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The Mourning After (Horror) (IC)

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
OOC Thread
Rogues Gallery

A Prelude to Mourning.


22nd of Vult, 997YK.
Oldkeep District, Sharn, Breland

It was a dark and rainy night, typical for the City of Knives. Under a doorstop, shielded from the tower spit, an Orien Post worker hands a message to a half-elf:

Dearest Maladiel,

It brings me great pains to share with you a troublesome situation. My cousin, the sweet Filiu Ghallanda, tells me that Clawfoots have been going missing from around Gatherhold. As you surely know, Clawfoots are a sacred beast for the halflings that still live on the Plains. Strange happenings around the Mournlands are not uncommon, however she believes it has something to do with a nearby Vadalis ranch. Houses are bound by a sticky set of rules, so she just can’t come out and accuse them using the normal channels, which is where we come in.

I need you to assemble a team and get to the bottom of this. By hook or by crook there is a 100 galifar per head reward, and I trust you to get only the best for that price. Enclosed are some tickets, meet with Filiu as soon as possible. She runs the Gold Dragon Inn; tell her Yammie sent you!

Send my regards,
Dame Yamyra Boromar


The tickets are for the Lighting Rail, leaving Terminus the morning of the 25th. Not much time, but enough to sort out some capable bodies from the pool of familiar contacts.

GM: Take this time to introduce yourselves, what your specialties are, and reminisce about how you met up. Polishing off your characters, so to speak.
 

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Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
Tillington is breathing fast, and has been running for the past hour through the city streets. It's not a good look for him, and he's scared. Scared because he's nowhere near the guildhall, and the safety it provides to him as a full member, and scared because he shouldn't have gone with a client to their rooms. She had seen his face -- Annabella was the name she had used, but he was doubting even that -- and he had killed her (when she tried to tie him up) so he could escape; that was the order his memory told him things had happened, at least. Had she succeeded, that would have signalled the end for that particular identity, one which had proved quite lucrative since he had arrived here in town. He rubbed the rope burns on his wrists, and wiped the bloody dagger clean in a puddle in an alley, using a sock to dry the blade. She hadn't known the name he used with the guild, and so even if she had told someone else what she was planning, it shouldn't lead back to him.

That said, there'd be additional safety if he could find his way into a caravan or wagon leaving town, for a few days. Why had he gone with her in the first place? Was her intrest in him and his size really so appealing. He had been flattered by Annabella's attention and the way she had complimented the work he had done on her transit documents. She had wanted to leave town, and this was her last night. What a chump he had proved himself to be.

And now he knew nothing, about who she really was, why she had wanted the documents, why she had paid him without haggling, something no one ever does (he'd left the money, he now realized, feeling his purse with its few coins inside). He was running from someone, he was sure, but he didn't know who. What he needed was a friendly face and a month in the country.
 
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MetaVoid

Adventurer
The dawn came, such as it was in this dreary place. And Ozzar found himself once again propped against the wall of the tavern, not even legendary fortitude of the dwarves strong enough to fight against all the liquor he drank. He needed to get home and clean up before the duty roster starts.

But what was the point? Driving the coach for the dead, only occasionally doing anything more important than heaving the bodies onto the pile, occasionally making sure that those bodies stay dead by judicious appliance of axes...but no one even investigated these deaths seriously. After all, those were only a Cog drunkards and no-goods.

After all the stink and work, he needed strong drinks.
Ozzar wasn't blind to the first signs of overindulging. Sagging muscle on his arm. Belly flopping more than just wiggling as he swings around. The eyes going yellow. He needed something to take him off the work he was currently doing. It started great with pamphlets given around the guard. "Join the investigators of House Kundarak! Experience the thrill of the hunt for the killers. Resolve mysteries..." Bah!

All of that was true to a point. But without the dragonmark, he will never be anything, but muscle in the House. True, he received training in the investigation techniques...but he lacked focus and attention to details to truly shine. He was more of a plodding guard. He will stare down the muggers, throw himself (or better yet, his shield or weapon) in front of the arrow or a weapon meant for someone he guarded. He will get the clues, analyse them and follow up on them. But he will rarely make the leap to a conclusion, everything needs to be built up nicely from the ground up.

In practice, if you beat up enough bad guys, someone always said something that lead you to the next step.

He wasn't bad at it, it just took time. But one mistake. One Mistake!! One only, he let the assassin go...unwittingly...one dwarf to another, there was enough witnesses around, why cause domestic trouble. But later the divination pointed at that single event as the one that allowed the crime to go unsolved. At least the target wasn't dead and one of the assassins was, but House Kundarak doesn't take lightly assassination attempts at their upper echelons.

Sighing, he gets up away from the wall and trudges home to wash before hitching the horses again and going through the list of reported dead in the city.

OOC: @Neurotic you mentioned changing heart, here is the hook: why wouldn't I hate you?
 
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JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
The smartly dressed half-elf nods his thanks to Orien Post worker, smiles and places a few coins in the man's hand.

"Thank you, Jovi," Mal says softly, barely audible over the sounds of pouring rain. "How's your pretty wife? Pregnancy causing her trouble?"

The words come easily to the Khorovar named Maladiel, and beneath the pleasant and friendly surface there is a constant undercurrent of curiosity and leverage. He gently holds Jovi's shoulder as he speaks, not requiring any magic to establish a connection of sorts.

"Stay safe," Mal habitually says his goodbyes before sending the man off into the rain again. A few glances around to ensure that no eyes are prying, and the half-elf opens the letter. Reading quickly, his mouth unconsciously forming the words that his eyes read, Mal can't suppress a muttered curse.

"Gatherhold?" Having lived his entire adult life in Sharn, Maladiel is not fond of leaving his network behind to go on a wild clawfoot hunt in what he feels is the furthest place away from civilisation.

But it's Yamyra herself that requested it, and Mal knows better than to argue with her.

Closing the letter and tucking it with the tickets into his jacket, the half-elf starts thinking about potential candidates to come along with him.

"Muscle, yes, but more importantly someone who is good at investigations," he ponders. "How far does the Boromar influence reach? Perhaps it's prudent to have a cover, and the papers to match. What was the name of that gnome again?"

Taking out a sleek jade wand, he swirls it above his head and a tiny cloud forms over his head. Stepping out into the rain, the drops above him seem to gather into this cloud and Mal's head, at least, is spared from getting wet.

"Let's go to work."

OOC: I figured a simple spell such as this is covered by the prestidigation cantrip:
You create an instantaneous, harmless sensory effect, such as a shower of sparks, a puff of wind, faint musical notes, or an odd odor.
You instantaneously light or snuff out a candle, a torch, or a small campfire.
 
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Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
High on the roof of damaged mansion, Malix activates as the night fades into day and first of the workers come to the reconstruction area. Checking that the beard is in place, he slips quietly down and walks out from behind the building as if finishing last round of the night. Nodding to the foreman, his guise as a nightshift guard undisturbed, he goes into the city.

Immediately, he is confronted with an uproar, some disturbance or other happening very close by. A squad of guards troups by, forcing Malix to flatten himself to the wall. The situation reminds him of the event some months ago, but at that time he was in the middle of it.

Through Shadow network came an order for assassination of the high ranking Kundarak noble. Weird, The Houses usually warred among themselves and were essentially untouchable from the outside. He knew while he was contacted, but he was tired of killings. There was just no point to them. Flesh died. If you wait long enough, the time will do assassination for you. Sure, occasionally you could kill to hasten the events or prevent suffering under the tyrant. But modern politics rarely had such lofty motives, the power, the advancement were all.

He moves away from the disturbance and keeps reminiscencing about the event that solidified his resolve to somehow leave Shadow Network. If he only saw a way to do that without he himself getting killed. Sure, he was immune to the usual modus operandi, but blades and axes worked as well as poison if you wanted to kill someone.

At Kundaraks, he was given a contact, a disgruntled guard who wanted to personally kill the target. From the guard he took the livery of the servant and the guard led him into the manor. There were several checkpoints they talked their way through. At the final door, the guards were caught by surprise attacks and dispatched quickly. As they burst into the chambers, the target - he still couldn't force himself to give name to the face - was awake and reaching for the weapons. Malix was already resigned to another kill when a girl awoke on the other side of the bed. The traitor-guard went toward the target and slashed toward the girl on the way who fell back with a scream.

That was unneccessary, unprofessional. And the house was waking up to the commotion. Deciding quickly, Malix slid behind the guard and stabbed from behind, poisoned blade specifically prepared for dwarf resistance with tripple distilled and concentrated sleeping poison.
Nodding to the target, he ran out of the room, screaming for help.
Surpised by the stab and already wavering from the effects of the poison, the traitor had time to turn his head before the target slammed its own weapon into him.

Running out of the manor and ditching the livery immediately, Malix had a misfortune to run into one of the fast responding city watchmen. A dwarf of course, who would be assigned to patrol around Kundarak house? He quickly summarized what he "heard"
"There was an asssassination attempt in the manor. Guards are calling for the watch and rushing around. One said the assassin was caught. Others look for a female. That is all I know, I don't want to be here if there are assassins about!"

The guard nodded and almost rushed off before asking Malix to remain and be a witness for later.
"I was here without knowledge of the master of the House, but his daughter will confirm I was with her if questioned discretely. I am Ghulos of the Stararms clan. Please don't make a big thing out of this. You can find me later."
Unknown wathmen nodded and rushed off, the relief Malix felt for not having to kill a man feeling weird inside him. He usually felt nothing and when he did, all the feelings were strange. He usually needed help to understand them, but for the last couple of years he made it a point to read up on them and study their expressions in flesh-life. He really was growing away from the machine of war and into something more mature. Maybe he could have a guidance spirits like Kalashtar?


Morning coach clatters by him, snapping him out of the memory. He nodded distractedly and immediately scolded himself for the inattention. That is the way of the dead. He gets another shock immediately after, recognizing the dwarf driving the vehicle as that same guard he was just thinking about. His disguise if of course completely different than that night, but he still hastens away into the bustle of the city

@MetaVoid no special reason you shouldn't hate me, but it is questionable if Ozzar could connect the dots - the name Malix had given him would lead him to the real person who would not know anything of course, same as that mentioned daughter. :) Divinations could discover they're telling the truth and not just hiding the dalliance. But you didn't actually let the assassin go :D
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Mal's face lights up when he sees just the gnome he was looking for, running down the street and in his direction. Tillington! That was his name. But why is he running as if the Lord of Blades himself is chasing him?

Looking around, Maladiel quickly decides to lead the gnome to somewhere safe. There's a Boromar-run tavern just around the corner; a quiet place called The Imp And Owl. It's not a place Mal visits often, because Leesa the hobgoblin serving girl is far too interested in him, but it'll have to do.

Taking a step back into the shadows, Mal takes out a different wand from inside his jacket, and with a flourish conjures up a voice near Tillington.

"Meet me in the tavern behind the tower to your left," Maladiels voice speaks softly, seeming to come from the pouch of coins at Tillingtons belt. It repeats the message once, soft enough that others will probably not hear it.

Satisfied, Mal turns around and takes a detour to The Imp And Owl.

OOC: Minor Illusion, cast on (or near) Tillington's belt pouch.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
The Imp and Owl.
Callestan District, Sharn.

Lower Durra is infamous for being a hotbed of criminal activities. Callestan, in particular, has caught itself in a turf war between all four major gangs of Sharn. The Tarkins, Boromars, and Tyrants maintain an uneasy coexistence thanks to dividing criminal enterprises. Daask, however, does not care for this agreement. They eagerly take on any competition, often with violence.

The Imp and Owl is one of Boromar’s last few holdings in the district, near the edge where gang members from other districts can respond rapidly to any threat. As a front it poses as one of Sharn’s many themed bars. It’s specialty being a black magic theme, serving drinks that have been spiced up with “arcane” ingredients and liberal use of various cantrips to make otherwise impossible cocktails. In the back, it’s a black market for magical components. Mostly dragonshards, but you can usually find a few monster parts thrown in the mix.

The barroom itself is primarily red and black, in a new gothic design. At this hour the patrons are sparse, it’s a working day after all, and one of the last few before Long Shadows. In the background, perhaps to help the place seem more lively, one of those new echoer devices rebroadcasts a show from earlier in the week.

Nisa, a hobgoblin serving girl, sets down a familiar drink next to the half-elf with a wink. “Is it just business that brings you here tonight, Mal?” Coyley, she slips away before the answer comes. On the napkin next to the drink is an apartment address located in Malleon's Gate, the goblinoid slums of Lower Durra.

GM: For Ambiance, it's not actually plot important, but the broadcast does give some Mournlands flavor.
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Mal smiles his handsomest smile at Nisa, but before he can answer she has already slipped away. He is relieved, but tries to avoid letting it show; he might need a favour in the future and it's best when she has a high opinion of him.

He looks at the address on the napkin, trying to remember it but his mind keeps wandering to the gnome outside. Perhaps it was a mistake to invite him here; for all he knows the Daask have sent their most agressive brutes after Tillington, who would think destroying a Boromar hideout a pleasant bonus!

Too late for worries now, he decides, putting the napkin in his breast pocket before taking one sip from his drink, a Siberys Rising. It is one of those fancy magical cocktails, and the steamy golden liquid swirls around the upper part of the glass instead of obediently gravitating to the bottom.

He sighs, tasting the familiar tones of his favourite recipe on his tongue, then throughout his mouth, nose and torso as the magic transports it through his body. With a hint of regret, Mal places the glass of Siberys Rising in front of the empty chair before him, and with a flourish of another wand, he conjures up an image of the same drink where the first one stood just seconds before.

Lounging in his chair, Maladiel does his best to give the impression that he is waiting for the gnome, with a drink and a smile.

OOC: Minor illusion again.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
When the voice comes from his message pouch, Tillington, his back against the brick wall of a public showerhouse, damp from condensation dripping from the small openign far above his head, he feels he has been caught. The enemy closing in.

The voice is no louder than his heartbeat, and he's not even sure he's really hearing it until it repeats. But one thing is clear. He has been seen.

The wee gnome peeks around the corner, and sees the tower the voice indicated. It's an easy dash across the road and then the plaza, and there is no threatening presence he can see, beyond tyhe ordinary passers by, all of whom tower over Tillington. Whose voice it was, he cannot place.

Someone has suggested meeting him and not in a private place. If it was the constabulary, they were unlikely to use such arcane means. (He's encountered them often enough to know that the dialect of Common they speak most capably is Yelling). He crosses the street and the square, and sees the candle glow from some busy tables outside an small inn. It is not one he remembers visiting before. But getting in is no problem.

Tillington finds the black and red dec or gaudy, and it makes things hard to see. There's an empty stool beside a lonely human. A leatherworker, Tillington guesses from the smell of the man. "Excuse me," he says as he stands up on the stool and scans the room.

It takes less than a second for him to spy Maladiel,* sitting alone, with a drink in front of him and another for an empty chair. It must be him. He grabs onto the leatherworker's knee as he makes his way down, and says "Cheers, mate," before working his way over to where Mal was sitting.

As he pulls himself up onto the chair, he says, "Mal, me old sock, I've been hearing voices in the night. How are you doing?"


*(Perception 1d20+1=21 Crit, lol.)
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
"Good voices now, I hope?" Mal grins as he indicates the drink is for Tillington.

"You know me, I'm doing fine," he answers, holding back his curiosity for the moment. "Planning a little trip, actually. I've always wanted to learn how to hunt," he says with just enough sarcasm that a casual listener would not notice.

'And you? Training for a Zhilargo running match?"

His left white eyebrow raises ever so slightly.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
"Well, familiar voices, it seems. So nothing too worrisome. It's funny you should mention a trip," Tillington says taking a sip, and sitting on his hands again. He's not had time to wash them of the blood. "Mmm! No, not a match, but I might be ready to leave town for a while, myself. I've, uh, found myself in a situation, and I might need to leave town for a while." He smiles. "Perhaps you'd do me the favour of letting me tag along?"
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Malix sips his beer in a darkened corner where his dwarven build and visible beard make no doubt that it is indeed a dwarf there.

Staff and healers bag complete the image of an itinerant healer.
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Mal's other eyebrow rises, too, as Tillington implies many things but does not seem willing to share them yet. So Maladiel does what he often does when changing tactics -- he smiles like nobody else.

"Splendid!" he cries out joyfully. "We could both use a holiday! More drinks, please," he motions for the bar, hoping there's someone else serving them now that Nisa left.

The Khorovar looks around the room, seeing if anyone is out of place or overly interested in their conversation, and his eyes lock with a dwarf healer in the corner. It is only a moment, then Mal looks away and acts as if nothing has happened.

"Need those hands cleaned?" he whispers quietly to the gnome, in between summing up fantastic locations they could be visiting but probably never will.

OOC: Deception to make sure nobody else hears the whisper to Tillington: 1D20+5 = [20]+5 = 25
Deception to give spectators the impression that it's really about a fantastic holiday: 1D20+5 = [12]+5 = 17
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
"It's been a long evening," admits Tillington, as he gratefully accepts Mal's help and shows his hands. "There are some who will be looking for me right now, and I'd prefer they didn't find me. You, er, know my history of providing documents to those that need them. Well, tonight something went wrong. The constabulary would be a headache, but that's because of other things I've done. It's the others that I'd prefer not to find me for a while."

Tillington's reticent to share more, but he's found someone who knows what he does already, and that's as good an opportunity as he expects right now.

"Where were you thinking of heading?" he asks, hoping to look forward.
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
"I've won a few tickets to Gatherhold," Mal says before muttering an arcane word under his breath. Tillingtons hands are clean within seconds as the magic from the half-elf sorcerer passes over them.

Then he looks the gnome into the eyes. A few silent moments of hesitance, and Maladiel decides to put his cards on the table. From inside his fine jacket, he produces the letter he received from Yamyra Boromar herself and presents it to Tillington to read.

"You, my friend, are invited, of course. But I've got some more tickets, and perhaps you know of someone who is fun to have around on this trip? Someone to make sure our luggage and ourselves are kept safe, perhaps someone to help retrieve things we have lost?"

Mal tries to be as clear in his language as he can without giving away too much to casual listeners. Even within a Boromar hideout, not everyone can be trusted.

OOC: Can I use prestidigitation to clean the gnome's hands? It's a matter of DM interpretation of the spell. If not, minor illusion can at least hide the blood for a while.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
"Hmm. There's a dwarf -- Ozzar Nadabar? Nabadar? I forget which. He might have access to a cart for us, which would make our trip the easier. He might have to steal it, but at least he could swipe, or borrow, a clean one, freshly washed before its morning rounds."
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
The Imp and Owl.
Callestan District, Sharn.

Outside of the bar.

As Ozzar greets the new day with a walk home, the day greets him with a group of people walking into the bar he just left. It was a bit early to start a pub crawl, but something about the way these three moved seemed like they weren’t after a drink. Two tall figures obscured by cloaks, and a fidgety gaunt-looking human.

Inside the bar.

The leatherworker was annoyed at being used as a ladder, but thanks to his drink, he did little more than issue a low growl and get up to leave. After placing a tip on the bar, he made his exit.

Or at least he would have, had he not walked into the trio of people coming in. The air was thick with tension as everyone stopped. After realizing just how bad this could get for him, the man mumbled an apology and stepped to the side, allowing the trio to enter before he hastily left.

The bartender, a middle aged half orc with one eye, puts your drinks down. Then glances at Nisa. “Can you get me more Eye of Newt?” She nods and disappears into the back room.
GM:
Insight checks:

DC 7: One of the figures in a cloak moves strangely, as if their legs are too short for someone of that size. You can tell they have scales, but their body type doesn’t quite match anything you have seen before.

DC 9: Nisa looks at Mal and waves her index and middle finger at him. A sign that the Boromar Clan uses meaning “Be careful”. She is scared.

DC 11: The human can’t seem to keep still, constantly darting their eyes around at nothing in particular. Their lips are dry, and caked with a red crust. These are marks of Dragon’s Blood addition.

DC 13: The Bartender put their hand under the counter for a moment, reaching for something.

DC 15: The remaining figure goes to great lengths to hide their face, a muzzle similar to a hyena. Gnolls are a common enough sight in Lower Sharn, mostly due to how they stand out wherever they go.

 
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MetaVoid

Adventurer
Insight: 1D20+3 = [13]+3 = 16

Even half-drunk and tired as he was, Ozzar is still a copper. And if his instincts were correct, these three are up to no good. Taking a police button in one hand and the horn in another, he walks away from the bar until he sees the three enter it at which point he quickly turns back toward the closing door.

He listens at the door for any disturbance. After all, the guys are shifty, but even criminals just go to a pub just for drinks sometimes. But this, being Boromar hidey-hole, is a dangerous place to just drink.

He stands ready.
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Insight check: 1D20+5 = [16]+5 = 21

Malix notes the entrance of the trio and a small sign from the waitress. He readies silently for combat, unobtrusively putting his leg out of the bench and putting his elbow on the table, leaning forward.

He refrains from motioning back to the waitress, but he notes the person to whom she sent the signal doesn't notice the new arrivals. Maybe new ones aren't here for him after all?
 

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