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Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone)

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126 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:49 pm

"Trying to find a way to respect Gwyn's autonomy while also following your orders isn't the same as pushing you to disobey, and you know it," Sunrise says gently. "This is a city of laws, and kidnapping is still illegal, even if the person may be a witness to a crime. But yes, I was going to suggest talking to your captain. We've learned a lot since you got your orders; it would be a good idea to fill her in. You speak so highly of her, she might have some insight on how best to handle this if it turns out that we're dealing with a runaway situation rather than a kidnapping."

Changing gears, she adds, "Speaking of, when were you planning to interrogate the bandit? Because I'd like to have you with me to look for the messenger, but I don't want to take you away from that."
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127 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:58 pm

Glen, obviously tired, frustrated, and low on patience, grits his teeth. When he speaks, his voice is measured but strained. "My orders are to bring her back to Laerdya. I've said this multiple times. As it stands, that is the only acceptable course of action that doesn't disobey my orders. I'll see if I can change that. I don't like it, but obviously folks aren't hearing Rik and me when we say we want her to be free to make her own choices while still doing right by Laerdya." He sighs. "I wish you all would stop telling me what my orders mean or don't mean, and what I do and don't know. Accept what I've told you, or don't."

Glen gets up and looks at the list of tasks on the board. His voice is tired, but otherwise devoid of emotion. "I'll go see the vice-captain and interrogate the bandit this afternoon, before the concert tonight. I should have time."
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128 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:15 pm

Sunrise just nods. "Let us know how it goes? I think if you're at Veshti's maybe an hour before sundown we should have plenty of time."
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129 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:45 pm

Rik, for his part, seems more amused than angry. "I have yet to see or hear any evidence that Laerdya is abusive. I have yet to see or hear any evidence that she kept her daughter prisoner. You have deciphered this diary," he says, turning to Thimb and Sithani. "Does she say the code is because she feared her mother? No, she is annoyed at other students invading her privacy. Does she speak about Laerdya with fear, hatred, or sorrow? Not that I have read. Paladins deal in evidence, not accusations."

He nods to Sunrise, acknowledging her words. "I will come with you to search for the girl and lend you my sword-arm in the hunt. When we find her, we shall see what happens."
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130 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:39 pm

Glen nods at Sunrise's question and sits back down, listening to what the others have to say. He fidgets, and those with insight can tell he probably wants to get up and walk out, but their task is too important and he does not want to miss anything.

Elen, easily sensing his ranger's turmoil, leaps up onto the chair and into his lap, where he lies down, purring his rumbly purr. Glen shifts around to try and get comfortable under the big kitten, but is grateful the warmth and comfort he brings.
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131 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:04 pm

CW: physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, parental mistreatment, sexual assault, suicidal ideation

Ka'Ri sends an apologetic grimace Glen's way, trying to signal with her eyes that she understands what it must feel like to go to the person you failed and ask for a change in the thing you were hoping to redeem yourself with. "If you need a companion to go with you, as moral support..." she offers quietly to Glen in a whisper only he and the critters can hear.

Then she turns to Rik, steeling herself, preparing her ill-chosen words so they do not hurt another person trying to help, but also do not allow another who worked to build their courage be torn down. She takes a deep breath and speaks.

"Rik," she begins trying to exude patience and understanding, "your family has been through grave hardship. Your partner has been through intense mistreatment at the hands of his partner. The type of abuse that leaves bruises and scars. I understand that. I also understand that you and Laerdya are close and you consider her like kin."

"However," she broaches carefully, "not all abuse leaves scars and not all mistreatments dwell so firmly in that land of little doubt. There are interactions that even those suffering under it would hesitate to call abusive. Situations that are toxic, unhappy, devoid of love, or which have love misapplied in a way that harms more than it upholds, that could be happy perhaps if the parent was willing to let go of their idea of their child and see them as they are."

"My own family..." her voice cracks as she brings it up. "They left no scars on my body. They saw such actions as 'lower class', but they made me feel miserable, weak, unseen, and like I would rather die than go on pretending to be who they demanded I be. I have a crewmate who had a family full of love as they saw it, who never once saw her as the capable young woman she was, but rather a flower to put on the shelf until it eventually wilted of age."

"We ran to a family that loved us, that taught us what love looks like. You look at this journal, you say there is no evidence of abuse. Perhaps you are even right, but do you see a happy relationship? A loving home? A place where Gwynn felt comfortable telling her mother any of the things going on with her? Where she believed she had any real freedom or was seen as herself?"

"I don't see what I have with Captain Caroline in any of these pages. I cannot imagine at my most teenageriest of elven years feeling as utterly alone in my journal as I see in Gwynn's. So unbelieving that her mom could even help or be willing to help. Maybe there are a billion reasons for it, maybe it can be repaired, but there's definitely a reason Gwynn never told her mother there was a Korogur until there were the scryed images of birds."

Ka'Ri takes a second to swallow. What she has to say next will be unpleasant she knows but she hopes she can soften it somewhat. "Furthermore, I hate to be that pirate here, but... why would we have to prove to you her circumstances. You, me, all of us? None of us have to live in that tower when the coin pouches get filled. None of us really matter in this situation. Only Gwynn does. And her perspective, her wishes should be centered here and she's absent as we make a decision on her behalf, because we believe by virtue of our age (when she is an adult of greater maturity than some of us) that we know better than her. And that doesn't feel right."

"And at the risk of sounding a little Osprem here, the winds do not feel favorable on a man asking a bunch of non-men to provide him with 'evidence' so he can decide whether a woman should be granted autonomy. I know it is not your intent, but it is a bad look, I’m afraid to say.”
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132 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:16 pm

Glen looks relatively shocked that Ka'Ri would willingly walk into an encampment full of soldiers just to be there for him, but then nods gratefully. He otherwise listens but says nothing further, stroking Elen's sizable head in his lap, his eyes a little unfocused.
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133 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:26 pm

Ellowyn instinctively steps closer to Ka'ri.

"Ka'ri and I shouldn't have to disclose our traumas for you to take us seriously in our worry about gwyns autonomy and Ka'ri is right being as alone as that is truly hell. Its why I spent so long out in the wilds with animals because being that alone even when surrounded be people who are meant to love you is death by a thousand cuts."

Ellowyn sighs tired but happy in a bittersweet way that for the first time they felt like someone actually understood them. They'd never had a friend like Ka'ri. A friend who got it. Even if she didn't like Ellowyn that way Ellowyn was determined to keep her in their life. She was important.
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134 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:42 pm

"Guys?" Sunrise frowns. "I... understand that you've both been through hell, but there's no evidence that how Laerdya treats Gwyn is anything like how your parents treated you." Sighing, she looks at Ka'Ri. "She's not controlling. Or, well... how to put this? She might be controllING, but her motive isn't control. She's not trying to mold Gwyn into someone she's not to fit an image."

Her fingers glide over the diary pages. "I don't think they had a happy relationship. I could easily believe that Laerdya, acting out of love and fear and the very best of intentions, may have inadvertently harmed her daughter. And yes, even if she were a model parent, even if Gwyn were being an unfair, selfish brat, I believe she would still have the right to make her own choices even if it makes her mother unhappy. So you're right, it's ultimately a moot point."

She sighs. "But because it's a moot point, could we please refrain from demonizing Laerdya? She may well have made mistakes, but she's not a monster, and treating her like she is isn't going to help anything. And bear in mind that we've only ever seen her at her worst: sleep-deprived, hungry, and consumed by grief and worry. We can be sympathetic to that and still support Gwyn in what she chooses."
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135 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:10 am

Ka'Ri shrugs. "Sure, honestly, what matters most is that we are willing as a group to listen and treat Gwynn as a full person with meaningful agency and choice when we find her and give her due agency in deciding her own fate."

She also offers her hand out to Ellowyn to hold. Bringing up old traumas so many times in short succession combined with a relatively sleepless night left her feeling a bit more raw than normal and she was grateful for the support of a friend who understood.

"If it's not too much of a shift, could we return to planning what we want to do next? You mentioned wanting to search the caves? How did you want to approach that? Crews are not going to appreciate any ship wandering around seeing what everyone else is up to. It might be worth tracking down some info on Korogur's favored port of call."
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136 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:15 am

Sunrise nods, grateful for the change of subject, and sinks into a chair. "Can you look into that tomorrow? Also, you're probably in the best position to know - how does one pirate crew signal to another that they're not there for a fight and want to talk?"
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137 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 5:40 am

"I believe we're a touch premature in deciding to head into a cave filled with pirates. We can talk more about this after tonight, but I think we should try to find one of the Redfangs we've identified for information, and speak to Captain Callahan about getting information from a captive pirate as well before we go down there blind. Maybe he has someone who knows Korogur. We might be able get valuable information on getting into the caves."
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138 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:04 am

"That's true," adds Sithani. "And if any of us can scry, or we know any scryers, that would be worth a shot."
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139 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:58 am

[OOC: I will reply as Rik, but he is capital-d Done with this conversation and even people rolling Insight checks of 1 will pick that up. We're good to not continue hashing this out forever. In fact, if people could mentally "weave" this reply as being at-or-around Sunrise's, that would be best--sorry, I fell asleep, ha.]

Rik listens to Ka'Ri and Ellowyn with sympathy for the abuse they have seen and lived through, but his face is impassive.

"No. I do not see abuse in this journal," he says in a calm voice. "You do; the fact that I disagree does not mean I am not listening. I believe Laerdya loves her daughter and that her driving purpose in her well-documented and extremely public life has been to keep her child healthy, alive, and happy--not controlled, not restrained. We know that from an extremely young age, Gwynnestri was given freedom to leave the tower and visit the temples as she pleased, with spending money and no chaperone. That does not mesh with the image of a controlling mother trapping her alone in a tower. You say she does not believe her mother could or would help her, but I ask for evidence of that assertion in the pages we have before us, and nothing is produced. The events of your past, unfair and abusive as they were, are not Gwynnestri's experiences as we have seen them through the pages of this diary. We must consider the facts we have, not the facts we desire."

Touching the diary lightly with his fingers, he frowns as a thought occurs to him. "Whilst we are upon this subject, I put forward my long-standing belief that we are interpreting this diary through a cloudy lens. When we find something which does not fit our assumptions--such as the tonal change in the final entries--we assume the girl's mind was altered. Perhaps it was; when we find her, this good wizard here--" he nods at Thimb, "--will tell us. But it is possible that there are things we do not know and which this diary cannot answer for us. I will not put all my faith in a book whose secrets we've not yet fully plumbed, and whose meaning may be hidden to us."

Sighing, he turns back to the matter at hand. "You owe me no proof. But you and they", he nods at Ellowyn, "are asserting things we have no evidence for. Serious accusations, in some cases. To suggest that Laerdya plans to control her daughter with magic merely because she is a wizard is speculation, and does not fit with anything we have seen or known of them both. Paladins deal in evidence, not in rumors. I have said--as has Glen!--that I will help Gwynnestri leave her mother if she desires to do so after returning. That is centering her wishes, that isn't making a decision on her behalf, and it's not a statement about my age or gender. The fact that I do not wish to leave my daughter in the hands of a murderous pirate who has a wizard aunt of his own is not something I consider a 'bad look'."

His eyebrows lift slightly and while his tone remains calm, there is an undercurrent of hurt. "If we wish to speak on the topic of gender and what does or doesn't 'look bad', perhaps at a later date we can discuss why Laerdya is presumed a mind-controlling monster for being an imperfect mother, but Korogur is a romantic hero despite being an admitted murderer--a thing not even his allies, friends, or the man himself denies. But I leave to Yondalla the mysteries of why murderous men who carry away young women in the night without leaving so much as a note for her frantic parents are sympathetic, while a woman who has cured numerous plagues in our city's past with her tireless public service is presumed guilty without shred of evidence." He sighs and turns away, his shoulders heavy.

To Ellowyn, he shakes his head. "I have taken you seriously, and no, you do not have to disclose your traumas to me. The fact that I disagree with you does not mean I do not respect you. I would be grateful if you would not deem me 'too close to Laerdya' to have an opinion on the character of a woman I have spent considerably more time with than anyone else in this room. My paladin's oath to help my daughter is real, and we live in a city of law. Laerdya Siannodel cannot wave a magic wand and lock someone in a tower for the rest of their life against their will. To accuse her of such intent is unfair, inappropriate, and inflammatory against a lifetime of service and good behavior. I will not suborn such serious slander against her without evidence, any more than I would against you--and I have known you far less time than I have known her."

To Sunrise, he bows in gratitude. "Thank you. I do not intend to argue this further. Everyone here is capable of making up their own mind on what they have seen and experienced. I have done so, but others are free to think differently. I merely ask that our assertions and suppositions in these planning sessions stem from what we have seen and observed regarding our employer, not from our experiences with others who are not her."

With this said, he buttons up and pays attention to the planning which unfolds.
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140 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:35 am

Ellowyn sighs a deep sigh

"
I realize I've come across wrong. I never meant to imply Laerdya *is* these things I've said. I desperately want to be wrong I hate the way my brain insists I plan for the worst. But this is a planning session so I thought it wise to discuss it but it's obvious I've done it wrong.

Also you do come off as dismissive as hell Rik whether you intend to or not.

I just wanted to make sure that worse case scenario we had a plan that didn't involve taking gwyn somewhere she does not want to be. I hope you can all you understand that at least.

While I'm with reverence is there any other questions I should be asking maybe about this tiefling gang I keep hearing mentioned.

Also I'd like to say this right here right now

I'm so pleased you all survived yesterday it sounded terrifying"

Their body language suggests theyre tired and don't want to argue they mean what they say and aren't angry just hurt and tired.
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141 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:39 am

Rik rises and bows to the company. "I shall return in a bit, after a walk around the grounds and perhaps a hand leant to our esteemed host outside."

This said, he leaves the room.
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142 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:47 am

"Listen, I'm not prepared to go around and around about this any more. In fact, it's the furthest thing from what I want. But I would encourage one and all to perhaps be gentler with Rik, as it is his daughter that is missing as well." He falls silent again, stroking Elen's head, an anguished look on his face.
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143 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:59 am

Sunrise clears her throat, with an air of getting back to the topic. "I'd like to talk to some of the Redfangs, yes," she says to Glen. "But I don't know if they'll be able to tell us more than Thorn did, and if we can't find one of them today or tomorrow, I don't want to put off actually searching any longer. Talking to another pirate is a good idea though; we could definitely use a guide. Because those caves are notoriously hard to scry." She makes a face, glancing at Sithani. "Sorry. Something about the metal content of the cave walls. It's why they're so popular with pirates."
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144 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:47 am

"Ah, divine providence. Alright, so, apart from tonight's party, we're meeting the bandit under guard and the Redfangs we think we might subvert. We're also searching for the messenger: do we know where to look for the latter two?" She looks around at the group. "It also seems like we all need some time to relax before we do any of these things, and also given what we've learned do we have any new lines of inquiry for interrogating this bandit?"
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145 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:54 am

"The messenger, maybe," Sunrise says with a shrug. "At least I have an idea of where to start. Would you like to come with me and Glen on that tomorrow, Sithani?" She gives Jarek an apologetic look. "Sorry, but after yesterday I don't think half-orcs are going to get a warm reception in that part of town."
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146 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:07 am

Sithani nods. "Absolutely! Should I prepare for a fight? Because it'll be my first proper one and I don't want to let anyone down."
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147 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:41 pm

"Yes, but I'm not expecting one," she says after a moment's thought. "This is going to be a negotiation, not a kick-down-the-door rescue mission. Still, it's better to be prepared. As for the Redfangs, Thorn is sending information to us on where to find them." She drums her fingers on the table. "Depending on how long it takes to find the messenger, I might try to find Brud or Rasimi afterwards. Anyone feel like taking point on the other two?"
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148 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:45 pm

Glen nods. "I'll take Somash."
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149 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 7:57 pm

She nods. "And Jarek and Ka'Ri can look into a boat and a guide who knows the caves. I think... that's it? I think we're good to go?"
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150 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:52 pm

Glen gets up and looks very glad to be getting ready to go. "Meet at the blue dock in Redport day after tomorrow? Morning?" He starts gathering his things as Elen looks on.
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