Zg Session 08

Aleith|DM: It's late morning on Summer 2nd. You showed up in the office by 9 AM, and have been doing paperwork related to the Nilasa Hume case. It's 10:30 by the time you've got all of that sorted out.
Zane: "I still can't believe it. 'I thought I knew where the fence was.' What a mess."
Aleith|DM: Your most promising lead seems to be visiting Nevard Sechim at his henge in the Cloudwood, in the Southern side of the forest. One of the few somewhat-maintained roads leads right near it, so you can take a carriage if you want.
Garrett: "It took all I had not to laugh at a dead woman."
Aleith|DM: Otherwise, your lead on Doctor von Recklinghausen seems to have come to a halt at the doorstep of Lorcan Kell, who is sheltering him.
Zane: "You are a better man than I, Garrett."
Aleith|DM: And there's a couple of associates of Nilasa's being held at Goodson's Estuary Reformatory off the coast of Pine Island.
Garrett: "Now that's a topic we could go around the horn on."
Chandrasekhar: "Have you ever tried jumping out a window with a flight charm you've never tried before?"
Gerald: "To be fair it sounded like she'd been blinded."
Garrett‘ puts the finishing touches on paperwork requesting a passport and some other documents regarding procuring transportation to Ber.
Zane: "Nope. Any time I went out a window I had a better egress plan than ’I'm pretty sure I know where the deadly spiky bitz are, tallyhooooo~'"
Phyliis: "Hmm."
Aleith|DM: One of the office clerks will look into that while you're out, and hit up both the Danoran and Beran consulates about it.
[OOC] Garrett: why the danoran consulate
[OOC] Zane: Because he's Danoran?
Aleith|DM: He came from the Malice Lands and was working with the Danoran's
Aleith|DM: for his paperwork
[OOC] Garrett: is he? oh right
Aleith|DM: That's why he was there yesterday morning in the first place.
[OOC] Garrett: I told you I was brains
Aleith|DM: So, heading to the Cloudwood, then?
[OOC] Gerald: seems like!
[OOC] Phyliis: All together this time?
[OOC] Garrett: yase
Gerald: "Oh man, I wonder if we're gunna go two for two on wagon ambushes."
Garrett: "We should be so lucky."
Zane stamps his seal on one last piece of paperwork and slides his chair back. "Alright, I swear if I have to file one more piece of claims… Fuck, I hope not. Then I'd have to file another pclaims reportn."
Chandrasekhar gets up out of his chair. Seems he's been done with his paperwork for a few minutes now. "Hang in there, Zane."
Zane dons his cloak, adjusts the collar and brushes a hand down the front. "Yeah."
Phyliis stretches her arms and stands up after finishing her bits. She's efficient, with that Mage Hand of hers, but it's still mentally taxing. "At this rate I wonder if there's not a way to speed this process up for the not-so-magically inclined."
Zane: "I want a writing golem."
Zane: "I'll dictate, it can write down everything."
Aleith|DM: Maybe one day.
Phyliis: "That's more Ernst's hat, I'd say. But I think I can get a pen to do that without the golem bit."
Chandrasekhar: "Isn't that what Gerald and Ernst are for?" Deadpan.
Zane: "Good heavens no. Have you seen the rooks handwriting?"
Gerald: "It's fine!"
Zane: "Yeah, I'm just blowing you grief."
Zane requisitions a coach, taunting the gods of property damage and claims forms. But fuck walking.
Aleith|DM: You take a carriage out from RHC HQ into the Cloudwood. Nevard's henge lies about 4 miles into it, so it takes you about an hour.
Aleith|DM: As you near Nevard's henge, you're nearly two thousand feet above sea level, and the humid, sweltering air is thick with low clouds that cut visibility to as short as a few feet at times.
Aleith|DM: The road ascends on switchbacks toward a forested plateau, and when you reach this area, you hear the panicked neigh of a horse galloping toward you. The animal streaks past, an arrow in its shoulder and a snapped carriage harness trailing behind it. Then you hear a woman's muffled cries and intermittent sounds of gunshots and bowfire.
Zane: "Well. At least it wasnt *our* coach."
Gerald‘ tilts his head towards Garrett. "Stil counts?"
Chandrasekhar: "Not yet at least."
Garrett: "Oh it totally counts."
Gerald` loads up his gun and climbs on top of the carriage to get a better look.
Garrett: "We just have to blindly chase after this one too."
Aleith|DM: Looks like you might have to get closer first.
Phyliis pulls out her orb. "Time to play hero?"
Gerald: "Yup."
Garrett: "We are the heroes. It says so on our badges."
Chandrasekhar: "Wait, it does? I always wanted to get that specially requisitioned."
Aleith|DM: As you get closer, a carriage leans precariously at the corner of a switchback, its wheels stuck in undergrowth. The door to the carriage hangs open and three men huddle near it, reloading poorly-made pistols and looking around as if trying to spot their enemies. A fourth man, the driver, sits dead atop the carriage with an arrow in his chest. Just as the party arrives, an arrow streaks in from the south hill and kills one of the men, and the other two scramble to the opposite side of the carriage. The woman’s screams continue from within the carriage, which seems to slowly be sliding toward a thirty-foot plunge.
Zane: "Well. Alright, then."
Aleith|DM: Battle Order: | 21:Cw Falconer | 20:Pistoleer B | 19:Cw Brigand A | 18:Cw Brigand B | 16:Garrett | 15:Zane | 13:Phyllis | 13:Hummingbirds | 12:Renard | 12:Pistoleer A | 11:Gerald | 6:Chandra |
Aleith|DM: On a cliff to the northeast, a figure in a hooded cloak looses an arrow at Pistoleer B, thunder rumbling as he does. [Gale Arrow]
Aleith|DM rolled d20+6 and got 13 ( Total: 19 ) for vs fort
Aleith|DM rolled d10+4 and got 9 ( Total: 13.0 )
Gerald: "Alright! Everyone killing people is under arrest, place down your weapons!"
Aleith|DM: Hitting for 13! Bloodied!
Aleith|DM: The Pistoleer is slid in front of the carriage.
Aleith|DM: He returns fire, grimacing as one arm clutches at the wound on his shoulder. [Pistol Shot]
Aleith|DM rolled d20+8 and got 7 ( Total: 15 )
Aleith|DM rolled d8+4 and got 1 ( Total: 5.0 )
Aleith|DM: Hitting for 5 in return.
[OOC] Phyliis: does the falconer like - not have stats
Aleith|DM: I forgot to add them.
Aleith|DM: WIll do so
Aleith|DM: The brigands stand ready.
Aleith|DM: Garrett?
Zane: "I got the carriage."
Gerald: "Why does no one ever drop their weapons when I said that." Frown.
Zane: "You're not scary enough, rook."
Chandrasekhar: "I suppose letting them finish each other off would be bad form."
[OOC] Garrett: so does the cloud bank hamper movement at all
Aleith|DM: Nope
Aleith|DM: The archer on the closer cliff shouts, "bugger off! This is our problem!"
Gerald: "I mean, these other guys are obviously thieves and brigands."
Phyliis inspects the Woodsman and the Brigands. What weapons are they using?
Gerald: "We're RHC, it's our problem now!"
Garrett: "Screaming girl, it's in our charter."
Aleith|DM: Brigands have a couple of axes each.
Aleith|DM: Woodsman is also an archer.
Aleith|DM: Garrett, I will note that is a 30 foot cliff
[OOC] Garrett: are you saying I can't run up a 30 foot cliff over six spaces
Aleith|DM: not when you start 5 squares away from it, no
Aleith|DM: It's half speed to climb a cliff anyway
Aleith|DM: Though, I mean, you can make a climb check to do that if you want
[OOC] Garrett: if I move here can I hit the bloodied pistolier
[OOC] Phyliis: aren't we trying to protect them
[OOC] Garrett: I have no idea who's on what side
[OOC] Garrett: I suspect that's intentional
[OOC] Gerald: guys near the carriage we're attempting to save
[OOC] Chandrasekhar: kill 'em all and let god sort it out. WAIT SHE'S DEAD awwwwwwwwwww.
[OOC] Phyliis: I think it's the pistolliers vs. everyone else
Aleith|DM: Not a good angle, look left of the map
Aleith|DM: The pistoleers by the carriage are one side
Aleith|DM: The others all appear to be a group of Cloudwood brigands on the other side.
Phyliis: "What kind of problem?"
Aleith|DM: So yes, the Pistoleers are badly outnumbered.
Woodsman: "Like you're not here to help them kidnap Morena!"
Phyliis: "And who're they?"
Gerald: "I don't even know who that is!"
Aleith|DM: The brigand standing by him shouts, "Morena's his woman!"
Garrett‘ dashes up into some cloud cover and chucks his shuriken at the Renard Woodsman! [Sly Flourish]
Aleith|DM: From the carriage comes a shout of "save me!"
Garrett` rolled 1d20+10 and got 3 ( Total: 13 )
Phyliis squints. "That could be a rescue -or- a kidnapping, depending."
Aleith|DM: Renard spits. "You are with them. Screw you!" He shifts his aim towards you as the shuriken misses.
Aleith|DM: Zane?
Gerald: "If everyone would lower their weapons we can talk this out! Otherwise we’re going to have to break some legs, and then talk it out."
Gerald: "And really,"
Chandrasekhar: "Actually, we're here on our own damn business, or we were until we came across people breaking the law within our jurisdiction. But suit yourself?"
Gerald: "No one wants that?"
Zane: "I dunno, maybe they like getting their legs broken?"
Phyliis: "What if we take out both sides here and force you to sit down and talk it out?"
Zane darts up the hill and into the cloud bank. [Double Move, done]
Gerald: "That's plan 'break legs'."
Aleith|DM: Phyllis?
Phyliis: "Hey, miss. Which of these men are we saving you from?"
Phyliis: "Unless it's just. All of them."
Aleith|DM: The screaming stops for a second. "These men kidnapped me! Help Renard!"
Gerald‘ tilts his head towards the gunmen. "Who in the world brings a carriage to a forest extraction anyway…?"
Zane: "We did…"
Zane: "If you think about it."
Renard: "Apparently Kell’s Guildmen…"
Gerald: "Nu-ah, we brought our for a friendly conversation!"
Zane: "Which is now an extraction, and therefore…"
Gerald: "Oh, they're KELL's men?"
Phyliis: "Oh. You don't say."
Renard: "They were trying to muscle in on our turf, and when things weren't going their way, they kidnapped Morena!"
Phyliis wheels on the carriage, a grin on her face. "Do you mind taking the blade to the chest as just a misunderstanding?"
Chandrasekhar: "I like this part."
Renard: "If you're going to help save Morena…it missed anyway."
Gerald: "You guys got a better arguement to help you than the woodsmen do?" Towards the pistoleers.
Chandrasekhar: "I feel like the woodsmen could at least plausibly argue self-defense at this point. so."
Gerald‘ asides to Renard in a stage whisper, "I mean I doubt it, but, never hurts to ask."
Pistoleer A: "Look, man, they’re lying. We were leaving and they broke the carriage as we got to the cliff!"
Phyliis: "Is the girl lying?"
Gerald: "Okay well. Set your guns down and we'll go from there. Otherwise we're gunna knock you tow out since it's a lot less work than getting all seven of them."
Gerald: "We won't let 'em kill you."
Renard: "Oh, no, they're dying right here, right now, for what they tried to do."
Zane: "Are you confessing to attempted murder?"
Zane: "pre-emptively?"
Pistoleer A: "The girl? Uh… Um…"
Phyliis moves forward a bit and enchants Pistoleer A to fire at B. "Wrong answer." [Charm of Misplaced Wrath]
Zane: "Cuz I mean. We will absolutely save your woman and then arrest the shit out of you if so."
Gerald: "You put an arrow in head, I'm putting a bullet in your balls. Just so you know."
[OOC] Gerald: arrow in his head^
Aleith|DM: Diplomacy or Intimidate?
Aleith|DM: Also, roll?
Aleith|DM: He has cover from the carriage/cliff
Phyliis rolled d20+7 and got 9 ( Total: 16.0 ) for Minor action to add +2 to the attack roll from [Glib Tongue], -2 for Cover
Aleith|DM: Hit!
[OOC] Gerald: honestly could be either? They're both shit. I hate stat based skills. >:(
[OOC] Phyliis: Dazed] and he makes an RBA against Pistoleer B with +2 to damage!
[OOC] Zane: pick one and roll it!
Aleith|DM: You can too, Zane
Aleith|DM: It's not like you used your minor
Gerald‘ rolled d20+1 and got 17 ( Total: 18 ) for diplomacy i guess…?
Aleith|DM rolled d20+8 and got 4 ( Total: 12 )
Aleith|DM: wait that’s +10
Aleith|DM: wait no +2 to damage not attack
Zane: "Gerald what have I told you? Not the balls. It makes them impossible to interrogate. Now the knees…" [Intimidate]
Aleith|DM: Just misses.
Zane rolled d20+11 and got 2 ( Total: 13 )
[OOC] Phyliis: Still dazed!
Renard: "Alright, alright. If you're going to arrest them, you can have them."
Gerald: "But I was making a clever head and balls joke, Zane!"
Chandrasekhar: "I appreciated it."
Gerald: "The running theme is dicks!"
Zane: "Of course you did, Singh."
Chandrasekhar shrugs innocently.
Zane: "I did smile a bit, you just can't tell because of the fog."
Gerald: "Anyway, good to know, sir! We'll have the situation under control in a jiffy."
Phyliis follows up with an illusory swarm of hummingbirds pecking at Pistoleer B. [AP->Phantasmal Assault]
Phyliis rolled d20+5 and got 3 ( Total: 8.0 ) for -2 from cover?
Phyliis nope
Aleith|DM: The hummingbirds swarm the pistoleers!
Aleith|DM rolled 4#d20+6(1) and got 15 ( Total: 21.0 )
Also rolled 4#d20+6(2) and got 4 [Total: 10.0 (Low), Avg: 4.00]
Also rolled 4#d20+6(3) and got 9 [Total: 15.0 (Low), Avg: 9.00]
Also rolled 4#d20+6(4) and got 11 [Total: 17.0 (High), Avg: 11.00]
Total: 63.0, Avg: 9.75
Aleith|DM: Pistoleer B goes down from 10 damage, while A takes 5!
Aleith|DM: Battle Order: | 21:Cw Falconer | 20:Pistoleer B | 19:Cw Brigand A | 18:Cw Brigand B | 16:Garrett | 15:Zane | 13:Phyllis | 13:Hummingbirds | 12:Renard | 12:Pistoleer A | 11:Gerald | 6:Chandra |
Gerald: "…Huh."
Aleith|DM: They are ruby-red hummingbirds. They seemed to drink the blood of pistoleers, too.
Aleith|DM: Chandra, they seem to have been summoned from the Dreaming. They look familiar.
Gerald: "Oh man, vampire birds! What the heck."
Chandrasekhar: "I've seen those before. They're pretty far from home."
Aleith|DM: Renard takes a shot at the remaining Pistoleer with his longbow.
Aleith|DM rolled d20+10 and got 15 ( Total: 25 )
Aleith|DM rolled d10+5 and got 3 ( Total: 8.0 )
Aleith|DM: Hitting for 8!
Aleith|DM: Pistoleer A….reloads his gun.
Aleith|DM: Gerald?
Aleith|DM: Thanks for wasting that shot, Phyllis :(
[OOC] Phyliis: Also for dazing him :D
Aleith|DM: yes
Aleith|DM: that too
Phyliis: " - got an eye on that carriage, Chandra?"
Gerald‘ takes a few steps forward, then fires a round into the last gunman. Because shotguns don’t care about cover with enough training. :D
Gerald‘ rolled 2#d20+9(1) and got 10 ( Total: 19 )
Also rolled 2#d20+9(2) and got 13 [Total: 22]
Aleith|DM: …they don’t, do they.
[OOC] Sugarlips: Grand Total: 41
Aleith|DM: Hits!
Chandrasekhar: "I've been keeping an eye on it since we got here."
Gerald‘ does enough damage to knock him out even with mimimum rolls!
Aleith|DM: True! KO’d!
Aleith|DM: Chandra?
[OOC] Chandrasekhar: is… there anyone left lol
Aleith|DM: not on that side
Gerald: "Alright! All clear. Uh. Unless those aren't your birds…?"
Phyliis: "Alright. We're done here, yeah?"
Gerald‘ reloads his gun as he turn ends with his minor as well, obviously.
Aleith|DM: Renard waves his arm in a signal to the Falconer. He nods and whistles at the birds.
Phyliis eyes the rest of the group, orb still out.
Chandrasekhar isn’t going to attacking these lovely Cloudwood brigands, then, no. They're being perfectly reasonable!
Garrett: "Should probably catch that carriage before it falls."
Zane: "On it."
Aleith|DM: You're right about that. It slides towards the cliff!
Zane: "Sorta."
Aleith|DM: Battle Order: | 21:Cw Falconer | 19:Cw Brigand A | 18:Cw Brigand B | 16:Garrett | 15:Zane | 13:Phyllis | 13:Hummingbirds | 12:Renard | 11:Gerald | 6:Chandra |
Garrett: "Like I'm not right behind you." he jests.
Aleith|DM: Garrett?
Aleith|DM: And Zane.
Garrett: "Right- take my hand-!" He dives into a crouch and reaches for the woman inside.
Chandrasekhar pushes whatever button you have to push to flashily save a carriage from going wheel over teakettle down a cliff. It might involve flashily Fey Stepping? Who knows.
Aleith|DM: It's okay, it looks like Zane and Garrett have it under control. They manage to pull Morena out of the carriage. It's only slowly sliding anyway.
Zane: "Hm. Good thing that calmed down so fast. I was gonna have to do something reckless. And funny."
Chandrasekhar: "Do tell me about it later, won't you?"
Zane: "Yeah, remind me. You'da loved it."
Aleith|DM: As you pull her from the carriage, Renard puts up his bow and slides down the cliff nearby, running up towards the carriage to grab Morena in a hug.
Phyliis: "Sorry for the initial confusion, sir."
Aleith|DM: The brigands and the falconer walk up behind you, the hummingbirds in the air nearby. The brigands nod to you, and the falconer says, "thanks for the assist."
Gerald‘ goes to cuff the gunmen while Garrett and Zane are rescuing people.
Gerald: "No problem. So, what exactly was going on anyway?"
Aleith|DM: Renard is comforting Morena now, while the carriage continues sliding away.
Zane: "y’know… we might actually want that carriage."
Phyliis: " - should we haul that thing up and keep it from crashing?" Or - "
Zane: "Yeah."
Garrett‘ was actually working with the carriage after Morena.
Phyliis conjures a [Mage Hand] to feebly assist and try to tug it back.
Aleith|DM: Brute force, or trying something tricky with the wheels, Garrett?
Garrett` is good with tricky? [Thievery]??
Falconer: "These men came and had some words, we didn’t wanna work with them, so they stole her and tried to get away with a hostage."
Aleith|DM: Yeah, sure
Garrett‘ rolled 1d20+10 and got 8 ( Total: 18 )
Garrett` wedges a rock into a hard place. Which is around a wheel.
Phyliis looks over the pistoleers. Red scarves?
Gerald: "Any particular reason they went for her, or just the nearest woman around and they assumed you’d be easier to deal with with one hostage?"
Garrett: "Hey if you don't mind- mmph- can we have one of those men?"
Garrett: "It's not what you think."
Aleith|DM: No red scarves. That was probably for dramatic effect back in Parity Lake, now that you think about it.
Renard: "Weren't you taking both of them? Charges of kidnapping or something like that? You're police, right?"
Gerald‘ roll a guy over to Garrett. "Though like if you want a stick or something I can go find one instead of his leg."
Zane: "It might be, some of our coworkers look kinda lonely…"
Renard: "It’d come up during our 'talk' that Morena's my beau."
Gerald: "RHC! And yeah we're bringing them both in."
Zane: "But yeah these two are definitely under arrest."
Gerald‘ gestures to the cuffs on the guy he didn’t roll to Garrett.
Aleith|DM: Garrett: That might not have worked during the thick of things, but with things under control you manage to halt the carriage on the edge.
Phyliis claps Garrett on the shoulder.
Renard: "Ah, constables. That somewhat explains it. The police don't tend to come deep into the woods."
Garrett: "Oh, I was just figurin' you'd want one to rough up or whatever."
Renard: "Best take them both. I might accidentally kill the other."
Renard: "…you said you were here for something?"
Garrett: "Anyway, the rest of you still help with this cart- might be something good they left in there?"
Zane: "Here to meet the skyseer."
Zane is already shoulder-deep in the carriage, rummaging.
Gerald: "Nevard Sechim was his name I think…?"
Renard: "Nevard? I suppose even the RHC might need to know what's coming in the future."
Renard: "Alright, we can show you to his henge."
Zane: "Something like that, yeah."
Garrett: "Nevard!"
Gerald: "It's part of a murder investigation yeah. Thanks, we appreciate it!"
Aleith|DM: Alright, so the pistoleers are cuffed and…tossed in your carriage I guess?
Phyliis: "What did Kell's men want, do you think? Their band's involved in another situation."
[OOC] Gerald: Yeah
Renard: "They thought they could get a cut of our…business…and we disagreed."
Aleith|DM: Renard and his crew lead you up the rest of the path to an small outpost with several homes.
Phyliis: "They tried to do the same with us. The disagreement was more, um. Peaceful, though. Good to know their true colors."
Garrett: "Kell's got his hands in too many pies."
Chandrasekhar: "One pie would be too many, for that fellow."
Zane: "He might have his uses."
Gerald: "Man. I could go for some apple pie right about now.
Zane: "Anyway, what made him think you would be willing to negotiate a share of your cut? WHat's he offering you in return?"
Garrett: "Feedin' the flowers in some ditch somewhere, sure."
Phyliis: "'Not selling Morena into slavery'?"
Zane: "Well, presumably there's an initial offer of terms before open hostility."
Gerald: "Depends on if he sees them as a threat or not, honestly."
Renard: "It was pretty vague, some talk about protection, but…we don't really need their help out here."
Aleith|DM: Uphill from the nearest cluster of homes, a ring of stone plinths stand in a grassy clearing. A tent sits at the edge of the clearing, and a half dozen people sit outside. Renard gestures up there.
Phyliis: "So three officers in the middle of a thieves' den he doesn't see as a threat, but against six of these fellas it's a good idea?"
Phyliis: "Er. Sees as a threat."
Chandrasekhar: "It's a bit of a different world up here, I suppose."
Gerald: "Well. We're part of a much larger, incredibly influential and dangerous organization."
Gerald: "They're probably bit time thugs, in his eyes? At a guess."
Gerald: "A lot more consequences for trying to snuff us."
Phyliis: "That's…"
Phyliis pauses and blinks.
Phyllis: "That's actually astute of you, Gerald."
Phyllis: "Anyhow. I think we've arrived."
Chandrasekhar was wondering when Phyllis would notice that. Gosh.
Gerald‘ smiles. "Well, you pick some things up growing up in the rougher parts of town! Anyway."
Gerald: "Probably best for one of you to take the lead here…?" Geralds totally going in, but maybe not taking point on this.
Garrett` heads in.
Garrett` well, up and tries to head in.
Aleith|DM: The people outside seem wary of you, but Renard puts in a good word for you and say you’re just here to consult with Nevard, and they let you pass.
Chandrasekhar heads in. He's never actually been in -this- neck of the woods, exactly, but he's not exactly unfamiliar with these people.
Gerald‘ even puts his shotgun back over his shoulder and everything! He’s legit.
Zane never even drew a weapon. he's just a dumbhalf-orc anyway…
Chandrasekhar does love it every time someone falls for the Dumb Half-Orc trick.
Aleith|DM: Inside the tent, the light from smoldering incense sticks is dim. A faint stench of withering cloys the air, not quite masked by fragrant scents of cinnamon and cloves. Nevard does look a bit like Heward, but he's very old. He's seated on a chair inside, with a otherwise-plain staff propped up beside it, which carries the banner for his family line.
Nevard: "Ah, more visitors? What can I help you with?" His voice warbles fraily, but there's no problem hearing him.
Garrett: "Afternoon, Nevard."
Garrett: "I'm Garrett, RHC."
Gerald‘ gives a friendly wave from behind him.
Chandrasekhar bows to the elder; it’s only proper.
Zane nods politely. "Zane. Also RHC."
Phyllis: "Phyllis. Pretty safe to say we all are."
Nevard: "And what would the RHC want with little, old me? Having problems with a case?"
Zane: "Like you wouldn't believe. Or maybe you would."
Garrett: "Pulling at threads."
Phyllis: "Not so much in that visions would be our only lead, more that you might be involved in a somewhat personal sense. Your relationships, not your abilities."
Gerald: "Yup. It uh. Involved a spy, the dorans, shadow people, necromany, lightning, and failing to fly slash badly jumping out of windows. And some other stuff."
Chandrasekhar: "I think one ought to consult a reputable seer every now and then on principle." He smiles.
Garrett: "Do you know Nilasa Hume?"
Nevard: "Ah, Nilasa. She's a lively one. It'd be better if she just attended to her work at my nephew's factory, but she wants to make a difference…" He smiles wryly.
Zane: "It would have been better, yes."
Nevard: "I take it something happened to the 'adopted daughter', then?"
Garrett: "Right. She died a few days ago."
Zane: "Unfortunately. She died attempting to steal some papers. Which is why we are here."
Garrett: "It… was at least manslaughter…?"
Zane: "Her dying wish to an associate was to have the papers delivered to you."
Phyllis: "I thought the necklace was for him."
Zane: "I thought they both were, and the papers were going to be passed on to Gale."
Nevard: "Ah, Gale. Likely, if they were papers from the Danorans."
Chandrasekhar: "Do you have any idea what papers she'd have been looking for?"
Zane: "Mm. As you can imagine, we are not particularly wild about Gale getting more information to use against our allies."
Nevard: "Probably information on targets for Gale to strike at."
Nevard: "I know Gale's been causing some mayhem in Flint. She's come several times asking for guidance. She hasn't listened to me much." He chuckles. "But the last time she visited, she said she had followed at least some of it and found a mutual threat that even the people of Flint would take seriously."
Phyllis: "If she's made an enemy of the shadowed men, things could get nasty for Flint overall."
Zane: "Did she elaborate on that?"
Nevard: "Sadly, no."
Garrett: "Right… her assailant was also a man in shadows who's a friend to the Danorians. Any ideas about that one?"
Chandrasekhar: "Hmm."
Nevard: "A shadowed man? No, can't say I do."
Phyllis: "Her assailant, and her employer's threateners."
Chandrasekhar: "It'd save quite a bit of trouble if she'd… well, I doubt she'd be willing to 'work with us' on anything, but I can't say I'm not curious about this mutual threat."
Gerald: "Oh. Oh! Can you do the scrying thing and tell us what the solution to solving the case was? Or uh. I don't really know how skyseer…ing works."
Zane: "I can't believe I am even considering this. But. Ask Gale if she's be willing to meet. Neutral ground, my friends and I and she can bring her own backup."
Nevard: "I don't agree with her tactics, but I like her because she's one of the few beautiful women who'll give an old man like me more than polite conversation. She's always accompanied by the sweet music of birds, too-they like following her around."
Nevard: "I can arrange a meeting, but-" He holds up a hand. "Yes, I know. There's always a but."
Chandrasekhar: "I'm listening."
Nevard: "She owes me that much to set up a meeting with you, at least."
Zane: "Yeah, I was expecting it. Go on."
Nevard: "I'd like to visit the peak of Cauldron Hill to do a Skyseeing."
Gerald: "Yesss…!"
Zane: "And you want our protection for it?"
Gerald: "Oh. Wait I guess that means you want us to fight off all the weird stuff on the way, huh?"
Nevard: "It's the highest point in the city, with the clearest skies and the strongest font of magical power. There, I might be able to pierce the strange veil that seems to have fallen across my fellows' sights."
Chandrasekhar: "Protection, plus, getting the clearance to go there can be a hassle unless you know the right people."
Nevard: "The mountain isn't that bad during the day…usually. It's at night that the problems come out. And of course, that's when the stars are out."
Gerald: "I'm pretty sure they said we were cleared to do whatever we needed to do to solve the case!"
Zane: "Alright. Before or after we meet with Gale?"
Nevard: "Before, of course."
Nevard: "You know how these things go."
Gerald: "Man, maybe today's gunna be fun after all."
Garrett‘ shrugs. "Have any dinner plans? Because I’ve got sooner rather than later."
Phyllis chuckles.
Zane: "Yeah well. Hope springs eternal."
Nevard: "Access is, of course, restricted. You'll have to talk to the Mayor of the Nettles, first, Reed Macbannin."
Nevard: "But I'm sure fine constables as yourself can get an appointment."
Zane: "One way or another."
Chandrasekhar: "I can't imagine it will be a problem. Area's probably due for a sweep anyway."
Nevard: "The weather should fine fine the next few nights, at least, so if you can't get it arranged tonight, tomorrow should still be fine. But I'm willing to do it sooner as well."
Chandrasekhar: "The sooner the better, really."
Zane smiles faintly. "I think tonight can be arranged."
Phyllis: "Assuming Macbannin cooperates so quickly."
Nevard: "Very well." He calls outside, "can you find Pazamu?"
Nevard: "There's a ritual scroll we have that will help me out tonight. We can use it after we have permission."
Gerald‘ nods enthusiastically.
Nevard: "For 24 hours, with your permission, it would let me use a bit of each of your life force to prop up these frail bones a bit for the climb."
Gerald: "Probably easier than someone carrying you up on their back, haha."
Zane thinks about it for a minute. "And after the 24 hours?"
Nevard: "Back to my decrepit self. The bond ends."
Zane: "Alright."
Nevard: "I just have to make sure, since you have to voluntarily do it. And if I get hurt during it, you will end up getting hurt instead of me."
Chandrasekhar: "We’ll be there to protect you in the first place, so…"
Gerald‘ nods.
Nevard nods. "And you have my thanks for that. Shall we head in to town, then?"
Gerald: "Sounds good! We can probably drop off our trash along the way, too."
Aleith|DM: Nevard’s caretakers outside the tend get a carriage ready for him, and a couple of them, Nevard, and an Orc shaman-Pazamu-get on board and follow you back into Flint proper.
Aleith|DM: Back at HQ, you talk things over with Delft, and he sends a messenger over to Macbannin to set up an appointment. He gets back in time to let you know the mayor has an opening at 4:15, which is about an hour from now. Should take you half an hour to get to his manor, nearly halfway up Cauldron Hill.
Gerald: "If Geralds around during the prisoner drop off, I call dibs on not telling him we set up and meet and greet with Gale for informatino instead of arrest."
[OOC] Gerald: -gerald +ernst, wtf
Zane: "Look on the bright side, Gerald. If the information is good, it'll be worth not dropping her on sight. And if not, we'll that much closer to tracking her down and ending her."
Gerald: "Ooh, yeah that's probably a good thing to highlight."
Aleith|DM: Anything you want to get ready before heading out to the Mayor's Manor, then the summit of Cauldron Hill?
Gerald: "Anyway we got time I guess, lets go grab some sandwiches and then swing over to the mayors."
Zane shrugs. "And if she tries to betray us… well, we'll get the arrest anyway."
Gerald: "-And a pair of fey cuffs!"
Aleith|DM: You're probably not meeting Gale today. You're gonna be on a mountain all night.
Aleith|DM: But, I mean, if you want…
[OOC] Gerald: actually I imagine we always probably have one on hand just in case anyway, all things considered
Chandrasekhar spends a moment or two in his room before they leave.
[OOC] Zane: I have my garrote, that's *like* fey cuffs…
[OOC] Chandrasekhar: Not nearly as repurposable for kinky sex. I mean uh
[OOC] Zane: thats what you think~
[OOC] Chandrasekhar: hey garrotes are -dangerous- you gotta be careful with that k- I think aleith's gonna kill us
Aleith|DM: Maybe.
Aleith|DM: Anyway, the one quality road in The Nettles curves around Cauldron Hill, heading up to the manor of Mayor Reed Macbannin, located a thousand feet up the twenty-three hundred foot high mountain. Here the gentle slope of the lower mountain turns to a steeper and rockier rise of stone, making Macbannin's rich manor the gatekeeper between the slum homes of thousands and the cursed mountaintop.
Aleith|DM: The compound's high iron fence surrounds a manor house, servant houses, a stable and a track for horses, a carriage house, a red-brick gardener's building, and overall beautiful landscaping with myriad flowers.
Chandrasekhar still thinks someone would have to be crazy to actually live here.
Aleith|DM: Someone has to look after things. Macbannin's been trained in defence against the dark arts, and was appointed as per normal by both the Governor and the previous mayor.
Aleith|DM: (The only non-elected Mayor.)
Gerald: "Fan-cy."
[OOC] Zane: explosive laughter IRL
Aleith|DM: When you arrive, the butler asks you to take a seat in the garden in front of the house, since you're a little early.
Aleith|DM: He leaves to go inform the Mayor.
Gerald‘ takes a seat. Gets up to look around. Takes a seat. Gets up to look around…
Chandrasekhar is just lounging there in the garden. Looks natural.
Aleith|DM: After a couple minutes, someone dressed as a courier comes outside and stops in the garden for a moment. He lights a cigarette and nods to the party. His gaze is drawn to the slums stretching out across the nearby hillsides, and he shakes his head as he exhales a puff of smoke.
Courier: "Can you imagine what it’s like to live down there?" he asks, almost rhetorically.
Courier: "Chaos, that's what it is. The mayor," he nods his head back toward the house, "he could come up with the most brilliant plan to help those people. He could get all the money in the city's coffers. He could do everything right, but he’s just one man. Not a cog in a machine, but a pebble on a beach. Chaos."
He takes another draw on the cigarette, then smiles. "It's beautiful, what people can create out of chaos. But I'd gladly give it up to stop their suffering."
Zane: "The problem is you're just another pebble."
Chandrasekhar: "I question the assumption that something important must be given up in order for all to prosper. It has always struck me as an excuse for inaction."
Gerald‘ glances at the man…. then towards Phyllis briefly before resuming inspecting the garden out of curiosity.
Aleith|DM: The man nods. "A fair point, both of you." A groom comes up, guiding the courier’s horse.
Phyllis glances back at Gerald, mouthing 'what?'
Phyllis: "So what's stopping him?"
Gerald‘ adjusts invisible glasses, flips through an invisible book, drinks invisible wine.
Aleith|DM: The courier stops as he’s about to mount his horse, taking another drag on his cigarette. "The tide of inexorability? The churning masses of people? Take your pick, I suppose." He mounts the horse.
Zane: "The problem is… the people aren't united. Some of them have enough backbone, but most of them just roll over for the slumlords."
Aleith|DM: The butler comes back, saying the mayor will see you now.
Aleith|DM: The courier nods to you, then heads off on his horse.
Chandrasekhar gestures not at the sprawl, but at the plant life around them: "The vines don't concern themselves with the ineluctable pull of gravity, or the force of chaos. Why should we?"
Gerald‘ waves the guy off, before heading inside.
Zane nods at the butler and heads inside.
Aleith|DM: Mayor Macbannin stands inside. "A pleasure to see you, constables. Come up to my office, we can talk there."
Gerald: "Sounds good."
Aleith|DM: As you’re seated in his office, the butler asks if you'd like any refreshements. Tea, coffee, wine, pastries?
Gerald‘ could do with coffee and pastries!
Chandrasekhar will take some tea.
Macbannin: "What can I help you with, constables?"
Zane: "We need access to the peak."
Phyllis eyes the refreshments with some trepidation, declining anything. Bad experience recently.
Macbannin: "The peak? Of Cauldron Hill, I’m assuming. Why? We patrol it regularly-nothing has cropped up recently."
Zane: "It's related to a case we're working."
Zane: "Obviously if anything bad should happen you and your men would not be held liable."
Aleith|DM: The butler comes back with a platter of patries, a tea kettle, a pot of coffee, and some cups. He pours a cup of coffee for the mayor, putting a bit of cream in it before setting it in on his desk.
Macbannin: "Thank you, Cillian. That will be all." Turning back to you, he asks, "but to what purpose? I do like to know what happens in my territory."
Macbannin: "It's also very dangerous to go up there at night, and I help you with protections."
Gerald: "Field trip with a skyseer!" Reaching for a pastery.
Phyllis: "We keep hearing that. Dangerous how?"
Chandrasekhar raises an eyebrow at Phyllis. "Can't you feel it?"
Zane takes his coffee black. He sips and nods politely at Macbannin. "Mm."
Macbannin: "There's various dark energies from old witchcraft permeating the mountain, and numerous creatures come out at night looking for prey."
Macbannin: "There's a lattice of wards across the mountain protecting the rest of the city from it, but it's only so effective on the mountain itself."
Chandrasekhar: "For what it's worth, I am confident we're equipped to handle it. I've read the reports."
Zane nods.
Macbannin: "Must be a brave skyseer to risk travelling to the Hill. But you're right, you do look like you can handle it. When are you planning to go?"
Zane: "Tonight, if at all possible."
Phyllis frowns at Chandra. "Not … particularly? Not without deliberately probing. My magics mostly have to do with false perceptions, only adding to what's there."
Zane: "Sooner is better, we have a great many irons in a great many fires."
Macbannin: "Of course. It's best if you make the climb before night falls, so best to leave shortly. I can get some stuff ready for you. Is one of you the skyseer, or how many in your party?"
Gerald: "Six, maybe seven if Ernst is done with whatever he was looking into."
Macbannin: "Creed!" The butler comes back in. "Can you get 7 of the amulets ready, as well as some of the goats' blood? They'll be making a trip up the mountain tonight."
Aleith|DM: The man nods before heading back out.
Macbannin: "The amulets will help protect you from the energies on the mountain. Do not take them off or you'll be exposed to the curse."
Macbannin: "Camp at the peak before nightfall. You should use the goat's blood to paint a ring of red around wherever you make camp. Spirits are distracted by blood, and the colour red in general."
Gerald: "Aha."
Macbannin: "They will likely smell you, but when they spot the blood they'll believe they've found the trail of a wounded animal, after which they'll mindlessly walk in circles since they'll never find the end of the ring."
Chandrasekhar doesn't look very impressed by these spirits.
Gerald: "Gyres!" Gerald points back at Chandrasekhar, as some realization dawns on him.
Macbannin: "It gets very cold up there, so unless you have some way to ward that off, you'll want a small fire. Small, because they're also attracted by bright light. Surround the fire with stones to hide the light, or they'll ignore the blood."
Macbannin: "There shouldn't be any rain tonight, so you won't have to worry about rain messing up the ring."
Chandrasekhar nods at Gerald, sadly does not have a gold star handy.
Zane: "Colder than normal, I take it? Just dressing warm wont cut it?"
Macbannin: "No. Even during the summer, it's as cold as the dead of winter at night up there."
Macbannin: "Though you could bundle up, I suppose."
Gerald: "Dang."
Aleith|DM: The butler comes back in with a handful of amulets, handing each of you a slightly rusted iron amulet.
Zane pockets one for the skyseer and dons the other.
Macbannin: "That should be about it, unless you have any more questions. After you're finished, you should come back here on your way down and I can cleanse any residual dark energies off of you."
Gerald‘ takes one while downing his coffee.
Gerald: "I think that’s probably it?"
Zane nods. "I believe so. Unless you have a patrol map your men use, which might help us get up there quicker."
Aleith|DM: He glances at Cillian, and the butler nods. "He'll get you a copy with a few good routes up to the top."
Zane: "Much obliged."
Aleith|DM: The butler leads you to the entrance, where four kegs of goat's blood await you. He comes back with a map, handing you the rolled up copy.
Zane looks the map over while everyone gets settled and catches up the skyseer and his orc.
Gerald‘ looks at the kegs. Then the party. "Two three not it."
Zane: "Thanks for volunteering, rook."
Gerald: "That isn’t how that works!"
Zane smirks.
Chandrasekhar: "Oh, I'll carry one of them." He grins.
Zane: "No drinking on the job, Singh…"
Phyllis: "Apparently that's my hat."
Zane: "To be fair, the chocolates were *really* good."
Aleith|DM: Nevard meets you outside. Heading out the back of the manor's yard, the shaman does the ritual in a small copse out of sight of the manor. After several minutes. you feel a little drained, but the skyseer seems a lot less frail.
Aleith|DM: After a bit over an hour of climbing, following the map, you make it to the summit.
Aleith|DM: The view is majestic, but from this height it’s easy to see how thick the smog is over Parity Lake. A gray smear covers most of that district, while the upscale Central district on the other side of the Nettles is clearer and brighter. Nevard, though, looks upward. He smiles as a warm breeze blows his robes and beard, and he nods happily at the clear view of the sky.
Aleith|DM: The peak is long, narrow, and relatively flat, with a travesible slope to the east, but perilously steep drops of a thousand feet or more on the other three sides.
[OOC] Aleith|DM: Map is on the table
Aleith|DM: Anyway, you have enough goat's blood to paint a circle 10 squares in diametre
Aleith|DM: which peak are you setting up on?
Phyllis: "Not that I'm really one to talk about magical complexity, but it's a bit much, don't you think?"
Chandrasekhar: "Hmm?"
Zane: "East or west peak, Nevard?"
Nevard: "If you want a fire, the stones on the west should mask the light sufficiently.
Gerald: "Right, it's not the size of the gun that matters and all that Phyllis!"
Nevard: "Otherwise, the east peak has more clear lines of sight for gentlemen like Gerald."
Zane nods. "West peak. Fire and shelter behind the stones. Good defensive advantage."
Gerald: "Yeah. My gun's way better in a melee anyway."
Aleith|DM: Alright. Arrange yourselves on the west peak.
Phyllis: "No no no, I mean - all the ceremony involved in this. It reminds me of the charlatans back home."
Gerald: "Oh. I duno, magic's weird. Fey are weird. Combine the two…"
Gerald: "No offense, obviously Chan!"
Chandrasekhar: "Hah! None taken. Not like I disagree with any of those statements, anyways."
Aleith|DM: Anything else you can think of for prep on here?
[OOC] Gerald: hmm. not really.
Phyllis: "Dress up a simple Mage Hand conjuration in some fancy cloth and it's enough to spook believers of the Clergy into doing whatever it takes for 'absolution.'"
[OOC] Zane: hidin' in the bushes to ambush anything dumb enough to try and come in that corner haha
Aleith|DM: If you want to use some of the brush for camoflague around the campsite, you could make a Stealth check.
Zane rolled d20+10 and got 6 ( Total: 16 )
Aleith|DM: Good enough. You set up a screen around the ring of stones for the party to hide behind.
Aleith|DM: Gerald gets a bit of a blind on top of that rock.
Aleith|DM: The sun descends brilliantly, gleaming off the waters of Flint Harbor, though the light is dulled by a haze across the city. Buildings far below cast long shadows in the streets. The darkness grows, consumes the city, and for a moment the mountain top is the only thing still illuminated. Then the night claims it as well.
Aleith|DM: City lights smear out below the party, but overhead the stars are brilliant and clear. Nevard says that he must study the stars for as long as possible, and that in the morning he will sleep.
Aleith|DM: Within an hour the air drops from the warmth of a tropical summer to a soul-chilling winter freeze. The wind fluctuates wildly, sometimes eerily still, then bursting with gusts that shake every tree on the mountaintop. Moans slide across the peak like waves, and when the wailing wind quiets, the party can hear suddenly-dry leaves cracking underfoot, and erratic bursts of malevolent laughter further down the slope.
Zane: "We'll keep you alive until then."
Aleith|DM: Everyone make an Endurance check.
Phyllis rolled d20+5 and got 4 ( Total: 9.0 )
Gerald‘ rolled d20+6 and got 10 ( Total: 16 )
Zane rolled d20+5 and got 6 ( Total: 11 )
Chandrasekhar rolled d20+4 and got 1 ( Total: 5 )
Aleith|DM rolled d20+1 and got 11 ( Total: 12 ) for Garrett
Aleith|DM: The wind is cold, but thanks to the fire, only Chandrasekhar loses a healing surge.
[OOC] Zane: thats fine, dudes got ’em to spare anyway!

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