I had forgotten Lodoro had taken his first level of paladin already. That should come in handy! :)
Cudgelling her brains, in the moments Kira’s gone to get a mundane countermeasure for invisibility, Adonara turns up only the basics from her more martial training after … she pushes back against the tide of unwelcome memories. When Kira returns, Adonara nods to her and Lodoro, making sure her silver dagger is in easy reach, but taking her bladed whip in hand for now.
She whispers back, “If we can lure the imp someplace where it will cast a shadow, I might be able to keep it close for a few heartbeats instead of it flying out of reach.”
Rexus' suggestion, though, gives her pause. "Diabolical," she concludes, conceding a grudging admiration at the neat cunning of the situation. "The easiest way to deal with the problem also destroys the best evidence for it. Still, it's an option if we can't catch our imp the more basic way."
With that, she waits to follow the singer’s lead, since she’ll have to rely on him to guide her and everyone else, if the group opts for the silver and steel solution.
Rutilus nods at Adonara. "I think you are correct. Best to destroy this creature if possible. There is always the chance Crissali may be wrong and destroying the contract will release it from its bindings instead." Rutilus then grips the pommel of his blade as he awaits the decision of the group.
Pellius shrugs. "You know he can probably hear you, right?"
Turning to the corner where Lodoro said there was a presence, he clears his throat.
"Hallo. Würdest du dich bitte offenbaren, damit wir mit dir reden können? Meine Gefährten sind der Meinung, dass Sie vernichtet werden sollten, und wenn Sie uns keinen triftigen Grund geben, dem nicht zuzustimmen, werde ich ihnen wahrscheinlich zustimmen."
"Hello. Would you please reveal yourself so that we can talk with you? My companions are of the opinion that you should be destroyed, and if you do not give us a good reason not to I will probably agree with them."
|Daniel Penfold 357|
Before any of his companions can attempt to attack, Pellius hold up his arms.
"Well, to start with how about we introduce ourselves. My name is Pellius Aulamaxa. I gather from your contract that your name is Blosodriette, correct?"
Pellius gives the tiny red form a formal bow as he says this.
"I have a few questions for you. The first is simple: what did you see happen to the wall over there?" he points to the wall that collapsed earlier.
Kira's lips tighten as Pellius begins conversing with the creature. She personally can't imagine any reason to avoid destroying it. It's an imp. Lodoro just confirmed that it was evil. What answers could it possibly have that they could trust?
But Pellius wants to talk, and Kira values her companion's intuition enough to keep her own silence on the matter. At least for now. In the meantime she'll try to recall everything she knows about what such a creature can do.
K. Planes: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Which is apparently nothing. Just to be clear, OOC I have no problem with talking to the imp.
"Talking to an Imp? We should just destroy it!!. Still, I am no the leader of this group so I will see where things go"
Visibly looking unhappy, Lodoro just stares at the Imp. He speaks softly but loud enough to be heard
"Do NOT do anything hostile"
I'm readying an action to attack the Imp if it does anything I interpret as hostile. Throwing a spell withOUT telling us would definitely count
|Daniel Penfold 357|
As the imp reveals itself, Rutilus begins to draw his blade. No more than an inch is drawn before he catches Pellius conversing with the creature and stops himself. "What game is Pellius playing at? There is no way we can allow that thing to go and keeping it here is dangerous as well."
With that thought, Rutilus fully sheathes his blade maintaining his grip on the hilt while readying his shield just in case. He then narrows his eyes, focusing on the creature looking for anything that looks to be an attack.
Studied target on the imp
Pellius frowns at the news.
"An odd choice. Let me guess, you are trying to escape your contract by destroying the place you were bound, and technically through a third party. I suppose it must be maddening to be locked in this realm, owing fealty to a family who has long since died out."
A smile returns to the bards face.
"Speaking of, who did manage to bind you and why did they pick this location as your... well, for lack of better word, home? What kinds of things did they have you do?"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (14) + 9 = 23
Adonara shrugs back at Pellius’ warning, but before she can expound her ruthless calculation that any hellspawn is probably used to the idea of imminent torment at all times, and that whether delivered by a clean death or a tidier banishment, being returned to Hell isn’t likely to end happily for such a creature, the imp in question reveals herself.
For now, the priestess is willing to play along, and she joins her efforts to Pellius’, “Fortunately, I’m not a human, and, though I don’t like fiends, I’d like to think I can be creative, not to say flexible.”
Her smile very definitely doesn’t reach her eyes, but her tone is perfectly light. “If you answer Pellius’ questions, and, perhaps, give us a reasonably true and relevant summary of what you’ve seen in your time in what is, by most measures, a shrine that I would be extraordinarily happy to see you no longer profaning by your presence, I’m not entirely averse to the idea of destroying your contract to return you to whence you came.” Diplomacy, to aid Pellius: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
|Daniel Penfold 357|
"I was bound by the Sarinis. I was instructed by them to help erode resistance to Thrune during the civil war. My master was here trying to ambush one of the silver ravens. The attempt failed, with his final act he amended my contract so that I had to remain here to prevent any forms of rebellion from resurfacing."
“Fascinating,” Adonara says, a hint of irony creeping into her voice as she adds, “I don’t suppose you could give us your master’s name, how long he knew about our nest, or who else he might have shared that knowledge with?”
As she waits, she graces the imp with a considering look as she weighs the situation. “The fact is, not to put too fine a point on it, Hell is probably the best place for you. Would this be agreeable? You write out a copy of the contract for us for documentary purposes, adding the appropriate names and dates to identify the parties to the original arrangement, sign as required, and then we’ll send you back more agreeably than the alternative by destroying the original.”
She exchanges a glance with those more familiar with Infernal than she is, since they’d have to rely on their language skills to compare documents, avoid chicanery, or even assess how easy it would be to convince someone that a new copy is in an authentic imp’s hand.
Adonara is not a lawyer – thought that would probably be a handy set of skills to have, since her mere presence in Cheliax is illegal, more or less – so that’s the best she can probably come up with off the top of her head, while avoiding, as Terry Pratchett would put it, “lots of hey-nonny-nonny! and blood all over the place.” :)
Kira hesitates. While she certainly agrees with sending the imp back to hell, what Adonora is suggesting sounds suspiciously close to making a deal with it. While she may not know much about imps, she does know that making deals with them is always a bad idea. She murmurs to Adonara in Sylvan,
Of course, there's a relatively easy way to ascertain if the imp is telling the truth. "Rexus, could I see the contract please? I'd like to read it for myself."
“Precisely,” Adonara murmurs back, enjoying the civility of Sylvan. “If there’s a chance that the Sarinis know about it, I’d be loath to throw away evidence of their meddling. A hundred years ago, a creeping informer could hardly rely on Asmodean law to back up their prying, let alone – oh, would ‘assault, attempted murder with malice aforethought’ cover an ambush?”
“The Sarinis may be shameless creatures, but evidence might win some indignation against them at some future point,” she speculates, revealing the alarming Calistrian instinct for devious long-term schemes and accumulating leverage wherever possible, even as she hastens to explain, “But if our unexpected guest is disinclined to give a deposition against her masters, I’m certainly willing to simply tear, burn, or whatever it takes to destroy the contract and banish her.”
Sorry, Adonara’s (and I’m) having too much fun being wordy. She doesn’t have anything more in mind than copying out the contract with a header and signature to the effect, “Blosodriette certifies that the following is a true copy of her contract with” her old master. If the imp proves uncooperative, that will be annoying, but Adonara’s really not the sort to dicker with devils. If just asking is enough to hold on to something like useful evidence – or if the contract doesn’t have to be destroyed in such a way as to make it completely illegible – that would be so much the better, otherwise just banishing the critter would be fine, and if anything, she’d probably rather just do a wrath job and get all smite-y. :)
|Daniel Penfold 357|
Pellius scratches his head. "I see. Out of curiosity, would you like to exact some revenge on the incompetents that bound you so? Obviously their line died out, so that is not an option... but the cause they cared so deeply about is alive and well. I mean, it only seems fair to me. You were forced to stay in a basement for 50 years by a human to deal with human concerns... why not upend those concerns on your way back home?"
|Daniel Penfold 357|
Adonara files the name away to worry about later; all things considered, it’s probably for the best if the imp’s master’s line has ended. Pellius’ next question, though, surprises her, and she flickers a bemused look his way.
“As a servant of the Lady in the Room, I am honour-bound to point out that hiring an agent of vengeance with even a modicum of initiative is inviting unpredictable complications.” She almost sounds pleased with herself, until it becomes clear that she’s not primarily referring to her co-religionists at the moment. “In the case of a definite evildoer, I truly wouldn’t recommend it.”
“My vote would be for a bit of notary work, at most,” she says, turning back to Kira to see if anything interesting’s buried in the contract, “or just a quick banishment without any further ado.”
Adonara gives Lodoro a meaningful look to sympathize, belying her blithe talk of complicated scheming, when another thought occurs to her that further urges against letting the imp physically leave the Wasp’s Nest. Addressing said imp directly again, she asks, “A moment. Were you in contact with Malvo’s descendants, or is knowing that just a perquisite of your original … arrangement?”
Despite everything, there are many things of which Adonara is innocent, and knowledge of the magical workings of infernal contracts is one of them.
|Daniel Penfold 357|
|Daniel Penfold 357|
Kira, reading over the contract, you can see that it binds the imp to the Sarini family and instructs her to follow out their orders. In the event of their deaths she is instructed to retire to the Wasps Nest and spy on any rebels or Silver Ravens, retain any information gained and report it to the necessary authorities if asked to do so.
Kira looks up from her reading. "There is one interesting little tidbit in here. It says that in the event of the Sarinis deaths you were instructed to spy on the Wasp's Nest and report any information gained if instructed to do so. Who was supposed to be doing the instructing? More importantly, have you reported anything to the authorities? Or controlled one of our 'minions' to make them do so, like you made them weaken the wall?"
It's hard to make out emotions on the imp's face, but Kira tries her best to see if the creature is lying when she answers.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Adonara is very happy indeed that there's someone to read the original contract and see if the imp’s words square with the rules of magic. Despite the gravity of the situation, though, and the way the thought is sure to lead her to memories of heartbreak eventually, another small smirk appears on the priestess’ face, this time honestly.
“If it was a last-breath sort of revision, I imagine it might be any surviving Sarinis who might turn up wondering where dear coz got to. Leaving it to their discretion – and presumably assessment of advantage – if and when to report the findings is a nice touch too. Almost clever enough to be Calistrian, if it weren’t for the dealing with devils bit.”
“But you’re right, of course. The main thing is what damage may already have been done.”
Unfortunately, my guess is that at best we’ll get a hunch as to whether our imp is lying or not. Either way, sending her packing ASAP is probably the way to go.
Pellius looks at the imp, thinking about their options.
"I would say that last bit of the contract might prove to be a wrinkle.... and possibly an opportunity." He turns to Adonara, and smiles.
"Perhaps we can use this to our advantage to spread misinformation to Thrune... have her report loyalists as being the 'new face of the rebellion' to her contacts under the guise of fulfilling her contract. Devious enough for your tastes?"
|Daniel Penfold 357|
"I have not reported anyone but I confess I did try to make trouble to get the authorities here so that I could report you. I managed to cast a spell on one of your followers, getting him to weaken the wall. My next plan was for him to lead the authorities back to the coffee house above but he has not been back down here for days so I haven't had the chance to recast my spell."
Kira, you think she is telling the truth.
Kira stares at Pellius. Why does he keep suggesting making deals with this thing? Has she charmed him? She quickly scans him with detect magic just to be sure there’s no aura of lingering enchantment.
I’ve gone along with questioning her because that made sense. I’m tentatively okay with having her make a copy of the contract as evidence, even though I don’t think it’s necessary. But what you’re suggesting is insane, and I will rip up the contract myself before I let you do it.”
OK, executive decision time, I think. You can trust Adonara, she’s got a direct line to the goddess, after all, sort of. ;)
Shaking her head as Pellius and Kira suggest radically different courses of action, and poor Lodoro looks more and more unhappy, Adonara switches back to Common. Or do we all have Elven? I wasn’t sure if any of us was monolingual.
“I like it, but it’s too great a risk, and possibly impossible. That is, if I were a bound on another plane and given a disagreeable task without an arbitrarily complex set of instructions to avoid willful misinterpretation, I would certainly do my best to subvert them. And, as Kira says, none of us are Sarinis, so it may well be a moot point.”
She gives the young gnome a nod. “Do it. If tearing the contract isn’t good enough, we’ll burn it one way or another.” With acid, if it’s special hellish fire-proof parchment, or whatever. Adonara’s still holding out hope that the document might not need to be completely destroyed, but she’d probably not agonize about it.
She turns back to Pellius, “We can make use of mortal instruments: with a bit of encouragement from us, I’m sure our minions will be able to lie and mislead most charmingly.” We’ve got a team of Rutilus’ ragamuffins as “street performers” per the rebellion subsystem, right? Next chance we’ve got, we can upgrade them to rumormongers. :)
Kira doesn't need to be told twice. Adonara was the one who'd originally suggested keeping a copy of the contract, if she was fine tearing it up now then Kira saw no reason to wait. Particularly since both Rutilus and Lodoro had seemed uncomfortable with the extended discussion.
She takes the contract and cleanly rips it in half. (Horizontally and between paragraphs, so it was still possible to easily read what was on the paper.) Then she waits to see if that was enough to banish the imp.
|Daniel Penfold 357|
Pellius merely tsks as the demon flees. His back still to Kira, he turns his head partially to the gnome in such a way that she cannot see his face.
"We could have at least demanded the favor be for her not to share anything she learned here in exchange for her freedom. Now any amateur summoner might learn all sorts of information on us." Shrugging, he turns and walks toward the entrance.
"Ah well. It is not like Thrune's flunkies commune with demons on a regular basis. I am sure that everything will be just fine. No need to worry on that."
Stopping, he shakes his head.
"Still, at least we know what caused the wall to collapse. Shall we go on our way to investigate whatever murderous fiend is on the loose?"
Kira's eyes narrow and she crosses her arms. "If that was your concern you should have said so. And probably not politely introduced yourself with your full name. Or suggested putting the imp contractually bound to report on rebellious activity in contact with the authorities. The way you were talking, I was honestly concerned she'd charmed you, which was a large part of why I wanted her gone as soon as possible." She sighs and starts massaging her temples to ward off a growing headache. It's done. Whatever the consequences, we'll just have to deal with it.
Her tone calmer and more conciliatory, she adds, "At any rate, there's no favor she could have promised that we could have trusted. Even if she'd agreed to not say anything, without a contract of our own she wouldn't have been bound to that promise. We would still have had to assume that if she were summoned she'd tell everything she knows. Fortunately there are a lot of imps in hell. I don't think it's very likely that she'll be summoned again anytime soon. That being said, we should probably make plans just in case. We'll have to talk to Laria about it later."
"For now you're right, we should go investigate the murders. This took a lot longer than I was expecting."
|Daniel Penfold 357|
That was surprisingly easy. Surely a mending spell couldn’t undo it, but then, do the worlds remember that it was torn once, and that’s what counts? I suppose, since the flow of events is something that most powers respect most of the time... Vague recollections from borrowing Via’s lecture notes on metaphysics lead to still happier ones that Adonara stops before they can turn more bitter than sweet, instead bouncing back to join the conversation lightly, and as mercurially as only an elf can.
“Devils, not demons, strictly speaking. Evil gets quite tedious in its squabbles over fashion.” Her tone conceals her own nightmarish memories flawlessly as Adonara tries to soothe all ruffled feathers.
“It has been a few generations, after all,” she muses, sparing the problem a last thought for the moment. “If no one noticed their dearly beloved or the family imp had gone missing, if anything, it’s likelier that we’d have to worry about an infernal superior already playing puppet-master and the long game, I imagine. As Kira says, there are far too many imps in Hell generally for any one to coincidentally reappear to cause more trouble. In terms of this-worldly affairs too, bandying words with Asmodeans is not my pleasure, but I think it would at least be arguable that whatever the imp may have learned would be inadmissible, having been gathered illegally, before the accession of the Thrice-Damned House, etcetera…”
She shakes her head with a self-deprecating smile. “Perhaps I shall have to befriend a barrister after all.”
Leaving it at that for now, she tries to remember anything useful about the so-called Devil’s Nursery as the group sets out to meddle in still other places they might be unwelcome. It is, at any rate, not a neighbourhood Adonara has had occasion to spend much time in at all. Princess that she is. :)
Pellius turns to the gnome, giving her an almost hurt look. "Me?! Be charmed? Darling, darling, darling.... I am the one that does the charming." The look of hurt disolves into a good natured smirk as he turns to head toward the Nursery.
As they arrive:
Pellius takes his time as they arrive at the tiefling sector of the city, examining the building and listening in on conversations as they pass.
Percpetion: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
"You know, I have never had cause to come here before. What about you, Lodi?" He casually says to Lodoro and the others as they walk.
Kira had certainly never had cause to be in the Devil's Nursery before. She'd heard of it, and knew that the tieflings that lived there were often treated badly, but it simply wasn't something that had affected her before.
She sticks close to Rutilus, (who seems the most comfortable in the run-down neighborhood), and listens for anyone that might be talking about the murders. We won't be able to investigate until we know what happened and where.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15
|Daniel Penfold 357|
Rutilus relaxes his grip on his blade and puts away his shield while releasing a breath he wasn't aware he was holding as the imp vanishes. "Thankfully that's over."
Rutilus takes the lead as they enter the devil's nursery. He takes care not to show any signs of aggression though make sure he can quickly grab his blade if the need arises. When Kira siddles up next to him, Rutilus gives her a slight smile. "No need to worry. Most will avoid you and the ones that won't are looking more at your coin purse then looking to harm you." He then keeps his eyes open and his ears listening for anything that might be out of the ordinary. "Where to go to find anything about these murders..." he wonders to himself.
K. Local: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12
Well those were horrid rolls
I speak Elven as well so I think that leaves Lodoro as the only one who doesn't. Well Baolo doesn't also but at this point I'm not sure he's coming back.
|Daniel Penfold 357|
Rutilus, you know that tieflings are treated as second class citizens in Cheliax. The Devil's Nursery is the city's most notorious slum.
For many years,a local advocate for tiefling rights named Strea Vestori has worked to reverse this trend and to earn a place of honour and respect for the tiefling community. She'd made great strides but on the night of Ashes it is rumoured she was identified as a threat and agents of Thrune abducted her. She has not been seen since.
You can also see that the tieflings in the area are watching you all warily.
Pellius shakes his head.
"Well, it seems like we are about as welcome as caravan of vagrants. Does anyone have an idea of where we should start? This audience probably would run if we tried to ask about the weather, let alone the recent goings on."
As the Ravens reborn (Sorry, that sounds ridiculously like cheesy superhero comic book title talk, doesn’t it?) move deeper into the Redroof streets where the tenements of Devil’s Nursery start to rise like a heartbreaking wave about to break disastrously against the city walls, Adonara’s expression visibly hardens. It’s no less friendly than usual, exactly, but she lets some of the edges show, both a defensive measure to show in a non-threatening way that she won’t be an easy mark, and a means of not crushing every onlooker’s hopes outright.
“It’s been a while, and there are a few places in Kintargo I’ve not managed to visit yet,” she says in answer to Pellius’ question, as it becomes clear that the group is sticking out. “I’ve never asked if The Devil’s Threads is just coincidentally named, or …”
She trails off: she’s heard good things about the tailor’s, of course, but to date it’s been too much of an extravagance to even look into what sorts of people own it. It's only a moment before she changes tack, “Does anyone know if the Cloven Hoof Society is still active? They might be able to tell us how we can help with what's making the streets even more dangerous.”
She looks around the group, but she pitches her questions loud enough that the nearest onlookers can easily hear. That’s all that I’ve got, working from the Player’s Guide. If she can, Adonara will roll her audible speculation into a Diplomacy check: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26 to start gathering information / asking for directions.
Her tone is clearly sympathetic, and also clearly conveys that she's aware that she and her friends are in the watching tieflings' space, such as it is, and happy to let them make the first move. Or she'll break ranks and step up to a likely person on her own, since a knot of heavily armed adventurers who are very definitely not from around here is, I'm sure, rather intimidating.
|Daniel Penfold 357|
|Daniel Penfold 357|
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
As they approach, Pellius attempts to keep focused on watching their surroundings.
"Well, seems like this murderer at least is attempting to be sneaky, regardless of whether or not the area seems like it is being patrolled."
It takes a while to coax the locals into being at all forthcoming, and by the end of it Adonara’s smile is smaller and tighter than ever. She can’t quite blame them, since, though she hopes they can’t tell her religious affiliations at a glance (grounds enough for worrying what sort of web she might be weaving), she’s also only somewhat able to play down some of her posh mannerisms.
It’s a relief when enough gentle assurances, delicate flattery, and a pinch of silver have been distributed that an investigation can begin in earnest. Adonara keeps her eyes open, but she’s honestly better at reading people than she is places and things. Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
“Sneaky, but greedy too,” Adonara considers, keeping her immediate location in relation to the next to investigate in mind. She gestures in the appropriate directions to help fix the area in her imagination, thinking about ways in and out through the surrounding streets. “Whoever’s responsible, they’re not afraid of preying on quite a small area, it seems.”
"Hmmmm." Kira crouches down to look at the ground. "There must be some reason for that. What's around this area? Any taverns? The killer might be taking advantage of drunk people trying to navigate their way home late at night." She tries to see if there are any clues as to what might have happened.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29