Zg Session 18

It's early the next morning when you're rudely awakened by some officers at your door just before 6 AM. Delft has called you in since they've got another suicide in a cell, and this time it was during the RHC's watch. Kaja hung herself late last night in her cell.
Garrett‘ grumbles and forces himself to make double-time to the office.
Zane makes a noise somewhere between a grunt and growl. Then gets dressed and heads to the cell.
Chandrasekhar is waiting, stone-faced. He got there before the others. Looks perfectly composed.
Gerald: "I’m gunna be honest, boss," Gerald mumbles as he makes his way in. "I duno what you want us to do about it. She's already dead and this sounds like it might be normal."
Ernst: "Who's even watching these cells?"
Phyllis has … seen better days. And gives Chandra a glare as he looks basically impeccable.
Aleith|DM: There's a few guards watching the floor. Low-ranking RHC officers.
Zane isn't even trying. He passes Phyllis a second cup of coffee, he knows how she gets.
Chandrasekhar speaks, and his voice is ice; maybe Phyllis has heard this before. Probably. Once or twice. "Sir? What the hell happened to 'watch the prisoner at all times'? I believe I was clear in my recommendation."
Guard A: "We were distracted by this guy here, ranting about shadows and some such nonsense."
Guard B: "Gunter Inskeip, charged with several murders and assembling a makeshift bomb for an unknown target."
Guard C: "By the time we noticed, she'd already hung herself."
Zane: "… Seriously?"
Chandrasekhar: "You're all fired. Get the hell out of this building."
Aleith|DM: They left the body untouched, by the way, since it's your witness/criminal. She's hanging by a belt from the light fixture.
Garrett: "(Huuuuuuh, they managed to catch one without us, huh?)"
Zane: "There are *three* of you. And *all three* of you lackwits just *had* to go see what the mad midnight bomber what bombs at midnight was ranting about."
Garrett‘ rubs his face and goes to examine the hanging body. Well, I mean. It’s hanging. Anything else different from how we left?
Aleith|DM: Perception?
Phyllis takes a sip of coffee from Zane, glancing between the three guards.
Chandrasekhar almost sounds… bored. Icy bored. He drifts past them towards Kaja's body, closes his eyes briefly, then opens them, looks around.
Garrett‘ rolled 1d20+8 and got 8 ( Total: 16 )
[OOC] Garrett: can I just take 20 I mean
[OOC] Garrett: we’re here lol
Ernst grumbles before muttering under his breath. "Has anyone else felt that we've been getting the loop around for months now."
Guard A: "I swear we weren't even looking away for that long. I don't know how she had time."
Aleith|DM: You can take 10 in 4E but not 20
Zane takes a deep breath. "Long enough, obviously."
Aleith|DM: You don't remember her having a belt when you left though.
Gerald: "I mean."
[OOC] Garrett: 10 it is
Gerald: "I realize we're all super grumble and pointing figures is how you do politics, both normally and interoffice, but like."
Chandrasekhar: "Out of mild curiosity where in your training did they tell you to look away at all when a superior officer has specifically assigned a prisoner to be watched consistently?"
Gerald: "Illusion magic is totally a thing, someone maybe check for wizards sneaking in and magicing shit."
Phyllis nods at Gerald. "What was the … nature of the distraction?"
Ernst gives the guards a look before making his way into the cell. "Time to check out our victim."
Gerald: "Which is… not my area of expertise really." Gerald glance into the cell for a moment, before shrugging and going to take a look around the buildings perimiter.
Aleith|DM: Heal check?
Ernst rolled d20+9 and got 7 ( Total: 16.0 )
Phyllis nodded at Gerald, then addressed the guards with that question, by the way. "I mean, I'm actually curious, it must have been something if it prompted all three of you to check."
Guard C: "I'm not sure. We making the rounds, and I was watching the cell. The dwarf shouts something about shadows and I looked away, startled. I swear it was only for a few seconds, but when I looked back, she was already hanging."
Aleith|DM: There's a small puncture wound on Kaja's upper body, suggesting a needle injection or dart. It wasn't there when you brought her in.
Chandrasekhar: "How the hell could…"
Ernst: "Seems like our victim was injected with something."
Phyllis: "A few seconds in just your perception?"
Ernst: "A+ job keeping watch. Can't trust anyone to do anything around here."
Zane: "Realistically speaking theres no way that is time enough to asphy- Come again, Ernst?"
Guard C: "That's what it felt like, I swear."
Zane heads over to the cell.
Ernst gestures at the puncture wound before shaking his head at Zane. "Seems like a needle or dart. Honestly I can't even say for sure if the strangulation happened before or after death right now." ((I do want to know that tho))
Chandrasekhar melts, a little. "Phyllis, if they'd been under the influence of magic themselves, is there any way we could determine that?"
Aleith|DM: Sounds like something for the autopsy report.
Phyllis: "But you didn't happen to look at a pocketwatch between moments, I suppose?"
Garrett: "Three questions, then. 'Why did you kill yourself, how did you do it so quickly, and where'd you get the weathered magic items from?' Maybe the first one can be swapped out, I don't know, since it seems like it might have been… influenced."
Phyllis: Well, it's a stretch, but would [Arcana] cover what Chandra's asking? Or if there's shadow planar energy involved…
Garrett: "Or the second question either, I'm not 100% sure that matters with regards to her but it might prevent… further accidents."
Zane looks at the wound. "Hm. Dart. Needles dont do as much trauma to the surrounding tissue."
Aleith|DM: He frowns. "No, sadly. Didn't think to check the clock before it happened. Afterwards, it was 3:49 AM. Took a while to get in touch with Delft and you all."
Phyllis rolled d20+12 and got 9 ( Total: 21.0 ) for Arcana
Aleith|DM: There's a hint of Bleak Gate energy hovering around the floor, and there's traces of illusion magic on the guards.
Chandrasekhar: "…I think those questions will suffice."
Aleith|DM: Alright, Garrett. Do your stuff.
Phyllis: "At the risk of implicating myself, given my specialty schools of magic… Chandra."
Garrett: "Eh… do we want to wait for the autospy? Just to get an actual cause of death, if it was the poison and not the hanging? Fuck, though, I'm not sure that matters."
Garrett: "Well, 'poison.'"
Phyllis nods. "Energies from the Bleak Gate remain on the floor. Illusion magic has been used on the guards. In operational security, consider all possible vectors of an attack before reaching judgment."
Garrett: "Whatever was injected."
Chandrasekhar: "Yes?"
Aleith|DM: Asphyxiation looks like the actual cause of death, judging by the marks from the belt.
Zane: "So. Take the guards out of the picture, inject a paralytic before entering the cell, hang the target, and escape. All in the time the guards are bespelled."
Zane: "Which cell has the loudmouthed bomber in it?"
Chandrasekhar nods absently to Phyllis. There's a reason he's no longer ordering the guards out of the building, after all. Fae get to be mercurial.
Guard B points over towards a cell across the area-still in one of the magic-warding cells.
Zane: "Warded."
Aleith|DM: The guards notice this and seem to sigh a bit in relief. Though they're still guilt-wracked.
Zane heads over to the bars and looks at the prisoner inside. "This may be your lucky day."
Phyllis: "Yet the mage's cuffss did nothing to the vanishing scientists when dealing with the … whatever they were disappearing into in the warehouse."
Aleith|DM: He's mumbling something about the shadows coming to get him.
Aleith|DM: He doesn't look up.
Zane: "Gunter."
Phyllis peers through. Can she inspect this cell for Bleak Gate energy, as well?
Chandrasekhar: "We need an entire warded complex. If only to prove that it won't help anything."
Aleith|DM: Well, I mean you have a ritual for that, but it doesn't hang around this cell more than any other, not counting Kaja's.
Gunter: "Have you come to bring an end to me, constable?"
Zane: "If that is whaat you wish, perhaps. First I have questions."
Aleith|DM: He cocks his head to the side, listening.
Zane: "What did you see last night? I have a dead prisoner and three useless guards, it is my deepest wish that you salvage this from 'utter disaster' into something along the lines of 'significant blunder'."
Phyllis moves next to Garrett, in the meantime. "You have the autopsy. Does this change your third question?"
Garrett: "Nah, considerin' the third is about the magic items."
Phyllis waves a hand. "Whatever the one involved poison was."
Garrett: "It's early, yeah."
Gunter: "Oh! The shadows! They came! They left! Shadows fortelling the end and coming for death!"
Garrett: "I'm not sure the speed of death really matters is what I was turning over in my head."
Garrett: "Hanging without the fall is a long time."
Gunther stares at Phyllis. "You're one of us, I can tell. The shadows will soon come for you too."
Zane headtilts. "Shadows? Nothing corporeal accompanying them?"
Phyllis nods. "And given that we've established magical influence on the guards' perception of time…"
Chandrasekhar narrows his eyes. "Not if I can help it. What 'shadows'?"
Gunter grips his head and moans. "Oh, noooo, don't let the shadows come for me. I don't want my end to come now…" He lets out a low moan.
Zane: "Nothing is coming for you while we are here. Not with any odds of success at any rate."
Guard A sighs. "Yeah, he's…not all there. He's been complaining about the shadows since, well…" He gestures towards Kaja's cell.
Phyllis turns her head to look at Gunter.
Gerald‘ rolled d20+10 and got 6 ( Total: 16 ) for 4e lieks dize
Phyllis: "What peace do you need to find in life first? What is it you need to do before your end comes?"
Chandrasekhar: "Insane, or just looking at the piece of the world that we’re not seeing."
Aleith|DM: The guard shrugs.
Aleith|DM: Gerald: you don't notice anything in particular as being out of place.
Gunter: "People needed their ending! I was helping them! And now I'm in here and I can't…."
Gerald‘ didn’t figure he would, but someone's gotta check the basics. Eventually wanders back in.
Gerald: "Nothin' outside."
Chandrasekhar: "Thank you for checking."
Phyllis nods at Gerald. "Due diligence."
Garrett‘ sniffs. "Alright then." He approaches the corpse, sticks a bit of feyweed under his tongue.
Garrett: "Rise and dawn, newlydead."
Aleith|DM: Kaja’s spirit appears-at least, to Garrett's eyes. "This wasn't exactly how I pictured our next meeting."
Garrett: "That makes two of us."
Garrett‘ rolled 1d20+10 and got 13 ( Total: 23 ) for diplo
Phyllis: "They’ll meet their end soon enough. In the span of aeons and ages, shaving off a couple decades of life isn't exactly help. But I'm curious that you describe them as shadows, and not ice and decay."
Garrett: "Why'd you kill yourself?"
Kaja: "I didn't. I went to sleep last night and didn't wake up."
Garrett: "Homicide, then."
Aleith|DM: She shrugs. "I don't remember the suicide, at least."
Garrett: "Where'd you get the weathered magic items?"
Aleith|DM: Roll?
Garrett‘ rolled 1d20+10 and got 12 ( Total: 22 ) for diplo
Kaja: "Didn’t I tell you last night? Macbannin's place as it was falling down around me."
Gerald‘ asides to whomever happens to be closest to him at the moment, nodding towards Garrett. "(Y’know, I'm just now wondering this but - how do you think he sees 'em? Exactly how they look when they died, how they looked before they died, or like, some weird idealized ghosty self…?)"
Garrett: "I guess you did. Fuck, it's early."
Garrett: "(At least that rules out lying.)"
Chandrasekhar: "(Could always get him drunk and ask.)"
Phyllis: "Speaking of Macbannin, is it possible for us to get the details on that investigation to compare?"
Gerald: "Probably depends on wether mean lady's around or not."
Garrett: "Uhh…" He exhales. "Alright, Kaja. Who are your enemies?
Aleith|DM: Roll again.
Garrett‘ rolled 1d20+10 and got 3 ( Total: 13 ) for diplo
Kaja: "I was in a dangerous business, y’know? Dissatisfied customer, someone moving in on my territory, who knows?" She shrugs.
Garrett: "I hoped you did, but I guess not."
Aleith|DM: She fades out of view again.
Garrett: "Might be a good idea to return to the manor, at this rate."
Gerald: "Dibs on not asking for permission."
Garrett: "It's an investigation and he's dead, so I'm all for that."
Phyllis: "She mentioned that Macbannin was researching the ancient items for someone, yes? Should we delve more into who that person could be?"
Garrett: "Also good."
Garrett: "Time to figure out who's extradimensional tummy isn't being tickled the right way."
Phyllis … goes to inquire about Macbannin's investigation. With the relevant parties.
Zane: "Oh look, a perfectly valid excuse to ignore Delfts boss and get back to actual work. Praise be."
Gerald‘ pops his head into Delft’s office. "Hey does the office provide us with breakfast when they wake us up as ass AM to deal with dead people?"
Delft: "Check the break room, I think someone brought in some pastries already. What'd you find out in the basement?"
Garrett: "Homicide."
Aleith|DM: Phyllis: The three assigned to the Macbannin case are Carlao, Dima, and Serena (see pg 55 of the Player's Guide).
Delft: "Homicide? Lovely. Any idea how that happened under the guards' noses?"
Garrett: "Wards and countermeasures don't seem to be doing shit against 'em either. Some bleak gate nonsense, shadows involved too… Phyllis can give you a better explanation, probably."
Garrett: "But the hanging wasn't a suicide, you can bet on that."
Garrett: "Current suspects are… fuck knows."
Delft: "That's just great. How do we block interplanar travel…? Gonna have to check out the whole building, top-to-bottom, I guess." He sighs. "And the Fair. Something about strange creatures showing up?"
Garrett: "Yeah. They appeared out of some hot magic items, of which the wielder didn't seem to know anything about."
Zane: "The seller of which happens to be dead in our basement."
Phyllis goes off searching for Dima first, but pops her head in Delft's office on the way, like she, Gerald, and Garrett are part of the Mystery Gang.
Delft: "And she got them from Macbannin's place?"
Zane gestures at Garrett.
Garrett: "Yeah."
Garrett: "But if anyone asks we're making a muffin run."
Phyllis: "Yeah, I suspect a common thread here. So if you don't mind, I'm gonna go poke at that some."
Delft: "Did she know where he got them from?"
Garrett: "You like snozzberry, right boss?"
Phyllis: "The creatures that showed up - still no firm theory on them. I'm afraid to test the items myself. I actually think those phase in and out, but they're already present on our plane."
Phyllis: "It's been a fun couple of days."
Delft: "Never a normal assignment, eh? Anything special about the items in question?"
Garrett‘ shakes his head. "Nope, she just looted them, though there’s word that Macbannin was researching said items for… something."
Gerald: "Summons things that leave bodies behind when they die!"
Gerald: "Also summons them without intentionally trying to do so."
Phyllis: "They seem to be from an ancient civilization. Made of wood or stone, they turn to gold when in use."
Delft: "Ancient stuff, eh? If you're not sure where Macbannin got them, maybe ask a scholar?"
Zane: "I can ask around at the university."
Phyllis holds a finger up to Gerald. "Well, at least, the mage claimed to not have intended to … make the creatures show up. 'Summon' wouldn't be the right word, either, given how they didn't return to their plane when dead."
Phyllis: "You don't feel like hanging around as clean-up crew if I cast a few spells in an empty cell, do you?"
Phyllis: "For science."
Chandrasekhar: "I might… know some people, if your contacts don't pan out, Zane."
Zane shrugs. "I can if you need me. Cant ask many questions if you've got the staff anyway."
Gerald‘ shrugs a little at the correction. Not his expertise!
Phyllis: "I … did some scrying. Object-reading. Do you know of a trio of orcish mummies?"
Zane: "…"
Garrett: "…"
Zane rolled d20+7 and got 19 ( Total: 26 ) for History omg?
Aleith|DM: Well, as much as scholars tend to whitewash them as humans, or avoid mentioning it altogether, the race called the ’Ancients' do seem to be orcs…
Aleith|DM: They're also called Hill Kings (for the mounds found by most of their ruins), Lithians (for their use of stone tools), or even simply PKPs (for Pre-Kelland People).
Phyllis: "While you're puzzling that one out, I've got to go harass Dima."
Delft: "If it's about the Macbannin case, do it quietly."
Zane: "Yeah. THough not really three specifically. Uh. People get all up in arms about the Ancients slash Hill Kings slash Lithians actually being orcs not humans."
Garrett: "(Man I thought that was Phyllis setting up for a joke.)"
Phyllis: "Just a coffee date!" Not really a coffee date.
Chandrasekhar: "Heh. Can't have the humans not at the centre of everything, can they?"
[OOC] Zane: "I had a human at the centre of my mom once. Turns out they really get the job done!"
Aleith|DM: Dima seems to be starting on his paperwork as you step up to his desk. "Can I help you with anything, Ms. Lenz?"
Zane shrugs. "Everybody wants their people to be The People. We just happened to get lucky and actually BE The People."
Phyllis holds up a quill in her right hand and her [Mage Hand] both. "Favor for a favor. Need a hand with … all of that?"
Dima: "Nah, I've got it covered at the moment. Although, if you wanted to help me with a few of these forms, I need them filled out in triplicate. Carlao's not one for paperwork…"
Dima: "Offers to help the director with all kinds of things, and they tend to end up on my desk."
Phyllis: "Entirely identical triplicate?"
Dima: "At least for these ones." He hands a few requisition forms over with the notes he got from Carlao.
Aleith|DM: Zane: One of the office aides flags you down, saying you have a visitor from The Battalion, a Colonel Sebastion Harlock.
Zane: "An auspiciously timed visitor. If I dont come back, give all my paperwork to Ernst."
Gerald: "Done."
Zane heads off to meet his visitor.
Phyllis sits down and gets cracking. "Sure thing." This is a perfect job for Amanuensis, isn't it? Fill out one set of forms, treat them as a 'book,' and copy them to another two sets of still-unfilled forms.
Aleith|DM: Pretty much, Phyllis.
Phyllis: "How's your case going?"
Aleith|DM: At the front door stands a man in an Risuri officer's uniform, colonel's insignia pinned to it. "Ah, you must be Zane Pietto. I'm Sebastion Harlock. I've read your thesis. Interesting study."
Zane: "Close. Zane Bieto. And thanks. I was suprised at the strength of its reception."
[OOC] Aleith|DM: argh
Zane: "No offense meant, I can't quite recall yours? I'm sure I read it at some point, but… they all just sort of blur eventually."
Dima: "Not very well. Still haven't figured out where all the smuggling was going, and…." He says a bit quieter, "I know this was your case originally, but I probably shouldn't be talking about it."
Phyllis tries to keep an eye out for any other paperwork pertaining to details on the Macbannin case. An autopsy report or something. If Dima doesn't talk, maybe she can at least surreptitiously work more paper-and-ink magic.
Harlock waves it off. "Not to worry, I got my position at the Battalion through service, not coursework. I'm here about those monsters you ran into at the Arms Expo."
Zane: "Oh, excellent. My colleagues and I are very curious to know more."
Aleith|DM: There's not really much in there. A lot of it seems to be general administrative paperwork for the office.
Harlock: "As are my colleauges at the academy. We were hoping we could ship them over there to study them. As newly-discovered creatures, it's important that Risur understand what we're dealing with incase more of them appear 'out of thin air' like I hear these ones did."
Zane: "We could probably see fit to release some of them for study, but as they are concerned with an active case I suspect we'll need to keep the majority of the specimens here."
Phyllis: Well, is Dima gonna answer her question? Or … is she going to discuss methods of transcribing and workplace efficiency with him and just leave him grateful?
Aleith|DM: I thought he did answer it…?
[OOC] Phyllis: oh wow I missed it
[OOC] Phyllis: sorry!
Harlock: "Any of them would be useful. The more the better, of course, but anything we learn that might be useful in dealing with similar threats in the future we'll be sure to pass along. As long as I have clearance to do so, of course."
Phyllis quietly replies, "(Can you write about it?)"
Zane: "Well, considering we killed them in the first place, I'd be rather vexed if we werent allowed access to the findings. But eh, beaurocrazy. What're you gonna do."
Zane: "C'mon in, we'll get the paperwork started."
Phyllis: "(Something similar just happened with a suspect related to our current case. I think there's a common thread here.)"
Harlock: "Alright. We've got some iced crates ready to transport whatever you can sign out from the morgue, ready to ship over to the harbour."
Zane heads down to the morgue. Fully expecting the specimens to already be gone, but he's not going to say that out lout.
Dima: "(Oh, is that what the hubbub was about this morning when I came in?)" He grabs a blank sheet of paper and makes a few notes. 'smuggling getting shipped to Bleak Gate? How?' 'Witchoil pumped where?' 'How involved is Kell?' "(As you can imagine, it's been difficult trying to get anything out of that man's operations.)"
Aleith|DM: They're still all there. 3 dragonfly-like things with trunks, giant circular maw filled with teeth on the inside, tentacles on the outside.
Zane signs over two of those, then.
Phyllis glances it over. "(Whose, Kell's? He's in on this?)"
Aleith|DM: Harlock comes with several men in Battalion uniforms carrying a couple of large crates, packaging the corspes in them before sliding the ice in around them.
Zane: "Sign here, please."
Aleith|DM: Harlock signs on the dotted line.
Aleith|DM: After reading it over, of course.
Phyllis: "(Was more interested in an autopsy report on Macbannin himself. Any puncture wounds? Did an inspection of the cell reveal anything involving the Bleak Gate?)"
Zane gets the forms in duplicate. One for official records, one for his personal records. No funny business, just a transfer of evidence and receipt.
Dima: "(Was, at least. His organization's been scrambling a bit trying to find buyers for all of the materials that arson scam was some of his men. As for Macbannin, the only marks turned up in the autopsy were the head wounds.)"
Aleith|DM: Harlock thanks you for your service to the nation. He'll be in touch.
Zane: "I look forward to it."
Zane then immediately [Hat of Wonders] into a completely different outfit and discretely follows the evidence as its hauled away
Phyllis: "(Ah, he's the fence.)"
Phyllis gestures for the note that Dima wrote and applies the magic of Secret Page to it. If anyone else looks at it, it's just a form with 'VOID' marked over the front.
Garrett‘ grins as Zane leaves.
Aleith|DM: Textbook use of the ritual.
Phyllis rolled d20+17 and got 4 ( Total: 21.0 ) for Arcana with +5 bonus to the roll, this is the Perception DC for anyone else to decipher it correctly
Aleith|DM: Serena walks over. "Hey, Dima, let’s go. Got a tip in a factory about something."
Dima: "Just let me put some of this away." He turns to Phyllis. "Thanks for the assistance. I'll return the favour when I can."
Phyllis: "Not a problem. When you've had to take as many notes as I have…"
Phyllis nods at Serena on her way out. "See you later, sister."
Aleith|DM: Zane: The crates are loaded onto a couple of carriages, which then head down to the harbour. Several more men in military uniforms crew the ship the crates are loaded on, bearing the R.N.S. symbol.
Phyllis goes around gathering the rest of her crew that isn't busy. Chandra, Gerald, Ernst? (Garrett?) "The university, to find a scholar? Some of your contacts, Chandra? A muffin run?"
Garrett‘ isn’t busy, he's downing coffee. He looks to Phyllis, pleadingly, to spare some of the strong stuff. Please, please Phyllis.
Garrett: "Yeah I wasn't going out there alone."
Garrett: "Just figured I'd wait until we had ducks in rows."
Chandrasekhar: "I could go for a muffin. Also, I left some feathers on the windowsill, so, we'll see what happens there. University I guess."
Gerald: "I love muffins!"
Aleith|DM: Asking around at the university, you're soon pointed towards Professor Hans Weber, Professor of Antiquities and curator of the Museum of Natural History. He doesn't have any classes scheduled today, so they point you towards the Musem over in North Shore.
Phyllis: "University and/or fey shenanigans it is."
Phyllis taps him on the shoulder, presumably after asking around for the curator. "Excuse me, Professor?"
Weber: "Yes, yes, what can I do for you…" His eyes sweep over the lot of you, stopping on the insignia on one of your outfits. "…constables?"
Phyllis: "Might need a history lesson for a case."
Zane nods at the evidence being loaded, and then beats feet across town to the academy to keep an eye on it. Paranoid? Him? Pshaw.
Phyllis: "What do you know about the Ancients?"
Chandrasekhar thinks we may be here for a while, that's sort of his field…
Aleith|DM: His eyes light up.
Garrett‘ nods. He’s been waiting his whole career for this.
Weber: "Oh, lots! You should come to one of my lectures." He starts ticking off fingers. "They mainly used stone and wooden structures, had at least a rudimentary grasp of magic, and possessed almost no metalworking skills, aside from goldsmithing. They has a remarkable grasp of astronomy as well. The ruins found so far have been troves of jewelry, religious totems, and even weapons, all made of gold."
Chandrasekhar: "!"
Phyllis: "None of wood?"
Weber: "There's various pieces of woodworking as well, but many of those rot away. I'm setting up an exhibit here at the museum, and hoping to open it soon."
Phyllis: "Er, rather. We seem to have come across some implements and weapons from their civilization. Implements made of wood and stone that turn into gold when used."
Aleith|DM: Zane: Making some good time, you manage to see the boat getting offloaded at the Battalion, supervised by some old men in military mage uniforms.
Weber: "Really?! What kind of items?"
Gerald: "The kind that make fair headlines!"
Gerald: "Actually I wonder if anyone's reported about that yet."
Weber: "…excuse me? I didn't read today's paper."
Garrett: "That's what we get for not getting muffins first."
Phyllis: "A staff, a sword, and an amulet. I could only object read a few glimpses into their history, but I'm lacking in the greater context that you have. They seemed to have been found alongside a few orcish mummies. And I wouldn't get too excited - they also seem to make strange creatures appear."
Phyllis: "Creatures that, for all I can discern, seem to belong to this plane natively."
Weber: "Oh? The sword wouldn't happen to be a macuahuitl, would it?"
Garrett: "You get points for pronouncing it correctly."
Gerald: "Yup."
Weber: "Those sound like the items from Dr. Meredith's dig!"
Phyllis: "How the hell did looters find them in Macbannin's manor, then?"
Weber: "Hmmmm. I don't remember her going back to get them, however. Maybe her sponser…?"
Garrett: "Who'd that be?"
Chandrasekhar has a bad feeling about this.
Phyllis: "A tiefling, I'm guessing?"
Weber: "Dr. Xambria Meredith is a professor of archaeology from Mitchell University in Slate. She was heading up the dig at a ziggurat in the High Bayou discovered a few months ago. Unless you meant Caius Bergeron, her sponsor? …yes, he's a tiefling. Why?"
Weber: "He's been very generous to the university, and sponsored a few other digs in the past."
Phyllis: "He might have come up, but not by name. Just some kind of benefactor to shady activity that I don't know if we're at liberty to talk about."
Zane watches the specimens being offloaded and turns to head back across town. He'll go check the paperwork at the academy later, when things aren't so fresh aond on the move.
Garrett: "Is Dr. Meredith out on assignment slash project, do you know?"
Phyllis: "Would the Ancients have had anything to do with the Bleak Gate? My suspicions say 'no' but I'll defer to you. Just trying to - classify, get a good working model of the taxonomy of magic in play and organize everything involved."
Aleith|DM: His face saddens. "No, she's…in town, but… When she returned a month ago, it was as the sole survivor of her expedition. She's staying at a University apartment right now."
Gerald: "Huh."
Garrett: "I'm sorry to hear that. Do you mind sharing any details that you know?"
Weber: "I can't say I recall anything particularly relating to the Bleak Gate in regards to them, but there's so much mystery surrounding them. Oh, I wish they had a written language…"
Phyllis: "No sort of hieroglyphics or symbols?"
Weber: "I can help set up a meeting with her, but you should be gentle when speaking with her. The tragedy's affected her greatly. She returned to the town Agate nearby for supplies, and when she arrived back at camp everyone was…dead…"
Chandrasekhar frowns. "Would you be able to - yes, identify symbolism?"
Phyllis: "Though I guess it's pretty easy to tell the symbols on the artifacts relate to the stars and other planes pertaining to nature."
Weber: "Plenty of symbolism, yes. Pictograms all over the place. But not quite classifiable as hieroglyphics."
Weber: "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be right back…" He hurries over to his office in the museum.
Gerald‘ gives Garrett a sidelong glance.
Garrett` glances back at Gerald.
Aleith|DM: When he comes back, he has a few forms with him. "As you can see here, Xambria agreed to support my claim for the artifacts, with the caveat that her sponsor would have final say on their placement. I’ve tried to track him down, but he seems to have up and vanished. With him missing, ownership falls to Pardwight University."
Weber: "Could you please have the relics sent over here for preparation for the exhibit?"
Gerald: "They're sort of evidence in a murder investigation now."
Phyllis: "We'll see what we can do when the investigation's complete, though."
Chandrasekhar: "We do have rubbings of the engravings, if that would help."
Weber: "No, no, that's alright. Sharon!" He calls over the receptionist. "Can you have a request form sent to the constables' headquarters? We'll get this straightened out." He turns back to you. "You don't need all three, surely?"
Garrett: "Good luck with that."
Phyllis: "The staff is the one most pertinent to the investigation, but the other two, possibly…"
Weber: "The blade and the amulet, then? Excellent. Sharon, make note of that, please, and give the constables Dr. Meredith's address."
Phyllis: "I said possibly."
Aleith|DM: He just smiles amicably. "Of course."
Garrett‘ shrugs. "I’m not requisitions, I don't give a hoot. Though I guess it'd be bad if they sprouted towering grubworms during the exhibit and ate people."
Gerald: "Lil' bit."
Phyllis: "We'll have to make sure they're safe, yes."
Phyllis: "Still. Thanks for your time, Professer Weber."
Aleith|DM: He points to the floor around the main exhibit. "As you can see, there's a large gold ring inlaid in the floor. We can wrap the artifacts in gold thread as well, just to be sure. I hope your visit with Dr. Meredith goes well."
[OOC] Garrett: is he saying anything about the rubbings
Gerald‘ opens mouth, closes mouth, nods.
Aleith|DM: Why would he? He’s getting the real deal, right?
Aleith|DM: There's not really any convincing him otherwise.
Phyllis: "I actually don't think gold's going to help in this case. It's - weird. Real weird. These artifacts may be the reason her team was dead. I know you're excited, but -"
Phyllis: "Due diligence first. Yes?"
Weber: "Of course, of course. We'll have the top mages at the University look them over first."
Chandrasekhar: "Hmm."
Garrett: "Right. Can we get a word on these engravings in the meanwhile?"
Garrett: "Like, the ones we have on the papers right here."
Chandrasekhar: "In case you're curious, we're asking this because… we're constables, and we need all available expertise to solve a case." He smiles amiably.
Phyllis: "And with all due respect, we have an investigation to finish first. Do we … have an understanding, Professor?" She hates having to mentally+magically grab someone by the ear and make them come to an understanding, but … [Glib Tongue] [Suggestion] [Arcana -> Diplomacy]
Aleith|DM: He goes on at greath length about the pictograms, but there isn't much more to it than depictions of the primal elements of fire, earth, water, and wind.
Gerald‘ long drawn out pause after the profession finishes. "So… elemental symbols. Gotcha. Thanks for your time."
Phyllis pauses before ’pulling the magical trigger,' so to speak. "Sir. Are you sure? I saw firsthand what one of those implements was capable of, and I don't think they're safe."
Garrett: "Have a good day, Professor."
Garrett‘ nudges Gerald and jerks his head in the direction of a campus coffeehouse.
Weber: "As I said, we’ll have the items looked over very carefully. The exhibit won't be for at least a few weeks."
Gerald‘ headin’ that way.
Chandrasekhar sighs, stands. "Keep our address for when you're overrun with monsters."
Chandrasekhar: "We're good at cleaning up the mess by now."
Weber: "You're welcome to attend the opening if you like."
Phyllis: "Would I be able to attend the safety inspection you'll perform?"
Weber: "I'll let you know if that can be arranged."
Chandrasekhar: "The word you're looking for is 'when'." Big smile!
Phyllis: "Please do."
Aleith|DM: Anyway. Dr. Xambria's apartment is back in Central, on the Pardwight campus.
Phyllis: "Sorry, this whole thing has me on edge. I've got a bad feeling about this. But with that compromise … thanks for your time."
Chandrasekhar pats Phyllis on the shoulder as they leave. "(You tried.)"
Phyllis might just emit the occasional low growl on the way to the apartment.
Aleith|DM: When you knock on the door, it's answered by a redhead, looks to be in her late twenties. "Yes…? What can I help you with?"
Garrett: "Afternoon, Dr. Meredith. I'm Garrett Woodson, RHC. May we-" He steps back a bit to show the group. "-come in?"
Zane: "I brought snacks, if that helps." When the fuck did he get there?
Phyllis: "Yeah, uh - " Be gentle, be nice. This might be a job for someone less prickly to take care of.
Xambria: "Oh, certainly. I don't have much, but I'll put on some coffee. Make yourselves at home."
Zane: "Oh man, coffee. You're an angel."
Zane puts the bags o' muffins down on the table.
Aleith|DM: While she's dealing with the coffee press, she asks, "what would you like help with, constables?"
Gerald: "Artifact related things." Gerald says, with a smile.
Xambria: "Oh, is this about my dig, then?"
Garrett: "Yes."
Garrett: "Three artifacts recovered from it have been involved in a few extradimensional incidents."
Xambria: "Wait…which artifacts?"
Garrett: "A staff, a sword, and an amulet."
Chandrasekhar: "Wooden, somehow survived the years without rotting, primal symbols carved into them."
Xambria: "Ah, the ones from the mummies at the entrance. What kind of incident?"
Phyllis: "A … repeat incident. Possibly. We're not sure."
Garrett: "The… staff, at least, summoned creatures that ran amok at the Tech expo."
Chandrasekhar: "The artifacts seemed to activate, turn gold, and then shift in creatures we've never seen."
Gerald: "Evil giant dragonfly looking lizard things."
Xambria: "Oh no! Was anyone hurt?"
Gerald: "(And uh the weird slime monster…)"
Garrett: "Well, not directly -from- the staff…"
Garrett: "Anyway-"
Garrett: "The other two items were picked up from an illegal arms dealer."
Chandrasekhar: "Luckily, we were there and fought them off."
Xambria: "Well, I-" She tilts her head to the side for several seconds. "-don't remember them doing anything like that. How strange."
Gerald: "Did anyone on site try using them as casting implements?"
Phyllis: "You weren't present, as I recall."
Gerald‘ gives Phyllis a look.
Xambria: "Those were at the entrance, so we had them for about a month before…things happened. There were some scans on the artifacts, but no one really tried using them that I’m aware of. That kind of testing was to be done at the university."
Gerald: "Ah, that might be the difference then."
Xambria: "My team found the ziggurat in Spring, and we sent news and some of the artifacts-including those three-to Mr. Bergeron, my sponsor."
Gerald‘ mouths the word ’ziggurat' under his breath a few times.
Chandrasekhar: "What can you tell us about Mr. Bergeron?"
Xambria: "He wanted to be kept apprised, especially if we found something he called a 'golden seal': a large golden disk bearing astronomical symbols, which would radiate powerful protective magic."
Zane: "And did you happen to find it?"
Garrett: "Any luck on that front?"
Xambria: "It took a while to clear through the traps and collapsed passages, but in early Summer we found it and sent word to Mr. Bergeron. A few days later at the train station in Bole I met a group of specialists sent by Bergeron: three tieflings who were obviously spell casters-rare for Danorans, right?-and a pair of huuman guards."
Xambria: "This was a little while after hearing about some big scandal here in Flint, but I don't remember the exact day."
Phyllis: "Summer 6, I'd wager."
Xambria: "A little bit after probably, time takes a bit to travel out there."
Xambria: "I led the specialists to the dig, brought them to the seal, and then left at their request. The next day the specialists were still working at the seal, so I left to pick up supplies I was expecting to arrive by train."
Phyllis: "What's your read on Bergeron? Just - general impressions of him."
Zane thinks for a second. Nudges Phyllis. "Don't suppose you have a pen? Or a quill and ink?"
Xambria: "The round trip took a few days, and when I returned…." She takes a deep breath. "Oh, Mr. Bergeron? He's helped fund other digs like this, and has been quite generous with the University. He's pleasant to talk with, and is quite interested to hear about the digs."
Xambria: "I haven't been able to track him down since I got back, however. None of the contact methods he gave me worked."
Phyllis rifles through her robe and hands them to Zane. Of course she does.
Chandrasekhar: "I wish that surprised me."
Xambria: "Oh? Why?"
Gerald: "Out of mild curiosity did anyone else outside of the dig team know what you were looking for…?"
Zane takes a minute and sketches out the medallions they found on the island, back when they first started working together. "Sorry for the roughness, I'm not really trained for this sort of thing. Don't suppose these carry any sort of significance?"
Chandrasekhar frowns. "There's limits on what we can say, due to the active investigation, and it's all entirely conjecture, here, but I wouldn't trust anybody who was looking for that seal in the ruins, at this point." He frowns.
Xambria: "I'm not sure what Mr. Bergeron was planning to do with the seal, but there's been similar digs in the past, and I think they must have found something like this at least at one of them. I'm not sure who else would have known."
Xambria: "And the dig team and the specialists he sent are all….all….dead." She hiccoughs.
Aleith|DM: She takes several deep breaths and then starts looking at the drawings from Zane.
Chandrasekhar slides her a muffin. "I'm sorry that you had to revisit the memories."
Xambria: "Hmmm. That's….the Eagle, the constellation symbolizing Avilona, yes? And…Nem and Urim?"
Xambria: "The seal was much like this, a small star map engraved on it. Though the seal wasn't that small, a bit taller than me? Probably around your height, sir."
Chandrasekhar: "Which… which constellation?"
Xambria: "The one for Apet."
Xambria: "Alesia the Wayfarer."
Zane: "I'm hazy at best on this stuff. What's Apet?"
Zane: "… Shit."
Chandrasekhar glances around at the party Skyseer OH WAIT.
[OOC] Phyllis: HE'S DEAD
Gerald‘ rubs at his face.
Xambria: "Apet’s the farthest planet, said to be a permanent storm of sand and dust on a featurless plane. The only point of reference is an arc of silver above it."
Xambria: "They say it influences subtle nuances of distance and time, as well as the grand cycle of ages."
Chandrasekhar: "…ah. Oh, dear."
Zane: "Well. That's not as bad as I was thinking, actually."
Chandrasekhar: "Oh?"
Zane: "Just more… indirectly bad than directly, probably."
Chandrasekhar: "Do you suppose that ancient artifact could really be responsible for such a… an iron law of magic, though?"
Xambria: "I'm not exactly sure what it would have been for. We're not sure exactly what the ziggurat is supposed to be guarding. I'm…not even sure when we'll be able to get a team ready to check it out. You wouldn't happen to be able to investigate what happened to my team, would you…?"
Phyllis: "Yes." Said almost midsentence before Chandra finishes.
Phyllis: "How far out is it?"
Garrett: "I have a hunch that we'll be finding out at some point or another. No promises, but…"
Gerald: "I have a feeling it might come up during the course of this one."
Gerald‘ scratches behind his head.
Chandrasekhar frowns at Phyllis.
Xambria: "The nearest train stop is at Bole, the end of the line. A day’s travel from there to Agate, the nearby town. From Agate, about 12 hours by boat through the Bayou to the Ziggurat."
Chandrasekhar: "Thank you."
Aleith|DM: She grabs the paper with Zane's sketches and flips it over, drawing on the back. "Here's a map to the ziggurat from Agate."
Xambria: "I'm sure Bergeron's specialists had something to do with all the deaths, but I couldn't bear to look further than the entrance to the temple when I got back. My…team…was all dead at the camp or just inside the ziggurat, but I didn't see any sign of them. I fled just after that in a daze, boarded the train back to Flint, and reported their deaths to the police and the University…"
Chandrasekhar: "You made the right choice."
Phyllis: "Smart move. Sorry for bringing up the memory, as well."
Xambria: "Thank you. That helps."
Garrett: "If anything else comes up, you can contact one of us here-" he jots down some contact info.
Xambria: "I will, thank you."
Garrett: "Thank you for your time, and the coffee. Believe me, we needed it."
Xambria: "You're welcome, and thank you for the muffin."
Garrett‘ stands, nods. Leaves.
Aleith|DM: Chandrasekhar: As you get outside, there’s a brush of the breeze by your ear. You hear Delft's voice. "Saxby wants you back at the office, to meet with the Lord Viscount Inspector. Get back here ASAP."

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