"Agreed, at the very least lets get out of sight before any hasty decisions are made."
Fiordelise mentally prepares to throw up an illusion in case it doesn't seem likely they can get away in time.
I heard a motion and a second, so I'm going along with it
As you head north to the Mithril Makers, the sound of the mob starts to fade. The crowd is obviously centered around the Temple itself, so you give it a wide berth. You pass by the crumbling remains of Brightfield Arena, remembering a time when the destruction of a stadium seemed like the worst thing that could happen.
The streets are deserted. You see movement behind drawn curtains now and then, and the occasional furtive elen scurrying down an alley, but that is all.
As you approach the clean white lines of the Mithril Makers, a voice shouts from the second story window:
"Come back another day for potions and widgets, friends! Our doors are not open today!"
"Ahh, yes. Quite right. Understandable. You are mistaken, however. We're not here for wares so much as we're here to share information. One of our own was wantonly murdered this evening by sabotaging a lab, and we believe it to be related to the theft of a discovery that had recently realized."
"We request entry to register the discovery as well as to log the arson. The watch is... busy... at the moment."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 1d6 + 12 ⇒ (13) + (4) + 12 = 29
A sylph's head pokes out the window. He squints, taking a closer look at the four of you. His gaze lingers on the two sylphs. "Fine. As long as you vouch for the other two. The door will be open in exactly two minutes."
True to his word, the sylph opens up the door two minutes later. He ushers you in quickly, then closes and bars the door behind you. A pinch-faced old sylph woman stands before you. Osric and Byron recognize her as Helen Instra. "What is the discovery?" She makes no move to invite you further inside the building.
"Yes, yes, I assure you these two are perfectly respectable."
"Good day to you, Ms. Instra. The formula actually belonged to our late colleague Eldon, but it was partially implemented and demonstrated by Byron. These two have respectively been murdered and rendered homeless via arson for their trouble, so this seemed a prudent place to come for a bit of safety, especially considering Odebie's report of the Temple's assault on the watch."
Osric pretends as if he were going to elaborate on the discovery before suddenly changing the subject. "The discov... I apologize for the inconvenience, but I need to get a message back to Light urgently. Could you please direct me to the pigeon coop? I'm sure Byron would be better at explaining the rough outline anyway."
Bluff: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
Instra would usually protest such an abrupt change of conversation, but she seems more intent on Byron than Osric. Not taking her eyes off the fidgeting alchemist, she says, "Ken can show you." She indicates the sylph who let you in. She smiles thinly. "Byron will accompany me to my office. The others can follow us, or Osric, as they please." She walks down an arched hallway to the right; Ken beckons Osric to the left.
Osric follows Ken wordlessly, uninterested in conversing with him. He merely wishes to compare the dead bird in his pocket to the ones in the coop to either confirm or reduce the likelihood of the Maker's involvement in the arson.
Ken sees you eyeing the birds, and says, "So, uh, what message did you want to send?"
You can easily tell from your knowledge nature score that the birds in these cages are a different species. The ones at Byron's house are common white pigeons you would find on the street; the ones here at more 'intelligent' pigeons, with a slight gray coloring
"Ah. Well, I was going to send my relatives in Light a message bringing them up to speed, but in retrospect, I've perhaps been over-sharing recently. I should probably consult with my companions before doing anything else too rash. Could you bring me back to Helen's office? Thank you for your assistance."
Byron follows Instra.
"White Obsidian," he says. "That is the discovery."
Byron, you see several emotions cross Instra's face. Disbelief; shock; anger; and finally, a hint of respect, quickly masked.
You are seated in her office, which was barred to you those weeks ago when you and Eldon awoke to Instra's querulous voice, asking why you were outside her door. It is spacious and functional, keeping the white walls and clean design of the hallways. On one wall, there is a red and blue abstract painting, framed in black. In the opposite corner, there is an artificial waterfall, about five feet tall, which you surmise to be mechanical in nature.
She is turned toward the painting. Her bony hands are clasped behind her - you can see her thumbs twitching back and forth. Turning back to you, she says, "Well, that likely explains part of the madness that is gripping this damn town. But never mind that - what can I do to help you? Do you need to get out of the city, and back to Light?"
|Odebie of the North Tribe|
Much as he is absolutely loathe to leave Osric alone for fear of what might happen next, Odebie follows Byron. He hadn't heard about the alchemist's friend dying, and it sounded important for him to be there.
Fi almost follows Byron, eager to know more of what's going on, but since Odebie moves to be his protection she instead follows Osric, whatever else is going on better to not leave anyone alone, even if these folk are theoretically allies of her friends.
Byron frowns. "Perhaps first you could tell me what you know about White Obsidian as it is clear you know more than I I had thought at first it was useful only against darkspawn but it seems there must be more."
Fi and Osric, the boy, Ken, gets a suspicious look on his face - he obviously does not know exactly what Osric's game is, but the shift from 'urgent message' to 'never mind' has him spooked. His eyes shift around, then settle on a point between Osric and Fi. "I think we should find someone else to talk to before you go see Ms. Instra. She said to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior from anyone and everyone."
Osric notices the boy for the first time, and smiles at him. "Ah. Well spotted, young one. Your vigilance is truly appreciated. I suppose I was being a bit suspicious, wasn't I? I apologize for the subterfuge. There's no point in continuing the charade."
He pulls the bagged dead pigeon out and shows it to Ken. "This is evidence from what remains of master Byron's lab. As best I could tell, it was either the Temple or the Makers who burned it down. Thankfully, the pigeons here are not a match, so it seems far less likely someone here was involved. I'm sure you can understand why I might not want to come out and say, 'show me your pigeons, I think you might be a murderer'. We can speak to your security personnel if you wish, but we'd prefer to get back to our friends as soon as possible."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 1d6 + 12 ⇒ (14) + (3) + 12 = 29 (This is for trying to convince him to let us forgo the formality.)
Osric and Fi, on the way to Instra's office, you hear a raised voice from an unmarked door. "--gone mad! You cannot deny my men your services! We need healing! They--"
A softer voice murmurs, "The Makers have their own problems at the moment, Captain..."
That's all you hear as you are passing by. Continue to Instra or investigate?
Considering the rest of the watch might not be as forgiving toward Osric as Odebie was, it seems prudent to keep moving for the time being.
Byron frowns slightly. "Odebie has been heavily involved in many of my recent activities particularly in tracking down the Gasp dealers and from what I understand he now has considerable reason to mistrust the Temple given what they have done to his Captain and besides he saw the White Obsidian."
Byron, Instra sighs deeply. She sits down at her desk, which is made of dark, polished wood and shaped vaguely like a teardrop. Bending over slightly and opening a drawer, she pulls out several small glasses and a bottle of an amber-colored liquid. She pours herself a generous splash, and pushes the rest over to you. "Help yourself, the oread too." She takes a small sip, and lets out a breath, relaxing visibly.
Osric and Fi enter the office behind Ken. The boy gestures to the remaining chairs in the office, then walks over to a corner behind the four of you. He stands with his arms crossed, mostly looking at Osric and the door.
"Ah, Osric, and Miss Incarna. Have a seat, if you will. Now...white obsidian." She laughs, and you can hear age and whiskey give a harsh edge to it. "Priests would name the very grass beneath our feet green obsidian if they thought they could get away with it. Or maybe 'Volcano's toe hairs'." She takes another small sip.
"I prefer the term cwmwl, the Maker word for 'cloud'." She looks at each of you in turn. "For you see, we have gotten our hands on a few samples of the stuff over the past few decades - it occurs naturally, but only under the rarest of circumstances."
She begins drumming her fingers on the wooden arm of her chair. It is the sound that a drum made of skin tightly stretched over bone might make. "It does so much more than slay darkspawn. The Temple, as always, looks only for the crudest of martial uses for any tool they find. No - in sufficient quantities, we believe we could banish the Dark itself, or a substantial part of it."
Feebly pounding her hand against the desk, her voice grows heated. "Imagine it! Melt away the Dark, and allow Sky to take Her rightful place above us once again!" She looks to Byron, gauging his reaction.
"A noble goal indeed. I'll cut to the chase, ms. Instra. The main ingredients are either elens, or efreet, so mass production isn't particularly viable. However, people die of natural causes all the time, and if their bodies can be put to good use, it would merely require a cultural revolution to make weaponizing corpses a viable tactic."
Osric leans in conspiratorially. "For this to occur, the Temple may need to be swept aside to make room for more pragmatic leadership. They have assaulted the civil foundation of our society, the Watch, rendering themselves no longer fit to rule. I don't know what comes next, but I can imagine the Makers being a substantial part of it, depending on what position it takes in the coming days."
Byron rasies his eyebrows. "Truly that would be marvelous but how would we gather such a quantity as Osric says there does not seem to be a reliable and ethical way to create more..."
|Odebie of the North Tribe|
Odebie ignores the whiskey - he's not overly fond of drink - and listens to the older sylph with some skepticism. Sky was dead, it was known, and to pine over what was is to ignore the future.
Instra's brows knit together as she hears the details of the ingredients. "Hmm. There is always the possibility that we could find different reagents that serve the same purpose. After all, centuries ago it was believed steel could only be made with a handful of powdered oread bone, and we all know that to be a falsehood."
She steeples her hands together. "In order to have the time to research this, I still hold that getting Byron out of this accursed city--and back to Light--is the wisest course of action. Why talk of shedding blood over corrupt priests when we can simply flee the Temple's wretched shadow?"
Osric nods. "That seems wise, at least for the time being. However, as the breeze that breathed on the spark of dissention and brought forth the current conflagration, I feel responsible to see it through, for better or worse. Can you at least supply the captain with the potions he's seeking on your way out?"
Intra's face turns cold. "You have a penchant for sticking your nose into other elen's affairs, Ferret. Unless you plan on 'seeing it through' by yourself, I would recommend choosing your battles, and your allies, wisely." She ticks off points on her hands. "Lying and manipulating those whose aid you would seek - yes, the boy whispered that idiocy to me. Publishing that foolish story without consulting your companions, judging from the stare the oread has been giving you. And now, preaching to me about things you can conveniently feel righteous about without lifting a finger yourself."
She cups her hand in her chin. "Hmm. Lying, preaching, and going behind others' backs. Your methods sound disturbingly close to the Temple you claim to loathe. And all this to those who open their doors to you during a crisis. It beggars the imagination."
Letting out a breath, she slowly gazes at the four of you, taking in your contrasting appearances. "Now, speak plainly, all of you. What is your business here, aside from the cwmwl? Ferret speaks of going back into those mad streets, and you two," she points with her chin toward Fi and Odebie, "appear to agree with him. So I ask again - what is your business here?"
Osric stands up, his calm demeanor uncharacteristically broken. He tosses the dead bird unceremoniously on her desk. "And what if this had been a match for your birds, Helen? Yes, as it turned out, it was an insult and a waste of time, but one of the two organized elements of this town stole Eldon's formula, and we needed to know if it was you. We couldn't just ask nicely, now could we? It was done before they had time to react to the story, so it was roughly even odds in my estimation. Would you have walked in here for help without checking, first?"
He deflates back down into his chair with a heavy sigh. "Sky alive, I even self-justify like they do, don't I? I've been a lawyer in this city for too long. Let me start over, ms. Instra. And plainly this time.
Like I said earlier, with the Watch in disarray, the Makers are the only organization in Hearth strong enough to resist a homicidal Temple. Their actions will ultimately anger the populous enough for it to not matter, but if you were willing to house and care for those who will fight, such as the remainder of the watch, it would hasten the end of the bloody affair to come.
Furthermore, someone needs to get out there and warn those idiots that they have a target on their back now. The cwmwl seems to do the same thing to one's wits as it does to the darkspawn, and they're probably too dumb to seek shelter. I'm not asking you to risk anyone else, but I need to know this is a safe place before I head back out there."
"For myself, I stand with my city. I don't pretend to know how best to help it, but I can't flee and watch from afar as it is torn apart in civil-war. I would not have handled things as Osric did, but his heart was in the right place."
"Helen, I'm sorry to interrupt, but I have just had an interesting proposition from the Ardare Watch." Turning around, you all see a surprisingly fat sylph, balding, dressed in fines robe the same sallow color of his face. He rubs his hands together obsequiously. "I was sure you would not mind hearing him out."
A few steps behind the sylph, an ifrit with slick black hair enters. He smells faintly of shoe polish. On his armor is emblazoned the golden V of the Ardare Watch. The bars of a Captain show on his sleeve. Scanning the room, his eyes land on Odebie. "Sergeant! You made it out of the melee alive, thank Volcano! I can take you to safety at once, after a short discussion with Ms. Instra."
Odebie, you recognize Captain Entoro. He was at the Call this morning.
Without waiting for a response, he addresses Instra. "We are in need of healing. In the interest of securing the city from the current violence, we also request a contingent of your mutagen-based warriors. In exchange, the Makers will be given a seat among the Coals when...things settle."
"Harumph! I've been trying to tell her that for five minutes!"
Osric waves dismissively at the captain. "Yes, yes. Get in line. You can throw me in your finest jail, just as soon as you own it again. We can all play 'Osric is the monster for telling the truth, not the Temple for its mass killing' later, but like you said, we have better things to do right now. Do you have a way to get word to the so-called blessed? They will be instrumental figureheads in the war to come, and I'd prefer warning them before they're in the Temple dungeon."
"This has all been building for longer than our involvement, while Osrics actions may have caused the eruption prematurely, it was already brewing beneath the surface." she lets out a long sigh "In the meantime if you have men in need of healing I can offer my services. I am no Maker or Priest but I have some small magic to command."
"I have prepared a couple of healing elixirs this day as well as a number of bombs of course speaking of which I was thinking the detonation of a large enough ice bomb would likely seal the planar rift though the current situation would need to be resolved first of course..." Byron trails off, realizing he doesn't quite know what the current situation is.
"You're not wrong, Byron, but calming that...thing down is probably a job better suited to Odebie than either of us. We should probably figure out what state the Temple is in right now. No doubt news of their actions has spread within, and they will be divided for now. I don't suppose you know the state of their internal politics, do you, Captain?"
Odebie recovers from the shock of seeing Captain Entoro - he presumed all of the Captains were dead from the Temple's treachery. In Odebie's mind, this left two options. Either the Temple had failed...
In his gravelly bass, Odebie says, "Who else survived, Captain?"
Entoro's head snaps over to Odebie, surprised by the question.
Sense Motive everyone
Sense Motive: 2d20 + 2d6 + 12 ⇒ (12, 14) + (6, 5) + 12 = 49
= 14+6+12 = 32
"Yes. And how many surrendered to the inquisitor, my dear Captain?"
Byron literally can't make a DC 20 Sense Motive check. XD
Everything I say seems to make people mad at me. :P
Init: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18
Osric tries to deflect the Captain's sword as he draws it.
Disarm: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
"That really would be quite foolish, sir."
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25
Init: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
Fiordelise draws her blade pointing at the captain "I suggest you lay down your arms and surrender before you do something you quickly regret."
Intimidate: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (11) + 10 = 21
Obviously if he's already disarmed 'laying down arms' isn't required, also I assume from the Sense Motive that I think he'd be receptive to surrender if he thinks we'll take it, if not I'll push it further with actually casting the Suggestion spell instead of Intimidate... If that's all too subjective then ignore this text and I'll do actions as posted
Osric, despite his age, can still move fast when he needs to - with a fluid motion, he knocks the Captain's sword away just as he draws it. Taken aback by Osric's and Fi's quick actions, the Captain simply spreads his hands and keeps still. His eyes are wide with fear, and a bit of anger.
The fat sylph that brought in the Captain has a strong reaction to the sudden violence; he falls to the ground, cringing in the corner, and says, voice on the edge of tears, "What is everyone doing? I thought we were just talking!"
Odebie tilts his head, as if hearing something outside the door. Raising his hammer, he cautiously steps to the doorjamb. Speaking to someone in the hall, he says, "We have your Captain. Don't make this worse on yourselves."
|1 person marked this as a favorite.|
This is the 2nd time today this elen has surrendered. He's not having a good day.
"Relax, captain. We're not the ones who'll kill you for having a shred of sense in you. I think nothing less of you for betraying the trust of your brothers given the circumstances. We want all of these unpleasantries to end as soon as possible. Now please," He gestures to the seat he was just sitting in. "take a seat and tell us what happened after Odebie left, and what chain of events lead you to the Maker's establishment under false pretenses. If you're lying... I. Will. Know."
Sense Motive: 2d20 + 2d6 + 12 ⇒ (13, 20) + (6, 5) + 12 = 56 WOW! 20+6+12 = 38
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 1d6 + 12 ⇒ (20) + (6) + 12 = 38
A great weariness enters Entoro's eyes. It seems to be an acknowledgement, albeit an unwilling one, of all the compromises he has made to become Captain of the rich Shops and Mansions. He gives a deep sigh as he sits down, shoulders slumping.
"When Captain Locatelli sided with his brother, that damn inquisitor..." He shakes his head. "After Locatelli killed the Commandant, the inquisitor called for us to lay down our arms and swear fealty to the Temple. But it was the Temple Watch and one inquisitor against all the other Watches - it was ridiculous."
His fists clench, and unclench. "A couple of us got close. We were moving real slow and careful. The inquisitor points, and..." Clench, unclench. "The privates, the sergeants, they cut themselves to ribbons. Screaming at him to stop while they're plunging their swords into their own guts."
"Captain Greco was the only one that had his mind about him at that point. Got that damn priest in the shoulder with an arrow. Musta hurt like hell on that skinny frame of his." Clench, unclench.
Entoro's breathing quickens, great gusts through his nose. "With this burning look in his eyes, the inquisitor just says, The man who kills the Captain of the Dims is the only one I can guarantee wil leave this room alive."
He hides his face in his hands, unable to continue for the moment.