Prologue: A Study in Azure [Ian Hightower]   Posted by The First And Last.Group: 0
The First And Last
 GM, 25 posts
Tue 2 Jun 2015
at 15:19
Prologue: A Study in Azure [Ian Hightower]
The Greenleaf Coast was one of the most beautiful areas of the Tela Heath, which was one of the most beautiful parts of Cael. Its white cliffs and black-sanded shores nearly glittered in the midday sun. Tt was a place that had a reputation not unlike the faery-courts of folkstories, in that those who arrived in Greenleaf rarely found it easy to leave of their own volition. In Cael, the phrase "going to Greenleaf" was a shorthand for "abandoning one's responsibilities to indulge in leisure and frivolty.".

Unfortunately, Ian Hightower was unable to enjoy any of the resplendent scenery Greenleaf had to offer, standing as he was before a local magistrate. The flat-faced, bug eyed man leaned over his desk.

"Inspector Hightower, do you swear before the Mother Above to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth under pain of the King's justice and the justice of his court?" the magistrate asked imperiously.

It was perhaps the most tiresome part of being one of the King's Own Hounds-- testifying in court as to the method of one's investigation. Behind Hightower, Inspector Colm Calloway leaned back and grinned at Hightower. They'd drawn lots over who had to testify, today, and it wasn't beyond the older Hound to have rigged the game.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:01, Thu 04 June 2015.

Ian Hightower
 player, 4 posts
 The King's Own Hound
 Inspector Ian Hightower
Thu 4 Jun 2015
at 15:25
Re: Prologue: A Study in Azure [Ian Hightower]
It was a bothersome thing, to be needled and picked at for doing hard dangerous work by office men who wore starched collars and had ink stained fingers. Not that it was not unwelcome or without its benefits. Getting out of the sun was always good.

And for a orphan that had grown up amongst the rookeries of the city, it did allow him to explain why he, and his comrades, were smarter than someone else. How interesting that some of the best educated men, could be so foolish. Plus, he need only have some patience, after court room procedure was done, the Greenleaf would be his and that sneaky Calloway's oyster.

"I, as a man before the Mother Above, and a Inspector of the King's Own Hounds, here do swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Ian respectfully intoned, holding up his hand to take the oath. That discipline craggy faced nuns with switches and burly drill instructors with cutting tongues instilled came to the fore. Once finished, he settled into a easy posture, attentive and polite.

Ian had the accent of one of the city Caelish, of the Health, even if it was one of the lower class. Lowborn and bright with energy, but years in the Regiment serving with hard Hills folk, and cocky highborn officers left him with a developed vocabulary at least. Though he was handsome enough at least, his face unscarred by powderburns, and not at all foul-stenched from the field. One took time to make one's self presentable when at court. His mustache neat and trimmed, and his hair combed nicely.

In any case, he settled in for the long haul, it would probably be a long day. Colm would be paying for dinner tonight.
The First And Last
 GM, 41 posts
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 14:43
Re: Prologue: A Study in Azure [Ian Hightower]
"I was sixteen when I enlisted, d'ye know that?" Colm said, packing a pike as the waiter set down his and Hightower's dinners. The old Hound had ordered something with quail in it, and now leaned forward to peer studiously at the steaming meat. "Father damn them. Like I won't know a pheasant from a quail, either. Yours looks good at least."

Colm Calloway was perhaps one case and point for the eccentricity that seemed so common among Royal Inspectors; he'd served in the Caelish Riflemen, where he lost his teeth and an eye fighting the Vingians. After he'd been raised from the ranks as a sponsored officer, he'd quarreled with none other than Lord Bruce Roynard, the Raven of the Capital. Their duel had cost Colm his right hand and marked his cheeks with dueling scars. Inexplicably, Colm had turned that embarrassing defeat into an appointment by Roynard to the Royal Inspectors where he'd met his wife--and Hightower's mentor--the beautiful and strange Lady Murphy-Calloway.

Lady Murphy-Calloway had passed away two years ago.

"I was sayin' somewhat about the Vingians. Aye? It'll come to me." Colm murmured, setting his pipe to smolder and puffing contentedly. He paused to remove his false teeth and set them next to his champagne glass. Someone a table over stifled a gag. "Ye did well inner, Mister Hightower. My wife din't play skinflint with teaching her know-whatsits. I were fit t'larf when you said that- ye know, how ye figgered our quarry weren't just some innkeep. Good, that."
Ian Hightower
 player, 7 posts
 The King's Own Hound
 Inspector Ian Hightower
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 16:16
Re: Prologue: A Study in Azure [Ian Hightower]
Ian smiled pleasantly, he did not smoke himself, so he did not join his friend in a pleasant smoke break. A habit from being the man they sent on the point. Didn't want no rebel or bandit getting a whiff of pipe smoke or rolled cigar or bright ideas at aiming for that cherry of light in the dark. That was his job.

And yes he did know, he had himself also enlisted at sixteen, or perhaps younger. Colm's yarns were always a high point on these excursions into fancy territory. Was so interesting to see the reactions of the highborn epicureans, with their overly large amount of spoons and forks. The younger Hound examined the meats, if Colm was in one of his moods to meddle with the staff, he'd give a signal. In any case, it was just time to relax, and loose themselves in a good chat.

"Ah, tis our lot in life, to be snubbed by inexplicably complicated waiters and haughty chefs." Ian retorted with a easy smirk, his eyes flicking left and right to take in the dining room with a practiced eye. Colm Calloway, peer by marriage, seemed to always delight in coming to these places, and Lady Murphy-Calloway always delighted in bringing him. And surprisingly Ian himself also, being the Lady's dogsbody and general goon had been a digestion disrupting experience. And he wouldn't have traded it for anything.

"Aye, like a innkeeper would concoct such a overcomplicated plan, and an angry-blooded Varlander at that...Really now, it is like those penny dreadfuls are giving us a easier time of it no? Fool writers leading real fools to the noose."
Ian commented, the Lady would have probably been delighted at this case. No doubt she would have been chortling at the results all through out the court deposition.

The young Hound reached up unconsciously to tug at that strange tooth he had kept bottled on a cord around his neck. She had given it to him just before her sudden departure, the thing she told him to keep a good accounting of. Was a strange two years it been, the Lady gone in that blaze of glory, leaving them behind with a empty casket...

"She didn't, though perhaps she could have been a tad gentler with how she went about packing my skull with those know-whatsits. Remember the time she was drilling me on court house etiquette...?" Ian replied with a mock shiver, though there was some real fear there, there had been bees. The Lady had been one of the peaks of the Royal Inspectors' eccentric collection. A believer of all sorts of queer theories, fanciful thoughts, and genius schemes...though it did not mean she could not be frightening beyond belief.

"How are the twins? The King's School agreeing with them?" Ian then asked, the savage and dastardly miscreants that Colm and the Lady had beget were diabolical in their schemes. As much as two children could get about being diabolical at least, sister and brother were too smart for their own good. Though with The Lady as their mother, and The Colm Calloway as their father, how could they be anything else?

OOC: Apologies for any undue characterization and details. Will edit them out if needed. Also fixed my internet, yay.
08:52, Today: Ian Hightower rolled 16 using 1d20+2. Int Check, are we being served the correct meat?

The First And Last
 GM, 47 posts
Sun 7 Jun 2015
at 04:01
Re: Prologue: A Study in Azure [Ian Hightower]
Colm's smile--toothless though it was--was warm and wide. It was a smile he reserved almost exclusively for mention of his wife or children. The leathery Hound leaned forward, feigning a conspiratorial whisper without actually lowering his voice at all.

"Tell you the Father damned truth, m'dear wife couldn't stand anythin' that weren't a cooling corpse and a braintwister of a puzzle," he said, pausing to gum a spoonful of his meal into his mouth. He mushed it pensively. "Ye'd never see her happier than telling the Margrave of Seubia how easy it is to extract a victim's profession by tearin' off the fingernails and check wot's underneath."

Nearby, there was another stifled gag. A mortified looking couple hurried to excuse themselves from the table over.

"And I'll thank ye kindly for mentioning the Father-blessed burdens wot is me chillums." he beamed proudly, "Jus' last week Justin reported that his grades is exemp'ry and that he isn't allowed to dissect nothin' in class, 'specially not if its a maths class. That isn't so bothersome. Justinia will tutor the boy and I've arranged to send them some good frogs to get started."

Colm paused, relighting his pipe-- and it was easy to note the tremble in his hands. He was not young, anymore, and life had not been tender to his body. Once more wreathed in pungent smoke, Colm considered the younger man shrewdly-- and with no small amount of pride as well.

"The Vingians, roight. I was mentionin' them. Was going to tell a war story that woulda had ye in tears, building up to a lesson wots about how they figured too late when to pack it all back to the Old Country," he rambled amiably, "And then I was to tell ye how I wouldna make a mistake like that, and so was retiring effective yesterday. Makin' ye no longer a Junior Inspector and such. I forgot yer stripes in my other coat, ye'll pardon."

Then the old man bent once more to spooning food into his mouth, around the pipe, as though his retirement were the merest thing to say-- like the weather, or the state of politics to the east.

OOC: Nothing to apologize for. Those kinds of liberties are the kind I not only permit but relish.

Your check reveals it is the wrong meat-- but that pheasant is not so far from quail as to really change the dish. It is the equivalent of a PB & J being made with strawberry jelly instead of preserves.

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:04, Sun 07 June 2015.

Ian Hightower
 player, 11 posts
 The King's Own Hound
 Inspector Ian Hightower
Sun 7 Jun 2015
at 04:49
Re: Prologue: A Study in Azure [Ian Hightower]
And other things, twas a rightfully focused woman the Lady Murphy-Calloway was, whether it be in the naturalist philosophies or aetherist speculations. She was a woman of grand and terrible implications, and she was kind to have taken him under her wing. Stays at their estate were both horrible and exquisite in equal measure...Of course Ian could not rightfully think of such things, and the thoughts of Bees and Court etiquette fell away as the impact of what was said was heard.

The Colm Calloway was retiring?! The Man who retook the Hideclyff Offices with naught but sheer gumption and grit? The Man who defeated a brigand band led by the Notorious Gentlelady Bandit Nightbirde Helms manning a stolen sixteen pounder with nothing but a wad of chew and a swift boot to the eggs? The Man who wound up suspended from the highest tower of the King's Summer Retreat with nary a memory of the night before and the lost letters that no one was allowed to talk about? The Man who married Lady Mariwen Murphy! And other things.


Though not unexpected.

One handed and toothless, with achy bones, and diminishing would be a shame, but it was not unexpected.

"Tis fine, tis fine, though I'll be appropriating your chair for that...the sprogs will no doubt be overjoyed. They hear the news yet?" Ian asked with a fine smile, his own promotion waylayed for the moment in favor of the Murphy-Calloway's new situation. Colm had always wanted to be there more for their children, and it was a hard life when both he and the Lady were doing the King's work. Theirs was a loving family, and it would do the Old Man good to spend time with his offspring.

It also meant his incredibly fine and comfy desk chair(envy of most everyone and taken from a estate forfeiture) at Headquarters was up for grabs. Though knowing the Old Hound, he had already smuggled it out and replaced his office with a facsimile made out of cardstock and well wishes.

Oh, and he was promoted. Which meant a payraise, a real room at the Hound's quarters, a proper office that did not stink suspiciously of cured meats, and a few years till he could get his hands upon his own minion to boss around. As well as another step up the ladder! Tis was a great thing...but still, friends came first.

"Though I'll miss ya, you mad salty mule. Won't be the same without you over my shoulder all the time, won't have a audience no more. I'll be sure to visit the estates as often as I can, that is if you will have me Lord Murphy-Calloway?" Ian clapped his hands and gestured in a over officiating way, bowing his head in exaggerated respect. It would be a bit scandalous to the staff to know that they did substitute a lord's dinner, and not just some hopped up commoner in a royal position that couldn't tell the difference.

"Why, since you're going to become one of the highfaluting peers full time now that you don't work for a living, should I write a report and issue warrants upon this place for doctoring the meats and infringing upon your inalienable highborn rights? Iffin dessert is not up to snuff of course. What is your wishes m'lord?" Ian mockingly groveled in a fake sycophantic glee. They would have to celebrate! Or something. Did one celebrate retirements? There was that one time with one of the lads in the armory had to retire, and the powderjockeys had a definitely celebrated promotions though. Ian had plans for that later...but Colm, he survived to see retirement! A full army career, a full Hound's life, and he had reached prominence. This was great!

In any case, if Colm retired yesterday, then there would be some good delightful fun. One last hurrah before he took up some inane hobby, and spent all his remaining time dotting on his hellions.

Because chances were, Ian had to get back to work soon, and he might as well start another case with a hangover because of this.
OOC: Righto, well, I am assuming this is going to turn into a Hangover movie. So let's have some fun.
21:43, Today: Ian Hightower rolled 14 using 1d20. Surviving A Night of Celebration, Con Check.

The First And Last
 GM, 51 posts
Tue 9 Jun 2015
at 14:15
Re: Prologue: A Study in Azure [Ian Hightower]
Rather than deign to respond directly to Hightower's obsequious tone, Colm blew a wet raspberry and continued eating. After a moment he pushed his plate away and leaned back to unbutton his vest carefully with his good hand.

"The hellions'll enjoy it fine. Or not. Little buggers are as like as not give me my death." he murmured around his pipe, "But ye, dear boy, ye are steppin' into a world much larger 'n brigands and bramblehocks."

In demonstration, Colm thumped his hand-stump on the table and gestured to it with his pipe.

"See tha'? Lord Bruce Roynard on a counter-riposte, th'filthy Varlander nonce. And he's been a fine friend e'er since, ye canny?" the old Hound continued, eyeing Ian carefully, "Wot was the biggest pain in my neck is now to crook yours-- and ye'll thank him for all the trouble and mess he'll get ye into. Wanted me to sail the Ybarian coast some weeks from now, but I told him to bugger hisself. Ye dunna get to say that. Ye say 'thank ye Colm and Brucie' and go fart around the Cadiz Bay."
Ian Hightower
 player, 15 posts
 The King's Own Hound
 Inspector Ian Hightower
Wed 10 Jun 2015
at 04:59
Re: Prologue: A Study in Azure [Ian Hightower]
"...Oh joy...I'll be sure to do so...thank ye Colm?" Ian replied, that attempt at good humor dying. Concern swirling in his mind. This would be a interesting excursion no doubt, but Lord Bruce Roynard? He had come to that man's attention? Colm was right, this was major, either it would lead him into Colm's salted state, some great reward, or a early grave...probably unmarked. Eh, what could one do, 'sides do and die.

"Any advice on how to get on his good side?" Ian asked blankly, though he could guess the answer. Would no doubt involve a blade, a duel, and loosing a appendage, the salty Hound was like that when it came to dispensing his "sage well vintaged wisdoms".

It sounded like he would not be getting a good night's sleep for a long while. And that was saying something, given that this last case involved a dying man walking into a inn's taproom with a baby and stupendously complicated criminally stupidity...
The First And Last
 GM, 63 posts
Thu 11 Jun 2015
at 19:04
Re: Prologue: A Study in Azure [Ian Hightower]
"Do the job as ye will, to the best ye will," Colm said, puffing away at his pipe, "Th'Raven of the Capital don't buck with none but tha'."

The old Hound patted himself down, a frown crimping his already well-lined face. Finally he shrugged, drumming his fingers on the tabletop.

"Thought I had th'letter but seems it is at th'office. Ye will take me at my word," he said--as though his prodigious memory weren't up to the task of recalling the details--and hunched forward, "There was an attack onna Varlander troopship, down Ybarian way. Onny but one survivor, who ye will meet with and sail with I've the suspection-- Lord Ravenfeathers hisself suspects it weren't no ordin'ry pirate, and ye with my wife's fine think-whatsit in yer employ, is to find it out."

Colm waved a hand dismissively as he sat back.

"Lots of fuss, y'tell me, all political and such. And like as not Brucie is using it as cover for sommat secret and political-- which, mind ye, ye should do yer best to figure out and then pretend ye didna figure it out." he added, scooping up his glass of sherry, "But that's all one. Now drink ye runt, if ye can lift yer head on morntide without wishing the Father would take you I will haen't done my job."
Ian Hightower
 player, 17 posts
 The King's Own Hound
 Inspector Ian Hightower
Fri 12 Jun 2015
at 06:37
Re: Prologue: A Study in Azure [Ian Hightower]
"Aye, I guess you won't of." Ian nodded as he picked up his own glass and took long draught from it. Though joy, he had to do the thing where he shouldn't know, but did, and they probably would know, but wouldn't do anything about it, and when he knew, he had to do things that were about it, but couldn't be linked to it. Was like that thing with the flow chart all over again.