Zomaris:Khanate Rising/Chapter 04
Chapter #4: A Banner Returned
<mainstreet> ---BEGIN SESSION---
<mainstreet> You're all standing around/over a tied up dude.
<Capn_Mercy> "I have to admit, it kind of sucks to have killed his siblings and left him alive. Still, though, if we let him go, he'll probably spend years training and then come back on some sort of quest for vengeance."
<Yevyre> "Yeah, his life is gonna suck for a while. But I would rather it not end here."
<Fir> "Do you want to join us?"
<mainstreet> "No. No, of course I don't. You tried to KILL me, why would I want to HELP you?"
- Fir shrugs. "So that we don't finish the job?"
<Fir> "Plus, then you can get paid, too."
<Capn_Mercy> "You tried to kill us first."
<Capn_Mercy> "Dick move, FYI."
<mainstreet> "None of this was my idea."
<mainstreet> "If I get paid, how do I know you won't just kill me for the cash later? No, no, I'm getting far, far away from here. If you let me go. Promise!"
<Fir> "And you won't be seeking revenge?" Fir asks, peering at him closely in the dark.
<Capn_Mercy> "Are you sure? Revenge *is* pretty sweet..."
<mainstreet> Fir: You believe him.
- Fir stands up. "Good enough for me." She begins untying him.
<Capn_Mercy> "Aww." Realizing that her attempts to goad the guy into doing something stupid so she can kill him later aren't working, she crosses her arms and turns away, huffing.
- Fir looks around at the dark. "So, do we wanna spend the rest of the night here, or walk back to the city?"
<mainstreet> The now untied man runs off.
- Yevyre watches him run off. "I hope he makes something better from his life."
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy also watches him run off. "I hope he tries to come back for revenge. I really want to complete my kill streak."
<Fir> "I hope he finds a job."
<Capn_Mercy> "We should head back. I don't want to loiter here any longer than we have to. If they found us, someone else might too."
<Fir> "It's a lovely spot for loitering, but ok."
- Fir begins walking back to town.
- Yevyre tags along
- Capn_Mercy shakes the blood (and severed head) off her hammer and follows.
<mainstreet> As you walk through the desert... you realize you're going down a familiar path...
<mainstreet> That Criosphinx is still there, right in your path. This time, however, you're spotted immediately.
<mainstreet> You stare at each other awkwardly.
<mainstreet> "Travelers roaming the desert, I see," it booms after a minute. "This is my patch of desert. You must pay the toll."
<Fir> "Is the toll a cup of tea? Or perhaps a Goodberry?"
<mainstreet> "I demand nothing less than solid gold. 10 gold each. That makes 40."
<Capn_Mercy> "Or we could...go around?"
<mainstreet> "You have already entered my desert. You will pay. Or you will die."
<Capn_Mercy> "Your desert? I don't see your name on it."
<mainstreet> "The only true law of the land is possession. I am in possession. Are you going to pay, or will I have to settle for your head?"
<Fir> "Are you sure you don't want the tea instead? I could make you a cup of tea that would take away any pain you have."
<Capn_Mercy> "Will you settle for someone else's head? I got a rather nice one a little ways back thataway.
<mainstreet> "Someone else's head?"
<Capn_Mercy> "Yeah, I took a guy's head off with my hammer. You shoulda seen it, it was bitchin'."
- Yevyre frowns a bit, but says nothing
<mainstreet> The sphinx sighs. "I... suppose... that will suffice. Show me."
<Capn_Mercy> "I left it back thataway. Some corpses, too."
<mainstreet> "Show me."
<Fir> "Can I stay here while you go look?"
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy holds up her still bloodied hammer head. There may still be bits of brain matter clinging to the spikes.
<mainstreet> Capn_Mercy: The sphinx doesn't react.
<Capn_Mercy> "Oh, you mean the bodies. Okay, fine."
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy grumbles, and leads the sphinx back the way they came.
<mainstreet> A good walk, and the Sphinx sees the bodies. "Fine." He starts nomming on the bodies, ignoring you.
<Capn_Mercy> "At least someone appreciates art." Feeling better, she returns to the others.
<mainstreet> Another good walk, and you return to your companions. They are getting a little restless.
- Fir has, in the meantime, pulled out a cauldron and added some herbs to it until it's bubbling merrily.
- Fir hands Mercy one of the goodberries. "Sure."
<Capn_Mercy> "What's this? It doesn't look like meat."
<Fir> "Well, I'm not an animal, so why would I eat them?"
- Capn_Mercy tosses the berry back. "I'll kill something and eat it later, thanks."
<Fir> "That sounds like a lot of work to avoid getting a little fiber, but ok."
<Capn_Mercy> "I need my protein. Also, I like killing things."
<mainstreet> You continue the journey back to the City of Kandar. The main entrance is guarded, but the cities of the Meterrian Empire aren't exactly walled -- it's not like an army can sneak up through the desert. That being said, the outskirts are patrolled, and you will either have to evade the patrol or go in properly at the entrance, reporting into the guard.
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy approaches the guards at the gate. "Yo. 'Sup?"
- Fir follows, taking the cauldron from the invisible Molly in the hopes that this appears more normal for the guards.
<mainstreet> The guard, you note, is a Priest of Maat. "Welcome to Kandar. Please state your business here."
<Fir> "We're on the business of the Chief. Or the Count. Or the Count's son. One of those important people," Fir says, trying to be helpful.
<mainstreet> The guard doesn't react to this, looking pointedly at Mercy.
<Capn_Mercy> "Uh. Where's those papers?"
- Fir looks in her bags. "I don't have them."
<mainstreet> Fir: You have yours, though. Everyone has their own.
- Fir comes across a paper she doesn't remember having. "Oh, wait, I have this!"
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy pats herself down as if checking pockets, despite most of her being completely bare. "Oh, here it is." She eventually fishes a document from...somewhere and presents it.
<mainstreet> The guard looks at Fir's paper, then Mercy's, and nods. "And you have retrieved the... item, requested by the ruling family?" He looks around nervously.
- Yevyre pulls out her papers wordlessly
<mainstreet> "Do you promise to obey the laws of the Meterrian Empire, the City of Kandar, and the Word of Maat?"
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy sighs like a petulant child. "Yes, sir."
<mainstreet> "Do enjoy our city, ladies... beings," the guard steps aside and gestures you through.
- Fir follows Mercy into the city.
- Yevyre tags along
<mainstreet> You find yourselves in the City. It's very late. A few lamps are lit along the sides of the roads, but overall it's rather dark, and not much business is happening here.
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy grins. "He called me a laaady." Apparantly, it's not something she hears often.
<Fir> "You animals prefer to stay in houses during the night, right? Not out in the open? I've heard of places where you pay coin to stay inside them at night."
<Capn_Mercy> "I can take it or leave it. But yeah, I like having a bed when the opportunity presents itself."
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy heads for the inn.
- Fir follows.
<Yevyre> "I used to sleep in the streets. I do not want to repeat that experience," Yevyre says as she tags along
<Fir> "While I don't sleep myself, and I find the outdoors slightly more comfortable, I am tired and would prefer to rest in one spot until morning."
<Capn_Mercy> "You could stand on the roof."
<mainstreet> You all return to the Moss Inn.
<Fir> "That does sound lovely."
<mainstreet> You approach the innkeeper. "5 silver per person," he indicates.
<Fir> "How much to spend the night on your roof?"
<mainstreet> "Uh. If you can get up there on your own, and you don't cause any damage, free. I don't have any way to get you up there right now, though."
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy pays up. "Mmm, bed."
- Fir goes outside and looks for a way up the roof.
- Yevyre hands over the fee
<mainstreet> Fir: You see a fire escape ladder on the side of the inn.
- Fir climbs the ladder.
<mainstreet> Mercy, Yeyvre: You're handed room keys. The room is not much more than a 20x20 space with a bed on it.
<Capn_Mercy> "Wow, these rooms are huge!"
- Fir instructs Molly to hold the Cauldron. She settles in to rest, only stirring the pot occasionally or adding another herb.
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy bombs into bed and is snoring within seconds. Somewhere far across time and space, a certain cleric feels oddly proud.
<mainstreet> zZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzZzZZzZZZZzzzzzzZ SOME TIME LATER
<mainstreet> You all slowly wake up, get refreshed, prepare spells, and are ready for your day! Mercy makes a quick trip to a nearby arms dealer while others prepare spells. You all appear at the main floor of the inn ready for action!
- Fir has filled some of the empty vials with concoctions.
<Capn_Mercy> "Chect out my new bow. Well, actually it's my old bow, just harder to pull back. ...wait, that sounds wrong."
<Capn_Mercy> "Ah, nevermind."
<Fir> After preparing spells for the day, Fir calls down water...into an upside-down umbrella. Then lying in the umbrella and soaking in the water, she casts Ice Armor and waits as a breastplate of ice forms around her.
<Fir> After it finishes forming, she pours the water generously around in the dirt, aiming for any stray pieces of grass or vegetation especially, then packs the umbrella back into her bag.
<Fir> "So, are we going to a palace or something now?"
<Capn_Mercy> "Hm? ...oh, right, yeah."
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy leads the way.
<mainstreet> You find yourselves at the Count's Manor. A large, imposing double door indicates the main entrance. A guard is standing at the side of each.
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy shows her paper. "We're here on business."
- Fir tries to look cute and innocent, but mostly succeeds in looking awkward.
<mainstreet> The guard examines it. He nods. He pulls out a large key and unlocks the door. "You may proceed. Someone inside should be able to assist you."
- Fir proceeds inside.
<mainstreet> You step inside to the Great Hall of the Count’s Manor. It’s an impressively large space, ornately designed, with symbology referencing Maat all over the place, including a couple of statues of Maat in the back corners. An elderly Priestess of Maat is leaning against one of the side columns. As you enter, she looks up and walks towards you. “Welcome to the Manor. Can I help you today?” she asks.
- Fir peers at the elderly woman. "Do you need tea?"
<mainstreet> "Why sure, that would be lovely!" she agrees. "But you came here for a reason, didn't you? No one comes here for no reason."
- Fir takes some herbs out, casts Create Water into the cauldron, and quickly brews up some tea. Pulling a single cup out of her clunky bag, she dips it into the cauldron and then hands it to the lady.
<Fir> "We're here to see Prince Gerald."
<Fir> "Or was it Geronimo?"
<Capn_Mercy> "The Count's son."
<Fir> "Yeah, him."
<mainstreet> The lady takes a sip of tea. "Thank you very much. And, ah, I assume you mean Lord Gerard V? Yes, I can take you to him, this way please," she leads you down a winding hall, and you come to a door marked OFFICE -- GERARD V. She knocks. "Come in!" a voice calls out from the other side.
<Fir> "Err...I need the cup back when you're done," Fir tells the priestess. "It's my only one."
<mainstreet> The lady opens the door and gestures you inside. You go inside and find... a fairly standard office. Desk, chairs in front, cabinets, luxury chair on the other side, with Gerard V sitting in it, looking at some sort of paper. He looks up and gestures at you to take a seat. "Ah, the adventuring party. I take it you were successful?"
<mainstreet> The lady hands the cup back to Fir. "It was nice, dear."
- Fir smiles. "Thanks!"
<Capn_Mercy> "More or less. We had to deal with some of the competition, but we got it."
<mainstreet> Gerard frowns. "I don't want to know. You have it?" Magwitch presents the banner. "Very well. 1000 gold, as promised," he hands the bag to Mercy.
<mainstreet> "Would your group be interested in doing more work for House Kandar? Or perhaps for the Empire at large?"
<Fir> "Sure. This gold stuff seems to be popular here, so we could always use more of it."
<Capn_Mercy> "That depends. Would either of those two groups be willing to pay large sums of gold for said work?"
<mainstreet> "Indeed. We pay what we generally understand to be fair market value."
- Yevyre rubs her chin, deep in thought
<Capn_Mercy> "Well, let's hear what you have on offer first."
<mainstreet> Gerard nods. "In short, I have three issues. The Empire has complained about Xalrin's failure to send the Emperor their most recent tribute, and this needs investigating. Second, Valgate is a town that sort of looks to House Kandar for leadership, but their own Baron has gone missing and we are getting seriously worried. Third, while this would not be an official quest, there has been a marked increase in pirate activity in the
<mainstreet> Transverse Ocean, and while the Emperor will not yet permit military intervention, working with a trading group to provide security against these pirates might prove mutually profitable indeed."
<Fir> "Which one gets us the most gold?"
<mainstreet> "I couldn't say. With the ocean quest, it entirely depends on the agreements you make with the trading agencies -- and how much the pirates themselves have to offer once defeated."
<Yevyre> "Everything here revolves around coin, eh?" Yevyre says and shakes her head.
<mainstreet> "I think the ocean quest has been explained about as well as I can, but I can give more detail on the others if you wish."
<Yevyre> "After what happened today, and seeing everything revolve around gold, perhaps I should depart. I feel I do not quite fit in."
<Capn_Mercy> "What? But...but we're battle buddies!"
- Fir pats Yev's leg. "Don't worry, you'll find your place."
<Yevyre> "I...do not want a 'battle buddy'. I fight to..." Yevyre shakes her head. "No, I don't want to go into a speech."
<Yevyre> "The short version is that I seek to do good to atone for past...mistakes. I feel that maybe the paths offered here are not the right ones for me."
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy pouts. She looks like she's about to say something rude, but then stops herself. ".....well, do what you gotta do, I guess. Good luck out there." She extends a hand to shake. "Maybe not battle buddies, but still buddies." She grins.
- Yevyre accepts the handshake. "I wish you a good future."
- Fir pats Yevyre goodbye on the leg.
- Yevyre turns to depart
- Fir turns back to the Son. "So, you were telling us about losing a baron?"
<mainstreet> Gerard nods. "The Baron of Valgate has gone missing. Please find him. Right now Valgate is a bit rudderless. This is alarming, because this is our primary defense post against potential invasion from Deladar. Not that there are any known hostilities between us and Deladar, but still, please find our Baron. We do not believe him to be dead at this time, but... we are still worried. While he does, technically, have an heir, he
<mainstreet> does not have one that is… suitable to rule at this time.)"
- Fir nods knowingly. "Still a seedpod?"
<mainstreet> Gerard blinks. "Uh. Sure. If that's what you call it."
<Capn_Mercy> "What about the first one? The...tribute thingy."
<Fir> "And that taxes thing? What are taxes? Did you try a Locate Object spell on them?"
<mainstreet> "It's not that simple. The transport was supposed to be over the open desert. With this failure, we see three possibilities. The Tribute was intended and sent correctly, but was intercepted and stolen en route, or the Count is rebelling against the Emperor, and thus, needs to be dealt with, or the Count has been deposed from outside his family without the knowledge of the other cities. Xalrin is a quite isolated city and it
<mainstreet> might well be possible to conceal a coup. In any of these cases, as we have been asked to investigate by His Majesty, we would pay quite well for a resolution. In the first case, recovery of the tribute and delivery to the Emperor would satisfy us. In the third case, if the rightful Count is still alive, or an eligible heir of his, the Emperor will pay quite generously to rectify the situation. If no heirs can be found, or if
<mainstreet> the ruling family is in rebellion, please simply report back to us with this information and we will follow up and deal with it, possibly with a more explicit request, possibly not."
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy huddles with the others. *whisper whisper*
<Capn_Mercy> She pokes her head up. "We'll take Doo--er, we'll go look for the missing baron."
<mainstreet> "Okay. Thank you," Gerard writes another letter. "This will be my letter of introduction to House Valgate. I have instructed them to cooperate fully with you in your investigation." After a minute, he hands it to you. "Good luck."
<mainstreet> ---END SESSION---