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City of Nine Stars -- City of Twilight (Inactive)

Game Master therealthom

Council of Thieves


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Westcrown, once the crown jewel of Cheliax, the bright nine starred city of Aroden. Now the downtrodden target of a spiteful, if purposeless, Imperial vendetta suffers through a twilight as tawdry as the statue of a fallen god which still dominates the city. Aroden's darkened eyes stare out to sea; he does not see of the reduced state of the populace huddled around its feet.

Now the afternnon sun is drifting toward the horizon. Merchants bid their last customers good day and close up their stalls and shops. Citizens begin to hasten their steps homeward. Parents call their children home and keep them close during these last hours of light. No one comments on the unease which fills the city beginning as the sun descends and continuing until an hour or two past dawn, but no one wishes to be caught out at night. For as the light fades, the shadows themselves gather and stalk the city.

There is still an hour or two of light remaining before twilight brings forth the shadowy menace. Through streets shaded by their western buildings but still bright with ambient light stride a disparate group of adventurers, coincidentally drawn together by an invitation to dinner....


Akorian:

Spoiler:
Modifying your background just a hair, Neil. The rebel group you're in contact with isn't interested in weapons yet, but you have done some work with them. Mostly pretty tame stuff, lookout, bagman, that sort of thing. Your rebel handler is Janiven. She's attractive, and dresses like a warrior, but she talks more like a civic booster than a real rebel. It seems the goals of the rebels are to help the people take care of themselves and return the city to a cleaner more ethical government. Armed rebellion is not on the table yet, but that would be a very dangerous thing to talk about directly. Your assignment this evening is to come to a recruitment meeting, pretend to be a new recruit and watch Janiven's back in case one of the recruits is an Imperial or Hellknight plant. Be at Vizio's Tavern at about 4 pm.

Raevanis:

Spoiler:
You've been in touch with a rebel group for several weeks now. You have done some work with them. Mostly pretty tame stuff, lookout, bagman, that sort of thing. Your rebel handler is Janiven. She's attractive, and dresses like a warrior, but she talks more like a civic booster than a real rebel. It seems the goals of the rebels are to help the people take care of themselves and return the city to a cleaner more ethical government. Armed rebellion is not on the table yet, but that would be a very dangerous thing to talk about directly. Your assignment this evening is to act as lookout during a recruitment meeting. You are stationed a block from Vizio's Tavern (an often used rebel meeting place) watching the two main streets that approach the tavern.

Marrius and Waifrin:

Spoiler:
For the last week or so a woman named Janiven has been popping up in your life. She's attractive, and dresses like a warrior, but she talks more like a civic booster, people in the city should have more freedom, government should be less corrupt. After a few innocent conversations, she's given the impression that she and some friends would like to see a change. A cleaner government, untainted by greed and diabolicism. Basic rights and freedom guaranteed the common people. After carefully guaging your reactions she invites you to a 4 pm dinner at Vizio's Tavern to meet some friends in two days. Please spoiler any actions you might take in the intervening days. Post your entry into the tavern in the clear.

Mother Vangelis:

Spoiler:
hogarth, making a slight addition to your background. Mother Vangelis has already had one showdown with the shadow beasts that stalk the city at night. She saved a young boy who got caught out too late and was attacked by one of the creatures, pulling him into her daughter's house. Hope you don't mind. Shortly after that you met a young woman named Janiven in the market. She's attractive, and dresses like a warrior. She asked you about the experience and told you that if you were interested in trying to prevent such a thing from ever happening again and convincing the government to take more of an interest in the common folk, to come to a 4 pm dinner at Vizio's Tavern in two days. Please spoiler any actions you might take in the intervening days. Post your entry into the tavern in the clear.

Zarabeta:

Spoiler:
For the last week or so a woman named Janiven has been popping up in your life. She's attractive, and dresses like a warrior, but she talks more like a civic booster, people in the city should have more freedom, government should be less corrupt. After a few innocent conversations, she's given the impression that she and some friends would like to see a change. A cleaner government, untainted by greed and diabolicism. Basic rights and freedom guaranteed the common people. After carefully guaging your reaction she invites you to a 4 pm dinner at Vizio's Tavern to meet some friendsin two days. Please spoiler any actions you might take in the intervening days. Post your entry into the tavern in the clear.

Qadira

F Human Wizard (Conjuror) 5

Spoiler:
The day before the meeting, Zarabeta goes to Vizio's and enjoys a light meal. She makes sure to note the rear entrance, and any windows that seem to open onto alleys, during her time there. She will attempt to be discrete about nosing around for ways in and out, but will attempt to schmooze her way out of arousing suspicion if caught peeking out a window to see if it leads into a secluded place or a lit square by putting on a thick accent and stumbling over her words, explaining poorly that she was looking for the garderobe.

She will attempt to locate as many possible exits as she can, with a preference for those that might be unexpected, such as dropping out of a second floor window onto the roof of the adjacent building, as she would expect guards to come in from the doors, and not be prepared for a suspect to flee upstairs to escape. Barring such convenient arrangements, a window that leads into an alley would be greatly preferred to a doorway that leads to an open area, where guards would most likely be waiting.

Both on the day of reconnaisance and the day of the meeting, Uqabi (her Raven familiar) will arrive before she does, and remain outside the building, perched on an adjacent rooftop with a good view of the street near the entrance, harassing any seagulls that have the temerity to get anywhere near him. Uqabi hates seagulls, and it's taken some patience to get him to not call them 'flying rats' in Kellish in the presence of other people (which would give away his special nature and draw attention to himself).

Spell Prepared will be from her 'Expecting Trouble' entry.

On the day of the meeting, Zarabeta arrives in the area, her face hooded, and wearing a dark blue caftan (same clothing, just colored differently with prestidigitation), and watches the entrance suspiciously before stepping forward to enter alongside a random person whose appearance she finds trustworthy (someone who doesn't carry themself like a guard or warrior, preferably). She worries that people entering alone would be more easily overwhelmed if this is some sort of trap for radicals.

Uqabi remains outside, perched on the roof of the neighboring building (and arrives slightly ahead of her), and watching the central square, with instructions to warn her if a bunch of soldiers enter the square.

Andoran

Male Human Fighter 5 (Favoured Class)

In his room the 'Six Golden Coins' Marius disentangles himself from Hermiones grasp and rolls out off bed.

"Do you have to go " she asks plaintively

"Aye Lass I do" the young Fighter grins at the dark haired girl lying satiated in the crumpled bedding.."I'll be back later though..it's just dinner."

He's grown fond of the pretty young whore in his stay here her manner isn't as grasping as some of her older sisters and she still has an enthusiasm for her calling that he knows won't last..still they satisfy each others needs and she knows he won't bilk her of her hard earned coin.

He dresses as her deep green eyes watch him, stacks five silvers on the dresser..then changes his mind and makes it a gold piece.

"Go buy yourself something nice in the Morning" he says as he starts to get into his armour slipping the scale mail hauberk over his head letting it slide down over his well muscled form then cinching his belt tight.

"if it's just dinner "she asks "why the armour?"

"Because it will probably be dark when we are done and I don't want to be out at that time unarmed "

"I suppose you're taking her" the girls voice holds a touch of scorn

"My cousin..yes" he looks down at her and shakes his head "She's family..I told you there is nothing between us other than the fact that we are blood relatives...I have to go..the room is yours if you want to stay...don't bring any customers back though..theres a good girl"

stepping out and down the stairs he exits the Inn and strides off towards the appointed meeting place.


Male Elf Rogue 5th

Spoiler:
"Perhaps this will be the night when my new-found friends decide to move things along a little more boldly," the elven rogue muses to himself in a somewhat bored tone, a silver coin made to dance on his fingers absently as he does so. "Not that I do not understand them, but I think I could use a little action..."

Staying hidden as best he can without having that fact impede his line of sight, Raven tries to keep his eyes and ears open for anything out of the ordinary and to see if any of the people walking towards Vizio's Tavern seem familiar to him; at least, those people he can get a good look at. After all, the less-than-perfect lighting in the area does not prove that much of a hindrance for his elven eyes as it would for a human. Maybe this is the reason why he is so often given the role of lookout, he thinks to himself.

"Well, hopefully things will go smoothly," he keeps on whispering to no-one in particular and he certainly means it, although he finds that the more thrill-seeking part of him would not mind terribly if something -anything- happened. "Not necessarily too much action, just enough maybe?"

I assume appropriate skill checks are the following:
Stealth 16 (8 +8)
Perception 18 (12 +6)
Knowledge (Local) 14 (7 +7)

Andoran

Female Human Wilder 5th | AC13 | HP39 | Str 10 | Dex 15 | Con 13 | PP37/37

Spoiler:
Waifrin will take a few days to spy out Vizio's Tavern: she will make sure she knows where the alleys lead around it, where the entrances and exits are, and what sort of people come and go.

The kitchen at Teacher's Hostel was crowded and noisy, but Waifrin was perfectly at home there. She had spent the day making and repairing clothing for the various people that came and went through the doors, but as ever she has to be cleared away by the evening meal.

"Here," she collars a dirty, half-naked girl as she scampers past involved in some game with the other children. "Keep still a moment," Waifrin thrusts a simple dress over the urchin's head and straightens it out. "There," she declares, "now you're fit for a king's palace. Now go and wash before you eat!" the last called after the child as she raced away again, laughing.

Scooping up the pack that held her earthly belongings, Waifrin slipped through to the hallway and found her cloak and staff by the door. The afternoon sun was still warm, but the night would be colder. As an added precaution, she wore layers of leather next to her skin; scarce enough and close-fitting for her to claim it as part of a dancer's costume, tough enough, and covering the vital areas sufficiently to perhaps turn a knife-thrust or sword-cut from a mortal wound to a painful one. Already the streets were emptying of people, and she drew the cloak around her as a ward from prying eyes. Pausing outside a rickety building she slips inside and makes her way up a creaking staircase to knock on a low door.

"Who is it?" A voice within demands.

"Me, you fool. Who else would call at this hour?"

The door opens to reveal a tiny room, barely high enough to stand up in and wide enough to lie down in.

"My Lady," Murdock grins and bows mockingly.

"Oh save it. I have things to do," Waifrin chides him. "I made you this," she hands over a swatch of cloth that he unfolds to show an over-shirt carefully shaded and patterned to match the stucco of Westcrown's buildings'. "I used that silk you stole. It might help you stay out of trouble."

"Thanks," Murdock nods. "Sure you won't stay?" his grin was lecherous.

"No. You never give up, do you?"

"On the most beautiful dancer to grace the stage? Never!" he laughs, then sobers up abruptly. "Take care tonight. Try not to happen to anyone."

"I will. See you tomorrow."

Waifrin descends the stairs again. Now the streets are quieter, and the people scarcer.

"Spare a copper so a poor boy can eat, my Lady?" on obsequious beggar-boy turns large eyes on her that would melt the coldest heart.

"Piss off," Waifrin snorts.

"But I'm the impoverished son of a fallen nobleman, pretty lady, turned out to starve upon the harsh streets!"

"That's an old story, no-one cares any more!" Waifrin tosses a copper to the brat. "Go home, the streets won't be safe for you tonight."

"Thank you, lady, may the gods bless you!" the impudent boy snatches up the coin as he mocks her, then vanishes down an alleyway. Waifrin quickens her pace: Andros' message was that Marius was already on his way. As she reaches the street of the inn, she sees his burly form and the glint of the evening sun on the armour he habitually wears. As ever the sight of him is a relief; she recalls the older cousin she played with as a child, and the only person who links her to that long-ago past. Even now he brings a sense of security and trust with him - not that trusting anyone is wise in Westcrown.

"Good evening," she nods to him as they fall in step approaching the tavern.


Female Human Fighter 1/Ranger 1

Spoiler:
Sounds good. Did she get a look at the creature? She'll go pay a call on her friend Zubifer and see if he knows anything about the critters that are infesting the city.

Mother Vangelis arrives early to the tavern and bends the bartender's ear.

"Say, isn't this the life! No more milking goats in the morning, no sirree! Why, I slept until dawn this morning; I feel downright lazy. The last time I woke up this late, I was down with the grippe." She takes a hearty swig from a mug of hot tea, careful not to scratch the bar with any of sharpened cleats attached to her leather jerkin.

The bartender grunts as he polishes a bit of glassware. "You don't say."

"Yup, that's true. But I guess I earned my rest today. Last night I has a close brush with some strange beastie. It was bothering a young'un, it was. Well, I grabbed a handful of that kiddie's shirt and flipped him over my shoulder and I run for it! Now, if it was something like a wolf, say, I woulda grabbed that critter by the scruff of the neck, stuck a knee in his stomach, and hog-tied him in ten seconds flat, believe me." She slaps a coil of rope that's draped over one shoulder with a twinkle in her eye.

"You don't happen to know anything about these night critters, do ye?"

Andoran

Male Human Fighter 5 (Favoured Class)

Marius glances down at Waif as she comes up alongside him.

"Our young friend remains reliable then...good.If he doesn't end up hanged the boy should go far"

Not for the first time since his return he finds himself wondering.."how did she get to be so beautiful?"The buck toothed little girl who had been his playmate had blossomed into a beauty such as those spoken of in story..the type men died for willingly..and yet..something about the single minded fervour about her chilled him sometimes..and she still would not tell him off her life after the day they were taken and what had caused her raven black hair to turn that incredible silver colour.

Arriving at the taverns threshold..he gives the prearranged knock..part of him thinking that this over elaborate plan has too many chances of going wrong..still this is what he is here for,perhaps Westgate can be saved and after it the rest of Cheliax

When the door opens slips into the tavern with a grace unusual for one h1s size eyes darting around the common room and only when he is sure it is no trap for the unwary does he motion to waif to enter

Andoran

Female Human Wilder 5th | AC13 | HP39 | Str 10 | Dex 15 | Con 13 | PP37/37

Spoiler:
Now I'll have to figure out what happened to her air, too ... but I like it! Maybe our DM has some plot-hooks and suggestions?

"He'll do well," Waifrin agrees. As she enters the tavern behind her cousin she scans the tap-room, looking about at the clientele, summing them up. The only one out of place is the burly woman with a streak of grey in her hair and sharpened spines on her armour chatting amiably with the barman in a countrified accent.

She looks as if she could hog-tie a wolf, at that.

Waifrin touches her cousin's arm and motions toward a table on one side. It isn't in a corner, but seated there they would between them be able to see the whole of the room.


Female Human Fighter 1/Ranger 1

"Howdy folks!" Mother cheerfully yells across the room to the newcomers. "You look like you're ready for action. Did Miss Janiven invite you to dinner, too? I was just talking to Sonny here about those night beasts. Strangest things, dontcha think? I had a close scrape with one m'self. I've wrassled plenty o' critters -- bulls, wolves, even a bear once -- but I'm not sure I'd like to tangle with one o' them, I'll tell you that for free!"

Andoran

Female Human Wilder 5th | AC13 | HP39 | Str 10 | Dex 15 | Con 13 | PP37/37

Waifrin exchanges a look with Marius.

She must be new in town. Oh well, secrecy is gone after that bellow, and there are enough exits for us to get out if we have to. Besides there are too few in here for it to go far - yet.

Changing direction Waifrin walks over to the bar and takes a seat near the older woman.

"Janiven invited us, yes," she says quietly. "I'm Waifrin, this is Marius. We aren't looking for ... excitement, though. That can get very noisy, and noise can attract more trouble than it's worth."

Waifrin stresses the words softly, trying to convey the warning without being too direct as she continues to glance around the interior of the tavern.

Qadira

F Human Wizard (Conjuror) 5

Seeing a couple enter together, a lightly armored woman with striking silver hair, and a more-heavily armored man she takes at first to be her husband, and then, after he checks the room before standing aside and allowing her to enter, her bodyguard, Zarabeta dashes forward and enters only a moment behind them.

At the exuberant greeting from the woman at the bar, Zarabeta attempts to look in every direction at once, looking for all the world like a startled cat, betraying her anxiety.

She recovers her poise with some effort, closing her eyes for a moment, and then walking to the bar and addressing the barkeep. "Have you any kalish? I believe you call it, ah, coffee?"


Male Human (Chelish-Azlanti) Cleric 4

For Thom:

Spoiler:
Last Vestige of Aroden wrote:
Modifying your background just a hair, Neil. The rebel group you're in contact with isn't interested in weapons yet, but you have done some work with them. Mostly pretty tame stuff, lookout, bagman, that sort of thing.

No worries. I've gone ahead and adjusted his background accordingly, just alluding to the fact that he's prepared to provide money and weapons to the rebels when and if they ever take up arms against the crown.

For the fifth time in as many minutes, Akorian glanced behind him to assure himself no one followed. Drawing his grayish-green cloak tighter around his armored figure, he made sure to hide the Henderthane crest on his breastplate. Many arms and armor bore the crafting mark of his noble family, but discerning eyes might notice his suit held a few more embellishments than those sold on the open market. Still, along with the heavy wooden shield slung across his back, the breastplate gave him more protection than traveling without it at this time of the evening. And, given the cirumstances of Janivel's arranged dinner meeting, he might certainly need it.

At last, he reached Vizio's Tavern. Instead of heading inside, however, Akorian loitered a bit further down the street, just within sight of his destination. He watched the comings and goings of others hastening home before sunset. Some glanced his way, eyeing him as if he might be a Hellknight for all the weapons and gear he carried. He politely nodded when they met his eyes, mentally trying to reassure them he held no love for the heavy-handed arbiters of what passed for justice in Westcrown.

Akorian noticed a few other arrivers to Vizio's a few minutes later. Realizing most of Janivel's invitees had likely arrived by now, he pushed away from the storefront's wall to make his own entrance. Not exactly the best eating establishment in town, at least Akorian knew the meal would be followed with a far more satisfying conversation. That much, he looked forward to...

Entering the tavern, he purposefully avoided standing in the door and trying to take in everyone already there. He'd have time for that once he found his own seat, preferrably one in a corner where he could watch for anything unusual or that might concern Janivel before her own arrival.


Female Human Fighter 1/Ranger 1
Waifrin Goddon wrote:


"Janiven invited us, yes," she says quietly. "I'm Waifrin, this is Marius. We aren't looking for ... excitement, though. That can get very noisy, and noise can attract more trouble than it's worth."

"What's the big secret? That there's monsters roaming the streets at night? That's a laugh! Or is it a secret that you're meeting someone? You could've just said 'no', darlin'." A pleasant smile covers Mother Vangelis's broad, homely face; she's seemingly unworried about any cloak-and-dagger shenanigans.

Andoran

Female Human Wilder 5th | AC13 | HP39 | Str 10 | Dex 15 | Con 13 | PP37/37
Mother Vangelis wrote:
"What's the big secret? That there's monsters roaming the streets at night? That's a laugh! Or is it a secret that you're meeting someone? You could've just said 'no', darlin'."

"It's easy to make enemies in this town," Waifrin replies. A real country bumpkin and no mistake ... at least she's not shouting around the tavern now. Actually this might work - NO ONE would suspect a clandestine meeting with somebody like THIS involved!

She nods to the nervous looking woman who walks to the bar and asks for coffee ... certainly a foreigner. The door opens again, to admit a man in far better quality armour than any commoner could afford, and Waifrin's hackles rise: the newcomer could be anyone, but most people who could afford that quality of gear in Westcrown were a threat ...

Andoran

Male Human Fighter 5 (Favoured Class)

Marius winces visibly at the booming greeting...the woman is old enough to know better surely but then her country accent betrays her as one who might not appreciate the subtelties of what they are about

He leans back against the bar his eyes fixed on the doorway...he barely registers the dark skinned young woman who stands nearby asking for coffee but the armoured man looks as out of place in this place as he himself does. With his fighting mans instincts awakened he weighs up the potential opponent not openly challenging him but ready to react if trouble should occur then relaxes slightly as the man heads for a corner.

When the barkeep asks him what he's having he asks for well water it will be best to keep a clear head this night.


You guys are too good. Fabulous posts. I just have a minute here at the end of lunch. Better posts from me tonight.

Vizio's facade looks a little run down. Some paint is peeling. The windows aren't too clean; you can't see clearly through them. But the girth of its exposed timbers reveal the builders intent that the building last through the ages.

Inside the place is clean enough, barring the windows. There are no patrons other than yourself. A young fellow tends bar and busses the tables while Janiven herself cooks in the back, coming out to briefly greet each of you. She diplomatically deflects any attempt to bring up business, "We'll all talk after we eat. There's plenty of time before dark. Have something to drink and talk among yourselves." The bar is not particularly well stocked. Basic beer, ale, mead and wine is all.

When dinner is ready the barman and Janiven load the table with simple, hearty fare like you might have on the road with a caravan. The barman leaves trough the front door which Janiven seals behind him.

During dinner she continues to deflect questions about business. She seems distracted and frequently looks to the cloudy windows and the door.

Please continue to get to know each other.


Raevanis:

Spoiler:
You neither see nor hear anything unusual. Shops closing, people returning home. A pack of youngsters kick a presumably dead rat down the street. Someone shouts at them from a second story window. The shadows from the buildings on the west side of the street stretch nearly all the way across the street now.

Waifrin, Mom V, and Zarabeta: will answer your spoilers tonight.

In the meantime please chat with each other.

Andoran

Female Human Wilder 5th | AC13 | HP39 | Str 10 | Dex 15 | Con 13 | PP37/37

As Janiven clearly knows everyone here, Waifrin relaxes a little, but stays on her guard. Having met the elderly country woman, shed opts for somebody slightly less intimidating.

"So, where are you from? Not Westcrown, obviously," she asks the other young woman curiously (Zarabeta).

Andoran

Male Human Fighter 5 (Favoured Class)

Marius eats sparingly..although the desire to pack out with food is strong..a habit learned in slave barracks and more gruesomely in the rowing benches of the galley where a mans strength and his continued existence depended on being the one most able to grab as much food as possible in the shortest time.

He lets Waifrin do the talking for him.

Qadira

F Human Wizard (Conjuror) 5

As the silver-haired woman addresses her, Zarabeta turns and gives her her full attention. She nods politely and responds, "I am indeed not local, having been born in Qadira, in the great port of Katheer."

She offers her hand in greeting, the way she has seen these foreigners do for an acquantaince, but addresses her as a social superior. "I am Zarabeta al-Jafeer, milady, and you are?"

She attempts to be Diplomatic, but since Waifrin is a PC, the point is moot. :)

Andoran

Female Human Wilder 5th | AC13 | HP39 | Str 10 | Dex 15 | Con 13 | PP37/37
Zarabeta wrote:
"I am Zarabeta al-Jafeer, milady, and you are?"

Waifrin is a little startled by the way Zarabeta greets her, and it shows.

"I'm not much of a lady," she replies taking the woman's hand. "But I'm Waifrin Goddon, and this is my cousin, Marius Goddon. We ... our family fell from grace years ago; I work as a seamstress and a dancer. Up until a month ago, I didn't even know Marius was still alive."

Waifrin pauses.

"So can I ask, what brought you here? I've lived in this city all my life ... well, all of it I can recall, anyway."

If anyone has Knowledge (nobility) they may know a little of the fall of the house of Goddon, although in such a case they'd probably know more about why than either Marius or Waifrin who were only children at the time.

Qadira

F Human Wizard (Conjuror) 5

"My father was lost here many years ago. I have always felt a desire to come here, to see if the city that took him from me." She looks hesitant for a second, even surprised at what she says next, "Perhaps to see if there is some part of him left here, so that I can say good-bye..."

Her face hardens as she regrets her statement, and she takes a drink, seemingly to give her an excuse to stop her tongue from wagging, more than anything else.

"Your family was once a wealthy one, also, until this place took it all away?" She ponders her own situation, before muttering. "There seems to be a lot of that going around."

Andoran

Female Human Wilder 5th | AC13 | HP39 | Str 10 | Dex 15 | Con 13 | PP37/37

"I was very young when it happened, I can't recall much." Waifrin dismisses the comment. She takes a drink herself, changing the subject as if nothing were strange about it. Clearly, she is not eager to discuss what happened.

"Your father died here, then? I am sorry," she says, but does not pry. Instead she turns to the young man in the more expensive armour. That's Akorian!

"Your family didn't fall, I'm guessing, what brings you here?" She asks the question politely enough, but there's an edge to her voice.

Qadira

F Human Wizard (Conjuror) 5

Recognizing that the current line of discussion has run it's course, Zarabeta turns to regard the newcomer in the expensive armor.

Her face betrays suspicion, as her merchant's mind tallies up the value of the breastplate and puts it well beyond her reach, or the reach of others who are languishing under the current regime.


Female Human Fighter 1/Ranger 1
Zarabeta wrote:
Recognizing that the current line of discussion has run it's course, Zarabeta turns to regard the newcomer in the expensive armor.

Her judgment is premature, however, since Mother Vangelis moves over and takes Zarabeta's hand in hers, patting it sympathetically.

"You poor, poor dear! To have lost a father so young... My dear, you have my sympathies. I know what it's like to lose someone close; my own daughter, Maisy, she drowned when she was just a little girl. I still think about her every day." Her eyes are melancholy for a moment, but that soon clears.

"You can call me 'Mother'; that's all anyone has called me for -- well, for a long time now, never mind you how long!" She chuckles. "Or if you're feeling formal, you can call me Missus Vangelis, but most folks just call me Mother, including Ralf -- that's Mister Vangelis."


Male Human (Chelish-Azlanti) Cleric 4

Akorian politely nods to Janiven when she emerges from the kitchen and encourages everyone to enjoy their meal. As he does so, he quietly eavesdrops on the others' conversations. After all, they didn't seem to be trying to hold a private discussion, so he feels no guilt listening in on them. Of course, he doesn't make a point of obviously doing so.

Waifrin Goddon wrote:
"...I'm Waifrin Goddon, and this is my cousin, Marius Goddon. We...our family fell from grace years ago...."

Knowledge (nobility) check... 1d20+5 = 16

Akorian pauses in mid-bite as he hears Waifrin's surname. 'Interesting,' he thinks. He had at least heard of the Goddons. They had noble blood to them. But had certainly fallen out of favor. Whether that resulted from opposing House Thrune's rise to power or just the inability to curry enough favor with them to relocate to Egorian, he couldn't recall. 'They probably wasted away here in Westcrown like so many others,' he presumes.

As he ponders those thoughts, he almost misses the winding down of Waifrin's conversation with the Qadiran, Zarabeta. And then the Goddon girl's question, seemingly directed at him causes Akorian to finally meet their eyes.

Waifrin Goddon wrote:
"Your family didn't fall, I'm guessing, what brings you here?" She asks the question politely enough, but there's an edge to her voice.

"For the moment? I'd say the promise of dinner and a good friend's company brought me here..." Akorian answers, gesturing at his unfinished plate. He considers saying more, but then the matronly woman dressed like a follower of Zon-Kuthon interrupts, seemingly oblivious that the other two women were no longer addressing her.

'No matter...' he shrugs and returns to his meal. There would be time to get to know everyone and share more about himself once Janiven started the meeting and explained her purpose in bringing them together.

Qadira

F Human Wizard (Conjuror) 5

Zarabeta gently disentangles her hand from Mother Vangelis' grasp, but then pats her hand (carefully) solicitously upon hearing of her daughter's death.

"I'm sorry to hear that, missus Vangelis." Changing the subject, she asks, "That armor certainly looks dangerous to move around in. Is that sort of thing common in your homeland?"

She listens with half an ear to the discussion between Waifrin and the man in the breastplate, but keeps her gaze focused on the woman in front of her.


Mother Vangelis wrote:


Mother Vangelis arrives early to the tavern and bends the bartender's ear.

...
"You don't happen to know anything about these night critters, do ye?"

The bartender spins a tale of wizards losing control of a spell, unleashing the nocturnal menace on the city by accident.

Mother Vangelis:

Spoiler:
Mother Vangelis wrote: Did she get a look at the creature? She'll go pay a call on her friend Zubifer and see if he knows anything about the critters that are infesting the city.

The creature looked vaguely like a dog-sized spider, but it's texture was more like fish gills. It was hard to get a good look at it. The shadows were thick and its form seemed fluid and changeable.

Zubifer subscribes to a popular theory that the shadow creatures are part of House Thrune's vendetta against Westcrown. A nasty way of enforcing a needless curfew whose only purpose is to discomfort, discourage, and dismay the residents of a former rival city.


Waifrin Goddon:

Spoiler:

Waifrin Goddon wrote: "Waifrin will take a few days to spy out Vizio's Tavern: she will make sure she knows where the alleys lead around it, where the entrances and exits are, and what sort of people come and go."

Not many come and go. It seems the tavern has changed hands recently. The new owners have not yet opened. Apparently Janiven and an older man are the new owners. They can be seen entering and leaving.

Zarabeta:

Spoiler:

Zarabeta wrote: "The day before the meeting, Zarabeta goes to Vizio's and enjoys a light meal. ...

Spell Prepared will be from her 'Expecting Trouble' entry.

The dinner plan is excellent, but won't work because Vizio's is not open. A sign declares that it will open soon. You can establish the location of a rear entrance from the outside, but can't see clearly through the windows. A discrete inquiry reveals that the tavern recently changed hands.

No clue about what changed your hair color. Maybe I'll have an inspiration when I read the second installment.


Once dinner is over, and with still a few hours to go
before sundown, Janiven rises and checks the front door. She looks one last time out of each window as she shutters it. Then she takes a deep breath and thanks the PCs for attending the meeting. She again assures them that they’ll be done in less than an hour, with plenty of time left
over for everyone to get home before sunset.

Another deep breath and she begins speaking clearly and directly. Her speech is short, but delivered with great passion.
“Again, thank you for agreeing to meet with me here. I have
chosen each of you for a singular reason—everyone here,
myself included, has suffered, whether we realize it or not.
I have lived in Westcrown my whole life, and although I love
this city, I must admit, as must you, that despite our peace
and prosperity, we continue to suffer. Fear should not be
an expected part of life, and yet each night brings fear to
our doorsteps. Yes, Westcrown has been safe from war and
famine for nearly seventy years, and yes, our businesses have
prospered—but this safety and prosperity has been bought
in the coinage of fear and prayers to Hell. Other lands live
free from tyranny. Other cities do not fear the night. Other
governments do not cede the streets to monsters of the
infernal shadows. Westcrown was once such a place, and she
wants to be such a place again. Westcrown is not only her
buildings and canals and docks and history—she is also her
people. Westcrown is our friends and neighbors, our mothers
and fathers, our siblings and cousins, our sons and daughters!
With but a small group of supporters and dedicated brothers
and sisters, we can earn the trust and admiration of those
people."

Until now she has said nothing that most Wiscrani (natives of Westcrown) wouldn't agree with. BUt then she concludes with, "A Westcrown free of these shadowy beasts that stalk our streets is one step closer to a Westcrown free of the devil that is the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune!”

These words if repeated in the wrong ears would lead Janiven inexorably to the gallows, or worse.


Raven:

Spoiler:
A figure comes running through the crowd down the street toward you. It's too early for them to be running like that to avoid the shadow beasts. No one seems to be pursuing. BUt it is unusual.


Male Elf Rogue 5th

Spoiler:
"Hmm?" The rogue mutters softly as he puts his silver coin back inside a pouch and withdraws just a little more within the surrounding shadows, his right hand moving a little closer to the short sword's hilt. 'What might this be now?' he thinks to himself as he tries to take a better look at the one running towards him in an attempt to discern whether it is simply one of his associates bringing him a message or someone with intents not quite that friendly.

Without caring to wait for the figure to be close enough to him to find out, Raven already puts his mind at work thinking of possible courses of action. 'If he is not a friend, I suppose I could try to talk my way out of it, perhaps offer a bit of coin as well, but if it comes down to it...' he ponders, moving his fingertips along the length of his sword's hilt, a look of distaste evident on the elf's features. 'But if he is indeed a friend, what could have compelled him to come running like this? Ah, of course... trouble...'

For a moment Raven appears a little troubled, but a smile quickly appears on his face chasing any previous expressions away. "Ah, a bit of fun then," he whispers softly, still smiling a bit mischievously.

A Perception check to see if Raven makes out the figure's face or any other details:
Perception 8 (2 +6)
Err... He did not put his back into it... yeah, that's it...

Andoran

Male Human Fighter 5 (Favoured Class)

Marius listens to Javinens speech..he's heard the same thing many times since his return to Westcrown..change the existing order..banish the shadow beasts..nothing new there..but when she preaches outright treason his eyes light up..he catches waifs eye hoping to get a reaction from her before commiting himself.

Andoran

Female Human Wilder 5th | AC13 | HP39 | Str 10 | Dex 15 | Con 13 | PP37/37

Waifrin listens to Janiven's talk with interest, but a carefully contrived neutral expression, save at the end ...

Last Vestige of Aroden wrote:
"A Westcrown free of these shadowy beasts that stalk our streets is one step closer to a Westcrown free of the devil that is the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune!”

... when she raises her head, and her eyes have a burning intensity to them. She nods slightly at Marius before answering:

"Only thrice?" she asks in a dangerously soft tone. "They suck on the pricks of devils for power and dispense their turds to pass as justice on everyone else! They give us taxes, misery and slavery and call them prosperity, peace and order! I'd say death was too good for them, and damnation too, but they've made their own beds in the afterlife and the sooner they are all put to lie in them, the better for all of us!" An almost palpable aura ripples out from Waifrin as her words seem to reverberate through the room; those next to her can feel it: one moment hot, the next icy cold, and the next crawling and crackling with static.

It might be noted at this point that Waifrin has clearly spent far more of her life on the streets than in a mansion ...


Male Human (Chelish-Azlanti) Cleric 4

'And here I thought I was a firebrand for change,' Akorian thinks to himself after both Janiven's speech and particularly Waifrin's reaction to it. 'Good. These people might be the right ones. Maybe Janiven's finally found the right group so we can actually do something worthwhile for Westcrown.'

'Still...that one there...' he thinks, watching Waifrin, 'She seems a bit unstable. Like a squall of wind. I don't think we'd ever be quite sure where she's coming from...or how much force her words and actions might bring at any given time.'

"That's pretty colorful language for a Goddon," Akorian finally offers aloud, obviously directing his words at Waifrin, "And I doubt you came by that tongue while conversing with the scullery maids in your family's estate. But the only real question is whether you have the passion for a bit more than just words."

He nods toward their hostess.

"I've said much the same to Janiven, here, before," he notes, "It's one thing to call meetings and organize sessions in which the downtrodden and frightened citizenry can air their grievances, hoping for sympathy from one another. But it's quite a different matter to start taking direct action to change things...to make a difference for the better here in Westcrown...or the rest of Cheliax, for that matter."

"So, Janiven? Has the time finally come then?" he asks from his corner of the room, "Have you and the others developed a taste for action at last? What do you have planned? After all, your spoken words about thrice-damning House Thrune would thrice-damn you to gallows. So you might as well spill the rest of your thoughts to these people and see if they have the stomach for it. As for me, you already know where I stand."

Andoran

Female Human Wilder 5th | AC13 | HP39 | Str 10 | Dex 15 | Con 13 | PP37/37
Akorian Henderthane wrote:
"That's pretty colorful language for a Goddon, and I doubt you came by that tongue while conversing with the scullery maids in your family's estate. But the only real question is whether you have the passion for a bit more than just words."

"I learned it as a slave, so try me; I don't have a lot to lose," Waifrin spits back, but looks at the young noble with a certain level of respect for his words. He could be some informer, yes, but an informer wouldn't be so obvious.


Female Human Fighter 1/Ranger 1

Mother Vangelis frowns: whether in consternation against House Thrune or the wild talk is anyone's guess.

"Now, I believe in 'live and let live'; that's what Ralf always says, and I agree -- most of the time, leastways. But with these shadow critters roaming the streets -- the streets where my daughter Lucy lives, by gum! and where we country folk have to sell our goods -- there's not much chance of that." She leans forward intently while speaking, glancing at the faces of the other assembled parties, then leans back in her chair.

"Course, I never met no nobleman from House Thrune, nor do I think I ever will. So I can't speculate on what they might do with devils in their spare time; I'll leave that to you, dear." She gives Waifrin an earthy wink.

Turning to Janiven, she asks: "So, do you have some kind o' suggestion to get rid of these monsters, or is this just a hot air party, so to speak?"


Raevanis:

Spoiler:
The figure seems vaguely familiar. A slip of a boy. But just as he reaches the point of closest approach, he dodges around a tall milliner (whose arms are loaded with boxes and who sports an outlandishly wide-brimmed hat festooned with feathers) and the boy's face is obscured. Once he's past the milliner all you can make out is his mop of dark hair. The lad falters; he's obviously been running for some time. Recovering himself he plunges on directly toward Vizio's.

Qadira

F Human Wizard (Conjuror) 5

Zarabeta remains quiet, her face flickering through many moods as she listens to the others, at first visibly impressed with Waifrin's passion, and then somewhat put off by her salty language, and finally nodding along at her biting reply to the young nobleman in the shiny armor.

After Mother Vangelis speaks her piece, she waits to see if their host has an answer to the question regarding these shadow beasts.

She closes her eyes for a moment as she waits, seemingly in anticipation.

Empathic link with Uqabi, making sure that it's still light out. She has no intention of keeping her familiar out there alone after dark...


As Janiven opens her mouth to speak, there erupts a violent pounding on the door. She shuts her mouth, steps quickly over to a window, wipes a corner clean and peers outside.

She says, "It's Morosino. Someone open the door. "

Plenty of daylight yet.


Male Human (Chelish-Azlanti) Cleric 4
Waifrin Goddon wrote:
"I learned it as a slave, so try me; I don't have a lot to lose," Waifrin spits back, but looks at the young noble with a certain level of respect for his words.

Akorian nods, but keeps quiet for now. Inwardly, he wonders to himself, 'The nobles have fallen far indeed since House Thrune's ascension if a Goddon became a slave on the streets of Westcrown. This city once represented all that was good in Cheliax. Now look at it!'

Mother Vangelis wrote:
"So, do you have some kind o' suggestion to get rid of these monsters, or is this just a hot air party, so to speak?"

"The nightstalkers are only a symptom of the problems in Westcrown," Akorian offers, "Even the Hellknights enforce the curfews to keep people in their homes for their own safety..." He accents the word 'safety' to make it clear he believes the Hellknights have other motives as well.

"Meanwhile, Mayor Arvanxi and all his men have done nothing for years to determine the cause of these problems. So, the problem of the nightstalkers is either unsolvable...and if so, what chance do we have of getting rid of them if legions of Hellknights have failed at it? Or, they don't want to eliminate the nightstalkers because they're serving a purpose that supports their own selfish, heavy-handed goals."

"I know some men who serve in the knighthood's Orders," he shares, "And they're not incompetent fools. They're well-armed, well-disciplined, and well-motivated to flex their might whenever an opportunity presents itself. So, these nightstalkers are either beyond us...or they're an extension of the government's will itself."

"How's that for sedition, Janiven?" he looks toward their hostess again.

Last Vestige of Aroden wrote:
As Janiven opens her mouth to speak, there erupts a violent pounding on the door. She shuts her mouth, steps quickly over to a window, wipes a corner clean and peers outside. She says, "It's Morosino. Someone open the door. "

Akorian rises quickly from his seat and approaches the door, unbolting it to let the lad inside. As he does so, he instinctively draws forth a well-polished morningstar from a custom, ornate leather loop belted at his waist just in case there's trouble afoot.


Male Elf Rogue 5th

Spoiler:
'Well, unless the local constabulary employs children nowadays, I suppose that is a friend...' Raven thinks to himself, his conclusion strengthened, as far as he is concerned, by the urgency with which the boy seems to be running towards the tavern the meeting is taking place. 'But where does this turn of events leave me then?'

The rogue remains at his spot for a few moments more looking intently towards the street the runner came from, but he has already decided on a course of action. Regardless of whether he sees anyone coming after the boy or not, he will not tarry here long; he will be making his way towards Vizio's Tavern as well, all the while stealing glances behind him as he does so.

'It seems it is safe enough to choose speed over cover this time, at least for now...'

Andoran

Female Human Wilder 5th | AC13 | HP39 | Str 10 | Dex 15 | Con 13 | PP37/37

At the pounding on the door Waifrin jumps to her feet, ready to fight or run. Informants were everywhere in Westcrown, and at any time anyone could be seized - if they hadn't done anything, charges would be invented later, and innocence was no defence.

Janiven wrote:
"It's Morosino. Someone open the door."
Akorian Henderthane wrote:
Akorian rises quickly from his seat and approaches the door, unbolting it to let the lad inside. As he does so, he instinctively draws forth a well-polished morningstar from a custom, ornate leather loop belted at his waist just in case there's trouble afoot.

When the door opens to admit the youth, she glances past him into the street, half-expecting to see the soldiers already on their way.


Female Human Fighter 1/Ranger 1
Waifrin Goddon wrote:
When the door opens to admit the youth

What youth?

Andoran

Female Human Wilder 5th | AC13 | HP39 | Str 10 | Dex 15 | Con 13 | PP37/37

Spoiler:

Mother Vangelis wrote:
Waifrin Goddon wrote:
When the door opens to admit the youth
What youth?

This youth:

Akorian Henderthane wrote:
Akorian rises quickly from his seat and approaches the door, unbolting it to let the lad inside. As he does so, he instinctively draws forth a well-polished morningstar from a custom, ornate leather loop belted at his waist just in case there's trouble afoot.

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