Game Thread Round 1 - Bracket 3 - Group A (Yoshimi, JustSomeGuy, Qiksilv, Noquarter19) - RPG Crossing
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  #1  
Old Jun 13th, 2021, 11:11 AM
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Round 1 - Bracket 3 - Group A (Yoshimi, JustSomeGuy, Qiksilv, Noquarter19)


The Letter
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Life as a member of the Crossing Companions Adventuring Guild, was pretty good. Or maybe it wasn't. That was all a matter of opinion. One thing it was for sure though, was busy. You and your squad haven't had a regular break from quest after quest in, who knows how long. Sir Ethan had been doing his best to fill the ranks with new adventurers, but these things took time. It lightens your heart to know that another round of applicants are going on very soon in Harthford at the Waltzing Witches Tavern and Inn. You have seen the fliers, though because of the workload, you have not been asked to be a part of the process this time. No, Sir Ethan would have his work cut out for him, working with the local sponsors there; Brom, Saint Cecilia, Sir Stephonston, and Dug.

You and your squad would be elsewhere, in the port city of Orchardbrick. A letter from Sir Ethan has just arrived, detailing your next contract. Bishop Bartholomew has contracted for all available Crossing Companion squads to help remedy a situation of grave importance. The letter doesn't have more details than that, and it doesn't need to. The details would be filled in when you got there. At the chapel doors, Bishop Bartholomew eagerly welcomed in your crew of Adventures, so that he could explain the situation.


Bishop Bartholomew
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Bishop Bartholomew was a relative newcomer to Orchardbrick, having been assigned to minister in the city after the previous Vicar had died of old age, just six months prior. The Chapel of Saint Cornsear was open to most of the local farmers to worship whatever deity they pleased. There was a guild of Clerics and Clergy that made sure the chapels across the countryside were staffed and cared for.

"Thank you for coming in such haste. We have a dire situation in Orchardbrick, and I need your help. It has come to my attention that a cult, known as the Grey Guard has infiltrated the city, and is corrupting the citizens. I can deal with theological debates, but rumors are floating that something big is happening soon. They are planning some kind of ritual, that I fear will have terrible consequences if completed. The Grey Guard know me as their enemy, and I have come to a dead-end in finding any further details of what they are planning. But, I do know that large-scale preparations are being made today, for this ritual, making your timing perfect. I would like, first, for you to split up. Half of you go to the city market and the other half to the Port. Among all the normal business of the day, large quantities of food and supplies are being gathered in the market. Likewise, at the dock, something large of importance to the ritual is arriving today. I would like for you to discern who is involved, and find out information on when and where this ritual is taking place, without giving away our intentions of stopping it. So, please be subtle. I couldn't loop the guard into this so there will be no forgiveness for breaking the town's laws."

The Market
 

The Markets of Orchardbrick were the hub of all social activities, and most commercial, outside of the docks, for not only the city but also the surrounding region. The Fish and Meat markets, along with the Tradesmen Row and Home and Farmer Supplies areas had permanent structures in place, with stalls that were mostly walled in. The areas for Small Livestock, Oddities, Fashion and Apparel, and visiting merchants from other regions (to sell whatever goods they brought) had structures of roofs over the stalls, and stone pillars to hold them up, but no proper walls around them. This gave most of the market a very open feel and allowed movement through areas of the market by cutting through shopping stalls, rather than just taking the road. Lastly, the tents were set up daily, by local farmers selling their personal crops, and tents with games and prizes for entertainment.

Today, the markets are especially busy. Large crowds circle around the tents and fill the streets, making movement through the market a slow process of finding gaps and holes between groups of people. The scent of fresh fish, chopped meat fills the air, mixed with sweats and other treats brought in by the visiting merchants. Somewhere among this gaggle of people, are the Grey Guard cult members, working to secure whatever it is they need for their upcoming ritual. Spotting them, among the vast amount of other shoppers may prove to be difficult.


OOGMWelcome to Outplay 2021!

Your GM for this group will be savoylen
Your Judges for this group will be: Imveros, Chrystrom, Homestarbaby, Retry

For your first post, in addition to responding to the calling of the letter, and initial meeting with the Bishop, please indicate how your character will go about finding the Cult members in the Market. Make an Outplay Roll to go along with your chosen actions, including any extra dice if you can use a piece of Adventuring Gear, or a Signature Move to do so. You are free to work together on a plan, but with limited time, you may also all need to act independently here. The choice is yours, good luck!

Bonus Points will be assigned to every group member for achieving the following goals
1 point for finding out when the ceremony will be
1 point for doing so without blowing their cover, or getting caught doing anything illegal
Mechanical Success: You will be awarded mechanical points this round as follows:
1 point for a partial success (1 success on an Outplay Roll)
2 points for a Success (2 or more successes on an Outplay Roll)
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Last edited by Imveros; Jul 12th, 2021 at 11:05 PM.
  #2  
Old Jul 5th, 2021, 09:22 AM
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Jyl Quickstep
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A short figure in black leaned up against a tent pole and took a hungry bite out of a crisp red apple. Black lips closed over the crisp flesh and red skin, while dark brown eyes moved about from face to face. Pale white skin and dark, black hair lay in striking contrast on the face of this strange, silent figure who seemed to stand taller than her 2’ 9” frame. Her jaws worked up and down, and in a few moments the apple was reduced to its core. She did not stop, and in a few more bites the core was gone. Waste not, want not, her mother had always said, but that had been a lie. Nothing had ever been wasted, but they’d still been wanting for food always. Even now, in her mid-twenties - and continents away from that hardscrabble life, her ribs stood out prominently under the jet-black leather armor she wore.

The young woman’s name was Jyllaina Quickstep, Jyl for short. A few months ago, she’d been on board a decrepit wooden ship that reeked of salt and fish, sailing toward the horizon. A few days before that, she’d been skewering a booze-stinking nobleman’s son who wouldn’t take no for an answer. He’d been with two equally drunk, equally well-dressed lackeys who watched in stunned silence as this little wisp of a halfling had severed their friend’s hepatic artery and left him bleeding out amongst the filth and refuse of the alley they had cornered her in. That was the end of two lives: his on this mortal coil, and hers here in Gradsul. Drunk or not, the dead man's friends had her description, and their status gave them the clout to control the narrative. The upper crust might not have cared about poors killing poors, but when it was one of their own that got shivved, someone had to pay. Even if he had been a drunken rapist of a nobleman’s son with all the brains of a bucket of wet cement, someone still had to pay. That was just the way of the world. She wasn’t about to hang around for the hangman’s noose, not even to say goodbye to her family. And so, she'd ran.

Now here she was, watching the throng of people who had flooded the market of Orchardbrick on this fine sunny day. Jyl squinted her eyes, glaring at the sky and the harsh rays of sun from her place in the shadows. She was a night owl – no, that wasn’t quite right. She was a Night Raven, a member of the feared assassins’ guild out of Gradsul known for their stealth, reliability, and above all else, discretion. Or at least, she had been one before her flight. Her daggers and tattoo were the only items that still tied her to that world. As far as she knew, none of the other members of her current guild knew she had previously been an assassin, or that she was wanted for murder a world away. Well, except for-

A sudden gust of cold in a vaguely humanoid shape burst straight up from the ground, a rasping dry cackle coming from nowhere and raising the hairs on her neck. Her thin, pale fingers dropped to her daggers in a flash… but then they relaxed. She looked around the corner of the building she’d been leaning against, her pale cheeks flushed and her eyes full of smoldering anger. There he was, standing there, his face the picture of innocence… except for the slight smirk he could not quite contain. She socked him in the ribs with a fist that was smaller than the apple she’d just eaten.

”Damn it, Jeremy, you know that creeps the hell out of me,” she growled. She was less than half his height, and he could have picked her up and thrown her like a medicine ball if he so chose, but her fellow guild member Jeremy Winthorpe was a big softie. She’d known that since she’d first shook his hand and seen the wince on his face. He just liked to spook her sometimes, to let her know that no matter how invisible she thought she might be, he could still see her. She thought back to their first meeting…




Jyl had first joined the Crossing Companions Adventuring Guild less than three months ago, shortly after disembarking from the ship that had unknowingly smuggled her here. There were lots of places to hide on a ship when you were the size of a halfling and could vanish with a whisper. It had been an okay voyage, hardly worse than the destitute life she’d been living prior to her exile, and the rocking of the hull on the ocean was rhythmically soothing. It did take weeks for the fish smell to wash out of her hair, however. When she’d come ashore to an unknown city with nothing but the clothes on her back, her first goal had been to find a hidey-hole, a watering hole, or just any old hole she could crawl into and forget. What she found was the Waltzing Witches Tavern and Inn, a warm rustic place with a board in the back littered with tacked up papers. She’d entered the building and looked for an inconspicuous table to sit at, and it was during this search that she had happened to see the board looming over her. As she stared up at the postings, she heard a booming voice behind and above her. ”Looking for work?” the voice had asked curiously, and she turned to take in the sight of the figure before her. The man’s name was Sir Ethan, and he was a recruiter for XCAG – the Crossing Companions Adventuring Guild. It hadn’t taken much convincing for her to join, having no prospects and no friends in a strange city. She agreed to the man’s terms, and it wasn’t even a day later that she was out on assignment. One of the squad she'd worked with on that first assignment was a bespectacled man, well dressed, with the air of nobility about him. Just another rich-boy human, she thought… but there was so much more to him than that, she was about to discover.

The first time he’d looked right at her while she was invisible, she assumed he was just incredibly sharp eared, or that she’d scuffled her feet and knocked something. The second time? She knew there was something strange about him when he called her name and stared right at her. And when she’d confronted him later that night, asking – no, demanding - how it was that she could see him when no one else around could, he just smiled.

”I see a lot of things,” he’d said with a knowing grin. "Did you know, Jyl, that I have read that Assassins often feel that they are plagued by the ghosts of their targets? Odd that adventurers such as ourselves rarely report the same feeling... since our body counts tend to be exponentially higher. Don't you think?" The noble had arched an eyebrow and continued before she'd had a chance to respond. "Perhaps regret, then, is the key to the sensation. I've never been one to lose sleep over the death of villains... or rich fools that take joy in harassing those they view as inferior." She nearly ran, nearly left XCAG in the dead of night for another ship, another continent. A part of her, even now, wondered if she should have. But Jeremy, to her knowledge, never told a soul. Nor did he ever fully reveal how exactly he could glean so much from just a cursory inspection. No guards had come for her even a month, month and a half later, and she accepted that whoever this strange human was, he wasn’t about to spill her secrets to anyone. Until it’s convenient for him, the paranoid voice in the back of her mind whispered. But with each passing day, that voice got a little bit quieter…




Back at the market, Jyl looked past Jeremy to see the other two members of their split-squad. One was a dwarf with a unique face. Unique was the kindest thing that could be said of her friend Hazeal. Their first encounter had been full of snark about their respective appearances, but now the two had grown as close as anyone had ever been in Jyl’s 27 years on this planet. Even though she was a foot shorter than her druid companion, she found herself fiercely protective of Hazeal, and was the first to lash out at anyone who even sounded like they were critiquing the dwarf’s appearance. Aside Hazeal stood another dwarf, male, with a genial face and a smattering of paint splatters on his clothes. Sorbo was his name, and art was his game. Jyl looked at each of them in turn and nodded.

”So what’s the plan?” she asked to the group. Her eyes flicked once more to the throng of faces, and her mind tried to discern their darkness the way Jeremy seemed to do. The cultists were out there, somewhere among the mob of faces, she knew. The letter that had started all this had been sent by a Bishop Bartholomew from one of the local parishes. Details had been sparse enough - little more than a name and address of the contact - but then that was pretty common when it came to this sort of contract work. That was doubly true when the job was of a sensitive nature, as it appeared this was. She said nothing as she read the unfurled scroll, but her mind was turning in circles. Just what sort of shady business was a man of the cloth wrapped up in?

Jyl didn't ascribe much to religion, had no faith in the gods, and took the Bishop to be nothing but a worrier upon meeting him - but this was the job they'd been assigned, so she would grin and bear it. The bishop, a middle aged man with hair already going silver, told them of his suspicions involving a strange cult - the Grey Guard. She was surprised to hear that he had run afoul of a cult in such a short time, but her lips remained pressed shut. The Bishop offered up what few details he had, and sent them on their way to the marketplace to determine just what exactly this cult was planning. Throughout the entire conversation, he had put a heavy emphasis on the need for discretion. "Relax, Bishop - they don't come much more discreet than me," she said, but the man's worried face remained.

Now, forming a plan of attack, Jyl eyed the others while her fingers tapped idly on the handles of her daggers. "The good bishop wasn't entirely laden with details on these cultists, but I've been watching this crowd for twenty minutes and I haven't been able to pick up on much from over here. I'm going to work my way through this mob in my own special way, keeping my ears and eyes open. If I find something, I'll post up near the apple cart over there. If any of you find something, maybe Jeremy can make a raven's caw with your illusion magic, or a similar distinctive sound - just not that creepy laughter again. I can't stand that laughter..." she muttered with a sudden shiver. It was cold in the shadows, and colder still around Jeremy and his strange, ghostly apparition. She tapped her wrist and began to weave her hand in a familiar pattern.

"Wish me luck," she said, and with a few whispered words she vanished.


 
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Last edited by Noquarter19; Jul 5th, 2021 at 09:59 AM. Reason: Adding a bit more about the letter and the Bishop. Added that Vanish is a utility spell
  #3  
Old Jul 5th, 2021, 09:30 AM
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Round 1, Day 1 - Bracket 3 - Group A

The Letter
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Sitting at his writing desk, Jeremy stares at a blank page. The aroma of old books fills the dim study. The glut of adventures has given him ample material to work with, yet little time to work. His pen hovers over the page, uncertain of its first stroke. A smile begins to grow across his face as he hears a courier arriving. The air begins to fill with the sound of drums. Adventure is coming. The gloom in the room relents and light begins to stream in through the windows once more. Grabbing his black cane, the author sets his pen back down.

Cocking his head and speaking to no one in particular, "Occam? I believe we are being summoned." Outside, the courier gratefully passes over the letter. Jeremy opens it and skims the sparse contents. "A trip to Orchardbrick seems in order," the gentleman speaks to himself again. This time there is an answer. A wolf's dry howl carries on a cold wind that tussles Winthorpe's hair. He notifies his driver to ready the carriage. It is time.


The ChurchJeremy Winthorpe has never been one for Church. The whole place makes his skin crawl. He politely listens to the Bishop's story, nodding when appropriate, but breathes a sigh of relief when they are dismissed. The gentleman looks to his guildmates as they leave the Chapel of Saint Cornsear and says, "Bishop Bartholomew has been quite specific that subtlety is paramount. This is unfortunate since we're so adept at being loud. The local constabulary isn't aware of our presence here. That is also unfortunate, but it might be a boon in disguise." In the distance, a seagull cries balefully. A salty breeze comes from the busy marketplace and brings with it the smells of blood and sweat as Jeremy continues, "Cults like these tend to infiltrate local guards to ensure that their activities get swept under the rug. We may have lost the backing of the town guard, but that's one less chance for them to be tipped off at our presence. So here's what I think..."

The sound of several shoppers surrounds them as the group nears the market. Normal people walk the streets, blissfully unaware of the existential threat growing in their city. The writer keeps his voice low as he continues to plan out loud. "We're looking for a group of people picking up bulk amounts of food and supplies. We need to identify the cultists and pin down the where and when of it. We should keep our ears open for groups coordinating travel arrangements. They could be sourcing wagons," he says. His cane taps a rhythm on the stone streets, accompanying the sounds of the city. This port is sick but still alive. "These things rarely call for pleasant components, so we may be looking for some very odd supplies indeed. The fishmongers and meat markets set up along the northern part of the market might be a source for blood, bone, skin, or scales. Live sacrifices are usually involved, so at least one of us should investigate near the livestock."


The MarketplaceAt the entrance to the marketplace, Jeremy nods to his guildmates and switches to psychic communication. "I'm going to drift through the crowd, searching for clues. I might be able to notice a pattern or pick up a lead. I expect Jyl will be disappearing shortly, to eavesdrop unseen. Hazael... You have a way with animals. You could try to inspect the livestock and see if you notice people buying an excess of lambs, goats, or the like? Just be wary of using magic, as it might draw the attention of the guards." The young noble meaningfully glances over to the town guard impassively watching the shoppers. He did not doubt that they were skilled with their truncheons.

From the north end of the market, a fish merchant can be heard loudly singing an off-key tune about the price of his fish. "If any of us can pull off masquerading as a merchant, it will be you, Sorbo. Perhaps selling caricatures? It may allow you a chance to question the local children, and at the least put you in a valuable position to eavesdrop. The visiting merchant stalls would be a great place for new faces to hide and goods to be swapped surreptitiously." The time for planning had come to an end and now it was time for them to play their parts. As he disappears into the crowd, the young noble speaks again into their minds, "If I find something, I'll be in touch."

Jeremy Winthorpe leans heavily on his cane as he wanders through the Markets of Orchardbrick. His enhanced gaze sweeps across the peasantry. Monsters masquerading as mortals mill among them. The Grey Guard needs ingredients for some dark rite and they are to acquire them here. That dark magic will leave a lingering aura that Jeremy's glasses can expose. The dull roar of the market washes over him in waves as he passes from stall to stall.

Though the crowd is tightly packed, Jeremy hobbles through them freely like a shark among minnows. The author turned detective is hunting. Unhurried, he drifts in the currents of the marketplace and looks for half-hidden tattoos, reoccurring jewelry, and similar hairstyles. His prey likes to show loyalty. They will be seeking the acceptance of their peers. The young master watches for furtive glances and approval-seeking postures. They know they are being hunted, but not by whom. They will act separately but in cells. In time, patterns would emerge. As those patterns converge into targets, Jeremy telepathically notifies his companions. With luck, Jyl and the others will be able to follow up and find the information they seek.


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Last edited by JustSomeGuy; Jul 5th, 2021 at 10:01 AM.
  #4  
Old Jul 5th, 2021, 10:57 AM
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Sorbo the Painter

Receiving the Charge

Sorbo watched the Bishop carefully as he described the nature of his team's task. The letter of summons had contained no details, which implied a secretive mission. Not the dwarf's favorite, being a master of The Overt. Notwithstanding that dwarves weren't very good at sneakiness by nature, although Sorbo himself had long ago put aside the usual dwarven tactic of running howling at an enemy, axe whirling at kneecap level. His race was naturally good at being suspicious bastards, however, and that was the filter through which the Bishop's words percolated. Can't employ the city guard to protect the city? Something sounded off to the painter. But he said nothing for now. He would have to trust Sir Ethan's judgment on the man. "We'll get to the bottom of this, Your Grace." A day at the market would be fun, at the least.




The Operation

Sorbo ambles along with his party toward the market. When Jeremy reiterates the need to be inconspicuous, he grins mildly and responds, "With humans, I have found that sometimes being obnoxiously conspicuous is a good way to get ignored. I think your race embarrasses easily, or perhaps they do not care for a hassle. But you make a good point. I will paint caricatures for the youngsters in the market. Children see much, but are often overlooked and rarely listened to."

When the group separates, he strolls nonchalantly through the crowd until he reaches the area where out of town merchants are plying their wares. He sets up his easel along a thoroughfare and takes out his painting supplies and some canvas. The dwarf peels a few sheets of canvas from a small block, and within minutes he creates exaggerated sketches of boys and girls engaged in improbable scenarios, such as riding unicorns, forging swords, and fighting dragons. He lays them out around his makeshift stand and puts down his cap, tossing in a handful of coins to give people the idea. He then looks for likely customers such as children with their parents or teenagers holding hands. He calls out, "Souvenir caricatures! A steal at a thruppence each! Good family fun! No idea too outlandish."

If he does get customers to pose, he'll put them in whatever scene they want, all the while subtly pressing for information. He'll beam and chatter away, "Never seen it so crowded, have you? So many interesting people and things to see, aren't there? That's why I love the market."





 
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Last edited by Yoshimi; Jul 5th, 2021 at 12:21 PM.
  #5  
Old Jul 5th, 2021, 11:30 PM
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Hazeal NightGraniteThe ugly Dwarf was thankful every day for randomly entering the Waltzing Witches. She'd been walking for a couple of months after venturing out of the forest where she and her master had lived till his death. Most places she had entered gave her the same greeting. Which is to say they hadn't done anything really; just gave her long stares for a few minutes then tried their best to ignore the unsightly stranger covered partially in a cloak that seemed to have been pieced together with bits of fur and twigs. Sir Ethan was one of the few people who had had a smile on his face when he came over to say hello. Truth be told he was one of the only people to have even said 'hello'. While it was true he had never let her participate in the initial recruitment meetings since she had joined she still loved sitting nearby and watching the hopeful applicants while sipping ale (if she drank it quickly some spilled out of her droopy lip).

So she was mildly disappointed when other orders came in right as it was recruitment time again. Sir Ethan had even hinted she might be able to say hi to a couple of applicants this time before post-recruitment orientation. Still, it was hard to frown at the sight of the open road and blue skies as her group made it's way toward a new adventure. It even had a bit of mystery this time since the details of this mission were absent. How delightful!

Despite leaving the mountain at a young age Hazeal was still a Dwarf and every time she entered one of these human temples she peered with her good eye at the stonework. Any comments she made were what one might expect of a youngster and not of an experienced mason (such as, "Ooh, this one has some green speckles inside" or, "The shape of this one makes it look like a butt."). Today though she silently walked with her companions but let her fingers traces the seams between the blocks of stone.

Hazeal flipped off her hood as they listened to Bisop Bartholomew and she watched him actively ignore her. Yes, there is a difference between being actively ignored versus passively ignored. Her appearance frequently made people act as if she wasn't there. She didn't mind though, when she was getting direct attention from strangers it was not usually the sort of attention one desires. So she stood with the others while he described the mission, which still seemed delightfully short of details, and aside from his initial startled glance in her direction the Bishop only glanced again when she snorted especially loud and wiped some nasal drip onto her sleeve.

Hazeal found herself relieved that she was being sent to the Market instead of the port. Her runny nose made smells much less acute for her but even her dampened olfactory senses couldn't totally block out the smell of ocean and fish. She much preferred the earthy smells of land animals over the fragrances of the weird creatures from the watery depths. With a few notable exceptions she really preferred things that had legs (a couple of these included Crabs [which have legs but are still fish], snakes [which don't have legs but are still wonderful], and spiders [which have legs but are absolutely terrible.])

The druid raised her lopsided lips into a smile as Jyl said, "Wish me luck," then faded from sight. She waved a little too obviously at the space where her companion had been, "Good luck," she said to the air and wondered, not for the first time, where the Halfling had gotten such a beautiful set of blades. One of these days she'd have to remember to ask.

Her spectacled friend was the next to speak, offering advice of his own, "You have a way with animals. You could try to inspect the livestock and see if you notice people buying an excess of lambs, goats, or the like? Just be wary of using magic, as it might draw the attention of the guards."

She nodded at his suggestion of looking for animals but rolled her nearly hidden Right eye at his concern for her magic. She countered with a deep yet delicately feminine voice that didn't quite seem to match her rough features, "No one is going to arrest me me for making some pretty flowers grow. It's not like I'm using a shadow to suck the life out of people. Maybe I ought to remind you to not do that." The last line was called to his back as he walked away. She didn't really expect an answer and this was likely not the first time they had played this little game. While Hazeal usually had rather pleasant personality the teasing in her early life had made her somewhat sardonic as a defense mechanism against teasing and criticism.

"If I find something, I'll be in touch." Jeremy said into her mind and the Female Dwarf shuddered slightly. She understood how useful the method of communication was but always felt weird having another person's voice slither through her mind; even friendly ones. She'd spent too much time quieting the specters of other's words in her head to appreciate the man's skill.

Sorbo...grins mildly and responds, "With humans, I have found that sometimes being obnoxiously conspicuous is a good way to get ignored. I think your race embarrasses easily, or perhaps they do not care for a hassle..."

There was a true statement if she had ever heard one and the druidess stuck out a fist to her fellow Dwarf to bump in solidarity. As the resident person of the group to be ignored she recognized the truth and had experienced it many times. "Maybe you should say it again. I'm not sure if the delicate Human heard it the first time." She smirked, enjoying the chance to tease back.

Once her fellows had moved on Hazeal sighed and was about to walk herself when a motion on the outskirts of the square caught her eye. A young ram was nibbling on a bit of bush that was growing from a ill-tended planter box at the end of the avenue next to where her party had entered the market area. It seemed too much of a coincidence that a stray animal like this would be this close to the market without belonging to one of the merchants so since she was heading in that direction anyway she decided to see if she could find it's owner.

The Dwarf approached cautiously so as not to startle it by her motions and drew forth her secret weapon; The Salt Licka tasty treat. "Here you go, little one," she soothed while drawing it's attention. She looked it over for a mark, brand, or tag that might help identify who it belonged to as she lured it to her. While it was distracted with the salt she decided to see if she could make it follow her into the market.

Sticking her staff into the dirt next to the now pruned shrub she swirled it a little and summoned forth a single twig whose flowers bloomed then swiftly plumped into juicy Power of Antioxidants blueberries. The magic of the berries was that they were exceptionally rejuvenative but since they were a fruit they had the added bonus of being delicious. "I've decided to name you 'Morton'," she told the beast while holding the berry twig just close enough for him to nip at the very end. "Come one, Morton, Let's find your owner"

The Dwarf walked along the stalls trying to find a what looked like a place the ram belonged, occasionally bribing it's compliance with either a salty or sweet treat. She finally stopped at one stall, which struck as a good option for whatever reason (similar markings? Mostly empty?), twisted her head slightly to focus her open eye on the person tending it, and asked, "Hello there!" she greeted the help warmly but continued talking after only a brief pause to take advantage of the awkward pause that usually followed after people drew attention to her features, "I found a Ram over there," she pointed in the direction she had come from, "and have named him Morton. Hopefully he didn't already have a name or that might be awkward. Anyway, is there any chance you lost one today or know who I should return Morton to?"

To increase the chance the man would be more likely to help out she offered the merchant whatever berries remained on the twig she had led the ram with, "Care for a light snack?"

 
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  #6  
Old Jul 6th, 2021, 02:05 AM
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The MarketJyl managed to make her way deep into the to market between the fountain, the Fashion and Apparel section and the Meat Market when someone turned her direction right into her path. The shopkeeper's blood curdling scream made it clear that Jyl's “vanish spell” was mostly ineffectual. “Thief!” The shopkeeper continued to yell as Jyl became totally visible as the last visages of her spell dropped.

 


left-aligned image
You can tell a lot about people in the moments during a crisis. This is when Jeremy noted a small group of men focused around the central figure of a darker male elf dressed in a very fine suit and spectacles. Even the shopkeeper of the booth in the Fish and Meat market failed to look up during the screaming and shouting caused by Jyl‘s situation near the fountain. This could be the very clue for which Jeremy was looking.

Sorbo was having a productive day so far at his easel near the oddities booths. The big talk of the day was how all the lobster was sold out already and all to one very inconsiderate person since they left nothing for anyone else.

Hazeal on the other hand was in the process of having a bad day. The goat was willing to be lead with a rope into the market and the plan seemed to be working but as soon as the screaming started, the Ram went rogue. It started jumping and knocking over booths, spilling food and wears into the streets. This made the shopkeepers and patrons VERY angry. The line about it being someone else’s goat only returned scoffs as everyone was yelling at Hazeal to get his goat under control.

 


Score
Mechanical Score
PlayerCharacterMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridayTotal
Yoshimi Sorbo 200002
JustSomeGuy Jeremy 200002
Qiksilv Hazeal 000000
Noquarter19Jyl 000000
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Old Jul 6th, 2021, 07:41 AM
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Round 1, Day 2 - Bracket 3 - Group A

A Pleasant Day
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The young lord in the grey suit hobbles between stalls. Little coincidences make ripples that cross the surface of Jeremy's mind, gathering clues that have yet to form. The sun shines in a sky with only a few light clouds. A merchant is selling fresh cabbages from a newly repaired cart. Sorbo's successfully sketching and making small talk. Several smiling shoppers are carrying surprisingly accurate likenesses of themselves as they mill around the stalls. The smell of sea air blends with the aromas of livestock, seafood, and obscure incense. A hundred voices are speaking at once. It's a pleasant day at the market.

Young master Winthorpe would be tempted to enjoy himself if it wasn't for the nature of their mission. His coin purse was full and a portside marketplace always contained interesting odds and ends. His mother might appreciate one of the tiny carved figurines scattered among the oddities. The matriarch has begun collecting little exotic baubles lately, after all. His traveling companions make for good company. The painter is a natural peacemaker, and the druid's acerbic wit keeps Jeremy on his toes. Jyl's tough as nails, skilled with a knife, and not afraid to make the first move. She is full of secrets, but he has avoided directly reading the halfling's mind as a point of professional courtesy. "Occam," the dapper gentleman seems to say to himself, "Remind me to arrange an occasion for our team to spend time together outside of work. I could throw a masquerade ball."

Sheer MadnessJeremy feels a sharp wave of concern when the warning cry goes up. He doesn't doubt for a moment that Jyllaina is the thief in question, but she is in her element. The Night Raven has evaded her share of town guards. A cloud occludes the sun and lingers, casting a shadow on the madness unfolding in Orchardbrick's marketplace. Jeremy breathes a sigh of relief now that he can survey the scene without squinting. He feels that fine sunny days are about as appealing as churches. A cool breeze swirls through the marketplace. Loose feathers and scraps of paper flutter in the wind. Far away, a dwarf is playing the harp in a minor key. The dark-eyed assassin will shake her pursuers.

Hazael is struggling with a goat that's possessed with either fear or fury. The angry bleating of the rampaging goat is accompanied by crashing booths. Through the screaming and shouting, the detective continues to study the crowd. This is the moment things will come together. Shopkeepers struggle to maintain their booths or chase down cabbages determined to roll to freedom. The guards swarm like steel ants searching for the elusive halfling. Peasants cry out in concern or laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Some are too focused on their business to care, though. The runes on his glasses glow a faint blue and their magics enlarge and refine the faces, expressions, and movements of lips.

"Got them!" Jeremy's voice whispers through the minds of his nearby guildmates, riding on a chill that runs up their spines. "Small group, centered around a well-dressed elf wearing glasses in the middle of the chaos on the north end... by the meat and seafood. The shopkeeper there may also be in on it." He begins to foment a plan of action. The adventurers could try to isolate a lesser cultist and hope that the villain knew enough to be useful. The elf will know the most, but will also be the hardest target. Whatever course of action the Crossing Companions took, they shouldn't rush it.

A Harsh SolutionLooking around the marketplace, Jeremy sees some complications that need smoothing out. "So much for subtlety," he thinks to himself. "There is still some wiggle room, though. Nothing is being pinned on guild activity and no one has caught a thief. Jyl will be fine. That goat, on the other hand, is a problem that needs to be handled." The gentleman haltingly makes his way toward the rampaging beast. Jeremy has never been good with animals, though. Few would consider his presence either soothing or peaceful. Hazael's the one that is supposed to be good with animals. "If she is having problems maintaining the beast, what chance do I have?" Sometimes, a person must face their weaknesses.

The raspy baritone of Occam, the specter that has followed him since childhood, whispers into his mind. "Worry not, I will quell the rampaging beast." A piece of shadow peels away from a nearby tent and flits from stall to stall. Jeremy follows after, his halting gait quickly falling behind. The bleating, leaping, and general mayhem comes to an end as the young lord approaches. Staggering once or twice before falling into a heap, the crazed goat's struggles end as suddenly as they began. Its breaths are drawn raggedly and though unconscious it still lives for now.

Looking up at the druid like they had never met, he asks loud enough to be overheard, "Is this one of those Fainting Goats? How droll! Who would have thought such a fragile creature capable of such obnoxious harassment?" He looks around, taking in the destruction and angry shopkeepers. Hopefully, their companions can keep an eye on the dark-skinned elf in the suit and the other cultists through all of this. "It must have worked itself up into quite the state before its little body simply couldn't handle it any longer. Where did you come by it?"

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  #8  
Old Jul 6th, 2021, 01:20 PM
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Jyl Quickstep
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Not good not good not good her mind echoed repeatedly as the shouts of "THIEF!" filled the air. Jyl did not run, knowing that to run was to imply guilt - and she had done nothing wrong. She walked steadily with purpose through the crowd, her short stature and dark fashion choices enabling her to blend in as well as possible. She could not re-cast now, not when there were so many eyes and ears around.

At the same time, a whole other brand of chaos erupted a short distance away from her, in the form of a rowdy goat. Jyl was just close enough to hear the raised voice of her friend Hazeal cutting through the din - "Morton! It's okay, Morton, calm down!" - but she hadn't met whoever Morton was. It was the lucky break she needed to slip through the crowd and over to Sorbo's easel, where he was busy doing some caricatures for the children while keeping his ears open. It was the best form of hiding in plain sight she could imagine for her talented dwarven friend, and she was not shocked to see the hat on the ground was already half full of coin.

"You missed your calling, Sorbo," she said quietly to the surprised dwarven man. Unlike Jeremy, who wasn't surprised by anything, Sorbo had been surprised from the get-go by Jyl...



She had first come to meet Sorbo on a job a little over a month and a half ago, something about capturing a band of walrus smugglers. Who would ever want to do that? And how? She still didn't get it, but then of course, people did some pretty foolish things for coin. One of the members of her team had been this kind looking dwarf with a hint of sadness in his eyes and paint spatters on his clothes. She'd been perplexed at first, but that quickly turned to awe when she saw this curious dwarf walk up to the three smugglers and offer to paint their picture. What he did instead was to charm the pants off of them - literally. The temperature was below freezing, but this curious dwarf painted an illusory sauna around the smugglers and offered them towels to change into. And so while these three relaxed and "sweated," Sorbo tossed their armor and weapons outside of the illusion. Once they had been fully disarmed, it was but a moment for them to submit to arrest.

Jyl had just watched in awe and disbelief, and it was a few nights later that she first sneaked into Sorbo's room to watch him paint. She did this every free evening they had for weeks, until one night her boldness made her drop the spell midway through, and she broke the silence in the room - as well as Sorbo's concentration with a question.

"You're an amazing painter - do you think you could teach me?"



The sudden calamity in the market had interrupted Sorbo's line of customers momentarily, and Jyl took this as her chance to sidle up to him.

"Ugh, I can't believe I'm doing this... Sorbo, I need to have you paint... my face. The guards are looking for a halfling thief, even though I didn't steal anything, so I need you to make me look... errghhh... cute. And don't laugh, I don't want to have to do this, but otherwise I'll look suspicious. Do up a quick caricature of me too, will you? I need something to wrap my knives and tools in."

In between bouts of snickering that earned him some intense death glares, Sorbo painted an adorable rainbow and unicorn on her cheeks, as well as a caricature of her riding that same unicorn over a rainbow. Jyl, naturally, swore she would have her vengeance against him, but the dwarf only giggled harder. She tucked her tools and daggers into the rolled up parchment,and now she looked like nothing but a little child who was having fun in town. She wasn't sure this would be enough to throw the guards off her trail, but it was a start.

It was at that moment that Jeremy's message came into her mind. "Got them! Small group, centered around a well-dressed elf wearing glasses in the middle of the chaos on the north end... by the meat and seafood. The shopkeeper there may also be in on it."

Jyl looked up at Sorbo and saw the message had reached him as well. She gave the dwarf an inquisitive look, and her eyes dipped down to the hat on the ground. They were near the flea market, home to a whole slew of different colorful garments. She grabbed a few coins and gave Sorbo a nod.

"I'll pay you back later," she said hurriedly, and scurried off to find something (ugh) colorful in the flea market to wear, something that a human child would be dressed in. After all, nobody would suspect that a child was actually an undercover guild member and wanted assassin. She wasn't choosy on color, only size, but even so, everything available was much too big for her. Fortunately, she was nothing if not adaptable.

"Hello!" she said in a squeaky high voice that she envisioned a human girl child would use. "My mommy gave me these coins and said that I could pick out just one thing for our special shopping trip. That purple dress is so pretty, may I buy it please?"

The vendor running the sale was a heavyset lady with dark skin and a large, colorful flowery dress. She gushed over the young girl's face paint and sold her the dress with a warm smile. She even gave Jyl a piece of hard candy as well. Jyl smiled as the woman patted her head while quietly groaning, then made her way over to a small building outside of the market that served as a restroom of sorts - essentially just an outhouse. The smell was intense, this being the height of summer, and Jyl brushed aside a cloud of flies as she entered a stall.

Alright then, she thought as she took out her daggers and inspected the lilac dress before her. Time to turn into a child spy... And with that, she began to using Adventuring Gear: daggers and the Skill: slice and dice to trim the dress so she does not look like who the guards might be seekingcarve the dress up into a size that would fit her, and hopefully allow her to pass as an innocent child. She worked quickly, not wanting to lose Jeremy's targets. In a short time, she finished her work and re-hid her knives and tools in the rolled up portrait before donning the dress. The extra layer would have made her hot and uncomfortable, but the dress was made of a thin, light material that might have been nice to wear if she didn't absolutely hate dresses.

Well then, let's see how this goes, she thought, and she forced a childlike smile on her face and set off towards the meat market.


 
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  #9  
Old Jul 6th, 2021, 04:33 PM
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Sorbo the Painter


Stall Tactics
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The curly-bearded dwarf glanced up from his canvas to the grinning little girl in the purple dress who was currently swinging her arms freely in parallel, clapping her hands in front of her body on the foreswing and again behind her body on the backswing. The child's well-to-do governess attempted to get her to be still, but Sorbo protested good-naturedly as he dipped a thin brush into the glob of Van Dyck brown pigment on his easel and sketched the frame of a longbow into the the arms of his caricature, "Do not fret, mum, let Madeline swing her arms to her heart's content, it won't affect my picture at all." He then glared at his subject with mock severity. "Now then, you're sure you want to be shooting arrows at your elder brother's bottom?" As the governess groaned, Madeline laughed wildly and shrieked, "Yes!" The painter nodded professionally to the girl, and with a series of quick strokes he painted some flying arrows and the hapless figure of a teenage boy in a sailor suit attempting to run for it. As he added the finishing touches, a man in livery approached the governess and complained, "Gods help me, I don't know what we'll do, Hilde. Someone bought out every lobster, and there's weeks of planning for the formal dinner spoiled. Who would be so thoughtless?" Sorbo frowned to himself. "That's the third such complaint today. Coincidence, or are we up against a crazed seafood cult?"

Just then pandemonium broke loose, as shouts of "Thief!" rang above the market din, followed quickly by people screaming something about a goat. He felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, which was confirmed when Jyl herself stepped into view as his customers turned away to see what the fuss was about. She breathlessly made her surprising request, but before he could reply, Jeremy's voice intruded into his thoughts with news about the dark elf and his entourage. "Aha, it is a crazed seafood cult after all. Hmm..." He turned his attention back to the anxious Jyl. Never having painted on skin before, he did his best to help her apply the makeshift makeup, and handed her one of his stock pictures of a girl and unicorn that should survive scrutiny. He patted her on the head with a hearty, "Good luck, er, little Jollity!"

Sorbo packed up his art supplies and his hat and coins, to the disappointment of a young couple that had just wandered up, hand in hand. "My humblest apologies, but I can't be too careful with a thief on the loose. Perhaps I will come back when this matter settles down, and you can be first in line." He smiled brightly and strolled down toward the seafood market.




Lobster Mobsters
Sorbo pushes his way to the edge of the meat and seafood area. There they were, sure enough. A dark elf looking haughty in his fine threads, in the middle of a small group of men that were clearly giving him their attention. He mutters to himself, "Slack jaws, beady eyes, smug expressions. Those are henchmen, or my mother was beardless." Not far off to one side was the seafood stall and a conspicuous absence of lobsters, and there was the vendor trying very hard to not pay attention to the elf and his cronies. He thinks, "I can see the pigments, but I can't see the design. Whatever this cult is planning, it's going to be delicious."

He peers left and right, and finds that nobody else in his party was currently in view. "Oh dear, I'm afraid I'm not much cut out for this clandestine business. Come, Sorbo, what would be the Overt way to help. Ah they're not doing us any good standing around there, maybe I can get these shady gentlemen on the move and make them easier to track."

The dwarf takes a vial of Yellow Ochre from a belt pouch and strides in what he hopes looks like an absent-minded fashion across the seafood market. As he passes the group of targets, he trips and spills the bright paint on one of the henchmen's shoes. He looks up from the ground with a shocked expression. "Oh a thousand pardons good sir, what a clumsy oaf I am, let me get that for you." Sorbo pulls out a paintbrush and rapidly tries to correct his mistake, spreading the paint while apparently attempting to clean it. "Well that's no good, is it? Let me see, I can fix this, not to worry." He pulls out his easel, and with a whir of brush strokes, mixes yellows, browns and whites and covers the shoe to create the appearance of shiny metallic gold, making sure to get some on the soles while muttering, "Just add some happy little highlights like so." His handiwork done, he leans back to admire it. "Golden shoes, sir, like a god himself!" Sorbo frowns. "But you can't have just one, can you, that would be silly." Dipping back into his paints, the smiling druid coats the man's second shoe in a matching shiny golden coat. "There we are, envy of all your friends now!"

With a tip of his cap, Sorbo hurries to try and disappear back into the crowd on the opposite side of the market.





 
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Old Jul 6th, 2021, 09:05 PM
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Hazeal Nightgranite
 


Morton had seemed sweet enough at the time but his attitude shifted quite quickly after Hazeal grabbed the rope around his neck. Apparently this was a trigger for the animal as it quickly began making a ruckus. Hooves and horns went everywhere, not a few of them in her direction. Ordinarily she wouldn't consider hurting an animal but this one was being violent enough she was starting to think it might be safer for everyone around (especially her) if she knocked it to it's side (or unconscious. Unconscious would work.) She was so distracted that she didn't even really notice Jeremy's voice in her mind again as she blocked yet another strike from Morton with the solid bracers on her arms.

She was surprised then when the Ram suddenly stopped...ramming her. It looked calm for a moment then dropped rather abruptly to the ground. It was then the druidess noticed the collected form of her companion standing next to her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy
Looking up at the druid like they had never met, he asks loud enough to be overheard, "Is this one of those Fainting Goats? How droll! Who would have thought such a fragile creature capable of such obnoxious harassment?" He looks around, taking in the destruction and angry shopkeepers. Hopefully, their companions can keep an eye on the dark-skinned elf in the suit and the other cultists through all of this. "It must have worked itself up into quite the state before its little body simply couldn't handle it any longer. Where did you come by it?"
Hazeal stared at him numbly for a moment. She reeealy wanted to ask about how his recommendation to not use magic was going but she had just enough sense to not do that. Instead, after glaring at him for a moment she decided to play along. "Golly, Mister. I've never heard of a Fainting Goat but I can assure you this beast is quite too fine to be one of them." Ordinarily the Dwarf would have assumed she was good with animals and bad at acting but maybe today was a strange day and she was actually good at performing. "This fine ram was just milling about over there so I figured I'd try and bring him over to find his owner." She placed her hands on her hips in an exaggerated fashion and nodded as if agreeing with herself. "I guess there was a reason no one wanted it over here. Maybe I should put it back where I found it."

Poor Morton was barely breathing but since Jeremy had so I'm assuming. His rolls looked good to me at leastmasterfully applied his magic the beast would likely perk up in a few hours and crave little more than a sandwich and a bubble bath. Hazeal grabbed the drained sheep by the horns and found the shortest route out of the rows of merchant stalls. There was a shady space next the fountain to leave her short-lived charge where she figured he could get a drink (or even a bath) after he woke up. Before she left she grew another little sprig of blueberries for him to eat later to apologize for apparently traumatizing the poor fellow. While she did that Sorbo did his well-orchestrated maneuver on one of the men standing around the mark Jeremy had pointed out that she had been too distracted to notice at the time.

With the Ram settled Hazeal walked around the fountain and sat down next to a random person and sighed. "That poor guy is having a bad day." She wasn't aware if the man even knew what she was talking about but since people didn't usually care to talk to her she had gotten into the habit of speaking when she wanted to say something to anyone who was nearby at the time. "Got lost then threw a huge temper tantrum at the person trying to help. Not very nice at all, Morton!" The last bit was called grumpily in the general direction she had left the Ram. "It's a good thing I have these," The Dwarf knocked her bracers together, making a solid knocking sound. "Yup. These are tough so they held up against all his kicks and stuff. Luckily I have a lot of practice blocking blows to the face," she looked directly at the where the man's eyes would be if he was looking at her (though it didn't matter if he was or not she would continue regardless), "because of my face," and she pointed as if he wouldn't understand. As if to accentuate the tale a tiny rivulet came from her nose when she looked up that went down the side of her droopy lip. She wiped with her sleeve but her upper-lip fuzz was left slicked to the side and her cheek was somewhat shiny.

The druidess sighed again, figuring that her chances of showing anyone she was a capable animal wrangler were shot at this point. She needed to figure out a new track to try in order to find these elusive cultist but then recalled she had just given a brief example of her martial prowess. Well, at least an aptitude for blocking. That kind of counted. She turned back to the man, "Hey. I'm kind of a hired muscle usually. Know anyone who needs help guarding something? These babies will stop more than animals." She knocked the bracers together again to illustrate their usefulness.

 
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Old Jul 7th, 2021, 01:55 AM
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The Market
The goat bounces off several more vender booths, sending all their contents to the streets. Then suddenly, it drops to the ground, looking quite dead. A small group gathered around the poor creature as whispers filled with wild theories for its odd behavior abound though no one suspected Jeremy.
 

 

Things seemed to be calming down as the goat situation was handled. Jyl felt good about the persona she had created and did indeed looked quite good as a small human child in a purple dress. Even so, Jyl spots a shadowy figure following her as she makes her way to the meat market.
 

Sorbo felt good about the work he did on Jyl. Also with the job he did with the young man he literally painted a tail on. "Great... I've go so much to do today!" the young man exclaimed.

The plan worked, as every third step or so left a small golden splotch on the ground. The trail ended at a workman's shed near the meat vender roll. It was used by the workers to periodically clean off the blood and grime of their trade.

The young man wasn't too shy has he had stripped down to his waist behind a heavy canvas as he cleaned himself.
 


Hazeal had collected and revived the goat by this time and was making conversation about work. Folks seemed to be a bit peeved about the rampaging goat. Finally someone explained that several large meat orders were made early in the day. Beef and chevon ironically. "I'm not sure about muscle for guarding but if you are willing to haul a load, there is likely some work today. The Eager Cleaver is the big one at the end of meat row."


Score
Mechanical Score
PlayerCharacterMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridayTotal
Yoshimi Sorbo 220004
JustSomeGuy Jeremy 220004
Qiksilv Hazeal 010001
Noquarter19Jyl 000000
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  #12  
Old Jul 7th, 2021, 02:52 AM
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Jyl Quickstep
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With mounting apprehension, Jyl cast a quick look back at the shadowy figure on her tail. She could try to ignore whoever was behind her and continue operating under the façade of a child... but the way her luck was running today, she needed some direct intervention.

Her eyes darting quickly around, Jyl saw she was coming up on the corner of one of the meat market tents. With a little luck and a bit of magic, she could be gone before whoever was tailing her might to catch her out. At the moment, it didn't seem the figure knew he'd been spotted. Now we'll see how sharp-eyed you are, she thought, and with a gentle tap on her wrist and the whispered words she had learned a lifetime ago, she rounded the corner and vanished.

What seemed a heartbeat later, the figure turned corner - and stopped short as though he'd come up against a wall. A red-bearded face swiveled this way and that, while he stood stock still, wondering where the strange little girl in the oddly tailored lilac dress could have gotten to. Jyl was not wasting this opportunity. She couldn't resort to violence, not here with hundreds of potential witnesses. What she could do was to kill two birds with one stone - or in this case, a few of her spare lockpicks.

As the figure stood there, assessing where his target had gotten to, Jyl slipped the spare picks into a billowy pocket of the man's gray robes. She had been scrambling about since she’d first entered the crowd, and felt she’d accomplished nothing but to draw heat upon herself. With a flick of the wrist, the picks fell into the pocket with nary a sound. It was not a moment too soon; as she was removing her hand, the man suddenly lurched forward, seemingly towards the seafood tents. Jyl let out a silent breath and slipped her way out from behind the tent flap once she saw the man had disappeared from sight. It killed her to sacrifice part of her thieves tools, but lockpicks were easily replaceable

The vanish spell faded as she rejoined the throng, and she quickly made her way to one of the patrolling guards in the market. Still playing in the guise of a small face-painted child, she gave the guard's uniform a gentle tug to get his attention. "Uh, excuse me, Mister Nice Guard? Are you still looking for the thief? I saw a not very nice man trying to get into a door a bit ago, over by the seafood market. He had these metal sticks he was using to get in, and I thought he mentioned something about robbing a safe. I hope he doesn't do anything mean like that. He had a grey robe and a red beard. Oh, I hope you can find him!"

She felt absolutely ridiculous talking like a pipsqueak and wearing this ridiculous garb, but if it meant she could soon be able to move unimpeded through the market and return to help her fellow guild members, it would all be worth it. She absently touched her cheek and hoped that Sorbo's face paint wasn't permanent. Then I really would have to kill him.

 
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Last edited by Noquarter19; Jul 7th, 2021 at 02:54 AM.
  #13  
Old Jul 7th, 2021, 05:25 PM
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Sorbo the Painter
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Sorbo manages to melt into the throng of tall folk at the meat market, where he feels safe turning to watch the results of his shoe gambit. To his relief, the man’s comrades merely laugh at him, while the dark elf sneers and shakes his head in disgust telling his lackey to go get cleaned up. The henchman nods anxiously and peels off from his group, walking quickly around the back of the seafood stall to the utility area behind the market. The painter follows the trail of golden footprints easily, through a small yard of empty containers and pallets, the noise of the market becoming muted such that he can hear the man grumbling to himself. Peering from a crouched position behind a barrel about 20 feet away, he observes the man starting to change inside a shed. "Aha, I wonder if anything interesting is in there." Before he has time to consider searching the shed, the dull-looking human starts looking around, checking to see if he was being watched. Sorbo quickly ducks into his hiding spot. He decides to try and entrap the man next time he looks around.

He quietly unsheathes his glossy treantwood paintbrush from its velvet-lined leather holster and raises it before his eyes, inspecting its lightly gleaming surface with a soft smile. Then his countenance grows serious, and he holds the paintbrush aloft and intones the sacred words, "Let's get crazy." He peels a small sheet of canvas from his block, and waves his wand as he climbs onto a small crate beside the barrel, and feels a shimmering wave of energy rise from the living rock of the flagstones beneath his feet. The wave cascades upward about his form, and earths itself in the brush in his right hand then spreads from his Spell Focus in an invisible fan around him, engulfing an area between himself and the shed. When the shimmer fades, the barrel before the painter appears to be a low counter mounted on the back of a wagon, about 5 feet wide and 3 feet tall. The wagon itself has a pile of lobsters in it, behind the counter. Sorbo looks to be a bearded man of average height behind the counter, dressed in a smart blue uniform with an official-looking cap that bears a golden badge saying, "Delivery." The piece of canvas rests on the counter, looking like parchment with formal writing and blanks to be filled in, with a picture of the lackey human at the top.

The next time the henchman looks up, he beholds the strange cart. Sorbo frowns at him. "It is you, isn't it! Doncha try and play coy with me, governor." He waves the parchment under the man's nose as he gets closer. "This is your picture, don' try an' deny it. A fine thing, orderin' a king's ransom of lobsters an' not givin' the delivery date or address. Heads are gonna roll, an' I'm guessin' your'n 'll be one of 'em." He squints critically at the dumbfounded human, then hands the man a thin brush dipped in black paint. "Look, just write the date and location on me form here, an' nobody'll be none the wiser. I won' tell, eh, bub?" He winks at the man and hands him the paintbrush, looking at him expectantly.

If the man signs it, Sorbo will tip his cap, "Much obliged governor, back to getting' yer pants on then!" When the man's back is turned, he'll secret the parchment in his robes and hurry off. If the man gets suspicious or belligerent, he'll just stammer something about mistaken identity and try to hurry off.



 
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Old Jul 7th, 2021, 07:47 PM
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Hazeal Nightgranite
This day had been filled with the sorts of jobs she usually preferred to hand off to others. Whenever possible Hazeal let her companions do the talking to strangers. Jeremy and Sorbo were pros at this sort of thing. Their natural charisma and good looks (especially that hunky Sorbo) gave them an advantage whereas she mostly got dirty looks when she tried speaking. Today had not been an exception.

It didn't help that the animal she had tried to garner extra favor with had some sort of traumatic history and had flipped out. The Druidess was sure she would get some sort of friendly ribbing for that once her group got back together. So why was she willing to do all this nasty reaching out when she disliked it so much? Because Hazeal was a team player. Her squad had a mission that needed to be done and a limited time frame to accomplish that and by 'all the trees in the wood' she do her best to help.

Despite all her self-bravado the Dwarf was feeling rather discouraged and was pretty close to giving up, or at least taking a break, before she got her first lead. An elderly gentleman who was holding fish very close to his face as he inspected it turned and actually looked at her while she spoke. He even gave a little bit of a smile. "I don't know why such a pretty, young thing like you is wasting your time guarding things," he chuckled good naturedly and patted her on the head like a friendly grandpa. Gods above she loved blind people. "But if you are intent on doing that sort of thing I did hear that if you are willing to haul a load, there is likely some work today. The Eager Cleaver is the big one at the end of meat row." The man lifted his finger and pointed in a seemingly random direction almost poking the vendor in the eye with his own fish.

"Oh, thank you very much, Mister." Hazeal said excitedly and gave the man's waist a good hug. He chuckled and patted her once again then she broke off from the warm personal touch and started in the opposite direction that the man had pointed; toward the actual direction of the meat market. She halted for a moment as she realized that she probably ought to inform her friends of this lead but didn't want to waste a lot of time searching for them so instead she paused a few paces away from the old man, turned back to face him, then said in a too loud voice, "Alright, I guess I'm going to the Eager Cleaver to see if they need a hand with carrying their large order." Her companions had a knack for getting info so if they were close by she was pretty sure they'd hear her. The druidess was pretty sure she was doing a convincing job of seeming nonchalant. Maybe she was cut out for this acting stuff. She should try out for one of those masked plays when she got back; if there was time in between missions.

It was not a long walk to the meat department from where she was but still she didn't quite make it. No sooner was she standing at the threshold then she finally laid eyes on one of her comrades once again. Sorbo stood on a barrel and was applying one of his glamorous spells that altered the reality she saw. Even though she knew it was him even she suddenly had a hard time acknowledging that it was not just another merchant who stood in front of her. Willing herself to believe that her eyes were lying to her she soon saw the reason he had applied his skills to the area when he beckoned and a man walked from a small shack area wearing no shoes or...pants. Well, that was certainly a different sight. The one shoe see did see had been painted a bright gold color. Which just seemed to further her suspicion that Sorbo had targeted this man for a reason.

As Sorbo-not-Sorbo talked up the I'm assuming with 2 successes he makes itentranced individual Hazeal peeked into the room and saw the man's discarded garments left, for the moment, unattended in the shack. She considered leaving Sorbo alone to ply his trade but recognized this opportunity to help and so decided to briefly delay her trip to the Eager Cleaver. Quickly walking to the shack (or as quick as her different length legs allowed her) she then paused briefly at the door to check her surrounding for someone watching her before using her Staff of the Forest to Sweep the Pant-Leg!. Casually she turned a circle; allowing her body to shield her actions just long enough for her to search the clothing for anything interesting. Money was unimportant to the Druidess, what she needed was information, so any papers or identifying tokens were swiftly pocketed then her staff swept the pants back roughly where she had got them even as she continued her stride in her original direction. With any luck a final wink with her squinty eye at the "delivery guy" was all that anyone would notice from her little maneuver.

 
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Last edited by Qiksilv; Jul 7th, 2021 at 08:30 PM.
  #15  
Old Jul 8th, 2021, 01:03 AM
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Round 1, Day 3 - Bracket 3 - Group A

The Chase Continues
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The hideous druidess with the voice of an angel did well playing along, "Golly, Mister. I've never heard of a Fainting Goat but I can assure you this beast is quite too fine to be one of them. This fine ram was just milling about over there, so I figured I'd try and bring him over to find his owner." She nods and places her hands on her hips, "I guess there was a reason no one wanted it over here. Maybe, I should put it back where I found it." Dragging the ram away, she leaves Jeremy among the crowd of onlookers and settles by the fountain.

Sorbo, the laconic painter, had finds their prey. Jeremy suppresses a smile as the dwarf 'trips', spilling bright yellow paint on one of them. With surprising subtlety, the proudly overt pacifist expertly tails the henchman to a workman's shed behind the seafood stall. Not long after, he hears Hazael's voice saying loudly, "Alright, I guess I'm going to the Eager Cleaver to see if they need a hand with carrying their large order." Jeremy catches a glimpse of her before she turns down the same alleyway that Sorbo went down.

Jyl is a ghost. The detective still hasn't seen a sign of her since the first alarms had been called. Young master Winthorpe watches the guards as they continue to search for the assassin. One guard, in particular, is talking to an adorable little girl in a purple floral dress that bears the slightest tinge of pink. The girl's face is painted, but all Jeremy could make out from his position is a hint of a rainbow. Her dark hair is pulled back much as Jyl regularly wears her own hair. Most telling, though, is the rough cut of the dress. The fabric and pattern are of high quality, but the hemlines have been formed with a knife instead of a needle.

You can take the urchin out of the street, but—there is a sudden Crash. Elsewhere in the Orchardbrick Marketplace, someone has broken something. Someone else is angry and shouting, "You Worthless Child!" The sound of a slap rings out, lost to most in the marketplace... but not to Jeremy.

The Broken Doll"You Worthless Child!" spittle had flown from his father's lips. Young Jeremy felt the wet sensation of it on his face moments before he was hit with sudden hot pain and his world spun around. He saw himself falling to the floor more than he felt it. A small child still in short pants crumpled under Harold Winthorpe's hand. Jeremy's father had been up all night drinking. The odors of foul vanilla and rotting caramel stung the boy's nostrils. He watched blow after merciless blow from this projected perspective, thankful to be spared the pain. A shattered bowl was scattered across the floor where Jeremy had dropped it. Shards of white porcelain sat scattered in a slowly spreading pool of rich tomato bisque.

Cool arms wrapped around him while a deep voice whispered, "I'll hold us through this. I will protect you in the dark times and I will lift us when we fall. This moment will lead to another and another, and soon enough this will be a moment long passed." Jeremy could no longer make out the sound of his father's shouting. He was alone in his mind. There was only him and his imaginary friend who said, "Our tragedies stoke the fires that forge the steel of our spirit. We are still in the forge, my sweet boy... but what a blade we'll make." His dark eyes no longer saw a father breaking a child's body in a whiskey-fueled rage. No, Jeremy saw the future. The boy looked down the unbroken chain of moments to a time when no one thought him worthless, burdensome, or cursed. He would leave this place and change the world.

His blood was mingling with the soup. Several bones, like the bowl, were now broken. As Jeremy passed into darkness, he was vaguely aware of his mother. A door was thrown open. A diminutive form, normally so quiet and sullen, rushed into the room. There was a shrill scream, "What are you doing?!" A silvered knife flashed in candlelight. More blood joined the soup. Love lifted the little broken doll. Outside, a storm had begun to rage.

Building Momentum"What are you doing?!" a woman across the marketplace demands of her partner.

The shaken detective pulls himself from a garden of memories. Jeremy puts weight on the black cane that has long been a constant in his life. A pain shoots through his left side. The collection of childhood injuries had never quite healed correctly. His jaw sets in determination as he looks across the marketplace. Nothing will hold him back today. He catches sight of the dark-skinned elf in the fine suit and his spectacles enhance the smug look on the man's face.

Jeremy Winthorpe, the future heir to the house of Winthorpe, walks towards his target. The cloud that had earlier paused over the sun has found friends. They portend rain on this sunny summer day. That elf knows something. Soon, so will the young psychic. He casts his mental voice towards the cute urchin girl with rainbow face paint, "Jyl, if that's you, wave me in if you need my help. I'm going to see what I can learn from the ring leader."

"Occam... Let's try something drastic," he says quietly to himself and he begins to mentally pull at the threads of probability. A piece of the tapestry of fate frays. A nearby juggler drops his balls. A loaf of bread begins to grow mold. A merchant loses his lucky coin. The cool breeze fades and the market trash settles to the ground. The air becomes strangely still and the temperature in the marketplace drops another few degrees. Shoppers begin to talk about the coming storm. The air is charged while Jeremy approaches the elf in the glasses and the forces of fortune reorient. Today, Fortune Favors the Bold.

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Last edited by JustSomeGuy; Jul 8th, 2021 at 01:29 AM.
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