Game Thread Interlude: Further Plotting & Planning - RPG Crossing
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  #1  
Old Aug 29th, 2021, 10:00 PM
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Interlude: Further Plotting & Planning

GMThe goblin Rocco gathers up a fistful of his tablecloth tunic to scrub the perspiration from his round, gray-green face. He blows a stray mop-string out of his eye and unslings his makeshift knapsack. He tugs at a knot and the whole bundle falls open at once, spilling its blaze-orange contents across the roof. Rocco—a brilliant climber, as it happens—was able to fetch Brijida and haul her up the side of the building just as he’d done Ernest and the rats, all in a matter of a few minutes. Now the vixen leaps to her paws, does a few quick pirouettes over the slate shingles, and joins the others.

The Familiars and their confederates are congregated atop Luck of the Draught Potions, Tonics, & Salves, the Whitebridge Village apothecary. From this lofty vantage they can see the town entire, from Chez Gygax just down the street (most of the humans seem to have dispersed), to the yawning black mouth of the mine at Mount Myrddin’s base, to Summitstone Academy beyond. The sun is high in the sky, deliciously warm in contrast to the ambient chill of the autumn air. The animals are gathered in a loose circle near the apothecary’s brick chimney. The remaining Not-So-Goodfellas lean against the stack smoking Dale makes these himself, from materials he procures at “the tobacconist,” which is what he calls a particular storm drain near Little Rataly that’s always full of damp butts.rat-sized cigars and squeaking to one another in low tones. Rocco drops to his rump and folds his legs criss-cross-apple-sauce. The goblin coos at Ernest and gives his knee a hopeful pat.

GM - OOCHere’s where the Familiars can tie up loose ends before we jump into the next chapter proper. Next steps might include: finishing introductions, striking an alliance with Andy, mustering any other reinforcements, and planning for the attack on Summitstone. This interlude can be as long or as brief as you like; just drop a line here or in the OOC thread when you’re ready to move on.
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Last edited by Mallothi; Aug 31st, 2021 at 09:47 PM.
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Old Sep 1st, 2021, 11:37 AM
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Zorandicus
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Zorandicus looked out over the town. This was his domain- the sky above the town belonged to him, and the surface beneath... Well, despite their mewling protests, the land-bound creatures who dwelled in the muck were naught but food at best, and an annoyance at worst. Then, his gaze drifted to the Summitstone Academy, his yellow eyes narrowing with revulsion. The place of his hatching. His prison, for so many years.

And now, the last bastion for those who defied him.

The white owl held no illusions about the mettle of the human race. They were weak, bipedal, earthdwelling creatures. Their skin was soft and tearable, their eyes succulent, their tongues and innards a delicacy. Everything else which dwelled in the city- dogs, cats, rodents- was more of the same. Morsels, to be enjoyed by his avian fellows. But the wizards, and that damnable witch-hunter with his accursed pet goose... Those, Zorandicus admitted to none but himself, and even then with reluctance, those were foes even his talons could not bring down. Not without help.

And look what the cat dragged in, Zorandicus thought, craning his head towards the new arrivals.

'My, you are are peculiar lot, aren't you?' the owl started. 'A rat, a cat, a fox, even...' he said, giving Brijida an appraising look. 'Some sort of goblin... And a dozen or so snacks,' he finished, looking hungrily at the Not-So-Goodfellas. Straightening himself, casually flapping his wings once or twice, the owl continued. 'Never fear, I know they are spoken for,' he announced, looking to Ernest and Brijida in turn. 'And that they are, somehow, vital in performing whatever plan it is you have set in motion.'

'But,' Zorandicus spoke, 'while one should not normally discuss the details of one's business in front of the help,' he said, again casting a glance at Ricco's goons. 'Who are you, why are you here, and how do you intend to help me murder all those delicious wizards, and their witch-hunting attack dog?'

 
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Old Sep 3rd, 2021, 09:58 PM
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Happy Reunions
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By some set of happy happenstances Brijida had managed to join her friends on the roof a potions shop. If someone were to ask how she had gotten up there she would not be able to answer the question, but that wasn't important. What matter most was the fact that if Wonderful, Grumpy Rat Brie had not called out an exuberant "Briji, Briji! Up here. On the roof!" the poor vixen would have had to resort to running around in circles throughout the village completely lost.

With a happy little hop Brijida ran over to the grizzled rodent nearly tumbling in the process. The most she could manage with a muzzle full of doll were some muffled yips of pure joy. Rubbing her nose against her companions' she made the full round before carefully depositing the precious figure at Brie's feet. Her fiery tail wagging as she did so.

"Look, look! I brought the doll, Brie. Soon we will have our Mistress back with us. Yup, yup. She will be so happy to see how well we are doing, won't she?"

It was at that moment the fox registered the presence of the strange owl and his query.
'Who are you, why are you here, and how do you intend to help me murder all those delicious wizards, and their witch-hunting attack dog?'

The little redhead cocked her head, confused, "Huh? Who are we? We are us! Mistress Abigail's most trusted familiars and loyal friends! We are not here to help you. I don't think." Turning to Ernest she whispered, "Are we?" Breathing a sigh out of her nose, Brijida flicked her tail, sparks flying into the air, floating a moment before going out before continuing before the tomcat could answer, "But Mistress like manners very much. I am Brijida. Keeper of our Mistress Mother's fires. That is Ernest, fierce and brave cat-friend. This is Brie. Grumpy and Grizzled clever rat-friend. And this! This is beautiful, sweet, kind Beau! Best and lovliest rat-friend ever!" With an excited little hop she twirled around looking for someone, "She is a sweet tender of all things that... "
No matter how much she searched, she could not find her favorite friend anywhere.

Eyes wide in confusion, she looked to her companions, "Where is Sweet Beau? Did you send her on a new task?" Brijida looked to her friends expectantly unaware of the tragic news that awaited her.
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Old Sep 4th, 2021, 10:45 AM
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Ernest the Cat
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Rocco gave his lap a gentle pat, pat, pat, and Ernest could hardly resist. The day had been so long, they had lost a companion, and the aging feline had nearly lost his life. Not to mention the lingering stench from Petunia that continued to make the cat’s stomach churn.

Ernest approached the goblin and rubbed his head against Rocco’s knee a few times. This then progressed to his usual raking of the sides, and the old bombay began to purr. Eventually Rocco reached down, picked up Ernest, and held him on his lap. Eventually the goblin began scratching behind the old Bombay’s ears and under his chin, and he began to drift off into a nap…

"Where’s Sweet Beau?"

This simple question snapped the cat from his impending nap. He sat upright in Rocco’s lap, and delivered the news in the most gentle way possible. "We now have more than Mother’s death to avenge. Sweet Beau has met her end. She was brave and sacrificed herself so that the group could flee."


 


 
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Old Sep 5th, 2021, 04:46 PM
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Brie
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"Where is Sweet Beau? Did you send her on a new task?"

Brie‘s throat constricted as if he had just been fed rat poison and his elation at seeing Brijida again vanished in an instant. He wanted to scream at the fox, but couldn’t, his voice suddenly gone, softer than that of a squeaking mouse.

Where is Beau? Where!? Her body lies broken on the floor of that cursed restaurant or inside a garbage can along with fishbones, moldy fruit and pieces of potato peel! Do you want to see her, Brijida? Do you? All her sweetness was not able to make the murderers spare her. And it‘s all your fault! Yours, yours, yours! An animal as strong and quick as a fox might have saved her, you might have… might have… you might have joined her and then the pain would be twice as fierce. Sorry for being so unfair. If it‘s anyone’s fault, it‘s mine. You are the least to blame for my failings.

The feeling of suffocation passed somewhat and Brie was able to speak again, though his throat still felt scratched.

"It‘s so good to see you, Briji. I missed you… we all did. So much has happened since we were last together..."

We thought that nothing could stop us at the time, that Mother‘s return was a certainty. Well, life taught me a lesson all right.

Shaking his head, the dark rat tried to clear it from all that was irrelevant to the mission ahead. No mistakes were allowed this time, for mistakes cost lives. The plan had to be perfect.

"The goal is to eliminate Ulrich von Furchtbar, his men and Old Bart, preferably at exactly the same time. When do all of them come together? At dinner? To discuss the best way to eliminate their next victim? We need eyes and ears inside the academy and someone who understands the humans‘ speech. Then we need to find an effective way to put an end to them. Poison could work, as could magic of the kind kept inside the academy. Finally we need to keep our word to Don Rico. We need something extremely powerful like… I don’t know… a of power!ring that will allow him to gain control of Whitebridge. With him in charge we will be able to return home and bring back Mother."

She might even know of a way to raise my sweet Beau…

"And we must retrieve our friend‘s body. Even if she is gone forever, she deserves a proper burial in her garden, among the flowers, the vegetables and all the living things she loved so much."

Brie‘s hard eyes dared anyone present to contradict him.

"To summarize:
One - we infiltrate the academy.
Two - we find a way to eliminate Ulrich and all those who support him.
Three - we find a worthy present for Rico Rattin.
And four - we return home with Beau‘s remains and bring back Mother.
Questions?"


 
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Old Sep 8th, 2021, 07:58 AM
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Zorandicus
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'You are this "Abigail"'s... familiars?' The owl repeated, staring intently at the fire fox. 'I know of the practice- obviously- but I believe I am not familiar with your mistress' name. Is she a rogue wizard? A witch? A shaman or druid, perhaps?' His eyes went wide at the cat's confession. 'And you are trying to bring her back from the dead, little familiars? A necromantic ritual, of some sort? Interesting!'

He bobbed his head, processing this new information. 'And for this... Ritual, you need the witch hunter dead. well, at least in that regard, you may consider my not inconsiderable talent at you disposal,' the owl promised, a guttural laugh rising from his throat.

'For instance,' he boasted. 'I can understand the human's coarse, crude, simpering, vile tongue. By working a spell, I can understand and even speak with them for a moment. Though I must confess I am out of practice- I try not to dirty my tongue with their base words whenever possible.'

'Secondly, if you need access to te witch hunter's abode... He currently resides in a building on the Academy grounds, in a facility known as the Volothamp building. A place of learning about the many magical creatures of this world. I've visited several times, when I was still welcome at the Academy- so that those bumbling wizards could gaze upon my majesty.'

'As for getting in, well,' Zorandicus laughed, shaking his head. 'I'm afraid the doors are magically locked- except for one window, on the second floor. I can get in, and I can get you' he said, indicating Brie with his snout, 'and the snacks in. The cat... Perhaps. Or perhaps you would like to make your way in through the chimney,' the owl suggested, giving Ernest a sideways glance.

'The fox, I fear, might be too heavy to simply be lifted, and too... Earthbound, to reach the roof. However, there is a locked metal bulkhead leading into the basement. If we can open that one from the inside, we'd have a way of letting the fox into the hen house, so to speak.'

Frowning a little, he shook his head. 'I know not this "Donrico" you speak of. Why, exactly, are you spending time and energy collecting a bauble for him, on this mission?'

 
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Old Sep 10th, 2021, 02:54 AM
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Brie in Wonderland
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Brie looked at the owl, his surprise evident. Did Andy not know of the most powerful rodent in Whitebridge? Perhaps he was not as well informed as he took himself to be. Or perhaps he considered Whitebridge‘s criminal underground too far beneath him as „lord of the skies above this squalid town“.

"Have you really never heard of the „Don under the Mountain“? The „Ratfather“? The boss of the Ratfia and barone of La Cosa Nosrat? The Capo dei capi of the mines of Mount Myrddin?"

The dark rat could have gone on for a long time, had he wanted to recite Rico Rattin‘s many, many titles, but realizing that there was absolutely no light of recognition in the owl‘s large eyes, he merely shrugged.

"He is the rat who lent us the services of the „snacks“, two of which are my cousins, Wensley and Dale. As for eating them, I would counsel against it. I don’t know when it was the last time their fur came into contact with any amount of water that could be considered „clean“, but if smell is any indication…"

Turning away from the big bird, Brie walked slowly to the edge of the roof and looked at the academy, lost in thought. Normally, he would have suggested somehow distracting the guards at the gate, which probably wasn’t all that hard, so that all of them could sneak in, but after the massacre at Chez Gygax he was feeling much less confident in his ability to interact in any way with the vicious human and survive the encounter. No, if possible, he wanted to have nothing to do with humans ever again. The real problem, of course, was finding a way to get Brijida inside. She was simply too large…

And then Brie remembered Alice and knew that he had found a way!

How long had it been since Mother had read aloud to them this ridiculous story? Ages ago, it seemed. After the first half-hour or so Brie had stopped paying attention, focusing instead on the warmth of Mother‘s voice, the soft cushion beneath him and the bowl full of delicious cheese fondue in front of him. It was a story about a girl falling down rabbit holes, talking to smoking caterpillars and being brought to court by a bunch of playing cards. If Brie remembered correctly, it had been „Drops“ who had chosen this book from Mother‘s library of „classics“, having been impressed by the painting of the March Hare at the tea party. It took him a full fortnight to finally realize that hares could not and should not drink tea, the consequences being… liquid and malodorous. In any case, among the other silly things Alice did, she also ate a cake that made her grow huge and drank a potion that made her as tiny as a mouse. If such magicks could work for a human girl, they would certainly work for a fox!

"I believe that the solution to our problem lies beneath our very paws - or talons, as the case may be. All we need is a potion that will make Briji smaller and another one that will make her larger again. Andy, you said you took care of your former human master by feeding him one of his own potions and that you were his apprentice. This means that you could easily identify a potion’s properties, right? Guess what. Might we not find what we need inside the building beneath us? Judging from the mortar and pestle upon the sign above the door, it is the village‘s apothecary, right? What do you think? Are you up to it?"


 
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Old Sep 11th, 2021, 12:07 PM
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Zorandicus
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Craning his head towards Brie, Zorandiucs considered the rat's plan for a moment. 'I fear that buffoon of a master was never interested in such potions. That would have required him to actually have a useful idea, for once, and the one time he managed to do so was when he gifted me with my speech. And that, of course, was largely by accident.'

The owl chuckled for a moment, extending his wings a little to feel the wind flowing through his feathers. 'No, I fear he did not create any such potions. The only thing which comes close to what you describe was his elixer of magnification, which served only to enlarge. And even then, only part of the human anatomy was affected,' Zorandicus implied.

'What you are asking for is certainly possible... But discovering the appropriate formula via experimentation would take a long time- and a larger supply of foxes than what we have available,' the owl said, grinning darkly at Brijida. 'I imagine someone at the Academy may have found the correct formula. Flightless as they might be, not all of them are as helpless as that damnable "master" of mine,' he said, retching again at the word.

'If we find the correct recipe, I would be delighted to collect and mix the proper ingredients- a precise art, I assure you. As it seems we must rummage through the academy's vaults anyway, to find a trinket with which we may appease this excessively titled supplier of yours... We may be able to find a recipe as well. It should not take too long to brew, and afterwards we can deliver the product to the fire fox.'

'To obtain access to the vaults,' Zorandicus mentioned, staring out towards the Academy, 'we would require either a great deal of stealth, or... A note from a wizard, asking us to fetch some bauble stored within. Sadly, my wizard is thoroughly dead, but perhaps a signed note may be forged?' Curiously, he looked towards Rocco, the only one in the group with opposable thumbs.

 
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Old Sep 12th, 2021, 03:27 AM
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Brie the grumpy rat
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As Andy spoke, Brie frowned as only a bad-tempered rat that had lost his human „mother“ and his best rat friend in the whole world (they would never be anything more than that now…), all within just a few days, could.

"What is the purpose of being a human tongue speaking, laboratory assisting, „special“ owl when you can’t even brew or identify a potion as simple as the one drunk by that fool of a girl, Alice? Won‘t the potions in the apothecary’s shop be marked with tags? I am sure you can read those, can‘t you? We are bound to find something useful inside, even if it‘s just goose poison to take care of Old Bart."

We‘ll see if the stories about the devil goose’s immortality are fact or fiction. I‘m going to bet on the latter and enjoy myself a delicious meal of foie gras...

Turning to his cousins, Brie looked at them with fire in his eyes.

"Wensley, Dale, it‘s time for you and the Wiserats to earn your pay. You will go down the chimney into the apothecary‘s shop and find a way for all of us to get inside. We do not split our group ever again! Once there, we take a look at the potions, salves and whatever magicks are to be found and then we make a final plan about how to infiltrate the academy and accomplish our goal. Soon the hunted will become the hunters!"

Looking at the sun in the sky, the dark rat frowned even deeper.

"But first we wait for the sun to set and the proprietor of the shop to go home to sleep, to a tavern to drink himself unconscious or whatever it is that humans do during the night. As they slumber and dream about being masters of the world, we get busy. And we don‘t forget to make absolutely certain that no thrice-cursed dog resides inside the shop!"


 


 
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Old Sep 12th, 2021, 02:28 PM
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Zorandicus
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Snapping his wings open, Zorandicus flaps them once, twice, lifting himself off the roof only to land inches away from Brie. 'My purpose?' he shrieks. 'My purpose?! He came skidding to a halt, mighty talons dragging scars across the shingles, throwing up a rain of clay dust. Beating his wings again, he sent a rush of air washing over the black rat, fixing his newfound companion with angry yellow eyes.

'I am the northern wind,' he boasted angrily, 'descending from the skies upon wings of frost and fury! Those who dwell on the ground below cower and wail when my shadow passes over them, for it is by my whim that they die... Or live, oh Brie the Rat. You would do well to remember that... And to mind your tongue!'

With an angry huff, the owl took wing, circling the apothecary several times. His keen eyes quickly found the sign indicating the owner had left for the time being, and from a roof on the opposite side of the street, he could peer into the window to confirm that, indeed, nobody was inside. Nodding to himself, the owl returned to the familiars. 'Empty, it seems,' he reported. 'A sign indicates the owner will return within the quarter hour, though it is impossible to say how long it hangs there. That said, the apothecary is, currently devoid of humans.' Guffawing, the owl shook his head. ' But I doubt such a simple herbalist as the one below owns anything required to brew a magic potion. It is as I said- these people know only two kinds of magic- the Academy-approved kind, and the "burn at the stake" kind. Which is precisely why I have set out to oppose them. Nonetheless,' he relents, shrugging his snow white plumage. 'I shall gladly assist you in this endeavour, so that we may assess the man's stock ourselves.

Who knows,'
he laughed. 'Perhaps our apothecary is the cheecky sort, who would brave the torch and noose to study the forbidden. After all, some humans actually prove themselves interesting...'

 
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 07:05 PM
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Brijida
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'We now have more than Mother’s death to avenge. Sweet Beau has met her end. She was brave and sacrificed herself so that the group could flee.'


'...And we must retrieve our friend‘s body...'


The words of spoken by her fellow familiars, delivered kindly, became weights that threatened to crush the breath from her lungs. Brijida found it difficult to hold herself up; her knees wobbled a moment before she slumped to the ground. Belly flat against the shingled rooftop of the apothecary, she covered her snout with both forepaws, allowing for a moment to absorb the impossible news. Dear, sweet Beau. So kind and thoughtful. Of all of Mistress Abigail's familiars, the little rat had been the most patient with the young vixen. The little rodent's gentleness would be missed greatly. 'Oh! What will Mistress Mother say when she comes back and there is no Beau?!' A whimper born of grief was lost amid the voices of those busy planning the next stage of their quest.

Around her the others exchanged ideas and plans for how to go about what needed doing. Their voices a monotonous buzzing of sound that did little to pierce the grey cloud that the most unwelcome news had brought with it. 'Yes. Yes, Brie is right. We must return her body Home. Mistress Mother will know what to do. She will know how to bring back our Sweet Friend! Mother will know! Mother will save!!'

Brijida's train of thought was interrupted by the angry squeak and shrieking of animal voices.

'...Or live, oh Brie the Rat....'


It took the fiery vulpine a few moments to process all that had been said but it was the threatening words of the strange owl that finally spurred Brijida to interact with the group. Lunging to her feet she snapped at the bird stopping short of his feathers by mere inches. A warning to the beast of her anger. Ears and tail pointed upwards, the red fox came as close to growling as it was possible for her kind.

"Watch your words, Owl. You may bring fear to the little creatures like the mice and rat-kin, but I am Fox! I am the unseen shadow that leaps into the air from bushes unseen to snap, snap at the unsuspecting birds that fly too close to those whom I call friend. Threaten my friend again and it will be your brittle bones that I snap, snap next." The protective ire that burned in her heart quickly fizzled as she turned her gaze upon Brie. A long affectionate swipe of her tongue left the grizzled rat's hair plastered to his back. "But if you can help us and you can behave, Bird, then we can forget this anger. Come, come, Brie Friend. Let us find these things we need. Rocco can carry me, or you can shrink me, I will do as you say to save our Mistress Mother Abigail. Then she can save our Sweet Beau! Yes, yes!"

The little ginger bowed playfully, all threats and angry feelings forgotten in the excitement of continuing their quest.
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Old Sep 18th, 2021, 08:16 PM
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Ernest the Cat
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Par for the course, Ernest had been half-snoozing through all of the squawking and squeaking of his companions. Until, finally, he felt a gentle nudge on the top of his head. He looked up at Rocco and squinted his glass eye at him. Rocco gestured towards the group and gave Ernest a slight pat on the hind end, and muttered something that sounded vaguely like "scoot!"

The old bombay stretched out his front legs and yawned, but quickly skittered back at the owl's screeching. He found the bird's voice to be abrasive and if he were smaller, the cat would certainly consider making a meal out of him. But alas, Abigail frowned on the eating of familars. So, no dining on owl today.

"Brigida is right. No matter which way we go, we must work together. Enough of this screeching and squealing from all of you. My old bones can't take it a moment longer. "

He paused, surprised by his own tone. "I will follow the rats and help to find a way in."

And with that, Ernest lept from the roof, following Wensley and Dale towards the apothecary, using his inky coat to stay as hidden as possible in the elongating shadows.


 


 
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Last edited by NightCheese; Sep 18th, 2021 at 10:40 PM.
  #13  
Old Sep 19th, 2021, 10:11 PM
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Glad for an excuse to escape Zorandicus’ hungry gaze, Wensley and Dale muster their wiserats and hastily quit the rooftop via the apothecary’s narrow chimney. In a blink, the rats swarm the stone stack, scale its modest height, and then disappear inside. Irritated but determined to see the task done properly, Ernest follows, gaining the chimney’s rim in a single leap. The old tom circles the edge once, twice, peering into the gloom distrustfully. Then, with a resigned huff, he tucks his tail and slips into the void butt-first, showering the Not-So-Goodfellas with soot and mortar as he scrabbles down, down, down, yowling pitifully all the way.

Minutes pass. The other Familiars stand by, anxiously pacing the rooftop and waiting for some sign from Ernest or the mercenary rodents. More time passes without word - certainly longer than the quarter-hour allowed by the chemist’s note. Brie, Brijida, and Andy have just settled on a rescue strategy when a stooped, bearded human comes limping up the street, leaning heavily on his wooden cane and humming a broken tune between wheezing breaths. Rocco points toward the man, dancing on his tip-toes and squealing frantically. The goblin rushes from the roof’s edge back to the chimney, where he calls down a panicked, echoing warning to the animals inside. There is no reply; the shop below is quiet and still. Meanwhile, the human has reached the building’s entrance. He plucks his sign from the door, folding the parchment neatly before tucking it into his apron. From the same deep pocket he withdraws a metal ring bristling with keys. He squints at the tangle of iron, muttering quietly as he hunts for the right one, Clink-clink-clink! The man makes his selection and shoulders open the door.

Moments later, a curlicue of pale smoke begins to drift lazily out of the chimney, carrying with it the smell of smoldering wood and pungent tea. If Ernest and the wiserats intend to effect an escape, it won’t be back the way they came. Hours pass. Over that time a half-dozen humans come and go, entering the shop with their lists and baskets, and leaving laden with pills, potions, and unguents of all descriptions. The Familiars can hear the proprietor moving about inside, groaning every time he rises and singing to himself all the while. Still there is no sign of the unfortunate scouting party. After several more long hours, the sun begins to set on Whitebridge Village. The waning light signals a bustling transformation in the town. Colorful lamps are lit, and countless fresh cook-fires lend the air a smoky sweetness. From their high vantage, Brie, Brijida, and Andy witness a great throng of laborers clamor from the mine to descend on the town like a merry, dusty deluge. Human laughter rings high and clear against the cliffs of Mount Myrddin.

At long last, the geriatric shopkeep exits the building. Once again he produces the overburdened ring from his apron pocket and flips through its keys, even slower this time for the diminished light. Finally, after a few torturous minutes, the old man ferrets out the correct key, locks his shop, and hobbles away into the night. Brie and Brijida are discussing how to best infiltrate the emporium when they are interrupted by a loud noise, Ba-BANG! They peer over the roof’s edge and see that the front door has been thrown wide open. Wensley scampers out, panting. He glances nervously down the street in both directions before turning his gaze to the roofline. He waves at his companions gathered there, beckoning them down. “Well, c’mon already! Get in here!”

The descent is easy for Brie, and nearly effortless for Zorandicus; there is some debate, however, on how best to transport Brijida from the roof to the ground floor. After offering the vixen one of the pear-a-shoots, Rocco elects instead to simply carry Brijida in a sling fashioned from his knapsack. The technique proves simple and effective, and the Familiars and their allies are soon reunited inside Luck of the Draught Potions, Tonics, & Salves. The shop is packed with products and supplies, but despite the abundance of materials, everything is exceedingly tidy and well-organized. The walls are lined floor-to-ceiling with shelves, all glinting with neatly labeled jars, tins, and vials. There are huge bins heaping with carefully stacked medicinal pellets bound in cloth, and tall, glass hoppers loaded with all manner of dried herbs and colorful powders. It is an enviable collection, especially for a human. Wensley, who is no longer impressed (having spent all afternoon and the better part of an evening hiding in this very room), hurries the Familiars past the sales floor and behind the dark wood counter. “Yeah, yeah, it’s all very exciting. But this”—he points a claw at a padlocked cabinet built into the back of the counter—this is where the really good stuff is kept.” He flashes Brie a wicked grin. “A few of the humans that came through here had the old codger brew potions to order. His recipes are in there.” The black rat licks the back of his paw and gives an ear a quick grooming. Then he casts a timid look at Andy. “Whaddya say, owl?”
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  #14  
Old Sep 24th, 2021, 06:24 AM
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The apothecary‘s shop seemed like an entirely different word compared to the town outside, which was so full of the ear-splitting noise only humans were capable of making. It was dark, quiet and devoid of dogs - the perfect place for the Familiars to plan their next move. And the smells… ah, the smells! So many of them, so varied, so interesting. Had things been different, Brie would have been eager to find out where each one of them came from and -most importantly- which of these aromatic substances were edible. Despite the immeasurable sadness he felt, Brie was still a rat and it was the sacred duty of his stomach to remind him that his last meal had been hours and hours ago.

Still, eating was out of the question right now. First of all, because it would have been wrong to do so so soon (was it still too soon?) after sweet Beau‘s… „departure“ and secondly, because the results of an apothecary‘s work were often poisonous. That is exactly what Brie counted on - a nice surprise for the guards outside the academy. A little something to make them empty their stomachs or bowels and keep them from noticing a group of determined animals sneaking past them. An airborne substance would be ideal, but the dark rat would make do with whatever he was able to find. Beggars and rats couldn’t be choosers.

The real question was how to get rid of the padlock keeping the cabinet sealed. A key would have been the obvious answer, but Brie was pretty certain that the old man always carried it with him. A lockpick could also have worked, but the rat doubted that Rocco would be skilled enough to actually pick the lock with a pin or a piece of wire, just like in the novels „Drops“ used to go on and on (and on and on) about. His rat‘s teeth, though sharp and able to munch through pretty much everything, wouldn’t work on metal and neither would a cat‘s claws, a fox‘s jaws or an owl‘s beak. What could work, however, was acid. Even lemon juice gave Brie serious heartburn and Mother claimed that there were liquids much more effective than that, potions that could burn through most substances like a rat could burrow through a wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano. Such acids should, Brie reasoned, smell of lemons, thus the best way to locate them was by smell.

Closing his eyes, the rat let his delicate nose get as accurate a picture of the place as possible. Unfortunately, the complex bouquet of different scents, a true potpourri of aromatic experiences, and Brie‘s possibly not completely accurate presumption that all acids smelled of lemons, Clever check 4didn’t allow him to locate what he was looking for.

Brie sighed. Why did everything have to be so difficult? It seemed that teeth would have to be the solution to this problem after all.

"We might be unable to break metal with our teeth, but we can chew through wood easily enough, right guys? Come on then, Wiserats. There is no cupboard we can’t break in. Let‘s show these foolish humans that their wooden boxes and their locks can’t keep us out! On your marks. Get set. Chew!"

It seemed that the Not-So-Goodfellas were as hungry as Brie was, because even the dark rat was impressed by the fierceness with which they „attacked“ the poor, defenseless cupboard. Unless he stopped them, they were Fierce check 16!sure to turn the whole counter into chips and sawdust before long!

"Just don‘t eat what‘s inside!", cried out Brie, hoping to be heard through the Wiserats‘ frenzy.

It’s like his rat mama always claimed. One could always count on a rat‘s hunger. Always.


 


 
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  #15  
Old Sep 26th, 2021, 10:50 AM
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WHAM! As the door to the apothecary swung open, Ernest jumped from a slumber to all four feet, letting out a surprised yowl. As the other familiars entered he stretched every muscle and tendon possible, and made his way down the counter. "Indeed, that's where he keeps what we need. Andy, you can read the human's writing, correct?"

He watched the wiserats chew their way through the safe, and nodded to Rocco and Brijida. "Someone should keep watch. The old man is slow, but he will come back eventually. Rocco?"




 
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