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 5th, 2009, 6:55 pm

"I'm a MAID!"

The woman stomped out of the guest house, alternately blushing furiously and looking pale. Brother Miguel was amused; she evoked a mental image of a barber pole carrying a broom. "Furious on one side, mortified on the other," he chortled to Sister Rose. "Looks like she's had a run-in with Harker, all right."

The merriment and good-natured ribbing of Argus ceased, though, when the same thing sank in on Rose that Harker himself had realized. "Funny time for a maid to be in the guest quarters, isn't it? I wonder what she planted there. It feels like this whole place is under surveillance." They entered the building and the subject changed, but they'd come back to it later; possibly Argus and Miguel, between their respective magical specializations, could figure out how ("whether" no longer seemed to capture it) they were being watched.

Once inside the building, Rose sighed and said, "We'd better go to Last Prayers tonight. Argus and Lillith, is it all right for us to leave you here?" She glanced at Argus, who'd gone pale himself as soon as he opened the door to his room. "Argus! Are you all right?" She moved closer to the door so that she could see what was having such an effect on him ...

"NO!" Argus screamed, but too late: through the open door, Rose was getting a good eyeful of Harker's "decorations."

"Good lord," Rose gasped, blushing red as a beet.
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Drannin » June 5th, 2009, 7:39 pm

"Uh...sorryjustaminute!" Argus slammed the door shut and slowly turned to Harker, as if on a pivot. The familiar was looking rather pleased.

"Whaddya think, Boss? Want some time alone alone with the room?" Harker winked at him. Argus went very, very still. Exerted his will. The window to the room flew open. "Uh... Boss?"

BAM!!!

Propelled by a massive stone fist Argus willed out of the floor, Harker sailed a good twenty feet out the window before embedding in the ground.

"Argus?" came Rose's voice. She sounded... actually, there was no real description for how her voice sounded. Utter shock was part of it, anyway.

"I'm gonna need some time to clean up in here," Argus responded dully. Dismissing the stone fist, he started to erase all of Harker's handiwork...

The door flew open. Brother Miguel rushed in, looking worried. "Argus, what on ea-" Stopped midsentence. Went beet red. Behind him, in the doorway, were Rose and Lillith, with similar expressions.

Lowering his face into his hands, Argus greamed silently.

Approximately twenty feet away, waist deep and headfirst in the dirt, Harker wondered what he did wrong.

(OOC: "greaming": a cross between a groan and a scream. similar to scroaning. Courtesy Spider Robinson and the Callahan novels)
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Graybeard » June 5th, 2009, 11:12 pm

Sister Rose was considerably earthier, and more used to certain ... imagery, than most people would have expected; she'd commanded troops in the field, after all, and testosterone-laden young men in the Veracian military were no different than they were in anyone else's military. Truthfully, after the initial shock passed, she was having a hard time keeping from laughing, not so much at Harker's "art" as at the color Argus had turned when he saw it. Of course, that wouldn't do, under the circumstances, so she stayed in the background as Argus turned back toward the door. "You know what they say about the idle mind," she dead-panned once the smoke stopped coming out of Argus' ears. Of course the quip started it up again, but she smiled...

However, Rose wasn't so amused by the action to have forgotten the same point that had occurred to Harker: that "maid" really shouldn't have been here. If she'd been putting bugs in the rooms, the one in Argus' room would be hard to find in the Harker-induced chaos, but in Rose's own, considerably more ... subdued quarters, it might be easier. She left Argus to deal with his familiar and returned to her room, muttering a brief spell on the way and hoping that the others would do something comparable, once they'd had enough of the Tsuirakuan's chagrin.
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Sareth » June 6th, 2009, 3:17 am

Lillith gaped. Her eyes were open so wide it was a wonder they didn't fall out. Her jaw hung in absolute, abject shock.

Her raising hadn't exactly been puritanical. Her mother, given her link to nature and the natural, had been a fairly capable midwife, and Lillith herself had helped a number of births, many of them half-elf rather than livestock. She knew what went where, why, and what the results were. Though she had no experience with the deed, she certainly understood the theory.

Never-the-less, she lacked words to even begin to describe the... monumental display within Argus' room. She was about as red as it was possible to be without actually exploding from the blood flooding her cheeks. She didn't even think to cover her eyes, turn aside, or even blink, because to do so would require she actually be cognizant enough to think.

As the door slammed shut she twitched. Her jaw worked, her neck slowly creeked to the side, and with odd, flopping motions of her hands, she displayed a remarkably comical form of distress.

"What..." she finally managed to get worked out.

And then her eyes fell on Brother Miguel, who had not yet retreated from the spot. Her eyes, scarcely less wide than they had been, went wide again. Her mouth formed a shocked "Oh" shape, but no sound came out. Inadvertantly, her gaze lowered, traversing his chest to parts south for a moment, and then her eyes snapped to Miguel's face again.

Lillith transcended red to shift into purple, squeaked, and bolted down the hallway to her room with all the grace of a terrier on a freshly waxed floor being chased by a mastiff. The door to her room slammed shut, catching the hem of her skirt in the jam. There was a sound of tearing cloth, another squeak, and then a masterly silence.
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Graybeard » June 6th, 2009, 10:55 am

Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, Brother Miguel cursed himself. Why did I pick that particular moment to be thinking about Marilyn? I'm mortified. Well, not much to do about it now except let ... things ... settle down and get over to Last Prayers. He changed into the most formal robes he'd brought with him ... not without certain difficulties.

Meanwhile, Sister Rose was quietly looking around her own quarters, wishing she was better with detection and divination spells than she was. The basic magic-detection spell she'd put on might detect the bug that she was pretty sure was there. If the listeners had made any attempt to conceal the thing, her spell might fail. Still, it was better than nothing.

Ah. There it was, something attached to, or maybe part of, a clothes hanger in her as-yet empty closet. That would be easy to deal with, and it wouldn't even arouse suspicion. She simply moved the hanger from the outer room with the desk, where interesting conversations might occur, to the bedroom, where Luminosita knew, she wouldn't be having any company. (Kenny, I miss you.) She draped it with a towel for good measure and ... what? Another bug? Woven into the towel? That was a little higher-tech, or higher-thaumatic, so to speak. She didn't think the capability for that existed in official Veracian circles; she'd certainly have been privy to it if it did, given what her military assignment had been. That was something to think about.

All in good time, however. For now, there was a rite to attend. She changed into her own robes, not really caring if the two devices were getting an occasional glimpse of something she normally kept concealed.
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Templar771 » June 6th, 2009, 1:29 pm

Cit looked at the picture and then at the three men and laughed loudly. They looked puzzeled. Cit then abruptly stopped laughing and looked at the door. He turned back to the men and asked " Sorry it's just that I could keep up the serious expression but you guys are priceless. You have no idea who I am do you? I could walk out that door right now if I really wanted to and you would be powerless to stop me."

The three men looked puzzled at this and Cit continued on "Do you really think that if I wanted to hide and stay under the radar of those who are interested in my whereabouts that I would join a group of people as conspicuous as one I'm in now. I am normally used to working alone with my familiar unless it is absolutely necssary and in this case it is. For the record Cithule isn't even my really name, I have had about 5 different identies in my line of work. But maybe you would know me by proffessional title. The Wolf."

A silence hung in the air and the 3 men looked at each other. Then the youngest said "Thats bullshit, even if you were the Wolf why were you so easy to track down?". Cit reached up to his eye and removed the coloured lense covering it. Instead of the blue grey flecks it was a deep amber colour. He smiled at the mens' expressions showing oddly sharp canines. "Is that enough proof? Anyway assassins like myself dont really have a very long life expectancy most will be killed on a job or by a rival. I'm trying to get out and dwavern antiques is my ticket to a new life. But my past still haunts me and I made some very bad mistakes along that road and I am now trying to rectify them. I've stopped running now if the people want to find me that badly they can, but the Gewher haven't sent anyone after me for about a year now. Now I have to say that your offer is tempting and it would seem that you have a good set up here but I'm not interested. I personally couldn't give a **** about your little smuggling operation here but I am somewhat short of cash and I can help you with your friend here."

He pointed at the picture. " And also I would like to know who supplied you with the information of my latest identity and I want my dog back with all the money and he knows how much and you probably have heard what I'm capable of so don't try to cheat me. I have all the equipment I need for a job like this so that won't be a problem. The question is: Do you want it to look like a tragic accident or send a message?" He sat back in the chair and waited for an answer.

(OOC: Found that I had some spare time on my hands and I thought I would keep the ball rolling hope this is ok)
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Graybeard » June 6th, 2009, 2:25 pm

The two older men didn't seem particularly fazed by Cit's outburst; it was rather expected, in fact. "As I said, people should be entitled to their own secrets," the oldest man said. "As for your question, we don't really care whether your ... wharf rat ... is removed publicly or privately. The only constraint, and I cannot overemphasize how important it is, is that it not be done while he is at that temple. Change the subject for a minute," he inserted abruptly; he'd heard footsteps outside the door to the back room.

As the men switched to small talk momentarily, a barmaid came through the door, served drinks, and was tipped well and dismissed, her tall form swaying gracefully as she retreated. The oldest man smiled appreciatively in her wake and resumed. "As I was saying, the temple must not be involved in the ... extermination, even though the rat in question spends much of his time there. Otherwise, the details are up to you. Meanwhile, I suggest you consider our offer of transportation carefully. We do have a degree of ... access ... to dwarven artifacts in concentrations far greater than what you'll find around here. And yes, people in your line of work tend to live short, violent lives, but there are some places that offer more prospects for not-so-short lives than others. Think about it and let's agree on a price."

As the haggling went on, the barmaid, now two rooms away, listened with a quiet smile on her face, the bug under the table functioning as it was supposed to. Actually, she didn't care in the slightest whether the man they called "Nikolai" was killed in public or in private, or at the temple or in town, or for that matter, at all. Nor did she care about the curious dynamics of the various smuggling outfits in town -- just another example of the way humans frittered away their pitifully short lives. What she cared about was what she had seen.

Sometimes Mohamet didn't have to go to the mountain; sometimes the mountain came to town. And when the mountain was an Errant, that was ... convenient.

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"Let's get on with it," Sister Rose sighed as she met Brother Miguel in the hall. Many Reformed congregations had dispensed with Last Prayers entirely, because the rite was usually so sparsely attended as not to be worth the effort. Honestly, she was surprised the Nautkians hadn't dropped it as well. Under the circumstances, though, if the rite was going to go on, she and Miguel had to be there. Besides, there might be something useful to be learned about the late Brother Kelso, even before the later meeting that was the real reason for their attending.

The two entered the main sanctuary, making the Sign of Luminosita at the door, and took their seats quietly off to the side. Surprisingly good crowd, Rose thought, as Father Nestor, still pale, came through a side door to begin the service.
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Drannin » June 7th, 2009, 10:30 am

It took Argus some time to repair the damage that Harker's "improvements" had wrought. By the end, Argus was so exhausted from carefully smoothing out chiseled stone that he basically collapsed into bed. What is with that beaver?! He's even worse than before... no, wait, I'm just noticing it more. Ugh. Gotta be the Mesuinu influence. That family did excellent work, but so many of their familiars were... quirky.

Argus heard his door open a crack and glanced over to see a young woman in a plain maid's outfit peeking in. Oh, probably here to offer a snack or fluffier pillows or something. He held up a hand to her. "NO thanks, I'm not interested."

It suddenly occurred to him that this was not the right thing to say.

The maid's face went scarlet. "I'M A MAID!!!" she shrieked, before slamming the door.

"No, wait...!" Argus yelped, sitting up sharply. But he could already hear her footsteps tearing down the hallway. With an anguished groan, Argus thumped back on the bed, too tired to think anymore.
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Sareth » June 7th, 2009, 12:40 pm

Calm was proving a far harder thing to find than Lillith was used to. She'd resorted to old training habits she'd not had to rely on in a while. She'd gently sketched out an actual circle on the floor, lit candles, and removed her clothing to sit in a lotus as she quietly sang. Still, the images she had seen on that wall, with their rather wild and vivid imaginations kept blowing away any meditative state she was able to achieve.

She heard the door creak.

She opened an eye to see a woman staring in through the partially opened door. Lillith sighed. "Come to stare at the apostate in her wanton heathen rites, nun?"

"I'M A MAID!" the woman roared, slamming the door.

Lillith sighed and stood to get dressed. If she couldn't meditate, at least she could do *something* productive.
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Re: Nautkia, and the South

Postby Graybeard » June 7th, 2009, 4:01 pm

Last Prayers was mercifully brief, Sister Rose and Brother Miguel were relieved to note. On the other hand, the ceremony didn't really shed much light on what had happened to Brother Kelso. Father Nestor, still pale and shaking, simply mentioned Kelso as among those recently gathered into Luminosita's Presence (with no mention of a family -- that was good, probably), the prayers were said, and that was that.

More interesting was the makeup of the congregation. There were three or four other priests and two nuns, none of whom Rose or Miguel recognized. Nothing unusual about that, although the number was on the high side for a Reformed temple serving a small community. The interesting part was the way they behaved. A surprising number of laymen, perhaps thirty, were in attendance; neither Rose nor Miguel could remember ever having seen that many for Last Prayers even at the Reformed temple in Saus, which had the largest Reformed congregation in the country. They didn't seem very engaged in what was going on, but after the ritual, the laymen drifted off in groups of four or five, each accompanied out the door by a priest or nun, none of the groups talking to each other, although some exchanged most un-worshipful glares. The little man with the pince-nez was absent, but it looked like the larger men who'd been with him earlier (goons? bodyguards? -- they certainly weren't priests) were part of one of the lay cliques. A nun was accompanying that group out the door; Rose made a note of her appearance and resolved to inquire about her later.

First, however, they had a visit to make. Waiting until the meeting hall had cleared, Rose guided Miguel toward the servants' quarters and rang the bell hanging outside. A middle-aged woman opened the door with a puzzled look on her face. "Good evening," Rose said. "We need to speak to Lisebeth for a moment. Is she available?"

---------

Meanwhile, Argus was fielding a visitor of his own. The knock on his door was considerably more self-assured than the maid's had been. After moving a few things around to conceal some of the more ... persistent ... of Harker's "improvements," he answered -- to be faced with the bespectacled little man.

"Good evening, Doctor Cleiviein," the man said, stepping into the doorway. "Please call me Nikolai. I wish to discuss a certain business proposition with you."
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