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Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory

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26 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:26 am

A low growl seems to unsettle the beginnings of a jovial mood in the room. Father Rik pushes off from the wall and walks over to the mother. As he does so he glares pointedly at all of them.

As he crosses the room he growls under his breath at the assembled group, "Have you no sense? A grieving mother does not need to play hostess to your muffin party! A sense of decorum or any sense at all would do the lot of you some good." His words are short, harsh, and low.

As he reaches their hostess he kneels and takes her hand gently. His voice, barely above a whisper, is soothing and tender to her. "Are we all here mother? Can we begin?"
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27 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:44 am

And we were supposed to know that about her? Sithani thinks in a flash of irritation. Still, her introduction of herself is a bit more subdued than it might otherwise have been. "I am Sithani Molana, and I'm sorry for your evident loss, Ms Siannodel. How are we to help?"
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28 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:16 am

Laerdya tenses as Sunrise touches her shoulder and she seems poised to slap the tiefling woman away in a rush of panic. Then the realization that she's not in danger drives home and she sags in her seat, looking almost boneless under her gentle touch. "Thank you," she mumbles in response to Sunrise's soft reassurances, though it's unclear whether she's heard her. She nods politely to Ellowyn, but does not relinquish her list. "No, it's... I can do it. Thank you."

Hamish's arrival in her lap helps revive her somewhat, and her free hand goes to absently petting the odd little creature as her attention is quickly divided between the goings-on in her office and a feeble attempt to strike names off her list; Sunrise is forced to inconspicuously hold the paper steady against the desk lest Laerdya's pen strokes send the sheet meandering.

"My dear Rik... Ellowyn... Sunrise... Glynlen Liadon... Ka'Ri Af Osprem... Thimbwick Riptide... Sithani Molana... Thank you, yes. Your help is welcome..." When Rik kneels to take her hand, she tears up afresh and hesitates. "Rik, there were supposed to be eight. This is seven. Someone is missing--maybe even hurt. Oh! Unless...?"

She looks down at Hamish, tilting her head slightly. "Pardon me, but are you Jarek Riptide?"

Now that Rik has pointed out how distressed Laerdya is, the elves in the group may realize that the frazzled, red-eyed, shattered mental focus, and overall fragile and tattered state of the elven woman could be the sign of someone who hasn't tranced well or properly in a long time. Refusal or inability to trance is serious, and usually stems from severe grief or bereavement, or a total avoidance of one's memories because they're too painful to review in trance.

Whenever Laerdya closes her eyes and stills as though she is meditating, she is slipping into a trance in spite of herself, much like a sleep-deprived soldier might slip into light sleep while sitting or standing.
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29 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:48 am

Glen, having just shoveled the rest of the muffin into his mouth, chews and swallows quickly after being chastised by the half-orc, who said exactly what the little voice in his head was telling him: the muffins aren't important, you should be awaiting instructions. Cringing a little inside, he hopes that word of his selfishness and lack of decorum won't get back to Dolores. He swallows the last bit of muffin, mutters an apology, and falls silent.

Thinking more on the half-orc's words, Glen cannot help but look over at their host with that same creep of worry he felt before coming in the door. Grieving mother? He looks at Laerdya for a moment. Indeed, she is much different than he expected, given her outsized reputation and the military assignment. He doesn’t think less of her, he’s just surprised. Then, hearing she is a ‘grieving mother’ and seeing that her eyes are red from crying and she is clearly lacking rest, he realizes that he has seen symptoms like hers before. After his parents and tribe were murdered, he couldn’t get enough rest for weeks and weeks because it was just too painful to walk back through those memories. Glen’s heart softens, and his embarrassment deepens, his face flushed with shame. How could he not have noticed? This is why breakfast is so important.

Without raising his arm at all, he brings his thumb up to his palm and rubs the back of the ring he is wearing with his thumb, taking warmth and comfort from the presence of Pelor, who he has developed a great deal of affection for. The memory of Dolores’ kindness and care in the face of his own tumultuous emotions brings him peace, and firms his resolve even further.

“We’re going to do whatever we can to help you, ma’am.”

He notes that the half-orc called Laerdya "mother" and wonders if they are somehow related.
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30 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:12 am

Ka'Ri reaches out her arm to provide a comforting side hug to Thimb and raises her eyebrow at the gruff paladin who reproached them.

She said nothing, lest she fall out of favor with her potential new employer, but privately she couldn't help feeling protectively defensive for her new friend and somewhat offended at his tone.

Internal Thoughts:
We were told nothing but that this was a secret mission and we were supposed to deduce automagically from that that our new employer was a grieving mother for whom we were to be solemn? Especially when the person hard at work researching the plague could have a million reasons for not trancing. Certainly I've done it a fair few times of late.

And singling out sweet Thimb for this? Not knowing how much this meeting and the fact of being chosen by Laerdys means to her? No, fuck that.
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31 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:15 am

Thimb wilted under Grif's scorn, meekly lowering her basket and pulling the lid closed. Eyes at her feet in embarrassment she mumbled "Sorry, I didn't know."

Hamish, being The Best at reading a room, decided now was a good time to nod in response to the question of if he was Jarek. This, at least, jarred Thimb out of looking like a scolded child. "Hamish!" she cried, being met with an ever-so-innocent look from her familiar. "That's not- Jarek is my brother, he's fine," she began to half babble, "there was just an incident at the ranch so he had to stay behind and since we didn't know what was going on I came ahead but I can fill him in on what ever happens before he gets here, if he makes it at all- we're twins so we half share a brain anyways," she was only half joking about that.

"That," she said pointing to Hamish, "is Hamish, my familiar. Please excuse them, they're, uhm, kind of a brat." Hamish's feathers fluffed with indigence at the very accurate statement.

"And, uhm, I-I'm-very-sorry-about-your-loss-I-didn't-know-and-also-sorry-about-the-swan-feather-shortage" there was another little cringe, those two things were not meant to go together.
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32 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:34 am

Oh, I think I like her.

"Ms Siannodel? What did you call us here for?"
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33 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:05 am

Laerdya blinks several times at this, but nods absently. "You are not Jarek Riptide," she explains to Hamish. Picking him up, she gives him a gentle kiss on the head before handing him back over the desk to Thimb. Then she leans against Rik as though even that much physical effort is enough to weaken her.

"We're all here then," she murmurs, rolling up her scroll and setting the pen aside. "I'm... I'm sorry. I should have had food and tea ready. Thank you, Ellowyn and Thimbwick. I haven't been myself lately. Yes, we can begin," she adds to Rik, comforted by his shared concern. "Help me stand?" Rising to her feet, she wobbles but steadies herself against the strong half-orc and the helpful tiefling woman nearby. "Greetings. My name is Laerdya Siannodel, she of the Feytower. I... I'm... sure you already know that, but."

Her thoughts meander for a moment and it takes Sithani's question to jar her back into focus. "Yes. Sorry."

"This is my daughter, Gwynnestri Siannodel." She makes a motion with her hand and utters an arcane word as her other hand disappears inside a component pouch at her waist. An image flickers to life in the center of the room: a beautiful young girl, maybe eighteen years of age. The complexion of the illusory image is pale and wan, speaking to a delicate constitution and a sheltered life indoors. Her eyes are the same soft blue as Laerdya's, but her elven ears are nowhere near as pronounced, with a clipped curve suggesting a human contributer to her lineage. Her blond hair tumbles in waves to the floor, covered from the shoulders up by a sheer pink hood that would have protected the child from sun, wind, rain, or chill. Though she is almost as tall as Sunrise, she looks as fragile as the teacups Ellowyn is handing out among the group.

For several long heartbeats, Laerdya can only stare with tearful eyes at her own summoned image. It turns in place with a dainty step, allowing everyone to see her face. Her mannerisms are shy, almost bashful, and though the image raises a hand to her mouth to silently giggle, she does not meet anyone's eyes. When she has completed a full circle, she stops and tilts her head to study a spot on the far wall, the arcane image idling in place. "She... My Gwynnestri is missing. Kidnapped. Taken from her own bedroom weeks ago." Sorrow and fury war on the elven woman's face and she rallies; for just a moment, it is possible to see past her fragile state to glimpse the powerful wizard this woman is. "The city guard has been useless. I gave them a month as Luther requested. A month! Squandered. Now I am taking matters into my own hands. I shall wait no longer."
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34 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:50 am

Sunrise has stayed near Laerdya this whole time but hasn't hovered or interfered, feeling perfectly content to let the glowering, protective half-orc who seems to know her provide physical support.

At the story she gasps softly, tears blossoming in her eyes. "My lady, I'm so sorry," she murmurs as she studies the illusion's face.

Then she frowns, her brain catching up to the words. "You said 'kidnapped.'" She turns to look at Laerdya. "Not just missing, but kidnapped. Taken. Has there been a note? Or a ransom demand, or any sort of communication? You'd think careful kidnappers would try to make it look like she ran away," she continues thoughtfully, her frown deepening, "unless they wanted you to know they have her."
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35 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:18 pm

But what motive is there for kidnap? Sithani wonders. Why distract the best hope of curing the plague?

She doesn't say anything, waiting instead for Laerdya to confirm or deny Sunrise's inference, but silently tries to imagine more motives than "they want a city full of zombies" or "they want the credit of curing it".
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36 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:44 pm

Hamish nodded at the assertion that he was not Jarek, bashful at having been caught, and then delighted at having been kissed.

Thimb looked a bit worn as she collected her familiar, "Sorry again," she mumbled, holding Hamish before her and fixing them with A Look. Hamish simply cooed curiously in response. She sighed, setting him back on the ground and whispering "Please behave" to the creature before slinking back to where she had been, next to Ka'Ri and the nice solider man Glen, afraid to get shouted at by Father Rik again.

She listened quietly to what they were told, studying the image before her. That had to be what, a level three spell? Just tossed out so casually... Laerdya really was an impressive wizard. Still, kidnapping? Sunrise asked the questions she had been thinking, but furrowed her brow. Why this group? She seemed to know the angry paladin, so calling him in made sense, and Glen was a solider and Ka'Ri said she was good at her job and this Sunrise lady seemed to be good at people and Elowyn seemed to be some sort of cleric and- she had no idea what Sith did but they had to be important to be here, right? But why summon a pair of chimera ranchers? And most of them didn't seem to know the Lady...

Those questions could wait, there was one that fit with Sunrise's that nagged at the little gnome. "The city guard wanted to keep this quiet? I would have expected them to be announcing a missing person so everyone was trying to find them, make it harder for them to be smuggled about and all..." unless there was some piece she was missing? She barely knew what was going on so that seemed highly likely.

That or she had run away but her Mother couldn't fathom that an so claimed she had been kidnapped, but she was not going to say that aloud in front of a distraught mother and the scary paladin.
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37 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:01 pm

Glen, whose jaw was clenched a little out of embarrassment and nervousness to find out their assignment, feels a tiny twinge of relief as she relates their assignment. The order to obey blindly was still somewhat off-putting to him, despite Imokina's admonishment, and this is a task with which he would have gladly assisted even if not ordered. Hearing more thoughtful folks than he ask a series of questions, each of which makes him wish he'd thought of it, he remains silent, content to learn what he can from the questions and their answers.
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38 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:17 pm

Laerdya chokes up with fresh emotion and it seems to take her a long moment to work out where to start. "I... yes. At first, it did look as though she ran away. In the sense that she was simply gone and there was no trail left behind. The city guard wouldn't listen to me. Luther--", no insults follow the commissioner's name, but the word is bile in the delicate woman's mouth, "--told me a pack of platitudes about young girls stretching their wings. No one would believe me. As though I don't know my own child! Mastery of seven schools of magic, but I'm a woman and a mother so I must be a fool!"

She takes a steadying breath, her anger wearing her down. "I began calling on favors from my friends here at the Feytower. We have several mages in residence who can speak with animals, so we attracted wildlife to the main tower and interrogated everything we could until we were able to piece together what happened. At midnight, a black-cloaked man climbed the eastern tower and entered her room through an open window. When he climbed back down Gwynnestri was lashed to his back, eyes closed and her breathing shallow. He'd wrapped her in his cloak so the guards below wouldn't see them in the dark, but this was a blessing for us because it meant a flock of starlings saw his face. It was difficult but we were able to identify him."

Swallowing hard, fresh rage washes over her face. "I doubt the city guard would even have believed that much, except that Gwynnestri's nightdress was delivered to the tower a few days later. Bloodied and- and with a ransom demand," she explains, her voice wavering. "That was when they finally believed me. The note said not to inform the guard, but they promised to quietly put their best people on finding her. I told them what the birds told us: that my daughter was taken by the pirate, Korogur Redfang."

Korogur Redfang:
Rik will recognize the surname as belonging to the extended orcish crime family associated with the mother of his children.

Ka'Ri is well aware of the existence of the famous pirate; he is young, ambitious, unusually clever, and lionized in the city slums. He's not a cruel tyrant who bloodlets out of sadistic thrill, but neither is life under his command a fun sinecure for his sailors. She has heard credible tales of Korogur killing men who crossed him, argued with him, or otherwise disrespected his command, and he is understood to be ruthless in pursuit of his goals. He is also something of a thrill-seeker and enjoys his growing infamy. Kidnapping a high society mage's daughter right out from under the Feytower guards is exactly the kind of notorious job he would be drawn to.

Anyone from the slums (like Sunrise and Ka'Ri) has seen Korogur's "wanted" posters; they practically wallpaper the alleys in some parts. Despite the young half-orc's reputation--or perhaps because of it--he is considered something of a hometown hero in the poorer parts of the city. He doesn't rob the rich to give to the poor, but he does rob the rich and that's something. Children want to be him and young women (and men) want to bed him. Laerdya's suspicion that the city guard may not be trying their hardest (or that they may be quietly running up against an uncooperative populace in their search for the girl) is highly plausible.

Those not from the slums (like Thimb and Glen) will need to pull a History 10 or higher to recall seeing Korogur's name and face on a wanted poster somewhere. A History 20 or higher will be needed to know that Korogur is a local "bad boy" celebrity and that many members of the public may actively resist or subvert the investigation out of fandom for the notorious pirate.

[OOC: Reaction to Rik, then back to free-play.]
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39 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:05 pm

"Yondalla help me, these REDFANGS!"

His fists clench and his whole body shakes with restrained rage.

"They will not take this city. They will not kill us with plague. They will not subvert our council. And with Yondalla as my witness, they will NOT harm HER CHILDREN!"

Unable to contain himself any longer he carefully extracts himself from the elf and rises. His platemail rattles ever so slightly, but the sound carries in the hushed room. He searches the room with his eyes and comes up wanting. His fists clench and release in his gauntlets, his nostrils flare, and his breath comes fast and hard not unlike a bull ready to charge.
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40 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:14 pm

At Rik's outburst Sunrise jumps, instinctively moving in front of Ellowyn.

After a moment, when he doesn't seem about to punch any of them, she starts breathing again and looks around. "Okay. Well. Well we know something now."

Running a hand through her hair, she says, "Okay. Our biggest advantage is that there's no reason to think we're looking for the girl." She glances at the half-orc again. "No one, no one is going to give information about Korogur to a guardsman, at least not anyone in the parts of town likely to have information. But a singer who wants to compose a romantic bard's song about the dashing pirate's exploits? Maybe."

She glances at Ellowyn. "And pirates get injured, and don't always have magical healing available. Peg legs are a stereotype for a reason. Someone whose services could be of interest to his crew might have an in. Or..." Her gaze drifts to Ka'Ri and she looks the woman up and down speculatively. "I know you," she says slowly. "Or at least I've seen you around. You pursue creative employment, yes?" Ka'Ri will recognize, though others may or may not, that this is a Westside euphemism for criminal activity. "How difficult would it be, do you think, to find out if his crew is recruiting and become a potential candidate? Or at least inquire about him through... less-official channels?"

Then, taking a deep breath, she turns her attention back to the paladin. "And. You - hi, I don't know you, sorry, I'm Sunrise, she of Veshti Selmer's household, but - you... seem to know the Redfangs? Redfangs, plural? If... I know you're upset, but if we're working together... could you tell us what you know, please?"
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41 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:16 pm

Oh, that guy. "If it helps lines of inquiries," Sithani adds, "is he more likely to be an opportunist here or to be working for hire?"
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42 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:33 pm

Ellowyn is handing out tea when Rik breaks what little hope they had felt at the sight of the the bizzare menagerie entering the door, that perhaps the mood had broken.

His shouting and frustration was like fists.

It was like back home again when everyone would get mad at their plans. Like they could feel the daggers people were staring at them as they worked alone as always.

They were very aware that they had messed up with their tea choice and with their attempts to try and help. They were wrong again.

Why did Marta think they could handle people they had assumed she knew them better than this.

As their mind is unraveling their body has finished handing out the tea and has walked them as far away as was polite. Half hidden by the rest of the group their eyes begin to shine with tears.

They are vaguely aware that their name is mentioned and they nod mechanically as their body take back controls familiar with having to function alone.

Silent tears fall on their cheeks as the look into space.

A space which becomes suddenly occupied with a beautiful girl. They try to listen but it takes them all their strength not to run from the greif and anger that lays heavy in the room.

They messed up again and Marta is depending on them. She was sad and Ellowyn had to help. And now this woman this Laerdya was sad too and Ellowyn had to help but Ellowyn couldn't breathe as suddenly Rik is shouting again .

Loudly Ellowyn squeaks " you shouting isn't helping anything! Please stop it hurts."

Suddenly they realise others had already reacted and that they had drawn attention to themselves.

Why had they done that?
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43 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:34 pm

At Rik's outburst, Glen remains solely focused on their host, who clearly seems to be lacking in strength. He deftly hops forward to Laedrya's side, placing his hand gently on her arm, steadying her and inviting her to lean on him without invading too much of her space. "Pardon me for not asking permission, ma'am, but you looked like you could use a hand." His lean frame is perhaps not as solid as the half-orc's, but he can shoulder her weight with ease if she needs to lean on him.
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44 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:40 pm

Thimb had shrunk and shied away when she thought she was messing up, not because of the yelling (though that helped) but fear of her own failures and missteps. She was used to half-orcs being loud and orcish. It was where her last name came from, after all. And so when Rik shouted and snarled at the room, she seemed to shift gears.

She was about to snap at Rik but she heard the soft request for no more shouting, it hurts, and with a breath shifted tactics again. She shifted over to Ellowyn, and gently pressed a muffin into one hand, then scooped up Hamish, and offered him to her to hold or pet with a gentle smile. As she did this she addressed Rik over her shoulder, "It's poor form to scold us for behaving badly when we didn't know and then go shouting like that," she said pursing her lips at him.

"And I think Miss Sunrise is right, we need to think about how we fix these things, not just our upset that they need fixing," she did not fix Rik with a dirty look though she thought a mean thought at him before she continued, "I'm- I'm not well connected, but, I'm a good researcher," she offered, "I can go over any notes or recounts that there are, see if I can find anything... I assume scrying was blocked, because that would be too easy..." she said, "but how it was blocked might give us information. If it seemed like lead then that would limit the places in the city they could be, if it was a token or spell then that at least rules out the places where it might be lead..." she mused.
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45 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:47 pm

Up to this point, Ka'Ri has been calm, at least to the maximum ability she can considering her social anxiety with non-crew folks and how important this mission is to the crew.

But now?

She gaped in shock at the fullness of the words explained and what has been done and she is offended, angered even. On a professional level.

... Oh sure, she was bothered by the case itself. Losing wanted family like that? It was enough to make one shiver and she had no doubt she would be in the same spot if their situations were reversed. But still!

Standards were standards

She was stuck on an internal loop and about to break. What comes out is not angry. It is not loud. In fact, it is barely over a whisper, but it is emphatic and it is... mortified, as if in shock at the level of wrongness seen.

"That... creepy fuck sent jackboots into the slums to flush out Korogur? I- I just- you couldn't fuck up an investigation more if you intended to. The amount of dead ends alone... just because of male pride and a need to pretend like they are useful for something more than pushing around the proles..."

Unless of course, the wild goose chase was intentional. She wouldn't at all put it past the creepy bastard to intentionally fuck someone over for a little bit of power.

Internally, a desperate pleading voice was telling her to shut up, to go back into plaintive silence, but she was worked up and even more now that she realized that someone, either Korogur or some noble fuck, decided to distract and traumatize the best chance for a cure for over a month for a reason that could not possibly be good enough.

"Meaningless garbage political waste while your Gwynnestri..." A darker thought followed and her countenance faded more completely. "while my crew... and for nothing that could ever be justified."

Ka'Ri was tearing up and shaking, her voice shaking. "We will fix this, Lady Laerdys." Finally hearing Sunrise, she sheepishly retreats into herself, trying to shake off all the eyes on her.

"Yes, absolutely. I've got a number of contacts and it should be no problem to approach his crew. Fuck, I know it's the last thing you want to do, but it might be useful for me and Glen to see your daughter's room. I... I know how to look for things a pirate and thief might leave behind. Things people don't think to check for."

Or that corrupt jackboots might try to hide...
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46 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:48 pm

"Not necessarily foolproof," Sithani interjects in response to Thimblewick. "If my family wanted to hide someone from scrying, they could probably build a lead-lined cell in the most total secrecy, and we're not even the richest." She frowns. "Oh. And they might use both - they'd have to open the cell to feed their hostage, and if a scryer got lucky at the right time, bang goes their secrecy. Or if they're moving her around, they might keep the magic active all the time regardless of other precautions. Or they might have her outside the city entirely." Or she might be dead and dumped at the bottom of the ocean; Umberlee avert that.
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47 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:13 pm

Father Rik closes his eyes and takes several slow deep breaths. His shoulders lower slowly and gradually the red fades from his face, returning to its normal dark green shade.

"I apologize for my outburst. I have ... a history with the Redfangs. They are trying to marry into a hereditary council seat through the mother of my children. They are violent and abusive and stoop to the lowest of levels to accomplish their goals. She had to flee for her safety from her abusive husband Treygis Redfang. The redfangs are... criminals of the worst kind. They have friends in high places. It sounds like they have friends in the guard as well. But why... why would they want her?"
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48 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:36 pm

Laerdya sags against Glen, grateful for the offer of help keeping her from falling. Rik's outburst very clearly does not trouble her, but she looks up sharply at his explanation. "The... mother of your children?" she asks, her tone suddenly very uncertain. "But, Rik, you know that Gwynnestri..." She hesitates, looking around the room and then down at her feet; the pause which spins out in the empty air is awkward and very long.

When the illusion of her daughter winks out of the center of the room, she jumps in place against Glen. "I do not know if he is working for himself or with others," she answers to Sithani, her eyes welling with fresh tears. "I pray to all the gods that he is working only for himself; my daughter is a delicate girl and the thought of her being harmed by even one orc haunts me. And, yes," she adds in response to Thimb's question, "we have scryed a hundred times in a dozen different ways. Something is blocking our magic. A lead-lined room, or even a lead-lined ship hull; a scrying-prevention shackle; a mage opposing us with any number of spells... all these are possibilities I have considered. Even I cannot tell you which is most likely."

To Ka'Ri, she hesitates. "Luther does not head the city guard, though his influence as commissioner of the Feytower is considerable," she admits, though the admission is displeasing to her. "He and I are not friends, but the uselessness of the investigation is not entirely his fault. If he had believed me earlier, however, they might have started before the trail went cold! But y-yes, you may... examine my daughter's room. I knew that was a p-possibility when I asked you here." Her voice wavers and Glen is forced to steady her again.

"I think... we should talk about the ransom," she says when she recovers. "And your wages. Here, I... need some room." Clutching the side of her desk, she feebly clears away a space--an effort which requires several of her guests to step in and help move bottles and flasks to the floor--before uttering another arcane word and spreading her hands in a wide gesture. A map of Brilight and the surrounding sea and forests spins out over the desk in raised-relief, the towers of the Feytower spinning up almost as tall as Laerdya herself.

"I was ordered to send the ransom into the Silverwoods," she says, pointing at the treacherous woods outside the city walls. "I called in a favor with the army for someone who knew the area." Her bleary eyes find Glen and she nods. "The ransom--if we could even gather it--would need to be drawn on carts by a team of oxen. We have instead acquired two tame... well, mostly tame fighting griffons which we can disguise as oxen. I was told by the stable master that the Riptide family were the best at handling magical monsters." She looks at Thimbwick. "It is why I was expecting two of you," she explains, frowning slightly.

"We will need a mage on hand to maintain the illusions, and we can't risk anyone who is a known associate with the Feytower," she continues, looking to Sithani. "I am given to understand you are a newly endowed warlock? And a cleric should be with the delivery group at all times, not least because the Silverwoods are dangerous." Ellowyn receives a polite nod. "You came highly recommended by a friend of mine," she adds in a quieter voice. "I was also advised to hire someone who knew the sea, in case they try to spirit away my daughter on a ship; and someone who knew the slums in case they try to hide her there." She looks to Ka'Ri and Sunrise, her expression faintly apologetic. "So here you are, with my gratitude."

Her eyes find Rik Templeborn and she softens. "And you know why you are here," she murmurs.

It takes her a long moment to find her way back to her point, and when she does her expression falls. "The ransom, you see, it is... impossible. They are not demanding money from a distraught mother; they are demanding money from the city itself. They believe that, without Gwynnestri, I will not be able to find a cure. And so they are asking in exchange for Gwynnestri a price that the cure would be worth."

She swallows and shakes her head. "I would ask the city to pay it, because I am a mother. But Luther says--and for this one time he is right--that to do so would set off a panic and spark riots in the streets. Other children will die. Gwynnestri would not want that. So." She sets her jaw and returns her attention to her map. "My plan is to send a fake ransom with a strike team which will overpower the bandits who try to seize it. We will then then interrogate them until they--or their corpses--give up the location of my daughter."

Laerdya hesitates then, her resolve wavering. Her watery blue eyes seek out Rik, pleading for reassurance. "Unless... unless you feel there is a better way, Rik. I know I have not always done right in my time on this plane, but you should have some say in this too, I feel."
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49 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:07 pm

Sunrise listens to this gravely. At the end, she motions slightly. "Clarification, please: are we the strike team bringing the ransom? Or are we working in tandem with them?"
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50 Re: Feytower - Laerdya's Laboratory on Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:14 pm

She frowns in confusion at the question. "I had planned for you to be the strike team. The more people who know, the less likely we'll be able to keep it a secret. That's why I've been so discreet--"

A knock at the door causes Laerdya to jump and a head sticks in her office without waiting to be prompted; the unexpected startle is enough to cause Laerdya to lose control of her map, which vanishes into thin air. "Ma'am, there's a problem with the bear pens and we need you now," a young woman reports, not bothering to look at the others in the study. Her message delivered, she disappears as quickly as she came.

Laerdya hesitates, not liking this one bit, but her shoulders sag in tired defeat. "I will be back in a moment," she murmurs, slipping past them all. "Please forgive me, and have some more tea."

[OOC: I feel the need to point out for the record that while you certainly can follow Laerdya's excellent plan, the fevered imaginings of a bereaved woman who hasn't slept in six weeks and who is "going rogue" from what the city guard and Feytower commissioner has suggested she do... may not be the best plan of action and that you are allowed to formulate something better to present to Laerdya. You now have a chance to speak freely among yourselves without having to worry about your client or her fragile nerves.]
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