|Leng the Wanderer|
|Pavo "Fish" Krupt|
Blushing a little at the verbal slip, Pavo quickly took a few steps away to better inspect some of the scenery. So many colors and strange shapes and designs, it was almost like walking into a painting. Pavo was never one for pretty things, always function. If it couldn't cut something or cook something or carry something else, it had little value to him, but this, this was unusual to him. He kept finding himself walking to the next object and the next as the others talked. He tried to listen in at first, but after a few minutes his attention was elsewhere, like an indecisive child in a candy store.
A look of confusion comes over Bassy's face when Spitter says 'spank-cakes' but when Leng clears things up she seems amused. She places a hand on the kobold's arm. "Spank-cakes are something totally different, though they do both use syrup." She chuckles at herself and immediately changes subjects before taking a risque subject too far.
"The tower was important to Baroness Devy because her husband fancied himself an adventurer. He would explore the tower ruins from time to time. One time, well, he did not come home."
She gazes at Pavo and shouts, "That one comes from the Shackles," she says indicating a weathered anchor. "The Succubus Queen was a Chelish flagship that lead one of their many attempts to conquer the region. Admiral Barvanni was a challenging foe." She says as she calmly sips her iced sweet tea.
Spitter seems to struggle with the word oddly.
He then waves absentmindedly and continues.
"Don't worry I will get it eventually. PAN..."
Suddenly he looks up at the gnome, slyly crossing his arms in a obviously kobold gesture meant to mean something, but is lost on the current group.
"Adversary? YOU...were a shackles pirate!? We blue-scales often take to the sea...the wind and water are in our veins and calls to us sometimes, but YOU...surprise me for a pink-skin. Now I MUST ask...did you ever see the Great Storm? In my youth I would have given my sharpest teeth to see the Eye of Abendego!"
"Oh, I wasn't a pirate, not really. More of a, um, technical advisor," she smiles wistfully. "The Eye is really something you should see before you die, Spitter. It is a powerful, dangerous, and beautiful."
She refills her tea. "Since the Devy family came to Belhaim, things have been calm and stable. The Abadarans have a desire to reinvigorate and grow the town's economy while we Shelynites like things the way they are. A lot of folks though are members of the Green Faith and just want to live their lives."
"We used to have pilgrims heading for the monastery at one time, but we never really had many Irori worshippers who stayed long here." She leans back and takes out an ivory pipe and mutters a cantrip to light it.
"So...the tower?" she asks with a smirk.
|Leng the Wanderer|
"Yes, the tower..." Maellyra responds, confused at the odd turns the conversation has taken. "The Baroness never mentioned that her husband met his demise in the tower as well. I would think that after such a loss, she would be glad to see the tower torn down," the witch says, clearly not understanding the Lady's logic. "But, yes, Hunclay was involved in the collapse. He hired a local kobold tribe to bring it down. According to the kobolds we came across, their chieftain only wanted them to make it seem as though they were trying to collapse the tower but something went amiss. We found Hunclay in the tower's basement, buried under a pile of rubble."
She picks up her cup of chilled tea and takes a first appraising sip. Finding the refreshing drink to her tastes, Maellyra gives a quiet hum of approval before setting the cup back down on the platter.
"What do you think will become of the tower now?" she asks, wondering if one of the three religious groups might have some designs on the ruins.
"Hard to say for sure what will happen. I would hope that they clear the rest and turn it into something new and interesting." She shrugs.
"Hunclay...the man was absolute garbage. That, by the way, is the nicest thing I can say about the dead man. Now knowing the Blood Vows were somehow involved? That is something I had not expected and find concerning. They have always avoided us and us them. When they first arrived after the quake that flooded the Fens, they sent a representative to relay that as long as humans stayed to their side of the swamp, they would remain on theirs. Granted, that was many generations ago for them." She sits back and puffs on her pipe thinking deeply.
Picking up the delicate cup to take a drink, Spitter suddenly remembers the taste and puts it back down again.
"Very odd. 'Live and let live' is a big deal among kobold tribes. Unless you have something they want, then all bets are off. Something in the stndard tribal structure must have changed to upset the balance. Maybe their chieftain has become deranged? Or...Hunclay must have offered them something they very much wanted? That WOULD explain the dead greens trying to get into the pink-skins above ground cave-home."
Lore(Kobolds of Golarion): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
"Yes, excellent point. Well, who knows exactly what Hunclay has in that house of his? Had. However, not a lot of kobold tribes covet books and magical research. The rumors are that he was dismissed from a prestigious university up north for trafficking with devils. When he came here, he practically had an entire caravan train bringing those books. Wizards do have a tendency to acquire odd magical artifacts, but he never disclosed anything like that, and was not the sort to brag. Mostly because bragging means being around people and Hunclay was a misanthrope."
Scratching his scaled head with his small claws to produce a rasping sound, Spitter sits up at the gnome's last word. Spitter finally interjects moments later.
"I'm sorry. I understand the pink-skin language mostly, but there is often... missing context? Miss-ant-THROPE? Is that some sort of female vermin lycanthrope? As a student of nature I'm pretty familiar with the standard lycanthrope forms..."
"Hmm... I have no formal magical schooling, but I had thought that trafficking with devils was a standard practice in such places," Maellyra remarks offhandedly. "I wonder if his magical research had anything to do with why he was so keen to have the tower destroyed. But the stars and the night sky seem to have more to do with druidic magic than the arcane. Wouldn't you agree? Not that it matters anymore, I suppose."
"What will happen to all of Hunclay's things?" the witch asks, unable to resist the lure of magic artifacts waiting to be reclaimed.
Ahh, I'd love for Maellyra to give Spitter a lesson in etymology ("Actually, it comes from the Ancient Azlanti words misos, meaning 'hatred', and anthrōpos, meaning 'man'..."), but, alas, no ranks in Linguistics.
"It is just a fancy way of saying he hates people. All of them," she tells Spitter.
"The closer you get to the Worldwound, the less tolerant people are about anything related to demons." She leans forward and whispers. "And there are worse things than demons, dear. Things even demons fear. It is never a good idea to speak about such things out loud."
"As far as Hunclay's possessions, I do not know for sure. A cranky wizard's manor is likely to be a dangerous place for the average person, so she may need to get some advice from experts before deciding."
"But the stars and the night sky seem to have more to do with druidic magic than the arcane. Wouldn't you agree?"
Scratching his head again, Spitter will reply.
"Not in my tradition especially. Don't get me wrong, the stars are very useful in navigating and pretty to boot. There are some special events that are timed using the stars. However, my lord: The Voice in Thunder(I believe your kind calls him/her Gozreh?), he's more into the natural elements that make up OUR world. Not other ones. Besides my kind have stories of...well 'unnatural' things that might exist BETWEEN the stars' light..."
Lore(Kobolds of Golarion): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Bassy clears her throat. "Yes, but please, no more talk about...such things." She turns her face to the sky, eyes closed, and faces the sun as though she needs to soak in the warmth and light.
"This is one of those topics," she says with her eyes still closed, "That keeps me craving the bucolic life." She sighs before looking back at everyone and smiling with genuine warmth and affection.
|Pavo "Fish" Krupt|
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Pavo kept looking at the artifacts around the small yard. Conversations between magic users was strange, and now this one wanted to go back to her plague life...strange indeed. Still, she seemed nice enough, and mostly harmless, but maybe that's just what she wanted them all to think. He glanced over his shoulder towards his friends as he became rather anxious. That was the problem with magic, anyone could be deadly with it and you just couldn't tell who it would be.
"So uh, should we go back soon?"
Leng, Spitter, and Maellyra can see a knowing smirk appear on Bassy's face. "In some places in Tian Xia, there is a school of philosophy that suggests action without thought is the most natural way to exist. I am guessing Pavo is such a man of action?" She cracks her neck, stands, and stretches. "But I do have a few chores around the house to take care of, and a dinner to start. You are all welcome to visit me any time you want. If I can help you with anything, don't hesitate to tell me! She cleans up the back patio and sees you all out, being sure to hug each of you in turn, beginning with Maellyra and ending with Pavo, who she whispers to.
She leans forward and whispers. "And there are worse things than demons, dear. Things even demons fear."
Maellyra blinks, unsure what to make of Bassy's conspiratorial whisper. What does she mean by that? the witch thinks, feeling almost as if she's being accused of something. Despite curiosity gnawing at her, Maellyra has the good sense not to ask for clarification, merely nodding as though she understands and hearing only bits and pieces of the conversation that follows until it's time to leave.
Knowing what to expect, Bassy's embrace is returned somewhat less awkwardly the second time around. "Thank you for having us and sharing with us some of your knowledge. And, please, tell us if there is anything we can do to help you while we're in town." Maellyra nods farewell to Bassy, moving to leave before another question crosses her mind.
"Do you know where we might find Calladastina?"
|Pavo "Fish" Krupt|
"Oh yeah, that's me alright. A man of action" Pavo said, mostly missing the meaning.
He returned the hug in turn but was caught off guard when she whispered in his ear. At first he flinched, thinking something sinister was about to occur. It was those same instincts that had kept alive so far so he trusted them. He felt his hand gripping the hilt of the kukri strapped to his back, but when she finished her message and still he stood, he relaxed soon enough.
"Uh, yeah...sure. I'll check on em. I love druids."
Outside of Bassy's home, the two deputies, Lethe and Mulle, are arguing yet again.
"I don't care if they took a nap, Lady Devy ordered us to protect the kobold! What is so damn hard about following orders?" Mulle shouts, red faced.
Lethe rolls his eyes. "What, the old gnome is going to be a threat or something? Come on..."
Mulle throws her hands up in frustration. "Doesn't matter now, I'm on duty, just go." She moves to join the party, shaking her head and muttering under her breath. Lethe shrugs and walks west towards the garrison building.
"My apologies," she says, trying to sound professional, "I will inform Deputy Bellett about his dereliction after my shift ends. He thinks that just because there hasn't been any problems, means there won't be any." So far the worst Spitter has experienced are some uncomfortable stares, but who knows what people are talking about in the privacy of their homes?
When you arrived at the agreed upon meeting place at the northern edge of Belhaim, the Kells were not waiting. There was no sign of Azmur's tracks, which is unsurprising since he is a druid and knows how to avoid leaving any sign of a trail, but there were none from his wife either. Rima is so pregnant she looks like she is ready to pop, making it difficult for her to avoid leaving tracks.
Ro'gram, sniffs the air around the meeting site, hoping to catch the scent of the couple. A pregnant woman had a scent that was easy enough to track... if they had even been there.
Baffled at the lack of signs, Ro'gram scratched his head as he crouched outside of town. It was a bad idea to go into the town without an introduction; humans had hunted his people before for thinking them werewolves. Still, he knew Azmur would have at least left him a sign.
Still, he would probably get in more trouble if he was skulking around. Standing straight, he took a deep breath before walking quietly into town. As he moves, he will sniff the air, trying to catch the scent of his friends, or at the least, a familiar scent.
As Ro'gram sniffs the air he can detect faint traces of Rima's scent, and after moving closer to where the scent is the strongest finds another scent, far different and confusingly alien to his senses. Near this point where Rima and the other smells are strongest is a rock scratched with markings in an unknown language.
Ro'gram crouches, looking over the rock before touching it with a furry hand, wiping one surface of the rock clear of particles and dirt.
Strange. I cant read it. What is it? he wonders.
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Maellyra briefly considers all that they've been tasked to do. There was the matter with the kobold tribe to resolve, and recovering all the bodies they had found in the collapsed tower, and now they had been asked to check in on a husband and wife who had not been seen in some time. But rather than feel bitter about how much the townsfolk of Belhaim is asking of them, Maellyra feels a slight sense of pride in being so relied upon.
"We should look for this druid and his wife first, then. If Bassy is concerned enough about their welfare to ask us to check in on them, we should not hold off. The dead can wait."
When the sheriff's deputy arrives, Maellyra asks her if she knows of the couple they're looking for. "Deputy Mulle, is it? Bassy has asked us to look in on a druid and his wife who live on the outskirts of town. Do you know where we might find them?"
|Leng the Wanderer|
"Oh! Yeah...Rima usually comes into town once a week or so, but now that I think about it, I haven't seen her the last couple of weeks. I don't know where they live exactly, the Sheriff would, since he checked out Rima thoroughly after she settled down here. He said she was wanted in Cheliax for burglary." Mulle thinks for a moment. "They always come to town from Fisher's Trail. As for friends, pretty much any of the farmers, more than a few craftspeople, but Prake is probably his best friend, lives right off Fisher's, does that help?"
An odd light appears in Spitter's eye.
"Burglary! You pink-skins take mates with known criminal back-grounds? How disturbingly odd. A kobold tribe draws and quarters any known thieves within the tribe itself immediately and without hesitation. Not much time for mating there. I must meet this Druid and ask him some questions!"
Mulle scratches her head. "Well, I was a little concerned at first too, but what we found out is that she "stole" some noble's halfling slaves." Realizing Spitter might miss her meaning she clears her throat at clarifies her statement, "What I mean is that she made enemies by freeing people who were enslaved. She'd been doing it for over a year before her network was rooted out by the Hellknights. She's actually kind of a hero..." Mulle looks uncomfortable justifying criminal activity.
She turns around and says, "Let me take you Prake's place." She leads you through a town bustling with end of the work-day activity, basically cutting through the main business district of Belhaim, turning down Wolf Hill Road.
Fenced pastures sit on the north end of Wolf Hill Road. The sounds and smells of livestock mingle with families cooking dinner. When Prake Abrassus spots Deputy Mulle, he passes off the sheep wrangling to a younger man and walks over to the fence.
"Hello, Mr. Abrassus, how are you doing today, sir? Listen, we are sorry to bother you, but have you heard from Azmur and Rima lately?" Deputy Mulle says in her most professional voice.
The middle-aged human furrows his brow. "Uh, oh, no, nope, Miss Mulle...mebbe a lil' early, but mebbe Rima had her chil'?" The man sighs and looks past everyone. "Ah told ya after that Malak girl done disappeared to look inta the wolfs. One big 'un carried off a sheep last week. But, uh, oh. Ifin' ya worried, we can go to his camp. Prolly won't be there..."
Ro'gram's left ear flicks once as he considers the crow. "All right." he states, nicking the tip of his thumb with his teeth. He lets a bead of blood build up before smearing it across the face of the rock. He licks the injury as he awaits a reaction.
Will Save: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
With an angry snarl, Ro'gram snaps at the crow with his teeth.
Attack-Bite: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Unless the crow is exceptionally lax, I'll assume that's not enough to hit.
Ro'gram's teeth click on empty air, but that doesn't stop him from drawing a Kukri and pointing it at the bird. "Begone from here!" he growls.
The bird hops up higher into the canopy of the trees. "Violence, what an unexpected reaction," it says in an exaggerated sarcastic tone. "Just like that corpse of a witch's big dumb brutes. I would have told you what it said, but not after you have been so rude." The crow fades from view and can be heard flying away. In the aftermath, Ro'gram smells something more like brimstone than crow or raven.
Ro'gram watches the bird (thing) fade from view and huffs. "Fiend." he growls. He will have to find another way to understand the symbol. He spreads the blood already smeared on the stone until there's a film over it. Taking his spare shirt from his pack, he presses it against the face of the rock to transfer the image to the cloth. carefully rolling up and stowing the shirt, Ro'gram stands, looking around. There had to be someone here who knew his friends.
Maellyra pale eyes flick from the shepherd to the young man in the background, and then back to the shepherd. "If you can spare the time, we would be grateful if you can show us to their camp," the witch says. Turning to Deputy Mulle, Maellyra regards the woman with a raised eyebrow. "There is a girl that went missing as well?"
I see now why the Baroness was so eager to have us stay in town.
"Ayup. Sonny! Tell Ma to keep it warm, ah won't be long." He leads you up the trail into the woods while the deputy talks about the Malak girl.
"We investigated the girl's disappearance. She left with a family of wealthy urbanites who passed through. The family is in denial that she ran away, but she was almost a woman," Mulle shrugs.
"Tellin' ya, wolfs et her up." Prake says to no one in particular.
After a few minutes he pushes a few bushes aside to reveal a concealed, faint path. "Just another half mile yon, gotta git home fir suppah."
After a few minutes of walking, you come across a small clearing with a large rock. A wolfen creature is pressing a shirt against the rock.
Seemingly hesitant to speak, Spitter clutches his mini-staff tightly.
"What...is that! A Werewolf? Or is this one of those Miss-ANT-Thropes?"
Dressed in a high-quality armored coat and a hooded cloak (hood down), the wolfen man slowly turns at the sound of someone speaking.
"A Kobold?" he says, his voice surprisingly smooth. His furred hand touches the handle of a kukri at his hip. "First that crow and now a lizard."
He also has a bow and arrows on his back. While he stands looking cautiously at the arrivals, he isn't immediately aggressive.
As hands fly to hilts, Maellyra holds a hand up in the hopes of staying violence from either side. Still, her other hand moves to the leather pouch at her belt, ready to work her magic if need be.
"With your blood?" Maellyra asks critically. With what she had read about werewolves, it seemed a fair question to ask. "We know of them. They have not been seen in town for some time and we have been asked to look in on them. When was the last time you saw them?"
|Pavo "Fish" Krupt|
"Woah, that's uh..." Pavo began. He turned and looked down at the little kobold. He looked back at the talking humanoid wolf and looked back at the talking humanoid lizard. He shrugged.
"You're not gonna try to eat us right?"
"Oh. There was this talking crow. It... deceived me." Ro'gram admitted plainly, holding up his bloody thumb. "But since I can't read druidic, I needed to copy the symbol to show to someone who could." He peels the shirt off the stone, showing the imprinted symbol. "Seemed like a waste otherwise."
Stepping away from the stone, he lays the shirt across his shoulder. "Azmur and Rima were friends of mine. We would exchange stories, I'd bring them game. They were supposed to see me this morning, but never arrived at our meeting spot. I am worried; Rima is with child and near to her birthing time."
His eyebrows narrow at Pavo. "No. I prefer Venison."
|Pavo "Fish" Krupt|
"Good enough for me...wait, did you say talking crow? We saw a talking crow too. It turned into an imp or something, but we locked it in a cabinet. Isn't Azmur a druid? We should probably find him so he can read it."
|Leng the Wanderer|
Mulle relaxes visibly. The air is calm and warm. The sun is still bright, but hangs low in the sky, and distant creaks and cracks can be heard as squirrels play in the canopy.
Spitter will wander closer to the rock and and read the inscription, but keeps a careful eye on the wolf-man thing.
"The Druid's female was taken, it says 'by monsters.' He went East of here looking for her. He asks that 'his brothers' protect his domain while he's gone."
Spitter looks oddly at the group, making a light rasping sound as he uses a small claw on the scales of his chin nervously.
"This seems very odd. Do your females get stolen a lot around here? What would want to take a pregnant pink-skin, other than as a meal of course?"
Again, Spitter looks askance at the wolf-man.