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A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen)

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1 A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen) on Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:40 pm

Eleint 8th, afternoon.

The area which Rik drew on the map where Thorn is staying was a smallish circle in Westside, though not nearly as small as the searchers might like. Sunrise in particular knows just how compact the slums can be: it's quite amazing how many people may be crammed into an impossibly small living space when things like 'quality of life' and 'health standards' are considered minor details. The trio could knock on doors all day for the rest of the day and still not have covered a tithe of the area.

Then, too, there is always the possibility that they are being followed, or that other searchers are in the area. It might not be wise to openly advertise their purpose today. Moreover, while Sunrise knows Westside well, this is an area far enough from her own home that this isn't her 'backyard'. She's familiar with a lot of the faces in the area--and she is even more familiar to them, by virtue of her singing career and being a local girl who made good--but these aren't her close family or friends.
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Sunrise sighs, surveying the narrow streets. "We're going to have to ask questions," she says after a moment. "Babies aren't easy to hide: crying can be heard through these paper-thin walls, nappies leave evidence, and while I'm sure the messenger delivered regular supplies, there's always emergencies you can't plan for. Someone knows they're here. But how do we ask around without putting them in more danger?"
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Glen folds his arms, looking around to see if they are being followed, then looks at his companions. He considers Jarek for a moment. "Maybe there's a story we can tell. Jarek is orcish, as is Thorn. I've got my Eighth Division sigil. You're a local gal. Maybe..." He reaches up and absently tugs at his shaggy sideburns. "Maybe Jarek, a new recruit, came to me for help finding his brother. The brother just had children and ran away from the rest of their family, fearing they would be ostracized. Jarek just wants his brother back. I enlisted a well-known local singer to help look for him. It's not...a great cover, but it's better than just saying we're looking for babies. And it's certainly better than the truth." He looks back and forth at each of them. "Thoughts?"

Perception 14
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She nods slowly. "And I'm here to vouch for the both of you because otherwise people wouldn't talk to you. It's not great, like you said, but we can make it work I think." She examines the building in front of them. "I know a couple folk who live in here. Want to try them first?"
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"Seems as good a place to start as any. I'll be Elen, he of the Eighth Division." He looks to Jarek. "And what's your name, recruit?"
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Jarek had spent much of the walk to the neighbourhood in deliberate, thoughtful silence. Glen and Sunrise didn't know him well enough to realise how odd this was. He liked greeting people, bringing them some cheer, unless they looked like they truly didn't want to be noticed. Never know who might be a friend.

But today his thoughts are slowly cranking through their dilemma, trying to compare it to any problem he does know how to solve and coming up with a big handful of nothing. This isn't like trying to lure a creature out of its burrow, and it's not like trying to separate someone from a herd--it's a devilish hybrid of the two. Like trying to get one specific paranoid prairie squirrel to come out of the swarming colony. At the same time as another trapper is searching for it. Without being noticed by the other trapper or the rest of the colony. And the colony is also being ravaged by disease so they're not all that enthusiastic about making new friends either.

So when Glen and Sunrise lay out their plan, Jarek is no less dubious than them, but he has nothing better to suggest. It isn't as if they can smoke out the whole neighbourhood.

"Ganneth, he of Nightdock, perhaps? I mean, of the Eighth. Or am I, if I'm new?"
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Glen nods. "You are, but the confusion is befitting a new recruit who has been used to saying one thing and now says something unfamiliar to the tongue." He puts his hand in his pocket and takes out the Eighth Division symbol - rather than putting his hands in his pockets immediately after knocking on the door of a stranger, best to have it ready to go. "I think we're ready, or at least as ready as we're going to be. Sunrise, since you know these folks, do you want to do the knocking?"
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She takes a deep breath, heads inside the building, and leads them to a door. "Here goes nothing," she murmurs as she knocks.
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A pretty young tiefling woman who can't be more than eighteen years old answers the door with a baby on her hip and a wide-eyed toddler in close pursuit. "Yes?" she asks warily, worried by the knock. Then her eyes widen. "Sunrise? Is that you? I haven't seen you since I was a kid! How are you?"

She then takes in Glen and Jarek and instinctively closes the narrow door gap just a little smaller, unsure what to think of these strange men.
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Her eyes widen. "Oh my gosh look at your kids, they're adorable! Hi!" She waves at the toddler, then gives the young woman a sheepish grin. "Hey, uh. I'm good, I just..." She waves at Glen and Jarek. "Sorry. These two are friends of mine, they're okay. The big guy there is looking for his little brother, and, well, you know how people in this part of town are." She smiles. "I'm here to vouch for them. Is it okay if they ask you about him?"
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Verity hesitates but nods shyly. "Uhhh, okay. Come on in quick, before Peace runs out. She's already faster than me, if you can believe it. I was just about to feed Concord, but he can wait a little longer."
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Glen smiles warmly, turning on the charm. Despite being an outlander, Glen has always been pretty good at meeting new folks. "Thank you so much." He steps through the door. While he's waiting for the others, he looks down at the toddler, grinning. "You must be Peace! Sounds like you're pretty fast. We should race some time!"

Turning towards Verity, Glen is at the same time gentle but also urgent. "Ma'am, thank you so much for seeing us. I'm Elen, he of the Eighth Division." He holds up the divisional symbol, then pockets it again. "My friend here is Ganneth, he of the Eighth Division as well. He's a new recruit from my unit and he came to me asking for some help.

"You see, his brother recently had twins and ran away from home because his parents didn't approve. It's all Ganneth can do to try and focus on his training and learning the ropes of the military what with worrying about his brother all the time." Glen gives Verity what information he has about Thorn's physical description, and shares that the twins are a boy and a girl. "You wouldn't happen to have seen somebody like that around the neighborhood, have you?"
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"Hi, Peace," Sunrise coos as she herds the other two inside. "Oh wow, what a big girl you are. Are those your horns starting to bud already?" She ruffles the girl's hair, making a show of checking for as-yet-nonexistent horns. "Wanna meet Honey?" She continues distracting and entertaining the child as Glen and Jarek ask their questions.
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The toddler studies 'Elen' with wide eyes and jams two fingers in her mouth, not answering him. Sunrise, as a tiefling, gets a wide grin when her hair is ruffled and horns are mentioned--then a cry of startled delight when Honey flies up off Sunrise's shoulder. Thereupon follows happy squeals as the little girl stumbles around the small dwelling in an attempt to catch the homunculus.

Verity nods at the introduction but doesn't volunteer her own name; she seems to believe them but is still wary of strange men in her home. "Oh gosh, um. That sounds really hard," she agrees, frowning at the tale of Ganneth's poor runaway brother. "And... you say he's an orc?" Her frown deepens as she looks to Jarek for confirmation of this detail. "Because, um. There's not a lot of orcs in this neighborhood? They usually stick to the Southside. I mean, Westside isn't all tieflings, I know, but this part of Westside mostly is?" She shakes her head slowly, looking thoughtful. "I feel like I'd have noticed orc twins."
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"Half-orc," Sunrise confirms, glancing up, "and half-elf. Red hair, freckles, might be with another half-orc." She shakes her head. "He might be trying to stay hidden, honestly. Actually, you might know this." She nods toward little Concord. "If you had a baby-related emergency, say in the middle of the night, where around here would you go?"
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"No, I don't know any orcs like that," she says after a thoughtful pause. "I'm pretty sure I'd remember. But I don't get out a lot since Concord was born."

Sunrise's question, however, she can answer immediately. "Oh, you want Old Hacari for that," she says with an easy nod and a bounce of the baby on her hip. "She can fix anything. Fixed up Concord when he had a bad cough. Which was a godsend, because Leucis and Amity and Lerissa gotta sleep if they're going to work, you know? Yes. You were loud," she informs the unrepentant infant, who appears torn on whether or not to cry at the funny people in his home.
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Sunrise grins. "Probably ought to be our next stop then. Where could we find her?"
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"If you go back out to the main street," she says, describing the pitiful little narrow street they came in from as 'main', "then go one block south, then take a right, she's on the third floor above the grocer there. It's a bit narrow, maybe 'grocer' isn't the right word," she admits, turning shy in front of Glen and Jarek again. "But the owner sells bread and cream and diapers."

The baby reaches out to pat Glen with a tiny closed fist, coveting his shiny badge.
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Glen nods, smiling gratefully. "That's so helpful. Thank you so very much for talking with us. For your time, and for the baby. In case he has another cough," he says, reaching into his pouch and pulling out a gold piece, holding it out for her. "Please be well."
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Sunrise calls Honey back to her and ruffles Peace's hair one more time, then offers the girl a quick, baby-careful hug before they go. "Thank you," she whispers. She, too, presses a couple gold pieces into her hand. "Do something nice for all three of you," she says with a small smile.
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Verity blinks to be handed so much money, a little overwhelmed. "T-thank you. Oh goodness, are you sure?" Still, her fingers close around the coins and she tucks them carefully into a pocket at her waist. "Thank you, Sunrise. And Sunrise's friends," she adds with a smile. "I'm sorry I wasn't more helpful. I hope you find your brother, though," she adds to Jarek with warmth.
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"Hey, and, if anyone asks, can you not mention seeing us? I'm technically breaking a couple of rules - recruits aren't supposed to leave until their training is complete, but he was so worried I just couldn't help it." Glen shrugs a little - it's worth breaking the rules to help a friend.
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Verity gives him a freshly wary look but she nods again. "I can't imagine anyone would come ask me about much of anything," she observes, only the tiniest hint of worry in her tone giving away her concerned hope that this doesn't suddenly change in the immediate future.
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Glen kind of chuckles a little. "You know what? You're right. Nothing to be worried about. I'm just such an over thinker sometimes that I worry too much." He steps over to the door, pulling it open but keeping an eye out in case Peace makes a break for it. "Thank you again, so much. Sorry to bother you."

He steps back out into the street, looking out for anyone whose eyes may have lingered on him for too long, or for anyone who hadn't moved since they went inside.

Perception 19

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"Thank you," Sunrise repeats softly, and follows him out.

Once outside she looks at the two men. "So. Old Hacari?"
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