Many believe the month of Neth is the best time to be in Katapesh. The summer heat has finally subsided. The torrential monsoon rains have passed. The temperature is perfect and you can linger in the myriad bazaars for which the city is famous. Absalom may be the cultural center of the Inner Sea, but Katapesh is the commercial center. Any desire or need can be fulfilled there for a price; from the fabulous, but mundane Tian silks, Andoren wines, and dolls from Irrisen to more illicit goods like slaves, demon summoning, and the omnipresent pesh.
On this beautiful day in Neth, you find yourself at the Golden Net, a café on the border of Tian Town near the docks. The owner, Almaq “Mac” Jalool, is a neighborhood institution. He’s a friendly figure of average height with a thick bushy moustache that although imposing, can’t cover his huge smile. Mac always has some interesting news or fantastic tale and claims to have been a childhood friend of the legendary Lucky Farouq. Although half the establishments in the area seem to have some tie to Farouq, Mac’s tale of how they once stole Zulran’s prized stallion, Gassurat, for a ride through the city is a perennial favorite.
Although the Golden Net serves no alcohol, it is renowned for its fine Qadiran style tea and delicious seafood fresh from the nearby docks. It also attracts many foreigners due to the number of talented performers that Mac books from all over Golarion. The café is fairly large with a stage and tables crammed throughout the main room. Mac is usually found behind the counter greeting customers with a broad grin when he’s not engaged in swapping stories.
You see a young petite woman walk into the Golden Net, a no-nonsense look of business on her face. Her long brown hair is tied back, her face hardened as though she has seen many days on the road. You can see a glint of metal from a chain shirt under her blouse. At her side is a rapier and slung over her back is a bow. She walks up to the counter with the confidence of someone who has faced more than her share of adversaries:
Good afternoon. I am searching for a woman. I am hoping that Master Jalool is in as I have been informed that he may be able to help me. And if you could, I would love one of your special green teas.
I then find a free table in the corner where I can see the room, enjoy the entertainment, and wait for Master Jalool.
The man behind the bar touches his hand to his chest and smiles at the young woman, "Habibi, I am 'Almaq Jalool', but please just call me Mac. What kind of a woman are you looking for? You may have the wrong place for such things. I am just a simple cafe owner. Perhaps you seek the Violet Fire Brothel," he winks and clicks his tongue.
Well met Master Jalool. No, I am not in search of that type of women. Chuckle.
I am searching for a woman who has been missing for several weeks. I recently come into information and was told that you might be able to assist me. I give him Haleen's description. Have you perchance seen or heard of her. I really need to find her.
How do I know Haleen? Well, for the past 10 years, I have called her house home. She rescued me from the streets at the age of 10 and since that time has been my guardian angel, almost like the mother I lost when I was young. I have been employed as a caravan and ship guard these past few years and when I returned from across the sea a few weeks ago, she was missing.
While she instructed me to not follow, I cannot comply. I must find what happened to her and make sure that she is safe, just as she did for me nearly a decade ago.
"Ah, you are a friend then. You may not like what I have to tell you, Habibi, but Haleen has changed. I do not care for the company she keeps lately: smugglers and possibly even slavers. Unfortunately, I have not seen her for about a month. I wish you luck finding her. I fear she might be in need of an old friend."
Thank you for your concern. What is this company of which you speak? I did not know much of her life outside of the home as she has always been secretive, but I am astounded that she would be partaking in the company of smugglers and slavers. Do you know where she was heading when you last heard from her. I too have not seen her in over a month.
And who is this amazing dancer you have performing. Not that I am attracted to elves, but his dance is almost hypnotizing.
Sense Motive: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (9) - 1 = 8 --> boy he seems genuinely honest
"I am sorry, Habibi, but I do not know where she has gone. She was hanging around with a pair of known smugglers named Gorundal and Kalyx. I am sorry I can't tell you more."
He turns to watch Faelar's performance and his smile returns. "This elf is not too bad, perhaps I will put him on the schedule."
Hmmm, do you have any idea where these smugglers may be found, or where they frequent?If not, then thank you for your time.
Now, if you please, I would love one of your famous green teas.
I then find a table in the corner where I can watch the show and keep an ear out for anyone discussing the ghost town.
Perception: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (7) - 1 = 6 Hope these rolls are not a sign of things to come, if so I am in for a very short campaign.
Once I have finished with my dance, I bow gracefully and head over to Mac. "Greetings, my friend. I would like to thank you for allowing me to perform here on this fine day. I shall return to my performances in a moment, I was just wondering if I could ask you a question, concerning a certain book that I wish to find. It is entitled "The Tales of Shaharezthed", is it a book you have ever heard of?
Diplomacy = 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Wow, I hope these good rolls keep on coming!
Mac shakes his head at Kzrira's further queries. "I am sorry, Habibi. I wish I could help you. Do not worry though. Haleen could certainly take care of herself."
Mac brings a cup and an ornate tea pot of green tea and jasmine blossoms to Kzrira's table just as Faeler finishes his performance. The sparse afternoon audience claps appreciatively and Mac greets the northerner. "Very nice, my friend. You would give Xander and Xilla a run for their money. Perhaps you can open for them tonight or maybe they should open for you!" It occurs to Faelar that he must be referring to Xiphilomera and Xandraedrel, his contacts from the Pathfinder Society.
"Ah, the Tales of Shaharezthed. Why of course! Everyone knows these wonderful stories. They are quite entertaining and wise as well."
and i'm off camping. be back tomorrow night.
"Ah, I am glad to hear that my friend. Maybe I shall perform a little with them, after all as long as people enjoy the performance then it matters not who is performing. As you know I can sing too. I was hoping you had heard of The Tales, what I wish to ask you; good sir, is do you know of the genius who wrote such a beautiful piece of literature?"
|Karethas ibn Faradin|
A slender young man enters with a slightly sour look on his face and moves over to the bar. Obviously Keleshite, he is dark of hair and skin. Very well groomed, with a neatly trimmed goatee and small glasses, he is dressed in fine embroidered robes featuring deep blues and yellows.
Karethas walks over to the counter and gestures to Mac oblivious to any conversation he may be involved in,"Good day Mac! At least, I hope you are having a better day than I. I am sorely in need of some your black tea to sooth my ragged soul, and perhaps a tale to make me forget my current woes.' With an overly dramatic flair Karethas settles himself heavily at a nearby small table and settles a satchel onto the floor near his feet. He leans back in the chair and rubs his face with both hands.
|Amir Awad Hajjir|
Amir Awad Hajjir sits at a table along the edge of the main room of the Golden Net, close to a window to catch the breeze of this perfect weather. Before him on the table sits an open book, a plate filled with mostly empty and discarded shrimp shells (a few of the precious shrimp remain) and a small teapot which Amir reaches out and picks up to refill the teacup in his hands.
Rich black tea fills Amir's cup, steam slowly rising. Amir sighs to himself in satisfaction. Setting down the teapot Amir leans forward in his seat to look over the book he knew so well, shifting slightly so the jeweled sword at his side sat comfortablly against the chair. I know everything it has to say. If I am ever to go it should be soon. Yet the tales I have heard... Kelmarane. Now perhaps more dangerous than ever.
Amir leans back and sips his tea. Reaching out he closes his book and deftly stores it in his nearby satchel. Taking in the atmosphere Amir watches an elf dance upon the stage. Amir's eyes wander about the cafe as he reaches for one of the few remaining shrimp and thinks about his next steps.
Does Amir notice anything? Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10Yeeeaaahhh, not so much
The Net was busy today. People of all shapes and sizes bustled about the room. Light clapping and words of enjoyment greet the elf as he finishes his dance. Amir offers a half-hearted clap careful not spill his tea. I suppose I should not sit here -all- day. Perhaps I should check in with Mac and see if anything requires attention? I feel ready but perhaps a few more gold coins and additional supplies would make sense before attempting such a perilous journey...
Amir begins to turn to find the gregarious barkeep but the smell of shrimp and tea prove too compelling. I'll get up in a minute. A slight smile reaches up underneath Amir's moustache. Let's finish the tea and shrimp first.
Seeing the gentleman near the window savoring each bite of the shrimp, I get up and walk over to him.
Excuse me good sir, I saw you enjoying the dance and relishing each bite of your shrimp. If you do not mind, what type of shrimp are they, they appear most tasty and I have suddenly realized that I forgot my midday meal.
|Amir Awad Hajjir|
Amir raises his eyes to see a young woman has joined him at his table. Relishing them? I suppose I was... Amir pauses for a moment to consider the young woman, taking a final sip from his tea he sets the cup on the table.
With ease Amir pushes the other chair at his table out with his foot and the begins to rise. As he comes to his feet he pulls the folded napkin from his lap and gestures with his other hand for the young woman to sit. One as young as yourself should not be without a midday meal, come sit with me and you can partake these last dozen or so. I am quite full and though it is not a full meal it would be a shame for me to overindulge while you go hungry!
Hurriedly but deftly Amir shifts the contents of the table so that the woman can sit unimpeded. I only linger because the weather is good and I was contemplating what I would do next. I also have some tea leftover and have had my fill of that as well. Besides this particular brew is a personal secret to make the shrimp taste even better. Join me, join me. He flourishes his hand to emphasize his invitation.
Mac answers Faelar's question with a smile. ”Genius? Perhaps you mean Genie. The Tales were written by the beautiful and brilliant Shaharezthed herself, a princess of the water-genies and the most famous storyteller among her kind.” Then Mac excuses himself to assist Karethas, ”Pardon me, my friend. I have many to serve. Would you like anything?”
Once back behind the counter, Mac takes in Karethas' condition.”One tea Habibi, black as the look on your face. What ails you, my friend?”
I apologize, no, I do not wish to take the food you are so enjoying. Rather with the pleasure you were savoring them, and as I have not frequented this fine establishment many times, I was simply asking which shrimp they were so that I could order some.
Although I would enjoy the company as I watch the entertainment. That last elven dancer was quite good. I too am thinking of what is next as I am at a bit of a dead end at present. Here, let me get the fine green tea I was enjoying and I will join you here in the fresh air by the window.
I get my tea and join Amir.
It really is a fine afternoon when you have a lull in your plans to sit back and relax.
I take a sip of my tea and savor the taste. I then wave to Mac and order some shrimp.
|Amir Awad Hajjir|
When he takes your order tell him you want some of the late season catch. It isn't which shrimp, you see, but rather when they were caught. Amir smirks at his new mealtime companion. And since you are so insistent that I must finish my food... Amir lets his voice trail off as he pours the remaining tea into his cup and selects one of his few remaining shrimp and quickly (yet politely) shucks the shrimp from its shell and places the meat in his mouth.
Taking time to swallow his food and wipe off his mouth as is appropriate for polite company, Amir takes in his new companion for a moment. It is a rare person indeed who can avoid the Net. Although I suppose seafood and tea are not everyone's desire. Tell me, if this is your first visit what has brought you here today?
"Ah, thank-you my friend, I shall let you get back to your other clients now. Once again I thank-you for the information and the opportunity to perform here. I hope you get a lot more service today and that this fine business of yours flourishes into a paradise for the weary." I go back towards the stage, but instead of climbing up and performing again, I sit down on a chair near the front and start contemplating what information I have gathered.
I grew up on the far side of the city, so rarely have I been in this area. Which was why it was a bit of a surprise when I heard that Mac might know the person I am looking for. Perhaps you have heard of her. It is a lady named Haleen, do you know her?
I take one of the shrimp, smell it tentatively, and then shuck it and pop it in my mouth.
Mmmm, you are right, these are quite good.
|Karethas ibn Faradin|
"Ahhh, Mac you already know that the College has taken quite a narrow view of my studies? This was maybe for the best, for their narrowness is in their minds and their vision. I am now freed of their weighty strictures and responsibilities. That, that I could bear! But now my father has also turned his face from me. Sarenae knows I would not speak poorly of my own father, but I feel that his decision has plunged me into a desperate condition."
Karethas pauses as Mac serves his tea, "Ahhh, thank you for such a comfort, my friend." He takes a quick sip and continues, "In any case, a man must see the opportunity in these things. I must find an opportunity big enough to challenge my great potential!"
|Amir Awad Hajjir|
knowledge:local 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
Does Haleen ring a bell? Apparently not.
I do not recall the name, but perhaps something will come to me as we talk. Was she well known in these parts? Does Mac not know if her location? He is usaully quite good at finding people.
Mac smiles brightly at Karethas beneath his formidable moustache. ”Ah my friend, this is true. You never know where opportunity may lie. Did I ever tell you how I came upon the Golden Net? I was with my dear friend Lucky Farouq one day. Did you know he was my closest friend when we were young? It is true. This was some time after the ride of the great Gussarat and we decided we might like to go fishing on a beautiful day such as this. So we ‘borrowed’ a small boat and took it took a secret spot beyond the Giant, you know the great statue of the horned man north of the harbor? We threw the net in and pulled it up…no fish! Another time…and nothing again. I began to wonder if Farouq’s luck had suddenly left. Ah, but the third time we threw the net in, we pulled out a single fish. And such a fish! Scales of lapis lazuli and gold, eyes made of rubies… I suspected it might be magical. It was indeed and it spoke to us for it was a talking fish, ‘Do not eat me sirs, simply release me and I will grant you three wishes!’ We could not believe our fortune! But what to wish for? And we soon fell to arguing…”
Just then Mac is distracted from his tale by a striking figure entering the Golden Net. Taller by a head than most of the other patrons in the café and all the more likely to attract attention with her flowing golden hair that shines like that of Sarenrae herself. The beautiful elf is dresses in a traditional dancing costume of pale blue silk and silvery threads and metal bits that jangle as she quickly rushes up to Mac. She is truly a vision and her beauty is only marred by the creases of worry wrinkling her high brow and the tears streaming from her enormous violet eyes. ”Oh Mac! I cannot perform tonight. It’s Xandraedrel. He is missing and something terrible has happened to him. I just know it!”
Faelar knows that genies are from the elemental planes and take after the four elements: air, fire, earth and water. Shaharezthed is a water genie or Marid. These genie are quite unpredictable and capricious, but great lovers of the arts. They can take other forms and sometimes grant wishes for mortals.
Yes, I spoke to Mac, that is why I am actually here. He said that he had seen Haleen, but that she was in the company of less savory sorts, slavers and smugglers. But, I know that Haleen would not consort with such individuals. So, now I am not sure where to look next. I have to find her, she did so much for me in my life, I have to make sure that she is safe.
|Karethas ibn Faradin|
While Karethas is obviously enjoying Mac's story, he is also distracted by the beautiful elf entering the room. As she tells Mac her story Karethas finds himself gazing at her admiringly and stroking his mustache with one finger, but as she mentions her missing companions he perks up slightly. Perhaps fate has intervened and opportunity is presenting itself.
Karethas rises and bows slightly to the elf. "I am Karethas ibn Faradin, Conjurer. If you could pause for a moment and collect your thoughts, perhaps I may be of assistance? What makes you think that something has happened to your husband, other than that he has taken a walk?" Karethas' tone suggests that the last was an attempt at humor to help calm her.
Hearing the elf's cries for help, Kzrira's ears open. Someone in search of a lost loved one - not that kidnappings are not common in Katapesh - she turns her head to listen to the elf and the gentleman talking to the elf. Perhaps the elf could be of assistance in her own search - as they say, two sets of eyes are always better than one.
|Amir Awad Hajjir|
Amir follows the gaze of his young companion and notes the tall elven woman and the man speaking to her.
Perception:1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6 WOW apparently Kzrira and I are not to be trusted to roll anything! :-p
He couldn't make out the nature of exchange but Amir could see panic whatever the language. Looking back at the young woman Amir could see that she had taken an interest in the conversation. One such as this looking for friends with less than savory contacts? Panicking elf maids with wet eyes and desperate looks? I see people who will need to travel to the darker sides of Katapesh. Are they ready for what they will find I wonder?
Amir contemplates the woman in front of him, his empty plate, and the last remnants of his tea. It was no coincidence that when he was looking for his next step that these things would happen. Amir chuckles to himself and then raps his knuckles on the table gently as he stands.
My good woman I am Amir Awad Hajjir. I can assist you in seeing about smugglers and cutpurses and other unsavory sorts. We both see this elf woman seems panicked in a way that might mean she needs deal with similar types. Allow me to offer my assistance and perhaps we shall approach these people together? If they have no need of our aid I am still willing to aid your search to the best of my ability.
Amir picks up his adventurer's sash and shifts the sword on his belt looking at the young woman to see what she thinks of his proposal.
At the sound of the Elven maid crying, I am snapped out of my thoughts, stand up and turn to see the lady. I walk over to her and hug her. I say in Elven : "Xiphilomera? What has happened my dear? I certainly hope that Xandraedrel is all right. But I shall be more than happy to help you find him, do not worry! With yourself, Mac, these gracious people who have offered to help and I looking for him, I am sure we will find him before any harm falls upon him. You have my word as a member of the Pathfinders that he will return safely. Perhaps we could also ask the Pathfinders to give us some assistance in our plight? Please tell me where you saw him last my dear."
My connection is screwed up today - posting via IPhone.
I noticed her plight as well, without any other leads, any search for missing persons may help my quest. Let's see if we cat be of assistance. Oh, Kzrira Maiwith is my name. Well me Mr. Hajjir.
I turn to the patrons of the Golden Net who have volunteered to help Xiphilomera find Xandraedrel, (Kelish)"I thank you for your kind generosities and offer to help locate Xandraedrel. My name is Faelar, Faelar Braegen and this lovely lady is Xiphilomera. I cannot thank you enough for your upcoming assistance in this task."
|Amir Awad Hajjir|
Amir nods at Kzrira's introduction. Well Kzrira, let us go see what we might be able to do... Amir pushes his way into the the thick tangle of tables, chairs, and patrons that fill the center of the Golden Net. Coming upon the bar Amir notices that another elf has joined the concerned woman.
Hearing the elven man offer thanks for assistance, Amir closes to the group and offers a bow. Good sirs and lady my companion and I could not but notice you are in need of help. As it happens my young friend is also looking for a lost person and I have offered to help to the greatest of my abilities. Perhaps we should join our resources?
The beautiful elf seems taken aback at so many prompt offers of assistance. She looks to each helpful face uncertain who to address. Finally, she turns back to Mac. He pats her arm, ”Ah Habibti, you have a veritable army at your beck and call. Xander will be found quickly I am certain. Why don’t you start at the beginning.”
The elf nods, brushes a tear from her exotic iris-filled eyes, and swallows. ”Thank you all for your offers of assistance.” She starts gratefully and nods to her fellow elf, ”You must be Faelar. We received word you were coming. You all may call me Xilla. My brother Xander is missing. He did not return yesterday and I have been looking for him all day. I know he is in trouble. Twins can sense that. If he had not spent all our money on that stupid piece of junk!”
She stops and takes a breath to steady herself. Looking slightly embarrassed she continues. ”We have only been in Katapesh for a short time. We are initiates in the same organization as Faelar. We’ve had an interest in genies for as long as I can remember. So once we had saved up enough money we came here to Katapesh to hopefully write a history on genies in Katapesh and become true pathfinders.”
”We were to help Faelar on his mission as well, but Xander can be a bit impulsive. While combing the markets, he found what he thought was an old Wayfinder at some stall on the Great Plaza and paid dearly for it with the money we were to use on our expedition. We had a bit of a fight about it and he said it did not matter; he would get more money and we would be fine. Only I don’t know what he had in mind. Something foolish I am sure. Now I shall never see him again because of a fight over a stupid broken Wayfinder!” She lays her elbows on the counter and sobs passionately into her hands.
I walk up and put my arm around the taller elf's shoulders. M'lady Xilla - while it is understandable that you are distraught at your missing brother, you must remember one important fact. As you just said, you can still sense him. Whether or not he is in trouble, if you can sense him, he is alive and can be found. I too have recently lost a loved one - my savior and adopted mother, Haleen. I am currently searching for her, and would welcome the chance to help you in your search as well. Together we shall be much stronger than searching alone.
|Amir Awad Hajjir|
Amir strokes his chin as he contemplates the elven woman's tale. Perhaps he made mention to the vendor what he might do with such a device? What of other people whom he might have mentioned his intentions to? Any new "friends" or contacts in the city?
Xilla shakes her head, thinking. ”We have not been in town long enough to know many people. We were fortunate to meet Mac early on. Xander mentioned a place called Antiquities Books a few times. In fact, a couple of our books are missing, perhaps he sold them. Xander also likes to gamble, but I made him promise not to while we were on our expedition. He may have been tempted, however, if he needed money in a hurry. I do hope he has not become involved in something dangerous.”
|Amir Awad Hajjir|
Hmm, Mr. Faelar was it?, you seem to be quite knowledgable about the area. Do you perchance know anything about two individuals named Gorundal and Kalyx? Mac said that my adopted mother, Haleen, was last seen with them. Sadly, I have no clue where to start finding them. With any luck, the path to finding Xilla's brother and Haleen will allow us to find both quickly.
Knowledge (local)1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12 DARNIT! What happened to my good roll streak?
Kelish'Please, just call me Faelar. Forgive me, my good lady, but I know not of them, that I can recall at this moment at least. But if you ask in a day or so, I can ask some of my friends within the area and maybe the Pathfinder might have some information about your dear mother. Unless... you can't mean Haeleen the Poisoning, Drug Smuggling, Slave Trading Goddess? Not THAT Haeleen?'
|Amir Awad Hajjir|
kno:local on Gorundal and Kalyx: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
kno:local on Haeleen:1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Amir follows the conversation intently smoothing his moustache but otherwise staying quiet.
I'll wait to see what the Sheik says I know. : )
Faelar has heard of Antiquities Books. It was mentioned that the old man who works there might have some information on tracking down a copy of The Tales of Shaharezthed. The shop is located in the warrens of the Magic Emporium near the Twilight Gate.
Kelish: 'I planned to go to Antiquities Books, in the Magic Emporium to find out about a book I happen to be searching for, a most rare tome, indeed. So, I do not mind taking you over there to discuss Xander with the owner, if that is your desire?
I grab my rapier and tie the sheath about my waist, readying myself to leave for the aforementioned book-store. Before leaving, I stand idly, watching to see whether my offer would be taken up.
Looking stunned at Faelar: Slave trading goddess? No, you must have the wrong person. Haleen was a wonderful woman. She has raised me since she rescued me from the streets nearly a decade ago. There must be more than one Haleen or you are seriously mistaken.
I then head back to my table, strap my bow over my shoulder, take a sip or two of tea, and grab a handful of the remaining shrimp - then return to the group.
I am ready to go, I know that we will find Xander as well as Haleen.
|Karethas ibn Faradin|
Karethas has stood to the side as the offers to help came flying from all directions. as preparations are made to leave he picks up his satchel and smiles at Xilla. "It seems that this is turning into a regular searh party. Never let it be said that the citizens are unhelpful in Katapesh. Did you want to come to the store, or did you prefer to wait for your brother here Xilla?"
I'm going to be a little less active for the next few days. My grandfather passed and I will be traveling to Illinois for the funeral. I will still be checking the thread and will post as I can, but it will all be done from my phone. I return home on Sunday.