Title: The Meridian Manse
Date: Mid Dalan, 1333 Avard
Synopsis: Hershel is deeded a warehouse, complete with shapeshifting boxes, assassin's tools, and a homeless thief.
Very early morning of Dalan the 19th, 1332 Avard.
Greff had a miserable night, but finally broke his fever. Ryviik stayed the night at Greff's place to keep an eye on him, and in the morning, helped him to a public bath. While Greff drank his breakfast, Ryviik went to the tower of the Ducal Mage to see if there were any monsters to kill and skin.
The two guards were rather uncommunicative, but managed to get Hershel's attention from inside. Hershel and his brother were still up, going over the many books and documents the company had found late the previous night, and both men looked like hell. Haggard and tired, Hershel barely had enough attention to give Ryviik's questions, scribbling down some answers and handing over two documents for Ryviik and the rest of Meridian Explorations to take care of.
Hershel, having been the victim of an assassination attempt by the High Priest of Chasadan, had been awarded several holdings from the Church of Yatindar as recompense, despite the Ducal Mage's protests. One of those holdings was the very warehouse the High Priest had used to store the massive summoning stone for Yatindar's Day, a stone that would have distracted everyone long enough for the High Priest's men to kill Hershel.
Ryviik was tasked to remodel the warehouse into a headquarters for Meridian Explorations, as the Ducal Tower was fast running out of space. On top of that, Ryviik was given several accounts on which to draw – one for himself, for a horse or equipment, and another for the warehouse itself. The amount of silver authorized for the project was enormous, and Ryviik had quite a grin on his face as he raced to tell the others.
He found Greff, first, and then drug him along to Roswyn's shoppe without even telling him what was going on. Ryviik Roswyn, Hearne, and Greff straight to the very warehouse the High Priest had used, and were on guard for attacks, even checking to see if Ryviik might be leading them into a trap. When the desert elf finally showed them the documents, they understood what had gotten him so loopy. The amount authorized for refurbishing the warehouse was 87,200 silver pieces. Perhaps not incidentally, that same amount was owed to Sorsha, Greff, Murdoch, and Balasyr as their share of visiting Rustos.
They found the building locked, and also realized they were being spied upon by a figure in the shadows. Greff and Ryviik were there before the figure could react, with Hearne and Roswyn following closely. A thirteen year old boy in new clothing and leather armor not even broken in, wore a pie-bald and filthy cloak that helped hide him from the public eye. The boy also had several daggers on him that he never even got a chance to draw. The boy was terrified, and sheer intimidation brought out his story.
His name was Althis, and he was a homeless thief that had been using the warehouse for the last several weeks as a place to get away from the chilly nights. Althis showed them where he snuck into the warehouse, through a joint in the overhanging eaves – and then he tried to escape.
Roswyn was boosted up, her robes illuminating the darkness inside, and Hearne followed her up within moments. Roswyn used her arcane powers to make the sound of a panther, driving the boy and distracting him, while the panther-shaped Hearne crept up on him. Before the boy could unbolt the door to escape, Hearne had him, gently but forcibly preventing Althis from going anywhere or doing anything.
Roswyn let the others in, and they took stock of the situation while interrogating Althis. The warehouse had dozens of crates and boxes, and was perhaps thirty feet tall in the middle, with low sloping sides that ran down to ten feet along the edges. There was a divider between the two sides of the warehouse, and near one of the baseboards of the divider, Althis showed them a stash he had discovered – gold bricks with the stamp of Lul and the stamp of the Inquisition, indicating their purity and their origins.
Something moved in the warehouse, and Ryviik the hunter and Hearne the naturalist both looked for the intruder. Ryviik kept Althis close, giving the boy two torches to hold up, adding to the illumination from Roswyn's robes. Only narrow, grimy windows provided any other light, and the warehouse was filled with shadows.
Ryviik kicked aside or jostled each crate and box in turn, hoping to flush out the intruder. It had sounded like an enormous snake, and Greff hoped it was nothing like the giant snakes he had encountered in Teras half a year before. Then one of the boxes opened its maw and tried its damnedest to bite through Ryviik's leather armor.
Hearne said quietly, “Mimic.”
The mimic, a sentient creation left over from another time, attacked with shape-shifting tentacles, a maw of teeth, and ferocious anger.
Althis fled, but just before he could get away, Ryviik, calm despite the dangerous creature attacking him, told Althis to stay or face jail time. Hearne shifted into panther form and attack, while Greff rushed forward and hammered the mimic with his fists. Althis, seeing all of them move towards the danger, found some courage. He leapt atop several tall stacked boxes, and provided illumination.
The mimic was beaten and clawed between Greff and Hearne, and then Ryviik simply put the creature out of its misery with an arrow.
The mimic collapsed into a goo, even its teeth no harder than mush.
Ryviik said, “Althis. Now clean this up.”
The boy stared at the mess for a moment, looked around the warehouse, and then asked, “With what?”
Roswyn took a sample of the mimic's liquid body, and felt the tug of arcane powers coming from one of the other crates. The crate emanated power in waves to those sensitive to the arcane, and seemed completely out of place in a warehouse that had belonged to the Church of Yatindar.
The deed Hershel had handed Ryviik specifically stated that anything and everything in the warehouse belonged to Meridian Explorations. Roswyn conjured a crowbar, and Ryviik began to open the crate radiating arcane powers.
Inside, they found an assassin's treasure trove: a sword hidden in a cane, a stone that told of enemy's weaknesses, and a salve that renewed vigor. There was also a dark wood box with inlaid mother-of-pearl, and inside of it, enchanted inks that glowed from within their glass bottles, laying next to a tattooing kit.
The box was addressed to one Dacon Vas in River Crown. Roswyn had journeyed through River Crown some months before, but knew of no one by that name in the small town.
Curious, the company began opening other boxes and crates. There were boxes filled with fired clay figurines of Yatindar, crates with copies of the Book of Yatindar, incenses, bolts of wool, blue dyes, white washes, and other items obviously intended for the Church of Yatindar. There was also a small box addressed to Baroness Mistan. Inside the small box was a glass aerator with arcanely enchanted perfume that could enchance the emotions of whomever wore it.
The company decided to go straight to Hershel with what they had and knew. The contents of the box addressed to Dacon Vas, and the five bars of gold, were placed into the enchanted pouch Hershel had given them.
Upon leaving the warehouse, Ryviik and Hearne felt like they were being watched, but when they turned around, the only person on the street looking at them was a farmer with a sack of beets. The farmer stared at the four of them, and the company realized they were something of a motley crew.
Further down the street, closer to the Ducal Mage's tower, they felt like they were being watched yet again. The only person on the street even really looking at them was an elf maid with a basket of flowers. She approached Greff, offering him a flower for two coppers. Greff bought the flower, and handed it back to her as an offering to the beautiful elf maid. The maid smiled and giggled and thanked him – and promptly continued down the street, selling the same flower to someone else.
The company slid into a back alley and decided to take a longer way to the tower. A member of the Guard followed them into the alley. The Guardsman had on a ruck sack over his tabard, and asked them their intent, as few people traveled the back alleys unless they were looking for trouble. The group asked his name, and he replied, “William of Chasadan. Now state your business.”
The five explained that they were just wanting to get away from the odd stares from everyone, and the Guardsman nodded, looking at each of them in the face, and left. As he stepped out of sight, Greff asked, “How often do you see Guardsmen traveling alone?”
Feeling like they were being stalked, the company made best possible speed to the Church of Yatindar, where the Ministers of Justice and the Guard were headquartered. In the square before the church, several Guardsmen were listening to a woman with her child at her side. The woman was hysterical, and when she saw the company, pointed and wailed and screamed.
Several of the Guardsmen detached themselves from the others, and approached the company with confused looks on their faces. The Guardsmen knew the company on site, explained that the woman was accusing them of attacking her, and knew the story sounded false to them. Hearne pointed out, “She's getting away” even as the rest of the Guardsmen closed in on the woman, obstructing the company's view.
Suddenly there were Guardsmen that appeared confused. Their last memories were of… some time before. The Guardsmen had no idea where the woman and her child had gone. The square was crowded with the comings and goings of many people, from huge men in armor to dwarves to ox-drawn carts with supplies.
The company explained their situation to the Guardsmen, and the Guard promised to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Six months prior, there had been an incident in Teras in which two dopplegangers, beings that could look like anyone, killed a nobleman and sunk his boat. The dopplegangers had been wounded in the attack, and had scars to identify them.
Greff knew. Greff had been there when it happened.
The company made best speed for the Ducal Mage's tower. The terse guards were confounded when the company ordered them to expose shins and shoulders, but they did comply. They had only vaguely heard of the doppleganger encounter in Teras, but they did know there was a bounty that Guardsmen were not allowed to collect on. Hershel opened the door, still looking haggard and still asleep.
William had already left, and the Guards had told of two messengers and a magistrate that had come to visit Hershel. The magistrate was still within, and was a pinched-face individual with a sneering attitude. Hershel was confused when the company demanded to see his shins, but he obeyed, lifting his blue woolen robes to show thin hairy legs with pasty skin.
The magistrate excused himself with a sniff, and then the company began to explain what all they had found. Roswyn dumped out the assassin's tools, the bars of gold, and even the enchanted perfume. Without realizing it, they all forgot about the magical tatooing ink.
Hershel listened, looking horrified at the cane-sword. The blade of the watered-steel weapon had ribbons of red energy running through it, and was a weapon of terrifying magical construction.
The Ducal Mage was also running on fumes, and tired as could be. He told his company that they could deal with the rest of things, while he would go to bed. He conjured a floating disk and had them put all of the assassin's weapons and the gold on the disk, though he allowed Roswyn to keep the enchanted perfume. And then Hershel took it all upstairs, grumpy and tired and ready to fall asleep after he got it all into the vault.
The company slowly meandered back to the Church of Yatindar to have a talk with one of their administrators. The priest listened to their issues with the warehouse, and was pleased to hear that the company wanted to turn over the books, vestments, and other artifacts of the church. Essentially, the church would get back its general merchandise, and the company would get the warehouse cleaned out for free.
Dacon Vas and the enchanted perfume were left unmentioned in the exchange.
After that, the company began making plans on just what they wanted done to the warehouse, and how to go about doing it.
All the while, though, they kept a wary eye out for the doppleganger.
Late afternoon of Dalan the 19th, 1332 Avard.
Dinner was pizza. Mrm… Pizza… Though we were off for Labor Day, it had been a long week, and we were glad to make it to Thursday night. I had known that Hershel would get a building, eventually, for Meridian Explorations. The company simply couldn't afford to keep operating out of the Ducal Mage's tower; conflict-of-interests aside, they tower was running out of room for all the trophies and skins the company had amassed! I sat down for awhile to design a building for the Meridian Manse, but finally realized it was something the group should do.
All characters have 14,000 experience points and are 8th-level.
Wooooooooo! I'm very excited about this. Players' personal touch on in game dynamics makes me giddy.
Good fun! I'm looking forward to playing exterior designer on the warehouse. Ross, can you email me my character, as well as the roof's dimensions? I'll write up my wishlist for my part of the 'Haus in the next couple of days.
Email addy is firstname.lastname@example.org
Greff looks back at his past and ponders a moment. The redicule, the pain, the glory. Since his employment started with Meridian Explorations, Greff's history seems to be put on hold. He is still looked at as a “freak” but with his level of martial skills, he is finally starting to accept himself. Along his journey he has developed new friends and destroyed even more enemies. And this has brought him local fame. His plan,however, is to bring some of his comfort that he found abroad to his new place of residence. Greff will send word and payment to ship orcs to Chasadan from Teras. Along with his allies in Meridian Explorations, he will also have the comfort of having his Orc friends at his disposal.