Welcome to the Council of Thieves - Bastards of Erebus (1 of 6)
-Speaking voices should be bolded "Whoso calls out his name, Trantor!"
-Thoughts can be italicized 'What an amazing day it is outside!'
-Combat should be spoilered (see ooc thread on this)
-Extended ooc questions should take place in the Discussion thread, quick questions/comments should stay in the campaign thread.
-If you have questions let me know, if I don't know I can't help. I will certainly be asking plenty of questions myself, I'm sure.
-Above all, have fun, or else!
You have been approached by an attractive woman called Janiven, or possibly one of her contacts, and the message, whether from her mouth or relayed through the contact, is identicle at the core. "What would you do, personally, to improve the conditions in Westcrown? I mean there's night terrors, an indifferent mayor, devils, thieves, the city is a shade of it's former, glorious self. What would you do, if you had the chance to make things better here?"
In some cases the response to your answer was given immediately from Janiven, others the contact had to return and report to Janiven and then she came to see you, but in all cases you have recieved an invitation to attend a meeting at Vizio's Tavern for an early dinner (you'd know this is about 4 o'clock), just to talk.
We all have our devils, and every devil can be tamed. I am, at heart, a pragmatist. There will always be evil, and there will always be good to oppose it. Where we should best intervene is when the evil gets out of hand and starts destroying order. The upper houses are fat, lazy, and corrupt. We need to bleed them a little, and purge the old blood with some new. All change starts with a small step. We wrest control over a devil here, stop a villain there, and along the way strengthen our position. When we find the source of Westcrown's rot, we should be able to cut it out. he pauses to wipe his spectacles with a fine silk cloth. My role, I think, will be to find a way to turn our enemy's strengths into weaknesses. Nightmares, devils, all of these are manageable - whether we oppose them with strength, or turn them against their masters. Who needs brute strengths when you can summon the brutes to work for you? he chuckles. You know what makes a hero? Someone who lives to brag about their accomplishments in the end.
Janiven smiles at Corneleous's answer, considering her words before opening her mouth, "Well, I can't disagree with any of that, and I am very much interested in keeping myself and my friends alive." Her voice is light and playful, but you can detect a steel resolve behind the airy and playful tone. She looks at him coyly, "Judging by your continued good health I assume you consider yourself to be a hero, Mr Ornelos?" Without really waiting for you to answer she leans forward in her chair, arms on the table, and holds your gaze with her intense brown eyes, "You are clearly an intelligent man, sir, and I won't lie to you, I've actually been watching you for some time." She watches you a moment to let that sink in. "These are dangerous words, treasonous to some ears, but you're not alone in how you feel. Westcrown is dying, and it's citizens suffer the mistakes of other, more powerful, men. Direct opposition is madness, but there are those out there who would help, a 'small step towards change' as you said. I'd very much appreciate your company at a light dinner and social gathering I'm putting together." Sliding a piece of paper onto the table between you, she says with a grin and a wink, "If you don't find it too impractical of course." With that she leaves a few coins for the drinks and strides from the room without a backward glance.
"I like you, and seeing as how you bought me this fine wine, the least I can do is answer a mysterious strangers' anonymous question, right? What would I do? There are very few things that I *won't* do to root out evil and corruption. I am actually in contact with a very powerful society, that once had grounds here before these" he looks around at the bar to make sure no one is listening "... accursed lands. This land is nothing more than debauchery and vileness. I would like to see these lands returned to the beauty that they once held. Night beasts? Easy." he holds forward a compass looking thing and says "With one press of this button, a night terror becomes a day dream, if you know what I mean... And yes, I meant to rhyme.As to the indifferent mayor, there is only to remove him. Either through rising in the political ranks, which I have been thinking about quite lately, or if the law requires it, remove him forcibly. I wonder about being a politician... That would be a lot of fun."
Janiven nods graciously at the Inquisitors appreciation and her eyebrows rise high on her forehead at the mention of an ancient society holding sway before the corruption. Leaning forward curiously as he presents the object for inspection, offering a faint, "Hmmm" before he puts it away again. As he finishes with his interest in politics she leans back, "Well, my contact was not nearly as thorough as I thought, you see, we've had an eye on your for a little while now, and think you'd be interested in a small dinner taking place very soon." She stands up, and looks around cautiously, aware they were speaking louder than may have been prudent, and slips a small piece of paper onto the table, "Be at that time and place, and we can speak again a little more frankly, I think you'll like what you hear." She smiles a winning smile at him, and with a wink, turns and strides quickly from the room.AC I know we've talked about this intro, and you have some options instead of the Wayfinder. We'll just leave this to save rewriting, and if it's books only then later on we'll just assume it was books he was showing her, rather than the Wayfinder.
Amon winces slightly, as though pained. "It seems overwhelming when you put it like that, doesn't it? With so many problems and so few willing to help, a poor soul wouldn't know where to start. Or even if he should start, since he's likely to suffer the wrath of what he fights against." He absent-mindedly rubs his holy symbol like a worry stone, sewn inconspicuously into the inner wrist cuff of his shirt. "I used to feel that way, you know. I almost gave into it - the helplessness, the apathy. You think you can do so little that it isn't even worth the effort. Like trying to stop the rain from falling or the wind from blowing." He looks out the window as he speaks, keeping an eye on the foot traffic passing by the safehouse. "So many despair, and so many cry in sorrow. Those who should be working to lift the people's burdens gorge themselves in excess. They fritter away their pointless lives in making other people miserable. The people of Westcrown are their playthings, to be used and discarded. It demeans the soul and crushes the spirit."
He pauses for a moment, then turns and fixes a penetrating gaze on you. "But as I said, that is how I used to be. I have a purpose, now. I have direction. I work for the betterment of my fellow man. If I were to pick one thing of all the evils that plague Westcrown, one thing that I wish most of all to change, it would be the cancerous tumor that is the government and nobility. I'd free their slaves and liberate their captives, and in so doing chisel away at the foundation of their excess. That, dear friend, is what I would do."
Janiven nods with understanding, looks around to make sure they aren't being watched too closely, and leans foward. "I admit freely that those things should change, and with luck they shall. I am talking about the first step down that long road to real change, but we must first drive away that despiair, and replace it with hope and resolve. That hope is what I'm hoping you'll join us to talk about," and she slides a card across the table towards him, "at that time and place." She holds your gaze for a moment, searching for something, and then nods to herself and stands up. "I hope you'll come." With that she offers a quick smile and a wink, before turning to stride from the room.
"Glory days?" booms the bearded man running calloused fingers through his scratchy beard. "That's talk for priests, or dead men, and I'll have none of it in my shop. I've lived in Westcrown all my life..." the man says in a hushed voice. "...and whispering in corners don't help a soul. It means one thing, and that thing's trouble."
The man busily sets about his work, turning his back on his questioner and reaching for his hammer. "It's not that I don't want to help, m'lady." he says, conversationally, more to himself than to his questioner. "But the thieves don't bother us here. Mayor, he don't neither. We shut our doors at night just like any sane Westcrown-folk should." he says, troubled. He turns around, wiping sweat from his brow and folding his arms. "Last thing me and my family need is the hellknights knocking down our door."
Janiven listens, face a little grim, as Lucon responds to her question. She's leaned against the wall of his shop, and has remained quiet while the large carpenter says his piece. Once he's finished she remains still a moment longer before finally she takes a step closer and speaks up, "As you can see, I'm neither a priest, nor dead good Lucon, yet here I stand." She folds her arms across beneath her breasts, continuing on, "I know you are neither oblivious or stupid, and thieves have begun attacking this part of town with frequency for the last month!"]/b] This would be common knowledge She takes a steadying breath, [b]"To be honest, we've been watching you for some time, and I know you're aware of some of what goes on in this town, devils and oppression to name a few. Is this the type of place you want your children to be raised? To wonder if they'll make it inside before the last rays of sunlight disappear? Is that what you want for their children?" She sighs, clearly passionate about the topic, but doesn't want to bombard the man. She pulls out a slip of paper and waves it next to her face, "Tomorrow there is an informal dinner taking place, people who want something better for themselves and their families. We're not out to overthrow anyone, but seek to live in such a way we don't need to wonder what prowls outside a childs window every night. There are worse things than hellknights." She slides the paper on the counter silently, looking into his eyes, then raises her gaze to the ceiling and the sounds of childrens feet and happy voices, and then turns and strides from the shop without a backwards glance.
Enko sits cross-legged among the refuse of one of the many damp, odiferous dockside alleyways of Westcrown, eyes half closed. A bilge rat emerges from the darkness and runs towards him, incisors bared, bent on attack. At the moment the rat touches his sleeve, however, it finds itself suddenly up one arm, then down another, gently turned around by deft hands, and placed upon the bricks of the alleyway again. Confused and dizzy, it wanders off at a snail's pace, all fight gone out of its eyes. Enko stands up in one smooth motion and addresses the commotion of the docks.
"There are many who hate this city, hate this country, and consider them damned. I do not. I am of this place. Westcrown is not damned; if I may, it is dammed--"--a ghost of a smile appears on his lips--"--that is to say, the life, the water, people, cannot flow properly in and out of it. Much of this is due to a misinterpretation of what is lawful here. Law cannot abide thievery, yet it is accepted here and overlooked. With thievery and corruption, one cannot have the lawful exchange of goods; literally, things cannot flow, lest you think we monks are always referring to the metaphysical."
He continues. "Creatures of shadow stalk these streets. How can a city live in fear in this way? And yet, we cannot hate the thieves, nor the shadows, nor the government that tacitly allows them. The Children of the Upper Reach seek to remove the blocks that prevent the people moving along their own path. In other countries, this would be called 'freedom'. In other countries, our actions might be considered 'revolution', but we have the patience of long decades and centuries. Give the people back the night. Let them hold their heads high, free from fear of thieves that distract them from the much greater thievery of the government. I will do my own small part in helping the people see their way. Not by striking with blooded weapon, but through patience, observation, and then allowing those who would keep the people of Westcrown in chains to fall upon their own swords. It only takes a mere...redirection." He turns to observe the limping, sickened rat, which begins to shake off its dizzy spell and scurries into the darkness, to his satisfaction.
"Never in hate should we strike. If we do, we become part of the symptoms that plague my city, my country. And all of them, yes, even the Source, are symptoms, and are confused. All can be healed and redeemed. I may fail, but there will be more after me, and more, and more after that, because we arise from the natural flow of things, and that can not be stopped by any force on this Plane or any other."
Enko bows and resumes sitting in the filthy alleyway.
Janiven watches the display with the rat with widening eyes, obviously very impressed. She smiles to herself as Enko describes his philosophy, liking much of what she's hears. "We both know there is plenty blocking the people of Westcrown, and I also agree it's time we try to move things in a new direction." She reaches into a pockets and produces a slip of paper, placing it on the cleanest patch of ground she can find, finally balancing it on a few less-dirty pieces of garbage. Standing tall and straightening her shirt she says, "If you're interested in conversing with a group of like minded people, be at the time and place on that paper, perhaps together we can create a get things flowing around here again." She nods to the sitting monk, turns and strides quickly out of the alley, keeping to the less filthy sections and wary of more rats.
Swirling her drink around her glass, Tavi looks up with eyes betraying one so young and comments "How, pray tell, are these my problems? This city is no different than any of the multitudes of other poverty ridden hollows I've visited over the years. Given time, and . . . motivation, I am sure these petty thugs could be formed and forged into something more suitable. You look upon these streets and see fear and evil, yet I see profit and chance. Where you see devils and thugs, I see opportunities and challenges. However, there is the matter of the leadership I will grant you that one. That too is just a matter of timing and motivation," taking pause here she takes a long pull from her glass."If there is one true crime in this city, it is indifference. I loathe inaction. I can however offer you a quick and clean option of change. Remove this parasite and change will come. Give me a year with these street hoodlums and I will craft them into a force the likes to rival any street teams outside the capital's and equal to even the feared Mantis's in lethality," with this she polishes her glass off and stands, pulling her cowl down over her head. With a snap of her fingers and a subtle twist of an arm, suddenly there is an iron coin standing quivering in the table in front of you. Upon closer inspection it seems to be engraved upon one side with a raven in flight.
"My card, if you will, in case you feel my option better than any other you receive."
Janiven sits closer to inspect the quivering coin, and then glances up at Tavi, considering the Halfling for a moment before settling back in her chair. Deciding something she too stands, placing a small piece of paper on the table next to the pair. "Well there are some who could use training, and who share your distaste for inaction. If you think you'd be interested in discussing things further with some like minded people, be at the time and place on the card." She starts to leave and stops, turning back to you, "Together, who knows, we might even be able to start letting people walk the streets at night again." She gives you a significant look and then strides quickly from the room. This is a tie in to your campaign trait if you're wondering why she said that.
”I would finish what this city has already half started and raze the great remainder of it to the ground, driving the Hells-spawned filth from their dens of vice and misery before me and showing the fat, content mayor which abides slavery, torture, and murder with a knowing grin how truly powerless he is by bringing the will of the people to the forefront; if their current fearful bleats and suffering moans haven’t reached him perhaps the wondrous sound of men cheering for immediate change might. Shackles would be permanently unchained and the infernal church which forces lip service would no longer be a unavoidable accessory of ailing society. The decadence of another’s pain for one’s personal pleasure will be a bygone horror. I would guide this city through a trail of fire and blood and watch it rise from the ashes like a resplendent phoenix. The people, the true citizens of Westcrown, not those tiefling cysts, are resourceful and willing, but unorganized. They could weather such a cleansing, such a painful cure.
“What that means for me, personally; I’m well aware that the fish rots from the head and thus the head must be removed. In this case that means the mayor. Everything else is but a symptom, including slavery, the hold of the Dark Prince of Lies’ vile church, tieflings, and the shadowy beasts that prowl the night. If he were to be replaced with one willing to make the hard decisions and do what needs done, instead of the oafish sloth that views the city from the safety of a palatial manor with all of the luxuries gold can provide, so far, far removed from the worries of everyday man, important change could take place. Is that me? Unlikely, but I’d be willing to support the right candidate, but my place is sacrificing for the people that I love. If I couldn’t sway the mayor to leave with a personal audience, I’d be more than willing to lay my life on the line and remove him with proper force, though I pray to deaf ears that such a matter needs no martyr. I would also take on the responsibility of organizing the masses, those who are as sick of the permitted sin and evil of society as I and lead the movement to oust those unsavory byproducts and ungrateful wretches of high society.
“This is all unfortunately hypothetical, of course, for I have no means nor station to accomplish such ends.”
Janiven smiles, "Yes that's true, it was a hypothetical question of course. But I must say Jaiyana, I'm glad we met, because there is a small dinner being held in two days time, with other like-minded people attending." She arches an eyebrow, "We will probably not discuss razing the city quite yet, but we're willing to settle for some small steps in making this town a better place, like ensuring our streets our own at night." She pauses, but then quickly adds, "But that is not the end; as I said, that is only the first small step." The woman stands then, and removes a slip of paper from a pouch and slides it onto the table, and looks directly into your eyes, "Luck," she says, indicating you, "Meet 'opportunity'." and taps on the paper with her index finger, her nail making a clacking sound on the tabletop. She drops some coins on the table and takes her leave, striding quickly from the room, leaving you to your thoughts.
Does anyone want to do anything before arriving at Vizio's Tavern? You have a day and a night before arriving if anyone wants the time. Please use Flex Time for this. Remember to label Flex Time posts at the top and specify WHEN and WHAT situation you're flexing too.
Read the appropriate spoiler first, whichever you prefer.
With one last glance at the door she stands, her chair scraping loudly, and places her arms on the table. While an extremely attractive woman with long dark hair and smooth skin, her demeanor is rough and edged. Wearing rough, homespun jerkin and pants over dark brown leathers and adopting a stern attitude, she has seriously downplayed her good looks. "Welcome and thank you for coming, I believe we're all here. The purpose of this meeting is to talk and eat, so lets get the eating out of the way. If you all would please introduce yourselves while we're eating, we can get the pleasantries out of the way, get in some serious talk, and still have enough time to get everyone home well before sundown." With that she slides her chair back to the table, grabs a piece of cheese, and turns to looks expectantly at the person at her left.
First person to respond will be that person. Let's make some introductions
About Vizio's: If you make the higher DC, you can read the lower DC spoilers. Making this check assumes foreknowledge, or questioning nearby locals and/or patrons
Amon arrives early, judging by the length of shadows on the ground. He watches the tavern for several minutes, gauging the amount of foot traffic passing through. He stops a few street urchins as they pass, asking them what they know about the establishment.
Diplomacy 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
Entering, greeting the human woman, and taking her suggestion, he sits at the table and waits patiently for the other guests to arrive. As they enter, they see a clean-shaven young halfling with tousled black hair. His eyes are the color of coal, with slight swirls of gray. His skin is fair, and he bears the exaggerated nose and ears common to the kinfolk. He is dressed in the clothes of a common laborer, with a green collared shirt, dun pants, and sturdy leather boots. He is typical for a halfling, with a sturdy frame and lithe reflexes.
Prompted to introduce themselves, Amon raises a hand. "I suppose I can go first. I am Amon Goethe. I am currently employed as a healer, and I am here at the invitation of Janiven to discuss the recent troubles in Westcrown."
|Octavia 'Tavi' Delphina|
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
Arriving long before the appointed time, Tavi finds a small shadowed corner table within the tavern to wait. Nursing a drink she watches anyone who enters and play close attention to whomever attempts to engage Janiven. Upon seeing a stout fellow halfling enter and take a seat at a table after having a short convocation with Janiven, she steps out of the shadow, still carrying her drink, and makes her way over the table.
Greetings fellows. I see I was not the only one asked to this meeting. My name is Octavia, but you may call me Tavi. I too came at the invite of an agent of Janiven. With that she pulls up a chair leaving her back to a wall and gaining the best view of the door she can, still working on her first drink.
Enko takes a circuitous path back to an unoccupied hideout sometimes used by agents of Iomedae and collects his few meager possessions. He takes the time to scrub the worst of the filth of the docks and alleys, rinses his face and meditates for some time. His mind cleared, he rises again, considering the meeting with Janiven. Intangibles are coming into focus, he muses as he navigates the streets, though I do not know what they are, I will trust the path of events as they unfold.
As if drawn to him by a string, Vizio's appears. He opens the door with an open palm and steps into the darkness, somewhat early.
Enko appears as a shorter human, in completely nondescript clothing worn by any beggar or poorer vendor, with a small bundle slung over one shoulder. A closer inspection might show the finery and durability of the drab fabric. A kerchief covers what is probably a bald or closely shaven scalp. Calm, limpid brown eyes gaze from his placid countenance, with the barest hint of martial steel beneath the surface.
Enko bows to Octavia, Janiven, and Amon.
"I am Enko. I am a humble Child of the Upper Reach, and was also contacted by Janiven. I hope to aid us all in restoring merit to Westcrown."
Knowledge (Local): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
|Viscount Corneleous Ornelos|
Corneleous plans his route carefully, lest he is followed. He conducts family business, and passes by the tavern on the way home. With a quick glace around, he ducks into the dark interior.
He seats himself near the end of the table.
I have seen the power that devils have. I have seen the way they corrupt even the most pure soul. This is what I see when I look at the leadership. However, I, alone, am not powerful enough to take on the task of removing the taint that infects our city and our nation. You must understand, my family position makes this endeavor dangerous- not just for me, but for my siblings... I am the Viscount Orlenos, you've heard of me, yes? the Viscount seems to have begun mid thought, only to end with his introduction. Along the way he includes no small amount of egoism.
Knowledge Local 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
|Octavia 'Tavi' Delphina|
Appraise - To tell the richness of the cloth and how well made they are.
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
Kn. Local - To see if I know of him/his family
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Flex Time: Just after Janiven departs.
Jaiyana reaches forward to clutch the paper and drag it toward her, never drawing her eyes from the other woman as she leaves. Deftly, she flips the nissive and scans it, memorizing its message, burning it to cinders in the flame of a nearby candle only moments later and watching the flame cause it to dance into nothingness. Picking up her quilted jacket (carefully weighted with iron plates for additional protection) she makes swift strides for the exit, but has waited to long and her contact is no where to be seen.
End Flex Time.
Jaiyana debates with herself for an exceptionally long while before deciding to go to Vizio's Tavern against her better judgement; she had always been rather candid of her views of what ails Westcrown, and being approached as such stank of an elaborate Hellknight trap to capture heretics and liberators, giving them time to think over their immediate futures and decidely take measures to oppose the Church of Asomdeus rather than speak idealistic and empty words. She's heard of the establishment she is to visit; out of the way but not unheard of. It made her nervous and she quickened her stride, checking to make sure she was armed and prepared should danger find her as it all too often did, well aware that she may be the one wandering willingly into the dragon's den.
She checks the time with a passerby and learns she is nearly late, having delayed too long, now fretting that she should have stayed with her gut instinct. Luckily, or not, as the case may be, she arrives just in time, mildly winded. She lets herself in quietly to see that others have already arrived, and sees Janiven again as well (she gives the woman a quick nod in greeting), including halflings- she was unsure if that boded well or ill. They likely weren't going to be any foes of hers, but they could just as easily be caught in this woman's web of deceit if she proves to be an enemy.
Jaiyana takes an open seat to catch her breath after hurrying to arrive and takes a bit of bread, but declines to take anything heavier. She sweeps her armored coat over the back of the chair and pulls her long, black hair out of her face. She sits with rigid posture, ready to hop to her feet in an instant, obviously ill at ease. She's come dressed for trouble, with well-fitting red and black leather armor and a heavy flail at her hip. Her normally pale complexion is warmed to a rosey hue from the jog across town.
When it is her turn, Jaiyana introduces herself, her tone as rigid as her posture. As she speaks her dark eyes rapidly scan those assembled.
"I am Jaiyana Nejem, someone of little importance. I was likewise approached to by Jeniven engage in tonight's discussion." She gives another curt nod to each in turn in the room.
AC arrives, bumping into a table or two as he makes his way to where Janiven is. She doesn't seem very talkative, and she keeps mentioning "waiting for the others" which is find by him. He was just reading about the dynamic systems of ruling classes, and it was thoroughly intriguing to him.
Knowledge local 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Seeing that people have arrived at the table, and are talking around him AC speaks up.
"Hmmm... Oh! Where did you all come from? I am AC, and I was asked to come here ... he trails off for a second as if remembering something. Oh that reminds me! He digs in his pack and finds a book and starts ruffling through the pages.
Well, I forgot what I was going to say... Oh well!
Enko shows mild amusement at AC. He bows to him, Jaiyana, and Corneleous in turn.
"No," he says to the Viscount, and offers nothing further.
He returns the bow to Enko. Oh, are you a monk? I've never met one before, but I have read all about them? I just have so many questions:
What is your order? What is your faith like? What are you studies like? Have you ever reached Zen? Have you taken a vow of poverty? What are these clothes you are wearing? Are you trained in martial arts? Have you taken a vow of silence?: Well of course you have spoken, but maybe you can still greet people in a vow of silence so as not to be rude. Are you a traveling monk, I've hear there are those?
Oh I'm sorry, it seems that my curiosity has gotten the better of me...
"You have many questions," says Enko, smiling.
He takes a bite of bread and chews thoughtfully.
"Everything is connected. Everything changes. Pay attention. Attention, attention."
He eats more bread, this time with some cheese.
Janiven lets the talk continue for a bit while you all eat, and for those who are watching, you see her glance several times from the remaining chair or Chairs to the door, lips thinned slightly. She politely asks details about family and occupation, areas of interest and other light topics, and you may notice that she has already you asked some of these things in a prior conversation or meeting. It's almost as though she's letting the others in the group hear the answers as a way to let each of you learn more about each other.
I'm going to let Lucon join via flex time since she's about to lock the door.
Clearing her throat with a final glance at the door, "Again thank you all for coming. Let us begin while there's still plenty of daylight left, wouldn't want anyone walking home after dark. If for some reason we run longer than anticipated then there's plenty of space here to rest for the night, but it shouldn't come to that." With that she stands, the rays of sun making patterns on her dark clothing as she makes her way to the door, opening it and looking both directions, before closing it and sliding home the bolt. Making her way back to her chair she sits, resting her forearms on the table and intertwining her fingers in a relaxed and business like manner. Look around the table, eyes avoiding the empty chair Or chairs! :), she begins, "I've been intentionally vague with all of you, and for that I'm sorry, we're all aware of the danger of criticizing the government, in any degree. Friends of mine have disappeared for saying less than the words we've exchanged thus far. I've also mentioned that I did not reach out to any of you lightly, but am aware, to some degree of who you are and at least some of your motivations." She takes time to look at each of you as she speaks, looking you in the eye, and letting her full personality flow into her words. She does not flower the conversation, but speaks honestly and straight-forward.
Gathering herself she continues, "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 has 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. 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!”
After she delivers her impassioned speech, she sits back in her chair and regards you all, allowing you to digest what she said and waiting for any reactions.
Any pre-speech conversations can continue in flex time.
|Octavia 'Tavi' Delphina|
Questions, why do they always ask questions. Please, sir, calm yourself. I am sure there will time enough to learn the answer to your questions later. Now though I would ask that we get to the business at hand if we could as the day grows short and the night houses dangers better avoided.
bit late posting that, was meant to be said before the door locked
|Octavia 'Tavi' Delphina|
If I may ask, what do you plan to do about it? Many before you have railed against this city, yet none have acted. At this point Tavi leans forward, resting her elbows upon the table, lightly touching finger tips together. Should the House fall, what is to take it's place? Do you have some plan or even more aid than is in this room?
As Tavi asks her question she again glances a the door before looking back to the halfling woman, "That is a fair question, and I can tell you that I'm tired of watching the city fall to shadow all around me, and I do not intend to sit by and watch it happen. I don't not have all the answers, and certainly we are not plotting the immediate takeover of Cheliax right now. What I'm talking about is a starting point, something a group of like-minded friends can accomplish. Our goal is to not appear as rebels or rioters, that is not what will win over the people. A rebel group would only draw the attention of the government, thus hurting the city and it's citizens, and that is the opposite of what we're trying to accomplish." She glances once more at the door, "In regards to your other question, we are not the only ones to care enough about this city to act, and gods willing we are not the last."
Jaiyana sits quitely as the others converse, studying each of them in turn; listening to the way the speak, registering how they act, and gauging them. She pays careful attention to Jeniven's speech as she give is, feeling the passion in her voice.
"I must admit I'd be far mor comfortable if there was a plan involved, even one subject to change. A party of like-minded individuals willing to act is fine; with something to act on is much better. Especially considering that we risk not only our our necks, but those of our neighbors," the quiet Jaiyana finally asserts. She pauses to mull things over. "In for a copper...I guess. I've come this far. I'm in," She finishes succinctly.
|Octavia 'Tavi' Delphina|
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
I like this not. She seems. . . scared and jumpy. The wrong word here . .
And what goal do you have in mind that a small group, such as this one, could accomplish? Whom are you speaking of as other 'friends of the city'"?
To Jaiyana, "I never said there wasn't a plan, I merely said we're not planning a government take-over at this point." As Jaiyana indicates her desire to participate, a smile lights up her face, "Well that is gratifying to hear, thank you for that commitment."
To Tavi, [b]"Forgive me if I give you all the details of our plans and names of those involved at this point in our relationship, I'm sure you can understand the needs for discretion. But they are there, and they are people, just like all of you, perhaps not so... formidable, her gazes passes over most of you at this, " as others, but no less sincere in their desire and commitment to save this city."
To Jaiyana, "I never said there wasn't a plan, I merely said we're not planning a government take-over at this point." As Jaiyana indicates her desire to participate, a smile lights up her face, "Well that is gratifying to hear, thank you for that commitment."
To Tavi, "Forgive me if I don't give you all the details of our plans and names of those involved at this point in our relationship, I'm sure you can understand the needs for discretion. But they are there, and they are people, just like all of you, perhaps not so... formidable, her gazes passes over most of you at this, " as others, but no less sincere in their desire and commitment to save this city."
"You ask us to be friends, and it is so. We are all already friends. We recognize suffering. We sincerely seek to change it. I surrender to become an agent of change as I have before."
Enko opens his palms as if receiving sunlight or rain, and lowers them to the table, lowering his head as well.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
Tapping her chin, she comes to an internal decision, "But you have made the effort to come here, and deserve some details at the least." She begins to tick points on her fingers, "We are forming a band of... protectors, let us say, working to win the hearts and support of Westcrowns citizens. Aid will be provided in whatever ways can be accomplished, which depends largely on who is helping. Key to this tactic is the fact that Westcrown is largely ignored by the rulers of Cheliax as a home-in-exile for the old nobility. As long as we work to win the hearts of Westcrown’s citizens by good deeds and avoid as many direct entanglements with the government as possible, the House of Thrune
will continue to ignore what they’ll interpret as 'petty squabbling' in the old, tired capital." She looks at you, her eyes bright, as the information she just revealed is truly the soul of their plan.
Looking at the bowed-head monk, gratitude in her eyes, "Thank you Enko, I welcome your friendship and your zeal for change in our city."
She looks back to the others, not expectantly, but humbly and patiently. It is clear she knows this commitment is a huge thing to ask of anyone.
"Good deeds? I'll willingly bleed for the true people of Westcrown, but I was hoping for something more grand than handing bread to the homeless and alms for the poor. While I understand the wisdom in avoiding direct engagements; I excell at being direct. How do you propose we do our part to win the hearts of those in need? How can we protect them against forces so grand as the Hellknights and the scourge that is the church, and the tiefling skum that inhabit every dark ally."
Janiven nods her understanding, "You passion is appreciated and will be needed for this group to have any success, but temperance is called for. I'd like nothing more than to lop of the heads of those leading this city to hell, but we must think long term. We are not the first to desire change, but have you heard of any other groups? If you have I'm sure it was only a story of how brutally and quickly the Order of the Rack, or the dottari, or some other group snuffed them from existence. To truly have an effect we must learn from their mistakes, think long term, and build support. Most, if not all, of these good deeds will require some form of direct engagement, so there will be a time and place for that. There are more opportunities to help, in less grand ways, than I can count at this time, all I can ask is patience, and trust that in a city full of shadow spawn and devils, those chances will come, perhaps more frequently than we'd like."
Sense Motive1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
Noticing that people are talking, he puts his pocket book into his belt pouch.
What am I to do? Examine the evidence of what is going on, then find the motivating factor or personages behind these premises, and to oust the forces that call upon these works of malevolence.
A plan would be required, and willing volunteers needed. I am in the working of my own, but I should like to hear of yours, if you have one.
Arching an eyebrow, "Indeed? We we should like to hear of your plan as well. To answer your question, the group I hope to form would be handling the 'ousting of the forces that call upon the works of malevolence. To a lesser degree to start, but then gradually becoming a stronger and larger force for the good of Westcrown as resources and support increase. I cannot stress how important it is that we not draw too much attention right away. Too much attention will end our efforts as surely as doing nothing, and much more violently." She finishes her thought and then takes another looks towards the door.
"Are you expecting someone, Janiven? Or do you worry about the unexpected arrival? If you need it, I will guard the door."
She is startled to be caught looking, "Feeling some concern for a friend is all, gentleman. The day moves on and it is slightly distracting to know those you care about are on these streets. I am surely over-reacting, there is still over an hour of daylight left. And there is no need to stand guard, if anyone comes through that door in the near future, it will be a relief rather than a concern. I appreciate the offer."
It is at that moment that a sudden, frantic pounding on the front door disrupts the meeting. Standing quickly and adopting a defensive posture, Janiven looks anything but relieved. Crouching she moves to a window, peering through it at whoever is knocking, then stands and moves quickly to the door, unlocking and opening it. A gangly, out-of-breath and frightened looking teenager stumbles through the opening and into the room, yelling, "They've got Arael!" He then doubles over in a fit of coughing, obviously tired and winded as if from a long run.
Janiven's face is grim as she comforts the lad, "You're fine Morosino, you made it. Now, explain yourself." Taking a few gulps of air the lad spares a glance at the others, recovering enough to blurt out, "The dottari nabbed Arael, and the Hellknights of the Rack are trying to get custody of him! There’s a bunch of Hellknights on their way here now! I only just made it in here; they’ve already surrounded us!" He pauses a moment, realization sinking in, and then puts his head in his hands, "Oh no, I led them straight here! I'm so sorry..."
On queue, the sound of steel on cobblestones reaches your eyes, accompanied by the clanking of many suits of armor. To anyone who looks out a window; you see a large group of heavily armed and armored Hellknights moving down the street to cover the door. Janiven remains calm despite the situation rapidly spiraling out of control, shutting the door quickly and once again sliding home the bolt. "I'm sorry to get you all into this." and begins a hurried conversation with Morosino in whispered tones. You hear her repeating several times that 'it is not his fault,' and 'They planned it this way.'
A Hellknight outside begin shouting, "Thank you wretch! We'd never 'av found this place without 'ya!" Followed by raucous laughing of many voices, most of them young. A grim, authoritative voice booms over their voices, "The next man who speaks will be spending their first year assisting the Rundotarri!" Quiet falls quickly, and the apparent leader addresses the building, "We know what your about, come out now and throw your weapons down. You are conspiring rebels and will be punished to the full extent of the law." As if to punctuate his words there is a chorus of drawn steel. More shouts erupt from behind and to the sides of the building as yet unseen Hellknights communicate with each other, their positions confirming Morosino's declaration that you are truly surrounded. Banging sounds come from the back as Hellknights begin yelling for those inside to unlock the doors and let them in.
Maintaining her calm Jeniven faces the others. "We must flee quickly, just by being here you will considered traitors no matter what you say. There is a secret exit leading to the sewers, will you fly with us?" As she speaks Morosino has already moved behind the counter and is busy in the pantry, moving boxes and you hear the creaking of wood as something heavy is lifted. She begins moving to the room herself, beckoning fervently for the others to follow her.
Decision time, who's going, and who's doing something else?
"I will leave last, and close the door, or die first and block the way with my corpse," says Enko. He ushers the rest towards the room and stands, empty palms still raised.
"Either action has merit."
|Viscount Corneleous Ornelos|
The Viscount pulls a thick leather tome from his bag and begins flipping through the richly detailed pages. Invisible. InVISible. InvisIBLE. Nope, no good. I'm afraid I must flee ahead of these ruffians, but perhaps I might be of aid to slow them down a bit? he looks at Jeniven with a wink. No need to be so dramatic, Monseigneur Enko. Jeniven, is there a narrow passage? Some stairs? I have some art that can make traversing a tricky prospect for hurrying pursuers. It should cause no permanent damage to your establishment.
He scouts around for the most optimal place to cast a grease spell- 10' square that all of the dottari must pass through, preferably one that includes stairs or a ladder (or sharp things that would injure during the fall).
|Octavia 'Tavi' Delphina|
Well it seems our time has come to flee. While I am not sure of your mission and goals, I know mine do not lie in either a cell or headless. I shall come with, if only to escape this trap. Tavi stands a moves toward the secret exit.
Oh, if you plan on ailing our pursuers maybe these will help. with a wink, she tosses a small bag to Corneleous. Loosing the draw string you see that this bad contains a small collection of caltrops.
Jaiyana curses loudly as she leaps to her feat and sweeps up her armored coat, slinging it over her shoulder, not donning it for fear of slowing down the group. She was not nearly as agile with it constricting her motions. "We are no match for a whole host of Hellknights. Fleeing is definitely the safest courseof action." As she hurries the warrior thinks to herself, What have you gotten yourself into this time? You need to learn to think, girl, think! She also briefly paused to consider Enko. He was a good man. She puts a grateful hand on his shoulder and nods a brief but meaningful appreciation.
Jeniven smiles quickly as some step forward, having seen what the Hellknights can do in order to wring information from a person, and so their choice to flee is a great relief to her. "I must agree with the Viscount's assessment Enko, there is no need for any of us to die today. This type of public clash is exactly what I'd like to avoid. They have Arael, but cannot possibly know who any of you are, we kept our contacts secret. If they'd followed anyone they would've stormed the building when you first arrived. Please go to the pantry and follow Morosino. As owner of this establishment I will have the honor of being last through the door." She is waving you past her as she speaks, looking at those remaining with urgency clear in her eyes. As Corneleous passes her, "There is a perfect place farther into the tunnel, I will point it out after everyone is through. The caltrops will work nicely as well."
It is to your benefit to slow them up, if anyone else has any means, magical or otherwise to hinder pursuit, let Jeniven know. **EDIT** To clarify, only if you'd like to use them! I don't mean to strong-arm anyone.
Just then a great crash resounds on the door to the tavern, the wood cracking under the strength of the blow. Apparently the Hellknights decided they'd waited long enough.
"Are you coming!? Just a few more stragglers...
Flex time: Dinner The carpenter shuffles awkwardly through the door, still in his workclothes and still covered in sawdust. The redness in his cheeks seems to suggest he ran here, and he glances frequently at the door as he sits down, obviously worried. The man stoops over his food, scratching his beard thoughtfully and speaking only if spoken to. I'll avoid starting any conversations now right as we jump into the thick of things...
Flex time: After Speech and Janiven's replies"You speak of lopping off heads and of revolution!" the man says, standing up in his seat, angrily. "Is this Westcrown? Or is it Galt?" he says, raising a hand over his mouth and shaking his head at Janiven. "I am sorry old friend, but I will have no part in bloodshed. If you think I can be of some other help..." Lucon is interrupted by the clamour at the door, eyes darting around in a panic. "Hellknights? I should not have come here. I think I'll be a little late coming home tonight, my love." he says, under his breath, as he makes his way towards the trapdoor.
He places a firm grim on Enko's arm with his rough, calloused hands. "Come with us." he says, gruffly, as he ushers Tavi and Amon down the trapdoor with a gentle push.
That works for me! Congratulations, that was the right choice, XP-wise! :)
The last of you down through the trap door see Janiven pull a bag of some kind and throw it into the doorway of the pantry, and then she shuts the door and pulls a heavy beam across it. Pulling down some shelving to further impede pursuit she pulls the trapdoor closed and clambers into the tunnel with the others.
|Octavia 'Tavi' Delphina|
Caltrops x 2
Because of all your assistance you've bought yourself a... +6 round bonus vs Hellknight pursuers
The Sewer Escape
A true marvel of ancient engineering, the sewest system was crafted by many geniuses at the founding of Westcrown in the time of Aroden. Most citizens don't think once about the system which takes away the trash and filth, keeping the city free of waste carried diseases. Individual tunnels are buttressed and never more than 6 feet high, forcing taller characters to stoop but not otherwise hindering most activity. Most tunnels are 10 feet wide, with a 3-foot-deep trench for sewage and water taking up half that width—even at peak flow the water level is an inch or more below the level of the walking side of the tunnel. Rainwater enters the sewers from tiny barred grates in the streets (most so small that an adult gnome couldn’t squeeze through) and travels through an angled pipe that directs the runoff to the closest sewer tunnel, exiting about a foot above the peak flow-level of the sewer channel. The light of the soon-to-be setting sun cuts across the tunnels like a blade, acting as bright torches in the otherwise unlit sewer. Light will be a real issue down here, if you remain after sundown; not to mention the increased likely-hood of an encounter with a shadow creature!
The secret tunnel under Vizio’s Tavern is rough-hewn and leads down along a 20-foot-long, 5-foot-wide hallway to a simple wooden door. The opposite side of the door has a wooden bar; as the group passes through Janiven bars the door to help slow the sure-to-be-following Hellknights. Turning back to the others after barring the door, "Does anyone have torches or light? I have a sunrod if it's needed. If someone wants the sunrod (even though it's not needed yet), feel free to take it, Janiven lighting it before handing it over. Before you is a sewer tunnel running to the left and right and Morosino quickly points out the mark they left on their previous scouting of the tunnels, "See? It's the symbol of a sword, and it always points the direction you should take." His voice is young and scared, but he is much more composed than he was up in the tavern. Janiven steps forward, "Arael and I made these marks a few months ago when we explored the sewers. We marked all the intersections so our people could find their way through the sewers to our hideout."
The sound of Hellknights sounds closer, they seem to be working their way through the Tavern at this point. Janiven moves to the side of the tunnel, working a knife at a loose stone, a sigh of relief emitting as she removes something from the hidden stache. "Good, they're still here. We put these here in case of an emergency, and it looks like they may come in handy tonight." She hands out 15 potions of cure light wounds, two to a person and hands the rest to Corneleous. That task completed, she and Morosino share a look of resolve, "Now we must part ways, Morosino and I both know these tunnels well, or parts of them well, and will lead as many Hellknights after us as we can. Do not worry about us on our own, we'll be able to move much faster than you, and the Hellknights, and can get to the path via a much longer route." She holds your gazes again, the sounds of the Hellknights moving closer, someone probably finding the tanglefoot bag. "The Hellknights are sure to follow... they might even try to infiltrate the sewers ahead of us if they can guess your route. You'll need to keep moving. Stick to the symbols, and watch each others backs, this is not a safe place under the best of circumstances. If we don't meet up with you again in the tunnels, then we'll see you at the hideout at the end! Do not pause, do not be here after dark if you can avoid it. Do you have any questions? Make them brief!" As she says this the sound of splintering wood can be heard clearly, they have found and are working their way through the trap door.
Type disease, injury; Save Fortitude DC 12
Onset 1d3 days; Frequency 1/day
Effect 1d3 Dex damage and 1d3 Con damage; Cure 2 consecutive saves
|Octavia 'Tavi' Delphina|
Questions are for when time allows. Now is the time for running.
Tavi says as she pockets the given potions in many pockets about her person.
To spot the mark Janiven points out as well as the next one down the hall.
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
Another sewer, answer chase. I would laugh if I didn't think the others would call me crazy
Assuming Tavi finds a mark leading down the tunnel ahead
Tavi sets off using the light behind her to see ahead, keeping her daggers low, but always at the ready.
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (7) + 11 = 18
|Viscount Corneleous Ornelos|
You forget, you are with a wizard trained by the Academae! Light shouldn't be a problem. In fact, The Viscount reaches into a pouch and pulls out a pebble, then mutters a strange incantation causing the pebble to glow with a bright noxious green glow we may even be able to use a few of these to mislead our opponents.
The Viscount places the pebble in a location where the knights will clearly see it - as if it were a guidepost. He then recasts the cantrip on another small pebble to throw down a different branch in order to lead the pursuers astray. After two such wrong clues, #3 will be used on a correct branch. #4 will be thrown down the wrong way. After that, he'll stop the breadcrumb trail.
That does allow you to spot the symbol Tavi, it's a DC 12... for now!
You move down the tunnels as Jeniven and Morosino disappear around the corner in the opposite direction. Jeniven is dragging her foot, banging the stone with her weapon, generally making a ruckus. As you follow Tavi down the tunnel you quickly notice that the sewers are not an easy path of 90 degree angles, but rather twist and turn haphazardly. You can also see there are not symbols at every intersection, and the logical thing to do in these situations is to continue straight ahead, since no symbol is there to direct you differently.
From behind you there is a great cacophony as armored bodies find slick, caltrop-laden paths, and there are several satisfying cries of pain. All too soon there is the sound of marching boots, shouts of direction, and you know that the Hellknights have organized their search, and are not giving up. Through the small grates overhead, you can hear the sounds of more booted feet, running ahead of and around your position as they to guess where you are and cut you off.
You can only have one light spell active at any one time. If you cast this spell while another casting is still in effect, the previous casting is dispelled.
Is that you're understanding of the spell as well?