The Mourning After (Horror) (IC)

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
"Death is just another part of life." The priest? says in a somber tone.
"It is sad when a young life is lost, but it too helps the future. Make peace with the loss, and if that gets to be false, well, you can rejoice all the better. I can toast with you for the hope she is still alive."
 

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MetaVoid

Adventurer
Ozzar looks at the other dwarf incredulous.
"Part of life? It is the end of it! And if you ever lost anyone significant to you, you might be less drab about it! Come, boy, let's drink to hope!"

Looking across the lake, the guard shudders.
"That thing gives me creeps."
 
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JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Seeming lost in thoughts and memories of his own, Mal finally comes to his senses. He tears his gaze away from the mists, and hopefully before anyone can see the sadness on his face the half-elf adopts his trademark smile again.

”The Golden Dragon! Yes, let’s go get a drink first,” he beams.

”We should find Filiu there. She can provide us with lodgings and refreshments, I’m sure.”

He leads the others inside.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
The Gold Dragon Inn, Gatherhold.

1st of Zarantyr, 998 YK. Mid Morning.

The Gold Dragon Inn is House Ghallanda’s most famous franchise. There is at least one in every major settlement, and if you travel by the major roadways, you will never be more than a day from the next. The one in Gatherhold is their flagship, serving not just as an inn, but also as the front desk of their enclave headquarters, the Great Hall.

Decorated in a lavish interpretation of the traditional Talentan style, it stands at six stories tall. Featuring two theaters staffed with House Phiarlan artists, two restaurants (one for the traditional Gold Dragon Menu, and the other an experimental kitchen), three bars, a full-service Kundarak bank, and 50 rooms, it is the beating heart of Gatherhold.

The front desk is split level, one side for the locals, and the other accommodating human sized guests. A halfling in well tailored clothing greets you, while a warforged with an equally well polished shine stands silently at attention off to the side. “Good morning to you travelers! I hope your journey is going well. May I check you in, direct you to the dining halls, or are you perhaps looking forward to this afternoon’s performance of ‘All's Quiet on the Thranian Front’?”
 
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JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
"Good morning, my dear man!" exclaims Mal, back in his element again. "My friends and I have just completed the first step of our eventful journey, and are looking forward to getting some welldeserved rest. I myself am looking forward to your selection of fine wines."

The half-elf leans towards the halfling and softly adds in the Halfling tongue, "We have been sent by Dame Yamyra, cousin to Lady Filiu Ghallandra, to aid the Lady with an inconvenience. Could you let her know we've arrived? My name is Maladiel."

Switching back to the Common language, he finishes with a big smile, "And please, you really must point me to your tailor!"
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
"We're not here for the show," says Tillington, "We're hungry and need to wash up after the road. Perhaps an evening performance? For now, though, as my friend said, we're hoping to try some of what's on offer. You have an incredible place here."

Tillington nods at the halfling, and appreicates that so much of the furninshings are scaled for someone his size.
 

Hades#2

Explorer
"I do enjoy a good show! A brief rest first though. I do find it quite challenging to get a proper rest while traveling aboard any moving vehicle." Xian replied to the receptionist.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
“Lady Filiu?” The desk clerk is taken aback for just a moment before regaining his composure. “Oh, you must be referring to the Hotelier.” He promptly picks up a sending stone, and after a brief conversation rings a bell on the desk. “Bellhop, please escort our guests to the Hotelier’s Office.”

The warforged in the room snaps into action, holding a door open. “Right away boss! And right this way, if you please!”

“A word of advice from one who appreciates a fine suit to another: Don’t mention ‘Lady’.”
The clerk warns Maladiel as an aside. “She gets very cross about the fact she doesn’t have a mark.”

The bellhop guides you to a lavishly decorated office. They open the door just long enough to let you all enter, then shut you all inside.

Trophies of all kinds decorate the shelves, with scant collections of books dispersed amongst them. The desk in the center is halfling-scaled, but on a raised floor to make the stature of the one sitting behind it more imposing. Even then, what draws your attention is the animal pen in the corner of the room. There, a middle-aged halfling woman is feeding and caressing a clawfoot. The clawfoot lets out a chirping sound in gratitude as the woman responds “You are welcome, Brother.” in the halfling tongue before turning to greet you.

The woman moves as if she was a predatory animal. Locking eyes with the biggest of you, her body turns around in motions meant to keep her gaze forward and her body fluid. Her robes flow to make her look bigger, and her jewelry clacks and flashes in ways designed to distract you from her vitals. As she sits, she adjusts her horn rimmed half-framed glasses so that she can peer over their obviously magical lenses.

“Please, sit.” She speaks in a low, authoritative tone. ”I understand Yamyra sent you, if that is true, I need not know anything else. The less, the better.” She pauses a moment to let the subtext sink in. “What did she tell you?”

GM: I admit that was a bit of herding. Pleasantries are quick enough while in person, but they take so long over php I couldn't help speeding it up a bit. If you want later though, I can do up a quick synopsis of that play.
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Maladiel bows curtly, already having taken a quick measure of the woman.

From Dame Yamyra he knows that Filiu runs this Gold Dragon Inn, which here in Gatherhold is also the main Ghallandra stronghold; anyone who's in charge here holds great power and influence. What Mal sees here frightens him a little more; obviously this halfling woman is very comfortable around dangerous predators, and has learnt some of their tricks. As an urban entertainer and fixer, Maladiel finds it hard to trust his honed instincts around one with such clear bonds to the natural world.

"I will not bother you with tales of our past or our connections to Dame Yamyra," he smiles, using the Halfling language to express familiarity, as well as implicitly giving away just a little information about themselves. Then he turns back to the Common trade language.

"She has told us Clawfoots are going missing," he gets to the point quickly, estimating that their host prefers it to pleasantries. "There are suspicions about a local ranch being involved. As creatures of such sacred importance and, dare I say, family, we will leave no stones unturned, I can assure you... Hotelier."

Mal bites his tongue, only just refraining from saying "m'lady" at the end of his line. In fact, the half-elf is much more direct and less formal than usual.
 


Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
"Yes." Fillu replies, her eyes grow sharp when the sacred clawfoot bond is mentioned, but focus back into the familiar cold stare just as quickly.

With a sudden movement, she digs into a drawer and unfurls a map on her desk. "Whitewood Ranch. A Vadalis holding. North of town here along the rail. At first, the Clans weren't eager to let them set up shop outside of town, but skilled veterinarians and a constant supply of horse meat changed their minds. Currently they make a great deal of money selling their mounts, thoroughbred and Magebred, to prospectors looking for quick riches in Q'barra."

The woman opens another drawer, and pulls out a sack, tossing it on the desk, the distinctive sound of Galifars clanks within. "Prospectors, archeologists, adventurers, grave robbers. All and any are likely to show up every day, there to look at the livestock for a trip out east. Whatever else you see is incidental, customers often end up in strange places. They will not know better if you do not tell them."

The halfling pauses long enough to pour herself a drink. "Or don't. I do not need to know how it is seen. The less I know, the better. We are strangers at birth. Today you are only guests at my inn. Tomorrow we will be strangers again. Tell Yamyra what you see, she will know what to do. Pick your masks, wear them for a day, so they will fit tomorrow."

After finishing her drink, her stance relaxes. A smile carves it's way into her face. Somehow this predator before you has metamorphosed into a demeanor that what would be expected of a premier hotelier. Warm and inviting, charming even. She rings a bell and the door opens. "Bellhop, please see our guests back to the front desk? The clerk will have the keys to your rooms when you get there." As you leave, she bows "Enjoy your stay at the Gold Dragon Inn!"

GM: The bag has 500gp inside.
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Malix remain silent and tense during the talks. The beast and the strange, focused woman bring his combat insticts to the fore. And his training and paranoia rev up.
 

Hades#2

Explorer
Xian stays silent during the conversation but his eyes sweep the room taking note of the organization and placement of the contents. The Halfling woman is intriguing and appeared to be one of importance.
 


Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
Tillington is in awe of the entire establishment, and wants to try a drink in every bar. He giggles as he works out a possible itinerary within the building.

He pauses to reflect on recent events -- he made it out of the city, which is good, and he hopes that he won't be suspected of the death of the woman; his being caught up in the fire has helped provide an alibi for him. Coming across Maladiel was a real stroke of luck, he realizes, and now with these others he's in a group and safely anonymous. Not drawing any attention to himself.

"Who wants a drink?" he asks in a loud voice, and throwing his arms in the air. "I say we start on the ground floor and work our ways up!"
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
"Excellent idea," Maladiel agrees, as they make their way behind the warforged. "Let's get our stuff into our rooms first, perhaps refresh ourselves a bit, then on to the bar."

The half-elf is already thinking about a plan, but he also realizes the importance of acting like normal guests for now.

"Bellhop," he addresses the warforged butler, "Tomorrow I would like to go shopping. Could you please provide me with a list of fine tailors, jewellers and upmarket livery stables?"
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Bellhop responds in a voice that sounds like it tuned with a music box. "If you are looking for the best Gatherhold has to offer, the question isn't where, it's when. Outside of House holdings, the Clans travel with the seasons. Currently, the weavers of Clan Zublu claim the loomhouse, they specialize in making clothes out of feathers. Rathi Emerald Eyes is the best gem carver I have ever seen, and you should be able to find her in the whitesmithy, teaching her apprentices. As for mounts, the best place for folk of our statures to look is the Whitewood Ranch just outside of town."

At the front desk, the clerk hands over a key. "The Business Suite. A shared common space with individual bedchambers off to the side, ideal for all sorts of meetings. Don't worry about your luggage, we will see it up for you."

GM: And with that, you have a day to live it up and make your plans! What is first?
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
"Not much of luggage. Omnia mea mecum porto. But thank you Bellhop."
Malix knows he will look weird in well dressed high-end lodge like this. He nods to Maladiel.
"You enjoy their hospitality. I'll check the streets, see if common citizens are hungry or sickly. Do what I can. I will return before the sun is down and we can talk. Buy some clothing for me, please, you're the expert in the area. I'll wash before we present ourselves to the wider audience. Note that my vow limits my options in the face department, I have to wear a mask as a symbol of my dedication to life. No one is to know the healer so I cannot benefit from doing good deeds, but do them for the benefit of others exclusively."

He goes out, getting to know the surroundings, looking around the building for quick exits in emergencies, height of the buildings around it, lay of the land so to speak.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
All's Quiet on the Thranian front.

Act one.
In Southern Cyre, near what would become known as The Field of Ruins.

Princess Borann ir'Wynarn of Breland and Bishop-Militant Grodan of Thrane address the combined forces of the Brelish military, and Thrane armies. They speak of grand conquest, a reunited Galifar, and the end to a hundred years of war. The speech quickly falls into the background as we refocus on a single platoon. A mixed unit of solders in worn uniforms, mumbling in the ranks about their favorite things and people back home. Their Lieutenant, a charismatic type that Breland was famous for, quiets the troupes. He has their orders, they will march north and protect the artillery. Despite the bluster from the brass, they have been stalled out for days by an entrenched unit of Cyran solders. The artillery would solve this problem, glassing out the area. The Lieutenant and the Sergeant debate about the ethics of this for a bit, while a few of the lower ranks comment about how tired they are and how they wish they could just be done. The Platoon moves out and gets involved with a skirmish where a few of the members die, poignantly holding on to their mementos.

Act two.
On the other side of the field.

The Cyran forces are in raggedy shambles. The combined invading force outnumbers them three to one. Mercenaries mix ranks with nationals complaining about everything from the quality of the food to the propensity of the nationals to simply fall back and let the mercs do the heavy lifting. The last comment stings “Cryans are artist first and soldiers third”. To which the national Lieutenant solemnly admits the truth of. In her response she lays out the basics. The Cyrans never wanted the war in the first place. For them it isn't about conquest, it's about survival and legitimacy. If that means biting their tongues, picking up arms, and marching to the beat of a mercenary drummer, who dedicates their life to fighting and should know how to do it better than a weaver or poet, then so that shall be done. Both arguments fall quiet with a hint of catharsis after letting out their emotions. The scene is interrupted by the return of a Warforged patrol. Through the use of guerrilla tactics as learned from the mercenaries, the tireless Warforged soldiers had enacted a plan that successfully gave the illusion of a massively stronger army being entrenched here. Everyone feels better at the news, but that relief is momentary when intelligence comes through with new orders: There is an artillery unit on the march, and they need to stop it.

Act three.
In the middle of the field.

The opposing armies meet. Defensive lines are drawn. The artillery begins powering up. The Cyran forces charge. Then, as the artillery is about to fire, The Mourning happens. The artillery stops. Mists engulf the stage as monsters come out from all directions attacking everyone. The invading and defending forces join together to fight for their lives. And after a hard long battle with much death, the Lieutenants come together, shake hands as comrades, and depart the battlefield to return to their respective HQ's and deal with the bigger threat.

GM: So yeah, this is kind of filler.
Does anyone have any shopping plans before you go in? Maybe now would be a good time to have a discussion about you cover story? Otherwise we can get on with it.
 

MetaVoid

Adventurer
Ozzar cleaned himself, luxuriating in the warm bath. He didn't have much chance to enjoy finer things in life ever since that failed assassination day. And having a chance to scrub the smell of the dead from his body is a nice bonus.

He even thought for a moment not to go out for a drink! Instead of drinking himself into a stupor he actually considers enjoying the city. This will be a good change, he decides, heading out.

He walks around the city, taking in sights and smells, noting the potential rogue hideouts, nodding to the guards and watchmen and returning back for lunch and some light beer.
 

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