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 Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones

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The House of Ainsley
Keeper of the Dark Mirror
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Male Number of posts : 1996
Age : 45
Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:07 am

"Ah, yuh need a place to stay for a spell, do yuh?" the old man nodded with a snaggletoothed grin. "Sure there are a number'ah places in'n around Trock Reik. Stayed at most of 'em, I have, an' other sorts I know've stayed at most the rest...."

He rambled at great length about the local boarding places and rented rooms, drawing his ragged cloak tighter about himself as the dusk approached on a tide of snow flurries.


The old man speaks of these places:

• The Vatra Farm just outside Trock Reik
Privacy: No. The room is shared with up to six people.
Security: None. The place in question is a farmhand house; the front door has a shoddy lock, the owners and the other tenants have keys to it and the windows are at ground level.
Comforts: A straw cot and a few roosters to wake people up at the crack of dawn. There is nothing else, though the family might allow the use of their indoor water pump if asked nicely.
Cost: None, as long as the tenants help care for the pigs and chickens.

• The Maritin Boardinghouse on Salci Street
Privacy: No. The room is shared with up to four other people.
Security: None. The room is shared, the door has no lock and the windows are at ground level. Strictly for badly impoverished sorts and not really suitable for Karnoz's needs.
Amenities: A crude straw cot and a small iron stove (badly rusted, as the room gets a bit leaky when it rains). The house has a bucket for drawing water from one of the town wells, but it must be shared with the rest of the boardinghouse. The privy is outside, and there is no wash basin or bath.
Cost: 3 Copper a week.

• The back room of the Krvavny Mec Tavern
Privacy: Some. The room is meant for only one person, but it's more a stall with a half-door than a room.
Security: Some. The half-door can be barred from the inside, but someone with a long enough hook can reach through and pull the bar loose.
Comforts: A mound of straw with a blanket over it, a worn goose down pillow, a simple oil sconce. At least the place is dry and fairly clean, and there is one simple meal per day--dinner--included with the cost. The kitchen has a water pump near the firepit (so the pump doesn't freeze), and the privy is just off the barroom. There is a wash basin provided in the ale cellar, but no bath.
Cost: 6 Copper a week.

• The Bufa House on Zapada Street
Privacy: Yes. The room is very small and meant for one person only.
Security: Little. The door doesn't lock, but the room is on the second floor and the homeowners restrict access to it (but can wander in anytime themselves).
Comforts: A small bed and wool mattress, a brass oil lamp, a simple desk with a stool and a small foot chest (not locked). A wash tub and a privy can be found in a common area, just off the main hallway. The house has a small water pump in the kitchen, and it tends to freeze on winter mornings.
Cost: 1 Silver a week.

• The Tarana Warehouse in the Merchant Quarter
Privacy: Maybe. Only two people share one room, and families or friends are preferred.
Security: Some. The room is a former guard quarters inside the warehouse. There are no windows and a single door, the door is sturdy, it has a simple lock and both tenants and the warehouse owner have keys to it. There is a small fireplace, but the chimney's flue is grated with iron to prevent intrusion.
Comforts: A double bunk bed with wool mattresses and blankets, a simple chest for spare clothes, a small fireplace, two candles with brass candle holders, a large desk with a high-backed chair, a fresh ink pot and a small stack of parchments supplied by the owner. The wash tub and privy are in a common area, and a tin water pump (which freezes easily in cold weather) is outside near the hitching posts.
Cost: 3 Silver a week.

• Piatra Manor on Casnic Street
Privacy: Yes. The small room is one of the servant quarters, and each servant gets his or her own room.
Security: Fair. The door latches from the inside, but the jamb can be easily removed with simple tools in case of emergency. The room is on the ground floor with two latchable windows. The fireplace shares a grated chimney with the fireplace of a neighboring servant quarters.
Comforts: A plush wool bed with mixed cotton and wool bedsheets, two ceramic oil lamps, a fireplace, a wash basin, a curtained area with a wash tub, a simple armoire for extra clothes, three simple meals a day (brought to the guest by the small servant staff or the homeowner's daughter). The water pump is just outside the manor's back door, though it tends to freeze occasionally in winter.
Cost: 1 Gold a week, or 6 Silver if the guest helps the servants with the housework.


(Karnoz - Gather Information check (DC 10): Success (12))

In addition, Karnoz locates these places on his own:


• The Prieten House on Piata Street
Privacy: Good. The owner passes through Trock Reik occasionally, and he'd like to receive some income from the small house while he's gone.
Security: Fair. The house has two locking doors with good locks, and most of the windows can be latched from the inside. The attic window doesn't lock, however, nor does either chimney have grating or shutters; a burglar with a long rope and a few tools could easily remove a chimney cover in the dead of night, enter through the chimney and have his way with the place (though there is a city wall nearby, so the city guards might spot the burglar and respond).
Comforts: The house is vacant and mostly unfurnished, but there is a nice wool bed, an armoire and a fireplace in the single bedroom as well as a larger fireplace in the dining room. The guest will need to provide his own lighting, washing and meals.
Cost: 15 Silver a month.

• Miss Fortova's Boardinghouse on Grifon Street
Privacy: Poor. The room is shared by two other people (presently a mother and her young son)
Security: Poor. The room is on the second floor, there is a single shuttered window (which can be barred from the inside) and the door locks with a simple lock (to which each guest has a key). The fireplace's flue is not grated or shuttered but is too narrow to allow anything larger than a raccoon to slip through.
Comforts: A small bed with a goose down mattress, a round table with four stools, a round central fireplace, four brass sconces for candles, complementary breakfast and dinner in the family kitchen everyday. A privy with a wash basin in the common area is also provided, and the boardinghouse has a large water pump outside with a second smaller water pump in the kitchen.
Cost: 8 Silver a week.

• Vultur Manor on Dorsek Street
Privacy: Yes. There are two vacant rooms with two large beds each (enough room for four people), but the moralistic owner insists that all guests in a single room be family.
Security: Good. The room is ground level, but the single large window is barred with a decorative but functional iron grate, the door can be secured with a good lock (to which only the guests and the owners have keys), and the manor has a doorman and a small servant staff to restrict access to the interior. The fireplace's flue is wide and not grated (for easier cleaning), but the fireplace itself can be closed and sealed with two large iron shutters (to keep both winter gales and chimney-plumbing burglars out of the room itself).
Comforts: Two large beds with well-stuffed wool mattresses, an attractive redwood desk with complementary ink pot and three quills, two suspended oil lanterns (bronze and glass), a large fireplace of iron and stone, a partitioned bath tub with a wash basin and private chamberpot, three good and hearty meals a day in the dining hall (served promptly at sunrise, noon and dusk). The manor has a small well in the back yard (with a tall iron fence to keep the public out of the yard).
Cost: 10 Gold a week.



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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:49 am

Karnoz tucked away the information in his brain, but as the old man jestured and waived about, Karnoz was also assessing something else... the size of his foot, ..the width of his shoulders....

"Thank you sir, so you say the boarding house is just down this way then?" he said, walking away partly into an alley and farther away from what few prying eyes might be following the street. "Oh, and here's a copper for your troubles." he said holding out the coin to the old vagabond.
As the bum approached, Karnoz fumbled the coin, letting it drop into the snow at his feet. As the old man bent down to retrieve it, Karnoz brought his knee up in a swift blow....

**(look around before attacking, if there are any guards about or watching civilians, then leave the coin and go, if not, then I will attack. I do not forsee any real challenge, but I am not interested in killing him, just knock him out of beat him into submission. I will take his cloak, boots and whatever he has in his pockets, then slip away, going towards the boarding house, then throwing on his cloak over mine, slip into the street and double back, heading towards the Tarana Warehouse.

I will pay the owner 6 silver a week if I can have the room to myself, but I will offer him seven (plus a few extra coppers if I must haggle) if he can provide a few extra amenities. I would like a good lock for the chest, three writing quills, a small mirror, (hand held is fine) a half dozen more candles, some dinnerware for two, a decent pillow and a vase for flowers. If he asks, just waggle my eyebrows and hint that I may have company over one or two of these nights, let him fill in his own blanks. If I must sign a contract lease or give my name, I will give him 'Bumbo Farland', otherwise, tell him as little as possible.)**

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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Male Number of posts : 1996
Age : 45
Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:53 am

(Karnoz - untrained Bluff check (DC 5): Success (18))

"Oh, yus! Yus!" The old vagrant nearly fell onto his face as he desperately dove to fetch the dropped Kopek from its snowy landing. So blinded was the old man by his own hunger for coin that he never noticed Karnoz's knee rising swiftly and coming across his cranium with jarring force. The vagrant soundly collapsed, scattering the unsettled snow as he flopped to the pavestones.

After glancing about for watchmen and finding none, Karnoz retrieved his spilled copper coin and dragged the old fool further into the dim alley. Minutes later, Karnoz returned to the street alone, wearing a ragged set of garments that reeked of damp earth and old ale. Checking the windows for life and curious gazes as he went, he followed the old beggar's directions and wove through the streets in search of the Tarana Warehouse.


(Karnoz has stolen the old vagrant's cloak, boots and outer tunic, as well as the contents of the tunic's pockets: 3 Copper, an old half-eaten wedge of goat cheese and a braided length of hair tied with a child's bow (likely a keepsake or a memento from the vagrant's past).)

(Karnoz's actions in further securing a boardingplace where he can work comfortably--and unobserved--have supported his Evil alignment. 50 Experience is awarded.)

• • •

The warehouse's interior was speckled with cobwebs and old stains. In the still and captive air, years of old leather and tannin--now gone--assailed his olfactories. Bales of stacked, forgotten fodder hay rose in one corner of the warehouse, thick with mold and awaiting a pasture to which they would never go.

The stout gentleman's curled moustache wagged as he spoke, leading Karnoz to the once-guardhouse. "Now, I have stacked a fresh bundle of firewood...enough to last through to tomorrow evening, just next to the fireplace. With the winter's burden on local trade, you should find the Merchant Quarter quiet and good for your rest. As for your special requests...I may only be able to find a terra cotta vase with white roses, and a handful at that; few other flower varieties are hardy enough to bloom in such chills. If white roses are good enough for your tastes, I will return with them, the mirror and the candles within two hours. Though your offer is quite generous, I fear that better locks for the chest are too expensive, nor do I have any locks at hand. Everything else is quite ready, however; extra pillows and bedsheets are already stored in the cabinet behind your quarters, and the dinnerware was secured for a previous guest."

The blue-garbed host lowered his eyes and looked over the boarding register which Karnoz had signed. "Bumbo Farland...an unusual name for these old hills. Are you from Bardosylvania or Nellowswann, by chance?"


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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:12 am

Karnoz acted quickly, securing the vagrant's posessions, but left him the cheese and hair lock. Given the bum's suddenly lowered status, Karnoz considered it a mercy that he left the vagrant anything...although he doubted the vagabond would think so.... Oh well, he would be doubly lucky if he never crossed paths with Karnoz again.

In any case, he was soon looking at his new hidey-hole, and liking the situation greatly. The poor upkeep of the warehouse confirmed that few people came here and being in the merchant dstrict would lessen even that number of people come nightfall.

"I am from anyplace that my love's interest may wish me to be sir. Still, I would greatly appreciate a lock, of whatever quality might be had but if you have none, then you have none; and white roses would be delightful. Now please let me assist you with this locker you mentioned...." he replied, being both vague and slightly moon-struck. "By the way, you wouldn't know of anyplace that sells chocolates or perfumes do you? No? Well, I'll just have to look for something then..."

**I have alot of preping to do, but first, I will help gather up what I need from this locker the landlord mentioned, plus, I can see where it is and what else is inside. I will take two pillows,(with pillow cases) an extra blanket, (all of dark color, the darker, the better) and two sets of dinnerware (the best there is to be had if there's a choice) Set everything in the room and secure a key for the door.

Once he leaves, start a fire in the fireplace, draw some water for the bathtub (or if the pump freezes, use snow to melt and finally, fill the well bucket and leave it next to the fire to heat up. Move the squeakers into the warehouse, hiding them in the hay until after he comes back. Once he drops off the stuff, the bats can be moved back into my room.

Search my room and the warehouse in general. I doubt I'll find anything but you never know, the thieves guild might be using the rotted hay as a hidden cashe or something. More important, I want to know the lay of the place; doors dark corners, nooks and crannies, other rooms, etc. Then the same for outside, do guards patrol the area, how near is anyone else, what are the alleys and rooftops around the warehouse like, etc. (I'm not asking for a book report or anything, but if Karnoz needs to sneak out or back, then I want him to have the knowledge on how to come and go without beeing spotted.)

Once I have the mirror, I will disguise myself to look like the vagabond, (although cleaner and more presentable perhaps). Then leave my extra clothes, bow and arrows, shovel, stealthsuit (hidden in the room), one breaker bottle, the extra acid flask, the silver dagger, 8 of my throwing daggers, (and their sheaths) all but 1 day of rations, healer's kit, holy water and backpack. My theves tools will be secreted in my boots. Lock the chest if I got a lock, scatter 1 set of caltrops on the floor in front of the door, lock the door and head towards Dolnick's to look for my little fallen angel.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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Male Number of posts : 1996
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Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:58 pm

(Karnoz - untrained Diplomacy check (DC 10): Failure (7))

"If only I had some extra padlocks to spare," his host frowned halfheartedly in leading him through the musty warehouse, "but so many have been broken or have gone missing, and the nearest locksmith is quite likely closed at this hour. I can weather the cold for long enough to go around my other properties and see if I have any extra locks lying around, but I fear that I can make no promises on that tonight. Rest assured that the City Watch patrols these warehouses and shops several times through the night...every two or three hours, watchful for burglars. And in the morning, when the locksmith opens his doors, I can...ah, here we are."

Two sturdy shelves sat thick with bedsheets, blankets and pillows, some of them a cheap make of drab brown, the rest of slightly finer quality and dyed in royal blue...and enough of both to clothe three or four large beds. Two spare evening robes lay folded atop the stack of wool blankets, and a spare brass poker and its mated ash shovel--both clean and polished--shared the bottom shelf with twelve clay drinking cups and four simple crystalline goblets. Twelve sets of two-tined forks and serrated dinner knives shone from the fourth shelf, their well-polished steel and the rivets in their ashwood handles flecked with the occasional dot of tarnish but not one streak of rust. The twelve sets of plates, saucers and bowls in the large cabinet were a touch more refined, spun from the whitest porcelain and handpainted with circular blue ivy designs around their rims. Two extra candleabras--one of brass and one of black iron--stood at attention behind a beechwood box which held but three white tapers, the box's waxen scent betraying the expense of many more candles before them. In the shelf's opposite corner, four simple dice cut from yellowed bone sat atop a deck of playing cards, each pip painstakingly drilled and inlaid with black ink. A shaggy red throw rug lay rolled beneath a doormat of woven wicker and cord, and a spare porcelain wash pot and its matching pitcher rounded out the cabinet's offerings.

"But if you would entice your mistress," the landlord continued, "I actually do know of a good perfumery; I would suggest Yewanda's Fragrant Oils in the Western Quarter, about 200 feet down from the door of the Jade Angel. She and her clerks sell a large variety of perfumes for all manners of classes and budgets. Of course, her detractors and competitors claim that she learned her trade secrets from a succubus whom she summoned up for that purpose alone. But the demon named Rumor says many such unflattering things."

The conversation idled for a minute or two, then the landlord made ready to exchange the abode's iron keys in exchange for his guest's silver. "My name is Manvik, if you should have further need of me. And I shall return with more candles, the mirror and the roses soon."


(Karnoz pays 3 Silver for the week and takes the two keys, one to the Tarana Warehouse and one to the living quarters inside it.)

Old Manvik departed for his tasks soonafter, leaving Karnoz free to pursue his own tasks. Sparks rained from the large block of flint kept near the fireplace, igniting the combustible oil splashed along the lowest log in the fireplace, and the logs themselves soon blazed with warmth and light. The water was cold but not frozen...nothing that an hour before the fireplace wouldn't resolve.

The bat pups writhed in their burlap bundle as Karnoz pulled a bale loose and tucked them behind it, yanking some hay loose and spreading it over the pups to help keep them warm. While he was there, he took the opportunity to look over his new surroundings.


(Karnoz - Search check (DC 25): Success (25))

The outer walls of the warehouse all appeared to be quite old and durable; surely they would contain no secrets. But Karnoz scanned every brick of their construction anyway. And though the aged mortar lay cracked in countless places, one brick and its surrounding mortal two rows higher than the floor seemed slightly more worn than most. It came away in Karnoz's hand, leaving bare the badly rusted iron flask laid on its side behind it. The cork stopper had long since rotted away from moisture and age, leaving only its crumbled remnants. A rolled slip of waxed paper, badly yellowed and stained with the years, was tugged free from the flask, and four humanoid canines--or perhaps fangs--tumbled out of the flask with it.

With a watchful glance back to the warehouse's double doors, he brought the paper nearer the sconce casting its light behind him and read the blotched message:


"My dearest Iliza,

Your tormentor is no more. I tore his fangs from him as he crumbled to ashes in the morning sun, and I now give them to you as proof of the deed. Lord Osveroy will never again shackle your will and thieve your precious blood for as long as you live.

Regretably, I must write this message from a miserable prison cell. As matters proved, Lord Osveroy was a confidant to the Tsar's court, and I have been imprisoned for my apparent role in his 'murder' and vanishing. Not one of the charges against me can be proven, but so great was Lord Osveroy's influence--and so deep is the corruption among Tsar Nikiera and his court--that the truth matters not; Osveroy is gone and I am to be incriminated for it.

I pray that I may one day return to your arms, that we may share the remainder of our lives with each other. But if I am to never leave this prison with my life, then I only pray that this message and its bearer should find you in health, and that you can still find your happiness without me to take your hand, and without Lord Osveroy perpetually drowning you in fear.

Pensively yours,
--Brandau"



"Mister Farland?" Manvik's voice called low for him from the parting doors across the darkening expanse. "I have returned with your roses and other effects. Are you here?"


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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:29 am

Karnoz smiled at the stash of linens and other goodies. Nothing that would make a true catburgler purr, but Karnoz had other designs and plans of course. Seeing the choices, Karnoz selected two sets of the royal blue linens, two sets of dinnerware and matching crystal glasses and one of the robes.

In the meantime, the rogue made small talk until the man left, he had things to do after all

His preperations were interrupted by the discovery of the note, a facinating little tidbit that his mind worked around, trying to think of ways to leverage this new information. He tucked the flask away in his room, just in time to meet Mavrik when he returned.

"I am here sir." he answered, stepping back to the doorway.

**(Continue with my preperations once he leaves as mentioned above)**

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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Male Number of posts : 1996
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Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:32 am

"Ah, very good," Manvik replied in pushing through the doorway. The mirror he brought inside was large enough to hang from a wall, easily a buckler's diameter across. He used the mirror as a tray, carrying on it a ribbon-tied bundle of twelve white candles and a crystal vase, its mouth bursting with five white roses not the least bit browned or withered. He braced his carryings against himself just long enough to budge the doors closed behind him and return his keyring to his belt, then offered the lot to Karnoz with a satisfied nod.

"One of my friends in this neighborhood is a flower girl, and she was deciding on whether or not these flowers would last three more days. She was too happy to give the roses over for far less than her typical asking price. Yes, here you are, sir."

Before long, the vase and its roses squatted on the table in Karnoz's rented quarters, and the bundle of candles lay nearby. With a few minutes more of congenialities, Manvik made it clear that he could wait no longer. From the temples and the city hall, the peals of bells sang throughout Trock Reik. Nine bells. Karnoz had time, but not as much time as he would have liked.

Once Manvik had departed into the falling night, Karnoz dug out his disguise kit and drew open the clasp, baring a wide variety of powders, gums, dyes and clutches of colored horsehair for his use. The mirror was placed where it would afford the most candlelight, and he quickly set himself to his masquerade.


(Karnoz - Disguise check: 15 (+2 from disguise kit, +2 for "borrowing" the impersonated subject's clothes, -2 for impersonating someone one age category higher, no penalties for impersonating someone from the same race and sex))
(This is the number which others must beat with their Spot checks in order to pierce the disguise. Only those directly focusing on Karnoz may attempt Spot checks, and observers who are more familiar with the subject impersonated--possibly including other local homeless folks and underworld sorts--will receive bonuses based on the level of familiarity.)


(Is Karnoz ready to proceed to the brothel behind Dolnick's Cobblers and seek out Verenina, or is there anything else to attend before he secures the bulk of his gear in his room and departs?)

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:00 am

Karnoz cursed the time, but redoubled his efforts to be ready. Despite the time, he made sure his disguise was well in place. It would not do to save five minutes only to damage his altered appearance.

His preperations done, Karnoz set out, keeping to the shadows and avoiding those he could. While inevitably, he would have to put his costume to the test, there was no need in risking it prematurely.

His shadowed movements also had another purpose. Manvik had mentioned that the guard patrolled the merchant quarter every two or three hours. If Karnoz could catch a glimpse of them, he could estimate how many were on patrol and when they might reappear on their routs...

And so, onto Dolnick's.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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Male Number of posts : 1996
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Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Thu Nov 18, 2010 9:20 am

(Karnoz - untrained Spot check (DC 10): Success (21/Natural 20))

Karnoz quickened his pace as the snow-laden winds swept around his ankles. From across Mercantile Square, he spotted a chainmailed pair of the City Watch pacing along the opposite avenue, hefting their emblazoned target shields and conversing between themselves with their battle axes drawn and readied for the night's unfriendliest denizens. By Karnoz's measure, the guards would complete their sweep to the south end of the avenue and return by the streets passing his rented abode not more than 20 minutes later. And from there, by his host's words, the guards would not return until the witching hour...or perhaps an hour before it, but certainly no sooner than that.

The cobbler shop soon turned into his view, and he sidled around the broken iron fence at its corner to enter the alley which yawned alongside. To an unfamiliar eye, the unadorned oaken door would be mistaken for the back door to Dolnick's shop, but Karnoz had learned better of it. And the burly and stern-eyed thug who rose from his improvised seat on a weathered barrel beside the door would seem a common ruffian idling his night away, but Karnoz doubted that as well.


(Doorman - Spot check (DC 15): Failure (8))

The thug's meaty hand clapped onto Karnoz's shoulder, halting him in his tracks. For a fleeting moment, Karnoz feared that his disguise had already been breached by the eyes which burned beneath that bald scalp and dagger-scarred brow, and that Karnoz was somehow unwelcome. But the rough doorman's contrarily eloquent words soon eased that concern, only to replace it with another:

"Well, if it isn't you again! You shouldn't have come back here tonight, Mitri. Knak Verkel's in there with Miss Kalie right now, and he's been drinking himself into a fury and telling everyone how he's going to kill you if you and Hatta don't pay him back those 20 Ruble you owe him. So...you can see the problem here. I won't be responsible for whatever happens if he rolls out of Kalie's bed and sees you trying to buy ale for Verenina and Marishka again. Are we clear?"


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:39 am

His first instinct was to grab tight to that hand and jab upwards with a dagger in his other hand, but the words that followed belayed his actions. Still, inside his head he grumbled. Not only at the interruption, but apparently Karnoz had rolled the only vagabond in Trock Reik that everybody in this stinking rat hole probably knew personally and was in debt to.

*Note to self, kill the old bastard when you see him next time.*

Instead, Karnoz patted the hand on his shoulder kindly. "I want no trouble, no trouble." he said. "But you're a good lad for lookin' after old Mitri, yus, yus! I kin git some o' that money I can, but I need to speak wit Verenina fer that."

"Can ya bring her here, just fer a mo' can ya? I'll be gone just as fast, I will, yus, yus!"

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:59 am

(Good job mimicking Mitri there. And rest assured that he's probably not the only scumbag in Trock Reik who receives a less-than-warm welcome at this brothel. So you can imagine how the scumbags-to-normal-folks ratio is in Kurvoss.... Wink )


(Karnoz - untrained Diplomacy check: 12)
(Doorman's Attitude remains Indifferent)

"I am not your blasted errand boy, Mitri," the watchful thug snorted with a dismissive crinkle of his nose. "You know as well as I do that I can't leave this door. You want Verenina, you go in and find her yourself...probably in her usual room, two doors left from the tavern. You don't look too tipsy to remember that much from the last two times. And Kalie's room is still a right turn from the bar, so keep your face down in there and maybe Knak won't fit your gullet for a knife, eh? Off you go, now."

If any good came from the doorman's curt words, it was the assurance that Karnoz had crafted his disguise and mimicked his subject quite well. Perhaps Verenina would be equally taken by the deceit...and, given her seemingly agreeable history with Mitri, she would surely not hesitate in yielding the answers that Karnoz needed.

And if things somehow turned dire with this Knak fellow, the disguise could always be cast aside with whatever conceivable rationale for the masquerade...but not before the matter with Verenina and the boatman could be settled, of course. Too much was riding on that masquerade for it to be scuttled so soon, if at all.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:04 pm

"Sure! Sure!" Karnoz a.k.a. Mitri said, in his slightly vacant tone. "Thank ya!"

Leaving the doorman and wandering inside, Karnoz made for the room Verenina was set up in. He also made sure to keep to the fringes of the rooms and their occupants, avoiding gazes and people as best he could. At this point, his raggled appearance and odor was a bonus, as few would want to be so near an undesirable, especially in a place full of 'pleasant company'.

In any case, he made his way through the rooms, looking for his next goal. He also made sure to stay clear and keep an ear out for Knak's room. While Karnoz could care less about stabbing this unknown scoundrel either, he would prefer to avoid any such unpleasentries. He had a job to do and smacking down street toughs and barflies wasn't a part of that now.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:00 am

Leaving the disinterested doorman behind him, Karnoz's heels cast a dull, deliberate shuffling as he shambled through the cold doorway and down the limestone stairs beyond. Immediately were his nostrils welcomed with the warm, smoky scent of burning jasmine and frankincense, and that sweet, white haze hung heavy across the azure-carpeted floors, stirring languidly around his ankles as he descended.

The rosewood sign which dangled over the barroom by a woven pink mesh declared the brothel's name to be the Blue Meadow. The carpet, once fluffy and entirely charming, had been crushed beneath years of roving feet and stained with an equal duration of spilled ales and wines, ashes from the swaying brass censers and, perhaps, other substances best left unexplored. Around the tavern lingered a smattering of both harlots and their customers, some fully clothed and newly introduced, and others more familiar and less modest. The barkeep's jaded eyes betrayed a man who had seen everything that there was to see from his station; he divided his drink-pouring and stoic conversation between an idling umber-haired strumpet to his one side, and to his other a broken man who had clearly weathered one lost love too many.

But a tavern alone does not a bordello make, and the carpet changed from blue to pink where drunkeness and enticement yielded to lust and carnality. There, some doors hung wide open, and in most of those doorways and their mercenary bedchambers the prostitutes stood as bawdy, winsome guardians, vigilant for their next gold-bearing patrons. Other doors were closed, muffling to some degree the grunts, moans and laboring breaths from what activity one could expect to find in such a house. The rooms themselves, in their sizes and decorations, suggested women of various skill and affordability, some of them true courtesans worthy of the wealthiest and most elite clients, others mere bawds and common harlots fit for no nobler than Trock Reik's guttersnipes. A lithe gray elf clad in no more than a satin skirt and her calf-length cornsilk hair caught Karnoz's eye as she sashayed to her room down the hall, clearly a specimen set aside for more "exotic" tastes.

One of those working ladies was Karnoz's next objective, and his eyes danced from one painted face to the next, taking measure of their ranks and identities. The two muscular bouncers--one lean and human, the other squat and compact of dwarven frame--held watch over the entire brothel and paid Karnoz little notice as he loped inward, carefully maintaining his guise. If anyone here would regard him with a focused gaze, it would be the house's madam, herself most likely a former prostitute well-seasoned from years of countless rowdies, drunkards, swindlers, thieves, disease-bearers and the violent reprobates who embody the darkest side of the world's oldest profession.

And regard him she did.


(Madam - Spot check (DC 15): Failure (14))
(Whew. Close one!)

"Mitri, welcome back!" the madam boomed, swinging her braids of raven black streaked with aging gray as she turned to greet him. "You finally saved up enough coin to visit my girls again, eh? So, how did...oh. Wait. There's something different about you, Mitri. Are you feeling well?"


Spoiler:
 

Prostitutes and Courtesans
Madam
Bartender
Bouncers

Anyone else (not counting Karnoz, of course): "Gentlemen"

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:15 am

Damn the luck, yet another 'admirer' for this Mirti character.. Karnoz internaized. Yet perhaps he could turn an opportunity here....

"Oi, " he began, casting a nervous glance this way and that while backing up into the shadowed corner. "Knak be here!" he said with a fearful hiss. "Wants to do old Mitri harm he does, yus, yus! Not my fault Hatta got his money, no it's not!"

"But Mitri kin git some o' that money, make peace even, but I need to speak wit Verenina." His head bobbed up and down momentarilly to puncuate his words. "You been kind to Mitri, yus, yus. Mebbe you kin help? Just a bit?"

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:30 am

"It is my business to help our patrons, Mitri," the madam cooed assuringly, "but I was not aware of Verenina having any role in these affairs among you, Knak and Hatta. Or perhaps this is an entirely separate matter. But whatever it is, I do hope that you've not planned anything too problematic here...."

She took Mitri by the elbow and gently led him past the tavern and into the hallway beyond, for surely Knak--if he emerged--would be a fool to start any trouble in the madam's presence.

The harlot who regarded the madam and her guest from that doorway--second from the tavern, and on the right, true to the doorman's words--brightened her pink-lidded eyes with interest as they approached. And in those eyes, Karnoz's masquerade would meet its final test.


(Verenina - Spot check (DC 15): Failure (24/Natural 20))
(Eep. Sorry!)



(Karnoz receives 300 Experience for beguiling the doorman and the madam through his disguise, even if Verenina herself was not fooled.)

"Madam Yelana? What is this?" the woman querried from her room.

"Oh, Mitri has come to visit you!" the madam smiled lightly. "He seems to have a private matter to discuss with you, and likely the usual business will follow. Be sure to count his coins before you allow him into your room...no offense meant, Mitri."

Verenina opened her mouth to protest, but thought better of it and remained silent. Something behind Verenina's narrowed gaze told Karnoz that his masquerade was in danger, but Madam Yelana disregarded her subordinate's scrutiny as expected dismay, confronted with such an uncleansed visitor.

"And if you need to give Mitri a bath, I will have a word with Ilseia before I leave for the tavern again. You may use her bath, though not her room or her bed. And do hurry to my side if you need me for any reason, hmm? I will be speaking with Harrok and Bradhein about our anticipated nobleman tomorrow evening."

"I understand. Be well, my lady."

Madam Yelana strode to the satin-masked courtesan across the hall, speaking briefly with her in a subdued tone as she made her way back to the barroom. And for the moment, nothing in the air surrounded Karnoz and Verenina, save for the incense smoke sifting through her revealing violet half-garment and the dusky lamplight shimmering and dancing in her gaudy bracelets and anklets and in the silver-painted nails of her fingers and toes. Thus far, no commotion had been stirred, and all the rest of the world seemed far away as his guise and subtlety hung in the balance.

But if Bockiboo's words were true, Verenina was as much a thief and a scoundrel as she was a harlot, and hence she was quite accustomed to exercising discretion. Only when the madam had drifted out of earshot did Verenina's pleasant and accommodating tone change to one more guarded.

"Forgive me for being frank, but you are not Mitri. Why have you come here, wearing his clothing and affecting his demeanor?"

It made enough sense that Verenina had known Mitri under far more intimate terms than these; it would take a far more masterful disguise to foil those eyes which had more than once taken in every inch of Mitri's form. With his easiest path into her confidence denied, Karnoz's only remaining key to her sanctum lay with words...and swift, persuasive words, at that.



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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:08 am

'Damn..' Karnoz thought to himself, not for the first time. He really did need to kick the snot out of old Mitri if he saw him again. In the meantime, Karnoz was confronted by a very aware courtisan....

..but not that aware.

Verenina knew who he wasn't, but nothing else, and Karnoz wanted to keep it that way for now. Besides, one never knew who else might be looking on. Sp he elected to keep his imitation going, even though the harlot was aware.

The rogue's eyes glinted with acknowledgment of Verenina's deduction, but it was Mitri's voice that answered her.

"Yus, yus! You be right 'bout that. But don't you worry none 'bout old Mitri, just got tucked inta bed he did, but we're all birds of a feather ain't we? Now we're lookin' to do a little job for your friend, Captain Sharp but to do that, I needs to chat in private I do. Yus, yus! I do!"

Karnoz...Mitri's eyes affected a lost, puppy dog look.

"Kin you help old Mitri out?"

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:27 am

(Karnoz - Innuendo check (DC 12): Success (12))

A focused stare and a tuck of her lip suggested that Verenina did not truly trust her cloaked visitor. But the visitor's passing use of Thieves Cant was enough to convey to her that it could be in her interests to at least hear him out.

"Come inside, Mitri! We should get you out of this cloak and freshened up before the merriment begins!" Verenina spoke in raising her voice just loud enough for the nearest ladies to hear her with no misinterpretation. With dainty fingers taking him by the wrist, Karnoz was quickly ushered into her room, where the overpowering scent of scattered jasmine petals muted the stale odor from Mitri's aging garb. Behind the two, the door whispered shut with a flick of Verenina's hand, and the latch fell into place to keep it that way.

"So, stranger, it seems that we speak the same language. You...tucked Mitri in bed, but surely you had your reasons. Might I know you from the Nevergreen Bingers, perchance?"

Karnoz weighed the question and its possible intentions. The Nevergreen Bingers were a little-known band of criminals with a talent for rescuing condemned men and women before their appointments with the executioner, but the constables and watchmen had done much to keep the gang's exploits muffled from the public ear. Perhaps Verenina's querry was a trick question intended to reveal Karnoz as an enemy or a completely untrustable liar, but it could just as easily be a sincere question intended to catch Karnoz exercising just that way of reasoning. Perhaps it was even a question with no correct answer at all, save an answer less obvious or least incriminating. An answer too far wrong would close Verenina's ears to him, or perhaps even send her screaming for the bouncers, Madame Yelana, Knak and anyone else who would hear. And answering with another question could be a wrong answer just as easily as it could be the correct one.

But refusing to answer could never be anything but a wrong answer. And so Karnoz considered, chose and delivered.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:33 am

Karnoz did not allow his voice to be any less than Mitri's but behind closed doors, he did alow some of Mitri's demeanor to slide off, but not enough to let his true self peer through his disguise. Whatever else he might be in Trock Reik, friend, foe or ally, he was forst and formost an outsider...and that meant 'expendable'. Considering such, discression and subterfuge was his best friend.

Still, Karnoz needed Verenina to accomplish his mission, so he did not want to put her off either.

"Doubtful," he said with Mitri's voice. "Nippin' folks from Jack Ketch isn't my speciality, tho if'n the price be right, one might never know where one might show up. Mebbe your boss might hire me on iffn he likes the job I do."

'Speakin' of, that's why old Mitri has come. Word is that you know where a man named Peluko might be found. I would like to speak with him."

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:25 am

(Karnoz has answered Verenina's question with a negative, which was secretly the correct answer. +2 to the following Diplomacy check:)
(Karnoz - untrained Diplomacy check (DC 15): Success (19))

"That is well," Verenina replied with a calming eye, pleased with Karnoz's answer and his sincerity. "The Nevergreen Bingers will free anyone from the gallows if the price is right, no matter the crimes which sent the devil to the gallows in the first place. They are a scourge to the watchmen and a poisoned salve to all the regions' mobs and guilds. Odrik the Wire-Tooth captured a great many vagrants, workers and common harlots like myself, all to eat their flesh like a repulsive cannibal would, and then tan their skins to make a horrid wardrobe for himself! He believed that the Law would take no concern for such humble victims, but they did. And the night before Odrik was to bow to the executioner's axe, the Bingers slung a rope into his oubliette and set him free. So Odrik the Wire-Tooth is free to stalk the alleys and brothels of Old Karkova again, and no courtesan feels safe. And we of the Blue Meadow lay this constant fear at the feet of the Nevergreen Bingers."

Her hand slid open the drawer of her small maplewood table and drew a thin, green bottle of dark, ruddy wine from within. "So now that you've assured me that you are no enemy, freelancer...Peluko, you say? The boatman? Yes, he is our man of choice for helping people slip out of Trock Reik unnoticed. So many of our local pickers and rounders are eager to avoid a chat with His Honor, you understand. It may only be a matter of time before the Stali boys and their swine grab him by the scruff of his neck, but for now he's still working. He keeps a townhouse on Murnu Street...Townhouse 11, behind the White Shoal Tavern and not far from where he keeps his boat. Just tell him that you have a pebble in your goblet and you know not where to put it, and he'll know what to do with you. Just be ready to meet his price; try to jingle him lower and he'll not waste his time on you."

Her willowy arms cupped two wine-heavy goblets of clear glass, offering one to her visitor. The nectar-sweet aroma pinched Karnoz's nose with its pertness, belying the dark and bitter appearance of the wine itself. "Speaking of goblets, 'Mitri', perhaps you have an hour to spend sampling my wine and my company. Why are you so swift to leave Trock Reik, if you'll not mind me asking?"


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:38 am

Karnoz stepped back for a moment, taking in Verenina's figure with a long look which would have been improper in a 'civilized' setting. The rogue might possibly return once all his requirements were completed, but not before. Besides, from what Karnoz had heard about Verenina and her beverages, he might be less than happy once he woke up the following morning.

"Alas no," he said with Mitri's voice. "I have pressing engagements that will not wait."

Karnoz produced a gold coin and with a smap of his fingers, set the coin spinning on the counter top.
"For your troubles, but I have something else you might be interested in, if you but take a moment of time. Go to the watch at the city gate and tell them that you had a dress stolen by highwaymen, aqua blue in color and torn at the left shoulder. I think it will fit you."

With a bow, Karnoz slid the bolt back and rentered the common room. He tried to make himself as unoticablle as possible while making his way back to the street. Once there, he made for Murnu Street, occasionally checking to be sure he was unfollowed.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:23 pm

(Karnoz pays 1 Gold to Verenina)

"A new dress?" Verenina beamed as Karnoz turned from her bedchamber. "Why, yes. I would certainly fancy a charming new dress. Is it pretty? I could surely mend the shoulder in no time at all...."

On impulse, Karnoz checked his coinpouch as Verenina's door closed behind him; one could never be too certain how talented a thief she was, after all. Satisfied that it had not disappeared from his belt between the time it took to spin the coin to Verenina and to leave her room, he discreetly trod his return to the common room.


(Karnoz's actions have benefited both himself and Trock Reik's underworld--however humbly--all while maintaining his ethical Neutrality. 50 Experience is awarded.)


(Karnoz - opposed Move Silently check: 29)
(Knak - opposed Listen check: 7)

A manic commotion barked from the other side of the bar as Karnoz furtively made for the exit.

"I tell ya...I tell ya, woman, I am bloody Knak Ver...*urrrp*...Knak Verkel! No one crosh...croshes me!"
"Come back to my room, Knak. Ye've had too much to drink this night!"
"Unhand me, you loose-kneed harlot! I've had...a rough week...."
"Erm...Wulgorv? Klopert? Could you come here, if you please?"
"I killed shhheven men. Shevvven! I'll kill those swindlers too! Pike Hatta! Pike Mitri! Pike Jurski! I'll gut all the lot...."

The two bouncers snorted with disgust and marched toward Knak and his disruptance. If Knak was indeed too drunk to stick his head through a ladder in three tries, Wulgorv and Klopert would be incalculably more apt to seize Knak's bleary-eyed attentions than Karnoz skulking mutely away in his Mitri guise ever could. Finding his way out of the Blue Meadow and back to the alley, he nodded conspiratorially to the gruff doorman and stole away into the twilight.


• • •

Murnu Street, Townhouse Eleven. Exactly where Verenina said it would be.

The townhouses along Murnu Street could have been lifted from the same mold, so very similar they were. No grace was sculpted into their architecture, only raw and simple functionality. They were the perfect homes for the Lower Class folk who still raked in enough coin to place them well above the lowly boardinghouses and drafty shanties.

The lowest windows set in each townhouse were barred with wrought iron, enough of a burglar deterent to help keep Trock Reik well above the squalid gutter where Kurvoss lay. A simple half-flight of oaken steps ascended to each front door, clearing five feet of cellar depth beneath. The second story windows were unbarred and looked easy to open, the only mercy that such meager tenants could wield against the hottest summer days. Clay planters choked with fallen snow and withered plants would lend a splash of decoration to the buildings in warmer seasons; for now, they were but a strong hint that unseen roof hatches might yet exist in these townhouses.

Most of the townhomes were dark with evening retirement and slumber, but not Number 11. Lamplights flickered in every window, casting a wavering shadow against a yellowed pane upstairs. It could well mean that Peluko was home, making ready for his midnight rendezvous.

But Karnoz had passed three more complications on his way there: two of the city's watchmen stood questioning a heavy-hipped woman at the door of Yenra's Eggs and Poultry, perhaps inquiring of her about a recent crime. In a broad alley across the way, a bristle-chinned vagrant gnawed ravenously at an oven-cooked quail or game hen, swilling the meat down with brown ale. And the sewer grates along Murnu Street murmured with trickling run-off from the ice and snow, water which would surely freeze solid again with what temperature the falling night would bring.

The end of his mission was finally drawing into view, but if luck ran true to form, the stretch to the goal would be anything but simple. Karnoz weighed his options on dealing with Peluko, and there were many indeed.



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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:35 am

Karnoz, AKA Mitri shuffled down the street taking in all the detail he could. His sharp ears and eyes trying to gather what tidbits he could about the guards and their questions. Not that it mattered, the guards were not looking for him and would probably move on after their questioning. Whatever petty jibberish they were going on about, Karnoz didn't care, but titbits were always good. It was always benificial to be in the know after all.

**Listen, Read Lips**

While the guards didn't really concern him, the vagabond did. A vagrant, eating oven-roasted squab and ale while sitting in a snowy alleyway across from the door of a known smuggler...That caused the hairs on the back of Karnoz's neck to rise. True the poor bastard could have just lifted someone's dinner, but Karnoz was a cautious sort.

As Mitri, he shuffled closer to the other vagrant but still keeping to the shadows as much as possible.

"Oi" he whispered with Mitri's voice, "Guards be commin' yus, yus! Wanna have words wit everyone they do! No time to be friend o' the streets, no! No time!"

His warning delivered, Mitri shuffled up and away from the guards and the vagrant and down the alley. (Between 13 and 15) There was more to his warning than just one street fly looking out for another. This way, karnoz could get a good look at this stranger and also, if this was just some street bum, then he would likely slink off. If he stayed, dilligently watching the door across the street, then Karnoz might have to deal with him in another way later.

This done, Karnoz looked up and down the alley, assessing the best way to climb up to the roof. With any luck, his suspicions would be correct and a rooftop access into the buildings would present itself. Or failing that, a better vantage point to craft his next move.

** move silently and climb to the roof, be mindful to avoid any possible snow leaving a trail up the building for the guards to follow.**

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:35 am

(Karnoz - untrained Listen check (DC 5): Success (10))

The guards and the shopkeeper made little effort to subdue their voices. Lingering well within earshot, Karnoz feigned an effort to kneel and redo his boot laces, keeping an ear to the exchange behind him.

"And you have no idea when the theft took place, madam?"

"No, not precisely. The eggs were there when I set the basket down shortly after noontide. By seven bells, I came back for the basket and found six of the eggs missing."

"How many eggs were in the basket before the theft, madam?"

"Fourteen. The winter has been hard on the hens. 'Twas all they could lay this morn."

"And your son, Paro...did he notice anyone trying to avoid his attention while he was at the coinbox?"

A questioning about stolen eggs...hardly a relevant topic. But a topic which would divert the guards' vigil as he went about his undertaking. His next concern lay with the vagrant, perhaps a common vagrant in truth, or perhaps a watcher keeping an eye on Peluko's residence for unveiled reasons. Any threat he posed would need to be removed, and so Karnoz approached him with mock fear in his eyes.

"Oi. Guards be commin' yus, yus! Wanna have words wit everyone they do! No time to be friend o' the streets, no! No time!"

The vangrant looked up from his repast, displeased with the disturbance.

"Ah, they've but a want t'dredge up words on that egg theft! I bought this bird wi' honest coin! I stole no eggs. I've none t'fear."

"Oh? An' when wus the Watch e'er known for takin' a street-warmer like yuhself at his word, hmm?"

The vagrant blanched, his fluttering eyes rekindling some uncherished memory. Wrapping his cooked quail in its broadcloth and taking up his ale cup, the lowlife hurried away down the alley without another word, leaving Karnoz alone where he stood.


(Karnoz - opposed Move Silently check: 16)
(Watchmen - opposed Listen check: 3)

The balls of his boots carried Karnoz lightly across the street, leaving shallow and wispy traces in the snow as he mutely strode. Even the storekeeper, with eyes briefly roving past him, failed to pay attention as he disappeared into the opposite alleyway, all the while unnoticed.

The narrow alley wavered into a broader alley crossing beyond the building, and the nightwalker soon found himself at the aft of Peluko's townhouse. No stairs or ladders traversed the height from street to rooftop, for the architect had seen no need for such. Karnoz would be left to scale the wall by hand, with barred windows and rough bricks to serve him as fingerholds and toeholds.

Determined to see his dark quest succeed, Karnoz set his boot to the wall and spurred himself upward.


(Karnoz - untrained Climb check (DC 15): Success (20))

Karnoz climbed, and Fortune climbed with him. Even the recent snowfalls could not slip his hands from the masonry. Though his footing failed and his feet slipped away near the roof's edge, his relentless grip did not, and he freeclimbed the length of a man to roll and alight among the thick clay tiles composing the roofwork.

And there, draped with a thin layer of snow, lay the hatch to Peluko's home. A brief yank on the trapdoor's brass handle confirmed that the door was bolted from below, but such was no matter; the hinges lay bare, and Karnoz could easily remove their pins and breach the trapdoor thus.

No, Karnoz's truest foe there was the cold air of winter, rising and washing over Trock Reik as the breath of the earth. Peluko, warm in his home, would surely feel the chilling draft as it crept through his rooms and corridors. To Karnoz was thus left the task of ensuring that, though Peluko might feel the chill, he would not be able to deduce too quickly whence it came. To be discovered too soon would give the boatman time to flee from his intruder, and that outcome simply would not do.



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GoldenDrakon
Weaver of Tales
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:21 am

Karnoz silently went to the task of undoing the hinges as quietly as possible. While the burst of cold might alert the boatman, Karnoz had come too far to turn back now. Besides, Peluko was a person known to assist people wanting quick and secret exit from the city. Surely he was not the first visitor to come sneaking his way. Karnoz was just going to have to trust to luck and quick wits.

The hinges freed, Karnoz made his way inside, replacing the trapdoor as quickly and quietly as possible, then slipping into the shadow, eyes and ears open.

**Move silently and hide in shadows**

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:48 am

Confident that his words would preserve his secrecy if his finesse failed, Karnoz unrolled his masterwork thieving tools and set himself to the hinges, brushing the snow aside in his effort to work the frozen pins free of their brazen moorings.


(Karnoz - Move Silently (DC 20): Failure (10))

In a feat of ill timing, the bitter wind rose into a howling crescendo at Karnoz's back the very moment the door was lifted to reveal the descending stairs beneath. Cheap pinewood and cheaper tin nails creaked and moaned under his heels as the gust tossed his cloak wildly about him.

Pulling the trapdoor back into its fittings over him, he silenced the wind and paused there, kneeling on the crudely planed steps. He found his entrance unsatisfactory; so sure he was that so much noise had heralded his intrusion, that Peluko could not possibly be surprised at his approach. And yet no voice, no steely hiss of drawn blades, no sound at all replied to him. Only silence saturated the narrow and winding corridor.

Creeping across the shoddy blue carpet, Karnoz warily rounded the turn, mindful of his surroundings. Even if Peluko knew of his approach, it would not do for Karnoz himself to fall to surprise by his unseen host's hands.


(Karnoz - untrained Listen check (DC 15): Failure (9))

A soft, raspy murmur drew his eyes and ears to the door not far around the corner from him. Was it snoring, or heavy breathing, or a simple drafty breach in the room beyond? Over the crackling and hissing of a small fire somewhere down the hallway, Karnoz could not tell for certain. Outside, the wind threw itself against the window pane behind him, mocking Karnoz with its meddling.

An impulse tugged at the back of his mind, the impulse to withdraw. Too many missteps had already been made. And yet, he considered, not all was lost. So near he was to the next leg of his errand; perhaps his tongue and his wits would yet come through for him and salvage his attempt to get near to Peluko without placing himself at any grievous disadvantage.



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Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones
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