Venture-Captain Norden Balentiir inclines his head in welcome as he opens the door and welcomes everyone into a modest office. “I’m glad you are on time—and with little to spare,” he says as checks outside and then closes the door. “Your ship leaves soon, and I’ve taken care of the details.” He places a neat stack of travel papers on the small desk and sits down. “I’m pleased that you volunteered to visit the remote monastery of Tar Kuata on the Society’s behalf, especially in light of your recent success in securing a piece of the Sky Key. It seems one of the dwarven descendants of the original Sky Key owner may have found her way to Tar Kuata, and we believe the Ouat monks that also reside there still have a piece of the key. Travel there, meet with them, confirm our intelligence, and barter for the relic as needed. Do aim to be respectful; few Pathfinders have traveled to Tar Kuata, so you’ll need to earn the monks’ goodwill—and perhaps even pave the way for future collaboration.
“To that end, I am sending you with this.” Balentiir lifts a heavy bag and adds it to the desk. “You may be familiar with bags able to hold more than seems possible, and this one is filled with grain. I understand Tar Kuata has had a poor harvest this year, and this should help you get off on the right foot in negotiations. Any questions?”
|Cyrus the Flea|
Soft snoring fills the air as a deeply tanned, skinny keleshite sits in a chair near the back of the room. The chair is leaning back, perched on only two legs. The young man's had rests against the wall with the weight if the leaning chair forcing his chin to his chest ever so slightly, just enough to cause the sight rumble whenever he breaths.
No questions, just dots
"Tar.. Koo-Artar, did you say?" Lort looks at Balentiir, more than a little confused, "I'm afraid I didn't pay much attention to geography during my training. Those big lecture halls. Kreighton Shane has a singularly unique ability to put me to sleep while being utterly excited himself. That elf had a serious boner for the 'mysteries of Golarion'... the only mystery was what he found so damn enthralling..."
Lort seems to catch himself, "Erm... so, anything you could tell us about the people and Tar Koo-Artar itself would be great. You know, customs, traditions, locales... " Lort turns to his companions, "You guys are bored, too, right?"
|Cyrus the Flea|
Cyrus snaps awake when Lort asks the question to the group, his balance tipping uncomfortably further back, straining his neck just a bit. With a sort he kicks his legs to relieve the pressure on his windpipe, the chair snaps back down on all fours and the Ninja leaps up to his feet.
"Bored? I'm not bored. No sir. Wouldn't disrespect... Uh... Did you say ship?"
Looking around, face flushed red, Cyrus sits back down quickly.
Maybe they didn't notice... Don't answer that... Maybe it was just small talk, yea... I probably didn't miss anything important...
-Posted with Wayfinder
"Ship..." Amaranti grumbles at the mention of yet another sea voyage. "How far is Tar-place?"
Like Lort, the Garundi has little patience for cultural lectures. He tries to concentrate on the subject for a moment, but soon his mind starts to wander. Ibid remembers. He's good at details. So I don't have to...
Miro nods in understanding. His lips curl up in a smirk at the offer of grain to the food-poor monks, but he understands the clever notion. Men's minds were often linked to their bellies (when not attached to that place further south), and were usually agreeable to those who kept them well-fed.
"Will do, Venture Captain. We have a reputation for success that is well-earned. With your leave, we shall depart." Miro heads for the door, chuckling at Amaranti's grumble. They didn't have a good track record with boats.
The Venture Captain shuffles through some papers on his desk, skims through a document, nods his head in understanding, then peers up at the Pathfinders.
"Yes a boat. They float and are wonderful means of transportation that saves lots of time. As we are a bit pressed for it, I am sure that you can all pick up a potion of Touch of the Sea if sailing makes you nervous."
Turning to Lort, "Well, not to bore you TOO MUCH MORE" he shouts, startling the Pathfinders, "but Tar Kuata is an isolated monastery village in the Barrier Wall Mountains, in a region commonly called the Footprints of Rovagug. It’s also considered the most important Iroran site in all Osirion.” He glances at the seat he knows the Inquisitor will soon occupy, and shakes his head. "Not sure how that is going to go over."
"As for the Ouat monks, they are a contemplative order of dwarven monks who renounced their racial identity to focus on self-perfection. Technically, they are distinct from the other monks in Tar Kuata, but the two groups work together so closely that it’s hard to tell the difference. As for the other monks, they are austere but polite, and I have already contacted them to let them know representatives are on the way. They’ll be very hospitable, yet earning their respect will no doubt involve proof of your worth. Like most who follow the Iroran faith, the monks of Tar Kuata no doubt value knowledge, discipline, and self-perfection.”
I will get Ibidopedia spoilers up later, then we can push off. Retcon all purchases for the time being, and for God's sake, update your taglines. You have only had a month! :)
Lort should be fully updated now. Been going through my chronicle sheets and making sure they match up with their inventory tracking sheets and with Hero Lab - oh, and giving them all faction cards, too! It's 2 months away, and already excited about GenCon. Found that Lort was missing a silver light mace and 4 spears on his tracking sheet. I also gave Lort my GM star reward. Oddly, I took Student of Scrolls.
Updated chronicle sheet set here: Lort Chronicles
Lort's interest is piqued - just.
"Forgive my ignorance, but how exactly does one 'renounce their racial identity'?" Lort furrows his brow to show either that he is confused or does not approve, "At some point or other, they will realize that their dreams of being more than five feet tall simply are not going to come true. Maybe if they accept the fact that they are who they are, then I could teach them something about self-perfection." Modesty was never one of Lort's failings.
"Do not worry, Bally, we'll behave all quiet-like and do the society proud," Lort tries to sound reassuring in his booming voice, "So long as there's something that needs killing. I'd had to think we're just glorified grain deliverers... speaking of which, any dangers that we should expect to face either on the journey or once there? You know, other than whatever monstrosity is guarding this piece of the key, that is. Oh, and which king is supposed to have mishandled his slice of the sky this time around?"
Lort nonchalantly reaches over and plucks a plump grape from the bunch on the Venture-Captain's desk. Summer has it's advantages, I'll grant. I have heard that there is a mission brewing up North, though. We simply have to make sure we're done with this grain delivery and fetch-quest by then!
Gather Info or Kn (Local)
Knowledge (history) or Knowledge (religion); if your patron is Irori give yourself a +2.
"Ah Lort, full of so many questions that can easily be answered once you get there. From what I gather, the Society’s research suggests Logyra, one of the king’s daughters, likely retired in Tar Kuata with her piece of the Sky Key. Unless there are some good questions ..." the Venture Captain makes eyes towards the door.
No worries to Ibid and Faustus, feel free to retcon any questions. I will move this along tomorrow before Amaranti retires.
Knowledge (religion): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
"I have a good question: why is your head stuck up your arse?" Lort mutters under his breath - which is to say, it is clearly audible to all. Distracted and angry at having his questions belittled, Lort can't seem to concentrate on Kurgess's religious teachings - or any other deity's for that matter.
|Faustus Sulpicius Voralius|
gather info: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (13) + 14 = 27
kn: religion: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
Finally, the Chelaxian in black enameled plate armor shows up. "I heard the report from the outer office, and confirmed that the Lodge's books are indeed in order. Very nice work, Venture-Captain. I am sure your superiors in the Decemverite are going to be quite pleased. We may need to discuss that certain purchase from last month, but I am sure everything can be explained.
"From what I hear, bandits have been attacking caravans going to the monastery, which why they'll need supplies. Sounds like agents of the Dawnflower have been up there as well, claiming to have put down an uprising of followers of the Rough Beast. Those worshipers of Saranrae are never happy just doing what is needed, they always need praise for every little thing they do.
"I also understand that Tar Kuata has been around about 3,000 years, and are the monks are mostly Osirion Garundi, though there are a number of dwarves that shave their heads and beards and eschew dwarven traditions in favor of discovering their own path to perfection. Others of their kind would view them as insane for that."
He takes a seat, and looks around. "So, Venture-Captain, we are to be taking a ship? Does this mean you'll have us go around the Alamein peninsula, and then take the Junira River up to the barrier wall? Is that the most efficient way to go? Wouldn't it be better to cut cross-country?"
Faustus toys with the dull grey mace that is at his waste.
|Faustus Sulpicius Voralius|
The inquisitor turns towards the half-orc, his face covered by the simple iron mask of his station. "Really, Lort, you should show more respect for your superiors. How are we to be successful unless we act in proper order, and show proper deference to our leaders?
"I wonder if The Strong Man really tolerates such insolence?"
Diplomacy (Gather Info): 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (17) + 13 = 30
Kn History: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Kn Religion: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8
Miro nods along with the newcomer, but can not help adding, "The followers of Rovagug called themselves the Doomsday Knights, and combined might of arms with the divine. Much like you, Lort. Also, the Sarenrites didn't get all of them, so we best be wary."
|Cyrus the Flea|
It takes a moment before Cyrus realizes that the newcomer was joining the group, and he hurries up to get his journal out of his pack. By the time he flips it open to a clean page however, the man is nearly done with his monologue.
ehhh... I suppose I can ask him again if necessary. Or maybe just ask Ibid. Or Miro.
He half-heartedly scribble some doodles on the page in mock attention so add not to offend the new guy. When Miro chimes in, Cyrus finally looks around, mouthing the words, "one, two, three, four, five..."
He looks up towards the ceiling, doing some mental calestinics, then looks straight at Ibid and Miro, again mouthing the words, so as not to interrupt the conversation, "where is Finarin? And Gunari?"
When he sees the confusion on their faces, he realizes they can't read his lips. Thinking quickly, he pantomimes someone praying and drinking, then exaggerates the length of his ears and mimics some hand gestures to look like spell casting. When he it's done with that, he shrugs his shoulders to finish the question. At that moment he realizes it had gone silent in the room, and everyone is staring at him.
"just... Ah... Yea. I think I'm ready. I'll pick up my gear on the way to the ship." he says sheepishly. "yaaaaay ships" he says sarcasm doing all over his mock enthusiasm.
at least Finarin won't have to worry about a murderous cook.
-Posted with Wayfinder
|Ibid. Oxley Abel|
Bah! Dot! Sorry for the delay, I'm not sure how I missed this thread.
Lort grips Faustus around the forearm in a warrior's greeting, "Well met, Faustus! You don't know me, but I grew up on the streets of Absalom. My respect is something that must be earned, and I have neither seen nor heard word of deeds worthy of my respect for this Venture-Captain. Kurgess, as far as I know, cares not one way or another for respect - only through the glory of competition may we know truly know our betters!
"As for how we are to be successful... well, we have you here now, don't we? You look a likely sort to have around in a scrap. Here, drink this and let us be merry before we set out!" Lort passes Faustus the second mead that arrived, which he had previously earmarked for himself, and then downs the first. What little that doesn't go down his throat is captured by his beard or turned into mist as the half-orc lets out a satisfied belch.
|Ibid. Oxley Abel|
The old man eyes the newcomer wearily, having had unfavorable run-ins with the chelish in the past. Immediately, Faustus makes himself known as a knowledgeable and wise man, able to recount vast stores of data and facts. Because of this, Ibid immediately classifies Faustus among the more dangerous chelish people he has met, knowing the inquisitor is not simply a mindless follower, like so many in that devil-worshipping land, and that Faustus' brains make him deadly.
"Well said, Faustus," Ibid begins, finding he is tense while addressing the inquisitor. "With yours and Miro's commanding knowledge of these subjects, it appears there is little need for my presence on this voyage." Ibid writes a few additional notes in his journal, then passus to bite the end of the quill while reviewing his notes.
knowledge(history): 1d20 + 10 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 10 + 6 = 25
"This is all I can add to the conversation, my friends," Ibid says, then voices a few more facts about the citizens of Tar Kauta.
25+: Not all citizens of Tar Kuata are monks; pilgrims who fail admission to the monastery often settle in the village and take up everyday occupations.
"Books in order, well your see ....um the trip is not as the crow flies .... well of course I can explain that, you see ..." Flushing red in embarrassment, the Venture Captain stops short.
It has been many years since once has off put me so, must take note of that
"Well we can all agree this meeting is at an end. I wish you well on your voyage and success on your mission. I look forward to your report when you return."
The Pathfinders can't help but feel like he is addressing Faustus more than the rest.
Knowing when they are dismissed, the Pathfinders make their way out of the Venture-Captain's office and head to the market to pick up any last minute supplies before heading to the docks. The city of An which is super awesome to do a keyword search for - A-holes! is located on the River Sphinx. The Pathfinders board a reed constructed river barge for the journey to The Slave Trenches of Hakotep. There a camel caravan is waiting, and they begin their trek northward along the Barrier Wall Mountains to the monastery of Tar Kuata.
At the base of a high mountain valley, the monastery of Tar Kuata perches atop a rocky outcropping that overlooks a tiny village and terraced fields. The steep cliffs to either side shelter the small structures from the wind, and a tall, thin spire towers over the settlement.
As the Pathfinder approach, a small, hairless female dwarf approaches. She is wearing flowing scarlet, gold, and green robes, and sturdy brown leather sandals. As she approaches the group, she slightly bows her head. She stands firmly, feet splayed apart slightly, perfectly balanced.
"Well met. I am Menkha Helg, leader of the Ouat monks. I assume that you are the Pathfinders we were informed about. Please, follow me to Hall of Aspirants. I trust your journey was pleasant?"
"Well met, Mistress Menkha Helg. I am Miro Ammars, of the Pathfinder Society. The journey was pleasant for me, surely. Who couldn't like time spent on the sea, enjoying the sun and brine?" He looks back slyly at his companions, particularly Amaranti.
"Lead on, ma'am."
|Faustus Sulpicius Voralius|
Faustus gives the half-orc a cold stare from behind his mask. In a deadpan voice, replies, "Ah, then that explains things. A former street urchin, taken in by the society. You should be happy you have your freedom, for in the Imperial City, you would likely have been pressed into servitude. Do not make little of your oaths, Lort. They are what make us men."
He then turns his cold stare towards Cyrus. He watches the young ninja without saying a word, until the youth is practically squirming in his seat. "In case you missed it, I am Faustus Sulpicius Voralius, Inquisitor of the Dark Prince, currently of the Silver Crusade. Odd, you say, that a Chelish Asmodean would serve under Lady Ollysta Zadrian? Well, as you may know, her faction has acquitted itself well in the Worldwound... and the Prince of Law would see the demon infestation driven from the face of Avistan. In fact, I have petitioned for membership in the Hellknight Order of the Gate; my membership has been delayed, at least in part due to the legal troubles Paracountess Dralneed has been experiencing."
"Yes. I hear Hellknights have sticks up their arses, too. This one makes good hellknight", Amaranti comments on Faustus' bravado, to no one in particular. Then he shakes his head and sighs. Where is Gunari now? The Garundi would prefer Cailean priesthood over Asmodean, any day.
Amaranti bows to the Ouat monk. "Journey succesful. We here. Pleased to meet you, Menkha Helg." And thus, the big Garundi starts following the monk's lead.
Amatanti kept his eidolon unsummoned most of the journey so far. But now that the party have set their feet on dry land, Kaisharga's familiar shape takes form once more. Except.. since last time the serpent has grown a set of wings, similar to those of dragonflies. And so, Kaisharga tend to fly and hover above ground level, moving much faster than before. As a side effect, while the wings generate a tremendous lift in order to keep the eidolon's bulk in the air, they also generate a lot of noise.
Back in the office...
Lort guffaws and hands Amaranti the mug intended for Faustus, "Well said, my friend! Well said!"
On the voyage...
Lort takes his punishment chores with the usual aplomb - that is to say he does a passable job, but grumbles all the way. He makes poor company until such time as he has had at least four mugs of warm beer. It always tasted much cooler when it came straight from Cayden's own keg... he laments internally, casting occasional glares at the Hellknight who suggested to the Venture-Captain that Lort might like some additional work to teach the half-orc about structure and authority.
On the trek up the mountain...
"A pleasure to meet you Sister Helg - is it 'Sister'? - was the journey pleasant? Well, the journey is more important than the destination they say," says Lort, unusually philosophical, "But that's only to cover for the fact that they, like we, are too poor to afford a teleport spell. Give me the destination over the journey any time!" He laughs heartily and slaps the sister on the back. He was aiming for her rump, but it was too low down. Oh, which brings me to my other question...
"So," Lort continues, "I've heard a little about your order. Apparently you've renounced your dwarven self. How does that work exactly, and what do you consider yourself to be now?"
As she quietly leads them to the Hall of Aspirants, the Pathfinders see small clusters of monks about the area. Some can be seen sitting upon the earth, legs bent at awkward angles, eyes closed in meditation. Others sparing with hands and feet, uttering sharps grunts as a blow finds it way past their defense. Some younger looking monks scurry about carrying woven baskets on their heads filled with unknown items, or worn leather satchels strapped cross-shoulder.
It is difficult for the Pathfinders to separate the Ouat from the other monks except for the vast height difference.
The Pathfinders arrival has largely gone unnoticed by the populace at large.
During the short walk, Menkha quietly converses with the Pathfinders.
"I am so glad that your journey was safe and largely uneventful. it seems not all are as fortunate these days. Lort, I trust your destination will be adequate to your expectations. You ask very direct question. Do you always speak in such a manner? Nevertheless, one part of our personage that we may never change is who we are born as. Be it dwarf, elf, human, kobold, it lies in the god's hands. We dwarves, we are born dwarven, and undeniably all that goes with it. Few dwarves ever aspire to be more than trade loving, rich seeking, rock caressing people. Is that a stereotype? Yes. Is it an unjust one? Perhaps. We dwarves that live here aspire to be all that Irori wants us to be. Perfection of the mind, of the body." She glances at Faustus. "unlike other patrons, there is no easy way to achieve this. No short cuts. Only hard work and determination. So we eschew our traditions. We shave lock and beard, denounce our heritage, and live here studying, training, and perfecting."
As she finishes her short speech, the Pathfinders find themselves in a large, 40' by 40' open aired chamber. Wash basins and clean towels are left on a table along an outer wall.
"Please, accept our welcome to Tar Kuata. May you use the time the gods have given you here wisely." She again glances at Faustus. "Once you have freshened up, I suggest you spend some time in the village with me. If you follow those steps to the south, it will take you to the next terrace down. Then head across to the eastern stairs, and from there you will be able to see a clear path down. I will find you shortly and then we shall have lunch together." she gives a low bow and pauses waiting to see if the Pathfinder have any further queries.
|Faustus Sulpicius Voralius|
'This heat is certainly oppressive, I guess I should avail myself of the wash.' Faustus cleans what he can without removing all of his armor, a task that takes a good deal of time. He then makes his way to the gathering area, as instructed, keeping his eyes open all the way. He remains outwardly stoic, accepting this mission as a penance for a misdeed he cannot recall.
"You find me direct? This is good! What use is a thirst for information if you spend most of your time dancing around the topic you are really interested in?" Lort smiles to show that he meant no harm, "Your answer is an interesting one. You accept that you are dwarven and say that there are perhaps unfair stereotypes, and yet in order to renounce your dwarven heritage you shed those very stereotypes. Is that not being stereotypical yourself? Tell me, if being a dwarf does not matter to you, would I be welcome to join the order?"
Lort is half joking, but genuinely interested to see what she will say.
The dwarf glances up at the large half-orc, "No Lort. It is most certainly not stereotypical to wave away your ancestry , to minimize your heritage, to become something new. When you were born, unless I guess incorrectly, to the Linnorms. What was expected from you? Fight? Defend the village? Assist the family? If you were to turn your back on all those things, have a wizard change your appearance to some other race, is that stereotypical?
If you wish to join a monastic order, well that would be your decision. One that I would counsel you on fully before considering. Yet the Ouat monks are structured to help dwarves transition into a new person. We sadly do not have the tools to assist you on this transition. We would encourage you to speak to the monks here, to see if your calling is really to be one of Irori chosen."
"Your hospitality is appreciated, my lady. We shall be ready shortly." Miro smiles at the woman. The place seemed pleasant enough, if a bit dull. With he and his companions here, that should change in no time.
The halfling takes the opportunity to wash his face and run his hand through his hair a few times, shrugging if the others glance at him. "Hey, never turn down the opportunity to look your best!"
Lort smiles broadly, "I was being more philosophical than you were perhaps expecting of me. I was saying that in order to shed the stereotypes, you need to acknowledge them. In acknowledging them in such a dramatic way, you are in fact perpetuating them. That is all. It was not meant as a criticism, just a strange point I was making."
Lort continues along for a while, "Oh, and I don't think the life of the monk is for me. That was purely hypothetical! For one, I quite like my beard. Great for having after-meal snacks. Besides, I think I empathize more with Kurgess than Irori - though I do respect the Enlightened One."
Lort seems pleased with the fact that she didn't reject a half-orc from their order out of hand. Perhaps they really do believe in renouncing their heritage.
"Who knows, Lort. Maybe you look good shaved head and robes." Amaranti smiles and rubs his own hairless head.
"Sister. I hear there are Garundi monks here, too. Are you their leader, too?" the Garundi turns to the shaven dwarf, showing surprising interest in religious matters.
Turning to Amaranti, "No I am not their leader. That is Itephta. We have been co-habitating with them for centuries. It seems that the rumors that I heard about Pathfinders being loud, boisterous, mur ... treasure seekers are untrue. You are a quiet lot. If there are no more questions let us head to the village. Not all are called to Irori have the strength, the discipline, the fortitude to make it. Many of them have settled here in the village living by all accounts what you would consider normal lives." She motions for the Pathfinders to descend a set of rock hewn stairs.
|Cyrus the Flea|
Cyrus nods and bows slightly to the monk, genuinely worried about his conduct all of a sudden. He had heard of monks and their rigorous training., and he wasn't about to let himself look foolish now. He takes his time bathing and cleaning after the long trip at sea, making himself presentable to this revered monk.
I have more, ran out of time...
-Posted with Wayfinder
Miro descends the stairs, talking as he goes, "How interesting. And those in the village...they hold no resentment towards those who were deemed worthy?"
"We do not judge them, they have judged themselves."
As the Pathfinders descend the verdant terraces, the see villagers tending the fields, harvesting, and weeding. They see boys running to and fro, throwing stones at one another, wresting, feet loam blackened. Girls congregate in groups mending clothes, chatting quietly. Every now and again a boy strays too close to the cluster of girls and gets an earful, and a swift kick in the rump before sprinting back to the games.
After a short decent, the Pathfinders find themselves in the midst of a typical village square. Hawkers shout their wares, the villages bustle about in the morning coolness, trying to finish their business before the midday heat. The Pathfidners also spy numerous monks gliding about, some solitary, some in pairs. Some resemble their dwarven emissary, short and beardless, while some resemble their large companion, mahogany skinned, and shaven palate.
Sometimes the monks approach the villagers and chat amicably, other times they see the monks close-talking to villagers. Unable to overhear what they are saying, the Pathfinders can only guess.
As they take in the sights, they notice that the burlap sacks that traditionally hold the grains, all are less than half-full or none are more than half empty if you are that kind of person. The shambles is barely covers with the entrails of slaughtered livestock, and wooden crates containing dried tree-fruits, and other vegetables, are sparse and ill looking.
Menkha turns to them, "Please, take your time. I believe one of your missives is to Observe. We shall lunch shortly."
Rock hewn stairs, eh? Lort thinks to himself, They can pretend all they like, but these folk are still dwarves at heart, even if they don't realize it. Seeing dwarves farming is impressive, though!
"Sorry, I would love to buy that steel plate, but I'm afraid I spent the last of my coin on this here vial of liquid fire," Lort apologizes to a vendor who looked like he (or she?) was going to put the hard sell on him.
Lort approaches a food stall and has a talk to the shop keep, "Poor harvest this year? Pray tell, what happened to all the crops? I've seen lean years before, but it usually isn't so wide ranging! Locusts may eat the wheat, but they typically leave the oranges alone. Cold may kill the mangoes, but the rice grows on." Lort hopes the little he picked up of farming helps in this case... and that his true ignorance only leads to more detailed explanations from those trying to educate him.
The villager standing before Lort is dressed in moderate clothing, and Lort can tell that the clothing is a touch too big for the villager's frame. His cheeks are sunken slightly, and he has a slight haggard apprentice.
"Well met stranger. No, the harvest has been fine. You know not too good, not too bad. We are limited living in these mountain for other goods though, which seem to be in short supply recently. Nothing a good tightening of the belts can't handle though. Interest you in some marinated dates? Better than Glonin's over there." he points to a stall across the square where a few villagers and monks linger.
Menkha hangs back in the periphery, not commenting, but silently observing the interaction between Lort and the villager with more than a passing interest.
"Dates sound wonderful," exclaims Lort, "Provided they cost less than that steel plate back there, I should still have a few coppers to buy some. to be fair, though, I will also try Glonin's. Let us see if your claim is correct for an orcish palate! Oh, and what is your name, by the way? Mine is Lort - Lort the Mighty of Kurgess. A pleasure to meet you."
Lort procures some dates from both dried fruit stalls and carefully weighs up the relevant merits of the two.
"Hmmm, yours are indeed superior. I wonder why Glonin has more customers, then?" Lort muses aloud - loud enough for anyone who is interested in their conversation to hear, "Perhaps you have not been given the ideal piece of real estate? Perhaps his marinade is more suited to mountain monk dwarves. In any case, I shall procure some more of yours. I'm sure to be in need of nourishment if this mission for the Pathfinders goes as they usually do."
Once he has had a few more dates, Lort looks around again, "So, if the harvest is normal and fine - why are the bags here so large?" Lort indicates a less than half-full sack, "Surely it would be more economical to have smaller containers for your food in order to accommodate this normal harvest - but it seems that everyone has acquired or made containers for themselves that are several sizes too large." Lort tries to make it sound like idle curiosity, but it is fairly obvious he believes there is more to it than that.
"Oh, and what are these 'other goods' of which you speak. Any idea why they might be in 'short supply'?" Lort tries, very hard, to hide his amusement at a community of dwarves receiving short supplies.
|Faustus Sulpicius Voralius|
Faustus stays quiet, and observes. He keeps to himself, but pays attention to everything being said. He pays especially close attentions to the merchant's responses.
sense motive on the merchant's response: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (12) + 16 = 28
He also looks to see if the merchants are displaying their licenses to sell. If he does not see any, he does ask Menkha, "Should these merchants not be displaying their licenses? How do their customers know that they are selling the proper items, and collecting their proper taxes?"
"Name's Arung. Been shorts lots of stuff lately. Smith wares, textiles, luxury items like books and such. Bags are the same they ever are, just less stuff in them. No quite sure why, but you can see that there are more empty spaces than should be." He gestures around the square and the Pathfinders notice that every fourth stall seems to be vacant.
"Thanks for pushing the dates. No worries though, we'll be fine."
"You're welcome, I hope sales pick up," Lort is genuine in his well-wishes, "Oh, and if you're struggling for textiles and other items for patching things, I do have the means to help you. Since I'm often getting into the kind of trouble that causes property damage, Kurgess has seen fit to implant a prayer of mending in my head each day. I can help with any minor repairs you - or the others - may need." Lort says that loud enough for anyone else who needs help in the near vicinity to hear.
As far as Faustus can tell, everything Arung said is truthful.
Menkha replies, "Faustus, it seems that you are a stranger in a strange land and yet here you feel empowered to questions the local ordinances, as if this setting is calling out for your need to order that which you cannot control." She steps to the side so the Inquisitor can see the children playing behind the stalls. "I confess that I am no expert on the local governance, as I concern myself mainly with my Quat monks, but if it something that you desire to learn more about, once we return to Tar Kuata I can make inquiries on your behalf."
Arug replies to Lort, "That is mighty nice of you Lort. I will spread the word to any interested parties. Judging by the company that you keep I venture a guess that you'll be busy up there.", he points to Tar Kuata. "Take care."
|Ibid. Oxley Abel|
Ibid watches the others interacting with Menkha and Arung, but refrains from joining in the conversation. Instead, the old man turns slowly to observe the surrounding village and its people. With one eye continually watching Faustus, Ibid remains weary of the newcomer. The inquisitor has not made any outward signs of undermining the old man and his friends, yet Ibid is reminded by the man's presence of experiences he had long thought, and hoped, forgotten.
"What shall we be having for lunch, Menkha?" Ibid asks, trying, in the most awkward manner possible, to break the ice.
Miro laughs, slapping Faustus lightly on the back good-naturedly. "Trust me, my friend. If there's one thing that all governments are serious about, it is taxes. Rest assured that they have an ordered way of doing business...even if it might be different than Absalom...or Cheliax. Never worry, though! Lunch awaits!"
|Cyrus the Flea|
Cyrus moves about the square, taking in the sights, but often looking back at their monk escort. Ever since arriving, he cannot help but think about the gifts he had, in battle and in control over his body. His tongue around women, not so much for control, but that was beside the point.
His mind goes back to the letter he received in the venture captain's office. He looks at the dwarven monk again with a more critical eye.
What wisdom do you hold? And what would power do to you?
As the group mills about the square, Cyrus finally screws up his courage and approaches Menkha.
"I've heard stories about you, and people like you. Those who seek physical perfection, enlightenment. I'm not so sure its something you can just find. You can only study so much, but the crucible is where perfection is created. You either have what it takes to be shaped by the heat, or you burn like the tinders." Cyrus' tone is not accusatory, but instead sheepish, humble, and inquisitory. "At least thats my..." He trails off, not finishing his sentence.
Why do I feel like I am being judged? I know I shouldn't care, but why do I feel I must prove myself to these people? I can do extraordinary things, but that was born from the streets, from the will to survive when everything was against me. Can seclusion and repetition really recreate what the streets created in me?
Looking around at the shops as he converses with the monk, he continues their conversation.
"How involved in the village is the monastery? I see a crucible here. Hard times, and it seems obvious that not all have fared well." He indicates the empty stalls. "What relationship does the monastery have with the villagers who are content to stay when they cannot pass your tests?"
If you truly are a wise and worthy sage, what does your wisdom compel you to do for those who suffer?
Cyrus continues to stare at the ground, suddenly worried that his latest question might reveal more than he had intended.
Amaranti follows the others lazily, enjoying the sunshine and slow village life. Hot and dry, feels like home, here? Watching Lort and the merchant, he remembers the Venture Captains words.
"Is true," the Garundi points out, directing his words to Menkha, but loud enough to all to hear. "Sacks are not full, and the man not eaten well. Why he claims he knows not of bad harvest? Does he not know? Or does he not want admit?"
"Lunch?" says Lort eagerly, overhearing his companions' conversation, "Sounds great! Should I bring a date. Get it? Ha!" Lort slaps Cyrus jovially on the back.
Lort listens patiently for his companions' questions to be answered. Patiently? Well, he eats more than his share of dates and looks furtively around for a vendor of ale, mead, wine or anything with more kick to it than fruit juice - but at least he keeps his mouth shut. Except when he's chewing.
To Miro and Ibid "We will lunch soon, let us make way to the Pahmet Heights. I am not sure what we will find there for lunch, yet I hope it is to your liking."
My Glass River Rescue friends should remember Pahmet
To Cyrus "My you Pathfinders take such an interest in local government. I confess I am a bit ignorant in your roles, but I was unawares of your passion for local government. Are you Elders in your communities or perhaps Trustees? As you can see we have a very amicable relationship with the village. They help provide for our megar physical needs, and we serve as a guide for their morality. Should trouble arise, I firmly believe monk and rake wielding villager would be standing side by side defending what we love. As I mentioned before, the ideals of Irori are not for everyone. Those who cannot live the life, well it is their shortcomings. We do not judge them, they have judged themselves."
To Amaranti "About the poor harvest, yes it was not the best, but other matters are afoot, one that would be best dealt with a later, if you don't mind."
The Pathfinders make their way to the Pahmet Heights.
and I will update that soon, ran out of time at work :(
"Don't worry, only some of us are interested in local government," says Lort with a sour look, "Me, I'd rather learn what's for lunch. Pahmet Heights? Didn't we just climb down a bunch of stairs? No wonder you are so physically fit. How about we race to the top? I hear you monks can manage a bit of speed. We followers of Kurgess also know a thing or two about being fleet of foot. Just let me get out of this armor and we can have us a proper challenge!"
If she is willing, Lort is more than happy to get involved in this and any other physical challenge the monk may care to enjoy.
"Cyrus, you're pretty nimble on your feet. You up for it?"