Talvek lights up as he hears Lubella mention Aldren. Truth be told, he had missed the Calistrian's irreverence and charm, although when the aforementioned half-elf does join the group, Talvek affects a cool demeanor.
"Cellars? No, only dungeons and torture chambers. Glad you are finally done with your... meditations. Or whatever it was that you were doing in the Nest." He rakes Aldren with his gaze, pointedly lingering on his new finery. "So what is this lead that Kyda here mentions?"
Aldren will need a codename as well, I forget if he ever had one?
As long as any of you have known him (longer for some than others), Aldren's never been prone to embarrassment nor felt the slightest need to apologize for his faith or love of material pleasures. But Talvek's cool affect literally brings him pause as he stares at the tiefling for an awkward second. Whether he's puzzled or hurt isn't clear and perhaps even he isn't sure. With a click of his tongue and a pop of his eyebrows, a sort of facial "shrug", he glances back at "Kyda" and the others, summarizing what he'd learned.
"One of our supporters told me Rex has been hanging out for the last week at a tenement, possibly the Iudeimus Tenement. And I also heard from one of My Lady's congregation that kids have been disappearing from that specific tenement without a trace. No fights, no obvious violence, just... poof. I'm not suggesting Rex is behind that, but it's an odd coincidence and perhaps related somehow."
GM, please retcon that as necessary, but I think I got it right.
Lubella added, "I wonder if that is related to the murders that we heard about earlier? It sounded like those were in the same general area. That seems like quite the coincidence as well."
She gestured to Arcos, "You saw someone following us today near Songbird Hall, didn't you? And that sailor accosted You and Brakisi near the Lucky Bones." She subtly gestured towards Sidius, so Aldren would understand who she was referring to.
Aldren has the back story correct.
Talvek recognizes the name of Iudeimus Tenement as being close to the Holding House in the southern part of the city. This is not far also, from where the sailor attacked the two casters earlier on the way to the Lucky Bones.
Those tenements that still stand and function in Old Kintargo are run-down stacks, often owned and managed by those of a disreputable nature.
"Iudeimus Tenement? I know where that is. Come, it's not far." He examines the group with a critical eye. "Although it might be best if we don't all travel together, I think by now the composition of our group is rather well known even if some of us are currently disguised. We should spread out a little while still staying in range of communication spells."
You follow Talvek through a couple alleys and towards the southern gate, before heading west. He points to the block where the building stands.
Like most of the buildings in Old Kintargo, Iudeimus Tenement is somewhat dilapidated, but built well enough to have stood the test of time.
The building is one of the taller structures in Old Kintargo ; the upper two of its three stories are constructed of old gray wood. A sign reading “Manager” is posted on a door next to stairs leading to upper floors.
a squat, elderly woman in drab clothing sits in a rickety chair on the tenement porch, wearing what appears to be a semi-permanent mixture of exhaustion and disgust on her face.
As you (whomever you decide) approach the building, the woman speaks gruffly and makes a rude gesture as she says, “What are you loiterers on about? Shove off and find work!”
Before departing for the tenements, Aldren takes advantage of an unobserved second to change his appearance, magically shifting from his natural, half-elven self to that of a Chelaxian male of average height, average looks, and average attire.
”Someone has been following you? Odd. Perhaps time to set a trap... Also, if you’re going by code names, for now just call me Finch.”
As for their arrival at the tenement, the Calistrian knew his penchant for twisting minds could be distasteful and, with new members of the company, he didn’t want to start off on a bad foot. Plus, it wasn’t clear yet the old woman would be that much of an obstacle. So, he waited for Lubella or someone with more practice in diplomacy to try their approach first.
Assuming someone does try diplomacy, Aldren will aid another on the roll
Diplomacy (aid another, DC 10): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20
Lubella greeted the woman at the tenement, "Good Day, ma'am! We're looking for a friend of ours; I think he is lodging at this building. He's a young human man, with a short, slight build — brown hair with a goatee. He often wears nice clothes: a tailored coat, polished boots and a cane.
"I want to check on him — I heard there's been murders in the neighborhood!"
Diplomacy, taking 10: 10 + 12 = 22
She didn't name Rexus, in case he was using an assumed name.
Lubella will aid Fhingle if he's making the Diplomacy roll.
She smiles at Lubella.
Well aren't you a dear one. Most around here are foul mouthed and show no proper respect to a lady. No doubt one of them is the murdering kind.
She spits to the side.
Well, let's see. I have a few that might fit that description. But polished boots and a cane. Now he was a true gentleman. Came in here the other day after being gone for awhile. Cleared out a few things from his old room and paid the back rent he did. Two week's worth!
Said he'd probably not be back but thanked me proper and all.
She smiles fondly.
He was a good tenant. Hard to come by. I ain't sure where he was going. But wished him well an' all. Terrible cough, he had. But nice young man.
Aldren's brow furrows. Whatever he carried from here, it was either magical, or his supplies are elsewhere. And 'not be back'... he's in the final stages of his plan. Oh, Rex... this would be fun if you weren't doing it on your own.
Assuming the woman answers Lubella and waiting until such a time as to not interrupt, the Aldren-as-Chelaxian asks, "Ma'am, would it be possible to look at his room to see if he left anything? Some clue as to where he might be going? Or did he say anything about where he might be going?"
Oh he left two days ago. Didn't say much. You can look in his room now, since it is vacant and available for rent if you'd like what you see. she stands up from her rocker and motions for you to follow.
She leads you up a flight of stairs to room 203 and unlocks the door.
Benches for visitors sit in the halls, along with a few chairs and a table in a nook to the north flanked by two of the building’s primary stone supports
Inside the room is a bed, a dresser and a chair with a small writing desk.
Lol. I was originally drafting that with an elaborate ruse to convince her to let us look or immediately offer to pay for the room. Glad I kept it simple. I’ll hold off on any actions until others can post.
Two days! Where are you now, Rexus?
"Thank-you," Lubella said to the old woman. "Can you give us a couple of minutes?"
She spent some time searching the room carefully. She looked in all the drawers, including feeling the undersides and backs of each individual drawer. She checked under the bed, and under the mattress. She even checked the underside of the chair seat. She was hoping to find something like a discarded scrap of paper with notes written on it — anything to give her an idea of what Rexus was planning.
Perception, taking 20: 20 + 9 = 29
At the notion, Sidius shrugs, "My most recent gift from my patron will help with that - somewhat, at least - but you're right if I'm always traveling with 2 halflings." He concentrates a moment, his features shifting to that of a half-orc with jet-black hair.
Once in the room, Sidius pauses a moment, then traces a quick pattern with his fingers, muttering the words to detect magic... Maybe there's a lingering trace of something... or some magic that might be obscuring something....
Aldren observes Sidius changing his form and when the man refers to his ‘patron,’ the half-elf’s curiosity is piqued. But he said nothing, filing it away for later. Too much going on right now...
==Back at the Tenement==
As Lubella and the orcish-Sidius begin examining the room, Aldren tries to engage the old woman in another line of questioning back in the hall. ”Actually, you mentioned something outside that we’ve heard rumors about. A matron such as yourself surely sees and knows many things; perhaps you can help us get to the truth of it.
“We’ve heard rumors on one hand of murders, slashing I believe. But then I also just heard a rumor kids have been disappearing, the latest a pair of twins. Do you know anything about this that could help? Anyone we should talk to or places we should investigate?”
Talvek helps Lubella search the room, running his hands across the walls and the floorboards.
Perception: 1d20 + 14 + 1d6 ⇒ (15) + 14 + (4) = 33
Arcos follows along with Aldren, and when he asks about rumors chimes in, ”Ghastly stuff, really. If there’s anything you’ve heard, we’d be happy to look into it.”
Diplomacy Aid: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
The old woman turns to Aldren, Talvek and Arcos with a heavy sigh.
Yes, it is a terrible thing. Horrible. The twins were nice kids. The twins’ parents are Morten and Cessei Shellet, poor common folk who live here in the Iudeimus Tenement. Very heartbroken as you can imagine.
The search of Rexus' former room does not turn up anything of interest. He was very thorough in taking everything, if there was much here to begin with.
Lubella, with Talvek's help is able to find very fine indentations on the writing desk, of a pencil or pen having written different letters. Many overlap, but two longer words stand out..."Barzillai" and "Grivenner".
Sorry been a busy couple days, lots to catch up on
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 13 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 13 + 2 + 2 = 31
"Thank you Ma'am, how much to rent the room for a night? Seems like a good place to get some sleep if you are out later than you thought maybe?" Fhingle asks the woman before heading upstairs.
"Might be a good idea to rent this room as a bit of a safe house if we need it?" Fhingle asks Lubella.
The “Chelaxian merchant” stared at the old woman for a moment while he processed what she said. Why is this bothering me so much? Kids disappear. Kids die. It’s not fair. Nothing is fair. The Lady in the Room grants vengeance when asked and paid for, with gold or secrets; not out of some notion of right and wrong. So.... Why?
He glances briefly at Arcos, then asks the woman, ”And nobody saw or heard anything? I assume no authorities have bothered to investigate. Do you think the Shellets would be willing to talk to us? Could you tell us where they’re staying?”
While questioning his own motives and next steps, Aldren also takes a moment to try to assess the old woman. And who are you? Oddly helpful with just a kind word. Are you really as you appear?
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
The woman shakes her head at Aldren's question.
No, it weren't nothing like that. They were not home when they went missing. The parents, the Shellets, they live upstairs in 305. But they ain't been talking. Authorities? They don't give a rats...well, shoot. They don't care or investigate kids disappearing. They are more worried about slashers, and prison breaks, and dog housing and bridge fees.
Lubella called attention to the marks on the writing desk. "There's two words or names repeated here, 'Barzillai' and 'Grivenner'. If I'm not mistaken, Grivenner is the high priest at the Temple of Asmodeus.
Knowledge Local/Religion, taking 10: 10 + 5 = 15
When Fhingle suggested renting the room, she replied, [b]"That's a good idea. I don't think it should be too expensive."
She commented on the woman's talk about the authorities, "Only people really doing anything about crime these days are the Silver Ravens. I heard they stopped the killer in the Devil's Nursery, and put the Red Jill gang out of business."
After they talked about the murders and missing kids, she asked, "How much would it be to rent 203? With the stupidly high bridge fees, it would make sense to have a room on this side of the river."
EDIT: Realized that Grivenner is mentioned in the Player's Guide, so the DC to know that shouldn't be too difficult. Edited my post to reflect that.
Im assuming I don’t get anything “off” on my sense motive check
Aldren watches the woman as he asks her more about the disappearance and, sensing nothing deceitful about her — I guess she’s not some sort of shapeshifting devil — he continues, ”If you’ve no objection, ma’am, I’d like to knock and see if they’ll talk to us. I know we’re just some random people who showed up on your stoop, but we’d like to help if we can. Maybe we can get this information into the hands of some folks who can do something about it.”
Bluff: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (6) + 11 = 17 Just trying to avoid arousing too much suspicion about us
Talvek frowns as the old woman recounts the disappearance. "The authorities being unwilling to help those without coin or status, where have I heard that one before? Sarcasm aside, as my friend here says, we can perhaps drop a word in a sympathetic ear and have something done about it. Let's try talking to the parents, see if they can provide any useful information."
Bluff aid: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (12) + 8 + (4) = 24
Fhingle follows the rest of the group up the stairs as everyone else has bombarded the poor woman with questions. As they go up the stairs Fhingle asks. "We are spreading outselves thin, could we have one of our groups look into these kids? We have that letter to drop off and Rexus to find as well." Fhingle almost cringes as he asks
Assuming the woman doesn't stop the group from going upstairs (she's been very accommodating so far)...
On the way up, Chelaxian-Aldren glances at Fhingle, "What letter? We're a courier service now, too?" His expression and tone carries none of the sarcasm his words might suggest, particularly as he seems to include himself. Rather, it's simply an observation about the oddities of this nascent rebellion.
@Aldren - SM = what you see is what you get. She tells it like she sees it.
My name's Nurla Botve and if you like the apartment, the rent is 30 silver a week or 8 gold for the entire month. But that doesn't include food. Just the room. Just let me know.
She goes back to sit on the front porch.
The twins parents are in their room. No other tenants have been seen but it is close to quitting time for the artisans who inhabit the building.
Lubella told Nurla, "I'll rent the room for the month. Do you require payment up front?"
She'll pay the whole 8 GP now, if required.
After completing the transaction, she climbed the stairs to 305.
She'll knock on the door, if someone hasn't done so already.
Sidius follows, then pauses, "We might not all want to go - parents might feel crowded and scared by an unknown gang asking questions, instead of, say, two or three concerned individuals. The rest of us could try to keep an eye out in the meantime."
The priest nods in agreement. He whispers back, ”This is not the type of counseling I usually provide, and I’ve no desire to compound the suffering of parents who lost a child, but family are usually the prime suspects in something like this. It’s rarely madmen or monsters. If it seems things are turning that way, My Lady may be of assistance in loosening a tongue, but I’m happy to let Lubella or another take the lead.”
"I'll go with Kyda." Talvek offers, nodding at Aldren to indicate that he understands the directions of his thoughts. Lubella had a big heart, but he feels that this situation might need someone with a cool head, who can analyze the facts dispassionately - and he feels confident that he is that someone.
Nurla Botve holds out her hand to accept the 8 gold coins first with exuberance, changing suddenly to noticeable suspicion.
Thank yo...where did you say you were from again? And that room ain't big enough for all of you. I don't want any trouble, mind you. I run a reputable estab...business you know.
As the two climb to the third floor and knock on the door, there is nothing heard at first. Knocking again draws a call from a male voice from within.
Go away! We are not interested in whatever you are selling.
Lubella reassured Nurla, "I live in Villegre, but I have to come over here periodically for business. Don't worry, I'm not going to be partying in the room; you won't even know I'm here."
Bluff: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Outside 305, she called back, "I'm investigating the missing children. Can I talk to you for a moment?"
Trying not to talk loudly enough to be overheard by Nurla.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (5) + 12 = 17
Talvek pitches his voice low and reassuring. "Mister Shellet, sir, it will only take a moment. We'd like to help."
Diplomacy aid: 1d20 + 14 + 1d6 ⇒ (1) + 14 + (6) = 21
Diplomacy Aid Another-: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8 Oof. Thank god there aren’t negatives for failing! ;-)
Aldren shuffles his feet slightly and awkwardly adds, ”Yup.”
Fhingle pulls out another 8 gold "We will rent it for 2 months just on the chance we need it." Fhingle smiles as they head up the stairs. "We have come as concerned citizens and would like to help you find your missing children, each of us knows loss and we don't want you to experience that any longer." FHingle says.
Diplomacy with aids: 1d20 + 13 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 13 + 2 + 2 = 35
bluff: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (18) + 11 = 29
Aldren's eyes flick to the door as it opens and the voice speaks. At first he is relieved to have, however small, entre to the parents. But when it's mentioned they were accused of being poor parents, his mind flickers with rage, though there is practically no hint of it whatsoever on his face. If my father had 'lost' me, he'd have been congratulated, not excoriated. Another reminder on the difference of class.
"That doesn't surprise us. We're not with the city. We're with an independent group of concerned citizens, just trying to help one another out. A friend of mine who sought my help on another matter told me about this. I told my friends here, and we agreed to try to help you if we can. Please, may we come in? Talking through a door is not conducive to privacy."
Lubella said to the man. "They just said that because they didn't want to investigate; I don't believe that for a moment. Unfortunately, the dottari, or at least the higher ups, don't seem interested in looking out for regular people these days. But I can't just stand by and let people suffer — not if I can do something about it! None of us can; that's why we're here."
I think Arcos and Sidius are downstairs; Lubella, Talvek, Aldren and Fhingle are upstairs.
The father of the lost twins unlocks the door. Inside you see a cramped apartment and a woman, broken in grief sitting at the table.
We have lost all hope. No one would help us. We do not know what happened. They were good boys. Learning the trades here in this district. Why? Why them? And while I was at my shop, unable to defend them! Why?
The man seems utterly hopeless, unsure whether he believes you or even cares.
Downstairs in the lobby, Nurla Botv makes small talk with Arcos and Sidius.
Whatever her actual age is, she remains spry, energetic, and quick to distrust anyone who doesn’t pay her rent.
I ain't sure about the kids these days. Always out-of-work troublemakers, and I especially have a particular distaste for those dang “adventurers”! Nothin' but thieves or squatters I say! They need to get real jobs.
She pauses to look the two men over.
What line of work did you say you were in? You two don't look like the craftsmen or artisans I usually rent to in this place. They will be getting home from work soon. But you were here before the end of the day, so I am assumin' you ain't got a shop, am I right?
Lubella entered the apartment. She put her hand on the man's arm and said,"My name is Kyda. I know this is very hard for you. We're going to find out what happened to your sons."
She took out a pen and notepad and asked both parents, "Can you start by giving me a description of your boys?
"Can you take me through exactly what happened? When did you last see them?
"Did you notice anything else that day that seemed out of the ordinary?"
Aldren, trying to look as unassuming as possible, is happy to let Lubella and the others talk for now. While ‘Kyda’ begins trying to learn what she can, ‘Finch’ casts a quick glance about the room — where is the mother? — before focusing on the man and his answers, looking for any sign of deception or misdirection.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
SM: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (16) + 10 = 26
The father pauses at first, as if not trusting anything or anyone. But he quickly caves and starts with a stream of information.
Well the boys are both the same appearance, being twins and all. Although their names are Angus and Phenio Shellet. He pauses in thought on how to describe them.
Both have dirty blond hair like their mother here. Tan skin and being twelve, they haven't really reached full size. Both are just about 5' tall, Angus slightly bigger in size, but not significantly so.
He looks at Mrs. Shellet.
Honey, can you think of anything else to help? I was at work when they disappeared, so I sadly cannot even tell you what they were wearing when they disappeared. But I can guarantee they didn't run away like dottari were suggesting.
Aldren detects no falsehoods. He can sense the woman is too absorbed in grief to say anything and has lost all hope.
Downstairs Arcos and Sidius see the sun starting to set and many local craftsmen and artisans are returning home from their labors of the day. Nurla Botv greets a young man dressed in tailors clothing as he comes to her door.
Good evening Mister Altua. I hope your day was profitable.
Remember rent is due at the FIRST of the week, not later, when you feel like it. she rolls her eyes at the man as he scowls at her before he goes up to the second floor.
Lubella walked over to the woman and said, "Please Mrs. Shellet. I know that this is a mother's worst nightmare, but it's too early to give up hope. Where I come from, we have a saying: The dawn brings new light. It means that each new day brings an opportunity for things to get better.
"Anything that you can tell us about that day will help. It could be something that seemed insignificant at the time, but when pieced together with other information, leads us to finding them."
Repeating an aphorism of the religion of Sarenrae was a risk here, but she felt the spirit of the saying was something that the woman needed right now.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (6) + 12 = 18
The dice are really not helping here. :(