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 Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones

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GoldenDrakon
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Location : Usually right where I'm needed most...

PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:18 am

"Good thing I can kill people twice then, isn't it?" he quipped back. "But as always, it has been a pleasure doing business with you Magda."

Getting up from the table, Karnoz backed towards the door. He paused for a moment, peeking out before slipping out into the street again and vanishing into the night. Magda surely wanted to be rid of Karnoz, but she had already contradicted herself saying that Yorgo was confidently waiting for his messenger to return from Trock Reik, but he surely wouldn't wait overly long. in any case, Karnoz made towards the Silvery Thread tailor and the Corbies within.

He slowed as he neared the tailor shop. Surely a den of thieves would have several lookouts, traps and other tricks waiting for the nosy. He just needed to find them first.

_________________
"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   Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:53 am

(There was no contradiction.  Read her "confident to hear his spy inform him..." passage once more; its meaning is that Yorgo, having already heard from his spy that Arno and Karnoz would no longer be a problem, is confident enough to make his next move: loading up his boat and heading to Bardosylvania.  Otherwise, he'd still be too scared to move, holed up with the invitation and trying to have Arno and Karnoz killed; the last thing he wants is to get into Lord Darrovan's grace only for Arno Hennbauer to show up, recite Yorgo's invitation verbatim and say a bunch of other things that only Arno and the Ainsleys would know.  Yorgo would probably end up with his head on a pike after that.)

Magda's parting words, spoken with all the grave intonation of a curse, lingered in Karnoz's ears as he wended his way through the tortuous alleys of Kurvoss: "May you receive everything that you deserve."

The rose-stained wood of the Silvery Thread tailor shop seemed to bow in greeting as the rogue leaned out of a crossed alley and slinked along the winding way of Pine Street, keeping his eye to the shades of night.  Some windows stood stark and black; others danced with the wavering light of candles and lamps beyond their panes.  The window at the Silvery Thread's oaken door numbered among the latter, casting a dim ray of candlelight across the alley with no voices or other sounds to hint at any welcome from the tailors at this late hour.

Ever wary of thieves and their traps, he could almost feel the Corbies watching his every move as he gave the shop a long gaze, making note of every sheen, shimmer or shadow which could betray something ever so slightly out of place.


(Karnoz - Search check (DC ??): 24)

Something among the grain of wood and the lay of its founding stone caught his attention.  Beyond the rustic pyramid of spent oil casks in that narrow alley aside the shop, the snow lay gust-tossed aside from a peculiar ribbon of naked cobblestones.  Something to the foundation there simply did not look right.  Karnoz narrowed his gaze and pierced the facade of that "something": a low, sliding door at the lay of the alley street, its humble face plastered, molded and painted gray in a detailed mockery of masonry.

Likely it seemed that the Corbies would use such a secret door for their more clandestine comings and goings, that they could leave and enter their cellar without being observed.  Such a door could serve a skulking visitor in an equal purpose, provided that the Corbies would not object to such unexpected guests using it to slip into their sanctum.

...but they probably would.



Karnoz >
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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:44 am

Karnoz made note of the secret door, but elected to pass it by. While he was pressed for time, entering uninvited and unannounced would likely garner more hostility from the Corbies that Karnoz wanted to deal with at the moment...and thus, burn more time. No, Karnoz made his way around the store, seeking a more mundane entrance. If nothing else, he could knock on the door or pick open a window, which would surely garner the attention of someone within.

As he moved, the rogue looked about the alley and street as well as peeking through the windows looking for clues, traps or other signs of life.

_________________
"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 Sep 11, 2014 7:10 am

A brisk trot around the building revealed no more doors than what he had seen, with but one more window set in the shop's far side.  Through both windows and the entrance door's threshold, the dim lamplight continued to dance.  In the rear window did Karnoz glimpse what he thought was the shape of a man creeping inside to settle somewhere behind the mission-style counter, but perhaps it was merely his imagination at work.  Or perhaps it was not.

As far as he could tell, not a single trapwork--whether wire, pressure plate, trip lever or more--was to be found.  But as he returned near the street entrance, the front door, guided by rough hands and perceptive ears, opened the door no further than the width of a hand, where two stout chains run between the door and its frame permitted little more than the sight of the scar-browed eye and the auburn-stubbled jaw of a fur-capped man who addressed Karnoz from within.

"We're closed," the coarse man grumbled.  "Wha'dyou want?"


Karnoz >
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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:08 am

Karnoz adapted the manor of a lowly street traveler, seeming abashed and forlorn as he muttered to the man behind the door.

"Pardon the intrusion m'lord, sir. I didn'na mean t trouble you this eve. I only needed to pass a message to ya, sayin that 'Vorog regards us with leaden eyes and a crow's heart'.That's all sir."

Karnoz, with proverbial hat in hand waited to see if the password would trigger a positive reaction. And to be ready to bolt if it didn't.

_________________
"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 06, 2014 5:55 pm

Without the least change of expression to grace his face, the man beyond the door cast a shifty eye across the squalid street.  "Were y'followed here?"

But Karnoz had come alone.  Or if anyone had followed him, then that someone was too steeped in stealth or sorcery for him to know about it.

Taking the subtle shake of Karnoz's head as a cue, the scoundrel shut the door in Karnoz's face.  Brass links scraped and clattered across the wood as the door was freed from its binding chains, then was drawn open just far enough ajar to permit Karnoz entry.

"Inside.  And be swift 'bout it!"

Half a second later, the tailing black cloak snapped through the doorway behind the man called Raven Murder.  The door trembled closed behind him, and its paired chains returned to binding the door with its hearty frame.  Darting ahead of Karnoz, the gruff thief stooped through a portal beneath the tailor's dusky oaken countertop, beckoning his guest to follow.  Behind the merchant counter yawned the doorway to a dim closet of a room: a simple guard post where a ruffian in the guild's pocket could stop any intruders from entering the narrow stairwell, and beyond it, the stairwell itself.




An oil lamp dangling from the ceiling by humble chains of tin flickered, casting its timid light onto the stairs as the two descended into a cellar where the Corbies were rumored to settle their more clandestine business.




"Cryptic Mood"
Final Fantasy Tactics


Truly the shoddy shop above belied the lavishness of the room below.  Though hints of mold crept along the borders betwixt carpet and wall, the carpet which rolled under Karnoz's heels as he alit from the stairs was woven from an exotic argyle weave...imported, no doubt.  Where lamps of brass and tin had driven back the night above, here the sconces were silver, each daintily etched with the twisted mask of Olidammara the Thieving God.  Chests, coffers and bags lay stacked in the far corner; a few of the containers, stuffed to bursting as they were, had spilled their coins and gems unto the floor before them, where the excess wealth lay unheeded.  In a nearer corner at Karnoz's right hand stood the golden statue of a monstrous creature bastard-wrought with features from men and owls alike.  The statue's beaked nose and freakishly large eyes seemed to weigh on the visitor and follow him as he entered; perhaps the illusion was merely optical or merely the product of Karnoz's habitual wariness, but one could never be certain what magic may reside in the sculptures plundered from ancient tribal cultures, an origin to which this statue's design and artisanship surely attested.

There, a silken-skinned elf smiled coyly at Karnoz before tossing her silver braids back over her shoulder and returning to her task of polishing the statue's golden hide.  A scab-cheeked halfling drew back his black cowl and peered accusingly at Karnoz's escort, who promptly assuaged the halfling's concerns with a snap of his sausage fingers and a few fleeting words in the guild's sign language.  Though he remained mildly incredulous, the halfling turned around to subtly tip his head to the three figures against the southern edge of the chamber: two standing, with a seated one between them.

The second halfling, fur-clad and gaunt of face, remained at his vigil with both his spidery hands resting squarely on his lizardskin girdle, from which a dozen large, coppery darts bristled and shone in the wavering light.  Across from him, a dapper, oil-haired man suited in green-dyed highland wool read names and numbers from a yellowed ledger clasped in both his hands, then fell silent, shut the ledger soundly and turned to face the stairs at Karnoz's approach.  What business he held with the seated man would have to wait for later.

And there the seated man sat between them.  The beauty of his silver-embellished maplewood throne stood in stark contrast with his unsettling appearance, for he looked far more dead than alive.  Piercing from beneath a twisting cascade of dense umbral hair, his glazed eyes drank deep the sight of the one who dared to approach the Corbies at this late hour.  Karnoz knew him not by face but by reputation, for this host was Anavask the Sullen, claimed to have once stolen a kingly sceptre from a kraken's throat and survived to speak of the deed, though speak of it he never did.

Anavask's pale fingers remained steepled on his breast, tapping their yellow nails together as he mutely turned his inquiring eyes to Karnoz's escort.  And the ruffian stammered his reply to the question unvoiced.

"Hhhh..he gave me th...th'passphrase, milord.  T...T...Tetrov's passphrase."

Anavask pierced the thug with his winnowing stare for several seconds more, waiting to see if the tense silence would rip away any hesitation or subterfuge and prod forth any further words.  The thug abashedly averted his eyes, wringing his sweaty hands and shrinking beneath his leader's attention, but no more words were said.  With an airy sniff, Anavask returned his cold eyes to Karnoz.  And the slack skin hung in folds from his jagged jaw as his throaty, numb-lipped words finally came forth:

"Hhhhhh...so, then.  Whhhho comes at...hhhTetrov's behhhhhest to bargain withhhh...the Pine hhhStreet Corbiesss?"


Karnoz >


(Addendum: For the sake of clarity, as he has asked my permission beforehand, GoldenDrakon may jam with any or all of the NPC Corbies except for Anavask the Sullen; these include Gyorg (Karnoz's escort), Eilimiere (the elf lass), Mundel (the hooded halfling), Pantagal (the halfling with the darts) and Master Kierigoff (the major domo with the ledger).  In this parlance, "to jam" means to improvise dialogue during the course of roleplay, either with NPCs or among players and their characters.  I learned that term from a Dragon magazine way back in the day, and I'm cool with jamming as long as it's not abused ("Why sure, Raven Murder, I'd be glad to give you my Mace of Bleeding +3!").  Anyway, have fun, GD. And don't forget your Thieves Cant.  Smile  )
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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:52 am

Karnoz tipped his head towards Anavask in acknowledgment before speaking.

“I am Raven Murder.” He said plainly. “Although we have not met before now Anavask, I am no stranger to the Corbies. Though you be of one mob and I a lone wolf, we have had occasions to do business before.”

“Master Kierigoff, not so long ago, you had a rat problem in your fencing operation and with the Corbies being watched so closely, I was tasked to have a chat with this long-tongue and plug the hole for you. To this day, he has not been seen or heard from.”
“Pantagal, when one of your purse collectors got himself scratched up by the tin pigs, I let him crawl into a hole by my dive until your boys could retrieve him. Whenever the Corbies have needed a bit of outside hired help, I was there and in turn, I always knew that the Pine Street Corbies was a good place to find an uncle or piece man with fair prices and good bits.”  As Karnoz spoke, he addressed each of the Corbies in turn, rotation around to meet each eye-to-eye in order to punctuate his words.

“I have my reputation, and you have yours. You all understand the strength of a reputation can be as valuable as an alley full of shoulder-tappers and as such, our reputations are something of importance in our line of work. We all understand the streets and the underside of things. We are all birds of a feather in this. I come tonight because I believe we can help each other again. You know Yorgo Pavamoski, yes? Two nights ago, he contracted me for a job, and then sold me to Papa Porker as a scapegoat. I cannot let such a slight go unanswered. I now work with our mutual Arch Rogue and his knights of the road.”

“Yorgo plans to flee this land this very night and never return, so he is cutting all ties, leaving many with unpaid debts and bad blood. We have decided that Yorgo is all used up and it’s time for him to crash. Come with us and sate your reputations as well. Not only that, but you will have a front row seat for a piece of the action that will likely shake loose from his removal”

_________________
"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   Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:04 am

"He speaks truth, boss," Mundel nodded, turning from Karnoz to address Anavask with all sincerity.  "You 'member how Raven Murder helped me find tha' jackal-sired Kaeleth and turn him from a turncoat to a carcass?  We got tha' chunk o' brandy what Kaeleth stole from us too, we did!  Helped us spring our queer bitter Rosina from tha' North Quarter guesthouse too!"

"...And surely I need not remind our company that a certain Yorgo was the one who put Rosina there through his tattling," the major domo added, "all done so that he could prove himself to the Nevergreen Bingers...mayhap ingratiate himself to them.  Raven Murder has done several favors for us, particularly those where we wished to avoid direct involvement.  Yorgo Pavamoski has caused aught but problems for us.  And now, it would seem, we have a rare opportunity to aid an ally and remove a pest, once and for all time, and both in one sweep.  Our next move should be fairly obvious, boss."

Anavask the Sullen fixed Kierigoff with his half-dead eyes.  "Hhhhhh...more knives than one to surround the betrayer...and more knives...hhhhhhh to cut him down.  But...before I send for our every hhhhskulker in Kurvoss, where is Yorgo now?"

But before any present could answer, the secret door near the ceiling sang with the rhythm of a hand rapping from outside: Three raps, a pause, two more raps, another pause, then three raps further.  Eilimiere darted to the secret door, opening it just far enough to perceive their addresser without removing the door's stout, blackened chains.

"Olo Two-Flasks!" her elven tongue lilted in surprise.  "Boss Anavask is in an important meeting!  What..."

"The Singed Serpent's been set ablaze!" Olo interrupted.  "It's burnin' down, and the Bingers think the Taxmen did it!  They're butcherin' each other in the streets!  The tin pigs've been called, an' we still have Smiles an' Hortus on that second-story job!  What'll we do?"

Silent save for an unsettling creak from his spine, Anavask the Sullen turned to pierce Karnoz with an inquisitive gaze and an unvoiced suspicion, as if perceiving through the ether that the tavern fire near Kurvoss' North Quarter was not unrelated to the arrival of the infamous Raven Murder.


Karnoz >
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The House of Ainsley
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:34 am

As Karnoz might expect, the disturbance in the north end of town was caused by Arno Hennbauer.  While it has had the benefits of drawing three-quarters of the Nevergreen Bingers, the Brass Ruble Gang and Burgomaster Riyarus of Pochva's Town Guards towards the fray -- and away from the docks, where Yorgo is most likely staging his getaway -- the commotion has also spooked Yorgo and has redoubled his urgency to leave Kurvoss.  The clock is now ticking.



Yorgo casts off in 25 rounds.
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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:14 am

Karnoz offered only a half-hearted shrug in reply to Anavask's stare.

"Apologies for any inconvenience, but there are already plans in motion. Yorgo has dealings with the Nevergreen Bingers and Burgomaster Riyarus so diversions were necessary." he said simply.

"but this too can be used to your advantage! It will likely take days for the other guilds to figure out what will happen tonight. You can move against the Taxmen, the Bingers and anyone else that will be weakened this night. Make deals, seize territory, even scores, recruit new members, whatever." He emphasized. "I came to the Corbies out of respect and mutual benefit. Any jobs this may have disrupted can be made up tenfold to a guild who knows how to take advantage of the situation. Tonight's chaos is my gift to you Anavask. Yorgo has many enemies to blame to divert attention away from the Corbies... or their allies."

"I only ask the same thing that I asked when we began tonight. Help me deal my retribution against Yorgo and his associates. I will have him and what he owes to me this night."

_________________
"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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Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones
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