# of watchers: 1
Decima was everything that a city could be: most of all busy, noisy and showful. Here one could see, hear, buy, sell and even smoke anything. The Imperial Palace belonging to the Orator family stood in the center of this biggest city known to people. At the edges of the city there were more peaceful and thus even rather shady areas. Even then one had to stay away from the city entrances and slummish areas to avoid the endless business (or in the case of slums, thievery).
Party Nº4P4 L01
– Gathering and briefingP4 L02
– Inn actionP4 L03
– Fights and dealsP4 L04
– Sewer and cellarP4 L05
– Night at the noble (!)P4 L06
– Down the drainP4 L07
– Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll
An inconspicuous noble – more wealth than fame and more muscle than royalty – had invited several more or less renowned fighters for a seemingly profitable mission. The mission's nature was concealed and it was merely stated that a test would precede the actual challenge. Since even the "test" was promised to have notable profit, it couldn't be too bad a thing to try, right?
Following the instructions, the route ended at a manor near the borders of the city. This was a rather shady area by itself, and the building even more so, having actual fence and even walls around it, trees in the yard and a fairly large builing with many windows and doors – all undoubtedly locked. The way to the front door was clear, and upon showing the invitation with a stamped seal to the heavy guards, the doors were opened to a waiting hall.
The hall was coldly and aristocratically decorated, just for show. There was a worn, dark red carpet on the floor and some art on the walls, presenting either some nobilities or battles, all just as unintersting. The ceiling had some expensive looking lamps and detailed architecture, and it could be seen that there was a balcony-kind-of structure, indicating there was second floor. At the end of the six meters long and three meters wide hallway there was a desk, behind which was sitting a clerical-looking person with a book. On the right and left sides of the desk were stairs that headed upstairs.
After showing the guards her note, Toxir placed the slip of paper back into her pocket and casually sauntered up to the huge building. Upon opening the doors and meandering into the waiting hall, Toxir took a brief, uninterested look around. She smirked. It was impossible for her to understand how one would wish to live in such a suffocating place. Too much to take care of, too many worldly possessions to bother with, too much responsiblity that, in the end, doesn't matter. Toxir didn't care as she stepped on the nice, clean floors with her heavy spiked boots, not caring for the hardwood or the rug. The air was stale, recycled, without a window in the hall to be seen open. Spotting the man behind the desk, Toxir began to casually, confidently wander down the long hallway. Stopping at the desk, she leaned against it comfortably. "So what's the deal?" She asked, her tone bored.
The clerk looked up from the desk when Toxir entered and then returned to fiddle with his book. When Toxir came close, he looked up again, cleared his throat and said, appearing or at least trying to be emotionless: "Krhm... You are instructed to wait until all the required people have arrived. You may sit down if you wish", he added, indicating a bench.
Not bothering to reply, Toxir began walking to the bench before he'd stopped speaking. Taking a seat, she stretched out, making herself comfortable, reclining and leaning against the wall, closing her eyes and relaxing. She didn't like the idea of having to work with other people, but if she could stomach them long enough, then she could potentially make a notable profit, which was all she wanted.
A Ravillan man stood in the hall, appreciating some of the kitsch decorations that cluttered the room. He looked oddly contrasted against the expensive looking walls, with his unshaven face and fashionable yet scruffy clothes. He wasn’t interested in the epic battle that had been captured in paint, he was thinking on the letter, and his other business in Decima. He had predicted he would return to Ravilla, but it didn’t mean he wanted to. With a sigh, he ran a hand through his hair to keep it out of his eyes. Faustus didn’t like the rich or the famous, but had a certain fondness for their money. Besides, this ‘errand’ might prove an opportunity for his other task, or a well needed distraction. And with that motivation, he continued down the hallway, until he met the clerk and the Dah’kin. “Howdy.” He said in a deep voice, but one that could speak quickly and fluently, if it chose to. “Now, what’s this about?” Faustus smirked, brandishing the letter while watching both figures in the room.
Nal'Unah walked into the room, saving the note from this strange noble into a safe place. The building made her feel uneasy, reminding her a bit of the magnificent constructions of the planetarii, even though the human were less refined at their architecture. It still had some charm, she thought. After taking her eyes off the walls and ceiling she looked at the people who had gotten there before her. Her nose wrinckled for a second as she saw the Dah'kin woman sitting on the bench. She looked then at the ravillan man, who had just asked a question to the cleric, it seemed. "Hello" she said briefly and observed. She assumed they'd have to wait.
The clerk looked up again as more people arrived and then replied to them, now slightly more relaxedly than to Toxir: "Good day. You are instructed to wait until everyone has arrived."
A tall person with wings entered the room at this point. He didn't really look around, only glanced at the people already there and went to stand next to the wall opposite to the bench and near to a fairly inconspicuous door. Having done that, Geeileq observed the reactions of the others, since it certainly wasn't rare that he was quite straightforwardly questioned about the wings by people who had not seen Hauken before.
“Instructed? Listen ‘ere, no one tells me what to do. But since there don’t seem to be much choice…” Faustus sneered, more to himself than anyone else. It was then when he noticed that other ‘people’ had started to arrive. “Err…hello.” He replied to what appeared to be a barbarian Terran, eying her with little restraint. He judged by her clothes (or lack of them) and axe that she was indeed some sort of nomad warrior. Starting to wonder what he had gotten himself into, he spotted the tall Hauken. But instead of introducing himself, he moved away from the others to try and hide his curiosity, while also trying to observe anything that might prove useful later. He leaned against one of the walls and waited, half expecting Thadre himself to enter the room next.
The clerk looked back at Faustus quite wide-eyed and seeming quite submissive, happy that he'd used a word as mild as "instructed".
Toxir seemed completely unbothered by the rest of the people entering, filling up the waiting hall with their idle talk and worthless questions. Folding her arms over her chest, she closed her eyes and leaned her head against the wall. She didn't want to be disturbed unless it was to embark. Rolling her cloaked eyes Heavenward as the Ravillan man became indignant, Toxir snorted blatantly at his remark. "What sheet idiocy." She thought to herself, a small smirk painted on her lips as she remained cross-armed and close-eyed.
The door swung open again, and a catfolk woman clad in black armor stepped into the room. A scythe was strapped onto her back. She removed her hood, revealing a panther face. Sithra looked around the room, taking in the other people inside. Some meagre cleric, a Ravillan, a Terran female with a big axe, a Hauken which was eyeing all the others - typical - and a woman who seemed to be Dah'kin, but at the same time human, a half-blood, Sithra guessed. Not feeling much of a connection with anyone else, she walked over to Toxir, unstrapped her scythe and sat down next to her, neutrally greeting her. "Hello sister." She put the scythe against the wall, in such a way it couldn't fall over.
Geeileq noticed immediately as another person entered and just as soon felt uncomfortable at seeing that she was a catfolk. He didn't, however, move at all and just frowned, seeming a little annoyed – both at the panther and the fact that the last person was keeping them waiting.
Unah noticed the ravillan looking at her, and she stood straight, letting her natural attributes shine. As the panther girl came in she thought this could be after all a nice group, but she soon changed her mind as she saw her approach the dah'kin woman. One could live enough to see anything, she thought. "How long do we have to wait?" she asked then, turning her head to the cleric.
"Uhm, we are waiting for one more person. She is not yet too late", the clerk replied. "If you are getting restless, would you like some... refreshment?"
Seeming to be the only person who was not interested in what other people were joining the group, Toxir remained silent and relaxed. With her eyes closed, she didn't see Sithra walk towards her, and opened her eyes only when she felt someone else join her on the bench. Nodding a silent salutation, Toxir closed her eyes again and resumed her stance, showing no signs of having heard the clerk when he asked whether or not they wated refreshments, though she had indeed heard him.
"Bring me some drink then." Sithra spoke. "Juice, a large mug, I'm thirsty." Her voice itself wasn't unkind, but the way she spoke made it obvious she'd given her amount of orders, or at least didn't have much respect for the cleric. "Make sure it comes from fresh fruit, I'm not planning on drinking anything like that piss they serve in the taverns here."
"Yes, lady. Might I inquire whether the rest of you would like something in the meantime?" the clerk asked a bit warily.
Faustus raised an eyebrow at the exchange between Toxir and Sithra. He had never seen such a tall panther, and one that looked so cat-like. But casting that out of his mind, he answered the clerk’s question with a shake of his head. Strangely, he did not feel like getting drunk before he met this noble, maybe after though. When he heard the panther’s comment on the quality of taverns, he could not help but get the impression that Sithra was either noble born or had some power over people. With a snort he gave a sharp glance in her direction. “Hmph, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.” He said, at least trying to pass the time with some conversation.
Sithra looked at the man who had spoken to her. She didn't like his look, but he seemed like one who could handle himself, so his status immedialty raised in her eyes. "Well, I'll certainly not spit it out before I've tasted it. If that was in my nature, I wouldn't have showed up for this undefined Test either. No matter what gold there'd be promised. Although I do assume there'll be a decent challenge in this test to make up for that reward."
Smirking, Faustus bowed his head, noticing his remark wasn’t surprisingly thrown back in his face. “Well, Ah’m sure they’ll be a challenge, or it wouldn’t be much of a test now, would it?” He had a strange accent, that was nearly Ravillan, but not quite. “My concerns are else where. But it is good to meet a fellow warrior, which I am guessing you all are?” Faustus asked anyone who cared to listen, wanting to at least know that there wasn’t any damn mages in this group.
"Nothing for me, thank you" Unah said to the cleric, then shifted her attention to the conversation between the panther and the ravillan man. "Judging for the kind weapons you're all carring I think your guess is correct" the terran said to the man, "at least I am a warrior anyway. I suppose the test won't have anything to do with magic". Unah walked towards the wall where Geeileq was standing and leaned against it, not right besides the hauken, but not far from him either. "I wonder what this noble person wants... ahm, my name is Nal'unah, by the way" she said, thinking it wouldn't be bad to know these peoples names.
The idle prattle was grating on Toxir's nerves. This was precisely why she'd spent the majority of her life with either people that understood her, or alone. People were too careful, too worried about what others were doing, what they looked like, what others thought of them. Opening her eyes, Toxir sat with an irritated look in her eye. When Faustus began speaking about their classes, Toxir rolled her eyes and stood up. She needed a cigarette. "I'm going out for a smoke." She said to the clerk, completely ignoring the other people in the room. Reaching in her pocket, Toxir withdrew a tightly packed hand-rolled cigarette. Placing it to her mouth, she opened the doors to the outside and lit up.
Geeileq listened to the others but refrained from making any comments – it wasn't like he really had anything to say either. He merely waited, being mostly busy with his thoughts about his own issues of interest. He looked at Nal'unah as she moved closer to him and kept on looking at her as long as she seemed to be addressing him. "Geh-ee-leq", he replied to her telling her name, though his voice was disturbingly high. He also pronounced it slightly distortedly, what with not especially wanting people to call him "Gee" – of course, now the risk was greatly reduced as "gee" required a hard g while Geeileq's pronounced name contained a soft g.
The clerk went away for a moment but returned soon after with a jug of juice and three glasses, just in case someone changed minds. He then offered Sithra one glass of the juice which was suprisingly fresh, though if one happened to be an expert in determining the freshness of juices, one could tell that it had indeed been made some time before this – it had, however, been made today.
Returning Toxir’s ignorance, the Ravillan ignored the Dah’kin’s exit. Though he related to this solitary on some levels, from being a hunter, but he also knew the importance of connecting to this group. “Faustus.” he replied when the Terran asked for names, though he usually called people whatever he liked and vice versa. Upon hearing the Hauken’s voice, Faustus arched his eyebrow at the strange high-pitched tone in his voice, but unfamiliar with his origin’s he expected all Hauken’s spoke like this. He moved closer as people started to get acquainted, standing next to the bench and the seated Catfolk-woman.
"I am called Sithra." Sithra replied. She took the juice from the clerk and drank it, happily surprised with the taste. She didn't drink it all away at once, but fairly quick anyway, as she was tired and in for a rest. She had proven herself as a fighter, but as a cat, she still liked afternoon naps. Even so, she wasn't planning on showing that to anyone here, so she kept sitting up, albeit a bit indifferent to the others in the room. They all were fighters, that much was obvious. She liked to know people's names, but she didn't need their entire background.
The first to witness the arrival of the last participant in the mysterious test was Toxir, as she quietly smoked her cigarette outside the hall. Before her eyes a Lynx woman literally bounced up to her, grinned cheekily and chirped, "Hello there!" before bouncing noisily into the hall. She had quickly moved past Toxir, and what she had seen outside of her was now what the others saw of this Lynx within the hall. Her overall appearance could best be described as, well, comical. The top of her head easily reaching the waist of the tallest of them, this female of the Lynx clan was short and petite, but her ears and tail didn't seem to match up with her height. Her honey-brown furred tail was long, which trailed out from under the protection of the splint mail armor she wore, tiny and crafted for her. Her ears poked upward from the top of her head, also unusually large. Or maybe it was just that her body didn't grow as fast as her ears and tail did. Though she was small, she couldn't be mistaken for a child. There was a small degree of wisdom and age hidden away behind her cheerful eyes. Either way, she seemed to wear her hair and armor with a decent measure of pride, brown locks worn in bangs cut straight across the forehead, the ends of her hair brushing her shoulders. But she seemed to take the most pride in bearing her weapon, a huge hand cannon. It was polished lovingly, obsessively clean, and intricately carved – those with a quick eye saw the cats dancing across the polished metal of the barrel and the grip. A small battleaxe was also strapped to her hip. How such a tiny thing could carry such a huge weapon was a real mystery. But carry it she did, right up to the clerk, and she helped herself to a glass of juice as she loudly proclaimed to the clerk and everyone there, "Hi there! I'm Tabaxi Waughroon!"
Noticing that the others didn't seem to mind his voice, Geeileq pushed that aside from his mind and listened to the others telling their names, making a mental note that all but the dah'kin woman had given their names now. As Tabaxi entered the room, he looked at her with a rather amused look on his face, thinking that every group had to have at least ONE.
The clerk, upon witnessing Tabaxi enter, eventually just grinned back at her a bit nervously. "Krhm. Good day", he said, getting up again. "Ladies and gentlemen, now that you're all here, I ask you to wait a short moment while I shall inform my lord of your arrival." With that, he walked surprisingly dignifiedly up the stairs and disappeared to the second floor, leaving the group alone.
Tabaxi sipped noisily of her glass of juice, watching the clerk flee. "Oh my. He seemed in quite a hurry, I suppose." She shrugged, then trotted easily up to Geeileq, extending a small fuzzy hand to the Hauken. "Hi, there! I'm Tabaxi, and you are? I've never met a Hauken before. It must be so exciting to have wings, they're simply marvelous! I've always wanted to fly, but the closest I've ever gotten was the time my cousin loaded me into a cat-a-pult and flung me a few hundred meters. Get it? Cat-a-pult? Hehe!"
Geeileq really wasn't all too happy about the lynx fixing her attention on him, but didn't bother to show it or anything. He took her hand and shook it and grinned at her babbling more than the little joke, but grinned nevertheless. The little pussycat would probably prove herself an abundant source of amusement, even if it was on his expense. "Geh-ee-leq", he then said again with his high voice. "An' yeah, flying's great."
Tabaxi seemed positively overjoyed that she made Geeileq smile, and seemed about to continue her barrage of pointless questions when she caught the scent of Geeileq on the air. After a few seconds of mental acrobatics, she factors in Geeileq's high voice, added two and two together to get seven. She just had to ask. Tabaxi leaned toward him and asked as quietly as possible, "That's... quite the odd scent you have, Sir... ...?" The last part being more of a question than a statement.
As he watched the newcomer bounce around the room, he started to wonder what was in the juice. Faustus raised an eyebrow at the lynx’s even stranger behaviour, as she lowered her voice. He wasn’t really that amused by Tabaxi, but was thankful she had pestered the Hauken instead of him. With a bit of a strained smile, he continued to wait for this nameless noble to make an appearance.
Nal'unah smiled at Tabaxi's entrance and listened to her funny way of talking. A good exponent of the lynxes, she thought. Then she eyed her very big weapon, which looked much more bigger since the carrier was so small. She admired the details for a moment and then she thought she remembered a story about a lynx with a cannon at the War of Corruption.
"Hey... ain't you the Skullsplitter Gunner?" she asked with her eyes wide open, ignoring the clerk's exit.
Toxir paid no attention to the lynx woman as she jovially approached her. She simply continued smoking her cigarette, blowing the smoke out as Tabaxi bounded into the house, but making sure she didn't blow it in her face. Catfolk were usually quite particular about strong smells. Once she was finished, Toxir flicked the butt expertly onto the ground and turned to open the door and join the rest of the group. Upon returning, she found that the clerk had left, but she assumed it was to inform the lord of everyone's timely arrival. Folding her arms over her chest, Toxir leaned against the wall, one foot against it as well, and waited.
Tabaxi switches her attention to Nal'unah upon hearing her nickname being called. "That's me! I'm really surprised anybody's heard of me this far from the clans." She extends a hand to shake to Nal'unah, "And who might you be? I'd hate for you to know me and for me to not get to know you!"
"My name is Nal'unah"", said the planetarii woman, shaking Tabaxi's hand. "And I heard your story at the clans, actually..." she added, "I lived with the lion folk for a very long time. It's a pleasure to meet such a brave warrior", she said with a smile.
Geeileq stared down at Tabaxi, which must have looked very comical since he was (one of) the tallest people there and Tabaxi's head was barely reaching the midpoint of his torso. For a while Geeileq felt like making a silly comment about Tabaxi's height and compare her to a kid, but it was obvious he shouldn't do that, so instead he muttered: "Yeah. Later." The comment was nicely timed as well because then Nal'unah made her comment and drew the lynx's attention away, and Geeileq could hear the footsteps from the second floor.
Quite soon after Toxir had reentered, the clerk came back, followed by what everyone would assume was the noble, and a sturdy-looking guard. The clerk came to the room and said: "Would it be possible to get the letters back from each of you?" He extended his hand to take the letters.
The noble was a Ravillan, finely clothed in expensive decorated robes (not too fancy, though) and some jewelry, seeming to be about middle-aged, still with pretty good hair and posture. All in all, he seemed like the epitome of a politician – something that probably bored just about everyone else in the room. "Good day, ladies and gentlemen! Seeing as some of you seem a little anxious, I'll get straight to the point. You're here for a mission involving a conquered mine, but before we go into that, I shall need to test you on your loyalty. Therefore your first mission shall be a small test." The noble paused for a short moment to let that sink in. "Now, the test shall be like this. There is a group of entertainers that I sponsor, and I have reason to believe they have been using their money and my reputation for some unscrupulous ...business, shall we say. I need to have them stopped sooner or later, so your test would be to ambush them and bring them and their possessions back to me. Or, if they are not willing to cooperate in any way, well, it should be obvious. Have you any questions about that?" he asked before going on.
When the clerk and the noble came down, Faustus’s attention was held by the exchange between the lynx and the Terran. He was about to comment on the size of this so-called ‘brave warrior’ when he heard sounds of people coming down the steps. As the clerk asked them for the letters, he pattered around his person, finally pulling the letter out of his back pocket. Battered and mud-caked, Faustus forced the creased mess of a letter into the hands of the clerk while he listened in on the aristocrat’s words. “Unscrupulous act eh, Ah’m takin’ it that these ‘ere entertainers ain’t just jugglers and dancers?” he didn’t like acting as this Ravillan’s personal enforcer, or even more needless killing. “…and yuh gettin’ to the reward part, right?”
Watching with what seemed to be a very cool interest, Toxir reached into her pocket and withdrew the folded piece of paper, holding it out to the aristocrat between her two fingers that reeked of cigarette. The parchment was battered and looked to be partially blood-stained, but it was still in mostly good condition. Listening, Toxir nodded minutely. Hunting people down and bringing them back? This would be cake. When he asked whether or not they had questions, Toxir spoke up for the first time since she'd gotten there. "Where in Decima are they, or do you know?" Her voice was deep and harsh, but still retained a rich, dark tamber.
Reaching into various pockets, Tabaxi digs fruitlessly for a few minutes before she starts to panic. "Oh, no! Where did I put that thing..." She muttered to herself, turning out every pocket, satchel and purse on her person until she finally retrieved the letter. She had planted herself in the middle of the floor and stripped off her boots, retrieving the parchment from the sole where it had hidden itself. She quickly slipped her boots back on, and then proudly presented the boot-scented and slightly damp parchment to the nobleman. "Is this unscrupulous business bad enough for us to kill them? Really, I'd hate to murder people just for a few coins earned under the table..."
Unah took the letter out of her corset and handed it also to the nobleman. She looked at Tabaxi's letter with an amused grin, wondering if the noble would take the thing or not. "I'd like to know your name, if I may", she said as the nobleman asked if anybody had any questions.
The clerk took Faustus's letter quite hesitatingly and it had been slightly unclear whether he would take it or not, but take it he did, eventually. He took Toxir's letter faster, but startled a little at seeing the blood on it. He eyed Tabaxi's presentation of her quest for the letter, and even the noble seemed to be very close to saying never mind. However, after the lynx had finally recovered it. the clerk again pondered whether to take it and then just placed it above the other letters so that he would not have to touch it. He seemed quite pleased at seeing a relatively clean letter from Nal'unah, though. The clerk then turned to Sithra, expecting the letter.
The noble listened to Faustus's questions, looking along his nose at the warrior, but if the noble felt any actual disdain, he kept it to himself well. "You are correct, I have reason to believe they are not mere performers ...anymore", said the noble. "And definitely, I am getting to the reward part." Hearing Toxir's question, he answered: "Yes, I'll be getting to that shortly as well." Hearing Tabaxi's question, he did not answer quite that quickly. In fact, he waited so long that he answered Nal'unah's question first. "My name is not important, as yours are not. I may tell you my name, but I doubt it would do any of us good." He left the sentence hanging a bit, making it seem like if the people truly needed to know his name, they would only need to make it known. He then answered Tabaxi's question: "It may be bad enough for you to kill them, but it also may not be. I am sure that it is rather serious, definitely more serious than a few coins under the table. I would of course rather that you do not kill them as it would be far more fruitful to question them. I doubt it will come down to killing them anyway. Now for the much anticipated details!" After an exhorting pause, he said: "They will perform in a party tomorrow evening, and I'll have it ordered so that all the guards and other witnesses will be leaving the building so that you may go about your business. You are to then capture them and their possessions and bring them to me. You can go to the party itself to wait for it to end or wait in a sewer pipe that has access to the building, it's your choice. As for the reward, it will be 120 gold for each of you for this little task as well as free staying and food in an inn I own. I remind you at this point that the mission itself will involve even more money. Any questions, now?"
Tabaxi raised a hand and belted out a series of questions. "How many of them are there? What do they look like, and what are their names? I'd hate to nab the wrong people... Are any of them known as strong fighters? Where is this place they'll be performing tomorrow, and how many exits does it have?" She then put her hand down and panted for a few moments, catching her breath.
Arching a brow at Tabaxi's outburst of questions, Toxir remained placid as she leaned against the wall. She assumed these were questions that would be answered at a later time.
“Bah, piece o’ cake.” Faustus waved a hand carelessly as he heard his fellow Ravillan’s words, though it was unclear whether he was confident or if he just didn’t care. He was, however obviously disappointed at the noble’s cryptic replies and dubious of the ‘details’, especially about who or what the performers were. “Yuh seem to be pretty interested in their equipment, why is that?” He paused for a minute considering anything else before acknowledging what Tabaxi had said previously, “Yeah, what she said…Oh and does this inn have good booze?” Sceptic of what he had seen of the nobleman’s taste so far, Faustus was eager to take part in the ritual drinking after (or before) a successful mission.
All this time, Geeileq had stood next to the wall and just listened, not saying anything and seeming even slightly bored for whatever reason. He had helped himself to a glass of juice though (taking the last available glass) and was having an absolutely fantastic time observing the movement of the liquid in the glass as he twirled it around.
The noble spared a glance at both Tabaxi and Faustus before replying: "They might have some material proof of their disloyalty. Of course, when it comes to their equipment, as they are sponsored by me, at least some of their possessions have come directly or indirectly from me. Lastly, if the members of this group later prove themselves loyal to me once more, I would not like to have to purchase new equipment for them. Money is tight, don't you agree?" He then took a deep breath before starting to answer Tabaxi's long string of questions. "Very well, exquisite detail shall you have. To the last of my knowledge, there are five performers and a manager, who has the skills of a politician. The performers are... performers, even if something more. They do more for show and influence than efficiency and strength. I have heard they are mages but do not neglect physical training. It has been some time since I have paid attention to them, so I doubt I could give you any information that would not deceive you. However, they are not as strong as you all are, that I am sure of. They will be performing on a stage for almost the whole night of the party, so you are sure to get to know them well. Even if some of you decide to lurk in the sewer pipe, they will be the only ones present at the end, so there is no chance of mistake. The performance room is a basement of sorts, and as far as I know, there is only one clear exit and the sewer pipe." The noble then went on to explain where the party building was. It was not near the center and yet not near the borders of the city, and anyone who had spent more time in Decima knew it was just another place among places. Turning lastly to Faustus, the noble replied: "Yes, you may ...enjoy yourselves at the inn tonight, but I would greatly prefer you to be sober tomorrow in the capturing, though certainly I won't forbid you from having a little fun in the party as well. If this test goes successfully, you may also celebrate that before the actual mission." The noble proceeded to look at each of the persons in turn, awaiting the next outburst of questions.
"Alright then", said Nal'unah, getting bored of all the talking. "I think we're ready for some action now. Maybe we could go and take a look at the place on our own", she commmented, placing her hands on her hips. She hoped they would be getting out this nobilish mansion soon.
Listening into the nobleman’s words, Faustus dusted his conical hat as he placed it on his head, showing he also thought it time to leave. “Yeah, though we could just check the building later, at this party.” He hoped to actually attend the party, rather than hiding in the sewers. “Besides, it would look more than a little suspicious, with a group of strange folk poking around a building.” Unsure how far his reputation as a thief had spread, he didn’t want to take the chance of running into any past acquaintances either. With that he tugged his broad-brimmed hat down a little further.
Sithra had listened to all the questions and answers in silence, meanwhile digging up her letter. It was still in fine shape, and she had rolled it up like a scroll. Not really interested in being polite towards the clerk she more or less threw it towards him, not caring wether this could result in him dropping any of the other letters to catch hers. She had become a bit grumpy at hearing the assignment. It was a run of the mill assignment ment to intimidate any possible opponents of this noble. This is why she disliked humans, in the clans people would resolve issues head-on, in her view far more honourable than this manner, which rieked of the criminal underworld. She would do the job nevertheless, after all, money was money and thuggery was as much of a living as any other profession, but she felt as if she could do better than this. She certainly wasn't planning on sitting in a sewer pipe either. On the other hand, she suspected a rather large catfolk woman in black plate armor carrying a scythe would be common at a party. She made a mental note to make sure she could wait outside and barricade the exit when the witnesses had left, or anything like that. The second matter was the inn. This noble had only just hired them and immediatly ditched them at an inn. Now what good could that bring? She had been at an inn the night before, and she could think of nothing she could spend another night doing. She already oiled her armor yesterday, she had sharpened her weapons yesterday, she had bought a new potion yesterday, and she had no money left. Sithra let out a soft growl which didn't last long as she quickly surpressed her frustration again. It seemed she would need to think of something to entertain herself. Or perhaps this little lynx would prove so jumpy that she would entertain them all for the evening. Although she usually was on the serious, grumpy side, she could see some humor in this lynx. Without doubt she was more talkative than the dah'kin woman, and more cheerful than the rest of them, with the possible exception of the planetarii. Sithra hadn't thought much of her as she didn't think much of all planetarii, but hearing she lived with a lion clan for several years aroused Sithra's interest. "It seems like everything is settled then. We shall go to the inn, bore ourselves, get some sleep, bore ourselves for another day, and take care of the 'problem' tomorrow evening."
Sithra eyed the noble, and gave him a small smile and a very small bow, in a reassuring way. She had noticed that it was always good to show some respect towards the people who paid you, it could come in handy later. Even so, she thought she should try and get to know something more about this noble. She was curious wether he actually had a background with dubious 'connections'.
The clerk panicked slightly when Sithra threw the letter at him and nearly dropped all of them, making a save just in time so that only Sithra's letter dropped. He picked it up, went to place them on his desk and then took out some other pieces of paper.
"You are right, young man", said the noble to Faustus. "However, if you can't handle your curiosity, you may go look at the building, but it is not a complicated place, so it would be easy to find your way around. For bringing the performers back, there is a wagon behind the building. The party starts at about 20 tomorrow." Glancing at the clerk, he continued: "Ah, here are tickets for the party." The clerk proceeded to give everyone a ticket.
Geeileq declined a ticket and said: "I call sewer pipe." If one knew that Haukens were claustrophobic, this would sound very strange indeed. He glanced around as most of the others seemed to be wanting to leave and then spoke again: "I will walk to the inn now so if anyone doesn't know where it is, follow me. Its name is Red Void. Tomorrow I will go stand next to a sewer entrance near the party building until 20:30 if someone else wants to come into the pipe. There's no real space there though for more than one." With that, Geeileq placed the glass down and walked out the door. (Bluff)
"I'll come with you." Toxir stated firmly at Gee, leaving no room for negotiation. "To the inn and the sewers. We can check it out tonight, there has to be room for more than one." Her blatant dislike for large groups of people emerged yet again. Being back in the city made her not only feel claustraphobic, but irritable. Turning from the rest of the group, still not leaving her name, Toxir fished into her pocket for a cigarette and pushed the door open to the outdoors.
Taking a ticket, Faustus gave a sharp grin while he nodded his head to the noble. As equally curious as Sithra to whom the noble was, he quickly diverted his attention to Geeileq and Toxir. Without saying much else, he followed them out of the door and onto the streets.
Sithra took the ticket as well, and followed Gee, Faustus and Toxir to the inn, figuring it wouldn't help to spend the entire night walking around the town in her armor. Indeed, in this inn she might even find out some things about this noble, seeing he owned the place. Surely people would know some things about their boss?
"Ooooh... Um... ah." Tabaxi seemed in an utter quandry as she tried to decide between the pipe and the party. If she chose the pipe, she might get an opportunity to poke her nose into Geeileq's business, he intrigued her ever so much. But a party! She'd hate to miss it, the people, the dancing, the music, the clothes. If the group of them went into the party, maybe they would have to go under-cover, and she'd get to wear a ballgown, too. Finally, she decides on the party, taking the ticket from the clerk. The possibility of dresses and dancing proved more tempting than cornering a Hauken in a sewer. After saying "Thank you!" and cheerily waving bye-bye to the nobleman and the clerk, she bounced out into the street and chased after Geeileq and the rest of them heading toward the inn.
Striking a match to light her cigarette, Toxir inhaled enough to ignite the tobacco, and tossed the match over her shoulder onto the ground. Exhaling a large lungful of smoke, Toxir walked casually after Gee, irritated that she had to stay in the city for the night, but it was the most efficient way to handle things. Recalling that she hadn't picked up her ticket, she made a mental note to do so the next day, just in case there really was no more room in the sewer, though she highly doubted that such would be the case. "Where the @#$% is this inn?" she asked, her foul mouth emerging.
Unah didn't like the sewer's idea much. A small place for this group of big people, she thought, in exeption of Tabaxi maybe. She picked her ticket and thanked the clerk. "Wait for me" she said to the already leaving party and hurried after them.
Geeileq shot a rather frustrated glare at Toxir for several reasons, but said nothing. "The inn is closer to the center an' a 15 minute walk away from the party building." And before anyone could say "how much further", he added: "The inn's 20 minutes away."
The group continued walking and Geeileq took a few weird turns along the way that eventually seemed rather pointless. The area was mostly private homes and yards, increasingly many of the houses becoming poorer looking, even though they still looked pretty decent. There were a few small shops along the streets as well as some gardens. However, at some point Geeileq apparently tried to lose the rest of the group by flying over a large building just before a crossroad. The building was on the left and up ahead the road also turned left. A couple of people on the street stared at the flying hauken for a moment. The rest of the group were certain that they just needed to go around the corner of the building to catch him.
"Helpful fellow, that squeeky one." Sithra sarcastically remarked with a growl while Gee flew over the building. She had been walking after him with more and more reluctance, as he didn't seem to bring them anywhere, and now he dared flying off. She walked on with her normal pace, refusing to haste herself to keep up with the annoying Hauken, and went around the corner of the building, considering the possibility of the Hauken flying off in combat. A possibility she didn't like, and made her consider another possibility - chaining the birdman up so he couldn't.
Catching Gee's glare, Toxir just smirked and chuckled to herself. "Gonna have to do a hell of a lot more than that to scare me off, squeaky." She taunted calmly, smoke blowing through her words and drifting behind her. With her skills in hunting, Toxir could tell that he was trying to lose her, and she smirked again. She'd tracked falcons on cloudy days. She could find a bird-man in the city. As he flew over the building, Toxir took a brief second to look at her surrounding, and then departed from the rest of the group. Turning a rapid left, she hopped over a fence and jogged through an alley. His shadow was visible on the ground, and so long as she took a right once having exited the alley, Toxir knew she'd see him in plain sight. Even if Gee continued to send her on a wild goose chase all over the city, Toxir would track him down just to grate on his nerves. Besides, he had to come to the inn sooner or later, and she would be there when he got sick of wasting time. It would be an excellent way to get to know the city well, too.
Not as familiar with the city as he used to be, Faustus didn’t want to get lost but didn’t want to strain himself in following the birdman either. By the direction he was flying in, he guessed the inn was somewhere around the corner. Being the first Hauken that he had seen, Gee wasn’t doing much for representing his race. “Bah, he’s one of ‘em featherbrains, what d’you expect.” He grinned as he heard Sithra’s sarcasm, as he also took his time in tracking the Hauken.
Since Toxir had been fast in following Geeileq, she was the first to see him landing near the corner of the building to her right. Geeileq didn't look into her direction, but down the other street where Sithra and Faustus soon appeared. He didn't seem to be running away or flying any further, either. He did, however, point at the inn that was located in the corner opposite to where Geeileq was standing. The inn wasn't a terribly remarkable sight, but whereas most other buildings had at the most two stories, the inn had three – and it was neatly built and modestly decorated, seeming quite decent while not snobbyish either. It was built on the slope of a hill though, so that the first floor was partially underground on the other side.
As the first one to spot Gee, Toxir then also noticed the inn. Grinning at the Hauken's back, Toxir jogged quickly up behind Gee, taking advantage of the fact that he hadn't seen her yet. Clapping him roughly on the shoulder, Toxir shook lightly. "Thanks, mate." She quipped sarcastically. Remaining perfectly indifferent to the rest of the group on the other side of the square, Toxir walked up the stairs to the inn and disappeared behind the door.
Tabaxi stomped along after everyone else, patiently tromping along the weird path with only the occasional, "Why are we going this way?" and as she watched Gee go flying and then pointing out the Red Void Inn, "What an odd one..." She quelled her comments and questions at no-one before she approached Geeliq, though and asked him, smiling cheerily at him again, "So, this is the Red Void? Funny, it doesn't look red, nor does it look like a void. Hehe, so are you gonna be staying here with us? I've always kinda wondered how Hauken sleep, what with the wings on their backs and all. On their bellies, or standing up, like horses? Oh, but I don't mean to call you a horse, of course. Of course. Hehe, that kinda rhymed."
Geeileq didn't notice Toxir too soon and startled slightly when she smacked him on the shoulder. He looked after her wondering what she had meant but then let it go, obviously it wasn't important. He didn't move when Tabaxi approached him, apparently waiting for the others to go in. "I didn't name the inn", Geeileq replied to Tabaxi, shrugging a little. He didn't speak again before she had stopped, his expression twisting slowly to very amused indeed. "I have a room in the inn. I usually sleep on my stomach. But if there's enough space, I can sleep on my back too."
The building didn’t get much of a reaction from Faustus, to him buildings looked alike anyway. With a yawn, he deliberately took his time in entering the Red Void. As he heard Geeileq mention something about a room, he was curious whether the Hauken was familiar with Decima or the noble. With a shrug, he pushed that to the back of his mind and entered the inn.
Nal'Unah followed the group at a slow pace, taking her time to look at the buildings of Decima and the people who walked around. She hadn't been in a big city in a while. "Eolan have the same problem" she said after listening to Tabaxi and Gee's conversation, though she believed she had never seen one actually sleeping. "They have less wings, though" she observed. She turned then to the inn. "Hmph... We'll be here for a while then", she said and entered after Faustus did.
Tabaxi turned her attention to Nal'Unah when she spoke, a tidal wave of questions about to pour out of her mouth about the Eolan. But fortunately for Unah, she escaped into the inn before Tab could let them loose. "Oh, okay, then. See you inside!" She waves to her, then spoke again to Geeileq, "Well, then. Since we've got so much time on our hands, do you think there's any special tools we might need, that I could whip up? I'm a pretty decent hand at blacksmithing, if I can scrounge up the right components."
Listening to Nal'unah's comment, Geeileq said neutrally: "The wings of eolans are so much smaller they hardly even matter." He was about start heading to the inn when Tabaxi spoke again, and noticed that Sithra was still around as well, so he didn't make it further than one step. "I don't know what we would need specifically. But I'm sure we all have weapons and items that could use masterworking, if you know how to do that."
Sithra walked up to the group, and seeing the inn, restrained herself from making a remark about Gee's flying off. She figured it was a common inn, like so many around Decima. Not really interested in the sleeping problem Haukens might have she entered the inn without saying anything. She did listen to Tabaxi saying she could do some blacksmithing. That might actually be useful, if the little kitten could find a smithy and materials to work with. "Are you able to make helmets? I could use one of those. Other than that, I'm equipped just fine right now. Although, like Gee said, everybody here might have items that could use improvement."
Tabaxi practically squeaked with glee. "You bet I can! Let me go drop my pack off in my room, change into my smithy's apron and I'll go find a forge to borrow somewhere. Surely somebody won't mind, I'll just work the ol' Tabaxi charm on 'em. Oh! And you'll have to come with me, Sithra and Geeileq, so I can improve your weapons. And maybe buy the materials for your helm... I'm, um, really short on gold right now. And we'll have to ask the others if they want anything done..." She began scuttling off toward the inn excitedly, happy to help out her new teammates.
[Veltzeh] (GM) – Geeileq Machaiktev
[Roma] – Toxir Necis Brutus
[Sturmi] – Nal'unah Obaraan
[Blood Raven] – Sithra Desneshi
[Slade] – Caius "Faustus" Ezio
[Magus Ferox] – Tabaxi Waughroon
The previous versions of this party can be seen at Party Nº4 970 and Party Nº4 693.
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