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Thread: Acqua Alta

  1. #151
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    "If you can assure me the weapon will only be used to defend and not be used hastily against the wrong targets, then I'll feel more comfortable with your offer. I do not want a repeat of what happened today."

    Zephyr starts to lose his temper and lets out one last condition, "...and if his weapon is used against anyone other than a sworn enemy, he will lose more than his hammer next time."

    Those close to Zephyr feel an unnatural electricity in the air, but it subsides as Zephyr stops talking.
    "I'm not going crazy. I'm going sane in a CRAZY world!"

  2. #152
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    Acqua Alta Main Post #22

    This is the twenty-second Acqua Alta main post. Players' posts in either thread are due by 11 pm, Tuesday, June 16th. The next main post will appear by 11 pm, Thursday, June 18th.

    Rather than be offended or taken aback by Zephyr's threat to the acolyte, the hegumen seems pleased, "I'll make sure Mas understands that," he says, smiling, "I can also assure you that when Mas next wields the weapon, it will be for nothing other than defense." Looking around, he nods, satisfied, "This agreement is concluded."

    Piast motions for Zephyr to approach. "You may set the Heart's Echo here," indicating the tabletop, "and take the pouch and the coffer as yours to distribute as you will." He then stands up and straightens his robes.

    "I'm grateful that you're so eager to help," he goes on, addressing Akaysha primarily, "but I don't wish to presume upon your good nature. Let me hold myself to telling you two very brief stories, and then letting you act in whatever manner you deem necessary.

    "The first tale goes like this: there is a gambling house in the southwest corner of the city. It's run by agents of the Matchless Gang, and has been used as a lure to force our clientes into debt, and then make them come under the protection of the Gang. The house is open at all hours of the day and night. On this very night, in the last hour of darkness when it may be empty or nearly so, the Hieromonk and a few selected companions intend to deal with the proprietors about the state of certain accounts held there.

    "Here is the second tale: in the midst of the 'New Field' that everyone other than the Cult and the Bureaucracy refer to more truly as The Ruins, there's a flophouse inhabited solely by enforcers from the Matchless Gang. They divide their waking hours between bullying our few remaining clientes, and telling all who would listen that the responsibility for The Ruins lies entirely upon the shoulders of our church." Piast closes his eyes and shakes his head wearily, "We deserve our share of the blame, however necessary it was, but we acted in concert with the Constellation Bureau and the Cult. For the Matchless Gang-infested ministerial offices to salvage their reputation at our expense is almost more than I can bear," he shrugs heavily, "but this tale, as yet, has no promised conclusion."

    Moving around the table, Piast begins to walk back into the main hall, "We are holding a feast tonight, and you're welcome to join it. Of course, I understand if you have already eaten your fill at The Little Ortalan, and wish to depart. There will be no offense if you refuse our hospitality."
    Last edited by Umiushi; 06-14-2009 at 02:38 AM.

  3. #153
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    "Thank you, Heguman for your offer to dine with you, I will discuss it with my new friends, she looks around at the battered, bruised and slightly less soaked group, and we will join you in the dining room in a moment to either take you up on the sumptuos feast, or say farewell as we venture out again into this dreadful downpour." This last is said with a wrinkle of her petite nose.

    A moment or so after he leaves Akaysha turns back to the group, "Well, I guess you heard my name and that I'm looking for someone to travel with. I don't know if there's that much more for me to say right now about that. The grub here is bound to be better than that at The Little Ortalan and certainly less of a hassle to get too. I would like to cut my trips out in this mess to as few as possible. I also need to rest so if we do stay here I want to do so only long enough to eat and then be on our way."

  4. #154
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    "I feel the same, Akaysha." Myn says, and then continues with a more obvious, and obviously deeply held, conviction, "I'd also prefer an offered meal here, now. Instead of a promised one a rainstorm's walk away. Sadly, the nearest bed is at a similar distance, but that cannot be helped."

    Myn waits for the other party members to chime in, then makes his way to the banquet and helps himself to an impressive amount of food for someone so slight. He is cordial to anyone around him, but it is obvious that he is not acquainted with the concept of 'table manners,' and would not have a use for them if he did.

  5. #155
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    Ariellana nods.

    "I am quite hungry, and not at all in the mood for a trek through the downpour for another bowl of pottage this evening, good though it was. And I also agree that I don't want to stay here for hours. I wouldn't want to intrude on the temple's feast, and I do want to see the inside of my bedroll before long."

    Ariellana follows Myn. Her table manners are rather better. She takes just enough food, thanks the servers (and anyone else who looks responsible), eats quietly and neatly, and keeps her ears open for interesting gossip or stories. Among other things, she's curious about the group they just fought. Were they really misguided and over-enthusiastic? And is the story of Heart's Echo really that mundane? If so, why give such a grandiose name to the weapon? She'd like to pick up more hints of what's going on in town, even (or especially) if it's only from the temple's point of view. She is aware, though, that the temple's occupants will be circumspect as long as strangers are within.

    At some point during the meal, Ariellana turns to Akaysha and asks where she's staying. If Akaysha will be traveling with them, perhaps they should all stay at the same inn. Or, if Akaysha is paid up elsewhere, they can meet her at the Little Ortolan or at the baths tomorrow.


  6. #156
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    "If any of you wish to accompany me, after the battle I feel the need to check on the equipment, and will be heading back to the inn."

  7. #157
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    When most of the group heads into the dining area, Akaysha does as well. She eats quickly and fairly quietly, stopping here and there to observe her new companions.

    When Ariellana addresses her she focuses her gaze on the young woman, "I'm staying with a friend here in Beilston Mound, a cloth merchant. I have been traveling on my own for a few weeks now and have come to the point where my funds are dwindling. I have heard through him and some of his fellows of the ruffians that have been running amok the last couple of months. It sounds as if this situation has gotten gradually worse. Now it's to the point where the average person fears to walk the street past a certain time of day. I'm glad to hear that the Heguman and Hieromonk are taking steps toward a resolution. As for tonight, the hearth where I have been laying my head is near The Little Ortalan. I intend to go back there and collect my belongings and I can meet you either on the morrow or later on tonight after I have rested up. Just let me know when and where.

    The gnome woman starts looking around almost anxiously after she has finished her meal. Although she ate plenty, to some of the group it would appear she ate hardly anything. While waiting for the others to finish she picks half-heartedly at her soiled tunic, clucking under her breath at it's condition. She almost seems more concerned about it than about her wounds. When everyone is finished she perks up noticably, thanks the Heguman on behalf of the group, asks if someone can lead them back out of the hedge maze.


  8. #158
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    "We'll join you for the feast, but we'll most likely have to cut it short. We are very tired from a long day in the ferry, not to mention this dreadful weather. We are staying in a local inn, so if you feel the need to get hold of us while we are in town, that is your best bet. The name escapes me at the moment, but I am sure Tanglar can fill you in on the details."

    After Zephyr indulges in his meal, he decides to quickly engage the acolyte from this morning. "How are you? I hope things are ok with you. We need to start heading back, but I wanted to quickly check up on you."

    Once Zephyr hears what the dragonborn has to say, he walks over to the rest of his travelers and whispers, "I am heading over to the inn. I'll wait in the lobby for you unless you want to join me now. " With that, Zephyr starts to exit without drawing attention to himself more than he already has.
    "I'm not going crazy. I'm going sane in a CRAZY world!"

  9. #159
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    Ariellana tells Akaysha where they are staying and suggests that they meet at the inn in the morning.

    After the meal, Ariellana thanks the high officials in the temple for their hospitality. She also thanks them for the information they have given her, and asks permission to return later.

    She touches base with her companions who are still there. If they wish to go, she is ready. She joins Zephyr and any others who are leaving.

  10. #160
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    Myn follows his companions back to the inn.

  11. #161
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    Acqua Alta Main Post #23

    This is the twenty-third Acqua Alta main post. Players' posts in either thread are due by 11 pm, Saturday, June 20th. The next main post will appear by 11 am, Monday, June 22nd.

    Everyone in the hall shouts once, mostly in unison, as Piast enters. He stands in front of the fire and says a few words: "Tonight, we feast before facing the endeavors ahead of us. It is only appropriate that we do this now, in the midst of our journey along the Great Master's Path of Storms! No feast is so opulent that it cannot be improved by the spice of generosity. These newcomers to our hall chose to deliver our fellows back to our fold, rather than let them fall into Radimoth's dungeons by their own folly. Let them take the place of our fellows, and enjoy this repast in their stead." Some of the company look like they're having a hard time following Piast's reasoning, but by virtue of long practice, everyone cheers as he finishes. The platters of roasted and smoked meats, along with the tapping of the plentiful barrels of dark ale, puts the assembly in an exceedingly hospitable mood.

    Ironically, out of the party, it is Tanglar who doesn't stay to enjoy the presence of his fellows. He purposefully makes his way outside. Krushevx sends the acolyte back to enjoy the feast and accompanies Tanglar through the hedge maze, himself. It's a silent, muddy slog for the most part, but towards the end, Krushevx claps the ranger on his shoulder.

    "Tomorrow, any time after the midday, I need you to return here. There is a matter of great personal import to me, but I will only know how to present it at that time. Bring your fellows or come alone, but please come. I am making the greatest gamble of my life, betting that you are a man of honor whom I can entrust this to," are the only words he says.

    At the banquet, the manner is in keeping with the setting, a hall full of enthusiastic warriors, as opposed to contemplative monastics. Fully half of the crowd asserts manners that do not make Myn seem out of place. A multitude of boasts fill the air as the various acolytes brag of their prowess and vilify the Matchless Gang. The noise is nearly sufficient to drown out the thunder, outside.

    Some of the people start speaking in hopeful tones of which of Beilston Mound's unattached folk will be most grateful once the Gang goes down in ignominious defeat. For the women, a man named Garmotis attracts the most favor, but Casimon, the Comes Palatine of the city, is second only because of his perceived unapproachable status. A few hold high regard for Acrod, Master of the Hospital, though he is not so young, and of one Arnet, who suffers from a surfeit of youth.

    From the men in the group, a number of names are bandied about. Of the ones spoken most often, consensus is that the popular Lem is most desirable of all. There are two agreed to be prettier, but Lywthast is far too dangerous to court on account of her father, and the Magus's Apprentice carries some unspoken taboo for all but a few daring eccentrics in the group.

    Many don't take part in such discourse. The woman who presided over the hall earlier eats in silence, as do a number of others, including Piast. The dragonborn prefer to focus on the possibilities inherent in the battle, rather than the fruits of victory, while the dwarfs strategically keep their preferences a secret from potential rivals.

    Nobody mentions any of the absent acolytes within hearing of the party, nor does any topic include the Heart's Echo. The closest anyone gets to speaking of religion is the general acknowledgment that for the impending conflict to occur during the Path of Storms is an excellent omen, enough that a few worry the Matchless Gang will lose heart and fail to be drawn into an attack. When Krushevx returns, the boasts and daydreaming die down to a more sufferable level.

    When Zephyr speaks to the dragonborn acolyte, it seems pleased, "I was not expecting to meet you so soon, though I didn't understand fully what His Reverence was referring to when he introduced you. I have been busy with my ablutions and assigned duties since I arrived. I was not expecting an armed camp!" the acolyte quickly lowers its voice again, "That human of the Trade Ministry is an agent of the Matchless Gang everyone here is speaking of. I don't know the details, but they are some vile organization that is pursuing a vendetta against us followers of the Great Master. Everyone believes that an attack on this Temple is only a day or two away. I cannot believe events have come to such a pass," it concludes dolefully.

    Piast extends a polite invitation to return whenever they wish. "Now that everyone's face is known," he says, picking crumbs out of his beard, "your admittance should not present any difficulty. Please come visit again when this unpleasantness is settled, Ariellana."

    The trip back to the inn is slow-going and uneventful, save for the constant presence of the storm. When you return, you find the girl dicing for chaluns with Meih. She greets you happily, but looks aghast at the pooling water under your feet, and disconcerted when you tell her the hour that you will require the front door unbarred. Tanglar, the first to do this, also has her open the attic door for him, and satisfies himself that his, and everyone else's, stored equipment is in order.

    Upstairs, you can hear the din of several voices, along with shouts and laughter, emanating from the northern wall, while the eastern wall sweats as much as a glass of cold water. Everyone is completely waterlogged. The insides of your packs and pouches are wet, and there is concern that dampness may have seeped into your rations, but that so far proves unfounded.

    As the night wears on, other strangers file into the common room and bed down, some noisily and some quietly. A few snore. Morgran returns during the night. At some point, the racket ceases. Fortunately, the exertions of this day allow you to take your rest, heedless of these distractions and discomforts.

    Akaysha returns to the cloth merchant's residence to find him asleep in the hallway on a bolt of cloth that has partially unrolled itself. Evidence around him indicates that he was in the process of moving his merchandise to a new room.

    Ariellana is up first, followed by Tanglar. The clothes are still damp, and the storm is still in full swing, but Akaysha arrives outside the inn without difficulty. A boy a few years older than the girl is curled up asleep on a stack of old cushions. He has an identical key to the girl, or perhaps she gave it to him, for those who wish to retrieve any stored equipment at this time. Once this is taken care of, the five of you, for Morgran is still asleep, reassemble at the base of the steps while the boy looks on, sleepily.
    Last edited by Umiushi; 06-18-2009 at 02:31 PM.

  12. #162
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    "According to the acolyte whom we saved yesterday, the people who threw him into the river were part of the matchless gang. I am not sure if he came about this through here say or through solid evidence, considering he is new to this town."

    "I am unsure of what is happening in this town, but I am also uneasy of who the real malefactors are. As such, I think we should continue on with the business we were planning on pursuing before this whole mess. My personal business can wait considering I am in no hurry to resolve it. I'd be happy to accompany the rest of you on your business in case we are the target of another attack."


    With that Zephyr leans back into his seat and listens to what his new friends have to say.
    "I'm not going crazy. I'm going sane in a CRAZY world!"

  13. #163
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    Tanglar comes down to the table, with his spears in hand, and holds them as he sits, waiting for the right moment to inform the others...

    "I must visit the temple once again. During the night I had a vision, it is one which I feel I will follow. You are welcome to accompany me to the temple, or I will meet any who wish to remain here in the evening. Do not leave me, I have allied myself with you, and do not wish to be apart. I forgot the feeling of the clutch."

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    Ariellana leans forward at Tanglar's remark.

    "Now? We just got here, and it's still raining like crazy. Is this something that can wait until tomorrow? If so, I will accompany you.

    She gets up and starts to pace. She starts to speak, almost as if she's thinking aloud.

    "I think that we have a serious lack of information about the situation here. That is a dangerous thing, especially since we seem to be caught up in events. I'd like to talk to some of the townspeople in the morning, see what they know about what's going on. I'd like to start with the people here at the inn, and also at the Little Ortolan. I'd also like to talk to other store owners and business people here in town. If we can get in to talk to the agents for the big trading houses, they'll also have a good perspective on what's really going on. Not that they're likely to tell us, of course.

    "Anyway, I don't know if we can make a good decision without some knowledge of the potential consequences. We may well decide to walk away. That would be the prudent thing to do. Even with that decision, we need to know how to do it safely. We may decide to help the temple in spite of our unfortunate misunderstanding today." Ariellana grimaces as she says this, rubbing one of her bruises. "Or we may end up finding out that the Matchless Gang is not as evil as the temple thinks it is, and that its conflict with the temple can be resolved without bloodshed." (And especially my blood and the blood of my friends, thinks Ariellana.)

    "If the weather is decent in the morning, we also need to get more clothes so that we can each have something clean and dry to wear after we get caught up in fights and downpours. I still want to get to the bookseller's before we leave town. And don't some of you also have routine business here in town?"

    That's rather a long speech for Ariellana. She suddenly feels self-conscious. She sits back down, mouth shut, ready to listen to her friends.

  15. #165
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    Myn chimes in from his position on a nearby cot, "I agree with Ariellana. A night's rest would be the best course of action, followed by a day of shopping and information gathering."

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