Old June 26, 2014, 06:29 PM   #76 (permalink)
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Warren's dead, Tam's alive.;)

Poor Mr. Kising. Barthelme had an urge to apologize to the man, though he wasn't sure for what. "Sorry I sort of got your son killed, only not really, because I all but begged him to go home and not attack us?" Or as Usira uncharitably suggested, "Sorry that your son was so stupid he thought he could use his bare fists to beat up an Ancient armed with a sword and a magic force field?"

Risthal, Octavia hadn't even been hurting Warren's brother!

Yeah, no, even in his own crazy head Barthelme knew that anything he might try to say was going to come out horribly wrong. So instead of saying anything, he just stood there with his eyes respectfully lowered so as not to compound the blacksmith's pain. The mad half-elf perked up again, however, when the constable and his deputy finished their search of the body and revealed the strange prize that Liam had stolen from the Songbrooke prison.

"Barthelme!"
Usira exploded. "If you'd just searched the body when I said, you could have had that ruby!"

Actually,
he replied, I remain very comfortable with my decision not to insert my bare hand into a dead man's rectum.

"In the future,"
wise Ximenes suggested, "I recommend investing in a pair of gloves."

Sage advice indeed! Barthelme most definitely would. For now, however, he was regarding the gem with renewed interest. He was hearing voices. Not that that in itself was anything new! Barthelme was always hearing voices. But these were human voices, more or less... and one of them was a voice he recognized. More than that, Barthelme was seeing things, too! Again, not unusual for him. Except that the things he was seeing, in this case, had a lot more to do with Telath than the Overthere.

"Incredible," Barthelme murmured aloud, staring at the gem intently. "Constable Pinkerton, this gem is some sort of magical device. And the psionic essence of Liam Kising and Dominic Hidge... their minds... for all intents and purposes, their souls... appear to be sealed inside it!"

"Well, I guess that's one way to keep the Great Beasts of the
Overthere from getting your psionic essence when you die," Usira remarked. "But if you ask me, being trapped in a gem forever doesn't sound like much fun, either."

"Could that really be the purpose of this artifact?"
Ximenes wondered. "If Liam thought it would give him 'nine lives,' he appears to have been sadly mistaken."

"As I suspected, Dominic Hidge was lynched," Barthelme said. "And Liam was one of the lynch... lynch-ers. If I only had enough Vis to cast my Telepathy spell, I might even be able to communicate with them..." Well, the thing didn't seem to be harming Pinkerton when he held it. So, Barthelme tapped incautiously on the face of the gem that seemed to be containing the spirit of the late Dominic Hidge. "Serale, Mr. Hidge? Are you in there? Can you... hear me?"

"Serale, Dominic! I'm Usira! Can you hear me?"


"We have many questions to ask you, about the fate of your mortal self, and the properties of this magical device..."
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Old June 28, 2014, 10:32 PM   #77 (permalink)
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Ancient Aelyrians didn't necessarily have clara, per se. It was bundled up into their normal vision; in a way, Octavia always looked at everything through clara. So it was that she would experience what seemed to be the memories that lay within the gem. It was the first time she had encountered anything like it, and couldn't help but wonder how some country bumpkins had managed to get their hands on something like this. It certainly explained why they were so desperate to keep it, however; such tiny and miserable creatures, scrabbling to keep what little power they had.

Well, she'd leave the questioning to Barthelme for now. Octavia would simply improvise a spell involving a bit of water to clean off the gem; they all knew where it'd been hiding, after all. Just wiping it off with a bit of cloth wouldn't really suffice, as far as the Ancient was concerned.

Filthy low-lives.
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Old July 1, 2014, 08:24 PM   #78 (permalink)
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darn twins, messin' me up =/

"Magical device, you say?" The constable reiterated Barthelme's words as he turned the gem over gingerly in his hand, looking at all of its sides once again as if that were going to reveal all of the stone's mysteries all at once. He started a bit and almost dropped it as water from Octavia's spell suddenly began to trickle over it, washing the stone and making its now wet surface twinkle. Of course, he had to take the matter on faith, given that he had no magical abilities to speak of.

Barthelme's fingers brushed against the newly-wetted surface of the gem, but his call would sadly go without a response; unless the gem had been set up with a physical trigger by whoever had designed it, its enchantment could only be accessed through arcanic means - explaining why only Barthelme and Octavia were getting any information out of the gem at all.

The stream of whispers and memories had died down a bit as Pinkerton had turned the ruby about, but then restabilized and began a dim murmur once more. Even though Barthelme's touch hadn't effected anything materially, both he and Octavia found that after some minutes they got better at processing the jumbled memories that came at them - especially Barthelme, since this was very much like what he did in the dreamworld.

A clearer picture of events began to form itself in their minds, though still oddly doubled in places as they first saw Dominic's memories, then Liam's.

The lynching itself was of course a highlight for both of the men's memories and they kept reverting back to it, even though it was one of the most confused of their memories, perhaps because for both it had been laced with so much (albeit very different) emotion. But the Ancient and the half-elf also saw the aftermath of the attempt - images of Dominic before a court, his hands tied behind his back, prevailed here - as well as a younger version of Liam clearly arguing with a younger, clean-fasted version of Philip.

And prison. The things they saw about life in Terramarique were terrible, soul-crushing circumstances whose horror the brief flashes of memory they were able to pick out conveyed all the more powerfully for the deep blanks that stood out between the visions. Liam, by the gods! The tremulous cry reverberated through their brains as it had echoed across the lonely prison cell - lonely no longer. Out of Liam's eyes they looked at the emaciated, gray-haired shadow that had been Dominic Hidge; and out of Dominic's eyes they saw the cunning, calculating, muscular form of Liam Kising. Together in Terra.

Again the streams of memory parted ways, coming only in brief flashes as they told the rest of the story: Liam giving Dominic his crust of bread, protecting him from a group of other prisoners; Dominic reaching for Liam's mind, whispering something in his ear, touching his forehead - unbinding him.

...find it in the wall... hidden, secret... Dominic's words, but refracted through Liam's memory.

And then they'd circle back, to the sweet cottage in the wood, and as they did so they'd realize that that sweet cottage was this sweet cottage - yes, the very one that they were standing in front of! - except much less weatherbeaten and much better taken care of. It had been Dominic Hidge's home, before Liam Kising had taken it - as he had everything - and made it his hideaway.

And they saw something else, too, this time only from Dominic's side of the gem: a cellar, its entrance hidden at the back of the clearing on which stood the cottage; and inside a workspace filled with books, odd objects - some old, some not so old. Bunches of herbs hung from the ceiling, and in a corner a chest. My treasure.. the words snaked through their minds. Liam may have taken Dominic's livelihood, probably his life, and even the gem with his memories in it; but he hadn't taken everything.

The mysterious, odd, crazy Dominic Hidge still had one last secret left to reveal: and at that moment, none but Barthelme and Octavia knew about it.

"Well?" Asked Pinkerton just as they reached that point, evidently considering that enough time had passed between Barthelme's question to the gem (or, rather, to the Dominic hidden inside the gem); "Did he say anything?" There was a note of morbid horror in the Constable's voice as he considered a dead man talking to the living.
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Old July 4, 2014, 10:01 PM   #79 (permalink)
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Barthelme spared Octavia a grateful nod for having cleaned the gem off with her spell before he went and touched it. Not that he thought she had done it for him, really, but it was appreciated nonetheless. After that his attention was focused exclusively on the strange magical device. Much of what he learned from it was surprising. Poor, naive Dominic Hidge being won over by one of the men who had tried to lynch him, for one thing. Also, the nearly incomprehensible revelation that Liam Kising had apparently been a mage.

"Good thing we killed him, then,"
Usira remarked. "We should get a bonus for kicking that idiot out of the gemblood gene pool."

"Direct communication appears to be impossible... at least without my Telepathy spell," Barthelme told the constable. "Nonetheless, I can read the memories of these men... which tells me much. For one thing, this gem was a treasure of Mr. Hidge's, that he hid in your prison... and he had... rather foolishly, in my opinion... told Liam of its location before he died."

Then there was the matter of Dominic Hidge's hidden workspace and treasure cache. That was a bit of a conundrum, now wasn't it? Briefly, Barthelme considered not bothering to tell the constable about the place. It had little or nothing to do with the bounty hunting job, after all, and Pinkerton just might want to impound everything they found there as evidence or some such. If Barthelme kept mum about the hidden treasure, on the other hand, he and Octavia could simply help themselves to all of it without anyone else being the wiser. It would be their due, really. Mages' treasures ought to belong to magic-users. That's what Barthelme's brain was telling him!

However, that "and Octavia" gave him pause. Not that the half-elf was adverse to sharing! But it occurred to him that the Ancient just might be. He didn't really know her very well, after all... and she had sort of helped herself to the weapon belonging to the culprit that he had killed. Yes... the lesson of Dominic Hidge was instructive here. One had to be careful about whom one trusted, especially if one was operating somewhat outside the law. Better to play it safe, then, and do this by the book. No need to risk everything by being overly greedy.

"There is one thing more," Barthelme said. "I believe we may have uncovered the location of a secret workshop once owned by Dominic Hidge. Octavia and I could likely find it for you. Its contents might be... illuminating. Of course, in return, I don't think it would be too much to suggest that we receive a modest finder's fee... say, our pick of any items inside we consider to be of interest..."

Because, yeah, bounty hunters. There was no need for them to give away their services for free, either.
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Old July 6, 2014, 12:48 AM   #80 (permalink)
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Octavia wasn't particularly interested in material wealth, but she couldn't help but be a little curious as to what sort of 'treasure' was involved here. Having gone through so much to protect and safeguard it? The Ancient would have liked to believed that it was something at least worth guarding, not just a pile of crowns.

Well then, Barthelme had done all the talking necessary. Octavia would merely Suggest that the constable agree to the proposal.
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Old July 6, 2014, 03:24 PM   #81 (permalink)
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Despite his previous horror, Pinkerton still seemed mildly disappointed that Barthelme hadn't been able to communicate directly with the occupants of the gem. He hummed with hesitant interest, however, when the half-elf decided to relate the contents of what he'd seen.

"Well..." The Constable seemed to hesitate and glanced at Pinky, but with the added push of Octavia's spell, finally nodded. "Alright, then, that seems reasonable enough. Where did you say this - secret workshop - was?"

Leaving the Kisings to mourn, Barthelme, Octavia, and the two Pinkertons skirted the cottage and proceeded toward the back. Just as the half-elf and the ancient had seen, there was an underground cellar tucked away right at the back of the clearing. It's entrance was entirely overgrown and would have been completely invisible had they not known it was there beforehand - doubtless the reason why it had escaped the notice of Liam and his friend.

The door was difficult to shift, but with all four of them at it it finally gave, creaking open with a shower of dust and dirt.

Inside stood Dominic's workshop. What had seemed to Barthelme and Octavia as a nice, albeit messy, space had in the past decade or more devolved into a dusty and sorry sight. There were some piles of books standing on a desk in a corner, but most of these showed signs of extensive rot and... nibbling. Papers full of notes in a crabbed hand lay strewn on the table and the floor, in a similar state of complete uselessness. The herbs that had hung so neatly from the ceiling had shrivelled into nothing.

The chest in the back corner, however, still held out its promise of reward. And here, perhaps, the two adventurers were less disappointed. Inside was a small pile of old, pre-Aetherfracture crowns and two rather odd weapons. There was, on the one hand, an old but remarkably little worn falchion with a hilt studded in glittering amethysts. It stayed passive when anyone else touched it, but when Octavia picked it up, she could feel the hilt hum and mould itself to her grip as if it were an extension of her arm.

Next to the falchion lay a black, shiny flail. Remarkably, it looked as if it were new, though obviously that couldn't be the case. It, too, seemed to call Barthelme to the same effect (though in a rather different manner) than the falchion called to Octavia.

"Hmm." Pinkerton murmured again as the contents of the chest was pored over. A no-name, low-level mage of the last decade with a flail and a falchion in his possession? Extremely, extremely odd! "Gives me the willies," The lanky Pinky supplied with an eloquent shudder.

"Yes, indeed, take what you like," Pinkerton waved about, as clearly nothing in the workshop seemed to pertain either to the mystery of the Constabulary. In any case, Pinkerton was walking away with a rather large gem tucked into the pocket of his waistcoat, so he certainly couldn't complain! "Pinky, you'd best go see about transport and burial for the bodies..."

And so the Mystery of the Break-In had indeed been successfully solved, the culprits apprehended (and punished!) - all in a brightening's work. Octavia and Barthelme both, when they got back down to Songbrooke, received the sincere thanks of the Prefect and even got to shake hands with the Thane. Of course, the citizens of the place looked at them rather oddly - word that Liam (however disliked) had had a piece of his throat missing would get around - but then, they were still walking away with their pockets loaded and the ability to say: "Mission Accomplished".

 
Congratulations! You Have Gained Stuff!!
Octavia:
  • +1 Falchion OR AA Magic
  • Feel-Good-Falchion ~ not only pretty, but feels great!
  • Reward money (can be used toward upping your wealth category)
Barthelme:
  • +1 Mysticism OR Dagger
  • The Needy Flail ~ black, shiny, and tries to follow you around like a legless puppy
  • Reward money (can be used toward upping your wealth category)
 
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