Murder on the Majestic Otter

For in-universe game play. Journey through both familiar and foreign settings, explore lost ruins and forgotten cities, and try to bring light to the darkness of the world... or, you know, blow stuff up. Either way.
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Jack Rothwell
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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The seats were really something else.

Jade had shuffled past a, technically imaginary, crowd of patrons with her boyfriend after he'd put in the instructions into a device with that was practically dripping with magic. The blacksmith had watched in awe as the plain walls of the Illusion deck had melted away to be replaced with something out of a bygone era. Ornate pillars and golden chandeliers were the order of the day as the Opera house was revealed. The stage was magnificent; a depiction of a country house and a field of flowers that screamed every colour of the rainbow, and a beaming woman gracefully moving about carrying a basket and singing as if she hadn't a care in the world.

"How on earth is this room bigger than the room we entered?" She'd asked.

"It's not." Leo replied. The young aristocrat was well-read a wide variety of topics, magic being among them. "The device makes use of pocket dimensions to extend the space but in reality we're still in the same environment."

Any irrational awkwardness Jade might have felt about her travelling leathers had quickly dissipated when she'd looked down... and been replaced by a completely rational awkwardness instead.

"...why am I wearing a dress?"

The garment really was something out of high fashion. It was a figure hugging steel grey number with intricate black embroidery that billowed out into fancy frills once it got to her waistline. She'd dimly noticed at that moment that Leo was garbed in an old fashioned tuxedo complete with a Gods-damned monocle.

"It's part of the experience. Come on. The overture's already begun."

And so they'd sat. Illusion or not, the wide seat she'd uncomfortably negotiated her way into with a rustle of silk was far more comfortable than anything she'd sat on on the ship so far. She stifled her sigh, and took Leo's hand willingly enough.

"I'm glad you're here." He whispered.

"Well, you were so enthusiastic I could hardly say no."

In the pause that followed there was a palpable feeling of excitement in the air from the crowd as the strings and the lights rose. Leo leaned back in.

"There was one little detail about this particular show I forget to mention..."

"Yes? What's that?"

"In this performance one of the actors was murdered on stage."
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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OOC: Not much for my people to do until morning, with Khoo and Anna-Lisa probably near the point of death-by-sex and Kevin (who isn't "mine" but an NPC) still waiting for Eve to do something to the bag. Just a little filler here. Incidentally, all else equal, I would prefer that the merry crew get to Alctraziel before the carnage starts, and therefore that nothing lethal happen at that stage show -- yet. It might be fun to contrast this performance to one with a real murder, though... And if you feel strongly otherwise, go for it.]

Annabelle wasn't in the best of moods as she opened the door to her cabin, to find it unoccupied. "Damned two-timing bastard," she swore. "Don't know why I stay with him ..."

"Because he's good in bed?" Elke half-teased, and half-reminded Annabelle that her own bedmate had had something fatal happen to him not many weeks earlier. The two women had shared many confidential things, including certain details about their lovers' ... technique; but exactly what had happened to Mr. Stagpoole was something that Elke was never going to share with anyone, ever.

"Damn fool better turn up soon," Annabelle grumped, "or I'm going looking for him." Without thinking about it, she ran a hand along the place in her slacks where a small handgun was concealed.

"You're serious about that 'if I find you with another woman, I'll kill you' thing, aren't you?" Elke's tone of voice suggested she didn't think this was a great idea.

"Only if I find him actually in bed with another woman," Annabelle corrected her boss; if there'd been any humor in the previous banter, there wasn't now.

Elke decided to change the subject. "So tell me more about this mysterious wailing woman on the observation platform." She had a hunch, which she couldn't articulate, that this might turn out to be important somehow.

Annabelle nodded grimly. "Funny you should ask, I was just thinking about her too." She frowned. "Somehow I have the feeling that I've seen that woman somewhere before ..."
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Jack Rothwell
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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Eve, barely, managed to stop a blush from rising to her cheeks as the stranger took off his shirt as she put on a pair of sparring gloves. She padded to the bag, feeling a need to show off in front of him. Apparently tomboy's could suffer from 'short man syndrome' as well.

She threw a few jabs and hooks, consciously trying to avoid making eye contact, then a combination Rufus had taught her. Eve was strong for her size and her technique helped add to the force of the blows but the thing was barely moving in the iron grip of her training partner.

"I'm Eve by the way." She muttered, feeling a little like a foolish schoolgirl. "Just taking a break from the troubles of the world with my friends. We're mercenaries for hire and we're taking a break."

She stopped talking, internally cursing for repeating herself.

"So what's your deal?" She asked, looking at him and immediately regretting it. "You don't look like some rich pomp like the rest of the passengers."
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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"Kevin," he said. "Here, let me take a shot at that thing." They traded places, and he threw several hard punches at the bag. Then ...

"Sorry, I shouldn't be holding back," he grinned sheepishly, an expression that made him look about twelve years old, in face if not physique. "Here goes." The next punch was a thunderbolt. Eve literally flew backward about five feet or so from the impact.

"Sorry," he said again, with the same sheepish grin. "I should have given you time to brace yourself. See, I'm a bodyguard. Got a rich Farrelite widow that I'm working for on this boat, making sure she stays out of trouble, or rather that trouble doesn't find her." He thought for a minute to make sure what he'd said was consistent with his rehearsed cover story, as it was. "Rich widows on cruise ships are trouble magnets." No rehearsed cover story was necessary for him to say that.
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Jack Rothwell
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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Eve was wheezing from the impact cushioned or not. The side effect of it at least brought the more snarky side of her personality back.

"Gods damn!" She managed. "Take it easy!"

The merc caught her breath and straightened up before resuming her sparring.

"Rich widow huh?" A mischievous expression crossed her face. "Aren't you just a little tempted to see if she's looking for husband number two? Sounds like a more profitable venture than just guarding her body."
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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Kevin laughed, a surprisingly mature sound given his boyish face and speaking voice. "Oh, she's got more sense than that. 'Sides, she's got a kid on the way -- yes, it's her late husband's -- and I'm not anywhere near ready for that, not ready to be a dad. Want to live it up for a while, y'know."

He put on his shirt. "I'd better get back there. Boss'll kill me if I'm away too long, and I mean that literally." He did not elaborate on who the real "boss" was. "We'll see each other around, not many places to hide on a boat this small. Sleep well." He sauntered out the door.

-----------

"Dammit," Annabelle muttered, "if he's not back in ten minutes, I'm gonna go out, find him, kick his ass up between his shoulderblades."

"He's got nice, broad shoulders, but I still don't think his ass will fit," Elke pointed out, amused.

"I'll make it fit. Or just shoot him if he's in bed with some doxy."

Elke was trying to be reasonable. "But you won't find him if he is. Cabins here have good locks on 'em; I checked when we got in." (Of course she would have; professionalism and all that. Not to mention that she'd dealt with Mesuinu Enterprises before.) "Look. He's probably just out doing his job, casing the joint. That's what I would want him to do. And what I want you to do is get some sleep, because we're going to need to be sharp in the morning when we get to Alctraziel. Take something to help you tune out for tonight, sleep well, and you can kick his ass tomorrow afternoon if you still think it needs kicking."

Annabelle thought about pushing back, but it was very clear who was the boss here. "Yes'm, you sleep well too." She went back to her own cabin, took a small dose of an almost-legal sleep aid, and was out in well under the ten minutes she'd been giving Kevin.

[OOC: I'm ready to fast-forward to morning and Alctraziel, unless you have something significant planned for Jade and Leo. EDIT: Well, fast-forward to the middle of the night, when something is planned to ... happen. Same idea, though.
Incidentally, how do you want to treat Moriarty? Regular character or semi-NPC? If the latter, can you write up a bio for him? It is fair to say that what I have in mind will involve him significantly.]
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Jack Rothwell
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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OOC Go ahead with the fast forward. I can explain what happened at the Opera retroactively. Moriarty is a semi-npc and I'll add his bio soon./OOC
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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[OOC: OK, forward it is. What's teed up here is something in the middle of the night; it need not involve any of the PCs, but presumably Moriarty would be awakened for it, considering that it's the kind of thing a ship's captain would definitely get awakened for. Up to you to write that scene if you want to.]

Cruise ships did most of their actual sailing, particularly the open-water parts, at night, after their paying customers had gone to bed. There wasn't much reason not to; the miles had to be made, and once a ship was out of sight of land, one stretch of open ocean looked pretty much like any other, apart from vagaries of weather and such things. This voyage was no different. The waters near the southern coast of Farrel were well charted and the ship's navigational system was fully functional, so there wasn't much to do except sail along.

At least that was what everyone thought until maybe 3 in the morning, when a half-asleep crewman happened to notice something on a surveillance camera that didn't belong there. All sorts of weird debris accumulated in a ship's bilges, but there was something in the starboard stern compartment that didn't look right. It was large and pale, too large to have got into the bilge by any of the usual mechanisms, and it was appeared to be floating on the unpleasant liquid's surface.

Moriarty was long since in bed (whether alone or accompanied was his business and nobody else's), so the crewman reported this odd observation to the watch officer, a young Tsuirakuan woman who was nominally third in rank aboard the ship. [OOC: Feel free to write her up if you wish; not essential to what follows, however, so it's your call. /OOC:] After a quick, hushed discussion, it was decided that the crewman had better make the long, disagreeable descent to the bilges to see first-hand what the odd object was and whether it meant trouble.

A few minutes later, the crewman's voice came back through the speaking tube to the bridge. "All right, down, there's something on the surface all right. I'm going to need more light to see it clearly. Hang on, I'll get a Light spell on ..." There were a few seconds of silence, and then ...

"No, oh no, OH WEAVE NO ..." And a gagging sound.

The watch officer was instantly wide awake. "Budiel! Report!" she all but shouted down the tube.

"It's ... ma'am, I'm sorry, Weave dammit, ma'am ... It looks like ... a human body ... URRKK!" And the sounds coming up the voice tube suggested that the contents of the crewman's stomach were being messily added to the liquid in the bilge.
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Jack Rothwell
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

Post by Jack Rothwell »

OOC I'll put new posts up in the next day or two. Things suddenly got busy.... plus Resident Evil 3 just got released in the UK. :D /OOC
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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[OK; can't fault your priorities. ;) So I'll push the overnight development a little further. There was one thing I wanted to have happen anyway before Morty takes over.]

The crewman hadn't even stopped retching before the watch officer caused two people to be awakened. One, of course, was the ship's captain. The other was the ship's lifemage and Healer, who happened to do additional duty as medical examiner in the (until now, hypothetical) event that a patient turned into a dead body. This second one would prove mildly scandalous; the bed she was occupying when rousted belonged to, and was also occupied by, a man other than her husband -- but what happened on the ship stayed on the ship. (As for whether the captain's bed also had dual occupancy, that wasn't the crew's business.) She gathered up her toolklt, mechanical and thaumatic, and headed for the bilge.

"Hmmm ... that's strange," she said to nobody in particular, as soon as she got over her own nausea. Moriarty would hear the comment, and so would the watch officer, but no one else; the voice tube had been supplanted by a pair of very private crystal balls. "Something about this doesn't look right. Definitely a fatality, but strangest-looking corpse I've ever seen, proportions are all wrong, limbs are intact but they all seem to be of different sizes. Can't be sure, it's too far out in the bilge for me to reach, and I'm damn well not going in after it." Nobody topside could blame her for that.

"Elf?" a voice came back on the ball, but she shook her head, even though no one could see it. "Negative. Proportions are wrong in the wrong direction. Elves are tall and skinny. The -- victim --" it seemed like a situation where that was the correct term, not "deceased" -- "is short and heavy-set, torso almost round. Let me get some magic running."

Various strange suggestions came from the people topside -- "troll?" "kobold?" ""Ghob?" (She had no idea what a "Ghob" was, but she was somehow pretty sure this wasn't one.) "Metamorphosed dragon?" More practically: "Any idea of the cause of death?"

"Weave dammit, gimme a minute!" She was understandably cranky after the rude awakening, and Forensics magic took a little time and effort to cast. When it started to give results, she blinked hard in surprise, thought the chatter might have distracted her so she miscast, repeated the process with the crystal ball out of earshot ... and got the same result. She regained the ball.

"This is even weirder than I thought," she said. "The victim -- doesn't appear to be a humanoid at all. Or at least not one humanoid."

"Huh??" the topside voices said in unison.

"This 'body' appears to be pieces of several different bodies, magically sewn together to make one whole one. There is no remanent life force associated with any of the pieces, so I can't tell how long ago this was done, but it's been a while." The bilge was smelly enough in the best of circumstances, but decomposition was far enough advanced to add its own distinctive aroma to the mix. "All I can get is that there was some Alteration magic involved, and maybe a bit of Conjuration too, but not enough for this thing to have been a functional golem, I don't think."

"Then what was it?" the topside voices said, again in unison, and clearly mystified.

"Damned if I know. Now can I get the Weave out of here before I start puking on the evidence?"

[OOC: Incidentally, leaving "topside" vague enough to allow for the possibility that someone else might have joined Moriarty and the duty officer -- call her Niranjan -- as the conversation went on, if you wish. However, it isn't necessary; whether it happens or not is up to you.]
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