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 Post subject: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:53 pm 
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Autumn Twilight 2, World Tree
Haahqae - He casts Detect Magic on that bow, but finds it is not magical. He spends the rest of the day sulking on his failures. He spends 5 silver at the Steel Tankard and earns 2 copper from his juggling. He heals 1 HP.
Kendra - She does her patrols as a soldier.
Gregeddin - He heads to the prefect's mansion as a representative of the Trade Guild but is told he needs to make an appointment. The next appointment available is in a week. He performs at the Ivy Inn and earns 2 silver. He heals 1 HP.
Tulbas - He prepares for his Test.
Arulia - She helps her father in his forge. He only makes 4 silver the whole day. Arulia heals 1 HP.
Grubnick - He lays low after learning the church is hunting heretical clerics. He pays 5 silver at the High Hand and heals 1 HP.
Felran - He pays 2.5 silver at the High Hand. He heals 1 HP.
Ne-Chanz - He pays 2.5 silver at the High Hand. He Heals 1 HP.
Shima - He 'looks for a source of coin.' The only jobs that are hiring, though, are the weaponsmiths, the armorer and the army.

Autumn Twilight 3, Gateway
Haahqae - He checks in on Ismene and finds she is still recovering from her grievous injuries. He spends 5 silver at the Steel Tankard. He earns 2 CP from juggling there. He heals 1 HP.
Gregeddin - He goes to visit Mateo's parents. The 15 STP he gave them is the only reason they haven't been kicked out of their squalid home and sent to Pax Tharkas yet. They've only spent 6 STP so far, so they have 9 STP left. It should last them through the rest of autumn, but when winter comes, that's another story. He earns 1 SP at the Ivy Inn. He heals 1 HP.
Tulbas - He prepares for his Test.
Arulia - She helps her father in his forge. He only makes 4 silver the whole day. Arulia heals 1 HP.
Grubnick - He lays low after learning the church is hunting heretical clerics. He pays 5 silver at the High Hand and heals 1 HP.
Felran - He pays 2.5 silver at the High Hand. He heals 1 HP.
Ne-Chanz - He pays 2.5 silver at the High Hand. He Heals 1 HP.
Shima - He tries to connect with the thieves' guild but is told there isn't one anymore.

Autumn Twilight 4, Bright Eye
Haahqae - He spends the day searching for 'evil clerics' but isn't sure what they look like. Wear all black? The priests of Takhisis do that. Suffice to say, he doesn't find anyone evil looking preaching any faiths besides Takhisis. He earns 1 copper from juggling and heals 1 HP. He spends 5 silver at the Tankard.
Gregeddin - He goes to visit Zoya and Karn. He tells Karn about his appointment. Karn tells the bard that he attended a party in hopes of talking to the prefect, but some blonde woman took up all of his time and he never got the chance. Zoya reveals she lost her bouncer job at the Masked Dragon and has been living off that 15 STP he gave her since then, but it's all gone now. Gregeddin performs at the Ivy Inn, earning 2 silver and he heals 1 HP.
Tulbas - He prepares for his Test.
Arulia - She helps her father in his forge. He only makes 4 silver the whole day. Arulia heals 1 HP.
Grubnick - He lays low after learning the church is hunting heretical clerics. He pays 5 silver at the High Hand and heals 1 HP.
Felran - He pays 2.5 silver at the High Hand. He heals 1 HP.
Ne-Chanz - He pays 2.5 silver at the High Hand. He Heals 1 HP.

Autumn Twilight 5, Night's Eye
Haahqae - He spends 5 silver at the Steel Tankard. He earns 1 CP. He heals 1 HP.
Gregeddin - He and Shima spend the day looking for a fence, but anyone shady they talk to insist there are none. Word has gotten around that they worked for the temple, so now the criminal element seems wary of them. He earns 2 SP performing. He heals 1 HP.
Tulbas - He prepares for his Test.
Arulia - She helps her father in his forge. He only makes 4 silver the whole day. Arulia heals 1 HP and is now fully healed.
Grubnick - He lays low after learning the church is hunting heretical clerics. He pays 5 silver at the High Hand and heals 1 HP and is now fully healed.
Felran - He pays 2.5 silver at the High Hand. He heals 1 HP.
Ne-Chanz - He pays 2.5 silver at the High Hand. He Heals 1 HP.

Autumn Twilight 6, Dead Eye
Haahqae - He spends 5 silver at the Steel Tankard. He earns 3 CP. He heals 1 HP and is now fully healed.
Gregeddin - He visits Magnus and learns how to cast Knock. He earns 4 SP at the Ivy Inn. He heals 1 HP
Tulbas - He prepares for his Test.
Arulia - She helps her father in his forge. He only makes 4 silver the whole day. Cassilda gets paid 2 steel.
Grubnick - He lays low after learning the church is hunting heretical clerics. He pays 5 silver at the High Hand.
Felran - He pays 2.5 silver at the High Hand. He heals 1 HP.
Ne-Chanz - He pays 2.5 silver at the High Hand. He Heals 1 HP.

Autumn Twilight 7, Winged Trade
Haahqae - He spends 5 silver at the Steel Tankard. He earns 2 CP from juggling.
Gregeddin - He earns 2 SP at the Ivy Inn. He heals 1 HP and is now fully healed.
Tulbas - He prepares for his Test.
Arulia - She helps her father in his forge. He only makes 4 silver the whole day.
Grubnick - He lays low after learning the church is hunting heretical clerics. He pays 5 silver at the High Hand.
Felran - He pays 2.5 silver at the High Hand. He heals 1 HP.
Ne-Chanz - He pays 2.5 silver at the High Hand. He Heals 1 HP.


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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 6:38 pm 
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It is the morning of Autumn Twilight 8th, World Tree, in the year 351 AC. It is First Watch.

Haahqae (Steel Tankard Inn, Room 15)
A week later, Haahqae wakes up in his room at the Steel Tankard. The last week had been fairly uneventful. There has been no further snow, at least. But still, the temperature has been quite low. He hasn't been much for socializing, other than a brief visit to Ismene while she was recovering to fill her in on Belzor's escape. She was quite upset about that news, worried of what a powerful renegade like him might do left unchecked.

Aside from that, he hasn't seen much of the others. He performed juggling each night, but this barely earned him a whole silver piece. On the bright side, he has recovered completely from his injuries. He spent most of the week studying ancient history, as well as Sekla's spellbook and scrolls. He had learned quite a bit. He didn't understand all of the spells in the book or the scrolls, but he understood a few more than he had when he first found them.

Looking out the window, he can see it's a clear day. He had a feeling that today was going to be different. Today, he would get closer to his goals. It was odd, though. He had never spent more than a week, maybe two in a place before moving on. But he has been in Haven for almost a month now, with plans to stay through the winter. He vaguely remembered the old hobgoblin's prophetic words--that 'everything would change.' And boy, did they ever.

Kendra Synclair (2527 Market Street, Greylock's Gorgeous Gems)
The last week for Kendra had been largely uneventful. Every morning she got up, reported to work, was given her patrol route, completed it and then went home. The only really interesting things was what she heard while at the fortress. Reports would come in, and sometimes she would overhear higher up soldiers discussing them. Something about the Pax Tharkas army not showing up at the rendezvous, forcing the Haven army to attack Qualinesti by itself (and several days later than they had wanted to). Rumors of something going down in Pax Tharkas, that Verminaard had been wounded or possibly killed. Whispers that when the army finished up with the Qualinesti, they were turning south, toward the dwarf lands and even Thorbardin, the mountain kingdom.

There had been no word from Tethys since the party. The following day, she told the cleric who is blackmailing her about the prefect's plans to snatch the brothel out from under the temple. She seemed pleased with Kendra's work and told her she would call upon her again. But so far, she hasn't.

Looking out the window shows it is a clear day, at least. No sign of further snow for the last week. Heading downstairs, she finds Norris has already prepared breakfast.

Gregeddin and Shima (300 Market Street, Gregeddin's House)
Gregeddin begins a new day in his mostly empty house with his rather strange roommate. It was odd how quickly Shima went from a new acquaintance to living with him. The dwarf seemed eager to please, though. He constantly bent over backwards for Gregeddin, made Gregeddin's causes his own and constantly pestered the bard day and night with questions about Arulia, whom Gregeddin barely knew either. One thing was for sure, the place was never quiet. It seemed like Shima never stopped talking, as if afraid of what silence might bring.

The two of them kept pretty busy over the past week. Gregeddin would perform each night at the Ivy Inn to earn a few silver, but it wasn't enough to pay the bills. He needed to find a quick source of steel, and fast and preferably one better than turning Gobax over to the temple. For the most part, though, nothing has really come up.

Today, though, he finally had an appointment to go see the prefect in the name of the Trade Guild. If he could talk the prefect into removing the new taxes, that would certainly help with things. So that was a start.

Tulbas Erogund (Mageware shop)
Tulbas has spent the last week training for his upcoming Test in a week. It has been a grueling, difficult process. Magnus never let up, even a little. "Remember, failing the Test means death," he would always point out whenever Tulbas began to complain. Dying during one's Test would be the ultimate disgrace, but more than that...should Tulbas die, so does the last of his family line. His uncle, his parents, and his sister was counting on him. What's more, the knowledge that there were those who were trying to subvert Takhisis gave him some hope Hope that things might change, might get better.

Today, though, was a day of rest from his studies. Magnus had an important deal to take care with some other high ranking Black Robed Wizards, so Tulbas has the day off. He should probably make the most of it.

Arulia Seroth (Thoron's Blacksmithy)
As she had every day in the last week, Arulia walked Cassilda to her job, and then headed to her father's forge. Cassilda hadn't received any new burns so far, but she would tell Arulia about the other apprentices who were not so lucky. Cassilda was smart and picked things up quickly, so she didn't make as many mistakes as the others.

Thoron's shop was void of customers, as usual, when she arrives. In the past week, they had earned almost 5 steel, which included the 2 steel Cassilda brought home for the week. They needed 25 more by the end of the month. It just didn't seem possible at this rate.

What's more, no more suitors had come calling yet, either. It seems Osred had been spreading the word that Thoron's daughters were 'ugly shrews' to discourage anyone else from seeking them out. Still, Thoron held out hope that someone would show up. Really, though, the only suitor Arulia has had to deal with has been Shima. He shows up almost every day to 'help' with the forge, despite having no knowledge of smithing and there being no need as things are so slow. It's clear it's just an excuse to be around her.

On the bright side, though, Arulia had learned a great deal from her father. She knew a little about smithing from her time as a child, but more out of boredom than anything else, he has been teaching her the more advanced techniques and now she feels she could competently hold down the shop if she ever needed to. She could forge nails, horseshoes, and most tools.

Gobax, Felran and Ne-Chanz (High Hand Inn, Common Room)
Gobax, Felran and Ne-Chanz all descend into the common area after a week that was largely uneventful. Surprisingly, the place is largely empty outside of themselves. Green Tears greets them from behind the bar. "I'm afraid I have bad news," she explains. "Due to the taxes, I must raise prices to stay in business. Rooms will now cost 8 silver a night, starting today."

This is particularly bad news for Felran. As he is sharing a room, that means he'll have to pay 4 silver a night instead of 2.5, and he only has 6 silver left!


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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:04 pm 
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Kendra absently ties her hair up in her normal blue ribbon as she walks to the breakfast table, and sits down. "It looks like it is going to be another normal day," she says.


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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 3:15 am 
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Early one morning Shima says to Gregeddin, "If nothing turns up soon I'll have to either join the army."
Seeing that bard is busy playing his Zhang the relatively-recently washed dwarf goes walkabout, having become slightly more familiar with the city during his wanderings in the previous weeks of unemployment.

Shima realises that after so long employment will not come begging to him and the mountain dwarf seems to have disappeared. He leaves Gregeddin's house intending to do a circuit of the gathering places:
Grinning Goat, Happee Ohgr, Blind Chandler finishing up at the High Hand. The intended routine in each of the first three is similar: have a look round, and take a seat as if looking for someone. Earvesdrop where possible. After about 15 or 20 minutes and the faintest of shrugs, he would get up and go to the bar, "Barman, I'm looking for a job. Please keep your ears open. I'll be back." Slide him a copper piece and move on. At the High Hand the dwarf is happy to spend and hour or so nursing the cheapest house drink, conversing with any of the recent acquaintances he's made, especially Arulia or Haahque. If the latter is performing, then he will watch appreciatively. In the afternoon and evening, Shima intends to repeat the routine, this time covering: Haven Arms, Daft Gnome, Masked Dragon, Seven Centaurs, Ivy Inn and ending up in the Steel Tankard. The first five of these get the 15-20 minutes eavesdropping visit, a few sentences with the barman and offering of the meagerest coin (1CP) ending in the Tankard nursing the cheapest house drink, conversing with any of the recent acquaintances he's made, especially Arulia or Haahque.


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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:52 am 
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[OOC: no draconians even?]

As the goblin awakes he ponders the state of the city and his own precarious situation in it. Closing his eyes he prays silently. Sirrion be my guiding flame. The road is treacherous and fraught with traps laid by the Dragon Queen, though I am not afraid for you are with me. Reveal to me some way I might serve you and bring your cleansing flame to the rot she has brought to this city. He continues by praying for the following spells for the day [Command, Cure Lt Wounds (2x), Detect Magic, Magical Stone; Flame Blade, Fire Trap, Heat Metal, Hold Person]. He then casts Fire Trap on a full flask of oil, which he puts in his belt pouch. The Before heading downstairs Grubnick dons his hide armor and new (ish) leathers, keeping the trapped flask of oil wrapped in a rag in his large pouch, half his coin in the first small pouch, and three sling stones and some bandages in the second small pouch. The rest of his gear and coin he leaves in his room, hiding his coin under the dresser.

Once to the bar with Green Tears he shakes his head sadly, These taxes seem to be doing little more than quickly draining the life out of everything not tied to the Church or Army... Things must be getting desperate indeed... The goblin orders breakfast and coffee then looks about to make sure there are indeed no draconians listening. Have you heard any new news about the church or the army? He asks her quietly. Specifically anyone opposing them?


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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:19 am 
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Arulia spends a few hours of the morning working with her father. Although she is proud of her work--if she hadn't made them herself, she'd be hard-pressed to pick out which horseshoes were made by her father's more experienced hands and which one by hers--her pride only goes so far, and it doesn't bring any customers into the shop. As she's cleaning up around the quenching barrels, she idly notices the thick layer of grime and soot on her hands. Imagining that the rest of her is just as dirty, she puts away her broom.

"Father," says Arulia, "Unless things get busier here, would it be okay if I left for a while to go to one of the inns and clean off all of this soot and dirt? I could go home and take Niniva and Camilla with me, too. After all, I doubt that any suitors would be interested in me looking this dirty."


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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:39 am 
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Kendra Synclair (2527 Market Street, Greylock's Gorgeous Gems)
"Normal is good," Norris replies as he begins to eat. "At least they aren't sending you to the front or making you torture people or something like that. You are more or less doing what you used to do for the Holy Guard." The truth of this statement rings true to Kendra. She really has come full circle in the last month.

Arulia Seroth (Thoron's Blacksmithy)
"Probably couldn't hurt," Thoron says. "If you have the coin to spend, anyway. I doubt we'll get more than a handful of customers, and probably not all at the same time," he says. "I only wish we had some suitors for you to look nice for. It's been a week, and I haven't received word from even one."

Just as he finishes speaking, the door opens and the little bell over it rings, signaling that a customer is arriving. He's a young man, perhaps in his mid-twenties, with short blond hair, grey eyes and fair skin. He's also wearing full armor and is carrying a dented up shield. "Excuse me, are you open?" he asks politely. "I was hoping you could work on this shield."

Thoron wipes the grime from his hands with an old rag. "I'm not an armorer, just a blacksmith," he points out.

"The line at the armorer was far too long," the young man says. "And it doesn't have to be pretty, just buffed out a bit. I have coin to pay," he offers. To prove so, he withdraws a small pouch from his belt. "Here, have a look." He then tosses it gently to Arulia. It jingles when she catches it. Peering inside, she would see a number of silver coins...and a medallion, identical to her own--a platinum dragon. The young man watches her closely for a reaction.

"Sure," Thoron says, taking the shield. "It shouldn't take long."

Gobax, Felran and Ne-Chanz (High Hand Inn, Common Room)
Gobax looks around a second time to be sure, but there is nobody else present, not even any draconians yet. Green Tears brings him a meal and coffee and charges 2 silver. "Church has finished repairing the brothel and will be opening it once they get employees," she says. "As for the army, the word is that there is still heavy fighting up north in Solamnia. But they are losing. Ergoth resists, as well, but Solamnia is taking the worst of it. They also say that Qualinesti was burned to the ground, but most of the elves had already fled by the time it happened, taking ships to Ergoth. Overheard some dracs say that the army will continue south now, and take the dwarf lands."

Shima Longfoot (Grinning Goat)
Having evidently planned his entire day, Shima heads to the Grinning Goat, the first of many taverns he plans to visit today. As it is only First Watch (7 AM), the place is pretty empty. It's a fairly filthy dive, making even the Tankard seem nice in comparison. Shima notices dried blood and vomit on the floor in certain spots. It's dark, it's dank and it smells awful. The tables have graffiti carved on them, one of the windows has been broken and boarded up, and every now and again a cockroach or rat skirts across the common room.

There are only three people present. The man behind the bar, a human with a patch over one eye, a woman sitting at the bar with blonde hair and wearing leathers, and a goblin passed out on a table dressed in the uniform of the dragonarmy. The first two both look to Shima when he enters. The woman then goes back to her drink and the barman calls out, "Whaddya want, stranger?"


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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:28 am 
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The army is losing? Good. he says flatly. Pity about Qualinesti, I might have likes to see it someday, but at least it wasn't a slaughter... he sips his coffee and listens as she continues, freezing when she mentions the Dwarven lands. Do the dwarves know? How soon would they be there? I guess with everything going on they'll have prepared, but someone should warn them...


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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 2:37 pm 
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Gregeddin bids farewell to Shima for the day and as soon as the dwarf is out of the door he turns into a flurry of activity."It's today it's today" he kept repeating to himself as he gathers his things quickly. The letter most important, and trying to make himself look the best he could.

Opening the door he bounds down the alleyway onto the market Street. Big galloping skips, he had too much energy to run and the air was fresh and the morning sky slowly becoming a bright orange. He was on his way to the ivy Inn to clean up, then it was to deliver the letter and speech to the prefect. He would not be late today, knowing the importance of what this meant to him and the people of Haven.


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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:29 pm 
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"Yeah, that's true," Kendra says as she starts in on her food. "Though, if I'm lucky, I can do a little good with being with the army. Not too much though, or they will catch on."


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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 7:30 pm 
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Arulia catches the pouch that the man throws to her, and opens it. Although she's excited at the thought of some money, it isn't until she sees the medallion that her heart starts racing. She looks up at the stranger in astonishment and blushes. "This...yes, this will do. This will do," she stammers, and sets the pouch safely aside.

Recovering her composure, Arulia goes over to her father. "Why don't you let me do the repairs, Father?" she asks. "It does look simple enough, and it would be good practice for me to work on something other than horseshoes and nails. Besides," she adds with a nervous smile, "you could use a bath yourself. Camilla has...has been complaining about sitting next to you at dinner. Why don't you go down to one of the inns while I work on this?"


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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 12:16 am 
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Being notified of his day off the night before, Tulbas wakes up before sunrise. The past week was very stressful and distracted his mind from his grief, but since last night he thought what he will do today and the first thing he does at the moment the curfew ends is to visit his uncle grave.
'uncle, you are missed. I value your teaching and your way much higher now that I've learnt what is outside of Haven. You must have known more through your connections in Ergoth and the Tower, and you did good. Now the full heat is here opposed to the weather' Tulbas smiles to himself, 'the old gods are reappearing and the church is hunting them down. I even met a cleric of Sirrion.' Tulbas thinks to himself in awe. 'I don't plan on helping these bastards, and in any case I am focused now on preparing to The Test.' he looks at the ring on his finger thoughtfully. 'I hope to follow Moms and yours way and make you proud of me. May you rest peacefully and become one with nature.'
He takes another moment looking at the grave and then he walks to the Steel Tankard looking for Haaque but not before stopping in the alley where Darga had disappeared.
'dear friend, your kindness won't be forgotten. I always took you for a fool. A kind and good hearted fool, but still a fool. It seems I was the fool and I apologize for the way I thought about you. It seems true friend are invaluable and are the true treasure. May you rest in peace between masterwork gemstones as beautiful as your heart.'


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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 3:32 am 
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Shima Longfoot (Grinning Goat)
“Get many like him in here?” Shima asks, indicating the goblin, as he moves up to perch on a stool next to the blonde human female to whom he turns.
“So what’s that you’re drinking, miss..uuhh?”
=========
After listening to any reply, he adds to both of them, “Call me ‘John’. I’m looking for a job. Anything that’ll pay. Any ideas?”


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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:22 am 
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It's really annoying this winter thing. Last time it was winter in the land, Haahqae was quite a bit farther north, so he wasn't locked down to one city for the whole duration of the winter. This time however it appeared things were much worse. This inn was already starting to get boring, and he'd run through most of his usual juggling routine here. Either he's got to start thinking up new juggling routines, he's got to start repeating his performances, or he's got to move, but he can't leave the city. Maybe if he moved to another inn? What are the chances that if he moves to another inn people will actually give him some money for his performances? Will he be able to pay for his room from the performances or will the patrons there be as stingy as those at the tankard?

That blasted goblin might have been right that everything was going to change, but he sure wasn't right about all of Haahqae's questions being answered. If anything he's now got more questions then ever.

What Haahqae needs is a good book. He's actually been able to read a few good books recently, stuff about Durro Jolithas being destroyed, Lots of stuff about Isthar, you know, interesting things. He also managed to get some new spells into his hidden spellbook. Now would be a good time to prepare some of those.

Prepare spells:
1st: Geese, Spider Climb, Change Self
2nd: Scare, Invisibility

When he's done preparing his spells he'll clean up his room (as best as is possible), and head downstairs to get a bite to eat (order breakfast).

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 Post subject: Re: CH. 10: Hard Choices
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 12:55 pm 
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Haahqae (Steel Tankard Inn, Common Room)
After preparing his spells, Haahqae steps down into the common area. It's early still, so there aren't that many people around. Behind the bar is what's-his-name, as usual. There's only one waitress, which is Cassandra as usual. Among the patrons include a male human tinkering with a broken lute sitting by the fire and grumbling to himself, an old dwarf sailor sitting at a table by himself and having breakfast, a pregnant woman looking out the window while cradling her swollen belly, a young teenage woman arguing with the bartender about something, and a female human wearing a craftsman's apron having a drink by herself at another table.

There is also a young woman with red hair sitting at the bar and listening to the argument the innkeeper is having and another woman with dark skin sitting at the bar--Haahqae recognizes her as Zoya, who accompanied him to the giant's lair.

Finally, there are three draconians present. Two baaz sit together at a table in the far back and a kapak leans by the door, keeping an eye on anyone coming and going.

Just then, the doors open and someone enters. It is Tulbas, wearing his standard grey robes and looking more hale than he has in the past, if not tired.

Kendra Synclair (2527 Market Street, Greylock's Gorgeous Gems)
"We all must do what we can," Norris agrees absently. After breakfast is finished, he begins cleaning up and preparing to open the shop up. Kendra needs to report in by Third Watch, so she has an hour or two. Or she can head in early.

Gregeddin (Prefect's mansion)
Gregeddin makes sure he still has the note that he received from the trade guild over a week ago. He looks it over again.

"Addressed to the Prefect of Haven.

We, the Merchants' Guild, write to you in light of the recent tax degree.

At an emergency general meeting, it was agreed that to avoid defaults on debts and to preserve the flow of trade through Haven as an important mercantile hub, the Guild requests the immediate revocation of the tax decree and to open negotiations to a new settlement.

The Guild hereby authorises, Gregeddin, as courier, representative and negotiator on the Guild's behalf.

Faithfully undersigned,
Merchants' Guild of Haven."


With that in order, he hurries to the noble district, up on a hill on the northern side of town. From up there, the city's elite can look down on the rest of the city, both literally and figuratively. He is stopped by guards before being allowed to enter the district. He is thoroughly searched, his ID papers are checked and re-checked, and they receive confirmation by sending a guard to the mansion to make sure he really did have an appointment like he said. Once all of that is cleared up, he is allowed to pass, but is given a baaz escort to make sure he heads directly to the mansion.

When he reaches the mansion, he is searched again, his ID papers are checked again, and so on. Gregeddin has never been to this district before, much less the prefect's (formerly the mayor's) mansion. It was a good chance to see how the rich live. The mansion itself is quite large, with both an east and west wing and two stories. Stepping inside, he sees the decorations are clearly meant to reflect a military man. The paintings on the walls are of epic battles, suits of finely polished armor from various nations stand at attention down the halls, and decorative weapons are crossed on the walls.

Flanked by two baaz guards, he is escorted to the east wing on the first floor where the prefect has set up a table and chairs for meetings. Tethys, the prefect, is a draconian but looks quite different from the baaz and kapaks Gregeddin has seen in the past. First, he's quite tall; at least 6 feet, if not an inch or two more. His scales have a bronze tint to them and ram-like horns protrude from the back of his head. But it's more than that. He carries himself with authority. His orange eyes gleam with intelligence and cunning. He is dressed in ceremonial armor, designed to look impressive more than to be useful in a fight. Instead of a cloak, though, his own wings cover his back, with the talons hooked around his neck like a clasp.

Image
"Someone here to see you, my lord," says one of the Baaz guards. "Name's Gregeddin. No family name given. Here on behalf of the trade guild."

Tethys looks up from the papers on his desk and gestures for the bard to take a seat. "What is this about?" he asks, scribbling something down on a scroll.

Tulbas Erogund (Steel Tankard Inn, Common Room)
After visiting the cemetery and the last place Darga was seen, Tulbas enters the Steel Tankard Inn. It's early still, so there aren't that many people around. Behind the bar is the balding and plump innkeeper, as usual. There's only one waitress, an older and haggard looking woman. Among the patrons include a male human tinkering with a broken lute sitting by the fire and grumbling to himself, an old dwarf sailor sitting at a table by himself and having breakfast, a pregnant woman looking out the window while cradling her swollen belly, a young teenage woman arguing with the bartender about something, and a female human wearing a craftsman's apron having a drink by herself at another table.

There is also a young woman with red hair sitting at the bar and listening to the argument the innkeeper is having and another woman with dark skin sitting at the bar. Tulbas recognizes both of them. The red hair is Keira, whom he met during his investigations into the Cult of the Master; she was the pickpocket he tried to blackmail. The other is Zoya, one of the warriors who accompanied him to the giant's lair.

Finally, there are three draconians present. Two baaz sit together at a table in the far back and a kapak leans by the door, keeping an eye on anyone coming and going.

Just then, someone walks down the stairs. It is Haahqae, a look of frustration on his face.

Arulia Seroth (Thoron's Blacksmithy)
Thoron looks at Arulia with confusion and then a bit of suspicion. Then he looks to the strapping young man, then back to Arulia. Suddenly, his eyes light up in understanding. "Ohhh! Right, I see. Yeah, a bath...sounds good. You can hold things down in the meantime, right?" He hands her the shield, mutters "Good luck" quietly enough that the young man can't hear, then heads out, leaving them alone.

Gobax, Felran and Ne-Chanz (High Hand Inn, Common Room)
Green Tears shakes her head. "No, I mean...forgive me, my Common is not always right. I mean to say, the Solamnics are losing. They've lost almost all of their territory. The coming winter has slowed the dragonarmy, but this will only buy time. Come spring, Solamnia will fall. So will Ergoth and everyone else. Nobody is a match for dragons; not elves, not dwarves, and not men."

She reaches under the bar and pulls out a scroll. Unfurling it, Gobax realizes it is a map of Ansalon. "I have been keeping track of things by listening in on drunk soldiers talk. They say there are five armies--red, black, blue, green and white. I've circle the territories they claim to have taken.

Gobax can see that the dragonarmies have taken almost everything. All that remains is Sancrist, where the gnomes dwell; Ergoth (both North and South), a sliver of western Solamnia, the dwarf lands to the south, and the Plains of Dust further south than that.

"When the snows of winter melt, they will conquer all of Ansalon without a doubt at this rate," she adds.

Shima Longfoot (Grinning Goat Tavern)
"Who, Klub?" asks the bartender. "He works the night shift, so he usually comes in before dawn to, uh, relax."

"Whiskey," the woman says in answer to Shima's question. She brushes a stray lock from her hair, then downs the rest of the drink and slams the empty cup on the table.

"Job, huh?" asks the barman. "Well, can you fit into a corset, John? I could always use a new waitress."

The woman snorts in amusement at the joke.

"Seriously, that's what everyone wants to know, 'John,'" the bartender continues. "Nobody can find any work. New tax is killing the city. Unless you want to go begging from the army or the church."


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