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The Search for Skamos (Sunrise, Glen, Sithani)

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1 The Search for Skamos (Sunrise, Glen, Sithani) on Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:39 pm

Eleint 10.

They meet early, before the heat of the sun has fully burned off the night's chill. The search begins in Sunrise's own former neighborhood, and the advantage is clear: people greet her and her friends in the street, talk to the trio, seem more than willing to volunteer information. They talk to coffeesellers and day laborers, tinkers and bakers and hedge-witch medics. Again and again they ask about the Westside gang; again and again they get nothing but rumors and apologies.

Sunrise sighs a couple hours in. "If we don't find anything out by noon," she says, sipping a coffee and leaning against a building, "I say we head over to Thorn's old neighborhood and take our chances there. But I still think we'll have better luck If we can find out more first."

Something catches her eye and she nods at a cart down the street. "Flower vendor," she says in quiet tones. "Does some trade; men and boys seeking to impress or apologize, women who want to bring a little color into their homes and pretend it's always there. But look around; does it look like many people in this part of town have money for flowers?" Shaking her head, she continues. "She's either been in business for only a couple months - and is about to go out of business - or she's found a way to make extra on the side. That means crime, and that means gangs."

Then she grins at Glen and Sithani. "And she looks all fresh-faced and wholesome now, but I remember her at 12 and I know which option my money's on. Come on. Want to find out if I'm right?"
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Sithani nods, happy to bow to Sunrise's expertise. "Ye gods, what kind of exploitation leaves people too poor for flowers?"
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Glen nods. "I trust your instincts. Lead the way." Elen chirps happily as he follows behind.
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Harmony is a red tiefling so pale she can only accurately be described as pink. She smiles warmly as the trio approaches her wagon-stall. "Good morning! Can I interest you in any forget-me-nevers? Lovely fresh batch in today, with petals as blue as a teardrop. Ohmigosh, Sunrise? Is that you?"
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She raises an eyebrow at Sithani. "You can't eat them," she points out. "You can't pay rent with them, or wear them when it's cold, or heal your kids when they're sick with them. Most of the people here are struggling to do those things." She shrugs, then heads toward the cart, her face breaking into a broad smile.

"Hey Harmony," she says warmly in response to this greeting. "Tell you what, I'll buy some flowers if you promise not to stick them in my ear," she jokes, referencing some long-ago incident from childhood.
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"Which goes to prove my point," says Sithani to all and sundry.
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Glen stays back, quiet and observant, giving the flower girl a warm, polite nod as he does. Elen approaches the cart and sniffs vigorously at it, standing up on his hind legs with his front paws against the cart to try and get a better smell of the flowers. When he gets too close to the flowers, Glen chides him gently and he goes back to just sniffing from a distance.
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"I never thought to ask you," Sithani tells Glen, "how you got that kitten - is it the right age to be a kitten?"
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Glen considers for a moment, then shrugs. "I don't know exactly how old Elen is, but I believe he is the right age to be a kitten. The old tiefling, Hacari, who helped us on our last...outing had many cats. Sunrise and Jarek got housecat kittens. Hacari said she'd have my special kitten delivered to my house. When I got home, there he was. His paw was hurt - a trap of some kind - and he'd dragged himself into my house. Poor baby. I don't know how he got from her to me, or why he seems to understand and look after me so well. Maybe the druids of Darkwood, who I wrote to, had something to do with it. It's hard to say. But we take care of each other now." He bends down and gives Elen some affectionate scritches, and Elen responds by licking his hand.
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Harmony laughs at the reference. "They suited you! But, Sunrise! I have a bone to pick with you! What has a girl got to do to get a merchant-permit to sell at one of your gigs? I've applied, like, three times and been turned down every time! Do you know how many bouquets I'd sell during those love songs?"

As she chats, she eyes Elen warily; as cute as he is, he is still a panther.
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Glen understands the flower peddler's concern. He beckons Elen back to him, and the baby plops his butt down next to Glen's feet. "Apologies, he means no harm and is quite friendly, but I can keep him over here if you'd rather." He smiles, apologetically.
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"Huh. I just got the scribblings of someone very eccentric." Showing off a little, she conjures a Mage Hand and sets it to scritching the back of Elen's neck. "Yours is cuddlier."
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She laughs, surprised. "This is the first I've heard of it! I'll talk to Veshti; I didn't even know you were in the flower business! Good goddess, Ny, how are you turning a profit with this?" She gestures, admiring but surprised, at the colorful hothouse flowers filling the air with perfume.
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Harmony gives a little sort of half-shrug. "Oh, you know. Boys like my face. I've got a strong barking game out here on the street. Occasional slumming noble. I scrape by."
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Sunrise gives her a teasing, knowing grin. "Oh okay, yeah. No, uh. No 'special flowers' on the side, I gotcha."
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Harmony's lips twist in a wry grin. "There's nothing illegal in my cart, Sunshine! Geez. You trying to get the guard on me?"
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Sunrise grins, a little sheepish, then leans in and lowers her voice. "Quite the opposite, actually; I was hoping maybe you knew something about the current power players in town."
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Harmony's wariness--which has been dancing on the edges of her mannerisms throughout this conversation--increases sharply, though she tries to hide it. Tilting her head, she gives Sunrise a curious look. "Players? Sunrise, what're you getting your nose into these days?"
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She rolls her eyes melodramatically. "All kinds of nonsense, Harmony. All kinds of nonsense. You wouldn't believe the half of it." Shaking her head, she adds, "You know me; I'm not looking for trouble. But I know there's a new gang in Westside, and I need to talk - and I mean really just talk, like with words - to them. I just don't know where to start."
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Harmony shifts her weight and looks very uncomfortable. "Like. Talk when? And how high? And about what? You know? Those things are important."
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She shrugs. "Today, if possible? Doesn't have to be anyone high up; if I can't talk my way up to the level I need I'm in the wrong line of work." She gives Harmony a crooked grin. "I'm not asking you to stick your neck out for me. But if you know a particular tavern to go to, a name to ask for, anything to point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it."
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Sithani nods. "We're not asking you to introduce us or vouch for us. And like she said, we're genuinely just here to talk." Hopefully, she doesn't add. She's still not sure the gang doesn't deserve a smack on their collective nose for kidnapping the messenger.
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Glen continues to listen quietly as Elen enjoys the mage hand scritches very much, leaning hard into them.
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Harmony chews on her lower lip, looking troubled. Finally she rummages in her cart and plucks a blood-red rosebell and hands the flower to Sunrise. "The Lady Luck club. You remember where it is? Give this to the bartender. But please try not to get killed, Sunny? I like you."

The Lady Luck club is a nearby and somewhat notorious bar, gambling den, and gentleman's club. It is one of the higher priced establishments in the slums, and no one is under any illusions the type of extra-legal business most of their clients engage in.
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Sunrise grins and tucks the flower into a buttonhole. "You are the best, and if I get myself killed it won't be today."

Suddenly her face goes very solemn. "I have one more question to ask, and it's very important." Her eyes widen. "What sort of flower crown will help me make the best impression?"

A little while later, appropriately becrowned, they head towards the Lady Luck.
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