The rookery man asks for one hundred gold bits. Remember that bits equal 1/2 gold piece. The price is 50gp.
He rolls up the strip of paper, but waits for payment before ascending the stairs to the ravens. There, the floor and overhead rafters are coated in years of bird waste. A draft breezes through the openings in the roof. Fjorheim indicates that Logan need not follow him up there. Producing a pinch of birdfeed, a handful of ravens alight on nearby surfaces, though one perches onto his arm. Snapping at the treat, the bird holds still as the dwarf wraps the message around its leg, sealing it with a dab of liquid wax from a nearby candle. Fjorheim strokes the bird and mutters a magic word, and the raven spirits away through the one of the many slats under the conical ceiling.
With their business concluded, the frizzy-haired, one-eyed dwarf shoos Logan toward the door. Not too late to ask anything of Fjorheim or send another message though!
|Aladdin of the Azlanti|
Coral gives Aladdin a sideways look, unsure if he refers to her as a piece of meat. But the moment passes and she seems to notice something away from the rookery tower, deeper into the city. She skips along the road in that direction.
She whirls to a stop after traveling a city block, and ducks into a tavern.
|Aladdin of the Azlanti|
Logan pays and thanks the dwarf for his services. Opening the door to the rookery, "Alright, where to..." he realizes no one is there. "Next? Huh... " he walks around the building, finds Bolgrith and Tynn talking with no sign of Aladdin or Coral. Logan walks up to the two dwarves and says "Well, the message has been sent, ideally it's not too late. Do you know where Aladdin and Coral got off to?"
Coral nods enthusiastically, though when she gets her strongwine, the girl wastes no time gulping down the potent beverage in an unlady-like manner. After finishing three drinks at a surprising speed, it becomes clear to Aladdin that Coral is motivated to get drunk for a reason. She orders a dish of pork-chops for her stormborn friend.
A runner discretely enters the dining hall of the palace where the dwarf enjoys his oats and marmalade. His eyes sweep over the others in the hall, not noticing Tolsbaer at first due to the humble dwarf’s unobtrusive nature. After a moment or two of searching, the runner spots the eater of simple oats.
He bows slightly as he approaches the young noble, extending an arm to leave a clean, crisply-folded square of parchment on the wooden table. He steps back and seems to wait for a response from Tolsbaer. The message is sealed in gold wax bearing the Stormcall family crest. Inside, it reads:
I understand you wish to see more of this wide world, and learn more of its peoples. I had hoped for a grander opportunity to present to you, but necessity requires a somewhat mundane task to someone I trust.
Four people of interest held court with myself and my peers, and I wish to know more of their doings: two men, a woman, and one dwarf. The bald, thick-bearded dwarf carries a shield displaying an open blue hand. Another possession of note is his staff topped with a jagged purple crystal. He is a priest of Irori, The Perfect Man. With him travel two tall men. One of the men bears the markings and stature of the noble Stonebit line, undoubtedly related to their head of house. The green cloak of the Borderguard hangs from his shoulders, and on his back hangs a great curved blade. The taller of the two men is Aladdin, a mage of some kind. He carries a mace and longspear, but does not walk like a trained warrior. I judge him to be the type with an unquiet mind. Aladdin keeps company with a redhaired common woman, called Coral. She may also be a mage, but she said nothing in my presence and unadorned in finery like the others. These four, plus another that is no longer with them, managed to procure an Irkei Stone to see our thrones immediately. I am curious how this was done.
I need you to follow them and inform me of their whereabouts and activities to determine their purpose, if any. Either in boldness or in stealth, how you do so is up to you; their knowledge of my interest matters little. This is not an assignment to capture or assassinate, and I would advise against lethal force unless attacked first. Keep tabs on these people of interest for at least one week. A raven will suffice if the report cannot be made in person.
From your loving uncle,
~Holy King Stormcall <3
Bolgrith looks at the odd little wizened dwarf before nodding contemplatively. "Aye, that we might. But I'll have to consult my traveling companions before committing to any course of action."
Seeing Logan approach, the Priest nods absentmindedly. "Good. My prayers go with it. As for our ne're-do-well traveling companion, I believe he and his lady have made for a pub down the way." He indicates the direction that Aladdin had left.
Tolsbaer nods to the messenger to show he is through reading the letter, but holds up a hand for him to wait as the young noble finishes chewing.
After swallowing, "Thank you for this message. Tell my Uncle to consider the task done. I am but his humble servant after all. Please, see the bursar on your way out. Your diligence deserves a reward, eh?"
Baer wipes his beard with his napkin, then produces a small bone comb and neatly brushes it out. He stands and walks briskly to his quarters where he changes his clothes and packs a small bag in case his task leads him away overnight.
At the gates, he inquires of the butler, "Tell me. Have we heard anything of a bald dwarf newly come to the isles bearing the blue hand of the perfect man? With him travel a tall, addled man, his woman, and a Stonebit from the borderguard. I must find them with all haste."
1d20 + 12 ⇒ (3) + 12 = 15
The following is based on the assumption Tolsbaer is asking the gates of the estate he's leaving?
The butler's brow creases in thought for a moment, before his face changes to an apologetic expression. "I am sorry, Lord Tolsbaer, I do not know. Much of my work today has kept me on the grounds, and I have not heard the comings and goings of late.
"Shall I summon runners to find these people for you? Or guards, perhaps?"
If Tolsbaer goes looking for them himself, please roll Diplomacy, Perception, and Survival.
The old bent dwarf nods at Bolgrith's discretion, and remains silent during the exchange between the two traveling companions.
"Well, a pub is a good place to gather, and consult," Hiloxiet adds, smiling. He turns a hobbling gait toward the tavern that serves Aladdin and Coral. "I'll answer as many questions as I can, Master Bolgrith, from you and your friends... just know that I will expect some answers in return. Or a warm meal..." By the look of him, the studious dwarf has probably not had a full belly in years.
His stooped and narrow frame struggles down the road.
Tolsbaer smiles with understanding. "Do not be troubled, Brynjolf. I was only asking. Please do send four runners. Their task is to find whereabouts only. Do not engage them in anyway. If they are found, the information is to be brought back here. I may come back tonight or I could be...longer." He claps the butler on the shoulder. "Thank you, faithful friend."
Tolsbaer strides out, ear to the ground for these foreigners.
Diplomacy 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (11) + 12 = 23
Perception 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
Survival 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Logan sighs and gives a smile "I suppose it wouldn't hurt to head to the tavern. I mean, odds are good that we'll have some time to kill." he gives a grin, "First round's on me."
Tolsbaer notices a handful of humans here and there, but there were always wealthy merchants and men of importance who met with their dwarven counterparts here in, arguably, the most powerful city of the Hammertides. None of these men or their entourage match the descriptions provided by his uncle.
But he overhears a committee of dwarves grumbling about the early closure of the thrice throned hall, and suspects that whatever news was borne by Irkei Stone might have resulted in the dwarf kings being needed elsewhere. Ever polite, what the son of Stormcall learns from the grumblers confirms his suspicion, and moreover, the Stonebit and his companions were last seen about an hour ago, heading to the edge of the city but not toward the docks.
After talking with dwarf residents in that direction, Tolsbaer hears that the man in a Borderguard cloak was asking for directions to the rookery. Since there was but one rookery (save for the royal ravens used between kings), the humble dwarf makes his way to Fjorheim’s smelly ramshackle tower. Like the last time the young dwarf visited, a sign instructs to chime the tuning fork rather than knock, and limits the visitors to pairs.
You’re a little bit ahead, as far as timing for the rest of the party. Go ahead and respond, but if I don’t get back to you right away, that is why.
The rest of the group enters the tavern to find Aladdin and Coral seated at the bar, just as a steaming dish of pork chops are laid in front of the mage. The tavern itself is mostly full, but not packed with patrons just yet. Given how busy it is at this dinner hour, this alehouse probably becomes full to bursting in the drinking hours.
Coral turns an annoyed look to Aladdin’s companions as they approach. There isn’t enough room at the bar for Bolgrith, Logan, and Tynn to join alongside the two lovebirds, but there is an empty table in the corner furthest from the hearth that could seat everyone. A barmaid stops at the table to take orders.
It’s up to Aladdin if he wants to join the cold table in the corner or continue making googly eyes with tipsy Coral at the bar.
The old, destitute dwarf smiles widely as he hobbles into the establishment and the smell of warm food washes over him.
When asked what he will have for food and drink, Tynn glances uncertainly at Logan, who offered to pay for the first round, and then requests a hot spiced tea with some bread. As the barmaid takes orders from the others, he glances around at the other patrons, but keeps his thoughts to himself.
Logan, not wanting to draw undue attention to the dwarf, asks the maid to bring the table a pint of whatever ale suits each person's desire and a platter of meat large enough to be split 3 ways. "With my ale, I would prefer something dark and strong."
|Aladdin of the Azlanti|
The old dwarf asks for a cider, and smiles appreciatively at Logan. The barmaid looks to Bolgrith.
The barman's hands are quick, and Aladdin's coins rest on the counter for a moment. In the blink of an eye they are replaced by an iron key. "Upstairs, second door on the left," he adds impassively, preoccupied with his other duties.
"A brown ale, my dear." Bolgrith says to the girl. "And heavy bread as well for me and my friends." He waves an armored hand to indicate the others seated with him.
Smiling apologetically to Tynn, he shrugs as Aladdin disappears further into the inn. "Well, I'm afraid we'll have to postpone talks of importance until later." The Priest leans back into his chair, getting comfortable. "So what do you say we learn a little more about each other, master Hiloxiet?"
The ancient dwarf nods with a small smile. "Fair. I suppose there is little you know of me..."
He pauses when he sees the barmaid return with drinks and a basket of bread. She says the meat will be along in a few minutes. Before Tynn takes puts the cider to his mouth, he leers one eye down the mouth of the glass. Satisfied at whatever he was inspecting, Tynn drinks deep of the golden, apple beverage and sighs heavily afterward. The glass rests on the table as he raises a look to Logan. "Thank you. One forgets how fine the finer things can be when subsisting on water for years." He turns to his fellow dwarf. "I enjoy books, always have. Heh, it is possible that I've read every book in the Hammertide Isles," he smiles half-jokingly, "That is one thing that has remained constant since my youth: I love learning. Not all knowledge is found in books, though, and I am fascinated by the secrets locked in the past and future. That is why I poke around the carved stone left by those who lived on these islands before we dwarves came to these lands." He reaches and pulls a handful of bread from the basket, and takes a big bite. Tynn raises his bushy eyebrows as he chews, indicating that he wants to hear Bolgrith or Logan to tell more about themselves.
"Well it would seem we share some things in common then!" Bolgrith says, smiling. Placing a hand on his chest he continues. "My companion, Aladdin and I are from a continent to the West known as Hamonreld, far across the ocean." He takes a sip of his drink. "I am a follower of Irori, the Perfect Man." He points to his shield. "He teaches that there are many paths to self-perfection. Most take the path of the physical." He flexes a bicep and pats it, with a little less modesty than perhaps is becoming of a Priest. "Which is well and good, but I've always had a thirst for the natural world. Any occasion for learning is to be sought diligently." He nods knowingly at Tynn before rummaging in his haversack.
"And since you mentioned books..." He pulls forth a large tome, well worn with study and stained by travel. "Here's one you may not have read." The Priest, lovingly, pushes the book across the table. The cover is unmarked by a title, but turning past the flyleaf shows that the book is called Unbinding the Fetters. "A holy text, containing the wisdom of my faith." Bolgirth explains quietly.
Logan takes a swallow of his ale and smiles "Absolutely! It's important to remind oneself from time to time of the nicer things in life." As Bolgrith finishes, Logan looks at the him says "Remind me at some point to ask you about The Perfect Man. I know surprisingly little and would like to learn more." he turns his attention to Hiloxiet "As for me, I've been a soldier since I was old enough to enlist. I am currently a lieutenant of the Borderguard and ideally will promote up as far as they'll have me. My father was a captain of the Borderguard , but fell in battle." his countenance becomes a bit somber as his eyes begin to gaze into the distance. He takes another drink, "In any event, I haven't had much time for books, but I do enjoy learning what I can." he says the last with a smile.
"Oh..." The bibliophile leafs through the pages of Bolgrith's holy text as he listens to Logan.
Then he is quiet for several more minutes, bent over the thick tome.
At last, he looks up, seeming to just now realize he was ignoring those around the table. "Apologies. This is an interesting read! Reminds me of someone I happened across in the wilds of Ytramond, decades ago..." He gestures dismissively before reaching for his glass. Before taking a sip, he swirls it and then stares into the bottom again. After a few moments he shrugs and swigs, leaving just a sip in the cup on the table. "I'll have to read more of this later, if you do not mind, Bolgrith the Faithful."
He looks over his bifocals across the table to the soldier. "A Borderguard lieutenant?" Tynn's gaze narrows in calculation. Then a small smile breaks over his face. "No doubt you are in a constant hustle; surely much of your learning takes place on the field, starting with the practical application. And I'm sure such busyness might be a frenzy now, with the threat of invasion at hand."
At that moment, a steaming dish of beef, shredded into a mound and seasoned wonderfully, is set at the table. Tynn takes a piece of bread and parts it to fill with meat, but indicates that Logan should get first pick of the beef.
"Go ahead, lad. You're paying, after all." A sideways look goes to Bolgrith. "I don't like to make assumptions about the future, but I think you and I are going to get along quite well. I've read of Hamonreld, though it was some work to decipher the fact from fiction. Peoples and customs strange to these islands. 'Orcs', for example, I understand to be as savage as goblins, as tall as men, and strong as bulls?"
Logan nods "Aye, things in the Borderguard have a way of keeping you busy. Truthfully, you have to find the small moments in the midst of the business to relax or unwind, otherwise you can't be as alert in the field. Sometimes I think the mental or emotional exhaustion can kill just as quickly as a sword, it just happens to wield your opponent instead of a blade."
Logan's eyes widen with a hungry joy at the tray of meat and thanks the dwarf for his kindness and similarly fashions his bread and fills it with the tasty meat, leaving more than enough for both dwarves to have their fill. Strong as bulls? Certainly sounds like an interesting opponent...