Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
GM
 GM, 547 posts
Tue 28 Jan 2020
at 21:10
Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
The dark figure was looking over its shoulder at Shade as she barked out the words of her spell and consequently bumbled directly into the spreading web that erupted from the narrow walls of the alleyway. He was stuck fast, and although he struggled savagely for a moment he quickly seemed to grow resigned to his fate.

As Shade drew abreast of him she glanced at the bundle that he had discarded. It was just clothing--a jacket and waistcoat, cravat, and top hat.

He crossed his arms, wobbling slightly in the sticky webbing, and screwed up his face obstinately.

Radniche was tall, well manicured, with normally coiffed hair currently in disarray and the faint scent of pomade about him. His shirt was untucked and his trousers unlaced, obviously donned in haste.

"Since when is it illegal to...go...walking at night?" He said, somewhat lamely, searching for his words and clearly understanding how transparent his defense looked.



Radniche fails his save and is caught. He could try struggling out each round, but as Shade and the others close in on him it looks like he's going to talk his way out of trouble.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 367 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 28 Jan 2020
at 21:14
Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
Unless Shade or Nook raise a fuss I don’t see any reason we would be charging that way as of yet...

@Vadim
“I don’t think we have enough cause to batter down the door, especially of a notable resident.  I have left word for him to meet us at his place of business.  Perhaps we should collect the alley cat and head back to the shop.”
Shade of Lonwood
 player, 61 posts
 Alley Witch
Wed 29 Jan 2020
at 02:15
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
GM:
The dark figure was looking over its shoulder at Shade as she barked out the words of her spell and consequently bumbled directly into the spreading web that erupted from the narrow walls of the alleyway. He was stuck fast, and although he struggled savagely for a moment he quickly seemed to grow resigned to his fate.

As Shade drew abreast of him she glanced at the bundle that he had discarded. It was just clothing--a jacket and waistcoat, cravat, and top hat.

He crossed his arms, wobbling slightly in the sticky webbing, and screwed up his face obstinately.

Radniche was tall, well manicured, with normally coiffed hair currently in disarray and the faint scent of pomade about him. His shirt was untucked and his trousers unlaced, obviously donned in haste.

"Since when is it illegal to...go...walking at night?" He said, somewhat lamely, searching for his words and clearly understanding how transparent his defense looked.


Shade widens her eyes in innocence, Nook on her shoulder imitating the expression.  "Why, never, of course!" She waves in an off-handed manner and brings out the drawing of the scalpel in question.  "Now, this fine scalpel was used to mutilate some corpses related to the Beast murders.  We've found the maker, the purchaser that sold it to an auction house, and now it leads to you, Radniche.  So."  She holds the picture in front of his eyes.  "Tell me all about it.  In the cause of justice, of course."
GM
 GM, 549 posts
Wed 29 Jan 2020
at 19:27
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
Radniche looked over the drawing, both ignoring the oddity of a commercial consultation in his present predicament, and grateful that it was the only topic that Shade seemed interested in pursuing.

"Hmmmm, medical instruments like this are common fare at my shop, it would be impossible to say who purchased it based on this drawing. I may be able to give you more information if you can be discrete about our...meeting this evening. Come to my shop tomorrow." He reached absentmindedly towards his waist and found nothing there, then strained toward the bundle that he had dropped and failed.

"You'll find a calling card in my jacket pocket. My shop, Radniche's Medical Supplies, is in the surgeon's flats. If you call on me in the morning I can locate the information you require."
Vadim Karamazov
 player, 61 posts
Wed 29 Jan 2020
at 19:48
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
Grudgingly Vadim relents in his thumping, glaring at the candlelight visible within, and harrumphs at Constantine.

"Obstructing this investigation is reason enough for arrest;  the last known owner of a weapon connected to a crime is inside," he grumbled.  "And if it is 'open the door or you are under arrest' and this door is not opened, reason enough to break it down and put someone in irons.  I am not out late on the Judge's business for my health."  Despite the perceived affront to Judge Daramid's authority, the old gravedigger wavered.

"There is no time to wait for morning, you must see this.  We must find the connection to the Morast crimes before deposition.  If the Beast had an accomplice, or master, it should be known.  Also, now I am annoyed," he scowled back at the ornate door and cracked his knuckles.
Shade of Lonwood
 player, 62 posts
 Alley Witch
Wed 29 Jan 2020
at 22:10
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
In reply to GM (msg # 32):

"Tomorrow is a fine day, no doubt, but the trial starts tomorrow and I would love nothing more than the information tonight.  Hour is quite advanced as it is, and my patience is, unfortunately, very short."

Nook oozes down her shoulder and scampers off as Shade makes a request to bring Sir Constantine and Vadim around to where she is.

"And nothing of what I saw or surmised here will be known, if we can get the name we need tonight.  A most fair trade, don't you think?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 368 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 29 Jan 2020
at 22:48
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
@Vadim
“Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.  If the man was or is here I have told him to get to his shoppe.  I have collected the paper trail and have every intention of getting a copy of his bill of sale.”

SCG is also curious as to all merchandise the man trades in, perhaps an apron, tent, or the darkvision potion....hopefully on the same receipt!
GM
 GM, 550 posts
Thu 30 Jan 2020
at 19:11
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
Radniche waffled for a moment and then acquiesced, his shoulders slumping as he gathered up his belonging and led the way to his shop.

Radniche's Medical Supplies was tucked away behind several of the larger firms in the surgeon's flats, located at the terminal end of a twisting little blind alley little more than a grimy corridor through the city's streets. Radniche produced a key ring from his trouser pocket and unlocked two deadbolts and two door locks to open up the door.

The interior of the shop was small and cramped and smelled acridly with a stink that Vadim recognized immediately as embalming fluid. One section of the shelves held knives, scalpels, and other medical tools. But the larger part of the inventory was devoted to experimental supplies. Potions and powders with various applications in medicine, solvents and disinfectants, and alchemical extracts. There were several cadavers, some preserved with embalming fluid and some with gentle repose.

Radniche's workspace was a counter towards the front of the shop, and his office was a small filing room towards the back from which he produced several crates of documents and scrolls. He moved a large jar of pickled eyeballs to make room and stacked them on the front desk.

"Feel free to take a look." He said unhappily.

Radniche truly did take the anonymity of his clientele very seriously. His log of transactions listed item and price but only cross-referenced a client number, which Radniche refused to divulge until our heroes had located the correct entry. It took some time for our heroes to collate the mess but luckily Constantine stumbled on the correct filing box rather quickly, and they were able to locate the sale of the scalpel set.

When they showed the entry to Radniche he insisted on checking the bill of sale from both Hora and Vladka to verify that it was the correct transaction, insisting he could reveal only client information relevant to the case. Once he was satisfied he referenced the client number with a large ledger that was sealed with a brass lock.

"The surgeons tools were sold as a set to Master Vorkstag, who paid in coin at the time of purchase." He said. The transaction had taken place on Desnus 8th, 4708.

Vadim was familiar with the name. Vorkstag and his partner operated a chemical factory outside of the city, Vorkstag and Grine's Chymic Works, although he knew little more about it than the name.



You pass a Research check on Radniche's notes and locate the transaction, I rolled low on your time and finding the sale only takes 1 hour.

Vorkstag and Grine's Chymic Works are about an hour outside the city by foot. By cab it's about a 10 minute ride but you aren't likely to find any stables open this late. It's about 1:45 AM when you find the transaction record at Radniche's.

Constantine, Radniche wouldn't sell supplies like tents, aprons, or shovels, although an extract of darkvision would definitely be in his inventory. The transaction record indicates that Vorkstag bought only the surgeon's tools at that time, however.

Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 369 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Thu 30 Jan 2020
at 20:11
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
Now having the client number SCG continues the perusal of the sales ledger; seeing if the same customer number shows up again after that sales date.

“It is important to protect unreasonable searches of persons transactions and comings and goings with no greater good to be achieved.  Is this man a good or valued customer?  Perhaps we can ask the judge not name the merchants when the receipts are entered into evidence.”

SCG takes his time in the sales...
“This is an impressive shop, the medical set was very good quality, so much variety.  I have to inquire this customer or one one his account ever buy an extract here?”

I rolled diplomacy first; and the result was low; then it looked like that was the wrong thing so I rolled intimidate;I think intimidate works better with the text


oday: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 21 using 1d20+7.  Intimidate. 15:15, Today: Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 11 using 1d20+8.  Diplomacy

This message was last edited by the player at 20:19, Thu 30 Jan.

Vadim Karamazov
 player, 62 posts
Fri 31 Jan 2020
at 06:46
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
Ambling around the store Vadim peeked under the sheet of each cadaver with idle, if morbid, curiosity whilst Sir Constantine re-checked the ledger.

"Vorkstag runs the chemical works, but I do not know him as a surgeon or mortician," he shrugged lop-sidedly, moving his lips as he ran a finger along a labelled shelf of powders.  "But then, I do not know Vorkstag."  Turning to a table of instruments, Vadim picked over the display.  Light glinted from the blade of a long, saw-edged knife as he tested its weight.  To judge from the old man's dark smile, its cutting surface was also satisfactorily sharp under his thumb.

"But you are buying these things," he waved the knife-point toward Radniche's neat rows of antiseptics and solvents, "Maybe you know more about Vorkstag, or his partner, hm?  If they have interests in testing their product;  purchasing bodies or parts perhaps?  From you or... others?"
Shade of Lonwood
 player, 63 posts
 Alley Witch
Fri 31 Jan 2020
at 10:49
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
When Radniche had agreed to help them (once Sir Constantine and Vadim were there), Shade had dissolved her web and held out the man's clothes, turning away so he could dress.  "For certain you are an upright man who loves his city and wants to see justice properly done," she says to him, her tone sincere.

At the crowded business, she looked around with the others, occasionally being distracted by the interesting objects in jars.  At the word that the next link in the chain is in a chemical factory.... a curious place.  And possibly disturbing.  The tools being sold on the 8th of Desnus... six days after the first "death" of the Beast at the jaws of a blood caiman.

The three they'd seen tonight had been decent enough.  Solid folks, respectable.  Only requiring a flash of official papers or a hint of scandal to get them in line.  As they got deeper into this, Shade was certain they'd encounter those folk who necessitated... stronger methods of persuasion.
GM
 GM, 552 posts
Fri 31 Jan 2020
at 19:20
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
Radniche moved to collect the filing boxes full of invoices but Constantine waved him off. He dapper shopkeep clearly wanted them out of his establishment as soon as possible, but seemed unwilling to go so far as to kick them out.

Armed now with the correct customer number Constantine was able to perform a more exhaustive search of the sales records. Stacks of receipts grew around him and Radniche hissed through clenched teeth each time one of his records was placed out of order, but said nothing. Although he didn't want to give our heroes the run of his shop he did begin to nod off eventually, perched on a chair behind his desk.

He jerked awake when Constantine and Vadim began to bombard him with questions about Vorkstag.

"Vorkstag is...just a customer. He comes into the shop from time to time. Tall man, hooked nose, thin build. I don't think I've seen him but he was dressed all in black, with white lace collar and cuffs. Rather dashing, actually. His partner Grine is an odd looking fellow, but gnomes are like that you know. Wide set eyes. A bit unsettling, if you ask me.

I think the only thing he ever bought was the surgeon's kit."
He said. Constantine produced a stack of receipts for alchemical supplies.

"Well...and some supplies for the chymic works." Radniche amended.



Constantine does a search for all of Vorkstag's purchases in Radniche's records, the full list of which I'll get added to the journal thread. The search takes 3 hours. He never purchased an extract of darkvision, but you know that's not unusual. The extracts that an alchemist creates work differently than regular potions, they only remain potent for one day and can typically only be used by the alchemist that created them, although they can take a discovery to allow others to drink their extracts. Shade, you know based on your high Gather Information check that Radniche himself is not an alchemist.

You also get the feeling that Radniche is being evasive about the exact nature of his business with Vorkstag and Grine.

11:59, Today: Secret Roll: GM rolled 21,11,17 using 1d20+1,1d20+4,1d20+4.  Sense Motive Checks.

Shade of Lonwood
 player, 65 posts
 Alley Witch
Sun 2 Feb 2020
at 06:05
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
"Dear Radniche, please do expound on all you know!  Certainly we would not have drug you from the arms of your lithesome lady for a rooting around in old record if we only wanted half a story.  There is a hideous crime going on under the auspices of the Beast, and your client is either in it up to his eyeballs or knows who is.  So.  Like a wine bottle overturned, let the entire story spill out.  Or I will tell a story that reaches unwelcome ears such as those of a certain absent nobleman, Shade says, eyes half-lidded, gesturing in an off-handed manner.  Her manner of speaking has become more refined as she speaks to Radniche, taking on an upper-city accent as she speaks with him.

OOC: 00:04, Today: Shade of Lonwood rolled 19 using 1d20+11.  Bluff check.
Vadim Karamazov
 player, 63 posts
Mon 3 Feb 2020
at 11:58
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
Replacing the cutter within its display, Vadim returned to the cadavers and assorted jars of pickled parts.

"Are there so many hangings lately? Too many unclaimed dead for the crematory?" An oddly-shaped skull caught his interest. "You have records for all purchases and sales of bodies, yes?" He took out his glasses and angled the skull to better study the seams across its crown.

"How was the corpse business between Gozran and - what was it - Desnus last year? You made many purchases? Sales?"
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 372 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Mon 3 Feb 2020
at 13:43
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
SCG gives the man another look over...
“To be clear you are saying all business between you is on these receipts? That you and they never meet personally and have you yourself ever delivered to or been to their homes or places of business?”

Suspect the man is holding back, but maybe nothing to do with the case...
GM
 GM, 554 posts
Mon 3 Feb 2020
at 19:33
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
Radniche's demeanor grew icier and he began to pack up the filing boxes full of old receipts, stacking them and packing them back into the storeroom in the back of his shop.

"I've never been to their workshop, it's rather farther outside the city than I typically like to travel. And, as you have seen for yourself, I've kept a record of all of their purchases.

Now. You have kept me awake all night going through my records and I have business to attend to before the day begins. I'm afraid I must ask you to leave."


He stacked the boxes in the storeroom, locked it, and slipped the key into his waistcoat pocket. Then he marched to the front door and held it open expectantly, frowning at Constantine and pointedly avoiding Shade and Vadim's gaze.
Shade of Lonwood
 player, 66 posts
 Alley Witch
Tue 4 Feb 2020
at 09:39
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
Shade looks up at Radniche as he opens the door for them, her eyes hard.  "They've made a monster, stripped the flesh from the dead whose kin did not consent, and let mayhem loose to destroy, murder, and rob.  Everyone involved will get see the blood on their hands never be washed away.  Don't let your pride and greed sing a song so loud you'll ignore the screams of the dead and dying," she says.

OOC: 03:37, Today: Shade of Lonwood rolled 20 using 1d20+7.  Intimidate.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 373 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Tue 4 Feb 2020
at 13:38
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
“Take heart young man! You have aided a noble and worthy cause, your discomfort will pass let us count this a success.”

“Your personal choices are not my concern.”

Sir Constantine Godalming rolled 22 using 1d20+8.  Diplomacy

This message was last edited by the player at 13:40, Tue 04 Feb.

GM
 GM, 555 posts
Tue 4 Feb 2020
at 19:25
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
"Surely the Beast will burn for its crimes." Radniche said, eyes hard.

"The terror and mayhem that it has caused have nothing to do with me, or with my clients."

The harder Shade pressed the more closed and angry he seemed to become, and Constantine's conciliatory efforts yielded little change in his demeanor.



Radniche is becoming more and more uncooperative, and it seems as if your efforts to influence his attitude are only making him angrier.
Vadim Karamazov
 player, 64 posts
Tue 4 Feb 2020
at 20:06
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
Dumping the skull atop a jar of fingers, Vadim limped across to the storekeeper.

"In Lepidstadt you do not dismiss agents of the Court.  The Court dismisses you... when we are satisfied you have no more to contribute to our investigation."  The old gravedigger's left hand twitched as he glared at Radniche, "Perhaps you are arrested tonight for public indecency, or attempted burglary.  The cells are quite full.  Maybe you spend a few hours with the Beast itself."  A clinking rattle precedes the production of a pair of manacles.

"If there is a mistake then we release you with sincerest apologies of the City.  I am sure you have someone who will swear publicly to your good character and actions this morning."  He paused, left hand now spasming frantically.

"I think you look like the type who is intending to resist arrest."  Vadim cast a side-glance at Shade and Sir Constantine. "He seems violent."
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 376 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Wed 5 Feb 2020
at 00:07
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
“If we have any hope of getting there and back again tonight we can not linger here any longer.  I am going to see about securing horses or a carriage.”

SCG steps away from the doorway and nudges Shade
“Where can we get a ride at this hour?”
GM
 GM, 556 posts
Wed 5 Feb 2020
at 19:20
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
"Arrested, on what charge?!" Radniche demanded, drawing back from Vadim with a look of purest indignation.

"I have answered your questions, and at your requests I have opened my records to you. An act, I may remind you, that I have performed as a personal favor--seeing that you do not have a warrant to search my shop or my person.

You'll be hearing from my advocate! I'll that badge of yours revoked! I'll have you locked in irons in my place!"


His violent protests continued as he was manacled, although he did not resist the procedure beyond his loud protestations.

After the exhaustive search of Radniche's sales records the night had stretched nearly all away, the current hour was a quarter til five in the morning and Shade informed Constantine that most of the stables and farriers would open at dawn, in nearly an hour's time.
Shade of Lonwood
 player, 69 posts
 Alley Witch
Fri 7 Feb 2020
at 14:54
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
Shade looked over at Vadim and raised her eyebrows a little.  Well.  That had escalated quickly.  But now they had an hour to kill and one very cranky businessman to deal with.

"My colleague is making certain no stone is unturned.  This is a case of murder, thievery, body desecration, arson, and more, and feelings are running high for many folks. No one wants to miss anything, and every piece of information is vital, no matter how seemingly insignificant or unconnected. Now, we can wait quietly, perhaps having quiet conversation for a little while until we can get a carriage.  Or we can walk across the city.  Openly.  In the streets.  To the courthouse.  Which would you prefer, Radniche?" Shade asks pleasantly.
Sir Constantine Godalming
 player, 378 posts
 Chicanery?
 Count me in
Fri 7 Feb 2020
at 15:03
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
SCG was waiting to see if Vadim was going to actually slap the man in irons and drag him away to the constable.
Perhaps he would let it happen; would he and shade have time to get to the chymical works, collect evidence and return?

Quietly to Shade
“Perhaps we just let this play out and head to the next destination?”
GM
 GM, 561 posts
Fri 7 Feb 2020
at 19:28
Re: Chapter 2.3 - The Midnight Oil
Radniche argued vehemently with Shade and Vadim, only breathing a sigh of relief when the grizzled old investigator packed away his manacles and left the shop with a warning glance.

It was still an hour or two to dawn and Lepidstadt still slumbered, but our heroes made their way on to the next potential site in their investigation. The long night's activities weighed heavily on them, and they made a short stop at the inn to reconnoiter with their compatriots as the sun was beginning to rise.



I've rolled Fortitude saves on your behalves, Shade and Constantine are fatigued but Vadim is tough enough to muscle through without too many ill effects.

I'm also moving things back into the main thread since we've pretty much caught up there by now. Hopefully nobody who went to bed is feeling left out of the game during the nighttime investigation.