Seasons changed, and among the ranks of those from more privileged backgrounds within the Pathfinder Society, this largely amounted to a shifting of complaints from the overbearing heat to the chilling dreariness of the rain. Tonight was a different sort of day, however: the insect season was coming to a close, and the sun was just beginning to sink in the sky, leaving the air pleasantly cool enough that the inner layers of a noble's garb might not cling to her body with sweat.
On this night, a slender Tien woman in loose-fitting silks sits on a padded stool beneath a pavilion in the garden of the lodge, enjoying a pastry with another similarly well-dressed Pathfinder. She is a new face within the Society, with smooth features and irises that seem to shimmer and dance like amber flames.
Disguise: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (16) + 14 = 30
She is not human, at the very least. If your character has knowledge of kitsunes (Local 10, or past experiences), it seems a likely possibility that she is one.
"This 'Pathfinder Society' is turning out to be just what I was looking for! Of course there were a number of mercenary companies that begged me to join, and anyone of my caliber would be welcome as a prince's royal guardian, but honestly that sort of thing just sounds so monotonous. Why, just the other day I defeated a Minotaur—dropped the brute into a lake and told it to be grateful I only took one of its eyes, before commanding it to leave at once. That's hardly the sort of thing you encounter as a common sellsword. I imagine it's very... grimy, that sort of thing."
Bluff: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
Bluff: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
A small, sharp-featured person in formal dress of white, orange and gold enjoys a fruit beverage. Orange gems glitter at his cufflinks and a jewelled clasp secures his cape.
Sense Motive: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (18) - 1 = 17
Sense Motive: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (7) - 1 = 6
"There is soldiering, and soldiering, in my experience. A comfortable private income releases one to accept mostly those ventures accompanied by contact with the better sort of people. A sporting expedition, for instance, or assistance to a gaming establishment patronised by high society."
The Lady gave the sort of conversational titter common amongst "civilized" company, dabbing crumbs and cream from her lip with a handkerchief. She does not recognize her companion by race-- although if forced to make a guess, she might imagine him to be somewhere in the gnomish family, given his stature and coloration, but definitely more of a "cousin" than a "brother."
"I think we can agree I would make a rather poor soldier! All of that... 'wearing the same clothing,' and 'waking up early.' But you've experience with it, dear? Do tell!" She leaned in, elbows balancing on her knees and chin in her hands, an intrigued look in her eyes.
A teenage human with Taldan features, dressed in fine Taldan clothing, enters and loudly announces: "Presenting Lord Baron Yzarctihstab Garblenarf, famed sorcerer of the Verduran Forest of Taldor."
The boy steps aside, and a tiny little gnome with grayish skin and brown hair walks out from behind him, dressed in brightly colored versions of the latest Taldan fashions.
"Hiya everybody!" He waves enthusiastically.
Dambu bows towards the sorcerer in greeting and turns his beady black eyes back to the Tien Lady, with a dashing grin.
"I shouldn't want to deny, there is considerable getting up early, and to begin with, training and marching in lines." He grimaces in memory. "Cleaning and other japes. The accoutrements of any sort of life. But a surprising number of comforts and liberties follow, when a few resourceful sorts get together. There's plenty of time for good conversation."
A well dressed teen herald steps in, bows and sweeps a hand to indicate the approaching woman garbed in high fashion of the most current style in Absalon.
"The Lady Cloren Chenossa. Mistress of the Silken Salon, Lady of Absalon. A wave of her stopped the titles as she walked forward with a well dressed man and woman accompanying her.
"Good evening Lady Vulpina, always a pleasure to see the nobility moving about and taking a role in things, being a leader in the Society." She puts out a hand and is handed a small pouch of tea in a silk bag. "A gift, from your homeland I believe."
Knowledge (Local) DC: 10
The lady remains seated, but politely bows her head at the entrance of the gnomish lord. "Fair greetings to you, my Lord Baron. We've an assortment tonight, between these treats and ourselves." She gestures toward the platter of treats before turning her attention back to her original conversational partner.
"You know, I'm glad to hear that you were able to find good conversation. What ever drew you to..." she began, but held herself as the Varisian lady was announced. "Oh my..."
A slight blush hid itself well beneath Lady Vulpina's makeup as Cloren approached her. "Well met, Lady Cloren," she states, rising to meet her. "I'm afraid that you find me quite disarmed for providing a gift in return, but keep an eye out for a parcel-carrier from me when I have determined what it is you don't know that you need." She politely accepts the tea, stashing it in a fold of her silks.
A new couple strides into the soiree. The lady is unmistakably a Blakros, in an electric blue dress that swishes and Sparks with her every move. The man is Kellid, with dark red hair slicked back and a finely trimmed goatee. His finery is cut to showcase musculature on his torso that is too perfect to be real. A faerie dragon flits about him, occasionally landing on his shoulder for a moment only to fly off a second later to indulge in mischief.
The couple saunters up to the Lady Vulpina, bows, and the man reaches out to kiss Vulpina's hand. [b]"I see that the Lady of Chrysanthemums has blessed this gathering tonight, my lady. Allow me to introduce my darling wife, Marcia Blakros, and myself, Lord Haywood of House Blakros.
Perhaps I'll see you at the afterparty "
Lady Vulpina could only chuckle at what was beginning to look like a steady stream to her little impromptu gathering. "Quite pleasant to meet you, Lord Haywood," she tittered, offering her hand and accepting the gesture.
She turned back to Dambu with an apologetic smile. "I'm fairly certain at this point that it was you I was originally conversing with, but at this point I am in danger of losing track of my own name. So-- soldiering! What fine company were you a part of, and what fine company did you keep in your line of duty?"
"Why yes, sudden success can be a challenge! But one to be welcomed, so long as it chooses to remain with us."
"My loyalty is to the Society, but in their service, I have the honour to be an inducted member of the Ungrounded Regiment, a hired company of the Plane of Elemental Earth. This is the regiment's badge," he indicates the pin holding his cloak. "I enjoyed a turn of roulette with General Faiza bint Hanif, besides some less fortunate administrative matters."
She leans forward to inspect the badge, seeing it shimmering in the dancing light that some member or another had put up since guests had begun to arrive in force. "I must admit, my knowledge of our planar neighbors is not as broad as it perhaps should—I am decided to consult my books more often. I take it, then, you've been to the Plane? Forgive me if my curiosity makes me seem pestilent or simply naïve, but how was your visit?" She lay back into her chair, grabbing herself another light confection from a table set beside her.
"Not in the slightest!"
"I'm sure the Elemental Plane contains places of many sorts and qualities. The Opaline Vault - well, it's a wonder, a city greater than Absalom, glittering with genie-crafts and mineral wealth of all kinds."
"I saw a little of the surrounding caverns and their cruder denizens, which were exotic, but comparable to those hereabouts, in their way."
"So you've battled minotaurs? A most skilful and hazardous undertaking! What was the creature's offence?"
Cloren kept quiet as she let the others regale them with stories of their tales of adventure and hijinks. She had just arrived back from her won adventures and was just curious to see how other members of the 'Crown'' were doing. She sipped her champagne and winked at Lord Haywood's wife, she was well acquainted with the Blakros family and was still pondering several proposals from the younger members of the family. Giving up her name for theirs was sticking point with her, that and monogamy.
She enjoyed hearing stories of other places.
"I simply must visit some day-- it sounds, in places, utterly divine." She crossed her legs at the knee, sipping at a glass of wine now, the confection half-finished.
"In all honesty, the brute was enraged before we even arrived," she stated, "and I wouldn't be surprised if that's quite commonly the case. I'd been marching all day, so I let it by unscathed, but we found it again a few hours later entirely by accident, still bellowing like a quite-recently castrated bull."
She leaned back, tipping the rest of her glass into her throat. "Naturally that's when I decided either we needed to end the racket or at least give it something proper to complain of."
Her eyes drifted back over to Cloren before she snapped her attention back to Dambu, letting an attendant refill her glass.
Sense Motive: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (7) - 1 = 6
"Most uncouth! And quite right of you to teach him a lesson," Dambu prattles, not entirely sure what the story might signify.
"But I hope I'm not depriving your guests of your delightful presence? I'm sure there will be time to talk more of our travels and excitements."
A grin played at the corner of her lips. "A pity you weren't there to see it, Dambu," she states, "and a pity as well that my pistol has jammed, and I had to rely on the blade instead. It takes quite a bit of concentration to turn aside the bull's axe with a rapier than it does to simply shoot the beast, but it's a much better story. My traveling companion-- Taron, have you met her? Dreadfully common, but a good friend in a pinch-- she simply reveres stories. Apparently, they constitute something of a religion for her clan."
She adjusted her silk, chuckling somewhat. "I hope I haven't been keeping you too long, either," she said with a playful twinkle in her salient eyes. "Truth be told, I would be quite pleased to meet any of these members; I am still somewhat new to Absalom, and I am sure I have much to learn and many connections to make."
Haywood mingles over towards Cloren and gives her a gracious smile and bow. "Good evening, are you enjoying the party? My wife and I would like to invite you to our afterparty, if you can make it. She would just love to see you there,, and it's bound to be exciting considering how beautiful this party is. Yourself included of course. Or if not the afterparty, perhaps the Frolic in the Fountains we'll be hosting in a fortnight."
He perks up at Vulpina's conversation. "I'm sorry, did I hear the mention of guns? Frightful contraptions, those are, although I certainly appreciate the artistry of their design. My last mission took me to Alkenstar, and it seemed that everyone important had one. Now THAT was a farce. Our Venture Captain decided to send four wizards and a cleric,accompanied by only two more martially inclined fellows to the Mana Wastes. You wouldn't believe the havoc that ensued."
"Most people have the good sense not to go loosing them off willy-nilly. Loosing? Shooting. My primary consternation, as well as most of my companions', was that magic simply does not work in Alkenstar. We were left to our wit and charm to win the day. But in the surrounding Mana Wastes, magic behaves....unpredictably. I lost my friend dragon here for the better part of a day when he became smaller than I could see. One spell brought an elephant with it into a cramped tunnel. Two of my companions swapped bodies for a time. And if you're truly interested, I'll tell you about the enormous purple worm. Ahh, what a delightful trip."
"A pleasure to meet you Lord Haywood, and I've met your charming wife. The Blakros and I.. we've enjoyed one another's company several times. Luckily I've avoided the engagements of the Blakros men and women to date." She smiled teasingly at him. "I feet I'm too much a student of the Savored Sting to fall to monogamy."
Her violet eyes twinkled at him as she sipped her drink, clearly she knew a lot about him.
"I follow the affairs of many within the society, and outside as well. I like to think of myself as a.. well knowledgeable women about the affairs of people." She purred as is she knew him completely already.
"I have, jokingly, been referred to as Ambrus' spymistress." She added. "My magic is a mere bonus but that is what got me sent into the mountains of Tien to retrieve the largest diamond I had ever seen.
Haywood laughs heartily at Cloren's teasing. "My, but you are a charming one, my lady. You refer to my marriage? Betrothal doesn't have to be a set of shackles, if you find a partner that you can share..." He catches Marcia's eye across the party and they share a conspirational look. "..hobbies with. Speaking of which, I would love to immortalize your likeness in...hmm, let's say obsidian? That would begin to capture the sparkle I see. But yes, you have some skill in magic? how did you come by it?"
"The society found me, wrapped in preserving magics, inside a marble casket in Varisia. They brought my senseless body to Magimar first, then to Absalon. I.. woke up on the way to the city." She smiled as a figure of light formed in front of the, a dancing light spell. Though she had made no clear motions or spoke any words.
'I don't know who I was before I woke, but the society offfered me resources to discover who I am." The figure started to since a soft haunting song of pure melody, again with no gestures or power words as she spoke. "I am a mistress of Runelord magic.. " She smiled appealing at him, as if to have him guess which school. "And a courtesan of no small skil."
She gives a wave to the new, sudden arrival of Scaramanga. "Late, yes, but not unfashionably so. Please, help yourself to refreshments!" she offers, gesturing to the growing gathering beneath the pavilion (or perhaps more specifically, the platters scattered throughout).
"But yes—I find myself quite fond of guns," she stated. "I was raised in the fencing style, of course, but so many flourishes, and footwork... forgive the play on words, and hopefully this works in Common, but I often wondered why fencing would never just get to the point. I found a gun in the marketplace, and I've been in love ever since."
She pulled her pistol from within her silks. "Feel free to take a look, if you'd like," she offered to anyone who might be interested.
It looked almost more ornamental than functional, although it had definitely seen its share of usage. It was well-kept, however, clearly favored by its owner. On the grip were engraved a few words in Tien.
A surprised look of sudden revelation flashes across Haywood's face for a moment at Cloren's statement of her origins. He addresses her in Thassilonian.
"That truly is fascinating. I arranged my opportunity to learn Thassilonian magic by doing a number of favors for a rather lonely and unpleasant Venture Captain. I knew that she'd delved an ancient, top secret site somewhere in Varisia to obtain this knowledge, but I'd always assumed it was from a tome or some more esoteric artifact. I had no idea they pulled a PERSON out of there."
He chuckles before adding again in Thassilonian,
He does take the opportunity to examine Vulpina's firearm. "This is almost delicate in its form. Done by a skilled hand, for a skilled hand. I do not envy any man caught in it's sights, as he'll surely soon be less of one." He gives Vulpina a quick wink and hands the pistol back to her.
Vulpina grinned a broad, catlike grin, taking the pistol back and stowing it back into her clothing.
"I've no use for them, so it is no loss to me," she chuckled, remembering fondly the events leading up to her exile. "Well, perhaps that might have been rude to phrase thusly, with current company."
She took another sip of her wine, then finished: "I've plenty of use conversationally and in combat, but physically..."
Cloren shook her head and replied back in Thassalonian.
[spoiler=In Thassalonian]"Not quite, the Society did recover some small magics from Lady's Light besides me, but the notes on Sin Magic were found by my mentor's mission. She and a few others killed a newly awakened Rune Lord and the Society got the books and lore he had in the hidden vault."[spoiler]
She looked over the gun and nodded, several of her team members in past missions. The weapons were remarkable though she found them noisy and smell. Then again, she reminded herself as she continued concentrating on the dancing light figure, which if you looked at it right seemed to have a fox's tail.
"You have to admit it is a remarkable application of alchemy and metallurgy. The wisdom of Arkenstar and their allies in curtailing production shows wisdom." She smiled wickedly at the hostess, her eyes twinkling at the young woman, as is she knew exactly what use the woman had for men. "I find many people enjoyable, on many levels; Callistra says to embrace ones lusts..and I do enjoy mine." She winks to both the woman and the Lord she was talking with.
"There are several craftsmen and women in the city skilled in the artisan skill of gun crafting. Kyrie Ebonblade is an excellent gunsmith, and gifted alchemist, her bullets are amazing some say. Borgan McCracken, known to those in the society as 'Boomstick', or 'the Death of Valsin'" Her chuckle was musical. "He's known for his.. creativity. He carries a trio of pepperbox pistols of his own make, an axe musket and a blunderbus of some artistry. If you find him.. sober, he could be commissionsed. "
She looks over the dancing light figure and squints as she notices the tail on the dancing light figure; her face scrunches up just a touch, although she does her best to hide it by coughing as if one of the crunchier bit of pastry had gone down poorly.
Bluff: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
"Pardon me," she says behind a silk cloth, before stowing it once more. "I will have to seek them out. I've only recently heard of 'pepperbox' pistols. It's genius, I must admit-- why stand there reloading, or even retrieving a second primed gun, when you can simply turn to another barrel? Especially if it means not having to put down my blade."
Her eyes lingered on Cloren and her radiant figure; where previously it had been more subtle and, perhaps, a touch on the provocative side, now they did a poor job of hiding their suspicion, trying to determine whether that was, indeed, a tail sticking out of the back of the figure-- and, if so, whether Cloren had found her out-- and, if so, what she intended to do with the information.
My My, a fine and may I say appropriate weapon for an aristocrat. My darling father gifted me with a similar weapon before he died.... of unusual circumstances. They say he fell off his horse onto a score of arrows.
I've added a bit of gold to accent it (withdrawing a shoulder holstered pistol). It is also ensorcelled to be merciful to the enemy...rather than merely punching holes in their for heads. I try to avoid killing...with a few exceptions.
I've also found need for a backup (withdrawing a pepperbox from his back.) I add special bullets to the latter, depending on the need.