Gallowsbird (2016)

Public: The Fall of the Embassy Part 1
Enter the Kipper

As we enter our office we receive notice that there has been no word from the Ratfolk embassy located in the Docks. We were tasked to figure out the cause in the lack of communication. Before we go there I’m informed there is a second embassy in the mids near the Senation Border. It’s located at some placed call the “Right Way Cluster”. We go there and find the ambassador named Marcus Longtail. He mainly states what we know and states he’s very interested in hearing what has happened there.

We then leave and head to the embassy itself. Outside we find an old man who is raking the dirt in front of the tower. He refers to himself as “Ground Kipper” although the exact pronunciation changed with every telling. He in general sounded quite mad. He insisted that he could talk to the tower that it told him things. According to him those who don’t respect the tower always end up dying. He states he doesn’t know what happened to those in the tower but he assumes they died. We enter the tower to find it looking long abandoned. Dust is everywhere. I use my key and I’m able to open some of the doors. Inside one room is a bunker with a note [insert contents here]. The other is a ladder leading up and down.

Around this time the Kipper enters and asks if we’re dead yet. We question him a little more and we eventually notice he’s under some sort of enchantment. He’s also not breathing and that he never blinks. Convinced this guy is somehow involved we decide to not let this guy leave. I declare that I’m just gonna knock the guy out to deal with later. He does not react well to this news. He sprints up the ladder and we give chase. Well, I give chase. Brodie gets breaks the ladder and gets stuck briefly. At the top of the staircase I find Kipper desperately cleaning the tower. I enchant my sword with the merciful enchantment and easily knock him out as the others arrive. Unable to take the man down the ladder we decide to tie him up, take his “key” which was an ornament on his stump arm, and just hope he can’t escape.

We descend down the stairs until we realize our lights won’t reach past a certain point. We are kinda lost and descend more and realize we don’t seem to be making headway. Brodie at some point decides to go up the ladder and we lose track of him entirely. Eventually with no other option we decide to keep descending. After much longer than we should have we actually find Brodie below us waiting at some slope. At the bottom of this slope we find this grate with darkness beneath and another ladder at the opposite side. It seems relatively harmless and we cross it. The ladder on the other side seems a bit short but we’re able to take some of the old ladder, which was modular, and get to the other side. On top we find blood that seems burned.

Past that we find a pit that seemingly leads towards more darkness. Before we can do much we see the darkness rising and eventually it engulfs us. When we get out of the darkness we’re in the same room but now on the ceiling. We also find that the gravity for most things is still the same so the ladder is now on the ceiling. It’s at this point Richard seemingly out of nowhere pulls out a long pole. Obviously magic was involved somehow but Richard insists it’s not worrying about. We get the ladder and start to hear Kipper up on the platform whispering “Blood for blood” and debate what to do.
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Don't judge a book by it's cover
Or it will kidnap you

Actually took place in November but timeline wise happens before the “Fall of the Embassy” posts.

After the group splits up I return to the Weather Society. I find Salisbury and we agree that since we don’t know where they come from and we technically skirted the law they will be placed in a cell for a day while I try to find a new place for the books. I’m sent to Frax to make the arrangements. I notice he seems to have been attacked but he refuses to talk about it so I let it go.

That temporarily dealt with I go find a scribe to get some books copied. I go to Tarn Detreat, a thin dwarf, who owns “Book and Parchment Repair”. We exchange pleasantries and I drop off the books and get told to come back in a few days.

After that I drop by the Jiggling Gypsy to see Viola again. I catch her up on the thieves who want the square books. She doesn’t have a place to store the books. We talk a little and I’m struck with an idea. I invite her to come with me and she agrees. As we head towards the Apple the bells start ringing. In an alley along the way I find a gutted Temple district person with a large case filled with souls and a note: “Althazar, this is a gift from the Mother Below. We must feed the God of Gears soon. Bring it to the agreed upon place.” I explain to Viola what the contents are and she agrees to let me keep it.

When we arrive at the Apple we notice that a lantern can be seen inside through the open doorway. I draw my weapon and we approach. A demon is outside the building shambling towards the light. He enters and we hear a homeless person scream. I rush in and swing my sword. I hear noises coming from the book room and tell Viola to go check on the books while I distract the demon. Before the fight gets too intense Falconflight enters and commands the beast to leave and it does. I ask what he is doing here and he informs me he’s been hired to track the books. We enter the book room and see no trace of Viola, just a lot of open books. After some looking I find her instrument sheared in half next to a dispelled book. It also looks like someone was hit with the instrument as I find blood and hair on it. Falconflight gives additional insight and states that she seemed to be dragged into one. Also apparently the room was silenced. We theorize the second party might be in the room and as we sweep the room the books all flip to a page that reads "Free book. Take one.
Rules for book:
1: Do not disrespect book.
2: Do not destroy book.
3: Write only in common

Thank you.
-Friends of Man"

Falconflight states that I should hire him to look into this. I agree to do so. Before he leaves he gives me a book that his friend wrote. “Beautiful and Tragic: The Catastrophe that formed Us. – by Duke and Viceroy” a short story about the Dukes research into the history since the Catastrophe. When he leaves I pray to the Amethyst Lady “Oh Amethyst lady. Agents of the Monsters have struck. Their tools are in this building. I ask that you make every book shove itself in the others. Have their own tools destroy themselves.” After the prayer I start to hear explosions as the roof starts rattling. I escape the building, now half collapsed and give thanks before I leave.

I go to the Society and inform him about the new “missing person case” that will be reported soon. I then put a letter at the Jiggling Gypsy so that Viola’s ‘squeeze’ can file the report. When I get home I do object reading on the cloak, case, and vials. The soul vials were handled by silent hooded men in temple robes. You hear a loud, consistent beating in the distance . The briefcase was handed from a woman to a man. He asks if she will protect him. She says if he dies, he will not die. This comforts him. They are in some sort of cave. The cloak was last worn by a man. You watch him turn toward the bells. Confusedly. Then a demon erupts from behind him, and it fades to darkness.

I read the Love Inbetween and then contact Samantha before going to bed and we have Samantha Conversation 15.

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The Friends of Man and the Manhunt

After the group breaks I go back to my place to collect Bell for adventure. When I arrive I see her bandaging Viola. After I ask about it she informs me she wants to make an attempt a day. After that she offers to sell me a love story from the Temple district called “Love Inbetween”. A brief skim shows that it’s about a woman, Martha Dawnwitch of the Senations. She fell in love with a smith from the Poles, Greg. It tells of her escape to the mids, taking many magical effects with her. Eventually Gregory escaped, but Martha was killed by mercenaries. Note that this bare resemblances to Duni’s story and is apparently based off a true story according to Viola. We briefly talk about her working and not resting but after hearing about Harrison she quickly agrees to follow.

Along the way we quickly stop by the Apple with the intention of getting a square book. When we get there we discover that the door was broken by a force from inside the building. We draw our weapons and slowly approach. Inside are three men dressed in strange tunics that are collecting the books. One of them, a tall blonde man, approaches unarmed. I have conversation 1 with a Jish Ravram. We leave the Apple with them walking in a line. We arrive at the Society and I find Salisbury and direct them to an interrogation room. The whole time they are staring at things and nodding to each other. I tell them to wait there and they do so. Outside I tell Salisbury I brought them here on grounds of breaking and entering. I leave the case to him and go retrieve Bell and then join Richard.

Richard eventually joins the group. I ask Dave to leave and then ask what the penalty for robbery is. Richard informs me it’s usually just a fine and then I tell him the jist of what happened with the ‘Friends of Man’. I also try to explain that they seem like foreigners. We store that info away for later and go to Falconflight.

We reach an office 20 min later that is small, cramped, and smells of street vendor food. Behind a door we hear a woman conversing with Falconflight in elvish. “I fear he may have found us, Roy… its not safe here.” He responds in common “Don’t call me that.” We knock and the voices stop and let us in. We learn the facility is called the ‘Falcon Detective Agency’. There is a young looking elf woman with short hair, big eyes, and a thick accent. We ask to see Falconflight and she directs us to a door. Inside Falconflight tells us that the address probably isn’t real. There is a cult called the Promised in the mids that has control of the afterlife. According to him the property is in the after life. Falcon believes it’s a scam by Harrison. We decide to still go investigate the address we uncovered. Before we leave I question if Richard was involved with Harrison and he denies it. (Upon further review of notes it was pretty obvious it was a zombie that was the third party). That cleared up we head to the matronis.

We get close to the building, a squat darkened building whose second story has collapsed into the first and exposed sewer below. In one of the few non-collapsed rooms we find a door with a light under it. There is some argument between Falconflight and us whether we should investigate it. We decide to first scan the nearby buildings and find them clear. Richard claims that he can smell the undead and they are definitely in the building. Falconflight takes point and he opens the door. When he does three zombies whose eyes seem to be closed emerge. One wanders away while the other two approach. Inside the building itself is a cloaked individual moving his arms in a strange pattern. The two zombies that approached us appear to be illusions and we enter to confront the cloaked individual. We hear Harrison’s voice. “I thought we had a deal? You keep away, I don’t kill you. That was a one-time deal, you know. You will lose, you know. ‘Falconflight’ has been failing for years. He is a failure. You are too. Only he entertains me. You will just die.” As we approach I notice it’s the mask itself talking and not the person. Just as I try to give warning a large explosion rocks the building. We all survive but the cloaked figure is revealed to be Lenny who is now dead. We collect ourselves and try to see if Harrison is still around. He was the third zombie and is now escaping. Pearce sees a vision of Broderick cheering him to victory and is able to find the trail. Together with Falcon’s help they track him to a small building near the Temple district. We surround the building and after a brief discussion Belltoll enters the building alone. A scream his heard followed by loud sobbing from Harrison. Belltoll emerges soon after holding Harrison’s hand. She signs ""When he killed my mother, she was worth a thief’s hand. I have now taken that. He allowed this for his safety. Let him go today. Kill him next time." Richard and Falconflight seem reluctant but they agree to the terms Bell set. We return to the mids.

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Public: Dungeon & Taxes

Before the group meets up there is a square book delivered to my doorstep in the morning. I drop it off at the Apple and head to the office. Once there the group meets up and there is a discussion about Venyard. I reiterate the story told in the letter and answer a few questions. In general the others aren’t happy but don’t press it. We state we will add it to the report and move on.

The next person we decide to investigate is Eugene Piggabrick. Since we know he adopts from a few orphanages we go investigate them. The first is Mery Ann Orphanage run by a Mr Don Roger. He seems incredibly incompetent and the place seems like a disaster zone. He says nothing but good things about Piggabrick. We try to get some documentation but apparently he has none. When we leave Broderick scolds us for being so straightforward. We go to the second orphanage called “Child Prison”. It’s almost exactly like it sounds and is run by an elderly dwarf. We state were running audits and look over her files. We get a sense that Piggabrick is recruiting about 16 kids in total a year.

We go to Piggabrick’s residence and Brodie hires one of the kids to go clean a chimney in the Apple. Richard and I follow behind and we all meet up at the Apple. After questioning the kid we find out that the children are forced to work but aren’t treated horribly. Some get sick from the work but those that survive eventually move out on their own. After this we call in Piggabrick and he repeats a lot of the same lines. Says that sometimes children get sick and now that he isn’t supposed to use potions he can’t afford to treat them all. We inform him he can uses potions and get the names of a few children that have left, including one that lives at Brodie’s shelter. They collaborate his story and we consider the case closed.

The final person we investigate is Deryl Huffweiser. We first check the records to see if the rates have fluctuated slightly and notice nothing wrong. After that we split up and check places along the route. While searching I find “Neverfold” poker house. They are well acquainted with Huffweiser. He has apparently been on a winning street and many have claimed him to be cheating. Although questionable behavior it seemed he was honest in his job and the case was closed.

All four cases completed we let Brodie write and send in the report.

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Books & Myths

After I leave Richard and Falconflight I return to Fieldsworth’s office. As I enter the office I hear shuffling and groaning from the back room so I close the door. I use my Object reading on various pieces of lab equipment. I hear a voice I assume is Harrison shouting to make the scene look like a robbery. Some oil being ignited on the equipment and rotting flesh smashing things. I’m able to turn in the vision and confirm Harrison was at the scene. I exit the memory and go to the back of the facility. Fieldsworth has become a zombie, although still confined. I manage to get some of the surgical tools and retreat from the room. I use object reading to see that Harrison took Fieldsworth’s soul before he killed him. Satisfied I’ve learned everything I can hear I leave the doctor.

My next stop is the Jiggly Gypsies to meet with Viola. She was apparently bruised from trying to break into my place. She also has a book written pretty recently, a historical examination of the Calamity and the authors theories about it. The other is generic Temple info, specifically common customs as of pre-demon, post-calamity. She agrees to follow me in order to get her money. In case it wasn’t obvious it’s revealed her viola is magical when she starts pulling books out of it.

We briefly discuss the square books and she suggests asking the book binders who make most of the books, There are three: one in the senation, temple, and matroni districts. She gives me the address to the senation and the matroni binders and tells me to just say she sent me. At my request she also reveals that Gretchen Winterword is a arcane scribe, mostly scrolls although she revealed she would have to introduce me. We talk a little more and “bury the hatchet”. Viola is actually pretty cool. We part on good terms.

I head home and find Samantha concentrating on something inside the mirror so I go downstairs and talk to Venyard. We proceed to have conversation 3. I go upstairs and find Samantha arranging books. We have Samantha Conversation 13 with Venyard and Belltoll. In that conversation I go to the Weather Society, become invisible and go steal the wheelchair. Along the way I make it look like someone picked the lock before sneaking back out. After the conversation ended I go back and alert the guard that someone broke in and deliver a letter that Venyard escaped.

When I get back Bell and Sam are both sitting up and drinking some dense tea. As I enter I hear Sam talking about Bell’s bravery before we have conversation 14.

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Dynamic Duo

After we part for the day and I’m leaving the building Salisbury finds me and says he wants to have a meeting. I agree and we go to his diner and we have Salisbury Conversation 3. That taken care of I go back to the Weather and join Richard in the office and we head towards Doctor Fieldswoth’s office. We arrive to his place to find the front door locked and a note on the door.

“I am taking a working sabbatical and will not return until my research is complete. Please see a competing doctor, thank you.
-Dr. Fieldsworth”

I confirm our suspicions that this is a forgery. We get ready to enter the building when we notice a few punks watching the building. I volunteer Richard to distract them while I try to get in. The skeleton key doesn’t work so I’m forced to cast knock before I duck in and close the door.

I enter the building to see a large pile of smeared blood leading to a back room. I also see broken lab equipment and smell burning chemicals. I find the doctor heavily tortured. He has been partially deskinned and hung upside down, the phrase ‘scumblood traitor’ carved into his chest. It resembles the body at Dunni’s place. Surgery was apparently half done. I find a back door and go outside and motion for Richard to join me. When we meet up he confirms they were watching for someone to enter. One of the watchers leaves towards the market. After some debate we decide to split up in case the first guy leaving is a decoy. Regardless of what happens we agree to meet up in an hour.

I follow watcher #1 as he heads to the market. He buys a few harmless things from shops and heads deeper into the mids. Eventually he heads into a dimly lit tavern called the The Last Swan. I go up and the bouncer lets me in. Inside I see a lot of people drinking and some people in some private rooms upstairs. I go to the restroom in an attempt to find a private place and find he’s already there. After he leaves he goes to the bar and starts drinking. I wait a while but when he decides not to move I leave and head back.

I meetup with Richard at the alley behind the doctor’s office. Richard says that his guy left for the Temple district but was spooked and came back. While we’re talking another older man walks up to the punk and gives him some gold. The older man walks to the office and we realize it is now unlocked. He gestures to the punk and they head off in different directions. We prepare to go confront the older man when we hear noises from inside the office. Richard goes to investigate the noises while I go try to stall the old man. I catch up and we have Falconflight conversation 1. It ends with us leaving a diner after agreeing to meet up tomorrow.

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Public: WWE
Brodie Addition

The group meets up in the office as usual except Broderick is in his Venyard disguise. Before we do anything Brodie brings up that Salsibury approached the pseudo Venyard and brought up some of our communications. I denied any such connection. Broderick asked several more times but I insisted I was ignorant. He did not seem convinced but dropped the subject.

After that we decided to follow Broderick and see if the Opal Wardens approach him. Me and Richard follow him for a while and eventually a man named Flint Rockwood approaches false Venyard and wheels him to the Matronis. A ways back we couldn’t hear the conversation so we silently follow the duo to a building called the “Fisticuffs”. We pay to get in and inside we realize it’s some sort of fighting ring. Several people are fighting in the center, Venyard and his chair quickly following. Apparently they expected Venyard to heal up the fighters so that the match could continue. Unable to heal Broderick is thrown around in his old man disguise and eventually pretends to pass out. He is then taken out.

In the meantime we learn that the facility is owned by Bossman Tod, the former leader of the Opal Wardens. Now free of the ring Venyard flirts with a maiden which turns out to be the daughter of Bossman. He enters and proceeds to start strangling Venyard until we pull him off. Once Bossman cools off we talk and he agrees to go have a meeting with the current leader to see if Venyard can be spared. There is some debate on whether he left to do it immediately and if we should follow. When we try to leave Rockwood attempts to pull Venyard back in. I try to intervene and inadvertently challenge him to a duel. I break free and bolt. Richard talks things down afterwards. After that Bossman comes back and says that as long Venyard stays with them he will be spared.

We then go to the warehouse and briefly talk with the leader. Broderick tries to pass us off as guards and get us to fight for some reason. I shoot it down and we leave and decide that it isn’t worth the trouble.

We call in Michelle and talk to her about what we know. She says she was trying to help the Matronis form better tax regulations and that she knew she was supposed to look out for Venyard but didn’t know who he was. She became aware of his presence when she read a letter about him and delivered it to the Wardens. We dismiss her and Brodie briefly mentions that they could probably keep the secret in exchange for favors. Richard and I point out that we were hired to avoid that exact scenario and we agree she abused her powers and shouldn’t be elected.

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Let the Group Schemes Begin!

Broderick follows me to my place with Venyard in tow. When we arrive I call to Belltoll and ask if she is willing to guard Venyard for a few days inside her house. She agrees. I go upstairs to write the basic contract and come down some time later. We drop off Venyard and than Broderick go to my apartment. He asks about Reva’s murder, apparently now that things have calmed down he would like a more thorough investigation.

I tell him most of what I know. Dunni was on the run. She was connected with Patricia and "Gregory, the later of which was reported to have died in a demon attack. I tell him Reva’s death was separate and claimed that the last people to see them alive were different. We agree to try to find more info and Broderick changes into his Venyard costume. It’s pretty good.

Shortly after he leaves I hear Venyard screaming from downstairs. I go downstairs and have Belltoll conversation 2, Samantha conversation 12, and Venyard conversation 2. After all those I get Venyard his drinks. He has already cured Bell. I tell her to pass along “thanks” as well as she can.

I then go to the Weather Society to find Richard. I’m informed that he’s been moved up to the 3rd flood and has his own room. We have Richard Conversation 1.

Based off the information given by Richard. I go to the strip club “Jiggling Gypsy” and find Viola. We proceed to have Viola Conversation 1.

After that I head home for the day.

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