Nautkia, and the South

As we play, occasionally we'll close a thread and open a new one to keep the size of threads (and relative complexity) down to a dull roar. Here's where we store the closed posts from the history of Errant Road.

Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Graybeard » June 14th, 2009, 11:32 pm

Brother Miguel nodded. "I've never seen a Tsuirakuan business salon, but I get the picture. I'm not sure what we're dealing with here, either. I've certainly never seen anything like it. Let's do our fact finding and get back together in an hour or so."

Argus' address turned out to be a restaurant specializing in Tsuirakuan cuisine. (How trite, Miguel thought.) It hadn't opened yet for the day, but a middle-aged woman was out in front, negotiating with a man in the driver's seat of a horse-drawn cart advertising fresh produce. She paused in her conversation, nodded and bowed in Argus' general direction, and motioned him through the front door. As Miguel and Sister Rose pulled away, they saw the woman conclude her business and follow him in.

"I assume that something like that is what's facing us as well," Rose said sardonically. However, she was quite wrong: the address they were seeking turned out to be quite a different kind of establishment -- the city jail. A portly man in a uniform they didn't recognize was standing out in front. "Greetings in the Name of Our Lord Luminosita," he proclaimed. "You are expected. Follow me, please." He turned and led the Veracians through the visitors' entrance.

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Meanwhile, the proprietress of "Magic Kettle," the Tsuirakuan restaurant, was introducing herself to Argus -- sort of. "My husband sends his regards," she said. "You would know him as Nikolai. He reminds you that Nautkia is not the safest place for a young lady; he says you will know what he means by that. Please make yourself comfortable, and I will inform my other guest that you have arrived." She turned without waiting for a reply -- symbolism in that that any Tsuirakuan would recognize -- and retreated into the kitchen, where a man who was very definitely not Tsuirakuan was visible through the door.
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Sareth » June 16th, 2009, 6:38 am

Lillith wandered into the greenhouse, looking around curiously. The smell of the fresh plants growing in moist soil was pleasant. The green, interspersed with a riot of colorful flowers was delightful. It was a pleasant place. But where were the people she'd come to meet?

A movement in the corner caught her eye, and she turned to see a woman tending to a bed of roses. She weaved along the path to come to rest next to the woman, and quietly cleared her throat.

"Oh! Hello." The woman looked up and smiled. "May I help you?"

Lillith smiled. "I was asked to come to this address by a young lady I met last night?"

"I see," the woman nodded and smiled. "Merry meet."

Lillith's smile grew. "Merry meet, and blessed be."
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Graybeard » June 16th, 2009, 9:07 am

"Merry meet, and blessed be."

It can't be, but it MUST be, the tall, blond man thought as he watched proceedings through the office window. She looks just like her mother. I can't figure out where the longer face and darker skin tone came from, but Shamhat was always coy about things like that -- not that I blame her. He smoothed back his wavy locks to reveal the slightly pointed ears beneath them, and stepped out of the office, surprising Lillith mildly. "And merry meet, and blessed be to you, as well. Please call me Leofric," he said, in the tongue of the far north. "You are among friends here."

----------

The man in the kitchen of the Magic Kettle was short, squat and heavily muscled. He was wearing dock hand's clothes that still had a bit of the scent of the waterfront about them. "I can't stay very long," he said without preamble as he stepped into the dining area. "Call me Vito. That's not my real name, but it'll have to do." He extended Argus a heavily callused hand to shake.

----------

"Let's go around in back," the ponderous jailer told Sister Rose and Brother Miguel. "We have an ... interrogation facility back there that's soundproofed. That's going to be useful." He led them into a small room with a heavy door.

"Wow," Miguel gaped as they entered the room. There were thumbscrews on the table, and several pokers sat in a box beside the fireplace, cold at this hour of the day. He could recognize several short whips and crops, and was that a rack in the corner? "I hope none of that is for our ... benefit."

The large man smiled, an incongruously jovial expression in the surroundings. "Let's just say we take our smitings particularly seriously here and leave it at that, okay?..."
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Drannin » June 16th, 2009, 4:43 pm

Argus shook the man's hand, willing to be civil for the moment. "Argus. I've been told you need my services. What needs to be done, exactly?"
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Graybeard » June 16th, 2009, 7:28 pm

"Argus. I've been told you need my services. What needs to be done, exactly?"

The woman left the room, and as she did, the man's demeanor changed instantly, as though by magic. He was no more and no less courteous than he'd been, but having given his one prepared speech, he now retreated to the accent of working-class Veracia. "The hells if I be knowin', sir. That be the kind of thing that you and the big-brain gooks be figurin' out, ain't it? I don't be wantin' to know, eitherways. All I be knowin' is the where and the when." He reached into his rucksack (giving Argus a momentary start) and extracted a carved model of a ship.

"This be the kind of ship that be a-comin' that the gooks be inter'sted in. It be a-comin' from the port up in Lorenzel --" his pronunciation of the city's name was odd -- "an' it'll be puttin' in at the cove right at eight bells, afore the dog watch. An' that be all I be knowin'. The rest be up to you."
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Drannin » June 18th, 2009, 4:40 pm

Argus sighed, and stared at the ship in the man's hands. Wonderful. So I have a where and when, and a what, and that's about it. So now I don't know what kind of assassination I'm supposed to perform. Hnnn... how to handle this...

Argus took the model from the man and stared at it speculatively. Then he got an idea.

"Mind if I hang on to this model?"
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Graybeard » June 18th, 2009, 5:31 pm

"Mind if I hang on to this model?"

The man shrugged his broad shoulders. "It be yours to be keepin', sir. That's what it be for. It be made from a plank of the bonny ship herself. Don't be showin' it around in public-like, though. Now I best be gettin' back to Larenzy afore they be missin' me." He walked out the front door without saying another word.

Just a moment after the door closed, the proprietress emerged from the kitchen, disapproval written on her face. "That was -- unfortunate," she said in Tsuirakuan, her accent leaving no doubt that it was her native language. "One never knows what manner of murdering Veracian low-life might be watching the door of a humble establishment such as this. Such a man could get himself into very bad trouble by being seen by the wrong people. Doctor Cleiviein, I am afraid that your own safety now requires that you leave our business via the back door. I apologize most humbly for the implications, but be assured that it is for your own well-being and was not our original intention. If you would be so kind as to follow me?" She motioned to the kitchen door, at the same time pressing a small stud set into an otherwise undistinguished painting of a Tsuirakushiti street scene.

---------

Introductions were made in the "interrogation room," the large man introducing himself as "Sergeant Rogeriel," a name unfamiliar to either Sister Rose or Brother Miguel. "Most people call me Roger," he smiled as he fiddled absently with a cat's paw. The smile was warm enough, yet in this setting ... incongruous.

Miguel cleared his throat; this man didn't seem the type to be overly burdened by the usual Veracian strictures on gender roles, but it wouldn't hurt to be on the safe side. "Thank you for agreeing to meet with us," he said. "I must say you weren't exactly what we were expecting. More accurately, perhaps I should say that the ... mutual friend ... who introduced us wasn't quite what we were expecting. Forgive me for being pushy, but could you explain?"

Rogeriel's smile broadened. "Ah! You mean my daughter Lisebeth," he beamed. "Delightful girl, chip off the old block, people say. And she looks just as pretty as her mother did, back in the day. Smart, too. She'll go far in our business. But speaking of which, let's get down to it." He pulled a chair out from the table bearing the instruments of "inquisition," held it for Rose, and poured three glasses of wine.

-----------

Lillith's mouth was still hanging open in surprise, no sound escaping it, as Leofric combed his hair back down; the display of his ears hadn't been accidental, and from the paleness of their upper regions, it didn't happen very often. "Let me get to the point," he said softly. "We need your help..."
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Graybeard » June 20th, 2009, 10:26 am

[OOC: Anybody? Why did it get so quiet?]

Argus was half way through the door to the kitchen when he noticed something out of the corner of his eye.

The section of wall bearing the painting that the woman had touched was pivoting quietly. A large man -- was he one of the ones who'd been with Nikolai at the temple? maybe, hard to be sure -- was emerging from concealment there and stealthily heading for the front door, in "Vito's" wake.

Carrying a dagger.

----------

"You've probably figured out by now," Sergeant Rogeriel was saying, "that this whole town is one huge nest of smugglers, with lots of little individual outfits working under the overall cover. Pretty well everybody in the place is on the payroll of one band of smugglers or another, sometimes more than one band at once."

"Does that include you?" Sister Rose smiled; this seemed like a man that wouldn't mind a joking question like that.

"Of course it does," Rogeriel smiled back. "That's the whole idea. You don't need to know the details, of course."

"Of course not." Rose sipped at her wine, now that she'd seen Rogeriel take some himself. It probably had been safe all along, but she was getting into the spirit of things... "So we won't pry. But your daughter said somebody here might be able to help us find the man we're looking for. I assume that's you?"

Rogeriel's smile broadened. "Sure is. Some of the ... smitings ... I've conducted in here have got people to talk about your man Egbert. It turns out that there's a fast boat coming into Smuggler's Cove this afternoon, about --"

"Smuggler's Cove?" Brother Miguel interrupted. "I don't think I'm familiar with the place."

"Oh, it's the little inlet right beneath the Reformed temple," Rogeriel explained. "It's under the temple's protection, just like all the other things out there are. Anyway, that boat is coming in late this afternoon, at about what the seafarers call 'eight bells.' That's right at the start of the 'dog watch,' which is the afternoon and evening shift for standing watch. That's about six hours from now. They'll probably be in Smuggler's Cove for a couple hours, loading things onto the boat. And when it goes out again ... your man is going to be on it."

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[OOC: Sareth, the next move at the greenhouse is in your, and Lillith's, hands. Likewise Templar and Cit at the tavern. And Sasha, where have you been for the past day? I have no idea.]
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Sareth » June 20th, 2009, 2:01 pm

[OOC]Sorry. I've been very distracted.[/OOC]

"Your help?" Lillith attempted to recover from her shock. She had hardly expected to find other half-elves here, let alone so many. And the way the man had asked for help had sounded like the help he needed wasn't of a religious nature, so she was uncertain what was going on. Still, the man clearly knew what he was talking about.

Her eyes narrowed, and she cocked her head thoughtfully. Something seemed familiar...

Ah!

She had seen him before, a time or two. Back home. Santorial was a small enough place to generally have an idea of what everyone looked like, but still large enough to not really be able to know everyone. This man, though... She'd seen him there on occasion, but only rarely. She got the impression he only dropped by on visits, and was usually away doing other things.

She nodded. "What can I do for you?"
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Graybeard » June 20th, 2009, 2:36 pm

"What can I do for you?"

The man looked levelly, but sadly, at Lillith. "You can help those of your own kind get home," he said softly. "For many years, Nautkia has been a place where we can hide in plain sight. The smugglers who run the town, and who by the way help us keep our business flourishing, don't care what their clients' ears look like. And they don't permit overt prejudice to interfere with business, either. Anything here that interferes with business attracts the attention of powerful and ruthless people, and I mean anything. Oops, excuse me for a minute."

Leofric bustled off to attend to a customer, came back a minute or two later, and picked up where he'd left off. "But things changed about a month ago. An elf has moved into town ... and I think you know what that means."
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