|Our Mysterious Benefactor|
The Abadarian Prelate, Archcanon Hausivius paused, taking a long moment to draw his thoughts before continuing. "You're each in debt to the church of Abadar. The time has come to pay your debts. What I am about to tell you is secret, not to leave this room. Should you choose not to pursue this opportunity I will trust that you will not breathe a word of what you hear in this room to anyone. Measures will be taken if my trust in you proves unwarranted."
"Three years ago one of our priests came into possession of a nautical chart detailing the location of an unknown large island to the west of the Inner Sea. We determined the veracity of the map, sent a charter expedition and confirmed that the map was true. The island, which we dubbed Abadaria, after our lord, is vast, mineral rich and potentially a very viable place to begin a civilization modeled on the principles of Abadar. We mounted a colonization expedition of three ships, carrying 250 colonists. A town was founded, defenses raised and in all accounts, it began to thrive. However, when our supply ship landed there six months ago, the town was deserted. No sign of attack or foul play was found, but no trace of where the colonists disappeared to, either. We have chartered the second wave of colonists, only 100 men and women this time, but we'd like to send along a group of capable persons able to deal with unknown threats, in case our initial colonists did indeed meet with an untimely end. I want you lot to be among that group. Here are your terms: if you join the expedition you will be deposited near the settlement to investigate the disappearance and prevent any future problems. Your term of service will be one year; a supply ship will arrive at that point and if you've decided to leave you may return to Absalom then. If you would rather stay, I have titles of record granting you each deed to 10,000 acres and the title of 'Baron' of Abadaria. I will now give you time to ponder your response." The Archcanon sits back, to answer any questions and to await your decision.
After a few moments of pondering, the Archcanon points at seven on you and bids you to remain while the others are dismissed. Once he has escorted the others out, he returns with a servant bearing a decanter of deep red wine and eight glasses, which he fills and distributes to each of you. The wine is deep and slightly sweet, tasting of autumn days and wistful memories of summer.
"I confess that I did not give you the full story before. We received a missive from the colony before the disappearance. It was brief, but it spoke of noises in the night, of strange yellow eyes and pipe music from the forests. We did not think overmuch of it, until our supply ship found the colony abandoned. Our initial surveys of the island found it uninhabited, but perhaps we were not as thorough as we might have been. But I worry. I worry about our choices." He rubs his forehead with one hand, before taking a long drink from his glass.
"At any rate, please do introduce yourselves to each other. After all, your very survival may depend upon the talents and skills of those you journey with. When you are done I will show you to your quarters for the night. The ship sails tomorrow at noon. Supplies have been procured and loaded. The ship only awaits you and the last of the livestock. The colonists have said their goodbyes and sleep aboard ship tonight. I have also been authorized to send this along with you," He gestures at a small chest beside his chair before bending to open it. He begins pulling out items, noting their names as he does. "2 sets of muleback cords, apparently quite useful for carrying loads; a campfire bead, useful for exploration; a glowing glove, useful I understand for exploration; and a particular treasure, the silver raven, which might aid in communication while you are away from the colony. We entrust these treasures to you in the hopes that they aid you in successfully executing your mission." The Archcanon closes the chest and slides it toward you. "Now, introductions." He looks expectantly at each of you.
A tall, broad-shouldered orc offers a hand to Leralt. He wears thick armor, embossed with golden keys that mark him as an adherent of Abadar's faith. His heavy brow is marked by seriousness, though an almost-visible aura of authority and wisdom surrounds him. He carries an axe and a crossbow on his belt and a shield on his back. They are of fine quality, especially the shield, which features a prominent golden key engraved into its surface. His black hair and beard, looking as thick and unruly as anythe orc's, are tightly clipped and cropped.
Upon second glance, his features present some human traits - more likely he is a half-orc than a full-blooded orc. "So long as you contribute fairly to the cause, no one is of little use. Even a slave, properly treated and directed, can be an asset to Abadar. I am Mevakh Ahrask, and I am a slave owned by the Church. My role is to ensure that my master's interests are represented by this expedition." Mevakh's voice is very deep, and his eloquence is unexpected for a slave or a half-orc, much less one who is both.
A short, slight fellow clears his throat. He is impeccably dressed in an ensemble of quilted cloth, his clothing of fine quality but lacking embellishment or adornments. Still, his clothing is a bit disheveled, as is his black hair, and occasional whiffs of odd odors seem to come from him. He eyes Mevakh nervously. Whether it is due to his heritage or his Abadarian trappings, or both, is hard to say.
"Doctor Gellius Krupt at your service...or at the service of the church of Abadar, I suppose would be more accurate. In any event, my skills are at the disposal of this assembly."
He gives a slight bow, but makes no motion to take anyone's hand.
A half-elf woman with golden hair and glittering emerald eyes which at once display youth and wisdom stands and nods to each of you in turn. She is wearing a light breastplate with a slight golden tint and carries a complex-looking crossbow and falcata. Both weapons are of impressive quality and bear simple sigils of the golden key of Abadar. Her eyes linger on Mevakh, perhaps recognising him from among the church and gives a short smile to the tall Orc. She eyes Leralt and Gellius warily but not in an unfriendly manner.
"Good day to you all. I am Lena Relani, Inquisitor in the service of the Gold Fisted" She turns back to the Archcannon."And thank you again Father for this opportunity to... settle the books".
Looking a little sheepish at having mentioned her debt she turns back to the others. "We shall find whoever, or whatever did this to the holy colony and bring them to justice". Punctuating her sentence by punching her fist into her open palm. I wonder what all these others have done to owe the church so much... she thinks to herself.
Leralt takes the big orc kin's hand. His own hands soft lean and numble while his counterpart is all thick hard muscle. Upon closer look the mage has black eyes that seem to have something stir behind them. His weak smile bears fangs and sharper then normal teeth at the half orc.
"Nice to meet you, Mevakh."
He nods to the other two that spoke. His eyes linger on the man for a moment, chelaxian by looks and manner.
A portly dwarf sqeezed into a shining green dragonscale breast plate, savours his wine. A large shaggy wolf dozes at his feet.
"Orin Oakhammer at your service. Cook and botanist. This is Grimfang. He doesn't talk much, but he's a decent enough fellow. Greetings and well met to you all."
On the far end of the line is a being likely rarely, if ever, seen by the more common races in Golarion. He stands relatively tall and seems to be in decent shape. His face, though, is very felinoid, slit-shaped pupils in his dark green eyes, his body covered with a short layer of tawny fur. A long tail emerged from the small of his back, his outfit modified to give it room for the exit. His hair was to his shoulders, a mane of slightly darker hue than the fur that covered his body, slightly disheveled, though he is using one hand to absent-mindedly attempt to bring it under control. Overall his appearance was not unlike a leanly muscled, bipedal lion.
His clothing, while not ragged, looks as though it has seen better days, perhaps giving a hint as to the state of his life prior to finding himself before the Archcanon. He reached up to rub his chin, considering the how best to introduce himself before answering. His voice had a somewhat gravelly tone to its high baritone, though it was not unpleasant to the ears.
"I am called Songan. My skills run more in the vein of avoiding confrontations, though I am not unskilled in archery as a result of my performances...and occasionally the arcane arts have served me well in...convincing an audience that my performance was more pleasing than initial perception led them to believe."
Daisy had taken a seat behind the dwarf in green armor hoping his bulk would hide her. She'd never been in a room with so many big folk before, never been in a city with so many people before. She'd have gladly missed the whole thing but the invitation had been insistent and it wouldn't have been wise to refuse someone to whom she was so much in debt.
Her chair was meant for someone much larger than her. While the Archcanon spoke she swung her dangling legs nervously until a glare from the woman seated next to her made her stop. She forgot her nervousness entirely when he explained his offer. One year! A friend who was good with sums once told her it would take 12 years before she'd paid off her family debt at the rate she was going. Now she could discharge it in one. The details of how hardly bothered her, how could it be any different from the life she led now? In one year she could be a baroness with 10,000 acres. An' nought ta do but sit 'round with me arse gettin' fatter by the year.
When the room was emptied of all but the seven chosen her anxiety returned. The only thing worse than being in a room full of big people was standing out in a room with only a few big people. She moved closer behind the dwarf so as to be less conspicuous. His wolf sniffed her but turned away. She was hardly more than a mouthful.
She accepted the offered wine gladly and gulped a few mouthfuls until she noticed the others were drinking at a slower pace. Aye girl, ya got the manners of an orc. 'Cept that one there seems to have better manners than me. She studied Mevakh's features carefully before deciding he had to have human blood in him.
The Archcanon spoke again, this time about what was known of the colony's disappearance. Daisy paid closer attention, trying to work out what it might mean. When he showed them the items he was supplying them, she went so far as to crane her neck out around the dwarf to see better. She nodded with agreement as each one was brought out. They were useful and well-thought gear.
Then the introductions. A "wizard of meager abilities" was first. She covered her eyes to hide her expression. Daisy had little use for casters. They blundered about the woods, heads half-lost in their magics, and seldom had the right spell ready when it was needed.
The orc was next. She blushed in embarassment for him when he said he was a slave though he seemed untroubled by the admission.
She had trouble placing the accent of the Doctor Krupt. Not from 'round here, that's for certain. And she wasn't sure of the 'doctor' part either. In her experience physicians were all about leeches, stinking poultices, and amputating limbs.
Daisy was uncertain what an 'Inquisitor' might be, but she was more taken with how self-concsious Lena made feel. She could only hope to carry herself with as much confidence as the half-elf. And from the look of her weapons, she wouldn't be a woman who shrank back from a fight.
Botanist? When the dwarf finally introduced himself Daisy searched her memory for a god named Botan. Never heard of him. But if the Archcanon has no problem with his follower I reckon' he's okay. And he was a cook. Daisy never gave short shrift to the value of a well-made meal. Aye, he's one worth keepin' safe.
The catman in was the next. Daisy had been trying not to stare at him the whole time. Something about him made her want to... scratch him behind his ears! There, she'd admitted it to herself. At the same time she recognized something else about him made it unlikely he'd appreciate it.
There was an awkward moment of silence when he finished before Daisy realized only she was left to speak. She stood up and realized immediately that was a mistake. She was shorter standing than she had been sitting in the chair. She knew the others were looking at a woman wearing clothes and gear that had seen hard use. She was glad that she'd arrived in the city the night before. The bathhouses of Absalom were justifiably famous and had left her cleaner than she had been in years (and she was smelling faintly of lilac-scented soap). She wore a woodsman's green cloak over armor made up of hard wood sewn into a padded tunic. A black-bladed scimitar hung on one hip, a knobby-ended club from the other. Hanging on the outside of the pack at her feet were a small wooden shield and a bow.
"I'm Daisy Greenways. I'm a hunter an' I reckon that's why I'm here. I can bring down a deer at a hundred paces and have it dressed before ya can say 'Jack Robinson'. I know me way round the woods better'n most folks. I'm pleased to meet you all."
She sat down quickly and wished she had more of that wine.
"Well it seems we are a fairly diverse group. Let us hope that our diversity will be our strength in the months to come"
Lena reaches for a glass of wine, nodding in thanks to the Archcannon before turning to regard the chest of equipment.
are these items considered common enough for us to know their function? Or will they require spellcraft/Knowledge rolls to identify?
"The Campfire Bead sounds like that might be your area of expertise, Daisy"
|Our Mysterious Benefactor|
Mevakh shakes each person's hand in turn, taking a moment to look at each in the eye and size up what kind of person each is. After completing his handshakes, he turns to Doctor Krupt. With his deep voice, he speaks to the man. "Are you from Cheliax? Your voice is that of a Chelaxian. My former master was from Cheliax, but I understand better than most the value of not rushing to judgment. There will be no difficulties between us on account of your origin, Doctor, so long as there is none on account of mine."
"Ahem...yes, I am indeed from Cheliax, though I have not been back to my homeland for many years now. I suppose I'm an expatriate of sorts. Several of my last few years were spent here in Absalom, studying alchemy at the Arcanarium. I've no misgivings about working with you on this venture, rest assured. I'll be glad to have such a specimen as yourself protecting us against whatever we may find in the wilds."
"The Campfire Bead sounds like that might be your area of expertise, Daisy"
"Oh, it's a right treat, that one. Just toss it on the ground, say the right word and, Bob's your uncle, you gots a fire. No messin' with flint and tinder an' wet wood." Daisy was pleased she'd been asked a question she could answer.
"And them," she indicated the muleback cords, "Puts 'em on the big guy there and he'll be carryin' the cart horse if you let 'im."
She frowned as she looked over the remaining items. "Don't know about the rest. P'raps the magiky guy can tell us. I seen one what waved his fingers and says his uggy-buggy and could tells what were magic in a pile o' junk we'd taken from a troll."
She'd have gone on, but Ahrask loomed over her, hand outstretched. She took the offered hand; that is to say, she place her hand in his where it barely covered three of his fingers. He shook her hand with the same grave politeness he'd shown the others.
"Aye, now there's an odd one," Daisy murmured to Lena, "Him bein' a... you know... but carries himelf like a gentry better than any folk I knows."
"But tell me, what's this 'inquisiting' that you do? I ain't heard o' that before."
Leralt thinks for a moment.
"The glove creates glowing colored prints, the color is of your choice. It can be used to mark where your going or where you have been. The prints last for about a day and glow as bright as a candle. Also the print is dependent on how your hand was pressed at the time. So you could use it to point in certain direction or even place a number of fingers. If you work out a hand sign system it could be very useful, for things like plotting a cave system or leaving messages. As for the silver raven it is a magical figurine, the raven comes to life take flight and carry a message. You can use it as much as you want but the total time can not be more then one day a week. Also it keeps its silver form even when active, so it wont be mistaken for a normal raven. Hope that helps."
He looks at those before him, waiting for the strange looks he often got. More then one merchant grew sour at him as a result.
"I am also a magical crafter so I tend to know my magical items."
Impressed with Leralt's knowledge, Lena simply nods at his descriptions. "I agree, perhaps Mevakh and Orin would be best to use those cords? They're big guys already so with the help of magic they'll be able to carry more than the rest of us. As for the raven and the gloves, if you know so much about their use, why don't you take one Leralt? Perhaps Songan or Dr. Krupt could make use of the other"
in the company of witches, doctors and Halflings Lena thought to herself better watch this lot
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (16) + 9 = 25
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (1) + 9 = 10
I'll also try and use detect chaos/evil on the party (with my detect alignment ability will they still have verbal/somatic components? If they do then I'll leave it for now- don't want to seem too obvious)
Looking at Daisy as she speaks, Lena was about to reply with a chiding lesson in judging others in public, but was surprised to find that the Halfling's innocent charms were endearing rather than annoying.
"I find it's best to judge folks on the worth of their actions rather than the descent of their heritage" Lena says with a thin smile, thinking inwardly of her own past. "As for my profession, an Inquisitor is similar to a Paladin such as our Orcish friend here. Except that where Paladins are the shiny hammers and shields of the faith, an Inquisitor is the holy bear trap set where the enemy least expects it. I hunt down heretics and foes of the church of Abadar and...educate them in the errors of their ways"
Daisy nodded as Leralt explained the glove and the raven. Dead useful the bird. She wasn't so sure about the glove. Mappin' a cave? You have to be daft to go into them. Full o' nasty wicking things, most of 'em slimy. Leaves it to the dwarves.
She blushed slightly at Lena's gentle remonstrance. I warn't sayin' - but she knew the Half-elf was right; how many times had she been looked down on as the daughter of a drunk and a wastrel despite toiling for years to honor his debt?
|Our Mysterious Benefactor|
The Archcanon seems to be distracted, looking around the room and watching the doors as if expecting someone. Finally he rings a small silver bell, which summons a servant from an adjacent room. In a low voice, he murmurs "Tomas, be a dear and check to see if the good detective has joined us yet. He's all we lack to be ready for the voyage, hm." The servant nods and heads from the room to parts unknown.
"I'm afraid that our final member of this band has yet to join us. I sent him on an errand to pick up the last item of use for you, but he seems to be delayed. In the meantime, I can offer you refreshment. Would you care for some sweet rolls?" He rings the bell twice and three servants enter carrying platters of sweets as well as a steaming carafe of what smells to be coffee.
Mevakh takes a hard look at Lena after her speech and quietly shakes his head slowly at her enthusiasm. "Our mission does not call for all members of this expedition to worship the Master of the First Vault. It does call that you honor your agreement with the Church." He then turns directly to the zealous inquisitor to speak to her in his deep tumbling voice. "I welcome having another servant of Abadar here. Our goal in this year will to be to spread the wisdom of civilization to this untamed land, through the example we show rather than at the edge of a sword."
|Our Mysterious Benefactor|
Sonfan returns the handshake offered by the half-orc, his grip decently strong, though not so much as Mevakh's, before turning his attention back to the Archcanon.
"A worthwhile goal, to be sure. Let us hope we can be successful in bringing such a settlement to the world. Perhaps the diversity of our band will be of help in this goal. I am certain that our adventures would provide a tale to be told for generations."
"Regarding the magical aids, I would be willing to take the glove and devise a code for its' use. Leralt, since you seem to know of its abilities, do you know if there is any limit to the number of handprints it can leave? And can it leave just fingerprints or must the palm be involved also?"
When the sweet rolls are brought in, Songan takes one from the tray, opening his muzzle to reveal roundly pointed, feline teeth as he bites into the confection. He chews it thoughtfully, pausing to speak to the Archcanon before finishing the snack. "Sir...I am given to keeping journals and notes of a day's events. This being a secret endeavor, have you any objection to me keeping record of our travels and discoveries on the island?"
Leralt had touched nothing, he did not drink for a drunken wizard was a dangerous thing. While he had kept his hands hidden in his robe sleeves for the most part he exposed one just long enough to snatch a sweet. He also took some coffee.
"There is no limit to the number of hand prints, only their time. As long as it is part of the hand or rather glove it will work. You can use as much or as little of the glove as you want. I don't mind taking the raven. So I take it Nethys is not opposed in Abadaria?"
Leralt was all about magic, it was his only calling after all. Having Nethys blessing would only help.
Edit- due to ninja'd
Krupt sidles off a bit, nibbling absently at a sweet roll and emptying his cup of wine. Lena's description of the role of inquisitor seems to physically push him further off. Had anyone been looking, he actually jumped when she punched her fist into her open hand.
At Songan's mention of a journal, he seems drawn back a bit.
"I would say that such records are not only unobjectionable, but absolutely needed. How could the civilized god or his servants deny the undertaking of a competent historical record? I myself plan on taking a copious amount of notes. There are no doubt numerous specimens to be cataloged and studied," he says to his furry companion. "Speaking of, if I may be so bold, your race is rather novel to me. It would break the monotony of the voyage if you would allow me perform some tests of your physical and mental capabilities...simply for the sake of posterity, you understand. Tests of your reflexes, stamina, muscle strength, eyesight, and the like."
Orin helps himself to the sweets and coffee.
"Delectable. Archcanon, might I inquire as to the specifics of this expedition effort? What is the disposition of colonists we are to accompany? Are craftsmen well represented amoung them? How well are we to be provisioned? Can we expect to be resupplied?"
"I'll hold on to the 'fire bead," Daisy spoke around a mouthful of sweet roll. She'd been the first to take one. She almost took two but remembered a concept called 'manners' and restrained herself. As she continued to munch away the servant offered her a cup of... what was it?...coffee?
It was like nothing she'd had before. A hot black liquid that smelled too bitter to be good, but there was also a hint of smoke in the aroma that was enticing. She took a tentative sip. There was a strong flavor to it that, when it hit the sweet aftertaste of the roll produced something... heavenly. She eagerly took another bite and swallowed some more coffee. Let the others talk their religion, she'd just found god.
|Our Mysterious Benefactor|
The Archcanon draws a scroll from a nearby rack and opens it, reading, "The makeup of the colonists is as follows:
60 men, 40 women plus the group in here.
Of these 100, the breakdown is:
30 farmers and cultivators
20 herders and experts in animal husbandry
15 specialized craftsmen, including carpenters and wheelwrights
10 smiths, including one master smith, 3 journeymen and 6 apprentices
10 healers and herbalists
10 administrative personnel, including the replacement Mayor, Brother Josiah Green of Abadar, a brewer who will operate the inn/public house, his family, and Sister Mara, a militant nun of our order
5 former military officers, all set up to train the population as a militia"
He folds up the scrolls, replacing it and handing it to Orin. "We have included food stuff, livestock, basic materials and tools. The fort that was constructed was still there, it simply remains to be secured. A resupply mission will arrive in approximately a year. The colonists have all been chosen to offer them a good life in a new place. They are eager, if nervous. We have kept word of the colony's disappearance from them. It will be up to you and the Mayor to tell them as you see fit. In addition we have taken care to insure that all colonists are able-bodied and willing to act in the defense of the colony. They are not an army, but they are willing to fight for their own defense. Any further questions?"
Lena meets Mevakh's gaze "Abadaria indeed needs wise leaders and role models to follow, and well-documented records"with a nod to Songan and Dr. Krupt "but I draw your attention back to the missing settlers. It is unlikely that they abandoned the colony of their own volition. Some creatures cannot be reasoned with and if such creatures are responsible for the disappearances then I'd prefer my sword in my hand than my words. That is after all, why we are going. We can play nice with the civilians once they're safe"
In order for civilisation's light to shine, some of its' defenders must walk in shadow she thinks while taking a sweet roll. Nibbling it, Lena turns back to the Archcanon.
"You mentioned that the town had defences raised. What of them exactly? Do we know what sort of structures remain?"
|Our Mysterious Benefactor|
Nodding to the explanation, he takes the glove and slips it into his backpack. His questions answered, Songan begins slowly sipping the wine he was offered, enjoying the slightly sweet taste of it. He gives a curious glance toward the good doctor, the feline ears atop his head flattening slightly. "As long as I am not to be treated like some quaint lab experiment, I...I suppose I do not mind." he answered, a hint of apprehension in his voice.
"Oh no, my good man. I would simply like to take your measure, as it were, to determine the capabilities of a fit member of your race. I'm quite knowledgeable about the more common races of Golarion. Yours is new to me. I certainly won't make you do anything dangerous nor will I impose upon you if you feel you've done enough. I won't even ask for a blood sample, though if you wish to volunteer one in the name of scientific progress, I'll gladly take it." Krupt smiles and sips his wine.
The unfamiliar effects of the coffee combined with the wine was making Daisy feel vivid. Me face is tingling. She found herself watching Songan with wide eyes and following his conversation with Dr. Krupt.
"... I won't even ask for a blood sample, though if you wish to volunteer one in the name of scientific progress, I'll gladly take it."
Can we find out if he purrs? I bet he purrs. She clapped her hand over her mouth to suppress a giggle.
Be serious girl. She turned her attention to the Archcanon and tried to compose her face into a mask of seriousness.
"How's the land lay? Didja surveys make a map?" It would be good to know what kind of terrain they were headed into.
|Our Mysterious Benefactor|
"A rough map, I'm afraid. We were expecting better cartography from the colonists, but... The beach is level white sand leading to a thick tropical forest. The fort was constructed on a slight rise, giving it a view of the beach. Beyond the forests are hills, then mountains. Beyond that, we do not know."
"That tropical forest would be a good place to start. It would be easy to hide in there or have a lair if it is some monster."
He was reminded of the elves of Kyonin. A group of them could tear apart an enemy force five times their number without much of a problem inside a forest.
Mevakh smiles at Daisy when she giggles, the first break in his stoic exterior. He seems to have taken to the diminutive girl. He kneels to look her in the eye. "Miss Greenways, you said earlier that you know the forests. It will fall to you to lead the expedition through the forest to the fort. If there are dangers lurking in the woods, I will defend you." Mevakh's intense aura of goodness radiates from him as he speaks to the halfling. "And I don't have any objection to the burden of carrying the goods. I do not find labor an undue difficulty."
Added muleback cords to his equipped inventory.
|Dr. Catila Eyesquint|
Just as the Paladin finishes speaking, in rushes a small Gnome, who is speaking before she even fully enters the room "So sorry if I'm late Prelate! your servant Tomas just told me to find you here and it is my pleasure to finally meet you in per..." stopping both in her tracks and her speech as she notices the full room and the eight pairs of eyes staring at her.
With a slight blush, she quickly recovers, smiling winningly she continues "Oh! Ah, I see everyone's already all here! Which, obviously, makes me late indeed. I'm sure you have all been introduced to each other already, and I shall be happy to make your acquaintance in due time. For the nonce, I shall introduce myself. I am Dr. Catila Eyesquint, 'Detective extraordiaire'. Perhaps you have heard of me?" and, despite the seeming arrogance in her words, her impish smile and endearing demeanour make it clear she is not taking herself too seriously.
Standing, not very far off the ground, before you, is a very interesting young Gnomish woman. However, despite her diminutive stature, this young lady definitely has presence. Her eyes are quick and intelligent and do not seem to miss a tick. Indeed, everyone present gets the sense that, with but a glance, she has summed them up very accurately. Including the surprised look on the face of the Prelate that she does not miss (it seems not all Dr.'s are female ; )
Although she is what most would consider to be quite an attractive young halfling, and seems to possess a naturally happy demeanour, Catilla clearly has little to no care or concern whatsoever for her appearance. Although certainly not slovenly, as neatness and detail are very important to her, she is wearing almost painfully clashing colours and mismatched bits in her outfit. It looks as if she had just put on whatever first came to hand. Her big bright green eyes never stop moving, as she is always looking everywhere, at everything. Finally, when she isn't speaking, she seems to be humming quietly, and all those around her can feel the invigorating power of her simple tune. This habit of hers actually carries on into her speech as well, for when she speaks she tends to almost sing her words, without seeming to realize it. Her voice is lovely and it is immediately clear that a brilliant career as a singing minstrel or court performer could surely be hers should she wish. Which is a bit odd, considering she has just named herself as a 'detective'.
After an (almost) silent moment, she walks over to the Prelate and, reaching into her satchel, deposits a smallish box on the table in front of him along with the explanation "I had the darndest time finding this. I do believe that this may just be the only folding boat currently in Absalom! But here it is, as you requested Sir. Again, please do forgive my tardiness."
Then, with a nod, she makes her way to the remaining chair, hops up on it and says with bright, interested eyes "So! What did I miss!"
Everyone hearing Catila's humming feels more alert and aware, actually gaining a +1 bonus on Initiative checks, Perception, and Disable Device checks for 1 hour. They also gain a +1 insight bonus on Reflex saves and to AC against traps and when they are flat-footed.
|Our Mysterious Benefactor|
|Dr. Catila Eyesquint|
"Miss Greenways, you said earlier that you know the forests. It will fall to you to lead the expedition through the forest to the fort. If there are dangers lurking in the woods, I will defend you."
Daisy hadn't noticed before but Mevakh had such warm eyes. She blushed furiously at his words and couldn't find any of her own to reply before he turned to the items that the Archcanon had offered. She stood up next to him as he took the muleback cords and put her hand out to claim the campfire bead.
"I was wonderin' about the-"
Before she could finish a voice in the hall interrupted her question.
"So sorry if I'm late Prelate!"
If Daisy's goal was to be as quiet and unnoticed as she could, Dr. Eyesquint's aim seemed to the exact opposite. But she'd never known a gnome that was more than passing acquainted with reticence, and this one seemed more determined than most to fill the room with her presence.
One last question for the Archcannon
"I assume if we stay on and become 'Barons' of this land, we will have the authority to control our own portions of it. Until then, will we have any leadership responsibilities in Abadaria? Or will we be merely supporting the Mayor?"
The Catfolk seems to calm a little...until the doctor mentions a blood sample. His ears flatten again, his eyes narrowing slightly. He seems not so much alarmed as he is a little miffed at the idea. "I have no objections to tests of my fitness and fortitude, though I will not offer a sample of my blood; for the moment, at least, that is taking things too fa-" he cuts off, interrupted by the entrance of the diminuitive detective. He looks down at her with obvious curiosity, the slits of his pupils widening. A gnome. Well. This was quite the diverse little group of explorers the Archcanon had assembled...which brought a question to his mind. He looked over to the Prelate and asked,"What of the colonists' racial make-up? The team you have here assembled is nearly the most diverse group I have seen. Will there be diversity among the colonists as well?"
|Our Mysterious Benefactor|
The Archcanon pauses and attempts to collect his thoughts. "The current batch of colonists are mostly human with a few half-elves and half-orcs sprinkled in. The previous colonists were much more diverse, but with this group we went for a group that can, ahem, intermarry. We had anticipated a period of five to ten years for the colony to establish itself before we opened the island to immigration."
"As for a command structure, the Mayor will command the colonists. He has been briefed with your mission and has agreed to abide by your recommendations. He is a proud man, and I would advise against countermanding him in public. His ego would not take it well. Some tact will be in order. As for the other colonists, they have been told that you in Abadar's service. That is all they need to know for know. As for after your service is ended, you will be in charge of your land and any more you care to claim and maintain. The Church would, of course, hope that you would maintain your lands in accordance with the principles we have established for the island."
"Now that the good detective has joined us, I must be off. We have much to accomplish before the ship sails. You will fill her in, please? The captain has requested that you arrive at 10 bells tomorrow. That should give you plenty of time to prepare and time to get settled in before casting off. If that is all?" The Archcanon goes to stand, but pauses for a moment in case of any other questions.
"My questions are answered to my satisfaction. I presently have no others." Songan answered, now content to dwell on their mission. Humans, half-elves, and half-orcs. He wondered how the general populace would perceive a Catfolk. His species could interbreed with the other races as easily as humans, so far as he knew, and he silently wondered if he might find someone to make the ownership of so much property a less lonely enterprise.
Krupt gives a knowing smile to Songan. "Well, your reaction to the thought of drawing blood is not much different from other races. We'll say no more on the matter."
When the Archcanon finishes: "I think I've heard all I need to. I'll await the captain's pleasure on the morrow. My thanks for being appointed on this venture. I'm sure it will prove most engaging."
Upon the Archcanon's departure, he'll take the time to move over to his new gnomish companion.
"So, a fellow doctor? Good to be in the company of another academician. I'm Dr. Gellius Krupt. Where did you study?"
|Dr. Catila Eyesquint|
Having been caught up a little bit here and there from the others, Catila raises her hand to get attention (something she had observed sometimes was necessary for someone of her size).
Once all eyes are one her again, in speculating tone she says "Prelate, I imagine an acquisition such as this new island will make quite a, shall we say, generous contribution to the coffers of Abadar's church. In my professional experience Sir, one of the best ways to determine motive or culpabilty in any crime, if, indeed one has been committed in this case and there is not some more, germaine reason for the colonists disappearance, is to follow the Platinum pieces. So in other words, are you aware of any enemies or competitors of the Church, perhaps another faith or even nation, who might have their own designs on this island, and the great wealth it will surely generate?"
|Our Mysterious Benefactor|
The Archcanon looks pensive before replying, "As far as I am aware, the Church of Abadar is the only group with knowledge of this island. Of course, it is not cloaked in shadows, so it could have been discovered before. But aside from the usual enemies of the Church, I can think of no one in particular. Now if you will excuse me, there are many tasks before me this day. Good bye and may Abadar watch over you in your journey." He gives a slight bow of his head and leaves the room.
Is there anything in particular you'd like to do tonight before boarding the ship? Go ahead and write anything out in prose form. Go crazy!
Songan returns to the Coins as soon as they are dismissed, wanting to let his mother and father know he is going away. He gives no specifics, only saying he has been offered employment outside of Absalom for a duty of one year, with potential great reward at the conclusion of it.
He packs his backpack securely, grunting under the weight of it on his shoulders. Perhaps he should transfer some of the load to the half-orc to give him a proper taste of the muleback cords. Wanting to test the glove he received, he lifts his bed from the floor, exposing bare floor, where he tests several different configurations of his fingers and begins devising a code system to use. Putting the bedding back down, he bids his parents farewell before heading out, sticking to the shadows and trying as much as possible to avoid being seen.
|Dr. Catila Eyesquint|
Catila, not entirely satisfied with the answer she received, stares intently at the Archdeacon as he leaves, yet lets him do so unmolested.
When the Dwarf invites everyone to join him for a final meal before they all depart, she smiles and readily agrees, adding "If it's a fine meal you're looking for friend I heartily recommend The Dancing Swan. Their wine is excellent and from what I hear, so is their ale, and the food will definitely have you missing Absalom once we are aboard ship. The owners are personal friends and I can assure you that they shall treat us all very well."
Since the prelate hadn't mentioned it again and as she had already been carrying it, unless any of the others object, she shrugs and picks up the folding boat, placing it once again in her magical haversack.
Daisy politely declined Oakhammer's invitation, "Thanks kindly, but I gots kin in town and goodbyes, it seems, to bid them." It was a lie, but she didn't want to admit that she a handful of coppers in her pocket and no more. The meal the dwarf proposed sounded beyond her means. A pity, too, for she had no doubt from the presence of the wolf that the dwarf also knew his way around the forest and there'd be much for them to talk about.
"There was a lass and a bonnie lass,
A-gathering nuts did gang,
And she pulled them high,
and she pulled them low,
And she pulled them where they hang."
In city quarter where the homes were built small, neat, and hugging the ground, she'd found a pub with a round door little higher than her head. Her coins were enough for a plate of bread and cheese and a 'wee pint'. She'd stood on the table and belted out a song. Another pint came her way and soon she was at the center of a jolly company. When there came a break while her new-found friends refilled their tankards, one of them aked her if she'd dine with him.
He was a presentable halfling with clean hands.
"I've had me supper, but buy me another round and we's can talk breakfast."
She was awake the hour before dawn. Bada (she troubled herself to learn his name) was still asleep and looked like she wouldn't be getting that breakfast after all. Daisy slipped out of the small bed and gathered her clothes. A few copper coins had fallen out of his pockets. She gathered these too. Bada was a clerk in wine merchant's. His room was at the back of the store and his master and family lived in the floors above so she took great care to let herself out quietly.
Daisy didn't know the way to the docks, but reckoned that any water had to be downhill from where she stood. She followed the winding street until she came across a baker just putting his wares in the window. A copper got her a goodly-sized roll, and the other copper got her a long drink from the bucket of a milkmaid on her way back from the barn. The milkmaid pointed her in the right direction for the docks and wished Daisy well.
Asthe sun was coming up, she stood on the dock in front of the ship that was to take her to a new world and a new life. She had, she felt, said sufficient good-bye to the old one.