Kethencio

Episode 6 - In which Mera has to write... a lot...

In the morning, our fearless adventurers set out for Court in the Ladies’ Ward, led by their tout, Dagger. After several hours of travel, the party noticed that the streets were cleaner, the buildings larger and more beautiful. Court itself was a big, square building. People waited for entrance in an orderly line. A man walking near the line asks the group if they are there for a trial. Adso asks for an explanation. The gentleman explains what trials are, and tells them that he is a freelance guvner who works as an advocate for hire for defendants. The Team is not in need of his services, and eventually they make it inside the Court.

A woman with big spectacles seated at a desk asks, “How can I help you?” Nyx begins to explain their question for the guvners. She makes it as far as their arrival in Outlands when the woman hands her a form, gestures to a side room and instructs them to talk to Camael.

In the side room are several guvners seated at desks with large piles of books. Walking among the m, talking to them is a tall, attractive, other-worldly man with golden irises. He exudes an aura of calm and serenity. This is Camael. When Nyx tries to make an inquiry, he instructs her to fill out the form that she received from the woman at the desk. He shows her to a desk and gives her a pen. Nyx fills out the form, very neatly, answering a great many personal questions about her origin and the nature of her inquiry.

When she returns the form to Camael, he makes it clear that they would have to join the guvners (the faction of the Fraternity of Order with a symbol of dagger) in order to get access to the books that might contain the knowledge they are seeking. But that knowledge would never just be handed over, the would have to earn it. No one in the party is comfortable joining a faction without some idea of their rules. Dagger points out that some factions, “don’t take kindly,” to people saying they agree with the philosophy and then later changing their minds. So, Nyx politely declines Camael’s offer and the party turns to go.

Gabriel, however, at this moment discovers a heretofore deeply hidden talent as a chick magnet. A woman, in fact, walks right into him, scattering her papers everywhere. And what a woman she is, with light blue skin, long white hair, her own personal breeze, and bright blue eyes that shift color like a sky with scattered clouds. Her name is Winnigale She apologize profusely and proceeds, with eyes only for Gabriel, to wax rhapsodic about her study of the Mortai of the Beastlands. Gabriel nods with interest (which he will later protest was purely of an academic nature) and then asks her if she knows of anyone outside the guvners who is doing such an analysis of portals? She advises him that there might be one in Lantern Row.

Once Gabriel Krell can be pried away from this fascinating scholar, the team leaves the court. Adso wants to find the temple of Rau. But given that he can’t even identify the pantheon that Rao is in, and given that Dagger doesn’t recognize the symbol emblazoned on Adso‘s hand, the party doesn’t even know where to begin looking, and so the poor priest must wait a bit longer to commune with his new (or possibly re-incarnated old) god.

The group proceeds to Lantern Row where they find the Key In Lock – the business Winnigale referred them to. A brusque, ashen skinned, hairless male humanoid with pointed ears found behind the stacks of books and parchment, informs them that it would cost 500 jink and take 3 weeks for a full search.

Disheartened, the team headed back to the bazaar. Their first stop is at a second hand clothing store to pick up serviceable work clothes. To get Nyx to agree to buying some work clothes, Mera makes a deal with the devil, agreeing that Nyx can buy her a dress and that she’ll actually wear it (when occasion dictates, anyway). By the end of their shopping trip, Dagger tells the group that she has a line on a kip for them and, possibly, jobs as well. She scampers off to work out the details and the party heads back for their last night at the inn.

Mera and Nyx, with Coverdale as bodyguard, manage to find all the necessities for laundry, and head to a local well to clean their clothes. Afterward they head to the gymnasium where Mera wrestles and they all bathe.

Meanwhile, back at the Inn, Gabriel Krell and Adso set about some gentle questioning of the rescued dwarf, Avard. They ask him why he doesn’t like Sigil. His repetitive, and clearly evasive answer, is simply, “It’s a dirty city.” While they never ferret out Avard’s true aversion to the city, they do find out the handy fact that the portal to Avard’s forge does go both ways, so they can head back to his demon ravaged town any time they like.

The next day, Avard has vanished, leaving behind a thank you note and 3 jink (which may possibly have been given to him secretly by Adso who is determined to use his money to good purpose, though no one seems to agree with his ideas about what that good purpose might be).

After breakfast, Dagger leads them to Grandmother Poh’s boardinghouse next door to the tannery. Grandmother Poh is a wizened old dwarf with silver hair in a clean bun, tinted glasses, and a cane. The rooms are small and clean, and though there are only straw pallets and not beds, they’re still more comfortable than the hard ground of the Outlands. At 2 stingers per room per week, and only a single rule of, “not bringing trouble home,” everyone is pleased.

After settling into their new lodgings, the team sets off to meet their prospective employer, Dmetris. Outside the tavern, their designated meeting place, they see a large terrifying creature, a large hairy man with the head of a bull. Dagger, of course, is unphazed. She simply tells them that he’s a minotaur, and the bouncer (which, of course, our backwater green primes need explained).

After they are seated, a woman asks them if they wanted any bub. Mera is emphatic that she does not want bub. She asks what drinks they have that are not bub and ends up ordering käf. Soon a tall, handsome man with dark hair pulled back in a pony tail, jetblack leather armor, sword and steal toed boots pulls up a chair. He introduces himself as Dmetris and begins to ask them pointed questions about their experience. He seems especially intrigued by Gabriel’s experience with herbal lore.

Since they can read and write, he can get them jobs as scribes. He also knows an alchemist who might take Gabriel as an apprentice. Mera asks if he might have anything more physical. Dmetris promises to keep his ear out. The scribe jobs pay 5 stingers per day. The Apprenticeship starts a 3 stingers per day, but could improve up to 1 jink per day. The party all agrees to the new employment and he gives them directions on where to go the following day.

The alchemist, Xebotas, is a severe looking man with dark eyebrows, a patch beard, and chunks of hair missing. He is brusque, but Gabriel does pretty well, only getting called idiot a handful of times.

The boss of the scribes is name Vartien, an old woman, totally bald, with a very intense stare. As our heroes heroically copy some anti-religious texts for the Athar, who believe that the Powers (gods) are all frauds and not true divinity, Veratien compliments Nyx and Adso on their lovely penmenship. Mera and Coverdale, not so much.

Their first day was uneventful. Their second day, less so, for into the scribe shop walks a pretty young woman who recognizes Nyx and Mera, kneeling to them and calling them, “your Highnesses!” She is Brittany, an old friend of Gabriel’s from Kethencio. Her boss enters to see what is keeping her. He is a horrible, skeletal monkey-scorpion with glowing eyes. Brittany calls him “Kekkan.” The party makes plans to meet Brittany later at the Frolicking Otter tavern.

Once they are gathered there, Gabriel asks Brittany why she left. She explains that Kethencio was, “…too stifling. I could see my life and knew my life would be what everyone else said and not what I wanted.” Mera nodded in heartfelt agreement. Adso begins a discussion with Brittany about the Athar. Mera quickly jumps in, hoping to keep Adso from praising the dead god and inviting the wrath of the Lady of Pain. When he will not be still and begins to speak of his fervor, Mera panics, and leaps over the table to quiet him. Sadly, her sword catches the edge of the table and falls short of her goal. Coverdale, clearly sharing Mera’s concern, walks calmly around the table and conks Adso over the head with the butt of his sword.

Though it attracts the attention of the rest of the bar, this quiets Adso enough that Nyx can step diplomatically into the fray. The discussion moves on and it becomes clear the Brittany has no interest in Adso‘s story of Aoskar’s supposed reincarnation. She is a true Athar now and has lost all faith in the powers.

As the evening winds down, Coverdale asks Brittany if there are any portals left in the shattered temple. Brittany is evasive, and they can get to clear answers from her. She does tell answer, when asked about astral streakers, that they might find a few in aviaries throughout the city.

The next day, everything takes a turn for the worse. When Gabriel arrives at work he encounters big armored guards outside the Alchemist’s shop. Xebotas is inside talking with a blond man in red platemail armor. He gestures to Gabriel as his new apprentice. The guards let him in and the strikingly beautiful blond man turns and introduces himself as Measure Peacible. He proceeds to question Gabriel about a theft from the Alchemist’s shop. Gabriel answers every question, telling the Measure of his whereabouts the following evening and naming all of his companions (including Brittany). Peacible leaves a guard outside the shop and heads to the scribe’s shop.

Once there, he questions the rest of the party along the same lines as he did Gabriel. With Aethyr chirping in her ear, Nyx notices that Peacible’s voice projects a suggestive empathic feeling that all her friends are very willing to help him because of it. Still, Peacible seems reasonable and they answer all his questions. He explains that he is a member of the Harmonium and as such he strives to create Harmony and Peace in the city.

Back at the Alchemist’s shop, a female half-elf enters. After making small talk with Xebotas she embarks on her real mission in the shop. She explains that Justice in Sigil is too slow and that she is here to expedite the process. She begins to imply that Gabriel is clearly guilty of the theft and that by continuing to employ him Xebotas is exposing himself as an enemy to Justice.

Gabriel protests his innocence, but the woman, who titles herself a “Handmaiden of Justice,” and a “Mercy Killer,” continues to intimidate poor Xebotas. “You clueless primes arrive in our fair city in total ignorance of the law and leech onto our citizens. I know Measure Pecible is helping find the perpetrator but note that in Sigil as in the Planes, we Mercy Killers ensure justice is met. We eke out justice on the guilty. you don’t want to associate with such a person or we might shine light on the dark places you’d rather keep hidden.” Shortly after she leaves, a clearly shaken Xebotas fires Gabriel who, with nowhere else to go, heads to the scribe’s shop.

His description of events spooks Veratien, who, for the first time, ushers everyone out for lunch, locks the door and lowers the blinds. With a growing awareness of the trouble they are likely in, the party decides to split up. Coverdale decides to remain, hidden, to watch the scribe shop. Gabriel and Mera will set out for the tavern where the met Dmetris, hoping to find word of him. Nyx and Adso will go look for the guard back at the Alchemist’s shop to try to find Peacible.

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Lorekin

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