Dracius opens his mouth to respond to Arael, then closes it with a nod as Illithia does. To be fair, I'd certainly rather see Illthia's face than mine, were I just emerging from the darkness..
As he looks at her with a smile, he noticed her injuries for the first time. Nothing should mar something so lovely, he thinks, and then considers the bruises on their rescued companion, and the damage wrought on everyone, ally and armiger alike, from the evil energies Shanwen wielded. He takes a deep breath, filling his soul with the beauty of the Eternal Rose, releasing it in a gentle wave to wash over everyone.
Channel Energy (Healing everyone): 1d6 ⇒ 1
He looks a little sheepish and says, "Apparently, the dark energies still linger here. Allow me to try that again."
Channel Energy (Healing everyone): 1d6 ⇒ 1
Perform: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
As Dracius arrives at the stable, he begins to grow somewhat upset about how Jacovo is being yelled at, however, that all melts away when he recognizes the tenor of the voice. He quickly dismounts and approaches the man with a smile, standing back as Illithia rushes him. Again, she would be the fan I choose to greet first., he thinks with a sigh.
After Arael is shown the corpse of the Signifier, his face darkens. "It is a pity you had to commit murder to defend me. But, from what I could gather from my short interview with this man", he touches his bruised face as he says that, "he must have left you no choice. While I won't lament him much, our disposition becomes more severe, as the Order will fiercely try to find the people responsible. I will need some time to think over our next steps." He does not talk much during the rest of the ride.
back to the stables
|Ferrucio de Angelis|
So tempted to torch the prison carriage... ; )
At the Stables
Knowledge (local) [untrained]: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20; round down to 10
As he reins his horse in, Ferrucio dismounts and follows Illithia and Dracius into the stables. Initially bothered by the arrogant man's rude and abrupt manner, Ferrucio soon recognises him, and realises that this is not a problem that can be confronted head-on.
Instead, a delicate dance is required--and a lot of massaging of this man's massive ego.
"Best to keep Arael out of sight for now, I think," Ferrucio whispers to Dario. "We don't want anyone recognising him if we can help it."
Ferrucio does his best to look important, and strides in with a practised confidence gained from years of studying with creatures that could flay him in seconds--and that was just his tutors.
"Master Ulvauno! My name is Alessandro la Bianca. I am visiting from Egorian and sought some horses for an evening ride. I must say, it is indeed an unexpected pleasure to find you here. I have been waiting to see you at the Opera House in Egorian; word of your talent has spread far and wide. Pray tell, what is it you need the horses for? If it is in my power to grant, I will do it in a heartbeat."
Ferrucio's Diplomacy (to improve Thesing's attitude): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22; +1 if Thesing counts as 'Westcrown Nobility'
If we have gained enough XP to go up the next step, add +4 to that roll; I plan on taking the skills part next.
1d20 ⇒ 16
Bishop recalls seeing the man's picture in a bar somewhere. People were throwing darts at it. So he is surprised to see him here. " The horses are fine Mr. Thesing, you got nothing to worry about."
Diplomacy to aid someone else
1d20 ⇒ 13
Dario nods at Ferrucio's suggestion. He helps Arael down from the horse and helps him out of the stables. They slip across the street, trying to keep out of view. Dario turns down an alley and lets Arael rest, while he look out to the stables to see when the commotion is finished.
While they wait, Dario says, "So, Arael, it seems your dreams are slowly coming true. If getting captured fits in there, of course. Janiven was quite concerned for you. She did a remarkable job of rallying the troops. You should keep her around, my friend." He winks at the man.
Arael nods as he picks up some dirt from the street and applies it to his clothes and face to look like a vagabond. You lend him your hat so that the brim covers his face.
"You are right, of course, - Janiven is instrumental to our success. Until recently, I thought she and you two are the only people who would actually be able and willing to remain with the Children once the inevitable trouble with the authorities started. But these new additions seem like capable sort too. Some interesting possibilities arise which would need to be explored. Maybe we can actually, for once, make a difference in Westcrown."
"Me? I'm hardly the one you want to start a revolution with. I'm just a teacher...part-time. Her, though, she's a true believer." He glances out to see if things have died down.
Dario smiles. "You look good in that hat. These others seem to be on the path to true believers too. Keep your eyes open about them though. Illithia and Dracius, they're devoted to Shelyn. Be very careful asking them to cross her tenants. They see the beauty in everything, but sabotage, ambushes...That's not something I think they will be comfortable with. Bishop is a resourceful man. Ferrucio...I've known those like him at the University. Diabloist. It's dangerous and not just physically. But he seems to bear a grudge against House Thrune. They've already risked a lot for you. Just keep your eyes open."
He glances back to the stables again. "How did you get caught anyway? You get complacent?"
Thesing turns, angered at the sudden interruption. But his initial irritated expression relaxes slightly as he evaluates Illithia's appearance, scanning her head to toe with a predatory gaze.
"Do you know who I am? Of course you do, how silly of me to ask. Well, I hate to disappoint you, but it would appear I am not going to be able to please you with my performance tonight because of Jacovo here, even if the tickets haven't been sold out. Perhaps you would be interested in getting a private arrangement for my next rehearsal?" He gives Illithia a sleazy wink.
After Ferrucio says his part, Thesing's attitude visibly shifts.
"Master Alessandro, I am not blaming you, but surely you agree this hapless fop should have remembered which horses he has promised to me in advance? I have requested five horses for my performance tonight, and when I come to get them, he has only one. You see, sir, tonight's play is The Elopement of the Dowager Princess, which features a scene wherein the princess and her handsome lover — played by me, of course —
flee the city pursued by the king’s horsemen. So you must understand that having to resort to second-class props will hinder my inspiration, and could mark the first ever Thesing Umbero Ulvauno's imperfect performance! This matter is of crucial, vital importance to me, or else my career will inevitably be ruined! If you have any love for the beautiful art of the opera, I implore you to provide assistance."
|Ferrucio de Angelis|
Ferrucio presses his lips together at the man's impertinence regarding Illithia, but ploughs on, secure in the knowledge that Illithia is more than capable of defending herself if she feels the need.
"As my companion says, Master Ulvauno, it will be but a moment's work to brush these animals down and have them ready for your performance. Please, don't hold Master Jacovo here responsible for this situation; it is I who am at fault. I do recall Master Jacovo imploring me to have the horses back before sundown, but our ride was so engaging that I am afraid I quite lost track of time. Please, accept my apologies; we shall have your horses ready momentarily."
Ferrucio fishes in his belt pouch with a vacant expression on his face and pulls out a gold crown, then hands it to Jacovo. "And for you, Master Jacovo, in recompense for the trouble I've caused you."
Jacovo's eyes widen upon receiving a whole crown, and he immediately calls the stable boy to clean the horses and show them to Thesing Umbero.
"Oh, I must say, they look exactly like I envisioned! I will look positively gorgeus on this one, don't you think? I am expecting you to attend one of my plays when you have some spare time on your hands, master Alessandro, and I will be gravely offended if you refuse! You can even take your servants with you, just say you have a special invitation from Ulvauno himself!" He hands you a small piece of parchment with his initials on it. It smells of perfume.
After arranging with Jacovo for the horses to be delivered at the Opera's outdoor amphitheatre, Thesing leaves. Jacovo thanks you for getting this impossible man off him.
In about an hour, when the twilight falls rapidly upon Westcrown, Janiven's group arrives. Apart from some bruises and torn clothes from running through the woods, nobody is hurt. Janiven is frightened at first when she doesn't see Arael with you, but when Arael comes forth with his disguise, you all burst into laughter.
You make your way to the safe house about a quarter past curfew, luckily not encountering any patrols or shadows. It is time to rest and discuss your next plans with Arael and Janiven.
|Ferrucio de Angelis|
At the Stables
Ferrucio conceals a small smile as Thesing labels his companions 'servants'. I'm quite sure I will have an interesting time living that one down when we get back to the chapel...
Ferrucio receives Ulvauno's parchment with due care, and places it in a pocket of his coat.
At the Safehouse
Once all the reintroductions are completed, Ferrucio sits down with a groan, his muscles not really accustomed to either riding or being involved in a pitched battle with other men--even if they were merely armigers and not full Hellknights.
He looks across at the others, particularly at Illithia. "Pray tell young lady--precisely how do you manage to retain your poise and grace after such strenuous activity? Gods, I think I may need a lie down..."
Ferrucio closes his eyes for a moment and massages his temples.
"So," he says, directing his remarks in the general direction of Arael and Janiven, "what now? Arael is free, but our goal of overturning the corrupt government of this city has not yet begun."
Ferrucio leans back, but is irritated by something poking him in the ribs from an interior pocket of his coat. He retrieves a piece of parchment and opens it. The puzzled look on his face as he examines it is quickly replaced by surprise.
"You know, I almost forgot about this: a letter from the Mayor I found on Shanwen's corpse. Here," he hands it to the nearest person, "have a read."
Servants? I ain't nobody's servant. Bishop raises an eyebrow.
"Looks like dealing with the mayor is a good place to start." Bishop says while looking over the letter. "And don't worry, fightin' will be like second nature to ya eventually." He pats Ferrucio on the back.
Dario looks at the letter Ferrucio produces. He reads it with a curious look on his face. "Have you ever heard of this group, Arael? 'The Bastards of Erebus'? The shopkeeper who sold me the Sleep scroll mentioned bandits on the road to Westpool. He said they had robbed his all the couriers he had sent. Could this be the same group? If someone is opposing the Hellknights, maybe we should see who they are."
At the stables
Illithia doesn't seem to even notice the lewd insinuation, and instead seems to take the man at his word, saying innocently: "A private rehersal? That would be a great honour, sir." She sounds a little stiff in her delivery.
Perform (Act):1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
At the Safehouse
Upon their arrival, Illithia had excused herself once again to her room to remove and clean her armour and clothing of blood. The whole day had left a sour taste in her mouth. Despite the fact that there was no other option, she felt troubled that she was the one who had dealt the killing blow to Shanwen. Her hands shook a little as she cleaned. It was the first time she had killed another sentient creature.
The somber mood follows as she returns to the common room - once again dressed in plain white with her hair down - and listens to the discussion.
"My training in the temple was not easy, Ferrucio. Even my harp seems heavy after hours of drills with the glaive."
More to come later, posting from work.
|Ferrucio de Angelis|
"And don't worry, fightin' will be like second nature to ya eventually." He pats Ferrucio on the back.
"Hah! I sincerely hope your definition of 'fighting' includes 'standing at a distance while calling down hellfire'. I am comfortable with that."
"...The shopkeeper who sold me the Sleep scroll mentioned bandits on the road to Westpool. He said they had robbed his all the couriers he had sent. Could this be the same group? If someone is opposing the Hellknights, maybe we should see who they are."
"Hmm..." Ferrucio steeples his fingers as he leans forward again, his aching muscles seemingly forgotten as he contemplates a problem.
"While these 'Bastards' may indeed be opposing the Hellknights, we shouldn't assume that they are necessarily exerting a positive effect on Westcrown. If they are the same group mentioned by the shopkeeper, then they are in fact causing trouble for ordinary Wiscranis, and it might be better for us politically if we were to take a stand against them."
He turns to Bishop. "Your notion about the mayor may also have some value."
Knowledge (nobility) to see if Ferrucio knows anything useful about the mayor: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23
Knowledge (local) to see if Ferrucio knows anything about the Bastards of Erebus: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
Dario grabs the wine decanter and pours himself a goblet. He takes a seat and leans his chair back against the wall, sipping the wine. "I never said we should join them. I would much prefer to be a 'Child of Westcrown' than a 'Bastard' of anything. But it could be worth checking them out. They probably are simple bandits, robbing the weak and unwary. If so, then it might gain us a measure of support to dispatch them. If their goals are somewhat more lofty, then we should definitely figure out what they want. That is--if they're even the same. We don't know that either."
"Not what I meant, but whatever drives your carriage. I've never heard of these guys before, but I agree we should check 'em out."
|Ferrucio de Angelis|
Does 'Erebus' mean anything to Ferrucio? Perhaps one of my Knowledge skills will be appropriate:
Knowledge check to see if 'Erebus' means anything: 1d20 ⇒ 13
- Knowedge (arcana): 13 + 9 = 22
- Knowedge (local): 13 + 8 = 21
- Knowedge (nobility): 13 + 11 = 24
- Knowedge (planes): 13 + 12 = 25
- Knowedge (religion): 13 + 8 = 21
You know that Hell's third layer is known as Erebus, an endless dungeon beneath the second layer of Dis. It is here that the archdevil Mammon keeps Hell's books, accounting for all that is spent in the infernal realm. His unholy symbol is a coin with the head of Mammon stamped on it.
You also recall some local rumours about several daring robberies having been done in the recent weeks under the cover of the night. In those cases, the criminals have left a wooden coin with a devil's head shape on it at the crime scene. The streets are talking that something stirs in the organized crime world of Westcrown.
Arael is agitated about Bishop's suggestion.
"No, no, no! No dealings with the mayor! Well, at least, not right now. You have killed a Hellknight, remember? You are going to be hunted by the Order now, as am I. We have to lie low and wait for a while, until the politicians settle the implications down between them. I think it would be safer for you to leave Westcrown for several days. Or stay put here if you have nowhere to go, and disguise yourselves every time you're out in the streets. Our contacts will keep their ears open for the word on the streets, and let you know when the situation allows to renew active action."
Dracius looks at Bishop and says, "Nor do I..."
He sighs, "But then, I'm still trying to see how I went from attending a simple secret meeting of concerned citizens to now, apparently, being on the most wanted list. If not for the fact that I know this will be driving my grandparents insane, I suspect I'd be pretty upset about that."
He looks up at his fellows, and then says, "Unfortunately, I have no talent for disguise, and, sadly, a number of my mother's fans have been keeping tabs on me over the years. I really cannot easily go to town without fear of recognition... and, I suspect that Illithia's situation in that is not terribly different from my own, though I would not speak for her."
He pauses as he sets his eyes on Illithia, then shakes his head for a brief moment and continues, his voice passionate, yet with an undertone of wry humour, "While I don't quite recall ever volunteering to be a 'Child', I suppose that I am one now -- and as a result, I would far rather we take action -- whether investigating these 'Bastards' or rescuing others or, really, anything useful, especially if we can keep the Hellknights off their toes. It seems a better plan than sitting here, hoping the Hellknights don't find us while letting them regain their full balance. If I am to be known as a rebel and malcontent, then I'd best do what I can to make Westcrown safe for its people... So let's be about it."
"Secret meetings are kinda like that, Dracius. They tend to lead either to no good at all, or get you started down a road you never thought you'd take." He smiles at the half-orc. "Let's hope this was the second kind."
"I think we need to send someone out to see what the local word is, if any. But it can't really be anyone who was at the ambush, it's just too risky. For now, I think we have to sit tight. Maybe see if Yakopulio can find out what the word on the street is. If it warrants, we can slip out of the city tonight or tomorrow. Maybe we can use the opportunity to find these Bastards of Erebus or whoever is robbing on the Westpool road."
|Ferrucio de Angelis|
Arael is agitated about Bishop's suggestion."No, no, no! No dealings with the mayor! Well, at least, not right now."
Ferrucio is taken aback by Arael's vehemence, although he tries not to show it. Probably not the time to reveal that my method of 'dealing' with the mayor was to assassinate him while disguised as Hellknights.
"We have to lie low and wait for a while, until the politicians settle the implications down between them. I think it would be safer for you to leave Westcrown for several days. Or stay put here if you have nowhere to go, and disguise yourselves every time you're out in the streets. Our contacts will keep their ears open for the word on the streets, and let you know when the situation allows to renew active action."
Ferrucio is far more bothered by Arael's suggestion that they simply lay low, but is unwilling to press the issue in front of everyone else.
"I for one don't intend to leave Westcrown, unless there is something I can do to further the cause outside its walls. I think it would be dangerous for us to confront these Bastards of Erebus before finding out what we can about them--speaking of which, now that I think on it I recall hearing a few tales as I was searching for like-minded people like yourselves."
"There has been a string of daring thefts of late in Westcrown, which would have gone unconnected, save that a wooden coin featuring a devil's countenance was left at each. Given Mammon is the archdevil of Erebus--Hell's third layer--and his symbol is a coin with his beatific face on it, I think we may safely assume there is some kind of connection."
"Plus, judging by their name, either the band is styling themselves as tieflings, or they actually are tieflings."
"Arael, I have some skill in creating disguises. Perhaps I and my companions could search for information on these thefts and see what we can piece together?"
When there is an opportune moment, Ferrucio will lean in and whisper to Arael--he doesn't mind if Janiven or the other PCs hear him, but wants to keep this away from the other Children of Westcrown. "Arael, I think we may need to have a talk. When you are free, can we retire to another room where we won't be overheard?"
"While I don't quite recall ever volunteering to be a 'Child', I suppose that I am one now -- and as a result, I would far rather we take action -- whether investigating these 'Bastards' or rescuing others or, really, anything useful, especially if we can keep the Hellknights off their toes. It seems a better plan than sitting here, hoping the Hellknights don't find us while letting them regain their full balance. If I am to be known as a rebel and malcontent, then I'd best do what I can to make Westcrown safe for its people... So let's be about it."
"Couldn't have said it better myself. " Bishop smiles.
"Think Ferrucio has a good idea here."
"Fine. We can risk it going out if we have good enough disguises. Let's see if we can find out more about these recent thefts and if they really are connected to these Erebus Bastards."
Sorry for the delay; don't get enough time to concentrate on a detailed post lately.
Arael listens to the conversation, with a patient expression.
"Dracius, I think you became one of the Children by your actions when you answered Janiven's plea to save me, for which I am very grateful. I am sorry that the circumstances did not allow for a formal meeting and ceremony. It would be possible to arrange that tomorrow, if you like. I must add that I am not going to coerce anyone to stay. If you think you're in over your head, I'll understand. But then I would recommend you to join the others who are not familiar with battle - people like Gorvio use this place as a discussion club of sorts, to vent their issues."
"I do not want to put you under excessive risk. You are among the most valuable assets to my goals of changing Westcrown for the better, but most of all, you are the people who risked their lives - or worse, souls, to save mine. I will not forget this. But please realize that we cannot possibly hope to push the hellknight orders away from Westcrown by ourselves. We should try to avoid direct confrontation with them, at least not initiate it. Instead, we should make it clear for the authorities that they are a burden, and the order can be maintained without them just as effectively, and much more humanely.
That said, we still have the blight of the shadow beasts upon us, which they are supposed to contain. I have recently learned of someone named Bluehood, who has secretly put a bounty for any shadow beasts killed on the streets. I don't know much about who she is, other than she's a woman whose goals seem to be intertwined with ours. Perhaps we could attempt to claim the bounty and ask for information on the Bastards of Erebus as a reward. According to the sources, the place to leave the evidence is a garbage bin garbage stoop outside the tavern across from the old Leroung estate.
But whatever you settle on, we should definitely spend this night here to recover from the battle. Now, if you'll excuse me for a moment..."
Arael gets up and leaves, glancing at Ferrucio before exiting the room.
You find Arael sitting in another room. He smiles with a tired smile as you enter. "Yes, Ferrucio? What is it that troubles you?"
"I dunno about the rest, but this is one time I'm not in over my head. I'm stayin' right here. Sounds like a plan, Arael. But how would we go about hunting these shadow beasts? Just wander around until one finds us?"
|Ferrucio de Angelis|
Ferrucio does not stop any of the PCs or Janiven who want to come with him to talk to Arael--only the non-combat oriented Children.
"Arael, we are glad to see you safe and sound, but there is something we need to discuss. You seemed rather distressed at Shanwen's death, and while the death of any man or woman is regrettable, if we continue to concern ourselves overmuch with our enemies' welfare, we will not be able to effect the change we are seeking."
"Make no mistake, we are engaged in a war here--a war in which there will inevitably be casualties. Perhaps on our side, perhaps on theirs--either way, people are going to die. I don't doubt your ability to motivate others--to inspire them." Ferrucio seems a little envious as he says it. "But if you are not or cannot be fully committed to giving orders tht are going to result in the deaths of your friends and companions, then perhaps you need to find someone who is." He glances in Janiven's direction.
"Now, I'm not saying that we must confront the Hellknights head-on. That would be folly of the highest order. But neither can we simply lay low just because we have caused the death of one man--an evil man, at that. We must press our attack, and always work to keep the enemy off balance. Our power is less than that of our enemies at present, that much is true, but it will always be so unless we act--and act decisively."
"Now, I would hear your thoughts in response before I outline my own on potential ways forward. In fact, I welcome comment from everyone who has a stake in this: we must be united in our goals and the course of action we intend to take to achieve them, or we risk fragmenting under pressure. Let us make those choices now, while we still have the time to do so."
As Arael leaves, Dracius shakes his head, "It wasn't the investiture ceremony that I was missing, more a realization of having thrown my lot in with yours. However, I do agree that rest would serve us well, if only to ensure clear heads in our planning."
Arael replies in a serious tone.
"I can name two reasons for my distress, but the fear of hellknights is neither of them.
First, I want us to achieve fame, not infamy. We need to become the people's heroes, not the bogeymen from the 'wanted' posters. There is a line between opposing the injustice and becoming a rebel, a traitor of one's own people. I do not wish to cross that line. We need to gain authority and support of the people before we can openly rival the current order.
Second, while I fully acknowledge that our business cannot be done without resorting to violence, I do not wish to end up directing a bunch of hired killers. Every death leaves a toll on your soul, and when one starts treating people as monsters, that's when one becomes a monster himself. Perhaps I am too naive for my own good, but I believe that everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt.
That said, please don't think I'm blaming you for Shanwen's death. I just hope that when you actually do have a choice, you will not choose to take life recklessly.
As for the ways forward. I agree with your words about keeping the enemies off balance. But this means striking where they least expect it. After today's events, they will be preparing for further attacks on the Order and increase their security. This means they'll leave less forces on policing the Westcrown and the region. The bandits and miscreants will run rampant, and this is where we could come in and stop them, forcing the Orders to explain their inaction to the Westcrown authority.
Judging by the letter you found on Shanwen, the Bastards of Erebus are what bothers Westcrown the most, so we should try to stop them. But we should gather intel before that - we don't know where they reside, how many of them are there, and how dangerous they might be. This cannot all depend on you - I will continue working with my own informant network in the coming days and will keep you updated on any new information about the Bastards I receive."
"So in the meantime, you want us to hunt the shadow beasts? And find out more about this Bluehood woman, I hope. I don't particularly like the idea of just handing over the shadow beast remains. Given their connection to the Shadow Plane, they still contain considerable power. We just give them away and hope she knows what to do with them?" He spits in disdain. "I think we need to learn more about her. But the best way is probably to kill some shadow beasts and pique her interest in us."
"I understand where you're comin' from Arael. I don't like killing people neither. But sometimes, you do what you got to." Bishop answers plainly. "I don't take nothing for granted, specially another person's life. As far as this Bluehood goes, we should give her the hide. Then we watch who picks it up, maybe follow it back to her? That way we can get the info and not leave it in her hands if we don't want to."
|Ferrucio de Angelis|
Ferrucio nods at Arael's response, satisfied that the ostensible leader of the Children is not completely averse to getting his hands dirty.
"Only time will tell whether your attitude is naive, Arael," Ferrucio says without a hint of judgment in his voice--to him, he's merely stating an observation. "With any luck, if that proves to be the case, we will be able to react and change our plans in time to prevent it becoming a liability to our cause."
"As for these shadow beasts, and the woman Bluehood--why go to such subterfuge? Why not simply ask to meet and discuss our goals? Surely we can mock up something that looks similar to the remains of the shadow beast you killed in the sewers, put it in a sack with a note, and dump it as per the instructions. I could take a room at an inn across town and nominate its common room as the meeting place. Public, but with the capacity for surveillance from either side--after all, if this Bluehood is genuine, she will have her own concerns--and plenty of exits."
"And those who wish to follow the pick-up back to the source can do so as well without letting the creature's remains fall into her hands."
"We still have to wait before we can strike at the Bastards themselves. I see two options outlined for you at this point: move out of Westcrown and investigate the book robberies, or stay and try to pursue the Bluehood lead.
That said, hunting the shadow beasts is probably not the right way to put it - you don't hunt them, you are hunted by them. If you walk the dark streets at night, you will almost certainly perish. The shadow beasts are numerous and powerful, and they seem to congregate upon the warmth of the living flesh - or, perhaps, its emotions. But they do have a weakness - they avoid light, and flee brightly lit areas. So by using the light, they can be isolated and defeated. The problem here is that the light after curfew is likely to attract the hellknight patrols."
Janiven interferes: "But Arael, as Ferrucio mentioned, while I was escorting the new recruits out of the sewers, we managed to defeat a shadow beast. It was not too hard, but I assume it was a lesser kind of them. I still have its remains on me, as I was thinking to sell them off to Bluehood for money even before your idea to buy information with it. This leaves us with a backup plan - even if they choose to pursue the other path, I can do the bargaining myself in the meantime."
Arael considers Janiven's words. "This is reassuring news. My expectations of you are very high now, and I feel challenged to meet your high standards in procuring the information about the Bastards.
Also, be assured that I tried to contact Bluehood for a while and under various premises, but she does not want to reveal her identity to anyone - at least, anyone whom I know. And she seems to have her own network of agents, or perhaps even some supernatural powers, which until now have made all attempts to track her down futile. Stealthy movement across Westcrown is hindered by the shadow beasts lurking in the darkness. I must confess I would prefer not to anger her with false pretense - I feel better as her potential ally, rather than a potential enemy. We have enough of those on our hands as it is. Posing her a challenge, on the other hand - that could have an interesting effect, but would be risky to pull off. But ultimately the choice is up to you."
"I say we try to get Bluehood out of hiding. We need all the allies we can get. What kind of challenge could we pose to her?"
"But how? I suppose we could attach a message to this 'Shadowstone' and place it where she wanted. A simple message asking her to meet won't work. Perhaps one promising more Shadowstones?"
"Sounds like a good start. One of us could hide out and see who picks up the 'Shadowstone' if we want."
"While I'm not the most adept at hiding and would be a poor choice -- I think Bishop's idea has merit. However, I think we should use both arrows in our quiver, here, and also attach a note asking to meet and discuss, in case we lose the agent, it can never hurt to be reaching out. The only issue I have with that is balancing the need to be persuasive with the need to keep everyone safe."
"If we hint or even outright promise the possibility of more stones to draw her out, then we should try to get at least 1 more. And I don't know what else would prompt her to meet."
He shakes his head, but says, "I don't like the idea of going looking for trouble, but if she agrees to meet and we show up empty handed, it'll ruin our credibility. Like it or not, we might need to go hunt a shadow beast. Or, as Arael says, we need to make one hunt us. Maybe we can arm ourselves with flares and the like to keep it off-balance. Do we know if they hunt in packs or alone?"
Any knowledge check possible to know habits/vulnerabilities of the shadow beasts?
You can try Knowledge (Planes or Religion) to check what you know about the creatures of shadow.
"Usually, a lantern or a bright torch is enough to be reasonably safe and make the shadowbeasts seek another prey. But once it has engaged, nothing short of daylight will force it to retreat, although even weaker light source can weaken it."
|Ferrucio de Angelis|
"So which do we try first? Leave the stone and note for Bluehood and try to trail whoever comes to pick it up? Or try to find ourselves another shadow beast?"