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Old Jan 4th, 2023, 12:22 PM
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Chapter 7: A Red Moon Rises

The Moon of Red Cherries
left-aligned image
Tomorrow night, high on the cliff, Luminar's devout will sit up in shifts, praying and singing, keeping their goddess company as she is washed in red.

There are thousands of stories around why the moon's pale glaze goes bloody on this night. Stories about death or fertility, magic or madness, love or loss. But across your disparate cultures---Monk of the mountains, Cleric's daughter of the forest, Human Paladin of the Sun and Hin Pir---Privateer from Frogmarch --- out of fear or hope or joy or faith or mourning, your people, too, always gathered on this night.

In Saltmarsh, tomorrow's fest has many functions: to congratulate the town to its newest council members---Ticker Fireborn and (probably) Melisse, to see Eda Oweland and the Thalias off on their year abroad, to celebrate the engagement of Anders Solmar, to introduce his yet unseen intended, Shella Visir, and to honor the Heroes of Saltmarsh, who stopped the smugglers, saved Anders, killed two hags and stopped their plot, made allies of the lizards, and exposed and ended Kreb's assassination plans. The feasting and games and dancing will begin as soon as the voted are counted.

In this port town, you have learned, it is traditional to ask notable visitors or ship captains from far off lands to tell stories of the Blood Moon. Their own, and ones they may have gathered in their travels. You all hear from different sources that the council hopes thatyou will be this year's guests of honor. Wellagr sends word to ask Fela via Rickhardt, Bingle via Keledek, and now that Pearl is safe, Gellan can remember he was to ask Tumble and Falco.

After the stories of those of you who are willing to oblige, there will be sunset fireworks, and then most will hasten to the temple or to their own beds.

As the blood moon rises, most of the visiting boats will sail off.



In Which You Need a Ship
right-aligned image
Falco, this includes the Wailing Maiden. You need that ten thousand, and to get the details of the deal from Felice, and to hire a crew, all before the party begins. So far, you have considered the ship your problem alone, but---is it?

You reassure Gellan, and he takes it as balm. He is a pragmatic, canny, sketch AF, embroiled in all manner of nonsense with the Fey, but he is also a loving, thwarted father. You have come to mean something to him, and you see it gratifies him to hear that you think of Saltmarsh as your home port now.

You talk poker games with Henchy and Tumble, but then Felice slides onto the stool next to you and passes you Bingle's letter. She has found time to change out of her uniform and looks younger, less austere.

I suspect that I am not the favorite for this job, , she says in her careful common, smiling. A disappointment, but I do not despair. Falco, you surely now surmise that I am more than a lady's maid. It is perhaps foolish to trust you and say, plainly: I am an Agent of the Zhentarim---but I wish us to be friends. I tell you also, Melisse knows and holds nothing against me. Gellan does not know; telling him might harm his marriage and certainly cause me to be fired. I prefer best of all to keep this between you and I? My value lies in my invisibility. It is an amazement, what the wealthy will say in front of a quiet girl in a maid cap. Or, for that matter, their dealer at a table full of cards and brown liquor and money...

Which begs me leave to say, if not your manager, perhaps you would allow me to run this poker game you speak on? I will run it fair; I have the skills to spot a cheat. I would keep my ears open for things perhaps of interest to you and yours, by way of recompense. Kreb smelled of too dark business, so I met my contacts at the Goat---unideal. Rowdy! Bright! I need a more subtle spot. I assure you, I am no vile murderer; those days when the Zhentarim sought conquest ended a century ago, with Manshoon's death. My trade is information, and in many ways, our goals align. The Zhentarim seeks to break the spine of the Red Feathers.


left-aligned image
Tumble, you need a ship. Now. You want to follow that destiny to the Brineweave, and the scroll says that The King Afloat is sinking. Falco, too, has a vested interest in finding the way in---he wants to save Bramble. Young people! But it's good, because if you get the boy a boat, he will sail you where you need to go.

While he is whispering with the shifty maid, you talk to Henchy about games and bets. He is down for any of it, as long as he can get back to security, breaking heads as the gods surely intended. Perhaps he can, because, oh Frabjous day, here is Clovis in a spiffy coat and high boots, returning arm in arm with the person he now calls, "Bar-Tendre." Alas, Henchy, it seems they need to go downstairs for just the tiniest moment, as Clovis wants to display his new bibelots on the high high shelf and needs a boost! ...they are gone.

Henchy continues to sling over-foamed beers, scowling, but he agrees that people love to bet upon elections, and cedes the chalk. There are perhaps two dozen patrons in the bar by now. The vast majority of them do not think for a red second that the House believes Pearl will win. With Kreb gone? It's likely Melisse by a fine fat margin. But these are shady people. They begin elbow nudging. House money as a bet on Pearl to win is interpreted by these (mostly mild) miscreants as a bribe.

They sidle up and make their bets with Henchy one by one, saying, "I'll bet against Pearl because I am sure going to get up early and vote for Melisse. Wink! Nudge! Some want to make larger bets, because they can promise more votes. If one man is allowed to bet 5 gold, he says can get his whole fishing boat crew to the polls. Word spreads. People go and get their friends. These are citizens, but perhaps not civic minded voters; they will go the polls ot ensure this pay-out. It will cost you 197 gold, but if you take their bets, Pearl's victory moves from the world's longest long shot to a mathematical impossibility.

right-aligned image
Fela, you need a ship. You have to go back to Ice Island and mack on that cold bird again to blur that Mark. Also, Slurry says only an archfey can remove the mark entirely. Well there's an Archfey in the Brineweave, and Tumble, if she can get to sea and complete her destiny, could get you there.

Do you think about the fact that, as long as you stay marked, especially unblurred, whatever set it there could take a peek at you any old time? Perhaps the powerful creature would never again think about some sleepy Watcher she toyed with in passing, but you are now the youngest Springer in your order's history. The more your power grows, the more likely you will call her interest, and the more dangerous it is for this thing to have control of you. Perhaps you don't think any of that. Maybe you only think that there's a girl you'd like to kiss, and you can't, because the blast would absolutely kill her. You are nineteen, and still tiddly, so no one will blame you if this is all you think, or even if you can't quite name which girl you mean---not without a question mark. Well, you have a pretty good idea, though. And anyway, the other one is likely not speaking to you.

Storage tries to say, "I love Xe---Capppp---Xeee-" and can't, and laughs and laughs. But he can say, I am relieved we are keeping Inno, even if I bet fleeing off into a war looks pretty good to her, today. Damn! Ha." He has to stay and man the booth, but the market will close soon, and he is eager to spread the news. Xendrose is not popular with her underlings.

You make your way to the Snapping Line. It is the dinner rush, but Fee takes one look at you bellowing for your retainer and bursts out laughing. She sets you up in a corner with a big bread bowl full of chowder and strong coffee.

You work on putting all that food away! Your Rickardt went to market, but I will find him. Fela? Thank you. Briony told us what you did at Kreb's and---You are such a good friend to my family. As you eat, your head begins to clear, buzz fading away. More and more people come in to get dinner. You begin to notice looks, nudges, whispers. Great.

Rickardt appears at your elbow, nostrils set to Fully Flaring. That sword looks evil, he says, eyeing Xendrose's. He has yours, a lovely piece of work with Saliber's sigil worked into the pommel. When you are home, after the wedding, your father will personally lead your swearing in with great ceremony at the temple. That said--- Now he looks wildly uncomfortable. Flushed. Pulling at his collar. Fela. I heard, er, chit-chat in the market. Rumors of you in some sort of sordid lover's quarrel. With a tiefling. Of all damned things. The topic is awkward, but his tone is protective, not accusing. Of course I know this is nonsense! You are not Finn! Still, better to bud-nip such talk before it gets back to Templetome. The wedding, you know, we can't have town gossips inventing unsavory connections. To that end, I think you should escort someone to the party, eh?

You will be highly visible, since you are one of the night's Storytellers, and with the right date on your arm, the rumors will swiftly die. If you have a respectable local in mind, by all means, ask her. If your heart remains in Templetome with Sally Albright---a lovely girl---I can send an invitation to her via Paper Bird. I am sure your father would bring her in by Griffon, as you are to be honored. Or, this can be simply optics. I am happy to vet local young ladies and arrange something appropriate and friendly.


left-aligned image
Bingle, did Falco get a ship yet? You need one. You promised the Drallions you would go out and get the thingy and fix their life like a hero. Also---do you want to go to the Brineweave?

You have a blank space. In your head, as diagnosed by Doctor Pillows, who says he is your friend. Should you let him go digging super down deep into your brains? You cannot decide if he is good to pick for this delicate work unless you see what all is attached to that eye stalk. Perhaps it is just a huge, gnome-shaped mouth with 20,000 slaver-coated teeth. Perhaps it is simply a nice kind gentleman with an unfortunate eye-stalk situation jutting out of his otherwise unruffled forehead. You need to see. Then you would know.

You and Banx exchange significant flarings of nostril and loftings of brow while you ask highly specific questions about demons and dwarf holes, and you learn more abut the Undine Mouth from all the resulting behaviors: Banx doesn't tell, and Keledek doesn't ask. AND YET! Banx isn't low or sneaky. He LOVES the Undine Mouth. Your assessment: Keeping your own siht pirvate is nromal. Keledek isn't stupid. Your assessment: He knows you have found a thing. Probably an evil thing in a dwarf hole. But he will not pry. The Unspoken is neither your boss nor your Bongle. He is your mentor and your friend. He will give direction if you ask, teach you, supply you, share books and lore, come running with wild violence if he thinks you are in trouble, seek you endlessly if you are lost, but he is not going to say, Now, now, this is dangerous, I shall do it --- you get in a fern! He will say, Run and find out, Bingle Curiosa, but once you know, please tell me, for I am curious as well.

You share a precious secret with him, and put your most prized thing into his hands. Banx, who knows these things, falls silent and is solemn. Keledek turns the pages, black-bright eyes alive with interest.

I do not know Grizelda Erevyn by reputation or name. She is not of the Undine Mouth, or I would have heard of her, perhaps met her. Mages of my caliber are rare, you understand, and there are spells here that are beyond my understanding. One dnight, I should love to study this book deeply, perhaps copy some of her notes as you sleep, as of course you must not leave the safety of this tower we share without your spellbook.

Bingle, this book is Fey. You mentor is true Eladrin. Seasonal. Of Spring. Smell?
He opens the pages, and yes, the book smells like her. It always has. Fresh and green and sweet and good. No True Wizard hands away her spellbook. But this is decidedly real and valuable. From this I surmise she has other seasons, as many Eladrin do. When she gifted you this, it was an act of deep love, deep faith in your potential. I commend her on this, for you are more than worthy. But she did not render herself powerless. No, she has at least one other book with all this in it, perhaps more, that her Spring self can recopy when it is her time.

If any Fairies came to market, especially of spring, or even their allies, Summer, may know her by this name. Other seasons may know her by description and have other names for you. More powerful Fey are more likely to have heard of her, as they live long and remember any who may be of use. A shame Bramble is missing, for she is of spring. If your mentor has winter book, a winter name, the Cold Bird you told me of might know her.


Bingle! Slurry Bird! MIGHT! KNOW!

YOU NEED A SHIIIIIIIIIP.




OOCbothers, Right now, Pearl is down 4 dice from the parties earlier actions, and Kreb's dice default to Melisse. The chances of Pearl winning are VERY low---But I am going to roll it. If you pay out the bribes, you have achieved absolute mathematical certainty of a melisse victory, and we can skip to the party once you and the party do the plethora of other business you have in the morning.

P~ you say EMPTY NET but I think you mean the Snapping Line, yes? That is where Rickartd is staying, and you said the SALTWIND PLACE in OOC so I took you there. SORRY if that is wrong!

cheerio save those research rolls (AW POOR BANX LOL), you can use them if you like next round, or whenever you study the books. I wanted to keep her in this conversation in case you wanted to go farther. You are welcome to study in the 2 hours of quiet time you need in your 8 to complete a long rest. There IS one fey at market this week, Bingle saw her, the flower seller. She doesn't have a HIGH chance of knowing anything about Grizelda, but if you want to go and see her and ask, roll percentage dice, and if you hit the DC, she will know things. The higher you roll, the more she knows.
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Last edited by Fillyjonk; Feb 16th, 2023 at 07:20 PM.
  #2  
Old Jan 6th, 2023, 11:47 PM
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If'n he can play 'is cards right
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Here is Felice, all he has t' do is pass her a pouch with ten thousand gold pieces, or only one thousand plat, and she'll tell 'im how t' make th' Wailing Maiden what's sittin' so pretty out in th' harbor, 'is very own ship. With that an' 'is magic star map, Falco would have a way t' hunt down Cinderrabbit. He'd be one step closer t' gettin' Garrick back. He has less than half o' what is needed on 'im currently an' th' ship is due out tomorrow evenin'. But maybe these people, nay these friends, he's grown t' count on could help? Maybe they'd want t' set sail with 'im an' hunt Red Feathers?

Felice has let her hair down an' rather resembles a rare an' exotic flower, one that is as deadly as it is beautiful. "Aye, yer not th' favored pick. I know ye t' be capable an' I'd wager ye'd excel at th' job but, there be others me friends want t' keep close an' safe. I'm sure ye understand. " He smiled warmly at her an' put a hand over 'is heart. "Yer secret's safe with me. Me cap'n used t' tell me a person's only born with two things. Them being their name 'n' their word. If'n they can use 'em well, those two things will persist long after they be gone."

"I like makin' friends, Felice. Especially ones what want t' see Red Feathers undone. I'm sure ye know I be no ordinary sailor as well." Falco winked at her an' laughed softly, "We all have our secrets, don't we? Anyway, I'd love t' keep ye close too. So, yes. Please run th' games here at Th' Fury an' use th' place fer any other business needs ye might have. I intend t' make this a haven fer all things what exist in th' spaces between. A place fer those o' us with a sharp eye an' keen ear t' keep a finger t' th' pulse o' things."

Falco sat there at th' bar o' Th' Fury into th' evenin' jus' watchin' an' plottin'. Big waves would soon be rollin' in, he needed t' be ready t' roll with 'em. He'll strip th' questionable sheets offa Kreb's bed an' sleep there tonight. In th' mornin', he'll find 'is friends an find out how much they still lack fer th' ship before th' election. Maybe Gellan would float 'em a little gold if'n it were fer th' town's best interest? A ship would be makin' th' heroes more mobile.

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  #3  
Old Jan 7th, 2023, 02:50 AM
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Bingle Curiosa Wildwander, Forest Gnome Wizard/Warlock
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Bingle respectfully thanks Keledek and promises to report back everything as soon as she can. Then she and Banx go off to the market at a hustle. One evil cloak. One evil robe. Two gnomes going lickety split. Banx can yearn all he wants for that colorful stack of books. He can gaze at it and drag his finger over one beloved leather cover but Bingle knows -- Bingle knows! He may not be Banx Curiosa but he's almost as curious as she is and he wants to find out stuff. So, yearn away and be thankful you have a wizrad friend to darg you outside and make you more niterseting.

"Look, we're going to the market. We need some stuff.

1. We need to ask Buddeja about Griselda Erevyn. She's a spring fey, so we can buy some flowers and ask.
2. I have a shopping list of stuff we need to get for the Blood Moon Story.
3. We need to give Falco 2000 gold from the incredibly large amount of gold that I have, so we can get a ship and go save Rowena Drallion from being ruined.

Do you need anything? While we are out?"


Bingle's list for the market includes the following:
Paper and paint.
A cheap big shield
A skein of thick woolen yarn.
A gnome sized set of theatrical armor
A three-legged stool
A big hoop, like a hula hoop or the outer part of a wagon wheel
At Buddeja's stall, Bingle will buy a bunch of white flowers. Floofy and showy ones, if there are some in stock, frail and frilly and big, but they'll need to stay good until tomorrow night. She will grin at the fey, push back her hat so she can show her pointed ears, and talk a little crazy, how fey like it.

"Sweet fey, burgeoner of blooms, in your flights and fancies have you found a wizard of the spring they call Griselda Erevyn? She has purples like this, and pinks like that, green skin and big round glasses like a droplet of water on a lily pad, do you know her? Have you seen her?"

After the market, Bingle and Banx will trot on by the Ten Fang Fury to join Falco. Bingle pulls out 2000 gold and hands it to Falco.

"I want to go in on a ship with you, buddy," she says. "I know it seems crazy because I used to be so scared to go on the water. But now that I've died I know that sailing on a ship isn't the scariest thing that can happen. It just doesn't seem so bad. I trust you to find a good one. I think you should get one with a lower deck so you can be a shark or crocodile and just slide out into the water. And I think you should get one that looks like a forest or maybe just a stand of birch trees or a very large mushroom would seem normal on it. And if I get killed again on this ship I need you to come get me. And if you die on the ship, I'll come get you too."

She looks around at the Ten Fang Fury.

"We're going to be a mutual joint stock company I think," she says peacefully. "To maximize our capital, I'm projecting a bilateral gain on the margin, you know? Bar, ship, what else can we diversify, ya know? Columns, my friend. Columns and rows."



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Last edited by lostcheerio; Jan 7th, 2023 at 02:51 AM.
  #4  
Old Jan 7th, 2023, 06:59 AM
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Fela, dutiful correspondent
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Glad that Rickardt isn't there to see her drunk and bellowing, Fela lets Fee lead her docilely, silently, to a table, obediently eats and drinks what's put in front of her, stabled and fed like a horse. The reversals continue as the Watcher feels herself watched, by the townspeople in the inn, and perhaps those farther afield? She pauses to touch her check, just to the side of her mouth, and understands why Finn would have run here. Away from the Markwig name, from Duty, from Watchers and Springers and arranged marriages and Fey curses and all of it, to just be normal for a bit.

She can't help but wonder what they're thinking about, watching her. The dragon? Kreb? Just gawking at a Watcher like they did when she appeared in Glotten? Or are they all laughing about the scene outside. She drinks more coffee to hide her face, tries to shut them out, tries to not think about whatever Archfey has their mark on her, not to think about the deal with Slurrybird to cover it up that she wasn't close to meeting. Seed pods, dryads. Tries to just sit, rest, sober up. It's been a day, physically and emotionally.

When Rickardt does come in, Fela wishes he had been in here to hear her bellow, instead of outside in the market hearing all about the scene with Innovation. "Lover's spat! It wasn't -- I haven't -- " the alcohol is fading enough she realizes she's on the verge of making another scene, and she collects herself, leaning in close to Rickardt and lowering her voice. "Look. Gellan gets on with Innovation much better than Xendrose. Innovation was getting shipped off to war, Gellan preferred it was Xendrose, my friends and I made it so. But Xendrose suggested that Innovation was up to no good herself, in bed with Gellan, and I had to make sure it wasn't so. All above board."

She sits back, pleased with herself, but then he goes on, about the news reaching Templetome, Tieflings endangering the wedding, and feels her nostrils flare, her voice raise back up a bit. "And so what if I did like a Tiefling? They're our allies against Dral! People could learn to deal; they can't choose who their parents were anymore than you or I could -- " she stops herself, knowing it's pointless to go on like this with Rickardt, shocked at bit herself at what's coming out of her mouth -- just a few weeks ago she wouldn't have felt any of this, much less said it. But mostly she feels the weight of Duty settling back down on her. The Watchers need her family, her family needs some status, the wedding must go on...

"I'll bring someone -- Sally?! You, my dad, how does everyone know -- " Oh, right. She made the mistake of mentioning Sally to Finn. Of course everyone knew. But Sally -- it was tempting. Sally here, giving her the adventure of a griffon ride, telling her about all she'd done here. But Sally belonged to a whole other universe at this point, and Briony was just upstairs. "I will bring Briony Saltwind, if she'll have me." Fela's tone of voice has layers: a sulky teenage "fine, if I have to", an entitled noble "I decide who I bring, you don't vet", and underneath it excitement and a touch of doubt -- Briony did like her, right? Clovis knew about these things, surely... -- but a big fancy dinner like this didn't really seem like Briony's scene... "Fetch me some paper, a couple of envelopes -- Briony's recuperating, I'll ask her in writing -- and have some other correspondence -- and is there any of that good chocolate left?"

She ponders the letter while Rickardt is away collecting the goods, then writes quickly when he comes, before the last of her liquid courage fades away.

Letter to Briony Dearest Briony,
I humbly request your presence as my escort to the Festival of the Moon of the Red Cherries tonight. If you'd rather not, you need only say your wounds from yesterday are too severe, I will understand. If you do come, I trust you will not throw any glassware as you did yesterday; you have a great arm but Rickardt is keen I do not cause any more scenes.

Your smitten protector,
Fela Markwig, Springer


Letter to InnovationDear Innovation,

I wouldn't blame you for burning this letter unread, but I'm terribly sorry for the scene in the market. There can be no excusing it, but if I may offer the briefest explanation: Xendrose's poisonous words, alcohol -- and yes, jealousy. Though they weren't spoken inside a zone of truth, my words over Dragonchess were all true, you knew the true me, not the aberration at the market.

Congratulations on your promotion. I hope in time you can forgive me and we can pursue that friendship you offered earlier, but I will leave it in your hands to judge when or if you are ready for that.

Yours dejectedly,
Fela Markwig, Springer


While writing, she makes a request of Rickardt. "Just how many of those winged bird letters do you have? I know it's a bit frivolous, but I'd love to write to Daddy, to Finn -- it's been so long, I miss them so much, and missing the excitement of the wedding -- if I could just write them a personal message to both of them myself it would mean so much to all of us..."

She seals both with her signet, and gives the first letter to Fee. "Don't wake her -- she needs her rest after those wounds -- but put it where she'll see it first thing in the morning." The second she tucks away for later.

"Thank you, Rickardt. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to consult with my associates again this evening before I settle in.."


Actions, etc.
Dice Persuasion for Rickardt:
d20+7 (18)+7 Total = 25


Fela will head back to the Ten Fang Fury after this -- leaving it a bit open pacing-wise whether more will happen here and on the way, or if she'll be there to interact with the others at the beginning of the next round.
 

Last edited by ptwiddle; Jan 7th, 2023 at 07:00 AM.
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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 09:07 AM
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Tumble
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Artist credit: Aurore Folny (© Black Book Editions)

Tumble is terrible busy. A mere two dozen people becomes difficult to manage when they're clamouring around all at once, making arch comments and sly deflections that rival the ones coming out Tumble's own mouth. This one puts down a copper, that one puts down a plat. It's all she can do to keep up with the names and the bribes wagers.

By the time Bingle shows up talking Good Business and slinging coin around like cnady, the notion of money is becoming meaningless to her. "Mutual joint stock," she agrees, absently. "Yes, maximising the capital. Diversifying columns and rows." Just look at all the diverse names in the columns on the chalkboard! Can't get more diverse than this, unless you go to the Snapping Line and get everyone in there to bet too. Tumble senses that this would not end well. And besides, she's got enough to do here. More silver, more gold, weird little coins from overseas, worn little coins from local villages, shiny shards of Templetome. Clink clank.

"A boat, yes." Boats: the worst. Whatever Bingle and Falco are talking about seems to involve a boat, and they'll need a boat for figuring out this floating emperor thing. She holds up a finger to silence a woman arguing with her about the odds on the board to fish the little scroll from her pocket, looks at the hourglass. How much time left, while they settle down into a life of bar management and interviews? Tumble has never run a business in her life, but there's one thing she knows about Good Business, and it's delegation. You give other people the means to carry out a task, then you trust them to get it done. "A boat is a useful thing that must happen."

She has a bag of coin. Pay out a bit here, pay out a bit there. Eventually she runs out of room on the chalkboard. Enough! The books are closed. She has to make a copy of everything in case of shenanigans. She pushes the rest of the bag towards Falco and Bingle. Delegation! When she gets it back, it's much lighter. Easier to carry. Well, they won't be needing the room at the Snapping Line anymore, so not having any money to pay for it isn't a problem. She snaps her book shut on the copied-down wagers and hops down from the chair. People will be coming for interviews at any moment!

"I am going to the Snapping Line. I will return soon."

At the Snapping Line, she explains the situation. Fela's retainer Rickardt, she stresses, will be staying here unless Fela says anything different. Tumble is just going upstairs to collect some things! Upstairs, she gathers together whatever random ephemera she's left there, handkerchiefs, nightdress, creams and salves and herbs, a half-darned sock, little wrapped cnadies that technically belong to Winston...

But also, she pries up that floorboard again. Finn, my very angel. It occurs to Tumble that this is less usual than she'd assumed; Finn... doesn't go by Finn here in Saltmarsh. So if someone is sending him love notes while he's in Saltmarsh, they know his day-to-day identity, but nobody is supposed to know he's here. If he got the letter in Templetome, then why take it to Saltmarsh and actively hide it here? Does it have anything to do with the Standing Stones, that play strange music (and what is the Destined Song, anyway?)? And what's this about a Hell?

Tumble takes the little music box out of her bag and sets it on the floor, winds it. Plink plank, it plays. She reads the whole letter twice.



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Old Jan 7th, 2023, 03:24 PM
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The Day Winds Down, the Dark Approaches
left-aligned image
Bingle! The Undine Mouth can help you. Paper and paint? Ann has plenty. Phidira has many skeins of thick woolen yarn, just pick a color. There is no furniture vendor at the market, but HEY, you own a bar! It is rife with tall three-legged stools, and if you need it gnome sized, you can hack the legs off shorter, easy peasy. Jasker will loan you a metal shield, if you like, or you can buy a wooden one at Winston's for 6GP.

Banx will go with you, but he is on the deep snootch the second you enter town. He isn’t comfortable here. Swampy AF, poor fellow! Doesn't prefer to march right through the town like YOU DO!

Storage has hula hoops among his toys, black with colored stripes. Five silver. The impossible item is the armor, but as it happens, Madame Tralancet is here this week. Her booth is stuffed with theatrical costumes and her quasi-feral children, who are modeling them. She snatches a passing child and tries to wrestle it out of a lizardy outfit.

Rawr!
says Caks, struggling, desperate to stay a dinosaur. I eat GOMS!

Nah, ya don’t, Madame says, cuffing him until he goes limp enough to be shoved into a set of paper mache platemail. You’re a good knightly, and you save ‘em.

Caks models with ears down, mouth flat, but it is an excellent costume and will fit a, er, “gom.” It looks very real, and is trimmed with real gold silk and lapis decorations. 3 gold.

Alas, Buddleja has not heard of your mentor, but she likes your ear show, and will sell you bunch of the showy, snowy peonies enchanted to stay fresh for 48 hours for a gold. For five gold, she will also enchant them to sing a single couplet on command. This couplet can’t be changed in tune or words, once set, and will die when the peonies do, in 48 hours.

Banx consents to be visible once inside the Fury, but he keeps his back to the wall and his head on the swivel.

Falco, you have a drink and watch over your party’s latest acquisition, waiting to see which of your friends is going to join you to bed down in this pit of vice (lite) and vipers (literal.) Tumble finishes her betting board and passes you the money to cover the wagers. And an extra 3,000 to help pay for the ship. Bingle shows up and offers another 2K. You are very close to having what you need, and Felice slinks close to explain the deal to you. She will include the gnomes in the briefing, if you like, and re-tell the tale to Fela when she arrives, as you cannot do what must be done alone.

right-aligned image
The Wailing Maiden belongs to a famed sculptor of Templetome, Ketterman Barley. You were at his booth earlier and saw Cinderrabbit’s hated visage. Tumble found the eyes of his busts to be creepy and invasive. Felice tells you now that Barley enchants all his work, and can see or hear through any bust he chooses, any time. His art is successful, but the bulk of his money comes from blackmail and selling the secrets he learns.

While she will not mention the Zhentarim in front of your friends, you gather than the Zhents might like him better if they could use him exclusively, but that he is too valuable a source to burn openly or kill. Enter Creativity, who wants to escape him. Badly. But he needs money for a new start (this is what the 10K is for) and help to escape. Ketterman has worked hard to keep him isolated, and only Felice, invisible as a maid, has managed to befriend him and learn of his plight. He is a caged bird who lacks for nothing but freedom.

The challenges: The crew of the ship are all constructs who keep a close eye on Creativity, as does Ketterman himself through all the busts and sculptures on the boat. Creativity even sleeps in a circle of them. He is not allowed to accept money---it is all wired to Templetome banks. The Wailing Maiden will set sail two mornings hence, after the blood moon sets, and Felice suggests you ... simply take it. But in such a way that Ketterman will believe at the very least that Creativity had no hand in the plot. Ideally, he’d believe that Creativity is lost or dead. One advantage, Ketterman can either hear or see, not both, and only out of one statue at a time.

Felice has no powerful combat skills that would allow her to help him, but your party could help? Anonymously, of course... And keep the boat. The boat would need to be---rebranded, in terms of a name, sails. Maybe a new figurehead? She could help with this. She leaves the details to you and your friends. She will wait in the bar until you have the last of the money together.

left-aligned image
Fela, Rickardt takes your answers at face value. Of course he does! Yes, of course, our country is allied with Luz, and it was very proper to investigate any wrongdoing the hell-girl and the councilman were up to. He takes your assertion that tieflings are fine to date as the sort of thing it is proper to say publicly, because of the alliance and the war. When you suggest Briony, he smiles. An excellent choice---such a well-regarded family of locals. “Salt” of the earth. Oh, good, a dad joke. He chuckles at himself.

Here you are, doing the right thing, as he assumed you would. As you almost always do. When your father is near. When you are in Templetome.

Less true, here. Much less true. Or is it? And while your idea of what ‘”the right thing” is not changing, it does seem to be expanding.

You write two young women two rather eloquent letters, and send one off with a bright-eyed, curious sister who is eyeing the wax seal like a person who wishes you’d just folded it in half and passed it over. You put Innovation’s into your pocket. Rickardt can of course give you two paper birds! He hands them over. Each bird will hold fifty words, and then you say the name of the recipient and let it go. It will only open for that named person, only be readable for them.

In comes Tumble, to say very pointedly that Rickardt should stay here. Not at the Fury, she means. Finn’s “Gand” apartment here is paid for, and since Tumble has headed up the stairs to pack, it is free for him to use! It has two rooms if you want to sleep here as well. Because if you decide to stay at the Fury, a shade adjacent house of smuggling and Clovis, well... what will your retainer say. To your father.

It’s not evil or illegal. It’s fine for Falco, say, to own that place, and it’s fine for you to go there and be friends with Falco. But stay there? Own a share yourself? Rickartd’s reaction to Innovation reminds you that you are held to a different standard. One you have never before had to think about, much less struggle to meet.

Tumble,
what you left in the hole is the note and a fey cigarette. You took the money, the standing stone notes, the drow poison you successfully made. You open the letter and find the envelope is packeted up in the lowest fold. It was, indeed, addressed to Gand, no last name, at the the address of the Snapping Line. The envelope is stamped, so it was sent here to Saltmarsh from elsewhere in Kivalia, likely by ship.

You had dealings with a mail ship when you sent your notes back to Narngeldem. If you wish to do this again, you can. You can likely find the same courier again, down by the docks. No hurry, as almost all the boats are staying for the festival.

The other thing that is noticeable is the signature. The sender has stamped the bottom of the note when her very fancy monogram, so she (the font looks lady-ish) is clearly a noble. You set your music box to play the little tune Raya helped you craft. Plinky plonk plonk, and you read.

The Letter
right-aligned image
Finn, my very angel, do you not yet understand me? I am my mother’s daughter, and when I decide to have a thing, I have it.

You can try to flee to any Hell you choose, but I will find you, as I found you here, hiding with the back half of your name and darkened hair. Do you burn with hate and helplessness, thinking of all the ways that I can ruin your father? Hate is passion, darling, and your helplessness is fetching. Do you know, the dead inventor left these Saltwind orphans you seem to be so fond of quite in debt? I bought the note; I can call for them to pay me back in full at any time. Perhaps I'll burn their inn. I need something to keep me warm, if you will not.

But...not today. Buck and fuss, pretty pony. I’ll reserve the pleasures of breaking you entirely for after we are wed. Here is the most delicious irony: as long as you fight, I'll never tire of you.

Yours,
CVA

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Last edited by Fillyjonk; Jan 7th, 2023 at 03:41 PM.
  #7  
Old Jan 8th, 2023, 01:00 PM
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Tumble
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Artist credit: Aurore Folny (© Black Book Editions)

Tumble reads over the letter to Gand, once, twice, done. It's got nothing to do with the standing stones. Boring! Back in the hole with it! But she pauses, with the letter between her fingers, over the gap in the floor. Here are the facts:

1. Gand's difficult love life isn't of major-or-even-minor interest to Tumble - people get themselves embroiled in terrible weddings all the time, just ask Shella Vísir.
2. Fela's father could end up ruined, but what's Fela's father ever done for Tumble, other than all the things he's paid for, unknowingly, during Tumble's acquaintance with his daughter.
3. This CVA noble might burn down the Saltwind's tavern, but the Saltwind's debt has nothing to do with Tumble, and if the place burns down then what matters it to this gnome, with her bag already packed to leave?

But.

Fela, with her loud feelings about Briony Saltwind, would probably be unhappy if Briony got bruned up in bed by her soon-to-be sister-in-law. And if Fela finds out that Tumble had this note in her hand and knew about all this boring family stuff, then Fela will probably be unhappy with Tumble. Well. Fela is always unhappy with Tumble, but this time it'd be a big unhappy, with lots and lots of shouting and personal behaviour and probably also --crucially-- a decision that Fela shouldn't Tumble's associate anymore, and a Springer is such a useful person to have around, with her shiny armour and her blinding authority and her big sword. These are also facts.

There's nothing in this, no angle, that directly benefits Tumble. Gand's Big Wedding Blackmail isn't going to get her into the Brineweave whether it happens or not. But... well, it can't be ignored. She packs everything up and slides the letter into a pocket, ready to head back to the Ten Fang Fury.

Wherever Fela is, Tumble will beeline for her.

"Ax Fela, do you recall last week that I gave you a page of notes written by your brother? I would be pleased to see them again, if you will permit me. I wish to study them. In exchange, I have something new for you that you must read."



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OOC: I'm not sure if Falco wants Tumble to hear Felice's talking about Creativity's situation, so I've glossed over it for now. I've assumed Fela went to the Ten Fang Fury while Tumble was packing, per ~twid's intention in his last post, but have left location a bit handwavy in case there's stuff in the Snapping Line from the last GM post he wants to deal with first

 

 

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Old Jan 9th, 2023, 11:35 PM
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Jus' a sprinkle o' piracy
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Falco were very interested in ever'thing Felice was sayin'. If'n she were jus' tellin' 'im what she thought he wanted t' hear well, she obviously did her research. Destroy some constructs what be holdin' a soft an' pretty artist captive like a caged bird fer a wealthy an' powerful coward who might be friendly with Cinderrabbit and he gets a ship!?! What's not t' love? Th' answer, o' course, is nothin'. Unless this were all too good t' be true or she were leavin' somethin' major out. He looked at her immaculately inscrutable face an' tried t' Insight: 23read what were behind those bright eyes.

He understood why th' Zhents would want t' snatch somethin' out from under this Ketterman Barley. After all, he were cuttin' in on their business. When a rival crew starts up in yer wake, it's better t' bring 'em under yer sails. They could spread their Black Network much farther with th' sculptor's help.

So, th' statues could scry. Falco remembered how Creativity reacted t' 'is questions in front o' th' stone faces. He also remembered how th' tiefling seemed like he might be more willing t' talk in private. That corroborates what Felice says an' how she might come t' know such things. Well, that an' bein' a part o' th' Black Network. It's their business t' know things.

"Creativity said he'd be dining with th' Primewaters t'night. Maybe I escort 'im home t' let 'im know what t' be expectin'?" Falco were ready t' jump now but, he still needed one thousand gold. Surely Fela would come 'round. He'd jus' emphasize that they was helpin' Creativity find freedom rather than stealin' a ship. Surely aidin' a slave in golden chains were noble enough fer a Watcher.

Falco added th' coins from th' gnomes t' th' pouch he got from Kreb with four thousand o' 'is own an' weighed it in a hand. Such a fortune yet a mere fraction o' what he might give t' have th' Dusk Maiden, an' Garrick, back. "I'll soon have th' funds," he whispered t' Felice. "We'll make our move under th' blood moon when everyone's full o' merriment, I've already got a plan." He's thinkin' o' th' pretty lil' boat under th' Fury an' smilin'. "I think we're gonna be great friends, Felice."

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  #9  
Old Jan 10th, 2023, 01:26 AM
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Bingle Curiosa Wildwander, Forest Gnome Wizard/Warlock
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Gdoonses. This freaking kid.

Bingle packs up the pretend armor into her bag. It works great for a gnome. Great. The kid canters around swinging his little lizard sword and jamming his lizard hat back on.

"Hey Caks," says Bingle, sweeping her cloak around a little, "You wanna know why you shouldn't eat goms?" If he runs away, great. If he cries, super. Or even bows, polite. Snootches away. Whatever good children do. Bye, good child. Go and be free. But if he leans in, even the slightest, even the littlest breath, if he puts up an eyebrow or indicates in any way that he's game for adventure, she'll lean in too, tight so the hat blocks her face from view of any but him. And she'll wipe an illusion across her face: the skull, the gums, the big teeth, white skin, red glowing eyes. And makes her face scratchy and deep: "Because gnomes are soooo... Bok Mon Rocken."

Swipe, illusion gone. Swipe, piece of cnady in his hand. Swipe, armor packed and gnomes gone. "I'm never having kids," she says to Banx on the way to their next stop. And what she means is: "I'm never growing up." Little bit jealous of Caks for all she is an important wizard with a mission and team and part of a tower and a powerful spellbook. She can even! drink! alcohol! At the alcohol tavern that she partly owns. Stupid kid. Once again, Bingle feels that stab of homesickness. But she's not sick for the home she left a few weeks ago. She's missing the way it was before, when everyone was their right age.

"Banx," she says. "We now have everything we need to tell our Blood Moon story. It's going to be so good you're probably want to change your religion. So before you do that and become a devout, let's go and interrogate the hrorible evil in the dwarf hole while you are still an atheist intellectual like me. And to do that, we need a paladin. A holy, holy paladin."

At the Fury, Bingle nudges up to Tumble's elbow and listens as the monk makes her request to Fela. Then she pipes up with hers: "Ax Fela," same taut, professional inflection as Tumble, as much as she can. "Remember when I told you guys about the evil voice over in the ruins. Before we go to sleep tonight, I would like to know what that thing is down there. Now, Banx and I have looked at the covers of a lot of books about this. And we will probably do a lot more research later. But, would you come with us and go see this hole, and maybe with your holiness you can ascertain what is down there -- devil, angel, maybe -- undead? Would you come?"




ۜ\(סּںסּَ` )/ۜ
 


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Last edited by lostcheerio; Jan 10th, 2023 at 01:26 AM.
  #10  
Old Jan 10th, 2023, 07:44 AM
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Fela, frantic
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Tumble enters as Fela is sealing her second letter and about to start writing the birds. She tilts her head slightly toward Ricardt while pursing her lips slightly into a "shh", but then blushes a bit -- she has no big mouth but her own to blame for any number of troubles.

"I must go attend some more business with Ax Tumble, but will sleep here tonight. I may be late; no need to wait up by prepare my bed. That will be all, Ricardt." and bends immediately to start writing her farther. Ricardt will be happy with the sleeping arrangement, but it's not the driving force behind the decision. Though it may be partly hers, she does not feel at all at home at The Ten Fang Fury. The snake-spider was the least of it -- everything about it, staff, clientele, decor -- all a shade too shady for her, a drop too oily, a speck to soiled. Clovis was growing on her, perhaps -- helpful with Briony, and the reminder of her brother. But The Snapping Line had been something to a home to her brother, and was home to her. Not to mention the thrill of knowing Briony would be sleeping under the same roof...

Letter to DaddyDearest Daddy,

Lay low? I killed a dragon today! Saltmarsh under threat. Powerful fey trying to bring down wards. "Nexa Banishae"? Ask scholars, please. Someone stirring up Sahuagin -- Red Feathers? Cinderrabbit? "The Eye" -- maybe Vísir family -- are they bad? Rodterick Fireborne useless.

Miss you, love you,
Fela


Letter to Finn
Useless brother,

Be more careful! Assassins guild, 20k bounty on Kasja. Visir family responsible. Description of you two in Templetome. Leave and hide, now!

"Nexa Banishae" trying to bring down ward. Found your note with music, map of little island. Connected?

Kreb dead, I own Net.

Miss you, himbro.

Fela


She'd seen and read enough of the little letters to slip naturally into more telegraphic writing, and is just folding them up when Tumble returns down the stairs; she sets them off while stepping outside with her. They exchange notes on the way to the Fury, and the first thing she does when she gets there is settle down in a corner to read the letter, shaking her head, eyebrows dancing in anger, but settling into sadness.

"I always thought he needed the right woman to break him in properly, but she's a real piece of work. I ... I don't know what to do. We need the money and status they bring, but it sounds like there's a decent chance she'd ruin us even after the wedding. Not to mention the Saltwinds... and I just wrote to him! I hate these problems violence can't solve... but someone that crazy has to have done bad stuff, right? We just need to find out what and ruin her before she ruins us..."

Fela wants to plot to free her brother more, but the crazy fiance is far away and there are plenty of pressing problems close at hand. Fela listens to what she's told of Ketterman, frowning. The whole scheme sounds hella dodgy, but everything here did, no? They needed the boat -- how else would they find out what was up with the Sahuagin -- Ketterman sounded like a bad dude (Templetome -- had she heard of him?) -- and they'd only be destroying constructs, not killing people. She gives Falco her share of ship, two thousand, with the nonchalance of nobility, and assents to Falco's plan of speaking to Creativity soon.

"Absolutely -- Creativity might have useful information about the boat, and sound out that Ketterman is as bad as the say. I'll skip it -- I can't seem to talk to Gellan without getting on his bad side. Or Tieflings, recently." You could wring the self-pity out of these last words. "I was going to go try to call on Shela Visir instead? As a cleric of Saliber I trust her unquestioningly" Per Crines flashes to her mind but she pushes it away and soldiers on "and we may be able to learn something about her family's involvement in this." And it's an unwanted wedding that might be simpler to head off than her brother's.

She's about to wave off of Bingle's plea to visit the evil the dwarves locked away as something that can wait but catches herself. If she goes, Bingle will be chaperoned. If she doesn't go...who knows what Bingle might do. A loud sigh, palms rubbed in eye sockets. Duty. "After we meet Shela? I'm not sure what I'll be able to do -- to really tell I'd need to be able to see the thing which doesn't seem like a wise idea -- but I could take a look."

Before she takes off she looks for the least sketchy looking employee to entrust the letter to Innovation. It makes her wince, but it's just across the street. The barkeep if he's not still downstairs admiring Clovis's etchings -- he owes her. "Could you run this to Innovation? She won't want to see me right now..."

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Dice roller error:
[dice History check about Ketterman from Templetome]d20+3[/dice] is a badly formed tag (please see the FAQ for help)

 
  #11  
Old Jan 10th, 2023, 03:11 PM
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Planning Sesh
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Bingle, Caks does lean in, Caks is 100% eyebrows. Caks is #notgood. You DOPPEL-FACE!!!!! and he bounces backward with a shriek and a roll. He comes up giggling like a loon, takes the cnady, and as you leave, he is trading his green costume for a ghostly white mask and robe and saying in a growly small approximation of your voice, Buk Muk Tucken! Bwaaaa! I eat VALAPTERERS!

Here is how you go through the market. You on the road, big stompy bold steps in your new evil black boots, talking out loud to a bush, a shadow, a picnic table, whatever Banx is under or behind or in. Banx doesn't own an alcohol bar with gambling and Clovis. He is nrevous of twon.

Now a stack of baskets for sale that you are passing says, I don't want a kid now. We have to much adventures to do. By which he means, I will grow up later. Waht is ym prat in your bolod moon tale?

He is hoping to be under a prop, or better yet, the stage itself.

You go to collect the paladin, and in the bar, and you can see he would rather be down the hole with the evil right now than in a bar.

Falco, you understand Felice very well---perhaps more than she would like---and she is not lying. The sculptor is a freelance spy and blackmailer, and the Zhents have offered the tiefling a way out via Felice. She says she was able to slyly communicate with him by passing notes the three or four times his ship has visited over the the last year. First she offered for Zhents to dress as pirates and scuttle the boat, faking his death and sinking all the watching sculptures aboard. CCreativity declined; he wouldn't move from being totally dependent on Barley to being totally dependent on the tender mercies of the Zhentarim. Of course, she could have simply had him assassinated, but Felice is a spy, not a cold-blooded murderer, even by proxy. With your blazing insight, you see there are limits to what she will do or allow. This time, Felice had the idea to let him "sell" his boat to you guys to fund his new life. It makes faking his death more complicated, but she has outsourced that problem to you.

You want to talk to Creativity, and Felice says, Have you a message spell? Or are you quite fine at sleight of hand to slip a note? Creativity will have constructs escorting him. They are his guards, passed off as security because of the valuable Angel pin he wears upon his velvet jacket. It is carved by the artist, and the eye or ear of that Angel can activate at any time...He is only at the dinner as Ketterman desires to place a statue in Gellan's home. She snorts, derisive.

Again, you feel confident she is not lying. That said, the Zhentarim is not known for charity toward penniless teiflings; doing this must benefit her organization in some way.

Ax Tmubel, as an act of pure insurance, you hand the paladin the letter of her brother that you obtained, and take back the standing stones notes. This happens right downstairs, at the Line.

Fela, well. Nothing with Fin is ever easy. Your birds will be in Templetome tomorrow with any decent luck, and the bartender is more than happy to act as courier.

This keeps Henchy pouring and scowling, but he doesn't peep about it. Not with the floor still damp from all the bloods getting mopped up.

Binlge wants to go to the hole, Fela wants to go find Shella, Falco may go to Gellan's, and where are you, Tumble?

Whither next?
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Last edited by Fillyjonk; Jan 10th, 2023 at 03:13 PM.
  #12  
Old Jan 10th, 2023, 07:26 PM
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Tumble
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Artist credit: Aurore Folny (© Black Book Editions)

As soon as Fela puts Gand's stolen notes into her hand, Tumble excuses herself for Elsewhere. She's remembered something - the music. She pauses right there in the street, snootching into some local architecture, and unfolds the paper with the short measure of music noted at the top. She unfolds the second destiny and compares them, but they're different. She frowns. Tear off a scrap of notebook: copy down the music from the notes, bereft of original context. Back into the Snapping Line, looking again for Raya, or any other Saltwind sister who can sing or play music. She wants one of them to sing it to her, and she wants Fee and/or Nell around at the same time so that she can ask them:

"Is it familiar to you? I confess that I find myself with more music by the day. I have been making a music box, based upon the melodies that I have heard here in Saltmarsh." An excuse, and a half truth. Tumble's really looking for an admission from one or both Saltwinds that this music can be heard at the Standing Stones. If one does, she'll press a little, to learn more about it. Have they ever thought of travelling to the Standing Stones to discover more? If she has time, she'll punch another little disc for the music box so it can play this song too. If the sisters have a lot to say, she'll ask if she can hear about it tomorrow at the party instead.

---

When she's learned what she can from the Saltwinds, Tumble heads to the Owelands. "I had hoped to find you at home before you leave for Vallos," she says, pleasantly. Just a pleasant visit! "Vallos is very different to Saltmarsh. A great many distractions. I hope that you will enjoy your trip." Pleasantries and pleasant thoughts! She's not just there for the small talk, though.

left-aligned image
"Thalia Oweland, I must apologise for the request, but would you permit me to take your dolls from you in order that I may study them?" Pleasant study! "Of course they are your childhood toys, and I regret the imposition. If you will permit me to exchange them, then I have another of your childhood toys-" (she holds up Mikkelpig) "- and something new, for you both." (A music box, that plays the Saltmarsh Greatest Hits on its tinny little discs).

---

With or without the pleasant hex dolls in her pleasant satchel, Tumble will set out to be pleasant at the Solmar estate next. Ringaling! She must be here to see young Anders! "Oh, no. It is Skerrin Waverunner whom I am calling upon." Tumble last saw Skerrin Waverunner one thousand years ago, at the council dinner where Kasja demanded a duel and Anders had a fit of rage and almost did himself in. Nobody has apologised since, but Anders is feeling much better now that Granny Peth's herbal remedies aren't in the picture anymore.

If Skerrin will agree to see Tumble, she'll keep things light:

1. "I apologise for the unpleasantness last week. Our arrival in Saltmarsh was at the conclusion of a difficult few days, and we were not at our best."
2. "I am pleased to see that young Anders Solmar is feeling better. I can see that you care for the boy. The Lady Solmar has left him in good hands."
3. "I hope that I will see you at the celebration tomorrow?" (especially if Skerrin has a lot to say)

Well. Mostly light:

1. "I noticed at the council meeting that Anders took his instruction from you, as his proxy. I assume that Anders is not long upon the council and is taking the place of his mother, of whom you must have been a long-time confidant?"
2. "Though I expect that you are no longer acting as proxy, the boy must value your judgement. What are your hopes for the election tomorrow?"

Other than "no more dead candidates, maybe". Heh. Well, whatever. She doesn't broach the thorny topic of The Wedding, but will make empathetic faces if someone else brings it up. Out of the Solmar estate and down the road. Is the rest of the group around somewhere she can see? If yes, she'll join them wherever they're going next. If not, she'll go to the Ten Fang Fury and start reading her Big Book Of Evil Hag Magic in a corner.



Action Block and Stat Block
OOC: Gand's notes

 

 

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Last edited by bothers; Jan 11th, 2023 at 06:13 AM.
  #13  
Old Jan 11th, 2023, 04:52 PM
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Fela, FBI special agent
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Sitting a moment more, pondering Finn's unwanted wedding, Shela's unwanted wedding, letters found, the day catches up to. Even the effects of the Saltwind's (damn fine) coffee can't stifle her yawns. But it does help her detective work. Eying the clientele of the Fang, memory her scene with Innovation in the market fresh on her mind, she asks the others, whoever's still around if they can't go talk someplace private for a moment. Once they're downstairs...

"The Eye, The Red Feathers, whoever...they're planning on using the wedding for their ceremony, maybe kill everyone" Tired as she is, she can't help but get up and start pacing. "The Visirs are bad people, they're daughter's involved -- what if they're in on it? Maybe it's not actually Shela here, but some other poor girl they're going to sacrifice. Maybe she was the white sheep of the family and learned too much and now she's prisoner...isn't it suspicious she's locked up and no one's seen her? Anders and Skerrin didn't seem to think the handwriting was the same on the letters they got and the ones they found... We've got to talk to her, see what's going on in that house..." Another yawn breaks through.

"Bingle...the door...I'm spent. I could maybe try another Zone of Truth on whatever's there, if it wants to talk...but I don't think I could manage it tonight. Meet first thing in the morning, before everything kicks off in town? I'm going to swing by the house she's supposedly at before bed, if anyone wants to come along..."

She first walks by like it's not her destination, just taking it in -- anything amiss? But then she circles around and knocks on the front door, hand waiting on her amulet to hear any noise of someone about to open it. If it is, she'll quickly use Divine sense as the door opens, just in case. If someone does, she bows politely, straining to see inside as much as possible, and follows up with "I was hoping to speak to Miss Visir -- as a Cleric of Saliber I thought Shela might be like to speak to one of her Paladins?" trying to get a read on her reaction.

Assuming no one answers or she's immediately rebuffed, she will head back to The Snapping Line, to be ready and up early, but take one minute to cast Alarmask Saliber to watch over her as she sleeps.

Actions, etc.
Dice Perception on house:
d20-1 (20)-1 Total = 19

Dice Insight if anyone answers door, reaction to Saliber?:
d20-1 (3)-1 Total = 2

 
  #14  
Old Jan 11th, 2023, 10:56 PM
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[fieldset=Bingle Curiosa Wildwander, Forest Gnome Wizard/Warlock]
At the Fury
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No time for dwarf holes. There is a business! to! run! Ann is on her way over from the tower to interview. Felice is sitting on a barstool panting to interview. The job of managing the Fury. And with Fela and Tumble out of pocket, it's up to Bingle and Falco to do the important interviews of the essential prospects.

"Stand amongst the candidates," she says to Banx. "Observe everything. Mingle. Ask things like "What do you really think of all this?" or "Let's take advantage of our access and roll this place -- what do you say?" Document their reactions. We will reconvene."

Bingle chooses a nice big table, slaps a parchment and quill down in front of Falco, and puts one in front of herself.

"Okay partner," she says. "We're going to play this like banker and boilerplate. You know what I mean? We're not trying to strain the ocean here. Low hanging fruit. Run it up a flagpole. What are our top tier concerns? I feel like loyalty, priorities, and a knowledge of fine arts. What do you think?"

She orders four plates of curly fries with special sauce. She invites the two candidates to come and sit down for the interview, sharpens her quill very carefully, arranges her hat, and gives out her questions.

"Felice, could you please let us know:

1. In a Venn diagram where the two circles are 'Running a Tavern' and 'Doing crime' what skills do you have that lie in the center?
2. Say you are running a gambling enterprise. How do you make sure the house always wins and is it murder?
3. What is the worst thing you've ever done?

Ann, here are my questions for you:

1. What is the best color?
2. How nice is it, being a wizard?
3. When your niece gets here, what aspects of the job will she take over?"


She'll make copious notes on her own and Falco's parchment, point dramatically at several items on both sheets, switch parchments with him, draw some circles around different things she wrote, and shake her head. If Felice drops any of her special sauce on the table, Bingle will raise her eyebrow and make a checkmark on her paper. Then she'll turn it all over to Falco to deliver their decisions.

Back to the TowerBingle and Banx leave the Ten Fang Fury after the interviews. Maybe they walk Ann home if she's ready. It's very very satisfying to do good business and own a tavern. There are so many pieces to the tavern that it's hard to stay on top of everything but between all of them plus Felice and Ann and Clovis and the snake monster and Henchy. And Sessaniassa.

Banx is curious to get going on that book stack, and it will probably be good to get some information about the dwarf hole if they can. But the biggest piece of info, the biggest reason she's trudging back to the tower instead of rappelling down the tube to peep in the keyhole is knocking around in her pocket. Pim, the lying liar, will be able to write back as soon as she wakes up tomorrow. It's what she thinks about when she's drinking a cup of milk to mitigate the three and a half curly fries she ate. She thinks about it when she's pushing through a bunch of books about Saltmarsh history, yawning and nodding. Pim at her village? Peh. She thinks about it when she flings herself like a star into her bed, to sleep. Pim a gnome? Peh. She thinks about it when she goes back across the hall to knock on Banx's door and ask him in his nightshirt and cap if he wants a sleepover. Pim say her name? Peh. She thinks about it when he's yapping from the couch about the standing stones something something. When he's yapping about going to the dwarf hole. When she's sleeping, strangling her coverlet, choking out her pillow, writhing circles around her mattress.

And the minute she opens her eyes, before she even gets tea with Banx or a cinnamon bun from Ann, she yanks open the coin to see.



ۜ\(סּںסּَ` )/ۜ
 


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Last edited by lostcheerio; Jan 12th, 2023 at 12:05 AM.
  #15  
Old Jan 11th, 2023, 11:54 PM
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Opportunities be knockin'
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Falco ain't afraid t' let 'em in neither. In one day he's become an election fixer, co-owner of a shady tavern, and a conspirator t' fake a death an' er... liberate a ship. Maybe it could be fairly lucrative t' settle in t' Saltmarsh an' be th' local lord o' th' underground. Well after he finds Garrick an' th' Dusk Maiden, o' course. It'd be a challenge convincin' all o' this crew but damn if'n they weren't good at it!

With Fela's addition t' th' ship money, Falco has all ten thousand bound up nicely in a lil' pouch which he gleefully slides t' Felice. Good business indeed. He can almost feel th' waves under 'is legs again. Jus' a few magic busts an' constructs stand betwixt 'im an' 'is prize now.

Ah, speakin' o' business, Bingle is ready t' run th' interviews an' Ann is jus' arrivin'. He took a seat next t' th' once dead gnome an' nodded. "Aye, Loyalty 'n' knowledge be paramount t' our operation. Also th' ability t' know when t' watch a person an' when t' look th' other way. But, we both want Anabell here right? An' th' only way that'll happen is if'n Ann's here too. Lil' Anabell already knows what it takes t' run a tavern. But, Felice is pretty an' sharp like a knife. She'll be good t' have around, keep th' drunks spendin'." They both understood this were all a formality.

Falco were glad Bingle ordered up some food. So much had happened he didn't remember when he last ate! That's no way fer a Hin t' finish 'is day. Plus, if'n they sample th' menu they'll know what may need work. He were polite an' quiet while Bingle started th' interview. Honestly, 'is mind were on th' ship. What would they name it? Now that's an important question.

He nodded here 'n' there an' consulted th' parchments. Then, turned t' Felice an' said, "I'll be honest, I want ye here. I think ye fit th' new direction we want fer Ten Fang Fury but would be better suited runnin' our games. Ye seem like ye could work out in front but maybe thrive more in th' shadows an' edges like our friend Kasja. My only question fer ye is, when can ye start?"

Next, he turned t' Ann with a smile, "Look, we all know young Anabell is wasted in Glotten. She knows her way around a tavern an' we know ye serve up a fine cider. Plus, havin' another wizard here may bring in a more varied clientele. So my questions fer ye be, when can ye start an' how quick can we get yer niece here?" If'n she has any concerns about th' safety o' her niece, Falco will let her know they mean t' have some o' th' lizards on payroll. Not t' mention th' heroes o' Saltmarsh watchin' after her.

It would be nice t' make some plans with Creativity but, Falco jus' don't really see a good way t' accomplish that. He could maybe get a note t' th' Tiefling but there'd be no back 'n' forth. Eh, he's an artist; he'll flow with 'em when it be time. Soon. When th' blood moon rises. That's what be on 'is mind when he retires t' th' bedroom formerly occupied by Kreb Shenker.

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