Gallowsbird (2016)

How To Fail at Diplomacy

When we leave the fallen tower Broderick runs off to do something in the Docks. Me and Richard escort Venyard and the two Ratfolk first back to the Rat Embassy. We arrive uneventfully at the embassy and after thanking us the Rat’s go in. We continue moving and have Richard Conversation 5. We change course and head for the Blue Poles. Venyard directs us to a section of the Poles reserved for meatsmiths where various meats of … dubious origin are being sold.

Venyard puts a cloth to his mouth and mutters as he leads us to the back of a building. We hear laughing inside when Venyard knocks twice. It opens to a half-dwarf who recognizes Venyard. Our guide asks for someone named “Big Billy” and is told he lives down the street. We go to the directed build and an imposing gnome with badly wrinkled skin opens the door. Venyard confirms that this is Big Billy and we enter after some brief greetings.

Inside is a tattoo parlor where a half-orc woman is smoking “dreamleaf” which is a sedative. We note various tattoo implements, all of which are surprisingly clean. Me and Richard are directed into a back room where lively art depicts various animals that give the illusion of movement. There is little in the room besides a massive tattoo chair and a drawer that looks to hold dyes. It appears it has some sort of secret panel of sorts. We briefly debate on opening it but Venyard wheels in before we can. Richard clarifies that “Big Billy” is just putting in the soul and not doing anything else and Venyard confirms. Venyard begins setting out ritual components from a pouch, circling the room before he briefly leaves. He returns with Billy in tow. Billy hands Richard some alcohol to dull the pain which he downs quickly. Venyard meanwhile pulls out a scroll and casts a spell from it. I see that it’s an abjuration spell but that’s about it. He touches Richard and claims that the surgery must begin. I help hold Richard down as they slice him open and perform the procedure to put the soul in. After a healing potion Richard, who can barely stand, tumbles out of the room. Venyard is now smoking with the half orc and offers some to Richard. I ask if there is some sort of a test, asking how he confirmed it last time. Venyard claims he doesn’t have to explain his methods. Richard hands over some paper as payment and they leave Venyard there.

On the way back Richard claims he’s kinda shaken up by the memories in the soul. Apparently he found Lenny’s soul which had been forcibly extracted from Lenny. I help carry him to the Weather HQ and then we agree to meet tomorrow night to help with a surgery.

I head back to my place and find a note on top of a package on my door from the Bear.
Note: “The Temple District insisted on this configuration. I have signed copies from them and the Bluepoles’ Thag. I leave the rest in your hands. I have found and important weakness of the Friends that requires my immediate action. I’ll know more by tonight, and should be back in my office by 11. If you wish to meet with me then I would welcome you. If not, it has been a pleasure working with you and I wish you and your endeavors the best.
-Bear"
The package it self contains the documents for the various districts. It seems both the Senation and the Ratfolk play a part in the Sanctuary’s safety. I store that note and then give Thomas Atticus’ potions to check if they are safe. He quickly surmises that they are. I remind the others about the meeting later tonight and then head out.

I go back to the Weather and ask around about Salisbury. I quickly find out he is in a nearby tavern with several recruits. He is there talking to two tables of recruits in the Weather uniform. He apparently is making a defense of hard justice for those who violate the laws of the city. He gets a few claps at the end, which wraps up shortly after I start watching. He then says he will get the first round for the ‘new guard regiment’ and walks to the counter, away from the two crowds. They cheer at this. We exit and have Salisbury Conversation 4. I agree to fight several of the recruits to convince them to not get involved with the war. Salsibury lays out the rules. It’s 3 of them vs me using only my fists. I’m able to knock out one of them but I take more damage than I should. I end up drawing my sword after a lucky punch. I attempt to intimidate them but it has the opposite effect. They take my display to mean all rules are off and one attempts to blind me with something. I dodge it and Salisbury calls off the fight. The dust is identified as Druff and Salisbury is extremely pissed. One student tries to claim I started it by breaking the rules but Salisbury counters that they are the law. He drags the kid off. I confiscate the drug from the others before they get busted and give them a lecture about how it’s bad. Salisbury joins us as I pay for the meal for the recruits. We talk about the faith for a while and convince them to join as well as bolster Salisbury’s faith.

When I’ve said my goodbyes there I go collect Samantha, Viola, Bell, and Thomas. We all go to the Castle. The minstrels are there practicing the first few acts. The place has been slightly cleaned up. They all turn as we enter and ask if they need to leave, several juggling balls and a dagger falling in the process. I go upstairs and find that the desk in the office is cleaned and a awful painting is adorning the far wall. Bell and Thomas are assigned to guarding the perimeter. Sam and Viola are in the conference room going over last minute plans. I wait downstairs for Prestor to arrive.

Twenty minutes pass before he does, surrounded by a crowd of people. They ask to see the dawn. I am slightly caught off guard by this and Prestor sensing that asks to come in first. We have Prestor Conversation 2. I bring him up to the office and leave him there to get Samantha. I find her in the conference room with her cossack outfit. Viola is talking to her and reminding her of things they have discussed. Sam is holding a mirror and a book. She clarifies she needs to know if Prestor is appropriate. I nod and let her and the Prestor conversation continues. I then exit shortly after again to go try and get her bird. I try several tricks before I finally herd it through a window and into the hall where the office is. Prestor conversation continues again. They agree to wait till dawn and I leave some time after.

Viola comes with me as I bring her back to my apartment. We have Viola Conversation 5 before I drop her off. I briefly look at the magical item report Dunwick gave me. I look up the journal and note that it lists the hostel as the last known place. After that I go to the “Small and Tall” for my meeting with the Bear. An elf answers the door and lets me into a backroom. We have Bear Conversation 4.

I return to the Castle. The minstrels seem tired from their impromptu act. A good portion of the crowd seems very engaged, and a hat is going around filled past the brim with donations. Sam is watching the minstrels happily. Prestor is watching Sam and the large, ramshackle standing clock. He does not seem a guy who is easily amused. I request to see the Amethyst Lady and we go upstairs to the office. We have Samantha Conversation 26.

We return shortly and we all idly talk as we wait for dawn. I start to figure out what type of person Prestor is. “He is a charismatic guy who maybe thinks too much, taking his expectations and being bitter when they aren’t matched. You can tell Samantha is not the answer he was looking for, and you think he may be a risky addition to the chosen. You get the feeling he has his own ideas on how Samantha could grow, and based on his short, guided questions, you pick up he is trying to guide her toward traditional god roles – judgement, correction, and miracles for the upper brass. You feel a little disillusioned about him being someone who cares for the poor. You believe he cares for them purely to ensure they are complacent. Samantha seems to be trusting him. You get the feeling she is trusting because she wants to trust, not because she is catching on to the subtle behaviors you are. You wonder if she might be acting still, because if she is an actor she is keeping her role consistent. She gives off a joyous matron, out of touch with the fears of the common man. You don’t know how she learned to act that way, but Viola would be a good bet.”

After spending some time I pull Amethyst aside again, we continue Samantha conversation 26. As we return we not the crowd has slowly left as the night has continued and only half remain. The minstrels are clearly tired. The birds begin a melancholy but beautiful song. One by one they begin to shine. The crowd, Prestor included, are shocked. Samantha smiles and the birds take flight out into the sky, most of the crowd following. Prestor says and we have Prestor Conversation 3. He remains unconvinced and some of his followers agree, some stay. We all celebrate those who agree to stay and then go home to turn in for the night.

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