Game Thread Scene 1 - Rise and Fall - RPG Crossing
RPG Crossing Home Forums Create An Account! Site Rules & Help

RPG Crossing
Go Back   RPG Crossing > Games > Dungeons & Dragons: 5e > Uncaged > Found Family (Season 2)
twitter facebook

Notices

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old Nov 25th, 2020, 07:05 PM
Wynamoinen's Avatar
Wynamoinen Wynamoinen is offline
Eternal Bard
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 9th, 2021
RPXP: 26492
Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen
Posts: 7,605
Scene 1 - Rise and Fall

DaybreakAfter some interesting discussion, the gathered group lays down, and falls asleep. They rise early the next morning. Their accommodations do not block the light of the red rising sun, and the estate is already coming to life as the cocks crow.

Before the last of the group rises, servants enter the outbuilding. They bear trays of fruit, hard-boiled eggs, porridge, and other simple breakfast foods. They do their best to discreetly help the adventurers put away their sleeping gear. You can hear the lock on the front gate being thrown open, and its hinges creak as the grounds are opened. It seems quite possible that groundskeepers will arrive soon, to tend the gardens before the heat of the day becomes oppressive. The servants want to make sure that the groundskeepers can do their work without the adventurers in the way.

Soon, Nechotas arrives, as fastidious as he was last night. "Ahem," he introduces himself. "Good morning. The Lord is not ready for visitors at such an hour. I think it would be productive if I gave you a tour of the grounds. It shall help to inform your service, and your decision of whether to assist. If I may?" he motions with his hand, as if to escort the group away from their workshed. Once the group is gathered, Nechotas leads on.

right-aligned image
It's indeed a grand estate. There is a large central building, presumably the family's house. There are a number of nearby buildings - kitchens, sculleries, smokehouses, and so on - most of them attached by covered walkways, giving the place the feeling of a huge sprawling complex. The Heights are near the edge of the city, a sort of suburb overlooking Synkel, where the land becomes more rocky and less hospitable. Yet the grounds of the estate are green and well-maintained. A wall surrounds the entire complex, but it is not especially imposing. The taller and more athletic of you could hurdle it easily. It is a marker of place and privilege, rather than any sort of real defense. There are other estates uphill and to the west, while cobblestoned streets lay alongside the walls downhill (from where you all came) and to the east.

The tour takes the greater part of an hour. At the end, Nechotas judges the activity of the servants and the angle of the sun, and reckons, "I do not think you are expected yet. Please wait here, and I will return when you are ready to be received." He scuttles off and the group finds themselves untended at the edge of a pleasant garden.

You are left waiting for at least another hour. Time is marked by the passing of servants, giving you strange looks, and the quickly-rising heat.
OODMA new scene begins! This setup gives you some things to interact with, while giving you space to continue with earlier interactions. If you want to continue conversations with each other from the previous night, or talk to Nechotas on the tour, or chat with each other at the garden. I just ask that you clearly mark the time and location of each action in the fieldset header, please
__________________
GM of Uncaged: Found Family, a folklore-inspired D&D 5e one-shot adventure.

Last edited by Wynamoinen; Nov 25th, 2020 at 07:09 PM.
  #2  
Old Nov 26th, 2020, 08:50 AM
MoldyNolds's Avatar
MoldyNolds MoldyNolds is offline
Dripping with Alchemy
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 9th, 2021
RPXP: 5642
MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds
Posts: 1,520
Character Application
right-aligned image
The morning seems to do little to improve Applecore's mood. She awakens and breaks her fast with the same sullen and self-righteous airs she gave off the previous night. Little is offered in the way of conversation other than the odd mumbling, cursing the long-form etiquettes that they were forced to observe. By the time the gates swung open for the groundskeepers and no one arrived to greet them, Applecore's grumbles gave way to a full-blown outburst, directed at no one in particular.

"This is absolutely unconscionable! The nerve Dukas must have to hire us as guardians, name the specific time we are to arrive, and then make us wait... overnight... before even meeting with us or allowing us to see our charge. I understand the fragility of noble egos means they have to make their "The Kyai adds air quotes, just in case her seething sarcasm wasn't clue enough to how she really felt.subordinates" conform to their schedule, but this is way over the line. Why not just ask us to arrive now, this morning, instead of last night? Does anyone else not find this more than a little odd?" Now she did look around, meeting the eyes of the others, looking for agreement or justification of some kind.

By the time Nechotas does arrive the Dulamah halted her endless pacing and seemed to brighten a hair, although when it became clear they were still not meant to meet with Dukas her face darkened, doubling down on her previous anger. Leaving all her belongings she followed, emanating a pout that could be felt simply by standing near the woman. She questioned the House Master, and though her tone was much more subdued than it was moments ago, there was still an unmistakable quality of frustration. "Servant Nechotas... might I impress upon you a sense of urgency to communicate to your Master? Every moment we are prevented from meeting with Noble Dukas and Ismene is a moment wasted. We would all of us be served well to begin our duties without delay."

When the tour reached the main building Applecore became fidgety, looking like she might just walk through the front door, Nechotas be damned. But instead "Very well... If Dukas and Nechotas refuse to let us do our job then it appears I'll have to take matters into my own hands..."she calmed herself instantly, as if she suddenly decided to switch tactics. Waiting for a moment in time when the servant was preoccupied with ministering the tour Applecore approached the much shorter human druid. She wasn't concerned if the other members of their group overheard what was said, in fact if they did and had their own ideas to capitalize on then so much the better, she just wanted to make sure Nechotas couldn't eavesdrop. "Heliae... my gut says something's not right here... They're stalling for some reason. I'm going to distract this one and see if I can learn something at the same time. Now, I'm not advocating that you put yourself in danger or anger our hosts, but if you are of a like mind and if you felt the desire to assume an unassuming disguise so as to take a more unguided tour inside their residence, then now might be an opportune time to do so..." Applecore sidled up next to Nechotas and began firing off a series of quick questions:

"Does Ismene currently have personal bodyguards?"

"How often is the building patrolled?"

"Which wing does Ismene reside in?"

Applecore knew most of these questions were better asked to Dukas himself. It was a tactic designed to annoy and distract Nechotas; she was mainly interested in the last question and hoped he might become agitated enough to give her an answer, if only to shut her up. If the Master of the House did answer her she immediately approached the If Nechotas did not answer then she simply approached the side of the building nearest to her.indicated section of the main residence, getting close enough to touch the wall. Reaching into her tunic and grasping her holy medallion, Applecore Applecore casts Detect Evil and Good.mumbled a prayer to Mesiddica and stretched her hand out, lightly brushing the marble with her fingertips. Leaving the guided tour she walked one full circuit of the main building while keeping as close as she could, letting her divinely-enhanced senses alert her to any otherworldly presences, be they holy or unholy.

Statblock
 
__________________
He/Him | I have taken the Oath of Sangus
Currently GM'ing: 1,000,000 Ways to Die in the Weird West (it's publicly viewable!)
Current Characters: Prince Brucían Pough | Rolf da Minek | Kyai Applecore

Last edited by MoldyNolds; Nov 26th, 2020 at 01:21 PM. Reason: Forgot to record the used spell slot
  #3  
Old Nov 26th, 2020, 12:53 PM
Menzo's Avatar
Menzo Menzo is offline
Community Supporter
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 10th, 2021
RPXP: 2527
Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo
Posts: 454
Raemka of Khem
right-aligned image

Not much accustomed to sleeping in such close quarters with so many, Raemka spent the night on the roof of the outbuilding. Listening to the movements of the guards as they patrolled the grounds, and watching the river of stars wend its way through the night sky, he allowed his anger and frustration from earlier to ebb away. Why had he allowed the Kyai to goad him so? In hindsight, they had both behaved foolishly. Aat would have chided him, if they were here. "Always keep a cool head," they would have said. "Always look to turn every situation to your advantage."

Eventually, lulled by a gentle breeze from distant Iteru, Raemka drifted into a dreamless sleep.

In the morning, he dropped down to the ground as the servants arrived, startling them. Never one to turn down free food, Raemka helped himself to more than his share. Kyai Applecore still seemed in a foul mood. Although he didn't share the Kyai's sense of personal outrage at being kept waiting, Raemka was nonetheless puzzled by the non-appearance of their patron. It was a thing that didn't make sense. "There's something wrong here," he said, chewing on a fig. "More than the obvious, that is. Haemon, did you say you'd met the Elder Dukas? Would you say this was typical behavior?"

When Nechotas arrived without his master, and suggested a 'tour' of the Dukas estate, Raemka was nonplussed. "If the Elder Dukas is busy, I understand—I do not require to meet him. His reputation in Synkel is a good one, and I do not doubt that I will be well paid for my service. But I think it wise that we were introduced to the girl, at least." Insight check 19Raemka studied Nechotas closely, trying to figure out whether the servant was trying to deceive them in some fashion.


OOCI think I'll leave it there, just in case the Insight check nets me something interesting.

 
__________________
I am currently playing in Uncaged: Found Families and The Topaz Championship.
I have taken the Oath of Sangus.
  #4  
Old Nov 27th, 2020, 02:29 PM
NightCheese's Avatar
NightCheese NightCheese is offline
Eternally Snacking Dragon
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 9th, 2021
RPXP: 2320
NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese
Posts: 340
Heliae - Wild Shape - After Tour
right-aligned image
"...if you felt the desire to assume an unassuming disguise so as to take a more unguided tour inside their residence, then now might be an opportune time to do so..."

Heliae, still feeling offput from the Kyai's unapologetic arrogance the night prior, was hesitant to be part of their plans. To the druid, arrogance usually was followed closely by rash decisions and mistakes, both of which they did their best to avoid. In Heliae's experience, people of a certain pedigree and status did not bend to the whims of those below them on the social ladder. "Is it not possible that Lord Dukas is simply otherwise occupied?" They couldn't deny, though, that it seemed strange to have the group gather at night and not meet with them until well into the following day. The shifting of shape was taxing on Heliae, and it was not a task usually done so early in the day. However, if it could be helpful, the druid saw no harm.

Heliae had noted multiple mice scurrying through the palace, not unusual in a stone building. They found their way through cracks and crevices, with pathways and plenty of places to hide. Most humans did not notice them, as they were only a few inches in length and their fur was a golden sand color, the same as the walls and floor. But Heliae noticed. They almost always noticed creatures, no matter how small.

The druid nodded in agreement to Applecore. As the goliath approached Nechotas, Heliae held back, slipping behind a column. Looking around to make sure the act would go unseen, they slipped their hand into their pocket, rubbing theirDruidic Focus Item: A sealed fabric envelope, contains: dried plants, a lock of Ruby's hair, a single dried beetle. item of focus between the thumb and forefinger. They closed their eyes, muttering something indiscernible under their breath in an ancient tongue.

When their eyes opened, they were no bigger than one of the hardboiled eggs served at breakfast that morning. Doing their best to stick to cracks in the walls and stay along edges, the druid, now in the form of a spiny mouse, scurried off. Heliae was hopeful to
Dice * Investigation - Heliae as Mouse:
1d20+2 (14)+2 Total = 16
bring back answers to the group, and hopefully not anger Applecore. Her fuse appeared to be rather short.

The druid did their best to stay out of both sight and harm's way. In this particularly instance, Heliae was hopeful to
Dice * Stealth - Heliae as Mouse:
1d20+0 (17)+0 Total = 17
avoid the gaze of Nechotas. They set off towards the main residence,
Dice * Perception (prof. bonus) - Heliae as Mouse:
1d20+2 (6)+2 Total = 8
nose to the ground, in search of both Ismene and more answers.


OOC - Mechanics/Stat Block
 
__________________
Currently Playing: Heliae Eshe | Duramora Evelbean Grumblefudge | Ernest
DMing: Cold Case Crew.
I have taken the Oath.

Last edited by NightCheese; Nov 27th, 2020 at 02:37 PM.
  #5  
Old Nov 28th, 2020, 07:07 PM
cottontailwind's Avatar
cottontailwind cottontailwind is offline
a bit like you and me
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 9th, 2021
RPXP: 4876
cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind
Posts: 942
Dunyazad, from waking to tour
right-aligned image
It was the first time in a long time that Dunyazad did not sleep in proper servants' quarters, but despite the harsh grind on her joints, falling asleep and awaking to so much sky and fresh air was a delight. With an estate built into this hill, they certainly received more morning light than evening light. "One step closer... to home..." She found herself muttering as she stood and helped herself to the generous breakfast. Having been humble in accepting food from fellow servants the night before, her stomach grumbled.

Dunyazad listened intently to Nechotas' rationale for their schedule, nodding graciously and following along, though she was as suspicious as the others. She eagerly watched for Nechotas' response to Applecore's bid to meet with the masters of the house, though she knew nobles could be fickle, especially when panicked, and so Dunyazad added nothing to the exchange.

The tour was unremarkable to her - it had the makings of any such estate, however large. Waddling near the rear of the group, it was easy enough for Dunyazad to hear the kayai's suggestion to Heliae to snoop into the manor. She supressed a grin at their initiative, and hurried forward alongside Applecore to Nechotas, where he was describing the history of some hallway or something similarly irrelevent. She joined in attempting to distract the head servant by engaging in the very factoid he was attempting to use to occupy them. "Oh, very good Nechotas. This house has imported the triple-tier ridges along the windows and column details, yes," Dunyazad ran her hand along a window ledge in the space he was showing. "Surely, only few Houses in Synkel have been constructed in this way, so consistent and true to the classic design, this far from the Empire's heartland. It must have been quite the esteemed sculptor to employ this craftwork, yes? Miltiades the Clay-handed? Or Phaidra of the Steppes?"

Dunyazad, left to wait after the tourBy the end of the walk, the old servant's thoughts echoed Applecore's outburst: why summon them for aid and then stall for time? She considered a range of possibilities, but without more information, it was only speculation.

During their wait, Dunyazad motioned for a single passing servant - someone well in their youth, if able - and asked for water. If any did indeed bring some, she engaged them like any good elder, slowly and savoring the opportunity for small talk. "Oh, how strange to be waited on, after I've spent a lifetime waiting on others. I am a servant, too did you know? Promised citizenship if you would believe it," She began, attempting to keep the servant from scurrying off by chaining them in the etiquette of not leaving in the middle of a guest's speech. "Across different houses - different cities, even - over my many years. Magistrates and wealthy merchants. Even a few with claims to this emperor or that. But never in an estate such as this..." And then her winding thoughts out loud ended, and she made direct eye contact with the servant, in the hopes that the subtext of her true question was quite clear: "Tell me, child, from servant to servant, for the ears of none else but a crone looking back on her days... is it a good thing to be a servant in the House of Dukas? Or do you find that life here requires, ah... a sensitivity for oddities?" She knew how dangerous it was for a servant to speak ill of their masters, much less share secrets with outsiders. But with their masters and lead servants mysteriously busy elsewhere, she also hoped they had some brief privacy...


OOCDunyazad attempts to assist in distracting Nechotas from Heliae's disappearance.

Dunyazad attempts to privately question a servant about life in the Dukas household and if anything strange has been going on, rolling an 8 in Persuasion if needed (per this roll).
__________________
Pronouns: He/Him | Posting Status: :) | PCs: Dr. Ouzo, The Altrix Dunyazad, Varley, Old Man Ingo
cottontailwind: "So there's this thing called a collective bargaining unit..." GM: "No unionizing the kobolds!"
  #6  
Old Dec 4th, 2020, 03:36 PM
Wynamoinen's Avatar
Wynamoinen Wynamoinen is offline
Eternal Bard
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 9th, 2021
RPXP: 26492
Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen
Posts: 7,605
Self-guided portion of the tourThe group has little patience for whatever is going on. They are not escorted to the Lord, but instead, eventually, into a waiting pattern. Applecore uses her Detect Good and Evildivine eye to cast about the place. There is no apparent grand deception. No devils or angels, djinn or efreeti. The only hallowed ground she notices is a small chapel, little more than a shrine, to That is, Jupiter in his conquering mode/manifestationIuppiter Invictus.As they walk, Applecore drills the Master of House with questions. Raemka stays close at hand, watching for deception.

"'Personal' bodyguards? No. As you can see, the whole estate is guarded." Nechotas replies. He doesn't seem sold on the necessity of outside help. "As you surely saw last night, the grounds are patrolled regularly." Fortuitously, as Applecore asks about Ismene's quarters, the group rounds a turn and sees one of the grandest buildings on the grounds, near the center of the estate. Presumably it's the family's private quarters. "Her rooms are just there." He points to the second floor (of two), to a room with a few large arched windows draped with luscious curtains. "If you are hired, you will stay there, below." He points to a room directly under Ismene's. It opens to the courtyard through a long row of many double doors. A cavernous tiled room lays within. It's apparently some sort of disused ballroom or meeting room. Furniture is pushed to the walls and covered in dusty sheets. Servants pass in and out, preparing the room for habitation.

As Raemka listens, it is clear that Nechotas is not saying everything he might - for example, he did not answer exactly how often patrols occur. Yet, everything he says seems to be truthful. A servant mightn't be expected to reveal all their employer's business, after all. If Nechotas is less-than-forthcoming, Raekma would guess it comes from indifference or condescension, rather than deception.

Once the group is dropped off at the garden, Heliae, ever the quiet one, decides to become quieter yet. Sliding behind a column, they assemble the power of the land itself to transform. Dunyazad, no slouch in the magics herself, sees what is happening and puts herself in a place to block a view of the transformation. Heliae quickly changes from much-taller than the old servant to much-smaller. Quick as a sling stone, the mouse darts off. It's easy enough to figure out the direction to head. Just follow Nechotas! That leads back to the personal quarters of the family. As the hustle and bustle of servants increases, Heliae must spend more time hiding in shrubs and pots to avoid being seen, or trodden upon. Eventually, though, the tiny mouse is able to successfully enter the inner sanctum of the central villa.

There, at the center of the building, is an open-air courtyard, and in that courtyard is a well-stocked table. It is full of breakfast food, certainly much finer than what Heliae was served. Sitting at the table is a family. A late-middle aged man, a woman about the same age. The man is tastefully dressed in tunic, jewelry, and other adornments. They are ostentatiously expensive in their simplicity. With the older man and woman is a younger woman, no more than 20 years old. The trio does not speak much, but neither are they in a rush to finish. They take their time in casual opulence. As Heliae takes a few moments to watch the scene, eventually they notice Nechotas waiting in the wings, unwilling to interrupt the meal. Heliae can only assume that this is the Lord Dukas and his family, eating breakfast.

While Heliae is away, Dunyazad does her own talking. The garden is a little off the beaten path, so there isn't much traffic in the area. But that suits Dunyazad's purposes just fine, because when she does finally pin down a servant, they can speak in confidence. She pulls aside a washerwoman and asks: is it good, or is it odd, to be a servant of the Dukas?

"I... I'm sorry?" the woman seems confused at the very distinction being drawn. "Good? Oddity? Master Dukas is a good Lord, sure. Very traditional. Likes things done proper. That's just... proper. Sometimes a beating is needed, and he won't'n't to spare the rod. But a kind bit of bonus pay comes every new year, regular as the dawn. What more could a servant ask for? It's his house, in a city he works to run. Only right he demands things been done right, isn't it? Don't see anything odd about that, if that's what you mean."

Almost an hour and a half after he left, Nechotas returns, bearing his rod. "The Lord is ready to receive you. If you'll please come this way."
OODM@NightCheese: I was debating skittering you back to the group after seeing this scene, but then I thought better of it, in case you have something else (wise or unwise ) you might want to do. So I'll let you choose Heliae's next actions. When and if you want to return to the other PCs unnoticed, I'll allow it.

To everybody else, I just wanted to give you one more post for interactions, either before or after Nechotas returns. There's a lot of stuff here in my post you might want to respond to, so I don't want to cut it off. You can post as much or as little as you'd like. Nechotas will escort you to the meeting as soon as you give him a chance.
__________________
GM of Uncaged: Found Family, a folklore-inspired D&D 5e one-shot adventure.
  #7  
Old Dec 7th, 2020, 01:02 PM
MoldyNolds's Avatar
MoldyNolds MoldyNolds is offline
Dripping with Alchemy
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 9th, 2021
RPXP: 5642
MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds
Posts: 1,520
Character Application
right-aligned image
When the Kyai's arcane senses returned nothing dubious or noteworthy her headstrong attitude turned into sour mopyness. She sulked through the rest of the tour and, returning to their previous pavilion to retrieve her bulky belongings, sat in silence in this new garden. Eventually she did speak about her lack of discovery. "Well there were no supernatural sources at play in or around Ismene's quarters. They do have a consecrated shrine to Jupiter..." The god's name left her mouth with no small amount of distaste. "Iuppiter Invictus more specifically, though that could hardly be called 'information'... I still think there's something suspicious going on in this estate." The last sentence was uttered with a conviction geared more towards herself than anyone else who might be listening.

When Nechotas arrived and gathered them up to meet with the nobleman Applecore began to drag her feet. She brought up the rear of the group and seemed hesitant to leave the garden, constantly looking around their surroundings and peering at the odd bird or rodent that she was able to spot. Hells! If that child gets lost, or worse... caught because they were careless with my recommendation... They'll leave me no choice but to accept responsibility. Hells!

Statblock
 
__________________
He/Him | I have taken the Oath of Sangus
Currently GM'ing: 1,000,000 Ways to Die in the Weird West (it's publicly viewable!)
Current Characters: Prince Brucían Pough | Rolf da Minek | Kyai Applecore
  #8  
Old Dec 7th, 2020, 01:32 PM
NightCheese's Avatar
NightCheese NightCheese is offline
Eternally Snacking Dragon
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 9th, 2021
RPXP: 2320
NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese
Posts: 340
Heliae - Returning from the inner estate
right-aligned image
Heliae, now in the form of a petite mouse with rather large ears, tucked themself between the cracks of stone foundation, readying to take in a moment of the family’s conversation. They felt conflicted by this action, as spying on nobility was something they could have easily been punished for as a servant. Even now, no longer under the keep of any master, Heliae felt as if they shouldn’t be there. They noticed the family, almost entirely silent, taking their morning meal. A fine array of fruits and various delicacies covered the table, at least from what the mouse could smell from afar.

Quietly, the mouse observed from the sideline, until the scent of a young woman came on the cool morning breeze. Their nose twitched, and with it, their long, translucent whiskers. Ismene… it must be her.

Nothing of the scene seemed out of order to Heliae. After spending nearly an entire lifetime living amongst nobility, their behavior seemed nothing short of normal. Aristocrats were never in a hurry to meet the needs or demands of those in their service. They rose from chairs and greeted those around them when they saw fit, regardless of who was left waiting. Even the silence among the family’s table felt typical. After all, how much could there really be to say at the day’s break, after a night of sleeping?

Heliae took a moment to take in the sight of the family, and noticed Nechotas waiting to make his entrance to greet them. They seized the opportunity that accompanied his busyness and made quick work of returning to the group, seeking a quiet corner resume their normal shape. Quickly, the mouse scurried back to the starting place of the tour, avoiding the bustle of the morning’s chores. Human feet were nearly four times the length of the mouse, and they made sure to avoid them.

Once back to the group, and back in their human body, Heliae made their way to the group, and while addressing them, made sure to speak in the direction of Applecore, who had sent them on this mission. “I found nothing of note, I’m afraid. Beyond the ktichens and servant’s quarters, in the very center of the estate, the family ate their morning meal. Of course it was far more decadent than what we’ve been provided…” Heliae paused for a moment, popping a grape into their mouth and turning back to Applecore. “I saw nothing other than typical behavior for a family of their standing… they will come when they are ready, regardless of how long we have been kept waiting. Nobles will do, as nobles do.” With a shrug, Heliae nibbled a few more grapes and knelt down to secure the straps of their sandals, which always seemed to need rearranging when reentering their human body.

Just then, Nechotas returned the group. Heliae felt fortunate to have made it back before him, and avoid explaining an absence. They stood, nodded in his direction in affirmation, and went to gather their belongings.
__________________
Currently Playing: Heliae Eshe | Duramora Evelbean Grumblefudge | Ernest
DMing: Cold Case Crew.
I have taken the Oath.
  #9  
Old Dec 8th, 2020, 02:13 AM
Menzo's Avatar
Menzo Menzo is offline
Community Supporter
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 10th, 2021
RPXP: 2527
Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo
Posts: 454
Raemka of Khem
right-aligned image

When Nechotas left them alone in the garden, Raemka let out a frustrated snort. "Pompous buffoon," he said. "Still, I don't think he's lying to us. If there's something going on here, I don't think Nechotas knows what it is. And maybe it is just that the Elder Dukas has, or thinks he has, more important matters to attend to. If so, he's a fool. There's nothing more important than family." The latter was stated with quiet conviction, as if in Raemka's mind it had the force of fact rather than belief.

He shook his head to clear it. He had had very little to do with noble families, except the occasional noblewoman that visited the pits, so perhaps it was no great surprise that he didn't understand the behavior of the Elder Dukas. He should probably leave that to others, more accustomed to interacting with nobility, to ponder. Haemon and the Kyai, certainly. Maybe even the diminutive one. What was her name again? Dunyazad? He hadn't thought much of her at first, but she seemed a lot more at home in a nobleman's villa than he'd expected. That could prove useful.

Raemka wandered the garden, pondering the quickest and easiest path up onto the roof. He noticed as Heliae slunk off behind one of the columns, and Dunyazad moved to shield whatever shenanigans the youngster was about to engage in. Raemka edged around until he was in a position to observe Heliae's transformation. Well now, he thought. That's a thing. Wise not to judge others by their appearance, indeed! But a mouse? Raemka wondered if Heliae had really thought that through.

When the Kyai came out of her trance and started speaking, Raemka was at first inclined to ignore her. But at the mention of the shrine, he turned in her direction. "They have their own shrine here? Is that common amongst the Domanites, to have a shrine to the gods in their own homes? And who is this Iuppiter Invictus? I am afraid I know very little of the gods of the Domanites."



When Nechotas led the group off to meet the Dukas family, Raemon linked arms with Heliae and proceeded slowly, so that they fell a little behind. "You've got something on your lip," he said, chuckling, and pointed to the whiskers on his own upper lip. Then, more seriously, "That's a handy trick you've got, and a clever use in this instance. But had you considered that the Dukas household might keep cats? Most households in Anykhet do. I don't think I'd have liked it if you'd come back to us in the belly of a housecat."
__________________
I am currently playing in Uncaged: Found Families and The Topaz Championship.
I have taken the Oath of Sangus.
  #10  
Old Dec 8th, 2020, 11:09 PM
cottontailwind's Avatar
cottontailwind cottontailwind is offline
a bit like you and me
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 9th, 2021
RPXP: 4876
cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind cottontailwind
Posts: 942
Dunyazad
right-aligned image
Old Dunyazad merely followed Nechotas around the estate, humming in acknowledgement to the little nothings he was showing them. What little else they could do besides play along with this game, they were doing.

Once they were returned to the gardens, with none of the Dukas' servants seeming in earshot, Dunyazad smiled low and wide at her newfound companions' outbursts.

"Mmm..." she acknowledged Applecore's assessment and agreed with her suspicions. "At least one of their servants reported nothing odd. Not afraid to speak of their masters. Did not seem wary to be seen speaking to an outsider. Hm... perhaps the lack of news is the news? Mmm..."

"Hmm..." the old woman mused at something Heliae had said, despite the overwhelming normalcy of their findings. She didn't say anything else, but continued to smile. "How truly special, this one..."

"Oh, ho ho ho..." Dunyazad chuckled at the tabaxi's words for Nechotas. "It is not often that a majordomo or housekeeper get to play master over outsiders, that much is true. But you are indeed keen of the senses, as it would be hard to keep such obvious secrets from one's masters when surrounded by so many other eyes and ears, no? Still, it is strange to call for aid, extend hospitality, maintain a strict order, and yet only prepare living quarters the next morning. A demonstration of their leisure, in making others wait, oh, sure, yes, hmm. But to seem unprepared...? Hmm..."

Dunyazad settled into place then, finding a seat, but doing so very slowly and with great intention. It seemed that relaxing was a strain on the joints. "Remember your stories, Wise Kyai? Remember, then, the story of Nimr the Great Hunter, fabled among all fables for stalked the plateaus and skies for the greatest prey to catch? And when it first came upon mortals, who were warned of Nimr's prowess and pounce by the birds and the rivers... what did the mortals find? Yes, that the Great Hunter merely watched them. Hmm... perhaps we, too, are so watched. It would not make for a protective leader - or father - to invite strangers into one's den to safeguard without first being able to name friend from foe. Perhaps to play their game of waiting is the first step in naming us as a friend? Oho, hmm..." She mumbled, lingering in the thought. "In any event, we shall find out soon enough. See there; Nechotas returns."
__________________
Pronouns: He/Him | Posting Status: :) | PCs: Dr. Ouzo, The Altrix Dunyazad, Varley, Old Man Ingo
cottontailwind: "So there's this thing called a collective bargaining unit..." GM: "No unionizing the kobolds!"
  #11  
Old Dec 9th, 2020, 03:23 PM
NightCheese's Avatar
NightCheese NightCheese is offline
Eternally Snacking Dragon
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 9th, 2021
RPXP: 2320
NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese NightCheese
Posts: 340
Heliae Eshe "I don't think I'd have liked it if you'd come back to us in the belly of a housecat...""
right-aligned image

As they walked, and Raemka's arm formed a link with Heliae's, the young druid grew increasingly rigid with each step. They had spent so much time alone that what might be a simple act to others was jarring, alarming, and uncomfortable to Heliae. It all seemed quite casual and informal for someone they'd not spoken more than a few sentences to since meeting the day prior. Heliae unhinged their elbow from Raemka's and shook it out, as if to remove the feeling and reset.

Before from the handshake with Applecore last night, how long had it been since Heliae come in physical contact with someone? There was the child who bumped into them in the bazaar last week. Or the fight with the hostel owner the week before that.

How long had it been since Heliae had had a friend? Since leaving the Zemanthe estate? There were acquaintances made in the past five years, surely, but none had stuck for any true longevity, nor had Heliae stayed anywhere long enough for them to. They had spent years largely alone in the desert and its cities, learning as much as they could from the natural world. How to work with it, rather than fight against it, for survival. Eventually the ability to produce food and water had come, and now they could shift in to most creatures they'd seen if the need was great enough. Some still took more concentration than others.

Though, this ability to.. adapt, shift, mold, and communicate with the natural world was no parlor trick. It was a gift and a skill, trusted to them. Ruby would have never taught Heliae had she thought they'd use it selfishly. Heliae took the responsibility of the gift with utmost seriousness.

In spite of this initial reaction, ever the pleaser, Heliae continued to walk alongside the tabaxi, with their arms now unlinked. "It's far from a trick, Raemka. This.. ability of mine.. is a skill not to be taken lightly. It takes respect of the desert and its power, and understanding of the order of things. Every being in nature has its place and should not be overlooked. It can be more advantageous, at times, to be the prey, rather than the predator. True, a mouse can meet its end in a house cat. But a mouse can also go unseen and slip quietly in and away from many places a tabby can not, based solely on size. We all have purpose and place. "
__________________
Currently Playing: Heliae Eshe | Duramora Evelbean Grumblefudge | Ernest
DMing: Cold Case Crew.
I have taken the Oath.
  #12  
Old Dec 10th, 2020, 05:56 AM
Menzo's Avatar
Menzo Menzo is offline
Community Supporter
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 10th, 2021
RPXP: 2527
Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo Menzo
Posts: 454
Raemka of Khem
right-aligned image

Looking and feeling chastened, Raemka widened the space between him and Heliae. "I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable." Why had he taken Heliae's arm? He'd acted instinctively, without thinking. "You remind me of someone I know, from Khasut. A friend." A co-conspirator in a citywide crime spree, more like it! It had been a simple scheme. He would be big and loud, arguing with a stallholder or a guard, whilst Aat made their way through the gawkers, taking their purses. A simple scheme, but profitable.

The memory was a good one, like so many with Aat, and Raemka found himself grinning. But then he realised that this would probably only antagonise Heliae more, and he consciously adopted a more somber expression. "But you are not them." Not even the same species! "I won't forget myself again."

He was intrigued by Heliae's description of their power. "What other forms can you take? And can you use it to mimic a person? I've heard of a race of people that lived south-west of Khem. They could change their appearance at will, and mimic the other races. They did it so well that, after a time, they forgot their original form. Many believe they still walk amongst us, even now."
__________________
I am currently playing in Uncaged: Found Families and The Topaz Championship.
I have taken the Oath of Sangus.

Last edited by Menzo; Dec 10th, 2020 at 07:57 AM.
  #13  
Old Dec 10th, 2020, 07:52 AM
Elanir's Avatar
Elanir Elanir is offline
Community Supporter
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 10th, 2021
RPXP: 11540
Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir
Posts: 2,274
During breakfast
right-aligned image
Haemon woke with a sense of urgency, though he could not exactly place its source. Everything seemed to be peaceful and orderly at the Dukas‘ estate and the ones who had responded to the lord’s call were still around him -with the notable exception of eccentric Raemka, who in this case resembled more a stray cat than a civilized being, having chosen to sleep on the roof instead of on the floor. With a soft sigh and after shaking his head in disappointment, the physician washed his hands and face with some water from his waterskin and then chewed a few laurel leaves to get rid of the bitter taste in his mouth. He tried to recall any dreams he might have seen during the night, but unfortunately the gods had been silent, offering him no advice or glimpse of what was to come.

After offering a short prayer to Demeter, facing the rising sun, Haemon sat down next to Dunyazad and offered her a polite nod of greetings. It was no wonder, it seemed, that so many aristocratic families entrusted their heirs to the hands of the elderly servant. She was kind and proper and had spoken to the physician with great respect. Carefully choosing what and how much to eat and especially making sure to not overindulge, a sign of vulgarity in a guest and doubly so in a petitioner, the Elean resumed the conversation he had had with the leutakimah the evening before.

"The current state of Synkel saddens and worries me greatly, Dunyazad. I fear it is the same in all of Anykhet. Its glory seems so far gone, alive only in the stories told to the young and the bookrolls that describe what once has been. Without men of worth like Alexandros Dukas the end would have already come as it did for my own home, Paralimnos." The man picked up an olive and brought it before his eyes, looking at it intently as if it held all the answers that still escaped him. "Everything dies, it is the fate of all mortal beings. Even the joyful vitality of youth that constantly surrounds you does not last long, gentle paidagoge. But I will not lose hope. The Demeter and Persephonegoddesses teach us there is life after death. We are all given a second chance if we are worthy. Synkel is my second chance in this life and I will not let it go to waste. It is my new home, just as it is yours."

Feeling the bitterness rise within him, Haemon averted his eyes, faking interest in the bowl full of figs before him. He had never been such a great lord as Alexandros Dukas was, but he had once been the head of a respected family. He had had many fertile fields and a household full of servants, he used to wear a laurel wreath during religious ceremonies and sit at the front seats of the wooden theatre of Paralimnos next to the priest of Dionysus and the town’s archon. His father had allowed him to study the art of the physician merely to quench his thirst for knowledge, not to rely upon it to live his family. There had been no need for that at the time. The FatesMoirai however had decreed otherwise. Now he had to work for his daily bread, no better than a potter or a butcher. How had it come to that?

"Forgive me, I have lost my appetite". With this short apology, Haemon rose to his feet and went outside. Demeter and Kore, I beseech you. Restore to me the future that is my birthright. Grant me the glory that I have been robbed of. Do this for me and I will erect an altar in your honor at the most prominent place in SynkelSyggelia. His plea was cut short by Nechotas, but he was sure the goddesses had heard him nonetheless. They must have!


The tourThe tour of the grounds did not offer anything new to the physician. He already knew the estate better than any of the other guests and what he did not know about -the many storerooms, kitchens and servant quarters- he made no attempt to learn. Why would he care where the bread was prepared or the maids slept? That said, he did enjoy stretching his legs and breathing the still relatively cool morning air, so he didn’t complain. Without a modicum of exercise his limbs grew stiff, he had noticed, much more so than a mere year ago. Only the gods were safe from the ravages of time and even though Haemon did not consider himself to be elderly there were plenty of signs that he wasn’t young either.

Applecore‘s impatience amused the Elean, though he was careful not to show it. He wasn’t particularly fond of a morning confrontation with her, especially not at a nobleman’s estate. A certain decorum had to be maintained at all times and despite the kyai‘s incredible wealth of knowledge her poor manners showed. Raemka was every bit as impatient, it seemed, though he chose to express himself more carefully than the former nomad. "An lord‘sarchon‘s is responsibilities never end, Raemka. I hear it is even worse with the Domantines. Their patricians are constantly surrounded by their „clients“ even as they are shaved and… he means to say „visit the toilet“groomed. Such a vulgar habit! We should be glad the city‘s ruling council is not elected by the mob as it is in the Empire‘s capital. Archon Alexandros will receive us when he deems it right. Until then, we wait."

Despite his confident words, the physician felt somewhat slighted by the lord’s attitude towards him. They shared a bond of friendship after all, a bond that was every bit as strong as a bond of blood, if not stronger as many philosophers claimed. To treat a friend no better than mercenaries and servants seemed offensive in the Elean‘s eyes and yet… perhaps there was a reason for it. Perhaps his friend wanted him to keep an eye on the others. Yes, that must have been Alexandros‘ true purpose! Haemon would live up to his expectations. He was after all in his friend‘s debt and the gods hated nothing more than lack of gratitude.


Waiting to be announcedHeliae, so quiet and introverted, had completely escaped the physician‘s notice -one of a servant’s most important qualities- until Haemon saw them turn into a mouse! transformationMetamorphosis was a common power among gods, but to see a mortal possess such an ability made the Elean marvel. He too was touched by the goddesses and was able to perform true miracles, but to completely change a body‘s shape was something Haemon had not experienced before. He didn’t approve of spying upon one‘s host of course, but even he had to admit that such an ability seemed to be extremely useful.

Wondering what other secrets Heliae might hold, the Elean waited patiently for the time to come for them to be presented to the master of the house, at the same time listening to the exchange between Applecore and Nechotas. Dunyazad‘s story of Nimr the Great Hunter seemed to be a watered-down version of the legend of Orion, who looked upon the world from the heavens, having been turned into a constellation. It was remarkable how the great Elean civilization influenced so many different races even at this remote corner of the Domantine Empire. Then again, gold doesn’t lose its worth even if it is hidden inside a basket full of coal.
__________________
I have taken the Oath of Sangus

Last edited by Wynamoinen; Dec 10th, 2020 at 06:09 PM. Reason: just closing a SAY tag
  #14  
Old Dec 11th, 2020, 02:00 PM
MoldyNolds's Avatar
MoldyNolds MoldyNolds is offline
Dripping with Alchemy
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 9th, 2021
RPXP: 5642
MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds MoldyNolds
Posts: 1,520
Kyai Applecore
right-aligned image
Side-eyeing the tabaxi, Applecore considered ignoring him but ultimately decided that if they were to solve this puzzle and protect the girl, then they did actually need to pool their knowledge and work together. Heliae wouldn’t magically appear simply by wishing it so... "For a noble? Pfft... Nothing is 'common' for their ilk. But shrines you say..." She contemplated for a moment, gathering her thoughts. This was the first time Applecore had turned her attentions to scholarly pursuits since arriving at the estate and for the others that had not met her before it was quite a change in temperament. The abrasive, rude personality seemed to evaporate on the spot and was replaced with someone who was focused and collected. "It's certainly not out of place for a noble to have a shrine to their patron built directly on their estate. It's a matter of status, really. Jupiter is the king of Gods in the Domantine pantheon, and Iuppiter Invictus is Jupiter's conquering form. He's become the patron saint of the later-Empire nobility. And based on the size and patron displayed in Alexandros' shrine I'd say he wants everyone in Synkel to know that the Empire, and more specifically he, is in charge around here." Another short pause was followed by her conclusion. "I don't think any of that would help us discover the cause of these missing young ones. Just that Dukas and other nobles like him see themselves as the Gods' gift to humanity. The sole purpose for their subjugates' existence, nevermind they probably couldn't feed themselves without their servants to put the food on their silver spoons..."

As she finished her recounting Applecore released a silent sigh of relief at the sight of Heliae, inwardly relaxing somewhat. Although, returning without any evidence of suspicion quickly tensed her fists and shoulders once more, turning Applecore back into her conquering form. "Hells! I suppose it shouldn't have been that easy." She met the former servant's eyes and watched them for a moment, her face unreadable, before adding, "Anyway... good work on not getting caught. It seems you were right in valuing your skills worthy of a task of this importance."

With the shapeshifter accounted for the Kyai could give full attention to the others, some of whom were speaking directly to her. When Dunyazad had deigned to ask if Apple had “remembered her stories” she very nearly verbally accosted the leutakimah, however it seemed she wasn’t waiting for a response and her words died in her throat as she couldn’t help but listen to the tale of the Great Hunter once more. Once finished, Applecore blew a breath of air through her pursed lips in a derisive laugh. "To think... comparing a stuffy noble like Dukas to Nimr... If he invited us into his home simply to watch us then he is a bigger fool than I thought. We don't have time to play waiting games! Every moment..." Realizing she had already expressed very nearly the exact sentiment with Nechotas previously, the woman let her sentence trail off, instead turning in the direction Dunyazad indicated towards the approaching Nechotas.

Storming off after the group, ostensibly to finally meet with Dukas, the Dulamah seethed inwardly. We're so close to this one... We can't let her out of our grasp! Applecore seemed eternally on-edge, as if until they laid eyes directly on Ismene the girl was liable to vanish in a puff of smoke along with one of their last hopes for uncovering this plague of missing children, dooming the Five Cities.

Statblock
 
__________________
He/Him | I have taken the Oath of Sangus
Currently GM'ing: 1,000,000 Ways to Die in the Weird West (it's publicly viewable!)
Current Characters: Prince Brucían Pough | Rolf da Minek | Kyai Applecore
  #15  
Old Dec 12th, 2020, 12:27 PM
Wynamoinen's Avatar
Wynamoinen Wynamoinen is offline
Eternal Bard
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 9th, 2021
RPXP: 26492
Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen
Posts: 7,605
InterviewHeliae, having scampered across the path before, sees that Nechotas is taking them directly to the courtyard where the Dukas family were gathered. It is in the center of the the family quarters. The courtyard is both private, enclosed on all sized by either a building or collonaded and covered walkways, but also open. The two-story building and a few moderately-sized palm trees provide shade. A burbling fountain in the center presents an opportunity to cool oneself.

As the walkway ends at the courtyard, Nechotas raps his staff on the flagstones, and simply says with precise enunciation, "Alexandros Dukas." With that, he fades into the background.

There are two people in the courtyard. One is a late-middle aged man sitting in a light chair, near the fountain and next to a small table with a few papers on top. He is clean-shaven with salt-and-pepper hair, wearing simple but expensive clothing. Other chairs are arrayed casually, opposite the man's, facing him. Heliae notices that the dining table has been taken away. The other person is a young woman, perhaps 18 or 20 years old. She is slight, and has dark, curly hair. She sits off to one side in the shade of a palm tree, reading a book. She glances up briefly as the group enters, but otherwise seems enraptured in the book.

The man remains seated and gives a warm fatherly smile as the group enters. "Welcome to my home! You'll need to forgive me for not greeting you last night. Business." He does a quick count of the group, and then looks over his shoulder at Nechotas, and asks, "It seems none more showed up this morning? No? Very well." He turns back to the group and smiles again. "You look more than capable. Please! Sit!" He indicates the chairs.

"Where to begin? You surely have questions. You have come, so you know that I'm looking for help. Our city is in grave danger." He grabs a few nearby papers, but doesn't need to refer to them to know their contents. "Over the last year, 24 young people have gone missing from the Five Cities. 13 from Synkel alone. I fear for my daughter, Ismene. She is coming to the age where the children are being taken. That can not happen! She means too much. To me, to her mother, to the city!

"Simply put, she needs guardians. Not just that, but the people of the Five Cities do! I would like to ask two things of you. One, protect my daughter, at all cost. Two, if possible, help me to end these abductions once and for all."


There is presumably more to say - at the very least, the call for aid mentioned rewards. But Dukas takes a sip of his drink, presenting an opportunity for the adventurers to reply.
__________________
GM of Uncaged: Found Family, a folklore-inspired D&D 5e one-shot adventure.
Closed Thread

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:54 AM.
Skin by Birched, making use of original art by paiute.(© 2009-2012)


RPG Crossing, Copyright ©2003 - 2021, RPG Crossing Inc; powered by vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. Template-Modifications by TMB