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  #16  
Old 10-02-2019, 01:52 PM
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As Vasilli continued to put off any conversation about the dire events which he summoned them for, Carew realized how rude he had been for not sharing in the meal. He took a few bites and realized he quite enjoyed it. So he silently and quickly ate the rest of his stew and found he was feeling much better about things in general.

When Vasilli shared the details of the harvest festival, Carew realized that it would be impossible for him to avoid his instrument for much longer. And he realized he no longer felt a need to be so secretive about it. He had once fled through this town because of his fears of losing it. Now, it seemed, was the time for him to display it openly in the very place he’d once run away. Life was a strange and beautiful thing sometimes.

“Well I, for one, am going to be looking forward to this festival: song and dance and everyone out to enjoy themselves. What’s not to like about such an occasion? And of course it will be a fantastic time to look for clues in this case. But for now, why not a little song and dance, eh?”

The well dressed Halfling finally opens the case he’d been clutching all night to reveal a marvelously crafted instrument within. It was expertly carved from a soft wood and strung with a dozen or so strings tightly wound through pegs at the end of the neck. The body of the instrument was thick, larger than the one who carried it, and it was a wonder how it even fit into that case. It was quite a contrast in the arms of the tiny Carew, yet he seemed completely at ease holding and playing it.

The sound that emanated from his instrument was an even greater contrast than the size. Carew’s voice had a bit of a high pitched ring to it, as the clanking of coins perhaps. His instrument produced a much different sound: a ponderous reverberation that seemed to cling to the floorboards. The candle flames seemed to dance along with it and the window frames seemed beset upon to let it out into the wider world beyond. That sound seemed to bounce back towards them even as he slowly moved on to pluck the next note, creating a murky mix of music that sucked them all into a place of expectation.

But he said nor sang anything to accompany these words. They were a space within which to frame something, but he had nothing to place there at the moment. And it was only in this way that his song was like his words.
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  #17  
Old 10-02-2019, 02:08 PM
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-Fresh mud from a mile-off river. A long red hair, around the man's ankle. An old man, a widower, and a hermit. Drowned on dry land, in his own horse-trough. What an odd menagerie of clues.

The light elf had theories. He'd heard of hexes that used hair, but usually a hair belonging to the recipient of the curse, not vice-versa. He daydreamed of the man swimming, and being pulled down by the hair like a coil of dense water weeds. That could make sense, were he by the lake- but he was in his own home. A curse? An illusion?

Or was it more simple, could he have upset someone with long red hair? But what about the mud?

Sasha considered, and ran his thumb and forefinger along the sleight cleft of his chin, "Now, you say that you've searched for evidence of monsters and magic, but how did you do this? Is there... er... a hedge-mage about that aided in the investigation, or are you proficient in the arts yourself?"
  #18  
Old 10-03-2019, 12:59 AM
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Sylvia thinks the information over. "I am tireless, myself; I can travel out there to inspect things personally, if you'd desire. Or I may stick around for the harvest festival... it's been quite some time since I was an active participant instead of an observer. It would, admittedly, be a nice change of pace. But: your call."
  #19  
Old 10-05-2019, 12:18 AM
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Dagrún Vanadisdotr
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Dagrún watched as the others set into the meal before them. One did not get to be as old as she was by consuming everything put in front of her, particularly not in a town currently reeling from a recent murder. Placing her long, hooked nose over the bowl, she sniffed its contents. She squinted her grey eyes, peering critically at both the stew and the accompanying bread. Once satisfied with her inspection, she grabbed the loaf with her long, spindly fingers and tore a large chunk off of it.

”Feh” Dagrún scowled as Vasili began describing the mysterious circumstances surrounding Dmitri’s death, ”So, ye’ve a water spirit then, have ye?” The blunt question was matter-of-fact and hung in the air as the old crone poked her bread about in the stew for a moment before stuffing it into her mouth, setting rivulets of gravy trickling down her craggy jowls. She swallowed with an audible gulp and looked at those about her as if surprised that she was the first one to voice this thought. ”I’ve traveled the wildways for more’n a lifetime to most, and in every land that man ha’ touched there be tales o’ water spirits. By many names they go: mermaids, sirens, selkie; lady o’ the lake, damsel o’ the deep, watery waif. The end be always the same though.

“Nay, I’ll wager that layin’ a name to the creature what killed yuir young lad be of less import than finding what he did to incur her wrath. If’n the Norns do smile upon ye, ‘tis him what brought it upon his self. Perhaps yuir lonely widower made unwanted advances upon a naiad what was forced to defend herself. If that be, then ye’ve naught to do save warn yuir young men not to be takin’ women as if they were unattended jewels to be snatched up. On the other hand, if ye’ve the vengeful ghost of a drownèd lass, then ye’ll be needin’ to find some justice to lay her to rest afore she takes more to her watery bower never to return.”

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  #20  
Old 10-05-2019, 10:20 PM
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Common room of the Flying PestleConstable (pro tempore) Vasili gives a small smile and nods to Carew's music. The tune is not from the local culture, and so Vasili gives no indication that he recognizes it. But neither does he or Ekaterine raise a single eyebrow at the instrument. It is welcome here.

Unfortunately, the music does contribute to sending him for a loop. It encourages him to become cozy, but then Sasha and Dagrun set him more and more on edge.

"Proficient in... a mage?... no no, none of that. I mean! There were no great brambles engulfing the place, or huge burned patches, or unnatural hoarfrost clinging to his clothes, or anything of the sort. We've no one nearby that could much help us with that. There's a wood-witch, usually found a few days' ride to the southeast. She's a dangerous sort, herself, and it didn't cross my mind to recruit her. Once I saw the scene, I thought to call you all."

He looks embarrassed enough at Sasha's implicit rebuke, that there is more to detecting magic than looking for obvious uncanny events. He inches closer to the edge of his seat in agitation. Then Dagrun quickly gives her diagnosis.

"Sirens and selkies and ghosts? You think the river is infested with these devils? Oh, I should hope not! I was hoping a clever bandit or a relative looking for a meager inheritance was the cause. The river is our lifeblood here in Degorod! Our mill, our water, our supply barges... The river passes through the heart of the town. If it's cursed just so, well, I can't imagine how we'd manage.

"Of course, I was afeared that something like that could be the case. I would not have called for great folk like you, if I didn't need help that could manage anything unexpected. But if I've learned one thing doing this job, it's that simple people with base motives are usually at the heart of most ill. You may be right, but I'd rule out nothing, just yet."


He rises and paces to the glowing fire. He taps out his pipe on the hearthstones, inspects it for remnants of the pipe-weed, and then tucks it away.

"If you can cast your spells to read the scenes better than me, then you are welcome to try. I can send one of the boys from town to show you along, to Dmitri's farm, or the river, or what have you, tomorrow morning. It would keep him out of our hair. But you might be well advised to meet the townsfolk first. Perhaps they know something. And if our good Warrior Woman Sylvia is seen with you at the festival, sharing a common task, it might gain you some trust before you go about your business. The townsfolk might not respond kindly to strangers prowling about the outskirts of town."
OODMAnother round or two of posts, and I think this scene will be done. Ultimately, I'll want to know where you plan to head first - take Vasili's advice and go to the Festival first? investigate one or more locations beforehand? Go all together or in groups?

While it's a nice use of Sylvia's sleepless nature to have her do some work at night, it does not easily work, narratively. I can't put the rest of the group on pause while she does something else. If you split up, perhaps I can run two groups (sub-scenes) at once, but I will admit that I am not very excited at the prospect of doing that.
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  #21  
Old 10-07-2019, 01:32 AM
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"I'll accompany you wherever you all need to go, should you ask," says Sylvia, politely. "I confess, I'm not entirely sure if the townsfolk are used to me, but if they are, then I won't say no to trading on that familiarity." She looked towards Carew for a moment.
  #22  
Old 10-08-2019, 02:47 PM
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-Sasha nodded as Dagrun explained her take. It fit his own conclusions well.

Sasha raised his brow at Vasili's response. His own cheeks warmed and he motioned towards the man, "I apologize if I've offended. Sometimes the effects are more subtle, is all. A trained eye might spot... er..." He looked to the ceiling, considering a layman's explanation.

He smiled sweetly, and offered, "Magic charms? Sometimes certain schools of magics leave behind clues. It's not that different than how you might identify a baker by the flour on their pantleg, or a carpenter by the sawdust in their hair."

"And as for water spirits- they may be supernatural, but they're quite natural, in their own way. Troublesome if they're upset, of course, but ultimately no different than a fox or deer or wolf." (Though that might be an easy thing for Sasha to say, coming from such a far off place.)

The young elf erred at the thought of sending Sylvia alone, or even as part a small group, "I say we all go with you to the scene of the crime. With so many eyes looking things over, we're bound to find a clue. Following that, we can go to the festival, yeah?"

Last edited by Inuvash255; 10-08-2019 at 02:47 PM.
  #23  
Old 10-09-2019, 01:26 PM
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Carew is silent after finishing the song and listens as the others begin to discuss the plans to investigate the murder. But when the beautiful elf suggests an immediate investigation, he feels compelled to speak against it.

“Vasilli has just told us that the townsfolk may not want us prowling through their town unannounced. I see no reason to put them even further on edge in the wake of this murder. Sometimes interlopers only make things worse. At least that has been my experience,” he unconsciously finds himself looking at Skadi as he says this, then realizes he may have said more than he intended with that gaze. “But I know little of this area myself, so I will defer to Dagrun’s decision on whether we should introduce ourselves at the festival before further investigation.”

His opinion is quite clear, however.
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  #24  
Old 10-12-2019, 12:02 AM
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Dagrún arched one crooked brow as Carew spoke up. She wondered why it was that the little fellow had been so forgettable. He certainly displayed sound reasoning, even if his demeanor seemed to tend toward sycophancy.

”Aye, the half-man spake troth. ’Tis naught but ill t’come o’ jostlin’ folk that already be affeared.” The old crone pauses for a moment as memories flooded back to her of the dangers of superstitious townsfolk. There was a reason she preferred to keep to herself away from crowds and mobs. She shakes her head to clear the unpleasant memories and turns to Sasha. ”Ye may look down on young Vasili Lavr Zakharovich for not playing with the magicks as much as yuir kin, but I trust he knows his own people a mite better’n the lot o’ us. If he counsels caution, I’m like t’ abide. A measure o’ patience may do ye well too, lad. Sure’n our lad Dmitri is nae goin’ nowhere, nor the water spirit for that matter.”

The ancient seeress fished a bone out of her stew, cracked it between her two hands, and proceeded to suck the marrow out with a loud slurping noise, before turning her attention back to their host ”There be one thing about which our little lord here is undoubtedly right, Vasili Lavr Zakharovich,” she informed the constable as she made use of the splintered bone shard clutched in her talon-like hand to gesture in Sasha’s general direction, ”Like as not, ye’ve had a water spirit in yuir river longer than ye’ve had a town, without ever knowin’. If ye’d none guardin’ it, then ye’d have left yuirselves open to far more mischief than the likes o’ which ye’ve seen o’ late. More oft than nae, they do stick to themselves, lest some poor fool discovers a way to anger them; then they can be roight vengeful.”
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  #25  
Old 10-14-2019, 03:49 PM
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-Sasha gazed listlessly at Carew, unsure of how to comment or protest with the little fellow. He started with, "But it's a murder, and we have letters that show our purpose of investigation, don't we? Wouldn't it be in their interest to stay out of our way?" He looked around the table, eager to begin the search for the culprit, but the sentiment was not shared among the rest of the party.

Dagrún spoke next, and the youthful elf sulked as he saw the logic in her words. Frost iced over the leaves in his hair, and snowflakes appeared to dust his auburn curls. He shrugged and rested his chin on his hand, and relented, "It... is... a fair point that you make Mister Carew and Constable Vasili. If our job here, ultimately, is to dissolve a panic... I suppose it'd be in our interest not to stir up more in the mean time."

The exile winced at the slurping sound across the table, but raised his frosted brow as the crone confirmed his suspicions. He added, "And if I were to guess, someone around here has angered that spirit something awful."

Last edited by Inuvash255; 10-14-2019 at 03:54 PM.
  #26  
Old 10-14-2019, 08:41 PM
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The Flying Pestle"Staying out of your way," replies Vasili, rising from his chair near the hearth, "should be exactly your concern. If the townsfolk know anything about Dmitriy - or river spirits, for that matter - we want them to speak to you. I have made few inquiries, and come up with little. Maybe they don't know anything; maybe honor or fear keeps them from telling me the truth. Trustworthy or intimidating outsiders might change their mind. But they must approach you to speak. Or at least, they mustn't flee when you approach them." Walking over to the wall near the door, he grabs a faded scarlet woolen overcoat.

"Your beds are paid for. One night is my pleasure. Degorod can afford a few more nights of lodging, if it means our troubles are solved. Beyond that..." he gives a false cough, to hide his embarrassment at the tiny town's ability to afford to put up a group of adventurers in meager housing for more than half a week.

"Find me around sunset - I'll be helping serve the food. The town should be gathered by then, and well into their cups."
OODMThe story is continued in Scene 1.
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