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The Devil's Own (Glen, Ka'Ri, Sithani, Sunrise, Thimb)

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"What did Lucky have against him?"

Insight roll to verify his answer:
17
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Somber shakes his head. "I have no idea," he says, apparently honestly. "Lucky can be friends with anybody when he wants to be, but that doesn't mean he is or does for everyone. As far as I could ever tell, he never really took a shine to Betreygis and it just got worse from there. I know it's not professional rivalry, because he gets on well with the other priests at the temple."
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Sunrise nods slowly at the answer. "Well. We do need to investigate the temple," she says, glancing around at the others. "What do you think? Do we want to try a friend of a friend over an unknown quantity?"
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Glen waits a moment, deciding whether he should speak his mind in front of Somber. "Sunrise, don't we already have someone going to the temple? Ellowyn mentioned that they're a cleric; wouldn't it be safer to send them in rather than someone who has recently been getting more friendly with Betreygis Redfang?"

He waits a moment, wrestling internally. "And - apologies, Somber, I am not trying to talk about you like you aren't here - we don't even know Somber, let alone whoever Lucky is. You said you wanted to pick his brain and we introduced ourselves using our real names, and now we've discussed the Redfangs with him."

"Meaning absolutely no offense, but you have given us almost nothing to go on. I trust you, and Somber seems to be forthcoming with us, but ultimately the rest of us don't know these people at all. It makes me uneasy, and I don't want to see anyone in our group, or the mission itself, endangered or jeopardized without knowing as many facts as I can."
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"Ellowyn's a cleric," she agrees with a sigh, "but not of Olidammara. Lucky is. He also happens to be in a relationship with one of the women I live with." She shakes her head. "I understand your caution. I don't want to endanger us or anyone else either, but we are going to have to reach out to our allies, at least to an extent. Without naming the Redfangs, Somber here wouldn't have known what information I needed."

She shakes her head. "We will need to go over a lot more information among ourselves. But since we're in Westside, it seemed easier to ask Somber where we could all hear the answer rather than running around and relaying information. And you can trust him, you have my word on that."
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Somber, for his part, just looks faintly amused by all this.

Offering Glen his hand again, he grins. "Sorry. Let's start over. I'm Somber of Westside. I'm a childhood friend of Sunrise, and former ne'er-do-well. I landed into a bit of trouble in my youth and just about got myself killed poking my neck into places it doesn't belong, so now I'm a scholar and an artist who is only occasionally on the wrong side of the law."

His smile turns softer, amusement creeping over his delicate features. "I don't actually want anything to do with whatever it is you gentlepeople are doing, and I fully intend to forget everything I heard here as soon as I leave this table. That's an acquired skill in the slums and quite useful for staying alive and in possession of all one's limbs, if I do say so myself."

Tipping his head at Sunrise, he adds, "Having said that, Lucky is a mate of mine and I could set up a meeting if Sunrise asked. Not saying you should or shouldn't, mind you; just that it's a thing I could do for you. Though she's right that the Olidammaran priests aren't known for trusting anyone who walks through their doors. He's the god of thievery and deceit, not of cute bird-mice." Nonchalantly, he breaks off a bit of bread from his plate and offers it to Hamish in exchange for a head-skritch.
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Glen listens carefully. The additional details and Sunrise's assurance seem to placate him. When Somber offers his hand, Glen shakes it. "Thank you, Somber. I'm sorry for the awkwardness. Just a little jumpy with total strangers. I hope you can understand."

"I don't see much of a better option for getting into the temple. I'll defer to the wisdom of the group, but I'm on board if the rest of you are."
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[DM World Building Clarification, just in case: Anyone can walk into one of the temples and make a donation, pray, speak with a cleric, and so forth. It's just that someone who isn't affiliated with the temple is going to be treated like a stranger instead of an affiliate or close friend. Furthermore, if you don't know the customs of that temple, you'll look like a tourist and (again) be treated as a stranger.

A real world comparison would be if you went to a church and no one there knew you, but you started asking whether the music minister ever got into any kind of trouble, maybe with the ladies *wink wink*. People would close ranks and wonder why this stranger wanted to know their dirty laundry. On the other hand, if you're a member everyone knows--or, in a pinch, someone from the same denomination visiting on holiday--you have more credit with the group to ask around things like that.]
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Hamish, when asked what they would have, pointed at a plate of something that looked like fruits someone at another table had. Thimb wearily translated this order. Who was the familiar and who was the wizard here? Sometimes she wasn't sure.

Hamish was also more than happy to trade bread for pets. Really a double win for them. Thimb nodded as they leaned eagerly into the offered pets, "I don't know much about the churches," she confessed, almost apologetically, "but I do know that people tend to protect their own, and asking around about someone like that can be risky. It would be better if it could come from a friendly face, right?" she offered, adding her own two cents in and trying to sooth Glen's worries. She liked Glen, she would like him to not be worried, and she found herself liking this Somber fellow. She knew scarcely little about the slums, but she recognized someone just trying to do their best, and she respected that.
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Both Thimb's gentle tone and Hamish's willingness to be pet earns warm smiles from Somber; one for each of them.
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Sunrise smiles at the antics with Hamish; the smile turns wry a moment later. "That being said, we may have to kick you out in a bit if you don't want to hear, well, things you don't want to hear."
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Somber shrugs easily, his faint smile unconcerned. "I'm happy to leave as you do or do not require. It's just as easy to forget a whole candlemark as it is to forget a quarter of one. If you do want me to bring Lucky around sometime, will he be meeting all of you at once?"
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"The cheap adventure stories I've read always have their conspirators minimise how much other people know about who's on the team. That's probably something they get right, but it might be useful to have multiple points of view present in case anyone has a clever idea." Sithani turns to Sunrise. "I suppose the question is: how good a taste in men does your friend have?"
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Sunrise looks amused. "Are we talking about Lucky or Somber? If it's Lucky, that's what I'm trying to determine. If it's Somber, she'd better have good taste; I'm the one who introduced them."
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Somber can't help but snort softly. "My lady is a sweet soul who couldn't hurt a fly and would trust a devil to tell her the truth. Which is why I take care who I introduce to her from the old neighborhood. Lucky is a friend of mine and has been for years and I'd trust him to bury a body if I needed him to. But he's not a fool, you're not liable to be able to trick him, and he may well work against you if he thinks he's being used as a tool. He's ambitious and an independent-thinker. In some situations, those are virtues good to have on your side. In others, not so much."
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Glen still looks somewhat concerned, a thin line persisting between his eyebrows. "There really seem to only be two ways to go about this. We're either going to have to be very good at convincing Lucky to help us without giving him all the information, or we're going to have to put all of our cards on the table and tell him what's really going on. The former seems like it could easily turn into him telling Betreygis in order to get a leg up at the temple; the latter is a lot to trust him with. Telling him everything is still going to be risky unless we're pretty sure he's going to help us. Somber, can you give us any advice on a best angle for us to approach Lucky if we need his help? Flattery? A sob story?" He pauses for a second and swallows sheepishly; anyone looking might see a tiny, faint blush. "Seduction?"
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"I do not volunteer," Sunrise says firmly to the last suggestion.
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Somber looks amused at her answer. "You could try the truth," he points out to Glen. "It sounds like whatever your plan is for this Betreygis guy, it's not going to bring him health and long life? If he's knocked out of his position at the temple, Lucky will be in a prime position to step in and take his place. That's quite a promotion and one he's been wanting for a while."

He smiles as the server brings their food and his mead, waiting until the youth has left again before speaking. "Can I ask what it is you're wanting Lucky to do? Seems kind of important, if you're wanting advice on how to get him to do it."
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"Wouldn't dream of presuming, Sunrise. Just making sure we're thinking all the way through our options." Glen means it - he wouldn't ever ask someone else to do something like that, although he wasn't sure if he was entirely ready to go for something like that himself. "I'm also not entirely sure what we want Lucky to do either - the first step was finding a way into the temple. I haven't thought much beyond that, to be completely honest, and there are far smarter heads around this table than mine."
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This receives an odd look. "'Getting into the temple' isn't a goal. You walk through the front door, then you're in. There's a big statue of Olidammara and everything; it's quite impressive. On holy days, they string little necklaces of copper pieces on knotted string over him. What do you want to do there?"
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"Information?" Sunrise shakes her head. "At least to start with. I can't shake the feeling that the... situation we were hired to resolve is only the tip of the problem, and we won't have a good idea of what needs to be done until we can get a better picture of the whole. If Lucky knows what Betreygis is up to, that will help piece things together." She sighs. "Maybe more than that. But it depends on what we can find out."

She sits up then. "Speaking of. Ka'Ri, how would you feel about coming to a fancy dinner with me?"
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Glen sighs at Somber, unamused. "Yes, of course, I know the temples are open to the public. But if I, a wood elf who favors Obad-Hai and has never been to the Olidammaran temple in my life, wandered in and started doing anything more than praying, it would be very noticeable and memorable to anyone who happened to see me. Someone who belongs there would be far less suspicious and noticeable - and, therefore, might be able to gather some information, as Sunrise suggests."
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Sithani quenches an irrational flash of annoyance at not being invited to a fancy dinner with Sunrise, and asks, "How hierarchical is the Temple of Olidammara? I can't imagine the god encouraging top-down obedience." <More to the point,> she broadcasts to everyone at the table but Sombre, <it doesn't seem to me like he'd rely heavily on his priestly powers to hide Gwynnestri; not if standard institutional politicking is enhanced by a trickster god. Though I could be wrong.>
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Ka'Ri smiled at Somber in a friendly manner. She didn't have much to say to him and definitely felt Sunrise should be the one to decide how much they tell him and why.

So instead she turned to Sunrise. There was only one reason she would invite specifically her to a party and she was greatly itching to stretch her heisting muscles.

"Of course, a party sounds delightful," she said happily. "Though I would love to know when it is as I might have plans tomorrow night, but I'm sure I can delay them if needed."

Her eyes imperceptibly glanced over to Somber. She wanted to trust him, but old habits die hard, so she settled for a half lie instead. "I don't know about your plans, but I was also hoping to borrow your company tomorrow to speak with our friend Lydia. She seemed so distraught this morning and I thought some kind words and some fresh baked goods may help bring her out of herself a bit."
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Sunrise coughs on a mouthful of beer and sets her tankard down, hiding a smile. "Excellent," she says to Ka'Ri. "The... other individual connected to Betreygis may have some skeletons in his closet, and I think I might have a way to get you into his home to investigate that."
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