Book 2, Chapter #3a: A Gnome's Search (Pisca)   Posted by The Raconteur.Group: 0
The Raconteur
 GM, 2926 posts
 Teller of Tales
 Writer of Wrongs
Fri 26 May 2017
at 05:18
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)



Pisca took leave of the rest of the party and headed south towards the Rusty Dragon.  A chill breeze blew in from the sea as the sun set, creating an idyllic feel in the seaside town as a gnome walked through Southmarket Square towards her temporary home . . .



This message was lightly edited by the GM at 05:19, Fri 26 May 2017.

Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 3394 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Fri 26 May 2017
at 13:47
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)
Main street opened out onto the docks just past the Turandarok Academy and Pisca paused there, her eyes gazing contemplatively out onto the waters of the harbor.  She stooped to pick a small stone up off the road, holding it up to her eye for inspection.  "Yam, yam, yam," she confided to the pebble as she crossed to the wooden pier, carrying the hapless stone to the edge where she dangled it over the water for a bit, and, after a brief moment of suspense, denied clemency to the bit of rock and dropped it into the drink.

Following this brief and idiosyncratic diversion, the gnome turned back to scan the street behind her one last time.  And now, reasonably certain that no one had been on her tail, she plunged with purpose into the Sandpoint Market, crossing not to Market street and the Rusty Dragon, but to Shark alley and the entrance of the Fatman's Feedbag.

Pisca made her way to the bar immediately upon entering Sandpoint's notorious headquarters for the Sczarni crime families.  "Brew," she said, uncharacteristically ordering the cheapest and most common of the Fatman's offerings.  It was as good as anything as she had no intentions of drinking it anyway.  After receiving her ungainly, hummie-sized mug of swill, she chose a seat with direct line of sight to Jubrayl's usual place.  She climbed then up into the seat, where she remained, nursing the drink, and awaiting her invitation for an audience with the most powerful crime lord in Sandpoint.

This message was last edited by the player at 16:46, Fri 26 May 2017.

The Raconteur
 GM, 2930 posts
 Teller of Tales
 Writer of Wrongs
Sat 27 May 2017
at 23:01
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)



Pisca’s entrance to the Fatman’s Feedbag went almost unnoted.  The doorman simply opened the door to let her in, and one man she’d worked with what seemed a lifetime ago tipped his cap.  The gnome wasn’t a part of this world anymore, and she felt very apart from it as she stood on a chair, her drink on the table in front of her, and waited for Jubrayl Vhiski's notice.

The Fatman’s Feedbag was its usual raucous melding of noise, hilarity, drunkenness, and menace.  But as always, Jubrayl Vhiski’s table was an oasis of civility among rough men trading rude insults.  It seemed as if everyone steered clear of an unseen cordon around the table, not approaching unless expressly invited.  And the gods help you if you spilled your drink on Sandpoint’s most-urbane criminal.

Men had been beaten for less.  Or so went the rumors.

Some status or other protected Pisca from the hassling a normal outsider might receive at the Feedbag.  Whether it was her recent exploits on behalf of Sandpoint, a remnant of her old status as a fellow lawbreaker, or the perception that she was one of Vhiski’s favorites, none of the Sczarni ruffians present chose to make Pisca’s presence a point of contention.  She experienced a bubble of solitude almost comparable to that of the well-dressed man she'd come to see.

Vhiski himself was having a serious-looking discussion with a serious-looking man dressed in travel clothes.  The travelling man didn’t appear to be Sczarni; his close-cut hair and alert manner gave him more of a soldier’s look than a criminal’s.  A prominent scar on his face testified to at least some familiarity with combat.  Still, as he leaned over the table and spoke, Vhiski seemed very interested in whatever it was he had to say.

After a few minutes Jubrayl leaned back, nodded, and gestured to one of the two large Sczarni bodyguards standing impassively at the table.  The man produced a small bag and handed it to the crimelord, who then passed it along to the scar-faced fellow.  Vhiski caught Pisca’s eyes as the short-haired man stood and bowed.  The side of his mouth twitched upwards, and he leaned back and said a few words to his other bodyguard.  The giant man nodded and began easily making his way through the crowd as Jubrayl bade his current companion goodbye.

“Mr. Vhiski wants to see you,” the bodyguard—his name was Nunzi, Pisca seemed to recall—told her.  It sounded like more of an order than a request, but as an audience was what Pisca sought anyway she had no reason to refuse.  Handing her drink to the nonplussed bodyguard, she strode across the room to Jubrayl’s table, hopping up on a chair to find her summoner all smiles.

“Pisca!”  Jubrayl said with what seemed like real affection, his thin black beard as neat as ever.   “It is good to see you, yes?  You have been so busy, running this way and that, helping our fine Sheriff root out the bad men behind the murders at the mill.”  He reached for his wine glass, took a sip, and put it down.  “How is that going, if one might ask?  I have, shall we say, an interest in the matter.”




This message was last edited by the GM at 23:08, Sat 27 May 2017.

Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 3395 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Sun 28 May 2017
at 00:38
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)
[Language unknown:  "Eent ntelarconenc tresun o iveio our provorvorres tio ekelwe ngic larch n ntarut neers ersic ng rotr,"] said the gnome in perfectly accented Varisian.  [Language unknown:  "No derredeau elic wh anyoerhou oer pre i eveestoul omtowi ndhopami.  *Hiroiv* t ti tic."]

"Or so I've heard."  In her single-minded pursuit of all things Varisian, Aunt Hattie had been a master of the art of innuendo.  Young Pisca Neep Freemish, growing up in the small apartment where Henrietta Breton Geezlebottle had held her small business reading fortunes in the harrowing cards, had picked up some facility in it as well.  She did not pause to determine whether Jubrayl understood her expectations of a tit for tat exchange as had been implied by her oblique references.  To do so would have been an insult to his intelligence.  Instead, she plunged right into her story.

"Your Lordship turned out to be Aldern Foxglove," she began.  This time she did pause.  Her eyes rose to his face to ascertain whether or not he, at the center of his web of informants, had already been told of the letters and their contents, and knew to whom she had just referred.  Then she went on to relate the entire story from the encounter at the sanatorium to the Hambley farm to the battle up and down the Foxglove Misgivings to the final discovery and the destruction of the thing that had been Aldern Foxglove.

"' ... It matters not to me.  Xanesha, Mistress of the Seven ... '" ended the gnome, quoting the letter from memory.  "And so the killings have come to an end.  And the deaths are avenged," she added.  "Of Tarch Mortwell, Lener Hask, and Gedwin Tabe.  But endings seem to do little more than spawn new beginnings.  Many questions still remain, you understand.  Many questions the answers to which I must find."
Jubrayl Vhiski
 NPC, 5 posts
 Varisian Villain
Sun 28 May 2017
at 20:57
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)



“Aldern Foxglove, you say.”  The crimelord had no appreciable reaction.  “And not poor Mister Mollin at all.”  He chuckled.  “That was not a believable story, yes?  Kerr Mollin the bloody-handed killer?  The young man is far too . . . earnest for that, no?”  He tapped his finger on the table.  “He helped deliver my sister’s child, did you know?  He was very good.”

“Poor Lord Foxglove,” Jubrayl lamented in a tone that did not carry much lamentation.  “Caught up in a web beyond his experience.  Arrogance is the enemy of all.”  He raised an eyebrow at the gnome.  “You know this, Pisca, yes?  We must guard against thinking ourselves more than we are.  However much success we have, there are things beyond our ability.  The importance is in knowing which things those are.”

“Thank you for your story, little Pisca.  It answers many of my questions.”  He gave her a measuring look.  “And I seem to understand that you also have questions, yes?  You may ask.  I will answer as I am able.”




This message was last edited by the player at 20:58, Sun 28 May 2017.

Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 3396 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Mon 29 May 2017
at 02:15
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)
"Tell me what you know of this Brotherhood of the Seven," Pisca asked, but before the Sczarni can answer she continues.  "Here is what I think.  I think they've been operating in your territory for a long time.  In addition to the agents responsible for drawing in poor ... drawing in Aldern Foxglove, I suspect they were responsible for the murder at the White Deer Inn a few years ago.  And I know that they were in league with Nualia and the goblins less than a year back."

"We'll be going up against them.  But I think you know this, Jubrayl.  And I'm hoping that we do so with full understanding of ourselves," she added.
Jubrayl Vhiski
 NPC, 6 posts
 Varisian Villain
Mon 29 May 2017
at 05:30
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)



Jubrayl listened patiently to Pisca’s suppositions.  When the gnome stopped, he paused.  His eyes flicked up to the ceiling, then back to her, filled with concern.  “I am afraid, little Pisca, that you do not have this full understanding."  He sighed.  "This Brotherhood you speak of is not to be crossed lightly, yes?”  He shook his head slightly.  “Here in Sandpoint, far from the seat of their power, we may resist their influence as we are able.  But to seek them out in their own city?”  His tone made the question sound as if it contemplated the very heights of ridiculousness.  “It is madness.”

“This group you speak of has much influence in Magnimar.  Who is to tell how high it reaches?  And the brothers?”  He tapped his head.  “Crazed.  Not businessmen.  Their goals are their own, and they pursue them with a, what is the word, zeal?  Zeal, yes.”  He nodded.  “One crosses them at one’s peril.”

“But they had nothing to do with the events at the White Deer.  Of that I am certain.”  He leaned towards Pisca.  “You know who I am.  But despite all this, Sandpoint is my home, yes?”  He waved an arm out to the side, indicating either the Fatman or the entire town.  “I protect it in my own way.  And I have no desire to see its heroes destroyed by the same arrogance that ended Lord Foxglove.”



This message was last edited by the player at 05:31, Mon 29 May 2017.

Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 3397 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Mon 29 May 2017
at 12:40
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)
It was notable that Pisca then dedicated some few precious moments of the time she was allowed with Jubrayl to consider the things that he had just said.  And it was not just imagining that she was giving thought to his words - picturing herself in sober cogitation.  No, this was some serious thoughtful consideration.

"I'm ... not sure we have much choice," is what she finally said.  "Sheriff Balor offered Stomper, Guard Sergeant Kellan Storval, the mission, and Kellan accepted.  And I have to go along to make sure they're safe.  I just have to.  But it's more than that.  It feels ...  It feels like destiny."  She looked up from out of the depths of her explanation with her lips pressed into a line tight from the need to describe the vague and swirly, but, at the same time horribly inevitable things inside her - from the need to convey these things and to be understood.

"So I need you to tell me everything you know about this Brotherhood of Seven.  People, places, their organization, their methods, communication, vulnerabilities.  I think, maybe, we're going to war, Jubrayl.  Just the five of us against the all of them.  And we have to be ready."
Jubrayl Vhiski
 NPC, 7 posts
 Varisian Villain
Tue 30 May 2017
at 07:36
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)



“Hmm.  Destiny.”  Jubrayl replied in the tone of one who did not believe in such things.  “Aldern Foxglove believed that fighting the Brotherhood was his destiny as well, yes?  To revenge himself upon them for the wrongs done to his family?  And yet,” he continued, “his real destiny was actually quite different than he thought it to be.”  The well-dressed Sczarni tapped his fingers on the table.  “One might learn a lesson from Lord Foxglove’s example.”

Jubrayl gave a defeated sigh.  “And yet I can see that you have set yourself upon this course.  And you are not well-known for changing your mind, no matter how bad the idea you have set upon.”  He grimaced slightly.  “You know this to be true, yes?  So I will give you what help I am able.”

He leaned forward, voice dropping so that only Pisca could hear.  “It is not much.  This Brotherhood is not easily joined.  I myself lost two good men.”  He shrugged.  “I did not try again.  Much of their inner workings are dark to me.”

“Their methods are not.  They are violent men, not given to subtlety when an example is to be made.  You experienced this yourself, yes?  Yet they are of the shadows.  No one knows whom they might be; their masks hide all.  A Brother could be your associate, your customer, your friend, your constable.  And although they seem to be everywhere, they are nowhere.  Few know they exist.  But they are deadly, and of late their murders have demanded the attention of Magnimar’s authorities.”

He paused.  “You may find the details . . . familiar.  Merchants, moneylenders, guards, politicians.  All dead, bodies defiled, faces missing, chests carved with the same star you found at the mill.”  He gave Pisca a measured look.  “It may be wise to think upon whether you truly wish to find such men.”

“As I am sure you know, Haldmeer Grobaras is the Lord-Mayor of Magnimar.  I am told that these murders are putting a great deal of pressure upon him.  He may even grow desperate enough to offer a reward for solving them.  And yet I cannot recommend that you go to him for assistance.  No one knows who might be a member of the Brotherhood, but I cannot believe that they do not have agents in a government as corrupt as Grobaras’.”  He raised an eyebrow at Pisca.  “I am sure you understand how dangerous it would be to seek the Brotherhood under such conditions.”



Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 3398 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Tue 30 May 2017
at 15:28
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)
Pisca nodded, a solemn gesture of understanding.  "And so I'm going to have to know everything that I can about them before we go."

"Tell me, the two men that you lost, can you tell me at what point you lost them?  What was the last thing they were trying?  What happened to them?  Maybe we can learn from their mistakes."

She paused then as an idea came to her.  "Have you considered that being of the shadows could be to our advantage as well?" she asked.  "If no one knows who is a Sevenie, no one knows who is *NOT* either.  Right?  That might be something we can use."
Jubrayl Vhiski
 NPC, 8 posts
 Varisian Villain
Wed 31 May 2017
at 06:15
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)



"There is not much to know, little Pisca.  I sent two capable men to infiltrate them, yes?  They were to report back to me in the usual fashion.  Signs indicating this place or that to meet.  Messages dropped in prearranged locations."  He sighed.  "I never heard from them again."

Jubrayl shook his head slightly.  "I would not rely on them being unable to identify each other.  As you know, we ourselves have hand gestures and . . . other methods of confirming that one is who one claims to be.  I very much doubt that this Brotherhood lacks such things."



Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 3399 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Wed 31 May 2017
at 12:51
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)
"That's true," agreed the gnome, and her head bobbed, indicating that it agreed as well.  She reached a hand into her pouch, and when that hand returned it placed itself flat upon the table with its palm down.

"Have you ever seen one of these? whispered the gnome.  Her eyes flicked from first one of the crimelord's ubiquitous minders to the other, then she peeled her hand away just enough for him to see the dark card beneath with its gold embossed number displayed in the middle.
The Raconteur
 GM, 2936 posts
 Teller of Tales
 Writer of Wrongs
Wed 7 Jun 2017
at 05:23
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)



"Hmmmm," the Sczarni crimelord did not react much to the card he'd been shown.  "I have not myself seen such a card."  He took a sip of his wine.  "But as you know, I do my best to stay out of the, how do you say, day-to-day matters of business.  It is possible that others know of this card, yes?"  He shrugged.  "My people would have no reason to bring something like this to my attention."




Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 3401 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Wed 7 Jun 2017
at 13:20
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)
Large violet eyes lingered on the crime lord's face before the small pink hand closed itself again over the black card and its golden seven.  "Then, I suggest that your people aren't doing their job," Pisca countered.

She drew the card back across the table, slipping it quietly off the edge and returning it to her pouch.  "I might also need supplies in Magnimar," she added in a voice, perhaps, overly casual.  Is there anyone you might recommend?  In case I need, say, a knife sharpened?  Some goods traded?  Or, maybe even a message delivered?  I've never been to Magnimar, and I wouldn't know who to trust."  Pisca's casual words and overtly innocent mien were a thin veil that revealed more than hid a pointed innuendo, uncharacteristic for a gnome so usually startlingly direct or opaque to the point of being incomprehensible.  Perhaps this was a new Pisca.  Or, perhaps, this was only evidence that she could play with subtleties when she chose to.

Pisca Neep Freemish rolled 25.  Sense Motive (Is Jubrayl Lying? +2 from AL).
Jubrayl Vhiski
 NPC, 9 posts
 Varisian Villain
Mon 14 Aug 2017
at 06:32
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)



"In Magnimar." Jubrayl repeated in a musing tone.  "You want someone trustworthy, yes?  Someone incorruptible by this Brotherhood."  The side of his mouth crooked upward.  "I have just the name.

"Arwick Tosscobble.  A halfling merchant.  And if you care to believe his tales," the crimelord's voice indicated that he himself was not such a believer, "he has accomplished mighty things as a warrior as well.

"This Tosscobble is a . . . friend to all."  Vhiski's right eyebrow reached toward the ceiling, ensuring that Pisca caught his full meaning.  "Yet he has a, how do they say, moral compass?  There are things he will not do, yes?  Such men in his profession are as valuable as they are rare."  The Sczarni leaned forward.  "For if there are things they will not do for you, neither will they do them to you.

"Mister Tosscobble is . . . extremely unlikely to traffic with the Brotherhood."  Vhiski snapped his fingers and a bodyguard leaned forward.  "Nunzi, parchment please."  Almost as soon as the request was made, a paper appeared in the crimelord's hand.  "Thank you."  Jubrayl pulled a writing implement from his vest and scribbled upon the paper.

"Here is his address," Jubrayl pushed the paper across the table to Pisca.  Glancing down at it, she saw it read:

Arwick Tosscobble
Hungry Wolf Sundries
Stall 62
Bazaar of Sails


Below, she saw an additional annotation.

Master Arwick,

The bearers of this note are my friends.  If you help them, I would be very grateful.

JV


"An introduction," he clarified, gesturing at the note.  "I am sure that your," his mouth quirked upwards again, "natural charm will take care of the rest, yes?"





Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 3414 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Tue 15 Aug 2017
at 00:32
Book 2, Chapter #3a:  A Gnome's Search (Pisca)
"Thank you, Nunzi," the gnome offered a soft smile to the thuggish functionary.  Or was he a functional thug?  She folded the letter carefully in thirds.

"I will take my leave now," she announced.  "Thank you as well, Jubrayl," she added, unmoving from her seat despite what she had just said.  "For the stories.  And the advice.  And for this."  Pisca held the trifolded letter up in one of her small hands, then she slid off the side of the chair.

"I hope to see you when I return from Magnimar," came her voice from below the edge of the table.  "My rare friend."  And then she left, walking out of the Fatman's Feedbag and headed generally north in the direction of the Rusty dragon.