Geometric Archipelago:Dragons on Semicircle Island/Chapter 03
Chapter #3: Three-Dollar Bill
<mainstreet> ---BEGIN GAME---
<mainstreet> You look around, and most of the patrons of the YGP are your ordinary townsfolk. Humans and gnomes are scattered throughout the tables. There are several open tables in each section as well. An examination shows a single individual in each section that appears to be somewhat interesting.
<mainstreet> Most interesting in the Gray section is a cowled individual who looks to be content observing everyone else. The only reason he or she appears different from the general patron is that the cloak seems to be far too complete and rich for the ordinary denizen of the tavern.
<mainstreet> Of interest in the Yellow section is a blonde woman wearing a sequined black dress, dazzling with jewlery -- necklace, earrings, and a shiny belt. A townsman is sitting at her table and seems to be amusing her, but not in the way he'd prefer.
<mainstreet> In the Purple section you spot an elegant middle-aged lady in a deep purple dress with an almost patrician air about her. She's clearly a bit on the drunk side right now, and the two men sitting at her table seem mostly interested in keeping her happy. Everyone seems to recognize her and is generally avoiding her table.
<mainstreet> The bartender is a gnome wearing gray shirt with a yellow sleeve and a purple sleeve. He seems to be quite focused on making a particular concoction at the moment.
- Vivi heads to the bar to order a drink, but waits patiently for the bartender to finish.
- Nenni trots after Vivi with an "I'm with her" air.
- Ascii eyes both of the ladies in the fancy dresses, pays little mind to the hooded individual of indeterminate gender, and moseys on up to the bar. Because that's how you have to approach the bar, as per the rules.
<mainstreet> Vivi: After a minute, the bartender sends the drink off to one of the waiters, who pushes it off on one of the people at the aforementioned Purple table. He then takes a look at you. "What'll it be, miss?"
<mainstreet> Ascii: "And for you, dude, what's it going to be?"
<Ascii> "I dunno. What've you got?"
<Vivi> "Just a beer, whatever specialty you got."
<mainstreet> The barkeep looks at Ascii, then gestures pointedly behind him. You take a closer look, and... pretty much everything imaginable is back there. You can't even read the names of all this stuff. Bottles of every shape, size, and color can be found back there. He then turns, grabs a glass, and pours one of the taps. A frostly brown liquid appears, and he plops the drink in front of Vivi.
- Ascii gets a doe-eyed expression. "Oooooh."
- Vivi pays the barkeep and says, "Thanks." She takes her drink over to the Gray section and sits at the table with the cowled individual.
<mainstreet> Vivi: The individual looks up at you, and looks back down at their drink. They don't appear immediately interested in a conversation.
<Ascii> "Gimme a Troll's Sweat."
<Vivi> "I'm a newcomer to Semicircle," Vivi says to him or her, despite his lack of interest. "Can you tell me...is Gray a separate, minority party in the political system here? Or is this section just for neutral people who don't want their socialization to have anything to do with their politics?"
<mainstreet> Vivi: She sighs, and looks up at you. You can now make out her facial features as well as gender: cascading black hair, green eyes, and an overall disturbingly beautiful complexion. "Gray is neutrality, yes. Someone that doesn't care to advertise in here who they are. Of course, that also means not talking about it, because that defeats the point." She points at the wall, where you can see an Orc watching the room. "You'll get thrown out if you talk politics too much in the grey section -- or more specifically, start takling for or against either party."
- Nenni gives the cowled mysterious figure a subtle sniff, wondering what scents he can pick up - perfume? Horses? Soap? Mud?
<Vivi> "They enforce that?" Vivi says, looking at the orc. "That's...refreshing. I've only really met one representative of each party so far, and I'm already tired of the dispute."
<mainstreet> "If they don't, there'd be a brawl in here every night," she smirks.
<mainstreet> Aeth: You are momentarily blinded by the sparkle of the Yellow lady's earrings.
<Vivi> Aeth, in Vivi's head: "Oooo, pretty."
<mainstreet> Nenni: You can smell perfume on her, yes. But you're a bit annoyed by it and gain no useful information whatsoever from that fact.
- Nenni moves away from the nasty smell. It's got up his nose now. He sneezes delicately to clear it.
<Vivi> "I know you're a democracy," Vivi continues to the cowled lady, "but it seems as if certain persons," and here she waves at the two fancier ladies in Yellow and Purple, "are almost like nobility compared to ordinary folk. Are they rich merchants or politicians or...something else?"
<Ascii> Ascii, drink presumably in hand by now, sits at the bar and sips, and half-assedly eavesdrops on Vivi's ongoing attempts to communicate with the locals.
<mainstreet> The woman turns around and instantly spots who you're referring to. They're not subtle. "Former President Randle and the current President's daughter Heather..." she muses idly, indicating them in turn, then turns back to you. "Yeah, gotta be rich to run a campaign. Or attract a rich donor like Lamaranth, but if you're getting Presidential funding from her you're probably already quite wealthy."
<Vivi> Vivi suggests Ascii go eavesdrop on someone she's *not* talking to, to double their rate of information acquisition.
<Vivi> *suggests via Aethnet
<Vivi> "How many children does the current president have?" Vivi asks the lady.
<mainstreet> "He has four. But I haven't seen the eldest in a while."
<Vivi> "Is the eldest..." Vivi consults her notes, "Lauren?"
<mainstreet> The woman nods silently.
<mainstreet> Vivi: Two things are immediately apparent to you. First, you realize that Ascii's eavesropping is like an M1 Abrams tank sitting on the curb outside of a crack house doing a stakeout. Second, you realize that the woman has a ring on her finger, and you recognize the symbol of the bank you were just at earlier etched on the visible emerald.
<Vivi> Vivi says quietly, hoping that no one other than Ascii is trying to overhear them, "I just noticed your ring, Ms. ... Winstara. I would very much like to know whether your entire family ... in particular, the ones with a controlling say over the finances of the family business ... whether they all share your current interest in neutrality."
<mainstreet> The woman blinks in surprise, then looks at her hands... and quickly grabs the ring, pulling it off her finger and down into a pocket. "I'm sorry, I don't know what you're talking about."
<mainstreet> The woman takes another look at you and frowns. "I recommend you avoid sticking your nose into places it doesn't belong, little girl. The President sent you to cause trouble, did he? Bitter that he had to win without us, is he? No, no, you can leave my presence. Immediately. Or I will cause a fight and get you thrown out. I'm more than ready to leave anyway."
- Vivi perks up. "He won without you? That was all I wanted to know, actually. I assure you, I have no axe to grind against your family, and I will keep this in confidence. But it supports the idea that there is another player involved. I thank you most kindly, and I am sorry to have upset you. I will leave you in peace." She stands up and walks back to the bar.
- Nenni keeps pace with Vivi, putting distance between his olfactory organs and the source of that perfume.
<mainstreet> Ascii: "Involved in what..." the woman murmurs softly to herself. "I wonder..."
- Vivi looks back and forth between Lisa Randle and Heather Michaels, then heads towards the Yellow table and sits next to Heather.
<Vivi> "Hello, my name is Vivi," she says, introducing herself. "I believe you are ... Heather?"
<mainstreet> As you take one of the open seats at Heather's table, the person she's talking to gets up and walks away, clearly distressed and miserable. Heather chuckles and looks over at Vivi. She gets a big mischeivous grin on her face. "I would indeed be Heather. And you are?"
<Vivi> "Vivian Page," she says, "if you want my full name. But like I said, I go by Vivi. Do you mind if I ask...are you close to your sister Lauren? Do the two of you talk often?"
<mainstreet> Heather looks at Vivi, amused. "What's it to you? Why do you care?"
<Vivi> Vivi ponders just *how* secret they should be keeping their mission, and decides this won't be too much of a breach. Very quietly, she whispers, "Your dad hired us to find your sister." In a less whispering, but still quiet, tone she continues, "I wanted to know if you knew what your sister had been doing or working on or thinking about lately."
<mainstreet> Heather sniffs. "Yeah, right. You're probably just trying to find dirt or something. I'm going to tell you she was hanging out with Nunya Business lately. I dare you to print that."
<Ascii> Ascii, hearing this through the Party Chat and sensing an impending social train wreck, sets down his empty mug and steps up next to Vivi. "Vivi, stop pestering people."
- Vivi , confused, begins to copy down 'Nunya Business' in her notes. Only after writing it down does she see it. She scratches it off and frowns at Heather as if Heather were a naughty child.
<mainstreet> "And who might *you* be, you big, strapping man," Heather whistles slightly appreciatively. "This your girlfriend? She doesn't look like much to me..." she looks at Vivi disdainfully.
<mainstreet> Ascii: Heather's just reeking of insincerity right away. You don't get the sense of any genuine respect from her whatsoever. She doesn't respect Vivi much either right now.
<Vivi> "He's just a friend," Vivi says stiffly.
<Vivi> "I'll leave you to him." She gets up and walks over to the bar, where she can cast a spell without being so obvious. Surreptitiously, she casts Detect Thoughts.
<Ascii> Ascii knows a fake come-on when he hears it, but decides to play along. "I apologize for her behavior. Lots of questions, little tact. I am Ascii, servant of Pelor, may His pants shine forevermore. And who might you be, m'lady?"
<mainstreet> "You mean you don't *know*?" You can practically hear the implicit fake outrage. "I'm Heather Michaels. My father's the President of this Island. And I'm it's hottest lady."
<mainstreet> Vivi: You sense that Heather really enjoys playing with the men that show up here at the Inn. Make them think she's interested, then completely crush their heart. It's her entertainment. She's actually starting to get a bit frustrated that people are catching onto her. It's only the newbies that come to her table anymore. She hopes Ascii will provide great hilarity.
<mainstreet> Ascii: For what it's worth, she might not be wrong. She's certainly the most physically attractive woman you can see here in the Inn right now. You can tell that it's something she cares a great deal about.
- Vivi directs her cone of thought-detecting towards...oh, the Winstara lady isn't there anymore. She moves her spell towards the Purple table with Lisa Randle at it.
<Ascii> Ascii, picking up on Vivi's analysis, bows. "I'm inclined to agree. You're certainly leagues beyond the rest of these folks. But what can you expect? They're only commoners, after all."
<mainstreet> Vivi: Lisa's thoughts are... jumbled. She's clearly a bitter, defeated woman. It's hard to get clear surface thoughts out of someone who's drunk. She's convinced something weird happened in the last election, but can't prove it.
<mainstreet> Ascii: Heather blinks at you. "Where do you come from, some crazy feudalist Island? We're all equal here. At least legally. 'Commoner' isn't exactly a coherent word on this Island, hun. There's a lot to find interesting... like yourself."
<Ascii> "Legally, yes. But I meant more in the 'rare beauty vs. common plain-ness' sense. Faces like that are a dime a dozen." Yes...faces. Ahem. "You seem classier."
<mainstreet> Heather smiles. "Well of course, but that's just talent, hun. My sisters, for instance, are nothing like me."
<Ascii> "I imagine your parents would have been hard-pressed to improve upon you. Although, for the record, what my errant friend mentioned earlier is true. We *are* looking for your missing sister, at your father's behest."
<mainstreet> "Oh. Well..." Heather shrugs lazily. "Not having the amazing perfection that I have, Lauren actually feels a need to leave town and actually get into the dirty business of the political game. I think she was in Moosehead. But I couldn't tell you what. I enjoy being the President's daughter, but I don't really know much about all this. I don't care to know, frankly." She grins at Ascii. "If you're working, that just means you need to. *I* don't."
<Ascii> "Fair enough. Well, with any luck, we'll find your sister and you'll have one more person to lord over." Ascii flashes a wry grin and moves to leave.
<mainstreet> Heather gives Ascii a puppy dog face. "Leaving so soon?" she pouts.
<Ascii> "Afraid so. I'll be sure to come back and visit, though. It would be hard to stay away." He then rejoins Vivi, muttering under his breath.
<mainstreet> "Make it soon!" she calls after him.
<Ascii> "That woman is faker than a three-dollar bill. Are we done here?"
<Vivi> "Yeah, I think so."
<Nenni> Telepathically, Nenni suggests to Ascii and Vivi that the barkeep himself might have errands or jobs for the party to perform.
- Vivi heads back to Terry the Ox and his cart. She climbs in, makes herself as comfortable as she can, and says, "To Moosehead! Or, to be more precise, to however far we get tonight before camping."
<Ascii> Ascii hops in beside her. "What she said!"
<mainstreet> Hildyr pulls on Terry, and Terry takes off!
<mainstreet> The city gives way to fields, and the fields roll on boringly. You spot occasional farmhouses along the trail to Moosehead. Eventually, it gets late enough that you realize it's probably a good idea to set up camp.
- Vivi finds an innocuous place on the side of the trail to cast Secure Shelter.
- Nenni sleeps the whole journey.
<mainstreet> Vivi: You have a Secure Shelter. It's big enough for all of you as long as you leave Terry and the cart hitched outside.
- Vivi settles in for the night, preparing spells for the morning.
- Nenni watches the arcane preparations in reverence.
<Nenni> Before curling up to go to sleep in front of the fireplace, Nenni summons an Astral Construct to pat him as he nods off.
<Ascii> Ascii strips off his armor with a resounding clatter of metal, then hops into bed and snores himself to sleep.
<mainstreet> ---SOME TIME LATER---
<mainstreet> You slowly wake up, the sun starting to peak over the horizon. You've had a nice long rest.
<Vivi> After everyone has eaten breakfast and gotten ready, Vivi climbs into the cart to continue their way to Moosehead.
- Nenni spends a round to gain his psionic focus, and stretches, then ambles out to the cart and looks up at people boarding it.
<Nenni> He hops up somewhere he can catch the rays during the trip.
<Ascii> Ascii jumps into the pile of armor parts next to the bed, wallows in them like a dog in trash, then somehow stands up fully clad and ready to roll out. He hops on the wagon with the others.
<mainstreet> And you're off!
<mainstreet> After a couple of hours, you find yourselves approaching the City of Moosehead. It's more like a Town, really, but who named these things anyway? Oh right... well, anyway...
<mainstreet> Moosehead is a rustic town, with scattered buildings. The Moosehead Inn appears to be the largest building, directly across from the City Administration Complex. You can also spot the Moosehead General Store, the Moosehead Sheriff's Office, the Moosehead Branch Office of Winstara Bank, and the Party Offices of both Yellow and Purple, as well as scattered residences and other lesser buildings.
- Nenni wakes up, yawns, and takes a good look at the surroundings: architecture and folk alike.
<Ascii> "Welcome to Podunk."
<mainstreet> Various people are walking around, going about their business as usual. You don't immediately see anything you don't expect to see. The architecture is the simple medieval construction of wood small buidlings, stone larger buildings.
<Ascii> "So, we're looking for two Yellow Party folks and a missing Purple mayor. Wanna bet the party office is our first stop?"
<Vivi> "Shall we flip a gold piece to pick Yellow or Purple first?"
<Ascii> "Let's go with Yellow. Two of them vs. one of the other."
<Vivi> "Yellow it is."
<Nenni> "I'll go and see what I can pick up around the place too. Food... and information alike."
- Nenni slinks off.
<mainstreet> You make your way to the Yellow Party Office. The door is propped open. You look inside and see a bunch of filing cabinets lining the walls. Three doors indicate offices, and a fourth leads to the RESTROOM. Along the near wall you see a long table with various papers stacked on them. The room itself is dominated by a large rectangular table surrounded by chairs, all but one of which is empty. The filled chair has a young man
<mainstreet> dressed in yellow who is writing something on a form. He looks up as you approach. "Oh, do come in!"
- Vivi enters. "Hello."
<Ascii> Ascii follows. "Yo."
<Vivi> "What's your name? And your role here?" Vivi asks the young man.
<mainstreet> "Welcome to the Moosehead Yellow Party Offices. I'm Todd, intern. How can I help you?"
<Vivi> "Who's in charge here?"
<mainstreet> "Well, that'd be Ricardo. He's in his office right now, though, and I'm not sure I want to bug him. What are you here for?"
- Vivi looks at Ascii, clearly indicating that he should decide how to answer that question.
<Ascii> Ascii moves forward, placing his hands on the table and leaning forward. "We hear you're missing some people."
<mainstreet> "Well, sure, but why is that *your* business? Everyone heard the screams that night, myself included..."
<mainstreet> "Well yeah, when Lauren got grabbed by Lamaranth, right? ...wait, is that why you're here? Did Lamaranth send you? I... I think this is definitely above my level..." Todd looks distinctly nervous now.
<Ascii> "What? No, actually, your boss sent us."
<mainstreet> "Ricardo? Uh, I wasn't told to expect anyone," Todd frowns. He gets up and starts to head towards the office with the word DIRECTOR engraved on it. He still looks pretty confused.
<Ascii> "Nah. His boss. All of your bosses. The *big* boss. El Presidente."
<mainstreet> "Oh, President Michaels?" Todd turns. "Uh... you got any proof of that?" He sighs. "You know what, I'm just gonna go wake, err I mean get Ricardo..."
<mainstreet> He opens the DIRECTOR door and slips inside.
<mainstreet> A minute later, Ricardo, a large man with a totally cool beard, steps out. He looks at you grumpily. "Whaddaya want?"
<mainstreet> ---END SESSION---