Festival of Choices PRP Act 1 Scene 2
This plot is split into three groups, whose actions will serve as 'unseen hands' affecting what the other groups encounter. Each group will have two sessions, one to set up and make a plan, the other to execute. I'm hoping to keep these loose and casual and zippy, and wrap up by 11 pm server time.
I did take signups for this PRP ahead of time. However, schedules and availability always change, so if you're interested in joining, please reach out to Ember! At worst, you'll be waitlisted.
This is Scene 1/2 of the BLOODY AND DISGUSTING CRIME group of the plot.
Oct. 1, 2020, 8 p.m.
Outside Arx - Mourning Isles near Redreef Shores - The Festival of Choices
Comments and Log
The Festival of Choices is a fine time to be in Redreef Shores, if you like drinking. Even if you don't like drinking, there's lots of other stuff to do, but chances are you'll be doing those things with everyone else doing them stinking drunk. The Festival is a celebration of the Skald-given ability to choose, for the followers of Skald have become numerous in Redreef Shores over the past couple years. This little barony on the western tip of Darkwater Isle is hosting a two-week-long party, and it only makes sense that tourism will be booming.
However, not all visitors are quite so lucky. Perhaps it was just tourism that brought some of these adventurers here tonight, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time while celebrating Skaldi Gras. Perhaps they were dispatched by the Baroness herself seeking hands she can trust in the matter. Perhaps a guardsman or woman was overheard and curiosity made one thing lead to another. Whatever the case, the scene in this dimly lit back alley is grisly.
An older man's body has been turned into something that no longer resembles what it was. Opened up and spread around, each limb cleaned like a fish, the head curiously absent. The intestinal tract is still intact and has been lifted up and then hung from outcroppings in an uneven brick wall, and inside that vaguely oval shape, other soft pieces of the body have been mashed into the wall like someone was splatting them there with their palm.
"...twelfth one tonight," a guardsman says to another, both of them looking pale. "...fucking Festival of Choices." Of course, nobility would be able to push right through and demand answers, if they were so inclined. These guardsmen are commoners, and not even Iron Guard -- just members of the Barony's patrols who are horribly, horribly overworked and stretched thin during the Festival of Choices.
Drake checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 70 higher.
Thea checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 41 higher.
Eirene checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 64 higher.
Samira checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.
Norah checked intellect + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.
Haakon checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.
Drake generally comes to these sorts of things, in fact, to drink. As well as eat, and enjoy the company of women. But the news that there has been a disruption of the criminal nature has him intriuged, and interested in investigating. This may seem a little odd at first, considering that he's often lazy, a little foolish, and doesn't bear the outward marks of an ace detective. But he's learned these skills from somewhere, perhaps, as when he approaches the mysterious body, he's careful about disturbing evidence, and combing over the apparent crime scene very carefully. It is not that Drake has any special authority in this matter, but he does seem to be a concerned citizen with some applicable knowledge.
That knowledge, however, does not include medicine. Where it comes to the body itself, he'll let the medical minded take the first look, while he considers other possible clues in the vicinity. "Spread out," he says, as if this isn't that disturbing to see. "No head. A ... ritual, killing, do you believe?" he asks the guardsman.
Haakon was enjoying a beer, after snapping at some well intentioned waiter, "Ask me if I want rum again, and I'll fucking split your face with an axe." The Prodigal isn't carrying an axe, so it's.. probably just a joke? The reveling reaver mutters aside to Norah, "Fucking rum. Too bloody sweet," he gripes, before his attention is pulled toward the growing hubbub surrounding the grisly murder scene. "Huh," he grunts. "Well that fucker's dead."
The very pregnant Eirene isn't drinking. No. She's -tasting- This involves mostly not swallowing - there's a joke to be had there, complete at your own leisure. But she's also acting as a chaperone to ensure her friends don't get entirely shit faced and do something dumb.
"Twelve?" Eirene asks the guard. "That means there's bound to be one more unlucky guy out there." Her practiced eye looks over the body and the placement. "It's some kind of sacrifice for sure. They did this with clear intent."
Thea promised to drink all the drinks FOR Eirene too. Really. So it's all the whiskey, but--obviously not much. Which is probably a good thing as there is the sight before her. She hears the one guard and wrinkles her nose a moment before Thea too goes to look. Medic and all--, it's like she's drawn to dead bodies. "Hey aunt Eirene, come look. It's like--uh well--someone tried to eat himm"she says as she points to some exposed tendons. "I think a person anyway, like they would chew a steak.." YUM THEA, way to describe that..
It's rare that Samira gets the chance to travel outside of the walls of Arx, but the chance to join the revelry gave her a reasonable excuse to finally venture out. Drinking, celebrating Skald? Yes, please. She likely didn't expect to find herself investigating a grisly crime, but word of the happenings draws her attention. The Lowers resident has probably stumbled upon other grisly back-alley crimes a time or two, by virtue of living in a rougher part of the city. And so, she kneels to inspect the body, scowling pensively. "Looks like it was done with a small knife, judging by the cut marks. Might not even have been a regular fighting blade, coulda been a cooking knife or some other sort of thing."
"Lord Haakon, would you care for some rum?" Norah says sweetly to her husband's cousin. Then... oh. Dead guy. She spots something gleaming in his jacket. Taking a handkerchief to shield her hand from most of the gore, she plucks it out. "It's a Red Sails medal. He was in the Redreef Navy," she remarks, trying not to look directly at him. "Poor soul."
Drake checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 46 higher.
One guardsman moves to stop even more of a crowd from gathering in the alleyway, but the nobles are already past. The other one is about to answer Drake when he spots Norah jamming her hand into the body -- and realizes quickly that he's not about to lose his post for telling the wrong noble not to stick her hand into dead things.
"...my Lords, my Ladies," the guardsman says, and his tone is borderline resigned. "I don't know much about... this sort of thing. I'm just a guardsman. Not an Inquisitor... thought one was around at the festivities..." He's trying to avoid looking at the body, especially when Thea points out the bite marks on the exposed tendons. "...oh, hell, I'm gonna..." He has to look away -- but as he does, Norah's medal catches his eye. "...my Lady," he says. "That medal -- those were the ones given out for valor in the Baroness's, er, liberation of the Barony from her, ah, uncle. All of the other eleven we've found tonight were in the same conflict..."
Drake is still investigating the situation... but not the body, directly. At some point he breaks away from the main group, and looks up... into a balcony that overlooks the alley. He points toward it... and then just starts climbing up the wall. Drake seems to be a pretty capable climber, and gets up to the balcony pretty quickly. From here... He's looking at something. He tries to figure out exactly how to get ... what turns out to be the body's head. He settles for wrapping it in his leather coat, which... that is going to have to be washed, later. Then he brings the head back down. Carefully.
Haakon gives Norah a flat look at her sweet offer. Her discovery of a medal delays any profane response. "Hrm. Probably fucking Helianthus keepers. Butchering a body like an animal's is for them whose crimes make them less than human. Traitors and the like." Then the guard makes note that the others were in the same war. "Aye. A hunt, then. Any noble blood spilled, or all common born?" he wonders, while curiously peering after Drake's climbing and discovery.
"The other /eleven/?" Norah asks the guardsman, horrified.
A third guard, this time a woman (for Redreef Shores is a progressive bastion in the Mourning Isles, and women are allowed to work as guards here) approaches the guardsman who's talking with the nobles, and hands him a message. She tries to avoid looking at the body, before she goes to help keep the lookie-loos away.
"Aye. Eleven. All Red Sails veterans of the, er, liberation." The guard seems to say the word like it's pronounced with air quotes. "We've been finding one every hour. Just got word from my captain -- they've rounded up the two remaining veterans they can find in all this chaos and have them safe at the Keep. Also two suspects in mind..."
There's a look as Thea watches Drake climb like some sort of moneky. There's a smirk at the Guard as she mentions being sick, but shrugs. "You get used to it, and I've seen worse." Looking up at the guard still, Thea lifts her eyebrow,"Suspects? Who--?
Eirene makes a face at Drake as he returns with the head. Norah's discovery and then guard's revelation has her looking both disgusted and intrigued. "Either its a revenge killing disguised as a ritual murder or a ritual murder taking advantage of a revenge killing." She glances at Haakon and hums at his idea. "Good move rounding the last ones up. Who do you think is behind it," she asks.
"Well, we've found the rest of him," Drake says, opening his coat again and showing that he has, indeed, the head. He looks over at the guard, and, casually enough, asks her, "Do you recognize him? Any enemies he might have ended up attracting?" He notices that little bit of sarcasm about the liberation. It's hard to miss it.
The guard would probably answer Drake if he wasn't turning away and trying really hard not to throw up.
Samira snaps her mouth shut as her mention of a cooking knife as potential murder weapon comes on the heels of Thea's remark about someone trying to eat the body like a steak. Her lips press into a thin line, gaze sweeping over the scene before shifting to follow Drake's agile climb. "Good thinking rounding up the last two. Tell us about the suspects?"
Eirene gave Drake that look for a reason. It's vindicated.
"Why even take off the head, if not to display it?" Haakon sniffs, briefly indignant. "Damned wasteful. Hey," he grunts at the guards to restart the key query. "You spoke of suspects. Tell us which those are."
Thea climbs to her feet, brushing the dirt from her leathers. There's a look at the head Drake found and then back to the guards. "I swear I asked I ask that,"Thea says, squinting at Haakon. "I think old age is creeping in..."
The guard swallows painfully and turns back toward the group, keeping his eyes clear of Drake's trophy. The head appears to be... just a head. Well, missing the tongue, which was one of the things smushed up against the wall. "R-right. The suspects... a Messere... Abel... Abel Jarin. He was part of the same navy, but thrown out for a whole litany of crimes. Lucky he wasn't executed. Maybe he should have been, if he's been behind this... makes his living as a thug and an unscrupulous sellsword. He's no stranger to taking men's lives."
"Other one is Messere Tricia Cashmore. Merchant's daughter. Wealthy. Privileged... not privileged like yourselves, my Lords, my Ladies, but... very wealthy." The guard swallows again. "Been talking up the Festival. Each year she finds new trouble to get into. Last year she was making the CHOICE to set fires. Could have burned down half the Barony. And she's a known... a known... She talks openly about... wanting to know what this sort of horrible... stuff is like."
Drake reads between the lines on what kind of a 'known' person this woman seems to be. He removes his coat from under the head. Now he just... holds it, because he can't really put a coat back on after it's had blood and brain bits all over it. Not terribly fashionable. "I see. Well, if the lady is suspicious..." But of COURSE Drake would want to investigate the female suspect, right? "Though perhaps we should split up and interrogate both."
Eirene inquires, "Where are these two now? Were they brought in or are they at large?" She glances back at the body to see if the ritual patterns rang any more bells with cults she's aware of. "Maybe someone investigate their houses so we can see if they have any cultist paraphernalia or kind of intentions."
Thea nods her head in agreement with Eirene. "I'm sure a couple of us can go to his house, though I'm not EXACTLY sure what I would be looking for." She thins her lips, thoughtful. "I can figure it out though." Her eyes skim the body for a bit more, mentioning,"I thought they said the suspects were in custody.."
"Two of the other veterans are under protective watch," the guard clarifies. "But Messeres Jarin and Cashmore are being brought to the guard station momentarily -- I can, er, escort you, my Lords, my Ladies..."
Samira listens to the guard's explanation with rapt attention, attempting to blend in with the nobility so she doesn't find herself booted out of the area. When she speaks, her words are measured and carefully enunciated, no hint of her customary Lowers drawl present. "She talks openly about wanting to know about--" She gestures behind her to the grisly crime scene. "--this sort of dark thing?" She glances to Drake and Eirene, nodding in agreement. "Might be worth interrogating both of them. And I don't know if I'd recognize exactly what cultist paraphernalia is, although perhaps it's the sort of thing that would be somewhat obvious once you see it."
"What precisely made the suspects... suspect?" Norah asks the guardsman, dropping the bloody handkerchief on the ground.
Eirene shakes her head. "It's amateur hour for sure," she mutters as she stares at the splatter. The gore doesn't seem to affect her. "This doesn't make sense. It's like a child playing in their parent's shoes, pretending to act all grown-up," she tells the others. "It doesn't match any of the... correct diagramming that you see for an occult patterning." Samira is given a chuckle and is reassured, "You'd know it when you saw it. Shit stands out." Norah's question is met with a curious frown. "And an escort is appreciated, thanks."
"Interrogation?" Haakon echoes curiously. "Fuck, you lot are so bloody lawful it makes my eyes bleed," Haakon grunts, looking back to the guards and other nobles, "I'd recommend going to where the last two are being kept safe. Dress as one or both of them up and lay a bloody ambush."
Thea squints at Haakon. "What the fuck is wrong with an iterrogation? I thought you of all people would LIKE being a jerk a to people..for FUN and information." She says this with a serious tone, but her gold-flecked green eyes look amused. Eventually joining the others, Thea assures Samira, twitching her lips a little,"You can definitely tell--it stands out.."
"I figured that might be the case," Samira remarks wryly to Eirene and Thea. She seems poised to go along with the group's intention to interrogate the suspects, although Haakon's suggestion does prompt a sudden glance of interest. "Huh. An ambush. That's not a bad idea."
Haakon snickers and mutters to Eirene, before stating aloud, "If the suspects are the killers, they're most like still out hunting, until the list is full, aye? Ambush could net them for you to question."
Haakon mutters, "Most ... this lot ... shit ... ... call for ... Godsworn at the sight of a ... hard ... Lady."
"W-well," the guard says, when Norah presses him on what made the two suspects the suspects, "They... seemed to... fit the most likely..." His words fail him. He's simply unable to say 'We're grasping at straws,' but that's pretty much what he means. A two-week party is raging throughout the domain; the guards are putting out a million little fires at the moment and thus unprepared for an inferno like this one.
"...the... the veterans are at the Crimson Keep, if you seek to see them there. Maisie Varga and Wattie Blackpearl are their names..."
Haakon narrows his eyes. "Don't well know Arvani names. They men or women?" he asks the guards of the surviving veterans.
"E-er. Maisie Varga is a woman. Wattie -- WATKIN Blackpearl is a man," the guard says, clearly intimidated by Haakon a bit.
Drake looks to Eirene, nodding... and making note that perhaps she has some specialized knowledge in this field. Interesting. "So you've ... encountered some kind of cultist before? Hm. It's sometimes hard to see the commonalities among them." He looks at Haakon. "And if nothing happens to them? Hm."
Thea lifts her eyebrow at the guard,"Wait--they're suspects because the fit a profile or you have no idea and needed someone?" She folds her arms against her chest.
"Given that the suspects are just guesses, I support Lord Haakon's plan. Planning an ambush seems like it would be more fruitful than interrogations that may be a waste of time," Norah opines primly.
Eirene runs her hand over her baby heavy stomach. "I can't do anything too dangerous, like an ambush. But it's not a bad idea. Especially if we think our suspects may not be the killer at all. If someone comes with me, I could always search their house to see if there's IS incriminating evidence. Or if we can clear them with an alibi."
Samira rolls her eyes toward the skies as she hears the guard's admission. "Oh, for the love of the gods," she mumbles, followed by a quiet string of curses muttered under her breath. "In that case, I agree with an ambush. Seems the best way of uncovering solid answers instead of making wild guesses."
Haakon shrugs to Drake, "Of naught happens to which?" A slowly drawn breath. "I say we go to the Keep. Leave the veterans there protected, and make it look as it one or both of them leave the keep. Mayhap run to their homes, to be seen. Pack a sack and rush for the docks. The guard and any earlier bodies among us follow or observe to strike when the fuckers stick their necks out to bite."
With a shake of her head at the Guard, Thea agrees with Eirene. "I'll go with you." Basically agreeing with the others.
The party is split in two: Norah, Haakon, and Samira head to the Crimson Keep, and Thea, Eirene, and Drake head to the Cashmore estate.
The Crimson Keep is the seat of Redreef's power, being a red castle built right on the seacoast. As the group enters, they'll note that the main audience hall has been blocked off by guards, forbidding entry. The veterans they seek are being kept in one of the bedrooms on the upper floors of the castle. Maisie Varga is a dark-haired, mocha-skinned woman in her early forties who looks like she spends more time on water than on land. She seems annoyed by being cooped up in the room, and the reason why might be her companion, Watkin "Wattie" Blackpearl, an older man whose skin is NEARLY as white as his hair. He must be in his seventies, or thereabouts, and he seems unkempt and confused, wearing fine clothes but with his hair uncombed, and so forth. "Er... why... why are we here again?" Blackpearl asks Varga as the group enters, and Varga's response is to roll her eyes and scowl.
The Cashmore estate, meanwhile, is a luxurious manor house that would be the envy of anyone in Redreef Shores, but is nowhere near as resplendent as some of the noble estates in Arx. Showing up unannounced and demanding to look through Tricia's things is a tough one, but luckily, Drake came along... Within minutes, Drake has smooth-talked the maid who answered the door and gained the three entry. Tricia's bedroom is on the second floor, and actually takes up no less than three connected rooms. She has too many things, too many clothes, too big a bed... And lots of places to go snooping around, from drawers to bookcases to armoires to you-name-it.
Drake checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.
Thea checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 46 higher.
Eirene checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher.
Norah checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.
Samira checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.
Haakon checked command + intimidation at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.
Coming along to investigate the house perhaps was the right move, when they meet the obstacle of a lady at the door. It's fortunate that Drake is terribly charming in a disarming sort of way... and they're inside before too long. He glances back at Thea for just a second, smiling at her slightly, but then cracks a knuckle. "We'll keep our eyes open for any signs of strange activity." Drake, being Drake... heads right to her bedroom.
And he starts to go through drawers. Which could seem like just a strange, Drake behavior, but when he gets to her writing desk, he regards it with some suspicion, and starts checking it for possible secret compartments. Looking in the back of a drawer, he finds something interesting, and unfolds it. There's a piece of paper that has some ink runes drawn on it... unfamiliar to him. He takes the page, and tracks down Eirene, who seemed to show some knowledge of it before. "What do you make of this?"
Thea glances at Drake over her shoulder as they make their way in. "I'm taking you to every house I go to, to sweet talk everyone,"teasing as they climb the stairs. Pausing, she looks around, surprised. "Wow. She has so--much shite,"and starts to rummage through through things. Thea makes her way to the bookcase, pulling out items here and there. With a lift of her eyebrow, she keeps one book in her hand. "You're kidding---,"her eyes skimming the pages. "This woman was busy, yes--forging. And did a shite job of it,"flipping the pages. "It's bootlegged,"the Malvici explains more. "I recognize a lot of this from my own studies. Of alchemy. She was selling it, I believe,"showing the book to both Eirene and Drake.
Eirene checks where any lady keeps her unmentionables. Some of which make her snigger as she rifles through them. "Girl would have been happy in the Lycene, some of this is awful familiar..." She reaches back behind the silken lacy garments and produces a black leather journal. "Trade you," she suggests as she wiggles the book. "I think we have a wanna be on our hands, not a killer. She doesn't seem to have motive to target these veterans. I think. Let's see..."
Eirene checked perception + occult at difficulty 15, rolling 25 higher.
"Sorry for the confusion," Samira begins to the disgruntled pair of veterans as she arrives alongside Norah and Haakon. "I understand it must be aggravating, being kept here when you've got things to do, but it's for your own safety. Things have unfolded, see..." It quickly becomes clear that the Culler is far more used to resorting to rougher methods than diplomacy. Her attempts at explaining and soothing the situation only seems to add to poor Wattie's confusion.
Wattie Blackpearl stares at Samira blankly while she speaks. "...I'm sorry, Messere... oh. I didn't catch your name. Did... did Baroness Leticia send you...?"
Haakon lets Samira and Norah talk first. While they do so, he's eyeing Maisie and looking at Samira, back and forth. He mutters something to the Culler, before losing his scant patience with Wattie, and staring bluntly, "Some folk want you both dead. Guts hanging on the walls, heads missing sort of dead. Now shut the fuck up-" Wattie. "And hear this: we mean to kill them first while you two stay safe under guard." Aside, he bids the guards, "Bring some clothes for these two. That one didn't happen to walk in here wearing a cloak or cowl, did he?" gesturing at Wattie.
"There's someone killing people who earned this medal," Norah explains, showing the mostly-blood-free medal to the two. "Can you think of anyone who might wish you harm?"
"No, no. My name's Samira Culler. You don't know me, but--" Thankfully Haakon steps in with his no-nonsense recap of exactly what is going on to fill Wattie in, prompting an approving nod from Samira. Voice pitched low, she murmurs a quiet response to Haakon, nodding affirmatively.
"He's lucky he was wearing his trousers," Maisie says to Haakon, giving Wattie a look. "He doesn't know where he is. He doesn't know WHEN he is. He keeps talking like Baroness Leticia is still alive..."
Maisie sighs, and looks at the medal. "...a lot of people. We fought a war. I don't know who could do... THIS, though, what they're saying is being done..."
Drake hands off the paper to hold with the journal, and reaches for the journal to glance through. "Wanna-be, or no... it may be something to give the Inquisition. Maybe ... even if she isn't quite of the mind yet, a little investigation now can serve as the medicine that convinces her to hold off on this. This kind of experimentation..." Here he frowns, as he looks inside the book, and clears his throat. "It doesn't lead anywhere good."
Eirene advises Thea and Drake of what she knows; that their girl has some idea of what she's doing, as she surmised in the alley, but not enough to make anything happen. But they don't have a connection to the sailors; yet. Perhaps the journal.
Drake checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 33 higher.
Haakon eyes Wattie for a further moment at the old man's confused rambling. "Can't figure why they didn't start with this one. Seems toothless, clearly rich enough to dress well. Would've been easy." Eyes tick a touch more narrow on the white haired old sailor, before voices aloud, "When the guards get back with some fresh cloth, going to need what you're wearing. Enough for her-" Samira, "To pass for you," Maisie. "Whitebeard here is tall enough, but I'd need a cloak. Or a fucking wig to pass for hair. Give the fuckers something else to break their teeth biting off."
Norah takes off her cloak and hands it to Haakon. "Will this do?" she asks. She is feeling a bit useless here. "I can smash someone with a stick?"
Drake starts looking through the notebook. He looks through it... flipping, page after page, looking with his eyes narrowing, every little bit more. Finally, at some point, he SNAPS the book shut so definitively that there's an edge of anger to it. It seems... intense. The murder mystery, itself, perhaps forgotten, at this point he seems to have taken up a different quest.
Drake looks Thea in the eye. "She is trying to learn Abyssal magic. And. It seemed as if she had some kind of teacher."
Eirene checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.
Thea thins her lips at Drake's words and nods, starting to go through more items in the bedroom,"Which means there may be more in here..."
Wattie stares at Haakon, his lips fluttering but no sound coming out, to the point that it's not really clear if he's trying to speak or if he just has a tremor. "I... I'm sorry, Messere... oh. I didn't get your name, did I? ...did Baroness Leticia send you...?" he asks Haakon, and then his eyes scan Norah, Samira, and Maisie. "Oh! Maisie! When did you get in?"
Maisie puts her hands in her hair like she might try to rip it out. "Wattie was the chief of staff to Baroness Ember's parents," she says. "When they died, he retired, and... he's just been..." Maisie looks down, and breathes out. She doesn't want to say it out loud, but the implication seems fairly clear that senility is crashing down on Messere Blackpearl.
"...you need my clothes?" Maisie asks, and then sets her jaw. "Fine." She doesn't seem to have any real reservation about untying her dress and pulling it over her head to hand toward Samira. "But I'm keeping my smallclothes."
"Good, they wouldn't see those anyhow," Haakon grunts to Maisie of her smallclothes. His eye turns slowly back to Wattie. "Aye, she did. She's getting you fitted for a new uniform, so take off your fucking doublet, now."
Eirene borrows the journal and flips through. "She was a bit obsessed with the old Baroness," she says with a weird frown. "Like she wanted to look as much like her as possible. Hair. Makeup. Dress." She pauses and asks Thea, "does she have any old fashioned clothes in the wardrobe? Or a wig?"
Samira glances appraisingly between the Eswynd lord and Wattie, then tips her head politely toward Maisie, noting their height difference with a slight shrug of her shoulders. "It just needs to look convincing enough to draw out the culprit. If smallclothes will make or break our attempt, we're doin' something very wrong," she answers with the shadow of a wry smirk. Her dark eyes slide toward Norah, chin jutting upwards into an upnod of approval. "Stick-bashing may very well be useful. And an extra set of eyes to watch for our target, too." That said, she turns her focus to donning Maisie's dress and arranging her hair similarly.
Thea is a rummager you see. A great big rummager who got used to hiding things in her room. Brothers and all..Lifting a specific item that most people wouldn't bother looking, Thea finds a letter. THat was obviously meant for the garbage at some point, since it's torn in two. Sticking the halves together on a flat surface, she starts to read her findings. "There's a letter here. Demanding some Watkin person meet her--but it's signed Baroness Leticia Redreef." Thea glances up to her Eirene and Drake, showing them the letter. "I can go check out the wardrobe too. But if anything jumps out and I stab it, and I wasn't meant too--I'm not apologizing---" Not even a little.
Maisie removes her hairpins as well, donating them to the cause. She folds her arms over her breasts afterward in a nod to modesty, though otherwise she's just in silk shorts.
Wattie stares at Haakon blankly until it's clear that Haakon will probably eat him. "...I have no idea why the Baroness would... I... You said you were with the Inquisition...?" he asks, confused, and looking around like he's trying to place where he is. Then he starts taking off his doublet, but he's slow about it. Shaky fingers. "...has the Baroness returned yet...?"
By this time, the guards have found some clothes to run up to the room, so Maisie isn't left standing around in her shorts for long.
Drake is serious about this, even if Thea is joking. He nods to her, his gaze serious. "Check it. I will back you up." He nearly goos for his knife... but then realizes that there probably won't be anything jumping out. Still... "And we should send for this Baroness as well. I may have a word with her about this."
Eirene checked intellect at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.
Haakon looks aside to Norah at the offered cloak. "Aye, that'll serve, if'n Whitebeard didn't bring his own. Think you I can manage staggering about like a lackwit?" he asks, in deadpan jest. Glare at the poor old man to keep him on task. Grr. Also, taking note of how the old man moves and how his hands shake.
Eirene clarifies for Drake. "Dead baroness." Her eyes narrow as she tries to recall something. "She wanted to meet who? Watkins? Does that sound familiar?"
Drake lets out a small 'oh,' as he missed that detail. Hard to send for a dead person. "...Watkins, then. Maybe this was the person teaching her."
Thea smirks at Drake a little. She has to have enjoyment SOMEwhere, though she looks apologetically at him for a second. "Who was that veteran? Wat something,"she recalls. "I dont--remember. Was it that,"Thea asks.
The elderly Wattie Blackpearl has to sit down to slowly pull his shoes off, and then pauses in the middle of untying his trousers. "...what time is it?" he asks. "I'm supposed to meet the Baroness..."
Eirene nods slowly. "Yeah. That's the name of one of the would-be victims," she says to the pair. "So that gives us the connection we need. Why the fuck would she dress up as a dead woman, though. And yes - who IS the tutor, that's just as important."
Thea checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.
"More important than anything else right now. But I suppose it is all connected." Drake looks like he's ... on a mission, now. "I'm going to hold onto this diary for now. Even if the lady isn't responsible for the murders, she must be put off this dark path before it's too late for her."
Eirene checked intellect + occult at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.
Eirene searches under the rugs and under the bed, shifting the mattress aside to see if anything more may exist. Her last place to look is the fireplace, looking for any partially burned info.
"It's fucking nighttime, Whitebeard," Haakon answers Wattie, thinking nothing of the appointment to meet a dead baroness/totally not murderer lying in wait. He glances back at Maisie. "So he's off his keel. What of you? Any folk tried to cut your guts out, yet?" A grunt of displeasure as he realizes he'll need to shed his armor to have a prayer at fitting into Wattie's doublet.
"Not since the war," Maisie replies, having pulled on the gown of one of the house servants. It's a woolen work dress -- at least the one Samira got was meant for partying in. Well. Modestly partying in. "Until I got picked up by the guards, I had no idea anything was even amiss, I was just out enjoying the Festival.
Eirene finds a little box under the bed, opens it, and then slips it into the bodice of her gown. For later investigation. When she stops at the fireplace, she pulls a corner of a letter out. Initials WB. "We should go see this Wattie fellow and ask what the whole connection to this baroness is. I don't think he's our tutor but she's high on our suspect list, and we need to get details out of her about who is her dark arts professor."
Meanwhile, Wattie stands up, and looks around. "My doublet -- where's my doublet?" he asks. "I have an appointment with the Baroness. I can't stand before her without my doublet..."
Straightening, Thea braves herself into the closet. She sneezes and huffs,"Gods it smells,"rummaging through dresses. "Oh hey! There's some dresses in here from like--a decade ago or so ago from maybe Caina? Setarco?" Don't ask how she knows this--Blame Martino she supposes. Looking down, she finds one in particular, neatly folded. "There's another letter--,"Thea calls out. "Baroness, I will teach you what I am able. Your loyal servant, WB,"she recites from somewhere in the musty clothes.
In response to Wattie's continued remarks, Samira takes a deep breath, an attempt to conceal her impatience. "Don't you fret. I'm sure the Baroness will find you." Just not the Baroness he's referring to. It may be slightly misleading, but it serves as an attempt to soothe the old man in the hopes that he'll move a little faster in shedding those clothes. She offers a nod of thanks to Maisie as she slides the other woman's hairpins securely into her own dark tresses. "Well. With any luck, our plan will work and you can go on enjoying the festival without fear of meeting an untimely end."
"...That seals it," Drake says, and there's an edge in his voice here... anger at something. It's not hard to figure out what. "They think this is some kind of joke or a game, and endangering people's lives, besides."
"You have a way with words, my Lord," Maisie says, folding her arms again and then casting a look at Wattie. "Oh, just sit down, Watkin," she groans. "Good luck out there," she says to the trio of adventurers. "Don't worry about us. We'll be safe, here in the Keep."
Eirene says, "Huh. Maybe he IS our tutor. Let's go find out.... either way, our other sailor may be more in danger with him there already."
Thea is already out of the moth balled smelling closet. "I'm ready when you all are..."darting toward the door. "Oh wait..Think I should wear one of the gowns. Think it would throw him off?" Not that she WANTS to smell like that, but hey--plans..
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