Chapter #7j: What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)   Posted by Brodert Quink.Group: 0
Cato Crispin
 Human Wizard, 623 posts
 Now 100% Monster Free
Tue 12 Aug 2014
at 19:57
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
Cato let out his breath as Ven stepped back from the edge of confrontation and gathered his wayward children.  That certainly wasn't the best thing that could have happened tonight, but at least there wasn't any fighting.

He stepped up to Kellan and patted his shoulder.  "I'll join you back at the Dragon for a drink."  Cato took another long breath, and gave Kellan a weak smile, continuing on in a whisper as Ven led his children away.  "Sorry about Shayliss.  I know this isn't you'd like to see her off before Thistletop."

The wizard watched the gnome leave the group, heading off to another part of town, and shook his head, before turning around and heading towards the Rusty Dragon with Kellan.
Kellan Storval
 Human Fighter, 655 posts
 Former Red Shirt
Wed 13 Aug 2014
at 04:09
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
Kellan walked in silence for a bit, obviously deflated from the falling out with the Vinders and absolutely exhausted from the days activities. His normal "mature for his years" facade was wearing thin and he was begining to look more like a boy who just wanted the day to be done.

"It's alright" he sighed "None of this is going to matter much anyway unless tommorow goes well...so no point in worrying about it." He rubbed at his face as if bothered "One thing at a time I guess"

He was obviously stressed and although he had managed to more or less keep up appearances around the Mayor and Shayliss, with just Cato around he seemed more comfortable letting down his guard.

"My families not even going to find out about us leavin until we're half way there..." he added a minute or so later with a hint of anger in his voice, seeming to be speaking as much to himself as to Cato.

He still didn't know how they were supposed to pull this off. Even with ample time to plan and rest up it would still seem nigh insurmountable. Five of them against all of Thistletop...it would make for a grand story if anybody lived to tell it.
The Raconteur
 GM, 1148 posts
 Teller of Tales
 Writer of Wrongs
Wed 13 Aug 2014
at 18:06
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)



Kellan and Cato made their way, slowly and tiredly, back to the Rusty Dragon.  The streets of Sandpoint were almost empty now; all of the funeral’s attendees seemed to have either gone home to be with their families or to one of its several taverns to be with their friends.  The torchlamps intermittently lining the street were the pair’s only company aside from a brief encounter with the patrolling Jamis Needlehome, but the on-duty guardsman had time for little else other than brief pleasantries before going on about his business.

Sandpoint was, after all, under siege.

One wouldn’t have known it from the activity occurring at the bustling Rusty Dragon, however.  Kellan and Cato opened the inn’s large double-doors to find a crowded and almost-raucous public room.  Apparently those who weren’t inclined to retire to their homes and meditate on life’s fragile brevity wished to completely drown such thoughts under an avalanche of alcohol and good food.

Kellan and Cato savored the tempting smells of whatever savory morsels Ameiko and her staff were preparing for the evening meal.  It seemed attending the funeral hadn’t precluded the Rusty Dragon’s food preparers from putting together quite the evening repast; the guardsman and scholar observed roast duck, braised pig, and what look like pheasant traveling to various tables.

Across the room, Cato spotted Rogors Craesby sitting at one of the taproom’s smaller tables.   The slim, dark-haired man had apparently obtained rooms, or at least found somewhere to change, as he was now dressed in an appropriately somber black vest, jacket, necktie, and pants, the darkness of his ensemble set off only by a brilliantly white, crisply-pressed undershirt.  Craesby’s high-quality black boots were polished to a mirror shine.

Clearly the man was a believer in quality sartorial presentation.  But he didn’t outshine the two men who were approaching him.  With Kellan dressed in his pressed dress uniform with its shining gold buttons and Cato in his best scholar’s robes, they made an impressive trio.

As Kellan and Cato walked over to Aldern’s assistant, the man called a barmaid over to the table; she arrived at the same time they did.  “My treat,” Rogors nodded graciously as she took their beverage orders.  One she had gone, he turned his attention to Kellan.

“Kellan Storval,” he smiled.  “I have spent most of the afternoon looking for you.”  He waved them to the two empty chairs at the table.  “I’m glad that we are finally able to meet.”  He inclined his head at Cato, indicating his appreciation for the scholar’s assistance in finding his quarry.  “I have something for you.”

Rogors brought out the neatly-wrapped package and placed it before the guardsman.  “Please,” he said, gesturing to the parcel, “open it.  Lord Foxglove wants to make sure he got the proper fit.”  Kellan tentatively opened the package to find a pair of boots.  But not just any pair of boots; they looked exactly like the pair of boots Aldern had been wearing at the party, the ones with which Kellan had been so impressed.

The package held a folded handwritten note on high-quality parchment.  When Kellan unfolded it, he read the following:

Kellan,

I hope you will forgive me for ignoring your wishes and procuring you a pair of these very fine boots for your very own.  I simply could not countenance the idea that you would continue to wear your current footwear without at least giving these a try.  Of course, if you prefer your current boots, I won’t be offended if you continue wearing them.  I have a sneaking suspicion, however, that once you try them on you will understand why I felt you had to try them.

Gaspar the Cobbler is truly a magician.

I hope that this gift can in some small way evidence my esteem for you.  I don’t think I can overstate how much of an inspiration you and your friends have been to me.  The selfless sacrifice you demonstrated during and after the Swallowtail Festival is a rare thing in this world.  Rare, but very worthwhile, and to be commended and rewarded when it occurs.

You are a good man, Kellan.  You’ve been a great encouragement to me during a dark time.  And I hope to live up to the example of you and your companions.  I hope I will always have the privilege of remaining,

Your friend,

Aldern


As requested, the young man tried them on.  The feeling as he did so was akin to having his feet massaged by one of the most-skilled masseuses imaginable.  The boots held his feet with a comfort that was hard to describe.  Suffice to say that Kellan had never, ever experienced footwear of this quality before.  It was as if his feet had gone to their own little heaven.

They boots fit perfectly.

Rogors looked on anxiously, eager to see whether Kellan approved of his lord’s gift.

OOC:  Kellan, these high-quality boots give you a +3 bonus to any Survival or Endurance check having to do with using your feet.  We can hash out their application to particular situations as they occur.  Also, once per day these boots will allow you to ignore encumbrance penalties for a round and move at your base speed.





This message was last edited by the GM at 17:57, Thu 14 Aug 2014.

Kellan Storval
 Human Fighter, 657 posts
 Former Red Shirt
Wed 13 Aug 2014
at 18:37
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
Kellan managed to put his best foot forward when meeting Rogors Craesby, the farm boy sympathized with the man travelling such a distance all for a mere package, likely to a strange place in seach of somebody that he had never met. While he was undoubtedly well compensated by the generous Lord Foxglove, it did little to assuage the tinge of guilt felt by the common born farmer cum soldier.

He shook the mans hand firmly and asked about his trip and how he was finding the little town but eventually they came around to business. Kellan ordered a big mug of milk, and while it may have seemed a little childish, he felt it best not to drink when he was in anything less than a good mood. He had seen the negative effect of alcohol far to often during his work to take the stuff lightly.

Opening the package gingerly he savored the scent of freshly worked leather and polish as the lid came away, giving a low whistle as he saw the boots themselves.

"Well that's a lordly gift..." he said aloud as he read the letter and lifted one from the box and showed it to Cato. "I dont know what to say...thank you, for bringing these all this way, and doubly so to Lord Foxglove if you please. That's...very, very generous"

Kellan did not want to be so crass as to ask how much such finery cost, but he wagered that he had made less in a year than what they would sell for in a store, never mind Rogors services.

When the courier insisted that Kellan try them on, the farm boy seemed hesitant. Looking around he slowly worked off dress boots.

Putting a aside his embarrassments Kellan slid them on right there at the dinner table and  slowly stood, letting out a contented sigh as he did so.

"Oh wow..." he exclaimed, breaking into a smile. "He wasn't kidding...they are so light" he took a few steps around the table. "I wonder how he knew my size...they fit like gloves."

This message was last edited by the player at 18:46, Wed 13 Aug 2014.

Cato Crispin
 Human Wizard, 631 posts
 Now 100% Monster Free
Thu 14 Aug 2014
at 18:30
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
Cato gladly accepted the drink from the barmaid, nodding to Rogers.  "Ordinarily, I would prefer some wine."  He took a quick pull from the mug.  "Of course, ordinarily I'd want to savor my drink.  This isn't an ordinary day."  Cato smiled and broke into a wide grin, raising his mug to the staff of the Rusty Dragon.  "This is actually quite good, though."  He poked Kellan softly in the arm.  "You've been holding out on me, Kellan!  You never told me that Ameiko's ale was this good."

Cato watched as Kellan opened the package and displayed the boots.  The mage let our an involuntary whistle and looked back to Rogers.  "Generous, indeed.  Your employer is that."
Rogors Craesby
 NPC, 3 posts
Sat 16 Aug 2014
at 07:04
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)



"He is indeed."  Rogors inclined his head towards Cato before addressing Kellan.  "I am pleased to see that you approve of the boots, and I know Lord Foxglove will be pleased to hear that news as well."  He shrugged at Kellan's wonderment regarding the perfect sizing.  "Well, it is not so much Lord Foxglove's doing as Gaspar the Cobbler's.  He's famous for being able to size a person just by looking at them."

"Although," Aldern's aide looked around, then leaned in conspiratorially, "I think if you consulted Mr. Buxton on the matter you might find that he had a conversation with Lord Foxglove regarding your boot size."  The dark-haired man grinned.  "I'm sorry if that spoils some of the magic."

"But now that you have your boots, I beg your leave to retire."  The well-dressed man stood, giving first Kellan, then Cato a slight bow along with an apologetic look.  "It has been a long and wearying day and I have much to do on the morrow.  May Desna guide your paths."

And with that, Rogors Craesby took his leave, heading up the stairs towards the residential area of the inn.




This message was last edited by the player at 07:05, Sat 16 Aug 2014.

Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 1198 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Sun 17 Aug 2014
at 16:43
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
This evening had not gone as expected.  Not at all.  In many ways this was disappointing.  But in other ways, it was also very interesting.  Unexpected things arose when you didn't know everything that you thought you knew.  And, although the unexpected things could be unpleasant and uncomfortable, beneath the unexpected lay the treasure trove of question to be answered - those things that you didn't even know that you didn't know before.

Pisca Neep Freemish entered the Rusty Dragon to the scent of roast duck, braised pig, and pheasant.  It was a rich smell of community and hospitality, and it contrasted sharply with the quiet and solitary smell of night air and empty streets from which she had just come on her walk from the Fatman's Feedbag.  From the corner of her gnomish eye, she noted the departure of Aldern Foxglove's Executive Minion, Rogors Craesby.  But his brief presence was little more than part of the background of the inn to the pensive and currently quite thoughtful gnome.

"Hey ho," Pisca offered a distracted greeting to Stomper and Cato as she climbed up into a chair at their table.  In silence, she pulled an unattended plate in her direction, and without really seeing them, transferred some green things, some red things, some form of meat, and something that said with some degree of certainty that it was potatoes, onto her captive plate.  With a hummie sized spoon in her fist, the gnome brought a scoop of the self-identified potatoes to her mouth and mulled it even as she mulled her thoughts.

Finally, she looked up at the two humans with whom she'd been spending so much time over the past few weeks, and formed a question.

"Friendship is a sticky thing, isn't it?" she asked.  "Friendship only goes so far before it breaks, doesn't it?  Most things do, I suppose.  And if that's true, should you live your life expecting the friendships that you have to break sometime?  Is it better to live, always on the lookout for the specter of inevitable betrayal?  Or should you just live with the present joys of the friendship and put the future out of your mind?"

With the edge of the human spoon, Pisca carved a piece of potato away from the main white-ish mass and scooped it to her mouth.  Potatoes were a good thinking food.  She brandished the spoon for emphasis, pointing first at Stomper and then at Cato.

"That ... is the question," said the gnome.
Kellan Storval
 Human Fighter, 663 posts
 Former Red Shirt
Sun 17 Aug 2014
at 20:52
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
Kellan bid Rogers a good night and gave him yet another nod of appreciation be for the man left. The lingering embarrassment of having the man travel so far on his behalf was mixed with his wonder at the gift and his silent appreciation of it as he sat there as the table. He had been sipping at his milk and getting ready to tuck into his meal when Pisca arrived.

He listened to her observations on friendship as he broke off a hunk of soft bread and spread a little honey on it.

"I dont know if betrayal is the word I'd use..." Kellan began, taking a bite "Sometimes it seems that people just grow apart, ya know?" He wiped some honey off the corner of his lip with a napkin

"I think the term friend gets thrown around pretty easily too...I mean, people will use the word friend when they really mean acquaintance or co-worker, just out of a habit of bein nice maybe, but they dont really mean it."

The guardsman began filling up his plate,picking at things with his fork as he spoke.

"A friend, to me at least, should be someone that you are proud to associate yourself with, somebody you'll stand up for and help out in a pinch. Somebody you can trust. Now Sandpoint has a lot of friendly people, Gods bless em, and they may do all that stuff just of bein kind. But I could'nt rightly call em my friends cause I just don't know em that well.

It's like bein in a relationship...only not romantic of course, but still you go out together, you learn about the other person, and if it really works out and they prove themselves to each over the years, you can call them friend...if that makes sense"
Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 1203 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Mon 18 Aug 2014
at 13:35
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
The gnome sat quietly, absorbing the wisdom of Kellan Stomper Storval as she masticated her potatoes and then added some of the Red Food which, as it turned out tasted like cranberries.

"You humans wouldn't consider making up new words for different kinds of friends, would you?" she asked once he seemed to come to the end of his explanation.  "'Tomogachi' is a perfectly good word.  And I don't think it's taken yet.  Or you could each make up your own personal word for different kinds of friends.  Gnomes make up their own words all the time and look at us."

"But ... I guess ... What I really mean ... "

The gnome paused for a moment, temporarily at a loss for the words that would express what she really meant.  And when she continued again, she said, "I stopped in to see Jubrayl.  I asked him whether he was my friend, and he said pretty much the same thing that you said, Stomper.  Except with fewer words, which is a very Varisian thing to do, by the way.  And he also said," and the gnome continued in a passable approximation of the crime lord's voice, "'Friendships are also tested by circumstances.  Sometimes . . . the circumstances prevail.'"

"Some truths are harder than others, and when they fall on you they hurt."  The lips of the gnome were pulled into a grim line of concentration, and her gaze drilled into the middle distances as though taking in the full bleakness of her moral dilemma.  "He was right.  He is right."  Pisca looked up into the faces of the two humans.  On her face was an expression of abject misery of existential proportions.  "What's the use of pretending something is something else?  Especially when you're not really even pretending that you're pretending?"
Cato Crispin
 Human Wizard, 638 posts
 Now 100% Monster Free
Mon 18 Aug 2014
at 15:53
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
Cato sat down to eat with Pisca and Kellan, idly listening to their conversation and just as idly spooning various forms of food onto his plate.  The prospect of the excursion to Thistletop was weighing on the young scholar's mind, and captured most of his attention.  Cato his shook his head, bringing his focus back to the present.

"I think Kellan has the right of it.  We have different words for different sorts of relationships."  Cato started counting on his fingers.  "Like you said, we have friend, and acquaintance, coworker.  Maybe you could add lover, confidant..." Cato trailed off.  "Really, the mystery is why we don't do that."  Despite his internal thoughts, Cato's voice increased in speed and passion as he discussed ancient history.  "In Thassilonian, they actually had four different words for what we'd call love.  The first, [Language unknown:  Pltola] is a kind of spiritual love.  Then there's [Language unknown:  Roect], with shades of lust of passion.  Next you have [Language unknown:  Vordinine], which is closer to pure friendship in the common tongue.  And finally you have [Language unknown:  Noiepo], which is the natural love that family members feel."  Cato's brow furrowed as he thought about Tsuto, Lonjiku, and Nulia.  "Well, most family, in any case."

Cato let out a long sigh, stirring his food.  He took a single spoonful of the mix and put it in his mouth, chewing and swallowing automatically.
Kellan Storval
 Human Fighter, 664 posts
 Former Red Shirt
Mon 18 Aug 2014
at 16:07
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
Kellan raised an eyebrow in an almost comical way in response to Piscas conundrum. They had all been through a long, long day and for a brief moment he felt a flush of anger at the gnome. He had mostly forgotten about her tie with Jubrayl that had been revealed that morning, in the face of what they were dealing with now it was easy to have it all lost in the shuffle.

Here was a man like a cancer in the heart of their little town. Not some outside enemy like the goblins, which were an enemy that could be marched against, slain and burried. No, Jubrayl was part of Sandpoint, a facet of human nature. A representative of vice, greed, selfishness and degeneration. If they killed him or locked him up another would take his place. It was just the way of things.

That did not mean that they had to stop trying to get rid of him of course...

And here was Pisca, who in the span of an hour had yelled at and struck the father of his girlfriend, denied them access to potentially useful supplies and consorted with a man who had probably ranked foremost among his enemies before all this goblin business started a few weeks ago.

And yet he could not bring himself to truly be mad at her. Kellan was finding out that bonds forged in blood and combat are curious things. They had all saved each others lives more than once and probably would again before the sun set tommorow. What did such things really amount to among comrades? They would need to be strong, for each other as much as Sandpoint, now more than ever.

The guardsman utensils hit his plate with a small clatter before he gestured with a kind of circular motion I've toward himself as he stood.

"Come on over here Pisca" he insisted with a very tired smile, getting down on one knee and offering the gnome a big ole hug.

"Things are the way we make'em, and none of us are perfect...you got two friends right here, comrades, allies, hell...compatriots" he grinned "And I reckon you always will...so stop thinkin about it so hard and just go with it. Life is too short to worry about the small stuff...well...for us at least." He shrugged "Maybe in your case it's too long. Either way, we're here for ya. Ain't right Cato?" He looked over to the mage from over her diminutive shoulder.

This message was last edited by the player at 16:09, Mon 18 Aug 2014.

Cato Crispin
 Human Wizard, 639 posts
 Now 100% Monster Free
Mon 18 Aug 2014
at 17:15
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
Cato shook his head, ending his scholarly reverie.  "Uh....yes, I reckon that's correct."  We watched the interaction between Kellan and Pisca, suddenly very curious as to the end result.  Pisca's actions would have made Kellan not particularly disposed to treat her kindly.  And it seemed Kellan was willing to overlook the attack on Ven, consorting with Jubrayl and the rest of the scum at the Fatman's Feedbag, and the rest.  Strange allies were indeed born out of shared danger.  Cato chuckled a little.  "I wonder what the best thing to call the group of us would be?  I suppose comrades, maybe veterans in arms?  I'd say brothers in arms, but half of us aren't the right gender."
Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 1205 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Mon 18 Aug 2014
at 20:27
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
"'Fislbind,' closer to pure friendship in the common tongue."  The gnome's voice was lifeless, repeating the Thassilonian word as though by rote.  Or, in this case, perhaps, for the purposes of inculcating the word into rote memory.

"'Arvalad,' the natural love that family members feel."

Pisca nodded, acknowledging to herself that she had heard and absorbed the lesson.  Kellan's words and Cato's words had so far made a great deal of sense.  They did not, however, make her feel any better.  But when Kellan went to the floor and opened his arms, the gnome's heart knew what to do.  She leapt from the chair, half jump and half fall, with the instinctive certainty that he would catch her.  He was warm, and she was safe, as she hugged him fiercely in her embrace.  And, to Pisca Neep Freemish, that act and that moment spoke with greater truth and eloquence than any words possibly ever could.

And in that moment it came to Pisca, - or, perhaps it was only that she had just remembered what she had known all the long - that there were always, and had always been, many things that filled up the world of thoughts and ideas.  They made a terrible din of the mind with their clamor and clangor.  Many were so similar that they might as well have been identical cousins.  And yet they always fought with such vehemence for supremacy that one could almost believe that there could be only one.

That was, of course, as an idea, entirely wrong.  The sheer multiplicity of conflicting and near mutually exclusive views was what made the tapestry of the mind so interesting.  It was alive and vibrant with uncertainty and questions.  It was what drove the engine of the meaning in life.

"I'm sorry," whispered Pisca Neep Freemish, with her face buried in Stomper's shoulder.  "I should have known.  The answer was there all the time," she said.  "In me.  In all of us."

The gnome smiled, and turned her face up to the wizard.  "We're an Assembly, Cato," she said in reply.  "Lysa said so.  We were brought together by the gods.  We're the Assembly of Fate!"

This message was last edited by the player at 21:23, Mon 18 Aug 2014.

Kellan Storval
 Human Fighter, 665 posts
 Former Red Shirt
Mon 18 Aug 2014
at 22:13
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
"It's ok" Kellan whispered in return to the gnome, rubbing her back vigorously before he moved to stand.

After he returned to his seat the food he had prepared seemed to vanish in a minute or so, lost to the sudden realization of how hungry he had been. A second glass of milk and a little more bread to top it off brought on a yawn and glance around at the taverns crowd in an effort to gauge the evenings progress.

"Well...I think it's about that time for me." He said as he stood and organized his dishes for easy clean up.

"I'm gonna get the horses saddled up in the morning, if Dav doesn't beat me to it, so don't worry about that...I would like to leave just as the dawn breaks..get out of town before most people are up and about...we'll see if it happens I guess"

He have a knowing smile to the pair

"Sleep well guys, I'll see you bright and early"

With that he gave a little wave and made his way out and down the street to the garrison whet he collected his things, then brought them back up to his room at the Dragon with little ceremony, pausing also the way to thank Ameiko for the meal and the ask for a wake up knock an hour before dawn.

Once inside he groaned and marvelled at how sore his body was as he carefully transferred his dress uniform onto a hanger and set about inspecting and cleaning his things for tommorow.

He was bleary eyed and yawning by the time his kit was passable, and he sat himself down at the desk in the room with a candle burning brightly nearby to compose his letters.

They were fewer than he imagined. One official looking one that would serve as a will, distributing his possessions back to his family. Another to Alergast meant to assuage any guilt should Kellan not return. One for his family, thanking them for everything and assuring them that he wanted this, and a final one to Shayliss that was mostly about being sorry that he was busy all the time.

When done he sealed them all and wrapped them up in twine with a note to Ameiko asking her to deliver them if they did not return in a months time.

Then finally, and with no small amount of satisfaction,  Kellan surrendered himself to the downy mattress and soft sheets of his bed where he was asleep as soon as his head touched the pillow.
Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 1206 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Tue 19 Aug 2014
at 02:05
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
Pisca simply stood by and watched for a while after disengaging from the her hug with Kellan.  The way humans eat can be very impressive.  It was certainly something to watch.  It did no harm to the appetite, supposed the gnome, that the food at the Rusty Dragon was as good as it was.  Pisca reclaimed her seat and was soon yomping away at her food with as much gusto as Stomper was.  Albeit with a great deal more feminine grace.  It was a shame that Lysa was absent.  She would, no doubt, have requested blueberries, and then Pisca would be able to eat from the human girl's plate too.

Oh well.  Pisca hopped down off her chair and went in search of Ameiko.

"I couldn't find him?  He wears a fruit bowl on his head, Ameiko.  Or so I was told.  Vorvashali Voon wears a fruit bowl on his head and I couldn't find him."

"Of course, then again, that does fit perfectly with the lock."

"Dui ma?" the gnome asked with the small scraps of the Tian language she'd picked up so far from her conversation with Bethana Corwin.  Pisca grinned at her accomplishment before continuing.  "But I was sort of counting on him to dispose of the batwinged head.  And now that we'll be leaving for a while, without a clear idea of when we'll be back, I suppose I've got no choice but to try the ritual myself."

"I've never banished an extra-planar batwinged head before, Ameiko.  Have you?"  With hands on hips the gnome looked up into the face of the Tianese proprietor of the Rusty Dragon, sharing her look of vexation.  "But I suppose there's a first time for everything.  And we certainly can't leave it here while we're going.  No telling what mischief it might get up to."

"So, where did you hide it?" asked the gnome.  Then, "Hmmm.  I wonder if Cato might know anything about how to go about this?"
Ameiko Kaijitsu
 NPC, 12 posts
 Rusty Dragon Proprietor
 Daughter of Lonjiku
Tue 19 Aug 2014
at 04:45
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)



Pisca dodged around some protesting kitchen staff to find Ameiko laboring over one of the cooking ovens.  “I think I see the problem,” she said in a loud voice to no one in particular as Pisca approached.  “I think if we just,” she reached under the oven with an arm, no doubt performing some sort of repair, “re-settle that, then,” she removed her arm, struck a match, and tossed it down below the oven.  The sound of something bursting into flames brought a fierce grin of accomplishment to her face.  “Just so,” she said, clapping her hands together.

She turned around, only to stop in surprise as she found Pisca only a foot behind her, beginning to talk about the town’s most-outrageously dressed personality.  Ameiko gave her gnomish a considering look, then smiled.  “You are right, Pisca.  Vorvashali Voon is not a hard man to pick out from the crowd.  Although he certainly does seem to come and go as he pleases.  But I’m sure it is for reasons of his own.”  She nodded, as if in possession of a secret knowledge.

“I’ll tell you what.  I’ll make a point of finding Voon as soon as he returns tomorrow and telling him about . . . what’s in there.”  She cocked her head back towards the storage area.  “I think it would probably be safer to have him handle anything of that nature, don’t you agree?  Disposing of such things isn’t a great time for,” she considered her words carefully, “experimentation.  I think the mischief that might result from such a thing would far outweigh the risk of whatever might occur from it spending a night in my vault.”




Shalelu Andosana
 NPC, 8 posts
 Elven Ranger
Tue 19 Aug 2014
at 04:55
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)



Cato, now alone at what had not long ago been a crowded table, looked up as the Rusty Dragon’s double doors opened to reveal none other than Shalelu Andosana, the legendary ranger who would lead their expedition on the morrow.  The public room hushed slightly as she entered; most townsfolk treated the elf woman with something akin to awe.  Having her actually walk, in the flesh, into the tavern were one was tipping back one’s favorite beverage was enough to shock even the drunkest Dragon patron into the brief, respectful silence due a hero.

The ranger’s piercing blue eyes scanned the room, missing nothing, noting and finally alighting on Sandpoint’s second-ranking scholar.  As the tavern’s conversations resumed, she made her way across the room to his table.

“Cato Crispin,” she said with the brevity of one used to one’s own company, and no one else’s, “it is good to find you here, although I was hoping more of your company would be present.  I think we are mostly prepared for tomorrow’s journey, but I thought if any of you had any questions now would be the time to answer them, rather than making an unnecessary racket tomorrow as we attempt to slip through the goblin pickets.”

She hailed a serving girl, ordered what Cato recognized as an excellent vintage of elven wine, then returned her attention to her new drinking companion.  “So, Cato,” she said, glancing away at the serving girl to determine what progress was being made with the wine, “has your agile mind presented you with any such questions?”




Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 1207 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Tue 19 Aug 2014
at 14:25
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
At first, the gnome met Ameiko's proposal with a dubious look.  Her violet eyes flicked first from the Vault that Ameiko had indicated with her head and back to the Tianese herself.  But, after a few blinks that were the outward manifestations of gnomish thought, Pisca's look of unease blossomed into a smile.

"That's very brave of you, Ameiko," she said after wrapping the Tian woman's waist in a hug.  It was a night for hugs, and that couldn't be a bad thing.  "Oh, and could you tell Mister Voon that Pisca Neep Freemish looks forward to meeting him?  He comes very highly recommended by his lock."

She'd have to stop by Town Hall before leaving tomorrow.  Such was the thought and the general tenor of the gnome's thoughts as she left her host behind and crossed the common room on her way to the guest suites.  Having failed to acquire any of the powerful magic on her list, she'd have to settle for the weapons that they'd taken off of the Three-Armed Zombie Master.  The Glowing Red Sword of Ultimate Evil was certainly no rapier.  But it could be stylish too.  With the right outfit.

Then Pisca spied Shalelu Andosana from the corner of her eye.

"Hullo," the gnome said in greeting as she climbed up into the seat that she had vacated only minutes ago.  "Are we ready to leave tomorrow?" Pisca asked.  Then, "any idea how long it will take to get from here to ... "  The gnome took a circumspect look about the nearby tables for casual, or possibly not so casual, listeners.  " ... from here to there?"
Cato Crispin
 Human Wizard, 640 posts
 Now 100% Monster Free
Tue 19 Aug 2014
at 16:07
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
Cato looked up from his half-finished meal as the elven ranger approached his table.  "Ah, Shalelu.  Good to see you here.  My companions were around.  Kellan just went up to rest, and Pisca ran off somewhere.  I'm sure she'll be back shortly."

The scholar paused as the elf placed her order, nodding at the wine.  "You're an interesting person.  I wouldn't think someone with your reputation would be able to tell a good Chablis, but you seem to.  The way the elves bring out the character of the grape is impressive, don't you think?  Too many humans seem to want to repeat the elven effort, but their wines all just end up tasting of oak, and it ruins the underlying crispness of the wine."  Cato smiled, as thought reminiscing of wines past.

"But enough about that.  Yes, questions about our journey."  Cato laughed.  "I suppose talking about wines is just a mask for my nervousness regarding our upcoming expedition.  "You might be interested to hear that Brodert shares your opinion that our destination is a re-purposed structure of ancient make.  He seems to think it is, or was, the top of the Old Light.  Which might mean there's interesting things inside, though I'm not sure it helps us.  Unless there are additional entrances that we could use to circumvent some of the defenses?  Other than that, I suppose the only thing I need to worry about is what spells I should prepare for our...adventure.  Any suggestions there?"

Cato looked up as Pisca rejoined the table, and nodded at the gnome.  "There she is, just as promised."
Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 1214 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Wed 20 Aug 2014
at 00:16
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
"Yes!  I am the promised," grinned the gnome, and she threw up her hands in self-presentation.

" ... promised what?  Well, it must be something special.  That's good, at least."

"I've been wondering how well you know Thistletop, Shalelu.  I mean, I don't expect you've been inside.  But how long have you been watching the outside?  Have you seen the gobbies come and go?  Are they all the Right-Sized monkey humpers?  Or do they have their share of hobgobbies and bugbears?  In addition to Bruthazmus, I mean."

"Are they all fighters?  Or are there women and children and old goblins there?  Oh, and I haven't given up on a sea entrance.  How far is the nearest way down to the shore?  And, do you think we can approach close enough along the beach without being seen?"

"Oh, and while I'm asking all these questions, have you fathomed why humans seem to be so touchy about marriage and babies?"
Shalelu Andosana
 NPC, 9 posts
 Elven Ranger
Fri 22 Aug 2014
at 00:32
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)



Shalelu shrugged at Cato’s question.  “One of the few parts of my heritage I haven’t forsaken is an appreciation of good wine.  Which is one of the reasons I so enjoy Ameiko’s establishment, and her company.”  She took a sip from her glass.  “She is quite the expert.  She has never shared with me where she obtained her knowledge.  But then again, I’ve never asked.”

“Hmmmm.” The elf nodded.  “Well, it is good to have my theories shared by a scholar, even one who is reputedly given to outlandish theories.  Perhaps they are not so outlandish after all.”  She shook her head.  “Unfortunately my knowledge of Thassilonian architecture is almost non-existent, so I have no idea if there might be a secret entrance or not.  All I can say is that I have seen no sign of a secret entrance and no evidence that anyone might be using one.  Although that, of course, does not mean one does not exist.”

Shalelu smiled at Pisca.  “A normal journey would take some eight hours for a group led by someone experienced with the terrain, as I am.”  She said this in a matter-of-fact manner that held no hint of bragging.  “How long it will take us to evade the goblin pickets and whatever other groups may be traveling over the same ground?”  The elf paused.  “That is harder to say.  I am planning for us to leave before dawn tomorrow, a plan with the double benefit of allowing us plenty of time to reach Thistletop and keeping,” she glanced around the public room, “any prying eyes from observing our departure.”

“As far as how well I know Thistletop,” she shrugged again, “probably better than any who have not actually entered it.  Although the gods know little enough for our current purposes.”  She grimaced at Pisca’s questions.  “I have not spent time cataloguing the comings and goings of all Thistletop’s occupants, although Thistletop proper is surrounded by villages of the Thistletop tribe, so I believe it to be much more of a military center than a social one.  Here.  This won’t be as nice as Mayor Deverin’s map, but let me see if I can sketch it for you.”

The ranger brought a charcoal pencil from the inside of her vest and a blank, folded up parchment from a slim knapsack she carried.  She shoved some dishes to the side, creating a clear area, and smoothed the parchment out over the newly-cleared space.  “Thistletop, as you know, is essentially an island.”  She drew a circle on the parchment.  “It is surrounded by steep cliffs plunging into the ocean,” she said, shooting Pisca an apologetic glance, “so accessing it via sea is impossible for all but the strongest climbers.  If we had a group of them we might be able to gain entrance that way.  But aside from myself and, perhaps, Guardsman Storval, these cliffs will likely prove an insurmountable obstacle.”

“No,” she said, drawing what looked like the coastline near the circle and a thick, dark line connecting the two, “we are probably going to have to use the bridge.”  She tapped the line.  “As far as I can tell, this is the only real connection between the shore and the island.  It is well-guarded, and probably trapped should circumstances become dire.  We will therefore need to gain the bridge as quickly and quietly as we can.”

Shalelu sighed.  “Before we do that, we will need to navigate the Nettlemaze.”  She drew a few squiggles on the shoreline in front of the bridge that indeed looked like a hasty attempt at a maze.  “I snuck in to this area once, for purposes of my own.”  She grimaced.  “It is difficult for larger-than-goblin-sized creatures.  The nettles create a sort of cave with only four or five feet of clearance, so anyone larger than that will need to crouch or scramble their way through.  Not ideal, but we must negotiate it nonetheless.  Fortunately the nettles open into clearings at various points, so we will not need to crouch the entire way.”

She looked over at Cato, “I don’t have many suggestions regarding your spellcraft, but I imagine that the use of fire magic would not be the best idea in that environment."  She inclined her head toward him.  "But I’ll defer to your judgment.  I am no wizard.”

The elf then drew little squares around the Nettlemaze.  “These the goblin villages.  I’m sure the villagers can be pulled back onto Thistletop in the event of an attack, much like some humans use castles.  But I've never had the opportunity to test that theory.”

The scout sat back.  “That is most of what I know.  And as far as human social customs are concerned?”  She gave Pisca a wry look.  “I’m afraid I’m not the one to ask.”




Cato Crispin
 Human Wizard, 645 posts
 Now 100% Monster Free
Fri 22 Aug 2014
at 02:04
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
Cato listened to Shalelu's questions, trying to absorb her words and formulate plans.  Things just seemed so utterly dire that his brain refused to come up with rational plans.  What's the point?it thought.  A better plan is just going to let your survive marginally longer in this suicide mission.  Cato rubbed his weary eyes and studied the map again, before pushing himself back from the table.

"Before dawn, eh?  Well, given that I need a full night's rest at least an hour to get prepared in the morning, I should be off."  He grinned, finally finding a small bit of humor in the situation.  "One final question: do you know anyway to quiet a racing mind so that one can get sleep in preparation for a day like tomorrow?"  Cato took one final candied blueberry tart from the table, bouncing it in his hand as he left for his room, hoping sleep would not be as elusive as he thought it might be.
Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 1219 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Fri 22 Aug 2014
at 14:02
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
"I know what you mean, Shalelu."  The gnome rolled her eyes to Desna's stars, a show of sympathetic solidarity with her fellow non-human.  "I'm thinking of becoming an expert on humans.  There are so many of them that it's sure to be a great help to people like us, don't you think?"

"Um ... no offense meant, Cato."

"Why?  Why?  Tell them that it's Human Nature ... " the gnome hummed.  "Oh, and one last question, Shalelu.  Once we get to Thistletop, where will we leave our ponies?  My Nettie isn't a wild pony.  She might be afraid if we leave her out in the woods with all of those gobbies about."

"Oh, wait.  You said before dawn, didn't you.  I was thinking of stopping by Town Hall to get my magic weapons back," Pisca said.  And with that statement, quite clearly indicating that she thought of the weapons now as her own.  "I'll probably have to go tonight instead."

"And no one's spoken to Dav Hosk, have they?  It would be useful to find out what he's learned from the goblin captive before we leave.  Especially if I'm going to impersonate one of them."

*sigh*, the gnome sighed.  Miles to go.  Miles.

"It's getting late, and I'd better get about it," announced the gnome.  She waited only for an answer to her question before hopping down off the chair and heading out into the dark of evening for those few last errands before bed.  Town Hall was almost all the way across Sandpoint.  It was a good thing that Sandpoint itself was not very big.
Shalelu Andosana
 NPC, 10 posts
 Elven Ranger
Sat 23 Aug 2014
at 18:56
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)



"It might take more years than you have to become an expert on humans, Pisca."  The elf savored another sip of her wine.  "You can think you know all there is to know about them, but they still manage to surprise you.  And the variation in their society!"  She shook her head ruefully.  "I think you'll find humans from Sandpoint are far differnet from humans from even Korvosa, much less lands outside of Varisia.  Look at the Shoanti and the Sczarni.  All human, but with very different traditions and approaches to even the most basic things."

"I enjoy them, though."  The ranger said with a note of wistfulness.  "They're so . . . active.  You can spend a century in my homeland and not simply live the way humans do in a decade.  I think their shorter lifespans give them a sense of urgency.  I enjoy being around them.  They make me feel," she spread her hands wide and took in a deep breath, as if soaking in the atmosphere of the inn, "well, alive."

"And I think I can find a place to tether our mounts where goblins won't find them," Shalelu said this very seriously, but with the smallest hint of a smile.  "I have been doing this a very long time."

Shalelu seemed somewhat taken aback at Pisca's sudden leave-taking.  "Wait, Pisca," she said.  "I think I brought everything you need down with me from the Town Hall.  It's secured in my room.  I think I got it all, but why don't you go over what you needed to make sure I have everything?  We wouldn't want to start out undersupplied."




Pisca Neep Freemish
 Gnome Archaeologist, 1229 posts
 The Gnome!
 And Her Imagination
Sun 24 Aug 2014
at 15:39
Re: Chapter #7j:  What's in Store (Pisca, Kellan, Cato)
"That's exactly it," agreed the gnome.  "That's exactly what I was thinking too.  Knowing that they have such short lives, they try to fill them with so much.  Even from birth.  You can hear them cry out for it.  That's pretty inspiring, don't you think?  I'm inspired.  And I think you'd be surprised at what a gnome can learn, Shalelu."

Pisca sauntered off toward the door out of the Rusty Dragon.  Then she froze in mid-stride.

"Wait.  You brought everything?  From Town Hall?  You have my Red Blade of Ultimate Evil?  The Amazing Returning Dagger?  Hmmm ...  We'd need rope.  We have food, right?  If it's going to take a day's travel just to get there, we'll need it.  And food for the ponies.  And magic scrolls of Silence.  For Stomper.  And a portable bridge would solve a lot of problems."

"Oh, and you wouldn't happen to have a really good bow for me, would you?"

"Hmmm.  And I would have liked to have talked with that Gobbie that we've got caged up too.  But I think we can do without."

"What do you think, Cato?  Anything that I didn't think of?"