Zg Session 34

AveryCoast: 14 Winter, 500 AOV.
AveryCoast: Rumours swirl about the station as people board about one of the former passengers being arrested as a serial murderer.
AveryCoast: Trekhom's morning paper reveals the culprit as one Olivert Boone.
AveryCoast: Cardiff Hengehill doesn't board the train again this morning.
AveryCoast: The train whistle blows as the train departs at 7:30 AM, right on schedule. The damage from yesterday has been overnight, with some of the cars having been switched out.
ChefBatali is hard at work in the small kitchen, he has obviously not been up to any shenanigans at all in the past 12 hours.
Jack‘ shows up to breakfast with today’s paper, casually leaning against the bar.
Jack: "At this rate we'll end up with a car each to ourselves, won't we?"
ChefBatali chuckles. "I hope not. It's an awful long walk from the engine to get an omelette."
Jeremy‘ *knew* Jack would be in shortly with a newspaper, and is around and read to read over his shoulder because he can’t be assed to get his own. "Huh! Imagine that."
Stocke is mostly just reading at the front of the train. At least if he's up here it'd be harder to have an interruption like earlier.
ChefBatali: "Well, I have to admit I'm a little disturbed at the prospect of having been on the same train with a serial killer."
Ananth: "You clearly don't read enough trashy Danoran fiction. There's an entire genre of 'train murder cases'."
Jeremy: "Can never tell what a person's really like, I guess."
Jack: "At least we aren't anymore. And I mean, what are the odds of two of them on a train…?"
Hilda: "Ugh, don't remind me of those, Ananth."
ChefBatali: "Fairly low odds, one hopes."
Hilda: "The protagonists in them only seem like clever cold-readers because the author conveniently hands them the right and relevant answers."
Hilda: "Like reality conforms itself to the whims of whatever the detective or whoever witnesses and desires."
ChefBatali: "Well, in a lot of cases, the answers really are there. Just not, perhaps, as easy to spot as the book would have you believe."
Jack: "We're all the heroes of our own character-arcs."
Ananth: "It's so much more /satisfying/ than the real though, though. That's what makes it fun to read. Everything tied up in a nice tight little narrative bow."
Jack: "So it just works out like that!"
Hilda: "You keep believing that, Jack."
Jack‘ dunks a cake donut into his coffee and takes a bite, smiling.
ChefBatali: "Well I’m certainly not the *villain* of my arc, that wouldn't be satisf- Hm. Hmmmm."
ChefBatali says, as he is cooking all of you food…
Ananth‘ does a :O face.
Jeremy: "Yeah, hold the poison on my omelette would you?"
Jack` chuckles mildly.
ChefBatali: "Aw, no cashews? A shame. They really add texture."
Hilda: "Some boysenberry syrup on these pancakes, perhaps."
Jeremy: "In egg? No thanks."
Phyllis pauses, reconsiders. No, she was right the first time.
ChefBatali chuckles. "Well, at the very least you’re safe for now. I'd hate to get fired before we reach the end of the ride."
ChefBatali: "It would be an unpleasant walk, to put it mildly."
Jeremy: "Yeah, I bet."
AveryCoast: It's almost lunch when one of the attendants comes up to your bar, Mr. Batali. "We've got a special request from Mr. Jierre in suite 4."
ChefBatali raises his eyebrows. "Of course! What can I do for Mr. Jierre?"
Attendant: "He's asked for some cheese trays and one of the nicer wines to be given to each of the first-class cars for lunch today. We're getting some ready for second-class, but the nicer stuff is, of course, here."
He slides over some coins. "Part of the tip."
ChefBatali whistles and pockets the money. "Well, this will more than cover it." And its time to start picking wine and organizing cheese trays. "
AveryCoast: In the mean time, you see Verzubak walk back and forth down the aisle in Car 17 a few times, rolling dice in a cup before making notes.
Hilda tilts her head. Something about that rings a bell, but she can't tell what.
AveryCoast: After he paces a few more times, he heads back into Car 16.
Hilda slides off her chair and follows him, curious as to what he's taking notes on. "Hoi, mathemagician."
AveryCoast: He looks a bit startled as he turns around. "Oh, Ms. Straub. Morning to you."
Hilda: "Mind if I inquire as to your, uh, studies and observations?"
Verzubak: "Ah, right. I'm trying to get ready for the casinos tonight. Walking down each car and recording the various rolls each time to see how they change."
Hilda: "As if their result is a function of … position? Or time?"
Verzubak: "Position, mostly."
Hilda: "Curious. I'd have thought the effect to be negligible."
Verzubak: "Practice for figuring out which table will have the best luck for me tonight."
Hilda: "I know I've certainly had stranger thoughts."
Hilda: "I'll leave you to it."
Verzubak nods. "Enjoy your day, miss."
AveryCoast: An attendant comes up to your room a bit later with a large tray, several glasses, and a bottle of wine atop his cart. Knocking on the door, he calls out 'room service'. He brings the tray in along with the wine. "Compliments of Mr. Jierre."
Jeremy: "What's the ocassion?"
Jack: "Cheese o'clock, naturally."
AveryCoast: The attendant shrugs. "He didn't say."
Hilda: "Tell him it comes much appreciated, and thank you. Do you happen to know the vineyard or the year?"
Jack‘ thanks the attendant and has a slice of something yellow.
Attendant: "It’s a 491 Pedresco."
Ananth‘ might wind up obsessively looking the plate over. Cheese steganography is not his strong suit though, so eventually he’ll just start sampling.
Hilda: "Oh, lovely. I've heard good things about its terroir."
Attendant: "Marvellous. I'll pour you a glass."
AveryCoast: Mr. Griento stops by your car, Mr. Batali, after lunch. "Thank you for the arranged lunch. The wine went especially well with the manchego."
Jeremy‘ frowns giving it the once over, before helping himself to it. He’s careful to not complain about the lack of crackers and meats to go with the cheese until the attendant it *almost* out of ear shot.
[OOC] AveryCoast: Well I didn't say what's on it because that's up to the chef…
ChefBatali smiles. "Well, since I was given free hand to serve what I liked, I figured I might as well go for the good stuff. I'll have to see what I can replace in tonight's stop, but its worth it I think."
ChefBatali: "And hey, a little taste of home is never amiss when you're on a journey like this."
Damata: "Listen, I…have a favour to ask of you, Mr. Batali."
Hilda: "Mm. I was planning to assist Damata with something tonight."
Hilda: "Oh, speaking of."
Hilda surreptitiously takes a sip of her wine.
AveryCoast: The cheese tray was delivered to your car, so…
ChefBatali nods. "Do go on."
[OOC] Ananth: Hilda just knows what's going on. Circumstantial simultaneity. :3
[OOC] AveryCoast: just making sure :D
[OOC] Jack: is the attendant still with us 4
AveryCoast: Nah he left to deliver other trays, he'll be back later.
Damata: "I got myself in way over my head with a business dealing. Got swindled in a con, borrowed money from The Family, and now they want their money back."
[OOC] Hilda: oh I didn't catch that first line about damata
ChefBatali whistles. "That's a tight spot."
Damata: "I…didn't have the money, so they…convinced me…" He winces. "…to steal some of the magical heirlooms and war trophies of my family to cover it."
Damata: "It shames me to admit, but I did as they asked and was going to bring it to them tonight during our stopover in Nalaam."
ChefBatali nods. "I heard 'was'. You have changed plans?"
Damata: "I discussed it at Mr. Heid's lecture last night with him, Ms. Straub, and Mr. Rao. I figured it was better to go with honour than to leave myself tied to them, and worse, potentially my family," he growls.
Damata: "Ms. Straub and Mr. Rao said they would help me stand up to The Family, and I was wondering if it would be possible for you to help me tonight, as well."
ChefBatali: "Yes, that is the more honorable path. But not without risk… Which I am guessing is where I come in."
ChefBatali nods. "I think that can be arranged. But let me be clear. I am going for Ejaka, Taro, and Dabo. You, Damata, officially fucked up. Going to the Family? Were you drunk?"
Damata hangs his head. "I don't know what I was thinking. This man, I was convinced he was going to be the future between Risuri and Beran relations."
Damata: "He acted as a train magnate, proposing a railroad across the Anthras Mountains between Ber and Risur."
Damata: "He even teleported me over to Flint and introduced me to several other investors at these lavish parties."
ChefBatali taps his finger on the bar. "What was his name?"
Damata: "Ross Caivano. I gave him tens of thousands of gold for a stake in the venture. And then he up and disappeared with the money. I couldn't find any trace of him."
Damata: "Of course The Family didn't care about that."
ChefBatali: "No, they simply wanted their payment."
ChefBatali rubs his chin. "Who else did you meet at these investor parties, if you don't mind my asking. It's an impressive con that goes all the way up through high society."
Damata: "Honestly, I can barely remember. It was a bit of a blur. It'd take me some time to piece together."
ChefBatali nods. "No rush. Just idle curiosity anyway."
Damata: "The meeting's at 8 tonight. Is 7:30 okay to meet you at, outside the hotel?"
ChefBatali: "I'll be there. You have my word."
ChefBatali: "Your family… do they know?"
Damata nods deeply. "Thank you." He then shakes his head after the question. "No, I haven't told them. In case anything happens, I was going to leave a note with the hotel to give them in the morning, asking them to meet with an associate of mine in Sid Minos, who would look after them."
ChefBatali closes his eyes and rubs the bridge of his nose. "Alright."
Jack: "Well that's just unfortunate," he says, deeply sighing.
Jack: "But I already ate a slice of cheese, so I guess that means I accepted…?"
Jeremy: "Huh?"
Ananth: "Uhoh. What did I nibble myself into, this time?"
[OOC] Ananth: Forget I said that.
Hilda: "I do want a few moments with him beforehand."
Jack: "But I mean, isn't this sort of suspicious?"
Hilda: "Hence the 'few moments.'"
Jeremy: "I mean…"
Jeremy: "Not to sound callous or anything, but this is kinda way the fuck out of our jurisdiction."
Jeremy: "How he talk ya'll into throwing down with the Fami -" A pause as he looks at Phyllis. "- nevermind as I say that out-loud it makes sense."
Ananth: "He did mention a number of possible links and inroads to Risuri affairs; agents with Risuri accents, so on…"
Jack: "It's true- no matter what you do to the Family, you never feel bad."
Hilda folds her arms. "Don't mistake me for someone so willing to throw my lot in just because of my personal grudges."
Jeremy: "It's not mistaken if it's fact~"
Hilda: "The possibility that we're being deceived by Damata has occurred to me."
Jeremy: "Oh I'm not really worried about that, just, this seems like a great way to blow our cover on a thing that definitely isn't, well wasn't, our problem. But you're the boss, boss!" He shrugs. "So lets do it I guess."
Jack: "I don't even particularly care about Damata, just that it stretches our cover kind of thin to outside observers."
Jack: "Though I like I said," he grins, "-it's not like I'm gonna feel bad about doing it."
Hilda: "The Miller Memorial case? True, I suppose targeting the Family is too much of a connection."
Hilda: "In any case. I'm going to prepare something, just to cover the case -I- was worried about."
Hilda: That is, Discern Lies, and finding Damata.
Jack: "Mm-hmm." He nods along.
AveryCoast: Now, or tonight?
[OOC] Hilda: Now, preferably.
Hilda stops by her quarters to perform the ritual, first. Incense and a prayer: "As the stars bear witness."
[OOC] ChefBatali: "These are the days of our lives."
AveryCoast: Alright.
Hilda rolled d20+14 and got 16 ( Total: 30 ) for Religion - add result to Insight checks for the next five minutes for the purpose of discerning lies and untruths.
Hilda seeks out Damata post-haste, before the magics wear off, pen and notebook in hand.
AveryCoast: He's coming back from the dining car when he enters car 17 to head back to his suite when you run into him.
Hilda nods at him. "Got a moment?"
Damata: "Certainly, Ms. Straub. I was just coming back from speaking with Mr. Batali about tonight."
Hilda: "What'd he ask you about?"
Damata: "What on Lanjyr I was thinking asking the Family for money…" He grimaces.
Hilda: "Or rather - hm. I told you I'm a person of preparation. Mind if I ask you some details? Who did you meet with, again?"
Damata: "With The Family, or the conman?"
Damata: "The meeting's with a 'Sly' Fomazelli tonight at 8."
Hilda: "Both."
Hilda: "And you're meeting with the Family tonight to provide payment in the form of your family treasures, yes? Or at least, you were originally."
Damata: "
Damata: "Originally, yes. The money was from some Family loansharks in Citado Cavallo. As for the conman, he called himself Ross Caivano, but I doubt that was his real name."
Hilda raises an eyebrow. Does it check out, at least according to the observations of the arcane and divine she currently has assistance from?
AveryCoast: He's not exactly thrilled talking about this, but it seems to be the truth as far as you can tell.
Hilda: "Anything else we should know?"
Damata: "We'll still be bringing some of the treasures, but you guys will be using them against them. They'll provide a bit of a help when aiding a 'Damata warchief'." [+20 THP and effectively increases your weapons/implements by 1 enhancement level, IE +1 atk/dmg]
Hilda visibly relaxes a bit. "Sounds good. Personally, I have my own reasons for helping. It's a bit of a coincidence, but, ah. I believe they call this kind of fortune 'providence.'"
Hilda: "See you tonight."
Damata: "Thank you again. I'll meet you outside the hotel at 7:30? Did you ask your companions already?"
Hilda: "They're aware. We also took the liberty of asking Mr. Noir. I think you had one more in mind?"
Damata: "I think you were the ones who suggested the hero from yesterday who drove off the bandits, but I'm not even sure where he is, or why he'd even help me."
Hilda: "Well, why'd he help drive off the bandits?"
Hilda shrugs.
AveryCoast: A few hours later, there's a knock on the door of your suite.
Jack‘ answers the door!
AveryCoast: Bree’s at the door, a wine bottle in hand. "Thought I'd drop by and express my thanks for you helping drive off that beast yesterday."
Bree: "Mind if I come in for a bit and chat?"
Hilda occupies herself with flipping through her books and scrolls.
Jack: "Ah, thank you! Sure, come on in."
Bree: "It's an Alwyr Red from the far east. The flavour is pretty distinct."
Jeremy: "Today is a good day for free wine."
Bree: "Oh, from Mr. Jierre? My car quite enjoyed the cheese as well."
Jeremy: "Yeah I mean, sure wasn't expecting free wine twice in one day on the train, at least."
Jack: "Next time at an enclave bar, I'll be sure to put in for a round, at least."
Jack: "Or a round of crepes during the ride tomorrow."
Bree: "I've been a bit bored on this trip so far. Any of you got any good stories? Been hoping to swap some war stories, but I'm not sure if any of you've been involved in one."
Hilda mutters to herself. "(Scrying, portals, philosophy…)"
Hilda: "Oh. Um. I'm hardly the sort for it. More of the bookish type."
Ananth: "I -collect- war stories, but only by virtue of collecting any and all stories. Can't say I've any firsthand experience."
Jeremy: "I'm pretty sure Anath has some incredibly seedy and interesting background…. but I've never been able to get him to cop to it."
Jeremy: "You're more than welcome to give it a go though."
Bree chuckles. "I figured i might have picked the wrong car for this kind of thing, but I guess I'll start then."
Bree: "I never did get around to explaining where this scar came from, did I? I was fighting in the latest Yerasol War, when my unit went up against group of Risuri druids…"
She tells her tale, about losing her right leg and arm to a Risuri summoned jaguar. The same druid who took her limbs kept her from dying, and after the war she was given a peg leg and sent back home.
Jeremy: "Huh, I didn't even realize we still HAD Druids. Why'd they keep you from dyin' tho?"
Bree: "Don't really know, and he didn't really feel like explaining. Best I can guess, since I couldn't fight anymore, I wasn't a combatant. I wasn't half as good a shot with my left then as I am now, so he was probably right."
Ananth: "Druids are weird. Maybe the stars said she was important? Maybe they didn't want to disrupt the cycle of life?" He shrugs. "I've heard stranger things."
Jeremy‘ scratches at the back of his head.
Bree balls up her right hand and flexes the arm a bit. "Of course, this was from a doctor."
Hilda: "That sounds about right to me, at least. Tactically speaking, once a threat is neutralized, you move onto more pressing matters. Ethically speaking, well."
Hilda shrugs.
Jeremy: "Regrown?"
Bree: "More of a transplant. A doctor approached me asking about trying out a new technique, and he stitched on a recently-deceased woman’s limbs on." She lifts up her shirt a bit, showing off a girdle. "This helps keep them attached, but staying in Danor makes the limbs itch at the seams."
Jack: "That's pretty amazing, if you don't mind my saying so."
Jack: "The tech… maybe not so much the itching."
Bree: "Think he wrote up a paper about it. First operation of its kind."
Ananth‘ looks… -mostly- super-impressed and only a little bit horrified. "Amazing…"
Jeremy: "Wooooah."
Hilda: "Curious. What was the doctor’s name? This seems similar to a colleague's work…"
Bree thinks a bit. "It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue… Dr. von…Recklinghausen?"
Hilda: "First name Wolfgang?"
She nods. "That's him."
Hilda chuckles a bit. "It seemed familiar. We're acquainted."
Bree: "Well, if I ever have to ask him to look at my limbs again, I'll tell him you said hi."
Bree: "So, any stories you have to share?" Looking at Ananth, she says, "doesn't have to be your own, of course."
Jeremy: "Hold up you didn't tell me you were friends with a mad scientist! You should lead with stuff like that when trying to make a good impression, instead of boring stuff no one cares about like philsophy!"
Hilda frowns. "'Listening to lectures' is a far cry from being friends with someone."
Jack‘ laughs.
Jeremy: "Maaan, whatever."
Jack: "I can’t say I have any war stories to share, just a shuddering realization of just how insecure a lot of businesses are."
Bree: "In what way?"
Jack: "Security for a business isn't just a matter of locking valuables, money, and so on, into safes or hidden hatches. It's also things like information security, corporate espionage, presentation."
Bree: "Ah. As a professional bodyguard, I get what you mean. There's some parallels."
Jack‘ nods. "A reasonably clean shirt, notepad, and glasses can get you into a lot of places if you walk confidently enough."
She nods. "It’s true. It's hard keeping an eye on everyone, even when you're paranoid."
Jack: "Mm-hmm. So a lot of these places, you either need to have a trained staff and good security protocols…" He sadly shakes his head. "Or double-down on mechanical ones. Good thing I consult for both."
Jack: "Action, though…"
Jack‘ recounts the tale of the dragonborn who were attempting to blow up that one factory were it not for the RHC, though through the lens of someone who read about it afterwards- how they shouldn’t have been able to get that close, how the security for the back door was woefully inadequate for anything stricter than letting a breeze through, and good gods how it could have been way
Jack‘ worse if anything inside caught fire.
Jack: "Part of why I don’t own." He shudders slightly.
Bree seems a bit taken aback by the possible extent of damage. "That's rather…horrifying, actually. I can see why business might be going well for you if that's the alternative."
Jack: "'s why I also diversify into insurance."
Bree: "Risky, but understandable."
Jeremy: "Sadly my only interesting story in that regard happened like… yesterday, and everyone was there, so." Jeremy shrugs, palms up.
Jack: "I got my gold worth out of that rifle for sure."
Bree: "That was some fine shooting, by the way. I doubt I could make a shot that far."
Jeremy: "The gun itself helps a lot, for what it's worth."
Bree: "The right tool for the job, of course."
Jeremy‘ nods.
Bree: "I’ve finished my glass, so I should probably get back before Ms. Baccarin comes by and asks me to return to my seat." She sighs. "They're so boring, though. I was supposed to guard someone on the train, but my client never showed up."
Jeremy: "Hope they paid in advance."
Hilda: "Did you still get paid for your time, at least?"
Bree stands up from her borrowed chair. "I figured since Mr. Bergeron bought me a seat, I'd ride anyway, but it certainly hasn't been as expected."
Jeremy: "Haha, yeah."
Jack: "I can't say anything on this cruise has been 'as expected.'"
Jack: "Hydras. Bandits. A serial killer."
Jeremy: "The hydra was kind of expected! Just… not being herded by bandits."
Bree frowns. "Quite the mess."
Jack: "Unless we're in a penny-dreadful."
Hilda: "How narratively convenient."
Bree: "Hopefully the rest of trip is quieter. Have a good day, folks."
Hilda: "Any plans after the ride's over?"
Bree: "Not sure. I'll probably see if there's anyone looking for a guard in Vendricce."
Jack: "To good business." He raises an uneaten slice of cheese in a toast, and then promptly eats it.
Bree: "To good business." She nods and heads off.
AveryCoast: It's nearing the end of the trip when an attendant stops by, delivering a letter to you. Yes, that includes not just suite 1 on car 17, but also to Mr. Batali and Doris at the dining car, and one addressed to 'The Hero of the Train' to Stocke at the engine room.
[OOC] AveryCoast: http://i.imgur.com/mFW7bnn.jpg
AveryCoast: It's from Elanor Yanette, inviting you to an attraction at 10 PM in Nalaam's arena.
Jeremy: "Oh man."
Jeremy: "Oh man."
Jeremy: "Fuck whatever plans ya'll made I'm goin'."
ChefBatali: "…"
Ananth: "Well."
Ananth: "She certainly has, uh…"
ChefBatali folds the letter, returns it to the envelope, and tucks it into his jacket.
Ananth: "An aesthetic."
Jack: "Is that what people call this these days?"
Jeremy: "If I was just a little dumber this would be hot as fuck, just sayin'."
Ananth: "Shit, you and me both."
Hilda: "Two hours."
[OOC] ChefBatali: "That's way too much woman for just one of you, but I think between the two of you you'll be fine…"
Jeremy: "Hour and a half really, gotta account for travel."
Jack: "I'm filing it under 'is more unhinged than a good room breach.'"
Hilda: "Whatever."
Jack: "Best case scenario though, it's an invitation to some wine-soaked orgy?"
Jeremy: "Soooo goooooingggg."
Jack: "You sure you're not a little dumber?"
Hilda looks over the invitation, then looks over her colleagues. Really?
Jeremy: "I'm goin' with my gun out, not my dick. So yeah."
Ananth: "When you know something's a terrible idea…"
Jeremy: "It's real close though."
Jack: "Your gun or your dick? Either way, keep them pointed away from me."
Jeremy: "Well…"
Hilda: "I'm only interested since it sounds like disaster may strike if left unchecked."
Jeremy: "No promises."
Ananth: "…and you do it anyway." Pause. "Anyways, she's probably getting paid to take us out? I wonder if Mr. Batali and Stocke got letters, too."
Jeremy: "Even if that's the case,"
ChefBatali is prepping like crazy, because he's going to be in no shape to do half of this work in the morning.
Jeremy: "Better to do it way the fuck away from anyone else on the train than in our inn rooms, yeah?"
Jack: "I wonder if I can just sleep on the train, afterwards. Waking up early after everything…?" He wrinkles his nose.
AveryCoast: Fifteen minutes outside of Nalaam, Malia politely reminds you to please return to your seats. More than other cities on the route, Nalaam is renowned for its tricky thieves. She suggests you keep an eye on your personal effects, to make sure no one hops on board in the commotion and nicks your valuables.
AveryCoast: Nalaam, a city founded upon a wellspring of magical energy, and controlled by a cabal of powerful wizards, announces its presence with light brighter and more colourful than the sunset. In the shadows of the surrounding mountains, the lights of this infamous den of iniquities hide many crimes and cruelties the rest of the world forbids.
AveryCoast: As the train pulls into the enclave, a gilded, glittering spectacle is revealed. Throngs of people ply business and pleasure out of polished marble caves and atop bizarre structures built in the shapes of arches, trees, even dragons. Above it all rises the Grand Casino, a tower of endless games of chance and skill, which generates immense wealth for the archmage lords of the city.
AveryCoast: Nalaam, with all its temptations, beckons you.

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