"There's power to be found in wealth, yes. Gold casts its own shadow. Perhaps the order in which we contact people will matter, so, I suggest we pick those most likely to react favorably first. That way, we can use their agreement to meet as a way to entice the others to join in as well. Sometimes it isn't so much about what you want, but what your peers and competitors are doing. I doubt any person or institution of power and relevance would want to miss out when they know most of the others are partaking. Eh ..." Matiscio scratches the back of his head. "My apologies, I started to ramble there, but I hope I got my point across?"
Gilda blinks a few times as the brawler delivers his speech on the domino effect of their efforts.
"Yeah, Muscles. Good thinkin' - I mean I dunno why the City wants me to think this Lady D is so important but maybe gettin' her onboard first might give us some sorta angle for the resta' them richfolk?"
Why don't we send a raven to Lady D first and give her a couple hours or a full day to respond and see what that yields? I'm not sure we're pressed for time in our "week of downtime" so a day to see what fruit that bears is probably good in tandem with all our hideout logistics?
I was thinking that for a personage of her apparent importance, we may want to request a meeting in person with her.
Evander eyes Gregor. "Just out of curiosity, why do you have a problem with Elves?"
Gregor raises an eyebrow of curiosity, maybe unsure if Evander is unclear about what the problem with elves is, or just looking for Gregor's list. "Well, to start they are a bunch of flippant, prancing, stuck-up, unreliable, untrustworthy, rabble-rousers, looking to just flaunt their disregard for authority in order to satisfy their incessant need for mindless frivolity." He holds up a finger to add a point, "The halfies are worse, because you at least know what you are getting with a full elf. You never know when a halfie's elf part is going to be the forefront of their personality, and who they are going to be that day." He nods with himself, feeling like he's taught a valuable lesson this day.
I don't think we need to send a Raven to the Lictor, and he may actually prefer if we approach him face to face. Don't think we would need one for Laria either.
Yup, I believe our list is Laria, Octavio, Hetamon, Cpt. Sargaeta, and then one of us. The only one that definitely needs a raven is the captain, possibly Hetamon. As for Lady D I agree an in person request makes sense.
Celia just rolls her eyes at Gregor's blatant racism with nothing to say and turns her attention back to Gilda "Yes, we should go talk with her first, I believe her place is on the way anyway."
”And do you have personal experience with this, or is that what your father told you?”
As Evander and Gregor continue their discussion on elves, Celia notes "We can talk about this on the way, though maybe Gregor shouldn't do any talking when we get there..."
Let's go to the school for girls see if we can setup a meeting or just talk with her directly and then go on to the Aulamaxa estate?
Gregor agrees with the talk and travel idea, but answers Evander's question all the same, "Yes, my father warned about what I could expect for their kind, and I had found it to be an accurate estimation. Being prepared for the way they act, I was better able to be ready and react as appropriate when that is where their actions led."
Sure, that works Zek. And precautions? Pah!
Gilda smirks as Gregor shares his thoughts on elves, taking the opportunity to locate and encourage Venny to tag along. Always enjoying a ragtag group of personalities, she feeds the flames some.
"Ya know, I never understood it. We used ta' have these fortune tellers, right? But somehow the elf 'teller got 'ta charge extra, like there was somethin' special about her tellin' just cause she was elf-like?"
Gilda rubs her stubble as the group departs for the streets.
"And that reminds me, I never understood why the rates for a Calistrian elf were double that'a non-elf and the dwarf girl in our place went fer half unless there was some sorta Miner's Guild meetin' in the city.."
Evander rolls his eyes and says, "So, because your father said 'Elves are like this', you expected them to be like that, and then they met your expectations. Might I suggest a simple exercise?"
Please continue your discussion. I'll just post the below to keep the main thread going.
With a plan in place, you depart for Lady Docur's School for Girls in Villegre.
The school itself is smaller than the academy Celia is familiar with. And yet, it looks just as stately if not more so than the larger school.
You're greeted at the school's entrance by a young female half-elf. She studies you each for a moment before saying, "Welcome to Lady Docur's. Lady Mialari is eager to speak with you."
Without another word the half-elf turns on her heel and begins walking down the hallway, apparently expecting you to follow.
The hallway takes a couple turns before ending at an office. The half-elf knocks twice and the door opens half a second later to reveal the person you've come to speak with, Lady Mialari Docur herself. The elf smiles at you in greeting before gesturing towards her office.
The office is well-appointed. Even with the recent tumult in Kintargo, it seems the school has managed to make ends meet, by the looks of it. Somewhat disconcertingly, there are six chairs in the room, one behind the desk where Lady Docur takes a seat and five on the other side which she gestures for you to take.
With another smile, the elf says, "Welcome. I would start with small talk, but that seems unnecessary given the circumstances. Why don't you tell me why you've come and we'll go from there."
Lady Docur nods to the young half-elf at the door who nods in return and shuts the door to the office from the hallway. You hear her footsteps echo down the hall as she retreats, leaving you alone with Lady Docur.
Gilda smooths her dirty smock, feeling a bit out of place among the weller dressed half-elves. Despite becoming some sort of fairly wealthy vigilante, she still hadn't made time to actually upgrade her dayclothes.
The streetshaman looks toward her allies, fairly confident they're already in a good place given several armed vigilantes have been allowed into Lady Docur's room without much by way of question or guarded presence.
"So, I take it ya got the message we sent? Might be another one told us ya weren't so happy with how things've been these days and might be we could work together to do somethin' about it?"
Not used to the trappings of the academic life, Matiscio grows quiet and soaks in all the new impressions the school has to offer when the half-elf leads them in. Docur's establishment makes his former school look like a rickety thing indeed and it is in that realization that Matiscio finds a warning for what's to come: this woman is much, much smarter than you so watch your tongue.
After he gets seated in a rather uncomfortable chair - why does furniture always assume we got some plump padding so that sitting on is actually enjoyable?! - he wiggles about until he finds a somewhat comfortable position.
Blessedly so, Gilda opened the talks so he doesn't have to.
Sitting in the aforementioned chair, Evander said, "Thank you for agreeing to see us. We realize you are quite busy, and we'll try not to take up too much of your time."
Celia takes a seat with the others and is a little surprised when Gilda speaks up first but once she finishes she adds "As my friend alluded to, we have the interests of Kintargo in mind. We thought it would be worth while to become friends and in so doing perhaps you could help us in getting to know some of the various noble houses that may not be all to happy with the current state of things and might be willing to help us change them."
Sorry, was busy the last couple days, so we can table Gregor's blatant racism for another time. :)
Gregor rolls his eyes at the idea of whatever soft-hearted exercise Evander has cooked up to somehow show him all he's known and experienced about elves to be wrong. Just as he's about to explain that it's no different than any of other halfies and how they taint good human stock, they are greeted at the door to the school.
Arriving into the room, with the five waiting chairs, Gregor eyes the place with a suspicious eye. He whispers to Matiscio, "Stay vigilant. Who knows what spies or allegiances she currently entertains."
Lady Docur raises an eyebrow at Gilda’s question. “I have gotten many messages about you, though I don’t know if one of them is what you’re referring to. Whatever the case may be, I believe I’m already somewhat acquainted with all of you.”
She looks at each of you in turn as she says, “A woman of the city, a martial artist, a satirist, a scholar, and a guardsman. Quite the odd bunch, don’t you think? Well, oddities may be what we need at a time like this. I can’t say I’m particularly fond of the current political situation in the city, so yes, there may be ways we can help each other. I intend to be on the winning side, whichever side that may be.
“As for the city’s nobles, yes, I’m familiar with most of them, to one degree or another. You mention having Kintargo’s interests in mind. What exactly are those interests, in your opinion? And, since we seem to be having a fairly straightforward conversation, why should I believe yours will be the winning side?”
Gregor leans in and whispers to Evander, "It looks as if she is allied with whatever suits her fancy, or would you assume that it looks that way only due to my knowledge of her kind?"
As Gregor himself has nothing but a few choice words for a woman whose only stand is for who wins and not what's best for the city, he says nothing. He still worries that this conversation will go likely the same way as the buyable spy whose only concern was her own gain as well.
Evander whispered back, ”Actually, it sounds to me like her allegiance lies with whoever ensures she is able to maintain and possibly even grow her position and influence within Kintargo. Ambition is hardly a trait unique to Elves. An open mind would, perhaps, serve us better in this situation.”
To Lady Docur he said, ”You are very well-informed, Lady Docur. As to the interests of Kintargo, they are whatever ensures her continued growth and prosperity. It is quite evident that the current climate, and certain recently enacted laws, are not to her benefit. As for why we believe we are the winning side, it is because we believe we have the conviction, will, and necessity to win. You, I suspect, are not a woman who operates on belief and faith, however. You require proof. Is there some proof we can give you that we are the winning side?”
Lady Docur stares at Gregor and says, “For someone who has yet to say a word to me, you seem quite capable of a lot of chatter. Why don’t you direct some of your words at me, hmm? You might find we agree on one or two things.”
To Evander, she says, “Yes, I do find the current climate in the city distasteful. Lord-Mayor Bainilus was much more to my liking than the current holder of the title.
“As for what proof you can give, swaying some of the city’s nobles to your side would be excellent proof. You shouldn’t waste your time with some houses, of course. The Sarinis and Tanessens are lost causes. But others may yet be swayed to your cause. Most of the houses have kept their heads down so far, but after your recent performance in the park, they will likely find themselves in need of declaring their loyalties soon.
“Persuade at least four of Kintargo’s noble houses to offer their support to your cause, and you shall have my support as well.”
Lady Docur’s expression darkens for a moment as she says to Celia, “Of the noble houses still officially recognized as such.”
Returning to her normal self, she concludes, “I will, of course, do my best to answer any questions you have about the nobles houses. The more you know, the less likely you are to make fools of yourselves. As you’ve likely already deduced, the Aulamaxas would be a good first family to approach. I’ll give you that to start."
The brawler has little to add to the conversation for now. With all that's being said and has been said, he might only muddy the waters even further. Still ...
Tentatively, like a newborn trying to get to grips with its new surroundings, Matiscio stirs in his seat and continues to listen. None of the words coming to him are in the right tone. This isn't the occasion for his ham-fisted bluntness nor his Jalpur-inspired esoteric take on life. Lady Docur definitely does not strike him as the type of woman who would bother with Master Jalpur's teachings.
I typed up two bits of text, but neither was helpful in any way or form, haha, so I scrapped them.
"Could you tell us about the Aulorans? We were thinking we would ask the Aulamaxas to help provide us introduction to some of the other families, and having some background might be helpful in allowing us to determine who to approach next."
Celia is a little shocked when the woman calls her out with very limited subtlety to her words. It takes her a moment to snap back to the things at hand but adds on to Evander's words "I would assume you would have some ideas on ways to win over the support of those families who might be won over, you seem to be particularly well informed..."
She lets the words hang for a moment before continuing "As you said, the more we know the better. Perhaps you could provide us a means of at least getting in the door initially with the various noble families? I would imagine a group of strangers showing up out of the blue is likely to not be received all too well."
Lady Docur nods at Evander’s request for information about the Aulorian family. “Of course. The Aulorians are led by Count Auxis Aulorian. He’s not a particularly nice man, and is known to be quite short-tempered. I believe he not long ago lost his son, Marquel. Helping retrieve him would certainly please the Count.
“Talking to the Count, as well as the heads of the other households, is going to give you your best clues as to how to appease them. Some will likely be more straightforward than others. I imagine you need only ask the Aulamaxas and they will pledge their support.”
To Celia’s inquiry, the elf says, “Yes, that would be odd at best, and perhaps provoke an outright hostile response at worst. The Aulamaxas may be able to get you direct invitations to some of the other houses. Others you might have to get more… creative… about approaching. The Jhalteros, for instance, would probably be better approached by only one or two of you. The house’s leader, specifically Baron Canton Jhaltero, is quite protective about his family.”
Gilda eyes Lady Docur with some suspicion as the conversation unfolds. This elf was certainly being helpful and forthright with little reservation. Nonetheless, the information she was providing was valuable to their cause.
"So, uh, Canton Jhaltero... does he have anything he needs done like Auxis and his missing kid, or anything particular he's fond'a that'd make sense'a us knowin' about to break the ice, so to speak?"
"I'd be curious to know more about House Jarvis. What with Jarvis End having been named for them, would you say they were rather approachable?"
To Gilda’s question, Lady Docur says, “Not every noble has something they need done. You might just need to make a favorable impression on some. You should know that by their nature, most, if not all, of the nobles will be somewhat aloof when you first meet them. If you can get past that initial hurdle, you will have a much better chance of gaining their trust and support.”
She says to Evander, “Baroness Belcara Jarvis is likely to be one of the more approachable noble leaders, yes. She’s quite friendly, from what I’ve heard, though I’ve never personally met her. She’s passionate about architecture, which might help explain how part of the city is named after the family. It seems to be a common trait among the Jarvises.”
Lady Docur lowers her voice before adding, “You didn’t hear this from me, but rumor has it that she worships a certain deity not looked kindly upon in Cheliax, but that has a reputation for being a cheerful drinker.”
Celia nods to Lady Docur as she smiles "Well it sounds like we have some work cut out for us. I suppose we should get to it, unless there is anything else?" She turns to look toward the others if there are any more questions.
When no one speaks up Celia stands and slightly bows her head to Lady Docur then turns to head for the door. Once outside with the others she asks "So, off to the Aulamaxas's estate?
"Ehh, all them nobles are mostly the same. Just tell 'em how greats they is and stroke their egos and make 'em a buncha promises and I'm sure we'll do just fine."
The shaman leans forward and rubs the sides of her nose with both hands, contemplating a city where there might be a little less nobility and a little more commoner. Evander would know what to do here with his fancy words.
She waves Celia ahead.
"Sure, them Aulamalas sound like they got somethin' they need given how helpful they's been painted to be."
"Let's contact Lia and ask her to arrange an introduction for us. We don't want to drop in unannounced, and the Aulamaxas might appreciate us taking the time to observe formalities."
Gregor shrugs, "So, we now have to bribe a woman with unreliable allegiance by winning over enough noble houses to suit her? What is to stop her from turning on us with all that she seems to know of us, just like the spy?" He sighs and shakes his head, his hand across his forehead. "This is a dangerous path we walk, and we cannot just keep naively thinking that bought loyalty to the cause is any sort of loyalty."
"No, we have to convince a woman who has been running a finishing school in Kintargo for a couple hundred years that supporting us will allow her to grow her influence within her home city. We accomplish this by getting some of the city's nobility on our side - something we already intended to do, as it adds an extra level of legitimacy to our cause. By gaining the support of key powerful figures, when we finally reach our end game, we will be in a better position to ensure that Kintargo undergoes a smooth transition from the current leadership to the next leadership - one that actually has the city's best interests at heart. If nothing else, we can at least prove our cause sufficiently worthwhile to her that we can convince her to sit on the sidelines of any conflict that may occur. We don't need a banner of support or anything like that - we just need to assure she won't use her influence against us."
Evander looks at Gregor, "You didn't complain about other figures not being willing to help us until we did something for them. It's no different in this case."
Bluff to pass Secret Message, Inspiration: 1d20 + 15 + 1d6 ⇒ (11) + 15 + (3) = 29
Evander is directly referring to the fact that the Lictor wouldn't help us until we rescued his armigers from the dottari.
Gilda bats hey eyes, attempting to evoke a much younger version of herself .
"Honey, everything in life is an exchange of favors, just some are more of a pain in the rear than others..."
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (4) + 17 = 21
Gilda pays a little attention to Evander as she tries to suss out if he's as annoyed at having to help the "richies" as much as she is, and seems to ascertain that he too knows that whatever favor they curry will be temporary as they'll clearly be returning the city to the poor and destitute trodden-upon people before this is all over.
Sure, we can have Lia make a formal intro. Maybe we can use this time after leaving Lady D to go check on Marquel and see what his thoughts are on getting his house on our side.
Knowing that for some the dust must first settle in their minds before they're willing to accept the reality of things - that is, that Lady Docur's backing is an absolute necessity - Matiscio manages to stay calm and relaxed while his companions get a little more heated. "My uncle used to say that power is like sand, slowly trickling through your fingers. Figures like Lady Docur and the Thrune family are starting to convince me that you need to be like a persistent garden weed, wrapping yourself inch by inch around a construct of power until no matter how much they might cut you, there will always be part of you clinging on. Anyway, I share Gregor's sentiments, but I am of the conviction that ignoring Docur or, even more foolishly, trying to cut her out would definitely be the wrong decision here."
I think Gilda hits all the right notes. Contact Lia, ask her to make a formal introduction, and poke Marquel to see if we can acquire more information.
Gregor raises an eyebrow, "Not all arrangements and trading of favors we have done were for the sake of the other party's personal gain. Our early developments were to prove that we were better than the current ruling authority. That we had the betterment of our Kintargo in mind."
He sighs, "That reach has extended as far as we could. Now we are forced to try to buy over those that only care about how they can advance their own personal goals. Their only concern for the city is how it pays off for them, and mark my words, once the change in leadership becomes less rewarding for them, they will turn over once more to the next group that can offer them more than we could. Our price will continue to rise until the new government has to resort to taxing the poor to appease the rich. Or worse, favors that hurt the commoner to keep the nobles in line."
Just want to say that I really appreciate and enjoy the vivid imagery in some of your posts, Matiscio. It really goes well with his background.
You send word to Lia of wanting to formally meet with her family. She’s more than happy to assist and says they should be available for a meeting at their estate the next day.
When you reach out to Marquel, he doesn’t seem optimistic about winning his family’s support, but he does say, “My father, Count Auxis Aulorian, has never been a good man. And he’s certainly never been a good father. But he can be relied on for some things, like being motivated by money. If you were to offer him a sufficiently large sum of money or magic goods, you could probably buy him to your cause. I suspect you would need to speak to him directly to ascertain the proper amount.”
Anything else before visiting the Aulamaxa estate tomorrow? I assume you use some combo of bluff/invisibility sphere to gain entrance to the Greens?
Evander looks at Gregor, nonplussed. "Why on Golarion would we tax the poor to appease the rich? Basic economics states that you levy higher taxes on those with the most wealth because they are more capable of supporting themselves with the higher taxes. We aren't dealing with wandering mercenaries, Gregor - we're dealing with people and families who have lived here for generations.
"Most of what we'll encounter in terms of reluctance to support us will be fallout from the Night of Ashes. They don't wan't to end up facing the same fate as...well, the Victocoras." Evander glances guiltily at Celia as he says it. "I'm rather surprised by your reluctance in this matter, Gregor. I would have thought that convincing those with influence to support our cause was more in line with your ideals."
Do we not have a sewer entrance into the Greens yet? If not, that combo should work.
Gregor cocks his head, somewhat confused. "I do not think, nor did I say, we should tax the poor. I am saying that, if the only loyalty we can get from the rich is derived monetarily, then we run the risk of having to maintain their coin flow in order to maintain said loyalty. They are worse than wandering mercenaries, they are thoroughly implanted and invested mercenaries. Their only loyalty is to whomever fattens their purses or increases their control over the city."
He too looks to Celia, "The few that did what they did, for the sake of the city, already fell prey that night. I am not concerned about those with influence, I value more the support of those that care for my Kintargo and her betterment over any others."
"If that's the only loyalty we can get, then we'll decide if their loyalty is worth our time. Lady Docur did not ask for coin, and we will meet with the various nobles and see what their requests are. Some of them, I am sure, will be willing to support us if we complete certain tasks for them. If their loyalty can only be bought with coin, then we can discuss whether or not their loyalty has worth. Let's not begin spouting doomsday concerns before we've even spoken to them."
We can say you do have sewer access at this point. Will save you the headache of getting into the Greens, but you'll still have to decide how to approach/contact the individual families. Except the Aulamaxas, of course.
The next day you head to the Greens via a newly discovered sewage passageway. Your fellow rebellion members were also kind enough to clean up the path to make your noses crinkle a bit less.
You head to the Aulamaxa Estate where Lia greets you at the door with a smile. She seems happy to see you.
She ushers you inside where her family are waiting. It seems they were indeed expecting you.
Archbaroness Eldonna Aulamaxa looks at each of you for a moment, but her gaze rests on Gregor for the longest amount of time. Eldonna's husband as well as Lia's parents, Jarrod and his elvish wife Tessara are also present.
Eventually the Archbaroness says, "Lia tells me you have something of a proposal for us? I'm happy to listen to anyone who has the good of Kintargo in mind, but I should warn you that there are always eyes watching. Not in here, but others have surely seen you enter. I suggest we get started immediately."
The Archbaroness ushers you into her living area where tea and biscuits are waiting. She offers you a seat before turning her attention to you, waiting to see what you have to say.
Gilda nervously glances about at the corners of the room as if otherworldly monitors has perched themselves in the very shadows to observe their conversation.
She looks to their recent field-dragon addition.
"Venny? Do another pass around outside and see if we got followed, eh?"
She then smooths her smock, patting the sleeping Sprinkles Too as she does and grins at the others as she once again seems to be given the first opportunity to speak to a noble.
"Yeah, we got Kintargo's best interests in mind. It don't take no genius to see that the City ain't doin' so well with that thug in charge, right?"
Gilda from her years of living with dozens of elderly women knows that it's always best to let others do the talkin' and pick up on the things particular to their interests.
"So, whaddya think's wrong with the City? Might be we, or someone we knows can make some improvements?"
Celia bristles a bit when Gilda is the first one to start talking. She has nothing against the woman, her street smarts often come in handy but she is not the best talker, especially when they are dealing Nobles.
Celia smiles and adds to Gilda's comments "What my companion is trying to say is that we want to see Kintargo restored to its former glory before unreasonable taxes and proclamations. We've done what we can and will continue to do so, but we know the only way we will really be able to affect change at a larger level is if we get the support of the noble families. We need help in this regard, and know that the Aulamaxa family really care for Kintargo and its people, we would like you to consider pledging your support to our cause and possibly help us obtain the same from some of the other noble families?"
Gregor maintains a stoic expression through the introductions and exchange. His posture its usual rigid and formal, but he maintains and returns the gaze of the Archbaroness when she gives him the long look.
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Lia looks eager to reply to your inquiry herself, but remains quiet and lets the Archbaroness respond.
She says, "There are a number of things wrong in the city, perhaps more than can be counted, if I'm being honest with myself. I am interested in lending my house's support. Lia's support of your cause is quite the recommendation, of course. Personally, I would like some demonstration of your competence. It doesn't have to be particularly fancy, just something you can show me now. Whether that's a particular skill, combat art, or artistic ability, I want to see you have the strength to go along with your resolve."
AS conversation continues, Gregor notices that Lia's mother, the elf Tessara, is paying close attention to him. She seems to be studying him. She would almost look concerned for his well-being, if Gregor didn't know better about elves.
Acting more like a bodyguard would, Matiscio remains in Celia's shadow and spends more time paying attention to the passing by sounds and keeping tabs on their surroundings than to the conversation. Still, half an ear is enough to have words prod on through and into your subconscious when the words are important and heavy enough. "If our courage can be the cornerstone of your resolve, pray tell us what we must do. We have defeated the supernatural and the otherworldly on our way towards a free Kintargo, but not even the Gods can chase away the fear and doubt that linger in the hearts of mortals. Tell us what fills your heart with that which can withstand fear, and we will."
Don't make Matiscio take her through a yoga/pilates session, haha!
Gregor turns his stoic expression to one slightly more irritated as the elven woman eyeballs him, no doubt with the air of condescension they all have; thinking they are better than everyone. The gaze get his hackles up, and he can't help but respond with frustration. "So, we are supposed to win you over with what... a performance? Like put on a show?"
He takes a deep breath, about to say more, but instead he growls out a heavy sigh as he levels a side eye at Evander.
Gilda smirks as the Archbaroness proposes demonstration of an artistic ability to curry her favor, choosing to arch an eyebrow in Gregor's general direction.
Gilda shrugs and looks towards Evander.
"If you got some supplies, we can probably draw or write something fancy, right?"
"But, I mean we got a lotta talents with the City choosing us and stuff to make these changes."
Snapping her fingers, she heads towards one of the exits from the living room.
"Here's a trick, ya see how I'm about to head outta yer house back outside?"
Gilda steps through the doorway (invoking her Doors to Everywhere extraordinary ability) before reappearing in the kitchen doorway.
Waving her hands, she adds, "and now I'm in your kitchen!"