A Light In The Window

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Log Info

  • Title: A Light In The Window
  • Emitter: Bitr
  • Characters: Zyla Level 3, Fiore Level 4, Nysalia Level 3
  • Place: Alexandria
  • Time: March 15, 2016
  • Summary: The unfortunate death of an unfortunate merchant gets complicated. Murder mystery!
  • APL: 3
  • Encounter 1: Full roleplay with some diplomacy/intimidation/intuitive problem solving.

EVENTS: The Light In The Window is scheduled to start RIGHT NOW!

The fire had been quickly dealt with, but thorough; A blaze that had gone up in the grey pre-dawn in the middle of Alexandria, in a goodly sized home owned by Mister Timberling. It had taken the front of the house - and poor Mister Timberling with it. An unfortunate accident, said the authorities investigating. An unfortunate loss of life, and nothing more, the house roped off until someone could be along to demolish it.

But Lady Timberling, the sister, has put a call to the Guild to follow up on her brother's death. And so the call goes out, drawing those who seek such oddities for money, glory, or because they had nothing better to do. So the question becomes - head towards the charred remains of the house, head towards the constable, or head for Lady Timberling? Or some other action?

<OOC> Bitr just tosses everyone in head first. :3 You tell me where you want to start.

<OOC> Bitr says, "Or better still, pose it. If you three want to split up to do different things, also fine."

<OOC> Fiore would probably start with the house, since Fiore's knowledge skills are lacking. XD

<OOC> Bitr grins.

<OOC> Fiore says, "Woop. talking to the sister is a good place to start.....for a why."

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Well, I'm Little Miss Diplomacy with a +8. We can talk with the sister or the constable to find out information."

Zyla seems to think that heading to the sister is the good place to start, since she is the one doing the paying, and after all that is a good place for a mercenary to start out.

<OOC> Bitr nods. So all three to visit Lady Timberling?

Mysteries aren't really Nysalia's thing, but the Guild seemed to indicate that the fire and the death of Lord Timberling might have been intentional. So, bringing justice to an evil act is definately her thing. So, Nysalia is following Zyla and Fiore in walking up the path to Lady Timberling's home to begin the investigation.

The journey to Lady Timberlings is not exactly fraught with danger - but it is a bit of a trip to the east, where she lives in -much- better accomodations than her recently deceased brother. The tall manse in the Noble Quarter has a receiving room, of course, albeit not designed with Giantborn in mind. Still, the butler who brings them in makes a poignant no-comment to their current state of clothing.

"May I introduce her Ladyship Timberling."

The woman who sweeps in is built much like her name; Stiff and reedy. Far past her prime and further still from her late husband, she's old enough that she doesn't bother with makeups and rich enough to get away with that in society. Leaning on a wrought cane, she squints upwards at Zyla and Fiore, then slightly less upwards at Nysalia. She works sunken lips for a moment, before nodding.

"Well. Are you the three the guild sent to me?" She asks in a quavering voice. There's still a hint of iron in her, but she is -old-.

Zyla will defer mostly to those who are better at talking than she is, "The guild did send us yes." she says softly.

Nysalia bows to the Lady as she arrives. "Indeed, your Ladyship. I am Nysalia, and this is Zyla and Fiore." Nys gestures to each of her partners. "Our condolences on the loss of your brother. Perhaps you can tell us why you think foul play was involved, instead of the constable's assessment of a tragic accident?"


The greeting is acknowledged, at least, with a curteous nod before the elder Timberling bangs the point of her staff to the ground to punctuate her words. "Because the Constable is a fool!" She grumbles, before softening slightly. "Miziel.. my brother. He is - was - the last of the line of my family. He was only a mere babe when I had my second husband, you understand. And he had many foolish notions in that head of his, mm, mm."

She nods aside towards the seats, moving towards one herself as she goes. "I've told the constable's about his debts to the Tornwar Banker's Association, but they've ignored me. Oh, they were polite about it, but I could hear the disdain; Leave it be, old woman." A snort again, as the old woman settles into the chair.

"I don't want it to come from the constable; I want a -full- investigation. And that's what I'm paying for - every single stone over turned."

Zyla nods her head as she listens, it makes sense, but if that is what the lady wants to pay for.

Nysalia listens to Lady Timberline speak, nodding along. "I can certainly understand. What do you know about your brother's debts? How extensive were they? How did he acquire them? Were any direct threats made against your brother?"

<OOC> Fiore returns.

The Lady Timberling squints between the three again, then rocks back for a moment as she thinks. "Mm, mm. Extensive. He was a semi-successful merchant, you understand." A soft, derisive snort. "Semi, in that he hadn't been run out of Alexandria yet. 'Gobber Fashions' - he managed to convince the Tornwar Bankers guild that it'd make money. Who in their right mind would want to dress in fashions inspired by those little cretins?"

A revulsive shudder, before the Lady smacks her dried lips a few times and continues. Waving her hand vaguely. "Same questions the Constable asked. Tornwar doesn't send -goons-. They don't need too; They have the law on their side, mm, mm. The only threats he received were repossession of his property."

Fiore ponders a few moments before she looks towards Nysalia. "And then sell the stuff themselves, saying it was their idea?"

"Possibly," Nysalia says to Fiore. "But they would have had more to gain through legal channels, it sounds." Returning her focus to the Lady Timberline, Nys continues her questioning. "Would his debts have been extensive enough that the Bank could have taken posesison of his full estate? And is there anyone you can think of who held a grudge against your brother or who would profit from his death?"

<OOC> Zyla says, "pose around me a moment"

"My baby brother was a fool, but he was not a wicked man."

States the Lady, glaring briefly at Nysalia before residing back to her usual stance. Eyes half-closed in remembrance. "Mm, mm. I don't know.." She finally admits. "I've offered him help time and time again, but he refused to let me invest him. Said he wanted to be his own man." A soft snort. "I helped my mother's servants, bless her spirit, dress that little welp from before he could walk. 'His own man'. Ha!" She sighs softly, leaning on her cane and looking aside. "I suppose my family has enemies; Everyone does, when your line goes back as far as mine does. But there's always been a rule about.. such activities. Mm, mm."

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Anyone else think of something to ask her?"

<OOC> Fiore says, "not at the moment. XD"

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Move onto the scene of the crime or talk to the constable?"

<OOC> Zyla says, "think crime scene myself"

Zyla nods her head, "Thank you for your time, we will return with answers." she says and then looks at the others, "Lets go look where it happened."

"Thank you, Lady Timberline," Nysalia says with another bow. "If we have any further questions for you, we'll return. Hopefully, we can conclude this investigation without disturbing you further." As the group is escorted out of the manor, Nysalia turns to her companions and nods to Zyla. "That sounds like a good idea. Let's go."

Fiore stands quietly and pretty much follows them to the crime scene. Apparently absorbed in her own thoughts.

The Lady dismisses the three without further comment, her butler approaching with her noon drink. Likely something ambrosaic better meant for young arcane students. Either way, the trip towards 'Lord Timberling's house is a bit less of a tussle, if only because it's in the upper-mid part of Alexandria. The up and comers, the merchants - those who still have to work for a living, but can afford to pay others to do work too. It's modest compared to his sister - Two stories, and only five rooms. The front parlor is completely blackened, gutted by the fire, where the upper front story is blackened by smoke. Broken glass shimmers in the well kept front walk-way, while ropes blockade the street, running from the side of the house forward. Each house in this distract pressed closelty to its neighbors; Close enough, in fact, to form almsot a united front against the street. Access to the rear through a side-street.

It still smells of ash and the air tastes like soot.

Fiore makes a bit of a face. "Hmmm....Shall we look around then? I seriously doubt the Constable's going to let us through, but I imagine the real challenge here will be finding thr truth."

<OOC> Fiore does, yes.

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Yes."

Zyla cock her head as they approach. "The buildings are close together, if accident, wouldn't have one of the other buildings caught on fire?"

@emit %rSeeing as the whole incident was ruled an accident, there simply aren't any guards or constable posts in the area; Just the rope and a single hanging sign warning of trespassing. The fire gutted house sags slightly, as if worn out; Windows broken by heat staring emptily across the street to the neighboring houses there, as well as being an interruption in the smooth progression of houses to either side of it. All undamaged, save for a little smoke scoring here and there.

Seeing as the whole incident was ruled an accident, there simply aren't any guards or constable posts in the area; Just the rope and a single hanging sign warning of trespassing. The fire gutted house sags slightly, as if worn out; Windows broken by heat staring emptily across the street to the neighboring houses there, as well as being an interruption in the smooth progression of houses to either side of it. All undamaged, save for a little smoke scoring here and there.

"We could always try sneaking in," Nysalia suggests to Fiore. "If the constable is involved in a cover-up, we'd never get permission to search and would have to sneak in anyways." When Zyla states her observation, Nysalia nods. "That's a good point."

"That's a good point, Zyla. The houses were really close together. That would mean that something would have to be really really intensely hot, and a very contained, and controlled fire....."

<OOC> Bitr points above. No guards or posts, no one watching but nose neighbors and the occasional pedestrian. :3

<OOC> Bitr says, "So feel free to enter at will, if one doesn't mind trespassing."

Zyla nods her head and then does start to move in. She is looking around, not that she knows too much of investigation but maybe can find something.

Fiore goes over the line as well...and begins to look in another direction than Zyla.

Nysalia follows Zyla's lead and enters the burned building. In addition to searching the burned out house, She is also looking for signs of magical arson.

<OOC> Bitr nods. Perception checks, please! And knowledge/arcana if you have it. :3

Nysalia pages: Spellcraft skill as well as Detect Magic

GAME: Fiore rolls perception: (4)+12: 16

GAME: Nysalia casts Detect Magic. Caster Level: 3 DC: 15

GAME: Nysalia rolls Perception: (17)+7: 24

<OOC> Fiore says, "Shagara would have that, but not Fiore. XD"

GAME: Nysalia rolls Knowledge/Arcana: (2)+8: 10

GAME: Zyla rolls perception: (11)+12: 23

As the three remain standing on the street, nothing much happens. A cool wind blows from the northwest, swirling down as it curls over the houses to bring the faint acrid scent of smoke and ruin. The burnt house creaks. The birds chirp.

Steping over the ruins of the front porch, Zyla can see that the house would have been quite comfy; In fact, most of it is intact, save for the front parlor. The fire seemed to have climbed straight up the wall, leaving the rear of the house untouched. Rugs on the carpet, books on the shelves, all soggy from the flame battlers attempts at controlling the brief inferno.

The parlor itself is a blackened, charred mess. Nothing but ash and wood burnt almost to white. And, of course, a sad little curl of grease spots on the ground behind what used to be a table, roughly in the shape of a man.

But as Zyla and Fiore walk about, they'll both notice it roughly at the same time; The faint glint of something in the ash, beneath what used to be the front bay windows. A tiny, broken amber bead.

You paged Nysalia with 'Detect magic shows this bead -used- to be magical; It's expired, and awaiting a charge.'

Nysalia pages: Casting Identify

Zyla does notice soemthing and waves the others open whether they see it or not, "See that, what is that?" she asks, knowing its a bead but not sure if it was a spell component or something.

The bead draws Nysalia's attention, since her Detect Magic spell causes it to glow in her field of vision. She bends down and peers at it, summoning more arcane energy to help her discern what this bead might have been at one time

GAME: Nysalia casts Identify. Caster Level: 3 DC: 16

Long distance to Nysalia: Bitr nods. +10 to spellcraft check. Easy clear - it used to house a single 'Silent Image' spell.

"Huh..." Nysalia says after examining the bead. "This used to hold a single spell. Silent Image....." She stands up and looks around the building. "I wonder...."

Nysalia pages: I try to disbelieve that the building is actually burnt. The houses nearby would have suffered more damage if the flames had been real.

Long distance to Nysalia: Bitr nods. There's no change; The acrid scent of burnt wood, the creak of weakened timber, the crush of glass beneath your feet. All still real.

Fiore tilts her head. "What does Silent Image do?"

Nysalia pages: Okay. Still looking around with Detect Magic

Long distance to Nysalia: Bitr nods. Nothing else in the area 'pings' to you - that little heat cracked amber bead was the only thing magical, and it's a cheap piece of crap that's been used up already.

Zyla looks around for other things while listening.

Long distance to Zyla: Bitr grins. Staying in the same room or wandering?

Nysalia answers Fiore as she continues looking around while her Detect Magic spell still lasts. "It's an illusionary spell. Theoretically, if the caster was powerful enough, it could create the illusion of a building of this size being burnt out, which would explain why none of the neighboring buildings were damaged by the fire. But it's a sight illusion only. It can't replicate the smell of the burnt wood or any of the other things we're sensing." She sighs as there seems to be no more magic to detect. "For a moment, I thought that perhaps Lord Timberling decided to use an illusion to fake his death and escape his debts."

You paged Zyla with 'In fact, go ahead and toss me a perception roll, if you will.'

GAME: Bitr rolls 1d20: (14): 14

<OOC> Bitr says, "Reasons~"

<OOC> Bitr thinks Zyla might be hit by RL. :3 Perceptions, again?

GAME: Nysalia rolls Perception: (12)+7: 19

GAME: Fiore rolls perception: (13)+12: 25

GAME: Zyla rolls perception: (10)+12: 22

Fiore says, "Well...that would explain a few things."

Zyla nods as she starts to move towards other rooms, "Well maybe there was more than one, the image, and then other things to make the rest, or someone used an image of an out of control accidental blaze while they set controlled blazes inside to make it look right for after.

While all three are pontificating on the death of Lord Timberling, Zyla notices a motion across the street - a curtain being drawn aside, then quickly twitched closed.

Only moments later, the door to that house opens, and a young man goes speeding off down the street - while the door is closed behind him by someone else.

  • Clonk* goes the lock.

You paged Zyla with 'Also, if you're moving towards the rear, you'll notice something peculiar; Rear door of Lord Timberling's house is wide open, swinging in the smoke tinted breeze.'

Zyla turns and looks at the others, "Someone just ran off somewhere? So we are probably going to get company soon. Of some sort or other." she says and then is moving towards the back and checks the door she finds open, seeing if lock was broken or it was just left open.

You paged Zyla with 'Not broken; The lock works just fine, from the inside. It just wasn't latched when it was last used.'

Fiore takes a deep breath. "Nys. Can you take that crystal? I think we may need to get out of here." She then looks to Zyla. "Find anything else?"

After picking up the bead, Nysalia turns when Zyla points out that someone is runnning off down the road. "Better get prepared then," she says and casts a spell that causes a shimmering aura to flicker around her briefly. Then, she turns towards the building that Zyla is currently checking out. She walks over to start looking through the windows, trying to see what's inside.

GAME: Nysalia casts Mage Armor. Caster Level: 3 DC: 16

When Nysalia walks across the street to start trying to peer through the window of THAT house - the door clicks and is swung open hard once more. There, standing on the doorway, is a broad bodied khazard woman; With a rather large crossbow in her hands.

"Here now! Who do you think you are, snooping about? Looters! Ruffians! My Riff has already alerted the guard, he has, wings on his feet he's got! You're as good as caught, you are!"

<OOC> Fiore says, "She went across the street?"

<OOC> Fiore says, "yup."

<OOC> Bitr nods. Zyla moved towards the back of Timberling's house. You're in the parlor. Nys went across the street to peek.

<OOC> Fiore says, "and Nys is the one with the crossbow in her face?"

<OOC> Bitr says, "Yep!"

<OOC> Bitr says, "Although it's obvious the woman has seen you all, as she refers to plural. Looters and ruffians. :3"

Zyla calls out thinking the others are in the other room still, "Back door was left open. Someone left in a hurry." she says and then starts to move back, she is leary about looking upstairs.

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Going to make a Diplomacy check after this pose"

It's right about then that Fiore, seeing the crossbow in Nys' face, that she rushes forward and steps between the dwarf and Nys. "Go on and see what she's found." She says to Nys. "we're not looters. We were hired to see what happened. The one that hired us doesn't believe the constable. So we're here seeking the truth."

<OOC> Fiore put herself between Nys and the crossbow because she has a defense against it.

<OOC> Bitr thumbs up. :3

With the sudden imposition of Fiore in front of the crossbow, Nysalia takes a few steps back, cautiously. "As she said, ma'am, we're incestigating the circumstances of the fire. We're here on the authroization of Lord Timberline's sister, so we have permission from the owner to be looking through the building. We're sorry for causing you distress, but if you help us by answering some questions, we can quickly be on our way."

GAME: Nysalia rolls Diplomacy: (9)+8: 17

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Trying to improve her attitude towards us."

<OOC> Bitr nods. Fiore, did you want to try and assist?

<OOC> Bitr says, "Otherwise, I'll pose up reactions! :3"

<OOC> Fiore says, "Dunno if I can. hang on"

<OOC> Fiore says, "guess I can."

The hostile dwarf tilts her head slightly, a single thick brow raised. But it seems a semi-reasonable response; It's obvious she still doesn't trust the two, the point of the crossbow lifting to not-so-subtly point up at the giantborn monk. "Oh, did she now? And since when did her -ladyship- start caring about that poor man? Driven day and night he was, and never once did I see her carriage around these parts to visit! And I see it all, I do. And I see your big -friend- back there trying to make her escape through the back of poor Lord Timberling's house, I do!" She sniffs disdainfully, even as a few more heads poke out of houses to see what the ruckus is about.

Zyla, in the back, can see a narrow road running along behind all of the houses. Most have a small fence between the road and the rear entrance, with baskets for deliveries; The alleyway running from side to side, leading out to the main roads. Going around front would mean going -all- the way around to the 'proper' road.

@emit That, or going through the house itself, of course.

That, or going through the house itself, of course.

Zyla turns and heads back through to the front of the house and looks around before she realizes everyone else is across the street, "I think whoever set the fire, went out the back and was gone before anyone realized it, easy to get out and onto the main roads back there."

"You see it all, hmm? Did you see what was going on when the fire broke out?" Fiore asks reasonably of the dwarf, staying between Nys and the crossbow bearing dwarf.

"Well, since you see everythign happenign on this street," Nysalia says to the woman with a freindly smile. "You can be a really big help in determining what happened here. Can you tell us about anyone that did visit Lord Timberling? Maybe some loud arguments that you might have heard?"

The dwarven woman's crossbow wavers between Fiore and Zyla - the two being the 'largest' threat - before she finally harumfs as a few more spectators hang out their doorways to keep an eye on things. Nosey neighbors indeed. The point drops, and she hangs it on a hook beside the door before her large fists go to her large hips.

"Well, -if- you're going to ask me questions, you'll have the courtesy to use my name! Shrewn. -Mistress- Shrewn to you three!" A snort. "Same thing I told the constables when they asked! Oh, it was terrible. I was cooking dinner for young Riff - all legs and bones, that one! - when I just -happened- to glance out the window like I usually do, and there he was. Curtain open, penciling away at his ledger, lamp right beside him." She sighs dramatically. "Oh, it was terrible. I saw him clutch his chest and fall to the side! Knocked that lantern clean off the table. I saw the flames go up the curtain, and sent Riff running to get the flame battlers." Here, her eyes get excited, even though she keeps the 'dramatic' tune. Gossip! "Oh, I saw him rise up again, his coat all aflame! Pounding and pounding on the glass. I couldn't hear him over the flames, of course, and they were spreading so fast! And down he goes, poor, poor Timberling." Here, she leans forward, voice dropping to a stage whisper.

"I even saw the dreadful remains when the Constable's pulled it out. All curled and blackened like a Coyote day roast. Oh! Oh, that poor man."

A few others have gathered around to hear the story, nodding their heads once or twice in sympathy.

Zyla cocks her head to the side for a moment, "Mistress Shrewn, your knowledge is quite helpful. You saw all of this through the window yes? Did you hear any of the flames, or smell the smoke at that time?" she is thinking of the bead they found under the window.

"Hm? Of course I did! Roaring like the dickens, they were, I could hardly think. Oh, and the heat! Nearly blistered the paint off my front door." She sighs dramatically, clasping her hands as she remembers 'poor, poor Timberling'. "Oh, that poor man. Bothered day and night by that dreadful little worm from Tornwars. Not even a night's rest in the end for the dear. And he was always such a .. a pleasant man. A bit addled in the head, of course, but always -so nice- to be around, not to speak ill of the dearly departed, no."

"Mistress Shrewn," Nysalia says. "Do you happen to know where that road behind Lord Timberling's house might lead to?"

"Mm? Servant's pass? To the main roads, of course. We can't have deliveries or stocks coming through the front door; What would people -think-?"

Mistress Shrewn squints, and frowns, being drawn from her re-enactment of that dreadful night; So full of gossip! "Peculiar line of questioning. Why! Do you and your looter friends plan to run amock? I'll have you know we lock our doors every night! Triple! Quadruple!"

Zyla cocks her head to the side for a moment, "So little worm from Tornwars has been around. The back door which anyone could escape from was left open as someone fled in a rush." she shakes her head as she thinks about it for a moment.

Fiore looks over to Zyla and gestures back to the house. Zyla might know what Fiore wants her to look for, but she's not moving from between the crossbow and Nys.

The small dwarven woman looks from Fiore to Zyla to Nys again, then reaches up to place a large hand over her mouth. "Oo! Do you think he was -murdered-? Oh, how -dreadful-." Her eyes gleam with the thought of such horrific gossip to spread, before she recovers herself and clears her throat. "Now! You three had better move along before the guard comes and ponks you down to a proper size!" While it may not be logical to believe that someone is investigating AT THE SAME TIME as being a Looter, no one said Mist. Shrewn was logical.

"We have no intention of robbing anyone, Mistress Shrewn," Nysalia says in a reassuring tone. "We were just curious becasue knowing where the road leads could help us determine where the people that did this horrible thing might have come from. "One last question before we depart: do you know what this 'worm from Tornwars' wanted with Lord Timberling?"

Zyla does head back over towards the house to get another good look.

Fiore remains silent, but still....crossbow.

"Oh, same thing they always want; Money, money, money."

Snorts Mistress Shrewn. "You should have heard them the night before! Yelling and hollering. I've never even heard Lord Timberling raise his voice before! Harmph. You think that -sister- of his would deign to lend a coin or two, but oh no; Of course the poor man's on his own, fighting off the creditors and trying to run a business. Oh, oh, it just breaks my heart." She sighs dramatically. "His big black horse hobbled -right out front- where anyone could see it, too. How embarrassing!" Twinkle in the eye, and a fake sob of sympathy.

Zyla, meanwhile, sees precisely what was before; The remains of the front door lead to the hallway, with the open parlor to the right. All blackened and weakened, burning right up through the roof. PAst that are the receiving room and kitchen, with the rear door leading to the back alley. Still drifting open in the northwest wind.

<OOC> Bitr says, "Perceptions, please. :3"

GAME: Nysalia rolls Perception: (7)+7: 14

GAME: Zyla rolls perception: (3)+12: 15

<OOC> Bitr says, "RL grabbed Fiore?"

As the three speak to the gossipy neighbor, they notice - absolutely nothing's amiss. All good here!

Mistress Shrewn is nearly to the end of her patience, as well; While the three have gotten her a bit less hostile by offering sweet, juicy gossip bits, at best she's indifferent to their plight. Also, she's something cooking, by the savory smell that wafts from her open door. Fidgety and ready to get back to her life of home-bodying.

Zyla is considering heading upstairs again, but she doesn't like the state of the house.

GAME: Fiore rolls perception: (10)+12: 22

<OOC> Fiore says, "Yeah it did."

"Thank you for your help, Mistress Shrewn," Nysalia says with a polite nod of her head. She turns to walk back towards the burnt-out house. "So," she says to her companions. "What do we do next?"

You paged Fiore with 'In that case, YOU can hear the distant sound of running feet. :3 A couple of them. TOWARDS your position.'

Fiore says, "She said he was upstairs. Maybe one of us should look up there. Someone lighter than me." She then turns her head. "And we're about to have company. So we might want to hide. Or Nys can. Zyla and I might have a toughter time.""

<OOC> Bitr ahems. She said he was in the front parlor, curtains open, writing on a ledger with a lamp beside him. :3 Same parlor you guys found the bead in.

<OOC> Bitr says, "Downstairs."

<OOC> Fiore says, "OKay."

<OOC> Fiore says, "then we poof?"

<OOC> Bitr nods. If you want! Where too?

<OOC> Fiore says, "away from the guards?"

<OOC> Bitr grins.

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Hide in the burned out building?"

<OOC> Bitr says, "Up to you!"

<OOC> Bitr says, "Stealth it up or flee. :3"

<OOC> Nysalia says, "I'll follow the lead ot the others"

Eventually, all three can hear what Fiore originally heard; The sound of pounding feet and clanking metal. The guard, on the move! Flee, hide, stand your ground or some other option?

Zyla looks at the others, "Well here they come, so do we go? Or talk our way out of it?"

<OOC> Fiore is going to be blunt. an 8 foot tall, read haired woman is hard to hide. I'm hoofing it. I KNOW I can outrun them.

<OOC> Bitr grins.

Fiore says, "Come on. They wouldn't understand, plus they'll take what bit of evidence we have." She says to Zyla, then looks to Nys. You might have to take a different road, but I know I can outrun these guys.""

Zyla shrugs, "We go out the back, the servant's road leads to the main roads no, direct access to the front."

Fiore nods. "Lets go that way."

Nysalia nods to Fiore and Zyla. "Sounds good. Let's go..." And she runs into the burned building, heading towards the servant's road.

Fiore is right behind Nys.

Zyla moves as well.

Shortly after the three duck back into Timberling's house, they can hear authorative shouting as the guard arrives - and the indistinct but entirely recognizable sound of Shrewn ratting them out.

However, taking the servant's pass was a solid idea, and the three manage to avoid getting nabbed for uncomfortable questions. FOR NOW. But it does leave them at an impasse.

All they have so far is that the nosey neighbor - at least, the loudest one - claims that Lord Timberling was sitting in his parlor with a ledger and a lantern, curtains open. Grabbed his chest and fell to the side, knocking over the lantern. Fire goes up, man pounding on the glass while on fire. Then the burnt body being carried away by the constables later on in the morning.

Except for the amber bead and the opened back door, it looks like a casebook example of 'accidental death'. That, and the agent from Tornwars, and the nightly screaming match.

<OOC> Fiore would talk to the guy from Tornwars....

<OOC> Fiore says, "It's all we have at the moment, i think."

<OOC> Nysalia says, "I agree"

<OOC> Fiore thinks we might hafta get rough with him though.....shame.

<OOC> Bitr says, "Anyone got local knowledge, or can think of a way to find it? Otherwise, it's too the banking quarter and hunting."

<OOC> Bitr says, "Tornwar Bankers Guild, that is."

<OOC> Fiore has zero knowledge skills. XD

<OOC> Bitr laughs! But that's the fun part! :D

<OOC> Bitr says, "Right up there with 'giantborn lock picking'."

<OOC> Fiore nodnods.

<OOC> Nysalia says, "I need to head out for a bit. BRB..."

<OOC> Bitr nods.

<OOC> Bitr says, "Let's go ahead and just move us right along. Finding Tornwars Banker's Guild isn't -that- important to the plot. ;)"

<OOC> Bitr says, "At least, the activity of finding it."

<OOC> Bitr says, "Obviously, the bankers guild itself is important."

<OOC> Fiore says, "yus."

The three rough looters - according to Mistress Shrewn, scandous bandits who threatened her with fists and almost broke down her door when she didn't answer fast enough - head for the money; The upper trade district. Where what you buy doesn't come in boxes, but on the front of little pieces of paper. Tornwars Bankers Guild is a mid-sized banking association, fronted by an oranate wooden building with stained glass. It is almost built like a small temple; A temple to the almighty platinum piece. Clerks move too and from the building, hustling as only those who have 'careers' can. Other, elder clerks line the desks along the side of the walls, taking documents and speaking to customers there-in. And, finally, a large oak door in the back leads to the current head of this division, armed and manned by a set of 'secretaries of particular skill'. Aka, large and stupid enough not to be fooled.

<OOC> Fiore says, "Honestly, I think Miss Shrewn was full of shit. XD"

<OOC> Bitr grins.

<OOC> Bitr says, "Well, it's not a static world~ People have their own perceptions of what you do and what happens around them."

<OOC> Fiore nodnods.

<OOC> Bitr says, "Welp! The two giantborn are up, while Nys is away. :3"

And this place is where Fiore ducks into the foor. being around 8 feet tall means places feel cramped. She makes a face as she looks about and eyeing the large door. "Well....Hopefully we can talk peacefully."

Zyla shrugs, "Well we will have to see about things." she says and shrugs, "Peacefully would definitely be good."

<OOC> Nysalia says, "back"

<OOC> Bitr huzzahs!

<OOC> Bitr says, "Go ahead and pose up while I prepare a drop. :3"

<OOC> Nysalia says, "I don't know how much longer I'll be on this morning, though"

<OOC> Bitr nods. If you need to head out, let me know.

<OOC> Bitr says, "I'm sure the girls will be fine. They've got the thread. And by sure, I mean >:3 Mueheheheh"

Nysalia looks around as she joins Fiore and Zyla in entering the bank. At seeing all the clerks running around, Nysalia bites her lip. "Hmmm...tracking down the clerk dealing with Lord Timberling might be a little difficult..."

The two giantborn are left to their own devices for the moment - clerks hurrying past them, and doing their best to ignore the sudden addition of elephants. Metaphorically speaking. At last, however, one pointy eared fellow approaches the three. Clasping his hands in front of him.

"Well. Good morning! What can Tornwars do for you today?" Gesturing for them to follow him to the side - and away from, well, richer looking clientele. Best not to make assumptions -just- yet, though.

<OOC> Bitr ahems. Approaches the -three-.

Zyla lets one of the others do the talking, she isn't sure what to say not to make things worse.

Fiore moves slightly to the side, but does follow too far, she does, however, look towards the more diplomatic one....Nysalia.

<OOC> Fiore says, "does not that is."

<OOC> Bitr says, "Nys -maaaay- have been grabbed by RL. Fiore, Zyla?"

Nys unloads her most brilliant smile onto the clerk that approaches them. "Good day to you," she says plesantly. "My associates and I were wondering if we can speak with one of your reclamation agents?" She's now speaking in a quieter tone. "The one handling the Bank's accounts with Lord Timberling?"

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Nope. Back for now :)"

<OOC> Fiore brb...again

"Lord Timberling?"

The elf looks confused for a moment, before ah-ha'ing. "Yes, of course! I recall. Our condolences to the family; Here at Tornwars Banking Guild, all of our customers are like family as well, and we reach out to express our sympathies at these darker times." He tuts briefly, before holding out a palm.

"I assume you three are regeants? If you'll but hand over the Timberling seal, I'll gladly release the full file to you, along with final balance as of time of passing."

A glittering, bright white smile. Looking from Nys to Zyla, and then to Fiore.

Nysalia's smile is just as glittering, and unwavering. "I will admit that we do not have the Timberling Seal," she says without a pause. "But that is becasue we are not here as Lord Timberling's executors, but rather on behalf of Lady TImberling. We were hired to investigate the death of her brother and we have reason to believe that all is not as it would seem." A well-praticed, weary and sympathetic sigh is uttered. "I realize that it's not exactly protocol, but speaking with that particular agent could help us resolve this situation quickly and lead to a possible re-couping of the debts that Lord Timberling owed. Debts that I was told were quite substantial."

<OOC> Bitr says, "Diplomacy! Vs. 'Indifferent', give lengthy or complicated aid. :3"

<OOC> Bitr says, "Zyla, Fiore, feel free to weigh in as well~"

<OOC> Zyla says, "isn't sure what I have to add"

<OOC> Fiore says, "verbally? No. :D"

<OOC> Bitr nods.

<OOC> Fiore says, "Fiore's diplomacy: shoulder the two guards aside, use the 'giantborn lockpick' and ask what's going on."

<OOC> Bitr giggles. Worse to worse, if diplomacy fails that might have to be the way to go. Or late night visitations. OR some third option. :3 There's lots of ways to crack this mystery!

<OOC> Fiore rolls to aid

GAME: Fiore rolls diplomacy: (10)+1: 11

GAME: Nysalia rolls Diplomacy: (18)+8: 26

<OOC> Nysalia says, "I am a special snowflake :)"

<OOC> Nysalia says, "And sadly, with that roll, I need to leave :( But Bitr can keep me in and use me as support for you two"

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Thanks for running, Bitr :) See you guys later"

<OOC> Fiore says, "hehe"

The elf's smile flickers briefly, and he briefly grips and releases his pressed hands. "Ah." He begins, bluntly. Then takes a long, deep breath through his nostrils, eyes flicking to one of the elder clerks and back again. To the two larger giantborn. To the woman. And then, finally, a gesture. "This way, please." The smile is still there, but its wooden now.

He leads the three up to a particular desk in the corner, where an old gnome sits, squinting at a ledger with narrow sighted determination. The elf slips up beside the gnome, leans over and whispers. The gnome nods, and then looks at the three from his raised desk. Well, -up- at two of the three.

"Mm, num, nom. Lord Timberling, mm? Mm, mm, let's see.." He opens draws, slowly flipping through paperwork. "mm, nom, num, yes, yes, here we are. 'Gobbers Fashionique', 'Delights And Fashions From Their Tiny Heart To Yours'. Mm, nom. In receivership! Mm. Mm. Some legal matters here, ah, mm. Here we are.. Agent, ah.. Dorth Styx was assigned to press the case. Good man, high return rate."

He peers back up at the two, eyes made huge by the magnification of his glasses. "Anything further?"

<OOC> Fiore thinks we're going to need Nys' diplomacy roll after this too. XD

<OOC> Bitr laughs! I'll let her roll hold for talking to the elder clerk. :3

<OOC> Bitr says, "It was a pretty darn good roll."

<OOC> Bitr says, "So, it's up to you two to ask the smart questions. Or take what you have and boogie."

<OOC> Fiore says, "yeah."

Fiore smiles a bit. "Not quite yet, but if there's something else we need, we may come back."

Zyla cocks her head to the side, "Well is it possible to talk to Mr Styx?" she smiles a little as she looks at Fiore and then back.

<OOC> Fiore points to Zyla.

"Talk to him, hm? Hm. Hm."

The older gnome smacks his lips a few time, shaking hand stretching out to pull up a small, brass contraption from where it'd folded neatly down. It looks, for all the world, like a set of church organ tubes. He presses something on the side, clears his throat, and hoarsely shouts.

"Connect to Styx." A pause as he presses his ear to the contraption. ".. Mm, mm, no, no. -Dorth- Styx. STYX!" There's another pause.

"Mm. Mm, right, right. Peculiar." He takes his ear from the contraption, smacking his lips a few more times, then calls again. "Connect to stables. -STABLES-. .. Mm? Yes, Styx's, mm, nom, horse. Is it in? Yes. Yes... Very peculiar. Mm."

He then folds the contraption down, and crosses shaking fingers. "Agent Styx is not in his office, mm, mm. Stables says his horse is in, mm. Been in since this morning. I've, mm, mm, no doubt he's somewhere around. Can I, mm, nom, take a message?"

Zyla mms, "Really, well we really need to speak to him, was he in yesterday?"

Fiore thinks that Zyla has it covered, so she stands by and listens.

The gnome owlishly stares up at Zyla, smacking his lips slowly, before shaking hands pull open drawers once again. Thumbing through a few things as he murmurs to himself, before pulling up another thick ledger. "Mm, mm, mm... Styx, Styx. Ah. Last night, check out; Delivering receivership papers to, mm, mm, Lord Timberling. He hasn't filed his return yet, mm." The gnome takes a small pen, and marks a few things. "Mm, mm. Horse returned, failure to fill report of delivery in timely manner. Demerit." Satisfied, the gnome looks back up.

"Only long enough, nom, nom, to pick up the receivership paperwork for Lord Timberling to sign. Mm, mm. Bad business, that. Whole house was put in for tally; Steadfast residence denied, mm, mm."

<OOC> Zyla says, "Timberling was gnome too yes?"

<OOC> Bitr says, "Nope! Human."

<OOC> Bitr doesn't think he actually stated a race, bu thuman.

Zyla nods her head for a moment, "And can you tell me what Mr Styx looks like?" she asks, she has a bit of a thought.

<OOC> Bitr nods. That's what made the business venture such a .. well, bad idea. A human taking design inspiration from gobbers for fashionable clothing.

Fiore looks to Zyla quietly. "Peculiar, I think."

"Mm, mm. Mm..."

The elder gnome pulls another small drawer open, and from it a slate - with an image drawn upon it! Very detailed. He squints briefly at it, before snapping his fingers at a young clerk running by. "Mm, mm. Run this to the, om nom, optical resonance duplicator, mm? Quickly now." And back to the two giantborn. "New fangled devices, mm? Wonders of magitech, eh? Eh?"

A few moments later the clerk returns with a piece of paper and the slate. The slate is tucked away, and the paper - still warm from its run through a bit of clerical magitech - is handed up. The image is of a mid-life man, sinister chin and goatee, with a small scar down his cheek and narrow eyes. 'Dorth Styx' is printed beside it, along with a few basic position stats such as agent filing number and so forth. And demerits.

<OOC> Bitr says, "The drawn image, that is. :3"

<OOC> Fiore says, "How tall was he? And how big around?"

Zyla hmmms and nods as she gets the picture of the man, "That might help alot thank you." she looks at Fiore.

<OOC> Bitr says, "Six two standing straight, average weight. He -looks- like someone who'd make a fighter, but he's obviously an 'agent' for bankruptcy now."

<OOC> Fiore nodnods.

<OOC> Fiore has her reasons.

"Mm, mm, yes. Now, mm, nom, I've a lot more business to get too, so if you two don't mind? Mm."

The older gnome states.

Zyla nods and smiles, "Thank you for your time." she nods to Fiore and then moves to depart.

Fiore moves her way out as well.....but makes sure to stop Zyla outside of the 'bank'. Lets see if we can find the body at the morgue."

The two (three) exit the Tornwar Bankers Guild, with more answers but more questions. Now where? The agent who'd chased after Timbling's money was missing, as was the most obvious culprit of the potential murder. There was still no telling what the amber bead was for, with the silent image. And doubtless their welcome at the crime scene has been worn out.

And then Fiore gets a bit of inspiration, apparently.

Zyla smiles a little, "That is my thought that it might be Mr. Styx whose burned corpse they carried out." she says and nods to Fiore, "Not sure where the body is sent."

Fiore says, "Up to the Temple of Vardama of course. it's where all bodies are kept."

Zyla nods her head, "Alright, burnt body here we come."

<OOC> Bitr says, "Incoming pose drop~"

The Temple of Vardama in Alexandria is - by necessity - humble and strapped. After all the trouble they've had with the recently purged internal corruption and all. Still, as the two enter the hallways the temperatures drop remarkably; All the better to keep the recent deceased until they can be properly interred, of course. They are meet by a Mourner near the front.

"Welcome, welcome.. friends or relatives of the current progression? Or are you here for a different purpose?" The robed figure's voice is calm and neutral; Hard to tell if it's a woman or a man.

Zyla smiles and gives a bit of a bow, "I am Sister Zyla of the Brotherhood of War." she mentions the monkly order devoted to Kor that she follows. "We are seeking to talk to someone who might be able to talk to us about a body that was brought in, burnt, Lord Timberling, or at least the body that was found in his burned manor." she is polite as she says it.

Fiore smiles to the Mourner. "Fiore, Acolyte of the Order of Righteous Battle, I'm with her." it must be serious if Kor and Angoron followers are working together.

"Welcome, then, acolytes.." Begins the Mourner. "This morning?"

The Mourner, dipping his/her head briefly. "That would be me. Lord Timberling is still being.." The Mourner pauses, trying to find a diplomatic way of putting things. ".. prepared for his rite of passage. The Lady Timberling has refused us permission to inter him, but also refuses to claim his mortal shell. She has paid her funeral dues, however, so we will maintain him as we can until her grief has passed. How may I serve you?"

Zyla nods to Fiore and smiles figuring she knows a little more what she had in mind.

"Well, Mourner....we have a bit of a suspicion. We would like to see the body for confirmation though." Fiore looks to Zyla to get out the piece of paper. She then gestures, as if to lead on. "I'll explain on the way there. We won't disturb the body. we just need to see it."

"This is.. highly unusual."

Begins the genderless Mourner, turning its hooded head aside. There is a creeping suspicion, as the Mourner addresses the two once again. "You understand that the recently deceased are not for idle speculation or observation; We do not dishonor their memories by putting them to display for morbid curiosity. What suspicions do you raise, Acolytes..?"

Zyla nods her head and looks at Fiore, "Might have to look closely." she says but then nods, "We do not mean any disrespect though." as she does get out the piece of paper. "It is possible that the body believed to be Lord Timberling is not infact him."

"Believe me, I'd rather leave the dead alone myself, Mourner. And I know it's highly unusual, but my associate, Zyla and I think that Lord Timberling faked his death and this man......" She then gestures to the piece of paper. ".....is the one who burned to death in the fire. As I said, we'll do our best not to disturb the body, but we'd like to be sure."

The Mourner accepts the paper from Zyla in a gloved hand, looking over it quietly. Then handing it back before the hood dips again. ".. That is .. distressing. Please, this way."

The Mourner gestures, and begins walking silently into the temple proper - down a few flights of stairs, where cold mist seeps from enchanted pillars. The trip is short, leading to a nondescript room with a stone slab. Upon it is a simple internment mask, keeping the body hidden from casual viewers. With a touch, the Mourner causes the mask to split, revealing the curled, pathetic mass of charred flesh laying within.

".. Faked his death..?"

Comes the query from the Mourner, who presses a gloved hand to a hidden face. ".. Very distressing. But why..?"

Zyla nods, "He had a lot of debts, by faking his death, they cease to exist and he can live on debt free, elsewhere." she says and the takes a little, seeing if there is anything she can attribute to the picture and what they know of Mr Styx.

"Again, these are speculations, Mourner. But from what his sister said, he had many debts to pay, and it seemed one way was to fake his death. Well, we just came from the bank, and the 'enforcer' didn't return from visiting the lord's house. And there was a fire..." She then gestures to Nysalia. "And we found a gem with a 'silent image' spell upon it. To simulate a fire...."

GAME: Fiore rolls perception: (13)+12: 25

GAME: Zyla rolls perception: (9)+12: 21


The Mourner sounds confused. ".. But it is my understanding that Lady Timberling is quite well off. Surely, any debt her brother accrued..? Oh. Forgive me, that is idle speculation." S/He then moves aside to speak with Nysa, as the two examine the corpse.

It's hard to determine precisely how tall it was, if only because the corpse curled in on itself as it burned. But from rough estimates, the two guestimate it'd be about Styx's height. However, more important, there appears to be a very large -divet- in the back of the corpse's skull. Triangle shaped, and pressed in at the point. Not like a stab so much as a CLUNK.

In the flesh of the cheek, where the skin melted away and the muscle tightened, one can -just- make out an old scar along the bone line. It must've been deep when it happened years ago.

Zyla sighs a little as she looks and then sighs, "He was hit...before and then burned, the scar." she points and then points to the picture as well as she talks to Fiore.

Fiore says, "No....LORD Timberling. Not Lady. Lady Timberling is still very much alive, and is the one who hired us." She then looks to Zyla. "And it looks like we were right. it's the Enforcer, Styx.""

<OOC> Fiore has friends in the Mourners. She is -NOT- going to lie to them. Ever.

"Oh, of course. I just meant that should the Lord fall to trouble, surely his sister..? Excuse me."

The Mourner goes back to speaking with Nys, finally interrupting the two as she takes the split amber bead from Nysa. ".. I'm sorry to interrupt you, but if what you say is true.." The mourner holds out the bead. "I've seen these before. Cheap enchantments. They come around every year, when Coyote day approaches. Usually it is some young child who projects images of .. excuse me. Of the risen dead." The Mourner does not sound pleased. "We've spoken to the proprietor of these pranks, and asked him to stop selling them to the noble youth. Alas, we have no -legal- recourse. If .. a murder occurred, as you claim? Perhaps the proprietor will rethink his ways. Or, at least, if you could put in another word for us..?"

"Meanwhile, I will.. contact the constabulary and let them know there has been a terrible mistake."

Zyla nods her head, "My guess would be that the Lord Timberling hit this gentleman, killing him, then used the bead to make it look like he was burning alive when he set the man on fire and then escaped out the back.

"Hang on, Mourner." Fiore says quietly before looking towards Zyla. "Could you wait a little bit before contacting them?" She then turns towards Zyla. "And yet, it was that lady dwarf that heard the fire, smelled the smoke, and saw everything....BUT this man walking in."

"I ... yes?"

The Mourner seems confused, but presses gloved hands together. "I have forgivness to ask of Our Lady and this poor soul, for misremembering him so. Dorth Styx? May I keep the paper, so I can prepare him properly, and contact his family?"

Zyla nods her head and hands the paper over and looks at Fiore, "Think the dwarf was in on it? Or Styx went in through the back."

<OOC> Bitr says, "Need a reminder from the log? :3"

Fiore says, "Moer than likely the dwarf was in on it....perhaps the Constable too. The COnstable was rather quick to tell Lady Timberling to sod off, wasn't he?""

<OOC> Fiore says, "It's a conspiracy! XD"

<OOC> Bitr giggles. Once you start thinking like that, it's hard to stop, isn't it? :3

Zyla shrugs, "Well we have what we were hired for. She hired us to prove it wasn't an accident. It wasn't and her brother is still alive, think we can head back to her with everything?"

<OOC> Bitr says, "SO. What's the plan? Go confront Mistress Shrewn? Track down the amber bead? Shake down the Constable and his guards? :3 Something else? Or turn it in and hope for the best?"

<OOC> Fiore says, "Turn it in. It's what she hired us for. XD"

<OOC> Bitr grins. Okie dokie! Pose it on up! And I'll pose drop for the Lady Timberling depending.

Zyla smiles to the Mourner, "Thank you for your time, we will let Lady Timberling know, let the constable know." she says and smiles to Fiore, "Lets go let the Lady know."

Fiore says, "Yeah. I think we can head back to Lady Timberling with everything." She then bows to the Mourner. "I apologize Mourner. I thought there was more to this, but it's probably my imagination running away with me." She says nodding to Zyla and heading out with her."

<OOC> Fiore noms Zyla.

The journey back to Lady Timberling is a somber one; The mystery only partially concluded, but enough evidence brought to light to show that her 'baby brother' is still alive! Probably. The old woman accepts the evidence, listening, her frown growing greater and greater with each passing moment. At last, she holds up a hand to halt any further explanation.

".. You tell me that my brother was -not- killed in that fire, but has managed to murder someone else. My brother. My -Miziel-, who has never raised a hand in anger his entire life. You cannot tell me where he is, or what he has done beyond this." She begins, berating as she hobbles. "Why not come to -me-? His .. this profession was a hobby to me! A pittance! I could have cleared his debt with my monthly allotment! And you say he would kill to avoid paying?!"

She thrusts the back of her hand aside, as if throwing the motivation away. Snorting softly to herself as she looks aside, before her eyes close.

"... Fine. You've done what I -paid- you for, and nothing more. You've discovered my brother is still alive, somewhere. .. Get out. The Guild will have your payment."

The last word is spat, before the old woman is escorted out of the room by her butler..

Nysalia has connected.

It had been a long afternoon, and was rapidly approaching evening. The three intrepid Guild would-be investigators had followed the money back to Tornwars Bankers Association, and - with the sorceress' smooth words and vague promises of debts fulfilled - managed to extract a LOT of information. Such as the name of the agent who was serving Lord Timberling with his receivership notice - Dorth Styx. That Styx's horse was found in the stables, returned late last night, but the agent himself was no where to be found. The two giantborn had also gotten a basic description of Styx, from the deep but healed scar on his cheek to his height.

The three had then gone to the temple of Vardama, speaking to a Mourner in charge of the body's preparation. Between the two acolytes, they managed to convince the Mourner to let them examine the body - which was revealed, by measurements of the curled corpse and by the revelation of both a bone deep scar on the cheek and a triangular depression on the back of the skull to be the Agent Styx.

So. The man who burned in the fire was NOT Lord Timberling. The Mourner had mentioned to Nys that the amber bead was one of many sold by a shiftless proprieter in the lower trade districts; The temple had requested several times for the man to stop supplying noble youth with the beads, as they were often used to prank Temples during Coyote Day and the build-up therein. Images such as shuffling dead and so forth not uncommon with these repugnant pranksters.

The Giantborn had stopped there, reporting back to Lady Timerling that her brother was still alive. But not knowing where he was, why he did what he did, or why he'd rather kill a man than turn to his sister for help was unanswered. The Lady Timerbling had angrily dismissed all three, as they had done precisely what she paid for - and nothing more, leaving her with more questions than answers.

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Okay :)"

<OOC> Bitr says, "And that's what you weren't there for, more or less."

<OOC> Bitr says, "Fiore and Zyla got the major strokes of what happened, but not the motivation, or what happened afterwards. They reported back and took the verbal berating. They're getting paid either way."

Whether it's from being raised on a farm or years of apprenticeship to learn the arcane arts, Nysalia has a distaste for leaving a job half finished. They may have fullfilled the letter of the assignment in determining that Lord Timberline is a live and faked his own death, but the questions of where he is and why is still nagging at her. So, the first task in her mind is to find the merchant selling the illusionary beads in the noble district.

The shiftless merchant selling TO the noble youth who come from the noble district is, as mentioned by the Mourner, located within the lower trade district. With both directions and knowledge of who to look for, Nysalia finds herself outside of what can only be called one of the worst kept stores. Badly patched wood has twisted and warped from years of neglect in the Alexandria weather, leaving faint gaps here and there into the darkness. There is no door to the 'front' of the store - a cramped, airless place that stinks vaguely of chemicals and is filled with cheap, badly made artifacts of haphazardous use. Some mundane, some actually enchanted. She can see through the front door without much of an issue, even if it is brighter outside than inside. But the store itself is much bigger than just the front, with the rear most likely devoted to storage. Especially considering how little room is devoted to customer comfort.

Well, it's certainly not a shop Nysalia would frequent by choice, but the trail has lead here, so the sorceress walks in. She looks around for a bit, wishing for low-light vision as she fumbles around in the dim light. After a few moments, she calls out "Hello?" in hopes to bring the merchant out to the front.

There is a thump and rattle from the back, and the sound of shuffling. Eventually, a greasy man in a second hand robe comes around the corner; It's bad enough that his beard is half-grown, scabrous and thin. He also had to go and paint stars and half moons on his robe to make himself more mystical. He shakes his foot, clearing some entraping artifact or other before he turns a rotten toothed smile for Nysalia.

"Aaah! How good to see you, yes? You've found your way to the Preserve of Delights; A joy on Coyote Day, a wonder on all others, yes? Yes? How can I, the enchanter Walther, assist you, yes? A fizzler for your celebrations? Or a tickler for your husband?" A lazy wink. "OR your wife, yes?"

Well, Nysalia is definately wanting to spend as little time in here as possible, before she feels the need to cast Acid Arrow on herself in order to feel clean again. Still, her smile is no less pleasant than the one she's given to all the other people she's interacted with pursuing this investigation. "Good day, sir. I'm here in looking for something that I've heard is a specialty of yours. Amber beads that contain a Silent Image spell."

"Oh! Forgive me, O Lady; The enchanter Walther-" Yes, he refers to himself in the third person "-did not realize you were in the market for something so rare, so -valuable-, yes?."

A hand disappears below the counter, riffling around in a bucket of shiny beads before he pulls out one and displays it with great gusto.

"See the shimmer, my lady; O, what a delight to the senses, yes! The enhancter Walther has poured his art into each and every one, yes, a unique gift for one and all. Easy to use, yes, easy to take. Fool your friends, twist your rivals, yes? Make your guests applaud with applomb." Now he's just making words up.

"A pittance for the miracle in a bead, O lady, yes, yes. How many are you interested in?"

Nysalia pulls out one of the beads znd holds it up, turning to try and get what little light there is to shine through it. "Yes...well crafted indeed..." Well...just a little lie. "I was wondering, though...rather than a rather...generic illusion," Nys turns a questioning eye and arched eyebrow towards Walther. "Can you create an illusion to a customer's specifications to store in one of these beads?"

"Ah! A most glorious question, O Lady, yes.."

Begins the shiftless enchanter, as he dry washes long fingers. "For a pittance more - a pittance, O Lady! - the enchanter Walther can place your dreams, yes, even your fantasies, trapped within the amber confines, yes? Yes? Whispers of decadence to tease and taunt a lover, yes? Yes. The enchanter Walther only needs - inspiration."

Now that Walther's taken the bait, Nysalia figures it's time to set the hook. "Can you create the illusion of...say..." Here, Nysalia looks right at Walther and gives him the same 'I know what you've done' look that she used to give the littles of her farming community that she caught in a lie while minding them. "A illusionary scene of a man having a heart attack while writing in a ledger and knocking over a lamp, which starts a fire?"

There is a precious, long pause where that greasy, rotten toothed smile of Walther freezes. Like the moment before glass hits the floor. And then he reaches out to either side, nearly squeaking.

"The enchanter Walther is so sorry, we are closed now, goodbye." He draws the curtains closed over the counter, and one can hear the sound of things being kicked aside in his rush to the rear.

Nysalia takes off after him, throwing aside the curtains as she reaches them. "You can talk to me," she shouts out. "Or you can talk to the constable. And the Tornwar Bank about how one of your illusions was used to cover up the murder of one of their agents." Just for effect, Nysalia points and shoots off a Ray of Frost in the general direction of Walther, hopefully getting the point across that she's no longer messing around here.

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Intimidation roll?"

<OOC> Bitr grins. Sounds solid to me!

GAME: Nysalia rolls Intimidation: (2)+Intimidation: 2

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Can I spend some RPP?"

<OOC> Bitr giggles. :3 Sure.

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Okay, I'll spend 3 RPP for a re-roll there."

GAME: Nysalia rolls Intimidation: (17)+Intimidation: 17

<OOC> Bitr says, "Hm. Do you have a command to spend them, or do I need to drop a Timeout?"

<OOC> Nysalia says, "I don't know, I haven't seen a command to spend them like that."

<OOC> Bitr nods. I'll just make sure it's noted in the log.

<OOC> Nysalia nods. "I can put in a +req also to adjust them.

<OOC> Bitr says, "By the by, are you going -over- the counter, or leaning over it to threaten the shopkeeper?"

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Going over it if there's no way around it."

<OOC> Bitr nods.

Nysalia clears the counter, the ray of frost strikes the wood aside the enchanters head, causing him to stumble and crash into a sack of miscellaneous junk with a jumbled crash. Walther spins around, long fingers stretched towards the sky and a nervous giggle escaping his rotten mouth. "Yes, yes, er-, no, no! No, not.. not Walther's, not.. murder? No, yes, no, not -Walther-, O Lady, please, I did- what? No." He's breathing hard eyes shifting from side to side as he tries to think of an escape. And when Nysalia moves towards him, she can see that the rear of his shop is indeed filled with brick-a-brack used to make cheap trinkets for unsuspecting buyers. Stacks of feathers, leather strings, cheap wooden masks, a bed - and atop that bed? A ragged looking man, face gone pale and hands clutching a cloak tighter about himself. Looking with shock and dismay between Walther and the sudden, aggressive new comer.

<OOC> Nysalia says, "Does he look like Lord Timberling?"

<OOC> Bitr says, "You can definitely see a resemblance to the Lady Timberling. If she were younger and male."

As Nysalia bursts into the backroom and sees the scen before her, she comes to a halt. The sight of Walther cowering in terror really strikes her heart, maing her feel guilty for going so far. The sight of the other man also gives her pause. "Lord Timberling, I presume..." she says to the haggard man. Nys takes a deep breath to calm herself. "Alright...calm down, Walther. We're going to all talk about what happened. Then, she turns to Lord Timberling and scowls at him some. "Especially you. You need to convince me why I shouldn't go to both your sister and the magistrate, not the constable covering for you, with everything that I and my companions have figured out is going on. You already have a dead body found in your home and evidence that you used that body to fake your own death. So, tell me your side of this tale, your Lordship."

The Enchanter Walther looks between the sorceress and Lord Timberling, a rat seeing a glimpse of daylight from behind a cat. And he creeps back up the wall, hands patting along it as he moves -away- from Lord Timberling. It'd almost seem like he's circling Nysalia, save for the fact he's doing his damndest to dig through the walls of his store with his shoulder blades. "Oh! Oh, yes, yes, you two, yes? You have a lot of ta-talking to do, yes. Walther understands, he does, oh yes, I will, I will -leave you to it-." He finally finds what he's looking for; A small door built into the side of the store; Not hidden so much as badly made, so that it looks like the rest. It spills open, dumping the enchanter into the dusty street. Where he has every intention of scrambling back up and taking to his heels.

Lord Timberling, meanwhile, hasn't moved. Arms cross over his knees, and the Lord lets his face sink into the embrace of his forearms. "I didn't.." He begins, voice quavering. "I didn't mean too. It just got away from me. Don't.. blame Walther. He is a scoundrel, but he was loyal enough for the coin I paid. No one else is in this dire plot but me.."

Nysalia figures that the 'Amazing' Walther won't be showing his face around town for a long time, so Mistress Shrewn should be pleased about that. Letting the scoundrel go, ysalia focuses her attention on Lord Timberling. "I can understand that events got beyond what you intended," she says softly and reassuringly. "So, let us start at the beginning. Your business venture was failing and you were desperate. So, you went to the Tornwar Bank for a loan. I can probably guess the reason, but why didn't you go to your sister to ask for coin?"

Lord Timberling keeps his chin dipped for now, eyes hidden beneath the press of his forearm as he answers. Voice dull and saddened. "And admit myself a failure, madam? No. I am a Timberling, like my father before me; I would not hide beneath my sister's skirts any further. But, yes, my business.." A deep sigh. "It was .. not successful. Oh, I poured my soul into that venture, but it turns out others of my ilk are not so fascinated with the small folk." He finally raises his head, eyes bloodshot from - weeping? "And -Styx-. He kept pushing and pushing and screaming. Every night, for -weeks-, trying to get me to sign the requisition papers. He.. I didn't.. " Voice softer. "He said he was going to hammer the pen through my hand if I didn't take it. That he was tired of this. That my home, my shop, everything would be .. reclaimed. He turned around, and I was -so mad-, I just.. I didn't think I hit him that hard, but the fire poker.."

Nysalia nods as she listens to the tale. "I know that the relationship between you and your sister is difficult, to say the least. But she hired myself and two others to find out what happened to you, out of concern that someone had murdered you. And when we told her of what we discovered, she expressed a wish that you had come to her for help before things had gotten to that point." Kneeling down next to him, Nysalia puts a comforting hand on the man's shoulder. "You wanted to stand on your own, and that's admirable. But what's even more admirable is recognizing when you need to ask for help. That takes courage and strength for someone that prides themselves on making their own way instead of trading in on a family name. And now, it's time to stop running and take responsibility for what has happened." Nys stands back up, a warm and comforting smile for Lord Timberline. "Come with me to the magistrate and confess what has happened. Ask for mercy and it will be given. A truth spell will reveal that the death of the Tornwar agent was in self defense. If you keep running, it will be all the worse for you. I'm not a professional bounty hunter by any means, and my companions and I unraveled your flight with just an afternoon of questions. If you run now, anyone that is sent after you will be far more capable, far more violent, and far less sympathetic than I am. So come with me, and you can start to set things right."

"If only it was the money. If only! But I -killed- a man." The young Lord puts a hand to his forehead, eyes dropping in shame while Nysalia speaks. He turns his head aside, drawing his lower lip in to bite down hard on it. And then? Then, at last, he nods his head a few times. "You're right. Of course you are. I'm not half as clever as I thought I was. But what if Styx had a family? I don't.. I'm not sure I can face that." With a quiet, sobbing sigh, the man draws himself back to his feet. Shoulders slumped, face drawn from a restless night fleeing from a single action of violence in a lifetime of 'pleasantness'. Lord Timberling has been caught.

--- ---


Man in trouble with local banker's association for debts unpaid for his merchantile enterprise, 'Gobber Fashions' Debtor arrives with collection notice. Man gets upset, was promised more time. Debtor came to collect keys to house and property -now-. Man smacks debtor, knocks him out cold/dead. Panics, thinks he killed the man. Heads to magic district, buys a single use of Silent Image from a mage (DC 25). Douses area in lantern oil, sets fire, sets silent image to show him banging silently on glass and falling down. Sneaks out of town. Sister hires adventurers because she doesn't believe official report. Bankers associate is missing.

Classes listed below for reference
Man - Lord Timberling - NPC Aristocrat
Associate - Dorth Styx - Dead
Sister - Lady Timberling - NPC Aristocrat
Counstable - NPC Investigator
Priest - NPC Healer
Mage - NPC 'Street Magician'
Witnesses - NPC Commoner