|Saniel Jin Ka|
|Nils the Ashen|
|Krackle | Zach|
|Nils the Ashen|
It was a cold rain that had been falling all morning. Nils could tell by the way the pink skins pulled their collars tight and hustled to their destinations. It didn't bother the tiefling though, the cold rarely did, but it was a reminder that winter was near at hand. Nils sat where he'd spent his last few hours crosslegged on the side of one of the main roads off of Temple Hill. The rain made his cloak and hood, pulled low to obscure his visage, seem perfectly normal. Just in front of him his buckler sat like a begging bowl with a few coppers in it.
Over the last week Nils had spent his days here or in similar locations around the hill watching for his mark. For the occasion he'd taken on the persona of Barco, a tiefling begger he'd "created". His usual red hair and forehorns were covered by a wig of black hair with a shock of white meant to draw the eye. His pale skin had been dusted to appear almost human in color though his pointed ears he'd left to hint at diabolical blood. Paupers clothes covered his armor and a careworn and frequently patched cloak covered it all.
As he sat and waited, making the occasional plea for alms, he twisted his torso slightly to feel the reassuring presence of his hidden blades. Scanning the passing crowd he easily picked out the Asmodeans who had just left the latest services. Sheep and sheep who thought they were wolves all falling over themselves to be the first on the road to damnation. Seeing them brought his mother to his thoughts but he put that sad thought aside for now.
Continuing to search the crowd he found his target, right on time. Dressed as if for a military parade and flanked by two guards, Victor Dranstein strode down the street with the air of someone who was used to others clearing the way. An up and coming lieutenant in the cities Dottari, he was quickly gaining political favor among certain circles through his harsh and often vindictive oppression of the residents of the Redroof district. His sadistic nature and potentially rising rank made him a person of interest to Heimrick's group. "Better to clip a bad bud early" he'd told Nils when he set him to track and observe the man. It was hoped a few well placed "embarrassments" would due to cost the man any further advancement and hopefully allow more even handed rivals to take his place. To do this however the group needed information and that was Nils job.
Noting the time of Victor's passing as well as the number and armament of his companions Nils waited a half hour beyond their passing before packing up and disappearing into the alleys.
Prelude Part 1
As the sun sets on a frigid evening, the people of Kintargo gather at Andos Hall. Upon the stage sits a large rectangular table. Under a large painting of Queen Abrogail II Thrune, flanked by Chelish and Kintargan flags, a high seat is positioned at the center of the table. Three lower seats are placed to either side of the central chair. Oil lamps line the walls, illuminating the crowd of Kintargans. Rumors of the horseman from Kantaria and his startling news have flown through the city and the auditorium is filled to capacity. The noise of the crowd quiets as a city official mounts the stage.
“Welcome countrymen, to your seat of government, Andos Hall! By the grace of Asmodeus and in the name of Her Infernal Majestrix, Abrogail Thrune, Second of Her Name, Queen of Cheliax, I call this meeting of the City Council of Kintargo to order!”
As a handsome noblewoman with a resolute face enters the stage and takes the central seat behind the table, the official announces: “I present the Lord-Mayor of Kintargo, Her Honor, Jilia Bainilus. Welcome Your Excellency!” The noblewoman gives a warm smile and bows to thunderous applause before taking her seat.
Next, a severe looking older man with immaculately coiffed snow white hair and chest length goatee enters the stage. His red and black robes and ruby studded golden unholy symbol leave his identity unmistakable. “I present Arch-heathen of the Church of Asmodeus, Corinstian Grivenner. Welcome Your Unholiness!” The man gives a flourishing bow before taking his seat to the mayor’s right to polite applause.
A square-jawed man with close-cropped rust red hair and penetrating gray eyes, dressed in ceremonial armor with an aquatic motif enters the stage. “I present the commander of the Hellknight Order of the Torrent, Lictor Octavio Sabinus. Welcome sir!” The crowd applauds while the soldier salutes the portrait of the Queen before taking his seat to the mayor’s left.
Following the knight, a lithe elven women with bright crimson hair in a long braid enters the stage. She wears a black cloak over dark gray robes bearing a small unholy symbol in the shape of a skull. Oddly, she seems to be cast in shadow, despite being upon an illuminated stage. “I present the Umbral Archon of the Church of Zon-Kuthon, Aluceda Zhol. I welcome you, Lady.” The representative of a foreign god gives a slight nod as she sits next to the Arch-Heathen, to subdued applause.
Next, a well kept half-elven man enters the stage. His hair is dark but graying at the temples and kept in a short, tidy braid. His clothes are white, trimmed with gold and a large golden key hangs at his belt. “I present the Arch-Banker of the Church of Abadar, Mhelrem Gesteliel. Welcome good sir!” The man puts his hands together and bows as the crowd gives polite applause; he sits next to the Hellknight.
A clean-shaven younger man enters the stage. He wears finely tailored clothes with a brooch bearing the rainbow tailed bird sigil. He removes a brown tricorne hat with a rainbow hued plume in it, revealing brown hear and crystal blue eyes. “I present High Chorister of the Church of Shelyn, Zachrin Vhast. Welcome good sir!” The man places the hat over his heart and bows to the crowd to loud applause, then seats himself beside the elven woman.
Finally, a youthful looking half-elven woman in a sensible robe and woolen cloak enters the stage. She has alert hazel eyes and dark hair and upon her head sits a circlet with a butterfly motif. “I present the Chancellor of the Alabaster Academy, Professor Iylvana Desdoros. Welcome good doctor!” The woman takes a bow and then sits beside the Arch-banker.
The official leaves the stage as a Dottari officer in ceremonial armor emblazoned with the symbol of Cheliax and carrying a gilded spear enters the stage and rings a bell. She then stands at attention to the side of the stage.
The Lord Mayor stands, addressing the audience. “Welcome my fellow Kintargans. Thank you for coming out on such a frigid evening. I believe this is the largest number of people we’ve had in attendance at a council meeting in quite some time.” She smiles. “No doubt your curiosity has been piqued by our visitor from the Archduchy of Menador to our south. He has come bearing some truly startling news and we present him now to you, so you can hear his words directly. Sir Morvius, please step forward.”
A weathered fighting man mounts the dais. He has a well-trimmed beard and wears a tabard bearing the sigil of House Nerikopolus and a longsword at his waist. He clears his throat and looks over the gathered crowd, who falls silent as he begins to speak. “Thank you, Your Honor. Greetings, people of Kintargo. I have ridden north from Kantaria to deliver the following news. A month ago, an army of Iomadean zealots calling themselves the Glorious Reclamation, laid siege to Citadel Dinyar. Against all odds, these warriors breached the Citadel and laid low the Order of the Godclaw! Some are even saying that several border villages have risen in revolt! It is unknown what their intentions are, but Her Infernal Majestrix is marshalling our forces. I have been bade by my master to warn you…”
Suddenly the crowd's rapt silence is pierced by a commanding shout. “I have heard enough! Duxotas! Place this man under arrest!” The messenger turns to face the Arch-Heathen, pointing down at him from the table. The Dottari officer at the stage turns to follow the cleric’s order. Hellknight Sabinus snorts. Lord Mayor Bainilus says: “Hold, Duxotar Trex! Upon what grounds do you order this arrest, Arch-Heathen?”
The white-haired priest looks supremely miffed as he turns to the Mayor. “This man has no writ from the Throne to carry these tales! His words will cause nothing but worry and derision in our citizenry. For all we know he very well could have been involved in this treasonous attack!”
The messenger looks horrified as he interjects: “Your Unholiness, no! I am no Iomadean, nor was I there! I am a loyal man of House Narikopolus!”
The Lictor speaks, his voice clear and loud: “Speaking as a Hellknight myself, our orders are not monolithic. Neither are we an extension of the Throne. If these warriors have attacked the Order of the Godclaw, they have not necessarily attacked Cheliax!”
The Lord Mayor next speaks: “Furthermore, Citadel Dinyar is in Isger. I would say that this currently falls outside of our jurisdiction to act upon. Although Sir Morvius bears no writ from the Queen, I certainly will not fault him for acting upon the command of Archduke Narikopolus. I see thin justice in it, Arch-Heathen. He has my protection and I will not hinder him from traveling on to Vyre upon the morrow.”
Grivenner seats himself, looking rather vexed. “This is carelessness, Lady Bainilus. I will be forced to report this to my superior in Egorian.”
Jilia Bainilus clasps her hands. “But of course, Arch-Heathen. Hm. There you have it, my countrymen. These are certainly interesting times, but I trust our Queen to keep us safe from any zealotry. I am going to call this council meeting to a close early. I fear this excitement will prevent us from accomplishing anything else tonight. Be safe and stay warm. Duxotar, if you will.”
With that, the Duxotar rings her bell and the meeting is adjourned. Dottari open the doors to Andos Hall and usher the people out into the frigid evening. The excitement is palpable. Many find it inconceivable that a Hellknight citadel could be conquered, let alone attacked. People begin rushing to find shelter and warmth. This is shaping up to be the coldest night in recent memory.
|Nils the Ashen|
Nils breath floated lazily in a wispy cloud on the cold night air as he waited patiently across the street from Victor's house. Clad lightly and in dark colors the tiefling prepared himself mentally for the coming tasks. The original plan had been to observe the lieutenant for a few more days but rumor was out that a message from Kantaria was going to be discussed at tonight's council meeting which had caused quite a stir and assured Victors presence there. With such a fortuitous distraction plans had been accelerated.
Earlier in the day Nils, disguised as Hans a human laborer, had delivered a small crate of wine to the lieutenants house. Nils was sure to open the box, saying it was to show there was no breakage upon delivery but actually to make sure Timon, the man's halfling slave, saw it's contents and that there was an odd number of bottles inside. While the halfing was shuffling the crate to storage the tiefling also took the opportunity to unlatch one of the side windows.
Now, with the scene set, he waited to give the halfing time to fall to his vices. An hour or so after Victor left for the meeting Nils decided it was time. Crossing the street he jumped the short fence along side the house. Again the weather aided him as the unusual cold kept most in their homes. Creeping up to the window he'd earlier unlatched he slipped a dagger between the shutters and pried them open before peeking within. Seeing no one in the parlor he called upon his diabolic heritage to create a sphere of darkness over the window. While much of it was just black on black it would assure that his silhouette wouldn't betray him and would provide some cover within.
Opening the window he quietly slipped in and looked about the room. Candles were placed here and there but beyond their warm glow there was no sign of life in the house. Nils moved out of the globe of darkness like a shadow parting from a greater darkness and sought the room he needed. Along the way he heard Timon snoring from within the sitting room. Nils frowned a bit in pity at the beating the halfling would likely take for his drunkeness. Hopefully the council meeting would run long and allow Timon to recover before Victors return.
Continuing along he found the mans office and made his way inside. Taking out a small pile of documents he went about placing a few of them in with the neatly organized piles of reports and correspondences filed in various places about the room. Finally he located Victors seal and used it to mark the remaining documents which he carefully placed back in his pack before replacing the seal. His work done he backtracked his steps before slipping back out of the house and into the night.
Prelude Part 2 – 29th of Kuthona 4714 AR
For a second time, the streets of Kintargo are abuzz with rumors and excitement. The Starday previous a party of outriders arrived at the Rust Gate. It was said they came bearing a message for Lord-Mayor Jilia Bainilus. While the content of that message was not public knowledge, what was known is that the outriders wore tabards emblazoned with the sigil of House Thrune!
Word spread throughout the streets like wildfire that someone important was coming to pay the Silver City a visit. At the Chained Devil Inn, one of the most conspicuous buildings in Jarvis End and a hotbed of Chelish patriotism, it was said the proprietor, Pavo Alazario, was no longer satisfied with the large Chelish flags posted at each corner of his building. Thrune pennants now flew from every window of the building and the word was the old man was having an even larger painting of the Queen commissioned to replace the already sizeable one in his tap room.
While many were proud to host a visit from a Thrune, even more were quietly pensive. It was always believed in Kintargo that no news from the Capitol was good news. Was House Thrune sending an actual member of the royal family to the city? They had always considered Kintargo back water. What could they want with the Silver City?
Town criers traveled through the districts announcing that the Lord Mayor would address the townsfolk that afternoon. At the appointed time, people begin making their way to the steps of Andos Hall. It is cold, but the sky is filled with fluffy clouds. As the sun sets over the Arcadian Ocean, the light filters through the clouds, bathing the cold dusk in warm orange light. Jilia Bainilus stands before her people in a blue-green cloak, flanked by Dottari. Her voice trembles ever so slightly as she speaks, but her bright blue eyes are as defiant as ever.
“My countrymen, I address you today to inform you that Barzillai Thrune, a cousin to our Queen and Inquisitor of the Church of Asmodeus rides north from Menador Keep and shall be here within two days. He has been sent by the Throne to advise us regarding the Glorious Reclamation. I know some of you may feel concern over this news, but I urge you to take heart.
For you see, I am Kintargo’s lord mayor, yet Kintargo is not my city. Nor is it Cheliax’s city. Kintargo belongs to no one person, but to all who live here and make it the greatest city in Cheliax. We call it the Silver City not only for the gleaming waters of the Yolubilis, but for its purity. Kintargo is unique in the nation of Cheliax in this way.
We are not the nation’s largest city, nor its strongest. We may not have Westcrown’s history, Ostenso’s naval superiority, Corentyn’s trade dominance, or Egorian’s power, but nor do we have Westcrown’s decay, Ostenso’s violence, Corentyn’s slave markets or Egorian’s damnations! Kintargo is our own, and as Cayden Cailean as my witness, I intend to do all that I can to ensure our silver shall never tarnish under Thrune’s touch!”
Many in the crowd cheer loudly at this, but these cheers are far from universal. The lord mayor withdraws to the interior of Andos Hall and the Dottari stand before the door. Tonight’s city council meeting shall not be made open to the public.
|Nils the Ashen|
"Did you hear the Mayor? From what I heard she called out House Thrune right in front of everyone!"
"I hear the Iomadens are getting ready to march on Egorian!"
"Why would a member of House Thrune be coming here? No way the Queen's cousin is just playing messenger!"
"Capt'n say's we're sailing out `fore this Barzillai shows up!"
Rumors flowed around the Thrashing Badger quicker then the ale, though perhaps just barely. It was a busy night at the tavern and at many similar establishments around the city. Jittery nerves could be eased by ale or company and the Badger was happy to offer both. A healthy fire burned in the hearth to keep the nights chill out but left the poor barmaids sweating as they scurried about trying to keep up with the full tables. The steady hum of barely hushed voices filled the common room as small groups hunched over tables to give voice to their thoughts and concerns.
From a corner table Nils caught the eye of one of the beleaguered woman, Tasha, and raised two fingers. She nodded in acknowledgement as she wiped her brow and he knew she'd take care of the order as soon as she could. Turning his attention back to his companion he said "I hear a certain lieutenant is being reposted to the long patrols."
"Yes, I imagine the exercise will do his constitution some good." replied the man across the table from him. Yulin was a human of perhaps forty years of age. Nils had first been introduced to him by Heimrick a few months ago and they had met a few times since then when the man had need of the tiefling's skills. Though Nils wouldn't claim to know him well he had spent enough time with him to tell the man was on edge tonight.
"So...." Nils began before cutting himself off when Tasha arrived with their drinks. He winked at the girl and tossed her a coin to cover the ales. She graced him with a quick smile before heading off to get the next order. "So what's the job this time?" he asked after taking a draw from his drink.
Yulin took a deep breath before responding, "Nothing specific. I'm sure you've heard that an agent of House Thrune will be arriving soon, an inquisitor and member of the House even. We don't know much about this Barzillai Thrune but any member of that house is dangerous and we'll need to be cautious while he's around. For now we'll be quieting our activities until we better understand what his visit may mean." He paused to take a drink and scan the room before continuing. "In the meantime we need information so I'd ask you to keep your eyes and ears open. We'll monitor the usual drops if you find anything worth reporting."
Nils nodded, "Of course. How concerned should we be?"
"I don't know. If it's just a show of Imperial power then perhaps it will blow over in a few days. If it's something more...well, we'll do what needs to be done once we know more. Stay safe and stay alert." After a moment his features softened a bit and he gave a half smile, "Who knows perhaps all this chaos will even present some opportunities."
With that he took another pull from his tankard and stood. Sweeping his cloak over his shoulders he said, "Say hello to our mutual friend for me when you see him next. And Nils remember, be careful." With that he made his way out of the tavern leaving Nils to his thoughts.
Prelude Part 3 – 1st of Abadius 4715 AR
A frigid wind blows down from the north on Fireday. The streets along Veritas Plaza are hung with the flags of Cheliax, their red and black whipping in the wind. Despite the cold, many people have gathered to get a look at this visitor. At just past noon, a song can be heard upon the air. As it gets closer, all recognize the sounds of the official anthem of Thrune, The March of the Thrice-Damned House Triumphant. The Rust Gate winches up and the great doors are thrown open.
An honor guard of Thrune cavaliers ride at the forefront, bearing flags of Cheliax and House Thrune. Following the mounted warriors, the troubadours march along, playing their horns and drums. A column of Thrune household soldiers and sworn agents come next. Just barely perceptible over the din of the band, the tolling of the Devil’s Bells seems to join in as a cadre of Asmodean priests makes their way through the gate. Wearing their rich crimson and ebony vestments, they swing censures belching out black and red clouds of incense which smells of sandalwood and brimstone. The priests stop in their procession to offer a few lucky bystanders of the faith maledictions against their foes.
Next, a baroque monstrosity of a carriage comes into view. Nearly too wide for the street and pulled by a team of twenty horses, it’s a small wonder it fit through the Rust Gate at all. It is festooned in leering devil faces and cavorting gargoyles. In golden filigree on the side is emblazoned the sigil of House Thrune. Crimson velvet curtains are pulled aside and within you spy a man. As the crowd peers to see him, he seems to be surveying them as well. An imposing man, dressed in fine red, orange and black clothing, he is middle aged with short, dark hair.
Finally come the Hellknights. At the head of the column rides a woman with short blonde hair and hard blue eyes like dirty flecks of ice. To either side of her ride knights bearing banners with a spiked wheel. There must be at least thirty of them, and they are followed by nearly twice as many armigers. These knights look different than the Order of the Torrent that you are accustomed to. While the Torrent wear royal blue cloaks and their armor has a majestic, almost fanciful sea creature motif, these knights are different. Their armor is clearly designed to sow fear, making them look like flayed men cast in iron. Their cloaks, if they can be called such, look tattered at first. Upon closer inspection however, the cloaks are intentionally cut to resemble long strips of flayed skin. Each warrior carries a long sword on one hip and a whip on the other. Following this intimidating column is a long procession of seemingly unaligned free riders and foot soldiers, who may even be sell-swords. The parade continues north towards the Castle District and the music fades until you’re left with only the Devil’s Bells song.
Mawl is going about his business in the markets, serving as personal security for a minor celebrity. The celebrity hears of the commotion and wants to be seen seeing it. Mawl dutifully moves some of the onlookers so that his client can get a good view. As the procession passes he feels a familiar chill down his spine; one he hasn't felt in years...
|Saniel Jin Ka|
The man walked along the busy street with purpose, his stare and willpower alone seeming to part the bustling crowd before him. He wore quality clothing that called him out as someone of import, or at least someone in the service of a house of name. Behind him, staying close to his heels, followed a pair of male children that appeared to be nearing their eight or ninth summer. They were also dressed in well pressed garments, but the clothing hung somewhat loose on their frames. Their hair was close cropped in the style of the day and their skin was pure and unblemished. There could be no doubt that these were the sons of some noble or another.
The three made their way through the packed street that made its away across the long bridge, the well swept path lined with stalls and tents that marked it as one of the more popular areas of Yolubilis Harbor for shoppers looking for a bargain. As the trio neared the end of the bridge they saw the banners flowing in the midday breeze, a chill wind sweeping its way across the harbor and causing most to shudder under its sudden bite. The displays of House Thrune caused the man to cringe, his concern about the rumors of the recent attention given to the city by the ruling house playing across his face for a brief moment. His gaze then followed the massive display of Chelish loyalty downward, falling on the contingent of soldiers and guards milling near the transition of the path to the more open streets to the north. This day was about to become a bit more complicated.
Not letting his pace slow, the man and his crop continued through the crowd, coming at last to the end of the bridge. Passing under the banners he allowed himself a moment of relief, but then the call came out.
"Ho there!" came the call behind him. The man tensed for a moment, stopping in his tracks. Mustering his courage he turned to see a armored member of the Dottari approaching them from one of the gathered crowds of soldiers near the western banner. The man's hand rested on the hilt of a fine looking sword, scabbarded at his side for quick access. "I beg your pardon?" came the reply as the man drew himself about to face the oncoming questioner, "Is something the matter with my manner of passing this day?" The guard, eyeing the man and then the two children now quickly falling behind him, raised his glance once more and challenged, "Children? In the market at midday? Why aren't these two at their lessons?"
The man squared off against the armed soldier, raised his chin slightly in defiance, and bellowed, "How dare you question a loyal vassal of House Sarini as if he was some common street scamp! What is your name Dottari and who is your commanding sergeant? I'll have your name before her infernal grace before the hour has passed! She will not be pleased that her two favored nephews were occosted in the streets like a pair of vagrants!" The words carried across the street and several eyes turned to face the confrontation. The two waifs seemed encouraged by the verbal retort, and as if on queue their demeanors shifted quickly, expressing what could be best desribed as annoyance. The guard paused, a concerned look crossing his face as he quickly considered the words. This man is indeed dressed like a house vassal, and why did I think to question him anyway? Of course children of a noble house did not live by the same schedules as the general populous. Damn my impulsiveness to the Hell's!
The guard stiffened for a moment, offering a curt nod as he straightened up and faced off against the defiant man in the street. "Apologies good sir, the wind, it has chilled me to the point of unease. I saw offense where there was none of course. Please do accept my most heartfelt apologies for delaying your passage. And please, I would be most grateful if we kept this obvious lax in judgement between us." The harvester seemed to consider the words for a moment before nodding, turning about without saying another word and continuing on his path. A path that would lead not to The Greens at all, but to a nondescript barn near the main harbor. There his crop would await the tiller, and from there they would be transported away from the city on a ship leaving this very night. Saniel was glad the disguises worked once more, and the two halflings he was entrusted with would live to see a life away from the slavery they had known for so long.
The man felt a glowing sense of pride at the thoughts of the freedom these two would soon enjoy, but at the same time he knew these efforts were almost trivial compared to the oppression hanging over this city he had come to call home. There had to be something more he could do. The news of the protest to be held in the morning still stirred in the man's mind. There was no doubt that the people of the city were at the breaking point.
Perhaps this was a pot that needed a little stirring...
Prelude Part 4 – 9th of Abadius 4715 AR
It is another frigid Fireday in the month of Abadius, but the piercing winds are mercifully light today. It has been a week since the arrival of the man who the city has come to know as Barzillai Thrune. In that time, he has shown himself little to the people of Kintargo. He seems to have turned down several invitations from Pavo Alazario to inspect the Chained Devil Inn, causing the old patriot no end of consternation. Rumor has it that he has visited several noble houses in the Greens but which ones precisely have been inconclusive. Furthermore, he has been spotted several times in private prayer with Arch-Heathen Corinstian Grivenner at the Church of Asmodeus. It is said that he is a particularly religious man.
The nobleman has made one rather large impression amongst the theater going public, however. For the past week, he seems to have taken up residence at the Kintargo Opera House, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Unfortunately, his occupancy has caused the cancelation of all upcoming performances, including that of the much-anticipated Huntress of Heroes. Needless to say, the director and his cast were crestfallen, not to mention the public at large.
No one has seen nor heard from Lord Mayor Bainilus all week, which is very much unlike her. Last Toilday’s city council meeting was canceled as well. The citizenry are beginning to talk, but by noon criers begin circulating throughout the districts, bearing a message from the Lord Mayor.
A crier at a nearby intersection unfurls a scroll and reads in a booming voice: “Hear me, citizens of Kintargo! Lord Mayor Jilia Bainilus has written the following for your edification:
‘My fellow Kintargans, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that Her Infernal Majestrix has determined that my administrative talents are needed in our colony of Anchor’s End. Governmental turmoil has arisen, and the Queen believes a lord mayor of my experience is needed to put things to rights. I have been commanded to leave upon the H.I.M.S. Incubus which will have unfortunately already set sail by the time this message reaches your ears. In my stead, Paracount Barzillai Thrune shall hold stewardship over Kintargo at the Queen’s pleasure. Please, extend to the Paracount all of the trust and cooperation you would give me. Show him that the Silver City is indeed a jewel in the crown of Cheliax. Until I return to you, best regards, Jilia Bainilus.’
The proceeding was presented to you at the behest of Lord Mayor Paracount Barzillai Thrune. Asmodeus keep the Queen!”
Upon his reading of the scroll, the Devil's Bells give a single, baritone peel and then fall silent.
|Nils the Ashen|
It had been a strange week in the city. Some celebrated the Paracount's arrival, others quietly questioned how long he would be staying and many who's activities were frowned on, or worse, by the Empire shrank back from the public light. Most pervasive though was a sense of charged silence that hung over the populous. Little was know about how the scion of Thrune was spending his time and the Lord Mayor had not been seen all week. This lead to a sense of uneasy waiting as if an unseen storm were about to break.
The Silver City had always been a unique place in Cheliax. On the fringe of the Empire it sat largely ignored, if not forgotten, and had enjoyed the level of freedom such a lack of scrutiny had provided. Certainly it was part of the Empire and when the navy came in, or a dignitary visited banners were hung, appropriate songs played and ceremonies observed but once the shadow of Egorian moved on things would return to normal. It wasn't so much that the city didn't consider itself part of Cheliax but more that the harsher tenants of such rule were applied with a lighter hand.
This more tolerant culture allowed many things to bloom in Kintargo that couldn't grow elsewhere in the Empire. Different arts, philosophies and ideas flourished, tieflings found moderately more acceptance, dissenters found sympathetic ears. So long as no one stirred the pot too much Kintargo was happy enough to house all types. Of course there were those in the city who disliked it's more liberal nature and called for stricter application of Cheliax rule but the line was always toed enough to avoid giving Her Infernal Majestrix's government cause for concern.
Barzillai Thrune's presence had put much of that into question.
"Nils are you listening to me?"
"I'm sorry mother, what was that?" the tiefling started a bit as he returned from his troubled thoughts and continued scrubbing a large soup pot.
"I said isn't wonderful to see what a religious man the Paracount is? I hear he prays with the Arch-Heathen almost daily."
"I can't begin to say how delighted I am to hear that mother." he said with an obvious grimace and sarcasm.
His mother sighed as she took the pot to dry, "Nils I know how you feel about the church but I still think if you just dedicated yourself more you would find your place there. Father Humdrid always says everyone has a place in Asmodeus's order, we just need to find it."
Drying his hands before putting the cleaned plates and bowls away Nils replied "Yes, I'm sure he does." doing his best not to sneer.
The two were quiet for a bit as they finished cleaning up. When they were done they sat at his mothers small table and shared tea and conversation. Both avoided the topic of the church by long standing unspoken agreement and they passed the time pleasantly enough. After an hour or so Nils rose and wished his mother goodbye.
"I'll come by again in a day or two to see to that door." he said, kissing her on the forehead.
"Take care of yourself, and stay warm. There's a bitter chill of late." she returned, reaching up to ruffle his red hair.
"Of course mother. he replied with a grin and headed out the door. He made it to the street corner just in time to hear the town criers announcement. His mood darkened immediately.
Paying little attention to the weather, as usual, not noticing the frigid air, Mawl was escorting a minor celebrity in the theater. Mawl rarely paid attention to politics or religion, choosing to occasionally have a drink with friends as they met to worship Desna, if he wasn't otherwise occupied with a job.
While escorting this client, occasionally he overheard some of his conversations with other theater people, especially directors and producers. In these conversations they were mumbling and complaining about the cancellation of certain shows. This piqued Mawl's interest as this was a very important part of his personal income. They said it had something to do with the new arrival that had passed by earlier and caused a chill in his spine.
Although never asking questions nor entering in conversation with his clients, Mawl was certainly more alert and paying much more attention to what was going on politically than he ever had before.
[italics] I knew nothing good would come from that banner and sigil [/italics]
Prelude Part 5 – 11th of Abadius 4715 AR
Opening the door you see Zea, a fellow member of the Cloven Hoof Society that you have worked with on occasion. She is in great distress, tears pouring from her eyes, her breath coming in billowing clouds of steam. “I’m sorry! I already spoke to Hetamon, but I thought you should know too. Some of those armored knights abducted Strea Vestori! And… and they killed poor Brutus!” She sobs. “I saw everything. They hanged Brutus from the Nursery gate! He’s dead! He’s dead!”
Zea pleads with you to go with her to the gates of Devil’s Nursery. As the two of you go out into the frigid early morning, she tells you her story, broken with intermittent sobs. “Manius and I had an argument. It was nothing, really, but I decided that I wanted to see Strea. I went to the Cloven Hoof Society and drank a little too much. She let me sleep in the common room. The only other one there was Brutus who was helping her fix something. I fell asleep. I don’t know how much later, but I awoke to someone kicking in the door! It must have been a long time because Strea and Brutus weren’t there and all the lamps were out. The door fell in! I was awake and scared so I hid under the bed. All these men I didn’t recognize ran into the common room along with one woman, wearing that hideous armor. They dragged Strea from her room and put a hood on her head and shackled her.”
You turn at the Red Roof Market. “I heard shouting and then Brutus running. His hooves… they don’t sound like boots. Strea screamed. ‘No Brutus! Lay down on the floor! They’ll kill you!’ she said. His rage must’ve been upon him though. He’s so terribly strong, you know. I heard struggling. One of the men fell to the floor right next to me. I… I think Brutus tore his throat. He made this horrible rasp and there was so much blood! I lost sight of what was happening after that and there was so much noise. But it didn’t take long before it was quiet again. Someone took the man laying there by the ankles and pulled him out of the room.”
She leads you down a winding alley. “I laid there for a long time before I felt brave enough to move. It had gotten dark in the room and I remembered that the men had torches. I lit a lamp and the room was a mess of broken furniture. The door was on the floor and it was getting cold. I went out to find some help and when I got to the Devil’s Nursery gate. I saw… this.”
Before you stands the rusty gate of Devil’s Nursery. A rope is tied around a lamp post and thrown over the arch of the gate, suspending a motionless teifling by the neck. His hooves hang three feet above the street as he slowly sways to and fro. His face is obscured by a bloody gray beard but two short horns are clearly visible atop his head. You see ten tieflings standing silently around the body. At your approach, they turn towards you.
Hetamon Haace, the tiefling tailor, nods to you. Addressing the others he says in a hoarse whisper: “Help me cut him down. We will take him to my house to sit a vigil and bury him in the morning. The sun is setting on us, brothers and I fear we’ll face a dark night indeed.”
“You’ve looked long enough! Let me see! It’s MY spyglass, after all!” says the young noblewoman, Druvalia Aulorian. She is the youngest daughter of Count Auxis Aulorian.
The young boy who relinquished the spyglass, Asmond, looks over and notices you’re awake. “Hey, come here! Something is burning in the Greens! Come look!” Asmond, is the Counts youngest son, after Marquel who is close in age to yourself.
Druvalia gasps. “Oh… oh my! That is a lot of smoke. See how it blots out the starlight? I think that’s the Victocora Estate! Asmodeus stay your wrath! Lady Victocora is so kind, and Rexus is so sweet! I hope they’re safe!”
Looking out the window, you see across the neighborhood. From the high vantage point of the estate and with the aid of Druvalia’s spyglass, you can clearly see the walls of the Victocora Estate. The estate is entirely in flames and a massive plume of smoke rises into the otherwise clear, starry Abadius sky.
Behind you, you hear footsteps as Count Auxis Aulorian enters the room, holding a lantern. He scans the street. Below, a brigade of Dottari drive a horse pulling a massive cask on wheels towards the fire. “A fire you say? And at the Victocora estate no less. I have just heard word that fires have broken out in Jarvis End and Yolubilis Harbor as well. This seems a shocking coincidence.” He turns to you ”Our guards are on high alert, please stay with the children tonight and ensure their safety and please try to get them back to bed. You are all safe here. I am sure everything will be fine.” With that the Count exits the room, closing the door behind him. You are left alone with the children. However, it doesn’t seem that anyone will be sleeping tonight.
The Hellknight stops when he notices you. You cannot see his face under his horrific helm; two dark pits regard you. “A cult of Rovagug is active in this neighborhood. They have set fire to this tavern to spread fear and sow chaos, as is pleasing to the Rough Beast. Fear not. We shall ferret out these demoniacs and bring them to justice. You appear to be innocent. If you love our Queen, you should return to your inside and not interfere with me.” His hand moves slowly to the hilt of his long sword. “You do love our Queen, do you not?”
A building is burning a block to the southwest! A plume of smoke arises from a smoldering ruin. Standing in the middle of the street is a man in full armor, a tattered-looking cloak swaying in the chill breeze. His back is to you, his eyes turned towards a group of people coming down the street to the east and heading towards the Castle District. Four more men in armor matching the first are leading a line of six tieflings, shackled to each other.
As he notices you behind him he turns “These six knaves broke into the Silver Star music store to rob it, but they did not count on the Order of the Rack patrolling the streets and were caught red-handed. When they realized they were surrounded, they set fire to the building, hoping that their unnatural resistance to fire would protect them and deter us. They were mistaken!”
A tiefling with bulging eyes and forked tongue lolling from his mouth makes eye contact with you. “But we did not do that! I am inno…” His plea is cut short by the crack of a whip cutting into his back. He cries out in pain. The armored man walking behind him grabs the collar of his newly torn shirt, wrenching him around. “Whether you get a trial or die in the street makes no difference to me, creature! Therefore I advise silence!”
The Hellknight who was addressing you turns back to you. “Return to your sleep, citizen. The villains have been apprehended. There is nothing more for innocent men to see tonight.” You cannot mistake the menace in his tone.
|Nils the Ashen|
Is there anymore info about the people mentioned that Nils would know? I know that Strea is the leader of the Cloven Hoof but would he know who Hetamon is (or more specifically that he leads the Rose?) I'm assuming Brutus and Zea are just people he would be acquainted with. Also would he recognize (or have been able to find out since they showed up) the branch of Hellknights?
Just to confirm this is all before the protest right?
|Nils the Ashen|
The run through the Nursery was a chaotic swirl not just because of the pace but due to the thoughts running through Nils head as he tried to make sense of what Zea had told him. Strea taken and Brutus dead!? If a Hellknight was there then it must have been at the Paracount’s order and that did not bode well. But why bother with the Society, it’s not as if they….
His thoughts were interrupted by the grizzly sight at the gate. Brutus hung there, his body swaying slightly on the night’s breeze. A small crowd was gathered around his corpse, a mixture of fear, sorrow and anger on their faces. Among them Nils recognized Hetamon the tailor.
A sense of despair struck Nils first, not just for the loss of a member of his community but the sort of nostalgic sadness you might feel when you realize a happier time has ended and something different has taken it’s place. ”They left him here as a message but didn’t even care enough that it was received to leave a guard.” The despair quickly turned to indignation, outrage and then a simmering rage that had his jaw tighten until his teeth hurt.
At Hetamon’s words he drew his kukuri in one swift motion and sliced through the thick rope with practiced ease. Brutus’ body fell into the waiting arms of the tieflings below him who coverd the body as best they could and began a quiet procession to the tailors.
Turning to Zea, blade still in hand, he said, ”Zea I know it’s been a terrible night but I need you to go and warn any other public members of the Hoof or community leaders to lay low. I don’t know what the Paracount is up to but it won’t be good for us and we’ll need their leadership. Then spread word through the Nursery about what happened, and when you do tell them Brutus died a hero defending the Cloven Hoof and the Nursery.”
With that he set off at a run to the Crimson Thorn's hideout. Heimrick needed to be warned and quickly.
Final Prelude – 13th of Abadius 4715 AR
It has been two days since the devastation that the people of Kintargo have begun calling “The Night of Ashes”. When all was accounted for, it was found that three buildings had burned to the ground and some people have found that their neighbors have simply disappeared. Confusion, fear and anger have spread amongst the people of the city.
Questions are being asked and topics debated in the taverns, the academies, guildhalls and the streets. “Why was lord-mayor Jilia Bainilus sent to Anchor’s End?” “What are Barzillai Thrune’s plans for the city?” “What has become of the opera diva Shensen who disappeared?” “Why has the Order of the Torrent been so quiet and why is the Order of the Rack here?” “Where have those who disappeared two nights before gone?” “What is happening to the Silver City?”
It is announced that Paracount Barzillai Thrune will address the city this afternoon. Not from Andos Hall, as was always done in the past, but from the balcony of the Kintargo Opera House, overlooking Aria Park. It is on a frigid afternoon under a crystal blue sky that people gather in the park. Looking around you see people huddled together in blankets, many looking resolute and defiant as they wait for the lord-mayor to make an appearance, but you count less than 100 people. The wintering park is eerily quiet. A gaunt, particularly unattractive woman stands on the steps before the closed door, surrounded by a squad of dottari. A murder of crows noisily alights from a nearby tree as you see mounted Hellkngiths close in from either end of the avenue. They reign their horses to a stop, about 100 feet away and seem to stand there silently regarding the crowd.
Finally, the silence is pierced as trumpeters begin sounding from the windows of the Opera House. The March of the Thrice-Damned House Triumphant echoes across the park and the doors of the balcony slowly open to reveal an imposing, middle aged man, wearing an ornate breastplate emblazoned with the pentagram of Asmodeus and the cross of Cheliax. Smiling, he gestures with an open hand across the park, bowing to those gathered below.
“My dear countrymen, thank you for braving these positively Cocytean temperatures to come and visit me so I might share with you my plan to combat our recent troubles. I will not lie to you. The fear engendered by the threat of zealots such as those of the Glorious Reclamation often pushes men to acts of depravity. We saw the results of this the night before last. Foul cultists of Rovagug burned down a beloved drinking establishment! Tiefling knaves sought to burglarize and destroy the home of a talented diva! Ungrateful and envious house servants burnt down the home of the noble Victocora family! Luckily for us all, the dottari of this fine city acted quickly and decisively with our gracious friends and allies in the Order of the Rack. Many of the blackguards were apprehended and many more falsehearted individuals have been taken in for questioning.” He smiles widely as he leans over the railing. He raises a fist. “I have been sent by our Queen to guide you along a loyal path and guide you I shall!”
“It has become clear to me that I must take an active hand in affairs to keep us safe before the march of the Glorious Reclamation and the chaos their very name engenders! Until I can be sure that you, my charges, are safe, I must enact martial law in this city. You must obey any official deputy of the state without question! Furthermore, as lawlessness can only flourish in the shadow of darkness, I am forced to enact a curfew from 9:00 pm until 6:00 am each night. Please assist us in protecting your homes and cooperate! I have also devised seven other proclamations. Take them to heart and you shall lead a more virtuous life.” He regards the crowd for a moment and then, putting his hand to his heart, he declares: “Fear not my countrymen. I am a son of House Thrune who brought order to this land after the death of Aroden and who bends even Hell itself to our will! I speak for our Queen when I say we shall protect this land no matter the cost!”
With that, he bows before the audience again and retires to the interior of the Opera House. The people are taken aback. Some mumble, some shout and curse. The Devil’s Bells begin to toll while the gaunt woman at the door unfurls a scroll, reading from it Thrune’s seven proclamations.
”Proclamation the First: All slayers of city pests (hereby defined as doves, mice, and ravens) who present said pests to the dottari shall be rewarded with a bounty of 1 copper piece.
Proclamation the Second: All places of public business must display in a position of prominence within the first room accessible from the building’s primary entrance a portrait of Her Infernal Majestrix Queen Abrogail II. Said portrait must measure no less than 11 by 17 inches.
Proclamation the Third: Anyone who captures, alive and unharmed, a feral dog of a weight exceeding 50 pounds is to be rewarded with a payment of 2 silver pieces upon transfer of the dog to the dottari. Such noble guardian creatures should find homes worthy of their kind!
Proclamation the Fourth: The right to wear fine embroidered clothing in public is hereafter proscribed to anyone other than agents of House Thrune or the Holy Church of Asmodeus. Exceptions can be awarded or purchased at the city’s discretion.
Proclamation the Fifth: Grain is life! Should grain be spilled in public, it must be gathered, cleaned, and repackaged within the hour. Any person who allows grain to go ungathered after a spillage shall be fined 1 copper piece per grain.
Proclamation the Sixth: The imbibing of night tea brings a dangerous imbalance to the slumbering mind. Between the hours of sunset and sunrise, the taking of tea is proscribed.
Proclamation the Seventh: The odor and flavor of mint is an abomination to the refined palate. Be not the cretin! Mint use in candies, drinks, and all manner of confections is hereby proscribed.”
When she finishes, the Hellknights part to let the people pass. Many of the citizenry in attendance tell each other this cannot be allowed to stand. Others proclaim that it’s about time the hand of justice reign in this town’s libertines. As the attendees see criers have already preceded them, spreading the news to the city, the feeling that a time of turmoil is brewing is unmistakable.
Oh My! That cannot have just happened. Kurfew? That is certainly not going to appeal to my business or normal livelihood Mawl fumed to himself. Mawl was in the park and noting the reactions of the fewer than expected crowd.
While he was silently fuming to himself, he did have business to attend to and the proclamations seemed to move him along with even more intensity and fervor. He needed to find that damn debtor, get his bosses money, and somehow quickly get back to the bar to let this digest.
Mawl needed someone to tell him what to think about all this. Someone smarter than himself, someone he could trust. hmmm...maybe his brother, no he was gone, his sister? no she was a little flighty these days. Maybe he needed to team up with one of those gangs he had been aware of but never really interested in him.
Mawl was normally a live and let live kind of guy. Don't get in my way and I don't care what you do or think. This evil church; however, was a different story. It seems wherever and whenever they are involved bigger things go bad.
Maybe the owner of Clenchjaw's can make something of all this. I cannot imagine being able to turn a stupid rat in for a copper piece to the stupid Dottari. I need to find that debtor...
20th of Abadius 4715 AR
Even with the cobblestones of Argent Avenue and the foliage of Aria Park still wet from the morning’s light rain, dozens of Kintargans have gathered along the facade of the opera house to protest the city’s new lord-mayor, Paracount Barzillai Thrune. In a scant seven days, Paracount Thrune has instituted martial law, a curfew, and seven outlandish and polarizing proclamations. These actions and more have called many of Kintargo’s dissatisfied citizens here on this overcast morn. There’s been no sign yet of Barzillai Thrune himself, and the opera house’s doors remain tightly closed with a dozen dottari guards and same gaunt woman from before standing guard before the locked entrance to the opera house. These guards appear nervous and edgy, but as of now things remain relatively peaceful.
As the hours wear on, more and more citizens press into the area. Some of the protesters call for their new lord-mayor to lift his unreasonable restrictions, while others call for an end to foreign rule and demand a proper election to determine Lord-Mayor Bainilus’s successor. Many seem content merely to yell and agitate, but a growing minority show their unabashed support of Barzillai Thrune by arguing back at the protesters. Through the crowd gathering in the square you can make out various thoughts of opinion including Kintargo partisans; economic conservatives; advocates of democracy; anarchists; and Chelish loyalists.
Please choose an action in the below spoiler, we will do a few rounds of the below actions, so you will have an opportunity to do different actions if you want. I will give you the results based on what you choose and RP, after everyone's turn. For those of you who haven't met one another, this would be a good time.
1) Listen for Rumors - Anyone wandering the crowd can listen for rumors and learn more about what’s going on in Kintargo’s new political landscape. Roll Diplomacy to Gather Information or Perception.
2) Pilfer - You can use the large gathering to line your pockets, lifting purses or goods from the street vendors by succeeding at a Sleight of Hand check.
3) Rabble Rouse - You may want to better organize the protest by attempting a Diplomacy or Perform check.
4) Search for a Contact - You might have come to the protest in search of a mysterious contact said to be wearing a black leather glove on his right hand and no glove at all on the left. Make a Perception check.
5) Silence Undesirable Elements - You can try to silence or outshout elements of the crowd you disagree with. Pick a group to silence and make a Bluff or Intimidate check.
6) Watch the Crowd - You can simply choose to watch the crowd for anything unusual. Make a Perception or Sense Motive Check
|Saniel Jin Ka|
Saniel stood within the packed crowd, listening to the conversation boil around him. From the cries of outrage at the newly instated policies to the cheers of support for the additional "law and order" being forced upon the citizens, it was clear that all sides were present this day. It saddened the man that people were so blinded by loyalty to the rule of law that they refused to see the harm it would do to their own countrymen if carried out in the manner it was decreed. There would be those who would remain unscathed by these proclamations, but there were so many who would break under the yoke of this Thrune who saw himself as a leader of men.
Calling out those who chose blind loyalty over compassion, Saniel made his voice heard, shaming those wanting to see the rule of law take precedence over the loyalty to the city's common citizen.
Bluff check to "Silence Undesirable Elements" targeted at the Chelish Loyalists.
|Saniel Jin Ka|
Scanning the crowd, Saniel tried to determine who else might be on his side in this matter. Surely there were others who would not stand idly by while these proclamations were foisted upon the masses. This Thrune had only been in the city a short time and already he was imposing martial law simply out of fear of what the rumors of the Glorious Reclamation meant for his hold on the city. It was clear many here were opposed to these edicts, and a few like minds would be a comforting presence.
Trying to pick up some hints on the other PCs in the crowd
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
Mawl could feel his adrenaline start pumping as the crowd began to get more and more active. He spent much time looking around and listening to try and get a better handle on how he should think about the recent events.
[spoiler Rumors:] Diplomacy: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (11) + 1 = 12
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11[/spoiler]
As the gathering progresses and became too loud he felt like the information became less informative and people were just escalating what they were saying earlier on, just with more passion and volume. So Mawl decided to withdraw even more and go into observation mode. People watching and looking for the subtle moves of people versus the blatant and expected moves.
[spoiler Observing:] Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (8) + 0 = 8[spoiler]
Was it fate that brought Horillo to this announcement from Paracount Barzillai Thrune, he was after all on an errand for Omer. Returning back from 'The War Cage', after delivering an urgent commission sold through the store, probably for some noble or other. The wrapped package was the closest Horillo got to see the weapon, it surely must be crafted to the highest standards. Yet here he was now, passing through Aria Park on his way back, in what should have been a peaceful afternoon's journey.
As he listened to the edicts being proclaimed, he winced at this 'martial law' and the effect it would have. Banning the lawful drinking of tea and mint, two herbs that when infused calmed many that suffered from ill health. He felt like shouting in protest, but it would do no good and just bring the dotarri to question him. His hands buried deeper into his robes, dirty and speckled with wood shavings, from his apprenticed work. Watching the crowd, he wondered whether they were as distressed as he was about the changes, despite those who cheered. Was it out of fear or did they really wish to live under such laws? Horillo watched, I wonder if Nils is here to hear this? Surely it would trouble him too.
He stopped to survey the citizens gathered here, listening to a good looking human man talking about loyalty and what it really means. He couldn't do anything but smile at the man's words. As the man Saniel finished his oratory, Horillo waited patiently unobtrusively until he could talk without interruption. "You words speak the truth, that the vulture does circle to entrap us. We must be wary of his flight or be carrion for him. There was once loyalty, that could be returned, we did so for House Tarn, until they fell. How I wish those days were still with us. Anyway, Sir, your words were well said."
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
|Nils the Ashen|
It had been a difficult week in the Devil's Nursery, and for Kintago as a whole. First the Night of Ashes, as it was called, and then the new Lord Mayor's proclamations right on it's heels showed things were quickly going in a bad direction. Nils had mostly been doing what he could to stabilize things in the Nursery while seeking out what information he could. If dark times were ahead it was more important than ever that the tieflings of the city could work together to support each other and the Cloven Hoof Society was a big part of that.
When he wasn't moving around the neighborhoods doing what he could to help he was traveling around the city, usually in disguise, to learn what he could. Mostly it was just confusion and rumors. Some factions in the city were happy to see the Empire "finally" laying down the law, some were outraged but most were just uneasy.
It was during one of these outings that he caught wind of a rally of some sort that would be forming in front of the opera house and that in turn brought him to Aria Park this early morning. Arriving early he watched as the crowd grew over time even as the number of dotarri swelled to match. Nils drifted about passing tales and trying to find out if anyone knew anything about what the Lord Mayor and his fellows were up to. In the past the government has been, if not transparent, at least approachable but this Thrune seemed to have no interested in communicating beyond dictating the latest mandate or touting how pleased the people should be about it.
After some time Nils noted that supporters of the new regime had joined the protest shouting their support and increasing the tension in the square. A man Nils didn't know stepped forth and eloquently responded to the loyalists, calling on them to remember their loyalty to their fellow citizens as well as to the Empire. Impressively they seemed cowed by his words and quieted at least a bit.
While he listened to the man he also noticed a familiar face.
"Horillo! Over here!" he called out over the din as he made his way to the man. Though he didn't know him well the man was respected for his healing abilities and willingness to share them with those of limited means. Reaching him he said, "It's good to see a friendly face Horilo. How long do you think before the Lord Mayor has had enough? I fear this will not have the effect people are hoping for."
|Saniel Jin Ka|
Eyes suddenly moving to the man addressing him, Saniel drank in the complementing words and smiled, bowing his head politely in response. "While I cannot say I have been here long enough to recall a time where things were not as ill as they appear now, I am sure there is a reason these folk have remained." he replied quietly, stepping towards the human as he continued, "It is a shame that common folk must struggle for the most basic of things while the master grows fat at the table. I am Saniel, a pleasure to make the acquaintance of a like-minded fellow."
The man began to extend his hand in greeting, when the sudden voice rising above the crowd caught his attention and he quickly pulled the offered limb back to his side, eyeing the approaching tiefling with a bit of unease. It was true he held a certain inner prejudice against the strange race. Maybe it was the infernal heritage behind the bloodline, the devilish appearance, or some quality that lurked further beneath the skin. Something within his very core seemed to produce a natural aversion to the species. In his few short months in the city he still had not completely grown accustomed to their strange presence.
Saniel listened as the newly arrived devil-kin greeted the human with friendly words, and seemed confused all the more by the exchange.
|Nils the Ashen|
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
Nils turns his jet black eyes towards the stranger who had been addressing Horillo before he approached. He recognized him as the one who had so skillfully dissuaded the opposing crowd only moments ago and was about to great him when something about the man gave the tiefling pause. He cocked his head a bit as he regarded the man and unconsciously sniffed the air. After a slightly awkward moment he shook himself from his revere and reached out a hand, "You handled those Thrune supporters well. I'm Nils, it's a pleasure to meet you."
Sorix smiles and waves at Mawl, making her way over to him through the crowd. "Well met, Mawl, I haven't seen you since the last Ritual of Stardust," she says in a low whisper. I worship Desna too; figure we'd know each other from underground celebrations and stuff. "You wouldn't happen to have seen a man wearing only one glove, have you?"
Sorix looks around for her contact, the man with a black leather glove, asking her little white bunny Luna to help.
Perception, Sorix: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (1) + 0 = 1
Perception, Luna: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
LOL, I'm off to a great start this campaign.
Noticing the reticence of the speaker, Saniel, Horillo calmy introduces his friend as he put an arm around Nils shoulders, "It's an honour to meet such an orator of confidence as you, Saniel. Nils is my friend. We may have visible differences, but underneath these we share common ills, the ills of watching the impoverished suffer. I have administered what little help I can to those in the Devil's Nursery, using whatever talents and blessings the gods have given me. " He finishes his words, turning his head to the tiefling, he smiles and his arm returns to his side.
Mawl is at first startled to be addressed by someone. I guess I haven't been paying enough attention to my surroundings. That speaker...I liked what he had to say. Maybe that is the right path here. I will have to investigate him, seek him out, find out what he is about.
Oh! yes, umm...it's Soriy, Soris,...no Sorix, right? Yes, it has been awhile. You don't want to talk about that ritual too loudly these days, I have no idea who thinks what about what, but that's always been me hasn't it?
His mind racing to keep the attention of this newly rediscovered friend, he came back to her question. Hmm...have I seen a guy with one glove?, come to think of it I was supposed to find someone here myself, but I don't recall seeing anything or anyone.
No, I'm sorry, I haven't seen or noticed anyone wearing only one glove. I myself was looking for someone specific and haven't seen them either. I must confess I was distracted by the brilliant oration of that lean gentleman, whom I didn't recognize. Do you happen to know who that was?
We should venture forth through the crowd together in search of our "marks", two sets of eyes are better than one, and I would be ill at ease to send you out alone in a potentially passionate crowd. Plus, I would like very much to hear your take on all of this. Personally, I think there is something of a hidden motive giving rewards for those dogs, and banning the use of mint! Very strange!
After another hour passes the crowds only continue to grow in size. As Saniel speaks to the crowd, there are many who listen and the already small presence of Thrune supporters seems to quiet to his wise words. However, this doesn't stop others from trying to instigate things between the various groups of opinion, and these instigators seem to be doing a good job at stirring up emotion within the crowd. As the crowd grows more rowdy outside the opera house you can glimpse more dottari taking up position around the borders of the square.
You can switch up your action or continue the same action with a +2 bonus. Let me know what you do.
|Saniel Jin Ka|
Saniel nods to the man, and smiles briefly at the tiefling at the human's side. Surely this was not a time for him to let his own personal feelings cloud his judgement. This was a time for action, and anyone willing to support the cause of the people was likely guided by an acceptable moral compass. Or at least this is the conclusion that the someone naive man told himself.
"I am Saniel," the comely man replied to the tiefling, extending his own hand and grasping the pale skinned creature's offered hand in turn, "I apologize for my hesitance, I've not had the pleasure of meeting many of your, type, before. Where I come from yours are a very uncommon race of people."
Would it be possible to see which elements seemed to be causing the most chaos? If the same action was performed a second time would it apply to a different group?
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (5) + 10 = 15
|Nils the Ashen|
"Of course." Nils responded as he took the mans hand. His tone was cooler but civil. the familiarity of the prejudice doing little to blunt it's sting. The man had spoken eloquently on behalf of the people of Kintargo and this was no time to let petty slights divide those of apparently like mind. "You'll find my...type...a bit more common in Kintargo thanks to it's more welcoming nature." the tiefling paused and looked toward the line of dottari in front of the opera house, "I fear that may be changing though." Turning back he said, "Perhaps when we have a chance to speak somewhere a bit less chaotic you can tell me where it is you've come from and what brings you to the Silver City. For now I hope you'll excuse me a moment. I need to speak with a few others. I'll return shortly."
With that Nils gave a nod to Saniel and Horillo before ducking back into the growing crowd.
Gather Information: 1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 4 + 2 = 14
To see what I know about the Red Jills
|Saniel Jin Ka|
A series of shouts pulled the man's attention away from the pair, his eyes scanning behind them to notice a surge of motion in the crowd as two groups of protesters began to clash. A moment later a series of punches were thrown as the gathering threatened to turn into an all out brawl. As the tiefling melted back into the crowd Saniel turned his attention once more to the gathered mob.
Knowing that such a conflict would surely bring the guards in to squash the protest in its tracks Saniel raised his voice above the din, "People! he boomed, letting his practiced skills at oratory guide his words and inflection, "We have not come here today to descend into unorganized chaos, as that is not the nature of our nation. We did not come here to brawl in the streets like thugs!" The man paused for a moment, making sure he had the gathered crowd's attention, then continued once more. "We all have concerns we wish to give voice to, worries about the changes upon the horizon. We have seen the strife already brought to our fair city by the upheaval of our way of life, the peace and prosperity we have come to know and enjoy." Peace and prosperity indeed...for those who could afford it. The man once more let a pause hang in the air before adding, "Let us not blame our fellow citizen for these fears. Let us not turn to our neighbor and impose our anger upon him or her. Let us instead give voice to our concerns and make them a tangible thing, impossible to ignore. Let us not give way to lawlessness and anarchy, nor let those around us goad us towards such a path." the words leveled towards those trying to incite violence and anarchy within the crowd. "Let us raise our voices in unison and demand that our grievances be heard! Only as one will we stand against that which threatens our way of life!"
He let his words carry through the crowd, looking out upon them and anticipating the worst...
Attempting to "Silence Undesirable Elements" directed towards the anarchists, hoping to fight off some of the more chaotic elements and arguments.
Bluff: 1d20 + 11 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 11 + 2 = 18
Ew, a 5, lol. Thank Aroden for bonuses!
As Nils melts back into the crowd, Horillo calls after him, "See you in the Nursery soon, good luck my friend." before turning back to Saniel, he gestures with his hand to his forehead, "We may meet again, I can be found at Omer's." With that he sees Saniel start once more into the crowd, that is now turning to a mob.
Horillo sighs as he watches the events unfold though he can't decide where best his talents might best calm the discord.
Watch the crowd: Sense Motive: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 7 + 2 = 27
Mawl is absolutely mentally scattered. He is attempting to process so much new information at once and the spirit of the crowd is now starting to intensify, subsequently raising his own energy level. It seemed Sorix needed to meet more discretely with her contact and couldn't have an unknown, Mawl did figure that much out. Good to see you Sorix, we must make plans to meet later and discuss all this. You know where I can be found, at Clenchjaw's most of the time. Until then...
Mawl continued to attempt to focus on the orator, all the while still tossing around in his mind why some of the strange proclamations. Even though these proclamations, like almost everything else, didn't have much to do with him; he still felt the reasons behind then might be useful things to know.
His continued attempt at picking up rumors
Perception 1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 4 + 2 = 16
He also continued to attempt to observe the crowd's actions and motivations.
Sense Motive 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
|Nils the Ashen|
Before bidding Mawl a fond farewell, Sorix quietly tells him, "I'm sure you can imagine what The Great Dreamer, Starsong thinks of all this, and I'm of a mind with the one we revere. I also liked what that man in the crowd had to say. I'll look for you at Clenchjaw's after hopefully finding my contact and perhaps some more potential allies.
Sorix spends all her time in the crowd looking for the one-gloved man. Take 20 on perception for 20. If Luna can aid via our empathic link, I'll add a few rolls for her: Luna aid perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3 Luna aid perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10 Luna aid perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17 Luna aid perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3 Luna aid perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20
Even as those among the crowd work to calm the situation it is simple to see that the crowd’s tenor is increasingly hostile. Out of no where, as is common, the bells of the Cathedral of Asmodeus ring out three peals. This quiets the crowd briefly and a moment later, Barzillai Thrune throws wide the windows and the curtains of an upper room of the Opera House to address the crowd below. He holds a glass of wine and looks out across the crowd with a condescending sneer. The gathering swiftly grows quiet as he clears his throat to speak,
"Ah, my adoring little Kintargans. I am sorry to say I have not yet adapted to your quaint, country ways, being accustomed as I am to the sophistication and learning of Egorian. Nonetheless, know I have heard your concerns, and that I appreciate your valued feedback, and I know we shall eventually find a mutual understanding in the fullness of time. I take pride in updating Kintargo’s quaint, outdated laws to the modern standards the city deserves, and strengthening its ties with the empire in these cruel times, but obviously I have approached my duties too aggressively.
You say you chafe at the presence of nonnatives in positions of power? That authorities not of this city have no place as its leaders? That you will not be yoked by intruders? Your lord-mayor hears you. And so it is with a heavy heart that I issue this eight proclamation, in response to your demands: all ships’ captains, non-native to Kintargo are hereafter barred from leaving their vessels and setting foot on Kintargo docks or streets, under pain of... let’s say... squassation!"
There is an uproar among the crowd as the various groups of opinion start shouting either displeasure or joy at the announcement.
Mawl is fuming, rapidly looking around to find others that see this as a deliberate provocation. While not directly involved in the smuggling trade, this proclamation will hurt general trade and the economy as well. It appears the guards are just waiting for a reason to silence dissenters. It seems martial law and random proclamations are destroying his adopted home. The Church of Asmodeus has followed him to ruin his life again. Well not this time...I will not run again. I will find a way to defeat this. I will join like-minded groups and mount a resistance, be it subtle or overt.
|Nils the Ashen|
Nils was thrown by the unexpected nature of the latest proclamations "This will ruin trade. No foreign ships will care to dock and our own may do well for a time but soon they'll be unwelcome abroad."
Not expecting to find much useful information amongst the riled up crowd the tiefling backtracked to where he last saw Horillo and Saniel. When he was almost there he nearly collided with a woman making her own way through the crowd.
"My apologies." he said, his eyes catching on the rabbit staring up at him. Held in place by the crowd for the moment he looked towards the balcony and continued, half to the woman, half to himself, "It's as if he's trying to ruin the city and is just stirring the pot to give himself excuses to add nails to the coffin."
Go ahead and place yourselves where you would be on the Roll20 map. Note, I didn't put down tokens for all the various citizens in the crowd, but assume the stone pathway, dirt and greens in front of the treeline is pretty packed with other citizens.
Moved Horrilo and Sorix to about where I think they would be based on past interactions
As the crowd grows even more rowdy, someone throws a handful of manure at Barzillai. Though the putrid projectile misses Barzillai’s noble personage, the lord-mayor nonetheless flinches and spills wine across his ornate clothing. With his wardrobe and dignity endangered, the lord-mayor’s demeanor shifts from amused to bellicose. He shrieks, “Enough of this! Nox, run them off, arrest them, or kill them. I don’t care which!” before retreating into the opera house and slamming the windows.
In front of the Opera House doors, the gaunt woman immediately mobilizes the dottari, who draw their weapons. At the same time, men and women throughout the crowd pull back their cloaks, revealing matching armbands, light maces, and sadistic grins. As the dottari mobilize, someone in the crowd throws a dagger at the gaunt women and it sticks right into her throat, even so she still stands grasping the wound.
Horillo: 1d20 + 3 + 2 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 3 + 2 + 4 = 25
Nils: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Mawl: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
Saniel: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
Sorix: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
Dottari: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15
Queens Loyalists: 1d20 ⇒ 5
Nox: 1d20 ⇒ 11
Mephiry: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Party > Queens Loyalists. NOTE - The area in red is considered difficult terrain for movement as the crowd begins to disperse.