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  #31  
Old Sep 8th, 2020, 02:44 PM
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Late Afternoon, 18th of August, 1885. Yellow Ledge, Western Protectorate.



"I have question yet. Why take me 'Baron'?" Gerhard gestured with a finger to the other cells as he continued. "Hunters, 'doktor', the butterfly girl. Easy to figure some function of theirs in your problem solve. Me? Am a blacksmith. Not so suited to possibly fighting demons. Unless you have design for me to work the Hellstone?"

The Baron turned to regard Gerhard with a raised eyebrow. "Oh no? I think a giant with a very large hammer and a penchant for scribing magical runes might be suited to fighting demons just fine. Like I said, the hellstone's mine 'n not t' be touched." He looks over the others as he reiterates his previous claim before settling back on the Jötunn. "The six o' ya fit the skill sets I was lookin' fer and y'all were in a position t' need somethin' I could offer. Simple as that." Whether or not there was more to his selection process was not offered, and the Baron's expression was PER (Empathy). TN15 (Challenging).
largely unreadable.


”With a few minor adjustments… That if the mission appears suicidal or can not be completed to your satisfaction there can be no retribution if we are unable to complete your task. And similarly if those conditions hold true… the attempt at it clears any criminal charges against myself or the others. And lastly… I want you to find out which of those two is more likely to have the answer to my problem. Given I know little of either organization, I prefer not to chase wisps.”

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"If you don't succeed I'll have attained nothin' and similarly you'll receive nothin' from me I haven't already given you. I've already spent more time and cost then anticipated, 'n I don't make a habit of rewardin' failure. However, if you return with information that's useful to me, we can always strike a new deal." Slatterbaugh's tone is even and without malice. A man stating simple facts. "As fer which of my favors you should choose... I haven't the slightest darlin', 'n I ain't yer research assistant. Library'll have more historical records. Academy'll deal more with th' Attunement 'n everything that came after. If you prove effective but one don't pan out I'm sure I can find more work for ya in return fer another favor."

"Success is not guaranteed. We’ll work to learn all we can and remove this obstacle, and you will honour our agreement." He held Slatterbaugh’s gaze with confidence whilst hoping that Posey was watching him.

Slatterbaugh returned the gaze, unflinching. "Nothing is guaranteed in this life, no matter what anyone else says. Not success, not profit, not happiness. However, I believe knowledge is power and in choosing the right people fer the right job. Right now I got no knowledge of what's down there, so all I got t' go on is the latter. That's you."

"Very well. I verbally agree."

Slatterbaugh gave a questionable look towards Ouzo, as if he didn't think much of the Spainard's honor. He said nothing to that effect, however, instead giving a simple nod and gesturing for the doctor to leave his cell and through the front door. "Glad t' hear it. My men outside'll set you up with everything you had on your person at the time of your arrest. If you can think of anything else you might need t' complete the job, see Knuddelmaus."

OOC
Dr. Ouzo revealed Slatterbaugh's Attitude: Neutral (10)!

 

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Old Sep 10th, 2020, 09:10 PM
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Li Jie. Late Afternoon, 18th of August, 1885. Yellow Ledge, Western Protectorate.
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Jie nodded his acquiescence to the Ore Baron’s counter, accepting the terms without further negotiation.

'Nothing is guaranteed…' The thought saddened him for a moment as his mind flew back across great open lands and vast heaving oceans to Australia where the body of his father laid, presumably unburied. They’d come so close to success and had been thwarted at the last by a strange conjunction, Jie’s condition and wretched thugs. 'Enough of the past.' Jie censured himself. He’d make good of his future or die trying.

He took a deep breath and prepared himself to do a number of things; get clean; talk with the rest without the Baron overhearing; try and take Posey aside; prepare for the coming ordeal with the demons of Mine Twelve. All of those he knew how to do but Posey. He wanted to ask her how she became horned. Where she was from and how she came to be here in the West. Did she have a special someone. What did she want from life? Those thoughts occupied his mind as they completed their meeting. He was nervous and excited as he left the cells.
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Old Sep 11th, 2020, 10:04 PM
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Captivity and Yellow Ledge
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The pixie’s words about teaching her magic made Nao smile sardonically. She knew Rhii was not planning on sticking around that long. Her smile turned into a smothered snicker as she heard the fae’s comments on Eoin’s size. True, Eoin’s actions were vulgar but Nao had certainly seen worse. It was more a matter of timing, and a statement on Eoin’s part, Nao thought. Hmmmm he’s got an ‘I don’t give a flying #@%^$%&^%%#’ attitude. I wonder if that’s a mask or an integral part of his personality.

The big blacksmith’s question was intriguing. Nao wondered how Slatterbaugh was able to learn about them. Nao was usually careful not to let people know exactly what she could do. Being a Baron must have many advantages. Nao wondered what else Slatterbuagh knew. Although, he wasn’t omniscient or he wouldn’t need this oddball group to figure out what was going on in his mine. Nao was slightly heartened by this. Even though it sounded like a highly dangerous job, and Slatterbaugh wasn’t willing to reward failure, Nao had a feeling she would learn something new. And if she got out of this alive, there was sure to be a story for her to tell.

She didn’t miss Slatterbuagh’s skeptical expression when Ouzo verbally accepted his terms. Astute, but polite for now. Well, he does need us. Nao schooled her expression to hide her amusement and addressed the baron herself. ”I accept your offer, with the rewards and stipulations that come with it.” She bowed, but only the bow of respect to an equal, and walked out of the cell, eager to clean up and investigate.



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Old Sep 12th, 2020, 03:00 AM
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Late Afternoon, 18th of August, 1885. Yellow Ledge, Western Protectorate - Gerhard Eisenhand: Eröffnung
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ᛊᛖᛈᚱᛁᛊᛁᚾᚷᛚᛁ to Gerhard, despite the Baron's profession that he had enough reason to have captured him, the seemingly considered and intelligent Baron had left himself open to an opportunity Ragnar had not anticipated. "Oh no? I think a giant with a very large hammer and a penchant for scribing magical runes might be suited to fighting demons just fine. Like I said, the hellstone's mine 'n not t' be touched." The man knew about Gerhard's Runenkraft, not exactly a secret but unlike his blacksmithing it was surprising knowledge of it had spread so far. Intriguing though that fact was it afforded Gerhard an easy chance to take advantage of the situation.

"Vervolgens mijnheer, what say you to trade?" Pressing his forehead against the bars of his cell, Gerhard's voice took on an almost lilting, playful, tone of voice as he continued. "How feel you about something extra for this? You have a mine, I am a blacksmith. You see where I am going, ja? On top of what you already offer, I ask for some hellstone of my own - safely processed for working - and in return, I make something out of hellstone for you and make it Runed and bijzonder for you. My hellstone and your hellstone be of equal weight and quality, of course." Metal clanged against metal as a single large hand extended through the bars, open in preparation for a handshake.

"We trade and I say yes to doing job you brought us here for."
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Old Sep 13th, 2020, 01:54 PM
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Eoin ‘Wild Hunter’ Dermott
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One by one, and slowly, everyone began to agree to the Baron’s terms one way or another. Say, except for Ragnar as the large man made his own stipulation in the form of a trade. It amused Eoin-- though, the Irishman wondered if he felt himself be surprised or not by the event? Perhaps he wasn’t, as Eoin knew the giant enough to know that he was shrewd and unflinching in almost every aspect. Then again, he didn’t know Ragnar enough to be completely unsurprised in the way the trade went about.

Either way, Eoin’s amusement was still a reaction to the exchange. Amusement...And curiosity. Hellstone. Ragnar a blacksmith. Ruinkraft. He should take notes on this. Well, Notes on everyone really, but in particular taking count of a magic he didn’t know much about. He had only seen it in books and his grandmother, Aileen, mention it at some point or another.

"Aye," Eoin responded at last. "I accept the contract within my ability to complete it."


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Old Sep 13th, 2020, 05:27 PM
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Rhii, focusedRhii shrugged as she looked at Slatterbaugh, and realized that he gave her just enough wiggle room to avoid getting into a deal that she couldn’t escape from. She hadn’t expected him to grant all the requests, but his wording was such that she could dodge her way through any loophole to satisfy herself. She nodded her head and said simply, ”I agree to attempt your quest.” It was simple, it was to the point, and it should be enough to satisfy the mortal into keeping her out of this prison.

Rhii’s attention shifted towards Ouzo with the suggestion of the drink. ”That depends… are you the one paying for drinks, or are we expected to provide our own refreshments?” She asked curiously.
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Old Sep 14th, 2020, 03:09 PM
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Late Afternoon, 18th of August, 1885. Yellow Ledge, Western Protectorate.
"You see where I am going, ja? On top of what you already offer, I ask for some hellstone of my own - safely processed for working - and in return, I make something out of hellstone for you and make it Runed and bijzonder for you. My hellstone and your hellstone be of equal weight and quality, of course."

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The foreigner had caught Slatterbaugh's attention, that much was immediately apparent. As terms were accepted one-by-one and each cell's occupant made their way towards contractual freedom a tension filled the air as the Baron considered Gerhard's offer. He slowly reached up and stroked his mustache with thumb and forefinger a few times before answering with a pointed finger. "Yes. I see where yer goin' Mr. Eisenhand, 'n I'll do ya one better. Somethin' tells me while you may have an interest in hellstone ya haven't had much practice with it yet. No offense, but I prefer my pieces t' be struck by an experienced hand. However, I'm keen on seein' firsthand what this runenkraft of yours can do." Slatterbaugh's thick, Southern accent actually made a passable attempt at pronouncing the Western European colloquialism. He even went so far as to roll his "r's" and bring the "k" in kraft from the back of his throat. "You rune up somethin' a' mine after we settle this business 'n I'll give you a smelted ingot of similar size to do with what you will. Mind you, I'll be lookin' fer somethin' permanent. Not one of those unstable jobs that dissipate with th' settin' sun. Deal?" Seeing the Jötunn's outstretched hand, at least half-again as large as any normal man's, Slatterbaugh stood up and shook it without trepidation. Gerhard may make a PER (Touch) or STR (Might) test if he chooses. TN 11 (Average).
The Baron's grip was firm and he gave a single, solid pump.


As each member of the newly-formed task force exited the Sheriff's Office they were greeted with a yellow-orange sun hanging low in the sky and in their eyes, just above the building directly across the street as well as the Rocky Mountains looming ever-present in the distance. If they shielded their vision they could make out the words Dead Man's Happiness painted in white across the shingled awning that covered the wood-slat walkway. The words were legible but the hand that lettered them was neither artistic nor practiced. Along the second story ran a balcony that connected four doors and ostensibly four rooms for rent. A woman who had been previously leaning aimlessly on the railing straightened up and took notice of the group's departure, waving a hand in their direction and flashing a smile that left little doubt as to her interest. Her dress, while seductive and displaying no small amount of cleavage, was plain of cut, out of style, and was probably just about the fanciest thing one could find in Yellow Ledge. Voices could be heard from inside through the batwing doors along with something akin to piano music. Next door a cart full of hay bales out front and a glimpse of fencing from the back singled-out the stables, though no sign adorned this building. Also peeking from in-between the two buildings were two rows of housing a ways off, perhaps a hundred yards or so; the miners' dormitories.

To the North, immediately adjacent to the Sheriff's Office, a familiar wagon remained parked along the road. Half-a-dozen of Slatterbaugh's armed henchmen loitered about, though at the sight of the six of you they became marginally more alert. Two of them hefted a large chest off the back of the barred wagon and half-dropped it into the dirt. Popping the lid open they revealed a mess of weapons and instruments, though each one of you could identify and reclaim everything you had on you prior to your arrests. Slatterbaugh's "assets" seemed disinclined to converse, content to merely sneer, chew, blow smoke, and spit in your general direction, but who knows? Maybe there was a chatterbox in the bunch. The dirt street ended in a large courtyard enclosed with a knee-high stone wall. Inside the grass was clearly brown and dry. A number of bushes and plants were near-devoid of foliage or flower. The centerpiece of this disappointing sight was a large tree with crooked, bare branches. A series of holes in its base gave the distinct and unsettling image of a face howling in agony. Behind the courtyard was a large building, nearly as large as Dead Man's Happiness. Based on previous conversations it could only belong to the Mayor, Samuel Lott.

In the other direction, two doors down from the Sheriff's, a large barber pole occupied the front of the house. It twirled lazily in the late afternoon, clearly trying to steal what little attention there was to be had along this sleepy avenue. Just beyond that a sign swung overhead in the stiff breeze, the silhouette of a barrel and sack burned into the planks. The rutted road continued South out of town and into an expanse of flat and mostly barren horizon. Somewhere in that direction lay the bustling city of Denver from whence you came.



OOCMap of Yellow Ledge

All PC's regain full access to all of their equipment and weapons!

 

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Old Sep 16th, 2020, 09:13 PM
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Late Afternoon, 18th of August, 1885. Yellow Ledge, Western Protectorate - Gerhard Eisenhand
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ᚷᛖᚱᚺᚨᚱᛞ was impressed by Slatterbaugh's taking his hand as few men were so unhesitating in shaking hands with him, often pausing for the barest of moments as they considered
Dice Manly Hands (STR: Might):
3d6+1sch11 (4, 1, 6)+1 Total = 12
what might happen once they were caught within. "You rune up somethin' a' mine after we settle this business 'n I'll give you a smelted ingot of similar size to do with what you will. Mind you, I'll be lookin' fer somethin' permanent. Not one of those unstable jobs that dissipate with th' settin' sun. Deal?" For all the man's protectiveness of the hellstone he had been readily won over by the prospect of something made and imbued by Gerhard. He himself hadn't planned on being able to get his hands on hellstone of his own so easily. 'Hoffentlich these others can do their part. Would be inopportune to have to break this cover so soon. The hellstone could prove useful too. Gerhard thought to himself as he waited for his cell to be opened and his manacles removed.

Like the introduction of a metronome's ticking into a silent room, Gerhard noticed the accessibility of his powers come back to him. The manacles had, obviously, a function beyond their self evident one but he had not noticed the absence of what was otherwise an ever-present sense of awareness, like breathing or blinking. In the cells he had not needed to draw on his power and so had not ever noticed the blockage. Rolling his wrists the giant waited his turn to collect his meagre belongings from Slatterbaugh's men: a simple but well made rucksack stuffed with most of his sundries and personal items, and a broad belt with a complex a arrangement of loops, pouches and flaps all laden with the myriad tools of his trade. Looping it around his waist Gerhard nodded to no-one, glad to have it back. Ragnar's habits meant that he rarely actually took the tool-belt off, even to sleep, and the return of it's familiar weight was comforting.

"Ach! But am I glad to be out! No more small places, ja? My shoulder ache greatly..." Gerhard's voice was light, and the aches he felt were not so impactful, however it was truly a pleasure to be outdoors and not restrained anymore. The town laid out before him was not the smallest he had visited but it was very much an alien sight. Dry, dusty, and looking less vital than a wolf's leftovers in the middle of summer. Rolling his massive shoulders, rucksack slung over one shoulder and tool belt tinkling like wind chimes as he moves, Gerhard sauntered over to Eoin with a barely concealed grin. "What say we have rematch? Think we both need a drink to-" Gerhard's comment was cut off by what seemed to be a bearish growling from his midsection. Scowling darkly he briefly regretted not eating the 'baron's' provisions. Certainly, Ragnar had gone for longer with less but with freedom afforded to them he was not about to keep himself from eating.

Looking around, he noticed the sound of piano playing coming from one of the buildings and could have easily taken himself over and surely found some food. The men that had escorted them here were understandably but from a disreputable cloth, but Ragnar had encountered their type before. Slatterbaugh likely kept them in line through power, some measure of threat, and keeping good on his payments. The men themselves were likely to be bullies, and wherever bullies convened there invariably would be an idiot or a victim among them. Wheeling around with a stormy look on his face he stared at the men in turn as he spoke. "Und ja, I will speak to one that zapped me on way over here." Standing literally head and shoulders over the assorted disreputables he glowered at each
Dice COM (Leadership):
3d6+3 (5, 2, 1)+3 Total = 11
one in turn like a drill sergeant laying into his recruits over some failure in discipline. Relaxing his shoulders ever so slightly he continued. "It was good reaction, deserve drink. On me."
OOC 1. STR (Might) for the handshake with Slatterbaugh.
2. COM (Leadership) for intimidating/cowing someone in the "assets".

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Old Sep 16th, 2020, 11:32 PM
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Eoin ‘Wild Hunter’ Dermott
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Eoin couldn’t get out of his shackles fast enough, in his humble opinion. Was there anything worse than being locked up, under the will of another, and without so much as a say in the matter? To him, not much could compare to that sort of personal nightmare. So, once released from his cell, he practically beelined out the door of the sheriff's office and strode out to the dusty road.

He took in a long breath, his hands at his hips as he surveyed the dried, simple town. Nothing seemed quite as pleasant. Even bones could be beautiful in some eyes, and the town certainly was the barest in many respects. But, it had felt too long to taste the air of liberation. He needed an open road-- an open space. Without knowing it, it felt as if he had been suffocating the entire time he was under lock and key. Not to mention how naked he felt without his personal belongings, and now--

Eoin blinked, his thoughts interrupted as a looming presence and a shadow cast over him. He turned to see Gerhard standing there with a grin, and said, "What say we have a rematch? Think we both need a drink to-" Before the giant could finish, Eoin looked down-- well, more like eye-level, to Gerhard’s midsection at the sound his stomach made. It was as if the giant had swallowed a furious badger and it demanded either food or freedom.

The Irishman blinked, not having noticed he had taken a surprised step back from the hungry noise. Eoin broke out into a hardy chuckle a moment later and goodnaturedly slapped the big man’s stomach. "I’d say that’s be a fine idea, there. Lookin’ forward to it...If yer buying the first round, eh?"

Eoin adjusted his rifle over his shoulder before he started trudging toward where lovely music was playing-- almost as if it were calling his name like a lover’s whisper. Speaking of lover. Eoin looked up as a woman waved down at them from across the way. His smile turned coy as he gave her a wink and a two fingered salute even as he approached the saloon. Even the name, Deadman’s Happiness, spoke to him on some primal level. Or perhaps it was just ironic, personally.


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Old Sep 18th, 2020, 02:43 AM
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Li Jie. Late Afternoon, 18th of August, 1885. Yellow Ledge, Western Protectorate.
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Jie echoed Ouzo’s sentiment with an emphatic nod of his head. He wanted nothing more than to be clean and to familiarize himself with the town and its occupants better. Their freedom earned, Jie was keen to be out under the setting sun and back in possession of his effects. He took leave of the cells and the crafty Baron and was out through the door, moving his bulk with the enthusiasm of a released beast.

Jie watched each of the others as they strode down the street. He straightened his back and stroked his beard, hoping to ease its frizz but failing. The new direction Jie’s wanderings had taken have given him a new sense of purpose and he felt a lot better. That and the cool water the lady had given him. Now to get his gear.

He went straight to the wagon and found his father’s dao first. The rings on the back of the blade jangled and clinged as he checked it, looked down the blade and holstered it, the holster going under the back of his garment in such a fashion as it could be drawn from underneath the trailing edge of the rustic woolen coat. He also unrolled and checked his bank membership, briefly thinking of his mother, so far away. He’d write to her tonight, telling her of his new opportunity, being careful to leave out the danger into which he was embarking, and promise to send money as soon as he could after the mine exploration was complete. The thought also gave him hope and he breathed in deeply, trying to draw in calm and peace. For all the unrest, he might soon be able to make order in his life.

Jie watched the others as they re-equipped themselves, wondering at Gerhard’s gear and curious as to the purpose of each of the Blacksmith’s tools. "A drink." He said with finality. "Can you tell me about what you make?" He beckoned to the bar intimating any discussion should take place after they whet their throats. He also noted the many varied firearms the group sported. He said to Ouzo, "I never learned to shoot. Should I learn how to use one of those?" He indicated Eoin’s rifle.

While they headed towards the bar in good spirits, he checked over his shoulder to see if Posey was around. He thought he would take the time to clean up, make himself presentable and then seek her out. He resolved to make good on any opportunity there was to speak with her.
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Old Sep 18th, 2020, 02:45 AM
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Ouzo
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhii View Post
”That depends… are you the one paying for drinks, or are we expected to provide our own refreshments?”
Ouzo laughed heartily at something Rhii said, though it was unclear if it was because the fairy could provide her own refreshments, or because he was avoiding her question altogether. On his stroll to the exit (though without slowing), he bowed his head to Sheriff Posey and gestured to what was left of their spreads, "I've been fortunate to sample hospitality from more than one such establishment, but never has it been as unique an experience as your home here... Mm! ¡Qué aproveche!"

Yet another prison exited. He stopped to breathe in the open sky and coming dusk. Nightfall was always like a warm blanket, swaddling and safe.

Despite the henchmen's demeanor, Ouzo gave them the polite nod of any upstanding citizen and gathered his things. Multiple days of their somewhat lacking company made their resolve to silence clear enough. No sooner did he reset his half-buttoned, single-breasted trench over his shoulder satchel than he replaced the cigarette between his pointer and middle finger.

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Originally Posted by Jie View Post
"I never learned to shoot. Should I learn how to use one of those?"
"Of course, friend Jie. You'd pick it up in no time. Easier still, if you had the guidance of a teacher," he gestured to Eoin with his cigarette, though he didn't know the finely dressed man's name. "The weapon of a gentleman, that blade. Neither it nor a clean rifle are often found in the layman's arms. You are very well trained in marksmanship then, good sir...?"

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"Ach! But am I glad to be out! No more small places, ja? My shoulder ache greatly..."
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"Best enjoy the fresh air as much as we can, while we can, no?" He lit his smoke and breathed it in without a hint of irony. "I do not imagine mines to be carved for lounging," The Spaniard flashed a smile, winked, and turned for the bathhouse. At the mention of a drinking rematch between the red-haired man and the blond, Ouzo looked over his shoulder to catch Jie's attention. "Friend Jie, I believe we were having such a rematch before our host so rudely interrupted - some new competition would be welcome! After the half hour, of course. ¡To meet new friends in such a state after two days' travel - dame el bastón!"

In the brief walk to the baths, taking long strides and rotating his ankles to fight off the stiffness, Ouzo sized up the town.

A barber? How odd, in a place this remote...

Quite the view, that balcony. Perhaps the Irishman can glean any of what she may have seen.

Wilted grass around a spectral tree...? He looked back and forth between the other nearby patches of grass. The wilting there must not be from drought alone.

Yellow Ledge seemed so... plain. Unsettlingly so. The kind of plain that was trying too hard to be plain. Like a place that preferred to keep its secrets buried deep in the earth... along with a mass of brooding demons, apparently.

He made only pleasant introductions at the bathhouse and inn, more interested to sit with these new characters before trying to gather information about town. Though the water beckoned him - he could have simply napped there, after the aching ride, full meal, and now his return to freedom and his smokes - he remained focused and bathed quickly, intending to claim his room at the Dead Man's Happiness, stash his belongings, and settle into a table to properly meet these new business partners.

OOCOuzo is planning to take a quick bath at the bathhouse to freshen up, drop his satchel off in his room at the inn, and grab a table to wait for the other PCs within the 30-minute proposed timeline. He'd make casual greetings to any business owners or staff at the bathhouse and inn, but if left to his own devices, would hold off on any real interactions/information gathering until after the initial meeting with the other PCs. If any of this would trigger a scene, or if any events should happen in a different order, please do let me know if I should go back and truncate the post at any post.

Major Action:
Minor Action:
Free Actions:
Stunts:
Ongoing Effects:

 
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Old Sep 18th, 2020, 10:51 PM
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Captivity and Yellow Ledge
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Nao gave a snort of amusement at Rhii’s question of whether Ouzo was paying for drinks. A con man never paid for drinks. That got Nao to wondering what the fae did drink, however. Could her system handle alcohol? Would her size mean she’d get drunk faster? Or would her diminutive stature mean it would go through her body faster so she wouldn’t stay drunk? Realizing she’d gotten sidetracked, she nodded at Rhii and made a I’m going on ahead gesture as she hurried out of the jail. Hopefully she would not see the inside of another one for a long while. Or ever.

Once outside she took a deep breath. The air smelled dry, dead, with another faint scent she couldn’t identify. After listening to Gerhard and Slatterbaugh barter over hellstone (impressive bit of bargaining, that) she wondered what that ore smelled like. What did demons smell like? Well, she supposed she would find out.

Motion on the balcony of The Dead Man’s Happiness caught her eye and she felt her mouth quirk in a sardonic grin. The oldest profession was alive and well, even here. She wondered if the lady would mind another female. Nao didn’t really care what gender her lovers were but finding male prostitutes was nigh impossible. Most of the time, the soiled doves really didn’t care what gender you were either if you paid well enough, but Nao didn’t realize this the first few times so she had shifted into a man. Amazing what one could learn from a paid flower. Information and pleasure. She made a mental note to try her luck there if she had time. But not yet. She needed to get her things and get clean first.

She warily retrieved her effects from Slatterbaugh’s thugs. Hearing Jie’s question about learning to shoot, she hoisted her own gun over her shoulder and wandered over. ”Indeed, a well kept gun can make life much easier and safer. Let me know if you’d like a lesson, Master Jie, it helps keep me in practice as well.”

As the others talked of getting drinks, she winced. She had promised herself never to get into a drinking contest with the Irisman again...But if there were others there it wouldn't be a contest, would it? ”Aye, I could do with a drink myself but before anything else I am going to take a bath. I’ll look for you once I am freshened up. Then perhaps we can discuss this singularly odd situation we all find ourselves in. There are some things I’d like to do around this… town… before we march off to mystery and mayhem."



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Old Sep 21st, 2020, 12:39 AM
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Rhii took to the air and took on a puzzled look as the giant started laughing at her serious query. ”I do not understand the joke.” She said simply, her head tilting to the side as she hovered. ”Mortals are strange.” Rhii shrugged and found her own possessions to the side… Mildly pleased that they hadn’t been buried under the mounds of gear that accounted for the possessions of the giants, for it would likely have been crushed and flattened.

Her bow and quiver was just as she left it, every one of her small arrows perfectly intact and resting in their places. Her pack still held her healer’s kit, papers and writing utensils, her notes on giant physiology, her spare herbs and lastly… Her hand reached into her back and removed a small sack that was sealed with a number of protective runes. She gave the small bag a small hug as she held it close to her, one of the few objects that she possessed that reminded her of home.

 


Her hand wiped over her cheek as she brought herself back into the moment and carefully tied the straps of the purse into the sash of her belt, giving it a loving pat. She hated why she needed it, but it reminded her that her wife did care… In her own ways. She smiled in what felt like the first time in a few weeks.

The Irishman seemed to take a particular interest in the Rhii’s guess, not that she cared one way or the other about the profession… She had treated more than a few for a collection of occupational illnesses. She just had a feeling that she might be the type.lady of the night She again smelt the crisp scent of the ocean from the man and resisted the urge to go chasing after it. ”I can not think of anything that I would need, more than a quiet place to myself and five minutes.” She said, thinking about how nice it would be to actually clean her dress and that which is under it.
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Old Sep 21st, 2020, 11:10 AM
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Late Afternoon, 18th of August, 1885. Yellow Ledge, Western Protectorate.
Gerhard and the Crony
"Und ja, I will speak to one that zapped me on way over here." Standing literally head and shoulders over the assorted disreputables he glowered at each
Dice * COM (Leadership):
3d6+3 (5, 2, 1)+3 Total = 11
one in turn like a drill sergeant laying into his recruits over some failure in discipline.

Slatterbaugh's cronies had... mixed reactions to the Jötunn's attempt at intimidation. Some of them stood up straight and squared their shoulders, ready for a confrontation. Others shrank back and shifted their weight nervously, unsure of the nature of this new crew's relationship with the Baron. Before Gerhard could continue a man stumbled forward out of the group, apparently having been shoved forward by his associates. Taking several unstable steps before regaining his balance, the man stopped a few paces from Gerhard and looked up with a mixture of aggression and fear.

left-aligned image
He was of Hispanic ethnicity with short, stringy black hair held underneath a weathered-yet-functional sombrero. Thick eyebrows framed what could be permanently-squinted eyes, and an equally heavy mustache dropped straight down the sides of his mouth to his chin. He was heavily armed, as was the rest, with revolver, knife, and the electric baton Gerhard referred to. Though whether shell-shocked or cowed into submission his hands didn't stray near any of the weapons. At first glance he gave off the typical impression one might get from a tycoon's lackey.

Relaxing his shoulders ever so slightly he continued. "It was good reaction, deserve drink. On me."

The fear and aggression both vanished from the man's face and was replaced with confusion. He cocked his head and looked back at his team who began to half-whisper a multitude of suggestions;

"He givin' ya a right dressin' down, chap. Gotta pop 'im one t' re-assert yer manhood!"

"I t'ink dat giant be dangerous... No sense in followin' 'im, lest ya plan on pickin' dat enormous pocket, ay?"

"Hey, look everyone, Mila's got a new boyfriend... I think they're gonna go make out!"

After a moment the man merely shrugged and followed Gerhard, staying several paces behind him and the others as they made their way into the saloon.

The Bathhouse
Approaching the barber pole you can see it stands about four feet tall and wide enough for an average-sized person to wrap their arms around. The red and blue stripes spin slowly and eternally upward, creating a somewhat hypnotic movement if stared at for too long. The front yard has a quarter-circle fence of short wood slats that enclose four herb boxes with various plants in late stages of growth popping out of the dirt. An open front door and closed screen door allows you to peer inside the house where you can make out a spacious first floor that you can see clear through to the back yard. Two stations along one wall each feature a barber's chair in front of a wooden vanity. A soft, jazzy musical piece emanated from somewhere beyond.

Knocking on the flimsy frame of the screen door elicits no response. Entering triggers a small bell above your head to chime and a moment later a voice calls out from the backyard. "Come on back! I'm outside!" The entire interior was what one might expect if a barber shop from two generations ago was maintained as well as could be expected. The barber chairs had a few patched holes and rust spots, the vanities' wood had been chewed and degraded in places, stained and re-stained, but seemed to remain solid and each held a small collection of razors, scissors, creams, soaps, and other accoutrements one might expect. The mirrors had acquired dingy spots around the outer edges giving their reflections a hazy, dreamy quality. Opposite them were a few chairs centered around a coffee table. This furniture was of similar old-yet-sturdy quality and on the table a small handful of out-of-date periodicals were lined up, straight and fanned.

right-aligned image
Heading out the back door, you find the music coming from an old phonograph player and a woman hanging linens along a laundry line. "Only two of you, eh?" She spoke her first sentence without turning around while she finished hanging a large, fluffy towel before facing Ouzo and Nao. The woman had a similar ageless quality that seemed to envelop Dr. Ouzo, though while his kept him somewhere within middle-age this woman was clearly more advanced in years. Though whether those years numbered forty or eighty, one was hard-pressed to say. She held them with the grace that only an elf could, as evidenced by her sharply pointed ears that flared back from her face at a near-horizontal angle. Her skin was dark, the color of chocolate and in contrast her hair was white, wrapped up in long, thick locs and held in place by a number of brightly colored bands. She wore a blue outfit that seemed a cross between dress and robe; light blue with a simple edging of gold thread and a high collar. It was plain and featureless, but clean and elegant all the same. "I thought there might be more, considering the length o' your journey and the conditions." Her outward appearance and tone was friendly and warm; that of a service-provider welcoming potential clients.

She beckoned the two to follow her as she lead them a short distance behind the house where a dozen washtubs of rough-forged tin and copper lay scattered about the field of scrub and dirt. Each one had a pole attached with a circular ring overhead from which hung a cloth curtain that could be pulled open or closed for privacy. As the woman began pumping water into two of the tubs from a nearby spigot and hose a younger girl trotted out of the house, barefoot. This one was clearly a descendant of the older woman though still adolescent, possibly somewhere between ten and twelve years of age. As one tub filled the woman gestured to it and the girl rubbed her hands together for a short time, muttering disjointedly under her breath. Her hands moved faster, and faster still until the eye could no longer perceive the appendages. Just a red, blurred glow that effused from the friction. When she stopped her hands positively blazed with red-yellow pulsing light and she thrust both arms towards the tub. Within a matter of seconds the water began to steam and the girl repeated the process with the second tub. With nary a word to Ouzo and Nao, she waved at them enthusiastically with a crooked, childish smile and ran back into the house.

The woman gestured towards the tubs and set a pristine white towel and robe on a small end table next to each one. "If you require anythin', my name's Alcina. Mr. Slatterbaugh took care of all the arrangements, you and the others are welcome to any of my services during your time in Yellow Ledge." She made a small bow and began to take her leave, but paused mid-step. "E'eryone here is grateful for your efforts."

The water was clear and hot to the point of near-uncomfortability. Soap had been provided. Clothes were washed if asked. All that was left to do was languish in the relaxing atmosphere that had been provided. Alcina had certainly turned the business of cleanliness into an artform, at least as much as she was able to out here next to nowhere.



Dead Man's Happiness
left-aligned image
Inside the saloon PER (Empathy, Hearing, Seeing). TN 13 (Challenging).
the atmosphere certainly tried to be lively; a piano was played in one corner giving off one animated song after the other. The seven tables of various sizes were all fully or partially occupied with patrons, from their garb and general vocabulary you'd guess this constitutes the majority of the miners that remain under Slatterbaugh's employ in Yellow Ledge. Several card and dice games were underway. The long bar had about a dozen stools, most of them empty and behind it the bartender surveyed the room, wiping down mugs. True to the establishment's name he was a human man, or at least was humanoid at one point. His flesh was pallid and sunken to the point that by all accounts he should be dead yet here he was, cleaning mugs and serving drinks. The wall at one end of the bar had been plastered with a dozen or more posters advertising rewards for various bounties. Many of them were faded, inked over, or otherwise defaced to the point of being illegible. The main portion of the second floor was open to the common room with a staircase and mezzanine at the front of the room and another at the back, over the bar. Each balcony had a number of doors that ostensibly led to guest rooms.

Most of the clients stopped to stare at the group that had entered. While you could see the occasional dwarf, elf, and even one reptilian anthromorph, the gargantuan jötunn and diminutive pixie provided a stark contrast in size to Eoin and Jie and was apparently enough to cause a bit of a disruption to the normal amount of chaos in such an establishment. Either that or word had gotten around about the strangers Slatterbaugh had brought into town in a mobile jail cell and the curiosity could not be ignored. A moment of relative silence followed; conversations stopped, games halted, the only sound was the piano whose operator was either dedicated to their task or oblivious to the arrival.

Whether or not the group acted on the attention given to them everyone eventually went about their business, leaving Gerhard, Eoin, Jie, and Rhii alone for the most part, aside from the occasional stare or whispered comment to someone nearby. The lady whose eyes Eoin had met outside sauntered in from the outdoor balcony and was content to lean over the indoor railing, watching the events unfold with laissez faire. The only other one who distinctly made no notice of the arrivals was a heavy, hunched figure occupying a stool at the end of the bar. Perhaps not as tall as Gerhard, but wider with a massive amount of bulk underneath a trenchcoat. A shock of short, white hair and a large pair of bovine horns protruded above the coat's collar and at the ends of the legs where feet or boots should have been were a pair of jet black hooves.


OOC
The bathhouse descriptive scene kind of got away with me. I started writing and it just all came out! I know the intention was to just clean quickly and join the others at the saloon. Feel free to continue with that plan and return later to investigate, Alcina will still be there. Or Ouzo and Nao can talk to her now, whatever tickles your fancy!

Map of Yellow Ledge

Lore entry unlocked: Alcina Kerrisk!

 

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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 01:49 AM
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Ouzo, BathtimeFollowing the proprieter's voice to the back, the Spaniard found the "bathhouse" - oversized buckets tossed about a weedy lawn. Still, it beat wading into some muck-filled creek already inhabited by every manner of microscopic thing that wiggled and crawled and, after the Attunement, who knows what else.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bath and Barber Proprietor View Post
"Only two of you, eh? ... I thought there might be more, considering the length o' your journey and the conditions."
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"So you have already heard of us? Oh dear. Terrible rumors, all of what they've said! Allow me to reintroduce myself, then; I am Dr. Ouzo," he bowed with a flourish and a grin. "And you and your establishment, madam, are joy to the senses! A true beacon of civilization. Another day riding in that ruedras cuadradas and and you wouldn't be able to tell me from the horse. Alas, you have us at a disadvantage, miss...?" Ouzo didn't have any ulterior motive in chatting up the barber, nor did he think she would've been had by any city-slicker charm even if he did. On the contrary, it was rare that the good doctor came across someone from whom he neither desired nor feared, and so, this far out into the Protectorate, he thought he might share in the enjoyment of a little transparent showmanship. After Alcina introduced herself and explained her services, Ouzo accepted a bath and clothes-washing, but apologized for his somewhat-rush due to having another engagement.

When the little girl (perhaps Alcina's child, though considering their ears who knew how many generations removed) invoked some sort of magical heat to prepare the bath water, Ouzo's smile renewed. Life after Attunement never ceased to be amazing.

Catching the girl's eye, he reached deep into his inner coat pocket. He glanced over either shoulder. When he pulled his hand out, his fist Ouzo casts Figment!coveted something ever-so-mysteriously. He peeked at it, looked back to the little girl, then with a look of feigned surprise, displayed the secret in his outstretched palm. In his hand was a small bipedal figure, no more than four inches tall and made of pure writhing flame, that danced elegantly across his hand, back and forth with wide, sweeping motions.

After it made a few passes, he peeked to see the child's reaction, then closed his hand and tucked the image back into his coat pocket, pronouncedly looking back over either shoulder as if worried that someone else might have seen it. Heading towards the bath, he held a finger to his lips to "shh" silently, as if the secret of the dancer-in-flames was some awesome responsibility to keep.

Ouzo drew his curtain closed for modesty, stripped, and folded his clothes in a neat pile. He sunk into the bath (though he kept his coat and satchel next to him, with the satchel strap draped over the rim of the basin). The water burned. He preferred it that way anyways. He settled, closing his eyes to the open sky, and took a long drag. He sighed.

"It seems fate would have our paths cross yet again, Miss Nao," Ouzo called loudly through the bath curtains. "... though to bid farewell to the anonymity is no real loss. Truth be told, I rarely prefer the company of... of partners... but circumstances being what they are, well, it will be fortunate to work alongside another professional. Tell me, if would you be so kind as to humor me now that we've served time together: did you ever make it out of that gambler's brothel with your mark in tact? I recall it being some brutish fellow with a look of great shock about him..." He washed himself quickly as he asked about their first encounter, now holding the dying cigarette with only his lips. It seemed that Dr. Ouzo knew neither the terms nor the outcome of Nao's job, way back then.

Ouzo, Entering the Dead Man's HappinessAfter the baths, Ouzo made his way to the Dead Man's Inn too.

When he entered, pausing in the doorway to examine something absent over there, he must have been oblivious to the patrons gawking at him. (In truth, he savored the interruption and the silent stares - nothing quite like making a scene without seeming to.) After a moment, lingering, he returned to the present and made his way up to the bar. The barkeep was an oddity, sure enough, and Ouzo looked over his sunken (decaying?) features. Once he was caught staring, Ouzo cooed, "Oh dear, don't tell me that I'm the first to arrive for the Rodeo Convention sponsored by St. Modestia's Convent?" He let the somewhat out-of-place joke hang in the air, knowing it would fall flat, knowing it was only a decoy. Motioning for a shot and a glass of liquor, he leaned on his elbow with smoke in tow, then went after his real pun: "Oh, come on. Normally that joke kills," he grinned triumphantly at the pallid man behind the bar, then cocked his head to take another drag without moving his arm.

Ouzo Ouzo makes a PER: Hearing check to assess the atmosphere, rolling a 9 and FAILING!sat there at the bar for a while, waiting for the rest of his accomplices wander in, enjoying the casual ambience of nobodies in a nowhere inn, drinking and gambling away their daylight hours in the middle of nowhere.

But for all his face-forward absence, Ouzo Ouzo makes a PER: Empathy check to assess the conspicuous bovine's conspicuous motives, rolling an 11!kept quiet tabs on the horned and hooved figure at the end of the bar, who'd conspicuously tried to ignore their presence. Any peek or glance to other patrons, or if the figure was actually drinking anything at all. Regardless, after a time, the freshly laundered Spaniard motioned for another half-glass of liquor - no, better make it the stoutest of stout beers, if you have any - and slid it down the bar to the bovine figure. Ouzo raised his own glass to him, inclined his head, and promptly took his drink and smoke to the table tucked away in the corner claimed by his new business partners.

There, Ouzo marinaded in his whiskey until the rest of the crew arrived.

OOC
 

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