Ben replies with what else he can remember.
There are about 10 cells and some other rooms. The other three armigers are Hortense Lierre, Ilsani Aberveen, and Kasston Auruda. The the guards include Warden Sabo as the only permanent resident of the Holding House. Guards assigned to Holding House are like 6 stationed in pairs. They are dressed like the ones you fought at the excrutiation.
He adds with a bit of thought.
I remember seeing the documents required to transfer prisoners being on specific paper and have been formatted with the seal of the Kintargo City Crest on one corner and Thrunes' seal on the other corner.
Each transfer document needs to cite the prisoners by name and prisoner number. I was prisoner #114 and was the first taken, but I am not sure what the others were.
So are you spending the night at the shrine or heading back to the city?
Lubella declared, "Very good Benjen! That's the sort of information we need!"
She conferred with her comrades, "If we were to get some uniforms made up, and documents forged, we could potentially get them to hand the prisoners over to us! It would depend on them not knowing all the other dottari in the city by sight, getting hold of some of the paper they use for the transfer forms, and getting examples of the seal marks. Then we'd have to find out the other prisoner numbers.
"Jackdaw, Brakisi and the Blue Warlock would have to pose as dottari — there's no halfling dottari that I'm aware of. I don't know if we'd be better to try to get all three prisoners at once, or one or two at a time.
"There's a lot of ifs involved, so it might not all pan out, but I think it's worth looking into."
After discussing for a few minutes, she said, "Should we go and make camp away from the swamp, and then return to the city tomorrow afternoon? Otherwise, I think we'd need to stay here all day tomorrow, and return the following day — it's probably not a good idea to risk being seen walking out of here in the daylight."
Fhingle turns to Sertona "Do you know who delivers food to the Holding House? Two Halfling servants could deliver food and maybe get a good look at the inside." Fhingle offers. "Can we sleep inside so the swamp doesn't eat me?" Fhingle says with a slight wince
The Seers are reluctant for any except Octavio to sleep in the shrine itself but have no problem allowing folks to sleep above ground with them.
Only the true faithful and supporters of Saint Senex may stay below overnight. However, you may join us here. It is safe enough, unless my husband's snoring will scare you into the bog. the woman laughs.
Benjen nods at Lubella I am still a fugitive, so I do not want to be seen and risk the mission. I do not know if halfling slaves or servants were delivering food. Sadly, I saw very little food while in there.
Talvek scribbles hasty notes in his own personal cypher as Benjen talks. "Yes, this is very good information, we should have a plan B as well, just in case. I will see if my clan knows anyone who works at the Holding House."
He gives a nod to Fhingle. "Food delivery is one thing, yes, if not so much for the prisoners then maybe for the guards." He turns back to Benjen. "What of other work? I don't suppose you were given beds with sheets, so I think laundry is out. Did anyone clean the cells? Take out waste, that kind of thing?"
His face lights up. "Oh! I just thought of something. We could pose as a construction crew sent to reinforce the Holding House, as authorities fear that 'someone' might try to break in and rescue the prisoners."
Once the plans are set (discuss as much as you'd like), you are welcome to stay the night.
Octavio wishes you well and returns to the shrine to wait.
The Seers seem to give little attention during the evening, but their presence prevents any disturbances from the swamp.
Setrona, with worries leaving her, smiles and becomes more pragmatic.
Well, now that my worries for my cousin are relieved, I do not want to sound ungrateful
but I will need to get back to work at the Tooth and Nail in the morning.
You are welcome to use it as a place to plan for a bit.
It is fairly close to the holding house.
Lubella spoke with the Seers, "Is there any way that Benjen could rest here for a few days? As you can tell, he hasn't eaten or slept properly for a while, and it's not safe for him to return to the city right away. I would be happy to arrange for supplies that you might need here."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
Afterwards, she told her companions, "Let's rest here tonight. We'll have to leave early tomorrow, before it gets to light."
As she laid out her bedroll, she said to Talvek, "You were exceptionally brave today! If it weren't for your heroism, we wouldn't have been able to rescue Benjen, and all make it out safely."
She paused for a moment, before continuing, "I was very worried for a few moments, that you were not going to get away. Going forward, please temper your courage with a dose of self-preservation; we can't afford to lose you!"
She bid everyone goodnight, and tried to get some sleep. We got lucky today. I have to plan more carefully next time.
"He is a member of the Order of the Torrent same as Octavio down below, so he should be fine to stay." Fhingle says adding his own personality to the matter.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (9) + 13 = 22
"I will have to be come stronger to keep more of you protected and feeling Healthy." Fhingle says looking for the most first spot away form the Halfling eating Swamp.
Sidius nods, adding, "They seem to have been warded against my powers. It takes a strong will to resist my hexes, and yet every one of them did. It is... troubling.. to think that our magic can be so easily turned aside."
The dawn approaches when the Seers are heard chanting in the morning. Your group arises ready for the trek back to the city's southern gate.
Octavio and Benjen are standing in the shrine.
We wish you safe travels and success on your mission. Our Order is indebted to you either way. If you free ours we will be honor bound to serve you and your cause against the tyrant. they both salute with a fist across their chests and a nod.
You do not encounter any traffic on the roads yet as the pink of the dawn is just starting to show. The city gates are within sight and Setrona stops and asks.
So what is the plan? Just walk up like we own the place? What about any story?
Let me know if there were any special comments or actions before leaving the shrine or before reaching the checkpoint at the Old South Gate
Lubella regretted that they had to leave before she could recite her dawn prayers. She figured she might have to perform her religious observance a bit late, when they reached the Tooth and Nail.
She bid Octavio and Benjen goodbye for now, declaring, "We will free the other armigers from the holding house!"
When they stopped near the southern city gate, she replied to Setrona, "I don't think we should offer information if we don't have to. If we're pressed, we need to be careful not to contradict what you told the guards last night: that we were on our way to Acisazi. We need to think of why we would be returning so soon. The guards on duty won't be the same ones as last night, but still."
"Thank you, we will send word once we have rescued your fellows." Fhingle returns the odd Salute to the men.
Going back through the swamp Fhingle again is careful to follow Lubella's steps seeing as she hasn't sunk and he doesn't want to be eaten by the swamp.
"We need not all go in at the same time, we can go in a few at a time."
Talvek is distracted as he takes his leave of the seers, Octavio and Benjen, plans running through his mind to be examined and discarded.
At Fhingle's remark he raises his head. "Good point. A group like ours will draw attention sooner or later. And we should save our disguises for the important parts. I can go into the city by myself, say I've been collecting herbs from the swamp for the herbalists." He knows a little of the area, and of the plants and roots that herbalists and alchemists find useful. He casts his eyes around as they walk, snatching a few leaves here, a fistful of stalks there.
Knowledge nature: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (16) + 11 = 27
Knowledge geography: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
Sidius suggests, "Given our shared interest, that could work for both of us, Talvek. Plus, I've got an affinity for herbs. "
Profession(Herbalist): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
So are the plans for Talvek and Sidius to enter the gate before/after the others? Assuming that Arcos, Fhingle and Lubella are accompanying Setrona, or split otherwise?
In either case, the drill will be the same.
HALT! Who seeks to enter the City of Kintargo via the Ravounel Gate? State your name and business. Next!
Each needs to provide an answer.
Setrona offers her usual response.
I am Setrona and my business is the Tooth and Nail. I need to get inside to open for my business operations. How's that? she smirks.
Lubella approached the gate, walking behind Setrona. "I am Bella. I'm assisting my mistress," she told the guard. Conforming to people's general assumptions about halflings seemed like it would be a safe choice.
Bluff: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24
"I am Fhingle Nib You Killed My Father Prepare to Die? I am friend of Liara of the Long Roads Coffee house, she has send me on an errand yesterday and I just return today." Fhingle answers hand on his coin pouch
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (18) + 13 = 31
Since we had a feeling we might be stopped would Fhingle have had time to Cast Enhanced Diplomacy granting him a +2 to his roll?
Sidius holds up a pouch of herbs, "Sidius, a healer returning from an overnight expedition to gather healing herbs. The pale marshbloom only opens after sunset, and unopened flowers are unusable."
Talvek smiles at the guard, his arms full of vegetal bundles and green smears on his face and fingers. "Assistant." is all he says, motioning with his chin at Sidius.
Bluff: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
Bluff: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
Talvek and Sidius are able to gain admittance to the city with their dazzling display of vegetal bundles and asscoiated trivia.
All right, all right. Enough about the benefits of long stemmed bean sprouts! Move along.
Your group is able to regroup a short way from the gate.
Setrona says You can follow me to the Tooth and Nail if you'd like. I have to open and order supplies for today's business. But if you need to go elsewhere that is fine too.
While waiting, Fhingle overhears a discussion between two merchants following behind.
“The Poison Pen hasn’t released any new poems or verses in several weeks. My guess? He’s been snatched up by the lord-mayor’s guards and is rotting in the keep!”
Lubella said to Setrona, "I'll come to the Tooth and Nail, and then have a look at the area around the holding house.
"By the way, do you know of anywhere in the neighborhood where we could spend the night, if we need to? The Bleakbridge is getting expensive, and the guards more nosy."
She asked Fhingle, "Which people were those? I'm interested to hear who's on Barzillai's naughty list."
After some discussion, she told her fellow Silver Ravens, "I'm going to have to go to the coffee house, and get my raven sometime today. Maybe Vendalfek will be around too."
Assuming you follow Setrona to the Tooth and Nail, she unlocks the front door as the dawn is lighting the streets more clearly.
Let's get inside, then see if we can find you a place to stay.
I am sure there are plenty of abandoned buildings around, but if you want real accommodations,
the options will be more limited. Setrona shrugs.
She bustles about, but not as much as Laria and the Longroads.
Unfortunately, the Tooth and Nail is not big on breakfast. But I will see what I can scrounge up. In an hour, my neighbor Luculla from the “Sweet Tooth” will have some of her candied blackberry tarts. So that will be a good start.
Lubella replied to Setrona, "Well, Beggars can't be choosers. We'll be happy with what we can get."
She set about performing her dawn prayers, honoring her goddess. When she finished, she suggested to the others, "After breakfast, let's see what we can find out about the holding house, and the buildings around it. You never know, there might be an abandoned house right next to it."
Talvek nods as he sets to cleaning his boots and clothes from the remains of the swamp and the road. "That sounds like a plan. If we can't find anything around there, I might know a couple of places in the Nursery."
Between her morning duties, Setrona can add some additional information, but not much more than you already have.
The Holding House is a bunker-like stone structure originally served as Kintargo’s jail. But historically, those services had been relocated to Castle Kintargo, and the Holding House has stood mostly empty.
She rushes off to order some wine for the evening before returning with some clean mugs and glassware.
I put in an order for tarts. Oh, where was I? Oh yes. With Barzillai Thrune’s arrival, the Holding House has been put back to use as an interim jail for suspects who might not yet warrant full imprisonment. Such as our Armigers are kept there for several weeks until they’re processed—either to freedom, usually with a hefty fine, or to official incarceration....well until this whole dog housing business. She shakes her head in disgust.
The area around the old jail is not as vacant as the Nursery. Although the businesses are more of those typical for the clientele - like Bail Bondsmen, and struggling low-level Pawn Shops.
Lubella ate a light breakfast (leaving room for the expected tarts later), and then told the others, "I'm going to go and have a look at the Holding House. Don't Worry, I'm not going to get too close. I just want to get a sense of the surroundings and general layout — enough to plan our reconnaissance efforts."
She readied her disguise, darkening her hair, and putting it up in a top knot.
Disguise, taking 10: 10 + 7 = 17
Once she was satisfied, told her friends, "I won't be long," and headed out towards the Holding House. She approached the building from an angle where it would be difficult to see her from its windows, taking care not to look too obvious to other onlookers. She spent some time going approaching the Holding House in a similar manner from other directions, until she was satisfied that she knew where all the windows and doors were.
Stealth: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (18) + 12 = 30
Bluff: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19
Lubella's trying to get a sense of the best places to look into the Holding House (probably using invisibility). She's not going too close to the building right now. Once she's finished, she'll return to the Tooth and Nail.
Sidius adjusts his pouches filled with herbal remedies, then suggests, "If today's all about information gathering, I can go out and see what I can learn about abandonned buildings in the area - ideally, considering what we're facing and the risk, we should probably look at setting up multiple safe-houses... and, later, when we can afford the materiel, caches."
Setrona returns with the tarts brought over from the pastry shop next door.
I believe you remember these from yesterday. I could eat them every day. Good luck today. I will be here if you need anything.
Lubella heads out into the city alone and sneaks around the Holding House.
Walls and Roof: The Holding House’s walls feature no windows and are made of reinforced masonry. The building’s gently sloped roof has slate shingles over a reinforced wood frame. It would be relatively tough to scale the smooth walls. Looking into the building is only really possible by scrying or being inside the building.
Talvek and Sidius are able to track down 3-4 suitable abandoned apartments within a few blocks of the impromptu jail, but nothing directly adjacent to the Holding House as mentioned. Those appear to be shops in some state of operations.
Those of you out in the area around the plaza or Holding House also spot prisoners being brought to the Holding House for processing, but oddly no dawn Excrutiations appear to have happened this morning where prisoners were brought forth.
Fhingle and Arcos? Any other plans (it is still early 8am at latest)
Lubella returned in time for tarts. She reported to the others, "It's going to be tough getting a look into the building. There's no windows that I could see; it must be dark and depressing in there! The roof is has a shallow slope, and is covered by slate shingles. If there's way in from there, I can't see it. The walls are smooth, so climbing them would be difficult.
"If I can track down Vendalfek later today, I might ask him to fly above the Holding House, and see if he can see anything different."
How many doors could Lubella see?
She asked their host, "Setrona, is there sewer service in this area of the city? I'm wondering if there's any possibility of getting into the Holding House via the sewers."
She pondered the situation as she ate her tart and drank whatever coffee was available, musing "I wonder where prisoner records would be kept? I would think that the bureaucracy must need information about the Holding House prisoners elsewhere. We need to find those prisoner numbers!
"Another thing we need to do is find a tailor who we can trust to keep a secret. If some of us are going to pose as dotarri, we'll need convincing uniforms. Jackdaw, how well do you know Hetamon Haace, the owner of the Devil's Threads? Is he a possibility?"
Knowledge local Devil's Threads, Inspiration: 1d20 + 12 + 1d6 ⇒ (14) + 12 + (5) = 31
Talvek managed to limit himself to two tarts and is scribbling some notes as Lubella returns. "Well, we already knew that breaking in was a dicey proposition at best. I was thinking of Hetamon as well. We're not exactly fast friends, but I know him. And I can see what I can find out about the whole process of transferring prisoners, what forms they use and all that."
Diplomacy to gather information, Inspiration: 1d20 + 13 + 1d6 ⇒ (14) + 13 + (2) = 29
Lubella was able to see two doors; the main door, which is where the prisoners were taken and a set of double doors. She is not sure how or where to find Vendalfec.
There definitely is a sewer under the city, but I am not well versed in the locations of the sewer lines. That would take a city engineer or something. Setrona is not sure she can offer much help in that area.
Fhingle, feel free to offer suggestions if you want. I am not too worried about this, and dwellers in the city would probably have more knowledge than you do as a player anyway.
Talvek spends most of the morning in the city and finds a bit of information.
Hetamon’s infernal heritage would have given him trouble elsewhere in Cheliax, but here in Kintargo, his skill at tailoring has allowed him to prosper despite his ancestry.
Other customers are starting to arrive as lunch approaches. Setrona seems to be scurrying and her hired help arrives for the perparations.
Things are going to get busy here for me I am afraid. And you probably want to find someplace more private. But there are couple regulars that may be able to help.
Clifton over there is a letter carrier for the city and knows a bit about city documents. And Luculla next door may know more about the buildings near the Holding House. It is just not my specialty. If you are discreet you may be able to find something helpful.
I would just not say anything too loud. The regulars are no fans of the Thrunes, but I do not know everyone who enters.
Almost with perfect timing, a rotund merchant enters the establishment and several of the others turn and cheer NORB!!! in unison.
Ok, you have to forgive me on that one. :-)
Lubella went over an introduced herself to Clifton, "Hello, I'm Kyda. Mind if I join you?"
If he's drinking something, Lubella will order something similar, and offer to buy him a drink when his gets low.
As she made some small talk, she discretely checked to see if anyone seemed to be listening in. When she was confident that she wouldn't be overheard, she asked Clifton, "I understand that you know something about official documents. One of my friends is having some issues with the city bureaucracy, and I was wondering if I could ask you something. Do you know where I could get an example of the wax impression of the seal with the city crest? I'm also looking for an impression of Thrune's seal."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (7) + 12 = 19
She studied the man's response to judge if it was safe to go any further.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
If Clifton seems sympathetic, she will ask where she could get some of the paper used for official documents.
Lubella will ask Luculla about the buildings around the Holding House later, unless someone else wants to do that.
"I can go speak to Hetamon, he might be more amenable to a fellow tiefling. He is definitely skilled enough to do the job, but the question is where his sympathies lie and whether or not we can trust him."
Leaving he others to their own tasks, Talvek exits the Tooth and nail just as the lunch crowd starts to arrive. The Redroof Market is not far, but he is still cautious as he walks, sticking to side alleys and discreet routes whenever possible.
Stealth: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
Assuming he makes it to the Devil's Threads without incident...
The tiefling spends an hour strolling through the market and discreetly observing the shop - who goes in, how many, customers or not.
Perception, inspiration: 1d20 + 11 + 1d6 ⇒ (14) + 11 + (1) = 26
Clifton sets down his ale and replies to Lubella at first surprised she was willing to talk with him at all.
Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I am well versed in the documentology of the city, it being part of my official city capacities.
He appears to be genuine, but obviously trying to impress Lubella with his limited knowledge.
If you want a real expert on documents and seals, I suggest you visit Ruba Fenquay. Miss Ruba runs a scrivener’s shop in Old Kintargo—a hand-painted sign proclaims out front, “Ruba Fenquay: Notarius, Copyist, Reader, Translator.” Ruba herself is an elderly Varisian woman, but don't let that distract you. She knows documents like I know addresses. Although with the right equipment, even a chimp could copy documents.
He goes on to continue.
"Although it's a little known fact that smartest animal is a pig. Research says if pigs had thumbs and a language, they could be trained to do simple manual labor like copying manuscripts. They can give you 20-30 years of loyal service and then at their retirement dinner you can eat them. And another thing..."
Setrona interrupts him.
Clifton dear, maybe you want to go play a game of Evens and Odds with Norb over there and ration your stories for later. she winks at Lubella.
Talvek is able to make it to the Devil's Threads without incident, but notices the dottari patrols are more frequent, especially up towards the bridge. Fortunately, he does not need to venture that far.
The shop is visited by mostly middle to upper class clients, most smiling as they admire their new coat or dress as they exit the shop.
Talvek waits until there is a lull in the traffic of customers in and out of the tailor shop, hoping to catch the owner alone before heading in. Once inside, he strives for a casual demeanor as he greets Hetamon.
"Master Haace, a pleasure to see you. Business is good, I hope? With all the... disturbances recently, I pray you haven't been affected."
Diplomacy, inspiration: 1d20 + 13 + 1d6 ⇒ (1) + 13 + (6) = 20
If we want to move this along a little, Talvek will test the waters first to see what Haace's attitude is towards Thrune. If he is sympathetic towards a potential rebellion, Talvek will discuss the creation of the uniforms with him. If he's neutral, Talvek will discuss the same, but pretending he's planning a prank on a friend. Maybe Hetamon has some made already that can be borrowed. If he is sympathetic towards Thrune, Talvek will just leave after making some small talk and vaguely pretending interest in getting a new coat.
Fhingle will find the paper work that tells about all the different groups that are presently working for them. "WE can get our people out there, Jacko and his group to go about and see what they can find out." Fhingle sorts the paper work so that it makes sense to him.
After a bit Fhingle will go upstairs into the coffee house, sit down and have some coffee seeing what Rumors he can over hear and what people seem to think of how the city is being run.
Diplomacy with Enchanced: 1d20 + 13 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 13 + 2 = 18
Lubella replied, "That would be a rough deal for the pig! Anyway, thank you for your advice! I think I'll go and pay Ruba a visit."
She got up and told her friends, "I'm going to go and ask Ruba Fenquay, a scrivener in Old Kintargo, about documents. Probably right up your alley, Arcos — want to come with me?"
After asking Setrona for directions to Ms. Fenquay's shop, Lubella grabbed one last tart, and set off to talk to Ruba.
Hetamon Haace responds warmly to Talvek.
Welcome to my humble shop. I am sorry, I do not recall your name, but remember you brought some fine cloth not too long ago.
Indeed business has been good, except for a few city interruptions and increased taxes. How do you fare in this environment? I pray nothing too exciting.
He appeared to have chosen his words carefully as he looks at the old merchant and his wife in the far corner of the shop.
Anyway, I am sure you are busy and have places to be. How, can I be of assistance?
Meanwhile, at the scriveners shop, Lubella and Arcos have no problems finding the sign as Clifton described.
Upon entering they are greeted immediately by an elderly Varisian woman at a large ink-stained desk covered in stacks of papers, parchments and scrolls.
She wears rough-spun brown robes, keeps her gray-white hair tied in a bun, and has a habit of clacking the wooden dentures in her mouth.
Yes, hello there. Who is calling? I am Ruba. And making your business my business is my business. If you get my meaning. she moves a stack of papers to one side of the desk as she stands to get a better look at you with her spectacles.