Gallowsbird (2016)

Diplomacy

That morning I awake to find a letter underneath my door. It says “Pearce. Here is the address I promised you.” Its an address to store called “Small and Tall”. The letter is unsigned.

The firstbegins with me meeting up with Broderick in front of the Apple. We have Broderick conversation 1.

After that I head to the rat embassy where I try to find Knoblitch the conductor. I am taken upstairs, then into an attic. Its hot and smells of garlic and preserved fish. I see a number of ratfolk moving around thin mirrors, positioning them as if to reflect something back into a central point. They are moving things at the direction of a small rat with a large head. He looks older and somehow weaker outside of the library. His head is supported on some sort of wheeled gurney. He looks up at me and squeaks. He doesn’t seem to speak your language, but he recognizes you. I feel heavy breathing and turn to see Shansley. “Whatter you for there then?” he says to me. “Need’n my wordswork to translate?” I agree and have Knoblitch conversation 1.

I return home to deliver the message to Sam. Bell hands me a package with what I assume is Viola’s toe in it. I take it inside and use object reading on it. In the memory I hear Viola gagging and fighting back, and some people speaking in Old Common (similar to Renaissance English). They are ignoring her and talking about something pedantic. I take the package and gold and bring them to Falconflight. I’m let in, hand him the gold, and tell him to go find her. I stop by the Weather Society and write Broderick’s letter and give it to Davis.

After that I go about finding intel. I follow up on the nurse and find out he is typically a good person. I try to figure out where Venyard went off to and hear of a wheelchair bound man living in a halfway house in the Matroni district.

I return to my place and use my book to summon Jacket. He knocks on my door and brings some casserole. We have Jacketman Conversation 8. That conversation ends when Samantha gets my attention. We have Samantha conversation 18 and it ends with her teleporting to my room so she can sleep here.

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Shadows and Fortunes

After we split I go find Batch. She is sitting in the same spot I first found her so I join her on the Bench. I inform her that I was offered a seat on the lower council by the Bear. She claimed she didn’t know who he was. I gave her the general info I’ve learned and explain his offer as well as explaining that it seems he already has people on the council. She says she wants more info to which I say a formal request will have to be placed or guarantee of more compensation. She agrees and hands me 100g for remaining loyal. I leave and find Salisbury and learn that the Viola missing person report has been filed but probably won’t get any attention.

After that I decide to go talk to Grounds Kipper in the Weather cells. When I enter I find him un-moving and staring at the tower. He does not appear to be blinking or breathing. Frax takes me aside and says the guy refuses to eat and accused us of kidnapping him. He asks if I want privacy and say I will return momentarily and then I will. I go outside and contact Samantha with my mirror. I ask her to watch the scene to see what she finds. I return and have Grounds Kipper conversation 1. After that I rapidly flee the facility shouting at Frax that’s Kipper is a caster.

Oustide in an alley I try to contact Samantha to get answers. According to her the library is acting up. Lights are going out and Ratman started commanding his rats to do something. She also felt sick. She believes that was a divine who is now trying to enter the library. I’m asked to pray to help her fend it off. She eventually says that it seems to end. I ask for any info and learn that the books call it “Darkness” and “Shadow”. She thinks it now knows where the library is and how to enter it.

After I make some prayers I fetch a scribe and a courier from inside and send a letter to Broderick. “This is Pearce. Need to meet you briefly. Will be outside the Society building our usual meetup time.” After that I find Frax looking for me. Frax Conversation 1.

I go shopping and buy some armor and a backpack

After that I go home and get some of the souls before I head out to find the Gypsies. I’m able to find the elderly blind woman from before. We have Baba conversation 2.

On the way home I run into Lucky Dogan operating a cup game booth. “You look down. Has fate been unkind to you, Pearce? Lucky Dogan can help. Do you want Lucky Dogan help?” I accept and play his game. I successfully pick the right cup. He puts it behind my ear and he returns his hand he is holding three cards. Pale Moon, Maiden, and Turnabout. He asks me to pick a card to remove from my immediate fate. I choose the Pale Moon and the card bursts into flame. Lucky just comments that no one knows what that will do and starts to walk off. I ask if he has heard of devils? He responds “Yes, but what I haven’t heard of is angels. No idea what that word even means, okay.”

I go home and knock on my mirror. I have Samantha conversation 17. The rest of the evening is spent finding more intel on the nurse. I discover that he provides for a lot of criminal injures. I can tell he does not discriminate.

That night I come back and continue conversation 17.

In the library she grabs my scarred hand, which pulses with some raw energy, and I disappear into the dream-scape. I find myself in a throne room. Before me is a large throne and a smaller throne beside it. Sam is no where to be seen. I hear her voice “This is… symbo-… sit in…. Pearce.” which is cutting in and out. My scar is pulsing with a blue light. I feel strangely calm and know that the scene is waiting for me to react. I hold my scarred hand in front of the thrones. It glows purple at the larger throne and black at the smaller throne. As I approach the smaller throne the scenery briefly shifts before stabilizing. Unsure I stand by the thrones as if I was a guard. A moment later a door appears and a winged woman emerges. The wings are large, white, unfurled wings, sort of a cross between a bat and a bird. Its seems to continue from her hair. The person doesn’t seem to have a specific face – it changes as you look. She is wearing a light purple gown. I am aware this is a more true representation of Samantha. She walks forward and I bow and offer her a seat on the larger throne. Following a hunch I kneel at her feet. I feel my hands burn and reform and I leave the dreamstate. The scars on my left hand are now blue and my fingers are more like talons. I also am aware that bells now ring when I’m near.

I accept her gift and retire for the day.

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Public:Brother Nathan
Harrison Strikes Back

We meet up in the morning as normal. Before we can do anything we are told by Davis that we have a visitor. A emissary from the Temple named Yarrick. He comes and says that there are zombies who are leaking into the Temple district from the Mids. He was told that Pearce and Richard are the people to go to solve this problem. This immediately concerns us as both Richard and I know that this is most likely tied to Harrison. Broderick is even more confused. We try to explain that we deal with internal review and probably aren’t the ones he should have brought this too. Broderick presses for info and Richard reveals that he was tasked by the upper council to hunt down Harrison. There is a mild argument as Broderick keeps asking for more and Richard refuses to give all the details.

Broderick goes to the lower council to figure out how they will respond and Richard goes off to the upper council. This leaves me with the Temple emissary.
Yarrick: “What is the deal, here. I come and warn of zombies and… who should I have told?”
Me: “The mids ambassador?”
Yarrick: “There isn’t one in the Temple.”
Me: “Well… maybe you guys should consider one. Avoid this whole pickle”
Yarrick: “Certainly, but what I’m looking for here is to avoid this looking like an invasion. Just come down there and agree there is a problem so I can move forward.”
Me: “Look. I can’t approve that just as you can’t approve it if a bunch of weather went into the temple”

Both come back and it’s agreed we should investigate the disturbance. We follow Yarrick and find ourselves in a graveyard that borders on the Mids/Temple border. Around this time I notice his robes are rather large and he hasn’t really shown us his hands. We start looking for signs of people being here and notice a headstone has been moved recently. Everyone except Broderick begins to move the stone and it accidentally falls onto Yarrick. As we pull him out from under I notice he has both hands. We also notice that the headstone was covering an entrance to a dungeon. We leave Yarrick behind and descend into the tomb. As we enter we find lots of tombs, seemingly of elvish descent. We open one casket that has been disturbed and find it has chloroform in the bottom, it gets all over Brodie’s shoes. We enter another room and find a gigantic beetle statue that has been painted gold. It has an elven phrase “Protect our dead” written on it. I remember that people used to believe bugs bore the souls of the dead into the afterlife. We fight some zombies that show up and I find that they have an unusual amulet around their necks.

Richard says he saw some being made of fire in the first room and as we run back we notice that the entrance we came through is gone. We head down another passage and find a man around a giant purple magical circle. He introduces himself a researcher on souls that has left the temple. He claims that souls are the source of magic. We ask about the zombies and he claims that someone burst in a few days ago and reanimated all of them before leaving. We tentatively believe him and as he continues talked to Richard I see Broderick sneak away. He says he’s going to go searching the man’s room. I agree to be lookout. When he leaves I start poking the magic circle. I find out it’s a spell used to communicate between two places.

I attempt to use the device and find my mind being pulled, much like when a divine attempts to contact me. I see a vision of approximately fourteen people riding across a desert wasteland on something resembling a horse. It is mechanical with long limbs and smog coming out of it. I see a small dot on the horizon before the vision collapses and I’m bleeding from my ears and nose. The light from the circle is gone. I try to activate it and learn it’s out of power and needs a soul to reactivate.

Broderick comes out and is slightly annoyed that I’ve disturbed the scene. We go and find the two and quickly leave before he figure out what is going on. Broderick reveals he found some fabric in his room with the chloroform on it. And I avoid the questions about the circle. I point out that the spell used is most likely stoneshape which means it will probably be thin. I use my keen sword and drive a hole through it to prove my point and by some measure of luck puncture a container which disables some explosives. At this point Richard pulls a battering ram seemingly out of nowhere and we break out.

When we exit the facility we find Yarrick dead, stabbed. We go back to the Society and write a report on the events.

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Ovid

After the group splits up I get a quick meal and return to the tower. I find various ratfolk taking corpses out of the tower and burying the dead along with some sailors helping. I ask if Ingred has been identified. It was confirmed that she was not identified but might be one of the three corpses mutilated beyond.

I return to my place to find a note “Pearce, I’m sorry I missed you. I need to speak to you. I will return tonight at 2 AM. – Bear”. I check in with Bell and find out she heard some weird noises from my apartment the night I left but doesn’t know what happened. I pay her weekly wages and leave.

I go to Book and Parchment Repair and pick up my books.

When I return Samantha is waiting and we have Samantha and Knoblitch Conversation 16. After we leave the library I test my theory about how disguises work in regards to the book. I disguise myself as Broderick and for a second she legitimately believes I am someone else before I remind her that she saw me transform. The books believe I am Broderick until I transform back at which point it puts my name in it’s place. I learn I have a few titles “Book Binder, Loremaster, Dream Warden/Lore Warden”.

My tests are interrupted when Bell knocks on the door. She brings her friend Thomas. He is a shortish half-elf with rusty brown hair and a pointed nose. He wears crude clothing with patches of skin exposed due to wear. We have Thomas conversation 1.

After he leaves we resume the experiments. I disguise myself as Venyard, someone she has met before. The books give me the same title in an odd language as Venyard. I then disguise myself as Falconflight after telling her that’s who I’m changing into. The books register me as Falconflight. Based off these experiments I know it’s possible to get someone’s title as long as Samantha is not aware it’s actually me. If she is given a false name the books will report that false name.

Since I have a meeting late in the night. I read for several hours.

Eventually I hear the Bear knocking at the door. We proceed to have Bear conversation 1.

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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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