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Thread: Acqua Alta

  1. #196
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    Myn, curiously looking about at the books stacked all around him, startles gently when he notices the accent the other elf is speaking with. He stops gazing at the shelves to address the bookkeeper with a few sentences in Elven.

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    "She's still here? That's wonderful! Yes, I definitely want to visit with her."

    Ariellana approves of her friend's taste in spouses. The elf in front of her obviously knows how lucky he is. And her friend had the good taste to pick him and keep him. Sometimes the age thing could be an issue for elves and humans. Clearly these two knew that time was precious and love was precious in spite of their differences. Her thoughts drift to memories of certain humans she knew as a child. Where were they now? Were they still alive or had old age caught up with them?

    "I don't think we met the last time I was in town. I'm Ariellana. Your wife might know the name. She probably doesn't get a lot of Eladrin caravan-wranglers in her store. These are my companions." She indicates them with a sweep of her arm and then introduces them by name. "We happen to be traveling through town, and of course I'll always check out any bookseller I can find. Your wife's store -- oh, excuse me, it's your store, too, I assume -- has an excellent and well-deserved reputation. New boss, did you say? What do you mean?"

    Ariellana's eyes light up at the mention of good stories set to paper. "Oh, yes, I'm definitely interested in trading stories on paper. I'll buy, too, if you have anything interesting that I can afford.

    She lowers her voice. "Could you please tell us more about this, err, guild of robbers? We keep running into situations that seem to revolve around the gang and its enemies. We don't know much about any of it, and we're going to end up hurt or dead if we don't get some reliable information quickly. If you don't think it's safe to talk out here, perhaps you can tell us more when we visit with your lady wife."

    Obviously Ariellana considers people involved with books to be a reliable source of information about these kinds of things. About many kinds of things, really.

    She is ready to start talking about books and potential common acquaintances. But she sees that her companions are looking politely patient. And Myn has noticed something interesting about the elf, and wishes to ask him a few questions. Ariellana can wait a few more minutes before getting down to business. Maybe.

  3. #198
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    Acqua Alta Main Post #29

    This is the twenty-ninth Acqua Alta main post. Players' posts in either thread are due by 11 pm, Saturday, July 11th. The next main post will appear by 11 am, Monday, July 13th.

    "Hah?" the bookkeeper frowns at Myn in bemusement, but nevertheless shows him in with the others, "Why should I know anything about the goings-on of a land I left decades ago, and have no intention of returning to? A halfling asked me nearly the same thing, four days ago. Are you friends with him, or am I suffering from some unearned reputation here?" he replies in Elven.

    He beams when Ariellana delivers her enthusiastic answer and switches back to Common, "Ariellana? Oh...oh! It's you!" He looks startled, and then a grin breaks out across his mouth.

    "Well met indeed, at last. I was hunting with my son, for that month. Came back in time for all the ruckus, but missed out on meeting the chief instigator. Well, it's thanks to you that we can go on selling books to this day." He seems quite pleased at Ariellana's words of praise, too.

    Displayed in a cabinet inset into the wall is a red, leather-bound book tied with thin chains as though it was in danger of running away. "Like I said, we can't really sell anything the new boss considers frivolous. How about this, the Tome of Forty Steps? It's eight aurons." He looks apologetic, "We have to live on the remainder, or I would be happy to let it go to you for less.

    "Are you interested in rites or ceremonies? We have a good supply of books and scrolls copied from the original treatises in the Library. If you're looking for a great journal to write down any poems and tales that occur to you, I have a blank book of the highest quality vellum, and a waterproofed case that only costs fifty staters." He watches Ariellana's face as he lists his wares, and then sighs.

    "Just stories, huh? Well, I won't sell those, but I'll trade you your old, faded ones for a selection of my well-cared-for manuscripts. I don't think you can say no to that."

    "The new boss? Yeah, she came here about four years ago, the new Magus of the Library. She's a young one, but settled in like she'd always owned the place. The old one was just as dour as the new one is bored-looking, but at least she let us sell what we saw fit.

    "No sense in troubling Iniusy with nonsense," he sits at his desk and sucks on his pipe, sliding it to the other corner of his mouth, "The Matchless Gang...they were around before my wife was even born, I would say: a bunch of peddlers whose grandparents were thieves. I can't say I thought much of them one way or the other; just a bit of local color. Last year, though, it's like an ogre snuck into everyone's homes and pummeled their heads while they were asleep.

    The room is empty except for the five of you and him. He casts a quick glance to a closed side door in the room, and then continues, "If you ask me, it started when they burnt down the Church of Avandra and the Ward of Tinkerers, last autumn. Everyone lost a little bit of their mind at that point. I don't really blame the ones who did it, though. What can you do when you have a squadron of Bone Lancers telling you it's either them or everyone altogether?

    "I can't tell you what part of that got to the gangsters. A fair number of them were Avandrists, or so I believe, but so were a lot of other folks. Anyway, they've started to really carry on since then, and especially they singled out anyone who was a cliens of the Temple of the Great Master. However, as you saw just now, they've been spreading out in who they pester.

    "Fortunately, it's just at the level of pestering, or I wouldn't have been so calm about it, back there. However, I feel like I can't leave this shop unattended, now. It would be nice if my lad was here so that I could trade with him for a spell. I don't know how you're mixed up in it, though. What have you been up to with your friends?"

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    "A halfling?" Myn muses, "No, I haven't met a halfling who knows about this. Could you describe this person?"

    "And it's not you in particular, I just thought you should know, since you seem to have some connection to the forests." Myn pauses here, waits a score of breaths, and then continues. "They're being invaded." He looks stricken, and his voice begins to show strain. "Horrible abominations are massacring communities throughout the Deep Woods. Adults, children, they're indiscriminate. My community was one of the lucky ones, we had time to escape."

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    He regards Myn silently as Myn speaks. Then he stands up again.

    "Here. You look like you could use this seat more than me. Makes my own problems seem a little small, don't it, what you just told me? That's just crazy," he shakes his head, "Crazy times. That halfling...seemed a lot colder about it than you. He didn't really say what was going on. Mostly, he just wanted to know about the Montane. Just because I'm an elf, it doesn't mean I'm possessed to visit every patch of trees around here. Nobody goes to the Montane.

    "Sounds like he wasn't with you at all. I wish I could tell you what he looked like, but I just don't remember clearly. He wasn't local, but he might have passed for being from Byswell, except for asking if I knew of the happenings in the Deep Woods. I placed him as from around the Gray River, at the time. Not obviously rich, but clean, well-tailored, enough that I thought he could have been a customer trying to be discreet about it. I don't know if you'll run into him or not, but you've got a few days to try and catch him while he's on the Mound."

  6. #201
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    Ariellana is troubled by the elf's words.

    "Ruckus? You're not the first one who has implied that I was involved in something the last time I was in town. But honestly, I have no idea what it could have been! I was wary about asking in front of certain people. But I can ask you. What happened? What did I do? I don't remember anything unusual about my last visit here."

    She wants to look at the back room with its stock of goodies, but feels that she'd better ask about sensitive issues first. She lowers her voice to match the elf's careful tone.

    "Who burned down the Church of Avandra and the Ward of Tinkerers? The Matchless gang? Someone else? I know a bit about the Church of Avandra, but what is the Ward of Tinkerers and why would someone burn it down? And why is the new Magus of the Library so averse to literature and culture?

    "As for us, well, we're not sure what we're caught up in. There was some kind of fuss on the docks yesterday. We were innocent bystanders -- all we did was try to help someone in danger of drowning. Yesterday evening, we were attacked by a group of thugs while eating our dinner. We defended ourselves, of course -- who wants a broken head just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? But the thugs turned out to be from the Temple the Great Master. They want our help against the Matchless gang, but they seem to be just as hard on noncombatants like us.

    "I would appreciate any advice you or your lady wife could give us. People such as yourself who are well-read yet not affiliated with a formal organization often have a broader perspective on things."

  7. #202
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    "The Montane?" Myn echoes. "Is that the grove of forest to the east?"

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    Acqua Alta Main Post #30

    This is the thirtieth Acqua Alta main post. Players' posts in either thread are due by 11 pm, Tuesday, July 14th. The next main post will appear by 11 pm, Thursday, July 16th.

    To Ariellana:

    "Careful about speaking ill of the Boss. Her familiar is always lurking around. As far as what we both know to be culture and literature go, let's just say she's single-minded in her interests, and set upon what we're supposed to be dealing with in this store; but yes, it's tough to make a living when your cheapest product costs more coin than most folks ever see," he walks over to the shelf and runs his finger along the lined-up knobs of the scrolls. "If I make a half-dozen sales in a year, well, that's a year I'll have no worries.

    "I don't think Iniusy or I fit your criteria;" he gestures at the room, "this is all due to our patronus, the Beil Valley Monastery, and I think that counts as being formally affiliated. Don't think that their interests aren't our interests, too, my wife and mine.

    "Having said that, I don't know about how the Temple sends thugs to attack you at dinner; or how they're hard on non-combatants; or why they'd ask for your help after mugging you, unless they noticed the tattoo on the quiet fellow's arm over there," he indicates Tanglar. "Perhaps you were eating dinner with the Matchless Gang and forgot to tell me just now; but that's not what I expect from the devotees of the Great Master, particularly not those under Piast. I don't know what to tell you after hearing that, but whatever your relationship is with the Great Master, and it sounds confusing, you'd be doing us a favor if you cleared out the Matchless Gang the way your biggest admirer Zozoo wiped out Count Chwost's tax collectors. Speaking of which...

    "Do you remember one of the scribes we employed, whom you and Iniusy spent your midday meal with on the day you visited? From the way it was told to me, besides the food, you shared with him some of your opinions concerning the social order, and followed it up with a few points of advice on the local issues of the day. Zozoo took your words quite to heart, or so he told everyone who would listen when he overthrew old Chwost, tricked the count's warband into liberating its own prison, and installed himself as the new lord of the valley. We were being taxed to the quick by the unlamented count, so I'm quite pleased at the change you worked, even if the Archbaron, as he's now styled, is a goblin.

    "Now, I'm surprised you don't know who burnt down the Church of Avandra. Haven't you heard of the Edict of Evocation? A group of Bone Lancers rode off their barge and into town last year, and rounded up the aristos, the Hospitalers, the Great Master's followers, and any other notables they could grab by the scruff of their necks. The leader read them the Edict in the market square the way you might read the fire beetle quotas to a group of Below-laborers, and then more or less passed around the torches and set them to work. Said the Church leaders were consorting with demons. First I'd heard of it. As it stands, the episcopos was nowhere to be found, and nobody knows what became of him since.

    "The church itself went up like tinder. The fire spread to the surrounding ward, the Ward of Tinkerers. The Bone Lancers seemed to know that almost everyone in that neighborhood was a cliens of the Church, so they said to let it burn as well. The Bright-Gold looked like copper when it rose the next morning, just as it will when the forest harvest gets underway. That whole block is called the Ruins, now. There's talk that the Ministry of Works wants to raze what's left to the ground, but right now, there are just too many people sheltered there with nowhere else to take them in." His pipe spent, he sets it down on the desk in front of Myn.


    To Myn:

    "A grove?" the man's eyelid twitches, "The Montane's no grove, youngster. All the land in all the valleys of the Yu River? The Montane's larger than that. You can see it on the slopes, and from the high places when the clouds part.

    "It's to the east to be sure, though. Northeast, actually, but that's only where it's easiest to meet with in the lowlands. It spreads into this valley a ways, but mostly lies in the mountains and hills between the valleys, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was all around us. It's a place we leave to the spirits, so that the spirits will leave our places to us. If that halfling wants to travel to the Montane, my advice is to find him before he leaves town, because if you don't, I doubt you'll see him again. Well, I told him as much, myself.

    "That's why we live practically in the River. The Yu is how you get in or out of Beil Valley, because there is no other way unless you can fly or magic yourself elsewhere."


    To everyone:

    "I don't know what the lot of you are up to today, but I do know that I could really use a hand in the shop, in more ways than one. Unfortunately, I don't have a chalun to spare; so to be paid, you need to talk to the Boss. Are you interested? Shall I send you upstairs?" He walks over to the interior door and watches you expectantly, "if you do pay her a visit, kindly let her know that I'd like my son returned."
    Last edited by Umiushi; 07-12-2009 at 08:36 PM.

  9. #204
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    Ariellana listens to the bookseller's tale with a mixture of delight and dread. She doesn't really remember the discussion she apparently had with this goblin. It's not unlikely, though. Get enough mead in her and her common sense and discretion went right out the window. If she'd heard about some unfair situation, she probably would try to give historically-informed advice. Good for Zozoo, to be able to do something about unfairly punitive taxes! Apparently, she had told him something useful, and he was smart, bold, and lucky enough to figure out how to apply it well.

    On the other hand, she really did not want to become infamous as the Muse behind the Rebellion. The entrenched powers tended to not like that sort of thing.

    Fascinated in spite of her misgivings, she asks, "Could I hear the entire tale someday? It sounds like it was enormously dramatic! Is it written down anywhere? Turned into a song?"

    This reminds her of the books she is done with. She puts her pack down, briefly rummages around in it, and hauls out a couple of wrapped oilskin packets.

    "Let me show you what I have to trade."

    She unwraps the first book.

    "I picked up this one from a book peddler who travels the area up near the tundra. Garamond of the Elven Lands, he calls himself, and he passes on his greetings. It's a book of dragonborn poetry. Well, I think it's really a dragonborn translation of some dwarven poetry. Dragonborn don't usually wax rhapsodical about rich ores growing beneath still-living volcanoes. But it's an interesting translation, and beautifully illustrated. I don't know dragonborn, but a friend loaned me some magic spectacles that did the translating for me.

    And another packet:

    "This one is a treatise on how to cure warts, bumps, boils, blisters, rashes, stigmata, the Evil Eye, and various other skin ailments. It's of some interest, perhaps, though I found some of the cures to be questionable in their effectiveness.

    And a third:

    "This one is the story of Taramil the Pirate and how he was finally defeated by a volunteer navy from the Vodlaian Archipelago. It's a dramatic tale, based on something real but fancied up in this version. There are some exciting battles, a tender love story (between Taramil and a high-ranking woman from the islands), and the usual sort of ending. The battle descriptions are moderately good. I also like the philosophic ramblings about piracy -- how to be a pirate, how to prevent piracy, how to fight piracy, and and that kind of thing. I rather hate to give this one up, but it's time for it to delight someone else as much as it did me. I don't have room in my pack for everything I'd like to keep."

    While the bookseller is inspecting her wares, Ariellana continues to converse with him.

    "Are you looking for help here in the shop? When you say your son isn't here, where is he? I can't speak for the others, but I'd be willing to help out for a while. I'd be happy to speak with the boss about duties and payment. Can all of us find work here? I'd hate to leave my companions.

    "And thank you for giving your honest opinion about the Matchless gang and the Temple. I am still unsure who to believe, but I'm now inclined to think that the Matchless Gang is having some kind of new problem that has destabilized the political situation here in town. Your statement that the gang has changed recently seems very astute.

    "I did know a little bit about the Edict. I hadn't known what form it took here in Beilston Mound. Again, thank you for your insights." Quietly, she adds, "I'm not sure it was wise to offend the deity. Any deity. They tend not to have a sense of humor about that kind of thing."

    "Myn, if you want to find that halfling before he leaves town, I'm willing to help."

  10. #205
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    "Is your son in some sort of trouble or does he need our help specifically? Not being a father myself, I can't empathize with your pain, but I know what is like to not be with your parents when you need them most."

    Zephyr lowers his head and is quiet for a moment.

    "Let's us see what the owner has to say. My father always told me one cannot have too many favors owed to him. By helping others, you help yourself."
    "I'm not going crazy. I'm going sane in a CRAZY world!"

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    At the suggestion of earning a few coins to put in her pouch, Akaysha's face brightens....it's been a lean couple of weeks and the weather coupled with the mood in the Mound have resulted in a highly unprofitable last couple of days. Her purse is looking mighty thin right now.

    "I'd be happy to help out for today and maybe while we're at it we can ask around with the patrons about the matchless gang, although if it means anything I'm for helping getting rid of them, as they seem to be making a menace of themselves."

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    Acqua Alta Main Post #31

    This is the thirty-first Acqua Alta main post. Players' posts in either thread are due by 11 pm, Saturday, July 18th. The next main post will appear by 11 am, Monday, July 20th.

    "Oh no, I didn't mean it like that!" says the elf to Zephyr, "All I'm saying is that he's been in the care of the Boss for a good half-month, now. I wouldn't want to interrupt his studies, but there's a lot to be done around here, and I think she ought to be able to spare the lad for a day or two." He leans forward and looks Zephyr up and down, "He's a bit like you, I think; or maybe you're a bit like him. He's got more hair than you, though.

    "Not many will sing about being ruled by a goblin, however clever." he addresses Ariella now, "not too loudly, at least not around here. If you go to his lands in the southwest, you might find a song or two at court. I can't speak for the quality, though.

    He examines the eladrin's books, placing them on one of the empty shelves.

    "Neither Iniusy nor I speak the tongue of the dragonborn, nor do we have any handy, magicked spectacles. Send our regards to that rascal, if he's still alive and you see him again. As far as the second one goes, we already have a copy and yes, it's not very good. Well, I said I'd trade them all, and trade them I will. Iniusy is fond of pirate stories, so that last one will be well-appreciated.

    "I'll be happy to take you all on," he replies to Ariellan's next question. "Make it clear to her that this involves guard work, too, and tell her why. I think that should be worth at least two staters per head for the day. Of course, if any of those rotten thugs show their faces, there will be a bonus. Otherwise, I just need your help in taking all the remaining books and scrolls, and moving them upstairs." He casts a smile at Akaysha, "and thanks for the sentiment."

    "So let the books bide here a while. I'll have one of the scribblers next door escort all of you to the Boss." He strides back to the side door and throws it open.

    "Hey!" he shouts, "I need one of you to..." his voice trails away.

    "Gendoll! Ogam! Vist! Penally! Where'd the lot of you go?" he steps through the door.

    "Weary! Weary!" he shouts, "I know you have to be here! Where is everyone?"

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    "Thank you, I would appreciate that." Myn says to Ariellana.

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    Acqua Alta Part 2 - Storm Front

    You can see past the bookseller, into the empty room in front of him. It is larger than the shop, and contains four desks instead of one. Instead of various displays or shelves, there are two tables. Upon one rests a small stack of books and scrolls. The other holds various implements for writing and limning. Each desk has two copies of either a book or a scroll as well as a smaller sampling of writing supplies.

    The ceiling of the room is twice as high as it is in the shop. Light pours in from several tall, narrow windows and a skylight, all made of glass, which is a rarity, even when dull and translucent, as is the case here. There are also a number of lanterns set in brackets in the walls and a lantern chandelier overhead, none of which are lit. There is a door which leads out of the building on the opposite wall. On the left-hand wall, there are two more doors, one directly over the other and accessible via a flight of stairs.

    It is to those stairs that the elf heads after spending a moment to look around. He jogs up to the higher door and makes to open it, but when his hand touches it, there is a flash of orange light. He jerks his hand back and swears in surprise. Then he deliberately pushes at the door, causing the glow to spread until it surrounds the portal in ghostly flames. After a long moment he gives up and the aura subsides. He turns around and strides back into the shop.

    "The way to the upper floor's held shut by a spell," he says, marching over to the shelf of scrolls, "if her intention was to keep me out, she must have forgotten I have the counterspell right here." He yanks one of the scrolls off the shelf, opens it up and begins perusing it.

    "What I'd really like to know is where everyone else got to. Are they inside? Are they outside?" he mutters as he scans the diagrams and passages of the parchment. Finally, he slams the scroll down on the table and looks up at the rest of you.

    "In order to cast this spell...I don't know what half of these materials are!" he announces, anger and helplessness combining in his voice.
    Last edited by Umiushi; 08-08-2009 at 09:50 PM.

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    "May I have a look?" Myn asks the elf.

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