Consequences

posted Apr 12, 2020, 10:36 AM by Stephen Pliska-Matyshak   [ updated Apr 19, 2020, 4:13 PM ]

Nonotina 10th, Year One of the Reign of High King Ran

Munkustrap, who received an invitation from the King's Herald, Reggot Octavius, to meet at The Fiery Stag for an introduction and possible employment with the High King, is walking south down Ballista Street. He had, just moments ago, seen the unusual sight of an armored figure leap off the roof of a building into the street below.

At the same moment, the wood elf ranger Zani, having entered "The City" earlier in the day and also following Ballista Street toward the castle, sees the same odd occurrence, only from a few feet farther away.

Magic stands among the fallen disguised as a city watchman while the rest of the group has scattered into hiding places in the side streets and alleys. He is singing as he is wont to do:

Hello Fellow Guards! It is I, one of you!
It was the Forget-Me-Nots! I found their flowers, their call sign
Oh, How I wish...
How I wish upon a star
How I wish you would tell me about the near and the far
Tell me of the forget me nots
Tell me of their secrets
And tell me of their flaws
Tell me how I can find these heathens
Before they get to FAAAARRR!
Hello Guards!

As the last word tails off, echoing among the stone buildings of this section of town, all sound seems to suddenly cease around Magic. Those in the vicinity also experience the silencing of Magic's voice.

In Magic's head, he hears, "You are causing me way too much trouble."

"I hear my own voice, my conscience speaking to me once again," Magic stays silently to himself. "I'm going to slow my role; make sure I don't cause any more trouble. Thank you, conscience, thank you."

Silently still, "How shall I proceed?"

The voice again in Magic's head, "Stop...saying...Forget-Me-Not!"

"How am I supposed to find my contacts?" asks Magic silently, scratching his head when there is no response.

"Hello, my own voice. Where did you go?"

Magic starts looking around and the sounds of the street rush back into his ears. Those that have moved into alleys and side streets can again hear Magic's melodious intonations, as well.

A bit alarmed by the leap from the roof, Munkustrap and Zani rush down the street to see about the commotion. They arrive at the scene of a disturbance with five bodies lying in the street between them and a wagon that blocks the way. Near the wagon stands a city watchman singing to himself.

Munkustrap runs over to the first body and checks it for life, this one appears to be quite dead.

"Hero checking the wounds," says Magic still disguised as a watchman. "What is your name, fine sir?"

"I am Munkustrap of the von Rumm family," the paladin replies.

"What a beautiful name," says Magic.

"Why thank you," says Munkustrap. "And, your name is?"

"I am Mister Guardd," replies Magic. "Guardd with two 'D's."

"What just happened here?" asks the paladin. "Where did all these bodies come from?"

"An unknown crew of misfits tried and succeeded in stealing something from these couriers," explains Mr. Guardd.

"And are the couriers the dead people?" asks Munkustrap.

"Some of them are not dead," says Mr. Guardd. "Some of them are only unconscious and we have not attended to them yet."

"Will you help me gather the living ones?" the paladin asks.

"We should," says Magic. "You should be a guard. You are doing much better than the rest of the guards that have been through here. We should make you one of us."

"A am already a knight of 'The City,'" Munkustap proclaims.

"Oh," says Mr. Guardd. "I am surprised we have not met. I have been a guard for ten years."

"You look quite young," says Munkustrap.

"I am an elf," Magic says. "We all look young."

Munkustrap moves to the next victim of the attack to check for signs of life.

Citizens that have been approaching the area take detours up side streets or alleys or turn around and return the way they have come entirely. Another watchman arrives. It happens to be one of the watchmen from North Market where the altercation in front of The Rogue Spoon that Munkustrap resolved.

"Hoi," calls the watchman. "What's going on?"

"Hoi," Magic returns.

"I just got here, but it looks like there has been some fighting," explains Munkustrap. "And these two right here are dead. Can you gather more guards to help attend to these bodies?"

"Oh, yes," the watchman studders. "Master von Rumm!"

"I appreciate the help you provided the other day," says Munkustrap.

The watchman, whose name is Chet, only nods to the paladin in acknowledgment, covering the disdain he feels for the paladin after the dressing-down he took from the Captain-of-the-Watch after the incident to which Munkustrap refers. Munkustrap does not notice.

Zani, in the meantime, has taken the east alley around to the side street where another body lies. She passes Arncoril without realizing he was involved in the skirmish.

"Do you know who committed this murders, Mr. Guardd?" asks Munkustrap, being more determined now that another watchman has arrived.

"Yes," replies Magic. "Of course I do. I know everything that goes on in this city. I have been working here forever. Twenty years."

"Then why are you not doing anything about it?" the paladin retorts.

"I am!" exclaims Mr. Guardd. "Do you not see me stroking my chin? I am thinking hard. Come close, come close. I will whisper in your ear."

They approach each other and Magic whispers into Munkustraps ear, "Forget-Me-Not."

Munkustrap has no idea what it means. He only knows forget-me-nots to be flowers and is thinking the watchman is a bit off his rocker. He even tries to detect alcohol on Magic's breathe, but being drunk does not seem to be the issue.

"We are not supposed to say it out loud," says Magic. "We need to be careful as they are watching us."

"Who is?" asks the paladin.

"The flower," whispers Magic. "Shh."

"Is this some kind of gang or guild?" Munkustrap inquires.

"They are the criminals in town," stays Magic. "There have been killings and kidnappings happening all over town related to this same activity."

The victim at Munkustrap's feet groans, which Munkustrap immediately reacts to by laying his hands on the person, channeling healing power into the dying man. The paladin then looks further down the street, seeing two other victims of the carnage over by the wagon blocking the street.

Munkustrap checks on these two, while Zani checks on the one she has come upon when entering the side street. They find that all three of these victims have expired.

Eris, after the paladin has moved on, returns to the street and the scene of the crime to see that the one Munkustrap stabilized is the one she jumped on from the roof.

Remembering that he had picked up the forget-me-nots that were in the couriers' packages, Magic goes to produce them for Munkustrap to see, but they have mysteriously disappeared.

"Mr. Guardd," the paladin addresses the disguised bard. "We should get these bodies into this wagon so they can be transported to the morgue."

Magic starts to maneuver the wagon around to make the back of it face the bodies.

Chet has been wandering around further north up the street and spots another body.

"Hoi," he says. "There is another body over here."

The body is in very bad shape, his chest caved in from Arncoril's devastating attack.

"Holy lord!" yells Chet. "What in The Hells hit this one?"

"That one needs to go to the morgue, as well," states Munkustrap.

Zani, after searching the body near her and seeing the courier has stab wounds, she decides to enter the shop just north of the side street. As she enters all she sees is the top of the proprietor's head peeking over the counter.

"Is...is it over yet?" the shopkeeper asks.

"It seems to be over for the moment," Zani assures him. "Can you tell me anything about what happened?"

"No...no," he studders. "I just heard blasts and yelling and screams and somebody stomping around on my roof."

"Is there any history of things like this happening before?" asks Zani.

"No!" the proprietor says. "This is one of the main streets that leads to the castle. Some scuffles will happen, but nothing like this has happened before."

The shopkeeper, a middle-aged human, stands up and steadies himself on the counter still shaking from the violence of the incident.

"What is your name?" Zani inquires of the shopkeeper.

"My name is Elisis," he replies. "Not to be confused with Alsis. He's a crook."

"I appreciate your help," says Zani. "I may be back for a few more questions, but hopefully the watch is keeping the peace and you are all safe for now."

"Oh, thank you, thank you," says Elisis. "I'll make sure the shop stays open. Everyone needs leather goods."

Zani departs the leather goods shop and heads for the door to the south beyond the side street.

"Hello," Magic addresses Zani. "You seem like a busy bee."

"Hi," she greats Magic still disguised as a watchman. "I am just trying to help out the town."

Zani enters the building and finds herself in a tavern. There are a number of patrons hunched over mugs or pints. They all look over as she enters.

"What was all the ruckus out there?" they all ask at once. "Need any help?"

"The watch could use some help out there," says the wood elf. "I am wondering if you know anything about what happened or maybe who it was that were attacked?"

"No, no," a number of patrons answer. "Stuff happened, very quick and then it got quiet. Saw a watchman walk by, so we figured they had it under control."

"If you hear any rumors," Zani begins. "let me know. Though, I do not know where I am staying yet in this city."

"I have a room," says Roderick the barkeep. "I can set you up if you are interested."

Munkustrap, in the meantime, has begun loading corpses of the dead victims onto the wagon. While he is carrying bodies, he notices Eris in the street and recognizes her as the one who leapt from the roof. After loading the corpse he is carrying onto the wagon, he approaches her.

"I saw you leap from the roof," says Munkstrap to Eris. "Why would you do that? Do you know what was going on here?"

"No!" Eris lies.

"I do not know what you are trying to hide, but if you are involved in these murders, you will have to be taken into custody," states the paladin.

"I totally agree with you," interrupts Magic. "I will take her immediately. Come here, young lady."

"No," Eris says flatly.

"Oh," says Magic. "Alright."

Munkustrap waves to Chet.

Chet begins to approach from the north at the knight's summons. As he does so, he sees the last of the victims in an alley on the west side of the street.

"Oh, my god!" he says. "There is another body."

"Watchman," says Munkustrap. "Would you please take this woman into custody. I think she is involved in these murders."

Eris makes to slip away.

"Keep an eye on her while I finish moving the bodies onto the wagon." the paladin says to Chet.

"I will," agrees the watchman.

Soon all the corpses have been loaded onto the wagon, leaving the one stable victim still lying in the street, which Munkustrap attends.

Zani, having exited the tavern, makes her way west down the side street still searching for someone who might know what happened. She enters another establishment, this one being an apothecary. All of its cabinets and displays locked up tight before its proprietor retreated. They, however, forgot to lock the front door.

After a quick look around, she heads across the street to another place. As she does so, she notices a huddled figure further along in the street, though she does catch a glimpse of chainmail under the cloak and rags it is covered in.

Magic approaches Zani to distract her with conversation when see begins to approach Tazdar. The tactic works as the hobgoblin slinks away into an alley and begin to make his way back to The Rogue Spoon.

Zani takes the nearest door and enters a grocery. There is no one to be found here either. She grabs a carrot and leaves to investigate more of the shops and begins to find that they have been locked up.

Back in the street, Munkustrap turns to Eris again.

"I know you know more than you are letting on," accuses Munkustrap. "I saw you jump from the roof. What is going on here?"

"Lots of things," says Eris evasively.

"You do not want to be charged with murder, do you?" says the paladin.

"No."

"Then why not cooperate and help me figure out who the murderers are?"

"Why would I do that?"

"So that you are not charged with murder, yourself."

"I can heal this one," Eris offers and does so, laying hands on him as Munkustrap had before.

The guard awakens, groaning and bleary-eyed.

"You are welcome," says Eris.

"Wait a minute," says the prone guard. "Aren't you the one that landed on me?"

"No!" Eris blurts out.

Magic quickly pulls out his lute and strums a chord causing those standing around the guard to fall unconscious. The guard and Munkustrap are fully affected by the spell, while Eris manages to shake it off.

"Arncoril!" shouts Magic, "You grab the guard and let us get out of here. That knight is asking too many questions. Grab him too, Eris, we will bring him with us."

The group, carrying the knight and the guard, slips into the west alley intent on returning to The Rogue Spoon. In the shadows of the alley, they bind and gag the unconscious before the spell wears off and then continue on. Slowly, they make their way through the city, keeping to alleys and eventually making their way to the alley behind the inn.

Zani finishes her check of the shops in the area and returns to Ballista Street to find it empty, only the wagon piled with the dead remaining. Wondering where everyone went, she begins to wander back toward the center of town figuring those that were around must have headed that way or she would have seen them when they left. Eventually, she ends up near the middle of "The City" in North Market having gleaned rumors and information from the chatter of the town that points her to The Rogue Spoon Inn, where this Munkustrap von Rumm was involved in an incident a few days earlier. Also, among the information gathered indications that an elf with rather loquacious mannerisms could also be found at this inn.

While Zani is wandering through the city, the conspirators enter the inn. Tazdar is the first to arrive and he enters through the door from the market and takes a seat in a corner, being as unobtrusive as possible.

A while later, the rest enter through the back-alley door and quickly take their captives to a back room in the inn. Arncoril bribes the bartender, Felicia, with some gold to be blind to what just passed through the bar while Magic buys a round of drinks for those in the bar. They lay the paladin and the guard on separate beds try to figure out what to do next. Shortly, Tazdar joins the rest in the back room, which is now quite crowded.

Having been hanging out in the inn since he was on this side of town, Rael Octavius watches with interest making his way down the hall toward the room where everyone else has gone. He knocks on the door.

Arncoril opens the door just a crack.

"How are you doing?" says Arncoril when he sees Rael through the crack.

"I am curious," says Rael. "You just carried captives through the bar."

Munkustrap tries to yell through the gag.

"You took them with you," says Tazdar. "Why did you take them with you?"

"It's alright," Magic trying to calm Munkustrap. "You don't need to scream."

"We are just having a party in here, Rael," Arncoril tells him. "Nothing to worry about."

"A party?"

"Yes," the warlock continues. "A magical party, you see, so you cannot come in. It's a surprise party for you. You might wreck the surprise."

"Yeah, you guys are full of crap," says Rael. "What in The Hells did you get into."

"Alright," says Magic. "Let him in. I'll explain everything."

Arncoril lets Rael into the room.

"Earlier today we were walking in the street as heroes do and these guards were attacked by these bandits trying to rob them. So, we slew the bandits," Magic fabricates. "Yes, that was us. Heroes. But, this guard may have been in on it. Someone knew something. We need to interrogate him because I am sure he is working with Forget-Me-Not. And, this one over here was asking too many questions. We can't be sure of his motives either. There was another. A woman named Zani. We need you, Rael, to go and find this wood elf as she was trying to help, but we got separated."

"Can you give me a description?" asks Rael.

"She is a lady elf with a skullcap in woodland clothing," Magic recollects.

"She is somewhere in town," says Rael. "And, has no idea where you would go?"

"No."

"Where was she the last time you saw her?"

"Ballista Street."

"Alright," says the half-elf. "I will humor you."

"Thank you, Rael."

"Was Fennimore not with you?" Rael asks, realizing the halfling is not among the company.

"He was the smart one," says Tazdar. "He got away."

"Whatever you did probably was bad," conjectures Rael. "I do not want to know, so I am going to go find Zani."

Rael exits the room and departs the inn.

The guard starts to struggle against his bonds.

Magic goes over to Munkustrap.

"You promise not to yell?" Magic asks the paladin.

Munkustrap mumbles assent and his gag is removed.

"Why did you gag me?"

"We couldn't have you yelling."

Arncoril points his crossbow at the paladin.

"I demand you cut my bonds," says Munkustrap.

"I demand you answer some questions," says Arncoril.

"I do not know anything," replies the paladin. "This is why I was asking all the questions."

"Why were you there?" they ask each other.

"Right place, wrong time?" says Munkustrap. "So, are you murderers?"

"We were supposed to be recovering a stolen good for some family," says Tazdar. "Unfortunately, it got stolen by others first. Called after some flower, daisy, pansy, I don't know."

"Forget-me-not," Eris chimes in.

"Oh," Magic recalls. "I heard a voice in my head. And not the normal want that tells me to do things. This one was telling me not to do things, so I know it wasn't me."

"What did this voice tell you not to do?" asks Arncoril.

"Stop saying Forget-Me-Not," answers Magic. "And, everything else was really silent when it happened. Like it echoed inside of my head. It was quite weird."

"Interesting."

"They must have been close," continues Magic. "Watching us. I think that guard that walked away might have been with them."

"Do they want to be forgotten or not, then?" asks Tazdar.

"A little bit of both?" says Magic. "They do, but I don't. Forget them, but not me, but we need them to find them, so we can get the talisman from them."

"What talisman?" asks Munkustrap.

"What do you know of Forget-Me-Not?" Arncoril request of Munkustrap.

"I know nothing," the paladin replies.

"He might be one of the good guys," states Magic regarding Munkustrap. "I think we can trust him. Cut his bonds."

"Not yet," interrupts Arncoril. "We should question this guard first, just be safe."

The warlock removes the gag from the guard and aims the crossbow at him instead.

"Who are you?" demands Arncoril.

"Who am I?" says the guard. "I am a guard."

"No," says Magic. "I am a guard."

"No," says the guard. "You are a fraud."

"Who were you hired by?" asks the warlock.

"I was hired to deliver something to the castle," answers the guard evasively. "To make sure what happened wouldn't happen. I failed."

"Who hired you, though?" Arncoril repeats.

"The Germanus family," he answers tentatively. "For their heirloom going to the castle."

"Which Germanus?" asks Magic.

"The head of the family," states the guard. "The patriarch."

"Where did you retrieve it?"

"At the Germanus estate."

"If he is giving up information this willingly," posits Tazdar. "I doubt he really knows anything valuable."

"Should we kill him?" says the warlock.

"Only if you have a good way to dispose of the body," says Tazdar.

"Now hold on," interrupts Munkustrap. "I thought you were not murderers."

"I never said that we were not," says Arncoril.

Magic starts tormenting the guard.

"Stop! Stop!" shouts the guard. "Enough. Stop. I don't know anything!"

"We could kill you or we could let you go," says Magic.

"A true warrior would have wanted death," states the hobgoblin.

Tazdar, standing by the door hears someone lurking there and draws everybody's attention with a wave of his hand. The occupants of the room fall silent.

A female clears her throat in the hallway outside the door.

"Open the door!" Claricia calls out.

"Claricia!" hollers Munkustrap.

Tazdar opens the door as it is the proprietor of the place while Magic casts prestidigitation to straighten up the room.

"What on earth is going on in here?" asks Claricia as she enters the room. "What are you doing with my Munkustrap?"

Munkustrap motions to her to stifle the concern.

"It is just a minor misunderstand," explains Magic.

"Cut him loose," demands the madame.

She spots the other captive on the bed as she moves further into the room.

"What is this scum doing in my establishment?" spits Claricia.

"Mostly begging for his life," says Arncoril.

"Oh, really," the proprietor says. "I could really make him beg for his life."

The captive guard goes deathly pale.

"What are you speaking of, Claricia?"

"This one," she says. "Is a member of The Knives."

The madame motions for everyone to backup.

"You have some explaining to do," she says.

"We need to get Alsis in here," says Magic.

"Alsis?" says Claricia. "He is behind this? Where in The Hells is Alsis? He is a member of The Knives as well."

"He is my informant," states Magic.

"Well, well," says Claricia. "I am guessing you are not going to see him again because he is going to make himself scarce."

"Claricia," says Tazdar. "What about a half-orc named Sark?"

"Sark?" she says. "Oh, he is the blind gladiator from years ago. I do not believe he is in a faction at all. He is just a helpful soul down in Nightfield."

"He is the one that introduced me to Alsis," stages the hobgoblin.

"Oh, yes," recalls the madame. "He does find people for jobs."

"Look here, guard," says Magic. "You are going to take me to The Knives hideout and get me in there."

The guard chuckles, "Yeah, right."

Arncoril repositions the crossbow, pointing at the guard's face again.

"I assume he rather we just kill him," says Tazdar.

"We can do a lot worse than kill him," says the warlock.

"I don't care," says the guard. "You can do whatever you want with me because you are all on Forget-Me-Not's bad side."

"Tell me," says Magic. "How do you know about the Forget-Me-Nots?"

"No, no," says the guard. "It isn't the Forget-Me-Nots. Forget-Me-Not is an individual. The premier thief of 'The City.' Nobody knows what they look like. Nobody knows who they are. They are a master thief, never been caught, never been seen and very, very vindictive. They won't physically harm you, but can pretty much ruin your life."

"I promise it is not me," says Magic.

Munkustrap laughs.

"Hard to ruin something I barely have," says the hobgoblin.

"Claricia," says Magic. "How do we find this Forget-Me-Not."

"Find Forget-Me-Not?" says the madame. "Nobody even knows who it is."

"Why were The Knives hired by a noble family?" asks Tazdar.

Tazdar moves in close and menacingly toward the guard as Arncoril begins to squeeze the trigger of the crossbow.

"Alright," the guard yields.

"Did the Germanus family know that you are with The Knives?" presses Tazdar.

"Ha, Germanus," chuckles the guard. "I've never met them."

"Then what were you doing with the caravan?" asks Tazdar.

"Oh, we are The Knives," he says. "We were trying to steal the heirloom, as well."

"What is this bloody thing that everybody wants it?" swear the hobgoblin.

"It's a magical amulet," answers the thief.

"What makes this one so special?" Tazdar blusters.

"It is powerful enough to gift to the High King," replies the thief. "We had no idea where the actual amulet was. We took one of the routes that it could have traveled on to the castle to try and steal it ourselves."

As this line of questions continues, Zani enters the inn. She approaches the bar as the bartender turns to greet there with a smile.

"Hello," Felicia the bartender says. "How may I help you."

"I had some friends venture in here," she explains. "I am wondering if you have seen them. But, first, I could use a drink."

"Friend, friend," ponders the bartender. "If you mean who I think you do, they can be found down the hall there in the last room on the right."

Zani takes the hall and tries the handle of the door. The room hushes again.

"Hello," calls out Magic.

"It's Zani," the wood elf replies. "May I come in?"

Magic throws the door open.

"Hey, guys!" he says. "Look who's here?"

He pulls her into the room and quickly closes the door again.

"I am glad I found you," says Zani. "Are we learning anything? Who's in charge here?"

Magic studders as Claricia steps forward.

"I am the proprietor of this place," she states. "I am going to bring some sanity to what is going on around here."

She looks the newcomer over, "Elves can be so much fun. But, this is for another time. Right now we have a matter of thievery that needs to be dealt with."

She glares at the captive guard who blanches yet again. She turns to the guard.

"You are in my established and you are not allowed here. You are going to help my friends here or I am going to make your life a living hell," the madame threatens.

"You know where I come from," Tazdar interjects. "We cut the hands off of thieves."

"You seem far more afraid of Claricia than me," says Arncoril. "And, I am aiming a crossbow at your head."

"You all should be very afraid," states the guard.

"That is enough out of you," says Claricia. "You do realize how this is going to end."

"Claricia? What are you hiding from us?" asks the warlock.

"What am I hiding?" she says. "I am not hiding anything from you, but you do not what to get on my bad side."

Arncoril relents.

"I think the rest of you need to go out to the bar and have a drink," suggests Claricia. "I will deal with our friendly Knife."

She turns to Munkustrap as he gets up to leave the room.

"Munkustrap, I am sure they are all very sorry for the way you were treated," says the madame. "You are on the same side. Who they 'murdered' deserved it."

"Oh," Munkustrap understands.

"We'll buy you a drink, Munkustrap," says Arncoril. "We can all drink it away."

"So," Claricia repeats. "Please, leave the room. Go sit at the bar and talk to Felicia, order some food, and I will be out in a few minutes."

Most leave the room and head to the bar. However, Magic lingers.

"You too, Majestic," says the madame.

"Can I not stay?" he says, flatteringly. "How can I admire you and your skills if I am not allowed to stay?"

"Very well," she says. "You may stay and watch me work, Magic."

She notices that Zani also lingers and figuring if that one elf is in the room, two is not any more of a burden. She turns to The Knife. She stands intimidatingly over him and glares.

"You are in such a wonderful position," she begins as she slips a small object into his armor. "You are going to take this and return to your guild house and you are going to them that your mission failed miserably and that Forget-Me-Not got in our way again. Chop, chop. Off you go."

The guard, now mesmerized, stands as Claricia releases him and wanders out through the bar and departs out the alley door.

"That was marvelous," says Magic.

"And something you should learn to do quite soon," says Claricia.

The three having followed the charmed crook from the room, join the rest at the bar. Claricia moves behind the bar with Felicia.

"What really happened?" begins the madame. "I want the truth."

Magic relates the sequence of events of taking out the couriers and finding that they only carried forget-me-nots, the silence and the voice that spoke to him, and the aftermath that led to their return to the brothel.

"This is the way Forget-Me-Not operates," explains Claricia. "Anamously, with purpose and contingencies."

"You seem to know a lot about this thief," says Magic.

"My profession makes me privy to much knowledge and many secrets," she says.

"How long has Forget-Me-Not been around."

"A couple of years now."

Magic makes rumor of another shipment, this one of jewels, wondering if it will attract Forget-Me-Not's attention.

Claricia plays along seeing where his thoughts are leading, implying that Forget-Me-Not has moved on to much more valuable items, such as this amulet meant for King Ran.

They clear the bar area to begin discussions for setting up a sting to capture Forget-Me-Not, playing on their greed and assuming they must make a mistake they don't have a contingency for eventually.

Ballista Street (North on the left)

The Rogue Spoon Inn

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