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A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone]

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1 A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:46 pm

The day after receiving their assignment from Laerdya, those arriving at the home of Veshti Selmer for a follow-up meeting are ushered into a library. Like everything else in the elven woman’s home it is tasteful and well-appointed, the rich wood and extensive collection of books speaking of money without boasting of it. A large table fills a center space, with chairs for everyone; on it is a china tea set and an elegant silver coffeepot, with cream and sugar and lemon on offer. Sunrise is there, Honey the homunculus on her shoulder. She greets everyone as they arrive. Only once does her composure fail: when Ka’Ri and Thimb arrive with cookies, her eyes grow wide and she barely manages a “thank you” before grabbing one that smells of berries and cinnamon; one might conclude that she skipped breakfast.

“Okay,” Sunrise says once everyone’s arrived. “We’ve got a lot of information and a lot of ideas to talk about. Before we do, though? I’d like to give some background on some of the big-picture stuff.” She looks at Rik, Jarek, and Ellowyn. “Last night the question came up: what does anyone gain by kidnapping Gwyn? They’re almost certainly not going to get the money, so what’s the point? Glen suggested – maybe the chaos it causes is the point. A distraction, while they go after what they want.” She frowns. “Right now, guards are tearing apart the city to find Gwyn. As he pointed out, it’s a sure bet that at least some of them are being paid off by the Redfangs to look for someone else instead.” Her eyes dart to Rik, and she takes a sip of coffee as if to steel herself. “We need to talk about Thorn, and what Thorn represents.”

She hesitates. “I… talked to Luther yesterday. Privately. He – you’re not the only one involved in hiding Thorn, Rik.” She winces, glancing in his direction again. “And some of the others are friends with Luther. He knows a lot of the situation. And he brought to lights some legal matters that change the situation somewhat, especially in light of Glen’s theory, which I’m inclined to agree with. So, um.” She stands; from the corner of the library she pulls a little stand with a flipbook on it. “I prepared some information that we need to go over.”

She clears her throat; a change comes over her, one familiar to anyone who’s seen her on stage: she looks more poised, more calm, more confident. She’s in performance mode.

“So. The city has 200 seats on the High Council,” she begins. “Most of them are elected seats, and originally all of them were. Most of them also, not coincidentally, are held by humans and halflings, because humans and halflings are in the majority here in the city and therefore make up most of the vote.”

At this point she turns to the first page, where a few charts have been drawn. At the margins, in what looks like crayon, flowers have also been drawn with a less-skilled hand. “Now if you paid attention in history class, you know that when the elven population of Brilight began to increase, it didn’t go over well. There were… incidents. Eventually, roughly 800 years ago or so, 25 council seats were set aside for the elves – in part to keep such things from happening again,” she explains, “by giving the elves a permanent voice in the governance of the city. These seats are not elected; they’re inherited, to make sure they’re always held by elves and that the humans and halflings can’t shove them out.” Pointing at various things on the page, she continues. “Later, when the gnome and dwarf populations started to rise, the same logic was used to set aside 10 seats for each of those two races, and eventually five for orc-folk.” As she talks, Honey flutters off her shoulder and begins to draw arrows and circle key information on the chart behind her.

She sips her coffee and points at another chart on the page. “So to be clear: elves, half-elves, and those with a quarter or less elf-blood who get lumped in as humans by the census all together make up roughly 25% of the population. They hold 12.5% of the council seats. Orcs, half-orcs, quarter-orcs, etc., come to maybe 10 percent of the population; they hold 2.5% of the council seats.” She pauses to let the discrepancy sink in.

“Tieflings,” she adds neutrally after a moment, “currently hold no hereditary seats. So! Of these 25 hereditary elven seats, one is held by Immeral Xiloscient; his only child and heir is Ellwythorn, currently going by Thorn.” She flips the page on her visual aid to reveal a sketch, done with decent craftmanship, of Immeral, taken from his official – and public – portrait. A few basic facts are listed next to it. “He’s an interesting fellow. Had a wild youth in the army, including being on an elite task force that was sent on secret and possibly shady missions. Killed a lot of orcs at the border. Married a woman rich enough to keep him in idle luxury, and went back to do more fighting anyway, and then…?” She shrugs. “Since coming home his public career has been, well, boring. He’s a safe vote on the council; always backs the elves, never makes waves, keeps his nose clean, spends most of his time at home.”

She raises a finger. “Except. His elven wife gives birth to a half-orc baby, and he claims the child as his own and gives him his last name – thus making him a half-orc heir to an elven seat. Now that elven voting bloc that he’s been supporting so reliably is nervous. Then, instead of reassuring them, he pisses them off even more by marrying his kid off to a Redfang orc. Meanwhile, he’s spending more money than he ought to be at shops owned by the Redfangs – almost as if he’s funneling money to them.”

She frowns at the drawing. “So basically everything interesting or shocking or unsavory this guy has ever done is linked somehow to orcs. I have a lot of questions about him, and I intend to get some of them answered.” Honey, as if in response to the disapproval in her voice, begins drawing a curly mustache and spectacles onto the sketch; Sunrise ignores this. “But in the meantime, let’s talk about Thorn.”

This name does not have a sketch; Ellwythorn Redfang is not a public figure. Instead she flips to a chart of family trees. “Thorn marries Betreygis Redfang. So now, if Daddy Immeral pops off, the seat goes to Thorn, with Betreygis most likely whispering in his ear the whole time – or, more likely given elven lifespans, to Thorn and Betreygis’ kid. And it’s an inherited seat; the orcs, and specifically the Redfang crime family, get an extra voice on the council forever. A small change, but a good first step for orcs maybe, and it legitimizes the Redfangs.”

She takes a deep breath at this point and shoots an apologetic look at Rik. “Then Thorn disappears. Leaves Betreygis, taking the Redfang’s ticket to power with him. Eight months later he gives birth to twins with another half-orc.” She glances at Rik again. “The babies are Rik’s in the eyes of the law; Thorn signed the paperwork. But Thorn is still married to Betreygis and hasn’t initiated divorce proceedings, and signatures can be coerced. If Thorn turned up dead tomorrow, Betreygis can go to court and claim the babies are biologically his, that Thorn was kidnapped, that Rik forced him to sign the paperwork against his will, and that custody of the twins should go to Betreygis. Your temple has resources,” she adds, “but so do the Redfangs, and they don’t fight fair. Luther thinks there’s a good chance he could win. And it’s in his best interest to try.” She sighs. “If Thorn stops hiding, goes public, divorces him, and declares freely that Rik is the father of his children, the Redfangs lose. No court would side with them then. They’d get nothing. They might want revenge against Thorn anyway, but he’s still the child of a powerful man and now he has more powerful people very interested in his welfare. Moving against him would be risky and would net them nothing. In contrast, they have everything to gain and nothing to lose by finding him and killing him now while he’s still in hiding.”

She shakes her head then, as if clearing her thoughts, and sips her coffee. “Which, again, brings us back to Glen’s theory. Kidnapping Gwyn gives them an excuse to, in the guise of guards, take the slums apart searching for Thorn and the babies, which means Thorn is currently in a lot of danger. For his own sake, I think he ought to come out of hiding; in doing so, not only does he make himself safer, but he can also provide incredibly valuable information about how the Redfangs operate and who, for example, might talk if pressured, and he might just remove their reason for keeping the girl captive in the first place.”

Then she stops, frowns, and irritation flashes over her face. “But it doesn’t make sense!” She flips back to the first page and looks at the charts again. “It’s one seat. There are other hereditary seats with eligible heirs; the Redfangs are already playing a long game, so why not switch their focus to one of them instead? What they’re doing is dangerous. There’s only three outcomes: they get caught and they’re all executed, the city pays them a gajillion gold pieces and chaos reigns in the streets, or the city doesn’t pay, Laerdya remains useless with grief, and plague flourishes unchecked. None of those are good for business. So why? Why is one council seat worth all this?” Her hand pushes hair behind one horn; the calm façade of earlier is broken, and her tail lashes in frustration as she scowls. Honey leaves the chart behind, flying back to her shoulder and petting her gently. “And maybe it doesn’t matter. Our job is to find the girl and bring her home, not thwart the generational schemes of the Redfangs. But we live in this city, and shit rolls downhill; whatever the Redfangs are planning, whatever is so important for them to risk all this, it’ll affect us eventually if they succeed. So… so yeah. That’s what kept me up late last night and got me up early this morning.” As she sinks into a chair, she adds, “So while we focus on the specifics of how to find Gwyn and how to get her home, I really, really think we need to be sparing a corner of our minds to think about this too.”
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2 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:13 pm

Rik Templeborn arrives dressed in full armor, his only deference to secrecy being a dusty brown traveling cloak which covers the metal protecting his body from all sides. He takes up a spot near the wall in the library, studying the room and its occupants with eyes which seem to miss nothing. Only when Sunrise begins to speak does he become animated, starting with surprise and then scowling deeply when he learns that Luther Rivvers has 'friends' which have acquainted him with Thorn's situation.

With difficulty, he waits to the end of this speech before he speaks; the man is distressed and agitated but keeping his emotions in check. "I feel compelled to point out," he says, his voice low, "that the ransom note said the outrageous sum would be a 'start for now'. Is it not possible the kidnappers do not expect the full impossible sum but are simply aiming for as much as they can extort? And why would they kidnap a wizard's daughter to find my Thorn? Xiloscient has already set the city guard searching for him months ago. That did not work then, so why would it work now?" He's pacing now, one hand resting over his chest in an odd gesture. "If they would scale the tower, why not kidnap an actual wizard and use his magic to find him?"
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3 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:20 pm

"Generally speaking, wizards are harder to kidnap than rebellious lovesick girls," Sunrise points out dryly.
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4 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:01 pm

Thimb had not slept the night before. She had gone home from the Devil's Own and went back to work on the diary, and each entry revealed more and more, and she couldn't stop. There was still a lot to work through, but she had made a respectable dent. She also still stopped to buy cookies before heading to the grand estate, wearing her best boots and her hair, once again, attempting to be kept tidy. She felt she needed to be proper.

She was very glad for the coffee. And the sugar to go into the coffee, but mostly the coffee for that whole lack of having slept.

She stifled a yawn, "Speaking of," she said, reaching into her satchel and pulling out the translated parts of the diary, "I made some more progress last night. Gwyn seemed upset about something, and someone, but... I'm not sure if it was her Mother, and I think she really did feel something for this pirate," she put the copies on the table, quickly running through them. "I think whoever the her in question, who made the thing that she wanted to tell her Mother about, is the missing factor. They may have needed Gwyn gone because she was going against them, and needed her Mother distraught so she wouldn't act against what ever it was Gwyn wanted her to act against... I think the council seat business might be a two birds, one stone situation, not the primary goal? Also there's this part where she mentions wanting to talk to her Dad, but, uhm, she doesn't have a Father in the more... traditional sense, right? Like, just her Mother raising her?"
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5 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:14 pm

Glen enters, dressed as usual in his traveling clothes and all his gear. Ever a man of the wilds, he always is ready for anything. He’s glad to be meeting in some place that isn't a wizard's laboratory, a teenager's bedroom, or a very crowded bar. It's quiet and comfortable here. He smiles warmly at those already present - except for Rik, for whom he has a solemn and respectful nod - and makes himself a cup of coffee. He finds a comfortable chair and puts down his bow, sword, and pack, and has a seat, waiting for the rest to arrive.

As Sunrise lays out the plan, Glen listens very carefully, only moving to sip his coffee. He, too, had been chewing on these questions, and hearing Sunrise’s theory about the amount of danger Thorn and the babies are in brings a very worried look to his face.

“Sunrise, this mission may only be about helping Gwynnestri, but Father Templeborn is one of us.” Glen feels a little silly - not even twenty-four hours have passed since this group of strangers was first thrown together by happenstance, but he means it. They were a team, and they were part of the mission that Dolores sent him on. He wouldn’t let any of them down, either. “Even if for no other reason than allowing him to focus on the mission, we have to help his family. And, besides that, Thorn and the babies are clearly innocents, and helping them is the right thing to do. All the better that it also is connected to our larger goal.”

He looks at Rik, his eyes sympathetic and somber. “Father. We’ve only just met, but it’s clear that you are a man of deep faith and conviction. I respect you, and I respect your wishes for your family. I only want the best for them.” He takes a breath. “Sunrise is right. Thorn isn’t safer because we don’t know where he is; he’s in even more danger. Despite being a random assortment of folks - or perhaps because of it - we have friends who have connections and resources. We can find a way to keep him, and your children, safe.”

Glen also listens quietly to Thimb’s thoughts on the journal. “That would make sense - Sunrise is right that it seems like awfully small potatoes to go for one random elf council seat. But still, maybe that’s just the next step. First, kidnap a prominent wizard’s daughter. Second, steal a council seat by murdering a councilman’s child. Third, maybe take out someone more prominent. Who knows where it could go from there.”
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6 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:53 pm

Ka'Ri looked over the giant board with a curious expression. No doubt her parents were among the ones complaining loudly about Immeral's seat, not that that necessarily endeared her to his potential part in all this. A father who could sell his own son to someone who would hurt him for politics or promises or guilt was not a father that was the worth the water to spit on.

She remembered the diary entries Thimb had excitedly shared with her as they waited for everyone else to arrive as well as what Thimb had found out from the booksellers. "I'm especially curious about how mad Gwynn seemed to be that Korogur wasn't playing up to his stereotype. It could have been a targeted seduction or it could have been genuine feelings that then got exploited by a family wishing to make their mark. Either way, it's definitely an exploitation of naivety and romantic feelings for petty political garbage, with potentially international implications if the bandit activity and ambushes are tied into this. Fucking nob shit, that stuff is."

She looked back, noting the conversation turning to surround Thorn and his connection to events and thought deeply about it. "It might be easier to fight for another seat, but if this asshole priest is anything like my..." Her next words were spat out as if getting rid of poison sucked from a wound, "father, he probably doesn't want to give up a plan and accept a loss if he thinks he can strongarm his way in the end. After all, there's so much manly pride at stake to let what you think is your property get away."

The last words were delivered in almost smug satisfaction as if Ka'Ri was reliving a particularly satisfying memory.
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7 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:31 pm

Sithani is wearing one of her finer dresses to this meeting, which surely has nothing to do with who's hosting it. She's delighted by the cookies; even more so by the flipchart, and even though she knows much of the political stuff already she listens to Sunrise's presentation intently. When Thimb puts the diary transcripts on the table, she gets up to read through them, muttering to herself.

"'Glass tank... That thing probably thinks more than the lot of them combined...' - well that sounds familiar. I doubt Gwynnestri bothered to do the research to confirm it's evil, but she's not wrong there. That beekeeper said they were hoping its secretions might cure the plague, but Gwynnestri evidently thinks otherwise. Blah blah blah idealistic teenage romance shit - not everyone's telepathic, Gwynnestri, if he's genuine he might not know exactly what the right thing to say is - Nine Hells, of course Erdan would do that. More drama."

In response to Ka'Ri's comments, she points out, "'Fucking nob shit' is just organised crime with silly titles. Maybe that's how we should look at this, go for the political angle. If the Redfangs want legitimacy and the respect due a house of such wealth and influence as they, can we use that to lure them into negotiation, or some trap? Unless Gwynnestri was kidnapped to keep her quiet about whatever she found out about what's probably the aboleth, in which case who knows what they want? That thing's powerful and uncooperative; what could anyone want to do with it?"
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8 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:20 pm

Ellowyn hasn't changed from their morning meeting with Laerdya they had a nap till sunrise woke them for the meeting and their hair stood on end in parts as their usual bun had become messy in their sleep

Ellowyn takes more notes than they have taken in a long time. They had no idea the politics of this place where so complicated.

Then as sithani starts muttering to herself rhey think now would be a good time to let the group no about Gwyn's illness.

"Things are worse than we were first led to believe, Gwyn is ill on multiple medications several are easy enough to find but one, actious, there's only a few folk that sell it prepared. There's also some rareish snacks she uses to help manage her condition. I'm thinking that the Redfangs will probably have to know people will watch the sellers of the prepared actious potions and they might try to manufacture their own. In which case we need to check out ingredients sellers. I thought maybe thimb and I could check those out if the potion vendors turn up no answers. If that's okay?" they look uncertainly at thimb and blush slightly.
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9 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:46 pm

Jarek has been trying to figure out how to condense all he learned from his cousin into as few words as possible, but the talk of political seats is just too baffling not to distract him.

"I don't want to waylay us, but--if this, uh, Xiloscient holds an elven seat, and it passes to someone who isn't an elf, surely they should just stop counting it among the 25 and give another seat to an elf? I understand Thorn has elvish blood too, but that's not... I mean, that isn't enough, is it? Or will the humans let themselves get trapped by their own laws like that?" Jarek stops and grimaces, not least at any attention he's attracted for speaking up. "It just seems like a weird sort of game to play, if that is their plan. I know who the orcs on the council are, and I know they're orcs because I know their families say they are. If they want political power, why not start there, instead of getting tangled up in people obsessed with bloodlines?"

Jarek takes the opportunity to produce his notes from meeting with his cousin that morning. "Unless they just want to cause more chaos. Which I suppose would also explain why pirates have been stealing so much cargo that was meant for Ms Laerdya's research. No one has seen Korogur in town lately, but maybe we could strike a deal with one of his rivals, this, uh... Damarfore Windward, or"--here he lobs a knowing grin at his sister--"Thea Starguide."
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10 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:06 pm

Sunrise takes notes as everyone speaks, grabbing for the journal pages as soon as Sithani is done with them and poring over them.

"To answer your other questions," she says, pointing a pencil at Rik even as she continues to look through the diary, "the fact that they said 'a start for now' makes it worse. It means they not only expect to get all they ask for, but they'll eventually ask for more. They can't reasonably expect to get paid under those circumstances, so again, it means money isn't their true goal. Also, Xiloscient holds a council seat but he's only one man, and they don't know Thorn's in danger. Gwyn's been threatened, and the whole city is endangered if she's not found. That gives the guards a lot more leeway." She sighs. "Even if that wasn't their initial goal, they'd be fools not to take advantage of it."

Taking a deep breath, she begins to point at various people. "Jarek: no, rearranging the ancestral seat assignments wouldn't be easy to do; bureaucracy is rarely sensible. I like the idea of talking to Korogur's rivals though, if we can. Ka'Ri, yes, it could just be macho ego, although the family's been successful enough that I would guess whoever's in charge of it doesn't base their decisions on personal feelings. Ellowyn, yes, yes, ingredients, do that, perfect. And Thimb..."

She sits back with a sudden sigh and shakes her head. "Are there pages missing from this?" She pushes the diary translations back across the table, brow furrowing. "She was posting every day about some sort of evil creature that clearly terrified her - and you seem to know what it is, Sithani, but I have no idea - and talking about killing it and killing someone else... then she just stops. There's nothing at all for six days, and when she comes back to it, it's just melodramatic babbling about her love life. Why isn't she still upset about the creature? What happened during those three days, and why didn't she -"

She breaks off mid-sentence, raising her head and looking at Jarek. "Wait, go back. What did you say about pirates stealing cargo?"
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11 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:43 am

As everyone is putting their cards on the table, Glen takes the opportunity to share what he and Jarek learned from Vice-Captain Imokina in more detail than he had the previous evening.

“Jarek and I spoke with my vice-captain Dolores Imokina yesterday. She had some interesting information.

“She told us that bandit activity is up across the board. Her specific words were that the bandits are 'in a frenzy,’ which is hardly surprising given their murder of my squad a few weeks back. She also said the bandits around Black Dagger Peak, the ransom drop point, were using the new ambush tactic of smoke sticks tied to arrows. Another total rout, unfortunately. The military believes there is a new tactician in that area. I'm thinking it's the Redfangs, laying the ground for the money drop.

“Worryingly, the plague has spread beyond the city walls. They've had the first reports of confirmed plague victims in the forest, which could be contributing to the bandit frenzy. They may be getting more desperate - which could have led them to align with the Redfangs, or at least make a deal with them.

“Vice-Captain Imokina suggested we might send a missive to the druid circle at the Darkwater garrison, who may have heard or seen changes in bandit or plague activity. I put a letter together.” He places it on the table beside the journal copies for any who wish to review it.

“Jarek asked the vice-captain if she knew of any bandit or pirate prisoners. She said City Guard Captain Callahan might have pirate prisoners and advised we see him, but she also told us to return today and she would furnish a bandit for us to question. It would be great if someone versed in the arts of interrogation and persuasion could join us.”
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12 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:14 am

Jarek nods along to Glen's information, then looks to Sunrise's question. "Pirates steal cargo, that's nothing new, but my cousin said that they haven't been making any exceptions for Laerdya's research materials. I can't fathom why. You'd think they would want a cure as much as anyone else, wouldn't you? We know pirates are still catching the plague; it isn't like they can just intimidate it away."

He pauses and scowls. "Apparently Redfangs don't hold as much power out at sea as they do in the city, so they're definitely not the only ones stealing this stuff, but we know they send their loot to Redfang stores, so... I guess we could go shopping to see what's making it to Brilight in the end? Or maybe one of those other pirates could tell us what's up. I can't see how a hero of the people, even an outlaw, would want it to be known they're stealing from Laerdya Siannodel at a time like this."
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13 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:33 am

"Unless something's wrong at the Feytower," Sithani suggests. "If the thing Gwynnestri was scared of is what I think it is, it's an aboleth - an immortal telepathic fish whose people used to rule the world and are upset that they don't anymore. Or so I'm told by someone from the Feytower; they would have a vested interest in vilifying their prisoner, but from how it acted and communicated I can well believe it. But I don't think it can be behind any evil plan or hiring pirates: it was demanding to be released. Offered me evil-flavoured versions of everything I want, too. If it's involved, I think it's being used by someone at the Feytower, but who and why are beyond me. And if something's rotten at the Feytower, that might explain why someone might want Gwynnestri out of the way, but it's lucky for the Redfangs that they have an opportunity to look for Thorn now."
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14 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:40 pm

Sunrise nods, looking thoughtful. "Check the stores, yeah. Maybe they're just trying to have a monopoly on the supplies?" An idea strikes her, and she pauses. "And if whoever goes can get their hands on a record of who's buying what, I'd be interested to know if anyone in particular is buying up the stuff meant for Laerdya."

Then she grins. "And, Jarek, if you can get us an audience with Thea Starguide I'll love you forever, but just in case, we should have a backup. You mentioned Damafore Windward; do we know any other pirates?" She looks from him to Ka'Ri.

She frowns at Sithani's explanation, drumming her fingers on the table. "...I meant to ask, how did the meeting with Laerdya go?" she asks after a moment. "I was thinking I might stop by there again this afternoon."

At Glen's news she pales. "The plague has spread?"
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15 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:34 pm

Glen nods gravely at Sunrise's question. "I'm afraid it has. A reanimated plague victim was reported in the forest, so it's possible that someone - an infected bandit maybe? - left the city and subsequently died. But they may have spread it. I put a warning for the druids in the letter."
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16 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:37 pm

She nods, clearly shaken by that. "Well." Forcing a smile, she says, "I think you and Jarek should interrogate any captives, then; you seem to work well together. And you underestimate yourself. You're very well-spoken; I have faith in your ability to convince someone to talk to you."
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17 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:07 pm

Thimb had not slept enough, and was now on her third cup of coffee, "That's all so far, I've been working backwards. Figured the relevant bits might be at the end?" she shrugged, "memory modification isn't as hard as it should be, and whoever she was worried about would have to be powerful. Maybe whoever she found out realized she was about to rat on them and erased it, not knowing she kept a diary? Maybe she didn't re-read her older entries?" she rubbed the back of her head. She didn't like this theory. It meant there was a powerful woman caster that wasn't Laedrya in the picture, and she wasn't sure who it could be. Another question to ask Luther, she supposed.

"And I could help deal with component sellers. We sell a lot of the more mundane things the chimeras produce to other sellers, we only directly sell the stranger or rarer things. I know a few of them, I mean, not well, but have met them. Although I do want to finish this diary as quickly as possible. Anyone else here speak Elvish and ever work in cracking ciphers?"
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18 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:13 pm

Sunrise flashes a sudden warm smile at Sithani. "Please tell me you and your friends have used ciphers and codes to set up secret meetings and the like, that would be amazing."
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19 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:12 am

Sithani smiles back. "I mean, I've learned something about it," she says in a deliberately off-hand manner. "Although it wouldn't hurt to have Thimb's notes on how the cipher works, just as a starter. When would you want it done?"
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20 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:42 am

Jarek looks dubious but checks his notes again. "I figured that someone as beloved as Starguide, or a properly bitter rival like Windward, might not mind too much if we wandered in off the street asking them to admit to some crimes and hunt a rich pirate. But I did get a few more names... Kelpyr Corcane is a big deal, and there are some up-and-comers called, uh... Tree Heartstrong, Graves Kair, and Radicel Northborn." He looks up and gives the room a tusky grin. "I don't suppose those are any of y'all's cousins or anything?"

His grin falters when he remembers Sunrise's other suggestion. "And look, I'll do whatever everyone thinks will be most useful here, but I don't know anything about questioning criminals. I'm pretty good at, like, looming over folks and looking intimidating, but I'm sure some of you folks have real experience."
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21 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:19 am

"Jarek." Glen smiles. "Sunrise is right, you shouldn't sell yourself short. I never would have thought of asking to interrogate bandits or pirates if not for you, and Vice-Captain Imokina clearly thought it was a great idea. You have a lot to contribute, and I think we make a good team."
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22 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:20 am

Father Rik looks up from the notes he has been studying. "I cannot read elvish," he announces gravely, "and I am not skilled in interrogation, but I can come along to meet this bandit. Perhaps we want someone familiar with the structures of criminal enterprise and banditry?" He gives Ka'Ri a measuring look.

Turning back to Sunrise, he frowns. "I do not like this idea of urging Thorn to come out of hiding. I would, of course, support his decision if that is what he wanted to do, but I do not like the idea of pressing him to make this choice. I would prefer to write to him and ask what he wants. But, I..." He hesitates, his frown deepening. "...I spoke with our go-between after the meeting with Laerdya and Luther yesterday. She informed me that her messenger--the one she has been using to send missives to Thorn--has vanished."
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23 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:25 am

"Vanished as in 'dropping out of contact for security reasons' or vanished as in 'oh shit'?" Sithani asks.
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24 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:28 am

Rik thins his lips. "She does not know where her messenger is. And her messenger was the only one who knew precisely where Thorn is. Neither she nor I know his exact location in order to prevent the information from getting out. We have a... general area."
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25 Re: A Conspiracy of Ravens [Everyone] on Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:02 am

He nearly laughs.  "It's not about confidence, my friends, just looking to our strengths.  Let's decide what we're getting up to before sending me to shake down a bandit just because Glen and I get along.  I may have suggested the approach, but--"

Jarek's brain tries to form the sentence I'm more of an idea man, encounters a critical fault, and has to reboot.  "--You can see where a good spot for a house would be, but that won't teach you how to build it.  Besides, when we've got the famous Sunrise on our side, it'd be a shame not to awe our foes into surrender when we can."

He beams down at his sister.  "And since we already have our best experts handling this secret code and puzzling out the mystery there, I'm thinking I might be more use as feet on the ground.  If the messenger to Thorn has disappeared, there's no way that's a sign of anything good.  Sounds to me like we should find him and bring him into the fold as quickly as possible."  Jarek methodically stretches each joint from his fingers to his shoulders, causing interesting shifts in the topography of his muscles along the way.  "If there's someone who needs to get pulled out of a dangerous place, well, that's somewhere I can bring some expertise to bear."
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