Lubella explained to the student, "I'm actually looking for a friend, who I know came here sometimes for advice or medicines. I don't know the details of his condition, nor is it my business, but he hasn't been seen for the last couple of days. I'm worried about him."
Sidius shakes his head, We should really have planned our story before we came in. Afraid of adding to the confusion, he keeps silent and waits.
She nods and turns.
Please follow me. I will see if I can find one of the professors or grad students.
She leads you down a hallway and past several classrooms, libraries, labs and eventually to an office.
She stops at a door with a sign "Alchemistry Labs" and knocks.
Professor Rumblestock, I have five visitors wishing to speak to you.
A wizened gmome looks up over his spectacles and replies to her.
Visitors? Why yes, um...certainly. I am always glad to share knowledge of the arts and um...sciences...with....visitors. Um, who did you say they were? I was not expecting anyone since last week.
He stands quickly to greet you.
Yes, about the explosions, those were an accident, well most of them, as I clearly stated in the official incident report submitted last week...wait, so you are not from the Department of Kintargo Health and Safety? Who are you again? he looks flustered.
Lubella decided that some specifics were going to be required to get any useful information. She said to the professor, "I'm sorry to bother you. We're looking for our friend, who has gone missing. He spoke of coming to the academy for medicines from time to time, so it seemed like a good idea to ask if someone here has seen him in the last few days.
"He's a young human man, with a short, slight build — brown hair with a goatee. He likes to wear fine clothes: a tailored coat, polished boots and a cane. I don't know what his condition is, and I didn't feel it was my place to ask. I do know that damp weather seems to bother him."
The gnome scratches his beard for a moment.
Nope, not sure...wait. Rexus? Rexus Victocora? That sounds like him? I saw him a fair amount a couple weeks ago. He was hauling tons of old books from the library over to the Longroads. The last I saw him was a two days ago. He seemed different. Not as interested in books. He was coughing alot. And I would almost say brooding. Like he stopped researching and had a new purpose in life. I am not exactly sure what that might be. He said he would take care of 'it' himself. But didn't elaborate. I gave him some powder for his cough. But when he asked for explosives....well, that didn't sound right. I told him I could not sell him any...since the accident, the Dottari and Safety departments have been in here thrice.
The gnome professor stares out the dusty windows of his lab towards the Castle to the south Kintargo.
Yes, I would say Rexus had changed. And not the jolly intellectual he had always been, but something...more serious. I wish I could help. But the Thrune is cracking down on us professors and researchers. First, the proclamation about the Poison Pen writings, then yesterday, another murder victim was discovered somewhere near the south wall in Old Kintargo, slashed up the same way Professor Mangvhune carved up his victims back in the day... gives us researchers a bad name it does!”
Lubella listened to the professor's description with growing concern. This isn't good! Why is he going off on his own and trying to get explosives? She bid the academic farewell, "Thank-you for your time; I appreciate it."
When she got outside, she said to her comrades, "We need to find Rexus before he does something stupid. Looking for bomb-making materials, without telling Laria? I'm worried that he's gone rogue, and is trying to avenge his parents by himself. He'll just get himself killed!"
"Let's check the Newt Market — he might try to buy explosives there."
She checked again to see if anyone was following them.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12
Sidius nods, "We need to stop him... and the murders the professor just mentioned."
Good luck to the lot of you.
The gnome nods as you depart, breathing a sigh of relief and turns back to his research.
Once outside, Lubella does not notice anyone following the group as you make your way to the Newt Market.
The short walk across the northern Kintargo avenues prove uneventful. The market itself is bustling with hawkers of fresh fish, produce and the odd potion or snake oil. You eventually find the stall for one of Newt's assistants who notices you.
Welcome to Newt Market. You appear to be in search of something specific. Perhaps I can make some recommendations? A cloak against the rain? A pair of sturdy boots? A quality backpack perhaps?
"DO we split up to look in the market or stay together? The Dottri aren't looking for us right now so we could all stay together for sure. If Rexus sees us all together though he could easily get away." FHingle says before they head out.
Fhingle looks around for anything he could use, maybe some new paint supplies. "I am looking for some new paints, something to make them look more dangerous when I paint. Some of those rare alchemdical paints?'
Diplomacy with enhanced: 1d20 + 13 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 13 + 2 = 34
Fhingle would take the time prior to speaking to people to use Enhanced Diplomacy on himself
Lubella had some reservations about asking questions at the Newt Market. She suspected that the Newt had criminal underworld connections, and might not have the highest ethical standards; he might be the sort of person to sell information if the price was right. However, a nobleman trying to buy explosives was likely to have drawn his attention already, so the damage could already be done. At this point, her priority was to find Rexus as quickly as possible, before he did something rash.
Trying not to be overheard by passersby, she told the assistant, "I'm trying to locate a friend. He's a young human man, with a short, slight build — brown hair with a goatee. He likes to wear fine clothes: a tailored coat, polished boots and a cane. He has been here in the past to obtain medicines, and may have come recently looking for alchemical supplies."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (1) + 12 = 13
As she talked to the assistant, she tried to judge whether passing a few coin would elicit more information.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13
Fhingle is able to find a wide variety of paints and pigments from local vendors as well as exotics imported from as far as Tien.
any non magical items of masterwork can be found for standard prices
Lubella and the others ask around generically for Rexus but none have seen anyone matching his description in over a week.
”Aye a bookish sort of a fellow? Nope can’t say he has been here. Usually only interest in books and times. Sorry. Can I help you find anything else? A basket or chest or perfume perhaps?“
"That's it for now. I'm sure we'll be back when we have more time to look around. Thank-you," she replied.
As they departed the market, she said to her friends, "Let's get to Songbird Hall before it gets too close to curfew. I think we should try to talk to one of the senior clergy; they're likely to be sympathetic to our desire to catch up to Rexus, before does something likely to provoke a harsh reaction from the authorities.
"I understand the desire to get back at Thrune, but moving too soon is a bad idea."
You are able to make any mundane purchases in the Newt Market without trouble or nary a second look.
Assuming the next stop is Songbird Hall, you plan to get there after crossing the Bleakbridge by late afternoon. The usual crowds are thinning and some of the vendors are shutting down their shops for the evening.
Move along people. Keep things moving! barks the dottari.
Reaching Songbird Hall, avoiding random dottari patrols is childsplay. The dottari almost seem to have resumed back to their pre-holding-raid house levels.
Each of you can roll perception as you approach the temple...
The acolyte of Shelyn stands in the temple doorway reluctantly.
Greetings to the most popular temple on Kintargo‘s Temple Hill. Let it be known, Songbird’s Hall is devoted to the goddess Shelyn. What will bring you joy today, travelers?
Perception: 1d20 + 12 + 1d6 ⇒ (1) + 12 + (6) = 19
Talvek keeps his eyes peeled as they approach the temple, his unease and concern building up with every passing hour.
Lubella greeted the acolyte, "Hello, peace be upon you." She moved closer, looking to see who else might be listening.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
Lubella and Talvek are waved forward by the acolyte and the others bring up the rear.
We are peaceful. We come first with a rose rather than a weapon, and act to prevent conflict before it blossoms. we never strike first, unless it is the only way to protect the innocent. Welcome and enter, friends.
Once she was inside the hall, Lubella asked one of the acolytes, "Would it be possible to speak to one of the senior clergy? It is indeed about preventing conflict before it blossoms."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (16) + 12 = 28
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Arcos says quietly to his compatriots, ”Regarding our discussion the other day, about the Tian vase with the fresco of a woman, I spotted one across the street, in a dark corner of a shop. It was so lifelike, it felt like it was watching me.” He looks back and says, ”Ah, someone snagged it. Looks like it’s gone.”
Bluff to pass secret message: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
Basically, Tian woman across the street watching us. She disappeared when I looked at her.
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (15) + 11 = 26
Sidius smiles at the declaration, "A brief refuge -- an isle of peace -- within the chaos."
The acolyte nods.
The true beauty of peace and knowledge can both be found within. I will seek an audience with our current high priest, his holiness, Zachrin Vhast. Follow me.
She leads you within the temple to the back chambers.
The holy man turns to greet you.
Hello children. I am Father Vhast. I understand you are seekers of peace and knowledge. Yet you are adorned as warriors. How may I artfully steer your path to your stated goal? he says after scanning your group.
Lubella didn't want the relationship between the Silver Ravens and the Church of Shelyn to start off with deception; the Ravens needed the Shelynites as allies. She greeted the church leader, "Hello Father, thank you for taking the time to speak with us."
When she was confident that they wouldn't be overheard by others, she continued, "We are members of the Silver Ravens — you may have heard us. Our friend, Rexus Victocora, was instrumental in re-establishing the Ravens, after the organization lay dormant for so many years. He's missing and we're trying to find him.
"As you may be aware, the Victocora family estate burned to the ground on the Night of Ashes, and his parents have been missing since then. A couple of weeks ago, in Hocum’s Fantasmagorium, we discovered what was left of his parents, who had been transformed into undead zombies; we have good reason to believe that the Church of Asdmodeus was responsible. Naturally, we put them to rest, and gave them a proper funeral.
"Rexus was deeply affected by this terrible discovery, and I fear that it may have driven him to contemplate an unwise course of action. His friends haven't seen him for a couple of days, so we went looking for him. A professor at the Alabaster Academy told us earlier today that Rexus was there very recently, trying to obtain explosives!
"I'm extremely concerned that he may have resolved to take matters into his own hands, and avenge his parents by himself. While I understand his anger and grief, I worry that this will end badly for him. Not to mention that setting off bombs, if that's what he's planning, could well trigger harsh retaliation by the authorities.
"I know that he's been here to Songbird Hall in the past, to obtain medicines for his condition (although I don't know what that condition is). I was hoping that he might have come here in the last day or two, and that you would know where to look for him.
"We need to find Rexus, before something terrible happens!"
Diplomacy, taking 10: 10 + 12 = 22
”It is crucial we find our friend. I am sure that it is a surprise, but there is much our two organizations have in common. Art and culture cannot flourish when people are not free.”
Diplomacy Aid: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Vhast's face shows sudden concern.
That is indeed very concerning story, one which may end badly for our friend Rexus.
He looks to an elaborate painting of Shelyn on the wall.
Rexus is a good friend to the temple and his parents were benefactors to all the arts and sponsored many events in conjunction with our order. I last saw Rexus a couple days ago but from passing, and he just asked for a blessing and a couple curatives. He said for his cough but he and I both know the cure potions do not help his breathing. I should have pressed him with more questions. His eyes seemed distant and his mind preoccupied. I will deeply regret if he gets into any trouble.
Vhast pauses dramatically as he adjusts his feathered vestments.
But I did not think to ask where he was going. I assumed he was going back to bed, which is what I recommended. I have been so busy with the recent slashing victims and working with the city, that I did not give poor Rexus a second thought.
Talvek opens his mouth to intervene when Lubella starts spilling the beans, but then shrugs and closes it again. He would not have chosen to reveal this much to this priest, this stranger, but the deed is done now.
He speaks up after it becomes clear that Father Vhast cannot help them in tracking down Rexus. "Slashings? this is the second time today that we heard of murders, is there anything more that you know? And what is Rexus suffering from, if I may ask?"
Lubella asked Vhast, "Is there anyone else here that he may have spoken with?
"We have checked at the places that I know he went for medications: The Alabaster Achademy, as I already mentioned, the Newt Market, and of course here. We have also spoken with Laria at the Long Roads Coffee House. Can you think of any other place to inquire?"
When Talvek responded concerning the murders, she added, "We do have some experience investigating murders — we stopped the killings in the Devil's Nursery last month. I'm pretty sure the murders you mention wouldn't have anything to do with those ones; those were the work of malicious fey known as Tooth Fairies."
She absent-mindedly touched her two teeth that had been pulled out on that occasion; they were fine now.
Vhast's face shows worry.
Nay, I think this is something new...or very old. Some say a revenant. Others a copy-cat to an ancient serial killer in Kintargo's past. But nobody knows for sure.
He looks again to the portrait of his patron.
I hope Rexus does not become involved with the murders or become his next victim. To answer your question, no, I do not believe Rexus spoke to anyone else. His health has been an issue for years. Respiratory issues. Not much he can do about it as it is hereditary more than a disease to be cured.
He pauses to think.
I cannot think of any other places, other than those you mentioned. Or rather, I do not want to think of places he may be considering. Please find him before something unwise happens to him. He comes from a good family and his death would be a great loss for the city in need of more beauty. Not less.
He stands there, head bowed down in anxiety or prayer and hands almost pleading.
Lubella tried to think of where to look next. "We could try Crissali’s Fine Tomes; Rexus knows the proprietor. There's always the possibility that he's holed up at the Fair Fortune Livery, but that's a bit of a longshot. The Devil’s Threads: would Rexus get something made there? Ask at Kelimber’s Dry Goods and Supplies? After that, we'd be looking at asking around at taverns."
Sidius says, "I think asking at the bookstore would be wise -- after that, might be worth taking a bit of time to check with what's being whispered. I'm starting to worry if his disappearance might be related to the 'sailor' Arcos and I met today. He was asking about the others."
"The Livery? What is that? Why would he go to a place like that?" FHingle asks not sure what Lubella is talking about. "WHy is Rexus so important, he was around when you recruited me but I haven't seen him do much at all."
Lubella explained to Fhingle, "The Fair Fortune Livery is an abandoned stable in Redroof. Rexus' mother, who was a member of the Sacred Order of Archivists, left him a letter, talking of a cache of documents she believed to be in the chambers below the old stables. We went there, and found the box containing the papers, which had been left by the original Silver Ravens.
"The documents were written in code, using a mix of Celestial, Elven and Strix script. Over the course of several weeks, Rexus decoded the manuscripts. They detailed the organization of the Ravens, advice on reestablishing it, and most importantly, some clues as to how they defended Kintargo against its many threats during the Civil War.
"So Rexus has been absolutely instrumental in reviving the Silver Ravens!"
She didn't mention the Song of Silver; although she judged Zachrin Vhast to be trustworthy, it felt to early to discuss the magical song that had protected Kintargo in the past.
The denizens of the temple, unfortunately have no idea where Rexus went and bid you well, May the luck of the Eternal Rose ever at your side in these times.
Unless you have purchases or other business, they escort you back to the street. Two votes for bookstore means that is next...
The trek across southern Kintargo leads you to the district and you spot the familiar sign for Crissali’s Fine Tomes
The shopkeep herself, Nandy Crissali greets you as you enter.
Welcome again. What arcane knowledge do you seek today? Perhaps a spell or scroll for you two? she asks Arcos and Sidius.
She seems a little impatient and straight to the point as the afternoon crowd has thinned for her shop.
"Hello Nandy!", Lubella greeted the woman. "I don't know if you remember me; I was with Rexus Victocora when he stopped in here a few weeks ago, shortly after the Aria Park Protest.
"I was wondering if you've seen Rexus in the past few days? He seems to have disappeared."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (12) + 12 = 24
Sidius adds, "Though a scroll or two would also be potentially helpful..."
Ah yes. I do remember you. Vaguely. Master Victocora was indeed in here not two days ago. He asked about purchasing a powerful scroll. He suggested lightning bolt or something similar, but I warned him that was beyond his skill level. He purchased a couple others and departed. He did not say to where he was going, and I have long learned not to get involved in others business.
This was more worrying news, and they were no closer to finding Rexus. Lubella replied to Nandy, "Can you think of anywhere in this area that he might have gone? Other than Songbird Hall, because we've already checked there. I fear that Rexus might be planning something unwise."
After talking with Ms Crissali, Lubella thanked her and left, consulting with her friends outside.
"Where do you think we should try next?
"Given that someone might be following us, and attempt an ambush, I think we should stick together."
Knowledge Local (Silver Ravens members close to here), taking 10: 10 + 5 = 15
How late in the day is it?
Lubella said to the other Ravens, "I think Rexus may have been staying at different places in Old Kintargo; we might try asking around at the inns there. We are near Aria Park and the Opera House — if Rexus is thinking of attacking Thrune, that's where he might try it. I suggest we see if we can spot him nearby observing things. We'll need to be careful obviously, lest we be spotted by the dottari."
She cast her Message spell on her allies, and then scouted ahead, trying to spot Rexus, while staying out of sight herself. She made sure not to get too far ahead of her friends.
Stealth: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (8) + 14 = 22
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (7) + 9 = 16
Staying within range of the Message Spell.
This area tended to be quite busy, so a disguised Talvek is asking passers-by if they have seen anyone by Rexus's description recently, while similarly keeping an eye out for anyone following him or his companions, or paying attention to them.
Diplomacy to gather info: 1d20 + 14 + 1d6 ⇒ (8) + 14 + (5) = 27
Perception: 1d20 + 12 + 1d6 ⇒ (20) + 12 + (5) = 37
Lubella walked up to the half-elf and whispered, "Aldren, it's Lubella. Have you seen Rexus around lately?" She motioned him to follow him to a spot where they wouldn't be overheard.
"Laria says he hasn't been at Longroads in the last couple of days, and asked us to look for him. A professor at the Alabaster Academy told us he was there trying to buy explosives, and Nandy Crissali says he was asking about a scroll of Lightning Bolt. I fear he's snapped and gone vigilante on us, and is trying to get revenge for the death of his parents by himself; he's likely to get himself killed!"
Whatever he'd been doing in tending to his Lady's shrine, the half-elven castoff of Kintargan nobility looked as close to a thousand Crowns as he ever had, from new silks and jewelry to the polished breastplate. And while he was expecting Lubella and the others would be disguised, even he would admit he was never the most perceptive of the Ravens. As such, Lubella's appearance initially so confounded him, he was halfway into shooing away the pesky halfling as a possible cutpurse when it clicked. Relieved, he followed her to the alcove of a shuttered store.
As Lubella explains their circumstances, his lips purse into the slightest of frowns. "Yes, I was trying to find you to tell you the same. One of our agents told me he'd overheard something about Rexus going after the Thrune's directly, but was hesitant to interrupt my prayers. By the time he did tell me, Rex was long gone. I'll be honest, if it were just the prospect of him killing some Thrune lapdogs, I'd have let well enough alone, help him even, but Rex, well..." He leaves his assessment of Rexus's tactical skills unsaid.
"Here's the thing, he also mentioned Rex said he was spending time at a tenement of some sort the last week. And, while I was looking for you, I checked in with some of the ladies working the dance halls," a local euphemism for brothel, where you know the Calistrian spends more than a little time in what he calls 'communion', "and one of them told me some kids are disappearing from the Iudeimus Tenement. The latest were a pair of twins. As it was told to her, apparently these kids practically vanished into thin air. No signs of a fight, no screams, nothing. Somehow, I doubt this is more tooth fairies."
He shrugs. "I can't imagine Rex is hurting kids, but maybe he stumbled upon something. Unless you have a better lead..."
Lubella thought back to her previous conversations that day. "The professor at the Academy mentioned something about a murder victim in Old Kintargo — "slashed up" as he put it. And we talked with Zachrin Vhast, the big cheese at Songbird Hall; he mentioned slashing victims as well.
"I guess you don't know which tenement Rexus has been staying at? I was thinking we could ask around and try to find him there. It sounds like that could be in the same area as the murders and disappearances."
The half-elf shrugs slightly. ”If it’s not Iudeimus Tenement, I don’t have a clue. I realize there is no shortage of them in town, but it’s a strange coincidence.”
From PMs with Aarvid, Aldren May have been explicitly told Rexus was at that particular tenement, but I’m not 100% sure OOC so I don’t want to overstate it.
Lubella replied, "Well, let's head there and find out; sounds like as good a place as any to start."
She whispered to the other Ravens, "Over in the alleyway — I'm talking to Aldren. He's got a lead."
"By the way, have you met the new recruits — Fhingle and Sidius?", she asked Aldren, as the others approached.
Would buy Frostfall or Flurry of Snowballs
Sidius pauses a moment, studying the newcomer... er, oldcomer, then nods his head, "Well met."
Aldren’s gaze slides towards the Chelaxian and halfling. There’s an easy, even lazy smile on his lips, ”Only by reputation.” His eyes are a bit more calculating, briefly assessing the two and coming to a quick conclusion. This Sidius may be noble, maybe not, but likely just as disgusted with the Thrunes as you are.
”A pleasure to meet you both. Aldren, occasionally of House Astavare, more recently of the House of Silken Veils until it was...appropriated.” He refers to the Kintargo temple to Calistria that was converted into an Abadaran bank after the Night of Ashes. It’s an admission made so casually it might be jarring to think it would be grounds for his execution if it were made to the dottari.
He winces slightly and shrugs, ”I hope that wasn’t too awful. I’m still learning.”
To Arcos, he grins, shaking a hand and slapping the man on the back. ”Ah, my favorite major domo. Yes, well, you know me. A poke here. A prick there.”
When he sees Talvek, he winks and says, ”Ah, the infamous Jackdaw. Fetching as ever. I just hope you haven’t been caught in any cellars without me.”
Once greetings are done, I’m good to move out, though I’ll likely switch to my “Florio” disguise.