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  #16  
Old Mar 24th, 2021, 10:29 PM
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Zinxi listened to the man as he described the woman and the man with stomach conditions. She was concerned for them both. The man in a coma was likely safe for now but the other two could be serious. "Show me to them if you please." The gnome woman gave the man one of her determined/serious looks. Once he started moving she turned back to her two companions. "I shan't be too long." Turning back to the old healer she asked him more questions. "Can either the woman or man keep water down? Have they had signs of a fever? It could be food poisoning or a sickness. I can check for poison easy enough. But the danger is from dehydration. Food is less important than water. Give them a very hot broth if they ask for food. Oh yes... you must boil the water and let it cool but make sure everything is clean before use."
When they reached the first patient the woman in her white robes smiled and laid a gentle hand on the forehead to check for fever. She cast a spell to detect magical signatures. Then she cast a spell to detect if a poison was at play here. At last she cast a spell to detect if some fiendish presence was at work here.


 
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Old Mar 28th, 2021, 11:45 PM
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Roux
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With the mention of an infirmary Roux stiffed for just a moment, fingers digging into his forearms as his arm sat folded across his chest. Once their business with the clerk was done and they took their leave, he murmured to the both of them just over the howling gale around them, "I'll... keep watch outside this place. Th' wind will keep most folks at bay but if there's anyone huntin' us it's best t'give one of you two some forewarning." When they arrived at said infirmary, the human-sized goblin stared out from under his hood into the place, frozen, and quickly shut the door behind Zinxi and Avophior. He darted around the corner between a couple of buildings to not only combat the roaring winds all around him, but to tell himself it would be a better vantage point to surprise someone from. All the while having to make an effort to level his breathing while clawed hands reflexively checked his equipment once more.
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Old Apr 6th, 2021, 08:56 PM
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Aoine, the 15th of Deadtime, 1092 - 39 degrees in Orhill

The heroes weather down in town and wait out the storm. They're able to find accommodations for the night, and by the morning, the air is still as if worn out from the ravaging windstorm of the day before. The morning streets are bustling and the front gates open wide at dawn. The infirmary had a few extra visitors over the night, but on the whole the town seemed unimpressed by the travelers, and they are left alone. They leave the town to retrieve the wagon and steer the horses towards Orhill.
Though the road is not long, it does become rocky and desolate the farther they travel from the windswept grasslands (many fields still bent and plastered to the ground from the persistent winds of the days before). By the time they make it to the winding track which leads to Orhill, the grass is entirely gone, replaced only by rocky dunes and desert outcropping. Before they can see the gate they can feel the magic drain out of them, the very ground and air feeling empty in its absence. The door inside the vargo leads no where now, many of the items the heroes wear now lumps of useless material at worst, and mundane tools at best.
Orhill is set into a caldera in the ground, none of the buildings reaching higher than the edge of the depression, which is to say the hole the city is set in is deep, for the tallest buildings are looming multi-story structures. Once inside town they find the atmosphere tense with fear and suspicion. There are no gates and no person guards at the track leading down into town, just a looming iron golem with glowing blue eyes which watches them impassively when they pass. As they walk down the past they feel a rush, like wind though no air moves, and they are flooded with the feeling of magical power again for a few brief moments, until whatever the current was passes and they are once again bathes in the burdens of mundanity.

The party has the whole city of Orhill ahead of them. Where do they choose to go?
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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 10:31 PM
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The little gnome sorceress was in a good mood as the trio made their way overland. She really didn't mind travelling this way. Driving her caravan wagon was not a problem, it was almost second nature for her. She was leery as they drew near to the caldera. She took out her staff and laid it beside her on the wagons seat. She hooked her leg around it to keep it from shifting about. She called out to the Barron and Roux as they entered the zone of dead magic. "I don't like this place already." Zinxi had a frown on her face when she spoke. It was a pretty rare experience to see the woman frown.
As they made their way into the town and the sudden wave of magic returned fleetingly she tensed for a moment. As the wave of magic passed she let out a sigh of longing. "This is going to be very hard to become acclimated to my friends." Making their way further into the heart of the town she pulled up on the reigns to stop the wagon. She even went so far as to set the brake for a moment while they got their bearings. "Shall we find an inn first or try and find our contact or shall we send her a message and let her come and find us?"


 
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Old Apr 12th, 2021, 01:49 PM
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Avophior does what he can to prepare himself for the rumored inconveniences of the wastelands. Of the globetrotting he has done in his life, this was never a place which appealed to him and he avoided at all costs. Considering himself a creature of living magic, he half expects to turn to dust or for his blood to dry in his veins in a place without magic – even as his rational mind rebuffs such a thought. Still, it is the small things he does to comfort his journey. He pulls a couple nobles and a handful of groats and pennies out of his shoulder pack to put in his pouch as petty cash. There is also the need to be outside of the pocket dimension and in the caravan proper. Comfortable in the quiet, Avophior watches the landscape drift by, idly lamenting the disappearance of the green fields as they are replaced by brown shrubs and rocky ground. Not a woodsman by any means, he much prefers the green of the woods and the tan of prairie or the gray stone of mountain peaks over this drab landscape.

As the magic drains from him Avophior shudders, the weakness, the vulnerability… it is unsettling and uncomfortable. He looks down at his hands and flexes his fingers, cycling through all the things he can generally will into existence through them only to see bare skin and empty air. Not even a spark or a shimmer. “Well, this will be an experience for the memoires if nothing else.” He quips, as much to relieve the tension in himself as anything else. When they pause on the edge of the caldera Avophior gets out and joins Zinxi on the driving bench. “We should find an inn.” Is Avophior’s suggestion. “If we’re to maintain this ruse of our happenstance, it is a bit suspicious to drive straight to her front door.”
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Old Apr 12th, 2021, 10:37 PM
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Roux
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The morning trek out to the heart of Orhill was...enlightening, might be the best way to put it. He saw it in his companions most when they briefly passed through the threshold of the anti-magic that they had been warned about as well as having it wash over him. In his case, he maybe didn't feel as strongly effected. He definitely felt tired, heavier, more sluggish mentally. His scrolls were all worthless as was all the magic equipment on his person. Despite that, he knew he had his many years of rigorous training to keep him propped up. And that thought in and of itself kept a small smile on his lips as they passed through the other side and the rush of arcane power came right back into his every pore.

"I'm all for findin' a decent inn." Roux comments in that raspy voice of his. "Preferably one that's got a breakfast t'go with their mornin' mead." He chuckles to himself. "Never could pass up th' chance t'sample th' local brews. Only difference now is that I just pay for 'em instead of smugglin' them."
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Old Apr 17th, 2021, 11:02 AM
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Aoine, the 15th of Deadtime, 1092 - 39 degrees in Orhill

The motley crew descends the slope into the caldera city of Orhill on the single track which leads in from this direction. As they follow the road, before they are eclipsed by the large buildings, they can see there are other roads into and out of the city. All of them are, however, on the opposite side of the ridge of jagged rocks which form a natural wall, interrupted only by the depression the city is built in. The wall intersects the area only about a quarter of the way, so the majority of the city is ringed by the flat and barren wastelands "proper" and not the rocky area they've experienced on their side of town.
As the most frequent access by the rest of the 'civilized' world, as there is no other way into the city without crossing The Wastelands first, the first structures they find making it into town are a number of competing inns. Once at ground level the city looks like any other bustling metropolis, and the towering buildings are dense enough it is quickly forgotten (just by looking around) they are in a great crater, or on top of some dormant volcano. Of the two most immediate inn, one is far more clean and offers breakfast while the other is a dive. They are clearly catering to two separate clientele. The former establishment caters both to Avophior's sensibilities and Roux's preference toward breakfast. It also has a larger stable, which means room for both the carriage and for the horses in light of Zinxi's typical paddock being inaccessible.
Passing through the city there are people on the street, but such a large city they could have expected more. The people they do pass are friendly, though largely indifferent, and the air of tension and suspicion which is palpable in the air is not aimed xenophobically at the travelers. Walking among the people are golems similar to the one at the gate, though these are smaller and only about the size of a person: not a towering giant. The people give them a wide berth, avoid eye contact with them, cut down alleys or turn around to avoid crossing their paths. Once inside the inn, with the quaint if uninspiring name "First Stop Inn," with the carriage stowed and the horses stabled, the heroes find the atmosphere in the common room far more relaxed than outside. The people inside at this hour appear to be mostly travelers, unlikely any of them are locals, with people coming and going, checking and checking out. It's a busy place full of a multitude of races.
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Old Apr 18th, 2021, 02:55 PM
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The sight of the golems in the streets was upsetting to the sorceress. Who was in control of these creatures? What if something went wrong and they began to destroy the city or it's inhabitants? Without magic how would you destroy them? They were hard enough to destroy to begin with.
Making their way down into the city proper Zinxi was glad to find an inn with a proper stable for her caravan wagon and horses. She wanted to tip he stable boy but when she reached for her purse she realized she couldn't access her coinage. The little gnome woman suddenly blushed and had an embarrassed look come over her face. "Barron, Master Roux... In all the stress of entering the dead magic zone I forgot to retrieve coinage from my purse. I suppose I could ride back outside of the caldera and away from the dead magic zone but that could take some time. If we're lucky another wave of magic might pass through the city."
The woman was clearly not use to such an inconvenience as dead magic. It troubled her that she had forgotten to remove her coin pouch from her enchanted purse. As they made their way into the inn she was contrite and quiet, not her usual bubbly talkative self. Zinxi was very alert to her surroundings she was well aware of everyone and their actions. It was in her nature to observe people.


 
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Old Apr 19th, 2021, 10:47 AM
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"Think nothing of if." Avophior assures Zinxi, reaching into his pouch to retrieve some of the petty cash he had extracted prior to entering Orhill. He is quick to sooth her discomfort. After handing over more than enough for a tip and necessities for at least the next day he buckles his pouch back closed, working the gold plated brass ornamenting on the leather thong so they all lay smooth, taking the moment to brush away a smudge so they remain gleaming. As they exit the stable he takes in the room, and Zinxi's demeanor. She had effectively greased their entry through the last city, but with her sullen streak today, Avophior steps up to perpetuate their ruse in town.
Moving across the room he approaches the innkeeper. "Hello, sir. I have never been here before, this entire area. We happened to be near by on a dead-leg of some other business we were conducting and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to perhaps save ourselves the empty trip back home. We are from Kingseat and rarely come out this way, so I have no real sense of bearings as to what opportunities Orhill can present. Do you have any advice on how to orient ourselves?" Avophior talks loudly enough to be heard by most everyone in the room, without sounding like it is the performance it clearly is. The barkeep gives Avophior a level, if unenthusiastic look.


"I have a concierge, but not until the evening. I don't have good answers for you, but you can eat if you'd like while you wait, or have something to drink. Almost everywhere in the world has some sort of office down in the administrative district, and all the councilmembers have their own offices where they can help you, part of their job is to help newcomers like you. Sure picked the worst time to visit, though." He continues in a genial manner. While he may be tired of always reminding people he's not a tour guide, he is quick to fall into the comfortable and conversational tone he has practiced, the type of easy banter any good innkeeper develops.
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Old Apr 19th, 2021, 05:23 PM
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Pierre
In the corner of the First Stop Inn, a sandy-haired human takes a final, deep, satisfied swig of coffee. He sighs in contentment, leaning back with a creak in a decorative - but sturdy - chair. In this pose, he first observes the menagerie enter the premises. As his dragon-slitted eyes candidly assess the strangers, fingers trail casually down to the odd shield at his feet, from which a guttering glow emanates. Then, he relaxes, recognizing the embossed sigil on the robed figure's collar. He takes the barkeeper's pause as an invitation to rise, shrugging his shield into its sling.

Striding forward, he makes short work of his introduction. "Ah, if my eyes do not deceive me - and rarely they do, though often to my chagrin - you must be Lord Kenmore, the younger of course. Pierre the Shield, master archaeologist, at your service," he continues, sweeping an imagined hat off his head in executing a courtly bow, though one just recently out of style. He offers an equal bow to both gnome and goblin, in turn. "If I may be so presumptuous, I have some familiarity with this town, though I am just in yesterday myself. Even ran an expedition into the heart of the Wastelands." He reaches to touch his shield unconsciously. "I would be more than happy to play guide, gossip, and generally get mixed up in whatever adventure we manage to scare up, if you'll have me."

He bows to the gnome and goblin. "I must apologize to your companions; surely there are enough clues to recognize you, but my extraordinarily expensive hat has decided to gutter out at exactly the right moment. You see why my sense of chagrin is quite so developed."

Indeed, the Light cantrip Pierre had cast on his shield, though still extant, has given up any semblance of fighting the anti-magic tide, as Pierre explains. "Still, better to know when the magic is up, especially with all these golems sulking about. I haven't seen such a density since the tomb of Arkane the Paranoid!"

 


 
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Old Apr 22nd, 2021, 09:58 AM
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"The worst time, eh?" Avophior begins to ask. Magically aided or not, it is not hard to tell when someone is making their way across a room towards you, the same way as sometimes the feeling of being watched is palpable. "Just our luck then." He finishes, ending the conversation with the bartender in anticipation of the approaching man, how is comfortingly direct in his approach and introduction. When accurately identified Avophior inclines his head in a polite nod. "Well met Pierre, the fates smile upon us today. These are my companions, Dona Zinxi the healter and Roux, The Dragon's Tear. I accept your service, though we should get a table to talk." Already at the bar he takes the liberty of putting coin down on the counter. "A bottle of wine, something dry, red, and fortified. Enough glasses for all. And a tankard of something made locally for Roux."
Order made, he escorts the motley band to a place suitable for them to all sit. Having left his mostly-useless travel bag in the caravan he has little to unload as he sits, only adjusting the pouch and the dagger under it as he settles in. Leaning back into the chair Avophior crosses one of his legs over the other into a characteristic poised recline, a comfortable ease. Steepling his fingers in front of his face he taps his fore fingers against pursed lips. "Pierre, do you know why the Master of the House here seems to indicate inauspicious timing of our visit?" His gaze slides to the left and right, a couple quick looks to Roux and Zinxi, before adding, "Our itinerary simply brought us through, we have no distinct plans in the area."
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Old Apr 23rd, 2021, 11:33 PM
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The woman in the expensive white robes was very observant. She carried a staff that was even more extravagant and topped with an orb that was currently a dull milky white. Normally it had a reddish glow to it but with the dead magic of the area it was useful only as a melee weapon at present. Zinxi was watching the people inside the inn and she noticed the man who took note of their entrance. He looked to be a knight of some skill. The little gnome sorceress watched as he stood and made his approach. "Incoming." Zinxi whispered to the Baron as she watched the stranger.
The woman in white was quiet as the man introduced himself to the Baron. She gave him a smile and a nod when he mentioned herself and Roux. When Baron Avophior introduced her and Roux she gave Pierre a modest bow. She thought that getting a table was a very good idea. A private room would be even better but that might draw even more unwanted attention to the group. She used her staff like a walking stick as they moved to a table, she propped it against her chair when she climbed into it and sat down. The woman took great care with the thing due to the fact that it cost more than this inn and possibly several others. The thing was also her only reliable weapon here in this dead magic zone of a town. She was still a bit on edge without access to any of her magical abilities. Magic was her thing, her life's breath, her purpose here on this world.
Still she was aware and alert. She was glad to see the serving gal bring the bottle of wine and pitcher of ale to the table. Zinxi accepted the glass of wine and took a sniff of the bouquet before she sipped a bit and then took another more ambitious drink. It was obviously good from her expression. "Mmm! Not bad at all. Perhaps it will help settle my nerves. I feel so naked and exposed without my magic." The last bit was said in another whispered tone.

 
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Old Apr 25th, 2021, 04:51 PM
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Pierre
Pierre's smile widens. "Well met, indeed, Zinxi and Roux. You must tell me the origin of your moniker; I'm afraid mine is terribly obvious and not particularly interesting. Please, come join me at my table, all of you. I was about to have lunch, the special today sounded good - smoked trout in sauce of tartar. If the good baron buys the drinks, I must insist on buying lunch."

After conferring a moment with the bartender to arrange for additional meals, including payment, Pierre settles in with the other three. He accepts a glass of wine, though he'll not drink more than a few sips until the imported fish comes. He nods to Avophior graciously as he sets down the drink.

"Inauspicious? I'd say so! Like I said, this town crawls with golems - darn handy things when aberrations and mutants crawl out of the wasteland looking for a pound of flesh. When they aren't defending this bastion of civilization against the encroaching wilderness, they can usually be found contracted out to do useful work around the town - lifting heavy objects mostly, though some varieties can be put to finer work, albeit without a stitch of creativity. Last time I was through, even saw one rescue a lost kitten from a tree. They're also why Orhill has such a low rate of recidivism."

He pauses to thank the server, then takes a flaky bite of steaming fish. "Hmm, not bad for a place so far from the sea. Now, while last year schoolchildren draped garlands of flowers around golem necks and sang songs at festivals twice a year, things have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Golems are malfunctioning, going rogue, seemingly at random. Homes and businesses destroyed, monsters allowed to roam, and even killings - you'd never let children near them now. Not all have gone rogue, and the loyal golems have so far been in great enough numbers to subdue the rogues, but folk are running scared.

I'm no technician, and my specialties lie in ruins long buried, but I know a thing or two about magic - though perhaps not the most in the room, anymore. I was already fixin' to help out by myself; if you have a taste for adventure, for good deeds, or for whatever reward the town's mustered, I'm more than happy to work in a team. The evening, around 8-9, and the midnight hour have reliable magic access this time of year, so we can figure those as windows to do the detailed work."
He nods considerately toward Zinxi; he understands the feeling of vulnerability without reliable access to power. "Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself...haven't even given a moment for questions, let alone a decision!"

 

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Old Apr 28th, 2021, 10:40 AM
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Avophior takes his time enjoying the wine, savoring the nose before sipping while listening to Pierre talk. The new friend is a wealth of information, and already proving himself to be a valuable resource. Pleased at the kindness of fate for bringing them together. “So the golems have become unreliable. This is a recent event. Is there anyone in particular in charge of the golems?” He asks. In his head he crosses his fingers. This may be the unfortunate issue the subject of their true investigation was looking into before being stymied.
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Old Apr 28th, 2021, 11:24 PM
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Pierre
Pierre is more than happy to fill in a few more details while Roux and Zinxi enjoy their beverages.

"The golems are usually let out on contract basis, though I'd imagine some are sold fully. Even then, maintenance and upkeep tie everyone back to House Duncan - for generations, their workshop has controlled the majority of Orhill golems, which affords them considerable political capital. They'd be an obvious first stop in our rounds.

Now, assuming the Duncans haven't sabotaged their source of wealth and power, they aren't likely to be behind these malfunctions - though hopefully they can tell us what's happening, metaphysically, and point the finger at likely suspects. Likely you'll hear councilman Mitch Vandran's name floated. His Guard operate escorts to and from Orhill, but it's always rankled him that the authority and usefulness of his men basically stops once you reach the city walls. He and Aniela - the Duncan representative to the city council - are legendary for their shouting matches, though I've never had the privilege to confirm.

There's been bad blood between the Duncans and Vandrans for so long, I'd be surprised if Mitch is behind this - it would be too obvious! His family clearly stands the most to gain - and the Duncans the most to lose - if the city ceases relying on golems. I'd be interested to hear what theories he has, since - as the obvious villain - he has a vested interest in clearing his name from suspicion. "


Finishing, Pierre enjoys a long sip.

 

Last edited by Mythrandil; Apr 28th, 2021 at 11:25 PM.
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