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Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone)

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101 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:12 am

"Your orders are to get Gwyn back safe, it doesn't need to be back to the fey tower, and I think if we get her to agree to a neutral place, like the temple, then that could be okay, even by your orders?" said Thimb, cocking her head to the side, "intent of a rule instead of the letter of the law and all that," she waved a hand absently as she said this. In the end Glen would do what he felt he had to, but she worried about anyone who just followed orders like that. It seemed like a good way to get into a lot of trouble.

"There's still the alefest festivities- those might be useful to get close to the church or Trey without arousing suspicion. And we could still try to abduct Trey at the masquerade sexing part of it if we get real desperate. That should, uh, maybe be a plan b though?" If not returning Gwyn directly to her Mother was against Glen's orders surely abduction would rub him the wrong way too? She was surprisingly okay with the idea of abducting him. "And someone should check with Luther that Rik is Father if we can, just to be sure. I don't think we should rule out Mother being a person yet, even if it's just something we keep on the back burner."
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102 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:23 am

Glen does not turn to look at Thimb. In truth, he is deeply uncomfortable with this line of conversation and each protestation makes him feel worse. He was starting to trust and feel welcome in this group, and he knows that he is pulling himself further away from being trusted and accepted with his words, and it hurts like hell. Elen, sensing his turmoil, rubs against his leg gently, purring.

"My orders are to bring Gwynnestri back to Laerdya, Thimb. My orders are the orders Laerdya gave us: bring her home. And I don't intend to hand wave that away with a question of intent of the order versus the actual order."

Glen adds the Alefest activities to the board. "I agree that the kidnapping should be a plan b, as it is unbelievably dangerous. But if we decide to do it, so be it." Glen has no problem with the kidnapping. He's been authorized to bend the law if necessary, but not to break his orders.

"And I agree with Ka'Ri as well. The deal angle doesn't seem nearly ripe enough for us to pursue it at the present moment."
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103 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:34 am

Rik places a comforting hand on Glen's shoulder. "Laerdya is vital to the health and well-being of the city," he says in a firm voice, "and Gwynnestri will not be harmed by the simple act of returning her to her home while the city guard investigates the crime which has undeniably occurred--even if this was not a kidnapping, it is unlawful extortion and Gwynnestri is a material witness. If she wishes to leave her home again, I agree we cannot nor should not stop her. By Yondalla, I will help her leave, if that is what she truly wishes. But I will not keep a terrified mother in mourning merely because she was protective of a sick child, nor will I turn my eyes away from the many crimes committed by the Redfangs."

He nods then at Glen. "Everyone else must do as their conscience guides them, but I know my own duty to follow."
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104 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:48 am

Glen closes his eyes, so grateful for Rik's strong and supportive hand. He opens them again and smiles at the usually gruff paladin. "Yes. I agree. I would help her leave if she wishes as well, once the mission is complete."

He says quietly enough that only Rik can hear, "Thank you, Father."
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105 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:53 am

Ka'Ri's face grows sour as she glances at Glen and Rik, but she doesn't say anything.

This must have been what Qiao meant, she thinks bitterly to herself, expected to kidnap a young girl from her first taste of freedom due to the whims of a mother who sees her as nothing but a shiny trophy to demonstrate to the gods that she was a mother. Hopefully there was another way.

She desperately needed the coin and the cure, but this was a cost that sit poorly with her for that.

Nonetheless, she forces her face into a forced grin to disguise her momentary disgust and hoped like hell that she really was out at sea in the caves. There'd be more time to listen if that were the case or finesse if it seemed she was being bullrushed against her chosen will.

But she still feels it deep in her belly. The tension. She knew this would become a potential fracture point of the party. Law versus doing right by the less powerful. She had been hoping to avoid it, especially for her own sake. Oh well, at least she could hopefully distract everyone from it for now.

"On the same merit as not rushing into a deal without all our coin at hand, perhaps arguing over the fate of a woman who is not here to speak for herself can wait until things are more known. I don't think any of us has prided themselves on being the sort of people who decides for young women what their fate should be before even meeting them."

She can't avoid the little daggerfall in her voice on that last bit, but tries to cover it up quickly.

"One other thing that would be good to have is the list of what random rare materials Laerdya has reported being stolen before she could access them. That way we can check with the merchants and see who was most trusted  among the Redfangs to run errands of that sort. Additionally, between the aboleth and her materials being leaked, it might be worth entertaining the probability that someone high up in proper manners tower is deliberately leaking information to the Redfangs or exploiting the situation to their own ends. Knowing who that is could help us not fall into Laerdya's mistakes and giving up our game too soon."

She has said a lot and is ready to draw quiet, but another thought hits her.

"Um, also, we're planning to bring Thorn to a nobfest tonight. I know Veshti and Sunrise are there, but I still can't trust Luther farther than I can throw him and it might be nice to have some more muscle in case the Redfangs or Xilo try an old fashioned kidnapping in the name of 'family values'."
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106 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:16 pm

Glen remains transfixed on the board and his voice is cool and calm. His outer stillness belies the deep hurt he feels at Ka'Ri's words and, worse, her tone, which those paying close enough attention will notice from the way he shifts his weight from foot to foot and the way he fidgets slightly. "On the other hand, having a conversation about it in the middle of a dangerous rescue scenario for the sake of moving on from the topic now seems terribly short-sighted. We may not have time to sit down and have a chat about it if we're, say, fighting off Redfangs or if she's been drugged. And," he says, sighing slightly, "did Rik and I not say we would support and even help her if she wished to leave once she's brought home safely?"

The rest of Ka'Ri's words then hit him like a body blow. Glen's eyes then widen at the idea of bringing Thorn back to the home of a father who beat him and married him off into an abusive, cruel family. "Wait, you're taking Thorn directly back to his father? Do you have any idea what that bastard put him through?" He looks to Sunrise. "Does Luther know about this? Does Quivyll? Do you, Rik?" He asks, turning to the paladin standing beside him. "Granted, if Luther does know and is providing security, it will be safe. But it's a hefty emotional toll to ask of a young man who was just yesterday starving and alone with a dismembered guard in a hovel in the slums."
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107 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:23 pm

Rik harrumps slightly. "Tonight Thorn is visiting his father," he explains, looking no less pleased by the idea than Glen. "Under supervision and Luther's personal guard. It is what Thorn wants, he says." He sighs and shakes his head. "Politics."
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108 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:27 pm

Glen nods, the tension in his shoulders relaxing slightly. "If it's what he wants, and Luther and his personal guard will be there, we have no need to worry about security." He looks at Rik and says quietly, only to him, "For what it's worth, I'll try to keep an eye out as well when I can, since I'm apparently going to this thing too."
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109 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:31 pm

"What Rik said. Honestly, it sits with me as poorly as it does you, but that's why I think he could use some bodyguards we can trust to prioritize his safety above all else, especially as you may be helping me nail his bastard of a father to the wall," she responds with sympathy to Glen. Despite her frustration with his overly lawful outlook in this instance, she well understands the pull between one's job and the coin it brings and one's own morality. Especially with this particular mission.

She offers a hand out to Glen in sympathy and apology. "I don't mean my words to wound, but there is a severe difference of backgrounds among us all. Deciding things with the input of Gwynn and her wishes will be more productive than letting those backgrounds spill over into mutiny and mistrust before we've even found her. I hope you can see that or at least see our perspectives."
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110 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:56 pm

Glen's reaction is cold. "Again, I do not think it wise to assume we'll be able to sit down and have a merry chat with the girl when we find her. And of course I see your perspective. If she's unhappy, it kills me to have to bring her home - which is why I said I'd help her leave if she doesn't want to stay. But I hope you see my perspective as well - thus far, everyone but Rik seems to be regarding my position as unreasonable or even inherently wrong on its face.

"I made a promise. I will not break it. You've made promises, haven't you?" He picks up his coffee and takes a sip, although anyone paying close enough attention will see his hands shake just a little, unsettled.
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111 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:06 pm

Ka'Ri grows quiet, her face momentarily impassive. "Will you step with me for a second outside?" Her voice is slightly shaking. "Please?"
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112 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:32 pm

Glen hears the shake in her voice and can't help but be moved. "Sure, Ka." He pats her on the shoulder and steps back out the way they came in, Elen in tow, assuming she's behind him.
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113 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:42 pm

Ka'Ri follows him out and takes a seat out front near the steps and starts petting Elen. "I want to apologize," she starts. "For causing hurt. It wasn't my intent, but that doesn't change its impact."

She takes a deep breath continuing to scritch Elen beneath the chin. "You speak of promises, you ask me if I understand... and well, I probably haven't talked much about it, because it's hard to sometimes, but yes, yes I know."

She grows quiet for a longer second then continues. "My crew is dying of the plague. They... they took me in when I had nothing. Were-are my real family. I promised them... everything. Every coin, every scrap of food, even returning to a dark place and body I never wanted to see again. Because that is how strong my promise to them is."

"So I understand what you're dealing with. I do."
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114 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:56 pm

Glen sits down beside her, scratching behind Elen's ears while she scratches his chin. The panther cub purrs a loud rumbly sound that is almost a growl, luxuriating in the multitude of scritches.

"It's okay. I'm sorry about your crew, and about what you've had to do to help them. I hope we can help Laerdya find a cure." He looks up from the panther, over at her. "I hope you can understand what I'm saying, too. Look, no one should be put on a pedestal in a cage against their will. You know I don't think that they should be, right? Ka, I grew up in the forest. 'Walls' are almost an unfamiliar concept to me," he says with a small laugh.

"I never fit in back at my tribe. My sister and her wife are so happy there, but I don't belong there. Being in the military gave me purpose, and when I was brought back, Dolores," Ka'Ri may notice how exceedingly rare it is for him to call Dolores by her first name, "believed in me. She gave me a job and a family of my own in the Eighth Division. She is counting on me. I failed once," he swallows hard, "and I got killed for it. I don't really talk about this, but she helped me feel like I'm not as worthless as it feels like I am sometimes when I'm alone. I can't let her down. I won't." Glen has been pretty put together since his emotions got the best of him in Gwyn's bedroom, and he's holding it together okay, but she can tell this is really raw for him.
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115 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:12 pm

Ka'Ri offers a side hug with her other hand.

"It's much the same for me and I do see that, that tension. My crew are only here because I got sloppy on the ropes and got myself killed. They wouldn't... they wouldn't be here if it weren't for me. It's... it's entirely my fault. If I fail this mission they don't have shelter. If I don't please Laerdya, they might go to that eternal undead night... because of me."

She dips her face to her sleeve to wipe her tear. "So I know that feeling of that being so important it feels like everything. Everything that could ever matter even if it tears you apart. And it does tear me apart."

"Because... because... I didn't have parents who smothered me with love. I didn't have parents who loved me at all. But I did have parents who refused to see who I was and who had their own plans for me and who refused to listen to anything I had to say. I ended on the streets, on the seas with nothing, because to them I was a bird to be kept in a cage and shown off to prove their values. So... I can see myself in Gwynn, in that desperation. Because when I first fled as a mere 50 year old to the streets, I feared every day a conversation between my father and some hired crew for me to be brought back whether I wanted to be or not."

"I... I know you and Rik don't mean to keep her there, that you would help her escape if needed, but you weren't there yesterday morning in front of a mother who refused to acknowledge who her daughter was at all. If we bring her back, if we don't play this right, we could be delivering her from one person who may hurt her to another and we might not get the chance to rescue her from that."

"And that's what I meant by different backgrounds. We can't let her become a pawn of all the people who want to use and exploit her. We've got to leave some room somewhere for her to be heard and genuinely listened to. Even if it is inconvenient or she may fight us with every ounce of strength she has... I..."

Ka'Ri's voice grows more distant. "I know I sure as hell would have."
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116 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:47 pm

Glen loops his non-scritching hand over Ka'Ri's head and puts it around her shoulders, over her side-hugging arm. He returns her hug and leaves his arm there, the warmth and physical contact making him feel even more at ease with being open and honest with her.

"I hear you, Ka. I really, really do. And I'm so sorry about your parents. For what it's worth, they were idiots not to love you." He pulls a handkerchief out of his pocket with his scritching hand, which causes Elen to start nuzzling on both of their knees in protest, and hands it to her if she wants it.

He takes a deep breath. "And I hope you'll hear me out on this. I know you don't have the highest opinion of Luther, and I know you have your reasons, but he's . . . I've talked with him, I've observed him, I've seen him in battle and in quiet moments when he isn't putting on a show. And I'm pretty good at reading people. He really, truly cares for Gwyn and has her best interests at heart. He's on her side. I think he understands that keeping her cooped up isn't really an option, and he would be a great advocate for her because he knows Laerdya and Gwyn both so well. Rik and I might be able to help, and we will, but we're still practically strangers to her. Luther could be a real ally in finding a good ending to this entire thing."

Glen's eyes are distant as he remembers Luther in battle the previous day. "If Luther thought she was in the tiniest bit of danger - of being abused, of being hurt, of being unhappy - well, I've seen what it looks like when he thinks people he cares about are in danger; I saw it myself in person yesterday. He will go in with full force."

"I... know you might see this as a betrayal, me telling you to try and trust him. And I'm not saying you must - I respect your own perspectives and conclusions. But I wouldn't tell you all of this if I didn't really, really believe it. I feel like I can be totally honest and open with you - you have been so good to me these last couple days, even though I've been a real mess a few times. So, the least I can do is be totally honest with you, even if I'm worried you might hate me for it. Kidding. Kind of?" He smiles, giving her another little squeeze with the arm he has draped around her.
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117 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:58 pm

"I don't hate you. I really don't. Even if we disagree," Ka'Ri said with a soft smile, coming back to life slightly.

"And I'll take your word on Luther even if I still dislike him and I appreciate your honesty. It's not a skill I have much practice in, but I still want to share that with you. Still though... deciding a girl's fate without her, especially when it's two men doing it... you can see how that sits, right?"
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118 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:03 pm

Glen nods. "Yeah. I get it. I just - it was hard. I tried to be honest and put myself out there, and everybody at once had to tell me I was wrong and how my orders should work and what I should be doing. So I guess I couldn't see what you're talking about in the moment. I can now, and I understand. I hope us us talking has shown you that I really do want the best for her, just like it's shown me that we understand each other better than I thought."
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119 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:10 pm

"It has," Ka'Ri says scratching Elen some more in silence. "All right, let's rejoin them before they decide to invade the Darkwoods without us."
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120 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:13 pm

"Yeah, they'll have Hamish dressing up like an Ettin or something in no time." He grins, popping to his feet with ease. He offers a hand to help her up if she wants it. "And Ka, you can talk to me about this stuff any time. Just... Yeah. I'm glad you asked today. And you can again, whenever you want."
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121 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:10 pm

Ka'Ri and Glen walk back in and take their initial seats. Ka'Ri goes back to scritching Hamish quietly while she waits.
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122 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:47 pm

When everyone is back inside, Sunrise takes a deep breath, sets Bourbon aside (ignoring a sleepy mrr of protest), and stands up.

"Okay," she says slowly. "Glen's right; we do have to discuss this. This isn't a fight we want to have in the middle of a rescue or a fight. So. Let's look at some facts." She looks around the room. "If Gwyn is under duress, we rescue her. Period. Physical, chemical, or magical. If they have her drugged or magicked up, she can't consent to stay there. So if that's the case we retrieve her at any cost, regardless of what she says. Okay?" She looks around again.

"However. If that's not the case? Gwyn is of age and in her right mind; she owes no debts and is accused of no crimes. If she refuses to come with us, of her own free will, we have no moral or legal standing to force her." She gives Glen a sympathetic look. "Yes, we all agreed to this, and some of us have orders. Believe me, I understand the importance of keeping your word. But I think it's worth remembering that those promises were made, and those orders given... possibly with incomplete information? We went into this to save a kidnapped girl; I don't think any of us signed up to become kidnappers." She sighs. "And yes, I know Laerdya is suffering, and I know how important she is. But she doesn't own her daughter. We have no right to take Gwyn back by force if she doesn't want to go."

She raises a hand. "That being said. If she is there of her own free will? That implies that she and Korogur really are together. We know he and his family don't always get along. He may well not be involved in the blackmail/kidnap Laerdya plot. And Gwyn isn't stupid or cruel. If we can approach her, possibly approach both of them, as friends who want to help them find the best outcome rather than agents of her mother and the city hell-bent on dragging her away, I really do believe we can convince her to at least meet with her mother. Especially if we have a safe place, like the Sehanine temple, to do so. If nothing else, it's in their best interest to not have Laerdya continuing to hire people to go after them. I think it's possible to resolve this without violating anyone's ethics, whether Gwyn is a prisoner or not."

She takes another deep breath. "With that in mind... We have the concert tonight, and I think we can afford to take a day to interrogate the bandit and look for the messenger. They're a separate gang, Sithani," she adds. "Not related to the Redfangs. But after that? I think we need to start taking a direct approach. Starting the day after tomorrow, I propose we get a boat and start searching the water and the caves. Come back at night, continue investigating on land, sure, but we have enough information to at least start looking."
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123 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:18 pm

Ellowyn breathes a sign of relief as they'd be struggling to word how they were feeling and sunrises approach had helped.



"Thank you Sunrise that's my point exactly in going to speak with reverence to offer an alternative to taking gwyn back to the tower and kidnapping someone against their will.

I feel like we need options a because to be completely honest I don't trust Laerdya to see that Gwyn is her own person or you Rik if I'm honest as your so close to Laerdya and the situation or at least the way that you behave whenever anyone tries to suggest Gwyn might not want to be with Laerdya, would suggest.

As one of the only people in this group to have been in gwyns position of being treat like a prisoner for the sake of your ill health because abled folk have decided whats good for you I am very worried that what you deem as not able to consent and my version are very different things. If I had my way we'd take her somewhere we could talk to her before just taking her back to the tower because as thimb said Laerdya is a powerful caster what if gwyns afraid Laerdya won't let her leave? I know you and glen say you'll help but isn't it easier to get her out of the way of Laerdya somewhere where Laerdya doesn't have homefield advantage? Just in the off chance that Gwyn is afraid. I'm not saying at all that Laerdya is a bad person I just want plans in place just in case.

While I'm at the temple Complex I'll be going to pray at dalla's temple as I still think it's worth talking to Abbie or at least someone other than you Rik. You've said yourself you don't know who attended Gwyn most when she was there so we need to find out who because they will lead us to more info about Gwyn and before you start Rik I am very well aware of Abbie's duties as I've had to try and arrange appointments with her also because I'm a cleric I know how busy we get. I will literally just be asking her if she knows who served Gwyn or if she can tell me someone who would know."

They finish firmly silently daring Rik be dismissive or angry again.
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124 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:25 pm

Glen takes a breath and a weary look reappears on his face. "Fine. I think you're both glossing over that this is still a city of laws, whether we like them or not, and that Korogur is wanted for, at very least, criminal extortion and potentially kidnapping, and that Gwyn is a key witness - and if he didn't do these things, then she could exonerate him! - but I can't keep going around about this. You've heard my piece and still you push me to break my orders. I'll talk to Vice-Captain Imokina when I'm interrogating the bandit. Hopefully she doesn't see fit to remove me from the mission or court martial me for insubordination."
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125 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:35 pm

"glen I didn't ask you to break your orders I'm saying is there not a way to talk to vice Captain imokina about how just one of many possibilities right now is that Gwyn has run away from leardya and that she may not want to go back to the tower. Is there not a third option like take Gwyn to the barracks or somewhere not intimately tied up with Laerdya

Because glen think about it your obviously not happy thorn is having interactions with his family. And it's the same thing here. We're worried for Gwyn and worried about just handing her over to a potentially abusive situation I hope you understand." They finish softly as the liked glen but wished he would stop for a moment and listen.

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