Festival of Choices PRP Act 2 Scene 1
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 2/2 of the PROPERTY CRIME group of the plot.
Oct. 3, 2020, 7 p.m.
Outside Arx - Mourning Isles near Redreef Shores - The Festival of Choices
Comments and Log
Previously on The Case of the Missing Jewels...
The Festival of Choices is well underway at the small barony of Redreef Shores, a domain on the western edge of Darkwater Isle, in the south of the Mourning Isles. For two weeks or so, the legacy of the once-forgotten god Skald is celebrated: the ability to make choices. In this vein, the people of Redreef Shores and the tourists who've gathered in the barony are celebrating by making the choice to get stinking drunk. The festival atmosphere is lively and rollicking, and the streets are filled with throngs of merrymakers. It is, in so many words, Skaldi Gras.
To commemorate the festival, the Baroness of Redreef Shores and angriest woman alive, Ember Redreef, had jewels from the newly-semi-conquered Saffron Chain put on display in the Crimson Keep, the domain's castle. These jewels were then stolen.
A group consisting of Princess Alarissa Thrax, Lady Zoey Kennex, Lady Kiera Wyvenheart, Lord Cahal Blackram, and Mirella Fiorelli helped to crack the case by reviewing the evidence, which seemed to rule out all three of the main suspects: a dissipated and drug-addicted horse farmer whose career had fallen into ruin, a Crimson Keep guardswoman with gambling debts, and a jeweler whose only real crime really seemed to be having a high opinion of himself.
However, the horse farmer's daughter, Hadassa Riverbend, a young woman with long, wavy black hair and piercing green eyes, seems to have found herself in the crosshairs once the party compared notes, and it was agreed that the arboretum where she works as a groundskeeper would be searched for the jewels.
That was a scant short while ago, but in that time, chaos has erupted in the streets. People are screaming about murders happening somewhere and some kind of chase(...?) through the streets, possibly related, has caused absolute havoc. In this mess, Lord Cahal and Mirella have been separated from the group, but as the remaining three, Hadassa in tow, approach the arboretum in the center of the city, others stand ready to stumble upon destiny...
Kiera asks of Zoey "Does it make sense to search the arboretum or did I miss something that would ID the daughter or the guard definitively as the culprit"
Interrupted from enjoying the celebrations with the news, Marina unfortunately feels like the responsible choice is to go and find out what's happening before her home ends up bankrupt or someone ends up dead. Neither of those sound like great new traditions. Dressed conservatively for the Festival of Choices or a steam bath, her sailing regalia is a bit more upmarket but still recognizeably seafaring aside from the loosened drape here or scooped neckline there or the short skirt here or the crow wrapped in colorful crepe for a more exotic plumage there. Adding at least a little decorum over this is a long jacket grabbed from somewhere that she's wearing like a cape, arms outside of the sleeves and nursing her temples with slow circles on her way up to the arboretum in response to the urgent message.
Urgent enough to scare away the troupe of 'Eurusi tribesmen' that'd been her accompaniment for the rest of the night. Oh well. Arms crossed so the long coat fits a little more warmly, her fingers drum against opposite elbows while looking around, centering herself, willing away the earlier choice to lift a glass and then not set it back down again until emptied.
"Drunken revels...." Alarissa has been moving with the others from whence they came, alarm on her face at the screaming and the bellows of murders having happened. Shoulders square and chin lifted feet move swiftly. "I'm sure it'll be declared a rousing success. Despite that people didn't consent to be killed." The Princess Consort is looking displeased. So displeased.
Appolonia Seraceni is here because she wanted to get out of Arx in such a miserable season, especially with the recent shortage of whirlpools. Hurray! In addition she had been curious about the fruits of the Saffron Chain - while she has been there, her visits have largely been to the one particular island her cousin Dio is in the process of conquering, so she hasn't really had a chance for duty-free shopping.
Also, there is chaos in the area, and so Appolonia dives into an entrance into the arboretum...!
Appolonia is holding a portable clay amphora of some kind of wine, probably half drunk, in one hand, and a glittering knife of Eurusi make in the other. As she staggers out from behind a tree and sees people, she swaps the grip of the two items to make the knife less obvious, saying gaily as she does, "Kiera, darling! Hello! I heard culprit. /Is there a mystery/??" She also dips into a curtsey towards Marina and Alarissa, which also gives her time to put the knife back in its thigh sheath.
As the group makes their way to the arboretum, Zoey spots a familiar face alone among the revelers. She calls out to Bahiya and separates from the group long enough to go to her side and see if she would like to accompany them.
Bahiya'al'mathali is lost. She's standing along a busy streetside, beneath lanterns and amongst revelry. She's more amused than panicked, as maybe a blind woman ought to be, but there's a wall of a building at her back, her silver-tipped cane in hand. She has surmised that if her companions have truly gone on without her, she trusts that they would doubleback to look for her as soon as they notice. It's only been a few minutes, and this has definitely happened before. So the Eurusi ambassador stays where she is, smiling.
A familiar voice calls out her name, -not- a voice of those that came with her. "Lady Zoey...?" Bahiya remarks, surprised. Dressed in mottled silks and silver jewelry, she shifts her focus in that direction.
Ember has rolled 1 6-sided dice: 3
Hadassa Riverbend, in her red dress with one torn sleeve and her green jacket draped over one arm to carry, is leading the way to the arboretum. She seems profoundly annoyed at being the prime suspect for this jewel theft. However, the evidence really does overwhelmingly point to her having done it, so, you know.
"I don't see WHY you think I did this," Hadassa whines at Zoey, Alarissa, and whoever will listen. "I just TRIM BUSHES in the arboretum, I'm not a JEWEL THIEF, and FURTHERMORE--"
Hadassa stops in her tracks when she sees Marina, and next to Marina, Appolonia with knife in hand. The young woman immediately panics. "Why do you have a kni-- Is this some kind of-- Some kind of weird silk HUMAN SACRIFICE-- Is that's what's been happening with those murd-- NO!" Hadassa throws her jacket at whoever happens to be in line of jacket-throwing, which in this case would sadly be Bahiya. A hell of a welcome for the ambassador. And then Hadassa takes off running into the arboretum. She's got a good sprint going, too. Must work out.
Zoey checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.
"Are you KIDDING ME?!" Alarissa isn't a runner and just stares at the retreating back of Hadassa. "Someone run after her!"
"Yes, it's me. There is a group of us here, and we are --" Zoey stops speaking suddenly when she hears Hadassa and sees the jacket flying past her. With reflexes less from archery and more from catching a child who likes to climb things he should not, she reaches out and grabs the jacket before it can hit Bahiya.
Mirella is here! She's just a little behind, hidden behind crowds of crowds of people who are taller than than she is. Small person problems.
"I have the knife in CASE I run into the jewel thief," Appolonia says to Hadassa, just in time to finish parking the weapon aaaaaaand there she goes.
Appolonia takes a swig from her amphora. "At once," she tells Alarissa before moving in that approximate direction at something that is faster than a walk but not really a dead-out sprint.
"WHY DID YOU SAY SILK" she shouts at Hadassa Riverbend's back.
There's a lot going on around Bahiya's head, Zoey's voice, shouting. "-..ah!" the Ambassador gasps. "I heard running... is someone being chased?" asks the composed woman, her tone calm but voice raised enough to eb heard.
"Miss. I see you're prepared." That size jug is up to Marina's standards with a briefly admiring nod towards Appolonia. The knife, eh, not so much, but Marina is polite enough to let Appolonia put it away without commenting on shamefully underwhelming weaponry when pursuing a mystery or a murder. While unfuzzing the details of what she's heard on the rush up to the arboretum, she busies herself with tugging at her 'costume' to have it fit better and more respectably, and then attending to Chuckles, removing the fake-plumage from her long suffering but also sort of overindulged crow while it seems fit to sleep it off on her shoulder without further complaint.
The jacket being tossed distracts her attention, with it flitting back to Hadassa who'd only recently come to Marina's attention anyway. At least all that sailing and other stuff has her reactions suitably schooled so she doesn't gape, slackjawed, at the servant girl now doing a runner. Grimacing to herself, she takes a half-second to think before pointing vaguely ahead, "Shit! She's headed through the pricker bushes.."
Hadassa throws up a rude hand gesture at Appolonia as she runs. The arboretum has foot paths running through it, but she's zooming right off of those and... indeed, toward the pricker bushes, of which she displays no fear whatsoever.
Kiera blinks. She is far from the best runner sot equipped to lead the chase but will make some attempt to keep up with othera
Marina checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.
Bahiya checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 35, rolling 26 lower.
Mirella checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 41 higher.
Appolonia checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.
As some of the group gives chase, Appolonia's power-walking proves useless against actual running, and might even leave her a little out of breath, depending on how drunk she is.
Marina and Mirella fare better. Marina is slightly slowed down by the pricker bushes compared to Mirella, but the pair of them clear the bushes and are hot on Hadassa's heels as she seems to be heading toward the thickly forested center of the arboretum, perhaps hoping to lose them in the trees. They're close enough to at least TRY and grab her, but that's easier said than done while running.
Bahiya throws her cane like a javelin, presumably following the sound of Hadassa's rude gestures, but the throw goes wide. Another groundskeeper, picking up litter and party-debris from near the pricker bushes, straightens up to watch the chase... and he's clocked right in the temple by the thrown cane. He immediately falls to the ground, out cold.
"Our suspect," Zoey answers Bahiya. "Possible jewel thief. I think the others are going after her." She drapes the jacket over one arm and offers the other toward the ambassador. "If you would like to attend, take my arm and I will guide you through this chaos."
With her attempt to follow the sound of the named suspect, Bahiya throws her cane in a strange attempt to help. She hears it connect, looks quite excited and asks, "Did I get them?"
Bahiya also takes Zoey's arm.
Appolonia's ambling adroitly attains an allowable aspect of access to Alarissa and the accused. "She's getting away," Appolonia says with displeasure. She raises her voice to call ahead: "Woman! You are CHOOSING to run! This means that others will CHOOSE to perceive this as evidence of either guilt or of fear! If it is fear, tell us what you fear and you will then be able to CHOOSE some wine of your own! I'll give you a penny for your trouble!"
"Him too," says Appolonia.
Run run run, Mirella does, her legs carrying her past the bush. With a bit of luck, she'll chase Hadassa at a slightly different angle to Marina. Maybe the two of them can corner her somehow. A pincer movement, or something!
"You did not." Alarissa mournfully states, gesturing for a Thrax guard to go see to the man while the others run ahead to catch the woman and she strides forward with purpose.
Hopping a bush only half-successfully, the inventive cursing from Marina is temporarily on hold in favor of half-articulated grunting and a slightly more coherent, "If /I/ catch you I'm going to kick you in the face!" Probably not really ranking high on majestic threats but the boots she's wearing, their shine and costumed elegance already kind of shredded up by grit and other stuff, certainly seem vicious enough. "C'mon! Stop now and it's just a beating!" The sudden running and overall athleticism is upsetting to the finer tempers of an otherwise 'jovial' sea captain; pity her poor bird, who's just lamely fluttering and tiltedly perching on a branch far behind her by now.
Ember checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 8 lower.
Kiera takes a moment to tend to the injured guard as the others run after the woman
Kiera checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.
Zoey leads Bahiya back to the members of the group who are not currently chasing after Hadassa. "Goodness. Should we wait for them to return with the suspect, or go on and search while they handle her?"
"Oh dear," Bahiya says with a wince, her hand tucked securely into Zoey's arm. A little distressed, she asks, "Are they alright? Whomever I hit? That's the second cane I have lost this week." Her head tilts at Zoey. "I am a bit confused. What are we searching for?"
The Thrax Guard and Kiera will find that the groundskeeper will be okay, but he probably shouldn't be asked to do any particularly difficult math for a while.
Hadassa, meanwhile, has both Mirella and Marina upon her, and Appolonia shouting at her besides. She looks back over her shoulder to see how close any of the three are...
While looking backward, Hadassa doesn't see the tree root.
The young woman slams her toe into it hard while running at full speed. Her twisted ankle is the least of her problems, because she SLAMS into the ground and just absolutely eats shit.
More than anything, Mirella just looks vaguely bemused when Hadassa makes a none-too-friendly acquaintance of the floor. Soft-booted feet skid over the turf as the short woman comes to an abrupt halt, frowning until a furrow appears between her eyebrows. Her voice is deadpan as she mutters a soft, "Yikes." Her hands skim over a fold in her skirt, probably where she's hidden a knife or something -- a standard move from one of those sketchy Pravosi commoners.
"They are fine my Lady," Alarissa states when her guard nods. She watches the take down further down and looks relieved when Hadassa bites it. "Oh this will be much easier now."
A kick in the face was promised but it's probably going to be more of a knee to the teeth instead since Marina is coming in hot and still a little loose in the boots, from the near-trip over the pricker bushes to them being kind of shitty boots for running in. But with Mirella stopping there to tidy up and look better, she goes in for more of the 'restrain the subject and make it look like that was the point.' Tumbling and brawling not her strong suit, it's probably going to look more like Marina needing to sit down for awhile and Hadassa being a good place to do that. "..well. This was stupid but also .. pointless."
Appolonia sighs at this particular fecovoric antic, and she moves round to try and get on the other flank of Hadassa. As she does this, she says to Marina, "Well, this is informative if not really directly so." She, carefully, sets the amphora down to set on some soft soil, lets it stay put...
Then she moves round as Mirella does a pat-down. "So," she says to her. "Jewel theft. Do you know anything?"
Mirella's not going to get in the way of any restraining and questioning! She'll let Marina and Apoolonia deal with that. Instead, she'll go through the dirt-nomming woman's possessions with an efficient and non-invasive pat-down. She's got the sweet sleight of hand skills for that. Hopefully.
Hadassa arguably hit the ground harder than the cane hit that poor thankfully-not-dead groundskeeper, but it doesn't seem to have knocked her out. The jury is still out on whether or not she maybe has a concussion. "Bluuhhggh," she growns, and then is right about to try and push herself up to her hands and knees when Marina slams hard into her and then sits on her.
"Get-- get OOOOFF," Hadassa groans. "I'm not going to let you... You've already ruined my life once, you and your bitch sister, isn't that ENOUGH?!"
Kiera hms and as the others deal with Hadassa, she examines ground for older tracks or signs of earth being disturbed by a shovel, walking at easy pace and lettin zoey an bahiya follow after
Kiera checked intellect + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.
What's this? Mirella triumphantly pulls out a folded-up letter from Hadassa's bodice. Nifty! She takes a quick peek, then hands it over to someone else if they want to take a peek.
"It looks like they will both be fine," Zoey assures Bahiya. "It looks like she has some kind of note." She glances it over when it comes to her and explains its contents.
Kiera doesn't find any earth disturbed by a shovel that seems inconsistent with normal arboretum work. What the Wyvernheart does notice, though, is a glint in the moonlight coming from an old, rotted tree stump near where Hadassa's been pinned down.
Appolonia glances at the letter. She seems to read it at a glance. She then looks at Mirella, then over towards Marina, as she purses her lips. Two fingertips tap her lower lip. She seems to want to see how this particular riposte plays out.
"We did? Then why the fuck would you want to set up a second run at it?" Confirming her pinioning of Hadassa, Marina doesn't make it gentle but she does at least make it more secure for herself rather than risking getting kicked herself. Not fun! Between Mirella and Appolonia though, the remainder of her attention goes towards Appolonia, just a little glance from the corners of her eyes and a brief lift of her chin as well, "Did you bring an extra cup along with that jug? I never liked running, it's thirsty work."
Bahiya seems a little relieved by that, moving with Zoey. "My apologies for holding you back, I am sure this is a hindrance," the Eurusi woman murmurs. "But if I can help, I would like to. What is this suspect? What crime has she allegedly committed? Was this the murder I heard rumors of?"
"Murder?" Zoey asks. "Gods, no, I know nothing about that." She goes on to summarize events to Bahiya, telling her of the theft of the Saffron jewels that were on display, of their suspects, and what she knows of what happened to the Riverbend family when her father was accused of a crime and they went from being relatively wealthy to struggling to get by.
'We have been dealing with the jewels. A murder though, seems to have occured in the course of this evening. I suspect Skaldi Gras will not become a thing... after this." Alarissa's moving at pace with Zoey and Bahiya though doesn't reach out to assist the Eurusi woman.
Kiera moves her gaze to an old tree stump near where the others have cornered hadassah and pulls out a bag of jewels with a hole chewed in the side "Oh look here" she says somewhat deadpan as she hefts the bag and hands it off to zoey as she rummages for any extra that appears to have fallen in the stump
"Sadly I did not," Appolonia tells Marina, "but I'll tell you where I got it, if it hasn't been destroyed in the rioting." Back down to the woman. "This sounds like a complicated matter. I -" Then she claps her little hands at something jingly in Kiera's grasp.
Mirella doesn't speak a word. Not a single word. She stands with her arms folded, silent, and turns her gaze over Kiera hefting the bag of twinklybits. "Well, look at that," she says. Lies, she totally spoke.
Ember checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.
Kiera has indeed found the missing jewels! Now, to solve the case of 'why does the bag have a hole in it?' The answer: because a squirrel or some other critter nibbled on it. Case closed! Two successful investigations in one night!
When Mirella rifles through Hadassa's clothes and snakes a letter out of her bodice, while the woman is pinioned by Marina no less, Hadassa squeals because someone is sticking their hand down her dress, and not in the fun, exciting way. "Get out of there!"
But with the letter passed around, and the jewels found, Hadassa... tries to get up and buck Marina off, and fails completely. "I hate you! I hate you and your entire family!" This rage seems particularly directed at the Redreef Voice, though it's also possible she hates someone else's family present. Possible, but unlikely. "I used to be... I used to be rich! Important! And I could have been more than just, just, just a fucking BUSH-TRIMMER if it wasn't for your OGRE of a sister! She's not a Baroness, she's a damned maniac--!"
"Jewels are found, and that might as well have been a confession," says Zoey. She sighs, "Miss Riverbend, I would advise you not to dig this hole of yours any deeper."
"I hate you too! You're a spoiled piece of shit that wanted to get rich more than she wanted revenge, and pulled off a stone-brained snatch and grab!" Marina has the better positioning and also some heft too; so not only does she get to keep Hadassa down figuratively and literally, she gets to shout her reply directly into her ear, while sitting back upright in case there's any more backtalk to go with it. "If it burned your ass that badly, you couldn't have planned a proper robbery?! NO! You just fuck up the entire celebration!" After that she's more grumbling than anything, but that's possibly worse for Hadassa overall, giving the other sister time to build up some proper wrath. Blunting it somewhat, she cuts her attention over to Mirella, with a strained but still well meant smile. "..hmph. If you'd be as kind as to keep that note handy? There'll be some follow up here, to be sure."
Mirella lifts a small balled fist over her mouth, then lets out a tiny cough. Even deadpan people can find words like BUSH-TRIMMER mildly hilarious when they're spoken in such an emphatic tone. Once she's composed herself, which takes all of a moment, she turns to Marina and dips a courteous nod to the Redreef. "Of course. I'll also record what's happened here for the Baroness to read." She pats the book that rests on her hip, suspended from a chainbelt.
Apollonia seems to be weighing things for some time as others speak and there is recrimination. Her eyes turn towards Hadassa and she asks, thoughtfully, "Do you like horses? Or just the coin they bring?"
Kiera sighs "it's a shame. We have so much need for honest workers at high hill and Chevalle. Opportunities often present themselves"
Hadassa tries to to get up again, but again fails. It's becoming clearer that she probably does have at least a minor concussion. At least she hasn't thrown up on anyone's friendly animal retainers.
"You... you can't," she groans, the spirit leaving Hadassa's voice. "My father. Working in the arboretum, I'm all he has. Please. Let me go. Otherwise he'll be on the streets."
"You committed a crime and you must face the consequences for that," Zoey reminds Hadassa. "But the jewels have been recovered. Perhaps you can plead your case and be show leniency."
It would perhaps behoove the group to think about Baroness Ember Redreef for a moment after Zoey suggests the possibility of leniency.
Appolonia gives Kiera a very big wink which is almost certainly due to the liquor, but the intention is clear.
Then she visibly remembers Ember and frowns in thought.
Having caught her breath by now, Marina struggles Hadassa's wrists together to a firm grip, then pushes herself to standing before worrying about getting Hadassa into the same posture. Mostly with a lot of pulling and yanking that's going to have the would-be thief on her feet or with dislocated arms; Marina's grimace and somewhat truculent attempts at effort here make either situation acceptable. "So he'll be on the streets. You might end up dancing on the air above them, you twit." At least when standing, there's a moment to allow some of her good graces to come flooding back in, though her smile is strained at best when looking over the rest of those gathered up. "..well. Not the usual party game I have for guests, but anyone for a round of 'grab the cutpurse by the ankles if she can't keep on her own feet'? The rules are pretty simple, but there's a certain teamwork needed that keeps it exciting."
"You try to correct what you saw as a crime, with another crime." Alarissa states softly to the woman. "It is not to us that you should plead for clemency. It is to the Baroness to whom you plead fealty to when she ascended to her seat. It is to her that you should bend on your knee and plead. Not her sister or the rest of us. What you perceive to be a wrong in the past, is not corrected with larceny and fleeing."
Does Mirella have any snappy comments to make, or any dire warnings, or words of recrimination? Nah. She just stands with arms-crossed again, her head tilted to one side as she listens to what the others are saying. She'll let the good-with-words people do all the good-with-wordd-ery.
Hadassa's body goes slack in defeat, something probably only really noticed by Marina's butt, as its seat subtly shifts. "Fuuuhhh..." she groans, and the rest is muffled by her face going into the grass. She puts her hands over the back of her head like the others' words are blows she needs to be sheltered from. As jewel thieves go, she doesn't really have the panache and elan that one might expect. She's just some poor dumb commoner with terrible ideas.
Appolonia's frown remains as the nature of her society becomes momentarily, glaringly clear to her. This is not a fun thing to have happen to you at a festival! She rocks back on her heels, hugging her arms over her own knees. Her eyes turn momentarily, though not strongly, towards Alarissa. Her lips purse.
Bahiya is listening quietly, observing in her own way. Her head tilts now and then, sometimes to face a person that speaks, another time to listen unobtrusively.
"We should have the guards take her into custody for now, and return the jewels to the Baroness," says Zoey. "Before we draw a crowd of onlookers."
Kiera bites her bottom lip "I might plead your case with the Baroness, but if i cannot help you I might be able to hep see that your fathers's needs aee cared for. He could use some medical treatment I should think.
With the jewels found, and no one trying to steal any of them for themselves, it comes to pass that the group drags away Hadassa, who will no doubt have an excellent time pleading her case in front of the Bloody Baroness.
Happy Skaldi Gras, everyone!
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