Shadow over Riddleport

Game Master Joana

"We cornered his drunken ass in the Goblin last time. This time, we won't show any mercy. We'll kill him for what he did to Larur, and then he'll tell us where Lil is." -- Braddon Hurst


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hp 36 / 38; AC 16; Init +2; 3 Str damage Male Half-elf Ranger 4

Braddon walks across the seats towards the small figure and his shadow falls over the halfling. He stands above Phillip, his arms crossed, glaring down at the Callistrian who had cursed them and left with their enemy only that very morning.
He is blunt and to the point.
"Where can I find some furniture movers?"
Braddon sits beside Phillip and gazes out across the bloody sands.
He gestures at the gladiators below as they advance upon each other with weapons drawn.
"Do you think they...? Bad idea huh?"


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

Looking up as his form is draped in shadow Phillip tenses for a moment before somewhat relaxing when he identifies the face of he who has shaded him. A waved hand indicates that a seat beside him on the bleachers is empty if Braddon wished to see it filled before he answers in flat and level voice "I'd say the wharves would be your best choice... catch them at shift's end and flash some silver and I'd wager you'd find a few men willing enough."

He smirks and gently chortles at Braddon's suggestion of the gladiators "I wouldn't..." without going into any details.

Phillip sits in silence for a span of seconds thereafter to see if Braddon was pushed to fill the void, or settled in to watch the dance upon the sands.


hp 36 / 38; AC 16; Init +2; 3 Str damage Male Half-elf Ranger 4

Braddon takes to the brief silence like a blind butcher's apprentice with a smith's hammer to a struggling chook.
"Only I found a nice bed. Lil's bed. It was in her hideout. Have you seen it yet? It's where the scribe works. Worked. We're taking him to the General tonight. He wants him out of the way until he gets Lil. The General. He's sending men to get Lil at Roderic's Cove. Said something about that other guy. Marzie? Mazro? I think he's gonna get the guards there to get Mazro as well. Maybe. I wasn't very sure. He was talking to Gristav and you know how hard that can be. We spoke to Gramma. Kinda. She said something about a Varisian woman with a basket visiting. Then Gramma started doing odd stuff. She drank some stuff the Varisian gave her. Then passed out. Weird stuff. When do the wharfies finish? I've gotta go there after dark with the scribe. The General wants some sort of secret hand over. There's a pass phrase and everything. I hope Gristav remembers what it was. Or Snake. Or... we have another stray. A gnome. I think Saul is hiring every new person in Riddleport. Maybe not a bad idea if Zincher is gonna send spiders after us every day."
Braddon gestures at the men on the sand.
"That guy with the reach is over confident. He's going down."


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

Contented and relaxed as he is, Phillip responds to Braddon's spiel in part and on it's merits... relieved at least in part that the depth of the morning's events weren't being probed for detail.

"Haven't had the pleasure of seeing the whore's bed nor any real desire to... though I suppose if you could get past thinking about what's been done upon it then it's likely comfortable. I'd still be wary of casually mentioning it's origins to any you cared to share it with"

On the topic of the distant Sczarni and the General's intent Phillip scoffs "If the Sczarni man is worth his scarves then there shouldn't be anything the General can do to touch him... though one supposes Serpe escaped his clutches so I'd not be convinced he's the sharpest dirk in the scabbard." letting the further mention of his Gramma and scribe pass unanswered... Phil had little interest to mire himself in that particular bog.

With respect to the hiring of cheap labour "The better question is when do the bars get busy... near enough to when the sun dims would be my guess..." shrugging away his lack of clarity.

Talk of the gnome gets Phillip's eyes to narrow and tense for a heartbeat "And what does the gnome say he does?... Does he seem a straight edge... or is he more like the last two hires?"

Lazily turning back to the men on the sand Phil squints as he tries to figure out which is the one with reach... such delicate subtleties lost on the scoundrel. "Might be that you're right... feels smaller looking down on it than it does standing in it though..."


M 1/2E Magus 4 :2223a1: BAB3 CMB/D:5/17 AC/T/Ff:16/12/14 Init2 Perc1?3(F:9) HP36/36 FRW6,5,3(F:6) UMD11 Scft10 Alch/K:Arc/K:Lcl/Appr7 Ride/Climb/Swim/Dance:6 Dipl/Intim/Acrobatics5 Sense Motive3(F:6)
Larur Felden wrote:
Larur stares at Gristav for a long moment. "Gods, what you get up to. Is it like this in every town you have business in? I'm proud to say that for more than a century, I avoided becoming entangled in murder cults, Sczarni plots, and police business alike." He frowns. "Until I joined up with Saul, at any rate."

"Do you regret it? I'm here for it's success. Your success. Your lack of regret. Tell me what you want. There isn't anybody else here that's earned the right."

"If you leave me to follow my instincts, I'll find trouble. I solve them. But first, I find them."


hp 36 / 38; AC 16; Init +2; 3 Str damage Male Half-elf Ranger 4
Phillip Hargreaves wrote:
Contented and relaxed as he is, Phillip responds to Braddon's spiel in part and on it's merits... relieved at least in part that the depth of the morning's events weren't being probed for detail.

"I wouldn't underestimate the General. He sounded a bit upset about the Sczarni here and if he decides to go them then that'll be it, no matter how dumb his flunkies are. I suspect he has plenty more, plus a few who are really, really good at their jobs that no one knows about."

Braddon shifts uncomfortably.
"The Gnome? No one in Riddleport is a straight edge. He seems resourceful. Only met him this morning. The day hasn't really gotten better since then."
Braddon absently rubs where he stabbed himself.
"I was hoping to improve the day with the bed and some company. If the bars are busy at sunset and I have to make this delivery as well... and I'm already tired from little sleep these past few days. Saul better make good on that pay rise. Though we did get a nice take from this morning. Did you get my gems looked at yet?"


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

A playful lilt at the edge of his mouth Phillip clarifies "Aye, but Marzo isn't here..." considering denigrating the bastion of what services as law in Riddleport before catching himself and softening his language "I've no doubt that the man you call General has persons in his employ that could open my throat before I had cause for alarm... but the General is just a Captain to a higher power here... and I doubt that his masters would sign on to take a war outside of Riddleport's walls."

Pausing for a span Phillip continues in level and even voice "I would be wary Braddon... the Gendarme are neither worthy of trust nor a group that I'd want to know much of myself..."

Stretching his neck Phillip pats a pocket, finding the gems still safely ensconced within "Not yet... I confess it slipped my mind. As to the evening..." the halfling shrugs and smiles "I'd say to hell with the bed... if it's waited to now then another day wouldn't hurt it no?" contemplating his own plans for a span before venturing "Depending on what your intent was with your company... carnal or convivial I'll likely be at either the Hoard or Cress this 'eve with my own lady fair..."


Piccolo makes his way to the nearest archway into the depths of the arena and follows the stairs within as they fold back upon themselves past the lower entries to the grandstands all the way back down to the bottom, where the private boxes lie half-buried beneath the street level. He has circled the tiers of public seating more than a few times, and it takes him a while to reorient himself in the subterranean corridors and find his way back to Williplunnet.

The fight out on the sand is well underway by now, and the difference between the rather antiseptic birds'-eye view from Zincher's box and the visceral proximity on offer here is startling. Not only is the sweaty sheen visible on the gladiators' exposed skin but the superficial cuts and bruises already left by the fight are as well; the clang of weapons and grunts of effort and pain are louder than the roar of the crowd, muffled by the stone partition above his head. As he watches, the full-blooded human gladiator manages an opportune strike with his heavy cudgel, and he distinctly hears the crunch of bone from the half-orc's thigh as he topples over with a screech.

Above, most of the arena erupts in celebration, with the notable exception of the half-orc contingent which reacts only with stoic scowls.


Male Gnome

"Bah, cudgels," Will mutters in disgust, continuing to sketch all the while. "Give me a good edged weapon to cut and tear. You can't paint a broken bone beneath the skin." It's not at all clear that the artist noticed either Piccolo's departure or his recent return.


Male Dwarf
Gristav wrote:

"Do you regret it? I'm here for it's success. Your success. Your lack of regret. Tell me what you want. There isn't anybody else here that's earned the right."

"If you leave me to follow my instincts, I'll find trouble. I solve them. But first, I find them."

"'Regret.' Don't talk to a dwarf about regret. That's an elvish affectation, sighing for centuries over spilt milk. What's done is done, and it's only a fool wastes his time wishing it done differently instead of making the best he can of it," he grumbles, ruffling through a sheaf of parchments on his desk, then stops and sighs. "What's done is done," he repeats, his ruined voice sounding tired, "and this is the best I can make of it. Torag preserve me from falling under the influence of the Debt Minder, but they say he paid her court himself before settling down with Bolka." He peers across the desk at Gristav. "Any dwarf who sets pick to stone and stops digging before striking a vein of ore isn't worth his beard. If I quit now, it's as good as an admission that Zincher beat me."


As Snake and his charges continue to head south toward Rotgut, the buildings grow smaller, dingier, more huddled together, and in more immediate need of a new coat of paint. Only a few block past the bustling Leeward Common, Finnie shyly points to a shop with a faded sign over the door whose peeling gilt letters read "Ladies' Attire and Necessities." The front windows are clean but foggy in the corners, etched with age and the salt in the air. Folded decorative screens block sight into the shop's interior; on one side, the bodice of a serviceable but not particularly attractive garment is arranged over a generously-proportioned dressmaker's dummy. As Snake pauses in the street to size up the establishment, a high-pitched yapping erupts from within.


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

Making a mere guess that the man with the cudgel was not the one with reach Phillip ventures "Looks like your instincts were right."


Male Gnome Bard (Negotiator) 2

Piccolo relaxes into a chair. He does not disturb Will. He rests a cheek against the knuckles of a loosely formed fist, watching Will intently, noting every detail about the gnome from his mannerisms to his speech patterns. Will, my friend. You are an interesting fellow. Serendipitous that we should meet. It would seem fortune favors those prepared to take advantage of it. Our meeting will work to my advantage.

Williplunnet Swevenforey wrote:
"Bah, cudgels," Will mutters in disgust, continuing to sketch all the while. "Give me a good edged weapon to cut and tear. You can't paint a broken bone beneath the skin." It's not at all clear that the artist noticed either Piccolo's departure or his recent return.


hp 36 / 38; AC 16; Init +2; 3 Str damage Male Half-elf Ranger 4
Phillip Hargreaves wrote:
Pausing for a span Phillip continues in level and even voice "I would be wary Braddon... the Gendarme are neither worthy of trust nor a group that I'd want to know much of myself..."

"Wary? I'm terrified. You're throat isn't getting cut in your sleep. You were smart enough to lay low. He doesn't know you exist. I, however, turned up at the exact moment his daughter was abducted and her necklace stolen. Desna's laugh. Sure, I saved her from being deflowered by Bott's slimy clutches, but if the General doesn't find someone to torture to death for that infraction then I'm really convenient. Especially now that Gristav told him where I am. Thank Desna that Gristav doesn't know I helped a slave escape from Cheliax instead of claiming her... bounty. I can imagine what the General would do with that information." Braddon shudders.

"The sooner he has Lil, the safer I'll be."


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

Phillip smiles, though there is a tiredness that takes momentary root around his eyes before he answers "Aye... though I wouldn't worry about the Chelish indiscretion."


M 1/2E Magus 4 :2223a1: BAB3 CMB/D:5/17 AC/T/Ff:16/12/14 Init2 Perc1?3(F:9) HP36/36 FRW6,5,3(F:6) UMD11 Scft10 Alch/K:Arc/K:Lcl/Appr7 Ride/Climb/Swim/Dance:6 Dipl/Intim/Acrobatics5 Sense Motive3(F:6)
Larur Felden wrote:
"'Regret.' Don't talk to a dwarf about regret. That's an elvish affectation, sighing for centuries over spilt milk. What's done is done, and it's only a fool wastes his time wishing it done differently instead of making the best he can of it," he grumbles, ruffling through a sheaf of parchments on his desk, then stops and sighs. "What's done is done," he repeats, his ruined voice sounding tired, "and this is the best I can make of it. Torag preserve me from falling under the influence of the Debt Minder, but they say he paid her court himself before settling down with Bolka." He peers across the desk at Gristav. "Any dwarf who sets pick to stone and stops digging before striking a vein of ore isn't worth his beard. If I quit now, it's as good as an admission that Zincher beat me."

"I've always felt myself on the wrong side of debt, to think Her much of an ally. But I've a pair of cheerless cheroots, whose considerable value to me has been... destroyed. So who knows, perhaps an epiphany looms. To ore, then? But gold, and red if we come to it? Gold, and red avoided? Or red, and gold on the way? I've already debated, with some of our allies, what your will was, and how much I was empowered to enforce it. And then today, I killed two men, and helped kill three, and I doubt they're the last, or the least. So I have to know, what you want. Because that's why I'm here; for you. Oh, Samaritha's comely, and intriguing, Braddon's a cheerful thuggish comrade, and both are of my mixed blood... But neither would have slowed me, I'd have already conjured a courser horse from hell, and been away. And you know it."

"So tell me what you want. Whatever I'm going to do here, let me do it well. And if you don't know yet, tell me when you figure it out."


hp 36 / 38; AC 16; Init +2; 3 Str damage Male Half-elf Ranger 4

"The problem with these gladiators is they're putting on a show. If the other guy isn't down in thirty beats, you should be running away. I want my enemy to figure out my fighting style about the time I splatter his guts to the ground. Because if he's smart and figures it out earlier, I'm dead. Down there, there's all the time in the world to figure out how your opponent works. Reach guy is a good gladiator: showy, wide swings, constantly moving. Useless fighter."
Braddon stretches and enjoys the feel of the sun on his skin and the buzz of the crowd below him.
"So what have you been doing this week?"


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

Phillip smiles as Braddon explains the problem with the gladiator's style, left hand unconsciously rising to rub at the spot where Ranef's wooden blade laid him low in a single swipe. The half-elf was right of course... and Phil had seen it first hand... and made gold off of it now that he thought of it - but the last question cut through the reminiscing and captured some of his attention.

He didn't reply immediately, instead turning to regard Braddon and taking the time to run a hand through his mop of hair and smooth out his mustache... it wasn't the first time the question had been asked of him - Larur and Ethel both had ventured the same, and his answer had only satisfied only the one of them.

Sighing Phillip spoke with relative honesty "What I have been hired to do... mostly. I use what I have to try and make it so that the Goblin will turn a profit... because if she does, then I do. Much as Bolboreta might think otherwise that's both the beginning and end of it."

Smirking during a pause before continuing "Though as to specifics there isn't much to tell... I'm as fresh to Riddleport as a carp freshly caught... most of the week's been spent breathing the city and spending words where they best be spent. I've been to the temple of the whores, on the bloodied sands below, ensorcelled by a mage of Cyphers, established a fledging relationship with a fence and begun to spin a web of information gathering, squawked like a songbird at the wharves... and had time to ensnare a lady fair, gamble into some riches and beyond my own reason be convinced to attend the bloodbath that was this morning.... you?"


hp 36 / 38; AC 16; Init +2; 3 Str damage Male Half-elf Ranger 4

Braddon accepts Phillip's answer with a nod and a shrug and is obviously not much of a 'details' man. He is only too happy, however, to list his growing achievements across the week yet again.
"Well, I killed those thieves on Sunday night, foolishly saved the General's daughter Moonday without revealing she was at the Goblin, found Lil's hideout Toilday after Malkith and Dayn learned she'd organised Sunday's robbery, chased down and brought in Lil's lackey Wealday after almost drowning in the harbourmaster's office while retrieving his letter to her but before being cursed by that stupid ghost at the Boneyard on the way back from his ambush, helped you kill those spiders yesterday then instead of taking off the afternoon spent it looking for Gramma (the General's daughter's maid) only to kill some idiot thugs and discover the General had found her body on the cliffs where I told him she probably was, and this morning so we could talk to her we searched for that priest who can now speak with the dead personally but had to settle on Arnando from the Publican who is obviously loathed by the General who has little choice since he doesn't want Shorafa speaking to his dead bodies for him."
Braddon waves a hand dismissively.
"Speaking of the Temple, Shorafa's new favourite Rosa something, was in trouble herself this morning. I wish she'd just hand over Bott so I could kill him."


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

As Braddon relates his achievements Phillip annotates "Blood, death and blood... visceral pleasures have always been the least of my interest, though they do have their place." The mention of the temple draws a slight pique of interest, especially given his sensing of unease when he needed to cleanse himself of blood.


hp 36 / 38; AC 16; Init +2; 3 Str damage Male Half-elf Ranger 4

"Pleasures? I actually don't like fighting for my life. I'm just better at it than than anyone else I've fought. The people I'd enjoy killing, I'm not allowed to yet. And if visceral pleasures are the least of your interest why are you watching gladiators, hmm?"
Braddon folds his arms and smirks.


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

Returning the smile with a wink Phillip asks "Why indeed..." making it seem as though he was going to leave it as a profundity unspoken for a heartbeat before launching into description "At first I thought that it Zincher were to come for us there was a decent chance he'd use men that were accustomed to fighting... I wanted to know their faces so that I could pick them out of a crowd and get a drop... but I've since realised that as unlikely"

"By farce as part of my enquiries I ended up on the sand facing a relatively impressive Kellid... he's up later against the Notorious Punisher, a moniker that seems needlessly theatrical - though I suppose it fits the surrounds. A few side bets turned that into a win of twelve gold or so before he hit me once and I got to taste sand." shrugging a mite at the haphazard nature of the encounters "This led to that led to spending a night drinking liquor far stronger than I'd usually touch... He's a good sort is Ranef..."

Chuckling "I suppose you could say I'm here to watch a friend get bloodied in pursuit of a paycheck."


I'm going to assume the front door's closed seeing how the yappy dog isn't bursting out at us.

Not fine enough for this place? You gotta be kidding me. Snake thinks to himself as he moves up toward the door - and motioning the others to follow - and knocks as he doesn't want to let some rabid dog out. "Hello? Anybody home?" he calls out.


Male Dwarf
Gristav wrote:
"So tell me what you want. Whatever I'm going to do here, let me do it well. And if you don't know yet, tell me when you figure it out."

The dwarf sighs. "Lad, there's no coded orders here. I told you flat out the only thing I asked of you: to deliver word to my family when the time comes." He pats the lower drawer of the desk where he's placed the packet addressed to his brother. "Apart from that, I only want to see this place succeed. Ill-suited as I may be for the entertainment industry, at least I've a head for numbers; as long as the Gold Goblin remains in operation, half the profits will belong to my family. I'll hold my head higher in Torag's Domain if this ridiculous dream of Saul's can earn as much for them as if I'd completed my tour in the Gas Forges. The rest of Riddleport can go to hell and is well advanced on its journey, as far as I'm concerned. If none of the bosses knew who the hell any of us were or ever thought to ask, I'd be a happier man."


hp 36 / 38; AC 16; Init +2; 3 Str damage Male Half-elf Ranger 4
Phillip Hargreaves wrote:
"At first I thought that if Zincher were to come for us there was a decent chance he'd use men that were accustomed to fighting... I wanted to know their faces so that I could pick them out of a crowd and get a drop... but I've since realised that as unlikely"

Braddon nods sagely with understanding, pretended or otherwise.

"Good thinking. Why'd you change your mind? Apart from the fact that they're not very good, they can still kill someone through surprise or weight of numbers."


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

Feeling a partial need to defend Ranef's honour "I wouldn't call them unskilled with a blade..." waving his arm to take in the stadia "But this is the cause of changing. They are more valuable remaining in their mock of battle... and apart from the Varisi dagger throwers... they don't exactly blend in."


M 1/2E Magus 4 :2223a1: BAB3 CMB/D:5/17 AC/T/Ff:16/12/14 Init2 Perc1?3(F:9) HP36/36 FRW6,5,3(F:6) UMD11 Scft10 Alch/K:Arc/K:Lcl/Appr7 Ride/Climb/Swim/Dance:6 Dipl/Intim/Acrobatics5 Sense Motive3(F:6)
Larur Felden wrote:
Gristav wrote:
"So tell me what you want. Whatever I'm going to do here, let me do it well. And if you don't know yet, tell me when you figure it out."
The dwarf sighs. "Lad, there's no coded orders here. I told you flat out the only thing I asked of you: to deliver word to my family when the time comes." He pats the lower drawer of the desk where he's placed the packet addressed to his brother. "Apart from that, I only want to see this place succeed. Ill-suited as I may be for the entertainment industry, at least I've a head for numbers; as long as the Gold Goblin remains in operation, half the profits will belong to my family. I'll hold my head higher in Torag's Domain if this ridiculous dream of Saul's can earn as much for them as if I'd completed my tour in the Gas Forges. The rest of Riddleport can go to hell and is well advanced on its journey, as far as I'm concerned. If none of the bosses knew who the hell any of us were or ever thought to ask, I'd be a happier man."

"That ship... that fleet, has sailed. We're noticed; the spider's were Zincher's heralds. Mescher's daughter's rescue brought his eye, and Lil's involvement, Shorafa's. Sam knocks at the Cyphergate cyclically, and I've got between that shipwright and the secret of the city's fastest ship, also sought by spellready others."

"It's not ill fame, but in this town, is any fame good?"

"To the Goblin's success, aye. We'll build what we can, break who we must. And carry your word, when time comes. There's a door between me and that drawer, I'll need the key of before then. And a greater understanding; is it the profit, to that dark date, or in perpetuity, that's to go to your family? I'll see either done; it honors me, that I think you know it."


Male Dwarf

Larur goes to the cabinet on the wall, removes a key, and hands it to Gristav. "Signed, sealed, and airtight," he replies with a grim satisfaction, gesturing back to the lower drawer, "half the profits to the Felden clan of Janderhoff, so long as the Gold Goblin is in operation. Silent partnership. Saul has the right to buy them out, but they get to set the price. And in case of fire, flood, or highway robbery, Gravin Goldhammer's got a second copy hidden away. All goes well, it won't be needed, but no man's ever regretted having an escape tunnel just because the main shaft didn't cave in."


Phillip Hargreaves wrote:
"... and apart from the Varisi dagger throwers... they don't exactly blend in."

Indeed, from the reactions of the crowd to the bouts on offer this afternoon, Zincher's gladiators appear to be both locally well-known and distinctive in appearance, thanks to the ethnic stereotypes to which their public personas play, proof, perhaps, that Cleg acquired his sense of showmanship from his erstwhile employer. The victories are almost evenly split between Zincher's stable and the half-orcs as the afternoon progresses. The one constant evident to Braddon's martially-attuned eye is the fighters' tendency to play to the crowd rather than go for the jugular.


Male Gnome

Below, in the bowels of the arena, Piccolo divides his attention between the action on the sand and the artist in the box. Will is producing quick sketches in abundance, focusing largely on the fighters' grimaces and the positions of their bodies and weapons at the point of impact. He grumbles softly to himself as he lets his completed studies fall to the floor, "Bah... change that to a sword ... add a spray of blood. The angle's wrong for a piercing weapon, but a slash ought to follow the same trajectory...."


Haren of the Jungle vs. Sluggy the Spanker is the first bout after Varg's that Phil pays particular attention to. The Harry he met in the gladiators' dormitory was dressed in common street clothes; Haren of the Jungle makes his appearance in skin-baring piecemeal armor of studded leather supplemented with animal skins, his face daubed with splotches of paint. He carries a longspear with a fetish of bone and feather attached beneath the barbed point in a hand encased in a long, metal-plated leather glove. His half-orc opponent, Sluggy the Spanker, appears to have acquired his name due to the unappetizing gray-brown color of his hairless skin, presently oiled to a wet sheen.

The murmur of excitement at the appearance of Harry's spear gives way to a disgusted communal sigh when he plants the weapon point-first in the sand before the signal is given to begin the bout. Having discarded the prop, the pair proceed to fight with their hands, Harry striking with his cestus while Sluggy attempts to seize and pin the Mwangi. The early stages of the fight go Harry's way, as he manages several blows while twisting out of the larger, slower half-orc's reach, but Sluggy absorbs the hits patiently, and eventually Harry gets careless; taking his eye off his opponent momentarily to grin at the crowd, he fails to withdraw his arm quickly enough after a successful touch, and the half-orc's massive hand closes around his plated wrist.

After that, Harry delivers several more desperate blows which Sluggy stoically accepts while methodically working toward the pin. When he achieves it, his massive oiled bulk holding the Mwangi immobile, his impassive face breaks into a grin. Forcing Harry's head down toward the sand, he releases his grip with one arm with a surprising alacrity and delivers one - two - three quick slaps to the human's hindquarters with his greasy paw before releasing his captive and raising his grayish arms triumphantly. The half-orc contingent in the stands howls in appreciation while Harry stumbles back to his longspear with a scowl.

-----------------------------

"Snake" wrote:
Snake thinks to himself as he moves up toward the door - and motioning the others to follow - and knocks as he doesn't want to let some rabid dog out. "Hello? Anybody home?" he calls out.

The dog's yapping only intensifies. After a few moments, the door opens a crack. Snake at first doesn't see anyone; then, adjusting his gaze downward, he sees a young halfling woman looking up at him suspiciously through the narrow gap. She glances over her shoulder back into the shop before asking severely, "What's your business here, sir?"

-----------------------------

Anything else in particular you want to do before going to pick up dinner, Gristav?


M 1/2E Magus 4 :2223a1: BAB3 CMB/D:5/17 AC/T/Ff:16/12/14 Init2 Perc1?3(F:9) HP36/36 FRW6,5,3(F:6) UMD11 Scft10 Alch/K:Arc/K:Lcl/Appr7 Ride/Climb/Swim/Dance:6 Dipl/Intim/Acrobatics5 Sense Motive3(F:6)
Larur Felden wrote:
Larur goes to the cabinet on the wall, removes a key, and hands it to Gristav. "Signed, sealed, and airtight," he replies with a grim satisfaction, gesturing back to the lower drawer, "half the profits to the Felden clan of Janderhoff, so long as the Gold Goblin is in operation. Silent partnership. Saul has the right to buy them out, but they get to set the price. And in case of fire, flood, or highway robbery, Gravin Goldhammer's got a second copy hidden away. All goes well, it won't be needed, but no man's ever regretted having an escape tunnel just because the main shaft didn't cave in."

"May I play at Mother?", Gris asks rhetorically, his grin turning cold. "Don't mention Gravin, for his own sake, and if you have let him be known to Saul, consider moving the copy, or even pretending you've moved it. Must be any number of couriers, could have been hired to shuttle it... to your brother? To some First Bank of Dwarrow? Oh! To the libraries of the Cypherlodge! Anywhere but where it's known to be looked for."

"And as for airtight, there's room for slime in that seal. Half the profit, after expenses, allows for padded expenses, resources bought from left hand to right, salaries to sycophantic seconds... how much, do you think, Tendal would draw? But... you have to trust somebody. Maybe Saul."

"But yes, check your tunnels."

Sorry so late. Wouldn't mind meeting the kitten. I don't think there's enough time to do much else.


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

After following the ebb and flow of the bout, Phillip is disappointed to see Harry fall to the Spanker... and after seeing two of Zincher's stable beaten an inkling of concern grows as to the fairness of the contest, but he leaves such words unspoken. Instead he eyes Braddon to see if his interest in the spectacle is genuine or if the half-elf just appears to be marking time.


hp 36 / 38; AC 16; Init +2; 3 Str damage Male Half-elf Ranger 4

Braddon accepts Phillip's explanation without further question. He settles quickly and soon becomes an expert on the fighting styles of the various combatants and their strengths and weaknesses.
Braddon starts with the occasional comment to Phillip on how best one combatant can overcome another, moves quickly onto groans and retrospective advice on what each combatant should have done and how he can improve, and eventually ends up shouting words of encouragement and abuse down at them.

"SWEEP THE LEG!"
"TAKE HIM DOWN!"
"YOU HIT LIKE A GIRL!"


Male Gnome Bard (Negotiator) 2

Piccolo maintains unless something occurs to cause him to do otherwise.

Williplunnet Swevenforey wrote:
Below, in the bowels of the arena, Piccolo divides his attention between the action on the sand and the artist in the box. Will is producing quick sketches in abundance, focusing largely on the fighters' grimaces and the positions of their bodies and weapons at the point of impact. He grumbles softly to himself as he lets his completed studies fall to the floor, "Bah... change that to a sword ... add a spray of blood. The angle's wrong for a piercing weapon, but a slash ought to follow the same trajectory...."


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

Phillip nods mock sagely at Braddon's advise before smirking as the half-elf gets caught up in proceedings enough to turn from advice to abuse. The halfling keeps his words relatively quiet and directed to the side rather than the sand as he's reasonably sure his tone wouldn't be able to carry over the din of the crowd. Idle discussion and commentary flows with Braddon as the fights come and go, Phillip well contented to allow his mind some time to relax and worry not.


Phillip's attention is piqued by the imminent commencement of the first bout on which he placed a bet: Allardyce vs. Noseless Maurice. Maurice proves to be not literally lacking a nose; rather, the proboscis in question appears to have been broken so thoroughly so many times that the appendage lies almost flat against the half-orc's face. His opponent proves to be familiar to Phil: one of the sailors he saw Akron instructing the day he faced Ranef on the sand. Allardyce is the unbearded one who took the worse of that sparring session, he notes with a pang of regret for his gold coin.

The bout begins slowly, both of the participants cautiously feeling each other out, swinging short clubs that don't come close to connecting. There is minimal audience interest in the fight, and the long preliminaries drive several of the spectators into the concession area for another ale. At last, Allardyce summons the courage for a sudden foray: He jabs at Maurice's belly with his club and steps into the space vacated by the half-orc's instinctual retreat, following up with a desperate series of quick raps to the head and shoulders. Noseless rolls with the blows, using his own club only defensively. After a few moments, he glances up toward the canopied box surrounded by half-orcs, drops his club, and takes a knee to the startled sailor-turned-gladiator.

Maurice's forfeiture is greeted with a chorus of boos and hoots from the human spectators, but the half-orcs look on with equanimity as Allardyce attempts a half-hearted victory lap.


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

Phillip's initial sense of foreboding at lost coin turns to a smirking interest. Smoothing out his mustache he purrs "Interesting, so at least some of the fights are rigged then. This mockery of combat just got deeper and further into shadow." before taking out his proof of bet "Though in this case fortune favored the uninformed"


Male Dwarf
Gristav wrote:

"Don't mention Gravin, for his own sake, and if you have let him be known to Saul, consider moving the copy, or even pretending you've moved it. Must be any number of couriers, could have been hired to shuttle it... to your brother? To some First Bank of Dwarrow? Oh! To the libraries of the Cypherlodge! Anywhere but where it's known to be looked for."

"And as for airtight, there's room for slime in that seal. Half the profit, after expenses, allows for padded expenses, resources bought from left hand to right, salaries to sycophantic seconds... how much, do you think, Tendal would draw? But... you have to trust somebody. Maybe Saul."

"But yes, check your tunnels."

Larur's face darkens as Gristav lists the ways his carefully-laid plans could be thwarted, and he glances toward his lower drawer nervously, as if no longer as certain as he once was that his legacy is secure.


Gold Goblin wrote:
The dog's yapping only intensifies. After a few moments, the door opens a crack. Snake at first doesn't see anyone; then, adjusting his gaze downward, he sees a young halfling woman looking up at him suspiciously through the narrow gap. She glances over her shoulder back into the shop before asking severely, "What's your business here, sir?"

Snake glances over at the others before turning back to the small humanoid. "Word is you sell clothes here. Is that right? I'd be interested in buying if you do."


Allardyce's victory, however specious, seems to start a run of luck for Zincher's stable; the next few matches go to the human gladiators. Then, somewhat to Phillip's surprise, he recognizes another of the fighters: Allardyce's sparring partner, Beardy. A glance at the program reveals that his name is Dogger, and his opponent is listed as Groot Geweld. Phil remembers the odds from the slate, which were almost as lopsided as Allardyce's.

Groot is revealed to be a hulking half-orc with sloping shoulders and a massive gut which pours over a wide leather belt studded with rivets. He carries no obvious weapon, merely wiggling his fingers like a clavichordist, while Dogger dances nervously about with a quarterstaff. This bout also starts slowly, with the sailor making half-hearted jabs at the half-orc from a safe distance, until Groot suddenly grabs at the staff. His eyes widening, Dogger tries to retreat, but the half-orc follows, making quick snatches at the weapon, until he finally succeeds in disarming his opponent and tossing the quarterstaff through the portal out of the ring. At that point, the bout turns into a one-sided wrestling match. Dogger evades Groot for a while, but eventually, the half-orc succeeds in pinning the gladiator and throwing his considerable weight upon him, knocking him prone.

-----------------------------

"Snake" wrote:
Snake glances over at the others before turning back to the small humanoid. "Word is you sell clothes here. Is that right? I'd be interested in buying if you do."

The halfling peers at him warily, casting her gaze over the filthy child, the barefoot man wrapped in sailcloth, and the slovenly woman with the bruised face and bloodstained dress before returning to the tall stranger in the wide-brimmed hat. She hesitates a moment, then smiles widely, throwing the door open in welcome. "Customers, Betta!" she calls over her shoulder cheerfully.

The interior of the shop is clean but rather shabby. The plank floor is worn and gray with age. Dressmakers' dummies of various sizes take up much of the available space; bolts of cloth, mostly serviceable and drab, line the back wall, and a set of tall cabinets set with small drawers sits to the left, a rolling stepladder by their side, for Ethel to reach the topmost drawers, no doubt. Three mismatched mirrors are set in the far corner with a folding screen ready to provide privacy if needed; nearby is a small, shabby settee and a low table with a stack of teacups. A door practically hidden behind the rolls of cloth presumably leads to stairs to the second story. A tall, angular woman, with gray hair styled in a manner in fashion decades ago, is restraining a tiny white dog with black spots, large pointed ears, tiny sharp teeth, and a murderous look in its black eyes.


Female Human (Varisian) Bard

Gristav and Larur are suddenly distracted from their previous topic of conversation by a sudden shriek (the F above high C, had either of them musical training). As Gristav backpedals to the door of Larur's office to peek out, Thuvalia comes staggering through the kitchen doors in a panic. "Rats in the larder!" she screams.


Male Dwarf

Larur's eyes meet Gristav's. "First spiders, now rats?" he queries incredulously. "Who delivered these?"


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

As Beardy is taught a short and likely painful lesson Phillip muses "There's less variety on Croat's roster... but they seem to be generally of a higher standard... as far as faux wrestling with ones hands and hugging the opposition to a stop goes at least..."


M 1/2E Magus 4 :2223a1: BAB3 CMB/D:5/17 AC/T/Ff:16/12/14 Init2 Perc1?3(F:9) HP36/36 FRW6,5,3(F:6) UMD11 Scft10 Alch/K:Arc/K:Lcl/Appr7 Ride/Climb/Swim/Dance:6 Dipl/Intim/Acrobatics5 Sense Motive3(F:6)
Larur Felden wrote:
Larur's eyes meet Gristav's. "First spiders, now rats?" he queries incredulously. "Who delivered these?"

"Maybe through one of those tunnels?", Gristav segued, following the museless mewling of the Varisi vamp. One hand framed the force of frost, while the other, of long habit and all unthought, caught up the ashwood stave just abaft of balance, want to work the warrior's weal of wieldiness, whilst wizard's wits wove wyrd...

Please don't have me freeze the kitty!


Back at the arena, the afternoon wears on as the sun sinks further toward the rocky ridge west of town. Phillip gauges its progress against the number of listed bouts left before Ranef's, knowing he must collect his winnings and still make it to Betta's before closing time. At last the sand is raked clean after the penultimate match, and Ranef steps into view. More than half of the field of battle is now in the shade of the grandstands, and the massive Kellid's shadow stretches like a giant's into the first tiers of benches to the east. The human spectators burst into raucous cheers at his appearance; Ranef grins and acknowledges the crowd with a wave.


Male Gnome

In the private box beneath the stands, Will Swevenforey closes his portfolio decidedly. "Pick those up for me," he instructs Piccolo, waving his hand at the sketches on the floor around the foot of his stool as he replaces his stick of charcoal into its place in his kit.


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

Gauging the passage of the sun and mentally performing some arithmetic Phillip wagers he's got just enough time... however it could be tight. Forewarning Braddon "I've got to make scarce as soon as the last blood is spilt on this bout... off to see a lass about a dress." pausing for a few moments before adding "Did you make a choice about your intent tonight? - or are you content to your own devices?" referring to his previous offer of double dating.

As Ranef comes out, Phillip can't help but stand and offer a raised fist of support... even though it's improbably that the crowd is more than a painted blur from Ranef's vantage.


Male Gnome Bard (Negotiator) 2

Piccolo smiles, hops to his feet, gathers the sketches in an orderly fashion, "Shall I carry them or do you have a bag you wish them placed in to protect them from inclement weather?"

Williplunnet Swevenforey wrote:
In the private box beneath the stands, Will Swevenforey closes his portfolio decidedly. "Pick those up for me," he instructs Piccolo, waving his hand at the sketches on the floor around the foot of his stool as he replaces his stick of charcoal into its place in his kit.


hp 36 / 38; AC 16; Init +2; 3 Str damage Male Half-elf Ranger 4
Phillip Hargreaves wrote:
"I've got to make scarce as soon as the last blood is spilt on this bout... off to see a lass about a dress."

"Me too. Seeing a lass out of a dress, that is."

Braddon eyes the sun dipping in the distance.
"But yeah. I can stay for this one. You know him them?"

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