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The ramshackle town of Falcon’s Hollow rests perilously close to the infamous Darkmoon Vale. The jagged shadow of nearby mountains casts a shroud of gloom on the desperate souls who call this place home. Many are drawn here to make their fortune cutting a swath of darkwood lumber through the lush forests of the vale. Others journey to these remote fringes to start over, piecing together their shattered lives on the edge of an untouched wilderness far from the things of man. Persecuted zealots and outcasts flock to Falcon’s Hollow. Here, these fanatics practice their strange and often deviant rites unfettered by the mores of civilization.
It's a hard place and folks go missing regularly despite the efforts of the hard bitten sell swords and mercaneries hired by the local Lumber Consortium to keep its lumberjacks and townsfolk safe from the dangers of the Vale.
Recently word of a deadly plague sweeping through the small town has spread through the region keeping trading caravans away. Just as quickly though different news has been spreading that the illness has receded, or that it's been cured, or, more likely, the whole thing was a bunch of exaggerated hogwash and there was no plague in the first place.
Whatever the truth may be a trading caravan has just set up right across the River Foam on the other side of the ferry braving the rumours of a plague to do business with the isolated settlement. Being more adventurous than usual the caravan includes some vendors of more exotic fare than the usual purveyors of mundane necessities and trinkets.
Your mother has made a full recovery and is in good health. She's a bit worried about your father though as he's been gone for two weeks and has two weeks left in covering for Milon. Milon's been in town for that whole while spending most of his time in the Rogue Lady, one of the disreputable places on Mud Street that the lumberjacks waste their money in when they're on leave.
Your father was in the best mood you've seen him in for a long while though. It seems like the close brush at losing one of the people he loves the most in the world has made him thankful for what he has.
Hildrensocks is more than glad to have you back helping him in the shop and loved the summoning salts you got him as a gift. He's got a raven now that spends its time roosting on the roof of the Goose’n’Gander. This does make with the suspicous folk of the town nervous but everyone in town has put two and two together on how a slender girl such as yourself carrying around a huge book all the time would have been able to be a valuable part of a perilous expedition deep into the Darkmoon Forest and seem more accepting of your unspoken talents. Maybe even a little protective!
Laurel put you to work coordinating with the Sheriff in bringing the folks of the town she knows to be suffering from the taint in to get a dose of the cure. With your help the guard were able to do a brisk job of it before the rest of the town realized what was happening and rushed to Laurel's shop for their own turn at the cure. The rest is a blur of Laurel closely examining the other folk and either giving them a fake yellow potion or the real cure based on whether they actually have the taint or not. She notes with satisfaction that they've saved about twenty souls and that she's made a lot of coin from the others.
Roots'N'Remedies is now a much busier place as folks in town now come to Laurel for pretty much everything and your cousin is certainly reaping the reward for being instrumental in saving the town from the disease. A lot of her extra income goes to taxes to the Lumber Consortium of course but that's just the way it goes in Falcon's Hollow.
Sheriff Baelson has let you know that you did a much better job than he was expecting when he sent you out on a desperate quest to do somethig... anything.. for the town. Anytime you want to join the Guards again is fine by him. You still have a month of leave left from the Legion so you have some time to make a decision on what direction your life will take for the next while.
With Astrianna gone Lady Cirthana of the Iomedean church has been incredibly complementary of you in her sermons, especially when you are in attendance at worship. The Church is busier on the holy days now too.
Whisper has decided to adopt you as his big brother of sorts. It sticks to you close when you're in town but is far more comfortable for ranging around when you're in the wilds.
When Laurel made her offer for you to bring your brother a fake potion for his imagined taint you are tempted to take her up on the offer, maybe it's mainly because of the 25 gold you stand to make from the transaction, maybe it's mainly because you know your brother won't listen to you about him not being sick and will go in to Laurel himself for his 'cure' if you don't deliver it to him. Either way you are no longer just Vamros's younger brother but a local hero!
After life in the town gets back to normal though you find yourself back in your dull job in paper mill working for your elderly uncle Rabod Harg.
That's life I guess.
Albus, Aeleire, and Virdel:
It's up to the three of you how much the inquiriing townsolk are able to pry from you on what actually happened deep in the Vale. The Sheriff, Hildrensocks, the mayor, and the cleric of the Iomedean church do have pretty good reports too as they are your superiors or patrons in your expedition and wanted detailed information. Some rumours have seeped out however at the very least and the three of you are know known as the Heroes Of the Vale.
In particular a young woman named Evani has started hanging around the three of you either speartely or together. She's inordinately proud of being in the line you three cut in front of at Laurel's back when all this started.
The arrival of a caravan is always a source of excitement for the townsfolk and you three agreed to visit the caravan together to try and take care of the various bits of treasure retrivied on the adventure into the Vale. It's been three weeks since you got back from the ancient dwarven monastery.
Of special note are a tough looking Shoanti woman who seems to specialize in weapons judging by the contents of her stall, A dwarven book merchant smoking a pipe outside of his wagon, and a gnome selling magical trinkets who's been spending a lot of time with Hildrensocks.
Milon Rhoddam came to each of you in turn or together and thanked you in his stoic way for getting the cure in time to save his nephew. He wants you to know that you've got a friend in him in the future.
You three can RP the trading caravan parts while we recruit a frontliner and get Farfeet situated or we can just handwave it and you tell me what you want to sell and how much GP you guys get
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Life had returned to normal for Aelerie in the three weeks since she and the others ventured forth into the Vale and brought back the ingredients that would rid the town of the Blackscour Taint. Perhaps even better than normal. Her mother, Vimea, was the first cured of the affliction, and was now back to her normal, vivacious self, and the memory of her near brush with death was easily forgotten like some long-ago nightmare when she smiled.
Then there were the townsfolk. Although Aelerie was generally well-liked among the townspeople before setting out to find the cure, rumors persisted that she dabbled in witchcraft, which lead to some of the more suspicious residents of Falcon's Hollow treating her as a pariah. It was a welcome surprise to find that, when the group returned, many of those same people who had been so suspicious of her before had not only figured out that she was indeed a spellcaster, but that they were evidently fine with that. Although this newfound acceptance of her arcane abilities hasn't made Aelerie any more eager to use magic in public, she has been perfectly comfortable using her cleaning cantrip while assisting customers at the Goose'n'Gander.
In addition to all this was the arrival of the trading caravan. Although not normally a cause for celebration for the young woman due to money being tight in the Mirisen household, her recent journey into the Vale proved to be a profitable one, and Aelerie was looking forward to seeing what wares the traveling merchants have brought. That she would be spending the day with Albus and Virdel once again was an added bonus.
"Mama will be grateful to have this thing out of her house finally," Aelerie remarks, holding up the macabre shrunken head by the amulet's string and letting it twist back and forth a few moments before stowing it away. "There's been a gnome spending time with Master Hildrensocks lately who deals in magical trinkets. You two are welcome to come along of course, but if you'd rather see what others have for sale first, I'll see what I can get for the soulspeaker and meet up with you both later."
Approaching the gnome's station, Aelerie greets, "Good day! I've seen you around Master Hildrensocks' shop, but I'm afraid I haven't caught your name... I'm Aelerie."
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The Sun breaks over the horizon, pink in it's morning glory. It stalks across a quaint vale, of hardened folk, scattered on hard scrabbled farms, or packed in a surprisingly neat but somewhat run-down town. In a unassuming shack, just out of town, a Firefox Fennec awakes and starts tugging on his friend to get up. Albus stirs and vainly sweeps his hand towards the hungry fox. "Go away, Whisper, the ferry doesn't leave for a while yet." Whisper yaps at Albus undeterred. "Alright, Alright already, I'm up." Quickly Albus puts himself together and goes for the morning hunt. Less than an hour later, Albus breakfasts on Rabbit and Hard Rye, while Whisper gnaws at his bounty of meat and entrails. Finishing his prayers to Erastil and Iomedae, he hurries out to meet Aelerie at Ferry.
Albus is with his former adventure companions at the ferry. He greets Master Virdel Harg and Aelerie. He replies to Aelerie, "I'd be happy to see that thing sold myself, it's a bit creepy. And if there enough, I'd like to see if there is a really good Chain Shirt available, though that would cost a fortune. I'm, well, not good with money, no idea what anything is worth. I appreciate any help in buying stuff." Albus, after working to beat the scourge, a bit of rest, and recovering from his wheeze, seems somehow more filled-out and stronger.
The gnome puttering about quite an outlandish wagon festooned with all manners of objects, ranging from brightly coloured feathers to grotesque fetishs among which your soulspeaker would feel right at home, looks up from her work and lets out a squeal. She runs around a table laden with wands, amulets, and jewelry and grabs Aelrie's hands. She stands maybe a smidge taller than Hildrensocks and is wearing a garish outfit of all the colours of the rainbow. Her hair is a quite shocking mixture of blue and pink. What's most eye catching about the colours is their hue. None of you have seen anything like it, the closest you can describe it is as almost painfully bright pastel.
Oohh, the mysterious young woman who can call summons to her aid from the aether in a manner that just should not be possible. Yes yes I've heard of you from Hildrensocks. My word, if you do sell me the soulspeaker that fine gnome mentioned then that will make the trip out here to the back end of nowhere completely worth it five times over. Other than getting to spend some time with good old Birk of course. Don't know how that one can be so rooted to one place. If I did anything close to that I'd turn bone white and drop dead in oh, a fortnight or so. If anyone could make me reconsider It'd be him though, Oh aren't you a lucky one to be working for him...
You get the feeling she's not going to stop if you don't interrupt her.
"Of course. I don't think Master Hildrensocks would ever let me hear the end of it if I paid one silver more for something than it was worth, so I think we can get you a fair price on whatever catches your eye," Aelerie says in response to Albus' concerns.
Although briefly taken aback by the enthusiastic greeting and garish garb of the merchant, Aelerie recovers quickly - long since accustomed to the excitability of gnomes thanks to her employer - and gives the woman an easy smile as she waits for a lull or for the gnome to draw breath. "I am," she quickly interjects when the opportunity presents itself. "Lucky, that is. Master Hildrensocks has taught me so much, and because of it, I was able to help my friends here save the town. I was able to save my mother." Before she can begin to feel teary at sad memory, Aelerie retrieves the soulspeaker from her pouch and holds it out for the gnome's inspection. "But, yes, we did come to see if you would have any interest in purchasing this."
Albus looks over the unusual stock of the diminutive merchant, when he is overwhelmed by the voluble gnome. Confusedly Albus says, "Hi, I'm Albus -" He breaks off when Aelerie smoothly inserts herself in the midst of the torrent of words. Whisper pokes his head out of Albus's shirt peering curiously at the flamboyant trader.
Is there anything of weapons or armor visible in the gnomes stock?
Just some small sized quivers of arrows and bolts are visible at the gnome's stall.
The gnome holds out her hand for the amulet and then she looks at it carefully. She casts a cantrip that Aelerie recognizes as a detect magic spell and then she smiles and tosses it up in the air. One thousand gold even. What do you say?
Appraise (Fair Price?): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
"..." After hearing the price the gnome offered, Aelerie is able to do little else but regard the the woman in open shock. It was certainly more than she would have thought to ask for for the macabre trinket. 1,000 gold pieces?! Immediately, her mind went wild with the possibilities of what she could do with that small fortune. Replenishing and further adding to her parents' meagre savings would be first, of course, and along that vein she wondered if it might be enough coin to allow her father to take time off of work. She knew her mother missed him terribly, being forced to say goodbye to her husband all too soon after she recovered from the Blackscour Taint. Sadly, though, Aelerie didn't think any amount of gold would get her father more time off than Gavel Kreed and Boss Teedum already allowed. If anything, they'll think of a way to tax Papa even more if they find out about the money...
Suddenly realizing that she's taken far too long giving an answer to the gnome's offer, Aelerie looks to Albus and Virdel to gauge their opinion. "That sounds like a generous offer."
Leaving the door open for Albus or Virdel to weigh in either here or in the discussion or roll Appraise/Sense Motive/Diplomacy, but, assuming that Aelerie's Appraise check tells her it's a fair offer, she'll be happy to sell.
Appraise checks are pretty useless with Magic Items by RAW sadly
Hah! the gnome whoops I do beg your pardon but I absolutely love negotiating with you people out on the sticks. I think I could have gotten away with getting it off of you for eight hundred or something like that. No no no. the fair pice is twelve hundred and I'm not going to stiff a close friend of old Birk. Though I will give him a piece of my mind next time I see him though. You're obviously a sharp young woman and even though I'm sure you haven't seen many wondrous items of these kinds he really should have impressed on you that an amulet like this that doesn't deplete charges is quite valuable and what you need to look at for fair value on it is to consider the level of the spell that was the component for its creation and then....
Also Aelerie would be very aware that the early weekly earnings of a lumberjack in town is about.... 5 sp. Welcome to the Golarian economy, where finding one low level magic item pretty much pushes you into the one percent. I try not to think too deeply about it
In Falcon's Hollow, Virdel wait for the others at the appointed time, sipping his steaming mug of tea. His spirits have noticeably perked up since returning to the forest town. He knows that his brother must now start giving him the respect he craves, especially since bringing Vamros the "cure". Virdel didn't even feel bad about deceiving his brother- he did after all help save the town, so he deserves some praise no matter what.
I'm going to take 25 extra gp for that then.
When Albus and Aelerie arrive at the ferry, Virdel greets them cheerily. "Have you noticed a change in the people here? Everyone seems so friendly all of a sudden! Without me even needing to use my powers," he adds with a grin.
At the caravan, Virdel observes the gnome while Aelerie negotiates. "That is most generous of you to give the fair price. What do you have that is equally valuable? Perhaps we can effect a trade instead." He looks through the rest of the items for sale.
Can social skills be used here? And would detect magic be considered rude? I'm used to playing PFS where item purchases work differently.
At the ferry.
Albus greets Virdel warmly but with his usual formality, "Yes, Master Harg, most people seem grateful, it's nice. Some ... not so much... and some are fretting a bit, as to what the bosses think about all this fuss. Still it's a great day and one to be enjoyed."
At the market.
Albus is somewhat taken aback from hearing about a thousand gold but also thought the magic would have to be valuable, good armor was after all and isn't magic like that? What a fortune but is it enough for really good armor? Albus interjects tentatively, A good portion of that would buy a master made chain shirt would it not? Of course everyone should get something they'd like." Albus falls silent, somewhat abashed at his grasping at merely worldly goods.
There is no way to make sense of the D20 money system, I've tried and read others' attempts, there's just no way to make it work rationally.
Virdel peruses the wands displayed by the gnome. "Something here might be useful in the future."
A full wand is 750 gp which I don't quite have. Any chance there is a partial wand? I found a wand of CLW so I don't need that. I would like one of shield of faith if possible. If not, I will buy a bunch of scrolls. Also, I would like to sell the thieves' tools and the leather armor I picked up. I will wait to see if a new person can use the small-sized mwk shortsword.
Chagrined by the gnome's admission - especially considering she had but moments ago assured Albus that she was capable of determining the fair price of goods - Aelerie is nonetheless happy to find that trinket vendor is an honest merchant. She listens keenly as the gnomish woman describes how to properly figure the value of similar items, and once the transaction is completed, Aelerie keeps a careful hold of the small fortune in her hands, but doesn't put the coins in her purse just yet. Instead, she looks over the gnome's other wares, in particular looking for what look to be useful new spells to add to her spellbook.
After giving back 100 gold pieces and putting the rest safely away, Aelerie collects her scrolls and bids the gnome a good day. "Now, let's see about getting you some new armor, shall we?" she says to Albus, looking around for one such merchant.
You see a halfling running up to the caravan and looks at the three heroes and blurts out "My name is Laro Farfeet. I work as a scribe for the lumber consortium, though I have other talents as well. I just found out that Kreed's son along with four other children from town haven't been seen in a day. I know the kids around here run a bit wild but for them to go missing overnight is unusual. I was hoping you would help me check into this as I don't want anything to happen to the children."
Albus is even more shocked by an honest merchant at the market. Honesty in a merchant. I never thought that ... even Laurel isn't totally ... What? Having his view, his certainty of how the world worked shaken, it takes a moment for Laro's news to sink in. "What? Well one kid going wayward for an evening rare but not too unlikely but five that's weird. Which other children exactly? What does the Sheriff think of this?" Albus dismisses the coin from his mind as unimportant and start to focus on the excitable halfling.
"I haven't talked to the sheriff. I just heard the boss yelling, as usual, and did some discreet questioning at work. The sheriff may have more details. Maybe we should go ask him." Laro says as he starts to turn around and head back for the sheriff.
Virdel overhears the other halfling's excited approach. He of course recognized the scribe from his necessarily-frequent-yet-always-regrettable visits to the Lumber Consortium. "What's this then? That's horrible! I wonder if my brother the magistrate knows about this yet?" Virdel can't help namedropping a little.
Were the news of the missing children coming from anyone else affiliated with the Lumber Consortium, Aelerie would have reacted with a healthy amount of skepticism, particularly on hearing that Gavel Kreed was concerned. Laro, however, had never given Aelerie the impression that he was anything but an honest-to-goodness person trying to make the best out of a bad situation. The same could be said of most of Falcon's Hollow's residents, her family included, and so when Laro brings news that five children have gone missing, Aelerie doesn't hesitate to believe the halfling.
"Missing? That's terrible..." The arcanist feels a sudden swell of guilt at hearing the news, unable to help but question whether tales of her and her companions' recent journey into the Vale might have inspired the children to think of forest as a place of harmless wonder. While the others consider visiting the Sheriff, Aelerie says, "I can see what some of the children in town might know about this. I used to watch some of them before I started working at the general store. They might feel more comfortable sharing secrets with me than with other adults."
Albus frowns a bit at the lack of details, but nods as the others suggestions. "Some scamps in town might do this as a prank, but not all, I think, unless bullied into it. Still there is too much danger around not to look into this." Albus says decisively, "Okay, Laro and I will go to the Sheriff, Aelerie talks to kids, Master Harg to his brother to find out exactly who are missing, and when and where last seen." Albus, wearing his new finery, dashes after Laro.
Laro and Albus find the Sheriff's office crowded. He spares you a glance and a nod as three people vie over each other for his attention.
You have to find my brother a young red headed woman is saying before a slightly older auburn haired woman interrupts I haven't seen my daughter since yesterday afternoon. I know she's a wild one but.. as a stout man loudly shouts Look here Sheriff, you know my boy Mikra isn't capable of looking after himself. Ya have to look for him first!
Both of you recognize the man as Colbrin Jabbs. The town butcher. He's a good and fair man and generally well liked.
Laro clears his throat louadly to get everyone's attention. "Excuse me! I understand there are five children missing in all. We'd like to look for all of them but we need to do this in a logical way, with one of you talking at a time, if that is ok with you sheriff."
The three worried elders turn towards Laro's voice and.. then promptly forget about him as they spy the heroic ranger of the town who traversed the entirety of the Darkwood Forest to ensure that no one else in town would suffer from the Blackscour Taint as his own tragically doomed family had. It's Albus! Ranger of the Legion! Beloved of both Erastil and Iomedae! Who knows the woods better than Milon Rhoddam even! Resplendent in shining armor and a fine tabard as green as the woods that are his domain!
All three of them forget about the Sheriff and push past the halfing to gladhandle Albus.
You can find her. She idolizes you and I'm sure.... My boy ain't right Master Wodeward. Ya half to find out what... Hollin's only ten. Oh you must find him!.
All three of them start treating the young ranger the same way they were treating the Sheriff.
Albus walks in on chaos as the crowd presses the Sheriff. He is worried that he this will further irritate the already overworked and not always friendly man. This worry changes to horror after Laro statement draws the crowds attention to Albus. "Lookin' into it... trying .. need to talk one at -." After a minute of this Albus snaps and screams, "Quiet everyone!" Points at the butcher, "Master Jabbs, you first. Which child, and when last seen?" Glares at anyone else that opens their mouth.
Use default intimidate or GM roll if needed. You roll better social than me anyway. :)
Intimdate with Heroes of the Hollow trait: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Albus' reputation is enough to quiet down the other two as a grateful Colbrin rushes into the resulting silence My boy Mirka, Master Wodeward. Mikra Jabbs. He's tall and skinny like his ma and he's got my dark hair. He's a gentle soul but he's been soft in the head since he was born. He believes the last thing he's been told and the other children lead him around. He's always come home before nightfall though and he didn't last night. I s'pose last time I saw him was yesterday morn. His ma says she hasn't seen him since lunchtime though.
As soon as it's apparent that the town butcher is done the other two start to talk but the auburn haired woman manages to edge the red headed one.
Albus, my word you've grown up to be a fine young man, Kimi idolizes you almost as much as she does Idris after how you saved us all from that awful disease. She's always out trying to have adventures and I'm worried. I haven't seen her since yesterday noon also. Sometimes she comes home a little late but she's never been away overnight
Finally the redhead speaks up My brother Hollin, he's friends with both Kimi and Mikra. Haven't seen him either since yesterday. He's the only family I've got left.. she bursts into tears.
Having said their peace to someone who they believe can help reduces the tension among the three worried guardians, Kitani pulls Ralla in for a hug while Colbin pats her on the back.
For his part Sheriff Baelson seems faintly amused as he leans back on his rickety chair and watches Albus manage to get useful information out of the three hysterical townsfolk. He clears his throat Well, seems like Albus here has volunteered to look for your wayward kids. he waves at Albus So. The best thing to do would be for him to get looking for your three right away. We'll let you know when we find out anything. If you could leave us to do our work? he says in a tone that brooks no argument.
When the three have shuffled out. He grins at Albus Well Wodeward, you seem to drop in at the most opportune times. You keep this up and I might even start going to church. he then shifts his gaze to Laro and becomes markedly less friendly. You're with the Lumber Consortium bastards aren't you? You said five kids are missing? How'd you know that? The three you just heard about are the only ones I know about
Laro looks hard back at the sheriff and almost yells at him, "Yes, I WORK for the Lumber Consortium bastards, doesn't mean I'm with them. A halfling's gotta eat. I know there are five cause I heard loudmouth Kreed yelling, as usual, that his son was missing. After discreetly asking around I found out that five children were missing, though not which ones."
Baelson lets his chair fall back forward with a creaky thump and holds his hands up in a placating gesture. Alright, alright, fair enough. If you're with Albus then that's good enough for me. Hells and Abyss I'd not be talking to almost anyone in town if I froze out folks who got paid by them.
He sighs and runs his hand through his roughly cut hair as he considers what he's just learned So along with Kreed's brat we have Mikra Jabbs, Kimi Eavewalker, and Hollin Hebraden, and apparently at least the last three are friends of each other. Don't know who this fifth is but I don't believe in coincidence enough to saw that all five of these just happened to disappear for unrelated reasons.
He fixes Albus and Laro with a stare You two are volunteering to look for these kids right? Not just blowing smoke?
Virdel splits from the group, intending to notify his brother about the disappearances. Then he considers his options and decides that the Sheriff is really the better one to handle this situation anyway. He decides to notify the girls at the brothel instead.
A few minutes later, he heads to the Goose N Gander, wondering what is taking his companions so long. "Hello!" he calls out to the proprietress when he enters.
As you enter the Goose' n' Gander, you see, standing off to the side, a man studying some supplies. He's wearing a dark purple cloak, embroidered with constellations, over leather armor, likewise stitched with silver thread. In his left hand, he carries a walking stick capped, once again, with silver. He has a gleaming starknife hanging from his belt, and you can see a half-dozen daggers tucked away in his outfit.
As Virdel calls out, he looks up and nods in greeting to the halfling.
The gentle ringing of a bell heralds Aelerie's arrival as she crosses the enchanted threshold into the Goose'n'Gander. "Oh, Virdel. Did you decide to get an early start on our preparations as well?" she asks, setting down the bundle of newly purchased scrolls at the front counter. "Master Hildrensocks?" she calls out, searching between the aisles for her employer. Spying the somewhat familiar traveler, Aelerie offers a smile and says, "I'll be right with you," before continuing to look for the gnome.
Albus looks a little hurt by the Sheriff's comments. "Finding the kids - Aelerie is out seeing if any kids know anything and Virdel is looking into something or other. Of course, I'll look for any sign of them but it would help if we can find anyone that saw the kids together, and I'd like to know about the last one as well. We'll also have to think of where they may have gone, on dare perhaps?" Albus get a determined look and follows up, "I'll go over to the Goose and see if Aelerie can point me into the right direction, she'll have just got started now. I'll think on what trouble these kids might have gotten themselves into ... hope that's it because other possibilities don't bear thinking about."
Knowledge (Local): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18 Given what I know of the kids and what type they where might they go as a group?
Laro smiles at the sheriff, "No hard feelings, I just like being put in the same group as my boss. The whole reason I found Albus and the others was to go look for these kids. These woods aren't any place for them." Laro waves to the sheriff on his way out the door behind Albus.
Goose N' Gander
Brikasnurd Hildrensocks, the only gnome resident of Falcon's Hollow and the proprietor of the haphazardly laid out general store pops up from a back room when Aeleire calls out and makes his way to the counter. There is a raven sitting on his shoulder making krok krok noises, probably asking for a treat.
Ah, Aelerie, Roow says hello, did you not have a day off today to go to the trading caravan? I see you found Jilpo judging by your scrolls. Quite a nice selection.
The Sheriff sighs as he gets up off his creaking chair and comes around his roughly made desk to give Albus a strong handshake with his right hand while he grips Albus' shoulder with his left. He looks the young ranger right in the eye I'm just glad you're still around here and haven't gone back to the legion yet. You know the woods better than almost anyone else now and I can't think of anyone better to track 'em down and bring 'em back home than you if that's what those kids got in their fool heads to do. Good luck.
He gives Laro a nod as both of you exit the Sheriff's office.
"Thank you, Master Hildrensocks. I did visit the caravan. I could have spent hours there browsing Jilpo's collection alone, but I'm afraid something has come up." As Aelerie goes up to the front counter to discuss the news with the gnome, she makes sure to angle herself in such a way that she can keep an eye on the drifter without - hopefully - seeming like she is watching him.
Bluff (Inconspicuous Action): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
"It seems some of the children in town have gone missing. Five of them, to be exact, according to an acquaintance of ours. Albus is speaking with the Sheriff right now to find out what he knows, but I'm sure I don't have to tell you how dangerous the Vale can be. Especially for children. If it's alright with you, I'd like to..." Aelerie breaks off for a moment, her cheeks pinking, before she continues in a much lower voice. "I'd like to go for another walksie, and help find these kids before they get into any trouble."
Hildrensocks is sometimes oblivious in a way that only gnomes can be Oh, another adventure for you, young one. My my, you are turning into a heroine like from the tales you used to love to read when you were just a bit younger he says loudly enough for Virdel and Javell to hear as he claps his hands in delight By all means go and save the little children. Maybe you'll come back with another fine gift. Though I don't think it will upstage Roow here. She's quite clever you know. the gnome says as he scratches the raven under her beak which she seems to enjoy greatly.
Albus brightens and shakes the Sheriff's hand firmly saying, "Thank you Sheriff, I won't let you or the kids down." To Laro, "I'll check in with Aelerie and then maybe check around the homes of the kids, might be able to suss out what their tracks look like, Goodman Laro." Albus goes to the Goose n' Gander, coming in he starts to say, "Glad I caught you Aelerie -"
He breaks off and turns to the not -so-mysterious stranger, saying, "Master Javell, a long time unseen, Blessings of the Inheritor and Ol'Deadeye upon you, has the Starsong guided you to us in a time of need?" Albus makes the Swordsign and the sign of Bow and Arrow, but doesn't do so well with the Flight of the Butterfly. "Ah you must pardon me, I never seem to get that right, perhaps you could show me again later."
Turning back to Aelerie (and Virdel if has has arrived), he says, "The missing children are Kreedson, Mikra Jabbs, Kimi Eavewalker, and Hollin Hebraden, so we need to know the fifth one. I'm planning to check their homes, see if I can learn their tracks." Again facing Javell, he says, "Do you have any idea where Idris is, of all those that run the woods here, he is the best? I just wish he'd stay closer and take care of his family more." Albus shakes his head at the irresponsibility of some parents just like a good judgmental Erastillian should, finally letting someone else get a word in.
Virdel smiles at Aelerie warmly. "Yes, I simply couldn't wait to get started." He listens as she explains the situation to her Master, nodding along gravely.
When Albus enters, Virdel exclaims, "Excellent work, Master Albus! The Sheriff had no leads at all, then?"
Laro speaks before Albus can answer Virdel, "The sheriff was being yelled at by three of the children's families. He didn't know there were five missing. It seems we arrived right after the families and saved the sheriff from them."
Javell gives Albus a quick half-salute in greeting, "Why, hello master Wodeward. It has been a while. What have you been up to? I heard some rumors about missing children. Let me guess, you're caught up in that somehow?"
When asked about Idris, Javell frowns. "Hmmm... Unfortunately not. I only just came into town earlier today- I needed new rope." He goes to the front counter and puts a length of hemp rope on the counter, "I'll have this one, please."
After paying for the rope, he coils it into his backpack, "So, we have no leads, five missing children, and a bunch of angry parents? Where do I sign up?"
Just to clarify, not actually buying anything OOC. The 'buying' the rope is just flavor.
Aelerie you know in passing as the assistant of the gnome who runs the general store where you stop by once in a blue moon. She's always tried to avoid you when you've come in.
You don't know the two halflings.
Aelerie's blush deepens at Hildrensock's praise, though she manages to give him a genuine, if somewhat embarrassed smile. For as much as the gnome claimed not to understand humans and their behavior, at times like this she did wonder if he didn't understand the effect his words had a great deal more than he let on. After thanking Hildrensocks for giving her leave to go rescue the children, Aelerie digs through one of the drawers behind the front counter and retrieves a small cracker, which she offers to Roow. "I'm relying on you to keep an eye on the store while I'm gone."
Aelerie returns Virdel's warm smile with one of her own, though it turns to a look of worry before she finishes speaking. "Yes, I feel the same. Gods only know what kind of trouble these kids have found out in the Vale. We weren't out of town more than a few hours when those stirges attacked us. I just hope they have enough sense not to have wandered too far."
Aelerie remains behind the counter, quietly watching the exchange between Albus and Javell. Although she would typically trust Albus' judgement without question, that he is on good terms with the traveler doesn't seem to make her any less wary of him. When Javell comes to purchase the rope, she carries out the transaction in a perfunctory manner, her typical cheeriness strangely absent, although she does manage to murmur something close to "Thank you" as she drops his gold piece into the till.
After listening to the others discuss leads and Albus' plan to pick up the children's tracks at their houses, Aelerie says, "I still have to see what the kids in town might know, but I thought it might save us some time to stop in here and prepare first." Moving out from behind the counter, she goes to collect the supplies she needs. "Does anyone else need supplies before we go?"
I'm adding a scroll case, a waterproof bag, and five days worth of rations to my gear and deducting 4gp.
sense motive?: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Hearing that Ralla's brother is missing sobers Virdel even more than Kadran's glare had. He tries to find a moment alone with the distraught young whore in the common room. "My dear, I heard that your family is suffering. Maybe there is something I can do to help? We can go somewhere private just to talk if you like. No need for you to perform for me under such circumstances." He slips a gold piece into her hand. When they are alone, he implores her to tell her everything she knows about the disappearance.
Still he who pays the piper calls the tune and 5 gold gets you time with Ralla soon enough.
Grateful for the time off, the tip, and the sympathetic ear Ralla says Oh thanks Master Harg. I've already gone to the... uh.. she hesitates I've already told your ranger friend about my brother and he said he'd help find him. Hollin's a good boy and I don't know why he did this even though he knows this would make me so worried. she twists her skirt in her lap as she slumps over exhausted with worry It must have been one of the girls he plays with that put him up to this, either that wild tomboy Kimi, or that creepy grave digger's daughter Savra. Oh, if you could help too just like you helped save the town from the taint that would be wonderful. Please, what little I have, would be yours. I just want my little brother back. she seems like she might begin sobbing again but her life seems to have toughened her up. She instead begins to quickly fix her makeup to make herself presentable.
Deduct 6gp please Virdel.
You guys are free to read all spoilers. What I use them for is as indications that the other characters wouldn't know what they are hiding.
Albus shakes his head, "No I carry everything valuable with me, never know when "bandits" will break in." Turning to Javell, "You just did, and as I recall you're better at tracking than I. So we go and start with figuring out their tracks, then, if we get any hint of where they left, we can track them. I think I know but, Aelerie, do you know where the kids live?"
After Aelerie answers, Albus asks Virdel, "Learned anything so far, it could take a bit, I know?" Albus is already moving to the door, leaving as soon as he gets his answers.