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Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom

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1 Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:30 am

The fifth floor of the central tower is a dimly-lit circular room cut from dull gray stone, with a stairwell rising through the center of the floor. Evenly spaced heavy wooden doors are set into the surrounding curved wall of the room, and these are labeled with neat gold lettering on the gray stone above each door:

Gwynnestri Siannodel
Laerdya Siannodel
Luther Rivvers
Balasar Skarsclen
Andry Savoirnen
Erdan Scionsire

The dull circular room is empty save for an elderly white-haired halfling man dressed in the faded and long-unused regalia of the Feytower guard. He smiles when he sees Luther, then snaps to attention when the rest of the party comes up the stairs.

"At ease, Wellby," Luther says with a curt nod. "We need into Gwyn's room. Do you mind?"

"Not at all, sir," the man agrees, fumbling to open the door with a heavy key at his belt.

"We'll be awhile, I imagine. Go on downstairs and have Cook get you something. Oh, and can you send up the burser? Party of eight, Laerdya."

"In a jiffy, sir," the halfling agrees. He nods to the ladies as he passes them, then disappears down the winding staircase. Luther holds the door open for the party, stepping in after them and closing the door behind everyone.

The first thing they notice is the pink. Where the room isn't pink, it's purple; and where it's not purple, it's yellow or a faint baby blue. If a frill of lace or silk could be added to a surface, no expense was spared to do so. Laerdya could not have furnished her daughter with a more beautiful room in all of Brilight; a princess of the capital could be born in this room and no one would bat an eye at impropriety.

Well, they might object to the coffin. It's the second thing they notice, and it takes a moment because it doesn't look like a coffin. The object is made of glass and lies on the lush bed dominating one wall of the room, the top gently curved like one of the delicate snowglobes the glass-blowers craft. Inside the glass is what appears to be a perfect wax replica of the lost girl whose illusion they were shown downstairs; the doll doesn't breathe and her closed eyes don't move in sleep, but otherwise she could be the very girl they've been hired to find.

The room is otherwise unremarkable. Three windows let in light at the outer wall and look down onto the sprawling Feytower complex below. The drop is dizzyingly far; without magic, a jumper wouldn't survive. The windows are currently heavily barred from the inside with iron bars and locks; the clash with the decor suggests that this was added recently, presumably after the kidnapping.
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2 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:49 am

"What a lovely juxtaposition," Sithani comments. "Cuteness and morbidity in one. What's it for?" she asks, pointing to the wax replica. She frowns. "Please tell me that's not her actual corpse."
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3 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:46 pm

Sunrise gasps audibly when they enter; even Veshti's tastefully-luxurious rooms haven't prepared her for the sheer amount of color, let alone decoration. The contrast with the laboratory they just left is sharp, and speaks volumes about Laerdya's love for her daughter.

It's beautiful, she thought. Almost stiflingly beautiful. I wonder if Gwynnestri found it so?

She smiles grimly at Sithani's gallows humor. "Would make our job easier, wouldn't it? 'Found her.'"

Stepping to the glass bubble, she trails her fingers lightly over the top and tries to puzzle out what it could be.

4 + 4 = 8. She's... heard of magic.

"Preparation for a resurrection?" she hazards. "In case things go bad? Or maybe it's just a comfort." She looks up at the others. "An illusion to let her pretend her daughter is safe in bed."
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4 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:10 pm

Internal Thoughts:
Oh great, creepy bastard is joining us, lovely. I was kinda counting on him fucking off. I guess this just means I gotta be subtle with my search.

Ka'Ri sighs and clucks her teeth in annoyance at the sight of the oh-so-attentive guard and the bars over the windows and murmurs to herself, "Typical jackboots, locking the door after the thief has already made off with the good plates. Wouldn't want anyone suspecting they were derelict in their actual duty."

She shows a sign of frustration. It would have been nice to study the outside of the window more, but she could make do with what she had. "All right," Ka'Ri mutters cracking her knuckles out, "let's get to work."

Ka'Ri studies the window and the room carefully, looking for signs a thief would leave, scratches where lockpicks were used, impressions on the floor from climbing boots, signs of disturbance on any additional items that wouldn't have been on the list of a typical kidnapping, small pieces of overlooked trace evidence like hair or fibers from the kidnapper, and anything that seems out of place for a typical kidnapping.

NAT 20!!! For a 23 total (20+3). Ka'Ri channels lesbian Sherlock Holmes on this shit.
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5 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:25 pm

Sithani approaches the hopefully-a-simulacrum of Gwynnestri to see if she can figure out what it is.

21 hells yeah
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6 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:39 pm

[Luther will answer first, then I'll give a response to search rolls. General note that rogue skills do have legitimate outlets in this world; there are rogue versions of "white hat" hackers who hire out to interested parties who are seeking consultations on how to tighten their security. Being able to pick a lock doesn't automatically equate to "outlaw", and you are here by invitation to snoop around. You don't need to "hold back" your skills, though of course your characters may feel differently.]

Luther waits patiently by the door, watching the party with no real interest in his face; if anyone does try something rogueish as part of their search, he doesn't seem particularly bothered. Sithani's question prompts a raised eyebrow. "Would that it were; I could have a cleric up here from the temple compound in half a candlemark. Yes, it is... resurrection-related," he says with a nod in Sunrise's direction. "Which... well. I have more to say on that later when the bursar arrives."

Now that she comes to peer at the perfect wax imitation, Sithani vaguely remembers reading once about an arcane spell which functions similarly to a resurrection but which can be prepared in advance of death. The caster creates a new body for the soul of the target--which is not necessarily the caster themself--to inhabit after death. She does not, unfortunately, remember the details of the spell; only that it is rare and at least as difficult and expensive as a clerical resurrection.
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7 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:59 pm

Sunrise nods at the explanation, then turns her attention to the room as well. She lacks Ka'Ri's roguish skills, but her gaze is still sharp as she looks for anything out of place and tries to piece together exactly how the kidnapping must have happened. The little homunculus flits around her head, its own keen senses and ability to move around letting her examine the evidence more closely, and from multiple angles.

12+6 =18
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8 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:08 pm

Before he steps into the room, Glen takes a moment to consider the importance of the situation. His commander needs him to be at his absolute sharpest here. He reaches back into his memory, to his days on the trail. Taking in every sight, sound, and smell to try and find anything of use. He sharpens his senses, steels his resolve, and walks through the door.

Perception check:
Natural 1.

His senses don't come to his aid. Seeing the serene, still body of the young elfmaid before them cuts right through him, and the frequently-smiling elf's face immediately falls. Instead of the beautiful young woman made of wax, he cannot help but picture his sister lying there, in her armor, a deep and fresh cut in her forehead. He looks around briefly as tears start to gather at the corners of his eyes. Sariel would be woefully out of place in this frilly, girlish room. He looks back back at the casket again and the body isn’t Sariel any more, it’s his sister-in-law, Enna. Enna, beautiful and fair, who had come to be as much of a sister as Sariel was. Her light, soft white dress is covered in a large bloodstain emanating from a wound in her abdomen. Glen turns away, closing his eyes to these horrible images.

He thinks of Laerdya. He thinks of the pain, the loss she must be enduring; he can’t fathom the depth of sadness she must be feeling, and he can understand why she hasn’t been able to properly meditate at night. He has his own problems getting rest on plenty of nights. He knows immediately that he will not shake this enough to be of assistance in looking at the room.

Glen manages to weather the sadness without completely breaking down. He takes a deep breath, at very least able to get his emotions under control enough to say, “I’m sorry; I don’t think I will be able to help here. Didn’t sleep well last night and just not feeling great.” His face showing the slightest flush, he turns back towards the door while avoiding Luther’s gaze. He pulls the door open, steps outside, and closes it behind himself.

He looks around and finds a bench nearby - presumably for someone who is waiting for an occupant to return to their room. He takes a few steps, sits down, and allows himself one quiet but painful sob. He then pulls a handkerchief out of his pocket and dabs at the corners of his eyes, and he focuses all of his attention on burying this wave of emotion as deeply as he can. He desperately tries to collect himself before anyone notices.
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9 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:38 pm

The window does not look scratched from a lockpick, though the party may remember that Laerdya described the window as "open" the night of the kidnapping. As high up as the room is, and as warm as the summer has been, perhaps the girl felt safe opening her windows to catch a breeze.

Ka'Ri and Sunrise notice an array of glittering gemstones in little open jewel boxes on the girl's vanity: one big box of rings for her fingers, and multiple boxes of jeweled necklaces open to catch a girl's fancy as she dresses for the day. Nothing appears stolen despite their value; Ka'Ri could pay a month's rent several times over if she palmed just one of the jewels to take back to Qiao.

The room, distressingly, has clearly been thoroughly cleaned. The carpets are pristine and without a single bootprint or speck of mud. The bedsheets and pillows around and under the glass coffin even smell freshly laundered. Not a hair remains behind.

Most of the furnishings are uniformly fancy and frilly; it would take sheer days to properly search the chests of clothes and dolls which the two women now quickly peruse. Yet Ka'Ri finds, running her hands in a quick rifle through a chest of delicate underthings, a thin narrow journal-book with the curlique writing of a teenage girl. The alphabet is elvish, but the letters aren't arranged in any order that makes immediate sense to the young woman.

The majority of books on the girl's actual shelves are studious magical tomes, but with the benefit of the homunculus' different angles of sight and sharp sense of smell, Sunrise is able to find a dozen or more bardic romances--the kind sold on street corners for coppers--stuffed between the magical volumes and the shelves. They were well-hidden; without the aid of the snuffling little creature, they would not have been found. They are each well-thumbed and have been read numerous times.
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10 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:26 pm

Sunrise's search is punctuated by muttered imprecations in Infernal; if she and Ka'Ri are investigating the same area, the other woman may receive some glances of shared frustration and a little pointed commentary on whoever would be foolish enough to launder a crime scene.

She can't put her finger on why her heart sinks slightly when she discovers the books. Pulling them out, she flips through them, trying to get a sense of what type of stories young Gwynnestri loved - and felt she had to hide from her mother.

"Luther?" she asks, not looking up from the book she holds. "Laerdya said she got a letter with blood on it. How absolutely sure are we that the blood was Gwynnestri's?"
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11 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:34 pm

Jarek follows the troupe into the kidnapped girl's room--what else can he do?--but then he's at a loss.  The chamber is not his vibe, not his language, and definitely not his tax bracket.  The others don't seem at all put off, the way they immediately start inspecting and snooping.  Exactly as they were requested to do, obviously, but he hardly knows how to help with something like this.

He sidles over to his sister quickly, before she's engaged in anything small and delicate, and gestures vaguely at the room of lace.  "Well," he says quietly, "guess this at least tells us there's no chance she's just run away from home."

As he speaks, Jarek watches Glen retreat from the chamber.  Father Rik might be orcish too, but Glen's the only one in the room who looks scuffed and humble enough for Jarek to relate to them.  "If you don't need me to lift you up anywhere, I might just get out of the way.  Make sure our new friend isn't retching too hard over that body in the box."  For that matter, he thinks, make sure I don't start.

((Jarek has tragically been born in a society that has not developed the useful phrase 'uncanny valley'.))
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12 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:37 pm

Ka'Ri's hands hover over the jewels for a long second. Just one flick of her wrist was all she needed. She glances over at Luther's impassive face and shifts her hand away in embarrassment.

The rest of the room was a travesty. Cleaned and scrubbed into submission, there is barely anything worth noting other than Korogur definitely was only there for Gwynnestri and nothing else. Noticing Sunrise's glances, she reacts in similar favor.

"Couldn't fuck it up more, if they were trying to," she whispers to her as their paths cross.

She's almost ready to give up as she digs through the poor girl's underthings when she sees the diary. Angling her body away she looks through it. The letters make sense, but it's pure gibberish. Clearly this was written in some kind of cipher. Luckily Thimb probably could probably help crack that, given that she knew all sorts of smart stuff like that.

With a flick of her wrist, she tucks the volume into her coat.

Sleight of Hand:
19 + 8 = 27. She's so smooth, not even Ka'Ri notices where she tucked it.
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13 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:59 pm

"Is it worth us all looking around or will we just get in your way?" asks Sithani.
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14 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:28 pm

The bardic romances are not all ones Sunrise has seen before; each writer has his own set of street corner vendors and she's hardly been to all of them. Still, the content is easily guessed at a glance. A good half-dozen of the stories are serial tales of Thea Starguide, the notorious lady pirate who is loved by many and sundry (and by Sunrise's sister-ward, Elinor). This particular series seems to be about Thea's adventures putting together an all-lady pirate crew and racing to avenge herself on her treacherous brothers; there are numerous scandalizing passages involving kisses among said crew.

The other romances are one-offs: a noble lady at sea and her handsome bodyguard; a politician's daughter and a pauper boy; a temple paladin and a star-crossed thief; a mermaid and the fisherman's daughter; two army generals deeply in love but assigned to different commands (one is presumed dead in the Silverwoods and the romance ends, frustratingly, on a cliffhanger as the distraught survivor heads to the altar with another); an elven maiden from the city in love with a forest bandit and his rough ways; and a tiefling girl and the smitten young marquess who lifts her out of poverty and the slums.

The cheaper bardic romances like these are published under pseudo-anonymous pen-names to dodge accusations of libel and plagiarism, but several of the one-offs Sunrise now holds are written by the same pen-name. Knowing how the street-corner sales work, Gwyn probably purchased her books from the same vendor each time.

Luther sighs at Sunrise's question. "Laerdya had one of our wizards cast the Locate Object spell, with the focus being Gwyn's blood. The spell indicated that the bloody nightgown was the nearest source of her blood." He hesitates. "If you're asking whether they staged it with more blood to upset Laerdya, it wouldn't surprise me. It would be easy enough to buy a bucket of pig's blood from a butcher in town. But the nightgown was Gwyn's, and her blood was on it."
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15 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:56 pm

She nods, frowning, and turns the books over in her hands. "And by any chance do you know who cleaned this room so... thoroughly?"
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16 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:07 pm

Thimb refused to embarrass herself again, and so took the stairs slowly, quietly muttering to herself about how everything was always made to human or elf height even though nearly half of the races were shorter. Not to mention their own children. Hamish eventually hopped off of Sithani's shoulder to follow closely behind Thimb, resisting the urge to try to trip her up in front of Luther on the stairs knowing it might actually end with injury.

The room was... Aggressively girlish. Not quite garishly so, but Thimb just didn't trust lace. It snagged on everything. Then again, wizards.

She nodded to her brother, "Yeah, you do that. I'll..." she gave a shrug, "I'm not sure, I'll figure it out."

She began to do a sweep of the room, looking less for signs of break in and more signs of magic that maybe were a bit out of place.

Besides, you know, the wax dead girl or- well, she was wax, not, you know, dead? But... It was distracting. Was that in the room before she was taken? Thimb likely would have run away from home too if she had to share a room with a replica of herself in a glass coffin...
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17 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:14 pm

[TW: Rape]

Luther hesitates at Sunrise's question and for a moment looks genuinely uncomfortable. "The room was cleaned on Laerdya's orders on a day when I was not present at the tower," he admits, thinning his lips. "The... state the bedroom was left in after the kidnapping was a source of constant ongoing distress to her. The bed sheets were a tangled mess and, well."

Sighing, he runs a hand over his impeccable hair. "There were legitimate reasons I assumed she'd brought a lover up here," he points out, ever so slightly defensive. "Laerdya believed it was rape from the beginning, but what was more reasonable: some kitchen-hand who walked up the stairwell like a normal person or a pirate who climbed five-stories with his bare hands? I... I didn't want to see the truth until the note arrived."

Thimb does not find any signs of magic that is out of place, but given the length of time since the kidnapping this may not be surprising; few spells last for weeks on end.
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18 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:43 pm

Sunrise's frown deepens. "What's easier?" she asks quietly. "Overpower a magic-user in her own home - without alerting her powerful mother who sleeps right next door - and keep her captive for weeks while she actively tries to escape? Or seduce a sheltered, naive girl who dreams of adventure and storybook romance, and convince her to help you keep her far from the prying eyes of those who would take her away?"

She hands Luther one of the Thea Starguide books. "If I wanted to extort Laerdya, and I had a dashing and romantic pirate captain available, I know which route I'd take. Maybe you were both right."
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19 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:48 pm

Luther takes the book in his hands and flips through it with a deepening frown. "You think they sent Korogur because he's a romantic ideal in the slums."
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20 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:05 pm

[TW: rape/dubcon]

"I don't think anything yet," she says slowly. "Everything right now is just speculation. But why do things the hard way? Send someone in with a decent chance of seducing the girl, who's also physically powerful enough to take her anyway if it doesn't work. And if it does work, you've golden: fewer security expenses to worry about, less chance of her being rescued if she doesn't want to go, and a happy captain with a willing girl in his bed."

Shaking her head, she adds, "If we do manage to get far enough for it to matter, we might have to persuade Laerdya to part with that letter. Otherwise we might have a would-be rescuee screaming for help when we try to take her home."
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21 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:11 pm

"Oh! I know that series!" said Thimb spying the book, "the seller's a real sweet heart- I mean, I, uh, buy them for my cousins," damnit determined to prove herself at least somewhat useful, she continued, "the letter didn't look... quite right, to me? The hand writing was less pirate and more, well, noble girl. It might be a bit obvious, but is it similar to Gwen's handwriting?"
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22 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:17 pm

Sunrise frowns at this. "You're not wrong. But it's one thing to run away with a pirate and another thing to help write a letter threatening your own life and demanding absurd amounts of gold from your mother. So maybe she's no longer a willing captive, even if she once was? Or maybe we're making ignorant assumptions about pirates and their handwriting, and Korogur is a master of brilliant calligraphy."

With a glance at Thimb, she asks, "Do you think you could talk to the bookseller? See if she remembers Gwynnestri, and if anyone else ever asked about her?"
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23 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:17 pm

Luther sighs and rubs at his chin. "A half-orc," he says in a dour tone, almost to himself. "But climbing up the tower to her in the middle of the sodding night. That might do the trick. Demons take the man."

Gesturing at the coffin, he makes a face. "That puts a fly in the ointment of... this. The concern isn't that the kidnappers follow through on their threat to kill Gwyn. The concern is that they realize that would play right into Laerdya's strengths--namely her money and resources--and she could resurrect the girl as soon as she was safely dead. The concern, in short, is that they might keep Gwyn alive."

He shakes his head, looking frustrated. "I was going to suggest, tentatively, that if you run into a situation where you can't save her but you can kill her, to... well, do so. Her spirit should be drawn to this coffin and she will have the choice to complete the spell and inhabit a copy of her old body. But like any other resurrection, she has to want to return. If those Redfangs have convinced her that Korogur loves her, and if he's hurt or killed in a rescue attempt..." His voice trails away.

It takes a moment, but then he looks up at Thimb and blinks. "When did you see the ransom note?"
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24 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:39 pm

"I can talk to them, sure-" she stopped at Luther's last question.


Oh no.

She wasn't supposed to have seen the note. If she said "we unlocked a drawer to read it" that would get Ka'Ri in trouble. If she said nothing then he might think she was part of this kidnapping plot and arrest and interrogate her and then there would be weird sexual tension because she had read enough of those bard books herself to know how that went and being scared and horny did not sound like a good time. Wait! There was a way out of this!

"Back in the office/laboratory/maybe also small library?" the question mark came for the library part. But also the other parts. She wasn't sure. Her own office/laboratory/small library was also her bedroom. She had considered renting space in the feytower but it was expensive and she just knew they would roll their eyes at her and her research. Besides, she liked being close to the chimeras and her family. Still, it would be nice if she didn't need to sleep with some of the lingering smells from a failed experiment after...
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25 Re: Feytower - Gwynnestri's Bedroom on Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:45 pm

Luther nods slowly. "That is where it is currently kept. Did Laerdya show it to you?"
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