The duo returned to the Welcome Inn for a brief respite and bite to eat before heading out, disguised, toward the Aristocrat’s Table.

Belie, his face beaten and weathered with lines that made him look to be in his late 60’s walked with his rapier turned cane. His clothing were fine and simple, but did not resemble his usual garb which also included hiding that he wore any armor at all.

He walked straight backed with a smooth gate which would not be abnormal for a well-to-do, healthy man of his apparent age. His cane stabbed into the ground in step with his right leg, more a prop than a necessity. Jamir walked with him, keeping up with his little legs pumping just like a grandchild would.

They made their way down Emperor’s Road and crossed through the Center Street intersection where Ramoro’s Bakery still smelled delicious. Before they started the ascent Emperor’s Road made into Oldtown they passed by both the Wood and Exotic Markets. The exotic market was bustling this day with a strong press of people all around the open air market.

After the short but steep climb into Oldtown they took the left fork and moved their way down Dalengard Road, so named for the fortress that loomed before them. The Administration Building and the Imperial University were both amazing sights to behold. Never had either man seen such structures.

The tall buildings of Oldtown speak of an earlier age hundreds of years ago, when builders took greater pride in their creations and architects commanded greater skill and knowledge. The old buildings were not just functional, they were grand, with domes, columns, and wide white steps. Walls boast carved reliefs and frescoes depicting events of Imperial history. These structures, raised in the heyday of the Empire of Tarsis, represent not only a different style of building, but they hearken back to a time when a great deal more money was available for such projects. Statues of granite and marble, now grey with corrosion and age, rise above many streets on pedestals in intersections. Oldtown is laden heavily with history.

During just the short trip from entering Oldtown to reaching the gates of Dalenguard they saw two patrols of City Guardsmen with their long pikes and gold hawk on a sea of blue tabards covering their heavy armor. The area is wealthy, and well guarded.

Dalenguard Castle loomed before them with the large gates open and traffic going in and out. The winding way leading up to the Nobles’ Quarters could be seen climbing the mountain.

One of many fortress guards steps out and raises a hand to the duo. “Can we see your papers?” he asked in a gruff voice. “And what’s your business here?”

Dalenguard Castle

Imperial University

Administration Building

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Jamir
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Jamir had been watching out for guards the entire time they walked, though their disguise would surely hold up, that didn’t mean that a grandfather and grandchild would look all that natural in this location and before long what he feared would happen, did.

The guard spoke firmly but there was an insecurity about his question, as if he knew better than to ask an aging man and a young child for their papers, the halfling read the man and played right into his fears, “My grandmother is ill and we’re here to retrieve a special ingredient the priest sent us for. We didn’t bring our papers because we hoped to move quickly and not have to stop and prove our identity. We’d be happy to return here at the same time next week and present our papers, but my grandmother doesn’t have much time and we aren’t all that fast.”

OOC:

18:35, Today: Jamir rolled 26 using 1d20+11.  Bluff.

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Narrator
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It was clear from the guard’s face he didn’t care what Jamir was saying. He rolled really well. 😀

“Do you have any idea how many sob stories we hear each day? I have strict orders. You must have your papers to pass through here. I’m sorry.”

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Jamir
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“I’m sure you do, but it’s on you if my grandfather here doesn’t see his wife one last time before she passes. Thanks buddy. I hope you’re proud of yourself denying an old man and his grandson their last moments…”

He pulls Belie away and mutters loudly, “I wonder how that man sleeps at night.”

After Jamir is satisfied that they are out of earshot, he says, “Well I guess it’s time we got papers… You wouldn’t know where we could acquire those legitimately, now would you?”

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Belie
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“I do not my friend. I’m sorry. But certainly someone at the Welcome Inn can point us in the right direction.”

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Narrator
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The “grandfather” and “child” return to the Welcome Inn and revert to their true selves outside the building before entering.

A quick inquiry to the Schuks informed Belie and Jamir they needed to go to the Administration Building in Oldtown, which they just passed, to apply for papers.

Markus Schuk explains, “It’s a good idea to become a citizen lads, but keep in mind that it’s by no means required AND it’s incredibly expensive. It usually costs over 200 gold. You’ve only been here a little bit, why do you want to become a citizen already? You also have the option to get Identification Papers which are far less expensive. Most visitors get these so they don’t get taxed more than once by any government officials.”

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Jamir
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Jamir nodded in understanding, “Well it seems that to even access all of the city, we may need these papers. So let’s go see about them.”

Jamir starts walking back out the door headed in the direction of Oldtown.

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Narrator
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They went up the incline of Emperor’s Road which lead them into Oldtown. Immediately the road forked and they turned left onto Dalenguard Road once more. They didn’t have far to go as the Administration Building was well before Dalenguard Castle.

See photo of building in previous post

The Ptolus Administration Building holds offices for various city officials and administrative employees: architects, accountants, assayers, auditors, clerks, diplomats, engineers, inspectors, record keepers, scribes, and tax collectors. The Administration Building is the very heart of the byzantine bureaucracy of Imperial government in Ptolus. Most citizens come here only when they need a particular permit or license—a business license, marriage license, firearms license, building permit, and so forth. All Imperial records for the city are kept here as well, so if one needed to find out who owned a particular piece of land, or when a particular citizen died, one could do so here. However, wading through the bureaucracy proves difficult and time consuming.

The giant building’s courtyard is directly off Dalenguard Road. Giant double doors overlook the water pool out front. The courtyard is bustling with people, mostly humans, but a few elves can be seen as well. Anyone wishing to get their Imperial Citizenship or Identification Papers must pass through this building which keeps it very busy.

Two city watch guards were standing to either side of the open double doors. Full body-length tower shields rested on the ground. Long spears were in their opposite hands, with long swords strapped to their hips. They wore the City Watch helms, wrapped in blue fabric, and the blue tunics. Both their tunics and shields bore the golden hawk on a field of blue.

They entered the massive, stone building and found a reference chart on the wall. The Imperial Identification Papers office was clearly marked. The human and halfling, as their natural selves, entered the office and waited in a line of two people before them.

They had to provide their Name, Place of Birth, Place of Residence (which they simply gave as the Welcome Inn), their Race, Occupation (both said Traders), Parents’ Names and any Group Affiliations (of which they currently had none). Finally the lady, Belara, looked them over and wrote out a brief physical description. They were charged 5 silver apiece. The papers had red wax dripped in the bottom right corner. Belara smashed the molten wax with the imperial seal then signed the paper. Belie and Jamir each had to sign their respective papers as well. Then they were sent on their way.

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Jamir
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Papers in hand, once they were out of the building and out of earshot, Jamir looked to his friend and said, “Well that took the wind right out of our sails, huh. Do you want to return to our previous activities or did you have something new in mind, setting up a paper forging shop?”

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Belie
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Belie laughed out loud at his friend’s “business idea.”

“We could just go into the Nobels’ Quarters as ourselves…”

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Jamir
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“What fun is that?” Jamir said, “Plus someone may then recognize us and then put our good names at risk.”

“Maybe we should just lay low and look for something else to do? Surely there is someone here who needs our particular set of skills?”

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Belie
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“I would be fine with that for a bit. A little rest and relaxation. I have overheard lots of people talking about the Delver’s Guild and that they have job postings that aren’t necessarily under ground.. That might be worth checking out. Maybe something that could get us some legitimate work until we get to know the city better.”

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Jamir
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“Legitimate work, huh” The way he said it made it sound dirty, but then he smiled, “Yes, let’s go see about this Delver’s Guild. Perhaps they have a few options for us.”

Jamir lead the way to the guild house. He’d secretly been wanting to go there for as long as they’d been in the city, it being the one thing he’d heard about Ptolus before he arrived in the great city.

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Narrator
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Jamir and Belie had to return to Delver’s Square to reach the Delver’s Guild Office. They left Oldtown and went up Center Street to the Square. Behind the fountain and statue a stairway went below the earth into the Undercity.

Descenders into the Undercity seemed to stay to the right, while those ascending stayed to the left. The duo followed the crowd down the stairs.

Leaving the sun behind they entered the well lit Undercity Market’s main cavern. Carts covered the entire complex. Light did filter down from the stairs to the land above, but the whole complex was lined with everburning torches. They emitted no smoke but danced with a magical flame that never went out.

A sign directed them to the Delver’s Guild Office located just off the surface entrance to the Undercity Market. They walked down the long hallway and entered a large open room with people milling around. Several people sat at desks with others sitting in front of them. There was no shortage of seating. Couches and chairs were arranged around tables throughout the open part of the space.  Most people were eating, drinking, smoking and conversing throughout the space. There was also a large part of the wall dedicated to postings which the two couldn’t make out at this distance. The entire place was also well lit with more everburning torches and clearly there was some manner of ventilation because the air was not damp and musty like a basement and the smoke did not cloud the air.

An attractive, middle-aged woman with short blond hair and dressed smartly approached them through the crowd carrying a pad of paper and ink pen. She gave Belie and Jamir a big smile as she addressed them.

“Hello! My name is Gorti. Welcome to the Delver’s Guild. How can I help you today?”

When Jamir told her they were interested in joining the Guild she brought them over to a younger, even more attractive woman dressed very fashionably in a laced up tight shirt with more than a little cleavage showing. “This is Aiyana and she can answer all of your questions, give you a tour and outline the benefits of Guild membership.” With that she walked away to address someone else and continued to move about the space.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you. Please have a seat.”

Ailyana gestured to the two padded leather seats without arm rests in front of her desk. Belie adjusted his sheathed rapier so he could sit appropriately.

“Where you’re seated now is both the Delver’s Guild Office and the Gathering Hall. Light refreshments are served all day long. The purpose of our hall is to allow delvers to connect with each other and work together. While some delvers looking for jobs do hang around, mostly people post notices.”

She gestured to the far wall covered in papers with a large group of people standing all along its length.

“Those posted bills either announce the availability of a delver, or a group of delvers, or advertise positions open for delvers to go on a specific mission. Those are typically posted by a potential patron. Postings are also present inviting someone to join a group preparing for a mission.”

Waiting for them to look back at her, Ailyana was wearing a big smile as she continued.

“There are four levels of Delver’s Guild membership. The first two you could join immediately, the second levels take one to three years before you’re eligible.” Ailyana went on to explain the four levels.

Associate Guildsman

Open to anyone.
Dues: 10 gp per year (payable upon admission).
Benefits: Access to guild information, 10 percent discount at Ebbert’s Outfitters.

Guildsman

Open to anyone.
Dues: 20 gp per year (payable upon admission).
Benefits: As associate, plus access to guild library, maproom, and waystations.

Master Delver.

Open to guildsmen after at least one year’s membership.
Dues: 500 gp per year.
Benefits: As guildsman, plus voting privileges and retrieval insurance.

Grand Master.

Open to master delvers with at least three year’s membership. Title held by all founding members (18 total).
Dues: 5,000 gp per year.
Benefits: As master delver, plus claim staking.

“I highly recommend you start out at the Guildman level as most do. Without access to the library, maproom and waystations you’re really missing out on all the benefits the Delver’s Guild has to offer. We compile reports of what our membership encounters below the city in terms of dangers and treasures. The guild keeps track of monsters, inhabitants, traps, hazards, and other factors of note. It then rates each area on a scale of 1 to 20 based on difficulty and reward. Regarding the Library and Maproom, it’s located in Oldtown. Shad Livbovic is our Librarian and very knowledgeable. No one has better maps of the world below than the Delver’s Guild. In addition we also maintain Waystations. Each one is accessed by voice-activated magical locks controlled by a password given to the entire membership above Gildsman rank when they change weekly. A waystation is a safe point where you can rest. They are stocked with food, clean water, torches, even some healing options, as well as typical equipment needed by Delvers.”

Ailyana stopped and took a breath, then a small drink of water from a glass on her desk as she waited for Jamir and Belie to process everything she had just shared with them.

“So, would you like to go ahead and sign up as the Guildsman level today? It’s only twenty gold each year, paid today, and you’re assured to regain that investment quickly!”

Role play and ask as many questions as you want here.

After they finished with Ailyana they went over to check out the postings wall. Jamir grabbed a couple pastries and mugs of light ale from the free table of refreshments. The entire wall was filled with posted flyers, some even plastered over top more beneath. The stone did not show through on any part of the wall.

One section was neatly organized and exclusive for notices made by the government. The largest and most prevalent notice was about the bounty on ratmen.

There were countless notices and it would take days to read all of them. Everything from individuals of every skillset requesting to join a group to groups seeking individuals to join their existing numbers. Many jobs were posted as well. Some jobs didn’t even pertain to anything beneath the surface but clearly this was a good place to find people of means and capability.

There was even another section which was simply Wanted posters.

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Jamir
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Jamir smiled at the young woman Ailyana and said, “Yes, we’ll sign up at the Guildman level, but can you answer two questions first? Now mind you, I don’t anticipate that your answers will change our minds here, but I am curious. What types of gear is offered at Ebbert’s Outfitters? And second, and this is much more important to me, what is this claim staking that is mentioned for the Master Delver’s? Do they get a portion of our findings?”

 


Reading through the postings later, Jamir smiled at a few of them and pointed out the one looking for a cleric to Belie, “Those poor saps, maybe we should follow them and… Ah nevermind, I think we should go find this Toman Etherin at the Sign of the Black Swan and see about his missing daughter. That seems like a good first job if I’ve ever heard of one.”

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Narrator
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“Claim staking allows a Master Delver to section off an area below which only they are allowed access to. What happens in their area is up to them, although I’m not aware of anyone who allows others to search their areas for a portion, no. And Ebbert’s has a little of everything. Feel free to check it out.”

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Belie nods and the corner of his mouth turns up in a small smile, “I agree Jamir. Decent payout and doing good work. Let’s find this Black Swan place.”

(got family stuff to do. I’ll post more this weekend)