Ticco starts to sweat a bit as he has been found out before he even gets to take a turn at marbles. He dusts himself off as one of the boys picks him up.
Maybe while Karal is distracting them I can take my chance!
Thomas and Steffan take the offered snack but the third boy seems more intent on finding the best angle for his next marble than talking.
In response to Karal's last question the two boys give each other a sideways glance.
Steffan gets a serious look on his face as he explains,
"Auntie Baltwin is a great cook and she helped me get well when I was sick with a bad cough. The only thing I don't like is the chores."
Thomas remains silent but nods at his friend's statement.
Wren: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Ticco: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Karal: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
Alliver: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Both boys look behind them towards the orphanage and stiffen. Suddenly returning to their marbles.
The party's eyes follow the children's glance back to the porch but see nothing but a black cat disappearing inside the house.
Ticco picks up a marble that has already been loosed from the arena. He holds it up to the light of day and examines it with one eye shut.
"Who could like chores when such wondrous beauties require collecting? Not I!" He places the marble back on the ground, stands up and turns towards the door.
"Let's go see what other beauties await."
As Ticco stands, an old woman appears at the door.
"Boys, what have I told you about bothering strangers? Now come inside and get cleaned up, we'll be eating dinner soon."
The gang of marble shooters collects their prized possessions and scurry inside.
Walking to the edge of the porch, Auntie Baltwin surveys the group standing before her. Her gaze settles on Wren.
"Is there something I can help you with Miss?"
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
Auntie Batlwin, measures Wren with her gaze.
"Oh mai yes, it sometimes is but I've been caring for children my entire life so at least I have practice. Thank you for bringing the medicine."
She looks from hand to hand for the package.
Wren: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
Ticco: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (10) + 0 = 10
Karal: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
Alliver: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
1d20 + 3 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 3 + 8 = 29
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
The old crone takes one look at Ticco and scowls.
"Where do you think you are going? Does this look like a home for gnomes?!
Questions? About what? And I'm sorry but I don't allow strangers to bother the sick."
Auntie Baltwin seems to regain her composure after shooing Ticco away from the door.
"How about a nice cup of tea? You boys and girls look dusty after your trek from the Foreign quarter. Please have a seat I will be right back with some tea."
She gestures to a few chair on her porch and waits for your response.
Ticco frumps down on the a step and rests his chin in his hands. After a few moments he mutters,
"What did she mean by 'bother the sick?' I thought those boys looked right healthy to me. They took all the marbles too."
Auntie Baltwin returns with a fine silver tray holding a china tea set.
"Please sit down."
She begins pouring five cups of strong black tea.
Upon hearing Karal's offer of his services Auntie B, frowns a bit.
"That is not necessary. Growing up the oldest of nine brothers and sisters I have had my share of practice. I've been caring for children for over 60 years."
She then hands saucers and cups to the party before producing a small flask and topping off her cup.
Offering the flask she states,
"Would anyone like a tipple?"
Ticco, hands held high, receives his cup. In one swift motion he brings it down and spins 180 degrees setting the cup on the ground as he crouches over it.
As the herbs and leaves settle to the bottom of the cup Ticco's reflection stares back at him. Hoping to go unnoticed as Baltwin hands out the other cups he blinks twice and mutters towards the brew.
stealth: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Cast Detect Poison
"Oh, no my dear Ticco. It just means we need to be a bit more... creative in our approach. We'll get the marbles. Oh, we will get the marbles. Ticco, I need you to do what comes naturally to you. Be a distraction to Auntie Baldwin. Try to get as many of the children riled up as possible. If she screams at you, do not retaliate. Run around and get the children to join in. I will move to the kitchen. This old crone has to have more than just brandy in her boards."
Ticco begins to march in place with a renewed gleam in his eyes. He enters the orphanage abruptly gets lost and listens for the sounds of children.
stealth: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
Ticco sneaks inside Auntie Batlwin's Orphanage.
Ticco hears a few of the children quiet down as he peers through the door.
A few of the children are staring incredulously at the blue haired gnome staring at them.
One of the marble boys opens the door wider and says warmly,
"Hello gnome, sir. What are you doing back here? Did you want to play marbles after all? Can't play marbles indoors, Auntie doesn't like that."
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HIYA! No more marbles?! Let's play another game then! A game of color and speed. Everyone can play too!
Ticco says a few words into his hand. Next he runs around the room and one by one taps each child on the head in random order. With each touch the child's hair turns an impossible shade of blue. He reaches the last child who has been the most receptive to him this whole time.
"Now my young friend, if you would be so kind as to do me the honors of... being IT!" He taps the boy on the head and his hair bursts reddish orange as if on fire.
Immediately Ticco runs away frantically screaming with laughter, leaping another child and scurrying behind some furniture.
Here's to hoping this makes sense.
From inside the house you hear the screams of and laughter of many children. Karal sees a boy and a girl, both with hair as loud as their open mouths, come shooting past the front door and run screaming upstairs.
A few other children run circles around Ticco as he comes running from the back of the house.
From upstairs the muffled sound of an woman's voice can be heard but not understood. It sounds like Auntie Baltwin yelling from behind a few closed doors.
Wren slips into the empty kitchen. It is neat and tidy. The floors and counters gleam with a polished shine. The smell of harsh cleaning powders stings the nose.
Next to the sink a few clean dishes rest long since dried.
Wren doesn't have to look far to find what she is looking for however. As sitting next a few tins of flour and sugar is half empty bottle of Uncle Fuzzytoes' brandy.
Ticco comes crashing through a doorway with a trail of red haired screaming children behind him.
perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15
He notices Wren leaving the kitchen and thinks it might be time to make his escape. He quickly weaves his way through furniture and doorway, one room to the next.
stealth: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
And when the coast is clear he tries to sneak out.
A few of the children run screaming through the front door following after Ticco. Others can be seen running up the stairs and a few dare to run through the parlor into the kitchen.
Auntie Batlwin's presence is felt once again as the sounds of shouting and slamming doors comes from the upper floor.
Storming down the stairs the befuddled caretaker bursts through the front door and begins yelling at the children to get back inside.
She shoots Ticco a withering look while the children with bright blue hair attempt to not look jovial as they file back inside.
One of the neighbors who came outside to watch the disturbance lets out a loud guffaw as Auntie totters back into the house with her skirts tucked into her hose.
Ticco looks side to side at the statues he's brought back from the orphanage.
"HOOOYA We sure did interview that old sot! What a woman!"
He opens up a tiny compartment on the side of one of the statues and pulls out an empty bottle.
"We found this! It's got no marbles. I don't know what it's good for."
Ticco holds up the bottle.
"Old Lady Baltwin is a drunk (pulls out empty brandy bottle), the children aren't getting their medicine, and I am sure the neighbor man would have told us she gambles if we had talked to him. Personally, I think she is selling the medicine to nefarious groups and using the children as slave labor."
"Oh, I could use a bit of the old lay on hands from you, please. I received an injury fighting an imp earlier in the day."