Trinsic:The Search For Symphony/Chapter 04

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Chapter 4: Birth of the Orc Bunny

We left Our Heroes standing in the alley, having just directed a guard north of their position, despite having a rather large, obvious, and incriminating barrel in their possession.

"Guys, better to find a safe place!" SIdent says.

Vizz asks, "Do you have an idea, Ascii? Better to not stay here, more guards might see us."

"Er... find a safe place?"

SIdent says, "Better head to the south part of the city, no?"

To their north, the guard is standing in the alley mouth looking up and down the street. To their east, they see more guards milling about. The alley to the south is relatively clear.

"Cammon." SIdent goes south, and Vizz follows. They get about half a block down the alley when a woman appears at the back door to a small shop, beckoning them in. "Yoo-hoo! Fellas! Over here..."

SIdent and Vizz examine the woman as Ascii runs to catch up with them. "Hey, slow down!" They all see a small, slim human woman with short brown hair, a gaudy gypsy outfit, and a high-pitched voice. They accept her beckonings and enter the dingy storeroom of a small shop, the barrel managing to slide through the doorway without a hitch. The shop is apparently empty - no product - and the front door is barred. There are makeshift curtains over the small windows, too.

The woman addresses them, "I heard a lot of carrying on out there. What's the trouble with you fellas?"

Vizz puts the barrel on the floor and catches his breath, as SIdent answers, "Er, hell if I know."

"Trouble? No trouble here. We're just on our way home from the bar after a good drink." Ascii gestures at Vizz's barrel. "See? My friend here liked it so much, we got him a whole barrelful to take home."

"And we got somebody in this barrel to interrogate."

Ascii facepalms, and SIdent gives Vizz a cold look. Vizz looks perplexed at their reaction. "What?"

"Oh, for Pelor's sake...!" Ascii grumbles.

SIdent mumbles to Vizz, "Shut up, you ape!"

They briefly hear heavy footsteps out the back door that approach and depart at a run.

"Starting a relationship on a bunch of lies is never a good idea." Vizz closes and locks the door before something bad happens.

SIdent hisses, "Shut UP!"

"Lies? Er, what lies?" Ascii attempts to look innocent.

"I woulda rather you brought a barrel of wine, dearies. So, why do you wish to 'interrogate' this fella of yours? He know about pretty gems? Fancy clothes? A bit of treasure?"

Ascii answers, "Er... actually, we're hoping he'll tell us why he was trying to kill us."

"...hmm, yeah! Ho... good one!" SIdent agrees.

"Oh! How exciting! Are you brigands? Vicious villains being chased by noble bounty hunters?"

"Not as far as you know," Ascii tells the woman.

SIdent answers himself, "Well, sort of. Who are you, by the way?"

"Why, little old me? I'm Jeysie, teller of tales, singer of fine songs. I have a nose for stories, and this smells like one!"

"But, where are my manners? I'm SIdent, this one with the barrel is Vizz, and Ascii is the other one. Nice to meet you. And I gracious thank you for your help."

Vizz salutes Jeysie, then they both hear more footfalls, then a deep voice, "...three guys, and a barrel. They came this way, I'm sure of it!" The footfalls fade away again.

Vizz whispers to everyone, "There's people after us, and they know where we are."

Jeysie says to SIdent, "All help comes with a price where I come from. In this case, you'll get off cheap. Tell me your story. If I like it enough, you may get more help." She winks.

Ascii whispers back to Vizz, "Are you sure?"

"I am."

SIdent tells Jeysie, "I don't think this is the right place for it, according to Vizz. Any escape route from here?"

"Or place to hide?" Vizz is now more nervous than usual.

"You fellas try and get real small-like over in the corner there. Let me handle this. Stay quiet!"

SIdent whispers to Vizz, "What'cha heared?"

BANG BANG BANG! "City Guards, open up!"

SIdent, Vizz, and Ascii all follow Jeysie's instructions, Ascii in particular scrunching up in the corner with his hands over his head. Jeysie walks over to the door and opens it just enough to poke her head out.

The guard takes off his helmet as soon as he sees her. "Excuse me, ma'am... We're looking for three men who might have come this way. Maybe with a large barrel? Have you seen them?" The other three guards nervously look about, but are clearly taken with Jeysie.

"Oh, yes, yes! I did! It's awful! They tried to beat me and steal my wares! But my dear Frans, he beat them off. Chased them down that alleyway there, he did! Please, oh please, help him!"

"Thank you, ma'am! You guard, go that down that alley, we'll meet you at the other side!" They all run off. As the guards leave, Our Heroes emerge from their hiding places. Vizz thanks Jeysie, and SIdent relaxes.

"Of course, now you fellas are even more in my debt. I'll think of a suitable payment later." Jeysie winks.

"So, you know of a quiet place, Jeysie?" SIdent asks.

Jeysie walks over to a corner of the shop and lifts some of the boards, revealing a staircase. "I just might..."

SIdent looks down. "Good one." He heads down the staircase and finds that it seems to lead to a dark underground cellar. The air is a bit stale.

"We were hired by someone to search something, I forgot what, then we went to the bar and I drank wine, and we talked to someone who told us stuff, then he got killed and more people tried to kill us, so I crushed two of 'em and the other guys killed and hurted the two others, and people were scared and looking for us so we runned away with a guy in a barrel, and you asked us to hide here, and that what I did and the other followed me..." Vizz pauses, then says, "That's what happened so far. Is it a good story?"

Ascii just stares. "..."

"Er, not... really, my dear fellow, but perhaps I can embellish it a bit." Jeysie heads down the staircase with a beckoning wave.

Vizz removes the guy from the barrel and follows SIdent and Jeysie for the sacred interrogation ritual. Ascii follows as well, and they all look around. There is a candle in a wall holder, unlit, and a rather rickety wooden chair in the middle of the floor.

Ascii then shakes his head at Vizz, while telling Jeysie, "We've been tasked with finding a man named Kennardo, whom we believe will help us find a lost item we're looking for."

"If you knew it, why you didn't paid the lady?" Vizz wonders.

SIdent lights the candle as he asks, "Do you mind?" The candle lights the small room somewhat dimly.

"Ah, now *that's* a little more like it. Pray tell, what is this fine item you seek? I, being a traveled bard, perhaps may have sung of this item once..."

Ascii tells her, "We are seeking a symphony written by Tvash-Prull. It's magical."

"Ohh! A symphony, you say? Lady Luck certainly is being kind to me tonight. What powers does it have?"

"Ascii, mind seeing if he needs some assistance? We need to wake him up."

"Just a moment, SI... I've got something I think will do the trick."

"The vial?"

"It appears to be a light curative. We'll administer it to him... hopefully, it will wake him up. If it doesn't... well, I'd rather try it on HIM than us."

Vizz drops the man on the floor and ties him neatly to the chair.

"Jeysie, he might scream. Any way to block the noise a bit?" SIdent wonders.

Jeysie goes up the staircase and closes the boards. "That's about as good as it gets, fellas."

"That will be fine, miss," Ascii says.

SIdent adds, "Thanks."

Jeysie muses, "If he starts screaming, I suppose I can just harmonize to it..."

"Now, time to administer... THE VIAL!" Ascii whips out the vial dramatically.

"That's a right pretty bottle, there. I'll take that as part of my payment..." Jeysie winks.

Ascii raises an eyebrow at the crazy gypsy lady, then produces a small plastic funnel from absolutely nowhere, puts it in the not-quite-dead guy's mouth, uncorks the vial, and pours it down. He then retrieves the funnel and throws it away before the audience asks where he got it from.

After a few moments, the man twitches, then opens his eyes. "Wha'?!"

Ascii says, "Boo."

"Wha'?!" the man says again.

SIdent greets him, "Hellooooo. Are you comfortable?"

The man looks about, somewhat confusedly.

Vizz chimes in, "YAR!"

"Heya, cutie!" Jeysie waves at the man.

The man struggles briefly against the ropes. "NO!" He is clearly becoming more lucid. He's able to focus on people and respond now.

"Well, better," SIdent says with satisfaction.

Ascii leans over the struggling man. "Yes. Now, we want to know some things. Are you going to tell us, or do we have to beat it out of you? Either way works for me."

"YAR!" Vizz says with enthusiasm.

The man settles in with a dark look on his face. "Depends. What do you want to know?"

Jeysie mutters to herself, "Ooh, violence always sells..."

"Whoooo, he's a tough one," SIdent notes.

"First off, why were you and your considerably-less-alive cohorts trying to kill us back at the bar?"

The man spits at Ascii, but manages to only hit his left boot.

SIdent continues, "Well, he REALLY is."

"You need better aim, my friend," Jeysie quips.

"Ooh, I'm sorry, that's not the answer we're looking for." Ascii grins evilly for a moment. "Care to try again, before I sic my Half-Orc friend on you?"

Vizz tries his best to intimidate the man, but he only laughs at Vizz. "I've seen worse things in children's books!"

Jeysie notes dryly, "Great, you have the bunny rabbit of Orcs."

SIdent plays with his dagger, whils Ascii tells the man, "Look, I'll try to put this tactfully. If you tell me what we want to know, we'll hand you over to the authorities. If you don't, we'll have to give you to the coroner instead. We already have leads to go on, so I don't particularly care which it is... it's your choice, really."

The man laughs. "The authorities have been after my hide for years. They'd just string me up anyway!"

Vizz looks at the brown-haired lady's femme fatale charms... eager to break the man's fingers. Jeysie sashays over to the man.

SIdent says, "Well, well, well. It seems we got something from you, after all. But it isn't what he asked."

"Yeah? What of it?"

"Now, now, SI. Let's play nice, shall we?" Jeysie stares hintedly at SIdent.

"Be my guest." SIdent backs off.

"Don't mind these fellas. They're just harmless, really; they like to look good for me. If you tell us your little secrets, we can let by-gones be by-gones. Why, it's every man for himself in this world anyway, right? You 'fess up, and we'll let you go, no problem."

Slightly less hostilely, the man says to Jeysie, "What do you want to know?"

"Well, let's just start from the beginning, and see how it goes. Who hired you, perhaps?"

The man looks slightly scared. "I can't tell you that! They'd KILL me! And it wouldn't be pretty!"

"And I suppose they'll let you live if we let you go?" Ascii says pointedly.


"You failed to kill us... miserably. Somehow, I don't think Kennardo would like that." Ascii watches for a reaction to the name.

"Pfft. Kennardo. We've been trying to get him for years. We watch the bar, day after day, but the last people to come through looking for Kenny was three years ago! THREE YEARS!"

SIdent insists, "You still didn't said who hired you."

"Yeah, and I don't have any intention of telling you that, anyway."

"Why are you trying to kill Kennardo?" Ascii asks.

"I'm not really sure, but I once heard he lost something after a job that we really wanted to have. What an idiot! Problem is, he's so good at what he does, we can't ever seem to corner him. So, we watch and wait."

"Well, then, why are you trying to kill *us*? If you're after Kennardo, wouldn't it make more sense to follow us to him?"

"That's just it... we don't want Prull to get to Kennardo either. So, anyone who comes looking for Kennardo gets the ax while we can still get to 'em. One of Prull's groups actually FOUND Kennardo... but we got them soon after. Too bad we missed Kennardo."

"Interesting..." Ascii then thinks to himself, "Prull didn't say anything about his other teams... he knew there was someone after them, and didn't tell us."

Vizz is suspicious. "The guy is lying."

"Pfft." The man grins, and Vizz gets angry. This time, the man starts getting nervous.

Ascii asks, "What do you know about Kennardo, then?"

"Perhaps you didn't hear my question... or just don't want to answer?" SIdent adds.

"Okay, okay! Just keep ol' Green-Face over there away!"

"Thought you said he was a bunny rabbit, earlier." Jeysie winks.

"I take my orders from some guy in a black cloak. He came shortly after you did, cleared the bar, and ordered us to stop you. That's really all I know, honest!"

SIdent asks, "How does he look like?", but the man, having managed to keep their attention long enough to saw through the ropes with his concealed dagger, lunges at Ascii, but misses.

"YAR!" Vizz shouts in surprise.

"For the Family!" the man vows.

Jeysie dives behind Vizz and crouches to the floor. Ascii waves his mace in the man's face in a threatening manner.

SIdent says, "Try to keep him alive, Ascii!"

Jeysie says, in a muffled voice, "Try to keep US alive, Ascii!"

Vizz charges the guy, unarmed, and attempts to knock him unconscious. The man takes a wild swipe at Vizz with his dagger, then runs up the stairs to escape. However, Ascii sideswipes the man with his mace, killing him... again.

Jeysie sighs and stands up again. "Well, at least I get the bottle."

Vizz searches the man's body and finds a dagger, a dart, and fifteen gold.

"Now what, guys?" SIdent wonders.

Jeysie quips, "Is there a cleric in the audience?"

Ascii sighs, goes over, administers a bit of Clerical first aid, and the man stabilizes... again.

"What's our next move?" SIdent wonders.

Jeysie suggests, "Well, we might as well ditch this fellow somewhere. Why don't we plant him as the horrid brigand the guards are chasing?"

Vizz hands the gold to Ascii and the dart to SIdent, then tucks the dagger with his own growing dagger collection, as he asks, "Is this house your house, Jeysie?"

"Depends. Why do you want to know?"

"I dunno. You seemed to care about this house."

"Well, sure I do. It makes a great place to hide."

"Vizz... want to put him back to his 'cage'?" SIdent sits on the floor. "Anyone has healing knowledge? I got bad in the fight earlier."

"Would you like me to kiss it and make it better?" Jeysie offers wryly.

"Somehow I don't think it will help, but thanks."

"Suit yourself, dearie."

"Do you know any place not too suspicious where we can spend the night, Jeysie?"

"Well, there's a little Inn up the way where I usually sing for my supper. If we can turn this mess into a little ditty by time we reach there, we're all set."

"I don't sing," Ascii says pointedly.

"So we'll have you act out the part."

Vizz offers, "I propose that you decide to dispose of the body, I help you, then we goes to the Inn. All these fights made me hungry."

"We could leave the barrel here with its 'contents' until tomorrow, but it's too risky," SIdent says.

"I'm telling you, plant him as the fellow that 'Frans' was chasing."

Ascii agrees with Jeysie, "Works for me. We'll use him to divert attention, then go get some rest."

"Plant?" Vizz wonders.

Jeysie tells him, "Yes, like a Venus Flytrap, dearie."

SIdent warns, "Nah. They know about the fight already. They know it has nothing to do with Frans."

"No, no, my fiancee... boyfriend... whatever... chased 'you' off, remember?"

Vizz looks at the ground and finds that it looks like stone. "Where do we 'plant' this guy?"

"And if we just dump the body in the bar office? But we need someone," SIdent looks at Jeysie, "To see if the coast is clear."

Jeysie sighs. "All right, I'll go take a peeksee for you fellas."

"Okay, Vizz, c'mon, and we'll find a nice, dark alley to leave him in." Ascii heads up the stairs, opens the floorboards, and goes back into the "shop". Nothing has changed. The barrel is still there.

"Yeah, I'm hungry." Vizz follows Ascii up the stairs and stuffs the half-dead man back into the barrel.

"OK." SIdent stands up, and he and Jeysie follow Vizz and Ascii up the stairs. "Vizz, care to get the barrel again, please?"

"No problem, little one." Vizz puts the barrel back on his faithful shoulder.


Ascii walks out through the door, with Vizz, SIdent, and Jeysie right behind him. The alleyway is deserted at this point.

"Now what?" SIdent wonders.

"Where I put this barrel, Ascii?"

Ascii heads down the alleyway away from Jeysie's fake shop for a bit, then turns towards Vizz. "Okay, I think that's good enough. Right here will be fine, Vizz. We'll let public sanitation - or what passes for it around here - deal with him when he starts to smell."

"OK." Vizz puts the barrel in Ascii's indicated spot.

"Let me scribble a fake note for the guards, just in case." Jeysie pulls out some parchment and a pen, and thinks for a bit. "Hmm. Do you fellas have some grand, inspiring, heroic name you want me to call you?"

"For what?" SIdent wonders. "Not the notice for the guard, I hope."

"We'll let the guards know how you single-handedly apprehended this horrid criminal. I'll make you famous."

"Er... we'd rather they *didn't* know," Ascii tells her.

Jeysie sighs. "You sure know how to hit a bard in the soft bits, don't you?"

"I'd rather not draw any more attention to us, considering that we're already targeted by a bunch of assassins," Ascii says pointedly. "Maybe after this is all over, you can write a song about it. Assuming we don't die, that is."

"Fine, be that way."

"Just close it as 'Concerned Citizens'," SIdent suggests.

Jeysie starts jotting her note. SIdent reads over her shoulder. He sees a very long story full of bent truth and outright white lies, claming the great deed to the "Concerned Citizens of Trinsic". "Hey! You write good!"

"Does it mean the brown-haired lady will travel with us from now?" Vizz wonders.

"Well, despite the fact that your Orc is a bunny, your Cleric kills people then resurrects them, and you're the worst storytellers ever... well, geez, nothing exciting happens in this town. I'm running out of material."

"Do not worry, fair lady... the gods will take care of it," SIdent tells her.

"Travel?" Ascii answers Vizz, "Unless she has something to contribute, and a burning desire to risk getting killed, she'd do better to stay behind..."

"The place is nicer when she's around and she visibly don't have to care about the risks." Vizz flexes his lumberjack arms. "I'd rather have her with us. And she know where's the Inn, I say we keep her with us."

"I'll say she's in," SIdent agrees.

"Well, if she *wants* to get herself slaughtered, I won't stop her. But..." Ascii turns to face Jeysie. "...I will tell you this right now... if you so much as *think* about pulling a fast one on us, you're as good as dead."

"Well, now, what good would you be to me dead? I'd run out of material again!"

SIdent tries to laugh and fails miserably. "Let's go, people."

"Other than that, just make sure you stay with us and stay out of trouble, and we'll get along just fine," Ascii continues.

"Oh, I'm very good at staying out of trouble."

"Somehow, I doubt that. Well, let's go."

"Jeysie... the Inn, please," SIdent says.

"YAR! Food!"

"Indeed, Vizz," Ascii agrees.

"Right. This way, fellas!"

As they make their way to the Inn, SIdent explaining the not-so-long-adventures to Jeysie along the way, a strange scene unfolds, unbeknownst to them. A group of city guards, headed by an officer, find the barrel, and stand puzzling over it for some minutes. When they finally open it and recognize the wanted man within, the guards look at each other and the officer.

After a few moments, the officer reads the note and hands it to the man to his right. "Looks like we have some vigilantes."

"The batman?"

"No, it's just signed, 'Concerned Citizens of Trinsic'."