Geometric Archipelago:The Longest Five-Pointed Night/Chapter 12
Chapter Twelve: Schmo-zing with Da Schmo
<mainstreet> ---BEGIN SESSION---
Ascii dusts his hands. "Well. It's getting dark; we should go back to the bar and start planning tonight's...er, investigative activities."
<mainstreet> You all end up back at the Worldwake Inn and Bar. Kayla's still there, she waves at you. You notice a few large patrons in the mix of the crowd, and also that fence guy, Joe the Schmo.
Ascii bombs onto what has now officially become his usual seat. "Gimme a...something. I dunno. Something I haven't had yet."
<mainstreet> "You got it," Kayla smirks. She starts whipping something up.
Brellius sits next to Ascii. "More tea, please."
Ashling sits as well. "My usual please."
<mainstreet> Literally, whipping. She's pulled out a whip and is flinging it at a glass. She's pretty good, she keeps hitting the liquid and not breaking the glass.
<mainstreet> Meanwhile, one of Kayla's helpers gets Brellius's tea and Ashling's lemonade.
Ascii watches this unusual drink-mizing process. "What kind of drink *is* that?"
<mainstreet> Kayla grins, puts away the whip, and taps some sort of powder in. She hands the glass to Ascii. "It's a Kraddarkian Whipped Ale. Some Spelljammer trader sold me some of the base ingredient a while back. It requires whipping or it has no taste, though. Better drink it fast, or the flavor will vanish."
<Ascii> "Uh." He blinks. "...kay." He picks up the glass and takes an experimental sip.
<mainstreet> Ascii: Wow, that has some serious flavor! It's like... the sludgiest berry flavor ever! The whirling mix of colorful flavorings and... this thing has a serious kick to it. Nice. You love it!
<Ascii> "Whoo! Now this is a drink that hits back! Makes sense, when you think about how it's made."
<Brellius> "Meh, I've always preferred the simpler things."
Brellius sips his tea in a self-assured way.
Ascii leans in and whispers. "So, Kayla, heard anything interesting lately?"
<mainstreet> "I heard about a mysterious fire in a warehouse out in region three."
<Ascii> "Oh, wow, really? How big was it?"
<mainstreet> "Took out the whole building by the time it was done. Anti-fire casting managed to prevent it from spreading, though."
Ascii almost wishes he could have seen what a spellcasting-centric firefighter team looked like in action. "That's good to hear."
<mainstreet> "It is very good to hear."
Ascii sips his drink, and catches sight of Joe. "What can you tell me about that shady-looking fellow over there?"
<mainstreet> "Joe the Schmo. Trades in everything he can get his hands on. A lot of it probably illegal trading. I can't prove it, nor would I want to. Let Mom solve her own problems, and also, people won't come to my bar if they think I'll squeal," she whispers at him.
<Ascii> "Aren't you kind of squealing now?"
<mainstreet> "Squealing would be saying I had proof of such things and that an arrest could be made. I most certainly have no such thing."
<Ascii> "Ah. I see."
<Ascii> "Watch my drink, Kayla. I'm going to try and weasel some information out of him."
<Ascii> "With the help of my equally-weasely comrades. C'mon, guys."
<mainstreet> "It won't have the same flavor if you go do something and come back. Just a warning."
<Ascii> "Oh, right." He looks at the glass, then shrugs and decides to take it with him, drinking as he goes.
<mainstreet> Joe the Schmo's at one of the tables in the corner. There's another individual in a long black cloak sitting with him. They talk for a minute, then the cloaked individual gets up and walks out of the bar. Joe leans back in his seat, sipping what appears to be an elven ale.
Ascii does his best nonchalant saunter over to Joe. "So...Joe, is it? They tell me you...procure things."
<mainstreet> "Perhaps I do. Perhaps I don't. Who wants to know?"
Ascii leans over, looking as noncomittal as he possibly can. "Someone who wants to procure something from someone who procures things from others."
<mainstreet> Joe leers at you. "Define 'something'."
<mainstreet> "Ahhhh. That is a commodity that can be very expensive."
<Ascii> "Depending on what the information is, yes."
<mainstreet> "I agree completely."
Ascii's eyes narrow. "As do I."
<mainstreet> Joe glares at you. "We've established the point. Please stop wasting my time."
Ascii blinks. "...okay, here's the deal. We're trying to get the dirt on a certain merchant couple in town. A Mr. and Mrs. Brantley. What can you tell us about their shady activities (if any), and what will it cost us?"
<mainstreet> Joe looks at you. "Anything I could tell you on that front would likely violate my Fifth Amendment rights. If there's anything that wouldn't be a part of my own areas of expertise, I am not aware of it. That admission of non-knowledge comes free. That's your only one."
<Ascii> "Your fifth-amendment rights only apply in the courts. We're not looking to prosecute you; we're after them. Anything you tell us would be held in strictest confidence, regardless of the outcome."
<mainstreet> "Twenty-seven gold, eight silver, and if anyone asks, you've never talked to me -on any subject- before."
Ascii raises an eyebrow. "I've never met you before in my life, Mr. whatshisface." He turns to the others. "Okay, guys, pony up. 6 gold 2 silver from each of you. I'll pay the remainder."
<mainstreet> "It's Schmo, not Whatshisface."
<Ascii> "I was being faceitous."
Kanzel sighs and gives Ascii money
Ashling does as well.
Brellius hands over some money
Ascii has ALL THE MONEY! ...and gives it to Joe.
<mainstreet> Joe pushes the money into a bag of his. "The Brantleys are well-respected item creators. I happen to know that the wife is an exiled Princess who failed a coup attempt on her own mother, causing the exile. I also know that she's gone out of her way to not get involved in anything shady, at least, that she becomes aware of. However... there are four people that run that store. Mr. Brantley has a... disturbing fascination with blood. I know little about him, he never comes to me directly. He sends Rex Groudon, usually, occasionally Rex's wife Daphne... the Groudons and I deal a lot, and I would say maybe 10 percent of the stuff in that store has come from me. They are a rather harmless store, just full contributors to both the real and underworld economies, if you get my drift. I'm feeling generous, so if you have a specific question to ask about any of the four, I'll let you have one free, though I may not know the answer."
Ascii thinks long and hard about this. Long and hard...huh-huh, huh. ".....Alright. Mr. Brantley is participating in the upcoming tournament. If, on the off chance he were to win...would he do anything dangerous to the entire island?"
<mainstreet> Joe blinks. "I can't see that happening. Chaotic actions like that would completely ruin the underworld operations the other couple runs with him. Like, I'd probably get the hell out of here. He'd just screw himself economically. No way."
Ascii mutters to himself. "Unless he had something more important to himself than his business..."
<mainstreet> "With the kind of money he's pulling in? Doubt it."
<Ascii> "Okay, so here's another question: what's this about blood? Does he collect it? Or...bathe in it, or something?"
<mainstreet> "...Six gold."
<Ascii> "Fine." Ascii pays this one out of his own pocket.
<mainstreet> "He uses it. Generally his own. He has ways of using it for spellcasting. I've heard a rumor that he can also travel using blood, but I can't substantiate it."
<Ascii> "Alright, as long as we're here...do you know anything incriminating about a Professor Nathan Gozano?"
<mainstreet> "Sixteen gold"
Kanzel passes her cut to Ascii.
Ashling does as well
Ascii steals Brell's share from his moneypouch and pays the man.
Brellius looks up from his tea. "Hey..."
<mainstreet> "I know that the individual in question has ways of summoning elementals that he uses as a sort of spy network in the city. He also serves, or at least is in a very one sided alliance with, a man known as Kilmath. I've sold stuff to him before, and him to me, but... something seems off about him to me. I would be very worried indeed if such a man as Gozano were to take the throne on this Island."
<Ascii> "Why's that?"
<mainstreet> Brellius: Buh?
Brellius sips his tea with a blank look on his face
<Ashling> "Here be dragons."
Ashling sips at her lemonade "Just sounds like a name a dragon would have."
<Ascii> "Uh. And you know a lot about this, why?"
<Ashling> "Just something you pick up on after a while."
<Ascii> "Okay. Looks like we've got something new to look into now..."
Ascii turns back to Joe. "How would the prof. use elementals to spy on people? Isn't this city chock full of paranoid mages sporting anti-magical defenses?"
<mainstreet> "Of course it is. Such things are an arms race, of course. Right now, the elementals have the upper hand, barely. In a few months, expect that to be negated. Unless, of course, the wards are tampered with to give elementals greater power."
<Ascii> "Hmm. How exactly does that work? Do they phase through peoples' walls or something?"
<mainstreet> "I haven't the faintest idea," Joe comments. "It's not like I participate in the arms race. I'm a... free trader... not really a high level wizard. But that seems like a reasonable speculation."
<Ascii> "Any info on this Kilmath fellow?"
<mainstreet> "Deep voice, big, black in pretty much every attribute... if that dragon comment was true, I'd guess Black Dragon."
<Ascii> "Ouch. Is that it? No idea where he hangs out, where he comes from, what he's up to?"
<mainstreet> "Not that many people trade information with me. I only know him from my discussions with him. I know he's working with the professor on... something. That's it really."
<Ascii> "I guess that'll do. Okay, what about..." Ascii glances around conspiratorily, then leans in and whispers. "Jasmine Adams."
<mainstreet> "One gold"
Ascii raises an eyebrow. "For that price, you're probably going to tell me I shouldn't be asking..."
<mainstreet> "Fine then. Three gold."
<Ascii> "Now you're trying to fleece me."
<mainstreet> "You were the one who said my price is too low."
<Ascii> "Look, is there anything you can safely tell me, or would we both be better off not broaching the subject?"
<Ascii> "I've met her, and I'm not any more eager to get on her bad side than you are."
<mainstreet> Joe sighs. "Fine, you've given me good business so far. I was just looking for an extra gold piece or three. The truth is, as an Island Councillor, she considers herself far too important to associate with a Schmo like me. Before her ascension to that... exalted position... she came to me often. But realistically, anything I could tell you is at least three years out of date. If you've been in her... exalted presence... you have better information now than I do."
<Ascii> "In other words...she has her *own* network of intel and doesn't need you anymore."
<mainstreet> "She's a Councillor. She has almost complete access to the Island Intelligence network itself. Only things marked personally for Her Majesty will escape her purview, and Her Majesty doesn't have time to handle that many earmarks."
<Ascii> "Makes sense. Well, alright Joe, thanks for your help." He blinks. "Er. I mean, Mr. person I've never spoken to before."
<mainstreet> "Who is this individual in front of me?"
<mainstreet> Joe winks at you.
<Brellius> "No one important, I'm sure."
<Ascii> "What individual?" Ascii is already several feet away, glancing around nonchalantly.
<mainstreet> Kanzel: You spot the fleeting image face of a small earth elemental in a nearby chair. It notices you spot it and vanishes instantly.
<mainstreet> To clarify, the face was *in* the chair. Like, you could see the outline in the chair's back. The chair's occupant appeared completely unaware of the elemental's presence.
Kanzel hesitates when she sees it, but then joins everyone else. "We should assume that conversation was overheard."
<Ascii> "What? Why?"
Kanzel pulls a flask out of her cloak, drinks from it and returns it before responding "I'm pretty sure I saw an earth elemental near us."
Ascii raises an eyebrow. "Seriously? Where?"
<Kanzel> "In a chair. It vanished when I looked at it."
<Ascii> "Uh." Ascii looks thoughtful. "Well, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Of course he's going to be keeping tabs on us, now that we've been snooping around his office..."
<mainstreet> ---END SESSION--