Sheeba pulls a wand out from... well, in tight leathers like that... apparently nowhere. She furrows her brow, as though trying to remeber the lines from a play and then...
Use Magic Device, DC 20 (wand): 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16
... the wand fizzes slightly.
"Currrses. Worrrry not, my little flea, next time it will worrrk."
Thanks for the welcome!
Miro stands up, his head swimming. Apparently a lot more than he had thought. Perhaps that priest, Gunari, had done something to it. Still, he tries his best to be heard. "Gentlemen, I'm sure we can figure something out besides this!"
|Ibid. Oxley Abel|
The old man finally roused from his rigid state of horror and disbelief, having watched Cyrus take a hit that would have killed even the toughest of soldiers. With eyes widened in shock, Ibid's hands slowly slipped from clenched fists to a relaxed state, with open palms. The state of a man too dazed to react, or fully process the gravity of seeing his young friend's lifeless body.
It can't be... the old man thought to himself, watching beautiful Sheeba cradle the unmoving body of his friend. I've guarded him against minotaurs, pirates, ghouls... I protected him when he was a boy, before we'd ever properly met. I protected him as he's grown into a man. And know I've let him die in a bar fight, spurred on by jealousy over some damned cat...
You promised on your life that you would keep him safe, old man.
His vision was tunneling. His periphery was blotted out by blackness, leaving only the face of the half-orc wreathed in the orange glow of the barroom torches.
Ibid knew it wasn't Sheeba's fault, and through the narrowing of his vision, the old man's eyes focused clearly on the real enemy. The one who would pay. Ibid knew that even if his actions against the half-orc caused him to get thrown out of the Pathfinders, it was a price the old man would gladly pay.
If Cyrus was dead, the half-orc would not leave this place alive.
Looking down at the scattered debris of a broken piece of furniture strewn about the floor, Ibid could see a chair leg resting beside his boot. In a slow and deliberate motion, the old man grasped the chair leg and rotated it slightly in his hand, checking the balance. It was enough like a longsword to kill a half-orc.
A few steps later, the old man was beside Lort.
attack(chair leg w/ archaeologist's luck): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
damage(chair leg): 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Amaranti takes a wide grip from the bench, wielding it at waist height. Then he strides forwards, the far end of the bench aimed at Lort. "AAAAARRRRRRRHHH!!" comes out the war cry, as Amaranti and the bench reach the height of their momentum, just before crashing into the half-orc.
Large battering ram (bench), charge: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27 Add any penalties required for the nature of the weapon...
conf roll: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
Damage, nonlethal: 2d6 + 6 ⇒ (6, 4) + 6 = 16
Damn, I'm gonna get one of these benches along, terrifying weapons :) BTW, I also love that almost everyone (Amaranti included) snaps awake from their torpor. So this is pathfinders spend their R&R time; passed out in a local joint...
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Just by the way, this damage is special non lethal damage, called "totally nonlethal damage". I know Cyrus would have died even with non lethal damage, since the damage he took so greatly exceeds his HP and Con. This is just a for-fun bar fight.
Lort staggers back at Ibid's stunning blow, the chair leg hitting him squarely between his own legs. As he turns to return the favor, a Garundi bench-of-doom comes lancing towards his head to strike him between the eyes.
The gigantic half-orc swings lazily at all who stand before him. Seconds later he swoons and crashes to the ground - exactly at the spot where Cyrus was only moments ago.
The pathfinders are victorious! Cyrus, Sheeba continues to heal you with the wand. Just become conscious whenever seems appropriate.
|Ibid. Oxley Abel|
Ibid runs to the lifeless body of Cyrus, cradled and held by the beautiful catfolk. As he moved past the slumped form of Lort, the old man can see the half-orc's chest gently rising as his tongue dangles unceremoniously from corner of his mouth.
"Thank you for pulling him to safety, Sheeba. That was very kind of you," the old man says, as he steps beside Cyrus. "Is... he..."
The old man cannot finished the sentence, unable to accept or bear the thought of Cyrus wandering amongst the River of Souls, moving toward final judgement in the great Boneyard.
Bending slightly, the old man strains and winces monetarily at the pain as he takes Cyrus hand. In this pose, stooping over Cyrus, torches across the room are directly behind Ibid, backlighting his aged form and casting an obscuring shadow across his features to the young man's eyes.
His attempts at diplomacy come to a crushing end as Amaranti cracks the huge half-orc between the eyes with his improvised giant-slayer. He shrugs, looking over to see Cyrus getting the medical attention he so obviously needs. Seemed like a good time to pick up where he left off. He heads up to the bar, mug in hand. "Let's have another, shall we?"
|Cyrus the Flea|
The fighting stopped... Oh, I'm not at the orphanage anymore. What's this? ooohhh..... That place. I thought for sure I had blocked this out...
This flashback is torture, I guess I need to find myself in this one... There is the entrance to the mine. I still don't know why they were digging to get into that cursed tomb anyways. It looks like it hasn't collapsed yet...
My head knows this isn't real... but maybe if I could just warn someone...
Get out! Get out! Get away!
No use... they didn't listen to me then, they can't hear me now. Still can't find me, better get closer. Thats odd, this is right were I was standing when...
My dad's in there! Get him out! Everyone get out, its going too colla...
Ouch... I thought this was supposed to be a dream, didn't think the blast would actually knock me down... Can't see... The sun is so bright... Someone is holding out their hand... Can't see their face because the sun is right behind them... Wait... that hat, I've seen that before...
|Cyrus the Flea|
Cyrus' eyes flutter as the magic from the wand flows through him, healing bruises and bringing him back to the present tense.
Ohhh.... My head...
Am I still dreaming? There is that hat in the silhouette...
Ibid Cyrus says, as he begins to take in his surroundings. He blinks a few times and the old man comes into focus. He sees the unconscious half orc behind him moments later. Bet he never saw that tumble through his legs coming! He says with a chuckle and stops abruptly, putting his hand on his throbbing head again.
As he finishes coming around he feels the smooth fur of Sheeba's arms beneath his neck and shoulders. Gato... That was the cat's name... He looks up at her and smiles. This wasn't exactly how I pictured it earlier... and his smile turns into a wry grin.
He takes a moment to gather himself and slowly sits up. Note to self. Only pick fights with non-enlarged Half-orcs from now on. And no picking fights with people to can swing benches like greatswords. And more Fire Mead. Definitely more Fire mead.
Noticing Amaranti still holding his bench, he nods at the big man. On second thought, maybe make sure I wait until my friends pick up benches at least next time...
He reaches his hand up to Ibid and takes the offered hand to stand up. This isn't the first time he has looked at the old man with gratefulness in his eyes. Maybe someday he will make it awkward enough to actually say the words out loud.
|Ibid. Oxley Abel|
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Before his eyes, Ibid watched Cyrus stir and then voice a few of his patented, cocky musings. Even though the young man appeared to be alright, Ibid continued to look Cyrus over for a moments longer before he began to accept his friend was in fact going to be alright.
The thudding in Ibid's chest begin to subside.
The weight and burden of Cyrus' death was suddenly lifted from the old man, and he could feel a sense of relief wash over him. He was greatful beyond measure that Cyrus was alive and apparently well. Though at the same time, Ibid could feel a bit of paternal frustration bubbling up inside.
The warm smile across Ibid's face shifted to cagey grin as he looked down upon the young man, grasping his hand, ready to help pull Cyrus to his feet.
"You damned fool," Ibid began, shaking his head. "Next time you charge headlong at an enlarged half-orc, I'll break a bench over your skull myself."
Sheeba helps Cyrus to his feet and dusts herself off.
"My apologies," she says to the pathfinders (and everyone in earshot), "I knew that Lorrrt had been in an agrrressive mood lately, and should have cut him off soonerrr. Even so..." she hurriedly scribbles a note, the notepad and quill appearing from nowhere.
For the curious pathfinders, the note reads:
You may find yourself in your room unable to remember the events of last night. The headache is well deserved. If you want to ever come to the taproom of the Grand Lodge again, you will pray to Kurgess for a mending spell and pick up some make whole scrolls on your way over.
You can apologize to your friends when the bar is clean and all the furniture has been repaired.
As for that other thing, you can forget about it.
See you tomorrow,
|Dave the Giant|
Once more, a massive figure appears at the door of the taproom. Dave the giant ducks under the lintel and begins to groan.
"OH, MY F***ING HEAD."
Dave spies Lort on the ground, just as the half-orc is returning to normal size.
"DAVE WILL TAKE THIS ONE HOME," says Dave with a grin to Sheeba, "DAVE KNOWS THE WAY."
Not a single person in the taproom believes that Lort's journey back to his domicile will be a gentle one.
Everyone is healed and Sheeba returns to serving drinks. Minutes later, the rumble of the bar patrons' conversation returns in full and it's like the fight never happened.
Please do continue to chat if you like, the adventure is released tomorrow, so we will post in earnest then. Can't wait! Mind you, we've been posting in earnest now... up to post #64 with this one!
Miro looks to Amaranti as the man stands there with his bludgeoning tool still in hand, cocking his head as he awaits a refill. "Dare I ask what went wrong?"
He chuckles, humming a drinking song to himself as he waves his goblet back and forth in time with the melody.
Gunari searches around to find the tankard he threw... 'Good thing these are solid... Cayden's own special weapon!'
He then returns to his seat, and patiently waits for Sheeba to bring more of the Fire Mead.
"Oh, you know. Kurgess teached that fighting is a good thing. Shows prowess and stuff. Constraint's never been an issue with them.
"First time I've seen him get so big, though. Hmm... maybe he has turned a new leaf... and has sold his soul to Kurgess in return for diving power!
"Happens to the best of us."
He looks forlorn, for his tankard is still empty.
I love that Miro stayed chirpy and out of the fight the whole time, despite its totally nonlethal nature. Speaks volumes for his positive demeanor.
To facilitate some clean up, I'm going to fast forward to the following night. Feel free to post about any actions prior to the following night using flash backs or (perhaps even better) bring them up in conversation.
The taproom this evening is a somber contrast to last evening's excitement. The night is still very young, but there are fewer than half as many patrons crowding the bar. A lone, downtrodden half-orc concentrates over a broken stool.
"∏ÊÑ∂ÍÑG" he intones glumly in the divine tongue of the gods. Mending
The stool's leg fits back into place, and the splinters slowly slide up from the floor to once again become part of the wood. The half-orc places the stool back down and looks up at the catwoman behind the bar.
"Am I done now?" he asks.
"Not by a long shot," she replies admonishingly, "Take a seat at that table overrr therrre and wait for yourrr frrriends to arrrrive. Once you have apologized to them, Venturrre-Captain Valsin has a special task forrr you; one suited to yourrr thick skull."
The half-orc groans, bringing a thin smile to the bar tender's feline lips. That Valsin is a harsh taskmaster. I swear, I'm never drinking again...
Each of you received a note from Sheeba at some point during the day. She asks that you come to the taproom tonight with a mind open to forgiveness.
Oh yeah, forgot to actually leave this in a state you could properly respond to.
Whether to hear Lort's apology, support their friends, check on Cyrus or beat down on Lort once more, everyone gathers at a private table in the Grand Lodge taproom. At one end of the table sits a very reserved Lort the Mighty.
"My friends and acquaintances, there are no words that can excuse my actions yesterday night. I have had problems with my drinking in the past, but never like this. Attacking allies such as yourselves is inexcusable. Nevertheless, I sit here to ask for your forgiveness. If there is something I can do to make it up to any of you, individually or as a group, you have but to ask."
Lort looks up from his glass of tap water to the view faces of the group of pathfinders and waits for their response.
"Friend, what we saw in the dwarven mines a while back was enough to drive any man to drink. I am sure you've learned your lesson. As I recall, Kurgess rewards self-sacrifice and fair competition. In fact, it was his self-sacrifice that moved The Accidental Hero and the Great Dreamer to elevate him.
"Live in the standard of your patron. Be self-sacrificing, as you were in the dwarven mines. As I see it, you likely owe the patrons of the bar here more than you owe us. The Drunken Hero had my back... you lost, because you lost the favor of The Strong Man. Be strong in your heart, and in your head. You will find that far stronger than being of strong limb, my friend."
If only Gunari had Perform: Oratory...
"Perhaps rewarding your friends with a round of Fire Mead and a joint of mutton would also be appropriate. After all, we did win! Though, my friend, it did take all of us!"
Gunari slaps the Lort on the back, to show he has no ill feelings.
|Cyrus the Flea|
Cyrus slowly removes the hood he had low over his face, revealing deep bruises around his eyes and jaw. A sling holds his left arm.
He takes a long, deep breath, and winces visibly, staring hard at the half orc.
You are stronger than you think, you know. He takes a swig from his mug, letting a little bit dribble out, having obvious difficulties opening his mouth.
He pauses, making eye contact, waiting as the uncomfortable moments drag out, getting exponentially more awkward.
He reaches his arm out, wincing again for effect, and grabs a wet towel on the table. He slowly brings it to his face....
And can no longer hold his laugh in. He wipes the make-up off as his chuckle turns into a full belly laugh. Based on the look on your face, you are as gullible as you are strong! At least you are on our side when it counts, Cyrus says, lifting his mug.
"All's well that ends well, is my preference. Although I wasn't smashing anybody with a plank or on the receiving end of a bench to the face. The drink gets the best of any of us at times. Perk up, good Lort!"
Finarin arrives late to the gathering. He walks to a seat as far from Lort as possible, takes out a silken rag and begins to clean a chair. Those that know him have seen this behavior before, but this time it is taking quite a bit longer than normal. He takes a seat and turns toward Lort.
"Although I have not faced the ...perils with you that I have with these others, I considered you a friend... a new friend. Growing up in the Kryonin woods, wanting to be somewhere else is ... odd for an elf. I was looked down on, mocked, for my views. I come here, to this ... society, and I find these ... brothers. I placed my life in their hands, and theirs in mine. Yet here, in this place of rest and comfort, a place to share stories, and grow closer you made me use magic, magic to hurt to placate your foolish nature. I have lived a long life, and I remember all the ... hurts that others have caused me. Yet those I remember the clearest, those that are ...closest to my everyday thoughts are the actions of those I cared for, those I trusted. Lort, please tell me that you will never make me use magic again to try and hurt you. I have too few ... friends, and I would hate to lose you as a friend. I forget nothing, but I can ... forgive ... a little. This time I forgive you. A small tear slides down Finarin's cheek.
He turns to find Sheeba, "No red for me tonight, although as always I am grateful for your ... service" Finarin removes a silver and places it on the table for Sheeba. He pushes back from is chair and walks towards a different table. He pauses as he passes Lort, places his hand on the broad shoulder of the half-orc, and continues to a table nearby.
Lort is speechless as Finarin departs. He pauses long in thought. Finally, Lort's face becomes stoic as he turns to regard the remainder of those gathered at the table.
"Thank you all for being so kind. Please thank Finarin for me, also. Tell him I will seek out and heal, with my magic, one sick and wounded for every piece of furniture we smashed last night - and another ten for what I did to Cyrus. Only then will I find myself worthy of his forgiveness."
Lort turns to the Garundi, who has yet to say a word, "And you, Amaranti! I thank you for putting me down as quickly as you did. Your prowess with a seat is great indeed, and your impressive aim is still causing me pain and occasional loss of vision. Unlike the playful Cyrus over here, I have refused magical healing. Some wounds need to be felt until they depart of their own accord."
"Drinks are on me tonight," he says to Sheeba as she approaches, "Whatever these fine gentlemen desire. And..."
"... and waterrr forrr you," she finishes firmly. Lort nods in agreement.
Sheeba graces the table with a warm, sly smile.
"It is good to see that you have all made up. Now, instead of the Firrre Mead, may I interrrest you instead in some Ulfen gulping whisky? It arrrrived this morrrning." All can clearly see the crestfallen look on on the half-orc's face, even as Sheeba's sharp teeth shine through an ever-widening smile as she adds, "It's Lorrrt's favorrrite."
|Cyrus the Flea|
Cyrus chuckles at the exchange, and Lort's reply.
Lort, my new friend, there are a few things about last night that you might not remember. While I won't disagree that it was your fault, it just wasn't quite the way you might think... Had you not been so inappropriate with Sheeba, I might not have bounced that wine glass off your nose. I only wish I had grabbed a heavier mug... He says with a smile.
Turning to Sheeba with a sly smile and another gold coin tip on the table,
بينما ميد النار سيكون الأفضل، و سأحاول ويسكي ، لمصلحة من يجري المغامرة
Miro grins and raises his mug in a toast to the half-orc's final words. He'd definitely take the man up on it. After the chewing Valsin had given them after their last adventure, a series of events his companions all emphatically had thought had gone very well, considering, Miro has decided that taking things seriously is a rather dull take on life.
Miro stands up on his chair, swaying side to side, his mug swaying side to side with him as he sips occasionally. He is in a bright mood, so he starts regaling the people inside with a song about the man Cayden, who had sought the attentions of a goddess and drunkenly, yet determinedly, wandered off towards certain doom, only to triumph and become a deity himself to prove himself worthy of her affections.
"Is fine bench", Amaranti agrees, studying his impromptu weapon, similarly surprised with it's effectiveness. Shrugging, he puts down the bench, and sits on it. "What next? Ah, drinks!? Sheeba, more ale, please!"
"Gulping whiskey? Never heard of it! Sounds like a fine adventure. However. My dear Sheeba, perhaps a pitcher or two of ale... Just to wash it down, mind you."
Gunari looks at the glass in front of Lort, and shudders. "It ain't healthy, I am sure of it! Give me a pint of the purified Pilsner, a tankard of analgesic ale, any day!"
The following morning, undeterred by your reaction to his last debriefing, Venture-Captain Ambrus Valsin summons you to his office at the Grand Lodge. The mustachioed git has yet to apologize for chewing you out. Don't expect anything much today.
Seated behind a large, antique desk in his wood-paneled office, Venture-Captain Ambrus Valsin looks up from the pile of papers before him and shuffles them to one side. “Perfect timing! Welcome Pathfinders!
“I had an interesting conversation with the Master of Spells Aram Zey yesterday. An old friend—Lady Darchana, Archdean of the Arcanamirium here in Absalom—contacted Master Zey. She’s a councilmember on the Low Council, too. It seems her dinner party last week had an unexpected guest: a handmaiden of her fancy guest’s had picked up a scrying sensor somewhere. When Lady Darchana learned that someone was attempting to eavesdrop on her party, she used her magic to trace the sensor back to its source. It sounds as though she didn’t learn anything conclusive, and she’s interested in bringing in an independent party to try and learn more. Master Zey agrees.
“Make no mistake, this is an excellent opportunity for you to impress a well-connected friend of the Society. Lady Darchana requested that the Pathfinders call upon her at her estate in the Petal District once they learn something of the origins of this servant. The owner of the handmaiden is named Lady Silviana Dimora. Lady Silviana isn’t a councilmember or the like—at least not yet. From what I understand, though, she is an up-and-comer who is rubbing elbows with all of the right people, and she likely has little knowledge of where the slave was purchased. I recommend speaking to her majordomo Milana about the handmaiden, or you can pay a visit to her solicitor, a Chelish fellow named Salbus over in the Coins. Questions?”
"Venture-Captain, perhaps a stupid question. You mention the two options as though we can only pick one. Is there some sensitivity that would prevent us from questioning them both?"
Miro thinks about it for a little bit more, then continues, "Also, do we know anything about this Salbus fellow, sir?"
Finarin enters with his fellows companions. At a gesture from the Venture Captain, he produces a silken rag form his sleeve, wipes his chair in a hurried manner, and sits down. After listening to the Venture captain, he leans forward, a look of furrowed concentration on his brow.
"Well met again Venture Captain. If I might trouble you, I did have a few ... questions.
When did the Lady Darchana discover the said ... scrying device? During the party/after the party?
Where is the scrying device?
Was the handmaiden detained - what is her current whereabouts?
As always I thank you for the ... time. I am sure that my astute companions will have more questions for you"
could we do a knowledge (local) for info on Lady Silviana or Salbus? Excited to start up again
Ambrus addresses Miro first, looking condescendingly down at the halfling, "My apologies, Mr. Ammars. My attention to syntax in my written communications is mostly without peer. However, when using the spoken word, I sometimes rely over heavily upon context and expression to convey my meaning. I have a particular weakness for using indefinite conjunctions. Of course, I could have said 'and see the solicitor', but there is no need for you to do both. I assume that you are just looking for where the handmaiden was purchased, and should one avenue prove fruitful along those lines, you would have no need to pursue the other. You certainly could pursue both regardless, but I see no reason why you should. Master Salbus is simply a solicitor who specializes in exchanges involving slaves.
"Regarding your questions," he turns to Finarin, his expression softening a little, "The discovery of the scrying sensor (it was not a device) was reported to Lady Silviana immediately, who then subtly and promptly alerted Lady Darchana. Perhaps a little refamiliarization of the scrying spell is in order. Master Arum Zey would be most displeased, Lord Moonstep.*
"As for the handmaiden, I wouldn't know where she is. She is Lady Silviana's slave, so I would guess either with her or on her estate. If she is with Lady Silviana, you will have to wait some time to talk to her - Lady Silviana left for Oppara some two days ago. It seems Lady Darchana is trying to avoid turning this into a public debacle by working through intermediaries and not alarming other nobles, and Lady Silviana’s recent departure may even be to ensure her safety and silence on the matter. Of course, that’s an educated guess."
Venture-Captain Valsin pauses as he surveys the team he has assembled, "Any further questions?"
* Scry spell description here. Arum Zey is Master of Spells at the Lodge, tasked with teaching all pathfinders about magic.
No knowledge checks can reveal more than Valsin has just told you. Sorry.
|Ibid. Oxley Abel|
The old man feverishly writes a tangled scrawl of notes in his journal as Venture-Captain Ambrus Valsin speaks, attempting to transpose only the most useful and pertinent information about their assignment.
Ibid's journal entry reads as follows:
1. Venture-Captain: Ambrus Valsin
2. Master of Spells: Aram Zey
3. Lady Darchana (Archdean of the Arcanamirium): dinner party w/ unexpected guest
4. unexpected guest: handmaiden of Lady Silviana Dimora, w/ previously unknown scrying sensor
5. Milana: Lady Silviana's majordomo (may know more about the handmaiden/origins)
6. Solicitor: Salbus (Chelish, located in the coins)
***Learn origins of Lady Darchana's servant, investigate and learn the source of the scrying sensor.***
"Thank you, Venture Captain," Ibid says gently laying a strip of crimson cloth on the open page of his journal, before closing the book. "I do not believe I have any further questions to add in addition to what my friends have already asked. Based on what's you said thus far, it would appear you've given us enough leads to begin our investigation."
"Umm.. Go find where handmaiden come from, then report to Lady Darchana..." Amaranti memorizes the assignment, scratching his head. "Sounds easy! Should we expect any trouble?"
"Oh, what is name of handmaiden? More easy to find handmaiden if we know name!"
Miro's bubbly personality never wavers under the verbal assault from Valsin. Instead, he just nods eagerly. "Thank you for the clarification, Venture Captain. After our last assignment, I was wanting to make sure all the wrinkles were ironed out BEFORE we started."
Miro grins widely at the man before getting up, awaiting any answers his companions might get before departing.
"Venture Captain, Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?"
"Venture-Captain, thank you for the clarification. I highly doubt that Master Arum Zey would be disappointed in my .... misunderstanding of the Divine. He fully knows that my ...strengths lie in other areas of the Arcane. Nor do I believe that anyone has such a firm grasp of syntax and verb conjugation as you. As always I thank you for ... enlightening us and I hope you feel as confident as we do that the goals of our ... Society will be accomplished."
If we are all done Finarin pushes bruskly back and turns to leave the office.
"Thank you for what shall undoubtedly be yet another mission, Venture-Captain Valsin! After all, the last one was quite... invigorating
"That being said, is there anything we should know about House Silviana, or even House Darchana? I assume that, at least, House Silviana is Chelish, in that they hold slaves, but what about Darchana?
"Oh, and also, does Lady Darchana have any known enemies or rivals? Who would want to be spying on her"
Gunari looks around the room a moment... and then says, "Who said that? Hic!"
Addressing Amaranti first, Valsin replies, "You should always expect trouble, though I have no reason to believe the Lady Silvania's servants or her solicitor will give you any. As for your other question... her name? The slave's you mean?" there is a touch of surprise in his voice, "Oh, it must be around here somewhere." He rustles through some paperwork, "Ah yes, 'Atlag' I believe she is called." He returns the page to the back of his notes folio.
"All I can say further about Lady Darchana is that she is a socialite, and quite influential in Absalom," Venture-Captain Valsin turns to Gunari as he says this, "She is a patron of our Society, and we would like to keep in good standing with her. She awaits any solid information you may have at her estate in the Petal District.
"As for enemies and rivals, none that she would disclose. The nobility are a secretive group at the best of times. Even just knowing who she believes to be her enemies is valuable (and private) information. Best not to push her too far on that front. Just assume that anyone in the nobility or who dislikes the nobility is a potential suspect.
"Finally, Lady Silviana may be a Chelaxian, but I don't suppose it matters. Her solicitor, on the other hand, definitely is Chelish."
Barry Manilow, classic. As an FYI I included a mustache in my description of Valsin last scenario because he seemed the sort of ponce to have one*. I'd never seen his picture before that. I had a little internal chuckle when I saw the artist put one on him, too, and what a mustache it was!
* While not all people with mustaches are ponces (some look awesome with one, like my dad) there is a particular type of ponce that always has one.
Since it looks like you've got all you need out of Valsin, and several of you have expressed a desire to move on, I'll move things along in the most logical direction. I have linked to a Map of Absalom in the campaign description above, too, in case you ever get interested in checking out the layout.
Apologies if this seems a bit much of a leap forwards, but the next bit is very linear and I see little reason to delay your eventual meeting (which is the first real chance you have to ask questions and have them answered).
Barring any further questions for Venture-Captain Valsin, the group leaves his quarters. In the absence of an address or even a business name for their solicitor, the pathfinders elect to see Lady Silviana at her home, Dimora Manor.
It is a fine morning, and a great day for a walk to the Petal District. The whole district is located atop the Hill of Aroden, and sports the best views in Absalom save for the tower in the center of the Ascendant Court. The Petal District is lovely and, even in the Fall, the abundant flowers that give the district its name are blooming. Each pathfinder, except perhaps Finarin, feels a little outclassed here. The houses sport enormous frescos, beautiful craftmanship and large, expansive grounds - full of the aforementioned flowers. Absalom's nobility is amongst the oldest and most ostentatious in all of Golarion.
You eventually reach Dimora Manor. It is surrounded by an 8-ft high fieldstone wall, as are many of the surrounding estates, and the grounds have been recently tended. The grass underfoot is thick and soft, there are several recently planted shade trees, and (of course) a vast number of flowering plants. After a casual and relaxing stroll through the unguarded manor grounds, you make it to the manor house. Directly in front of the manor house is a pond with several large lilies and a lion-shaped marble fountain that bubbles soothingly.
"Hello there," comes a deep and friendly voice from beneath a shaded archway, it belongs to a slim, well-groomed and swarthy gentleman in a very smart black and white suit, "I am Pavo, the Dimoras' butler."
You explain that you are here to see Lady Silviana, or at least to talk to her representative. Pavo explains that Lady Silviana is not here, and is on her way to Oppara (in Taldor). Her majordomo, Milana, is here, though and he promises to get her for you. As she is quite busy, he expected quite the wait and (luckily for you) provided you with a very comfortable outdoor setting, filled with plush blue couches and chairs. Pavo sees to your thirst and hunger with very good grace.
It is well after midday when Milana finally arrives to see you. Milana is a stern-looking woman with dark brown hair and hazel eyes. She is well dressed, but is clearly not of the nobility (for those who know of such things). She explains again that Lady Silviana is not in Absalom and departed 2 days ago.
"I really must apologize to have kept you for so long only to see you leave again," she says in an even, practiced voice with perfect Taldan intonation that suggests she has studied the language intensely but not grown up with it, "However, I am unavailable for unscheduled meetings at this time. With Lady Silviana away, I am really quite inundated with work. I can schedule an appointment for you in approximately two weeks' time, when Her Ladyship is expected to return. Would that suit?"
Milana gives you a look that attempts to say that she expects a 'yes' in answer to her question. Pavo in the meantime is dutifully refilling your glasses.
|Cyrus the Flea|
Back in the venture captain's office Cyrus notices Ibid pulling out his journal from his pack, and is suddenly reminded to do the same. Already behind on the explanation, he discretely shuffles behind Ibid, and copies from his notebook as quickly as he can. Feeling behind in the explanation, he re-reads what he has copied a few times, and can't think of anything else to ask other than what has already been asked.
Deeddly doo deedly doo deedly doo... back to the garden
Cyrus takes a long draft from the cool beverage, and blinks a few times when he realizes he has been staring below the shoulders of Milana long enough that someone might notice. He breaks his stare abruptly, and clears his throat. When he looks back, he makes it a point to maintain eye contact, and smile politely.
Of course mi'lady, we wouldn't want to bother you on such a busy day. Cyrus begins to stand, to give the impression he is complying with her request to leave and channels his inner Columbo before saying, If you would be so kind as to answer one question before we leave, We are here to inquire about where your Mistress acquires her... help. We know how well regarded your Mistress is in this magnificent and powerful city, and we are working very diligently to keep certain recent things... discrete. He says with a smile and a polite bow.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
"Well," says Milana hesitantly, "Hmm. Given the circumstances, perhaps it is best if you do come inside to talk further. I don't know what help I can give you, but... yes... it would be better if we conduct the rest of this conversation in private. Pavo, I will escort our guests to the study. Please bring their refreshments there."
"As you wish, Miss Milana. With pleasure," the butler bows deeply and begins to collect the food and drinks.
Assuming they follow, Milana takes the pathfinders inside the lavishly appointed house. Unfortunately, they are not able to see much of it, as the study is just off the entryway. The study itself is more of a library, bookshelves with meticulously kept books adorn the walls. There are several large, open desks for working upon - complete with neatly stacked parchments and quills made from exotic feathers. The group is taken to the largest of the desks, behind which is a large and gaudy picture of some unknown members of the Dimora family on a hunting expedition. Servants scurry to bring each of the guests a plush chair, these ones upholstered in red leather to match the decor of the study.
Once seated, the food and drinks are almost immediately brought out and placed on beautifully carved side tables.
"Now, where were we?" asks Milana once the other servants have left, "You were asking about Her Ladyship's help. I would like to assume as little as possible, so you will have to make yourselves more apparent."
In a bright, chipper voice, "we are seeking some information on one of the Lady's handmaidens. She apparently caused quite a stir at a recent event."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Gunari diplomacy assist: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
Milana lets out a long sigh and regards the pathfinders for a while. Eventually, she speaks, "I guess resourceful and convincing folk such as yourselves will have no trouble discovering this eventually anyway. Very well, I will tell you what you need to know."
Milana shakes her head, touching her hand to her forehead. “Yes, Lady Darchana’s dinner party. What an embarrassment for Lady Silviana. Can you imagine being told that your handmaiden is some sort of... well... spy? Dreadful. The woman’s name is Atlag, and she has been here for almost three weeks! Three weeks! When I think of the private conversations that happened in front of Atlag? It makes me ill, honestly ill.”
Composing herself, Milana continues, “Lady Silviana retains a solicitor, a Chelish gentleman named Solvius Salbus. He works out of an office in the Coins called the Red Letter. He drew up the paperwork for my Lady to complete the transaction on Atlag with a man named...” She wags her pointer finger a few times, shaking her head as she tries to recall the name. “Mahdi Mahjub. No, Mahjub Mahdi! He does his business down in Misery Row, of course. It’s a small shop with several large windows to allow passersby to see into his display parlor from the street. ‘Mahdi’s Chattel: Absalom’s Finest,’ so the sign claims. Honestly, I think every third building in Misery Row claims to be ‘Absalom’s Finest.’ I wonder how many spies like Atlag he’s sold over the years? It’s a dreadful, dreadful business. I am not sure there is anything else I can tell you, but I am sure you understand my Lady’s desire to move on from this embarrassment? Good? Yes? Thank you.”
Milana pauses once more, as though deep in thought. She looks at each of the pathfinders, directly meeting their gaze before continuing in a hushed tone:
"You seem to possess a keen understanding of how things work in Absalom, so perhaps you might be willing to perform a small service for my Lady. It would be unheard of for Lady Silviana to demand recompense for her handmaiden purchased from Mahjub Mahdi; however, were you to secure such a deal, it would be gracious gesture that might lead to a budding friendship, don’t you think? And should he refuse you, who were you to ask in the first place?” She shrugs her shoulders and frowns slightly.
Little else can be gleaned from Milana, though you are welcome to try - or to ask for other favors and respond to the favor she's asked of you how you will. There should be no apparent reason to go to the solicitor. I will tell you outright that none of you believe Milana to be lying, and in that instance the solicitor would be able to add no useful information to the above.
Miro nods thoughtfully. After hearing her story, he would have suggested they bypass Solvius and go directly to Mahjub, anyway. No sense in potentially warning the man.
"Where is the woman, Atlag, now?"
After her answer, "I can not speak for my companions, but I am sure we can help your Lady in this matter." Miro smiles reassuringly at the woman.
Majordomo Milana looks at Miro quizzically, "Atlag is here on the estate. It would hardly do to send that eavesdropper with Lady Silviana now, would it? Hopefully you will be able to secure some kind of deal with Mahjub Mahdi and she won't remain here long."
Miro chuckles, shrugging. "In case the situation arose where we would like to speak with the woman, I just wanted to know. We will endeavor to help you, ma'am."
"Is wise to talk to Atlag-woman? If we talk to her, Scrying One know we look for him."
|Ibid. Oxley Abel|
Ibid's updates his journal entry based on their new information and leads
1. Venture-Captain: Ambrus Valsin
2. Master of Spells: Aram Zey
3. Lady Darchana (Archdean of the Arcanamirium): dinner party, guest's handmaiden w/ previously unknown scrying sensor
4. Atlag: handmaiden of Lady Silviana Dimora, w/ scrying sensor
5. Lady Silviana Dimora: Owner of Atlag
6. Milana: Lady Silviana's majordomo (may know more about the handmaiden/origins)
7. Solicitor: Salbus (Chelish, located in the coins)
8. Mahjub Mahid: Owner of the parlor, 'Mahid's Chattel', sold Atlag to Lady Silviana Dimora
Task A: Learn origins of Lady Darchana's servant, investigate and learn the source of the scrying sensor.
Task B: Secure recompense for Lady Silviana for her handmaiden purchased from Mahjub Mahdi.
Following a quick session of madly scribbling notes, crossing out previous leads, and generally filling the page with his untidy scrawl, the old man gently closes his journal and looks up to Milana.
"My lady, do you know if the scrying sensor has been removed from Atlag? Ibid asks politely. "You had a great thought, Aramanti. We could have given away our element of surprise. However, this could also provide us with the opportunity to spread disinformation to the one who applied the scrying sensor."
"My Lady dispelled the sensor as soon as it was detected," replies Milana matter-of-factly, "The scryer would be foolish to try again, but there is nothing to say he or she won't. Atlag is being kept in isolation away from anywhere anything important is being said. I am tending to agree with the Garundi, though, if there is no strong reason to talk to her then it is probably best that you don't."
Majordomo Milana furtively glances at an ornate clock adorning the study's northern wall, "I thank you for your offers of help, and Her Ladyship will be very appreciative if you are able to subtly secure recompense for that slave. If there is nothing else, however, I really do have quite a bit to be getting on with."
Okay, next up: slave girl, solicitor or slave trader? I'll go with the consensus of the first 3 posts (and will wait at least 8 hours from now for more posts) before proceeding.
|Ibid. Oxley Abel|
"I do have one final question, Milana, if I may," the old man asks, his tone a touch more serious than it had previously been. "What will happen to this handmaiden, Atlag, in the event we are able to secure recompense for Lady Silviana Dimora?"
A moment before the group leaves Dimora Manor, Ibid turns to the group and voices his intention, "I may want to speak with this Atlag at some point. Especially if her fate is to be unfavorable, following our investigation and delivery of the Lady's recompense."