:Akos considers the last two phrases. But there are so many uncertainties.
"Magična moći, zasjaj! while casting his favorite cantrip?
Magijo, prosvijetli nam put!"
Mutt is soon heading out of the manor just ahead of Akos and Custodio with Tuck close behind. The dog stops and sits just outside the front door and sniffs the air. The dog watches as dozens of citizens of Old City walk by on the street going in both directions. A young man pulls a cart full of flowers and other goods up the street and around the corner. His destination is likely the Sublime Bazaar.Tuck shrugs. "Whether or not a troll haunts the tunnels beneath the Gardens is not really the point. The possibility of someone unleashing monstrosities into the City, is."
The kobold wants to say more, but his dog Big Mutt barks once, then with a wagging tail starts towards the front door as if eager to get to the Gardens.
"Sorry, I need to walk my dog," Tuck says apologetically, as he follows the canine as quickly as his little legs can carry him -- which is actually pretty fast for someone of his small stature. "Want to come along?"
Big Tim offers to come along. He will go fully armed and armored, in case of trouble.
Big Tim chuckles, "I suppose you want to walk him in the gardens?"
"Possibly," Tuck's voice fades as the kobold moves further and further from the room. "Never know where Mutt wants to go."
That last statement seems increasingly accurate as the kobold follows the dog, without any sense of control over the animal.
Big Tim steps out of the manor and notes the beautiful day. It's one of the few he's seen since being brought to this world. Bluffside tends to get lot of rain. but then, so did his homeland during the wet winters. But here, the rain is often wet and bone-numbing. So, the sunny day is a nice relief.Tim will follow Tuck, no matter where he (or Mutt) decides to go. He will try to stay alert as they go, watching for anything out of the ordinary.
Looking closer, you note that the dragon-kin is indeed unwell in some fashion. His coloration is all wrong and his breathing is ragged. He wears the trappings of a monk but only so much as needed for modesty with a staff across his knees. Other people's modesty not his own. After several minutes of waiting, he opens his eyes and immediately notices Tuck's presence. He smiles at the kobold as he stands up and leans on his staff.
"Ltl' Tuck, you come for another visit, I ssee, and you're brought Mutt with you thiss time. Good, I wass hoping to meet your brother," He looks at the rest of the group. "And who are your friendss?"