Rastor
———————————————————–
The litorian’s shop was busy, as always. Thankfully they didn’t have to wait long until they could approach the counter. Unsurprisingly Rastor didn’t recognize the pair, but he saw hundreds of people every day.

He looked over the items Vogh pulled out of her extradimensional space. The short sword, three daggers, and the heavy mace.

“I pay half the value. Take it or leave it.” He ran furry paw-hands over each of the weapons, plucking at their edges, feeling the metal, checking if they bent by flexing his powerful arms. “The short sword is masterwork, the daggers are mundane, but the mace is magical. Albeit, it’s got the lowest enhancement possible, it’s still magical.  “ He leaned forward so as not to speak too loudly. “A thousand and hundred and fifty eight.” Then Rastor stood back up to his full height awaiting their response.

Math: ( 310 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2000 ) / 2 = 1,158gp
( 310 + 2 + 2 + 2 ) / 2 = 158gp

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Vogh
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Vogh looked up to Rastor, she had tried to play a game with the man before and it didn’t go far.  He was a shrewd dealer and there was no swaying him.  He obviously didn’t want others to hear his value so Vogh just stuck out her hand.  You have a deal.  She stated.

With the weapons spoken for, it was time to get rid of the armor.  Vogh had wished it was magical, but alas it wasn’t and so wouldn’t fetch much coin.

Vogh and Talin leave the shop with a little more pp to their names and head to Ebbert’s a few doors down.

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Narrator
———————————————————–
Vogh entered the Bull & Bear knowing Iltumar would be there, and be disappointed in her missing their training session last night.

“Miss Vogh! I was worried something happened to you! You weren’t there last night…” Once she explained the situation Iltumar completely understood and loved seeing her pull items from her extradimensional holding area. “By the spire that’s excellent. I never tire of seeing that magic. It blows my mind every time how something so small can hold so much stuff.”

Before they left the Minstrel Vogh had already removed her mithral chain shirt and replaced it with the magical studded leather they had taken from the elven attacker.

“Your armor is different ma’am. I take it you found something better? I’m betting that leather is enchanted, leswise you wouldn’t give up so fine a mithral shirt.” The young man smiled at his own astute observations. He didn’t know much about much, but he knew armor. “I gotta double check with the brothers, but I bet you’ll get 90 dragons outta this lot!”

Iltumar was gone a bit until he returned. “Hirus only wanted to give you 80, but I talked you up a bit and got you up to 900.” The boy was positively beaming, grinning ear to ear, expecting Vogh and Talin to be incredibly thankful. He leaned forward, still smiling and whispere, “It’s the least I could do to thank you for the lessons.”

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Vogh
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When Vogh saw Iltumar, she hoped he wasn’t mad at her for not showing up, when he expressed his joy a bit later after her explanation she smiled at him genuinely.

900 you say?  Well now that is some good work indeed.  We both thank you so much for your help in getting a better price for us.  Speaking of the lessons, How about I come in here and let you know when I can do it.  I would hate for you to wait on me again.  Think you would be up for a lesson tonight?

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Narrator
———————————————————–
The young man enthusiastically agreed, then disappeared into the back room and returned with a bag of 90 dragons. “I’ll see you tonight Miss Vogh!”

Sorry, short post. Not sure what you’re doing next.

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Vogh
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Vogh thanks Iltumar again and they head out into the day.  It was getting close to midday by the time the pair left.  The haggling at both places took time.  They both decided just to head back and put up their earnings and have a little fun in the process.

Nothing else planned for the day… they will take it easy.  At night Vogh will go train and Talin can play for the night if he can.

The next day they will get up and eat and then head down to the billboard in the undercity to see what jobs they might be able to find.

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Narrator
———————————————————–
Iltumar was excited and pushed himself, listening to Vogh’s every instruction. With consistent practice he would continue to improve. Maybe the boy would get good enough to even accompany she and Talin in the future. Both of them were perspiring by the time they finished and Iltumar thanked the beautiful woman repeatedly as they departed. Already their relationship had earned her and Talin an extra hundred gold.

Talin had a good night playing. He made a few gold once he combined all the silver and copper tipped coins. The Lady was relatively easy going that night and everyone seemed to have a lazy evening.

The following morning they made it down into the undercity and to the Delver’s Guild hall. Little had changed on the board since they were here last.

Private to GM: DATE/TIME UPDATE: It’s now been 33 days since they rescued Phon. 3rd day since they ordered from D.A. Their belts will be ready in 4 more days.

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Vogh
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Vogh looked over the board hoping that there might be some of interest that was new.  Alas though, she was disappointed.  She giggled a little when she saw the message that her and Talin had placed looking for a cleric.  Still no one had come for the ad. It was probably for the better though after talking with brother Fabitor and her brother it was probably something they couldnt handle anyways.  They might as well try and kill the dragon.

Well Talin after seeing our ad here we forgot to meet back up with those guys.  I wonder if they are still around? We should go check and then we could go after the blue gnolls or I was thinking about maybe being an escort to the sale of magic items from the goblins.  Let’s go find out about the pay for that one first and then we can find out about the gnolls and make a decision then.

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Narrator
———————————————————–
As Vogh and Talin scolded themselves for missing an appointment they thought back. It had been 8 days since they departed from Juel and his boys. In their defense, they had been in the dungeons dealing with drow and finding the wand for the other drow Dularius Mul. They had not intentionally skipped their appointment. No matter, surely they would run into the four men here in the Delver’s Guild Hall one day soon. Looking around the Guild hall it was obvious the quartet were not present.

The bards faced the same issue that day which distracted them previously, the Skull & Sword would not be open yet due to the early morning hour.

They decided the Rogue Moon Trading Company offices would surely be open so they headed off toward South Market and the large open circle of Star Crossing Plaza where the Rogue Moon offices were located. No one argues that the heart of the South Market district was the large open “square” – truly it’s a circle – called Star Crossing Plaza, where three major streets intersect. A number of important offices, as well as some of the district’s premier shops, are located at Star Crossing.

Navaen Bowcraft and The Starry Night, a very nice eatery, were both on the Plaza as well, but the bards proceeded directly across the large circular area to the Rogue Moon offices. The Rogue Moon Trading Office was a large, three story building directly on the plaza. People went in and out of the door like it was revolving. Inside the organization’s famed organization was apparent: neat lines of individuals waiting to meet with clerks behind desks stacking organized documents.

Neither wanted to wait a great deal of time, not knowing what each line was for anyway, so they tapped a few people and asked after Jessie Thorton. After a few blank stares and shoulder shrugs they were directed to an office on the main floor across the way. The wooden door was open and inside sat a woman older than Vogh, but still in her prime. Short cropped wavy, auburn hair and green eyes complimented her smooth and suntanned brown skin.

Private to GM: She stands 182cm (5’12”) tall and has an athletic build.
She has a high-pitched voice.
She is quick to forgive.
She is very self-confident.
She likes finding direct solutions to problems.
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Relationship Status: Recently divorced

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Vogh
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When Vogh saw the woman sitting there, she hoped that she wouldn’t be mad for the interruption.  Excuse me Madam, we were looking for Jessie Thorton.  Might you know where we could find her?

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Jessie
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The woman stood from her desk and they realized quickly she was tall, near six feet and had a very athletic build. When she spoke, they noted her voice was quite high pitched, even for a woman.

“Why, I am Jessie, how may I assist you today?” The affable woman gestured for them to take the two chairs before her desk and after they were seated she returned to hers as well.

When Vogh and Talin explained they saw her posting about doing business with the goblins outside the city Jessie’s face lit up.

“Excellent! No one has responded to that ad and I had lost hope anyone would. Thank you for coming to visit. Ironically even Rogue Moon won’t do business with these folks. Unfortunately, some biases remain even in a city as progressive as Ptolus. A member of this goblin tribe, Lipthsu, came to visit here and everyone was brusk. I spoke with him and ran the idea up the ladder, but no one in the company was willing. So I posted that ad thinking I could make some profit myself!” She smiled big as she ended. “Can you tell me a bit about yourselves? While I would like to do business with the little things, their penchant for deception and deceit are renowned and I don’t want to become a goblin pincushion.”

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Vogh
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When the woman stood up and Vogh saw that the woman was taller than her and built like a fighter, Vogh smiled.

I am Vogh and this is Talin.  We are both Bards, perhaps you have heard Talin sing or perform at the Ghostly Minstrel?  He has been there quite some time now.  We are both quite capable with our blades and our magic.  One other thing we are pretty good at is reading people or as you may know, bards are known for swaying the crowd.  Do you have any idea how long this task will take and about how much we could expect to receive in helping you with your task.

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Narrator
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“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Unfortunately I haven’t had occasion to visit the Minstrel for a long time. Now I need to come see you perform! To answer your question it’s probably a hard days ride there with fast horses and no wagon. Lipthsu could only give generic directions and landmarks, but with our maps I’m confident we can find it. As to compensation I cannot say as I don’t know what the creatures have to sell. You understand?”

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Vogh
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Vogh nodded as the woman told her she didn’t know a price.  That wouldn’t stop her from negotiating a base price though.  Well, I can understand that you have no idea of the cost of the items that you will be purchasing, but we should have a base price that no matter what you are able to receive we will still get a payment.  I think for our expertise we would like to have 100 dragons each (I assume that is a platinum).  Of course, anything we help with as far as the sale, can be taken from that amount.

As for the time, I think that will work for us, though we wouldn’t be able to leave for a few days as we are waiting for something we had made for us.  These items will aid us on the trip so it is important we not leave till then.

10:06, Today: Vogh rolled 26 using 1d20+16 ((10)).

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Jessie
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Jessie let out a low whistle as she leaned back in her chair. “You want a thousand thrones, gold, EACH, just for accompanying me out there and back? No matter what they have or what we profit, if anything?”

The tall woman shook her head as she leaned forward and put her elbows on the desk. “Miss Vogh, I mean no offense as I am certain your abilities warrant such payment, but I could hire a small army of soldiers for that amount. Plus I’m paying for this out of my own coin. Moon is not funding this. Yet again, were they, for two thousand thrones I could likely hire a hundred soldiers to march with me.”

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Vogh
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Jessie was a shrewd woman indeed.  Vogh’s attempt at getting a hard target was off, and it seemed like the woman didn’t want to negotiate either…unless…

You may be true, how about we hear what would you offer us first.  This is a business after all and though it would be nice to always just do things for free, it doesn’t pay the bills. 

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Jessie
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She blew out a big breath and inclined her head in thought, looking at the ceiling contemplatively. “Honestly, my expectation was to pay someone based on the sale of whatever items. I was thinking we split the profits fifty-fifty. The only expenses and cost if they have nothing to offer would be two days lost and meals. But, if they really do have legitimate items to sell, then we could easily make two thousand thrones, or hopefully a great deal more than that.”

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Vogh
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Vogh couldn’t disagree with the woman’s logic.  There very well could be a lot, and then again there could be nothing.  Please run me through this whole mission if you please.  We go meet the goblins who say they have magic to sell.  How are they going to get paid for their service?  Or are they trusting that we sell the items here and then bring them the gold?  Or are they coming along with to the city to sell the items.

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Jessie
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She smiled a bit, happy the duo hadn’t just walked out after she counter their request of two thousand gold with, no gold. “All excellent questions. Lipthsu intended to accompany anyone back here, to the city, to be present for negotiations and payment. He will likely bring several of his tribe to feel more secure. I have no intention of double crossing them so long as they act fair and civil. But I certainly understand his trepidation. It’s unlikely they will allow us to take their entire cache on the promise we will return with coin.”

Private to GM: The goblins, now flush with coin might decide to remain in the city. They could afford fantastic accommodations. Much better than living in caves.

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Vogh
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How did you hear about this message?  How is he to know someone is coming so whoever comes isn’t attacked?  Goblins, as you know, aren’t always good creatures and they may try and kill anyone coming.  Heck, it may be how they have a cache of magic in the first place.  Vogh stated.

Oh, one other thing.  The posting at in the undercity billboard did have a static payment listed.  Also, what percentage of the sale of the items has Lipthsu promise?

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Jessie
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“You ask great questions Miss Vogh! Lipthsu made his way into the City and found his way here after trials with the guards. I know they are generally evil creatures. He told me they found the items honestly in their caves when a tunnel collapsed and revealed deeper caverns. When he came I promised him nothing, only that I would do my best to come with people to inspect the items to see about selling them.” Jessie nodded regarding the static payment. “Again you are correct. I did anticipate a responder might require some promise of payment before leaving.” She grinned as she continued, showing she meant no offense with her next words, “Never did I imagine someone would ask for two thousand thrones though. I am not a rich woman but I have a little coin and after meeting with the diminutive creature I’m willing to take this gamble under the auspices of it being an investment.”

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Vogh
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Vogh didn’t get a straight answer from the woman about the payment but decided to not press further.  It all seemed like a decent engagement and one that she would have to further discuss with Talin.

Well, we thank you for your time.  I think I can speak for the both of us, that we are interested, but that doesn’t mean we will take the job.  I want to speak with Talin alone.  How about we come back in a couple of days once we have our things in order.  Would that be good for you?

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Jessie
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Jessie stood and shook both their hands. “Certainly. Unfortunately I’m not in a good bargaining position since you have no competitors at the moment, and I’ll not go alone. But if someone else comes along, I won’t wait for you either.” She winked good naturedly.

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Vogh
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Very well Jessie, we will see you soon then.

With that Vogh and Talin left the place.  The banter back and forth and the conversation took a little bit of time.  So Talin, what are your thoughts about this job?  Vogh asked as they walked down the street together.

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Talin
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“It seems low risk and high reward, love. But, as you said, I’ve never met an honorable goblin. A few have met my sword though.” He smiled then frowned in rapid succession. “But, if we go prepared it seems unlikely mere goblins will harm us. Plus, I haven’t been beyond the city walls in some time. Haven’t ridden a horse in some time either.” Talin chuckled at his own admission.

It wasn’t strange for Ptolus residents not to ride horses through the city though. The carriages were ubiquitous, but lone horse riders were usually outsiders, or the very wealthy.

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Vogh
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Vogh liked talking about these things with Talin.  He was her sounding board and it echoed back her desire.  Good, I think it may be late enough for us to head over to the Skull and Sword now.  What do you think?

Talin agreed, and the pair decided to walk.  It would take longer and by the time they get there, they could get something to eat as well.  Plus it would give them some time together and talk about life in general.

Once they arrived at the Skull and Sword, Vogh’s stomach was growling and she was more than ready to eat.  When they walked in she inquired about whom they might talk to about the blue gnolls.

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Narrator
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One of the roughest bars in Ptolus lay on Iron Street, on the edge of Midtown and the Guildsman District. Smoke and the stench of stale ale and sweat welcome patrons to the Skull and Sword. The small place was located below street level; the owner, Themus Wuur, lived above. The bar had two rooms, one below the other.

The taproom was above, where Themus or his only employee Mardun, tend bar. Mardun is a hulking exwrestler who competed professionally until he was found to be fixing his matches and retired in disgrace.

The lower room was filled with tables, and curtains cover the walls. Behind one is a concealed door leading into The Back Room.

The Skull and Sword served no food and precious little beyond hard ale from a pyramid of kegs stacked on the back wall of the taproom. It was well known shivvel dealers did business at the Skull and Sword, giving Themus a cut of each transaction and free shivvel to feed his own addiction.

Private to GM: Encounter:
Even characters being careful and quiet can find themselves suddenly facing a brawl with 1d6 or so 6th-level warriors. The thugs may or may not be armed, and may or may not be drunk (drunkards suffer a –1 penalty on all die rolls). If armed and not drunk, the thugs may pick a fight just to cover up an attempted theft, with 1d3 rogues attempting to pick pockets or cut purses during the confusion of the brawl. Themus and Mardun do nothing to prevent or halt bar fights but claim the right to demand payment from the loser to cover any damages. In the case of a fatality, they claim first right to loot the corpse.

The Back Room
Behind the Skull and Sword is a sadomasochism club simply called the Back Room. This ill-kept, rank place consists of a single room filled with manacles, chains, and various implements of torture. This is one of the few places in the surface city where one can find dark elves. In fact, the proprietor and Themus’ partner is a halfdark-elf woman named Ressis Kal (wizard7, treat as a normal half-elf, although she also has SR 18). Ressis is a world-weary, depraved, and decadent individual addicted to a common dark elven depressant called spidereye. Her body is covered with scars from masochistic behavior, and her missing left eye is covered by a patch. She knows Urshanna of Madame Kaethea’s House well, although the two do not care for each other.

The Back Room is a fairly well-kept secret. Ressis pays a rogue (usually around 5th level) to watch the door leading down to the place from the bar above. She always hires particularly canny, discriminating guards who only allow in those they think are “right for the place.” The half-darkelf pays them not only in gold but in service as well. Of course, a hefty bribe (an “entrance fee” of around 5 gp) can help get one in.

If the PCs ask around about anything strange in the area, a Gather Information check (DC 15) reveals that gnolls have been seen in the area around Brandywine Street, skulking in the darkness. A DC 20 success on the check allows them to hear that at least one person claims not only to have seen gnolls, but a  blue-skinned  gnoll as well.

The player characters see the wanted poster at right. Those who make a successful Gather Information check (DC 17) hear rumors that “Shilukar”  (whoever that is) has broken into a number of manor homes in the Nobles’ Quarter and stolen valuables of all types. Many of these homes are owned by members of House Abanar. Most people assume that the theft victims got his name through divination spells, but that such spells haven’t revealed the thief’s location. Some even say that Shilukar has gnoll servants working with him on these break-ins. A Gather Information check (DC 20) check also reveals that some people say Shilukar uses a fence named Ammel Dar. A Knowledge (local) check (DC 10) confirms that gnolls are extremely uncommon in this area of the world.

The Idol of Ravvan The artifact known as the  idol of Ravvan maintains an open gateway leading to the extradimensional hell that the minor god/demon prince Ravvan the Beast God rules over. Millennia ago, Ravvan sent this idol to the world to create a conduit. However, because of Praemal’s closed nature, the gate is only one-way. Creatures, things and energies can come here, but they cannot ever leave. As a god of savagery and beasts, much of what Ravvan sends are foul energies that corrupt and tempt creatures toward their more bestial natures (as described in Area 9). Recently, he has also sent a number of his followers (gnolls) and two of his demonic children (Angash and Brugul) begat upon gnoll mothers. The idol’s current owner, Shilukar the dark elf, has convinced those recently arrived from Ravvan’s realm that if they do as he asks, he will lead them to greater glory for their lord. So far, he has been true to his word, but he is ready to betray them in a moment if it will help him. If the idol is destroyed, all the creatures who have passed through its gate fall into a coma for 1d4 days. Shilukar knows this.

Because Shilukar has lied to them, Brugul and Angash don’t really understand how the world works. Having recently come here from the realms beyond, they don’t even truly understand that now they can never return. Occasionally they leave
Shilukar’s lair, but only to hunt live prey in the city above. Shilukar keeps them from doing so too often, so as not to attract attention. Still, rumors are already circulating of strange blue gnolls. If not slain, these half-demons will escape the lair and creep about Ptolus’ dark alleyways, hiding in abandoned ruins, hunting prey, and wreaking havoc.

Remember to make mention to Castle Shard being seen on a clear day.

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Talin
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When Vogh found out that the place didn’t have food, she looked to Talin whom only shrugged his shoulders.  He hadn’t been here as well so he didn’t know.  Talin though saw things very familiar to him.  Things that brought up a past he didn’t want to remember.  A past that up till this point had been far from his mind….

Talin decided to just get to the point with the Bartender, we would like to speak with someone about an ad that is posted on the undercity billboard.  Something about blue furred gnolls.

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Narrator
———————————————————–
The barkeep started laughing as soon as Talin mentioned blue gnolls. He actually threw back his head in a belly powered guffaw. Talin and Vogh looked at each other, not taking that as a good sign. The man wiped his watery eyes and told them to go talk to Gant, who appeared to be an old drunk already well into the drink even though the sun hadn’t fully set.

Gant, despite his slurred words and the taunts of those around him in the rough bar, swore repeatedly he had seen a blue gnoll that was twice the size of any man.

One nearby listener did comment that he had heard several people talk about gnolls being seen in the area around Brandywine Street, skulking in the darkness. But none of them so big as Gant said, let alone being blue. He figured Gant must have been really drunk, and possibly laying down, to be so confused.

Vogh and Talin did notice an odd game of throwing daggers off to the side. Instead of a standard target, several men were throwing small knives at a wanted poster for a Shilukar. They had seen this same poster in the Delver’s Guild too:

WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE Shilukar, Male Dark Elf Thief and Mage. 1,000 Gold Imperial Reward from House Abanar.

Talin got brave and asked about the target. The men were ecstatic to talk about this guy they revered. Shilukar had apparently broken into a number of manor homes in the Nobles’ Quarter and stolen valuables of all types. Many of them of House Abanar, those rich bastards.

Vogh flipped her hair just right, and bought a couple drinks to suss out even more info. Some say Shilukar has gnoll servants working with him on these break-ins. Some people also say Shilukar uses a fence named Ammel Dar.

09:43, Today: Secret Roll: DM rolled 25,24 using 1d20+7,1d20+4.  Gather Info: Vogh / Talin.

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Vogh
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After listening to the men talk about what they knew Vogh was more and more intrigued by this mission.

First, Shilukar’s name was brought up and Vogh knew all too well that there was a big reward for his head.

Second, Ammel Dar was a fence?  She hadn’t known this and didn’t let on to the men that she knew of the man. The fact that he was doing something illegal meant Vogh might have to deal with that.

What Vogh didn’t know was, who put up the sign in the Delver’s Guild?  Was this a mission or just checking on what some drunk had seen and to confirm it?  It sounded like they might have to go check out House Abanar.

Gant, were you the one who put up the sign in Delver’s guild?  If so why?  What were you hoping for if someone responded?  If he says no then Vogh will say aloud, Who put up the sign in Delver’s guild?  She will ask anyone who answer the same questions she would have asked Gant.

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Narrator
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Gant confirmed he did, but he had someone write it for him. His explanation, in a drunken slur, was simply, “Didn’t want ereone thinkin’ I was just crazy!”

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Vogh
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Well, then that was interesting.  Thank you for your time.  Vogh turned to Talin and with his nod they both left.

Thank goodness it was not a total waste of time coming here.  We did find out some great information.  I think we should head on over to House Abanar.  Perhaps it isn’t too late to get a meeting.  Let’s harry a carriage and make haste before it is too late.

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Narrator
———————————————————–
The sun had set, but it was not late by Ptolus standards. Vogh felt confident it would not be a large intrusion to knock on the Abanar House doors at this hour. Even with the Carriage it took the better part of an hour for Vogh and Talin to reach the gate of the Abanar Estate. As always, they had to present their papers at Dalenguard Castle to enter the Nobles’ Quarters. Vogh didn’t travel through the gate enough for the guards to recognize her.

Their carriage driver, and older man with a long white beard, but neatly trimmed and kept made a strange request of the duo. “My lord and lady, might you permit me to take us by Castle Shard? I have no’ carried a Noble into this Quarter far a long time and would love to see its beauty once more.” Both smiled at the politeness, and sweetness, of his request so they readily agreed.

Talin had heard of the magical place, but their previous trips to the Kath Estate had not taken them down King’s Road. Vogh knew of the magical enigma and had heard speak of the strange Lord Zavere and Lady Rill who were the “Lords” of the castle, despite the structure predating them by milenia. Castle Shard was a magical place to behold indeed, and now Vogh realized she had never attended one of the lavish parties thrown there. Her family had, obviously, but she had never accompanied them.

The carriage rumbled down Jeweled Road, and actually past their destination, then turned left onto King’s Road. Before they reached Shard, Talin marveled out his window at the Dallimothan Estate dragon tower. As noble estates go, House Dallimothan’s manor seemed somewhat small. A white stone wall surrounded a verdant, hilly expanse. It was not uncommon to see young couples strolling about the lawn, or children playing amid the trees. Only slightly less common was the sight of a metallic dragon – usually of moderate size – walking, talking, or even playing with them.

Finally Castle Shard came into view. It’s eight towers surrounding one central, the entire structure surrounded by a magical, glowing, purple moat.

Talin’s jaw fell open and the driver actually stopped the carriage in the road to openly marvel. “She never ages, and seeing her never gets old.” The older man muttered to himself, but loud enough for the bards to catch his words.

After several moments he urged the horses forward once more and they turned onto Thicket Street only to pass before the Kath estate and head back toward the Abner Estate they previously passed.

Talin actually overpaid the man by a couple silver for the long ride, and the pleasure of taking him past Shard, to which the man smiled and winked at the young man. A large manor house and outbuildings shared House Abanar’s estate with a vast yard and gardens.

House Abanar Coat of Arms

House Abanar Estate in the Nobles’ Quarter

The gate to the yard was closed. Talin raised the knocker and slammed it down on the metallic divider. Carriage and driver pulled away when a guard stepped up to the gate.

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Vogh
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As the carriage entered the noble quarters and they each supplied their papers, Vogh smiled somewhat.  She actually liked that she wasn’t well know enough to get unchecked access to the quarter.

At the request of the driver Vogh and Talin had no qualms about seeing Castle Shard.  Vogh hadn’t shown it to Talin yet, but it was a magnificent piece of work.  As they paused in front of the castle she looked upon it with familiarity, though not one in which she knew it intimately.  Vogh should have attended at least one of the parties that were thrown at the castle, but she had always come up with some excuse to not.  It was like she didn’t really want to assimilate herself so deep into this part of Ptlous.

The jogging of the carriage brought her back out of her memories with a start and she settled back into her seat once more.  She grabbed Talin’s hand and held it tight for the rest of the trip to House Abanar.

When the guard stepped to the gate and the carriage rolled away Vogh was left standing there alone for a moment.  She immediately spoke to the guard in an even tone.  We have come to seek entrance so that we may speak with the lord about an add for Shilukar.

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Narrator
———————————————————–
The guard responded politely, “Do you mean a warrant and bounty for his arrest? Why have you come so late in the evening?”

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Vogh
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Vogh stayed flat with her tone and talked as if she knew what she was talking about, Yes a warrant and bounty is what we have come for.  The reasoning is that we recently came into some information and we need to act now.  The night is still yet young and surely your master has not retired for the evening.

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Narrator
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The guard nodded in recognition. “There are many such bounties offered by the House. I need a good reason to disturb anyone. Lord Dered is up in age and he indeed retires early.”

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Vogh
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Vogh couldnt think if a right now reason so she asked, Well if that is the case, what time in the morning is best?

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Narrator
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Vogh and Takin shrugged and figured they could just pop in at the Kath estate for the night and visit Abanar the following morning.

They walked across the Nobles Quarters back to the gates of Kath, entered quietly and slipped into her room.

On the morrow they awoke, readied and headed to House Abanar again. A new guard greeted them at the gate. He challenged them, they explained about the bounty and shortly two guards escorted then into the house.

Lady Mila Stovan, a minor noble of House Abanar, was a tall and striking human woman with long brown hair. Like so many in Abanar, she bought her way into the house-or, rather, an ancestor did. A notorious gossip, she claims to know all the secrets of the Nobles’ Quarter.

They all met in a plush sitting room with soft looking chairs, magical lamps, and many books on the walls. Both guards remained.

“Hello. I was told you have information on one of Abanar’s bounties.” Mila greeted them.

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Vogh
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As Vogh sat with Talin and waited for someone to arrive so they could talk about the bounty, Vogh was looking about the room.  The sizable book collection was something she would be interested in looking at and perhaps reading some of the books.  She remembered fondly back in her youth the days that is was raining, and it rained often, she would sit in the Kath library and read.  Knowledge was key to so many things in life and it has proven more than useful in her days.

She wondered then what exactly Talin did when he was younger.  He wasn’t always a talented performer, though most likely it had something to do with that.  She made a mental note to ask him about it when they had the time.

Just then a tall striking female entered the room.  She was clearly a noble, VOgh could tell by what she wore and how she presented herself.  When she asked her question, Vogh piped in before Talin did.  Yes, we are here because we know of the bounty on Shilukar.  We have come into a little information about some relationships of his and we were wanting to find out what other information there might be before we try and pursue the bounty.

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Lady Mila Stovan
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Lady Stovan sat in one of the plush chairs, motioning for them to follow suit. Shortly an attendant entered, an older lady dressed in a well made dress, and apron. Mila told the lady to bring them some light drinks and snacks.

“Well, it is my understanding the House paid handsomely for divination magic which gave us Shilukar’s name. There was hair found in the house which is believed to be Gnoll. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors the dark elf works with their kind. He stole a great deal of gold, and a few items of value around the House. One of the items was familiar enough to use tracing magic on, unfortunately this too failed. Either he altered the item enough to make it unrecognizable, or he has it in the same place he’s hiding which seems to be protecting and shielding him.”

The attendant returned and placed a tray of cheeses, small pastries, and three bottles of various wines with a matching number of glasses. Mila poured from the lightest colored wine and sipped from her cup.

“Vogh was it? You are Kath, are you not?” She leaned forward, elbows on knees holding her glass daintily and gesturing with it lightly as she continued. “I’ve heard a noble of House Kath has been seen coming and going in secret at the estate of House Rau. I bet it’s Devina having an affair with the much younger Kalbir Rau.”

Having shared Lady Stovan leaned back in her chair with a smug expression, sipping her wine. “Everyone knows your two houses disdain for one another. I heard claim someone saw them leaving together after a party at Shard.” She smiled and took a sip of her light wine, watching Vogh’s expression and reaction very closely.

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Vogh
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Sitting down in one of the plush chairs as she spoke, Vogh looked at the older woman that was summoned.  Talin and her had eaten break fast so a little snack would be fine and the walk over in the morning was nice and she was a bit thirsty as well.

Before the servant arrived with the drink and snack, Vogh listened to Lady Stovan.  She was amazed that she knew who Vogh was, it even showed slightly on her face.  This one knew her nobles apparently.  She listened to what had happened and why there was a bounty for the drow…  another drow… the last one they dealt with wasn’t so easy a task to defeat, she wondered how this would go especially with gnoll bodyguards.  Yes, I am from House Kath.  Have we met before?  I am sorry I don’t remember you if we did.

It was true that her house and House Rau were not very friendly towards each other.  Though politics and such never really interested Vogh all that much.  She would hold onto the information for safe keeping.  At the proclamation of the information, Vogh hadn’t given any sign of it mattering to her or not.  The Noblewoman surely was gaging her reaction.  Vogh just took a sip from the same colored wine Lady Stovan had poured for herself.

So, there is no idea of where to begin to look for this drow’s hideout as you called it?  Vogh asked.

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Lady Mila Stovan
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“Why, my dear, it is of the utmost importance we know those around us. Well, those Noble, at least.”

There was no missing the infantilization of her tone. The stately woman took another sip of her nearly clear wine and continued.

“I would imagine we have met at some point Miss Vogh. But never mind that now. I’ve shared all the information we have, I’m not sure what more you expect from us. The reason we pay such large bounties is for people like yourselves to do their research and bring us our quary.”

She smiled again, with no mirth in her eyes, over top her wine glass rim.

“If you need the gold, you must do the work.”

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Vogh
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You are quite right.  We had to ask for as much information as you might have.  No use doing work that might have been done for us already.  We will figure out this mystery.  Vogh finished off the glass of wine she had poured and then looked to Talin.  The look was one that told him Vogh was done and ready to leave.

We thank you for your generosity and information.  I wish you a pleasant day Lady Stovan.  Vogh said as she stood up.  We will get right to the task of locating him and then collect the bounty.

She allowed someone to show her and Talin the exit and then they looked for a carriage to take them back to The Minstrel and figure out their next move.

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Narrator
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Lady Stovan stood and nodded to the duo, holding her near empty glass instead of shaking hands. Talin didn’t say anything, but caught Vogh’s expression and stood to hustle out, politely. The two guards, who had never left the room, escorted them back to the gate and shut it behind them.

Both had to walk for a distance before a carriage made its way around for them to hail. The Noble Quarter had fewer of the carriages roaming about since so many of the nobles had their own carriages or other forms of transportation.

Vogh and Talin were delighted to see one such example that morning. Overhead a sailing ship which looked as though it belonged in the water instead flew high above their heads. Who it belonged to, where it was headed, or where it came from was a mystery. The sight was classic Ptolus, where one never knew what they would encounter.

Returned to the Minstrel Talin expressed his hunger so they sat to enjoy a meal and light drink to discuss the next step.

“We have no leads about this dark elf. For them being illegal in this city, we sure seem to be encounting a lot of them. Nevertheless, I would like a thousand gold for sure. If a noble house hired a magical investigation that turned up nothing, I’m uncertain of our play here.”

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Vogh
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Vogh enjoyed the ride back to the Minstrel and sat to enjoy a meal with Talin when they arrived.  When he asked his question, Vogh only shook her head slightly.  Perhaps, Talin was just checking on her to see if she remembered, or he totally forgot about the fence that was tied to the drow.

You forget?  We do have a lead.  We got it from the Skull and Sword.  I think after we eat we might have to make a scouting of this Ammel Dar.  I do believe he has a place that isn’t too far from here.  Perhaps what we can do is even put out some false information or perhaps a meeting with the drow?  We can see how the conversation goes and play it by ear.  Vogh commented as she bit into a leg of lamb.  She too was hungry and she needed to get that Lady Stovan out of her mind.

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Narrator
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Talin shook his head, “Right. Right. I wasn’t thinking about the fence. I’m pretty sure I’ve even been in his store. General Store. Yeah, it’s only a couple blocks away.”

They finished eating, taking their time and enjoying the delicious Minstrel food, then stood and headed out into busy Delver’s Square. They crossed Center Street, avoiding the constant press of traffic and wagons, took a small lane across from Delver’s to Lower God Row, where they met with Bridge Street that led into the Mane, and finally onto small Ash Street.

Ammel’s was indeed a General Store where one could buy dried foods, simple tools, and all manner of items needed for daily life. They entered the nondescript building only marked among the others by the simple, wooden sign sticking on out a bracket over the door.

Inside a single man stood behind a counter, glancing at the two browsing patrons with disinterest over some pages he was reading through.

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Vogh
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Before heading to see Ammel Vogh had gone to their room and she collected the two necklaces that they had gotten from their time adventuring.  They looked expensive and she figured she may be able to use them as bait…  Before entering Ammel’s, she and Talin scuffed themselves up with some dirt and disheveled their hair and tried not to look so wealthy.

Vogh didn’t know who Ammel was and thus didn’t know if the man behind the counter was indeed him.  She had thought about how to coax some information about the drow from the man and what she figured she could do is fence the items.  As she came in she looked about acting nervously and even peered back out the door to see if anyone had followed them.

Vogh approached the counter and spoke some poor common to the man behind the counter.  We’z be looking for Ammel Dar.  You him?  We’z some bidness fer the man.

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Ammel
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DM, for the NPC Vogh Talin, rolled 16,15 using 1d20+14,1d20+14. Bluff checks .

The man looked them over, inspecting them and listening. He answered, “I am. What kind of business? What you see in my shop is what I sell.”

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Narrator
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Since you went to bed, i moved the story forward based on what I figured they would do. That way you dont wake up to a two sentence post. 🙂

Also, I’m assuming you made an effort to disguise your magic swords or left them at the Minstrel. 🙂 Not exactly blades of riff Raff.

Vogh and Takin tried to stay in character and sell the bit. “We’re not lookin’ ta buy ya see… We’re looking to sell…” Talin winked at the man, turned so no one else could see.

Ammel nodded with understanding then spoke up, making sure everyone in the shop could hear. “I think I’ve got some in the back. Hey folks, I’m going to step into the back with these folks. Don’t swipe anything. I’ll know.” He chuckled good naturedly and it was a good sign both shoppers did the same.

He turned, heading behind the counter and through an unlocked wooden door. They entered an office of sorts. A small desk littered with papers had an unlit oil lamp, unnecessary at this time of day thanks to the two small windows letting light in.

“So you’ve got something to sell have you?”

Vogh nodded and produced one of the expensive necklaces.

Ammel did his best to hide his surprise but did not quite succeed. “Stolen? Where else would you two have gotten such a pretty. I have no use for such a fine piece of jewelry in my shop.”

The bards sensed the man’s feint so Talin pressed. “Na. Na. Sir. You’ve got it wrong. We found it, see. No one was around to claim it. Some richie noble probably dropped it, too high and mighty to stop for their bauble. Them dwarves at Star Jewelers wouldn’t even let us talk! Told us ta leave! So we was drinking at Skull and someone said you might buy to get us some coin.”

17:10, Today: DM rolled 30,23 using 1d20+14,1d20+14 ((16,9)).

The man nodded. Vogh had been agreeing with Talin, nodding and trying to sell the bit throughout his speech.

“I might be able to find someone who wants to buy it. Since its not stolen. Hate to sell it to a noble what was the one who lost it.” Ammel eyeballed them, again taking their measure. He told them to let him see it, and took it from Vogh’s offered hand. The “store owner” looked over it carefully, feeling the stones and metal thoroughly.

“It’s an okay piece. Maybe the dwarves at Star would buy it from me since they wouldn’t talk to you. Me being a respectable shop owner you know… I can’t be certain of the quality or if the stones are real. How about 10 whole thrones. That’s gold in your hand right now.”

Talin steeled his face against the ridiculous price. The man knew it was worth fifty times that but figured someone poor wouldn’t know what they had. He looked at Vogh. Neither had discussed what to do if he low balled them so far. They were on a mission, but selling that necklace was half the gold finding this dark elf would earn them. His eyes told his lady it was her decision and lead.

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Talin
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Vogh looked wide-eyed as if amazed that they could get so much, but like any person who is poor, some gold often wasn’t enough for them if they were greedy.  She then elbowed Talin to which was a sign to get more somehow.  Talin puffed up with all the bravado he could while still looking the part and said, “Aw come now dis trinket must be wort much more dan dat.  You could prob get 20 time dat at dem dwarfes place.  Hows bout you gives each us 100 thrones. Ifn not we be spreding da word yous not so gut fence.”  Her eyes glittered as she spoke, looking all the more greedy.

As for the swords, yes we would have disguised them and also keep them covered by a cloak just in case.
08:31, Today: Talin rolled 20 using 1d20+16.  Intimidate.

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Vogh
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Vogh pipped in just then, You knows wat, Frok, we cud get more throns by geting the black elf we sawz a picture of in da Skull.  Mayb dis trinket can get uss information where dis elf is instead.

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Ammel
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Ammel’s eyes narrowed at both of their statements. Did they push it too far?

“Black Elf? A Drow? Ha! You ever done business with drow? They are illegal to even exist in the city, and they would rather slit your throat than talk to you… 50 thrones each…”

What is Frok?! haha

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Vogh
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Now they were getting somewhere.  Ammel was talking about the dark elf.  Was only a matter of time before they got information.  Now just a little magic to entice the man to tell what they want.  Vogh begins to sing softly a song, it is barely audible but loud enough for the man to hear since he is close to her.  In the song she tells tales of riches and fame.

Use the bard ability of facination.  Will save DC18 (grr on the low roll) to not be facinated by the song.
17:14, Today: Vogh rolled 18 using 1d20+13 ((5)).

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Vogh
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As Vogh is singing she can see that the man is now paying close attention to her.  The first part of her suggestion is complete and he is totally fascinated by the song.  She then begins to plant a suggestion in his mind.  Ammel, you are a wonderful businessman.  You have done business with lots of different people within the city and have made yourself quite rich in the process.  We are in need of a location for one of your suppliers.  His name is Shilukar, we found something of his and want to return it to him.  Please tell us how we can find him.

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Ammel
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Awesome use of your abilities. Super cool!

“Oh miss. I wish I knew. He has come to me to fence some items for him, but I have no idea where he resides. He has always protected that information greatly. Probably because of the large bounty on his head.”  Ammel was clearly in the throes of fascination with Vogh and Talin couldn’t help but smile. She caught him the same without spells he thought and chuckled to himself.

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Vogh
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Thanks a lot!  Since he has not finished the suggestion he will still listen to a part of the suggestion.

Vogh kept up with the questions, when was the last time he came in and how often does he come in?  What about the gnolls?  Perhaps you know where we can find them at?

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Ammel
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The man thought, clearly troubled he couldn’t give this woman he was captivated by a good answer. “He hasn’t been in for a while. There for a bit he was coming in constantly. But I haven’t seen him now for a couple weeks. And I’ve heard the rumors of him using gnolls, but I never saw one of the beasts myself. I’m so sorry miss.”

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Vogh
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Vogh looked at the man and was sad that she didn’t get much from him.  The next step would be to just scout.  Perhaps the drow would come again perhaps not.  Her and Talin had some time to spare yet, but then a thought came to her.  We thank you for your time Ammel.  You have done well and are free from your suggestion.

With that Ammel returned to normal and Vogh said to him, 50 thrones not enuf.  We go somewhere else to sell.  With that Vogh and Talin left the building.

Once away Vogh leaned into Talin and said, we need to head back to the Skull and Sword.  I want to ask about where the gnolls have been spotted.  Perhaps we can get something useful.

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Narrator
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“Oo kay miss.” Talin chuckled as he accentuated the bad speech and grammar they were using ‘in character’ with Ammel. “Let’s not go back tonight love. We might arouse suspicion.” the young man offered as he wiped muck from his face, then cast prestidigitation as he walked, completely cleaning himself and his equipment.

The duo made their way back to Center Street to join the mid-afternoon crowds making their way east and west along the main thoroughfare. To Vogh’s surprise Talin took them all the way up Lower God Row, crossed over Center Street and headed straight toward the Temple District.

Within sight of the Blessed Bridge, he turned left down a small street which turned around. She noticed a sigh that said Eriskal St., then another Dionys when they headed north. Vogh started to smell something very sweet coming from a building where she could ear the river running behind. Talin led them into a small, nondescript bakery with a simple sign that read Sallin’s. Inside a rather plump, but friendly, woman greeted them warmly. The smell of confections was mouth watering.

Talin ordered a chocolate filled bread made in a crescent shape and paid for Vogh’s order as well. They bid the woman goodbye with strong compliments on her baking. From there they stayed on the narrower streets with buildings on both sides until they came around a bend and animal noises were obvious.

“I like to come here and look at the exotic animals from time to time. There are many which are simply wondrous.” He licked his fingers clean as they reached the high fenced area. Talin was not kidding, there were several very rare and strange creatures inside. A griffon had its wings flapping occasionally but was good natured enough not to be attacking any of the other beasts. It was curious what kept the flying animal inside the area since there was no roof overhead. A lion roared and looked at them through the fence with eyes showing far more intelligence than any simple beast. Neither was it showing aggression toward the other animals nearby.

In a cage of its own, lying lazily on a thick bed of straw was the largest wolf Vogh had ever seen. It was like a kanine, but as tall as her, and twice as long. A couple great cats were in their own cages as well. Two were tan with black spots all over them.

Talin smiled as they viewed the animals together. He loved how diverse and varied Ptolus was. One of the things that had kept him here.

When they tired of watching the different ‘beasts’ Talin led the way up to Sunrise Street. They joined this larger street right across from the beautiful Emerald Hill so popular with those of elven ancestry. A short walk down Sunrise and the man turned once again, then a final time. Vogh spotted a metal sigh with several musical instruments carved completely through and the raised name Shar’s Music.

Her companion opened the door for her and they stepped into a Bard’s Heaven. Every instrument Vogh had ever seen or heard of, plus some she hadn’t, were hung or displayed. A very well dressed female halfling, Shar, stood behind a glass counter. Inside several small instruments were displayed, some with gold filigree and precious gems. The glass case was of a height for the taller races and Shar stood atop a stool which allowed her to see eye-to-eye with the humans.

“Well hello Mister Talin. It’s been quite a time since you darkened my door.” The bard chuckled and nodded, shaking her small hand.

“Well Miss Shar, one does not often have the coin to afford anything in your shop.” Talin chided her. “Let me introduce you to my dear friend, Vogh, who shares my passion for the musical arts.” Shar shook Vogh’s hand as well and greeted her warmly.

“Well do look about and bring me something that meets your fancy.”

A young, female half-elf entered the shop with a small case while they were looking about. Her elven heritage should have afforded her beauty, but dark rings around bloodshot eyes marred her comeliness. Slight tremors ran over her body as she laid the instrument case on the counter for Shar’s inspection. Vogh and Talin couldn’t help but see the pity in Shar’s eyes observing the half-elf. They spoke in a whisper ending when the halfling handed over a sack of coins and the lady left the case behind when she departed, clearly having just sold it.

— OOC —
As usual, I’m moving the story beyond this point,
but of course you should talk to her and look around
as much as you want, then catch up to where I end.
———–

They left Shar’s with difficulty. So many beautiful instruments were hard to leave behind for a musician. Evening was falling after their long walk about Midtown so the duo headed back to the Minstrel.

Winding through a couple streets brought them back to Center and then Delver’s Square. The Minstrel was busy and hopping tonight, even for an early evening. The bards enjoyed the display of a jester doing a manner of tricks like juggling, knife tossing and more to an upbeat tempo played through a fife accompanied by heavy foot stomping that reverberated through the stage resembling heavy bass.

The red-brown haired Tellith waved at them when she saw them enter and pointed to an attractive older gentlemen with a well trimmed beard. The tall, fit man stood upon Tellith’s gesture and waved them over to his table.

He was well dressed and carried no weapon, but had a platinum holy symbol of Asche, the God of Cities about his neck and sitting against his sternum. When the duo sat, he joined them at the table he had previously been occupying alone.

“Hello. My name is Mand Scheben. I am a priest of the Temple of Asche. It has come to my attention that you’ve had dealing with the criminal named Toridan Cran.”

Mand listens with interest to as much of their story regarding Toridan they wish to share.

“You seem capable to handle what I need. I would like to hire you for a somewhat risky venture. Would you mind meeting me tomorrow afternoon at Castle Shard? The Lords of Castle Shard are my friends, and they have some small concern in this matter. Asche looks favorably upon them, because of their importance to Ptolus. More of them I cannot say.”

Scheben will not overstay his welcome, and answers most inquiries with a simple ‘let’s speak more tomorrow.’ He left five gold coins on the table, which grossly over covered the price of his single drink, and departed politely.

I wish I would have remembered to introduce castle shard sooner so it didn’t seem so obvious and close together 😀

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Vogh
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Vogh nodded in agreement after they left Ammel’s.  Vogh had no idea where Talin was taking her instead.  They walked for some time through many different streets and thoroughfares. She saw many places she hadn’t seen before and when they finally stopped Vogh knew where they were.  She had gone to this place when she was a kid.  What kid doesn’t like to go see wild animals.  It was rather sad though, they were all caged and Vogh thought perhaps not happy.  It was hard to tell though as she didn’t talk to animals and couldn’t know what they were thinking.

The place had changed somewhat since she remembered.  The animals were freer than before and that pleased her.  It was amazing that some of the wild animals were not in cages.  Together they looked at the animals for a while and then after seeing enough they left.  It was a good respite from what they had been doing.

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Vogh
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After the zoo, Vogh and Talin began walking again.  Her heart was a little lighter and freer after seeing the display of the animals.  IT could be seen in her step as well.  A little more bouncier than before.  Talin next brought her to a place she hadn’t been before.  Shar’s.  The place was wonderous.  Vogh thought that the collections she had seen were glorious, but this was something entirely different.  Vogh was certain that some of the instruments of the house came from here, but perhaps the servants came to buy them, she didn’t know.  It is a pleasure to meet you Shar.  Vogh said with a huge smile.  Where do you find so many varying styles of instruments?  They are wonderful.  After a little looking around, Shar had commented about picking one of our choosing.  Vogh’s heart about dropped out of her chest at the mention of this.  She had seen a flute that was made of wood that had elvish runes carved all along the length of the piece.  She plucked it off the shelf and brought it over to Shar.  Can you tell me about this piece?

Just about then a woman showed up.  An elvish woman, Vogh could tell easily enough even though she looked like she had seen better days.  She looked like some of the men she saw at the Skull and Sword.  When the elf had obviously sold the item she brought in, Vogh just shook her head.  Talin though looked pissed.  His look was not one of pity but of rage.  Something else inside him was happening and she needed to know.  As they left she asked Talin.  Why did you react the way you did when that woman came into the shop and sold her instrument?  Vogh didn’t ask accusingly but with concern in her voice.

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Vogh
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The next trip was back to The Minstrel, Vogh was getting hungry and it was getting late.  She could even get some training in which she was thankful.  First though she observed the juggler doing his act.  He was quite good and Vogh was about to sit when Tellith mentioned someone was there to see them.

The man named Mand was clearly a priest and when he said as much Vogh was thankful it wasn’t someone else looking for a job.  It wasn’t to last long though at the mention of Toridan Cran.  HEr and Talin told their story about what went, while in between ordering some food and drink to the table.

Ah great another job.  Guess it couldn’t hurt.  They were kind of stuck on their last one for now and this could be a side job in between.  Castle Shard…. she couldn’t wait to go there again and actually go inside this time.  When finished saying his part Vogh said with perhaps a little too much eagerness, we will be there on the morrow.

As the man left her and Talin finished their food and this time Vogh asked Talin to join her in the training.  He wasn’t going to be performing this evening anyway and she thought he could use it after what he had told her.

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Vogh
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The training was hard and afterwards they both were full of sweat and ready for bed.  After saying farewell Iltumar and heading back to the Minstrel.  Not exhausted, Vogh made another play and though she hardly had to try her and Talin had more fun…

The next morning they got up, and since they were heading to Castle Shard, vogh thought to put on her fancy clothes.  No armor this time, though they both brought their weapons, just in case.  They then had break fast and then hailed a carriage to Castle Shard.