Alliance

posted May 24, 2020, 1:41 PM by Stephen Pliska-Matyshak

Nonotina 11th, Year One of the Reign of High King Ran

Fennimore stands in the square outside the von Rumm estate facing the statue of The High King.
Fennimore looks around thinking about the events of the last few hours, watching the big folk surge through the square.
Fennimore (softly to himself): Well, you've bollocks this up, Fenn. Time to try to straighten things out.
Fennimore (softly to himself): First, things first. I need some new friends.
Fennimore sets off in search of a stationery shop, looking for one that specializes in paper with flowery imprints or one that might make a small run for a few coins.
Fennimore wanders around the stands and the shops in and around this square but finds nothing like a stationary maker among them.
Fennimore: Hmm, not very productive shopping, let's try another avenue.
Fennimore heads over to The Fiery Stag.
Fennimore makes his way through the streets, through the square that is dominated on the southeast by The Temple of The Father and Mother.
He takes the avenue on the north side of the temple heading toward the city's cemetery. Just before the street opens into the vast graveyard, he sees a luminary establishment.
Fennimore: This might do.
Fennimore steps into the Luminary's shop.
Fennimore: Hello?
Printer: Hello, master halfling. How may I help you today?
Fennimore: I'm looking to purchase some paper to correspond with my mother.
Fennimore: She has a special love for flowers. I was hoping you might have something appropriate for her.
Printer: Flowered stationery? How interesting.
Fennimore: Do you keep any stock, or would it need to be a new run?
Printer: It would be a new run most likely unless you want lotus or myosotis.
Fennimore: Hmm, No, sorry that doesn't sound like my mum. Let me think.
Printer: Certainly, take your time.
Fennimore: Roses, no. Violets, no. Daisies...maybe? Forget-me-nots, hmm, she likes those a lot.
Fennimore: Do you think you could draw a forget-me-not?
Printer: That is the common name for myosotis, so you are in luck.
Fennimore: Really, I had no idea!
Fennimore: Must be my lucky day.
Printer smiles.
Printer: How many sheets would you like?
Fennimore: How about if I start with 20. Now that I've found you, I can come back for more when I need them.
Printer: Oh, as parchment, paper, or vellum?
Fennimore: Oh dear, I'm afraid I don't know much about printing.
Printer: Parchment is lower quality, vellum is high quality, paper being in the middle somewhere.
Fennimore: What can I get for a gold piece?
Printer: Ten parchment or five paper.
Fennimore: Okay, here's 2 gold. I'll take 10 sheets of paper.
Printer: Very good, sir. I'll put that together for you.
Fennimore: Thank you, she'll be so happy.
The printer gets busy putting together Fennimore's order. After a few minutes, he hands the halfling a parchment folio with the paper within.
Printer: You have quills and ink I presume?
Fennimore: Now that you mention it, I could use both.
Printer: I will throw a quill in for free with a purchase of ink, ten gold per ounce.
Fennimore counts out twelve gold from his coin purse.
Printer (smiling): Thank you, sir, for the business.
Fennimore: Good doing business with you!
Fennimore: Smiling at his good fortune, Fenn leaves the shop and walks jauntily towards The Fiery Stag.
Fennimore skirts the southwest corner of the cemetery and heads south toward the Stag. He notices that he is being tailed.
Fennimore: Well that puts a damper on the day.
Fennimore looks around for a larger shop and ducks into the first open one he can find.
Fennimore moves quickly to the back of the shop and looks for a rear exit.
Fennimore finds himself in Arturo's Attire, an establishment known for their magical attire.
Attendant: Hello, master halfling. May I interest you in a cloak of invisibility?
Fennimore: That sounds wonderful, but not today I'm afraid. You see, I overheard some ruffians outside. It sounded like they were planning to sack your shop.
Fennimore: Perhaps, you should close up early?
Attendant: Oh, my! Really? Them again, hmm.
Fennimore: I think I'll check outback, make sure none of them are lurking in the alley.
Fennimore: Good luck!
The attendant begins casting wards around several of the more expensive items in the store.
Attendant: Oh, thank you. You do that.
Fennimore slips out the back.
Fennimore looks to see if anyone is in the alley.
Fennimore takes the alley behind the store and passes through the tenement that backs up to The Fiery Stag Inn, entering through the back door between the stage and the bar.
Fennimore takes a seat at the bar where he can try to keep an eye on both doors.
Fennimore: Barkeep?
The tavern area is pretty empty at the moment. Only the bartender Mindartis and another patron sitting at the far end of the bar are here.
Fennimore hears familiar voices approaching the front door and clomping up to the door. There is a muddled, but vociferous debate going on dominated, of course, by Majestic.
Fennimore: Oh, how did they find me here?
Fennimore: How quick can I get a room? I'd rather not meet the guests who are about to arrive?
Mindartis: Here's a key. I will come to find you later. The number is on the tag.
Fennimore: Thank you!
Fennimore: Up the stairs then?
The door begins to open when you are a few feet from the stairs.
Fennimore continues up the stairs and around the corner until he is out of sight of the main floor before stopping to listen to the conversation below.
The halfling manages to slip onto the stairs without the boisterous group noticing as they enter. He quickly and quietly ascends the stairs.
Fennimore: After listening for a bit, Fenn checks the number on his key and continues looking for his room.
As you are listening, you hear that Mindartis is coming up the stairs to retrieve Astrid Germanus-Bjarte.
Mindartis comes around the corner from the stairs and makes for the door at the end of the hall.
Fennimore: Barkeep, a moment, please.
Mindartis: Of course. No hurry really. That bard can't even get my name right.
Fennimore: If you can bring a noon-meal to my room. I've been running all morning and missed my elevenses.
Fennimore: I'm afraid in my rush, I forgot to ask your name?
Mindartis: Mindartis.
Mindartis: Let me fetch Madame Bjarte and then I'll be right back up. You are Fennimore?
Fennimore: That I am.
Fennimore is confused.
Fennimore: How did you know that?
Mindartis: I remember Alsis mentioning you recently. He found you?
Fennimore: He did.
Fennimore: Although it was Rael Octavius who recommended your fine establishment.
Mindartis smiles.
Mindartis: The Octavius' are good for our business.
Fennimore: I think it best I find my room before you finish your errand.
Fennimore smiles back.
Mindartis: It's the next door on the left.
Fennimore: Thank you, Mindartis
Mindartis: You're welcome, Fennimore.
Mindartis continues down the hall.
Fennimore quickly enters his room.
Fennimore: Whew, that was a close call.
Fennimore looks around at his room.
The room is basic and spotlessly clean, with a bed, desk, chair, and dresser.
Fennimore locks the door behind him.
Fennimore goes to the window to pull the drapes or shutters tight.
Fennimore peeks out to see what he can without revealing his presence.
This window looks out over the tenement behind the inn. You catch a glimpse of the one that was following you lurking in the shadows.
Fennimore: I guess I didn't get away as cleanly as I had hoped.
Fennimore: Time for the next step.
Fennimore moves to the desk and withdraws the paper, ink, and quill
Fennimore: On the first sheet, he begins to write...
Fennimore: Now, how to post this to the message board without alerting those buffoons downstairs?
Fennimore: I guess I'm just going to have to wait them out.
The confabulation downstairs is quite loud and there must be other patrons below now as well.
Fennimore gets comfortable on the bed and tries to listen for the voices he can recognize from the crowd below.
Fennimore: Hopefully, Mindartis hasn't forgotten me and can get away from them to bring me lunch. This poor halfling is starving.
He hears Magic, of course, and Tazdar's accent is hard to miss. Eris and Arncoril chatter away as well. Munkustrap and Zani chime in. Rael's calm voice can be heard. Also, Astrid. There are other voices he doesn't recognize that are barely audible.
There is a knock at the door.
Fennimore: Hello?
Mindartis: Your food, mister.
Fennimore rushes to open the door.
Fennimore: Ah, thank you. I'm famished.
Mindartis enters as he unlocks the door and lets him in.
Mindartis: So the recovery didn't go so well?
Fennimore closes the door behind him.
Fennimore: The bard is a walking thistle patch. I get the feeling nothing goes well around him.
Mindartis smiles.
Fennimore hands Mindartis a gold piece.
Fennimore: Do me a favor, I may be stuck here for a while. Can you continue bringing meals up, and let me know when the bard is gone or at least has drunk himself into oblivion?
Mindartis: A second gold and the room, dinner, and breakfast are secured.
Fennimore: The first one is just for you. Will one more cover the other expenses for now?
Mindartis: Oh. A third?
Fennimore: No problem.
Fennimore fetches two more gold from his purse.
Mindartis (smiling): Thank you, lord.
Fennimore: I depend on your discretion.
Fennimore returns the smile
Mindartis: And you have it.
Mindartis: Apparently, they will be leaving for the castle for an audience with High King Ran in an hour or so.
Fennimore: That's good news. I'll wait for the racket to die down.
Fennimore: I'd best let you get back to the bar. It sounds like you have other guests as well.
Mindartis nods and departs.
Fennimore dives into his noon meal with gusto.
Fennimore (prodding his belly): My gosh, I was going to starve if he hadn't arrived when he did.
Fennimore: After he completes his meal, he listens to see if the confabulation below has died down.
On cue after about an hour, much of the ruckus dies down as the group departs for the castle.
Fennimore: That's better.
Fennimore pockets his newly drafted letter and listens cautiously at his door.
There are footsteps of high-heeled shoes passing as you listen.
Fennimore waits for them to pass. Hopefully, hearing a door open and close.
Fennimore's hopes are fulfilled as a door opens and then closes.
Fennimore: As quietly as he can, he opens his door and slips into the hallway.
The halfling slips soundlessly out of the room and down the hall to the top of the stairs. The tavern area is busy with typical patrons. Fennimore does notice Arncoril passed out under the large table in front of the main fireplace.
Fennimore proceeds down the hall, down the stairs, and out the front door, trying to attract as little attention as possible.
Fennimore: Let him sleep it off.
No one takes notice of the halfling as he slips out the front door and over to the billboard.
Fennimore: Belatedly, Fenn thinks, lucky these tacks and hammer are here. I guess I'm not the only one who comes to post a message.
Fennimore finds an empty spot to tack up his message, as high as he can reach.
Fennimore then steps back to read the other messages, searching for anything of interest.
Fennimore: Hmm, An aptitude for finding things... Street smarts? That might keep me busy if my message isn't answered promptly.
Fennimore looks around for any sign of his tail.
Fennimore sees nothing of his tail in the street nearby.
Fennimore looks for a way into the alley between the tenement and The Fiery Stag.
Fennimore moves through the alleys to the tenement and finds signs of his tail having been there in the form of nutshells scatter about. They lead him for a way north where they take him to a quiet street.
He catches sight of his tail in an alley nearby.
However, he seems to have spotted the halfling as well.
Thug: There's the roly-poly.
Fennimore: You looking for me?
Thug: You bet.
Thug: The boss wants to see you.
Fennimore: Oh, who's boss?
Thug: The Tip of the Knives.
Fennimore: Really? I must be moving down in the world to have attracted your attention.
Bandit: I think that was an insult, Hod.
Bandit steps into view.
Thug: You think?
Fennimore: You can take it however you like.
Thug: How about I take it out of your hide?
Fennimore: You're welcome to try, but I don't think your "boss" will like that much.
Thug: Hmm.
Thug hefts his mace and the other draws a scimitar.
Fennimore draws his bow and fires a shot at the bandit, hitting him.
Fennimore moves close to the building and tries to use the clutter for a little cover.
The bandit rushes forward looking around.
Bandit: Where did he go?
The thug moves forward, as well, scanning the area.
Thug: What the heck?
Fennimore fires another arrow at the bandit and hits again.
The bandit drops to the ground, bleeding profusely.
Thug: Ah, ha. There you are.
The thug charges and pummels the halfling with his mace.
Fennimore drops his bow and quickly draws his rapier. He thrust it at the thug and hits.
He then disengages from the thug.
Thug: Come back here!
The thug chases after Fennimore.
Fennimore stabs at the thug as he chases after him and hits.
Thug: Ugh!
The halfling darts away again.
Thug: Argh! Get back here you little bugger!
The thug continues to chase after Fennimore.
Fennimore waits for him again and stabs him again.
He then darts away again to the thug's dismay.
Thug: Oh no you don't. Haha.
The thug runs back between the buildings trying to cut the halfling off.
As the thug exits the alley, he trips and falls on his face.
Fennimore leaps towards the prone thug and strikes.
The thug lies still.
Fennimore searches both bodies.
As you search the thug, you hear a familiar giggle from nearby.
Forget-Me-Not: Oops.
Fennimore: You found me. Did you get my note?
Forget-Me-Not: Note?
Fennimore: Pity, I left a little message for you outside The Fiery Stag. I was hoping for a chat.
Forget-Me-Not: A chat.
Forget-Me-Not: Ok, let's chat.
Fennimore: These are "Knives". Seems I'm making enemies faster than friends. I was hoping we could put our differences behind us for the moment.
Forget-Me-Not: The Knives are no friends of mine either. So, the enemy of my enemy...friend?
Fennimore: Good enough to start. That strange bard has a hard-on for you and the amulet you found. He isn't going to stop until he finds you. He's trying to enlist the help of King Ran.
Forget-Me-Not: I heard that. The king is setting a trap for me, I believe.
Fennimore: That seemed to be the gist of it.
Fennimore: The bard and my previous companions were making quite a ruckus about it at the Stag this afternoon.
Fennimore: If you can't avoid their "trap", I'd be astounded.
Forget-Me-Not: The rumor is that your bard frenemy and the group following him are going to deliver an actual artifact to the mage school.
Fennimore: You are well informed.
Fennimore: I was thinking we could lay a trap for them, to hoist them on their own petard.
Forget-Me-Not: It is an expected move. Kind of amateur for an archmage.
Fennimore: Archmage? King Ran?
Forget-Me-Not: I would like to disappoint them entirely by not showing up at all, but it's an artifact. I really want it.
Fennimore: They have numbers on their side.
Fennimore: We'll need something devious.
Forget-Me-Not: I expect the king wants his amulet of the planes pretty badly.
Forget-Me-Not: I think the trap will land me with something I don't want and lose what I already have.
Fennimore: I overheard some of their plans. There was a woman disagreeing that the King should get the amulet.
Forget-Me-Not: Oh, yes. Astrid. She has no idea what the amulet does, but she knows it's worth a fortune.
Forget-Me-Not: You should finish collecting what you want from these Knives and hide their bodies before others come looking for them.
Fennimore: Good idea.
Fennimore: Astrid? I don't think I've met her.
Forget-Me-Not: She's the wife of the owner of The Fiery Stag.
Forget-Me-Not: She's the youngest daughter of the Germanus family.
Fennimore: He's still breathing. Better to end his misery or will that just make it worse for me and the Knives?
Forget-Me-Not: I suppose you could patch them up and let them wander back in defeat...again.
Fennimore: Or just tie them up and leave them for the city guard to find?
Forget-Me-Not: Sure. That works too.
Fennimore: Think about your amulet and our friendship. You can find me at the Stag for the next few nights if you want to act on it.
Forget-Me-Not: I may pop in on you.
Forget-Me-Not giggles.
Fennimore quickly binds the hands of the two thugs behind them.
Fennimore: I'm looking forward to it.
Forget-Me-Not: Ta ta.
Fennimore: Be seeing you?
Fennimore feels the rush of air and low pop.
Fennimore: Oh great! She can teleport too.
Fennimore: What am I getting myself into?
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