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  #211  
Old 01-26-2018, 12:22 AM
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LepidstadtWith so much evidence, it takes three trips for Hrani to transport it all into the courthouse. Mara, naturally, does not engage in such menial labor; instead she offers to keep watch over the evidence left in the carriage while the elf plays porter. After all, It would not do to trust the guards given their recent encounter at the north gate, and perhaps such suspicion dovetails naturally with Hrani’s inherent paranoia.

Inside the courtroom the singer greets Jamir and Kendra with a friendly smile; Kaple receives a courteous nod, while the unknown dwarf elicits a somewhat wary look. “They are visiting Hergstag, as planned.” she replies pleasantly to Jamir, before adding, with a resigned sigh that comments succinctly upon the stereotypical Varisian attitude towards responsibility, “Have Andrzej and Carlo not returned yet?”

She shifts her focus to the dwarf. “You may call me Mara; this is Hrani. I presume you will be assisting Barrister Kaple with the defense of the accused?” Her tone is perfectly polite and charming but gives nothing away. After an implicit nod from Kaple affirming the stranger’s trustworthiness, she proceeds to relate all that has happened during their travels to and from Morast, and to describe what they have discovered in that peculiar village.

The soprano’s brow furrows when she recounts the attempted search at the north gate, and the suspected bribe. “It does seem odd, given that we were also stopped there on the way out of Lepidstadt.” She had already told them about Fido and Signy of course, and quite early in her tale, but it appears that the duo remain in her mind as she questions Kaple. “It makes me wonder … have you ever heard of this Phidolis Angestril before? Or Signy Flameseeker? And have you any idea whom they might be working for? Pike seemed to vouch for them, as it were, and he is normally a good judge of character. Still …” The songstress seems torn, then finally shakes her head with a nervous laugh. “My apologies. I am probably just being paranoid. Don’t you think?” A dose of doubt clearly remains in this last query, directed at Hrani in a bid for support.

 
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  #212  
Old 01-29-2018, 11:32 AM
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A mostly vacant cafe' somewhere near the North Gate of Lepidstadt Cafe Music

Six hands turned the Harrow as three people met in a wayside café plotting the fate of The Beast. The cards flew across the table in an outlandish distortion of any of the typical Harrow readings, as two of the most skilled Harrow readers of the region pushed the limits of the discipline. One of the readers is distinguished in her ability to read multiple permutations simultaneously, an ability enhanced because she has twice as many hands as any other Harrow reader in the region. The other reader is distinguished by his wanton disregard of customs, purportedly because he is able to see the patterns beneath the patterns, but perhaps he’s just an A-hole. Whatever cosmic fates might be linked to these cards was being etched in unpredictable changes across the multiverse by these radical improvisations.

The third conspirator paced around the table less interested in the cards, counting off something in large but delicate hands, trusting that the readings of the Harrow would be informed by these words.

“I’m sure he’s going to be opposed to Sully joining us because he won’t be the biggest one anymore,” the alto voice of the pacing conspirator declares, “But we all know that’s nonsense. I was the biggest one before he joined, and I welcomed him like I did all the others. If we can get the pinheads, the wolf child will be no problem, but they are all in grief right now so change can be hard. The clowns...” a pause as the two handed Harrow reader has a sudden nervous tick, the only seeming acknowledgment of the words so far “the clowns might be hard to convince, all things considered. But we aren’t going to change Kaleb’s mind if we don’t have at least one of those groups on our side. Now…”

Her words halt and her beard flops through the air as she suddenly turns to look out the window. A signal of some sort and she is gone. The readers continue with their cards for several more seconds as if disconnected from her monologue before packing up their own cards independently of each other and heading towards the doorway.

Across the street, in the gutter.Outside, a dented bowl with a few coppers in it sits before a legless beggar. When the guards pay him mind, he does his begging. When they are not, he observes. He is here to watch things, the comings and goings. His sharp mind churns over what a variety of these events mean. But there is one particular arrival that he is on the lookout for: a carriage containing specific individuals. It only has two of the four that he had been told might arrive. But that is sufficient. With a twitch of his lower body, the dented bowl flies through the air, spilling its coppery contents upon the ground. Soon a door opens on the café across the way and a large bearded figure comes for him.


At the courthouse a few minutes later.Hrani has barely unloaded the carriage when Carlo arrives, quickly and out of breath. Almost as if he’d been waiting for someone to get back so he could report something urgently. He appears anxious as he talks, as if he wants to get the story out before they hear what really happened from someone else.

“So I’ve been busy while you’ve been gone: raising public sentiment for Sully. You won’t believe this, the Crooked Kin want him to join their ranks. Well, at least most of them do anyways.”

As if on cue, the doors open behind him and three figures enter: Lidiaa large bearded woman carrying Prince Zaran armless, legless bundle of a man, and S'Jeera four armed woman. S'Jeer takes a seat, and Lidia places Prince Zar gently into her four arms. Those four arms embrace the quadraplegic man on her lap in the way that lovers gently display their attachments while in public. Lidia steps aside and takes a place close, very close, to Carlo. Theirs is a closeness borne from an unwillingness of each of them, for their own reasons, to be close to anyone in other ways. A sort of platonic buffer against intimacy. At least for now. But they’ve only known each other for a day or so.

Andrzej's absence is notable. What could possibly go wrong?

"So any chance we can talk to Sully? See if he's interested?"

 
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  #213  
Old 01-30-2018, 04:15 AM
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He feels a sense of relief of not having to witness the battle within, even if they had become monstrous undead creatures the fact they were just children at the time of their death doesn't escape him. So he stands motionless outside and does what he does best; he observes.

As the warcry is heard from within he looks around, hoping for something darker to give itself away, for something to move, to shimmer, to... to do something. He puts a finger to his lips motioning for Fido to stay as quiet as possible and when the howl can be heard from within, echoed by the screams of anguish outside he holds his breath. The other children and something else? He closes his eyes, focusing on that something else, what can it be? Where can it come from? More than that he focuses on the tone and emotions behind the screams, are they of anguish? Of rage? Can he learn anything from it?

For now the rugged detective doesn't even think about his own safety, standing out in the open in the middle of a haunted village with his eyes closed. He merely observes through listening.

 
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Old 01-30-2018, 04:38 PM
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Mara does none of the work and Hrani has to make three trips up the stairs carrying evidence. To any of the other men in the group it might have seemed like the songstress was abusing her status as a woman to get them to do all the work. But to Hrani it was just someone else around here FINALLY displaying a healthy sense of paranoia. He had always liked Mara the most of all of his companions, so it is unsurprising she seems to be the most reasonable. Perhaps the fact that she is not human helps her be less of an idiot. So, glad to have Mara keeping an eye on things, Hrani runs up and down the stairs repeatedly, a smile on his face.

He lets the soprano do most of the talking when it comes to presenting the evidence, only rarely interjecting a thought. Mostly, he is busy pondering what they have brought back,
Dice Intelligence Check to infer anything from the evidence:
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taking the other's thoughts and trying to mull it all over.

He is unsurprised to hear there has been no word from Carlo and Adrzej. He IS surprised when one of the Varisians turns up almost an instant later and even more surprised when he hears the mans words. "Woah, woah, woah, hold on. I'm sorry, I must have misheard, could you repeat that? Are you saying while we were gone...you...you...did actual work? And you actually...It's been a long time, but if memory serves correctly IC Hrani threw out that Carlo and Andrzej could raise some awareness for the beast after they were done researching at the university. I can edit this last line out though, if I'm wrong...did what I asked you to do?"

The elf is utterly stunned and confused. He turns to look at Mara: "Are we sure this is the real Carlo? This behavior seems really suspicious. In fact...hold still." Paranoid, the magus Detect Magiccasts a spell to reveal magical auras in the air, carefully examining the Varisian for any traces of either enchantments controlling his mind or illusions hiding the fact that he is actually someone else. Only once he finds neither is he satisfied to a certain extent.

He then turns back to Mara, remembering her last query, which was interrupted by Carlo's arrival. "No, I do not think you are being unreasonably paranoid. I do not trust the two strangers either, especially with the recent events at the gate. And something was wrong with that dwarf's shadow. As for Pike's judgment...well, honestly, Pike has been acting a little weird lately, hasn't he? The way he just ran off on us...?"
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Old 01-31-2018, 07:31 AM
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And rest the spirit did. "May your soul find its way to the peace death brings and that had been denied to you." After her short prayer, Signy looked up at Runa, sharing a nod with the other paladin before turning back towards the door. There were more restless souls to free from the wraith’s shackles, but between the two of them, she had no doubt they would be successful.

"The more of the children we can lay to rest, the more angry the wraith will hopefully get. With luck it will show itself and spare us the need of having to find it." That would indeed be a good thing, though if the creature could really be baited into seeking them out remained to be seen.


 
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  #216  
Old 02-02-2018, 08:52 AM
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Kid Wraith and the Supergang"When I was a boy back in Galt I would spend my summers at my uncle's place in Woodsedge." Fido was staring at the scarecrow corpse as he spoke, having not recognized it for what it was until the dwarf pointed it out. "They had a story there. The Stickman.My cousins would tell me about it when the sun had just set and we were all gathered around a warm hearth." Shuffling a bit in place, he adjusts his grip on the scroll in his left hand. "If you wandered the woods east of town when the moon was new, they said, you could hear him lurking in the high branches. Following you." A glance back to the house as Signy and Runa move around within. They were likely safer in there than he was out here just by virtue of who they are. "And if he caught you, he'd swoop down on his stuck legs and take off your head with a woodsman's axe." A glance back at Pike as something stirs in the grass ahead of them. "As I grew older I figured it was a convenient way to explain people who simply got lost in the forest but for some reason that thing up there brought it all to mind." A dry swallow as he studies the corpse again. "Of course, this was all before the Final Blades started taking heads left and right. Some realities are worse than the stories."

A commotion inside, then silence. A quick and easy dispatch, he hopes. Meanwhile, outside, they are met with a sing-song nursery rhyme. So innocuous a thing if it weren't sung by a girl who is more certainly dead. Pike motions for silence and Fido complies, uncertain what he might even say in response to that. There was a great deal to hate about all of this, regardless of the disposition of the Beast's case. Something killed children here, and something brought them back. The undead were no particular specialty of his but there was still a mystery to be solved. He glances back into the doorway of the cabin, anxious to see the return of the armored women in their company.
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  #217  
Old 02-06-2018, 10:00 PM
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With her head tilted slightly to one side, Mara observes Carlo's hasty entrance with the pitying exasperation reserved for an awkward cousin. There is no hello, no proper etiquette, no how-was-your-dreadfully-long-trip-why-you-must-be-nauseous-from-the-journey.

The singer returns the elf's look with raised eyes. “Yes,” she sighs, “this is definitely Carlo. His style is ... inimitable.” She turns to face S'Jeer, Prince Zar, and Lidia, according them a pleasant smile and a formal welcome. “Greetings; it is so good to see you all again, and thank you for taking such an interest in Sulliviani. However, I must admit to some confusion. While I am certain that Sulliviani will be pleased by your generous offer, is he ...” she looks at Jamir and Kaple with a puzzled expression, “... is he not still in prison?” Clearly she doesn't quite understand how the Beast can be a member of a travelling troupe while he remains confined to his cell. “And hello to you too,” she adds with barely a glance at the Varisian. “Where is Andrzej?”

Hrani's last remark about Pike elicits a somewhat troubled look. “That ... that is a good point. Pike did not seem himself. Do you think that his behavior has something to do with Fido or Signy?” Her lips purse into a light frown. “Perhaps we should investigate their background more thoroughly later? After all, they seemed to know a good deal about our affairs; it is only right that we return the favor.”
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  #218  
Old 02-07-2018, 12:21 PM
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A TrapPike tries to understand what he's heard. He tries to understand the impossible. It's been good to him thus far, even if it has been a painful ride. It's brought him this far. As Fido tries to give reason to a name, for a superstition, he tries, too. Their answers do not take them in different directions. But sometimes a name is a name: there need not be a story behind it, there need not be a reason to see darkness as darkness. It was what it was.

The howl had been angry, pained. As if it felt the death of the wraith, the freeing of the child. As if whatever was out there, whatever the true culprit of the deaths here in this village, felt the remnants of its attack. A wraith: what made them? Did they feel a link to their creator? Who could say? Without a foremost purveyor of knowledge of such creatures, the likes of which might be better found in the Whispering Way, Pike could not say, nor could Fido. What they know is that the creature felt the death. The creature felt it, felt angry, felt pained. What it did not feel was sadness. What it did not feel was empathy for the child. Had it not created the wretched thing, after all?

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Freeing a child from the bondage which it created meant it was an enemy of any good folk, and Pike was good folk.

The two crusaders step from the house, prayers given, sending the creature to Pharasma as it should have been months ago. Striding past Pike and Fido, they head to the next house, further south, to the one that Sully knew: to Elssa's house. Past the body in the bear trap, left to rot as he is (and with loot to boot), he blocks the way but is easy enough to get around. It is just as abandoned, but all of the windows are broken. Nothing else seems amiss, the door not even open to the front of it. Before the duo can go in, however, Pike notices something beyond. The ground slopes from Elssa's house downward, to the little creek that runs through to the swamps beyond. It's worn but almost hidden by the patchy overgrowth, and leads to an oddity at the water. Someone lived down there, though there is no reason such a thing should be lived at. It, like the houses, has been abandoned, but at some point, that was a camp. And Sully had mentioned living nearby Elssa's house.

As Signy and Runa go inside, Fido and Pike have something to do, for once. But are there traps hidden about?

The inside of the house is much like Allen's House. Abandoned, with only the largest bits of furniture left. Little trinkets do dot the rooms, large, wide, open things, and there is a great library here: Elssa was likely a well-read child. A brief reminder of Kendra for Runa, but they have work to do. Weapons at the ready, the whispering returns: high, raspy, like a terrifying little girl in a terrifying little morality play.

"Who'll be the parson?
I, said the Rook,
with my little book,
I'll be the parson.
Who'll be the clerk?
I, said the Lark,
if it's not in the dark,
I'll be the clerk.
Who'll carry the link?
I, said the Linnet,
I'll fetch it in a minute,
I'll carry the link.
Who'll be chief mourner?
I, said the Dove,
I mourn for my love,
I'll be chief mourner.
Who'll carry the coffin?
I, said the Kite,
if it's not through the night,
I'll carry the coffin."
She is not making herself seen, however.

A giggle: she wants to play a game.
A Well-Cooked MealHrani gets to work bringing in the goods, and as he does so, Mara and the others make idle chatter confirming where souls are that are necessary to this investigation. "Well godspeed to them," notes Jamir, with a sigh. "I can only hope it proves useful. From the interview you three did earlier, it sounds as if that is the only location that he can be confirmed at without any reasonable doubt. Disproving it will be difficult, but... we don't know what's there, either." Mara has an idea, but she doesn't go into it. Leave that to the professionals, she tells herself. The Dwarf, to whom she has given a wary look, takes it in stride, his smile kind and firm. His head is shaved, save for his perfect facial hair of course, and he is dapper as can be, outdoing even Pike. A burn on his arm and stains around his finger seem to imply a trade of some sort, but the smell he gives off is only that of Heaven: he must be a chef.

Kendra, upon realizing that she's here, looks up, and smiles back. "Well, hopefully you have some good information for us from Morast." As Hrani brings in the last of the goods, or near the last as anyone can hope, Mara introduces herself to the Dwarf. He strides to her, takes her hand and kisses it, and offers to shake Hrani's. "Klovar Gundargrin, at your service. Kaple and I are—" He pauses, Kaple's mouth forming something of a small, curious grin, before the Dwarf continues. "—associates and live-in roommates. I'm also his personal chef on cases, as such you can see. I was told a feast was in order, and as business is good with the horrible burning business, I thought a feast for those tasked with the impossible was appropriate." Like Pike, he does not carry much of a traditional Dwarven accent; if anything, he sounds like a local with a deep, booming barrel of a chest for which to let his voice ring. It is a pleasant thing, that.

Then Mara recounts the story of what's occurred, and what they've discovered. As they do, voices from outside can be heard.

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For Carlo has arrived, and not without fanfare: for who are these people with him? After much negotiating, for which the guards have no real protest but to protest, the foursome are freed from the throes of mindless bureaucracy and pettiness, and he leads them upstairs to the court room for the defense. Joining him is the Bearded Woman, the Human Catepillar, and the Vudrani Princess.

Almost everyone in the room is scandalized. Least of these is Gundagrin, who beams at the new arrivals "I knew I was preparing a feast, but such fine guests? Kaple, you misled me about this group, you did." Kaple, blinking, stutters for a moment. "Well, I-I... I d-d-didn't.... W-who—" Carlo, ever the tactful, interrupts, which reveals his complicity in accomplishing something. This scandalizes Kendra even moreso, who was glad to see their new acquaintances but now was simply astounded that Carlo was helping, especially after the damned activity in Ravengro. That he was being proactive, that he was helping!

Jamir is mostly growing uncomfortable at the number of people in the room. "I can believe it, having seen the brute." Speaking of a lack of tact, Jamir cannot seem to help himself; but Kaple, once Hrani was proven his exasperation, the solicitor speaks up. "Who are these people and what are they doing in my room!? I'm preparing a court case here! I—" The Dwarf puts a hand on top of Kaple's own, which seems to calm him immensely. He pops his neck in frustration. And Carlo answers him, which only seems to confuse more. "Yes, but how does that—" Hrani's words fall into place: the carnival folk have chosen to side with Sully, and will spread good stories and sentiment of him. The solicitor blinks, letting that realization sink in. But Mara's previous point was not answered, and the solicitor chooses to let it go. "Yes, I know them. Damned good investigators. Hard-lined, long-nosed, and incorruptible once they see the truth of something. If I had seen hope to this case, I'd have hired them myself, but...." Kendra smiles at Mara. "Paranoia is never a bad thing, though."

Gundagrin has a question of his own. "But who hired them? I doubt they'd get involved of their own accord for its own sake, at least at this stage. They would have started before if they sensed something amiss." Sound logic, and the Dwarf removes his hand from the solicitor's own, before taking a napkin and cleaning his own, focusing on the fingers that are stained.

Lidia speaks. "We'll do what we can, but we're serious about the offer." The Vudrani Princess nods. "Crooked that we are, another like us? Facing persecution that he does not deserve? Why the story writes himself." Helped into a seat, the Human Catepillar nods, his own voice booming, his accent deep, moreso than the days before: a good performance is in that voice. "If people pay to see and hear freaks like us, he will be a legend of the stage and the carnival grounds. And that's if only half of the rumors of his description are true." Looking them over, the defense attorney sighs. "Officially I cannot agree to it, but..." He steps to the door, and whistles. "Cadet Almsdale!" The girl, standing by the prosecutor's room, squeaks, before stepping forward. "Whatever this fellow says, he has my permission to do it, within the confines of these walls. Whatever happens is in my name, so do remember that. Within reason, Cadet." The girl nods, confusion riding foremost in her amiability.

The solicitor looks to Carlo. "Do not make a fool of me or you will all pay for it." There is no stutter to his voice, no words running over themselves. It is a promise. But they have permission.

Jamir listens to Hrani's words regarding Mara's fear of paranoia, and then squints. "Ran off? What do you mean?" Kendra herself is confused, but instead begins to go through the artifacts. Gundagrin joins her, but does not touch. "I recognize those. Their make, at least." He nods to the tools, the surgery tools made of silver. "I had tools made by them a few years ago, carving tools to help me with an upcoming feast. Zbraslov Hora and Sons, likely the former given the latter didn't start until last year. There are only so many artisans in town who can make a set of tools that exact, and look—" He has Kendra turn over the backs of the tools, showing a hammer enveloped in flames from the sky. "Their crest. They're in Anatomist's Alley."

Jamir and Kendra look to one another. "That means whoever owned these is a local." The solicitor finds this very curious. "And you found this, in the Restlands?" He frowns. "More than a few explanations as to what there could be there, who could have left them." The Dwarf smiles in reply. "Yes, but Hora always makes his tools to order, and always leaves a mark. He can tell you who these were made for, and to what purpose." Only so many artisans make the tools, and this one, the one who did make it, can tell to whom it was sold, which gives them better understanding of who the owners could be.

Once concluded, Jamir reaches into the boxes and removes the face. The solicitor chokes. "P-put that away!" Looking at him slowly, and moving in such a way as to put the face before his own but at a distance, he looks through the eye holes at Kaple. "As you wish." He smiles, and does so.
 
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  #219  
Old 02-10-2018, 12:58 PM
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Carlo basked in Hrani’s adoration, beaming with pride as the elf seemed flabbergasted by his ability to convince people of something when he so chose. All he’d wanted was a bit of validation from someone, and it felt good to be getting that, especially from the secretive elf. But of course Mara had to come along and pour cold water on the whole thing. Everyone else had forgiven him, it seemed, but Mara. Something about her attractiveness made him feel powerless around her, which was all the more infuriating. He hardly realized his own status as a native surface dweller (not to mention his connections with the mob) put her in far more danger around him in every situation they’d ever been in together than vice versa.

To her question he just shrugs in reply, but his mind retraces the choices of the night before…

The Night BeforeThe Varisians had set out with the same motivation: a bar crawl with the vague pseudo-goal of winning some popular sentiment in favor of the Beast by way of their charming personalities. There had been drinks, and songs. There had been women (at least for Andrzej). And then there had been cards.

Carlo was drawn to the Harrow like a moth to flame from across the room. The four arms turning it made it all the more alluring in the dim light and haze of smoke that filled this particular tavern. He sat in fascination for a moment before them. A quadriplegic Mwangi sat beside the four-armed Harrow reading woman. He seemed to emanate a sense of authority that is unexpected from one without any seeming physical capabilities. They seemed oddly familiar. Carlo pulled out his own set of cards, held them aloft for a few seconds as if on display. A smirk from the four-armed woman is the only permission he needed to dive into a profane double Harrow reading fest with her, the likes of which Lepidstadt had never seen before. The cosmic implications of such a profane act were lost on both Carlo and his new companion in Harrow.

Carlo doesn’t know how long Andrzej had been staring at him from across the room before he notices. It was the same stare Andrzej had given him before the curse when he was initially ejected from the group. Carlo realizes suddenly why this people look familiar. Why Andrzej would give him such a look now. And…he doesn’t care. He’s never Harrowed like this before. When it was his mob family or cards, he chose cards. Why would he do anything different now when it was just Andrzej? He looks back to the Harrow before him and Andrzej fades from view, leaves the tavern. What were the implications of having been blood cursed twice by the same countryman? Probably no worse than whatever it was he was now doing with the Harrow. Where Andrzej once stood, soon Lidia appears.

When Mara’s gaze doesn’t relent, he simply averts his eyes and says “He wasn’t really part of this plan. Not a big fan of the Crooked Kin, for whatever reason.”

And then, turning to Lidia and smiling, “but not me, I think they’re great people.”

When Kaple seems to grant permission, he turns towards the stairway, “Shall we?”
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Old 02-10-2018, 03:19 PM
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Mara graces Gundargrin with a pleased look, cordially extending the back of her hand to meet his formal kiss. His courteous display of etiquette is not lost upon the soprano, and clearly elevates the gentledwarf in her esteem. Any lingering wariness she might have had of his presence evaporates, and her suspicions about Fido and Signy are similarly deflected by Kaple’s personal experience with the investigators, though the dwarf’s subsequent question redirects her misgivings to the duo’s mysterious employers. She exchanges a meaningful look with Hrani.

“Nothing serious,” she reassures Jamir when he asks about Pike running off, “just … peculiar. And secretive. It seemed as if he wanted to be alone.” She pauses as a memory triggers a tight, hard smile. “You should ask Pike when he returns,” her gaze shifts to include Kendra, “and make sure that he cleans your carriage properly.”

When Klovar reveals the provenance of the silver surgical tools, Mara exchanges another look with the elf before flashing a warm smile at the dwarf. “Your presence is proving to be quite serendipitous. If this Hora could identify the owner of these tools, we might have a tangible lead as to who is really behind the murders in Morast.” The songstress turns to Kaple. “May we borrow these tools to show to Zbraslov Hora? His knowledge may strengthen our case considerably.”

“But first,” she looks at Carlo directly, “I should like to visit Sulliviani as well.” The singer had tacitly accepted the mage’s non-explanation of Andrzej’s whereabouts, knowing better than to press him for further information. She remembers Andrzej’s intense dislike of the Crooked Kin—the clowns in particular, if she recalls correctly—so she doesn’t doubt the truth of Carlo’s words, only their completeness. At any rate, with a sudden flash of insight she realizes that they may have the better half of the Varisian duo. Hearing Carlo’s unabashed acceptance for the menagerie of deformities that is the Crooked Kin, Mara understands that maybe he truly accepts her too, for who she really is instead of who she appears to be, and that the contradictions in his actions are merely reactions to the contradictions within herself.

With a broad sweep of her arm she politely gestures for Carlo and the Crooked Kin to go first, echoing his words with a genuine, conciliatory smile. “Shall we?”
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Old 02-11-2018, 04:33 PM
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Hrani listens as the dwarf introduces himself, and he remains silent for a while after that, mulling over what exactly a live-in roommate was and why it made Kaple giggle in a ways the elf had come to associate with human girls. Once more the intricacies of human and dwarven and all other non-elven social protocols elude him. Oh well. He has other things to focus on, for they finally seem to have a solid lead with this Hora fellow. And then there is still the matter of Signy and Fido. Mara seems to take Kaple's reassurance at face value, finally trusting them and instead becoming more curious about their employers. But things are different for the Magus. The barrister's answer had been just a little...too convenient. To absolute. Leaving no room to doubt their new companion's integrity. Almost as if someone out there wanted to make Hrani trust them. So, naturally, the elf's suspicion of the pair redoubles. Which does not mean he doesn't agree with Mara's assessment about an investigation into their employers being a good idea, however. "If you have any ideas how to go about investigating our new...friends'...employers, I'd be moooore than happy to assist."

One thing after the other, however. And they already have two rather pressing issues on the agenda. Visiting the beast, and investigating the surgical tools. "This Hora fellow...will he give us the name of his client, or will he prefer to keep his client's identity a secret? If he seems like the sort of person who wouldn't help us strangers, perhaps you could accompany us, Gundargrin, if you have previously done business with him? Or at least write us a letter guaranteeing our trustworthiness and the importance of our business...?"

Whatever the answer, Hrani follows the others to visit the so-called beast. He is curious, of course, having missed the visit the first time around. What sort of creature awaits him in the cell down below?
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Old 02-12-2018, 02:56 AM
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Runahildr Valkadottir

Runa's brow furrowed as the voice of a child rang out through the house, filled with malice and glee. The recitation of the macabre nursery rhyme only helped set the scene in a sinister lighting and the paladin's gauntleted fist tightened around the crackling glaive as she strode into the room in front of Signy.

Taking a deep breath and allowing the air to slowly exhale through her lips, Runahildr sank into a state of heightened awareness. Step by step she moved forward as she turned her head left and right, up and down to pinpoint the mote of evil that was the wraiths abominable spawn.

"For surely, Inheritor, you bless the righteous," Runa mumbled, a prayer to Iomedae as she pushed forward. "You surround them with your favor as with a shield and guide their paths and actions so that justsice may prevail."


 


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Old 02-12-2018, 04:31 AM
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Pike steps in line with Runa and Signy on their way to Elssa's "Something howled in anguish and rage nearby when you disposed of the spirit, let's see what happens when you dispose of the next one. Maybe we'll find a way to go directly to the source." he says no more, allowing the grim pair to be on their business. Kneeling down by the corpse for a quick investigation he pockets any valuables and snatches the thong from the dead man's neck, throwing it to Fido "This tell you anything?" he doesn't wait for an answer, time is of the essence here so he moves forward to the path leading down to the creek beyond. His thoughts go back to the painful howl he'd heard a moment ago and the terrifying screams wrought by the spirits of the dead children, surely Herstag is a cursed place, one that can never be made whole again.
"Come, might as well make ourselves useful out here, hey?" He lights a cigar before they go on, offering one to Fido while his piercing eyes remain on the oddity by the creek "Our client told us he'd lived near Elssa's house, let's see if he's telling the truth shall we?"

With careful steps he moves down the path, eyes on the ground in case any more traps are upon it. The fate of the thief is a grim one indeed and Pike, for one, has no interest in sharing it with him.


 
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:31 AM
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Creepy Kids and Upright Corpses"Trapped like a rat and left to rot." Fido glowers at the upright dead man, as though the corpse needs judgment for his folly. He catches the thong as it is tossed his way, weaving it around his fingers and holding it out in front of him. "I wonder, did the residents leave these traps as they fled, or were they set out to catch the beast that plagued them before?" It didn't seem like a wraith's MO to set up bear traps arounds its lair. What purpose would that even serve?

"Let's hope the dead find the ladies a suitable distraction." Tucking the thong into a pocket, he falls in step behind Pike as they split from the women and move toward the creek. Evidence of a past habitation, circumstantial support for the story the dwarf is relating. Perhaps there would be some clue remaining there. Perhaps just more death, pasty and sing-song like the others. His steps are softer than the dwarf's, and not simply because his stride is smaller. He's making an effort to draw less attention than the man ahead of him, his eyes on the haunted land around them.


 
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Old 02-13-2018, 01:01 PM
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The children’s penchant for rhymes was a really disturbing touch to things, or so Signy found as she followed Runa into the second dwelling looking around for the wraith spawn that had to be around somewhere. She tried to recall how the house had looked from the outside. Surely this spawn would prefer a dark room to one with windows readily letting the sun in. And hint that might help them find their quarry faster was a good thing in her mind.

It was definitely a good thing that the spawns creator didn’t approve of their actions. Hopefully that would make it easy to ultimately draw it out and deal with the source of the threat. The paladin stayed close to Runa, trusting that the other woman would have a good handle on whatever was in front of them while she herself kept an eye behind them and to the sides.


 

Last edited by Blackfyre; 02-17-2018 at 12:32 PM. Reason: formatting
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