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  #346  
Old 01-26-2019, 03:40 AM
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From his position, Hrani cannot hear what is going on between Mara and the strange Miss Vorkstag, nor can he see, which leaves him a little nervous. He is comforted, however, by the fact that he is pretty sure he would hear the commotion of a scuffle breaking out, and he would definitely hear a scream. He isn't left waiting for long, in any case, as Mara rejoins him much sooner than he had expected. A bad sign in terms of her having learned anything else, but seeing her back safely rejoined with him fills him with relief nonetheless. No signs of surprise are visible on the magus' face when the songstress drops her disguise, betraying the fact that he had figured out her identity amidst the previous confrontation. "I understand. I also wish I had had the chance to coordinate with you better before running off, but I felt it important not to let Miss Vorkstag get away. Still, I apologize for leaving you behind, without any explanations and just some cryptic markings to follow. I am happy you were able to figure them out."

The elf pauses, replaying the conversation with the target of their chase in his head, and making note of any details he hadn't had time to process yet. "In the end, I'm afraid I didn't even learn much. And I am glad you showed up when you did, it provided me an opportunity to gracefully disengage and avoid any awkward moments with real innocent bystanders. Excellent job conveying your true identity to me, by the way. I'm afraid it appears I lacked the oratory skills to discretely signal I had understood in a way that you could pick up on. I was hoping you'd be able to get more out of her, especially if I provoked her right before leaving. In any case, you are right, it is long overdue we return to the apartment and touch base with the others. I shall tell you what little I did learn along the way..."

Reading people is not usually Hrani's strength, but it is hard to miss the unease in Mara's face as she glances around. He hesitates for a moment, then offers the songstress his arm to hook hers into. "Shall we?"

If she, in turn, seems uncertain about taking the presented limb, Hrani adds: "I suggest we walk close together. A couple walking through the streets at this time will attract less attention. And the proximity will allow us to discuss matters without the risk of being overheard." All of which the magus absolutely believes to be true. Though it is certainly not the only reason he would appreciate the beautiful songstress' proximity. If Mara still declines, however, Hrani certainly won't push the issue.

As they walk through the streets to the apartment that is now Kendra's, Hrani fills his companion in on what little he did learn, in hushed tones: "Margot Vorkstag works in some capacity or another for her brother at the Chymic Works. It's still not clear what exactly they are doing there, though I did get a glance at the list of ingredients she was getting. I'll repeat them to Jamir later, he might be able to provide more insight, but from what I can tell, it is most likely a formula for some sort of alchemical concoction that is meant to bring some sort of transfiguration or transmutation. So something to change the person imbibing it. Sort of like your hat, I suppose, only in liquid form, and perhaps limited to specific changes. And perhaps permanent, I'm not sure. Miss Vorkstag calling us 'mere mortals' makes me wonder whether she and her brother have been imbibing whatever it is they produce themselves...and whether that changes them in some way that she believes raises them over mortals...or they just aren't human to begin with. Her skin almost seemed like it had a weird color at one point during the conversation." Hrani's voice trails off a little bit as he ponders the potential implications and considers some magical theories he decides not to bore Mara with.

"Then things got very interesting on two fronts. She implied we had enemies in the city, though she seemed unaware of the Whispering Way. Instead, she seemed to imply she was working for a group associated with at least some of the judges...and she knew of our one connections as far as that is concerned." Hrani leaves the actual name unspoken, but it is fairly obvious to whom he is referring. "Their association seems to believe that the...that Sullivany needs to be executed in a public spectacle, no matter whether he actually committed the crimes or not, though she wouldn't tell me why. What she did tell me is that she and her compatriots believe we are tarnishing Professor Lorrimor's reputation with our actions of questioning the guilt and the trial, and she seemed rather upset about that. So they must have some connection to him, even if she wouldn't tell me what it is...and she threatened me with things like the city guard, if we didn't leave things alone. So perhaps they have some connections there. Though the fact that she had to bribe the guards not to let us into town indicates those can't run too deep, or the people in power are unwilling to openly reveal themselves for the moment."

Finally, Hrani sighs in frustration. "It feels like that conversation just ended up leading to more questions, rather than providing any answers..." Perhaps once they are back at the apartment and relay the information to the others, and find out anything anyone else has learned, things will become clearer. Surprisingly, after the long and hard day, the elf finds himself almost hoping Samovar will have prepared some sort of dinner. By his frugal standards, everything the man has prepared so far has been decadent and way over the top, yet somehow, today that feels like it would be more comforting than dry rations. And if all that fails to be as helpful as the magus is hoping, a good night of rest and meditation will bring a new morning, and perhaps new insights. Always provided he isn't killed by a knife in the back, of course.
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  #347  
Old 01-30-2019, 10:59 PM
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Vutha: Bird on the WingThe eagle flies ahead of the others to Perception:
Dice * Roll:
1d20 18
. Should have been
Dice Roll:
1d20+12 (20)+12 Total = 32
, do what thou wilt with this cluster of rolls.
inspect the burned ruins of the former sanctuary Disguise check to pass off as a "real" eagle to any would be observers:
Dice Roll:
1d20+9 (19)+9 Total = 28
incognito before they arrive. She welcomes the chance to be away from the city dwellers for a bit, and to learn of what has happened on her own.

The husk of the former place brings her a sense of pleasure. Not because a fire had consumed it, for fire never really brought her joy. It was that the invasiveness of such a structure had not lasted in the wilderness. True, the stones yet stood, but with time they would be overcome as well and return to the natural order that surrounded this region. Unfortunately, there were no trees nearby, and the undergrowth that had begun would take many years to overcome such a large incursion. But happen it would.

If she sees nothing of interest to relay to the others, she will take a perch on the top of the structure and await their arrival.




 


 
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Last edited by goatmeal; 01-30-2019 at 11:01 PM.
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  #348  
Old 01-31-2019, 09:33 AM
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The glare Signy gives Vutha is not lost on Pike and he understands the distrust she shows the newcomer and fully realizes the risk they run of accepting her help without hesitation, but there are other things to consider in a matter such as this, not the least of which is a possible insight into the Beast that is Sullivani through Vutha.

He waves Vutha as she departs "If you see anything let us know, I'm sure you'll find a way." he offers her a reassuring smile as he grabs his gear "Shall we?" he says to Signy and Fido and starts the trek towards Sanctuary. Watching the disappearing form of the large eagle he can't help but smile to himself I'm starting to mimic the Professor, attracting to all these strange people in strange places.

"Honestly I have no idea what we're looking for other than clues of some sort as to why someone would feel the need to burn this place down." he lights a cigar as they close in on Sanctuary "I only fear we will not find anything, that is all." if this was any country other than Ustalav that might ring true, but Pike is no fool and he is starting to believe that every place hides some bad news.

"Let's start by mapping this place out, what part is the infirmary, where the offices are and such." adding "And let's stay together, shall we?"


 
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  #349  
Old 02-01-2019, 11:06 AM
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Eagle's SanctuaryAs the eagle flies, the thing cannot be seen. But there is little to hide from in these wretched ruins.

What might have once been a tower, of two or three stories, made of stone and wood is not a ruin of less than a single floor, wide but substantial none the less. A wonderful thing it might have been, if Pike did not know what it was for. Vutha knows not what these civilized folk need such things for, but Pike understands, even if this was hardly what its original intention might once have been. Ruins of more than the building are present, made to mold in the snows of winter during the past month. Burnt bedsheets, now flapping in a weak southernly wind, part of a nightstand, a cabinet, all manner of ruined thing not able to be carried off. The Dipplemere must be sprawling with pieces of Sanctuary.

A ruin of things, and of dreams, and of souls.

Fido relates information about the spot: the name of the island is Karb, and it is not an island. It is an isthmus, connected to the mainland of the Vieland Hinterlands and Lepidstadt at large. Twelve stones, indicating a Restland, sit beside the road, indicate that the dead who died under the good doctor's care were buried here. Pike elects to map the place out, and with the bird above, they manage to make much of this place.

The bird indicates things that Pike might not have noticed, and the Dwarf shows the druid things that she might not have seen with her changed vision. There is a cellar beyond the front entrance of the Sanctuary, which while it might have been buried from the ruins about it, it has been dug up, a hole leading downward into the hole; barrels below show sand, that has been recently disturbed. Strange, that. Heading into the ruins, where Vutha holds court above, noticing what Pike sees next: an iron box, hidden under the ruins. Signy digs it up, and they see the iron cabinet, its lock fused shut from what must have been intense heat, blackened and charred. She takes the time to do it right, using her enchanted weapon to break it open. Within are papers, most of them charred, but with words that can be carefully deciphered. DC 20 Linguistics check to decipher the words that remainFido offers, but can Pike trust him?

The graves, upon further inspection, might have been disturbed. There's no way to tell, but so close to the road, anyone could ride by and see them as common grave robbers. Who needs that, with court only hours away?

That leaves the cellar. There's nothing that can be told without going down, but is it worth it? Not even eagle eyes can discern that.
Questions Without AnswerThe woman dis not look back to Belladora, and does not bother. Her heels clink off at an odd but rhythmic pace, into the dark of night.

An odd one, that Miss Vorkstag.

Once they reunite, Hrani and Mara quickly determine to head back to the apartment, going as best they can. They pass themselves off readily as a couple, and it's a good thing, too. The streets are uncommonly packed in what must have otherwise been a quiet university town, with every pub full of souls chatting and talking and singing and yelling. In a few of them, the duo are quite sure they see members of the Crooked Kin, working hard and fast at their work; truly, Carlo has come through in the end, where it counted. There is much to discuss, too.

Vorkstag and Grine: what is their true purpose? They have yet to encounter the two namesake, and yet Margot Vorkstag seems to know quite a bit despite being a newcomer. Alchemists, or chiurgeons, more rightly, what do they do? Who do they know? What are their connections? So much to think and feel and do. So much riding on it, too. How do they connect with the tools that were sold them, however indirectly?

As they begin, they hear the echo of horse's hooves on the cobbled streets to the north, something that rapidly fades.

On foot it takes time for them to get across the city, to the northwest side of town, now that Mara has seen the length of town and Hrani has seen the southeast corner, where Vorkstag and Grine's was. They climb up the steps of the apartment, but note in the stable the lack of horses; just one has returned from beyond. A faint smell marks the stable, something... stale.

The door opening, the lights are low and down sits Samovar, Runahildr, and Jamir. Samovar stands with a grunt, disappointed that he must prepare food again, but thinks nothing more of it and goes into the kitchen to make sure the night's meal will be suitable for both Elf and songstress, Mermaid or no. Jamir barley looks up from his book.

Between Runa, Mara, and Hrani, there is much to discuss.
 
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  #350  
Old 02-02-2019, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hrani
“Shall we?”
After a slight hesitation equal to Hrani’s, Mara nods and accepts the proffered arm. Normally she would be reluctant to be in such close proximity to another person, out of fear that her gown might be accidentally disarranged, but the elf already knows her secret, and her physical disguise is safely reinforced by the magical one provided by her hat. Besides, it has been a long, wearying day, and with her ‘legs’ back to ‘normal’–she had let the transmutation subside once she rejoined the magus, for she does not wish to owe Them any longer than necessary—she is relieved to lean on Hrani for support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hrani
“And perhaps permanent”
The songstress half gasps, squeezing the elf’s arm as if in fright. But her aquamarine eyes show no hint of fear—instead they shine with a sudden, brilliant hope. Could the answer to all her problems be this close? Does the solution lie in alchemy? Might a potion restore her missing tail? Beyond Sulliviani, beyond the Trial of the Beast, and even beyond the Whispering Way: Mara is now extremely interested in the Vorkstags for a very personal reason.

The soprano has difficulty focusing on the rest of the conversation. She injects an occasional ‘Is that so’ or ‘You don’t say’ every now and then, her social instincts covering her lack of attention. Meanwhile her mind races with dreams and possibilities, and in her excitement she hugs the elf’s arm tightly, walking much closer than she normally would.

Back at the apartment, Mara lets the magus take the lead in probably easiest if Thorsten just reads everything relating all they have found, trusting in his analytical mind to preserve the details correctly. She does interject when the conversation shifts to Miss Vorkstag, a topic important and close enough to nudge her out of her quiet ruminations.

“I do believe Hrani may be right. There was something … off … about Miss Vorkstag. She …” isn’t what she appears is what Mara means to say, but she cannot bring herself to say something so self-incriminatory, especially with Samovar present. With one hand nervously smoothing out her dress and the other twisting a lock of her hair, she finishes awkwardly. “She … should be investigated further.”
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  #351  
Old 02-03-2019, 10:29 AM
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Mara hesitates slightly, just long enough to make Hrani's heart uncharacteristically skip a beat, but then she takes his arm and walks close to him. The magus is happy to let her lean on him for support, after what he put her 'legs' through earlier in the chase, and to let her set whatever pace she is comfortable with. A couple walking slowly won't attract any attention, for everyone understands their minds are likely a million miles away from the act of putting one step in front of the other. And it is good, for Hrani does not fail to notice the unusual amount of activity in the streets considering the time of day. It is almost as if the city is positively buzzing with energy as it looks forward to the Beast's execution.

It takes some time to get back to the apartment, but the elf doesn't mind. While he isn't consciously registering just how tightly Mara is hugging his arm, he definitely feels her proximity, and it isn't unpleasant. Every so often, he feels like he catches a brief whiff of her scent, and though he can't place it, he wonders whether that is what an ocean breeze smells like? It is a pleasant aroma, in any case, even if the logical part of his mind reminds him he has never even seen an ocean, let alone smelled the wind coming off of it, and he is just inventing things based off of who Mara is. The less rational part, small as it may be in Hrani's case, does not care, however, and just enjoys the lengthy walk. So much so that he fails to notice the songstress is distracted with things, though her natural social skills and talent for talking, combined with Hrani's utter ineptitude at reading people and talking to them certainly play a large role as well. Thus, anyone listening in on the pair somehow, would find the magus holding a mostly unperturbed monologue, with Mara interjecting three words every so often, and neither of them being particularly bothered by the fact.

Upon there return, the find Runa has actually beaten them back here. A sign of life from the other part of the group then, at least. Samovar quickly departs to prepare more food, and Hrani is more than happy to let him. He feels famished after the day out and about, investigating. Dropping down into a chair, he takes his cue from Mara, and begins to fill Runa and Jamir in. Even if Runa is aware of the first part of things, having been present in Morast, the magus opts to start at the very beginning, both to fill Jamir in, and i.e. I decided it was time for me to reread everything since we investigated in Morast in order to sort my own thoughts, and figured I might as well recap here for everyone else's benefitbecause he hopes it will help him organize his own thougts:

"We arrived in Morast, and after a few conversations in town, headed for the boneyard slightly outside. After all, the people here claimed the Beast had come for their dead first, digging them up, before first Portea vanished and then the Beast attacked the town, claiming ten souls in five nights prior to being driven off and supposedly being eaten by the Caiman. We found a multitude of clues at the boneyard, none of which support the idea that Sullivany would have been involved. There was evidence of a camp, with a vial we identified as having contained a potion that allows seeing in darkness. We should confirm whether or not Sully actually would need something like that, or whether his nature already allows him vision where others would need a source of light." Hrani's brow furrows as he mentions the theory tossed around by Fido, who the elf had successfully avoided thinking about for all this time. "There was also a small coracle, a dried wicker boat, with clear evidence of someone having bled inside of it, though the blood seemed strange. The boat contained a moldy leather travel bag with what used to be some sort of artisan's outfit inside of it. In addition, highly disturbingly, there was also the remains of a face inside the boat, one later identified by one of the villagers of having belonged to Portea, the woman who had vanished prior to the supposed Beast attacks. That man also told us that prior to vanishing, Portea suddenly had green eyes and acted differently than before. Between that and the description given to us of the culprit as someone with mismatched looking skin, too tight for its body, leads us to believe that the main culprit here was a Fey creature called a Skin Stealer." Hrani looks at Jamir, waiting to see if the Halfling has heard of them before. And that is when his brain finally catches up to a connection he should really have made earlier. Obvious in retrospect, but with everything they had learned throughout the day, this little tidbit had gotten buried until he began reviewing all the information for the others.

It is then that Samovar returns with tea and dinner, which Hrani thanks him for, before continuing his story between bites of his meal. "Attached to the boat with a rope, and hanging underwater, was a bag clearly large enough to fit a whole body inside. It contained a rope and a stained gag, as well as a rusted shovel and rusted lantern, and finally a trio of heavy knives. Those could obviously have a lot of purposes, but everything prior to that are clearly exactly the instruments necessary for abducting villagers and for digging up graves."

The elf pauses, taking a sip of tea, deciding where to continue. "In a different place of this boneyard island, in some overgrown grass, Pike found a bag containing surgical implements such as scalpels, masterfully crafted from silver and with amethyst handles bearing symbols of a raven. They are clearly designed for small hands, at the very least much smaller than the creature the guards have imprisoned in their basement cell." Hrani recalls their earlier visit with the Beast, when Carlo introduced the Crooked Kin to it, where he had been able to confirm this in person, in between being fascinated by what sort of construct it was. "They are also the most likely culprits used to remove Portea's face, and possibly others, from their original owners."

"We dug up the six most recent graves, which were clearly disturbed, and confirmed they had been emptied of the bodies they once contained. We're not sure where they went, but I have two theories as to why they would have been taken. Option number one is that our Skin Stealer simply wanted more faces for its repertoire. Option number two, and given that the bodies are missing in their entirety, this seems like the more probable choice, is that they were taken to experiment on. Apparently the people of Morast age very slowly, claiming it has something to do with very resilient skin. I could see how that would seem intriguing to a Skin Stealer, though others might have been involved as well. Philosophers and scientists have been wanting to study the people from this backwater town for a while, according to our local source, so I wouldn't rule out the Skin Stealer working for some other party, either."

Hrani takes another bite of his food, savoring the taste. Absolutely over the top, by his elven standards, like just about any meal Samovar has prepared so far. But today...yes, after today, for the first time, Hrani can appreciate it fully, rather than just considering it unnecessarily decadent. At least he hopes it has to do with the hard day he has had, and not the fact that he is assimilating to the human lifestyle. For an instance, he flashes back to the disgust he had felt in Radniche's shop several hours earlier, realizing how his fellow elf had succumbed to the barbaric lifestyle and distractions after spending around a decade in Lepidstadt. He doesn't wish to dwell on it, so instead the magus concludes the first portion of his story: "The final thing we found on the island was a manticore nest. We almost got into a battle when its owner returned, but Mara was, incredibly, able to talk it down and buy us an hour to look around." The elf turns to give the songstress he had been walking intimately close to half an hour ago a warm smile of appreciation. "Inside the nest, we found a dead dwarf, among his possessions an Oil of Keen Edge, a bag of an alchemical bodybalm, which when drunk by a healer improves their healing capabilities, a strange staff with two snakes wrapped around it and a Psychochomp Raven at the top. Unclear whether there is any connection to the ravens on the surgical implements, but it would be a pretty big coincidence if not. There was also a mundane scroll with a dwarven letter on it, though now that I think about it, I don't think Pike ever told us what it said...At least I assume Pike kept it?and I don't recall it being with the things we delivered to the courthouse. Finally, there was a ruby-pommeled shortsword and a white ashen wand with ghostly symbols on it in the nest, probably once belonging to the dwarf. Though perhaps Jamir identified it, since I assume we dropped it off at the courthouse?I don't know what it does, but it was clearly some minor illusory magic."

"So yes, lots of clues, not all of them clear. In particular, I'm not sure where, if at all, the dwarf in the manticore's nest fits into things, though the staff seems like if would be a very specific coincidence otherwise. Beyond that, the surgical implements seemed the most promising lead, so after we got back to the city, that is what Mara and I have been following up on." Hrani looks more towards Runa now, having finally arrived at the part of the story that is probably of interest to her, because it is the first part she wasn't present for herself.

"Interestingly enough, we had some trouble getting back into the city, after the guards were apparently bribed to keep us out or give us trouble. We barely saw a red-haired lady leave before we arrived, though we knew not who she was until we met her again late this evening. But we will get to that. After Mara brilliantly negotiated our entry into the city, and we delivered all of our evidence at the courthouse, we learned from Klovar Gundagrin, Kaple's roommate, cook and possibly more, that the surgical tools had been made by Zbraslov Hora, and that they are always made specifically to order. So we followed up with her and learned that this particular set had been made for one Vladka Kostel for one of the city's auction houses. By chance, Carlo, who had rejoined us at the courthouse, and Andrzej, had run into said lady earlier in the day and our Varisian friend knew exactly where to find her. Matters were complicated a little bit due to, as far as I understand it, our other Varisian friend Andrzej having beaten us there and upset Vladka with his advances. Still, we were able to convince her and her employer, a certain Klud, that it was invaluable in our work in this trial to learn who had purchased the tools. The well kept information in their ledger lead us to a...slightly eccentric elf named Radniche."

Taking another swallow of tea, Hrani looks around to see if everyone is still with him, or if he has lost someone, before moving on: "We went and visited Radniche, despite the lateness of the hour by the time we found him, and he told us that tools were purchased 'under the table' by one Mister Vorkstag, of Vorkstag and Grine, who apparently own and operate a Chymic work in the city, producing alchemical compounds. He also informed us that Vorkstag had returned not too long ago to acquire a new set, which would indicate that he did indeed lose the old ones that we found in the boneyard...or someone stole them from him and then lost them there."

Some more bites of food punctuate Hrani's story. "So, Mara and I decided to go check out the Chymic Works. Carlo took his leave from us, and it didn't sound like he intends to return. I got the feeling he might have found his new home with the Crooked Kin. I also got the feeling that in doing so, he drove Andrzej away from him, and by association us. So I'm not sure whether we're going to see either Varisian again, at this point. But I'm getting sidetracked, and I'm getting close to the end of the tale, so let me focus for this last part. Mara and I reached the Chymic Works, just in time to see a woman departing, which was quite unusual given the late hour. Mara was the one who recognized her as the woman who had bribed the guards earlier, to prevent our return to the city. So we gave chase." Hrani skips over the details of the pursuit for Mara's sake, and restricts himself only to saying: "I was able to use the magic of a scroll to hasten myself, and in that way cut off the lady, who turned out to be Miss Margot Vorkstag, sister of Master Vorkstag, who owns the Chymic Works. A lot of things about her seemed unnatural."

Having thrown that out there, Hrani gets up to retrieve some parchment and a quill or a pen. It takes him a little bit, but eventually he finds what he is looking for and returns to the table, beginning to write something, looking up every so often. His story never stops though, neither during his search for the writing utensils, nor during his usage thereof. "In fact, she almost seemed...inhuman. There was something weird about her face when I saw it from the distance, and she seemed to have some sort of defense mechanism that made her blur unnaturally. Judging by her reaction, I got the impression that she wasn't connected to the Whispering Way, but rather another faction that is against us. I'm not sure whether she just represents the general public, or whether we have more specific enemies in the form of whatever group we belong to. She did claim our investigation was tarnishing the good Professor Lorimor's reputation, and this seemed to disturb her greatly. Margot seemed convinced that the Beast needs to be burned at the pyre, though not out of a conviction of its guilt. No, she does in fact not seem to care at all about its fault, though I couldn't see through her motives. She did know we were working for one of the judges, however, courtesy of said judge's husband apparently having a big mouth. I couldn't get a lot more than that out of the woman, I'm sure if I had not had to leave Mara behind to catch Miss Vorkstag with my magical speed, she would have been more successful in extracting something useful."

Hrani looks up again, having apparently finished writing whatever it is he was writing. "One big thing I did manage was to convince her to let me look at the list of alchemical ingredients she was apparently retrieving in the middle of the night. To me it looked like it was some sort of transfiguration concoction, meant to alter the drinker physically, and not just illusory. But I'm not an expert on the matter, so I figured you might be able to do better." Hrani focuses his glance on Jamir, then holds out the parchment he has been scribbling away on. "This is a list of everything that she was apparently retrieving, to the best of my memory, though I'm pretty confident I got most, if not all of it."

Hopefully the mage will be able to do learn more from this than he could. In any case, it is now time to go over the final piece of information. The one that had clicked earlier in his mind. The one he hadn't even revealed to Mara yet. "There's one more thing, and I didn't realize it until I started talking earlier, and my mind finally caught up with processing everything it had seen, and while I've been talking, I have replayed the conversation I had with Miss Vorkstag in the back of my mind to confirm my suspicion: I think the woman was a Skin Stealer Fey. In addition to her weird face and the blurring defense mechanism while she fled, her skin also seemed to have an unnatural color. I wrote if off as being the light in the alley, initially, but I no longer think that is the case. Not when I take it together that the hunt for the surgical tools that we strongly assume were used to cut off Portea's face led us to her, and consider some of the things she said to me. The seemed innocuous in the moment, but in retrospect, they are fairly obvious. If I hadn't had such a long day, perhaps I would have put two and two together sooner. SHOULD have probably put two and two together sooner." Hrani pauses, slightly annoyed at himself. At least his memory had not failed him. So he repeats some of the lines Margot, if that was even her name, had said to him that convinced him he was right. There was the sort of mundane, such as 'I come from a far away land' and, paired with that unnatural grin, which had seemed out of place, almost as if to big for that face. But there were also the more extreme, clear giveaways. 'Fear is in your nature, isn't it?' All you mere Mortals.' for starters, but also the more specific: 'And yet, who am I? A question we ask ourselves every day of our lives', followed up by 'Life worth living deserves a hundred faces.'

As he repeats Margot's lines to the others, he looks between them, to see if any of them doubt his conclusion that the woman is one of the Fey. A Skin Stealer. "Possibly the prime suspect for what happened in Morast. Though I find it impossible to say, at this juncture, whether her brother and Grine are involved or not. They both might be Skin Stealers as well, for all I know, and either one of them could have been in Morast. Or the Skin Stealer replaced an innocent Master Vorkstag's sister without his knowledge. Radniche mentioned Margot had appeared on the scene of the Chymic Works a few months ago, even though she has apparently been in town as long as her brother. Why the sudden interest? Did her brother need help? Or was that when she was suddenly replaced and had a new agenda to follow? That would also match our timeline of events of what happened in Morast more closely than someone who has been here for years. But still, I'm not ruling out either possibility at this point..."

Hrani pauses to take another sip of tea, though it has cooled by this point. "The question is, what do we do with this information? And is there any way we can confirm it?" Hrani looks to Jamir, hoping for some insights. "I vaguely recall some Fey being sensitive to certain kinds of metals. Do you by chance know whether that applies to all Fey, and what sorts of metals are necessary?" Not that he would just stab Margot, but having one of their group go up to her and press some sort of metal to her skin to judge the reaction might offer some insights. "Unless I'm confusing thingsMorast is on the docket to be discussed at the trial tomorrow. That gives us very little time to work out a plan at this point. Do we try to talk to Master Vorkstag before the trial and confront him? Or do we go into the trial with the evidence we have and not point any fingers yet?" Hrani looks at Mara, who is the one who will be doing most, if not all of the talking tomorrow. He might be good at working out the details and seeing the connections, but if his encounter with Miss Vorkstag had proved anything, it was that he should not be allowed to address the jury or the audience. Runa on the other hand might be helpful, so Hrani was glad he had gotten the chance to fill her in. "And do we go do some research on Skin Stealers, or do we not have the time to devote to that, currently?"

Questions upon questions. But at least Hrani feels like he has made great strides and figured out some connections he had missed earlier. There was no denying they had learned a lot today. The question was whether it would suffice to seed serious doubt in the judges' mind. And through all of this, they hadn't even let Runa get a word in as to the rest of the group's efforts. Hrani turns to her then, prepared to listen, now that he has gotten his own thoughts sorted out. "Perhaps you should tell us what you have learned since we parted ways, Runa. Perhaps that will help shed some light on our best course from here on out?"
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:47 PM
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Vutha: Bird on the WingThe Eagle-eyed scout spies a few things, one of them being the cellar door. The thought of crawling in the bowels of a city-borne invasive structure with these three city dwellers makes her a bit nauseous. Nowhere to run from them should she feel the need. They haven’t done anything quite yet to make her feel as if they would capture her or harm her. Yet she still has apprehensions about most of them. And the one she does trust a little, well it hasn’t even been a day yet and city dwellers will always disappoint you eventually.

Before any of them can suggest such a course of action, she glides higher and soars out over the waters of the Dipplemere, Perception:
Dice Roll:
1d20+12 (11)+12 Total = 23
looking for any additional signs or clues blown out from the Sanctuary fire. In part she is searching, but in part she needs a moment to catch her breath and think about that hole in the ground without them looming about demanding that she participate.

And then she remembers that this had all started with a fire. Just like her own exile had begun with a fire. Perhaps this is how her loneliness comes full circle, by a fire rejoining her to some cause or community. Part of it felt a bit hopeful, as she always felt whenever she saw the forest regrow after a fire. But part of it still felt as grating as dealing with city dwellers had ever felt. It was the barest hint of an intuition that had her slowly arcing back around to rejoin them on the isthmus. But she had a willingness now to enter that cellar with them if that is what they wanted to do. It was a start anyways.
 




 

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Old 02-05-2019, 05:52 AM
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He doesn't like it.

The feel of this place, what it used to be, what happened to it.
It's all wrong.

Prison he can understand, as an institution it serves a specific purpose, hospices and medical wards are needed in any society and something all should have access to. But a combination of all three, where the mentally ill are taken to be studied upon while people of questionable intent work a solution? "And they even call it Sanctuary." he mutters to himself with his eyes fixed on a burnt bedpost.
Perhaps the good Herr Doctor was a kind man who had only wanted what was best for his patients, perhaps he had just read to many Meri Balac novels to be able to feel at ease knowing about this place, to actually stand in the ashes of it's remains.
Then again, this is Ustalav where everything serves a grim purpose and hides a dark secret right? He casts his eyes towards the graves, an uneasy feeling snaking it's way through his guts.

"Right. I'll need time to decipher these, or I can have Jamir do it back in Lepidstad." he says as they uncover the papers "Unless you can do it here and now? Get the gist of it at least?" the question is for Fido who has offered to translate them "They might hold information that could prove useful for us here." or they could hold information about what really went on here, something that scares Pike for reasons he can't understand. Why do I resent this place more than Morast and Hergstag? Even Harrowstone..." he kills the cigar with the heel of his boot "I'll give you a minute to check the pages before we head down into the basement, might as well since we're here, hey?"

Pike signals Vutha to descend, explaining to her that they intend to head down into the space below "If you feel more secure up here I understand but should you wish to join us we would appreciate it." he even offers her his shoulder should she wish to stay in the form she has chosen.

Before they head down he reaches for a small vial of murky yellow liquid and slowly shakes it before he gulps it down and immediately he feels his senses change, as if a new one had just opened, one that operated somewhere between the visual and spiritual. If there were any unliving about he could now sense them for a 5 minutesfew minutes at least.

"Fido, can you give us light? Signy, ready when you are."

 
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:56 AM
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Runahildr Valkadottir

Runahildr had perhaps hoped for a bit of rest. Fighting the wraiths, discovering the fate of so many children and then journeying straight back to the city with the findings had been taxing. And the warm food and even warmer greetings upon her return had not done her any good in keeping her one good eye open.

But Mara and Hrani's sudden appearance had put a stopper to her plans of turning in just yet. Split out to cover different tasks it seemed the two had been just as busy herself, and even though it had only been about a day since she had sent them south, it seemed like months.

Apparently, Hrani felt the same way, and Runa was thankful that he did. The wealth of information he poured out, from their trek into Morast and what happened to the two afterwards was quite a lot to take in, but Hrani did a splendid job in keeping his story sharp and to the point, allowing for Runa to absorb it all without getting lost in the tale.

After Hrani was done, she sat in silence for a bit, mulling things over (and trying not to think too much about the image of Kendra slinking smiling off to bed) while she reached up with a finger and slipped it underneath her eyepatch to massage the damaged tissue behind. Finally, she took a deep breath and sighed.

"The result of any investigation might not have an effect on the trial, so it could potentially be a waste of time. Yet at the same time, if what you say is true, there is a whole *different* kind of monster out on the streets and leaving him... her... it?... to roam free when we have the means to stop it seems wrong." She frowned. "I also cannot help but wonder... did you ever see this Miss Vorkstag and Master Vorkstag together at the same time? If someone can wear the skin and identity of another person could they not mimic brother and sister at the same time? Master Vorkstag might well be aware that someone is looking after him because you spoke to him... her... it... already. Wearing the skin of the sister."

Runahildr blinked a couple of times to stave off the weariness that kept creeping up on her.

"For my part, the tale is one of woe. Hergstag was haunted by a wraith called 'Brother Swarm' and the death of the children there a result of its evil." This was the third time the paladin retold events in as many hours and that combined with her weariness made her words come out more matter of factly and devoid of emotion than she perhaps intended.

"We purged it and its spawn thereby freeing the souls of the young from his yoke. The remains of four of the six are in our possession as is residue from the slain wraith."

"During our investigation of the hamlet, we also searched the location where one of the children - the last mentioned on the list - died. Not only did she die after Sulivan returned with the body of a girl named Elssa and was driven from town - but the room where she died, on the upper floor, showed no sign of forced entry, nor did the shingles on the roof show sign of something of Sulivan's size and stature climbing around on them."

She looked at Hrani. "In the matter of Herstag I have no doubt that Sulivan's only crime is being what he is. He did not kill anyone, and when he tried to help he was forced out of town in return."


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Old 02-07-2019, 12:48 PM
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Assuming she doesn't get eaten by the monster underneath that blackbox or anything else interesting happens while she's flying over the waters.The Eagle takes up the Dwarf on his offer to ride in on the shoulder. As if cued by his imbibing the potion, casting Barkskinshe makes some un-birdlike noises and suddenly her plumage appears as if carved from wood. Preparations in place, she prepares to enter the cellar perched on Torsten's shoulder.




 

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Old 02-08-2019, 12:12 PM
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Naming NamesThe waters of the Dipplemere were largely a mucky business that, in her normal form, she did not enjoy dredging through. Up above she saw shards of the building, wood that was rotting but clearly man-made, unnatural in its shape, further around, downstream from the site and away from Lepidstadt. As a low fire burns within her, Vutha sees little that warrants further investigation outside of the site of Sanctuary itself. And for good reason.

Sanctuary had been a good idea once. The people who might be otherwise hunted down by the populace of Ustalav, who were feared, who were dangers to themselves: all of these people had a place to go, to seek medical attention, for both their mental and physical maladies. A wonder, then, that they lost all that they did. An act of the gods, destroying this place? Or something more horrific, if not for Sullivani? The description matches more the creature at Morast than the actual appearance of the golem.

Fido takes the papers hungrily and begins piecing over them. "Largely destroyed, I'm sad to say, but I can do a bit. I see a name here and there, a kind of repetition on these pages. Two names, actually. V... Vorkstag? Grine? I think that's what I see. No, I'm confident, look here, on the last two pages." He shows them, handing them to Pike. Now that Fido mentions it, it's clear: that clearly says Vorkstag and Grine. Each one is written like a ledger, keeping track of something. Notes on things, parcels, and then further notes. Words like "haughty", "aloof", and "monster" appear on some entries, but also "our deal" and "damnation."

Who are Vorkstag and Grine? What dealings did they have with Sanctuary?

Signy is impatient, looking at the cellar doors. She realizes that the hole in the ground is not the cellar door, and that instead, the cellar door is still buried. "Look there, Torsten. Something dug out of the cellars. Or dug down to get something." Pike immediately takes precautions as Fido finishes, putting the notes back in Pike's pack, before the trio and Vutha, whose feathers look suddenly more treelike than before. Instantly the world around him changes, and he can see auras. Nothing outside, but instead, he sees, from the hole, like smoke, the aura of undead down below. There is something, or some things, down there, producing a fairly moderate aura of undeath. Signy sees the concern appear across his face, and looks back down. "What do you see, Torsten?"

How do they proceed?
Puzzling PiecesThe investigation reaches a fever pitch in the Lorrimor Apartment.

Hrani recites everything that occurred on their watch, from Morast to their latest encounter with the, apparently, shapeshifter or face-changer or whatever this Fey creature is. Jamir's eyes are alight, as he stands and walks over to the shelves, browsing for some light nighttime reading. He has nothing further to add to the conversation at the prospect of discovering a new secret, but Samovar, resigned that he will be cooking until dawn at the rate of return people keep showing, listens intently.

Morast and Hergstag merge together. Sullivani was only at one of them, Hergstag, and there was innocent of the crimes he stands accused. The death of the children came at the hands of Brother Swarm, no vanquished, and the chronological death of the children is a small point left out by the survivors. They seem intent that Sullivani killed all six children, yet if he was run from town and another child still died, how could that be? A fiction they gladly swear to and the child-like Sullivani is unable to defend himself against. For he certainly did not kill one of his few friends in the world.

Morast is a different matter entirely. Something, someone, was wearing the skin of that woman, the missing woman. Something, or someone, was run into the Dipplemere, and there bitten by a blood caiman. Yet the description does not match Sullivani in the slightest. And the fact that the woman's eyes changed... an oddity. Green. The eyes were green, when she began acting out of character.

So were Margot's.

Runa has her own point: had anyone seen Master and Miss Vorkstag at the same time? The answer therein is no, because no one yet has seen Master Vorkstag. No one knows what he looks like, and as such, that strand needs to be investigated. Jamir had looked at Margot Vorkstag's formulae list and said nothing about it, so Samovar at a pausing point in the conversation, grunts at him. Jamir stops what he's doing and turns, then looks down to the sheet. "Hm? Oh. Nothing there, just some minor preservation formulae. I think it might be transfiguration if translated to an arcane bit, something like... or no, something like abjuration. No, a transmutation with an effect like a shielding spell. Changing the skin to harden. Hmm.... Several options. I'll investigate further, but first...." Samovar shakes his head.

Everyone in the room, and the apartment, seems convinced: Sullivani is innocent of the crime in Morast; he was innocent of Hergstag. Sanctuary would have an answer by court time tomorrow. The question then is, when do they investigate Vorkstag, Vorkstag, and Grine?

"But what about the University?"

The voice is small, coming through the door of Kendra's bedroom. She opens it, her hair now a mess and down, her reading glasses on, her night-gown covered in a shawl of many colors, almost Varisian in nature, though nothing like Andrzej or Carlo's Vistani nature. She pulls it tighter, looking at Runa, Mara, and Hrani.

"It makes no sense. The only crime we know he committed, it is completely out of character for him. Sullivani would have no taste for artifacts and relics of past eons. Why would he attack Lepidstadt University? What happened to his eyes, like the attendant recited? Like his eyes were alight." She sighs, shaking her head. "I've yet to see anything that gives us an answer. The Whispering Way fits into this, somehow, but I'm not sure how yet. Whether connected to this... Vorkstag and Grine, you say? I cannot say. I doubt it, most people have not heard of them, and you do not have to be a member to be vile in this wide world." A sigh. "Perhaps I should have Adivion look into that. Or perhaps not. He is a charming fellow but I cannot say I want to lay my trust in him yet. He has things up his sleeve that frighten me. Perhaps it is simply he has not forgiven himself for his cowardice regarding Papa's funeral. But still." She shakes her head. "Silly me."

"Mara, I thought you'd be along soon and had Samovar warm the baths for you. Whomever wants the remaining water after that, you are welcome to it. I had enough drawn and warmed for anyone, since you're all likely dirty as sin." She laughs, a small, tired laugh. "Now, I think back to bed with me. Everyone will need rest if we're going to go gallivanting into workshops and court tomorrow. Everyone will need to be on their best." She smiles, nods, and closes the door behind her.

Samovar looks around, then to his sword, and for once, smiles. He misses the old thing.
 
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:15 PM
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Mara's eyes widen as the magus shares his revelation. “So Margot Vorkstag is the same Skin Stealer who impersonated Portea in Morast? That ... that is a brilliant deduction! Why, it makes perfect sense.” The singer remembers the odd way in which Margot's head had flopped to one side; there were other incongruities as well, subtle ones that were hard for her to pinpoint with her conscious mind, but all are now illuminated by Hrani's insight. “She ... she almost seemed uncomfortable in her own body.” The singer shifts uncomfortably in her chair as she nervously smoothes out her dress.

Her brow furrows in careful thought as she ponders the elf's question. Eventually she voices her opinion, speaking slowly as her mind continues to turn. “If the Skin Stealer is impersonating Master Vorkstag as well,” she glances at Runa to acknowledge her suggestion, “then we should confront him during the trial—if I recall, Radniche said that they would both be there. That would give him no time to prepare a defense, and he could be called to the stand immediately.” The soprano doesn't really know if this would be the best course of action, but it reflects an operatic background that emphasizes drama. “And even if he were innocent, our reveal should remain secret until the final act. Speaking with him beforehand might alert the Skin Stealer.”

“As for research, surely it would be wise to learn as much as possible about these skin stealers? Especially with the Professor's library,” she gestures broadly at the shelves of books covering the walls “and Jamir at our disposal.” She smiles kindly at the halfling, trusting in his inquisitive intellect more than anyone else's. “Speaking of which—were you able to glean any additional information from the including unidentified magic itemsevidence we deposited earlier?”

She nibbles upon some cold potatoes and an even colder piece of roast, washing them down with sips from her canteen as Runa relates her tale. Though the singer no longer doubts Sulliviani's innocence, she is still relieved that the paladin has uncovered conclusive proof. This relief dissolves into obvious disappointment when Jamir finally focuses upon Vorkstag's formulae list. A mere shielding spell, to harden the skin against attack. Were she as bright as Hrani she might abstract beyond this particular, to see potential applications to more far-reaching transmutations, ones that might restore her form—but she is not as clever as the elf, and she sees only what the halfling describes. Another hope is dashed. Suddenly she feels very tired.

The songstress stifles a yawn. “For now, I believe Miss Lorrimor offers us the best advice.” She gives Runa a sympathetic look. “You must be absolutely exhausted from riding so quickly to rejoin us. How cruel of us to keep you awake! Please, do retire for the evening. A good night's rest will be good for you—for all of us.” In truth, she is enticed more by the prospect of a long, leisurely soak in the bath, though she obviously won't say such a thing in front of Samovar.

 
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:57 AM
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Pike doesn't comment in the papers, without having them thoroughly translated he's not keen on jumping to conclusions at the mere mention of these names. Having them translated has become a priority when they return to Lepidstad.

Securing the papers in his backpack he focuses his attention to the hole in the ground "You're right." he says to Signy as she points out that something seems to have dug it's way through here rather then use the cellar door. Sitting on his haunches he narrows his eyes, glaring down into the darkness. A trickle of cold runs down his spine and he stands up, takes a step away from the hole "Undead, no doubt." he remarks "Corporeal, I assume since they had to dig their way out. Or in, either way it's probably not a spectre or a ghost of any kind." he eyes the cigar he'd just killed a moment ago, if only they had a stick of that explosive stuff he'd seen the prospectors in the silver mines outside of Druma use, he'd like nothing more than level this place and all that remains with it.

"I somehow doubt we'll find anything useful to our case hidden in that cellar, however we do have something of a moral obligation to deal with this." it's almost posed as a question, aimed towards Signy but seeing the steel in her face he knows there is no backing away from this "Right, moral obligation it is."

His hand goes to his belt, reaching for another small vial of brown, almost translucent liquid, pouring it down with a grimace there is a slight shimmer as an invisible force gather around him for protection "Signy take the lead, Fido follow after her, be ready to blast whatever you find down there, I'll take up rear with Vutha. May Nethys smile upon us." he loads one of the enchanted bolts into his crossbow, signalling to the others that he is ready.


 
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:43 PM
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'That ... that is a brilliant deduction!' Simple words Mara speaks without much thought, out of excitement for the revelation Hrani shared with the others. But what they do inside the magus is about as far from simple as can be. They make him feel something. Something he doesn't think he has ever felt before, and so his logical mind cannot figure out what exactly it is he is experiencing. It is not pride, as one might expect at receiving the compliment. No, Hrani would have felt pride had Pike or Runa given it to him. It isn't a sense of superiority either, which he might have felt had Carlo or Andrzej complimented him such. Nor is it a sense of accomplishment, which he had felt in the past when Lorrimor had been impressed by him. So what then is he feeling? It is definitely something positive, though there is a sense of confusion mixed in with it. He is pleased with the songstress' words. And yet, his earlier skepticism returns, after having been washed away for the period of their walk, where Mara tightly hung onto his arm. Why is it he has suddenly started trusting the woman? Started maybe even wanting to please her? It is not like that with anyone else in the group. He doesn't dislike any of the others, but he wouldn't be surprised to find any of them ramming a knife in between his shoulder blades from behind him. And yet, entirely out of character, he has come to trust Mara. The one person in the group he has watched countless times use that silver tongue of hers to do exactly this to other people. Disarm them, gain their trust, make them want to please her by giving her information. The fact that he trusts her makes him suspicious. Have her words twisted his mind as well? Or is it perhaps even more than words? Was her tongue perhaps not just magical in the metaphorical sense? After all, had Hrani not seen what happened earlier when Carlo attempted to cast a spell on her without permission? Innate magical defenses. Most commonly seen in creatures with other innate magical abilities. Even though the elf is pretty sure Mara is special, he has to admit a disturbing lack of knowledge when it comes to her race in general.

Comfort comes from an unexpected source. "I'd worry less about her and more about the others, and the problems on hand. She's just as alone as you, here among the others..." A vote of confidence in Mara's favor, from the most mistrusting Scimitar in the whole world. Now that, if anything, is disturbing.

Still, the advice to focus on the matters at hand is valid. There is Runa's theory that Master Vorkstag and Margot Vorkstag are the same person. "It is...possible, I suppose. If it is true indeed, confronting Vorkstag at the trial would be a good idea. But not before we have confirmed this theory, and learned more about the capabilities of Skin Stealers." Hrani glances pointedly at Jamir, though he figures to be involved in the research as well. "We'd need something to force his hand or reveal him to the public. And we'd need to know how dangerous he would be to all those present. But first things first. We know Vorkstag is going to be at the trial tomorrow. If someone can figure out where Margot is, and see her, then we can be sure they aren't one and the same. Because I am still open to the idea that Master Vorkstag is not the same person as his sister, and either doesn't know that she has been replaced, or does know but doesn't care, for example because he is a Skin Stealer himself..." Hrani pauses, when a thought occurs to him. "Of course, we should definitely do the easy thing and have someone check his eyes tomorrow. There's no way to be 100% sure, of course, but indications so far are that Skin Stealer Margot can't change those." The magus chooses to forego mentioning that if he were a shapeshifter like that, he would be doing precisely the same thing: Pretend like there was a feature he couldn't change. One that made him easily identifiable to his enemies. And then, when they were counting on that to protect them, impersonate someone they thought was on their side, because they lacked the easy giveaway he had led them to believe his transformations had. No, best not trouble the others with that, it would only worry them. 'And if one of them is already an impersonator...no reason to tell them I'm not really convinced by the green eyes thing.' Of course, that thought doesn't stop Hrani from giving all of his present companions, including the briefly emerging Kendra, a once over to confirm none of them have suddenly acquired green eyes.

The discussion of Morast complete, Hrani listens to Runa as she describes what the group found in Herstag. She doesn't give too many details, but she doesn't really need to. While the elf doesn't have the complete picture, it looks very much like Sullivany is innocent of those crimes, the same way he appears innocent of the Morast crimes. At least he apparently really was in Herstag and people didn't just blame him because it was easy, though his presence there might actually help clear his name, given the timeline the paladin has presented. Two down, one to go, with the Sanctuary contingent due to be back tomorrow. Two to go, in fact, as Kendra emerges to remind them. For there is still the matter of the crime at the university. The one he committed, clearly, though from his reports not of free will. There is magic that can control the mind of others. It wouldn't normally work on constructs, but Hrani wouldn't be surprised if those rules didn't apply here. "I agree, the university crime makes little sense. The question is whether we can still even do anything about it. From my understanding, that part of the trial happened today, I'm not sure more evidence on the matter would be accepted even if we uncovered more. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't important for us to learn. For let us not forget that that is the one crime which seems most likely to be linked to the Whispering Way. And it is them we are interested in. This whole thing with the trial has us sidetracking, and from the evidence we have uncovered, it appears we are on the side of the innocent. Hopefully that will be enough to help Sully, but no matter how this ends, our focus has to return to our original goal afterwards..." Hrani still isn't sure how much he really cares about the outcome of the trial. The mystery of whether the Beast is being set up, and if yes how, or whether it is just a victim of people blaming it, is almost more intriguing to him than whether Sully lives or not. If Hrani figures out the puzzle, he'll be happy. Or at least he normally would be. Except, Mara seems to care deeply about how this ends. And that fact alone seems to make him care somewhat. So for her sake, he is willing to try and save the Beast.

Hrani has been digging into the food provided by Samovar, but he too notices how tired Runa is. He also notices her massaging behind her eye patch...a behavior he does not recall having witnessed in the past. And new behaviors from his companions when he is wary of shapechangers make him highly uneasy. More uneasy than his usual self. However, seeing how tired Runa is makes Hrani finally process his own exhaustion. The thought of a bath does seem nice, to wash off the grime of the day's travel...and the stink of the Chymic Works, which most certainly is still clinging to his body and his clothes, despite the brief exposure. But of course, Mara first. He can only imagine how much more she needs it than him. She probably does not enjoy her skin drying out as much as it did with the recent travel, and he hopes the warm water will help sooth the pain left in her lower body from their earlier chase. "I think Mara is right. It is time for all of us to retire. We are all more than exhausted from the day's work. Mara, take as long as you need in the bath. I will avail myself of it once you are done, assuming I have not succumbed to exhaustion by then. But you definitely... For the slightest moment the magus hesitates, deciding on his words, so as to convey his meaning without Samovar understanding it. Mara would likely notice, and perhaps Runa too, but certainly no one who didn't already know there was something to hide. "...deserve it more. I put you through a lot today, chasing down all the...leads I wanted to follow. Please accept this as my sincerest apology for that." Perhaps if he were less exhausted...or more perceptive in general, Hrani might have noticed something was bothering the songstress. But right now, he is too busy with the longing for a bath - though he isn't sure Mara won't want to spend longer in the water than he'll want to wait - and the thought of a good night's meditation to regain his strength.

OoCI'm with ekidnu, I'm in favor of moving along to the next day, but fine with RP if we can't quite get the timelines linked up yet.



I'm not sure I know when the others are due to arrive the next day to touch base, so that might influence Hrani's plans for the next day. In principle, he'd like someone (not him, since she's threatened him with the guards) to get eyes on Margot while Master Vorkstag is at the trial to confirm/reject the hypothesis they are one person. He wants someone to check Master Vorkstag's eyes (that could be him and would have the added benefit of getting to see if the man seems to recognize him from the confrontation with Margot, though Mara and Runa I think are both at the courthouse anyway), and someone to research the Skin Stealer (another thing he could potentially do). I think Mara is due in court (and possibly Runa to? Even if not for Herkstag, she might be able to help out with Morast). Hrani most definitely should not be allowed to speak in front of anyone at the courthouse, but could of course tag along to help sort information and keep an eye on things.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:33 PM
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Sanctuary.As the dwarf downs yet another potion, the Eagle follows suit and again lets out a very casting greater magic fangunbirdlike call. She undergoes an even more remarkable transformation than before. Her talons and beak distort into something more primal, more reptilian. Their surfaces are now studded with rough horns, reminiscent of ancient dinosaurs, and their edges become more like razorblades than anything that would grow from an animal. She loosens her grip on his shoulder so as not to damage him, and prepares to launch herself at the undead. But waits for the paladin to lead the way, for she still doesn’t trust these cityfolk.




 
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