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Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone)

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51 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:53 pm

Elen sniffs the new friend and gives them gentle rubs with his face and playfully bats at them with one of his enormous paws.

Glen dutifully gets up and adds 'Trey' as an alias for the Redfang cleric. "Yes. Pretending. He's a monster, this much I know from talking to Thorn. He will do whatever Arnem tells him, no matter how horrible." His voice is cold and dripping with contempt.
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52 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:02 pm

At glens tone they shrink back slightly as it felt like a blow. Trey had liked them. Or at least they had impressed him. They had been impressive for a small moment but glen was right it was pretend.

Then a small stubborn voice in the back of their head reminded them that Ka'ri had said yes to their date. But suddenly they weren't sure if that wasn't pretend too? What if no one likes me? What if I shouldn't be in the city?

Then the kitten bats at them and they forget what they were thinking they turn to look at the kitten suddenly very seriously they say slowly so he understands "no claws" then suddenly they pounce at Elen clumsily aiming for his neck hugging and telling him what a wonderful boy he is as they hugged playfully.
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53 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:38 pm

Sunrise raises a hand slightly. "I think I can add some things in here?" She takes a deep breath. "I spoke to Lucky, the tiefling cleric of Olidammara. He didn't have any inside information about what Betreygis is up to, although he did know all about Thorn, because apparently everyone in this town does. But he had an unsettling idea." She leans in. "What if Gwyn was never the target? What if she was a means to an end, to get their hands on Laerdya? Control her, control the cure."

She shakes her head. "Here's the kicker. When we came back to our table, Betreygis was there talking to my ward-sister. So, I mean, I flirted, because." She shrugs, looking a little sheepish. "Betreygis seemed... very interested in the idea that the people are willing to accept a cure from any source by this point, and by the end of the conversation he'd practically offered me a job spinning it so that a grateful populace would see the Redfangs as heroes, producing a cure when no one else could."

Taking a deep breath, she continues. "I went to see Laerdya this morning. She confirmed that they're very, very close - and, yes, that they're having supply problems getting what they need to finish the research. It's not conclusive, but it seems to support the idea of the Redfangs intercepting her shipments and stockpiling the supplies, waiting to capture Laerdya herself so she can work for them."
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54 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:44 am

At Sunrise's casual dismissal of fight-based injuries, Sithani's heart flutters a little. The more knowledge she reveals she's learned, the more impressed she is, and she lets out a genuine gasp at the bard's theory about kidnapping Laerdya.

"And with such a charismatic man as Betreygis seems to be, I think we can guess who'd make the announcement. Rather a coup for Olidammara as well; theft, kidnap, and a vast con job getting him countless thanks-offerings, no doubt. I don't suppose dreamdust is an ingredient for the cure?" She gets up and peers closely at the Redfang diagram, as if seeking mystic significance in its shape. "Korogur isn't on here - is he a part of their family concern, or does he just do his own thing when he isn't guilt-tripped into helping out his oh-so-important relatives? Do we know if he's genuine in his affections for Gwynnestri? Because despite her strained relationship with her mother I doubt she'd want her kidnapped, and if we found the two of them perhaps we could play on that."
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55 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:18 am

Elen tilts his head to the side and listens to Ellowyn's instructions. He was not planning on clawing anyone, but he listens dutifully nonetheless. Suddenly, the gnome pounces on him, and Elen lets out a small yelp of surprise, then happily goes rolling over backwards with the gnome wrapped around him. He gives the side of Ellowyn's face a playful lick and lies, panting, contented to be told, correctly, what a good boy he is.

He listens carefully to Sunrise, his face dark. There seems to be no depth to which the Redfangs will not stoop for power and control.

To Sithani, he nods. "Korogur's a black sheep. He doesn't like taking orders, but rather wants to give them - which doesn't make him fit neatly into the order of things with the family. The family is run very much like a military unit, with a strong emphasis on chain of command. Betreygis and Arnem don't like that Korogur doesn't take orders the way that the rest do. They don't throw him out because having a dashing, famous pirate in your back pocket is useful, but they do end up cleaning up the unexpected aftermath of his impetuousness."
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56 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:01 am

"I like him already. And the mutual resentment that must come from that is probably worth remembering, if we're ever in a position to be social with them. Did Thorn happen to say if there's a special Redfang dock where Korogur makes port?"
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57 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:04 am

Glen shakes his head. "Like I said, he's either at sea or docked in the caves south of the city."
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58 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:29 am

"Ah well." She sits back down. "So what's the next move? Something cunning at Alefeast? Or is that off the table if we think the Redfangs are more interested in kidnapping Laerdya than in recovering Thorn? Or in blackmailing Laerdya, perhaps - which seems decidedly easier, but then I suppose they might need her to actually make a cure even if they have all the ingredients. And I still can't get my mind off the aboleth in the Feytower; what did Gwynnestri think she'd discovered? And why did she stop writing about it all of a sudden? If there's a way to compel aboleths to speak the truth we should go talk to it, but if not we need to find Gwynnestri."
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59 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:05 am

Sunrise shakes her head at the questions. "Luther and Laerdya said Gwyn got sick during those missing days. Neither of them thought it was unusual. Oh, and apparently the aboleth is here because it produces something Laerdya is using for the cure? So she definitely knew about it from the get-go, but if she has any ulterior motives she's really good at lying about it."

Sunrise sighs and pets her cat. "We've still got the thing tonight. And I - I really do think we should try to find the missing messenger?" She looks around the room. "It's not directly related to Gwyn, but I talked to Reverence at the Sehanine temple - I know we were supposed to go together," she tells Thimb apologetically, "but since we'd found Thorn I was afraid he'd be considered disposable - and we think he's being held by the tiefling gang that jumped us. Finding him might shed some light on why they wanted Thorn, which would tell us more about the Redfangs in general. And then there's the possible weak links in the family to talk to," she says, nodding at the board. "Part of me wants to just jump in a ship, explore some caves, and get all this over with, but if Gwyn doesn't want to come back we need all the information we can get to convince her."
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60 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:25 am

"Rik said he'd been told the scrying for the messenger was inconclusive, didn't he? What kind of magic might this tiefling gang have access to?" Sithani frowns. "The beekeeper Glen and I met said the same thing about aboleth juice, but if it's here for such an innocuous purpose, then what in the hells did Gwynnestri think was going on? She was ready to kill people, and then it all got forgotten? Anyway, what's the plan for tonight? Are we still offering to trade Thorn for Gwyn?"
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61 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:37 am

"do we know of any halfling connection? Its just when we were at the market sussing out stuff Ka'ri was excellent and helped me figure how to do all the stuff she's super good at like the subterfuge and what have you. We found out that theres a halfling who is in some way connected even if it's just as an errand go between for korogur. But they're definitely having their deliveries prepped for sea. She's a lady too if our info is accurate could she be mother? At this point I'm not sure, although it is a religious title too, very well could be someone at the temple. Was there anyone else besides you she was close with at the temple Rik?"

All of this is said as Ellowyn is still laying wrapped around the kitten though they are more still now contemplating leaving themselves conpletely open to kitten attack while pondering.
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62 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:39 am

"Could just be he has a halfling in his crew," points out Sithani.
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63 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:06 pm

To Sunrise, Glen nods. "I think we should help, yeah. And we need as many allies as we can get, especially in the temple, so if Reverence wants it done, it seems like a must-do. Where do we start, though?" Glen gets some bacon and plunks back down in his chair, munching absently. "I didn't hear anything about halflings from Thorn or Luther. And the aboleth..." Glen shudders, remembering its hideous three stacked eyes. "I don't know anything at all."

Elen twists his body and rolls the pair so Ellowyn is on their back, with the baby panther standing over them, his enormous paws on their shoulders. He gives them an affectionate, scratchy kitten lick on their cheek, then goes back to his ranger's. It sits down beside Glen, lost in thought and holding a piece of bacon in his hand hanging off the arm of the chair. Elen sneaks his muzzle up and snatches the bacon dreadfully fast, then lies down with his head on his paws to eat, chewing happily. Glen chuckles and reaches down to give him a little scritch before sitting back up.
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64 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:16 pm

"Rik did you have any relationship with Gwyn? Did she come to see you regularly?" Thimb didn't think Rik was Father, and she was pretty sure Luther either outright lied, or was missing something. "Gwyn mentions Father going missing and feeling awkward talking to Luther about it- it could be that was when you were, you know, dead, but, you and Luther don't seem to really know each other? So why would it be awkward for her to ask him about you, if you're Father?" she asked, flipping through her own notes scrawled with theories. "Maybe finding Father and Mother isn't vital, but... I dunno, my gut tells me they can help. Gwyn mentions telling Mother about the aboleth, I think that might be important? It's also possible that when Gwyn was sick in those missing days that was the result of some memory modification to suppress what ever she found out? Sunrise was there anyone else involved in bringing in the aboleth?"
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65 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:26 pm

Rik frowns, looking thoughtful. "Many children come to the temple to see me," he points out in a gruff baritone. "Gwynnestri was one of the children which the great goddess Yondalla allowed me to channel into creation. Sometimes she spoke to me at the temple, and asked about my sword-craft. She was a good child, very frail and delicate, but with an animated way of speaking. I cannot say for sure whether she knew of my relationship with her mother, but I would not be surprised if Laerdya told her. Many mothers do, in my experience."
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66 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:48 pm

Ka'Ri faded into the background for a bit, reading all the journal entries, trying to sort out what she found in the context of the various intrigues of both the Siannodel family and the Redfang family.

She smiled at the kindnesses Glen and Ellowyn showed her and petted Hamish oblivious to their cottoning on to their recent changes.

"Yeah, I suspect the Halfling is a crewmember, but certainly a trusted one that could be relied upon for a very important and sensitive mission. And there does seem to be a lot of evidence at least pointing in the direction of Korogur being in the Southern caves, so either that's where they are or they went to a lot of effort to make it appear so. If it is true that Korogur is seen as something of a black sheep in the family, then it is even more likely that he wouldn't want to hang around."

"Laerdya also seems to be very much in denial about her daughter as a full adult with her own ambitions, desires, or wants, which would seem to give more evidence to that idea she just ran away with Korogur willingly and also means we're going to want to figure out what we want to do if we find her and she doesn't want to go back to that cold tower. My personal vote is we don't make her."

"And yeah, there's some big runs on certain supplies. There was an attempt to corner the market briefly on Dreamdust as Sithani mentioned and there's a likely unconnected mermaid egg purchaser from the Sun District. Additionally, there's a major run on new pirates, which could just be people seizing business or Korogur or his family trying to protect their interests and step up their raiding of crucial supplies."

"The Dreamdust especially threw me. If Gwynn went willingly, then it's unlikely for her, or at least not on that high of an amount. I think Sunrise might be on to something with the idea that they are hoping to lure out Laerdya to kidnap her and make sure they are first to invent a cure for stupid political games."

Ka'Ri growled a little at this last point. Anyone who was willing to let people die or suffer just for a few extra bucks they didn't need or some shitty power was basically the scum of the earth in her book.

She also shares the full story of what she encountered and noticed in case any of the super smart magic folks in the room caught something she didn't.
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67 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:44 pm

Sunrise clears her throat. "Actually, feeling awkward talking to Luther about Rik would make sense. I found out Luther's known Gwyn since she was a child; they have almost a father-daughter relationship. I could see her worrying that talking to him about you might make him uncomfortable," she says with a nod at Rik, "as if he were being replaced. As for her memory being tampered with?" She shrugs. "Luther didn't think it was likely, at least not by the aboleth, but I think it's a possibility worth considering. The other wizards on her level of the tower know about it; Andry was the one who suggested bringing it in, and Erdan made the runes to contain it."

Nodding at Ka'Ri, she adds, "And you're right; she's a grown woman. Laerdya is paying us to find her, and I do think Gwyn ought to at least talk to her, but if she doesn't want to go back to stay she's going to need people on her side."

She sighs, trying to keep the rest of the conversation straight. "Sithani - honestly, I think it's just as simple as keeping him in a pitch-black room. The scrying is finding him, it's just not showing anything useful. It's a low-magic, high-cleverness solution, which tells us something about the gang, I think."

Then with a deep breath she looks at Rik. "So. If Gwyn does consider you 'Father,' if she knows about the - the ritual, is there maybe anyone at the temple she might consider 'Mother'? One of the clerics? Is there anyone who maybe organizes these rituals or helps them succeed?"
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68 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:03 pm

Glen chews the inside of his cheek, deeply conflicted. He closes his eyes and lets his hand dangle off the arm of the chair. A warm, fuzzy head comes up to meet it, as Elen rubs against his worried ranger's hand.

"I agree that it doesn't seem fair to Gwynnestri to make her come back if she doesn't want to come back. Frankly, I don't want to bring her back if she doesn't want to come back. But I," he says, referring only to himself and not the 'we' of the group, "also have orders. I do not have a choice. Vice-Captain Imokina's instructions were crystal clear. Ms. Siannodel is my commanding officer, and she's given me an order. I can't violate my contract or the trust of my unit and its officers. We either have to get Ms. Siannodel on board for finding but not necessarily returning, or I have no choice but to bring her back." Glen looks down. He knows the group well enough to know how this will go over, and prepares himself to be excoriated. Without looking up, he says, "For what it's worth, I'm sorry."
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69 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:07 pm

Rik furrows his brow at Sunrise's question. "Mother Abbie often helps organize the ritual, and explains the process to petitioners, but I do not believe Gwynnestri knew her with any real familiarity. Still... I suppose it is possible?" He does not look at all convinced, however. "I do not know why Laerdya would tell her about that aspect of the ritual, though. It is... paperwork." He shrugs. "Important paperwork! But... paperwork."

The paladin nods firmly along with Glen's statement. "Nor will I leave a tender young girl in the company of pirates," he affirms with a light growl in his throat. "Her mother may be imperfect--all mortal mothers are!--but she believes the girl is too impressionable to make a decision of that sort at this time and I am strongly inclined to agree."
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70 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:18 pm

Glen smiles somewhat grimly at Rik, a little emboldened by his agreement. "Not to mention that this pirate is affiliated with people who beat and abused Thorn, or at very least did nothing when he was beaten and abused. Now, they're letting people die from the plague and possibly want to control the plague for their own means. These are not good or honorable people, and there's no telling what they'll do to her once Korogur decides he no longer wishes to be chained down." He strokes Elen's head, looking around the room expecting harsh words.
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71 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:22 pm

Sunrise clears her throat lightly. "She's not a 'girl,'" she says quietly. "She's nineteen years old. An adult. Her mother does not have the right to make these decisions for her. If she wants to stay with Korogur, that's her choice to make. If it's a bad choice, it's her bad choice to make. Like I said, we have been contracted - and you have been ordered," she says to Glen, "to bring her back. I think we can talk her into at least coming back to see Laerdya. But if she wants to leave again after that, I will not let anyone hold her against her will."
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72 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:26 pm

Glen's face is calm but his insides are alight with emotion, wondering what he'd done to imply that, after completing the contract and bringing Gwynnestri back, he would then hold her against her will. He continues scratching Elen's head, silent.
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73 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:44 pm

"If she wants to return to Korogur, then we cannot stop her," Rik amends Sunrise's statement with as much gentle firmness as an armored orc can manage. "If she wishes to stay with him, there will be a problem. We still do not know if she is under any sort of mind control--there are several mages involved in this situation, by my last count--and we are not qualified among us to test her." He straightens, his spine crackling under his heavy armor like a cheery fire in a winter's hearth. "Or am I mistaken?"
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74 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:54 pm

Ka'Ri growled unhappily under her breath, but still noticeable to Elen and Hamish. Her family spoke too often about her being under the spell of mind control when she tried to tell them the truth about herself. Still, she took a deep breath, swallowed herself into the moment and spoke.

"Perhaps this is an argument that can wait until we hear her out and listen honestly to what she says and what she wants. In the meantime, I think we need to flesh out what are our next steps. I know Glen, Sunrise, and I will be going to Xilo's nob-fest to see what's going on there and I imagine Sithani and THimb will be working to untangle the rest of the diary, but what else do we need to knock out with what we know now?"
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75 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:01 pm

"I don't think the time to hash this out is when we are potentially rescuing her from a dangerous situation."

Glen pauses. "Wait. I'm not going to Xiloscient's-- Sunrise's concert-- the thing tonight." He looks between Ka'Ri and Sunrise. "Am I?"
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