PRP The Countess' Plight Part One
The volunteers who have stepped up to offer their help to the Countess set out west to her County to assess the destruction and see what must be done to protect her and her people.
The group rides west to the Countess' land, nestled between the long established lands of Torendaar and the Forest of Armanor. While the Countess' estate was quick to be built, it is not as extravagant as the other houses they are used to, preferring to focus on function. Fitting for a House with such humble but proud beginnings. Still--it's a quaint setting. A simple stone estate surrounded by simpler wooden buildings, a tiny village that has built up around the Countess. Farmland stresses all around as well, covering the golden plains, and in the distance, to the west, the Forest can be seen as a dark green stripe along the horizon.
The otherwise quaint setting is scarred by destruction. On the western side of the town there are a few buildings which bare signs of damage, cracks along the walls and broken windows--but one building looks half caved in on one side. While people have obviously worked hard to clear away rubble, it's still a mess. Perhaps not quite as much destruction as the rumors had spoken of, but that was the way of gossip, wasn't it? Still, the people wandering about on their day to day business seem a little on edge.
Seren is amongst those that have journeyed to the West, her eyes are ever trained on the distant horizon, towards that forest for a time. The horse which carries her is given a tug to stop as they draw into the small setting, her attention soon shifting to their immediate surroundings. "Not as bad as it seemed to have been but still, I wonder if we should not take a moment to speak with the locals and take an account," she intones.
Eye witnesses are sought, at leats by Seren as she scans for one or two, meaning to direct herself to.
Valatir dips his head towards the riding Rylanth - they were, in fact, Palinnar's strongest allies in many ways. "It wouldn't be bad to do so. And, of course, to talk to the Countess."
Rawlin has been mostly silent on their journey out to the Countess' lands, preferring to stay near his wife and let the others speak if they feel the need to. In fact on part of the trip he had spent some time looking over a peace of parchment. As they neared their destination, he put away the scroll and spent more time focusing on their surroundings. When the buildings come into sight he licks his lips and watches the people as they recover from the attack. "No, not as bad as we thought." He says, agreeing with Seren. "Though this is only the damage we can see so far. If you all want to go speak with the Countess, I can go tend to the wounded?" He asks this of both Seren and Valatir.
"Likely what isn't seen is worse than what is on the surface... I'll scout for track or trail..." Gureylain states, abreast of Seren and Rawlin as he looks towards the damage and the ground surrounding. "I'll signal a peacock's call if I spot anything that I shouldn't leave - less I lose it." sliding to the ground and towards his work, surveying and scouting. Talking to witnesses is other's work, really.
Seren nods to Valatir, listening to the rest, "If that is what you wish to do, my heart. See what else you can find while you tend the injured." She smiles at Gureylain, "Good idea cousin, Marquis, if you would like to lead the way this is your land, I will join you in seeking out information from the locals and the Countess," she intones. The Rylanth Regent carefully brings her mount closer to Valatir's.
Gureylain checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 31 higher.
Valatir leaves off Prancer in order to go out and get to working. Valatir is generally more comfortable among the common folk anyway. People are probably emotional, and that can wring all sorts of truths from people at those moments.
While another looks for track and trail, Ember decides to look for traces of unusual magic. "I'm going to look more closely at the damaged buildings." She waits a beat for an objection before turning Cinder to head towards them.
"Stay safe out there, Gurey. Also what does a peacock sound like?" Rawlin asks, quite seriously. He'll wait for an answer from the woodself while he nods his head towards both Valatir and Seren. "May as well put my talents with restoration to use should they be required." Once Gurey answers him, he'll mouth something to Seren, nod to the group and then trot over to the nearest villages to begin inquiring as to who may need healing.
Alright, first off for Rawlin and Valatir: Charm + Empathy or Manipulation at 20.
Valatir checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 20, rolling 17 higher.
The Monstald Marchioness took up a ?flank? position on the ride, easily falling into that mentality of combative arrangements. Yvette is in full armor with her lion trotting alongside, keeping up with an easy loping motion. The woman seems content to follow leads for the moment: eyes roaming and taking everything in. Alert, but comfortably and casually so.
Rawlin checked charm + empathy at difficulty 20, rolling 1 higher.
Seren checked charm + empathy at difficulty 20, rolling 14 higher.
Pausing a moment, Gurey turns to look at Rawlin, tilting his head back and makes a sound very often, oddly associate with monkeys before he slips along on his business, all expression and tone neutral now that he's at his work. No emotion, only duty.
Rawlin, meanwhile, finds a handful of people with some scraps and bruises when things fell over in the quake, but his help is mostly waved off, and he is instead pointed to the house beside the damaged one, where the family is staying who's house was destroyed. Apparently, they were the ones who were hurt worst--and that coincidentially is where Seren and Valatir are being pointed as well, to speak to those who likely saw more than the others.
The building which took most of the damage seems to be a house--a fairly nice one too, second only to the Countess' estate. On the western side, the ground has been torn up, deep cracks still visible on the ground. The wall its self looks like it was the victim of some sort of explosion of rock, which smashed in the wall, allowing one to see inside to the ruined, smashed up bed room beyond, filled with stone rubble.
Seren and Valatir don't have much trouble snagging people on the street to get their testimonials. They all tell a rather anxious story--that several nights back a rock elemental attacked the village. The ground started to shake, and when they all looked out their windows and doors they could see a rock elemental not far from the village. Then, there was an explosion of rock that destroyed the house, which belongs to the cousins of the Countess, they come to find out. Everyone pretty much ran for their lives, at that point, and thankfully the elemental didn't follow them--they just seemed to disappear afterwards, or at least there wasn't any further attacks or damage.
Now on foot, given directions by the locals, Seren joins Valatir in approaching the building that the family is housed in. "Exploding rocks," she remarks to the Marquis, a brow rising as she remarks, "I do not recall this upon our meeting with them some weeks ago," she points out before she enters the house in search of more information, adopting a calming presence and a warm inviting smile in hopes of endearing herself for more information.
As they all near the house, Yvette follows and dismounts once she?s closer. The woman doesn?t head for the house itself first, however: instead, she leads her horse towards the ground where it?s been gouged and dug up, kneeling to take a closer look at it.
Ember checked mana + mysticism at difficulty 25, rolling 6 higher.
Making sure that none of the villagers who suffered minor injuries don't want any healing, Rawlin nods to them and then makes his way to the destroyed building, keeping his eyes open for any interesting things that he might be able to spot as he does. When he nears the house he takes a few moments to inspect the damage before trying to find the wounded elves he was told about.
Yvette checked intellect + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 6 lower.
The commoners are eager to show them their hospitality, and soon the group are greeted and offered drinks and food. A middle aged elf woman steps out, dressed in a pretty nice dress, for a commoner. She has some noticable bruises and a bandage fastened to her head, but still she smiles at them. "Thank you for coming. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ruith Garmonel." She holds out a hand towards them to shake.
Ember leashes Cinder to a tree nearby so that she can slide off the horse and get a closer look at the damage. First, she dips into the lifewell to look at the lingering magic left behind; and what does she find, but something naggingly familiar. Just, not the familiar that she expected to. "Hnh. High Priest Rawlin..." she calls for his attention when he is close enough to the building that she can meet him halfway. "Can you subtly question some of the injured to tell you what they actually saw? If anything. I don't believe this was a rock elemental."
"I don't know if that's something new or something in their arsenal already," says the Marquis-consort as he makes his way in closer. As the group resets, he looks for... the people with the names and the cousin. He reaches out to take Ruith's hand, turning it and placing a kiss upon it. "Marquis Valatir Palinnar."
Gureylain checked intellect + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 1 lower.
Rawlin checked intellect + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 13 higher.
"Mmmm perhaps, but I figured we would have seen that sort of thing if they had it but you are right, we do not know yet," Seren remarks to Valatir before they are greeted. Pale green eyes looks over the woman's bruising and frowns some, "Greetings, Ruith Garmonel. I am Lady Priestess Seren Rylanth, perhaps you could each detail what you saw? Perhaps tell us how long it all lasted?" She asks hopefully.
Rawlin and Yvette team up to look over the damage of the building, putting their heads together--and soon Rawlin seems to realize that the damage made from the attack is... oddly focused. If it was an earthquake, surely more than just these few buildings would bare signs of damage to their foundations?
Rawlin's cursory investigation of the damaged building is interrupted by Ember's voice. He turns and lifts an eyebrow. "Subtly question?" He asks, shaking his head. "I suppose I can try. Anyway if you want something else to think on..." He motions to the building with one hand. "It seems like this building was the sole target of the attack." He lets Ember and whoever else hears him ponder over that, then heads over to Ruith Garmonel and the others.
"It's nice to meet you both," Ruith replies with a smile, then exhales with a frown. "Of course. Me and my son saw everything first hand. I'm afraid he... cannot walk currently. His leg was badly injured. Do you mind sitting with us through here?" Seren and Valatir are led to a sitting room, where a young boy no less than ten years old is sitting on a couch, looking even more injured, leg propped up on a cushion. Still, the boy gives the couple a curious look. "They want to know what happened, Eli."
"A MONSTER attacked us!" Eli calls out suddenly, lifting his hands. He seems VERY eager to explain how he bravely survived an attack from a MONSTER.
Ruith politely shakes Rawlin's hand once he joins the group as well. "Thank you for taking the time to help us, High Priest."
"A pleasure, if you or your son do not mind I would be glad to offer what healing I can to his leg." Rawlin tells Ruith with an eye out for the injured lad.
Unlike herself, Rawlin is better able to sort things out. Yvette seems fairly distracted and focused on the damage itself rather than the target and focus of it. She straightens and leans back on her heels, frowning a little as she tries to gauge the path: attempting to find not where the so-called elemental went, but where it began.
"Tell me about this monster," bid Val as he eases down to, instead of the couch, sit on the floor. This puts him much more on eye level with the child. "What did it look like? What did you think when you saw it? Was it big?" Val seems to have a sort of infinite patience reserve for children.
"We would be very grateful," Ruith says with a dip of her head, putting a hand on the boy's shoulder.
"Can you make sure I have a cool scar after?" Eli asks, but otherwise doesn't stop him. (Intellect + Restoration at 20.)
Rawlin checked intellect + restoration at difficulty 20, rolling 21 higher.
Following Ruith when bid, Seren folds her hands before her once they take a place to sit. Valatir's question brings a nod with it as the Priestess glances from the mother to son. Eyes consider his wounds but she is no healer. She turnsher attention to Ruith, "How would you describe it?" A smile touches her lips as Rawlin moves forward to help with the boy, a nod given to him before her focus is once more on Ruith.
Gureylain checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 24 higher.
Ruith takes a deep breath. "I did not get a very clear look, admittedly. It was a very dark night--no moon. After the ground started to tremble I looked out my bedroom window and saw this... creature, to the west. It was--massive. Maybe ten feet tall? Made of dark stone. It had these huge arms that it smashed the ground with. That's when Eli came into my room--the quake had waken him--"
"But I wasn't scared," Eli insists. "I came to protect mom.
Ruith smiles softly. "Yes, well... As I grabbed Eli, the wall just... exploded. Rocks fell down all around us. We were nearly crushed, but I picked up Eli and ran. I looked back and saw the elemental--still in the field just west of town. It let out a horrible roar. I didn't look back again. We all ran for the Countess' estate to hide there."
Rawlin calls upon his magic and medical skill to heal the boy's wounds, and within minutes he's managed to mend the broken bones and torn flesh. Not only is his leg healed, but it seems like he won't even have a limp.
"Oh, are you already thinking about the stories you want to tell in the future?" Rawlin asks the child gently, amusement tugging at the corners of his lips. He goes quiet then, letting the others question the child as he begins channelling the lifewell through him and into the boy, letting the healing magic do its work. It doesn't take that long and when he's done he nods and ruffles the boys hair. "You'll be fine." He turns and smiles at Ruith and then lets the child tell of the monster.
Valatir keeps his eyes to the child over his mother. "Eli, when you met with the monster, what did you *feel*?" He presses a hand to his own chest. "Try to remember not with your mind and eyes, but remember with your feeling. What did it feel like?" Valatir holds up a hand. "Please. Let the boy speak. Sometimes children are still more attuned to the Lifewell than when we learn to trust our other senses."
Yvette checked intellect + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 14 lower.
Seren is quietly attempting to recollect the images she remembers with that they have seen. "It roared," the Rylanth remarked, her gaze narrowing briefly. But she is quiet, listening for the moment as she tries to piece everything together little by little. Patience is unending and slowly she watches the group of them, curiously tilting her head what Valatir says.
Ember does in fact ponder the mystery Rawlin lays out for her, and leaving those better inclined to being diplomatic and shit to talk to the actual people, she gets way more up close and personal with the building rubble so she can peer inside the hole that's been left behind and into the exposed room therein.
Seren checked mana + mysticism at difficulty 25, rolling 30 higher.
Eli busies himself for a moment peeling off bandages to examine his leg for the badass scar he assumes is going to be there, poking at the healed skin. Then he looks distractedly up at Valatir. Ruith is looking at Valatir a little uncertainly, but doesn't interrupt. Eli staaaares, squinting for a moment as he thinks real hard. "It feeeelt... ummm... I dunno? I wasn't scared or anything. I didn't really feel anything weird... If I hadn't tripped, I could have destroyed it."
Remaining where he is, brows knitted, absent from all of what had been happening before, The Old Wolf pops up, looking to see where the others all, shrugs, and cups his hands around his mouth and makes the bird call to summon over those who would come to him, arms folding back into his cloak, looming like some boogieman on the edge of the village, ready to call out where people should not be stepping when they approach him.
For a moment Seren seems to be elsewhere, her gaze distant as the hand on her thigh moves, tenses and finally stills, relaxing. She leans over to speak softly with Valatir. "Tell me Ruith. Who are your most skilled mages?"
"You must be very brave to see a big monster and not feel any fear," remarks Valatir with wide eyes. "Did you know you shouldn't feel afraid? Was it like when you're reading a scary story and you know that the next page is going to pop out at you, but it can't hurt you? Or was it like it *wouldn't* hurt you?" He turns his head towards Seren and nods, murmuring back his agreement.
There is more going on here than Rawlin immediately realizes. He watches Seren and Valatir exchange words, then looks to Ruith and then to Eli, smiling at the lad as he pulls his bandages off. "Be sure to get plenty to eat so you regain all of your strength in the coming days." He pats his shoulder and rises to his feet, content to let Val and Seren puzzle out the mystery together.
Eli bobs his head eagerly at Valatir. "Uh huh. It was just like a scary story! Heros always defeat the monsters in stories."
Ruith thinks about her question for a moment. "None of us around here are what I would consider experts, but... some of us dabble, a little. What sort of magic?"
Ember checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 1 higher.
"That they do. And you might have just been the wise one who helped," Val bids Eli. He looks back to Seren, letting her handle Ruith and that line of questioning.
After a simple nod is offered to Valatir, Seren glances to Rawlin and extends her hand to him, motioning him over as she smiles faintly in thought, "I would say Prestidigitation..Evocation?" She suggests, glancing at the Marquis for comfirmation. "And you know everyone around here, correct?" Smiling easily she rises up from her seat, "We would just like to get their view of things if they are available." She speaks softly with Rawlin.
Rawlin's expression turns serious as Seren murmurs to him, and he nods glancing over to Valatir before murmuring something in return.
Gureylain rmmmmms and tilts his head to the side, lifting his head and cupping his hands again to call out towards the rest of the group. "It was magic!" muttering then about bird calls and the point.
Ember is not really known for her subtlety, so she asks no permission when she climbs into the rubble room and starts digging around in the debris. Her sudden, "Ah-ha!!" might catch some attention, and the sound of metal scraping against stone as she tries to yank a now empty chest from beneath some rock. "Can someone help me out here, I don't have my brute strength along with me!" She refers to Talyn of course, who is sadly absent. "I found a clue! I think I found a clue." Just call her Blue.
"I know everyone, yes," Ruith says with a nod, thoughtful.
Eli pushes to his feet and tries walking around on the newly leg. "Presti--Prestimigation, that's when you do cool magic tricks and make sparkles, right? Finn is the BEST at that!"
Ruith blinks a little, looking at Eli, then frowns. "Oh, yes... She does come into town on occasion. A very skilled illusionist. Her name is Finnea."
Frowning a moment, "Where can we find Finn or Finnea? Furthermore, any idea why your house was targeted over the others? Anything that may have cause the trouble in the first place?" She asks of Riuth. Gureylain's call from outside is heard and for a moment Seren pauses before she then adds, "How well do you know Finnea?"
"I'm not sure," Ruith admits apologetically. "I'm pretty sure she's just a wandering performer. She comes around every few weeks or so to busk and entertain the children. I can't say I know her very well at all." Ruith is looking more disturbed. "I have wondered that myself. I do not know why we would have drawn the Watcher's anger upon us. We never go close to the forest. Unless... you believe it was not the Watcher?"
"I saw Finn a week ago," Eli says, who is now jumping up and down vigorously to test the healed leg. "She was asking about mom!" Ruith frowns deeper at this as she also starts putting together pieces, now looking out the window in the direction of the others calling out.
"What was she asking about mom?" asks Val with a little head tilt. "Anything you remember?"
Rawlin reaches out and puts a hand on Eli's shoulder. "Easy now, healing can do a lot of wonderous things, but you should still take it easy and not push yourself so hard for at least a couple of days. Get some rest, have your mom cook you wonderful meals." He smiles, and then lets his attention return to the conversation regarding this Finnea. Wondering if Norbeth might knwo who she is.
"Ummm..." Eli stops jumping at Rawlin's urging. "She was asking about the farms. Mom helps manage them for the Countess! She was complimenting her for doing such a good job. And I told her, I KNOW, My mom is GREAT! And we make enough money to buy me lots of toys now that cousin is the Countess and we have this land to take care of! And I showed her my new toys!"
Ruith pinches the bridge of her nose with a faint grimace.
Giving up on finding a point of origin, Yvette makes her way over to help Ember with that chest. She does, however, overhear the boy in his boisterous excitement. "We should find out where each farm is and who lives on them."
Ember is going to be enterprising if she's left to her own devices, a swirl of cold in the air near her as she begins forming an ice-slide she can shove the chest out the hole with. There's no way she's trying to carry that while getting out of the room at least. And surely some other idea will come along. As it is... "Look o... oh good, thank you Yvette. I have this handy ice slide made to get it out of here. But then..."
Ember checked perception + empathy at difficulty 20, rolling 8 lower.
Gureylain checked perception + empathy at difficulty 20, rolling 21 higher.
Valatir checked perception + empathy at difficulty 30, rolling 20 lower.
Yvette checked perception + empathy at difficulty 20, rolling 12 higher.
Seren checked perception + empathy at difficulty 30, rolling 9 lower.
"Riuth, I would suggest that you remain enough away from your original location. It seems you may have someone interested in your earnings, at least that is what this looks like in the first place," she offers faintly. "I do not think it is the Watchers so there is no need to frightne the nobles." She expresses faintly. She glances at the others, "Tell us what direction Finnea usually heads in after visiting you."
Ruith shakes her head, frustrated with herself. "I should have realized this..." She sighs. "To the east, I think. I think she is a vassal of House Naludine, if that helps."
Gureylain checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 25, rolling 57 higher. Gureylain rolled a critical!
Valatir nodded his head towards the boy. "Thank you for your help, Eli." Then Val is... trying to get up. It is not working well. Did you know that without immortality that old age really, really sucks?
Seren extends her hand down to Valatir, "Thank you Riuth, we will look into this matter and see what we can find out. For now it would be best to alert the Countess to what all this may be so that everyone can be better prepared. It seems we will be heading east."
"I think we'll manage it fine," Yvette assures Ember. The Grandmaster of the Solaris Order is decently strong, at least. So hopefully the chest does make it out of the house. But almost as soon as she's set it down, she's looking off in another direction. "Hold on," she notes to the other woman before striking off towards someone on the street. She does put on -- what she hopes is -- a polite, encouraging smile as she approaches a fairly young looking girl. "Hi, I'm Yvette Monstald. Who are you?"
The moment Yvette starts to approach the girl, there is immediately a flash of panic that passes over her face, and perhaps as expected--the teenager turns to start sprinting away. Gureylain, however, has managed to get rather close without anyone noticing. (Give me a Dex or Strength + Brawl roll at 15 to nab her, Gurey.)
Gureylain checked dexterity + brawl at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.
Valatir has to really rely on the illusionist's help. He finally groans out his last. "... Hatharal better get us immortality soon or I'm going to have to hire Dahlten to help me get up and down from sitting," he mutters.
Ruith stands and bows her head to the three. "Thank you. I will tell the Countess what you had discovered. I'm sure she will be grateful."
"... But, this..." Ember mutters under her breath when Yvette wanders off, until her gaze settles on the girl that the Grandmaster is approaching. "Hmm. Hey, can anyone tell me what used to be in this chest!? I think it's been stolen from..." She points towards the thing that's been removed from the room, adding a little sparkle to the air to get more attention.
Gurey effortlessly grabs the girl's arm as she passes, making her stumble and nearly fall over--but he keeps her held and stable. She tries to pull away for a moment, then goes slack, frowning deeply. She looks between Gurey and Yvette wildly, but says nothing.
Drawing and sticking arrows to mark an outline, Gureylain begins working his way back from his discovery and then... He's gone. Like. An elf worker hauling some firewood moves in front of him obscuring him... gone. It's like a bad fireside story, the cloaked boogieman who is there and then isn't. Where did he go? For what purpose?!
It's to get up behind and to one side of the girl that spooks when Yvette speaks to her. He uses speed rather than strength though, winding his hand into the youth's clothes before balling his fist to hold her in place. "Miss, please. It is important that you help." Grunting as he goes slack, lips pressing tight.
Rawlin gently pats Valatir on the shoulder, "Let's go see what the others have discovered, shall we?" He smiles over to Seren and then nods to Ruith and Eli. "Make sure the boy gets a nice decent meal tonight and tomorrow at least, and try to make sure he doesn't push himself too hard. Anyway, thank you both for speaking with us." And with that he is moving away and off to search for Yvette, Ember and Gurey.
Ruith, now looking out the window, frowns as she hears Ember and sees the sparkle. "Excuse me," she tells the others, and slips out to walk down to the ruined out and steps up onto some rubble. Eli follows along behind her. "Did I hear you mention... chest?" Ruith's expression goes grim as she stares down at the empty chest, face paling. "...The farm owners' silver. I hadn't been able to take it to the bank in Thelos yet."
"I don't recommend running from me," Yvette says simply. "I'm the Marchioness of Monstald and Grandmaster of the Solaris Order. I have a long memory." This is all delivered in a focused deadpan. Perhaps to scare the child or maybe that's /just how she is/. "We won't hurt you. This is Gureylain and he's really just a big cuddly puppy." There is an almost mischievous flicker of her eyes towards her uncle before she's looking to the girl again. "Can you tell me your name? And if you saw anything?"
The girl's eyes go wiiiide as Yvette gives her full titles, now looking quite anxious. "I didn't do anythiing! I was just watching! That isn't a crime!"
Smiling down at Valatir for only a second longer before the taller elf stands, she squeezes his hand and releases it. There is a soft chuckle and she nods to Riuth, "Thank you." She exists with the other two and then follows them to what the other three have found. Strange, a chest...and a girl that seems to be in a bit of a panic. "Hmmmm, what is going on?" But Yvette's words cause her to clear her throat. "Finnea, you have not seen her have you?" THe name is offered to the girl.
"Oh no. I'm so sorry." When Ruith notes what is supposed to be in the chest, Ember can at least look and sound empathetic. "With that being the only building damaged, and if this was the only thing taken...?" her voice trails off a little, leaving it to the others to put two and two together, along with whatever the young girl has to say.
Valatir walks around a bit stiffly, grumbling like the crotchety man he is.
Yvette simply blinks once. "I never accused you of doing anything," she says in an easy, but somewhat flat tone of voice. "But you did try to run. Why?"
The girl eyes Seren as she approaches, then shrugs. "Never heard of her." Then to Yvette, "I dunno, maybe because a scary strange woman was walking up to me? Didn't your parents tell you not to talk to strangers?"
Ruith nods faintly to Ember, offering a weak smile. "We'll get by. Thank you for your help."
"Little Miss, please. We would need to know anything you know. I saw footprints, pushed in and back by the magic they used - the shape of a blast. Do you know who could creat such an effect, on purpose or otherwise?"
Rawlin looks at the others, looks at the girl being restrained by Gureylain. "Who is this girl?" He asks the others.
"Wow, that's some sass." Ember murmurs under her breath with a glance at the girl before looking back at Riuth. "I'm certain Marquis' Valatir and Hatharal will be willing for Palinnar to help make up that difference. We wouldn't see you suffer, and you are just getting your feet under you. Assuming we're not able to get the coins back, that is."
Valatir dips his head. "Trust me - the books will be dealt with."
Valatir checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 25, rolling 7 higher.
Seren checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 25, rolling 4 higher.
Yvette checked command + intimidation at difficulty 25, rolling 14 lower.
Rawlin checked command + intimidation at difficulty 25, rolling 17 lower.
"We appreciate the help, certainly," Ruith says to Ember and Valatir gratefully.
"I gave you my name. I'm not a stranger." Even so, Yvette is frowning and looks past the girl to Gureylain. "Am I scary?" Then back to the girl herself. "Do you live nearby? Can you tell me about the farms around here and who owns them?" There's a sidelong glance to Rawlin as he approaches and the Marchioness shrugs. "She won't tell us her name. It's awful suspicious if you ask me." There's a slight lilt to her voice; she's toying with the girl a bit now, but...the child might not know that.
Valatir gets out one hundred silver and passes it over. "Your name?" Bribery. He's extremely good at bribery.
Furrowing her brows a moment as this young girl seems to dismiss any knowledge of Finnea. She clears her throat, trying not to laugh at Ember's words and sucks her lips in so she does not snicker. Sass indeed.
"You do carry yourself in a fashion that would convey a displeased attitude and general unpleasantness. You should work on that, Dearest Yvette." Gureylain notes, letting the others speak with the girl. He's holding her, and if she gets loose it's likely she won't be able to lose him either, tracker that he is.
It seems like the silver has done the trick to help calm the girl, a little--she snatches it greedily to pocket. "My name is Lyrin," she says, more towards Seren and Valatir.
"What is it we need to know from this lovely young woman?" asks Valatir with a long-suffering smile. Someone has been doing bribes for life. "Do answer the questions, dear Lyrin. It'll be worth your while." He shakes his coin purse. Salacious.
"I am not unpleasant," Yvette counters Gureylain's assessment. She is rolling her eyes as Valatir bribes the girl. "What a terrible thing to teach a child," the knight mutters under her breath. "I was trying to ask what she saw and what she could tell us of the farms in the area."
"It's not a bad idea for her to learn her skills and value as an informant," counters Valatir. "Frankly, it's a service we all benefit from. Go on, girl, answer the less pleasant money-filled people."
"Look--I'm just here doing a job," Lyrin says, tugging her arm to try to get Gurey to let her go. "I was told to watch the house and see if anyone showed up, then tell this guy if they found anything weird." She looks between them. "The farms? What about them? They're just farms. They grow wheat and stuff..."
"Wait, what guy?" Seren asks of Lyrin, brows digging in as she considers the young girl. "Anyone related to Riuth Gamorel?" She asks of the younger one, her eyes lifting to look at Valatir curiously before glancing towards Rawlin and the others.
Rawlin perks a little bit, nodding to Seren's question and adding, "When did this person tell you to do this and what were their instructions exactly?" He leans a little as if trying to read Lyrin's face.
"Until she's refusing to behave for her family lest they pay her," Yvette counters Valatir's words. But then she's looking back to the girl and her eyebrows arch. "A guy." There's a glance to Seren, then back. "Can you tell us his name? Where'd you meet him? I'm sure this fine gentleman-" she gestures to Valatir. "Would be /thrilled/ to pay you more than this guy is. Maybe even twice as much."
Valatir just stands there. Looking rich.
Valatir checked charm + economics at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.
"How should I know if they're related?" Lyrin shrugs. "I don't know his name. He didn't tell me." To Rawlin, "The day after the Watchers attacked. What he said--he told me to keep an eye on the house, and if anyone showed up poking around and being nosy, to tell him what they found." She then eyes Yvette, then looks to Valatir expectantly. "Yeah? Cause he paid me a LOT."
"Hmmm... well, he paid you for information, and information isn't what you're giving me." Val inspects his nails. "Not even a name? Where were you supposed to meet him? What did he look like?"
"Trust me, he," Yvette gestures to Valatir, "can pay you more." Who is she even goading at this point?
Seren is not into bribery, really she would probably get fleeced if she tried so she remains quiet. Though her expression sours a little before wrinkling her nose. Eyes flit between them all and she says quickly, "We are losing time, I suggest we split into groups of three. Three to follow this..unknown man and the others to chase down Finnea."
"The position is called *master of coin* for a reason," Val agrees idly with Yvette.
"That's not going to be coming out of my mala crystal fund, Grandmaster, if that's what you're hoping." The pyro Palinnar amongst them is quick to point out, though for now she keeps her hands laced together in front of her, glancing around to see if there's anything suspicious happening around them. You never know!
Rawlin waves his hand, "Listen, if Lyrin here does not want to tell us what she knows, we can take her back to Torendaar, then the King can ensure she is exiled for her part in the crimes that have been committed here today." He then nods to Seren. "Yes, that seems a wise plan."
"He had tan skin, reddish-brown hair... kind of short." She gestures vaguely to her head. "About your height." She points to Rawlin. "He *really* didn't give me a name. I met him in the market in Toreendar, not far from Sparrowhawke. He told me to leave any messages I found inside this old tree outside of the village." She points towards east. Then pauses, thinking... "Oh! He had a crystal hanging from his belt. It was half hidden by his shirt, but I thought it was really pretty. Um... real red... with a gold crow wrapped around it."
Anyone can roll Wits + Streetwise at diff 20.
Ember checked wits + streetwise at difficulty 20, rolling 15 lower.
Rawlin checked wits + streetwise at difficulty 20, rolling 1 higher.
Valatir checked wits + streetwise at difficulty 20, rolling 2 higher.
"I didn't commit any crimes!" Lyrin protests loudly at Rawlin.
Seren checked wits + streetwise at difficulty 20, rolling 8 lower.
Yvette checked wits + streetwise at difficulty 20, rolling 9 lower.
"Just ask Valatir to pay for your crystal," Yvette asides to Ember.
"Oh, I recognize that description. Really standout member of the Red Crows. Somewhat handsome, if I recall correctly," says Valatir with a sigh. "Evocationist... What was his name? It's on the tip of my tongue." He snaps his fingers a few times. "The one with the really nice singing voice."
Rawlin frowns at Lyrin for a long moment and slowly nods, "That may be true, but you are still engaging in suspect behavior. You should go speak with Ruith when we are done here, spend a week working on the farms as a penance and perhaps next time do not willingly take money from strange men who won't share their names." He puts his hands on his hips and nods, "Ailred, wanted for crimes in Torendaar. Perhaps this other elf works for him."
Valatir points to Rawlin. "That's the looker. Ailred. I've used him as inspiration for romance book art." To say nothing of crimes. But he looks to Lyrin. "You're a good little informant, but you have to learn a very important lesson - you tell the angry officers enough up front so they let you go *then* you get a reward after." He wags a finger.
As the two suddenly seem to be spinning some story or at least recognizing someone, Seren just glances between them, her brow rising. She clears her throat as the others are talking about a crystal. Chewing at the inside of her cheek the Rylanth regards Rawlin and leans in to speak to him fantly as she seeks some information that will not bother what is going on.
Lyrin looks up at Rawlin uncertainly at talk of punishment. "Uh... sure..." Then looks incredulously at Valatir. "You're cheating me out of the deal now?"
Rawlin murmurs something in return to Seren before looking towards Lyrin and Valatir amused by the Marquis' actions.
There's a moment of staring at Valatir before Yvette shakes her head. The description means nothing to her, but she more focuses on Rawlin. "We are not punishing a child in that way, though I do intend to find out who her parents are. /They/ can decide the proper way to deal with her." There is a gesture to Valatir, following Lyrin's protests. "She did provide plenty of information."
"And she was paid a fair wage for something that cost her nothing but air and time," says the trader with a big smile. "One hundred silver coins. Frankly, *I* don't even get paid one hundred silver coins for five minutes of talking. I'd say that's a good wage."
"And do you know where this evocationist is? This Ailred?" Seren eyes the girl after listening to what Rawlin has to say. A slow exhale is made and she lifts a hand to pinch the bridge of her nose briefly. "It is looking like we need to find out exaclty where these Red Crows are."
Lyrin's face scrunches up at Valatir in annoyance. The girl's arms cross, only shrugging at Seren. Not feeling so gabby now, it seems.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Rawlin before departing.
"Well we at least know that Finnea was asking about the family and she went East. Could bring our friend along to be sure she is not going to alert anyone." She suggests with a frown, her chin lifting as she regards Lyrin.
From the ruined house where she had been watching at a distance, Ruith steps over, clearing her throat faintly. "May... I offer a possible solution?"
"Oh, I don't think she'll talk... will she?" Yvette looks back to Lyrin, offering what she /intends/ as a nice smile. "After all, she personally knows the Grandmaster of the Solaris Order now." Back to that 'threat,' unsubtle as it was. Still, the blonde elfess looks to Ruith as she appears. "What might that be?"
"You could have her report to this criminal, as she was paid to do," Ruith says, hands folding together. "To tell them that you came and found nothing suspicious. And in fact, that she overheard Marquis Valatir speaking of sending enough silver to us to cover our losses. On a certain evening, very soon." She glances towards Valatir. "Lure them to you, instead of chasing them all around the countryside."
"We could. And then, the girl could still get paid," he agrees.
"Well that sounds logical. But much less fun then chasing someone." Ember murmurs, because of course she has to put her adventuring two cents in.
A nod of appreciation is given, "If you are okay with being bait in a sense, then yes we can do that. Seren looks a bit troubled, glancing at Ember, "I am sure there will still be chasing to be had, if I had to guess," she remarks and makes a thoughtful sound before glancing to Valatir, "We are going to say tomorrow night? Make it look like we have departed."
"This is a surprisingly good plan." Rawlin says to Ruith and then to Seren. "Maybe not tomorrow night but the night after? Might give us more time to prepare a nice welcome party for this fellow."
Lyrin looks nervous suddenly. "What if you don't catch them and they find out I was lying?"
"All you need to do," Yvette tells Lyrin after she herself rolls over the plan a bit, "is return and tell them what you know. If we make it a couple nights from now-" she nods to Rawlin, "then you have plenty of time to go home to your family and I can send a couple members of the Order to watch over your home until the matter is settled. We can have them show up as, say, old family friends."
She looks up at Yvette for a moment, then nods faintly, shifting her weight nervously between her feet. "Okay."
"I hope the welcome party includes fireworks." Ember wiggles her fingers, obviously volunteering for that part of the plan. She's not overly enthusiastic or anything is she?
"Well then, we must prepare the rumors that we are leaving. That leaves our plan to only the Countess, Lyrin and Ruith to know. I think that will at least ensure things do not go wrong. Valatir and I can likely hide us from view." Seren proposes the idea. Her head tilts in question, glancing among the assembled
"I imagine that would be simple enough with a master like you by my side," agrees Val. "I say we do it."
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