Two weeks have passed since the Bloodveil incident concluded with the death of the doctor. Though you fought Rolf Lamm, he managed to escape using teleportation magic.
Once again, the city tries to get back to some sense of normalcy. Two things of note have happened recently, the first especially noticeable to anyone who spends any time in the poor areas of Korvosa: there are almost no women to be seen doing jobs. Specifically there are almost no women working as ladies of the night or waitresses in taverns; several of the seedier docks taverns have already had to close.
The second thing that people have been talking about is a proclamation by the queen that will take place in two days time.
For our heroes, the last two weeks have been a time to mourn friends and heal.
Funerals were attended, tears shed, and many ales valiantly gave their lives to the memory of those fallen.
Dawn breaks on a new day and as the Heroes gather for breakfast a thought loomed on everyone's mind; what are they going to do about the Queen, and who would they try to recruit to help them do it?
Sitting down at the table brings food to go with his thoughts. As he contemplates the assortment of food laid out before him, a voice cuts through his musings.
Good to see you again Mug...
Alistair turns to his right to look at the cook that is just smiling with excitement. The word has become a moniker of his real name. He has come to accept it as not only the low point in his life but also a point of rebirth.
Always good to be seen...especially these days. Thank you for the food, much appreciated.
He turns to enjoy his breakfast but his mind has run back to that fateful night.
They all were just trying to relax after Cressida's request to secure Trina and keep her safe. Alistair was not happy at all and his drinking had taken a darker path of late. Anger seem to boil to the surface too rapidly these days. Sitting at his table alone with too many empty tankard about him, the handsome man kept to himself mostly. This night was different. A group of four young men had come in to the tavern and proceeded to make a home for themselves. Their age was proof enough that they lacked the manners to be respectful of those that worked hard to make a living. The rude behavior and loud disrespectful tone was becoming all to apparent to those around them. One such man had grabbed one of the servers and tried to sit her down on his lap. She of course was not having it and tried in vain to get away. Her efforts did however spill the drinks she was carrying onto the young man. He was furious and showed his anger by striking the woman across the face, which knocked her to the ground. This brought the tavern to a stand still. The young man continued his assault on the woman with his fowl mouth. The words themselves almost as vile as his actions. His laughter for some reason kept the others from coming to the young woman's aid. The man lifted the woman back onto her feet with a lack of gentleness. Alistair could not see straight at all and it took him some time to understand what had just happened. Turning his drunken attention towards the commotion brought a level of anger that he had never felt before. Standing up and stumbling his way towards the group of men brought slurred words out of his mouth. To him those words were crystal clear and of perfect tone for the current situation. To everyone else it was just gibberish. As he got closer the young man took notice of Alistair and directed his words towards him but he only got about half his sentence finished before they were cut off. The dashing nobleman grabbed a silver tankard from a near by table and let his arm hang at his right hip. Alistair's hand, turning white from his grip, brings the tankard up in a circular motion over his head, completes the circle back down at his hip, and snaps his hand forward. The silver vessel sails through the air under the now empty tray that belong to the server to strike the young man in the throat. He fell to the ground grabbing at his neck in a jumble of pain and emotion. Before his companions could do anything at all, Alistair had reacted. The young man on the far left had a well used rapier touching his throat from across the table. The one on the far right had a elegant black boot resting gently on his manhood. The third young man that was in the middle had a very drunk and very angry nobleman staring at him. Two words were said and those words were understood by all in the tavern.
Stepping away from the three men Alistair returned his weapon to its sheaf and looked down at the man on the floor. His jaw was broken and his throat had been cut open from the tankard. He would live but it was Alistair's reflection in the blood stained tankard that gave him pause. For in it he saw how low he had come. The anger on his face. The stains on his clothing from his drinking. The dark circles under his eyes. He barely recognized himself. He returned to his table as the tavern slowly return to normal. A now full tankard sat there untouched the rest of the evening as he stared at his reflection in alcoholic surface. Sometime later he woke up at the same table he was drinking at the night before. All the empty mugs were gone except for one. The silver tankard that had a slight dent in the side. Alistair took a look at the vessel and paid particular attention to the damage side of the mug. Turning it this way and that brought to his attention that there were words etched in the bottom.
Here's to Cayden! May he show us wisdom in the bottom of a glass.
Alistair had heard tales of Cayden but never paid much attention to them. He continued to drink but his drinking had become less angry like. That night brought a clarity to his mind. He started to learn more about drinking than just the blackouts. As time passed by and they continued to save the city...his name changed. He was becoming known as Mug. A simple name. A reminder of a dark time and a reminder of a time of healing.
The last few weeks had been difficult, to say the least. With the chaos in the city, Callie had laid aside dreams of vengeance over the situation of her past to try and help where she could. The King's death, the plague, riots--what she'd been through a couple years prior seemed minimal by comparison. While never exactly a fan of the local law enforcement, she found herself backing up the town guard more than once, using silver tongue when possible and silver blade when necessary to talk people out of doing harm to one another. She felt suspicious of the higher order of things but as far as she could tell the local constabulary was just truly trying to keep the peace.
Any good news heard was marred by rumors of these disappearances of women. More than rumors it seemed... Red Sal was no longer flirting on the corner, certain guest houses and bawdy houses and public houses appeared empty or were emptying. Poor women, no one important enough for anyone to bother looking for. Knowing a lot of tavern staff--and friends with many---Callie had begun checking in to find out more about what was happening, starting with her old friend Marta, who tended to perform at a spot down at the Three Rings in North Point.
Asking around to those she knows and trusts, Callie finds out that there all of the women seem to have quit of their own accord, taking on a different job that they seemed to be really excited about. Nothing your contacts say points to anything other than people leaving one job to take another, but what that other job would be, no one can say.
What that bodes is unclear, but at the very least there are some women who were in dangerous circumstances that are no longer on the street.
Alika has been run thin. Her headscarf is disheveled, her clothing disorganized, and dark circles run under her eyes. For weeks, she's had little rest. Not just the chaos - but the plagues, the rampant and recurring diseases, have called her into constant demand. Entire families struck down. Desperate people making desperate cries for help, even threats and fights. With her miraculous magic she can help a few... but not enough; never enough. Too often she's forced to choose who will receive life-saving treatment, and who will not. It wears upon a soul.
Still, her faith has seen her through. Given these miraculous talents, she has put them to the best use that she can exercise, confident that her goddess has given them to her because her goddess knows that she can bear the burden. And so she soldiers on.
At last the city has come to a semblance of peace once more, with the Blood Veil finally conquered and a modicum of order restored. Still, it will take several days of real sleep before Alika feels whole again, and now that women are disappearing from the streets, she fears that the recent troubles have simply masked another terror that has metastasized under the boiling chaos that so recently consumed the city.
She goes to find her friend Garran, with whom she overthrew the various crime lords responsible for much of the worst abuses in the horrid parts of Korvosa, to see if perhaps he can be enticed to help once more...
The past few months had been very different for Garran, and it lead him to reflect on his life to this point. From a hovel in Old Korvosa, to the streets, to mugging drunks for their purses. His meeting with Gaedren Lamm, and the set up that had nearly seen him locked away for years. Five years on the road before finally returning to Korvosa a new man - not just in name, he realized, but in temperament and ambition. Tymo Flint had been content to run a gang engaged in petty crime. When Garran Fain had first arrived in Korvosa, killing Gaedren Lamm then leaving town had been his goal. Now, however...he still didn't entirely trust the Watch - and likely never would, given his past - but he didn't want to leave town anymore. Hard as it was to believe, he was recognized for his deeds - for the actions he'd taken to stop the Blood Veil and, surprisingly, help the people of Korvosa. By acting out of the interests of others, instead of his own self-interest, he'd become something Tymo Flint could never have even dreamed of - a hero. Well, to some, anyway. Most still didn't know who he was, but that was okay. Too much fame and he might feel uncomfortable again.
Of course, the knowledge that the Queen was behind the Blood Veil was more than a bit disconcerting. Was she a secret worshiper of Urgathoa? It was Urgathoa's priesthood that had been behind the plague, after all. Or was there something more to it? Further, what did it signify that the Queen would unleash a plague on her own city? His thoughts, traveling down that path, led nowhere good. Something else to focus on would be helpful. It was that or mourn his fallen companions.
It had been a stray comment by Danni about teleportation magic, followed up by a chance paragraph he'd seen in a book while he waited for the others to finish shopping. A combat tactic that involved shifting one's physical location on the Material Plane, and could be beneficial for stopping a fleeing foe or catching them off-guard. Danni said it was a spell called Dimension Door - not one she knew, but it did what she described. Intrigued, Garran had purchased the book to try and learn the technique, but so much of the terminology and planar calculations had gone over his head that he'd nearly given up. It was then that Nicoleta had suggested, probably jokingly, that maybe he should just teach himself about planar cosmology. Whether she'd meant it for a joke or not, he'd decided that was what he would do, and he'd managed to learn quite a bit. It was hard - he didn't have the background that most scholars of these things did, and some of the words were completely unfamiliar to him - but he'd slowly managed to learn about the planes and the creatures that lived within them He was sure that he was close to mastering the technique that would allow him to teleport himself short distances. Once he cold do that, he could probably catch a lot of enemies off guard.
That might be needed, too, if this went the direction he thought it would - a face to face battle with Queen Ileosa and her new "Gray Maidens", who answered only to her.
Stepping into the tavern for breakfast, he saw Alistair sitting at a table and moved to join him. "Good morning, friend. How are you today?"
While the fact that the women leaving was theoretically voluntary was a relief insofar as it meant it likely wasn't a serial killer or some sort, that suggested instead a particularly vulnerable population was being actively recruited for something. Which didn't feel much better given the state of the city. At another time, it might be easy to assume they were truly offered a good opportunity and took it. She hoped that might be the case. But on the other, with a plague just ending and paranoia rampant in the streets about the city's political situation, it was hard not to worry that an underserved group of people were being lured away for less than happy-ending reasons.
"Besides, how am I gonna get the best rumors without Sal to give me tips?" she muttered half aloud.
Leaning against a post in one of the taverns she was gathering information in, she pulls out her playing cards and begins shuffling, just to give herself something to do.
Sleight of Hand, fancy shuffling!: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (10) + 14 = 24
You guys still have a couple of days before the following, but I'm gonna go ahead and post this. If there's something you want to do, go ahead and post and we'll go from there.
The day of the Queen's announcement finally arrived, and the stands were even more packed than the day that Blackjack made his reappearance after more than a decade of being hidden from the public eye.
The stands are packed with people of all social strata, but those of means are segregated from those without. The mood here is best described as tense; many people have been waiting for the next crisis, and there is an undercurrent that indicates that many expect that this will be the start of the footwear falling.
Arriving at the castle courtyard, a large stage has been erected with a walkway that led back towards the castle gates. Standing on the stage were both Cresida Kroft, leader of the Korvosan Guard, and Marcus Endrin, leader of Sable Company. Both leaders are talking quietly to each other while they waited for the Queen to make her appearance.
By happenstance, Alistair was seated near Callie, a young woman who he knew from his bar crawling. He knew she was a talented musician, and the one time they had fought a mock duel, Alistair had lost.
To this day he maintained that it was the alcohol.
After waiting for over an hour under the midday sun, the queen finally arrives. She is stunning. Her hair bound back behind a crown that none have ever seen before: a gold crown with wavy gold that rise to a series of points. She is lead to the stage by a contingent of her newly formed Gray Maidens, an (apparently) all female combat force, although each member's full helms completely covered their head prevented that from being confirmed.
More Gray Maidens followed out behind her, these ones lead by Sabina, the Queen's personal bodyguard. Sabina was likewise clad in the distinctive armor of the Gray Maidens, except she held her great helm under one arm. The queen came to a stop in the center of the stage near Cressida and Marcus, smiling sweetly at both of them while her troops spread out along the stage, so that the there was no place where someone could climb up onto the stage. It's clear that Sabina is taking no chances with the Queen's safety here.
After the Gray Maidens stood at attention in position, the Queen began to speak: "Citizens of Corvosa, I come to you today as your ruler, and I must beg your forgiveness. In my haste to cure the disease that gripped our city, I allowed myself to be fooled by the Davaulus, the man who claimed to be a doctor and able to cure the disease. I was desperate, and this allowed me to be taken advantage of. I ask for your forgiveness, and can only swear that I will be more wary in the future with your safety in mind."
Ileosa bows to the crowd, which seems to pleasantly surprised at her apology. Raising her head, she continued speaking:
"In the vein of my concern with your safety, I am glad to officially announce the formation of the Gray Maidens, a combat force designed to protect you all from further attempts from both without and within the city to harm you. They shall keep you safe, and as you can see, I am willing to trust them with my own safety, so I hope you will trust them with yours. I have assigned my own bodyguard, Sabina Merrin, to lead this force, as I know she can be trusted to protect us all."
The assembled Gray Maidens smashed their fist into their breastplate above their heart, which was met with a smattering of applause from the crowd. Ileosa continued while turning to look past Cresida directly at Marcus Endrin.
"Now, we come to something that breaks my heart. Marcus Endrin, under your command the Sable Company has failed this city time and again in the months since the death of my husband. You failed to stop the rioting in the city or to establish order; you did nothing to combat the rise of Bloodveil, and the city would have fallen had common citizens not risen to the challenge of protecting their own. I hate that it has come to this, but as of this moment I am disbanding the Sable Company for failure to perform the duties that they were distinguished for doing. Please step forward and surrender your badge of office immediately."
The term collective gasp would apply here more than ever, but none dared make noise that might draw the attention of those on the stage.
Marcus Endrin stood stock still for just a moment then turned and looked Ileosa directly in the eyes; for a moment neither moved. As he moved, Cresida took a step back out of the space between them.
Marcus stared at Ileosa; Ileosa returned his stare calmly, the same small smile on her face.
Then, in a fluid movement born from years of practice, Marcus' bow appeared in his hand, an arrow nocked even as he pulled back the bowstring. His shot was perfect; given the distance it didn't even have much time to rotate before it slammed directly into Ileosa's left eye.
She fell like a puppet with it's string cut.
Marcus turned and began to shout...something, with Ileosa stood and quickly spun him around. Marcus' eyes widened and he had just enough time to say "whu" before she shoved his arrow under his chin and out his of his skull just below his left temple. She then casually lifted his body off the ground and tossed it of the stage as one might toss trash. She then turned and stalked back towards the castle while Sabina ordered the Gray Maidens to clear the square.
No one resisted leaving the square that day.
Callie walked with the others into the nearest bar to discuss what the heck had just happened.
FYI Callie is a storyteller and street magician, not a musician. Only trained Perform skill is Oratory! FWIW her schtick is to tell a tale and accentuate her story with cantrips and sleight of hand tricks. Sometimes even acrobatics! It's a lively show.
Question: what does Callie know about the activity of the Sable Company in the city to this point?
My bad. I assumed when you said tavern performer you meant musician.
Feel free to roll Knowledge (Local) or Knowledge (History) to answer what you know about Sable Company. As far as (say) DC 10 knowledge (local) goes, they're a rather well known knightly order that WAS centered in Korvosa and they ride griffons.
For future reference, if you think a skill would be appropriate to roll for questions about a topic, feel free to roll it and if you roll well I'll do my best to give you information flavored by the skill you roll (i.e. rolling knowledge (arcana) and knowledge (local) about Absalom will both yield information, including some overlapping, but it will be flavored towards the type of skill (so for my example, arcana would tell you about the arcanamirum, while local would get you information about the districts of the city and notable people in it. Rolling a craft or profession skill would get you notable people who also perform that skill, and something like acrobatics would....not be appropriate in this instance, but there are/will be checks that I will allow non-knowledge checks to fill in for knowledge checks (acrobatics might get you famous acrobats in the region, but not their non-acrobatics related shenanigans. Also, please pick one skill and roll it when you're doing this: just pick whichever one you feel will get you the info you're looking for.
Sorry, normally I just straight roll for stuff without waiting to be prompted because I don't want to waste the GM's time. In this case I was asking more from a setting/background perspective, with her trying to help out around the city, what she would have picked up (as anyone would have in her shoes regardless of stats--i.e., not what does Callie know about the Sable Marines in general, but what specifically would someone who had been working with the guard during the Bloodveil crisis had heard about the Sable Company's actions or inaction during these times?). No problem rolling!
Knowledge Local: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
No worries. We're still figuring out each other's play styles yet.
Callie knows a few things above the basic information that everyone on the street knows for certain:
* Sable Company does not answer to the ruler of the City State (in this case Queen Ileosa) but instead reports directly to the Seneshal of Castle Korvosa. They work closely with the Korvosan Guard, with the guard protecting the ground area, and Sable Company protecting the skies and waterways.
* Those who patrol the skies ride Hippogryphs, not Griffons (as many commonly believe). Only those skilled in handling animals are even allowed to apply to the school to become a member of the Hippogryph corps More specifically, only people with levels in Paladin, Ranger, and Cavalier can become one; I know there's at least one archetype for Sable Company Hippogryph rider and I think it's a Cavalier one).
* It's known that the Senechal of Castle Korvosa (the one that served the King, not whoever is serving in that capacity now) fled the castle during the death of the King; some suspect he had something to do with the King's death, but many conspiracy theories abound that he knows the Queen's secrets and is hiding for his life. What that secret exactly is varies from teller to teller, so it's clear that no one really knows.
* It is true that during the riots, Sable Company was not really effective, and they were fairly heavily effected by the Bloodveil, moreso than even the Guard, which severely limited their ability to do...anything really; the charges levelled against them have merit [ooc]at least from a lawful alignment pov.
* Sable Company is actually a group of mercenaries, and not a knightly order as many believe. Their original contract was with the Senechal of Castle Korvosa and not with the rulers.
Hmm...I thought I had posted.
Garran could scarcely believe what had just happened in the square - The Sable Company hadn't done much during the riots, true, and Marcus should have been removed given their ineffectiveness, but disbanding the entire company? Korovsa needed the Sable Company to protect the city.
Of greater concern, however, was the fact that Queen Ileosa had just taken an arrow straight to the eye, then got up and killed Commander Endrin. She clearly had some sort of powerful protective magics. There was also the fact that she had just removed one of the better allies they could have used against the Queen for arresting her after they proved her complicity in the spread of Bloodveil.
Looking to the others, he said, "Did you see her get up after being shot in the eye? How did she do that?"
Alistair's face remains calm as the events unfold in his mind yet again.
I had a feeling this would be bad once she call his name.
Alistair takes a big sip from his silver mug and looks at Garran.
I am doing good. How have you been today.
The handsome noble is without reaction to the question.
It was an impressive trick and I would love to know the answer as well.
Keeping his voice down low
Well it would appear that she is consolidating her power base. First she secured her allies and now she is openly removing those that threaten her. She is dangerous and must be stopped...or even Heroes...will become her ally...or a threat. I do not fancy myself an ally so that creates quite the predicament. We should try and solidify our ground before to much is lost.
Pushing through crowds, Alika makes her way to Garran.
"Garran. Garran!" she calls out, waving to him through the press of bodies from the gabbing, muttering crowds as they're slowly dispersing from the square.
The priestess manages to push her way close to her old friend.
"Can you believe that?" she says, agog. "That was one heck of a message."
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (17) + 21 = 38 Check to determine whether Queen Ileosa was possessed, enchanted, cursed, or magically controlled, per roaming exorcist class feature. DM, feel free to decide that she was too far away for Alika to scrutinize.
Callie heads in, trying to wrap her mind around what happened. Recognizing Alistair, she approaches--even if she has only met and spoke to him a few times, a known friendly face is better than none. As she sits near him, he hears his compatriot speak.
Looking to the others, he said, "Did you see her get up after being shot in the eye? How did she do that?"
"Powerful illusion? Construct? Undeath? Magical eye lens? Could be any number of things. None of them make me feel good about what just happened."
She pauses, "Sorry for just jumping in like that. I'm Callie Cobalt, part-time volunteer helping the guard of late, part-time performer. Do you know this fellow?" She points to Alistair. "He tips well and likes a good story. I am not sure how to tell the tale of what just happened, though, and I'm not keen on being on my own at the moment. But if you want me to leave, just say so."
Callie also gives a friendly nod to Alika as she approaches.
Callie is a petite, wiry woman, with pale, freckled skin, brown hair in a braid and alert blue eyes. She wears a cobalt-blue cloak over neat, but not expensive clothes in more subdued shades of blue. A glimmer by her throat shows she has a mithral shirt on under her chemise. A fine longsword is sheathed at her hip, and smaller dagger hilts poke out from boots along her belt. A buckler is strapped to her wrist. A performer she may be, but she isn't geared for dancing.
Alika, based on every interaction you've had with her, that was basically the same as before, but with perhaps a bit more swagger. The crown was definitely new, however.
The crowd in the tavern is subdued and talking quietly among themselves, much as the group is. No one seems to know what to make of the situation.
Gonna give you guys a bit of time to discuss what you want to do from here.
Callie nods in thanks to Alistair. "Indeed, and thanks. You seem pretty firm on your position about Ileosa. I've heard rumors of all kinds--and helping the guard, I've not liked a lot of what I've seen, if I'm honest. But what's your take?" She looks at both Alistair and his friends.
Garran nods to Alika. "It was, at that. The blatant removal of one of her potential political rivals was concerning. I'm also not sure about these Gray Maidens - having her own guard force independent of the watch seems a recipe for disaster."
Garran cautiously observes Callie, before looking at Alistair to see if he gives the okay that she can be trusted.
"The Sables were mercs, so they had leave to disobey her orders or refuse to contract with her. She's replaced them with this loyal crew of her own choosing. And Maidens... specifically women..." She shakes her head. "Seems near every Moll and Ale-Nanny from Garrison Hill to Highbridge have up and left their jobs having been promised greener pastures. Grayer ones, more like. But no public recruiting drive it seems. Just whispers in the dark to desperate women."
She gestures to the barkeep with a swoop of her fingers that she is buying this group a round. "Tell me I'm being overly paranoid, jumping to conclusions. Please."
"It's a move to consolidate power. And the relieved captain did draw down a bow and shoot her," says Alika. "So clearly she has reason to be suspicious."
"Still... the crown was new. It seems like she is making a display of strength to try to damp down further chaos and rebellion, showing that she has authority and that there will be a firm succession of power."
Even with the somber mood surrounding recent events, your group is still well received and you have your fill of food and drink.
Or, at least you would, if a young man wearing the livery of one of the Korvosan Guard didn't approach your table.
"Greetings your heroships; lady"
he tips his head to Callie
"Field Marshall Kroft has asked me to come collect all of you, and bring Miss Cobalt if I could find her. You are all needed at the Citadel at once."
The young man then stands and waits for the group's response, clearly expecting to guide you to your meeting.
"Fair points," She acknowledges to Alika.
When the guard comes, she nods, and leaves money (that seem to sprout from her fingers from nowhere) to pay her tab and is ready to follow.
"Alistair, what are your friends' names?" she asks as they go.
"Greetings your heroships; lady"
he tips his head to Callie
"Field Marshall Kroft has asked me to come collect all of you, and bring Miss Cobalt if I could find her. You are all needed at the Citadel at once."
Downing that last of his drink in one large gulp. Alistair stands and walks to the bar. He drops coin enough to cover their tab. The handsome man looks at the bartender and extends his hand. It appears that we are needed elsewhere. Thank you for the service.He drops more coin on the bar in a separate pile.
Please make sure that this is split between the staff with my thanks.
Turning around the look at the young Korvosan Guard
We should not keep Field Marshall Kroft waiting...
"Alistair, what are your friends' names?" she asks as they go.
I am afraid a proper introduction is not in the cards today...He nods to his two companions.
Motioning towards the bard.
As the nobleman steps outside, his hand reaches down to the weapons on his belt. It is a subtle but purposeful motion. The peace bond he keeps on his weapons while in a drinking establishment have been removed.
The group followed the young guardsman towards the citadel. As they walked, other guardsmen joined the group: it quickly became clear that more than one guard was sent to collect your group.
As the group arrives at the bridge that leads into the Citadel, an odd sight greats them: there is only a single guardsman on duty. The guards who travelled with you peel off to return to their patrols, and your group crosses the bridge into a shocklingly empty courtyard. Training dummies and archery targets still stand, but there is no one to use them.
As you stand around in the courtyard deciding what to do Cressida appears from the entrance to the keep.
She looks like she hasn't slept in weeks.
Waving you in, she leads you back into the keep and opens the door to a meeting room which appears to be filled with white fog.
This is a magical effect that, once you walk into, you realize is a Mage's Private Sanctum.
Moving through the mist, the group sees a meeting room with a long table and chairs surrounding it. Taking a seat, Cressida begins:
"Korvosa is dying; no, strike that. Korvosa is being murdered. Killed by our queen. The evidence you’ve uncovered that links her to the plague is damning enough, but now that she’s disbanded the Sable Company and reallocated our own funding to the Gray Maidens, she’s more in control now than ever. I dare not move against her, as my guards would be executed to the last fighter by her Gray Maidens before sundown. But she must be stopped. And I know of no one else but you to do this deed."
Cressida pauses to gauge the group's reaction, then forges on:
“Whatever foul magic the queen has wrapped herself in is obviously of the highest order. Endrin’s aim was true, and his shot should have dropped her. I had feared he was going to take matters into his own hands like this, but hoped he would find it within himself to find a better route. If only he could have waited. You see, just this morning, new information came to me."
"Vencarlo Orisini’s been one of my most trusted sources of information regarding the public; it’s hard for an officer of the Korvosan Guard to get honest opinions from the citizens, and Vencarlo’s observations on these topics have been a godsend, particularly since the plague started. When the queen quarantined Old Korvosa, I’d feared his messages would end, yet he managed to find ways to smuggle updates to me every day."
"Recently, he wrote of discovering something of vital importance regarding the queen. He mentions something about dark magic and a pact with a devil, but until the events of this morning, I found his claims difficult to believe. But even more astounding, he hinted he’d found a lead on Seneschal Kalepopolis, and implied the man might still be in hiding in Old Korvosa!"
“That was the last I heard from him. It’s been several days, and I’ve started to worry for his safety. The rumors about riots and gangs seizing control of entire neighborhoods in Old Korvosa are disturbing. Certainly, the plumes of smoke we all see rising from fires on the island are proof that as bad as things are elsewhere, they’re probably worse in Old Korvosa."
“I can see a time in the near future when the Korvosan Guard is disbanded as well. Even now I lack the resources to mount my own investigations. Which is where you come in. Trusting you may have been my best decision over the past several months, for your group holds the possibility of Korvosa’s salvation. I ask you to seek out Vencarlo in Old Korvosa, and to learn more of what he’s discovered about the nature of our queen’s increasingly violent and destructive turns of personality."
"Ironically, you should actually be safer in Old Korvosa, since the queen’s quarantine has cut off the island entirely, and word on the street is that she plans on leaving it to rot. She won’t think to look for you there if you maintain a low profile and avoid confrontations with the Gray Maidens. Once you contact Vencarlo, we can only hope what he’s discovered will suggest a course of action we can take to save the city!”"
As she finishes speaking, she moves to a side table and opens a box, withdrawing a pair of wands and several potion vials and sets them on the table. She then asks "Do you have any questions?" as she pushes the items towards the group.
Looking around the room at the fog, the young nobleman smiles and nods.
Regicide...Korvosa will have my blade.
Alistair sighs slightly. He appears reluctant.
Field Marshall Kroft...I would ask of you...a favor. Given the current situation within the city...I would...My family is minor enough to be overlooked by the queen...for now. I ask that you get word to them to leave the city and head for one of our stables in Veldraine or better yet...Magnimar. There they will be safe from retribution for my actions.
He tilts his head to the side in thought.
It might even be a good place for sable company to regroup.
Knowledge Arcana: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (17) + 10 = 27
Callie whistles as she observes the fog. "You're taking privacy seriously."
She listens, face growing grim as Kroft describes her concerns about the queen as well as the situation in Old Korvosa.
First her gaze flies over to the other three, looking at them again as if for the first time. "Evidence you found about the Bloodveil? No wonder you're being hailed as heroes. I've done what I could to help but I can't lay claim to that. Still, I'm glad to lend you spell and sword if you'll have me. And..." She nods. "I lived for a time in Old Korvosa. I can't guarantee anything, but if we need to find a way in, I can try to see if I can dig up some old contacts." She turns back to Kroft. "Unless you know of a way we can get past the quarantine?"
Cressida sighs, and as she does it's like some of the life exhales with her. She looks like she hasn't slept since before the king's death.
"Getting into the city won't be all that hard. You can use magic, take a boat, or any other means at your disposal. It's my understanding the Gray Maidens aren't stopping anyone from entering Old Korvosa, just those trying to leave back into Korvosa proper."
"As much as I hate to say what I'm about to, rescuing Vencarlo is important to me personally, but if you have to choose between him and Senechal Neolandus, you need to choose the latter. Vencarlo is my friend, one of the few people I've learned to trust, but Neolandus will be vital to any attempt to legally overthrow the Queen, and additionally he has served in his post for decades, so he likely has insights that no one else would, including how or where Ileosa gained her newfound immunity to arrows."
"Regardless, start with Vencarlo's house and see what you can find there. If worst comes to worst, you might try talking to the 'Emperor of Old Korvosa'. He's apparently risen to power quickly in the time Old Korvosa has been cut off from the rest of the city; I'd be careful how you approach him, however, as he's not likely to be interested in the good of the people."
"So I am hearing we should not take the bridge into Old Korvosa." Callie frowns. "Question about Orsini--if he's been your contact with the public, anyone he's mentioned as a good source of information? Also, any code phrases you used with him so if we do find him, he trusts we're safe?"
Has Callie ever heard of the Emperor? Knowledge Local: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12
Alika nods with some surprise at Callie's questions. Clearly she's impressed with the bard's thorough thinking, though she doesn't interrupt by interjecting a comment of her own (yet).
On the question of the Emperor, Cressida says "Nothing more than I've already mentioned. Orsini mentioned him in one of his reports, and I've heard stories that he's gotten more powerful recently."
At the question of Orsini's involvement, Cressida says "He didn't mention who his sources were, and I didn't ask. I understand the need for secrecy in this regard. As far as him Orsini trusting your group, he's worked with the 'Heroic Saviors of Korvosa' before, although it's been a while, and he likely knows that you're going to be in Old Korvosa at my behest."
Feel free to keep asking questions, just going to put this here when you're all ready to move on.
As the questioning of Field Marshal Kroft finishes, Allistair feels a pulse of warmth from his pack. Something in there is trying to get his attention.
Garran nods to Field Marshall Kroft and says, "Alright. We'll see what we can do."
As they head out, Garran looks at Alistair as he draws out the deck. "This isn't a game, Callie." He looks at Alistair and Alika and says, "I think Esmeranda wants to tell us something. Shall we go someplace quiet?"
"Esmeranda is a ghost," says Alika quite seriously. "The shade of one of the many victims of the petty criminal Gaedran Lamm. Lamm met his fate, but it seems that Esmeranda is still... unquiet."