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Stormwall: Searching the Rubble (Part 1)

The Society of Explorers has gained permission from Duke Asger and Duchesss Ann to travel to Stormwall to look through the rubble and find any heirlooms or treasure that might have survived the fires at Stormwall. This is the first sojourn into Stormwall for this purpose. This is a PRP plot open to members of the Society of Explorers and/or members of House Crovane. It is open up for up to 6 players and is scheduled based on who can make it based on the following link: http://whenisgood.net/sc57ew4/

First dibs will be given to those who responded to the link - and they have been sent invitations to join. Please @mail Lou to confirm your spot. If you wish to be considered as an alternate player, in case someone cannot make it, feel free to @mail Lou to get on the list. Players will be admitted to the plot in the order of the @mail received and online avaiability at the time the plot starts.

Date

May 6, 2018, 1 p.m.

Hosted By

Lou

GM'd By

Lou

Participants

Harlan Monique Sabella Lou Eirene Calaudrin Aiden Emily Ven Vera

Location

Largesse Level

Average

Comments and Log


Valor, a small brown and white corgi puppy arrives, delivering a message to Lou before departing.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Lou before departing.

The Pathfinder, Lou Grayson, has offered the Explorers to House Crovane to go through the ruins of Stormwall to find any heirlooms or objects d'art or treasure repositories that have somehow escaped the flames of the Great Fire from the war with the Gyre. She's sent a group of explorers forth, along with any other interested parties, to the city to start the first round of exploration. Everyone in the trip is under strict orders to search the city only, and to stay away from the tar pits created by the fall of the demon. Lou has made it very clear there's no need for anyone to be in that general area; also, it is likely being guarded by House Crovane members to keep people away. The Explorers are camped not too away from the city itself, and can either walk or ride their horses in. The day is a bit gloomy, with dark clouds hanging overhead. They are not too ominous, but they're not entirely friendly either. There's an obvious ruling quarter, noble vassal quarter, crafters quarter, and commoners quarter. Lou has left it up to the party to decide which quarter to explore.

One of the newest Explorers, Monique Greenmarch is enthusiastic for this, her first mission. Everyone has likely been bombarded with questions on the trip over. All the who, what, where, when, why's and How's will be covered until the redhead is caught up on the situation. In her durable leathers, hair pinned back, she awaits the decision from the others, though opines, "I'd vote we check out the crafters. Never know what they might be making."

Aiden was out of his fine princely silk and taken to the travel leathers and hardy clothes he used more than once to go on expeditions that ranged far away from civilization. Although, regardless, the leathers are still in their way, classy. On his back is an alaricite bow, Starfall, and his Silver wing commander's quiver. With him as retinue, was his typical guardsmen, a dog, and a gyrfalcon - the last being more his set of eyes than anything. After a grooming of the latter's feathers, the raptor looks prepared to take flight. Aiden's silver eyes flick toward the other Explorers. He's been to Crovane many times now, not only one to have helped and planned to set it aflame, but having wandered the injured and helped morale to the population that had once been here. There's no doubt a reason for the gravity on his face and the seriousness of their mission, or why he was here as one of the boots in the ashes, looking for valuables of those who lost everything. Aiden offers once Monique speaks, "I'd vote the commoners quarters. They likely had little to begin with, so what we find if anything, will mean the most in recovery."

"This is very exciting!" Sabella is chatting for the millionth time, dressed in leggings and a long sleeved shirt, all bundled up in a blue wool cloak. Lest anyone think that these are practical clothes for an adventure, they've all got violet ribbons on them, tied up in smart little bows. "What do you think we're going to find? Gold, silver, gems, oh! A crown?! Maybe a locket that has a portrait of a long lost love on it that someone will be utterly grateful to see again and cherish for the rest of their lives!" She pauses as people offer their opinions. "Oh. Or we could check in those places. Sure. I think maybe the commoners quarters would be a good place to start. They will likely be very grateful for anything that could be recovered."

Eirene's expressed only ONE request for checking out the tar pits for purely scientific reasons but has otherwise kept her mouth shut on that topic. "Crafter's quarters likely may still have tools and shit we can get them to help rebuild," she agree with Monique. "Or any raw goods which survived." She carries with her her medics supplies as well as a backpack to store any recovered items in, black leather coat and steelsilk bodice worn despite the summer sun.

Calaudrin is sporting his usual dour expression, however he has seemed happy to be out of the city for awhile. Sometimes it's just nice to get away from the walls and the cluster and mess of people. He's brought a better set of armor than usual, likely to keep himself safe in the event anything surprising happens. No one likes surprises. "Or they had the stuff that was more likely to be flammable." He comments to Aiden on mention of the commoners quarters, scratching his jaw scruff. "I'm more inclined to head to where the crafters were. More durable, more useful to them if we can recover it."

Between Eirene and Calaudrin's reasoning, Aiden nods, "You both bring up good rational to check the crafters quarters first. I'm not opposed." He then regards his gryfalcon, muttering something to the bird? That looks weird but it happens, he was known in some circles as the bird prince afterall. He gives a loft of his arm and sends the white raptor upward. Immediately the falcon gains height and wings toward the city.

Monique rocks on the balls of her heels, expending pent up energy, nodding. "Both places would be good, but whither thou goest, so I go," she grins. "Oh Captains, my captains. To the Crafters?" She lets others lead. She wasn't here for the battle.

"We can certainly check there are! You're right, keepsakes of memories are wonderful things to have, but if a crafter has specific tools that they need to rebuild their lives that would be very beneficial to collect," Sabella says agreeably, making sure one of her ribbons is falling in exactly the right way. "Are we going to have to dig? Or just...move things around with our feet?" She shuffles a foot like so.

Aiden watches after his raptor. His eyes become somewhat distant after a time, even if he's lost sight of the gyrfalcon itself, his attention span from the party is distracted his long look toward the city. Was it a haunted gaze that takes him? It certainly looks that way. Afterall, it was under his command, joint as it was, that the city was brought to rubble. It's Sabella's questions that he returns his gaze back to them, "It won't be easy making our way through the city. The rubble has piled up that we'll have to get through one section at a time. I'd suggest you remove anything you don't want ruined here at the tents." He moves toward where the horses are picketted, "There are several places, mostly those which were built out of stone, that seemed to survive the best. However, unless we brought an architect with us, structural integrity will always be a question. Anything can still be prone to further collapse."

Eirene folds her arms over her chest. "Human structure, yes. Building structure, no." She shakes her head sharply, her long hair coiled into a single braid mingling black and white together. "Let's look for the larger buildings first; likely to hold more, may have better bases with which to investigate what's atop the rubble piles, like a second story."

"I'm a little wary of going into a second story sitting on top of a rubble pile. But maybe we should at least get our feet moving, we can talk along the way. Perhaps there's a central hub that we can go to and see what's left?" Calaudrin suggests, dusting his off on his pants before incling his head towards the city- or what's left of it. He glances to Sabella, "I imagine we're going to get dirty. I hope you didn't wear anything that's a prized possession."

Monique tips her fiery red head to Calaudrin. "Lead on! I'd love to hear about the battle as we go. I've heard it was fierce. Cullen said he was coming soon to see about planting a tree in Eirlys' honor on the spot she fell." Her brow is clouded but her eyes are wary and scanning as they start on the mission proper.

Aiden makes it to his horse, the mare Lightfoot, rubbing his hand down her neck before he makes it to her saddle bags. He rummages through the pack, coming up with a few bound scrolls. "These -" he hails toward the party, "-are the maps of the city before the collapse. They were used to indicate where we put the incendiaries. I don't have enough for everyone, so we'll have to share." He offers one to Eirene. A moment, "And if we get separated, I would say we should all fall back here, before light down."

Sabella glances down at her very fancy slumming it clothing and says cheerfully, "Well, I have others!" There's a pause, "Like...how dirty, though? We're staying away from the tar pits, right? I don't intend on rolling around on the ground if I can help it. But, it's all for a good cause and that's the important part!" She glances over at Aiden as he pulls out the maps, "Do we have any guidelines on what we're looking for or basically just like, anything that survived intact?"

It's to the crafter's quarter that the party votes to go. From what they've been told previously, that's just beyond the commoner's quarter - set up in a very typical medieval city style, where the commoners sprawl outside of the city and the further one goes the further refined everything gets based on class and wealth. As they reach the city's edge, they can see what the destruction of the fire has wrought. Almost anything that made of wood and could be burned, did. Though there are still some areas that only seem half-burned, and where wood debris seems to be precariously holding on with a thread, as it were. In Arx, it's easy to ignore what happened in Stormwall. Or, not think about it. But here, there are the white and charred remains of bodies, that did not quite burn completely as the fires started to fizzle away to nothing, or as air shifted somewhere else. It is a powerful, terrible sight to behold, and goes to show just how much Crovane will need to do in order to clean up the city. The first obstacle the explorers and friends come to is that a half-burned building has collapsed in the middle of the street. They make their way through it, but there are half-exposed nails and other things that can snag on their clothing - and other sharp objects if one is not careful.

Calaudrin glances in Sabella's direction, quickly checking her outfit out before his eyebrows bounce. "We won't be going into the tar pits. Lou had some very specific instructions about not needing to go anywher near them. When Aiden explains what he'd like them to do if they get seperated, he nods his head in agreement. Then the group is moving along and they encounter that half burned building. He glances to his armor and seems thankful for it in this moment, though he very carefully tries to navigate the area regardless. There probably aren't tetnus shots in Arvum.

Having been standing in the background, staring at the rubble and the others gathered very quietly, Vera finally speaks. "Guidelines would be important." She comments quietly, before looking down at her own plain clothes. Black silk shirt. Black leather pants. Boring and drab. "Though I don't mind getting dirty for something worth the search." For the next little while, she's very quiet and solemn. Nothing makes a person more serious than charred remains and rubble. Her brow stays very furrowed and the Marquessa tries not to gag.

Monique checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.

Monique checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 1 higher.

Aiden checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 29 higher.

Sabella checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.

Eirene checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 12 higher.

Calaudrin checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 14 higher.

Vera checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 1 higher.

Sabella takes minor damage.

Monique doesn't seems affected by the charred remains. Her expression is one of excellent composure, likely because it takes all her concentration to pick her way through the rubble without stepping on an exposed nail. "I'm with you," she nods to Vera. "Getting dirty is probably the least of our worries."

Aiden checked composure at difficulty 30, rolling 21 lower.

Eirene just rolls her eyes. "You're going to get dirty. You may even get your hands on dead bodies. Get used to it," she says grimly. She's accustomed to the dead. She has little trouble moving through the rubble, leather sturdy and secure against scrapes and scratches. "If we find any bodies, well." She stops flatly. "I'm used to saying prayers for the dead for my men."

Aiden definitely wore a haunted look as they approached the city, the residual guilt and the weight of his decision does make his expression stern and stiff. As for guidelines asked by Sabella and seconed by Vera, he nods, "Anything of value that can't be replaced and hasn't spoiled in the many months since the city fell." After that though, as they approach the skeleton of what was, his hands tighten tighten at his sides and his eyes turn glassy, watery even. His voice is shakey as responds to the matter of the dead, "If we find any dead, I will mark on the map where we found them so that other parties can recover them."

Sabella stops being quite so chatty once they start getting into the thick of it. In particular she pales at the sight of the devastation and looks quickly away with tear filled eyes when she sees the bodies and recognizes what they are. This is certainly a lot different than the treasure hunt she had imagined. "...I didn't think that there'd be..." She trails off and swallows hard, climbing as best she can over some of the rubble. It turns out that the best she can do is not good at all and in trying to step over something she trips, putting a hand up to brace herself on a board of wood that's mostly splinters, and when she recoils from that scraping up against a bunch of nails jutting out from a broken joist, "Ow! Ouch!" She exclaims, shaking out her hand and then rubbing at her thigh with her non-damaged hand. Part of her pretty tunic has been torn too. A ribbon is missing and wrapped around a nail. "Is it always this difficult?"

Calaudrin doesn't look thrilled to see dead bodies all over, but he doesn't appear all that surprised either. He frowns at them as he passes, but keeps his eyes focused forwards. The building is down in their path, so he takes care to check the various structures within to make sure that nothing looks like it's ready to collapse on them. He's quiet as he conducts this task.

"I think there are a great deal of prayers to say here," Monique offers to Eirene, giving a little shudder. "You'd lose your voice, saying them all." She starts to dig about in the rubble, her eyes peeled for anything salvegable.

"Right. Anything of value, then." Vera murmurs, trailing after the others and trying her best not to fall face first into a pile of rubble. Which she barely manages if we're being honest. Her face is both a mixture of pale and of green. When Sabella falls, she'll stop and come to the girl's aid. "Are you okay?" She'll say quietly, looking her over. "Anything require a bandage?"

Eirene grunts as Sabella cries out. "Let me see to it," the doctor asks as she picks her way through and over. Blue eyes examine the wound and she hands a length of linen cloth over. "Just apply pressure to it for now, trying to do any actual medicking here would be stupid. We can give it a better look back in camp." She glances at Monique and nods, reluctantly, saying nothing more on that.

Aiden had fallen behind in marking the map as promised. It seems that every body they come across he takes a moment to stand near it or by it, before he moves on, picking through the rubble and over it, to manage getting around the collapsed building. Once on the otherside and caught up, the shift of rubble does stir up the ashes and it's clear that clothes won't stay clean for long in all this. His eyes fall to Sabella with fleeting concern as Eirene sees to her, starting to move to buildings that didn't share the fate of the one they just climbed over. "The crafters quarters is still up ahead. We have a ways to go."

Once the party gets past their first obstacle, the path opens up a bit, but not by a lot. They can see that most of the structures in the commoners quarter are precarious, at best, or completely destroyed at worst. This is the section where most buildings were made of wood, and it looks like the fire might have jumped from one structure to the next. And, even if a building looks like it might have survived completely, it is only a facade for the destruction that lies within. However, the rest of the time made through this section is pretty uneventful, with exception to the small toy that Monique seems to uncover as she toes into a pile of rubble. It seems they can make their way easily enough into the crafter's section the closer they get to it.

Lou drops Fierce Crovane Warrior Figurine.

Monique picks up Fierce Crovane Warrior Figurine.

"It's not too bad," Sabella assures Vera, but knows better than to question or argue against Eirene when she comes over, nodding and putting a hand over the cloth she was given. "I didn't do a lot of tree climbing when I was a kid, which seems like it would have come in handy right about now." She glances around, "I apologize in advance for how much I'm likely going to slow us down. I didn't think it'd be this...I don't know why I didn't think so, but I thought it'd be...I've never really been out with a group like this."

With a ways' to go still, Monique is about to abandon her small dig site but the glimmer of miniature axe catches her eye beneath the rubble, and she takes a moment longer to uncover what looks like a tiny statuette of a Crovane warrior. Something soft touches her face and she drops her head, stooping to pick up the toy almost reverentially. "For what you and I both never had," she murmurs quietly to the stone warrior, turning then to catch up with the others.

Aiden moves toward Sabella, his hand reaching out to squeeze her shoulder affectionately. "This could be our home," he notes with a grave tone, "Crovane's people sacrificed so that it wasn't our homes like this." He breathes out, "To the Last." And then breaks from Sabella to proceed onward to the crafter quarters and with not only a map, but to have known these streets before they were in such ruin, he can lead the way.

Eirene gives Sabella a sympathetic grunt and a nod. "We all have to start somewhere. It takes time to be come a jaded bitch like me," she says with a self depricating smile.

"You were here, Aiden, weren't you?" Sabella asks quietly, glancing around now and again to shuffle something with the toe of her boot. "It's one thing to hear about or read about the battles, but another to really see in person what--what was left." She's looking around very wide eyed, taking each new pile of rubble in with the curse of a great imagination that lets her realize what it probably was before it was ruined. "The reports were terrible, but seeing it in person makes one realize how brutal it really was."

"War is always brutal." Calaudrin remarks as they clear the wreckage of the most recent building. He appears relieved to be out of it, stretching his arms and checking for any marks on his armor before the begin their way towards the crafters quarters. He glances back over his shoulder to the building before they're fully departed from it.

Aiden looks starkly at Sabella and then nods, "I commanded the Grayson army here. I helped give the order to burn it down-" his voice quaking with the effort to get that out, "I am responsible for this." He squeezes his eyes closed at Sabella's sentiments, then moves on, stiffly, boots falling heavily and his hand lifting up more than once to wipe at his face - subtly.



Once at the start of the crafters quarters, which the transition can be hard to see considering the ruined state of the city, Aiden indicates toward what was once a pleasant courtyard, "It begins about...here." He gestures with an arm to the heaps and ruinous piles. Looking back, he notes, "The city is prone to looters, even under the watchful eye of Crovane's remaining forces. Be alert. If you go into any of the buildings, don't go alone."

In the crafters section, the tell tale signs of the beginnings of wealth can be seen. Some structures are built with stone, and others with wood, and some with a mix of both - depending on what might have been needed. Again, like in the commoners section, there's a precarious sense of imbalance - like something could fall at any moment. There's also the matter of tricky footing, with debris everywhere. There are several shop fronts that seem to be standing still, both made of stone and half stone and wood. There are telltale signs of a jewelsmith, blacksmith, and tailor. There's also the remains of what might have been an artist shop. The jewelsmith and blacksmith shops were made largely of stone outer structures. The tailor shop and artist shop was a mixed of wood and stone.

Sabella checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 4 lower.

Aiden checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 43 higher.

Calaudrin checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.

Eirene checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 14 higher.

Monique checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 6 higher.

Eirene offers in a gruff-yet-gentle way, "You made a hard call. We all have to, in war. Especially against Abyssal forces," she says to Aiden, giving him an understanding glance. "And never take responsibility for the actions of the enemy. That will only lead to your second guessing and undermining every single decision you make." She pauses to look at the buildings, "Smithy first? No - wait.. Over there." She points a gloved hand at the jewelers. "I think I saw something."

Vera checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 5 higher.

"You are responsible for saving lives," Sabella replies to Aiden with a smile, though her voice is firm, "The weight of the lives lost is with the person or thing that started the conflict in the first place. I can't imagine what it must be like to give an order like this, but I believe it wouldn't have been done unless it was the right thing to do, the choice that would allow for less lives lost in the end." She looks up at the sky to watch Aiden's bird fly around. Pretty bird! She only looks down again when Eirene speaks.

"You are not responsible for this," Monique replies to Aiden's claim. "To think that you are is to claim mastery over the minds of evil who set upon Arx looking for revenge and destruction. I would be very careful in taking a share of that." But the Minx is distracted by some darting out of the corner of her eye, and she turns in that direction, quiet as a whisper.

Calaudrin is about to peer into the burnt out windows of the tailorshop when something catches his attention out of the corner of his eyes. He turns quickly to look towards the jewelsmith shop and frowns as it disappears from his view. "Me too." He replies to Eirene and beings to head in that direction, hand twitching to the bow on his back. He doesn't have much else to comment on the logistics of war other than: "It sucks."

Before Aiden can respond to Eirene or in fact any of the party that console him, he also sees something and more than what she had seen. It might be the helpful eye in the skies, or it might be he had far better vision? Or was standing in the right place at the right time. Either way, he adds onto Eirene, "White haired girl... She's got an arm full of loot. As I said, looters are possible-" he looks between them, then considers Calaudrin, "Would you like to give chase Master Calaudrin? I'm certain between the lot of us, you've got practice in this." Iron guard and all. It gives him time to compose himself enough to nod about the matter of claiming responsibility.

"Don't fret, we all have different talents. I'm just as likely to slow us down, I promise." Vera reassures Sabella, falling silent as they go further into the ruins. She wasn't there, before or after the fight. All the Marquessa does is quietly pay her respect. Her gaze flickers to Aiden on occasion, but all she offers is a sympathetic, sad smile. Not much for being reassuring but she's a quiet girl. "I'd help, but I'm afraid speed isn't my forte. Good luck Master Calaudrin."

Monique goes the opposite way around the building, very, /very/ quietly. And so she comes upon a white-haired girl from behind, blocking any avenue of escape the poor thing might have. She plants herself firmly, waiting for the others to appear from the front.

"It might just be someone that was left behind," Sabella cautions, but doesn't move to give chase or anything. That seems like a terrible idea! Better leave that to the experts. "Though I'm sure you know more than I, but it cannot be easy to survive in this area these days. It may be desperation and not greed that drives those who come through here."

Aiden looks around, "Uh... We seemed to have... let Lady Monique get ahead of us." He pivots, "She's already out in front of the white haired girl..." He shakes his head, "Come on. There's no one else in proximity, but I wouldn't wish to see the Lady Greenmarch handle this all herself. If you please - Calaudrin-" gesturing that Calaudrin take the lead here.

"I don't make it a habit to tackle kids." Caludrin drawls, though he does pick up the pace and move on up ahead going in the opposite direction that Monique has chosen to take. Because that seems like the best idea indeed. He comes to a stop, a little out of breath (it's all the smoking) and leans his hand onto the side of the building, eyebrows lifted as he catches sight of the girl. "Hello there." He calls out to her, waving. "Can we help you with that?" It's not exactly a question despite the uptick at the end.

Eirene shrugs. "Simple. If they say they're sorry and are staving, we feed 'em. If they say bugger off nobs and try to fight back, we beat sense into them. Looters and scavengers are cut from the same cloth but are two very different garments," says the military veteran, moving behind Caludrin at her own pace.

Aiden doesn't move to follow. He's pretty sure two of their party can handle the girl. In the meantime he looks between Sabella and Vera, "Shall we look in one of the shops while they deal with the white-haired girl?"

Two meaning three, as Eirene has moved to assist.

The white haired girl seems startled to find Calaudrin standing in front of her. She was busy attempting to find a place to crawl into with her stash. She starts to back away from him, and bumps into Monique, completely unaware she'd snuck in behind her. She jumps out of fright, and the arm full of stuff she'd been carrying drops from her hands. Mostly, it a pile of tools, but there is one very nice looking haircomb that falls to the ground. "Pppp..... please, sir! Please!" the girl begs. "I didna' mean anything by it.." She looks rather frightened.

Lou drops a white gold haircomb of a stag resting under an aged tree.

"If you think they'll be all right..." Sabella sounds dubious, but nods to Aiden. "That building that used to be a jewelers looks sturdy enough," says the girl who was just watching flying birds in the sky rather than where she was going, "And I'm pretty good at spotting jewelry! Also maybe the tools used to create it?"

Aiden has confidence in the three that went to go handle the girl... and since she would have likely just cleaned out the jewelry shop, he turns his attention onto what could have been the blacksmith shop. He takes the lead and starts to carefully watch where he steps, looking around then to see if there was anything left. He tells back to Sabella, "The girl who ran off with an armfull might have emptied it out. I'm going inside the ... blacksmiths."

Calaudrin kneels down and scoops up the bag full of tools and haircomb. "This isn't a good place for kids. You could get hurt here. Where is your family?" He asks the girl, frowning at her. He frowns at everyone, it really isn't anything personal. It's not a scowl at least!

Monique braces herself for impact, letting the girl's slight weight bump off of her. "We're not going to hurt you," she reassures the silver-haired woman-child. "Not any more than this place might." She looks like she almost might approve of the haul, though.

Eirene remains vigalent for any others who may have been accompanying the girl, since Calaudrin has her covered. She doesn't add anything to the conversation. Looming as she might be in her red and black leathers.

The frown doesn't do anything to ease the girl's fears. "Th.... they're gone," she says to Calaudrin. "All of them. Gone." She looks down at her feet. She's dressed pretty plainly, but she's smudged with dirt, and her fingers have all sorts of tiny cuts and sores on them, like she's been trying to forage for food but hasn't quite gotten the hang of it. "I... I was going to sell this to the trader they say is outside the city, so I could get some food," the girl tells Calaudrin. Her tiny cheeks turn pink from embarrassment.

"I am really bad at this," Sabella tells Vera, though she smiles and follows after Aiden. "I know a lot of blacksmiths, though, and they're all very good people, so I hope we do find something in here that might help."

Monique checked perception + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Calaudrin is easily the least reassuring person to deal with a young child. But even he's not so brusque to be immune to a kid that lost their whole family. He unclips the cloak from around his shoulders and offers it to her. "Here. Wear this. Where have you been staying if you're alone?" Once it's handed off, he goes to pack and pulls out a wrapped parcel of bread and holds it out. "You didn't leave with the rest of the refugees?"

Aiden starts working through the rubble in the blacksmith, nodding back at Sabella, "Hopefully we can find something, maybe an indication of who worked here..." He has some hopes but does spot something near the back in a set of stone shelves. Carefully picking his way through, he tentatively looks toward the object wrapped in an oil canvas. His eyes look for signs of collapse before he reaches to retreive it.

Who's got a kind heart? Monique does! Apparently. (Or the dice have a funny sense of humor.) From out of her backpack, she withdraws... a brownie. Yes, a nicely wrapped brownie. Ooey gooey chocolate-y goodness is offered to the child after Calaudrin gives her the cloak and bread. "This'll go nicely with the bread." Because children like sugar, Calaudrin.

Monique gets Ooey Gooey Brownie from a sturdy backpack dyed in crimson hues with gold trim.

Monique drops Ooey Gooey Brownie.

"I don't think anyone is good at this." Vera whispers to Sabella, tagging along with her after Aiden. As she peers at the child, the Marquessa approaches the child and takes a knee. Gets on her level. "What's your name little girl? We can help you." Her voice is soft and calm. Peering at Monique and the brownie, she smiles a tiny half-smile. "See, we have some food."

Aiden retrieves something that looks the size of a weapon... wrapped in an oil canvas. His eyes water a little, "Whoever worked here, went out of their way to ensure this wouldn't burn." He slowly starts to unroll the oil canvas, to reveal an older looking axe.

Lou drops Single Handed Black Handled Axe.

Aiden picks up Single Handed Black Handled Axe.

The white hair girl snuffles a bit when Calaudrin wraps the cloak around her, and then Monique is there, offering her something to eat. She almost snatches the brownie from Monique's hands, but she doesn't. Instead, she very carefully takes it, and then immediately stuffs the thing into her mouth. With a mouth half-filled with food, she wisely tells Monique, "Mother always said brownie's weren't food, because they were chocolate." It seems she's gotten a bit braver with the chocolate in hand, though part of her words are cut off between chewing. Etiquette and manners are not her strong suit. She pauses mid-chewing to eye the newcomer, Vera. She's suddenly shy again. "Mmm'names Jessa," she stammers out.

Eirene leaves off when the others start to question the girl and she takes a look around herself, moving aside some rocks and planks to try to see if anything remaind buried underneath. "Nice find," she comments to Aiden. "Mabye we can find the smithy who owned this place and get it back to them..."

Monique picks up Ooey Gooey Brownie.

"Do you think many people had time to make such preparations?" Sabella asks Aiden, glancing around the remains of the shop as he picks up the weapon. She doesn't actually move anything around, though, lingering by the doorway. "Or was it just a lucky accident you suppose?"

Aiden looks over the exquisitely crafted axe, looking toward the designs on the piece fingers tracing the name, "It looks like this belonged to.. Duke Gothmyr Crovane, if I can remember, of Duke Asger's line." Afterall, no one takes the name of a Crovane if they weren't Crovane. "It looks considerably old," he wraps it up carefully again in the oil cloth, "Duke Asger be happy to have this heirloom back in his possession." He smiles quietly, "At least this will be returned to the family. Something out of the rubble." He turns to look at Eirene, shaking his head, "Even if we do, it shall be first returned to Duke Asger."

"Hello Jessa." Vera says sweetly, smiling in a motherly manner at the little girl. "My name is Vera. And chocolate may not be food--" She jokes. "But it tastes good doesn't it? Better than anything you'll find around here." Glancing at the others, she gives a tiny helpless shrug. "Why don't you come with us. We'll get you some hot food and a safe place to stay. Do you have a last name?"

"Yeah, you're not going back..." Calaudrin looks around the ruins of the city dubiously. "Well, wherever you've been staying. You can come with us. Get food and sleep and some rest." This is firmly stated and he rises up to his feet again, arms crossing over his chest. He's not feeling bad for a sad little girl, everyone else is! Hmpft. He makes a noise in his throat before exhaling.

Monique gives Calaudrin a rough pat on the shoulder that says, 'buck up, man! It'll be all right. There, there. There, there.'

Aiden shrugs his shoulders at Sabella, "It could have very well been forgotten about years ago. Perhaps it was to have been made with a new haft and the crafter stored it here securely. Then perhaps the Duke passed on and it was forgotten about. Or it could have many tales to tell, if weapons-" he blinks a little bit, "If weapons had stories to tell." He side glances at Eirene, "I think I know someone who could help me with that." He keeps hold of the axe rightfully so, then nods to Sabella, "How about we check out another shop? I didn't see anything else in here that could be salvaged. There looked to have been an artist shop and a tailor shop once here before?"

Eirene comments to Aiden, "Sounds like someone's profiteering off the refugees. Perhaps they should get a talking to," she says of this food vendor the girl mentioned. "Hey kid - Jessa. Who is it you're talking about with the food, hm? Back by the... encampment?"

Aiden blinks at Eirene, "That's... not surprising."

"Not illegal. Not surprising. Pisses me the right fuck off though," the Malvici woman grumbles, arms folding over her chest.

As many of the explorers are handling Jessa, and Aiden is otherwise occupied with the Crovane Axe, Sabella meanders over to the tailor shop to start poking around. The tailor shop is not as sturdy as it seems, and at the very moment that she goes through the door, a large rock falls.

Sabella nods and starts wandering on her own, which Aiden specifically told them not to do but she's not going that far, just to the tailor's shop a bit away. She's only just crossed the threshold and is leaning down pick something up when she just happens to see something out of the corner of her eye and with a high pitched shriek she leaps out of the way, hands outstretched before her as a huge rock falls right where she just was! Her hands hit the ground and she rolls, almost making it all the way to her feet in one go! Then she falls back on her ass and blinks at the place she was just standing, now crushed by said rock, "That was very unexpected!" She shouts, a little shocked that that just happened. "Why do they even let people in here?!"

Meanwhile, Jessa wipes some chocolate from her face. She looks from Calaudrin to Vera to Monique to Eirene and back again. She swallows, and wipes her chocolate covered hands all over her shirt to clean them off. It's not like the shirt is clean anyway. "We stayed behind, but when we heard the fires were coming, we were all trying to leave together, but I tripped and fell, and lost them. I've been living outside of the city... eating berries and things where I can, but..." she gives a small shrug of her shoulder. "Then the workers came, and there's that trader that set up, and I thought maybe I could find something to trade for food..." She pauses, eyeing all the people, and says in a very tentative voice. "And, I stayed to see if my family would come find me, but... I haven't seem them." She lowers her head again then, and her lower lip trembles a bit.

Calaudrin checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.

Sabella checked wits + empathy at difficulty 20, rolling 30 higher.

Eirene gives a small satisfied grunt as this -doesn't- like profiteering, nonetheless she makes mental note to follow through with this merchant when they get back. She turns towards the noise and yells, "The FUCK do you think you're doing?! Get out of there before you get smashed and I have to carry your battered ass back to the camp." She points, glares, and goes to check herself to see what may be left standing in the jeweler's store the girl may have missed - or may have been too small to carry away.

Aiden looks over toward where Jessa is at, though knowing she's surrounded by four strange adults, he chooses to note where Sabella has gone. What he sees nearly makes him drop the axe, his features visibly tense when he witnesses the close call. He breathes out a breath after she avoids it, "Sabella... don't give me such a fright!" He wanders over toward her, scowling at Eirene, "Please, there's no need for such language Lady Eirene. She was trying to help."

Calaudrin mutters something that's more or less to himself when Monique pats him. Mumble, grumble The end of the girl's story is enough for him. While he's apparently fine with dead, charred bodies all over the place... the story of a kid waiting behind in the rubble effectively gets to him. He pinches the bridge of his nose. "You're going to give us the names of your family and we're going to put out word for them. It's possible that they just haven't been able to make it back yet. There's been a lot of chaos as everyone gets settled. We /will/ find a place for you." When Sabella screams, he looks quickly in that direction and calls. "She alright?"

"I'm fine, I'm fine!" Sabella calls out after a quick moment of making sure that's true since she can barely believe it. "Maybe...maybe I just go stay with the girl and you far more capable people go investigate these killer buildings," she says as she gets to her feet, starting to brush herself off but then realizing it's not going to matter. There's so much dirt! Aiden gets a bit of a smile, "Sorry. I thought going to shops would be something that was more my thing, but apparently not these ones."

Eirene has rolled a critical success!
Eirene checked perception + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 92 higher.

Aiden shakes his head at Sabella, encouraging, "I'm certain we can find something. I'll come with you. We'll just have to be careful of more rubble coming loose." He looks at the tailor's shop with some skeptic observation.

Aiden clears his throat, "On second thought. Let's ... no go into this one without some assistance. It looks like it could come crumbling down at any moment. It needs to be shored up before we go looking." He nods toward the next shop over, what could have been an artist shop, "We could try there... maybe." Somehow he's not so certain anymore after that close call.

hen Calaudrin asks Jessa for her the names of her family members, a small, terribly glimmer of hope rises on her features. Terrible, for she almost seems afraid to hope, and for the more empathetic, it might be heartbreakingly terrible. "Do you really think they could be alive?" she asks.

When Calaudrin asks Jessa for her the names of her family members, a small, terribly glimmer of hope rises on her features. Terrible, for she almost seems afraid to hope, and for the more empathetic, it might be heartbreakingly terrible. "Do you really think they could be alive?" she asks.

Eirene mutters a 'Sorry' without really meaning it. Yelling and cussing was just who she was. Also her sharp eyes are trained for details; the tiny things which can make all the difference in medicine and command- so when she looks away from Sabella and Aiden she glances back into the jewelry shop. "Oh hey," she says curiously, moving to pick up a small bronze key. Keys mean chests, and soon she spots it on a set of shelves, partially crushed but still structurally intact. Gingerly, the physician lifts the box out and carries it back to the plaza under her arm.

"Master Calaudrin's right. We'll find a place for you. We promise." Vera adds on to the other man's words, offering her hand to Jessa. It takes most of her control to ignore the chocolate stickiness of said hand--if the little girl takes it, that is. "Let's get you somewhere a little safer hm? No buildings or rocks falling." She avoids, that subject of family.

"I'll follow wherever you'd like me to go, Aiden, but I think it'd better if I don't lead," Sabella says with a surprising amount of good cheer considering she just almost got smooshed. She glances back to Jessa with a huge amount of sympathy, "I feel like there are more perilous situations happening here, anyway."

Seeing that Calaudrin has the young girl well in hand, old softy that he is, along with Vera's help, Monique makes her way out and over to Aiden. "I'll go in with you," she offers, though giving a look to Eirene's find, curiosity on her face.

Despite having stood up and clearly planning on wandering away from this situation, Calaudrin is drawn back in by the sad little girl. He looks conflicted before he settles back down onto his heels again in front of her. "I don't know. But we're going to do our best to find them or whatever family you have. In the meantime..." He bites down on his thumbnail, thinking on it before continuing. "My Countess can find a place for you in our house while we look for them. It might take some time." Gee, Mia is going to like that surprise!

Jessa sees Monique moving away, and hastily calls out. "Thank you for the browie," she says. Maybe she's not completely devoid of etiquette. She gives Calaudrin a timid smile, and looks down at her feet bashfully. "Thank you," she mumbles.

Aiden nods to Monique as she joins him toward the artist shop, or the remains of it. It doesn't look like it'll be crumbling in around them any time soon and ... really before they get much into it, his boot nearly steps upon a small metal tube. He stoops to pick it up, brows lifting.

Eirene turns the chest over in her hands before she fixes the key into the lock curiously. "Do we know whose shop this was," she asks aloud. "Because jewelers spend shit-tons of money on inventory and I'd love to get this back to them." CLICK. Open. Blue eyes peer inside.

Calaudrin is useless socially, he holds his breath in and nods a couple of times to Jessa. He's probably thinking over the 'hey what did I just agree to' of this situation, but he's far too stubborn to ever back out of the decision. He watches as Eirene wanders to the jewelers shop, his expression curious as she opens the chest. What could it be?!

A chocolate covered hand in hers is the first step! Vera smiles softly down at the girl. "I can carry you if you like, Jessa." She offers, extending both hands. "We can follow Master Calaudrin around at a safe distance." She stage whispers, trying to repress a grin. "And you can watch all the fancy-pants explorers find shiny things." The Marquessa had a little sister once. She's trying to speak kid!

Sabella watches Aiden and Monique enter the shop and then turns and wanders over to see what Eirene has in that chest. "Is it a crown?!" she asks excitedly. Never mind that's probably jot something that would be in a shop like this. In any case she actually doesn't wait to see, heading over to Jessa and the Marquessa, "Hello! I'm Princess Sabella Grayson and you must be very brave for having been through these ruins on your own."

Monique steps into the artists' shop and nothing falls on her! Thank the spirits for that! She pokes around but there's not really much to see, save for Aiden stepping on a tube. "What is it?" the Minx asks curiously.

Aiden gently puts the axe down by his feet so he can look over the metal tube, seeing if there was something he could open on it. He looks to Monique, "Do you think artists use tubes like these for their canvases?"

The chest glows and -- no. But it does sparkle as the light hits the treasures inside. Ingots in gold and silver, and even a few bars that look rose-gold and champaign silver. Gems - sparkling diamonds and glimmering emerals and rubies of deepest red. "Well! Someone will be happy to get this haul back," she says, surprised. Even she's not immune to the lure of sparkly things on occasion.

After fiddling with the tube, the lid he pulls off and ... he doesn't look inside. Spiders and weird things can be in mysterious tubes! Call him paranoid and cautious, but instead he turns the tube over and gently shakes it, to see if anything comes out - gloved hand somewhat underneath it. Again, spiders or snakes and... he's an explorer! Cautious one that doesn't want to lose an eye.

Aiden ^

Lou drops Upon a Painted Ocean, a small painting.

As Aiden shakes the tube, a small painting drifts lightly into his hands.

Monique leans in closer. "Metal doesn't look special, definitely looks like an artist tube, but with far more care taken for it." She takes a step back as Aiden shakes it. Just in case.

Aiden picks up Upon a Painted Ocean, a small painting.

Jessa shakes her head at Vera. "I can walk," she promises. "I even know a safe path back outside the city, so you don't get caught on the nails and sharp things," she tells her, looking down at a nasty lookjing scratch along her arm, that's sorta caked and dirty, rubbing at it with her free hand. "It took me a bit to find it," she admits to Vera. But when she mentions Calaudrin, she gets all shy and bashful again, and almost seems to hide behind Vera for fear he heard Vera speaking about him! Then Vera is mentioning Explorers and then Sabella's saying she's a princess, and her jaw just drops in awe. "For real?" she whispers.

Weird things happen all the time, but this just happens to be a not so weird thing. When the small painting comes out of the tube, Aiden carefully handles it. It somehow survived the inferno and the heat. Even so, when he unrolls it, ... the sight of the ship on the water does it. This is why everyone calls him sensitive!! His hands tremble and as he's squatted there on the ground, he tries to rub his face into his upper arm and shoulder, because damnit all, there's tears! Monique can easily see what it is over his shoulder. A beautiful ship on the starlit horizon. "Estaban would've loved this..." he whispers.

Monique checked perception + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Eirene has rolled a critical success!
Eirene checked perception + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 55 higher.

Calaudrin hears Estaban's name and turns very slowly in Aiden's direction. He sucks in a breath and holds it again. Between sad kids and reminders of dead guardsmen, he's forced to curls his fingers into the palms of his hands. So walks off a bit further and digs around into his pockets until he can find one of his cigarillos and fight with the thing until its lit up. He looks around, eventually glancing in Vera and Jessa's direction. He watches them, watches Aiden, watches the rest of the group.

Monique does see the painting, but she doesn't see the tears. "It's a stunning painting," she muses quietly, her breath quite stolen away. She can see the way his hands tremble, and she offers to Aiden, "He can see it through your eyes, I'm sure of it."

Eirene closes up the box of treasures, tucking it under her arm, and goes to set a hand on Aiden's shoulder. Her expression is hard to read but there's a degree of sadness in it. "We'll give it to Lucy, if nobody minds. Find the owner, pay them, and hang it in the baby's room," she says with a measure of softness. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones making her a big softy.

Talking to kids is a lot easier than adventuring! Sabella nods and gives Jessa a bright smile, "I should hope so, or else a lot of people have been bowing to me for no reason. And I am certainly not an explorer," she points to the place where she was cut earlier and the splinters that are still in her hand. "Your name is Jessa, right? Well, trust me when I say if this group can keep me out of trouble, they can definitely help you." She's thus far unaware of Aiden and the painting, which is a good thing or Graysons would just be crying everywhere.

Aiden closes his eyes and tries to regain some sense of composure around all these people. But it's too late. Many years too late to hide the fact that he had a damn heart and showed it on his sleeve. All the same, the hands on his shoulder from Eirene draws comfort, as do the words from Monique. The suggestion is what makes this a sensible moment, where in he carefully rolls the painting back into the tube and closes it. He nods, emotions thick in his throat, "Lulu will like that. For their child." He quietly rises up onto his feet, picking up the delicate remains of the axe as well. "I think... I'm done for today..." he whispers.



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