Geometric Archipelago:The Longest Five-Pointed Night/Chapter 03
Chapter Three: New Guy, Big Guy, Dead Guy
<mainstreet> ---BEGIN SESSION---
Ashling walks up to the bar and gestures to the barmaid "Kayla! long time no see. virgin broken nose on the rocks with a twist please"
<mainstreet> Kayla rolls her eyes. "Coming right up," she mutters, grabbing some stuff, and putting... some stuff... out there. It looks... pink. She slides the glass to Ashling.
Ashling downs half of it in two gulps. "So how's the town been while I've been away?"
<Ascii> Ascii chug-a-lugs to his heart's content.
Brellius sips his tea in a boring and dignified manner
<mainstreet> "What do you expect," Kayla smirks at her. "The oldest question on this Island continues, Needfest is on the approach, which I assume is why you came back? ...and people still are stupid enough to spellcast while drunk! Oh, and there's these three newbies here," Kayla points at the rest of The Party.
<Ashling> "Yeah, I had a bit of trouble getting here. Long story." She looks over at the others "Hi. I'm Ashling."
<Ascii> Ascii looks up from his drink, sporting a foam mustache. "...hi? We're...uh..."
<Ascii> He turns to the others. "What did we call ourselves again?"
<Brellius> "Nash. Brellius Nash."
<Ascii> "I meant the party."
<Brellius> "I wouldn't mind naming the party after me."
<Kanzel> "We have a party name?"
<Ashling> "Two guys a girl and a pizza place?"
<Ascii> "We ought to. Otherwise, how are we going to introduce ourselves collectively?"
<Ashling> "A very well-armed pizza place... So what brings you to the city? you don't look like you're from around here."
<Ascii> "We're not. We're on an assignment."
<Ashling> "Ah. that sounds fun. Are you staying for Needfest?"
<Ascii> "You could say that."
<Ascii> "Are you a mage or something?"
<Ashling> "Yup. Been casting spells since before I could walk."
<Ascii> "What sort of spells?"
<Brellius> "I'd be more impressed if you learned to cast spells before you could talk."
<Ashling> "Anything I could get my hands on, really. Conjuration, mostly. but I've always been completely fascinated with magic. I spend most of my time travelling to different places studying magic."
Ascii looks thoughtful.
Ashling chugs the rest of her lemonade. "Another please, Kayla."
<Ascii> Ascii leans over to the others. "Remind me, do we have any good spellcasters with us?"
<Ascii> He grins. "Besides me, I mean. Heh heh."
Kanzel whispers "I've only got a few wands."
Brellius also whispers. "I don't need spells."
<mainstreet> Kayla nods and repeats her motions, sliding another pink lemonade to Ashling, then walks over to work on someone else's drink.
Ascii leans back over to Ash. "So, you're a freelance caster?"
Ashling sips at her lemonade "Pretty much."
Ascii mulls things over. "We might be in the market for someone of your talents. Any cchance you'd be willing to take a job?"
<Ashling> "Sure, as long as it doesn't interfere with Needfest. I want to get past fifth seed this time."
<Ascii> "Don't worry. We're planning to be done by then anyway."
<Brellius> "That's assuming nothing goes horribly wrong."
<Ascii> Deciding to make the offer official, Ascii lays out the details of the assignment, taking great pains to stress the fact that this is all supposed to stay hush-hush.
<mainstreet> Kayla hears your assignment loud and clear. She walks over. "Probably isn't the best place to talk about that. You're lucky that was me that heard that, and not someone like Big Mike over there."
<mainstreet> Kayla indicates the person. He looks... big. Your classical thug. Axe slung over his back, cruel and gloomy face.
<Ashling> "Oh yeah, he's scary."
<Brellius> "I've seen scarier."
<Ascii> "Yeesh. Who is that, anyway?"
<mainstreet> You notice Big Mike talking to a couple of more normal sized individuals. He seems to be glaring at the four of you.
<mainstreet> "Big Mike is one of the more notorious thugs on the Isle. We tolerate him because one good spell takes him out usually, he's a pretty incompetent Wizard," Kayla whispers. "He basically works for whoever pays him the most."
<Kanzel> "Why is he glaring at us?"
<mainstreet> Kayla shrugs. "Probably just 'cause you're new. I don't really know."
Ascii tries to avoid looking him in the eye. "Well, okay then Kayla, we'll just have to trust you won't repeat any of this yourself."
<mainstreet> Kayla lowers her voice. "I'm not going to betray my own mother," she whispers. "I trust her, and therefore, I trust you."
Ashling blinks. "I didn't know you were related."
Ascii nods. "Hopefully, we can help her out."
<mainstreet> "What, thought I was a fangirl or something? Nah, I don't make a big deal about it because I prefer to be 'Kayla', not 'Kelsey's daughter'."
<Ascii> "Heh heh. Plus, I'm guessing she doesn't mind having someone relatively incognito to eavesdrop on John Q. Public."
<mainstreet> Kayla smiles mysteriously. "I don't hide it, either, but if I collect an intelligence salary on the side, that's my business, isn't it?"
<mainstreet> Kayla then shrugs. "I'll probably keep my position even if Mom loses one, as long as it's to a Good or Neutral."
<Ascii> "With any luck, it won't come to that. Hmm...how much do you know about her competition, anyway? Anything that might help us?"
<mainstreet> Kayla frowned. "The thing is, everyone decent tries. Anyone in the top 5 or 6 in any given region can win their regional on any given Needfest. That would include Ashling here. That said... I really only know of 7 individuals that would have a chance against Kelsey herself this time around. All of the Island Council: T'Merin, Adams, Martinez, and Eridin are the best of the best... Gozano and Peryan are capable contenders, as is, potentially, Brantley. That doesn't count anyone I don't really know much about though."
<Kanzel> "Do you know anyone named Jack?"
<mainstreet> "Jack..." Kayla rolls the name around in her head for a few seconds. "That sounds familiar. I'm not sure... He's none of the seven I mentioned, I'll tell you that."
<mainstreet> Kanzel: You notice that Big Mike has found a few mage-y friends and is headed your way. He looks angry.
Kanzel sees movement out of the corner of her eye. "Incoming."
<mainstreet> Big Mike looms over the bar. "What're these outsiders doin' here, Kay? They look like snoops. I think we should do somethin' about them."
<mainstreet> Kayla says "They have just as much right to be here as you do, Mike."
<mainstreet> "Oh yeah," Mike replies, brandishing his axe. "Well I have to disagree."
<Brellius> "Let's just agree to disagree."
Ascii glances at the others, with a 'try not to draw attention, but be ready for a fight' expression.
<mainstreet> Big Mike takes a big swing at Kanzel with his axe!
<mainstreet> "Hey, now, there's no need for that!" Kayla protests, ducking behind her bar, clearly searching for something.
<mainstreet> Mike misses, smashing his axe into the bar.
Ascii jumps, as the blade cleaves his ale mug in half. "Gah!"
Kanzel turns invisible and jumps back from the bar stool.
<mainstreet> The wizards blink, and start backing away. "Whoa, dude, you didn't say anything about attacking," one of them commented.
<Brellius> "Hey, I just wanna drink my tea in peace!"
<Ashling> "You've just upset I beat you last year."
Brellius summons a polearm with a pillow at the end. "I'll try not to make a mess here."
<mainstreet> The wizard in question rolls his eyes. "Look, I'm just happy I made it to Upper Bracket at all last Needfest. I didn't expect to get a win in."
Ashling mutters "doesn't mean you take it out on outsiders," she says as she attempts casting hold person at Big Mike
<mainstreet> Mike is... held in place. His comment upon realization of this is not fit to print.
<mainstreet> Kayla pops up, holding a wand... "Oh. Well done. That was my plan as well."
<Brellius> "That's the boring way to do it, but I guess it still got done."
Ashling takes another sip of lemonade "Not going to last long though."
<mainstreet> "I hate you guys." Big Mike comments gloomily.*
<Ascii> "Can't we just call the cops or something?"
<mainstreet> Kayla sighs. "They'll lock him up for disturbing the peace for three days, then he'll be back out. No spells were cast by the perp, and no one took any damage, so there's no identified danger to make it an actual long-term charge. Plus..." Kayla frowns. "Mike, I know you. You've never been like this before. That's not really what's going on here, is it?"
<mainstreet> Mike glares. "I was told to make sure no outsiders came snooping."
Ascii blinks. "He tried to hit us with an *axe*. That doesn't qualify as assault?"
<Brellius> "I'm guessing they care more about spells than steel here."
<Kanzel> "Makes sense."
<mainstreet> "Yeah, no one takes axes, or swords, seriously. If he'd actually caused any damage, that'd be one thing," Kayla comments.*
Ascii looks sadly at the bar. "He murdered my ale..." *sniff*
<Ascii> He glares at Mike. "Okay, big guy. Told by *who*, exactly?"
<mainstreet> "I won't charge you for it. I'll charge Mike," Kayla notes.
<mainstreet> "Uh... uh..." Mike gets a shifty look. "I don't really know who he is. He didn't really give me his name or anything."
<mainstreet> Brellius, Kanzel: You're 100% sure that Mike is 100% telling the truth! Why, a more honest man has never been found! Call him Honest Father Mike!
<mainstreet> Ascii: You get the sense that Mike might be evading here.
<mainstreet> Ashling: No.
<mainstreet> (As in, you have no impressions.)
Ascii frowns. "Mike, you're being difficult. We have friends in high places...the sort of friends you really don't want to think you might be hiding something from them and/or us. Why don't you tell us what you know, and we'll see about putting this whole ugly business behind us, hmm?"
<mainstreet> "Well... I may have overheard... someone once... call him Jack."
Ascii raises an eyebrow. "That's it? Nothing else? Have you ever met this guy in person?"
<mainstreet> "He doesn't show his face. Ever," Mike commented. "I don't think even those that work for him full-time get to see him. But there's something weird... you know... his voice is like... flat... you know, no inflection or anything. Like... it came from somewhere else, even, or was magically translated."
<mainstreet> Ashling: Sounds like the sort of thing you might get from a badly cast (or high-requirement) Tongues effect. It could also be a projected voice with an object of some sort (like, a speaker or something).
<Ashling> "Sounds like a Tounges spell"
<Ascii> "You didn't answer my question, Mike. How exactly does this 'Jack' contact you?"
<mainstreet> "There's an old warehouse on D ring that he's using a part of as a de facto office. Building 324. I go there, he says something, this little halfling guy hands me a payment, but doesn't say anything, I leave."
<Ascii> "Little halfling guy. Hmm."
<mainstreet> "That's odd. I didn't know there were any halflings in the Archipelago at all," Kayla notes. "I mean, the Archipelago is about 49% Human, 25% Elf, 25% Gnome, just under 1% Dwarf, and scattered populations of the other humanoids at best."
Ascii blinks. "What, really? Why such a strange distribution?"
<mainstreet> "Well, it's a tropical climate with almost no hills. That Dwarf estimate might be high; I've only met a couple. And there're no 'native' humanoid populations at all, we're all transplants from the various continents -- Lazryzort, Farallon, Maladon... this Isle is mostly Farallon imports, I think, if I remember my history correctly."
<mainstreet> "In general, this Archipelago only really appeals to the three races you see a lot of here."
<Ascii> "Why's that?"
<Ascii> "I mean, I can understand why the dwarves wouldn't like being around so many magic-users..."
<mainstreet> "Well, it's climate, and terrain, and economic feasibility, isn't it?"
<Ascii> "Oh. Yeah, that too."
<mainstreet> "One of the only dwarves I talk to much is, in fact, my supplier of all my dwarven liquors."
<mainstreet> "But yes, I don't think I've ever actually met a halfling."
<Ascii> "Hmm. How would one go about tracking down a halfling?"
<mainstreet> Big Mike chimes in, "I've never seen that guy outside of the warehouse."
<Ascii> "Really? Well, that does make things simpler."
<Ascii> "Anything else you can tell us about this warehouse?"
<mainstreet> "It big, empty place. I use front door. Don't think Jack does."
<Ascii> "Interesting." Ascii strokes his goatee thoughtfully.
<Ascii> "Okay, I'm done. Thank you for your cooperation, Michael."
<mainstreet> "It's just 'Mike'."
<mainstreet> A few minutes later, a couple of individuals in green show up. "We heard there was a disturbance in here... Ah, Mike, up to your old tricks again? No worries, we'll take care of him, Miss Kayla."
<mainstreet> The cops Levitate Big Mike and start hauling him out.
<Ascii> "Okay, so." Ascii leans in to the others. "I would suggest we go investigate this warehouse ASAP, before 'Jack' finds out his lackey's been busted."
<Brellius> "Yeah, let's get going."
Ascii turns to the others, especially Ash. "So, are you in?"
<Ashling> "Sure. If not this, I'd just be studying."
<Ascii> "Sweet. Welcome to the crazy."
<Ascii> Ascii holsters his mace and makes for the door. "Come, gentlemen! Adventure...AWAITS!"
Ashling chugs the rest of her lemonade and follows.
Brellius finishes his tea and tags along
Ascii steps outside, and sees if he can't find this mysterious Building 324.
<mainstreet> Ascii: You realize two things. First, you're on the C-Ring, and Mike said this building is on the D-Ring. Also, the buildings seem to be numbered keeping the central streets in mind. That is, Avenue One has 149 on its left, and 150 on its right, in the C-Ring.
<mainstreet> Ascii: You walk along the C-Ring, switch over to the D-Ring at Avenue Two, then continue on towards Avenue Three. Before reaching it, you find the old, decrepit warehouse marked "324".
<Ascii> "Aah, this looks like the place." He looks the building over.
<mainstreet> Ascii: It's a building. An old warehouse. It looks like the place hasn't been used in years. You do notice a side alley down the right of the building.
<mainstreet> The front door is two-sized: a small human entry door, and a large cargo door.
<Ascii> Ascii takes a look down the alleyway, walking along to see if there's a less obvious entrance.
<mainstreet> Ascii: Yep, there's the side door for human entry. It's padlocked, but surely breaking and entering isn't something that weighs upon the conscience of a religious man like yourself?
<Ascii> Not one who's on acting on authority of the reigning royalty, that's for sure!
<Ascii> "Any of you know how to pick a lock?"
Kanzel gets to work on it
<mainstreet> Kanzel: The lock isn't that complicated, but it still eludes your skills.
Kanzel tries again
<mainstreet> Kanzel: Ummmm... no.
<mainstreet> Kanzel: This lock is just the better woman here.
<Ascii> Ascii frowns. "This is the sort of breaking-and-entering skill we hired?"
<Kanzel> "I'm tired."
<Brellius> "There are other ways to open doors."
<Ascii> "Do these other ways involve making a lot of noise?"
<Ascii> "Then we're not going that route right now."
<Ascii> "Kanzel, stop sucking and open that thing already."
Kanzel tries again
<mainstreet> Kanzel: This time, you don't try to overdo it, and work *with* the lock, getting it open.
<mainstreet> The lock comes off easily.
<Ascii> "Ah, there we go. Okay then..." Ascii carefully nudges the door open and takes a peek inside.
<mainstreet> The inside of the warehouse is very dark. You might be eaten... wait, no, it’s not *that* dark. Sheesh. There is light filtering down from the skylights, but it’s shadowy. You see that most of the floor is abandoned, but in the corner near the front of the warehouse, there is what seems to be a miniature building, about 8 feet high. You can’t quite determine how big around it is, but it can’t be more than 1 or 2 rooms.
<Ascii> "Alright, guys, let's check this out. Kanzel, can you sneak over there and scout those rooms?"
Kanzel nods, vanishing from sight and sneaking over.
<mainstreet> Kanzel: Sneak sneak sneak. You get to the structure... odd, it seems to be made of plant matter... you find an opening and look inside. You see... what appears to be a halfling, apparently knocked out, slumped over a desk from his chair. But it's the back of the structure that you're intrigued by. On this wall is a swirling blue vortex.
<mainstreet> You can tell that this is, in fact, the only room in the strucutre.
Kanzel sneaks back and tells them what she saw
<Ascii> "Hookay...that's weird."
<Ascii> "See if you can go tie up that halfling before he wakes up. then we can join you and investigate that portal."
Kanzel makes the sneak trip again and slowly tries to open the door.
<mainstreet> Kanzel: There's not really a "door", it's just an opening. You enter the room and try to tie up the halfling... but as soon as you touch him, you realize something... his body feels wrong... ohhh... it's cold... yep... He's dead, Jim. Er, Kan.
<mainstreet> ---END SESSION---